Writing Scannable Content Helps Hook Readers

writing-scannable-contentPeople are constantly bombarded with blog content these days, and it’s a real challenge to write copy that stands out from the rest. In order to understand how to turn content skimmers into actual readers, it’s important to understand how busy people are processing all of the information that presents itself through emails, social media, and websites all day, every day.


Set The Hook


Obviously, the first step is to present your content in a way that gets readers to give it a chance. You do this with titles and email subjects that accurately offer the reader something they want. It’s easy to write enticing titles, but if those titles turn out to be misleading or over-promising, people will quickly stop reacting to anything you send them. Sensationalistic titles that misrepresent the content break the reader’s trust, and you may never get a second chance to win that trust back.


Make Bite-Sized Chunks


When you succeed in attracting readers to open your content and they’re met with the sight of a page that’s solid text, you’re going to see a huge bounce rate for that page. People are skimming to determine whether or not a page’s content merits their time and effort, so writing scannable content is a must.


  • Short, Tight Copy – Overall, the content on a single web page should fall into the range of 400-600 words. On most computer browsers (as opposed to mobile browsers), this allows the readers to see all or most of the page’s text without scrolling. It also shows that you respect their time enough to keep your message brief.


  • Subheads – Breaking your message into short segments with subtitles helps the reader understand the flow of the message at a glance. Even if the reader is in a hurry, they’ll come away from skimming your page with the major points of your message, so you’ve still provided them value for their time.


  • Bulleted Lists – Laying your message out in a logical manner with bulleted lists helps the reader absorb even more information in a short time, and it provides valuable white space on your page, which makes your copy seem more approachable and less overwhelming than a page written in large blocks of text.


Include Easter Eggs


Ultimately, you want people to respond to your content by spending more time on your site, reading your content thoroughly, clicking through to more of your posts, and converting. Embedding links to additional, related content on your site creates a treasure hunt-type feel. Again, use anchor text that accurately represents the linked content, and don’t break their trust with a wild goose chase of a link that has nothing to do with what they’re interested in reading about.


Is Your Website Content Converting Skimmers?

 writing website content

If you’d like to see your company’s web content bring better results, Design & Promote can help. Writing scannable content that drives conversion is our primary focus. Contact us for a complimentary website audit and we’ll help you create content that builds your reputation as a valuable and authoritative source in your field.




email marketing subject lines






Email marketing is a fiercely competitive field, and one whose trends shift continually. Yesterday’s hottest trends and most clever ideas in email subject lines are today’s sure-fire tickets to your recipients’ trash folders. For example, writing too-long subject lines, like the title of this post, which most email clients would display as “Are Your Email Subject Lines…” Writing email subject lines that people will actually open requires creativity, but it also requires authenticity and continually fresh copy on your part. The following types of failing email subject lines were pulled from actual emails sent by business-to-business marketers.


  • Fluffy Promises – Writing a subject line that allows the recipient to assume she knows what you’re going to say without actually reading your content is one of the most common ways to go wrong. “These 3 Things Will Help You Lose Weight Now,” for example. Most readers are going to look at that and think, “So, I should eat less, exercise more, and buy whatever expensive diet supplement you’re selling? Got it. Next email.” It doesn’t matter what your email actually says, because you’ve invited the recipient to assume that they already know it.


  • Emojis & Emoticons – As email-marketing tactics evolve, so do those of spammers, and those of email client developers and network security specialists. Most business email servers and clients will automatically filter out messages that include emoticons and emojis in their subject lines, even if the sender is on their approved list. In some cases, the recipient will never see those messages because they’ll go straight to Trash, and in other cases, they’ll be captured in a Spam folder to rot in shame.


  • Fake Apologies – Sending out emails that offer an apology in their subject line really need to contain a genuine apology for a genuine problem. The first time your email list recipients open an email from you under the subject line, “We’re So Sorry,” and the contents go on to say that you’re sorry this hot deal can’t last forever; they’re going to stop opening your email messages. It’s a lame trick that will leave people with the impression that you think they’re stupid.how to write an email subject line


  • Asking For Favors – “Do Me A Small Favor” sounds like the email subject line for a charity appeal at best, and a XXX-rated website a worst. If someone has signed up for your B2B mailing list, they’ve done so because you’ve offered them information they can use, not to do you favors.


