Online Marketing Blog

Our DeCarlo Studios online marketing blog – learn about SEO, Website Design, Graphic Design, and Inbound Marketing here!

7 Ways to Cheer Up About Summer Ending

7 Ways to Cheer Up About Summer Ending

7 Ways to Cheer Up About Summer Ending

Beat the End of Summer Blues

The official last day of the 2015 summer season is September 23rd, but for most of us Labor Day signals the end of summer. Does the thought of summer ending leave you feeling blue? Let's enjoy these last days of summer so that we can head into the fall season recharged and ready to perform our best for our businesses. Here are 7 ways to cheer yourself up at the end of summer!

  1. Take one last trip to the pool, lake or beach. Pack a picnic and enjoy the day.
  2. Go on a long bike ride or walk in a park. Breathe in the fresh air.
  3. Have an outdoor movie night or camp out in the backyard.
  4. Make homemade smoothies or ice cream.
  5. Go barefoot and read a book.
  6. Shop some end of season summer sales.
  7. Go to an amusement park.

Maybe your favorite seasons are fall or winter? In any case, with a little rest and relaxation, we can head back to work energized to market and grow our businesses!

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5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Website and Marketing Over the Summer

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Website and Marketing Over the Summer

Do you have a little summer down time in your business, or was it on your vision board to make some marketing improvements over the summer months? Here are 5 easy ways to make huge improvements in your marketing!

  1.  Add value to your website by adding videos, PDFs or brochures about your business.
  2.  Keep your website looking professional by reviewing your website and removing any outdated content. Update it with new, fresh content.
  3.  Research your SEO results and look for ways to improve your website traffic or find ways to take advantage of your high traffic areas.
  4.  Update your social media. Create a schedule for your social media marketing and stick to it.
  5.  Prepare some blog posts and create a stock pile of information that you can pull from when you are busy. Post a few blogs now.
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How to Work with Your Graphic Designer to Get the Results You Want

How to Work with Your Graphic Designer to Get the Results You Want

If you are reading this, you may be thinking about hiring a graphic designer to create your logo, design your website, or design some marketing materials and are wondering how to get the best results. Here are 5 tips for a winning experience!

  1. Identify your target market. Before you meet with your designer, identify your target market. This is basically your Buyer's Persona. What is their age and gender? What are their interests and values? What problems can you help them solve? This information is very important - it will be your graphic designer's roadmap for all of your marketing.
  2. Think through your goals and ideas before meeting with your designer. Business owners are usually very busy, with many tasks on their plates. The first impulse is to tell the designer, "I don't have time to do this project. Just give me a few ideas".  This leaves your designer with a very broad spectrum of possible concepts. When you see the first proofs, they may not hit the target. A graphic designer does not know your business as well as you do. Think through your goals and be sure to mention specific ideas that you may have. Share as much information as possible upfront, to avoid costly rounds of revisions later.
  3. Find samples of similar projects that you like and don't like. This is really valuable information for your graphic designer to know. It's a great starting point for research and automatically weeds out any ideas that you will not like, saving both time and money for you and your designer. Now that your designer knows what to avoid and what you love, the doors to creativity are open!
  4. Answer questions from your designer promptly and provide needed materials. If your designer needs artwork or text, provide these items promptly. Otherwise, it will hold up your project and push deadlines out further. If you do not understand their request due to a lack of knowledge, do not be afraid to ask for help! There are often many answers that your designer can provide to concerns that you may consider roadblocks. They have probably dealt with your issue many times before and can quickly answer your questions or offer their help.
  5. When you review your graphic designer's work, review it thoroughly the first time. Don't expect everything to be perfect on the first proof. But do look over everything carefully and compile a thorough list of changes. Making a small change here and there every time you look at the project is much more time consuming than taking the time to to provide an organized list of changes that can be done all at once.

When you connect with that great graphic designer, be sure to refer others to them and spread the word!

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Hit a Home Run: Cover All Your Bases with Great Website Marketing

Hit a Home Run: Cover All Your Bases with Great Website Marketing

Hit a Home Run

Everyone knows that winning a baseball game requires the teamwork of all the players. The same is true for website marketing. When all of your marketing efforts are working together, your website will bring you business - and that's a win! Just as a team needs to practice to play well together, you should always be working on ways to improve your website. And just as you have a better chance of scoring when the bases are loaded, you will also have more opportunities for leads and new business with the more marketing strategies you employ.

Who Are Your Website All-Star Team Players?

  • First Base: Great, informative content that answers the questions of your target buyer's persona.
  • Second Base: A history of your business, and your mission and vision statements.
  • Third Base: Social Media
  • Shortstop: SEO
  • Right Field: Blogs
  • Center Field: Galleries/samples of your work
  • Left Field: Testimonials of satisfied customers
  • Catcher: Contact Forms, Free Estimate Forms, Order Forms
  • Pitcher: Offers and Promotions

How to Hit a Home Run with Your Marketing

Great website marketing works well together. SEO will help your business get found online. When someone visits your site, the content aimed at your target buyer's persona will educate and build trust. They will read about the history of your business, your vision and goals. They will stick around to browse samples of your work, or read a blog to help them solve a problem. They will see testimonials of others you have helped and gain more confidence in your business. They will jump over to your Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn or YouTube page to learn more about you. Your personality will come through in your social media and they will feel connected to your business even more. They may see an offer or promotion and be prompted to contact you directly. Congratulations - you now have a customer ready to do business!

Put Me In Coach, I'm Ready to Play!

Ready to turn your website into a marketing machine? Make a checklist of what you would like to accomplish and set some deadlines. It takes time to pull all of your marketing strategies together, but every base you cover brings you closer to home plate. Feel free to contact us at DeCarlo Studios for advice or help with your website marketing and print marketing.

