Category Archives: Internet Marketing

Buffalo Shopify Website Development

Shopify Website Design & Development: Jecabar.com

theBREWROOM recently launched a new Shopify website for jecabar.com. This website presents their products with striking photography and a clean and simple site design.

Some key project features:

  1. Custom product photography
  2. Price breaks on product quantities
  3. Shopify customization
Nectar Ninja

Nectar Ninja – instant website notifications

Pixel code:

Instantly add notifications, alerts and polls to your website!

Have you ever had a situation where you wanted to instantly display something on your website so that people knew it immediately? Like, maybe you’re at an event, or going to an event and want to quickly let people know. Or, maybe you want to display a site-wide message letting people know that you just updated something, or are offering something new. Or, maybe you just want a message that shows up to all of your users, asking them to sign up for your free mailing list. Well, there’s a REALLY easy way to do that now. And, it’s as simple as sending a tweet via your twitter account (what else would you send a tweet from?).

Nectar NinjaNectar Ninja makes it really easy to display a message on your website. All it takes is a small snippet of code added to the <head> of your site, and from there, you can tweet messages to display live on the site. You can even add a quick user poll to ask users a question. There are several examples of how to use it on the Nectar Ninja website. Check out their tips section.

Here’s an example of a message that we wanted to be displayed on Yeah! Buffalo.
Nectar Ninja on Yeah! Buffalo

The user hovers over the button and a Read More link appears.

This is a really simple, and cool way to instantly add a message for your users on your website. Let us know if you try it out, and what you like about it. We’d be interested in hearing how others are using the tool.

This post is so short because this tool is that easy! We hope you like the tip.

If you have any questions, or things that you’d like us to look into for you, let us know! – send us a message
email marketing

Don’t do these 4 things when sending marketing emails

I don’t know about you, but I am on more email marketing lists than I remember signing up for. If I find the guy that sold his list… anyway! I wanted to just drop a quick few notes of advice when it comes to sending out emails on behalf of your organization.

  1. Don’t be too wordy. Today, nobody wants to read a long email – especially not a long marketing email – that goes on and on about the service or event that you’re trying to sell them. Just give them some enticing details and send them over to your website using some very clear calls-to-action (links) to the page on your website where they can learn more.
  2. Do not use comic sans as the main font in your newsletter. If you want to be taken seriously, don’t use a font that they use in comic books. If you like the font, use it in your signature at the end of the email, or somewhere less pronounced. Pick a clean, easy to read font that is a web-safe font.
  3. Don’t just send your emails out via Outlook, or any way directly from your email program on your computer. Why, you ask? Because permission marketing is smart. You give your audience the choice of whether they want to receive your messages. When you use a program like MailChimp, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, etc… they have built in controls that allow people to say whether or not they want to continue to receive your emails (unsubscribe buttons). These are important. And maybe for a reason you haven’t thought about. When someone gets an email directly from you, that is obviously just a mass-email that you’re sending out to everyone in your address book, there’s a good chance a few of them are going to want to STOP receiving those emails from you. Maybe it’s an old customer who no longer does business with you. Maybe it’s a failed prospect. Or, maybe it’s even a former coworker that doesn’t really want to hear from you anymore. Let’s face it, this stuff happens. Well, how are they going to let you know that they want to stop receiving those emails. Here’s some scenarios:
    1. Scenario 1: They receive your email and then email you back and say “Please stop sending me these emails, thanks.” – that’s fine, and nice enough of them, but you’d put them in a weird/uncomfortable place. They are put in the spot where they need to tell YOU to stop. Not where they are given the power to choose, without having to contact you directly. You know what I mean? Don’t put people in the uncomfortable position of having to ask you directly to stop emailing them.
    2. Scenario 2: They really don’t want to talk to you, or email you, so they click the Mark as Spam button on their email program. Uh oh! What? You’re a spammer now? Yes, you are. You’re emailing people without their permission. So, people are going to mark you as spam. When that happens, you get flagged. And if you get flagged enough, you’re going to get blocked from sending ANY emails. Yes, that means you can’t even send your coworkers photos of your cat because your ENTIRE domain is blocked and listed as spam. Yeah, you don’t want that. So don’t send emails from Outlook, gmail, whatever. Set up an account with an email marketing system like MailChimp or Campaign Monitor (my two favorites) and use their professional services for sending out your marketing emails. If you need help setting this up, let me know.
  4. Use high quality graphics, and make them the right size – but don’t make your entire email an image. Don’t leave it up to the user’s screen or the email program to display the images in the email the way that you want them to be displayed. If your graphics are too big, or too small, then you’re putting at risk the level of professionalism that you’re hoping to show when you’re sending your email. And please, whatever you do, do NOT stretch an image (distorting it) just to make it fit the open space within your email.  If an image needs to be 600px wide by 250px high, then resize and crop it down to that. Don’t take a 2000px wide by 1000px high image, stick it in there and expect it to fill the space correctly. The ratio is not the same, and it will either look distorted (depending on how you put it in there), or it will be too tall for the space, and possibly push some things out of place. Even worse, don’t take an image that is already smaller than the area you want to fill and make it stretch. It’s going to look terrible, trust me.If you make the entire email an image, then only some of the people who get the email will even see it. Some email systems block embedded images entirely within emails. This happens often at offices and inside corporations who take hacking and virus checking pretty seriously. Gmail even does this by default. Use images to support the text in the email. Yeah, I know that an image can look prettier, but what’s the point of pretty, if not that many people are even going to see it? And ALWAYS include the text version of the email message when you create it in your email marketing system. Then those of your subscribers who have chosen to receive the text version will actually see something. MailChimp has some great resources on email design best practices. You should read them.

