Archive for the ‘Resources’ Category

When putting together an important document or proposal, a business card or brochure it is essential to know what colors to add and which ones to stay away from. In order to do that you must know what the colors mean in the business world.

For starters let me just say it is not as simple as black and white, as there are many colors to think about. We have, red, blue, yellow, green, purple, orange, brown, gray, beige, pink, turquoise, gold and of course, black and white.

Red is a color of blood, a color of life. For a business red can be used for excitement or attention.

Blue is a color of comfortable and relaxation. A business can use blue to portray loyalty and confidence.

Yellow is a color of brightness and purity. Companies can use yellow to bestow warmth and awareness.

Green is a color of nature and health. Companies can use green to represent immortality and dedication.

Purple is a color of magic and mystery. To a business man purple represents their company as wise and sovereigns.

Orange is the color of power and healing. A company would use orange to display youthfulness and liveliness to your customers.

Brown is the color of Mother-Earth, the color of reliability. Your business would use brown to represent wholesomeness and earthiness.

Gray is a conservative and neutral color. For companies gray is often used in IT logos, but not recommended to indecisive personalities.

Beige is the color of calm and neutral. Businesses could use beige coupled with other colors, it is a mix of warm brown and the cool white.

Pink is the sweet side of red, a softer color. In a business you could use pink to convey playfulness and tenderness.

Turquoise is the color sweet feminine and lively sophistication. A company may use turquoise to create a feminine appeal or an old-fashioned 50s retro feel.

Gold is the color of riches and extravagance. A company will want to use gold to produce a richness and warmth.

Black and White are opposites, working great together. Black refers to power and credibility, while white symbolizes peace and prosperity. For a business black and white together produce power and precision, elegance and fairness all in one.

Advertisements

Professional photography tips with Thomas, who has a digital camera and a wide aperature.

Hello, my name is Thomas and I am a professional photographer because I bought a digital camera.

TIP 1 How to become a professional photographer
Buy a digital camera.

TIP 2  Tricks of the trade Have a look on the camera, somewhere, probably on the top or back or somewhere on the front or sides there will be a button or dial marked ‘A’, this does not stand for ‘Automatic’ as some amateurs think but ‘Awesome’. Leave it on this all the time.

TIP 3 Photography courses There is no need for even a basic photography course because once you buy a digital camera you will be a professional photographer like me. Not as good as me though.

TIP 4 Lighting You will need some light otherwise the photos will come out a bit too dark. Usually you can fix them in photoshop but some light to begin with is good.

TIP 5  Subject Matter Yes, it does. Dont take photos of girls leaving the high school from your car as the fine is $360.00 and a years probation.

Photo Gallery

Sunset from my rooftop.

Me on my rooftop.

View of city from my rooftop.

The plant on my rooftop.

Clouds over my rooftop.

Some people that once came to visit me on my rooftop.
Or my toes, I am unsure.

Now, you know we are kidding…RIGHT?

Our professional photography is here…1stopdesign.com

Are you wondering how to use QR codes to enhance your marketing?

Keep reading to learn some tips for implementing 5 essential steps.

Why QR codes?

QR and other two-dimensional (2D) codes can be readily integrated into your current business marketing practices to bring your online content to a mobile audience in real time.

In North America, QR and 2D codes are still a novelty. For this reason, early adopters are eagerly putting them into practice to get to market first and capitalize on the trend. As a result, some embarrassing and costly mistakes are being made.

This article will help you learn from those mistakes and develop best practices for creating a favorable user experience that serves both you and your community well.

#1: Plan your QR code campaign strategy

To create a successful QR code campaign, it is essential to understand your target audience, have clear objectives and provide useful and valuable incentives to deliver a favorable user experience.

Here are some ideas and considerations to help you get started building your strategy.

Understand Your Target Audience:

  • Does he/she need instructions about the use of QR codes?
  • Does he/she need to use a specific type of code reader?
  • Will the codes be scanned indoors or outside?

Have Clear Objectives—Here are some possibilities:

  • Grow your email list
  • Increase Likes for your Facebook page
  • Increase your blog subscribers

Provide Useful and Valuable Incentives—Here are some options:

  • Enter a contest to win
  • Deliver a discount coupon
  • Download a free eBook
  • Talk to a live agent
  • Take a virtual tour
  • Demonstrate a product or service with video
  • Download a free mp3
  • Get VIP access

Are you trying to grow your email list or get more Likes for your Facebook page? Then you should always provide an incentive, especially when using scannable codes.

