• Take advantage of local search for your business

    On: April 30, 2013
    In: News
    Views: 534
     Like

    40% of all online searches have local intent.  Are you taking advantage of all the ways local search can drive these potential customers to your website?

    1)      Start with GetListed.org ~ a local dashboard and trade tool that will allow you to see how your business is indexed in four of the most popular local search engines

    2)      Make sure your business is represented on other local search sites such as Foursquare, Yelp, Superpages, City Search, Insider Pages, etc.

    3)      Fully complete your company’s information including driving and map information.  Be sure this information is consistent across all local search sites to help your SEO

    4)      If feasible, make it easy for consumers to contact you quickly with a click-to call button or put your phone number in bold.

    Taking the time to claim your local listings and making sure your company information is up-to-date, will give you the benefit of driving more traffic to your website and customers to your business.

    Katrina Noble, Media Director

    Read More
  • De-Stress and Be Creative

    On: April 25, 2013
    In: Fun Office Tips
    Views: 659
     Like

    Pantone
    I don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed out I find it hard to be creative. In our line of work, we can’t afford to have these distractions because creativity is what being a designer is all about!

    I recently started taking steps in my own life to reduce stress… I found that things such as family life and health issues can be significant stressers, but so can the place where you spend most of your waking hours – your office. I began looking at my own office and thinking about the things I can do to help make my workspace a more relaxing and stress-free place.

    Here are a few tips to de-stressing your workspace:

    1. CHOOSE YOUR COLORS WISELY
    Studies show that colors in your surrounding can impact your mood, so whether
    you’re painting an accent wall in your office or choosing art to hang up, choose
    your colors wisely! Stick to brighter and more cheerful hues (such as yellows, oranges
    and lime greens) because they tend to make you feel more joyful. Shy away from
    darker colors (such as blue) because they tend to make you feel more somber
    or serious.

    2. PERSONALIZE
    The more your office feels like you, the happier you will be. Bring in photos of family,
    friends or even your pets! Create your own artwork for the space – you can even
    include inspirational sayings in your art. Another personal touch to add to your
    zen-like workspace is to hang artwork of places you’ve visited or places you’d
    like to go.

    3. WALK AMONGST THE LIVING
    Surround yourself with living object, such as live plants, flowers or fish. These items
    help create a peaceful and more energetic environment. (You can see the new
    addition to my office in the picture above – my new Crown Tail Betta Fish…
    his name is Pantone.)

    4. DITCH THE BAD
    We’ve all had that rocky relationship or the one that ended badly, but your desk
    shouldn’t be a place to remind you of that! Get rid of pictures of your ex… you don’t
    need the distraction! Also, keep items like fake or dead things (such as silk or dried
    flowers) to a minimum as the kill positive energy.

    5. CAN THE CLUTTER
    Piles of papers, stacks of files, and junk all over the place can knock out good
    energy and make a space feel chaotic. (I’m stressed out just thinking about it!)
    Keep your mess behind closed doors such as a file cabinet or make friends with
    your trash can and just get rid of the stuff that’s not necessary. Keeping clutter
    out of sight helps you think more positively and be more creative!

    Good luck in your mission to de-stress your workspace! Whether you try just one or all of these tips, I hope it helps you say goodbye to stress and hello to creativity!

    Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

    Read More
  • 5 Ways to Protect and Track Your Online Reputation

    On: April 23, 2013
    In: News
    Views: 492
     Like

    What are people saying about your company?  Be pro-active when it comes to monitoring your online reputation by using these simple methods:

    1)      Conduct an Online Search – Get in the habit of searching for your company or product online and see what you find.  Perform a general and news search to see what comes up.

    2)      GoogleAlerts.com– This is an easy and effective tool for your company and the best part?  It’s free!  Sign up your company, service or product name with Google Alerts and you’ll be notified via email if Google finds a match with the key words you want it to find.  Also good for keeping an eye on your competitors.

    3)      Glassdoor.com – This website includes anonymous reviews and ratings of a company written by employees and former employees.  A real eye opener!  

