A uniQue Credit Union Annual Report Case Study

Standing apart, even with the “boring stuff” 

Award-winning credit union

Working with iQ credit union since 2014, we continue to see them recognized for their distinctive values:

  • Named on the Forbes 2022 list of “America’s Best Credit Unions in Each State” as the top credit union in the state of Washington for the third year in a row, and the second in the top spot. 
  • Recognized by the Oregonian as one of the top places to work in 2022.

It doesn’t take much time spent with this uniQue brand to see that iQ Credit Union likes to stand apart – and stand firmly in their Pacific Northwest roots.

As a brand that is regularly associated with buffalo plaid and Sasquatch, a regular old annual report just wouldn’t do.


The new report was moving from a twelve-page report to a two-sided trifold.

The main obstacle was the very limited physical size of the deliverable while needing to include required financial information, a letter from the new CEO and other important stats while also conveying the visually driven brand personality. Additionally, this annual report was for the year 2020, which speaks for itself.

How Edge Helped

  • Ghost writing the CEO letter
  • Incorporating brand personality with copy and working other stats related to the iQ brand into the deliverable
  • Researching and assimilating data to engage with target audiences
  • Developing web based content to meet financial data requirements
  • Delivering in a tight timeline to meet board requirements

Interested in modernizing your annual report?

Get in touch!

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Growing a Credit Union Budget: Case Study


During one budget season, we were working with a client who had their marketing budget cut year-over-year for the past 4 years. The marketing team had gotten so busy that they literally had no time to spend the budget that had been allocated to them. And they had no agency to help them manage it. 

As a result, on an annual basis the budget itself had been chipped away. (Remember: if you don’t spend it, you lose it!) However, the goals for the marketing team had continued to grow, and the size of the organization had also grown significantly over that same period of time.


Demonstrate to the board that the client needed (at a minimum) a restored and realistic marketing budget that was (at least) equal to past budget levels and establish realistic goals with key stakeholders that were based on the budget secured.


In addition to moving into a new year with ambitious goals set against a backdrop of four years of YOY budget cuts, this client was facing the following challenges:

  • An increasingly competitive market
  • More demand on advertising inventory
  • Higher advertising rates
  • Expansion into new markets
  • More workload placed on a team that had not grown in size


Imagine being told that you have $100 to buy 10 bushels of apples to feed 40 people. Then imagine that four years later you had $50 to buy 20 bushels of apples to feed 80 people. That’s basically what was happening to this client.

We worked with this client to help demonstrate to their board that what they were expecting was not realistic when comparing the available marketing budget (which by this time was half of what it had been) to the aggressive goals set before them. 

We did this by looking at a few specific year-over-year data points and building out a graph to help visually convince their board to approve a significantly increased budget:

  • Marketing Budget
  • Organizational Assets (or Annual Profit)
  • Percentage of Marketing Budget to Assets (or Profit)
  • Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Goal
  • KPI Actual
  • Percentage of KPI Goal Attained

Through the process of visually demonstrating how key stakeholders were asking the marketing team to do much more with much less, and do that consistently, we were able to help the client secure a 30% increase in their YOY marketing budget.


When it comes to filling a tank with gas, the distance you can drive will depend on a few factors:

  • Your vehicle’s MPG (miles per gallon)
  • The cost of gas
  • How much money you have to keep buying more fuel 

Similar to your marketing budget, the number of key acquisitions or goals you can hit will depend on how much money you can put toward your marketing strategy and how efficient your marketing strategy is. Costs continue to go up and the marketplace becomes more competitive. In this advertising climate, keeping your budget the same year-over-year really means that you are decreasing the gas you put in the tank.

Partner with us

Questions on digital, how to figure out what your budget should be or just need some help? Let us know. We may be able to partner with you to help check some things off your list and set you up for successful goal squashing.

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Programmatic Advertising Maximizes Effectiveness for Advertisers

What is Programmatic Advertising?

Programmatic advertising gives advertisers the opportunity to target audiences, not publishers.

For example, if we go old school and think of newspapers, you’d place an ad in the newspaper, and anyone that bought that newspaper and happened to flip to the page featuring your ad would see your ad – but they may not be in your target demographic at all.

With programmatic, instead of targeting publishers one at a time (buying that print ad in the newspaper for example), advertisers have the opportunity to target audiences across multiple publishers – in real time – depending on where the target audience is going.

