sparkler at night

Every monthly recap I’ve written is top-heavy with self-introspection. It’s not because of ego; I’m not driving to be the center of attention.

It’s because it was such a different working environment than anything I’ve ever known. It still is. I don’t ever want to lose that state of wonder, but I shouldn’t get lost in it, either.

April was a month of action and it flew by in a blink, so there wasn’t much time for inner reflection. It was a lot of busy work that might not sound exciting, but will set the stage for a summer rife with opportunity.

It was time to think less and trust my gut.

With the increase in Stuff For Your Dog (SFYD) Facebook Likes after the story about grieving exploded, we knew this was make or break time. We had to keep their interest.

We worked together to design the creative for a paid traffic campaign we were launching in April. We worked on several drafts, and because we wanted to get the ad out sooner rather than later, it forced me to work a little faster — to rely on said gut rather than my nitpicking.

There was a lot of back and forth on this ad. The short of it is that we had a new perspective.

You’ll read the full version shortly!

In choosing a featured image to use with the ad, we found some issues with the size and quality of our SFYD product photos. Without any hesitation Kelly began the painstaking task of tracking down and re-uploading hi-res versions of the originals.

Price checking and updating is another ongoing task of Kelly’s, and with the onset of spring she sourced a ton of new products — with more still to come in May.

This meant a fresh batch of product descriptions! I’ve followed a certain method we started using in February, but with more eyes on SFYD we decided as a group to change this format.  We’re currently split testing descriptions that tell a story against short, no-nonsense, and catchy.

Kelly and I continued our work on infographics, too. The onset of a warmer weather sprouts seasonal concerns for dogs, so we anted up tons of ideas we’ll be able to pull through May and June.

Last month I mentioned that Dossy began working with someone we were excited about having on the team. For him, this month was as busy as the last: traveling for meetings, keeping the back-end of SFYD ship-shape, all balanced with his workload for several other Panoptic clients.

Enter Angelita, a Strategic Web Designer and WordPress Web Developer who’s become part of the team! One of the things she loves about her job is collaborating with clients to reach those lightbulb moments.

evening sky, man in lit lightbulb, connecting lights floating above

Thanks to her we’ve had lightbulbs firing up left and right. Meeting organization has grown tighter thanks to setting attainable goals, which are divided by clients and projects in a way that keeps us on task.

While working on mood and brand boards for SFYD, Angelita talked with us about tailoring social content to meet our goals. The gist:

We’ve given followers tons in regard to content variety. We’ve connected with them, we’ve educated them, and we’ve even made them laugh. We’re building trust. So it’s okay to ask them to buy from us, now.  Better yet, to tell them why they should.

This concept slithered into the ad we’d been working on at the start of April. I originally went with a happy medium between short and long form copy. While it posed the problem, proof, and solution… it still didn’t feel right.

Remember that new perspective I mentioned?

Angelita is also a dog owner — one who knows exactly what she wants. Combined with her knowledge of marketing and what it takes to create a site that converts, we wound up with a much stronger ad…

And I got another lesson in widening my perspective while my honing words.

We launched the ad mid-month, and after some tweaks a couple sales trickled in.

Then, a few more after that…

I’d love to tell you that we were drowning in sales by the end of the month. I mean, a 276% increase in store sessions and 219% increase in conversions sounds great, doesn’t it?

It is a great spike — until you realize the months prior, our analytics were all but vacant: 611 online store sessions didn’t cough up a single sale.But that spike was a spark, and we took to the rest of April with all guns blazing.

Our Facebook content continued its rotation between feel-good stories and photos, helpful information, and stronger calls to action. We’re starting to get comments on posts, some of which have begun to provide us with feedback on what customers want to see.

Among the many ideas Angelita brought to the table, a National Pet Calendar was one. For our socials this meant a fun post for Bulldogs are Beautiful Day and a shout-out to Guide Dogs who help their humans live their best lives.

April was also Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. Because we didn’t jump on board with the Pet Calendar until the 12th, I turned out this feature article about animal cruelty in two days flat.

I didn’t over-analyze. No second-guessing, either. In the end the majority of edits had to do with formatting, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

By the way, I’m adopting a dog soon! Obviously, I’ve got some knowledge on the subject under my belt by now, but as her Gotcha-Day approaches my research is naturally more product driven.

I spent a week fretting over what friggin’ leash to buy because there are so many of them out there. The fretting led to a nightmare about losing the dog I don’t even own, yet!

At the end of the month I published an article about choosing the right leash for your dog. It hits one of our goals of being a CTA-driven article, and my hope is that it nixes the confusion for new dog owners and lends perspective to those more seasoned.

I also had fun writing this piece about e-commerce mistakes that’ll make your shoppers break up with you.

Fun? Didn’t you say you struggle with tech related content?

Busted! I did say that. But several of the tactics in this article had come up more than once during work-chat and meetings — not only for SFYD, but also for Panoptic. Gee… magic happens when you get what you’re writing about!

Animated GIF of Shia LaBeouf in a unicorn shirt saying "magic"

Speaking of magic…

The most exciting part of the month was seeing the brand board Angelita created for SFYD. The colors are striking. The logo is cute. The tag-line is perfect. Its concept epitomizes the passion we feel about what we want to achieve.

It’s going to look like a place you WANT to be.

Magic is the mixture of her frontend developer skills and eye for design, combined with Dossy’s skill at handling all the backend work that no one ever sees — and that a site can’t exist without.

Magic is watching Kelly keep our products balanced without missing a beat, while turning text into graphics that inform and educate.

And magic is weaving my way through it all, sewing with words that memorialize our achievements, call to our customers, and sing to our ambitions.