Posted by Frank
“Life-Caching” is a trend to watch. Trendwatching.com defines it as “a love to collect and store possessions, memories, experiences, in order to create personal histories, momentoes of their lives, or just to keep track for practical reasons.”
Life-Caching is enabled by technology – from blogging, to memory sticks and especially through the growth of digital cameras. More than 60 million digital cameras were sold last year. Forrester says sharing photos via email is the fourth most popular online activity. And IDC reports that people are taking more shots than ever — an average of 75 images per month, up from about 50 per month last year.
Now that digital cameras have replaced film cameras for the most part, consumers are exploring digital options from home printers to online systems for storing and sharing images. Here is a glimpse of the most popular new photo products and services.
Personalized Photo Gifts
Photo Tshirts & Products
Our full color and photo tshirt business is booming as customers can create their own products without minimum order or setups.
Photo Tshirts & Personalized T-shirts
Photo Tote Bags and Personalized Tote Bags
Full Color Photo Golf Balls
Full Color Photo Banners
Allows customers to store and share photographs online and to order prints without cluttering hard drives.
Photo broadcasting tools allow consumers to create a string of images that scroll across a user’s desktop. Users can create the loop using photos from a digital camera, or those stored on their hard drive or on a photo-sharing site. These can be shared with friends and family.
Photo Picture Printing
The most competitive market of them all. Retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco allow users to transmit their digital images over the Internet to in-store photo processing centers, where the images are printed and available for same-day pickup.
Photo Image Hosting Sites
Nielsen/NetRatings reported that traffic to image hosting Web sites has skyrocketed mainly due to the in blogs. As a category, image hosting sites have grown 406 percent to more than 14.7 million unique users since January 2005, accounting for nearly 10 percent of active U.S. Internet users.
Posted by Frank
The best offline merchants have that special knack for selecting the right product or service, at the right time, for the right price. Of course, this talent is needed for successful online sites as well.
Unlike offline though, the web offers the chance to gain a competitive edge in building customer relationships through the distribution of valuable web content. How do you produce valuable web content? First, you must train yourself to think like a publisher. Look to create content that educates customers about your markets, products and services or create an experience that just makes the whole buying process simple and a whole lot more convenient.
In our business, product, service and content are all considered equally important. We believe in Sy Sims’ ad campaign, “An Educated Consumer is Our Best Customer.” We want our web site visitors to consider us as a trusted resource for all three considerations.
Unique and valuable content is not just communicating through a blog. For us it is about offering “Smart Tips and Tools” to help our customers. This content helps move a new prospect down the sales buying funnel. For instance, we supply content in the early stages of the buying process that helps potential buyers with some of the typical problems that our buyers face.
Content on our LogoSportswear.com site offers tools like pricing calculators and clipart libraries that can be searched by keyphrase. We offer educational articles about our products and services and tips to make an event successful such as running a golf tournament for a fundraiser. Content on our TeamSportswear.com site helps prospects with the variables of ordering team uniforms by offering a “Nine Step Guide To Ordering Team Sports Uniforms.”
And recently we have created T-shirt and Uniform Design Templates that allow our customers to drop in their organization or team name into hundreds of our best, time tested designs. They pay neither set up charges or graphic arts charges for these templates.
We work hard to make sure our employees and salespeople know about this content so they will offer our customers links to it when the need arises. I am hopeful too that some may begin to think like publishers and add to our growing library of new and fresh content.
Custom Design Tshirt Templates
Logo T-shirt Designs
Posted by Frank
I get super excited about the opportunities presented by the internet. The browser and email were the internet’s first killer apps. All of us has seen our business change as a result.
Many of my friends though think I overstate the importance of Search. Trust me, internet Search is ubiquitous, ever changing, and incredibly powerful. And there’s lots more of innovation to come.
Time magazine brings Search into the mainstream with a recently published article discussing the future of Search. Here are some new of the highlights.
PICTURE AND VIDEO
Now that still and moving images are increasingly digitized, pictures and videos will be searched with a click.
Mobile search is mostly done today with limited text messaging, but by 2008, when more than 75% of new cell phones globally are expected to be Internet-ready, searching the Web on the go will be standard.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Search engines are good at matching words across websites but have struggled with nuance to answer questions in everyday language. This will soon change.
New audio tracks of videos and turn them into searchable text–making any recorded spoken words immediately searchable.
Online maps are widely available but now, because pictures are easier to understand than maps, satellites are changing the game.
One of the hottest and most controversial new areas is designing software that will get to know individuals’ interests, mostly through their search history–the clickstream.
To read the full text of the article go to:
Posted by Frank
I often find myself wondering where young people are going to find jobs in this country. The trends toward buying most of what we consume from China and elsewhere and corporate downsizing and outsourcing are making it difficult for our new college graduates to find employment. Based on some new numbers, at least there is growth in the trades, food and health services segments that can make up for some of our job losses.
Restaurants account for 45% of all of our food purchases, and the industry employs more people than anyone except Uncle Sam. In 2005, over 900,000 restaurants will be in operation in the United States and restaurants employ 12.2 million. Restaurants directly employ nine percent of all U.S. jobs. Indirectly, they employee nearly a third of all U.S. jobs.
