Perspective, tips, and insight

Articles to help you improve your digital marketing

Web Design: Cover Crops USA

Services Provided Include:
We launched a new website for Cover Crops USA at covercropsusa.com.  

We have been working with The CISCO Company since 2007 and have created several micro sites to serve their product needs. Cover Crops USA is the most recent mini-site we worked on to present their Cover Crops products. We carried the graphic style and general structure into the new design. We used JQuery rotation to present the multiple products on the home page.

 About Crops Cover USA

The CISCO Companies is a full service distributor in Indianapolis, Indiana distributing a wide range of products including seed, lawn and garden supplies, horticulture and agriculture goods. The CISCO Companies recommend using N-Vest cover crops that work well in the Midwest.

The other CISCO Companies websites created by TBH Creative include:





Seven Tips for Effective Facebook Events (Facebook Tabs Example 5)

We have been posting recently about Facebook custom tabs and how to use them to promote your business as part of your online strategy. Last week we reviewed Facebook videos, and this week we are looking at the function offered by Facebook for Events. There are a few things you can do beyond filling out the basic information for your events to get further exposure and positive response.
  1. Invite people!
  2. Include details to your event—including photos—to draw interest.
  3. Comment back to RSVPs even if they cannot attend. Do this on the event page and also on their personal wall. These actions will further promote the event on your wall and keep up awareness for the event.
  4. Send out reminders.
  5. Leave the default settings.



    Allow guests to:
    • Invite others
    • Upload photos
    • Write on the wall
      • This is positive action to allow on your event page because each time a user writes on the wall, they create news items that will populate their friends' feeds.
  6. Show the guest list.
  7. Make sure your event information includes location details. These details will correspond with a Facebook page and provide map and direction information automatically.
If you are creating a custom event page, the sky is the limit. Here are a couple recommendations:
  1. Include a sharing widget to further promote the event and page details.
  2. Incorporate video—or a live feed—from the event. This is especially effective if the event is recurring and might encourage attendance to subsequent events.
  3. Offer an incentive for attending the event.

Below are a few more examples showing some of the features of you can use to promote your  Facebook event.

The event list is the same for all pages, but you have some control. You can specify a specific thumbnail
image for each event. Hallmark's Event list is a good example of such listing page. They use unique
thumbnail photos for each event. Note: Facebook automatically lists events in chronological order.
Make sure your Event detail page includes relevant event information. Also, make sure to allow
comments from others and an open guest list showing all attendees. Best Buy's recent "Procrastinator" event
was clever and well-executed, leading to a high RSVP rate of 870!
Allow users to post their own photos—as well as links and comments—to your Event wall to keep the page active
and vibrant. In the example page above, the JCPenney event for Blake Shelton shows how effective this can be.
The Facebook event page served as a feed of activity and record of the event.

Web Design and Build: Digestive Medicine Associates

Services Provided Include:
We launched a new website for Digestive Medicine Associates at www.gimed.com.

We built the first website for Digestive Medicine Associates in 2002. A decade later they were ready for a redesign, and we helped them update their look and add more value for their visitors. The new website we designed clearly communicates their expertise and service offerings. The goal of the new website was to make two things apparent to the audience; 1) who these doctors were by showing a photograph and listing their area of expertise and 2) where they were located by using an interactive map and drop down menu of locations.


The home page was designed to showcase the experts and lead visitors to what they need. The photo of the doctors shows they are real people and elicits a warm and inviting feeling. The link to necessary forms and instructions for the day of the procedure were placed prominently with the introduction sentence because they are the most common items needed from new patients.

The physician bio pages feature a formal photograph and lists their areas of expertise. 

The locations page has an easy to read map with each office pin-pointed to clearly show where they offer services.


The billing page format was used on many pages of the website with clear information and a highlight box with contact information on the right.


About Digestive Medicine Associates

The parent organization of Digestive Medicine Associates is Internal Medicine Associates,  The physicians, nurses and staff at Digestive Medicine Associates specialize in the diagnosing and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases in a compassionate atmosphere. All the physicians are
board certified physicians and many are on the faculty of Indiana University School of Medicine allowing them to be well versed in the latest treatment options available.

Facebook Tabs Example 4: Videos

If you have been following our recent posts, you know we have been talking about custom tabs and how they can be used to strengthen your Facebook business page. Last week we covered using custom tabs to create photos albums, and this week we are reviewing videos.