I hope you found this helpful. Let me know if you need help with your email marketing campaigns. I’d be happen to take a look at what you’re doing now and suggest ways we can work together to make it better. If you’re doing any of the things I mention above, stop. You’ll thank me later.

Why you need to join Periscope today

Live streaming is becoming an increasingly powerful and popular tool for businesses, and individuals, looking to provide people a behind-the-scenes look at an event, process or organization.

live-stream-photoApplications like Periscope and Meerkat, both still relatively new to the world of social media, are growing in popularity and audience by the day.

It almost seems as though every time I log in to Periscope, I discover a number of friends and businesses that just created their profiles.

There are a ton of reasons why applications that provide a live-broadcasting service are growing in popularity. I could spend hours writing about the different benefits that organizations and brands can provide to their audiences by connecting via live-stream.

However, to air on the side of brevity, here are the top four reasons why I think mobile broadcasting is booming, and why you need to set up a profile for your small business:

  1. Social media is becoming a visually-dominated space: Any article you read will show you the strong statistics that prove photos and videos are the future of social media. People have become lazy and don’t want to read text anymore. When all your fans need to do to get a behind-the-scenes look at your event or business is open an app, it makes it much easier for them to take action and tap in.
  2. Fear of missing out is real: It’s exciting to feel like you’re a part of the action. The great thing about these applications is they enable you to feel that way regardless of where you live, and whether you can get to the event or organization in person. Viewing broadcasts on Periscope make you feel like you’re really there.
  3. Real-time drives results: People enjoy, and seek out, opportunities to get involved in something in real-time. Why do you think Twitter chats have become such a powerful tool for organizations? Using a live-streaming app lets your audience get engaged with you in real-time, and also provides them the opportunity to ask questions. (Periscope has a chat feature.) This means that as a business, you can connect to your customers immediately, while also providing them with answers and information that they’re looking for on the spot.
  4. Show your human side: Live-streaming applications provide you with the opportunity to showcase the human side of your business. Take them on an office tour or backstage at an event, or maybe feature your President or senior team… Regardless, it’s a great way to show the faces of the people who do the work, and doing that will undoubtedly make your audience feel more connected to you.

I highly encourage you to hop on Twitter and create your Periscope profile today so that you can start to use this technology as a way to connect, inspire, inform and educate your audience.

Photo credit: Anthony Quintano

3 components of compelling campaigns

As a marketer, you want to create campaigns that draw attention and engagement.

As a marketer, you want to make noise.

However, small businesses often struggle with finding the time and tools to create these campaigns.

Often times, it’s hard to know where to start and what to do in order to create a movement or a compelling marketing campaign.

I recently participated in the “30-Day Bravery Challenge,” an effort started by a friend to inspire people to push themselves outside their comfort zone.

Through the experience, I discovered three critical elements that you must incorporate if you want to successfully create a compelling campaign:

  • Community: In order to create a successful campaign, you must first create a group of people who can function as a community. Facebook groups are great ways to bring people together to engage in a topic. For example, Greg Faxon (the creator of the challenge) created a Facebook group so that all Bravery Challenge participants could interact and engage with each other. By creating a community, you create engagement. Being a part of a community is empowering; it creates accountability and connection. Members of the community rely on each other for support, advice and guidance. Strong communities help push their participants to work together to accomplish shared goals. Knowing that there is a group of people supporting you is extremely helpful to allowing people to overcome their fears and keep pushing towards greatness.
  • Consistency: Another critical aspect to creating a compelling campaign is consistency. Individuals need to know how often they will be communicated with as well as how often they will be asked to engage or participate in group activities. Consistency helps create expectations and engagement. It’s much easier to join a movement, or engage with a campaign, when you know, beforehand, what will be expected of you. Letting people know what, and when, to expect your outreach helps create buy-in and anticipation.
  • Collaboration: The last, but most important, piece to creating a compelling campaign or movement is collaboration. The community must have an outlet to communicate with each other; to share ideas and experiences and learn from each other. By engaging with other members of the group, participants feel more connected to the movement as a whole. By sharing stories and life experiences, people create lasting connections which makes them more eager and willing to work together.

Creating a community, consistently communicating your goals and expectations, and creating an outlet for collaboration are critical in order to create a compelling, powerful campaign on or offline.

pictory productions wedding videography

Pictory Productions – Pittsburgh Wedding Videographer Website Design

Pictory Productions boasts creating “Wedding Films For Fun People“.

