Tag Archives: marketing

Automated Marketing Let’s You Market In Your Sleep

Internet Marketing Strategy Connection Group

The previous blog post covering automated marketing barely skimmed the service about the features and benefits of marketing automation for small business. I’m continuing here to be sure that  I communicate clearly that there is a lot of leg work that has to happen for automated marketing to get rolling.

Automated Marketing Services Upfront Planning:

  • create targeted landing pages (for each product or service)
  • develop detailed customer profiles
  • identify marketing automation database segmentation
  • determine what events / actions to track
  • create tracking methods to identify who participated in a campaign  (attended a webinar, opened an email, responded to social media post, or clicked on a Google ad)
  • view reports, determine common visitor traits or failed closings
  • design messages that are graphically appealing
  • write compelling copy
  • tailor drip email campaigns to generate attention
  • and more…

Create more leads and close more sales.

Because we are a design and marketing firm we have received sales calls from automated marketing services firms for years. We’ve tried out demos, reviewed benefits and features and inquired on pricing for each automated marketing company. Some companies were incredibly expensive and truly were designed for large corporations like GM who receive tens of thousands of hits per day. The ROI just wasn’t there for most small businesses.

Can automated marketing benefit small businesses?

The challenge we found with all of the marketing automation companies is that they all claimed marketing automation was easy. The only way marketing automation is easy is if you are a marketing firm who is already using digital marketing services like email, CRMs, visitor tracking, analytics, etc. and attempting to build comprehensive results from the different platforms. It’s a lot of work! Converting to marketing automation services is like a ride in the park after juggling all of those pieces and trying to make sense of them.  Realistically though most small business are not doing many of those pieces on their own, so jumping into an automated marketing solution is a huge undertaking.

If you are a small manufacturing firm in mid-Michigan, a craft brewery in Lansing or a commercial builder in Grand Ledge, Michigan you’re too busy running your business to be working on all of the pieces needed to create successful automated marketing campaigns. You either need a full time website designer and marketing communication manager in-house or you need to outsource it to a marketing company like ours. We have found that the small businesses, associations, and community organizations in Grand Rapids and Lansing who we have met with who attempt automated marketing on their own seldom implement it to it’s fullest potential. There are far too many steps required to get it up and running.

  • customer persones
  • segmentation identified
  • campaigns are built
  • website enhanced for automation
  • communication and call to action copy developed
  • graphic design elements created
  • review of reports
  • sales department actions

Once all of the above are complete, you can monitor campaigns, traffic, and reports and your website marketing will truly be automated and leads will be forwarded to your sales team.

Do you think your company is ready for marketing automation services? Give us a call, we can talk about your goals and whether marketing automation is a good fit for you at this stage in your business. Connection Group can provide assistance setting up your automated marketing campaigns and turn it over to you or we can set it up, manage and provide input on the data and reports. We can help you rest easy and keep your business on track.

May 2015

Google Has Done it Again… small businesses need mobile friendly websites – STAT!

If you haven’t heard already you may be one of the few left on the planet who doesn’t live and breathe all that is the internet. What is being referred to as  “mobilegeddon” (don’t you love tech-nerds?) or, Google’s mobile website algorithm change has launched. Small businesses need mobile friendly websites now more than ever. What the change means to small businesses who do not have mobile friendly websites is that your company website will not come up in mobile Google searches or if it does, it will come up so far down it might as well not come up at all. Read more…


On the Blog:

Connect With Your Inner Marketer

Ready for growth? Slow down for a moment and think about what your company does best:

  • What are customers asking for?
  • What do they appreciate most?
  • Who are they?
  • Where do they hang out?
  • What’s hot right now in your industry?
  • Can you pitch to media?

Once you have the answers determine which channels will be best to  broadcast your message and reach your target audience. Online, print, conferences, tv, radio, social media, blogs, e-newsletters? Do you have media contacts?  Is your service or product available in a small geographical area, do you sell throughout your state or internationally?. Read more…


Monthly Spotlight

Local Small Business Website 

After trying over 60 jury trials in his nearly 38 years practicing law as a partner in top firms in Lansing, Michigan, Mark Hoover has launched a new practice. Hoover opens his new law practice June 1, 2015 in which he will emphasize civil mediation for legal disputes throughout Michigan.

