25 August

Using Story to Stand Out in a Personalized World

Using Story to Stand Out in a Personalized World

Doug Pace

By: Doug Pace – Bayshore Solutions Executive Vice President & COO

Over the last few years we have recognized a significant shift in digital marketing. As platforms become more advanced, the level of personalization available has made a marketer’s job very difficult. Google leverages 57 anonymous signals to customize your search returns (even more if you are logged in to your Google account). Facebook pre-filters your news feed so you only see a fraction of the post you are following. Display networks are being taken over by remarketing ads, only showing ads based on your past site visits. As these trends continue, the only way for an organization to truly break out is leverage storytelling to create compelling and creative content!

Storytelling is nothing new and has always been a tool of the most effective marketing teams. These teams look beyond the digital tactics of SEO, PPC, and Social Media. They talk in terms of human emotion, user engagement, and directed paths. Leveraging a collection of visuals, copy, and the previously mentioned tactics, they take their audience on a digital adventure, creating engagement and trust in the brands that they represent.

These skills were almost lost during the rise of the digital age, giving way to scientific worlds leveraging tactics in a robotic manner – looking mostly at analytic data, forgetting the human element necessary in an effective marketing campaign.

So…..How does a marketer start integrating effective story across their current digital campaigns? We talk a look at some of the best storytellers and become inspired by some of their techniques. I have always loved Pixar and their approach to storytelling and I frequently refer to their “22 Rules of Storytelling” to spark my imagination.

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling (via Emma Coats)

  1. You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
  2. Keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.
  3. Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about until you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
  4. Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
  5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
  6. What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
  7. Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
  8. Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
  9. When you’re stuck, make a list of what wouldn’t happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
  10. Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
  11. Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
  12. Discount the first thing that comes to mind—and the second, third, fourth and fifth. Get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
  13. Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
  14. Why must you tell this story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
  15. If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
  16. What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
  17. No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on. It’ll come back around to be useful later.
  18. You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best and fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
  19. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
  20. Exercise: Take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How do you rearrange them into what you do like?
  21. You must identify with your situation and/or characters; you can’t just write “cool.” What would make you act that way?
  22. What’s the essence of your story? The most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.

Bayshore Solutions understands the importance of Story in building the best websites and digital marketing strategies for our customers, so much so that defining and promoting Brand story is a core service offering of our business.

Contact us today to learn how we can help your business develop and use its story more effectively to drive business results.

Doug Pace< is is the Executive Vice President and COO at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Agency.

20 August

Website Cost vs. Website Worth

Website Cost vs. Website Worth?

Cordes Owen

By: Cordes Owen – Bayshore Solutions Team Vice President On my way into the office today, I looked over at my XM radio and on the display it reads Wix.com. The voice over comes on and tells us listeners how we don’t need to spend a lot of money on our company websites because everything we could want on a website is available by simply logging in and using their inexpensive website builder.

Even though a very small fraction of the radio listeners will ever actually attempt to build their own website, some of the listeners will be left with an impression that a cheap website is good enough for their business. Beware: The do-it-yourself websites almost never produce a result comparable to a professional site.

The reason is because most people concentrate on what they are good at. Plumbers are great plumbers, and fiberglass guys build boats. Regardless of what platform is chosen as the foundation for your website, a great website takes marketing know-how, artistic abilities, copywriting, and technical skills. For these reasons, freelancers are even at a disadvantage. There are very few people who possess all of these skills at a high level enough to produce a website and marketing plan good enough to truly move a business forward.

I just spoke with a company this week who had months earlier, decided a team developed solution was too expensive. They decided to use a freelancer who was going to charge 50% of what we estimated. Now after a difficult working relationship and inconsistent results from their freelancer they are ready for an agency solution. How many more sales could this business have made if they had chosen a digital agency a year ago? Now they are faced with the cost of completely re-doing what was done and starting over.

The truth is a great website takes a team. Creative directors quickly capture the brand and positioning of the company and translate this into professional graphics and imagery. Front end developers take these graphics and transform them into web friendly formats and responsive HTML. Programmers write custom code to streamline business functions or to incorporate sales and marketing automation. Project managers act as analysts and keep projects on schedule and control costs. Marketers ensure the site’s goals are setup for tracking so advertising campaigns can be measured and future ad spend can be optimized for maximum effectiveness. Meanwhile a team leader, in our case a Vice President, oversees the project or campaign as an added layer of quality.

Only very large businesses can afford to staff such a specialized team and even then it is difficult to retain such talented individuals because part of the reward this agency team gets is the mental stimulation of working on diverse accounts. This is why agencies will always inherently produce a higher level of quality and results.

As a business you may have spent years developing the perfect burger or craft brew and process to take it to market. Shouldn’t you spend an equivalent effort telling the world about it?

Cordes Owen is a Vice President at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Agency.

11 August

Virtual Reality for Business – the Future is Here

Virtual Reality for Business–the Future is Here

By: Jason Dorsett – Bayshore Solutions IT Team

Virtual Reality is about to make a major resurgence in our lives. Virtual Reality is a computer environment that mimics the real world. It has been around in some shape or form since the 1970’s, however the biggest roadblock to consumer virtual reality has been cost. That is changing.

