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Facebook Advertising

More than one billion people are active on Facebook. Let that number sink in a bit. One billion people! When it comes to marketing and advertising, therefore, Facebook is too big to ignore. Managing and leveraging your social media account with Facebook advertising becomes essential. In addition, Facebook Ads can transform your business’s social reach without hurting your budget. Let’s take a closer look at some of the basics of advertising with Facebook and some tips from Facebook experts. 

  • Use Facebook’s tools to find the right audience easily. You can choose your audience based on demographics, behaviors or contact information. That means, you can really pinpoint the group you really want to see your Ad.
  • Pay attention to the analytics on Facebook. The Ad Reporting Tools show you how your ads impacted your business in visual, easy-to-read reports.
  • Follow guidelines set out by Facebook that help you choose the right format for your images and guide you through content formation.
  • Include a Call-To-Action. Adding a Call-to-Action to your Facebook Ads might not increase your click-through rate or make your ad more engaging, but it’s likely to improve your overall conversion rate and decrease your cost per conversion.
  • Use social proof such as testimonials to give your brand and company credibility.
  • Test multiple designs. No matter what your level of expertise is, or how long you’ve been advertising on Facebook, always test both your ad’s design and its targeting. Ad Espresso online suggests, “Coming up with at least 4 different Facebook Ad Designs and then test each one. For example, you might test two different images with two different copy texts (2 images x 2 texts = 4 variations).”
  • Ad Espresso also suggests, “Put the right ad in the right place.” Correct placement of your Facebook Ads is critical and, ideally, you want to optimize your design for each placement. For example, you can choose from Desktop Newsfeed, Desktop Right Column, or Mobile Newsfeed.

BLS Provider CPR (1-day Initial or Renewal Course, multiple sessions available)

(Initial or Renewal Course based on the 2015 AHA Guidelines)
Basic Life Support (BLS) is the foundation for saving lives after cardiac arrest. This course teaches both single-rescuer and team basic life support skills for application in both in-facility and prehospital settings. This course is designed for healthcare professionals and other personnel who need to know how to perform CPR and other basic cardiovascular life support skills.

In addition, BLS training can be appropriate for first responders, such as police officers and firefighters, as well as for laypeople whose work brings them into contact with members of the public, such as school, fitness center, or hotel and restaurant employees.

Students must pass a written exam and skills test in order to qualify for a BLS Course Completion Card.
Upon successful completion of this course, students will receive a completion cad valid for 2 years.

Conveniently scheduled on Saturday, please choose the session that works best for you.

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Key Components of Logo Design

A logo is a memorable, eye-catching symbol of your company’s brand. A great logo is one that hooks your intended consumer within a few seconds of viewing. Sounds simple enough, right? The professionals sure do make it look easy but it is anything but. There are millions of logos out there every day bombarding consumers at every turn. The ability to create one that is iconic is no easy feat.  Here are a few suggestions from the design experts.

  • Keep it Simple – Logos need to be very adaptable to size, so the simpler the design the easier it is to identify no matter what size it is being viewed. We suggest you test your design on all sizes such from as large as billboard size to as small as a business card or ad on Facebook. If it has too many details it may not view well in smaller scales.
  • Make it Memorable – Some of the best logos have the ability to stay with the consumer and almost imprint on the brain. The goal should be to grab the attention of the viewer with a simple design that makes an impression and stays with them.  For example, the Nike symbol or the McDonald’s arches are simple and easy to remember.
  • Versatility – A good logo can be altered and still easily recognized. For example, the logo should have the capability of being viewed in color or black and white – yet still be easily identified as your brand’s logo. Versatile also means that your logo should be identifiable in small and large scales.
  • Timeless – If your logo is trendy, it might be perfectly fine for right now but a few years down the line it may seem dated and out-of-style. Stick with logos that are classic.
  • Color and Font Considerations – Be careful with color and font selection. University of Loyola, Maryland, published research that showed color can increase brand recognition by 80 percent. The underlying reason being there is a strong correlation between emotional responses and color, implying that the selected color will determine how your brand is viewed. In addition, select a font that translates well across different media and sizes.