Connection Group provided design consultation service, custom logo design, and responsive website design. Mixing a classic font with a clean, balanced layout for Hoover’s logo combines contemporary and classic styling that helps to define his visual brand and is appropriate to the traditional formality of the law industry. Mark Hoover’s new website hoovermediation.com implements a responsive WordPress theme. The website offers information and instant credibility for prospective law firms who will be referring mediation cases. The wordpress CMS website offers easy expansion and can grow as Hoover’s practice grows.

Small Business Marketing – 5 Steps Towards Mastering Your Marketing Plans

Set your course!

For the next 12 month I will be posting small business marketing tips and a worksheet will be available to walk you through the exercise. These exercises are taken from our e-book Mastering the Art of Marketing.  Click Here to Receive your FREE 2015 Small Business Marketing Plan Worksheet and Sign up for Connectivity. I chose this formatting so small businesses or solo-preneurs with limited staff and time may be able to take on business branding and marketing in monthly bite size chunks. All of the worksheets relate to small business marketing, branding and advertising for small business growth

Five Steps Towards Mastering Your Small Business Marketing Plans and Editorial Calendar

Following is your first exercise to get you rolling – let’s build a marketing plan! These questions can be answered in short
time by those directly involved in growing your business.

1. What are your business goals for 2015?

Are you adding a new product line, want to increase sales, want to start selling online? Identifying top priorities can help you stay focused. CAUTION: Avoid making everything mission critical! Try to choose one main focus for the year and break it down into bite size chunks. Choosing to increase sales by 35%, plus launch a new product or service, plus expand from a regional company to serving the entire nation is probably too ambitious.

Give yourself time to build on one main focus for the year with obtainable goals.

Write down your top 3 goals on your worksheet.

2. Who is your audience?

Is your product or service available in one region or can you serve the world? Do men relate or only women? What is the age range?

Identify these 3 main demographics and consider more details as you hone in.

  1. Geography
  2. Gender
  3. Generation

3. What is the best method to reach your market?

Where can you find your audience? Snapchat, Linkedin, forums, local expos/events? Right now Tweens are on Instagram and posting Vines, the Senior demographic still love their newspapers, Facebook, and TV’s (with ads included not much tivo-ing happening with this group). Hobbyist frequent Pinterest, specific online forums and discussion groups. Find out where your audience is and get in front of them.

List your top 3 Methods or Media choices on your sheet.

4. Determine your budget – Time and money

How much money and time can be allocated monthly to marketing? How much do you think your competition is spending? Small businesses sometimes believe they have more time than money, but time costs money. If you are not skilled at marketing can you save your time, money, sanity, and reputation by turning it over to a professional? Spend some time on research getting cost estimates for some of the methods you are considering for your company marketing. What is the cost to bring your website current? How much is a radio spot? How much would a brochure or flyer cost? Is there ROI in internet marketing and internet advertising? Make the calls
and get the numbers. If you do have more time than money right now, what do you feel comfortable tackling on your own? Determine what marketing efforts can extend your dollar farthest to keep connected with your customers all year.

List you top 3 Small Business Marketing Elements on your sheet.

5. Commit to Paper – Create a Marketing / Editorial Calendar

Do you have trade shows or annual events you attend or host? Do these require printed invitations, e-vites, advertisements, banners? Focus a few months in advance to get your marketing pieces in order. Think about your monthly marketing. Will you be creating regular blog and social media posts? Save time by creating an editorial calendar with topics to cover each month, plan your discount offers, sales, consider holidays, industry awareness weeks/days,

(Green companies could highlight 2015 as the Year of Light, National Arbor Day, restaurants could announce National
Soup week, etc.)
List the Top 3 Calendar Items on Your Sheet

Good luck!  Remember taking time now to complete this exercise can set your course for the entire year! If you need help contact us. Have questions, post them below, you never know others may have the same question and you will be helping them. COme back next month for another small business marketing worksheet!

