conversational landing pages blog

Increase Your Conversion Rate With Conversational Landing Pages

When you launch an online or offline advertising campaign, you want to see a return on your investment. That return may look a little different from business to business, but in the end, you’re looking for a conversion opportunity, however you’re defining a conversion. One thing that can help your businesses increase your conversion rate is utilizing chatbots on your landing pages. 

A regular landing page is a page where a user “lands” after clicking on an advertisement for a specific campaign. The page gets the user exactly where they want to be at that moment. When you throw in a chatbox on your landing page, it becomes conversational. Companies have found that customers are converting three-to-four times more than with a traditional landing page. And if that isn’t convincing enough, a recent study also found that 84 percent of consumers want to ask questions and get answers from companies within the same platform, i.e., chatbots. 

So, what causes conversational landing pages to convert more customers? It’s the idea that the customer has moved from a passive viewer to a now engaged participant on a buying journey. 

Even if you are considering placing a chatbot on your landing page, you have to make sure the bot is actually helping your customers get to the end goal. You have to ensure the bot is asking the right questions and leading the conversation to conversion. It is important to remember, though, it is a bot, so there may be something your customer has a question about that requires a more in-depth understanding. This requires you to figure out the best and easiest way to get your users in contact with a real person. 


There are many different ways you can get started using chatbots to create a conversational landing page, and one of the easiest ways is using Facebook Messenger’s chat feature on your page. If you’re still not too convinced, check out these 9 Conversational Landing Page Examples that give you a view of the chatbots in action. 

Branded Merchandise Trends in 2021

They’re Here: 2021 Trends in Branded Merchandise

Well, 2020 was quite a year, right? But we made it through. Katie Duggan here. Despite all the curveballs thrown at us, the Rhodes Branding team shifted to meet our clients branded merchandise needs consistently. Enter masks, masks, hand sanitizer, and more masks.

Although we anticipate masks and safety items will still be prevalent for the months to come, we welcome 2021 like a new friend with fresh goals, positive vibes, and a renewed sense of motivation. Even if we’re still at home in leggings and yoga pants (no shame in the comfort game).

The new year brings new branded merchandise items that I’m excited about and look forward to getting my hands on. Here are the key 2021 trends in branded merchandise:

2021 Trends

  1. Health & Wellness
  2. Home Productivity
  3. Sustainability

As your branded merchandise guru, I’m here to provide you with helpful information and tips for any type of item you may need. Let’s take a look at the trends.

Health & Wellness

Maintaining both a sound mind and body will continue to be critical throughout 2021. Mental and physical health is not taking a back seat, and brands prioritize merchandise that promotes overall wellness in our daily lives. From apparel to tech, more and more items are designed with health in mind.

My Watch List:

  • Gaiter Hoodies: perfect for a stress-relieving morning run or walking your dog.
  • Yoga Tote Bags: store all your sweat essentials in one tote, including a separate compartment for your yoga mat or towel.
  • Hand Sanitizer Pens: these refillable spray sanitizer pens are great for your desk or storing in your kids’ backpacks.

On a color note, we’ve all experienced the yoyo of those sad versus elated feelings during these uncertain times, and the colors for 2021 follow just that — yellow and grey will be two trending tones this year.

Home Productivity

While we still seem to be converting corners of the house into personal offices or striving for the best wifi spots for video conferences (looking at you, kitchen counter), working from home this year is about finding your groove. We’ve sacrificed blazers and work pants for now; productivity and connectivity can not. With that in mind, I’ve seen a wave of at-home essential items to help with just that.

My Watch List:

  • Desktop Hub: this speaker not only charges your phone and holds your writing utensils, but it also has a built-in cable organizer and 4 USB ports. Hello, organization.
  • Mobile Office Document Sleeve: easily transition from working in the office to remotely by transporting your folders, paperwork, and paper clips in this zippable sleeve.
  • Adjustable Clip Vanity Light: lighting is everything during our numerous Zoom meetings; this adjustable light has three brightness settings and sits perfectly atop your laptop or phone. My personal favorite!

Sustainability

This trend continues its relevance and importance from the late 2010s to now. Brands are increasingly pursuing and creating eco-friendly branded merchandise items. According to Nielsen, since 2014, sustainable product sales have increased by close to 20 percent. As more companies and organizations put sustainability at the forefront of their goals and priorities, consumer behavior will grow.

