Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

How do you measure ROI when it comes to Social Media?

October 27, 2009

Today, I ran across Oliver Blanchard’s Social Media ROI slideshow and found it to be creative, funny, fresh and most importantly – very helpful advice. This is definitely a fantastic tool for businesses and marketing professionals alike, giving a real view of how clients, and those not “in tune” with social media view their campaigns. Bottom line…many times they don’t care. I have been at fault in many cases, trying to show clients how social media has brought them more blog comments, more twitter followers and website visitors. But Blanchard is completely right…who cares when you can’t see the real ROI ($$$)?

 

Overall, I’ve learned the single most important component to a social media campaign is to have a PLAN…and by plan, I mean a set of realistic goals that can be easily measured. Write it down. Measure your results. Be consistent. Don’t give up. Below are my top three rules to live by when beginning a new social media campaign:

1. Set goals, but make them realistic.
2. Be proactive and committed to your campaign.
3. Be patient, it will happen.

High Quality Photos = More Customers? Quite possibly so…

May 27, 2009

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The saying “you pay for what you get” is certainly no lie when it comes to marketing your product and/or services. This is especially true when promoting your business online and with marketing collateral. Using high-quality photography for both is a great way to spend your money and get people excited about what you do – be it a pizza joint or selling a baby product.

Sure, with many service-oriented companies, you can probably get away with stock photos. I use istock often and they have great photography for a great price. But when trying to promote the uniqueness of what your business does, it takes original and personal photos to take you to that next level.

Botton line. Don’t short cut this portion of your marketing efforts if you really want to stand out from the crowd.

Take the time to find a good photographer who knows what they’re doing. I know what you’re thinking…in this economy, who has the money? The truth is, there are many talented photographers (some just out of school) who who are willing to work with you to meet your budget needs. All you have to do is ask. You’d be surprised.

I recently worked with Anne Anderson of FotoWonder on a web project with Small Box Web Design. The client, Usual Suspects restaurant (upstairs) and The Casba bar (downstairs) had two completely different atmospheres and wanted to portray their locations on a single website – difficult because they are very different from one another. The client was hesitate to spend money on photography, but I convinced them the importance of showing their unique food selections and the contrasting ambiances. After all, that’s what they’re trying to do, appeal to new clientele and current customers (many don’t even know they serve excellent food!).

Check out a few of the photos FotoWonder took  (below). I was so impressed with her work and creative food shots! The client fell in love with the photos and can now see why it will be so important for their new website. (I’ll report back with the final web design from Small Box Web). Check out FotoWonder’s blog for more imaginative photography!

Case and point.

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Yummy Shimp Pasta at Usual Suspects

Caprese Salad at Usual Suspects

Caprese Salad at Usual Suspects

Fresh Squeezed "Pearl Jam" at Usual Suspects

Fresh Squeezed "Pearl Jam" at Usual Suspects

Upstairs at Usual Suspects

Upstairs at Usual Suspects

Downstairs at The Casba

Downstairs at The Casba

(more…)

What a Difference a Day Makes!

April 5, 2009
April 1, 2009

April 1, 2009

April 2, 2009

April 2, 2009

I’ve had the honor of volunteering at the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition site in Indianapolis this week. What an amazing transformation this house and entire neighborhood has seen in just a week! It’s so fantastic what a group of people can pull off when they all work together.

The best part was seeing the many different races, cultures, and ages come together all to support this very deserving father of three. Bernard McFarland is a wonderful man who pays it forward on a daily basis and he now has inspired so many others to do the same.

I was so excited for this family to see the final house – and the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood transformation! What a fun time it was for everyone involved. Congrats McFarland family and welcome home!

view the full photo gallery from Indystar.com

Shop Local Extreme Treats!

