Bolchalk FReY's Blog


5 (Free) Tools to Gauge your Online Marketing
July 30, 2013, 1:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So you’re posting on your Facebook Fan page, secured Twitter followers and updated your website.   How do you know what you’re doing is working?  Here are some tools that can help you measure your efforts and best of all, they are all free:

1)    Google Analytics – sign up to receive reports on your business mentions.  Its best feature is conversion tracking that lets you track blog visitors, shows what they are looking at and how they got to your site. 

2)    Page Rank Checker – enter your website’s URL and you will get a score between 1 and 10 as well as detailed information on what your score means and how you can improve it.  Cost ~ Free

3)    Twitrratr – this tool allows you to measure what people are saying about a specific keyword ~ the good, neutral and bad.   You can put in a keyword that relates to your product or service to see what Twitter users think about it.  It’s not 100% accurate but can give you a good sense of what the general public is thinking. 

4)    Twitter Grader – track and measure your influence in Twitter World.  Enter your Twitter handle and you will be given a ranking between 1 and 100.   You can also track the history of your follower growth and your influence among your specific location.

5)    Website Grader – Similar to above, this site allows you to compare your website or blog to your competitors.  You will receive a report that shows readership of recent blog articles, Google index pages and readability level.  It can also help you optimize your web content from headings to images.

Katrina Noble

Media Director

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Sublimimal Messaging or Smart Design?
July 25, 2013, 1:00 pm
Filed under: Design | Tags: , , ,

We see hundreds of logos every single day, but many times we just see them and don’t really look at them. When people breeze past logos, they often miss the beauty of the design and can even miss a hidden message that the designer worked so hard to encorporate.

Here is a list of 10 logos (some you may recognize) that have hidden messages. Perhaps it’s sublimanal messaging from the company or maybe just smart design by the designer. I’ll let you decide…Logo_Kisses

Hershey’s Kiss: Just type? Look again… can you find the hidden kiss?

Logo_Baskin

 
 

Baskin Robbins: You’ve probably seen this one before, but can you find their 31 flavors?

 

Logo_FedEx

 

Fed Ex: Again, another popular one. The arrow is the hidden object in this logo.

 

Logo_Bronx

 

Bronx Zoo: Giraffes and birds… cute logo. Wait, is that a city skyline?

 

Logo_Vaio

 

Vaio: You may have to be a technology guru for this one. The “VA” represents an analog waveform and the “IO” is a nod to binary code.

 

Logo_WSU

 

Washington State University: Go Cougars! On second thought… those are the initials WSU.

 

Logo_Wendys

 

Wendy’s: A hot topic of conversation after the recent redesign. Do you believe her collar really says, “MOM”?

 

Logo_Eighty

 

Eighty 20: Another techie logo. The company name is spelle out in binary code: 1010000 (80) is the top line and 0010100 (20) is the bottom.

 

Logo_Spartan

 

Spartan Golf Club: It took me a second, but I finally found the double image. Do you see the golfer? How about the spartan?

 

Logo_France

 

El Tour de France: Perhaps my favorite hidden message because it was the hardest to find… you’ll love it too once you find the cyclist!

Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer



4 Ways to Get Word of Mouth
July 23, 2013, 10:02 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

We’ve all heard that word of mouth is the best form of advertising and way to gain new customers, but what can you do to increase that buzz?  Here are 4 ways I’ve seen that have worked for my clients and can work for you!

1)    Just ask! – Whenever you receive positive feedback or a compliment from a customer, thank them and ask them to write a review or testimonial for your business

2)    Add ratings and reviews to your website – research shows consumers are willing to pay up to 90% more for a 5-star rating than a 3 star rating.   Positive feedback can deliver a significant increase in sales so go ahead and flaunt it! 

3)    Track your reviews – Be sure to track what is being said about your company on review and social media sites on a regular basis.  Quickly follow up with any comments both the good and bad.  Remember, you can’t change a bad comment but your response shows you at least addressed it. 

4)    Share – Make sure that your website articles, blog, and company newsletters can be easily shared across the social media networks. 

 Katrina Noble

Media Director



Fiat Ad Gives New Meaning to “Muscle Car”
July 18, 2013, 10:43 am
Filed under: Design | Tags: , , , , , ,


 
Many people try to argue that print is a thing of the past, but every once in a while I come across something so amazing it reaffirms my belief in the power of print. This ad for the Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio did just that!

The Richards Group in Dallas, Texas proposed the unique idea of using people to create the newly released Italian microcar. Art Director, Dean Oram and world-renowned body painter, Craig Tracy brought the idea to life, using a team of circus performers, artists and contortionists. After creating the awe-inspiring visual for the ad, the team at The Richards Group completed the ad with the simple line, “Made of pure muscle.”

When I first saw this ad, I had to do a double-take… trying to figure out what exactly I was seeing. When I realized the car was made of people, I was amazed. When I read the only line of type in the ad, I fell in love. What a great way to reach beyond the limits of creativity and create an ad that is not only strong but gets people talking.

 

Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer



4 Big Online Marketing Challenges (and how to overcome them)
July 16, 2013, 4:14 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Are you scratching your head and wondering why your company’s online efforts aren’t producing the stellar results you were expecting?  Start by determining if you are making these 4 mistakes and how to fix them.

