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How To Stay Organized In A Busy Environment

How To Stay Organized In A Busy Environment

Posted on Aug 03, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Let’s be honest, life is hectic. Between work, home, kids (if you have them) and trying to have a social life, everything can blend together and it can become hard to stay organized. While work-life balance is important, work is a large contributor to our attitude, happiness and overall outlook on life. If you are one that wears many hats at work, here are five ways to relieve the stress of having what seems like one million things to do. Disclaimer: random tedious and sometimes unpleasant things are inevitably going to pop up, but turning these tips into habits will make it more bearable.

Have a to-do list

To-do lists seem like something you don’t really need, but once you make one it’s like night and day. Being able to see what you have to do for the day and check things off as you go helps dramatically with time management and decreases stress levels. Prioritizing tasks is an extremely important aspect of time management, and to-do lists help with visualizing what is most important and which task will take the longest to complete.

Block off time for each task

Personally, planners have always been my go-to. Paper planners with time slots such as Passion Planner, Plum Paper, and The Bullet Journal help with time management, are great for keeping track of meetings on-the-go and enable you to visualize where you will have time for random things that pop up throughout the day. If checking emails is a daunting task, block off three time slots in your day dedicated to sending and responding to emails.

Don’t procrastinate

Psychologists at Thrive Global have studied procrastination and the impact it has on our mental state. Procrastination increases stress levels which often lead to other issues such as lack of sleep, disengagement at work and at home and lack of appetite—and that’s only the beginning of the spiral effect. Using your to-do list to stay on top of daily tasks will increase productivity and ultimately lead to an abundance of benefits such as increased focus, deeper level of learning, more control over emotions, and increase overall happiness and well-being.

Organize your desk

Having a messy desk can cause unnecessary stress and make you feel like you aren’t being as productive as you should be, which can again have a spiral effect. Decluttering your desk will allow you to clear your mind and devote your full attention to the task at hand. A messy desk is another major contributor to stress, feeling exhausted and feeling like you’ve been unproductive. Paper-holders and small filing cabinets can be lifesavers.

Schedule one 10-minute, technology-free break during the day to regroup (and don’t let it stress you out)

Look, I totally understand being incredibly busy and feeling unproductive the second I put my phone down or stop typing, but this is sort of like meditation. Just turn your chair around, focus on your breathing, sip your coffee/tea/water, look out the window and allow yourself to regroup about halfway through the day. This will allow you to mentally catch up and you’ll probably end up giving yourself time to remember what it was you meant to put on your to-do list. 

The main message here is to declutter your mind and allow yourself to focus and increase productivity. We all need a reminder every now and then to take a step back, clear our thoughts and recharge. The positive effects of giving yourself just 10 minutes to regroup and get organized are endless. So, get ready for next week by getting organized this weekend and TGIT, my friends!

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Rebranding—Sharing Our Experience

Rebranding—Sharing Our Experience

Posted on May 24, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Scaling a business can happen intentionally, or otherwise, unintentionally. Either way, you’re going to have to manage pretty big changes. For us, this means expanding our services, refreshing our entire brand, revamping our website, moving into a bigger office and welcoming new members to our team. Needless to say, we’ve been busy! Throughout our growth and rebranding experience, we’ve really taken a step back to evaluate our core values and focus on why we do what we do. At the end of the day, what we find to be most rewarding is building relationships and sharing the joy of flourishing in doing what we love. Our team finds great value in truly getting to know our clients’ stories on a personal level and authentically producing premium deliverables so that their businesses can succeed.

Branding

While we provide everything from light refreshes to complete overhauls for our clients’ brands, we also need to update our own brand, from time to time. Our old logo will always have a special place here at HMG. However, after nearly 14 years of only subtle tweaking, it was time to give our logo and brand the revamp they deserve. Our main objective for the logo redesign was to create a clean and appealing mark, which we plan to leave on the next 14 years.

Typography

We incorporated lightly-modified typography that draws classic and timeless aspects from Futura, but with a more contemporary feel—similar to Avenir. Following the necessary planning and modifications, we feel that our new typographic treatment will be here to stay for the long haul.

Color palette

From the beginning of our rebranding process, we made the choice to use our original HMG blue as a starting point. From there, we decided that the updated color palette should be simple, yet dynamic enough for integration across all brand assets. The new color palette has already started to appear on a few pieces of internal collateral, as well as on the winning entry in the 2017 Pixelwood Derby.

