Creative Couch E.2

We’re doing more for our clients! Beginning with information, I’ve a trove of contemporary advertising objectives that every small business or brand should consider if they haven’t already.  

If your familiar with SMM, SEO, Quality Index and building organic search results then this could be a fresh reminder of things you already know and you might want to check out my write up in 2015 on “The Langoliers of Google, stay indexed” within “5 Unsung SEO Tips of 2015”

In any case. Welcome to edition II of our Creative Couch.

Starting with keywords, they consist of single or multiple words aka key phrases. For simplicity I’ll refer to everything as keywords because their use in this context is essentially the same. Now you’ll want to identify your objective, are you making sales, promoting an event etc.

Keywords are the nutrition in your soil. You water a plant with water alone and in time it won’t be as vibrant and lush as the one that’s regularly given nutrients. The symbolism here is that you might start out great, with fresh content that speaks directly to you and your audience. 

You can’t stop there, you’ll want to add to the content much like a gardener who amends their soil.  Here is an exercise you can try to boost your metrics, broaden your reach and connect with new people. 

Select 5 keywords that best describe your initiative be it a business, project, fundraiser, etc.  Our 5 will be Custom Buttons, Naturally Custom, Custom Pinback Buttons, Custom Pins and Vote.

What to do with them. 

First I’m going to write content for my website that uses the aforementioned keywords several times without redundancy and with the goal of reaching polling stations. Our clients regularly order “vote” pinback buttons and vinyl decals so this is familiar territory for us. 

Second I’ll make social media posts using the same keywords in both the content in my post and as hash tags in order to organically increase the posts reach. You’ll want just as relative of a use of keywords for the best results.

Example of post: “Thanks for your support, Our Revolution!  We’ve got your pinback with these great 2.25″ buttons only available at the Bernie Sanders Rally in Dover, NH! #CustomButtons #NaturallyCustom #CustomPinbackButtons #CustomPins #Vote” 

This practice is commonly referred to as Social Media Marketing and we’re combining it with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  Overtime we’ll be going deeper into the field, discussing the fruit it yields while performing the labour.

Commit Thy Work to Love and Honour!

C. W. RickerCline & The Naturally Custom Team

From the Creative Couch!

It’s been a minute since we’ve had a chance to reflect on what’s happening behind the scenes. We’ve since hired two employees to get us through the work load, Molly and Zack.
 
For Molly this is her first job, at 13 years young she’s undertaken the responsibilities that come with social media marketing, button pressing and vinyl productions.
 
Zack has worked with us before and it warms our heart that we’re his top pick for a career. Out of all the trades he’s skilled in and everywhere he could be, he’s with us.
 
Politics:
 
As a progressive brand we practice what we preach. Each of us get $15hr, as an owner I absolutely acknowledge that’s not enough. We all deserve more. But in the meantime we can at least all make a living wage and work as equals.
 
It’s an honour to have a part in the 2020 election. A special thanks to Representative Tulsi Gabbard, Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Cory Booker for their support of Strafford City Democrat’s (limited edition campaign buttons available while they last).
 
New Products:
 
View-Thru Vinyl has been on the rise along with custom vinyl kiss cut jobs and static clings. We’ll be introducing all of these items along with Square Pinback Buttons and Enamel Pins to our 19’-20’ catalog.
 
New Features:
 
Come Sept. 5th Etsy customers will have inclusive shipping prices which will mean separate prices between our website and Etsy stores. Our website will have prices that separate shipping from the cost of the products which might make it look like it’s less. Since Etsy cannot accurately calculate shipping costs without over charging we’re making this adjustment to compensate.
 
Throwbacks:
 
1-3 day turn around is back.
 
Events:
 
Labour Day BBQ in Gravestown New Hampshire
 
Sales and Coupons:
 
We’ve got a 10% off Labour Day Sale on all of our products and services going until September 4th. For coupons there are 2 active now: THANKS4LOVE for an additional 10% off and FREESHIP2019.
 
Commit Thy Work to Love and Honour!
C. W. RickerCline & The Naturally Custom Team

Future Implications of Communication Technology, Social Media and Business.

Keeping up with the evolution of communication technology can be easier than it looks.  Brands can effectively improve their knowledge of communication technology by applying creative social media advertising campaigns as an integrated component of their brand’s marketing communications plan (Christy Ashley & Tracy Tuten, 2014).  The tasks can be daunting, as such the need for advanced technologies that can simplify the workload is high, on a computer users can simplify the process of managing all of their social media pages through a dashboard that I highly recommend called hootsuite.  Additionally I suggest using Instagram with its .rss capabilities, streaming photos to as many networks and pages that a brand is represented on thus deepening the link saturation encouraging a superb quality index report.

