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ICYMI: Websites DMI Studios Launched March 2017

Mar. 29, 2017 12:33 pm

We've been busy around here! This month, we have launched six websites for organizations across Wisconsin, including a PaRkS: Parks Reservation System upgrades, and two Runwaysites. Take a look at what we've been up to in March!

PaRkS: Parks Reservation System upgrades:

Clark County - Neillsville, WI

New Runwaysite designs:

Fort Howard Storage - Green Bay, WI

New website designs

Spiegelberg Implement - Weyauwega, WI

Is your website ready for a new look? Give us a call; we'd love to chat.

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Warm Up to Digital Fitness

Mar. 13, 2017 12:28 pm

Is your social media out of shape? Do your posts lack energy? Are you struggling to create a successful marketing strategy?

Or you might believe that your social media approach is correct, when in fact, it might be missing the mark completely!

Stop guessing, stop struggling, and let us help you Get Digitally Fit!

What does it mean to be Digitally Fit? Just like any fitness routine, your marketing needs to start with a good warm-up, which should consist of a lot of planning: what you communicate, how you share it, and with whom you share it.

At our Get Digitally Fit event, we'll uncover successful social media methodologies, the "why" behind social planning, and ways to communicate with your target audience to develop a successful digital marketing strategy.

Join us to bring strength and fitness into your social media efforts!

Space is limited - make sure you register today! 

Do you know someone who would also benefit from attending? Invite a business contact to join you! 

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ICYMI: Websites DMI Studios Launched February 2017

Feb. 28, 2017 2:44 pm

What have we been up to this month? Look no further! We have launched four new websites this month for organizations throughout Northeast Wisconsin, including one Runwaysite, and one annual update to a local event website. Check out what we've been up to in February!

New Runwaysite designs:

New website designs:

Annual Update designs:

Does your website need an upgrade? We're your guys (and girls). Let's chat.

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How to Make Your Customers Love You on Facebook

Feb. 15, 2017 11:40 am

When you post to Facebook, do you get a lot of "thumbs up" and "hearts," or do you see your fair share of negative Reactions or comments? Or worse, are you getting ignored, unfollowed, or unliked?

How can you tell if your Facebook content is sub-par? Do you see a steady number of Impressions, but gain few engagements? Your audience is probably ignoring your content. Or isn't interested. Do you see a significant number of "hide posts" in your Analytics? Has your Likes count dropped? Your audience doesn't enjoy your content. A "Hide Post" or "Unfollow Page" tells you just as much as a Like, Share, or Comment - your Followers are sending you a message to up your content game.

Follow these four tips, and you'll start seeing an increase in positive engagement on your Page.

Don't treat your business page like your personal profile

Those cutesy posts that get a lot of "Likes" on your own account? You know the ones - think "Happy Monday!" or a picture of an adorable cat - keep them on your personal profile. Unless, of course, your business is cats. In that case, show those kitties some love.

Sure, those posts might get a lot of Likes, even on your business Page. But they're not valuable Likes.

What to do instead?

Take the "Happy Monday!" concept, and make it purposeful to your brand. Good examples are: 

  • Monday Funday - Share something fun going on in your office.
  • Testimonial Tuesday - Share a testimonial you've received from a customer or client.
  • Whiteboard Wednesday - What does your whiteboard look like this week? What about the conference room?
  • Throwback Thursday - Take a trip down memory lane with a picture from your company's past.
  • Fun Fact Friday - Share an interesting tidbit about your business or industry.
Bonus: each of these ideas can easily be hashtagged, which can increase your visibility! Above all else, make sure every post has a strong visual component.

Don't just Sell, Sell, Sell

Look, people don't want to feel sold to. Yes, you have a product or service to sell; we all do! But people want more when they're on Facebook.

What to do instead?

Provide value. Share tips and tricks for your customers, industry news and pertinent updates. Provide answers to the questions you often hear. Share your blog posts to your Facebook audience, share content from other sources, hold a Facebook Live Q&A session, create a FAQ video series - the possibilities are endless!

Don't be boring

Your social media presence doesn't need to be all serious, all the time. Don't share article after article, or worse, post without any kind of visual like links, pictures, or videos. 

What to do instead?

Social media should be fun! Give people a reason to visit, and stay, on your Page. Break up the informative content with the lighthearted for some balance. Ideas include:

  • Behind the scenes pictures - Share pictures of your team in the office, at events, or having a lunch cookout. 
  • Share posts from your customers - Give them a shout out for a recent achievement, share their events, and promote their products and services.
  • Acknowledge your staff - Wish them a happy birthday or work anniversary, and welcome new employees. Show the faces and names behind your brand.
  • Incorporate national "holidays" - Have a pizza party on National Pizza Day, share a prank on April Fools Day, bring in pies on Pi Day (March 14th - 3.14). You get the idea.

Don't use poor grammar

Your Facebook presence may be the first impression a customer has of your business. Don't sabotage yourself with spelling errors and grammatically incorrect sentences. You will look unprofessional, and you surely don't want the embarrassment of getting called out on it. There is a saying that the best way to tell if anyone reads your content is to include a spelling error.

What to do instead?

Practice these three musts before hitting "Publish":
  • Spellcheck 
  • Proofread - read your status out loud, if it helps.
  • Get another set of eyeballs - ask a coworker to check if you're unsure you missed anything.

Are you ready to make some changes to your Facebook profile? Go for it! We'd love to see what you've implemented. Still have some questions? No problem! Give us a call, and we'd be happy to chat.

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ICYMI: Websites DMI Studios Launched January 2017

Jan. 31, 2017 11:27 am

We are starting off the new year with three new websites for organizations around Northeast Wisconsin. This month, we launched two brand new websites, including one Runwaysite, and an annual update to a charity event site. Check out what we've been up to in January!

New Website Designs by DMI Studios:

Does your website need a fresh look for the new year? Let's chat.

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How to Make 2017 The Best Year Ever

Jan. 18, 2017 11:02 am

New Year, New You...or so the saying goes, right? In January, we all make New Year's resolutions or set goals for self improvement. Do you think to do the same for your business? When you sit down to create a game plan for achieving your personal goals, set aside extra time to plan out the business goals you'd like to accomplish in the next 12 months. Not sure where to begin? We're glad you asked. These tips are sure to get you on the on the right track this year.

Ask yourself,

How well do your website and business mesh?

Your website should not only be an impressive reflection of your business, it should also match your social media presence, in addition to offline marketing materials. Maintaining consistency across all communication channels will help ensure your reputability.

  • Do your logos and branding align online and offline? Any documentation that is used internally or for customers that contains old or outdated logos or brand messaging should be updated. This includes contact information, and updating new or former employee information 
  • Is your messaging and voice consistent? Any communication your brand puts out should have the same tone, whether it be digital (website, social media, email) or traditional (mailers, print advertising). If someone is looking at pieces of your print and digital promotional materials, side by side without any logos, they should be able to tell it's written by the same company. If it's unclear, now is the time for an update.
  • Are your pricing and services offered consistent? Take a sweep of your website, social channels, and any offline materials that references prices or services. Make sure everything is accurate across the board. 
  • Do your social profiles look similar? We don't mean posting the exactly same content on each social channel. They are separate for a reason. However, do your profile and cover photos match across each platform? Are your "About" sections consistent? Take a sweep of your accounts to make sure everything is true to your brand. 

Goals for 2017

  • Have a Responsive website design - If your website is not yet mobile friendly, put a plan in place to ensure it will be this year. By now, if your site isn't Responsive, it's likely hurting your business.
  • Update your Local Listings - Do a Google search to check all listings, and make sure they are all both accurate and consistent. Anything you see that has wrong information, such as address, phone number, hours, and spelling of the business name, should be updated.  While you're at it, make sure everything is updated on your Google My Business account, including pictures of your building.
  • Claim your social profiles - We know that not every social media platform is a good fit for every business. And we would never tell you to stretch yourself too thin by having an active presence on every platform if the majority of your audience is only on one or two. However, you also don't want to completely ignore something that may be a viable option in the future. Create an account on the big networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat) before someone else creates one in your name, and it's too late for you.

If you need help achieving your goals for 2017, give us a call. We'd be happy to help you get there.

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Websites DMI Studios Launched in 2016

Dec. 28, 2016 11:36 am

We have been busy at DMI! This year, we have launched more than 33 websites, including 8 Runwaysites, 8 Responsive conversion redesigns, and 17 additional new websites, among others. These websites have been designed for myriad industries, from small, local businesses, to government agencies, to large corporations, throughout Wisconsin and beyond. Here's a sampling of what we have been up to in the last 12 months:


Responsive Conversion Redesigns

Additional Websites

No matter the size of your business, agency, or organization, we have a web solution for you! Whether you need to upgrade an existing website, or you need to start from scratch with a brand new site, we're your guys (and girls). Contact us today to get started!

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Is Your Website on the Naughty Or Nice List?

Dec. 14, 2016 10:18 am

Santa Claus is coming to town. Will your website earn you a shiny, new toy for landing on the Nice list, or will you get a giant lump of coal for landing on the Naughty list?

If you're not sure how to tell where your website lands, we're here to help with three guaranteed ways to end up on each list.

Naughty List

  • Not being Responsive (mobile-friendly) - enough with making your customers pinch and zoom already! They'll abandon your site, or worse, Google will penalize it (if they haven't already).
  • Use of Flash - Depending on your device, Flash could leave a broken image on your website. Plus, it's strictly forbidden on iOS.
  • Text-heavy design - Too much text is overwhelming to the eye. Break your content into digestible chunks, and eliminate the fluff, so your visitors want to read your content

       Social media bonus

  • posting ad nauseam without a strategy - If you're posting on social, it should be relevant and purposeful. "Happy Monday!" just won't cut it if you want to be seen - especially organically.

Nice List

  • Image-centric design - Include visually appealing images to catch your visitor's attention, and to leave a strong impression of your business. Your website will look sharp and contemporary.
  • Optimized for SEO - If no one can find your website on search engines, what's the point of having it? Update your meta tags, work keywords into site content, and keep close tabs on Google Search Console. Read more here, and here.
  • Quick Load Times - You've only got a few seconds before people lose patience and abandon your site. Make sure you're using correct image sizes to help keep load times minimal.

      Social media bonus

  • Strong engagement - If you have an active social media presence, you're doing something right. If your customers are engaging regularly with your account, you're definitely doing something right.

Is your website on the Naughty List this year? Give us a call, and we'd be happy to make sure you're on the Nice list in 2017!

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ICYMI: Websites DMI Studios Launched November 2016

Nov. 29, 2016 2:40 pm

From Responsive redesigns to brand new sites, we launched four websites for companies all over Northeastern Wisconsin in November. Check out what we were up to last month!

New website designs by DMI Studios:

Responsive (mobile friendly) redesigns by DMI Studios:

Is your website itching for a revamp? Give us a call; we'd love to give you a new look.

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Four Things We Can't Get Enough Of

Nov. 10, 2016 3:01 pm

Thanksgiving: the one time of year it's socially acceptable to stuff ourselves into gluttony. We just can't get enough pumpkin pie, turkey, dressing, and anything else that fits onto our plates. We're already in Thanksgiving mode, and that led us to thinking, "what else can't we get enough of?" There are some things, no matter the time of year, that will always love shamelessly.

Story telling

Compelling content, or story telling, in both web copy and social media, is one of the most important factors in marketing. Reading an interesting or moving story is far more intriguing than reading yet another blanket sales pitch. It shows WHY someone should buy your product or use your service. This is the time to pull at heartstrings, throw out a surprising stat, share new or relatively unknown information. The marketing world is moving away from B2B and B2C, and into P2P (Person to Person). Talk to your customers, as a person, like they're actually a person. Not like a marketer talking to a sales prospect.

To name just a few of our clients nailing this on Facebook:

CP Centers shares pictures and stories of their client activities and group outings, which shows families of clients and potential new clients the work the organization does, without outright sharing a list of services. They also recently shared a video for Giving Tuesday, showing what the impact of a donation is for the Center and its clients. CP knows they need to show their "why" for people to be willing to donate.

Happily Ever After shares pictures and stories of the Santuary's animals, both pre and post adoption. They share each dog or cat's picture and background story, making it much easier for them to be adopted. Because who doesn't love cat and dog pictures flooding their newsfeed? They also frequently share adoption successes when the animals find their forever homes. This has led to families sharing their own stories of how happy they are with their new pet.

Renewable Energies understands that outdoor wood furnaces aren't exactly the sexiest product to tout on social media. But they do understand that their customers are the backbone of their business. They share pictures and stories of their customers with their new furnace, and what kind of impact their purchase will have on their daily life, along with customer testimonials. These are great ways, beyond a list of benefit statements, to show why someone should buy their product.

We also have a few national brands favorite story tellers.

Taco Bell is a company that understands something extra has to be brought to the table (pun intended) if they want to make fast food exciting. Through humor and wit, contests, and pop culture references, they keep their accounts engaging enough for their customers to stay excited about their products.

By encouraging customers to share pictures of their families in their pajamas, Pajamagram tells their story through their customers' stories. Their clothing is also memorable because of the messaging: their products should be part of your family's traditions. This is their why;  they are so much more than pajamas, they are memories.

Behind the scenes looks

Like we mentioned earlier, P2P interaction is at the core of marketing campaigns. We love when we see brands share inside looks into their company. It shows that the company is full of interesting people and is more than just data on a screen, or sales getting shouted from the rooftops. Social media should be just that - social. When users see this more interesting side of the company, and the people behind it, it makes your brand stand out. They won't remember a boring page, but they will remember a company that looks fun. And they are more likely to engage with you if you're entertaining.

Which of our clients and what national brands excel at this on social media?

Lamers Bus Lines (client) on Facebook: 

Lamers does a great job of sharing employee spotlights, which gives their followers insight into not only their bus drivers, but also their office staff. Their coach bus drivers often share on the road pictures, giving customers an idea of the different places they can travel through their company. During the Pokemon Go craze they even shared pictures of the Pokemon hanging around their corporate office. People and experiences are far more interesting than busses, and Lamers gets that.

Hootsuite (national) on Snapchat & Instagram:

Hootsuite's Snapchat is not run by just one person. They often have takeovers from various employees and teams to give their followers different perspectives of their company. Their Instagram shows the employees engaging in team building activities, running their Twitter chats, and general office fun, which not only gives insight into the people at the company, but also shows off their unique culture.

Image-centric design

If a picture says a thousand words, what does your website say? Let's face it, imagery is dominating the web right now. If you aren't taking advantage of that, you're already behind the times. Whether it's part of a web design or social media, we love attention-grabbing visuals. Catch your user's attention with an impressive image, and then keep their attention with compelling content. Websites that are image-heavy, especially when those images are sharp, look really polished and contemporary. We also love when sites utilize their space with blocks of images, and use content to fill the gaps.

Recent websites we've created using these concepts:

Long form websites

Long form websites that require a lot of scrolling are no longer considered a "no no" in web design. Since most browsing occurs on mobile devices, scrolling is not only accepted, but expected. This design also makes navigation easier since it eliminates the extra clicks that are necessary to reveal content. (

In fact, we love this design so much, we centered our Runwaysite program around it. Runwaysite websites are one page, long-formatted sites catering to small businesses. Some examples include:

So there you have it: four things we just can't get enough of in marketing. We'd love to hear: what can't you get enough of in your industry?

If you need help moving forward with content or graphics in your social media strategy, or if your website needs a fresh design, we would love to talk.

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Five Scariest Things In Web Design

Oct. 18, 2016 10:35 am

It's October, and the spooky characters and creepy crawlies are coming out of the woodwork. It's the one time of year where it's fun to get scared (or maybe not, we don't judge), and to scare others. But the scariest things we've seen, and we mean downright horrifying, are not clowns (don't get us started), or zombies, or ghosts. No, the heart-clutching, stop-in-your-tracks moments come from bad web designs. We're here to share the scariest elements we've seen in websites. It's for your own good, really.

  • Flash
  • Animated GIFs
  • Clutter
  • Blank or Empty Space
  • Unreadable


This first one is a bit tricky. The inclusion of Flash itself is not scary, but how it reacts on certain devices can be. Depending on your device, the use of Flash could leave a broken image or blank area on a website. Flash is also strictly forbidden on iOS. However, for sites like YouTube that still utilize Flash, there will be a "no Flash installed on device" alternative. Our advice? Use HTML5 Video/Audio, which uses the device's built-in media players, and doesn't require any additional installations. For a quick overview on how to set up an HTML5 video, check out

Animated GIFs

We'll just come right out and say it. If your website is still touting homemade animated GIFs, they have got to go. They are distracting, they make your site look dated, and like it was created by an amateur. You don't want to look like you're stuck in the 90s, or worse, that you are not a professional organization. First impressions are everything. If your visitors take one look at your website and come to the conclusion that they can't take you seriously, it's not a good sign for your business. If you must use GIFs, make sure they are well-made, from resources like, and keep your website quality a step above your Facebook and Twitter profiles.


Ok, we know you've got a lot of information you want to include in your website. We all want to share everything our business is up to or has to offer. But when everything is thrown together haphazardly, or squeezed onto a home page, there is too much going on for your user's eyes and brains to focus. Where to look? What to read? It becomes overwhelming, and, rather than try to sift through every detail, your visitors are going to leave your site. Quickly. Decide what must stay, what can be transferred to a separate page, and what should be removed entirely.

See what we mean? There is just way too much going on here.

Blank Space

No, not that kind. We know we just told you to de-clutter your website and/or home page, but make sure your site doesn't go too far in the other direction. If your website is just a few sentences of content and a lone image, with the rest of the page empty, it is not providing enough information. Your customers or leads are coming to your site for a reason. Chances are, with a page lacking substantial content, users are not getting what they came for. Without a second glance, they'll look for someone who can provide the information they're looking for. Make sure all relevant information, including your services or products, what sets you apart from your competition, and contact information is listed.

Look at all that open space! There are plenty of content opportunities that have been missed here.


There really is too much of a good thing. We all know the best way to capture someone's attention is through engaging or eye-catching visuals: something that pops on your page. But if your website is engulfed in popping visuals, it's hard to know what is the pertinent content to focus on. With super bright or clashing colors, your eyes will need a break quickly. Add to that difficult-to-read fonts or bright fonts against a bright background, and it's sensory overload. If your visitor has to squint or highlight all the text to read the page's content, they will likely abandon your website for another that is easier to digest. Your background and font colors should be complementary, and leave out "scripty" fonts. And Comic Sans. If you're not sure what to use, leave the decisions up to the pros.

Ouch. Excuse us while we give our eyes a rest in a dark room.

If you think you can handle one more terror, check out, which encapsulates just about everything we've discussed today all in one fell swoop.

We hope we didn't give you too much of a scare. But if we did, we are happy to calm you back down. If your website contains any of the above fear factors, contact us for a consultation full of treats - no tricks up our sleeves.

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Is Your E-Commerce Ready for the Holidays?

Sept. 15, 2016 10:21 am

The holidays are right around the corner. How does your e-commerce site rank against your competition? Whether your holiday sales strategy is set in place, or you are still working through some adjustments, we have five components to include to ensure your season is a success.

Responsive Design

Is your website Responsive, or mobile friendly? If not, now is definitely the time to make the conversion. This year, and going forward, the majority of online sales will come from mobile devices. If your website requires pinching and zooming, your customers will abandon your site for a competitor who offers a better user experience on phones. Not to mention, responsive websites receive preference in search engine rankings. Don't miss out on valuable sales because your online shopping experience is not convenient across devices, or because Google penalizes your site for not being mobile-friendly.

Load Time

Let's face it. As a human population, our attention span has diminished to mere seconds. If your website takes too long to load, visitors aren't going to stay around to wait for it. What are some ways to speed up your load time?
  • Make sure your images are the correct size. If they are too large, they will drag down the website's speed. 
  • Implement Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). "AMP makes web pages fast, and fast pages help with purchase conversions." Although AMP is not yet a requirement for websites, Google is starting to place a lot of focus on this feature. 

Organic Search Rankings

Sure, your customers (or potential customers) can easily find you by searching your company or brand's name. But can they find you by searching for your products? If the answer is no, there are some steps you can take to improve your search presence, to ensure you are also found through searches of non-branded terms.
  • Update your website content. Peruse your site, and take some time to pepper in additional keywords throughout your site (but be sure not to keyword stuff!). This is also a good time to beef up your content, especially on your homepage. Make sure everything is current and relevant, and provides the end-user the information they are looking for. 
  • Revisit your meta tags. Have you taken a look at your website's meta tags in a while? Now is an opportunity to update existing metas, and to add new ones. Make sure your meta descriptions have strong keywords, and your keywords are all still relevant. Don't forget about location-based modifiers within your keywords if you have a local, brick and mortar shop. 
    • Do your inside pages have their own meta tags added? If the answer is no, this could be affecting your search rankings. When your website only has meta tags in place for the home page, all other pages pull from the same meta title and description. Google sees this as duplicate content, which can, and eventually will, lead to penalties. 

PPC Strategy

As an e-commerce company, one of your biggest focuses is advertising your products, especially during the holiday shopping season. Do you advertise through Pay Per Click (PPC) methods? Whether you have a large digital advertising budget, or a smaller one, PPC is something to consider to boost online sales and to reach new customers. If you're already advertising with PPC, what does your strategy look like?
  • Do you have your budget set in place? If not, now is the time to develop your budget and have it approved. 
  • Are you creating new ads or are they already set in stone? You will want to create ads that are holiday and sales focused to attract the most shoppers. Don't forget to set up A/B testing! 
    • Google has recently launched Expanded Text Ads through Adwords. You now have the opportunity to write ads with two headline fields (up to 30 characters), and an expanded description field (up to 80 characters). This gives you much more room to play with ad content. 
    • Do your ads and their corresponding pages' content mesh well? If not, now is the time to either update page content to make sure the ads fit, or re-write your ads. 

Social Media Strategy

By now, we all know how crucial social media is for businesses of all sizes. If you're selling products online, you should absolutely be taking advantage of the accessibility of social media. The holiday season is a great time to not only promote your products through social media, but to also keep your customers engaged, and informed.
  • Share your promotions and sales through all of your social accounts. People will be looking specifically for deals throughout the remaining months of the year. 
    • Offer contests and giveaways for new or best-selling products to keep your customers excited. Ask them to Retweet, share, or tag a friend to expand your exposure. 
  • Highlight new or featured products with great visual content - videos are even better than still images. Let your customers know what's great about new products, and share with prospects why your brand stands out from your competition. 
  • Are you taking advantage of social advertising? Make sure to set aside some of your advertising budget for social media. 
    • Determine whether you will be promoting your page, CTA, or website through page ads, or if you will be promoting your content through sponsored posts. Who is your target audience and/or demographic? This is important to make sure you are reaching the right people for your brand. 

If you need help getting your e-commerce strategy top notch for the busiest sales season of the year, we would love to be your guide. Contact us to set up a time to talk.

- Comments

What Impact Does Summer Tourism Have on Your Business?

