Archive for the ‘Reno Marketing Meanderings’ Category

Company Website Boring Visitors to Death?

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Tired of your company website?

Is your company website boring even to you? People are more and more obsessed with flashy, bright, shiny objects and websites are no different. Yes, you will need to have killer content on your website that is easy to understand and explains your product or services in a way that will make anyone want to buy it, but first – you have to get their attention – and in a positive way.

A Website is an Experience

As you browse through a site, you experience layout, colors, fonts, photographs, and content until you begin to feel a certain way. Of course, when it comes to your customers, you want that ‘certain way’ to be a positive one, one that converts to sales. Creating those positive experiences through design is what our team does best.

Remodelling: Ideas and Considerations

If you were to think about your website as the large billboard that everyone will see as they sit in a movie theatre and wait for their film to start – what would you want them to see?  I use the theatre example because, in this instance, you have a somewhat captive audience and the time frame is relatively lengthy.  Your website IS a marketing piece and it should fit with your branding as well as your vision and mission for the company.

However, you want more than a brochure or a static, unchanging picture as your website – you want to engage the audience and make them feel that you are right there with them.  This can be done with a custom layout that makes finding information for your users simple and almost automatic, it can be done with content that makes them feel instantly at home and trusting, it can be done with colors that evoke the emotional response you ultimately want your customers to have, and it can be done with images, videos, and sharing options where they can find out what their friends think of your product or service, and inform the rest of their friends of their opinions about you as well.

Your Website is the First Touch

Your website is the first touch you have on your customer; it is extremely important for it to be a positive experience and that it entices your target audience to take that next step and contact you.  Ultimately we have websites to initiate a customer relationship and to sell something, whether it is advice or kitchen spoons, we are all in a business to make some kind of money – whether sales or donations for a non-profit to support a meaningful cause, the desired result is the same. As you have probably heard in business, it takes money to make money. Designing your website is not free – but if it is done correctly, it IS worth it.

Think about it – if you wouldn’t stay on your company website for more than 2 minutes, then why would anyone else?  You have a lot of competition in the online world, so make yourself stand out. If you need ideas or a quote, check out our web portfolio or call us at 775.322.3663 or 800.233.0239

Marketing for Women by Women

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Women are in charge of the money more now than ever before – so it’s no surprise that marketers are targeting them specifically.  Many sources (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) purport the differences between the sexes, and the approach from a marketing standpoint has been to speak to the heart of a woman.

Society has repeatedly stereotyped women as the emotional sex and men as the logical sex, but in real life things are never so succinctly divided. However, much research has gone into finding messages that reach women in particular and how to tap into their emotions in order to make the sale. Studies show that women will be engaged more by how a product/service will support their family & relationships (whereas men will connect more with how a product/service gets to a desired end result, and how well it does that), so stories/anecdotes will be more engaging for women (rather than performance stats). Also, how a product/service will help a woman be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, etc., will speak to women more than men (again, the “relationship” piece). This is a gross generalization, of course, but there’s a lot out there that’s been expanded since brain research has shown some clear gender differences. For instance, look at this excerpt from a blog we enjoy(One Woman Marketing):

Women make up just half the population, but they make over 80% of all household purchases. And they’re not just shopping for stereotypically feminine products such as clothing and cosmetics. Women also make:

  • 65% of new car purchases
  •  91% of travel purchases
  • 57% of electronics purchases
  • 63% of all purchases made online

Despite their consumer power, most women feel that marketers and advertisers just don’t get them. (91% of women, according to one recent study.)

Angela Shupe’s blog post discusses how consultants Sandie Glass and Laura Wolfram head up a consultants group run by women in order to provide solutions to marketers looking to reach their female audience.

What do you think? Do you have to be a woman in order to reach a woman?  Share your comments with us below!

Relationship Marketing vs Social Media Marketing: Oxymoron or Redundant?

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Clarifications, first.

We all know a typical oxymoron, right? Words and phrases that seem to cancel each other out: military intelligence, jumbo shrimp, old news, practical joke, peace force.

We also know about redundancy, or saying the same thing twice, as in: basic fundamentals, actual experience, advance planning, free gift, frozen ice, general public.

These two odd word pairing categories are opposite sides of the same coin, so I will flip the coin, and you can call it in the air….

Are Relationship Marketing and Social Media Marketing the same or opposites?

You might be surprised at the answers I found!

