Careers + Culture – 3 Things I Learned Interning at a Digital Agency

Marketing Intern AmandaToday, we welcome a guest post from Marketing Intern Amanda Whitaker. Amanda’s finishing up her summer-long internship at Whereoware and starts her senior year of college this fall. We’re excited to hear her perspective on interning at a digital agency.

Hi everyone!

I concentrate in Marketing and IT at the University of Virginia, so I knew I wanted to intern at a marketing agency this summer. I was excited to find Whereoware, a local digital agency. At first glance, Whereoware had an awesome culture and did interesting work with a lot of cool clients. (Upon further inspection, all of these things were true.)

As my internship comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on my great experience working here. I learned so much about email marketing. (I didn’t realize emails had to be coded in HTML and CSS before I started, so you could say I’ve come a long way.)

To any students on the fence, I definitely recommend getting an internship in your field. It’s truly been an eye-opening experience. Overall, here are the top three things I learned interning at a digital agency.

1. Internships provide diverse, hands-on learning experiences

This summer, I had the privilege of working on emails and helping with projects for at least 10 clients. Through these hands-on projects, I learned email design and deliverability best practices, and how to apply them to different clients.

I gained valuable skills in email coding, the IBM Marketing Cloud, Google Analytics, and Excel. I also got experience working with a diverse team of creative and talented people, and I’m grateful to have learned from so many of them.

When you’re looking into internships, I recommend asking whether you’ll be getting your hands dirty on real projects. If I’d only been taking coffee orders all summer, I wouldn’t have gained the real-life skills or insights into agency life that’ll give me an advantage when I’m job searching in the future.

2. Tap into free resources to update your skills, regardless of your experience level

Before this summer, I had no knowledge of HTML or CSS. While I learned a lot from colleagues, I also found free tools that helped me when I was starting out.

SoloLearn provides a great basic overview of several coding languages, including HTML and CSS. The great thing about SoloLearn is it can be accessed online or through a mobile app, so you can learn to code from anywhere. I also used W3 Schools as a quick reference for looking up HTML symbols.

Another crucial area of knowledge I lacked was Google Analytics. Did you know Google Analytics Academy offers free videos on the basics? These videos combined with hands-on projects helped me understand how to navigate Google Analytics.

If you’re struggling to land an internship or find a new job, use free resources to expand your skill set. Understanding HTML and analytics are transferable skills in most industries and will help you stand out from the competition.

3. Work culture makes a huge difference

I saw firsthand how an awesome culture affects employees and the overall organization.

When work is flexible and casual, yet efficient, people are happy, work hard, and have fun doing it. Whereoware has events every month, free snacks and drinks, and a rooftop area with WiFi where you can work and socialize. There are whiteboards all over the office to brainstorm, stuffed animals everywhere, and a variety of different work spaces to change it up from the classic cubicle.

When I graduate college, I’ll look for my first employer to have the same focus on culture. I learned at Whereoware how culture influences your workday happiness and attracts helpful, hardworking, and fun employees.

Thinking of interning? Do it!

For college students interested in marketing, web development, mobile development, or related fields, I recommend interning at a digital agency. Not only will you learn about marketing in general, but you’ll also gain technical skills invaluable to so many career paths. As a bonus, digital agencies are fun, fast-paced, and exciting to work for! It’s a great way to spend your summer.

Interested in joining Whereoware’s team? Check out our current job openings.

The Email Design Conference (TEDC) 2016 Takeaways

Last week, three of Whereoware’s email marketers headed to Boston to attend the Litmus Email Design Conference. Today, they share key takeaways from one of the smartest email communities in the world. In case you missed it:

headshot-dancaro-smallDan Caro, Whereoware’s Director of Marketing Operations. (@dcaro12) Takeaways:

The Email Design Conference continues to be the premier event for email marketers. Speakers only get 30 minutes to present, so there’s no time for the fluff you get at other email conferences. They even replace Q&A with email speed dating sessions with some of the best minds in the email community, so every attendee gets actionable advice.

One of the conference themes was building modules into emails. Modules are time-savers to save you time on coding and testing. This allows email marketers to spend more time on strategy and less time on code.

Another theme was user experience. Treat your customers like humans, not cash machines. Your emails design and copy should center around getting the customer to interact first with your email and then on your website. If an element doesn’t line up with the intended experience, it shouldn’t be in the design.