  • Mystery Marketing – Strictly speaking, mystery marketing involves building hype for a product that is yet to be revealed. In email marketing, there are several variants and tangents, which are painfully ineffective, such as the Red Herring and Much Ado About Nothing. One recent example of the Red Herring is an email from a telecomm company, under the subject line, “Do you like puppies.” The email’s content had nothing whatsoever to do with puppies; dogs have surprisingly little use for telecomm services. Nearly every email box in existence is filled with examples of Much Ado About Nothing. “Push your income over the 6-figure mark,” exclaims an email advertising printer ink.


Email Subject Lines That People Will Actually Open

If your email-marketing program needs a boost, well-crafted email subject lines will increase your success rate significantly. Contact Design & Promote for a consultation and evaluation, and we’ll help you create marketing emails that people actually read!




After last year’s success, KidsMatter and Design & Promote are back with the FunMattersToo! Dueling Pianos 2016 Charity Gala- it’s sure to be a rocking good time!

Naperville SEO Company Design & Promote is proud to be a sponsor of the KidsMatter FunMattersToo! Dueling Pianos 2016 Charity Gala, an evening of celebrating the children of the local community. KidsMatter is a Naperville non-profit organization that works to equip families in the community to say ‘no’ to destructive choices and ‘yes’ to endless possibilities. Design & Promote, along with Team B2B of the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, teams up with KidsMatter each year to put on a charity night that raises money for the non-profit, and gives the community a chance to get together with friends to celebrate the progress they have made for their youth.

Dueling Pianos will take place on November 12, 2016 from 6 to 12 pm at the Chicago Marriot Naperville. The gala features a buffet dinner, cocktails reception, silent auction, and other charity contests like a 50/50 raffle and wine tree valued at over $3500! Back again for the second year in a row is crowd favorite Dario Radio Network, joined by special guest Ray McGury as the entertainment of the night. Their Dueling Pianos performance is an all-request show that is all about getting the crowd to sing and dance the night away, working them in as part of the show. The battle between pianos combines music, comedy, theatrics, and partying for an unforgettable entertainment act.

KidsMatter, along with highly successful initiative ParentsMatterToo, work year-round to raise funds and awareness for empowering children with the tools they need to make positive strides in their development. Throughout the year, KidsMatter hosts a variety of community events, including a skater’s picnic, student job fair, ladies’ night out, pizza night, and youth and family volunteer fair. All of these activities make up the organization’s FunMattersToo! social initiative.

Design & Promote has been a long-time supporter of KidsMatter- the Naperville SEO company has worked with the organization over the years on everything from web design to event photography to sponsoring FunMattersToo! events like the KidsMatter job fair. For this FunMattersToo! event, Design & Promote helped to create the marketing campaign, plan the event, create graphics and signage, and other preparations.

Come out and support a good cause while having a rocking good time with friends! Event tickets, sponsorship tickets, and raffle tickets are all available for purchase here. For more information, visit the KidsMatter website or their FunMattersToo! Facebook page!







how to pick a blog topic


Planning good blog content month after month presents a significant challenge, even to some seasoned writers. Keeping new content with effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on your site is critical to your search result rankings and to building engagement with your site visitors. How do you keep producing a steady flow of fresh material on your company’s website? Here are some tips for coming up with good blog topics:

chicago seo company


  • Write For The Customers You Have – Write content aimed at your core customer base most often. Business blogging is evolving quickly, and it’s no longer enough to throw a bunch of keywords into some second-rate content that mostly pertains to your business. Think about what challenges your customers face, and how your products or services can alleviate those. Think about what practices your customers could adopt that would benefit their businesses and cause them to use more of your products in the process. Write about new legislation or standards that may affect your customers. The goal is not simply to bring them to your site; the goal is to write blog posts that they will find helpful and want to share with colleagues. Use your blog content to showcase your expertise and make your site a hub for useful information in your niche.


  • Write For The Customers You Want – The next most important set of readers you should be writing blog posts for is the group of customers you want, but do not yet have. As an example, if your company sells industrial gases and your core customers are shops that use welders, ask yourself who else would use industrial gases. They’re used in laboratories, food-processing plants, cryogenics, and by wedding planners, to name a few. The customers you have now are welders, and you should address them, but don’t overlook the opportunity to court new groups of customers by acknowledging them and showing them that you can support their businesses and alleviates their headaches, too.


  • Look For The Tangents And Spins – Browse the blogs of competitors and look for points mentioned in their blog posts that you can take and develop into an original (and hopefully better) post of your own. Another way to make use of your competition is to cherry-pick the best points from posts by more than one competitor and combine them into an original piece with your own spin. Take a topic that someone else has covered in broad strokes (like a listicle) and expand it into a series of in-depth pieces.


