An Email Marketing Renaissance

With Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat so prominent these days, it’s easy to forget about email marketing as an effective communication tool. Actually, email has undergone a renaissance in the past two to three years. A recent study by the Direct Marketing Association reports that email campaigns conducted with well-maintained inhouse lists achieved a return on investment (ROI) of 30% to 32%, compared with 15% to 17% on social media, and 18% to 20% for direct mail. Far from dying out, email as a communication and marketing tool is still extremely strong and savvy marketers are using it—regularly.

For 24% of smartphone users, email is the first thing they check on their phone in the morning.

This resurgence can be attributed to the rise of mobile usage and responsive platforms. 91% of adults have a mobile phone within arm’s reach 24 hours a day. Smartphone users use their phone to send and receive both personal and business email (84%). For 24% of smartphone users, email is the first thing they check on their phone in the morning.

Observations and tips to remember when email marketing:

  • A Captive Audience — Consumers provide email addresses to businesses they know and trust. You’ve got them from the start!
  • Deliver What They Want — Special notices, discounts and product knowledge are the main reasons consumers give you their email addresses.
  • Automate Your Sales — Advances in email platforms help you streamline and automate your sales process to put you in front of customers at just the right time. Remember: Personalize your emails whenever possible.
  • A Special Format — Email messages differ from those on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest or Snapchat. Review the basics:
    • A solid subject line is just as important as the main email message. Concisely state the substance of your message here. Do NOT use “URGENT” or “ASAP.”
    • Immediately state who you are and the purpose of the email.
    • Prioritize what your customer needs to know and save other inquiries for follow-up emails. Present a focused, clear message.
    • Correct usage is not archaic. Standard spelling, paragraphs, periods and grammar make your email more quickly comprehensible and professional.

Your marketing plan might benefit from an email campaign. Let VistaComm help—the increased ROI could be yours!


  • Response Rate Report, Direct Marketing Association, 2015.
  • Consumer Digital Usage and Behavior Study, Adesta.
  • Marylou Ruud, Leadership Development Initiative, P.E.O.

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Memorial Day Photo Essay: Through A Lens of Reflection

Every time I see a flag fluttering in the breeze, my heart skips a beat.

I’ve had the privilege of traveling through a majority of the United States because of the men and women in uniform, both past and present. And throughout that journey, I’ve lost count of the moments that left me in awe of this great country.

Planning a future with a soldier gives me an even deeper appreciation for the soldiers and their families that have already walked the road ahead of me. Every single day, there are so many little—and monumental—sacrifices made in their lives. Even when they’re not deployed. Even when it’s not Guard Drill weekend. And especially when some had nothing left to give.

As we pay tribute to them this Memorial Day, take a moment to reflect on the many men and women who came before us and died for our freedoms.

A patriotic, fire-lit ceremony in Providence, R.I.

A flag stands watch at a Colorado fire lookout tower.

Mount Rushmore might be one of the most identifiable monuments in the United States.

The Korean War Veterans Memorial contains statues of men prowling the jungle with fear in their eyes, unsure of what lies ahead.

A rising moon outside of a building very near the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pa.

The only photo with no red, white and blue, but perhaps one of the most moving—even today, oil drops regularly surface at the site of the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Roses line the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

One of my favorite features the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. is the ring of flags surrounding it.

A soldier marches the well-worn path at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, Va.

The decisions made within the walls of this house feel heavy when you stand within them—The White House, Washington, D.C.

A serene night portrait of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

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New Digital Marketing Strategy Works Hard for Denton Combs

A Digital Marketing Case Study


Board licensed, and Certified Family Nurse Practitioner Denton Combs has been personally treating, managing and solving non-surgical ear, nose and throat (ENT) conditions since 1999. Seven years ago, he opened the Denton Combs Center for Excellence in Care (Denton) in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where he and his staff continue those services. Their approach to ENT issues is to focus on addressing the causes—not just the symptoms—through lifestyle changes and medical approaches rather than surgery.

denton combs office


When Denton came to VistaComm for assistance, their marketing communication was comprised mostly of radio, some television and print advertising in local commercial publications. They had no real way to measure the results of these tactics. Previous internal estimates calculated that approximately 70% of their existing business came through word of mouth. Denton had identified their target audience as Facebook Moms.