Litmus also announced a partnership with Microsoft. The goal is to improve the Outlook product for users and email developers. Even though there is not an instant solution, everyone agrees it was a step in the right direction. Let’s hope there is a partnership with Gmail coming soon. 🙂

I had a great time spending the week with my fellow #emailgeeks. They’re a fun and quirky bunch. Who knew a pillow could be so valuable?

shaunaShauna Plesmid, Whereoware’s Online Marketing Manager. (@shshauna) Takeaways:

The most prominent theme to me was there’s no one right way to do anything. Whether we’re talking about a production process for emails or other projects, a modular template design, or call-to-action buttons, it’s up to the marketer to test, research, and conclude what works best for their audience.

As with all marketing, there’s no silver bullet. However, hearing people from very different industries and backgrounds divulge their email marketing tactics gave insights into how to best connect with your audience. Many presentations had a psychological and sociological component to them. They touched on how to be persuasive and elicit emotion, as well as why people opt in to your campaigns (and why they opt out).

Another major theme was the importance of establishing a recurring, repeatable process for all projects. Not only does a clear process avoid surprises (and mistakes), but it creates a transparent and sturdy foundation for communication between the client and yourself (whether that’s an agency/client relationship, or an internal stakeholder/employee relationship). A few components of a stable process:

1. Create naming conventions or generate project/job ID numbers for files
2. Establish a project timeline document
3. Enforce strict deadlines (and impose penalties, if necessary)
4. Communicate outside of emails (pick up the phone or set up a video call).

Taking the time to identify a process for your organization is crucial to its success and directly relates to the outcome of your projects.

joyJoy Piirto, Whereoware’s Online Marketing Manager. (@joyp26) Takeaways:

When planning a marketing campaign, start with your customer and work backwards. Just because your campaign makes sense to you doesn’t mean it will work for your customer.

If you can think like your customer, you can create a campaign that is user friendly that they’ll like or find useful. In addition, taking a moment to define the intention of the campaign is crucial to success and drives the design.

Front-End Developer Speed Dating with HackerX

Whether you’re a recruiter or job searcher, matching talented employees with the right company can be painful. HackerX flips this dynamic, throwing passive recruiting events world-wide – a.k.a, speed dating for developers.

On Wednesday night, Whereoware and HackerX invited local businesses to meet with talented front-end developers in the D.C. metro region. It was great to meet representatives from ManTech, CapitalOne, Geico, Cvent, DigitalGlobe, Nolij Consulting, Deloitte, Sandboxx, and APT and get to know their businesses better. Whereoware supplied the space (our new headquarters in Chantilly, Va.), and the all-important-to-painless-networking pizza and booze.

Dozens of developers came to spend five minutes talking with each business about their skills and goals, before moving on to the next. HackerX’s speed dating approach lets job seekers meet with 10-20 local businesses in less than two hours and the fun, casual environment relieves the interview pressure.

A big thanks to HackerX for getting us involved and to all the talented developers that came by. We had a blast and look forward to hosting more events in the future. Check out some highlights from the event below.

(Seeking a new opportunity? Check out our open positions, and if we don’t have a relevant opening for you right now, feel free to send over your resume anyway. We’re always looking for fresh faces and skills. )

Don’t miss B2C webinar – 3 steps to holiday readiness

3 steps to holiday readinessWe know, we know – you’re clinging to the last summer months and don’t even want to think about the hectic holiday crunch.

Stop ignoring that nagging reminder – the most magical sales season of the year is right around the corner.

To help you get ahead of the madness without losing your mind, we’re presenting a free B2C webinar to whip your holiday marketing and website into shape in three simple steps.

Get the details and save your spot:
Continue reading Don’t miss B2C webinar – 3 steps to holiday readiness

Don’t miss B2B webinar – 3 steps to holiday readiness

3 steps to holiday readinessWe know, we know – you’re clinging to the last summer months and don’t even want to think about the hectic holiday crunch.

Stop ignoring that nagging reminder – the most magical sales season of the B2B year is right around the corner.

To help you get ahead of the madness without losing your mind, we’re presenting a free B2B webinar to whip your holiday marketing and website into shape in three simple steps.

Get the details and save your spot:
Continue reading Don’t miss B2B webinar – 3 steps to holiday readiness

Behind the Glasses – Kelly

Each month, we interview one of our fab employees here at Whereoware. For August, we get to know Kelly, our Project Coordinator, a little better.kelly-raines

WHO:

What’s your name? Kelly Raines

Job title: Project Coordinator

BACKGROUND:

Favorite food: I’ve never met an Italian cold cut sub I didn’t like.
Hidden talent: Ping Pong!
If there were a movie of my life, I’d be played by: Anna Kendrick.
One item you would bring with you to a desert island and why:  A puppy. Everything’s better when puppies are involved.

