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A website is the home of your business, it does everything from validating your product or service to e-commerce and lead generation. At IOI, we build easy-to-navigate, mobile-friendly, lead gen-focused websites that put user experience at the forefront. From wire-framing to launch, we handle it all!

GoRout Animation

Data driven


Appearance and user experience are crucial but the numbers don't lie. Our team takes time to understand your site's current performance and overall business objectives and then advises on the perfect action plan and tool suite to scale. Where does your site stack up?




Did you know that just 17% of websites receive between 1-3 page views per visit? In fact, nearly 50% of all websites receive 4-6 page views per visit.




Nearly 2 in 3 (66%) websites have an average bounce rate under 40%. How are you engaging your audience so they transition into customers?




Nearly 95% of our portfolio sees mobile traffic in the 65%+ range. We build sites focused on lead generation, load time, and navigation.

Our process


Work anywhere that makes you happy. We've had employees move across the country and others who visited Costa Rica for the month. Just be available on our time (EST) and get your work done. We trust you.


We create mobile-responsive, lead-generation-focused websites using content to drive engagement. We build on a WordPress foundation integrating your systems and easy-to-use software that will position you up for success.


We create mobile-responsive, lead-generation-focused websites using content to drive engagement. We build on a WordPress foundation integrating your systems and easy-to-use software that will position you up for success.


Quality Assurance is important. Once the initial build is complete and content has been loaded, our team will internally review the functionality of the site, appearance and user experience.


Don't let the atmosphere hold you back! When we get the thumbs-up from you. We will be ready to launch. Your website's continued maintenance and SEO work is something that we can also help you handle.

Web Development Case Studies + Trends

IOI Insider

The Future of AI and Google Search & Ads: Key Takeaways from Google Marketing Live 2024

The Google Marketing Live summit this week brought a wealth of insights into the constantly evolving landscape of AI, search, and advertising. Here are the top three takeaways that every marketer and business owner should know:

1. AI-Driven Search Enhancements: Transforming User Experience

Google is doubling down on artificial intelligence to revolutionize its search capabilities. The introduction of advanced AI models aims to make search results more intuitive and contextually relevant. These models are designed to understand natural language queries better and provide more precise answers, moving beyond simple keyword matching to truly grasping the intent behind a search. This development promises a more seamless and efficient user experience, making it easier for people to find exactly what they need without wading through irrelevant results.

What this means for marketers:

  • Content Optimization: Marketers will need to focus on creating high-quality, contextually rich content that aligns with user intent rather than just keyword stuffing.
  • Enhanced User Engagement: With more relevant search results, user engagement is expected to increase, leading to better metrics for websites that align their content with these AI-driven insights.

2. AI-Powered Ad Personalization: Precision Targeting at Scale

Google is leveraging AI to enhance ad personalization, ensuring that ads are not only targeted to the right audience but also delivered at the right moment. This shift towards more precise targeting is made possible through advanced machine learning algorithms that analyze user behavior, preferences, and engagement patterns in real-time. The goal is to create a more personalized ad experience that feels less intrusive and more relevant to users.

What this means for marketers:

  • Better ROI: With AI fine-tuning ad delivery, marketers can expect higher conversion rates and a better return on investment as ads reach users who are more likely to be interested in their products or services.
  • Dynamic Creative Optimization: Marketers should invest in dynamic ad creatives that can be tailored in real-time based on AI insights, ensuring that the ad content is as relevant as possible to the viewer.

3. Privacy and AI: Balancing Personalization with User Trust

Google is also focusing on maintaining a delicate balance between enhancing ad personalization through AI and upholding user privacy. The company reiterated its commitment to privacy-first principles, ensuring that all AI advancements in search and ads respect user consent and data protection regulations. New features and updates will include robust privacy controls, giving users greater transparency and control over how their data is used.

What this means for marketers:

  • Trust and Transparency: Building trust with users will become increasingly important. Marketers will need to be transparent about how they use data and ensure that their practices align with evolving privacy standards.
  • Adaptation to Privacy Regulations: Staying informed about and compliant with privacy laws will be crucial. Marketers should be prepared to adjust their strategies in response to new privacy regulations and Google’s updates to its data handling practices.

The insights from Google Marketing Live 2024 highlight a future where AI plays a central role in enhancing search and advertising. For marketers, this means adapting to more intelligent search algorithms, leveraging AI for personalized ad targeting, and navigating the evolving landscape of privacy with care. Embracing these changes will be key to staying competitive and effective in the digital marketing arena.

Here at IOI, we are anxiously awaiting many of these updates as Google continues to innovate and shape the future of AI in marketing! 

IOI Insider

Client QA Session | St. John’s Northwestern Academies

At IOI Ventures we are committed to our clients’ success and helping small businesses win. We are goal driven, focused on details and always innovating new ways to work with our customers.

We could go on and on, but we think it’s better if you hear from one of our current clients, St. John’s Northwestern Academies, a boarding school in Wisconsin that has seen a 40 percent increase in enrollments and a 400 percent increase in social media reach since our partnership.

With that, we welcome Eric Sanchez, Director of Advancement at SJNA, one of the key decision makers and close partners in the success of the IOI and SJNA relationship.

Q: What challenges were SJNA facing that they needed to address with IOI’s help?

A: SJNA internal changes in recent years have led to the need to improve digital strategies. The vital partnership with IOI has immediately impacted multiple areas. By leveraging digital channels, like social media, HubSpot, and search engines, IOI has optimized the way our target audience can reach us and engage SJNA. They have also assisted in creating engaging content, optimizing the website, and using email campaigns to help us bridge our message with current and new audiences.

Q: What factors influenced your decision to side with IOI rather than a larger agency?

A: I have worked with a lot of large firms in the past. The relationship loses its personal touch, and you become just a number. Working with IOI and their team is the complete opposite. Personal attention and dedication are where they shine. We have formed a partnership, and Adam and Marisa have worked exceptionally with us.

Q: What immediate impacts did you notice from partnering with IOI?

A: IOI has made a strong impact with quick wins, and a strategic mindset that will lead towards SJNA’s long term success. For example, IOI and their team have immediately right sized/improved our digital and social media strategies, modernized our website, connected our core community of constituents, and introduced new users to our website and school. 

Q: How satisfied were you with choosing IOI compared to previous agencies you may have worked with?

A: There is no comparison. IOI is a true partnership with an exceptional team of professionals. I could not be more enthused about working with them.

Q: What would you tell or recommend to a prospective business about your experience with IOI?

A: I highly recommend IOI for its outstanding customer service, knowledgeable team, and vision of partnership and success.

To learn more about how IOI Ventures can help you take your business to the next level, click here:

IOI Insider

What Does Success Look Like

What Does Success Look Like

In the dynamic world of digital marketing, success is not a one-size-fits-all concept. At IOI Ventures, we understand that each client’s vision of success is unique, and our approach to achieving it is just as personalized. Our strategy, “What Does Success Look Like?”, is designed to align our marketing efforts with your specific business goals and objectives.

Understanding Client Goals:

Effective digital marketing starts with a clear understanding of our clients’ aspirations. Through in-depth discussions, we delve into what each business aims to achieve, allowing us to craft strategies that are not only cutting-edge but also perfectly aligned with individual visions.

Analyzing and Reporting on Analytics:

At the core of our strategy is a strong emphasis on data. Regular analysis and detailed reports keep us and our clients informed on the progress, facilitating adjustments to strategies as necessary. This approach ensures that every campaign is underpinned by robust data, optimizing outcomes.

Establishing Marketing KPIs:

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) serve as our navigational tools. Setting specific, measurable KPIs provides a framework for accountability and growth. From enhancing website traffic to boosting conversion rates and customer engagement, these KPIs keep our strategies focused and results-driven.

Additional Metrics for Gauging Progress:

Customer Engagement and Feedback:

  • Understanding audience reactions and interactions offers valuable insights. We monitor social media activity, comments, shares, and direct feedback to better comprehend customer preferences and behaviors.

ROI Analysis:

  • Evaluating the return on investment is pivotal. We assess the financial efficiency of our campaigns against the revenue they generate, ensuring our clients receive optimal value from their marketing investments.

Brand Awareness and Reach:

  • Expanding brand visibility is a key metric. We track search engine rankings, brand mentions, and social media followers to measure the impact of our branding efforts.

Conversion Rates:

  • A vital aspect of our strategy is turning visitors into customers. Focusing on conversion rates helps us refine our tactics for driving sales or specific actions.

Long-Term Client Relationships:

  • At IOI Ventures, enduring client partnerships is a hallmark of our approach. Sustained collaborations are a sign of trust and satisfaction with our services, indicating mutual growth and achievement.


IOI Ventures is more than a digital marketing agency; we are a strategic partner committed to realizing your business goals. Our approach goes beyond mere metrics, focusing on creating strategies that resonate with unique client objectives and leveraging informed decisions for continued growth and strong, lasting relationships.

What to learn more about how IOI Ventures can help your business grow? Connect with us here


IOI Insider

Tapping into Trending Holiday Topics for Your Social Media Content

In the world of social media, staying current and engaging with your audience means tapping into trending holiday topics. Whether it’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, or even National Donut Day, there’s always a holiday around the corner to provide fresh opportunities for content creation. Here are a handful of ways to make the most out of trending holiday topics to boost your social media presence: 


Early Bird Gets the Worm

The first rule of capitalizing on trending holiday topics is to start planning your content well in advance. Keep a well-organized content calendar that highlights upcoming holidays and events relevant to your audience. This ensures you have time to plan and create content well in advance. Early engagement can build anticipation and excitement among your followers.


Know Your Audience

Understanding your audience’s preferences and interests is paramount. Different holidays resonate differently with various demographics. Make sure you research what holidays matter most to your followers, be inclusive, and align your content accordingly. You don’t want to ruffle feathers or have your account suspended. 


Monitor Trends

Stay up-to-date with current trends and conversations surrounding the holiday. Follow relevant hashtags, join relevant social media groups, and pay attention to what influencers in your niche are doing. This will help you identify the trending topics, challenges, and conversations to engage with in your holiday-themed content.


Create Valuable and Relevant Content

Don’t just jump on the holiday bandwagon for the sake of it. Ensure your content provides value to your audience and is relevant to the holiday. If it’s Thanksgiving, offer cooking tips or share stories of gratitude. If it’s Halloween, create spooky DIY tutorials or share costume ideas. By providing valuable content, you’re more likely to engage and retain your audience.


Utilize User-Generated Content

Encourage your followers to contribute to your holiday content by sharing their experiences, stories, or creations related to the holiday. User-generated content not only boosts engagement but also creates a sense of community and trust around your brand. For example, you can run a Halloween-themed contest or challenge where your followers can submit their own spooky creations. Share and celebrate the best entries on your social media channels to build a sense of community.


Host Holiday-Themed Contests and Giveaways

Kickstart the holiday season with a jolt of excitement and festive engagement. Hosting contests or giveaways infused with holiday themes is a brilliant strategy to immerse your audience in the joyous spirit of the season! 


Encourage your followers to take part in fun challenges or friendly competitions, all while dangling tempting holiday-themed prizes as delightful incentives.  Whether it’s wickedly cool Halloween merchandise, generous discount codes, or the promise of exclusive content, these giveaways can work their magic and create buzz across your social media channels.


Be Visual and Creative

People are drawn to eye-catching visuals and creative content. Use high-quality images, videos, infographics, and other multimedia elements to make your holiday content stand out. Experiment with creative storytelling techniques and interactive content formats like polls, quizzes, and live streams to engage your audience.


Leverage Holiday Hashtags

Hashtags are your ticket to reaching a broader audience interested in the holiday. Research and use relevant holiday-themed hashtags in your posts to increase discoverability. Popular Halloween-related hashtags like #Halloween, #SpookySeason, or #TrickOrTreat can help expand your reach.


Stay Authentic

While it’s important to align your content with holiday themes, remember to stay true to your brand’s identity. Authenticity resonates with audiences. If your content feels forced or unrelated to your brand, it can turn off followers.


Tapping into trending holiday topics for your social media content is a dynamic and rewarding strategy. By planning ahead, understanding your audience, monitoring trends, creating valuable content, encouraging user-generated content, hosting contests, being creative, and using relevant hashtags, you can boost your engagement and keep your audience coming back for more. So, start planning your holiday-themed content and join the conversation on social media today! Not sure where to begin? Get in touch with our team here and we can help you out! 


IOI Insider

Constructing an Email Newsletter That Drives Clicks: A Small Business Owner’s Guide

In today’s fast-paced digital world, email marketing remains a powerful tool for small business owners to engage with their audience, build relationships, and drive clicks. An effective email newsletter can help you connect with your customers, showcase your products or services, and ultimately boost your business. In this blog post, we will walk you through the essential steps for constructing an email newsletter that drives clicks, specifically tailored for small business owners.


Know Your Audience

Before you start crafting your email newsletter, it’s crucial to understand your audience. Who are your subscribers, and what are their interests, preferences, and pain points? Knowing your audience allows you to create content that resonates with them, increasing the chances of getting clicks.


Craft a Captivating Subject Line

Your subject line is the first thing your subscribers see, and it can make or break your email’s success. It should be engaging, concise, and give readers a reason to open the email. Consider using personalization and creating a sense of urgency or curiosity to entice your readers.


Create Valuable and Relevant Content

Your email newsletter’s content is the heart of your email marketing strategy. Ensure that the content is valuable, relevant, and informative. It should offer solutions to your audience’s problems or provide them with something they find interesting. You can include articles, videos, infographics, or product highlights.


Visual Appeal Matters

A visually appealing email newsletter is more likely to capture your readers’ attention. Use eye-catching images, a clean layout, and mobile-responsive design to ensure that your newsletter looks great on all devices. Consistency in branding and color schemes can help reinforce your business’s identity.


Use Call to Actions (CTAs)

The ultimate goal of your email newsletter is to drive clicks. To achieve this, strategically place call-to-action buttons within your content. These CTAs should be clear, action-oriented, and directly related to the content you’re offering. Whether it’s “Shop Now,” “Learn More,” or “Get Started,” make sure they stand out.


Personalize Your Messages

Personalization can significantly boost your click-through rates. Address your subscribers by their first name, segment your email list based on their behavior and preferences, and tailor your content to their specific needs. The more personalized your emails are, the more engaged your audience will be.


Test and Optimize

Email marketing is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Regularly test different elements of your email newsletter, such as subject lines, content types, sending times, and CTAs. A/B testing allows you to identify what works best for your audience and make data-driven improvements.


Monitor and Analyze

To construct an email newsletter that drives clicks, you need to track its performance. Pay attention to key metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and unsubscribe rates. Analyze this data to identify trends and make informed decisions about your email marketing strategy.


Keep Your Subscribers Engaged

Don’t just focus on acquiring new subscribers; make an effort to keep your existing ones engaged. Send relevant and valuable content consistently, and consider setting up automated email series to nurture relationships over time.


Comply with Regulations

Finally, it’s essential to follow email marketing regulations, such as the CAN-SPAM Act and GDPR. Ensure that your subscribers have opted in to receive your emails and provide an easy way for them to unsubscribe.


Creating an email newsletter that drives clicks is an invaluable asset for small business owners. It’s a cost-effective way to reach your target audience, build relationships, and promote your products or services. By understanding your audience, crafting engaging content, and using best practices, you can construct an email newsletter that not only drives clicks but also contributes to the growth and success of your small business.


Case Study

Growing Your Social Media to Market Your Business: SJNA Traffic Increase

Are you questioning how social media can benefit your company? Many businesses feel that social media is the least important or effective of the marketing methods, therefore it is usually given the least amount of attention.


This lack of direction usually leads most social media accounts to flounder, but with the right love and affection (such as the kind your business would get from IOI), social media can be a powerful driver in recruiting new customers and keeping past and current customers engaged and active.


Recently, IOI Ventures took over social media control for our client, St. John’s Northwestern Academies, an independent, private college prep school in Wisconsin. SJNA had a strong base of past alumni and parents that they had already tapped into, but they were not making significant strides in using social media to actually benefit their business by attracting new users to their page.


The Plan:

At IOI, we came up with the plan to strengthen SJNA’s accounts by focusing more on the content and ideas that would drive new prospective families to the campus. We needed to focus on capturing new potential customers to help boost business while still keeping our current parents and students informed and up to date on campus life and student events.


Sending More Users to the SJNA site:

Our first step was to capitalize on our audience and push them to our home page. Since taking over the SJNA socials in April, their website conversions from social media are up over 500 percent with Instagram and LinkedIn contributing over 1,000 percent increases. We did this by implementing more directed CTA’s in our posts and creating a link tree for Instagram which helped propel that 1,000 percent increase. With these new and simple fixes in place, their accounts began to grow and become a far more useful tool in recruitment.


Generating a more influential online presence:

The next step we took on for SJNA was to reach a new set of eyes. We began growing their account by using more targeted fixed hashtags, creating collab posts with local brands, following and interacting with more accounts in our genre, and using more directed content and CTA’s. In the first five months, these changes garnered over a 300 percent increase in total reach across our entire social network. SJNA’s Instagram account has seen the largest jump with nearly a 50 percent increase in just six months of IOI oversight.


Armed with these tactics and tricks and a legitimate planned social media strategy, you can grow your businesses social


To learn more about how IOI Ventures can help you take your social media game to the next level, click here:

IOI Insider

From Athlete to Coach: How Sports Shaped My Career as a Marketing Account Manager

Life often takes unexpected turns, and in my case, the journey from being an athlete and coach to a Marketing Account Manager has been nothing short of transformative. While it might seem like sports and marketing are worlds apart, the skills and lessons I learned on the field have profoundly influenced my professional life. In my short five months on the job, I’ve already seen so many instances where my experiences as an athlete and coach have helped me excel in my role as a Marketing Account Manager.


Goal-Oriented Mindset

In the world of sports, setting and achieving goals is fundamental. Whether it’s running a faster mile, hitting a certain number of home runs, or improving your shot, athletes constantly strive for improvement. This goal-oriented mindset directly translates to the world of marketing, where setting and achieving objectives is equally essential. As an account manager, I’ve learned to set clear, measurable goals for my team and clients, just as I did as an athlete. This mindset has not only helped me stay focused but also ensured that my marketing campaigns have a clear direction and purpose.


Teamwork and Collaboration

Team sports teach invaluable lessons about teamwork and collaboration. As a former athlete, I understand the significance of working together to achieve a common goal. This experience has been particularly beneficial in my role as an account manager, where cross-functional collaboration is often key to success. Whether it’s coordinating with graphic designers, content creators, or data analysts, my background in sports has taught me how to communicate effectively and leverage the strengths of each team member to achieve optimal results.


Resilience and Adaptability

Sports can be physically and mentally demanding, requiring athletes to bounce back from setbacks and adapt to changing circumstances. This resilience and adaptability are valuable traits in the fast-paced world of marketing. In my career, I’ve faced unexpected challenges and shifts in marketing trends, but my background in sports has helped me remain composed, pivot when necessary, and find innovative solutions to problems.


Leadership Skills

As both an athlete and coach, I’ve had the opportunity to develop leadership skills. Whether I was leading my team on the field or guiding fellow athletes as a coach, I learned how to inspire, motivate, and mentor others. These leadership skills have been indispensable in my role as an  account manager, where I provide guidance, direction, and support to team members in need. 


Time Management and Discipline

Athletes are often required to balance rigorous training schedules, competitions, and academic commitments. This demands excellent time management and discipline. These skills have carried over into my marketing career, where juggling multiple projects, meeting deadlines, and staying organized are essential. My ability to manage time effectively and stay disciplined has greatly contributed to my success in the marketing industry.


The journey from being an athlete and coach to a marketing account manager may seem like a leap, but the skills and lessons learned in the world of sports have been invaluable in my professional life. The goal-oriented mindset, teamwork and collaboration, resilience and adaptability, leadership skills, and time management and discipline acquired through sports have all played a significant role in shaping me into a successful marketing professional. So, whether you’re on the field or in the office, remember that the skills you acquire in one arena can often be transferred to another, helping you excel in unexpected ways.


Looking for a career change like I did? Visit to check out available positions.

IOI Insider

Embrace AI, Don’t Run From It: How HubSpot’s New AI Tools Can Change Your Business

It’s plain and simple: if your business isn’t using AI, you’re behind. Generative AI has caused a transformative shift for businesses everywhere, changing the way people work, shop, and buy. Before, the formula businesses used was “More Reps x More Tools x More Activities = More Sales”


AI is moving us away from that.


Now, the new formula businesses should be using is “Efficient Reps x Connected Tools x Right Activities = More Sales”


Businesses are eliminating repetitive tasks that once took time, money and deep expertise through AI-powered products to improve overall efficiency while greatly increasing effectiveness. As HubSpot recently wrapped up their annual conference, INBOUND 2023, they unveiled their newest AI developments and product releases on the horizon. We’ve taken the liberty of sifting through some of the largest developments and summarizing them below so you can get just as excited as we are for these to start rolling out.


Marketing Hub Product Launches


Content Assistant – Generate content across social media, emails, SMS messaging and more with HubSpot’s AI Content Assistant. Type a prompt, get a result in seconds.


Image Generation – Need a graphic for a social post or landing page? Use HubSpot’s Image Generation tool to quickly create and edit graphics for your business.


Sales Hub Product Launches


AI Sales Forecasting – Get thoughtful insights on your sales pipelines and performance so you can make the right decisions at the right moments.


Content Assistant – Not just for marketing, the content assistant can help write sales emails in Gmail, Outlook or on Mobile devices to ensure your email has the right tone and actions to get your leads to take the next step.


Service Hub Product Launches


AI Chatbots – We’ve all been stuck in a phone tree where we just want to speak to someone, but are caught in a horrible loop speaking to an automated voice system. HubSpot’s AI Chatbot isn’t like that. This chatbot tool will automatically pull resources from your site depending on what is being asked of the lead, but can also quickly route conversations over to a representative if the question isn’t asked in time. Prevent the easy questions from taking up your team’s time, and ensure that time is spent answering the difficult ones.


Content Assistant – Trying to figure out how to respond to an aggravated customer? HubSpot’s Content Assistant can save the day again with thoughtful messaging that keeps your customers happy and responses timely. Not only that, but you can begin to quickly build a Knowledge Base through Content Assistant that can work in tandem with the AI Chatbot to pull helpful articles to point your contacts in the right direction.


CMS Hub Product Launches


AI Website Builder – Wishing you could build a landing page in seconds by typing “Build me a landing page about a youth soccer organization with a contact us page that has a form asking for first name, last name, email and phone number?” HubSpot’s AI Website Builder can do that.


Content Assistant – You get the idea, the Content Assistant is a powerful tool that can be used across any Hub in HubSpot. Write landing page and blog content in seconds, write meta descriptions in seconds – the power is yours (sort of).


Wrap It Up


As you can see, HubSpot’s Generative AI tools are something your business should be excited about, not afraid of. Utilizing these powerful tools is meant to save your business time and money while your team is focusing on the important things that help your business grow. If you really don’t know where to start, aren’t using HubSpot, or just want to chat about the growth of Artificial Intelligence and the impact it has on the world today, fill out the form and we’ll reach out. We’re looking forward to seeing what we can create together!


IOI Insider

Using AI to Help Improve Your SEO

We’ve emphasized the importance of SEO in the past, and today, we’re going to dive even deeper to demonstrate how AI can simplify your life.


SEO and blog entries stand out as two of the most important tools for boosting your online visibility. According to, “70 million blog posts are published every month, with an astounding 42% of the web relying on WordPress alone. These numbers  underline the impact of blogging in modern marketing strategies.”


We’re well aware that optimizing your SEO can sometimes feel like a daunting and time-consuming task that often gets relegated to the bottom of your to-do list. 

However, using AI can make this process significantly smoother.  Here are a few ways we have found that AI can help you to improve your blog writing process:


Keyword Search:

Blogs provide a platform for strategically incorporating keywords pertinent to your industry, products, or services. AI can help you pinpoint the most effective keywords, giving your content a competitive edge


Streamline Content Creation:

Writer’s block? No problem. AI can effortlessly generate engaging and relevant content, ensuring your blog appeals to your audience.


Scheduling and Automation:

AI can be used for more than content creation; it’s also a reliable scheduler. It can help you plan and automate your blog entries, guaranteeing that your website always serves up the freshest and most relevant content.


While AI can help improve efficiency in your blog entries, it should never be solely relied upon.  Although it’s magical how easy it is to take advantage of the powers of AI, it is still in the learning stages. Make sure to always fact check, add in your brand voice and tone, and edit and review any content you put out in a digital space.  


By embracing AI for your blog entries, you’re not just saving time; you’re also elevating the quality and relevance of your content. Whether you’re a business owner or a content creator, taking advantage of AI to enhance your SEO strategy through blog entries will certainly help you stand out in the digital world. 


Need help with your SEO strategy? Let us lend a hand!

IOI Insider

Score Big with Engaging Blog Content: Unleash the Power of Youth Sports Programs!

As a youth sports program, creating engaging blog content can help you connect with your audience and build your brand. By providing valuable information, highlighting your program’s accomplishments, and sharing stories from your participants and staff, you can create content that resonates with your audience and inspires them to get involved. In this blog post, we’ll explore tips for creating engaging blog content for youth sports programs.


Know Your Audience

The first step in creating engaging blog content is to know your audience. Understanding their interests, needs, and preferences will help you create content that resonates with them for a better user experience. Take the time to research your audience and create buyer personas that represent the different types of people who might be interested in your program. Use these personas to guide your content creation and ensure that your blog posts are relevant and interesting to your audience.


Provide Valuable Information

One of the key ways to engage your audience is to provide valuable information that they can use. This can include tips for improving skills, advice for parents on how to support their children in sports, or insights into the latest trends and developments in youth sports. Make sure your blog posts are well-researched and provide information that is both accurate and useful. Using keywords and SEO will also give your post a better chance at appearing at the top of the search. Using your basic link-building, on-page elements, and SEO optimization will help increase the online visibility of your post.


Highlight Accomplishments

Another way to engage your audience is to highlight your program’s accomplishments. This can include stories about the individual triumphs of your participants, or updates on your program’s standings in tournaments or competitions. By sharing these stories, you can inspire your audience and show them the value of your program with real-world highlights.


Share Stories from Participants and Staff

Sharing stories from your participants and staff can also help you create engaging blog content. This can include interviews with coaches or players, or profiles of participants who have overcome obstacles or achieved success. By sharing these stories, you can help your audience connect with your program on a more personal level and create a sense of community.


Use Engaging Visuals

Finally, using engaging visuals can help you create blog content that is both interesting and memorable. This can include photos of your program in action, infographics that illustrate key points, or videos that showcase your program’s accomplishments or training resources. Make sure your visuals are high-quality and relevant to your content, and use them to break up text and create a visually appealing layout.


Examples of Engaging Blog Content for Youth Sports Programs

To see these tips in action, take a look at some examples of engaging blog content for youth sports programs. The Positive Coaching Alliance, for example, has a blog that provides valuable information for coaches, parents, and athletes, as well as inspiring stories from youth sports programs across the country. Another example is the blog from the National Alliance for Youth Sports, which provides insights into the latest trends and developments in youth sports, as well as tips for parents and coaches.

Creating engaging blog content is an important part of building a successful youth sports program and is very cost-effective. By understanding your audience, providing valuable information, highlighting your program’s accomplishments, sharing stories from your participants and staff, and using engaging visuals, you can create content that resonates with your audience and inspires them to get involved. Use these tips to create blog posts that are interesting, informative, and memorable.

IOI Insider

From Sidelines to Screens: Enhance your Youth Sports Program with Dynamic Video Content

Video content has become increasingly popular in the digital marketing age, and there’s no doubt why. It is an effective tool for engaging audiences and conveying information in a way that is both memorable and entertaining. This is especially true for youth sports programs, where video content can help promote the program, provide valuable training resources, and showcase the skills and accomplishments of participants. We’ll explain why it’s valuable and provide some tips and tricks to utilize your video content creation. 

Promote Your Program

Video content is an effective way to promote your youth sports program to potential participants and families. You can create videos that showcase the highlights of your program, including game footage, testimonials from participants and families, and interviews with coaches and staff. This helps potential participants get a sense of what your program is all about and why they should choose it over others.

Provide Valuable Training Resources

Video content can also be a valuable resource for participants who want to improve their skills. You can create training videos that provide tips and techniques for improving performance, such as drills for building strength and speed, or strategies for improving team communication. These videos can be used by participants to supplement their training and improve their performance on the field.

Showcase Skills and Accomplishments

Video content can also be used to showcase the skills and accomplishments of participants. Highlight reels that showcase the best moments from games and tournaments, as well as individual accomplishments such as awards and honors are fan favorites in terms of user engagement. These videos can be shared on social media and on your website by using link-building to help promote your program and build excitement among participants and families. 

Tips for Creating Effective Video Content

So now that we showed you WHY incorporating this digital marketing strategy, creating engaging video content, and optimizing on-page elements can enhance your online visibility, attract more participants, and gain a competitive advantage in the youth sports industry. Let’s show you HOW. 

Keep it Short and Engaging

When creating video content, it’s important to keep it brief and engaging. Attention spans are short, so aim for videos that are no longer than a few minutes. Make sure your videos are visually appealing and use music and graphics to keep viewers engaged.

Plan Ahead

Before creating your video, take the time to plan ahead. Identify the message you want to convey and plan out the shots and scenes you’ll need to achieve that message. Consider using a storyboard or shot list to help organize your ideas.

Use High-Quality Equipment

The quality of your video can make a big difference in how it is received by your audience. Invest in high-quality equipment, including a good camera, microphone, and lighting, to ensure your videos look professional and enhance user experience while keeping it cost-effective.

Edit and Polish

Once you’ve captured your footage, take the time to edit and polish your video. Use video editing software to trim and cut footage, add transitions and special effects, and adjust the audio. Consider adding captions or subtitles to make your videos more accessible. 

Examples of Effective Video Content for Youth Sports Programs 

To see effective video content in action, take a look at some examples from youth sports programs. For example, the USA Volleyball program has a YouTube channel that includes training videos for coaches and players, as well as highlights from national team matches and tournaments. Another example is the Texas Youth Football Association, which has a YouTube channel that includes game highlights, interviews with coaches and players, and training videos for players and parents.

With the right approach and implementation, video content can be a valuable tool in digital marketing, providing an effective way to showcase your program, offer valuable training resources, and celebrate the achievements of your participants. By leveraging the power of video, you can take your youth sports program to the next level and make a lasting impression in the minds of your audience.

IOI Insider

The Journey from AthleteTrax System to HubSpot Payment Tool

In the fast-paced business world, staying up-to-date with the latest tools and technologies is not just a convenience; it’s a necessity! At IOI, we understand the importance of having a streamlined sales process for our clients. However, the journey to reach this point has been filled with challenges and learning experiences. Today, I want to share my experience transitioning from the AthleteTrax System to the HubSpot Payment tool and how it has revolutionized our client’s internal process.


The Old Way: AthleteTrax System

Before embracing HubSpot’s Payment tool, our client used AthleteTrax System for managing their Camp and Academy payments. While it served them well in some aspects, manually tracking payments in HubSpot became inconvenient and time-consuming for the sales team. Here are some of the challenges the sales team faced: 

  • Manual Entry: Entering the payment confirmation into HubSpot manually led to occasional errors and inconsistencies, consuming valuable time in corrections.
  • Lack of Integration: Without seamless integration between payment tracking and other sales functions, coordination among different departments suffered.
  • Limited Insight: Extracting insights and reports took a lot of work, hindering our ability to make quick, accurate, and informed decisions.
  • Adaptability Issues: As our client’s business grew, the manual process became increasingly inefficient, and scaling their operations came with complications.


The Turning Point: HubSpot Payment Tool

The decision to switch was driven by our need for a more efficient, streamlined process. We saw immediate improvements. Here are a few: 

  • Automated Payment Processing: Payments are processed automatically once clients provide information, reducing errors and freeing time for their accounting team.
  • Integrated Workflow: The Payment tool fully integrates with other HubSpot functionalities, ensuring smooth coordination across various departments.
  • Real-time Reporting: With just a few clicks, we can now access detailed reports and insights, enabling us to make better-informed business decisions.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: The smooth and secure payment process has improved customer experience, building trust and loyalty.
  • Ease of Scaling: The flexibility and efficiency of the HubSpot Payment tool has made scaling their operations a breeze.


