Afflecto Earns Platinum and Gold in Creative Excellence

We are excited to announce that Afflecto has earned platinum and gold in Creative Excellence from the 2022 Hermes Creative Awards. This is the second consecutive year our creative work has been recognized by this competition.

“As we always say, the real award is a happy client,” said Amy Rose, Vice President of Afflecto Media Marketing. “However, recognition like this validates that our team’s hard work and our agency’s investment in creative growth is truly moving the needle in the right direction.”


Platinum Creative Excellence Award

Afflecto received honors in two different categories. Platinum honors were given for the category of ‘Overall Company Branding Design’ for client Restorative Pain Management. Restorative Pain Management is pain management clinic that focuses on neck and back pain.

They came to Afflecto seeking an entire branding overhaul. “When I moved my practice location, I knew it was time to get our branding updated,” said Dr. Gregory Stynowick, MD. “Afflecto was able to create modern branding for my practice that wasn’t cliché. They exceeded my expectations!”

Afflecto work earns platinum honors for Restorative Pain Management clinic branding

Gold Creative Excellence Award

The Performance Eyecare print marketing was awarded the Gold distinction. Performance Eyecare is the largest, independently owned eyecare provider in the St. Louis region. They have nine locations on both sides of the river, including Columbia, MO.

Afflecto has added personality and dimension to our branding,” said Dr. Dirk Massie, Owner of Performance Eyecare. “We couldn’t be happier with our partnership.”


Afflecto’s Past Honors

The Hermes Awards recognized Afflecto last year as well. The work honored in 2021 was for client Clear Blue Smiles. Afflecto earned platinum and gold awards for branding and logo design. The committee also awarded Afflecto an honorable mention for their 2020 client holiday card.


About Afflecto Media Marketing

Afflecto Media Marketing is a full-service marketing agency based in St. Louis, MO., serving clients nationwide. Our team focuses on driving sales and brand value through expertise in digital media, broadcast media, website design and development, creative and branding, and social media.

“We believe in building strong partnerships with our clients. One of our fundamental beliefs is that good work happens when you work with people you like. This goes for our internal team and our client partnerships,” said Rose. “That’s why we don’t require long-term client contracts. The relationship continues as long as it is working for both sides. And I believe that’s why our client retention rate has stayed above 92% for over ten years.”


About the Hermes Creative Awards

The Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals. The awards recognize creative excellence in the areas of concept, writing, and design for both traditional and emerging media. This year the competition received over 6,500 entries from the United States, Canada, and dozens of other countries. Receiving a Platinum or Gold distinction is an incredible honor.

Hermes Creative Awards are one of the oldest and largest creative competitions in the world. Winners range in size from individuals to media conglomerates, as well as some of the biggest names in Fortune 500 companies. The international awards program is administered by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals. Judges are industry professionals looking for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.

Afflecto Earns Honors in the 2022 MUSE Creative Awards

We are excited to announce that Afflecto Media Marketing earned gold honors in the 2022 MUSE Creative Awards. Afflecto received gold for an Integrated Marketing campaign created for client Performance Eyecare. Anjelica Aquilino, Creative Specialist for Afflecto, was the lead designer on the project.

About the Muse Creative Awards

The International Awards Associate (IAA) hosts the MUSE Awards. The IAA aims to promote excellence in various creative and design industries by providing professionals a platform to compete against their peers. This year they received over 6,000 entries worldwide. The MUSE Creative Awards is a leading awards program created to honor creative and design professionals for their excellence.

“We are excited to receive this recognition from the IAA,” said Amy Rose, Vice President, Afflecto. “This recognition – and the desire to continually put out good work – motivates us to push ourselves every day.”

Afflecto’s Winning Work

Along with the gold honors, Afflecto also received two silver awards. One in the ‘Advertising’ category and the other in the ‘Branding’ category. Want to see the winning entries? Keep reading…

GOLD AWARD – Integrated Marketing
Client: Performance Eyecare
With opening of new offices the client knew it was time for a brand update. The result was a dynamic campaign that was unlike any of their competitors.

