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A Year in Our Shoes – HMG’s 2012

Posted on Dec 31, 2012 by Daniel Alvarez

This is typical verbatim around this time of year. And like many of you, we at HMG had a very busy and productive 2012.

Rewind

We began 2012 in unchartered territory- Austin, Texas. Although we had built a solid presence in San Diego over the past 8 years, the opening of a new office in Austin came with just as many unknowns as certainties. We knew Austin was an up-and-coming city with a savvy talent pool. We knew it had some of the best music festivals and startup-related conferences (SXSW). And we knew that we’d be gaining some weight from the scrumptious Mexican food and finger-licking BBQ.

What we didn’t know was just as daunting. Would Austin accept us? Could we be as (or more) successful than we had been in San Diego? But in late 2011 we decided to make the move. Challenge accepted.

Fast Forward

As we look back at 2012 and our move to Austin we can’t help but think of how great the year and the city has been to us. We embarked on a journey that has brought us great reward both personally and as a company. We’ve acquired some unique additions to our team and have worked with some of Austin’s finest businesses.

In honor of the wonderful events that have taken place over the course of 2012, we’ve accumulated a list of our favorite 12. We hope you like them just as much as we do!

Hit Play

January– We kicked off the year with the opening of our Austin location; we cheered to good fortune, friends and rockin’ clients!

February– Founded in 1922, Taylor Linens produces quilts that are made of 100% cotton fabric and batting that are often hand quilted with fine, close stitches.  We provided Taylor Linens with: Custom Email Templates, Printing & Collateral, and Web Development.

March– A good month for several reasons, SXSW and Spontuneous. The first is obvious; SXSW is a 9-day music, film and interactive festival showcasing the nation’s hidden gems. The latter is one of our most eclectic and entertaining clients, Spontuneous. Makers of an award-winning board-game that brings your favorite song lyrics to life.

AprilRetailMeNot rates every single coupon and then orders it by its usefulness.  Every store is then categorized and ordered by its popularity within that category.  Their users ensure that the best deals quickly rise to the top, and expired or superseded coupons quickly drop down the list.  We provided RetailMeNot with Web Development.

MayOneStar Foundation supports the nonprofit sector of Texas and its stakeholders through initiatives that increase civic engagement, research, rigorous evaluation, and nonprofit organizational excellence.  We have provided OneStar with: Branding, Website Redesign and Press Releases.

JuneQuick Fix Stock Charts is an online resource that provides insightful and annotated stock charts while enabling you to make time-sensitive, decisive, money management decisions. We provided QFSC with Branding, Custom Email Templates, Press Release, Printing and Web Design and Development.

July– PrimoDish is a group of developers that love food and thought there needed to be a place where you can easily find the best food around.  We provided PrimoDish with a Website Redesign/UX. (Check out the new website we’re currently building them!)

August– After several months of steady growth we decided to begin a hunt for a stellar Business Development Consultant. We wanted someone who knew the industry and also knew how to build rapport and relationships with the right people. Enter Daniel Alvarez. With over 7 years of experience in sales and marketing, Daniel is our go-to guy for Biz Dev and Social Media Management.

September– There aren’t enough (good) adjectives in the dictionary to describe Stacey Donelan. She is assiduous, determined, creative and absolutely brilliant when it comes to her role as our Social Media Intern. Thanks to her we have built a solid following on our social networks and even created a fun-filled Christmas marketing campaign (see December). Stacey, you’re the best!

October– Every once in a while you stumble upon something so good you just can’t pass it up. In our case, Nick Welp was that hidden gem. His expertise in back-end web development is unparalleled and his knack for perfection paired quite well with HMG’s standards. Nick has helped in creating many custom applications and continues to lead our team of developers into the New Year.

November– As our stomachs prepared for the turkey and dressing coma from a hearty Thanksgiving meal, our developers prepared for an influx of new clients. But from what you say? Not what, who! John Wagner– ultimate selling machine. Hailing from Denver, John touched down in Austin hungry and ready to network. His over 6-year tenure in several managerial sales positions has given John a refined knowledge of B2B sales and project management. We look forward to see what else John has up his sleeve in 2013.

