Email: The Internet’s Cockroach

      Email: The Internet’s Cockroach

      Email: The Internet’s Cockroach.

      Odd title, huh!? Myth or not, we have all heard about cockroaches’ natural resilience and their infamous ability to survive a nuclear holocaust. True or not, it offers us a great example of how to adapt and survive. In our connected, mega-social, app-driven world, Email is a perfect example of the relentless and sheer determination to stay alive against all odds.

      Since the dawn of the internet, it’s hallmark purpose has been closely linked with communication – engaging, reaching out, personal expression or relaying information. Email is undeniably one of the very first digital milestones in history, and despite its relative age, it is still astonishingly relevant in 2019.

      If we peer back in time, a countless number of communication platforms have appeared, peaked, and slowly faded into digital oblivion. Yahoo Messenger, AOL, ICQ, MSN, and other instant messaging programs; Social platforms like MySpace and Hi5, or even remote IRC, all represented different ways to communicate. Slowly but surely, the world witnessed the rise of Social Media, awing us all with its supernatural ability to share and spread information as wildfire. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and many others have become the weapon of choice for any corporation, business or organization to effectively promote their products and services and stay updated and relevant to an ever-changing populous.

       

      The very first email was sent (and received) in 1971! So, how does email still fit in 2019? How does it stand against newer, trendier social media platforms?

      Facts first, around 90% of adults in the US claim to use email on a regular basis. That’s a massive amount of people! When compared to 70% usage of social media, it sounds even more impressive. Even though email doesn’t have all the bells, whistles, and fancy features flaunted by its newer communication cousins, the numbers alone should convince us. Email matters and it must be a cornerstone of any digital marketing strategy.

       

      Here are 5 Email Strategy tips:

      1. Don’t be a nag.

      Regular email communication is an easy way to stay connected with your customers. Yet it is incredibly important not to overwhelm. Defining the frequency and the amount of information is key. We all want sales and we’re passionate about our companies, but the consequences of trying too hard with too much can end up labeling our newsletters as worthless spam.

       

      2. It’s not you. It’s them.

      A successful newsletter should provide your readers with the content and information they actually care about. It is tempting to talk about ourselves but keeping our own egos aside and focusing on what our customers want to read and know will increase engagement.

       

      3. Make it worth opening.

      The fact someone gave us their email address doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll read our emails. Assume nothing and aim to include content that serves your readers, making them eager to open, read and ultimately, engage – like a good book you simply can’t put down! Most importantly, write your content to match your brand and make it sound as authentically you as possible.

       

      4. Rinse and repeat.

      Content and good writing are absolutely essential but you can’t neglect the scientific side. Analytics, keywords and other associated data points can and should be a part of how and what to write. When in doubt, experiment with different approaches and don’t be afraid to try something new. Iterations and engagement tracking can help you find the right balance and voice. Try different headlines, layouts, and even laser-focused content written to what you already know about your readers. A/B testing is no longer relegated to web design and can/should be an effective part of your email strategy.

       

      5. Hold Fast!

      Before you jump behind your digital typewriter and start flinging words out of your fingers, focus on creating a strategy first. What are you trying to achieve? How will you measure success? Who are you writing for? Create a battle plan that is consistent with your brand and the rest of your digital marketing efforts. Your ‘wasted’ time planning will pay dividends later, especially when your emails, campaigns, and social media channels are all buzzing with eager fans. Devise a plan and stick to it!

       

      Conclusion

      Some might say email is on its dying gasp as the younger generations take the oars of the digital world. Perhaps…but for now, the metrics prove that the good ‘ole email, the cockroach of the internet age, is still the juggernaut of online communication and deserves its place in any successful marketing strategy. Use it wisely.

      By Emanuel Henriques, Atomivox Project Manager and Services Director

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      11 Musts for working with a remote team

      11 Musts for working with a remote team

      11 musts for working with a remote team.

      Have you ever stumbled into a dark corner of the internet and wondered “what did I just read?” Apparently, a debate is raging on whether our earth is flat or round. Shocked? Me too…well, kind of. We can leave that argument to the basement brigade and agree on something that is no longer debatable: when it comes to digital, our world is flat. Technology has gone global.