My Watch List:

  • Recycled Materials Tees: the affordable District Re-Tee is 100% recycled fabric and never re-dyed, made from reclaimed material. Soft and top-quality.
  • Travel Tumbler with Straw: this reusable and washable straw is an excellent alternative for plastic and ideal for hot tea or iced coffee.
  • Recycled Totes & Backpacks: RuMe® has quality, lightweight, and incredibly packable options whether you’re gearing up for a day hike or heading to the gym.

I’m here to help elevate your brand. It’s my job not only to find the items you want and need on time and on a budget but to help you navigate all the branded merchandise options available. As your personal shopper, I stay up-to-date on new items and ensure top-notch quality on anything you may choose.

I look forward to working with you; reach out today and let me know how I can help you with your branded merchandise order.

Short-form video

How to Incorporate Short-form Videos in Your Marketing Strategy This Year

If you didn’t jump on the short-form video bandwagon in 2020 to market your brand, then 2021 is your year. From TikToks to Instagram Reels, it’s almost impossible to scroll through social media without coming across these videos. 

I know what you’re probably thinking, “I can’t and/or don’t dance, so this isn’t for my brand or me,” but don’t stop reading. These videos have evolved into more than just dance challenges. Let’s talk about why you should and how you can incorporate short-form videos into your marketing strategy this year.

Why short-form video

Typically, a short-form video is any video from 15 seconds to around two minutes long. So, aside from Youtube and Facebook, these are limits you should keep in mind when creating videos for most of the other major social media platforms. In 2018, Statista found that 85 percent of all internet users watched a video on their devices. And if that isn’t convincing enough, you should also know that “33 percent of viewers lose attention and will stop watching a video after 30 seconds, 45 percent by one minute, and 60 percent by two minutes,” according to 50Wheel. The bottom line is, the shorter, the better. 

You also don’t have to have much video editing experience to make these quick videos. The apps give you everything you need in one space, including original sounds. These simple-to-use features allow you to create a low maintenance video that could significantly boost your brand awareness.  

How to incorporate in your marketing

It is very tempting to over-explain while creating videos, but you’ll never be able to get your point across if users aren’t watching the full video. Here are some ways you can incorporate short-form videos into your marketing strategy. 

Educational/Behind the Scenes   

There’s always room to teach your audience something new. Educational videos don’t have to be overproduced – just one person, a popular sound, and simple text on the screen will do the trick. Make the video simple or go as far as a do-it-yourself (DIY) tutorial. 

Bringing people into your world is another easy way to grab attention. It makes the user feel more connected to your brand and eventually get them back to see more. Think about all of the hands-on processes you go through daily. Although it may take you hours in reality, on TikTok or Reels, you can show it in 30 seconds or less.

User-generated content

Sometimes you don’t even have to do any of the work. You can rely on users’ videos that help to promote your brand. Sharing user-generated videos can be done with a simple retweet or share on your page’s story. If you want to use their video in a more truly marketing sense, though, the first step is getting proper permission. Companies do this in many different ways, but one of the easiest ways is to prepare a statement and placing it in the comments section of the post. The conversation can be moved into your direct messages, and once you have the go-ahead, you now have great content that you didn’t have to produce. 

Of course, short-form videos aren’t appropriate in every situation, but they are worth considering. Find what works for your brand, and get into the habit of creating short-form videos because they don’t seem to be going anywhere.

Logo Decoration 101

Branded Merchandise: Logo Decoration 101

Hi there, Katie Duggan here. Part of my role is not only finding the branded merchandise you need but also knowing the trends and best practices in branding and logo decoration.

Now, you may be thinking, that’s a no-brainer, right? Well, have you ever had a bad experience with a decorator? Maybe your brand colors looked off on polos for your staff? Or a tumbler with your logo didn’t imprint correctly?

Oh, the anxiety.

That’s where I come in. I’m here to provide you with helpful information and tips for any type of decoration you may need. Let’s take a look at the popular decoration techniques trending right now.

Screen Printing

Let’s start with screen printing. This imprinting method is standard with apparel, where your brand or logo design is transferred to fabric. Now that can mean materials of all different types, whether that’s a standard sweatshirt or a team polo, but typically ink is squeegeed through a stenciled screen and stretched over a frame. Last but not least, the artwork finishes in a dryer. From one-color logos, front-and-back placements to full-color designs, this method is a decorating staple.

