Welcome to the Influencer-Marketing Gold Rush

Posted on July 4, 2017
A lot of Marketers will tell you, we are currently in the midst of an influencer-marketing gold rush. Influencer marketing is simply explained as a form of marketing that is word-of-mouth buzz from people who already have a large following. But sadly, it is more complicated than that.When you read most popular blogs, you notice that they do sponsored posts. Usually, businesses pay bloggers (money or even free products) to have them give their honest opinions, which usually effect a business positively. This can also be used for many different types of influencers and marketing mediums. Influencers could include anyone from actors and music artists, to the Instagram famous and YouTube stars, as long as they have an effect on the purchase decision in an authoritative or significant way. There are all types of influencers out there and if you get one to talk about your product, you're bound to get some of their following as well.Now, when you pick your influencer, you want to make sure that you pick someone with a following that is related to your company/ products. You don't want to have your message sent to the wrong audience who aren't interested in what you are promoting. Sometimes just making a relationship with them can get you on their radar, but more times than not, they'll need some enticing. You could help them get more exposure, pay them, give them free products to try, or even make a charitable donation in their name. Another important aspect is the medium. You could create an ad with them in it; print, digital or television. This solely depends on who your influencer is. If you pick a YouTube star, having them on YouTube or a digital ad would probably be best. If you have a blogger you'd probably do social media or a sponsored post. Who you pick as your influencer will really define how you'll be advertising them and who you are trying to reach. Lastly, remember that you should always be building a relationship with your current/ potential influencers as influencer-marketing is a whole new channel of power in today's market and these relationships can really make or break your business.

Thinking About Pinterest for Business?

Posted on June 20, 2017
Looking for something new for your business development, especially on the digital side of things? Pinterest for business is the way to go. Now, if you have never heard of Pinterest, it is a website/ app where you can "pin" (save) different articles, pictures and links to different "boards" and share with your friends and followers. You can search for anything from office décor, dinner recipes and outfits for every occasion. You can add pins from your favorite websites with articles or products you want to buy or you can pin what others have already shared. Pinterest has more than 150 million active users, where 87% have purchased products solely because of Pinterest. If you're using Pinterest for business, that could be your product being purchased. One interesting thing about this is that even if you are currently not using Pinterest for Business, there is a chance that someone purchased something from your business thanks to Pinterest. If you're thinking about your target audience, over half of the current users are under the age of 40 years old, but it still allows room for people at both ends of the spectrum. Originally, Pinterest was used mostly by women, but that is quickly changing with a 120% increase in male "pinners" in the past year alone. Pinterest also has an app compatible with both Apple and Android products which allow people on all different devices to use it. Pinterest also has a special way of organizing their pins and allowing you to get the best results when you're searching. Most other forms of social media use hashtags and with Pinterest, there is no need. It's all about keywords and categorization. Another huge bonus about Pinterest are the rich pins. Rich pins are a type of pin that includes more information than just an image. It has a click-through link and the pinner's description. There are six types of rich pins; place pin, article pins, product pins, recipe pins, movie pins and app pins. Most businesses use the place and product pins. Place pins allows you to make a board with an interactive map. This can include addresses, phone numbers and other important information. Product pins allow for easier shopping via Pinterest. It includes where the product can be purchased, the current price and a direct link to the product page. If you do your pinning right, you can even get featured on the trending pins page. Lastly, paid advertising on Pinterest through Pinterest for business. Pinterest recently launched their Promoted Pins. This is a paid advertising option (in the U.S. only) where you can pay to promote your best pins. You can pay for different things such as pin engagement or website visits. It even allows for you to track how your ads are performing. People who interact with a promoted pin tend to spend seven times more than normal pins because through promoted pins you are reaching the most relevant audience. Pinterest for business is one of the latest trends to advertising not only your company, but your products and services.

AdWords for Every Industry

Posted on June 6, 2017
Every business across all industries should be using some sort of Marketing and Advertising to sell their goods and services to consumers or even other businesses. As years go on, there is a huge growth in Digital Marketing and Advertising. One specific form is Google AdWords.If you don't know what Google AdWords is, just type something you are looking for (these are called keywords) into the Google Search Bar and notice the top listing(s). These are marked with an ad label. Every time you click on one of those ads, that business is paying for your view and if you buy something, they know it came from that ad. Businesses select keywords and if they match what someone is searching, your ad has a chance to appear. The best part? Businesses only pay when their ads are clicked and they can set a budget. You can also display these ads across all of Google's platforms and subsidiaries, such as YouTube, Google Shopping and Google Search.Google AdWords allows for your goals to be measurable with knowledge of seeing where your money is going as you can see all clicks and conversions. You can also target people based on language, location, time and if they are on a mobile device. You can maximize the relevance of your ads by having the option to select keywords and negative keywords. Here, you can make sure your ad is only showing when you are at the highest chance to get a conversion from that click on your ad. This is so if someone is searching for a pet store, an airport doesn't show up. This is also useful if your business only operates in certain towns or counties, you don't have an ad running in a different area.No matter what type of business you run, you should be using Google AdWords. If you don't think your business is the right fit, just think, finance and insurance spend the most every year on Google Ads, followed by retailers, travel and tourism and jobs and education. And some of the highest search rates are dating and personals, B2B, and technology. Not to mention, one of the most used and most expensive keywords is "lawyers". There is room for every business when it comes to Google AdWords, especially yours.

Why Should Your Business Be on Instagram?

Posted on May 22, 2017
In today's world, everyone from your favorite brands to your father are on Instagram. If you're like your father, you probably don't know how to post anything and just go through and like pictures (engagement is good). And if you're like your favorite brands (hopefully), you are always working on your profile and engagement. Your Instagram profile is supposed to represent your brand and even show your products or services. Instagram is a part of your company's voice and allows you to tell your story.Instagram doesn't just show your pictures, but spreads awareness of your business, product, service or app. People engage on social media and when you can respond to comments and visit other profiles, you are getting your business acknowledged. If people see you commenting and liking their photos, they will usually return the favor or at least visit your profile. Once they engage with you, it gives you a chance to show them your brand and gain their business. Today, there are even some businesses that are solely run through their Instagram accounts. They don't have a website but you can get everything you need from their profiles. Today, there are currently over 700 million people who use Instagram every month and over 400 million that use it every day. Of all those people, 80% of them, follow at least one business on Instagram.The latest update with Instagram is the ability to have a story, like Snapchat. You can post updates about events, products or even use it to make your brand more personable. There are currently over 200 million Instagrammers who use stories every day. Instagram gives you so many different options to be more familiar with your consumers and for them to feel that way about you. You want to view the daily behavior of your customers and allow them to see your company's daily story as well. Show them your company culture and how your business operates on a daily basis.So, why should your business be on Instagram? Simply because you want to engage with people who could potentially be purchasing something from you. You also want to show the world what you do and what exactly you are selling. Use it to be a part of your follower's daily lives. If you do it right, you'll become a part of their story and they'll soon be a part of yours.

Must keep up with Trends!

Posted on March 7, 2017
Businesses need to be aware that Trends exist and consumers are actively developing them. Trends are constantly giving companies data about what your consumers like or dislike. Wondering what "trends" can possibly help your business and understanding them can be difficult. Keep in mind most of these trends are actively reaching people aged 18 to 34 years old. Trends only work to a certain point because they adhere to consumer tendencies. Here are some current trends and how they connect with customers: Line skipping - Some stores offer you exclusivity through apps, where you can reserve a table and not have to wait in line, usually accompanied with exclusive menu options. Body esteem - consumers are tired of seeing the same skinniness for years, coming to the realization that anyone can look healthy and normal creates an impact on beauty standards that anyone is beautiful no matter what shape or size. Streaming Live - is a new social movement where one person can communicate and engage with all their followers in real time. This is a great way to speak to an audience quickly. Virtual Reality (VR) - is a new way to experience things you normally wouldn't be able to at home, like ride a roller coaster or see ultrasounds. There are also VR theme Parks as well as VR Shopping Centers to help engage with consumers. Trends are constantly changing because social media features are always finding new way to connect people. People are consumers and they are the most important part of business! So why not stay up to date with trends.

Struggling with Google AdWords?

Posted on February 21, 2017
As a novice marketer, starting your first Google AdWords Campaign can be overwhelming. Staring at the screen looking at the complex interface and trying to make sense of the near endless analytics presented leaves many confused. The guide below will some of the language used when developing your campaign and explain some of the most important analytics available as well. Campaign - this is the top level of any Google AdWords Campaign. Each Campaign can contain different AdGroups and Ads, as well as different keywords and parameters. This is the umbrella that everything within a particular theme falls into. AdGroups - This can be described as the mini-umbrellas under the large campaign umbrella. The AdGroups take the overall theme and break into different aspects, to help keep the campaign organized. Ads - These are actually the front facing ads that appear when people search on google. You can have an endless amount of Ads and can keep them organized using AdGroups and Campaigns. Keywords - This is one of the most important parts to a campaign, as the keywords that are input will be used to match your ads with people's google searches. Keeping keywords relevant to the overarching theme is very important. CPC - Cost per click. How much you will pay every time someone clicks on the ad. CPC is typically based upon the keyword used to access your ad. CTR - Click through Rate. This is a general measure of success for the campaign. It is the ratio of clicks to impressions. In general, having anywhere between 1.5 - 2% is very good, however, each industry has a different average CTR.

The Pros and Cons of Social Media Engagement

Posted on February 7, 2017
In the past few months, company social media engagement with their audiences has not only been soaring, but has gone viral as well. The latest example of this is with Wendy's and their aggressive responses to some of their followers. A follower tweeted Wendy's regarding poor food preparation, and the company responded with sass. The company's response led to a huge spike in their engagement, generating more than 5x the retweets and likes. There was also a huge response from other twitter users who tweeted they would eat Wendy's that day. Examining this interaction is a great case study of the pros and cons of social media engagement. PROS: Increased Interactions, Likes, Follows, retweets, etc. Increased ‘real world' interaction Increased social reputation CONS: Engagement can be misinterpreted and backfire Increase in attention, leading to more pressure to produce similar quality posts The increase in exposure can lead to louder negative feedback

Odonnell Company flys high with "Love the Journey"

Posted on May 11, 2016
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Odonnell Company praised for Bradley Airport Slogan Concepts

Posted on August 12, 2015
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What is PCI Compliance?

Posted on July 20, 2015
PCI stands for the Payment Card Industry. It is a proprietary information security standard for organizations. This includes the handling of branded credit cards. It entails a set of requirements to ensure that companies can process, store, and transmit credit card information in a way that maintains security. It applies to all organizations that pay merchants directly with a credit or debit card. There are four different levels of PCI Compliance. Level one is for any merchant processing over 6M Visa transactions per year. Level two is for any merchant processing 1M to 6M Visa transactions per year. Level three is for any merchant processing 20,000 to 1M Visa e-commerce transactions per year. Finally, level four is for any merchant processing less than 20,000 Visa e-commerce transactions per year. Businesses must self-assess which level of PCI compliance they fall under. The compliance of merchants is managed by the individual payment brands. The PCI Standard is administered by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. Overall, the standard was created to increase controls on cardholder data for security purposes. Knowing about your company's role in PCI Compliance in protecting payment card information.

Is B2B Social Media Beneficial?

Posted on July 19, 2015
Social media is a vital tool that every business should incorporate into its daily activity. In order to address why social media is important for business to business, one must understand exactly what social media is. Social media includes forms of online communication that allow for people to create, share, contribute to, and comment on content. The creation of social media allows for new avenues available for content distribution. It is a way for consumers to become interactive with brands. While social media is well known as the primary mode of communication for the millennial generation, the trend of social media has expanded to the world of business as well. It allows for mass communication- the more eyes on content, the better. Since social media can allow for maximum exposure to potential consumers, it is essential for anyone working in business to business to be on social media. Social media excites people. It aids to bridge the gap between a business and its consumers. Social media, above all else, allows for a new sense of interactivity. People become more interested in something that they can be a part of. If you work in the world of business, how can you utilize social media? There are seemingly endless social media platforms today. There's the classic platform, Facebook, which is a good tool where many businesses can start their online presence. It is important for a business to have their own Facebook page. This allows a business to understand its target audience better. You can get discussions going on your Facebook page directly with your consumers, allowing a further understanding of their wants and needs. By posting links and other content on your Facebook page, you can create a community linking consumers to business.While Facebook can be a good jumping-off point when starting to form an online presence, there are several other tools to utilize. Another promising social media platform is Twitter, which nearly every big business now incorporates into their daily marketing strategies. Brands ranging from Target and L.L. Bean, to small independently-owned stores have their own Twitter accounts.Twitter's hashtag feature can be especially helpful in increasing brand exposure. A hashtag can be added to a tweet, and is a way to see posts about a common topic. The pound symbol on a telephone now holds much power in the world of marketing. Twitter is important in business to business because it is a fast and immediate platform. Tweets are generally seen in real time, and are limited to 140 characters. If a business has a Twitter account as well as Facebook page, they are likely to have a strong foundation for their social media presence. While Twitter and Facebook are the primary social media platforms utilized by businesses, other platforms, such as Instagram and YouTube, are used as well. These platforms are also helpful, however you may want to start out with Twitter and Facebook if you are just starting to appear on social media. Over all, it is essential for anyone in business to business to be on social media. Any form of social media is also good for search engine optimization. It also builds brand awareness. If you want to increase brand exposure or interact and communicate with your consumers, it is highly advised that you form a social media presence.

How do I keep my password secure?

Posted on June 3, 2015
Today, nearly every accessible website requires a user to sign up for an account in order to access all parts of the website. This calls for a high tally of usernames and passwords to keep track of. It is a legitimate concern to worry about the safety of your online accounts though. Online account hacking is a daily occurrence. However, there are preventative measures one can take to protect an online account. With seemingly endless online accounts, it seems like an easy solution to use one online password for every account. It is best to make a log of your separate usernames and passwords for every account you have. You will be more secure if you have a different password for each account so if you were to get hacked, a hacker would only be able access one instead of many. Think of your password as a set of keys. If you had one key for your house, car, and shed, you certainly would be in trouble if somebody stole it. It is always best to keep things separate. Your password would also be more secure if you make them complex- this entails a combination of upper and lowercase letters, and use of symbols and numbers. Another tip would be to change your password every three months or so. If you utilize all of these tips, it is likely that your online account will be safe and secure!

What is the difference between organic and paid search results?

