Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Palladio Group Web Design

Palladio Group is a midtown Memphis based collection of showrooms, galleries and studios that display artistic and creative decor. Their items of display range from fine art pieces to architectural reclamations. Working with them on their website design was particularly pleasing due to their love for visual aesthetics.

To see more of our work, visit our online portfolio

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Memphis Area Association of REALTORS Logo

Memphis Area Association of REALTORS came to us to design their centennial logo in celebration of their 100th anniversary. MAAR works with professionals, providing services and representation, as well as the general public, providing real estate information. Though Memphis is in their name, the scope of their business extends much further. In fact, they are Tennessee's largest local REALTOR organization. The counties they cover include Shelby, Tipton, Fayette, Hardin, Hardeman and McNair.

To see more of our work, visit our online portfolio

Monday, November 8, 2010

GTx Web Design

The website we designed for GTx is one that we are especially proud of. Being able to work with a company that is establishing new methods to fight cancer has been extremely rewarding. 

GTx describes themselves as "a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development, and commercialization of small molecules that selectively target hormone pathways to prevent and treat cancer, fracture and bone loss, and other serious medical conditions." 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fit Force

One of the most recent websites that we’ve designed is Fit Force is a company that develops workplace wellness programs. While their primary focus is on fitness, the services they offer are quite extensive. Educational tools, targeted programming for at risk employees, and program evaluations are examples of the tactics Fit Force utilizes to improve the health and well being of employees.

Several program options are available to choose from, or the budget conscience may prefer to go the A la Carte Services route.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why Your Company Needs Google AdWords

If you aren’t already using it, it’s probably time for your company to start thinking about Google AdWords. While the ads you can create with this are quite simple, they are also very effective. This is because, when set up correctly, your advertisements will be shown to people who are actively seeking what you are offering.

Now you can’t just create a campaign in a few minutes, leave it on autopilot and expect it to work, at least, not without being disappointed. Creating these Google ads takes time and research. You need to know which keywords that are relevant to your product or service are being searched. You need to know which keywords have high levels competition and which ones have low levels of competition. Then you have to sprinkle your carefully researched keywords throughout your ad while still effectively communicating your message and staying within the character limit Google provides.

Once this is complete, set your budget and launch your campaign. You can usually expect to get a good amount of impressions, clicks and hopefully calls. Unfortunately, this will not be the end of your campaign management process. Keyword trends change on a monthly basis. They actually change on an hourly basis, but it’s best to look at them over a period of a month to allow a broader view of trends. You will need to track how consumers searching habits change and alter your advertisements accordingly.

This can present itself as a major challenge to companies that don’t believe the time to accomplish this. Luckily, you can outsource this task to other companies, S2N Design included. This will save you the hassle, but still get you the results.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bathroom Advertising: Passes The Smell Test

Advertising in the bathroom, is it a smart idea? People are already bombarded with ads everywhere they turn. From television and radio to buses and billboards, no one can escape them. Still, bathroom advertising seems quite invasive. Surely, consumers would be upset.

Research has shown that may not be the case.

Consumers Respond Favorable To Advertisements In Restrooms
According to LifeTips people do not have unpleasant feelings towards advertising in public restrooms. In fact, 43% of those surveyed indicated that they felt bathroom advertising is a "very good" idea, while only 2% felt it was a "very poor" idea. The same study showed that 24% gave a more positive response to a brand as a result of advertising in public restrooms. 5% had a more negative response to a brand. This shows that the majority of people are not upset by bathroom advertising. It actually has a positive effect in most cases.

Consumers Remember Advertisements In Restrooms
Not only do most people respond favorably, but the engagement rate is very high. BrooWaha posted an article with some pretty amazing statistics. Out of everyone questioned, 84% were able to recall specific advertisements they had seen in the restroom, 92% were able to name the specific advertisers without prompting, and 88% remembered at least four selling points of the ads they saw. This proves that advertising placed in public restrooms are extremely effective at capturing people's attention. This is most likely because there is not much else competing for their attention.

Targeting Advertisements In Restrooms Is Easy
It should also be noted that bathroom advertising is also easily targeted. Obviously, one can separate genders quite easily, but one can also target based on income, age, and lifestyle by researching which demographics go to which restaurants, bars, or wherever.

For these reasons it seems that bathroom advertising is worth exploring. Any ads that don't bother people, capture attention, and produce favorable attitude changes are always a good idea.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Social Media Goals

eMarketer recently published an article explaining that most marketers are using their social media platforms as a way to gain brand awareness and customer loyalty. What most companies where not trying to do is bring in new customers. This is a sound emphasis for several reasons.

