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The New Trivera Website: Responsive, Parallax and Feature Rich

Trivera Site CaptureAsserting its position in the market as a leader in the digital marketing space, Trivera has launched its brand new website. The new site incorporates many of the features it has been recommending that customers incorporate into their own sites.

The biggest, and most obvious feature is a fully responsive architecture and design. That concept provides visitors an experience where all site elements and content are automatically formatted for the specific device they're using. While desktop users will see a website optimized for a full width monitor, tablet users will see the elements readjust to optimally, fit their display, even as they go from landscape mode to portrait mode. The use of retina images provides viewers with iPads photos and graphics in stunning resolution. Visitors on smartphones will see the navigation change to a style that better accommodates finger taps instead of mouse clicks. Phone numbers and addresses take advantage of mobile functionality and while images are resized to take up less of the display, text sizes are scaled to provide greater readability.

The home page features an example of parallax scrolling, where layers and the background scroll at different rates to create a three dimensional effect. While some sites use the effect to create an entire website that parallax scrolls from the top of the home page, the Trivera site chooses the more subtle use of the effect to avoid the damage to Search Engine placement that the other approach produces.

Years of blogs were imported into the new site, a project that was more difficult than it may appear. The previous site used Digitalis as the main site Content Management System, and used Wordpress as the blog platform. Both the site and the blog for the new site reside in a single implementation of Concrete5, made possible by Trivera's technical team performing a major re-programming of that platform's blog to include many of the Wordpress functions that bloggers rely upon.

The site makes extensive use of Concrete5's native functionality to display and rotate team and office photos.

Social Media plays a large part in the new site, with social feeds from Trivera and team members' Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and RSS feeds displaying on the home page and an expanded "Notebook" section. Blog posts contain social sharing buttons, and links to Trivera's Social Media profiles display on every page.

The website represents a quantum leap from the previous generation of website development and showcases a lot of the features, functionality and forward thinking that Trivera offers its clients.

I Hate to Break The News: Effective Marketing is Hard. And Costs Money.

smdeadend[1]Broadcast advertising: DEAD! Print advertising: DEAD! Direct Marketing: DEAD! Trade Shows: DEAD! Web sites: DEAD! Email Marketing: DEAD! Long Live Social Media!!!!!

A lot of folks have been regarding me as a go-to source for Social Media marketing for several years. My company, Trivera, put on Social Media University, the first major Social Media conference in Milwaukee in 2009. So what I'm about to say may surprise you.

If I see one more expert blog about the demise of any traditional marketing vehicle at the hands of the next new shiny Social Media object, I just may vomit.

News Flash: NONE of them are dead, or even going away any time soon. And as much as some would like to believe that Social Media is the low cost silver bullet that will allow you to ignore other marketing vehicles, those people are kidding themselves.

Old time Marketers who have been around for awhile (i.e. since before SXSW), will tell you: New platforms don't make it easier or cheaper to market your business. They never have and they never will.

Decades ago, there were marketers who hoped that this new fangled TV thing would be their savior, and they'd no longer need to use radio to reach their audience. The smart ones (and even the not-so-smart ones) soon realized that they needed to figure out how to strategically use BOTH to reach different market segments.

More recently came the promise that the web was going to eliminate both print and broadcast media. While some forged that path, others stubbornly refused to even pursue web-based marketing. But again, the most successful marketers figured out how to use all of them together. It cost more, but generated an even greater return.

Then came the marketers who rejoiced that email marketing would deliver them from the "high" cost of print and direct mail. The wise ones found that successful digital campaigns, if done properly, could actually be even more expensive than the printed predecessors. But ironically, while even more expensive, those campaigns could still be more effective…and produce a greater ROI…when combined with direct marketing efforts using personalized URLs.

And now, most recently, businesses who resisted the high investment required for a strategically and professionally architected, effectively-developed, search engine optimized, well marketed web presence are celebrating the coming of "free" Social Media. With messianic fervor, they proclaim "the website is dead" only to be disappointed as they bounce from MySpace to Facebook to Twitter to Foursquare to Pinterest with Wac-a-Mole-like effort, only to become serial Social Media failures. Now Instagram Video and Vine are the new shiny objects that will help them achieve their elusive, unfulfilled dreams of amazing success with little investment.