The need to increase awareness of their services—especially in allergies—and reach a more expanded audience in the tri-state area was Denton’s priority. In addition, they wanted a marketing strategy that would produce immediate growth of clientele, and most importantly, effective, measurable tactics that would assure Denton they were not wasting their marketing dollars.


An initial discovery process directed by the VistaComm web and digital teams helped both Denton and VistaComm learn more about each other and the target audience. Key findings during discovery helped both parties develop and agree to a web and digital marketing strategy that would work hard for Denton Combs.


To attain the greatest online functionality needed to support an effective digital marketing campaign, VistaComm explained that Denton would need to enhance their existing website. The client agreed and this was the first step taken by the VistaComm web development team.

Our digital marketing strategy started with the website

Web development began with a clear focus on that Facebook Mom audience and the online information they might be searching for themselves and their families. VistaComm’s web content specialists proceeded to tell the Denton Combs story—who they are, what they do and why those Moms should care. Content was then coupled with visuals and functionality that would cause the online reader to respond to the site and STAY WITH IT, grasping the full Denton Combs message.

With a new website ready to go, targeting Denton’s audience could begin—on Facebook, in search engines and through search engine optimization (SEO). This was accomplished through granular digital tracking of those visiting the Denton website. The VistaComm team immediately discovered which website messages were working and which ones were not. Content adjustments were made—in fact, the team now works continually with Denton to make sure site visitors are responding to the messages and overall content. If something is not working hard—getting responses—content is replaced. Tracking has enabled the VistaComm team to go back to Denton regularly and show them exactly what is working or getting good response for them.


Denton Combs wanted to grow their business—let’s get back to that. They reported to VistaComm in the program’s early stages that they were “getting way busier.” Their potential client base began to grow, as well, as evidenced by conversions. Conversions equal visits to the site that result in either a call to the Denton office or the completion of an online response form requesting additional information on Denton’s services.

Coming from no way to know if marketing strategies were working to having actual names and addresses of potential clients in hand, here’s the conversion data after 10 months of digital tracking:

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Internships Build Tomorrow’s Workforce

Cue up a little sunshine and suddenly everyone’s thinking about summertime. And that means internships are a common denominator on many college students’ minds. Whether it’s required or not, most are looking to get a jump start on putting their newly minted education to the test with some real-world experience. In fact, several short years ago, I found myself in that very situation.

As a business person, considering hiring for an internship position might leave you with myriad feelings. But perhaps answering this one question will find the solution to all the others—can I provide this student what they need to further their journey to a career? The following four thoughts will ensure that not only your intern, but also your company, will reap the benefits of investing in tomorrow’s workforce.

Be realistic about your investment.

It’s an age-old notion that interns are for coffee runs and grunt work. And it’s true that merely being exposed to your office environment will provide a certain amount of benefit, but the fact of the matter is you should be prepared to invest staff time in your intern. Whether it takes the form of preparing tasks for them to tackle over the course of their tenure or specifically training them on a certain skill, the true value you can provide is giving them valuable work experience. Speaking from experience, my best days were those spent tackling a targeted to-do list with trusted advisors at the ready to answer questions and guide me along the way (though it certainly didn’t hurt me to make the coffee sometimes, too!). The more you empower your intern with projects to tackle, the more mileage you’ll get out of their skills and the more you help them gain that valuable working knowledge.

Find an intern that fits your situation.

If you are looking to hire an intern, you are likely in an industry that requires some sort of specialized education. There are several options for finding an intern that fits your specific needs. One is to advertise as you typically would for any job opening. Another—if you’d like to pursue an intern from a particular college or university that has an emphasis in your area of focus, get in contact with them. Many universities have staff dedicated to connecting students with internships. They may offer job fairs, notice boards, or might even put you in direct contact with some potential recruits!

Take advantage of their perspective.

Often—though not always—your potential interns will belong to a younger generation. They represent not only the future of your workforce but also your consumer market. Whether you’re selling widgets or services, your intern can bring a fresh perspective to your business, and insight into alike consumers. Plus, there’s the added benefit that their education has laid a hefty groundwork of knowledge. Use this opportunity to collect valuable information that can contribute to the direction of your company.

