October 5th, 2016

Why Your Small Business Needs a Graphic Designer

Choosing an effective font and color combination for a project is more important than you might think — especially if that project is representing your brand. There is a reason why some graphic design projects work, and some don’t. Striking the right balance between elements, images, and font choices can make or break a project. That’s one way a graphic designer can make your business look its best. Just as you have dedicated your time and money to learn what you practice, you can be sure that graphic designers have dug deep into their practice as well.

A good graphic designer is continually learning new techniques, keeping up with current trends, and expanding into different areas of design. It is the responsibility of a graphic designer to investigate what’s popular in design technology to see if and how it applies to their clients.

Today, there are numerous programs and online software for small business owners to design themselves. But do you really have the time to learn how to use new programs for your design needs? How much is your time worth? Wouldn’t you get more out of your time if you focused on your specialty?

Let a graphic designer do what they do best, so you can focus on what you do best. It will be one of the best investments you’ve ever made in your business and you’ll love the return.

So before you open Microsoft Paint to start that next project, hire a graphic designer instead. You’ll be so glad you did.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

By Susan Scott Teachey, Creative Director at Addison Clark

September 28th, 2016

How to Boost Organic Reach on Facebook

The number of small businesses on Facebook is continuing to grow at rapid rates. As of April last year, Facebook announced the number of active small business Pages on the platform was up to 40 million. For all of these small businesses on Facebook, limited reach due to Facebook’s algorithm is an ever-present frustration.

Before we start an algorithm bashing session here, we want to say that we do understand Facebook’s algorithm is a necessary evil. There are over 1.65 billion active users on the site. 1.65 billion! To put that in perspective, that’s bigger than the entire population of China. The Facebook algorithm determines what each of those people will see in their news feeds based off of who/what they’re following. Without the algorithm, our news feeds would quickly become bogged down with an overload of content from all the friends and Pages we follow. The algorithm works to prioritize certain posts, putting posts from friends and family first and following that with posts that it thinks will be of the most interest to you.

For small businesses on the platform, fighting to get their posts seen can seem like an uphill battle. Some posts perform well and garner heaps of likes, shares, and comments, while others languish in their sad secluded corners. What is it that causes some posts to do well and others to fail miserably?

A quick Google search for ways to boost organic reach will produce thousands of articles all touting their answers to this common question. More often than not, the answer is the same: Post high-quality content. While that is a true statement, it is also maddeningly vague.  High quality can mean different things to different people.  What works for one industry won’t work for another.

That is why we recommend testing out different practices for yourself. Sure, listen to the articles and follow some general guidelines but always, always test for yourself. The social media best practices of yesterday fade away faster than a 10-second Snapchat, so don’t feel like you’re restricted to the “rules”. Instead, tweak the rules so they fit your audience and your goals.

A great example of this is a recent discovery we had when we tested different posting times for a client. Their Facebook posts had been going live every day around noon. This seemed like an effective strategy since a lot of people scroll through Facebook during their lunch breaks. However, one day we started publishing their posts at 12:00am instead and the results were surprising. The organic reach on their posts instantly improved. Due to several different factors (an international audience, type of posts, and Facebook’s algorithm), this strategy worked well for them. When we tested the same practice on a separate client’s Facebook, the results were entirely different.  Social media is a constant evolution in what works and what doesn’t, and determining what those things are for your business takes time, strategy, and lots of testing.

The four most recommend tips for boosting organic reach on Facebook are:

  • Figure out the best time to post
  • Build engagement with your followers
  • Post various types of rich media: photos, video, links
  • Post consistently

All of these recommendations are a great basis for posting on your small business’ Facebook page, but testing, stretching, and tweaking them until you get the best results is the only way your page will continue to grow organically.