March 25, 2009

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I am SO excited to be working with the Estridge Team preparing for ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, coming to surprise a deserving family in Indy this week! The team will be arriving over the next couple days and in true Midwestern style, we’ve arranged to welcome them with some amazing goodies! I helped pull the best local companies to donate their goods to the “Welcome to Indianapolis” gift baskets that will be given to the design team members and other “extreme” VIPs. Here are a couple of my favorite items…

Just Pop In!, who have a store in Broad Ripple and recently opened a store at the new airport, were kind enough to donate custom popcorn containers. The adorable “Indy Style” popcorn includes the ever-so-yummy caramel & cheese mix.  They also included the sweet and satisfying “orange” flavored popcorn (I know, sounds kinda weird, but I promise, don’t diss it until you try it!). Of course, I LOVE their mouth-watering popcorn and unique flavors, but one of my favorite parts about Just Pop In is their fun branding! The owners, twins Mandy and Carly, are just so creative  in everything they do and, the best part is they really care about our local community.

Another more recent favorite is the online Giant Fortune Cookies. Looks are deceiving in this fortune cookie photo! This delicious cookie is actually about a foot long! Erin at Giant Fortune Cookies was nice enough to drop them off and leave an extra one for me! It’s just so pretty that I can’t bare to eat it…yet. They are the perfect gifts as you can customize your fortune – we created a fun custom message for the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition design team.

The next time you’re looking for a unique, fun gift for a friend…instead of going to the mall, why not buy something local? Get an extreme treat at Just Pop In or Giant Fortune Cookies. Both can be conveniently ordered online, too.

More from Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in Indy coming soon…

FREE Compliments and High Fives Welcome!

March 17, 2009

Gaining attention from The Chicago Tribune, The Oprah Show and several other national media outlets, I thought this was great story to share in times when we’re all looking for some positive news.

Two sophomores from Purdue University (which just happens my Alma Mater) have decided that they have heard enough of negative news lately. They’re taking matters into their own hands and are on a mission to cheer up students on their way to class.

Sophomores Brett Westcott, a civil engineering major and Cameron Brown, a business management major, stand on a well-traveled walkway in the middle of campus every Wednesday offering compliments to strangers – anything from “nice plaid coat!” to “You’re hair looks great today!”. The so-called “Compliment Guys” are apparently not affiliated with any groups or involved in any fraternity initiation ritual – they just want to brighten people’s days. Some students find themselves changing their commutes just to get the free compliments.

I mean, if Oprah’s team is looking for you, you must have done something pretty spectacular!

See the press release

Klevergirl is…talking about the social marketing phenomenon.

March 16, 2009

(updated 11 minutes ago)

Ahhh…social marketing! I recently visited a website that I hadn’t been to in a long time. It seemed the company had added every social marketing tool imaginable to their site! You name it – Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, a Blog, YouTube videos, RSS feeds and more. It looked like an absolute social marketing blitz. I was actually intrigued at first. They must have some life-threatening information that I need to know in all of this news!

To my disappointment, my biggest fear came true. Nothing had been updated or changed in days, weeks – even months. The last entry of the blog was in June of 2008. The page dedicated to media had one, old, completely pointless YouTube video.  Sigh.

In my opinion, the site was now a HUGE turn-off. What seemed to be a company that had always “had it together” now looked like a company that was one of two things 1) had zero employees (possibly true these days!) or 2) was completely overwhelmed with the social marketing tools they had added to their site. I’ll go ahead and go with #2.

The thing is, I completely understand.

Choosing Social Marketing Tools that Work for You
The fact is that if you don’t have a full-time employee updating your Facebook-YouTube-Twitter-Blog…it can be an extremely daunting task. You feel as though you’ll fall behind the competition if you don’t keep up. For the most part, this is true – but it can also hurt you if you’re not updating frequently.

My point, even though social media is continually evolving when it comes to marketing and pr – please don’t feel you have to have to add every social marketing tool to your site to make it look like you’re in the know. Yes, it’s important to know what is going on around you, but don’t take on something that you won’t be able to keep up.

My advice? To pick what works best for you, your company, and most importantly, your audience. And, just because the world is telling you to add all of these gadgets to your website, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Do it because you honestly want to learn how these tools can help your company’s marketing and pr efforts. Then, try to become an expert.

