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Optimism Is The Key

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”– Winston Churchill

Fill your life with optimism. Optimism will keep you going and make life more enjoyable. This doesn’t mean everything that happens is good. It’s more about keeping the big picture in mind, having faith that good things will happen. And recognizing that many good things are happening right now.

We have to ignore the setbacks and keep moving forward, expecting that good thing will happen. Counting our losses and obsessing over why certain things happen will prevent us from seeing good things that are right under our nose.

We’re capable of creating a positive state of mind for ourselves. But we have to stay away from negative influences. When we’re around other people we are entering their world — their perception of reality. That perception may be quite different from our own.

We have no choice but to be optimistic. The alternative offers us no advantage. Pessimism is not a viable option. There’s plenty of reason to be pessimistic. But there’s also plenty of reason to be optimistic. Being optimistic starts with appreciating what you have. Everyone has something to be grateful for.

P.S. I’m not talking about down-side risk. It’s important to consider the potential downside to decisions we make. But our overall outlook on life should be optimistic.

By Dan Pederse

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Google Launches Customer Reviews

Google tells retailers the Trusted Stores program is shutting down. The new program, Google Customer Reviews, will be managed by Google Merchant Center.

Last month, we reported that Google would be shutting down Google Trusted Stores, its six-year-old ratings and certification program, and replacing it with Google Customer Reviews. That time has come. Google announced the transition in a blog post-Monday.

About Google Customer Reviews

The new, leaner program picks up the seller rating piece of the Google Trusted Stores program only. It is available through Google Merchant Center, the hub for advertisers’ product feeds used to power shopping ads.

The Google Customer Reviews program solicits and collects ratings and feedback from customers through Google surveys on behalf of advertisers. Advertisers place the code that triggers a survey opt-in after a customer completes a transaction. The surveys are emailed to customers with questions about the shopping experience. Those reviews will count toward a merchant’s seller rating, aggregated ratings across a number of review sources.

The new Google Customer Reviews badge.

Participating merchants have the option of displaying the Google Customer Reviews badge on their sites showing the aggregate seller rating if enough are available.

The consumer protection piece of the Trusted Stores program has been retired. The Trusted Stores icon is no longer appearing in shopping ads, and former Trusted Stores participating sites now have the Google Customer Ratings badges showing in their footers.

Last August, Google raised the minimum number of reviews needed for seller rating stars to display in shopping and text ads from 30 to 150 in the past 12 months.

How to get started

Merchants that were already in the Trusted Stores program have been migrated automatically.

New merchants can access Google Customer Reviews through Merchant Center. Click the three-dot menu option in the upper right-hand corner of the dashboard and select “Merchant Center Programs.” There you’ll find the new option for Google Customer Reviews. Once you agree to the terms, you’ll get the survey opt-in code to add to your site, along with the optional badge code.

Google Customer Reviews is available in 23 countries, including the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australia.

By Ginny Marv

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Steps To Speed Up Your Website

There is hardly a reason that will keep users from waiting a few seconds more for a site that loads too slowly. It is more likely they will move on to another site. In the worst possible scenario, it will happen in the middle of making an online purchase. Although optimizing the speed of your website may sound easy, you definitely need to do some research before you start making any improvements on your website. Take a look at the following suggestions as for the most effective steps to launch your site into the fast track.

Enable Caching

Storing data in temporary storage area speeds up a site’s performance as a lot of content is already prepared and doesn’t have to be processed every time it needs to be displayed. Ask your hosting provider about caching options.

Limit The Number of Plugins

Plugins are useful, but having too many of them will slow your site, create security issues and often cause crashes and other technical issues. In order to measure server performance, try disabling plugins one at a time to pinpoint those that slow your site speed.

Use a Content Delivery Network

Known as CDN, it is a worldwide network of servers that enables you to duplicate and store your site’s static files like CSS, JavaScript, images, documents, videos, etc. In this way, this content is delivered to visitors from a server closer to their physical location.

Specify Image Dimensions

As your browser begins to render the page before images are loaded, specifying their dimensions will help it to wrap around non-replicable elements. You can do that in <img> elements, using height and width tags specifications.