 

September 21st, 2016

Our Favorite Things About Fall

With crisp fall days on the horizon, we asked the Addison Clark team members what they’re looking forward to the most about this new season. Here’s what they had to say:

Cooler weather and football — Jeff Allen, managing partner

My birthday, chili, and sweaters — Anne-Stuart Teter, account manager

Halloween, because I get to go trick or treating with my kids — Jocy Vuiller, account manager

Blankets and fireplaces — Susie Teachey, creative director

Weekend hiking trips and candy corn — Whitney Torres, account manager

Holiday feasts — Ryan Delafosse, web developer

Pumpkin spice lattes (#PSL) — Andrew Rountree, managing partner

What are you looking forward to? Leave a comment or share with us on social media (@addclarkonline)

September 9th, 2016

Google Gullibility And What It Means For Your Website

 

Google Gullibility is when users click on the top result from their Google search under the assumption that Google is ordering the links by order of importance. The fact is, depending on the quality of the user’s search query, this may or may not be the case.

The term “google gullibility” was coined by web-usability consultant Jakob Nielson, who discovered through a series of studies that users are actually very bad at accurately interpreting SERP listings (aka the results that are listed after a search on Google or any other search engine). In most cases, users did not know how to accurately predict the quality of a listing and whether that link would take them to the destination they were searching for. Instead, they would blindly click on the first or second link, assuming that Google is doing the job for them by ordering results in order of importance.

Another interesting discovery from Nielson’s research found that today’s users rarely change their keywords should their initial search fail to produce quality results. Here’s an example of that type of scenario from Nielson’s research:

One user tested the Mayo Clinic’s site to find out how to ensure that a child with a milk allergy would receive sufficient calcium. The user attempted multiple queries with the keyword “calcium,” but never tried the words “milk” or “allergy”.

Insight like this proves two things: 1) having favorable rankings on Google is highly important since most users will never click past the first page, and 2) always optimize your website for search with users in mind. What seems like an obvious search query to you may not be to your potential customers, so optimizing your website with general key terms as well as more specific ones will go a long ways towards helping users find your website.

If you’re looking for more information on how to improve your website’s SEO, check out our blog post on three simple tasks to help with SEO or visit our website to learn more about our SEO services.

 

September 2nd, 2016

Digital Is Print Media’s Ally, Not Its Destroyer

 

There is no denying that digital technology has impacted civilization worldwide and in thousands of ways. In the printing world, the evolution of hardware and software has taken printing to heights Gutenberg could never have imagined. Right now, much of the world could go paperless. With all of the online publications, books, education, paperless billing statements, and so on, it wouldn’t be very hard to do. But, what would be the expense to go completely digital? More importantly, will it happen? Will print be replaced by digital media for good?

Absolutely not.

So many take these industries for granted, but that is simply because most people don’t understand everything that goes into the production of just one print project, or as currently is done, a sister digital media format of it. Computers have never been so fast, and there are faster ones on the way. Along with cutting-edge technology hitting the market at a rate that is nearly impossible to keep up with, but it is paramount to keep up with the latest and the greatest – it’s the job of graphic designers and their counterparts within the printing industry to do so.

Like most things, there are pros and cons to digital technology. The speed and flexibility of digital media is a powerful tool. Media can be sent or received instantly, online education is a reality, and there are millions of tools available for graphic design such as stock photography, font choices, clip art, animations, and sound. The ability to learn how to use the latest software through many training websites is available too.

The ease in which print collateral can be designed and printed today is nothing less than amazing, thanks to the advances of digital. What would have taken weeks to complete before the 1980s, now takes a few days — or even hours — and a confirmation email approving a design for print.

So, no, digital isn’t killing print. Instead, it’s taking our printing methods to new heights and standards with an ease that’s never existed before digital.

By: Susan Scott Teachey

August 26th, 2016

Instagram Stories: A Field Guide

 

 

As a digital marketing agency, we can’t help but get excited when a new social media platform rolls out. We instantly dig into it, ready to learn all of its bells and whistles and determine whether it’s worth the investment, both for our clients and ourselves.