As more businesses fail to deliver value with their QR code campaigns, consumers in general will become more reluctant to scan them in the future. This will make it increasingly necessary to provide clear incentives and deliver on them.

#2: Create quality codes and test them

While there are numerous 2D code formats, the two most commonly used worldwide are QR codes and Microsoft (MS) tags. Both technologies are free, so your choice of which to use will largely depend upon your audience and other market factors.

iams
A customized MS tag for IAMS pet products.

apk
A customized QR code by Patrick Donnelly of 2ergo for American Parkour.

The owners of the QR code technology have elected to allow anyone free use of it. This gives QR codes the advantage of being in mainstream use around the world, and that awareness is currently working to their advantage.

The MS tag technology is proprietary, which allows for complete control over the entire user experience of generating, reading and tracking the tags. MS tags are also easily customized. One can embed images or logos into the codes using Microsoft PowerPoint.

The widespread use of the QR technology has attracted lots of developers who want to cash in on the trend. However, when technologies are open like this, there is always the risk that generally accepted standards will not be followed. QR code generators and scanners are only as good as the developers creating them, so you have to do your due diligence.

What happens if your QR codes do not work? For one thing, your reputation and brand are tarnished—just as it would be if a visitor to your website discovered multiple broken links.

I recently discovered one particular situation where a small business used QR codes in print ads in an annual publication. After trying several scanners, I could not get any of the QR codes to register. The investment of thousands of dollars on those print ads that will be in the market for a year was a costly mistake for that merchant. The lesson from this is clear—test your codes.

These best practices will maximize your success with 2D codes:

  • Test your QR codes with multiple readers and devices.
  • Use link shorteners to create clean codes.
  • Avoid using colors that do not provide sufficient contrast—a potential problem with both QR codes and customized MS tags.
  • Make your codes at least 1″ x 1″—larger is better.
  • Provide a sufficient quiet zone around the code.
  • Avoid using 2D codes on highly reflective surfaces.
  • Consider where your codes will be scanned. One unfortunate application was in the New York City subway where there is not an Internet connection.
  • Use a quality QR code generator. My favorite is Kerem Erkan.
  • Use a quality scanner or reader. Two excellent choices are Qrafter and i-nigma. Qrafter is unique in that it is both a code generator and scanner in one app.

qrafter
Qrafter is a multi-feature QR code generator and reader.

#3: Link your codes to mobile-friendly or mobile-optimized sites

The most common mistake marketers make with QR codes is having them resolve to a standard web page that is not mobile-friendly. Worse yet is to have a code connect to a site with Flash video, which is not supported by the iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) that account for nearly 50% of the code readers in the world.

At a minimum, the page your code connects to should be mobile-friendly. For example, one of my codes resolves to the speaking page on my WordPress blog. A couple of taps on my iPhone enlarges it to fit nicely to my screen.

Mobile-optimized is better than mobile-friendly. According to Matthew Gallizzi of NotixTech, mobile sites are websites optimized specifically for smartphones. He suggests hosting these mobile sites on a subdomain or subdirectory of your main website, thereby giving you the SEO benefit of the traffic they bring.

Here are additional considerations when building a mobile site:

  • Build your site around the desired user experience.
  • Smaller images and solid colors load more quickly.
  • Size your links and buttons to be touch-friendly.
  • Use concise copy—sentences rather than paragraphs.
  • Use “fluid width” for horizontal and vertical orientation.
  • Test, test and test again—on iPhone, Android and Blackberry platforms.

ramada
This mobile-optimized site emphasizes incentives.

mobile website examples
Three unique mobile sites featuring specific optimized content and actions.

The primary benefit of 2D codes is encouraging action. This can be accomplished by connecting to multimedia content such as video that shows a product or service in action. Other logical actions include activating a phone call or social share.

Here’s a list of the most requested features for mobile-optimized sites:

  • Tap to call links.
  • Tap to email links.
  • Tap to SMS (text).
  • Google maps integration.
  • Social sharing links.
  • Links to Yelp, Flickr and other mobile-optimized sites.
  • Links to YouTube and Vimeo (both mobile-optimized).

