Archiv für den Autor: Andreas

Ocio brand cards

Mehr Bilder…

It’s difficult to design anything for a user or a client that you don’t understand. To facilitate the process of understanding is why we run an initial brand strategy workshop. Brand cards were born to assist throughout this process while conducting the workshop.

The aim is to transform an abstract idea of the brand into something solid, to identify common language addressing to what the company stands for and make subsequent decisions on visuals, voice and identity easier.

The workshop is inspired by a design sprint method from Jake Knapp and is a very condensed version of a brand strategy workshop. Nevertheless, it proves to be very effective in defining the initial design brief and is a great starting point.

Agentur
Ocio

Source:: designmadeingermany.de

Quick wins for Magento SEO

Whether you’re migrating your existing online store or starting a new one, Magento is considered the ecommerce platform. In this post we are going to dive into SEO best practices to follow, looking at technical considerations and touching on content strategy. We will predominantly be concentrating on Magento Open Source.

What is Magento?

Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform developed by Varien. The first beta was launched in 2007. Since then it has had a number of owners (or maybe “custodians” would be a better term) including eBay, a private equity firm and, most recently, Adobe.

It’s a beast

In 2017, four years after its initial proposed launch date, Magento 2 was released. This may sound like a long delay, but with 1.84 million lines of PHP code and 239,000 lines of JavaScript – before you even consider HTML, CSS, XML, and other entities – you can appreciate the sheer scale of the task.

Given its size, it’s not the easiest ecommerce platform to get to grips with but, when it comes to sheer grunt, there isn’t much out there that can out-punch Magento.

Migrating?

Before we start, if you are migrating from another platform then you might find our post “The site migration tool for redirecting URLs like a boss” helpful.

Is Magento SEO-friendly?

Magento has many SEO-friendly features. However, first and foremost it is an enterprise ecommerce platform that can connect (via APIs and extensions) to a whole host of the world’s most popular payment gateway, order fulfillment, stock management, and CRM systems.

However, regardless of how SEO-friendly, it is out of the box, you’ll always want to be one step ahead of your competitors, right?

Let’s get optimizing. First, start with your theme.

The biggest consideration for any theme is how it handles the main navigation. A good test is to disable CSS and JavaScript (the Web Developer toolbar makes this easy), this then enables you to view the HTML structure. The out the box product Magento offers a pretty elegant solution that uses a semantically pleasing, nested unordered list. We would suggest using a theme that doesn’t deviate too far away from this convention if you aren’t 100% sure what you should be looking for.

Another area to check is to run the theme through Google’s mobile-friendly test. With Google’s mobile-first index nearly fully rolled out, making sure your site is fully mobile-friendly is a must.

Configuration setting

Considering the power of Magento, the backend isn’t too complicated and the options are split quite intuitively. All the following settings can all be found in the “Store – Configuration”.

General – Web – URL Options – Auto redirect to base URL

Selecting “Yes (301 Moved Permanently)” will mean non-www traffic is automatically redirected to www or vice versa.

General – Web – Search Engine Optimization – Use web server rewrites

Magento’s code is based upon a variation of the MVC framework. For non-devs, in simple terms, this means templates are called via the URL structure. This doesn’t always lend itself to human or SEO-friendly URLs. Ensuring this setting is set to “yes” means Magento will tidy up the structure. For example, “storename.com/index.html/page-name” will become “storename.com/page-name”.

General – Web – Base URLs – Base URL

If you are running with an SSL certificate, which all e-commerce sites should be these days, then this should be set to the same as the Secure Base URL that is “https://sitename.com“. This will mean anyone attempting to access HTTP will be redirected to HTTPS.

General – Design – Search Engine Robots – Default Robots

This might seem like an obvious one, but we’ve seen development sites pushed live having a global meta robots tag with the “noindex, nofollow” value. So, ensue when going live this is changed to “index, follow”.

General – Design – Search Engine Robots – Edit custom instruction of the robots.txt file

This is where custom amends to the robots.txt file can be made. You can disallow any pages or directories you do not want search engines to index.

