5 things you probably aren’t looking at but should

Being able to report conversions for any paid media campaign is gold. But conversions don’t tell the whole story. Below are five additional metrics to review the overall performance of your campaign and give insight into possible changes that could help improve the success of your campaign. These metrics are useful even if you have a strong number of conversions as there can always be room for improvement.

Average Session Duration

Average Session Duration is measured in Google Analytics by the total duration of all sessions (in seconds) divided by the number of sessions. While there are caveats in how this is measured, this is a great metric to look at to understand what users are doing once they get to your website. Are they taking their time to engage with your site or do they leave immediately? Spending a lot of time on your website could indicate they are gathering information, but are not ready to convert. This is when a retargeting campaign would come in handy. Shorter site visits could indicate the landing page or the whole website was not what they were expecting to find after clicking on the ad.

Bounce Rate

Bounce rate indicates the rate at which users are only viewing a single page per session. Bounce rate is calculated by single-page sessions divided by all sessions. A high bounce rate when you have a single-page website is to be expected, as users will only be able to visit a single page. However, if you have a high bounce rate on a site that has multiple pages or on a landing page that is meant to drive users to another page, this indicates users are not following the expected flow.

Heat mapping

One of the most fun tools you can add to your website is heat mapping. In their most basic functions, heat maps can show where users are clicking or scrolling. Seeing how users engage with your webpage is key to knowing if the page layout is conducive to the conversion you are aiming for. Are users clicking the right buttons to get information? Do they scroll “below the fold” to find the form you want them to fill out?

Organic & Direct Traffic

Organic traffic is users that get to your website through a search engine, but not through a paid ad on the search engine.   Direct traffic consists of users that typed in your website’s address, leading them directly to your site. In a tale as old as time, you’ll hear marketers say it’s impossible to draw a direct line from high reach mediums like TV, radio and billboards to conversions. They aren’t wrong, but that doesn’t mean you can’t measure the overall effect your high reach mediums have against your website traffic and even against the overall conversions you’re seeing across the board. Many times you can see a spike in organic or direct traffic when you overlay the impressions you garnered through high-reach mediums. If you are not seeing that spike, we recommend reevaluating your targeting and messaging. Are you targeting the right audience?  Does your messaging clearly state the business name or website you want them to land on?

Assisted Conversions

Google Analytics states, “If the channel appears anywhere – except as the final interaction – on a conversion path it is considered an assist for that conversion.” Assisted Conversions are great for showing you how different mediums are working together. For example, a user may initially come to your website via display ad, but not convert. If later they come back through a paid search ad, you’ll be able to see that they are a return visitor. Their conversion will be attributed to paid search, even though they initially interacted with your website by way of the digital display campaign. In this situation, you wouldn’t be wrong to consider cutting digital display spend if you were only looking at last-click attribution, which is the default in Google Analytics. By reporting on Assisted Conversions, you can make more informed and strategic decisions about your paid media campaigns.

Whether you want to increase overall conversions or be more efficient with paid media spending, diving deeper in the metrics can help you turn up the volume and improve your campaign performance. Not sure what to do with the information you find when reviewing these metrics? Drop us a line, we’d love to help you. 

4 ways to jumpstart your email marketing

Emails are magic. They are digital marketing’s secret weapon. They are the Holy Grail, Excalibur and Merlin’s beard all rolled into one. Except emails are real and you don’t need to be King Arthur to wield their power.

According to Campaign Monitor, email marketing can bring up to a 4400% return on investment if it is done right. Nope, that is not a typo. That means that you can expect up to $44 back for every $1 that you invest in email marketing.

The top four areas that will help you break into email marketing are email client configuration, list health, subject lines and calls to action. So, if this your first foray into email marketing, let us show you the world (of email strategy).

1. Email client configuration

Once you choose which email client (Mailchimp, Salesforce, Hubspot, Emma, etc.) you will use to send emails, take your time when setting everything up. Configuring your email client correctly is extremely important to ensure your emails make it to your subscribers’ inboxes and not their spam folder. The good news is that this step is relatively simple.

First, the domain you would like to send emails from (example: yourbusiness.com) must be verified. This is generally found in the account settings of the email client. The email client will send a verification email to an email address at your company to prove that you own (or represent the company that owns) the domain. Then, you will need to set up the sender information to ensure your company name and the reply-to email address are accurate.