Posted on May 26, 2015
When you type a keyword into a search bar and press enter, you are likely to get thousands of results to choose from. Have you ever wondered where exactly those search results came from and how they came to be? There are two different types of search results. There is organic, and there is paid. Organic results are the "natural" results, meaning they are web page listings that most closely match what you searched. Paid results are, more often than not. advertisements. Any paid result is listed because the web page paid to be listed under those results. Depending on your search engine, it is usually easy to tell the difference between paid results and organic results. For example, if you use Google as your search engine, typically the paid results are at the very top and even have the word "ad" written next to them. Once a user can learn the difference, they can more easily sift through their results and use what is most valuable to them. Now that you can tell the difference between a paid result and organic result, you may want to know why a business would pay to have their webpage listed in the search results for certain key words. Even if a user doesn't click on the link of a paid search result, they are still getting exposure to the brand by simply seeing it listed. Advertisers bid on key words. Depending on their bid and ad budget, the search engine determines their rankings on the results. Placement can usually be based on how much an advertiser is willing to pay per click. Price increases depending on the competition centered around a key word. If a business can pay to have their web page come up at the top of a search, why do some businesses chose to forgo this method of marketing? The first clear reason is that it is cheaper. If you don't have to spend advertising money on this expense, it can be used elsewhere. Also, frequently users view organic search results as more credible. Each business must determine for itself the importance of paying for search results, or instead must allow for organic results.

How Do I Setup My EMail Client?

Posted on May 26, 2015
Did you know that Odonnell Company provides basic & premium managed EMail hosting for our clients? Of course you did! But did you know the number one question we get regarding our EMail service is, "How do I setup my EMail client?" Below, we'll walk you through setting up Outlook & Thunderbird; along with general settings for other clients & how to access webmail. Outlook 1. Click on the "File" tab at the top of the Outlook application 2. Click on "Account Settings", then click "Add and remove accounts..." 3. Click on the "new" button under the E-mail tab 4. Click "Manual setup or additional server types" 5. Click "POP or IMAP" 6. Fill out all the information as shown above. Make sure you are using your FULL email address when prompted. (Your full email address is also your "User Name") 7. Click "More Settings..." in the lower right hand corner 8. Click the "Outgoing Server" tab 9. Click on the box "My outgoing server (SMTP)...". Make sure "Use same settings as my incoming mail server" is selected. 10. Click on the "Advanced" tab 11. Fill out the "Advanced" tab as pictured above, making sure to choose the encryption type first, as Outlook will default the port numbers based on the encryption type 12. Click "OK" 13. Click "Next" and Outlook will ask to save your password. Check connectivity, if you can send & receive mail you are finished. Thunderbird 1. Click on the "tools" menu, then click on "Account Settings" 2. Click on "Account Actions", then click "Add Mail Account" 3. Fill in the form as shown above, making sure to use your FULL email address 4. Click "continue" and Thunderbird will try to automatically retrieve the server settings. Because we don't broadcast our server settings, this will ultimately fail. 5. Click "Manual config" 6. Fill in the form as shown above, then click "re-test". If thunderbird tests successfully, you are finished. Webmail & General Settings You can access our webmail login at : http://email.rackspace.com General Server Settings Incoming Server Host : secure.emailsrvr.com Port: 993 Security : SSL Outgoing Server Host : secure.emailsrvr.com Port : 465 Security : SSL Authentication Required : Yes Password Encryption : Plain

What's the right media for my Campaign?

Posted on May 11, 2015
There's always many considerations when selecting the right media mix for your audience. A careful analysis is the first step, understanding your audience, your product or service, your budget, and your goals for the campaign. Today's media options are so many and so varied, it can be overwhelming for organizations that are budget-conscious. Companies find themselves asking if we should do one thing OR another, or they end up splitting a budget in so many pieces it can be difficult to reach the amount of impressions required to really make an impact. It's an exciting time, full of options and opportunity to really creatively choose your media to fit the message and the goals. While digital media cannot be ignored, traditional media still has proven reach and results. Consider these facts from Statista. "Radio is the second most powerful medium in the United States, reaching 59 percent of the country's population daily. In comparison, 49 percent are reached by the Internet while print media accounts for 13 percent. Only TV, with a daily reach of 80 percent, is consumed on a daily basis by a broader audience. Online radio is, somewhat surprisingly, used by just 15 percent of American radio listeners, even though close to 80 percent of the U.S. population has access to the internet." Bottom line is, the media is dependent on lots of factors. Careful analysis and consideration, with a healthy dose of gut instinct on where your audience wants to hear more about you, can lead you to the proper mix. When possible, pull in a traditional, proven media and add a healthy dose of innovative new ways to reach out. Surrounding your audience with the message can create quite an impact over time.

Periscope app performs during Mayweather vs. Pacquiao

Posted on May 4, 2015
The boxing spectator consensus agrees that if you paid $100 to watch the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao pay-per-snooze you are a "chump". Mayweather & Pacquiao danced around the ring like two ballerinas at their first recital, all while laughing to themselves about the amount of money they were raking in. They would split $158,000 per second if you break it down. If you're a smart spectator, you found more economical ways to watch the fight. Maybe you got a group together to buy the PPV, 10 of you would have made the cost $10/ea. Some went to watch the game at the local bar, where some bars were offering viewing packages ranging from $30-50, complete with a buffet and all the draft beer you could drink. So the "fight of the century" was upon us and a large number of viewers turned to live-streaming apps, such as Periscope & Meerkat. We saw the live-streaming app picked up by Twitter a few months ago, and it exploded with popularity on the app store. The big question after everybody used it for a few days was "What was it's purpose". Well, apparently, streaming live events, especially those which are hard or expensive to access has become a niche market for Periscope. I personally turned to Periscope to watch the fight on Saturday night and found it easy to obtain stream access from multiple users. In some of the streams there were upwards of 5,000 viewers. CNBC reports that while the co-creator of the app was not happy about the use of the app to skirt the PPV cost, Twitter's CEO & investors were gloating. At any rate, the pay-per-view industry needs to catch up with the revamp of the music & movie industry. We've already seen streaming music services redefine the business model for the way consumers consume music, and the movie & TV industry has seen services like Redbox, Netflix & Hulu flourish. Could Periscope flow into a business model that positions itself as the next PPV streaming platform?

Smuckers uses Social Media Perfectly

Posted on April 29, 2015
We've all had one of those days. You've had a long day at work, you just want to get home and relax, but when you finally do nothing seems to go your way. A close friend of mine recently had one of those days. She is an avid user of social media, so everybody knew that her day hadn't been going to plan, and to top everything off when she went to reach for the jar of peanut butter it slipped and fell from her hands, smashing into pieces on the counter. I can't imagine just wanting to sleep off a bad day when you have to clean up peanut butter & glass shards. Thankfully, just a couple days before, my friend professed her love for Smuckers Peanut Butter on twitter... Smuckers was listening, and responded appropriately. Sometimes it's the little things that have a big difference in your day, and Smuckers just gets that!

Got A Second?

Posted on April 27, 2015
We have a basic premise for developing much of our creative experiences for clients. "You've got one second to buy the next three." In other words, society's rather short attention spans are becoming critically shorter; no one's going to stop and read or listen or watch your ad - you've got to get your message down to its shortest, most spot-on form, and you better make it good. If it's not interesting and important enough to grab someone for more than a second, you can't possibly take them to the next level and ask them to spend more of their precious time. Given that the world is increasingly bombarded with messages and media and space junk, we focus on really honing in on one quick, well delivered hit of a headline. It's got to be understandable, and it's got to have something that interests the audience. If we get that part right, we've got another three seconds to say or do something further. In this time, it's not a bad idea to provide some benefits to the audience. Tell them why the product or service matters to them. I'm not talking bulleted lists. I'm talking relevant, client-focused ideas that illustrate how your product or service solves something for your audience. And, if we've used our one second well, and then handled the three seconds better, we get one more chance - and that's to provide a call to action. We need to tell our audience what to do next. Or, better yet, ask them to do one small thing. It can be to visit a website, to learn more about us, to reach out, to make a purchase... whatever is the most important next step in the sales process.

Google announces changes in Mobile Crawler

Posted on April 7, 2015
We've helped our customers climb to the top of the search engine rankings and stay there. We know that it takes long hours & hard work, which is why we want to alert you about some changes Google is making to it's search engine crawler. Google has announced that on April 21 changes to the mobile search algorithm will go into effect, and could possibly affect the search engine rankings for those websites who are not considered "mobile compatible". How do I know if my site is "mobile compatible"? Google has released a tool that you can use. Just browse to the site in the link above Enter your domain name Keep in mind that each page is tested on an individual basis, that means that some pages on your site can be considered "mobile compatible", while others may not be. Google will give you a pass or fail grade. If you happen to fail the test, give us a call at 203-764-1080 and we can guide you through the steps needed to bring your website into compliance. We can also discuss how these changes will affect your current or previous SEO campaign.

Upcoming Marketing & Advertising Tradeshows

Posted on December 17, 2014
South by Southwest (SXSW) is a kind of umbrella exposition and is a collection of film, interactive, and also music festivals as well as seminars that take place annually in mid-March, in Austin, Texas. It began in 1987, with modest expectation of around 150 attendees by the organizers and continued to grow in both range and also dimension each year and was attended by 72,000 registrants in 2014. In 2015, the conference is scheduled as follows... Interactive : March 13-17 Film : March 13-21 Music : March 17-21. January 16 2015 is the deadline for registrations. South by Southwest is run by the firm SXSW, Inc. which plans and also implements seminars, trade shows, festivals, and also various other events. In addition to the three main South by Southwest festivals, the firm runs various other seminars, 2 in Austin: SXSWedu, a seminar on academic technology, and SXSW Eco, an ecological conference; and also one in Las Vegas: SXSW V2V, a seminar concentrated on cutting-edge start-ups. The SXSW music festival is one of a kind, largest music festival in the world and has more than 2,200 official performers and bands playing spread across more than 100 venues. Worth mentioning SXSW also provides video samples of the performances on its official you tube channel. The Film festival focuses mostly on new directing talent. The SXSW Interactive covers emerging technology and is regarded a place to be for new ideas and making creative technological advances. SXSW Schedule for 2015 Response Expo is among the biggest expo related mainly to the advertising sector. This expo will be an excellent opportunity for the experts in the advertising and marketing sector to stay updated with the most recent happenings and developments of the market. This event is for firms, entrepreneurs as well as decision makers for making brand-new contacts. It is one of one of the most exclusive event which invites several guests such as Advertisement Agencies, Producers, Marketers, Paid announcement Development & Manufacturing and numerous more to network and associate with the all the industry professionals as well as make brand-new calls. Response Expo is not just the best place where one may expand on their contacts with great results but it's also one of its kind congregations for unique products and services that are hungry to reach new markets. Many of the seen as on TV products are on display too. Response expo attracts highly qualified attendees seeking innovative and effective ways to drive their campaigns. There are also a range of educational sessions featuring the newest and the biggest names in direct response marketing. The 2015 Response expo is being scheduled 21st -23rd Apr 2015 in San Diego, CA. Response expo Schedule for 2015

Analytical tools for tracking your digital campaign

Posted on December 4, 2014
Marketers face the challenge of proving that they have utilized the budget in the best way possible and brought in benefits that were optimally expected. While that may seem like simple thing to do for many, it's actually very challenging and requires not just right analytical tools but also mastery to use them. While we may have devised the best Digital marketing strategy it is only the tracking tools that can prove the same and help us achieve the goals we set for a campaign. Why track a digital marketing campaign. To understand performance of campaigns against objectives To ensure a wise spend on allocated budget To create benchmarks and KPIs that may help measure future performance Improve and Optimize results continuously Most of the measurements on tracking digital campaigns are about tracking the customer or user behavior on website or social platforms, which ultimately results in sales of products or services. There are a variety of tools one can use to track their campaigns. Google analytics - Google analytics is one of the most widely used analytical tools and generates detailed statistics about website. The basic service comes for free. You can track all incoming traffic, direct, from referrers or from search engines and social networks. It also provides you capability to track display advertising, pay per click networks, email marketing and digital collaterals like links within documents. Google analytics can help you identify poorly performing pages, visitor trail on the website, how long they stayed and their geographical location. You can integrate Google Ad words and analytics to review online campaigns and study their quality and conversion rates. It also has capability to track and report sales activity by using the e-commerce feature. ClickTale - ClickTale goes a step further and provides even a video playback of each visitor on your website. It also creates heat maps using Meta statistics which is a useful visual analysis tool. It also provides conversion analytics and traditional web stats from the website. ClickTale provides heat maps for mouse movements, clicks, and scroll and attention levels on the WebPages. One feature worth mentioning is the form analytics that allows optimizing online forms. With this report you can easily assess the shortcomings with your online form identifying fields that take too much of time or the one that are generally left blank. Clicky - Clicky is another analytics tool that is like Google analytics but scores on the fact that it provides web statistics right away. (Google analytics provides stats the following day) Clicky is priced reasonably within 10 USD per month for up to 1,000,000 monthly page views and has a free version available. Clicky also provides heat mapping and customizable tracking. The best part is that it also provides you a white label version, iPhone app and an official Wordpress plug-in to integrate instantly with your Wordpress website. Hootsuite - Hootsuit is a social media publishing and analytics tool. It helps you push out content to social networks like Face book, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Twitter etc. It saves you a lot of time and effort with its capability to interface with most of the social networks. It also provides ability to track outbound traffic to your own website with simple and easy to use features. Every analytics tool has its advantages and disadvantages. You shall have to figure out what's more important to you and take a decision. Many a times we need to assess what is the depth of analytics that is needed to conclusively establish success of a campaign. Going for too complex and pricey solutions brings in extra pressure to train and utilize the given system. It's always better to keep things simple and focus on key parameters that we need to track and choose a solution accordingly.