The cost of building a mobile-optimized site is comparable to a professionally designed and built WordPress site. If you are not ready to make that investment, there are a couple of services that allow you to create mobile sites hosted on their platforms: ShareSquare and Qraffiticodes.

#4: Track your scans with code management systems

QR codes and MS tags can presently track basic data, such as number of scans, with codes generated with bit.ly being just one example. However, if you use a QR code management system, you can gather even richer data.

The experts I interviewed for this article collectively agree that QR code management systems are in the early stages of their development cycle. According to Roger Smolski of 2d-code.co.uk, “There are new QR code management systems appearing every day, but there is not yet enough user experience of these systems for a consensus on their relative merits.”

Most of these services are free for limited used, with Delivr being one that presently offers an uncomplicated experience.

delivr
Delivr provides a variety of analytics, including scans by location and time.

According to Nick Martin of Microsoft, “MS tags have the capability to accurately determine the location of a scan and report that data in real time.” This creates a number of code management opportunities, such as delivering different content depending upon the location of the scan—directions to the store or a discount coupon for those in or near the store.

#5: Deliver value and a favorable user experience

Will QR codes gain more widespread use? When it comes to technology, or just about anything else, there will always be naysayers.

What is most relevant is that you as the marketer are the one who gives your codes value. They are just tools, and how you use the tool determines the value derived from it.

QR codes can serve a specific use for you, mostly as a lead generation tool. How are you doing your lead generation now? If you can use what is working for you now and make it better, more attractive or easier with QR codes, you are probably on the right track.

The video below shows how an ingenious use of QR codes helped a business in Korea to expand, and it all started with understanding the customers and building a QR code campaign strategy around their buying behaviors.

Ready to implement your QR Codes into your corporate collateral, website and marketing? Give us a call 781-938-3866 or email and we can get started today!

By Jeff Korhan
Published August 24, 2011

“It IS Easy Being Green”

There are many ways to create a greener workplace and make a strong impact on the environment. It is always good to start by taking some small steps to get a new plan into action. Here are a few ideas to get you going in the right direction.

Think About Your Commute

If your office is not within walking or biking, consider carpooling with two to three coworkers. Other alternatives are purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle or switching from an eight-hour workday, five days a week to a 10-hour workday, four days a week. This will cut your daily commute time by at least 20 percent.

Go Digital

The greenest paper is no paper, and one of the most effective ways to be more eco-friendly in your office is to reduce paper waste. Keep things digital whenever possible. The more you do online, the less paper you need. Switch from a fax machine to a fax modem to send and receive paperless documents. Use electronic forms whenever possible, and e-mail letters and documents to be read online rather than printed out. (1-Stop Design provides electronic versions of letterhead to all our branding clients to promote a paperless office.) Have staff members take their laptops to meetings so they aren’t printing copy after copy of the same report. Make it a policy to post employee manuals and similar materials online, rather than distribute print copies. An added bonus: Storing files on your computer saves time, money and space. Don’t forget to backup regularly to an off-site data system or use compact flash drives.

Use Green Marketing Tools

In these tough economic times don’t stop marketing, think green marketing? Eblasts, Updating websites, social Media marketing, Search Engine Optimization are all examples of cost efficient marketing that are green too! Promote your company and do you part to save the environment. It is a win win solution!!!

Print Smarter

Think before you print. The average worker in the United States goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year. Make it a habit to print on both sides and use the back side of old documents for faxes, scrap paper, or drafts. Avoid color printing and print in draft mode whenever possible.

Use Green Materials

At 1-Stop Design we do our best to match our clients printing budget with solutions that utilize environmentally friendly paper products. Some paper use can’t be avoided, so use recycled paper and envelopes that have been processed and colored using eco-friendly methods.

Buy chlorine-free paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled content. Also consider switching to a lighter stock of paper or alternatives made from bamboo, hemp, organic cotton.  Pens and pencils can also be made of recycled materials, and refillable pens and markers are better for the environment than disposable ones. Buy in bulk so that shipping and packaging waste are reduced, and reuse the shipping boxes. Recycling printer cartridges is often free, and recycled replacements are cheaper than new ones. According to Office Depot, each remanufactured toner cartridge “keeps approximately 2.5 pounds of metal and plastic out of landfills.