Nationally, restaurants expect 4.9 percent growth, slightly higher than national GNP numbers of 4.0 for the entire nation. Seven out of ten restaurants are single location, privately owned and have less than 20 employs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says 518,000 health services businesses of all sorts make these the largest of all U.S. industries, providing 12.9 million jobs. Ten of the twenty occupations projected to grow the fastest are in health services, and about 16 percent of all new wage and salary jobs created between 2002 and 2012 will be in health services. That’s 3.5 million jobs, more than any other industry.
We supply work uniforms and LogoSportswear to these service industries and our business has been very strong. We have updated our work wear offerings to better serve the small and medium sized service business. If you have a service business please visit our work uniform pages. If you are looking for future job prospects, think SERVICE!
Workwear, Medical Scrubs and Medical Lab Coats
Posted by Frank
For many of our years on the web we struggled with finding cost effective ways to introduce new customers to our site. Fortunately online marketing opportunities have evolved and there are now lots of ways attract potential new customers.
I recommend that you read a white paper from DoubleClick that analyzes the first “Decade of Online Advertising.” It offers great perspective and insight and reminded me of our challenges over the last ten years. Here are some highlights to the report and a free download opportunity.
Online ad spending grew 63% from 2000 to 2004. By comparison, overall ad spending in the same period on TV grew 10.6% while the newspaper sector lost 4.3% of revenues due to aging and declining readership and its important base of classified ad revenue facing stiff competition online from the likes of eBay, Craig’s List, Monster.com and Match.com.
There are factors at play that transform the online media world. The most important of these can be summed up as two trends: a demand by marketers for greater accountability in the return they get for their ad spend, and a demand by consumers for greater control over their media and marketing experiences. Both of these trends have major implications.
1. Marketers are demanding more accountability.
Online advertising, and particularly search marketing, delivers fairly well on its promise of greater measurability compared to traditional media. In the end, the Internet’s accountability appears to be winning converts, as more mainstream ad dollars continue to shift rapidly online.
2. Consumers are demanding more control.
There is a vast proliferation of new media outlets and consumers are digesting information in so many different ways. Add to that new digital technologies and the media landscape as we have known it will never look the same again.
From Napster to TiVo to pop-up blockers to blogs, individuals are turning the media model on its head. By the end of 2004, millions of consumers were opting for new technologies that grant them tremendous control over their media experiences, including these:
–Blogs; 27% of internet users read blogs regularly
_ XM Radio: 2.5 million subscribers
_ Netflix: 3 million
_ DVR services: 6 million
_ Video-on-Demand: 10 million
_ Apple iPods: 11 million
My recommendation is to get familar with these technologies and the many forms of marketing and advertising each enables. To download a FREE copy of the report go to:
Posted by Frank
We have been on the internet since the very beginning–almost ten years now. And though I have always been convinced that both e-commerce and digital printing would offer us major competitive advantages, obstacles such as high cost, low bandwidth, etc. has postponed the full adoption of each.
Ten years later we have all seen the promise of e-commerce come true. And we are also seeing digital printing technology making a big impact. CAD/CAM and new digital printers offer our customers “Mass Personalized” products. While we have always produced quick response, short-run personalized products, we can now offer custom designed tshirts, totes and banners in FULL COLOR without restrictive minimum order or set-up restrictions.
Traditional t-shirt screen printing requires high set-up costs and often restrictive minimum order requirements. Without getting too techinical, artwork has to be broken into separate colors and printed on transparencies or veluums. These transparencies are then passed on to the screen room for the screen burning process. Every color that is laid down on the T-shirt requires a screen. The more colors, the more screens. The more screens, the more cost to set up the order. That is why so many t-shirts are done in one or two-color prints.
Companies have tried to get around these restrictions by offering heat transfer t-shirts. Unfortunately the quality of transfer printing is inferior to screenprinting. Finally though a new breakthrough has arrived that will truly change the market.
We are one of the first companies to purchase a direct-to-garment digital printer offering full-color, direct-to-garment printing. Our new printer offers customers vibrant FULL color designs and photo prints never before offered–without minimum order or setup restrictions! And the system uses water-based inks, a big plus for environment.
There are few artwork requirements. Since no screens need to be made and a press doesn’t have to be set up, pre-production proof approval is quick and more practical. Vector art, high resolution bitmap images or even a digital camera photos can be used for your custom designed tshirts. There’s no concern for spot vs. process color, as printing is done directly from the computer to the tshirt printer. You can create your digital art tshirt files so they can be opened in Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, or CorelDRAW.
The advantages to our customers are numerous. The biggest is that we can print high impactful full color and photos on t-shirts, totes and banners without ANY minimum order or set-up costs. Think out of the box and challenge yourself and your marketing department to come up with ideas about how to take advantage of this new medium.
To see our digital art t-shirts and custom designed tshirts:
Use Our Clipart and Photo Custom Tshirt Designs!