"When this 6 second video I shot for free with my iPad goes viral, my brand will finally take off!"

Gag.

Here's the deal. Effective marketing is hard. It requires expertise. Chances are you don't have that expertise. So you'll need to find help from someone who does. And I don't mean a friend's son who "knows computers," a Social Media "guru" whose only credentials are that they've been on Twitter since 2009 or even an ad agency whose "digital division" is a WordPress theme hack.

An effective marketing campaign is one that will start first with an understanding of your brand (not your logo, but the promise of an experience). It's only by knowing why your ideal customers love, trust and do business with you, that you can then know where, when, why and how to find more just like them. Once you've done that, then you need to understand what will generate awareness, interest, desire, and action for that group, and then be able to effectively (and measurably) execute the plan to make it happen, regardless of the media necessary to get it done. That may mean Social Media, but it might not. That may not mean radio or TV, but it might. It might require email, Direct Mail or both. PR, content marketing, video, outdoor, and even the back cover of the phone book could each be ideal ways to reach them. One thing for certain: it WILL require a web presence. Whether it's a micro-site, an informational website, a fully functional eCommerce site, an intranet, the data source for a mobile app or all of the above, there will be a web component. Part of that web component will be the tools to measure the success of every marketing channel being used and monitoring what's working (so you do more of that) and what isn't (so you stop doing that).

Obviously a single individual will never have the knowledge and experience to do all of that. So what you really need is a team. A team with a combined knowledge of every one of those media, and how to use them all correctly, either independently or in concert with any of the others. A team that can measure your key performance indicators, and continually improve them. It requires a team that understands your brand, and can use the right mix of tools to reinforce that brand and increase sales. A team that understands…and can deliver…meaningful Return on Investment. Find that team and let them help you succeed.

Competition for reaching a market share and turning it into meaningful conversions will never be easy. Neither will the choices of marketing and transactional tools. There are no short cuts. It will require an investment. But the one thing that will never change is that strategic marketing done right will come back in spades.

And that is the only real silver bullet.

This article originally appeared as a guest blog at PhilGerbyshak.com

10 Steps to Digital Marketing Success

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In our last blog, we listed the 6 ways your neglected website is costing you money. If you are one of the rare businesses whose website is producing piles of revenue even though you haven't updated it in years, this isn't for you.

But, if you can use additional sales revenue from your digital channels, read on.

Our mantra has always been that a web site is not an event, it's a process. That process requires ongoing effort, attention and investment to maximize revenue and value.

As a digital marketing firm, having clients who hire us to build a website, only to let it languish in neglect and produce mediocre results does neither us nor the client any good. So here at Trivera, our focus is taking responsibility for our clients' total online success by having all new clients sign annual contracts, where the website development is only the fourth element in a ten point plan for success.

Here are the steps that we believe are necessary for success, and the reasons we include each:

1.) Discovery

Your success begins with defining your goals. What specific results do you expect your digital marketing efforts to produce? If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there? Whether it's increased sales for an e-commerce site, new leads for your sales staff to cultivate, heightened awareness for your brand or more traffic to improve ad revenue, it's only by setting specific goals that will give yourself a target to hit. And as your partner, we need to make sure we're all on the same page.

2.) Development of a Marketing Strategy and Tactical Recommendations

Even thinking about tactics before you develop your strategy is a waste of time. Things like "Getting on Twitter" are just tactics. Achieving the goals you defined in step one requires a broad and deep plan. Understanding your brand in a way to be able to communicate your value proposition and personality to your current and future fans well enough to determine is what helps you decide if ANY Social Media is an effective vehicle. That's your strategy. It's your guide to determine what tactics will be appropriate and effective in helping you achieve your goals.