Redundant (Heads)

Mari Smith, speaker, author, and social media guru, has recently written a (not yet released) book titled, “The New Relationship Marketing”. Considering the source’s area of expertise, it would appear that the book will be about nurturing relationships to social (online) connections and turning that into a profitable business, at which Mari has been extremely successful. Mari shares some of her life story in this video, and talks a bit about her new book which has the subtitle: “How to Build a Large, Loyal and Profitable Network Using the Social Web”. It is clear as she describes her approach to relationship marketing (in a beautiful Scottish / Canadian accent) that she would be of the camp that this is a redundant relationship. She talks about how she believes that social media marketing is about building those relationships with all people online and leveraging (my words) that relationship to be ethically profitable.

Oxymoron (Tails)

On the other side of the coin, would be Naomi Dunford of IttyBiz, who is decidedly less glamorous and more punk than Mari Smith. However, Naomi is very passionate and (apparently) knowledgeable as she has become an expert at being overtly honest and downright open on how marketing for small businesses works. Naomi’s guest blog on about Relationship Marketing, “7 Ways You’re Screwing Up Relationship Marketing”, is in line with the oxymoron stance on our topic.

The 7 ways, are easily the complete opposite of the (widely accepted)point of social media (to engage, connect, build relationships), in that she feels (strongly) that relationship marketing is solely about what makes the customer make a purchase of your product and how can you get them to do it again. It has nothing to do with relationships, communication, being social, authenticity, transparency, equality, or having a connection. It is about THE relationship of a customer to your product and their purchase of same. Period. That’s it.

What do YOU think?

What is your take on this question? Is all marketing becoming social? Should it? Or are we too caught up in this ‘relationship’ business with online media that we are incapable of talking about marketing without describing some inner bond between brands and consumers?

We’d love to hear your side, so leave us a comment!

Innovative Marketing

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Recently, I came across a blog post that got my attention.  9 Ways to Keep Innovation Alive in Your Marketing Organization, posted by Matt Heinz from Innovation Excellence, he writes about Innovation and Marketing, two things I find very useful and interesting.

Several of the ‘9 Ways’ are things that most (successful) companies are already doing – things like tracking progress, predicting trends (or at least watching them), and focusing on teamwork as a way to brainstorm diverse ideas. My favorite, though, is number 5 – let everyone contribute, even (or especially) employees outside of the marketing department.

Why is cross-contributing so important?

Because, as Heinz describes, many of these employees have ideas about how to reach your audience. I would specify that the user-facing employees know more about what the customer is looking for or what things push them to buy your product over another brand than your marketing department. This is valuable information that is available to your company! However, the company culture has to be supporting it, asking for it, rewarding it and following through on the ideas they get for this to be truly successful.

As any good marketing professional would tell you – knowing what your target audience wants is imperative for creating a marketing strategy that will tell the story of how your product or service can fit into the lives of your consumers and why they need to purchase what you have to offer.

Innovation Speaks to All of Us

Innovation is something that speaks to all of us – we are all interested in the newest, shiny, tech savvy bauble; the more bells and whistles (or functionality as we have come to know it), the better. Humans are observant and have a relatively natural ability to look at something they are doing and see how it could be done better. Utilize these instincts and ideas to find new things that will resonate with your audience in a new way, or explain the use of your product or service in new terms.

What kind of innovation does your marketing need?

Give us a call at 775-322-3663 and we can help you find out!

For the full blog post from Matt Heinz, please click here.

E-Mail Marketing, E-Newsletters – Permission Marketing Works!

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011







Personal Marketing that’s Still Viable After All These Years

E-mail marketing is one of your best, personal marketing tools on the Web. We integrate it with your marketing strategy to reach new customers, build customer connections and to create a one-on-one dialogue. We use it because it works, and when done right, becomes a valuable resource for both you and your customers.

Our Email Marketing Strategies Work to:

  • Drive direct sales to your door
  • Create a loyal customer base, and develop trust
  • Develop relationships for long-term and repeat sales
  • Customize your message to the various segments of your audience
  • Integrate e-marketing promotions with corresponding landing pages on your Website
  • Position yourself and your company as industry experts and leaders
  • Support sales, market sales and events and drive traffic to your doors and your Website.
  • Track your customers’ needs and desires, with detailed reports of open and click-through rates

No matter how clever we get with Twitter and Facebook and other public media, E-mail marketing remains the most personal tool in your Internet marketing toolbox.

