23May

Saver’s Remorse?

billboardUp

I was driving through Hollywood this past weekend, picking up some office furniture for the studio (we’re growing!), and came across a billboard from Chase Bank. The gist of the billboard was “There’s No Such Thing As Saver’s Remorse”. That’s wrong.

I’m not saying saving is always bad. If you’re talking about saving up for something in particular- a new home, a car, an awesome vacation- that’s great! It’s important to have goals and work towards them.

But I didn’t detect that vibe in the billboard. The way the billboard read was “Hey, we know you’re scared. So, pull back and put your money in our bank instead of getting out there and making your dreams come true”. In other words, play it safe. I read that billboard as a self-serving message of fear, and that’s exactly the wrong message to put out into the world.

In the past couple of years, a lot of companies have Read More »

22May

Vlog Episode 4: Evolve!

This is the companion piece to our recent Superhero Series post, in which Patrick pontificates upon the secret to everlasting joy and big bank account balances, if you’re a website design company. Enjoy!

21May

Social Media Marketing Friday

Happy Friday to you! MK here, and I’ve scoured the net this week and gathered some of the trending and informative social media news. Enjoy the goodness!

So Facebook is in the news, yet again, over privacy issues. Here’s the thing….this isn’t like Orwell’s 1984 where they install television’s that look at you…YOU put the content on the site. There are arguments, on both sides of this issue. There’s a quote in the article, “People are addicted to Facebook and while 60% ‘consider’ deleting their account, maybe 1/1000 of that will actually do so.” That speaks volumes, and as a social media guru, I’m not very worried about people quitting Facebook or any other social network. This may be a warning call, however, to rethink WHAT you put up as far as pictures and stories, and how you work your own personal privacy settings.  Make good choices, people. And enjoy.

Well Google rules even more for the next 48 hours! Happy 30th birthday to Pacman and yay to Google as make their first “Google Doogle” that allows users to play Pacman on the homepage for the next two days. Going back in time is something I always think about, and here is a tiny slice of the 80’s for me. I dig that. You should, too.

More on Google, they’re just everywhere this week. They’re starting a TV service. I just hope they show every season of Maude on there so I can catch up. I’m tired of Hulu only having clips or certain episodes of my fav sitcoms. Google’s everywhere!

And in more amusing news, Adam Curry puts himself as the PodFather by “sneaking” into Wikipedia to edit the podcasting entry. There’s no doubt he did certainly push podcasting into the mainstream, but was he the only one?

(Editor’s note: Adam Curry sent us a congratulations email when we beat him to the punch with the first ever rock concert on the web, back in 1993. Thanks, Adam! We love you, too!)

That’s it for this edition of Social Media Marketing Friday- enjoy, and have a great weekend!

6May

Superhero Client Relations: Evolve!

orangesuperhero1

OK, show of hands- how many of you think of your company as a “website design company”? This article is for those of you who raised your hands. You need to evolve. It won’t be easy, it’ll cost time and money and mean you’ll have to start looking at your business completely differently. But if you don’t evolve, you’ll die.

Here’s the thing: website design is a commodity. That means you’ll find yourself chasing smaller and smaller projects for clients who often rightfully see your company as an easily replaced cog in their marketing machine. Sure, you can point to how your websites look better than the competition, and defend your business to the ends of the earth, but it won’t do you any good. Nobody cares.

Depressed? Don’t be. I’m here to help you evolve how you look at your website design business. Here’s a few tips Read More »

3May

Vlog Episode 3: on MODx CMS

Here’s Episode 3 of our vlog, a discussion about MODx with Ryan Thrash and Jeff Whitfield in Dallas, Texas. MODx is a Content Management Platform, and we use it as the CMS (Content Management System) for most of our client’s websites. Sure, this episode’s a bit more geeky than usual, but we love how MODx makes our website design work sing, and our clients love how easy it is for them to update and maintain their own websites. Yay MODx!

As usual, this episode was shot, edited, and posted on an iPhone 3Gs. ‘Cause we can.

