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App of the Week - KeyMe

App of the Week - KeyMe (Source: www.key.me/app)

Have you ever been locked out of your home or office, left high and dry without your trusty ring of keys?

Or have you ever needed to find the one specific key that unlocks that old trunk, supply room or security gate – you know, the one that you only really open once every few years – only to find yourself poring through a junk drawer for hours, becoming more and more sure with each passing second that that precious key never actually existed?

Keys are an essential part of our everyday lives, to the point where most of us don’t even think about them at all – until something goes wrong. Avert those future hassles right now with KeyMe, the amazing app that promises to “transform the way you manage your keys.”

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The Power of Branding for Your Small Business

The Power of Branding for Your Small Business (Source: pixabay.com - used as royalty free image)

Whether you’re a big fish in a small pond trying to cultivate your own niche industry, or a small business looking to bring your own unique approach to an existing field, it’s important to stand out - for the right reasons.

The secret to standing out? It all comes down to one key – branding. More than a buzzword, branding is at the heart of what we do here as digital marketers, and developing a strong brand is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that your business finds and keeps customers.

There are many aspects to “branding” today; for our purposes, we’ll think of in terms of the content that your business produces, and how that content reflects who you are and what you represent. Practically speaking, when we discuss branding with our clients, we’re referring to logo design, photography, graphic design, and copywriting, all of which should be consistent and unified across your website, your email marketing, and your social media profiles.

So, why is having strong branding so important to your small business? Here are three big reasons to focus on creating your brand right now:

Stand Out in a Crowded Field

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Do Social Marketers Really Know How to Put Data to Work?

Do Social Marketers Really Know How to Put Data to Work?

We’ve talked before about the importance of monitoring your social media analytics. Understanding how your social marketing campaigns are operating can give you an enormous insight into what to do with them in the future, in order to maximize their efficiency and help you attain your unique social goals, whether that’s increasing engagement, capturing leads, or refining your brand narrative.

But it’s important to realize that the raw data generated through social media goes beyond mere “likes” and “shares;” instead, your social marketing is yielding valuable information that you can apply to every aspect of your digital marketing.

Using social media to “listen” for potential clients, for instance, is a highly effective way to define – and reach – your brand’s ideal audience; monitoring the performance of different Facebook Ads and spend can help you refine your approach to copywriting, and even your overall brand messaging.

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Gadget of the Week - Nintendo Switch

Gadget of the Week - Nintendo Switch (Source: nintendo.com)

Only true 90s kids remember the Gameboy, right? While it looks like an absolute Cold War relic by modern design standards, that bulky little rectangle was an eye-opener for countless Gen X-ers and Millennials; being able to take fun, addictive video games on the road was a revelation akin to discovering penicillin, only curing road trip boredom instead of pesky infections.

For a lot of younger gamers, though, the Gameboy never even registered; instead, these younger geeks grew up with hyper-futuristic mobile gaming systems like Nintendo’s 3DS - if they had a gaming device at all. Indeed, for a lot of kids, handheld gaming has always meant smartphones or tablets, and the idea of shelling out for a different device may seem downright unbelievable.

For older and younger gamers alike, the Nintendo Switch is here to bring portable gaming back – and take it to places it’s never gone before. Namely? The living room!

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How Our Clients are Benefiting from Digital Marketing

How Our Clients are Benefiting from Digital Marketing

Why digital marketing? What can it really do for me?

These are the sorts of questions we hear all the time from business owners nervous to take the plunge. Why so hesitant? We’ve heard any number of reasons:

It’s hard to monitor your success!

It’s not right for businesses like mine!

I don’t have any more time to spare!

While we understand the hesitation, it’s also important to realize that having a digital marketing strategy in place is one of the keys to remaining competitive and accessible in our modern digital landscape. SEO, social media marketing, and sleek design – these aren’t buzzwords, but essential building blocks for reaching and retaining your future customers.

So, why digital marketing? It builds and bolsters your brand, makes your workflow more convenient and efficient, provides measurable data, and increases brand recognition and loyalty by putting the customer in control. And we can prove it.