A Brighter Future

Since implementing the HubSpot Payment tool, our client’s internal sales process has been transformed. Not only has it saved them time and reduced errors, but it has also empowered them with real-time reporting. 

The decision to move from AthleteTrax System to HubSpot was not taken lightly. But looking back, it’s clear it was the right choice for our client’s company. Our client has streamlined payment processing and aligned it with their internal sales workflows.

In a competitive business environment, the tools you use can make or break your success. If your company is facing similar challenges, consider evaluating your current payment processing system. The HubSpot Payment tool has been a game-changer for our clients and could be for you too! 

At IOI Ventures, we do not just love HubSpot’s Payment tool; we’re proud to be a HubSpot Gold Solutions Partner. This partnership allows us to leverage HubSpot’s cutting-edge technology for our internal processes and share our hands-on expertise with our clients. 

By aligning ourselves with HubSpot’s vision, we’re committed to driving innovation and providing tailored solutions that enhance efficiency and growth. Whether you’re looking to simplify your payment processing or seeking end-to-end sales solutions, IOI Ventures is here to guide you every step of the way. 

If you want to learn more about how HubSpot and HubSpot Payment Tools have empowered our client’s sales team, let IOI guide you and contact us!


Case Study

How IOI’s Strategy Helped Produce a Slam Dunk for St. John’s Northwestern Academies At The 2023 NBA Draft

At the 2023 NBA Draft, IOI had a very special relationship with one of the newest members of the Golden State Warriors. Brandin Podziemski is a 2021 graduate of St. John’s Northwestern Academies, one of IOI’s newest clients. Brandin was selected as the overall 19th pick in the first round, and SJNA was not equipped to provide the level of coverage needed surrounding an event of this magnitude. 

Luckily, IOI already had a blueprint for success with SJNA thanks to our experience just a year prior at the 2022 NBA Draft when Keegan Murray, an alum of another IOI client DME Academy, got selected as the No. 4 overall pick.



St. John’s Northwestern wanted to increase brand awareness and drive media engagement all while bringing the attention and recognition a first round pick deserved. SJNA always wanted to reach the local community and national media by promoting the story through various news outlets. Finally, they wanted to leverage Brandin’s time at SJNA by building out long-form pieces that would drive traffic to their website and increase interest in the academies.



The draft was taking place June 22 and we knew we needed a strong clear strategy prior to June 1 in order to accomplish the goals set forth by SJNA.

Despite having been a recent graduate and successful alumnus, SJNA wasn’t connected with Brandin on social media. We began interacting with him and his NCAA program, Santa Clara University, to develop trust and foster the relationship.

We developed a social media content plan outlining the month of June leading up to the NBA Draft. We focused on highlighting Brandin’s impressive statistics, extensive awards, and all his recognitions by utilizing feed posts and stories to drive engagement through polls and open-ended questions.

In order to drive traffic to the SJNA website, we built out a landing page highlighting Brandin and his accomplishments. We also developed multiple long-form blog pieces, which we distributed to both national and local media outlets, in preparation for the draft 

Ahead of draft night, we organized local media and community members to attend a watch party hosted by SJNA. This provided a backdrop for quality coverage from local media and created excitement and buzz around the future of SJNA athletics.

As the draft began, we planned to provide live coverage through social media utilizing the countdown feature, polls, and open-ended questions. We also prepared to post a final long-form blog post added to the link to our social media posts, continuing to drive traffic to the SJNA website.



On draft night, we ramped up our social media with a series of posts and stories and also continued closely monitoring any related content. Once his name was called, we posted content congratulating Brandin and began interacting with his alma mater, Santa Clara University, Brandin himself, and the Golden State Warriors. 

Two local media television crews turned up to the NBA Draft watch party and shared footage of the night on their live broadcasts and social media accounts, which we reposted to the SJNA social media accounts. On the national level, Brandin gave us a boost when he  flashed the lining of his jacket to reveal a St. John’s Northwestern logo and commented on his appreciation of the school live on the ESPN broadcast.

Thanks to our newly developed social media relationship with Brandin, he is now following SJNA on social media and is liking, commenting, and sharing nearly all our posts to his page. With his now nearly 42k followers, this contributed to a huge boost in our numbers. 

In the month of June alone, we saw an increase of Facebook and Instagram reach at 256,432 (increase of 622% month-over-month) and 59,368 (increase of 566% MOM) accounts reached, respectively. We also gained 70 new Instagram followers and garnered 2,466 (increase of 36% MOM) profile visits with content about Brandin being 6 out of the 10 top performing posts for the month.

Overall, the 2023 NBA Draft was a success for not only Brandin and his family, but for St. John’s Northwestern Academies as well. We met and exceeded the goals we had set for the event and are confident we will continue to drive brand awareness, increase web traffic, and see a rise in social media engagement as Brandin undoubtedly shines for the Golden State Warriors. 

If you’re looking to elevate your business, let us help! Talk with our team today to get started!

IOI Insider

The Power of Email Marketing for Youth Sports Programs

Email marketing has become a popular tool for online marketing strategies in businesses and organizations across all industries. Youth sports programs are no exception, as email marketing can be an effective way to engage with participants, promote upcoming events, and provide program updates. Let’s explore the benefits of email marketing for youth sports programs and provide tips for creating effective email campaigns!


Why Email Marketing is Effective for Youth Sports Programs

 Email marketing allows youth sports programs to communicate directly with participants and their families as well as keeping your online presence strong. This can be particularly useful for promoting events and programs, as well as providing important updates such as schedule changes or weather-related cancellations. In addition, email marketing can help youth sports programs build a sense of community by keeping participants and families informed about the program’s activities and accomplishments.


Building an Email List

 To effectively use email marketing for youth sports programs, it’s important to build a strong email list that is cost-effective. Start by collecting email addresses from participants and their families during registration. You can also collect email addresses through your program’s website or social media channels. When collecting email addresses, be sure to ask for permission to send marketing emails and provide an option for recipients to opt out of future emails. By having a strong email list, you can create a competitive advantage over your opponents.


Types of Emails to Send

Several types of emails can be effective for youth sports programs. These include:

Newsletters: A regular newsletter can be a great way to keep participants and families informed about program news, upcoming events, and other relevant information.

 Event Invitations: Email invitations to upcoming events can help boost attendance and excitement. 

Program Updates: Email updates can keep participants and their families informed about any changes to the program, such as schedule changes or weather-related cancellations.

 Tips for Creating Effective Emails


When creating emails for your youth sports program, it’s important to keep in mind the following tips:

Keep it brief: Most people receive a lot of emails, so it’s important to keep your emails short and to the point.

Use clear and concise language: Use language that is easy to understand and avoid using jargon or technical terms.

Use visuals: Include images or videos in your emails to help grab recipients’ attention and convey your message. 

Include calls-to-action: Encourage recipients to take action, such as registering for an event or visiting your program’s website.

Keywords: When people are searching for a specific email, they will often use a keyword if the email gets lost in all the junk, so it is good to have a wide variety that will help your email go to the top of the search and help implement SEO.


Examples of Successful Email Marketing Campaigns for Youth Sports Programs

To see email marketing in action, look at some successful campaigns from youth sports programs. For example, a youth soccer program might send a monthly newsletter that includes updates on recent games and upcoming tournaments, as well as information on skill-building drills and nutrition tips. An email inviting families to attend a “family fun run” event might include a catchy subject line, fun graphics, and a clear call-to-action to register for the event. It is also good to incorporate backlinks and link-building in your emails. This will make it easier to navigate to another page or website. All these tips and tricks will create a better user experience.

Email marketing is versatile, fast, and EASY! If you use this tactic, chances are your business will bloom. 

IOI Insider

The Impact of the FIFA Women’s World Cup on Internet Searches for Soccer in the United States

The FIFA Women’s World Cup has become an influential sporting event that goes beyond the boundaries of the soccer pitch. With its widespread popularity and exceptional talent on display, the tournament has left a lasting impact on the sport’s growth in the United States. Let’s look at how it has impacted internet searches.

  1. Surge in Search Volume – According to Google Trends data, searches related to soccer in the United States experienced a substantial increase during the FIFA Women’s World Cup compared to previous years. The tournament’s occurrence led to a sharp rise in search volume, indicating a heightened interest in soccer-related topics across the nation.
  2. Regional Interest – Analyzing search data by region reveals intriguing insights into the geographic impact of the Women’s World Cup. Soccer has traditionally been more popular in certain states, but the tournament managed to pique the interest of regions less associated with the sport. States like California, New York, and Texas, which typically exhibit a high interest in soccer, witnessed a surge in search activity during the Women’s World Cup. Moreover, states with lower soccer interest, such as Utah, Oregon, and Wisconsin, experienced significant increases in soccer-related searches during the tournament, showcasing the event’s nationwide appeal.
  3. Rising Interest in Women’s Soccer – The FIFA Women’s World Cup has undoubtedly contributed to raising awareness and interest in women’s soccer. Google search trends indicate a notable spike in queries related to women’s soccer during the tournament. People searched for information about the players, schedules, match results, and even women’s soccer leagues and events beyond the World Cup. This surge highlights a shift in perception, with more people recognizing and appreciating the talent and achievements of female athletes in the sport.
  4. Player Searches – Individual players became breakout stars during the Women’s World Cup, and their exceptional performances led to increased search interest. Players like Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and Rose Lavelle saw a significant uptick in online searches during the tournament. Not only did fans seek information about their playing careers, but they also explored their off-field activities and advocacy efforts, further engaging with the sport and its personalities.
  5. Social Media Impact – Social media platforms played a vital role in driving internet searches related to the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Memorable moments, spectacular goals, and emotional celebrations spread like wildfire on social media, leading to higher search volumes as people sought more information and videos of these events. Additionally, hashtags related to the Women’s World Cup trended on platforms like Twitter and Instagram, encouraging fans to engage with the content and search for further soccer-related topics.
  6. Long-Term Impact on Youth Participation – One of the most significant impacts of the Women’s World Cup on internet searches is the potential long-term effect on youth soccer participation. As more children witnessed the excitement of the tournament and the achievements of their female role models, interest in playing soccer has likely grown. This interest might translate into more searches for local soccer clubs, training programs, and resources, as parents and children seek ways to get involved in the sport.

The statistics speak volumes about the FIFA Women’s World Cup’s impact on internet searches for soccer in the United States. The tournament has driven a surge in search volume, expanded interest in women’s soccer, and captivated the attention of regions less traditionally associated with the sport. Players have become household names, and social media has played a pivotal role in sparking curiosity and engagement. Moreover, the tournament’s influence may extend to long-term effects on youth participation, as a new generation of soccer enthusiasts emerges. With each Women’s World Cup, soccer’s presence and popularity in the United States continue to grow, solidifying the tournament’s status as a catalyst for change within the sporting landscape.

Want to capitalize on this increase in traffic? Talk to IOI about solutions for your team, club, or organization – including our SPECIAL OFFER on sports websites.

IOI Insider

Powering Up Your Performance: How We Used KPIs to Level up St. John’s Northwestern Academies’ Social Media

In the world of marketing, it’s no secret that there are a million acronyms that all seem equally important to remember. You’ve probably felt like you’re swimming in a hypothetical alphabet soup at times, but let us clear things up by telling you about one of the most important and influential acronyms and how IOI uses them to measure success for our clients.

KPI, or key performance indicator, is a type of performance measurement we use to evaluate the success of a campaign or specific project- in this case, social media. We use them to track the progress toward a specific marketing goal, understand the performance of social media posts, and make adjustments to achieve success.

We began managing all social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn) for St. John’s Northwestern Academies in April 2023. Prior to this, their onsite team managed the strategy, content planning, and posting across all channels.

We narrowed down the important KPIs that we wanted to focus on. This included post time and date, the format of the post, impressions (Instagram), reach, engagement, success rate, and follower growth. 

SJNA primarily posted content as it came in throughout the week, but never considered the content’s format, the time of day, or calls to action. Our goal was to increase engagement and reach by using content that would perform well and drive traffic to the website.

Three things we implemented in April that contributed to continual platform growth over the course of four months included:

  1. Tailored the content to meet the needs of our followers: We shifted the type of content that was posted from individual photos to photo/video carousels and reels. This led to an increase in engagement from 14.95% in April to 36.52% in just one month.
  2. Posted during time windows when followers were most active: After recording our posting times for one month, we discovered the times garnering the most engagement were between 10-11 am and 4-6 pm. Although the engagement growth is slow, it continues to be steady, increasing by an average of 10 engagements month over month.
  3. Audited current hashtags and adjusted based on reach: All hashtags can’t be winners and many people will argue that they don’t serve a purpose at all, but we beg to differ! By tracking the engagement on each post and following the analytics, we were able to see which hashtags performed well and which hashtags were underperforming. Utilizing highly engaged hashtags in future copy gave us the opportunity to reach and engage with potential followers while promoting SJNA’s brand.

In the past four months, we have increased the following on SJNA’s Instagram by 18% and LinkedIn by almost 7%. The success rate of our posts across channels also increased from 4.19% to 4.88% in one month.

KPIs can seem overwhelming and it takes time to see true growth in the metrics. To determine which KPIs you should be measuring, evaluate your business goals and objectives to narrow down the analytics that matters most to your progress.

Get started on the right track today and have IOI help grow your business. Get in touch with our team to see how we can help you KO the competition!

IOI Insider

How to make your webinars more engaging and interactive

An engaging webinar not only increases participation among your audience but leads to a better outcome overall. To make your webinars more interactive and valuable for your audience, consider implementing the following strategies:

Set clear goals: Define the objectives of your webinar and clearly communicate them to your audience. This will help participants understand what to expect and stay engaged throughout the session.

Know your audience: Research and understand your target audience’s interests, needs, and preferences. Tailor your content and delivery to meet their expectations, addressing their pain points and providing practical solutions.

Interactive content: Incorporate interactive elements such as polls, surveys, quizzes, and Q&A sessions. Encourage participants to share their opinions, ask questions, and play an active part in the webinar. This involvement fosters engagement and creates a two-way conversation.

Visual aids and multimedia: Utilize visually appealing slides, images, videos, and graphs to enhance your content. Visual aids help reinforce key points, break up monotony, and make the webinar more visually stimulating.

Engage with storytelling: Incorporate storytelling techniques to make your content relatable and memorable. Narrate relevant anecdotes, real-life examples, or case studies that resonate with your audience. Stories evoke emotions, capture attention, and facilitate better retention of information.

Collaborative activities: Encourage group activities or breakout sessions where participants can collaborate and share ideas with each other. This fosters a sense of community and allows attendees to learn from their peers, enhancing the overall value of the webinar.

Use interactive tools: Leverage interactive tools such as whiteboards, annotation features, or live chat to promote engagement. These tools enable participants to actively participate, ask questions, and provide feedback in real-time.

Time management: Plan and manage your webinar’s timing effectively. Structure your content into digestible segments with breaks in between to prevent information overload. Respect participants’ time by starting and ending the webinar on time.

Follow-up and resources: Provide additional resources, handouts, or links to relevant materials after the webinar. Follow up with participants through email or social media, addressing any unanswered questions or concerns. This post-webinar engagement reinforces the value of the session and encourages future participation.

Remember to continuously seek feedback from your audience to improve the quality of your webinars. Analyze participation metrics, conduct surveys, and engage in post-webinar discussions to gather insights and refine your approach.

Implementing these strategies will not only keep your audience involved and engaged but will contribute to the overall success of your webinar. Eager to learn more, get in touch with our team here

IOI Insider

The Power of Meta’s Threads: A Game-Changer for Business Promotion

In the fast-paced world of social media, businesses are constantly seeking innovative ways to promote their products and services effectively. As digital platforms evolve, Meta (formerly Facebook) has introduced an exciting feature called Threads, which provides businesses with a powerful tool for self-promotion. Let’s compare Meta’s Threads with Twitter and explore how businesses can leverage Threads to boost their online presence and engage with their target audience.

Before diving into their applications, let’s first understand the fundamental differences between Threads and Twitter.

Threads: Threads on Meta are essentially a series of connected posts that enable users to share longer-form content in a cohesive manner. They allow users to create engaging narratives by linking multiple posts together, maintaining the context throughout. Threads can include text, images, videos, and interactive elements, providing a rich and immersive experience for users.

Twitter: Twitter, on the other hand, is a microblogging platform known for its concise nature. With a character limit of 280, tweets are brief snippets of information that can include text, images, and videos. While Twitter provides real-time updates and encourages succinct communication, it often poses limitations on expressing comprehensive ideas or narratives due to its constrained format.

Now that we have a clear understanding of both platforms, let’s explore how businesses can effectively use Threads to promote themselves on Meta.

  1. Storytelling and Brand Narrative: Threads offer businesses a unique opportunity to craft compelling stories and share their brand narrative in a more comprehensive way. By linking multiple posts, businesses can take their audience on a journey, unveiling the layers of their brand, product features, success stories, or even behind-the-scenes content. This storytelling approach helps create a deeper connection with the audience, ultimately building brand loyalty and fostering engagement.
  2. Showcasing Products and Services: Threads can be an excellent avenue for businesses to showcase their products and services creatively. By utilizing a sequence of posts, businesses can present the key aspects and benefits of their offerings. Combining visuals, videos, and informative captions, Threads allow businesses to effectively demonstrate the value they bring to their customers, leading to increased interest and potential conversions.
  3. Interactive and Educational Content: Threads provide an interactive canvas for businesses to educate their audience. By breaking down complex topics into a series of posts, businesses can deliver bite-sized, easily digestible information. This format is particularly useful for tutorials, step-by-step guides, product demonstrations, or sharing industry insights. Interactive elements like polls, quizzes, and questions within Threads can also be leveraged to encourage user engagement and feedback.
  4. Engaging with the Audience: Threads open up new avenues for businesses to engage with their audience and build a community. By encouraging comments and discussions on individual posts within a Thread, businesses can cultivate meaningful interactions, respond to queries, and gather valuable feedback. The threaded nature of discussions allows for more organized conversations, making it easier for businesses to follow and address user comments.

As businesses strive to stay ahead in an ever-evolving digital landscape, it is crucial to adapt to new tools and features that enhance their online presence. Meta’s Threads offer a powerful and engaging way for businesses to promote themselves, enabling them to tell their brand story, showcase products, educate their audience, and foster community engagement. By leveraging the unique capabilities of Threads, businesses can create impactful content that resonates with their target audience, ultimately driving brand awareness, customer engagement, and business growth. So, whether you’re a small startup or a well-established brand, it’s time to explore the potential of Threads and unlock new opportunities for your business.

IOI Insider

The Power of Email Marketing for Youth Sports Programs

Email marketing has become a popular tool for online marketing strategies in businesses and organizations across all industries. Youth sports programs are no exception, as email marketing can be an effective way to engage with participants, promote upcoming events, and provide program updates. Let’s explore the benefits of email marketing for youth sports programs and provide tips for creating effective email campaigns!


Why Email Marketing is Effective for Youth Sports Programs

Email marketing allows youth sports programs to communicate directly with participants and their families as well as keeping your online presence strong. This can be particularly useful for promoting events and programs, as well as providing important updates such as schedule changes or weather-related cancellations. In addition, email marketing can help youth sports programs build a sense of community by keeping participants and families informed about the program’s activities and accomplishments.


Building an Email List

To effectively use email marketing for youth sports programs, it’s important to build a strong email list that is cost-effective. Start by collecting email addresses from participants and their families during registration. You can also collect email addresses through your program’s website or social media channels. When collecting email addresses, be sure to ask for permission to send marketing emails and provide an option for recipients to opt out of future emails. By having a strong email list, you can create a competitive advantage over your opponents.


Types of Emails to Send

Several types of emails can be effective for youth sports programs. These include: 

Newsletters: A regular newsletter can be a great way to keep participants and families informed about program news, upcoming events, and other relevant information.

Event Invitations: Email invitations to upcoming events can help boost attendance and excitement.

Program Updates: Email updates can keep participants and their families informed about any changes to the program, such as schedule changes or weather-related cancellations.

Tips for Creating Effective Emails


When creating emails for your youth sports program, it’s important to keep in mind the following tips:

 Keep it brief: Most people receive a lot of emails, so it’s important to keep your emails short and to the point. 

Use clear and concise language: Use language that is easy to understand and avoid using jargon or technical terms.

Use visuals: Include images or videos in your emails to help grab recipients’ attention and convey your message.

Include calls-to-action: Encourage recipients to take action, such as registering for an event or visiting your program’s website.

Keywords: When people are searching for a specific email, they will often use a keyword if the email gets lost in all the junk, so it is good to have a wide variety that will help your email go to the top of the search and help implement SEO.


Examples of Successful Email Marketing Campaigns for Youth Sports Programs

 To see email marketing in action, look at some successful campaigns from youth sports programs. For example, a youth soccer program might send a monthly newsletter that includes updates on recent games and upcoming tournaments, as well as information on skill-building drills and nutrition tips. An email inviting families to attend a “family fun run” event might include a catchy subject line, fun graphics, and a clear call-to-action to register for the event. It is also good to incorporate backlinks and link-building in your emails. This will make it easier to navigate to another page or website. All these tips and tricks will create a better user experience.


Email marketing is versatile, fast, and EASY! If you use this tactic, chances are your business will bloom. 

IOI Insider

Top 5 Reasons To Go With A Pro To Build Out and Optimize Your Website

​​In today’s digital age, having a well-designed and functional website is crucial for any business or individual looking to establish a strong online presence. While there are various DIY website builders available, hiring a professional web developer or designer can make a world of difference. These are the top five reasons why you should consider hiring a professional (cough, cough, like IOI) to build your website.


  1. Customized and Unique Design:
    One of the main advantages of hiring a professional to build your website is the ability to have a customized and unique design. Professional web designers possess the knowledge and expertise to create visually appealing layouts that align with your brand identity. They can tailor the design to match your specific requirements, ensuring that your website stands out from the competition. With a distinctive design, you can create a memorable user experience that leaves a lasting impression on your visitors.
  2. User Experience Optimization:
    User experience (UX) plays a critical role in the success of any website. Professional web developers understand the principles of UX design and can create websites that are intuitive, easy to navigate, and user-friendly. They consider factors such as page load times, mobile responsiveness, and clear call-to-action buttons to enhance the overall experience for your site visitors. By providing a seamless and enjoyable browsing experience, you increase the chances of converting visitors into customers or clients.
  3. Technical Expertise and Functionality:
    Building a website involves more than just aesthetics. It requires technical expertise and knowledge of various programming languages, frameworks, and content management systems (CMS). Professional web developers possess the necessary skills to ensure that your website functions smoothly and efficiently. They can integrate advanced features and functionalities, such as e-commerce capabilities, database management, secure payment gateways, and interactive elements. A professional’s technical expertise ensures that your website is not only visually appealing but also fully functional.
  4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
    Having a beautiful website is pointless if it doesn’t rank well in search engine results. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a crucial aspect of building a website that drives organic traffic. Professional web developers have a deep understanding of SEO best practices and can optimize your website’s structure, code, and content to improve its visibility in search engines. They can implement proper meta tags, headings, alt tags, and ensure that your website loads quickly. By hiring a professional, you increase the chances of your website being discovered by potential customers or clients.
  5. Time and Cost Efficiency:
    While it may seem tempting to save money by building a website yourself or using a DIY website builder, it can quickly become time-consuming and costly. Professionals have the experience and efficiency to create a website more quickly and effectively. They are aware of potential roadblocks and can troubleshoot issues efficiently, saving you time and frustration. Moreover, investing in a professional website from the start can save you money in the long run by avoiding costly redesigns or fixes that may be required with a DIY approach.


Hiring a professional to build your website offers numerous benefits that extend beyond just appearance. From custom design to enhanced user experience, technical expertise, SEO optimization, and time efficiency, professionals bring a wealth of knowledge and skills to ensure that your website is a powerful tool for your business or personal brand. While there are costs associated with professional web development, the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial investment. So, when it comes to your online presence, entrust the task to a professional to create a website that leaves a lasting impression and helps you achieve your goals.


IOI Ventures is currently running a website promotion for sports organizations. CLICK HERE for more information.

IOI Insider

5 Steps for Onboarding a New Account Manager

As a business owner or manager, you know how important it is to have top-notch account managers to help you retain and grow your customer base. However, bringing a new account manager on board can be a daunting task. Proper onboarding is crucial to ensure that your new hire is able to hit the ground running and make a positive impact on your business. 

Here are five steps for onboarding a new account manager:


Introduce them to (and immerse them in) your company culture and values

The first step in onboarding a new account manager is to introduce them to your company culture and values. Share your company mission statement, core values, and business philosophy will help them understand what your business stands for and how they can best represent your brand to your clients. Including them in team lunches or happy hours, or even featuring them in a ‘Get to Know…’ session, can go a long way!


Train, equip, and encourage

To ensure your new account manager can successfully sell your products and services, it is crucial for them to possess in-depth knowledge about your offerings. They should be well-versed in the features, benefits, limitations, and potential issues associated with your products and services. Your new hire should feel confident in their ability to answer customer questions and provide solutions about your products and services. Providing them with ample training, necessary assets, accounts and information, and even a go-to mentoring colleague, will help them to work efficiently and effectively from the start.


Connect them with your clients

Introducing your new account manager to your current clients is a great way to help them build relationships and understand your customers’ needs. Schedule meetings or calls with key accounts and encourage your new hire to ask questions and take notes. This will help them gain valuable insights into your clients’ needs and how your products and services can help fill them. 


Define clear goals and expectations

Setting clear goals and expectations is critical for keeping your new hire on track. Define their position, duties, and performance measures, and create achievable goals that will assist them in understanding what is expected and provide a road map to success.


Provide ongoing support, assistance and feedback

Finally, it’s important to offer your new account manager help and feedback as they navigate their new landscape. Schedule regular check-ins to discuss their progress, provide constructive feedback, and offer support as needed. This will help them feel supported and valued, and will ultimately lead to better performance and job satisfaction.

Onboarding a new account manager is a critical process that requires careful planning and execution.You can guarantee that your new recruit will be set up for success and ready to make a good impact on your organization by following these five steps and personalizing them to your individual industry and company needs.

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Minutes of Movement = Hours of Energy

If you’re struggling to get some momentum in your day-to-day life, or if you find yourself continuing to reach for that extra cup of coffee in the morning to get a kick start, I highly recommend you try exercising in the morning!

Exercise, or any type of physical movement, for 20-30 minutes a day can provide significant benefits such as reduced stress, improved mental health, improved productivity and overall well-being!

Exercising in the morning can help increase blood flow to the brain, which can help improve cognitive function and focus. It can also help regulate your circadian rhythm, which can lead to better sleep at night and improved alertness during the day. Additionally, exercising in the morning can help reduce stress and increase energy levels, which can help you feel more productive throughout the day.

I am also a firm believer that if you start pouring into your own well-being first thing in the AM, everyone around you will also be better for it! If you show up for yourself, you can show up for your family, your job, even better for it. AND by blocking off time in the morning for physical movement, you may open up some time in the afternoon or evening when you would usually try to exercise! Utilizing even more of the 24 hours a day we are given.

If you are unable to get physical movement first thing in the morning, try a 20-30 minute walk during your lunch hour! Most of us tend to sit the majority of the day which doesn’t make anyone feel good. This can lead to bad posture, back and neck painand no one wants that! Let’s say you don’t have 20-30 minutes all at once, why not set a reminder every hour or so to get up and walk for just FIVE minutes? These tiny intentional movements all add up and I promise you, your work day, your family

As someone who has a passion for health and wellness, I’m not here to overwhelm you trying to get physical movement in as soon as you open your eyes each morning. But instead, being more intentional in how even 5,10,20,30 minutes of movement throughout the day can set yourself up for success. You will feel better about yourself, and when you start to, others will notice!

Try it out, maybe ditch that second cup of coffee and go for a five minute walk! Let us know how you feel. At IOI, we want you to be successful in all aspects of your life!

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IOI Ventures Reaches Gold Tier as a HubSpot Solutions Partner

Sarasota, Florida: Today, IOI Ventures announced that it reached the gold tier of HubSpot’s Solutions Partner Program. HubSpot, a leading CRM platform for scaling companies, works hand-in-hand with partner experts to grow their businesses through inbound software, services, and support.

The Solutions Partner Program is an ecosystem of experts that offer marketing, sales, customer service, web design, CRM, and IT services. It’s a global community that believes putting customers first is the key to growth. It enables members to offer a wide breadth of more sophisticated solutions across the entire customer experience.

To achieve status as a gold tier solutions partner, partners must work through HubSpot’s Academy Program to acquire the Partner Certification while maintaining a specific MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) threshold.


Over the past year, IOI Ventures has grown its business by incorporating inbound strategies to attract, engage, and delight customers. IOI utilizes HubSpot to align its marketing and sales teams to create a clear and smooth funnel for contacts to progress through from when they first submit a form through the completion of the deal. Notable milestones and achievements include:

  • Doubled employee numbers
  • Acquired another growing company
  • Nearly doubled our existing client base


About IOI Ventures:
IOI Ventures partners with small & medium-sized businesses that are looking to optimize their digital marketing efforts and scale their business. Our approach is unique. We connect the dots between marketing and sales with a focus on lead generation and revenue growth through digital marketing best practices.

Case Study

IOI Ventures Boosts Lead Generation for 3 Keys Brewery Through Facebook Campaign

This case study explores how IOI Ventures successfully executed a lead generation campaign on Facebook to generate more leads for 3 Keys Brewery’s email list. By leveraging the targeting capabilities and extensive user base of Facebook, IOI Ventures devised a strategic campaign that effectively reached and engaged the brewery’s target audience, resulting in a significant increase in qualified leads.



The primary objective of the campaign was to expand 3 Keys Brewery’s email list and gather valuable leads for future marketing initiatives. We aimed to maximize the impact of Facebook’s vast user base and sophisticated ad targeting options to reach individuals who were likely to be interested in craft beer, good food, and a nice atmosphere, all at an affordable price.


Strategy and Execution:

Identifying the target audience: We collaborated closely with 3 Keys Brewing & Gastrobrew’s team to define its ideal customer persona. Tom and Gabe from 3 Keys identified key characteristics and demographics, such as age, location, interests, and engagement with similar brands.

Ad creative development: IOI Ventures crafted visually appealing and engaging ad creatives that showcased 3 Keys Brewery’s unique offerings, including high-quality images of their craft beers, brewery ambiance, and special events. The ads were designed to evoke curiosity and encourage users to take action by signing up for a chance to win a $100 gift card.

Precise targeting and ad distribution: Utilizing Facebook’s advanced targeting options, we narrowed down the target audience based on geographic location (Bradenton, Florida), age, interests, and behavior patterns related to craft beer and brewery visits. By ensuring precise targeting, the campaign could effectively reach individuals with a high likelihood of becoming valuable leads.

Ongoing monitoring and refinement: During the 30 days campaign duration, we closely monitored the performance. Tracking metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and cost per lead. We continuously refined the campaign by adjusting targeting parameters to optimize results.



IOI Ventures’ Facebook lead generation campaign yielded exceptional results for 3 Keys Brewery:

Increased lead volume: The campaign generated a whopping 809 leads during the 30 days we were running the campaign. 

Higher lead quality: The leads acquired through the campaign are all leads within a 15 miles radius of 3 Keys Brewing and Gastrobrew. These new leads are much more likely to stop in now that they are more aware of the restaurant. 

Cost-effective results: The cost per lead was only $0.53, indicating efficient campaign management and optimization. Our total spend was $425.66 for a total of 809 leads.

Enhanced brand exposure: Our campaign’s reach and engagement resulted in a wider audience discovering 3 Keys Brewery and increased brand awareness within their target market of Bradenton, Florida.



Through a strategic lead generation campaign on Facebook, IOI Ventures successfully assisted 3 Keys Brewery in expanding its email list and connecting with a broader audience of craft beer enthusiasts. By leveraging Facebook’s advanced targeting capabilities and continuously optimizing its campaign, we achieved significant improvements in lead volume, lead quality, and cost-effectiveness. This case study demonstrates the value of leveraging social media platforms for lead generation and highlights the importance of well-defined targeting, compelling ad creatives, and ongoing monitoring and optimization for campaign success.