Promoting your Business During Thanksgiving

Posted on November 20, 2014
Thanksgiving is about great time with the friends and family, food, Parades, football and beginning of the shopping season for Christmas. Businesses too can add a lot of flavour to their offers and promote and participate in thanks giving at the same time. Family experience Thanksgiving seems to be light years away from Christmas but they all have common ground. It's about the family experience in particular and any business with a bit of planning can come up with an offer that is in line with the mood of festivities. How about adding a little personal touch, saying thanks to your customers and informing them how you can help them have a quality time with offers in hand. This is a good time to upsell, and align your products with families and reunions. Think about playing an active role in these get-togethers not only catching attention but retaining it long enough while the shopping period lasts. Why not say thanks to your long-time customers in simple but effective ways, like using personalization techniques (with their permission off course) or sending them a sweet greeting card with best offers. Whatever it is a promo or discounts don't forget to give it a family touch and you are bound to make a lasting impression. Remember the spirit Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to be not much different from promotion perspective for a business. However, the spirits of these occasions are usually different: the family and friends present at a Thanksgiving table are not expected to give gifts to each other, for example, plus the point of the meal is to reflect upon and be thankful for the things that have passed over the last year, not the celebration of a religious figure. Thanksgiving is about gratitude and businesses can make a strong statement strengthening this element. Time to give back and participate with the local community It's a great time to set aside some profit if possible for charity and also let your customers participate too. Why not reach right customers as your market demands. Why not sponsor an event like football or golf or participate in a parade such a way that you attract the target market. Stand out in what you do A lot of businesses are up with run of the mill offers and it's important to make your offer memorable in best way possible to stand out from stereotypes. If people start asking what is being done this time and they can't wait to participate, it's a sign that you are on the right path. The wow factor for the family, a promo, offer or event that makes your customer think wow that shall make my family have so much fun- is the right package for the thanksgiving. Get closer to how people spend their time Think of what people have on their minds and try to solve a problem, may be travel, stay, food or car rentals. Don't hesitate to team up with other local businesses. Package a product or service closer to the issues people might have and play a role, so that, they can have a great time with their family, and you shall be ahead of the game.

The Benefits of a Customer Loyalty Program

Posted on November 11, 2014
What is a customer loyalty program? An ideal customer loyalty program is intended to connect with the customer at an emotive level, building a relationship and promoting advocacy. A customer loyalty program is crucial for businesses to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace. Today businesses, particularly retailers, have entered a phase of leveled playing field where location is not the only differentiating factor. Businesses are getting pushed into increasing dynamics of low margin and high fixed costs. This situation is bound to result in a price war and strip profits from established businesses. So what do you do? Loyalty programs are a great way to differentiate oneself from the crowd and save businesses from the customer churn and enhance overall value offered to the customer. It is common to see loyalty programs as a tool to bring in repeat business, however businesses should seek to keep the namesake and create loyal customers & brand fanatics; not just repeat customers. What are the benefits of customer loyalty program? Customer Retention - Customer retention rate is an important statistic to calculate actual bottom-line customer numbers. A business with a 60% customer retention rate is losing 3-4 times as many customers a business with 80% retention rates. Customer retention also has some hidden advantages like it allows the customer and the business to understand each other better. Firms are able to analyze customer behaviors, able to bring out best offers, basket mix and savings. This allows businesses to segment their customers and satisfy them better with individual needs and preferences. Customer Acquisition - An exciting and valuable reward for customers on loyalty programs has capability to attract new customers, but this should not be over emphasized as there are more cost effective and better methods to reach new customers. However the point made is that differentiation of business can be perceived very strongly by the potential customers with an effective loyalty program. Customer up-segmentation - Spend thresholds for better reward brackets, like moving customers from one spend level to another, helps significantly in enhancing sales. Best Buy's "Elite" program does this effectively. Dropping unprofitable customers - It is known to be better in terms of cost to lose bad customers than gain new ones. Customers who only buy the discounted lines and avoid premium range completely are the ones whom you might want to drop from loyalty programs for example. These customer profiles can cost more money than they generate. A well designed customer loyalty program ensures not only rewarding the better customers, but also minimizing payout to not so profitable customers. This is helpful to retain the customers from whom we generate the most profit. Win back lost customers - The chances of converting a lost customer are greater when enrolled in a loyalty program. This can easily be enabled through the loyalty programs "call back" the customers who have not been inactive for a period of time. The point is that we know about a defected customer much more than a new prospect and chances of conversion of a defected customer is much higher, than a new one. Building relationships and advocacy - The sole purpose of the loyalty program among others should be building a relationship with the customers. The customers want to be recognized, offered better value and kept in the knowledge of best offerings. A "Brand Fanatic" is the most active profit generating customer, and also helps the business in spreading "word of mouth" advocacy of the Brand. Reduce costs on promotion and advertising - Because you have prior knowledge of your customers, the loyalty program has ability to create a highly targeted segment of customers and this helps in bringing in significant savings on promotions and advertising costs.

Boost your Business during Halloween

Posted on October 27, 2014
Americans are expected to spend an estimated $8 billion on Halloween. The events and merchandise that come with this season are a great opportunity for businesses to promote themselves. Halloween is a good opportunity to introduce new products, capture attention and promote offers that customers find irresistible and relate with your brand. The major spending is around costumes, themed decorations and discount shopping. Here are some best known ideas that businesses use every Halloween and then some more… Candies - Halloween treats for kids are always welcome and you can go for candies & inexpensive trinkets that amuse the kids. If you are a business with walk in customers you may consider things as simple as a custom (your logo on it) candy pack given out to every kid walking in. Freebies and Discounts - Adults like freebies, discounts and surprise things like masks & coupons. These can help you drive engagement and are a very common promotional activity during Halloween. Face Painting - Having a spooky face on Halloween is fun for both children and adults alike and is definitely worth a try. Self styled Halloween themed products - If you are a restaurant why not serve some Halloween specials like Pumpkin themed dishes. If you are showroom why not have discounts for people dressed up as Zombies? Or even run a best costume contest wining freebies. If you are a website why not run a spooky photograph contest. How about a Mascot and customer photograph being tagged to their facebook account. Midnight sale - Staying open late and offering a midnight sale can clear up a lot of inventory and help you make big space for new holiday season. Treat Boxes - Send your Customers/Clients great Halloween themed treat boxes with a thank you note and even offer discounts or coupons. Halloween themed game - Have a game like "Pumpkin hunt" quest or "Ghost hunting" and get your customers participate in these events for fun and prizes to be won. Your logo gets spooky - How about adding up something spooky to your logo and hint what can happen when somebody visits the store or website. A nice connection and a great story can earn you "wow" factor. Ask your customers - A great way to go viral is to "ask who wins" to the customers on facebook to select the winner. Also recommended is to use hash tags in your contests. Get a funny or scary video for Halloween - How about having a spooky or funny or both video on your website that everyone likes and has a pointer to an offer or discount. The key to success in Halloween promotion is to start small, test waters and expand on what works…that way you can be flexible to start or stop a campaign, based on what really works.

Why YOU need a solid Email list

Posted on October 16, 2014
What is an email List? An email list is just like a mailing list and is essentially a list of people with their emails. The one who owns this list may have generated it using various methods most common one being using an "Opt in" where in people would have opted to receive information on a landing page by recording their email address. Email lists are fully or partially automated using a mailing list software. EMails sent are usually announcements, promotions, etc., to the list subscribers. With mailing list software, one can program an email campaign, subscribe or unsubscribe users, and activate auto responders based on logic which can be fully automated. Emailing list services even offer you options to design newsletters and, in some cases, further segment the emailing lists. Email vs. Social Media Marketing A lot has been said about how and why Email list trumps Social Media Marketing. Although now fully proven with statistical insights, at one time, there was an element of doubt if an email list really helped. It is now proven that email lists contribute to up to 80% of conversions compared to social media on the internet and that's a very conservative figure. Email remains the most personal and private business medium for communication and conversion. If you are, particularly, looking at B2B medium, email is your best medium. Remember that in business relations where in you want to nurture, communicate, and partner with the clients and want to be looked at as serious personality, email is still the most dependable medium. It has been proven that email surpassed way ahead than Twitter and Facebook. Email has many advantages over social media. Primarily, the fact that it is "invasive", i.e., already inside the user environment you want attention from (his or her inbox), and you can send a message repeatedly and be recognized easily if you are doing your job well (giving what your customer or client needs). When in an inbox and being read as an email, your customer's attention is just at one place and to that what you are saying. Email lists, when built through genuine value proposition, become an opportunity to deliver what customers expect, relevant & useful information. A snap of a finger and you have the capability of reaching thousands of customers every minute, and there is no limit to expansion. Many successful internet marketers and businesses have huge mailing lists, and they are in a position to instantly launch new products and predict the success of a campaign within first couple of days by the way of conversions achieved. One important aspect to remember is that a mailing list is almost like your personal asset. While you may have vast following on Twitter or Facebook, it's strictly not just yours. This is not the case with email list. It is yours and is in your full control. It is a more personalized medium as your subscribers already know you and have certain degree of loyalty. They shall continue to look at what you have to offer and would be curios to click and try products that you recommend. The "email list service" or "email marketing service" market is big, and there are good numbers of players. Some of the best known are iContact, MailChimp, GetResponse, Constant Contact, Vertical Response, Mad Mimi, Tiny Letter, etc. Choosing an email service provider is often based on... Usability - The platform usability tops as parameter to choose an email service provider. Mail Chimp and iContact by many are considered most user friendly. Cost of Subscribers - Some offer a number of users on mailing list free that's a good way to start for many. Others charge like $150 per 25000 users - Constant Contact or StreamSend charges $60 for up to 20,000 users. Image hosting - Images are important part in email marketing and many a times the service providers need a image hosting server. This comes free from MailChimp and $5 per month from Constant Contact. Support, analytics, and survey insights are some of the other parameters one needs to look at before finalizing an email marketing service.

Content Marketing & Strategy

Posted on October 7, 2014
"Content is King" Words to live by for any Content Marketer. If you've ever wondered if Inbound Marketing was right for your business, ask yourself if you have the dedication to make your content the best. Content Marketing The business community is just now realizing how Content and Social media marketing are linked together. Mobile first content strategy along with responsive websites are setting new standards in distribution of content and capturing leads. The Content Marketing Institute, in one if its recent reports, notes that just 44% of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy in place. Marketing Automation While the realization of content marketing being a key aspect in lead generation has dawned upon everyone, most businesses are still on a learning curve. There have been numerous attempts to automate content marketing with a varied degree of success but the cold truth is content marketing needs constant attention. Location Based Content Marketing Location based couponing and promotions are being used to increase traffic in Brick & Mortar establishments. Auto care company –Meguiar's is reported to achieve a 118% increase in sales with geo aware marketing applications. Apple has recently introduced "Beacon" integration with iOS8 to push content to iPhone users who are in range. Headline & Lead In - Blogging The Headline is even more important than ever before so are the first paragraph or two. This is critical to pull the reader into broader piece. Responsive websites along with targeted content can result in better quality of leads and "step ins" into brick & mortar establishments. Location based Social Marketing coupled with geo aware applications create new opportunities to be tapped from the sales funnel. Visual Content Visual content like Infographics, Videos & Images are becoming increasingly important. Notice rise of micro video services like Vine that pack an extreme amount of actionable information in less than 15 seconds. Tools to watch and try: Percolate - A real time content marketing platform LookBookHQ - A visual story telling platform Hubspot - An Inbound marketing Platform How does YOUR content stack up? Want to see how your content is performing? Drop us a line using the form to the right, and we'll put together a FREE website analysis to show you how to improve your content strategy. Want to get started right away? Give us a shout at 203-764-1080!

iOS8 : Should you upgrade?

Posted on October 1, 2014
iOS 8 was released on September 17, 2014. The launch was labeled "the biggest release ever "with a lot of buzz and fanfare. "iOS 8 comes with big updates to apps you use every day, like Messages and Photos," "a whole new way to share content with your family and exciting new connections between apps and between devices." All that and more make iOS 8 the biggest iOS release ever." iPhone users are, generally, known to hit "upgrade" without any delay, and it was the same this time. However, it is always recommended not to be an "early adopter" to software upgrades (not just from Apple for that matter). People who already upgraded to iOS8 experienced the following issues. Download Size – Yes, it does take a lot of space (temporarily), but then you need a little bit of breathing space on your drives too. Be prepared with enough space before begin downloading the update. Though, you will claim back the space once update is completely installed, you do have to do some "cleaning work". Download Time - It can take "some time" to download the update and install. So, be prepared and put your I phone for power charge while update is being downloaded. "This update is the biggest release since the launch of the App Store with hundreds of new features including new messages and photos features, quick type keyboard, new health app, family sharing, ICloud drive, and more." Incompatibility with apps already installed - The benefit of new features and developer hooks is ensured by testing all the apps previously approved by Apple. However, some apps face a delay in being tested on compatibility and remain in queue to be signed off. This resulted in many apps missing in the upgrade list. Drop box compatibility issues - Drop box is facing issue with the update on select functions like automatic backups and photo managing app carousel with difficulties in photo and video uploads. Resolution: Here are updates from drop box for patches to resolve the issues. Drop box - https://itunes.apple.com/app/dropbox/id327630330 Carousel - https://itunes.apple.com/app/carousel-by-dropbox/id825931374 iCloud being phased out - The new iCloud drive will store all your files. But as of now, it has issues on upgrade and is not properly understood. Best thing is to wait for a while and decline "upgrade to iCloud drive" if you are having an unbearable IOS 8 upgrade urge. Your device may become sluggish- Officially, iOS 8 is compatible with models dating back to iPhone 4s & iPad 2. However, it's been found that the devices that old are particularly slow with iOS8, due to it's increased demand for processing power. "Jail breakers" behold- If you are the one who doesn't care about approved apps and system tweaks and prefers exploration within your device than count on product warranty, an upgrade will kill your "Jailbreak," and you will have to wait a bit before you are liberated again. Work phone - Your IT department prefers stability: If you are using an iPhone as work phone, your IT department may not suggest immediate upgrade, and if you do it on your own, you may be barred from your corporate network. Your IT department, unlike you, prefers stable upgrades and understands new releases and the concern over compatibility of internally developed mobile device management (MDM) solutions. And so, a signoff to upgrade may still be under "approvals" from your CTO or IT department. Downgrading or falling back on old OS is not easy - After you install iOS 8, it's difficult to go back to your old version. Downgrading from iOS versions is tricky and not for faint hearted as, many a times, it requires third party unapproved software, which is not supported by Apple. So now, how do you prepare for iOS 8 upgrade if you want to? Here is a quick step-by-step instruction guide. Make sure if your device is iOS 8 compatible - Compatible with iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPad 2, 3rd and 4th-generation iPads, iPad Air, 5th generation iPod Touch, iPad Mini, and iPad Mini with retina display. Check storage space and free up if needed - Budget a minimum 4 GB to download the upgrade. Have a "breathing space" of at least 5 GB. Check your device is running latest version of IOS 7- Go to settings>General>Software updates. The latest version of iOS 7 is iOS 7.1.2 Check if that's the version on your iPhone (it sounds weird but you can't upgrade directly if running an older version) before you hit download for iOS 8. Update all your apps in use - It's the best time to update your apps as they might have already been updated with the latest releases and compatibility issues ironed out. Remove apps not being used or useless - Because of the habits of most app downloaders, a lot of people have apps that they might not remember downloading in the first place…good time to delete them. It will not only save you space but also save you from unexpected errors. Back up your Apple Device - It's a wise thing to back up your device even though crash during upgrade is rare, but it does happen, and you shall not regret just in case it happens. iOS 8 despite having glitches is an attempt to improve user experience, improve integration with Mac and iCloud and increase interaction between devices and apps. This version is also enabled with frameworks to support home automation, health and fitness, in-car entertainment, and navigation. This is going to open up a lot of opportunities for the developers to bring in new functionalities to the platform. Conclusion: Just wait a month or two before you upgrade to iOS8.