      Which brings me to the subject of working with remote teams. Once an organization reaches a certain level, working with remote teams should be on your radar. I still remember when outsourcing was a dirty word in America and in certain legacy circles, it still is. Fast-forward to 2019. Today, most modern, agile brands agree that niche skills can be found anywhere. While not for every organization, outsourcing design or other digital work to an external agency is a great addition to (or alternative for) doing the work in-house.

      Digital agencies are everywhere with some outsource design and digital marketing agencies performing better than local rivals. And therein lies the trap. Outsourced projects fail, all the time, but branding, web design, and digital marketing projects rarely fail for lack of skill. If/when projects do fail, the failure was often predictable and avoidable.

      If you’re considering working with a remote design agency in 2019 here are a few “musts” to increase your chances of success (in no particular order):

       

      1. Keep multiple lines of communication.

      Talking, texting, video calls and emailing on a regular basis keeps a digital project healthy. Lack of or erratic, difficult communication is a red flag.

       

      2. Define project contributors and project scope.

      Roles, responsibilities, and expectations should be well documented. Results should be detailed and discussed not only before but during the project, along with milestones and expected outcomes.

       

      3. Manage well.

      Demand suitable PM tools like Asana, ClickUp, Basecamp, Trello, Jira, Git, Confluence, Redbooth, etc. to be used. If not, walk away. Notepads and Post-it notes are no longer sufficient for today’s complex projects.

       

      4. Create a red line.

      Just like the U.S. and Russia during the Cold War, you should delegate project owners on both the delivery and receiver side. These two individuals should have some decision-making authority while acting as a conduit for communication. This reduces noise and confusion and increases efficiency.

       

      5. Make feedback compulsory.

      Short feedback loops and regular, mandatory project stand-ups (in person or via a good video platform) detect confusion and problems before they mutate into project killers. Ideally, progress reviews should happen every two weeks and no more than every four.

       

      6. Sign on the bottom line.

      Contracts, project scopes and NDA’s, etc. protect everyone’s vital interests. When disagreements arise, having signed terms helps resolve any dispute. Do it properly, get everything in writing before you go any further.

       

      7. Wear name tags.

      Know who’s who. Everyone should know who’s involved, if there are contributing 3rd parties and what falls within each’s sphere of responsibility. No one should ever be surprised by the sudden appearance of a contractor, freelancer or middleman, especially if they weren’t aware of that party’s involvement at the outset.

       

      8. Language and culture.

      Never assume that because a remote agency speaks your language, they understand you. Language fluency does not equal cultural fluency. Where possible, you should work with partners who understand where you’re coming from, what you’re saying and the cultural context in which you’re saying it.

       

      9. All-singing, all dancing, all the time.

      No one person, agency or partner can be an expert at everything. Seek qualified niche partners where specific skills are needed and be cautious of anyone who claims they can do it all, perfectly.

       

      10. Start with the end in mind.

      A positive shift is happening in the digital marketing world. Agency managers are realizing that outcomes are more important than outputs. It is extremely difficult for an agency to measure success if the objectives are fuzzy. Choose a qualified agency partner to help you define realistic goals tied to business needs then work towards achieving them.

       

      11. Term limits.

      Make sure the terms of engagement for your project are clear for all parties involved. Is the project fixed price, fixed term? Time and materials? Tied to outputs (deliverables) or to outcomes (our favorite)? If you’re working with multiple partners or specialists, make sure the terms match the engagement for each party.

      Working with a remote team or agency can bring incredible advantages, provided you stay vigilant. The pitfalls are real and the graveyard of failed projects is vast. If however, you engage the right niche partners, clearly articulate the objectives and work on strengthening the fundamentals, big rewards are in store.

      By Kevin Mullins, Atomivox CEO and Managing Director

      Connect with him on twitter @kevinmullinslx.

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      How Divi is fueling entrepreneurs in Portugal

      How Divi is fueling entrepreneurs in Portugal

      How Divi is fueling entrepreneurship in Portugal.

      “Work is a major instrument of God’s providence; it is how he sustains the human world.”

      Timothy J. Keller, Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work

      I have a confession to make; I never set out to start, own, or run a digital agency. Yet here I am, nearly four years later with happy clients all over the world, an amazing team and a growing cadre of global partners. It seems incredible to write it but I am so proud to be the diretor executivo of a story-driven design agency called Atomivox in Lisbon, Portugal.

