Cracking the ‘Code’
April 29, 2011 8:50 AM
Tagged as e-websmart, marketing tips, QR codes, Quick Response codes, technology trends
As a Web site design firm, we struggled to embrace the funny-looking codes we started seeing on ads for makeup, high-end jewelers and music artists. No color … no design element … and how distracting! Sooooo not what we do here!
But what we came to find out is that while Quick Response Codes, or QR Codes, are a little lacking in the aesthetics department, they pack quite a marketing punch.
First, though, let’s talk about what a QR Code is: Created by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994, a QR Code is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), that is readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones (we commonly refer to them as Smart Phones). The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.
Now, how do you use a QR Code as a marketing tool? You use a QR Code to help generate buzz about your business and brand, just like you do with your other marketing efforts. A QR Code is really the link that brings people to the marketing materials you have already created. For example:
- Business cards: Use a barcode that directs scanners to your website or Facebook page.
- Marketing materials: Add QR codes to your printed marketing materials to direct them to online videos, photos, special promotions or giveaways.
- Signs and storefront windows: You can use this code to encourage Fousquare checkins, point scanners to your Yelp profile, or invite customers to share memories in photo, video or text form via Stickybits.
Do they work? Here is a great graphic that answers that question with a resounding ‘yes’. The graphic has a bunch of QR Codes that you can scan for more information. What a great way to drive home the point! The one statistic that jumped out to us is that there was a 1200 percent increase in QR Code scanning between July and December 2010. We think a statistic like that moves it from the fad category straight into the here-to-stay category.
Think about how QR Codes could work for your business or organization. What product or service could you use a QR Code for? It’s time to start “thinking outside the funny-looking box!”
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E-websmart Chosen as Exclusive E-Card Provider for F.A.I.T.H. Company
April 7, 2011 12:11 PM
Tagged as e-cards, e-websmart, F.A.I.T.H. Fashion Accessories, Michelle Tjelmeland
Rochester, Illinois, April 5, 2011 – Mark and Pam Hatchard, co-owners of F.A.I.T.H. Fashion Accessories in the Home, announced today that e-websmart, a Rochester-based Web site design firm owned by Michelle Tjelmeland, will be the exclusive vendor to design and distribute e-cards for F.A.I.T.H. consultants.
“E-websmart designs graphics with unmistakable flair, and Michelle’s creativity is the perfect match for F.A.I.T.H.,” Mark Hatchard said. “Her propriety e-card system is not only easy for our consultants to learn, but it allows us to maintain a consistent brand image each time our consultants send invitations and messages.”
F.A.I.T.H. Company designs jewelry with an inspirational and spiritual message and sells their designers through a direct sales platform. The company has enjoyed much success in apparel and accessories markets nationwide and has over 1000 consultants throughout the United States. F.A.I.T.H. gives consultants the opportunity to gain independence and financial freedom by selling F.A.I.T.H. jewelry through home parties.
“Designing and creating timeless, inspirational jewelry every woman would find beautiful, wearable, versatile, and affordable is at the very heart of F.A.I.T.H. Fashion Accessories in the Home,” explained Pam Hatchard.
E-websmart’s proprietary e-card platform allows users to create a library of card images and then choose one image to accompany e-mail messages and invitations sent to customers. Users then use a short form to designate recipients, request RSVPs, and write a message.
“It’s designed as a quick and easy communication tool,” said Tjelmeland.
Mark Hatchard said consultants will use the e-card system to send party invitations, thank yous, event reminders, special offers and other personal notes to their hostesses and customers.
“Each message will be accompanied by a pre-approved image featuring our jewelry and our message,” he explained. “It’s a great way to show off our product and keep our name in front of our customers.”
“We’re thrilled with our new business relationship with e-websmart and can’t wait to see our jewelry incorporated into e-websmart designs,” Pam said.
“We truly appreciate our relationship with F.A.I.T.H. and are so thrilled to be the exclusive e-card designer and distributor for the company.” said Tjelmeland, who has over 12 years of experience in the Web design industry.
Tjelmeland said the two companies have a lot in common. “We both work to empower others and give them the tools to reach their dreams, both personally and professionally. It’s great to work with people who have the same passion for their business as we have at e-websmart.”
Tjelmeland said that her small business background gives her insight for creating e-cards for FAITH Jewelry consultants.
“I know how important it is to brand your business and present an image that differentiates you from the competition. We will create each F.A.I.T.H. e-card with that goal in mind.”
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Facebook Changes Business Pages
February 11, 2011 5:50 PM
Tagged as e-websmart, Facebook, fan pages, marketing tips, social media, social networking
Facebook is at it again! More changes to the site's functionality and layout, this time to business pages. The new format is now similar to the new personal profile layout, with a filmstrip of thumbnail pics running across the top. The tabs have also disappeared, and now the navigation appears on the left, under your picture.
One big benefit of moving the tab links to the left side is that you can see them all listed at once. Previously, only 4 - 5 tabs were visible, and users were required to click on the "+" sign to see more. This hid useful information, especially for those fans who were not aware of the "+" sign. Now, the full list of your apps appears on the left, which should make it easier for all users to navigate through your page and find what they need.
Another major change is the "Edit Page" link. It now appears on the right side of your business page. Previously, it was under your picture on the left.