Imagine if every magazine, website, in-app ad or TV commercial that your target consumer interacted with featured your brand! And add to that the opportunity to measure effectiveness with tracking and reporting…

Programmatic ads follow the audience, instead of just sticking with one publisher.

So, if your target consumer visits a recipe website, then a news app, then goes to stream their favorite show on their (connected) TV, your ad can reach them specifically.

What is a “Publisher” in the digital realm of advertising?

A publisher is any digital space, usually a website or an app for your smart device – which could be on your phone, tablet, gaming console or Smart TV.

What are some examples of Programmatic Advertising?

Some examples of programmatic advertising include Google’s Display & Video 360 (DV360), and CTV.

CTV stands for ‘Connected TV’ and refers to devices including smart TVs (a television with a built-in internet connection and media platform), connected devices, such as Roku, and game consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox.

With Connected TV advertising, users will view your advertisements when they watch their favorite videos, movies, and TV shows on popular streaming platforms like Hulu, YouTube, ABC, CBS, Discovery+, Disney XP, Univision, ESPN and many more.

To give you an idea of the massive reach available here, Disney XP reaches 40% or more Adults 18+ monthly in every DMA. And that’s just one publisher.

What are some benefits of Programmatic Advertising?

It’s fast.

It’s efficient.

It’s automated.

But most importantly – it’s targeted!

It’s targeted to YOUR AUDIENCE, and not limited to whatever publisher you choose.

Evidence of this is in the feedback from audiences.

2/3 consumers aged 25-44 say that products advertised on streaming TV are more relevant than those advertised on traditional cable TV.

There is a reason for this.

The ads these consumers are seeing are targeted to them – their age, demographic and psychographic – but most importantly with their needs/wants and lifestyle in mind.

Efficiently Reach New, Qualified Audiences

Programmatic advertising allows for advertisers to target audiences across multiple publishers in real time, instead of targeting publishers one at a time. Additionally, advertisers have the benefit of scale. As far as their budget allows, advertisers can efficiently reach new and qualified audiences they couldn’t have before.

And, given its relative agility, programmatic advertising also makes it easier to test new creative, follow your audiences and expand your brand reach.

According to a study by Streamable, 89% of U.S. consumers subscribe to streaming services, while data from AudienceProject shows those still watching linear TV on a weekly basis has hovered around 60% from 2018-2021.

If your audience is cutting the cord, or maybe never had a cord to cut, you may want to test running your video ads on a premium CTV publisher like Fubo, Hulu, Sling, YouTube TV, or one of the many others you can reach via programmatic advertising.

Benefits of Programmatic Advertising
There’s a reason why over 90% of digital display dollars moved through programmatic advertising in 2022. Programmatic is a very powerful method of finding, engaging and growing your audience.

Programmatic advertising is highly effective at building brand awareness, interest and recall and allows for granular audience targeting, overlaid with brand safety measures and reporting.

Increased ease of access to CTV publishers helps ensure placement quality, further brand safety and provide a sort of future proofing against a post-cookie world.

Well-tuned programmatic campaigns provide increasingly efficient lift to a brand’s primary digital channels like organic and direct web traffic.

What types of programmatic ads are there?

Programmatic display ads can take on many forms. Primarily, when we think of programmatic display advertising, HTML5 banners and video spots placed on desktop and mobile publisher sites and, more recently, programmatic ad placements have come to include digital out-of-home, streaming audio (including podcasts) and connected TV (CTV).

According to PEW Research, only 56% of Americans watched satellite or cable TV in 2021. So when someone mentions watching “TV” these days they’re increasingly less likely to be referring to traditional, linear TV and more likely talking about catching highlights of last night’s game, or their favorite show, on their smart TV’s YouTube App, especially if they’re under the age of 34.

Should you partner with an Agency?

Finding the right programmatic agency partner will maximize the benefits for your brand and minimize any drawbacks. The best agencies match expertise with a respect for best practices and transparent reporting.

Additionally, an experienced programmatic agency will have access to more publishers and platforms as there are minimum buy-ins to get placements.

Programmatic advertising experts since 2015.
Download our informational CTV Guide.

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Edge Wraps Up Our 20th Year in Business

A lot can happen in 20 years. At Edge, we’ve experienced countless changes among our team members and with our clients, and we’ve been a part of some of the massive changes to our industry as a whole. 

