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The Forbin Blog

Apr 15

Award Week: Recognizing the Results of a Talented Team

Posted by vgmforbin in Award Winning

Award-winning Forbin work

Forbin started 2014 out on the right foot, garnering three judges awards plus a People’s Choice Award for work completed in 2013 at the 2014 American Advertising Awards.

We are nothing if not humble here at VGM Forbin. Well, that and busy. We don’t always take (or have) the time to recognize the awesome work our team does day in and day out. That being said, the Forbin team was recognized publicly at the AAF-Cedar Valley American Advertising Awards on Feb. 21, walking away with three awards plus the highly coveted People’s Choice Award. In a break from our normal noses-to-the-grindstone approach, we wanted to showcase our work that was deemed worthy of a Gold or Silver American Advertising Award.


Gold Award

VPanel® Content Management System for Monroe Wheelchair

Forbin’s proprietary CMS, VPanel, was built to give clients an easier way to access and manage their own websites without needing a degree in computer science or coding expertise. This upgraded version for Forbin client Monroe Wheelchair in Rochester, NY includes a newly designed interface and some additional tools to make the customer experience even better:

  • A product catalog that makes adding any of the 17,000+ products in our product library easy for clients, and is also easy for users to navigate and place orders.
  •  Website statistics upon logging in to see website visits, top performing pages and other valuable information.
  • The option to have a featured video highlighting a specific product.
  • Industry-specific newsletters to position your company as a resource.


Silver Awards

Iowa State Bank Website

With locations in Burlington, Wapello, Mount Union and Morning Sun in southeast Iowa, Iowa State Bank posed the unique situation of marrying a modern look and feel without straying too far from their roots. The solution was an “illustrated” design – no stock images, all custom illustrations and icons – that incorporated the characteristics of their area and customer base. The website was built using responsive design technology. In a world thinking “mobile-first,” we consider responsive web design a standard, not an add-on. We are also one of the first in our area to provide responsive web design to our financial customers.


Brent Anderson

“Site feels friendly, particularly for a bank. Responsive design works nicely, easy to access pull-down menus and all info on a phone. Social links stay in view.”

- Brent Anderson, founder of Stir and Enjoy out of KC



The Cedar Valley Connect App for the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

The heart of economic development in the Cedar Valley, the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber needed their most important information available to users on all kinds of mobile devices. The Cedar Valley Connect App allows users to see all of the GCVAC’s upcoming events, the latest economic and business development news, contact information for area businesses and organizations, and Near Me mapping.



“It’s like the local yellow pages in your pocket.”

- Corinne Skoog, Creative Director at Ahni & Zoe by Creative Memories



People’s Choice Award- The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance App

Winning this award is sweet, but winning it with the client in attendance made it even sweeter. Getting to share in the excitement of winning this award with the amazing people you created for was a unique experience we’ll keep with us forever.


Getting to enjoy a night on the red carpet while taking home a few awards was a great reward for the Forbin team. We look forward to partnering with our great customers in pursuit of the highest quality work throughout 2014 and beyond!

Apr 10

Tech News Update: VGM Forbin Servers Safe from “Heartbleed” Bug

Posted by vgmforbin in Tech News

Forbin servers are secure from Heartbleed

All VGM Forbin servers are patched and safe from Heartbleed-related issues.

The “Heartbleed” bug that has been reported on by major news outlets may have you concerned about the security of the personal information your patients and customers are entering into your website. However, VGM Forbin customers can have the peace of mind of knowing that their websites are safe. All VGM Forbin servers are protected from the Heartbleed issue, as a patch was put in place last year.


Here’s the short and sweet version of what the Heartbleed bug is:

  • OpenSSL is an open-source encryption technology used on about two-thirds of Web servers.
  • It helps protect information from cybercriminals.
  • Heartbleed is a flaw in OpenSSL.
  • Cybercriminals could exploit the bug to access visitors’ personal informational, as well as cryptographic keys in order to impersonate the site and collect a larger amount of data.
  • A website has been created to answer questions related to Heartbleed.


Again, Forbin customers can rest assured knowing that all of our servers have been patched, and are safe and secure from this security flaw. You can check to see if your website is affected using either one of these tools:


If you have further questions about Heartbleed, you can go to the website mentioned above or call VGM Forbin at 877-814-7485.

Apr 4

The Forbin Sales Team: A Range of Expertise, One Common Goal

Posted by vgmforbin in Forbin Team

The VGM Forbin Sales Team

The Forbin Sales Team- sales pros dedicated to finding you the right solution!