July 26, 2016 11:35 am

If you are taking a vacation this year, especially if you are bringing children, chances are it will be during July or August. Are we right? These months are some of the most popular for getaways, and because of this, the tourism industry is booming in the summer. We're talking $3.8 billion in Wisconsin visitor sales 2015's 3rd Quarter. As a result, organizations impacted need to make sure their marketing is strong and focused to bring in the most business possible.

At DMI, one of our specialties is working with counties and their tourism groups. When we are approached by a county, city, or tourism group, the goal is not just to create them a website, it's to make sure their efforts are met with success. Whether it's through their website, social media platforms, or online search presence, we assist our clients with delivering their message to ensure they can share their area's gems to keep visitors returning, and ultimately, keep local businesses profitable.

Our tourism websites contain a client-controlled, customizable events and calendar tool that allows the client to keep a detailed, running list of upcoming events. This makes it easy for the county or tourism group to share events as they are planned, and easy for visitors to quickly see what they can attend during their stay. We also provide social media consulting on how to best reach their target audience and grow their following, and additional marketing services in Search Engine Optimization strategies to ensure their website appears well in search results.

For counties and tourism groups to be truly successful, they must be able to support the organizations within them. By sharing lodging and dining locations on their website, and promoting the businesses on social media, counties and tourism groups can easily draw visitors to their area. Partnering with several area businesses and putting together a giveaway is a great way to gain awareness surrounding the area's establishments, and builds excitement in travelers.

Because organizations like shops, restaurants, and campgrounds, are just as impacted by the surge in visitors to the area, their top priority should be marketing themselves well enough to attract both new and returning customers. This means their website should be current, informative, eye-catching, and easy to find in search results. People are searching on mobile now more than ever, which makes it incredibly important for websites to be Responsive, or mobile-friendly. Chances are, these searches are happening spontaneously and on-the-go. Don't miss out on opportunities because your site is difficult to navigate on a phone or because users can't find you online! If your website needs an update to a Responsive design or a boost in search results, we are happy to help you get there.

Smaller establishments that know they need to share their message, but don't have the need for event tools, or don't have as much content to share, may be wondering if there is an option best-suited for them. There is, and we have it! Our solution for these establishments (bars, food vendors, food trucks, etc.) is our Runwaysite program. Runwaysites are single-page websites that are both mobile and Google friendly, and are a more cost-effective way to easily share to-the-point information. Like our full websites, these are client-controlled, which allows the client to update content as needed, and change offers seasonally.

While summer is a crucial time for the tourism industry, marketing for your establishment needs to be year-round, though definitely amplified in these warmer months. If you need help attracting more visitors, we'd love to chat!

- Comments

Does Your Park Need a Reservation Management System?

June 13, 2016 4:03 pm

PaRkS - Parks Reservation System was created in 2009, the result of a collaboration between DMI Studios and two of our clients: Oconto County and Marinette County. Both counties found themselves experiencing the same frustrations with booking camping and lodge/shelter reservations. At this point, their procedures were entirely offline - reservations had to be made over the phone, or in person at the appropriate county building. They were both looking for a way to alleviate the crush of camping and shelter reservations at the first of the year and the piles of paperwork associated with the process.

After extensive consultation and planning, a solution was born to accommodate county workers, campers, and shelter-seekers alike, which eventually developed into the full-blown product that is now known as PaRkS - Parks Reservation System.

The back-end management of this system works as a huge time saver for county or park staff. It eliminates paperwork and significantly reduces the time and energy spent on tasks associated with reservations. Through this system, site administrators can easily view detailed reports about their parks, vary campsite pricing and minimum stay by season or holiday, create promotional codes to increase occupancy, track problem campers, maintain accounts for repeat customers, and allow users to cancel their reservation with optional penalty fees. PaRkS websites can also be used to broadcast important news and alerts to campers and/or those in the vicinity.

PaRkS' self-service model not only serves as a convenience to park or grounds staff, it is designed to accommodate the end-user as well. From their home and in their pajamas, or on the go from their phone, reservations can be made whenever and wherever it works for the camper. With the entire reservation process online, campers can easily choose which campsite they prefer by browsing all available options. As a necessary benefit to both campers and park staff, all payments within this system are made in secure transactions.

At DMI, we know how unique each park system is. From campgrounds, to shelter rentals, to pass and permit sales, to fairgrounds activities, every park and park system has its own special features to highlight. So when we created PaRkS, we made sure each website was 100% customizable. Campgrounds can indicate site-specific options like firewood or ice add-ons, or interactive grounds maps. Site admins also custom design the look and feel of their website. Whether they want it to match a different county site, or want it to stand out on its own, they have full say over design.

Want an idea of what current PaRkS websites offer? Check out a few recent sites for Wisconsin counties Fond du Lac, Washington, and St. Croix.

Fond du Lac County Parks & Fairgrounds:

Washington County Planning & Parks:

St. Croix County Parks System:

Looking for a PaRkS - Parks Reservation System website for your park? We'd love to chat!

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Is a Runwaysite For You?

May 11, 2016 11:41 am

Spring is the time for new beginnings: flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, baby animals are wobbling around, companies are getting Runwaysites. You read that right. Runwaysite websites are an affordable way to update an old website with a fresh and professional new look, to get found on search engines, and to provide accurate and current information to your customers.

Runwaysites have myriad uses, for small to medium-sized businesses. They are perfect to develop a much-needed presence on search engines, and to have a place to direct traffic to from a Facebook page. Because they are both mobile and Google friendly, your users will be able to easily find and navigate your website on any device.

Businesses hosting or attending large events, like those in the tourism industry, can use a Runwaysite as a call-to-action for the event. Instead of directing traffic to their full website, and then to a specific calendar event, a Runwaysite with an event-specific URL is much easier for the hosts to promote and the attendees to find. Because these sites are fully customizable, the header, color scheme, and/or logo can all remain consistent with the full website, but have its own content geared towards the event. Similarly, when attending conferences or trade shows, Runwaysites can be used to get key details front and center, but still provide more in-depth company information on a full, separate website.

Small retailers that want to sell their product, but don't have the need or funds for a full e-commerce site can benefit from having the online presence with a Runwaysite. Through this avenue, they can market their product, and build awareness for their brand, while directing sales through a third party provider such as Etsy or Shopify. Traffic can be directed from a Facebook page to give the consumer more information about the products, and then sent to the sales site.

While Runwaysites may seem to be most beneficial to small businesses, medium-sized companies can also use these, especially during a transitional period. Perhaps a business does not have the need or funds for a full website right away, but knows they will in the future. Runwaysites are the perfect stepping stone. Your brand will build its online presence, or get a professional-looking upgrade to an old site to attract the customers your businesses wants and deserves. When it comes time to transitioning into a full site, a Runwaysite can still be used as an event website to ensure the original investment remains useful.

Interested in a Runwaysite? Take a look at some sites to get an idea of what yours could look like.

Does Runwaysite sound like the perfect solution for your brand? Hit us up, and we'll be happy to chat!

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Spring Cleaning - Your Website

Apr. 13, 2016 12:29 pm

Spring symbolizes fresh starts, new life blooming, and rejuvenation. We open up the windows, let in some fresh air, and enjoy the sunshine (we're waiting, Mother Nature). Once we open those windows, we usually start Spring cleaning the house or garage after months of being closed up. So why should you treat your website be any differently? Clean up your site for Spring, and give it a refreshed feel. Not sure what needs to be spruced up? We've got some ideas for you.


First, take a look at your calendar or events page. Is it littered with past or expired events? Update your calendar or events to remove any irrelevant or old information, and add any upcoming events. Your calendar will feel less cluttered, by only showing current information, and it will be it easier for your users to navigate.

Once your events are modified, you will need to ensure re-directs are put into place for the former event URLs, preferably re-directing the URL to the main event or calendar page. This will prevent the original event URLs from developing into 404 errors.

Meta Tags

Next, take time to review your site's metas. Have they been updated recently? Do they accurately reflect your website's content? If the answer to either of these questions is "no," go ahead and revise them. Ideal meta title length is about 50-60 characters, and ideal description length is 150-160 characters. Use this time to also re-visit your meta keywords. Can they be paired down? Are there more accurate terms you could be using, or are there less relevant terms you can eliminate?

While you're working with your metas, now is the time for a few more changes. Do your inside pages have individual metas? No? Consider adding them. Google is taking these into account for rankings more than they had previously. If your inside pages don't contain their own metas, they are defaulted to your site's overall metas, which in Google's eyes means duplicate content. And we all know what duplicate content can mean for Search rankings.

Like your overall metas, work to keep titles between 50-60 characters and descriptions between 150-160 characters. However, when writing these, don't worry about keywords for each page. Keywords are proving to be of less importance, especially on individual pages. 

Search Console

Lastly, keep an eye on your Google Search Console account, especially after making the above updates to your site. If there are any errors showing up, 404s from expired events or otherwise, get some re-directs added, and then mark as "fixed." Your "crawl errors" pages (desktop and smartphone) will be cleaned up in no time. Check out the HTML improvements tab to see how your website's content is doing. Here you will find if you have any problems with your metas, such as: duplicate meta descriptions or title tags, too long or too short descriptions or titles, and missing or non-informative title tags. You can also see if there is any non-indexable content on any of your pages under this tab.

Does your website need some Spring Cleaning of its own? We're here to help!

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Ridgeview Liquor: A Case Study

Apr. 7, 2016 7:17 am

When Ridgeview Liquor came to us, they were in the midst of building their new store. Their current website needed some improvements, and they needed a fast turn-around time to coincide with their store's re-opening. It was important they could showcase their new location, inside and out, as well as their passion for and knowledge of craft beer and wine. Our solution was to build them a Runwaysite to fill the need of getting a site quickly, and to build a full site further down the road.
With their Runwaysite, they are able to easily update store pictures, any specials or promotions they are running, and prominently display hours and location through Content Management Tools.

With Ridgeview in their new location, they wanted to ensure people knew where they were located, and what the change meant for their customers. DMI helped with their local search listing and updated search engines with their new address. DMI is also assisting with Facebook management, updating their images to coincide with their new site, and to let Ridgeview's customers know what is happening in store.

If you consider yourself a craft beer or wine enthusiast, or if you're up to trying new beers, Ridgeview Liquor should be on your list of shops to check out. Stop in to say hi at 2202 S. Ridge Rd. in Green Bay, and be sure to visit

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Three Times Your Business Needs A Professional

Mar. 8, 2016 3:41 pm

If you are a business owner, chances are there has been a time that you've asked yourself if you really need to hire someone to help you with a project, or if you can manage it on your own. While there is certainly a time and place for autonomy, there are also instances when you should hire a professional to ensure you work is just that - professional. When it comes to Marketing and your website, we have three times that your business needs to work with a professional in the field.

Updating Your Graphics

With so many easy and cheap graphics programs out there, it may be tempting to do them yourself. There is a real artistry to graphic design, though. Invest the money in someone who is trained in the field and has the experience. Graphic Design Artists have a real eye for color palettes, clean and crisp images, and are good resources for staying current with industry trends. Save yourself the headache and hire a Graphic Artist for your design work.

Staying Informed

When you want to stay informed in your Marketing efforts, your best bet is to maintain strong relationships or partnerships with a consultant. Consultants will share knowledge about on industry regulation changes or standards updates to keep you in the loop on news you may not otherwise know, or have the time to research on your own. These partnerships can either keep you ahead of the game (and your competition!) or ensure your site stays up-to-date, keeping it both secure and working properly. 


The world and rules of Internet Marketing and Advertising changes every day. If you've ever followed Search Engine Land on Twitter, you'll know what we're talking about. It can be hard to keep up on the constant evolution of Google alone, not to mention other players in the Search game like Yahoo or Bing. We know just how big of an undertaking SEO is; we have someone in house whose job is dedicated to managing campaigns and staying current with the daily updates. There are so many components to maintaining an SEO campaign. Instead of trying to tread the waters solo, trust someone to know how to maneuver the components in a way that results in success for you.

Here at DMI, we not only work to provide services to our clients, but also the knowledge needed to keep their business successful. We make sure to have open lines of communication to keep our clients informed of new standards, social and search algorithm updates and changes, and new areas of focus for search engines to keep all campaigns running smoothly. We also work in a rebranding capacity, assisting clients with logo changes and re-defining their vision or brand. 

If you're in need of help with graphics, SEO, or other Marketing initiatives, drop us a line and we'd be happy to discuss your efforts.

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Websites We Love!

Feb. 8, 2016 3:46 pm

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and we all know what that means: love is in the air. At DMI, our true love will always be great websites. What are these great websites, you say? We're glad you asked.




Google is the bread and butter of online marketing, so of course they are in our favorites. But there's a reason they have such an impact. 

  • They have a simple design. Their search interface is clean and un-cluttered. 
  • They're consistent. The search interface and search results that you know and love as Google has remained relatively unchanged for the last decade. Which means users know exactly how and where to find the information they're looking for.
  • They know what they're the best at. They know their strengths and stick to them.



  • They're innovative. Case in point: Amazon Prime and Amazon Dash. They have also begun generating their own content. To us, there's nothing better than innovation.
  • They're customer-centric. Amazon will always go above and beyond to attract new customers and to maintain loyalty within their current customer base. Offering quicker service through Prime is the perfect example of this.
  • Convenience. Let's face it, we all need convenience in our lives. Amazon provides quick and easy shopping for just about anything.



You didn't think Marketers could leave out this social media giant, did you? Facebook effectively changed the way the world communicates.

  • Facebook changed the way we communicate with our friends and family. Gone are the days of phone calls for updates on our lives or sifting through a stack of photos from important events. And now, for better or for worse, your friends and family see MORE of your lives.
  • Facebook changed the way we get our news. Its immediacy allows us to know what is happening not only in our community, but around the world, without waiting for the next news segment to air or the following day's newspaper to be released.
  • Facebook changed the way consumers and brands interact. The platform allows for a stronger way for businesses to connect with their customers and attract potential customers. Likewise, it allows for customers to stay up-to-date and to make informed decisions.



  • Craigslist changed the way consumers buy and sell. As an online classifieds section, we no longer need newspapers to sell, buy, or rent anything: home goods, vehicles, real estate, and vehicles
  • It's simple, free, and localized. Meaning, anyone can use it, and  it's easy and convenient to make nearby exchanges.



  • Etsy is a great way for artists and home businesses to sell their niche products online, which allows them to make a greater profit:
  • Which means sellers can receive recognition for their work and build a greater audience they otherwise wouldn't be able to reach.
  • They have a simple, easy-to-use sales process, making purchases convenient for customers.


Need to implement some of these themes in your website? We'd love to chat.

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Give Your Website a Fresh Start

Jan. 11, 2016 1:23 pm

We've all heard the phrase "New year, new you," right? When you think of this sentiment, are you including all aspects of your life - personal and professional? While you diligently try to stick to health and financial resolutions in your personal life, don't forget the importance of a "new year, new you" mentality in your business, particularly for you website, which is likely the first impression people get of your brand. Your website deserves a fresh start this year too.

Is your website looking tired and dull? Consider giving it a redesign makeover. An updated look will catch your viewers' attention, which will result in more visits or longer sessions. The return to minimalism trend in web design makes sites visually appealing and easier to navigate. This trend often features clean, uncluttered pages with more white space and pops of bright color. Consider slimming down large chunks of content or moving them elsewhere on your site to free up space on the home page. A one sentence summary or bullet points with a hover-over section for additional content is a great option for clearing up space.

This is also the time to update your logo or color scheme if they have changed. If there has been any rebranding, you'll want to make sure all pieces of communication are consistent. Use this time to decide if you want to change the color, size, or shape of buttons or text segments.

To really refresh your website, don't stop after updating visuals. Now is the time to dig deep and give your content an overhaul. Is there any new information you want to share with your audience? Add in any new services or products you offer or any changes in them, including prices. Has your business itself gone through any major changes such as hours or locations? Have you won any awards or received some good press? Be proud of it and share it with the world! If you don't currently have a news or updates section, add one.

On that same note, remove any information that should no longer be shared. If there is anything outdated or no longer relevant still up on your site, be sure to take that down. This may be event information, staff bios, discontinued products or services, or information regarding previous years or seasons. Go ahead and remove outdated pictures at this time as well. Better yet, replace them with some that are more current.

Let's take these updates one step further. Don't stop at only updating irrelevant information. Work more keywords in your content (but don't over do it and get a spammy page) to rank higher in Search. If you run a local business, be sure to include some location-based terms to not only make it clear where you conduct business, but also for your services to show up specifically in local searches.

Ok, so all these suggestions are all important when you want to give a good website a great redesign. But what if you need to start completely fresh? Perhaps an entirely new website is in order.

We'd like to introduce Runwaysite websites! Runwaysites are the answer to getting your small business on the map - especially if you've never had a website before.

If you've ever questioned if you even need a website, the answer is yes. Trust us, the answer is yes. No matter the size of your company, it needs a website to be a 24/7 promotion tool. If you're not online, you're losing business from potential customers who can't find you. A Runwaysite is the perfect starting place and we'll make sure you aren't overwhelmed.

Runwaysite websites are affordable, yet quality, one-page sites that are completely customizable, and content is 100% client-controlled. They are a streamlined way to update an outdated version of a website or one that may not look as professional as you want to appear. As a one-page site, they are also a convenient option to use as a secondary website for promoting your business at events or trade shows. Add a link or QR code to your new website on banners or pamphlets so attendees can scroll through the most important details you want highlighted at events or shows, or to quickly and easily contact you for additional information.

Does your website need a new look or a completely fresh start for 2016? Contact us today - we'd love to chat.

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Top 12 Facebook Updates of 2015

Dec. 8, 2015 12:03 pm

The social media world is constantly evolving. Sometimes, it feels like there is an update or new feature announced every day. We're looking at you, Facebook. With so many changes, it can be easy to miss or forget about a feature. At the very least, they can start blurring together. Whether you need a refresher, or you'd like to take a stroll down 2015 memory lane, we've got you covered with a 12 Days of Christmas-inspired list of our top 12 favorite Facebook updates of 2015.


While Messenger certainly wasn't a new feature this year, it has seen a significant number of updates. The three we'd like to focus on are:
  • Payments via Messenger
  • Pages responding to comments privately
  • Pages saving message templates
In March, Facebook announced that users would be able to send money via Messenger. This free and secure service allows users to exchange money without being face to face. The sender and recipient simply enter their debit card information in the payment section of a new message and the funds transfer to/from the attached accounts.

In August, Facebook made it possible for Pages to respond to their customers' comments privately via Messenger. Next to the comment, a message will appear saying the comment has been responded to privately to show the concern has not been ignored. This move makes social customer service quick and efficient. A Brand can address concerns without asking Followers to contact them a second time, and this makes it easier to solve questions regarding personal information.

In the same efficiency vein, Facebook announced the same month that Pages would be able to save message templates. This allows Brands to answer FAQ quickly without taking the time to re-type the same response over and over.


Do you see where we're going with this? Facebook has made several improvements to advertising to make Marketing on the platform easier.

  • Targeted product ads
  • Dynamic cross-platform advertising
  • Custom audience tools
  • A/B ad testing
In February, Facebook introduced a way for advertisers to better promote their products. Targeted product ads allow advertisers to promote multiple products or their entire catalog at once. It also enabled advertisers to target a specific audience, particularly users who have previously visited the Brand's website. 

Dynamic cross-platform advertising helps advertisers best reach their audience. This feature enables Brands to reach their audience on any of their devices, regardless which device they initially saw the content on. It shows users ads for products they are interested in or that they have searched for on the company's website, and automatically optimizes ads by device.

Custom Audience Tools is another way Facebook is helping advertisers develop their target audience. This feature allows Brands to create an audience based on activity on their website or based on users' purchase history. Targeting the right audience makes the ads more relevant to the users and worthwhile to the Marketers.

In April, Facebook introduced PlanOut, a set of tools designed for running online field experiments. These tools allow advertisers to change an ad's demographics without changing the content. This means advertisers can test how content performs with different audiences, which provides valuable user information.


In November, Facebook released Notify, a notifications app currently for iPhone users. Notify enables push notifications for news from topics the user is interested in. Users can select which subjects to receive notifications from and can share via text or social networks via the lock screen. This app keeps users to up-to-date all day on news stories without searching for an article or scrolling through a news feed.


In October, Facebook announced they had introduced and were testing Reactions with users in Ireland and Spain. This feature offers six emoji (love, haha, yay, wow, sad, angry) that users can respond to a status update with. Reactions allow users to interact with content beyond "Liking" or commenting. When Followers use these Reactions, Brands will be able to better understand how their audience responds to their content.

News Feed Controls

In July, Facebook updated how users view their news feed. Users can now choose which friends' and brands' content to see first, as well as find new pages to follow. This gives the user control over their news feed, making it a more personalized experience. For Marketers, however, it means that creating original, engaging content is more important than ever to keep their audience interested. 

Instant Articles

In May, Facebook introduced Instant Articles. Instant Articles is a fast, interactive way for users to read articles directly from their news feed and load 10 times faster than standard mobile web articles. By making articles easier to read, Marketers gain more control over their content, and have more opportunities for their Followers to interact with them.

360 Video

In September, 360 degree videos were introduced to Facebook. These videos allow users to see visual information from every angle. Marketers can now ensure their audience sees the full picture easily and in one video. The use of video is growing rapidly, and this update can change the way visual content impacts Marketing.

For more information about each of these updates, visit

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How to Show Customer Appreciation

Nov. 6, 2015 1:41 pm

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we would like to take a minute to say just how thankful we are for all the clients we've had over the last 20 years. We could not have done it, nor would we be where we are today, without each and every one of you. Thank you for the great partnerships! Keep being awesome.

While it is great (and encouraged!) to let your clients know your appreciation this time of year, don't let the holidays be the only time your customers hear it. It is important that you show your appreciation all year long. Strong businesses are built on strong relationships. Showing your customers just how much you appreciate them is a surefire way to maintain their business and loyalty. Not sure how to express it? We've got you covered. Here are three ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Provide sales or special offers:

If you are a B2C company, offering discounts or exclusives to your customers is bound to excite them. Consider providing exclusive or limited edition items to Rewards members, customer appreciation sales, or coupons/promo codes for your store. Our friends at Door County Coffee have really nailed this. They invite their customers to enter in product giveaways and promote sales codes for their customers to purchase their products at a discount.

If you run a B2B company, consider offering referral bonuses to your customers. If they send other businesses your way, offer your clients a percentage off their next purchase or their next service.

Give them content and/or materials to help them succeed:

At DMI, our clients are so much more to us than just a sale and we want them to know it. If you look at your customers with dollar signs in your eyes, or if you are constantly crunching their numbers, your relationship will never flourish. When you work to truly further their success, and not just to make a profit, you can develop a very positive partnership.

For example, our Account Executives often suggest Social Media and Marketing tips and tricks to our clients "on the house" (we also never charge to talk with your AE). By giving advice such as "only post teasers to an article on social media and a link to your website," we can help them develop strong content to boost engagement, grow their following, and drive traffic to their site.

Recognize them on social media:

In our very digital world, there is no better way to give or receive props than on Social Media. When you send a shout out to your customer, you build a stronger relationship with them, you provide them with free advertisement to your followers, and start a conversation with both audiences. Social Media is great not only for giving deserved accolades after an achievement, but is also a great way to promote any upcoming events they have.