Get in touch with our team to learn more about generating more leads for your business!

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Double-Digit Increase in User Engagement Following Site Redesign

Mobile-Friendly Website Redesign Boosts User Experience and Increases Traffic for 200×85

200×85, a youth hockey organization, partnered with IOI Ventures to redesign their website in 2022. The objective was to create a new website that enhanced branding, drove leads and was mobile device responsive to provide a seamless user experience to users whether they were at home or at one of their events. In this case study, we will analyze the results of the website redesign project in terms of audience metrics and behavioral metrics.

Audience Metrics

The 200×85 audience was niche but has been growing over the years incrementally. Since the site redesign, the company has seen a 10.09% gain in users from Q1 2022 to Q1 2023. In addition to this pure volume gain, new users have grown 8.44% from Q1 2022 to Q1 2023, exemplifying that the website has been able to attract new visitors who were not previously aware of the company’s offerings.

Behavioral Metrics

The website redesign project has also positively impacted how users engage with the website. Visitors are exploring more pages and interacting with the content. Page views have increased by 12.33%, and the pages per session metric has increased by 12.25% from Q1 2022 to Q1 2023. These metrics show that the user experience seems to be improved, they’re finding the new site easy to navigate and the content more exciting.

Another important metric that reflects the success of the website redesign project is the increase in mobile users by 16.66%. This metric indicates that the new website is responsive and mobile-friendly, making it easier for the visitors to navigate through the website on their mobile devices. The increase in mobile users also shows that the website redesign project has been successful in providing a better user experience to the visitors.


The website redesign project has been a success for 200×85, and the key metrics analyzed in this case study prove that the site has increased the company’s online presence. The partnership between 200×85 and IOI Ventures has resulted in a website that is engaging, informative, and user-friendly.


Get in touch with our team to learn more about getting your website redesigned!

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Did your couch just become your office? Here’s a few tips for making the switch to remote

Recently, I made the decision to transition from an in-person office job to a fully-remote position. It was going to be my first time working a job that didn’t require me to be in a stuffy office every day, but I had no idea how the process actually worked. Commuting to my living room was definitely a culture shock in the first few weeks, but a handful of simple changes to my routine made the transition a lot smoother than expected.

If you’re currently hoping to leave behind your archaic corporate office but can’t see yourself working from home, here’s a few tips I learned that will help you ditch the cubicle.

One of the first things that struck me was the need to be self-motivated. However, having completed my master’s degree in a 100 percent online situation in college and being solely responsible for my department at my last position, I was confident in my ability to keep myself focused without leaving the comfort of my own home. One hack I use to stay on track is time blocking. This practice of working through tasks at a designated pace helps keep me focused and efficient throughout the day. To learn more about time blocking techniques, click here:

Another change I made to help me focus was to create separate logins and profiles on my laptop. Google Chrome has an incredibly useful feature which allows me to create multiple profiles on the same login. This keeps all of my information and bookmarks separate and also improves focus time by removing distractions from my browser interface. For an even greater level of separation, try a work/personal desktop on your laptop. Making this change will separate work and play mode and help keep you on track. For help on making the changes within Chrome, check out this article.

After my first week of staring at a small laptop screen and sitting hunched on a cheap office chair that wasn’t up for the task, my back and eyes were pleading for some upgrades. So, I added a much larger external monitor to my desk and  paid out for a far more comfortable and supportive chair. While these may cost you a bit up front, it’s worth it as the benefits down the line far outweigh the initial price.

Early in my time with IOI, before I was completely onboarded, I took the chance to dig into learning new technologies and softwares. More importantly, I haven’t stopped. I continue to read articles and take courses on the latest trends to help elevate my game (Hubspot Academy is a great place to start). Also, save yourself some time by subscribing to industry-relevant newsletters that deliver all the goods straight to your inbox. 

Armed with these few simple tricks, the switch from a daily commute and conference rooms to my home desk and video calls has been a breeze. With these in mind, you will set yourself up for success in the new modern working environment.

Get in touch with our team to learn more about setting yourself up for success in a fully-remote position!

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Clear is Kind

Recently I was interviewing a candidate for a position and we got to talking about standard operating procedures (SOPs). This candidate said something to me that shed new light on why having good SOP’s are essential for a growing business. “Clear is kind!”, she beamed. “When you are clear with me I can provide my best for you.”

If you are looking to grow your business at scale, embracing SOPs is an absolute must for success. Here are my top 5 reasons why:

Consistency and Efficiency: SOPs provide a clear and concise set of instructions for employees to follow, ensuring that tasks are completed consistently and efficiently. When everyone knows what is expected of them and how to accomplish their tasks, there is less room for error and miscommunication, leading to increased productivity and efficiency.

Training and Onboarding: SOPs are an essential tool for training new employees and onboarding them into your company’s culture and processes. When you have a standardized set of procedures in place, it is easier to bring new employees up to speed quickly and ensure that they are following the same guidelines as the rest of the team.

Quality Control: SOPs are critical for maintaining quality control standards within your business. When everyone is following the same procedures, it is easier to identify potential issues and address them before they become significant problems. This ensures that your products or services are consistent and meet the expectations of your customers.

Scalability: SOPs are essential for business scalability. When your business is growing, it can be challenging to maintain consistent processes and procedures. By having standardized procedures in place, you can easily scale your business without sacrificing quality or efficiency.

Continuous Improvement: SOPs are living documents that should be updated regularly to reflect changes in processes, technology, or best practices. By regularly reviewing and updating your SOPs, you can identify areas for improvement and implement changes to optimize your business processes.

Currently, my favorite tool for creating SOPs effortlessly is www./

It’s a super easy Chrome plug-in that can make SOPs based off of what you are already doing on your computer. 

The bottom line is, utilizing Standard Operating Procedures is crucial for business growth and success. SOPs provide consistency, efficiency, training and onboarding, quality control, scalability, and continuous improvement. By implementing SOPs, you can streamline your business processes and set your company up for success. #worksmarternotharder

Get in touch with our team to learn more about utilizing SOP’s!

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Five Human Elements to Stand Out From the Rest

It’s no surprise marketers everywhere have leaned into the wide range of softwares and AI tools available today. Data and automation are such powerful pillars to lean on, but every once in a while we need to broaden our scope. Let’s zoom out a little bit, and do an audit on WHO we should be, HOW to create an ideal client experience, and WHEN to take a quick break from the numbers and shift our attention to the bigger picture.

Here are five human elements AI can’t bring to the table.  


1) Be present. Show up! When’s the last time you showed your face on a Zoom call, or took your client out to lunch? If you don’t prioritize your working relationship, they won’t either. There’s a trickle down effect with everything and if you put in the time, they will too. “I just feel like we need more pizazz in our posts” is a human conversation, and we should be there to have it. 


2) Be approachable. YOU teach people how to treat you. We are more in control of the information we receive than we think. “Our client seems happy, they haven’t said anything” is an easy thing to tell yourself. Or, “I can’t force them to be more honest than they’re willing to be.” But – are you approachable? If they give you truthful negative feedback, do you seem willing to receive it? Presenting a polished, professional front during your meetings is good – but being viewed as “one of them” is even better. Break down the barrier. If they’re not happy, you want them to seek you out for advice – not secretly Google other initiatives (or companies) behind your back.


3) Break from the routine. Throw some darts at the wall every few weeks. Did you see something interesting while scrolling Instagram? Have an interesting shower thought? Make sure these thoughts don’t fizzle out. Carve out some time for a brainstorming session during your check-ins, or toss an “anything goes” doc in the shared drive. It’s great to hit a stride and continue to do what works, but if you bury your head in your AI-driven marketing regimen, you may miss a simple TikTok trend that would give your client’s social media a breath of fresh air.


4) Provide human insights. There’s no reason to labor over things that technology does quicker, and frankly, better. Let Excel crunch the numbers, you can even let ChatGPT create a list of competitors. Instead, spend your time supplementing these services with meaningful feedback. “Here’s a chart showing your website traffic” is an AI insight. “Your clients shouldn’t be bouncing from the home page so quickly, I just don’t think the font feels inviting enough” is a human insight. 

5) Be honest. Brands don’t always know what’s best for them. It’s tempting to take on a client that wants 5k new Instagram followers, and is willing to pay for it. But, is that really where they should be focusing? AI might be able to create a social media growth plan, but we have the perspective and context to make tailored recommendations based on our experiences. “How to gain 5k followers in 6 months” is an AI prompt. However, saying “Your target market doesn’t use social media effectively and your new followers likely won’t convert to measurable sales” is a human recommendation. Or, since we’re “being honest” – “Your market is a bit boring for Instagram, let’s try Linkedin”. 


There’s no doubt that AI tools and data softwares have revolutionized the world of marketing. As users of these tools, we have the opportunity to shift our focus from “busy work” to providing a creative, insightful, and personalized experience to our clients. Let’s make sure we maximize that at all times. 

To put a bow on it – I asked AI to “create an infographic for a blog post about marketing tips and tricks”, and got this image below. Could it pass as a stock photo? Sure. But is it effective? Does it send a clear message? Is it useful for this blog post? Let a human decide.

Get in touch with our team to stand out from the rest!

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Sharing Across Multiple Platforms

Format your content to fill a variety of digital spaces

In this ever growing digital landscape, there are a variety of social media platforms to post content to. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and the list goes on and on. But before you figure out what platforms to use to help expand the reach of your content, the quality of your content must be finalized. You can post something everyday across numerous social feeds, but if what you are posting isn’t easily consumable or aesthetically pleasing, your audience won’t engage with it. If your content isn’t good, people will not want to spend their time reading or sharing it, no matter where you post it. 

Next, you must also figure out the format of your content. For example, if you were to post a link or text driving to an article on Twitter, you might want to create a video or use photos to call attention to that very same piece of content on Instagram. Twitter is more of a text-heavy interface, where Instagram is more visuals-focused. Another example is if you have a short-form content video for a platform like TikTok, that video might not be applicable to gain traction on Facebook. Understanding your content is important, but also understanding the platforms you are posting it on is just as crucial to its success. In a sense, understanding the behavior of users on certain platforms. For more “fun” content, Instagram and TikTok may be your best route. For more informative pieces, Facebook and Twitter are always safe bets. 

In an effort to make it easier to post content across multiple platforms, there is a variety of software tools to help you plan and organize your posts, as well as schedule them out at one time or sporadically throughout the day. When trying to find the best software for your needs, it’s imperative to find one that allows you to customize your posts for different platforms. As mentioned before, a post revolving around a video that is good for Instagram, may not be applicable to getting the most reach on Facebook. Here are some of the best tools you can use to get the most out of cross posting: Hootsuite, HubSpot, Sprout Social.

Click here for a list of others to see if they fit your needs. 

Using everything at your disposal to allow your content to have a seamless transition from one platform to another not only benefits your brand but your audience as well. You do not want to divide segments of your audience who may be prone to digesting content that is more visual based in comparison to those who prefer text. Creating an internal strategy of how to best do this is vital to the success of your content. Maintaining your brand’s voice across what can sometimes be a dizzying array of digital platforms will serve you well further down the road.

Get in touch with our team and get ready to level up your business.

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Doubling A Client’s Instagram Followers

How we added 10k new followers in a quarter of the time it took to acquire the previous 10k

In September of 2020, we launched brand new social channels for one of our clients. They had no social media presence previously, so when we created an Instagram account their total number of followers was zero.

After a little over two years, the following on Instagram eclipsed the 10k mark. It took almost 600 posts, stories, videos and Reels to get us there, but the account had reached a significant milestone. The next 10k came much quicker than the previous 10k, as we reached the 20k follower benchmark in just seven months. Not only that, but we achieved that feat producing a mere fraction of the posts it took previously.

Between September, 2022, and March, 2023, we posted 250 times on Instagram. Of those posts, 90 percent of them were in the form of IG stories or Reels. Why is that important? Because in August, 2020, the platform made a significant pivot towards pushing Reels in an attempt to compete with the rise of short-form video platform, TikTok. Over the next few months, Instagram feeds would take on a whole different experience.

The growth that we saw in the past six months is likely a direct result of catering our content to the platform’s recent changes. While both engagement and impressions dropped year-over-year — common for most accounts on the platform after IG’s changes — our number of followers soared. Six of the last seven months, we added more than 1,400 new followers to our audience. It wasn’t that more people were seeing our content, it was that our content was being consumed better by people interested in what we produced. Because we were producing Reels, the algorithm better served our content to people with similar interests. Our Reels were showing up in people’s Feeds and in the Explore page because we had optimized the content for the platform. 

This approach is applicable to other platforms as well. YouTube has made a big transition lately to Shorts — its way of competing with TikTok and Instagram. Twitter has recently changed the maximum character limit from 280 to 4,000. Facebook stories are relatively new to the platform, and TikTok allows for videos up to 10 minutes long. It’s important to adapt your content to take advantage of all these changes as the platform adapts as well.

Do you want to get your followers up? Get in touch with our team and get ready to level up your business.

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IOI Culture, 5 dysfunctions of a team

IOI Culture

Building and maintaining a successful start-up requires much more than just hiring the right individuals. It demands a clear understanding of the workplace dynamics and a commitment to working together towards a common goal. That’s why Erika Conklin, the Chief Happiness Officer at IOI Ventures, recommended The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Pat Lencioni to the entire group prior to their gathering in Florida. This book is an excellent resource for any group of people who want to become a more cohesive unit.

The group of 15 teammates learned some valuable lessons that helped them strengthen their bond and work more effectively. Here are three of the key takeaways from their experience:


Trust is crucial.

The foundation of any successful organization is trust. Members must be able to rely on each other and feel safe enough to be vulnerable. They must know that they can depend on their colleagues to support them, even when things get tough. To build trust, members need to communicate openly and honestly, and they must be willing to admit when they make mistakes.


Conflict can be healthy.

Many people view conflict as a negative thing, but it can be a sign of a healthy team when members feel comfortable enough to voice their opinions and express their disagreements, it can lead to better decision-making and more creative solutions. However, it’s essential to handle conflict in a constructive way, so it doesn’t become destructive.


Commitment is necessary.

Once the group has established trust and dealt with conflict in a positive way, it’s time to commit to a common goal. Each member needs to understand their role in achieving that goal and be willing to put in the effort required to make it happen. It’s essential to create a shared sense of purpose so that everyone is working towards the same end result.

Jared Antista, CEO of IOI Ventures, expressed his thoughts on seeing everyone resonate with the different chapters in the book. He said, “It was incredible to see each individual engaging with the book and identifying with the different scenarios presented in each chapter. I was particularly pleased to see the team’s willingness to build trust all while encouraging healthy conflict resolution. We still have work to do, but I am confident that we are on the right path to becoming a more cohesive and successful unit.”

In conclusion, the book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Pat Lencioni has been instrumental in helping our team at IOI Ventures understand the importance of building a cohesive team. By focusing on trust, healthy conflict resolution, and alignment toward shared goals, we have been able to work more efficiently toward achieving our objectives.

Do you want to be part of the ride? Get in touch with our team and get ready to level up your business.

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Effective Time Management: Balancing Client Accounts, Company Responsibilities, and Personal Life

As an account and sales manager, I’ve learned firsthand how demanding it can be to balance the responsibilities of managing multiple client accounts and fulfilling your role in your own company. Juggling tasks like creating sales processes, managing direct sales, and handling day-to-day administrative tasks can quickly consume your time.

In this blog, I’ll share my experiences with effective time management strategies, tools, and techniques that have helped me stay organized and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

  • Utilizing Tools for Project Tracking and Communication

Managing multiple client accounts requires prioritizing tasks, deadlines, and communication. Thankfully, there are various tools available to help with this. Here are some of the tools I’ve found most helpful:

  • Slack: This platform allows for seamless communication with your team and clients. You can create channels for specific projects, clients, or topics, making organizing and prioritizing conversations easy. 

  • ClickUp: ClickUp is a project management system our company uses. It allows us to create tasks, set deadlines, and assign responsibilities among team members. In addition, with its ability to integrate with Slack, you can keep track of project updates and collaborate with your team more effectively. 

  • Minimalist: A simple yet powerful to-do list app, Minimalist helps me prioritize tasks, set deadlines, and organize my day. This app can be set up as a widget on your phone, and you can access it quickly from your home screen. It is perfect for those who prefer a clutter-free interface for managing their daily tasks.


  1. Hubspot: My favorite CRM platform! It is excellent for sales & marketing professionals. Hubspot allows you to connect Digital Marketing & Sales, including lead forms, tracking leads, setting reminders, analyzing your sales pipeline, and digital marketing performance.

  • Protecting Your Time for Clients and Family

Setting boundaries and protecting time is crucial to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Here are some strategies that have helped me:

  • Set specific work hours: Establish a clear schedule outlining when you’re available for work and when you are off-duty. Make sure you communicate this to your clients and team members to manage expectations.
  • Prioritize tasks: Use the Eisenhower Matrix to categorize tasks based on urgency and importance. This method will help you focus on high-priority tasks and minimize time spent on less important activities.

  • Schedule personal time: Carve out time for your family and personal life. You’ll be less likely to neglect your relationships and personal well-being by scheduling these activities.
  • Leveraging Collaboration with Your Team


Delegating tasks and collaborating with your team can significantly improve your time management. Here’s how:

  1. Assign tasks: Identify tasks that can be delegated to team members, freeing up your time for higher-priority activities.
  2. Regular check-ins: Schedule weekly or bi-weekly meetings with your team to discuss progress, identify roadblocks, and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  3. Foster a collaborative culture: Encourage open communication and teamwork. A supportive environment can boost productivity and help your team tackle challenges more effectively.


  • Overcoming Procrastination and Adapting to Schedule Changes
    1. Use the Pomodoro Technique. This technique allows you to focus on a task for a specific time. You break your work into focused 25-minute intervals, followed by a short break. This method helps maintain focus and minimizes procrastination.

    • Be adaptable: Unexpected changes in your schedule are inevitable. Learn to adjust and reprioritize tasks as needed. This flexibility will help you stay on track and maintain productivity.


In conclusion, effectively managing your time is essential for balancing the responsibilities of managing multiple client accounts, fulfilling your role in your company, and maintaining a healthy personal life. By utilizing tools like Slack, ClickUp, Minimalist, and Hubspot, protecting your time, leveraging collaboration with your team, and overcoming procrastination, you can improve your time management and achieve a more balanced life. 


Flexibility and adaptability are essential; as you refine your strategies, you’ll find the best approach to manage your unique responsibilities. Stay organized, communicate with your team, and prioritize personal well-being to ensure long-term success and happiness in your professional and personal life.


If you’re looking for assistance with your projects, marketing, or sales needs, our team is here to help you succeed. We’re dedicated to providing personalized solutions to elevate your business and streamline your processes.

Do you want to be part of the ride? Get in touch with our team and get ready to level up your business.

Case Study

The IOI Team Takes on the Northeast

Although the IOI team is small, we are very mighty. Our time in Philly and Atlantic City solidified that we are continuing to move in the right direction and that there are only more clients to partner with, more challenges we can overcome together, and more goals to crush. If there’s one thing IOI loves, it’s an excuse to get together and celebrate.

We kicked off the New Year in the best way we knew how – a team trip.

Are we surprised that the trip started out with an FAA system-wide outage, affecting every team member’s flight? While most were able to hop on a later flight, a handful of us hopped in the car and made the six-hour drive to Philadelphia. Talk about being committed to the cause!

Some hours and multiple Philly cheesesteaks later, the whole team was on the ground and ready to rock and roll. IOI kicked off the week at the U.S. Soccer Coaches Convention in Philadelphia where we partnered with our Norwegian client, Spond, and States Soccer to host a happy hour for coaches and potential partners. It was a great opportunity to meet current and prospective clients for IOI and a chance to mingle with other entrepreneurs who share similar visions. Not only did we leave with some great new connections, but we also created lasting memories with our team.

The night wasn’t over yet – in fact, it was just beginning! Next up, a bus ride to Atlantic City to join our fellow Rhombus Services businesses – Pellucid Travel, Financial Wing LLC, BrandPoint Services, and Entrepreneurs United. Not only was this a special opportunity to spend time with our sister companies, but we were also able to celebrate with BrandPoint as they achieved an incredible milestone of $100 million in revenue as well as 20 years in business!

Throughout the week, IOI sat in on many of BrandPoint’s sessions highlighting their work divisions, the talented employees that comprise each of them, and the goals their business has set as they enter a new year. They even hosted a gala that celebrated individuals who have truly made a difference in their organization throughout the year. The opportunity to join internal conversations as they prepare for the future and celebrate all that has been accomplished was not lost on IOI.

These conversations sparked a fire as we moved into our smaller breakout session with the IOI team where we focused on individual goal-setting, key initiatives, annual goals, and core values. We identified areas where we as a team can seize the opportunity to be better and truly give our best to our clients. We also spent a lot of the time laughing, which seems to be a common theme when we are all in the same room. 

Our time was bookended by guest speaker, Ted Ma. His words of wisdom focused on how to become the best version of yourself. He encouraged each of us to identify areas in our lives where we can step into our growth zones and welcome challenges that make us uncomfortable. Needless to say, we got a nice kick in the @ss.

If I had to sum up our time together I would say it was short but so sweet. If you were on the outside looking in, you would never know we are a completely remote team. Sitting in a room alongside people who share a common vision and goal fuels the passion inside of you.

Do you want to be part of the ride? Get in touch with our team and get ready to level up your business.

Case Study

Under Armour Flag Football Paid Media Campaign Hits Year-Long Target In One Month!

What do you get when you combine a passion for sports, an entrepreneurial spirit, and kids? Under Armour Flag Football Leagues. IOI Ventures has partnered with Under Armour’s Flag Football team to expand their footprint and grow the number of flag football leagues across the country.

The partnership encourages families to sign their children up to play, as well as generate leads for new league operators. Without league operators, Under Armour can not expand its program. Challenge accepted.


IOI worked closely with the Under Armour Flag Football team to draw up a paid media campaign to drive leads for league operators. They expressed a goal to onboard 10 new league operators this year. With a rigorous vetting process and high turn-down rate, IOI was challenged with driving a significant number of qualified leads to try and yield just one league operator per month.


To achieve this goal, we knew that we needed to increase the volume and quality of the leads coming to their “Start A Flag Football League” landing page (a past IOI website project). 

IOI’s account management team worked with Under Armour to settle on a budget and regional targets for league operators. The IOI paid media team then worked with the Account Manager on a detailed paid media campaign brief outlining the goals of the client, their target audiences, geographics, keywords, custom URLs for tracking, headlines and descriptions for context in the ads. 

Additionally, IOI’s creative team worked with photo assets from the client to refresh the visual elements of the ads.


In just 31 days, IOI was able to generate 930 leads at a cost per lead of $7.04. Because of the close attention to detail around audience targeting and geo-fencing, the quality of the leads was confirmed when the client told us that they were onboarding 10 new league operators and had 5 more ready to onboard shortly thereafter. 

As a result, Under Armour Flag Football moved their proverbial goalposts back a bit. Their new goal for the year is now 30 league operators – and we are confident that we’ll get them there.

Need help generating leads or revenue with paid media? Get in touch with our IOI team now and level up your digital marketing.

Case Study

Challenger Sports’ Redesigned Website Drives Record-Breaking Traffic, Registrations, and Revenue!

What is the first thing to make an impression on users when they visit a website? If you guessed the design, you would be right! Nearly 94% of first impressions are related to a website’s design and almost 48% of website visitors attribute website design to a business’s credibility. 

Challenger Sports is an organization that is passionate about delivering high-quality soccer camps and learning experiences for youth soccer players and their families of all ages and ability levels. Although they had this vision for their business, their website was not designed in a way that made it easy for users to find and register for camps. They were experiencing an 80% drop in camp registrations due to poor user experience, inability to search and find a camp easily, and was not optimized for mobile devices.


IOI worked closely with the Challenger Sports team to develop goals and a pathway to achieve them. Their first goal was to increase annual camp revenue to $7.9M with 45,000 registrants, which would be a 20% increase in growth year over year. They also wanted to reduce the high drop-off rate on the website.


To achieve these goals, we knew a new website and camp search experience would be crucial. IOI built a custom camp finder making it easier for users to search and register for upcoming camps. We also developed cohesive branding and messaging through the website as well as more calls to action that encourage users to contact Challenger Sports through the integration of HubSpot forms.

Aside from website updates, IOI developed a full marketing strategy with the goal of pushing soccer camp registrations. This included a $5,000 budget allocation to Google and Meta ads directing to the camp finder. This campaign also included four email blasts and four social media posts promoting the new website and camp finder, along with long-form content that lives on the site. We doubled down on all these efforts by adding a registration camp banner to all email blasts and Regional Director’s email signatures.


The Challenger Sports website and camp finder redesign launched at the end of January 2023 and recorded a 22% increase in camp registrations year-over-year in the first 45 days. It also created and collected 878 new contacts in HubSpot. From IOI’s marketing efforts alone, this strategy led to 1,258 camp registrations and $274,215 in revenue.

With the partnership between IOI Ventures and Challenger Sports, all initial goals for this campaign were met and exceeded. The updates to their website and camp finder pages have made the customer experience smoother and have led to more leads and registrations.

Are you looking to optimize your website and collect more leads? Get in touch with our IOI team now and take your website from good to GREAT!


Case Study

250% Growth On YouTube In Just a Month!

How we took one client from middling channel to thriving social platform in 30 days

A focus for one of our clients is to have a strong presence on social media. Their social media footprint is one of the most diverse in our IOI portfolio, and for any small business, for that matter. They have accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, and even Discord and Giphy. While it’s nice to have a presence on as many platforms as possible, you can sometimes spread yourself too thin with limited resources and content.

We’ve gotten ‘The Big 3’ – FB, IG and Twitter – to a good place for the client. So in 2023, the focus was to elevate some of the other channels, like YouTube, to make it a quartet of thriving social medias.

In just 30 days, we posted 31 Clips and Shorts that generated more than a half million views, and channel growth of 250 percent.

Consistency is key for YouTube growth

The biggest component in all of this is consistency. Post something

The easiest solution to producing content was to repurpose what we were already posting on other platforms, like Reels on Instagram. Trending audio is an important component when sharing content via Reels and Shorts. However, it’s important to remember that the audio trending on YouTube isn’t always the audio trending on Instagram or TikTok. We had to repurpose our content to fit each platform accordingly.

In addition to repurposing our own content, we repurposed content from other accounts in the space as well. Competitors, media outlets, etc… any other source that shares content relevant to our audience, we posted and repurposed their videos to fit our channel and audience.

Then, after all of that “repurposing” of content, we were able to produce our own, original content. For instance, we posted three Shorts throughout the course of the week (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday) that were 10-15 seconds apiece and generated 8,000 views. After that (Friday), we packaged those Shorts together into a longform two-minute Clip and provided some commentary around the three Shorts. That generated another 5,000 views and an additional piece of content for our channel.

Reaching a new audience on YouTube

Shorts are blowing up right now on social media. In my mind, they’re no different than Reels on Instagram or videos on TikTok. However, we have to remember that our audiences can vary greatly from platform to platform. What someone follows on IG might not be the same on YouTube, and vice versa. So it’s important to share our content on as many outlets as possible.

We mentioned our audience growth on YouTube (+250%), and the importance of YouTube Shorts right now for this reason: Of the 975 new followers we acquired in the last month, 828 of them found us through Shorts. Of the 560,293 views our content generated, 520k came from Shorts. 

In social media, it’s so important to strike while the iron is hot. What worked yesterday may not work today, and what works today might not work tomorrow. As good marketers, we have to adapt and be flexible. One thing we pride ourselves on at IOI is not just ‘checking the box’. Don’t cross tasks off your list because a Facebook presence is a must, or Instagram accounts are necessities. Both of those statements are true, but we also have to adapt and improve our content to make the biggest impact we can on our audience as it changes as well.

Find a social media strategy that works for you by contacting our team HERE!

IOI Insider

5 Steps To Migrate From Universal Analytics To The New GA4

Our team at IOI can definitely understand how overwhelming it is to hear that the Universal Analytics we have all grown to love is suddenly just leaving in 2023. Analytics, numbers – these tell the story behind sales and leads, so this information is absolutely crucial for you and your business to understand!

Not to worry – IOI has you covered on what to know about migrating from Universal Analytics to the new GA4. 

For starters, what is GA4?

  • The successor to “Universal Analytics”
  • Entirely new reporting interface and tracking script
  • Significantly improved machine learning for modeling & predictive analytics
  • Greatly enhanced (if you don’t want to repeat)audience builder (integrated with Google Ads!)
  • Custom reports (not dashboards)
  • Up to 30 goals (and you can delete them)
  • Privacy-first approach to tracking

GA4 offers enhanced measurements that is prompted during the setup of a GA4 property that automatically tracks:

  • Scrolling
  • Outbound Clicks
  • Search
  • Video Engagement
  • File Downloads
  • Create a new property

To create a new property, you will need to have account level access! Give your new property a name and select whether your stream will be populating via IOS app, Android app, or website.

  • Set up data collection

In this case, we will begin setting up data collection via a website. To do this, you must add the Google tag to the <head> of the homepage. There are various ways to do this via plugin or manually. 

  • Activate Google Signals

This is a required step that enhances marketing and reporting. Audiences created in GA4 that are published to Google Ads can serve ads in cross-device-eligible remarketing campaigns.

  • Map custom events/ migrate goals and conversions 

Doing this lets you build a historical record in GA4 while still being dependent on UA until the switch.

  • Migrate audiences

Migrating audiences across from your UA property to GA4 lets you identify the same user groups based on your GA4 data. This can then be exported to your linked Google Ads account to address the same use cases. You can create up to 100 audiences per GA4 property, and these audiences will automatically update everywhere rather than requiring you to select the destination. You’ll need to manually recreate these audiences in your GA4 property to migrate them.

As our industry is forever changing, IOI helps you to never skip a beat! Our digital team is not only trained on the transition to GA4, but on gaining leads and revenue from the switch. Continue on with business as usual by clicking here.

IOI Insider

5 Key HubSpot Form Features You Aren’t Using

In today’s world, businesses don’t make it very far without some level of Customer Relationship Management software, or CRM as it’s commonly known. Typically, CRM’s come with a built-in form editor that allows you to create and implement custom forms into your website. This allows you a level of control in the questions you ask your leads before you share them with sales. While there are many form creation tools out there in the world, HubSpot’s forms tool provides us with unmatched simplicity and control that other form editors can’t compare with (not to mention submissions also link directly into the CRM, meaning no imports or integrations).

That being said, the power of these simple HubSpot forms should not be underestimated. HubSpot’s form builder has a multitude of features that when used correctly, can really aid in amplifying and simplifying your day to day marketing and sales processes. With so many different features to choose from, we narrowed it down to 5 key features we noticed most of our clients were under-utilizing, or not using at all:

Progressive Fields

So easy to create, and so helpful in the sales process.

Progressive fields allow you to capture more information on a single form without asking the same questions or asking for too much information before you build up trust with them.

For example:

A form is built in HubSpot with 5 questions and 2 progressive questions:

Form Questions:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • State

Progressive Questions:

  • Job Title
  • Industry

If someone were to come to the website and submit on that form, the lead would only see the first 5 questions that are on the form (not progressive). They submit on that form, leave the site, and come back the next day. The second time they go to submit on that form, they see this:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email
  • Job Title
  • Industry

Since you’ll always want first name, last name, and email on forms, you can mark the “Phone Number” and “State” fields as progressive fields. When the lead comes back to the site, they’ll then have new questions to answer, ultimately providing you with new information while being less redundant.

In this instance, the first submission allows the lead to be routed to the appropriate sales region using the “State” field, and the second submission helps to further qualify the lead by getting their role in the company and the industry they work within.

Dependent Fields

Picture this:

On your website, you have a form that has a field asking “What are you interested in?” It’s a dropdown field that has pre-selected values and new leads can only choose one. Depending on what a new lead selects as their interest, you then want to ask another 1-2 questions relevant only to that interest.

Enter: Dependent Fields

In the form editor of HubSpot, if you click into one of the questions you are asking on the form, you can head over to the Logic tab to create exactly what we’ve described above. Using simple if/then logic, you can set it up so that if “What are you interested in?” is equal to X, then show questions Y and Z.