Pro tip: avoid using a “do not reply” email address for this. It won’t affect your deliverability at this time, but it sets up a better customer service experience for your subscribers to have a contact address that will be monitored by someone who will help if a subscriber has an issue.

Second, test that this worked by sending an email from the email client to a non-company email address you have access to. This will show you how your email looks to your subscriber. If it goes to your spam folder or it has a spam warning attached to it, double-check that your domain was verified in the previous step. If the verification looks correct in the email client, the spam warning is probably an issue with authentication of your domain that your IT department should be able to fix for you.

2. List health

Creating and maintaining a healthy subscriber list is an ongoing process and it is key to increasing your email ROI. The biggest list may not be the healthiest list. It is more important to have quality subscribers who signed up to receive your emails and actively open and engage with what you send.

The first rule of keeping a healthy list is to never purchase a list. It can be tempting to invest in a long list of email addresses, but you will be sending emails to people who never subscribed to your newsletters, which means they will probably unsubscribe immediately, or worse, mark your emails as spam. This will immediately ruin your sending reputation and can result in the loss of sending privileges. We have never seen a client have luck using this method and our definitive stance is that it will do more harm than good.

On a positive note, there are plenty of ways to increase your subscriber loyalty and maintain a healthy list. The best way to do this is by managing expectations. Create an automated email that welcomes new subscribers to your list, reminds them of who you are and gives a general overview of what you will send (bonus points if you tell them how often they can expect your emails).

The simplest way to grow your subscriber list is to ask for email addresses. You can do so on your website, your social media accounts, at events and/or in your store.

3. Subject lines

Once you are ready to start creating your email, take some time to think about what you are trying to communicate to your audience. Do you have an announcement? A special sale or coupon? An upcoming event? Whatever it is, your subject line will play a huge role in the efficacy of your email.

The subject line should be a concise message that teases the content without giving it all away. For example, if you are sending a coupon for 25% off, mentioning a special deal or surprise in the email will cause a little intrigue. Even if 25% off is a big deal, some people won’t need to open the email and engage with the rest of your content if they already think they know what’s inside. The goal is to get your subscribers to open your emails and take action. Your subject line is what will compel them to open your email or immediately delete it.

Pro tip: Refrain from using spammy messaging like “FREE,” “Act now,” “Limited time only,” as this type of wording can instantly trigger spam filters. Be creative! Start with a directive subject line and then edit it down for clarity and brevity.

4. Calls to action

You’ve set up your email client properly, you’re sending emails to true fans of your business, and your subject line has intrigued your subscribers to open your email—you’re almost there!

Now that we’re inside the email, let’s talk about content. Your content will vary depending on your business and your email marketing strategy, but a critical part of your content is your call to action because it tells your subscribers what to do now that they’ve opened your email. There should always be at least one button leading back to your website or to a partner website that is selling things on your behalf (e.g. ticketing websites). We recommend keeping the content in your email short and leading your subscribers to your website to learn more.

Pro tip: Brightly-colored buttons big enough to click easily perform better than text links. Use buttons at the end of each section for the main link you want subscribers to visit and add text links for all supporting information.

These four tips will serve as your starting foundation for a solid email marketing strategy. We’ve put together a quick and easy Email Audit Worksheet to help you discover areas of improvement. The next step is to formulate an email strategy that will outline your goals, content ideas, sending calendar and automation plans. It will serve as your guide to determine which emails you should create and when.

There are many more steps to take to maintain a healthy email marketing plan while working toward that 4400% ROI. Need help with the next steps? Contact us for email strategy creation, design, development, campaign management and more.

5 Facebook Retargeting Strategies You Should Be Using

Retargeting people coming to your website is still one of the best tried-and-true methods for converting prospects into customers. In fact, Facebook remarketing ads convert 70% higher than normal Facebook ads. Chances are, if you are using Facebook ads, you are already using the Facebook pixel to retarget and convert your bottom-of-the-funnel prospects. You’ve probably even made “cart abandon” audiences and run dynamic ads that show shoppers what they were considering but left behind. But did you know there are several ways to retarget engaged users that don’t even involve your website? We’re sharing five Facebook retargeting strategies you should be using.