Technology : Trending Now - 9/8/14

Posted on September 8, 2014
Twitter, the new.... Marketplace? That's right, Twitter is adding the ability to "buy" products directly from tweets in your timeline. You see, in the days and weeks to come, you might see "Buy" buttons embedded in tweets from Home Depot, Pharrell Williams and Burberry as you poke around in Twitter's mobile app. Tapping that button will take you straight to you a checkout page where you can either punch in your credit card info or call forth the payment data you've already stored with Twitter. If everything goes the way Twitter probably wants it to, we may be looking at a service that's just as much about commerce as it is about content. That'll be great for Twitter's bottom line, but public reception is still a bit shaky. Another reason to use Spotify Premium... Spotify is reported to start using video ads to monetize its 30 million users. Both on desktop & mobile devices Spotify will integrate 15 & 30 second spots to users who are not currently part of the 10 million who use Spotify Premium ($9.99/mo). Watching a 30-second video ad will buy you 30-minutes of uninterrupted streaming. According to Spotify, it's users spend about 84 minutes per day listening, and 164 minutes per day for those that listen across multiple devices, and that could turn into a lot of ad revenue. Apple iPhone Conference... Stay tuned to our Facebook & Twitter tomorrow for updates about the announcements related to Apple's iPhone 6, and iOS8 releases.

Technology : Trending Now - 8/26/14

Posted on August 26, 2014
Drug detecting Nail Polish? That's right. The next time you step foot into that seedy bar or nightclub, make sure you're wearing "Undercover Colors". A new, date-rape detecting nail polish that goes on as a clear coat and changes color when exposed to the "date-rape" drugs Rohypnol, Xanax or GHB. Read More @ Jezebel 3D Printed Medical Implants A 12 year old boy in China was the first to receive a 3D printed vertebrae implant. The implant, made of titanium powder, was able to be printed to be an exact match and allows natural bone fusing. Watch more below... Who needs to go to the printer when the printer comes to you! Fuji Xerox Co Ltd tested a printer that not only prints documents on paper but autonomously moves around a room like the Roomba robot cleaner for delivering it. The proliferation of office laziness continues! Read More @ TechOn

Technology : Trending Now - 8/13/14

Posted on August 14, 2014
How do you listen to Google Maps? An accordion player in the streets of France, a bucket drummer in the NYC subway, or maybe some church bells ringing. Amplifon, a hearing-aid manufacturer wants to bring sound to the Google "Street View" you're already familiar with. Check it out... How do you make the best use of Google Glass? You embed it in a motorcycle helmet, of course! Introducing the Skully AR-1. The world's smartest motorcycle helmet. Integrated Bluetooth & Internet Connectivity Heads-up Display with Integrated Navigation Transitioning Tinted Face Shield Ultra Wide-Angle Rear View Camera Hands-free calling & Streaming music, Integrated Audio ...oh yeah, it'll keep you from cracking your skull too.. YouTube updates SmartApps

Technology : Trending Now - 8/6/14

Posted on August 6, 2014
A 3D Printed What? Yes, 3D printing is getting very useful. Especially if you want to make music. Not only does it look real, with a couple of forthcoming tweaks, it'll sound real, be 80% lighter than a traditional saxophone, and can be printed in the colors of your favorite marching bands! Is Amazon always the best deal? Meet PriceJump, an automated tool that tells you if it can find a better price on the Amazon product you were just about to buy. "PriceJump is a new service from Savings.com that instantly compares Amazon product prices to prices around the web and ensures that you are getting the best deal. At Savings.com, we are Amazon fans and shoppers and in fact, we often default to Amazon when making a purchase online. Our constant pursuit of good deals led us to wonder if Amazon actually has the best prices. With the launch of PriceJump, we've created the ultimate Amazon price check tool that aims to save you a ton of money." The cool part is that the service is also available as a Google Chrome extension, so you can check prices just by clicking on a button on your browser! Want Pizza? Just Push!

The Importance of a Social Media Presence for Small to Medium Size Businesses

Posted on August 4, 2014
What is Social Media? A lot of us assume that we know what social media means. However, social media is actually a marriage of two well-known phenomena: media is an instrument of communication, just like a newspaper or a radio; social activity is a necessary function of human groups. Therefore, social media is a social instrument of communication. Speaking in Web 2.0 terms, a social media site won't just give you information, but will also let you interact and share your inputs and thoughts. This includes letting you share your comments, opinions, or suggestions regarding specific information. Think of it this way: the media is a one way street wherein you may simply read the newspaper, listen to the radio, or watch TV, and allows very limited ability to share your thoughts. On the other hand, social media lets you actively interact and communicate to share your thoughts with other people. Main Categories of Social media websites Social Bookmarking - Tagging and searching websites tagged by other people (delicious) Social News - Interact by voting for articles and commenting about them (Digg) Social Networking - Interact by adding friends, commenting, joining groups, and having discussions (Facebook) Social Photo and Video Sharing - Interact and share Videos and Photos, comment about user submissions (YouTube), (Flicker) Wikis- Share and edit articles, interact (Wikipedia) The Top 6 Since 2012 It is interesting to note that the top six social media platforms have not changed since 2012. The ranking is in the following order: Facebook (Social Networking) Twitter (Social News and Networking) Linkedin (Social Networking) YouTube ( Social Video Sharing) Blogging (Social News, articles) Google+ (Social Networking) Why is Social Media a Must for Small and Medium Business? The marketing and advertising landscape has changed significantly since the advent of the internet and tech mobility, which have brought dramatic increases in capability for startups, small, and medium businesses. Mobile and Internet together have incited a new era in effective communication strategies and engagement. Thinking.com reports a total of 6,915 million mobile subscriptions globally, so it's no surprise that every social media platform today has put serious effort toward becoming device responsive and thereby ensured a wider reach. For any business aiming to reach maximum targeted customers - and what business isn't - social media brings in great opportunities to reach and expand your active audience while engaging with the right potential customers. Today, social media presence is a responsibility to your business and a necessity which provides benefits you simply cannot ignore. Here's a quick overview of how you may stand to benefit from social media: Improve Exposure - One of the starting points in marketing any business is to increase exposure and awareness. A consistent social media campaign assures that your business is constantly increasing exposure and building up a channel for future engagement. Generate Leads - Once people are aware of your business, they want to learn more. But people want to know more than your products- they also want to know what you stand for and what opportunities you provide for your customers to engage and receive reward. Social media connects them to the information they want to receive. Grow Business Partnerships - Once you are in social media circles, you are bound to run into opportunities for partnerships and can begin to undertake integrated marketing campaigns. Business partnerships set the ball rolling on branching out and creating new opportunities for sales and co-promotions to promote your product to an even larger and more diverse audience. Reduce Marketing Spend - Your efforts on social media will reward you in ways more than one. Unlike traditional advertising, social media marketing goes a long way and is not only free, but also costs much less to assess returns on investment. It also generates buzz, which is some of the best marketing you can ask for. Increased Traffic - More "social mention" simply means more engagement and more business, which in turn increases traffic to your website and creates fresh opportunities to generate customer support. Increased traffic can help you become a leader in your niche, which builds authority of and loyalty to your business. Improve Search Rankings - Though this is controversial, increased search ranking is reported as a result of higher social media activity. As your site climbs the ladder on relevance, usability, content, and engagement, search rankings are bound to improve. It is important to keep tabs on unique and fresh content for continued results. Enhance Brand Loyalty - Getting new customers is one thing, but keeping them for a repeat purchase is another- and a highly valuable skill. Social media has all the tools and techniques for you to reach your customers fast and keep them happy with great service. To keep increasing the customer base, it is important to keep your customers connected and resolve issues actively. In short, if you are prepared to commit to the long haul, social media provides an opportunity to keep your customer base growing consistently. Enhance marketplace insight and gain thought leadership - As your efforts mature to fruition, you will have fresh perspective about your industry. Social media provides you with a platform to work from to unlock new opportunities in the areas of content marketing, customer engagement, partnerships, and even new product development. Social media can provide you with a consumer-based, in-depth knowledge of the market that will prove to be invaluable as your business grows.

Technology : Trending Now - 7/31/14

Posted on July 31, 2014
Microchips coming to a credit card near you? According to a recent email from Square EMV equipped credit cards will be making their way to the US next year. Right now the US accounts for 24% of all credit card transactions, but is home to over 50% of all credit card fraud. Square has already evolved it's card readers to accept EMV enabled credit cards, and keep small businesses on the forefront of credit card technology. It's small, pocket-sized, reader will now have 2 slots. One for taking the old-style mag-stripe cards, and a new slot where an EMV chip will sit throughout the entire transaction. Reading the EMV chips will require a powered reader, so the new Square reader is USB chargeable with a standard MicroUSB cord from any 5V device. Find out more on how Square can help your Small Business accept credit cards with EMV chips. Shazam getting cozy in Cupertino? Shazam, the music discover app, is getting auto integration in iOS8, and the newest OSX platform. What exactly does that mean? Well, if you've ever seen that Shazam logo in the bottom corner of a TV ad, and wondered how anyone could have the time to whip out their phone, unlock it, search for the Shazam app, launch it, and have time left to still record and pull up the info. That process is about to be simplified. Unless you've specifically turned them off, the microphones on your mac & iphone are listening. Imagine working on your laptop while your TV is on, and a Shazam enabled ad comes on the TV. Automatically that same ad pops up on your computer screen. Integrated Marketing at it's finest! Book your hotel room with your Smartphone... Now before you start yelling that booking a hotel room on your phone is "nothing new", Hilton has taken this concept a bit further. Using the HHonors mobile app, you can book your room, see the floorplan, choose your exact room, check in & check out, and coming next year, you'll be able to unlock the door to your room. Gone are the days of having to interface with a customer service agent at the front desk, walk into your hotel, have a great stay, and walk out!

How to use Content Marketing for your Small Business

Posted on July 28, 2014
Content marketing is the art of communicating with the audience without selling- that's the reason it is categorized under non-interruption marketing. Unlike the traditional approach of pitching products or services, content marketing allows businesses to communicate and interact with prospective customers by sharing consistent, valuable, and ongoing information. This "content," ultimately, helps the businesses develop a loyal and rewarding customer base. Content marketing is not just for small businesses. Some of the greatest organizations like Cisco, P&G, and John Deere actively utilize content marketing, because it simply works. If you are a small business looking to embark on the content marketing journey, there are some fundamental aspects to address from the start. Document a Content Marketing Strategy It is important to develop a content marketing strategy that aligns well with your organizational goals. The content marketing strategy is not to be developed in a hurry, as the practice of urgency will only dilute the quality and effectiveness that your content will develop. The implementation phase of content marketing strategy should continue for at least one year. This length of time will allow you to see things in perspective and come up with improvement plans. Some of the most important things you are trying to achieve with a content marketing strategy are as follows: Alignment of content production with business goals Customization and development of content in line with specific keywords, buyer personas, major events, and holidays, campaigns, or different stages of your sales funnel. Develop a content creation process Once you have a content marketing strategy in place, it is only logical to get into the next step of content creation. Develop a clear guideline to create, distribute, and measure the content marketing success. To run a successful content marketing project, have your resources allocated and consider the following aspects: Whether you are handling this on your own or have a designated team member, set a clear mandate as to who owns content creation for your business. Clearly lay down what type of content shall be created in line with the target audience. You also need to decide if this task is completed by you, your team, or by a third party. For every type of content from Blog posts, to eBooks, to infographics or videos, you should have a clear goal of what you are trying to achieve. These aspects should be decided in advance and should include a clear thought, ending with a call for action. All types of content should have a consistent channel to organize editing and review. A disorganized process shall result in substandard content that will not achieve the desired effect. Have a clear content calendar and insight into working drafts and completed content. Develop and capture writer specialization as you go through this process. This is particularly crucial for simplifying the process and allocating resources as needed. If you are having an internal team work on the content, make sure to hold editorial meetings to gather ideas and insights. Brainstorming and discussing the latest internal and external events helps to gain valuable and up-to-date perspectives. Find opportunities to create user generated content, including invited guests and internal subject matter experts. Combine, Reduce, Reuse and Repurpose Work on reusing your content in every way possible. Reduce larger content pieces to smaller ones, expand the smaller ones, and scale up any leads that were left unfinished. Repurposing content in varied formats can give it a new edge; for example, give existing content a video or infographic spin. This lets you reach a much wider audience and makes your content much more targeted and relevant. Create a relevant profile of your business on social media platforms and treat them individually. Don't just publish content, but also repurpose it according to the audience you are targeting and specific goals you want to achieve. Isolate content that performs well and focus on selectively expanding them. Quickly identifying valuable content allows you to expand and repurpose promptly and effectively. Repeat this with every piece of successful content being created. Actively analyze your content assets and revamp them as often as possible to ensure that content keeps working for you. Analyze Data Track performance through quantifiable metrics and leverage these data points to realign your content production and resources to top performing assets. Very soon, you shall be able to set benchmarks and clearly separate successful content from the not so successful. This will give you an important edge in evaluating performance, defining objectives, and calculating ROI. Rather than "when needed", have a daily, monthly, quarterly, and annual record of key performance indicators to actively review trends and identify new initiatives. Evolve and Transform Now that you are creating successful content, scale up your strategy and let your content effort expand. Work on integrating content strategies that bring together blogging, social media, email marketing, lead nurturing, and marketing automation, for instance. Keep an eye on how you can further utilize historical and predictive research, tailored copy, and calls for action; always resolve problem spots and adapt to the multi screen audience. Re-evaluate and Reinvent Don't ignore re-evaluation of your content marketing strategy when it seems overwhelming, as can often happen in such a dynamic environment. The key is to identify opportunities in advance and develop processes and systems such that you can easily transform your content marketing strategy to keep working for you.