NERD QUIZ:

Facebook or Twitter: I’m not reading it unless it’s 140 characters or less (86 characters remaining).
iOS or Android: iOS #teambluebubble
‘Nerd’ or ‘Geek’: Geek
Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Gazing?

What’s the best part about working at Whereoware?

Every day there’s a new and interesting problem to solve and an innovative, creative solution to provide. The dreadful, mindless, monotonous, 9-5 doesn’t exist here, and it’s incredibly refreshing!

Analytics Tip – Hacked Spam Notifications Now in Google Analytics

Long Story Short

Google announced last month that they will now include hacked spam notifications in Google Analytics, not just Google Search Console.

Wait, what are these two tools?

Google Analytics: A free analytics tool that tracks and reports website traffic. Other functions include goal + benchmark settings and conversion tracking.

Google Search Console: A free search tool that helps you monitor, manage, and gain insight into you’re your site fits into Google’s search result pages.

Short Story Long

In September 2015, Google shared that they’ve seen a 180% increase in the number of websites getting hacked.

On June 21, 2016, Google announced they’re “expanding [their] set of alerts in Google Analytics by adding notifications about sites hacked for spam in violation of our Webmaster Guidelines. In the unlikely event of your site being compromised by a 3rd party, the alert will flag the affected domain right within the Google Analytics UI and will point you to resources to help you resolve the issue.”

To reach a larger audience, Google now notifies webmasters of malicious third party hackers to their site on Google Analytics. Previously, these alerts were only triggered in Google Search Console (formally known as Google Webmaster Tools). You do not need to have your website set up on Google Search Console to get the Google Analytics notifications – you can get notifications for one without the other.
Photo from Google of what the notification may look like:

hacked site notification

Tips to Keep Your Site Safe

1) Verify your website with Google Search Console to get notifications through the Security Issues feature.
2) Continually update your website software, CMS, and any plug-ins/add-ons used on your site with the newest releases.
3) Use a strong password that you don’t use for anything else, if available use two-step verification. Two-step verification usually means you first use your username and password to login, then a code is sent to a secondary email or phone number for you to enter, in order to gain access.

If your site does get hacked, you can find resources like this, for how to resolve any issues.

All in All

Take all necessary precautions to keep your website safe from malware and hackers. Create both Google Search Console and Google Analytics accounts to gain valuable insights from hacked spam notifications to how your site is positioned on Google search results to where your traffic is coming from and how they’re interacting with your website.

Web Tip – Website Love + Our Website Optimization Checklist

The best websites blend aesthetics and effectiveness. An elegant design captures visitors’ attention and increases their comfort with your business. This isn’t just our opinion – Adobe found 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if its content and layout is unattractive.



An effective website is easy to navigate and makes it simple for visitors to complete their goal (locate information, watch a video, download an asset, complete a purchase, etc.).

Too often, after a website is built, it’s ignored. The best websites, however, are consistently optimized to deliver even better results.

Don’t let your site become a stagnant destination. Instead, regularly review different pages or sections, make changes, and measure how your audience reacts. Download our Website Optimization Checklist to analyze your webpages, from the headlines to the copy, and more.

Today, we’re giving kudos to HelloFresh’s website’s balance between aesthetics and effectiveness to demonstrate many principles from the Website Optimization Checklist.

Homepage Love

HelloFresh is a healthy delivery service for busy home chefs. They deliver ingredients and recipes to the doorstep of customers, who either don’t know how to cook (but hope to learn), don’t have time to shop, or simply enjoy the ease of someone else planning their meals.

HelloFresh’s website is a knockout and exhibits many principles in our Website Optimization Checklist. Their homepage shows off checklist principles: Create Persuasive Headlines and Copy, Simplify the Design, Be Relevant, and Build Trust.
HelloFresh's website

What We Love

1. Passes the 7-second test (can tell what HelloFresh does and their value in 7 seconds or less.) Directly in the center of the page is More Than Food: Chef curated recipes based on seasonal farm fresh ingredients delivered every week to your doorstep. This message concisely says what HelloFresh does and why they are different.

2. The layout has a logical thought sequence. First, HelloFresh states the service they provide, then how the delivery process works. The next section builds credibility with a celebrity chef (more on that later), and then, menu options and appealing visuals get you excited about the service. Scrolling down further, real-life customer testimonials shared on social sites remove any second thoughts. All of this content is relevant to the audience, informing and guiding their purchase.