1. Retarget event responses

If you’re looking to sell tickets or increase attendance for an event, first create a Facebook event page. Then make an ad using event responses as the objective. This is a cheap way for you to get people to mark “Interested” or “Going” to your event. Not to mention that whenever someone marks “Interested” or “Going,” it shows up in their friends’ News Feeds (we love free micro-influencer marketing!)

Here’s where the retargeting comes in: make an audience that targets people who marked “Interested” or “Going” to your event. Create another ad using this audience with an image and copy that emphasizes selling tickets. This will be a great reminder for people about the event they are already interested in and make it easy for them to click through and purchase tickets.

2. Retarget people in a Facebook group

Facebook groups are a great way to access a large number of people who are all interested in the same thing. And if that thing is something that you happen to be selling, wouldn’t it be great to serve your ad to those people? This one is a little tricky to do since Facebook currently does not have a feature that targets specific groups, but we’re going to let you in on a little hack that we use for our clients.

Post a video to your Facebook business page and then immediately hide it (click the 3 dots at the top right of your video and then click hide from timeline). The video should not be sales-y nor should it advertise your product. Make it something that the target Facebook group would find interesting. Then, become a member of the Facebook group if you are not already. Now share that hidden video to the Facebook group as a regular post within the group. The goal here is to get as many views on your video as possible. Respond to their comments and ask them follow-up questions in the comments for more engagement. Now you can make an audience in Ads Manager that targets people who have watched your video. Create an ad using this audience and now you’re retargeting people in that Facebook group!

3. Retarget people with sessions longer than 30 seconds

Back to the tried-and-true method of targeting people who have been to your website, but with a twist. As an advertiser, one of your main goals is to spend your ad dollars as efficiently as possible, so why waste money on people who didn’t spend a significant amount of time on your website? Check analytics, and create an audience based on the people who visited your website and had sessions longer than 30 seconds. This will make your ad dollars go a lot farther by getting your ads in front of the right group of people.

4. Retarget segments of your CRM list

Having a CRM list is as good as gold when it comes to Facebook targeting. Of course, you want to serve ads to people on your email list, maybe even create a lookalike list of these people. Now think about all the ways you can slice and dice your current email list and the corresponding ads that you can create. You can focus on people who bought a certain product, people who have not purchased in the past six months, people with the highest average order value; the opportunities are endless. Now create ads with specific messages directed toward these segmented groups. The more targeted the messaging, the better!

5. Retarget your social media followers

You’ve created a sizable social media following, but don’t have a robust email list or much site traffic yet. Good news! You can create an Ads Manager audience of people who interacted with your Facebook or Instagram accounts. This includes people who viewed or followed your Facebook page or Instagram profile, people who commented or liked your posts and also people who saw or clicked on your sponsored ads. This is a great way to retarget people for whom you lack information or may not have bought your product yet, but they know who you are through your social media.

We hope that you find these Facebook retargeting strategies useful and that they inspire creative ways to target your customers. If you want more helpful tactics for converting your audience, reach out and we can begin discussing strategies for your organization.

Website Audit

If you’re a business owner, I’m sure you’ve received the persistent sales emails with the subject line “Free Website Audit Results!” If you respond, they’ll perform a half-assed audit and try to sell you on services you may (or may not) need. And if you decline, they’ll call you 37 times and haggle you for their business.

Well, today, you’re in luck! We’ve compiled some of our top website audit factors and are providing guidance on how you can learn more about your website. See if your site is following SEO best practices that maximize visibility and impact performance. Download our worksheet, score your website and decide for yourself whether your site is in need of optimization. If so, give us a call.

Search Engine Indexing

“If you build it, they will come” only applies to web pages that Google can see. It’s critical that you know whether or not your high-value pages are being indexed and displayed by Google in search results. If your pages are blocked for whatever reason, users won’t be able to reach the site via organic search.

Follow the steps below to see which pages on your site Google is indexing:

In Google search > search “site:example.com" and replace example.com with your URL

If you aren’t seeing your high-value pages in the search results, there is a major opportunity to improve your site traffic.

Google My Business

Google My Business continues to be the most impactful driver of local SEO, so it’s important that your account is optimized to its fullest potential.