This tool is extremely useful when you don’t want a form to seem lengthy or have questions you want to ask that are dependent on a certain response given earlier in the form!

  1. Automation

One of our favorite things to ask a new client’s sales and marketing leadership is, “When someone submits a form on your website, what happens?” Almost 90% of the time, the answer to that question draws a disconnect between marketing and sales teams because the process hasn’t been clearly defined, and neither team really knows how it’s handled.

HubSpot helps bridge that gap between the marketing and sales handoff through their automation tool “Workflows.” No matter what level of HubSpot you have, you’ll have access to simple pieces of automation that will keep everyone on the same page and ensure no lead slips through the cracks. From creating a task for your sales team to review a new lead that submits on the form, to sending out an automated email nurture that includes personalized information the contact just provided in the form, there’s an opportunity for every team to improve their day-to-day and create a smoother customer experience.

  1. List Building

Again, an easy-to-build feature that unlocks various ways businesses can nurture and track specific leads. Utilizing the form automation tool described above, you can send contacts who submit on a certain form directly to a HubSpot list. This list can be downloaded and shared, and will live in HubSpot for as long as you want it to. It’s a perfect situation for when you want to track the number of leads submitting on a specific form, or registrations for an upcoming event. Whatever the reason may be, you’ll have a beautifully customizable list that you can use to nurture leads to take the next step in your business process.

  1. “Block Free Email Providers” Option

If you have forms on your website, you’re almost always wanting to capture an email address when someone submits on one of those forms. Sometimes, though, you may have a form where you only want to capture business email addresses rather than a personal Gmail, AOL, or other Freemail address. This instance is particularly applicable for B2B sales organizations looking to acquire emails of those within a single target company, but could apply in other types of organizations as well.

When you create a form in HubSpot, select the “Email” field on the form by clicking on it in the forms editor. Then, on the left hand side, scroll down to the bottom to the “Emails to block” section. If you want, you can enter in that text field any domains in particular that you are looking to block from your forms. Or, if you are looking to simply block all free email providers, you can check the box below that section that reads “Block all free email providers.”

Boom! Now, going forward, if someone were to use an email address containing the likes of Yahoo, Gmail, or AOL, they would receive an error message asking them to provide a business email address. This is a great way to attract more qualified leads for you and your business, and maximize your time pursuing legitimate leads.

Case Study

A Modernized, Organized, & Optimized Website

The Case Study of 200×85’s New & Improved Website 

IOI was tasked with developing a new website for 200×85, a company entering its 20th year of providing five-star youth hockey experiences through tournaments, development programs, and European tours. The current site, just over five years old, needed a refresh and a more modern online presence. The project focused on three key areas: navigational pathing, mobile optimization, and modernizing site aesthetic. This case study will examine the project impact and results on 200×85’s online presence.

Project Overview

The first step in the project was to evaluate the existing website and identify areas for improvement. From the utilization of hyperlinked text over buttons to the oversaturation of text, the website was guilty of several UX flaws. It was clear that the site was not optimized for mobile devices and the navigational pathing was confusing and difficult at times for users. The aesthetic of the site was also outdated and in need of a refresh.

IOI worked closely with the 200×85 team to understand their goals and objectives for the new site. With this information, a strategy was developed to create a user-centered website that would meet the needs of its target audience. One of the non-negotiables from the client was the inclusion of their hotel reservation process.

Starting the project, page mapping, and organizational hierarchy were at the forefront of the discussion. The 200×85 team was incredibly helpful in this process, through collaboration we were able to not only build a logical presentation of their programming but display these programs in more clarity to their customers.

One of the larger components of the website was dedicated to 200×25’s specific events. IOI’s team streamlined this page with a clean and consistent format, and unique elements built for each phase of their events. This made for a more intuitive experience and easier navigation for users.

Ensuring the site was responsive to mobile is not only the best practice but was one of the primary focal points for the client. One of the non-negotiables from the client was the inclusion of their hotel reservation process. The original hotel reservation process consisted of multiple embedded documents and forms that were difficult to read or required horizontal scrolling to view. To create a hotel reservation process optimized for mobile, a custom hotel post module was built to replace one embedded document, while the rest were standardized using conditional formatting tools.

Over recent years, 200×85 has faced a branding challenge. All of their events have the same title sponsor which over time has resulted in customer confusion on who is hosting their experience. 200×85’s brand color palette was predominately black, light blue, and white, however, their event logos utilized the title sponsor’s colors. IOI revamped the look and feel of its website while staying true to its brand palette, traditional dark backgrounds, and overall minimalist design We solved 200×85’s identity crisis – with an added glow-up!


The new website was launched in mid-November and the results were immediately positive. We looked at a two-month sample (December 1, 2022 – January 31, 2023) and compared it to the same window of time a year earlier. The results speak for themselves. The new website saw a 19.07% increase in users, a 7.82% increase in sessions, a 7.80% increase in pages per session, and a 16.21% increase in page views.


The website project for 200×85 was a success, delivering on all three key areas of focus: navigational pathing, mobile optimization, and a modernized site aesthetic. The results speak for themselves, with an increase in users, sessions, pages per session, and page views.

IOI’s expertise and attention to detail were critical in delivering a website that met the needs of 200×85’s target audience. The new site has helped maintain 200×85’s position as the leader in their industry and as a trusted and professional brand, and has contributed to its continued growth and success.

IOI Insider

How to Sell High Ticket Items/Services

Are you struggling to sell high-ticket items or services? Are you unsure how to effectively market and pitch these products? If so, you’re not alone.

In this post, we’ll discuss some key strategies and tips for selling high-ticket items and services, so you can start closing more deals and increasing your revenue.

First, let’s define what we mean by “high ticket.” As Daniel Milstein, Founder and CEO of Gold Star Mortgage Financial Group, says, “A high-ticket item is typically defined as a product or service priced at $1,000 or more. This is commonly used in sales and marketing to refer to luxury goods, high-end services, or specialized equipment that require significant investment”. (Entrepreneur Pres, 2011).

Selling high-ticket items requires a different approach. The customer’s decision-making process is often more complex, and the stakes are much higher.

The first key strategy for selling high-ticket items is to focus on building relationships with your customers. By taking the time to understand your client’s needs, pain points, and goals, you can tailor your pitch and marketing efforts to address those specific issues.

Building trust and credibility with your customers is essential when selling high-ticket items, as they need to feel confident in their decision to invest a significant amount of money. Ask questions, be genuine, and keep the focus on them. 

Key strategy number two –  be an expert in your field. When you’re knowledgeable about your industry, you can confidently answer questions, provide guidance and establish trust with your clients, ultimately building confidence in your brand. 

Investing in your own education and development can go a long way in helping you become an expert in your field. In a world with information at our fingertips, take advantage! Listen to podcasts, keep up to date with your industry by reading books and articles, or go a step further and look into certifications and online courses. Lastly, don’t underestimate the value of your team; lean into your colleagues. A different perspective can go a long way.

Another essential strategy is to create a sense of urgency and exclusivity. High-ticket items are often considered a luxury or a significant investment, so potential customers may hesitate to pull the trigger without a sense of urgency. One way to convey this urgency is to use limited-time offers, such as discounts or bonuses, for customers who make a purchase within a specific timeframe. 

Creating a sense of exclusivity when selling high-ticket items is important. This can be done by limiting the number of available products or offering a VIP experience. This creates a sense of scarcity, which can motivate potential customers to act quickly.

It’s crucial to remember that selling high ticket items is a process. It may take several interactions and follow-up calls to close a sale, so it’s imperative to be patient and persistent.

Building a strong relationship with your customers, staying on top of your field, and creating the impression of both urgency and exclusivity will directly impact your ability to close more sales, generate more revenue and build more loyal customers. (and why stop there, maybe that new loyalty program).  It’s a win, win!

If you are looking to improve and increase your sales and don’t know where to start, we can help HERE!

IOI Insider

3 Reasons NOT To Ignore SEO

We’ve all said it a million times over. Let me just google that.  In just a second’s time, you will have the answer to “where is the best pizza near me?”  

When the name of a search engine becomes a verb, it’s pretty clear that it’s a big deal.  According to an article written by Meg Prater for HubSpot, Google controls a little more than 92% of the search engine market share worldwide. That includes 72% of the desktop market and 92% of the mobile search engine market.  In a world where information can be readily obtained in the palm of our hands, we need to take advantage of it. 

This is where the importance of SEO  comes into play and why you do NOT want to ignore it. 

Increase your visibility

As cited by the Entrepreneur Store, 53 percent of all website traffic comes from organic search.  As Google is the preferred search engine for most users, increasing visibility will directly impact your SERP (Search Engine Page Result).  It’s no surprise that the higher ranked your SERP, the more likely a user is to click on your link. In fact, in a study conducted by Backlinko, the #1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average CTR of 27.6% and is 10 times more likely to receive a click as opposed to the page in the number 10 spot. 

Optimizing your SEO will help you move up those rankings and reach the customers that are trying to find you. 


Although it may seem daunting, improving your SEO is a simple way to improve your business’ success without a large investment.  Paid advertisements can be costly and with ever-changing algorithms, may be a bit tricky.  You can take matters into your own hands with optimizing SEO.  In increasing your visibility as mentioned above, you want to appeal to the masses.  Identify keywords that are relevant to your business. Regularly publishing good and authoritative content that appeals to your audience and contains the keywords that users will be searching for is half of the battle. 


Let’s be honest, if you find yourself in the deep dark place of page number 2 with your SERP, the user perceives this as a lack of credibility.  We know this isn’t true, but if they aren’t giving you that click that you’re looking for, they will never find out for themselves. Improving your SEO and climbing those rankings will in turn increase your credibility with your audience and yield more credible leads to your site. 

Google may run the search engine world, so let’s make the best of it.

Connect with us and let IOI help you improve your SEO. 

IOI Insider

So You’ve Set Goals…Now What

Achieving a business goal can be a challenging task, but it is essential for the growth and success of any organization. Here are some tips on how we at IOI set ourselves up for success and hold ourselves accountable.

Define your goal clearly: The first step towards achieving a business goal is to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. (SMART Goals)

Break down the goal into smaller, achievable tasks: A big goal can seem overwhelming, breaking it down into smaller tasks makes it much more achievable. This will help you stay focused and motivated, and it will also make it easier to track your progress.

Set deadlines: Deadlines help you stay on track and ensure that you are making progress towards your goal. Make sure you set realistic deadlines for each task and hold yourself accountable for meeting them.

Measure your progress: Track your progress as you work towards your goal. This will help you see how far you have come and identify any areas where you may need to make adjustments.

Stay motivated: Achieving a business goal requires dedication and hard work. Staying motivated helps to keep you excited about your progress along the way. Reward yourself and your team as you accomplish smaller goals along the way.

Seek help when needed: If you need help achieving your business goal, don’t be afraid to seek out resources or ask for assistance. 

In conclusion, achieving a business goal requires clear planning, dedication, and hard work. By following these tips and seeking out resources when needed, you can manufacture success and bring your business to the next level. 

Need help achieving your goals in 2023, let’s chat and see how we can help.

IOI Insider

Digital Marketing Trends in 2023

As the new year begins, businesses are setting marketing resolutions to help them achieve their goals for the year ahead. Here are some common resolutions businesses may make and tips on how to achieve them.

  1. Increase brand awareness: Many businesses want to increase their visibility and reach in the market. This can be achieved through a variety of tactics, such as social media marketing, content marketing, and influencer marketing. To increase brand awareness, businesses should focus on creating engaging content that resonates with their target audience and finding ways to amplify that content through various channels.
  2. Improve customer engagement: Another common resolution is to improve customer engagement. This can be done by creating personalized content and experiences, responding quickly to customer inquiries, and providing exceptional customer service. Businesses can also use customer data to create targeted marketing campaigns that speak directly to their audience.
  3. Boost website traffic: Many businesses aim to increase the number of visitors to their website. This can be done by improving the site’s search engine optimization (SEO) and creating valuable content that attracts visitors. Additionally, businesses can use paid advertising to drive traffic to their site.
  4. Increase conversions: Once a business has increased website traffic, the next step is to convert that traffic into paying customers. This can be achieved by optimizing the website for conversions and creating effective calls-to-action. Additionally, businesses can use A/B testing to determine which elements of their website are most effective in driving conversions.
  5. Measure and optimize performance: Lastly, businesses should set a resolution to measure and optimize their marketing performance. This can be done by using analytics tools to track key metrics such as website traffic, conversions, and customer engagement. Businesses can then use this data to make informed decisions about which marketing tactics are working and which ones need improvement.

If you are looking to improve your brand, brush up on your writing skills, or create a style guide for your company, fill out the form below to better help IOI understand how we can help guide you!

IOI Insider

Top 5 Marketing Trends To Keep an Eye on for 2023

As we move into 2023, it is imperative that we learn from a few key marketing trends from 2022. Here are the top five essential marketing trends to keep an eye on that will retain their value into the New Year:

  1. Personalization:

With the proliferation of data and the advancement of technology, personalization has become a focus for marketers. Personalization tactics can apply to emails, ads, and recommendations based on customer behavior and preferences. This strategy will help strengthen your brand’s relationship with your customers.

  1. Artificial intelligence:

Artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to expand its presence in the marketing industry. You have probably already encountered chatbots and other AI-powered tools. These tools can help improve customer service and assist with tasks such as content creation (copywriting, graphic creation, voiceovers, etc). Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more reliable and can actually boost efficiency in the workplace.

  1. Video marketing:
  • Video continues to be a popular and effective marketing tool, with an expected rise in live streaming and virtual events meaning more and more people will be able to consume your content from more and more places around the world. The days of needing to be in person to attend an event or see a show are over.  
  • Have you been on any social platforms recently? Short 15-60 second video clips called “snackable content” are dominating the feeds.

4. Social media marketing:

 Social media platforms will continue to be a part of any marketing strategy, focusing on creating engaging content and utilizing paid advertising to reach target audiences. It is important to figure out which channels work for your brand and really focus on that one rather than spreading yourself too thin on multiple platforms.  It is imperative to capture the attention of your audience as quickly as possible. The audience’s attention span is dwindling!

5. Content marketing:

Providing valuable and informative content to customers will continue to be critical to the success of any marketing strategy. Blogs, articles, podcasts, and other forms of content are assets your brand can use to educate and engage customers.

If you are looking to improve your brand, brush up on your writing skills, or create a style guide for your company, fill out the form below to better help IOI understand how we can help guide you!

IOI Insider

How to Get the Best Out of Your Writing

The signs of a good article are that it is engaging, informative and entertaining.

So…you’ve been tasked with writing an article on a certain topic. Excitement to get things going is palpable. A variety of thoughts and ideas are swirling around your head and you are eager to put them onto the page. 

The time comes to sit in front of your computer…and nothing. All those ideas you had a few minutes ago? Gone. The excitement you were feeling? That has been replaced by frustration. But it’s not the time to panic. There are a few tips and techniques to avoid the pitfalls of getting an article off the ground and to ensure the content you are putting out is the best it can be. 

  1. Draw the reader in from the get-go.

The opening of your article doesn’t need to be a long-winded paragraph of text. Instead, grab the reader’s interest right off the bat with a couple of quick sentences. Your reader wants to be able to tell whether or not reading the article will be worth their time within the first 15-30 seconds. 

Prove to the reader that you value their time and that your work provides value to them.

  1. Keep it short and simple.

In the ever-growing digital landscape, people are often consuming content on either their phone, tablet, computer etc. If they are met with large blocks of text, it is an immediate turn off. 

Short paragraphs are enticing, showing the reader that the information within is easily digestible. When a reader finishes one, they want to continue to the next, as each completed paragraph begins to feel like an accomplishment. 

Breaking down your article also conveys a more conversational tone to the overall piece. The breaks between paragraphs are akin to breaths while speaking. Have the words of the article keep the reader engaged with a strong pace, allowing for a natural flow of understanding and grasping of what is being read.

And since you want to keep paragraphs light and concise, ensure the words you choose follow suit. Eliminate lengthy words when shorter ones will get the point across just as easily. You aren’t in high school anymore, trying to fill out a specific word requirement for an essay. 

Have fun with it!

 Just because you avoid long or heavy-handed words doesn’t mean your content has to suffer. Keeping things short gives you the space to use punchy words, jolting the reader occasionally with some extra flair to keep them wanting more.

  1. Answer the key facts

Ideally every good piece answers who, what, where, when, and why. By answering these questions, it allows the article to take on a form of its own, becoming a thing of substance rather than a bland collection of words. 

Begin with an overall theme or idea for your article, and build up to your main point by answering who, what, where, when and why. The content itself will convey answers to the very questions readers may be asking themselves.

One of the worst things your reader can be is bored, and a bored reader won’t give your article any attention. Don’t write just for the sake of writing. Ensure that your piece has a purpose or fully envisioned idea behind it. 

Keywords, Keywords, Keywords

With so much consumption of content carried out on digital devices, it can be hard to stand apart from everyone else. As a result, priority has been placed on keywords in recent years. 

What is a keyword? As HubSpot defines them, 

“Keywords are words or phrases that users type into search engines to find relevant content for their queries. Because keywords come from search queries, incorporating these terms into your content strategy helps search engines rank your website pages and users find your content when looking for it.” – HubSpot

Understanding the usage of keywords gives your article a leg up on the competition, and understanding who your audience is and what type of content they are interested in engaging with.

In order to figure out how to make your article content rise above the rest in terms of popularity and engagement, you must truly have an understanding of what you’re writing about and who your audience is. Research here doesn’t hurt, and trying to establish the best keywords that apply to your material is paramount to your article’s visibility. 

Successful application of keywords also lends itself to strengthening your SEO presence for your site or organization. If you are a smaller business, SEO optimization is crucial to getting your brand’s name out to the public.

For a list of software that can help you in this process, click HERE

Writing with Style

Appearance is just as important with content when it comes to writing an article. If you work at a business or company with more than one writer, creating a brand-wide style guide is an excellent way to have your content seem uniform and professional. 

An established style guide in turn helps two key factors of your overall brand:

  1. Integrity and consistency

If there are many different people who contribute to your company’s content, whether it be digital, social, graphic design etc., brand unity must be a top priority.

Whether someone is reading an article, visiting a website, or interacting with social media channels, you want to ensure a consistent user experience. By allowing traits of a brand to remain constant across a variety of touch points, that in turn helps create brand loyalty. 

Most people associate style guides with items concerning visuals. While that is true in most aspects, writing also falls under the umbrella of brand consistency. 

  1. Unified Voice 

If a company employs a large number of writers or content creators, the presence of a style guide helps them understand how to approach their own work. Some may see this as a way to stifle creativity and people’s individual voices, but a style guide does exactly the opposite. 

An established guide of a company’s brand does not limit someone’s personal opinions. It is a way for creators and writers to shape the content to fit the organization’s larger goals or guidelines, which is a big chunk of helping to boost digital growth efforts. 

Some style guides may be strict and others may be more loose. It all depends on what your company’s brand is and what you are trying to establish. 

And they should not be set in stone either! 

A company’s brand should grow and evolve with the times, and by having an up to date style guide to match that growth will only better serve the content in the long run. 

If you are looking to improve your brand, brush up on your writing skills, or create a style guide for your company, fill out the form below to better help IOI understand how we can help guide you!

Case Study

How a simple lead gen focused landing page improved our client’s ROI by 145%

As marketers, your website is the first thing we look at before we start any kind of marketing efforts. We dive into how it’s performing, how easy it is to navigate as a customer, and ultimately is it set up for success of the business. When we first started working with our client, Challenger Teamwear, about 4 months ago, we noticed right away we needed to create a landing page that not only was easier to navigate as a customer, but provided opportunities to contact them and capture the leads information. If not, any money or marketing efforts we push there would be money down the drain.

In an effort to show them how quickly and easily this can be done, we immediately went to work on building out a simple lead gen landing page focused on attracting and converting leads. Adding in multiple opportunities to contact and capture a lead’s information through Hubspot forms.


This is where the fun began. We started to show how effective a customer driven landing page, with Hubspot form integration and some key marketing pushes, helped increase $29,448.73 in sales over 4 months. In total, this added up to 145% ROI for our client. 

The breakdown of what we did: 

  • Pushed $3k in paid dollars monthly to the new landing page
  • Created and scheduled 4 email blasts monthly linking out to the landing page
  • Created new social accounts (FB & IG), a content calendar each month, along with a linktree to link out to the new landing page

The end result after the first 4 months: 

    • Total $12,000 in ad spend over 4 months
  • 561 new leads
    • 33 new deals and 16 closed/won deals totaling in $29,448.73 worth of revenue
    • Investment gain: $17,448.73 
  • Total of 145% ROI

The above ultimately catapulted them into building off what we started and increasing marketing efforts: More landing pages specific to each sport they offer, FULL Hubspot integration for marketing and sales as well as additional campaigns throughout holiday months to capitalize on sale opportunities. 

Additional Campaign efforts included: 

    • Year End Clearance Landing page with over 250 products from Under Armour & Adidas and a 2 email/social push over a one week period
  • Over $2,900 in sales on the first day 
    • Black Friday Spiritwear sale which included 2 emails/social to each Organization’s pages plus a digital flyer with QR code for the Organization to push out on their end. All over a one week period
  • Over $2,000 in sales 


And this is just the beginning! We are only 4 months into the relationship, and have no doubt that this will continue to improve and increase revenue for their company. Hello happy client!

If you are looking to improve your ROI, and don’t know where to start, we can help.

IOI Insider

Selling on Social: How retailers can leverage social media to capitalize this holiday season

How retailers can leverage social media to capitalize this holiday season

Online retailers cashed in big during the 2021 holiday season. Adobe reported that ecommerce topped out at $204 billion (yep – billion with a ‘b’) during November and December alone. 

In 2022 however, that number is expected to drop by nearly 16% due to the challenging economic climate. All of this is to say that online spending is still a major factor this holiday season, but the competition is going to be tougher than it was last time around. 

A decrease of $30-bil is no small change – but we’re optimistic that our clients can still secure a piece of that $170 billion dollar holiday pie. With that in mind, here are 5 tips to step up your social game so you can capitalize this holiday season.

1) Do your homework

Homework, market research, spying on the competition…it doesn’t matter what you call it. The point is that you need to figure out what your competition is doing and why they’re doing it. 

Are they crushing it on a specific platform? Did they tap into a new audience? Take a peek at the paid and organic social campaigns that your competitors are running and figure out how you can make them better.

2) Keep descriptions short and sweet

What problem does your product or service solve that the competition can’t? Write out the answer to that question in as few words as possible. Then, write it again in even fewer words. 

Consumers are being fed more ads than ever before and their patience for branded B.S. is waning thin. They don’t want to read the next great American novel, they want to know whether or not your product or service is right for them. 

Ditch the long sentences and clunky captions, use short form copy that gets to the dang point.

3) Leverage UGC

Consumers want to hear from real people before making a purchase. In fact, 93% of users say that online reviews had an impact on their buying decisions. 

Tagged in photos of people using your product? Have an awesome review on your website? Great – that’s called user generated content (UGC), and you can use it to your advantage. Studies show that campaigns with UGC convert at a 28% higher clip than those without, so we urge you to give it a go this holiday season.

4) Optimize for mobile

Salesforce discovered that mobile devices accounted for 58% of orders. That means – (and you should listen closely here) you need to optimize your mobile storefront. 

Whether you’re using a social media plugin like Shopify or you’re driving users back to your website, it’s paramount that images, videos, buttons, and forms are legible on smaller screens and accessible within a few scrolls and taps. 

5) Make checkout smooth

If customers have made it to this point, then we know your ad campaigns are doing their job. Close the deal by making check out as painless as possible.

The 2021 Baymard study showed that 18% of abandoned carts were due to complicated checkout processes. Customers don’t want to jump through hoops to place an order – limit the amount of required form fields and relax with all the pop ups. 

Not sure if your check out process is a pain in the you-know-what? Pretend that you’re a customer who’s visiting your site for the first time and run through the process yourself.

Need help setting up your campaigns this holiday season? Click here to get in touch with our team for some last minute holiday help! Let IOI take your social media to the next level!

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How the World Cup Is Impacting Social Media and Why You Should Join the Hype

The World Cup is one of the most-watched sporting events. More people tune in to see the matches than those who view the Olympics! To put it into perspective, it is estimated that over 19.977 million people, across three television platforms (FOX, Telemundo, and Peacock), tuned in to watch the USA vs. England group stage match, making it one of the most watched men’s matches in World Cup history.

It goes without saying that an event of this magnitude is likely to have a high social media presence. When you factor in the teams’ and players’ engagement, plus the engagement of fans around the world, social media is an important and powerful tool during the World Cup. All that to say, what is the true impact the #WorldCup has had on social media and how can it be leveraged to drive engagement to your business?

In general, the World Cup breaks social media records every four years. In 2014, there were 672 million tweets dedicated to the dramatic semi-final between Brazil and Germany, resulting in more than 200 million interactions from 66 million users. The 2022 World Cup will likely break more records, with 74.2% of viewers already stating they will be on social media during the matches with 52% saying they will most likely follow a brand, team, or player they were exposed to during the game.

Twitter is one of the most explosive social media platforms during the World Cup thanks to the user’s desire to have real-time updates. They can quickly and easily tweet out their thoughts, frustrations, and elation or catch a clip of an incredible goal or save. It’s their one-stop shop for all the information they need, especially when they aren’t in front of a television to watch their favorite team compete.

Another platform that sees a lot of action during the World Cup is Instagram. We’ve all seen something hilarious or exciting happen on live television only to have it show up on Instagram or turned into a meme within two minutes. The World Cup is no exception. Within seconds of the USA’s win against Iran, multiple celebration videos and advancement graphics were already up on the US Soccer Men’s National Team Instagram account. The access users have to information solely from social media is mind-blowing.

If you are not quite sold on the power of social media, consider this… in anticipation of the World Cup, Christiano Ronaldo’s Instagram following has grown by 47% just this year, earning him not only the title of the most followed soccer player in the world but also the most followed person on Instagram, period. Ronaldo’s total audience makes Portugal the most followed team in the 2022 World Cup. (For reference, his account currently has over 506 million followers)

So let’s cut to the chase. What does this mean for your business and how can you use the impact of the World Cup on social media to leverage your company?

  • Join the conversation

This is a huge opportunity for you to engage with potential customers. One unique quality about the World Cup is that it’s a globally unifying experience. It’s the one time fans from around the world will be participating in a singular conversation.

Capitalize on this engagement by tying your business to the topics they’re talking about. Ask users to participate in a conversation by posing relevant questions and inviting them to take action.

  • Use relevant hashtags

It’s a tale as old as time. The debates over should you or shouldn’t you have been part of the hashtag conversation forever. Hashtags give your business the opportunity to cross paths with users who share common interests, but who might not otherwise follow you. Capitalizing on trending hashtags and topics is instrumental in a social media plan, but is especially essential when a global event is capturing the attention of users around the world.

  • Stay informed

It’s no surprise that what’s trending now won’t be trending tomorrow. Staying on top of the most current and relevant information related to the World Cup will increase your chances of engagement. In the ever-changing landscape of social media, being “in the know” will keep you one step ahead of the competition.

Finding a way to tie your brand into global experiences should always be the goal of your business. With more eyes following World Cup action on more social media platforms than ever before, this is your chance to put the right content in the right place at the right time. Let IOI take your social media to the next level!

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Proving ROI, the IOI Way

If you remember a few months ago, we asked the question in one of our articles “What is the most difficult thing we face as marketers?” The answer, we found, was that even though we can run all of these extravagant marketing campaigns, it means nothing without the ability to prove Return on Investment (ROI). 

In the article referenced above, we were able to prove a 1,333.33% ROI off of a $3,000 ad spend for one of our clients utilizing Google Ads, Facebook Ads and HubSpot’s slew of great tools they have. This allowed us to track and convert contacts from leads, to opportunities, to closed/won deals. You’ll have to check out the previous article we did to see exactly how we went about doing this, but here’s a quick overview of the process:

  1. Identify ad budget – in this case we had $3,000 Ad Spend
  2. Create a paid media plan – build a plan for the ads (who, what, when, where, and how)
  3. Build the ads – build each ad from the media plan, pushing contacts to a landing page with a form
  4. Create a new HubSpot Campaign to attribute new leads to
  5. Create tracking URL’s in HubSpot’s campaign tool to allow us to track ad interactions
  6. Input the tracking URL’s into the ads
  • Run the ads

Given that this was a few months ago, we wanted to follow up with this in a “Where are they now” kind of story. That means we used the same tools, the same tracking abilities, a greater ad spend, and even greater results. 

Given the success of our first round of Paid Advertising campaigns through Google and Facebook, we decided to build off of that and greatly increase the overall spend. The new budget given to IOI from our trusting client increased from $3,000 to $20,000. This allowed us to optimize the ads that were performing well and create new ads to improve on what we already had been doing well. We went back through the same process outlined above but added some additional optimizations into the sales process.

We added in a nurture sequence using HubSpot’s workflows tool which allowed us to send a series of follow up emails when a contact submitted on a website form after being driven there from one of the ads. 

We also met with the client’s sales team to get a better understanding of how they use HubSpot, what makes a good-fit lead, and what makes a bad-fit lead. By listening to what both sales and marketing had to say about their customers and their internal sales process, it allowed us to target the paid ads effectively and capture information on forms that can actually be used in the sales process.

$20,000 Ad Spend

1,955 New Leads

34 New Deals and 7 Closed/Won Deals totalling $260,000 worth of revenue

Take $260,000 – $20,000 = $240,000 Investment Gain

That’s a 1,200.00% ROI

Which made one happy customer

Now, when you look at this, you may say “This is a 133.33% worse ROI than in your previous article.” While that is entirely true, you could also make the case that these recent marketing efforts have also generated $200,000 more than before. In the previous article, we were only working with a $3,000 ad spend, and were able to generate $40,000 worth of revenue off of that. 

We’ll take the $200,000 improvement. Connect With Our Digital Marketing Experts Today

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3 Digital Marketing Hacks I’m Thankful For

Tools that should be in every good digital marketer’s back pocket

Digital marketing is a BIG industry and our team here at IOI Ventures specializes in quite a few areas, so it’s important that we work smarter, not harder. None of us can manufacture more hours in the day, so there are a few tools that we use to make our jobs a little easier and allow us to over-deliver for our clients.

In this season of giving thanks, I am sharing THREE digital marketing hacks for which I am truly grateful.

  • Canva

At IOI Ventures, we do not have a designated graphic designer. While many of us know our way around the Adobe Suite, we wear too many hats to devote all our time to creating graphics from scratch. We use Canva to create everything from social media graphics, gifs, Instagram stories, email graphics, logos, brand guidelines, and even presentations. 

The best part about Canva for many digital marketers, it’s FREE! While there is a paid version that gives you more access to templates, stock photos, and premade elements, the free version can certainly do the trick for most people.

I love that it quickly allows me to resize graphics to fit the marketing channel for which it is intended. For example, a square Instagram graphic for a feed can easily be made into an appropriately sized Facebook graphic, LinkedIn graphic, and even a vertically-oriented (optimized for mobile) Instagram story.

Pro Tip: Canva has a convenient background remover feature to help simplify your graphic design needs when dealing with uploaded jpg or png elements.

  • HubSpot

Did you know that IOI Ventures is a HubSpot Solutions Provider? (We even have the seal on our website to prove it!) 

HubSpot is an INCREDIBLE CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool – but it does more than keep track of your customers’ contact information. We utilize HubSpot for email marketing, website chat, automated nurture sequences, social media scheduling, reporting and so much more. It is truly our one-stop HUB for the integration of so many digital channels.

HubSpot is also a great resource for digital marketers. The HubSpot Academy has online learning modules, certificate programs, and a plethora of downloadable materials to continue to assist in your digital marketing evolution.

Looking to add HubSpot to your toolbox? Let’s Talk.

  • SEM Rush

While not for beginners, SEM Rush is a very helpful tool when it comes to measuring organic website traffic and doing keyword research and analysis. When our clients need to identify how they rank for keywords, we can not only show them their own data but compare them to their competitors.

A feature I have come to use rather frequently is the Traffic Analysis tool. This gives you a peek behind the curtain of other sites and their authority ranking, referral sources, audience demographics, and different trend analyses. If you’re managing a website or building a new one, SEM Rush needs to be on your radar.