December– In honor of the Holidays and filled with the Christmas spirit, we decided to embark on an HMG-inspired 12 Days of Christmas campaign. Twelve days of absolute holiday giddiness and fun- if you follow us then you saw it. If not, click here for the recap.

The Holidays weren’t the only thing happening at HMG in December. As business demand grew and our list of clients expanded, we were in dire need of a savvy Front-End Designer. And we found just that in Jenn Buch– a West Virginia native, Jenn came to us with a portfolio rivaling our very own. She is not only talented but extremely creative, and our clients LOVE her work. Jenn, thank you for bringing your talents to Austin and more specifically to HMG!

 

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The 12 (Internet Marketing) Days Of Christmas!

Posted on Dec 25, 2012 by Amy Kauffman

This SEO company has found the best way to spread holiday cheer! See 10 marketing tips for all to hear!  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from your crew at HMG Creative. To celebrate the joyous season and year’s end, we now present the 12 Days of Christmas in its entirety, a campaign that is sure to make you laugh, smile and think about marketing in a whole new light going into 2013. Did you miss the the fun festivities, the first time around? No problem! But be sure to Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter, so you aren’t left out in the cold again. (You don’t want to be on that naughty list, do you?)

Enjoy our gift of discounts, actionable marketing ideas, Twitter tips, viral videos and more exciting content to take your business into the new year in style!
Now —  Without further delay — may we present:  The 12 Days of Christmas!
On the First Day of Christmas, HMG Gave to Me:
Business Cards Half Off…That’s Almost FREE!
On the Second Day of Christmas, HMG Gave to Me:
Two Tutorials
On the Third Day of Christmas, HMG Gave to Me:
Three Experts Blogging
On the Fourth Day of Christmas, HMG Gave to Me:
Four Calling Clients
On the Fifth Day of Christmas, HMG Gave to Me:
Five Golden Rules
On The Sixth Day of Christmas, HMG Gave to Me:
Six Birds-a Tweeting
On The Seventh Day of Christmas, HMG Gave to Me:
Seven Shows-a Streaming
On the Eighth Day of Christmas, HMG Gave to Me:
Eight Fans a-Liking
On the Ninth day of Christmas, HMG Gave to Me:
Nine Clients Rocking
On the Tenth Day of Christmas, HMG game to Me:
Ten Blogs a-Buzzing
On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, HMG Gave to Me:
Eleven Subscribers Snoozing
On The Twelfth Day of Christmas, HMG gave to Me:
Twelve Websites Winning
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On The Twelfth Day of Christmas, HMG gave to me: Twelve Websites Winning

Posted on Dec 24, 2012 by Daniel Alvarez

Web design has changed exponentially since the advent of web 2.0 in the early 2000’s. What used to be static-only websites have now been replaced with dynamic ones that incorporate many design features including widgets, social plugins and much more. Here are 12 tips to keep in mind when building or rebuilding your website.

1.  Show value– give people a reason to visit your site and keep them there.

2.  What does your website do? Are you informative, are you selling something? Include a call of action and let it be seen on the site!

3.  Simplicity– Keep it simple while still getting your point across.

4.  Myspace is out! That means no blinking text or magic cursors!

5.  Popups– Do I really have to explain this?

6.  Keep the home page accessible. I’ve been to many sites where once I click a link on the navigation bar, I cannot get back to the home page- so frustrating!

7.  Follow in Apple’s shoes and drop Adobe Flash– it’s processor heavy and there’s no place to embed SEO.

8.  I KNOW THIS MAY SOUND DUMB BUT DON’T CAPITALIZE ALL OF YOUR CONTENT.

9.  Speaking of words and content, check your grammar and spelling please!

10.  Use keywords and descriptive text that relates to your business. However, don’t over-embed keywords in your content- keep it natural.

