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Meet Todd Zimmerman, the Newest Member of Team Trivera

todd01.jpgTodd Zimmerman has joined Trivera as Project Manager.  

A former English major and UWM film student, Todd fell into IT as a profession and discovered a drive to use technology to make work life more productive and enjoyable. Over his 20 year career, he has also held titles including Response Center Engineer, Webmaster, Interactive Manager, and PR & Marketing Director.

Todd brings his organizational experience to bear on Trivera's roster of complex activities, working with all staff to make sure projects progress smoothly and on schedule. Todd has developed intranets and public web sites for several manufacturing and technology companies, at times handling everything from server configuration to copywriting. This variety of experience provides him with the knowledge and vocabulary to work with both technical and creative staff, synchronizing efforts towards shared goals.

He comes most recently from Versant Solutions, where as Interactive Manager he managed site administration and development for clients including Thomson Reuters, Barnes & Noble, and the Milwaukee County Transit System.

In his free time Todd enjoys racing sailboats, motorcyling, science fiction, his wondermutt Luna, and endlessly troubleshooting his home internet connection with Time Warner tech support. A former President and Marketing Director of Skydive Milwaukee, he spent ten years on their Board of Directors and still serves as public spokesman when called upon.

Back To School! What Our Clients Learned About Digital Marketing Last Year!

by Jamie Rinehart,  Digital Marketing Strategist

backtoschool.jpgEvery morning I walk my Boxer, Bella, before work. Any season, any weather. I particularly relish the Summer walks for the obvious reasons, it's light and warm outside. Thus the past several months have been amazing! Yesterday, as I set out on my morning jaunt, I noticed a slight change in the air, a little fall bite. As I continued, my senses now keen to seasonal changes, I observed some other signs of fall; a stray orange leaf or two on the ground and the sun was taking its sweet time to peek it's face over Lake Michigan in the east. Then, I was smacked in the face with reality, as I saw a big yellow school bus rolling down the road.

FALL IS COMING! BACK TO SCHOOL!

Overcome with the nostalgia of back-to-school, I started thinking about how Digital Marketing and Web Development is a constant cycle of learning. Team Trivera and our clients are always striving to stay cutting edge. Whether we are getting a Digital Marketing Certificate from UWM, completing a Master's Degree or gaining the latest Google certifications, we are always learning and sharing that knowledge with clients.
Now, completely in the Back-to-school spirit, I asked some of our clients what THEY have learned about Digital marketing in the past year! Here is what they shared!

Bill McCormick - Natural Look Salon and Wigs

"As a sales and marketing professional with 25 years' experience, I've used traditional marketing venues such as brochures, trade publications, trade shows and newsletters to communicate to our customers or potential customers. Prior to our meeting with the Trivera team I viewed the idea of having a website about the same as having to have a sign outside our building. In other words I felt it was a necessary part of doing business, however I did not put much thought into how the website can be used to bring in new customers.
The Trivera team has opened our eyes to the digital marketing world. They have shown us how important it is to set up and structure our website to optimize our marketing efforts through the search engines of Google, Bing and others. We are excited about the aspects of SEO and what it can do for our business in attracting new customers to our store front and e-commerce business."


Erik Bergstrom - Dental Associates

"This photo was in a case study I presented at the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network member meeting this summer. It shows a parking spot in the deck Dental Associates uses in downtown Milwaukee. I walked by this parking space one day and laughed at how many times they have altered the parking configuration. Then I thought to myself, "that reminds me of the typical social media strategy over the past decade!" Start in one direction, completely pivot to another direction, move back toward the original direction, then settle for something in the middle.

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While I was speaking about social strategy at the time, it really applies to any aspect of digital marketing. Change is constant, and you must be willing to adapt and innovate if you want to continue to succeed."


Haley Kloss - Rogers Behavioral Health

"In the past year as de facto database admin, I've been working on using data to really segment our email campaigns. When we can determine the nature of a client's relationship with our brand, we can make sure they are getting content they want. We've seen success when we make our messages more and more tailored.

I think the next step in this is going to be working on what kind of content we're putting out in our email campaigns. We certainly know what we want to tell people: new programs opening, this great thing one of our docs did, etc. But that's not necessarily what people care about. Relevant content is important. I feel like a lot of people forget that, especially in digital channels. It's easy to feel like we did our work because we sent an email, put it on social, posted it on the web. But, there are still times where the metrics say our message is falling flat. So, something for us to work on for the next year!"
 

This Fall as the weather changes, leaves fall and school busses fill the roads, get "back-to-school" and learn something new about Digital Marketing!

About Jamie Rinehart

Jamie Rinehart

Jamie leverages his 10+ years of Digital Marketing and Advertising account management experience to help new Trivera clients develop strategic digital marketing plans that will help them acheive their business and brand goals.

A Shout-out to Trivera Client MMSD During Water Quality Month

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August is water quality month. Here at Trivera, we're observing the month by kicking off a new project for one of our newest clients, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. We've actually been working with MMSD since earlier this year, migrating all their web properties from an expensive proprietary Content Management System to Concrete5. We're well into the migration of milorganite.com, and are just now beginning to migrate the remaining MMSD brands: mmsd.com, Huntgreen, Basement Connection and Fresh Coast 740.

At Trivera, we start every client engagement with a brand discovery process. During MMSD's brand discovery, we learned some really interesting things about them and their commitment to the environment.
Did you know that MMSD:

  • Is responsible for water reclamation and flood management for about 1.1 million people
  • Serves 28 communities in the Greater Milwaukee area
  • Allows licensed hunters to use MMSD land during hunting season
  • Has been recycling nutrient-rich microbes from the city's water reclamation process into Milorganite, a natural fertilizer, since 1926
  • Is committed to meeting a goal of having a net 100 percent of its energy supplied from renewable resources 

Trivera's efforts are focused on making MMSD's digital marketing efforts both more successful and more efficient. Greater results for less money means MMSD can continue to be great stewards of our natural resources while also making them more efficient with their financial resources.

