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Keep It Fresh!

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No one likes stale bread, stale news, or stale anything. Neither does the Googlebot. Savvy marketers know that the Googlebot looks beyond keywords embedded within a website. The Googlebot looks for frequent content updates to websites, often found in blogs, videos, press releases, and case studies. They call it crawling. These frequent updates increase the chances that a site will be placed higher in the search results.

It makes perfect sense if you think about it, because embedded keywords alone won’t bring the best search results. The world’s biggest and best search engine reaches around the globe for new and interesting content to fulfill their users’ search parameters. The trick is to keep your site fresh and looking new.

DIY

The do-it-yourself method of updating the company blog, special events, success stories, and general news requires planning and commitment of many employee hours. Let’s not forget, it also requires some creativity, which means you need to step away from the noise of the day and devote three or four hours to writing one piece.

Before publishing it, always remember to edit your material, either a couple times by yourself or have one of your coworkers help you. It’s hard to get your thoughts on the page to read exactly how you want them (even for seasoned professional writers), so please be careful when you do-it-yourself.

Time Is Money

Hiring a firm to do the writing also means you’re hiring them to plan, organize, and execute it. The cost may seem out of reach at first, but when you add up all the hours you would be spending on a properly run plan, you’ll see that it will make you money over the long-run. If you’re the owner of the company or head of marketing, that time spent writing could be time spent doing more pressing work and contributing to the bottom line.

Here’s a good example. In one week, your company may need to write a blog post and a press release. These take a professional writer less than 10 hours to complete. On average, it will take an inexperienced writer double that time.

Some Accounting Required

If you do the math, you’ll see how hiring a firm to handle the constant flow of updates to your site can save you money. More importantly, it will allow you to focus on what you do best, so you can increase revenue and profit.

Within a month or two of frequent updates, the Googlebot will reward your company by ranking it higher than before. Trust us. We’ve seen it happen, time and again. Let us know if we can help.

b2b marketing

Spotlight On: Matt Foreman, Co-Founder of Shoot to Thrill Media

matt foreman web development

When it comes to dependability, the guys at Shoot to Thrill Media, a web design and development company in St. Petersburg, FL, are unparalleled. We feel like we hit the jackpot when we met Matt Foreman and his partner, Mark Lombardi (who you’ll get to meet soon as well). Friendly, responsive, smart, creative, AND fun … we knew we needed to Spotlight them. We are proud to call them Pinstripers, and simply love working with them on our web projects.

Name: Matt Foreman

Title: Co-Founder

Company: Shoot To Thrill Media

City: St. Petersburg

Web site: shoottothrillmedia.com

 

What inspired you to start Shoot to Thrill?

I love businesses! While I was freelance web designing I noticed I was helping out many different types of businesses. So as an entrepreneur I knew I would be able to provide a service that could help other businesses grow online. I knew I had an incredibly talented friend/partner in Mark, so it wasn’t a hard decision to pursue something bigger than freelancing. Shortly after, Shoot To Thrill Media was born.

What do you like most about the your industry and community?

Web design and marketing allows (and rewards) creativity. Whether it’s a new type of design or a new service we start offering, I love being able to think outside the box.

What challenges does your industry face?

I think one of the biggest challenges that the web design world faces is the fact that many people try to cut corners when it comes to web design. Whether it’s a DIY web builder, cheap hosting, or even just not knowing or understanding the value of a strategically built website. Your online image is one of the most important aspects of your business and there are so many things that can tarnish that image that may promote itself as “cheap but effective.”

How do you measure your success?

I think I measure success a little differently than most. I love taking (calculated) leaps of faith, so I put myself in a position of struggle when I’m at a point of wanting/needing to grow. Typically these ‘struggles’ either impact my personal life (like skydiving or riding a motorcycle) or my work life (offering a new service or investing in an unproven system). I measure my success by determining if those decisions are no longer a struggle, but a thrill or a successful endeavor.

What has been your greatest accomplishment in your career?

Being able to help other businesses grow while successfully growing my own business. Our one year anniversary is right around the corner, so knowing that we survived while shouldering all that responsibility is a huge accomplishment for me.

What do you think is the biggest mistake companies make when working in your industry?

Over-promising and under-delivering. We see it all the time, where a company or freelancer will bend the truth (lie) about their skill set just to secure a client. It’s hard to watch clients get away, especially ones with big dollar signs behind them, but knowing your limits and holding yourself to those limits to not harm the client and your own reputation is a great skill to have and it should encourage you to continue learning.

What is the most interesting trend you see in your industry?

I think it’s interesting (and great) that people are realizing more and more the importance of a mobile friendly website. It’s been super important for a few years now, but we’re really starting to notice clients being proactive in ensuring their website is mobile responsive.

How has technology helped/hindered your work?

Well, we wouldn’t be a company without technology, so we appreciate the strides technology has made in the recent past. But specifically, WordPress has come such a long way. It now powers more websites than any other platform, and it continues to grow at such a fast pace. Rightfully so. WordPress is amazing!

How do you stay on top of your field?

