First Impressions are Key

first impressions, Prime Advertising & DesignI recently started working out at a gym in Maple Grove after work. A couple weeks ago, I decided to burn a few calories at another location near my home in Eden Prairie. From the moment I swiped my card and opened the door, something seemed a little off. Was it the harsh industrial lighting? The messy restroom? The dated fitness equipment?

It wasn’t enough to deter me from jumping on the treadmill, but I couldn’t shake the slight feeling of unease. As I finished up my workout, it hit me like a 45-pound barbell dropped on an unprotected foot. No music. Instead of soft, upbeat tunes trickling in over the ceiling speakers, the silence at this location was only broken by the heavy breathing of workout warriors and the dull thud of weights hitting the ground.

First impressions cannot be overstated. For an on-the-fence client, a favorable experience at your office is a surefire way to tip the scales in your favor.

Here at Prime, you can expect pleasant music, a steaming cup of coffee and a warm smile from Suzanne, our receptionist. As you prepare for your meeting, check out our comfy leather chairs and our fun meeting room names–Aquarium, Cactus, Palms, Summit. Be sure to ask for a tour to meet our office dog, Tank!

What is the atmosphere like at your office? What are your clients’ first impressions? Are they excited to come back for follow-up meetings?

From the attitude and attire of your staff to the lighting and furniture in your conference room, every little detail adds to the overall tone of your company. Don’t settle for an office that reminds clients of a factory or a correctional facility. Warm and welcoming first impressions put clients at ease and lead to fruitful business partnerships!

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The Little Things Matter - snowy windshieldDuring a recent drive into work this winter, I noticed something interesting. There were a lot of people driving down the road with frost built up on their windows to the point where you couldn’t see the driver. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that if you can’t see into the vehicle through the frost, the person behind the wheel can’t see out?

This can’t be good for anyone.

The Credit Card Scrape

There was one car that I passed–traveling 10 mph under the speed limit with a line of traffic behind it akin to a funeral procession–where the driver decided to make a single scrape across the windshield rather than scrape the entire windshield. Think reverse blind fold.

We’ve all seen it, a strategically placed scrape across the windshield precisely at eye level. This is usually a desperation move resulting from the driver not having an ice scraper. They “MacGyver” it with a credit card or another little object that clears just enough area to provide limited vision of the road directly in front of them. Good luck seeing any low flying aircraft above or the pot holes below that have grown to the size of a small bay on Lake Minnetonka.

The NASCAR Scrape

Rather than scraping the entire windshield and side windows, these drivers only scrape the windshield and driver side, completely ignoring the passenger window. This half effort is perfectly sufficient–as long as the driver takes a NASCAR track into work and never has to make a right turn.

The Peep Hole

My personal favorite, however, is the slouched-over peep hole. This one is completely ridiculous. It begins with the decision not to scrape at all, relying instead on the defroster to do the work. Or not. This is the slow-moving car straddling two lanes of traffic while the driver is hunched over the dash like an overserved blackjack player. The only point of vision is through a half moon of partially defrosted windshield about the size of a half-eaten omelet. Laser-focused and deftly intent on navigating rush hour traffic through this tiny peep hole, this driver is part James Bond and part submarine captain, peering through his scope as he surfaces from the depths of the sea.

All of this left me thinking about these little things, so easy to do yet ignored by so many; ultimately leaving everyone on the road frustrated and in danger. There’s an old saying that goes “Anything worth doing, is worth doing well.” This is true regardless of how large or little the task, whether it’s scraping the windows of your car before work or the job you do once you arrive. People notice a job well done, and, just as importantly, they notice when things are left to chance.

Especially when you are stuck in rush hour.

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Holiday DonationsFor many of us, the holiday season is a time to exchange presents and share a delicious meal with family and friends. For others, the season is a painful reminder of empty cupboards and the gifts they can’t afford to buy for their kids. During the holiday season, the demand is always high for families who have to make the difficult decision to ask organizations in the community for help. Fortunately for the less fortunate, there are many groups and individuals willing to step up to the plate.

For the last nine years, Prime Advertising & Design has partnered with CROSS Services to provide local families with plenty of food during the holiday season and local children with Christmas presents to unwrap.

As you begin Christmas shopping for your loved ones, we encourage you to throw a few extra food and toy items into your cart for those in need. Food shelf donations of all shapes and sizes are welcome and will be put to good use. CROSS’s suggested list of most-needed food items includes:

  • Pancake Mix & Syrup
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • Pasta & Pasta Sauce
  • Cereal
  • Condiments
  • Sugar & Flour
  • Skillet Dinners
  • Canned Meat (Tuna, Chicken, etc.)
  • Salad Dressing
  • Juice
  • And More!

Holiday food items are also popular donations (turkey/ham, stuffing, gravy, etc.) as well as essential non-food items like shampoo, laundry detergent and toilet paper. CROSS’s suggested gift list for youth and teens includes a wide variety of clothing, electronics, games, toys and gift certificates.