3. Top navigation is simple and includes links to priority information, like Our Boxes, How It Works, Our Recipes, Gift Cards, Jamie Oliver, and Blog. The main navigation isn’t cluttered and doesn’t include a link to everything the site offers.

4. The hero image features delicious-looking food, drawing the eye and supporting their offer. Images that are relevant to the audience and support a brand’s claim are so much better than stock images of generic smiling faces (this happens way to often!).

5. A prominent CTA “View our plans” in the hero image is impossible to miss and tells you exactly what to expect. Imagine if the CTA instead said “click here,” – offering you no information and certainly no reason to click to see more.

7. Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver’s partnership with, and endorsement of, HelloFresh is featured to build credibility and trust. People tend to be suspicious online – no one wants to be tricked by a fraudulent company. Adding a celebrity endorsement, badges, certifications, testimonials, guarantees, etc. eases this anxiety.

Conversion Love

HelloFresh clearly optimized their website with one goal in mind: to turn browsers into buyers.

Clicking the “View Our Plans” CTA on the homepage brings you to a landing page talking through the three box options. Clicking any of the “View Box” CTAs on that page, drives you to the “Customize Box” page, intent on initiating your conversion. The Customize Box page exemplifies Get the Conversion, Simplify the Design, Build Trust, and Keep It Relevant on our checklist.
hello fresh conversion
What We Love

1. The box description continues to make the case for converting. It highlights the farm fresh ingredients, delicious recipes, and flexible subscription. The description also reveals that the family box keeps spiciness to a minimum in order to please the entire family. This information reduces a buyer’s last minute concerns about whether their kids or any of their family’s picky eaters will like the recipes.

2. The “Select a Box” webform is super simple to follow. It asks two main questions: how many people would you like to cook for and how many meals would you like to receive a week? By asking only a few questions, the webform won’t turn off a potential customer, who may get overwhelmed by a long form or by providing personal information.

3. The webform declares shipping is “always free” – a compelling offer for anyone on the fence! Again, HelloFresh is reminding browsers how easy, cost-effective and painless their delivery service is. By stating shipping is “free” early-on, you provide all the information the potential customer needs up front, reducing anxiety that the price will increase after they click through.

4. Additional positive customer testimonials build trust and credibility.

5. The page design is simple, showing no competing or distracting elements. Extra, unrelated offers can confuse a visitor, increase bounce rates, and decrease conversions. By adding white space or blank areas throughout the site, Hello Fresh makes their offer incredibly easy to read and the CTA can’t be missed.

6. The header and footer both promote a $15 off discount for subscribing to HelloFresh’s email address, offering further incentive to purchase.

Try the Website Optimization Checklist for yourself

HelloFresh’s is just one of so many effective websites nailing the balance between nice-to-look-at and nice-to-explore. A website that looks cool, but frustrates users, is worse than a plain site driving conversions, but a stagnant website is the worst of all!

Get our Website Optimization Checklist (above) to systematically analyze pages on your site and pinpoint small updates to improve users’ experience. This checklist can be used time and again to make incremental, impactful improvements.

Website + Email Optimization Checklists

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our workshop: Quick Wins for Website + Email Success today in the DC Metro Area! As promised, both the website + email checklists are available for download below.

Website Checklist:
Our Website Checklist highlights the most important aspects your website needs to be a lead generation machine. From set up to trust building to relevant and fresh content, our checklist sets you up for success. See the Website Quick Wins slides.



Email Checklist:
Our Email Optimization checklist walks through tried and true techniques for crafting and sending emails that capture inbox attention, convince your audience of your message, and close the sale, conversion, etc. Follow along with our checklist to feel confident every time you hit send. See the Email Quick Wins slides.


Marketing tip – 4 Marketing Lessons From Pokémon Go

Pokémon GO Perhaps you’ve seen them – throngs of zombie-eyed wanderers clutching cellphones in one hand, swiping rabidly with the other; murmuring gibberish under their breaths punctuated by victorious fist pumps.

Perhaps you even know a guy, who’s heard of a guy, who swears he’s seen the infamous Mewtwo, one of the ever-elusive “Legendary”.

No, these impromptu, impersonal public gatherings aren’t the advent of The Walking Dead, nor a particularly sluggish flash mob.

They’re ambitious Pokémon trainers, living their 90’s-era-obsession with “Catching ‘Em All” in the real world.

Continue reading Marketing tip – 4 Marketing Lessons From Pokémon Go