For example, digital marketing was by many definitions an emerging concept in 2001. Now digital marketing is a service that we provide for many of our partner organizations. 

Another example is working remotely, which was anything but the standard when we implemented it in 2001, but has now become the new normal for many businesses. While we’ve been remote since our founding, 2020 was the first time most of our client-base had ever worked from home, and remote work has created new challenges and opportunities within our partnerships. 

The two above examples are hardly a fraction of the change Edge has seen since our founding. But what is perhaps most important are the things that haven’t changed- For 20 years, we’ve remained committed to providing the absolute best service and solutions for our clients. 

Some projects were new additions in 2021, like our guide book on Data Privacy & Digital Marketing.  On the other hand, our twentieth year also further cemented our connection with longstanding partners, like Unitus Community Credit Union.

And even as we reflect on the last two decades, it’s hard not to look forward to the coming year. 2022 is shaping up to be (another) big year for Edge, as we launch new proprietary products like Formulate, and continue collaborating with organizations we love: You can view some of our highlights here

With twenty years of client-service in the books, we are more affirmed than ever with our core philosophy: Edge is a partner.

Here’s to the next 20 years! 

You’re invited to our upcoming webinar: Digital Marketing in the Data Privacy Age

Upcoming Webinar: Digital Marketing In The Data Privacy Age

We’re so excited to announce that our very own Matt Neznanski will be presenting a webinar with the Marketing Association of Credit Unions (MAC). Matt will be speaking on the importance of data privacy and how credit unions can get involved to protect consumer data.

Credit Unions are uniquely positioned to lead the charge as member advocates for new standards and tools that prioritize privacy as well as personal control while enabling marketing teams even better than before.

Digital Marketing needs data. Today, it’s collected through methods that make us queasy, but is a requirement to meet our goals. With Mozilla, Apple, and now Google moving to block a major portion of those methods, the landscape is going to change yet again.

Being informed and championing privacy is not only important, it’s necessary. That’s where Matt can help Credit Unions understand where their priorities should be.

Join us on September 16th from 11am-12pm PST for our upcoming webinar: Digital Marketing In the Dawn of The Data Privacy Age.

Sign up for our upcoming webinar: Digital Marketing In the Dawn of The Data Privacy Age

Register Now

Edge 20th Anniversary

2021 Marks 20 Years of Business for Edge

We’re celebrating our “Platinum” company anniversary here at Edge and are excited to mark this 20-year milestone of partnering with clients. 

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in two decades in this business, it’s that nothing stays the same. We’ve made some calculated pivots along our journey including being early to market with adding website programming, data tracking, and digital marketing to our full-service repertoire.


Light on our feet — always with an eye on the horizon.

A strong foundation of thought leadership and fearlessness to push boundaries into new, uncharted territory – flexing our troubleshooting muscles – has been key to helping us bring fresh strategy to the forefront, helping our client partners decipher the best way forward.

Looking back over the past 20 years, there were some key decisions that brought us to where we’re at today:

Not Being a “Vendor”

Focusing on building true, transparent partnerships with clients

Widening our Client Portfolio

Diversifying our client portfolio while also including a specialization with credit unions

Working With Non-Profits

Devoting a portion of our bandwidth to work with nonprofits and better our local communities

Developing robust digital offerings

Breaking new ground with advanced digital tracking and bespoke digital marketing strategies

Proudly, we share some highlights of our work in the digital space:

We’ve spent the last couple of years building out a robust list of products and services including a new, proprietary financial calculator called Formulate. Within our bucket of tools, we’ve also ramped up our offerings for Marketing Automation, web development, digital advertising, and other MarTech solutions that allow clients to more seamlessly and meaningfully connect with customers regardless of where they are.

jenn and austi playing connect four
part of edge team at client office

Remote since our inception, Edge works with clients from all over the United States. We’re regularly invited to speak at events, conferences, and webinars to help educate marketing leaders. We love to teach and mentor client teams to help them develop their staff and further their knowledge and expertise.

Our CEO and co-founder, Stephanie Chadwick reflects, saying, “Edge has continued to innovate and adapt to an ever-changing environment. We’ve gotten comfortable with not ever being comfortable and we’ll continue to anticipate what’s next while we super-serve our client-partners, helping them navigate the inevitability of change. I’m so proud of our dedicated team of experts and their consistent work to know their stuff – as well as their fearlessness in being transparent and honest in the face of a good challenge.“ 

matt and stephanie at restaurant

Edge is a well-respected, full-service boutique firm with a strong foundation in marketing technology. Our small team of experts operates in an open atmosphere, building trust and healthy environments in which to perform challenging work. As a strategic marketing partner, our values focus on people, performance, and partnership.