Stay connected!

10 Internet Marketing Strategies for Small Business

Internet marketing strategies

Internet marketing is not an option, it is a necessity for every small business to grow. We love working with start up companies, we love the passion and the excitement new entrepreneurs bring with each bright venture. It is also hard for us to meet some of these fresh start up small businesses who are following their dreams but haven’t done the due diligence of research. We are often contacted first to design and develop a small business website. One of our specialities here of course. However in our first website consultation we talk to our prospective customers about how they are going to market their new business and if they have considered internet marketing. Unfortunately many small business owners believe having a website is an internet marketing strategy. It is a component but it is not a complete strategy to drive traffic, phone calls and orders in and of itself.

Following is a list of some of the internet marketing strategies small businesses implement. Not all of these internet marketing concepts are necessary for every single business. If you are not sure about which will fit best with your internet marketing goals post a question in the comment sections and I will be happy to help. I will need to know what your product or service is and what your internet marketing goals are. Do you want to increase page views, do you want to make more sales, do you want more downloads, etc.

10 Internet Marketing Strategies for small business

  1. Web Presence – First and foremost is to have a fully functioning quality website. A website that communicates quickly what your product or service is key in keeping your visitor engaged in staying on your website long enough to determine if they want to work with you. List your services or products, make it easy to locate contact information whether it is an online form and most definitely provide an email contact and phone number on all your pages. Don’t skimp on your website design. If your website looks cheap your company will bear the burden of this perception.
  2. Content Marketing – Content marketing includes articles, blog posts, press releases, e-books, all types of photos including product photos, staff photos, stock photos for your blog posts, and videos. Don’t ever worry that you are offering too much information on your website. Note you will naturally be adding relevant keywords to your content (see SEO below) and you will be answering every visitors question each time they come to your site. Sharing your wisdom and expertise adds credibility and trust for your customer and bodes higher search results than websites that don’t get updated frequently and have less content
  3. SEO/SEM – Search engine marketing helps bring your website up in search results within search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. The use of relevant keywords holds high importance in SEO for small business websites. To use Connection Group as an example, as a graphic design and marketing company in the Lansing Michigan area we want customers who are seeking graphic design and marketing in the Lansing, Michigan to find us. The best way to be visible in search engines is to make sure we have those keywords (graphic design, marketing, Lansing, Michigan) on our website in various places.  There are many components of SEO and many bad practices by disreputable SEO firms to avoid. Please post in comments if you have questions.
  4. Local Search Marketing – Local search incorporates the rules and tactics for standard SEO and integrates maps, such as Google maps. When a customer searches your product or services a map with local companies who fit the query come up. Your company and similar companies in your industry will have listing that include contact information such as address, phone number, and can include website and there will be a symbol on the map indicating your exact business location.
  5. Social Media Marketing – Everybody groan and get it over with. I know social media for small businesses is an internet strategy that challenges the best of us but it all comes down to your goals and your audience. Some of our customers rock Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and others report increased sales rates from the traffic they received from LinkedIn. The most challenging part of social media as an internet marketing strategy for small businesses  is setting the frequency of posts and determining return on investment. To start, I recommend securing social media profiles with your business name in all of the main social media channels. The next step is to evaluate which social media channels your customers spend the most time in, when they are there and what they want to hear from you.  Piece of cake right?
  6. Email Marketing – Email marketing lists are considered by many to be the most valuable database in many small businesses portfolio. Email marketing lists are built from customers and prospects who have expressed an interest in your product or service. Whether you gained them through a give away, a promise to keep them updated on new product releases, or discounts, these people have opted in to receive communication from you. Unlike a phone call, or face to face meeting, emails can be sent 24/7 and the recipient can choose when they will look at them and how they will respond. Small businesses should consider using an established email marketing software such as Mailchimp to help ensure your campaigns reach your customers in-box without getting caught in spam filters.
  7. Landing Pages – A landing page is a page on your website that is designed to capture visitors contact information. Landing pages contain a lead capture form (conversion form) also known as an online inquiry form. Created for a specific audience they can be a very successful internet marketing strategy. Good landing pages are simple and focus on one message to achieve the goal of capturing the lead content. Consider using landing pages with email campaigns targeted to previous customers, use of landing pages with online advertising allow ease of tracking and optimizing for each ad, and lastly landing pages can be used for giveaways and free downloads of e-books, original graphics, etc.
  8. Mobile Compatibility – Mobile marketing statistics so far for 2014 show some industries are seeing nearly 50% of visits to their websites from mobile users. This of course will vary with demographics and your actual product or service but it is high across the board – high enough not to ignore. Most small businesses are investing in responsive website design rather than going with a desktop website and a separate mobile website. Maintaining two separate websites is just crazy unless that’s all you have to do all day. Responsive sites provide the best of both worlds. Those visiting your site on a smart phone, tablet or desktop computer get the same information, it is all just scaled for the screen size they are using. Questions? Let’s talk.
  9. Online directory listings – Make sure your business is listed and complete your information and be sure there is accurate contact information in all main online directories such as Google, Bing, Yelp and YP. Consumers who do not know your company name but are searching for your product or service can view your listing and contact you. Most directories have free listings and others offer more options at a cost. There are many other service listings like Yext, etc. and also industry specific directories you will want to explore.
  10. Google Adwords and Social Media Paid Advertising – Google Adwords can help bring you to the top of searches page by paying for top placement. Internet advertising is sold on a cost per click (CPC) or cost per  impression. You build ads using keywords for your product or service depending on your budget and how many others in your industry are advertising the same keywords and setting similar budgets your ad will come up in when people search for your product or service. Due diligence must be paid to each online adverting campaign to make sure you are getting in the top rankings and that you are taking advantage of each opportunity. As you work to improve organic search engine results for your website by adding content, etc. Although not for the faint at heart or for those who are not very ‘techie’, Google adwords and some social media advertising can be a good addition to your internet marketing strategy.

