Schedule multiple advertisements for a single promotion! Small businesses should be able to market like big brands with multiple points of contact for each promotion. Now you can send initial promotions, remind customers when those promotions are about to expire, reach each customer group on different marketing channels, and target your message based on specific subscriber groups! Check out our new software at GEOREACH NETWORK
STRAIGHT FROM THE EXPERTS: Do It Yourself Photography, Make Your Business Shine in Front of the Camera!
Celebrity, fashion, and corporate photographer Duffy-Marie Arnoult gives you the low down on taking pro photos of your business!
I can’t tell you how many times I have seen a great business represented by mediocre images. Whether we like to admit it or not, we are a visual society and a bad photo can influence a potential customer to go elsewhere. Here are a few tricks to make sure this does not happen to you.
1) STAGE YOUR BUSINESS: If you need to take a photo of your storefront, make sure the exterior is looking its best. Clean windows and no trash or distracting elements on the ground. You want the focus to be on your signage and welcoming storefront.
2) LIGHTING: Try to take the photo during a time of day where the light is even and bright. You usually do not want noonday sun because the shadows can be very harsh and the light is too bright. Either early morning or late afternoon sun is best. A nice warm light always adds life to a photo, instead of a cold, shadier tone. I personally love the late afternoon light, usually sometime between 4-6:30pm. Watch out for sidelight that can cause distracting shadows and take away from the focus of your signage.
3) TAKE A LOT OF PHOTOS: Take the main shot you are looking for but try some different angles. You might surprise yourself and come up with something creative and fun that will draw your customers in.
4) EDITING YOUR PHOTOS: Once you have your photos, do not upload them directly to your website or yelp without retouching. You may think retouching is extremely complicated and takes expensive professional software. This is a big mistake many people make. There are a few simple things you can do that can take a photo from mediocre to outstanding.
a. FREE ONLINE EDITING SOFTWARE: You don’t need Photoshop to edit your images like a pro you can use Aviary instead they have two photo editing tool one for simple adjustments http://www.aviary.com/tools/feather and one that gives you all the advanced features of Photoshop http://www.aviary.com/tools/image-editor
b. CROPPING: Make sure you crop out any distracting elements from the edges of the photos. Try to crop the image so that the important element is centered (ex: a plate of food or signage)
c. COLOR CORRECTING: You might need to go into levels to raise the highlights of the image and possibly darken the blacks to make more contrast. This will make your image more dynamic. You can do all of these steps in Aviary’s Feather Tool use the contrast, color, and saturation buttons. Move the slider up and down until the image looks vibrant and clear. You do not want a flat image with muddled colors. You can also go into selective color and lessen the amount of one color. If your photo has a red cast to it, you can always go into the Red channel and add more blue or take the red out of the blacks. You can tell that your image is ready when the white in photo is a true white and the grey is a true grey.
5) BLACK and WHITE: Sometimes, your subject matter might have a lot of clashing colors or patterns and it might be best to go with a black and white photo. This is obviously a subjective choice.
6) FLASH vs NATURAL LIGHT: I highly recommend using natural light as much as you can. Flash will brighten a photo, but unless you really know how to manipulate the light, you will end up with harsh lighting and shadows. Natural light and ambient light is much softer and beautiful.
7) FOOD and PRODUCT: A lot of my previous advice applies here. Make sure your food is fresh and not wilted. Watch out for reflective surfaces on your products. You want the light to be soft so that the focus is your product and not a distracting glare. Product and food always looks better with a clean background so take these shots on a table with nothing else
8) UPLOADING PHOTOS: Upload your photos to Yelp, Google Places, Flickr, and Facebook. This is the best way to promote your business. Before you upload use JPEG Mini to reduce the size of your photos without destroying the quality.
You might think all of this is overkill, but I promise you it is not. It is critical to have top-notch images out there representing your brand and product. Once you have these dynamic photos for your business, it is imperative that you get them out there. People make their decisions on product quality, but until they are actually at your door, more times than most, they are going to decide based on the quality of the images they see representing your business. If you have sub-par photos or no photos at all, chances are you will be overlooked. I suggest researching photos and websites of your competition and see what they have done. Make sure that your photos represent who you are and what your company stands for. With these tools you are ready to go out there and start capturing the unique and colorful character of your business!
By: Duffy-Marie Arnoult, DMA PHOTOS
Check out our custom mobile sites that automatically stream your promotions and contests. All week we will be releasing screen shots of our software (Molo) in action! Check back in tomorrow for our first Guest Expert Post, Do it Yourself Photography: How to Make Your Business Shine in Front of the Camera, by corporate,fashion, and celebrity photographer Duffy Marie Arnoult.
HOW TO: Make a Great Business Website For Less Than $10
At GeoReach we understand that small businesses have limited resources but that is no reason not to have a great website. This post will give you all the tips you need to make a professional website without a professional.
- CHOOSE A GOOD SITE CREATOR- I used www.wix.com to create this site. I think Wix is a great tool it has a ton of options and if you upgrade to one of the premium plans (which is $6.60 per month) you get a $50 in Facebook advertising and an $75 in Google ad words advertising.
- CHOOSE A CLEAN PROFESSIONAL TEMPLATE- Too often I see small business websites that are WAY too busy. I suggest choosing a template from the Photographer or Portfolio category. These categories always have modern clean looking templates.