1)    You are trying to be everywhere – Just because there are hundreds of social media sites, it doesn’t mean you have to be on all of them.  Think about your target audience and what you are selling to try to match the best social media platform for your business.   If you have a product that is more visual such as a gift shop or furniture store Facebook and Pinterest would be better choices for you.  If you need to reach other businesses then Linkedin or Google+ make more sense.

2)    Too many promotions – don’t constantly sell.   Review your content and make sure it is applicable to the interest of your customers.  Offer tips related to your products or services.  Talk about non-profits or local events that your business supports.  Consider posting open-ended questions and asking your audience to share their opinions.

3)    Too few postings – have a plan to post on a regular basis to keep your content fresh and if you don’t have the time consider having an employee take over these duties or outsource them.   Facebook lets you set upcoming posts or you can use programs such as Hootsuite that allows you to program future posts. 

4)    Large following, but small sales – If you want your followers to call you, be sure to list your phone number in an easy-to-spot location on the page.  Need traffic inside your store? ~ consider offering an online contest or sales promotion just for them.   Want them to sign up for your newsletter?  ~ give them a button to make sign up easy

 

Katrina Noble

Media Director



Handy Tools for Today’s Designers
July 11, 2013, 11:55 am
Filed under: Design | Tags: , , , ,

shutterstock_90684061

 

As designers, we’re always looking for little tips and tricks to make our lives easier, whether it’s a keyboard shortcut or helpful online resource. Here are a list of 10 tools that can help out any designer! (It wouldn’t be fair for me to tell you to use all of these tools if I’d never used them myself, so I’ve given them all a try and highly recommend them!)

 

 

1. LittleIpsum – Downloadable app for Mac or online tool for Windows users. It generates an amount of placeholder text specified by you. I used it on my Mac at work… loved it! (The trick is “paste”… that’s how you get it into your document!)

2. Smush.it – Tool for optimizing images. Upload your photo or provide a link and it does the work for you!

3. GuideGuide – Downloadable Photoshop tool. I hate the fact that Photoshop seems to be lacking the precision of InDesign when it comes to guides… this tool fixes all of that!

4. WeTransfer – Online file tranfer service. I used to use YouSendIt, but the free version only allowed me to send files up to 50MB. WeTransfer allows you to send files up to 2GB… the cherry on top: you don’t even have to create an account!

5. FiveSecondTest – Online tool for designer feedback. This unique online tool allows designers to upload their designs and set up a series of 5 questions to ask viewers. Viewers get 5 seconds to look at a design and then answer questions about it… it’s quick, easy, and provides valuable, unbiased feedback. (I haven’t uploaded designs of my own but have provided feedback to other designers… it seems helpful to get “first impression” type of feedback.)

6. TypeTester – Online typography tool. Easy tool to compare multiple fonts side-by-side.

7. Fount – Online font identifier. I have one word for whoever created this – genius! Drop this little guy into your browser toolbar and when you turn it on, it identifies any font on any website you go to. (Disclaimer – if the font is in an image, it doesn’t work… it has to be actual type in the website.)

8. Designers Toolbox – Exactly how it sounds, this is a website full of tools for designers… everything from document templates to an html cheat sheet!

9. Harvest – Online time-tracking and invoicing tool. This is the one tool I haven’t tried myself, but after viewing the website and video it seems like a handy tool for those of you who are freelancing or running your own business!

10. Paper & Pencil – I know that as designers in the 21st century, we can get wrapped up in the computer and all of its glory, but never forget the fundamentals! Always keep a pencil and paper handy for quick sketches and thumbnails or a hand-drawn approach… this is where your creativity starts!



Clear Channel Celebrates Independence Day with Cross-Country Digital Billboard Display

With the 4th of July right around the corner, I figured what better topic to blog about this week than our country’s Independence Day! No, I’m not going to give you a history lesson on how our country came about… instead, I found something much more exciting!

This year (more specifically in the last 2 weeks), Clear Channel Outdoor has put together the first ever cross-country digital billboard display. The cross-country campaign will run from July 4th to July 7th displaying the lyrics of “The Star Spangled Banner” on more than 1,000 digital billboards in different cities across the United States.

The goal of Clear Channel Outdoor’s cross-country patriotic campaign is to harness “the immediacy and flexibility of its digital out-of-home media to unite the nation in celebration of Independence Day.” (clearchannel.com) Clear Channel Outdoor is also enouraging Americans to show their patriotic spirit by posting photos or videos of how they celebrate the 4th of July on various social media sites using #united4th.

Take a look and see if this campaign has traveled to your neck of the woods:

• Albuquerque
• Atlanta
• Baltimore
• Boston
• Chicago
• Cleveland
• Columbus
• Dallas/Fort Worth
• Des Moines
• El Paso
• Fort Smith
• Houston
• Indianapolis
• Jacksonville
• Las Vegas
• Los Angeles
• Melbourne/Daytona Beach
• Memphis
• Miami
• Milwaukee
• Minneapolis/St Paul
• New York
• Ocala
• Orlando
• Philadelphia
• Phoenix
• Portland
• Reno
• Sacramento
• Salisbury
• San Antonio
• San Francisco
• Seattle
• Tampa
• Washington DC
• Wichita

Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer