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The Whiteboard

our thoughts on marketing

Anthony
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Aftermath: What You Need to Know About the Mobilegeddon

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A few months ago, Google rolled out a new algorithm change that affected all websites without mobile-friendly design. By now, you’ve probably heard all the doom and gloom about mobilegeddon—but did it really affect your website or your business? What does the future look like for mobile-friendly search? Here’s what you need to know for 2016.

Get Mobile…or Pay the Price

57% of consumers say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. Plus, 60% of all searches are performed on mobile devices. Google works to make the Internet more accessible to the world. The people have spoken, so businesses must get on board to ensure their website stays on top of search engine results.

Though the immediate effects of mobilegeddon weren’t as dramatic as marketers expected, the trend in algorithm changes will certainly continue to benefit mobile-friendly websites. So if you’re not working to ensure your website meets Google’s new mobile-friendly specs, your business won’t show up in mobile search results, time and time again—sending all that mobile traffic to your competitors.

How do we know how the new mobile algorithm will affect small businesses, long term? Truth is, we don’t. So it’s better safe than sorry—as consumers turn to more and more mobile devices, smartphones, tablets, and even wearables, it’s time to start moving toward mobile. Keep in mind that even if your site looks “ok” on your mobile device, it might not be up to speed as far as Google is concerned. Check it here with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.

B2B is Not Exempt

Think your B2B business wasn’t affected? Think again. Last year, 72% of B2B decision makers reported using mobile devices to research before buying products or services for their business. Couple that with the fact that there are billions of mobile devices out there being used to browse the web then it’s a pretty big deal.

Today’s marketing is flowing away from the traditional “B2B” and “B2C” labels. Now it’s all H2H: human-to-human. Your B2B website isn’t selling to other businesses. You’re selling to the people within those organizations.

Turns out business buyers make decisions the same way consumers do, and for the same reasons. They want information, competitive prices, and a vendor they can trust. Plus, they want to do their research in their downtime, on the train going to work or during an endless, boring meeting.

Bottom Line: Going mobile appeals to people. Your business website should, too.

Separate Mobile Site or Responsive Design?

While a separate mobile-friendly site or subdomain might seem like a quick fix, it’s worth evaluating your mobile-friendly website options. You can choose a responsive site design, a hybrid-responsive site design, an adaptive site design, or a separate mobile site.

Google openly advocates for responsive design, a kind of website design that readily adapts to the user’s screen, regardless of size. Responsive design has some definite advantages. You’ll only need to update and format one page, it updates across all devices, and it includes all features supported by mobile devices, including tablets. Your best bet is to consult with a creative team experienced in digital marketing to determine the best fit for your business.

The Social Shoe Drops

In May, there was another subtle algorithm change, involving social signals like bounce rate, for example. How long a user stays on your site, where they go when they leave a page, and how many people share your pages and posts further affect your search engine rankings. If your website isn’t mobile friendly, you could lose a lot of points in the social signals arena as well.

If you’ve lost search engine page ranking position recently, it could be any combination of issues, but if your site isn’t mobile friendly, that’s definitely where you should start focusing.

Google is really drilling down into user experience, with the goal of delivering the best possible content in the most accessible way. If you want your business to continue to stay relevant in search engine rankings, it’s your responsibility to craft a new mobile experience for your prospects, readily available on any and all devices your visitors might be addicted to at the moment.

Anthony
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Unlock Opportunities With A FREE Live Site Audit

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There’s an old saying out there that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. As marketers, we can draw parallels by saying you don’t know what’s wrong until you see it. That’s where we come in.

Value For You, The Customer

Having worked in the agency space for nearly a decade helping companies ranging in size from mom-and-pop eCommerce shops to Fortune 100 corporations, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that prospective customers want a taste of what’s to come in a prospective retained services engagement.  At Butane, we put everything on the table, true to our core value of transparency, throughout the sales process and we’re proud of it. As a result we’re rolling out FREE 30-minute live site audits via Join.Me.