Trivera is honored to be partners with this high profile agency, working to support their efforts to improve the quality of our water. You can learn more about MMSD and milorganite in this video: 

6 Ways That Neglecting Your Website is Killing Your Brand

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By Tom Snyder, President and CEO of Trivera

Over our 20 years in business, we have seen most of our customers fall into one of two categories. The first is the type that make their web presence a focus of a digital Marketing Stratgey, constantly updating, supporting, measuring, analyzing, improving and investing in it. The other type are the ones who contracted us to build their site, and despite our recommendations that digital marketing needs to be an ongoing process, and not just an event, still treated their launch like a drive-by.  The very vehicle that was supposed to help their business flourish in the growing digital economy now stands as a testimony to four, nine and even thirteen year old technology.  What may have been state of the art brand re-reinforcement at one time, is now the brand killing equivalent of a dilapidated building in a bad neighborhood.

When pressed to consider an update, a new focus, or additional inbound marketing efforts, the typical response is "we just don't have the money."  While that might seem like a justifiable and economical approach, it's short sighted. Your neglect is actually costing you money.

Here's why:

1.) Not regularly updating your website's content causes it to drop in ranking in search engines. Lower ranking means less traffic, resulting in fewer sales.

2.) Not executing a sound inbound marketing plan reduces the number of potential visitors who even know your site exists. That means less traffic, resulting in fewer sales.

3.) Not having an organic search engine optimization plan puts you behind all of your competitors who do. That not only means less traffic and fewer sales for you, but also more traffic and more sales for them.

4.) Not keeping up with the current best practices for navigation and visitor expectations for functionality reduces the number of site visitors who become customers. That means traffic is coming, but leaving without buying, resulting in fewer sales.

5.) Not keeping your Content Management System and operating environment up to date leaves it vulnerable to hacks and hijacks, causing things to not work in your site that you may not even be aware of. Sometimes it means your site is offline entirely. That means traffic is coming, getting frustrated because your site doesn't work properly...or at all...resulting in fewer sales (and maybe even thinking you've gone out of business).

6.) Not having a responsive site built around user journeys  loses the growing number of customers who use smartphones and tablets as their preferred web device. That means less traffic and more visitor frustration, both of which result in fewer leads/sales/conversions.

I've said before...ad naseum...that your brand is not your logo, it's the promise of an experience, and everything you do either reinforces or erodes that brand. And a crappy old website erodes your brand just as badly as letting your building get run down, not being able to provide the product or service your customer expects or making them put up with a  poor salesman or CSR.

With your website, you're either moving ahead or you're falling behind. Thinking that doing nothing keeps you where you are is a delusion.  The time to begin getting serious is long past, but before you start executing a hodgepodge of tactical efforts, the better plan for long term success is to take a strategic approach. 

Trivera Has an Opening for a Web Designer/Front End Developer

Trivera is looking for a passionate, experienced Web Designer/Front End Developer that can design compelling websites and user interfaces based on the right composite of client direction and current best practices for navigation, design and UX. Concrete5 and Magento are our preferred platforms, but Joomla!, Drupal and/or Wordpress experience will suffice. 

See the rest of the details here.


Trivera Affiliate Program Creates Opportunity

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Over the years, Trivera has formed informal partnerships with other companies to fill competency and skill gaps.  However, the affiliate program formalizes the relationships to create a more permanent partnership, and also to provide financial incentives for bringing each other into projects and existing vendor relationships. Two of our affiliates have already deepened the partnership to the point of moving into Trivera's offices.

Companies and individuals being chosen and invited into the program meet the following qualifications:

1.) They provide best-in-market services that are complementary, but non-compettitve, to Trivera's core competencies.

2.) They work primarily with the same size and type of businesses and organizations that represent Trivera's target customers (Manufacturing, service, healthcare and/or ecommerce businesses, with $10-$100 million in annual revenue, and the appropriate budgets for companies that size).

3.) Their primary contact within those companies, and the person to whom they will refer us, is the CMO, VP of Marketing or Brand manager.

4.) They understand the importance of "wins" for every party in the relationship.

Under the terms of the program, Trivera pays a referral fee for any new client we acquire that was referred to us by an affiliate. If the affiliate doesn't want to accept a fee, a contribution will be made in their name to the charity of their choice.

The goal of the program is to build an affiliate network that will provide the opportunty for the region's best Digital Marketing service providers to collaborate with us, create new opportunities for each other and produce success for our clients. 

For more information, or to inquire about becoming an affiliate, contact Trivera CEO Tom Snyder ( tom@trivera.com )

Jamie Rinehart Joins Team Trivera

Jamie RinehartJamie Rinehart has joined Team Trivera as Digital Marketing Strategist. Jamie comes to Trivera with 10 years of Digital Marketing and Advertising account management experience, most recently, the Advertising Sales manager at Kalmbach Publishing Company. At Kalmbach, Jamie managed successful sales teams for Discover, Astronomy, Cabin Life, American Snowmobiler, and Art Jewelry magazines. His experience with high level national accounts helped him create and execute successful advertising and marketing strategies in partnership with global companies such as Allstate, Arctic Cat, BASF and Citgo. Jamie was instrumental recognizing and understanding the need for these publications to move from being print focused toward digital focused.

Jamie holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in Mass Communications with a focus on Advertising where he still is an active member of the Alumni Association.

