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Humble Home Landscapes & Timber Frames Logo Design

Posted by on Jul 13, 2016 in Logo Design | 0 comments

Humble Home Landscapes & Timber Frames Logo Design

Sherry met Matthew as he was starting up his new business. His goal was to start his business to build and design landscapes and small homes using natural and sustainable materials that create a symbiotic relationship between people and places. He wanted people to feel happy, at ease, as if everything will be taken care of without them having to worry about it. 

The logo is clean and simple to symbolize both timber frame design and a stylized green curve to symbolize his landscaping service. The simple design makes it easy to put on shirts, signs and other promotional materials. 

We also created a new website for Humble Home, building on his brand and setting him apart from this competition. 

Innovation in U Logo Design

Posted by on Jan 12, 2016 in Logo Design | 0 comments

Innovation in U Logo Design

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5 Tips to Using Instagram for Business

Posted by on Nov 10, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

instagrammarketingBefore the existence of smartphones a social network app such as Instagram, which is a visual social platform in which users share pictures and short videos, would not have been such an active social network. Smartphones and other portable digital devices have made sharing visual content easy, less time consuming and a necessity for many small businesses.

Instagram currently has more than 400M active users many of whom could be a part of your target audience, but many small business owners hesitate because they don’t know how to effectively use Instagram for business. Other than making sure you have a smartphone capable of 1) taking quality photos and 2) is able to install and run the Instagram app, here are 5 tips to capitalizing your business’ presence on Instagram:

  • Create a professional profile: As with any social network, your profile is a visitor’s first impression of who you are and what your business is all about. Make sure your profile image represents your brand i.e., your logo or your face and that your username is recognizable i.e., your business name or closest to it depending if another user has that name.Your profile description should also represent your brand and have a call-to-action, such as a link to your website. For example, if you are a shoe store in Carleton Place then you should state that: “CP Shoes is a leader in footwear fashion in Carleton Place since 1984. Visit us at CPshoes.ca”
  • Balance business-related images with more personal images: Loyal followers and those interested in your business niche will likely follow and engage with images from your business, but to attract new followers as well as to create a sense of community, you should share an equal balance of business and personal images. Using the shoe store example, they could easily share images of their latest rain boot arrival, but they could also personalize it by taking a fun picture of him or her self or another staff member wearing the rain boots while standing out in the rain.
  • Mix videos with images: Some followers will prefer images over video and vice versa, so having a nice mix keeps everyone happy. Videos on Instagram are only 15-seconds long, which make them the perfect length for a new-product unveiling or launch, to share a quick tip or to just share something personal such as a beautiful sunrise. Videos help build community by telling your clients you care enough about them to take the time to share brief moments throughout your day.
  • Engage with followers: Pay attention to who is following you and take some time each day or week to click on their profiles. If they live nearby, are a regular client or are in an area of business that is similar to or compliments your own then follow them back and engage with them by liking or commenting on their Instagram posts. This will help build your following and online community.
  • Use hashtags: Hashtags play an important role on Instagram. Not only are hashtags a great way to organize your own posts, but to be found by potential followers. Again, using the shoe store as an example, if they regularly post when a new product arrives in store they could consistently use the hashtag #CPJulyArrivals and every month change the hashtag to coincide with that month’s new arrivals. This way customers could click on that hashtag to see all of the posts pertaining to new arrivals that month without having to scroll through the store’s entire Instagram feed. Similarly by using hashtags used by other footwear stores or manufacturers anyone searching those hashtags will come across their store’s Instagram account increasing their chances of finding new followers.

Like any social network it is important to post on Instagram on a regular basis. If you make Instagram a part of your social media marketing plan remember that building an audience takes time, but while you are building your audience take the time to explore how other like-minded businesses are using Instagram and engage with others – you may be surprised at how fast your Instagram community will grow.

Are you using Instagram for your business now? If so, what type of posts have worked well for you?

 

New Logo Design for Natural Connections Childcare

Posted by on Oct 17, 2015 in Logo Design | 0 comments

New Logo Design for Natural Connections Childcare

 

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Kelli Cassidy is the director at the new childcare agency in Lanark County called Natural Connections Childcare. For a logo design she preferred a clean, uncluttered logo that links the idea of connections, community and adult/children. She requested colours that are natural. Not too childish or too sterile.

Natural Connections Childcare (NCC) is a new, independent and innovative childcare agency, with strong community roots, we provide a variety of support and services for both providers and families of children 6 weeks to 13 years. Setting the bar high with community based, family focused support our new agency brings a whole new dimension to child care in Lanark County.