Catalog – Catalog – Search Engine Optimization – Use Categories Path for Product URLs

Let me use the much-coined SEO phrase – “it depends”. If this is set to “no” all products will appear in the root directory which is “storename.com/product-name”. This option is the most manageable and trouble-free setting to use, especially if your products appear in multiple categories.

When set to “yes” the URL will show the path of categories and subcategories, that is “storename.com/categry-name/product-name”.

If you are familiar with the concept of content silos and think it is a strategy you want to employ, then you will want to set this option to “yes”.

You should be aware of potential duplicate content issues though. If you are unsure then it’s really not worth the risk.

Catalog – XML sitemap

This section allows you to set frequency values and priority settings for categories, products, and CMS pages. For most applications the default values are sufficient.

In the “Generation Settings” section, you can also set the sitemap to auto-generate/update by setting “Enabled” to “Yes”. This is usually a good option with the frequency set, depending on how often you add new pages to your site.

Catalog – XML sitemap – Search Engine Submission settings – Enable submission to Robots.txt

This will add a line to your robots.txt file informing the search engines where to find your XML sitemap. You can submit it via the Google Search Console, but a bit of automation is always good. So unless you have a specific reason not to then this should be set to “Yes”.

Site speed, the elephant in the room.

It’s no secret that Google likes a fast site, and it’s also no secret that due to the size of Magento’s code base it doesn’t have the world’s best reputation for speed. However, there are some quick wins you can make.

1. Host server

This will largely come down to your budget. Magento does run a basic shared server environment, but if you can stretch to a dedicated server then you will have so much more processing power at your fingertips

2. Caching

Magento has a sophisticated caching system that should be implemented. If you navigate to “System – Cache Management” you will want to make sure that all caches are set to “Enabled”. Often in the development stage, these can be switched off.

3. Flat catalog

By default, Magento uses the Entity-Attribute-Value (EAV) database system. This means that products and their attributes can be split over many tables. It’s a very flexible model but also slower when compared to a flat system. For this reason, Magento has the option to switch to using a flat catalog. The more categories, products, and attributes you have, the bigger the benefit you will see here. To enable this feature go to – “Configuration > Catalog > Storefront”. Here you will find two options, “Use Flat Catalog Category” and “Use Flat Catalog Product”, set both of these to “Yes”.

4. Image optimization

Ensure that all images are sized no larger than they will appear at their maximum size within your responsive theme. Images should also be saved in the correct format with SVGs used for logos and graphics where possible.

5. Browser caching

This isn’t something that is an option in the backend of Magento. You’ll have to get your hands dirty by manually updating the .htaccess file. There are plenty of resources on the net that can provide guidance on this… just remember to make a backup on the .htaccess before you amend it.

6. HTTP/2

If you know, then you know. If not, it’s best to pop a support ticket into your hosting provider on how to implement this. HTTP/2 allows browsers to perform multiple requests over a single connection. With a basic Magento home page requiring around 200 requests, this is a no-brainer.

7. Extensions

It’s good practice to test your site speed before and after the installation of an extension. You can also do this retrospectively by disabling existing extensions. If you do find an extension that is causing speed problems then you will need to weigh up the benefit vs site speed cost.

Layered navigation

What is generally referred to as faceted navigation is known as layered navigation in Magento. It lets users filter down products in a category by their predefined attributes. This is a feature that users have grown to expect when navigating ecommerce sites. It’s also a feature that has given search marketers more than a few headaches over the years.

If you take as an example a category page with 20 products, and within those products, there are five colors, five sizes, and four styles. When you consider you can filter by any combination of attributes, one category page has now turned into more than 100, all with their own URL. To compound this, you can then also order the products by name, price or number, and then select where you want them ascending or descending. As these options generally also update the URL, we are now up to 600 URLs. When you consider this is just one category you can appreciate it could cause problems with indexing.

Don’t get stuck in the spider web

We have seen ecommerce sites with millions of pages needlessly indexed, due to faceted parameters, on more than one occasion. Not only does this cause issues for Google being able to figure out what are the important pages on your site are, but they can also become spider traps.

This is where search engine bots will spend so much time crawling they essentially give up on your site and go somewhere else.

Managing this issue is where search marketers earn our keep. So, how can we accomplish this in Magento?