      How did a theologian and minister from California stumble into growing a digital agency focused on helping businesses grow through beautiful branding and web design, buyer personas and captivating messaging in Portugal? Turns out that I owe much of it to Divi.

      The Backstory

      Divi wasn’t my first foray into the world of websites, that journey actually started earlier as a hobby with a Mac app called RapidWeaver. My wife and I had moved from California (by way of Ireland) to Lisbon Portugal in 2010 with simple intentions; to serve Portugal and bless as many people as possible. In those early days, I was serving in a small local Christian church, dabbling in very simple web design while running a global localisation project for a U.S. client. Driven mainly by curiosity, designing websites became a minor pastime of mine and I was especially intrigued by RW’s approach to building pages using plugins and modules. When people started asking me if I could build small sites for them the excitement of formalising something began to emerge.

      I was just starting to consider building something serious when from seemingly out of nowhere…Portugal’s economy hit a brick wall. In less than 18 months our newly adopted country went from relatively stable to being lumped in with the PIIGS (one of 5 bankrupt European countries) multiple bank failures, a collapsed government, riots and demonstrations and millions of Portuguese people, including many, many friends fleeing the country. Almost without warning we found ourselves fighting for survival alongside our friends and neighbors in the midst of Portugal’s very own Great Depression.

       

      Divi: A Light at the End of the Tunnel?

      In spite of living in financial armageddon the idea of web design never went away. As our personal resources began to dwindle from constant charity and a never-ending queue of desperate, hungry people I began to actively explore ways to enhance and broaden the reach of our charitable work — to do more by transforming a web hobby into some sort of business that could provide paychecks instead of handouts. The idea of building a design agency that could create jobs using talented local people seemed appealing. In late 2013 someone introduced me to the concept called Business As Missions (aka BAM), giving me a usable, practical framework for the business ideas I was toying with. To further cement my ideas I reached out to and was mentored by exceptionally talented individuals in business and higher education who had used business as a means to support and develop other emerging markets.

      One day while doing research I came across a platform called WordPress, which led me down a rabbit trail of WordPress themes and opened up a world of amazing new possibilities in theme design, php development and the global WordPress ecosystem. Soon after, I discovered Elegant Themes and immediately signed up for an account to gain access to their theme library. Due to various social projects I wasn’t able to do much with my agency idea but all that suddenly changed in December of 2013 when the Divi theme dropped, demonstrating what a WordPress page builder could be. Despite being inexperienced in both web design and development, not to mention running a design agency, I knew that this theme was immensely powerful and a complete game changer. Suddenly I had a concept and a powerful design platform around which I could build an agency, serve global clients and provide the talented Portuguese designers and developers with jobs necessary for survival.

       

      Atomivox: An Agency is Born

      It’s been a five year journey and while it may sound like hyperbole, I am convinced that Divi has changed Portuguese lives and businesses for the better. Faced with a severe economic depression (from malinvestment and failed government policies) many Portuguese people began to turn to business creation to regain their footing. This may sound like par for the course in America but even until recently in Portugal and other parts of Europe, entrepreneurship has been an overlooked concept. Even though I was a newcomer to entrepreneurship, I knew that good business was a long-term solution to reversing the economic devastation plaguing Portugal.

      Partnering with the talented Marcy Henriques, my VP of Design (who had previously run a successful design agency), we fused our personal convictions to Elegant Theme’s Divi and formed an agency to support and develop entrepreneurs. Our goal was to create amazing branding and websites for tech startups, SME’s and social organisations who themselves are on a mission to create innovative products and services. By supporting SME’s and startups we’ve positioned ourselves as forward-looking and outward focused, working to expand our footprint into larger markets like London and New York. As an early adopter of Divi, I’ve had the privilege of speaking to and learning from some of the veterans of the Divi community; people like Geno Queiroz, Tim Strifler and Ryan Crozier. Atomivox was born as a simple idea: bring hope to the Portuguese by bringing work to Portugal and while no entrepreneur story would be complete without the perennial mistakes disclaimer, we’re certain that as long as we keep delivering great story-driven web design, content narratives and custom digital graphics, the Atomivox story has only just begun.

      By Kevin Mullins, Atomivox CEO and Managing Director

       

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      Please fill out the form below and let's start a conversation. Want to chat in person? No problem, give us a call or email us directly. 

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