Technology : Trending Now - 7/23/14

Posted on July 23, 2014
Fossamail now considered a viable replacement for Mozilla Thunderbird for Windows Has Mozilla Thunderbird been sluggish and/or unresponsive for you? We use it here in the office, and sometimes it can be a memory hog. I've been playing with Fossamail now for the past 2 days and I have to say there is a vast improvement in performance. Mozilla's Thunderbird is a solid email client, but it can be a bit sluggish and it still doesn't support 64-bit processors. FossaMail is a freely downloadable clone optimized for 64-bit systems, all while supporting the same extensions. It creates a separate profile folder on your computer, thus letting you use it separately from your Thunderbird too. Setup is smooth and easy, and you'll soon have a functional email client that looks and feels just like Thunderbird, only faster. Still using 54mbps wifi? You're now in the minority, most users have bumped up to the wireless-N standard, but Asus has a new router that will bring you the fastest wifi available. Meet the RT-AC87. Beaming out signals at 5Ghz, it can reach speeds of up to 1.73Gbps, which is plenty fast to stream all your entertainment. The problem is that most people don't own any 802.11ac enabled devices, so just like the wireless-N market, we'll have to wait for the rest of the technology world to play catch up. But, in case you do have devices that will work, the RT-AC87 will be available "shortly" for $270, though it'll be limited to North America. For the time being, ASUS can enjoy having the speediest router in town, at least until D-Link, Netgear, Belkin and the rest of them show up to the party. Xiaomi's new $13 wearable Are you a fan of fitbit, or another wearable fitness tracker? Check out Xiaomi's Mi Band. Stylish & beautiful, the Mi band packs a bunch of features for a small price tag. Health Tracking Sensors Vibrating Alarm Clock 30-day battery life Unfortunately the Mi Band is only available in China. But at the very least, it's something to hope for.

Wordpress is quickly becoming the leading CMS platform for business

Posted on July 16, 2014
According to W3Techs.com Wordpress is being used by 60.3% of the websites using a Content Management System(CMS). This is suggested to be 22.5% of all websites. About 55% of the 1 million most visited websites that run a CMS, run on Wordpress. Wordpress has clearly taken a lead compared to other CMS platforms like Joomla or Drupal. But before we get into how Wordpress has managed to take this lead first understand how things have changed broadly from the past. CMS or No CMS The website market is split between static and dynamic classes of websites. The Static websites are the code edited websites that have been mostly constructed page by page, whereas the dynamic websites are configured on a flexible predesigned core called a CMS and leave the appearance and functionality in the hands of administrator. Static websites quickly become unmanageable and un-scalable as they grow for obvious reasons like a lack of standard to modify and capability to roll back features when needed. Since multiple people may be involved in developing these websites, it will tend to create grey areas acting as a roadblock to upgrade or expand on features in future and more importantly shall require advanced knowledge of HTML, CSS or even JavaScript. CMS based websites on the other hand are highly modular and can be loaded with features and rolled back if needed with a click of button. The system is so robust that it makes customization, enhancement and integration of features like shopping carts, online payments, .. etc; a breeze. But not all CMS platforms are created equal. Wordpress is top CMS application Wordpress has clearly snatched the market share gradually from its competitors and there are various factors responsible for this. Wordpress is not just preferred by small and medium sized companies, but by some of the biggest names like Forbes, CNN and Sony. Wordpress is solution oriented Wordpress was started to solve problems that bloggers had and for that wordpress.com quickly built a very successful business. Wordpress was focused on content management for bloggers. These Bloggers were actually lot of people directly related with technology in formative years of CMS (2001 -2005). This resulted in a huge mash up of requirements that were solved piece by piece specifically for corporate clients and included lot of people from communication backgrounds like sale and marketing. Such demands kept Wordpress not only focused on simplicity but also extremely user oriented. As we know today Wordpress has morphed into a system that is used by Bloggers, Small and Medium Business to Enterprise alike. Wordpress is Simple Wordpress is committed to non technical users unlike its competitors. Wordpress is seen as a simple solution to communicate easily and effectively. Wordpress is the easiest CMS available and a complete non techie can install and configure first Wordpress website within matter of hours without need to read reams of instruction manuals or tutorials. All the information to setup your first website can be easily accessed and is freely available. Wordpress has taken this lead for the fact that its ship is sailed by non technologists who lean towards design and usability and it clearly shows. Wordpress has more than 27000 plug-ins Wordpress provides highly advanced and innumerable options for achieving added functionality for your website. Want to integrate social media, send out text messages, accept payments or design a online store. Maybe have a website and a blog together. Keep in mind that Wordpress is not just free, but comes with all the bells and whistles you would expect to find in a paid CMS. Believe it or not Drupal for example does not include a WYSIWIG editor in its default setup. It's Backed up by Wordpress.com Wordpress remains open source and free and yet comes with noteworthy plug-ins like jetpack, that allows you to harness the power of wordpress.com. The built-in CDN (Content Delivery Network)"Photon" lets you leverage the powerful servers of wordpress.com. This helps not just load your websites faster but also reduce load on your hosting service provider. It's Cost Effective Because of it's ease of integration, and the fact it's completely free to use, many businesses are now turning to Wordpress for their corporate solutions. Contact Odonnell Company today at 203-764-1080 for a free consultation on how Wordpress can help change your business!

Technology : Trending Now - 7/15/14

Posted on July 15, 2014
Home Depot to carry first consumer ready 3D Printer As part of a national pilot program, Home Depot announced it will be carrying 3D printers from MakerBot. MakerBot aims to give consumers a quick and relatively inexpensive way to produce objects, replacement parts and product prototypes in the home or office. Home Depot's move to sell and demo the printers within stores will give the Brooklyn-based startup huge visibility and help catapult the category's popularity. The printer will retail in two different versions from $1375 to $2899. Filament (3D Ink) is about $15 per spool. Want to charge your phone? Have a seat... The city of Boston is experimenting with solar powered park benches. Smart urban furniture company "Soofa" is bringing it's benches to Boston & Cambridge. Built in solar panels will harvest sun power, while the USB ports are there for you to use! Six benches are already installed at various locations in Boston, with four more scheduled to roll out in the coming weeks. The company has about 100 solar-power equipped benches ready to go, with plans to produce more to keep up with demand. Public or Private? Sending a link on twitter, but don't want ALL your followers to be able to access it? You could send a Private Message, but only if the person you want to share with follows you. So what do you do? You use priviatize.io. A new twitter enabled service that lets you share links with only twitter users mentioned in the tweet. You need to log into Privatize with your Twitter account, add a link, and compose a message that mentions as many people as you want. Post it to your timeline and those people can click the link to see it, after being authenticated by Privatize. If someone else clicks it, Privatize won't let them see the link.

Twitter : New Visual Layout

Posted on July 10, 2014
Somebody once said, "a picture is worth a thousand words" and nothing less can be true when it comes to your profile pages, "visuals" play a very important role. Recently Twitter has given all the power to its user's to make an effective visual statement. Communicating about your brand and sharing your story is now much more easier on Twitter. What is driving this change? The new aspects are very similar to the Facebook header and many people agree that both Facebook and Twitter are looking at being increasingly appealing on mobile devices. Thus, what we are looking at is a layout that gives preference to visual aspects, picture and buttons in particular. Usability is also enhanced with better usage of browser space and functionality. This makes visuals much more prominent allowing you to instinctively see, share and tweet. Key Profile design aspects on Twitter Profile image, Header Image and Theme Color With recent changes Twitter gives you option of having a prominent cover image that can make an effective visual statement about your brand. It tucks in a bigger profile image within the cover. The image sizes are large and detailed so as to make proper usage of header. (1500x500 for cover and 400X400 for profile photos) The new twitter layout design also lets you modify the theme colors. You can pick up best shades to contrast or go with your images and style. Functional aspects The usage of the header and its role in communication is well tested and proven. If you are using twitter for business it is likely that even before somebody looks at tweets, media or retweets within your timeline body they would have subtly got an impression about who you are and what you are associated with. This also means that you have to think through and utilize a well designed cover and profile image. Ensure your profile image is nicely cropped and legible, whether you are using a head shot or a logo. Your profile image is probably the most seen visual which not only appears on your profile page but also on all the streams. The header image plays an important role in visually engaging first time visitor and then becomes your identity assuring visitors that they have reached the right place. An effective Twitter marketing campaign should ensure that the profile image, headers and background colors optimize visual appeal while the message blends in well and is easy to identify with every time you tweet. Wrap-Up The profile edit option is seen as a "big diversion" as earlier twitter was considered more of a text sharing platform. It was seen as a social tool for promoting text based content and assumed little conservative on visuals. With recent changes it's clear that while text shall still remain primary aspect in twitter marketing, the real war shall be fought on the turf of visual appeal and rich media content.

Technology : Trending Now - 7/8/14

Posted on July 8, 2014
Popcorn Time killing a theater near you Popcorn Time is a miracle: It lets you stream torrents of movies and TV shows as though they were on Netflix or Hulu. Is it illegal? Probably! But it's growing in leaps & bounds after the development fork that was shelved recently found new life. Ports to Andriod have been released and now they're working on bringing the platform to Google's Chromecast. Expect this to be all over the technology wish-lists this holiday season, and also expect to see a bunch of controversy about the legality. Xbox One Kinect comes to PC Microsoft has announced that the Xbox One's Kinect sensor will be available for PCs from July 15th - and it will usher in a whole new wave of fascinating and useful features. Some of the first developers allowed you to control your mouse and keyboard with your Kinect, however with Windows 8 utilizing more touch-screens, we wonder if this will truly take off. For Developers, $200 gets you into the game so you can incorporate the sensor into your applications. Planesharing? Well you've heard of ridesharing & carsharing, what about planesharing? Yes, the FAA is currently debating on whether to let pilots who have open seats, exchange them using websites or mobile apps, for gas money. That's right, a whole new marketplace for cheap flights. More to come...

Technology : Trending Now - 7/2/14

Posted on July 2, 2014
iOS8 drops Yahoo! for weather... On Friday, a report from Kara Swisher provided some insight into the decision that led to Apple dropping Yahoo as a middleman in the iOS 8 Weather app, instead getting its data directly from The Weather Channel. A huge loss, considering Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's efforts to increase the company's presence throughout Apple's mobile operating system. Yahoo had basically been acting as a go-between all this time, relaying data from The Weather Channel. The Weather Channel wasn't providing Yahoo with everything at its disposal, so its CEO David Kenny was able to step up and offer better location-aware weather data, and forecasts reaching farther into the future, directly to Apple. Upon upgrading to iOS8 users can look forward to more accurate weather data depending on their location. RelayRides raises $25M in capital Are you a fan of AirBnB? Are you flying out of town and want to make some extra cash? With RelayRides you can let another person rent your car while you're out of town... Now, on the surface this may sound sketchy, but the business model is exactly like AirBnB for cars. You go out of town, and drop your car at the airport lot provided by RelayRides. In return you get.. free airport parking for the length of your trip free detailing of your ride 10 cents per mile driven a full tank of gas when you return RelayRides also provides $1M in insurance coverage for your ride should the renter decide to go off-roading. Google ready to kill off Google Voice? If there's one thing Google can do to help make its messaging better than ever, it's to kill the hulking zombie that is Google Voice and transplant its good parts into the still-living Google Hangouts . It hasn't happened yet, but now there's evidence in the Hangouts app that it might be coming soon.

Get a whiff of this!

Posted on June 19, 2014
Marketers and advertisers are always looking for new ways to get consumers attention. Whether it is visually or auditory through a tear-jerker commercial, or bright colors that increase appetite in a fast food restaurant - chances are one of your senses is involved. The latest target for advertisers might surprise you: your sense of smell. It can quickly change your emotion without you even knowing it. Smell advertising. It's no new concept. Remember those stinky perfume slips in magazines, or scratch and sniff? Or, when realtors show an open house? There's never any baked goods to munch on, but the scent of chocolate chip cookies makes you feel at home. Recently, advertisers are kicking it up a notch. From billboards to bus stations. In New Jersey, a billboard advertising a local state fair had the sweet smell of cotton candy soaked into its fabric, which filled the nostrils of those passing by. Another advertisement in the U.K. featured 3-D baked potatoes at bus stations in York, Manchester, London, Nottingham and Glasgow. When consumers pressed the button on the poster the potato released a fresh aroma. In another, there's no button needed. London movie theatres released the scent of Nivea sunscreen during their preview. Moviegoers who viewed the commercial with scent had higher recall of the product, than those that did not. Similarly, Dunkin' Donuts in South Korea emitted coffee smells in public buses accompanying the Dunkin Donuts jingle. This led to a 29% increase of sales in Dunkin Donut coffee shops near bus stops. With such positive results it's no wonder advertisers are aiming for our sniffers. Is this the start of a new advertising trend? Only time will tell whether the future of advertising depends on our schnozzes.

Technology : Trending Now - 6/17/14

Posted on June 17, 2014
YouTube gets ready to dabble into streaming music YouTube's music streaming service is on its way, and the site is making preparations to penalize record labels that haven't agreed to its terms. "Our goal is to continue making YouTube an amazing music experience, both as a global platform for fans and artists to connect, and as a revenue source for the music industry," a YouTube spokesperson wrote. "We're adding subscription-based features for music on YouTube with this in mind - to bring our music partners new revenue streams in addition to the hundreds of millions of dollars YouTube already generates for them each year. We are excited that hundreds of major and independent labels are already partnering with us." YouTube is already the most popular music streaming platform, but isn't organized the way iTunes, Spotify, iHeartRadio or Pandora are. YouTube is aiming to change that and share in the millions of dollars of subscriptions that Spotify, iHeartRadio & Pandora currently enjoy. Dry-Age your own beef Thats right! If you've ever drooled over the steaks at your favorite steakhouse, or even in some Whole Foods stores, you can now have the same flavorful cuts of beef right in your own home with Steaklocker. Steaklocker came up with a home-sized aging cabinet that, for a pre-order pledge of $555, runs significantly cheaper than the $5,000 or so that a restaurant-grade meat locker will set you back. And with built-in technology that promises to monitor and adjust the temperature and humidity, and a smartphone app that works like a beef baby monitor, you'll know exactly when your steaks have reached peak deliciousness. Plus, an in-cabinet UV lamp stops your raw meats from becoming a bacterial breeding ground - something your home fridge definitely doesn't offer. Garmin for your SmartPhone Garmin is now entering the SmartPhone GPS realm. Trying to compete with Google & Apple Maps, you can now download Viago by Garmin for just $1 in both the App Store & Google Play.