We recently promoted an event on our Facebook page that two of our clients had collaborated on. By sharing the Old Glory Honor Flight fundraiser at Polly's Pumpkin Patch, the reach for both organizations was expanded to people who may not have known about the event or what either organization does in the community.

Thank you again to our clients for all the incredible partnerships. We are excited for them to continue growing!

We'd love to know - how do you show your customers your appreciation?

- Comments

Five Elements to Include in Your 2016 Marketing Budget

Oct. 15, 2015 9:48 am

As we near the end of the calendar year, Marketers and business owners everywhere are putting together their budget for 2016. If budgets are created based solely on what had been done the previous year, or on what has been successful in the past, components crucial for marketing success can be left out or forgotten. Especially considering that the marketing scene changes every year. We have the most important things to consider for next year's Marketing budget.

1) Responsive Design

Transitioning your website into a Responsive design is a necessary move for 2016. In April 2015, Google started placing a high value on Responsive design. Translation: websites that are Responsive will receive higher search rankings than sites that are not.

The way your customers use your site should be considered here as well. Every day, more searches are being done on mobile than on desktop. As of March 2015, the number of people browsing the Internet from only mobile devices (11.3%) surpassed those who are online only via desktop (10.6%). If your users have to keep zooming or scrolling to read your content, they will abandon your site to find one that is easier to read on their mobile device.

If you have questions about converting your website to a Responsive design, DMI has a team of web experts who would be happy to answer them for you!

2) Social Media Plan

It is important now more than ever to not only have a social media presence, but to also have a successful strategy for your business. Using social media as part of your online Marketing strategy is the easiest way to communicate your message to the most people and drive traffic directly to your website. Updating your social media plan for 2016 will be a big win for your company.

If you are not currently taking advantage of Facebook campaigns (boosted posts or promoted page ads), it is absolutely something to consider. Using these options, you can target the exact audience you want to reach. Your ads' audience can be filtered by age, gender, location, and interests. With the ability to choose your budget and the duration of the ad, you are still in control of your own content.

If you are looking to grow your social media following and broaden your audience, DMI has a socially-savvy team happy to help!

3) SEO

If there is one thing that Google likes to do, it's keeping Marketers on their toes. Search is constantly evolving, i.e. Panda and Penguin updates that have occurred recently or will be happening soon. As such, Marketers and SEO experts must stay up-to-date with current changes and algorithms to ensure successful search results. Maintaining your site to stay in line with these updates is a must for 2016.

If you have questions on how to keep your business at the top of search results, DMI's Marketing experts would love to chat with you!

4) Showcasing business online

Ok, so you've got your website primed for optimal search results. Now how do you stand out from your competition? One option is to showcase your building through Google 360 View/Business Tours.

This feature is a 360? view virtual tour of your business, of both the interior and exterior of the building. This gives your customers, or potential customers, an insiders' view of your business. It is shown in search results, Google Maps and Google+.

Why is showcasing your building an important piece to consider for 2016? One in five searches are about businesses in specific locations, and most users will research a company or product online before a purchase. Additionally, companies using Google 360 View have seen an increase in engagement and a 20-40% increase in business. 

If you are looking to have an edge over your competition, DMI has a Marketing team ready to help you out!

5) Video

We have become an increasingly visual society, as evidenced by the huge success of platforms like YouTube, Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat. The Millennial generation is a heavy influence of these successes and is growing as an audience. Keeping up with your audience and knowing how and where to reach them is crucial to your success.

Incorporating video into your Marketing strategy is highly encouraged for 2016. In 2014, the amount of videos in Facebook's Newsfeed increased by 3.6 times year-over-year. Videos have the highest engagement rate of any kind of content on social media and allows for a better understanding of the message. The use of video shows an increase in users' understanding of a product by 74%. 

If you need help with any of your online Marketing efforts, we'd love to connect with you!

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The Power of Your Website to Build Brand & Increase Sales

June 24, 2015 11:55 am

Your brand's website is more than a pretty face (maybe it isn't even pretty?  Let's talk.).   Rather, you can use your web presence to build your brand and customer base.  However, this is an intentional process and will not happen on its own.  Read that sentence one more time if you need to, we don't mind.

If you're ready to sink some time and thought into brand building process, you're ready to begin!

What is the goal?

Firstly, let's set the tone for what we're trying to accomplish.  The goal is to make it as easy as possible for customers to approach you and purchase your product/service or to support your cause.  Now, more than in the last decade-plus of online commerce, customers are looking for amazing service and quality products and they want to build relationships (we've all moved beyond the low-cost provider).

>> Regardless of the industry your brand serves, you can use your online presence to build your business.  <<

1.  Begin with existing customers/supporters

How can you increase your SERVICE, QUALITY and RELATIONSHIPS with current customers/supporters?  Today's interactivity makes this easier than ever.  Some ideas are more appropriate depending upon your industry.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:
  • Tweet them a message
  • Send a personal video Thank You message
  • Begin an email list (only email when you have something to say)
  • Create an online survey to gain insights
  • Start a podcast (even if periodic)
  • Blog
  • Have a Facebook contest
  • Share behind-the-scenes photos
  • Send an ecard on special occasions
  • Offer a coupon
  • Answer frequently asked questions online
  • Respond promptly to emails and phone calls
  • Think about the customer process and make one piece better, easier, simpler for customers

2.  Expand to potential customers/supporters

The goal of your online (and offline) efforts should be to make the transition from potential customer to customer as seamless as possible.  How is this done?  By increasing awareness of your SERVICE and QUALITY as well as building RELATIONSHIPS.  Noticing a trend?

>> This step assumes you have a website and that it is mobile-responsive.  If not, focus your efforts here first. <<

Here are a bunch of ideas, categorized:

Build Out Your Website

  • No PDFs - if you have valuable info, put it on a webpage
  • Address common questions on your website
  • Have a Contact Us form and check the email address it sends to regularly
  • Maintain website info - if it is out-dated, get rid of it
  • Add photos of staff, if relevant (remind customers there are actual people behind your brand)
  • Create a Completed Projects section then, set your calendar to regularly update it
  • Add a few testimonials
  • Link to your social media accounts (if brand-related)
  • Set up Google Analytics to track visitors, pages viewed, etc.
  • Only add info and web pages that ADD VALUE to the customer, if not, get rid of it

Step Up Your Communication

A website is a great start, but there are a number of ways to continue to gently welcome web traffic as customers.  The first step here is to think about an action you want potential customers to take that you feel with increase their sense of your brand's SERVICE, QUALITY and RELATIONSHIP.  A few examples might be:
  • Watch a welcome video
  • Take an online tour
  • Fill out a Contact Form
  • Download a white paper
  • Sign up for the email list
  • Purchase a product
  • Schedule a tour

Calls to Action

The last step here is to create Calls to Action throughout the website that encourage web visitors to perform one of the actions listed above.^^  If you're convinced the welcome video is a great way to help visitors learn about your brand (RELATIONSHIP), remind them gently to view the video.  Do so on different pages in different areas.  

When web visitors perform the Call to Action, be sure to collect their email address.  Why?  So you can continue the conversion with an email or follow up phone call.

"Dear XX,
Thank you for taking the time to view our Welcome Video.  I'd love to send you a brochure about our brand's offering.  It contains information on our brand as well as pricing.  If you'd like the brochure, simply email me back."

Take Aways

If all of this song-and-dance sounds familiar, that's because it is.  This is the very same way we build relationships offline (friendships, a first date, etc.)  We get to know someone and then extend the conversion through dinner parties, meetings, emails or phone calls, etc.

Now, we're simply using technology to extend the relationship experience to a much broader audience--one with global reach.  Email, social media, texting, websites and a variety of media help brands build relationships with people they would never come across in their day-to-day lives.  

The steps we take as we get to know someone, slowly revealing more information about ourselves or simply sharing who we are, is the same we should take as a brand.  

Note, there are many people behind every brand.  And, there are many people who are helped by many brands.  Brands and businesses and companies and industries all serve people.  Therefore, our interactions should always be mindful of the person on the other end of the transaction.

In your efforts, think about communicating your brand's SERVICE and QUALITY and work to build RELATIONSHIPS through a variety of actions online and offline.  The result will be a stronger brand and that leads to stronger sales.

If the ideas and tips sound like something you'd like to act on, but you're not sure where to start, we'd be happy to lend an ear to discuss a path forward for your brand.  

^see what we did there?  

Best of luck as you build your brand!

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The *Why* of Web Design

Mar. 18, 2015 8:16 pm

Life moves at the speed of light, it seems. Meetings, commitments, travel, family and friends all have our attention, and it's a constant stream of movement. Often, we must remind ourselves to stop and ask an important question: "Why?"

Web Design is no different. There are features and apps and content management and blogging and social media and, if we're not careful, we'll careen from one to the next without ever stopping to ask "Why?"
Why add a new feature to your website? 
Why update the design?  
Why social media?  
Why add an "under construction" page?  
Why create an app?  
Why enter into a new social media website? 

If you're about to do anything to your brand's website, social media or online presence, be sure you know the "Why?"

Some good reasons to move forward:
  • This feature will bring value to my customers 
  • This information will help customers make a decision 
  • This action will build positive relationships with my audience 
  • This update will strengthen our brand 
 Some reasons to pass on a project:
  • There is some white space we'd like to fill
  • Everybody else has this feature/app/presence
  • We aren't ready to launch, but should put something online
  • This is how we've always done it 

The Effects of "I don't know why," Syndrome 

Maybe you're too busy to be troubled with "Why?" Maybe you've always done things a certain way. Whatever the case may be, if you don't stop to evaluate the "Why?" you may be left with:
  • Indecision
  • Uncertainty
  • Desire to chase flashy objects and features
  • Erratic projects, initiatives and work
  • Difficulty explaining the project/initiative
  • Low return on investment
  • Loss of business 
 You'd never get into your car if you didn't have a destination. Otherwise, how would you ever know if you've arrived? The same is true of web projects. Are you meeting goals you've set? How will you ever know unless you first set the goals?

The "Why?" of web design is more important then the "How?" because logistics can always be worked out later.

If you're at a point where you need to nail down your "Why?" block off a time to commit to brainstorming by yourself or those most vested in the initiative. At the end of the session, you'll know full well if it's an initiative you should continue with or if you're simply chasing windmills. 

We'd prefer you leave that to the works of fiction.

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4 Lessons from Apple on Running Your Business

Oct. 14, 2014 12:04 pm

Looking to improve your business?  Finding a mentor in biz and in life is difficult to do.  A brand should always be challenging itself and growing.  Successful stories are essential in showing us the direction we should go.

If you're in need of a mentor, check out some of the secrets to Apple's success and how they can translate to you:

1.  Know what you do best; do it better than anyone else

Whether you're a restaurant or a tech startup or any brand in-between, this absolutely applies!  It is so easy to add new products or services because there *may* be money, or a market, or opportunity there.  But if a brand is pushing themselves out of their core competency, they may be risking too much for perceived new income.

An example:  Ever head of a Mexican restaurant that sell hamburgers and chocolate shakes?  And cheese cake?  Maybe people say they'd like to see it on the menu.  Maybe the chef does make a good cheese cake.  But before adding anything new, scrutinize if it is within your brand's true identity.  Or are you simply stretching to become all things to all people?

Lesson from Apple:  Apple creates products products within only four categories:  computers, phones, tablets and personal devices.  That's it.  They're not creating high-tech blenders or calculators.  They know what they do better than anyone else, and stick to those categories.

2.  Be customer-centric

This adage works whether you're selling a product or a service or a little bit of both.  The economy is shifting away from consumers who are entirely price conscious.  Consumers want to get a great price, but they're willing to spend more for a top-notch experience.

An example:  Say you are a clothing boutique that has a solid base of loyal customers.  Why not branch out and seek ways to further serve them?  Maybe partner with a high-end hair salon for loyalty rewards?  Or, find a great niche shoe store that would be a great fit with your customers.  Find a way to go above and beyond and make your customer's experience something to remember.  Have you thought to ask your customers how you can improve?

Lesson from Apple: Apple was the first to come out with computers in different colors.  Apple was the first to come out with an MP3 player that was so-very-much-more.  The tech behemoth tries to envision what their customers would want and then go a step or a leap past those expectations:  always go one better.

3.  Listen to the public; but don't become a slave to them

It is important to listen to what your customers and the public in general, say about your product or service, or a product/service in the same category as yours.  Though you should never become always-shifting and changing as public opinion morphs.

An example:  We'll journey back to the Mexican restaurant that serves hamburgers and shakes.  Maybe they had a few customers that claimed they would like to see these on the menu.  Maybe other Mexican restaurants are going in the same direction.  Before adding items that are not in your core competency to your line-up, a lot of soul-searching is required.  Is this the best decision in the long run?  Is this the best representation of our brand?

Lesson from Apple:  Prior to every product launch, news outlets love to interview people to find out what they'd like to see in the new iPhone or iPad.  Some of the suggestions make sense.  Some are obviously way too out there.  For example, an infrared camera to see in the dark.  Or, apps to control household appliances.  Maybe these things will be important in the future, but right now, they would be features very few would use and value.

4.  Price for value

Pricing of a product/service is always a difficult subject.  The best route is to price for value, whenever possible.

An example:  Sales are booming at your marketing firm, though you've had a few comments that pricing could be lower.  After all, your competitors offer lower prices.  And free coffee mugs.  It is important not to get caught up slashing prices.  If your customers see the value of your offering, then price should not be their primary concern.  There will always be a lower-price option out there.  If they are beginning to think about pricing, maybe it's time to reevaluate the level of value you are giving.

Lesson from Apple:  While there is a flurry of low-price competitors in the marketplace, Apple's products remain priced for value.  Many people complain about the price of a new phone, but Apple has a strong grip on marketshare across all of their product categories.


We bet you never thought you could draw so many parallels between your brand and Apple.  The tech giant has a lot to teach us about doing business smarter.  We just need to take the time to listen.

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5 For Friday featuring iOS 8, IPO fortunes and a vote that may have been influenced by social media.

Sept. 18, 2014 11:30 pm

Five quick links you don't want to miss before your weekend.

1.  iOS 8 is Here

What's so great about iOS 8?  We've come across a collection of links on the web that might show you why it's the bees-knees.  Here's how to become an iOS 8 Master.  Feel like 007 with these Secret Features of iOS 8.  And 25 Reasons iOS 8 is better than iOS 7.  Hope these tips make you feel more at home with the updated operating system.

2.  DIY Credit

Home Depot's security breach of over 56 million credit cards is on a larger scale than last year's Target security snafu.  Somebody tell them they need more than a hammer and nails to secure their credit card transactions!  Be sure to take some time to see if there is any suspicious activity on your card if you shopped at the Depot in the last year.

3.  An IPO to Dream About

Alibaba's IPO this week was hugely successful, raising $21.8 billion and a price per share at $68.  That's better than a genie in a bottle!  The stock sale could signal that the Chinese Internet industry may become the largest in the world.

4.  Social Media Informs Voters

Scotland's vote this week to possibly secede from the United Kingdom is the fruit of an era where the Internet helps to inform and convince voters.   Integrating technology in a more meaningful way since 2007 really paved the way for the referendum vote.  Imagine if Braveheart used Instagram and Twitter.

5.  Inspiring Your Weekend

Here's a quote from one of our hometown favorites.  Have a great weekend!

We'd love to connect with you on Facebook.

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7 Sources of Content for Your Small Business Website

June 9, 2014 8:39 pm

Finding inspiration for your small business website is not as scary as that blinking cursor on your blank Word document.  Take a quick look at your small business and you'll find more web-worthy information than you imagined.   Here are a few places to check out:

1. Your Past

Your small business is working hard every day.  Don't forget that you're creating and producing and moving forward along the way.  Display that hard work on your website.  Showcase your products or services or the effects of your products and services for the world to see.  The proof of your biz is in the pudding.  And people want a taste!

2.  Your Future

Things are happening all the time at your business.  People want to know.  Whether it's via a company blog, Facebook updates on your website or an Instagram feed, your brand's future is a great source of content for your small business website.

3.  Your Salesforce

Whether you have a sales team or if you are a team of one, salespeople are a great source of website content.  Every day customers and potential customers are asking questions.  Create a small answer bank on your website of the most common questions and their answers. 

4.  Make It Easy

Visualize your small business website as a pathway to your front door.  Every piece of information and assistance you can lend can help a customer along that path, making it easy for them to walk through your door.  What insights and information can you make available to help potential customers along?  What can you offer to make it easy to purchase from your brand?  Maybe a free sample.  Maybe a free consultation.  Maybe a slideshow about how your product or service will make their life better.  Make it easy for them to walk through the door and purchase from you!

5.  Directions and Hours

Nothing is more frustrating than heading out to shop or getting around to making a phone call and not reaching the person you intended.  At the very least, provide basic information about your business.  Where are you located?  What are your hours?  How do I get to your door?  At the very best, you could provide contact details for all of the employees at your small business.  Again, make it easy to do business with your brand.

6.  Show Us Behind the Curtain

Many of us revel in the deleted scenes and outtakes from our beloved DVD collections.  Brands are finding out that their customers are just as captive as an audience.  What does a team brain storm look like?  How high up did you have to hang an outdoor sign today?  How happy is that couple that you just took engagement photos of?  Your small business is an expert in your field.  So, show us!

7.  Don't Forget Your Off-Line Marketing

If you've spent money on a great new brochure, put it on your website.  There are amazing online options that make flipping through a brochure or catalog as enjoyable as real life.  Did you just put up a clever billboard in town?  Take a photo and add it to your Instagram or Flickr feed.  If you are spending money on marketing somewhere, put it online and maximize your money.  


If you need a little help or a lot of help on your small business website, we'd love to connect with you!

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Why Your Website Needs to be Mobile

May 12, 2014 10:14 am

Your small business or community now has a website.  That's great!  It's supremely important that you have a web presence.

But, we need to ask you, have you looked at your website on a mobile phone or tablet?

The results may surprise you.  If consumers need to do a lot of scrolling and zooming in and out to navigate your website, they will probably just leave in search of a mobile-friendly resource.  If you sell online, how does the shopping cart process look and feel on these mobile devices? If your website is not translating well on mobile devices, it can cost you sales. Not convinced?

Mobile Shopping While In-Store

Check out this survey from a Cincinatti-based card processor, Vintiv.  The group found significant increases during the past year in the number of consumers that research and purchase right from their mobile device, while they are in-store.  It's hard to believe that we're making in-store purchases right from our devices!

Shoppers who paid for products in stores with tablets: 33%
Shoppers who paid for products in stores with smart phone apps: 11%

Shoppers who paid for products in stores with tablets: 19%
Shoppers who paid for products in stores with smart phone apps: 2%

Mobile Shopping Overall

The major increase in mobile shopping is, of course, directly related to the number of people carrying these devices around with them.  You'd be hard-pressed to name someone in your circle of family and friends that DOES NOT have a smartphone or tablet.

Who is shopping on their smartphones and tablets?
30% of 18-to-34-year-olds
29% of 35-to-54-year-olds
14% of those over 55 years old

How Much Money are We Talking About?

We're talking about a major online sales!  Goldman Sachs projects that U.S. retail sales directly on smartphones will more than double from $70 billion this year to $173 billion by 2018. Similarly, tablet sales will more than triple from $130 billion this year to $453 billion in 2018.

Moving Forward

We think you now realize the opportunity in front of you.  Just as the major players in retail changed with the advent of online shopping, the major players can once again shift with regards to the mobile experience.  How can you move forward?

1.  Can Consumers Find You?

The first step in many shopping experiences is simply setting foot in your business.  When searching on a device, can people get quick and accurate directions to your door?  Also, do you offer a sampling of what your business is like?  Photos of the great food or product selection can entice shoppers to visit you rather than the competition.

2.  The Mobile Experience

It's time to simply look at your website on a variety of devices.  Borrow your friend's Android device and your nephew's iPhone.  Conduct a test purchase transaction on an iPad.  The ultimate question:  Is it a good experience?  Easy to navigate.  Easy to put items into the shopping cart.  Easy to swap out product features?  Consumers are looking for enjoyable experiences when they shop.  Make.  It.  Easy.

3.  The In-Store Experience

Can you offer a unique in-store experience?  A number of businesses are capturing the in-store device browsing by offering:
  • A QR code that is scanned in-store for a special coupon
  • Specific shopping apps to allow customers self-checkout
  • Special offers by text message
  • Offering more purchase options online than in-store
The time to become mobile-friendly is now!  While the process seems daunting, it doesn't need to be. The focus is on making the process to buy from you, research about you, or enter your door, easy and enjoyable.  



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Outdated or Here Another Year? - Website Features

Jan. 14, 2014 3:18 pm

Website features, like anything else, come and go with differing fads and fashions.  Does your website have a feature you should hang on to?  Or a feature that you should get rid of?

Recently. Mashable asked 12 entrepreneurs for their opinion on web trends and features.
We read their ideas and had a few thoughts to share.

Homepage Sliders

What is it:  A slide-show of images and/or text that automatically rotates through.  Viewers can also click through all of the tabs.

Keep it or Trash it:  We currently produce a number of sites that use this feature.  Why do we love it?  It gives your web visitor a quick run though the hot-topics on your website.  In our visual-heavy culture, a combination of images and text can send a message faster than just text.

We say, keep it!

Stock Photos

What is it:  Getty revolutionized websites with the availability of a stock photo of pretty much anything and everything.

Keep it or Trash it:  If you don't have any proprietary photography that will work well, a stock photo may be your best bet.  However, web consumers are becoming more brand-loyal and they like to know the faces and places behind those brands.

We say, use stock photos only when necessary!

Animated Gifs

What is it:  In this case, a picture is worth 1,000 words.
Keep it or Trash it:  This fad went out over 10 years ago.  The American flag is a beautiful thing!  Just put a nice, small graphic of the flag on your site and leave it at that.

We say, keep the flag, get rid of the animation!

Reloading Pages

What is it:  As you navigate along a website, the menu, sidebar and footer don't need to be reloaded, necessarily.  Just the content in the middle of the page would need change.

Keep it or Trash it:  This is a must keep.  If you ever want to send a customer to a specific page or product, then each page really needs their own unique address.  Also, search engines love to crawl pages on your website.  Make it easy for Google to find your site and index all of its information.

We say, keep it!

Mobile Websites

What is it:  A separate website just for mobile devices.

Keep it or Trash it:  Responsive websites are becoming more of a necessity with increasing web use on tablets and cell phones.  If you've got an elaborate website, a separate mobile site may actually be easier for your audience to navigate.

We say, go responsive if you can.  If not, be sure to have a separate mobile-ready website.


What is it:  The 250-300 pixels along the side(s) of a website.

Keep it or Trash it:  If you utilize sidebars on your website, be sure all of the information you put there is necessary and not simply taking up space.  If you choose to go without, be sure your web site content has large margins.  What's a good rule of thumb for text width?  Your text should be no wider than it takes to list out the alphabet three times.  Any more and it is difficult for the eyes to track.

We say, do what delivers the most value!