Tips for Search Engine Optimized Content for your Website

Posted by on Sep 5, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

create awecome contentSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of increasing the visibility of your website on top search engines like Google and Bing, to drive more targeted traffic to your website. The more people visit your website, the more they will know about your product or service. This generates increased business and everyone’s favourite: revenue.
Your business’ website must be efficient, functional and full of quality, engaging content. Content is crucial and highly valuable. Well optimized content makes it easier for search engines to locate. In other words, content is king! Your content should be specifically written with this in mind. If you want to have a successful website, it is imperative to pay close attention to your content. Remember, the Internet is the “information highway,” and people come there to get detailed information–not just generalities or pictures. Invest in good content to differentiate your business and give people reasons to do business with you. Of course, it must be easy for people to browse and read, too.
Here are some tips to optimize the content on your website, and to get found with Google Panda 4.2, Google’s algorithm.

  • Make sure each page of your site has at least 300 words of unique content that can’t be found elsewhere on your site or anywhere else on the web.
  • Set up a blog on your domain, and publish something on it as often as you can. To start, aim for twice a month. Write articles that you would personally find interesting and would want to read.
  • Set up news posts and/or events on your website. Discuss what’s new for your business: new products, new services or other changes and updates. Create an event calendar for sales events, workshops, and promotions.
  • Refresh your content often. Search engines look for periodic changes as a sign that content is updated and relevant. Even small changes in headlines and body copy can satisfy this requirement. Fresh content is one of the best investments in keeping your site higher in the search rankings. And, given that few of your competitors probably do it, site updates may give you a competitive advantage.
  • Make it dynamic and visually interesting! For example, create videos, podcasts, webinars, infographics, illustrations, PDF downloads.
  • Identify 2-3 primary audiences for your product or service, and create unique content for each one. What are the main points or features that relate best to their individual needs?
  • Avoid doing hard product pitches too often, and talk about other related topics that will interest your audience. Having users return to your site increases the likelihood that they will one day become clients.
  • Add Social Share buttons to your blog and news posts so it is easy for visitors to share with their followers.
  • Last must not least, make sure you have Google Analytics installed on your website to keep track of the type of posts or content that is driving the most traffic to your site. Take a look at the keywords and phrases that visitors used to find your site. This will help you plan your content for future posts.

Review your website! Is your website content and the frequency of your posts helping or hurting your SEO? Investing time in your website structure and content is crucial in today’s business world. Providing regular, quality content that visitors will find beneficial and useful will drive more people to your website. Those visitors will bring even more visitors once shared on social media. The end result will be more search results to your website while allowing your potential customers to find you online.

Building your Key Marketing Messages

Posted by on Jul 18, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Too many small business owners spend time telling you how great they are without taking time to focus on the customer’s needs. Smart marketing delivers the right message to the right audience — a message that solves a customer’s problem. The customer always wants to know what is in it for them, how you can help them and solve their pains. Your marketing messages are the key messages that you want to convey across all your marketing platforms, from newspaper ads, to website, to social media accounts.

Start by defining your audience

You have to intimately understand your current and potential customers. Distinguish individual character profiles by age, gender, interests, profession, etc. Write down the details and find images that represent your target audience, this is your avatar or avatars. Based on your defined target audience, what are the key problems or concerns you can address or solve? Expand on and define those pain points for each character and write it under each profile. Below that, write down three key marketing messages you want to communicate to that audience.

What is messaging? How are key messages developed?

Basically, messaging is a term to describe how you talk about who you are and why you exist as a business or organization.  It communicates key points you consistently make when you reach out to your audience. And it always ties back to your brand. They should also be developed for different audiences. You may want to consider crafting a set of short, standard phrases or paragraphs to describe your business, programs, products and/or services. Then, as you need to reach out to specific audiences, implement new marketing campaigns, you’ll have standard language ready to tailor to your purpose.

A well-crafted message will highlight your unique benefits, target your audience, support your mission and often include a call to action. What you want people to know about your business or organization, your services or products? What do you want people to do? How do you want them to feel about your business?

Develop a few core messages that makes the connection between what you do and how it relates to your audience. Be consistent with delivery. Each message you deliver should reflect your brand, who you are. Highlight what is relevant to the issue and your audience, but be sure to include a consistent statement about your business or organization. This makes your messaging memorable and helps position you in the market and in the minds of your audience.

Make sure there is not a disconnect from traditional marketing to your social media marketing side. They must reinforce each other. If someone reads your website, then your brochure, then your Facebook page and then talks to a staff member, all those points of information will be consistent and delivered in a similar tone.

Take a look at your marketing messages.

Are you focused on your customer’s needs or are you touting your wares? Your marketing message should be used in all your external communications. It starts with knowing the wants, fears, problems, and needs of your target market and ends by crafting a message that speaks to those problems in a compelling and believable way. The result is an irresistible message that makes your prospect want to know more.

