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Our Blog

The Importance of the Inbox: What Your Company’s Emails Should Have

Posted by Marie Carroll

Feb 9, 2019 9:30:00 AM

With February beginning, this is a good time to start considering how you engage with your customers outside of face to face. If you are someone who has read up about how to make 2019 your year for your business (attach link) then this is another way to keep the train chugging along. Here at Sparkfactor, for instance, we can assist in one of the very important ways to connect with customers and to have them stay informed: through the inbox. As something everyone checks every day, the power of email marketing is crucial, here is what we suggest you need to know!

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Topics: Business, Email Marketing, Business Lessons, Inbound Marketing

Get Your Startup Ready in 2019 with 5 Ideas from Sparkfactor

Posted by Marie Carroll

Jan 19, 2019 9:30:00 AM

2019 is here and with it comes the urge to start fresh. There is no better time to get your startup ready for the big time than at the start of the year. You’re filled with ambitions and aspirations that you want to see through. With the kickoff of a new year, you’re sure to have the drive to make it all work. But with the energy you’ve got now, you need to put some serious thought into how to go about your startup. If you set the beginning steps right, with Sparkfactor’s help, you’re certain to make 2019 your year.

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Topics: Blogging, Advertising, Social Media, Web Design, SEO, Business Lessons

5 Important Reasons Why Your Business Marketing Needs Great Design

Posted by Marie Carroll

Dec 15, 2018 9:30:00 AM

Having a logo for your company is a step everyone knows is important, but not as many give as much thought to how the design of their marketing looks. Fonts, images, graphics, even their placement is valuable. Investing energy and time into these is much more crucial than you might think.

Continue reading for Sparkfactor’s 5 important reasons why your business marketing needs great design.

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Topics: Business, Technology, Marketing, Business Lessons, Web Design

Hosting And Servers And You

Posted by Marie Carroll

Aug 11, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Hosting: What Is It?

As your business expands, you’ll need a place to host your presence online. A place to house your website, keep people engaged, and manage increased traffic.  To make your websites accessible across the Internet, you’ll need to choose a web hosting provider. Some well known providers are GoDaddy, DreamHost and Hostgator, which are used by thousands of sites across the web. We hope this brief overview provides some guidance as you navigate servers and hosting.

Continue reading for Sparkfactor’s tips about web hosting and what it does, by using examples from our clients who have come to us for help.

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Topics: Technology, eCommerce, Education, Business Lessons, Server, Web Hosting

#InspiredBy Independent Bookstore Day

Posted by Andrea Garcia

Apr 27, 2018 5:45:30 PM

Last April I spent a very rainy and cold Saturday traveling around Chicago with some friends, running in and out bookstores, collecting punchcards. It was the last Saturday of the month—Independent Bookstore Day—and we were participating in the first My Chicago Bookstore Challenge: if you visited 10 of the participating independent bookstores throughout the city and suburbs, you received a 10% discount from all participating stores for the next year; if you visited 15, you got 15%. We succeeded in visiting 11 participating bookstores and several more that weren't on the list, just for fun.

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Topics: Neighborhood Marketing, Social Media, Marketing, Advertising, Business Lessons

Why Plagiarism is Bad and How to Prevent It

Posted by Andrea Garcia

Mar 28, 2018 8:00:00 AM

With the new ruling affecting images and Twitter retweets, we thought it would be helpful to update and re-publish this post about plagiarism, first published in 2016.

In a world of content marketing, when over 2 million new blog posts are being published every day, will someone really notice if a few lines, or paragraphs, or articles are the same as others?


Even with online tools (see below) being used to catch plagiarism, which makes it easier than ever to spot a fake, plagiarism is still rampant. Continue reading to learn what plagiarism is, how it can negatively affect your business, and how to prevent it.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Business Lessons

Resources You Need to Develop a GDPR Strategy Immediately

Posted by Sparkfactor

Mar 13, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Most of the information below was found in HubSpot's Create a GDPR Strategy Lesson, as well as other resources, all listed at the bottom of the post for your convenience. This post does not constitute as legal advice and you should always seek legal counsel to see how this regulation will affect your company or organization's specific circumstances.

If your business collects personal data from subscribers, leads, and/or customers, you should have already heard of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and know that it goes into effect on May 25, 2018. If you haven't heard of the GDPR, read this post to understand the fundamentals and check out the resources to have a better understanding, then contact your legal department to know how this new regulation affects your business, then gather your marketing team and put a plan in place to become compliant with the GDPR.

The GDPR is a regulation by the European Union (EU) to protect the digital personal information of its citizens. HubSpot puts it this way: the GDPR enhances the protection of personal data of EU citizens and increases the obligations on organizations who collect or process personalized data. While most of our audience is in the United States and might not do business directly with countries in the EU, please hear this: The GDPR will affect companies in the US, if they collect personal data of EU citizens, knowingly or not. Companies not compliant with the GDPR that are found to be in violation could face fines up to 20 million euros or 4% of the company's global annual revenue, whichever is greater.

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Topics: Email Marketing, Marketing, Business Lessons

Don't Be Fake: A Lesson to Be Learned Before Buying Followers

Posted by Andrea Garcia

Feb 2, 2018 12:30:00 PM

The New York Times published an article over the weekend detailing records of various celebrities who it seemed had purchased fake followers on their social media accounts, mostly on Twitter. The Chicago Sun-Times even suspended their movie reviewer for it. At first you might be shocked at such a reaction: Why suspend—and potentially fire—someone for something as little as having a few fake followers?

It's not just as simple as having a few fake followers. In fact, it's a lot more complicated than you might think. The in-depth New York Times article focused on many aspects of the situation these celebrities and influencers find themselves. To help you and your company navigate through the potential pitfalls of fake followers, let's take a look at the angles involved.

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Topics: Business Lessons, Social Media

Why You Need to Consider Migrating Your Site to HTTPS

Posted by Kate Alpert

Jun 1, 2017 9:00:00 AM

You may have seen an increase in secure websites—those that have "https" instead of the simple "http" before the rest of the URL—over the last few years. As early as 2014, Google has shown preference to these secure sites in an effort to make the web a more secure place.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) is how information is communicated across the web. HTTPS has an extra layer of security that encrypts transactions and authorizations. HTTPS has been most common for websites and web pages that asked for credit card information or passwords. In more recent years, HTTPS has started to become the new standard for all websites. Here are some reasons your company should consider switching from HTTP to HTTPS.

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Topics: Google, Business Lessons

Why Every Company Needs Brand Guidelines

Posted by Andrea Garcia

May 30, 2017 9:00:00 AM

A brand is the way a company presents itself to outsiders: consumers, board members, partners, customers. A brand is used to identify one organization from another. And it's not just the logo—although that plays a significant part—a brand identity takes into consideration tone of copy, content, visual elements like fonts and images, and even fundamentals like the company's mission statement. Without a clear brand identity, organizations can sink in the sea of competition.

And even if a company has a brand identity, if the ideas that make up that identity only stay with the C-suite or with those in leadership, it's not being put to good use. An organization's brand needs to be communicated to all team members. The best way to do that effectively is to develop a brand guideline.

Brand guidelines are a set of standards that create a company's brand. It can be as long or as short as necessary—as long as all the essentials are present so that, as Shelby Clarke puts it, "every single person in your company . . . understand[s] both what the brand is, as well as how to implement it in the work they do." It can be a physical document or it can live digitally on an organization's collective drive, so long as every single employee knows how to access the guidelines.

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Topics: Business Lessons, Identity, Marketing, Advertising