Five Tips for Better Results with Email Marketing

March 12th, 2014

iStock_000016389299SmallIt’s a jungle out there in the world of email marketing. Creating an email that will make it through spam filters is a challenging trek and getting your customers to open your email can be as difficult as finding a rare rainforest bird. Here are several ways we’ve found to improve email marketing success.

1. Use a reputable email service provider that keeps up with email technology and trends.

There are lots of companies who offer email marketing. Many haven’t kept their services updated to avoid the spam trap.  Current players such as iContact, Campaign Monitor and Constant Contact get good marks for easy interface and avoiding spam. Check out this website for a very thorough side-by-side review of various services.  Also, don’t send a mass email from your work email address.

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Twitter Can Keep People Involved, Especially with Visual Content

March 3rd, 2014

How can Twitter help you further your marketing goals? Everyone’s talking about it! Ellen DeGeneres’s selfie with the group of movie stars around her has been retweeted over 2.5 million times already, in less than a day. And that’s what the Academy Awards sees as the use of Twitter. It’s a way to get lots of attention fast. Twitter is now the way to get people to participate with TV at an immediate pace. The whole thing is based on the visual content; this time it’s the selfie!ellen-oscar-selfie3

When we’ve talked about the uses of Twitter, the main point has been that it’s a specific tool. If something very news-oriented is going on, whether it’s the Olympics or the Oscars or some famous person caught in an embarrassing situation, Twitter is the vehicle that people are using to get their thoughts out. And TV has figured out how it can benefit them. TV advertisers have, also.

One of the big uses of Twitter has been the ease of finding things via #hashtags. Twitter has always been good if you are famous and you want people to stay involved with you on a minute by minute basis. TV networks have realized that this can work for them by keeping people emotionally involved with their show.

Twitter has accommodated this need by making it possible to tweet photos as well as links (which it has always been able to do). Now with photos, advertisers and TV shows can get a visual marker out there. In the case of Ellen DeGeneres, her picture is exploding through the world of Twitter.

So, the question is– how can you use Twitter to further your marketing goals?

How do you get your company or product in the media?

February 10th, 2014


How do you get your company or product media coverage? That was the number one marketing challenge causing our readers to scratch their heads, according to last month’s informal poll. This is a topic we love to discuss and help our clients succeed at, and here are a few of our previous posts on the subject.

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Connecting the dots for media connections

January 17th, 2014

HARO_logoPR involves strategy, research, media connections and timing, as well as having the right tools to allow you to connect the dots for a reporter looking for an expert or a great angle on a story. We’ve mentioned (HARO), before—a free service where reporters and producers request specific interview sources and list topics they’re writing about.

We often respond to requests for a healthcare expert on HARO on behalf of our parent company, HFS Consultants. As a healthcare consulting company, HFS employs numerous experts specializing in healthcare management, operations and strategic planning.

With a brief, well-crafted email, we connect our in-house expert with the reporter, and the result is a more powerful and credible story for the publication, and more visibility and perception of expertise for our client.

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Five Marketing Trends to Watch in 2014

January 7th, 2014

vectorstock_1611257editWe’ve gathered trend-related commentary and editorial from respected sources across the marketing communications sphere.  These voices echo the trends we believe bear watching and acting upon in 2014.


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Using Web Fonts for a Modern, Polished Look

December 30th, 2013

open sans

Web fonts have come a long way in a few short years, allowing web designers a great deal more flexibility in design than when we were locked into choosing between Verdana, Arial, Georgia, Times and a few others. They’re a great option to improve the look of your website.

Typekit and other fee-based services offer beautiful fonts for display on websites and are a great choice for a custom website design; however, if you’re on a budget, Google Web Fonts offers designers hundreds of typefaces for free. We don’t recommend using multiple web typefaces in a site: stick with a couple weights in one or two families to keep performance speedy.

In no particular order, here are some of our current favorites, along with recent sites we’ve used them in.  Read the rest of this entry »

Content Marketing Can Build Your Business

December 18th, 2013

As we approach 2014, many business executives are asking what they can do to get their audiences to notice them. Of course, there is no one answer for all businesses. The most effective strategy is usually determined by clearly defining the target audience of a business, the demographics of that audience and what it has responded to over time.

Deciding Who To Do Business With
For those companies whose audiences do research in order to become well informed before purchasing a product or buying a service, content marketing is often an important element to include in marketing communication outreach. In a study of over 1,400 B2B customers, the Corporate Executive Board found that customers are 57% through their buying process before they make contact with a company. This supports the idea that companies can benefit by having content that helps customers do their research and reach a buying decision.