Currently there are three major companies that are in the process of making Virtual Reality products for consumers. Those companies are Facebook’s Oculus Rift, Sony’s “Project Morpheus”, and Google’s “Cardboard: VR for Android”.

Let’s take a closer look at Google Cardboard…
It is the least expensive and is the only product currently available for the Android Smartphone. Cardboard is a simple enclosure made of “cardboard” that allows you to turn a smartphone into a VR headset. The Cardboard case is very easy to build. Google even gives a full set of instructions on how to build this device here

Consumer-convenience entrepreneurs are already catering to people who don’t want to make one themselves. There are many websites that offer them pre-made in the $10 to $25 range, like Unofficial Cardboard, DODOCase, and DealeXtreme

Google Cardboard Virtual Reality Headset

Google’s “Cardboard” VR Headset

So what can you do with Cardboard? Well, some of the things you can do with Cardboard right now are:

  • you can fly with Google Earth,
  • take a tour through Paris on Street Vue, and
  • while you are in Virtual France stop in Versailles and take a tour with a local guide.

Google has released the code for this project and developers are working on new applications every day.

What does this mean for Business?
Because virtual reality tech is now accessible to basically anyone with an Android smartphone, a few odds & ends, and a pizza box (or roughly $20.  In either case, this is a huge amount of people), consumers have a new way to engage and interact with your brand or business.

If this channel of access resonates with your customers, Businesses could utilize VR for a (paper)cutting-edge way to offer visual and virtual:

  • “Shotgun” Driving or hand-in-hand walking directions to your location(s)
  • Factory, location, property tours
  • Walk-throughs of manufacturing, instructional or business processes
  • Looks at latest seasonal products/fashions/trends

…and many other applications.

How many ways could you put a 3D experience into the hands/eyes of your customers to benefit their discovery, adoption, and preference of your products and services?

Bayshore Solutions helps our customers envision, create and implement their web infrastructure and digital marketing to put them ahead of the competition and grow their business. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.

Jason Dorsett is the IT Manager of Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing agency.

4 August

Bayshore Solutions’ New LoDo Denver Office

Bayshore Solutions New LoDo Denver Office

Keith Neubert

By: Keith Neubert – Bayshore Solutions Denver Team Vice President

We’ve been busy this month! In addition to delivering solutions for our customers, our Denver office was busy moving from our previous location north of downtown to our new location, which puts Bayshore Solutions in the heart of downtown Denver, an area known as “LoDo” or Lower Downtown.
Bayshore Solutions Denver - 1860 Blake Street

After an exhaustive search spanning several months, this location was selected based on its central location in the heart of a booming tech and creative area, ease of access for our customers, our team, our future team members and its original and creative style.

Bayshore Solutions Denver’s home at 1860 Blake Street is a beautiful building just a block or two from Coors Field (home of the Rockies), a couple of blocks from the new Union Station, the convention center, the Pepsi Center (home of the Nuggets and the Avalanche) and Mile High Stadium (home of the Broncos). As well as everything else you’d expect in a vibrant downtown .

View from the deck at Bayshore Solutions Denver office

Since Bayshore Solutions opened offices in Denver in 2012, our team has delivered award winning web design, development and digital marketing for a number of customers in the Denver / Boulder area and beyond. Our work has earned industry acclaim including the Addy Awards, Interactive Media Awards, Davey Awards and many more.

Customers in the area have praised our full service approach – more than just Denver web design, or just development – we’ve been the Denver agency to help develop their compelling stories, create campaigns, integrate technology, and measure the return on investment.

team at Bayshore Solutions Denver Office

We’re excited to join the creative community in downtown Denver and to bring our own unique blend of creativity, culture and 18 years of customer success to the area. Thank you to the Denver community for the warm welcome and we look forward to growing with you!

 

Keith Neubert Leads the Denver office of Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Agency.


31 July

Tips for a Successful Company Blog Strategy

Tips for a Successful Company Blog Strategy

Lucy Esteves

By: Lucy Esteves – Bayshore Solutions Project Management Team

Our entire team helps keep content going on the Bayshore Solutions blog.  We share the responsibilities because we know that we all have valuable information to share.

But do we have valuable information to share on a schedule? Can we create content on the fly or just because a deadline is looming? The answer is no. Here are some helpful tips when executing your own company blog strategy:

  1. Only write a blog post if you have something to say.
  2. Involve all of your team members, ideas come from every role in your organization.
  3. Create a schedule but let people know ahead of time that their blog is due so they have time to come up with a topic.
  4. Have some back up posts in case someone misses their day to post.
  5. Be timely. If something is happening in your office or in your industry, write about it that day, that minute and post it!
  6. Use keywords and really bring home the reason for your post so that people can find it and most importantly read it.
  7. And lastly, make your blog engaging and something your readers can learn from.

Hope this helps you come up with your own company blog strategy. A well thought out digital plan isn’t created overnight. It takes lots of hard work and experienced team members to pull it off.

Contact Bayshore Solutions if you need help on your own digital strategy and to see if a company blog is a benefit to you!

Lucy Esteves is Director of Project Management at Bayshore Solutions—a Web Design, Web Development, and Digital Marketing Agency.

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