Bottom line…if you’re going to add a bunch of social media tools to your website, you need to keep it fresh and interesting. It’s the only way to keep your audience engaged and interested in your product and/or services.

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Cartoon illustration courtesy of http://www.hubspot.com/

The Name Game: Be UNFORGETTABLE

March 11, 2009

The dilemma: you’ve got a GREAT idea or product with no final name or logo. I know you’ve heard it before…but IT IS “all in the name”. This becomes especially true when trying to brand a company or product. That’s why it’s very important when brainstorming potential names for your company that you get others involved. Too often I see small business owners who think they’ve come up with the “perfect” name for their product/company, but haven’t really done the market research to see if their target audience feels the same way.

The plan? Get a focus group. You should have a minimum of 5 people – the more the better. Of course, you can ask family and friends for their thoughts, but it’s very important to include outsiders who’ll give you an honest, unbiased opinion.

Here are some tips on how to get an inexpensive (or FREE!) focus group. Go on Craigslist. Hire people from your target demographic to join your focus group. Pay them $20 for an hour of their time. Well worth the money and feedback you’ll receive (even if they just verify your name is really outstanding).

Contact the Local Experts. Do the research and try contacting a local college marketing/advertising professor. See if he/she’d be open to discussing and brainstorming your product name in class for a day. Students love learning from real life situations and teachers love giving them the experience.

Bottom line, you never know if you don’t ask. And remember, just because you think you’ve found a great name for your product/company, it doesn’t mean that your customers will think the same.  It may hurt to hear the truth, but at least you are getting good, honest feedback.

The end result? A name that will stick in your customers memory – which you’ll reap the benefits of when it comes to brand recognition and eventually, increased sales.

I highly recommend this GREAT reference book for all things brand related – Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip & Dan Heath.

Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath

Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath

Vote for Josh Radin’s “I’d Rather Be With You” video on VH1!

February 23, 2009

Jon Stewart + Baby Wit = Love

November 13, 2008


While doing research for a current gig that I working on, I ran across this great online site – BabyWit.com while googling for “rocker onsies.” If you are as big a fan as I am of The Daily Show, than this is a must-have onesie for your wee one!

Now I don’t even have kids, but I had to grab one for my sister’s new little guy, Parker. She and her husband Fab are huge Jon Stewart fans (and will hopefully will not read this!).

Wonder if they have Stephen Colbert & Rain dance-off onsies out there somewhere? If your not familiar with Rain (um, Time magazines most influential person last year?! Duh!)…check out the video…absolute comedy!

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Breakin’ by JibJab Sendables®eCards

October 17, 2008
Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

One word. HILARIOUS.

So, my friend recently sent me this personalized e-card from jibjab.com. (I’ve been known to breakdance on occasion.) Anyways, if you haven’t already received a JibJab eCard, or seen one of their animations, be prepared – you’ll be sure to laugh so hard that you may end up having trouble catching your breath. I sure did. (I hate to admit it, but I may have even snorted!)

Now JibJab has been around for a while, but it wasn’t until recently that they started offering personlized eCards. I remember watching “This Land” – a political original “starring” Bush and Kerry four years ago. And now there’s one with Obama and McCain. Both very comical (if not too offensive for your taste).

And there’s lots more where that came from. There’s one for everything – from birthday’s, invitations, holidays, thank you’s, celebrity spoofs, and some that are “just for fun.” Their latest technology allows you to easily add your own pictures and crop them to fit the images. Just a couple minutes of online fun (get out of the gutter) can change the entire out look of your day. Promise, you’ll be showing everyone in the office.

The cost, you ask? They do have several free e-cards, but it’s well worth the $5 monthly fee or $15 yearly fee to get the top-notch eCards. Point blank. They’re ridiculous.

So take a break from that report you’ve been trying to print all morning. Check out JibJab. Join for free. Or get a membership. Start making your friends and family laugh until they cry. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

These guys are genius.

-k