This Father's Day Skip the Tie

Posted on June 12, 2014
Father's Day is this Sunday. And with more than 70 million fathers in the United States, how will you thank yours? Ties, tools, the "latest and greatest" gadgets - there are many options. Finding the perfect present for Dad isn't easy. With all the deals and offers, deciding what shows our appreciation the most can be exhausting. Sometimes we forget the real meaning of Father's Day, but here are a few ads that didn't: We cannot deny the powerful messages in these ads got us thinking this Father's Day. And they are a reminder that it's not always about the gift or what you buy. While you're out browsing for Dad, ask yourself, is there anything you really need to be shopping for? Hope all fathers and their children have a great weekend celebrating!

Technology : Trending Now - 6/10/14

Posted on June 10, 2014
Bluetooth SIM Cards changing the cell provider landscape Want to switch mobile carriers without having to buy a new device? Or, do you want to take your existing device to another carrier but the network isn't compatible? Japanese carrier Docomo is aiming to change all of that. How? Bluetooth SIM Cards. It's calling it the Portable SIM, and it takes the SIM card usually found within your smartphone and puts it into a Bluetooth- and NFC-equipped wearable. The prototype allows the device - a card or smartwatch-style bracelet - to be paired with any tablet or smartphone to allow it connect and login to phone networks. The idea, obviously, is to make it easy to allow multiple devices to use the same SIM card, regardless of OS. Alongside the SIM, the devices can carry logins for shopping sites and social networks to be used in much the same way. Sony jumps into the SmartTV Market The PlayStation TV will come by itself for $99 (you'll have to bring your own controller) or in a $139 bundle that comes with a DualShock Controller, a memory card to store downloaded games on, and a copy of the Lego Movie video game. FAA tests drones in Nevada Getting goods from Amazon, or a pizza delivered by air is getting closer to reality. The testing at the Nevada site is important to the future of drones - or unmanned aircraft systems - in that it will examine how the aircraft will interact with air control. The FAA notes in its post announcing the news that research in Nevada will also investigate how "these aircraft will integrate with NextGen, the modernization of the national airspace system." The FAA has selected six sites for drone testing in total. The first was brought online in April this year. Drone technology is proliferating. Given the increasing technical ability of the flying devices, how to weave them into the skies so that they don't abrogate privacy or cause in-air collisions is a large task.

Technology : Trending Now - 6/2/14

Posted on June 3, 2014
Apple Announces Global Shift in Platform At the WWDC conference today, Apple announced the releases of 3 new inititives. iOS8 for iPhone, iPad and other handheld devices, OSX 10.10 Yosemite for Macs, and the Swift Programming Language. iOS8 releases this fall with the release of iPhone6. iOS8 delivers native cloud stored photo albums, and simplified iOS photo editing tools. Improved iMessage lets you one-touch share your location, and send voice recordings. iCloud Drive, which is a direct competitor to Google Drive. iOS8 includes native health apps, aimed at target the market that is now dominated by FitBit & the like. Nearfield application sharing. Lets you answer a call on your mac or iPad. Start typing an email on your Mac, but want to finish on the go? Just pick up your iPhone without having to save it as a draft. Touch login integration for 3rd party apps. You can now login to Facebook & Twitter with just a thumb-scan. The biggest improvement in iOS8 is Family Sharing. Allowing you to share the purchase of apps with up to 5 other members of your family. Now you no longer have to purchase the same app, movie or song for each device you own. OSX Yosemite brings a completely redesigned interface, similar to the change Apple introduced in iOS7. Some big changes will be available to those who own iPhones as well. Integrated hot spot, calling & SMS means you no longer have to pick your phone up while working on your Mac. Disabling Unwanted Twitter Notifications Lately, Twitter has been rolling out some extra notifications that you might have seen show up that you really don't care about like "People are talking about this" or "Three people you follow just followed this guy." If you'd like to get rid of these, there's a setting for it, but it's buried. On both iOS and Android, the fine-grained notification settings are tucked away under less-than-obvious menus. As Mashable points out, on iOS, you first open Twitter's main settings panel and tap on the account you want to change. Scroll down far enough and you'll see options for notifications for things like "Recommendations," "News," and "Other." While none of these are very obvious labels, they're also not direct interactions with you, which we assume you're most interested in. Android's layout is even more confusing. Under Settings, choose the account you want to modify. The top option is "Notifications" and underneath it says "Notifications are ON." One would assume this is a toggle, but tap this button and you'll find a list of all the notifications you can enable/disable. Scroll to the bottom to find "Recommendations," "News," "Other," and any of the other types of notifications you might want to disable. Instructions via : LifeHacker Google Fiber coming to 34 more cities across the US Tired of dealing with Comcast, AT&T or Verizon? Don't like your current ISP. Along comes Google Fiber, in its infancy stage for much of the past 3 years, and has only been available to the residents of Kansas City, Provo & Austin. Gigabit Bandwidth speeds and crystal clear HDTV means you'll have another option for a consumable entertainment & internet choice. Google plans on rolling out to 34 total cities by the end of 2014. These locations include... Atlanta, GA & Metro Area (Avondale Estates, East Point, Brookhaven, Hapeville, College Park, Sandy Springs, Decatur & Smyrna) Charlotte & Raleigh-Durham, NC & Metro Area (Carrboro, Garner, Morrisville, Chapel Hill, Cary) Nashville, TN Salt Lake City, UT San Antonio, TX Phoenix, Scottsdale & Tempe, AZ Portland, OR & Metro Area (Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Hillsboro, Tigard & Gresham) San Jose, CA & Metro Area (Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto)

Technology : Trending Now - 5/27/14

Posted on May 27, 2014
Facebook Cuts Automatic Updates to Your Friends' News Feeds Facebook announced Tuesday that from now on fewer "implicit stories" will make it into the News Feed. That's Facebook's way of describing automatic updates from third-party apps. So if you ever wondered how your friends always knew where you were, or what you were up to, you can be confident in knowing they'll now know less. Facebook introduced such automatic updates from third-party apps, which were called Facebook Gestures, as part of its 2011 Timeline update. Such gestures included "read," "watch" and "listen" and were designed to share users' real-time activities in the feed. Such gestures showed up in users' Ticker, a column in the upper-right rail that is now gone for many users. Toshiba Introduces $199 Windows 8.1 Tablet If you think Windows tablets are too darn expensive, Toshiba wants a word with you. The company's latest tablets, called Encore 2, run full Windows 8.1 and start at just $199. 8" Tablet Screen 1280x800 Resolution Quad-Core Atom CPU 1GB RAM 32GB On-Board Storage (expandable by MicroSD) Upgrade to 10" screen for another $70 Google Chrome now blocking 3rd-party extensions Months after announcing its plans last year, Google has started blocking Chrome extensions for Windows users that aren't installed from the Chrome Web Store. Previously installed extensions may also automatically disabled. This decision is aimed at blocking malware and other malicious third-party developers. Again, this only affects Windows users, and it's unclear which previously installed extensions Google will disable and prevent you from using. So, on the one hand, more security. On the other hand, possibly fewer extensions (Developers have to pay a small $5 registration fee to get their extensions in the Chrome Web Store).

Three Reasons Why People Leave Your Website

Posted on March 17, 2014
If you're thinking about bolstering your online presence, a quick revamp of your website may be a great place to start. There are so many options for websites, blogs, and forums, that the options can seem a bit overwhelming. Like most things, there are certain conventions and expectations that websites must adhere to. However, that doesn't mean that you should lose your creative spirit. This week, we'll focus on three major "DONTS" of the web design world, and we can help you make sure that your website drives traffic to your products, social media platforms, and most importantly, to you! Poor Load Time If your website takes too long to load that may turn prospects away and encourage them to look for products, goods, or services elsewhere. But, how long is too long? The New York Times and Google studied people's searching and clicking habits to find out. Before the days of DSL and Cable modem speeds, people were more likely to wait for a website to load. Today, "People will visit a Web site less often if it is slower than a close competitor by more than 250 milliseconds (a millisecond is a thousandth of a second)." When you do the math that means having less flashy graphics, plug-ins, and pop-ups will result in more viewers coming and staying on your page! Design Quality It's tough to think about, but not everyone is website savvy, meaning that some viewers may not know how to navigate a complicated website. This is an easy fix (and we can help you, too!) Make sure that your headings are clear, concise, and easily visible. If your viewer can't find where to "shop", "buy", or "explore" then they're most likely going to look elsewhere. Have your text at an easily readable font size and make sure that if you use designer fonts you host them yourself rather than simply choosing from a list. Not all computers view fonts in the same manner! Make sure, too, that your contact information is visible. Offer a form for visitors to complete to contact you, and make sure that all links are working properly. Sounds and Music Remember that your website is a place to clearly showcase your product and encourage people to buy and engage. Having sounds and music for links or even just having songs play while viewers surf is distracting. No one cares what your favorite song is; they want to know why they should use your product or services. The same rule applies for auto play videos. Allow visitors and viewers to customize their experience and let them choose to view videos just like they chose to visit your website. Revamping or starting from scratch can be difficult, but following these three "Golden Rules" will get you started on the path to building a website that people will want to visit! Sources: New York Times

Want a Mobile App for your Business? Read this first!

Posted on March 3, 2014
We can already see that 2014 is going to be a year of digital everything - marketing, media, and more! Businesses, brands, and non-profits are moving to varying digital platforms for communicating with potential prospects and partners. Social media is the obvious digital/real life merger that we observe on a daily basis, but mobile app development is not far behind. Forbes contributor, Anthony Wing Kosner recently learned that "apps that a business makes are more likely "extensions" of their products - more efficient means to deliver existing goods and services," rather than a singular product like one you would see on the iPhone App Store or on Google Play. Most likely, your brand is already online (or should be!) in some sense. Whether you have a Facebook page or a specific website, earning that digital exposure is key for success with the new media options that are emerging and evolving each day. Use those tools first and think about what your website or social media page already brings to your clients and prospects. Make sure that your mobile app development plan is going to enhance or add to the information you already provide. Your mobile app should NOT be a duplicate of your default mobile website! If you're a small business working on creating a mobile app development plan, make sure that you let your consultants and developers know exactly what you want. What are your long and short-term goals? How would you like to meet them? If you want your mobile app to drive sales, then you will need to include features that allow for that outcome. Keep sign up simple and make sure the user interface works for all smartphone users from novice to expert and you'll be on your way to mastering mobile communication one tap at a time. We can help you out, too! Source: Forbes

Getting Started with Lead Nurturing E-mails

Posted on December 11, 2013
Online advertisements and varying modes of social media marketing strategies are taking the world by storm, and will continue to do so in 2014. Let's face it: people now, more than ever, are buying online and via their mobile devices. However, despite the fact that technology is booming, The Online Marketing Institute explains that "79% of marketing leads never convert into sales [and] lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance." Having a strong lead generation platform is great; turning those leads into actual sales and profit is even better. What can you do to start forming a successful lead nurturing strategy? Set a goal! How many leads do you want to turn into sales this month? This quarter? Start by setting a concrete number and call in your team so everyone can work together to make that happen. By simply beginning with a goal, everyone is aware of company-wide expectations. Once you have a goal, take a tip from nurturing experts, Hubspot. They claim that there are three stages to turn lead generation into sales via nurturing. Their stages are: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision which will lead you to preparing a successful lead nurturing e-mail campaign! Hubspot writer Andrew Capland says, "the truth is that the majority of your visitors will be in the awareness or consideration phase (either performing initial research, or comparing you to other similar companies)," so making sure that your content works in tandem with your demographics and client needs is key when it comes to creating a lead nurturing e-mail. The concept of matching your demographics is known as buyer personas and this information (if you don't already have it) can be compiled easily via surveys or other social networking tools. By simply knowing who your audience is, your lead nurturing e-mails will have a strong rhetorical platform that will encourage sales and success. Not sure how to compile that e-mail? We'll let you know next time! Sources: Online Marketing Institute, Hubspot Academy

Three Reasons Why We Love Branding in 2014

Posted on November 27, 2013
Thanksgiving is almost gone, and we're already ringing in the new year...kind of. We believe in looking ahead so we can know exactly what our clients will want, and need, when it comes to their marketing and consulting needs. In the advertising and marketing realm, there's no such thing as being too far ahead. Or, at least, we don't think so, which is why we're bringing you into 2014 with a classic stance on reach and marketing: branding. Despite the amount of social media, digital marketing options, and other attention grabbers that brands use for exposure, we believe that the tested and tried methods work. We could go on for a while about branding (it's what we do), but we'll outline three big reasons for optimizing your branding strategy in 2014. Let's do some time travel, shall we? Make it Come Full Circle This year, make a resolution to have a 360 degree branding strategy. What does that mean exactly? Cover all three of your bases: value, prospects, and competition! First, make sure that you're demonstrating a strong value for potential customers. Nowadays, consumers are interested in the ethics and morals of a brand just as much as they are interested in the product the brand represents. Second, you'll want to address your customers? Is your brand being projected to your target audience? Make sure that the message you're displaying is reaching the right group! Think, too, about what your customers want and what they already appreciate about your brand. Don't take past knowledge for granted. Make sure that the data you've already collected about your demographic is nearby. Finish off your "full circle approach" by thinking about your competitors. Know who they are, what they're doing, and how you can improve yourself if they happen to be doing really well! Use everything as a learning experience to file away. A Happy Workplace is a Healthy Workplace Healthy for your branding strategy, that is! After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season we're all exhausted! However, a workplace that lifts the mood may also lift the branding success. Entrepreneur writer, Melanie Spring, explains the "happy worker" rationale of a college town Donut Shop, "Hiring is not easy for any business, especially if most of your employees are hourly part-timers...While the college student workforce isn't known to be the most reliable, the company goes out of the way to show employees they respect them." Stereotypes stick to certain employee groups. Make sure that you're creating a happy space for your employees by ignoring stereotypes and your company will have a healthy brand image to match those smiling employees. Memory is Key We all remember brands for their triumphs or not so classy moments. But, with that being said, it's evident that memory plays a major role in brand health and success. Keep slogans simple and easy to recite to a friend, make sure logos are crisp and clean, and remember that in the realm of branding less is more (even with all of the animated .gifs and flashy social media icons). Your customers and prospects want to be enticed by your product. So, while branding helps them get there, a flashy branding strategy with no substance isn't going to keep them coming back. For the new year, think about some of the other ways you can make a difference in your branding strategy. Start small, add a little bit, and make sure to always reflect on what you know already works! Source

It's not Complicated: We STILL Love It!