Here are the things you can do to improve your visibility on local results:

  • Verify your business location through physical mail
  • Keep your business information accurate - website, hours, menus, description, categories
  • Add photos of your business - exterior, interior, staff
  • Respond to reviews - both good and bad

See Google’s recommendations >


75% of searchers don’t make it to the second page of search results. Do you know how your site ranks for your key terms? Search your main service line and location (i.e. “Scottsdale advertising agency”) in an incognito Chrome window and see if your site makes the first page in search results or local results.

Site Speed

According to Google, “Advertising and speed go hand in hand, with faster landing pages delivering better ROI.” With the data to back up that statement, they now use page load speed as a ranking factor. Faster sites provide a better user experience, therefore, Google prioritizes them in ranking over slower sites.

Check out your homepage’s desktop and mobile page speed >

Mobile Usability

According to Google, 94% of people search for local information on their phones, and interestingly, 77% of mobile searches occur at home or work. So it’s critical that your users have a good experience when visiting your site on a phone or tablet.

Google rates mobile usability by looking at elements on a webpage like text size, buttons, and content width. 

See if your site is mobile-friendly by Google’s standards >

How does your site compare?

We’ve created an easy tool for you to use and discover how your website stacks up in the rankings. Download our Site Audit Worksheet and score your website!

Site Audit Worksheet

Want an expert opinion? Give us a call.

Vote for TJA for Ranking Arizona 2021!

Voting is now open for AZ Big Media’s Ranking Arizona 2021 and we need your help! Follow the simple steps below to help TJA rank #1 again this year. You may vote once per hour through July 31 at 11:59pm.

How to Vote:
1. Visit the Ranking Arizona website
2. Register with your email address and create a password OR use your login information from last year
3. Vote for TJA in the following categories by clicking the VOTE button:

  • Advertising and Marketing
    • Advertising Agencies
    • Best Workplace Culture
    • Graphic Design Firms
    • Internet Marketing
    • Public Relations Firms
    • SEO/Social Media Marketing
  • Business Services
    • Best Place to Work
    • Event Planning
    • Women-Owned Businesses

Thank you for your support!

Your brand’s digital presence is more important now than ever before

“I want to be where the people are”

I think everybody can relate to The Little Mermaid these days; we all want to be where the people are. Thankfully, conversations surrounding COVID-19 are finally turning toward recovery. However, even as the world reopens, the effects of the quarantine will be lasting and businesses need to adapt to how consumer digital behaviors have shifted. The bottom line: to be where the people are, you need to update your digital strategy. Doing so will benefit your business both in the short- and long-term.

Improve your website

One simple way to invest in your website is to regularly update your content to ensure its relevancy, something that will be especially important post-coronavirus. For example, adding video content can increase time on site. Likewise, virtual experiences allow your customers to take your product for a spin from the comfort of their home. We recently developed a new website for Camelot Homes, a luxury homebuilder in Arizona, which included more imagery, video content, interactive floor plans and their professionally-shot virtual home tours that maintained buyer interest when in-person tours weren’t available.

Streamlining the design of your website can guide consumers more naturally through your site and increase conversions. Staying on top of your site’s SEO will help consumers find you through search engines. If you’re unsure of where to start, we recommend a website audit, which is the foundational service we offer our web clients. An audit will reveal what’s going well with your website and what needs improving, providing you with clear direction and actionable next steps.

Email is low-risk, high-reward

Maintaining open communication is crucial in gaining trust with your consumers. In a time of crisis, transparency is even more important. Newsletters are great digital tools that offer direct lines to your brand’s biggest fans: people who voluntarily opted to receive updates from you. So, give the people what they want.

The economic landscape is shifting constantly in reaction to the coronavirus. With recovery around the corner, it’s imperative to keep your consumers informed with updates to your business, like shifts in offerings, changes in hours of operation or new content. Whatever the messaging, make it consistent, relevant and timely.

An email campaign also is a relatively inexpensive marketing channel with a historically high ROI. According to Litmus, for every dollar spent on email, marketers saw a $42 return. With so many advantages to email, creating a newsletter strategy is essential.

