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#InspiredBy Independent Bookstore Day

Posted by Andrea Garcia on 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: Social Media, Marketing, Advertising, Business Lessons, Neighborhood Marketing

OnDevon Brand Identity and Ad Campaign // Behind the Spark

Posted by Sparkfactor on Apr 12, 2018 8:30:00 AM

The Rogers Park Business Alliance has a few different City of Chicago Special Service Areas (SSAs) under its purview, including SSA #43. SSA #43 includes a good portion of Devon Avenue (a busy east/west street in Chicago) and a part of Western Avenue (the city's longest continuous street). SSA #43 wanted to develop a brand identity for the area and an ad campaign to draw people—city residents and tourists alike—to the businesses to boost the local economy and show off what Devon has to offer.

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Topics: Web Design, Marketing, Advertising, Identity, Photography, Behind the Spark, Neighborhood Marketing

New Ruling on Embedded Tweets is a Good Reminder of Copyright Compliance

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Mar 20, 2018 11:00:00 AM

We all know—or should know—that plagiarism is bad. And in this age, it's pretty easy to prevent outright violation of copyright: you can easily link to sources with in-line hyperlinks, Google and other software can easily show you where phrases or whole paragraphs appear throughout the web, and Internet trolls are just waiting for someone to make a mistake they can call out.

But a recent ruling could change all that. Wired reports that a judge recently ruled that those who embed tweets that contain images could be in violation of copyright. It seems like a minor infraction and something where some could claim plausible deniability. But if this ruling holds up—the current ruling can be appealed—it could change how media and other content creators across the Internet use not only tweets but potentially other forms of information and could have ramifications in terms of monetary fines for violating copyright.

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Topics: Marketing

Resources You Need to Develop a GDPR Strategy Immediately

Posted by Sparkfactor on 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: Marketing, Business Lessons, Email Marketing

How This Year's Oscars Envelope Can Inspire Marketers

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Mar 6, 2018 11:15:00 AM

Last year, I wrote about the Oscar's Best Picture debacle and what marketers could learn from it when thinking about communicating information in print or in digital: add signals of importance (like bold or italics), make it easy to interpret, give readers room with white space, and use the inverted pyramid of importance to convey information. While we don't know if the card inside the envelope was any easier to read this year, we do know that the envelope itself was considerably easier to read, making it harder for the original error in last year's crisis to be repeated—Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope for the category they were presenting.

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Topics: Web Design, Marketing, Advertising

Shootpro24's Website Copy and Trade Show Booth

Posted by Sparkfactor on Feb 27, 2018 11:30:00 AM

Shootpro24 contacted Sparkfactor to help update their website copy as they redesigned their website. We worked hand in hand with Shootpro24 to make sure the website was immediately conveying what Shootpro24 is all about: amateur and professional videographers and photographers time by being a reliable post-production partner.

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Topics: Marketing

focusIT Website and Marketing Materials

Posted by Sparkfactor on Feb 20, 2018 11:00:00 AM

When Arizona-based company focusIT needed to redesign their website, they came to Sparkfactor. They also wanted a consistent look across many deliverables, which all hinged on the design of the new website.

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Topics: Responsive Web Design, Web Design, Marketing, WordPress

Now Is the Time to Migrate Your Website to HTTPS

Posted by Sparkfactor on Aug 31, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Starting this October, Google Chrome will show a "Not Secure" warning to users filling out a form on HTTP web pages or when using an HTTP page in incognito mode. This is showing Google's commitment to making the Internet a more secure place and shows Google's clear preference for websites that have secure certificates (HTTPS). This might not seem like a major development, but this seemingly insignificant change can have a big impact on the trust users have in your website and, in return, in your company.

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Topics: Web Design, Marketing

Here's How to Make It Easy for Customers to Book Your Venue

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Aug 24, 2017 1:30:00 PM

I'm the maid of honor in my college roommate's wedding this fall and like many friendships nowadays, we no longer live in the same city. I've actually only been to where she currently lives a few times, including this past weekend for her bridal shower.

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Topics: Google Maps Business View Photography, Marketing

Make Your Content Marketing Explode Like Fireworks

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Jul 4, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Every year, we celebrate our national independence with breathtaking displays of fireworks. Some are colorful and dazzle the night sky with fantastic colors, others shoot out high-intensity brightness, while others form patterns in the sky. No matter what kind are your favorite, we can all recognize that fireworks burst through the black background of night and then slowly fade out to make room for the next bright display.

Content marketing should work similar to fireworks. Views right after publication cause a post to shoot high in the ranks, but with quality keyword usage, the fade out to zero views should never come. While some posts' views might come crashing down quite quickly after publication, most posts should still be able to fade to the background while still gaining traffic. To maintain quality traffic coming to a post, relevant keywords are absolutely crucial.

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Topics: Marketing, #InspiredBy, Holiday

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