It does not take a marketing expert to tell you that videos are exploding all over the Internet. You see them on many websites and in social media. Almost everyone thinks of "YouTube" for videos on the web. If you have seen the potential with video and invested in creating videos for your company, do not forget to promote and include on your Facebook page.

If you do not have videos, this custom Facebook tab is not for you—yet. As you consider your online marketing plans for 2013, we encourage you to explore adding video as part of your web presence.
People remember only 20% of what they hear and only 30% of what they see, but an incredible 70% of what they hear and see! (Harvard Business Review)
For each video that you post to Facebook, we suggest including the following:
  • A proper title that helps describe what is the purpose of the video
  • A short description that provides more information about the video
  • An appropriate video still (You can set this still from a handful of thumbnail options once Facebook has processed your video. Often the default thumbnail selection for the video still is  not the ideal.)
  • Author and/or copyright information, as appropriate
Note: "Videos" will, by default, appear as part of your Facebook business page's "Photos" custom tab when you add them to your account. You can be further organize your uploaded videos into separate custom tab to direct your audience to the videos in one-click.



The following examples show a few noteworthy ways businesses are using custom tabs to organized videos. Each of these examples uses YouTube as the video hosting vendor and embed or import the videos into their Facebook profiles.

Gymboree's Video custom tab
Coca-Cola's Video custom tab
If appropriate, highlight one video as your stand-out video offering. In the next example, Indianapolis's Children's Museum uses a simple layout to embed YouTube videos into their Facebook business page, but their web developers have taken care to highlight their newest video so that it appears at the top of the list videos. Notice how they have included an appropriate title and short description as well.

Children's Museum Video custom tab
The sky is the limit with your Facebook custom tabs, so you can be as creative in your presentation of videos as you would like. One possibility is to mimic what you might have set up on your website reworked a bit for the interface space in your Facebook pages. Here are a couple very different custom examples of unique video pages.


Skittles' Facebook custom tab

Skittles' videos are organized as part of a custom tab labeled "Skittles," putting this collection of videos front and center on their Facebook business page. Though not shown in the screengrab above, if you visit the Skittles Facebook business page, you'll see an interactive map with points that you can click for additional videos. This presentation helps Skittles stand out, strengthen their brand, and engage with their audience.


IU Health's Facebook custom tab
IU Health incorporates a very custom treatment for their videos on Facebook. The formatting echoes the website landing page. Notice that the thumbnails chosen for each video still is off-center and appealing. The chosen thumbnails give a compelling snapshot of individual telling the story in the video. The page offers a very clear call to action with the red subscribe button, encouraging users to subscribe and watch more videos from IU Health.

Next week we will provide examples of News & Events Facebook custom tabs.


Facebook Tabs Example 3: Photos

Check out a newer version of this post! Facebook no longer uses tabs in this way, but you can use a cover photo as a "Welcome Message" variation. For more current tips, head over to our instructions for a great Facebook cover photo article.

Facebook Tabs Example 3: Photos
Throughout this month, we're focusing on how businesses and organizations can use custom tabs to strengthen their Facebook pages. Last week we focused on Employment/Career Opportunities page tabs. This week—Photos and photo albums.

Facebook Tabs Example 2: Employment Opportunities

Throughout this month, we're focusing on how businesses and organizations can use custom tabs to strengthen their Facebook pages. Last week we focused on Welcome Message or "Like" page tabs.

Careers and employment pages are common on company and organization websites, and those job openings should also be considered for marketing through your Facebook page. With the current unemployment rate at 7.9%, there are a lot of people on the hunt for job leads. On average, we spend over 26 minutes every day on Facebook. That's a lot of time! Take advantage of Facebook's built-in audience and promote opportunities at your company or organization where they already "hang out."

A Facebook employment opportunities page tab should:
  • List open positions, as well as a link to apply or learn more
Additional features to consider including:
  • Overview information
  • Benefits package details
  • Company culture description (using words, photos, and/or videos)
  • Social share links for promoting job postings

    Here are some examples of different methods to present your company Employment Opportunities on Facebook with custom tabs:

    Starbuck's Careers Facebook page tab is extremely well-done. It contains relevant information about openings
    as well as a careers overview, search functionality, video about the company culture,
    benefits package list, and even imported feed of @StarbucksJobs tweets.
    Constant Contact's careers page tab makes it easy to find open positions. They even integrated
    a search at the top to filter the openings. Each job includes easy sharing widgets.
    The tab also includes a short video about employment with Constant Contact.