“Some people will tell you salesman is a bad word. They’ll conjure up images of used car dealers, and door-to-door charlatans. This is our duty to change their perception.” – Dwight Shrute, Salesman, “The Office.” 


Two moms, a firefighter, a motorcycle owner and chef with a zoology degree: it sounds like the opening to a joke, but it’s actually a description of VGM Forbin’s sales team. With a variety of expertise and industry knowledge, the Forbin sales team is flexible enough to help any business in any market identify their web needs and create a plan of action to fulfill them.


We’ve been featuring our awesome sales people on the Forbin Facebook page all week, but here’s a quick rundown of our sales pros, their specialties and how you can get in touch with them.


The Ladies

Jane Gordon- a lot of energy in a small package, Jane works with HME providers, O&P professionals and healthcare organizations of all kinds in building up their presence online. A mom of two and experienced sales professional, Jane’s sense of humor and “Iowa nice” attitude help her build long lasting relationships with customers all across the eastern half of the United States. Get in touch with Jane! 


Carrie Fitzgerald- with nothing but pure love for the sales process, Carrie helps us in solidifying our expertise in web solutions for HMEs and healthcare providers in the western half of the country. Carrie’s enjoyment of the simple things – she can catch you up on “Downton Abbey” if you’re behind – and easy going demeanor always make her a welcome sight at trade shows across the country. Get in touch with Carrie!


The Guys

Derek Miller- Derek has been rocking sales since he was in high school. His passion for helping companies and nonprofits in all sizes, industries and locations identify how they can do business better makes him a valuable asset to the Forbin team. As an avid cyclist, Derek can also give you pointers on your riding form. He’s also your man if you have a fire or other emergency as he is part of the Denver, IA fire department. Get in touch with Derek! 


Donny Wilson- talk about moving in a different direction. After graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in zoology, Donny began working in sales, gaining experience while working for every size of company from startups to large corporations. Assisting bank and financial customers with their web needs isn’t his only skill; Donny is also capable of whipping up delicious food and creating one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture that are only rivaled by the web solutions he delivers for customers. Get in touch with Donny!


Neal Price- Neal doesn’t get out much, if at all, and by that we mean he works almost solely on internal projects with other businesses underneath the VGM banner. Neal is actually quite social, as his knowledge of the latest social networks and marketing techniques proves. Whether he’s working on a full website or web marketing campaign for another VGM company, Neal just “tries to be awesome and put a smile on everyone’s face.” Get in touch with Neal!


While the Forbin sales team each has their own strengths, specialties and experience, the one thing they have in common is a love for helping customers do business better. Whether a customer needs help establishing a web presence, building or strengthening a social media or search engine presence or making a certain work process more efficient, the Forbin sales team is ready to provide a solution. Contact any members of our sales team today to get started!

Mar 28

Medtrade Spring 2014: Key Takeaways for the Web

Posted by vgmforbin in Forbin Events


Medtrade Spring is always a great event, but this year the buzz about all the industry changes and opportunities that are available was obvious and brought a little more excitement to the show. In the VGM Forbin booth, we talked to a lot of show attendees. Some were business owners who had been in the industry for over 20 years, while others were relatively new players. Some owned larger scale operations, while others had only a handful of employees.


Despite the diversity in the providers we talked to, there were a few overarching themes that were brought up repeatedly by visitors in our booth. Here is what we heard the most chatter about and were asked most frequently at Medtrade Spring.


Ecommerce is not the end all solution.

With all the talk about cash sales and retail, many providers think that ecommerce — being able to sell products directly from your website — is the solution. However, this is often not the case. Price shopping, small margins and competition with regional or nationwide companies are just a couple of potential roadblocks that those going the Ecommerce route face.


An online presence is a must.

The most telling bit behind this fact is that we heard it from multiple providers that had been in the HME industry for years. They had always used traditional print marketing and word of mouth to promote their business. They have seen the power of the internet as a marketing tool and are willing adapt to ensure the success of their business.


Having a website is not enough.

You can have the best website in the history of the internet, yet it is worthless if no one can find it. We also spoke with a lot of business owners who asked about things like Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing. In a Google-owned web world, playing by its rules is paramount to a high ranking in searches. Writing custom content that is optimized and navigating the world of Google AdWords is a timely process that takes the right tools and knowledge to be done correctly. Speaking of time…


“I don’t have the time/money for (insert phrase).”

