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How to ‘Spring Clean’ Your Business

Spring is in the air! A time for flowers blooming, birds chirping, warmer weather and… deep cleaning. Yes, we all know that when this time of year rolls around, it’s time for closet cleanouts, home reorganization, yard work…the list can go on and on. Spring cleaning might feel like a big undertaking, but the end results are so worth it – – a decluttered, re-energized, happy home. 

But, spring cleaning doesn’t just apply to your house. It’s also important for businesses too! By taking a yearly deep dive into your business, you can evaluate what areas are doing well and what areas may need a breath of fresh air.

Ready to revitalize your business this spring? Here are a few tips to get you started!

Spice up your social media presence

It’s no secret that social media is extremely beneficial for building customer relationships and growing your business. However, if your social media isn’t getting the traction you hoped, it might be time to give it a refresh.

Update bios: One of the quickest and easiest ways to spice up your social media is to update your bios on all of your social media platforms. Add some personality and even some emojis to make it fun. Also, be sure that your website link, phone number, and address are all up to date.

Get personal: People will get tired of only seeing products and services on a social media business page. They also want to see faces behind the brand! Share employee spotlights, fun facts, and hobbies away from work to give your social media a personal touch and attract customer engagement.

Create short-form video content: Okay, we’ve all seen the Tik Toks and Instagram Reels explode over the last year…and people love it. Creating quick, interesting videos is a great way to capture the attention of your audience and showcase your brand.

Re-energize your customer service

Has your company recently taken the time to see how satisfied your customers are with your business? Luckily, you don’t have to be a mind reader to figure out what they want…you just simply ask them! A customer satisfaction survey is a great way to get feedback on a product or service, determine how customers feel about your level of service, and even gather testimonials.

Based on customer responses, your company can then determine what practices, products, or services could be improved to offer an even better experience for your customers.

Declutter your desk

This may seem like a no-brainer, but organizing your desk can significantly boost productivity. In fact, a recent study found that executives waste six weeks a year searching for lost items or information. Yikes!

Maybe you’re back in the office, or maybe still working from home, or maybe your workweek is even split between the office and home. Wherever your work desk is, now is a great time to do a deep clean so you can feel organized, focused, and motivated.

Tidy up your website

Is your website in need of an update? Chances are, your business has undergone some kind of change in the last year. Don’t let your website fall behind.

Just like our lives, your company website could benefit from a yearly spring cleaning. Maybe your site could use a content or SEO update, or maybe your entire design needs a revamp. Your company website is the face of your brand, so make sure it measures up!

Refresh your logo

Spring is a time of new beginnings. Is your logo feeling a bit dull or outdated? It might be time to think about a redesign for your brand. Giving your logo a new, updated look is a great way to give your business a breath of fresh air, but it is also important that in doing so you stay true to your brand.

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Recession Proof Your Business

We’ve all seen the headlines, and some of us have already felt it. A recession is looming. The R word can send chills down a business owner’s, and even employees’, spine. Luckily, there’s good news. We know how to beat a recession. On top of that, we know how to make your company beat your competitors in a recession. Here’s how:

First, a company should see a recession as an opportunity to beat your competition, not to run and hide. For instance, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut took advantage of McDonald’s choosing to drop their advertising budget during the 1990-91 recession. The result was Pizza Hut growing 61%, Taco Bell 40% and McDonald’s declined 28%. Pretty astonishing numbers, right!?

Second, a recession is a great time to trim the extra fat and lower your recurring overhead. Payroll is the largest recurring line item cost for each business, and if things slow down during a recession, you could be stuck with an uncomfortable amount of payroll. At the same time, those large agencies that you have been using for your campaigns and technical aspects of marketing, charge huge numbers based on their large overhead. This is where smaller, more nimble agencies, such as Spectruss, have an upper hand. Not only do we thrive in the digital realm, but we also have all of the capabilities in-house to act as your entire marketing department. This lowers your costs, and allows you to easily scale up or down with us, even on a month-to-month basis. 

