Sandstorm Blog

Nick
Predictive analytics

We can work with you on building custom machine learning models to help you forecast and predict your business. We deploy a variety of data mining and statistical techniques, machine learning and predictive models to help you leverage historical data to inform the future.

For example, by examining customer purchasing data and analyzing customer behaviors and characteristics, we can determine how a particular segment of customers will act in the future - namely what products will they purchase and when?

 
This blog was posted by Nick on August 14.
Nick Meshes

About the Author

Nick Meshes

Nick is Sandstorm’s Director of Technology & Analytics. He’s boosting our quantitative focus. He’s busy increasing our capabilities in web analytics, website optimization testing, SEO, SEM, display advertising, business intelligence, and personalization.

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Nick
A/B Optimization Testing

What's website optimization testing? You have all the content there for users to understand what you offer. You have calls to action to drive them toward a goal. You have flashy graphics and informational videos. But you're just not getting the response you want. Why aren't you getting the conversions? We can help. We propose and implement some tests on your website: to change the content, to call out certain actions, to recolor the buttons, to grab your audience, and to lead them through the goal paths. Then, we measure what works and provide recommendations on how to make those changes the most effective. Now, you're getting the results you want.

How does it work? Based on information from our marketing workshop - including business requirements, segmentation of audiences, conversion goals, and target metrics tied to conversion strategy - we will devise a website testing optimization strategy. The testing strategy will confirm the prioritization of your goals, provide a set of UX experiments to run, specify variations to the websites targeted in those experiments, identify success criteria to achieve target metrics, detail tools and practices for data collection and analysis. We implement the tests on your site and measure responses from visitors, keeping you informed of trends as the tests run. Once we have conclusive results, we provide you with an insights report of findings and recommendations what delivers the most results, who responds the best to each change, what could be done better, and what to do next.

Whether your target conversions are increasing website visitor count, leads through newsletter subscriptions or contact forms, online orders, traffic to your physical location, hits through organic search, engagement over social networks, referrals from social channels, or effectively leveraging advertising platforms, we use optimization to test, measure, and deliver results.

Optimization testing is made most effective when used in combination with brand strategy, user experience research, heuristic evaluation, and a variety of the other comprehensive services that Sandstorm offers.

Want to know more? Reach out to us today and tell us how we can help.

 

This blog was posted by Nick on February 18.
Nick Meshes

About the Author

Nick Meshes

Nick is Sandstorm’s Director of Technology & Analytics. He’s boosting our quantitative focus. He’s busy increasing our capabilities in web analytics, website optimization testing, SEO, SEM, display advertising, business intelligence, and personalization.

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Brill Street Chicago Top Gen Y Employer Sandstorm Design

We are so excited to announce that — for the 3rd year in a row! — our UX agency is one of Brill Street's Top Chicago Gen Y Employers for 2012.

Here at Sandstorm, a Gen Y employee has the opportunity to shine doing what they do best and to be proud of it whether it be interactive marketing strategy, UX design or Drupal web development!

Our Warrior Spirit drives us to create compelling online experiences and cutting edge work — all while having loads of fun!

Inspired by the idea of giving back, this year the team came together to create an interactive holiday card inviting users to choose a charity for Sandstorm to donate towards. We were encouraged to make the card fun and, most importantly, to make it our own.

Sandstormers have the platform to do great work, to learn and grow, and to become part of a forward-thinking UX agency. It's a great place to work for everyone: generations X,Y, and the eventual (hopefully awesomely futuristic) Z!

This blog was posted by on January 29, 2013.
John Lombard

About the Author

John Lombard

John is an intern at Sandstorm.

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Karen

Sandstorm Design recently launched a health care web application for a large insurance company. The interactive experience educates users on Medicare health care coverage options. To offer this helpful tool to an even broader audience, the application has now launched in Spanish!

This blog was posted by Karen on April 22, 2011.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Karen

Back in September, Kevin Thau, Twitter’s VP for business and corporate development, announced that Twitter is not a social network. This got a lot of buzz in the blog (and micro-blog) community, but clearing up the labeling of Twitter is most relevant for people not familiar with it. They're the ones who don't know what it is. And if you come into it with a social network/Facebook mindset, you’ll only get frustrated and feel disappointed. Only Facebook can do Facebook. You have to approach this part of your social media strategy with a Twitter mindset.