    4)      SocialMentions.com – Enter your brand or product name and it will pull in results from across a series of websites including blogs, social media, etc…  You can sign up for email alerts as well for continued tracking.

    5)      Rankur.com– This site claims to access millions of online blogs, online reviews, news posts, etc.  and provides you with charts, graphs and analysis.  The detail of the analysis depends on how much you want to pay, but they do have a basic analysis that is free.

    With all these options, you have no excuse not to easily track and defend your business’s online reputation.

     

    Katrina Noble, Media Director

    Read More
  • The 5 Types of Design Clients

    On: April 18, 2013
    In: Design
    Views: 491
     Like

    Ok, it’s time to be honest. We don’t absolutely love all of our clients… we work with them on a daily basis, but some of them DRIVE US NUTS! Before we start accusing our clients for being difficult to work with, let’s take a step back and ask ourselves why certain clients are the way they are and what we can do on our end to make the experience of working with them a more pleasant one.

    Clients can be classified into 5 main groups:

    1. HIGH MAINTENANCE

    How to Identify Them: Usually first-timers when it comes to hiring professional designers.

    How to Deal With Them: Be firm and clear on your intensions and your process.
    Oftentimes it helps these types of clients if you give them instructions and/or a visual –
    give them a timeline so they know when payments are due and when things are
    expected of them.

     2. HIGH EXPECTATIONS

    How to Identify Them: They love the phrase “Can’t you just…” and always want
    things NOW!

    How to Deal With Them: Give these types of clients a breakdown of everything
    they want done and the stages involved in getting it to the end result. Also, be
    sure to agree on pricing based on the work involved. This will show them that
    everything isn’t as simple as the snap of your fingers and you can avoid conflict
    when it comes to invoicing.

    3. TOTALLY UNREALISTIC

    How to Identify Them: They’re new to the advertising world and have BIG dreams.

    How to Deal With Them: Ask this type of client questions to help sift through the realistic
    and unrealistic goals. If they still have overly ambitious goals, suggest a “Phase 2”.
    Oftentimes clients will see that Phase 2 isn’t necessary because you included the
    necessities in Phase 1.

    4. STRAIGHT TO THE POINT

    How to Identify Them: They know what they want and just need it done.

    How to Deal With Them: We love these clients! They often come prepared with logos,
    content, ect. but will still need something from you – confirmation. Be sure to confirm
    with these types of clients that you understand their requests, what you plan to do
    and by when.

    5. GRAVEYARD

    How to Identify Them: They’re the ones you haven’t heard from in a while.

    How to Deal With Them: These clients are gung-ho at the beginning, but their
    excitement soon fizzles out. If you can’t get a response from your client on projects,
    try setting dates for deadlines and explain what the repercussions are if these
    deadlines aren’t met. If you still aren’t getting results, you may just have to let
    the project die.

    I’m sure you were able to classify some of your clients into each of those categories. I was definitely able to think of a few! Hopefully now though you can apply some of these tips when working with your clients for a more stress-free experience.

    For more information on this topic, please CLICK HERE for the original article.

    Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

    Read More
  • Are you a small business looking to get noticed?

    On: April 15, 2013
    In: Education
    Views: 668
     Like

    Here are 3 easy ways to get some attention for your business.

    1)      Social Media – A lot of people are searching for businesses through their Facebook page so it is important to have a presence there even if you don’t have a website.  Be sure your Facebook page includes your location, hours and any other pertinent information.   Having a website is important, but a Facebook fan page is another way that consumers can find you.

    2)      Get Listed– List your company on Google Places for Businesses.   Like it or not, Google is still the number one search engine so make sure your customers have accurate information on your business. 

    3)      Your Email Signature – add your company, address and contact information to your email signature

    Putting your info on these three items may seem small but can have a big effect.  You never know how people are going to find you so do everything you can to make it easy for them! 

     Katrina Noble, Media Director

    Read More
  • Why do primary research?

