In: @ATAK, Ecommerce, Search, Social, Support, Web Design

ATAK’s 2014 Half Year Review

Jul 08, 2014

Over the past six months a lot has changed for the ATAK team. We’ve welcomed several new clients and continued evolving our approach to web development and online marketing. We asked each team member to explain their perspective over this past year and share a little about where they see the digital media industry going.


David Ephraim on Web Development


1.  What have you learned half way through this year about your industry or your job?


I have really started to see the benefits of community involvement and how the effort put in can really pay off. We have made a conscious effort to get out into our community, volunteer with our clients and friends, and attend other events in our local areas to support efforts we believe in. These philanthropic events lead to meeting new people with opportunities for collaboration. These relationships are built via a good foundation where you have common ground to connect with that person or company.


2.  What's a new trend you are seeing and liking to continue with?


We are really interested in smart email campaigns, ones where actions are created out of specific client behavior so that the message one receives is catered to what that person is interested in. Instead of sending one mass email to an entire list, one can create different lists for different users and upon different actions users will get follow up emails in a time sequence optimized for action. We call this process “the funnel” where users are guided based on interests close to them. One example of a specific type of “funnel” would be an abandoned cart sequence, where if a user has left a shopping cart with items in the cart that user would get messaging 1 day, 4 days, and 7 days later with different prompts (the last one being a 10% off coupon).


3.  What trend are you moving away from?


As much as we love catering to a client's desires, we've realized over the past five years that when we build sites on platforms other than Magento or WordPress, it always leads to problems down the road. Instead of working within platforms like Volusion or Drupal, we've now moved towards exclusively working with the platforms that result in happy clients every time. ATAK Interactive's new motto is "Let's Grow Together," and we want to ensure we're putting our clients in a position to succeed. Therefore, we're sticking to the best platforms available at the moment - Magento and WordPress.



Austin LaRoche on Digital Marketing


1.  What have you learned half way through this year about your industry or your job?


An investment in sophistication is an investment in conversion. Automated emails based on behaviors will have higher open and click through rates and will lead to more ROI for clients. Retargeting ads on Facebook, Twitter, and mobile will increase brand awareness and sales. Websites and email templates built on responsive design will make the user experience so fantastic that more actions called upon will be fulfilled. An investment in sophistication is the bump businesses need to go from good conversion rates to great ones.


2.  What's a new trend you are seeing and liking to continue with?


Nontraditional social media ad spending. ATAK has begun partnering with niche companies offering social media ad spends that connect products and content with influencers specific to both a community and a social media network (i.e. - Fashionistas on Pinterest, Car Lovers on Instagram, etc). With the paid advertisements being funneled through power users as opposed to being stuck in a cluttered news feed, brands can smartly advertise while being incognito, using a trusted voice to passively sell their product.


3.  What trend are you moving away from?


I recently made the decision that I would not conduct any email marketing campaigns where the newsletter was not designed responsively. With some brands seeing 70% of their email opens coming from mobile, it's imperative that we optimize our email design to fit all browsing devices.



Josh Goodman on Search and SEO


1 .  What have you learned half way through this year about your industry or your job?


Search is always changing as search engines refine their system for displaying results. Google is continuously updating their algorithm to give the best results possible according to their priorities. What I have had reaffirmed in the last six months is that search is evolving at a faster rate than ever. Google has updated their algorithm more times this year than ever and we expect that trend to continue (see the chart below). In order to stay ahead of the game with search, we have to be looking out for our clients to ensure they are agile enough to keep up with the increasingly fast pace of search as it is refined and evolves. In this last update Google has pushed the importance of content. We have brought content writing services to the forefront as a very important part of an overall marketing campaign. We have also started doing coaching/consulting with our clients on what to write and where to place content.


2.   What’s a new trend you are seeing and liking to continue with?


Content is king in search. Right now a website and company is being judged in search on their ability to explain what they do to their potential customers and how much fresh and relevant content they can generate and get out on the web. Our websites are putting a huge emphasis on quality content that speaks to our industry and customers. Right now we have been helping our clients to be experts in their fields and help a potential customer to understand their business through the material available on the website in the content portions of the website. For example the blog, about us, history, and social media pages.


3.  What trend are you moving away from?


Link building used to be a major factor in search. We now do it in very select circumstances because google has given this less value. We are now updating our SEO campaigns to reflect Google’s new priorities.



 Nicole Gonthier on Social Media


1.  What have you learned half way through this year about your industry or your job?


I believe the most important thing I’ve learned half way through this year is that my personal experience with social media has really proven to be a major strength. As the youngest in the office, there was a fear that my new journey into the job world would be rocky. In many professional aspects, I am still learning, but when it comes to knowing how to use these social platforms and what types of content work best, my understanding of emerging platforms is greatly appreciated and I have the ability to contribute right away with many of our clients.

2.  What's a new trend you are seeing and wish to continue with?


Retargeting Ads. While they may not be brand new to everyone, these are some of the coolest things I’ve ever seen and they are getting continually smarter. Retargeting ads create an advertisement for a consumer based off of their previous search, email or purchase history. These types of responses are amazing to me because instead of seeing ads that are irrelevant to me, I see ads that are specific to me and generally more interesting to the consumer. Also they work! The return is well worth the spend.


3.  What trend are you moving away from?


Although it is still very much used in personal social media accounts, I feel that it is important to keep hashtags to a minimum and stay post-specific not industry-specific. Using too many hashtags looks unprofessional for company accounts and off point. While using generic hashtags like #IG, #L4L, #FF are good for receiving new followers, they aren’t the best for receiving genuine followers.

My #hashtag rules are:

Facebook: 0-2 hashtags

Twitter: 1-3 hashtags

Instagram: 1-5 hashtags

Pinterest: none...please none.

LinkedIn: none.



 Cem Sinci on Communication


1.  What have you learned half way through this year about your industry or your job?


I'm out in the field a lot having offline conversations with prospective new clients. One thing I was really surprised at is how many people are now aware of responsive design. Once an emerging trend that scared people away, I'm finding there's a universal excitement from business owners to optimize their site for every device. It's not foreign anymore.


2.  What's a new trend you are seeing and wish to continue with?


I don't know if it's a trend but I'm often surprised by how many people would rather connect in person and offline to discuss prospective online services. There's a general desire to take time away from all of digital tasks everyone is working on to meet in person. Local clients love to meet face-to-face and with clients that are out of town, Skype is often preferred over just a phone call.


3.  What trend are you moving away from?


In my world, I've found the tech-ier I speak to prospective clients, the less they care. People just want to know the basics - what does it cost and what do I get as a return? We're moving away from showing off our expertise and shifting towards being able to show customers that we can explain our services in a way that is easy to understand and demonstrates where they will find their ROI.

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