Create content constantly

When stay-at-home orders were declared, streaming services and social media apps experienced a rise in traffic and usage. According to The Next Web, 29 percent of internet users reported they were streaming significantly more movies and shows, while 23 percent said they were spending significantly more time on social media platforms. People quarantined to their homes crave content, presenting an opportunity for businesses to bolster their organic social media.

When compared to the last quarter of 2019, Instagram saw a 22 percent increase in campaign impressions in the first quarter of 2020. Even as the world eases back into a normal cadence, and people once again can meet in-person, we anticipate the high rate of social media use will continue. Undoubtedly, consumers will feel compelled to share their first experiences out in public. Preparing and scheduling timely and visually engaging content maintains your relevancy and increases brand awareness.

Earn trust and impressions

Right now, news sites are seeing big increases in readership as even more people want to stay informed. The New York Times reported in March that news site page visits increased 57 percent, and subscriptions to U.S. news sites were 57.5 percent higher on Sunday, March 15 compared to an average Sunday.

Submitting bylined articles or expert commentary on how trends or current events are affecting your industry can lead to earned media coverage in online news sites, increasing your business’s exposure and strengthening your expert positioning. Providing insight and thought leadership in news outlets also garners trust with readers, deepening your brand awareness. Partnering with experts like The James Agency can not only help you create an effective PR strategy, but also execute on that strategy and prepare you for the inevitable media opportunities. 

Be prepared

We’re all experiencing a harrowing moment in our history, and the full effects are yet to be seen. One thing for certain has changed: the customer journey. The brands that will continue to win have a few things in common, one of which being a strong digital presence that allowed them to stay in contact with their customers throughout the days of quarantine. At The James Agency, we leverage 15 years of experience and a wealth of data to evolve our clients’ digital assets, ensuring they are prepared for anything. Drop us a line to determine how we can do the same for you.


TJA CMS (Celebrity Meditation Service).

For April Fools, our team created a series of meditations guided by recognizable voices. While these aren’t part of our traditional offerings, we wanted to share some laughs and some zen with our community.   

Listen and share your favorite tracks with your friends.

How to treat your own organization like a client.

The shoemaker’s children go barefoot.

This old idiom essentially means we neglect the things closest to us. As an agency, we know from experience that it’s hard to prioritize internal projects when it is our duty to provide a service to others. Despite it being a challenge, investing in your own development is essential to stay relevant, informed and ahead of your competitors.

How to prioritize your own projects.

You are busy. Everyone’s 9 to 5 is fully-loaded and there’s a long queue of to-dos. We’ve been there; we empathize. While it’s good for business to be busy, it makes it easy to sideline internal projects.

One way to navigate this is by committing time at the beginning of the year to focus on internal projects or employee education. By intentionally carving out a set amount of time that is non-negotiable, you can work time into your yearly plan for team development. Whether this manifests into quarterly company-wide meetings or department huddles, it’s already built into everyone’s calendar, so they won’t have to scrounge for time.   

Internal education

There are loads of evidence demonstrating that investment in training and education is smart business. Let your employees come to you with their requests for online classes, certification courses and conferences that set them up for success. Create parameters to support education initiatives for when employees inquire about furthering their skillsets. Companies also benefit from individuals who further their education when they bring back information that improves the team as a whole. When employees teach each other, it improves company-wide integration, and departments become more well rounded.

Focus on projects that have the most impact.

It’s easier to relegate time for little tasks and individual improvements. What about company-wide development and projects with large scopes of work that require a significant investment of time? These are the easiest of all to put on the back burner until resources free up (that’s code for never going to happen). Intentionality is the name of the game. Be sure that when you invest resources, you’re going to see a return on that investment

TJA’s most recent internal investment was developing a new website that embodies the values and capabilities of our team. Our company has grown and evolved over its 15 years, and the website is an essential first impression for potential business, employees and those looking for industry insight. Investing in our web presence pays dividends through lead captures and by acting as a resource for those seeking out agency information.

Get yourself some shoes.

There are consequences for neglecting to take care of your own operations, namely, becoming outdated. Be sure to consider the long-term benefits of updates and continued education. Of course, some projects are important to invest in but may not be in your organization’s wheelhouse to execute. Free up time by connecting with TJA for guidance and expertise on marketing, website development and more.