We’re all about expanding your capabilities as partners. It’s what we do.
Check out more from our services page.

What We Do

Emergency Communication Strategy: 4 Ways To Help Your Brand Stay Clear and Present In a Crisis

In a time of crisis, it’s hard to know where to start or slow down enough to craft a strategy.

Sometimes, it’s easier to wait and “read the room.”

The tendency to wait, however, can cause organizations to fall behind the communication curve, jeopardizing brand loyalty and potentially causing consumers to perceive a lack of communication as a lack of empathy: “Where’s my credit union when I need them?” 

That’s why having an emergency communication strategy in place is essential. Just like reaching out to a friend in time of need, think of your communication strategy as a way to ask your membership, “How are you doing?” and “How can I help?” 

“The best marketing strategy ever: care.”

Gary Vaynerchuck,  entrepreneur, author, and speaker.

As a strategic partner to many credit unions over the years, we’ve walked alongside our clients in moments of crisis and used our team’s expertise to develop communication plans to help marketing teams tackle each message with confidence.

Gathering around a resource or tool like Edge’s Emergency Communication Strategy is essential to the process.

A communication strategy helps teams put a plan in place, lead discussions and efforts toward hitting all of the appropriate channels and ensures key messages are not missed.

This simple, yet powerful resource will help springboard an idea into a strategy.

We’ve compiled four key approaches to help you tackle crisis communications smoothly:

1) Avoid fear based marketing

Lead with an empathetic, hopeful message. Even if you don’t have all of the information or answers, members and non-members alike will appreciate a warm message that communicates they’re not alone – you’re in this with them.

That could look like a video from your CEO addressing the emergency and sent through your most active channels. Email and social media are great for this first message. 

It’s not a question of whether to help members, it’s determining which products and services can help members most.

2) Get on the same page internally

Whether it’s a local disaster or global pandemic it’s important to move quickly and develop tools that will help members continue and even thrive through the crisis.

Aligning with your operations and retail teams is important during this time. Many credit unions in times of crisis offer emergency loans at low rates.

Some even offer special payment options with specific terms like no payments for 30 days.

Other CU services may become even more useful such as skip a payment, digital branch services, financial education tools, increased customer service times, etc. 

People helping people. That’s the Credit Union spirit and culture and that’s what we love about them. It’s not a question of whether to help members, it’s determining which products and services can help members most.

3) Get the stuff out there – quickly & efficiently

The quickest approach to sharing marketing messages is to start with the website.

Once the essential information such as branch closures or updated hours are on the website, move on to helpful and explanatory content.

Start with a blog message or landing page with details and instructions, then use that content to develop other messaging for different channels. 

We offer copywriting and strategy coupled with tools to help your team succeed in your marketing efforts.

If your team is stuck on how to move forward, let us help. We’ll align your team’s strategy to effectively get your message out to the right people.

4) Stay stable and reliable

Keeping your website in tip-top shape should be top-of-mind prior to any emergency. Your website is the face of your organization – the first impression.

If your website’s design or functionality is hindering the influx of new users from finding the info they need, then this will need to be remedied.

Not only are existing members accessing the website more for basics like online banking, but prospective members are searching for financial help in the form of loans, counseling and services.

A Response or Resources Page may be a great way to lead existing and new users alike to the most important information. While in a crisis, things can change quickly. Therefore, this is a great way to keep information timely, current and relevant.

Increased website traffic, especially from people who aren’t regular visitors, presents an opportunity to better understand people’s experiences with the site.

Use your analytics software to explore users’ behavior flow patterns to see where people are getting stuck or dropping out.

Keep an eye on your organic keywords in Google Search Console, while using Analytics to keep abreast of shifting trends.

Use your data to pivot your creative messaging and surface the resources that are most relevant and helpful to your audience.

Once things get to a stable place, take on those items first through small adjustments and improvements. Keep a running list of bigger projects to tackle later.

Agility and quick response is really the name of the game in communicating during a crisis. But it’s also just as important the response carries a sensitive and hopeful tone. We hope the Emergency Communication Strategy tool will help align your team to provide relevant, timely, and effective messaging where needed.