My Tip: Not all products can be screen printed due to heat sensitivity; make sure to select a durable fabric for top-quality results.

Embroidery

Another trend in apparel decoration is embroidery. This method involves adorning an item with a needle and thread or yarn. Logos are converted and digitized with online software to create precise and detailed stitch patterns, angles, depth, and stitch types to ensure it comes out just right. Standard thread options include polyester and rayon. Have a metallic logo? No problem, there are also metallic thread colors and even Nomex thread options for fire resistance. Embroidery is a high-quality decoration option for not only polos, jackets, and fleece apparel, but it looks sharp on hats, blankets, and bags, too!

My Tip: As a cost-saver, make sure to have vector or eps files of your logos or designs to save on digitizing charges.

Imprinting

Let’s talk about imprinting next. This decoration method is very similar to screen printing, but instead of apparel, this method is applied to hard goods. Specialized ink is applied directly to a branded merchandise item and solidifies after printing with an ultraviolet light that follows the print design. Items can be embellished with one-color or full-color artwork with this decoration style, too. From drinkware to bags to pens, a wide variety of branded merchandise options can be imprinted with your logo or custom design.

My Tip: Request the imprint area size dimensions for your items to make sure you know how large or small your logo will turn out and give yourself the ability to maximize if possible.

Laser Etching & Engraving

Laser etching and engraving are alternative decoration options popular with hard goods such as drinkware and upscale materials. This decorating process starts with tools that burn a logo or design into the item’s surface, giving it a subtle tone-on-tone appearance. The image the etching creates has a high-end look that is typically the same color but a few shades darker than the item’s color. Laser etching can also have a metallic finish as an option as well. Logos, both big and small, turn out nicely with this durable decoration method.

My Tip: Shopping for glass merchandise? This method is my go-to for glass drinkware because of the high-end finish.

Embossing & Debossing

Embossing and debossing methods are popular for office supplies or leather and suede items for a clean, professional finish. These methods use a metal-engraved die tool and a combination of time and temperature to create a design that will not fade or wash away. An embossed logo is created when the logo is pressed, creating a puffed or raised look. Debossing is the opposite; the logo is depressed and dented into the material of the item. This method tends to have a higher price point, but it brings an elevated look (literally!) and an upscale option to standard decoration techniques.

My Tip: Ask for a pre-production sample; this allows you to visually see and feel your embossed or debossed logo and have an accurate representation of the item before it’s sent off to production.

The beauty of working with me at Rhodes Branding is I have the industry knowledge, established partnerships with decorators, and pricing knowledge to make sure you’re within your budget without sacrificing quality. When you place an order with me, I’ll ensure your brand colors and logos come out just right.

I’m here to help elevate your brand. It’s my job not only to find the items you want and need on time and on budget but to help you navigate decorating your branded merchandise and ensuring quality is top-notch.

I look forward to working with you; reach out today and let me know how I can help you with your branded merchandise order.

google my business

Google My Business: Why your school should be using it

In today’s digital world, when you need to figure out something, what do you do? You guessed it; you Google it. Although Google has transformed into a verb that has replaced the term “search,” it is still a worldwide platform that offers many tools that could be beneficial to your school. It would take a lot of time to go through them all in this one blog, so we’ll start with a simple tool that you can use to promote your school’s brand – Google My Business.

What is Google My Business?

Have you ever searched for a business and clicked the website button or the phone number but found yourself at a broken link or hearing the “out of service” tone? It’s frustrating, right? That’s where Google My Business comes in. Unlike what many people perceive, Google My Business isn’t just for businesses selling goods or services. It is an easy-to-use tool that lets you claim your business or organization and ensure all the information on the profile is accurate. 

To get started editing your school’s information, all you need to do is verify or claim it on Google My Business. And if your school doesn’t have a profile yet, you can create one at the same link. Once you’ve claimed or created your profile, you can update all the necessary information, and your school will be visible to users through Google search and on Google Maps.

Why do I need to use it?