Website development is one of our specialties here at IOI. Our talented team can build sites from the ground up or refresh your current site to make sure it’s running at peak performance.

While these marketing hacks are high on my list, I am most thankful for our wonderful team of hard-working, creative, and fun individuals at IOI. Collectively, we are thankful for our clients who trust us with their digital marketing needs. If you’d like to be one of them, get in touch! Let’s Work Together

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Why You Should Choose a HubSpot Partner For Onboarding and Implementation

Before we dive into any of this, let’s set the scene for a moment:

You have just purchased HubSpot for the first time, or you’ve had HubSpot for a while, but noticed you aren’t really using it to the fullest potential (if at all). With an eager sales and marketing team looking to dive in deeper, you want to make sure everything is in order prior to letting your team loose, but don’t really know where to start.

As you look at all of what HubSpot has to offer, you find an overwhelming amount of tools and resources that you know can improve your business process, but don’t know exactly how to set them up. You try to set some of these things up on your own, but ultimately can’t figure out how to best mold your sales process to HubSpot, so you start thinking about pulling the plug on a formal CRM altogether. 

Before you make that final decision, you take a look at HubSpot’s Solutions Directory and come across IOI’s profile. You quickly notice that IOI is offering a CRM Implementation that sounds right along the lines of what your business may need, so you fill out the form on our website to get in touch. 

Enter: IOI Ventures

If you haven’t heard the news already, IOI has recently become part of HubSpot’s Solutions Partner ecosystem which has strengthened both how we operate as a business as well as how we can help our clients. Not only are we able to supplement our existing marketing efforts with deeper knowledge and training on HubSpot’s great resources, but we are now offering new products like HubSpot Implementations and Admin support that have opened new doors for us and our clients.

“What is a HubSpot Implementation?”

In short, a HubSpot Implementation is a 2-3 month long project for businesses looking to get more out of HubSpot. We’ll meet with your sales and marketing teams to dig into the customer’s journey to see how we can mold both teams’ processes into HubSpot’s simple and efficient technology. 

Here’s just a sample of some of the things that are included:

  • Migration of data from your old CRM or contact database
    • We’ll help you export, clean up spreadsheets, and import your leads into HubSpot
  • Configuration of any integrations
    • Want to still use MailChimp to send emails? Want to integrate with Sakari to send text messages directly from HubSpot? Want to connect your current CRM to HubSpot? We’ll help with all of that.
  • Setup of automation to simplify business operations
    • When someone submits a form on your website – what happens? Don’t know? Let us help. We’ll make sure that lead goes to the correct person’s hands, and that the lead receives a follow up email on your behalf.

We want to help you simplify your sales process while getting the most out of all that HubSpot has to offer, without the headache. 

We handle the data. 

We handle the setup.

But we make sure everything is configured in a way that makes sense for your business. 

If you’re interested in exploring how IOI can help you and your business get the most out of your HubSpot subscription, fill out the form below and we’ll reach out!

We can’t wait to help you grow. Let’s Work Together

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Social Media Engagement, How To Get More Of It

One of our five non-negotiables for social media at IOI is ‘No comment or DM goes unresponded.’ As leaders in the social space, we’re constantly looking for ways to get our followers to engage with our content. So when they do, we have to re-engage with them.

Small-business brands don’t have the luxury of an ESPN or Nike or Netflix that draw thousands of comments, responses, retweets and shares simply by hitting ‘post.’ For those of us with a more niche audience of 200-300, or even a couple thousand, any engagement is gold. It should be treated as such, whether those comments are positive or negative.

No engagement is bad engagement, in my book. Someone responds positively to your post and says, “Yes! I love it.”… Great! What specifically do they love about it? Them expanding upon the post in their own words adds more substance. “Oh this sucks”…I’m sorry you feel that way, what can we do to improve? It’s an opportunity for you to go deeper into your own content. If they respond, great. Now one comment turned into three comments. If they don’t respond, at least we tried. Not to mention, the next person to come across that piece of content now sees we have the decency to respond and engage.

According to Convince&Convert, answering a complaint on social media can increase customer advocacy by as much as 25 percent. Conversely, not answering can decrease by as much as 50 percent.

Engagement Leading To Engagement

Small businesses on limited marketing budgets are starved for organic reach on social media. What helps improve your post’s organic reach? Engagement!

Facebook uses meaningful engagement as an important signal that a post should be prioritized. The more engagement, the more your organic reach increases. Engagement can come in the form of likes, favorites, comments, DMs, replies, shares, retweets, saves, clicks and mentions.

Here’s a real-world example of where I engaged with our followers and it led to additional engagement:

Screen Shot 2022-10-31 at 6.26.22 AM

We interviewed the U.S. Hockey National Team Development Program’s (USNTDP) director of player personnel, and he was full of great quotes. I assembled some of those quotes into a carousel post on Instagram that netted some great engagement. 

One follower liked the post (one engagement). He then commented on the post (second engagement). He commented on the post a second time (third engagement). We ‘liked’ his comment (fourth engagement). He ‘liked’ his own comment (fifth engagement). We replied to his comment (sixth engagement). A different person ‘liked’ our response (seventh engagement).

This sequence of events was one of five interactions we had with our followers on this particular post. It ultimately netted 507 engagements and 4,349 accounts reached; all organic.

Turning Negative Engagement into Positive Interaction

Social media can be nasty. It’s easier for users to ‘hate on’ a piece of content they don’t like than to lift up content they do enjoy. I’m fine with people disagreeing or voicing their displeasure with my content; I actually welcome opposing comments or negative feedback. As long as you don’t allow yourself to get sucked into the rabbit hole, there’s a lot of positivity that can come from dissenting viewpoints.

Recently, we’ve made a push encouraging people to create an account to access content on our website. This particular social media post made mention of that. One user was quick to accuse us of it being a money grab. This gave us an opportunity to set the record straight, and reiterate to our audience that it was free to register and the benefits of doing so.

Screen Shot 2022-10-31 at 6.26.06 AM

Similarly, another member was unable to create an account. Engaging in this back-and-forth provides assistance to Tony and gets him set up properly. It also helps us correct any problems in the process for future registrants.

Engagement is only negative if you never address it. Letting critical comments go unanswered allows others to tell your story. By responding in a timely and appropriate manner, it turns those negative interactions into positives.

Crowd-sourcing Information Through Engagement

We’re all experts in our field. However, no matter how well-versed or experienced we are, nobody knows it all.

Some of the most valuable engagements I’ve had with our followers is when I check my ego at the door. Am I an expert in this space? I’d like to think so! I can also accept the fact that there are a lot of areas where the audience may know more than the presenter.

Screen Shot 2022-10-31 at 6.24.24 AM

In this case, our social media post made reference to top youth hockey teams in Canada. One user ‘called us out’ so to speak on our lack of Quebec representation. Be comfortable in acknowledging your shortcomings. We didn’t know much about teams in Quebec, so I prodded for more information. Angelo, Scott and Gabriel – while they may have been displeased with the lack of Quebec teams – were happy to provide us with accurate information.

First of all, they’re engaging with the content and commenting and others are liking their comments. Second, they’re providing us with information we didn’t have before. Third, now we have more information to create more content that we know resonates with our followers. Let’s Work Together

IOI Insider

Your Website sUX

How Bad UX is Hurting Your Business

The average American visits over 130 web pages in a day. This may feel like a large number, but there are approximately two billion websites on the internet.. Do you know what your customer thinks of your website? Focusing on a positive user experience (UX) is necessary. Below are four reasons bad UX is hurting your business.

Website Abandonment

When a visitor exits your site before completing the desired action, like completing a contact form, joining a newsletter, or making a purchase, this is considered website abandonment. Though several factors can contribute to web abandonment, proper UX can help limit the opportunity for abandonment. 

Remember UX is how your customer feels throughout their experience, and the need to provide them with relevant information is imperative. If your company sells a software product, but the website does not clearly state compatible devices or clearly defined product features, the customer may be missing relevant information in making a purchase.

Brand Perception

A website needs to reflect your brand. Providing your visitors with the experience and information they need to become loyal customers more often than not starts on your website. According to Virtual Window, 48 percent of people claim web design is the number one way they determine the credibility of a business. No one wants their business to look the same as the rest, but ensuring best practice standards when creating your website can provide a sense of trust.

Visitors need to understand what you provide and be able to see proof. According to Inc., 91 percent of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84 percent trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Opinion science has proved that negative reviews are more likely to be shared than positive reviews. Therefore, displaying positive reviews on your site is key!


Several factors account for good UX. Relevant information, logical navigation, and quick load times are all examples. Load speeds will impact search engine optimization (SEO) and research has shown that roughly 40 percent of people will stop engaging with a website if it takes too long to load. Search engine algorithms account for user engagement to ensure they provide their users with the most relevant information and if your site is not delivering, you could fall out of favor with their algorithm.

Performance, accessibility, mobile friendliness, and page speed are all factors that impact your ranking for search engines. The need to accommodate your visitors affects the likelihood of future visitors beyond search rankings. Low-quality sites that score poorly according to SEO algorithms can also face an uphill battle with paid digital advertising. Cost per click ad prices can rise for lower performing sites, resulting in higher costs for getting potential customers to your site.


Consumers have more options than ever and will not hesitate to move on to your competitors if you give them a reason. Having the best product or service is no longer enough. Consumers expect to have a good experience when they spend time and money on your brand, your business must deliver on their expectations. Websites that are stale, provide limited information, and are difficult to navigate will send your users back to the search engine to seek out their other options. Today’s businesses need websites that exceed customer needs and make their journey through your sales funnel easy.

An outside perspective on your website’s UX is a great way to get feedback on your UX. We would be happy to assist you in maximizing your UX and if you are interested, please fill out the form below.

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5 Social Media Non-Negotiables

Best Practices Every Social Media Manager Should Follow

When it comes to managing social media accounts, you can either “check the box,” meaning you do the bare minimum, or you can follow some “best practices,” which should set you up for success.

IOI Ventures strives to reach optimal levels of engagement while also growing social media followings for our clients, and these are the best practices that help us reach those goals.

  • Every graphic/video your account posts should be “on brand.”

While we love variations in content and appreciate creativity, it’s important to keep your brand guidelines in mind. That means that you should aim to have your logo present, stay relatively consistent in regard to colors and fonts and keep the proper tone for your audience.

  • Never let your stories completely expire on Instagram.

Instagram stories help engage with customers on a more personal level and help you jump to the front of the top of their feeds. Feed posts may help educate customers and attract new business, but are more polished. Your stories should still ring true to your brand but are a more authentic and down-to-earth depiction of your organization.

  • Respond to comments and direct messages quickly and personally.

As a matter of principle, you should have automated responses when possible along with an internal strategy for engaging with customers who are sharing their thoughts or asking questions. While it’s probably unrealistic to expect brands to have 24/7 coverage of their social media channels, there is an expectation from a customer or client that they will receive a response within a few hours of their submission. Remember, the key to capitalizing on social media is engagement, so you need to make sure to ENGAGE with your audience.

BONUS TIP – While it can sometimes be unnerving to receive a negative review, comment, or DM, you should still respond. Often times these are great ways to learn how to better serve your clients and can help alleviate some customer service issues. If they are just trolling you, feel free to mute or block them. 

  • Give your audience a CTA (call-to-action) as much as possible.

Whether you want someone to comment, share, click on a link, or leave a review – whatever the call to action is, you need to ask for it (and provide links). Depending on the platforms and depending on the structure of the post, certain CTA may be more appropriate than others. But do not miss an opportunity to get engagement or drive traffic to your website.

PRO TIP – Instead of using a third-party “link in bio” service, create a mobile-friendly page on your website to use as your Instagram bio link tree. The page can simply contain buttons linking to internal pages, and articles or can serve as important referral sources for partners.

  • Hashtags are always helpful.

Use each platform’s best practices to be sure you’re using the right amount and do a little research when discovering which hashtags are trending and tie into your brand or category. You can check out one of our previous blog articles about hashtags for some helpful tips.

If you’re looking to turn up the volume on your social media, be sure to reach out to our team of experts. We can’t wait to help you reach your social media goals.

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How To Measure The Success of A Campaign

Six Steps To Building A Custom URL

So you want to create a campaign? Great! But what are the best practices for measuring its success? I’m going to walk you through the steps to ensure you can create a results-driven campaign.

Let’s say you have a page where you’re driving users to and promoting some type of camp or event. How do you measure the success of this URL and page you’re trying to push? How do you know where these leads come from? Most people would just copy and paste the link wherever they’re advertising it, but I want to show you there is a much more efficient and effective way of doing this.

There are two things you can do to optimize how you can measure the success of your campaign. 1) You can build a new, custom URL. 2) You can shorten your URL using a tool like Bitly or the google shortener mentioned below!

Google URL Builder

What you can do is use this tool called Google URL builder. There are 6 easy steps to create a custom URL!

Step #1: Paste the Link

This is where you copy and paste the URL of the page you want a custom URL for.

Step #2: Create Campaign Source

This will allow  you to identify this particular campaign. In terms of ‘campaign source’. This is where your page’s traffic will be coming from.

Step #3: Create Campaign Medium

The ‘campaign medium’ is how your traffic got to your web page. The medium could be organic, CPC (cost per click) or referral.

Think of it as the source is where you came from and the medium is the method of transportation! (For example: source = train station, medium = train.)

Step #4: Create Campaign Term

In ‘campaign term’ you will highlight any keywords. This isn’t relevant, so out of the 5 fields you only need to fill 3 of them.

Step #5: Add Campaign Content

Then ‘campaign content’ you can use terms and put the keywords here as well.

Step #6: Add Campaign Name

Here is the ‘campaign name’. This is where you will give your campaign a name that you will be able to find in Google Analytics.

Google URL Shortener

The Google URL shortener is a great tool to shorten the URL you created. All you do is copy and paste the URL and click shorten URL! Now you can use that link for your campaign and track any campaigns in Google Analytics that you do and see which one is going to give you the best results.

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Making Lasting Connections With Clients

Steps To Building Solid Client Relationships

If you’re working directly with clients, then you understand how important building that relationship is! Whether they are new or old clients, it is vital that you not only grow those relationships but keep them lasting for years to come. Here are some key areas that will help you along the way. 

One of the main components of any client relationship is strong communication.  If you do it well, it will trickle down to all the other areas that help form a strong connection. With communication, you want to make sure you are always open and clear with what you are trying to say. Break things down so that it is simple and easy to understand. Make sure you are timely with your responses, ask questions, be extremely transparent and always follow up post-discussion. 

Another important piece to building solid client relationships is managing expectations. Everyone has their own deadlines, to-do lists, etc., so making sure you are all on the same page with action items and deliverables is crucial. I recommend always documenting things in writing, (i.e., email). This helps keep everyone accountable and on track with what needs to be done as well as who is responsible for each actionable item. You never want to play the guessing game. Confirmations are important and if you don’t get them, follow up. 

Additionally, it’s good to know when to stop and say, ‘hold on, we have one too many requests, which one is the priority to get done first?’ Always saying yes can get you into trouble. Making your clients happy is top priority, but being open and honest with what you can/can’t do within a specified timeline is better than overpromising and not being able to deliver. Knowing that balance and communicating it clearly will benefit you in the long run. 

If you are thoroughly communicating and managing expectations then you are on your way to building trust with your client. They ultimately came to you as a knowledge expert in your field. Be that expert but stay humble in your knowledge. Be willing to educate, help and support, but also open to ideas and information. Building trust can take some time, but is one of the areas that will take a good client relationship to a great client relationship. 

Lastly, it’s important to get to know your clients. Yes, we are all busy bees working hard and we need to keep on task, but being personable goes a long way! Spend the first two mins of each conversation catching up. Take the time to get to know them, their likes and dislikes.  Showing that you care about them as an individual instead of just a job that needs to get done, will give that extra “special” touch.

At the end of the day it’s important to remember that you are all on the same team working towards the same goal! Be there for your clients, stay positive and keep the line of communication open, always! 

Looking for more inside information on building connections with your clients? Make sure to click the link below! 

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3 Things Franchises Can Do to Maximize Their Marketing Efforts

Expanding your company can seem like an enormous undertaking. In establishing a strong foundation from the get-go and providing your franchisees the tools for success, you can change that narrative. 

The following are 3 important components to getting off to the right start with your marketing efforts. 

  • Know Who You Are

Before you even think about branching out, you need to know who you are as a company. Brand voice matters. Be clear with your brand’s voice and awareness not only for the consumer, but also for your franchisees.
Having a consistent and recognizable brand across all locations is a fundamental step in connecting with your customers. Creating and sharing a brand book or set of brand guidelines for your franchisees, along with a unified brand message, will help in streamlining your message across the board.  It’s beneficial to start this practice from the beginning.  Your franchisees are the bread and butter of your success.  Afterall, a team is only as strong as its weakest player, right? Equipping your team is imperative for achieving and maintaining growth. 

This leads to our next point – 

  • Support Your Team

Franchisees want to feel at ease and well taken care of, but at the same time, they want the freedom to run certain areas of business the way they see fit for their market. It’s a fine line for a franchisor to walk.

One way to establish trust and empower them is  to share pre-approved content to their own social media platforms and social circles. You can accomplish this by giving them access to marketing assets (ie. fonts, colors, logos and images) and content that you have found successful.  In doing so,  you’ll expand your reach tremendously.  However, franchisees should have the freedom to create their own strategy. They will be the ones establishing a presence within their community and they should know it best. Providing franchise owners with the necessary training to make sure that brand guidelines are met will help in keeping that consistency mentioned above. 

  • Be Patient 

As the old adage says, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Neither will a successful, long-lasting franchiseYou may want to hit the ground running and build that empire as fast as you can, but choosing the right representative for your brand in your next franchise owner is of the utmost importance. After all, franchisees are your business partners. Selecting the right fit for your team will create the foundation you need for continued success for years to come.  In your search for partners to add to your company, remember quality over quantity.  You’ve established who you are, finding a team that aligns with your voice and values should remain a high priority. 

Need tips on how to expand your team and franchise? Let IOI Ventures help in establishing your brand and finding your team!

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Prospecting Best Practices

Prospecting Best Practices

What is prospecting, and why is it so important for your sales process?

As your marketing efforts generate new leads, your sales team is tasked with identifying which of those leads are qualified prospects for your product or service. This part of the sales process is called prospecting, and when done effectively, it can significantly impact your business. 

Find the good leads, and you’re all set. Sounds easy enough, right?  If this were the case, we’d all be rich! But, on the contrary, according to HubSpot reports, 42% of sales reps named prospecting the trickiest stage of the sales process. 

Let’s go through some best practices when it comes to prospecting.

  1. Define your ideal customer profile – once you’ve defined the specific characteristics, these now become a baseline for your sales team when prospecting.  
  2. First impressions matter – Be clear, transparent, and professional with each customer. The age of the traditional salesperson is over! Instead, disarm prospects with honesty and a genuine interest in helping them. “Customers crave connection, not pushy salespeople” (Forbes, 2020). 
  3. Ask, listen, and then ask some more – questions are key. Try using the GPCTB sales qualification framework to help form your qualifying questions. 


  1. Goal – “What is your goal?” or “What are you looking to accomplish?”
  2. Plan – “How do you plan to get there?” 
  3. Challenges – “What’s keeping you from achieving your goal?”
  4. Timeline – “When do you want/need to achieve your goal?”
  5. Budget – “How much are you willing to invest to achieve your goal?”


  1. Tailor your message to the prospect – focusing on key points of your client’s GPCTB. A personalized message shows you listened, focuses specifically on your prospect’s needs, and portrays how you can solve them. 
  2. Prioritize your leads by confidence level – what is the “likelihood” that those leads will become customers? When you prioritize your leads, it will allow you to forecast a much more accurate report and assess if you will hit your short and long-term goals.  A great way to do this is by setting a “Confidence Level” with a %. (Pro Tip: Stay away from the 50% – this % doesn’t provide absolute confidence. Aime from 10% (Less likely to close), 30% (Evaualting but something is holding them back), 80% (you almost got them, maybe they are finishing process or negotiation), 100% THEY ARE IN!)
  3. Keep your sales pipeline organized with Lead Management Software (At IOI, we love HubSpot). I personally like and use the Sales Pipeline tool in HubSpot to manage my client’s pipelines. I create specific views with specific columns, which allows me to track the status of each deal and displays all relevant information in one place.


Prospecting can be complex, but it doesn’t have to be! It all comes down to knowing your ideal customer and using that to guide your qualification process. 

Need some advice and help with your sales process and prospecting? Book a call with us HERE!

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What’s a Telltale Trait of a Bad Marketer? Being Anti-social.

What’s a Telltale Trait of a Bad Marketer? Being Anti-social.

So your social media presence needs a revamp, but where do you start? It may seem like a daunting and tedious task to audit your social media accounts across each platform, but we promise your efforts will be rewarded!

A social media audit is a useful tool that gives you insight into whether your social strategy aligns with your overall business goals and it isn’t as scary as it sounds! It can help measure your success and will identify strengths and weaknesses that will give you an idea of where you can improve and the steps you can take to take your business to the next level.

  1. First things first, make a list of all your social media profiles. This will give you a high level view of which platforms you have a presence on.
  2. Next, identify the goals you have for each platform. Since each one is different, you’ll need to determine how you should best use each.
  3. Ensure your branding and language are consistent across all platforms. This helps represent your brand and create an awareness of who you are.
  4. Analyze your social media insights. You can spot trends and understand the analytics behind what you’re posting.
  5. Determine your top-performing social posts. You’ll be able to identify what’s working well and what needs improvement.
  6. Figure out where your social media traffic is going. Once they navigate to your platform, where are you sending them and what are you asking them to do?
  7. Look at your demographics. Review who your customers are, what age groups are present on each platform, the various locations around the country/globe that are driving the most traffic, and when they’re most active. This is important in helping you tailor your content to your audience.
  8. Research new social media platforms. Social media is constantly evolving and new, popular platforms are always popping up. Being on the forefront of up and coming social platforms is a great way to elevate your brand.
  9. Finally, using what you’ve learned from your audit, come up with actionable items and objectives that you’d like to achieve.

While the thought of performing a full-fledged social media audit seems intimidating, it will leave you with a laser-focused strategy for each of your social media channels. It will also allow you to optimize your social media marketing efforts in a proactive way.

Are you ready to take your social media presence to the next level? Let us help! Your social media (and potentially your life) will never be the same.

Let us help you grow your business!

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Get Sh*t Done

A lesson in productivity from a full time a certified ad-hoc specialist

My name is Marisa Malts, I’m the Director of Account Services at IOI Ventures, and this article is going to show you how I get sh*t done.

I’ve been working at IOI since the start – back when we had five employees and just one Slack channel, and every employee was doing a little bit of everything. As one of IOI’s first AM’s (that’s industry slang for ‘account manager’, btw), I was able to help figure out what this role looked like and how it could positively impact our clients. 

So what does an AM actually do? 

Basically, AM’s work hand in hand with up to 5 different clients to understand their wants, needs, and overall goals. After meeting with a client, they use their marketing toolbox to establish strategy,  translate their notes into tangible objectives, and then delegate tasks to different members of the IOI team.

Long story short: clients tell the AM what they want to accomplish, and the AM rallies the troops to make it happen.

An anonymous source once said, “Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.” I’ve got no clue who said that but it’s a quote that rings especially true in the world of being an account manager, so for all intents and purposes I’ll just credit the quote to good ol’ Jared Antista.

So without further ado, here are 3 methods I use on a day to day basis to help me get sh*t done. 


The Ivy Lee Method 

I’ll preface this by saying that there’s an entire backstory on this guy named Ivy Lee. It’s a good read, but I won’t bore you with the details. Here’s his method in a nutshell:

  1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks – otherwise the ghost of Ivy Lee will come and haunt you. 
  2. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
  3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
  4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  5. Repeat this process every working day.

This method was crazy useful when my husband and I launched our company, Bloodline Hockey. As an entrepreneur, it can be very easy to get overwhelmed with the billion things you need to do to get your business off the ground – but the Ivy Lee method really helps you put things into perspective and “control what you can control,” (another anonymous quote that we can give Jared credit for). 


Time Blocking

This one uses similar principles as the Ivy Lee method, but focuses on limiting the time you spend on any given task. Here’s how it works:

  1. Make a list of your top priorities. For conversation sake (and for fear of the ghost of Ivy Lee), we’re going to stick with a maximum of six tasks. 
  2. Create a template for your day that sets a firm time for when you’ll stop working on each task. When that timer dings, you put your hands up and move on to the next task. 
  3. Set aside time for deep work and breaks. Hustle culture is a thing of the past, don’t be afraid to make some ‘me time’ to go for a walk, drink some water, get some sun, etc.)
  4. Add blocks for reactive tasks. Sometimes you’ll need to stop what you’re doing to reply to that email or answer that call from your boss, and that’s okay.
  5. Set your timer and get to work.

Time blocking helps you make smart choices in regards to the priority of each item, the time required to complete each item, and how much time is available to work on each item.


The Eisenhower Blocks 

Dwight Eisenhower developed this strategy during his presidency, but I’ve found that it works just as well in the world of digital marketing (even if you aren’t developing an interstate highway network or space exploration programs). 

Use the decision matrix below to separate your actions based on four possibilities.

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
  4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate/yeet from your list).

To put it into perspective, here’s an example of a how I used the Eisenhower Blocks this past week:

  1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
  2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
  3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).

This article had to get written, but there was a lot on my plate this week with current clients, so I outsourced it to a ghostwriter in my network for $25. 

  1. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate/yeet from your list).

The digital marketing game is fast paced, so time management and task prioritization are important skills to say the least. Are you looking for some help from the pros? Click here to get in touch with our team so we can help you get sh*t done.

Let us help you grow your business!

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To Hashtag or Not To Hashtag

To #Hashtag or Not to #Hashtag

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let’s talk about what hashtags are. Previously known as the pound sign (#), the hashtag is a great way to make your content discoverable. They initially gained traction and were widely used on Twitter, but now can be found on every social media platform.

A hashtag can be any keyword or phrase associated with your social media post that is searchable by those who are interested in a topic. It helps draw attention to your posts and encourages interaction.

Now that we’ve defined hashtags, you may wonder how to develop hashtags that will generate traffic to your content. Each platform has a limit to the number of hashtags you can include with your content, so make them count! Keep your hashtags short and memorable. You’ll also want to keep them specific and detailed without being too obscure. If no one is going to search using the hashtags you’ve chosen, no one will see your content! There are many tools you can use to find relevant hashtags related to your content. Some tools we’ve used include RiteTag and Hashtagify. Doing your research on new and trending hashtags is an important part of creating a hashtag strategy. 

So let’s cut to the chase – with the evolution of social media, are hashtags really necessary to the success of your content? If you use them correctly, hashtags connect like-minded people who are interested in what you have to say with your content who might otherwise not see it. Hashtags also have the power to raise awareness for a cause, contribute to a conversation, and keep up with trends and breaking news.

If you’re a new brand, hashtags are an especially important resource. Hashtags help create brand awareness and are an effective way to promote your business and drive conversation surrounding your brand. They are also a great way to help new users find their way to you. Tailoring your hashtags to specific words and phrases that represent your brand is a great way to drive new business and grow your brand.

There are no hard and fast rules for using hashtags with your content or how you should approach your strategy. A successful strategy comes with knowing your audience and familiarizing yourself with what works on each social platform. Take the time to understand who you want to target, analyze your results, and make changes as needed.

Even though hashtags hit the scene in 2007, they’re even more helpful today. With a well-designed hashtag strategy, you can effectively reach new users and grow your brand.

If you want to develop an effective hashtag strategy that provides value, builds trust, and connects you with more customers, we can help! Connect with our team and take your business to the next level!


Let us help you grow your business!

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Set Goals, Reap Benefits

Why Goal Tracking is Necessary To Optimize Your Marketing Efforts

Google Analytics can be a bit intimidating. But when it comes down to it, we need GA to track everything. Without these numbers GA gives us, we don’t really know how well a website or a paid ad is performing.

There are so many layers to Google Analytics, and you may be missing out on all GA has to offer. Goal tracking on your website, in my opinion, is a must in measuring the success of your business. Goals are objectives you set in GA that you have for your website and GA is able to tell you how many people have fulfilled this goal or objective and the path a user may have taken to get there. I know this may seem a bit confusing – so let me break it down.

When a user performs an action that you defined as a goal, GA records that as a conversion. This conversion is could be 1 of these 4 types:

  • Destination
  • Duration
  • Page Visit
  • Event

A destination goal keeps track of anytime a user goes to a specific URL. These are ideal for thank you pages, confirmation pages, or PDFs.

A duration goal keeps track of how many users stay on your website for a specific amount of time. For example, you can set the goal to track a visit that’s below a specific amount of time. 

A page visit goal tracks the number of pages each visitor sees before they leave. 

An event goal is when a desired action is completed. You can track just about anything with events such as external link clicks, downloads, time spent watching videos, social media buttons, etc.

When you set up an event, you define it with a category, action, label and value. You can use as many or as few of them as you want. The event goal will only trigger if the event matches each one you have defined. So if you only define the category, the goal won’t care about the others. But if you define all four, then the event must match for the goal to trigger.

Screen Shot 2022-07-25 at 1.34.28 PM Screen Shot 2022-07-25 at 1.34.37 PM

Google Analytics is an incredible tool to monitor and analyze, but without the data that goal tracking provides you, it’s almost impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. As a web developer and designer, I speak from experience when I say, goal tracking allows you to get the most out of your website!

Let us help you grow your business!

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How Process Helps To Move Organizations Forward

Hey there, I’m Marisa, the Director of Client Services for IOI Ventures. Today, my exciting topic… standard operating procedures. I know I know. So exciting, right? I mean, who decides to become an entrepreneur, who says I’m going to open a business and because I am so passionate about standard operating procedures. Not many and I totally get that because it doesn’t sound fun and it doesn’t sound like something that you want to put your time into.

Today. I am hoping to convince you otherwise. I have two reasons for you today on why you should make standard operating procedures a part of your business.

Number one: time, we think it’s very time-consuming to create these things. And yes, it requires an upfront cost of time. But time is our most important resource. And if you put it into things like standard operating procedures upfront on how you want things done in your business, so that your team can understand you and what’s happening there. It will save you so much time later on.

We talk a lot about the idea of something being rinse and repeat. We have some spirited conversations here about whether or not ‘rinse and repeat’ is a bad thing.

And I would argue that no it is not.

I would say rinse and repeat on creativity. Yes, terrible. But rinse and repeat in procedures that you can do over and over and over again to free up mental space for you and your team creates more time to have in creative endeavors and less time in how do I do this again, or what’s the best way that we should do this?

Stop reinventing the wheel and create a standard operating procedure!

It’s very easy to do. There are amazing tech platforms out there, many that are free to use, to create a video with a screen share and even build out a gif PDF for your staff so that they know exactly step by step what to do. If you are looking to find out what those programs are, shoot me an email ( and I will happily share.

The second reason why I think standard operating procedures are so important is for clarity, So as business owners, as entrepreneurs, how many times are we frustrated because what’s going on in our head and what we think people should be understanding is not at all what’s happening.

Standard operating procedures provide you an opportunity to share exactly what’s in your head of what you want to see happen every single time. Your staff are not going to be mind readers- no matter how long they’ve been with you,  no matter how advanced they are in their skill set.

They can’t read minds.

So the best thing that you can do is create step by step guides for things that you do in your business all the time.

This helps when you have new people coming on your company and employees stepping into new roles. It saves so much time when it’s all spelled out for them so that your actual time can go into things that cannot be easily reproduced.

I hope you found this helpful. But again to reiterate, the two reasons standard operating procedures need to exist in your business is time and clarity.

So I hope that’s what you take away from today’s video. Have a great day!

Let us help you grow your business!

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Let’s Get Into Instagram Reels!

Everyone Can Be An Influencer.. With Our Help

Picture this: You’re a small business owner and just opened your very own Instagram account. Followers are increasing but engagement is lagging… what should you do? People keep talking about these things called Reels but you have no idea what that is. Then you call IOI for help and we explain everything you need to know about Instagram Reels! 