Robert Picard explores the lengths at which social media is overcoming the limitations in mass communications by restoring humanizing elements of interpersonal communication among modern communication plans (2015).  Implicating that social media encourages small businesses and their staff to directly engage with consumers on a much more personalized level, encouraging consumer referrals and increasing reach on a transparent scale.  Evidence suggests recommendations through social media improve a brand’s level of media trust and can influence viewers to follow its source (Jason Turcotte, 2015).  Thus highlighting some of the benefits to engaging with audiences on social media.

References:

Ashley, Christy.  Tuten, Tracy.  2014.  “Creative Strategies in Social Media Marketing: An Exploratory of Branded Social Content and Consumer Engagement.”  From http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mar.20761/full.  Retrieved on September 20, 2015.  

Picard, Robert.  May, 2015.  “The Humanisation of Media? Social Media and The Reformation of Communication.”  From http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/22041451.2015.1042421.  Retrieved on September 20, 2015.

Trucotte, Jason. June, 2015.  “News Recommendations from Social Media opinion Leaders: Effects on Media Trust and Information Seeking.”  From http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcc4.12127/full.  Retrieved on September 20, 2015.

NVIDIA Vs. AMD – Differentiation Through Social Media

Howdy,

The objective of this weeks blog post is to review two companies in the same industry that utilize social media by comparing their social media efforts, while identifying how each organization uses social media to differentiate their brand and advance their own strategic goals.  The brands I chose to review are computer technology champions NVIDIA and AMD (Advanced Micro Devices).  NVIDIA has some great reach and captures much of the social spotlight especially for DIY PC gaming computer builds.  Infamous for their graphics cards NVIDIA empowers their brands loyalty by awarding audiences with thousands in student grants and project funds (NVIDIA, 2015).  As one of the world leaders in 3D technology there is no question that NVIDIA has what it takes to last another 50 years.  NVIDIA use social media to set itself apart from other computer technology companies with quality content that’s both engaging and informative.  NVIDIA’s YouTube channel was brought up in a recent discussion with a fellow colleague of mine, she had pointed out how well NVIDIA differentiates themselves from their competitors by doing so and she’s right in comparison to AMD, NVIDIA is aggressively engaged in social media.  Lets have a look at their fanbase:

NVIDIAS Web FanBase 7/2015:

Platform Twitter Facebook Youtube Blog
Link https://twitter.com/nvidia https://www.facebook.com/NVIDIA https://www.youtube.com/user/nvidia http://blogs.nvidia.com/
Fans 882k 1.7m 206k N/A

AMD is one step behind NVIDIA when it comes to their social media fan base, each have a strong web presence that may be represented on other social media platforms than these.  The selected platforms are those that are most accessible from the brands websites.

AMD Web Fanbase 7/2015:

Platform Twitter Facebook Youtube Blog Pinterest
Link https://twitter.com/amd https://www.facebook.com/AMD https://www.youtube.com/user/amd https://community.amd.com/welcome https://www.pinterest.com/amd/
Fans 281k 2m 66k N/A 4.5k

AMD went above and beyond back in 2012 securing a near 26 million in social media impressions  by renting out a hotel expo hall across the street from the Intel IDF expo in an all out effort to announce their new processor and the Guinness Book of World Records Achievement for fastest computing processor (PR Daily, 2012).  By using the same #IDF hashtag Intel used for their event, AMD was able to get their buzz in the middle of Intel’s expo all the way up to the big screen behind Intel’s CEO during his keynote speech.  While AMDs approach was risky I do feel it earned them an honorable mention, standing in the shadow of a giant like Intel can be pretty intimidating and while AMD products are durable and produce quality experiences they just don’t capture the attention that NVIDIA products do.  NVIDIA’S social media branding is on point, colour themes are always represented and visuals like pictures are very high resolution, posts are very altruistic, having a large emphasis on community and influencing strong positive feedback.  AMD’s branding doesn’t emphasize colour themes, using mixed resolution photos and has stagnant periods lasting a month or more between post to certain social media platforms.  Their posts are mostly product based, contain risky copy, and have mixed comments by their fans, If I had any recommendations it would be that AMD focuses on their brand image and adopts more of their creative strategy into their social media posts.

References:

Chanak, Sylvia. NVIDIA, 2015.  “Nvidia Awards $25,000 Fellowships to PhD Students for GPU Computing Research.”  From http://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2015/04/17/fellowships/.  Retrieved on July 26, 2015.