Well, theBREWROOM wanted to make sure that the website design and development experience for Pictory was fun for them as well. After all, if they want their clients to have, shouldn’t they have fun as well? We think so.


Megan, of Pictory Productions was heavily involved with the project, and took it upon herself to jump right in and work on the content and visuals for her new website. We love this. We love (clients) people who want to be really involved with their project, and have a real passion for the learning how to do things themselves. We love to work with these kinds of people. Megan was serious about how she wanted her site to look, and that passion for the project comes through in the end result. We hope that she is as happy as we are with the outcome.

Website Facts:

  • Built on WordPress
  • Hosting by theBREWROOM
  • Video integration
jeremy hazelton website

The Personal Blog of Jeremy Hazelton

Not only do we have the pleasure of being able to work on the website for Jeremy, but we also call him a friend. This guy has a real passion and gift for what he does, and when he speaks, that is obvious. We hope that you read his blog, and we hope that you reach out to him to learn more about what he is working on in the City of Buffalo.

jeremy blog facebook post

We’re really looking forward to great things to come from Jeremy. Especially the book that he will be writing soon. Go check out his website, and let him and us know what you think.

Website Facts:

  • Build on WordPress, using Genesis Framework
  • Hosting by theBREWROOM
  • Integrated email newsletter management
Transforming content from good to great

Transforming content from good to great

There’s a big difference between good content and great content.

You know great content when you see it; you’re immediately interested in consuming it and are inspired to share it.

However, creating great content isn’t so simple. It takes practice.

And while there are a lot of tools and best practices to follow to creating great content, below are 3 tips that I’ve found extremely useful in helping turn your content from good to great:

  • Placement: This first step to making your content shine is placement. Are you putting your content in the right place? Are you sharing it on social media? Is it on your website? In order for your content to be great, it has to be visible. You have to be strategic to place your content in the areas that your target audience spends the most time, be it your social media profile, website or blog. If your content isn’t placed where your audience looks, it will never perform well because the people most interested in it won’t end up finding it.
  • Relevancy: Once your content is found, the next factor that influences its performance is relevancy. Is your content relevant and interesting to your target audience? Does it align with their goals? In order for your content to be great, it has to resonate with the audience and make them feel something (inspired, curious, excited) that gets them to take action to share your post online, or talk about it with a friend. Posts that elicit feelings in your audience are much more likely to be shared.
  • Quality: Placement and relevancy alone won’t get your content to go viral. In order for your content to perform fantastically, it has to be quality. Does it have links? Rich media? High-res images? Did you double-check your work? In order for your content to be shared repeatedly, it has to be of high quality. No one wants to share a blog post with spelling errors or a photo that’s blurry. Taking the time to ensure that your content meets high quality standards is critical to helping it perform well.

Creating great content isn’t easy.

However, if you place it in the right channels, make it relevant to the target audience and fill it with high quality images and media, you’ll be on the path to transforming your content from good to great.

Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet

Social Media Image SizesDo you often find yourself Googling what the recommended images sizes are for each of your top social networks? Well, we went ahead and made a cheat sheet for you to download and print out. Post this guy on your desk so that you can have it in front of you the next time that you need to change your profile photo on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Google Plus.

No strings attached. Nothing to sign up for, or information to hand over.

Print The Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet

We can come up with some more cheat sheets like these. What other networks would you like to see included?

Perhaps: Instagram? Pinterest? YouTube? Let us know what you think would be the most helpful to you by leaving a comment below.

Need help editing and creating your profile and header images?
 You can use this Free and Easy online image editing tool:
 https://pixlr.com/

It’s About the Content

Content Marketing comes down to the ContentWe have a process here at theBREWROOM. Whether we are redesigning an existing website, designing a new website, or reviewing a website and coming up with SEO recommendations, it always, Always, ALWAYS comes down to the content. No matter what your website is about, or what you are selling, or who you are selling it to, the one thing that needs to be done right is the content. It needs to be clear what you do, who you do it for, and why someone should hire you. If this is not clear, you have failed. We were recently asked if we had one specific piece of advice to offer to other developers that are looking to incorporate Search Engine Optimization into their website development process. We answered with:  “Always include SEO at the beginning of the process.” This means that it is not something that you do when you’re done designing a site. It’s not something that you do when you have already built your site, and you’re reviewing it with a client, or your team. It’s something that you do right from the start. After all, you are not just optimizing your site for search engines. You are optimizing your site for your customers, and to do that, you need to do the work at the beginning of your process.

Basic content marketing pointers:

  • Keep content short and to the point. Nobody wants to read a book on your site.
  • Make the content have a purpose – why do you want someone to read this?
  • Include clear calls to action – what do you want the user to do next?
  • Support your copy and content with an interesting or meaningful image. It has been proven that people like visuals.
  • Check your spelling! If you’re spelling things wrong and using poor grammar, then you won’t look professional.

Thanks for listening. Please share if you agree with the points mentioned above.