Sparks February 2007 -

Sparks February 2007

In the News

E-newsletters: Building Business, Building Brands
As readers of Sparks know, keeping up regular contact with clients, customers, and friends is much easier with an e-mail newsletter. We’ve published a new How-To guide to help your business establish and nurture a brand-boosting e-newsletter.

E-newsletters: Building Business, Building Brands covers a number of topics related to e-newsletter publishing:

      • Why is it good for your business?
      • Content: How much and what type
      • Frequency of publication
      • How to build your e-mail list
      • Managing lists and newsletter distribution, including recommendations for providers
      • What to include on your sign-up page
      • How to capture marketing data
      • The importance of the subject line
      • Maintaining your brand voice

Like all our resources, this one is an easy read and packed with information. Check it out!
Read the article

Beyond e-newsletters: Web 2.0
And if you already have an email newsletter but are looking for something more, the Web has evolved! While most business owners in Bloomington have never heard of Web 2.0, it’s here, evolving, and leaving some businesses behind.

Web 2.0 is the long-promised vision where web users close the content loop. Instead of just passive acceptors of information, they create and publish it. They also receive it in new ways: faster, stripped-down, and smarter.

Here are five Web 2.0 technologies that can supplement websites and emails:

Wikis: A type of site that allows users to easily add, remove or edit content. Eases collaborative authoring. Best-known example is Wikipedia but you can adapt the same concept for your business.

Blogs: As discussed in the Jan ’04 issue of Sparks, blogs are a form of online journal. They often provide opinion and commentary alongside rich media and links to related info. They can be used to create conversations among users.

SMS: Short Message Service (SMS) is more commonly known as txt messaging or just “texting.” It allows the communication of short text messages between mobile phones, other handheld devices, and landline telephones.

Podcasts: Our October ’06 issue discussed Podcasting 101. Think of a podcast as a radio show on the Internet that you can download and listen to at any time.

Webinars: Yep, you guessed it, short for “web seminars.” These are live meetings held over the Internet. Businesses often use them for meetings among far-flung executives but they can also be used for training, membership discussion, and even for customer interaction. As opposed to a webcast (a movie), webinars allow interaction among participants via telepone or telconferencing eqipment.

If you’d like to know how any of these technologies can help move your business forward, please contact us for a consultation!
Read the original article.



This month’s winner: Damini Solomon!
Damini wins a digital print featuring this one-of-a-kind design. Have a favorite quote or saying? Send it in! If your quote is chosen, you’ll receive a print of your custom design suitable for framing! Check out your competition here.

Client Spotlight

Mills featured branding expert in Business Network
Cairril Mills, principal of Design & Marketing, was featured as a branding expert in this month’s issue of Business Network, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce’s newsmagazine.

The front-page story Branding Defines Your Business in Customers’ Eyes also featured Mike Hawkins and Chuck Lanphear, creative director and vice-president/media director at Finelight, respectively.

“Our goal was to introduce the concept of branding in a way that small and medium-size businesses can easily understand,” said Mills. “Too much of what’s written on branding focuses on the needs, tactics, and huge budgets of large corporations. We wanted to take core branding practices and translate them for entrepreneurs’ needs.”

The article discussed the benefits of a strong brand, when to think about boosting or re-vamping a brand, the importance of thinking long-term about brand development, and top 10 brand-building tips.

In addition to attributed quotes, the article relied heavily on materials Mills supplied, such as’s Branding 101 article, the 2005 Chamber of Commerce radio show on branding which featured Mills,’s Branding Bootcamp materials, and handouts for the Marketing 101 class Mills teaches through SEED Corp.

“The whole issue, not just this article, is an excellent introduction to both marketing and branding for small businesses,” remarked Mills. “I encourage interested entrepreneurs to download a copy from the Herald-Times website.” offers consulting, training, and other brand development services tailored to the needs of small and medium size businesses. Contact us to learn how we can help take your business to the next level!