I can always admire and appreciate other great websites. It often times encourages me to learn a certain new design, or website function. I personally like to stay on top of my field by always learning and keeping an open mind when it comes to design, so as not to get stale.

What resources do you recommend? (Books, magazines, web, etc.)

If you’re interested in learning WordPress yourself, I recommend Treehouse. Some great courses that definitely helped me along the way. If you want to learn the basics, and how to troubleshoot, check out WPBeginner.com. And as always with WordPress, check the WordPress codex for all your technical questions.

If you could give one piece of advice to Tampa Bay companies, what would it be?

Keep crushing it! Tampa Bay is doing some amazing things. Growing up in the entrepreneurship community here has shown me how creative and determined the community is. Also, look for strategic partnerships. They’re SUPER beneficial for both parties and it’s always great knowing another expert has your back when you need them.

What was your first job?

I worked at the car wash down the road from my house when I was 15. I dried the cars that came out of the wash. Hated the job. My neck was permanently sunburnt.

What are your hobbies?

I love to travel, especially out of the country. I’m always up for an adventure, and the more physically demanding, the better!

Favorite food?

My grandpa’s t-bone steaks. They’re out of this world!

Last book you read?

Startup Stories by Jordan Raynor. Loved the book so much I reached out to Jordan, and eventually interned for him. Now he’s a great friend and mentor of mine.

Pinstripe and Southern Roots Realty Win Silver Davey Award

Tampa Bay web designPinstripe Marketing and Southern Roots Realty – proud recipients of a silver Davey Award for the Southern Roots website. What is a Davey Award? We asked the same question about a year ago, and the path leading to us receiving one is a prime example of good marketing (both on our part and the Davey Awards).

We receive a lot of mail. Much of it is promotional mail of various types, and the Davey Awards piece we received was no exception.

Except it was.

I opened the envelope, which has since been discarded, but must have been compelling in and of itself to prompt me to open it. Inside I found this Davey Awards poster. pinstripe davey awards website design I loved the design! I couldn’t throw it away. It wasn’t just a promotional piece – it was a work of art, and just so happened to look nice on my wall. There it stayed for several months until one day I really looked at it and noticed the deadline to enter was approaching. Come to think of it, I hadn’t really bothered to visit the website, I just liked the poster enough to hang it on the wall – indefinitely. So, that morning I decided to go to the website.

Upon entering the site, I realized that the Davey Awards suited Pinstripe Marketing perfectly.

“Small agencies. Big ideas.” That’s us.

Meanwhile, we had also just put the finishing touches on the Southern Roots website – and it was beautiful. I browsed the award entries until I found the right category for Southern Roots, took a look at some past winners and decided that we had a fighting chance. So we entered. A few months later, I received notification in the mail – we won the silver! It’s such a great feeling to receive outside recognition for something you’ve worked hard on. To be sure, the Southern Roots team loved their site and showered us with endless praise, but to have a panel of judges tell us that we deserve recognition as well, that was a good feeling. Also, it’s plain old good marketing. Sometimes you have to seek outside recognition for your work, and once you do, you are sharing that work with many people who may not have seen it otherwise (plus the bonus bragging rights if you win).

And on the part of the Davey Awards marketing team – kudos for coming up with an idea that hooked me, even though it took six months for me to realize it. If they had sent a regular postcard, I probably would have thrown it away, especially if I didn’t have a project to enter at the moment. But, because the poster had the longer shelf life of a work of art, something I really connected with, an entry materialized over the several months that the poster hung, and it all came together eventually. We try to keep this in mind with our marketing materials as well. Good design connects with people, people connect with it. Find that connection, and you’ve found a pot of gold.

residential real estate web site wolfnet integrationHere’s to a job well done by all involved, from the Pinstripe Marketing creative team, the Southern Roots team, and the Davey Awards team. Each of these people played a role in this award. We all decided to do a photo shoot with our trophy and then celebrate afterwards, (minus the Davey Awards team because they are in New York and we thought it was too short notice to fly them down for the shoot). Here’s to a job well done for all of us who worked on this site!

~ Nikki

If you are craving good design, let’s chat!

 

Photo: Judson Kidd, Sarah Calabrese, and Natalie DeVicente from Southern Roots

Evie Larson, Nikki Devereux and Lyndsey Shaw from Pinstripe Marketing

Not pictured: Chris Jenkins, ImTheirWebGuy, developer

Good Marketing Never Forgets the ‘Old Year’

Tampa Bay marketing firm
The New Year is upon us, and with it comes a sense of a “fresh start” — especially if the past 365 days haven’t been particularly good. However, before we can measure progress, we must have an idea of how far we’ve come. Therefore, it’s essential to record the results of past marketing initiatives and reference them from one year to the next.

Understand that every advertising campaign or customer/prospect outreach effort is very much like an experiment. Not only are you interested in results, you’ve got to control for variables.