When not working, Jamie is an avid rec league volleyball and softball player. In addition, he enjoys running, from Marathons (has ran 5) to a jog in the neighborhood with his wife and dog. Jamie is also a huge Brewer, Packer and Bucks fan. Whether it’s going to the game, or watching at home or streaming it on his phone, Jamie will always find a way to keep up with the local Milwaukee sports teams!

Open Source: The Clear Choice for CMS Development

by Tom Snyder

My digital agency opened its doors in January of 1996. Back then, there were no proprietary Content Management Systems. Microsoft was still dismissing the notion of the web as a viable platform for business or e-commerce activity. If a website needed functionality, unless we could find something at Matt's Script Archive to accomplish the task, we built most of it from the ground up in Perl.slideshow01.jpg

As time went on, we simply continued to ride the open source path. We assembled a huge collection of functional applications we had built for client sites that could be added to and modified for new ones. Shopping carts, contact forms, opt-in email list managers, employment opportunity listings, content editors, slide shows, all built as open source using PHP.

A few years later came the emergence of Content Management Systems, which contained—as a package—many of the functional elements we previously had relied upon our own resources to create. Drupal, Joomla!, Wordpress, and others were emerging as the default new development platforms for most digital agencies who had followed the same path as ours.

Then came platforms like Magento and Concrete5, which began with a view to eventually evolve into enterprise solutions with a price tag designed to achieve profit motives. But the initial efforts of their foundational community editions were still fueled by the passion of development communities who helped to develop the core functionality. Along with them came a huge array of $5, $50, and $100 plugins and extensions to add custom functionality to meet almost any client needs. And because the open source model extended to those plug-ins and extensions, individual developers could make further modifications to meet even more demanding client requirements.

And all of this was designed to run on license-fee-free Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP operating systems running on low-overhead hardware.

The common thread was that all of these were—and still are—tools developed by people with a common purpose. That purpose was a desire to help the internet achieve its potential by providing individuals, businesses, and organizations with amazingly robust and fully functional, but still cost-effective, web presences.

During this same time, several software companies used investment money to create expensive proprietary content management and e-commerce systems designed to run on operating systems and databases with enormous licensing fees, and requiring lots of expensive hardware. Total cost of implementation and ownership ran five to 10 times that of their open source counterparts.

For the mega-corporations with huge budgets that are used to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on just about everything they do, and that believe no credible solution comes without an equally huge price tag, it provides the opportunity for lots of money to change hands.

That's fine if that's your business model. However, for a smaller digital agency, it's hard to start every web development project watching tens of thousands of dollars pass through from the client to the software companies just to create the development platform. That takes a lot of money off the table that could have been used to create more functionality, or pay for a year of post-launch support for inbound marketing and other enhancements.

Additionally, the open source model has always provided us with the flexibility and customization possibilities to always provide the client with a user experience and backend functionality that adapts to their specific needs and business model. Many closed source proprietary systems do just the opposite, forcing the business to accept the rules and functionality limits built into the system.

Smart digital agencies know that if providing value, return on investment, and total customization are all key components to their brand and value proposition, the open source model is, and has always been, the far better choice.

This article originally appeared at Opensoruce.com

Think Your Website is Mobile? Think Again!

Man-frustrated-with-phone.jpgAs a web marketing pioneer since 1995, my life has been in a constant state of frustration with marketers who have never been as eager to embrace the power of new possibilities as quickly as I thought they should.   It began with a survey taken the year I opened my agency that said 87% of all business owners believed they would never have a need for the web… EVER! It has taken a path through resistance to search engine optimization (which we began doing in 1996), e–commerce (which we began doing in 1997), email marketing (which we began doing in 1998), online Social communities (which we first did in 1999) and social media marketing (which we began doing in 2009). Eventually, universal best practices caught up to include each of those, and we were able to use the several years of experience our competition didn’t have to meet the needs of clients now willing to explore each “new” tactic, method or technology.


Frustrations of a Mobile Early Adopter

We created our first mobile websites 14 years ago for ourselves and Milwaukee’s Mitchell Airport. With the Kyocera Smart Phone being the only mobile device in existence back in 2001, we were admittedly way ahead of the curve. But we knew that mobile’s amazing proliferation in Japan foreshadowed a similar explosion in the US. It wasn’t until the 2007 debut of the first iPhone, and emergence of Android phones in 2008 that it actually began to happen here. That was the beginning of our push, via our recommendations and our blog, to urge all businesses to create a web experience for their customers who preferred to interact with them via mobile devices. A handful jumped onboard immediately, and more followed.  However, 8 years later, still less than half of those clients have a website that is mobile-friendly.  And only our newest clients and a handful of fellow-visionaries have a site that is fully responsive to be viewed intuitively on any device or display size.

Introducing the “Mobile-First” Best Practice

While some would say we should be happy that we’re making progress, the sad fact is that we’re falling even further behind. The call to accommodate a mobile experience actually ended several years ago when it was replaced with a new best practice: designing your web presence with a mobile FIRST experience.

A design process that just accommodated mobile began first with a desktop user experience. Then, using a practice called graceful degradation, it removed the elements and formatting that prevented the desktop experience from displaying satisfactorily on tablets and smart phones.  Mobile first is just what it says. The first user experience, wireframe and design comp is the smartphone portrait mode.  Then, using progressive enhancement, features and design elements are added as the larger platforms and displays allow.  That approach is more difficult, and as you’d expect more expensive. But wise site owners who embraced that approach early on had their sites ready to capitalize on the shift that happened in mid-2014 when the number of website visits via mobile devices permanently surpassed that of the number via the conventional desktop machines.