How Do We Know that Email Marketing Works?

The Proof’s in the Documentation. We’d like to share some recent surveys with you.

  • The Ad Effectiveness Survey commissioned by Forbes Media in Feb/March 2009 revealed that email and e-newsletter marketing are considered the second-most effective tool for generating conversions, just behind SEO (reference).
  • A November 2009 survey of B2B marketers found that email marketing was likely to see more spending increase than any other form of online marketing, second only to Website development (report).

Modern Email Marketing Solutions

Email Marketing is a contemporary and powerful promotional tool that incorporates a ton of nifty technology. Here are just a few of the things you can do with email marketing:

  • Database integration
  • List segmentation
  • Pre-scheduled delivery
  • Analysis of open and click-through rates
  • A/B testing
  • On-the-fly customized email based on individual profiles
  • And so much more!

Plus every email campaign you send out generates actionable data you can use to refine your approach to future messages. All in all, a pretty good way of going about your marketing business!

Ready to launch an effective email marketing for your business?

Contact us today at 775.322.3663 or 800.233.0329, or email us, and we’ll get you started.

What is Crowdsourcing?

Friday, August 19th, 2011

What is crowdsourcing and how can it help market my business?

This video by Jeff Howe explains crowdsourcing and dispells some of the myths.

Text Version from YouTube:

“Crowdsourcing” has, virtually overnight, generated huge buzz, enthusiasm, and fear. It’s the application of the open-source idea to any field outside of software, taking a function performed by people in an organization, such as reporting done by journalists, research and product development by scientists, or design of a T-shirt, for example, and, in effect, “outsourcing” it through an open-air broadcast on the Internet. Crowdsourcing has already had a huge impact on big companies like Procter & Gamble, as well as start-ups like, which rapidly became the third largest T-shirt maker in the United States. The fuel sparking the crowdsourcing flame is the potent combination of more highly educated people working in fields other than those in which they were trained (think of the art historian peddling financial advice at Merrill Lynch) with the greatest mechanism for distributing knowledge and information the world has ever seen: the Internet.”


Some additional ways that we feel Crowdsourcing can help your business:

1. Reduces Marketing Costs – rather than spending thousands (or more) on marketing to the masses, and hoping you have the right message, you can have the consumer / client/ customer give you feedback on what they like BEFORE you launch the marketing campaign.

2. Eliminates Need for Test Groups – what better test group than the actual target audience? Engaging the audience in your marketing efforts and plan can help to eliminate the need for costly (and often biased) test groups.

3. Real Answers for Little to No Cost from your Targeted Audience – your target audience is who you are truly trying to reach – so why not ask them for their input in what they like about your product or service and then USE that valuable information to make your marketing that much more effective.


More on Crowdsourcing:

5 Tips on How to Crowdsource effectively – summarized from our friends at Mashable.

1. Be Clear

2. Offer Incentives

3. Don’t Overwhelm the Crowd

4. Be Ready for Response

5. Crowdsourcing isn’t Unprofessional

For the entire article by Todd Wasserman, click here.

Planning and Communication: No Laughing Matter!

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Planning and Communication: No Laughing Matter!

We come across funny articles sometimes, including this recent one:

From a web designer point of view, these anecdotal stories are very amusing; the sad part is that they are often true.  We try to take more from these stories than just the amusement factor – like how we can improve the process for our customers.  Several of the scenarios in this article are situations that could have been avoided with better planning and communication.

Focus on Planning!

Plan for all relevant parties to be involved in the beginning stages of the project.  This eliminates new feedback and functionality requests in the middle (or the end) of the project, when time is already a constraint.

Focus on Communication!

Nothing is more important than communication with your client. How can you deliver the product (or service) they truly want and need unless you can come to a shared meaning of how the end result should appear?  Communication from beginning through the end of the project will help to smooth out the little bumps along the way and keep the client feeling involved and informed.  If you only have one meeting at the beginning of the project and then expect to receive your dream results at the end of the timeline, you are asking for problems.

Instead, keep the client involved and ask them about milestones along the way, so that you aren’t working on a design that they don’t actually want – which saves both the client and the designer from stress like that seen in the article.

We agree it’s funny in an article – but no laughing matter in real life!

Your Target Audience May be YOU!

