Stars of Monitor have reached new heights

Stars of Monitor have reached new heights

Stars of Monitor have reached new heights

Two of Monitor Creative’s most outstanding talents will begin August in new roles that reflect their skills, energy and growing seniority.

Marcus Barretto is promoted to Senior Digital Designer. Laura Dobson, who only joined Monitor in May 2019, rises to Senior Account Manager.

Moray Newberry, Monitor Creative Managing Director, said:

“These promotions are both incredibly well deserved. Marcus and Laura are key members of the Monitor team and we’re thrilled to have them here.

“This growth in their responsibilities recognises their exceptional talents. They both consistently demonstrate industry-leading expertise in their day-to-day efforts. And their commitment to providing our clients with the best possible solutions – on brief, on time and on budget – is unquestionable. Our congratulations go to them both.”

Marcus and Laura will be at the centre of Monitor’s coordination and delivery of a raft of upcoming design, digital and motion projects.

For further information please contact:
moray@monitorcreative.co.uk
0161 743 0980

Branding – Make Your Mark!

Branding – Make Your Mark!

B is for Branding

A brand is about the way people think, feel and respond when they hear your company name.

Your brand is your mark on the world but it is more than just the logo. It’s one of your company’s most valuable assets.

It needs to be thought out and consistent across all your marketing touch points and this can be the difference between good and great.

You’ve created a ground-breaking brand name and an eye-catching logo, but a strong brand manifests itself in a lot more ways than this.

Colour: Many successful brands can be recognised by colour alone – take Coca-Cola for example, most people could pin-point the exact shade of ‘Coca-Cola red’. Colours have the power to evoke certain emotions and feelings in people so shouldn’t be overlooked in the branding process.

Imagery: Ever been put off by offensive, dull or irrelevant images? Deciding on an image ‘style’ for your brand to use is just as important as choosing a font or colour.

Tone of Voice: Think of your brand like a person, it needs to have its own recognisable, consistent tone of voice. Whether it’s friendly, down-to-earth, ambitious or quirky, the key is picking one and sticking to it.

Considering a rebrand?

Be Honest & Critical: Is your brand holding you back without you even realising it? Now is the time to scrutinize your brand and really evaluate whether it’s as strong as it could be.

Competitor Evaluation: Uncovering what your competitors are and aren’t doing will allow you to gain a better understanding of where you fit into the market.

Goals & Objectives: Your longer-term strategy should be the driver behind your brand. Looking to expand into new markets? Consider how your brand will fit into these markets, or if you’re looking to build customer loyalty, think about the tone of voice your brand will need to portray.

Personality: What does your business stand for? What are its core values? Questions like these will help uncover the personality of your brand and determine how you want to be perceived by your audience.

Customer Expectations: Many consumers rely on their favourite brands to fulfil and exceed their expectations and needs, but how often do you stop and listen to what your customers have to say?

Enforce Rules: Once you’ve established a strong brand, the key to keeping it that way is by enforcing your brand rules at every opportunity. Think of them as instructions, they’ll allow you to protect your brand both internally and externally.

Branding FAQs

How much does branding cost?

Not as much as having a ‘bad’ or ‘outdated’ brand will cost your company in lost sales and reputation! All branding projects are bespoke to your requirements so please get in touch for a no obligation quote.

What do I need to get started?

Invite one of our team to meet you for a Discovery Meeting during which you can tell us where you are now and where you want to be.

What is the process?

Following the Discovery Meeting, we’ll write a brief, from there we’ll share creative concepts including reviewing your direct competitors and other brands your target audience may shop.
Gradually we will evolve your new brand together always involving your team along the way, bringing your new brand to life.

Don’t just take our word for it…

The team at Monitor clearly understood the brief and worked hard to develop something that was in keeping with our ethos and values while adding a touch of ‘magic’ to create a beautiful end result. We were delighted with the resulting concepts and finished collateral.

Brand Marketing Manager

Today’s Group

We felt that Monitor understood us and what we do from day one. We wanted to communicate to people what kind of business ICB is and we think Monitor has done us proud.

Managing Director

ICB

Need some expert branding advice? Get in touch to see how we can help you get the most from your branding.

Email marketing tips: how to build campaigns that convert in 2020

Email marketing tips: how to build campaigns that convert in 2020

Almost 300 billion emails are sent every day, so standing out in a crowded inbox is crucial.

The perfect email campaign will catch the recipient’s attention, keep them engaged and give them a clear reason to convert.

Here are our top tips for creating emails that look great, convert high and improve your marketing results in 2020.