SILVER AWARD – Branding
Client: Restorative Pain Management
The branding work for this client extended from assisting in renaming his practice and developing a tagline; to creating a robust brand package.

SILVER AWARD – Advertising
Client: Performance Eyecare
With a new, bilingual doctor on the team, Performance Eyecare, was eager to tell the Bosnian community where they could go for their eyecare needs. Afflecto created both English and bilingual creative to use in the communication plan.

4 Ways Video Marketing Can Improve Your Business

Video content marketing has been around for decades, and yet, it has only been a few years since businesses started embracing it in everyday life. With the effectiveness, affordability, and engagement of video content all skyrocketing, now is the time to incorporate it into your marketing strategy! It is one of the most powerful tools you can add to your small business marketing toolkit.

We’ve identified the 4 ways video marketing can improve your business. Read on to find out how your marketing strategy can utilize video to drive sales, increase awareness, and get new customers:

1.   Organic Social Video Content

If you’re one of the 50 million people who visit TikTok every day, you know all about this use case already – video content is entertaining! It’s a great way to connect with people in a very friendly and natural-feeling way. It’s also the best method for your business to get in on the latest trends, infuse some personality into your brand, and just have fun!

When people watch a video that features a member of your team, a user of your product, or a raving fan of your business, it makes them feel almost as if they received a recommendation from a trusted friend. Shaking up your social feed with quality video content will add a serious boost to your credibility. It will also increase people’s perception of your brand – all without spending a dime on ads. 

2.   Eye-Catching Video Ads

Ok, so maybe you do want to spend a couple dimes on ads. Video can help you here too! Using video in your marketing campaign is often more engaging – and appealing – to your target audience. Instead of using static images, consider using videos as an effective way to get across your message. There are a couple key ways video ads outperform their non-video competition:

  • Video is more engaging, and it’s more likely to encourage people to view or click your ads (as much as a 2x increase, according to a Paid Ads Specialist at SeoPlus+!)
  • You can fit more information in a video format, giving people a better understanding of your product & brand than they’d get from a still image
  • Increase ad conversion rates.

As with any marketing initiative, a combo is usually best and you need to test, test, test for best results. But if your ad game has plateaued, video content could be just the thing to spice your content up. If you’re spending money on advertising you want to ensure that you get better results. Marketing videos are the way to do this.

3.   Video SEO with YouTube

It seems like SEO changes by the minute, but one thing has remained true for many years – good video can help your rankings. YouTube is a great place to get started. YouTube is actually the second largest search engine out there with 122 million daily users, and over a billion hours of video content consumed every single day according to Omnicore. Loading all of your brand videos onto YouTube is an excellent way to improve your SEO and reach potential buyers.

You can start with videos that have a high production value. High-quality video is usually produced by a marketing agency. Afflecto offers this service to current and potential customers. Unfortunately, a small business owner may not be able to afford a marketing agency. If that’s you, you can still create successful video content. Use your mobile phone and online editing software. In recent years consumers have become accustomed to seeing video production with a range of production values. So the good news is that anyone can make video. Either way, just dive in and get started!

Types of Videos to Create

Stumped as to what types of videos to create? Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Use customer testimonials to create videos that function as online customer reviews.
  • Create tutorial videos by giving your audience tips on how to solve a common problem.
  • Brand video is a great way to tell your customers about your company.
  • Product videos are a good idea for highlighting what products you sell and calling out specific features.

Once you’ve done the work, be sure to share it. Upload your video work to your YouTube channel and also share it on your social media pages.

The best part about YouTube SEO campaigns is that a lot of businesses aren’t doing it! While you may find it hard to compete in the super-saturated blog space, there is still plenty of opportunity to utilize a strong YouTube campaign to improve your overall impression share. Remember to add relevant keywords, a good video title, all the proper tags and descriptions, and you’ll be well on your way to tapping into the YouTube market.