Boost Your Mobile Strategy

In 2008, Mary Meeker, an analyst at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, who annually reviews technology trends, predicted that “Mobile will overtake fixed Internet access by 2014.”  It is not hard to believe that the tipping point has finally arrived.  As of 2014, more people globally were using mobile devices than using a desktop equivalent.  In fact, if I was a betting person, I would wager that you are either reading this on your mobile device or, at the very least, have your mobile phone, tablet, or watch right with you currently.  The statistics are certainly in my favor with 1.6 billion mobile user globally.

Armed with this information, business owners and marketing specialists are no longer asking the question if  mobile advertising is important but rather how to understand consumer’s behavior on their mobile devices in order to formulate a successful mobile advertising strategy.  If your mobile strategy needs a boost, here are a few tips to help develop and strengthen your mobile marketing strategy.

  • Keyword strengthening – While most business people recognize this strategy as being in line with content management, it is just as important when dealing with mobile marketing.  Advice from Entrepreneur online includes making sure that, “you include the local area in conjunction with your keywords, since mobile customers are typically searching locally. Remember to keep your keyword phrases small, utilizing no more than three.”
  • Use special offers – With hundreds of apps and product/service emails being sent daily, it is important to catch the eye of your consumer.  Among the best ways to do this is including sales and special offers first on your mobile site. Then, Include an opt-in that allows your users to receive alerts when you have new offers.  This can help boost your response rates even further. They can always unsubscribe but chances are they will want to be made aware of special deals coming down the pike.
  • Include contact and links to maps – Given that so many people search their mobile devices for services and products, it is critical to include a mapping option and email/phone number options on your mobile site clearly displayed.  Last year 60% of shoppers report having searched deals on their mobile device while shopping on Black Friday.  If a consumer finds a better deal they can easily click on a mapping option and find their way to your establishment!
  • Integrate social media to your mobile site – According to First Data, an online payment system provider, 81 percent of smartphone users check social media to read reviews before making a purchase. Marketers who have integrated their mobile program with customer reviews and social media sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are reaping the rewards.
  • Design a smart site – Responsive design allows businesses to craft a site that allow for optimal viewing across a wide range of devices.  Make it easy for your customers to not only find you with important keywords, but also for them to navigate your mobile site regardless of the product they are using.

Email Marketing 101

How many emails do you get a day, a week, a month? According to The Radicati Group, a technology research firm out of California, the average individual receives about 100 email messages every day!  That is a lot of information to get through and a large chunk of it is graymail or spam mail.  So how does your company compete with email marketing being so  saturated? Let’s look at the basics of email marketing and the role that email newsletters should have in your overall marketing strategy.

Why Email? – There are several reasons to send business emails.  Businesses can share news, build loyalty, educate, invite people to events, drive traffic to their site, sell products or services, and so on.  There are few other tactics for acquiring and converting customers that are so effective and cost-conscious. A  recent Digital Media Association study reported that 67% of respondents identified email as providing the best Return on Investment of any tactic (more than twice the response of any other tactic).

Email Tips and Strategies

  • Keep a goal in mind – When writing an email newsletter have an ultimate goal and outcome in mind as well as a specific call-to-action.  For example, are you trying to raise brand awareness, establish yourself as an expert in the field, build a contact list, provide tips or how-tos or possibly pass on educational information from your field? Use those goals to guide you when developing an email newsletter.
  • Email content and format – Mail regularly to keep your name and brand in the forefront  of your customers minds. Deliver the content you promised.  If you promised tips and how-tos then give the customer what they wanted.  Use images and text that bring your newsletter to life.  Use easy to read fonts and brand colors.  In addition, include a postal address and unsubscribe link as is required by CAN-SPAM.
  • Writing – Be yourself in the text and message.  Be personable and to the point without giving the “hard sell.” Be sure to check all spelling and grammar as those mistakes could look poorly on your company.
  • Delivery Information – Getting your email to your subscriber’s inbox is important – if it ends up in a SPAM folder, all that hard work you put into it won’t be seen by anyone. Understand the basics of email delivery including the following suggestions. Have a good balance of text and images, and make sure your important information is listed in the text just in case images are blocked. Use links in your emails, but make sure you only link to trusted sites. Bad links can cause delivery issues. Keep your HTML code clean, or use a pre-designed template from your ESP. Send what you promised at sign up to keep your readers engaged. ISPs look at many things, and engagement is part of that. Mail only to people who have requested your emails. (Source: Vertical Response)