Whether it was SEO, SEM, posting to and managing a Facebook page or blogging, time and money are two things numerous providers we talked to don’t have. They and their staff don’t have time to do these things themselves, but they also don’t have the money to hire an employee dedicated to just that job. Throwing an uneducated, inexperienced intern at online marketing won’t get the results they want either. Luckily, we know some talented individuals at Forbin who can help with your SEO, SEM, social media and blogging.


We’re not denying there are challenges ahead in the HME industry. But there are also a lot of opportunities for those that are willing to learn, adapt and thrive. What we saw and learned at Medtrade Spring in Las Vegas proved to us that these types of business owners are out there.


If you’re looking for new ways to market your business, reach your audience and get results, VGM Forbin is ready to help. Just contact our Web Marketing Team today to get started!

Mar 14

Forbin Websites Gone Live: Farmers Savings Bank & Trust

Posted by vgmforbin in Customer Websites

Farmers Savings Bank & Trust is a community bank with two branches serving the communities of Traer and Vinton and the surrounding areas in northeast Iowa. They came to Forbin with a unique challenge: create a microsite to be developed quickly so their customers could still access their online banking accounts while a comprehensive new website would be built. Challenge accepted.

The entire development of FSB & T's new website, plus the microsite, took a little over three months to complete.

The entire development of FSB & T’s new website, plus the microsite, took a little over three months to complete.


In about one business week, Forbin had the microsite written, designed, developed and live. After an in-person meeting with the client at VGM headquarters, work began on the full site, and in just about three months, the website was launched.


The new Farmers Savings Bank & Trust is focused around their role as a financial partner for their communities. Aside from a new look and reorganized content, the website features a dynamic calendar for upcoming events hosted or sponsored by the bank that can be easily updated by bank staff members. Forbin was also able to work with FSB & T’s online banking provider to seamlessly integrate this convenient service into the site.


From start to finish, the creation of the microsite and full website was a smooth process helped along by the enthusiasm of the Farmers Savings Bank & Trust staff members we collaborated with. To see the finished product for yourself, go to www.fsb-traer.com.

Feb 11

Forbin Websites Gone Live: Integrity First Bank

Posted by vgmforbin in Customer Websites

Integrity First Bank, serving the Wausau, WI area, came to Forbin needing a website with an updated design and clearer navigation, as well as the ability to integrate various third parties for services they provide to their customers.

The new IntegrityFirstBank.com.

The new IntegrityFirstBank.com.


The new design created by Forbin brightened up the main colors of the website in order to make it more inviting for customers than the previous site. This new design, coupled with a main navigation with dropdown menus and content focused on ease-of-use for customers, provides an improved user experience. The old site required many more clicks for users to find the information needed, whereas the new layout, content and design reduces the number of clicks.


IntegrityFirstBank.com also features a marketing message on the home page that allows the staff at Integrity First Bank to promote various products and services, as well as any community events they are involved in. The new website also features integration for online banking and online mortgage applications for additional convenience for Integrity’s customers.


It was a great project that resulted in a unique design that help Integrity First Bank achieve its goals. You can see the finished product for yourself by visiting www.IntegrityFirstBank.com.

Jan 28

Forbin Websites Gone Live: Alpine Bank

Posted by vgmforbin in Customer Websites

The new website for Alpine Bank went live in the first week of 2014, and it was a culmination of lots of great work between the Alpine Bank and Forbin teams. Alpine Bank is headquartered in Rockford, IL and serves customers throughout the Greater Rockford Area including Belvidere, Loves Park, Cherry Valley, Roscoe and Machesney Park. The main focuses of the project were reorganizing service pages for a more customer-friendly website, as well as creating a more visually appealing look.

The new design of BankAlpine.com makes for easier navigation for customers.

The new design of BankAlpine.com makes for easier navigation for customers.


In working with Alpine Bank, Forbin created a layout and design that makes information much easier for customers to find. The home page features a rotating marketing message, online banking login and a social feed from Alpine Bank’s various social media platforms.


The left-hand column on the home page also features three menus to take visitors to a dynamic locations map to find any of Alpine Bank’s 15 locations or 60+ ATMS; the logins for specific trust and investment accounts; and online banking resources.


As many of Alpine Bank’s customers access the website from their mobile devices, the new website is responsive in design, meaning it looks great and functions properly on laptops, tablets and smart phones of all sizes.


Despite the size of the site, Heather Wick, Marketing & Communications Director at Alpine Bank, said the process went very well, something she heard was not always the case with website designs.


“Forbin has been really easy to work with,” she said. “This was my first website redesign and had heard horror stories of past redesigns at banks.  So, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  But, the process was so smooth; I have no horror stories to share.”