Unfortunately, there is not a completely elegant solution that’s straight out of the box. There are extensions that you can install that do make the job a little easier or you could even write some custom code yourself with the help of user forums.

Ultimately what you are looking to achieve are any of the following solutions

  • Add a canonical tag that references the non-filtered page
  • Nofollow all links to filtered pages and add a “noindex” tag on the linked pages
  • “Disallow” the pages in your robots.txt file

Another solution is declaring the URL parameters within Google’s Search Console. At the time of writing, you still have to do this via the old interface.

Which solution you choose, can depend upon the site. For instance, the canonical tag might be a good solution if you have only a few filterable attributes in your layered navigation, but as it still requires Google to crawl the pages to find these tags, if you have 100s of attributes it could use a large proportion of your crawl budget (even though the pages aren’t being indexed).

We have a dedicated post on faceted navigation if you would like to read more on the subject.

What next?

So you’ve got the right products at the right price, you’ve got your technical SEO sorted but so has your competition. How do you set yourself apart so you stand out in the SERPs?

Content

A solid content strategy is what we do best here at Zazzle Media. We won’t dig too deep into this subject here, as we have numerous other posts we will point you in the direction of, and it’s not a topic exclusively related to Magento. What we will do is cover some of the areas you should be looking to cover:

Functional content

You can read up on the importance of having engaging functional content here.

Category content – In the admin area navigate to – Catalog – Categories – [Category] – Content – Description

Category pages will often drive a good proportion of traffic to your site. Categorizing your catalog to align with your keyword research will be worth the time and effort and help your site realize its full potential. When generating copy for the pages, a top tip is to look at the TF*IDF using a tool such as Ryte. This will highlight any words that are over or under-optimized for our page based upon the main topic.

Product descriptions – These descriptions can be added on your mass import CSV file or by navigating to – Catalog > Products > [Product] > Content > Description in the admin area.

Try to steer clear of using descriptions provided directly from the suppliers or manufacturers, as you can bet they’ve already been used on numerous other websites. This can be a big task with larger catalogs, but set a certain amount of resources aside every month and concentrate on your most popular items to start with.

Informational content

There are various ways of publishing news/blog content on Magento. A popular solution is to integrate WordPress using the Fishpig extension. This has been around for years and there are versions for Magento 1 and 2. It allows one-click login to both platforms and lets you associate posts with specific products which is a useful feature.

This is the area where a good strategy can pay dividends. Performing a gap analysis on your top competitors is an effective way to identify quick wins. Some comprehensive informational keyword research will also highlight questions and topics users are searching for. All this information can help you put together a content calendar that should align with business focuses and seasonal trends. Considering the different stages in your sales cycle, and the questions your users might have at these points will enable you to create a comprehensive resource of information.

In summary

Developing a site on the Magento platform isn’t always the cheapest solution to launch an ecommerce website, however, on the flip side, you’ll never want for a more powerful solution or be short of advice from the vast developer community. You also should have any issue in integrating it with the product information management (PIM) tool of your choice.

With a little bit of configuration, you should also have a site that is SEO-friendly. Regardless of the platform, the output is simply a mixture of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images and other resources. So fundamentally the same rules apply. Also, remember SEO isn’t a one-hit solution, it’s a strategy that is constantly evolving. Stand still and your competitors will catch you up and take your customers.

Mark Chisholm is an SEO Executive working within the Search & Data Team at Zazzle Media.

The post Quick wins for Magento SEO appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Quick wins for Magento SEO

Whether you’re migrating your existing online store or starting a new one, Magento is considered the ecommerce platform. In this post we are going to dive into SEO best practices to follow, looking at technical considerations and touching on content strategy. We will predominantly be concentrating on Magento Open Source.

What is Magento?

Magento is an open-source ecommerce platform developed by Varien. The first beta was launched in 2007. Since then it has had a number of owners (or maybe “custodians” would be a better term) including eBay, a private equity firm and, most recently, Adobe.

It’s a beast

In 2017, four years after its initial proposed launch date, Magento 2 was released. This may sound like a long delay, but with 1.84 million lines of PHP code and 239,000 lines of JavaScript – before you even consider HTML, CSS, XML, and other entities – you can appreciate the sheer scale of the task.