11.  Be accessible, yes add a Contact page and put an email, phone number, something!

12.  Navigation is key! Keep a global navigation bar that allows accessibility to all of your pages.

I know the post reads “12 Tips” but I’m throwing in a BONUS, yay! 

13.  Social media integration- the key to the popularity and national/global success of your website and business.

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On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, HMG Gave to Me: Eleven Subscribers Snoozing

Posted on Dec 23, 2012 by Jenn Buch

“Boring!”  It’s the nemesis of all content writers and it threatens to creep into your newsletters.  As soon as boring content shows its face, you can kiss the inbox goodbye and start staking out real estate in the recycle bin.  What to do?  Follow these eleven tips to keep your subscribers engaged from the headline all the way to the fine print.

1.     Tantalize with a fabulous headline.
Ask a question, promise a list of tips, or offer free industry-related advice. If your headline is a lemon, your readers won’t take the time to read further.

2.     Write about what you know.
Fill your newsletter content with the things you consider yourself to be an expert on rather than falling back on someone else’s content.

3.     Choose current hot topics from your industry.
Follow blogs and stay up to date on new product releases, industry changes, and questions people are currently asking. Position yourself as an expert on current topics through your newsletter.

4.     Let your personality shine through.
Be conversational, humorous, witty, and even sarcastic if it comes naturally to you, all with the goal of building a relationship with your readers.

5.     Include lifestyle content that relates to what you do.
Show your subscribers how to apply your information to their daily lives. For instance, if you sell dog training videos, write a newsletter with tips on house training a new puppy.

6.     Narrow your focus.
Choose a goal for your newsletter and stick with it. Are you promoting your blog, sending industry updates, or offering tips? Let your subscribers know what to expect up front.

7.     Match your writing style to the personality of your company.
Is your company trendy and upbeat or do you present a more reserved, professional face to your audience? A law firm newsletter should sound different from a newsletter for a trendy salon and spa.

8.     Encourage subscribers to respond.
Include a feedback form or email address in each newsletter and make a point of replying to any feedback you receive.

9.     Include relevant images and graphics.
Well-chosen images and graphics can pique interest before the subscriber has started reading. Images should relate in a substantive way to your content rather than being generic stock photos.

10.  Break content into manageable chunks.
Bullet points, subheadings, numbers, and space between paragraphs can all make your content look less intimidating by making it easier to skim. Lengthy paragraphs tend to turn people away.

11.  Include customer feedback in your content.
Testimonials, customer Q&As, and stories are all great ways to bring your subscribers into the conversation.

By incorporating these 11 tips as you write newsletter content, you can banish droopy eyelids from your subscribers. Keep your content concise, informative, and interesting, and you’ll guarantee an engaged audience.

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On the Tenth Day of Christmas, HMG gave to Me: Ten Blogs a-Buzzing