Third, have a team that is constantly watching the data. There will be a lot of opportunity that will open up during a recession, including areas of advertising with less saturation, lower costs per click, and adjusted sales pitches that really resonate. Having the ability to track all of this data, monitor it daily and adjust in real time will produce the largest return on your investment. 

Attacking advertising and marketing with a digital first approach has helped Spectruss grow over the last 8+ years. We have grown to bring all technical aspects of marketing and advertising in-house, thus strengthening the client’s brand identity and lowering their overall cost. We can either act as your out-of-house marketing department taking lead from your in-house CMO, or even help you build strategy as your Virtual CMO. In short, Spectruss makes your business recession proof. 

Give us a shout today to setup a free consultation with Founder Sam Silvey. 

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Free Strategy Consultation with Our CEO

What can a full-service all in-house advertising agency do for your business? The opportunities are endless, but you may have some questions. What services do we offer and which ones are best for your brand? And how much does it cost? Well, our services aren’t a one size fits all. We customize pricing for each client based on their specific business needs. At Spectruss, we love to learn everything we can about your company so we can develop the best plan of action for you!

Over the past 10+ years, our team at Spectruss has studied everything from video creation to web programming to become experts on how each aspect can benefit and grow a company. Our agency offers a vCMO service which encompasses all aspects of web programing, graphic design, videography, photography, content writing, advertising, digital marketing, and social media management. The vCMO package comes in four different levels including: entry level, silver, gold, and platinum. Each level provides more hours of service with a lower cost per hour.

Not sure if you are ready for a vCMO package? We also offer a la carte services which means you can take advantage of individual tasks such as branding, website design, etc. The best way to know what you can get for your budget and what services are ideal for your company is to give us a call! In fact, we are extending an offer to you to schedule a FREE 30 minute strategy consultation with the founder and CEO of Spectruss, Sam Silvey!

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Wearable Technology – Project Jacquard

Recently at South by Southwest, Levi and Google showed off their collaborative wearable technology, Project Jacquard. They’ve eliminated the bulky, awkward, wearable tech that we’ve become used to seeing and replaced it with a jacket that looks and acts like a jacket while having washable conductive fibers running through it. With the jacket comes with a detachable non-washable cufflink that makes the fibers come to life.

“Jacquard yarn structures combine thin, metallic alloys with natural and synthetic yarns like cotton, polyester, or silk, making the yarn strong enough to be woven on any industrial loom. Jacquard yarns are indistinguishable from the traditional yarns that are used to produce fabrics today.”

– atop.google.com/jacquard

Project Jacquard is developed in Googles division in the Advance Tech and Projects Group. The jacket, cut in Levi’s Trucker Jacket style, uses conductive yarns that are able to make gestures translate into actions woven into precise places. Sensor grids and interactive surfaces are also an option with how the technology is woven into the fabric.

The jacket currently allows wearers to get map updates and navigation without a screen, track destinations of interest as you pass by, and answer calls. The features are limited at the moment but more apps are in route to come in the future. Apps such as the ones you download on your phone may one day be downloadable to your tech jacket.

The jacket is currently listed at $350 retail and you can find more video information on this new tech online at https://atap.google.com/jacquard/

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Passenger Drones Ready for Customers in Dubai

Are you ready for not only self-driving cars but self-flying limo services? Starting in July of 2017, Dubai plans to start offering drone passenger services using China’s Ehang 184. The drone was announced by The Roads and Transportation Authority of Dubai at the World Government Summit and has been working to become ready for transport following the summit. It was created by Beijing Yi-Hang Creation Science and Technology Corporation and can currently fly 30 miles with a recharging time of 2 hours.

The drone has a 220-pound limit, can fly up to 100 mph, and all runs on auto pilot. The company has also stated that cyber-security measures have been taken to block unwanted forces from taking over the drones flight control. China’s development in drone technology is on the rise in the recent years. In 2015, successful test on amphibious drones was done and within one year, the testing for Ehang 184 had begun.