So which of the 10 internet marketing strategies above does your company need the most to increase inbound marketing results? Do you think you need to start working on all or them, or only 1 − 4, or are you completely overwhelmed and want to go back to door to door sales and forget all this crazy internet stuff? Connect with us, we can help with all of the services listed, we know the ropes and we can help get results.

Stay connected!

Photo credit: Apple, the Apple logo and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

Can A Small Business Blog Increase Website Visits?

computer screen with connection graphics website design with list of blogging basics: • Integrate your blog with your website. • Include tags in your posts. • Include comments on your blog.  • Promote your blog.  • Include share buttons in your blog. Absolutely! A corporate or small business blog is one of the best ways to share information about your products and services, current events and sales promotions or press your organization has received. A happy accident of sharing this information is that your company blog posts add relevant content to your website which offers a better chance of appearing in search engines such as Google and Yahoo. A third benefit is when you add scheduled corporate blog posts your small business website will get higher marks from the search engines because not only is the content relevant, it is current. Relevant plus fresh content equals SEO (search engine optimization) or higher search results.

Not every visitor who comes to your website from a search may result in a phone call or a sale but like all advertising, marketing and sales, it’s a numbers game. The more people who engage with your blog and your corporate website the more likely you will enjoy increased company sales from your blogging. By posting relevant blog content you become the trusted source for your visitors and existing customers for information on your product or industry.

Proactive planning can determine how often you should post a new blog entry

editorial-calendar-graphic-connectiongraphics.comThere really is no on-size-fits-all formula for small business blog posting, anymore than there is a one-size-fits-all marketing plan for small business. It really depends on the goals you have set for your digital marketing. It also depends on how much time you have to feed your blog or the budget to outsource it to an marketing company.