You get access to over 1 million pieces of clipart and photos searchable by category or keyphrase. You can have the clipart or photo image decorated on our LogoSportswear and Logo’d products.
Posted by Frank
This is no time to be looking at the rear view mirror. Online advertising is getting big time results.
According to a Forrester Research report on US Online Advertising, 84 percent of marketers plan to increase US online ad budgets and online advertising in 2005 will grow 23 percent over 2004. Search engine marketing will experience the biggest boom as it figures to grow by 33 percent in 2005.
Marketers are quickly losing confidence in the effectiveness of traditional advertising channels and feel that online channels will become more effective over the next three years. Seventy-eight percent of survey respondents said they think search engine marketing will be more effective, compared with 53 percent of respondents who said TV advertising would become less effective.
Almost half of marketers plan to decrease spending in traditional advertising channels like magazines, direct mail, and newspapers to fund an increase in online ad spending in 2005. Online marketing and advertising will represent 8 percent of total advertising spending in 2010 — rivaling ad spending on cable/satellite TV and radio.
While marketers surveyed believe that online advertising channels, such as search engine marketing, online display ads, and email marketing will continue to become more effective relative to traditional channels, barriers that include a lack of online advertising standards and hands-on experience have kept marketers from fully embracing online channels.
New advertising channels will draw interest and spending from marketers. Sixty-four percent of respondents are interested in advertising on blogs, 57 percent through RSS and 52 percent on mobile devices, including phones and PDAs.
Posted by Frank
We love hearing from our customers. With every order we fulfill we ask our customers to rate our services and offer feedback as to how we can improve. And we do listen! We view problems as opportunites. Many of our new programs are a result your constructive criticism.
Fortunately our customer satisfaction ratings continue to be good to excellent and we get customer testimonials on a daily basis.
What really interests me is learning about your online businesses. Our customers have created so many interesting entreprenuerial niches. I often tell my staff that before we can offer creative advertising and marketing solutions, we first need to understand and appreciate your business.
I’d like to hear from you about your online business. For businesses that we feel can benefit our customers, we will with your permission, create a referral links page that can refer customers to your site. Not only can we refer sales leads but you can add another incoming link for search engine optimization.
Please include some information about what you do, what makes you biz special and, if you want, detail such as monthly visitors and promotional or advertising techniques that you’ve found work best to promote your site and attract visitors.
We hope that this information sharing will be of interest to all of our customers. Please email your Success Story. Send to:
Subject: “Our Online Success Story”
Posted by Frank
Feeling frustrated by hyper competition on the internet? Do what we did and think niches! A focused strategy of niche merchandising and niche marketing has helped my company gain an advantage in a highly competitive market. It can do the same for you.
Specialty store retailing in the bricks and mortar world is certainly not a new concept. However on the internet, these same stores are as broad and unfocused as the old full line store. I believe tightly focused MicroSites and MicroStores are the wave of the future.
Like many other companies when we first built our first site, LogoSportswear.com, we organized it into vertical product categories. Though these categories were heavily searched on the internet, we found that we were being buried into search engine oblivion by other niche sites we didn’t offer enough merchandise within each category.
We conducted some market research and keyphrase research to identify the best market niches and soon realized that categories like Activewear and TeamSportswear were too general in nature. So we developed a plan to build and optimize new MicroStores.
Our first MicroStore, TeamSportswear.com, targets the team sports uniform market. This site alone now draws over 50K visitors per month. And we continue to build other new sites:
Targets school and sports spiritwear and fundraising.
Focused on imprinted t-shirts and sweatshirts.
Focused on embroidered golf wear and golf tournament gifts and tee signs.
Offers over 225,000 logo items for marketing and events.
It has been amazing how our MicroStore focus has improved merchandising, marketing and, most importantly, customer relevancy. For customer convenience, we have cross-pollinated our MicroStores with links for easy navigation. Each store converts better as landing pages for our PPC campaigns and we have found more web sites want to link to our niche MicroStores than to our general sites.
Do yourself a favor and start researching the internet for your niche.
Posted by Frank
“Blog” was rated the number one NEW word for 2004 by Webster’s dictionary. I have tried to feed my curiousity of late about how blogs can add value to my life and my business. Many of the people I have talked to are rather cynical about the value of blogging. I too have questioned whether or not it is mere information overload.
There does seem to be something very powerful about the the ability to publish and distribute your work through blogs. Recently I attended a Search Engine Conference and a Microsoft marketing manager suggested that if you are a marketer and you don’t yet have a blog yet….you should be FIRED!
I suggest you read the latest Business Week cover story written in a chronological journal-style of a blog, which asserts that blogs have become “the most explosive outbreak in the information world since the Internet itself.”
I also suggest that you begin to at least understand how blogging works by setting up a free account with an RSS aggregators.
MyYahoo is the easiest service to get started with if you have never used an aggregator before.
While you are at it, don’t forget to set up an RSS feed to get updates on this blog:
As for my early experience at blogging, I am optmistic that it will enhance conversation with my customers, offer a convenient way for me to link to content that will be valuable and has pure SEO benefit.