New Digital Marketing Strategy Works Hard for Denton Combs

A Digital Marketing Case Study

THE CLIENT

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

THE SITUATION

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.

THE PROCESS

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.

THE SOLUTION

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.

THE RESULTS

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:

Source Here: New Digital Marketing Strategy Works Hard for Denton Combs

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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!

Learn More Here: Internships Build Tomorrow’s Workforce

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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!

 

Read Full Article Here: What’s your logo design really saying about you?

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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

See More Here: The Secret to Our Sauce

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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.

Source Here: Now That’s an Irishman

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The Impact of Tax Reform on Agriculture

At the end of 2017, President Trump signed into law the 2018 tax reform bill. The bill, which includes hundreds of structural changes to the tax code, has been supported by several agriculture industry representatives. This is because the bill will hopefully lower tax liabilities and simplify the process for tax management.

The bill offers four main benefits to farmers and ranchers.

1.  Tax relief for pass-through business income

According to Forbes1, one of the most significant changes under this new bill is the tax treatment of businesses. “The new law states that business income that passes through to an individual from a pass-through entity and­ income attributable to sole proprietorship will be taxed at individual tax rates less a deduction of up to 20% to bring the rate lower.”

National Cotton Council President/CEO Gary Adams commented, “As you know, many family farms are structured as pass-through entities, and we appreciate the provisions to specifically provide tax relief for these entities.”

The 2018 tax reform will allow farmers to take a 20% deduction off business income

This section of the new tax code, known as the Section 199A deduction, is already familiar to cooperative members. It replaced the Section 199 domestic production deduction and provides significant tax savings on grain sold to cooperatives. To qualify for the deduction, the farmer must sell to the co-op and be a patron of the co-op.  The Section 199A deduction allows the farmer to deduct 20% of the value of his grain sales to the co-op from his taxable income.

The new Section 199A deduction has already created controversy, as private or publically traded grain companies have rightly noted that this provision favors grain sold to a cooperative over sales to privates. For example, considering a farmer with $5 million in sales to a co-op and $4 million in expenses, the 20-percent deduction would be worth the entire $1 million in profit, leaving no taxable income.

But a farmer who isn’t a co-op member would have to take the 20-percent deduction against the $1 million in earnings, leaving taxable income of $800,000—and a tax liability of $296,000.

Republican Sens. John Thune of South Dakota and John Hoeven of North Dakota, who helped write the co-op provisions in the tax bill, are now trying to revise the legislation to address the complaints.

2. Lowered individual tax rates

94 percent of farmers pay taxes as individuals and will benefit from lowered tax rates. Because 94% of farmers and ranchers pay taxes as individuals, the lower individual tax rates associated with the new tax bill will provide a benefit. “The lowering of individual tax rates will further help alleviate the tax burden on families,” stated Adams.

Pat Wolff, a tax specialist with the American Farm Bureau, noted that the bill also leaves intact some important tax tools for farmers. “The bill also maintains all of the important deductions and credits that farmers rely on. So, farmers have all the tools that they’ve always had to manage their businesses.”

3. Estate tax exemption

Estate taxes, long opposed by many farm groups, can make it financially difficult for farmers to transition their operations to the next generation. The new tax bill doubles the estate tax exemption to $11 million per person, which should eliminate this concern for the vast majority of farmers and ranchers.

4. Expensing capital investments

The reformed tax code also allows businesses, like farms, to immediately write off the cost of new assets. Prime examples for the farmer would be new combines, tractors and other equipment.

One drawback—this provision has a five-year lifespan, at which point it will either expire or need to be re-enacted by Congress.

Temporary solutions

Like the capital expense provision, many of the new individual and small-business tax provisions are temporary. Ag advocacy groups, like the American Farm Bureau, are working to make these 2018 tax reforms permanent.


NOTE: VistaComm does not provide financial advice. We recommend you contact your tax professional with any questions you have concerning the new tax laws.

  1. What Tax Reform Means For Small Businesses & Pass Through Entities, Forbes

Article Source Here: The Impact of Tax Reform on Agriculture

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Zen and the Art of Merger Communication

It is the new normal in American business. Acquisitions, mergers and consolidations are a fact of corporate life. Whether you’re a startup or a Fortune 500 firm, the odds of experiencing one of these events are good and getting better. According to accounting giant Deloitte, “Corporate and private equity executives foresee an acceleration of merger and acquisition activity in 2018.”1

Whatever part you play in the transaction—acquirer or acquired, this is the time for great and clear communication. What are the essential dos and don’ts of merger messaging?

Here are our top 6.

company merger1. What’s your story?

Rather than a recitation of facts and bottom-line financial benefits, craft a story. Part history, part economics lesson and part vision-casting, your story should paint a picture. It should include what brought the parties involved to this place, the most pertinent and impactful numbers and, most importantly, some picture of the future. Everyone—and especially employees—wants you to answer this question: “What’s in it for me?”

Consider your stakeholders. Take the time to prepare a compelling story. Tell it well.

2. Have a plan

The communication plan needs to be formulated well in advance of the actual event—before there is even certainty that it will occur. Create a timeline for communication, with the understanding that there must be flexibility. Formulate an action plan that includes both parties in the transaction. Assign key roles and responsibilities.

Plan to utilize various communication styles and channels. Hold meetings, utilize your website, intranet and printed materials. The multi-channel approach will reach a high percentage of your stakeholders.

3. Equip your front line

Employees will seek information from people they trust and work with every day. As a part of your communication plan, make sure that your front-line managers are kept up to date with the latest information. Treat them as insiders and equip them so they are comfortable with what to say—and, also, what not to say.

4. Prepare for rumors

The news will get out. It almost always does. Determine how you will handle leaks, and who will be the point person. Consider preparing messaging and materials in advance to address rumors quickly when they surface.

5. Answer questions openly

One of the most effective ways to combat rumors is to be as honest and up-front as possible when questions come your way. Anticipate the questions you’re likely to field and create an FAQ. As questions are received from stakeholders, incorporate them into a Q&A document that can be regularly updated. When you receive questions that cannot yet be answered, give your audience a status report or a date when you will know more. Creating a master FAQ will also ensure that language is consistent across executives and managers.

6. Tell the story again . . . and again

Once the merger is official, the need for further communication is over, right? Wrong.

The proposed union may have been ratified, but the success of that union is far from guaranteed. In fact, the crucial blending of systems and culture is still ahead. Much must be accomplished to secure the benefits of this union for customers and employees. Talent and sales may be lost if you do not continue to talk about the progress, the challenges and the reasons for the merger.

Issue regular progress reports after effective date of the union. In these reports, highlight the headway you are making at unifying both systems and cultures. When a glitch occurs—and it will—apologize to both customers and employees. Thank them for their patience, and spell out the steps being taken to correct the problem.

Even after the vote is taken and all the official papers are signed, keep telling your customers and employees why you did what you did. Don’t assume they remember. This persistence in communication will give you the “honeymoon” you need to get your unified organization on an even keel and growing into the future.


If your business needs help communicating change or even initiating a communication plan, put VistaComm’s expertise to work. Call 844-453-9261 to begin the conversation. And remember, digital communication is immediate and effective, especially in merger situations.

Contact us today

  1. Deloitte, The state of the deal: M&A trends 2018, Deloitte.com, https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/mergers-and-acquisitions/articles/ma-trends-report.html

Learn More Here: Zen and the Art of Merger Communication

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