Given its size, it’s not the easiest ecommerce platform to get to grips with but, when it comes to sheer grunt, there isn’t much out there that can out-punch Magento.

Migrating?

Before we start, if you are migrating from another platform then you might find our post “The site migration tool for redirecting URLs like a boss” helpful.

Is Magento SEO-friendly?

Magento has many SEO-friendly features. However, first and foremost it is an enterprise ecommerce platform that can connect (via APIs and extensions) to a whole host of the world’s most popular payment gateway, order fulfillment, stock management, and CRM systems.

However, regardless of how SEO-friendly, it is out of the box, you’ll always want to be one step ahead of your competitors, right?

Let’s get optimizing. First, start with your theme.

The biggest consideration for any theme is how it handles the main navigation. A good test is to disable CSS and JavaScript (the Web Developer toolbar makes this easy), this then enables you to view the HTML structure. The out the box product Magento offers a pretty elegant solution that uses a semantically pleasing, nested unordered list. We would suggest using a theme that doesn’t deviate too far away from this convention if you aren’t 100% sure what you should be looking for.

Another area to check is to run the theme through Google’s mobile-friendly test. With Google’s mobile-first index nearly fully rolled out, making sure your site is fully mobile-friendly is a must.

Configuration setting

Considering the power of Magento, the backend isn’t too complicated and the options are split quite intuitively. All the following settings can all be found in the “Store – Configuration”.

General – Web – URL Options – Auto redirect to base URL

Selecting “Yes (301 Moved Permanently)” will mean non-www traffic is automatically redirected to www or vice versa.

General – Web – Search Engine Optimization – Use web server rewrites

Magento’s code is based upon a variation of the MVC framework. For non-devs, in simple terms, this means templates are called via the URL structure. This doesn’t always lend itself to human or SEO-friendly URLs. Ensuring this setting is set to “yes” means Magento will tidy up the structure. For example, “storename.com/index.html/page-name” will become “storename.com/page-name”.

General – Web – Base URLs – Base URL

If you are running with an SSL certificate, which all e-commerce sites should be these days, then this should be set to the same as the Secure Base URL that is “https://sitename.com“. This will mean anyone attempting to access HTTP will be redirected to HTTPS.

General – Design – Search Engine Robots – Default Robots

This might seem like an obvious one, but we’ve seen development sites pushed live having a global meta robots tag with the “noindex, nofollow” value. So, ensue when going live this is changed to “index, follow”.

General – Design – Search Engine Robots – Edit custom instruction of the robots.txt file

This is where custom amends to the robots.txt file can be made. You can disallow any pages or directories you do not want search engines to index.

Catalog – Catalog – Search Engine Optimization – Use Categories Path for Product URLs

Let me use the much-coined SEO phrase – “it depends”. If this is set to “no” all products will appear in the root directory which is “storename.com/product-name”. This option is the most manageable and trouble-free setting to use, especially if your products appear in multiple categories.

When set to “yes” the URL will show the path of categories and subcategories, that is “storename.com/categry-name/product-name”.

If you are familiar with the concept of content silos and think it is a strategy you want to employ, then you will want to set this option to “yes”.

You should be aware of potential duplicate content issues though. If you are unsure then it’s really not worth the risk.

Catalog – XML sitemap

This section allows you to set frequency values and priority settings for categories, products, and CMS pages. For most applications the default values are sufficient.

In the “Generation Settings” section, you can also set the sitemap to auto-generate/update by setting “Enabled” to “Yes”. This is usually a good option with the frequency set, depending on how often you add new pages to your site.

Catalog – XML sitemap – Search Engine Submission settings – Enable submission to Robots.txt

This will add a line to your robots.txt file informing the search engines where to find your XML sitemap. You can submit it via the Google Search Console, but a bit of automation is always good. So unless you have a specific reason not to then this should be set to “Yes”.

Site speed, the elephant in the room.

It’s no secret that Google likes a fast site, and it’s also no secret that due to the size of Magento’s code base it doesn’t have the world’s best reputation for speed. However, there are some quick wins you can make.