Getting Started– Check out email newsletter software that can help you get started communicating with your customers. iContact and Constant Contact

Generating Qualified Leads

Prospects. Leads.  Future customers.  It doesn’t matter the the terminology you use, it is what all marketing teams are after.  There are thousands, if not millions, of leads out there waiting to be found.  It is finding the right leads that turn into customers that is the tricky part.  Identifying, nurturing and converting those leads into long-term, loyal clients takes time, strategy and hard work. Let’s look at some strategies to help your marketing make more of those conversions.

  • E Mail Marketing -According to research done by Direct Marketing, “for every $1 spent on email marketing, you can generate more than $40 in returned revenue for your business.” Suggestions to beef up your usual email newsletter include: making it genuine with a personalized name and greeting, adding custom images to capture the lead’s attention, including social sharing icons, and incorporating a clear call to action.
  • Landing Pages – This page allows a business to capture a visitor’s information through a lead form.  If your landing page is targeted toward to a particular stream of traffic (such as an email campaign) you will convert a higher percentage of your website visitors into leads with which you can follow up.
  • Social Media – Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn or Instagram, social media helps expose your business to prospects.  If you are not on social media, know that your competition is and they are building relationships daily with future customers and building their credibility by “being out there.” Integrating social media components into your company’s website design helps it to not only rank higher in search engines but to get your name and brand out there where the leads really are.  Promotions, coupons, and deals are easily shared and re-tweeted via social media thus making your business more visible.
  • Solve Problems and Share Ideas – Videos, blogs, podcasts, webinars are just a few ways to share your expertise in your field.  If customers see you as a leader in the industry, they will begin to follow your blog, videos, social media and webinars.  According to SalesForce online, 23% of total Internet usage time is devoted to social networks or blogs, which means that a large chunk of users are obtaining information and knowledge via blogs. This is a less corporate and less direct method of sales that will help capture more leads.  At the end of each blog, video or webinar offer an email sign up to convert those leads to clients.
  • Referrals – Offer incentives for customers and employees who refer a friend who later turns into a client.  Word-of-mouth referrals can be very powerful.

Common Presentation Mistakes

A great business presentation can inspire, inform and call a group to action.  Unfortunately, a poorly planned and executed presentation can bore and annoy an audience to the point of harming your brand image or possibly tarnishing your good reputation. What are the most common pitfalls during a presentation and how can you avoid them? Let’s look at the most common mistakes presenters can make.


Lack of Preparation
– The single biggest mistake in giving a presentation is lack of practice. The adage practice makes perfect stands true here.  Practice with colleagues who can give you honest feedback.  Practice in front of a mirror to gauge your facial expressions and body language.  And finally, practice in anticipation of audience questions.  Make sure you know your topic well enough to go off script and answer detailed questions about your content.  During practice sessions be sure to make eye contact, speak clearly and have the ability to give the presentation without the use of your slides to guide you.

Not knowing the audience – Whether your audience is an intimate group of 20 or a large corporate group of 200, know the audience.  Do some research on your audience. Why are they here? How much do they already know about your topic, and what do they most want to learn from you?  Talking far above or far below their comprehension level can create confusion or boredom.