Green your PC.

Make your computer more efficient and environmentally friendly. Start by putting computers on “standby” or in “hibernation” mode when they haven’t been accessed for more than 10 minutes.  Turn them off when you’re finished working for the day. When replacing a computer, switch to a laptop for more efficiency.  Laptops use 80 percent less energy.

Get Others in on the Act.

Share eco-friendly tips with your coworkers. Ask the office manager to make sure everyone has a small recycling bin so that recycling is just as easy as throwing paper away.

All of these eco-friendly tips are simple and easy to implement today.  So, yes, it IS easy to be green.

Five Must-Dos To Assure Web Success.

Launching and maintaining a successful website, regardless of your businesses’ size or budget, is not an easy undertaking. The technical, marketing and practical considerations alone are more than some people can wrap their brain around. At 1-Stop Design we bring our team and “Five Must-Dos for Successful Websites” to our clients in order to help them build their business on the web. Follow them and they’ll bring you success as well.

1) You must have a strategy

Our experience tells us that most folks want to go straight to design first, but a design that’s not informed by your business strategy is, at best, a nice electronic piece of fluff. We begin the process by outlining all of the things you want your website to do for you. Do you have major segments or markets to consider? Who is your audience?  Do you have divisions of products and services? Are you trying to sell, educate or create leads? To make your site as effective as possible, it’s essential that you focus your strategy and filter your content and design decisions based on strategic thinking. Looking to grow your business? Increase sales in one particular area? Establishing clear tangible goals and gearing your content towards those goals is essential before you head towards design.

2) Your design must reflect your strategy, brand and desired results

A great design is one that allows your strategy, brand and content all to be combined into visual language. A successful layout moves your prospects and customers effortlessly through the information to the results you determined in your strategy. Design creates the visual road-map that brings information to your clients and customers. It also provides assurance to your prospects and customers that they are in the right place on the right track.

3) You must develop under the hood code to keep it all running smoothly

Another key to a successful website is functionality. Successful websites integrate the right mix of plug-ins, communities, ratings, subscription, comments, customer portals, and membership only sections to increase engagement and usability.

Feature-rich add-ons extend the functionality of your site. Solid development keeps them working together seamlessly under the banner of your brand. Standards compliant (See WC3) code, search engine friendly code and an overall foundation that loads your site fast must be incorporated.

4) You must beta test your site first with users

No matter how brilliant your strategy, design and code appear to be, it’s the website visitor that determines success of failure. We utilize usability aids such as those offered by UserTesting.com or by creating A/B tests in Google Website Optimizer to test clients sites and see how people actually use and interact with the site.

5) Your marketing must go way beyond creative content

Your site goes live. Now how are you going to get prospects and customers to the site and keep them coming back for more of what they came for in the first place?

How do you plan to keep the content and search engine optimization plans moving forward? What type of content will you create? Personal landing pages? Blogs? YouTube videos? Podcasts? Funny? Serious? Informative? All three? How will you network for links? How will you measure/analyze traffic and user patterns? How will you capture lead data, drive more traffic, manage PPC, and create and test campaign specific landing pages? Who will do it? When? What are realistic expectations, timetables and objectives? What does your convergent media marketing (merging direct mail, print ads and other offline traditional tactics with those online)  campaign look like?

How will you determine ROI?

We possess the online, social and traditional marketing expertise to help you implement the answers to these and other important questions.  And we can deliver the skill sets that will turn the aforementioned, “must dos” into jobs well done. And help you get the results you want to build your business.

Remember. It’s a big world in there. Don’t go in there alone. With 1-Stop as your online marketing partner, you’ll find the surest routes to new business and more business with your current customers.

Thanks to Scott Monty

Scott is the head of social media for Ford Motor Company. Scott shares his perspectives on social media – the convergence of marketing, advertising and PR on the Web – for marketers, agencies, the enterprise and the individual at:  http://www.scottmonty.com/