3.) Search Engine Optimization Plan

Guessing at a few keywords and trying get on page one of Google for those keywords is the recipe for SEO failure. Unfortunately, it is the "plan" most businesses and organizations are using. Is your target audience even searching for what you offer with those keywords? Do you know which keyword phrases will produce results, and which will bounce people back to Google to find another result (something actually causes search engine rankings to decrease)? Do you know the difference between branded and non-branded traffic and why it's important? Do you know how to uncover which keyword phrases will produce the number of non-bouncing visitors you'll need to achieve your specific success goals? If you don't know the answers to these (and a half dozen other basic questions most SEO specialists understand instinctively), Google will be nothing but a constant frustration and financial albatross.

4.) Creation of a fully optimized website

The creation of a website is the sum total of what many web design/development firms do. But optimization is the necessary ingredient to a successful digital strategy that many of them miss. Turning visitors into customers requires an understanding of conversion rates and what affects them. Will your site create sales or discourage them? Will people coming on tablets and smartphones be comfortable or frustrated? Will the transactional goal of the site be easy to find regardless of how, when and where visitors enter the site, or will they get lost in a maze of unnecessary information, steps, clicks and questions?

Within a fraction of a second, most visitors have judged you and made up their mind about your brand. Virtually every element of the site... the choice of content management systems, home page layout, order and depth of the navigational choices, words per page and whether they are paragraphs or bullet points, size, position and quality of images, color choices...impact the visitor's opinion of you. Unless your approach is strategic, and your developer understands how all of this impacts your visitors' perceptions and decisions, you won't get a successful digital marketing tool, you'll get a website. Nothing more. Certainly not success.

Here's where many people stop, thinking they are now done and success will just happen. Actually, this is where the real work begins.

5.) Execution of website content marketing efforts.

Your site is tested and launched, but almost immediately your blog, press room, content, product details, demonstration videos and other content will require ongoing effort to maintain their freshness. Keeping the site updated is only a part. Keeping the rest of the places out on the web that drive traffic to your site updated is even more important. That means email newsletters and promotions, outbound PR, commenting on other sites' blogs, and legitimate link building.

6.) Execution of ongoing SEO and SEM tactics

Just as your website is not an event, neither is your SEO. The algorithms that determine who makes it to page one of a search change frequently. What worked last month probably doesn't work this month. Knowing what has changed and what you need to do to take advantage of those changes requires effort and expertise. And it never ends.

7.) Execution of Social Media tactics

Here's where agencies and gurus who only do Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, fail. Sun Tzu said "Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." I've dealt with this topic enough that it doesn't need to be repeated here other than to say this step will only help your digital marketing plan become successful if the tactics are being used as part of a larger strategy.

8.) Execution of traditional marketing tactics

Just because this is a digital marketing plan it doesn't mean you need to stop doing traditional marketing. If your strategic target can be effectively reached via direct mail, print and traditional electronic media, you hurt yourself by regarding them as obsolete or irrelevant. You'll just want to make sure you're tracking your efforts to make sure you only continue the ones that result in demonstrable results.

9.) Monthly measurement of key performance indicators

Remember those goals you outlined 7 or 8 steps ago? How are you doing? Tools exist to measure site traffic, bounce rate, conversion rates, popular navigational paths, transaction values, SEO ranking, social media sentiment. You don't have to be using them daily. Weekly or monthly may be adequate.

10.) Adjustment of efforts to continue to produce maximum ROI

Because targets and goals are part of your strategy, and you're measuring your results, you know what you need to do more of, and what to do less of to produce the results you're striving for. And you're in the zone of increasing your results, and reducing your costs.

Sound like a lot of work? It is. If success was easy, everyone would be successful. Whether you hire a firm like Trivera, or handle it internally, the steps to success are still the same. How many of them are you neglecting?

Menomonee Falls Patch Pays Trivera a Visit

Menomonee Falls Patch editor Carl Engleking stopped by this week to see what's new at Trivera. The answer was "a lot."

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Catch his entire article here:

http://menomoneefalls.patch.com/groups/business-news/p/trivera-plans-to-double-its-size-through-acquisition

 

Trivera and Concrete5 Shine at Local CMS Showdown

Billed as a no-holds-barred Content Management System Showdown, a group of Milwaukee area developers met on May 10, at Bucketworks for a Web414 panel to discuss...and demonstrate...the comparative benefits and shortcomings of 6 major CMS platforms.