    Gap has a very custom careers page tab that they call "Work for Us." It has a friendly tone in line
    with its casual-professional brand. It integrates photography with thoughtful functionality
    including the dropdown filter/search choices, embedded sharing options, and even jobs matching
    your profile (via Work for Us—Facebook's #1 Recruiting App).


    McDonald's has a clean and well functioning careers page tab. Corporate jobs filter
    and display right on the Facebook page. Restaurant jobs use proximity and link to local
    restaurant opportunities. By the way, if you haven't seen it, the McDonald's website is very well done.
    Ameriprise Financial is an example that does not have complex functionality—and, it doesn't need it!
    Its simple and clean page layout clearly presents what it's like to work at Ameriprise
    and links to related information. My only recommendation for improvement would be to integrate
    a search function and include a link to open positions. It's a nice starting point for job seekers.

    Social media is marketing tactic that is becoming more and more relevant to your customers. Employment pages on your website have always been important to recruit new talent, but including them on social media profiles is an extra push and may possibly be where they find you.

    You don't have to choose an overly-complicated option to start promoting job openings through a tab on your Facebook business page. SmartRecruiters offers a helpful careers app for small to medium sized businesses. This app will:
    • Display available jobs.
    • Allow Facebook users to like and share available jobs.
    • Sync their job listings with SmartRecruiters’ recruiting software—which is cloud-based and requires no downloading or upkeep. This way, businesses can manage the hiring process from start to finish.
    Interestingly, in conjunction with your Facebook careers page, do not forget about your LinkedIn Company page. Some experts claim that your LinkedIn company page may even be more important than your website careers page.

    Website Design Project: Indy Connect Now

    We launched a new website for Indy Connect Now.

    We worked on this project in a very quick time frame of less than one month from start to finish. As we learned about the initiative and relationship to Indy Connect and CIRTA organization, we designed a logo to represent the initiative and created a custom web design that pulled from the elements of CIRTA with a unique twist. The focus of the website is to gain signatures on the petition for mass transit, so we placed the petition in a prominent position on the home page. The website is connected to our Content Management System for easy maintenance, and our solution included a custom application with reporting on the petition signatures.

    LinkedIn: Groups vs. Company Pages

    LinkedIn might be a social network with over 175 million users, but it behaves a lot like a virtual trade show or conference networking event. LinkedIn enables its users to network professionally, post and find jobs, and ask/answer questions. LinkedIn users can discover the people employed by a certain business and see for which businesses a certain person has worked.

    What are LinkedIn Groups?

    LinkedIn Groups are a lot like other communities and tribes online. They are what LinkedIn developers call smaller professional networks organized within LinkedIn. Users voluntarily join LinkedIn Groups to network further with other like-minded professionals within LinkedIn’s greater social network. LinkedIn Groups thrive when someone with community management skills owns and manages the group’s community or tribe.

    Influencers in the LinkedIn Group "Social Media Marketing" actively demonstrate
    their social media prowess through discussions on the forum.

    As a user, you can join a LinkedIn Group in order to:

    • Connect with like-minded professionals by areas of interest.
    • Start or join discussions by sharing insights, posting articles, asking/answering questions, and creating polls.
    • Promote your affiliation with groups as part of your profile.

    As a representative for a company or organization, you can start or sponsor a LinkedIn Group in order to:

    • Build relationships with customers and affiliates.
    • Gain access to other professionals.
    • Position your company's employees as thought leader professionals as thought leaders.

    You can browse existing LinkedIn Groups by visiting the social network’s Groups Directory page.

    What are LinkedIn Company Pages?


    LinkedIn Company Pages are profile pages for businesses and organizations. As with any social media presence, building up a solid base of followers is key to a successful strategy.


    Mashable's robust LinkedIn company page maximizes the social network's offerings.


    To grow your company’s LinkedIn network, promote your presence there by adding follow buttons to your website, writing a blog post about your presence, and telling followers on your other social networks to follow you on LinkedIn, too.

    Many companies maintain LinkedIn Company Pages to enhance their reach. (See above to glimpse a screen grab of TBH Creative's LinkedIn Company Page.)

    Even without putting any effort into building your company on LinkedIn, chances are many of your employees are updating their Personal LinkedIn Profiles to show where they work. Every LinkedIn user that connects with an employee’s Personal LinkedIn Profile may potentially click on your company’s name and navigate to your company page which is why it's important to maintain this web presence.

    Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn allows businesses to use Company Pages to add multiple products with enough room so each can stand out. When LinkedIn users visit your Company Page, they can see which products and services, produced by your company, are recommended by their LinkedIn connections.

    As a representative for a company or organization, you can create a Company Page in order to:
    • Maintain basic information about your company and refine its description.
    • Post jobs using “careers” tab to advertise openings at your company.
    • List products and services to broadcast your company’s offerings to a wide network of professionals.
    • Promote your business using a LinkedIn Ad Campaign
    • Use LinkedIn's built-in analytics data to determine if your efforts are helping you reach your strategic web marketing goals.
    • Broadcast news and other important messaging.

    Let's get started

    Facebook Tabs Example 1: Welcome message

    Check out a newer version of this post! Facebook no longer uses tabs in this way, but you can use a cover photo as a "Welcome Message" variation. For more current tips, head over to our instructions for a great Facebook cover photo article.

    Throughout this month, we're focusing on how businesses and organizations can use custom tabs to strengthen their Facebook pages. Last week we introduced why businesses and organizations should consider using custom Facebook tabs. Now, we're focusing on specific examples of effective custom tabs. First up? "Welcome Message or "Like" page" tabs.
    smiling woman sitting at her laptop computer
    A welcome message is a useful type of custom tab to include on your Facebook page. Use one to reinforce your brand image. Consider it a friendly hello page—a home page for your visitors to check out when visiting your Facebook business page that's more welcoming than the default timeline page.

    Facebook Tabs: Simple answer to why and how it works

    Several clients have asked why they should customize their Facebook business pages. The simple answer is that they can drive web traffic to your website, reinforce your other online marketing efforts, and increase sales and engagement.

    Visitors will do a lot of clicking around on your Facebook business page; in fact, this social presence can serve as a mini-website. Keep in mind that some potential customers and clients will get all of their information about your company from the Facebook business page.

    The basic Facebook business page format is the same for everyone, the more interesting you can make it, the better. As you build a plan to offer dynamic and valuable content through your presence, your Facebook business page's likes will continue to grow.

    How Facebook business pages work

    Each Facebook business page includes a customizable navigation bar of tabs. Each tab is represented by a small, related photo (111x74px).

    Screengrab courtesy of Hubspot article on
    How to Create Custom Tabs
    Via custom tabs, you can create a much richer user experience for your Facebook audience and control the content that your followers see when they visit your page—and, anyone who visits your Facebook business page is a potential customer or client.

    Fans, or people who already like your page, will see your company's Facebook status posts as part of their default news feed. If your fans click your name next to any post, they will go to your Facebook homepage—and, hopefully, these users will click around for more information using the custom tab options. Building a customized Facebook business page ensures a greater chance of engaging with users and making a positive impression.
    Did you know? On average, Facebook users spend six hours a month on Facebook.

    A couple more statistics
    With over 500 million users, Facebook is now used by 1 in 13 people. Over 250 million of Facebook users (over 50%) log in every day, and the average user has about 130 friends. The number of friends per average user is expected to continue expanding.

    Facebook has one billion users; 600 million mobile users; more than 42 million pages and nine million apps.

    Common tabs to consider incorporating into your Facebook business page include:
    1. Welcome Message or "Like" page
    2. Employment Opportunities
    3. Photos and Albums
    4. Videos
    5. Events
    6. Map
    7. Email Newsletter Sign-Up
    8. Social Media Feeds
    9. Promotions/Coupons/Special Offers
    10. Facebook Shops/Product Shopping Carts
    Next week we will provide examples of each custom tab listed above.

    A Spooky Case Study: Target's Facebook Marketing

    Earlier this week we posted an overview of some of the many ways that companies and organizations are using holiday- and seasonal-themes to engage their fans on Facebook. Today, we're profiling Target's strategic Facebook efforts in-depth.

    The social media team at Target does a creative job leveraging holidays and contests as part of their web marketing strategy. Target's recent incorporation of Halloween into its social media plans is inspiring. Their efforts will give you actionable ideas on what works when it comes to building and strengthening new, existing, and potential customer relationships using social media. Here's a detailed look at Target's Halloween marketing campaign on Facebook.

    Target

    Target made the upcoming holiday prominent on their Facebook page in multiple ways, including on-topic status posts, a custom cover photo, and a holiday-themed interactive contest.

