The blessing and the curse of working on digital marketing is that websites don’t have page breaks. The temptation is to continually add information so that everything is in one spot. But if you need a print piece to hand out in person or to email for distribution, you quickly realize how much you have crammed into those pages.
My client EDUCATA has been offering online coursework for physical therapists for years, so this year’s venture — partnering with the Oncology Section of the APTA to offer a week-long workshop in person that requires several of our online courses as prerequisites — created lots of new challenges to us.
As someone who manages course descriptions for lectures that are usually one or two hours in length, advertising a workshop for 56 hours of credit can be daunting. When people are paying thousands of dollars, rather than $29.95/credit hour for a short course, they want to know as much as possible about the course. So how do you fit all of that into one page when one of your locations asks for a PDF to post at the facility?
You organize your information graphically. You edit your copy as best you can without losing the key objectives of the course. Or the fact that the attendees will be certified after the week-long workshop. Or the impressive qualifications of your professors. All while trying to keep your font size at a legible level.
As a website manager and editor, there is always a day (or timeframe) where you start to realize that perhaps that website you’re managing may look a little old-fashioned. Other websites are prettier. Flow better. Are mobile-friendly. Use larger images. (Big is the new small.)
So then you talk to your client. Suggest an upgrade. Just a little tweak here and there, which leads to a (much-needed) overhaul. It takes a lot of work, but the new site is launched. And it’s just as glorious as you thought.
This week, we were able to launch a redesign of ptpn.com, the site for physical therapy network PTPN. The site looks fantastic, and for me, the admin side is 10 times better than the old one. Our graphic designer Eat Sleep Work did a great job customizing a lot of the back end to make it easier to enter some of the data and to vary the pages the users see.
When I moved to Atlanta from New York (where I worked on mizzounyc.com for three years), the first thing I did was search for the local Mizzou alumni chapter’s website… which did not exist. Because our move coincided with Mizzou’s move to the SEC, our alumni association has unsurprisingly wanted a stronger presence here in Atlanta, and I was more than happy to join the team of volunteers to help make that happen.
Within the last year, we’ve gone from a barebones existence to Capstone status, an achievement that will allow us to give out several scholarships and receive a decent funding from the alumni association, all of which will allow us to continue to grow. I’m proud to say that I began working with Alumni Spaces, the team behind the site’s design, back when they formed the company in New York just as we were leaving in 2011. I gave them feedback on their original layouts and promised to contact them should I be able to serve the Atlanta chapter as Secretary. A year later, they were helping us build our site; a few months after that, they signed a contract with the MAA to work on all Mizzou alum sites. I’m so proud to have known them throughout this entire process, and glad that they were able to help us build our own site.
I can’t believe it’s been five years since PTPN launched Physiquality, a health and wellness brand for its member physical therapists. At the time, I was working for PTPN’s national headquarters in California, and oversaw the creation of the original website (as I’ve overseen its development, expansion and blog ever since). Two cities later, I’m now in Atlanta, Georgia, and I’ve been working for PTPN as a freelancer for four and a half years.
It’s been an honor to continually work on the project and to witness how healthcare has — and has not — changed since then. Reimbursements continue to decline and private practice physical therapists struggle to make ends meet. The most successful seem to embrace this changing climate and integrate some type of wellness or fitness program into their practice.
As a continual patient, I can vouch for the need for such programs. I’m still on the lookout for a PT clinic here in Atlanta that has a massage therapist onsite, where I can have my IT band worked a few times a year (ever since my realignment, it’s consistently tight, and multiple PTs have agreed that I’d benefit from a good sports massage from time to time). I know I could go to a stand-alone masseuse, but I like the idea that one within a PT clinic would be sharing knowledge with the physical therapists onsite, and that I could consult with one of the PTs if I had a question.
Long story long, it wasn’t hard to write this piece that encourages physical therapists to take a look at the range of cash-pay wellness programs available to integrate into their practices, and to consider what would work best in their own facility.