PRO TIP: YouTube Snippets

Featured ‘snippets’ are pieces of content Google has selected to answer a certain query. They’re highly coveted spaces that land above search results and usually generate a ton of traffic for their website. YouTube content is now eligible to be chosen for a snippet, so go create those FAQ videos!

4.   Team Time-Savers

Are there certain things your team finds themselves explaining again and again? Let a video do the talking for you! By recording those recurring conversations and sharing with potential (or current) clients you’ll quickly discover hours (even DAYS) of time savings. Here are a couple pieces of content that could be good candidates for video responses:

  • A product demo to show the intricacies of how something works.
  • An onboarding video to get people acquainted with your business.
  • A ‘how-to’ video  if your clients need to do some set-up or troubleshooting on their own.
  • A sizzle reel/promotional video if your sales team could benefit from a visual aid.

Video FAQs can easily be emailed or texted to clients, added to your web pages, or uploaded to YouTube for the public. This will make information easily accessible to the right people – a huge benefit to you and the people you do business with.

Not Sure Where To Start with Video?

The benefits of video marketing are abundant. They can make a complex subject easy to understand, increase the performance of your digital marketing efforts, and increase engagement with your brand. If you don’t want to go it alone, we’re here to help!

Afflecto has experience in planning video strategy, scripting, and shooting video content for businesses of all sizes. Afflecto helps our clients create high-quality videos they can add to their social platforms, website, YouTube channels, and just about anywhere else. Schedule a free chat with us today to learn more about this powerful tool. We look forward to helping your business grow with video marketing efforts!

Afflecto Rebrand of Performance Eyecare

CASE STUDY

INDUSTRY: Eye Care/Vision
AGENCY SERVICES: Branding and Design

Having recently opened more offices and with more new locations on the horizon, Performance Eyecare knew it was time for a brand update. The end result was dynamic branding unlike any other local eyecare provider.


CLIENT

Performance Eyecare, an independently owned eye care provider serving the St. Louis Metro, Illinois Metro East, and Columbia, MO., areas with nine locations. They carry exclusive brands of eye glasses and are committed to top notch customer service. They also prioritize using the latest technology to ensure exams are painless, thorough, and precise.


CLIENT CHALLENGE

They needed to stand out from a larger competitor with deeper pockets and more locations.


AGENCY OBJECTIVE

Create a brand package that would help differentiate them from their competitors and be memorable, but that did not change their logo.


AGENCY SOLUTION

Performance Eyecare wanted to present themselves as the “Nordstrom of Eyecare.” A practice with a large selection of designer frames at reasonable prices with a focus on customer service. We defined this as ‘affordable luxury.’

Most of their competitors relied heavily on stock imagery of glasses. Or dated lifestyle images of people wearing glasses. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to take a different approach. Our goal was to create something that was memorable and unlike any other eyecare branding in the market.

We were inspired by the custom artwork our client features in his offices by Julie McNally. He discovered this this artist at the St. Louis Art Fair years ago and commissions paintings from McNally each time he opens a new office.


THE RESULT

Afflecto’s solution was to incorporate artistic components into the branding. We wanted to avoid using boring stock imagery and cliché eyecare elements that anyone could use.

We went through several iterations before landing on our final approach. Different concepts were created using different paint strokes, styles, and textures. Some with and without photography. Our team finally decided to move forward with the ink concept. We liked that it gave the brand a colorful look and dynamic feel. It also allowed us to showcase our client’s exclusive lines of eyeglass frames.

The concept was bright and drew attention to the eyeglasses. It was completely different than anything Performance Eyecare’s competitors were doing. And they loved that! The final brand concept represented the notion that with better vision care you can see in higher definition and more vivid colors.


Contact Afflecto

Developing a new brand? Or in need of a brand update? Afflecto loves to help our clients bring their vision to life. Our experienced team would love to talk to you about your business goals. Let’s chat! Contact Afflecto Media Marketing today.