Hit Counter

What is it: 
Keep it or Trash it:  Please let the "hit counter" go the way of the floppy disk.  But do delve into your website's stats to see how many visitors you've had, what the top search terms were for your website and other valuable information.  Please note:  hits are no longer being tracked.

We say, trash it!


What website elements do you think should be a thing of the past?  We'd love to have you join the conversation on Facebook!

- Comments

What the Top Apps of 2013 Say About Us

Dec. 30, 2013 9:46 am

If you're like us, you've downloaded and used a number of different apps this year.  Apple recently revealed the top apps downloaded in 2013 from their App Store.  Here's the list:

Top Free iPhone
  1. Candy Crush Saga    
  2. YouTube
  3. Temple Run 2
  4. Vine
  5. Google Maps
  6. Snapchat
  7. Instagram
  8. Facebook
  9. Pandora Radio
  10. Despicable Me: Minion Rush 

Top Paid iPhone
  1. Minecraft - Pocket Edition   
  2. Heads Up!
  3. Temple Run: Oz   
  4. Angry Birds Star Wars
  5. Plague Inc.
  6. Afterlight
  7. Free Music Download Pro - Mp3 Downloader
  8. Bloons TD 5
  9. Sleep Cycle alarm clock
  10. Plants vs. Zombies 

Top Free iPad
  1. Candy Crush Saga    
  2. YouTube
  3. Temple Run 2    
  4. Calculator for iPad Free
  5. Skype for iPad
  6. Netflix
  7. Despicable Me: Minion Rush    
  8. iBooks
  9. Facebook
  10. The Weather Channel for iPad

Top Paid iPad
  1. Minecraft - Pocket Edition 
  2. Pages
  3. Temple Run: Oz  
  4. Plants vs. Zombies HD    
  5. Angry Birds Star Wars HD    
  6. Notability
  7. Angry Birds Star Wars II    
  8. iMovie
  9. The Room
  10. Bad Piggies HD

What do these apps reveal about us?


Minecraft, Temple Run, Despicable Me: Minion Rush, Candy Crush Saga, Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies, The Room, Bad Piggies--our smart devices are gaming devices, no doubt.  Whether we're waiting in the terminal before catching a flight or taking a breather on a stressful day, a quick gaming break may be just what the doctor ordered.

Smart device games are typically broken up into short, challenging levels.  This makes them fun to play and figure out yet easy to set down and come back to later.  Perfect for killing time.

The increase in gaming downloads also confirms that many parents use their smart devices to occupy kids on car rids, airplane flights or trips to grandma's house.  As much as we love our devices, our kids might love them even more than we do.  


Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Vine, -- sharing is second nature.  When we're at a movie, on a vacation or just having dinner with friends, most of us love to tell the world about it.  

While we're increasingly connected, there may be a bit of an illusion of friendships here.  It will continue to be a struggle to engage with people in real life, just as has been an issue since the beginning of human kind--people be messy.  These social media tools are a wonderful way to be connected, but we can always put more time and energy into the relationships we truly value.


Pages, Notability, Skype for iPad, --our devices are mobile offices.  We can work when we want, where we want and how we want.  Meetings, brainstorms and updates can be done on the fly.

We can take work with us.  This is a major advantage when we want to live a little.  Taking a vacation and not falling behind; attending a birthday party and not missing an important email; and staying up-to-the minute are all benefits of the smart device generation.  For some people this can be liberating.  For others, this can be a stressful situation.  The key is to find the balance that works the best for you,  so you can be fully engaged at work and in your personal life.


Instagram, iMovie, Afterlight, --our devices capture our lives.  Many people no longer take a separate digital camera.  We rely on the accessibility and convenience of our phones and tablets, as they're never too far away from us.  

While these devices can take great snaps and pics, we all need to remember to back up our photos, or risk losing them when our phones break, fail or are misplaced.   Also, a good quality digital camera may be preferable when we're capturing truly important moments.  It's easy to overestimate the photo quality of our favorite device.  


Weather Channel, Sleep Cycle, Netflix, YouTube, Google Maps, Pandora -- our devices are our BFFs.  In bed, in the bathroom, at work and at play, our smart devices never far away.  We've come to rely on them for entertainment, information, normal every-day use.  When we lose or break a smart device we feel like a part of us is missing.  That's because a trusted tool relied upon every day is missing or not working properly.

While we rely on our devices, we must remember that they won't work properly without some proper care.  Backups, taking along power cords, and handling them with a bit of care are all important parts of the smart device relationship, so to speak.  We can lose valuable photos, information and contacts if we're not a little bit proactive.  That way, when a new, shiny model comes out, we won't be so invested in our current model that there's a fear to upgrade.  Or replace one that fell in the toilet.


What do your apps say about you?  We'd love to hear your thoughts over on Facebook!

- Comments

How to Unplug

Oct. 28, 2013 11:50 am

As people who love the web, technology and our mobile phones, we readily admit that we're plugged in.  All.  The.  Time.  However, this can lead to information overload.  Or a sense of never really focusing on who we're with or where we're at.

What are The Symptoms?

Taking a retreat from your phone, laptop or tablet may be in order if:
  • Each time your phone chirps you absolutely HAVE to check it.  Resistance is futile.
  • Your Facebook friends know what you're doing, thinking and eating throughout the day.  Every day.
  • You've blown-up your significant other's phone because they haven't responded.  You've given them 30-seconds to do so.
  • You see a person in real life and can't connect with them.  You'll Facebook them instead.
  • You frequently stop talking with the person in front of you in order to check your phone.
  • Eating a meal without checking your phone is uncommon.  
  • Your typical response times to email is 3-seconds.
  • Your children recognize your obsession and rush to bring your phone to you each time it beeps, rumbles or squawks.  

How to Unplug

If you've reached your critical max for online-associations, here are some ideas to help you unplug.

1.  Decide how long you'll unplug.  Maybe just an hour?  A day?  A weekend?  Decide what's best for you given your current projects and commitments (no sense unplugging to relax and losing your job over it).

2.  Make it easy to do.  Maybe set a timer if you're looking for a 1-hour break.  Put your phone on silent so you don't hear every email that lands in your inbox.  Turn off your laptop and put it away.  Shut off your desktop computer and put a Post-It reminder on it that you're taking a break.  If you're unplugging for a longer period of time, be sure to respond to all important emails and possibly set up an auto-email responder to let interested parties know when you'll be available again.

3.  Focus away from technology.  You have a life outside of technology--trust us!  Plan a date night, go see a movie, pack a picnic or a day-trip.  Focus on people and places rather than what's happening online.

When you've completed your break, be sure to Facebook us because we're dying to know how it went.


Here's a great info-graphic we found about unplugging (HT: :

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5 Web Design Tips from the Redesign

Aug. 26, 2013 8:00 am

Image courtesy of Fast Company
Want to know what a $15 million website redesign looks like? is planning to unveil their brand-new website in November, and they've tweaked the homepage, the mobile experience and the back-end of their website all in an effort to redefine readers' experience.

There are a number of tips from their major website overhaul that translate to any website--no matter the budget.

Be Responsive

More people are accessing the web via a mobile device everyday.  With faster phones and data streaming speeds, looking something up on the web is becoming a natural part of daily life.  Whether it's checking in on Facebook or researching area restaurants, mobile customers are a huge source of web traffic.

"Desktop [traffic] is flat. It's aging," KC Estenson, general manager of said. "Mobile growth [is] off the chart."
Currently, garners about 39% of their total traffic from mobile devices--a figure they expect will only increase.


Check your website stats.  What percent of total traffic is from a mobile device (phones and tablets)?  You may be surprised.  Now, check out your website on a few mobile devices.  What is the experience like?

Update Your Color Scheme is known for using the color red in their logo as making red a major player in their color palette.  The new design will maintain the red logo, but the color scheme will be darker and more dramatic.  Then, as news stories are more pressing and urgent, the colors change to become more urgent--a brighter background with a red headline.


Seriously revisit the colors used on your website.  How long have you been using them?  Is it time to introduce a new feeling or theme using color?  However, be sure to keep the brand consistent (aka - don't mess the logo unless you're looking to update it across the board).

Streamline the Back End is looking to make the process of adding a news story to their website easier and quicker for their contributors.  In addition, the process of publishing a story to the web and mobile devices will be streamlined.  Finally, readers can tag stories and recieve updates and view articles of a similar nature.


What current website features have become cumbersome or unenjoyable?  Is it due to a process that is too clunky or time consuming?  An update to the back end of a website is more costly, but the time, effort and tears saved may make the project entirely worthwhile.  

Big Photos

The new will feature more photos.  And, the more pressing the news story, the larger the photos.


Web viewers are becoming more visual with websites like Pinterest capturing much of their time.  Is there an area of your website that could benefit from larger photos?  If your shutter skills are rusty or you rely on your smartphone for website imagery, it may be time to up your game.  Consider hiring a professional or honing your photography skills.  Either way, remember that a picture is worth 1,000 words.


The ability to tag news stories is going to be huge.  If visitors to tag a human interest story, the website will then suggest other, similar stories in an effort to make the website as personalized as possible.


Are there similar ways you can present a personal experience for your web visitors?  It can be as simple as an email suggesting similar products when a customer completes a purchase or as sophisticated as delivering content based on their viewing preferences.  Another way to personalize your brand is to respond to commenters on social media and blogs.


No matter the budget, there are a number of lessons appropriate for any website in the $15 million redesign of  What are your thoughts?  We'd love for you to pop over to our Facebook page and fill us in!


To read more about the redesign, check out the following news stories:

Fast Company

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Innovate like Marissa Mayer

Aug. 8, 2013 8:38 pm

Marissa Mayer's strategic plan for innovation at Yahoo! has been to acquire 20 start-ups in just over a year.  Sometimes she did this to acquire technology and sometimes it was the people behind the tech that caught her eye.

Your small business may not have the assets that Yahoo! has to "Innovate through Acquisition" but that doesn't mean you should just forget about innovative thinking entirely.  

How can your business innovate like Melissa Mayer?

1.  Acquire New Blood

One way to acquire innovative ideas and skills is to invest in people.  Hiring someone new to be a part of a group that has worked together for a long time may be a great way to raise the bar.  

When looking for someone to add to your staff, set your sights high and look for someone that is driven and creative--no matter if they are a programmer or a customer service rep.  Exceptional people are out there!  You just need to actively find them.

2.  Invest in Your Employees

When was the last time you sprung for the sales team to attend a leadership seminar?  Or funded your IT team to attend a conference?  Nothing gets people fired up more than spending time with innovative thinkers.  When was the last time you made that possible for your team?  

Exceptional conferences and dynamic events are out there!  You need to actively find them!  (noticing a trend?)

3.  Break the Mold

Staff development seems like a running joke.  Team building and trust exercises might be your thing, but your staff probably isn't looking for something along those lines.  How about taking your team to a movie?  Or buying everyone lunch--and then enjoying lunch together as a team.  

Friend your employees on Facebook or follow them on Twitter to see what their interests are and then foster those interests.  Maybe a bunch of them like zombie movies.  Maybe a family picnic is more their style.  Whatever it is, seek out an opportunity to thank your employees for their dedication and hard work.  You'd be surprised how different Monday morning will be.

4.  Become an Active Listener

While you may be the CEO of your small business, your faithful employees probably have valuable ideas of their own.  One of the most difficult things for a business owner to do is to keep their opinions and justifications to themselves while employees are talking about their desires, dreams and visions for your company.  After all, the company is your baby, we get that.  But you're all bringing up baby together.  Often, the best results come from collaboration.  

Ideas, opinions, and dreams can be explored and it doesn't mean your business won't be the same anymore.  Dare to listen to your staff.  The results just may surprise you.

5.  Go Outside

When working on your business and brand is a full-time job, sometimes, it can blur your view of things.  Nothing helps clear vision like an outsider's point of view.  You see the same walls, the same signage, the same processes everyday and may overlook them all.  But, to an outsider, everything is new.  They may help you to see inconsistencies in your product, your service or your brand.  Seek out outsiders and welcome their ideas.


Marissa Mayer's innovative thinking is really shaking things up for Yahoo!  Innovative thinking can really help your business to succeed.  Are you ready to take the plunge?  We'd love to hear about it on our Facebook page.

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Search Privacy - An Education from DuckDuckGo

July 22, 2013 8:00 am

With the recent news about PRISM (government access to US Citizen's search information), would you make the switch to a search engine that promises privacy?

DuckDuckGo is a search engine whose privacy policy is they do not share any searches with third-party sites or store user data.  In the weeks since the major news stories on PRISM, DuckDuckGo has seen a major up-tick in searches and traffic, although, the surge is certainly not a threat to major search engines like Google.  However, this is not their goal.  The goal at DuckDuckGo is to provide a private search experience for those on the internet that are concerned about such things.

In addition to being a search engine, there are a number of insights you can learn from this private search engine.

1.  What Are Search Engines Tracking?

DuckDuckGo has a neat graphical explanation of exactly what search engines track and why you see the same or similar ads across a variety of websites.  If you've ever wondered what all the fuss regarding PRISM is all about, it's worth a minute to read through it.

2.  How Can I Stop Some of It?

It's impossible to stop every website from tracking information about your searches.  Though, you can lessen the effects.  DuckDuckGo offers great insight about improving you're browser's privacy settings and tools that prevent third-party tracking.

3.  Do I Live in a Bubble?

One last issue DuckDuckGo discusses is what they call the "filter bubble".  What is this bubble?  It's your past clicks, searches and purchases all stored by search engines to create your perceived preferences.  When a new search is performed, the engines use that bubble of reference to give you the results the engine thinks you'd prefer.  So, your results for a search term or phrase may differ from your Mom's, your best friend's, or the guy sitting in the cube next to you--all because of this "bubble" of data you've created.

At lunch today, why not do a quick test while dining with coworkers?  Pick a common search term and see if/how search results vary on the same search engine given each person's "bubble".  We'd love to hear about it over at our Facebook page!  Are the results quite different?  

4.  Tools

DuckDuckGo has a ton of neat tools to quickly find whatever you're searching for.  What to know how many calories are in a bagel with cream cheese?  Need a strong password that is at least 7 characters?  Need to convert currencies?  There are a ton of fun, useful tools to be found here.  

5.  Search

Of course, DuckDuckGo is also a search engine.  Why not give it a try for a few days?  Upon our initial queries, it doesn't seem to be as comprehensive as a Google or Bing search.  However, it is nice to have alternatives when Google or Bing don't find what you need.  We'd love to hear your thoughts!


Care to read a bit more?

SearchEngineLand has an article on why DuckDuckGo is no threat to Google.

Here's a different take on DuckDuckGo and private search engines courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle.

DuckDuckGo's Wikipedia article.

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Facebook Hashtags on Personal Profiles

July 12, 2013 9:58 am

How do Facebook hashtags affect your personal profiles?  Many businesses and pages can be seen
rolling out hashtags with their updates, photos and statuses, but what does this mean for personal profiles?  It seems a number of people are asking.  We'll help clear up any confusion.

1.  Who can see my hashtags?

For public pages, anyone can see updates marked with hashtags.  However, for personal profiles,
Facebook always looks at the setting on the status update.  If it is marked "Friends", only your friends will see the posts with hashtags.  However, if your status update is marked "Public" anyone will be able to see it.

Takeaway:  Your statuses privacy setting always trumps the hashtag.

2.  What are hashtags for?

Hashtags are a way to mark a status update with a category or description.  For example, if you've posted a picture of your summer vacation, you could mark the post with #summervacation.  Then, your friends can easily click on the hashtag and view all of your #summervacation updates, photos and more, with one click.  Think of it as a social-version of labeling your updates.

3.  Beware of becoming a hashtag-a-holic.

Once you begin, you may quickly learn to enjoy tagging updates.  You may feel more social media savvy than your 16 year old niece.  While the goal of tagging updates is to add to Facebook's social atmosphere, please be cautioned that you could make your friends upset with you in real time.

Here are a few tips to keep you from losing your friends:

Tip:  Avoid long tags

Hashtags are fun and even a bit useful.  However, please remember that a run-on of more than three words is difficult to read.


That one is easy to read and even adds to a post.


This one is more cumbersome and has less of an impact - there is really no reason to use that tag as it's probably not relevant to anyone other than you.  But, it can be fun to use once in a while.


Woah!  Slow down slugger.  Tags with more than three words are difficult to read and your friends will soon hate you with a passion if each of your updates come with one (or more!) of these bad boys.  Remember the whole point of Facebook is being social.  Don't pull out a whopper of a tag and expect all of your friends to read your updates with willingness and anticipation.  You're not a celebrity.  Yet.

Tip:  No more than 3

We wouldn't recommend using more than three tags to a status update.  While tagging updates is a ton of fun, the goal isn't to make anyone's eye's gloss over looking at the long list of hashtags that accompany your update.

Choose three of the most relevant tags you can think of and always remember your audience.  No one likes a person that tags more than a graffiti artist.  Keep it in control.

#hopeyoulikedthattip  #thinkyoucanagree #toomanytagsaretoomanytags #yougetthepoint


Tip:  Kick it up a notch

Be smart when tagging your updates.  If you've got a class reunion coming up, tag the updates, photos and posts with the same tag all of the time.  Your classmates may catch on and it can quickly become a great way to share everyone's content under one tag.

The hashtag should be easy to read and remember.  If you see other's posting content about the class reunion, encourage them to use the hashtag.  There are many Facebook users that still don't understand what hashtags are all about.  Once they see tags in action, they'll never forget.


The point of all this is to have fun on Facebook and enjoy one more neat feature.  The second point is not to become frenemies with those that follow your Facebook feed.  Remember your audience when posting, updating and tagging.

Be social!

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Hashtags on Facebook - 3 Tips for Business

July 1, 2013 10:38 am

Hashtags have crossed over from Twitter to Facebook.  Remember when spam emails were just catching on?  Email marketers would use every trick in the book to get you to open their email.  Hashtags can have a similar "spammy" look to your posts on Facebook if you're not careful.

So, how can you best harness hashtags for your brand?

1.  Be Relevant

Hashtags are best used when they're specific to your brand.  Remember, the hashtags you use can then be clicked upon by your audience.  So, be sure to tag posts with words you want your brand associated with.
  • Investigate industry-related hashtags
  • Think about obvious connections
  • Do a quick search before you tag your post - be sure you want to be associated with the content that's presented in the search results.
How to - If you're a local restaurant and it's 90 degrees outside, you could post a shot of your trademark dessert along with the hashtag's #dessert #icecream #summer.

Here you've used relevant terms customer's can associate with your restaurant/dessert.  At the same time, you haven't narrowed the hashtags down so much that no one in their right mind would search Facebook for those terms.  You've hit the hashtag sweet spot!

2.  Easy Does It

Hashtags seem to be like potato chips: some people think you can't just use one.  While one or two or even three hashtags may best fit with your Facebook post, remember to value your reader's time.  A post with way too many hashtags is annoying to read.  Most likely, your readers will just scroll away from whatever you've just shared.
  • Try not to use more than three hashtags
  • Only use hashtags with obvious connections to what you post
How to - That local restaurant with a photo of their dessert shouldn't use every summer and dessert-related tag they can think of:  #ilovesummer #dessertisthebestpart #savedthebestforlast.  If you find yourself tagging posts like you're a proud scrapbook Mom, it may be time to step away from the keyboard

Instead, keep your tagging to a limit of three.  Remember, your business page should be enjoyable for your audience to read.  It should not be a brag-fest or so convoluted that it becomes an annoyance.

3.  Be Consistent

If you've begun using a hashtag on your page, try to use it consistently.  That way, your audience will be familiar with it and more apt to click on it to view all of your posts (as well as other public posts) with that tag.
  • Keep a short list of regularly-used hashtags
  • Be on the lookout for other relevant hashtags to add to your list
  • Use the same hashtag across platforms--Google+, Instagram and Twitter
How to - Your local restaurant could use the same hashtags all summer long to feature your desserts.   Maybe post a different dessert each week using a few of the same tags: #summer #dessert and one specific tag, if relevant: #chocolate.


Hashtags are just one more way to make your posts fun and relevant on Facebook.  Give them a try on your brand's page and then tell us how it goes!

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How to get a Clear Picture of Your Customers

June 20, 2013 9:09 pm

Website statistics, online marketing campaigns, tweets, hang-outs and followers all tell a story; the story of your customer.  What they like, what they don't, what they respond to and what they ignore--it's all there.

With all of the data from these efforts residing in different places, how can you, as an online retailer, see the big picture?  Retail Intelligence is the answer.

Retail Intelligence is the science of knowing all about your customer.
Retail Intelligence is the process of working with your web team to integrate tracking information throughout your efforts.  Whether it's a post on Facebook, a share on twitter or a campaign on Google, your efforts can be measured.  Each time a potential customer clicks on your link, you can see which pages they view, for how long and whether they completed the checkout process or not.

The Goals

1.  Which efforts are working?

No business can afford to spend time or money on marketing efforts that have no ROI.  By taking a comprehensive view of each effort, you'll know which are worth your time and which you should dump.

2.  Anticipate your customer's needs/wants

Maybe you have a rock star product that many customers purchase alongside another product.  How about setting up a follow up email to suggest it?  Maybe a customer placed items in their cart but left before completing the checkout process.  An email reminder a few days later might just be the prompting they need to complete their order.  

These are just a few of the options for increasing sales and your customer's happiness.  Excellent customer service is becoming a new equalizer in online retail.  Those sites that have it, will succeed.  Those that don't will be lost along the way.

The Metrics

So now you're wondering what efforts can be measured?  The possibilities are as limited as your imagination.  Here are a few we'd suggest:

  • Social Media 
  • Email Newsletters
  • Blog Posts
  • Online Marketing Efforts (keywords, etc)
  • Entry and Exit Pages
  • Pages Most Likely to Convert
  • Popular Products and Services

By bringing together the data from the varied sources of your efforts, you'll begin to see the story of your customer.  Is he frustrated or happy with your website, products and services?  Or, is there room to improve?  

Armed with the story of your customer, you'll be better able to create an intelligent vision for fine tuning your operations.


Retail Intelligence is a comprehensive information gathering process.  If it's something you feel your online business could benefit from, we'd love to mine the data for you.  Contact us to learn more!

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Tales from the Script - Vol. 1

May 23, 2013 9:50 pm

You've got a website.  It's been working hard for you for years, and it's time for a redesign.  When you approach your web design agency and they claim you don't own the code.  Chills run down your spine as you recall the investment you put into that site--time, money, sweat, frustration.  It was all gone now.

Determined not to be fooled again, you choose a new company to work with.  Once again, you go through the process of creating a website *from scratch*.  The planning, work, effort and diligence needed are met and your website is up and running.  This web designer looks like Elvis compared to the last guy.  You envision setting him up with your cousin, you're so impressed.

A few years and changes in technology later, you're ready to update and find a new designer you'd like to work with.  It's nothing personal against Elvis, but you've found an agency that fits your brand better.  That's when Elvis reveals he's really just a zombie in disguise.  The slick web designer made sure that you didn't own the code once again.  When you request the code for your website due to switching vendors, Elvis refuses.  He claims your code will not, in fact, be leaving the building.

Staring down the double barrel of starting your website all over again, you feel week in the knees.  How could this have happened?  Again?  Are all web design companies just used car salesmen in disguise?  

