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The Marketing Edge (270)

Just when you had figured out how to use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, guess what? There is something new in the social media world: Google+. If you thought you'd learned everything there is to know about SEO and social media marketing, think again. Google has a history of changing the game every time they release a new product, and there's no reason to think that Google+ will be any different in that respect. But what exactly is Google+? How can your company use it to connect with customers and prospects? Is it really worth the effort?

Google+ is a new social networking platform designed to compete directly with Facebook (Google's number one rival). Using their considerable experience in providing users with custom-tailored search results and content (in addition to a whole host of applications many professionals use every day, including Google Docs, Calendar, Analytics, Maps, and Adwords/Adsense), Google has created a fresh approach that provides people with complete control over who they interact with, how they interact with them, and how it all connects to their other online activities.

I remember when I got my first office job in 1996 - 15 years ago. I was working in Boston. At that time, mass marketing was still the name of the game, but email marketing was already a large industry, and growing with each passing year. It was the newest marketing "science," and was at times mind-boggling to marketers, who attended conferences and seminars dealing with subject lines, open rates, and click-throughs.

When social networking came onto the scene in the early 2000s, I remember many people saying that it would not last - it was a gossip center, and one driven by novelty. When the newness had faded, so would the social networking fad. But over time, the reality that emerged was different than what many had expected: companies realized that along with gossip and sharing, they had found a new platform that provided an unprecedented level of intimacy between businesses and consumers. Soon, the latter began to demand higher levels of interaction. This imposed a burden of sorts on companies struggling to maintain a strong presence on social networks; but it also gave them the ability to become more influential in their customer's lives than ever before.

Your logo (or brand) is the first thing a prospective customer sees. It can speak volumes about your company in the space of a few seconds. Consider this scenario: A potential contact is flipping through a magazine and catches a glimpse of your logo on an advertisement. You haven't had a chance to speak with them; they haven't visited your location or seen your product; they don't know your staff or salespeople; they probably haven't even read a word of your marketing copy - but that prospect has already made a judgment about your organization. And that snap judgment has a profound effect on whether or not they will consider doing business with you. You might offer products and services that are a perfect fit for them - but if your brand does not resonate with a potential customer, oftentimes they will never bother to dig deeper and discover that compatibility.

A smart marketer (and business owner) understands the value of a carefully-crafted brand image. It is the foundation on which all other marketing efforts are built. A poorly-executed or ill-fitting brand can sabotage an otherwise excellent product or campaign, simply because it fails to resonate with the target audience - imagine an expensive, high-quality box of hand-crafted chocolates with a picture of a cartoon bear on the wrapper. Yet many business owners make the mistake of rushing their logo. They go for the cheapest quote, accept the first design that looks halfway decent and call it a day. Don't make that mistake. Here are some tips to nailing the perfect brand.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011 11:39

Website Design and Development 101

Written by Cintia Miranda
Part1: Do HTML and CSS websites still have a place on the web?

Business owners and managers looking to update, redesign or develop a new website are faced with some basic, yet essential, questions before starting the project. In my agency, we help many current and prospective clients understand what the best course of action is for their business goals and budget. In this article and the next three of this series, I will attempt to clarify some basic questions with the help of my Web Designer, Ian Marquis. So let's start with the very basic option first: HTML/CSS.

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