That change in mobile first focus is causing a whole new analytic: users who begin their desired transaction with you on their smartphone, but frustrated with the functional or UX limitations you’re imposing on them had to go to a tablet or desktop to complete the transaction or desired task, or even decided not to do business with you at all.

What Comes Next?

As a result of those statistics, the next step in UX is emerging: The Mobile-ONLY approach. A recent report from the Altimeter Group demonstrates how fast the paradigm is shifting, and how quickly website owners and other developers are falling behind.  In my next blog, I’ll share some of the alarming statistics from that report and tell you how developers like Trivera are adapting.

How Much Should You Invest in Digital Marketing for 2015?

website-development-budget1.jpgAlthough most companies planned their 2015 marketing budgets in the last months of 2014, a new Gartner report will give you some guidance as to whether your planned investment will match that of your competitors.

According to the report, most companies plan to allocate a little more than 10% of their topline revenue for marketing in 2015, with 50% planning to increase their spend over 2014 levels.

Two thirds of companies these days still separate digital marketing as a separate category out of their overall marketing budget, with the average amount allocated to the digital efforts at a quarter of that budget.

Most companies plan to make Customer Experience their highest priority for the upcoming year, allocating 18% of their marketing budget on improving that.

The typical company will allocate 13% of their budget for Digital Advertising, with content marketing and website development just behind at 12% each.

The following chart shows how those numbers break out in dollars for various size companies:

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Those numbers may seem large to some. But there is plenty to spend it on. Our own observations confirm dozens of other studies that show how far many businesses have fallen behind in their digital marketing efforts. Few companies have responded to the shift in paradigm from desktop to mobile as the preferred customer experience. Most companies still fall behind when it comes to the latest best practices for SEO, PPC and content marketing. With email marketing and Social Media competing as the tool that creates greater results, and new transactional functionality emerging all the time, there is no shortage of digital initiatives to add to a company’s arsenal of marketing tools. 

Smart marketing decision-makers already know what they need to do to take full advantage of digital marketing to build their brand awareness, generate leads, and serve existing clients. But many have had difficulty convincing their CEOs, and CFOs to invest enough to drive efforts that will produce meaningful results.

These numbers will provide them with the evidence they need to argue their case and make sure they have the necessary dollars allocated to stay ahead of their competition.

 

Craig Schneider Joins Team Trivera

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Craig Schneider has joined TeamTrivera as a designer/front-end developer.

Craig is one of those guys who possesses the unique talent of being able to create awesome, intuitive, user-friendly website designs and then using frameworks and content management systems to turn them into fully functional websites. 
 
Craig comes aboard after a long tenure at Kalmbach publishing where most recently he was Interactive Art Director. In that role, he had been overseeing all of Kalmbach's digital properties including their 20 web sites and a team of 2 designers.  He has also been part of their Internet Strategic Development group and participated in the ideation and planning of their web-based products.
 
Craig was instrumental in leading Kalmbach into the Digital realm. On top of building the layouts and interactivity, he also worked with their in-house development team to build custom storefronts for 3 of their publications that had in-app purchases. And most recently, Craig helped lead them into responsive web design, moving 10 of their sites in that direction.  All of that experience has combined make him the perfect fit for our team.
 
When not working, Craig is an avid golfer, loves playing softball, outdoor recreation. Like the rest of the members of TeamTrivera he enjoys spending time with his family. He is also a loyal cheesehead who loves going to Packer, Badger, and Brewer games.
 
 

Trivera Turns 18!

happy18thbirthday.jpgRegardless of our age, we all celebrate our birthdays every year. But, there are a few birthdays that mark milestones.  Sweet 16 marks a passage to the age where one can drive a car. 21 is when one is legally allowed to consume alcohol. 30, 40 and 50 are often marked with black balloons and taunts of being over the hill. I'm facing...gasp...my big 6-0 in February (or as I've chosen to call it, my second 30th birthday), but I digress.

One of the most special birthdays is the 18th. It marks the passage from youth to adulthood. You're reckoned by society as wise and mature enough to vote, get married without parental consent, and serve your country in the military. 

Today, Trivera celebrates our 18th birthday.  Back on January 16th, 1996, we became one of the very first...and one of only a handful of...web design and development agencies in Wisconsin.

At the time, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Safari didn't exist, just Mosaic and Firefox's predecessor Netscape. There was neither a Google nor a Bing  - the top search engines were Alta Vista, Excite, Lycos, Webcrawler and Infoseek. There was no eBay, Netflix or Wikipedia.  Joomla!, Drupal, Wordpress and Concrete5 were all years from being born. Email marketing and Social Media didn't exist. Nor did Digg, Tumblr or even RSS. Smartphones, mobile devices, tablets, iPhones and iPads hadn't been invented. Pinterest, Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or even MySpace? Not even on the drawing board! There was no broadband or wifi - internet connections came via a slow dial-up modem.  And 87% of all businesses polled in a survey said that the web was a fad, and they would never have a need for it. Ever. 

Our name back then was Websight Solutions, and our tagline was "web sites with vision." Fitting because back then, anyone who was doing anything on the web had to be visionary. Jeff Bezos had just started Amazon.com. Jerry Yang and David Filo had just incorporated Yahoo!. Craig Newmark had just launched Craig's List.

And there was us.