    Holiday-inspired Cover Photo

    Target uses playful photography to showcase their Halloween costumes and other products prominently in their Facebook cover photo. Their custom tab graphics also use Halloween-inspired graphics. All of the artwork and photographs compliment branding and marketing efforts done in Target stores, print ads and circulars, and even on television commercials and web spots.

    Promotional contests

    In addition to customizing their cover photo, Target is engaging their Facebook fan base through an interactive Halloween promotion called "Trick or Treat." The promotion gives customers a chance to win a $20 GiftCard or the grand prize of $250 GiftCard.


    Users are given two chances to win in the promotion. The first entry is "free," and the price of a second entry is where Target leverages the power of their fans' Facebook networks. Users can only earn a second entry by agreeing to help Target promote this contest. Specifically, the entry is earned by allowing Target to post about the contest to your timeline.

    Knowing that not everyone would want their friends to know they've entered the contest, Target has made this notification optional. Giving users the power to decide what they share makes this a thoughtfully executed marketing technique. Because the application doesn't force users to post a notice of participation to their timelines, Target keeps users trust because they're not forcing them to do anything they don't want to do in terms of viral promotion. The contest entry ends with a playful and encouraging nudge to come back and try again tomorrow.




    All in all, this is a fun and likely effective social media marketing promotion for a combination reasons:
    1. It is plays on a fun holiday theme that already might be on the minds of their fans.
    2. It offers their fans an incentive to visit their page.
    3. It is easy for their fans to participate.
    4. It encourages their fans to promote Target and their contest to their friends.
    5. It reminds their fans to come back to their Facebook page and try again.

    Facebook Fun for Holidays

    More and more companies are leveraging custom tabs to engage with their Facebook fans. Incorporating holidays—through seasonally-appropriate themed contests and artwork—is a creative social media marketing strategy for reaching customers on Facebook. Here is an illustrated overview of a few recent noteworthy ways that we've seen companies spice up their Facebook pages and engage with fans:

    The Children's Museum: Not only are they featuring a cover photo promoting a "wicked" event,
    the Museum's avatar graphic embraces the holiday spirit and says "Boo!suem" instead of Museum.
    Claire's Boutique: The customized Halloween cover photo incorporates holiday-related
    products in a playful way that goes with their other branding efforts.
    Hallmark: Their cover photo meshes a Halloween-inspired photo with their tagline and branding.
    Indianapolis Zoo: The zoo uses their cover photo space as an extension
    of their marketing to promote an upcoming Halloween event.
    Purdue University: Purdue customized their avatar to give their brand seasonal flare.
    Etsy: Etsy created a Halloween costume-themed photo gallery as a way of getting
    users interested in browsing their website for products. This page was featured as a
    custom tab from their Facebook Timeline.
    Etsy: Etsy also updated their cover photo so that it has a seasonal flare.
    Starbucks: Starbucks uses its cover photo to hint at the fall and promote
    their seasonal products.

    IU Health: October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and IU Health shows
    their support for the cause with a customized cover photo.
    Paradise Cafe: Paradise Cafe shows their support for breast cancer research
    with a customized cover photo.
    Tide: Tide shows their support for breast cancer research with a customized cover photo.
    They also went an extra step further and updated their avatar so that the circles in their logo
    to glow pink instead of their usual yellow and orange.
    Kay Jewelers: During October, to increase their "fans," Kay Jewelers is running a promotion.
    For each new fan they receive, they'll make a donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

    Document Your Business Blogging Process

    blogging process should be documented and pre-planned to ensure blogging success. This is especially true for small businesses who may not have a marketing consultant handling their blogging or a full-time staff person managing this task.

    What is blogging success? Success from blogging might include increased search engine rank, increased leads/visitors from blog posts, and/or increased authority on a subject in your industry. Read more about why we think why blogging is important for small businesses.

    Why should the blogging strategy be documented? A marketing plan for blogging without documentation is really only a good intention. Without clear direction and specifics, there is no set guidelines and goals, not to mention documentation for contributors about best practices and how entries should be written to match your small business's brand.

    Let's simplify. You need to write it down.

    It may sound daunting, but documenting your blogging strategy is well worth the effort. Without your strategy set-down in writing, blogging on a regular basis may get pushed back because of other client deadlines or business priorities.