PR Daily. 2012.  “AMD’s Social Media Lightning Strike Steals Thunder of Competitor’s Industry Trade Show.”  From http://www.prdaily.com/Awards/SpecialEdition/69.aspx.  Retrieved on July 26, 2015.

Using QR Codes to Boost Engagement!

What is a QR Code? Do people use them?  In the last couple of months have you used a QR code?  I know I have, here I will provide a bunch of reasons why you should start using them and implement them in your branding.  First you should understand what they are, where and how to use them?  QR Codes, created by Denso Wave, are advanced bar codes capable of holding immense amounts of data that can be read in 360°, capable of Kanji and Kana, and can still execute a response when dirty or damaged.  They are often used as a call to action, in place of a barcode, data archiving, instant video playbacks, the possibilities go on and on.  Jennifer Rotman has some great examples of Qr codes as Call to Actions that you can check out here.

If you didn’t get enough good ideas from Jennifers blog than I suggest checking out the news section in uQR.me.  Their news section is full with unique articles that explore in depth uses for QR codes.  Consider for a moment that in 2011 ComScore reported one in three QR code users live in a 100k household (Sarah Radwanick, 2011).  While I can’t find anything that supports Sarahs hypothesis in 2015 I was able to find a 2015 Q1 trend report by Maryann Moschides of Scanbuy Inc. that summarizes 22 Million engagements of consumer shopping activity.  The report is full of useful information and you can read it here.  Most insightful is that codes providing product information received the highest number of scans (Maryann Moschides, 2015).  If there’s a way to boost engagement with consumers through packaging design it’s by using QR codes, and if using QR Codes can boost engagement and increaseNaturally Custom Buttons QR Code conversions than its well worth a shot.

Which QR Code your brand uses will vary.  The two commonly used are QR Code Model 1 and QR Code Model 2. The original, QR1, is capable of encoding 1,167 numerals.  The QR2 is capable of encoding 7,089 numerals and is digitally enhanced to be read even when the QR2 is distorted or on a curved surface.  Following these models are Micro QR Code, iQR Code, SQRC Code, and LogoQ.

Micro QR Codes are miniature QR codes meant to fit in small places, it can store up to 35 numerals and be viable at even 2 module-worth.  iQR Code can be made into either square modules or rectangular ones and can store up to 40,000 numerals.  SQRC are for storing private information or to manage internal information.  Last we have LogoQ which is a way to use logos or images as QR Codes, this is great for brands that want to apply a bit of a creative touch to their QR codes.  Do a little digging for yourself and find all the cool creative ways you can use QR codes.  In 2014 Naturally Custom gave away 900 custom buttons with QR codes that directed users to Instagram, Facebook and our website, from which we’ve seen a rewarding response.  We highly recommend integrating QR codes into branding and should you be looking for a place to start check out qrstuff.com, let us know what you think.

References:

Denso Wave. 2015.  In QRcode.com.  From http://www.qrcode.com/en/.  Retrieved on June 27, 2015.

Radwanick, Sarah.  2011.  “14 Million Americans Scanned QR Codes on Their Mobile Phones In June 2011”.  From http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Press-Releases/2011/8/14-Million-Americans-Scanned-QR-or-Bar-Codes-on-their-Mobile-Phones-in-June-2011.  Retrieved on June 28, 2015.

Moschides,Maryann.  2015.  “Scanbuy Data Reveals Mobile Shopping Trends From 22 Million Consumer Engagements.”  From http://www.scanlife.com/news/scanbuy-data-reveals-mobile-shopping-trends-from-22-million-consumer-engage.  Retrieved on June 28, 2015.

Branding Glassware

This blog post is a review of research I’ve recently done towards glass printing and an outreach to anyone with experience in this area of print.  We are looking for eco-conscious print approaches, if you can provide any recommendations or services that might benefit our clients needs please contact me at Creative@Naturally-Custom.com.  So far our research has come down to either screen printing or label stickers.

Screen Printing:NateScreenPrints1

Screen printing glassware can be fun and rewarding, often times the approach can be very space demanding, I did however found this great video by NateScreePrints1 on youtube that suggests an alternative to using screens by taping the emulsified image to the glass and paint brushing on the ink.  This can be done in a fairly small amount of space and on any glassware.  Go out and try it yourselves, get a bunch of inexpensive glassware from a second hand store and follow the steps in the video, let us know what you make!