First off, you should be using Google My Business because it’s completely FREE. Secondly, if there is information about your school on the Internet, it should be accurate and represent your brand as a whole. Here are a few additional reasons you should use this tool:

  • You can control who edits and manages your profile information. If someone leaves or is a new addition to your team, it’s easy to remove or add additional managers. This feature is crucial in ensuring the information is up to date. 
  • You can receive and respond to reviews. If parents at your school love what you’re doing, let them brag about it for the world to see. Reviews bring an extra layer of validation to your school and help parents feel secure in their child’s education choice.
  • You can add text, photos, and other content. Like your website and social media profiles, your Google My Business gives prospective parents a glimpse into what life is like at your school. This is an excellent way to lead them to your social media pages and website to seek more information. The text on your profile can also help your school be found easier when users search with specific keywords.
  • You can view insights. Google My Business Insights can tell you how people find your profile and what they are doing once they get to it – clicking call, clicking to the website, or clicking for directions. Knowing how someone found your school on Google could help with future marketing initiatives. 

In the new year, you and your team should create or claim a Google My Business profile if you haven’t already. It’s an easy step to ensure you’re ahead of the curve.

rapid communication blog

Is your rapid response communication plan ready?

Social media has dramatically increased communications timelines for public relations practitioners in virtually every industry. Think of amusement parks. Before Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook came to fruition, amusement parks never had much outside pressure when a ride would break down and leave riders stranded at the top of a hill. Fast-forward to 2020, every person in the park has their phone out taking pictures and Facebook Live videos of the people stuck on the ride, and the communications team has multiple news stations calling about it. The combination of social media and smartphones has changed the way we communicate.

During a crisis, the need for a rapid and accurate response is vital. Because of social media and how quickly content and news can spread, quick turnaround times can lead to mistakes, misunderstandings, or, even worse, having your message misconstrued.

Here are a few strategies to ensure your rapid communication is both practical and efficient.

Identify the communications team and define roles

The most significant and crucial step is to identify your communications team and define roles. Establishing a central unit can often help block out the noise, keep the team focused, and centralize the message for instance. After selecting your team, you first need to decide who will be the message originator. Who is responsible for the message content and crafting the message?

Other vital roles include:

  • Social media comment moderation
  • Publishing news to the website
  • Email and text message communications
  • Phone tree activation and monitoring phone lines
  • Pushing out the app notifications to parents
  • Media spokesperson
Be Over Prepared

Once you have your team identified and roles defined, set up a recurring meeting time (and keep it). Having a set meeting time will allow you to communicate and anticipate consistently as a group and think through possible scenarios. Discussions should lead to the development of preventative measures, which helps you avoid the need for a rapid response plan of action.

Develop a plan (and yes, practice it)

The rapid response plan should be tailored to your school and your school’s needs. The plan needs to be specific to your actions and your voice, what you will do, and what you will say. Map it out. Create drafts and templates for possible situations identified in the preparation stage. The plan and being over-prepared will ensure an efficient execution when needed. 

No good plan goes untested. Simulate a rapid response situation and mock the execution. Then, evaluate how your team did and button up any gaps and opportunities.

Monitor the Reaction

No rapid response plan ends after hitting send, post, or speaking at a press conference. Make sure your team continues to monitor all channels. On social media, answer questions and respond when appropriate. Responding to comments and being engaged ensures you stay in control of your message.  

Review your process and execution 

After the dust has settled, review your process and team’s execution. Your team must take an honest approach to evaluate the effectiveness of your plan’s implementation. What went wrong? What was executed at a high level? Both questions should lead your team to the final question: what can we do better in the next rapid response situation?

Branded Merchandise 2020 Trends

Branded Merchandise Trends We Tracked in 2020

2020 Branded Merchandise Trends

The end of 2020 is right around the corner! We’re sharing the branded merchandise trends we tracked in 2020.

Let’s get started; reach out today and let Katie know how she can help you with your branded merchandise order.

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Branding for Good initiative

Rhodes Branding launches Branding for Good initiative

Applications for the free brand overhaul will be accepted online at rhodesbranding.com/BFG until December 31, 2020.

recruitment blog graphic

Recruitment season: Finding the best talent for your school

The end of the calendar year and the beginning of the next are crucial for schools to recruit talented teachers and staff members for the upcoming academic year. Many schools have job boards, and human resources departments do a great job maintaining up-to-date listings. However, in today’s digital age, you could be doing much more to attract the best talent for your schools. 