Optimize images

Users on slow connections will appreciate if you keep image size to a minimum. Always save in JPEG format. A Ctrl+Shift+Alt+S shortcut saves an optimized image in Adobe Photoshop, and if you use WordPress, install the WP Smush.it image optimization plugin.

Minify HTLM, JavaScript, and CSS

Minifying means reducing the size of CSS and JavaScript text files by removing comments, extra spaces, breaks, and block delimiters from the code to make it lighter. WordPress plugins like WP Super Minify and Better WordPress Minify will do that automatically.

Specify a character set

Another way to speed up your site’s performance is to specify a character set in HTTP headers. Simply add this piece of code into your header:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">

If you are sure about the character set, it’s recommended that you write it instead of using PHP functions.  

Find a Fast Hosting Company

Before you even start thinking about improving your site’s performance, you need to have a reputable company with reliable hardware to host your website. Hosting packages offered by most companies start with affordable shared hosting, and the prices increase for upgraded offers, such as for virtual servers, cloud sites, and dedicated servers.

Clean Your Database

Using WordPress has one downside – your database can quickly get very cluttered because of the saved drafts, post revisions, deactivated plugins, etc. The remedy comes in the form of a terrific plugin called WP-Optimize that regularly deletes all the stuff that clogs up your database.  

CSS at The Top, JavaScript at The Bottom

Always makes sure that your CSS is placed closer to the top of your page as browsers render the CSS file before rendering the page. In the same way, JavaScript needs to be close to the bottom since it prevents browsers from parsing after the tag before it is loaded and complete.    

With each day, user expectations grow and their patience decreases. If we remember that Google has warned that the speed of a site will affect its ranking in the results, paying attention to site speed is equally important as the quality of content it displays.

Dan Radak is a marketing professional with eleven years of experience. He is currently working with a number of companies in the field of digital marketing, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies. He is also a coauthor on several technology websites and a regular contributor to Technivorz.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Why Having A Website Is Important

Like many small to medium business owners, you may believe there’s little to be gained from investing in a professional website. Such an important milestone is often overlooked due to the upfront costs or time needed to create your own.

Take a look at our top 3 reasons why it’s essential to get yourself a cracking website in time for the New Year.

Credibility

Now more than ever people associate a strong web presence with a credible business. For example, if you’re a plumber with nowhere online to shout about all the great work you’ve done, people are less likely to choose you over someone with a site full of testimonials, projects, and contact details. Even better, having an online presence opens you up to a much larger audience. Instead of relying on word of mouth your website can be found by people using search engines to find a specific industry or company.

A website saves you money

If you weigh up the costs associated with advertising in the local paper or investing in large banners or billboards, you will see how getting a professional new website can actually be a more affordable option. Many people turn straight to the web to find a company or service instead of flipping through to the last page in a newspaper.

Create a personality

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of getting yourself online is the ability to create your own brand identity. With the words on your website, you can experiment with your company’s tone of voice. Are you formal, informal, chatty, humorous or professional? By giving visitors an immediate impression of who you are and what you do, you’re more likely to draw in the type of demographic you want.

If you’re ready to give your business a strong online presence, take a look at our Website Design service and see what our Studio can do for you. (734-224-9696)

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Can’t switch off after work? Restless? Anxious?

Can’t switch off after work? Restless? Anxious? Thoughts endlessly going round your mind? Heart racing? Grumpy with your family for no particular reason? Maybe it is time to relax!

1. Make Time

Relaxation may seem like an indulgence, almost a taboo in our fast-paced 24/7 society when in reality it should be part of a healthy lifestyle. Relaxation is just as important as eating healthily, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep, especially when you are running a business as well as trying to have a family and social life. So do pencil in some time for relaxation and keep that time free from commitments.

2. Get Physical

When we are under pressure, our body produces stress hormones, mainly adrenaline, and cortisol. Stress hormones are designed to help you deal with danger by running away or fighting. That is why physical activity is the best way to get rid of them and feel more at ease again. It does not really matter what you do: Walking, running, cycling, swimming, yoga, playing football or tennis, any exercise has a relaxing effect.