Driving leads with a smaller budget

CASE STUDY

INDUSTRY: Orthodontics
AGENCY SERVICES: Paid Search, Remarketing, and Programmatic Advertising

What do you do when your client says they need to reduce their digital marketing budget, but still get the same results? You pivot and drive even more leads! Being a good marketer requires one to be willing to change directions, adapt, and use data to revise your plans. And that’s just what the Afflecto Media team did when our client made that call. Find out how our team was able to increase leads, drive more new patient starts, and generate more first-time callers than before despite the decreased budget. Keep reading to find out how we accomplished this task.


CLIENT

Orthodontic network in the St. Louis metro area with six offices under three different practice names.


CLIENT CHALLENGE

For nearly two years, our client had been successfully using digital marketing to increase awareness and drive leads for their orthodontic practices. However, after purchasing additional practices to grow their Dental Service Organization they needed to reallocate budgets to fund onboarding the new practices. The reallocation led to a 46% decrease in their digital marketing spend.


AGENCY OBJECTIVE

Afflecto was tasked with continuing to drive new patient leads with a reduced digital advertising budget. Spend less. Drive the same quantity – if not more – leads. Got it!


AGENCY SOLUTION

We opted to reduce awareness tactics in order to focus the majority of the budget on conversion efforts. This didn’t mean removing all awareness advertising. Supporting awareness is crucial to ensure your marketing reaches people throughout their decision-making process. And the decision-making process for dental and orthodontic decisions can take some time. So it was imperative that our client remain top of mind.

Our past social media advertising and digital display efforts had increased brand awareness for all ortho practices and resulted in an increase of 41% (on average) new website visitors. With demand and attention for these practices established, we knew that a continuity approach to brand awareness would be enough to sustain brand recognition. This allowed us to allocate more dollars to conversion tactics.

Even with these changes to the media plan, additional tweaks were necessary to ensure we reached our lead goals. We knew continuing to use Google Ads and Website Remarketing was the way to go, but how could we rethink our approach? We shifted our strategy to hone in on people who had a higher propensity to convert sooner rather than later.

A NEW SEARCH ADVERTISING STRATEGY

This meant fine tuning our Search targeting to focus only on people making a decision about ortho treatment now; and excluding those who were considering future treatment options. To do this we honed in on the top ten long-tail keywords. These type of keywords are more specific, less competitive, and attract a smaller, super relevant audience. They were the keywords that not only drive a lot of leads, but the ones that turn into new patient starts. They were not necessarily the least expensive, but they were the most effective.

If you can convert higher priced keywords more than the less expensive ones you tend to spend less overall for the same amount of – sometimes more – conversions. Or, in this case new patient starts.

We also focused on website visitors who did not make an appointment or call. Since they had demonstrated a high level of intent it was likely they’d remain interested for the foreseeable future. And convert to new patient starts faster than other groups. These people saw our remarketing ads – both digital display and video – while online. The Afflecto team as able to remarket to this audience using their excusive programmatic partner.


THE RESULT

After six months of the new digital plan being in place we were able to drive more leads with a smaller budget for all orthodontic offices. They also increased new patient starts and first-time callers. Sometimes less can be more.

Digital marketing case study resulted in 63% increase in new patient starts

The year-over-year starts for all six offices were positive with an average of 63% increase in new patients at each location.

The new plan increased calls from an average of 385 per office to 675 calls per office. Additionally, there was a 89% increase in first-time callers to all offices.

Online ‘Contact Form’ submissions from their websites increased 13% (on average) across all six offices.


Contact Afflecto

Interested in driving leads with a smaller budget? Maybe you want to fine-tune your digital marketing plan? Afflecto has extensive experience with developing strategy and running successful digital campaigns. Our experienced team would love to talk to you about your business goals. Let’s chat! Contact Afflecto Media Marketing today.