1. Email Campaign Basics

Email Campaign Basics

Don’t take past successes as a guarantee of future success. Continuously review, test and analyse your email campaigns to ensure your open and engagement rates remain high.

Subject Lines

Test several elements of your subject lines. Length, personalisation, emojis and writing style can all have an impact. Almost half* of emails are opened on mobile devices, so consider how your subject line appears on smaller screens (most mobile email clients only display the first 30 characters).

Sender Name

The ‘from’ name on an email campaign can have a big impact on open rates. Test brand, team and personal names to see what delivers the best results.

If you’re providing a more personal service, your recipients might react better to an individual’s name rather than a company name.

Pre-Header Text

As mobile usage has increased, this has become a crucial part of any campaign. Use preheader text to give readers additional information, alongside the subject line, that encourages them to open your message.

Build on your subject line with more detailed information that previews your email – but remember, keep it short and attention grabbing.

2. Email Campaign Design

Email Campaign Design

K.I.S.S – Keep It Simple, Stupid

The K.I.S.S design principle has been around for a long time, but it remains true today. Email campaigns need to be simple, allowing recipients to digest information quickly (on average, you only have five seconds to get their attention!).

Before starting any email campaign, establish your objectives and what you’re trying to achieve. Use clear headings and simple copy to make the key messages obvious and ensure any key content is ‘above the fold’ (visible on the user’s screen when the page first loads).

Substance Over Style

Email campaigns don’t have to be a work of art. In general, they have two jobs to do – increasing opens and clicks. Complex and busy emails will lead to recipients turning off, so make your call-to-action obvious and build the content and design around your main objective.

Check the following:

• Have you made it as easy as possible to click or convert?

• Have you provided obvious calls to action?

• Have you ensured the campaign works with images turned off?

• Have you included ALT text on all images?

• Have you removed text from inside images?

Test different call-to-action language, too. Go beyond simply ‘click here’ and ‘read more’ by including positive actions or messages with actionable text. These CTAs are much more effective.

3. Data and Personalisation

Data and Personalisation

The Importance of Data

Your email campaign won’t deliver results if it’s going to the wrong people, so maintain a clean, well-managed database. Regularly remove old email addresses, hard bounces and unsubscribes, and always monitor any replies.

Automate parts of your data management by using freely-available online tools to connect your CRM and email marketing systems.

Advanced Personalisation

While first name personalisation works well on subject lines, consider all the data you hold in your CRM. Use this to create personalised messages based on previous purchasing information, or try segmenting contacts based on their interests.

Using dynamic content in your campaigns allows you to create different variations of the same email – making your email marketing more efficient. For example, you might want to show a different header image to different groups of recipients, or communicate different features and benefits to different audiences.

Are you ready to start improving your email marketing?

Interested in communicating in the best way for your business? Speak to us today to see how we can improve your email marketing results.

*Source: HubSpot

Keeping your show on the road

Keeping your show on the road

As sales teams are prevented from face-to-face meetings, we must all somehow find a way to keep things moving while the face-to-face meetings are taking a breather!

Over the years we’ve developed countless digital presentations and this short video highlights some of the available opportunities to present digitally:

If your existing presentations need updating for conference calls or screen share, we’d love to help you make them as engaging as possible.

5 Ways to Increase Website Search Traffic

5 Ways to Increase Website Search Traffic

If you have just launched a new, beautifully designed website and need to generate search traffic or you’re looking to increase website search traffic to an existing website, here are 5 tips to get you started.

1. Target Keywords

Any website should have a defined list of target keyword terms and phrases. These should be words or phrases that customers use when searching for your products or services.

Once a set of target keywords has been defined, you’re ready to optimise your website for these terms so your website stands the best chance of appearing in search results when potential customers search for your products or services.

Top Tips:

If you’re not already using it, add your website to Google Search Console. This free tool provides a wealth of information and will show you what keywords your website currently ranks for.

Always put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Think about what words or phrases they would typically use to describe your product or service (remember they may not be aware of your company, brand or technical jargon).

Keywords

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2. Meta Tags

Meta tags are pieces of information which tell search engines and users about the subject matter of each page on your website. Every page on your website should always contain:

Title Tag: Used to specify the title of the page and clearly describe the content of the page. All page titles should be optimised for target keyword term(s) and be no longer than 60 characters in length.

Meta Description: This should be a summary of the page content in no more than 160 characters. As this will be shown to users in search results, treat this as an advert for your page, catch the reader’s attention and sell your page to improve click-through rates!

Top Tip:

Keep your page titles consistent across your website and ensure your target keywords are at the start e.g. {Main Keyword} – {Secondary Keyword} | {Brand or Company Name}

Meta Tags

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3. Content

Search engines and humans like to read well-structured, easy to read content, so make sure every page on your website is correctly structured using headings and subheadings.