Instagram Stories, a strikingly similar concept to Snapchat, was launched this month with much fanfare. While the format is new to Instagram, the concept itself has been around since the launch of Snapchat Stories in October 2013. The idea is that users can create a chain of content that can be viewed an unlimited number of times over the course of 24 hours. Now, in addition to the Instagram feed we all know and love, there also exists Stories – a place to post goofy, off-the-cuff   “Snapchat-style” content.

Below are a few ways that Instagram Stories differs from Snapchat:

  • Instagram Stories allow you to pause or go back as the content is playing.
  • Filter favorites, like the puppy face or face swap are still exclusively on Snapchat
  • Instagram Stories shows you who watches your story, but not who screenshots it.
  • You don’t have to follow someone to see their Instagram Stories, as long as their profile is public.

One of the best things about the platform is that businesses currently on Instagram already have a built-in audience. For businesses that have been on the fence about joining a real-time content platform, this may be the way to go.

For more insight into whether Instagram stories is a good fit for your business, check out this infographic from Later.

 

infographic source

April 21st, 2016

The Difference Between Connecting on LinkedIn and Social Selling

I recently had an encounter with two people who were working with a LinkedIn trainer to learn how to use the platform, complete their profiles, and make connections. I asked, “How many leads have you gotten so far?”

To my surprise (I assumed everyone learning LinkedIn was doing so for business development purposes), their answer was, “We are not sure how to do that.”

Strategy is the biggest difference between a B2B sales and marketing team that enjoy consistent sales leads and revenue opportunities on LinkedIn and one that just has a presence with lots of connections. Learning the tactics of the platform is one thing. Learning how to generate leads is another.

That’s where social selling comes in. This type of strategy can help turn your LinkedIn presence into more than just a list of connections.

The digital age has transformed the way people buy and sell, especially in the world of business. Far from being a problem, this has made life easier for the world’s salespeople. Social media has put an end to the dreaded cold call forever. Customers and prospects gather on social channels, so naturally this is where sales teams need to be as well. But to be successful, salespeople have to adapt their approach to suit the platform. Social selling (using social networks to develop useful and productive relationships with customers) is so easy almost anyone can do it.

Social selling aims to cultivate one-on-one relationships, rather than broadcast one-to-many messages done by social marketing.

The success of social selling is dependent on the development of a team attitude, in which social selling is merely a byproduct of sales and marketing integration. The future of social selling requires a partnership between these two departments. The digital marketing team creates, organizes, distributes and evaluates the insights that the sales team then leverages to fuel social conversations. Marketing measures the content consumption story of each new customer, and gathers trends for prescriptive improvements to help a sales professional approach a customer with highly-targeted insights. Marketing can empirically prove a direct contribution to lead generation, and can highlight an indirect influence on all remaining sales.

However, after several years of offering social selling training, I observed the same problem occurring as with historical sales training: no reinforcement and no behavioral change.

LinkedIn is a powerful platform that can be used to generate valuable leads and revenue opportunities, but — like most things in life — it only works if you use it correctly. Don’t just set up a profile and make a few connections. Use it as a tool to further your social selling and generate sales opportunities for your business.

Guest post by Rick Curry, resident LinkedIn advisor and Social Selling Coach

March 4th, 2016

What’s New In Social Media

Facebook
The days of simply liking a post are over. Facebook rolled out “reactions” last week, giving users the option of choosing from a range of emotions instead. “Love”, “wow”, “sad”, and “angry” are some of the reactions that users can choose from. It is expected that brands and small businesses will see an uptick in user engagement on their posts, since choosing a Reaction is much simpler and faster than leaving a comment. It will also give a lot more insight into how an audience views content. Read more about Facebook’s “reactions” here.

Instagram
Instagram launched a long awaited feature: the ability to switch between accounts without signing in and out. Since most users these days have multiple Instagram accounts, the new feature just made sense and the account managers at Addison Clark are still excited about it! Find out how to add and manage multiple accounts here.