Social Media Is Long Term
Expecting to hop on Twitter or Facebook and get a bunch of prospective customers to seek you out for a purchase is dream. You have to take your time. Follow people and engage in conversation with them. Provide relevant and entertaining information. People will find your social media accounts for the content you produce on them, not the product or service you sell. Once you position yourself as an expert in your industry, people will start coming to you.

Social Media Is Not Hard Sell Friendly
As mentioned early, people come to your social media accounts for the content that you generate. What they are not looking for is a pitch. Constant sales pitches are a sure fire way to disengage your audience. The only way to get around this is to offer discounts. People do not mind finding coupons and offers on social media, but you will still need to balance it with interesting content. 

Social Media Gets You Seen
Everytime you tweet on Twitter or post on Facebook, your logo is shown. When people are consistently exposed to your logo and company name, they will remember it. If your content is good enough, people will share or retweet it. Often times, this will expose your logo and company name to people that would not see it otherwise. Of course, this means an increase in brand awareness.

Social Media Is Engaging
Social media gives you a great way to interact with customers. If you are doing business with another company, it provides an easy way for you to promote them and the things that they do well. An act such as that will be greatly appreciated. If you are doing business with individuals, you can see what complaints they have about you and change them. This will certainly help your customer loyalty.

But Will It Make Money?
It can, but your goal should be long term growth. Social Media will not send people running to your website to make a purchase. What it will do is expose you to new people and help you to retain the customers you already have. Eventually, one of the people who discovered you will be in need of a service you provide, or a customer you may have lost will be saved. New customers are always great and retaining customers is even better.   

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Are Print Newspapers Over?

Print newspapers are dead. At least, that's what everyone has been saying. It's not hard to see why they think that, either. Several newspapers have gone out of  business in the last few years, and the ones that are still around had to make some serious cutbacks. And really, who needs a paper? Twitter will make sure we're aware of the latest news, and blogs will give us all the details. Ad spending can simply switch to digital media. So, newspapers are over. It's pretty black and white, right? Let's take a closer look

-Why Print Newspapers Are Useless
According to Direct Marketing Newswire, a 3.5% decline in circulation is expected each year. This is a major hit. It seems that consumers feel that they have less need for print newspapers. In fact, digital sources are claiming 57% of the news consuming audience. This trend will probably continue. Does this mean that advertisers should take their money elsewhere?

-Why Print Newspapers Matter
According to NNNLP, while print newspaper circulation is declining, its influence is still very powerful. 82% of adults said they have taken an action as a result of a newspaper in the last 30 days. 82% also said that they have used a newspaper insert within the last 30 days. These are impressive figures. The vast majority of readers were compelled into action due to a newspaper. Certainly, marketers can use this to their advantage.

But wait. There's more.41% of adults say they use newspapers more than any other medium to view ads. This compares with 21% for internet and 8% for  TV. Even more surprising is that 77% of adults said that they would not remove advertising from their newspapers if the could. 64% said the same for Web sites and 48% for email. This means that while your audience may not be as large, it is more engaged.

There are other factors that make print newspapers appealing to advertisers. They are considered to be a credible source of information, unlike blogs, and ads are taken more seriously as a result. Also,the audience on average has a higher salary, which is never a bad thing (unless that's out of your target market). For these reasons, we don't believe that print newspapers are dead.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

How to: Engage Your Audience

Engaging your audience is essential if you have any hope of making a sale. People like to feel like they are cared for when they interact with a business. Here are a few ways to make sure you are connecting with, rather than talking to, your audience.

1. Talk in Their Language
It's very important that you speak to your audience in the language that they use everyday. People want to feel like you understand them. There is no better way to make them feel understood than to speak as they do. It also positions your brand as "one of them," which is great because people like to feel like they are buying from a friend rather than a salesman.

2. Connect With Them on Their Turf
Seek your audience out because you don't want to rely on them to seek you out. Find out which programs they watch, magazines they read, radio stations they listen to, and social media outlets the use. Once you've established where they are, go there. Put your message in front of their face. After all, you do want to make this as easy for them as possible.

3. Show, Don't Tell, Your Benefits
If it all possible, demonstrate what your product or service provides to its consumers rather than describing it. While descriptions can sometimes do a wonderful job of explaining why a purchase is a good idea, it is often considered unappealing and is easily dismissed (who doesn't talk about how great their product is?). A demonstration, on the other hand, is not so easily ignored. Think of the old Timex "takes a licking and keeps on ticking" commercials.While the tagline is catchy, it was the fact that it showed various attempts to destroy the watch thwarted that made it such a successful campaign.