Necessarily, there will be a “best guess” component to your experimentation based on experience, industry knowledge and instinct. Additionally, some variables will be beyond your control while others are completely invisible to you. But every campaign requires standard, basic decisions. To avoid repeating the same mistakes and to steadily improve results, pay attention to:

  • Audience demographics – Age, gender, ethnicity, income, location … you should have a profile of your target audience before your campaign begins. Say, for instance, 75% of your target audience is male but 50% of the leads generated are female. Such over-performance with women might suggest untapped demand. Yet you’ll never know unless you record who received your messages in the first place.
  • Campaign timing – From “back-to-school” sales for children’s clothing stores, to tax season for CPAs, every industry has a time of year that’s expected to bring in more business. But is it better to advertise a month before the event or just a few days in advance? And the days of the week that you advertise could make a difference in response as well. Will your Monday email blast get lost in the clutter from the weekend? Make identifiable changes from one campaign to the next, and compare results.
  • Types of communications (email, direct mail, radio, social media … etc.?) – The tricky part about comparative analysis of media is that results can be radically different from one to another, yet actual effectiveness could be almost equal. Take for example, the email blast that costs next to nothing per contact, but also brings in very few qualified leads, versus a creative (and expensive) direct mail campaign that nets a much higher percentage of actual sales. It’s only when you try different approaches over time that you can determine which has the greater positive impact on your bottom line.
  • Frequency of contact – One thing we hear commonly hear from clients is that they tried a certain type of advertising and got no response. This often means they mailed a postcard or sent out an email blast—one time and out of the blue—and no one noticed. But people get bombarded by thousands of messages every day. To make an impression, you usually must repeat yourself. However, there is a sweet spot—before diminishing returns on your advertising investment—that you won’t find until there’s a documented history to examine.
  • Tone of the communication – Did your advertising seek to get a chuckle, tug at someone’s heart strings or imply that life as we know it rested on the prospect’s buying decision? Most business owners think they know their customers—and they usually do—but it’s risky to make blanket assumptions about the mindset of others. Certainly, you want to stay within the boundaries of your brand image, but occasionally changing the tenor of your messages may provide valuable marketing insight.

As you go from one campaign to the next, isolate a specific aspect of the communication to change.  You don’t want to change too much. Otherwise, if results are greatly impacted, you won’t know which factor was at work. Plus, if you’ve been getting reasonable ROI from your marketing budget, you don’t want to risk a disastrous result by suddenly changing too much. Your expectation should be incremental improvement. Sure, you might discover an advertising formula that exceeds your wildest hopes, but in the meantime, plan on adjusting and analyzing your marketing plans as long as you’re in business.

 

Ready to kick off your 2017 marketing? We are!

Pinstripe Brands Florida Nature Preserve Cemetery

funeral cemetery marketingIn May 2014, we were invited to visit a 40-acre parcel of what was formerly part of the J.B. Starkey Ranch to hear about an idea.

After attending a workshop at a national land conservation conference years earlier, Laura Starkey had an idea to develop a business model that would allow her to conserve natural lands while sharing the beauty of laura_and_frank_starkeyFlorida’s woods with residents and visitors – the same woods she grew up in and is dedicated to preserving. Heartwood Preserve would be a nature preserve and conservation cemetery – only the second in the state – to provide ‘green’ burial options.

Natural, or ‘green,’ burial is a safe and environmentally friendly practice that allows the body to return to the soil naturally by using biodegradable materials, and avoiding vaults and toxic embalming fluids. Conservation burial takes this practice a step further by burying in a nature preserve rather than a conventional cemetery, and utilizing a portion of the burial fee to help permanently protect the natural environment.

More than two years after that first walk in the woods, Heartwood Preserve is a reality.

The Pinstripe Marketing team had the pleasure of working with Laura to design the brand and create marketing tools that tell the story of natural burial and illustrate the beauty of the preserve she fought to protect.

The brand is, of course, inspired by nature. A hand-drawn pine cone referencing the thousands that drop from the long-leaf pines throughout the preserve serves as the iconic mark. The stationery package was printed on natural, FSC Certified, Green Seal certified, 30% recycled paper (minimum). The colors and texture throughout all marketing pieces are earthy and exude the beauty of Heartwood Preserve.

stationery suite design branding

branding logo design

logo design and professional services branding

The web site is a source of information about natural burial and for the Florida nature preserve as an asset for the community, available for enjoying the flora and fauna. It’s also the platform to show off the beauty of the preserve. The home page video, shot by nature documentary videographer, Jennifer Brown, draws the visitor in with stunning visuals of the pine trees, palmettos, flowers, and animals who call the preserve home. The photo gallery highlights the environment and events hosted at the preserve. The site, including font selections and simple navigation, was designed with a senior audience in mind.

website design website development

The brochure also features a brief introduction to the preserve and photography by Andrea Ragan. As a stand-alone piece for prospective families or as part of a comprehensive package for funeral directors, the brochure provides information about conservation burial and what loved ones can expect by selecting Heartwood Preserve as a final resting place.

brochure design printing

With all the elements for a great story, the Pinstripe public relations team is anxious to begin pitching the media about this beautiful new conservation cemetery and the Florida families who make arrangements to be buried among the long-leaf pines and palmettos.

For more information about Heartwood Preserve, visit the web site or stop by for a peaceful walk in the woods.

Contact a Pinstripe project manager to start developing your brand and marketing materials.

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