Here are a few simple strategies for recruiting new team members that will help to make sure you’re bringing in the best. 

Utilize industry-specific job boards

Outside of your school’s job board, you should be getting the word out about your job openings through other websites, as well. Industry-specific job boards allow for potential employees to find your school even if they weren’t explicitly looking for it in the first place. Look into posting on sites like TeachingJobs.com, SchoolSpring, or K12JobSpot. These sites all have conditions and pricing to post a listing, but it’s well worth the investment to find your next great employee.

Host (virtual) meet and greets

Perhaps your newest employee is in a neighboring town, or maybe they will be coming from across the country. Either way, it’s vital to do your best to make them feel like your school is the best move. Workplace culture is a large deciding factor for many people who are looking for a career change. A 2019 survey by Glassdoor, Inc. found that almost two-thirds (65 percent) of employees stay in their job because of the culture. Your school’s website and social media channels can help portray your school’s culture, but a face-to-face or virtual interaction can make an even more significant impact. 

Encourage involvement from your superintendent, school principals, teachers, and administrators in the event. Having faculty and staff members participate will allow future employees to hear and see the excitement your staff has for your school.

Use paid advertising

If your school has the budget, you should strongly consider allocating some of your funds to paid advertising. Social media ads, Google Ads, and other online advertising channels are easily accessible and only cost what you’re willing to pay. You could start with one ad that you spend $50 on, or you could create a multi-ad campaign that runs for months that costs you $50,000. With paid advertising, you can target and get your message out in front of the specific type of candidate you would want to apply for your open position. 

giving Tuesday graphic

Giving Tuesday: Five steps for a successful campaign

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, which means lots of good food and great sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But, many people tend to forget about Giving Tuesday, and even if you’ve never planned a giving campaign for this particular Tuesday after Thanksgiving, now may be the time to reel in some support. 

We know the school year has been hectic, and the holidays have crept up on all of us, but there’s still time to gather your team and bring together a successful Giving Tuesday campaign. We’re giving you five easy steps to make that happen.

Decide how you want to accept gifts

First, ask yourself these questions. How have supporters given in the past? Do we have the ability to accept online gifts? Can we accept gifts through Facebook giving? You want to go with the quickest option that makes the most sense for your school. Whichever route you choose, though, make sure it is clear to your supporters. 

Personalize your graphics

Graphics are one of the first things you should make sure is prepped. Graphics should represent your school and be eye-catching enough to get someone to stop and look. At a minimum, you’ll want to make sure you have these three types of graphics: one main design announcing the campaign, a photo frame for supporters, and a “thank you” graphic to be used once the day is over. If you have an in-house graphic designer, great, but the official Giving Tuesday website has a page with free graphics to use if you don’t.

Create a landing page or Facebook event

Now that you have graphics in place, it’s time to decide where this event will “live.” Your event’s home will depend on your team’s bandwidth, but either option should work well for this one-day event. You can add a landing page onto your current website with an easy-to-remember custom URL – something along the lines of www.yourschoolname.org/givingtuesday. The landing page should include why people should give, what the money supports, and how they can give. This page is enough to get your message across. If creating a landing page isn’t for you, creating a Facebook event should suffice. Include the same information that you would on the landing page, and then be sure to invite as many people as possible. 

Send a targeted email 

A giving campaign is a perfect time to utilize the email lists you have. Tweak the messaging slightly based on who you are sending the email to (parents, alumni, local businesses, etc.). Your message should clearly define your ‘why.’ Let them know what’s going on at your school and how their gift could help future plans.  

Promote heavily on all social media platforms 

This step goes without saying. Promote, promote, and promote some more on your social media platforms. An easy way to keep track of the conversations surrounding your Giving Tuesday campaign is to create a unique hashtag. Make sure this hashtag is on your graphics, in the text of your posts, and everywhere else you mention the campaign. You will also want to keep your supporters updated on your progress on the day of the event. If accepting online donations, prepare to periodically let everyone know how much you’ve raised throughout the day. This will keep them excited and the momentum going. 

Even if you don’t participate in Giving Tuesday, don’t miss out on other fundraising opportunities. Read one of our previous blog posts, Online Fundraising Ideas for Your School, to find a few easy ways to bring in the dollars.