Icon

For our icon—we aimed to produce something that could stand alone and be recognized as ours. To achieve this, we crafted an abstracted composition that, upon closer inspection, reveals “HMG” in the angles. This was also created entirely with simple 90-degree angles.

Social Media

Every business has a story. We leverage social media to chronicle our company culture, the talent of each person on our team, and also some of the less extravagant bits of our day-to-day story. We value the personality and character of each member of our team and have found Instagram to be a great tool for showcasing the talent and creativity that flows throughout the office. We also make use of the real-time engagement that social media offers. Watching our peers succeed in the Austin community has been invigorating, and being able to interact and congratulate them on their success brings us all closer.

Through Facebook and Twitter, we’ve seen great interest in our blog and the informative content we post on hot topics within the tech industry. Readers benefit from our blogs which further explain certain areas of the industry, offer deeper insight into specific services and explain how they can get their head around ROI and many other topics. The majority of our posts are geared toward helping marketers better understand the digital world and the current trends that shape it.

What’s next?

Our vision for revamping our website is to create a more seamless user experience. Users should be able to quickly navigate to information on our services, and the information should be direct and easily absorbed. The ideal result of this would be that current and prospective clients come away with a clear understanding of who we are, what we do and how we think. Smoothing and polishing a user’s journey is essential for not only demonstrating your own understanding but also the value placed on each user’s time. For this reason, it also should never be unclear how a user would get in contact.

Now that we have laid the foundation for our updated brand, you can expect to see much more in the coming months. We have started planning our new website which should bring together all of our hard work and revamped branding elements. Let us know if you like what you see!

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How We Work With Clients

How We Work With Clients

Posted on May 16, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Finding the right agency can be a difficult and stressful process, usually due to several factors simultaneously in motion. You may need help developing a branding strategy before it’s time to begin the web project, or you may need to coordinate ongoing marketing efforts, such as PPC or retargeting, within the scope of a much larger project that is already underway. It can also be tough to choose an agency that fully understands and harmonize your story, brand and culture consistently through every single project. However, the right fit is usually self-evident, meaning that you’ll know when you’ve found the right one.

Here at HMG, we pride ourselves on the authenticity of both our creative process and work itself. Staying true to our core values, our team of experts collaborate daily to maximize creativity and apply diverse perspectives to each client and their story. First and foremost, our top priority is to cultivate long-lasting partnerships with every one of our clients. Maintaining transparent communication is key to developing rapport and managing expectations throughout the course of each project. We also consider ourselves to be part of each client’s team, committing ourselves to the development of unique, high-quality deliverables that position them for success.

As a full-service marketing agency, our professional bandwidth allows us to cater to marketing needs across the board, from brand assessment and strategy, to web development and implementation of interactive marketing initiatives. Whether you need one of our services or five of our services plus ongoing maintenance, we tailor each project to align with your specific needs, brand and culture. During the kickoff meeting, we will dive into your values, your target audience and your customer journeys. Then we will incorporate our findings into your web project, digital marketing strategy, or whatever else you may need.

And now for the fun part—budgeting! Establishing a clear understanding of your budget upfront allows us to remain transparent when communicating realistic expectations for how a project will align with its existing budget. We generally make two budgeting methods available: fixed-rate bids and ongoing retainers.

Large-scale projects which clearly define a set of deliverables, such as a web development project, typically work best with a flat, fixed rate, which can be easily made into a monthly investment. Fixed-rate billing also works well when bundling services together, into a custom package. However, quite often, a client will also require ongoing marketing services in addition to a larger fixed-rate project, which would necessitate a retainer.

A retainer is a pre-purchased block of hours. Retainers are usually implemented when our services are required on an as-needed basis. With a retainer, you have more flexibility for how the hours are spent and on which projects or services they are allocated—whether that be PPC, retargeting, web maintenance, or ongoing creative services such as print collateral.

In this digital age, technology is rapidly changing and the need to keep up with its dynamic evolution is greater than ever. So let’s connect and chat about how we can support your marketing efforts!

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Understanding the Basics of Google Analytics

Understanding the Basics of Google Analytics

Posted on May 09, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Google Analytics is a potent tool for leveraging data to gain insight into your current audience, as well as develop a deeper understanding of how to reach your target audience. Top marketing professionals analyze data obtained through Google Analytics to identify how, and from where, website visitors are arriving (we’ll dig into this in a little bit). If you aren’t already utilizing this incredibly powerful service, here’s an overview on how you can make smarter, data-driven decisions that better your chances for more conversions and higher return on investment (ROI). Oh, and it’s free.