    Here are some questions to get you thinking about what to include in your blogging strategy document:
    • How often will posts be published? (e.g. once/week, once/day, all weekdays, once/month) The more often you can publish relevant and useful content, the better, but be sure to set realistic goals.
    • Who will author the blog posts? Are different team members responsible for different topics? Who posts on which days? What's your schedule?
    • What steps does the approval process include? Do topics need to be approved or just draft posts? Who gives approval? Who actually publishes?
    • What is your checklist for each post? See our checklist as an example.
    • What follow-up will be done on your small business's social media channels to promote blog posts? Can you integrate this distribution via HootSuite or another program or do you plan to customize promotion of your blog posts on social media channels? Who is responsible for this curation?

    Planned blogging: A case study

    TBH Creative's team has been working with a company to ramp up their blogging activities as part of their online marketing strategy. The company writes their blog posts internally. They have a team of four, and each member is responsible to write once/week/month. For the first half of 2012, they met for one hour and pre-planned topics. All topics were written and published according to the plan and schedule. As a result, the company's search engine ranks for several keywords increased with their competition; they also received high results for blog posts as landing page with long reporting of time spent.

    During quarter three, they lost track of planning and did not meet to pre-plan topics and set a schedule. As a result, other tasks gained priority and only two posts were published the first month, none for the next two months, four the following. They had good intentions. They had topics and events to talk about in blog posts. They simply did not have a schedule in place or a few ideas generated ahead of time. According to their website analytic data during this period, new visitors numbers fell as did their search engine rank for several targeted keywords.

    During quarter four, TBH Creative will be assisting the company to formalize their blog planning to get their marketing plan delivering success stories again. A little bit of planning can go a long way.

    Note: The above mentioned client has seen great success from their blogging. Blog posts continue to rank in the top ten landing pages each quarter and their search engine ranking for related keywords used in blog posts are all page one without other SEO measures or paid advertising in place.

    Tip: Offer your staff incentives for the most popular blog post each period. This encourages creativity in the content as well as sticking to a schedule.

    Responsive design: why it matters


    Additionally, Pew's research found that 45% of U.S. adults own smartphones, and 55% use the web on their device. 29% of U.S. adults own a tablet or e-reader. 25 million U.S. adults use their mobile devices as their primary way to access the web. These are growing numbers you can't ignore, as web developer Josh Clark pointed out earlier this year: "We can't settle for serving such a huge audience a stripped-down experience or force them to swim through a desktop layout in a small screen."

    Smart businesses are making mobile a crucial part of their web marketing strategy.

    According to a recent Pew Research Center study, the year 2015 is when mobile will overtake desktop. This means businesses and organizations have about three years (or less depending on their industry and audience) to get their mobile strategy together—or, get left behind by their competition.

    Business Blogging Checklist

    We have recently been writing about business blogging. We provided blogging guidelines and an explanation for why blogging is important in our past posts. Today, we're sharing our checklist for bloggers to get you started. Share a copy with each team member as a resource to review or use it while copy editing to refine posts.

    TBH Creative's Blogging Checklist

    Note: Use the list as a starting point. Tweak and adjust these rules as best to fit for your business blogging purposes.

    ❏   The post's title contains at least one keyword or phrase.
    ❏   The post's title is interesting and something I would click in search results.
    ❏   The post's body copy includes four or more paragraphs; minimum of 250 words.
    ❏   All links work.
    ❏   The post includes at least three links.
    ❏   All outbound links open in a new window.
    ❏   Subtitles are formatted using a headline tag.
    ❏   The post incorporates at least one image/graphic/logo.
    ❏   Images align and wrap properly with text.
    ❏   Images include a caption or credit where necessary.
    ❏   Extra spaces are removed.
    ❏   Post body copy has been proofread, fact-checked, and copy edited.
    ❏   Nothing offensive or negative towards others is included in the body copy or graphics.
    ❏   The blog body copy focuses on one topic and includes one or two primary keywords/phrases.
    ❏   The blog body copy includes a Call to Action (CTA) with link to related services or contact info.
    ❏   The CTA uses appropriate markup tags.
    ❏   All unnecessary code accidentally copied from Word is removed.
    ❏   The blog post looks good in preview mode.
    ❏   The blog body copy is written so that I would want to read my post.
    ❏   The blog body copy is written so that I would want to comment on my post.
    ❏   The blog post is my own and doesn't include content copied from another source.


    Ebooks 101: Three must-know tips when getting into epublishing

    2012 was a summer for firsts. Ebooks outsold hardcovers for the first time, and TBH Creative took on its first official ebook project in August when we helped a California-based client publish a special collection of fifty ebooks.