Let’s get right into it, what is an Instagram Reel? Reels are videos up to 60 seconds where users can record and edit clips together, and dress them up with popular music, stickers, and other effects that are included on Instagram. Once you get your perfect Reel, you can share it to your feed, on a story, or on the Explore page.  What makes Reels so amazing is that it allows businesses to show off what their brand is about in a new, creative, and interactive way. It challenges the creator to come up with more exciting and new content to show users who they really are. 

According to Instagram itself, Reels are the most popular feature across 50 different countries! With that being said, here are the basics to making your first Reel. 

Step 1: Come up with a content plan, what are you trying to portray to your audience with this video.

Step 2: Begin shooting your video, you are able to patch together clips and delete ones that didn’t make the cut. 

Step 3: Add your music and effects to really make the Reel stand out. 

Step 4: Preview and share your new Reel!

When creating your first Reel, it is important to know these tips. For instance, you are able to make these videos on several different platforms but the algorithm will always favor Reels made directly on Instagram itself. The app wants to keep it in-house and doing so can help make your video viral. Also when considering audio and other effects, make sure you go to the Reels tab on Instagram and check out the trending audio, effects, and filters that other creators are using. This is going to make your video even more favorable to the algorithm. Hopping on the most up-to-date trend and applying it to your niche won’t hurt either! Remember to size the Reel to the right dimensions too; 1080 pixels by 1920 pixels for the best performance possible. 

Now just as the algorithm will favor specific aspects of your video, it can also penalize you for it. Instagram does not like blurry videos due to low resolution, videos with borders around them, or videos made on other platforms that have watermarks. It is important to stay up to date with the community guidelines or Instagram will remove your video as well. 

After taking in all of the information above and you’ve posted your Reel, of course, you want to know how well it is performing. The easiest way to do so is to go to the Insights tab on your profile (your Instagram should be a business account FYI). Or you can look at each Reel individually. The insights will show you the amount of likes, comments, shares, saves, amount of plays, and our favorite, interactions. Now you will know what is working and what you can improve on!

Are you ready to go viral and have your business known more than ever! Get moving and make your Reels! Video content is moving in and static photos are out. If you’re still unsure where to begin, let us help you. We have a team of social media specialists at your fingertips, connect with us now!

Let us help you grow your business!

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How To Use FB Job Postings To Grow Franchise Leads

Life Moves Pretty Fast. If You Don’t Stop And Look Around Once In A While, You Could Miss It…. 

Ferris wasn’t wrong and this certainly holds true for the digital marketing world. What proved to be effective last year or even last month, may not be successful today. It’s our job as marketers to stay on our toes and remain one step ahead of competitors in the busy digital space.

Working with several clients that are looking to expand their franchises nationwide, we ran into some roadblocks in our strategy that had proven to be effective just months prior.  Privacy changes making a huge impact on social media advertising, as well as the ever evolving algorithm taking longer to convert,  it was imperative that we pivot quickly to yield results for our client.

We turned to Facebook and their job posting feature..

With Facebook job posting, you can find candidates where they are spending most of their time – on Facebook. It is still comfortably the most popular social network in the world, boasting more than 2.9 billion users.

Not only can Facebook help you reach a wide audience, it can also target those who are already fans of your brand. If someone likes your company page, your job listings will appear on their news feed. So by using this  feature, you are attracting prospects who already have greater brand loyalty towards you than cold candidates. And have I mentioned one of the biggest perks? It’s FREE.  Of course there are ways to throw some money behind your listings to give it a boost but it’s certainly not mandatory.

Our client was looking to expand into 11 areas within the US.  We were able to create job listings for each location and in one month’s time, we were able to nurture 80+ candidates within our CRM.  Coupled with optimizing their site and cultivating those leads, we were able to help launch at least 4 new leagues in the locations that our client was hoping to infiltrate. 

In an industry that’s constantly evolving, IOI prides itself on being proactive to change.

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Is Your Website Responsive?

When it comes to building a website, WordPress is a standard that shows up on every “Top 10 Website Builder” list. Whether or not it is the top site builder, 43.2% of all websites on the internet are built on WordPress (W3Techs, 2022), including 36.28% of the top 1 million websites (BuiltWith, 2022). There are many benefits to the WordPress platform, but one of the biggest is the platform’s excess of themes, plugins, premium add-ons, and overall adaptability. 

There are several options for page builder add-ons in the WordPress platform, Beaver Builder is one of the leaders. Pairing Beaver Builder with WordPress can be intimidating at first, but this combination opens the doors to endless creative possibilities. With many options, it is important to keep best practices in mind, and responsive layouts are growing more and more important as the rise of mobile web traffic continues to grow.

You’ll find varying metrics on mobile versus desktop traffic. Statista claims 48% of global web traffic is mobile, whereas Perficient estimates mobile to make up 68% of web traffic. Regardless of the exact number, your site will receive traffic via mobile devices. According to Hubspot, 93% of people have left a website because it did not properly display on their device.

Beaver Builder is an excellent solution to ensuring responsive web pages that will properly display on every device. Responsive editing is a feature that Beaver Builder allows you to make edits that only affect one type of screen dimension. There are a few ways to enter responsive editing mode:

  1. Go to the menu dropdown and select “Responsive Editing”.
  2. Use the keystroke by pressing “R” on your keyboard.
  3. Within the editing pane, click the device icon to toggle to a new view.

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Once you enter responsive mode, take time to focus on proper font sizing, margins, padding, and other edits to ensure the page displays correctly. Once done editing, it is important to preview the layout on all displays before publishing, by selecting “Preview Layout” in the menu dropdown or using the keystroke “P”.

Another feature that can help you level up your mobile presentation is Visibility settings. In the editing pane for rows, columns, and modules there are three visibility settings which include breakpoint, stacking order (columns only), and display. Breakpoint allows you to determine which devices an object displays on. Stacking order allows you to change the order of columns in a row as displayed on a mobile device. The display feature provides multiple options for whether the object shows or not.

Whether it is your home, landing, or checkout page, ensuring your WordPress site is optimized to be responsive to your clientele’s devices is critical. Site traffic that can easily navigate on all device types will result in more conversions and lower bounce rates.

Contact our IOI team today on how to maximize your web page!

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Don’t Put a Pin On Pinterest 

As marketers, we find ourselves looking at data day in and day out. We look for trends in consumer behavior and how we can target specific interests. What if I told you there was a cyber hub where millions of people laid out their VERY specific interests for you to tap into? And better yet, for your content to reach them in an organic format, even if it’s paid for! 

Let’s talk Pinterest.Before we dive into how you can use this platform for your content,, here are some demo specs that’ll blow your mind:

So exactly why should these stats blow your mind? Here are some major reasons:

    • Pinterest users are not searching for brands. This means the user isn’t typing in ‘new Nike sneakers’ if they’re looking for footwear, but ‌are looking up ‘2022 footwear trends’. This is a huge opportunity to utilize that keyword research we know you’re doing and plug it into some high-converting advertisement!
  • Pinterest users are unique. When it comes to user behavior, this platform is truly different. Users typically engage in the platform with a positive mindset, which is unsurprisingly the reason for higher conversion and click-through rates. The click-through rate benchmark for Promoted Pins is 0.20%. However, with an enticing image, content-focused landing page, and relevant audience targeting, a CTR closer to 0.30% is well within reach. 
  • Pinterest users are never not shopping! Since users are coming to this platform with an open mind, they are willing to ‘hear you out!’ ‌ A promoted pin does not have a different format than a regular one so users are more likely to tap on the pin to expand on the creative.

So, how will YOU use this platform? Here are some ideas for content that will resonate with your audience:

  • Offer 3 – 5 reasons to enroll in a program you offer
  • Advertise an online course
  • Provide 3-5 reasons your product will appeal to your audience
  • Share your brand’s blog
  • Utilize lifestyle images to build a board that will drive users to your site

Want to learn more about this platform and how IOI is utilizing it to drive leads to our client’s sites? Contact us today!

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Diving into TikTok Ads and Growing Your Audience

Social media has been tough sledding as of late. Engagement on “The Big Three” – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – has come to a screeching halt while TikTok seems to be the one major driver of engagement among platforms. TikTok is still very much in the learning stages, though, and many of us are trial-and-erroring our way through content for the platform.

I recently shifted a third of my budget towards TikTok advertising, boosting both pre-existing and new posts, and netted big, big results in a short amount of time.

With this ‌client, our main focus is building an audience on social media. That will eventually lead to site traffic and lead generation, but the primary focus is growth. Growth on TikTok almost relies on “going viral” and hoping one of your videos blows up to 10K, 50K or 100K views in order to have any significant type of impact on followers and engagement. That can be quite the challenge to find the secret sauce in what makes one video pop and another flop.

As new and fresh as the platform is, TikTok advertising is uncharted waters for many of us and there’s much to be learned in terms of what works, what doesn’t and how to maximize success on varying budgets. What I did to help boost engagement and impressions was simple: Boost some of our best-performing posts from the past while also putting resources behind any new content we shared. I found that a little bit goes a long, long way!

83K views, 96K views, 159K, 221K!! We had good content all along, but organic reach just wasn’t quite taking off like we had hoped. Sprinkle in some paid, and posts started erupting. Our audience grew by 10 percent, profile views spiked, shares shot through the roof. The account was finally gaining some traction on the platform with very little monetary resources behind it.

Now, CPC and conversion numbers look grim on the surface. But remember, none of our paid ads were geared towards driving people to a site or lead generation (yet). No links or landing pages were included in any of our paid ads. The motivation was strictly audience growth and awareness. We certainly didn’t have an end goal in terms of registrations, purchases or form fill outs (yet).

Now that I know a bit more about TikTok advertising as a whole and the ROI it can produce, the focus can shift to those other metrics. I can spend the next few months benefitting from the overall awareness of the account, and use future ads that are more geared towards linking back to our site, driving leads and purchasing behaviors.

Continue to push the envelope of digital media and marketing with IOI Ventures today!

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Being On-boarded with a Digital Marketing Firm

Usually, when you first join a new company, you walk into the office with the first day jitters, awkwardly trying to find your desk and shake hands, juggling all of the items you have in your hands between papers, your laptop, lunch, etc.  But, we’re in 2022 and everything is online now. My experience joining a digital marketing firm has been much different than the example mentioned above.  My “first day” consisted of me sitting in my apartment with a button down shirt and sports shorts on. My first interaction with everyone from the company was when I clicked on the team’s “Google Meet” link. It was a far different experience than any other job I have ever had. 

We had a team wide meeting with 15 plus people all crammed onto my 14″ laptop screen. Only one person can talk at a time so it makes your voice heard even more because everyone is listening to what you have to say. 

In the digital landscape, you really need to try hard to create personal connections with your co-workers because the only times you’re talking to them is when you have a scheduled 15-30 minute video meeting on the calendar so you need to make every minute count. On the flip side, it is also more convenient because if you need to ask someone a question you can either Slack them or drop a video meeting link and within seconds you’re sharing your screen pivoting between different projects. 

Working remotely for a digital marketing firm has taught me a few things, 

  • Communication is more important than ever.
  • Trusting your co-workers is just as important.
  • It’s ok to reach out to your teammates for updates on projects that you are both working on. 
  • It is imperative to start organizing all of your files instantly, or you will feel like you are drowning every time you try to find a photo, video, email or word document from days prior.
  • It’s ok to work in your underwear if you want to.
  • Google / Youtube university is your best friend.

Working in a digital marketing firm for the last 3 months has taught me how to wear many different hats whether it be talking to clients, creating graphics, performing initial keyword/SEO research, editing photos, creating email campaigns, configuring workflows in HubSpot and organizing social media posts just to name a few. 

In my situation, what really made it feel like a successful onboarding was the over communication and the green light from “higher-ups” to ask questions if/as needed. When there are so many moving parts, it is very important to try first and if you can’t figure it out, ask questions after. 

Follow IOI on whichever social media platform you prefer to find out where IOI takes me next!

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Where Marketing and Sales Collide

Let’s face it – marketing and sales will always compete for the title of “MVP,” and both can make some pretty strong arguments. We often hear the “without marketing there’s no brand, no following, and no leads!” or the “without sales, there’s no deals, no customers, and no revenue!”  At IOI, we view the two as a kick-ass team, and when in sync, can be a game changer for a growing business.

So – should there really be a “collision” between marketing and sales? The answer in our book is no! 

To know how they sync, let’s break down a few core functions of both sides, that in part, represents the potential customer journey. 

  1. Establishes your brand, communicates your message, and puts your products and services into words. 
  2. Creates engagement and curiosity – generates prospects and builds your ideal audience. 
  3. Nurtures your prospects – warms them, helps identify those who are most interested, etc. 
  4. Learns your customer – asks questions, collects key information, etc. all relevant for the sale. 
  1. Makes it real and authentic for the prospect – people NEED human interaction.
  2. Makes it personal – people need to hear and see how exactly your product/service will solve their problems.
  3. Creates credibility and trust- people need help and guidance. A good salesperson shows why your company are the expert and offers value to your prospects that marketing cannot. 
  4. Qualifies or disqualifies prospects- a good salesperson can quickly determine whether a prospect is qualified or not. The ability to disqualify a lead quickly is invaluable and can save thousands of dollars wasted on selling to the wrong audience. 

Let’s bring it home by using the youth sports industry as an example. Today’s youth sports space is as saturated as it has ever been. The number of leagues, camps, tournaments, pclubs, online programs, etc. seem to increase daily, and many are promoting the same value proposition. Families often research all the options for their kids before even engaging with a salesperson.

An effective marketing strategy (website, digital content, paid ads, email campaigns, etc.) successfully sets your brand at the top of mind of your target audience, clearly differentiating you from the competition. 

Your sales team must come in and be the difference. It’s not enough to just explain your programs and services- everyone does it. You MUST connect with your prospects on an emotional level and earn their trust. Parents need the assurance that you believe in your product, and that you’re going to help them reach their goals. Combine this with the valuable insights gathered by marketing, and you’re set up for success. 

I’m often drawn to this quote that truly sums it up: “Despite the complexity of technology, selling is still relationship management. Buyers may prefer brands, but they reserve loyalty for people.” – Tom Reilly, Sales Expert and Trainer.

Want to sync up your marketing and sales? Let’s get started!

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Taking the Road Less Traveled Might Be the Best Path You Ever Choose

Picture this, it’s May 2014 and I am preparing to walk across the stage at my college graduation. Primed and prepped to receive my hard-earned degree in Elementary Education. Fast forward 8 years and I’ve never set foot in an elementary classroom, let alone written a lesson plan. So what changed between then and now?

A recent study found that only 27% of college graduates work in a field related to their major. Instead of moving into a role involving something they studied in college, they’re widely dispersed across a variety of industries and fields, moving in and out of different careers during their first, second, and third jobs.

You’re often taught that the culmination of your college education is summed up by finding a great job in your field of study and staying there until you retire. Unlike the Baby Boomer Generation who will likely stay with the same employer for 20 years, the average person will have 12 jobs in their lifetime, many of which have no relation to their degree field!

So let’s ask the most obvious question, did you waste those four years of your life working towards an irrelevant degree?

Despite what you’ve been taught, your degree doesn’t determine the trajectory of your career. Working towards your degree helps lay the foundation for essential skills that will put you on the path to where you want to be in the future. It also helps you figure out what you are and are not passionate about. 

Generally, those who pursue a job outside their field of study are framed as individuals who are highly motivated, driven, open to and capable of change, and are willing to learn. All of these characteristics lead to great employees!

Straying from the path you had mapped out for your life can be scary, but, take it from a person who walked the road less traveled; it can be the best decision you ever make.

Looking for something new? Check out our current job openings!

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Spring Into The Perfect Marketing Mix

Have you ever had consistent trouble sleeping as the sheer thought of your marketing efforts not being effective kept you up into the wee hours of the morning? This thought is troubling as the restlessness eats away at you because you are striving to find that one Unique Selling Proposition, USP, that makes you the Babe Ruth of your industry. Have no worries as IOI Ventures is here to help ease that awful stress as we have broken-down general marketing strategies into four key sections; making you unstoppable like the 1927 New York Yankees:

Write it. Every story has a beginning and that starting point for your marketing plan should consist of a long-form piece, primarily in the form of an article, to be posted on your website upon budget approval. Choose a key topic that you believe your target audience will most relate to or benefit from as adding value is the most important part of this strategy. You can think of this being your “pitchers mound” as everything revolves around the article landing page.

When writing your article, it is crucial to have a few Call-To-Actions, CTAs, sprinkled throughout your piece and hyperlinking these; encouraging your audience to take the next steps as examples vary from registering for an upcoming event or filling out a form. Furthermore, it is crucial to have clear and concise messaging throughout while keeping the length on the shorter side. Be sure to include a relevant image or two in the article along with a cover photo that is not grainy; capturing the readers’ attention right away. It is best practice to have the article flow and be presented in a way where your audience is engaged, educated and evolved as a customer to your business.

Share it. Now that your article has been published to your website, the next step is to foster authentic audience engagement. A perfect way to do this is through social media marketing; directing your social community to the article landing page. It is best practice to choose what platforms you desire to utilize as Facebook and Instagram are always safe bets for sharing general content. On a targeted note, Twitter is popular for breaking news and press releases while LinkedIn is known for communicating business partnerships, new hire announcements and company milestones. Once you have chosen your platforms, we suggest writing a catchy but quick snapshot of what the article is about, why your audience should read it and where to find the article in your social post caption.

Anytime you post on Instagram, we have found that placing your hashtags as a comment underneath your initial post will help new audiences become connected easier as an example is presented below:

Remember, your article cover photo will populate when posting on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn but not on Instagram as your team will need to create a graphic or have a designated image ready.

Send it. Your article has now been published on your website and shared on your targeted social media platforms, now it is time for you to wrap it up through email marketing. Our team recommends designing your email to include the three most recent articles that have not yet been shared with your audience through email. You can craft the email by placing the most important article at the top with the other two below, taking the shape of a pyramid. It is best practice for each article to have a quality cover photo, short description and, most importantly, a Call-To-Action button with the text “Read More” underneath; linking to each article’s specific landing page on your website. This will boost your overall website traffic as readers’ will be curious and view the presented articles.

Referencing back to the first step, this is why it is key to have strategic Call-To-Actions within your article as it is the center of your marketing plan. Digging deeper, we suggest double-checking that each Call-To-Action button is linking to the correct article landing page with no misspelled words as nothing would be more embarrassing than sending an incorrect email to thousands. Ensure your Open Rate is high by asking a relevant question in the subject line and experience a strong Click-Through-Rate, CTR, by incorporating messaging and content that provides curiosity and value. It is always a good idea to include your social media account icons at the bottom of the email; hyperlinking each icon to drive more social traffic. Lastly, we recommend sending a weekly email with this concept as it is a tremendous way for you to highlight the “wins” of your business and generate qualified leads.

Measure it. Your audience now is aware of your article and your marketing message has been communicated. Now it is time to see if all of your hard work has paid off by reviewing the data in Google Analytics. When taking this last step, it is important to wait a week before analyzing your article landing page metrics. This is the bread and butter of how you can understand the impact your marketing efforts had and what needs to be improved for next time.

This may be a condensed overview, however, the sky is certainly the limit of what the IOI Ventures team can do for you as we serve small to medium-sized businesses; contributing to their growth as their strategic marketing partner.

Trade your sleepless nights in for excellent collaboration and outstanding marketing results that will provide you with peace of mind.

Get started today by connecting with our team!

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Maximizing Your Web Page

Oftentimes when creating a page for a website, we have a lot of information we want to push out to a user, but someone may not know where to start. With summer coming up, a lot of companies are starting to push summer camps for kids! It’s important to organize a web page to get the most bang for your buck – especially if you are driving users there from a paid ad!

We’ve put together a great resource to learn more about  putting together a web page that has the best interest of both you and your user!

Let’s use a summer camp for example:

High Level Overview

  • What is your camp/event about? What can someone expect if they send their child to camp?

Registration Link

  • These registration buttons (or whatever CTA you choose) should be placed in a couple different places on your web page, but making the registration link visible on the top of the page is very important!


  • What specific age groups?
  • Can both males/females attend?
  • What are the specific dates and times?
  • How much does this camp cost?
  • Who are you leaving your child with?
  • It’s important to include what specific coaches will be in charge and teaching
  • Building the trust between the parent/guardian and whomever is going to be with the child all day is important, especially if you’re selling a premium camp!


  • The bottom of the page is where you can include common FAQs that parents would probably want to know, but not important enough to include in the Detail section of the page such as – what will the child be offered to eat, group size, registration deadline, etc.

Contact Form

  • Don’t forget to include a contact form! This is crucial in having a line of communication for those users that may be interested in your camp, but need to speak to someone directly before purchasing

Contact our IOI team today on how to maximize your web page!

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It’s Time to Feel Confident in Your Work

What does confidence mean to you? Confidence is one of the key psychological capabilities underpinning the development of excellence, especially in work. Getting into a new career can be nerve-racking, especially if you just do not know where to begin. As you are navigating through your career, make sure you are building confidence in your work along the way. Unsure of where to start? Let me tell you what has helped me. 

First things first, do your research! Ask yourself, what do I already know about the job I am doing and what more can I learn? Get comfortable with knowing your skillset and see what was accomplished before your time. See what you could do differently now. Understand your clients, their needs, their tones, and what makes them unique. This will help you in the long run. 

Now that you have a good understanding of the direction your position can go, utilize individuals in your community and on your team. Join LinkedIn groups of people in the same field as you and be open to learning from others. Lean on these people as a support group. Like-minded individuals can help you stay motivated and on track. However, never disregard the people who may think differently than you because they might be what you need to try a different approach with your clients. 

You will always hear the sayings “practice makes perfect” or “fake it til you make it” …both are very true when trying to get comfortable in your career. The more you immerse yourself in what you’re trying to accomplish, the more practice you will get – gaining confidence as you go. Just don’t kill yourself over the attempts that are not satisfactory. Remember, to be great at something, you have to be bad at it first! 

Ultimately, when you feel you have a good understanding of the company you work for and the clients you manage, it is easy to make the right decisions. Surrounding yourself with a supportive team that you can bounce ideas off and brainstorm with makes a big difference. Using the tools mentioned above will help you dive right into your responsibilities and make a big impact in your position.. Don’t hide from what makes you uncomfortable. Embrace it. Try all of this and you will feel like a new person at work and see your confidence building in no time!

Click here to join a supportive growing team!
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5 Stars

5 stars, it’s synonymous with quality and success. But what about the dreaded one star review? Recent statistics show that even one bad review can impact your business and as you can imagine, with each subsequent piece of negative feedback it will continue to snowball at an alarming rate!

So what can you do in the wake of a negative review?  Your first instinct may be to ignore it.  In almost all cases, inaction is NOT the way to go.  Think about it, let’s say you’re looking to go out to dinner. The restaurant you’ve been dying to check out has a dreaded 1 star kiss of death from Megan. Megan was unhappy with her dining experience and has decided to let the world know online.  But in reading Megan’s seething words, you see that the restaurant has not only responded to her rant in a professional, non confrontational manner, but they have taken steps to ensure that they will do their best to remedy the situation and improve moving forward.  

Now imagine you read that same review and there’s radio silence. What would you be left feeling about the restaurant and how it conducts business? I’m guessing it wouldn’t be all the warm and fuzzy feelings. How you handle negativity will make the difference between strengthening customer loyalty versus damaging your bottom line. 

What is put out in the ether will live there seemingly forever. As marketers, we at IOI know that not only is content important – but also how you handle the good, bad and the ugly, matters. Leading with integrity and attentiveness to our clients is what we take the most pride in.  The reality is that consumers are more inclined to voice their negative opinions before the positive ones. It’s easy to hide behind a screen, right? In dealing with these situations head on, it shows that you are committed to remaining, not only loyal to your customer but also to your company.

Need help with your company’s online image? We are here!
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Don’t Let Email Open Rates Fool You

Communication has continually grown from the first email in 1971 to the present. Emails have evolved throughout the years, becoming a critical tool for many businesses to connect with their audience. The ability to collect data on the audiences’ interactions with the emails is one of the reasons email marketing has been valuable. It is no secret that businesses are always looking to utilize technology to gather important information about their audience to increase conversions and generate more revenue.

Email marketers now face a new obstacle that will require a shift in email strategy. This obstacle is Apple’s Mail Privacy Policy Protection (MPP) which became available to Apple users in September 2021. So, what is it? Apple’s MPP is a new feature that provides the option to protect privacy by hiding the IP address and preventing email senders from seeing who opened the email.

For those of you that laugh because you have been seeing a massive increase in your open rate, congratulations you have already seen the impact of Apple’s MPP. Essentially the MPP loads the email in the background, this will make it appear as opened from a randomly generated IP address, meaning the email will appear opened regardless of any action by the user. 

A report by Campaign Monitor showed an increase of 3.5% in average open rate and a decrease of 3.6% in average click-to-open rate from 2020 to 2021. So, is it time to panic and abandon email marketing? NO! It is time to shift thinking on the measurement, optimization, and creation of email campaigns.

These changes only apply to users of Apple Mail, and measurement from your audience on other platforms can still be viewed in the more traditional sense. When analyzing email performance, understand that any metric factoring open rate has been skewed. Metrics like “click-to-open” rates will likely appear down so do not panic. 

Platforms that offer delivery time optimization, email triggers, and user flows that rely on users opening or clicking on specific components of an email will need to be adjusted. Geolocation dependencies are another feature that is impacted. Be aware of how your email platform is currently being used and ensure you adapt.

Understanding Apple’s MPP is the first step one, adapting to accommodate is step two, and step three is evolving to flourish in the ever-changing landscape. At IOI, we are always here to help our clients understand the landscape of email marketing and thrive in reaching their customers.

Let us help you evolve your email marketing!

To Post Or Not To Post, That Is The Question

There truly is beauty in planning ahead! It allows you to pivot when necessary and act preemptively instead of reactively. One of my favorite reasons to make a content plan a month or two in advance is to get that non-negotiably-necessary birdseye view on what your brand is showcasing in the cyberworld. This omni view usually sparks creativity for me, it shows the gaps in the plan and where you can truly make an impact. So get your content calendar out and plan next month with me.

Let’s start with the basics, your promos, sales, discounts, etc; sprinkle them in throughout the month. Next, are there any HYPER-relative hashtag holidays to tap into? Maybe your product is ice skates, and it just so happens that next month is *hypothetically* #NationalHockeyMonth. You should probably get an action shot of a player in your skates in there. It’s also #worldpoetryday, we can make this work: Roses are red, violets are blue, ponds are still frozen, let’s get new skates on you. While looking at #HashtagHolidays you come across #PiDay and #nationalpotatochip day, we can most definitely SKIP those, there is a certain inauthentic tone that comes through when trying to force your brand into a space created for STEM folk and Fritolay.

This tone also applies when speaking to socio political movements. Perhaps the leadership in your company doesn’t see eye-to-eye on specific issues so it’s safer to stray away and stick to what you know AND do REALLY REALLY well. If your entire team shares a vision for positive change and maybe even a specific movement this is where you can plant a seed. For example, let’s think twice about posting a random #BLM post if we haven’t addressed any inequality issues in the past. On the other hand, if you are an active supporter, donor, or volunteer for United We Dream; let’s give them a spot on the calendar… and another when #NationalImmigrantsDay comes around. Setting the stage for activist posts solidifies your standing behind the holiday rather than seeming insensitive with another ‘one off’ post.

Now, we’ve got our promos, our hashtag holidays, our insert your brand in the community, what’s left? U-G-C! The content that your SUPER happy customers are flooding you with because they just can’t get enough of your product! Give them a spotlight to shine under while they’re out there in the world making your products look G-O-O-D!

Want to talk about what to post next? Our experts here at IOI are happy to help!
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Getting The Most Out Of Your YouTube Content

Facebook? Check. Twitter? Yep. Instagram? Haven’t really posted in months but they’ve got one. Most partners we work with hit the check box on the “Big Three” social media platforms. FB, IG and Twitter have become a necessity for just about all small business or start-up companies in America. The most overlooked and undervalued platform for many of the partners we work with, however, is YouTube.

Working in digital media, we certainly understand and appreciate the platform that’s been around since 2005. However, it’s a difficult one for the average business owner to justify investing in. That’s where we come in.

For the better part of a year, one of our youth sports partners’ YouTube channels went relatively unused. In nine months, we had posted just one time. So for six weeks, we committed ourselves to more video content. Thirty-six videos in fact, and while that only netted us about 1,500 views and 6,500 impressions initially, the effects of our efforts were felt for the next six months. It was 11,000 impressions. Then 14,000 impressions. Then 33,000 impressions. Those 36 videos led to more than 23,000 views and 100,000 impressions – and continue to compound with each passing day.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, YouTube’s content is evergreen. The “Big Three” content is typically a flash in the pan; flares up for the day in terms of engagement and impressions, and gone into the ether after that. YouTube, on the other hand, is the world’s second-largest search engine with three billion searches per month,
according to Forbes.
The channel’s most popular video – The Filthiest ’07 in Russia? – has received 9,161 total views since being posted in July, 2021. In the first 100 days after being uploaded, though, it produced just over 1,500 views and just 6,000 of it’s 54,728 lifetime impressions.

Like a fine wine, it gets better with age!

I think YouTube can be intimidating to the average person. Video content requires a certain level of skill and finesse that maybe the “Big Three” don’t; a more polished finish than a tweet or photo.

For us in this instance, it was user-generated highlights and sizzle reels that promoted upcoming events. For others? It could be podcasts or how-to videos or screen-sharing tutorials or testimonials. There’s plenty of ways to maximize your partner’s content for YouTube purposes. While it may require more effort on the front end than simply sharing a link on Facebook or photo on Instagram, the impact of YouTube content can be felt for years. Unlike the week-to-week or month-to-month social media content calendars, one good month of YouTube content can set you up for success for the rest of the year.

Contact Us Today For Help On How To Maximize Your YouTube Channel!
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IOI Joins HubSpot Solutions Provider Program

Here at IOI Ventures, we’re constantly looking to find and become experts in the latest and greatest marketing and sales tech. Whether it’s bundling up all your key marketing metrics into one view with DashThis, or sending 1-1 automated sales text messages through Sakari, there hasn’t been many stones we’ve left unturned. That being said, there is one software that has been evolving rapidly and constantly providing new tools for us to explore – HubSpot. For those of you who don’t know, HubSpot is a powerful all-in-one CRM that helps align marketing and sales teams and maximizes revenue by bringing the entire marketing and sales process under one roof. Each “hub” (as they call their different softwares) unlocks a new set of extremely powerful tools for businesses to master. Sometimes, these tools can be overwhelming at a first glance, but each tool comes with a vast amount of training and documentation to help guide you through any questions you may have.

Long story short – HubSpot is a powerful tool, and with the majority of IOI’s clients using HubSpot in some fashion, we felt the timing was right to start down the path of becoming a HubSpot Solutions Provider.

If you are a new client – Honestly, not much! We already ask our clients if they are interested in signing up for a HubSpot Portal when they are onboarding with us, so nothing will change there. We’ll never force you to sign up for a portal in our agreements, but the offer will always be on the table.

If you are an existing IOI client with HubSpot – We now have expert resources in-house that can help with anything from consultation to technical implementations aiming to maximize revenue and streamline your marketing and sales process. We’ll also have direct access to additional support streams to get you answers on questions you may have throughout our engagement. We’re not going to be shoving all that HubSpot has to offer in your face for our own benefit, but we’ll be on the lookout for areas where we think access to specific tools could really help you in the long run.

We’re practicing what we’re preaching – we recently upgraded our own HubSpot portal to get access to many of the tools they offer, and we can honestly say that we are already thinking of upgrading again soon to unlock more features. We’ve been able to cleanly organize our current and prospective clients as well as improve our own marketing and sales process, and we can’t wait to help you do the same.

If you have any questions about signing up for HubSpot or upgrading your existing portal, chat with our experts today!
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5 Steps to Creating A Successful Lead Management Campaign

So, here you are, you’ve invested quite a bit of money into creating leads.  Your website is optimized, social media and paid ads are working. Leads are coming in daily.

You know you’ll get to the leads, eventually …  Trying to reach the important ones first and answer as many questions as you can. Some want to know more about your service, others are ready to purchase right away.

It’s a good problem to have, but still- it’s a problem.