3. Get Out

If exercise is beneficial, then exercising or simply going for a leisurely walk outside is even better. Spending time in a natural environment can lift the mood and clear the mind, a walk before an exam can help recall learned material. It does not have to be the great outdoors, even small natural spaces in urban settings can increase happiness.

4. Be Creative

Whether it is composing or carpentry, painting or playing the piano, knitting or writing poetry, being creative has a relaxing effect. This is probably because you have to concentrate on what you are doing and because it feels good to be absorbed in an activity you are enjoying.

5. Learn Relaxation Techniques

The ultimate way to relax must be to do nothing. Some people may find this quite difficult. This is where relaxation techniques come in. Relaxation techniques are routines, which induce a relaxed state of mind. The main ones are meditation, breathing techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training and mindfulness exercises.

By SME
Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Attracting Customers

Attracting customers is one of the top challenges for startup businesses, especially if you do not have any marketing background yourself. However, the principles of marketing are common sense and can get you a long way without excessive expenditure.

1. Know Yourself

Time spent on working out what makes your product or service special (its unique selling proposition) is time well spent because it helps you differentiate yourself from the competition. Clarifying your mission and values will provide you with a framework for positioning your business.

2. Know your Customers

Who is supposed to buy your product or service? Be clear about who you want to sell to. Even if your service or product theoretically could be of interest to almost everybody, pick a customer segment and start marketing to it. Once you have decided on a market segment, it will be easier to decide how to reach potential customers and which channels to focus on.

3. Set a Budget

Making a marketing plan and allocating a fixed budget can help you keep an eye on costs. It is easy to overspend; having a budget will help you focus your mind and your marketing activities. Beware of advertising scams: Unscrupulous fraudsters systematically target new businesses. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t any good at all. Don’t commit to anything over the telephone, and don’t be shy to say “no thank you”.

4. Care for Contacts

Referrals and word-of-mouth are a fantastic way to get new customers. Think about who you know who could help endorse your business. Ask for testimonials, referrals, and recommendations.

5. Be Visible

A website is a must for any new business, but it can be simple and inexpensive. The three most important elements are your contact details, a compelling offer, and an attractive design. The same applies to any other promotional material such as leaflets, flyers, and posters.

By SME
Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Boom. Foursquare for the win.

After Years of Challenges, Foursquare Has Found its Purpose -- and Profits

Foursquare had always thought of itself as an app for consumers, but this treasure trove suggested something else to Glueck: The company needed to think of itself as a location data company. Enormous companies like Yahoo and Pinterest were using it a billion times a year; for example, when you pin a photo in Pinterest and tag its location, that’s using Foursquare’s data.

In mid-2014, it split its consumer apps in two -- Swarm became the check-in app, and Foursquare City Guide recommended activities based on user interests. Three of the top five hedge funds are using Foursquare data to give them an investing edge. More than one million users have agreed to leave location sharing on all the time so Foursquare can track and analyze their movements; through a partnership with Nielsen, that data is then being connected to consumers' purchasing data, so that marketers can understand how ads people see directly relate to purchases they make. Glueck sought inspiration for how to evolve the company’s culture, and referred to Good to Great, a book by Jim Collins about how 11 companies shook off mediocrity to become market leaders. Foursquare’s core as a data company was always there, just waiting for the right technology to make it possible. Glueck had been making the rounds for less than a year, seeding the market with all kinds of predictions based on his company’s data -- how many new iPhones Apple would sell, or how well McDonald’s all-day breakfast launch was going. Foursquare had reinvented itself as a location intelligence company for business, but it was in the painstaking process of shaking off its image as a forgotten consumer app.

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

Keep on keeping on

"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop." - Confucius

Keep on keeping on! Go the distance. It isn’t over until I win. However you want to word it, you keep moving in the direction of your goal. Some goals come easily. Others take weeks, years, even a lifetime (or more). Don’t stop. Don’t let any setback, no matter how trivial or how severe, stop you.

