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Why Candeo Creative Chose WordPress and WPEngine

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At Candeo Creative we strive to build strong relationships with our clients, and we do this by earning their trust by giving them impartial advice. We help in many ways, from advising on the right marketing medium for their brand to choosing the right tools to help implement their marketing strategy. Hosting and website content management systems (CMS) are two areas our clients rely on our experience and expertise. It’s a conversation that will never go away and will probably be discussed in the early kickoff meetings with any company you choose.

When it comes to the CMS there are two approaches, open source and proprietary software. I’m not going to rewrite what has been written many times (because who has time for that?), but I will share a very useful article that goes into the pros and cons of both: Open Source vs Proprietary CMS.

Flexibility is always at the center of Candeo Creative’s thought process, so if you managed to read the recommended article above, you will have a better understanding of why our company chose open source software for our CMS.

Due to the rapid advancements in recent years, and the huge community behind WordPress, we usually choose to use it when developing a new website. If our client has specific requirements and WordPress is not a good fit, a custom solution will be used, but 80% percent of the time, we use WordPress.

Openness is another key characteristic of Candeo Creative’s website development process. We will be the first to admit that we’ve had our ups and downs when it comes to hosting WordPress websites but, as with any open source solution, the stability of it will come from staying on top of the upgrades and maintenance for the two major parts involved:

1. The Server (Hosting Environment)
Everyone understands vehicle maintenance. A car or truck is as safe as the time and money you spend maintaining it. If you have bald tires you will end up in the ditch; no engine oil and you will end up pushing it home. You will also get to a point with your vehicle where maintenance isn’t enough and you have to replace it. A server is no different, it doesn’t have wheels or engine oil, but it does have things that need to be replaced and upgraded on a regular basis. If a dedicated server is being used, it will have to be replaced every five years on average.

2. An Updated CMS
Staying with the vehicle analogy, a car is exposed to outside elements, such as rain and snow. I’ve seen many vehicles where rust has taken over and breaking into the car would be as simple as poking it with a stick, leaving a vehicle unlocked is as silly as having a password set as 123456 or “password.” Web-based software is no different. Keeping up-to-date with security patches, upgrading the software when released and using a strong password is like keeping on top of the bodywork for your car and locking your doors.

You may also be the best driver in town, but another vehicle crashing into you is unpredictable. A malicious attack of fake traffic to your website is like a road traffic accident – it happens. Quick reactions and doing everything you can to minimize the effects is the only option.

It was my mission to find a solution to these two major issues; I was very relieved and excited when I didn’t have to look far. WPEngine answers all of our WordPress website hosting questions in great detail, proving itself a worthy choice for Candeo Creative and our clients.

The Server WPEngine Infrastructure
The SoftwareSecure WordPress Hosting

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The extra investment into WPEngine has not only given us access to their top class infrastructure and outstanding support, but it’s given back the time and money we used to spend managing our own dedicated environment. Are you interested in learning more about our web services? Contact us.


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Work Resolutions For 2016

I imagine you made some kind of new year’s resolution last week regarding eating better, exercising more or saving money, but do not overlook the benefit of making resolutions for work as well.

Even the smallest improvement at your job can foster better relationships, work ethic and that feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day. I’ve drawn up a very simple and achievable list of work resolutions that I think we’d all benefit from!

Stop Saying, “I Assumed …”

assumed

One of my worst habits at work is responding to questions with something like, “Oh, I assumed so-and-so had taken care of that.” While I don’t mean to have ill intentions when I say this, it comes off as passive aggressively playing the blame game.

Instead I should be proactive and help the work flow move along smoothly. If “so-and-so” didn’t take care of it, then perhaps that is a sign I should have been checking in more instead of “assuming” they knew what they were supposed to do.

Saying, “I assumed” is pretty much the same as saying, “I didn’t bother to ask,” and that is, in essence, a communication failure. Communicate effectively this year and remove, “I assumed,” from your vocabulary!

Identify Your Weaknesses

weakness

In this article, Justin Bariso asks, “what is your greatest weakness?” Taking time to think about where you could use some self-improvement takes awareness, courage, and insight, which are valuable qualities in the workplace. Plus, you’ll be taking steps to become a better employee, which has its own rewards.