Trivera VP of Business Development and Client Strategy Chris Remington invited Trivera customer Chris Graham from Potawatomi Bingo Casino to tag team the presentation on the capabilities of Concrete5. Among the contenders were ModX, Wordpress, Sitecor, Drupal and Joomla!. While the other presentations focused on developer-focused feature sets and perecentage of market, Trivera's approach focused on the client experience.

While no CMS "won," the fact that, with a depth of experience in Concrete5, Wordpress, Drupal, Joomla!, Digitalus and Expression Engine, Trivera is able to dig deep to discover every client's needs and create a web presence in the CMS that makes the most sense for them.

See the presentation here (cue in to 51:00 to see the Trivera Concrete5 Demo):

Social Media: What’s That Sound?

iStock_000014305728XSmall-300x199[1]For years, clients have been asking us if they needed to get on Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Google Plus. Now everyone’s asking about Pinterest. Our answer has never changed: “Don’t even think about any of them until you define your strategy."

In his timeless book “The Art of War," Sun Tzu wrote: “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." Those ancient words perfectly describe the all-too-common sound we’re hearing these days: the din of multitudes of marketers’ failed Social Media efforts.

It’s the sound of businesses getting on Twitter not knowing what they’re supposed to be doing there. Market awareness, brand reinforcement, lead generation, public relations, media outreach, reputation management, customer service, coupon code distribution and consumer research are all possible tactical uses for Twitter. But until a strategy has been created to determine the right tactics, those tweets are just the noise before defeat.

It’s the sound of businesses creating Facebook fan pages, not knowing if their brand supporters are even there, investing huge amounts of time and effort to try to create results they have not defined, and buying display ads that nobody sees or promoted posts that people hate. Just more noise before the inevitable defeat.

It’s the sound of websites dropping off page one of Google searches because of blogs being written solely as a “Social Media" tactic or Google Plus being ignored as just “that Social Media tool no one uses." And it’s the sound of huge Pay-per-click expenditures because they don’t know how Social Media contributes to their organic SEO.

It’s the sound of missed opportunities as many consumers opt for YouTube and Pinterest over Google as their preferred search engines, and businesses with no clear strategy have no clue what to do with either of them.

As the lines continue to blur between all media: traditional, digital and social, a disjointed tactical approach to any of them is just the noise before defeat. The sweet sound of success will only be found in all of them as tactical elements of a larger integrated marketing strategy.

(this article also appeared in the April 1, 2013 edition of the BizTimes)

CBS58 Social Media Feature Includes Trivera President

packerscheerleader1-300x169.jpgAs the recent controversy regarding a Chicago Bear Facebook fan site bullying a Green Bay Packer cheerleader began to go viral, the news team at Milwaukee's CBS affiliate needed a Social Media expert to interview for their 10 O'Clock news. So to find the right person, they did what any self-respecting media organization would do: They Googled it. The search for Milwaukee Social Media Expert brought up Trivera on Page 1, position 1, and after a quick phone call, the reporter and cameraman were on their way to Menomonee Falls to interview Trivera's resident Social Media go-to guy, Tom Snyder.

542705_10200673998198617_1942508108_n[1]Trying to meet a tight deadline in the middle of a snowstorm, the crew didn't even have time to take off their coats, hats and mittens. That caused the realtime tweets and Facebook posts from the team in the office to be met with accusations that we don't pay our heating bills.

As the day had gone on the focus of the story shifted. Initially, the story was about a Fan Page featuring a photo and the subject of the photo getting hammered with vicious comments. The woman asked Facebook to remove the photos and the post n the grounds that it violated Facebook's anti-bullying rule. Facebook disagreed an refused to remove it. So the woman struck back with another Social Media tool: a YouTube Video. And the battle raged between the haters and the supporters, free-speech advocates and people who demanded that Facebook relent. Eventually even Mashable picked up on the story, and by the time the crew got to our office, the owners of the Facebook page removed the post.