Remember, a good marketing strategy plan starts with defining your marketing key messages.  Long before you start choosing how you want to market your small business, you have to decide what it is you want to say. It’s critical to focus on something from the start and be consistent.

 

* Originally printed in the Smiths Falls Hometown news, July 2015 issue

 

New Logo Design for Gone to the Dog Groomers

Posted by on Jun 9, 2015 in Logo Design | 0 comments

New Logo Design for Gone to the Dog Groomers

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New logo design for Gone to the Dog Groomers. Judy had a sketch of the dog in the car created by her niece, that I stylized and expanded her vision. It is a fun and whimsical style. Gone to the Dog Groomers treats your dog like family.

New Facebook branding for her page.

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If you are looking for a caring and attentive dog groomer, give Judy a call.

 

 

How to Build Customer Relationships Using Email Marketing

Posted by on Jun 8, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

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Your relationship with your customers or clients is build trust and communication, like any relationship. Creating a successful business is done by nurturing and building these relationships. Email marketing can help you get there, but only if you’re doing it correctly. Usually a newsletter is not perceived as a marketing ploy. It is viewed more as a means of communication and news publication. Newsletters communicate trust, not a blatant advertisement. By being the source of quality content, you further build trust. This sets you apart from the marketing efforts of pushing a sale.

Email is effective because it’s permission-based. The people on your email list have signed up get get message from you. They have bought in. Add to this the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, they’re always listening. In fact, email is the number-one activity for people on their phones. Keep in mind, when people read email on a mobile device they do it quickly. That means your emails must be powerful enough to grab attention.

Here are five ways you can use email marketing to build customer relationships:

  1. Be Consistent

To stay connected, send them a regular newsletter. If you say you’ll send a weekly newsletter, make sure you deliver it weekly. If and when they have a problem that your business can solve, you will be top of mind.

  1. Meet Customer Needs and Lessen their Pains

Having a relationship with your customers means you know who they are on a personal level.  It starts with gaining an understanding of who your customers are, what their needs are, what struggles they experience, and what success looks like for them. Send your customers highly relevant content that satisfies their needs and interests and solves their pains. The more you know about your customers, the better equipped you’ll be to provide them with the content they’re looking for.

  1. Be Clear and Direct

Being clear and direct in your emails to your customers only strengthens your relationship. When they sign up to receive emails from you, tell them exactly what they can expect to receive from you. Tell them what their benefit is to signing up for your email. What’s in it for them? When you send emails, make sure you tell subscribers what you want them to do with a clear call to action.

  1. Reward you Email Subscribers

Another great way to strengthen customer relationships is to ensure that your customers know you value them. Who doesn’t love to feel important and appreciated? By rewarding your customers with exclusive content, information, discounts, etc., you deepen the relationship you have with them.

  1. Be Authentic

Customers appreciate authenticity from businesses. It builds trust, and they’ll stick with you if you are real with them. Make sure your emails convey an authentic and real approach. You will start to see how much this can strengthen the relationship you have with your customers.

 

Note: As many of you know, CASL, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation, came into effect July 1st, 2014. All email addresses you send to must be permission-based, meaning the subscribers specifically opted-in to receive your communications. CASL allows for what they call “implied consent,” where you have a business relationship that would require contact. For example, customers, clients, donors, supporters, volunteers or members of an organization from within the past two years. They also allow you to mail to addresses that are published on websites, as long as there’s nothing saying not to send email. Make sure to read all the rules before sending your first email campaign.

Do you use email marketing for your business? What tips can you share that has worked for you?

 

As published in the June 2015 issue of Smiths Falls HomeTown News

 

Crummy Media Solutions Celebrates our 3 year Anniversary!

Posted by on Apr 9, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

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This April, Crummy Media Solutions is celebrating it’s 3rd Anniversary in business. I would like to take the time to thank those that have been a great support and a contributor to this success. I would also like to highlight a few things I have learned along the way.

The Start of a Business

The First year in 2012 was a great year of learning. The kick-off to my business was thanks to the Ontario Self Employment Benefit Program (OSEB) of Lanark County. After much debate, much, much debate, the business name of Crummy Media Solutions was chosen. My husband, Sean, who does not have the same last name as myself, said that I have to use my Crummy name. Although, I got a few negative comments about using Crummy, I felt it suited my personally and was quirky for a business name. Sean has a lot of sales experience and taught me a lot about how to close a sale and how to do follow up.

Roy van der Mull from VDMA Consulting, who facilitated the OSEB program, was a great support to me in the first year. I am very grateful to him and the OSEB program. The major component of the work done during the OSEB program is the Business Plan. It was a lot of work, but the backbone to a successful business. The fist year, I also met Mike Cimilyan from Paradime Design and IT Solutions. We decided at that time to work together on a few website projects and have been collaborating on projects ever since. He has really helped expand my web geek mind.