Bariso suggests critically thinking about the following questions:

  • “What major troubles have I had in the past – both when I was younger and more recently? Which of my actions contributed to those troubles?
  • What situations make me uncomfortable? Why?
  • When people give me criticism, what are the common themes?”

Make a list of one or two weaknesses that are holding you back at your job. Then brainstorm the steps you can take to combat or overcome them this year.

Invest In Yourself

invest

Your skills are your most valuable commodity, and if you aren’t cultivating your skill set, then you aren’t cultivating your career. Make time this year to invest in yourself by attending seminars and conferences. Pick up a new marketing book or watch some online tutorials. Set small achievable goals for yourself, and then share what you’ve learned with your coworkers. Your self-driven work ethic will make your job easier and give your colleagues a reason to keep you around.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.” – Henry Ford.

Best of luck with your resolutions and have a happy 2016!

image credit: http://www.andertoons.com

 


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How To Use Marketing Automation Tools To Look Like A Marketing Genius

Have you ever received an email after visiting a page, downloading a document or filling out a form on a website? Most likely the email was sent using marketing automation software.

Marketing automation is a buzzword in the marketing industry. According to SearchCRM, marketing automation is the use of software to automate marketing processes. The use of marketing automation makes processes that would have otherwise been performed manually more efficient and makes new processes possible.

Many large companies use marketing automation to help capture and nurture leads through the sales process. Believe it or not, it is now easier than ever for any type of business, no matter how small, to implement marketing automation.

All of this talk about sending emails automatically can be confusing. It sounds like marketing robots of the future. Marketing automation takes time to plan and write messages so the automated tasks are relevant. The software (robots) helps perform what you created.

How It Works

A visitor on a website completes an action that sets off a series of events. The action, or trigger, could be filling out a form, downloading a document, visiting a certain page or abandoning a shopping cart.

The trigger sets off a series of carefully timed out events, like a set of dominos tipping over. Once an event is completed or sent, the next one in line gets ready to send (or tip if we’re talking dominos). Often the events are emails sent out to the visitor to nurture them along the sales process or to get them to take another action.

Dominos

Image via PixaBay.com

Some examples of emails could be “thank you” letters, exclusive discounts or holiday greetings for when a visitor fills out a form or downloads a document on your website. A thank you email lets the visitor know you got his or her request. Another email example is a reminder email. This type of email is great for when a visitor fills up an online shopping cart but doesn’t purchase. You may have received a reminder email like this before. You can also set up marketing automation to share a monthly coupon with customers.

A Word Of Caution

If marketing automation is done incorrectly, it can be seen as spammy, canned or irrelevant. Make sure to make each marketing automation event meaningful and personalized to avoid looking like a mindless marketing robot. Don’t get too carried away without properly planning out your workflows.

No Junk Mail

Image via PixaBay.com

Planning for marketing automation

The first step to planning out a workflow is to think about your triggers. What things could people do on your website to set off a series of events? Plan what emails you would like to send and when they should be sent. I find it helpful to draw out the events I want to happen after each trigger using arrows to help me visualize how the workflow will happen.

Today, it is easier than ever to stay in contact with people through technology. It is important to use technologies in the right way to look like a marketing genius.

Are you ready to implement marketing automation for your business? Please contact us, we can help!


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Marketing And Music

Before I was exposed to the vast world of marketing and advertising, playing music was easily one of the most important aspects of my life. It has given me so much; it deserves an endless amount of recognition and respect. Too many times artists take it for granted and fail to remember having the talent to create a song is a gift many would kill to have.

My guitar has always been my greatest stress reliever, and I recently found myself making the connection between music and marketing and how both have helped me find my true passions in life. Although they are two completely different subjects, I have identified a few similarities.

Image via pexels.com

Image via pexels.com

1. Building and maintaining relationships is the key to success regardless of the industry. Since I started playing shows and gigs throughout the area, I realized instantly that being humble and friendly goes a very long way. Getting a big head is one of the biggest mistakes a musician can make, and I pride myself on never letting this happen.