Live Audit? What’s That?

For prospective clients looking to drive traffic, increase conversions and retain existing customers, we’re willing to put skin in the game and jump on a conference call to show you – live – how we can help via a screen-sharing session. While there’s no commitment on your end, we value thought-leadership and the idea of a sharing economy… We’re more than happy to illustrate our talent and provide you with takeaways to immediately increase traffic, improve conversion rate and retain customers like the “big brands” do.

What We Look At

If you haven’t read about our process and philosophy, it’s business-centric in nature. We know resources – both internally and at the vendor level – are scarce, so we prioritize what we look at by breaking down Effort vs. Impact. With that said, here’s a sample of what we look for, broken out by business goals:

Acquire Traffic

To drive more traffic to your site, we’ll look into both organic and paid strategies currently in place. If you’d like to give us access to Google Analytics, Google AdWords or Bing Ads in advance for additional insights that’s great, but not required.

  • Organic Visibility (SEO): 40% of what Google & Bing look for in organic ranking signals deal with on-site elements such as the technical side of your website (i.e. coding standards, markup, server configuration, etc.) and on-page optimizations such as keywords used in copy, quality of content and Meta tags. We’ll do an audit on that (we’re pretty technical but can speak marketing – so it may be advantageous to have an IT member with) along with the other 60%: off-site elements like the quantity and quality of links pointing to your site and social mentions.
  • Paid Media (PPC): Utilizing third-party tools like SEMRush, we’ll look into your current paid media strategies and compare them to others in your space… even competitors. With access to AdWords, though, we’ll be able to look into campaign architecture, bid & budget management, keywords, search queries and of course the latest extensions to increase your visibility in the paid arena.

Convert Website Visitors

Let’s face it – having a company website isn’t just informational nowadays. It should, and hopefully, is used as a sales tool to convert browsers to buyers. Current benchmarks (depending on industry) illustrate a 2.0% – 2.5% conversion rate is standard, with a proper analytics implementation. If you’re below that mark, we’ll look at everything from design, user experience, taxonomy, page layouts, content and calls-to-action to help increase conversion rate in 2016 and beyond.

Retain Existing Customers

We all know it’s a LOT more cost effective to retain a customer than acquire a new one. Not all of us in the marketing space practice what we preach, however, so we’ll take a look at current retention strategies and tactics from social media marketing, advertising and email lists to get you ahead of your competitors and the industry as a whole.

Let’s Get Started!

To get started, visit our sign-up page to schedule your FREE live audit. We’ll get back to you within 24 hours to put some time on the calendar and get the show on the road. If you have any questions about the process, feel free to email me personally.

Anthony
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5 Tips for a Successful Project Kickoff

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A lot of us have been there. Whether it’s been client side or at the other end of the table, the introductory kickoff meeting or conference call can make or break a project before it even begins. Having been on quite a few project kickoffs as both a client and an agency rep, we’ve recognized 5 key elements that can set the stage for the success (or failure) of your project:

    • Know who you’re working with. There’s nothing worse than going into a conference call and not knowing that your service provider doesn’t offer what you’re expecting of them. I’m guilty of this on the client side. We’re all busy, aspiring professionals but there’s no excuse for not taking 10-15 minutes to prep for your call. Luckily, I’ve recently begun putting it all on paper and everything is running a lot more smoothly.
    • Set clear, reasonable expectations. To some, “reasonable” is a very subjective term. Having worked the majority of projects on the agency side, however, we’ve come to realize that an effectively written services agreement will have everything spelled out. At an agency, “project scope” isn’t an abstract concept – it’s the definition of our role in your project.
    • Schedule weekly status calls. Making time either once a week or every other week will keep the project moving and keep all stakeholders apprised of any problems faced during the execution phase. Keeping an open line of communication is crucial in maintaining a positive relationship for both the client and the agency. Just remember to keep it consistent and not go overboard.
    • Invite key contacts and project leads. Text based communication methods like email, Twitter, and blogs are slowly becoming the primary tools when looking for a vendor. This is great in a digital world but it also limits interaction and makes it hard to actually get to know the people you are doing business with. Including important decision makers and key contacts in the project kickoff call will at least put a voice to a name and give us an idea of what kind of person we’re dealing with. We’re all guilty of labeling and assigning personas to clients or vendors that we only communicate via email (i.e. the cheap team lead that never wants to fund emerging media projects).
    • Assign a PM or Project Lead. This may be the most important piece of advice for any type of project, in any industry, in any type of role. Imagine a world where there are 4 client-side employees and 3 agency-side employees all sending email or calling eachother about the same project.
Now pop a couple of aspirin. Come back to the computer. Breath deeply. Exhale slowly. Continue reading…

Assigning one person to funnel communication to all internal team members will not only maintain your sanity but also keep the project moving forward. Communication and collaboration will do wonders in promoting a successful completion but over-communicating can be detrimental to progress.

Whenever we’re gearing up for a new project kickoff call, we use the above framework as a guide to start things off on the right track. Are there any tips you’ve found useful when planning and implementing projects on either a client or agency side?

Bryan
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To Be, Or Not To Be (Mobile-Friendly)

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As you walk down the crowded street, have you ever noticed the overwhelming majority of people glued to their phones? Perhaps they are texting, or browsing the web, or even playing some new game with kittens and cupcakes – but one thing stands out in your mind. The future is mobile. Mobile devices now number in the billions, and with it comes mobile browsing. Is your site ready for this?

Having a mobile-friendly site is standard nowadays. With so many mobile devices in use, mobile responsiveness is a pretty big deal.

Why Must We Conform To “Mobile-ness”?

Ever since Google rolled out its mobile friendly update earlier this year, mobile friendliness has increased on the ranking factor list. So what does that mean for you? Well if you’re one of the many that have been keeping up-to-date with the mobile trend, kudos to you- but what about those who haven’t? Well, they need to keep up with the changing tides! The Googs is now prioritizing mobile friendly sites.

When you think about your site, does user experience come to mind? Positive user experience is the most important factor for any site. How many times have you tried to browse a desktop only site on a mobile device, only to hurl your phone against a wall in frustration because you can’t see the “login” button? Don’t be ashamed, you’re not the only one. Don’t fall prey to a high bounce rate because of a non-responsive site.

If your goal is to stay relevant in search for your business, then providing a mobile responsive site is essential to keep up with your competition in this mobile age. Give the masses what they’re clamoring for – Mobile friendliness for all.

Candi
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Defining The Customer Experience

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Customer experience is defined as the interaction between a business and their customer over the course of their partnership.

How many times have you held off calling a service provider because your first experience with them was your worst nightmare. Not only did you have to press numerous prompts when you called, half the time the person on the other end couldn’t even help you and had to transfer your call to someone else. This leaves you very frustrated and even worse, you have to repeat yourself all over again to the next customer service representative. This kind of service is one that any business owner wants to avoid.

Finding the right customer to promote your service can take weeks, even months. Losing a customer can take less than a minute if the customer experience is less than what they expected. Anyone can provide a service however, it’s how you choose to interact with your customer that can either set you apart from your competition or put you side by side. This is why it is extremely important to make sure that the first interaction is positive, informative and effective. Building on that business relationship right from the start will earn their trust and provide the experience needed to earn their respect.