Label Stickers:

Label stickers have their own benefits, label printers come in a desktop version that can fit nicely in any home office.  They can print posters, textiles, stickers, etc. that are waterproof and resilient to harsh weather with photo-quality printing capable of multiple finishes.  For multi colored images this is way to go, they can even print clear labels for those that prefer some more transparency in their project.

Creative Ideas:

There are a number of uses for branded glassware, microbreweries all seek unique approaches to brand their glass, glass artists seek to brand their pieces with signatures and logos, a fragrance company might want branded drams for essential oils, so on and so on.  There are also different ways to brand glass including etching, we’ll do more research and post something later on about etching and stained glass but for now we encourage our friends to check out the Clear Choice Awards it is a collection of branded glassware competing for the most innovative packaging design and there are some great ideas there that could inspire your own glass project.

#EveryoneShares with #NaturallyEnriching

Howdy,

We’ve been speaking internally about the #EveryoneShares & #NaturallyEnriching initiatives for a long time and have finally come to write a blog post on it.  #EveryoneShares is a strategy that anyone can pick up and apply to their everyday use of social media.  It begins with researching and developing a positive strategy towards using social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Google+ or even Facebook.  Often times a brand will want to use them all and then some which can be great if properly managed.  Features like .RSS can ease the workload of updating multiple networks with fresh content by streaming posts to linked networks.  But beware your communities desire to engage with you is very dependent on the dialogue you can create with them.  Simply broadcasting a sale isn’t very engaging, instead find ways to incentify your fans by rewarding them for liking, sharing and engaging with unique posts.  Create the brand image by promoting the brands culture emphasizing the brands personal values while interacting with others and their channels.  Sharing starts with the act itself, so be one to encourage the #EveryoneShares initiative by being the first to share content belonging to fans of your brand.  Don’t forget to make use of #HashTags, tagging people, and links back to relevant websites, for more on organic keyword saturation through .RSS activity check out my first post on 5 Unsung SEO Tips of 2015.

Over time relationships blossom and consumers can become acquaintances and even friends.  When suddenly you realize you’re surrounded by hardworking like minded people and you only aspire to better things, this is the best part of #NaturallyEnriching and Naturally Custom rewards you for it.  We created the #NaturallyEnriching initiative to offer free creative services and custom buttons to support those that share the same values that we do in work ethic and appreciation for Mother Earth. Whether it be music, writing, art, or business, we will champion an admirable cause and back up your hard work with unique profit generating promotional products.  During the Market Basket Revolution we backed Artie T. Demoulas and his grocers with a $120 order that made them a return of $750 in donations.  With that kind of return and no charge for creative services why not contact us today and learn more about how Naturally Custom can start #NaturallyEnriching your project!

Mail Order Packaging Design Matters

Naturally Custom Buttons
Naturally Custom Buttons

Howdy,

There are a number of creative ways that packaging can influence a brand’s reputation without increasing costs!  Certain brands dominate e-commerce with their online sales but the order doesn’t end with the checkout.  How do your packages usually come?  Are the boxes printed, reused, plane?  Do you even notice what they look like, or just tear them open like a child on their birthday?  With packaging design there are two questions that should be examined, is there a relationship between the brand and the packaging in the marketing of the product?  And what roles do branding and packaging have in the marketing of a product.  Olanrewaju Makinde Hassan found conclusive evidence of a strong relationship between the branding and packaging of a product, and the marketing of a product.  Suggesting that a well branded and packaged product emphasizes attractiveness and marketability to attract consumers to the packaging naturally without necessarily divulging the content of their products (2015).

Branding a package is one thing but there are more ways to engage with audiences after they make a purchase and it begins with the packaging.  Successful strategies have included QR codes on thank you letters and encourage fans to upload photos of their products to social networks while tagging the brand in the photo.  Lootcrate’s packaging design empowers the brands image and provides consumers with a community of social engagement every month.  Just using the white space on your packaging to draw users to a website is a solid start, try having a stamp made with just your logo and web address.

My professional opinion is that a brand’s packaging should be reminiscent of that brand’s values.  As a die hard sustainable company Naturally Custom uses whatever cardboard boxes we can with inserts that we cut, in the end the product is ready for display on delivery.  Every order is empowered with a unique handwritten letter of gratitude and if you missed it here is a shout out to everyone who made the last few years the best of our lives, THANK YOU!  By the end of the online shopping experience its the packaging that can greatly influence customers to share their satisfaction.  If you’re looking for some neat ideas on how to spruce up your packaging check out some of the sources I listed below:

References:

Hassan, O. M. 2015. In An Assessment of the Role of Branding and Packaging in the Product Market.  From http://www.rassweb.com/wp-content/uploads/PDF/IJMS/Vol-5/Issue-6/Paper%203.pdf.  Retrieved on June 7, 2015.