Posted on November 12, 2013
Months after the first "It's not Complicated" commercial from technology giants ATT launched, we still love what we're seeing when the commercials air during our favorite television shows. Why? Commercial actor Beck Bennett explains, "Working with [the] children has done well for me... They're just fun, full of energy, and happy to be there." Shouldn't we all feel that way regardless of what we're doing, too? In our office, we're constantly moving to the next project. We're busy all day long, and let's face it; we don't have a table of adorable children sitting with us to bring us back to Earth, so ATT's campaign gets an "A" for engagement from us! And, while we're on the topic of "constant motion," writer for Adotas, Sam Melton, has found that "People actually watch the latest 'It's not Complicated' commercials instead of fast-forwarding through them on their DVRs: a sure sign of a successful campaign." Viewers are watching ATT's commercial series because of the pathos that ATT has effectively, and carefully, crafted. We're an emotional society, and though there is nothing more we love than fast forwarding to our beloved TV shows, there is something about Bennet and his adorable little pals that have kept our office smiling since we first met. If you haven't gotten a chance to fall in love with the cutest focus group ever, click on through and give the above video a watch. We promise you won't be disappointed! Source 1 Source 2

What Does the Online Holiday Forecast Look Like?

Posted on October 30, 2013
Advertising and marketing companies are beginning to plan, and some started planning for their holiday marketing campaigns as far back as when the temperatures were still in the triple digits. There's no denying that holiday shopping makes up the majority of commerce revenue for many businesses both big and small, but with the options available online, big brands are working to make sure that their online presence is just as strong as their brick and mortar counterparts. Shopping online offers a host of benefits: no lines, no crowds, and special pricing promotions, but there's something about that Black Friday rush that entices the masses and eludes us out of our warm Thanksgiving deals and toward the lines in front of stores nationwide. Despite the online promotions and online push from companies like Target, some retailers are expecting a less than desirable shopping season. Clair Cain Miller, writer at The New York Times, discusses that recent economic events, and more specifically, the recent Government Shutdown is affecting online businesses more than the traditional storefronts. Miller explains, "EBay, usually a driver for holiday e-commerce, rattled analysts last week when its executives gave a disappointing forecast for the holiday season and said e-commerce was noticeably soft." Consumers are concerned that commerce is not as reliable as it once was which means that less tangible shopping resources like Ebay, Etsy, and even Amazon, are expecting less income once the official holiday season arrives. So, why should businesses try to keep the online push? Miller continues with some promising statistics that state, "of the clicks on Google's e-commerce ads, 31 percent were made on phones or tablets last quarter, versus just 5.4 percent a year ago," which means that there may still be hope for online transactions. Target is making sure that they continue the push towards online sales even though the numbers may not be as rosy. How may the shutdown affect holiday commerce this year? We'll just have to wait and see! How do you plan to get your shopping done this season? Are you doing anything different? Source

Brag Blog: HealthyCT

Posted on October 16, 2013
There's always a certain feeling of excitement when we begin a project with a new partner, and a certain amount of reflection and resolution when we're finished. Honestly, completing a project is always bittersweet. We get close to our clients and we love guiding them through their journey as they create a new look for themselves and reach their goals. So that's why this week we're bragging about our most recent project, the HealthyCT website that we just finished giving a "face lift," if you will. HealthyCT is an organization that helps Connecticut residents learn, find, and shop for health insurance that works best for their needs. They are a non-profit cooperative, member-run, and they place their focus on individuals and small businesses. In our ever-changing economy, finding affordable and quality health insurance can be challenging. Thankfully, HealthyCT makes the process a little less daunting and a whole lot clearer when it comes to understanding the laws and regulations of different plans. With the Affordable Care Act launching on October 1, providing HealthyCT with an updated, clean-lined look was just one of the goals for our team. We worked to make sure that pertinent information is placed at the forefront while still keeping the integrity of HealthyCT's ideas and desires. We love the bright colors and the placement of the sleek drop down menus. Website users will love that information is easy to find and link text is clear and concise. So now, go and check out HealthyCT's gorgeous new website for yourself, and make sure to let us know what you love, too!

Good Things Come in Cool Packages

Posted on October 2, 2013
As we surf the blogs and websites abundant online, we've noticed just how many people discuss the packaging of a product. To get the bottom of this packaging obsession, AdAge decided to survey their readers and the results were astounding. Writers Brian Richard and Steve Kazanjian found that "A majority (64%) of the respondents said they will sometimes buy a product off the shelf, drawn by packaging, without prior knowledge or having researched it first. [They] found that, despite the smartphone revolution, most consumers (72%) still rarely use a mobile device to research a product while they are shopping." Why, in such a tech-involved world should we be concerned with these statistics? Because people truly do judge a product by its packing. Having bright colors and an appealing design makes impulse purchases more likely, and allows your brand to make its own unique first impression based on prior knowledge and values from a diverse number of "cold" customers. Packaging allows you to take that extra step of introducing your product to a wide audience without doing too much follow-up or lead work. Every potential customer interacts with packaging in a sensory manner. We see, touch, or even hear certain forms of packaging (singing greeting cards, anyone?), so for those of us in the marketing business should be paying even more attention to what our packaging (or lack thereof) might be saying, or not saying to those who come into contact with our brand. Richard and Kazanjian also found that, "After a consumer buys a package off the shelf, satisfaction can rapidly decrease as he transports it home, stores and uses it. To drive repeat purchase, packaging needs to satisfy consumers all the way to disposal." So, not only should your packaging be providing buyers with great appeal on the shelf, but it shouldn't be troublesome to use, open, or get rid of when you're done. Who would have thought that a package had so much power? Source

Businesses Say Hello to Pumpkin Season

Posted on September 18, 2013
Here in New England, we're entering our special season of Autumn. This is our time to shine because we have the history, the weather, and, of course, the leaves. What's even more iconic that New England's heritage is the explosion of pumpkin flavored "everything" that has finally taken effect not only on the East Coast, but across the nation. This pumpkin induced euphoria is popping up across Facebook, Twitter, and even on Instagram and it's pretty cool to watch. Hashtags like #pumpkineverything, #pumpkinlatte, and even #pumpkinseason has made its way to the top of social media charts. Instagram's most recent "Hashtag Highlight" featured fall themed photos for everyone to enjoy regardless of where they live or what the weather is. Why are companies so strongly pushing the pumpkins? Niles French of the Staten Island Historical society suggests, "Pumpkins have seemed to become, I don't want to say trendy, but [a] popular food," said French. "People call [us] and they want to know what types of pumpkins we have, what are the sizes that are going to be." For some it might just be the delicious tastes of pumpkin flavored delights, but companies are seeing more value in this seasonal gourd. Business 2 Community writer Tree Treacy explains, "if a trend is working, it's worth it to figure out why, and whether it might work for you. Some consumers may have found pumpkin spice bagels, or perhaps even more out of left field, pumpkin-flavored Pringles, to be pretty unnecessary," but regardless of the pairings most people are willing to try something new. Maybe it has to do with the crisper air, but something about pumpkin flavored treats are magical and special to us here in Connecticut as we watch the area begin to flourish with reds, oranges, and yellows. So, how do you take your pumpkin? Source 1 Source 2

Fast Forwarding Real-time Commercials

Posted on September 4, 2013
Did you know that approximately 80% of television viewers fast forward through commercials? And why wouldn't we? We have digitally recorded shows that we want to watch when we have time (and clearly, America does NOT have time for commercials). Not only can we now fast forward recorded commercials, but now sporting events on television can be ad-free depending on the type of television provider one subscribes too. So, offline we can control the ads, and online we are bombarded. Kind of ironic, no? Either way, advertisers and marketing professionals are making their commercials survive the slow motion present in a fast-forwarded commercial and this year, Volkswagen pioneered the new technique. With this new marketing strategy "the movement is relatively static, so that even when fast-forwarded the watcher will still see the advertisement as if it were a print ad," which means that viewers won't miss out on pertinent information regarding their "future" car purchase. Professor Adam Brasel of Carroll School of Management explains that "even in fast forward, consumers can focus in on a product logo or brand and that fraction of a second can later influence their preferences," so brands might want to highlight different characteristics for different types of advertisements. Much like brands are creating mobile websites for smart phones, this new form of marketing strategy echoes that same philosophy of "adapt and overcome." Do you fast forward through your commercials? Despite the increase in fast forwarding through commercials, once Superbowl season strikes, more people watch for the ads than the game. Can you figure out the allure? Let us know because we're just as curious! Source 1, Source 2

Are you Overwhelmed by Ads on Facebook

Posted on August 21, 2013
We love ads here at Odonnell, but we also sympathize with those of you who feel completely overwhelmed by advertisements, too. And not just overwhelmed by advertisements, but by information in general. After all, we're constantly connected, which is why this week we're discussing Facebook's new video advertisements pilots and giving you some insight on what this means for dedicated users. Facebook wants to compete with the same type of lead generation and reach empire that television has built over the years, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg is concerned about his users. Facebook has already received backlash based on privacy concerns, information solicitation, and sponsored posts so carefully implementing these new advertisements is key. The Wall Street Journal predicts that, "this fall, Facebook plans to launch a video-ad service that will show members 15-second-or-less clips on both smartphones and the Web ... [and they] need the ads to be sufficiently splashy [so] they will convince brands to fork over roughly $2 million per day." At a hefty price tag, the proposed ads cause some conflict for users. Length of loading time and plain old distraction contribute to the impending controversy that Zuckerberg may have to deal with once the new platforms are launched. With all of that being said, are we truly overwhelmed by constant information, or, will we eventually become used to the forever flowing streams of tweets, pings, and likes? It's a tricky situation, and one that Zuckerberg is hopefully reflecting upon. Facebook has grown and expanded light years past its original college networking environment and it looks like it's only going to continue to evolve if Zuckerberg's users choose to accept the changes. Source

Client Spotlight: Office of the Healthcare Advocate

Posted on August 7, 2013
Every now and then we like to spotlight currently projects that we're working on, or highlight our clients' celebrations. After all, we work as a team with our clients and wouldn't be able to do what we do without them! Recently, in Connecticut, and across the country major healthcare changes are being developed and implemented and the amount of information is downright overwhelming. What we love about our friends at the Office of the Healthcare Advocate is that they keep their language simple, concise, and they constantly follow their philosophy and mission of "assisting consumers with healthcare issues through the establishment of effective outreach programs and the development of communications related to consumer rights and responsibilities as members of health plans." [caption id="attachment_110" align="aligncenter" width="600"] A screenshot of the OHA website. Visit them at http://www.ct.gov/oha/site/default.asp[/caption] What makes their website so appealing? We love that the colors are easy on the eyes and match the Connecticut scheme of a serene blue. We are also wild about the ease of access for links and information. Upon loading, the sidebar explains in easy language what users can find in each link. The OHA works to help Connecticut residents make sense of the healthcare reforms, language, and plans that are available, and their information spread helps to deliver answers quickly to those who need them the most. Make sure, upon visiting, to click on the CT Health Plans and Providers for a handy guide to health plans for people of all ages. Each link points you to where you need to be, rather than sending you on a wild goose chase through an already complicated maze of language and policies. What do you love about the OHA and their user-friendly website? Or, tell us what you first notice when you visit a website online!

How Much Time Should I Spend on Social Media?

Posted on July 24, 2013
With the abundance of social media platforms and the collection of different ways to reach potential customers, and generate leads, the question that truly begs an answer is, "how much time should I spend on social media?" Social media lead generation and B2B opportunities take time and dedication, but Facebooking and hashtagging does not have to dominate your work day, nor does it have to sound robotic and pre-planned. Scheduling your posts sounds great in theory, but it can go wrong very quickly if you aren't still managing your scheduled content! Bank of America's recent social media blunder shows that social media bots and pre-planned posts need to be monitored, especially if your follower count is in the high thousands or more! Try making sure that for every scheduled post, you have two manual posts to balance the tone of your content. Your audience knows what your business sounds like, so make sure not to lose that unique characteristic in an effort to save time. Social Media is about responding to other people's content just as much as it is about generating content. Aim for at least three responses a day to get started, and keep it genuine! The social media realm is a "give and take" sphere, meaning that if you are actively participating in others' conversations, people will engage themselves in your conversations, too. Even social media experts avoid overloading themselves when it comes to content development. Rachel Strella, of Strella Social Media, explains that "rather than setting up 10 cumbersome accounts, set up one or two that contain your target audience and commit to having consistent dialogue with your audience," so you'll see results and stay motivated to keep working towards your social media goals. So whether you spend 20, 10, or even 2 minutes on your social media accounts, remembering to keep the content authentic and your goals attainable will help you decide how much time you need to spend on your social media management. Source: 1

Hashtags on Facebook: Mind Blown

Posted on June 26, 2013
Oh, the hashtag! A wonderful, and tiny, little tool that has helped millions spread the word about trends, news, and more. Twitter and Instagram are loyal supporters of the hashtag, but Facebook has just jumped on the #bandwagon. Why? Marketing, brand awareness, and lead generation. Hashtags on Twitter and Instagram bring content to a global level, providing that your information is made public. However, for Facebook, privacy will not be an issue either. Hashtags do not allow your content to be shared automatically if you have the appropriate privacy levels set which means that, in essence, this new feature is not for the casual Facebook conversationalist. Andy White, contributor for Gigacom says that "The bigger news about hashtags is for brands and advertisers. Companies have been looking for ways to connect to fans outside their sphere of influence, and hashtags should help." Connecting with other similar brands, scoping out competition, and, of course, measuring the efforts of your influence will be easier with the help of the hashtag. Now, results are easy to track, and brands can measure their influence via "likes", comments, and now, with clicks on campaigns. Specialized campaigning is one of the main goals that brands will be working towards with the roll-out of the Facebook hashtag. Arik Hansen of Entrepreneur explains "this [hashtagging] should help brands looking to accurately track conversations around campaigns down the road, especially those without access to paid monitoring tools." So, for the smaller business, measuring campaign data and user participation just got more accessible, too. Will the Facebook hashtag be properly used, or greatly abused? Once hashtag permissions are rolled out for the entirety of Facebook users, the influence of this tiny marketing tool may become convoluted, but until then, keep tagging, and if you're not entirely sure how to start using hashtags (on Facebook or otherwise), make sure to review our primer on hashtag use and etiquette. Happy tagging! Sources: 1, 2

I'm a Small Business! Do I use Print or Digital Advertising?