Should cash-pay wellness services be a part of your practice?
Michael Weinper, president and founder of PTPN, was not surprised when he saw that the list of available workshops at last fall’s Private Practice Section meeting for the APTA included two on wellness: one on wellness deliverables from cash-pay expert Jennifer Gamboa (creator of FitTEST Solutions™, a Physiquality partner) and one on medical fitness. And the APTA will offer a workshop at its 2013 conference on the connection between yoga and medicine. As he mentioned recently, “Not long ago, a session on cash-pay fitness or wellness services at APTA and other professional association meetings was the exception. Now it’s become the norm.”
I was working with my client PTPN to help their members understand social media better, and realized that I had not seen an easy way to distinguish between social media sites for business owners. We were putting together a toolkit to navigate creating social media and I suggested creating a table to compare the three.
If you’re trying to figure out where you should focus your social media energy, here are some ways businesses use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Which one(s) are right for your business?
I joined this network to…
Build a local community.
Build a following of fans.
Build a professional network.
I can use this network to…
Interact with customers and other key audiences.
Create photo albums that show our office’s events and unique programs.
Post information about our programs, people and promotions by linking to our website.
Build our brand.
Link to our website to advertise our unique programs.
Link to articles and news items that show users we are knowledgeable in our field.
Build our brand.
Contribute to professional forums and build a network of colleagues.
Post job opportunities.
Have colleagues and friends post recommendations to tell others about the great work we do.
Build our brand.
I know the limitations of this network are…
That its users are usually online for social rather than business interactions.
That I can only post updates of up to 140 characters, and I can’t post much original content (like photos) directly to the site.
That many users in this network don’t check it as frequently unless they are looking for a job.
I’ve been working with Four Corners Creative for about 6 months now, and I’m always impressed by the programs that Kate Meek, their founder and CEO, puts together. Her marketing materials before she came to me, on the other hand…
We’ve been working on her website this fall, adding a page to showcase her talented staff and beefing up the content throughout the site. The site design could use some work, but we’re planning to do that in January 2012.
As Kate prepares for the upcoming Spring semester, she needs pieces to illustrate the many programs she can offer, like studio classes, after-school programs, and Broadway workshops. So we worked together to create a brochure that showcased her general business offerings, a flyer that advertised the Broadway workshop she’s doing this month, and an insert to show schools how she can create custom programs pending their needs. I’m very curious to see how these new pieces help Kate expand her business into next year.
My husband often laments the dearth of quality restaurants in our neighborhood (lots of cooks, but not many chefs), so we were excited to see a new place open up on our block steps away from our front door last November.
Every time we go in, we’re impressed by their branding and marketing. (Disclosure: While we’re both in marketing, neither of us has had anything to do with their work. Except eating their product with some frequency.) After our last visit, I was inspired to use them as an example for several things every company should do in their marketing/branding.
Spare design is good design. From the moment you walk in, this is apparent. The space is simply decorated, with rough hewn wood tables and a granite bar countertop. Nothing fancy, nothing unnecessary. The same goes for their website and menu — no unnecessary clip art; no long, overdone food descriptions (granted, at a pizza place, this is a little easier to do). Even their small kitchen maximizes space; clutter is impossible.
Branding = consistency. They chose a large, bold font (from searching through My Fonts, I think it’s Twelve Oaks) and use it in about 95% of their marketing: On the menu. On the website. On their t‑shirts. Last weekend, we saw that they even used it in an in-house video that ran on the TVs. The font (and the spare copy) was how we knew it was a video about DOZZINO, rather than local TV.
Always pick quality over quantity. The menu is short: 7 types of pizza, and salads and desserts are posted on their specials board. They don’t have a lot of drink choices (soda, water, espresso — and, like a lot of places in the Boken, it’s BYOB). But they’ve invested wisely. A wood-burning oven means they’re the crispiest pizzas in town. And the top-of-the-line espresso maker means (some of) the best espresso in Hoboken. And those are the things that will keep bringing customers like us back.