4. Help Don't Sell
People do not like to be persuaded, they like to be helped. Don't talk about how great your product or company is, talk about how much better you can make your audience's lives. They will appreciate this. Though people don't like to advertised to, they do like to receive information. It's our job to blur the line between them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How to: Get Started on Twitter

If you're just getting started on Twitter, it can be very confusing and overwhelming. You've got things to say and websites to link to, but how do you get followers so that someone actually reads what you're putting out there? Here are some tips:

1. Follow the accounts on this list
Almost everyone that appears on the list will follow you back. You might be thinking that this will just pad your follower numbers without providing you with an audience that is genuinely interested in your topic. You're absolutely right. Fortunately, I'm not just having you increase your followers for nothing. It makes a big difference to a prospective customer whether you have 100 or 10,000 followers on Twitter. More followers looks like your company is a well respected authority in your particular industry. 

2. Follow related accounts
If you sell cars, follow accounts that talk about new cars, new car technologies, and industry trends. If they notice that one of their followers is tweeting information that would be relevant to them, they will most likely follow back. This way you can gain more followers while working on building an audience that cares about what you have to say.

3. Follow your target audience
Now that you have a decent base of followers, seek out your target audience. This is easiest to accomplish when the target audience is based in a certain region. When this occurs, you can find accounts for newspapers and sports teams in that area. Look at the list of people that are following those accounts and follow them. Again, they will most likely follow you back.

4.Retweet other people
Whenever you see a tweet or a link to an article that you find interesting, retweet it. This helps you to form relationships and engage your audience. Often it will result in a retweet or a suggestion from the person you retweeted to their followers to follow you. Both of those can result in more followers for you. Do not, however, hit the retweet button below their tweet. If you do this, your company logo and name will be replaced by theirs. Instead, copy and past their tweet and before it write RT @whomever.

5. Use hashtags
Hashtags are words or phrases that are put after a "#." They become hyperlinks. When you use these, it makes your tweets, and by extension you, easier to find. Make sure they relate to the article or tweet. For example, on our Twitter page we talk about marketing, social media, advertising and graphic design, so some of the hashtags you will find include #marketing, #socialmedia, #advertising and #graphicdesign.

Other than that, the biggest thing is to be patient. It takes time for people to notice you, it takes time to get people to care and it takes a lot of time before it will affect your sales.

Friday, September 3, 2010

What Ideals Does Your Company Advertise?

Norman Douglas, a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame, once said, "You can tell the ideals of a nation by its advertisements." We agree with this sentiment. By noticing the advertising that is shown in any given country, you really begin to understand what its residents value. It could be sex, fame, money, power, self-fulfillment, charity, or multiculturalism. Whatever is considered an ideal within a country will either be promoted or appealed to through advertisements.

The same is true for your company. Everything you put in front of consumers says something about your business. You could be saying that your company believes in great value rather than low price or that your company believes a good night includes football, girls in bikinis, and lowered inhibitions. We aren't saying that one value is better than any other, but all values have the possibility of resonating  with certain people, while isolating others.

The point is that you must be careful. Your promotions are your image, and your image is everything.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

5 Twitter Accounts You Should Be Following

Twitter has become an avenue through which incredibly valuable content can be obtained. Unfortunately, it is also filled with accounts that have little, if anything, of value to offer. These are five accounts, and their Twitter bios, that we feel provide relevant and helpful information on small business issues such as, social media, blogging, and marketing.

Real Name: Susan Solovic
Bio: "CEO and co-founder of, small business expert, media personality, author and attorney."

Real Name: Braden Kelley
Bio: "Author, speaker, insights professional, and customer relationship engineer."

Real Name: The Small Company Blog
Bio: "Dozens of 100% Original Articles Relating to Small Company Marketing and Internet Marketing, Blogging, SEO, SEM, Social Networking, HR Strategy, and more."

Real Name: Brian Rice
Bio: "Experienced marketing professional interested in social media, SEO, SEM, and branding. Views are mine and mine along."

Real Name: Dan Ross
Bio: "I tweet about social media, internet marketing & self development with an SMB focus. I have an MBA from Rice & 10+ years working with executives."

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

5 Blogs You Need To Follow

Blogs are popping up left and right these days, but with so many to choose from, it can be hard to tell which ones have information that will be valuable to you. To make things easier, here are five blogs that provide excellent content that will be useful to business owners, social media gurus, and bloggers.

Here they are in no particular order:

This blog covers all topics related to promotion. New technologies, social media, and mobile advertising are just a few topics that are routinely covered by Big Promotions

Topics include finance, technology, innovation, management, small business, and global. This is an excellent resource for keeping up with current business trends. 