    As tablets and e-reader devices continue to grow in popularity, most ebook formats offer a convenient and portable content distribution option.

    From our exciting first dip into publishing for ereaders and tablets, we've come up with a list of some of the things you should keep in mind when putting together a winning ebook.
    1. Cover art is important. Ebooks are often represented by small thumbnails in search results, which means it's crucial that time is taken to design an arresting, professional-looking cover image for your ebook. Before you start to design, make sure you know the size for your format and set your color to RGB instead of CMYK. For instance, when designing for a Kindle format (.mobi) your cover file size will be different in proportion than when designing for an iPad format (.epub).

    2. Formatting varies on ereader devices. Not only will a book look different as an .epub viewed on an iPad versus a .mobi on a Kindle, but ebooks can look different even on the same devices because users can overrides set styles (fonts, margins, etc.) and use their preferences by default. Keep in mind that just as you would set styles for a print layout, in your ebook format you don’t want to select colors and fonts that will make your ebook hard to read. Make sure your aesthetic choices are appropriate and appeal to your target audience.

    3. Embrace change! The ebook industry is evolving rapidly. Understand that to stay relevant with an ebook product, you'll need to welcome advancements and changes in the production and formatting of ebooks in order to stay ahead and compete.

    Nine Easy Business Blogging Guidelines

    In my last post I explained why blogging should be part of your marketing plan. As a follow-up, here are my nine proven tips for developing a successful business blogging strategy. Consider sharing these guidelines with your team to get them excited about blogging and to alleviate any potential nervousness about writing their own posts.
    1. Find a topic: Write about a topic that you know well or on an area that interests you. Still stumped? Once you have a topic, search for the term and "blog ideas" to find suggestions from others to help you figure out new blog post ideas.
    2. Develop a style: Be casual. Be yourself. Show your unique personality while upholding professionalism and the reputation of your company.
    3. Think carefully about titles: Your blog post title should contain one keyword or keyword phrase to show-up in search results, but don't compromise creativity for search engine optimization. Don't forget to also write your title in a way that entices visitors to click through and read your blog post
    4. Write to engage readers to leave comments: Select a blog post topic that others will want to discuss more. Keep in mind what will potentially elicit interaction from visitors.
      • Moderate all comments. Publish those comments that add value or interesting opinions on the topic. Respond as necessary.
    5. Set a standard length: Blog posts do not have to be long, as long as they are relevant. Three to four paragraphs with a call to action linking back into the site is a standard blog post length. By keeping to approximately 300-400 words as a standard length (minimum of 250 words), your posts will be focused. In some cases longer posts work, especially for complex topics. Just be sure to break-up longer blog posts into manageable sections.
    6. Incorporate helpful links: Add links to third parties, related resources, and back into the main website in each post.
      • Outbound links must be valid and reputable.
      • Outbound links should open in new windows.
    7. Add subheadings to make posts easy to scan: Sections of your post should utilize subheadings or subtitles consistently. This helps break up the information and easily make your point, especially in longer posts.
    8. End with a call to action: Each blog post should contain a call to action at the end that mentions your company and links to a related service or page within your website.
      • Place at the end of the post.
      • Develop a consistent style and general tone for all ending call to actions within your posts.
    9. Integrate relevant keywords: Each post should focus around a keyword, phrase, or topic. The selected keyword should be used once for every four-six sentences (approximately four times per post).
      1. If appropriate, emphasize keywords using bold or italics.
      2. If you can naturally repeat your keyword/phrase in the first sentence, that is good for search engine optimization.
      3. Provide samples of relevant keywords for your business or organization for team members to draw from. 
        • For example, for TBH Creative, these keywords include but are not limited to: web design Indianapolis, Indianapolis web design, website design Indianapolis, search engine optimization, web professional, web strategy.
    Business blogging is a great marketing tactic for increasing your search engine optimization, showing your expertise, and more. We have found that blogging also keeps our staff learning more about the industry and website design and development trends.

    Learn more about strategic blogging for business:


    Four Reasons Why Blogging Should Be Part of Your Marketing Plan

    Is blogging the right marketing tactic for your business? Chances are, the answer is yes.