Now, there are success stories about small business blogs that have become income generators in and of themselves.  If your corporate blog attracts 1000’s of daily website visits you may want to plan daily blog posts. However most small business blogs primarily serve as information tools, and as a portal to add relevant website content to increase website visits through SEO. The way Connection Group approaches client blog scheduling is to determine the role of the blog in each small business marketing plan. We recommend creating an editorial calendar for your blog posts. Our e-marketing packages that include blog posting, e-mail newsletters, and social media we develop a monthly plan. For instance if your company hosts an event for small business owners every January all of the content scheduled for the month of January will include information about the event. All of this will be in your editorial calendar. Including your blog updates in a small business editorial calendar helps you know what you will be covering each month and will help keep you on a schedule. Whether you write blog posts daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly a plan is a must.

Embrace the power of content on your small business blog

Each blog post should offer insight into your corporate philosophy, industry standards, details on a product or service you offer, or changes that may effect the customer. Seek content that will increase the visitors understanding of the subject. Help your customers make educated choices and purchases. Just as the visitors to your small business blog are researching, be sure to research the content for your corporate blog posts. Research but no stealing! Sharing the most current information available is important just avoid plagiarizing others work.

When you are satisfied with the information you have written for your blog post, add an image. Statistics from 3M corporation and Zabisco state that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are transmitted to the brain 60,000 times faster than text! Increase your website visits by using original graphic designs, photos or videos to connect and engage with your audience. Select only images that that are free from copyright. See the article in our e-newsletter about copyright issues and images.

Your blog is posted – Now, how do you increase your website visits?

integrate your blog with your website  blog and navigationIntegrate your blog with your website
The first step is to make sure your small business blog  part of your corporate website, not a separate page. There are many free blogging software options available and it is very easy to tie them into your existing small business website. Contact your web design and development company to create a seamless integration of your blog and corporate site. The biggest benefit is if you have a visitor to your blog, in the eyes of search engine tracking, you have just increased website visits. Other benefits are a custom designed blog will be consistent with your corporate brand and your complete website user interface is built into the blog so the visitor can easily click over to other website pages.

Include tags in your posts. Tags help people find your information more easily when they are searching the web. For instance for this blog entry on our website I would include small business blog, and small business website design and development as tags. Because we offer those services and those services are discussed in this blog adding them as tags show our website and our blog are relevant when people search for small business blog or small business website design and development. When visitors click on a tag in our posts they will see a list of previous posts that relate to those subjects.

Include comments on your blog. Comments show that you are open to feedback, good or bad. Allowing comments on your blog shows your visitors that you want to communicate with your customers. Comments may also help you determine what your visitors are looking for, give you ideas for future articles, and  comments may use keywords that will come up in searches too. Do make sure you moderate your comments though! Even with strong spam filters blogs are petri dishes for spam – check them regularly. We set up our comments to be pre-approved prior to posting just for this reason. As visitors begin to interact with comments you will build a community and advocates for your brand on and offline.

share buttons for blogInclude share buttons in your blog. Make it easy for viewers to share your website content. One share from a high ranking social media influencer can increase website visits astronomically. The ability to share across social media and email is how videos and blog entries go viral – this is an easy way small business blogs can get noticed.

Promote your blog. When you have posted a new blog entry promote your blog in all your marketing outposts. Social media is a great platform to share your blog posts, twitter, Facebook business pages, Linkedin profiles and industry specific groups and social media channels get the information to targeted groups. Include your blog link in your email signature and add a snippet of your current blog posts to your email newsletters.

Are you a small business who doesn’t have time to blog?

Connection Group understands that small businesses are limited with time and resources to implement all the marketing components that will help build their corporate brands and increase website traffic. We have developed a variety of e-marketing packages to suit the variety of requests our customers need. We’re here to help you build connections and reach your target audience – if you just need a monthly blog entry, a combination of e- mail marketing, social media and blog management we have monthly packages that will suit your small businesses goals and budget. We offer a free half hour consultation to discuss what digital marketing elements will fit you best.

Give us a call or shoot us an email today. We appreciate feedback on our blog content and encourage additional insights readers can share to help other visitors learn more. Please add your comments or questions below.

Stay connected!

The Goal for Your Small Business Marketing is to Connect

authentic marketing imagesThere are so many blog entries, emails and webinars titled “The top 10 Things To Do To Market Your Business “. We have posted or shared a few in social media ourselves. It’s a catchy title that does well with search engines and covers some general steps important to all small business marketing.