This advertising strategy blog covers everything from SEO to writing headlines. 

This blog focuses on the impact and importance of social media. It also covers current and emerging trends.

Mirna Bard is a strategy consultant who specializes in social media, SEO, and eMarketing. her blog focuses on tips that maximize the value you gain from your social media efforts.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Personalized E-mail Marketing

E-mail marketing often does not get enough attention from small businesses. While e-mails are easy for customers to ignore, they are more likely to open them than a letter.

The real benefit from e-mail marketing, however, is that it can be an extremely personalized message. Instead of aiming your professional marketing communication at a generalized version of your target audience, you can write directly to the person that will receive the message.

Writing directly to each individual has extremely powerful and positive results. When a consumer reads generalized copy, they are very aware of it. They know that they are trying to be persuaded, and they have their guard up. Copy that is meant specifically for them, however, makes them feel like they are just receiving information. It becomes less of a marketing tactic in their eyes and more of an opportunity to learn.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Simplicity in Strategy

Simplicity is one of the most powerful techniques you can use when marketing or advertising. Things that are simple are also easy, and when you're trying to inspire someone into an action, easy is good.

Consider a Web site. While your natural instincts may tell you to add a lot of elements and gadgets, this can often lead to confusion for the user. Since Web sites are now one of the main avenues consumers use to find product information, find contact information, and make a purchase, it's absolutely necessary to make sure that your Web site is easy to navigate and understand.

Logos provide yet another example of the positive power of simplicity. Logos are created to stick in the minds of consumers. The more complex, the more there is to memorize. This makes it much more likely that your logo will not be remembered.

In short, simplicity in marketing or advertising increases the chances that your company will be considered by a customer because it eliminates potential speed bumps on the road to a purchase.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Importance of Visual Communication

As you may be able to tell, considering we are putting time and effort towards creating and maintaining a company blog, we appreciate the power of words to effectively deliver a message. Graphics, however, hold a very special place in our hearts.

The use of imagery to communicate and persuade has a few distinct advantages that cannot be obtained through the use of the written word alone. While great writing can capture your imagination and paint a vivid picture in your mind's eye, it is ultimately you who has created that image. Sure, the writer gave you the boundaries. You also probably wouldn't have thought about the image in the first place had you not read what you did, but there is only so much detail that can be described through the use of colorful adjectives and eye-opening metaphors.

With images, however, the graphic designer knows exactly what the viewer will see. There's no guesswork involved because the image is right there to investigate, and if something seems ineffective or inappropriate, it can be changed.

Another advantage is that people tend to respond more to visuals. Would you want an advertisement for your business that consisted of nothing more than blocks of compelling and persuasive copy? Absolutely not. No one would take the time to look at it because of its lack of visual appeal. Without eyes to read it, the most effective copy in the world will do you no good.

These are just a couple of the unique advantages offered by design oriented work. While we could probably make a much longer list of benefits, it's not entirely necessary. Ultimately, design and copy must come together to produce something far more compelling and interesting than either could on their own.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Branding as Personality Traits

Branding is absolutely necessary for any business regardless of what it's selling. Most people seem to understand its importance, but they struggle when asked to define it.

Some might say it's the image, how people perceive the business relative to the competition. Others explain that it's the history, everything from the start up to where the company now stands. The truth is that it is both of these things, and so much more.

Branding encompasses your logo, website, history, price, availability, consumer perceptions and more. To keep things simple, think of branding as the effort put forth that attempts to control your brand's "personality."

It often helps to think of your brand as a person. Should it be the sexy and exclusive model that so many fashion companies strive for, or should it be the sturdy and reliable friend, like some of the less expensive car companies try to be.

Whichever personality trait you choose to ascribe to your brand, and their are far more than the two examples we chose to provide, it's important that you are proactive in making that vision a reality. After all, if you don't decide your brand's personality, someone else will.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Repositioning the Advertising Industry.

It's often been said that advertisers create a need within a consumer, but that isn't exactly how it works. In truth, everyone shares the same basic needs, such as food, shelter, sense of belonging, etc:.. Advertisers cannot create these needs, nor do they have to.

Ralph Starr Butler, a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame, once said, "Advertising promotes that divine discontent which makes people strive to improve their economic status." We're not sure it could be stated any better.

The challenge that advertisers must face is how to awaken those needs that already exist within potential customers. Doing this brings a sense of separation in each consumer between his or her desired and actual states. Then, advertisers must show how a particular product or service is the perfect solution. This is the process that Butler referred to as "promoting that divine discontent."

In this way, advertisers do not create needs. They just remind you that they're there and offer a solution.