Maybe you’ve never really thought about using email as a part of your marketing strategy. Maybe you’ve been doing it for years. But are your strategies evolving as the trends do? Each year presents changes in where your marketing emails are going and how people are interacting with them. See our latest infographic for 2016’s email marketing trends:

Email marketing infographic-01

If you’re located in Maryland like we are, you have probably seen the signs, license plates and advertisements encouraging you to “Save the Bay.” But what does that mean, and why should you care? Well, by ignoring the factors that contribute to pollution of the Chesapeake you are actually putting your business at risk. Get informed!

Bay infographic-01

For more information, check out some of these resources:

Chesapeake Bay Program >>
Chesapeake Bay Foundation >>

Good photos can make or break your marketing efforts. AMPs has a few tips to help you take great photos for your marketing materials and use them to best serve your business or organization:

Marketing photos infographic-01

Graphic and web designers may seem to have their own language, but we’re here to help shrink the communication gap so you and your designers can be on the same (web)page:




25 Mar 2016

Communication is Key

As a communications firm, you would think that everyone at our company has the term “Communication is Key” branded on their foreheads, but as in every company, there are errors in translation.

At AMPs, we define success as “happy clients.” To achieve the goal of our clients being happy, we must streamline our work to be done well and efficiently. This all starts with a leadership role and that person’s communication with not only the client, but also the other staff members who will be contributing to the work.

There are three qualities that I found to be most helpful in improving communications. First is unity.

A company that works together to develop strong communication with each other is a united company. Each team member shares the same goal, and everyone knows what their co-workers have on their plate. By simply keeping in touch on a regular basis, everyone remains united and working together. This instills a cooperative atmosphere rather than having a bunch of individual people only looking out for themselves.

Next is feedback. When communication is open, it creates an office environment where everyone feels comfortable talking with each other. When that level of comfort is present in a business, employees feel confident that they can express their ideas about the work process to each other and even to management. Feedback is a vital component of communication.

Lastly is innovation. No matter how skilled and talented individuals within the company are, you can never have too many ideas. By encouraging everyone in the office to openly share their thoughts without fear of being shut down, you will see that each project will grow and improve from other’s skillsets and insights.

If you are looking for media, digital or communications help and want to be one of our many “happy clients,” please contact us for help!


By Kristy Cooper, The Business Monthly

Originally posted on

VideoplayerAs a nonprofit, do you want lots of web site traffic, rapport with your audience and a surplus of donations? If the answer is “yes,” then more than likely you’ll need a strong web site with a quality video on the homepage.

According to MarketingSherpa, video attracts two to three times as many monthly visitors and doubles their time spent on a site. What’s more, Mist Media reported, having video on your landing page increases your chances of showing up on the first page of Google by 53%.

Although video is often the last priority in developing a web site, it’s actually one of the most useful tools available to you. Humans love video, and they can’t help it, either.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information reported that the average human attention span is about nine seconds. That is one second less than a goldfish’s. That’s why we need information to be interesting, to the point and visually stimulating.

Diode Digital reported that, before reading any text, 60% of site visitors will check if a video is available. In fact, according to ComScore, people stay on a site two minutes longer if there’s video content.

Clearly, video on your web site is a surefire way to connect with current donors and prospects. If you don’t have a video marketing program, you may want to consider starting one.

Ready to make a video? AMPs can help you tell your story!

Following are four points to consider when planning a video strategy.

1. It’s Better to Show Than Tell

It’s better to show your cause than just to write about it. According to Forrester Research, watching a one-minute video is the same as reading 1.8 million words or 3,600 web pages. Because text is such a one-dimensional medium, nothing gets the point across like a good video.

2. Video Appeals to Emotions

Advertisers learned long ago that using video for storytelling really taps into our emotions. Research has shown that there is a connection between social bonding and strong imagery. According to, strong visual imagery can cause the release of the neurochemical oxytocin, which causes feelings of trust, empathy and even love. A video from the Maryland Heart Association provides a case in point. It shares the story of Winn Berrell, a tenacious and well-adjusted young man born with only one side of his heart. It premiered at the Association’s Heart Ball, where survivors are celebrated, along with the association’s mission, donors and volunteers. The video earned a standing ovation. The attendees learned that despite numerous heart surgeries, Winn was leading a happy and active life. The donors saw first-hand how their contributions play a role in positive outcomes.

Watch “American Heart Association: Win Berrell” >>

3. Video Builds Loyalty

An emotional connection via imagery creates a bond with the audience.

4. Videos and YouTube

With more than a billion users, YouTube is a smart vehicle to showcase the work of nonprofits. It reaches more 18-49-year-olds than any U.S. cable network, with an average of 40 minutes watched per visit. eMerge Inc., a Maryland organization that helps individuals with intellectual disabilities, developed an inspirational three-part series of videos that covered the key values and programs of the organization, from its greenhouse to its employment to its residential housing programs. Thanks to eMerge’s embrace of YouTube, the organization’s leaders can track who is watching their videos, easily share links via social media and offer a mobile-friendly medium to champion their cause.

Watch “eMerge: One Person at a Time” >>

Did you know the brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text? Keep that in mind when you begin your next fundraising campaign. It may take some planning, but the proof of success is in the statistics.

Kristy Cooper is the marketing manager and coordinating producer for Towne Group, a strategic communications company. She can be reached at

Click here to view the original article posted on The Business Monthly >>

If you’re not getting the business you want, have you checked your website?

The rule for how often you should refresh your site is more frequent than you think. Some marketers advise businesses to do a website overhaul every 18 months. While each website has its own mission, one common denominator is that sites need care and updating – think of it like changing the oil and rotating the tires on your vehicle.

How do you diagnose the problems with your current site? We have a few questions you should answer.


Is your brand consistent?