Edge offers the strategy and tools to help your marketing team succeed. If you’re stuck, we can help align and develop your team to effectively get the right message to the right people.

Tackle Each Message with Confidence

This entry was posted with significant contributions from fellow Edgers: Austi Baudro & Matt Neznanski// Photo credit: iStock

Demand Up, Costs Down: Unprecedented Market Conditions for Credit Unions

Crises have an uncanny ability to curb old habits and mold new ones.

Within the financial industry, the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the adoption of and demand for online services. What was seen as an option before is now a necessity. 

While many industries are experiencing negative effects from the impact of COVID-19, financial institutions find themselves in an interesting and unique situation. Members and potential members are more active online than they’ve ever been and the cost to compete in this normally expensive vertical is falling. 

The CU clients Edge serves have seen a combined increase of over 10% in their Organic Channel users from February 23rd to April 12th, 2020. 

Looking at all our FI client’s channels combined during the same period, they are up an average of 10.5%. 

The few clients that did experience cross-channel slowdowns over the previous period did so only because they chose to either temporarily pause or significantly reduce their display budgets.

Social distancing mandates in every state, coupled with branch closures are bringing in the late adopters of mobile and online banking driving up demand for online services, while competition for space in the SERPs and on publisher sites is loosening.

Unique Market Conditions: Consumer and conversion activity is up, while cost per conversion and cost per click are declining.

Demand and Opportunity Align For Finance Industry

Wordstream monitors PPC performance across tens of thousands of advertisers and noted this shift in how COVID-19 has affected Google Ad results within the finance industry in a recent article.

Their research shows finance click-through rates (CTRs) up 23%, while the cost of a click has fallen by 27% on average. The conversion rate shift, up a slight 1%, doesn’t seem like much until you take into account the dramatic uptick in click-through traffic.

Wordstream Chart: Change in Financial Search Ad Performance since COVID-19

Specific to our clients, we’ve witnessed dramatic performance shifts in line with Wordstream’s findings. Most notably, we have seen our conversion rates (CVR) slide up even further.

Across all accounts from FEB 23rd to April 12th, we’ve seen:

  • +20% Increase in Avg Click-Through Rate 
  • +13% Increase in Avg Conversion Rate
  • -19% Decrease in Avg Cost Per Click
  • -25% Decrease in Avg Cost Per Conversion

While the decision to pause or proceed ad spends looms large in the minds of many brands, the data show a rare opportunity for FIs who keep their brands relevant and steady during this crisis – demand is rising and the cost is falling.

Credit Unions are built to serve their communities and this unprecedented situation puts them at the forefront of people helping people – and being able to do it even more effectively than ever before.

Stephen Arthur and Mike Henry, Financial Services Industry Directors at Google put it this way in their April 2020 Think with Google article:

“The question finance brands should ask themselves isn’t whether to show up for consumers, but how to do so in ways that address their most pressing questions and concerns.”

Be Here Now and Increase Loyalty Later 

Increased attention and conversion activity is available now with the same budget, PLUS the longer term benefit of the enhanced intrinsic value proposition of your brand being there for your field of membership now.

“Studies show that companies that protect marketing budgets during recessions tend to do much better in the ensuing recovery period.” 

That’s according to Nancy Smith, founder of Analytics Partners, a firm that looks at data from hundreds of billions of dollars in marketing spend across more than 700 brands in over 45 countries.

Smith goes on to say that pulling the media spends almost guarantees losses during a recession, “On average, brands that removed media investment suffered an 18 percent loss in incremental sales.”

We know your credit union is playing a key role in supporting your community right now and will throughout the eventual recovery ahead. Harness this opportunity to say, “This is who we are and this is what we’re doing to help.”

Being present and relevant now for your audience will pay dividends in member loyalty and brand strength on the other side of this as well.

This entry was posted with significant contributions from fellow Edgers: Stephanie Chadwick, Zack Stack, Austi Baudro & Matt Neznanski. // Photo credit: iStock

Make Work From Home Work For You

*Updated on 02/04/2022

Over the past few years working from home has becoming much more common – In fact, working from home is strongly encouraged or required for many businesses now.

Moving into a work from home environment can be quite the transition. But here at Edge, our virtual office space has been part of our day-to-day landscape for almost 20 years. We understand all too well the challenges of conquering your workday from home. So we’ve gathered some tips directly from our team about how they stay connected and productive while working at home.