Every good strategy needs a plan and tool.  Many of these tools have trials or beginner products that allow you to use the technology for a low monthly price (sometimes even free).

I recommend starting with these tools:

  • CRM (HubSpot, Salesforce, Pipedrive)
  • Email Service (MailChimp, Constant Contact)
  • Form Builder (Hubspot, Formstack)

Integrate your contact list with your new tools.

This can be time consuming, but creating the right fields and relationships will avoid you having to manually input hours of data from a spreadsheet to your CRM.

Should you use Automations?

How many emails are you sending?  How big is your marketing budget?

Similar to segmenting your contact list to optimize your business needs, having automations reply to contact requests and answer FAQs move your customers down the purchasing path a lot quicker.

Not every lead is the same.  You need to pay close attention to that.   A potential customer asking for business hours should be handled differently than a customer inquiring about pricing.

Rank your leads according to your business needs and goals.

If your business goal is to sell a certain amount of product.  Rank leads tied to that product higher than general inquiry leads.

By having your leads qualified and ranked you will close the sales cycle time by anticipating objections with content directed right at the clients needs.

It will take more than just one email or a sales call.

On average it takes about 8-10 contacts before a customer will make a buying decision.

Make that journey easier for them by developing tailored engagement campaigns that address their needs.

Here are two types of engagement campaigns that will motivate your audience to act:

  • Activation Campaign.  
    • The goal of this type of engagement campaign is to give the buyer a sense of urgency to purchase the item before they miss out.  FOMO.
  • Nurturing Campaign 
    • The goal of this type of engagement campaign is to give the buyer general FAQs, features and benefits and differentiators will be pointed out.

Both types of campaigns usually last 7 days with 3-5 Touches.

Now that your campaigns are up and running and you start to get feedback.

Listen to your customers.

  • What are they saying about the product?
  • What are they saying about the service?
  • Engage your audience with post purchase surveys and feedback directed campaigns.
  • What is your team saying?  Are sales and marketing working together?

If you are in sales and marketing, you might want to consider getting help.  It’s easy to fall into an echo chamber when you are the only voice in the room.

Once you have data, act on it.

A/B test your emails and engagement efforts to ensure you are speaking to your audience in the right way.

Now that you have your audience primed, time to ask for the sale.

It’s best to be simple and plain with your request.

For example; if you have taken the time to read this entire blog, it would be a good idea to set up a free consultation with IOI to discuss how implementing some of these ideas can help you grow your business.

Here @ IOI we specialize in providing our clients customized solutions to their marketing and sales issues – click here to learn more!
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The Right Mixture To Your Marketing Success

In most sports, there is a defense and an offense that you must master before you become a champion; the same holds true in marketing. An individual must utilize their left brain, the analytical ‘defense side’, and their right brain, the creative and snazzy ‘offense side’, to become elite and produce a final product that is calculated, while also pulling at emotions. No matter if your profession is in sports or as a marketer, being diverse in your skillset is critical to your success. Please let me clarify as I am sure that statement produced several thoughts and questions for you.

If you are predominantly a left-brain thinker, then you understand full-well the scientific side to marketing; thriving in this environment by focusing on analytics, rather than relying on your gut or emotions. Words such as users, sessions, pageviews, segmentation, and trends account for a large portion of your vocabulary, with data, forecasting, and consistent optimization being your primary focus. You most likely set clear objectives within your budget, track key metrics, and analyze the results, to determine which strategies are providing you with the most wins. The scientist in you leaves no room for guesswork as the data support every decision you make, from the structure of your campaign, to what time of day you are sharing targeted content through social media.

The benefit to taking a scientific approach, filled with analytics, careful calculation, and consistent adjustment, is that your marketing strategies are always trackable and you are kept accountable for what you implement within a campaign. As more and more businesses are shifting towards data-driven marketing strategies, it is crucial for you to keep your left brain strong.

On the other side, if you are mostly a right-brain thinker, the artistic portion that marketing requires fits perfectly in your wheelhouse as you communicate through emotion and probably utilize Canva or Adobe tools daily. It is safe to say that you are unique, creative and use your own intuition to guide your decision-making that flips generic material into engaging content; capturing the minds and hearts of many. You are aware of the importance of data and the story it tells, but are confident your ability to create can not be found in a spreadsheet, nor in a report, but on a blank canvas for your imagination to take over. The artist in you forms deep and meaningful connections with your target audience as you grasp the concepts of desire, fear, frustration, and other intangible qualities that make us all human.

The advantage of marketing with an artistic mindset, centered around color, texture, and emotions, is that your horizon will expand greatly; pioneering new strategies and the opportunity for you to think more extravagantly. Design work in the marketing world may be viewed by many as more of a traditional strategy, but still has a large impact in campaign performance as it is important for you to keep your right brain active.

With attention spans being extremely short, expectations sky high, and technology evolving quicker than ever before, the combination of using your left and right brain will aid you in becoming a champion at your craft. For proof, ask our team as we have found the correct mixture to this way of marketing.

Let IOI Ventures become your scientific and artistic partner and witness the success roll in!
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Facebook Business Manager Explained

A step-by-step guide for any user who wishes to take their Facebook business to the next level.

So you’ve created a Facebook Page, planning out your social media content, and you’re probably ready to start promoting your business and engaging with clients, right?

Before you move forward, there is just one last essential key element you need to take care of in order to set your account up for success: a Facebook Business Manager.

Manually adding team members to a Facebook Page can be tedious, without even mentioning privacy and security risks. That’s where the Facebook Business Manager comes in, it allows businesses and digital marketers to collaborate and securely manage Facebook Pages and Ad Accounts all in one place.

Facebook Business Manager might seem confusing or intimidating, but fear not! We have put together a detailed guide on how to create one, manage it, and other tricks that will benefit your business. Let’s start!

What is Facebook Business Manager?

Facebook Business Manager is a free tool that allows you to manage multiple Facebook Pages, assets and Ad Accounts, as well as Instagram accounts and product catalogs, in one place.

It also allows you to grant full or partial access to team members based on their role and add marketing partners (such as IOI Ventures) to help manage your business, as well as easily revoke access for people who do longer work for you. This is a convenient way to share access with multiple people without giving them ownership of your business assets.

Your Business Manager is a central space to manage your business, separate from your personal Facebook profile, so you don’t have to worry about mixing your business and personal content.

From a paid media perspective, this is an effective way to manage your Facebook Ad Account and keep track of your ads and post-performance, which makes it easier to organize your efforts, and build different custom audiences for different ad campaigns (in case your business is targeting multiple audiences).

Who should create a Facebook Business Manager account?

Anyone can use Business Manager, whether they have a small or large business, but you certainly need one if:

  • Your business has a marketing team.
  • You manage assets.
  • You use a vendor.
  • You need control over access and permissions.
  • You want to keep your business secure.
  • You need business-level insights and reporting.

Now that you have an understanding of Facebook Business Manager and the benefits of this incredible tool, it’s time to go to the most important part of this article: the setup of your account!

How to Create a Facebook Business Manager

Before you begin, make sure that you have access to the personal Facebook account you utilize to manage your Facebook Page. After you’ve retrieved your login information, you also want to make sure your business hasn’t already  created a Facebook Business Manager account. The last thing you need is a duplicate!

  1. Start by going to this link to verify if you have an existing account.
  2. If you already have a Business Manager account, it will appear as a box with the name of your business.
  3. If you don’t see it, then it’s time to create one. Go to
  4. Click “Create Account”.
  5. Enter a name for your business, your name and work email address and click “Next”.
  6. After this, you’ll need to enter more information about your business and when complete, click “Submit”.
  7. At this point you should receive a confirmation email. Click “Confirm Now” in that email, and that’s it. You now have a Facebook Business Manager account.

How to Add People to Your Facebook Business Manager

Before you begin granting access to your team, you want to keep in mind that only “admins” can add people to your Business Manager, so we suggest only granting admin access to those who need it to perform their job and add the rest as “employees”.

To give people access to your business:

  1. Go to Business Settings (AKA Business Manager)
  2. Click “People”.
  3. Click “Add”.
  4. Enter the work email address of the person you want to add.
  5. Select the role you’d like to assign them. Be sure to read the description for each role. Choose either Employee access or Admin access. You can also select Show Advanced Options to choose Finance analyst or Finance editor.
  6. Click “Next”.
  7. Select the asset and the task access you want to assign the person.
  8. Click “Invite”.

The person will get an invitation to join your Business Manager in their email inbox.

After you added people to your account, you can:

How to Add a Page to Your Facebook Business Manager

Next, you link your Facebook Business Manager account with all the Facebook Pages you’re managing. Adding a Page to your Business Manager means you’re claiming your business owns that Page.

In order to do that you must:

  • Have been an admin on the Page for more than 7 days.
  • Be an admin in Business Manager.

To add a Page to your Business Manager:

  1. Go to Business Settings (AKA Business Manager).
  2. In the left menu section, click “Accounts”. Then, click “Pages”.
  3. Click “Add” in the dropdown menu, and select “Add a Page”.
  4. Enter the Facebook Page name or URL. Your page should appear in the search bar.
  5. Click on it and select “Add Page”. You should now see your Page listed under the Pages section. From here you can add people to manage this Page, and assign their lever of control.

How to Add Your Ad Accounts in Business Manager

There are 3 ways to add Ad Accounts to your Business Manager:

  1. Add an Ad Account – Adding an ad account moves it permanently into Business Manager and this action can’t be reversed.
  2. Request Access to an Ad Account
  3. Create a new ad account – If you create a new ad account in Business Manager, it’ll permanently belong to that Business Manager.

This is simple as adding a Page:

  1. Click “Accounts” from the left side menu and select “Ad Accounts”.
  2. Then click the blue “Add” dropdown menu.
  3. Choose one of the 3 options: Add an Ad Account, Request Access to an Ad Account or Create a new ad account.
  4. If you choose to request access or add an ad account, enter the ad account ID (Here is where you can learn where to find the account ID).
  5. Follow the prompts to select people and access levels.

How to Make The Most of Your Facebook Business Manager

Now that you’ve completed the setup, it is time to finally have some fun and take advantage of this useful tool!

If your business also has an Instagram account, you probably want to add that as well. It’s as simple as adding a Page or an Ad Account, but you must have the username and password before starting. Here is a step by step instruction on how to do it.

The Alert icon will notify you of any issues that might be blocking your account, like page quality, a pixel not working, or spending limits, so you can take immediate action and avoid interruptions in your Ad Campaigns.

To effectively collect information about your user’s behavior and improve your Facebook Ads performance, you want to make sure to set up Facebook Pixels. Just simply go to the left menu, click “Data Sources” and select “Pixels”. It will take you to the Facebook Events Manager. All you have to do is follow the instructions.

You probably noticed that you exited Facebook Business Manager on that last step, and now you’re in Facebook Business Suites.

While Facebook Business Manager is a tool created to gain control over all your pages, Ad Accounts and manage who has access to those, the Facebook Business Suite is slightly different. It allows you to check insights and engagement, communicate with your followers, nurture leads, schedule posts, and more.

Although every Facebook Business Page has access to the Business Suite view, it’s not the same as a Business Manager account (which you have to create).

In Conclusion…

With a bit of training, and a few tips, you’ll soon be able to take full advantage of the best of Facebook. Hopefully, with this guide, you can now build your social business account into something that will pay dividends for years to come!

Click here if you have a business and need some help with your digital marketing efforts. IOI Ventures can help!
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5 Tips To Ensure Your Website Is Your Best Marketing Tool

Your website is an extension of your physical business – which is why it is the most important! Usually, when you want to learn more about a company, you search them on Google to find their website. Check out these tips below to be certain your website is running as smoothly as you would have your physical business operation!

SEO stands for search engine optimization and is the process of improving website traffic via keywords on a page. SEO is so important because it gives your website more visibility to potential customers! When SEO is strong, it will rank higher on search engines.

Whatever it is you want customers to do, make it easy for them with a call-to-action, such as ‘Click Here’ or ‘Learn More’. Make sure it’s as easy as a click or two to get your visitors to your desired outcome. You can emphasize your call-to-action by placing it somewhere prominent on the page, using a different colored button that stands out, or by putting it in a callout box.

As your primary marketing tool, your website is the face of your organization. Put your logo in your site’s header so it is visible on EVERY web page, not just your homepage. By utilizing the color scheme on your site, it helps to reinforce your brand!

Include buttons on your website to allow your users to find your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and any other social media platforms you use. Social share buttons allow you to get your own followers and likes directly from your website!

Make sure your site is mobile-friendly! Globally, 68.1% of all website visits in 2020 came from mobile devices. Check your site on a smartphone and various mobile device types to be sure you are providing the best mobile experience possible. You can also check that your site is mobile responsive by grabbing the corner of your browser window and dragging inward. If the content on the screen responds to this change by adjusting to the screen size, then it’s mobile responsive. This gives you a good idea of what your site looks like on mobile-typically when shrunk down, content blocks will appear stacked and the “hamburger” menu will replace the regular desktop menu.

If you’re looking for more helpful tips to grow your business, or if you’re interested in learning more about digital marketing – let’s chat!
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Do This ONE Thing to Ensure Success in 2022

It’s that time of the year again.

While we think a lot about personal new year’s resolutions to exercise more, eat healthier, etc., have you thought about a new year’s goals for your business?

Yes, it’s cliche, but it’s also super important.

If you don’t program your GPS, how can you get to your destination?

Establishing goals for your business is the best communication tool to your employees, vendors and partners.

The best marketing agency in the world can’t help you if you don’t know where you want to go.

So where do you start?

This is important because you need to know where your business is today.

Questions to consider:

  • What were your most successful products/services, and why??
  • What did you do really well in 2021? What could you improve on?
  • What is your company the best at?
  • How many leads did you get in 2021 and how did that compare to the prior year?
  • Do you know your close ratio? What is it? What should it be?
  • What opportunities, if any, did you leave on the table in 2021?
  • How did your team perform in 2021?

From here I encourage you to think about what you’d like to see accomplished in 2022 and beyond.

  • Are you launching a new product or service?
  • How much do you want to grow and can you grow in 2022?
  • Do you want more of a certain type of client?
  • Is there a specific vertical market you’d like to expand into?
  • Can you enhance or create better systems or processes for your team to maximize results?
  • What does growth look like to you this year?

Be specific.

It’s important to be specific with your goals (SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound). There are a ton of articles on goal setting, so I won’t bore you with that here.

The important thing is to revisit these goals often.

Goals are NOT a “set it and forget it” exercise.

Write them down.


Share them with your team.

Regularly evaluate progress.

Do you have goals in 2022 that we can help you accomplish or maybe one of our world-famous marketing & sales audits is what you need to get the ball rolling?

IOI would love to help. Let’s chat.
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Plan your social media months ahead… For FREE, with Later!

There are several social media planning and reporting tools out there, such as Sprout, Hootsuite, and Coschedule. However, these tools can be very pricey and thus, not affordable for small businesses and nonprofits. To circumvent this issue for our new client, a small soccer club in Florida, we researched, tested and rolled out a new tool called Later.

This FREE tool has a great user experience built for people and companies who are just starting out and provides a bunch of unique features that frankly, our team just loves!

“With a start up, small business or nonprofit, it’s no secret that their staff likely wears many hats. So when it comes to knocking out to-do lists, the question is, “How can I do this efficiently and budget-friendly?” And in the social world, that’s where Later fits the bill.

Many social media scheduling and analytics tools can be overwhelming and highly priced with more bells and whistles than you will ever need. More isn’t always more, especially when it comes with a higher price tag. Adding Later to our arsenal of social media tools is another opportunity for us to provide our clients with a great tool at a great price point, with their budget, strategy and goals in mind.” – Jenna Morr, Social Media Consultant at IOI

For business leaders that don’t have the time to sit down and post on social media three times a week or can’t seem to remember to post consistently, Later sets you up for success.

Here are some of the features we love about Later:

  1. The free account allows you to have one set of social media accounts (so one business Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.).
  1. After you begin posting, Later will start pulling analytics for your accounts to help you understand what works for your business, giving you unique suggestions to optimize your social strategy.
  1. Need assets?  Later has your back. The tool has stock photo platforms built into its system. So, as you are posting, the tool will recommend stock photos to you for use based on the content you have already been sharing. This feature can save you time down the road with content creation.
  2. Later’s unique option “” feature turns your Instagram profile into a mini-website, complete with analytics. You’ll know exactly which posts are driving traffic to specific links, and where your followers are converting from.

As for the results, our client’s reach is up 11% month over month, engagement went up 8% and followers increased by 5%. Overall, for a free social media planning tool, you can’t go wrong with Later.

Interested in a quick demo with our Account Team, contact us here!
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How This Stay At Home Mom Found A New Career, In A New Industry, With A New Sense of Professional Purpose

Remember the mantra “I think I can, I think I can…”?

My kids have been the center of my world before they were even born, and of course, for the past eleven years. I knew when and if I was able to become a mother, that there was no way in hell that I was putting my baby/babies into daycare. I was lucky enough to be able to make that decision with my family, and become a reliable, always available mother to my children, there for every milestone!

Flash forward eleven years, I now have an eleven year old tween girl (yup, eye-rolling hormones) and an adventurous, heart attack inducing, eight year old boy. I’ve also tiptoed back into the working world again – the remote world that is. My dear friend, and CEO at IOI, Jared Antista, (let’s not boost his ego too much), had faith in me and hired me to help his company, IOI Ventures, as an Account Manager.  My ego has taken several blows in the process, as I’m pulled in multiple directions, and a lot of times, I simply struggle to keep up with the pace of a digital marketing company.

That said, I’m also renewed, feeling a different sense of purpose. I’ve been able to connect with the most amazing team, spread across the United States, and feel like that former Bentley Dean’s list student, contributing to something beyond my family. I am so grateful to have a safe place to learn and grow, with a team that is compassionate, smart, and caring.

Over the past six months, I’ve learned a lot. I work with two accounts, Carousels Icery, a franchise mobile dessert business that is growing like crazy, and Under The Lights Flag Football, powered by Under Armour; that brand speaks for itself.

Here are my top three tips for those stay at home moms that want back into the business world:

  • 1 Ask Questions 

Even when I think it’s a dumb question, I still ask it. If I don’t know, I don’t know, and I’ve found that my team doesn’t fault me for that. It’s my job to learn it and remember. The great news today is that Google is pretty smart, I can often find a solution from the world wide web.

  • 2 Just care 

I’ve had a lot of conversations with Jared. In the Account Manager role, especially at IOI, it’s simple: we care about our customers. That means answering John’s texts, from Under Armour, as soon as I can (all hours of the day) and getting back to Corey, at Carousels, quickly, even if I don’t know the answer, because he values communication. I simply care and often that buys me time to ask my questions, get the support from my team, and provide good solutions and answers.

  • 3. Have Faith 

Being a mom is hard. Being a stay-at-home mom, and a working mom, is even harder. These past six months have been crazy, but I love the opportunity that I have. IOI has taught me that good people do exist, and that there are opportunities for the generation that took time to raise their families.

My advice to anyone thinking about taking that leap of faith, jump right in. Your kids will admire you, and you might just amaze yourself, and find a new purpose.

Contact us today!
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Is Your Webpage Digitally Datable?

5 Things Your Homepage Needs to Start a Relationship with Consumers

The saying that first impressions last a lifetime may make you think of dating, however, when it comes to your business, your website is most likely the first direct impression that potential consumers will have. Every successful business is trying to build, maintain, or promote its identity, and what better way to achieve this than putting your best foot forward on the internet.

Often, the first impression of your brand for consumers will be through search engines, backlinks, or social media. Let’s think of these as dating applications. Customers know what they are looking for and platforms will present them with all the suitors, ready to fulfill their needs. It is up to the consumer to swipe through all these suitors and come to a decision. How do they do this? They check out your dating profile, or in this case your website.

Let’s get into five things you can do on your website to start a strong, and long-lasting, relationship with your customers.

You probably wouldn’t go on a first date in sweatpants and a mustard-stained hoodie (no offense if you would), so don’t present your company as anything less than a perfect ten online. High-quality photos and videos are the best way to dress your site up. Keep in mind who you are trying to attract, and include the types of content that will appeal to your audience.

There is nothing more uncomfortable than awkward silence on a date. You’ll never find out if you have a real connection if you don’t start the conversation. It is critical to ensure you have clear, personable, and powerful messaging on your home page. Catch their attention with a short powerful message and then dive into your story. Remember, you are just meeting this person, they do not know all your friends, your parents, or your history, so don’t bore them with all these extra details.

You may be attractive, awesome, and funny, but you will risk ruining any form of connection if you take over the conversation. Your home page needs to present what your consumers want to know about you, not just what you want them to know about you. Additionally, you need to make sure that they have a chance to speak, by understanding how to navigate through your site to learn more about you. Broken links, looping paths back to the home page, and missing information, are all red flags. The homepage of your site needs to have a strong menu, sitewide searchability, and, an organized hierarchy of information that will help the consumer get to know you.

Today, you can connect with people through countless platforms. When you go on a date and have a great time, you probably want to see that person again. The only way that is happening is if you ask. It is imperative that your homepage is consistently asking your consumer to stay in touch by joining your mailing list, following on social media, or even providing your business address so they can stop by. There should be some caution taken here, after all, you don’t want to be the creepy date that seems desperate. Make sure if you have pop-ups, that they utilize cookies, so people do not receive that pop-up too frequently, which can lead to a higher bounce rate, or in dating terms, being blocked.

Would you wear the same outfit on a first and second date? NO! So why would your website be static? Ensuring you have dynamic content like blog articles, new products, or seasonal promotions, is not just a great way to stay fresh, but is also good for your SEO.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to make yourself digitally dateable.

If you need help on how to increase your digital game, contact the savvy folks at IOI Ventures, here!
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Gif or Jif. How you say it isn’t important. All that matters is you’re using them!

It’s the debate that never goes out of style. Is it Gif? Or is it Jif? And although there have been multiple reports that it is indeed pronounced with a “G”, there is always that one guy who insists it’s pronounced like the peanut butter brand. And kudos to Jif®, the peanut butter brand, who turned the debate into a brilliant marketing campaign in the height of the pandemic.

We’re not going to argue with you over the pronunciation. However, we are here to say that if you haven’t incorporated branded Gifs, through Giphy, into your digital marketing strategy, then you’re missing a huge opportunity.

Gifs are part of our daily digital lives. 10 billion Gifs are served daily through Giphy. Yes, that is “billion,” with a B. We use them in text messages, Instagram stories, emails, Facebook comments, and the list goes on. In fact, aside from emojis, I’d argue they’re the most utilized type of content, with infinite possibilities because of the number of platforms they work on.

Yet, so many brands aren’t taking advantage of the brand marketing opportunities that are possible with Gifs; and we haven’t even gotten to the best part. They’re one of the simplest and least time consuming marketing tactics you’ll ever execute. Why? Because once they’re uploaded to Giphy, the people of the internet take it from there and you simply upload new ones when, and if, you want to. The analytics behind them can be astonishing and mirror a viral trajectory.

Recently, we set up one of our sport industry clients with a Giphy account. We’ve uploaded 16 total gifs that range from logos to plays. In just over two months, the account has already had over 191k views of its gifs. You’ll be hard pressed to find any other channel that can build that many views, for a few pieces of content, in that short of a time.

If you haven’t jumped on this fun, mobile-friendly trend of Gifs, what are you waiting for? Curious how to get started? Shoot our team a line and we’ll get you up and running in a Giphy. (Sorry, we had to).

Contact us today!
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This is the future of networking

Why business cards for the digital age are a must

Have you been in a situation when you don’t have a piece of paper to exchange contact information with a potential client or future prospect? Sure, you can type out your information on someone else’s phone, or ask them to text you theirs if you’re fortunate to have the time (and patience)… but wouldn’t it be easier if you could quickly send a business card in a digital format?

While discussing more innovative ways to capture leads, we identified a gap in converting a prospect into a client. There was a general frustration that developed from seeing the volume of interested patrons wanting to book event space but most lacked follow-through in the booking process. Once the tour was over, everyone got a business card, and then the waiting began, hoping the phone would ring. The conversion rates were terrible.

In researching ways to make connections faster, IOI introduced a digital business card. A fresh new way to network by replacing the old paper business card with virtual cards. The concept allows for an easy and effortless way to share and save contact information with a single tap to another cell phone. With customization of card content, images, banners, and style the digital business cards don’t require downloading an app. Instead, when you tap another phone, it shares your business fast and conveniently. Your profile holds all your social media links, contact info, and in this case, the lead form. My client was not only able to share his information but also capture event lead details immediately. There was no longer waiting and hoping…What once was a cold lead, now became a hot lead!

What’s more, CRM integration, Facebook pixel, and Google Analytics will soon be available to generate profile analytics. Now is the time to reach new audiences, capture more leads, and stay ahead with a virtual business card!

For more tips and tricks on how to increase your digital game, contact the savvy folks at IOI Ventures, here!
IOI Insider

How to Drive Site Traffic from Social

One of the biggest challenges in social is driving users from Instagram to your website in a fluid, effective way.

We post a lot of blogs on our client’s websites, and we like to push these through their social channels. The three major ones we utilize are Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. IG, however, presents challenges in that links are not available or clickable organically IN the post itself.

In fact, the same link posted on our Twitter and Instagram accounts produced a nearly 1:1 result in terms of traffic to the site, despite our IG following being SIX TIMES the size of our Twitter following.

Instagram is our largest audience, and the users we target, are far more active on this channel than other social media platforms. It was crucial we reached this group.

A text-heavy content piece doesn’t translate well to a visual medium like IG. So, I looked at our newest blog post, which was 1,200 words. I asked myself, ‘What’s the most important thing I want the reader to remember?’ Boiled it down to one quote from an interview; five words… I blew it up in big, block letters, overlaid it on top of a photo that was appropriate to the content, and posted it.

We saw a 3x increase in traffic from IG-to-website and a 4x increase in time on site. By giving the IG user just a taste of the overall content, we not only garnered more attention but more quality attention as well.

Making your content appropriate for each channel is crucial to maximizing results. The average Instagram user may not want or have time to read a 1,200-word blog post, but would still find value in the article’s biggest bullet point. Got a podcast? Pull the most important sound byte. Video from a presentation? Cut and post the biggest lesson. Those who see it will still get great value, and those who really value it will look to find more.

Have any questions about driving site traffic from social? We’re your experts and we’re happy to help.

Click the link here to get in touch!
IOI Insider

How We Turned A $3k Ad Spend Into a 1,333.33% ROI

What is the most difficult thing we face as marketers?

Generating enough traffic and leads?

Creating a solid user experience on your website?

Developing consistent content that engages current and prospective customers?

All tough challenges of course, but one of the most difficult obstacles our clients continuously face is tying these marketing efforts back to ROI (Return on Investment). We can run all the paid ads we want, create all the content we want, and generate all the leads we want, but what’s the use if we aren’t tracking what happens to those leads once they enter our marketing and sales funnel?

Enter: HubSpot

As we all know, HubSpot is an all-powerful tool (or set of tools) in the marketing world that enables us to attract, engage, and delight our prospects and customers throughout their journey. To go along with that, HubSpot gives us visibility into the specific interactions a prospect makes along that journey which gives us the ability to attribute these actions back to one or more of our marketing efforts. That’s ROI in marketing – being able to attribute revenue back to a marketing effort like a blog post, social media post, or in IDA’s case, a series of paid ads:

Enter: International Development Academy

Our client, International Development Academy, was looking to run a series of paid ads pushing their international soccer academies in Europe, and the United States, across Google and Facebook/Instagram. They identified their budget, IOI created the paid media plan, and our team got to work. Here’s how we broke things down:

  1. Identify ad budget – in this case we had $3,000 Ad Spend
  2. Create a paid media plan – build a plan for the ads (who, what, when, where, and how)
  3. Build the ads – build each ad from the media plan, pushing contacts to a landing page with a form
  4. Create a new HubSpot Campaign to attribute new leads to
  5. Create tracking URL’s in HubSpot’s campaign tool to allow us to track ad interactions
  6. Input the tracking URL’s into the ads
  7. Run the ads

Since the tracking URLs were appended to the paid ads, any new leads that interact with the ads and submit on a form would be attributed back to our September Paid Ads campaign. What that means in HubSpot, is that the Original Source of the contact would be set to “Paid Search,” and if we drilled down a level deeper into that, we’d see that the contact was created from was the “September Paid Ads Campaign.” This is the first step in the process of tracking ROI.

From there, we were able to use HubSpot’s campaign and URL Builder tools which allowed us to identify how many contacts came from our paid ad efforts, but the tracking doesn’t stop there. As these contacts progress through IDA’s sales funnel, we’re able to track how many of these contacts became legitimate opportunities, by having a deal created in their Deal Pipeline.

In short – we were able to conquer one of the biggest challenges marketers face. We created a tracking system in HubSpot, pushed paid ads to attract leads and have them convert on a form, nurtured them through the standard sales process, and eventually led them to become actual sales opportunities.

We know it’s easy to talk through the process, but if we don’t show you the numbers then what’s the point of all this? Take a look – here’s a full breakdown:

Have any questions about proving ROI, HubSpot’s awesome tools, or running paid media? We’re your experts and we’re happy to help.

Click here to get in touch!
IOI Insider

Turn SMS Texting Into An ROI Revenue-Generating Machine…

We work with many companies in the youth sports space and what makes them perfect for IOI is their willingness to pivot quickly, try new tools and consider ideas that our team comes up with. IOI teammates Nolan Villeneuve & RaeAnne Turner teamed up to impact our client’s customer service challenges, event communication reach, and increase pre-event revenue.With a proper strategy, the right message(s), and a combination of client/IOI tactical execution effort, the results were off the charts good. So much so that, the client said this:

Client X hosts a variety of events. With events comes thousands of athletes, hundreds of teams, and logistical challenges. There are schedules, standings, game operations, hotels, travel, retail, local partnerships, happy customers & sad customers. If you’ve worked in this space, then you know events are tiring.

Client X has a strong following but with email deliverability issues rising and customer emails filled to the brim these days, our important pre and during-event information were getting lost in digital space.

We jumped at the opportunity to introduce a new SMS tool with the goal of better connecting client x with coaches and team managers getting ready for their upcoming marquee event.

Introducing Sakari

What’s so special about it? Well, to start SMS texting is seen/read by more than 95% of the people receiving it. That is a hell of a lot better than the 20% open rate you are getting from MailChimp. It’s also easy to set up and affordable. Behind the scenes, it integrates with the tool suite that we have recommended and put in place for a lot of our clients. Saraki plays nicely with Hubspot, has custom configuration options such as workflows, response notifications, unlimited contacts, and more. We also love that both bulk messaging and 1:1 contact can be made directly right from the Hubspot record.

Our objective was to better organize and deliver pre-tournament details with the goal of reducing at event Q/A and increase pre-event sales. Youth sports events are fluid; there are traffic detours, field and rink changes, game changes, hotel information, merchandise, and general Q&A, we needed a quick solution.

Our SMS campaign was sent to 528 team coaches and managers, pushing signups for two webinars on two separate days. These webinars were designed to allow customers and tournament operators to have a Q/A session, learn important details, and get on the same page for the big event.

Well, the response was overwhelmingly positive! We saw deliverability close to 100%, readability at 95%+, and most importantly, a 37% engagement rate with hundreds of customers attending the two sessions and raving about it to client x and their clubs.

Other team managers and coaches who heard about our new texting platform and online meetings were ASKING to be added to the list because it alleviates a lot of things that pop up at the event. They felt more prepared in the process and the client looked like a customer service GOD in the process.

The second big win came by surprise but we will take it. In many youth sports events, waivers are essential and a nightmare. Send, ask again, fill out on-site, repeat. It’s a battle for that piece of paper but crucial to the event running smoothly. After just one week team waivers increased by 166% because we approached it in a new way.

Pre-event merchandise sales skyrocketed a whopping 833% YOY shattering historical numbers from a simple text and a link option to the online store. Funny how these things work, eh?

In addition to becoming a customer service legend overnight, saving big on Q/A at the event, and increased revenue, client X and IOI are re-imagining the way we sell, prospect, and communicate future events because it’s clear that SMS is the channel for the youth sports event space.

So, if your marketing communication plan needs a reboot, you’re looking for some serious ROI or you’re willing to try something new then let’s connect! We have the playbook, people, and vision to re-imagine your communication strategies.