The articles declare ‘You must post the exact amount of recommended Facebook posts each day, you must use an animal in your logo, you must create YouTube videos till the break of dawn, you must kiss every baby…’ because that is what the most popular marketing guru of today said you should do.

There really is no one-size-fits-all marketing plan for any business. Will a turquoise tupperware cereal bowl look good in all of our kitchens? No, and tupperware knows this, so they offer web and print catalogs to see other colors and size options to suit the need of each customer. Each industry, including marketing, serves the client best when it is personally customized to fit the true need.

The best small business marketing methods are authentic, sustainable, and focused.

Understanding these three concepts will help you reach your small business marketing goals plus save you time and money. Instead of clothing yourself in someone else’s wardrobe, do your homework and determine what will suit you and your customer best for the long term.

Create an authentic small business marketing message by being yourself

  • Can you add humor to a technical demonstration to help people understand it better?
  • Do you work best with people one on one? Set up individual appointments instead of group meetings
  • Are you an energetic people person? Networking groups will be a great place to start making connections
  • Are you a natural teacher? Seminars or webinars can demonstrate your skill and desire to help others.

Establish sustainable small business marketing practices

  • Don’t make promises or claims you can’t keep. The most valuable customer is the repeat customer. Your company and your product or service needs to deliver on your promise.
  • Be realistic, how much time do you have to do marketing tasks each month? Can you handle 10 social media posts each day or attend all the meet and greets in town, every month?
  • Look closely at your budget. Do you have $200 dollars to allocate to your monthly marketing or $2000? A budget spread out each month throughout the year to build consistency in key media will show a greater return than spending a large chunk for a one time promotion.

Your communications are focused and connected

  • Start with a plan, don’t throw ideas at the wall to see what sticks, take time to develop a small business marketing plan that can be updated each year
  • All small business marketing materials are presented with constant brand messaging
  • Determine results, review reports, remember to ask new customers how they heard about your company.

Your small business marketing needs to stand out from the mlieu to compete with large big box stores, and large corporations. The best news is small businesses have the advantage to make personal connections with your customers and develop brands that are that are sustainable and profitable.

Stay connected!

Other marketing blogs of interest:

Raising a puppy and building a brand ain’t what it use to be.

Media Savvy Business Marketing

Every Door Direct Mail® Lansing Area

RFC Home Improvement Every Door Direct Mail® postcardAre you a business in the mid-Michigan area looking for a cost affective way to reach area residents or businesses? Do you have a specific product, service, event or promotion you want to get out to potential customers?

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has a new campaign with incredible postage rates for flat mail pieces. These mail items can be targeted into specific neighborhoods. There is no need to spend hundreds of dollars purchasing a list. Do you want a direct mail campaign in Lansing, DeWitt, Waverly, or Grand Ledge, or a direct mail campaign just in Whitehills? With this program we can target an entire city, rural area, or hit a specific neighborhood. You can choose to run 500 pieces or 350,000 pieces or more, there is no cap.

The postage fee for the Every Door Direct Mail® pieces are a mere 17¢ each! That is a savings of 28¢ per piece compared to a standard first class mail piece. The postage savings as well as the elimination of the mailing list expense offers an opportunity for small businesses to have a more level playing field against companies with larger marketing and advertising budgets. Lansing restaurants can mail menus, local retailers, local service companies, local builders and beauty salons can mail promotions, coupons and even local political campaigns can enjoy the savings.

Connection Group recently completed an Every Door Direct Mail® campaign for a local home maintenance company, RFC Home Improvement. We chose to primarily target the area where they are located, where they have an existing clientele and have built brand recognition. We also chose a targeted Lansing neighborhood with similar priced homes that were of an age that may require the specific services RFC was promoting in this mailing.