If you find a mountain in your way, go over it or around it. If you find a ravine in your way, build a bridge or climb down & back out. You might not make much forward progress during the time you are surmounting your obstacle, but you are still moving towards the goal.

 

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

What exactly does that ‘R’ in ROI mean?

Defining return on investment is as easy as subtracting dollars spent from net profit. If only it was that simple to measure social media ROI.

Calculating social impact on current and potential customers is kind of like trying to figure out if you’re having any influence on the behavior of your teenagers. You’re pretty sure they know you exist because they’ve liked you at one time or another and you see them around occasionally, but they don’t seem to be hearing you, so you find yourself always looking for new ways to deliver important messages. And just when you’ve given up and don’t expect any change in their behavior, they show up and surprise you—sometimes months or even years later.

In these days of constantly changing platform algorithms and ever-shrinking organic reach, getting a grip on the value of your social media efforts—especially if you’re not paying to play—can be frustrating. A recent Manta survey found that small business owners are evenly split on their willingness to spend dollars to promote their business on social media. And among those who do invest, nearly 60 percent report no return.

Those numbers raise a couple of questions. What exactly does that ‘R’ in ROI mean? Is it relationship? Revenue? Return? How do you define social media ROI? What are the goals you want to measure, and how do you measure them?

Defining the ‘R’

Many people mistake the ‘R’ in ROI for revenue, and return can come in a lot of different forms. I would look at it in terms of what matters to your business, what are you looking to accomplish? Not what do you want social media to do for you, but at the end of the day, what are you hoping to achieve, what does success look like?”

Once you’ve pondered and answered those questions, you can begin to look at social media to achieve goals and measure something that actually matters to your organization. Is your focus on pushing a product or improving a current product? Is it customer service? Is it increased media placement? Is it lead generation? Is it building community and connecting with current customers? Or is it the Holy Grail, acquiring new customers?

Objectives-based returns

Manta’s survey asked small business owners to define their primary goal for using social media. Nearly 37 percent identified acquiring and engaging new customers as their top aim, followed by driving awareness and marketing (17 percent) and gaining lead generations/referrals (15 percent). Only eight percent said building community was paramount.

Those results aren’t surprising, but they are perhaps a bit out of order because content isn’t a linear path to conversion. I actually think social media is better for maintaining or increasing touch points with current customers or people who are already in your circle versus acquiring new customers. Truthfully, especially for small businesses, your next wave of customers is going to come from people who are already connected to your current customers. That’s word-of-mouth 101.

Social media is the digital platform for word-of-mouth marketing. Set your objective, find out which platforms your current customers prefer (ask, research the social media habits of your desired demographic), what they’re talking about, who they’re talking to and why.

A great posture to have is to treat it like a community. The term target audience is used a lot, and to us, it is the wrong term because we think it makes it seem like the brand is onstage and entertaining and sending information out to influence the audience. And it’s more complicated than that with social media. We think the posture should be more like you’re sitting in the audience in the seat next to them, and talking with them and learning from them and creating rapport and inviting them to connect with you and do business with you.

Successful social media engagement that eventually leads to conversion is active, planned and ongoing. Listen and respond rather than sit back and observe passive one-way conversations. Here is a story about a client in growth mode seeking a younger restaurant clientele. His agency suggested adding a platform to their already successful Facebook efforts, and they suspected Twitter was the right choice but did a test to confirm. They ran a Facebook contest and as part of the entry form asked entrants what other platforms they used most often. Twitter was the overwhelming answer, so the next step was a platform search for brand mentions that resulted in a find of hundreds of tweets a week. We basically said, this is like people picking up the phone and calling your customer service and you not picking up the phone.

Measuring return

So you’ve planned, connected and shared your stories—now what? Social ROI calculators are easy to find, but may not account for the metrics necessary to set the stage for your particular social objectives. We suggest tracking a handful of performance metrics, specifically click-through rates (Facebook). And for content, track repins, retweets and shares. Use Web analytics to look at unique visitors from social and their time on your site. The ultimate goal is to have someone else saying this piece of content is so good that I’m going to take the time, and put my social reputation on the line for putting this content in front of my audience.”