3May

Survive and Thrive Series: On Budget Vampires

vampire

I’ve spent a lot of time talking with digital and interactive agencies about how it’s important to provide superhero quality service to your clients. After all, clients are the lifeblood of any agency. Now it’s time to talk about protecting that precious lifeblood of your agency from the time sucking vampires out there. That’s right, it’s time for a new series of articles. This one’s called Survive and Thrive, and it’s dedicated to all our brother and sister digital and interactive agencies out there. Onward!

One thing every biz dev, sales, or agency exec needs to learn early on is that you only have a certain amount of time available every day. Your time is precious, so you have to prequalify and screen every lead you get. Your time is best spent working with clients who can afford, and intend, to pay you a fair price. You need to know what your prospective client has budgeted for the project.

That’s right: you need to figure out what the budget is, upfront, before you do anything for them. If someone balks at giving you at least a budget range, it means they don’t have a budget, they’re not serious, and they’ll suck all the blood they can get out of you. Don’t play the nice guy, don’t figure that once they know you they’ll be more likely to pay you a fair price for your services. Don’t pass go, don’t collect $200, and don’t spend a second thinking about their project unless you know, upfront, that they have a reasonable budget for their project. I know, it sounds extreme and a little pushy, but in 17 years in business I’ve never seen a situation work out if you’re not clear on the budget from the beginning. So get some steel in your spine, and demand Read More »

26Apr

Superhero Series: Be Precise!

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The best source of new clients for your digital/interactive agency, or any business, is positive word of mouth from your current clients. One sure way to make sure you don’t get good word of mouth from those clients is to approach your project budgeting and estimates without care.

Too many web design and digital marketing firms don’t take the time to really estimate their costs and the scope of the project, so they consistently underbid on jobs. Sure, this might get you the initial nod from a client, if they’re only purchasing services based on price, but it always- every time!- leads to serious problems down the line.

It’s a very dangerous game, you’re playing, when you underestimate things.You see, clients don’t like Read More »

26Apr

New Website Design: Go Body

gobodyLaunch

We’re happy to announce we’ve launched the newly redesigned Go Body website. This is the phase one launch of our new nutritional beverage client’s website, and it includes the bones to let us grow the site for them over time, as Go Body comes to a store near you.

The website follows web standards, of course, and it’s meant as a slightly tongue-in-cheek introduction to the drink, as well as a nutritional information source. The website features a JQuery driven Who Drinks Go Body section that will grow to include slideshows and video of Go Body users, and right now we’re featuring Boston Marathoner Mark Kramer and a North Carolina college student named Kelsey. We’ll be adding a kickboxer from Austin and more Go Body users soon!

23Apr

Social Media Marketing Friday: Welcome To Our Vlog

Yo, MK here! In the “practice what you preach” tradition, we’re proud to announce our new company vlog. What’s a vlog? Well, it’s a blog except it’s done in video. Vlogs are about capturing a moment, and are informal, casual, and personal. The idea behind a vlog is to forge a personal connection between you and your audience.

We decided the best vlogs capture a sense of immediacy, without fancy graphics or soundtracks. So, that’s what we’re going for with our vlog. In fact,we made a decision that absolutely everything in our vlog was to be conceived, shot, and edited within an iPhone 3Gs. Seriously- no desktop computer or laptop touched these episodes. We’re keeping it real, people.

Here’s episodes one and two. Stay tuned here or join our Facebook page for more!

Episode 2, Go Body Launch and Web Standards

Episode 1, On Being Prepared

13Apr

Superhero Client Relations: On Being Reliable

orangesuperhero1

Last week we got a call from a small local company. They’d hired a web designer who took their money, started the job, and then blew them off. This put the company in a real bind- they needed to have their website live and running before a major show. It’s kind of funny/strange to me that one of the biggest no-brainers around needs to be stated sometimes, but here it is: if you take on a job, be reliable.

It’s probably fair to say that about a third of the web design projects we get come from clients who are frustrated at a previous website design agency’s unreliability. Now, sure, a few of those situations are probably really the client’s fault. But a lot of the time, especially with freelancers, things get busy and clients fall between the cracks, causing a bad taste Read More »

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