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Why You Must Have a Vision Board for Your Business (and How to Create One)

Why You Must Have a Vision Board for Your Business (and How to Create One)

What is a Vision Board?

The general idea behind a vision board is that you create a visual collage of inspirational words and images that represent your dreams, desires and goals in life – they can be either personal or business based. It is a visualization tool that helps you focus and affirm the dreams that make you happy in life and business. Focusing on your vision board activates an energy which attracts the things on which you are focusing. Without getting into quantum physics, this is simply based upon the principle, "Like attracts like." When you surround yourself with positive images, your life changes to match your desires and goals.

Why You Must Have a Vision Board for Your Business

A vision board is a tool to create and manifest very specific goals for your business. What do you want your business to look like in one year, or in five years? What will your dream office look like and how many employees will you have? Who are your ideal customers? How will your business improve your personal, spiritual and family life? Are you involved with volunteer projects? How many hours are you working per week? Maybe you created a business plan that includes all of these details, but it's sitting on your shelf where you hardly ever see it. A vision board is a different approach to set goals for your business in a new way – a visual one that you can look at every day so that you can stay focused on achieving your dreams.

4 Simple Steps to Create a Personal or Business Vision Board

  1. Gather materials: a poster board, markers, magazines, drawings, and glue or a glue stick.
  2. Go through the magazines and tear out pictures and words, imagining things that you want and staying focused on the positive. Try to find images that reflect the outcomes that you desire and not necessarily the material result. For instance, instead of focusing on a pile of cash, focus on what the money will bring you. Be relaxed and open minded as you brainstorm imagery. You may even have epiphanies about things that you didn't even realize that you wanted. Maybe it's not even what you want for yourself, but ways that you can help others.
  3. Go through all of the images and words, and lay them out on your poster board. Get rid of the ones you don't really want. You must have a firm belief in the ideas that you place on the board. If you have any doubt in your images, they probably won't work. Once you have them laid out, glue them in place. Use markers to add more words and colors. Draw in words and pictures for the things for which you couldn't find an image. Make it bright and colorful. Don't get hung up on it being perfect. Have fun with it!
  4. When you are done, hang the vision board in a place where you will see it often. Look at it before you go to bed and when you wake up in the morning. See yourself achieving the things on your vision board. Be grateful and thankful for all of the blessings in your life. Acknowledge the changes that have taken place and the goals that have come true thus far. Your business will grow and prosper as you see it coming true.

It's the start of a new year – the perfect time to create a Vision Board for your business. Get started today!

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Simple Steps to Create a Buyer's Persona for Your Business

Simple Steps to Create a Buyer's Persona for Your Business

What is a Buyer's Persona?

Buyers personas are a crucial part of marketing. What is a buyers persona? It is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. Think of it as writing a short story all about your perfect, dream customer. It's a mix of real data and a little creative speculation in a fun, informative story format.

What are the Benefits of Having a Buyer's Persona?

Once you know everything about your dream customer and have created a buyer's persona, you will have a roadmap for targeting all of your marketing. You will be working smarter, creating better marketing, and connecting more directly with your customers. This will naturally create a higher success rate in your campaigns. You will become their trusted go-to source for information and assistance because you know their values and needs, and you have the answers to their problems. Many companies have multiple buyer personas to target different clients.

How Do I Research for a Buyers Persona?

In order to create the perfect buyer's persona you need to do a little research. Ask yourself a lot of questions about your target customer and answer them. Interview some of your current customers. Talk to your sales department about what types of customers bring in the best sales and find out what their common issues are.

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Image Resolution, Quality, Output and Size

Image Resolution, Quality, Output and Size

Here are a few tips to follow to get the most out of your images in print and on the web:

Image Resolution

Image resolution is also referred to as "DPI" (dots per inch). It tells us how many dots or pixels a digital image contains per inch. The more dots per inch, the higher the detail and quality of the photo, and the larger file size. Different type of output devices require different types of resolution. Always discuss the DPI requirements of your project with your printer or graphic designer if you are unsure of the DPI requirements. If you are going to use a variety of devices, it's best to create your images as high as possible, around 300 DPI as a starting point.

Image Quality and Size

Is it okay to attempt to res-up an image to 300 DPI?
If your original image is less than 300 DPI and will be used at 100 percent or more, increasing the resolution up to 300 DPI will generally degrade the photo and make it look pixellated or blurry.

What about downsizing?

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Generate Selling Power with Testimonials

Generate Selling Power with Testimonials

Testimonials are a powerful way to bring in new business. They help generate sales in your printed marketing materials, and adding a testimonials page is one of the easiest way to improve your website. Testimonials from happy customers builds trust, offers unbiased opinions, and has the power to persuade a customer who is on the fence about a sale.

Testimonial Formats

What are some of the common formats for testimonials? Written testimonials are excellent. They are full of rich keywords (both long and short) which will improve your website's SEO. Written testimonials are also a great addition to all of your printed materials.

Video testimonials are great too. They are more personal and people connect with them. They can also be embedded or linked from a You Tube channel, which helps build your company's social media presence. Even better, the video could even showcase your product or service in use.

What Makes an Effective Testimonial?

There are many great testimonials, but some are much better than others. How can you tell the difference between a good one and a great one? A great testimonial has actual facts and figures, and is very specific about what your product or service can do for others. It would be even better if the testimonial were written by a happy customer who is in your target market (or buyer's persona) that your potential customers could relate to. A great testimonial also endorses the exact selling points that you highlight in your marketing, driving home the benefits and impact of using your service or product.

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