Use heading tags (H1, H2, H3) to indicate headers and ensure content always follows website copywriting best practice (chunking, alignment, proximity).

Top Tips:

Your H1 heading should always describe the content of the page using your target keyword term(s).

Always use plenty of headings in your content, this allows users to easily ‘scan’ the information to find what they are looking for.

Content

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4. User Friendly Mobile Design

Unlike humans, search engines can’t see images displayed on a web page, so information should be provided about each image to explain the subject matter.

ALT Tags: A written description to explain what the image represents. This helps search engines to understand the subject matter of images, it is also useful for users who are visually impaired or have images turned off.

Filenames: Using a description of the image in the filename of the image itself is also a great way of optimising images on a website. Using keyword terms in the filenames of images will help search engines understand the subject matter of images e.g. image_description.jpg as opposed to DSC12345.jpg.

Top Tip:

Always upload images to your website at the correct size and ensure they are compressed using ‘lossless’ compression to reduce their file size.

Images

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5. XML Site Map

An XML sitemap acts as a ‘map’ of your website allowing search engines to easily find all of the pages published on your website. Having an XML sitemap is important because search engines rank individual web pages, not just websites, so making sure all of the pages on a website are easy to crawl is a must.

Top Tip:

Once you have created your XML site map remember to submit it on Google Search Console.

XML Site Map

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If you’re looking to improve your websites performance we’ve created a handy website checklist to get you started.

Need some expert advice?

Get in touch to see how we can help you get the most from your website.

Five tips to bring your Annual Report to life!

Five tips to bring your Annual Report to life!

Using a few different techniques and strong visual aids, bring your Annual Report to life!

Is it time to go digital?

Is it time to go digital?

Publishing a digital version of your Annual Report offers your readers the chance to navigate the document quickly and interact with key content. It also allows a traditionally static document to become more engaging using animations and embedded content such as videos.

Illustration could fit the purpose

Illustration could fit the purpose

Illustrations provide the opportunity to avoid stock or corporate photography through bespoke graphics. If you need an image to communicate a complex or niche topic illustration allows you to visualise this easily and can also align your brand.

Alongside imagery of real events, teams or the office, illustration can help to strengthen the brand’s personality.

A picture says a thousand words

A picture says a thousand words

The use of infographics helps give key numbers and stats more meaning. Sure, 1 billion sounds like a lot, but if it’s grains of sand, it’s not that much! Make sure your reader can process the importance of the data you present.

Combining graphs, numbers and images could breathe life into your Annual Report!

Think about the user journey

Think about the user journey

A person reading your Annual Report probably has a purpose or objective for doing so, they are hunting for key pieces of information. Providing a clear navigation or contents with clearly labelled titles can really help your readers find what they are looking for.

Stats. Case Studies. Action!

Stats. Camera. Action!

Struggling to showcase the CEO’s annual review in all its glory? Using video footage or recorded interviews is great for helping make content easier to digest and more engaging for the reader.

Use animated stats, video quotes and statements to capture your audience’s attention.

Just imagine the potential your Annual Report has now!

Monitor is an independent creative agency who help our clients communicate with impact in ways that are best for their business. Take a look at some of our recent work or get in touch!

*Please note that your company’s abbreviated reports, or full reports that legally have to be declared on Companies House are not open to unique styling, branding or personalisation (unfortunately!)

Website Trends & Best Practice Tips

Website Trends & Best Practice Tips

Your website is your shop window so creating an engaging experience whilst also communicating important information is crucial.

After launching our own new website, we wanted to share some of our tried and tested best practice tips.

1. Video

Motion is a crucial part of storytelling and user’s demand for video content continues to increase. Website users have incredibly short attention spans so video can be used to create engaging experiences whilst also communicating information much quicker.

Videos can be used to explain potentially complex information in an easily digestible format like the video we’ve created explaining the benefits of animation:

Website Trends - Video

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2. Micro Animations

The clue is in the name, micro animations are just small animations, but they can have a big impact on your website’s usability.

Micro animations can be used to great effect to guide users through your website by providing visual cues and prompts.

Website Trends - Micro Animation

They are also a great way to add some interest to your website!

Website Trends - Animation

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3. Minimalist or Flat Design

Minimalist design is often referred to as ‘flat design’, this isn’t a new trend but has increased in popularity over recent years. There are a number of key characteristics of flat design:

No Effects: Flat design uses a two-dimensional style that is totally flat, there are no added effects such as shadows or gradients which are traditionally used to add depth.