Twitter
Just like Facebook, your Twitter feed is about to get a lot more expressive. Twitter rolled out a GIF keyboard to all its users this week, meaning it’s that much easier to share funny GIFs with your followers. Users can search directly in the Twitter app for different categories of GIFs, including “happy dance”, “mic drop”, or “YOLO”. GIFs have become an increasingly popular way from brands to show humor and connect with their fans. Read more about Twitter GIFs and how to use them here.

 

 

February 24th, 2016

Client Spotlight: Dip a di do da

 

This week we’re spotlighting our client Dip a di do da. Myrf Bowry and Leah Dodge, the ladies behind this creative invention, completely embody the entrepreneurial spirit. They saw a problem and, together, they created the solution.

It all started one evening when Myrf had some unexpected guests drop in. Not having time to whip up appetizers from scratch, she pulled some store-bought hummus out of the refrigerator and spooned it into a bowl so she wouldn’t have to place the ugly store-bought container on the table.  That’s when she started wondering if she and Leah could come up with a classy solution to help in moments like that.

Enter Dip a di do da.

The design-oriented duo collaborated to come up with a dip dish that’s the perfect size to hold store-bought dip containers and cleverly conceal the labels. To prevent waste, each dip dish comes with a hole in the bottom so you can easily remove the container without having to flip it over.

Besides Dip a di do da, Myrf and Leah also own and operate the interior design firm Decorum, located on Patterson Avenue in Richmond. Their backgrounds in design play a prominent role in the many colors and patterns their Dip a di do da dishes come in.

Starting out, Myrf and Leah sold their Dip a di do da dishes from their design store and relied solely on word of mouth marketing. Today, we are pleased to be providing these talented ladies with a suite of marketing services in order to bring Dip a di do da to everyone.

You can purchase your own Dip a di do da container from their newly launched website or from any of these locations in the Richmond area:

  • Andres Day Spa & Unique Gifts
  • Tweed
  • Twig
  • She Chester
  • Sassy Bee
  • Yellow Umbrella Provisions
  • SPOONFED
  • Cottage Lane
  • Southern Season Richmond
  • Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market

Also, be sure to follow Dip a di do da on Facebook and Instagram so you can stay up to date on the latest designs and specials!

February 8th, 2016

The 3 Most Important Things To Do On LinkedIn

 

Top 3 LinkedIn Tips

This week, we asked Rick Curry, our resident LinkedIn expert, what he would list as the Top 3 Most Important Things to Do On LinkedIn. Rick regularly hosts seminars on how businesses can better use LinkedIn to improve their sales processes and applies his 35 years of sales experience to his LinkedIn training. (You can learn more about those seminars here.) According to Rick, LinkedIn is the ultimate platform for B2B business development. But what if you don’t have a lot of time to invest in your LinkedIn profile? We asked Rick to narrow it down to the absolute most important things and here’s what he had to say:

1. Complete your profile — LinkedIn provides a nice meter that measures how complete your profile is when you are editing it. Make sure you upload a good photo and put your elevator pitch in the area directly below your name. Don’t bother with your title except for listing your current job position. Trust me, nobody cares about your title.

2. Move your summary so it’s the second section of your profile  — Your summary should be a complete explanation of your “summary pitch”. Tell people how you can help them and be sure to tell your story in the first person. No one cares about your job description. They want to know how you can help them!

3. Post a daily update — Spend 60 seconds each working day posting an update to your LinkedIn network. Use the daily update to share a link to an article or a video that is relevant to your prospects and customers.

4. Bonus tip! Follow your current clients and prospects — Spend another two minutes each day looking up your current clients and top prospects. Find out whether they have a company page. If they do, follow and monitor it.

Is there a LinkedIn tip you think we missed? Share it with us!

Are you looking for help with your LinkedIn presence? Check out upcoming LinkedIn seminars here.