We worked with our client to determine what services are best to promote for the Spring and Summer season. After establishing the focus, our graphic designers created a custom designed postcard displaying before and after photos of the clients work. The promotion was clearly outlined with a call to action included. Mail quantities were determined and the postcards were printed with the correct indicias and mailing information the USPS requires for the Every Door Direct® mail campaign.

Neighborhoods and routes were then counted and the every door direct mail campaign pieces were bundled in packs of 50 with facing slips attached.  For each post office drop off point an Every Door Direct Mail sheet was included with Connection Group unique customer i.d. and the specifics of each route were outlined.

With the large variety of advertising and marketing options available for business – especially with the explosion of social media marketing, internet marketing, SEO and SEM – it can be difficult to know where to commit your marketing budget. Direct mail campaigns can compliment other marketing efforts and continue to expand brand awareness and recognition. Not every marketing component is appropriate for every business, including direct mail. Custom solutions targeted by industry and by market are the best approach.

Connection Group specializes in implementing integrated marketing solutions. This means, we can help you determine if the Every Door direct mail campaign is a good fit for your business.

Although the USPS has attempted to make this an easy experience for small businesses to create these campaigns themselves and theoretically save more money by doing everything in house, experience shows this may not be the best choice. As professionals, with over 20 years experience in direct mail, our crash course with our first Every Door Direct Mail campaign found us going in circles on the USPS website. Once the direct mail pieces were ready to mail we spent time sharing what we learned with some of the postal service employees who were not familiar with the program and were able to keep the project moving forward. Using a professional can keep your costs in line and take away a lot of headaches. Of course a professionally designed layout can present your message in an appealing and professional light that recipients will take seriously.

So if you are ready to increase brand exposure in your area, introduce your new business, attract attendees to an event, get votes, share your new product list, service menu, restaurant menu and more, give us a call. We can get your get your foor in every door.

Call us or email us today – 517-645-4387 or info@connectiongraphics.com

Do’s and Don’ts of Facebook TImeline Fan Page Photos

Facebook Business Pages will be automatically upgraded to Timeline on March 30, 2012, are you ready?
I know, another major change for Facebook. Those of us who are marketing firms managing multiple Facebook business pages need to get up to speed quick! The most obvious change is the striking Facebook Timeline cover photos. As striking as it is, there are some important rules to follow and there are other Facebook TImeline Features to work into your marketing strategy.

New Facebook Timeline Features:

  1. My favorite – you can now pin a feature story each week. Just hover over your your story and click on the pencil icon to make it a feature at the top of your Page.
  2. Profile pictures are now square at 180 x 180 pixels. This image will still be what is seen when you post and what is need in your news feed.
  3. You can rearrange the apps on the page. These are listed at the top of your Page no . Change the placement by clicking on the graphic, then tell it to switch with the app you choose to list your most important ones first, such as photos of your products, etc.
  4. Your main page or ‘wall’ will be the default landing page – default landing tabs are gone
  5. New Admin panel is much more user friendly and insights are right there.
  6. Fans can now connect with you privately..

Let’s jump into the rules for the Facebook Timeline cover photo for business fan pages before you waste time creating one that Facebook deems illegal… (like I have included below!)  The image below breaks all the rules – it attempts to take advantage of all the prime real estate the large cover photo offers. No way, says Facebook! You can not include your company marketing and contact information or calls to action.

Integrative Marketing Solutions for Small Business    Get back to the business of running your business!

BAD! No, no! Above is a rejected Facebook Fan Page cover photo.

Facebook Timeline Cover Photo’s for Fan Pages – Do’s & Don’ts

Do

  1. Choose a striking and relevant image for your business
  2. Use an 851 pixel wide x 315 pixel tall image to make the most of the space.
  3. Use your logo as your profile picture in square format.
  4. Be consistent with your profile picture – don’t change it on a whim and ignore your brand
  5. Pay attention to the ratio of text to imagery – 70% image to 30% text is a good guideline

Don’t

  1. Include website, phone number, any contact info that can be found under ‘About’ section
  2. Include prices or purchase info. (50% off or ‘download our ebook’…)
  3. Include calls to action like: ‘Call today, Get it now…’
  4. Include “Like”, “Share”, or an arrow in the photo pointing to any Facebook action, etc.
  5. Infringe on others intellectual property.
Connection Group delivers Integrative Marketing Solutions

New Facebook TImeline Fan Page Cover Photo - this one follows the rules

Does anybody else find it frustrating that a business can’t promote their contact information in the most prominent place on the page? It goes against everything I learned in graphic design school. Oh well, as I begin to explain to our customers who hold the same frustration, we dont make the rules, Facebook does.