To expand my business mind, I have been an active member of  a Mastermind group.  The group both supports and holds me accountable to reach my goals. Crummy Media Solutions joined all 3 Chamber of Commerces in the location area, including, Perth, Smiths Falls and Carleton Place.  I have found my memberships have been a great asset to my business. I have told many business people, especially those that are just starting out how important it is to network. Networking is the great connector in business. Social Media Networking is a great start, but it has to be taken off-line to grow the business relationship and build trust.

I starting teaching Social Media Workshops and presenting seminars or the Small Business Advisory Centre and speaking at networking events at the Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce. I was also hired to present workshops for private businesses and one-on-one training. Last year, I was asked by Karen Wilson of Wellman Wilson Consulting to be on the organizing committee for the Social Capital Conference in Ottawa. This was a great event and I loved being a part of it. I was also a speaker at the conference.

In 2014, I started writing a regular column in the Small Falls HomeTown News on Digital and Social Media Marketing. This has really helped me hone my writing skills.  In this next year in business I have a few ideas to step things up. I love collaborating on projects and I see more of that happening.

Being a Part of the Local Community

I know many business owners are very involved in their community. I felt this same need when I started my business, to really connect with people in my area and to get know them on a deeper level. I also really wanted to understand the struggles of small businesses in Lanark County. I joined the Board of Directors for the Carleton Place Chamber of Commerce last year and have really enjoyed the learning and work involved. I am also on the Selection Committee and Alumni Committee for the OSEB Program of Lanark County. I love seeing the new businesses starting out and sharing my experiences with the program and starting a business with the class.

The Learning Never Ends

The life of an entrepreneur is one of great challenges and great personal growth. Many thanks to everyone for being a part of this adventure and I look forward to another year of new experiences and new connections.

What tips would you give to someone just starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur?

How to Use Twitter to Build Relationships and Grow your Business

Posted by on Apr 4, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

twitter_birdMany business owners are still confused about Twitter and how they can use to grow their business. Twitter is really like an online networking event, cocktail party, even like a backyard barbeque, depending how you use it. Most importantly, this is a social gathering. It’s people getting to know each other and having conversations. Embrace this concept and just keep it in mind with everything that you do. Then you will be a success in how you find new relationships that will help you boost your brand and build your business through Twitter.

Part of your Social Media Strategy

If we want to use Twitter to grow our network we really need to be intentional about how we’re using it so that it can refer business. That’s really the end goal. If you want to use it, it has to be part of your social media strategy. Who is your audience, what content will you share, what are your goals and objectives to using this social media tool? Just as you need to analyze each social media tool, or even any marketing tool. What is my goal? How will I measure its success?

There’s a very big misconception for mostly newer social media users that if you join one or two or three platforms, you can pretty much do the same type of thing on all of them, and it will be effective. Obviously, they’re not seeing results from that. That’s because you really do need to treat each social media platform differently.

There are 3 main golden rules in Twitter that you really need to follow for each tweet create:

  1. Be human. Everybody says be human, humanize your brand, but that’s real life. If you are on Twitter and people are on Twitter. It’s about conversations and relationships. There are no robotics that are going to be acceptable here. You need to be really human.
  2. Be relevant. Twitter is a news stream. People go there to find out what’s going on. Being relevant is so important on this platform. It’s literally the reason why it’s still around today.
  3. Be giving. You need to give and give and give and don’t stop. This is what people want when they come to you on a platform like Twitter. They’re expecting a lot of value in return for their follow.

What do you want to be known for and share that.

It’s really, really important that you keep this in mind. Playing the connector card, is huge in life. It’s a great way to show people that you are on the pulse of information, and who people need to know.

Think about the advice that you could possibly provide or just look into the resources that might help you come up with these pieces of advice. Find ways to come up with your little 100-140 character tweets with quick tips. I say less than 140 because if you want room for a hashtag or two.

Conversations are tremendous. Listen and talk to people.

This will show your interest in others and build your community. Share value often. Even if you have nothing to tweet, just go out and find the conversations and talk with people. Don’t expect conversations to come to you. They will in due time, but remember give and give, and then you’ll get something back.

The key is to be consistent with it and to add your own unique voice.

It takes time to build up your followers. The key is to keep on tweeting, to engage with others that resonate with you. Like any social media, it takes commitment and patience to become proficient at it.

What has worked for you and your business on Twitter? Comment below and send me a tweet at www.twitter.com/crummymedia.

 

As published in the Smiths Falls HomeTown News