How To Plan a Year’s Worth of Social Content in 3 Easy Steps

We talk to a lot of business owners who declare themselves ‘not good writers’ and feel like they have no idea where to start when it comes to creating social content. Little do they know, they are usually sitting on a goldmine of industry knowledge, product details, testimonials, and other information their customers are dying to know!

When social media isn’t your full-time job, it’s difficult to dedicate the time it takes to come up with new post ideas on a daily or weekly basis. If you’re ready to upgrade your business’ social media game, but not sure where to start, this how-to is for you. Take a look at our three easy steps that will tell you how to plan a year’s worth of social media content in no time! Before you know it, this important to-do will be crossed off your to-do list for good! Follow these simple steps:


Step 1: Determine Your Goals

The first step is to determine what you want from this exercise. Social media feels like a necessary evil for many business owners. They spend way too long agonizing over how often to post, what to say, and how it should look. The best way to get started is to understand how your social media presence fits into their greater business goals.

Before you sit down to create your social media content plan, think about what you want to accomplish in your business. A good idea is to ask yourself a few simple questions. What are your marketing goals? Do you want to hire more people? Get your brand in front of a wider audience? Bolster sales of a new product or service? Highlight events or promotions throughout the year? Outlining these kinds of high-level objectives will help focus your content and make sure it’s actually serving a purpose.

Answering these questions is a great way to get a better understanding of topics to address in your social content.


Step 2: Write Your Copy

Ah, now for the fun part! Writing social posts can be intimidating, but with our Content Creation Grid, you can create dozens of posts in a matter of hours! This tool will save you a lot of time. On one axis, think about the focus of your social media content – perhaps a feature of a specific product, a fun historical fact about your business or industry, or an example of how someone uses your service to better their life. 

Afflecto Media Marketing free social media content creation tool

The other axis is the format addresses the variety of content types you can use on social media. This is how you will present your ideas. You might consider writing it out as a blog post or whitepaper, creating video content, or maybe choose something interactive like a quiz. Different people like to engage with different kinds of content, so it’s important to shake things up. What you will find is that one piece of content – such as a blog – can become many types of social posts. For example, a blog can be shared, but also become a video for Instagram Reels, a .gif for an Instagram post, an infographic on LinkedIn, AND a carousel of facts on Facebook.

The powerful tool we call the Content Creation Grid is the easiest way to create different types of content…quickly. With this tool, you can mix and match your focus and format to create 100+ pieces of content without reinventing the wheel 100 different times. Have ideas for other focuses or formats? Feel free to add your own! And the good news is that you can get started today by downloading this free social media tool today. We’re happy to share!

Our free templates will help you, your Social Media Manager, or whomever you have working (or not working) on your social media content. You’ll be amazed at the type of content options you are able to plan out.


Step 3: Create Cohesive Graphics

Social media posts need graphics, so the next step is to create graphics for your ideas. There are many things your graphics need to be – compelling, creative, but most importantly, cohesive. When people see your social content, they should instantly know it’s coming from you based on the look and feel of the content. 

When creating your social graphics, think beyond throwing your logo over a stock image. Build up a collection of fonts, colors, banners, and more to give your posts a custom feel. Be consistent with the filter you use, and feel free to recycle templates that do a good job showcasing your message. 

Not comfortable with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop? No problem! Canva is great for business owners who are looking for a simple, easy-to-learn design tool.


Bonus Tip: Fill Up Your Scheduler

Congrats, you’re well on your way to creating enough content to last your business for the next year! However, a year’s worth of social content does your business no good if it sits on your desktop. Another best practice for ensuring your valuable content is shared with the world si to use a scheduler. Once you’ve created your graphics for the year, load them into a social content manager like Sendible or Buffer so you can schedule posts to go out automatically throughout the year. If you would rather not use these tools, you can use a Google calendar, Google sheets, or Google docs to make a publishing schedule you can follow. By dedicating just a couple hours to scheduling posts after your creation session, you can coordinate a whole year of social content that will go out on its own. That way it doesn’t weigh on you (and your to-do list)!