But we convinced Usinger's, Mitchell Airport, and FrankMayer and Associates to take their first leap onto the web. In those early years, our other early adopters inlcuded Aurora and Ministry Health Care, Holy Hill, the Marcus Center, Milwaukee Harley-Davidson and Mustela. Since then, we've been proud to have also helped other noteworthy locally-based brands like Potawatomi Bingo Casino, Strattec Security Corporation, Simplicity, Perlick and Dental Associates, as well as national brands like Motorola, Lotus, Frabill, and Panasonic.  We just started working on Frank Mayer and Associates' 43rd project, and are just wrapping up Mitchell Airport's 30th. In a few weeks, InvestorsBank becomes the most recent member of the Trivera story with the launch of their new site

Despite the fact that over 18 years we've seen the web go from infancy to youthful exuberance and on to a mature and necessary component of every business' marketing arsenal, for most marketers, how to make it work is still is a mystery. So we've been honored to have hundreds of other clients ask us to help them figure it out. Some big,  some small, some household names, others obscure to all but their niche customers.  But the one thing they all have in common is that they needed someone to help them navigate through the rapidly evolving, and quite confusing world of digital marketing, web design, e-commerce, email marketing, search engine marketing, Social Media and mobile, and they chose to trust us, originally as Websight Solutions, then as wirestone, and now for the last dozen years as Trivera.  

2014 will be a year of bold new plans: new customers, new partners, continued expansion, and the 5 year reunion edition of 2009's Social Media University. So Happy Birthday to us! Thanks to our awesome clients for their years of support, and our awesome team members who helped us earn that support. As we blow out the candles on our birthday cake, our wish is for another 18 years of success for us, but more importantly for all our clients because they've given us the opportunity to help them succeed.

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5 Visitor Groups Your Website Needs To Be Ready For

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Your presence on the web has never been more important to the success of your brand.  It's also never been subject to more circumstances, elements and efforts that can damage it. And the only thing necessary for every bad thing imaginable to happen to it, is for you to do nothing and think your site is doing fine. So it just boggles my mind that so many marketers and business owners choose to sit back and let failure happen.

Website success has always been about who will be coming to your site, how they will access the site, what they're hoping to accomplish, and what will..or won't...happen when they get there.  While everyone hopes that it will simply be customers who will come and engage in a business transaction, it's a lot more complicated than that.  There are actually 5 easily identifiable groups of visitors who require strategic efforts that you'd better be prepared for.

Because, ready or not, here they come:

1.) Hackers, Crackers and Internet Miscreants  

Unless it's more than a few years old, your website is likely built on a Content Management System (CMS). Just like any other software product,  that system has likely had improvements made to it over time. In addition to feature improvements, every upgrade since it was first built also contains critical security enhancements. Legions of hackers are scouring the web every minute of every day trying to find old and vulnerable installations of Joomla!, Drupal, Wordpress and Concrete5 and using them to execute mass identity theft. I don't know if it's a fear of change or just a reluctance to spend the money on repairs should a CMS upgrade "break" the site. Regardless, the thousands of out of date websites are a jackpot for hackers.  Unless you have an upgrade plan in place, there's a good chance that someday thousands of people will be getting a fake email that looks like it came from their bank, but actually came from your site. Not only that, but then they'll click a link to log into a fake bank login page on your site and give identity theives the info they need to drain their real bank account. Because this activity leads to blacklisting, site shutdowns, and even potnetial legal consequences it's not the kind of traffic you want. But if you're not regulalry upgrading your CMS, it's the easiest and mosty likely traffic you'll get.

2.) People With Browsers Newer Than Your Site 

Every time a new version of a web browser is released, design and functional elements on your website that may have worked before  potentially malfunction or totally fail on the new one. If your website was built in 2009, it was tested to work on Firefox version 3. The current release is version 24.  Internet Explorer was on version 8. They've just released version 11. Safari 4 was the current version, but has now been replaced by version 7. Unless you've upgraded your site, or conducted ongoing browser compatibility testing, you have had people coming to your website to do business with you, but either can not or choose not to because the site doesn't work for them. And while that number has grown every month, that's a growth metric you don't want. 

3.) Mobile Device Users

Smartphones and tablets are no longer just for "people on the go." For millions of people, they are the preferred method of acessing the web. If your website isn't formatted to provide a visitor an optimal visual and navigational experience regardless of the device they'e using, you've essentially told half your potential customers that you're really not interested in their business.  And they are happily taking that business to sites that are. 

4.) Social Media Enthusiasts

Word of mouth has always been one of the most effective forms of marketing. Social Media takes that power to a new level.   Does your site have a blog? A pressroom? Videos? Do your pages have Facebook "Like," Twitter "Tweet This," Pinterest "Pin it," and Google "Plus 1" icons?  The jury may still be out on the extent that your execution of a Social Media plan will create meaningful inbound traffic. However, your site still needs to be updated to include the kinds of content that is easily shared in Social Media channels, and the tools that make it easy to do so. If it doesn't, you are missing the opportunity to take advantage of the viral referral power of your visitors' social savvy and their inclination to share your brand with their professional and social networks.

5.) Search Engine Traffic

The sad fact is that, unless you've been keeping up with the major changes in the way Google produces results to search queries and making sure your site has been adapting to accommodate those changes, the number of qualified customers coming to your site as a result is steadily declining. If you think that Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird are zoo animals, and an algorithm is a catchy tune about a former vice-president, your share of the 125 billion searches per month is pretty close to zero, and getting closer every day. Those are the people who aren't coming. But if your site isn't set up to show up on page one with meaningful and accurate search results and instead send unqualified visitors to your site, the ones who do come will leave your site as quickly as they came. Those are called bounces, and the more of those you get, the lower Google will rank you in their searches.  A strategic Search Engine Optimization plan is the only way to get meaningful numbers of qualified visitors to come to your site. 