So, what is the Twitter mindset? What do you DO on Twitter? It's very simple:

  1. Share – Facebook is about sharing who you are, Twitter is about sharing what you’ve found. Use bitly, tinyurl or any of the other little link web sites to share the articles, blogs and web sites you like, and add a little comment about why.
  2. Reply – While it might not be a social network, Twitter is a social place. Engage in conversation. It’s fun and easy!
  3. Retweet – If you simply want to pass along a tweet you found interesting without adding a comment, click the retweet option. You can also retweet the traditional way, by copying and pasting it, and adding “RT @(insert author’s username)” in front. In the few characters that are left, add your own commentary.

The best advice is to just dive in. Once you see how others are tweeting, you’ll get it. And don’t forget to follow our Chicago marketing firm @SandstormDesign!

This blog was posted by Karen on January 26, 2011.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Karen

It’s easy to love your job when you work for Sandstorm Design, and it’s even easier when the projects that come your way are for organizations that are working to make the world a better place – like The Cradle, an open adoption agency in Chicago. Along with giving them a fresh, new look, we also made their site easy to update by completing development in Drupal so that they can change their content regularly with current news, new waiting families, and new stories of success.

We loved working with The Cradle and being a part of helping birthparents, adoptive families, and adopted children come together to create their own unique family stories. We are so proud to launch this web site!

This blog was posted by Karen on .
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Karen

Sandstorm Design is proud to announce the launch of our second interactive health care web application. Federal employees have the opportunity to answer a series of questions and get a customized recommendation to help them find the right insurance plan. Along the way, learning moments are integrated throughout the experience, educating the user to make better decisions.

We love working with our clients as much as we love creating interactive tools to make people’s lives a little easier, and that’s why we’re so excited to launch this quick and easy-to-use web application to help Federal employees!

This blog was posted by Karen on October 22, 2010.
Karen Boehl

About the Author

Karen Boehl

Karen does a little bit of everything – webmaster, social media manager and search engine optimizer. She can most often be found on Twitter, in the Usability Lab, or happily buried in the Drupal admin menu.

Sandy
Medicare Application

After months of collaboration, health care education, Medicare explanation, web application development, voice over talent selection and a bit of instructional design, we are proud to announce the launch of an interactive health care web application to help users understand Medicare health care coverage options from a large insurance company. After going through the application, I feel confident I can help my parents through the Medicare process and explain the difference between A, B, D, gap and advantage. If you can't, and you know someone who is around 65 years old, you should send them to check it out. (There's closed captioning as well as the ability to increase the type, too.)

This blog was posted by Sandy on August 18, 2010.
Sandy Marsico, Founder & CEO

About the Author

Sandy Marsico

Sandy Marsico is the founder & CEO of Sandstorm®, a digital brand experience agency that turns consumer insights into engaging user experiences through our unique blend of data science, brand strategy, UX and enterprise-level technology.

Sandy

I love taking tests. Sounds weird, I know, but I love learning, and tests are a quick way for me to discover what I don't know and immediately pinpoints an area or two that I can improve on. And I found a website SEO tool that tests your website and gives you a grade. Sandstorm Design got 99/100!

When it comes to SEO and marketing your website, the high level concepts don't often change (write strong original content, continue to add to that content, attract quality links, etc). What does change are all the new things you can do to increase your odds that people will come back to your website and promote your content, which in turn drives more traffic. Of all the website SEO tools, I like Website Grader. (and no, they didn't pay for that link).

When I find a tool I like, I share it. And what I like most is that Website Grader put together in a very organized fashion what they look for in the analysis, what you can do to improve your website, and if you want more help, where to go. And it's free.

This blog was posted by Sandy on March 5, 2010.
Sandy Marsico, Founder & CEO

About the Author

Sandy Marsico

Sandy Marsico is the founder & CEO of Sandstorm®, a digital brand experience agency that turns consumer insights into engaging user experiences through our unique blend of data science, brand strategy, UX and enterprise-level technology.

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