When you’re looking for a social post scheduler, there are a lot of options to consider. Figure out what’s on your ‘must have’ list (like the ability to re-size posts for each platform). Then think about what’s on your ‘nice to have’ list (like an analytics dashboard or monthly reports). That will help you pick the perfect tool that fits your business needs as well as your budget. Whatever you use, make sure you share your new content among all your different social channels. It does no good if it sits on your computer.

Get started today and you’ll be amazed at how much time you save yourself while also creating so much content for your brand!

Need Some Help?

We’re here for you! We love helping business owners create successful social media strategy that support their business goals, write engaging content, and create beautiful graphics that elevate their brand. Get in touch with our team to schedule your free strategy session to discuss your social media marketing efforts. We’ll review your specific goals and offer you some free advice on what content ideas could work for your brand.

Afflecto Earns Platinum Award from dotCOMM AWARDS

Afflecto Media Marketing has earned multiple honors from dotCOMM Awards. Platinum and Gold honors were awarded to Afflecto for website design. Platinum was awarded for website design in the non-profit category for TYREDD. And gold honors were awarded for the new provider site created for Clear Blue Smiles. Afflecto also received an honorable mention in the Informational Video category. The ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ video series was created for client Amazing Smiles.

The dotCOMM Awards is an international competition honoring excellence in web creativity and digital communication. The competition honors the role creative plays in digital communication. This year the competition received over 2,500 entries. Receiving a Platinum or Gold distinction is an incredible honor.

The dotCOMM competition is administered by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals. Judges are industry professionals who look for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.

“We are pleased our work continues to get noticed,” said Michael Rose, President of Afflecto Media Marketing. “Awards are great, but our goal is to always do the best and most creative work we can do for our clients.”

One Secret Weapon You Didn’t Know Your Site Needed

If you’re a fan of our blog, you’re already familiar with the basics of a great website. But there’s one secret weapon that can have a huge impact on your site – both immediately and long term.

Hosting your website on a high-quality, dedicated server helps increase your site’s speed, SEO ranking, security, and up-time. It can be one of the biggest factors that will give you an edge over your competition.

Here’s how hosting your website on a top tier server can help:

Instant Speed Boost

When you switch from a heavy, weighed-down server to a more efficient, well-maintained one, your site’s speed can increase overnight! And not just increase a little bit – our private server averages a 38% bump for our clients. Since most users bounce off a site that takes longer than 2 seconds to load, every little improvement matters.

To understand what a high-quality server does to make sites work faster, let’s dig into the technical details…

  1. They have a dispersed content delivery network (CDN) – this means web traffic can be routed to a server near the user, no matter where they are. That will keep requests local and prevent unnecessary travel
  2. They’re prepared for large amounts of traffic – on a cheap server, if one site gets a lot of traffic at once it can decrease the performance of the rest. A good server will have multiple caching layers to best serve all users
  3. They let you know when your site needs an update – things like outdated plugins and WordPress versions can seriously slow down your site. A quality host will recognize when your site is behind so you can address the issue and get back up to speed

Long-Term SEO Improvement

Your website’s search engine ranking is based on how helpful search engines like Google or YouTube think your site is, based on a user’s inquiry. The most important factor is whether or not you provide helpful, informative content. But search engines also weigh things like your site’s speed, how well-maintained it is, and even what kinds of sites share the same server. That’s right – a site that was randomly tossed onto the same server could be dragging your SEO ranking down without you ever knowing it.

When a site is hosted alongside low-quality websites (like gambling, pharma, or online scams), it’s referred to as a ‘bad neighborhood’. And much like a real bad neighborhood, it can have a damaging effect on your home even if you keep everything in tip-top shape.

There’s a fascinating study that measured the SEO movement of thousands of sites from different quality servers, including ‘bad neighborhood’ servers vs. their higher quality counterparts. The study definitively showed that sites on the shared IP address ranked less strongly than those on the dedicated server, and the difference continues to grow over time.