Forbin is continuing the wonderful relationship we’ve built with Alpine Bank through providing social media and blog services. We are thankful to Heather and her team for their help during the process, as the project wouldn’t have been a success without it.


You can see the finished product for yourself by visiting www.BankAlpine.com.

Jan 27

Superior Website Customer Service for 2014: Live Chat

Posted by vgmforbin in Live Chat

For many of the businesses we work with, customer service at their location or branch is phenomenal.  They have developed a team of website live chatfriendly, helpful, passionate employees who respond quickly to customers, have the answers their customers are looking for and know how to sell to them.  However, as most walk-in business turns into online traffic and the calls stop coming in, these employees have trouble being connected with customers.  This is where Live Chat comes in.


Remember that the employee isn’t at fault for this change in customer service needs.   With advancements in technology, the customer has been slowly conditioned to get the answers they need through a company’s website.  If they don’t get the answers they need within a matter of minutes or seconds, they are moving on to a competitor’s website. To enhance the user experience and guarantee you are answering their questions, we recommend adding Live Chat to your site.


Live Chat for Your Website


Adding a Live Chat tool to your website will not only allow employees to better connect with website visitors, it will also cut down on call waiting times and improve the overall customer experience.  At Forbin, we use Live Chat to answer a wide variety of questions about website cost, how to add employee emails, how to change content on their website and much more.


Rules of Live Chat


Like any online marketing tool, if Live Chat is not managed well, this great solution can turn into a huge pain point for your business.  To avoid poor Live Chat customer service, follow these simple Live Chat rules:


  1. Failure is not an option – Use a Live Chat system that won’t fail.  Discuss the features of Live Chat with VGM Forbin for our specific recommendations.
  2. Bad spellers of the world “untie” – Choose your in-house support staff wisely; think great spellers and quick, professional responses.
  3. Gone in 60 seconds – Do not make the customer wait more than 1 minute for a response.  This could be adjusted in Live Chat settings to appear offline if you are away from your desk or have too many users trying to chat.
  4. Never go to bed angry – Don’t log off with the customer until you have answered all of their questions.  Another good practice is to constantly ask for their opinion.


These are just a few of the ways you can utilize Live Chat for a superior user experience.  To learn more about Live Chat just ask the Live Chat support staff at VGM Forbin by clicking on our Live Chat located on the upper right corner of www.forbin.com!


Jan 21

Forbin Websites Gone Live: Exchange State Bank

Posted by vgmforbin in Customer Websites

A new look and more comprehensive web presence were the two main goals of this project. Located in Lanark, IL, a town of about 1,400 people in northwest Illinois, Exchange State Bank has a proud history of service to the area dating back to 1878. We wanted to be sure to keep this history and their commitment to quality customer intact while giving their site a more modern look and feel with increased ease of use for their customers.

The updated home page for Exchange State Bank features a rotating marketing message, social feed and and inviting look.

The updated home page for Exchange State Bank features a rotating marketing message, social feed and and inviting look.


The site features a rotating marketing message on the home page that the staff can update for various promotions, as well as a social feed from Exchange State Bank’s Facebook page to help customers stay up to date on all the local happenings and bank news. Customers can also use the dynamic Community Calendar feature to see what’s going on in and around Lanark. Forbin also designed the branding for and assists Exchange State Bank in content creation and management of the Exchange State Bank Facebook page.


You can visit the Exchange State Bank website at www.lanarkbank.com to see the end product.

Jan 17

Forbin Websites Gone Live: LegendTrailGolfAndGrill.com

Posted by vgmforbin in Customer Websites

forbin websites cedar valley

The new website for Legend Trail Golf Course, Grill and Catering features a large, rotating marketing message and events calendar.

LegendTrailGolfAndGrill.com is a VGM Forbin website featuring the services and menu at Legend Trail Golf Course, Grill & Catering of Parkersburg, Iowa.  This website uses a large rotating marketing message to feature the local charm of Legend Trail Golf Course, Grill & Catering.  Also, featured on the site is an updateable events calendar, lead forms for the catering service and important golf course information.


Since Legend Trail Golf Course, Grill & Catering is just a short drive from VGM Forbin’s headquarters, more face-to-face meetings could take place and our team could enjoy the very services we are working to promote.  In addition to a website, VGM Forbin also created and manages the Legend Trail Golf and Grill Facebook page.


See this VGM Forbin website for yourself by visiting www.LegendTrailGolfAndGrill.com

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