Case Study

IOI Leads Successful Two-Minute Drill For Under Armour Flag Football

Hurry-up offense drives massive increase in leads for flag football giant

This wasn’t a ‘Hail Mary’ or some unlikely 28-3 Super Bowl comeback. This was a calculated, hurry-up offense that we knew would drive our client downfield and get them into scoring position.  In other words, a good old campaign sprint to make an immediate impact.

On a Wednesday morning, we brought the entire IOI team together to draw up a game plan and brainstorm for a new client. Fifteen sets of eyes, ears & brains is always better than one. We had strategists, account managers, web designers, content creators, and everyone in between, sharing ideas on ways to have an immediate impact for our client. By that Friday afternoon, a new landing page was built, ad creative dialed in, and a bullet-proof paid media plan ready to rock.

Five days into the campaign, and we’ve secured more than 450 leads for UA Flag Football while improving their cost per lead by 83%. Here’s how we did it:

First things first, we set up a new website that was built to attract and convert leads. This was more than a facelift – we built off the powerful brand image and alore of the Under Armour name, we took a mobile-first approach to design knowing that paid media was the driver of our traffic. We then formed a CTA strategy with scrolling buttons and strategic form placement that would help us capture the right information from the right candidates. While our webdev team built the landing page, our account manager led a HubSpot onboarding session to get the client up to speed on their shiny new CRM- a first for the business.

At the same time, our creative team worked on utilizing Under Armour’s asset library to create social media ads that would appeal to prospective league operators. We produced thumb-stopping ads with photo and B-roll video assets and crafted resolute copy that was guaranteed to draw in prospective league operators.

With a new landing page, CRM in place and ad creative ready to go, our paid media team leveraged their decades of industry experience to pinpoint our target audience. The great news here is that we had a baseline of performance from their last effort, you know without IOI on their sideline.

The results? Our traffic ads are seeing 11 cents per landing page view and we’re averaging two bucks a lead, (waaaaay) down from the twenty-five dollar cost per lead the client had last year.

“Look, everyone knows I love to compete, and this project was no exception,” said Jared Antista, Founder of IOI Ventures and Offensive Coordinator on the Under Armour project. “This client was a prospective partner for IOI that I’ve had my eyes on from the start and I refused to drop the ball on it.”

“The IOI Team has been a super-responsive and professional group that conducts business with a sense of urgency,” said John Kaelo COO of UA Flag Football. “This approach has allowed a quick activation on social media that has produced positive results within hours.”

Adam Van Rees, Partner of the UA Flag Football reiterated Kaleo’s statement.

“The entire staff has the expertise we were looking for to quickly launch a digital campaign with specific initiatives for sourcing new League Operators,” said Van Rees. “Two days after going live we had more than 250 leads in our new CRM!”

So what’s next for IOI and Under Armour Flag Football? In two words: Expansion & Optimization. The opportunity to collaborate on new lines of UA business, including team and equipment apparel sales are now on the table. And don’t think, we are happy with our $2 leads, we’re always optimizing ad spend and finding new tricks to get in front of the right audience that is primed for closing.

“The real foundation of our new client growth is built on current client performance. If we do right by our clients – if we care about their goals and truly collaborate internally and externally as a team, the next client often comes to us because of our approach. In fact, our outbound sales or client prospecting is interest based only at this point. Meaning, we might want a ski resort partner or university on our roster so we’ll go get one, but 95% of our sales are coming to us.”  says, Antista.

IOI Insider

Email Marketing Campaign Puts Up Hall of Fame Numbers

An open rate of 44.5% and a click rate of 5.7%…is that good?

Uh yeah…it’s good. Industry standards for open rate hover around 24.57% on average, while click rates sit tight at 3.09%. And for reference, it’s almost as good as Connor McDavid’s career faceoff win percentage of 44.7%.

So not only are these numbers good, they probably could have won us a damn Hart Memorial Trophy.

So here’s how we did it:

This subject line boasted a 96% approval rating when we tested it on We scored points for making this subject line concise and easily scannable, plus we got a few bonus points for throwing in an emoji (which have proven to raise open rates by up to 17% for B2C emails).

Utilizing the personalization token was huge because, well, people like to see their name on things. Plus, the sentence “just so happens” to run out of space right before giving away all the details about what we’re inviting them to. Darn, hate when that happens.

Another key to the success of this email here was that it didn’t look and feel like a marketing email. Yes, we sent it through our CRM like every other marketing email, but it looked like a regular old email you’d get from a co-worker in your inbox. Plain text, no flashy images, no ALL CAPS, no nothing. As far as CTA’s go, of course we still used them, but in the form of hyperlinks instead of buttons. This technique makes the reader feel like Stefan reached out to them personally, and who doesn’t want that?

Let’s get one thing straight. Flashy marketing emails with fancy imagery and bold CTA’s absolutely have their place. (In fact, a traditional marketing eblast we sent for this exact same tournament scored a 29% open rate…not a big deal.) But every now and then it’s important to switch things up and take a different approach to email marketing.

Are you looking to step up your email marketing game? Click HERE to get in contact with us and find out how IOI Ventures can help!


Revolutionary AI Video Tech Comes to Life in New IOI Product Video

On average, 72% of customers would rather learn about a product or service by way of video. Another stat that we’ll toss your way is that 100% of clients will be stoked to see their product and company displayed in crystal clear 4K resolution. Video production is one of our favorite service offerings because it’s one of those rare projects that’s equal parts creative and strategic (plus, it gets a few bonus points for being fun as hell to work on).

So let’s talk about a recent IOI & Pixellot project. Pixellot recently launched a revolutionary product line that utilizes AI to automatically produce footage of fully tracked games, player highlights, and coach analysis for sports organizations. Along with their high tech cameras, they developed an app that will allow coaches, parents, and families to view, breakdown, create and share content. So to summarize, these guys are using technology to change the way we capture, review and learn from film. Consider us sold.

Our Founder & CEO, Jared Antista, was thrilled to work on this project. Not only does he get to add “Film Director” to his resume, but he fully backs the people and the product at Pixellot, which is the entire mantra that Integrity Over Income represents. Here’s what he had to say about our latest project:

“Pixellot has an amazing product and forward thinking marketing team led by Anthony. I’m extremely proud of the collaboration and end result on this commercial spot. From the overall creative strategy, music and messaging, quick turnaround time,  – our video team led by Chris did a fantastic job. Through strategic client relationships, we even included DME Academy into the production which proved a win for all three companies involved as they brought elite talent to the set in a beautiful sports training environment.”


Success On TikTok Isn’t As Hard As They Make It Seem

Here’s 4 steps everyone should read before they dive into TikTok.

TikTok is here to stay. Not using it? You better start…

‘TikTok’ has the tendency to intimidate people, especially play-it-safe marketers. It’s a word that gets lumped in with other digital age marketing buzzwords, like ‘viral’, ‘influencer’, ‘hype house’…whatever the hell that is. The fact is, if your target audience is part of that Gen-Z or Millennial crowd, you should be using TikTok to communicate with them. To sound professional, add it into your social media marketing mix.

So, if you’re just getting started with this whole TikTok thing, have no fear. Your friendly neighborhood social media manager is here to break it down for you in 4 easy steps. .

The first step to achieving success on TikTok is to become obsessed with the app. Download it, spend time on it, learn it inside and out. Learn how to use the various editing features, observe the viral sound charts, try to understand all of the idiosyncrasies of the For You Page, and lastly, wrap your head around the fact that a video of a potato delivering the morning news might get twenty million more views than a professionally shot car commercial.

The For You Page is a weird, weird place. If you want to give your content a fighting chance against the algorithm, then you need to post consistently. A general rule of thumb is to backlog enough content to post three times a day for at least two weeks. That means have enough content in the bank to make forty-two videos before you even think about posting. Does that sound like overkill? No doubt. But consistency is king, and there’s nothing worse than running out of content as soon as you start building steam.

The best camera in the world is the one that you have with you. Your smartphone is capable of capturing some pretty high quality videos, and it’s literally as easy as point and shoot. If you’re a local soccer club, don’t compare your media team to Manchester United. If you’re a small bakery, don’t compare your media team to Bon Appetit. Work with what you’ve got and take baby steps in upgrading your cameras and video editing software.

As a TikTok manager, it’s your job to figure out which sounds are climbing the viral charts. While you’re scrolling through the For You Page, have you noticed multiple videos utilizing the same song, voice over, or sound effect? And have you noticed how all of those videos are skyrocketing in popularity? Good. Tap on that sound effect and figure out how you can capitalize on it. Maybe that song makes for the perfect soundtrack for a penalty shot video that’s sitting in your database. Or maybe that voiceover perfectly describes a client interaction you recently had. Find out what’s trending and figure out how to make it work for your brand.

The more time you spend on TikTok, the more you’re going to understand the app and the things you need to do to be successful on it. At the end of the day, just have fun with it. Get creative, throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks. Post something that the suits upstairs probably wouldn’t understand.

Need a crash course?  Checkout their FREE webinar called “Ready, Set, Grow” coming up in March!

Want IOI Ventures to help you burst onto the TikTok scene? Click HERE to get in touch with our social media crew.


What I Learned From My 10 Year Old…

Competitive sports are long gone for this old man. Even as I write this article, my head is killing me and my neck is sore. It’s only Monday.

My wife loves to remind me that, “I’ve taken too many hits to the head.” Six concussions later I’m barely allowed to put cleats on these days. My biggest athletic risk nowadays is the annual parent-player game, and I still end up sore the next day.

For many of us middle-aged, former athlete folk, no matter what our bodies tell us, we think we can still give it go. The desire to compete and be part of something bigger than yourself never dissipates. That’s why I, and probably a lot of people like me, miss sports. I miss the battles, bus rides and the team bonding. But sports are so much more than that, and an unlikely leader – my son, brought this back to my attention.

My son loves soccer. He and his friends would play every day if they could, and most days they do. My son has 20 jerseys, five sets of cleats, two outdoor goals, three balls and a closet that’s a shrine to his accomplishments and trophies. Some would say he’s obsessed.

Wes and his little brother Will playing soccer in their backyard

I like to think his mother and I are the driving force behind his activities, but we ultimately want to set him up for success by following their passions. We sign our kids up for sports because we believe it’s important that they learn to be part of something bigger than themselves, and to be relied upon.

We had the chance to see that in practice when our son Wes played in the Dimitri Cup in Florida a few weeks back.  He and his teammates have been looking forward to this for months. His team was good. The competition was great. And then, in the second game, he took a fall and landed awkwardly on his arm. He never stays down, and he didn’t this time, either. Right back up and into the action again.

That night, his elbow hurt, but he was with his teammates so the pain was an afterthought. The following morning, his team was set to face off against a team that hadn’t lost all year, and was ranked as the #1 team in Florida. When his mother and I asked if his elbow was ok and if he still wanted to play, he gave us that confused smile. I am fairly certain now that the thought of not playing never crossed his mind.

“I don’t wanna miss this game.”

He ended up playing the entire match to a 3-3 draw. A gritty performance from a gritty player for a gritty team. In the quarterfinals, as Wes was tearing down the field with the ball at his feet, he was taken out by a tough challenge on the ball. He landed on his bad elbow again, and just like that, his tournament was over. It was clear this wasn’t just a bruise, and unfortunately, it wasn’t. Wes had broken his elbow and fractured his humerus.

Fast forward to today. He got the cast off for another x-ray this morning, and got some good news. His bones are healing just fine, but he’s going to need more time in the cas. As you can see from his face above, he’s not exactly thrilled about getting another hard cast, let alone another 10-14 days of recovery. Still, he’s holding out hope that he’ll be on the field with his friends at The Weston Cup in a few weeks. That undefeated team that they tied, the number 11 team North America? They are entered as well, and the boys want another shot. Wes doesn’t want to miss that either.

To this day, he has not missed a single practice because of his arm. He’s there two to three times a week, working on technical skills, fitness, and whatever else he can that doesn’t require both arms. And his passion and dedication to his team is the lesson we all should apply to our businesses.

Focus on the characteristics that make a good teammate and leader. Look for the person who will play through a broken elbow for you and your business, not because they have to, but because they want to. We can learn things from the most unlikely of people if we watch and listen. In fact, I find more inspiration from stories like this than I do any podcast, motivational speaker or industry expert. Hopefully you can, too. It’s all in us.

**A quick note on Wes**

During a game last year he took a ball to the face and it knocked out his tooth. He caught the tooth mid-air, kept possession of the ball, kept dribbling toward goal, and scored. He handed the bloody tooth to his coach after the play, expecting to stay in the game. His coach still tells that story. He’s a tough little bastard, but really he just wants to be on that field with his boys. I think we can all relate to that.


IOI’s Newest Recruit Finds Her Calling in Digital Marketing

Behind the scenes of Sara’s first week with IOI Ventures

As a recent college graduate I thought I had it all figured out, what I was doing and where I was going career wise…but now, I am officially here to say that I had it all wrong. I majored in psychology at Florida Gulf Coast University and had planned on doing industrial organizational psychology. Yeah…so that one clearly worked out, as I’m now working full time in digital marketing.

I didn’t just jump right into a full time position, I started out as an intern with no experience. My job was scheduling calls, going through emails to find leads and doing small research tasks. After months of working hard and learning every chance I got, Jared decided to take a chance and hire me full time. In just a matter of weeks, I’ve learned how to build websites, run facebook ads, develop content, and so much more.

One aspect of digital marketing that really sparks an interest in me is social media marketing. With everyone constantly scrolling through social media, it’s the perfect opportunity to increase your product’s reach. You know all of those ads that just pop up while you’re scrolling through your feed? Yeah, those have been specifically curated by someone to show up on your feed. It’s pretty cool to be able to say that that “someone” is me. Recently I learned how to create Facebook ads, which is a creative process that challenges you to think of attention worthy headlines, find the perfect picture or video for the ad, and specifically target your audience. Some of Facebook’s features include the ability to choose your target audience’s age, interests, and geographic location down to the mile. So if you’re creating an ad for a restaurant in Sarasota, you can target people with the interest “foodie”, between the ages of 18 and 34, who live within 1 mile of 34320…pretty crazy stuff.

Recently I had the opportunity to work on a Facebook ad in the hospitality industry. I’m currently sitting at 486 leads at 8 cents a click, and if this holds it’ll be a new record for my company. Along the way I will continue to learn more and more about digital marketing and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me in this industry.


Week 1 In The Books For IOI’s Newest Account Manager

A new Account Manager’s point of view

As I reflect on my first week at IOI, I find myself replaying my internal mantra “you’ll never have this day again…so make it count”, and that’s been my intent. The majority of my time has been spent trying to absorb everything. To me, getting to know the company’s culture, the projects landing on my plate, and learning everyone’s communication styles means that I’ll be able to start the real work sooner. Anyone that’s worked with me knows that I ask a LOT of questions (sorry in advance) as I’m trying to learn about the goals and processes of each project. I like to dig in and try to connect business goals to marketing tactics.

So far, there’s three things I’ve learned that I’m good at:

  • I’m all about efficiency, so I don’t turn down help or advise – if there’s a better way, I want to know.
  • I can do anything – but can’t do everything; I love to learn. If there’s something I don’t know, I’ll find the answer. This is especially true with so many resources and experts on our team here at IOI…there’s always an answer!
  • Talking to people is more fun than it used to be (thanks quarantine)! Working remotely has its benefits and challenges. Even if we’re not close in proximity, I’ve found odd comfort in digital hangouts. It’s been fun to laugh and get to know the team over virtual meetings (and virtual happy hours too).

A few areas of opportunity for me:

  • Workflow automation. There are a lot of tools to help us keep organized. ClickUp is a company favorite and I need to spend more time not getting lost in a rabbit hole of folders, links, tasks, and assignments.
  • Presentations – I’ve listened to Jared & Nick’s client presentations and they’re so comfortable in a group of 40 people, it’s literally effortless when you’re a pro. Meanwhile, my hands are clammy listening from the next room…
  • I definitely could use help understanding Jared’s acronyms – WP, LP, BB, HS, LI, WTF – not sure I’ll ever master this one, so please send help!

IOI is a fantastic choice for all marketing needs; it’s so turnkey. The company is built with real people who are honest and passionate about all things digital. After my first week I’m already working with accounts across a huge range of industries (think of an indie musician meets elite hockey academy byway of an icery truck). I’m super thrilled to be part of this group and can’t wait for the next client I get to work with!


Burger King’s Retro-Mod Rebrand

Taking a step back in order to move forward

Let’s just get it out there: I refuse to eat at Burger King and you’ll never see me with a Whopper in my hands, but I loved everything about this rebrand.

It’s been nearly 20 years since Burger King gave their brand a facelift and I think we can all agree that it was long overdue. The fast food industry has gone through some major changes in the last 20 years, including major pushes for health consciousness and sustainability. There was nothing inherently wrong with the late 90’s logo, but nobody ever looks back at the 90’s and says “Man, we were just eating so damn healthy back then.”

Don’t believe me? Listen to what Lisa Smith had to say about the redesign. She’s the Executive Creative Director at Jones Knowles Ritchie, (aka she was really important to this project). “We wanted to use design to close the gap between the negative perceptions people have of fast food and the positive reality of our food story by making the brand feel less synthetic, artificial, and cheap, and more real, crave-able, and tasty.” (1)

In order for Burger King to break the stereotypical mold of the fast food industry and to take their company forward, its branding had to take a step back. Fernando Machado, Global CMO of Restaurant Brands International, says their main source of inspiration was the logo that lasted 30 years from 1969 to 1999 (2). You remember 1969, right? It was the summer that Bryan Adams got his first real 6 string and played it ’till his fingers bled…where were we?

“The main difference now is that we adjusted the color to make it more vibrant and more like the colors of food,” Machado would go on to say. The earth(ish) tones of the new logo give off Chipotle and Starbucks vibes. They’re the kind of colors that make you say to yourself “Sure, this is fast food, but it was clearly made with love and that makes all the difference to me.”

“The font is yummy and round, just like our food,” said Machado. Hold the phone. You had me on your side right up until you said “yummy”. Unless you’re Justin Bieber or 6 years old, please don’t say that ever again. Anyway, you get the point. Burger King wanted to simplify their logo to represent how wholesome and *delicious* their food is.

Another reason that they were due for a facelift is that the old logo just didn’t stand the test of time. “Burger King’s redesign comes at a time when major brands across sectors are flattening and simplifying their look so that it’s functional and legible in digital spaces,” says Smith. The last time Burger King created a logo, we didn’t have smartphones, social media and tons of different user interfaces. 90% of its job was literally to stand there and look pretty on a billboard. With advertising being more accessible now than ever, it was time to move on.

So why do we love this rebrand so damn much? It’s 3 things:

1: It’s a throwback, and everyone loves a throwback.

2: It looks just about as healthy and wholesome as a  fast food burger joint can look. (it’s Burger King for crying out loud, not Salad King)

3:  Logos from the 90’s weren’t designed for iPhones, and they had to adapt to stay relevant.

The ever changing digital landscape can be a tricky one to navigate, but our full service marketing team can help create your brand, find your voice,  and keep your digital presence fresh and relevant for the long run. Whether you’re starting your business from the ground up or you’re looking to add those minor tweaks to make your website pop, IOI Ventures has got you covered.

  1. Fast Company
  2. Adweek

Subject Lines Are The Most Important Part Of Your Marketing Email.

Here’s 6 Simple Tips You Should Consider The Next Time You’re Writing One!

In a world of cluttered inboxes, full of spam messages and tacky promotional emails, the subject line is your best chance to stand out against the noise. According to a study done by Chadwick Martin Bailey, 47% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line. Strong subject lines will lead to high open rates and click through rates, which will give you the best chance possible to connect with your audience. Here’s 6 simple tips that you should keep in mind while you’re writing your next marketing email:

How quickly can someone scan and get the point of why you’re sending them the message? Make your message stand out by making it as clear as possible why I should open your email. Next time you’re struggling to write your subject line, just think of the acronym KISS, Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Try not to exceed 8 words. Keep your subject lines short and concise. This helps with scannability, but can also make a huge difference when it comes back to how your email will present itself on different devices. With 50% of emails being opened on mobile devices, it’s extremely important that your readers can view the entire subject line (Source: Campaign Monitors).

Your email subject lines should be written at a 7th grade reading level or lower, and lower is better. There’s no need to spice up your subject line with high-level lexicon and a bunch of jargon that you think is making you sound smarter.

Avoid words and phrases that sound spammy at all costs. Expressions like “limited offer” or “apply now”, push a sense of urgency that can turn the reader off. We also recommend avoiding the use of exclamation points and putting words in all caps. Just remember, NOBODY LIKES TO BE YELLED AT WHILE THEY’RE CHECKING THEIR EMAIL!!!

Utilize personalization tools whenever possible. Email marketing software and CRMs have made it incredibly easy to personalize your emails, as well as sort your customers into lists that fit their interests.

Questions are naturally engaging and will make the reader want to learn more about what you’re selling.

The key to a successful marketing email stems from having a rock solid subject line. Keep it short, sweet and meet your customer’s needs. Find the balance between having a subject line that’s easy to digest and extremely informative. Interested in more digital marketing help? Let’s chat! Click here to learn what IOI Ventures is all about, and find out what we can do for you!


A Deep Dive Into LinkedIn Sponsored InMail

LinkedIn Marketing Tricks

Every business covets leads and customer acquisition. With that understanding – the major ad platforms out there continue to fight for ad dollars with advanced creative and targeting options. LinkedIn, long-known as the “networking site for professionals” continues to up it’s game in their offering. In this article we will discuss their Sponsored InMail option.

Overall, the UI of LinkedIn is very easy to navigate but it would benefit users to take some time testing and playing with the tool. In our opinion, targeting is the second most important component of your LinkedIn marketing strategy. Whether its narrowing the target or adding exclusions in the target set, users tend to get excited by the simplicity of the UI. You might over-click on the targeted job title because the reach looks more attractive. More eyes on my ad, more sales, right? This is not necessarily the case.

Let’s dig into an example Sponsored InMail ad. (To get here select the objective of lead generation within a message ad format.) Let’s assume we want to target the Sports Industry and marketing employees in that space. Our goal is to introduce a new technology plugin that will help their e-commerce performance and improve conversion rates. For this exercise we targeted companies that fit the 50 – 1,000 employees size in the U.S & Canada. We avoided the 1,000+ companies because, frankly, there is a lot of red tape at play. Big companies historically move slower when it comes to new relationships. Next, we target more senior job titles, avoiding entry-level keywords such as “coordinator”. If we did include these titles our audience jumped 3x. More people yes, but not the right people. At this point we have 5,100 targets. Lastly, We narrowed our audience by adding those who like technology “member interests” lowering our audience to 4,600. We are happy with this number as it’s highly targeted considering that our product is tech focused. See below for a look at this targeting:

The 30 day spend is in the $48-$190 window with between 140 & 550 messages being sent. The expected cost per send is around 35 cents.

Now that the targeting looks good, let’s work on messaging. This is the most crucial component to LinkedIn marketing. Our best guess is that LinkedIn’s InMail, Sponsored Ads will be over saturated by late 2020. It’s not their fault, it happens to every ad platform and forces them to develop new ad products. The transition is already happening now where Inbox’s are getting fairly cluttered with ads coming in. We almost always read them, a WIN for LinkedIn but people are getting sloppy with broad targeting as we warned you above.

Here is an example of that:

Jared doesn’t nor has he ever owned a gym. He does belong to some fitness related LinkedIn groups and did own a sports-tech start up from 2010-2017 but has not been in the fitness industry for some time now. The above happens all too often. Most likely, you’ve seen the new message indicator or notification on your phone, got excited about the incoming message and realized quickly that it wasn’t what you had hoped it would be.

As for Andy’s message, it was nice, quick and clean. If Jared had the capacity to add more customers to his gym, he would probably bite on his offer.

Here are some subject lines that have historically worked for us:

“Can you point me in the right direction?”

It works because it implies they have the power to direct you.

  • “Is this a priority to you?”

It works because it’s in question form and thought provoking. Is “what” a priority?

  • “90% of our customers love us, read why here.”

It works because there is a stat associated with it.

Our friends over at Beamery have some great data on InMail tactics. For example, 35% of people open InMail based on the subject line alone. For that reason alone, subject lines should be a focus, crafted and tested over time.

When designing your message, LinkedIn will take you through a six step process after naming the ad. The sender should be someone with decision making power. Our efforts have shown that CEO and VP related titles work best. Next, you’ll craft your message. Use “custom fields” to improve both open and engagement numbers. E.g., first name and company name. You’ll then craft the form and lead details. Keep your forms to 3-4 fields and be prepared to add more information for the consumer such as offer headlines and offer details. Additionally, you’ll need to have a privacy policy in place and be prepared to have a redirect link for the consumer upon completion of the form. We suggest a strong content driven landing page that highlights testimonial content.

Here is an example message for inspiration.

After this, turn the ad on and let the real work begin.  Optimizing your ad and testing the sender, message and targets is the key to getting the results you desire.  Don’t forget that LinkedIn offers many ad variations depending on your objectives. Choose between awareness, consideration (e.g., website visits, video views, engagement) and conversions (e.g., lead generation, job applicants).

Next select the ad format that meets your business, target audience demographic and lines up with your best content.

Want more information? Here is a great article from LinkedIn on getting started and if you need an extra set of eyes or two, our company would the love the opportunity to manage your paid ad spend. Contact us here!


A 14% Conversion Rate. How About Them Apples…

Tough times these days, eh? COVID-19 is changing the way our clients do things. Their willingness to pivot and take risks is refreshing and shines a positive light on the current situation. Maybe it’s because they have to, not all small businesses are going to survive.

Our role as a marketing partner is to support their vision and use best practices to provide an ROI and roadmap for future endeavors. Here is one client story that unfolded over the past few days that gets a W.

Create & deliver a Virtual Camp to customers. Drive a free experience & push sales during the promotion.

The GTM Plan: The marketing budget was set at $150 dollars and the campaign was to run for 6 days. Daunting task on the surface but what the heck, tough times right? Using a variety of social paid channels, we set the spend.

As for the creative, it’s all about the ad message. Sure it needs to look professional, but if we have one second to get their attention – it better display what we’re offering. The ad was simple: short & sweet text which told the prospect what they needed to know… without reading a word.

Next, we focused on targeting and while we won’t share all the details, spending more than five minutes on targetting is probably a good idea. 😜

We created two ads to run on Facebook & Instagram (see above). The first was the event creation & promotion ad and next a lead generation ad. Once an email address was received we dripped the leads with email content via Active Campaign.

In total, we generated 665 engagements or as we call them leads. Our cost per lead was 22 cents. 🙌By Saturday morning we converted 540 of the 665 to Zoom registrations, that’s 81%. BOOM. Knowing that things come up, we plan that roughly 50% of those who registered will bail when it’s showtime. And as it so happened we saw 280 active participants on the Zoom link. Our job is to drive leads but it is important to note that the deliverable experience is what will provide the true ROI. In this case, we are truly blessed. This client was made for Zoom meetings. Being able to keep 280 youth athletes engaged for 60 minutes is honestly mind-blowing.

What is more interesting is that the program our client delivers is so good that many of these customers become repeat customers. Even more encouraging, we will slow drip the 86% that did not convert in the first hour with future program deals. We know we offer a good product as we also survey all participants and more than 95% loved the content.

Hire us – we deliver.

Bonus: Need a Zoom pro? We can introduce you to one!

Contact IOI Ventures


Leads, Leads & More Leads

Leads, Leads & More Leads

Flipping a campaign upside down, re-allocating the budget, and even changing the digital destination (think content) is a risk when it comes to ad dollars and ROI. It’s especially a risk when a client relies heavily on lead generation from paid media AND has seen historical success in their approach. That said, you can’t get better unless you analyze the numbers.

In this case, we went big on two channels, repositioned the brand with premium placement, and cut the ad spend on social and Google completely for the month. This move actually lowered overall ad spend for the month and grew January YOY leads by 52%. Not only did leads increase but so did sales, improving by more than 50k for the month.

We analyzed the channels click volume and lead completions for traditional postings verse premium postings, and learned that premium positions get roughly 30% more clicks and subsequent leads. Premium positions land you on page one, while traditional positions on page two or three. We enhanced our content with strategic keywords, better copy, and dynamic creative.

Additionally, we completely changed the content strategy on the websites – focused on lead generation. This is a nice way of saying, we had strategic CTA’s and form strategies, dynamic content (e.g., testimonials and graphics), and a network of partner linking relationships in place that proved to be huge.

Because we know the conversion rate for the business on the leads from these specific channels, the added expense in those channels verse casting a wider net made sense to us.

The risk paid off. Below is a screenshot of leads YOY. The lines are various channels used. Total leads 388 vs 254.

The client is happy.

Contact IOI Ventures


My SEO needs work, but where do I start?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the component of marketing that scares business owners the most and often gets overlooked. Having spent more than 20 years working in this space, we’ve seen partners avoid it altogether and then overspend on paid to compensate for the lack of success in this area. This article should put your mind at ease and improve your SEO game.

Whether you are starting a site from scratch or updating your CMS (e.g., WordPress) make sure to add in SEO tools like Yoast Premium. If you are not willing to invest $89 a year in advanced SEO advice from a top service provider, please stop reading this article.

With the Basic Yoast Free version you’ll get:

  • Keyword to page alignment check system and the ability to let Google know what your page is about
  • A time tracker to ensure that you don’t let pages stay untouched for too long, thus making the content stale in Google’s eyes.
  • Readability check, and full control over your breadcrumbs – while they do the legwork for you, keeping you up to date on the Google algorithm as it changes. Want to understand how the Google algorithm works? Read this article by MOZ.

In addition to the above, with the Premium version you’ll get:

  • Internal link suggestions, content insights, re-direct manager, focused keyword export (and scores), plus 24-7 hour support.

There are other SEO plugin tools available, so be sure to check your CMS and find the one with the best and most reviews. Here is an article that lists out the top 14 SEO tools.

We typically add SEMRUSH for deep research and competitive analysis and then Google Search Console to monitor our site. This trifecta along with a good set of eyes will amp up your SEO game right from the start. Want to get real smart? Read this Google Webmaster Blog on SEO trends.

The reason we encourage our clients to focus on SEO is that organic traffic historically drives the best traffic, lead form conversion rates and sales for e-commerce businesses. Overall, organic traffic as a percentage of your site’s traffic should be in the 40-60% range. If it isn’t, you have an SEO and content problem.

If your established goals in Google Analytics (a form fill out) are not leading the way in terms of conversion rate and numbers, you have an SEO problem. Our friends over at Marketing Sherpa provided research that shows conversion rate by goal and industry, stating on average, organic traffic should convert at 16%.

Focus on the top 3 spots of a Google search, which account for 61% of click traffic for that specific keyword. If you are not on page one, you’re nowhere. If you are on page one, set the goal of a top 5 (ideally, top 3) location.

Now that you have knowledge of the tools needed, analyze your site.

Create a sheet and then label these columns: website page, the focused keywords for that page (provide 3), the URL of that page, and current rank. To get that rank, go Incognito in Chrome and search your keywords. If you want geo-specific data, ask a few friends in those DMA’s to do the same thing. With this information, you know have something to build off of.

You can then focus on some content-rich tactics that will improve your quality score and relevance in the eyes of Google.

  • Have a mobile-first approach when building and delivering your story
  • The focus of your page should match those keywords that you care about in the top-level structure of the site, e.g., the H1 and first content block.
  • Frequent use of those keywords throughout the page
  • Have good length of content, no fluff or text duplication
  • Image and title tag optimization (Yoast will help here)
  • Backlinking (tips here) and social engagement matter
  • Make sure your site is fast! The spinning wheel is a wheel that represents leads and sales going to your competitors. Test your speed here. You can also test your domain health, here.

As you can see, there is a lot that you can do to improve your SEO game. The tools are endless and the work should be viewed as an ongoing but very much crucial task for your marketing team. Doing SEO right allows your business to save dollars on paid marketing efforts on Google where you are spending upwards of $3.00 per click. The right investment is fixing this component of your business and allowing organic traffic to do its job.

Need that extra set of eyes? We’d be game to help you out! Contact us here.

Our Web Specialists