Content Mistakes – There are several content mistakes that you will want to avoid.  Data or content overload is fairly common with speakers that are passionate about their topic.  Use visuals and anecdotal stories to help get information across instead of overloading the audience with data and bullets on your slides.  In addition, know your content well enough that you do not read directly from the slides.  Many speakers who do this leave the audience wondering why they just didn’t print off the slides and skip the presentation altogether.  Finally do not overload your audience with “takeaways.”  Studies show that audiences lose focus after three points.

Technology Mistakes – Most technology problems occur because of a lack of planning.  Check and recheck with your venue about equipment and technology set up.  Familiarize yourself with the room, technology and equipment far in advance if at all possible.  Spend a little extra money and have many different connectors at your disposal “just in case.” Check lighting, sound and layout of the room prior to your presentation.

Slides and Media Mistakes – Choose your slides and visual content carefully.  If it doesn’t enhance what you are saying then remove the slide.  Too many flashy visuals or pictures can detract from your overall message.  Choose a pleasing color palette and whenever possible choose custom pictures instead of stock photography.  Make it unique and show off your company’s personality in your visuals.

 

 

Importance of Dynamic Content

Sunday morning. The perfect time to peacefully read the newspaper over a nice cup of coffee.  You settle in, open up to your favorite section and  notice the same stories and pictures that were in last Sunday’s paper! There must be some mistake right? You were expecting new information, updated articles, current stories. Well, that is the same feeling that visitors get when they log on to a favorite website only to find the same content, pictures and videos as last time they visited. As a consumer, you would probably stop getting the paper if that happened over and over. The same goes for a website.  If websites don’t update and change, consumers will not return to browse — or more importantly — buy. 

A dynamic website is one that changes frequently and engages the reader in various ways.  It lets the visitor know that your product, service and even brand is active and “keeping up” in the business world. Dynamic content can include items such as descriptions, text, blogs, announcements, pictures, animations, video or audio. This does not mean that the design of the website changes, merely the content which can be done in the back-end through separate databases. Given how often consumers log on to the internet, and the sharp rise in mobile devices, it is no wonder that dynamic content is the demand of the times.

Let’s examine some of the reasons why dynamic is the way to go for your growing business.

  1. Attract your audience – Visitors tend to return to websites that offer something they want whether it is a new product, educational information, a blog, a special offer, or even helpful videos. Make your visitors curious to come back by posting new information on a regular basis.
  2. Enhance your SEO – Components of a great SEO involve keywords connected to good content. Search engines are aware of sites with dynamic content.  Take for example a regularly posted  blog.  Hubspot reported recently that, “companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages on search engines than companies that don’t blog. That makes a tremendous difference for search engine rank.”
  3. Gain Marketing Insights – Dynamic content matched with analytic tools will quickly help your marketing team figure out what consumers are looking for and what are hot button items.
  4. Creating Revenue – Ultimately, dynamic content brings in more revenue by increasing website visitors, converting more visitors to buyers, and helping to sell more of your products and services.

Advertising on Social Media

According to Hootsuite, “Advertisers spent $5.1 billion on social media advertising in 2013 and this figure is expected to exceed $14 billion by 2018.” The numbers don’t lie.  Advertising on social media in order to drive leads and sales has become  an extremely valuable marketing tool.  With internet advertising now surpassing traditional print advertising, it is hard to ignore this platform as a location to focus your company’s marketing dollars.  As a small business, how do you decide where to advertise and how to spend that precious currency?  Let’s look at the types of advertising available on social media and how your company can get in on the action when it comes to social media marketing.

1403469584_Facebook-iconFacebook – Posting pictures and content is free but there are several ways that you can use Facebook advertising to increase the volume of people that see your content and widen your reach.