Simplicity: Elements used in website design such as buttons and icons are displayed using simple shapes making them easy for users to interact with.

Typography: Due to the nature of flat design, typography is crucial to add visual interest.

Colour: This is one of the most important features of flat design and the colour palettes used are often much brighter and more colourful.

Website Trends - Flat Design

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4. User Friendly Mobile Design

Creating a responsive website which adjusts to the size of a user’s screen isn’t an option anymore and an intuitive user experience should be provided on all devices.

Thumb Friendly?

Most users on a mobile phone will browse using their thumb to scroll through pages and click on links. Navigation menus, links and buttons should be placed in positions which are easily accessible and sized appropriately.

This helpful graphic shows the thumb-friendly areas of a mobile phone screen:

Image source

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5. Content

The design or look of a website needs good content to help it thrive, which is why the text used on a website is one of the most important factors.

Make it easy to read

Chunking is the presentation of written content into small pieces of information. Website users will often scan written text to try and find information they are looking for so effectively chunking your content into easily digestible sections with clear headings will help users to scan your content more quickly.

Keep it simple!

Content on your website should be kept informal and easy to understand whilst avoiding industry jargon users may not understand. Users are more likely to engage with friendly, informal words than overly corporate language.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Studies have shown we remember only 20% of what we read but around 80% of we see. Using images to supplement written text, infographics to explain information graphically or video and animations to show rather than tell can all help to improve content engagement.

Website Trends - Content & Images

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6. Performance

The speed of your website should be regularly analysed and reviewed to ensure your site loads as quickly as possible.

Check your load speeds

Google provide this free tool allowing you to test the speed of each page on your website. It will also provide recommendations and advice to improve the speed of each page on both mobile and desktop.

Optimise your image sizes

Images with large file sizes are one of the biggest culprits for slow loading webpages, often images aren’t compressed or resized before they are added to a webpage.

‘Lossless’ compression is the process of reducing the file size of an image without any quality loss by removing unnecessary meta data from the image.

Lossless’ image compression can reduce the size of images by around 20% – 80%!

Optimise your websites code

Minification is the process of removing all unnecessary characters in the code which powers a website such as spaces and line breaks. This reduces the overall length of the code to help improve load speeds.

Website Trends - Performance

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7. Website Health Check

We’ve created a free website Health Check guide to help you evaluate your current website and identify where improvements could be made.

Website Healthcheck

Need some expert advice?

Get in touch to see how we can help you get the most from your website.

Seven benefits of Digital Publications

Seven Benefits of Digital Publications

What if… your website users were animals!

What if… your website users were animals!

Understanding how users behave on your website is vital to improving its performance and increasing ROI. We took a walk on the wild side to understand different user behaviors and how we can help them…

The lost Meerkat

Pops their head up in weird places that search engines have suggested, they’re interested have clicked through to your website but aren’t entirely confident where they should go from there.

Help this type of user with well-structured content to help them find what they are looking for quickly, provide clear signposts to related content on your top landing pages, ensure calls to action are clearly visible and labelled intuitively.

The impatient Cheetah

Got fed up waiting for a page to load and left your website or abandoned a form halfway down, they are looking for speed and efficiency.

Help your impatient Cheetahs by optimising your page load speeds, compress large images, minify your CSS and HTML and ensure forms only ask for information you really need.

The nervous Zebra

Looking for information in black and white, they want to understand the options available or have help on hand immediately should they need it.

Consider providing clear, concise information to reduce page lengths, provide live chat to field support enquiries or clearly visible FAQs and contact details.

The trendy Tiger

Wants to be impressed, if it’s not interactive, engaging or interesting, they’ll probably leave to find one that is!

Use animation, videos and interactive elements to present your content to keep users engaged with products and services.

The easily distracted Goldfish

Not really sure what they are looking for, often caught wandering elsewhere and distracted easily. Probably overwhelmed by lots of content and multiple calls to action on the same page.

Provide these users with a structured page hierarchy which adheres to content best practice such as chunking, alignment and clearl headers to break up lots of content whilst ensuring a consistent call to action is used throughout to avoid distractions.

Evaluate your own users

You’ll probably have a mixture of these users visiting your website, but that’s not a problem! Using Google Analytics data will help you understand what is and isn’t working for your users and consider implementing some changes to accommodate each user type.

Looking for more advice and expertise? We are an independent creative agency, specialising in design, digital and motion in the heart of Manchester! Come and have a chat or see what we’ve been working on recently.

Get in touch to find out how our experience and ideas can add value to your brand.

We are experts in design, digital and motion, speak to one of the team today to get started.