    On: April 30, 2012
    In: Education
    Views: 660
     Like

    I’ve often wondered why so many, maybe most companies who operate locally do not  invest in primary research. Perhaps the biggest reason is cost. But the cost – I think a better word is investment – measured against the aggregate marketing budget and total sales volume, is quite small.

    Nevertheless, not investing in primary research is short sighted in my view. Here are four darn  good reasons to do primary research

    1. Mitigate your risk – minimize marketing decisions by assuming you know more about your customers or prospective customers than they do.
    2. Help shape the strategic direction of your company.
    3. Gain a competitive advantage simply because much of your competition does not use research appropriately.
    4. Identify new opportunities in the marketplace.

    So consider the opportunities.

    Mike Bolchalk

    Read More
  • Three Things Needed for R.O.I. on Your Ad Dollars

    On: November 2, 2011
    In: News
    Views: 551
     Like

    Jim Arnold, former GM of KOLD-13 and TV consultant and I agree that there are three things that always make for a successful advertising campaign. The first is consistency. If you’re not committed to a year’s schedule then save your money. Short-term advertising schedules have a proven  high failure rate because building awareness overnight is nearly impossible in these days of message overload and high media costs.

    Next it’s best to commit to one medium rather than splitting your media choices. Unless your Geico Insurance company it’s  better to concentrate your precious ad dollars rather than spreading across multiple media channels. Even major brands concentrate their ad dollars and so should you.

    Finally a minimum frequency of three messages is needed per viewer/listener/reader. Research says your audience must see, hear or view message at least three times before you can penetrate their consciousness.  A frequency rate of more than three is always better. In fact some advertisers have a frequency target of nine messages.

    In summary to get an R.O.I. on your ad dollars be sure to commit to a long term plan, focus your ad dollars and remember just like a boxer throwing punches, that frequency is king.

    Read More
  • Is Your Company First, Best or Different?

    On: January 10, 2011
    In: Education
    Views: 648
     Like

    My friend Henry Dahl, who had a long career in senior management at the Upjohn Company,  taught me  that companies usually need only one of these attributes to be successful. Writing advertising copy to emphasize these attributes also makes perfect sense but make sure to focus only one attribute per message.  More on this subject can be found at Business Tips Blog.

    Read More
  • Here’s How to Use Outdoor Advertising with a Punch

    On: December 21, 2010
    In: News
    Views: 640
     Like

    One of the oldest and misunderstood forms of advertising is outdoor advertising.  Outdoor ads are everywhere in the form of  highway and street billboards,  bus shelters and bus benches transit posters and more.  Strategically placed outdoor advertising guarantees substantial exposure for relatively little investment. This makes outdoor advertising very cost-effective.

    Outdoor advertising takes no time off as it works  seven days a week reaching thousands of commuters in their vehicles.

    The secret to effective outdoor advertising.
    Use these three rules and you’ll win every time: Be Brief – Be Bold – Be Clear. Commuters have only a few seconds to see then read your message. The key is to simplify your  message with clean graphics and readable typestyles.  Be sure to keep your message short with six words or less including your brand name.  Marlboro cigarettes built its brand on outdoor advertising and you can too, by keeping things simple. A very useful resource for design guidelines can be found at Primedia Outdoor.

    Please click here to see some samples of our creative work for outdoor advertising.

    Read More
  • Want to make an impression? It only cost 44 cents.

    On: December 15, 2010
    In: News
    Views: 548
     Like

    One easy way to distinguish yourself in your business dealings is to take time to write a personal thank you note.  It sounds so simple and seems so obvious, doesn’t it? But with the emergence of email and texting,  penning a personal message has become a lost art in today’s business communications.

    Here are some useful tips from Michelle Nichols “In Praise of the ‘Thank You’ Note” to separate you from the rest of the pack.

    Now, you’ve just rediscovered a simple, easy, and inexpensive way to be remembered.

    By the way, you can subscribe free to Business Week Small Business.

    Visit our website for more marketing resources.

    Read More