Top Notch Security

One unfortunate side effect of the pandemic has been unprecedented levels of cybersecurity attacks. Thousands of sites are hacked every day, which results in leaked customer data, ransomware attacks, site takeovers, and plenty of other nasty things that can bring a business down. Here are a few ways a high-quality server plus regular maintenance can help:

  • Includes an SSL certificate, which shows your site can securely process data transfer, authentications, credit card purchases, and more
  • Alerts you when plugin updates are available, so you can avoid out-of-date and potentially vulnerable versions on your site
  • Keeps you out of ‘bad neighborhood’ IPs, making you less vulnerable to attacks
  • Provides regular backups and/or a backup environment, so you have a version of your site saved in case it needs to be restored

Signs You Might Have a Cheap Plan

Not sure how your current hosting arrangement measures up? Shopping around for better service? Here are a few red flags to watch out for:

  • They offer a ‘free domain’ with your hosting package – often these programs will buy a your domain themselves, and essentially rent it to you as long as you continue paying for hosting. If you ever cancel your contract, they usually take your domain with them or sell it back to you at a premium.
  • No staging site/test environment – before you roll out major site updates, new features, or plugin versions, you should test for issues on a backup version of your site. Many cheap providers forgo this, leaving you to make risky updates directly on your live site.
  • Tons of add-ons and extra expenses – Some companies offer a cheap rate for hosting, but then charge you extra for things like your SSL, disaster recovery, space usage, and more. Before you know it, you’ll be paying five times the sticker price you budgeted for!

Afflecto Media Marketing Earns Awards for Design Excellence

Afflecto Media Marketing earned both Platinum and Gold honors from the Hermes Creative Awards for work on client, Clear Blue Smiles. The Platinum distinction was awarded for overall company branding. And the Gold award was in recognition of logo development. Afflecto also received an Honorable Mention for agency stickers created to commemorate 2020.

About the Hermes Creative Awards

The Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals. It recognizes work in the areas of concept, writing, and design for both traditional and emerging media. The competition recognizes outstanding work in the industry while also promoting the philanthropic nature of marketing and communication professionals. This year the competition received over 6,000 entries from the United States, Canada, and dozens of other countries. Receiving a Platinum or Gold distinction is an incredible honor.

Hermes Creative Awards are one of the oldest and largest creative competitions in the world. Winners range in size from individuals to media conglomerates, as well as Fortune 500 companies. The competition is administered by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals. Judges are industry professionals looking for companies and individuals whose talent exceeds a high standard of excellence and whose work serves as a benchmark for the industry.

Afflecto Thrilled Design Work is Recognized

“I’m thrilled our design work is being recognized,” said Michael Rose, President of Afflecto Media Marketing. “Afflecto invested heavily in creative services over the past two years and to see that focus acknowledged means we’re doing something right.”

“The team was super pumped when we were notified of the awards. I mean, a shiny new trophy? Yes, please,” said Amy Rose, Vice President of Afflecto Media Marketing. “But, truly, the best award isn’t a trophy. It’s a happy client!”

“We went to Afflecto with a brand name and a vision. They brought that vision to life and exceed our expectations,” said Kevin Dillard, CEO and Co-Founder of Clear Blue Smiles. “We continue to be impressed with their creative output and continually hear from colleagues how they believe we have one of the sharpest and most compelling brands in dentistry.”

Need some brand advice? Let’s have a conversation and see if teaming up would make sense. Contact us here.

4 Keys to a Great Website (in 2021 and beyond)

A quality website can be one of the greatest assets you can invest in. It helps recruit new business, answers your clients’ questions, and teaches people more about your brand and what you’re all about. 

But the most important word in there is a quality website! Here are the 4 keys to make sure your website is truly working for you and your business: 

1. Lightning-Fast Site Speed

Bad news: The average person will bounce off a site if it takes 2 seconds or longer to load. 