 

Increase Engagement With Creative Product Integration

Howdy,

Engagement is one of many success metrics within a social media strategy that greatly influences conversion rates, click-through rates, and many other elements worth familiarizing yourself with if you’re looking to expand the results of your efforts.  Having said that my brand, Naturally Custom, specializes in eco friendly custom printed goods which I strongly recommend as a tool to help increase your brand’s social engagement.  Integrating communication technology with print goods became a huge success with the advent of QR Codes.  Naturally Custom uses Custom Buttons with our QR code logo to draw attention to our website and social networks, they can also be used to create direct links to special events, promotions, or conversion pages.  When my team and I are present at events we seize the opportunity of meeting people face to face and engage with them personally.  Having a tangible product like this provides us advantage of asking patrons to take a picture together with us and upload it to the corresponding QR code tagging both parties.  These tactics allow us to connect with new audiences and increase our brand awareness.  Have a business that keeps you indoors?  use the same methodology by including a QR code on a Custom Button, key chain or even just a thank you letter and ask your fans to connect  with you via photo to express their satisfaction, go further by rewarding them with discounts or incentives on future orders.  Interactions like this are just what brands want to keep their social feeds flowing with fresh content.  If you use Adobe Indesign you can create QR codes within the program, otherwise you can check out this website and make QR codes with a variety of different responses.

 

Custom 2.25 Button
Custom 2.25 Button

 

 

 

 

5 Unsung SEO Tips of 2015

Are you using singular or plural keywords?

The use of singular and plural keywords is suggested by Shah Siddharth (2012) as to take advantage of all forms of keywords being searched by potential consumers.  If your site is selling something or offering some kind of service that can be searched with both singular and plural terms, use them in your keyword analysis.  Review their success rate with your targeted markets and be prepared to manage the negative keyword data bank in order to optimize targeting towards specific consumers.

Is it trending? Or dead in the internet ocean.

After performing that rigorous keyword analysis one should have enough material to cross check with whats on the trend tracking websites like Hashtags.org, check out this search I did for the keyword banana.  Having this kind of information available will provide marketers with key insight on consumer trends, allowing them to target opinion leaders with familiarity using like keywords.  Monitor keywords that are uniquely designed and review their success rate, targeting users without knowing the right keywords they use to identify their needs is likely going to disconnect with audiences.

The Langoliers of Google, stay indexed.

Old items on the internet are actually deleted over time, there isn’t enough storage for all of the dead weight that’s on the web so Google uses their revolutionary Page-ranking system designed with tiny data harvesting bots termed crawlers to identify active or inactive content.  In order to dramatically boost traffic, raise your Quality Index # and keep crawlers from ranking a site obsolete users can create a Google account, access the Webmaster Toolkit located here and submit an .xml sitemap.  This will do so many awesome things for traffic, expect an increase in Click Through Rate (CTR) and Conversions.  Don’t know how to make a sitemap? You can do all of that here at XML-Sitemaps.com.

Organic keyword saturation through .RSS activity.

Lets assume the social network umbrella is in place and the marketer is looking to expand on what they’ve built, the first step to success is a long drawn out effort that will take a good year of strategy implementing a rigorous routine to establish a fan base.  This can be done by maintaining a steady frequency of activity, post material every 12-24 hours and take advantage of social media platforms that allow users to integrate posts to other networks.  Use the keywords that are emphasized in the analysis and penetrate those untapped markets with direct call to actions leading to a conversion page.  Overtime your landing page will earn an outstanding quality index score and appear organically to users searching the keywords being targeted.

Image file names, why it matters.

Correct SEO etiquette begins with file names, if the image is of a Mother and Daughter picking flowers it should be titled Mother-Daughter-Picking-Flowers.jpg or whatever file extension your prefer, opposed to the ever popular unedited approach, something like C08234ID_IMG.jpeg.  This is critical because crawlers are not looking at the picture, they need the correct file name to index it for relevant keyword searches.  Without the proper file names, your images are not going to reinforce your marketing techniques with as much strength.

References:

Shah Siddharth, 2012.  “Singular vs Plural: What Search Queries Can Tell You About Your Customers.”  From http://searchengineland.com/singular-vs-plural-what-search-queries-can-tell-you-about-your-customers-127571.  Retrieved on May 20, 2015.