Frustrated, and feeling almost six-feet under, you're not sure you have the effort begin again.  What's the use?  Maybe, you should just bury the hatchet.


As horrifying as the above story is, we warn you that it is true.  Not all designers are scary monsters that look to haunt your future, but some of them are, you just don't know it.  A client of ours experienced this situation and finally found us.  In talking with them, we felt their pain and worked to gain their trust.

How can you avoid a horrifying situation like this?  

1.  Be sure you own the code and framework used to build your website.

You may not realize it at the time of signing a contract, but if this is not explicitly spelled out, you may be getting the wool pulled over your eyes.  If you decide to leave, or simply want to redesign the site, your designer may claim that they need to start from scratch.  Don't become a statistic.  Get it in writing that you own the website and are welcome to take all of the code and tools used within in the event you walk away.

2.  A deal that's too good to be true, probably is.

If you're looking to get a professional website for next-to-nothing, you're only fooling yourself.  It's like the girl that's home alone in those horror flicks.  Why does she always answer the phone when the bad guy calls?  Just.  Don't.  Do.  It.

Realize that you get what you pay for.  And, in the event you want to leave that vendor, there may be a reason why your website is held hostage.  And you're left crying like a baby.  Moral of the story- read the fine print.  Many companies that offer low cost entry and low monthly fees also retain ownership of your site.  It's like renting an apartment.  If you painstakingly painted a mural on your wall, you can't take it with you when you leave.

If you're looking for a website update and are feeling tied to a chair, call for help.  We love turing web design horror stories into fairy tales!

If you've got a web design or hosting horror story, we'd love to hear it!  Connect with us on Twitter or Facebook.

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Apple Hasn't Lost Its Edge

May 15, 2013 4:12 pm

Doomsdayers and Naysayers are out in full force.  Since the passing of Steve Jobs, it seems anyone with Chicken Little syndrome is pointing to Apple's impending doom.

What are some of these earmarks of the eventual Apple-pocalypse?
  • Many iPhone's are being carted around loaded with Google (and others) apps and software.  
  • The marketshare for iPhones is decreasing (amid incredibly more competition).
  • Competitor's R&D spending is considerably more than Apple's.


Once upon a time (2001), Apple created the iPod.   It was a revolutionary device for two reasons: 
  1. The hardware (the iPod) was unlike any MP3 device available
  2. iTunes was a breakthrough in managing and purchasing music. 
Now fast forward to the iPhone (2007) - what is so special about the iPhone? Sure the design is nice, but you can get a similar feel elsewhere. 

It's not the hardware.
It's the software, silly.

The iPod didn't give rise to Apple's dominance in the past decade--iTunes did. It was never about the hardware, but since the hardware was part of the user interface (UI), Apple, of course, made awesome hardware. In a world of MP3 players, Apple built a Porsche. But the secret was iTunes in how it managed your existing music library, and then became your preferred way to purchase your future music library. 

The iPhone was no different. It wasn't really about the phone or the monthly subscription - it was about iTunes and the App store. 

Anyone can make cool hardware, but without the supporting infrastructure, you're just another phone. An island.  Not a destination and not a home.  An iPhone with iTunes & the App Store is all of that. And more.

Apple's vision is that of creating a cohesive eco-system.  One with top-notch software experiences (iTunes, App Store) coupled with amazing hardware.


Still, there's a lot of work to be done. With Apple, a user's experience might be through a MacBook pro, an iPhone, an iPad, etc. Right now, the functionality is *about* the same across all three platforms, but not quite.

This coming WWDC in June, we predict Apple will make BIG strides to pull these hardware items closer together through iCloud.   Just wait.  Nobody is really picking up on this.

Google is a network company who lives in software. They understand that the Network Is The Computer (its a former Sun slogan).  However, Google sucks at hardware. And Glass is a perfect example of that.


Android phones continue to be churned out month after month while a new iOS phone makes an annual appearance. What's so wrong about using a device that is 1+ years old as long as it works well?  Are consumers really that fickle that they are looking to upgrade every few months?  We don't think so.

The stability of Apple devices transforms many people into believers. Rebooting an iPhone is a rare necessity. Also, a failing device seems to be a rarity as well. Other phones by other manufacturers have varying lifetimes.

Apple is a brand consumers trust. This trust was not earned on a whim. Rather, it was built through years of offering quality products coupled with ground-breaking user interfaces.

Google's business model is advertising. They're only too happy to offer their products (Maps, Now!, etc) on iPhones as a means to delivering impressions and generating revenue. As more people utilize Google software on their Apple phones, they need to realize Google will keep churning out applications for the advertising revenue potential they hold.

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A Day in the LIfe of the Internet

May 10, 2013 4:33 pm

A day in the life of the InternetA Day in The Life of The Internet via HostGator

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Tips for Marketing Your Small Business Website

May 4, 2013 7:46 am

You're a localized small business and you've got a great website.  Now what?  Your next step is marketing.  There are a number of tools at your disposal to help your audience find you online.


A great first-step is to ensure your website is listed in local directories.  While your website will have your business name, hours of operation, phone number and address, it is important that online directories have the very same information as well.  That way, search engines know to connect the information they have with your website, ensuring customers will find your business when they search for you.

It can be especially problematic if your business has done any of the following:
  • Changed Names
  • Moved Locations
  • is Located at a Spot with Multiple Businesses
If any of the above has occurred with your business, submitting to a local directory is imperative  so you can set the search engines straight, so to speak.


Everybody expects your business card to have your web address on it.  While we certainly recommend that you include the URL, why not include something unique?  Maybe with a nice welcome message to those who type in the address?

Differentiating your business is important.  Helping your audience to Know, Like and Trust you (something we've preached a lot of) is the goal.  A unique welcome page with a special offer, a special message or any other unique idea will help your potential customers remember you!


Simply put, submitting your website to the Search Engines will help with where you come up in search results.  Submission will also ensure the search engines will regularly search your website for recent updates.  This step should not be skipped.


Your small business may serve a tiny geographic area, but that doesn't mean you can't have a little fun with your marketing.  Window clings are a popular way to remind customers of your website and/or logo.  A simple car wrap (they even wrap just parts and pieces of a car) can make a huge visual-imact marketing wise.  Remember: any sign, flyer or handout given to your customers and potential customers is a representation of your business.  In your off-line marketing, don't do the following:

  • Change your logo around (we know it's tempting)
  • Use a huge variety of colors in each venue
  • Print documents in an unprofessional manner (crooked copies, wrinkled flyers, etc)
  • Change your marketing message frequently
With Desktop Publishing, there is an allure to creating and printing documents yourself.  Just be sure you're not in over your head.  If you end up with shoddy documents, your public won't appreciate it.  Customers like to be wowed.  Begin with your marketing


Sometimes, marketing can get a little mundane.  You want to stand out.  You don't want to be confused for a competitor of yours.  How can you grab attention and remain memorable?  Well, one Realtor in New York is putting his money where his mouth is.  He's offering his employees a 15% raise if they get a tattoo of the brand's logo.  Creativity was not lost on him!

Happy Marketing!

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5 Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs A Website

Apr. 25, 2013 5:09 pm

Image Source
Although the Internet boom is over a decade in the past, the number of small businesses that still don't have a website is surprising.  Some of the common objections are:

"I'm not looking to sell online."
"I serve only a small geographic area."
"I have a Facebook page" 
And, our favorite: "Many of our customers aren't web-savvy."

If you're looking to grow your business (hey, who isn't?) a website is a natural choice for a number of reasons.  Let us count the ways:


The Internet is the first place people look for information on a business, brand, city or destination.  They quickly search the business name in the hopes of getting a variety of information:
  • Phone number
  • Address
  • Hours of Operation
  • Services Provided
  • A Link to the Website for more detailed information
Having a website allows a business the opportunity to submit this specific information to a variety of directory listings.  Once submitted to local directories, much of the above information displays on search engines with an opportunity to click to the website.  Without a website, this opportunity does not exist.  And, to consumers, that may mean that you don't exist.


Ok, so maybe you're not looking to sell online.  Maybe you're a salon or sign company or tourist destination or local coffee shop.  We understand.  However, consumers want to SEE what you do.  Did you whip up gorgeous hair-dos for Prom this year?  Did you just put a new sign up at a local business? Are the beaches in your town amazing destinations and you recommend I go there?  Show me.

We live in an image-driven society and people want to see what they're about to buy/experience/see/do.  It's as simple as that.  If you're not showcasing your product/service/destination/idea, someone else probably is.  And guess who will get the business?


You say that you post pictures like a paparazzi to your Facebook page.  Your fans see all of the wonderful creations you come up with, they know about your specials and engage with you regularly.  That's great.  But, in a few short months to a year, those posts are long forgotten.  A newbie coming to your page is not going to scroll and scroll and scroll until he comes across the image that convinces him your product/service is for him.  He may not care about the cute comments and back-and-forths with your community.  He wants to see the goods (see #2 above).

A website with a portfolio section is properly organized and will help consumers locate and view the images they're looking for quickly.  This makes the process of looking at your business's offering a painless process.

Facebook is a valuable resource and should be tapped to it's ultimate potential.  Although questions remain.  In 5 years will Facebook still be as valuable?  MySpace shot off like a rocket and fell like a lead balloon through its short history.  All of the data, images and communication you spent time on could be gone.  Just.  Like.  That.


A website is up 24/7 promoting business every waking hour.  No caffeine necessary.  No 401k, insurance or bonuses.  Are you saying you couldn't use a dedicated employee like that?

A small business website with a portfolio, a testimonials section, a feed from your Facebook (see, we're not haters) and Twitter is a robust selling machine.  And it works all while helping your audience know, like, and trust you.  That's a smooth sales tool.


As we mentioned, being known, liked, and trusted are all valuable if you're planning to make a sale.  So, you can't slap any old website up and assume your bases are covered.  Your business's website must convey that you can be trusted.  A shoddy website will be like that 24/7 sales person showing up with greasy hair in a leisure suit and mis-matched socks.  It's an image any consumer would want to run away from.  Don't scare your consumers!

A professional website is not so out of reach.  If you've been told that it is, you're looking in the wrong places.  Keep looking.  We're happy to chat about our small business portfolio.


The next time you're looking to dial up, logon and do an Internet search for an small business, imagine your audience doing the very same thing.  What will they find?

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Social Media & Emergency Response in Boston

Apr. 16, 2013 11:43 pm

Often, social media keeps us away from the tasks we should be doing, or is a nice break from the workday.  In an emergency, it can be the difference between life and death for those directly affected.  Information travels even faster among the social media infused Internet super highway.  Let's look at a roundup of how social media helped in the emergency situation of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Recent Developments

Although getting emergency information out to the public isn't a new idea, the mediums of social media are new; and changing almost daily.  

AUTHORITATIVE- Increasingly, police departments, cities, and other authoritative entities have active and well-maintained Twitter feeds.  Participating in the social media sphere is no longer viewed as a nicety or extravagance--it's part of the job.  In addition, an authoritative Twitter feed (denoted with a blue check mark next to the profile picture) lets the audience know it is a trusted source of information.

NEW MEDIUMS - Twitter released Vine in January of this year.  Keeping to its mission (brevity as a virtue) Vine videos are a short six seconds.  In the aftermath of the Boston bombings, one user's Vine feed (recorded from his television) showed the world the exact moment the first bomb when off at the finish line.  This moment was then retweeted 111 times and featured in major news outlets.

NEW TOOLS -  Google Person Finder was created, "in response to the January 2010 Haiti earthquake in order to help those affected by the earthquake connect with their loved ones."  The Google execs realized having multiple websites with multiple listings of people was too cumbersome. One central location would be ideal--so they set out to create it.  Person Finder is launched in the event of an emergency and left online only as long as is prudent and necessary (keeping privacy in mind for all involved).

Social Media in Action

Mentions of the word "Boston" increased 20,000% during the emergency situation and most Facebook feeds were filled with thoughts, prayers and reflections about the situation.  People are leaning on social media as a critical way to get important information quickly and find solace in community.

TWITTER - Twitter seems to be the natural place for up-to-the minute information in any situation.  So, it seems a natural fit in an emergency as well.  The police, city and newspapers leveraged their Twitter feeds to deliver frequent updates in the aftermath of the tragedy.  In addition, the hashtag #PrayForBoston trended for hours in the aftermath.  In addition, police and city officials could instruct those still at the marathon of the areas that are sectioned off for crime scene investigation, where to find their belongings at the end of the race, and other important information.

FACEBOOK - Facebook is where people go to find comfort and community.  In the aftermath, many profiles posted "Praying for Boston" graphics of some sort.  Many people updated their statuses there, but it was more of a place to inform the community of their support and less of a news source.  In the days following, there are Facebook pages and communities people can turn to for support.  One such page is called "Boston Marathon Bombing" where users can post tributes, prayers and photos.

THE EVERYMAN JOURNALIST - Media/news outlets now look to average citizens and non-staffers to help them with pictures, video and updates about events. The Guardian is one such news outlet that looks for collateral from everyday people.  Imagery of the tragedy is readily available anywhere online, in part, due to the fact that everyone with a phone, camera or tablet can help paint the picture of the news.  Deadspin was the first to break the news of the bombing a short 13-minutes after it occurred.  Its news article contained mostly information, photos and videos from various twitter feeds.  Finally, there is a reddit feed that contains a compilation online news articles and mentions of the explosion.

SOLVING THE CRIME - Police and media/news outlets are looking to shutter-happy cellphone users and social media gurus that may have images of the scene before, during and after.  With almost every citizen armed with a cellphone, the photos, tips and movies that get sent in just might help solve this crime.

It's hard to say where emergency response will be in the next few years, thanks to social media.  With increasing numbers of people taking pictures and videos and tweeting and updating on the fly, critical information will be even more accessible in an emergency.  In the event of an emergency, look to social media to pave the way.


Deadspin - A collection of updates from journalists as well as Twitter feeds
The Drum - "Boston Marathon crisis: How social media responded"
Social Heatmap of social media mentions containing "finish line"
Nextgov - "Social Media Aids First Responders and Grieving Public After Bombing"

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Threaded Comments Coming to Facebook

Mar. 27, 2013 2:40 pm

If you've "Liked" a Facebook Page that has more than 10,000 Followers, you may have noticed reply threading in the comments section.

It's been a long-felt irritation that individual comments couldn't be responded to.  Rather, just a laundry list of comment after comment with @ signs used sparingly to allow commenters to discuss with one another.

Threaded comments is a common feature on many blogs and it's taken quite a bit to get Facebook on board.

The good news?  Lively debates can be hashed out right there on the Facebook page.

The bad news?  Lively debates can be hashed out right there on the Facebook page.  In increasing frequency.

For now, threaded comments can be seen on on some Facebook Pages with over 10,000 Followers (we've searched out a number of these pages, and threaded comments still weren't active yet). Facebook for mobile users can't see the threaded comments yet, as the feature is only enabled on the desktop version of the site.

Comments that are more relevant to viewers or that have a lot of dialogue are to appear higher in the comment listing while comments marked as spam will be towards the bottom.

What to see threaded comments on your Facebook Page or Profile?  That should be coming in July!

**Update - As of 2:45 PM, it looks like our Facebook Pages are able to roll out comment threading as well.  Maybe Facebook has relaxed the 10,000+ Followers parameter already...

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Smartphone Market Share as of Jan '13

Mar. 22, 2013 1:44 pm

Some amazing Smartphone trends and observations:

  • Did you see the "Age 13+" ??  When we were 13, we finally got a NEW bike and maybe a gaming console.  We were on top of the world! 
  • We keep hearing in the media that Samsung has finally over taken Apple for market share.  According to this data, they haven't as of Jan '13.  We wonder what the next quarter will bring.
  • So, how many cellphone users are we talking about?  
    129.4 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones (55 percent mobile market penetration) during the three months ending in January, up 7 percent since October. (source)
  • We're wondering if BlackBerry could ever be mainstream again.  It seems most business customers prefer the iPhone these days. 
  • We'd love to hear your observations and comments!

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Why Our Website Designs are Better for Tourism

Mar. 15, 2013 8:42 am

Over the last few years, we've had the pleasure of working with some great Wisconsin Counties and Cities in getting their interactive presence in order.  Nothing brings us more joy then helping these counties attract businesses, tourists and those relocating through the quality information on their websites.

In honor of the upcoming Wisconsin Governor's Conference on Tourism this next week, we'd like to showcase how our websites are helping these counties take care of business.

1.  Great Design

It's easy to say that we produce websites with great design, but we'll let the websites themselves speak for themselves:

In addition to having great design, we work a little magic into those designs as well.  Allow us to explain: typically an entity will come to us and say they need a new website.  "However," they'll go on, "we share our website with the county's Economic Development and City Council.  How can we make one website to serve all three interests?"

That's a great question!  Creating a website that serves different "customers" can be a difficult task, but it's one we've tackled on many of these website designs.  The keys to directing the website traffic are having clear navigation and calls-to-action for each customer base.  Dilemma solved!

 2.  Total Customization

In addition to creating a great design, we love working with each entity to ensure their website contains all of the data and information they'd like to get out to the public.  Some of the features we have included are:
  • Facebook Integration
  • Events Calendar
  • Area Business Directory
  • Photo Gallery
  • PDF Upload (for brochures, etc)
  • Lodging Directory
Since each website is a custom solution (and not a template) these features are easy to add in for any entity that would like them.  The key here is a totally custom solution for their unique needs.

3.  One Database to Rule Them All

Another benefit to a custom website is a custom database--one that stores all of your valuable information such as Events, Photos, Business Information and other data.  This database is used everyday to feed information to your website, but it's not a one-hit wonder.
The very same database that is used to populate your website can be used for your mobile app or website!

This means no re-entering data between databases that feed your website and app!  It's a powerful tool that will help your customers get the information they need from any device they're on.  How's that for power?

4.  Turnkey Solution

Just building and maintaining a website can be a frustrating and confusing situation.  You need a web host, a web designer, an email host, someone to help design your Facebook page, an app developer and someone to help market it all once it's all live.  Whew!  Then, when the entities need to get information from one another, well you know who will be caught in-between.

DMI Studios is a complete turnkey solution.  Our motto is:
They want to build your website.  We want to build your business.
Were a one-stop shop!  We can do all of these things for you to eliminate any past headaches (remember that web-host that just.  stopped.  hosting. ?) and work to make the web creation process as seamless as possible.  With these solutions all under one roof, you won't even need to reach for the pain-reliever.


We truly love partnering with Wisconsin Counties, Cities and Parks to create custom web designs to meet their needs.  To view a number of other tourism and government-related websites we've done, check out our portfolio.

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3 Tips to Secure Your Mobile Phone

Feb. 25, 2013 7:32 pm

Imagine your life without that little device sitting on your desk or bag or pocket right now.  It's small, lights up and keeps you entertained while waiting for the doctor.  But, what if your mobile phone was lost or stolen?  Have you thought about the power that is contained in a trinket the size of your hand?  A person could have access to your Facebook and Twitter and email--oh my!  

Though, it could be far worse.  Do you have your company's Facebook page linked to your phone?  How about their Twitter account?  Or, the email addresses to all of your important business clients? Talk about possible social ruin.

Remember:  Your phone is not just a cute, trendy device you use to make calls.  It's a mini-computer with powerful data.  Keep that data out of the wrong hands!

1.  Preemptive Strike 

There are a number of free apps that will help you to locate your phone in case it goes missing one day. This way, you will know if you should stay cool or hit the panic button.  Maybe it'll be on the table of that cute little restaurant you like to frequent for lunch.  Or, maybe it'll be sitting on the desk of a menacing teen about to ruin your day:  Facebook status:  "It's gonna get ugly."  

Simply load the apps and authorize them to use your GPS functionality:

Where's My Droid for Android

iCloud for Apple devices

For IOS devices, in addition to the ability to locate your device, Find My iPhone (on iCloud) can pinpoint your missing device on a map, have it play a sound, or display a message asking anyone who finds it to contact you. "If you don't find your device right away, you can help protect your information until you get it back with the Remote Lock feature, or use Remote Wipe to erase your personal data from your device and protect your privacy," Apple adds.

2.  Set a password/passcode

Use the simple security mechanisms that come with your phone to secure your phone with a password/passcode.  Set it to automatically lock within a few minutes.  A hacker can still restore your iPhone to the original factory settings to remove the passcode.  However, restoring also means erasing all data that was saved on your phone.

In the end, he may get the phone, but you keep your data.  Facebook status: "A social-life-wreck avoided by the passcode.  Just another Monday."

3.  Cut your losses

If you've come to realize that your mobile phone is gone for good, call your wireless provider.  Even if you remotely wipe your device, it will still be connected to cell service with the ability to send texts or make calls.   Your service provider can disable the phone and prevent others from using the device...and possibly running up your phone bill.

Facebook status: "You win some.  You lose some."


A little pre-planning can give you piece of mind if you phone is ever AWOL.  Don't forget about the power that is contained in your tiny device.  And remember that every time you set it down in a public spot.  

- Comments

Mobile App Strategies - More Goals

Feb. 20, 2013 7:35 pm

You're already considering a Mobile App as part of your brand's mobile strategy, and you're beginning to look at goals.  We've discussed Shopping Ease and Brand Loyalty.  Here are some additional goals for Mobile Apps that add value:

Service Add-Ons

An app can improve upon an existing product or service.  We've discussed Cadillac's MyCadillac app that offers additional service to their existing customers.  Another example is the increasing number of banks that allow customers to simply take a picture of their checks in order to deposit them from a mobile device. 


The key here is looking at your brand's current service/product offering and enhancing it with the service of an app. Tasks and services that naturally compliment your product are the best place to start (GPS functionality for Cadillac-owners).  In addition, think about tasks or services that might further enhance your current offering (like the banking example).  The crux here is to really look to serve your customers through the ease of an app.


Creating rewards for your brand's most loyal customers is a great way to utilize an app.  The Starbucks app gives frequent coffee customers the ability to earn "Stars" as rewards towards free drinks and food.  Starbucks knows they have loyal customers, so why not reward them for their loyalty?  


If your brand has a high-frequency rate of purchase with your customers, a rewards-style app might be a great fit.  It's a whole lot better than handing out another punch card to put in their wallets.  The key is to create a program that your customers will use and benefit from frequently enough to keep up with it.  


We hope this list of App Goals will help get the wheel of possibilities spinning in your mind.  Apps are robust tools that can be an asset to your brand.  With all of the app-craze out there, be sure to take some time to weigh the value of creating an app for your brand.

If you need some help along the way, we'd be happy to chat about apps!

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Mobile App Strategies - Goals

Feb. 13, 2013 11:32 am

Mobile Apps should be an important consideration in your brand's mobile strategy.  Apps are not a solution for every brand, however they can be an asset when properly used.  The question many brands ask is:  How do we decide if an app is right for us?

First, remember:

The key to a successful app is one that enables your users to do something related to your brand quickly and easily.  

Anybody can churn out an app.  However, an app that adds value is a more difficult achievement.  There are a number of goals a Mobile App can achieve for your customers.