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

In a recent blog posted on Duct Tape Marketing by John Jantsch, called “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, I’m My Ideal Client After All“, the idea that we most want to work with customers that are like ourselves, is well stated. It isn’t just that we prefer people who think the way we do, or that have the same values and common definitions of customer service or partnership – it is also that we want to feel comfortable enough to be ourselves.

Tailor your business or brand to the niche that best suits you!

It is a good idea to put attention and thought into reaching your target audience. It’s a GREAT idea  to know WHO your target audience truly is.  In order to do that effectively, you have to have a clear vision of who you are (as a company or brand) and how you are going to use that special something to your customers’ advantage. So, what kinds of people do you want to have as clients?

Choose wisely!

We have all had those situations where you suddenly realize that while you and your customer are in the same book, there are pages between you, yet you were both under the impression you were communicating clearly. Much of this happens because of differing views on expectations. This can be greatly reduced by following the advice in the article mentioned above – make sure you match the needs and expectations of your customers or clients and they fit the client model you need to be successful.

Be True to Your Brand

The moral of the story is that you have to be true to the essence of who you are (as a brand and a person) and how you want to interact with your customers.  As long as you keep your expectations in alignment with those of your customers or clients, you will not only be a choice with integrity, you will also be their number one choice – because they see themselves as ‘one of you’.  And we all know we’d rather spend time and do business with people that are ‘like us’.

In-Bound Link Building Tips to Help Local (Reno) SEO

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

The Basics for In-Bound Link-Building

Easy enough. It just takes time & planning to manage your approach.

Integris Marketing Blog PostIn-Bound Link Building is Important for SEO Success. Whether Your Business is Local (Reno), Regional or International, search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing use this seemingly simple search engine ranking parameter as an indication your website’s relative popularity. This in turn influences the search engines decision in rating your relevance for search queries and ultimately affects your search engine ranking or opportunities for first page display.

In-Bound Link Bottom Line: If you don’t have inbound links and your competitors do, then to put it bluntly,  you will not rank as well as them. (Want to learn about the top Search Engine Ranking Factors… then go here >)

Here Are 2 Things To NOT Do For Building In-Bound Links

It all makes sense if you think about it or understand the industry and the sophistication of Search Engine ranking algorhythms (Here is a link to an older March 2007 article but the thrust is a solid foundational concept for this).

It really boils down to 2 things of what not to do for inbound link building:

  1. Don’t Use Link Farms (See This Wikipedia Page for more information about Link Farms). According to Google, “a site that participates in a link farm may have its search rankings penalized”, and “Links from related sites carry more weight than those from irrelevant sites”.
  2. Try not to use Off-Topic Links (Relevant On-Topic Links build credibility in the eyes of Search Engines… And yes, they do know.)

Six Basic Strategies for In-Bound Link Building

Anyone and everyone with a website should make some effort to include these 6 Link Building strategies if you are serious about top performance for Search Engine Ranking.

  1. Make More Content! – Search Engines need content in order to deliver relevant and current results to search queries. Better results from search engines mean more people will use them. This in turn makes them a better platform for advertising dollars (This is America after all). The bottom line is search engines need the new content just as much as you need to generate it, distribute it and have it link back to you. The solution is to write articles, publish them online (on a relevant blog site or an ezine or article website – There are tons of them out there such as
  2. Social Media – Serious about in-bound links? Then get serious about social media. There are lots of ways to leverage this. If you don’t know how, take a class, talk to some social media guru, or just dive in. Be conscious of the appropriate linking patterns and partners out there and be careful you don’t spend too much time doing this. It can be a real time sink. Think of it as something to adopt over time and that you will keep up with. It is better to do a little dribble consistently then do a lot and then burn out and drop off the map… especially as far as Search Engines are concerned.
  3. Relevant Online Directories – Online Directories are a great place for links. That’s what they are for… listing websites. Some are free and some are pay. Do what you can to get in them and have a budget (time and $$$) that makes sense for you. Here are the biggies: DMOZ (can take a while to get listed), Yahoo (Expensive). Some other well known online directories include:,, and There are many others that have narrow niche appeal. The best approach is to identify the best ranked ones and then submit your listing to them. Rinse and repeat.
  4. Online Video – First a quick question… Do you know what the worlds second most used search engine is? If you guessed YouTube you guessed right. So Videos can get you inbound links, visibility and some brand or service awareness. If you get it right it can even go “viral”! There are tons of video sites out there (YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo to name a few). If you do video then distribute them to different sources and watch and compare results and see which ones work best for you. And be sure to have some fun along the way. (Note: Professional Video production can be quite costly. You need to balance quality and budget to get the most bang for your video buck. And don’t forget, there is always the webcam on your local computer approach if you are on a shoestring.)
  5. Online Classifieds – Yep, this often overlooked little gem will get you inbound links. Think or any of the other online classifieds (some are free and some are pay). And who knows.. besides the link you get, maybe someone will buy what you are selling!
  6. Online Press Releases – Huh? That’s right.. you can distribute your own online press releases. (But I recommend hitting your local news outlets first so they can get the “scoop” before it hits the big ol’ web. It’s a professional courtesy thing.) This is a great way to get in-bound links. You can use the paid versions such as as or go for the free ones such as As with all things online there are lots of options so be sure to compare apples to apples when it comes to getting your press release sent out online.