Drone transportation is an inevitable future for Dubai but it will not go unregulated. Penalties upwards of $5,400 have already been enforced to illegal drones flying without proper licenses or registration papers. Owners of drones also need to obtain licenses in the aviation sector from the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority which only last one year per sign-up. This can also apply to particular heavy duty fireworks, drone photography, hover lighting, and laser light shows.

Dubai it taking the lead in futurism! Their next goal is to have 25% of all vehicles automated and with the news on the Ehang 184, they don’t seem far from their goal.

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Electronic Waste on the Rise

Each year the want and need for electronic devices, ranging from small appliances to huge industrial machines, rises and rises. We are all officially living in the electronic age, which is resulting in a lot of electronic waste.

While a rise of production in electronic equipment can be a great boost for a countries economy, if the disposal of the products are not decided on, the buildup can accumulate quickly. Many companies look to make a quick turn around product with a short lifespan, resulting in no time to consider how to repair, or recycle the product.

In 2012, (“Regional E-Waste Monitor”, Schunuchi Honda) there was an estimated 56.56 million tons of electrical and electronic equipment put on the market. With Asia being the world’s largest manufacturer and market for electronics, things must be considered when they also create (2014) 16 million tons of E-waste in a years time. Japan is the leader in digital technology development and houses some of the worlds largest manufacturers. They have worked to execute strong frameworks for E-waste management and support country wide E-waste activities.

To solve any situation first you must assess the problems. Some of the major E-waste concerns are a lack of information and awareness, inadequate reporting on E-waste data, unclear definitions of E-waste country to country, and lack of support to make legislation. While small personal steps can be taken at home like reusing old products, refurbishing, and recycling, countries must assess the increasing E-waste volumes. There is an increasing lack of recycling facilities per region volume, lack of recycling knowledge, and minimal global effort to help the environment.

There will always be new bigger and better gadgets, but next time you dispose of an old electronic, consider the best method for its future and the future of the environment.

*Stats from “ Regional E-Waste Monitor, by Shunichi Honda, Deepali Sinha Khetriwal and Ruediger Kuehr, 2016.  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1bF9zth54L8N01XTW9PU04yS3c/view 
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8 Top Chrome Extensions for WordPress Users

WordPress is fairly easy to use.  However, sometimes it becomes a time-drain when you have to do everything in the actual wordpress platform.  Lately, I have been utilizing a lot of Chrome Extensions.

If you haven’t ever used a chrome extension – I highly recommend you try them out.  They can dramatically increase your productivity!

 

Expresscurate

A content curation tool for WordPress bloggers. You need to configure it by –

1. Installing free ExpressCurate WordPress plugin

2. Installing ExpressCurate Chrome extension

3. Finally, Restarting your Chrome browser and start curating

Features include:

  • Content discovery – ExpressCurate will analyze web pages as you browse through them and suggest articles to curate — based on your predefined keywords (you can define them within ExpressCurate).
  • Curate-as-you-read – You can also curate as you come across an interesting article by clicking on the ExpressCurate button in Chrome toolbar.
  • Curation template and tools – ExpressCurate provides a pop up window with predefined fields and tools for you to select a quote from the original article, add a headline, add your annotation, select images, and more.
  • SEO Optimization – In the same pop-up window, ExpressCurate enables you to add the essential SEO attributes, such as meta keywords, descriptions, pick categories, and more.
  • Publishing – Once done with working in the curation window, click on “Curate Now” and ExpressCurate will generate a post draft in your WordPress blog.

 

MultiPress

With “Press This” function you can publish on your own blog about anything you found online, This extension helps you to move contents to your own site.

 

WP-Write

It allows users to publish new posts directly from the Chrome. Supports WordPress.com blogs and self-hosted WordPress sites, uses XML-RPC API.

 

WordPress Keyboard Shortcuts

Gives a complete list of keyboard shortcuts for WordPress. Keyboard shortcut includes Visual Editor shortcuts, Comment moderation shortcuts and Advance shortcuts.

 

PicMonkey > WordPress

This extension let’s you submit screenshots to PicMonkey and then Auto-saves the edited image to wordpress.

A word of caution for this extension: it’s probably the most confusing plug-in to set-up.  The set-up involves synching your wordpress account with your PicMonkey account using API keys.  However, there is a very useful explainer video on the extension page to walk you through the set-up.

 

WordPress Admin Bar Control

Instead of having the admin panel take-up valuable screen space you can use this chrome extension for admin duties.  This is especially helpful when editing on smaller devices.  It follows your chrome installs so you don’t have to install a plugin on each site.

 

WordXPress

If you post a lot on your site, I highly recommend this extension.  It makes it dead simple to post a lot of content on your site.

One major downside with this extension is that you cannot save to drafts.  You also cannot upload multiple images at a time.

 

Tiny Best Image Optimization

This plugin is not wordpress specific, but I had to include it because it’s so awesome!

If you are constantly resizing images for posts I highly recommend this plugin.

 

Summary

 

Hopefully these chrome extensions will help you become more productive with managing your wordpress site.  If you would like to talk about your wordpress site and different ways you can increase traffic and conversions on your site, contact us at the following:

[email protected]

or

423-800-8633

Did I leave your favorite extension out?  Let me know on facebook.

 

 

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How To Make Your WordPress Site Unhackable

At Spectruss website security isn’t just important, it’s paramount.

 

The problem with security on the internet is that it’s unlimited with how much money you can spend and of-course nothing is guaranteed to work.

However, we have found a very low-cost and reliable system (after a lot of work) and I want to share it.

The system is based on our favorite wordpress security plugin: CLEF

The Clef mobile app provides two-factor authentication without you having to keep track of a password.  You download the plugin-in from WordPress and you download the CLEF app onto your phone.  Sync your phone with the Clef Wave to log in.

Aside from not having to remember passwords and two-factor authentication, it’s also free!

Jessica Riley who is in-charge of CLEF’s marketing had this to say when I asked her about CLEF and website security:

Clef provides businesses with fraud protection right where they need it most but control the least; user accounts. As more of our lives move online, Clef has provided a solution that empowers regular folks to act in their own best interest regarding their online security, which in turn fills the security gap that user accounts, and bad passwords, have created for online businesses. Most hacks happen through access provided through user accounts, often due to poor passwords or duplicated passwords across the web. Clef’s mobile cryptography bypasses passwords, removes a frustration point for people, and seals a major vulnerability for online business.

This plugin and app combo allows you to replace usernames and passwords on your WordPress site with your smartphone.

This is how it works:

Download the app directly from the Apple iTunes or Google Play stores.

Then download, install and activate the CLEF plugin from the WordPress Plugin Repository.

When you set up the smartphone app for the first time you create a profile on your phone. Clef uses that profile to generate a new digital signature each time you want to login to your site. Rather than login with a password, your login screen will be replaced with the “Clef Wave,” which you will need to sync with another Clef Wave on your phone.

The smartphone app will then grant you an hour-long session to use your site unless you increase the session time on your phone.  You can increase the time to “infinite” which obviously makes it a little less secure.

 

After you download the plugin in the WordPress directory you will see this:

 

Once you set-up CLEF you will see this:

Once you download onto your smartphone you create a PIN:

 

Now that you have CLEF downloaded to your wordpress dashboard and your phone you hold your phone over your wordpress site:

 

After you log-in and are set-up your phone will display the time you have remaining.  A benefit I have found is that it forces you to stay focused on writing.  This is why I don’t have the infinite time marked on my CLEF app.

Here is a great CLEF Explainer Video:

 

Clef from Clef on Vimeo.

 

Summary

We highly recommend you use both WordPress and CLEF for extra security for your website.  If you have any security questions about your website or just want to talk about your website – call or email us at Spectruss.

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Spectruss Client Story – East By Main Starts Construction in the Southside!