Besides the layout, Facebook's changes also make it possible for you to interact with people and pages as a page name. For example, now e-websmart (the page) can leave comments on other pages' walls, as well as people's walls. You accomplish this by logging in, clicking on Accounts >> Use Facebook as Page, and then choosing which page you'd like to post as. Of course, you can only do this if you are an admin of a page. But, once you make this switch, your post appears as if it is coming from the page, not you. Switch back to your personal profile and be "you" again by clicking on Accounts >> Switch back to (name).
This also means that even if you are an admin on a page, you can post as yourself on that page.
And last but not least, and you're going to love this... you can now get e-mail notifications when fans interact with your page or posts! This is a long awaited change, and it's finally here! This feature is automatically activated, but here's where you find the setting:
- Go to a page that you administer and click Edit Page (remember, it's on the left side).
- From the menu on the left, click Your Settings.
- The check box next to E-mail Notifications controls whether you receive e-mail updates or not.
What do you think? Like it? Hate it? Let us know, and if you need help understanding what all of this means, give us a call!
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Keys to Success - WICS 20
November 12, 2010 3:25 PM
Tagged as e-websmart, Michelle Tjelmeland, WICS 20
Posted in Recent News
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Keys To Success: Michelle Tjelmeland
Michelle Tjelmeland is a business owner, author, philanthropist and wife and mother. She shares her inspiring story with ABC Newschannel 20's Jessica McGee.
Click here to view: Keys To Success: Michelle Tjelmeland
Posted: Tuesday, November 9 2010, 01:13 PM CST
Changing Your E-mail in Facebook
November 11, 2010 9:56 AM
Tagged as e-mail, e-websmart, Facebook, social media
Have you ever needed to change your e-mail address associated with your Facebook account? It's actually pretty easy! We helped a client with this just the other day, and we thought we'd share the steps with all of our fans.
Posted in Social Media
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1. Log in to Facebook (obviously!).
2. In the upper right hand corner, click on Account >> Account Settings.
3. Next to E-mail (3rd section down), click Change.
4. Enter your new e-mail address. Facebook will send a confirmation message to your new e-mail address, and a notification to your old e-mail address.
5. Log in to your new e-mail address, find the message from Facebook, and follow the instructions to confirm.
6. Once you've confirmed it, you can use that e-mail address to log into Facebook. Your password will be the same.
7. Now go back to Account >> Account Settings, then under e-mail, click Change again. Be sure to mark your new address as your contact e-mail or you won't receive any notifications from Facebook.?
That's it! After you know that you can log in with your new e-mail address, then you can go back to your e-mail settings and remove your old one if you want. But, keeping it won't negatively affect you, so long as you don't keep it as your contact e-mail.
If you have more than one active e-mail, you can list them all in Facebook. That way, people can find you under any e-mail address that you have listed, which can help increase the number of friends you connect with!
The Art of Branding to Build Credibility
July 13, 2010 6:48 AM
Tagged as brand, branding yourself, e-websmart, KISS philosophy
Anyone can agree with their clients but it's a much harder job to be able to point out what can be improved or even disagree with the approach someone is taking. My ultimate goal is to help my clients move to the next level. Unfortunately, it's often painful! Kinda like when you are sick, you have to get shots or have surgery in order to get better! But, if you don’t get the shots or have the surgery the doctor prescribed – you most likely aren’t going to get better.
I like to call my approach "encouragement criticism" where I want to help someone do better at something they are already doing fairly well. You wouldn't be in business if you weren't doing many, many things right. My job is to help my clients perfect things.
Social networking opens up so many opportunities to gain exposure for your business. But if you're not focused on promoting your brand, and a unified, cohesive image at that, you'll confuse customers and prospects even damage your reputation. Toward that end, I'd like to share a few things about marketing and the importance of branding your business, no matter how long you've been in business.
Remember the KISS philosophy: Keep It Simple Stupid. Just read this article to verify my philosophy. Pay attention to the 5 basic concepts mentioned toward the end of this article.
It goes back to the old cliché’, “Don't sell the steak, sell the sizzle”. No matter how good your product, or how awesome the features are, you must invest time and money into marketing that product. Successful corporate brands understand this principle - you never stop marketing to customers, colleagues, and your virtual network of associates.
One of the most important elements when creating sizzle is credibility. In order to sell, a company and its management team must first be credible in the eyes of its prospective customers. No matter how "hot" the concept, if you can't get your prospects to believe in you, you'll never sell to your concept's potential.
You can show your company's credibility in many ways - experience, longevity, quality products, truthful marketing, glowing recommendations and testimonials, well-designed marketing campaigns, and a strong, stable management team. Your credibility grows each time you strengthen one of these exisiting characteristics or add one more to the list. And this is what attrracts buying, loyal customers.
Author and business consultant, Mark Siebert, has this to say: “If you aren't there already, you can do a number of things to polish your credibility as a company:
- Hire a designer to update the look and feel of your operation.
- Update your consumer marketing materials and website.
- Retain a PR firm to help you obtain press in the local market.
- Recruit an advisory board made up of your most prominent business acquaintances.
- Develop marketing materials that are better than those of your established competitors.
- And, from a self-serving perspective, retain the best consultants you can afford when you desire to take your business to the next level.
Maybe the idea of "branding yourself" seems ridiculous because you've been around 25, 50, or even 75 years. It's not. It's a subject that famed management guru and author of the best-selling business book "In Search of Excellence", Tom Peters, first tackled in 1997 for an article in Fast Company magazine titled, "The Brand Called You."
"Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the number of years in business, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You. . . . You're every bit as much a brand as Nike, Coke, Pepsi, or the Body Shop."
In summary, always put your company brand first and abide by the KISS philosophy. Miraculous things will begin to happen!
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