1. Host server

This will largely come down to your budget. Magento does run a basic shared server environment, but if you can stretch to a dedicated server then you will have so much more processing power at your fingertips

2. Caching

Magento has a sophisticated caching system that should be implemented. If you navigate to “System – Cache Management” you will want to make sure that all caches are set to “Enabled”. Often in the development stage, these can be switched off.

3. Flat catalog

By default, Magento uses the Entity-Attribute-Value (EAV) database system. This means that products and their attributes can be split over many tables. It’s a very flexible model but also slower when compared to a flat system. For this reason, Magento has the option to switch to using a flat catalog. The more categories, products, and attributes you have, the bigger the benefit you will see here. To enable this feature go to – “Configuration > Catalog > Storefront”. Here you will find two options, “Use Flat Catalog Category” and “Use Flat Catalog Product”, set both of these to “Yes”.

4. Image optimization

Ensure that all images are sized no larger than they will appear at their maximum size within your responsive theme. Images should also be saved in the correct format with SVGs used for logos and graphics where possible.

5. Browser caching

This isn’t something that is an option in the backend of Magento. You’ll have to get your hands dirty by manually updating the .htaccess file. There are plenty of resources on the net that can provide guidance on this… just remember to make a backup on the .htaccess before you amend it.

6. HTTP/2

If you know, then you know. If not, it’s best to pop a support ticket into your hosting provider on how to implement this. HTTP/2 allows browsers to perform multiple requests over a single connection. With a basic Magento home page requiring around 200 requests, this is a no-brainer.

7. Extensions

It’s good practice to test your site speed before and after the installation of an extension. You can also do this retrospectively by disabling existing extensions. If you do find an extension that is causing speed problems then you will need to weigh up the benefit vs site speed cost.

Layered navigation

What is generally referred to as faceted navigation is known as layered navigation in Magento. It lets users filter down products in a category by their predefined attributes. This is a feature that users have grown to expect when navigating ecommerce sites. It’s also a feature that has given search marketers more than a few headaches over the years.

If you take as an example a category page with 20 products, and within those products, there are five colors, five sizes, and four styles. When you consider you can filter by any combination of attributes, one category page has now turned into more than 100, all with their own URL. To compound this, you can then also order the products by name, price or number, and then select where you want them ascending or descending. As these options generally also update the URL, we are now up to 600 URLs. When you consider this is just one category you can appreciate it could cause problems with indexing.

Don’t get stuck in the spider web

We have seen ecommerce sites with millions of pages needlessly indexed, due to faceted parameters, on more than one occasion. Not only does this cause issues for Google being able to figure out what are the important pages on your site are, but they can also become spider traps.

This is where search engine bots will spend so much time crawling they essentially give up on your site and go somewhere else.

Managing this issue is where search marketers earn our keep. So, how can we accomplish this in Magento?

Unfortunately, there is not a completely elegant solution that’s straight out of the box. There are extensions that you can install that do make the job a little easier or you could even write some custom code yourself with the help of user forums.

Ultimately what you are looking to achieve are any of the following solutions

  • Add a canonical tag that references the non-filtered page
  • Nofollow all links to filtered pages and add a “noindex” tag on the linked pages
  • “Disallow” the pages in your robots.txt file

Another solution is declaring the URL parameters within Google’s Search Console. At the time of writing, you still have to do this via the old interface.

Which solution you choose, can depend upon the site. For instance, the canonical tag might be a good solution if you have only a few filterable attributes in your layered navigation, but as it still requires Google to crawl the pages to find these tags, if you have 100s of attributes it could use a large proportion of your crawl budget (even though the pages aren’t being indexed).

We have a dedicated post on faceted navigation if you would like to read more on the subject.

What next?

So you’ve got the right products at the right price, you’ve got your technical SEO sorted but so has your competition. How do you set yourself apart so you stand out in the SERPs?

Content

A solid content strategy is what we do best here at Zazzle Media. We won’t dig too deep into this subject here, as we have numerous other posts we will point you in the direction of, and it’s not a topic exclusively related to Magento. What we will do is cover some of the areas you should be looking to cover:

Functional content

You can read up on the importance of having engaging functional content here.

