April 30, 2010
Barcodes. They’re on everything you buy. They’re on everything you rent. They’re on your ID cards and your membership cards. You see them all over the place, but you don’t really pay attention because they’re meaningless to you. What if those barcodes had meaning? What if you had a barcode scanner in your pocket all the time and you could learn things about that product just by scanning the barcode?
Enter the next generation of barcodes: Mobile Barcodes. These new 2D QR barcodes can contain lots of useful information like a website address, phone number, or an entire address book entry. Your shiny new smartphone can take a photo and interpret these barcodes to open a website or add the contact info to your personal address book – with no data entry required!
What’s even more amazing is that these barcodes can be generated in fractions of a second and displayed on your smartphone for others to scan. Just think of all the possibilities!
Mobile barcodes are very new to the American market, though they’ve been a huge success in Japan and Europe for a few years now. A number of businesses are maximizing on this new technology in interesting ways. Take a look at this mobile QR code presentation to learn more about how mobile barcodes will allow your interested consumers to learn more about your product, and save your contact info while they’re at it!
April 28, 2010
In the ever-changing world of SEO, and the constantly changing world of Google, local search has taken a front row seat. The past year or so has seen a growing emphasis on local search engine optimization and businesses being found in search engine results pages (the SERPs as we like to call them) in the area known as the Maps section (also known as the 10-pack, the 7-pack, or the 3-pack, depending on how many local listings Google decides to show…).
Announced this month, Google has made some changes to their Maps service, now known as Google Places, so read on below for some tips on how to make your business appear there!
1. Claim your listing! The simplest way to get started, type your business name or address into Google Maps and verify that you are the business owner so only you can make changes to the account.
2. Fill in all the blanks. Once the listing is claimed, make sure you fill out all the form fields they are requesting – the more info you can provide, the better.
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- Description – Provide a nice description with your service or product offerings, and anything that sets you apart from your competitors.
- Category – Fill out all 5 categories, and split them up between categories Google has provided and the ability to create your own category.
- Photos and Videos – Have them? Add them! Add your logo to the photo section, and any other images you may have. Pictures inside your local spa? Restaurant entrees? New car models available on your lot? Have you created a how-to video you’ve posted on YouTube? Get ‘em in there! NEW – if you don’t have images, Google now offers free photo shoots for interior buildings in select cities. You can apply for that here.
April 27, 2010
Last Thursday I attended the “A Gentlemen’s Night Out” event sponsored by Jack Daniels. Ever since envisionit got involved with the promotional materials for the event, I’d been developing a thirst for a Jack & Diet….mmmm….but I digress. On hand for the event was Master Distiller, Jeff Arnett, who led us through a series of private tastings of Jack Daniels signature whiskies. Along with the tasting, the night was filled with magic (literally, there were magicians there) and casino games (luckily I was gambling with fake money). After scoring some Jack Daniel’s swag, I made sure to get autographs from several firefighters, on hand to promote their great cause, Ignite the Spirit.
Here’s me enjoying my VIP seat (on the left, with a friend of envisionit)….
And here’s Master Distiller, Jeff Arnett….
And wonderful account supervisor, Lisa, who attended the event with me….
All in all, it was a great evening spent with my friend Jack!
April 21, 2010
After months of speculation, Google officially announced this month that a website’s search speed will factor into its algorithmic rankings. Google’s goal has always been to deliver the most relevant, latest content to someone doing a search. Site speed goes hand-in-hand with that philosophy, ensuring that the user has a good experience when interacting with a website. Being that I’m the most impatient person in the world, I agree and applaud Google for this change and encourage website owners to improve their website speed if necessary. Because who likes waiting for a page to load when browsing the web?
Our resident Sr. Programmer, Andy, had his own two cents (or should I say three) of what his typical culprits are for slow page loads:
While there are a million factors that can affect the performance of a website’s load time, here are some common issues to watch for….
- Make sure images (and Flash SWF files if your site has them) are small but still viewer friendly and optimized.
- Most important: your website hosting service needs to have fast, redundant connections to multiple Internet “backbones” or have minimal “hops” to multiple backbones. Your hosting service’s backbone is what drives traffic to your site.
Click here for the link to the official Google posting and some additional tools for helping to improve your site’s speed. And like always, if you can’t decipher the gobbly gook of website usability, we’d be happy to help you out!