Shopping Ease

Some apps are specifically geared for mobile shopping.  Other apps are simply for order tracking and notification or to help with the decision process.  For example, Amazon has a Price Check App to make cost comparisons easy in addition to an app for shopping.  We've previously mentioned the Dominos app to order pizzas quickly and easily and Tiffany's Engagement Ring app that allows customers to throughly investigate all of their options.  These apps strive to make the a step of the purchase process easier.


Dig into your web site's stats to see how many of your visitors are coming from hand-held devices.  There may be way more (or way less) than you think.  Also, investigate the sales made from these devices--size of each sale, typical items ordered, etc.  Really get to know your mobile customer.  That way, you can make the tasks he's already doing on your website, easier.

Brand Loyalty

The Snow Report App by The North Face helps to create brand loyalty.  Many of The North Face's customers enjoy skiing or may be planning a ski get-away.  To make their planning easier, The North Face provides an app that gives ski conditions, weather forecasts, trail maps and the ability to post a photo to their Facebook page.  And every time the app is opened, The North Face's brand is right there.  Like a trusted friend.

To Do

Get in your customers heads and habits.  Think about how they use your product or service and what types of service would compliment that.  What are your customers like?  Sometimes, creating a picture of your typical customer (demographics, preferences, hobbies, etc) can help with this process.  Then, ask yourself how your brand can bring even more service to them.


Stay tuned for more Mobile App Strategy Goal planning.

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Mobile Statistics - Our Mobile Planet

Feb. 6, 2013 3:43 pm

Looking to get a realistic picture of mobile browsing habits?  Check out "Our Mobile Planet".  Their mission states:

The Our Mobile Planet research was commissioned by Google and conducted by Ipsos MediaCT in partnership with the Mobile Marketing Association and the Interactive Advertising Bureau. provides access to the full set of data from this research through a powerful chart creation tool or the direct download of full country level data files. Businesses can use the data on the site to gain a deeper understanding of the mobile consumer and make data-driven decisions on how to use mobile to help grow their business faster.

Here's some data we found regarding people in the US and their beliefs about their phones:

The statistic we find most important is that 65% of cell phone users expect websites to be as easy to use on their mobile device as their computer. Brands, take note!

One note about the data, it represents only mobile phone usage.  However, it does not include data on tablet browsing or usage.

Go check out "Our Mobile Planet' and see what kind of mobile phone browsing stats surprise you!

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Creating a Mobile Strategy - Mobile Apps

Jan. 31, 2013 5:11 pm

Earlier in the week we discussed a Mobile Website as part of your brand's Mobile Strategy.  The second major part of a successful strategy includes app development as well.

An app is different than a mobile website in that it can interact with a cell phone's functionality.  

Example:  the Facebook App uses GPS in a phone to automatically add a user's location to a status update.

If you want a closer look at the differences between a Mobile Website and a Mobile App, check out our Internet 101 blog post.

Establish Your Goals

The key to a successful app is one that enables your users to do something related to your brand quickly and easily.  
When creating your Mobile Strategy, ask yourself what process you can simplify by allowing users to connect to their cell phone's functionality.  No matter the brand of phone, there are a number of functions that are shared by all.  Let's discuss them and how they can be used as part of an effective app.


Check out the MyCadillac app for a great example of integrating an app with GPS functionality. The MyCadillac app will remember where you parked the car and if it's time to add money to the meter.  Also, when it's time for service, you can search for the nearest dealer by your current location.

There is no need to stop just at GPS integration, however.  Note that, in addition to these GPS-related features, the app also contains relevant information for the user, such as the car's owner's manual, a lights and indicators guide, and access to their OnStar service.

The takeaway:

Cadillac created an app that would make life easier for their drivers.  By recalling parking locations and finding a service dealer, the app is entirely appropriate and usable.


While virtually all apps incorporate touch to navigate, few harness the power of touch like Tiffany & Co.  Tiffany noticed the growing numbers of mobile sales coming through their online story.  Their reaction to it was to create a beautiful, robust tool to help in the engagement ring selection process.

In an effort to help obtain accurate ring-size, users can place an actual ring directly on the screen and align it with the correct circle in the guide.  In addition, the rings are shown true-to-size and can be rotated, zoomed in on and swapped out with different carat sizes.

The takeaway:

Tiffany & Co. worked to bring the experience of shopping in-store for an engagement ring to users' cell phones.  The design of the app exudes Tiffany's quality and eye for design.  Finally, the app solves a major problem of shopping online--obtaining an accurate ring size.  They made shopping simple and easy.


The Walgreens app is a robust little creation that has more tools than a Swiss Army knife.  We noticed that Walgreens took the opportunity to provide better service to two major functions of their store with their app:  the pharmacy and photo processing.

App users can scan the bar codes of their prescriptions to order refills or transfer their script to a Walgreens store.  In addition, photo processing is made a painless process.  Photos on a phone can be enhanced through their photo filters and then added to the cart and ordered to be printed at the nearest Walgreens store.  All of these actions are made possible by the phone's camera.

The takeaway:

The app has some additional features as well, but the takeaway here is how Walgreens has taken two of their core business functions and made them easy for their customers.  The app looks to save the amount of time a person would have to spend physically in the store.


Google Voice allows you to read voicemail like a text message, which can be handy when you're trying to be discreet.  Also, you can send text messages and create custom greetings based on who is calling you.

Google Voice connects with your contacts to seamlessly create a Google-fied phone experience.

The takeaway:

Using existing contact data, Google creates a bigger, smarter experience on a user's cell phone.


For better or worse, our cell phones are with us wherever we go--the store, the bedroom and the bathroom even!  These devices are also conveniently with us throughout the entire buying process--as we ponder, weigh, analyze and, eventually, purchase any item.

Target looks to assist buyers at varying places within the buying process.  From a Daily Deals alert service, to a baby registry, barcode scanner, and shopping list creator, they've made a user's phone an essential asset throughout the buying process.

The takeaway:

Target worked to meet buyers where they are at throughout the buying process.  Whether they're interested in deals, creating lists or wish lists, there's an app for each need.

Creating Your To-Do List

It's time to set out to create a great-app that will benefit your brand and your customers.
A great app will:
  • make life easier
  • be appropriate and usable 
  • bring the experience of shopping in-store to users' cell phones
  • take core business functions and make them easy for their customers
  • create bigger, smarter experience 
  • meet buyers where they are at

  • For your mobile strategy, strive to do one central thing and make it easy for your users.
    • What need can you satisfy?  
    • What process can you simplify?  
    • What aspect can you enhance?  
    • What information are your customers looking for?
    The examples above merely scratch the surface of app integration.  Remember to be creative and put yourself in your customer's shoes.  Happy Apping!

    - Comments

    Creating a Mobile Strategy - Mobile Websites

    Jan. 28, 2013 2:13 pm

    Mobile browsing is the future--there is no more hiding from that fact.  The question before you is, how do you, as a brand, prepare for it?  As with any transition in business, a strategic plan will guide you from where you are now, to where you need to be.

    Establish Your Goals

    The forecast:

    The majority of your internet audience will be accessing (or trying to access) your brand on a mobile device.  They will succeed (and you will, too) or they will fail and then find a competitor that's beat you to the mobile punch.  Unfortunately, there is very little gray area here.

    The question(s):

    1. How will you get from where you are now, to a fully-mobile friendly brand?  

    2. What kind of timeline is your brand looking to achieve?

    3. How do you want mobile customers to interact with your brand?

    Imagining the future will help you to see exactly what you're looking to achieve.  When creating your strategy, there are two paths to consider.

    1. A mobile-friendly website

    2. Apps that will make interacting with your brand easy
    Today, we'll begin by discussing a mobile website and how it is an important part of your mobile strategy.

    A Mobile Website

    The question many business professionals have is why they need a modified web design in order to adjust from desktop to mobile screens.  

    Simply put, the orientation of a mobile screen (phones are way smaller than a desktop) can leave people scrolling up-and-down and left-to-right and zooming in and out on content areas on your current website.  The information you want visitors to have primary access to will be cumbersome for visitors to find while scrolling all over the place.  A mobile-friendly design makes viewing your website easy on the eyes, whether desktop, tablet or cell phone.

    In addition, a mobile website can also streamline any processes on your site (say, a shopping cart or signup form) to be quickly and easily filled out, usually in fewer steps, again, making your site more user-friendly.

    The goal of all of this is to make the experience of your website the best it can be, no matter the technology your visitors are using to come to your site.
    When creating a mobile website, your team should look through the site and determine the areas that can be streamlined, cut down and simplified for mobile fingers.  The goal is helping your audience get to the product or information they want quickly and easily.

    Interested in some great mobile websites?

    Check out Dominos Pizza and see how they made online ordering easy (too easy, for some of us):

    Dominos put themselves in the shoes of hungry consumers and streamlined the pizza ordering process making it quick and easy to become a customer in seconds.   


    Stay tuned as we discuss Mobile Apps later in the week!

    - Comments

    10 Best Apps for Business

    Jan. 22, 2013 3:46 pm

    As we focus on mobile browsing this month, we'd also like to highlight some of the business apps we love and some we've newly discovered.

    1.  Evernote - 

    When an idea strikes and pen and paper are lacking, you can use your phone to help keep you organized.  Whether it's a voice memo or a typed note, Evernote will become a valuable resource when you're on-the-go.

    Availability:  Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Palm webOS and Windows Mobile

    2.  Bump 

    Use bump to store your business card contact info.  Then, when you want to swap business cards, simply touch your cellphone to your business contact's and the contact info is automatically transferred! Show 'em that you're tech savvy and try Bump!

    Availability:  Android and iPhone

    3.  Apple's iWork Suite

    When you're on the go, the work still needs to get done.  Having the iWork Suite on your iPad will help you to be productive while you're away.  Apple has taken some care in ensuring the word processing, charts and graphs and presentation software are each intuitive and easy-to-use on the iPad.

    Availability: iPad 

    4.  Dropbox

    When you need to share a large file or simply back up some data, dropbox is easy-to-use and quick to setup.  The first 2GB are free, however there is an option to pay for additional storage.  Whether for business or personal use, we use dropbox all the time!

    Availability: iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Kindle Fire, iPad

    5.  TweetDeck

    The beauty of Twitter is sharing on the fly.  When you're away from your computer, take TweetDeck with you to keep in touch with your followers.  If you're tweeting on behalf of a corporate account, it's all the more important that you're able to respond to tweets in a timely manner.  TweetDeck will help you do just that.

    Availability:  Android, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry

    6.  PrintCentral

    If you are a frequent user of an iPad, the time will come when you want (need) to print something.  PrintCentral will allow you to print almost anything!  It's a paid app that comes with some additional features.  But, for just under $15, the ability to print is well worth the price.

    Availability:  iPad

    7.  Square

    If you're a small business that needs to begin accepting credit cards, Square is a great option.  The app and the card reader are free.  Instead you are charged a percent of each transaction.  Square offers a great first step for those that are new to accepting credit cards.

    Availability:  iPhone and Android

    8.  Tripit

    Keep track of business travel with ease.  Tripit will store flights, car rentals and hotel reservations to make business travel a breeze.  The basic app is free, or if you want to track frequent flier miles, you can upgrade.

    Availability:  iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry

    9.  Facebook

    Love it or hate it Facebook is a part of business.  Facebook for mobile is easy to use and will help you stay connected wherever you are.  The same rule of timely responses applies on Facebook as we mentioned on Twitter.  If someone comments on your brand's timeline, giving no response or a response 3-days later is a social networking pitfall you'll want to avoid.

    Availability:  Android, iPhone/iPad, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Kindle

    10.  The Walking Dead: The Game

    Look, we all know you're an overachiever that's working hard well after 5 PM.  Take a timeout and slay some zombies.  Call it multitasking; a bit of work and a bit of play.  We won't tell anyone.

    Availability:  Android, iPhone/iPad


    Checkout some other resources for the "best of" business apps.

    Top 10 Must-Have iPhone Business Apps  by PC World

    The Best Mobile Apps for Business by Entrepreneur

    20 Best iPad Apps for Business by Business Insider

    5 Best Apps for Business by CNN Money

    - Comments

    Why Do I Need a Mobile Web Design?

    Jan. 16, 2013 5:20 pm

    Now that we've got you convinced that focusing on mobile (phone and tablet) browsers is in your brand's best interest, what should your next steps be?

    Your brand needs to begin thinking about their mobile strategy:

    1. How will you get from where you are now, to a fully-mobile friendly brand?  

    2. What kind of timeline is your brand looking to achieve?

    Before we discuss a mobile strategy, allow us to explain why your website needs to "kick it up a notch".

    Why do I need a mobile web design?

    The question many business professionals have is why they need a modified web design in order to adjust from desktop to mobile screens.  

    Simply put, the orientation of a mobile screen (phones are way smaller than a desktop) can leave people scrolling up-and-down and left-to-right and zooming in and out on content areas on your current website.  The information you want visitors to have primary access to will be cumbersome for visitors to find while scrolling all over the place.  A mobile-friendly design makes viewing your website easy on the eyes, whether desktop, tablet or cell phone.

    In addition, a mobile website streamlines any processes on your site (say, a shopping cart or form) to be quickly and easily filled out.  Again, making your site more user-friendly.

    The goal of all of this is to make the experience of your website the best it can be, no matter the technology your visitors are using to come to your site.

    What is responsive design?

    A responsive design is a "parent" group of programming code , if you will.  Once a parent group is created for your website, it can decide how and what content will be displayed depending on the venue.  Then, according to how your site is accessed (whether desktop, tablet or cell phone) the "parent" tells the website how it will appear to your visitors--more content and features on larger screens, less content on smaller screens.

    Still scratching your head?  We found an infographic that will help to clear the way:

    Does this mean a website redesign?

    In order to achieve a responsive design, your site needs to be written in HTML5.  However, if the look of your site has you smitten, rest assured that it can be the same or similar to what it currently is--taking into account the different viewing sizes of mobile tech.  

    In summary, the backbone of the site needs to be updated, but the look and feel can remain, if desired.

    Hungry for more details about responsive web design?  Check out these 50 examples of great responsive design.

    - Comments

    Mobile Browsing Statistics 2012

    Jan. 14, 2013 11:44 am

    We all know we should be paying more attention to mobile internet browsing and it's impact on our business.  But, how much more attention should we be giving it?

    The Current Landscape of U.S. Mobile Devices

    As with any trends, these numbers may change, but it is always nice to know where we're at now.

    Remember when Nokia was an industry leader in early 2000?  As smartphones took over, the company failed to keep up and, for all intents and purposes, dropped off the face of the Earth.  It appears they're back and hoping to become a global leader once again.

    Mobile Browsing vs. Desktop

    "Mobile browsing" includes tablet devices which, for many, may soon replace their laptops/desktops.

    Looking at the side-by-side comparison, it appears that mobile browsing only accounts for about 13% of overall online traffic.  However, like the explosion of the internet in the 90's, this is simply the infancy of mobile browsing.

    Morgan Stanley has predicted that, by 2014, globally, mobile internet browsing will surpass desktop search.  That would mean exponential growth is on the horizon.

    Major shifts occur from time to time in online business.  One day, an is born and, the next day, an AOL is forgotten.  Mobile browsing represents one such shift.

    It's time to take mobile browsing seriously.  In the next 30 days, we'll be looking at tools, tricks and ideas to help with your mobile internet presence.

    - Comments

    Jumping in to Social Media

    Dec. 31, 2012 3:39 pm

    Image Source
    Have you thought about venturing into social media but don't know how to begin?  Or, are you knee-deep in social media but wondering if it's working?

    Here's a refresher to set your social media in 2013 off right!

    1.  Set your goals.

    What are your goals for social media success?  As with any off-line marketing effort you'll want to know what you're looking to achieve in order to call the social media campaign a "success".

    A great first goal is simply increased traffic to your website.  Increasing time spent on your website per visitor, blog posts read and comments on them as well as increasing social media connections are all great markers to track.

    Then, decide how often you'll check in on these metrics.  When any new campaign begins, it's easy to check in daily, even hourly to see how it's progressing.  Increasing your brand's presence online is not something that is accomplished overnight.  Have fun checking in on the statistics, but don't micro-manage.  Quarterly is a great bet here.

    2.  Where to?

    Decide which social media platforms you'd like to utilize.  Do you know where your current customers hang out online?  Or, is there a group of prospects you'd like to approach?  If so, where can you find them online?  The answers to those questions will define the social media sites for you to spend the most time on.

    Once you've decided which sites you'll be using, be sure to create a well-rounded profile.  Here are a few things to keep in mind:
    • Marketing should match marketing on your website
    • Fill out as much "about" info as possible
    • Make your brand as "personal" as you can- there are people that work there, right?

    3.  Get Schooled

    If a social media website is new to you, don't let that stop you.  Allow your search engine to be your guide!  Simply type in any question you have such as, "What size are profile pictures on Facebook?" or "What does # mean on Twitter?"

    There are many free resources out there to get you up and running in no time!  Don't be afraid simply because something is new.

    4.  Connect!

    Begin making connections with friends, customers and prospects.  Ultimately, social media is social; so, post responses, interact and BE social.  Here are a few tips we've picked up along the way:
    • Remember to build KLT - Know, Like and Trust- of your brand
    • Interact with others--don't simply use SM as a megaphone
    • Post content your customers would find helpful most of the time
    • Post content that is *sales* oriented only once a week or so
    • Post a bit of lighthearted content as well (remember, to be social)
    We hope 2013 will be a social media success for you!

    - Comments

    Gift Your Website - Content is King

    Dec. 21, 2012 10:51 am

    With all of the talk about gifts for friends and loved ones this holiday season, we'd like to remind you to spread the love to your website as well.  Each day up until Christmas we'll give you a simple idea you can implement to spread the love to your website.


    Content editing on a website is a big job.  But, if taken a small task at a time, it becomes manageable. Many of the tasks below are site-wide and will easily be changed in the CSS code of your website.  One change will modify all of the content on your website.


    Be sure you're using font/background colors that are easy-to-read.  This seems obvious, but there are certainly a few offenders out there still.

    Having trouble reading this text?
    Don't do this to your audience.


    The text on your website should not be too small that it's difficult to read.  Also, the paragraphs on the site should not be too lengthly.  A good rule of thumb is no more than 6 sentences per paragraph.  Of course there are exceptions, but it's a good general guide.

    Use bulleted lists or numbered lists help to keep the content skim-able.  Content that is easy to scan is  more likely to be read in its entirety.  

    Finally, be sure to add sub-headings where appropriate.  

    Call to Action

    Compelling content is content that asks your audience to act.  A call to action is essential to help your audience perform your desired action; whether it's subscribing to your blog, downloading a white paper, or signing up for your newsletter.

    Remember that the Calls to Action that are the smallest steps forward (i.e. subscribing to a newsletter) will have a better chance at success.  Whereas a big leap forward (i.e. contact forms) are more difficult to get a potential customer to do on their first visit.


    Links on your website need to be working properly in order to keep your audience happy.  There is nothing worse than a broken website.  As you add links to your website you should test the links to be sure they are actively working.

    In addition, many large websites subscribe to a link checking service that periodically follows all of the links on a website to ensure they are still working.  Then, any links that are broken will be sent in an email to the website owner.  This makes managing a bigger website a lot easier.


    We've all had a spelling error from time to time, but consistent spelling issues are website hangups as well.  Most browsers have a spell check integrated, now.  However, if yours does not, be sure to pass the content through a spell check before going live.

    In addition, after writing content, step away from your desk for a moment or so.  Then, come back and read what you're just written once more before publishing.  Remember, your website is an extension of your brand!  Always put your best face forward.


    Stay tuned for more gift your website ideas.

    - Comments

    Gift Your Website - Social Media Links

    Dec. 20, 2012 9:45 am

    With all of the talk about gifts for friends and loved ones this holiday season, we'd like to remind you to spread the love to your website as well.  Each day up until Christmas we'll give you a simple idea you can implement to spread the love to your website.


    Social Media Boom

    You've decided to take the plunge into social media.  Congratulations!  Or, if you're one of the few that has been too afraid to put your toe in the water, go ahead and give it a try in 2013!  

    Once you've begun using social media, get the word out!  Put some small buttons with links to your social media haunting grounds.  Or, better yet, put a feed of your Twitter or Facebook updates on the sidebar of your website.  This gives your audience a taste for what they'd be missing out on if they don't follow you on social media.
    Social Media Buttons

    Quality Content

    As a bonus "gift" we'd like to remind you of two social media rules that we try to live by as you're out there swimming in the proverbial social media water cooler:

    1. Quality content is always better than quantity content.

    2. Social Media is about being a gift to others; the focus shouldn't be on you.

    Remember, link up your social media outlets to help your audience connect with you!


    Stay tuned for more gift your website ideas.

    - Comments

    Gift Your Website - Size Does Matter

    Dec. 19, 2012 9:14 am

    With all of the talk about gifts for friends and loved ones this holiday season, we'd like to remind you to spread the love to your website as well.  Each day up until Christmas we'll give you a simple idea you can implement to spread the love to your website.


    Image Sizes

    We are a visual people.  A picture truly is worth a thousand words.  So, don't torture your audience by uploading original photos to your website.

    Step 1- Resolution

    A picture's resolution is the number of tiny dots (pixels) per inch.  The higher the resolution, the sharper the image.  This matters BIG TIME if you're printing a photo or creating a billboard.  However, computer screens are setup to display 72 pixels per inch.  No more.  

    Step 2 - Size

    Secondly, most photos for your website can be much smaller than the originals from a digital camera.  If you're not sure of the image size, a great way to find out is to open an existing image from your website.  Right-click the image and select "Open Image In New Window".  In many browsers, the image name and pixel dimensions will be displayed just above the address bar on your browser.


    If you're a pro, you may have Adobe Photoshop or Photo Elements.  If not, simply do a search for "image resizing" and you'll find a number of free and paid solutions.

    There's no more excusing a website with slow load times.  Image resizing takes just a couple quick minutes when you're uploading a new image to your website.  So, do your audience a favor and take care of those pixel-heavy images.


    Stay tuned for more gift your website ideas.

    - Comments

    Gift Your Website - Contact Details

    Dec. 18, 2012 7:38 am

    With all of the talk about gifts for friends and loved ones this holiday season, we'd like to remind you to spread the love to your website as well.  Each day up until Christmas we'll give you a simple idea you can implement to spread the love to your website.


    Contact Info

    Another quick fix is to ensure your contact information is on every page in addition to the Contact Us page of your website.  An easy way to do that is to include contact info on the footer of your website.

    What should you include?

    • Street address
    • Phone number
    • General email contact
    • Hours of operation (if applicable)
    • Logo 

    Another great way for people to connect with you is on social media.  Be sure to include links to the various social media platforms you are active on.


    Stay tuned for more gift your website ideas.

    - Comments

    Does My Website Suck, Part 2

    Dec. 17, 2012 3:12 pm

    At DMI Studios, we love helping people take an honest look at their site to see what, if anything, needs to be improved upon.  And we've decided to share some of the aspects we look at with you, dear reader.  Consider it an early Christmas gift!

    Throughout all of these tips you'll see one common theme--the key to a great website is one that builds KLT - Know, Like and Trust.  