Some of you may recognize this as the Results Pyramid from the “Journey to the Emerald City”- the book which followed “The Oz Principle” written by Roger Conners and Tom Smith.

cxpyramid

The Pyramid has 4 sections: Experiences, Beliefs, Actions and Results

  • Experiences foster organizational beliefs
  • Beliefs drive actions
  • Actions produce results
  • Results become new experiences

The Process is continual…

So keeping the Customer Experience in mind, this Pyramid could go either way. If your customers first meeting is a good experience, their beliefs and actions will produce the desired results and the overall experience is what was expected. If the first meeting doesn’t go well, their beliefs will not lead to the actions that produce the results they were expecting. The behaviors that were demonstrated do not reflect well on the company and you need to ask yourself if this is the belief you want the customer to have? If not, what belief do you want your customer to have and what customer experience do you need to provide to change their beliefs?  What do you need to change or do to get to the results your customer is looking for?

From lead generation, to the first interaction, proposal and contract, a positive Customer Experience will be the key to your most loyal partnerships.

Anthony
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Hello, Butane

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First and foremost, I’d like to thank you for taking five minutes out of your busy day to read this. Having been in the marketing and advertising space for nearly a decade myself, I realize that time is the most valuable commodity in our field. With that said, I’d like to introduce Butane, a digital marketing boutique based right here in Milwaukee, dedicated to driving traffic, converting visitors and retaining customers for your business.

Agency Overview

Over the last eight years I’ve worked at a handful of local digital marketing agencies that have allowed me to learn the what, why and how of providing marketing services for companies of all sizes, from “mom and pop” eCommerce shops to Fortune 100 corporations. I’ve learned a lot from my experience, 90% of which from my last employer, which whom I’m entirely grateful of.

With that said, I set out to create a different type of agency – one that realizes “we don’t do everything” – we stick to our core. What’s our core? From years of client management experience, we’ve evolved into taking a business-centric approach to digital programs. We’ve broken down our solutions to the three main things that you as a small business owner, marketing executive or new business professional find critical to the success of your digital strategy:

  • Traffic Acquisition including search engine optimization, pay-per-click management and online display advertising

  • Visitor Conversion from web analytics through content strategy and conversion rate optimization

  • Customer Retention covering email and social media marketing

To show our dedication to a business-centric model, we’ve not only positioned our service offerings into solution-based buckets, but also ask ourselves “does this really help the business?” every day. So much, in fact, that while we’d love to help everyone, we only engage in programs with prospective customers that understand the value in taking a multi-channel approach to digital success.

What We Are

Whether you’ve met a Butane employee speaking at a conference, exhibiting a trade show, or even working in a digital services engagement, you’ll quickly realize one thing: we’re a passionate group of marketing professionals doing what we love.

You can read more about our team and philosophy here, but one thing that we care most about is dedication to our four core values: Dedication, Experience, Transparency and Energy:

  • Dedication to both client success and thought leadership

  • Experience across multiple industries, markets and verticals regardless of size

  • Transparency in what we do, how we do it and the impact it has on your bottom line

  • Energy in the form of unfettered passion and excitement

What We’re Not

After mentioning how we live by our core values, it’s important to note what we’re not… after all, we are transparent.

Butane is not:

  • A “typical” Agency in the sense that we don’t have layers-upon-layers of account and project managers. Each of our specialists manage strategy, execution and client communication themselves. This way, you’ll never have to deal with the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing problem all too familiar in agency/client relationships.

  • A One-Stop Shop as we stick to what we’re good at. You’ll never see us recommend rebuilding a website or designing a mobile app with our own best interest in mind. We don’t do that stuff. We’re a digital marketing boutique and that’s what we will be until we staff for in-house design and development.

  • Scope Creep Executioners since our estimates are all effort-based, we’re transparent in pricing and what it will take to help move the needle. After signing an agreement with Butane, you won’t get any change orders. We do hard quotes… guaranteed.

Farewell & See You Soon!

I wanted to make this welcome note short and sweet – for better or for worse, you’ll be hearing a lot more from me, but for now I bid you adieu. Thanks again for your time and please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions or feedback on the new website: anthony@hellobutane.com.

Onwards & Upwards!

Anthony Piwarun

Founder & CSO, Butane Digital