Category content – In the admin area navigate to – Catalog – Categories – [Category] – Content – Description

Category pages will often drive a good proportion of traffic to your site. Categorizing your catalog to align with your keyword research will be worth the time and effort and help your site realize its full potential. When generating copy for the pages, a top tip is to look at the TF*IDF using a tool such as Ryte. This will highlight any words that are over or under-optimized for our page based upon the main topic.

Product descriptions – These descriptions can be added on your mass import CSV file or by navigating to – Catalog > Products > [Product] > Content > Description in the admin area.

Try to steer clear of using descriptions provided directly from the suppliers or manufacturers, as you can bet they’ve already been used on numerous other websites. This can be a big task with larger catalogs, but set a certain amount of resources aside every month and concentrate on your most popular items to start with.

Informational content

There are various ways of publishing news/blog content on Magento. A popular solution is to integrate WordPress using the Fishpig extension. This has been around for years and there are versions for Magento 1 and 2. It allows one-click login to both platforms and lets you associate posts with specific products which is a useful feature.

This is the area where a good strategy can pay dividends. Performing a gap analysis on your top competitors is an effective way to identify quick wins. Some comprehensive informational keyword research will also highlight questions and topics users are searching for. All this information can help you put together a content calendar that should align with business focuses and seasonal trends. Considering the different stages in your sales cycle, and the questions your users might have at these points will enable you to create a comprehensive resource of information.

In summary

Developing a site on the Magento platform isn’t always the cheapest solution to launch an ecommerce website, however, on the flip side, you’ll never want for a more powerful solution or be short of advice from the vast developer community. You also should have any issue in integrating it with the product information management (PIM) tool of your choice.

With a little bit of configuration, you should also have a site that is SEO-friendly. Regardless of the platform, the output is simply a mixture of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images and other resources. So fundamentally the same rules apply. Also, remember SEO isn’t a one-hit solution, it’s a strategy that is constantly evolving. Stand still and your competitors will catch you up and take your customers.

Mark Chisholm is an SEO Executive working within the Search & Data Team at Zazzle Media.

The post Quick wins for Magento SEO appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Source:: searchenginewatch.com

Bonuscar – Branding & Redesign

Mehr Bilder…

Bonuscar asked us to define their brand and design a clean & flexible corporate design (system) to become a new player in the car market in Germany. The goal was to create a system that can be used flexible and is dynamic as the brand himself. The final outcome was a colorful, flexible and strong corporate design that presents their brand in a unique, playful & trustful way.

Designer
Lidija Petrovic
Philipp Berger

Source:: designmadeingermany.de

4 Marketing Productivity Tips from Workfront’s Mike Riding #DSMPLS

Mike Riding of Workfront at Digital Summit Minneapolis

Mike Riding of Workfront at Digital Summit MinneapolisDoes work follow you home? When was the last time you had a work week that was actually 40 hours?

Marketers often feel pressed for time and overworked. In fact, according to recent Workfront research:

  • 64% say they’re being asked to come up with new ways of working
  • 58% are so swamped, they don’t have time to think beyond their daily tasks
  • 56% they’re completely overwhelmed.

Mike Riding, Workfront’s Director of Digital Marketing, came to Digital Summit Minneapolis with the sole goal of helping marketers get more work done. While organizations typically turn to technology to solve the productivity problem, Mike offered four actionable, process-driven ways marketers can modernize their work and become more productive.

Read on to discover Mike’s work world where marketers don’t just put out fires and juggle last minute tasks. Sounds pretty great, right?

4 Fast, Easy Ways to Boost Marketing Productivity

1. Provide the Right Structure

According to Mike, there are two schools of thought when it comes to structure and process. You either think:

  1. Process kills creativity and innovation.
  2. A lack of process kills creativity and innovation.

Which school of thought do you fall into?

Do you think processes complicate work, create too many steps, and are irrelevant to the task at-hand? Or, do you think a lack of process leads to juggling whatever is thrown your way and leaves you wondering what the next step is?

If you picked one over the other, you’re in the wrong camp. Mike explained: “You need to have a balance between the two. Too much process and too little process are both problematic. Just enough process unlocks creativity and innovation.”