    Now, let's begin Part 2:

    4.  Web Positioning Checkup

    Being found online is key to your website's success.  What search terms are most important to you?  Armed with your list of important "keywords", take the the search engines and see exactly where you end up.  

    Then, take to the search engines once more to see if any of your competitors are out-ranking you for your coveted list of keywords.  If so, be sure to add relevant content throughout your website that contains these search terms.

    Finally, check out your web analytics (we'll discuss that shortly) and see how customers are actually finding you website.  The terms they are using to find you might be different than what you thought. We've discussed search engine marketing in the past.  Go ahead and get a refresher if you need to. We'll wait.

    If your audience is using terms that are a bit different than you thought, it may be time to re-work some of your website's content to rank higher for those search terms.

    One final note:  We mentioned Bing's "Bing It On" in the recently as well.  While the tool is used to test drive Bing vs. Google, it would also be a great place to do your keyword research.  Simply type in the term you're interested in and see where your website lands.

    5.  Analytics

    We mention Analytics in a bit more detail in today's post "Gift Your Website".  Simply digging into your analytics will give you a wealth of information about your current website.  Check out the Analytics blog post for more information.

    6.  Local Directories

    Potential customers are looking for you.  And, if you have a bricks-and-mortar business that you'd like them to find, claiming your location is essential.  Claiming a local address is easy to do and just takes a bit of your time.
    For more detailed information on local directories, see our Local Search blog post.


    Stay tuned for more tips as we help you decide, "Does my website suck?"  or, view Part 1 in this series. 

    - Comments

    Gift Your Website - Analytics

    Dec. 16, 2012 5:03 pm

    With all of the talk about gifts for friends and loved ones this holiday season, we'd like to remind you to spread the love to your website as well.  Each day up until Christmas we'll give you a simple idea you can implement to spread the love to your website.


    The first step in improving your website in any way is to see where it's at right now.  Website analytics hold the key to really "knowing" your website.  Things like:
    • How many visitors come each month?
    • How are they finding my website?
    • What websites link to mine?
    • What search terms are they using to find me?
    • What pages are they visiting most often?
    The information here will paint a very clear picture of how your website is doing.  Most websites come standard with an analytics program.  If you don't have one, check out Google Analytics.  It's free and only takes a snippet of code to be added to your site to begin your analytical journey.

    Warning:  Once you begin checking out your website stats, you may become addicted to the powerful data therein.

    Stay tuned for more gift your website ideas.

    - Comments

    Does My Website Suck? - Part 1

    Dec. 11, 2012 11:34 am

    It's an honest question.  Does my website need an overhaul?  Maybe just a nip and tuck?  Or, maybe triple bypass surgery?  How do I know if my website sucks?

    These are the questions plaguing many website owners and marketing professionals.  At DMI Studios, we love helping people take an honest look at their site to see what. if anything, needs to be improved upon.  And we've decided to share some of the aspects we look at with you, dear reader.  Consider it an early Christmas gift!

    Throughout all of these tips you'll see one common theme--the key to a great website is one that builds KLT - Know, Like and Trust.  Let us begin:

    1.  Overall Design

    This is the first place to start.  A website has precious few seconds to display trust and like-ability to an Internet user.  Sometimes, these qualitative aspects are difficult to put into words.  How do we know good design?  Here are a few jumping off points:
    • Is the logo and branding properly represented here?  
    • Is the color scheme pleasant to the eye?  
    • Is the important navigation above the fold (no scrolling to find it)?
    • Is the content easy to read?
    • Could the website benefit from an evolving design (seasonal, etc)?
    • Does the website use CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to ensure consistent design throughout?

    2.  Usability

    This would seem obvious, but a website needs to be user-friendly.  If it is difficult to use it will not be effective in generating leads for your business.  Again, this is more qualitative, but we all know easy-to-use websites versus the sites we hate to use.
    • Are all pages easily accessed by navigation?
    • Is there a search function?
    • Is there an RSS or email signup?
    • Is there a mobile version of the website to ease viewing on mobile and tablet devices?
    • Do the webpages load quickly?
    • If there is a checkout process, is it quick and easy to complete?

    3.  Competitive Analysis

    That's a fancy way of saying, you should spy on your competitors.  Sign up for their newsletters, follow them on Facebook and Twitter and check out their website!  Then, kick the tires of their website to see if there are any gems you can gain inspiration from.
    • Note any pages/sections they have on their website that you don't.  Then, ask yourself why you don't have it on your website (it may not be necessary, but this is a worthy exercise).
    • Note how often and how they communicate with their audience/customers.
    • See where they land on Bing and Google for shared search terms.
    • Investigate which social networks they are on and note their interactions there.
    • Check out the Meta Title and Description they use for their website.*

    *How do I learn about Metas?  Simply do a search on a search engine for the company's name or products they offer.  The results on the search page display their title and description.  For example, say you make apparel for zombie-loving fans, you may want to search "zombie gifts".  Then, note your competitor's listing on the search engine:

    The Meta Title is the large, blue underlined text.  The Meta Description is the text in black.  Note any keywords your competitors are using that wold work for you as well.  


    Stay tuned for more tips as we help you decide, "Does my website suck?"

    - Comments

    Branding Your Website

    Dec. 3, 2012 10:55 am

    Fatboy's Double Fatboy Hamburger - h3013 5
    Image Source
    If your website was a gourmet hamburger, branding would be all of the deliciousness that goes along with it:  pickles, tomato, onion, cheese, lettuce, bacon (!) and a toasty bun.  The elements are not too much and not too little, and memorable enough to keep customers coming back bite after bite.

    A burger lacking these elements is like a bad memory.  The same with your website. The logo, color scheme, tone of voice, imagery and emotion of your brand need to be incorporated on your site.

    The problem many clients run into is either, 1) they have very little offline branding and don't know the elements of their brand or, 2) the prior web designer neglected to incorporate these important elements and their site is underperforming.

    Why are these branding elements important?  

    • let your audience know they're on the right website.
    • create continuity between your offline, real life efforts and your web presence.
    • build trust in your brand.
    Okay, these elements are important.  I can see you get that.  Though I must caution you from the brink of using too much branding on your site. Note that branding is the accompaniment but you can't forget the beef!  Customers are coming to your site to learn more about you, experience your brand and/or buy your product.  A great website helps to build KLT (know, like, trust).   Remember, branding is the too-good-to-pass-up deliciousness that makes your website unique--your audience appreciates all of those elements, but they came for the beef!

    What about my logo?

    You're proud of your logo.  It's the culmination of blood, sweat, tears and a few hundred (maybe thousand) bucks.  We get that.  Your customers value your logo as well.  But not in the center-of-the-page, no other information is provided kind of a way.  It's more of a  2.5" x 2.5" kind of way.

    There are a number of best practices for your logo's placement on your website.  Typically, logos are in the upper-left corner of each page.  Web users know to look there for a logo, and the goal is to build trust in your website.  So, put it in the upper-left; no need to get fancy.

    The logo should be click-able back to your homepage--another web standard. And, the logo should be big enough to be noticed within the first few seconds a user is on your website.  You only have a precious few seconds to grab their attention and allow them to trust your site.  Don't blow it!

    Remember:  Your logo is like the secret sauce.  Important and tangy, but way-too-much and it's overbearing.  We've all been there.  Don't be that guy!

    It's elemental

    Pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, bacon, cheese, tomato...we could go on and on about a great gourmet burger (we're from Wisconsin after all).   Just like this delectable delight, your website should incorporate all of the elements of your brand--or you may have angry (or confused) customers.  Tone of voice, color scheme, imagery and feel are all important elements of your brand.  A great website will incorporate each of them in addition to a hearty helping of meat (read: important content).

    All of life is like a great burger

    Alright, that statement may have gone a bit too far.  But your website *is* like a great burger.  Your site should incorporate all of the tasty elements of your brand--logo, color scheme, tone of voice, imagery and emotion, without forgetting the meaty parts.  Customers are hungry to learn more about your brand.  Don't disappoint them!

    If you're lost on the way to a gourmet website, we have affectionados that would be happy to help.  Would you like a free website review?  We'd be happy to oblige you!

    - Comments

    Fun Friday: "Thriller" Album Turns "30"

    Nov. 30, 2012 2:31 pm

    The "Thriller" music video is dubbed the most influential music video ever.  The album is the best-selling album of all time.  "Thriller" has spent the most weeks (37) atop the Billboard 200 of any album by a single artist.

    A less statistical fact from "Thriller": the song and video helped to shatter the racial divide on the radio and on MTV.

    Interested in a little more "Thriller" info?

    "30 Cool Facts About 'Thriller'" will boggle your mind with tidbits and trivia.

    Check out Yahoo! Music for little-known facts about "Thriller".

    One of Jackson's co-writers remembers working with him in an NPR interview.

    Check out these 10 facts about the "Thriller" music video:

     Think you've seen everything "Thriller"? Check out these inmates from the Philippines that are, actually, pretty good at choreography. How's that for rehabilitation?


    Now, beat it.

    - Comments

    iGenius - Online Training, a Case Study

    Nov. 29, 2012 9:18 am

    You might think that an online training system that provides courses for a wide variety of employees and situations in a large geographic area sounds like a pie-in-the sky idea--too expensive and too time consuming.  You'd be wrong! DMI Studios' iGenius is an online training system that helped Construction Resource Management do just that!

    Construction Resource Management (CRM) is a Wisconsin-based captive service provider for three construction companies specializing in asphalt, bridges and overpasses: Payne and Dolan, Northeast Asphalt and Zenith Tech. These companies strive to provide top-notch infrastructure construction throughout Wisconsin and Michigan.  CRM worked with DMI to develop websites for each of their companies and during the course of a general strategy session, the pipe-dream of web-based employee training came up. We suggested iGenius and the plan took off!

    iGenius - a diamond in the rough

    In 2004, DMI Studios' created iGenius --a customizable framework that encompasses the essential elements businesses need in a training program--scalability, cost effectiveness and consistency.  DMI built the iGenius solution to easily adapt to a multitude of situations including human resources, sales training, education, or any situation where a web-based learning program is needed.

    By implementing the iGenius solution, CRM now facilitates online training in a slide-show manner for their employees..  The training courses can incorporate any combination of audio, video, Flash, text and/or images.  Each training session is then followed up with a test to measure comprehension.  CRM can easily log in to the iGenius solution to see which employees have watched various training sessions, taken tests and quizzes and, ultimately, passed the course.

    Flexible to meet business needs

    The genius that is iGenius, is the flexibility and freedom CRM has within the framework. Site Administrators have the ability to: 
    • Upload employee info and download employee course scores.
    • Assign employees to courses or certificates (groups of courses) by company, area, job position or individually.
    • Grant access to employees to take courses at any time, from any computer connected to the Internet.
    • Create courses from existing or new materials.
    • Add variations on the same question to ensure that, when a quiz is retaken to taken by another employee, it's slightly different,
    • View reports that provide data on employees, courses and comprehension tests.
    • Input offline course scores so all employee data resides in one place.

    Scalable for any situation

    CRM uses the iGenius solution in conjunction with classroom training, for internal training and OSHA required training.  So far, CRM's iGenius solution has over 1,100 users and 60 courses. Some example courses are: 
    • About Our Company
    • Entry Level DOT/CDL Driver Training
    • Defensive Driving
    • Harassment in the Workplace
    • Aerial Lift Safety
    • First Aid
    In addition, the iGenius solution is tied into CRM's employee Intranet. This creates one central location for employees to take courses, get employee forms and info, view project photo galleries, and any relevant company information.

    In all, the iGenius solution has been a great asset for CRM.  "Utilizing the iGenius system has allowed us to provide cost efficient, customized training to our employees," says Dawn Pratt, Human Resources Manager / EEO Officer for CRM.  "In addition we are able to post documents, photos albums of workers, important information, benefit forms and a host of other important employee related information that creates a one-stop shop for our employees.  It has worked out to be a very beneficial endeavor for both the company and the employee. Working with DMI has been a dream and they are so receptive to make it work just like we want it!"

    It's just one more way DMI Studios builds more than websites--we build business!

    If you'd like to see a test drive of the iGenius solution, we'd love to have you kick the tires, so to speak. Contact us today!

    - Comments

    Cyber Monday - Is It For Real?

    Nov. 26, 2012 10:33 am

    Image Source
    "Cyber Monday" was appropriately coined in 2005 by a press release that year.  Their research indicated a major swing in online sales on the Monday's following Thanksgiving.  Increasing access to high-speed internet, the need to shop online while kids are asleep, and the need to complete unfinished holiday shopping are reasons sighted for the Cyber Monday madness.  In response, online retailers took note of the trend and created specific sales and promotions beginning in 2005.

    Is Cyber Monday really the biggest online shopping day of the year?

    According to comScore, since they began tracking e-commerce activity in 2001, consumers spent $1.028 Billion online on Cyber Monday 2010, making it the biggest spending day of the year.  Prior to that, Cyber Monday was not the biggest sales-day of the year.

    Cyber Monday shopping since 2005:

    Cyber Monday still only represents a small portion of total holiday sales (online and traditional), however the importance of the sale day is increasing each year.  It's beginnings were humble (and mostly hype), however Cyber Monday 2011 was the highest online sales day on record!

    Ever Changing.  

    The latest tech trend is the increasing use of mobile devices for online shopping.  The most common platform for mobile browsing is the iPhone.  Practical Ecommerce notes Black Friday mobile browsing was higher than Cyber Monday browsing, probably because most people were away from their work computers.


    • Black Friday and Cyber Monday are important eCommerce dates for virtually all retailers
    • The number of consumers using mobile devices for shopping is increasing rapidly.
    • Many shoppers are doing so from their work computers.
    For even more Cyber Monday info, check out Information Experts Infographic.

    Happy shopping!

    - Comments

    Black Friday Infographic

    Nov. 22, 2012 9:00 pm

    Are you planning to head out on Black Friday?

    Here are a few tips to get you through the day:

      Black Friday Cheat Sheet
    Via: NerdWallet

    - Comments

    PCI Compliance Guide - Internet 101

    Nov. 21, 2012 5:53 pm

    The internet can be a great source of revenue for small business.  However, it can also be a great source of frustration for those that may not know the rules of business on the World Wide Web.

    One such issue is PCI Compliance.
    "The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of requirements designed to ensure that ALL companies that process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment."   - PCI Guide
    Ultimately the PCI guidelines are to protect the consumer and businesses.  Credit card data that is easily hacked into is a huge security issue for consumers.  And, businesses that knowingly store this data in an unsecured location are helping these hackers do what they do.

    Do I need to be aware of the PCI Guidelines?   

    If you transmit, accept or store credit card information, then the PCI Compliance guidelines apply to you; regardless of the size of your business or organization.  These transactions can occur via the web or over the phone.  

    My website has an SSL, so I must be covered.

    An SSL Certificate is a secure webpage that credit card transactions occur on.  Though, an SSL certificate will not secure the server on which credit card data may be stored; thus they are vulnerable on the server.  An SSL Certificate is not enough to secure all credit card data, but it is an important component in secure credit card transactions.

    Tip:  How do I know if a webpage is secure?  The URL should begin with "https://" 

    I use a third-party to process transactions, so they'll take care of this.

    Not necessarily.  It is important that your third-party vendor is PCI Compliant, however some of the transaction data may still be saved on your servers.  Using a third-party may cut down your risk, but it's best to be sure your customers' data is safe.

    Okay, where do I begin?

    The first piece of information to gather is this:  How many VISA card transactions has your business or organization processed in the last 12-months?  
    Level 1 - 6 million or more VISA transactions per year.
    Level 2 - 1 million - 6 million VISA transactions per year.
    Level 3 - 20,000 - 1 million VISA transactions per year.
    Level 4 - Fewer than 20,000 VISA transactions per year.
    Most small-to-medium sized businesses fall in Level 4.
    Assuming you're a Level 4 business, these are the following steps you need to take to ensure PCI Compliance:

    1. Find which Validation Type your business falls under.  

    2. Take the Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) --the instructions will assist you as to which questionnaires to fulfill.

    3. If you store cardholder info or if your processing systems are connected to the internet, you'll need to complete and gather evidence of passing a vulnerability scan.  Scans must be conducted by a PCI SSC Approved Scanning Vendor.   

    4. Complete the appropriate Attestation of Compliance

    5. Submit the SAQ (Self Assessment Questionnaire), data of passing scan (if applicable), and the Attestation of Compliance (found in document with SAQ), along with any other requested documentation, to you acquirer.

    Where can I find the standards online?

    If you need a hand tackling PCI Compliance for your business, we would be happy to help!  We've been down this road with many of our clients and can leverage that knowledge for you!  Simply contact us today!

    Useful Links
    PCI Compliance Guide
    Official PCI Security Standards Council
    PCI Compliance Checklist by the Better Business Bureau


    This post is the part of a series of Internet 101 information topics. As always, when class is dismissed, you're welcome to contact us if you have any questions or would like any additional information. If you don't feel at the head of your class, don't worry, we took notes.

    - Comments

    Local Search - Claiming Your Brand's Online Identity

    Nov. 19, 2012 11:42 am

    Image: IT Jargon
    Googled your business lately?  Customers are using search engines to find your address, phone number and service information as well as to determine your credibility.  Not pleased with the search engine results for your brand?  Take heart, there are steps you can take to claim your brand's identity online.

    The Basics - Your Website

    Your brand's website is the first step to claiming your business identity.  Start with a Contact Us page with your business's address, phone number and relevant information.  Be sure to included the cities you provide services to on your website as well.  Blog posts that are sporadically sprinkled with the areas you provide services to will round out your local search results.

    Low Hanging Fruit - Social Media

    Create a business page on Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn for free.  Be sure to fill out as much information as you can on each site.  List the hours your business is open, street address, services provided and any relevant imagery as well as a link to your website.  This information will, 1) provide search engines with your address/phone number to list in their results and, 2) add a credibility to prospective customers.

    Online Directories - A Little Time, But Well Worth It

    A number of directories exist that will list your business information for free.  Here are a few of our favorites:
    In addition, there are a multitude of smaller directories out there well worth claiming as well.  A great way to check out if you're listed properly is to use a search tool.  You can easily see the directories where you're already listed and the ones you'll need to visit and add your information. Some of the notables are:
    These services provide listing information for free but then charge to help you fix your listings. If you want to save some cash and fix your listings yourself, it's not hard but it will take time.  Many of the listed directories will have you verify your ownership of the business information through a phone call or post card.

    As with your brand's social media profiles, be sure to fill in as much relevant information as each directory allows to lend credibility.

    Create Engagement

    A great enhancement to your directory listings is customer reviews.  What is the best way to get a review?  Simply to ask. If you do receive reviews, many directories allow you to respond to it.  Thank commenters for their patronage, respond to so-so reviews and address any negative reviews.

    Why Claim My Brand's Identity?

    Time is a commodity.  Why should you spend time on these business directories?

    1.  Almost all of these are free!

    2.  Free traffic to your website or front door!

    3.  Search engines cross-check these directories.  The more directories that have your info listed properly will lend to the credibility of your brand's online presence.

    4.  Ensure search engines are giving customers the proper info--not an old address or phone number.

    5.  If you don't claim this information, someone else may.
    Wait, what?  That's right.  We've had a client who had their brand's identity claimed by a competitor.  Their name, address and phone number were marked as:  "Out of Business".  Ouch!  Immoral.  And, not good for business.   Claim your brand's info before someone else does!


    * Be sure you use the same address and even format the address the same way in every instance.  "123 Main Street, Suite 23" looks different to search engines than, "123 Main St. Ste. #23".  Be consistent.  Every time.

    * Adding a photo of the exterior of your business is a great way to help customers become acquainted with your business before they even get in their car!

    *Spread these tasks out over a month.  That way, you won't be overwhelmed by the process.

    * Keep checking periodically, even after you've made your changes.  If a site or directory you've missed is feeding other directories, your work can be unravelled.

    A few other great articles to on improving your local marketing

    5 Ways to Improve Local Search Results for Business
    How to Claim Your Online Identity and Keep It Relevant

    - Comments

    News from Search Engine Strategies Conference- Chicago

    Nov. 15, 2012 3:28 pm

    This week, DMI Studios has been knee deep in all things Search Engine Marketing while attending the SES Conference & Expo in Chicago #SESCHI.  SES provides marketing professionals, brand advertisers, agencies, and business leaders with the knowledge and tools needed to traverse the dynamic digital landscape. Translation- the best and the brightest gather together to share ideas and talk about what's new and trending.

    While our brains are still brimming with everything we've learned, we thought we give a few quick highlights and interesting facts.

    • Over 200 data points are used by Google to determine organic positioning.  The top 3 are Site Structure, Frequency of Updates and Linking- Content really is king!
    • 100 billion queries per month come into Google.
    • 16% of Google inquiries have never been seen by Google before.
    • 80% of queries have no exact match.
    • 40% searches are over 3 words long.
    • 5.6 billion queries per month come into Bing.
    • Bing controls 30% of the US Market.
    • Bing has 151 million unique users.
    • Bing claims to have 46 million users that don't also use Google.
    • Bing users spend on average 5.4% more per transaction than Googlers.

    Google Shopping:
    • There's 1 billion products in Google Shopping.
    • Google Shopping boasts over 100,000 retailers.
    • By submitting themselves for review by Google, a retailer can become "Trusted" by Google.  Google reports a 5-10% gain in orders for stores that have become trusted.
    Social Media:
    • Social campaigns on Facebook or Twitter can also help with other campaigns like content marketing, link building, brand awareness, lead generation and SEO.
    • Social Media can be used as a way to get others to do your work for you- spreading the word about your brand.
    • Twitter processes about 1 million tweets per week.
    • 20% of all tweets are invitations for product info and 48% are to introduce a brand.
    • 25% of internet users go to a website after learning about it on some form of social media.
    • 500 billion minutes a month are spent on Facebook.

    Cool Stuff:
    • does 1/20 the sales of
    • Google is offering up to $10,000 a month in free Pay Per Click ads to Non-profit organizations.
    • Mobile marketing accounts for only 1% of ad spend but 23% of web use.
    • Local Search comprises 40% of all mobile traffic.

    Whew!  That was quite a brain dump!  We'd be more than happy to talk with you about more ideas and options that could impact your business- just give us a day or two for the swelling in our heads to go down!

    - Comments

    Content Management - A Powerful Tool

    Nov. 12, 2012 8:44 am

    Content is king.  Consumers are looking for up-to-date information about virtually every brand--your brand.  How can you deliver timely content and keeps costs down?   Content Management can be the silver-bullet in your brand's arsenal.

    One client of DMI Studios' that leverages our Content Management System is Port Washington, WI.  Port Washington needed a website that combined the identity's of their tourism industry, chamber of commerce and main street programs.  In addition, each identity had a wealth of information that would need to be routinely updated.

    When searching for a web design agency that was up to the task, Kathy Tank, Executive Director for Port Washington Tourism Council knew she could look to DMI Studios.  "I knew [Brad of DMI Studios] well enough to know that he would not misrepresent what DMI could do, just to get the deal.  When I talked about the challenge we had, needing a website for three distinct entities, combined into one website, without any of the entities losing their identity, [Brad] said he knew DMI Studios could come up with a solution."

