“Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.”

I sit here preparing to create a new website with the help of some very talented people. Thinking about what I want to say with this website has brought my attention the ever increasing importance of visual content.

 

What is there to be said?

Is there a statement?

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“Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” ~ Arthur Brisbane ~                     

This was notion was first proposed in 1911 and is even more important now than then. Today we can capture an image and within moments that image is available to thousands, tens of thousands or even millions.. Perhaps the world?

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How does this affect us?

Well back to the new website, what do I show and why? Maybe more important is what can I do for others? I offer my talents but those who want what I offer need to know I am here.

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I am now my own client?

This will be fun.

 

 

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The One Thing Small to Midsize Businesses Need to Understand About Social Media

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This post originally from Christine-Ink.com

Last week Christine and I co-taught a course for UNR’s Extended Studies program, titled Writing a Winning Blog and Social Media Strategy. In that course, we shared a lot of the strategies that work for Christine, Ink’s clients and friends—as well as some of the things we’ve observed out there in the world of social media. And guess what we found? Surprise—most small and midsize businesses have pretty similar challenges.

Let me guess: You want to do more on the social web, but you are limited by:

1.     Time
2.     Budget
3.     Skill

Still, you’re looking to get more business, and you know that the social web is where your customers are. So you set up a Facebook page, a Twitter profile, a Yelp listing, a Pinterest, a Google+…

…and there’s your first problem right there. How do you know which of those sites really suits your brand? Which of those sites is packed with target customers, and which gives you great SEO results? Did you do any of that research before you jumped in with both feet? For most, the answer is “no.” There just isn’t time—which is to say, you didn’t make time.

But let’s say, because it’s a pretty good guess for most business owners, that a big chunk of your target market is on the sites listed above. You sign in every morning and write a post about one of your products or services, and cross-post it to every network. It only takes five minutes a day, and now you just wait for the sales to roll in. Right?

Nope. Unfortunately (and it really is unfortunate for time-strapped business owners), five minutes a day is simply not enough to bring you fortune and fame. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, but it is a disappointment. 

So far, you’ve learned that you can’t successfully run a social media campaign with limited time. You can’t create more hours in a day, so you decide it’s time to hire someone who can help share your message with your audience.

So you hire a social media intern: your neighbor’s 18-year-old daughter. For $50 a month ($2 per day), she promises to post every weekday on all your profiles. Two months later, you’ve got twenty new fans and a page riddled with spelling errors and oddball videos. Frustrated, you ask your intern if she knows anything about social marketing at all. She leaves in tears, because you’re right: She knows about socialmedia, but she doesn’t know marketing.

By now, you’ve tried skimping on time. You’ve tried skimping on budget. You’ve tried skimping on skill. And you’ve learned that all-important lesson for anybody trying to get started in the social sphere.

The One Thing: The ROI of zero is zero.

And the ROI of “cheap” is still “cheap.” Let’s say you want to do $1 million in sales this year. The vast majority of your potential customers (for just about any business you can think of) are on social media. Seems like you should invest in that market, doesn’t it?

In the ten years Christine and I have been working in social media, we have seen many brands dig into great strategies that boost their audience and boost their sales. But we have never seen a single brand achieve significant increases in sales or traffic with a tiny little halfhearted investment of time or money.

Sure, some people make it look so easy to Tweet twenty times a day, or rack up Facebook fans—but just because it looks easy for them, doesn’t mean it is. Behind the scenes, they either hired an awesome team with solid expertise, or they picked up the expertise to do it on their own. Either way, they have made an investment that is paying off. Their ROI, I assure you, makes it worth the investment.

All business owners have the same challenge when it comes to social marketing, but your challenge is not what you thought it was. You are not limited by time, budget, or skill. You are limited by your perception of what a great marketing strategy can do for your business. So instead of saving social media for a last thought, make it a priority. You’ll be much more pleased with the results.

 

 

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American New Sources

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For American New Sources we initially created a logo and visual aesthetic and built a showroom style page. The excellent copy was written by the extremely talented Christine Ink and was intended to help them put their best foot forward for their first major trade event. Immediately following the show, we regrouped and transitioned the site to a powerful and extensible dynamic catalog powered by Magento (e-commerce platform developed by the clever folks at E-Bay). 

Services Provided 

  • Web Development
  • Logo/Identity
  • Copy Writing

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The Life Change Center

TLCC_frontpage A fresh and responsive site, designed with speed and cross platform accessibility in mind. We also developed a user updatable chart module to allow the statistics the Center uses to be easily modified as real world data changes. A facelift for their previous logo design was also provided.

Services Provided

  • Web Development
  • Custom Chart Module
  • Logo/Identity

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Quarterbacking Your Brand: How to Stand Out in a Crowded Field

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This post originally from Christine-Ink.com

When Tommy Brady was in ninth grade, he wrote a school paper about how, one day, he would be a household name. His family thought he was exaggerating, but Tommy knew he had something special: determination. Well, that and a great arm.

It took years of unglamorous, hard work with little recognition. But by working harder, drilling more, never giving up and never letting anybody down, Tom Brady eventually rose through the ranks to become one of the winningest quarterbacks in NFL history.

That’s quite a story, and it’s one that will always ring true. No matter what, you can count on Tom Brady to give everything he’s got. That’s who he is to the core.

Whether it’s Tom Brady, or Michael Jordan, or Pele, or Muhammad Ali, every great athlete has their own unique style based on their own strengths and personality. Jordan could jump. Ali killed with speed. Pele never missed.

All of the greats have carved out space for themselves both on and off the field of play, and they’ve done it by being authentic to who they are. That’s a crucial part of what has made them stars: They never sought to copy anybody else, but always did the best they could do with what they were given. In a competitive world, that can make all the difference.

There’s a big business lesson to be learned here. As a leader, you are constantly competing to make your message heard on an increasingly crowded field. How do you stand out? By being absolutely authentic and playing to your strengths.

Looking carefully at your competition, you’ll probably be able to tell right away which of them are copying each other’s playbooks. Most people are afraid to take a risk by trying new things – but that’s ultimately what holds them back. After all, you’re not the only one who can see the lack of originality; your customers can see it too, and they’re tired of it.

So kick it up a notch, and start separating yourself from the pack. Show off your authenticity; invest in your true strengths; and most importantly, let some personality shine through.

Owning Your Field

Ready to show off your unique talents? It’s up to you to discover what they are, and how to use them to your advantage. Some things to try:

DO talk to your employees, customers and business partners about what they like most about you.

DO make a list of your personal and professional strengths. Don’t be too general – instead of “I always do a good job,” try “I always spend extra time going over the details.” 

DO look at successful brands and leaders outside your field for inspiration. What can you learn about how to excel with uniqueness?

DO take a personal approach in your marketing and communications. Throw out your generic sales letters and overly hyped Facebook posts, and write something you really believe!

DON’T create an inauthentic personality for your brand. Don’t pretend your company is all fun and games if what you really excel at is crossing every T!

DON’T try too hard. Like Tom Brady, building on your strengths will be something you work on for a long, long time. Make sure you’re starting from the right place.

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