 

While there are other elements that will contribute to a successful web strategy (email, direct and traditional marketing), this list represents the minimum effort necessary to just avoid failure.  With a new year beginning in just a few months, now is the time to plan your budget for setting up and executing a strategic plan that systematically optimizes your site to create the right outcome for every one of these groups and help your web presence reinforce, and not erode your brand, and more importantly, contribute to your bottom line.

 

About Trivera:

Your growing business is faced with more challenges than ever before. Managing your online presence in the face of tightening budgets and steadily increasing customer expectations can be a difficult and complex task.

Trivera’s proven approach to web design and development builds your online brand with smart design and creative technology. We’ve been helping companies like yours since 1996, growing our capabilities along with the web to serve the needs of our diverse mix of clients.

For most compnaies, the web is a cloud of confusion. Our experienced team excels in managing your projects for the greatest return on your investment using a proven, collaborative process that delivers results on time, on budget and on target. Our mission is to provide you with the knowledge, service, products and ROI that will make you a hero.

Trivera is looking for a Web Designer

t_logo_sqTrivera is looking for a passionate, experienced Web Designer that can design compelling websites and user interfaces based on the right composite of client direction and current best practices for navigation, design and UX. While we have a deep bench of dedicated front and back end developers on our team, an ability to efficiently produce clean code using PHP, HTML and HTML5/CSS3, JavaScript and jQuery to integrate that design into Content Management Systems and E-commerce platforms is a plus.

If you are like us, you:

  • are a total team player, and love to collaborate with other professionals
  • take pride in your work and keep up on the latest techniques and trends
  • have an informed opinion and enjoy being a part of the creative and strategic process
  • are self-starting, detail-oriented, and passionate about building attractive websites and interfaces that work in all current browsers and devices
  • appreciate the fact we don't expect you to work evenings and weekends, but also aren't a "40 hours and out" employee.
  • are proud to be a part of one of the area's most prestigious, high profile and soon to be fastest growing agencies

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Ability to conduct a thorough creative discovery with every client, and presell their design to the client before the reveal so the first comp presented to the client exceeds their expectations.
  • Proficiency in Photoshop
  • Strong knowledge of code (PHP, HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, jQuery, etc.), and browser compatibility a plus.
  • Good understanding of CMS platforms is required (WordPress, Concrete5, and Magento are preferred).
  • Responsive and mobile production experience a plus
  • Excellent communication and problem solving skills
  • A team player who can engage enthusiastically and professionally with clients and staff.
  • Is comfortable with the concept of "tracking billable hours" and capable of accurately entering time in a project management system like Basecamp.
  • Can provide a portfolio proving an ability to create clean, professional design and web interfaces

This is a full time employee position that would require you to work on site in a crazy cool historic building in the center of Menomonee Falls, WI. We offer good pay and benefits, including health and life insurance, PTOs, staff birthday lunches, an amazing culture and we wrap up the week with the legendary Trivera Happy Hour, except when we're cutting out early on Friday for summer hours. We are a casual but focused work environment. If you have had the your fill of a soul-less corporate culture, and are looking for a fun place that is like family, this position is for you.

Email your resume to empinq@trivera.com with links to your professional portfolio, and tell us why this is the right position for you.

(Women and minorities are enthusiastically encouraged to apply!)

Trivera Office - A gallery of Photos

Trivera Interactive is one of Milwaukee's oldest Web design and digital marketing agencies. We have an amazing space located in the historic Mill building in downtown Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. Here are some photos of our amazing creative and collaborative space.

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Trivera Interactive - Serving Milwaukee and the world from the Mill Building.

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Trivera Interactive - The view from the loft

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The megadesk - Command and control for all Web site design projects

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Wall of Fame of Trivera Website design clients.

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Miss Muffett guarding Trivera's Icon wall.

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Trivera upstairs small conference room

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Trivera - Website design...and air hockey...happens here.

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Inside Trivera's small upstairs conference room

Future Web: Skating to Where the Puck is Going

Hockey great Wayne Gretzky attributed his success to a simple philosophy: "Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it is. It ain't where the puck is, it's where the puck will be."

What your company is doing with the web is a lot like a hockey game. If your only focus is a web site based on an assumption that all your visitors are sitting at their desks viewing your site on a 1024 x 768 resolution desktop monitor, you're skating to where the puck was. Even if you've begun to toy around with making your website more mobile friendly, you're still skating to where the puck is.

As an early adopter of the Internet as a powerful marketing tool, and founder of one of the Midwest's first Web development firms, I remember the days when 87% of all businesses polled said they would never have a need for a website. My challenge for over 16 years has been to be chasing after the future and dragging clients kicking and screaming behind me, hoping they'll keep up.

And it's about to get even harder.

Over the past few days, I've been spending time with the presentation Stephanie Rieger gave to the Breaking Development conference in Orlando, Florida. It's an eye opening look at how the web is evolving. Where it used to be something you'd go to the computer or your mobile device to "do," it's rapidly becoming something that's always on, connected to everything we use to provide us with any knowledge we need just as we need it. As Brad Frost aptly put it:, you need to get your content ready to go anywhere because it's going to go everywhere. Skating to where the puck is going means moving to a world where internet touch points go beyond browsers, smart phones and tablets to now include treadmills, refrigerators, cars, and a million other "smart things" that we haven't even begun to imagine. A world where search engine queries are replaced by contextual information fed to us based on our interests, needs, and location, the keyboard having been replaced by GPS's, our voice or even our retinas. The journey to where the web is headed has shifted into hyper drive, and in the process is shattering the paradigms. And it's about to leave many businesses, and even some self-professed "web development firms" in the dust.

That's why I'm so fortunate to have the team here at Trivera. While still understanding the need to provide superior, best practice web experiences for our clients (delivered on time, scope and budget), we take regular time out of the office every Friday to talk about, and plan for, the technologies, platforms, tools, ideas and directions that will help us embrace the future web.