Posted on June 12, 2013
Digital advertising is nothing new and continues to develop each day. At Odonnell Company, we love both! We build websites, we offer lead generation tools for the net, and we also provide print media advertising materials for our clients. It seems today that most people are using a little bit of both. But, if you're a small business with a more conservative funds allowance, what medium do you choose? It may not be an easy answer to arrive at, but with some careful consideration, you'll know where to start. We've gathered some of the most recent statistics in regards to print and digital marketing and have found that small businesses don't have to worry about breaking the bank with either method. Owners just need to recognize their scope and audience! Gregory Hamel of Demand Media says, "A single website or Web ad can potentially reach customers anywhere in the world....this means online advertising can potentially reach more customers in more places and allow small companies to do business far outside their local area," which can be a great tool for small business owners who offer a product that can appeal to various geographical regions. Digital ads can be placed on a multitude of websites for all to see, whereas a magazine or print method of marketing only appears to a more limited circulation. However, if your business is planning on staying local, print media might be perfect for you! Another point to consider is that "web users can install ad-blocking software to prevent ads from appearing on websites," which may mean that your ads are being filtered into the dreaded Malware folder and will be blocked indefinitely from viewing. This can be problematic if you're working to build an online only based customer group, or if you're a small business who wants to expand. The cost may not outweigh the risk if you're drawing up your fist advertising campaign. Since you want to be able to connect and engage with your customers through your advertising efforts, consider different forms of security measures that your clients (and even yourself) implement for network safety. There are no easy answers when choosing your first advertising campaign, but by researching your methods, options, and your own personal goals you can decide what will work best for your current demographic and the demographic you wish to expand to! Don't forget that we can help you out, too! Source: 1

Keeping it Classy Off (and On) Line

Posted on May 29, 2013
We live in an age of over share, and our constant connectivity doesn't help. Recently, advertisers and businesses have been participating in a discourse that seems to allow for less class and more sass (and sass might NOT be a good thing). Each day it seems like the lines of appropriate content and behavior, and not appropriate, become more difficult to define. Our culture of "over share" runs rampant and businesses are taking advantage of it in an effort to gain attention from potential audiences. Regardless of the seemingly lackadaisical attitude that America, and Western Culture as a whole, attempt to portray, not everyone is happy about brands that try to gain attention by being overly-sexualized or profane. A lot of us just want to learn about the product without being offended. And really, is that too much to ask? We brought the question to some of our Facebook fans who felt the same way. When it comes to profanity in commercials and advertisements many said that they didn't want their children exposed to those same types of messages. But what about online advertisements? Most children and teens are more experienced with technology than most adults! If you're a brand spokesperson keeping it classy both off and online can mean a lot to your customers. If your brand can appeal to teens, children, and adults, having an online image that encompasses all of those demographics is important. 2B Interactive suggests that online community managers "ensure that your social media persona is consistent with the brand delivery people are receiving. That is, don't over promise and under deliver. It's also important to "ensure consistency of message online and offline." They further explain that "the consumer is more than ever in the driving seat," which means that if consumers are not satisfied with the brand representation they see online, then your digital marketing efforts may suffer. Remember that social media can be a powerful tool to connect and engage with your audience. However, if your online presence or your marketing campaign alienates instead of engages, it's time to take the high road and remember the golden rule: if you're wondering whether or not to post it, it's probably better not to. How have you managed your marketing efforts online? Where do you stand on the debate of brands keeping it classy? We want to know!

Social Networking Spotlight: Vine

Posted on May 15, 2013
Mobile apps are a great way to interact with customers and generate leads because they can be take anywhere you go, too. Instagram was one of the first great mobile image apps that allowed businesses, companies, and customers to share their photos on a new level. But now, mobile apps are becoming more advanced, and Vine, a new video app for iPhone is making a splash with its ability to post and share six second videos across social media platforms. This app gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "I heard it through the grapevine." Companies like Influenster are already using Vine Videos to connect with website users, brand representatives, and bloggers to promote products. With only six seconds to share thoughts, you have to be concise, which in our fast paced world may be one of the major appeals that Vine boasts. In the blog, we'll give you the lowdown on Vine and share some interesting stats that might inspire you to start creating your own video clips, too. If you've been using online video to connect, generate leads, and increase brand awareness that's great! You're already familiar with the power that video can have for users across the Internet. However, Vine videos are a new breed when it comes to viral sharing! Adweek has found that "that 4 percent of the top 100 shared Vines were made by brands" and "five Vines are shared every second on Twitter - so the non-advertising world apparently digs the six-second videos, too." A mass amount of potential customers and loyal customers may be viewing other brands Vines when they could be viewing yours and because Twitter now owns Vine, your content can be shared on both platforms simultaneously. Big brands are having fun experimenting with this new app. Dove, Urban Outfitters, and even Ritz are making short, looping videos that are gaining shares, re-tweets, and comments. Social media is exactly that: social. So, have fun with and tell us whether you've tried Vine yet, and of course, make sure you send your creative clips our way so we can enjoy them with you. Source

Local Readers: Support the Arts

Posted on May 1, 2013
As a New Haven based business we strive to engage with and support our neighbors and local charities. Business relationships are what keep locally owned entities growing and thriving even in a struggling economy, and it's our personal responsibility to share this sentiment with all of our readers and friends! Just a few days ago, we received an e-mail from the Arts Council of Greater New Haven. We are all aware, whether we live in Connecticut or not, that the arts are always the first to feel the "hunger pangs" that quickly follow budget cuts. So, it was great to hear that there is hope when it comes to funding the arts! It just so happens that a loyal supporter of the Arts Council has stepped forward and proposed a challenge to those in the area. This anonymous donor has pledged to match 1:1 every new or increased donation up to $10,000 between now and the end of the fiscal year on June 30. So, now it comes down to us: the supporters, the businesses, and those who know that the arts are what keep our Greater New Haven area alive with beauty and culture. Why support the arts? Here are just a few great reasons: Art helps to stimulate and develop the imagination and critical thinking, and refines cognitive and creative skills. All of our children and young adults can benefit from these positive outlets! Young children need art, too! Since preschools are not part of the public school system, funding sources vary greatly. When budgets are tight, arts programs, teachers, and supplies are often cut first and early childhood educational institutions are often left out. Joining the Arts Council here in New Haven offers a host of benefits for families and individuals like discounts and subscriptions to great publications. We want to be part of something bigger, something creative, and something beautiful. We want to encourage you all to help the Arts Council of Greater New Haven stay afloat for all of us who need some inspiration. Source: Americans for the Arts, 2002

Campaign Spotlight: Dove Men+Care

Posted on April 17, 2013
Sure, there are plenty of tips, tricks, and work-a-rounds for sharing products in a new media realm, but what about those campaigns that strike a chord right from the beginning? Those campaigns might not have a prime-time spotlight, nor have they filled the void between touchdowns and kickoffs in the Super Bowl. Some of the most heartfelt campaigns that we all love the most are those that turn stereotypes on their heads and encourage a call to action from those who are viewing them. That's why the new Dove Men+Care skincare campaign has made this week's spotlight. Skincare has notoriously been considered something for the ladies. After all, how often do we hear men discussing antioxidant moisturizing blends or SPF levels? For some reason, discussing personal care is a sort of taboo in American culture. Men are expected to be "manly" and women are expected to be "soft," but that doesn't mean that companies aren't working to try to eliminate gender stereotyping when it comes to product marketing. Dove began their alternate marketing style when they launched their "Real Beauty" campaign a few years back. Now, this year, they have launched yet another successful, and light-hearted, portrayal of the trials and tribulations that a guy's skin can go through on a daily basis. With that being said, let's ALL take the hint from Dove and learn that taking care of yourself doesn't mean adhering to rules that culture has placed upon us, but instead, feeling proud to do what makes us all feel, and look, great. Have you ended the face torture, yet?

Summertime Lead Generation Decoded

Posted on April 3, 2013
Summer is a time for relaxation, but for many it's no vacation, and few careers offer a summer break of three or more months to soak up the sun. With that being said, how does one continue strong lead generation when people are "disappearing" over the summer? What are new modes of connection and conversation that can keep leads coming even when there are less (or so it seems) people in town? Here, we'll talk about why you should keep your lead generation campaigns and promotions going strong even when it seems like others might be taking a break. First of all, the idea that people seem to go off the grid come summertime is a fallacy. Now, more people are staying in the office, taking less time off, and are generally taking advantage of the summertime slumps in large projects and deadlines. Follow suit! Ben Popken of Today suggests that "In this tight economy, vacations are getting squeezed. Americans are using two fewer vacation days than last year [2012], [and] on top of that, they have two fewer to use, 12 down from 14," which means that lead generation and general networking can have much success throughout the summer months. Make sure that you're working on connecting with others, and take the time to read through that inbox full of e-mail. Speaking of cleaning out that inbox: when's the last time you've checked those blog comments and Facebook replies? Summer is the perfect time to use more of the technology that is available to you, and to use it in a manner that perhaps you didn't have time for during the rest of the year. When you're connecting with others, use this time to scope out competitors, too. Business writer Craig Ferarra says that learning "what competing technology/service they [your leads] have in place along with any pains they may be experiencing which will allow you to know where to steer the conversation," making your interaction more successful. In the summer you'll have time to dedicate to your research, so take advantage of the lull. Finally, plan ahead. Take the initiative and begin planning your Fall. If you remain ahead of the competition, you're more than likely going to make a great impression on those who might not know your business, and you'll reassure those who have already put their trust in you. We all know that lead generation can be a challenge, but by making sure that we think of alternative methods for achieving our goals, the summer can be a great time for productivity. Source 1 Source 2

"Pinning" Down Your Leads with Pinterest

Posted on March 20, 2013
Years ago, MySpace was "the place to be seen" online, but as social media continues to evolve, Pinterest is making a splash in the new media realm known as the Internet. What's different about it? Why are companies exploring it? Will we one day be pinning? It's a possibility! Visual marketing works because we live in a visual culture and online communities are following suit by providing users and viewers with images to spark inspiration, and, more importantly, leads. The followers you gain on Pinterest can help you understand who enjoys your content, who might be willing to create a new business relationship with you, and most importantly, you can interact and connect with users to turn those leads into clients. What began as an online scrapbook now functions as a high powered marketing tool and the benefits of "pinning" are getting better every day--as are the chances for acquiring new business prospects! What else is there to know about Pinterest? As of Tuesday, March 12, the website now offers Pinterest Web Analytics, which, according to Reuters.com, "will give site owners insights into how people are interacting with "pins" that originate from their websites," and also offers special accounts just for businesses to begin networking and forming new relationships with the website's users. Up until recently, business accounts for Pinterest did not exist. However, site users promoted brands through their own virtual pin boards which helped brands merge into this new social media sphere without much effort. Now, combining the power of analytics, user-generated content, and business accounts, brands can interpret leads and make progress in an increasingly virtual world. Do you use Pinterest? If so, do you think it has changed how brands are reaching a potential audience? Source

How to Hashtag: A Beginner's Guide

Posted on March 6, 2013
Twitter has become one of the most popular social media platforms since its development in 2006. Six years later, some are still unaware of the fact that Twitter isn't just about sharing your dinner or mindlessly chatting about the weather. As Twitter continues to gain users every day, more businesses and institutions are turning to Twitter as a means for advertising, connecting, and gaining brand exposure all in under 140 characters. With such a limited space to write, how does one truly connect with their targeted audience? Cue the hashtag, a small symbol (#) that can precede virtually any topic or phrase across the Twitter community. How do Hashtags Work Exactly? If you work for a large marketing firm or business, you likely already have a large number of followers engaging with you on a daily basis. So, if you already have a good network of followers, wouldn't you like to expand that network? Hashtags allow you to do just that by linking those who are interested in a common topic. If you're going to tweet about a new promotion at your business you might simply use the hashtag #promo, or if you're the communications manager for a marketing firm you might Tweet a question with hashtags embedded by asking something like, "How many #advertisements do you click on #Facebook?" You don't have to tack them at the end of a tweet. In fact, weaving them in to your tweets allow your potential followers to read the tags in tandem with the information you want to share with them. You can even create your own hashtags. For example, you might turn your location into a hashtag if you're regularly communicating with customers, clients, and prospects via Twitter. Try adding a #CT tag if you're from Connecticut, or #EastCoast to expand the potential audience further. By centering your hashtags on locations, you'll find more people who are in close proximity to your brand resulting in more leads. What else should I know? Harness the power of searching hashtags on Twitter. You don't need to add hashtags for your key words to be searchable, but creating relevant hashtags for your business, company, or topics of discussion makes your content easier to find and increases potential feedback and conversation. So, have fun and get creative with your hashtags, but make sure they are always connected to your personal goals and target audience. Happy tagging and tweeting!

Creating a Footprint in the Blogosphere

Posted on February 20, 2013
Today, almost everyone has a blog. Businesses, celebrities, and maybe even your next-door neighbors have been known to blog on a regular basis. Why does an advertising agency need a blog? Why now, after years of expanding our name in the realm of marketing did we decide to jump on the blogging bandwagon? To engage with you - the customer, the client, the marketing director, CEO, and eager learner. As we make our presence stronger online, we hope to write about topics that interest you, current events that we just can't ignore, and facts and figures that are vital for business owners and professionals in the marketing field. Our overarching goal for this blog is to appeal to all of our potential and current audiences who we already know, and want to meet. This blog is only a third of our new social media plan for 2013. In addition to regular blogging, we'll be active on Facebook and Twitter. We encourage and invite you to ask us questions, give us feedback, or just drop us a line to say hello on our social networking pages. We want you to share us with your colleagues, friends, and family members (many of you already have), and we want to connect with you on platforms that are becoming more popular today. Now, it's easier than ever to keep in touch with Odonnell Company. We hope that you'll join us and we look forward to hearing from you!

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