BLOGS

bub.blicio.us
Mashable!
TechCrunch
Read/WriteWeb
Web Worker Daily
Lifehacker
Global Neighbourhoods
Community Guy – Jake McKee
/Message
The Engaging Brand
Web Ink Now
PR Squared
theshortestblogintheworld
How to Change the World
CatchUp Lady
WOMMA
Digital Influence Mapping Project
Logic+Emotion
[chrisbrogan.com]
Adrants
Web Strategy by Jeremiah
indexed
The Buzz Bin
Citizen Marketer 2.1
PR 2.0
Influential Interactive Marketing
The Viral Garden
Marketing Profs Daily Fix
Conversational Media Marketing
Servant of Chaos
Conversation Agent
Seth’s Blog
Social Media Explorer
Six Pixels of Separation – Marketing and Communications Insights Blog and Podcast – By Mitch Joel at Twist Image
Marketing Over Coffee Marketing Podcast
Media Bullseye
Doug Haslam
Marketing Edge
gary vaynerchuk
Jaffe Juice
Copyblogger
Advertising Age – DigitalNext
The Marketing Minute
Pistachio Consulting Inc.
The Marketing Fresh Peel
The Social Organization
Greg Verdino’s Marketing Blog
Church of the Customer Blog
Forrester’s Marketing Blog
Twitter Facts
ThirdWay Advertising Blog
Paul Gillin’s blog – Social Media and the Open Enterprise
Bryper’s Blog
Social Blogworking Magazine
Note to CMO:
Citizen Marketer
Groundswell
MediaJoltz
Vlog Soup
THE AD-VOCATE
The Lonely Marketer

From Entrepenuer Online

Cut through the advertising noise by marketing with meaning.

By Bob Gilbreath   |   October 05, 2009

Most discussions regarding the future of marketing tend to revolve around the technology that marketers will use to better target customers and grab their attention. We think of the use of brain imaging for advertising research (so called “neuromarketing”), and paint visions of Tom Cruise walking past holographic billboards in Minority Report.

These and many other high-tech tactics might become commonly used one day. But already we are witnessing a rebirth of the marketing profession that will ultimately guide what we do and how we use amazing new technologies. We stand at the beginning of the next evolution of marketing–one that has more in common with the past than it does the present.

It may have taken some time for broadband access to proliferate and for people to build digital habits into their everyday lives, but now consumers start many purchases online. They judge companies of every size according to the quality of their websites, and they search for reviews and ratings before completing even the smallest of purchases.

People have learned to ignore the 3,000 ad messages that they are bombarded with daily. Even if they do see your carefully crafted advertisement, they’re likely to doubt its claims–and defer instead to the wisdom of crowds online.

Brain scans and talking holograms will not save the ‘old guard,’ interruptive, advertising model. Going forward, businesses must succumb to the power of the consumer. Instead of interrupting their day with ads, advertisers must create something customers will choose to engage with. We must create marketing that adds value to people’s lives. I call this new model “marketing with meaning.”

The best starting point lies in delivering information and services that help customers make smarter buying decisions. Since they will most likely conduct research online anyway, you might as well offer your perspective. Examples that you can implement tomorrow include:

  • Allow customers to post ratings and reviews on your website without editing. Often a few negative reviews actually add credibility–and give you the chance to address an issue directly.
  • Create a “buying guide” for customers to help them make a smart decision about which of your products or services are best for them.
  • Provide ongoing training and tips after a purchase to help customers get the most out of their purchases–which will eventually turn them into repeat customers.

Some businesses are taking the idea of marketing with meaning a step further, purposely preventing customers from incurring high fees and bills. Imagine a local bank that teaches customers how to avoid fees, a golf shop that stops a customer from buying the expensive new driver that will worsen his slice or a videographer who dissuades a customer from producing an unnecessarily long video despite the chance for higher sales. By actively stopping poor buying decisions–especially at the risk of lost sales–these businesses build enormous trust, earn loyalty for life and generate positive word-of-mouth marketing both online and offline.

In many ways this shift is a trip back-to-the-future. It harkens back to a time when the local shopkeeper treated our grandparents like neighbors. In a way, the interconnected world resulting from the openness of the internet has forced business to revert to these positive social norms of old.

Businesses that behave like neighbors will win, and advertising will look a lot better than most of what we see today.

Bob Gilbreath is Chief Marketing Strategist of Bridge Worldwide, a WPP digital and relationship marketing agency, and author of the new book, The Next Evolution of Marketing: Connect with your Customers by Marketing with Meaning. The Next Evolution of Marketing can be applied to billion-dollar brands or small businesses, to consumer marketers and B2B firms, in both highly developed markets and developing nations around the world.