Audience

So the first thing you need to do is look at who has already been visiting your website. Google Analytics tells you almost everything about each visitor including their demographics, interests, location, behavior on the site, and what device they used to visit your site. From this, it generates relevant comparisons, using the copious amounts of data collected on each user. With access to such an extensive amount of data, Google Analytics allows you to get a clear picture of who is viewing your site and whether you should alter marketing initiatives in order to cater to your target audience.

Acquisition

Now that you’ve determined the makeup of your audience, the next step is discovering how users got to your site. The overview section (under acquisition) breaks down incoming site traffic into general sources: social media, email, direct visitors, organic searches, referrals from other websites, paid search and other. The information is then further digested into graphs to illustrate the percentage of users from each category, their session time, bounce rate and conversion rate. If the right people are already visiting your website, this feature of Google Analytics can help identify where and how to reach others like them.

Behavior

The “Behavior Flow” chart that Google Analytics creates according to time period is the easiest tool, in my opinion, to analyze each user journey. This chart offers the ability to walk through the steps of each user journey, and possibly determine what drove them to each page. This feature provides in-depth data on the most and least visited pages of your website. Such specific data is beneficial to improving the less-viewed portions of your site, and maintaining those more frequently viewed. Considering this data within Google Analytics helps to identify the popular sections of your site, and thus point you in the right direction for which aspects need extra attention.

Conversions

Now for the good stuff. Once you’ve identified your target audience, optimized your marketing initiatives and increased traffic to your website—you can sit back and watch the conversions roll in. Conversions tie in directly with your goals. For example, if your goal is for people to fill out a “Let’s Talk” form, Google Analytics can track how many visitors were served the form, and compare that to the number that completed it. Ecommerce businesses can track key performance indicators (KPI) like product performance, sales performance, transactions and time to purchase.

Knowing and understanding how each element of Google Analytics functions helps the tool to behave as a messenger, that keeps you informed about which areas of your website are successful and which are under-performing. What do you think is the most important aspect of Google Analytics? Be sure to let us know in the comments!

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Client Disrupts Entire Spa Industry

Client Disrupts Entire Spa Industry

Posted on May 04, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Technology has disrupted many industries in its rapid evolution over the past 50 years. Keeping up to speed with tech trends, much less staying ahead of the game, can be a real challenge. As a result of the demanding digital age we now live in, the vast majority of industries have integrated technology into their systems. With this in mind, the team at The Spa Mart knew to approach their new spa distribution venture with a strong emphasis on technology.  

That’s where HMG Creative came in. We were contacted by the development team, and immediately understood their vision for a top-notch eCommerce and online education website that would better serve spa professionals. We took their idea and molded it into a fresh, bold brand to encompass the values and traditions of the spa industry.

After completing The Spa Mart’s branding, we shifted gears into a six-month web development project that takes advantage of Magento 2.0, the successor to the widely popular eCommerce platform of the same name. We’ve also incorporated a system called Odoo, which is an inventory control manager that will allow The Spa Mart to better manage orders and control their back office system. Our client’s main goals were to build and nourish relationships with their customers, help their customers grow their own businesses and provide premium customer service. With the website functioning as the nucleus of their company, we integrated different customer journeys to provide optimal user experience for each customer depending on individual needs—whether they seek to purchase products or search for an online course.

The web-development project consisted of site hierarchy, user experience design, visual design and content strategy. Currently in the optimization and customization phase, the ability to continuously manage and optimize the site is a primary focus as we perfect the site’s flow. As they say—a high-quality, growth driven website is nothing without proper marketing. Taking this to heart, we are also currently in the process of developing a tailored digital marketing strategy to include powerful digital media management, such as pay-per-click advertising and retargeting.

The Spa Mart has been an incredible client, and our team here at HMG is grateful to be able to work with such amazing folks. We share the passion for building relationships and helping others grow their own businesses, so here’s to flourishing in doing what we love!

The Spa Mart’s site is currently active, fully responsive and hosted at HMG Creative.

If you would like more information on our services, leave us a comment or click here.

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Congrats to our Clients

Congrats to our Clients

Posted on Apr 18, 2017 by Alyssa Zucker

Two of our very own clients recently closed multi-million dollar deals, and we could not be more honored to have had a hand in their success! In helping these companies perfect their web presence, we have grown fond of our clients and their work, and are thus gleaming like proud parents at their success. We want to extend our most sincere congratulations to AcadmeicWorks and RetailMeNot on their new acquisitions!

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