  • Hitch A Ride On The Latest Trend – Always keep an eye out for new trends, product releases, laws or regulations, or breaking news affecting your customers’ businesses. Frame those posts in terms of your customers’ interests, not those of your own business; this is a fine distinction that many bloggers fail to make. Customers return to and interact most frequently with blogs that are in tune with the challenges and opportunities those customers are dealing with. Be the first one to turn your customers’ attention to some helpful new technology or practice, even if it’s not something you sell, and you’re building a loyal following of customers who are more likely to remain engaged.


  • Plan Seasonal Content – “Seasonal content” reaches far beyond holidays. How you take advantage of seasonal changes depends on your business. But in general, think of seasonal content as an opportunity to build business for traditionally slow times and to get customers planning your products or services into the budgets for the future. For example, if your company sells and installs windows, winter is going to be a slow season. Plan a post for January that explains how much it could cost customers to “tough out” the rest of the winter with a broken window, and how surprisingly simple it is for your installers to replace that window, even in the snow. Start in March by telling those same customers how important it will be, once the snow melts, to have their windows inspected and take care of any needed repairs of maintenance in order to save money and maintain comfort through the summer.


Plan For Your Most Effective Blog Posts


Taking the time to study the trends of your own industry and those of your customers can offer a wealth of ideas for good blog topics, and so can shopping the competition. Keep a running list of topic ideas, and a master calendar that you’ll refine from year to year as you learn what content resonates most strongly with the customers you have and the ones you hope to gain in future. If you find yourself struggling to find enough topics on a regular basis, start looking for ways to develop short, simple laundry lists into series that will bring readers back at regular intervals to learn more. Working with an SEO company like Design & Promote, Chicago area customers have access to expert advice and professional help with keeping their content fresh and on-target. Contact Design & Promote for a complimentary website audit and additional information about developing effective blog topics for your company’s website.

ppc management chicagoMobile device use has skyrocketed in recent years, and this is especially true for search engine use. Now, Google has announced that more searches are officially performed on a mobile device than on desktop computers. As a Chicago Internet marketing Company specializing in PPC management Chicago, Design & Promote understands that it is more important than ever to keep up with the changes in mobility and adapt to the mobile world.

On April 21st, 2015, Google decided to take action based on this tremendous mobile growth, with a new mobile-friendly update. This update, nicknamed “mobilegeddon” aimed to make a seamless user experience for those on mobile devices, lowering the search rankings of websites who do not have responsive and mobile-friendly designs.

Now, Google AdWords is becoming mobile-conscious as well, rolling out new features to better help both businesses and users get the best experience from mobile devices. Our Chicago Internet marketing company explores these new features.

PPC Management Chicago: Exploring Google Changes in PPC Advertising


Google is especially focused on mobile device research being performed on search engines. In the first quarter of 2015, Google has seen a 175% YoY growth in shopping searches on mobile devices. What’s more, 93% of people that do research about their shopping on their smartphones go on to make the purchase. As a result, Google is focusing its efforts on enhancing mobile ad features to help advertisers be noticed by their customers during three key stages: ‘I want to know’; ‘I want to go’, and ‘I want to buy’.


Now, Google is making advertising on mobile devices better than ever for PPC management Chicago users. A few major features to come stand out as the star improvements of Google’s mobile changes.

Auto-resizing for image ads: With the new update, PPC management Chicago advertisers now only have to create ads in three sizes (778×90, 160×600, and 300×250). Google will resize these images so that they can show on 95% of placements.


Automotive and hotel ads: An exciting update for any Chicago Internet marketing company, ads for these industries are now being specifically designed to help advertisers.


Data-driven attribution: Google will become more open about which keywords have led to a conversion so that advertisers can make smarter, more informed decisions about which keywords helped to lead to the conversion before the sale was made. This is one of the favorite features at our PPC management Chicago Company, because it helps businesses to evaluate SEO efforts and better their keyword usage.


Expandable product card shopping ads: When a search engine user is looking for a particular product, they will now see high-resolution images, user reviews, prices from different sites, and more.


Improved estimated conversions: Another favorite of our Chicago Internet marketing company, Google has new, improved estimated conversions. Today, 9/10 conversions start on one device and end on another. Essentially, most consumers may look onto a mobile device for research of a product or service they want, and finish the sale on a computer.


