Helpful Organization Apps

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Apps for Business OwnersTechnology can be productivity’s greatest enemy. You could spend countless hours browsing Facebook, playing Candy Crush, and scrolling through Pinterest. However, the right apps could actually increase your productivity.

With the rise of smartphones in the workplace, there is huge demand for time management and organization apps. Luckily, more than a few developers are stepping up to that challenge. Listed below are some of the best productivity apps to keep you organized and on track.

To-Do List App: Things

Take your to-do lists into the digital age with Things. This handy application allows you to access all of your to-do lists from anywhere. Simply add a task, give it a category, and set a completion date. Things will give you a daily list of all your tasks and make sure nothing falls through the cracks.

Cost: $50 for Mac desktop, $20 for iPad, $10 for iPhone

Supported on: Apple devices

Password App: LastPass 

Sick of trying to remember every password for every website you use? You could use the same password for everything, but that’s not secure. Instead, use LastPass. All you will ever have to remember is your LastPass username and password. The app will generate secure passwords for your sites, and log in for you.

Cost: Free

Supported on: Any internet-connected device

App for Focusing: Focus @ Will 

If you have a hard time focusing on the task at hand, Focus @ Will can help. Based on proven neuroscience, this web-based application plays music that helps you stay focused. You can skip any tracks that are distracting to you, and Focus @ Will learns your preferences.

Cost: 30 day trial, then $5.99/month

Supported on: All web browsers

Notes App: Evernote 

No list of helpful apps would be complete without this organizational tool. Evernote allows users to capture handwritten notes, clip articles, and finish written projects all in one place. It syncs across all of your devices. So, if you have a great idea while you’re away from your computer, just jot it down on your phone. You’ll be able to see it when you return to your desk.

Cost: Free and paid versions available

Supported on: Smartphones, tablets, and desktops

Travel App: TripIt 

This nifty app organizes all travel information into one concise itinerary. Instead of digging through 15 different confirmation emails to find your flight number and departure time, you can simply open the TripIt app. It gives you weather, dates, times, confirmation numbers, maps and much more.

Cost: Free and paid versions available

Supported on: Smartphones, tablets, and desktops

by Mackenzie Maxwell | posted | in Mobile Apps

Get the Most Out of Your Email Marketing

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Email MarketingDespite popular belief, email marketing is not dead. Sure, spammy, unattractive email ads are going the way of the dinosaurs. Consumers are smarter and more demanding than ever; they can see right through a bad e-blast. That just means email marketing has to change, not die.

An effective email campaign can mean big return on investment. In fact, the average return for every dollar spent on email marketing is $44.25. Do you want to get in on this action? Here are a few tips to make the most of your email marketing campaign.

1. Avoid Spam Filters

Every other tip on this list is useless if your email ends up in spam filters instead of inboxes. Avoid using phrases like “FREE!” “BUY TODAY!” and “SALE!” in your email. You know what spam emails looks like; we’ve all gotten them before. Make your message differ from that as much as possible.

2. Have a Catchy Subject Line

So, your email made it to the audience’s inboxes. Now you have to get them to open your message. A good subject line is imperative to achieving this goal. It should engage and intrigue the reader without feeling like spam. Honestly ask yourself if you would open an email with that subject line. If you wouldn’t open it, chances are that your audience won’t either.

3. Get the Copy Right

Copywriting

Great, someone opened your email! Do they have something good to read? If not, they are going to bounce out. Great email copy is written from the perspective of a person to one other person, not a large company to a million people. Make it personal. Don’t let it sound like spam. (Are you sensing a pattern here?)

4. Make it Eye-Catching

Copy is only as great at the design surrounding it. Effective emails effortlessly guide the reader’s eyes from one piece to another. Its color scheme and images should be attention grabbing. Images can be helpful in retaining your reader’s attention, especially if they are clean, bright, and/or have a person in them.

5. Optimize for Mobile

Optimize for Mobile

 

Nearly half of all emails are opened on mobile phones.  So, if your email does not look good on a mobile device, you are losing 50% of your customer base almost immediately. Make sure your email looks great on phones and tablets, then watch your analytics take a turn for the better.

6. Know Your Target Audience

Do they like bright colors or more of a neutral palette? Are they night owls or do they check email first thing in the morning? Are they impulsive buyers or savvy shoppers? A little research into these questions and more goes a long way.

