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Take Your Business To The Sky Like The Chicago Air & Water Show

Posted by Marie Carroll on Aug 17, 2018 9:00:00 AM

This weekend, all of Chicago is looking forward to beating the heat by watching the skies from the beach. With close to 2 million people in attendance every year during August, the Chicago Air & Water Show is the largest free air & water exhibition in the country. We all love to hear the plane engines roar by and paint trails of smoke in the sky. With sand between your toes and a drink of choice in hand, it’s so much fun to watch those incredible stunts being performed.

As you sit back on the beach with the rest of the crowd, take time to reflect upon your business. What have you accomplished this summer? Do you believe you’ve done enough to grow your business?  Are you soaring to the heights you could be reaching?

Continue reading for Sparkfactor’s suggestions on re-igniting your spark.

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Topics: fbBoost, Advertising, Chicago Air & Water Show, Social Media, Business

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

#InspiredBy Opening Day

Posted by Andrea Garcia on Apr 9, 2018 5:30:00 PM

Baseball is back! Today was supposed to be the opening day for Wrigley Field, but with the snow that fell this morning in Chicago, the Cubs decided to postpone the game, while the White Sox found a pretty ingenious way of dealing with the snow on their field to still play their home opener.

As the Cubs were prepping for Opening Day, I'm sure they wanted to get as many people as possible in the stands. In the days leading up April 9, I came across Facebook ads in my feed reminding me that Opening Day tickets were still available.

The ads themselves are simple: nine words, the Cubs hashtag for the year, and a couple of photos with stadium seats. But there's so much communicated in such a simple ad that it should act as the template for your future social ads.

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Topics: #InspiredBy, Social Media, Advertising, Photography

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

Posted by Andrea Garcia on 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

The Essentials of Inbound Marketing for Manufacturers

Posted by Sparkfactor on Feb 9, 2017 9:00:00 AM

If you’re new to the concept of inbound marketing or if you’re looking for a down and dirty rundown of its elements, you've come to the right place.

Inbound marketing is a marketing methodology that encourages the integration of multiple marketing tactics, working together to move potential clients down the sales funnel. The goal of inbound marketing is to meet your manufacturing audience where they are in their buying process and create trust through content, all leading to customer acquisition.

As you'll see below, there are four main goals that inbound marketing can accomplish for manufacturers and manufacturing companies. Each goal has certain tactics that work best to accomplish this goal, adding up to a cohesive marketing strategy.

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Topics: SEO, Marketing Analytics, Web Design, Social Media, Blogging, Conversion, Inbound Marketing, Manufacturing

Going Local // Local Searches, Google My Business, and You

Posted by Sparkfactor on Jul 18, 2016 9:00:00 AM

"OK, Google. Where's the closest Thai restaurant?"

"...Who does the best import luxury car service in Chicago?"

"...Where can I get a neck massage in the Loop?"

When you ask your smartphone questions like these, you hope for a well-chosen list of nearby businesses. The results of that search depend entirely on information brought to the web by individual users - both customers and marketers. According to a Google study, four out of five users search locally, meaning people are searching when and where they want to buy - from a specific street to an entire city. If you're marketing a brick-and-mortar business, you're probably held accountable for being (or not being) on page one. Before you do anything else, take this one simple step to getting on top of search.

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Topics: Google Maps Business, Social Media, Restaurants, Community, Local Marketing

Yelp // Three DIY Methods to Dominate Local Marketing, Part 3

Posted by Sparkfactor on Jul 15, 2016 9:00:00 AM

This post was originally published on November 18, 2014.

One-star reviews—a crisis for business-owners, a wealth of knowledge for consumers. Shoppers use review sites like Yelp to see the best, and the worst, a company can be. For devoted Yelpers, it's the first place to look. For many more, the reviews are the last word—tipping the scales in a long process of vetting local service providers.

In this third and final post in our series, we give you the keys to succeeding at Yelp.

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Topics: Social Media, Marketing, Local Marketing, DIY Marketing

Angie's List // Three DIY Methods to Dominate Local Marketing, Part 2

Posted by Sparkfactor on Jul 14, 2016 9:00:00 AM

This post was originally published on November 13, 2014.

Being on Angie's List puts your service business front and center with a highly curated audience. Take advantage of the exclusive, paid-membership community, which is a breath of fresh air in the dog eat dog world of online reviews. Just claiming your business is a step in the right direction: businesses with consistently bad reviews don't stay on Angie's List for very long.

In the second of three posts on do-it-yourself marketing in local services, we'll show you the pros and cons of signing up for a service like Angie's List.

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Topics: Social Media, Marketing, Local Marketing, DIY Marketing

Three DIY Methods to Dominate Local Marketing // Google My Business

Posted by Sparkfactor on Jul 13, 2016 12:00:00 PM

This post was originally published on November 6, 2014.

In this series of three posts, we show how businesses in the service industry can use Google My Business, Angie's List, and Yelp to bring in more customers as part of their marketing plan. In our Going Local post, we advocated for using Google My Business because people are searching locally for products when and where they want to buy them. But what if you're not retail or don't have a physical location customers visit?

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Topics: Google Maps Business, Social Media, Marketing, Local Marketing, DIY Marketing

Pokemon GO // What It Is and How Small Businesses Can Win Big

Posted by Sparkfactor on Jul 13, 2016 9:45:00 AM

To say that Pokémon GO is the newest trend in gaming is an understatement. The augmented reality smartphone game plays off of the '90s nostalgia of millenials and the newest technology obsession of Gen Z-ers and since the game debuted last week, it is close to surpassing the number of Twitter's daily users. So what is this new game all about and how can your small business capitalize on its popularity?

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Topics: Social Media, Virtual Reality

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