  • “Boost” Posts – Choose this option to boost a specific post, image or link that may showcase your business in a positive manner.  This method allows the business to define a budget and target an intended audience.
  • Facebook Ads – Another method is to create a Facebook Ad with a visual image and promotion.  With this type of direct ad you can choose where the ad will show up, choose a targeted audience and decide on pricing options. Targeting options include choosing geography, gender, age and behaviors.

imagesTwitter – In December 2013, Twitter updated its advertising from Promoted Tweets, Promoted Trends, and Promoted Accounts to better target ads to users. The product, called “tailored audiences,” uses data from browser histories to show users ads that directly relate to the sites they’ve recently visited. For each of these methods a business can choose to:  increase the number of desired followers, appear directly on the active timeline, or even be featured at the top of trending topics lists tailored by location and followers.

imagesLinkedIn – To reach active business professions on LInkedIn Advertising, choose from Direct ad or Sponsored Updates.  Direct Ads show up on the Home Page, Profile Page, Inbox, search Results Page or Groups Page.  It allows for a business to choose a target audience and places them on chosen LinkedIn pages. Sponsored Updates means that you can publish a copmany upodate and link for visitors. With each of these advertising options targeting can be done by industry, seniority, geography, groups, company size, gender or even job function.

PinterestPinterest -Pinterest introduced Promoted Pins as their advertising tool.  This means content you choose to promote that will appear high within search results. You’ll only pay for the Promoted Pins when a viewer clicks through to your site. To learn more about this new advertising tool READ MORE.

imagesGoogle+  is for businesses who want to connect with the right audience and promote their brand. Google + uses advertising called +Post Ad.  This method takes your Google content and creates a display ad shown on the Display Network.  It allows users to comment, follow your brand and “Hangout” with your business.

imagesInstagram – By Sponsoring Videos and Photos, Instagram Marketing can reach a very specific niche. The ultimate aim of these ads is to make the display look and feel natural as visitors scroll through ab Instagram Feed.

 

 

 

 

Is your site mobile ready?

Here is a little lesson in math and marketing . . .

  • the average smartphone user checks their phone up to 221 times per day
  • 90% of American adults have a cell phone
  • 58% of American adults have a smartphone
  • more than 50% of mobile phone users access their phones as their primary means of going online 
  • 74% of mobile consumers will wait only 5 seconds for a page to load before they abandon the site           (Pew Research Center)

Given these statistics on smartphone ownership, usage and buying behavior, there is one big question all website designers and marketers should ask themselves.  “Is our site mobile ready?”

Gone are the days of the singular means to access the internet at home on the desktop.  All one needs to do is take a step outside during their lunch hour to see business people, moms, teens, and everyone in between hooked on their smartphones for texting, browsing their favorite social media and, of course, researching the best deals to buy off the internet. With the rapid emergence of the mobile web has come an increasing need for mobile websites and compatibility.  Here are a few points that you may want to consider with your website design team while you are scrambling to get your site mobile ready.

Do your homework

  • Research what the experts are saying about Mobile-Friendly Websites.  Google sent notices and created a guide (Google’s Guide to becoming mobile ready) in January 2015, warning webmasters of errors in mobile capability on websites.  We may even eventually see a new algorithm for searches dependent upon the readiness of a site to handle mobile features.
  • You may also want to read The Mobile Usability Report which will explain areas where your site suffers severe mobile usability issues and provide you with steps to fix the problems. For example, the report looks at text size that can be read on smaller screens, mobile-compatable software, and spacing of lionks and buttons appropriately for easy use.
  • Check out your website on different devices. Try the mobile emulator from Google to see how your web site looks on a number of mobile devices.

Responsive Design

Mobile devices alone account for over 4000 different screen sizes. Add to this computer screens and TVs and it’s easy to wonder how a site can look good across different devices. Responsive design is the answer to this problem. This type of flexible design makes it easier to read, easier to navigate and, most importantly, keeps customers on your site. Using a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries, responsive design can adjust to the correct size and format depending upon the device.  If you are tech savvy  you may want to read the seminal article that ‘invented’ the technique, Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte from Alist Apart Magazine for web designers. With more than 1.2 billion people accessing the web via mobile devices, having a mobile content strategy is no longer optional; it is critical.