Our Top Work-from-Home Tips

1) Create your own space

However you can, set aside someplace where you can get into “work-mode,” even if it’s just a corner of a room someplace.

Gavin Heslop: Ideally, you’ll be able to find a space to help alleviate new distractions you will face when working from home. Working from a high-traffic area makes you susceptible to being distracted by others’ activities.

A designated workspace can also allow you to signal to others that you are at work: a closed door, or the use of headphones, perhaps.

For meetings, you’ll want to ensure that your space is quiet enough to be able to hear your colleagues, but more importantly that you are the only one in your space that they can hear.

Austi Baudro: When I began at Edge, I didn’t have an actual office. I typically would work downstairs on an over-cluttered desk filled with art projects and messy papers.

Having a dedicated workspace was essential to my productivity. My husband and I ended up renovating the room across the hall. Now, it’s MY office where I can close the door and get some serious work done uninterrupted.

Stephanie Chadwick: Working from home is not for everyone. It works best to have a space with a door that you can close.

Over the past almost 20 years that we’ve been in business, our work-from-home situation has varied greatly. At one point, we had newborn twins in the house and a barrage of grandparent and nanny helpers coming and going.

During this time, I would have important conference calls with CEOs, CMOs, COOs (you get the picture). I used our master bedroom closet, the quietest room in the house, to make this work. Clothing is a natural noise insulator – and on the plus side, instead of doodling on a memo pad, I could organize my shoes.

Granted, I wasn’t permanently parked in my closet, though for some, that space could convert really well.

2) Set a schedule

As much as you hated that daily commute, it gave you some time to separate work time from home time. Find a way to signal to yourself (and everyone you share living space with) that you’re done for the day.

Zack Stack: I’ve worked from home for almost two decades now. I love it, but switching from professional Zack to Dad and/or Husband Zack can be a bit jarring.

For me, buffer activities between work and home help me flip that switch in my head that tells me work is done for the day. These buffers often consist of gardening, biking, taking a walk or a run, or just heading to the park to shoot some hoops. All way better than sitting in a car.

When I return to my home I usually find I’ve left my work day behind me and I’m more present for my family.

Jennifer Hall: My family has always been so gracious with my work from home set-up and respecting the time that I am working, but it is equally important to be sure I adhere to a “close of the business day” time.

I can easily work late into the evening if we have no plans but that is not healthy to a good work/life balance. Being aware of when the workday should end, helps my family to know when they can expect me to begin transitioning from working women to mom and wife.

3) Have a Familiar Routine

Monday morning isn’t Saturday morning. As much as possible, make sure a work day feels like it should.

Zack Stack: This might sound like the anti-work-from-home suggestion, but get dressed for work, or at least pretend like it’s always casual Friday.

People always say, “Oh, it’s great working in the semi-permanent, pants-optional home environment.” But I’d hate for my boss to show up at my door one day to find me in sweatpants, Crocs, and my Hillsboro Hops T-shirts from four seasons ago and think I’ve given up on both work and life.

Austi Baudro: Set a lunch time. I’ve found that setting a specific lunchtime helps me to stay productive in those afternoons where sometimes it is hard to focus. Sometimes, I’ll make a lighter early lunch and then take a walk to help clear the brain fog.

Stephanie Chadwick: Have a clear picture of where you’re going to start the next day before “signing off” for the night. I find that 15 minutes of prep before I shut my laptop for the day helps me jump in quicker the next day.

4) Get Outside

Granted, we’re all at home now because we’re trying not to spread disease. But nobody can stare at a screen all day.

Jennifer Hall: To avoid the feeling of being shut-in, it’s important to physically get up from your desk or to walk away from your workspace and to literally come up for air – fresh outdoor air.

Use your breaks to tend to your garden, walk the dog, or take a stroll. Getting outside, whether for 2 or 10 minutes at least twice a day, has proven to boost productivity, sharpen mental focus, relieve stress, and in general promotes a positive attitude.

5) Communicate early and often

Working remotely means you’re not going to be seeing colleagues at the coffee station or parking lot. Make a concerted effort to check in daily (or more).

Zack Stack: One of the biggest challenges we’ve found for employees transitioning to a work-from-home environment from a shared office is social isolation. This has proven especially true for younger employees who may live alone and crave interpersonal connections.

When you spend the day working by yourself it’s even more important to reach out to others during and at the end of your day.