We’ll make you some sweet kicks

It’s time to start thinking about recovery marketing.

Plan your comeback.

When you’re in the thick of a crisis, it might be all you can do to deal with the fires in front of you. But the businesses most likely to succeed are already beginning to think about what comes next. The steps that your business takes when reentering the market will be a crucial differentiator. While it’s impossible to predict what will happen next and when things will return to “business as usual,” having a proactive plan in place will keep you ahead of category competitors who haven’t thought that far ahead.

Be nimble. Be quick.

We mentioned in our blog “Why having a marketing team in a time of crisis is crucial” that speed to market is going to matter. Your team won’t have the luxury of dawdling when the time comes to capture attention-share at the same time as everyone else. Having the outline of a strategy in place ahead of time will allow you to break to the front of the pack and lead the narrative for your industry.

Encourage your decision-makers to be light on their feet and adhere to one of TJA’s favorite mottos: embrace uncertainty. While it might be challenging to get a team of people who are used to dealing with hard numbers and strict deadlines to be flexible, you’ll find that there’s a lot of room for creativity when some of the rigid structures need to be circumvented. Listen to your marketing team with an open mind, as they’ve had their ear to the ground throughout the duration of the crisis.

Importantly, be sure to share your capabilities with your marketing team. Talk about ideas you’re open to, what your budget looks like, and any other important parameters. It helps your marketing team know how to create appropriate and realistic solutions for you.

What to include in your recovery marketing plan.

It’s important that your plan remains flexible. Make sure each section is amenable to change so that you don’t lose entire swaths of work as a result of a new update to the situation.

  • Content strategy
    Messaging is going to be an important part of how you position yourself to your audience as everyone readjusts to the new normal. Pretending that nothing happened comes off as disingenuous. Copy that isn’t thoughtfully crafted runs the risk of appearing insensitive in ways you hadn’t anticipated. Make sure you’re working with people who know how to entice your consumer base to reengage without compromising your integrity.
  • Targeting
    It’s possible that over the course of current events, your true following rose to the top. Maybe a new segment of consumers gravitated toward your offerings that you didn’t have exposure to before. Reassess who your business is attracting. Decide if you want to readjust your targeting strategies. A marketing team that’s well versed in analytics, persona composition and media targeting can help you through these conversations.
  • Media
    The way people interact with media is also subject to change. During the current example of coronavirus times, the rates at which people consume online content skyrocketed. Once consumers are given the go-ahead to resume their normal activities, we’re predicting that people will engage offline more often and for longer periods to make up for lost time. Depending on your business model and offerings, it might be worth reconsidering out-of-home advertising as people drive to see each other, and meet up at venues, restaurants and other social spaces.

Recovery starts with planning

We know it’s daunting to consider the long term when even next week is a complete unknown. With 15 years in the industry, The James Agency has weathered hard times before and helped put our clients in a position to succeed even through intense adversity. If your team has enough on its plate and wants to consider a strategic comeback, reach out; we’ve got the know-how to help you come out on top.

Start planning

How TJA stays accountable while working from home.

Navigating new territory as a small business.

We’re all in these uncharted waters together. Thousands of employees with little to no telecommuting experience are suddenly working from home with 24 hours of family, significant other or alone time. While there’s no shortage of helpful articles on how to set up a routine to maintain a sense of normalcy, we wanted to tackle another aspect of the work from home experience: accountability.

As a small-but-strong business, we have the privilege of being able to pivot with relative ease. As we get into the flow of the work-from-home dynamic, we’ve learned a few lessons that help keep the engine of our business running while maintaining our focus and upholding the quality of our work.

Virtual check-ins

Our team hops on the Zoom tube at 9AM every day. (We started on Google Hangouts but preferred Zoom’s grid-view option that allows us to see everyone’s face at the same time.) Making sure everyone is present, accounted for and visible on video helps us start the day feeling connected. We also take the time to convey any relevant updates from the previous day. As always, TJA likes to sprinkle some fun in with the business. Our morning video conferences have included glitter bombs, cats, and a company-wide rendition of “Happy Birthday” to our Account Manager Charlie Crews (and yes, it sounded as bad as you’d imagine).