Content Marketing Elements for Bay Area IT Company
Creating an effective content marketing program takes thought and strategic planning. With our client, Clare Computer Solutions, a San Francisco Bay Area business technology service provider, offering IT consulting and on-demand IT services to businesses, we developed a content marketing program developed around the company’s service areas that repeatedly drew customer interest. The content marketing program focuses on one service area or topic per quarter.

In the first phase of the Clare Computer content marketing program, the focus was on disaster recovery and business continuity.  This topic was chosen because it was evident that the company’s clients were researching and calling with questions about what to do in the event of a network outage, server crash, malware attack and other scenarios.  Elements of the content marketing program included, a white paper, “Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity: What You Need to Know,” several blogs on the topic, including one with video, a blog incorporating an infographic, as well as a press release focusing on the company adding Datto SIRIS, a backup, disaster recovery/business continuity vendor. In addition, the company promoted its content via email newsletters, social media, webinars, case studies and lunch n’ learn seminars.


Content Marketing in 2014
In 2014, we will continue with Clare Computer’s content marketing program, focusing on one topic per quarter, beginning with the technology refresh topic, which is very timely as a result of Microsoft no longer supporting Windows XP after April 2014.

Our content marketing work with Clare Computer is an example of how we work with companies to help increase awareness and build businesses. Content marketing will continue to be a hot topic in 2014, and there will be many individuals and companies selling content marketing services.  However, not all of them know how to build and execute an effective program.  Be sure to choose a team that will work with you to define and reach your audience and help your business to grow.

Related Articles on Creating Online Business Success
Creating SEO Programs That Equal Business Success
Get Readers to Your Blog: Content Marketing


New Websites Launched for MPA Networks and the Greater Broadway District

November 13th, 2013

We’re pleased to announce new websites designed, developed and launched by Placemaking Group.

Celebrating MPA Networks‘ 30-year anniversary with a new site and commemorative logo design. Learn more on our portfolio »


Sacramento’s Greater Broadway District’s new website showcases its unique style and eclectic businesses. Learn more on our portfolio »

Six Ingredients to Creating an Engaging Speech

October 31st, 2013

Why are some speakers very engaging and inspiring and others leave their audiences searching for a way to exit the room? What the are the key ingredients to delivering an engaging speech that is persuasive and motivates people to action? Here are six key elements for giving a speech that will engage the audience and keep people in their seats.

  1. Build Interest Immediately
    To grab the audience’s attention right away, begin your speech by telling a story, a humorous observation (be sure it’s in good taste), or a fascinating statistic that relates to your topic.
  2. Present A Preview
    Now that you the audience is attentive, give them a bullet-point overview of what you are going to talk about and what they will learn.
  3. Showcase Your Credibility
    Show the audience that you are a credible source by referring to an actual example of your work that highlights your expertise. Share industry research to let the audience know that you are current in your field. When executives at San Francisco Bay Area business IT consulting firm, Clare Computer Solutions, speak to audiences on topics such as cloud computing, disaster recovery and business continuity, they share real world stories that businesses have experienced.
  4. Show How the Topic Impacts the Audience
    People often attend a speech because they want information on solving a problem, accomplishing a task, or gaining an understanding of a situation or issue. Be prepared to provide how-to information. When Placemaking Group’s CEO, Dennis Erokan, gives his Get Famous speech, he directly  interacts with the audience, helping them to fill out a Branding Blueprint document, providing them with what we call “Brand Therapy,” or  a road map to set them on a path to define their brand, the first step on the quest for gaining notoriety.
  5. Use Social Media
    Add to the audience’s level of engagement, and at the same time earn some free advertising for yourself, by suggesting they tweet information in your speech that they find useful.
  6. Ask Questions
    Before you conclude your speech, take time to ask the audience to state what they found useful and what they learned that they can take immediate action on. After you do this a few times, you may discover specific statements that are expressed by most audiences. List those on one of your final PowerPoint slides and show it following the audience discussion to review and add any further thoughts or ideas.

Speaker Coaching
Are audiences glazing over, or worse, falling asleep when you give a speech? Need help organizing your presentation? Scared to speak in front of groups? Stage fright? Dennis Erokan provides speaker coaching. Call 510-835-7900 ext. 203, or email him at: to schedule your speaker coaching appointment.





Who’s in charge of social media?

October 8th, 2013

SocialMedialogosWho is in charge of social media in your company? That’s a question that is still stumping people all over the country! The Creative Group recently did a survey asking marketing and advertising executives that question. The results were all over the map. No surprise there!

As Erik Sass reported in his blog, The Social Graf, 39% thought that social media belongs in the public relations group. But, 35% thought it should be in the marketing department, 15% thought it should be in customer service, 5% thought the CEO should be in charge, and 6% didn’t know! Read the rest of this entry »