We have to appreciate businesses who give us an opportunity, most of the time based on word of mouth, to assist their customers. Clients put their full trust in us to engage their customers and make them want to come back based off of our performance. That being said, fostering relationships is just as important in the workforce, especially when it comes to marketing agencies, the vendors they work with and their clients.

2. Professionalism is a trait that must be exerted to the highest degree in both the advertising industry, as well as the music world. Obviously, meeting clients’ needs in every way possible is the number one goal for any marketing agency. Clear communication, understanding your audience and being able to deliver a valuable message are all aspects of a successful firm.

The same principles apply to entertaining a crowd with music. Being able to understand what people want to hear, especially here in the Fox Valley, is essential in retaining customers of the establishment I’m playing at. Everyone has a unique taste in music and being able cater to each and every one of them is virtually impossible. That being said, it’s all about finding a happy medium that everyone is comfortable and entertained with.

Image via pexels.com

Image via pexels.com

3. There is no limitation on how creative I can be in my positions as a creative strategist and musician. The culture we have here at Candeo Creative is one that focuses on the freedom of the individual. None of us are limited in terms of what our minds are capable of creating. The same idea applies with music and what it takes to create a song. When I’m at home with my guitar, I am free to express whatever I am feeling at that exact moment through strings, chords and lyrics. Obviously, not every song I write is going to be great, because if that were the case, I would be a star and be singing to thousands of screaming fans. Every musician has the same goal–finding their voice and their own particular style.   

Everyone has the opportunity to choose what path they take in life, regardless of where it takes us. I believe we as individuals have the power to choose and pursue our own destiny. At first, music was everything to me. I wanted a life filled with instruments, packed venues and long nights driving stateside to a new city.

A few years ago I was introduced to marketing and advertising and everything changed. I now have the privilege of going to a job that I love every day, and then get to come home to my studio where I am limitless in terms of what I can create. Life is all about being innovative, as well as creative, and I have the freedom to do both.

Image via pexels.com

Image via pexels.com


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Marketing, Design and The Feels

When it comes to design, there are about a million (and one) factors to consider, including imagery, color usage, typography, kerning, spacing, balance, hierarchy and the list goes on. However, what is it that you remember about a design? Is it the asymmetrical balance? Consistent spacing? The exact shade of blue that was chosen?

As with all good marketing and design, these details are important, but they are not why you fall in love with the pieces. Great design forces you to feel a certain way vis-à-vis the technicalities. It’s a psychology of sorts that convinces you what it’s advocating for is worthwhile.

Below are a couple examples of marketing campaigns that use design to create a memorable feeling that stays with you long after you’ve clicked away.

Always #LikeAGirl Campaign

When you watch this video, you get the feeling the #LikeAGirl campaign isn’t selling Always products; it’s selling a defiant stance against female stereotypes. By capturing candid looks and non-scripted answers to questions, the video in its entirety feels genuine.

Design-wise, a serious tone was created with an empty stage, dark backdrop and slow music that tugs on your heartstrings. It makes the beginning of the video when the older kids are giggling as they act out scenarios “like a girl” seem out-of-place and almost uncomfortable. After watching this video the first time, I felt so strongly that I actually visited the website listed to see if there were any simple ways I could change this perception.

IKEA Bookbook

At first glance, it seems completely laughable to put something so seemingly out-of-date, like a paper catalog, in the same setting as the latest technology. Through design, that is exactly what IKEA does in its “BookBook” commercial. The simplistic white background and the positioning and movement of the catalog immediately let the viewer in on the joke. However, by the end of the video, I wanted to pick up a Bookbook.

Somewhere along the way, I began to feel nostalgic about the days when everything wasn’t digital. In a fun, light-hearted way, IKEA takes something as simple as a paper catalog and shows it in the same light as Apple would with its newest technological feats. Suddenly, a catalog doesn’t seem so prehistoric, and our obsession for technology seems silly. Plus, you know it must be a pretty great catalog – just look at the wonderment in Jörgen’s eyes!

IKEA BookBook Jörgen

The basic jist of this blog is this: design for feeling. Good marketing design follows the rules, but brilliant design stirs a desire in the audience to advocate alongside your company.

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