Posted on Dec 22, 2012 by Johnny Jeffers

The voice of a consumer has proved to be the most powerful tool for the success of any business. The evolution of the internet has made several marketing solutions as simple as clicking a mouse; so let’s deck the halls with ten ways to integrate age old word of mouth marketing with modern social outlets!
1. On average, one of five customers will say something about your business just by asking them to. “Would you tell your friends and family about our service?” The trick? Just ask, every time!
2. Optimizing the search engine effect; a product cannot be shared virtually if it cannot be found online. Optimize your website and online content with multi-word tag lines to avoid vast competitions with companies shelling out the dollars for one key word.
3. If you choose to advertise on multiple social media sites, allocate time to update and engage with readers and followers daily. Consistency with posting ads and follower engagement is crucial for brand recognition.
4. Everyone wants to be heard; whether positive or constructive feedback is flowing in, always respond. Take time to address concerns and thank all customers for all feedback. Reviewers will talk about the brand just by feeling heard by the company.
5. Give back to followers, use social media to offer small gifts for kids and prizes. These gifts and prizes can be awarded for various online contests that will increase engagement with existing and even more importantly new interest.
6. Encourage bloggers and review sites to rate the product and brand. Share the positive blogs and feedback on the company website and social media outlets. There is a vast market out there that will buy in once a third-party endorses a brand.
7. Write regularly. Post PR and blog content on the company website. Publish it through social media links, and distribute it directly to relevant media outlets. The likelihood of new and additional conversations about a brand and its products will increase with the amount of online content that is published.
8. Use the free tools available to keep up with specific markets and interests in the business. Take Google, for example, they offer an application called Google Analytics. This free service has statistics on website visits and can be linked to any website despite the volume. Google Trends also provides details on popularity with specific search terms over time. Stay competitive by being alert and up to date on the trends in your companies’ vertical.
9. As soon as a consumer decides to purchase from a company a second time, odds are good that they have spoken highly about the business or even indirectly referred potential clients. Encourage feedback, and make it easy to respond with simple short questions. For example ask new clients; “How was your experience?” and “What can we do to expect your business in the future?” An example for returning clients could be “Thank you for coming back to our business! What made you interested in our product/service again?”
10. Never expect the end user to manage the relationship. Regularly interact with contacts and subscribers via newsletters, promotional offerings, and by keeping up to date on all active social media outlets.
Marketing is a team effort and we cannot do it without the influence of our customers. Leverage all resources with blogging, integration of helpful tools, and social media to spread the news and keep folks talking!
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On the Ninth day of Christmas, HMG Gave to Me: Nine Clients Rocking

Posted on Dec 21, 2012 by Stacey Donelan

 

I can’t think of a better way to spread Christmas cheer than by recognizing nine of our current and previous clients who we are so very thankful for and, to be honest, just ROCK at what they do:

Bannerot Law Firm
The firm provides clients with a variety of legal services which include Business Law, Wills & Estate Planning, Texas Probate, Intellectual Property Licensing, Entertainment & Sports Law, as well as Litigation.  We have provided the Bannerot Law Firm with:
– Printing
– Website Redesign
(Check out a preview of the new website we’re working for them!)

Kelle Contine Interior Design
Kelle Contine Interior Design is a professional full service interior design firm providing clients with innovative and appropriate solutions.  We have provided Kelle Contine with:
– Web Development

One Star Foundation
OneStar Foundation supports the nonprofit sector of Texas and its stakeholders through initiatives that increase civic engagement, research, rigorous evaluation, and nonprofit organizational excellence.  We have provided OneStar with:
– Branding
– Press Release
– Website Redesign

PrimoDish
PrimoDish is a group of developers that love food and thought there needed to be a place where you can easily find the best food around.  We provided PrimoDish with a:
– Website Redesign/UX
(Check out the new website we’re currently building them!)

Quick Fix Stock Charts
QFSC is an online resource that provides insightful and annotated stock charts while enabling you to make time-sensitive, decisive, money management decisions.  We provided QFSC with:
– Branding
– Custom Email Templates
– Press Release
– Printing
– Web Design and Development

RetailMeNot
RetailMeNot rates every single coupon and then orders it by its usefulness.  Every store is then categorized and ordered by its popularity within that category.  Their users ensure that the best deals quickly rise to the top, and expired or superseded coupons quickly drop down the list.  We provided RetailMeNot with:
– Web Development

Shango
Shango is a cloud platform that enables service providers to more easily cloud-enable their services and provide them more easily to their wholesale channels.  We provided Shango with:
– Business Card Design
– Printing

Spontuneous
Spontuneous, created by Mr. Rob Ridgeway, is an award-winning board-game that brings your favorite song lyrics to life.  The fun family game brings your favorite song lyrics to life and can forever change the way you listen to music.  We provided Spontuneous with:
– Custom Email Templates
– In-Store Promo Signs, Banners, Flyers
– Printing
– Web Development

Taylor Linens
Founded in 1922, Taylor Linens produces quilts that are made of 100% cotton fabric and batting that are often hand quilted with fine, close stitches.  We provided Taylor Linens with:
– Custom Email Templates
– Printing
– Print Collateral (product hang tags, post cards, stickers)
– Web Design and Development