- CHOOSE NO MORE THAN 4 COLORS- Color schemes are one of the most important design elements. I always think its smart for non-designers to keep it simple. Choose one bright statement color in the site I made it was purple. Then choose 3 muted base colors I chose black grey and white. For help with picking colors try http://www.colourlovers.com
- COMPILE 10 HUGE PICTURES OF YOUR PRODUCTS AND BUSINESS- Since you are not a graphic designer don’t rely on graphics to jazz up your site instead personalize your site with great photos. You don’t need professional photos just make sure you stage them and only use big images, Small photos tend to look more amateur.
- TRY USING SILHOUETTES- If you are going to use graphics/clipart on your site try silhouettes. They always look modern and professional I got these dog silhouettes from Vector Dogs Silhouettes. They have 1000’s different of silhouettes so no matter what business you are in they should have something relevant.
- STICK WITH THE BASICS- This site has only four pages but it covers everything you need for a small business website. Remember that consumers come to your website to: 1) Find out about your products/services, 2) Contact your business, 3) Check out your photos, 4) Find your address. If you cover all 4 things then the rest is just extra.
- KEEP YOUR SITE UPDATED- The greatest part about using a site creator rather then hiring a web designer and developer is that you can update your site yourself. There is nothing worse then a site with outdated or misleading information.
- ASK FOR HELP- If you are absolutely terrible with all technology ask for help. Use your friends, family and staff as a resource.
If you want to visit my Wix site and see what I did you can find it here: SITE EXAMPLE
www.wix.com site builder
http://all-silhouettes.com/ for great silhouette graphics
http://www.colourlovers.com/palettes to help you pick a great color palette
Remember if you have questions we are always here to help
HERE ARE SOME MORE SCREEN SHOTS FROM THE SITE:
The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple.
Mobile marketing is here to stay.
Google, Apple, Facebook. The biggest names in consumer technology, along with an army of ad agencies, big brands and venture capital firms, are pouring billions of dollars into mobile marketing. Why? Because every day there’s more evidence that mobile marketing widely outperforms traditional marketing. Even as investment in mobile marketing grows, overall, small businesses have not embraced mobile marketing.
So what’s holding small businesses back?
Results from the a Small Business Mobile Marketing Survey provide some insight as to why. It’s not that small business owners lack awareness, as 81 percent say they have heard of mobile marketing. But fully 70 percent of those haven’t tried it. Why? Some “mobile marketing myths” appear to be holding entrepreneurs back.
What are these myths, and what is the truth?
Of those aware of mobile marketing, but who haven’t tried it:
- 44 percent think they “don’t have time to figure out a new technology.” This suggests that small business owners think mobile marketing will be “hard” to do—a time-consuming process and/or difficult to figure out. As small businesses discover simple-to-use solutions, this perception should decrease.
- 30 percent think mobile marketing “sounds expensive.”It’s true that text message campaigns can cost $50 to $100 per campaign or per month. However, when the focus shifts from cost to results, the power of mobile marketing becomes clear. The business results that small business owners experience with the unmatched response rates of mobile more than justify the cost. And some services start as low as $10 or $25 per month, so getting started with mobile marketing can be affordable for even the smallest businesses.
- 30 percent simply “don’t know how to get started.” Answering this question requires knowledge of mobile marketing providers, different program options and the value of mobile marketing. As this knowledge reaches small business owners, adoption of mobile marketing among small businesses will increase.
The survey also dispelled some commonly-held beliefs as myths:
- Satisfaction with current marketing programs is not a barrier to trying mobile marketing. Less than 20 percent of respondents cited “my current marketing programs are working” as a reason for not trying mobile marketing.
- Only 13 percent worry “my customers won’t like it.” Since owners know their customers, concerns about customer acceptance seem overblown.
What do small businesses say about mobile marketing benefits?
Small businesses of all sizes and types can benefit from mobile marketing. Appointment-based businesses, such as a hair salon, can send appointment reminders. Retailers can alert fans to new products or sales. And any business can communicate with its employees quickly and effectively.
The survey validates compelling benefits of mobile marketing programs to small businesses:
More than 50 percent of respondents were “very” or “extremely” interested in four out of the five benefits listed.
Letting customers send referrals to their friends came out on top, showing the social power of mobile marketing when customers can reach out to their contacts instantly, from anywhere. Right behind referrals were sending promotions (coupons, offers and specials)and sharing news and information.
Complete results for the five benefits in the survey are:
Benefit of Mobile Marketing Program% Very or Extremely InterestedLet your customers send referrals to their friends’ mobile phones68 percentSend coupons, offers and specials to customers’ mobile phone65 percentInstantly alert customers to news, events and other store info65 percentAnswer customers’ questions on their mobile phones53 percentCommunicate with your staff via their phones32 percent
What mobile marketing programs are most interesting?
The survey listed six popular mobile marketing programs, asking respondents to rank their interest in them.
As with the mobile marketing benefits, all six mobile marketing programs presented in the survey generated high interest from respondents—the lowest-rated program was still very or extremely interesting to more than 40 percent of respondents.
Respondents were most interested in a mobile website—a business website optimized for mobile devices. A recent study by the Pew Research Center in Washington showed that 40 percent of American adults use their cell phones to surf the Web, e-mail or use instant messaging,” so these business owners are definitely onto something!
Complete results for the six programs in the survey are:
Mobile Marketing Program% Very or Extremely InterestedMobile website69 percentText message reminders53 percentBirthday clubs50 percentCustomer reviews50 percentMobile coupons50 percentFrequent buyer card44 percent
The Small Business Mobile Marketing Survey shows that small businesses are starting to enter the world of mobile marketing, if slowly. Many of their concerns about mobile marketing are based on myths that can be dispelled with careful education by mobile marketing providers. Once their concerns are addressed, small business owners can be expected to take action on their strong interest in mobile marketing’s benefits and program options.