Hope that helps! This is the basic approach that we offer clients as starting points for their in-bound link building campaign. And if you want to share a reciprocal link with us, just send us a note or give us a call, and we will see what we can do!

Reno Marketing Tips (My Top 10 Favorites)

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Reno is a Fabulous Place for Marketing and Promotion!

The local Reno Business Climate is great place for getting connected to people as well as potential customers and clients

There are so many talented Reno-based Marketing Professionals here in the Truckee Meadows and Lake Tahoe Area, it is enough to make your head spin! Every day I read about the successes, the insights and the fantastic creative ideas that pour out from this community of local marketing and design professionals. It is truly awe-inspiring, and just like the “Energizer Bunny®”*… It just keeps going!

And with all that professional-marketing-horsepower, there are some things, and themes that just keep coming up over and over that are particularly helpful to local Reno area business owners. And while not every Reno Business is the same, there are certain things that most of them can do to promote themselves locally, that and are tried-and-true marketing and publicity opportunities, and are proven processes that work for the local audience. Why do they work? Because we all live, eat and breath here… right here in this valley and the surrounding mountains. So people we meet become the friends we make and are often the same as the future business partners we engage.

Here are my top 10 Reno Marketing Tips that won’t cost much except for time and maybe some membership or entry fees:

  1. Networking in Reno Rocks! (This town has so many networking opportunities, it could easily be a full-time job attending them all! Try out the local Sparks Chamber, Reno Sparks Chamber, BizTalk Blender, American Marketing Association Meetings, LeTip, BNI, eWomen, etc… all are great and very active with lots of opportunities for connecting. And there are lots of local trade shows too to attend!)
  2. Get Involved with Social Media: Share ideas, join the conversation… it can be overwhelming and even addictive, but taken in moderation there is lots to be gained in knowledge and even promotion opportunities.
  3. Give or Attend Marketing Talks and Classes (or other relevant topics of interest to you)
  4. Start a Blog (Let the world know about your local Reno business and what you can deliver)
  5. Write Local Press Releases (Tell the world about your successes)
  6. Write Local and Relevant Articles (Talk about your area of expertise. Become the “known” local expert… lots of people have!
  7. Collaborate with other businesses for joint promotions or marketing brainstorming.. heck, you can even start your own Mastermind Marketing Group or Professional Trade Group
  8. Ask for Referrals (Ask your friends, clients and peers… don’t go overboard, but do ask! Incentive Programs for the referral are a nice touch too.)
  9. Be Helpful… Whenever you meeting a potential customer or client, offer something. A referral to information, a resource for them, relevant news, a good book or even a place to have lunch. See how you can give before you ask for something. (Pick a local charity, serve on the board, volunteer, donate time and/or money, help plan and coordinate events.)
  10. Show Up! No one will know of you unless you get out there and get seen. That goes for for any marketing or promotional effort. Hiding under the rock or “being too busy to promote your business” will only bite you in the rear end in the long run and won’t contribute to your success and certainly won’t help people understand how wonderful you are or the expertise you can offer.

Now go forth and market, meet, greet, and enjoy your new friends you will meet along the way!

If you want more marketing tips, local networking tips or even have some tips you want to share… give us a call (775.322.3663) or send us an email… We’d love to hear from you.

(*The “Energizer”, “Energizer Bunny” design, card graphics and shape, and other marks are trademarks of Energizer. <see>

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