P1015548The questions from the reporters focused on whether we felt that Facebook should have removed the post. Tom's answer framed the dilemma Facebook had by asking the reporters if they would remove a news story on their site if the comments to that story turned ugly. He felt that technically, the fan page owners probably had a moral responsibility to remove the vicious and hateful comments.

Social Media is admittedly sometimes very anti-social. Bullying goes on there constantly. Fortunately, as proven by this instance, those who are bullied can use the same tool to stand up to the bullies, and get an army of supporters to stand with them.

But once again, whether it's for bad or for good...or both...Social Media is a powerful tool, and in the right instances can create viral buzz for the good to win.

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Happy New Year!

HNY1213As we look back on 2012 we are thankful for all our clients, partners, staff and friends, making it one of the best of our nearly 17 years in business. You've helped keep us busy with so much to do that we haven't been able to blog, send email newsletters or finish our brand new responsive website.

But we did want to send a heartfelt message to thank all of you for putting your trust in Trivera!

In 2012 we've worked hard to develop and launch exciting digital projects. We welcomed some great new website design and development clients to the Trivera family:

  • The Greater Milwaukee Foundation
  • Racine Federated
  • Perlick
  • Bel Canto Chorus
  • Dental Associates
  • Evald Molding
  • Johnson Creek Smoke Juice
  • Amelishan Bridal
  • Genius Supply
  • Storage Systems Midwest
  • GA Precision Manufacturing
  • Husar's House of Fine Diamonds
  • M&M Office Interiors
  • Core Creative (Poblocki Sign CMS)

 

They all discovered for the first time the joy of working with Trivera's team of talented professionals with new website projects.

We also renewed our commitment to our long-standing client partners with new initiatives for:

  • Potawatomi Bingo Casino (SEO)
  • Mitchell International Airport (CMS)
  • Timmerman Airport (new website)
  • Strattec Security Corporation (Component Solutions website)
  • Usingers (Magento e-commerce upgrade)
  • Rego Consulting (new websites)
  • Zimmerman Investment Partners (hosting infrastructure upgrade)
  • ThermaSys/API Heat Transfer (SEO, API site migration, print marketing)
  • Heroic Media (new microsites)
  • Adelman Travel (CMS)
  • Axiom Properties (CMS and new property websites)
  • Casper Creative (George Webb website)

And thanks to them...and you...2013 will be even brighter. Watch for some exciting news from Trivera later this month as we add even more value to our clients' digital strategies and offer a wider and deeper array of services and skills to make your 2013 successful.

Here's to 2013 being a great New Year for us all!

Trivera Tackles the Elephant in the Room

team-giftsLike most companies, Trivera Interactive has embraced the holiday spirit – adorning our office with festive decorations, twinkling lights and even a handcrafted Mountain Dew tree. For our gift exchange this year, we decided to tackle the White Elephant in the room. Many of our employees had not previously participated in a White Elephant gift exchange which made this event even more entertaining.

rock-emWe followed the conventional rules of drawing numbers and allowing people to choose whether to open a new gift or steal one from a co-worker. The first gift stolen was an antique-looking key which doubled as a bottle opener and tripled as a wine corkscrew. Fantastic! Another popular gift was a singing, dancing, pudgy man holding a beer mug.

Hilarity ensued as we opened gifts such as a programmer’s “survival kit" complete with the oldest software possible, a Joomla shirt and a 6-pack of beer. I’m sensing a theme here …

my-hankeyEveryone ended up with gifts to cherish. You cannot put a value on used firefighter boots and a book about surviving the Zombie Apocalypse. You just can’t. And, one co-worker got the last laugh as I opened the final, unwanted gift, after all of my gifts were stolen. Yes, Kenny G.’s “Duotones" CD is the gift which keeps on giving. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the Best Buy gift card Tom had cleverly tucked inside the CD, however. So, all’s well that ends well.

fondueOur team had a lot of fun, countless laughs and we’ll be inviting the White Elephant back to our room next year.

Happy Holidays from Trivera!

Laurie Vogt
Search Goddess and Chief Fun Officer

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