    Blogging is a very beneficial tactic for marketing for a few reasons. As an example, for TBH Creative, the purpose of blogging is multi-faceted. Blogging helps to:
    1. Increase search engine rank for important, industry-specific keywords.
    2. Build community authority and activity in social media.
    3. Show personal side of staff and demonstrate expertise in casual setting.
    4. Reference posted information with clients or share information between team members.

    Increase search engine rank for important, industry-specific keywords

    Adding relevant material to your web pages keeps search engine spiders coming back to gather and index the new content in search results. In general, the more often Google comes to your site, the better it is for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes. Google watches all of this activity and includes this data in their algorithm for search engine rankings. Furthermore, the better the quality of your blog post content, the more people and sites will link to it—highly relevant backlinks drive search engine rankings more than anything else.

    We have gained several clients who found us via our blog posts. One of our favorite clients, Northpoint Pediatrics, originally found TBH Creative via a blog post review we did on Expression Engine. Expression Engine is not our preferred CMS; however, we conducted a CMS review blog series in 2010, and our post resulted in search engines when they were searching for a qualified vendor.



    As we review website statistics for clients, we often see blog posts listed in their top referral sites and top landing pages.

    Build community authority and activity in social media

    Interesting content goes viral. If through your specialized expertise you have something informative to share, create a blog post and share this information on Facebook. Your followers may "like" or "share" the blog post, further spreading your information. Sharing builds your reputation as an expert on the topic. It also enforces your brand recognition through repetitive exposure in social media.

    Show personal side of your staff and demonstrate expertise in casual setting

    Blog posts are casual and great opportunity for your team to express themselves and show personality. A few ways to show your personal side that can be effective include:
    • Using humor to make a point. The best part of a funny blog posts is that people are happy to link to them, so you are likely to receive a lot of “natural” backlinks.
    • Telling a story and drawing from relevant personal experiences.
    • Intertwining post topics with your others interests such as history or pop culture.
    Note: Creativity and different approaches to writing about popular topics are interesting, but we still recommend that you proofread for errors and avoid taking a tone that's too extreme.

    Reference posted information with clients or to share information between team members

    We create posts full of information that we often refer to clients. With the collection of posts, we can reference clients to read our article via quick link. New staff members can review posts for information as well.

    Over time, your blog will serve as a history and strong collection of information. For example, we often refer clients to our posts about photo resources, JQuery examples, and design trends.

    Web Design Case Study: Laurel Hall

    Services Provided Include:
    A new website for Laurel Hall launched in June 2012, and it can be viewed at http://www.laurel-hall.org/.

    TBH Creative was hired to create a design appropriate for their audience which is mostly females searching for a wedding venue—brides-to-be and mothers-of-the-bride—but also includes corporate managers and other special occasion planners.

    Laurel Hall is elegant and historical combined with modern conveniences. The venue is ideal for weddings, corporate retreats, and other events.
    
    Laurel Hall's homepage was designed for impact with a showcase of event photos eliciting elegance, charm, and happiness.
    We used a full screen JQuery rotator for compelling photos to fill the width of your browser.

    Before The Redesign

    Laurel Hall's website before the redesign. It was described by their marketing manager as 'too masculine' and difficult to navigate.
    Our goal in redesign was to add softness through subtle graphic techniques and effectively use the photography.
    In the navigation, we organized the main choices as the main events, and created simple dropdown menus for one-click choices.
    TBH Creative delivered a new design with templates for primary pages. We build and tested the HTML/CSS/JQuery markup for primary pages. We also edited the content, condensing the information into managable and easy to read pages.

    We delivered these files to their IT department for implementation into Site Finity CMS. The website pages were populated internally, and the website is managed by their marketing manager today.

    About Laurel Hall

    A part of Indiana's historical landscape since 1916, Laurel Hall was built as the home to one of Indiana's wealthiest families. Over time it has played host to an all-girls school, a high-end housing development and a non-partisan governmental think tank.

    Laurel Hall is a perfect place for weddings with 200 or fewer guests. The historic venue offers a variety of meeting spaces to meet your needs and can accommodate most audio and visual needs. Laurel Hall is designed for people with high standards and discerning taste who are looking to customize their event to fit their individual style. The building's impressive features include a stunning walnut foyer as well as cathedral ceilings and exotic hardwood floors throughout.

    Nestled among six acres of woods and gardens, Laurel Hall welcomes your guests to an unforgettable event. Whether an anniversary party, an engagement dinner, a holiday reception, bridal shower or any other celebration of life’s milestones, Laurel Hall is the perfect fit for groups of 10 to 200.


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