For a child, few things are more magical than opening a present on Christmas morning. We all know it’s better to give than to receive, so join our mission to make this holiday season special for everyone in the community. Our giving can make a big difference in the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.

We invite everyone to stop by our office anytime between the hours of 8 am–5 pm, Monday–Friday, to drop off your food and gift items in our collection area in our main entrance. On Dec. 18, Prime will deliver all donations to Lord of Life Lutheran Church for their large group collection and CROSS distribution. For more information on making a donation, visit or call Prime at 763-551-3700.

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Content. Content. Content. SEO. SEO. SEO. Do you feel like you’re spending every waking hour creating relevant website content only to find it in the “dark”? Or equivalent, the second page of Google’s search engine results. copywriting_tips_prime

Although Google’s algorithms are a secret kept in the same vault as Wonka’s chocolate recipe and website owners are left to some guesswork, we’re here to help. Bring your content to light with our three best practices for creating website content that not only engages your clients, but makes the search engines happy, too.

#1 Creative Keyword Research: Are you using search terms that are relevant to the products and services of your core business? Lets take it a step deeper. Are you using search terms that are relevant to the products and services of your business, have regular search engine inquires, and are in a manageable realm of competitiveness? These are critically important questions to ask yourself when deciding which keywords and phrases you plan to focus on in your content. Answer all three questions for each focus keyword and you’re well on your way to SEO excellence!

Need help researching potential keywords for your business?

Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a great tool to conduct your research and to better understand the ranking potential of each.

#2 Engaging & Beneficial Website Content: Regular search-optimized blog posts engaging your customers will drive traffic to your site. Clear and concise copy will retain and extend their visit. Both website traffic and amount of time visitors spend on your page are factors to your search engine rankings. When Google sees someone visit a site and stay a while, it tells them the content was beneficial. When a visitor quickly leaves (or bounces) it tells Google the visitor did not find what they were looking for or the content wasn’t beneficial. So the next time you rush through your blog post, toss a few words on the screen and share it, take a moment to step into the shoes of a potential visitor and ask yourself, how does this content benefit them?

Having a hard time keeping up with your blog? Create an editorial calendar to map out your blog post timeline and content ideas. If you have a strategy and tactics in place, and the discipline to regularly execute them, success can be achieved.

#3 Strategic Keyword Placement: So, we have our keywords and our content. Now how do we properly combine the two? Most importantly, keyword stuffing is a thing of the past, a misguided tactic to improve SEO and shows poor content strategy. Search engines like Google are smart, very smart. They can decipher relevant content by connecting related keywords and phrases. Furthermore, repetitive language doesn’t read well and will leave the reader confused. A confused reader is not likely to venture onto the next page, or stay on your site long (which we now know isn’t good for our SEO). Therefore, be tactical with your keywords. Each page should have minimal focus keywords utilized in titles, headings, and naturally woven into the text. Following these guidelines will help you produce great content and a higher organic rank.

Remember: The end goal for Google and other search engines is to return results that are relevant, useful and reliable. Create optimized, engaging, clear and concise content and you’re one step closer to understanding the Google Algorithm (we can’t help you with Wonka’s secret recipe).

Questions about writing for web? Leave your comments below.

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pad_googlealgorithmHaving a mobile or fully responsive website has never been more important

How easy do we make it for others to do business with us? This is a question that every business should consider. Google has presumably asked themselves this same question recently, as they are preparing to address how they serve their mobile audience.

Google has reported extreme growth in mobile users on their search engine and expect mobile to surpass desktop searches this year. Considering this, Google aims to give the mobile visitor the best experience by recommending sites that are mobile friendly. Gone are the days of sites that require you to “pinch in zoom” and welcomed are sites that are either fully responsive or mobile friendly.

How Will This Affect Google Rankings?

Taken right from Google’s announcement, “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.” This is a very bold statement and is considered the most important and highest impact algorithm update yet from Google. The leader in the search industry clearly feels strongly about delivering not only the most relevant, but also the highest quality results that are optimized for a given device.

Google does not share all the details of this update, so businesses will not know the full impact until after the April 21st update. Speculation is that non-mobile friendly websites will not be punished or discounted like those that take part in black hat techniques, but rather sites that are mobile friendly will be heavily rewarded. This is one of the first times that Google has said, “You need to do this!” Search Engine Optimizers all over the world would wish Google was always this direct.

One requirement from Google is that all indexed pages on a website be mobile friendly, not just the home page. This means that creating a simple one page mobile landing page will not suffice. Google indexes several pages on a given site and they will all need to be mobile friendly.

What Should You Do About It?

The first step is to consult with whomever built your website. There will be multiple options for you ranging from creating a mobile version of your site to a complete rebuild to make it 100% responsive.

Inquiries from clients are on the rise regarding this Google algorithm update, and the solutions vary from client to client based on several factors. If you have any questions regarding your website and its mobile friendliness, start to explore your options. After all, you’ve worked hard to establish your visibility and Google ranking. Are you prepared to keep it?

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