Also, when you’re relying on text messaging programs for a majority of your comms, don’t forget that voice is sometimes the better medium. When it would take a novel to describe something, when you’re planning creative, or as soon as you see your tone being misconstrued. That’s when you know it’s time to “go audio” as we say.

Austi Baudro: Every Monday, I send out a list to our team to set the top priorities of the week. It not only helps our team, but it helps me to list out my own priorities. Sometimes I will even number these in order of importance to make sure they are completed at the appropriate time.

Stephanie Chadwick: Talking via audio instead of wholly relying on Slack helps you feel and stay connected more personally with those on the other end of the line. Adding video to the mix when possible helps increase the humanity factor as well.

Tools of the Trade

Matt Neznanski: At Edge, we use a range of platforms to stay in contact, share ideas, and work together. There are many options, but here’s a breakdown of some of our faves.

1) Collaboration and Communication

Everyone’s got email. We like Gmail and the Google Suite because files can be collaborated on in real-time and everything works well together.

We’ve always got Slack open for team updates, questions, and water cooler chat. If, in the office, you’d just walk over to someone’s desk for something, use Slack instead of email.

We also host internal meetings in Slack, using their in-app calling. We don’t always use video for those, but it’s available.

We couldn’t get by without Asana, a work management platform that keeps our projects outlined, tasks sorted, and task-related communications in one place.

2) Meeting notes, project documents, lists

Collaborative documents in Google Drive (which allow for simultaneous real-time changes) are a huge benefit when you need to work together and have a single source of truth for a document as well.

Be done with multiple versions of docs hanging around! (This is a solid move even when you’re all back in the office.)

3) External meetings

For meetings with people outside the Edge team, we use Zoom. We like how stable the system is and how simple it is to share screens.

4) File sharing and screencasts

We’re big fans of Droplr for sending big files, annotating screenshots, or capturing video of our screens for troubleshooting, training, and more.

We're calling this "controlling what you can when things feel out of control."

Balancing Work and Kids

Even our home-office day-to-day is turned upside down now that our kids are out of school and daycare. Here’s what we’re doing to cope with that.

1) Schedule blocks of time

Austi Baudro: Now that my boys (ages 7 and 2) are home with me, I have to schedule blocks of time to go outside or play with play dough or get out those magnet blocks that put good ‘ol Lincoln Logs to shame.

Now, my day looks more like 30-minute blocks of work time and 30 minutes of play.

Realistically, I have my laptop and phone in hand at all times.

Talk with your co-workers and communicate when you will be unavailable. Try to limit calls during these times or schedule them when you know you have extra help.

2) Schedule their time

Matt Neznanski: The one thing I always forget about my kids (ages 6 and 3) is how structured school and daycare is.

Blocking out free play, academics/art, and quiet time is huge for us to combat boredom.

I blame the schedule, too: “Schedule says it’s quiet time. Who am I to argue?”

Also, I’m amazed at how often they eat. Never mind the toilet paper, we’re stocked up with crackers, dried fruit, and cereal.

For a much more in-depth discussion of balancing a house full of people with full-time work for years, check out this great post about establishing a more flexible work-from-home life with kids from Edge partner Stephanie Chadwick.

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Mobile Is Taking Over The Web, Your Site Needs To Adapt To This New Digital Ecosystem

Mobile Web

The Meteoric Rise Of Mobile

Are you reading this article on a mobile device? There’s a 20% chance you have this post up on your tablet or phone. Did you come to this site directly (not through a link or through search)? Then there is a 30% chance you are on mobile device. Did you click to this article from Social Media? 50% chance.

Mobile traffic for the Edge Multimedia website has been growing steadily for the past few years, and we are not alone. Many of our clients are seeing their mobile traffic numbers skyrocket, with many seeing more traffic from phones and tablets than from desktop computers.

Mobile search is growing too, with many sources claiming at least 1 in 4 organic searches are being conducted on a mobile device and many believe that Mobile will outpace desktop searches this year. That is huge, and it’s a trend that is unlikely to reverse.

Phones and tablets are taking over the internet. Your business website can either adapt to this new trend or become an internet dinosaur dug up only by internet archeologists for a good laugh.

The Mobile Searcher

Who are these mobile searchers who are changing the web and how your websites are designed, forcing your business to change to suit their needs? The majority are young people ages 18-29 who are using their phones mostly to browse the internet. They are known to quickly bounce from, and be loathe to return to, a website that doesn’t play well with their mobile device of choice.