7. Give Your Audience Something To Do

Your catchy subject, great copy and beautiful design mean nothing if your audience doesn’t do anything after they read your email. Give them a call to action. You can ask them to visit your site, shop a new sale, or download an app. Know what your goal is and give your audience an easy path to it.

Are you ready to create the perfect email campaign now? Give Duncan/Day a call. We can help you with all of your marketing and advertising needs.

by Mackenzie Maxwell | posted | in Advertising & Marketing, Email Marketing

The Power of Scent Marketing

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All 5 Senses for MarketingOnline ads appeal to the sense of sight. Printed flyers appeal to the sense of touch. Radio advertisements appeal to the sense of sound. Free food samples appeal to the sense of taste. A business may appeal to any combination of these senses in order to earn a consumer’s business, but there’s one sense many marketers are missing: smell.

Smell has a profound effect on our memories and emotions. The smell of a burning fire may remind a person of a past camping trip. The scent of lavender may calm a person after a long day. Is it far-fetched to say that certain scents may influence the buying habits of consumers? Not at all. In fact, the idea is called “scent marketing” and it has been around for years.

As many professionals will tell you, the key to great marketing is to trigger an emotion. Scent marketing does this on a neurological level, even when the consumer is not consciously aware of the scent. That’s because olfactory receptor cells, which are directly linked to the limbic system, receive smells. The limbic system is the emotional part of our brain, so to speak. It influences mood, memory, and behavior. That means what we smell directly affects how we feel and what we do.

It’s easy to see how this powerful effect on the brain could make scent marketing a great tool for businesses. In fact, real estate agents have been using this technique for ages. When showing a house, agents will often bake cookies and let the smell fill the air. It comforts the potential buyers and helps them imagine living ideal lives in the home.

The Power of Scent MarketingWhen employed by other businesses, scent marketing may be used in subtler ways. While the consumer is probably acutely aware of the scent of fresh cookies in a home, a hint of vanilla inside a clothing boutique may be less noticeable and equally effective.

Research from the University of California, Irvine has shown that scents used by retailers can often increase sales, sometimes doubling them. But there’s no one smell that works for all retailers. Context is key. Brands should think about their target audience when designing the perfect scent.

Will your business consider using scent marketing? If you have any questions about this or any other marketing technique, give Duncan/Day a call. We are happy to help with all of your marketing and advertising needs.

by Mackenzie Maxwell | posted | in Advertising & Marketing, Branding

Effectively Use Hashtags for Online Marketing

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#Hashtag The use of the number sign (#) to signify a category online dates back to the 1990s on Internet Relay Chat (IRC). This idea evolved into what we now know as the “hashtag,” which was popularized by Twitter. The first Tweet containing a hashtag was sent out by designer Chris Messina in 2007 and simply read, “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?” We’ve come a long way since then.

Nearly eight years later, hashtags have saturated social media and permeated pop culture. Nearly every social media platform has integrated hashtags. Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon even created a viral sketch all about saying “hashtag” in conversations. There is no doubt that this tool is here to stay.

Businesses cannot ignore this trend. It’s important that executives learn to use hashtags for online marketing. They drive traffic, engagement, and ultimately, profits. So, how can you make sure your business is using hashtags to the greatest effect? Here are some helpful tips.

1. Know Which Sites Use Hashtags All Around the Social Media Table

Trying to use hashtags on a platform that doesn’t support them could hurt your marketing efforts. As of March 2015, these are the social media sites that allow hashtags: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest. Social media is always changing, so that list may grow substantially.

2. Obey the Rules

Of course, all hashtags begin with the number symbol. Other special characters and punctuation are not allowed. #Duncan/Day would not be a successful hashtag because of the slash. Similarly, any space will end the hashtag. #Duncan Day would show up as only #Duncan because of the space before “Day.”

Numbers can be tricky as well. While they are allowed, hashtags cannot contain only numbers. #2015 would be unsuccessful, while #Oscars2015 was a trending hashtag this year.

3. Make It Relevant

It’s tempting to just add a trending hashtag to your post. After all, more people will see it, right? While that may be true, using irrelevant hashtags will only hurt businesses in the long run. Savvy consumers will read such a post as spam, and their impressions will not be positive.