[bctt tweet=“Too much process and too little process are both problematic. Just enough process unlocks creativity and innovation. @Michael_Riding #DSMPLS“ username=“toprank“]

To see how many processes your own organization leverages, Mike suggests carefully examining your workflow, understanding it, and slowly improving it over time. This step should also include documentation. “You’ll only get to this point if you have the discipline to sit down and write your processes out,” he said.

With documented processes, you can easily template them and make small, iterative changes that significantly improve how you work.

2. Make Collaboration Easier

“Why do we have meetings?” was a question Mike posed half-way through his presentation.

“To crush our souls!” one enthusiastic attendee shouted back.

In reality, meetings exist for five reasons:

  1. Give information
  2. Get information
  3. Develop ideas
  4. Make decisions
  5. Create warm, magical human contact

Marketing isn’t a one-person job. Even if you’re the sole marketer in your organization, you still need to work closely with sales, service, and other teams across the organization to do quality work, on time. These relationships within your own department, and with others, need to have easy collaboration between them. And meetings are a great way of bringing those parties together for sharing, brainstorming, alignment, and more.

But 62% of workers say meetings are the No. 1 thing that gets in the way of work. We aren’t making use of our time together.

To make meetings count, Mike suggests making objectives and agendas clear and upfront in the meeting invite itself. He also asks marketers to be better about not meeting. Shave your meeting times from 60 minutes to 30 minutes. Decline invited for meetings that don’t have an agenda. Stack your meetings back-to-back so there aren’t odd, unproductive gaps between them. And, lastly, block out time for real work:

“I love teams that say, ‘Every Thursday we’re going to be at home,’” he shared. “It’s hands-off time so they can get important work done and not be disturbed.”

3. Streamline Review and Approvals

If there was one point in Mike’s talk that had me shouting “Hallelujah!”, it was when he proclaimed: “Trim the approval chain!”

As Mike pointed out from Workfront’s State of Work Report:

  • 60% of marketers go through 5 or more rounds of review
  • 14% of marketers endure 10 or more rounds

That’s an insane number of revisions and a massive time suck. There’s a reason why he chose the word “endure”: over 10 rounds of edits is torture.

“What this tells me is that ‘We don’t have the structure to give the stamp of approval.’” he said. “It’s a Merry-Go-Round effect.”

How do you get off the Merry-Go-Round ride?

“Proof in one place and document the process. It creates an audit chain where you can see where the product has been and how it got into the state it’s in now,” Mike suggested.

With a clear audit chain and proof history, you can see where common bottlenecks are and where optimizations can be made.

4. Measure What Matters

Just like measurement is important for your campaigns, it’s equally as important for your work. But how do you measure something as broad and all-encompassing as work?

Luckily, Mike shared five Work Performance Indicators (WPIs) that will help you get started:

  1. Mix
  2. Capacity
  3. Velocity
  4. Quality
  5. Engagement

Mix is the type of work that you’re doing. Are you doing maintenance work that keeps the engine running? Or, are you doing growth work that creates new opportunities? Know your current mix and your ideal mix so you can make room for the type of work you want to focus on.

Capacity is the amount of work your team can perform. Are you operating over capacity or under? Knowing this measurement will help you determine if you can take on more work and when.

Velocity is the speed at which you can complete the work. This measurement is extremely helpful for anticipating the time needed to complete projects.

Quality is how you (and others) feel about the work that is being completed. Are your clients happy with the finished product? Is the team proud of what they’ve accomplished?

Engagement is a measurement of how engaged your employees are with the work. People do their best work then they understand their role, believe their role matters, and are proud of what they do. To make sure your team wants to get the work done, you need to measure their level of engagement in the work that they do.

With these five WPIs tracked, you’ll get better insight into what you can do and how you can do it better.

Workin‘ 9 to 5

Preach, Dolly. And with Mike’s tips from the floors of Digital Summit Minneapolis, maybe we’re not so far off from that 9 to 5 dream. It just takes the right amount of process, easier collaboration, streamlined approvals, and measurement to get there.

For more marketing tricks and tips, stay tuned here for updates from Digital Summit Minneapolis (#DSMPLS). For real-time insights, follow @annieleuman, @azeckman, @dfriez, and @ElizabethW1057 on Twitter.

The post 4 Marketing Productivity Tips from Workfront’s Mike Riding #DSMPLS appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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