Construction is about to begin next week on a new modern town home development in Chattanooga’s dynamic Southside neighborhood. Local real estate developer Thomas Connolly and Nashville developer Buck Snyder teamed up on the development side.  Collier Construction is the builder and the project was designed by Cogent Studio. The website for this project was designed and built on the Spectruss CTR platform.

“The Southside is characterized by its diverse selection of local food joints, entertainment options, creative office space, and art studios. The individuals that work and play on the Southside need unique housing options at a size and price point that makes sense for them.” Thomas Connolly stated. “That is what we hope to provide with East by Main townhomes.” There is opportunity to fill a void as almost all of the new residential construction on the Southside is in the form of 2,000+ square foot single family homes, ranging from $315,000 to $450,000.

East by Main townhomes will be three story homes with one bedroom and one bathroom. They feature a flex space that opens up to an oversized outdoor terrace. Other amenities include stone counter tops, hardwood flooring, built in shelving, efficient building practices, and onsite parking. “We designed East by Main as a collection of homes connected by a series of pedestrian paths, gardens, and parking courts with the intention of creating a unique urban lifestyle.  With this level of density, great care was given to provide high quality public and private outdoor spaces.” Added architect Jared Hueter of Cogent Studio. The great Main Street location puts the owners just a few steps from all the restaurants and entertainment located near the Main and Market Street commercial corridor, but also just a five minute walk to Jefferson Heights Park which features a walking path, sand volleyball court, and pavilion.

“Just like I’ve seen in Nashville, I know there are a lot of people out there, ranging from first time home buyers to empty-nesters, who want to live in a low maintenance, simple townhome that is a short walk to everything. Why spend your weekends doing yard work or cleaning an oversized house when you could be sitting on the patio of Flying Squirrel, biking to the Chattanooga Market, or enjoying a cup of coffee at Mean Mug?” said Buck Snyder, “Not to mention, these homes could also make great AirBnB or VBRO rentals for owners to supplement their income.”

When asked about the trend toward apartment development and living, Thomas responded, “We’ve seen a lot of emphasis on apartment development over the last few years, but rents have risen significantly and are often much higher than what a mortgage payment on one of our units would be. While a lot of individuals will continue to rent, we also know that there are plenty of people who are ready to buy. Interest rates are still low and unlike most condominiums, these townhomes will have the option of low down payment FHA financing.”

The townhomes are expected to be finished in early 2017.  Price points have not been set at this time, but interested buyers can see more about the project and get presale contact information at www.eastbymain.com.

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Practice Day at Sebring in MX5 Cup Car

I recently returned from a Skip Barber Racing School at Sebring International Raceway. The last time I was in a race car was 13 years ago at Road Atlanta. The five days spent in racing school at Sebring really helped me get reacquainted to threshold trail braking, line reading, and, most importantly, helped me stop being “an early apexing scumbag”. (Thanks Bruce for the great one liners!)

The Skip Barber race school at Sebring was an amazing experience. The instructors, Bruce MacInnes, Paul Brand, Don Kutchall, and, last but definitely not least, Divina Galica, were all absolutely amazing and inspiring. All were extremely well accomplished racers with backgrounds ranging from Formula Ford and Formula 1, to sports cars and Semi-truck racing. It was a great honor to be getting feed back and advice from such accomplished racers. I not only learned a TON about racing, but I also picked up some good one liners that only come from years of hanging around race paddocks… Thanks again Bruce, Paul, Don and Divina!
I’m excited to head back to Road Atlanta this coming week to spend two days in the Mazda Formula cars and start gearing up for the races back in Sebring in mid January. The main goal of mine is to do well at the IndyCar Academy Shootout in mid January at Sebring. There is some amazing talent in these races, so this shootout is going to be quite challenging to say the least!

Check out an in-car video from a practice lap at Sebring International Raceway in the Mazda MX5 Cup Car.

Practice Lap at Sebring – MX5 Cup Car from Spectruss on Vimeo.