As a result we've continued to push the envelope and come up with some pretty amazing stuff:

  • You have an e-commerce-enabled B2B website but still achieve your highest sales with your independent distributors? How about a fully integrated tablet-based tool for them to use in the field to coach them real-time to up-sell, cross-sell, check inventory, lead times and create and submit an order.
  • Your customers are voicing a common complaint that's not your fault, but due to their forgetfulness? How about a reminder with the appropriate information sent to their mobile device when it detects exactly when and WHERE they need it?
  • You have a brand with a huge community that needs Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter and Flickr functionality, but has huge archival resources you don't want to trust to those Social Media sites? How about an online community with full desktop, mobile and tablet compatibility with check-ins, photo uploads, topic threads, member chat and any other features the members say they need?
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I've always been totally flabbergasted by traditional ad agencies who say "Oh, yeah, we do web too." Many are still trying… and still failing…to embrace even 10 year old best practices, and thus skating to where the puck was. A few conceptually get it but don't have the breadth, depth and length of experience to hire, manage or direct a team with the necessary skillsets, and so also are still skating to where the puck is. In the minority are the brave, visionary few who not only are embracing concepts like responsive web, but even seeing that as an experience we'll one day look back on with the same quaint nostalgia that we have for stuff like Cue Cat, Flash, 56k dial up and AOL.

I guess there are parts of the marketing world where a business just needs a small desktop-sized brochure-ware website, and the agency that does their direct mail, yellow page ads, and print handouts can create a cute little site for them. And there are other parts where an agency is able to convince a business to pay megabucks for a pay-per-click-supported big honking Flash landing page.

You won't find Trivera or our customers there. We're all too busy skating to where the puck is going.

Trivera Websites Win National Design Competition

Trivera Interactive, one of the Milwaukee area's most established digital agencies, has been recognized by New York-based Graphic Design USA for its excellence in website design.

Seven websites created by Trivera were recognized for outstanding work in internet and interactive design. They include:

. "The 2011 American Graphics Design Awards attracted a remarkable 8,000+ entries; a very select 15 percent are recognized with an Awards Certificate of Excellence," said editor/publisher Gordon Kaye.

'We are thrilled to have our work recognized as part of this national competition," said Tom Snyder, President/CEO of Trivera. "Our designers have been doing great work for clients since our founding in 1996, and it's great for them to be recognized on a national stage" Snyder added. Andy Frahm and Ian McDowell are Trivera's designers who will be listed, along with examples of the winning designs, on the Graphic Design USA website and in a full-color 300-page annual in the near future.

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Graphic Design USA has presented national design competitions that spotlight areas of excellence and opportunity for creative professionals For nearly five decades. The American Graphic Design Awards is the origi­nal and the flagship, open to everyone in the community: advertising agencies, graphic design firms, corpo­rations, institutions, publishers and more. It honors outstanding work across all media: print and collateral, advertising and sales promotion, corporate identity and logos, internet and interactive design, packaging and p-o-p, broadcast and motion graphics.

Trivera Interactive has been helping businesses re-enforce their brands by leveraging Web technology since 1996. As one of the Midwest's oldest and most respected digital firms, Trivera continues to lead the way in Web and application development, Search Engine Optimization and Marketing, Email Marketing, Social Media and Mobile Web and Applications creation from their location in the historic Mill Building in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

For more information, contact Tom Snyder, 262-250-9400

Trivera Becomes an Ingredient in Regal Ware's Recipe for Success

Regal Ware Worldwide™ is the leading United States manufacturer and marketer of high-quality stainless steel cookware.  Creating world-class multi-ply cookware, stainless steel cookware, gravity-cast aluminum cookware, and in-home water purification systems for nearly 100 years, with quality and consistency second to none.

An established Direct Sales brand, Regal Ware had decided to leverage its manufacturing expertise by re-entering the retail market and focusing on mid- to high-end retail cookware. With two major conventions on the horizon, and a Web site falling short on clearly and professionally communicating their branding message, they needed a polished team to rescue their Web site in short order.

Regal Ware turned to Trivera, another company with a long history of quality and consistency to help take their new message "bring people back to the family dinner table," to the public. Trivera was awarded the responsibility to develop a new site that would quickly and precisely convey the new brand, all in a matter of weeks for their first convention in Germany.

Tasked with creating that new Web presence, Trivera quickly became part of the Regal Ware  team, first understanding what their hosting, design and marketing needs were and then getting to work. Trivera's programming team implemented a powerful, open source content management system solution that would run on Regal Ware's servers and be feature-rich while still easy to use and manage. Trivera's strategy team reviewed the highlights of their new marketing and branding message and crafted a clean, intuitive site map to address it all. Using their expertise in best-practice, Trivera's design and development team built the new site. And finally Trivera's trainers made sure the Regal Ware internal Web team was fully instructed to take over the administration of the site. It was a total solution that not only addressed their needs but exceeded their expectations.

Trivera's ability to oversee details, work with Regal Ware's other outside vendors, understand and communicate clearly and efficiently the overall marketing message, all came together to produce a first rate, search engine friendly site, all in time for their first convention.

The momentum created by the initial engagement is continuing with ongoing strategic consultation, analysis of success metrics and discussion of new initiatives like Email marketing and Social Media as tools to help re-enforce this powerful brand to old and new markets alike.