These are your new customers who currently make up a significant portion of your market, and will continue to grow into the majority of your audience on the internet for the foreseeable future. Ask anyone in that demographic and they’ll tell you, they’re going to live forever, so you better have a website that makes them happy.

As our resident web developer Gavin wrote about last month, being mobile friendly is now the main priority when designing a website. If that’s not your priority, you are going to lose a substantial amount of traffic sooner than you realize.

Google’s Stance On Mobile Sites

Recently Google has hopped on the mobile-friendly website train in a big way. Searches now show when a site is mobile friendly. You may have noticed this new results format while using Google.

If you do not have a mobile ready website, prepare to see your rankings slip in Google SERP.

On top of that, Google released a post on their WebMaster Central blog discussing some new changes in store for Mobile Search. Stating two things

More mobile-friendly sites in their search results
More Relevant App Content in Search Results

Basically this all boils down to: “If you do not have a mobile-ready website, prepare to see your rankings slip in Google SERP.”

If you have been investing time and money into your site to help it rank well in the competitive world of Organic Search, you are risking losing a good portion of that investment if you do not have a mobile-ready site. That is an enormous loss.

On April 21st, Google made these changes to their mobile search results. Every since this date that there is no mobile-friendly version of your site is another day that you lose out on a demographic of searchers who are on their way to becoming an overwhelming majority.

Figuring Out If Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly

This new change might sound scary and the definition of what constitutes mobile friendly and what doesn’t may seem a bit esoteric. Fortunately there are several methods for determining if your site is ready for the new mobile searcher empire.

Notifications from Google

One method is to just let Google tell you what they think. If you have a Webmaster account (which you should, if you don’t, please go set that up right now) you may have received an email from Google titled “Fix mobile usability issues found on [your site here].” This is Google straight up telling you that your site has a problem when it comes to mobile and will help outline ways to fix it. This is pretty awesome and is advice that is well worth taking.

Google Mobile-Friendly Test

In addition to the email notifications sent out by Webmaster, Google has also set up a Mobile-friendly test page.

This site could not be simpler, just plug in a web page URL into the input box and hit analyze and Google will tell you whether the page is mobile-friendly and what you can do to fix it. The instructions are clear and easy and will help ensure your site does not draw Google’s ire for not being mobile-ready.

Google Mobile Friendly Test

Site Performance

Finally, one of the best ways tell if your site is mobile-friendly is to look at your own traffic in google analytics or other web analytics software split by Desktop and Mobile and compare the two devices.

I have three categories in which you can place your site depending on how well it performs for Mobile.

  1. Mobile Friendly

This category should be familiar. The site is well optimized for mobile.

  1. Mobile Acquainted

The site is on okay terms with mobile but the relationship is a bit cold.

  1. Mobile Enemy

The site may not even know what a mobile device is. This is a mouse and keyboard only kind of place.

Your analytics data will determine in which category your site falls. I will go through the three categories and what kind of data will put you into which.

Mobile Enemy

When you compare the traffic for sites like these between desktop and mobile, the differences are profound. Mobile users Bounce at a much higher rate (we have seen anywhere from +10 to +40%) and spend far less time on the site. Those on Mobile will rarely if ever convert and retainment of these users is very low.

Mobile Acquainted

Mobile traffic for sites such as these show more promise than Mobile Enemy, but usually have some deficiencies that a truly mobile-friendly site would not. Bounce Rates are often much lower and are closer to that of Desktop, there are more return Mobile users to the site due to it not being a total pain to use while on a phone. However, deficiencies can be found in the conversion data and you’ll often see lower Goal Conversion Rates when comparing Mobile to Desktop.

Mobile Friendly

In the analytics for a mobile-friendly site there should be very little difference in performance when it comes to comparing Desktop and Mobile. In fact, Mobile will even outperform desktop in some or all categories.

Beyond just making Google happy, or having a site that checks off a list of technical specifications for mobile, you have to ensure that mobile users are provided a user experience that allows them to interact with your brand on any device in a positive manner. In this way, you will enable your growing mobile audience to convert more of the business goals you have established for your site. This means happier mobile users, better metrics, more leads and a stronger business at the end of the day.

We are experts at getting our clients’ websites mobile friendly and going above and beyond Google’s standards. If you would like to talk with us more about mobile design, just get in touch, or sign up for our newsletter below.