If you saw your website as an outsider, would you assume that your brand works well? Would you really understand what kind of work your brand does? If you can’t confidently say yes, then your website is probably not consistent with your brand. If you believe in the work you’re doing, make other people believe in it, too.

Does the design of your website reflect how awesome you are? Get your branding in shape, and people will be more likely to understand you.


Is your content relevant?

People are turned off by content that is old, untrue or unimportant. If you are trying to get someone to buy your goods, use your services or support your cause, you don’t want them to be derailed before they get to your main message. That’s why updating your content is so important.

Here’s the secret to keeping your content fresh and up to speed: get someone else to do it for you. Unless you’re in the business of website content and function, you probably don’t want to (and shouldn’t have to) invest time in routinely checking your site for text, photos, videos and graphics that are relevant to your business or your audience. If maintaining your website isn’t up your alley, you’re in luck. That’s the work we love to do.


Are you inviting people to engage?

Think of your website as a roadmap to what you do. It should all lead your audience to where you want them to go. If that route is unclear, people will leave your website. It’s that simple.

They can’t figure out how to best contact you? They won’t. Your website doesn’t work correctly on a mobile phone? They’ll give up. You may have customers who want to contact you and can’t figure out how.


So ask yourself, how inviting is your website?

Every business has to be honest with itself about how effective its communications are. AMPs is no exception. We recently assessed our website and determined that it did not do our services justice. So we remade it. Feel free to roam our new and improved site and let us know what you think.


Think your website is due for a facelift? Give us a call.


Do You Know His Name?

Black History Month is a time for us to celebrate the positive impact African Americans have had on our nation.

As advertisers, we can credit the advancement of our craft to many contributors, but when it comes to the diversity in advertising, the most notable game-changer is Tom Burrell.


Tom made history as the first Black man in the Chicago advertising industry back in the 1960s. Advertising, then a primarily White male-dominated field, wasn’t known for its diversity or cultural sensitivity.

Tom devoted his career to changing that. He challenged how marketers addressed Black audiences.

“Black people are not dark-skinned white people,” he would say.

Wow. Doesn’t that get at the heart of how advertisers addressed diversity then, and sometimes still today? “Color-blindness” is an attractive concept to the majority, but it completely ignores the uniqueness of African-American culture.

One of Burrell’s major tasks was tailoring a McDonald’s campaign to African Americans. The former campaign slogan was “You deserve a break today,” positioning McDonald’s as an occasional treat.

However, market research showed that African Americans were frequenting McDonalds much more often. It was less of a treat, and a bigger part of their experience. He pitched the wildly successful slogan “McDonald’s is good to have around,” better representing the brand in the African American community.

Burrell saw the African-American community as involved consumers. Whereas past advertising only considered how the white majority made purchasing decisions, Burrell’s acknowledgement of Black culture kickstarted inclusive diversity in advertising.

Have we arrived? Is advertising completely in sync with the diversity of today’s America? Most would say no.

But as we celebrate Black history, we can ask:

Where would we be without African Americans?

Where would advertising be without Tom Burrell?

Good and Strange

Super Bowl Sunday is considered the Big Game for football players and advertisers. During this year’s program, each 30-second spot was sold for a reported $5 million. Shocking, right? Actually, a Super Bowl spot is the most cost-efficient spot an advertiser can buy. With about 112 million viewers, these ads are reaching each person for about 4 cents.

It’s not a secret that advertising firms bring out their best and most extreme ideas for the Super Bowl. You’d think we’ve seen everything there is to see, but each year we’re surprised by big celebrities and outrageous talking animals.

Here are some of the most memorable commercials from this year (both good and… strange):


Doritos – Ultrasound

This seemed to be a favorite around the AMPs office. It was the winner of Doritos’ Crash the Super Bowl contest, where fan-made commercials compete for this prestigious spot. A clever concept was executed tastefully.


T-Mobile – Drop The Balls

T-Mobile made the best use of pop culture this year. This spot played off of the awkward announcement of Miss Universe by Steve Harvey, but spun it to combat claims made by T-Mobile’s competitor. T-Mobile also aired a commercial featuring Drake and his popular song “Hotline Bling,” which also received praise.


Kickstart – Puppymonkeybaby

This was undoubtedly the strangest commercial of the year. It featured a borderline-scary creature with the head of a pug, the body of a monkey and the legs of a baby. Viewers are still having nightmares about it.


Buick – The Big Game Meets The Big Day

This ad caught the eye of both football fans and romantics alike. The ad is set at a wedding, but pulls in a reference to a catch made by Giants’ wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The cameo by OBJ himself was a clever nod.


Hyundai – First Date

Kevin Hart starred in one of the first ads of the night, playing a dad watching over his daughter’s date. The hilarity of Kevin Hart mixed well with the display of the car’s features.


Observe others when you’re out in public and you’ll notice nearly everyone is surfing the web on their mobile device. In fact, over 70% of people have a smart phone today and the number of people surfing the web on mobile devices is still growing.

So, let’s explore why you need to get ahead of the curve and make sure your website is
mobile-friendly in 2016.

A mobile-friendly site can benefit from the following:
• Increase site traffic
• Fast loading time
• Improved user experience
• Competitive advantage

Did you know that on April 21, 2015, Google released an algorithm that boosts the ranking of mobile-friendly websites on mobile search results? Yes, this means that your site’s ranking can increase in traffic if it is mobile-friendly. It also means that sites that are not mobile-friendly suffer in Google’s mobile search results.
In 2016, mobile search trends are expected to continue to grow, making mobile-friendly websites more important to a successful online marketing campaign than ever before.

If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website and would like to update your site to a responsive web design, give us a call. Here at AMPs, our in-house team of expert designers and web developers can get your website back on track and ranking in mobile searches.