At 4PM, each department conducts smaller video chats to discuss what they’ve accomplished, where they might need support and their goals for the next day. We also use this as a time to catch up and check in on stress levels.

Time tracking in real-time.

One of the first measures we implemented was real-time time tracking. An up-to-the-hour account of how we’re spending hours eliminates the risk of wasting time. It also builds internal trust knowing that everyone is working together toward a common goal. Our project managers can discern patterns of productivity that arise through this new pace of work. That helps them resource for the upcoming days while adapting to new needs.

Transparency in communications.

Over-communication is the name of the game. The TJA environment supports open and honest communication at all times, but never has that been more beneficial or critical than when we’re working remotely. Empowering the team to speak up when they have too much on their plate or are in need of a project helps maintain an even spread of work. it also prevents anyone from feeling overwhelmed or underutilized.

Simultaneously, the need for straightforward client communications has never been more apparent. By engaging in honest discussions about adapting to new business needs and rapid-response action, we’re better able to serve our clients with creative solutions. This, in turn, improves their ability to respond and recover.

Upholding our culture.

The administrative elements of twice-a-day check-ins and real-time time tracking help keep us accountable. Our team also worked hard to maintain our culture while practicing responsible social distancing. With birthday celebrations and Beer Lab hosted over Zoom calls, it brings a sense of togetherness to the company at large. Coming together for moments of joy and fun keeps spirits high and allows us to carry that momentum into our work.

Keep tabs on us.

Everyone is trying to make the best of the new situation we find ourselves in. Follow us on social to see more of our work-from-home strategies and shenanigans. We’d love to hear from you about creative working solutions you’ve seen.

Stay social (but distant)

Why having a marketing team in a time of crisis is crucial.

How companies can recover from an unexpected event.

No business is ever 100% ready when a crisis hits. While you’re reeling from a major event that impacts your day-to-day operations, it’s easy to feel like you’re falling behind. When time is of the essence and your company needs to think on its feet, you’ll be glad to have a marketing team behind you: they will deliver a quick and appropriate response to your audience, and you can focus on steering the ship.

The time for belabored, designed-by-committee strategy plans is gone. The agility of a specialized marketing team streamlines go-to-market initiatives, whether you’re in reaction or recovery mode. When the status quo is changing by the hour, decisive action is a priority, regardless of your industry.

Rapid response in an evolving environment. 

Publicize your actions and efforts without delay. Whether you’re fielding customer inquiries, putting out press releases, or posting digital content to keep your consumers informed and instructed, a dedicated marketing team can alleviate the pressure of saying the right thing in the right way. Maintaining an active online presence also conveys confidence to your customers and partners, providing a sense of security that your organization is prepared to weather the storm.

Importantly, if you have any pre-scheduled content that is supposed to go live, ensure your team evaluates and edits it for appropriateness. This isn’t the time for radio silence, but releasing tone-deaf or callous content is even worse.

Business as (un)usual.

Marketing helps drive commerce—yes, even during a crisis. While the messaging that accompanies a commerce strategy should be thoughtfully executed, carefully considered marketing encourages consumers to engage with your brand and the economy at large. Some of your business offerings may pivot to accommodate what the market requires under the circumstances. Lean on your marketers to promote these new services or products to the right audiences through defined targeting.

Go where the people are: individuals are likely to spend more time online and on social media during a crisis to stay informed, check up on friends and family, or take a mental break. Cater to this digital audience by communicating frequently and raising awareness about your brand in order to stay front-of-mind. Utilizing strategies like paid social media, paid search, email campaigns and more will put you in front of the right people as they spend even more time online.

This doesn’t apply to me.

If you’re operating in an industry that is less affected by the crisis, it’s still highly recommended that you take a moment to consider a long-term response with your marketing team. Think of the actions your company will need to take when this crisis comes to a conclusion; bring your decision-makers to the table and assess how your organization will adjust to changes in the economy at large; talk about how to modify campaigns and messaging to reflect the emotional state of your consumers.

Ethical marketing in a time of crisis.

Marketing with empathy and sensitivity will lead to positive associations with your brand. Fear mongering, misinformation, and preying on insecurities won’t go unpunished. Brand responses are monitored closely, and the public is not afraid to take down those who are tactless. Now more than ever, it’s critical to have a team of specialists who knows how to navigate the changing tides with sincerity and an in-depth understanding of your audience.