4. Use Existing, Searchable Hashtags…Sometimes Hashtag

While you certainly don’t want to hijack existing hashtags and use them in irrelevant ways, it is still perfectly acceptable to use established hashtags. For example, if you are posting an image with an inspirational quote on Instagram, you can use #InspirationalQuote. Users who search this, and there are many who do, will welcome your image. You might even gain some new followers.

There are other times when it is best to come up with your own hashtag, however. If your post is part of a larger campaign, you are asking users to respond to a question, or you are hosting an event, your business will benefit from a unique hashtag. For example, suppose we opened up a question and answer session on the Duncan/Day Twitter feed. If we did this, we would ask people to use something like #AskDuncanDay in their Tweets to us. This way, we could easily search all questions.

5. Make it Clear and Concise

The whole point of a hashtag is to let readers know what the post is about. Avoid using too many hashtags in a post. Sure, more people may find the post, but it will be confusing and look like spam. It’s better to use one perfect hashtag than 10 so-so ones.

Another way to make your hashtags clear is to avoid making them too long and complicated. #ThisIsALongHashtagAndNotEffective #NobodyWouldEverSearchThisOffTheTopOfTheirHead

6. It’s All in the Timing

This should be obvious, but #ThrowbackThursday isn’t effective if you post it on Friday. Make sure whatever you use is timely. That way, you get more engagement and exposure.

Follow these simple rules and your social media accounts should be #winning in no time. If your business is in need of a social media marketing strategy or any other branding help, call Duncan/Day Advertising.

by Mackenzie Maxwell | posted | in Advertising & Marketing, Social Media
tagged , , , | permalink.

What Teens Post Online Affects Future

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Teen Girls on Smart Phone

Teenagers do stupid things sometimes. This is not a revolutionary thing to say, and it is not unique to today’s teens. It’s just a fact of life. The teenage years are a time to find boundaries by pushing them, and that often involves saying or doing something ridiculous. As a mom, I’m all too familiar with this fact.

Think about the dumbest thing you did in your teenage years. Remember that time your friends convinced you to break the rules, or when raging hormones drove you to say something uncharacteristically offensive. What if your current bosses, clients, friends, and family could see it all?

In a world where social media is king, that’s exactly the type of future today’s kids face. Every thought becomes a tweet. Every dumb action becomes a video on YouTube. And it all stays in the public record forever.

Delete Button

Sure, you can press the delete button, but it is nearly impossible to truly erase anything from the Internet. Consider this: the Library of Congress records of every single tweet that is sent, even the ones that are deleted. Anyone interested in reading any of the hundreds of billions of tweets can easily access them.

That’s just one of the many ways what we post online stays public forever. Screenshots, cache copies, and search engines designed specifically to find deleted posts all ensure that no online content ever truly disappears. So what does that mean for today’s youth?

In short, it means that everything they do has the potential to follow them around for the rest of their lives. Although they may change, grow, and mature as they transition into adulthood, prospective employers will be able to judge them based on who they were as teens. This issue has already caused trouble for many young people.

A recent survey found that 1 in 10 young people were rejected for a job because of something they posted on social media. As these communication platforms become more pervasive and easily accessible, it’s reasonable to expect that these numbers may continue to rise. This is an alarming thought to any parent.

What teens post online could also affect their college prospects. Scott Fitch, the basketball coach at Fairport High School, realized this about three years ago when one of his players lost the chance at a college scholarship. When the concerned coach asked why, he was told that one of the student’s tweets did not represent the university.

The tweet in question was not criminal or drug-related in any way. It was just a teen using foul language and not thinking before posting. Since then, Fitch has dedicated himself to teaching students and parents about social media. As Brandon Chambers, an assistant men’s basketball coach at Marymount (Virginia) University, wisely tweeted, “Never let a 140 character tweet cost you a $140,000 scholarship.”

Father and son on laptop

So what can parents do to help their children create smart social media habits? Education is the key to success here. First, teach yourself everything you can about social media. Know which platforms your children are using, and understand how each of them work.

Then, educate your children about the dangers of social media. Teach them to value privacy. Help them understand that how they present themselves today will affect who they become. Most importantly, make it an ongoing conversation.

There is no doubt that social media is changing the way children and teens will experience the world. In many ways, it can be daunting for parents to raise kids in such an environment. However, with knowledge and open communication, we can all navigate these choppy waters and sail into a bright future.

by Leslie Duncan Blake | posted | in Social Media

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