Consider hiring potential.

It’s a pretty good guarantee that within a year or less, your intern will likely be hitting the job market looking for full-time employment. The beauty of hiring a candidate as an intern is it gives you a direct window into their capabilities and work ethic, without any commitment beyond the internship. Likely you’ve earned loyalty in the candidate from what you’ve invested in them by the conclusion of the internship. And, ultimately, if the intern has had a positive experience with your company, and you feel their skillset matches with your needs, it’s in the best interest of both parties to formally bring them onboard.

At VistaComm, we love to share our thoughts and experiences in hopes that they fuel your business decisions in a positive way. One of our favorite internship success stories comes from our very own Graphic Designer/Editor Talisa Wager, who initially joined us as an intern. We will celebrate her fifth year with VistaComm this summer!

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What’s your logo design really saying about you?

The answer? More than you might realize.

Whether you manage a brand, represent a non-profit, are planning a startup or already own a business, your logo is one of the most valuable assets you have. An effective logo instantly connects your audience to your brand, serving as a visual shorthand for who you are and what you represent. Which is why it’s more important than ever to make sure your logo sends the right message and is a positive, accurate reflection of your brand promise.

To determine if your logo is assisting or impeding your mission and message, ask yourself the following six questions.

1. Is my logo sending the right message?

Let’s say, for example, you’ve identified your target audience as married males over 40 who are passionate about the outdoors and live in central Canada. Visual cues incorporated in your logo treatment—including font selection, color palette, shape, subject matter and more—can either attract that audience or repel it. Prospects should feel as if the logo is appealing directly to them. It should also be an accurate reflection of your brand and what you stand for. If those two aren’t both true, there is a disconnect and you might need to reconsider your positioning, your audience or your logo.

logo design on bottle

2. Will my logo “hold up” over time?

Unless you’re Coca-Cola and have a century of company history under your belt, your logo shouldn’t evoke the era in which it was designed. Today’s oh-so-hot design trend might work just fine for your current ad campaign, which is meant to run for a year, or even a quarter. But your logo must transcend the trend and not tie you to a particular time period. That cool style you loved in 2002 might scream “retro” to today’s consumer. A better, more versatile logo appears timeless and stands the test for multiple decades. It also saves you money by not periodically requiring costly updates of websites, printed materials, signage, apparel, etc.

3. Does my logo blend in, or stand out?

Unless you have an enormous advertising budget (hello, GEICO®) and can continually put your brand in front of millions of consumers every day, your logo needs to be distinctive, if you want your audience to recognize and remember it. An unusual shape, a custom font or a memorable combination of colors can help save you from the sea of sameness.

logo design on crate

4. Is my logo unique to me?

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it can be a death sentence for your image. If your logo reminds people of another brand—especially a direct competitor—it may be more of a liability than an asset. Worse, you could be helping to build their business, not just your own. Conduct a visual audit of logos in your industry, to ensure you are distinctly positioned against the rest of the field. And don’t limit the study to your current market. Think bigger.

5. Is my logo trying too hard?

It’s true that your logo should encapsulate the essence of your business and its promise. But that doesn’t mean it needs to tell the whole story. It can’t, and it shouldn’t. Marketing offers myriad ways to communicate your story and develop your brand position. That’s not the logo’s job. Rather, when your logo consistently appears in conjunction with your brand messaging and imagery, over time it will take on that meaning—even when appearing alone. Which is how even the simplest of logos can eventually mean so much to their audience.

in n out burger logo design

6. Am I hurting my logo?

One of the most common mistakes in branding is inconsistent logo usage. It will take much longer for your logo to build brand equity if it looks different from one application or venue to the next. What may seem like a harmless “tweak” to make your logo look better on, say, a pen, a sweater or a banner, can cause real and measurable damage to your brand. Inconsistent treatment of your logo not only makes it harder for your audience to recognize the company it represents, it actually makes you look unprofessional and substandard. So, avoid or eliminate superfluous alternate treatments of your logo, and whenever possible, use the standard version.

If you have concerns about your logo and what it is saying about you, our team would be happy to help you optimize your current logo or design a whole new brand identity. Just contact VistaComm today for a free consultation!