Those non-linear conversions that happen because you’ve created a social customer relationship over time aren’t easy to track, but your objective planning will include campaigns—coupons, promo codes, contests that you can follow and measure in dollar-for-dollar return. And then you can account for all three ‘R’s—relationship, return, and revenue.

To learn more about social media marketing and paid social media advertising please contact us to see if it should be a part of your marketing strategy.

By Manta
Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

It’s Always Your Fault

Wouldn’t it be great if everything always went smoothly in your business and nothing ever went wrong? But there always is something. A supplier sends you the wrong item. A member of staff orders the wrong item. Your team is fighting amongst themselves. A staff member never turns up on time. Customers walk away without buying anything. The computer system breaks down in your busiest period. Your warehouse gets struck by lightning and burns down.

I’m sure you can think of one hundred other things that can go wrong in your business, and while it is tempting to blame someone else for all the problems (in the last case, God!), in fact, it’s always your fault.

So I suspect they knew they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) compete on price. The letter was just ticking a marketing box. The thing is, they had no points of difference. They are one of the biggest suppliers in the state, so are probably relying on customer inertia combined with higher margins, and so probably won’t do anything until there is a significant erosion of their customer base. And then it will be too late.

What points of difference are you using to defend your prices?

Let’s look at some of the problems listed above.

The supplier has sent you the wrong item. Chances are, this is not the first time it’s happened, it’s just that this time, you had no spares. What process do you have in place to ensure that the supplier checks the item before it leaves their facility? If they refuse to cooperate, why are you still using them? Because they are cheap? If you tolerate this more than once, it’s your fault.

A member of staff orders the wrong item. Do you have a process to check that the correct item is ordered? If you have, has the staff member been properly trained? If they have, do you regularly give your staff structured feedback or have an incentive scheme that encourages quality? If not, it’s your fault. If the staff member won’t follow instructions, why are they still employed? It’s your fault.

Your team is fighting amongst themselves. How long have you tolerated this? Have you sat down with individual team members to isolate the problem? Have you provided team training? Are you allowing this to continue? If so, it’s your fault.

A staff member never turns up on time. How long have you tolerated this? Have they been counseled? Why has there been no improvement? Have you put in place a performance improvement plan with the individual? If not, it’s your fault. If you have, why do they still have a job?

Customers walk away without buying anything. Have staff been trained to engage customers? Have they been given sales training? Are staff following their training? Have you given them incentives? If not, it’s your fault.

The computer system breaks down in your busiest period. Have you engaged an IT firm to ensure that the computer system is properly maintained with regular backups? Do you have a contract with guaranteed uptime performance? Do you have contingencies in place in the event of a failure during critical times? If not, it’s your fault.

Your warehouse gets struck by lightning and burns down. Ok ok, it’s not your fault that your warehouse was struck by lightning, but did you have fire suppression systems in the warehouse? Where they regularly inspected? Did you have adequate insurance? Did you have a contingency plan for such a catastrophe? If not, it’s your fault.

When you point your finger at someone else, there are three pointing back to you. There are two rules for business owners:

1. It’s always your fault.
2. If it’s someone else’s fault, see Rule #1.

No one cares as much about your business as you do. No one else is going to look at all the potential problems and come up with sustainable solutions. If you don’t have the answers, it’s up to you to find someone who does. Otherwise, it’s all your fault.

May You Business Be - As You Plan It!

Fivenson Studios is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, our graphic design team specializes in logo and web page design, as well as marketing campaigns for social and print media. From flyers and brochures to targeted landing pages, we aim to bring your company into the spotlight and reach a greater range of potential customers.

Fivenson Studios: Michigan's #1 Graphic Design, Web Design, & Digital Advertising Agency 

Let's Get Social | http://fivensonstudios.com | (734) 224-9696 | Info@FivensonStudios.Com

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Lets get social. We would love to meet you! We Are Currently Open Monday-Sunday 8am-11pm Christopher@FivensonStudios.Com

Name: Christopher
Phone: (734) 224-9696
Address: 1214 S. University Ave Unit 4075 Ann Arbor, MI 48104

734-224-9696