If your organization needs assistance with crisis communication, recovery strategies, digital presence or more, reach out to our team. We specialize in creative responses to novel situations, and can help you brainstorm ways to integrate new approaches. Whatever you need, we’re ready to support you.

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The billboard is still relevant to your marketing mix and here’s why.

Inspiration can come from anywhere. 

It all began when Dracula showed up on our team Slack channel. Our Boss Lady posted a billboard advertising the Netflix original series in a remarkably clever way. Take a look

Neat, right? As the sun goes down, the light source on the left edge of the billboard casts a strategically constructed shadow by refracting light off the “stakes” to paint a portrait of the notorious bloodsucker himself. Considering the subject matter of the show, this portrait in shadow seemed poetically appropriate. More than that, the advertisement took full advantage of the medium. We’re all existing in a digital world saturated with digital ads. Still, the Dracula billboard owned its medium by integrating elements that literally can’t be replicated online: an interplay between light, shadow and three-dimensional objects. 

Executions like these keep us believing in the billboard as a viable and sustainable media decision. The industry at large seems to agree, too. Over the past decade, while radio and print advertising took hard hits as companies flocked with their media budgets to digital advertising, out-of-home (OOH) advertising has seen 31 consecutive quarters of growth. Part of the reason for OOH’s continued success has been its ability to incorporate the same data-driven decision making that make digital ads so effective. Taking those insights and applying them to a medium that exists offline allows marketers to get the best of both worlds: an ad that boasts repeated exposure to a broad audience in their day-to-day lives, but is also specifically targeted. 

The right place. The right time. The right people. 

In order to capture the attention of the right audience, use tools and services created to layer data filters that enhance targeting and performance tracking. Our Senior Media Planner and Buyer chimes in:

“Understanding where your ideal target lives and where they work is key to getting on the right billboards, so working with a partner that can layer in census data and traffic patterns can make a night and day difference. Just because a board gets a ton of traffic doesn’t mean it’s the right board for you. It’s important to use all the tools to make sure the right eyes are seeing your billboard.” 

Instead of guesstimating where your optimal audience is looking, get pinpointed information on where they are and when, as well as where they’re heading. No ad exists in a silo, and billboards are especially context-dependent. Through diligent research and reliable partners, you can rake in the results by capturing the attention of your consumer base by being in the right place at the right time. Lean on the information that your company already has access to, because it can inform and support placement decisions. Then, consult with expert product partners to layer on advanced informatics that will accelerate goal actualization.


Since billboards have the benefit of repeat exposure to the right audience, it is equally advantageous to have your message follow your audience once they reach their destination. Most quality digital partners will provide you with the capability to retarget the pool of people who passed by your sign. You can then further refine that pool based on behavioral or demographic preferences. That way you’ll capture IRL impressions through your billboard’s geographic placement, and accumulate a refined pool of consumers that you can put purposeful dollars toward since they resemble your ideal audience. Your message will pursue this target audience, giving them opportunities to reencounter your brand across multiple touchpoints. This multi-dimensional approach brings your audience into your world across mediums—both in the digital realm and in real life. Geotargeting with further filtering is a strategic tactic to strengthen your staying power and front-of-mind positioning. Some considerations to keep in mind though: with a narrower audience, CPM rates (cost per thousand impressions) will increase for digital ads that get served. If you’re going for a broad reach, this may not be the tactic to use. While initial exposure includes anyone who passes your billboard, remarketing efforts will be restricted to a narrow point on the funnel. This is a quality over quantity move. 

It’s a matter of scale.

Whether you’re aiming for maximum brand exposure or are hoping to capture the attention of a specific audience, billboards can help you maximize your return when they’re a part of your marketing mix. Knowing your end goal for running an OOH campaign is key—are you promoting a one-time event like a 3-day sale at your location, or are you launching a new product? There are effective tactics to accomplish wide range goals utilizing OOH and other mediums to complement those efforts. The good news is The James Agency has experience with mixed media campaigns and OOH placement. The experts on our team can help you wherever you are on the spectrum of broad reach to narrow targets. Start the conversation to begin exploring your options today. 

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