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The Secret to Our Sauce

At VistaComm, we’ve grown a lot of businesses, measured a lot of metrics and pioneered a lot of initiatives. Not to mention, we’ve met a lot of neat people along the way. Some clients have come and gone, others have partnered with us for the long haul, but none have been taken for granted.

What’s the secret to our sauce, you might ask? While we could tell you it’s an undisclosed family recipe, the reality is it’s emblazed on the archway in our office: Engaged Associates. Delighted Customers. Growth. Honestly, this isn’t a statement we tout outside of our office much. But these are the pillars that drive our everyday interactions, and they translate to darn good business practices that are just as applicable to your customer relationships as they are ours. Here’s how these ingredients add zest to our client relationships:

We really love what we do. Really. Steve Jobs once said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” We have a cohesive team at VistaComm. Each person has been selected for not only their talents, but also their passion. And it shows in their work and in their contributions to the team. We recently surveyed them on the company benefits they most appreciate, and our team bonding activities—like quarterly office potlucks—were among the top. Having such strong synergy adds momentum to everything we do!

We believe in relationship-building. The launch/delivery/sale is not the last you’ll hear from us. Hours of strategizing, planning and conversation precedes the final delivery of a project, which is just the beginning of your relationship with VistaComm. Checking in with clients on a regular basis is the purpose of our client service team. Keeping tabs on website performance is a core function of our tech team. Our journalists curate stories daily. But most importantly, our clients know we’re only a mere phone call, email or visit away, ready to answer their questions or support them in their next endeavor.

We ask for feedback.  We always maintain an open line of communication with clients about how they feel we’ve served them. Are they getting the results they expect? Could we do something differently to better fit their workflow? Were they thrilled with the outcome of their project? All of these are important comments to draw upon and are a part of an ongoing conversation important to any working relationship.

We ask for referrals. Growth goes both ways. Not only do we expect our clients to experience growth in revenue, communication, customer loyalty and conversions, but we ask them to keep us in mind if they know of someone else who could benefit from these results. We want to grow and share our talents just like our clients. (Of course, we share some love in the form of a referral credit to express our appreciation!)

We love our clients!

If you’re looking for a marketing partner and like the values VistaComm is built upon, we’d love to talk! Give us a call today at 866-752-7707.

Contact us today

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Now That’s an Irishman

Being Irish is fun—mostly because the Irish people are a lot of fun. There’s a lot of positivity in the Irish culture, which has a continuing influence on our American culture even today.

Our family originated in County Roscommon in the middle of Ireland. My great grandfather came to America after the potato famine in 1860 or so. Family history has it that my name in Ireland was O’Byrne but was changed to Byrne by my ancestor as he came through Ellis Island. The “O” was dropped to ‘de-Irish’ our name because, at that time, the significant Irish influx was not particularly welcome. The reason given for that attitude was pretty much what we hear today—the industrious Irish were taking jobs from others.

Along the western shore of Ireland. Photo by Lynne Byrne.

The Irish have both made and make so many significant contributions to our society. There’s something magic about the culture. If you haven’t noticed that in your neighborhood, it is worth a trip to Ireland to understand what I’m talking about.

I’ve visited Ireland five times, and my Scandinavian wife, Lynne, has been there even more often. She LOVES Ireland and especially the Irish people. It’s a destination of choice for her. Lynne is captivated by their generally good nature, humor, stories, music, art, ocean shores and their love of America and Americans—the whole package. And the beautiful, picturesque shining green grasses of their rural landscape are special, too.

Left: Ashford Castle, County Mayo, Ireland. Right: Ireland cottage. Photos by Lynne Byrne.

If you plan to visit Ireland, be prepared to be peppered with questions about America. They know a whole lot about us but are curious to know even more. Ireland and the Irish are wonderful friends of America…and Americans. I take great pride in my heritage and appreciate the opportunity to share its many cornerstones daily, right here in America.

Editor’s Note: VistaComm has been owned and operated by Bill Byrne for the past 21 years. His Irish spirit drives the ingenuity of our company and country. We celebrate those of Irish heritage a little extra today!

Photo by Lynne Byrne.

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