April 19, 2010
We are proud to announce that we have received a Webby Honoree Award from the 14th Annual Webby Awards committee for the agency’s “Good Egg Project” website for the American Egg Board. The annual Webby Awards, also called the “Oscars of the Internet,” honors excellence in web design, creativity, usability and functionality. Almost 10,000 entries are received from all 50 states and from 60 countries worldwide.
The Good Egg Project site was submitted for the Associations category, and was judged on its content, structure, navigation, visual design, functionality, interactivity and overall experience. The site was developed for America’s Egg Farmers, showcasing their commitment to delivering high-quality eggs as well as caring for their animals and the land they farm. This initiative addresses the growing interest in food production by educating people about modern egg farming, introducing them to the farmers that care for their eggs and encouraging them to eat good and do good every day.
The Good Egg Project supports America’s egg farmers and their donations to the Feeding America organization. The Good Egg Project has also been featured on the Rachael Ray Show, and is a proud sponsor of Sesame Street.
We’d like to congratulate Jason Goldberg (Creative Director) and Megan Schickedanz (Senior Producer) for their leadership, as well as the extended agency team here who worked on the Good Egg Project. We’d also like to thank the American Egg Board for the opportunity to work on such an important project!
April 16, 2010
April 15, 2010
Considering buying a custom built home? Wausau Homes is already known to be redefining the home building experience, by delivering on time with firm pricing, your way. And now it’s even easier to work with them to build the home of your dreams. Our interactive team has recently tooled (ha, get it?) around in the Wausau website to organize Wausau’s 140 home floor plans into a new and improved floor plan search tool. Browse through the different model home categories—choose from a “Beginnings” model, great for first time homebuyers, or perhaps an “American Dreams” model, perfect for those who need more space for a growing family, or filter your search based on parameters like home type, square footage, or number of bedrooms.
Check out the Wausau Floor Plan Tool — Even if you’re not looking to build a home anytime soon, it’s sure fun to dream!
April 14, 2010
Tweet This–Promoted Tweets is Here!
A paid advertising platform for Twitter has been the talk of industry experts since Twitter was, well, hatched. And this week not one, but two platforms launched – TweetUp and Promoted Tweets.
Promoted Tweets, which is a Twitter platform, will allow marketers to bid on keywords on a CPM basis, allowing their ads to show up as sponsored tweets. These sponsored tweets will show up in a user’s Twitter feed and most likely be contextually and locally targeted.
TweetUp is not officially tied to Twitter but will also allow marketers to bid on keywords on a CPM basis and have their profile or tweets show up in TweetUp’s sponsored listings when a search is performed onsite.
Us Tweeters at envisionit are anxious to see if this crazy phenomenon called Twitter will finally be able to monetize itself. Is there enough relevant search volume on Twitter to provide our clients with a return on their ad dollars and become part of their social media ad budgets? Or will this be the end of Twitter (being more of a Facebook fan, I’m sorta hoping so…) But stay tuned and find out!!
April 12, 2010
I’ll admit, we have our fair share of Cubs fans here at the office. Even as I type this on the Cubs Home Opener, there are Cubs t-shirts proudly being worn today. Some discretely under blazers and others loud and proud. There’s already been some Sox vs. Cubs ‘sniping’ this morning (all in good fun of course, but it’s still early in the season).
To say this season is pivotal for the Cubs would be an understatement. There are new owners involved, the Ricketts family, so Sam Zell can no longer be blamed for Cubs misfortune. Tom Ricketts, the chosen media face for the family, has been all over Chicago speaking to business groups about the fresh air being brought to the Cubs organization. And when I say fresh air, I mean it literally. One stadium update you will notice this season is fewer concrete walls closing off outside views, allowing a lovely skyline to emerge and of course, more fresh air into the park. A telling omen for this season? Maybe we should check out the promised bathroom updates instead for better insight.
Next off, there is the new marketing campaign wrapped up with the slogan, “It’s a Way of life.” For diehard Cubs fans, I don’t think there could be a better slogan. Being a loyal Cubs fan IS a way of life, and that loyalty prevails whether the team is winning or losing. People move to the “Wrigleyville” neighborhood for the sole purpose of being close to the stadium. Our creative director here refuses to dress his little daughter in a pink Cubs outfit for games, and insists on her wearing Cubby blue (she looks cute regardless). Talk to any true blue Cubs fan, and they won’t even consider following another baseball team, no matter what the stats say. It’s Cubs or nothin’.
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