Why do our clients love our one-of-a-kind approach to digital marketing? Let us count the ways:

The Benefits of a Comprehensive Approach to Digital Marketing

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Friendster, We Hardly Knew Ya: These Social Networks Never Caught On

Friendster, We Hardly Knew Ya: These Social Networks Never Caught On

We think all the time about the future of social media here. But in order to know where our favorite marketing platforms and services – including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram – are going, it’s important to take a look back at the past.

And when it comes to social media, that past looks a lot like a graveyard, littered with the skeletons of social sites and apps that tried – and failed – to make a digital splash.

What can we learn from these failed experiments? What were they, where did they go wrong, and could our favorite social networks ever go the same way? Let’s take a look at five famous social media flops:

Friendster

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How Chance the Rapper Became a One-Man Digital Marketing Machine

How Chance the Rapper Became a One-Man Digital Marketing Machine

“79th, 79th, I don't believe in science, I believe in signs;
Don't believe in signing, I seen dollar signs”
- Chance the Rapper, “How Great”

He was named Chicagoan of the Year. He’s won a Grammy without ever selling a physical copy of his album. He’s encouraging young people to create art and go into politics. He’s starring in an upcoming horror adventure movie.

He’s Chancellor Bennett – that’s Chance the Rapper to you and me – and he’s a one man media mogul, single-handedly revolutionizing not just what music sounds like, but the ways in which we access and enjoy it in our digital world. On the side, he’s also a fashion icon, a renaissance man, and Chicago’s favorite son.

One last thing? He’s also a one-man digital marketing machine, putting content marketing, branding, and social media to work to find the sorts of success that plenty in our industry only ever dream about.

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5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes It's Time to Stop Making

5 Social Media Marketing Mistakes It's Time to Stop Making

Social media marketing is an invaluable tool for reaching new audiences and retaining your existing ones. It has a nearly unlimited capacity to generate referral traffic, improve your SEO efforts, generate and convert leads, and create positive buzz around your brand.

Of, course, there’s a “but:” To see the amazing benefits of social marketing, you need to know how to do it correctly. Whether you’re looking to fine-tune an existing social campaign or launch a new one, here are five huge social media marketing mistakes to avoid:

Having Unclear or Inconsistent Messaging

Before you begin to market on social media, it’s important that you know a few things, including:

  • Your brand messaging (Who are you? What are you marketing?)
  • Your audience (Who are you marketing to?)
  • Your goals (Why are you using social media marketing?)

You may be surprised (or not) to learn that many brands get started on social media without a clear vision or goal in mind; it’s important that you narrow your focus and understand what you’re trying to achieve, so that you can actually work towards it.

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Gadget of the Week - Star Wars Death Star Waffle Maker

Gadget of the Week - Star Wars Death Star Waffle Maker (Source: thinkgeek.com)

Dun Dun Dun, Dun-dundun, Dun-dun - *DING*

For anyone looking to unleash the power of the dark side – and then smother it with fresh strawberries and maple syrup – it’s time to fire up the Death Star Waffle Maker from ThinkGeek.

This handy waffle maker yields one 7-inch diameter circle of breakfast-y goodness, with all the nooks and crannies of everyone’s favorite planet-annihilating battle station. Just plug it in, let it warm up, and then evenly spread your favorite homemade batter among the non-stick plates.

After a few minutes, you should have a perfect little waffle. If you don’t – say, if one side comes out a little too dark, or bubblier than the lava trenches of Mustafar – just flip the waffle over; the iconic Death Star design should come out crystal clear on both sides of your batter-licious treat.

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How to Create and Promote a Great Facebook Ad

How to Create and Promote a Great Facebook Ad

More and more businesses are putting Facebook to work as a paid channel for advertising; in fact, as many as 80% of industry leaders are planning to place a paid ad on social media this year, and 38% already have some sort of paid social media advertising campaign in place.

Are you using Facebook Ads for your business? It’s an unbelievably powerful and easy way to broaden your reach and generate conversions – all for less than the cost of many other digital marketing avenues, including search engine marketing.

Whether you’re an old pro or just getting started with Facebook Ads, here are the four keys to creating successful ads for this social media marketing giant:

Engage With Your Image

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Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).