So, have fun with it! Show off your Facebook Fan Page Timeline photos below. Share your links, we would love to take a look at the beauty  you created, and find us on Facebook.

Stay connected!

Do you have any magic marketing beans?


I would love to purchase some and plant them for some customers. When their businesses grow as the result of our magic bean planting I would occasionally submit a small report – maybe just a page or two with pretty graphs showing the astronomical growth Connection Group has nurtured in such a short amount of time.

What a great way to live! We would have infinite love and gratitude from hundreds of clients – because once those magic beans are planted for one customer the word will spread and we’d have a full crop of growing companies under our care. What company doesn’t want instant growth through their marketing efforts?

As graphic designers and brand marketers we combine our love of the visual with the experiential and psychological aspects of a brand. As much excitement as a new logo or website design can instill, the often time consuming press releases, consumer research,  blog submissions, and database development required to build a strong foundation for awareness of the brand is like watching a seed take root in the dark. This phase is boring to customers who are only interested in seeing increased sales results.

Sometimes, to our horror, while we are developing roots and studying patterns, some clients will ask us to dig up the seed, maybe try new soil, or plant an entirely new seed to see if it will grow faster. This of course only results in losing ground and burning more daylight. Some marketing companies actually shovel in more fertilizer which appears to increase the yield faster but it doesn’t reap the sweet fruit that buyers return to again and again and tell all their family and friends about.

So for those customers who haven’t allowed time to prepare the soil before seeding and  still expect a bountiful harvest in the first season, the most practical solution I can think of is finding these magic marketing beans. We could celebrate Thanksgiving everyday and bask in the cornucopia of satisfied customers. My bet is though that these magic marketing beans other marketing firms are pushing are loss leaders for them and their top sales product is really the bull fertilizer that’s packaged with them.

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www.connectiongraphics.com

LCC AMA TO HOST MIDWEST REGIONAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE

LCC-AMA I am my investment logo for 2010 Regional Conference

I Am My Investment

LANSING – Lansing Community College (LCC) will host the American Marketing Association (AMA) Midwest Leadership Conference, Friday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30, 2010 at LCC’s West Campus, 5708 Cornerstone Drive, Lansing, MI 48917.  The conference theme is “I Am My Investment – Creating My Future.”

“This conference gives American Marketing Association members and students   connections that help them to be successful in the business world,” said Connie Sweet, Regional Conference Chair. “Topics and exercises include leadership, motivation, networking, business etiquette and team building. We hope participants will leave this conference feeling more confident about their skills as they enter the business world.”

Friday evening’s program includes a pizza party mixer and networking exercise with Jim Reed at the Lexington Lansing Hotel and Suites. Saturday’s speakers will include: Jim Reed, Owner, Jim Reed Consulting, on leadership, motivation, and team building; Malinda Barr of Get Up and Grow on building relationships and business etiquette tips. Additional Saturday speaker to be announced. The day will also include breakfast, lunch, and breakout sessions for Chapter Management Teams.

For more information and to download a flyer and agenda visit  www.lccama.com

A block of rooms has been set aside at the Lexington Lansing Hotel and Suites for attendees to reserve as a discounted rate. www.lexingtonlansing.com

Please RSVP to Connie Sweet, Regional Conference Chair at  connie@connectiongraphics.com, or on the website at www.lccama.com or by phone at 517-645-4387. Attendance Fee is $25.00.  Checks can be made payable to: Lansing Community College AMA and mailed to LCC AMA, MC 2100, P.O. Box 40010, Lansing, MI 48910.

Registration deadline for the Conference is October 27, 2010.