Worse news: When they bounce off due to speed, people often return to their Google search and select the next site on the list – so not only do you lose them, but they probably end up on your competitor’s site!
The speed of your website is arguably the most important factor in starting the virtual conversation with your visitors. Here are a few things to pay attention to that will help you keep your site quick and light:

Image sizes – this is the #1 culprit we see when someone comes to us with site speed concerns. Did you post headshots straight from the photographer’s ultra-high-def files? Are your decorative background photos taking up a disproportionate amount space without providing a ton of value? A simple reduction in size or quality can often provide an instant speed boost (and is often not even noticeable to your users!). 

Plugins – plugins are a great way to introduce new features and functionality to your site without the cost of custom builds. But too many can really weigh your site down! Do a quick audit to make sure all of your site’s plugins are (1) actively being used (2) being properly maintained and regularly updated.

Server Quality – even if you have the fastest, most well-designed site in the world, if you host it on a subpar server your speed will be affected. While those cheap monthly GoDaddy plans might be tempting at first, the security and speed you receive on a higher end, private server can’t be beat.  

2.   Mobile-First Optimization

Since late 2019, over half of web traffic has come from mobile devices – and that percentage continues to climb every year. Gen Z is positioned to be the most mobile-reliant generation yet. Even Black Friday, once an in-store frenzy, has lost about 40% of its sales to mobile devices. So yeah, mobile-friendly sites are a pretty big deal!

A lot of the traditional web development best practices hold true for mobile development – in fact, often they’re just magnified. Here are a few keys for mobile-first optimization:

Prioritize readability over design – you may need to customize a version of your site specifically for small screens

Create clear, easy to click call-to-actions – make it easy for users to engage and take the action you want them to take

Cut the fluff – no one wants to scroll through tons of unnecessary content on a tiny screen. Give them what they’re looking for, and cut the rest

Avoid click-to-open features – some people think this makes for a cleaner interface, but more often than not, it just hides your content 

Take care of your hyperlinks – click-to-call, online scheduling, linking to supplemental resources, and click-to-email should all be linked to open with the press of a button

3. Top-Notch Security

As the owner of a website, it’s your duty to keep your visitors and their information safe. Cybersecurity attacks have been on the upswing, and even a minor attack can devastate businesses of any size. Protect yourself and your clients with the following:

  • SSL certificate (that padlock icon you see before your URL)
  • RECAPTCHA and other form security (reduces spam submissions and emails)
  • Private server (reduces the risk of being housed with low-quality sites) 
  • Regular password updates (and skip the obvious ones like [Hometeam][Year])
  • Minimize admin accounts (you’re only as secure as your least secure admin!)
  • Include a Privacy Policy (and make sure your team adheres to it)

And finally…

Protect client information at all costs! When someone fills out a form online, they’re trusting you with their personal information. Be sure your website follows all legal compliance regulations within your industry, and you store user info in a secure place.

4.   SEO Optimization

To get any real benefit from your website, people need to be able to find it! SEO, or ‘search engine optimization’, describes the way your website communicates with search engines like Google, Bing, or YouTube, and lets them know what kind of content lives on your site. This helps them know when you’re a relevant result when someone is searching for a business like yours.

A well-organized, SEO optimized site will have the following:

  • Helpful, unique content with keyword-friendly copy
  • Quality user experience and great site speed
  • Compelling title tags and meta descriptions
  • Pages full of great copy, but not too full (somewhere between 300-1500 words per page should be a good place to start)
  • Internal links (linking to other pages in your own site) and external links (linking out to other high-quality resources)

Try this: to figure out which direction your SEO should go, put yourself in your customers’ shoes! What kind of things would they Google to find you? What kinds of questions to they have about your product or service? Do they know your industry lingo, or should you stick to language the average person would know? This will help you develop a keyword list you can stick to while writing content and page descriptions.

Is your website due for a makeover? Get in touch for a complimentary website audit and discuss how to make your site best work for you!