    The challenge was steep.  Port Washington needed a website for the three separate entities that was easy to navigate and consolidated, yet distinct for each identity.  In addition, each entity had differing needs for DMI's Content Management System.  

    Once the website was created, Port Washington was armed with a unified brand for three entities and DMI's Content Management System.  Now, their dedicated staff are able to update the website quickly and easily; making the go-to website for their distinct audiences.

    "People say it [the website] looks very professional, and being able to update it when needed helps us to keep the site vibrant and up-to-date with the latest information.  That makes Port Washington able to compete with the big guys." says Kathy.

    Website's have precious few moments to capture a user's attention before they click away and find another source for information. About the website DMI created, Kathy notes, "People say [our website] is easy to navigate and they can find what they are looking for."  User experience is key in creating a valuable resource.

    A major benefit to DMI's Content Management System is the ability to control costs as well.  "The easy-to-use CMS keeps costs in-line with dedicated staff being able to update content and manage the website without having to pay anyone else to make the changes," Kathy noted. That means more updates on-the-fly.    

    Kathy explained, "[There are] no financial boundaries keeping us back from using the website.  This keeps the website vibrant and refreshed with the latest information and helps us do a better job of communicating info about Port Washington to our audience, thus helping us to drive more tourism visits and business for our economy."

    Timely content is the key to engaging customers on the web.  Port Washington relies heavily on content management with various parts of the website being updated almost daily!  Port Washington has become the expert in their brand by publishing timely content and communicating daily with their distinct audiences.

    Website created.  Business enhanced.

    What can content management do for your brand?
    If you'd like to see a demonstration of our Content Management System, we'd be happy to show it off!  Contact us and we'll be there.  With bells on. 

    - Comments

    Bing the Vote!

    Nov. 6, 2012 3:22 pm

    We interrupt your Tuesday to remind you to vote.  And, in the spirt of voting, we'd love to see which Search Engine you prefer--Bing or Google.

    Want to know how the candidates stack up?  Bing has created a tool to help with that.  You can search simultaneously for varying search topics to see which search engine YOU prefer:  Bing or Google.

    Since we're savvy and strive to be empirical, we did a double blind test -- no caffiene was ingested directly prior to this test.

    Note :: You can click graphics to view them at a larger size.

    We were split 50/50 and selected Bing twice, Google twice and had a draw for Round 5.

    Looking for more Bing vs. Google standings?  Check out this great infographic.

    We'd love to hear which search engine gets your vote!

    - Comments

    Happy Halloween from DMI Studios!

    Oct. 31, 2012 3:38 pm

    Here at DMI Studios, we're all partial to treats over tricks.  So to celebrate, instead of our regularly scheduled blog post, here are a few fun Halloween facts:
    • Halloween is second only to Christmas for holiday online sales.
    • Chocolate makes up about three-quarters of a trick-or-treater's loot, according to the National Confectioners Association.
    • Candy corn has been made with the same recipe by the Jelly Belly Candy Company since around 1900.  What's in that recipe, exactly? Sugar, corn syrup, and marshmallow.
    • 90% of parents admit to sneaking candy from their kids hauls. (That number sounds low!)
    • Halloween is thought to have originated around 4000 B.C., which means Halloween has been around for over 6,000 years.
    • The first known mention of trick-or-treating in print in North America occurred in 1927 in Blackie, Alberta, Canada
    So, now that you've sated your need for useless trivia, go get your sugar groove on!  Happy Halloween!


    - Comments

    Internet 101 - Laws of Search Engine Attraction

    Oct. 29, 2012 4:14 pm

    Understanding Search Engine Optimization is a full-time job--literally.  DMI Studios has an in-house Marketing Specialist to assist all of our clients with interactive marketing, beginning with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

    Search Engine Optimization is working to create a website that is easily found on search engines.   SEO is the natural positioning within search engines such as Yahoo!, Bing and Google.

    Each search engine has a different way at looking at websites--this is called their algorithm.  SEO works to ensure your website has the specific features each algorithm is looking for.

    Search engine placement is important!  Let's imagine, a valued client of ours, FleaBDead,  sells diamond studded flea collars.  The market for these products is huge and the demand is high, so we want to be sure people can find this website.


    In working with FleaBDead, we look at their product and determine how John Q. Public is planning to use a Search Engine to find their website.  Johnny will probably search for "diamond flea collar," "diamond studded flea collar" and "flea collar".  We ensure these phrases are included throughout the website we create for them.

    Johnny probably won't know these flea collars by name.  So the name of client's company, "FleaBDead" is of lesser importance here.  

    So, we add the words the public may use to find these products to the titles throughout their website.  A title is found at the very top of your browser.  It is also the first line listed in search results.  So, we'd add "Diamond Studded Flea Collars - FleaBGone" to their title--important words first. This covers all of their important search terms.  


    Search engines look to other trusted websites to see if they should trust your website--thus reducing the chance you're simply a SPAM website.  When a big-name pet store links to FleaBGone, it's like giving search engines a "thumbs up" about our site.  Win!  The more of these great links, the better for our client!  Although, not for the fleas.

    The words that are used in these links are also important.  The pet store linking to our client's site with "Diamond Studded Flea Collars" will help search engines to further categorize us within the realm of diamond studded flea collars.  Linking to our client with "FleaBDead" doesn't do that.  So, we help our clients be picky about their links.

    Ever Growing

    Websites that are continually adding content and gaining links are noticed by search engines.  It's like the popular kid in school who keeps gaining attention by his following.  Search engines take note of these popular kids.   We help websites become popular with our Content Management Systems and by integrating blogs when they are a good fit.

    Our Approach

    DMI Studios has a specific approach when working to optimize a website.  First, a website is created using a clean coding and design (major disadvantage for template-websites).  Next, DMI works with each client to ensure the content on each web page is valuable to your audience and has those important search terms (or keywords) related to your business.

    Once the website is launched, we collaborate with our clients to work on increasing search engine leads for their website.  This could entail modifying the copy on specific under-performing pages on the site, working to create better links to your website or adding code in the back end informing search engines about the content of your website.  All in an effort to help your audience find you!

    This is just the beginning of Search Engine Optimization.  If you're looking for ways to increase your website's SEO, we'd be happy to help!

    - Comments

    DMI Studios Works Collaboratively to Build Business: Case Study

    Oct. 25, 2012 11:17 am

    A custom web design, logo creation, marketing plan and an impressive amount of tourism-related experience allowed DMI Studios to create the best interactive presence for the Florence County Tourism and Economic Development brand.

    Florence Country Tourism and Economic Development is located in picturesque northeast Wisconsin about 2 hours north Green Bay.  Florence Co. knew they needed a revitalized website to better serve their target-market for tourism.  Their current website was laden with government-related information for current residents of the county.  However, a website that specifically served the tourism industry was needed.

    As Florence County began creating their Request For Proposals, they soon realized they didn't have a clear marketing plan, logo or direction for their brand.  They leveraged  DMI Studios' to help them through the marketing and brand identity process.

    Brad Gegare, of DMI Studios, worked with Florence County every step of the way.  Brad spent time walking Florence Co. through the entire marketing process.  Brad has 6 years of experience in the tourism industry and over 15 years experience in marketing.

    Florence County saw they had a true collaborator in DMI Studios.  Once work began, DMI created a vision for  Florence Co. to market their brand and a logo that would speak to their tourism audience.    When the marketing was in place, DMI worked to create a robust website that would be updated with relevant Events, News and a stream from their Facebook feed in addition to important tourism-related information.

    "DMI Studios' design staff helped us perfect our logo with rotating icons and colors that are eye- catching and reflective of the great outdoors," said Wendy Gelhoff, Director for Florence County Economic Development.

    DMI Studios also helped to map out the necessary web pages to best serve tourists.  Along with the new web design, the administrative section of the website  featured DMI's proprietary Content Management System that enables website owners to continually update their website.  The easy-to-use tools enable a website experience that is relevant, trending and up-to-the-minute with information for internet users.

    "The best part about the whole experience is how easily new content is added through the many custom Content Management Tools designed for each of our unique pages.  When the final site was ready, Brad came up to train us and in 1 hour we were ready to go," said Wendy Gellhoff.

    DMI Studios has an unmatched combination of website pre-planning, strategy, design expertise, content management options, search engine optimization and customer service.  The end result is a user-friendly website that is easily updated by site owners and works day and night to build business!

    Websites are only as good as they are found and utilized by the wider public.  DMI Studios prides itself on creating websites that are user and search-engine friendly.  Wendy noted that "The first quarterly review of our site performance metrics showed a huge improvement in our site being located (on search engines). We have received many compliments on our new website from both tourism users and from our local business owners because we are driving new business to them from our website."

    Sounds like a hole in one for the tourism industry in Florence County, WI.

    The Florence County Tourism and Economic Development website launched in February 2012.

    DMI Studios works to create the best interactive solutions to fit the needs of your unique industry.  Call us today to learn how DMI can help build your business.

    - Comments

    Internet 101- Search Engine Marketing

    Oct. 22, 2012 10:28 am

    DMI Studios - Internet 101
    Search Engines change they way they do business all the time.  Major changes in SE algorithms can really give website owners a headache.  One day a major product category is placing well on page 1 and the next day it may be buried on page 5.

    The good news?  Search Engine marketing comes in two forms: Organic (blog post coming soon) and Pay-Per-Click Ads (PPC).  A PPC campaign is one that generates website traffic through purchasing specific search terms.  These terms are listed prominently so your ad will be seen by lots of potential customers.

    Today, the biggest player is Google AdWords, however Bing/Yahoo! also has PPC capability.  Facebook and now, Twitter are also jumping into the paid-search field.

    Establish Goals

    Before you begin, define your goals.  Are you looking for more traffic?  More newsletter sign-ups?  More purchases?  Establish your goals to give your campaign clarity of purpose.  Tip:  Communicate your goals to everyone involved in your campaign to ensure success.


    The first step in any PPC campaign is research.  Digging deep into your website's analytics is one way to learn how people are finding your website.  You may sell "diamond studded flea collars" but your customers are searching for "best flea collar", finding your website and buying.  Tip:  Focus on search terms your customers are using rather than terms you like to use.

    A Solid Landing

    The page a user ends up on once they've clicked your ad is called a "landing page".  Landing pages are crucial to the success of a PPC campaign.  If a user clicks an ad for "best flea collar" and ends up on a page asking them to sign up for a newsletter, they will probably jump ship and look for a different, relevant website.  Decide where you want the traffic to go.  Tip: Each landing page should have a compelling call-to-action for your audience.

    Ad Creation

    Time to get creative and write the ad copy!  Each ad venue will have differing requirements as to title and description parameters.  It is best to do a bit of research before beginning this step.  Go ahead and search for the words on your list to get a good idea of what your audience is already seeing.  Tip: Be sure to have someone proof-read your work before you go live!


    As your campaign evolves, it's important to tweak as you go.  You may have keywords that are underperforming or terms that performing well but not converting leads.  Tip: Be willing to tweak your campaign but also be willing to gather enough data to make informed decisions.

    Call Out for Help

    This kind of Search Engine Marketing is very hands-on and time consuming.  With the ever-changing nature of Search Engines, an industry expert can be your best chance at a successful campaign.  DMI Studios has in-house Search Engine Marketing experts that create, optimize and report on campaigns for our clients.

    Call for a free consultation.  You can toss your idea's past us and we can help you customize a campaign that will fit your goals.  Don't want to do the heavy lifting?  We'll execute your campaign and hit your goals for you.

    This post is the part of a series of Internet 101 information topics. As always, when class is dismissed, you're welcome to contact us if you have any questions or would like any additional information. If you don't feel at the head of your class, don't worry, we took notes.

    - Comments

    Friday Fun with Felix

    Oct. 19, 2012 12:33 pm

    It's Friday and frankly, it's hard to be serious with the weekend so near.  So, instead of a normal blog post, we thought it'd be fun to let you in on our preoccupation this week.  

    How cool was the Red Bull Space Jump??

    Since we have inquiring minds, we couldn't just leave it at an awesome video.  Here are some fun facts as well:
    • It would have taken the world's best marathon runners about 2 hours to cover the 24.26 miles that Felix Baumgartner fell.  It took Felix 9 minutes and 3 seconds.

    • Felix reached a maximum speed of 833.9 miles per hour.  The winning car at the 2012 Indy 500 averaged 167.734 mph.  Of course, he didn't have to contend with yellow flags.

    • Feilix was Free Fallin' for 4 minutes, 20 seconds -- six seconds more than Tom Petty 

    • Felix reached a maximum speed of 833.9 miles per hour.  The typical crusing speed of a Boeing 747 is 567 mph.

    • Felix jumped from a record-shattering 128,100 feet- that's 88 Empire State Buildings, 427 football fields or 292,800 cans of Red Bull stacked on top of each other.

    There, now that you've learned something, you can call it a day!  Tell your boss we said so!

    - Comments

    Customized Websites are Better for Business

    Oct. 17, 2012 2:55 pm

    Throughout the course of doing business we meet folks who think a website template is a great fit for business.  Nothing gets us up on our soapbox quicker than misinformation about how great these templates are.  They're bad for the web, bad for business, and bad for you.  Excuse us while we jump up on our soapbox and settle the record.


    As innovators in the blending of art and technology, we truly believe in custom website creations for everyone.  And, we certainly understand that creating a website for your brand can be a daunting endeavor.  Standing at the fork in the road, you can go the custom route or the Template/Cookie Cutter/Build My Own/One-Size-Fits-All direction.  We think you'll agree that custom is better for business.  Allow us to illustrate.

    The Sky is the Limit

    Templated designs are a quick way to get "something" up on the web.  You can pop in your logo, maybe change the colors, and add content for your audience.  However, a major issue many owners experience with an "out of the box" website is the limited design capabilities.

    A custom website  will certainly have your logo, but that's just the beginning.  Images, colors and content that truly reflect your brand are carefully chosen to engage your audience and let them experience your brand.  We love to pop in our Content Management Systems as a way to allow brands to enter into continual communication with their audience as well.

    And, that daunting process?  It's not so scary with an industry expert walking the road along side of your business.  Our Account Executives have over 15 years of experience creating robust internet solutions for our clients.

    Online Marketing

    Cookie cutter templates may not be optimized to be easily found on search engines.  Typically, they have extraneous coding in them as well as references to the template creator.  A custom website is all about you--your brand, your business, your marketing.  What's not to love about you?  Amiright?

    When creating custom sites, we also add specific keywords within your website to make it easier for Google to find and categorize you.  We can also ensure your Google map, location and info are correct on Google--an important feature for your customers and your bottom line.  The template guys are just happy they sold another cookie-cutter.

    Our custom websites also easily integrate Facebook pages, Twitter updates, or any other social media platform you are current leveraging for business.  This helps to create a cohesive all-in-one marketing tool for your brand.


    Your business' future is limited by template websites.  Truly, a template is a box that is difficult, if not impossible, to bust out of.  And, when the time comes (and it surely will) for you to add on to your website, whose task-list does this item get added to?  Hint:  You'll find him in your mirror.

    With a custom website, features,  pages and e-commerce can all easily be added when the time is right.  And, since we designed your website in the first place, there is no head-scratching or finger-pointing when it's time to add on.  We simply get to work.


    A web template is WAY cheaper than a custom solution, so why continue preaching about the benefits?

    What if I told you the cost is less than you think?*

    What if I said DMI Studios creates high-end custom solutions, every day, for business (and budgets) large and small?  I'm talking full, custom, interactive websites with custom design and our Content Management System fully integrated so you can manage your site.

    That's a serious interactive marketing solution.

    What about ecom.?  Yep.

    The "templates are great" myth is busted!

    What are you waiting for?  Creating custom websites is our specialty.  And, it's fun, too.

    Want to see how your website stacks up?  We'll be brutally honest.


    *What do you mean the cost of a template and custom website are similar?  Well, templates may be a bit cheaper, but they may be holding you back with poor conversion, poor representation of your brand, and limited scalability.  The designer/programmer/marketing professional for your template is YOU.  You're choosing between working on your business or creating your website.  Our websites come with a team of designers, marketers, and industry experts helping you along every step of the way.  And, we don't build it and forget it. We're here to help launch-day, 10-days after launch, and 10 months after launch and beyond.

    - Comments

    DMI Studios Featured in Green Bay News Article

    Oct. 16, 2012 10:41 am

    DMI Studios David Troup
    Owner David Troup had the opportunity to share his vision for the DMI Studios rebrand in the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce Spotlight section of The Business News. Here's the highlight reel:

    DMI Studios is well-known around Green Bay as being an industry expert for all things related to the web.  Owner, David Troup, can periodically be heard on talk radio informing people about the story of DMI Studios, their creativity and cutting-edge technology as well as giving helpful marketing tips to area listeners.

    DMI Studios " taking its own advice these days and giving itself a new look to better tell its story as a major player in web design, web solutions and online marketing in Green Bay and around the globe."

    Few people may realize that DMI Studios developed one of the NFL's most popular websites:  DMI had the foresight to secure the "Packers" domain name as well as related names that the organization is able to utilize today.   DMI Studios continues to work in a collaborative manner with the Packers and are heavily involved with the Packers Pro Shop.

    "DMI Studios' world is all about the Internet, and the staff -- some of whom have been with the company since its beginnings -- are ready to lead clients into their futures with an interactive vision, said Troup. On the website is a listing of many of their clients - something many businesses shy away from divulging. But not Troup who is known for relishing a competitive edge - especially with himself."

    "DMI Studios is at its best, he said, when a client presents them with a seemingly impossible request. It's a joke between him and his staff, he said, 'Ok, what did you sell that doesn't exist?' "

    Troup states, "It's all about pushing the envelope in technology, and more graphically he refers to it as "the bleeding edge".  How's that for a mental image?

    " 'At the end of the day, we want our client to succeed,' said Troup."

    You can read the full article to learn more about DMI Studios -- Chamber Business News - DMI Studios

    - Comments

    Internet 101 - Content Management for Websites

    Oct. 11, 2012 2:15 pm

    This post is part of a series of Internet 101 information topics. As always, when class is dismissed, you're welcome to contact us if you have any questions or would like any additional information.  If you don't feel at the head of your class, don't worry, we took notes.
    In the infancy stages of the World Wide Web, updating your website required fluency in HTML or having an on-call webmaster.  The Internet has grown up quite a bit in the last 20+ years and content management is a powerful change.

    Content Management Tools (CMTs) (n.) are "forms" within the administrative area of a website that allow a web owner to quickly and easily update content on their website.

    What kind of content can be updated?

    A CMT can be created for virtually ANY content that you'd like to provide and update regularly on your website--News, Events, Products, Services, Testimonials, Video, Photos, Employment Openings, FAQs, Documents, Links, and the list goes on.

    Why update content?

    Many websites start out as online brochures--well, you have to start somewhere!  However, an interactive website that your audience can rely upon as a valuable source of information is much more powerful than an online brochure.

    You see, any valued relationship needs conversation.  Imagine a dinner party guest that tells the same story over and over to each party attendant.  After listening to the story time after time, people would begin to wonder what was wrong with that guy.

    What was his social faux pas?  Aside from the plaid pants he was sporting, he also delivered the same story regardless of the audience--kind of like a brochure website.

    Now the life of the party, what was he up to?  He had great stories to tell, listened attentively and enjoyed the conversation--he was dynamic!  And, he was dressed like 007.

    CMTs allow your website to be dynamic and encourage conversation with your audience, so you can be the life of the Interwebs.

    DMI Studios has proprietary Content Management Systems-loaded with CMTs to give your website a competitive advantage.  If you'd like to see a Content Management System demonstration, we'd love to show off our work, you party animal.

    - Comments


    Oct. 2, 2012 2:14 pm

    The story of our brand. 

    Digital-Magic hit the ground running in 1994, as surfers of the World Wide Web carried brick phones instead of cellphones and the sound of a dial up connection was music to their ears. They would hop on the Internet Super Highway (with a 56K connection) armed with AOL keywords (and something to keep them occupied as their webpage would load), they waited for their computers to exclaim, You've got mail!

    We were interacting with others online, so it seemed apt to modify our name to Digital Magic Interactive.

    In the next few years, the internet grew up (a lot!) and we did too. In 2001, we rebranded as DMiNTERACTIVE-- a full-service agency offering a breadth of solutions for our clients. Banner ads, search engine keywords, search engine optimization, content management, and wider pixel screens defined this era. Finally a website could bust out 800 pixels and really tell a story! Website owners could update their sites without knowing a foreign (to them) language. The internet was booming!  And people still called us "DMI".

    As we enter into 2013, the internet is now on every street corner, classroom, living room, purse and pocket. We pull out our smartphones to order pizza and download a movie. Cellphones have changed the landscape once again. Websites need to be mobile. Apps help us track the milage of our run and find the lowest gas prices in town. We get our email, weather, news, movies on the go-and we tell everyone about it with social media. Some think it's beautiful. Some think it's madness. Call us crazy, but we think it's art that fits in your palm of your hand.

    You see, we've hit our stride as well. And we don't care if you call us names. Although, we'd prefer it to be our new name.

    Introducing:  DMI Studios 

    A studio is a place that blends art and technology to make something of value. To us, that sounds familiar. At varying levels, every one of our projects is about form and function, left-brain and right-brain, beauty and geek.

    We create custom solutions for our clients and each one comes standard with a mega dose of customer service.   If you know exactly what you're looking for or if you need help assessing your situation, we've got you covered.

    - Comments

    Internet 101 - Mobile App vs. Mobile Website

    Oct. 2, 2012 2:07 pm

    This post is the first in a series of Internet 101 information topics. As always, when class is dismissed, you're welcome to contact us if you have any questions or would like any additional information. If you don't feel at the head of your class, don't worry, we took notes.

    Do you need an app for that? Apps get all the love these days, but what is an app and do you need one for your website? First, we'll ask Mr. Webster:

    Mobile App - An app is a program that is downloaded from an app store onto a user's phone. Apps are typically focused on one task (customer service, social media, entertainment, training, or informational).
    Mobile Website - A mobile website resides on the internet and your audience can navigate to it through a browser. It is a streamlined for efficient loading and viewing from mobile devices.
    Here's a side-by-side comparison:

    It can be difficult to determine if an app or a mobile website is best suited for your business needs. Each application has unique qualities that can grant your idea success.

    In a majority of cases, a mobile website is the best bet for business. However, apps are extremely powerful when used in the proper cases. Just take a gander at the 50 Best iPhone Apps of 2012 by TIME magazine.

    Are you brainstorming an app or mobile website?  We'd love to chat with you about your options!

    Here are a few apps we can't live without:

    Angry Birds 
    of course

    Google Sky Map
    we star-gaze as well as naval-gaze

    this one is just fun

    should I bring my son to the doctor or not...

    keeps copywriting sharp

    a true genius takes copious notes

    the ultimate in multitasking

    home or away? who's out of the game? 

    long wait at the doctor? why not watch a movie?

    Baby Rattle
    don't you dare judge us...we love technology and teach our babies to, too

    Mobile websites that are frequent stops:
    daily news stop
    book fettish
    football fettish
    pizza fettish
    fan apparel fettish

    What's on your phone?

    - Comments

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