Social media doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time. They keep an active blog (55 posts in April, 52 posts in May), but many of the posts are simply photos of the restaurant. The Twitter feed is mostly populated by pics of their specials board, so followers are getting the daily specials, along with information about hours and restaurant events. Everything informs the customer about the location and product, without taking up too much time they’d rather spend baking pies.
A sense of humor is always a good thing. Their copy may be spare, but it’s to the point. Who doesn’t want a pizza made with “fresh dough, a wood fire and love?” The video uses repetition to remind viewers about what they offer: “We gots fresh dough daily… We gots crisp produce… We gots a hot oven.” Is it grammatically correct? No. Do I really care? No. They’ve gotten their point across in a quick and humorous way, and given that everything (including lovely words like mozzarella, sopressata and prosciutto) is spelled correctly, it’s pretty clear that it has been done on purpose.
So that’s a few things that DOZZINO has done well. Combine that with a great product and a nice patio overlooking a bocce court, and I’d say they’re going to do very well indeed.
Our alumni chapter here in town, MizzouNYC (the New York home of alums from the University of Missouri), has been growing a great deal over the last few years. We’re always looking for new ways to help people new to town and to advertise the great events that we host in the city.
There had been a brochure a while back for MU students that came to the city over the summer for internships, but it was out of date and difficult to print. So with the help of our board, I revised the brochure and posted it for anyone new to the city of New York.
We’d also been bouncing around the idea of yearbook, something that showed people the variety of activities we host in town, from watch parties to picnics to nights at the museum. So I took stories from our quarterly e-newsletter and put them in a print document that we could distribute and post on the site.
I’ve been working on the website for over a year now, and I’m proud of the robust site it’s become. When I started working on it, you couldn’t find it by searching on any of the standard search engines. After a year of properly tagging headers; adding photos, news and events frequently; streamlining its organization; and repeatedly pointing people to our site via social media and eblasts, it now comes up as the first search result for a variety of keywords related to our chapter. It’s proof that content and organization are the key components of any website, and that adding content frequently — and properly — is the best way to improve your search results.
A small bonus? I heard recently from a communications director of our alumni chapter in Dallas that our website is the envy of other alumni chapters across the country. While I know I didn’t design the site, I take pride in the fact that the work I’ve contributed to it is key to its success.
Every once in a while, I get to promote something I truly enjoy. As one who benefited from all sorts of arts lessons and camps as a child, I was excited to meet Kate Meek, who runs her own dance studio in NYC, through a mutual friend.
Kate needed some help promoting her classes and, in particular, a summer camp that’s starting in a few weeks. She handed me a flyer of her own work that had lots of good information, but not much eye-catching design. While I would never profess to be a graphic designer, I do occasionally develop flyers, business cards and print pieces developed from a business’s web or logo design.
Here, all I needed was the Four Corners Creative logo — and her tagline, “Sing. Dance. Act. Grow.” — to inspire me. I took her words and separated them into a few different, distinguishable areas, and I added some photos from her previous classes. I also used the colors in her logo to make key points stand out, like what the kids would learn and the most important information: pricing, location, dates, etc.
Thankfully, Kate was very happy with the final flyer, so much so that she asked me to create a business card as well. I look forward to working with her more in the future, revamping her website and marketing more dance and acting classes in Manhattan.
I’ve been working with a friend as she prepared to launch her catering business here in Hoboken, NJ. She came to me for web advice and I ended up guiding her through the entire launch. I introduced her to my favorite web designers, Eat Sleep Work; found a design template; wrote her copy; uploaded images; coded her copy; and taught her the basics of how to add blog posts on her own.
Within a month, her site was ready to go, and I have to say I think it turned out very well. Take a look!