How a Chicago Internet Marketing Company with Expertise in PPC Management Chicago can Help


Do these new changes to Google sound like they will help your business perform well in search engine results? If you would like to benefit from paid advertising changes in Google, contact our PPC management Chicago company to learn more about the pay-per-click and advertising system, plus more of what our Chicago internet marketing company can offer you. But, don’t wait, because mobile searches are getting more important each day. Contact Design & Promote to talk more today:  http://www.designandpromote.com

content marketing firm chicagoAs a marketer, one of your main jobs is likely developing content that is useful to your customers, especially if you have a strong online presence. From compelling web content that first draws a prospect in, to highly-targeted email campaigns meant to close the deal, content is a vital component to the overall marketing strategy for many businesses.

Unfortunately, many marketers find that they struggle getting their sales team to use the content they created. Why? It often boils down to a lack of alignment between the two teams and a lack of communication about the type of content and messaging needed.

To get sales to use your content, you have to be on the same page about content development. Here’s how:

Powwow With Sales

content marketing strategies for businessOne of the easiest and most effective ways to get on the same page as your sales team is to meet with them on a regular basis. At minimum, get together monthly; more often for larger companies producing a lot of content. The goal is to get feedback as quickly as possible about what’s working and what’s not. The more often you meet, the more quickly you can change gears and adjust your content strategy to provide sales with the content they need – and will actually use.

Understand Your Brand’s Sales Cycle

How a consumer goes from a lead to a prospect to a buyer is different for every brand. Making sure both your sales and marketing teams understand the sales cycle each person goes through is vital to creating appropriate content at each touch point.

Be Helpful, Not Promotional

Obviously your content should promote your brand to some degree, but content that is deemed as too “salesy” is a turnoff to buyers. Instead, work with your sales team to understand your buyers’ needs and concerns and create content that addresses those in a helpful way.

Make Your Content Easy To Find

Your content should be easily accessible and organized so that your sales team can quickly find what they’re looking for. Cloud or server storage is ideal so that the content is updated in real-time and everyone has access to the most recent files.

Be Sure Your Content Meets Its Goal

If a free eBook download is supposed to result in 50 new leads per month but your email list is only growing by 20, you need to figure out what the problem is. It could be you’re not promoting it enough and an extra email campaign may provide the boost you need. If not, the issue could be with the content itself. This goes back to the importance of regular meetings to provide feedback on the effectiveness of content.

Meet Customers Where They Are

Not all of your content will be in the form of an email or PDF. Brands looking to boost their online presence and authority will use various platforms for publishing content and connecting with customers. One of the most effective is LinkedIn. With more than 400 million users in various niche industries, it’s one of the best places to find customers who are already interested in the type of solution you provide. The key is to ensure your LinkedIn profile is well-optimized so that your brand and content receive good exposure and traffic.


Design & Promote Can Evaluate Your Content Marketing Strategy

If you’re struggling to align your sales and marketing teams around content, a content marketing firm like Design & Promote can help evaluate and update your Chicago business’s strategy. Call 630-995-7109 to learn how we can help you create content that your sales team will actually want to use!

Naperville Web Design and SEO Blog | Design and Promote


Writing Scannable Content Helps Hook Readers

People are constantly bombarded with blog content these days, and it’s a real challenge to write copy that stands out […]

email marketing subject lines

Are Your Email Subject Lines A Fast Track To The Trash Folder?

          Email marketing is a fiercely competitive field, and one whose trends shift continually. Yesterday’s hottest […]

Design & Promote Sponsors Naperville Non-Profit KidsMatter’s FunMattersToo! Dueling Pianos 2016 Charity Gala

After last year’s success, KidsMatter and Design & Promote are back with the FunMattersToo! Dueling Pianos 2016 Charity Gala- it’s […]

how to pick a blog topic

Tips For Coming Up With Good Blog Topics

  Planning good blog content month after month presents a significant challenge, even to some seasoned writers. Keeping new content […]

ppc management chicago

How the Growth of Mobile Search is Changing PPC Advertising

Mobile device use has skyrocketed in recent years, and this is especially true for search engine use. Now, Google has […]

content marketing firm chicago

A Content Marketing Firm Helps Get Your Sales Team On Board With Content

As a marketer, one of your main jobs is likely developing content that is useful to your customers, especially if […]


The layouts adapts to the Screen Size of whatever device visitors are using. Nulla consequat.

  • “Bruce and the Design & Promote team never disappoint. Their expert SEO, creative and strategic talent has helped achieve stellar, measurable results for all of our websites”

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