Trivera Proves the Third Time is the Charm for Frabill

For 70 years, Frabill has been one of the most trusted names in the fishing industry. While Frabill is an industry leader in creating the world's best fresh and saltwater fishing products and accessories, their ability to find a Web services vendor wasn't as successful. A product of two different developers, the Frabill Web site was an underperforming, malfunctioning pain point. Needing a new developer and not having any room for error, Frabill made the decision to trust Trivera.

Following an analysis that identified deficiencies and uncovered new opportunities, the Trivera team embarked on a search and repair mission. The first phase of the project migrated the e-commerce portion of the site to Magento, currently the world's fastest growing e-commerce platform, and the rest of the site's content management to Wordpress. The selection of those tools, combined with Trivera's process, passion and proficiency quickly convinced Frabill's decision makers that they had made a wise choice.

While the site was still under construction, Frabill was already enthusiastically recommending Trivera to others.

"How refreshing it is to work with a design company that values communication," said Frabill's Jim Horvath. " Between the staging area, email updates, and 24/7 access to the project portal, the whole team has done a superb job to date in making sure we are apprised of improvements to the site...it is deeply appreciated."

Since the site has launched, they have become even more enthusiastic. Frabill immediately began experiencing the increased sales due to Magento's shopper-friendly features and improved performance. Their content developers are appreciating the ease with which they can maintain the site and keep it fresh and relevant.

Having earned their confidence, Trivera is now a true partner, with both companies working together to develop and execute a strategic plan over the next 12 months for further improvement of Frabill's online presence.

Frabill is happy to know they have found a partner that won't leave them flapping like a tip up on windy winter day.

12 Interactive Marketing Resolutions for the New Year

by Chris Remington

Here are 12 things to think about as you take your interactive marketing to the next level in 2010:

Have a plan - Yes, there are many tentacles to the interactive marketing beast, but with a well-crafted strategic plan it can be tamed. Start small if you must, but the important thing is to have a plan, execute it, and refine it over time.

Analytics are your friend - WebTrends, Omniture or Google Analytics; no matter which one you use (you do have analytics on your site, don't you?!) take time to mine for the nuggets of information they offer about your site, your customers and how they consume your interactive content. Use this to power your plan (see H above).

Pretend you are your customer - You are too close to your product(s) and your industry. Think like your customer would think. Knowing what they would call your product(s), how they would search for it on a search engine, and where they gather online to converse about it, will help you massage and finesse your web content so it speaks to them in their language.

Performance indicators are key - What are the top two or three goals of your website and interactive marketing strategy? Customer engagement? Brand awareness? eCommerce transactions? Lead generation? Pick your goals, ensure you can monitor and track them, tailor content to achieve them, and track the effectiveness of your actions.

You can do it - While others would argue the fact, interactive marketing is not rocket science. It is still about the 4 P's from Marketing 101 - product, place, price and promotion. Smart online marketing is no different than smart offline marketing. Research, plan, execute, monitor, refine. Repeat. Know the limitations and aspirations of your internal team as they relate to your interactive marketing efforts. Empower them. Empower yourself. You and your team know your strategy best. Go for it. Hire outside help when (if) needed.

Not doing anything still has a cost - Yes, the website you built and paid for in 2003 still functions, but does it still work? A website with old or static content and a tired look sends a message that you are complacent, not innovative, and don't care to engage your customers. Can you really afford to NOT spend money on your interactive strategy?

Embrace change - See N above. Research to see if your customers (and your internal team) have an appetite for consuming your web content in video form, on mobile devices or via Social Media. Don't change for change sake, but if your customers and industry are 'going there' you should too. With a plan, of course (see H above).

Web-enable content - See E above. Your website can likely streamline workflows and improve customer service with only minor enhancements. Would product installation videos on your site reduce customer service calls? Would a password protected media room enable your customers, dealers or distributors to download their own sell sheets, logos or ad templates? If so, web-enable this content and free up your marketing support team to pursue more important projects.

YouTube? Twitter? Facebook? - Social Media is all the rage. Make sure you are ready to embrace it. If a goal of your Social Media presence is to drive traffic to your website, ensure the site is rock-solid first. If the answers are yes when you ask yourself if your website content is compelling, if it is up-to-date, if it is user-friendly, and if there is no doubt about the site's call(s) to action, they you are ready to develop a Social Media strategy. Think of your website as the bull's-eye of a target - only when the bull's-eye is rock-solid should you venture to the next ring of Social Media.

Engage your audience - Your customers are talking about you online. How good of a job does your site do to encourage and facilitate that conversation? Do you know where else these conversations are occurring online? If not, learn. If so, what value are you bringing? Recognize and thank those who talk positively about you. Reach out to the naysayers and turn their lemons into lemonade. You will be viewed as someone who cares and 'gets' the new transparent world where your customers, not you, are in control of your brand.

Authority, Relevance, Popularity - These are three things that search engines consider when ranking your site. Look at your website content and interactive strategy through these lenses and if what you are doing shows search engines (and the consumers who use them) that you are an authority, your content is on the mark and others find it useful, you are on your way to better rankings and more traffic. If your interactive marketing efforts aren't enhancing your authority, relevant, or positioning you as a popular player in your space, don't do them.

ROI - The great thing about interactive marketing is it is quantifiable and measureable. Return on investment is easy to analyze. Assign action items to your interactive marketing strategy like obtaining more leads, increasing eCommerce transactions or reducing customer service calls. Measure, adjust and measure again. Repeat. The important thing is to have a plan, make the investment (see N above) and monitor the effectiveness.

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crthumbChris Remington is an account executive for Trivera Interactive. Trivera specializes on Online Brand Management for companies and organization that understand and appreciate the power of the Internet and Social Media to re-inforce their brand. In addition to helping Trivera clients, Chris also speaks at local business events, and teaches at the University of Phoenix.