If you're like me and, well,  everyone , you have at least one Gmail account.  I know that some of you use Gmail as your primary email provider - and with good reason.  Google provides a very powerful email solution with quality junk filtering and lots of storage for an excellent price - FREE.
        You may have opened your account recently and noticed something different: tabs at the top of your page!
Modern Media Consulting can help you understand free technology like Gmail, which recently introduced a new tabs feature
        Naturally, our good friends at Mashable have provided and excellent tutorial on the new tabs.  You can click here to check out this story.  Well worth the read if you use Gmail on a regular basis.
        Fortunately or unfortunately, I receive a bazillion jillion "offer" emails every day that fit perfectly into the "Promotions" tab.  Most all of these emails can be considered junk so, guess what?  No filtering through my entire inbox to find the emails trying to sell me stuff I probably don't need.  Now, I just click on the "Promotions" tab, scan quickly, select all and delete.  Voila! A more productive day is at hand.
        So check out the new Gmail tabs.  As always, Modern Media Consulting is always interested in making your business life easier so let's have a conversation about your local online presence (including mobile), social media marketing and local promotions.  We're here to help.
 
 
        Unless you have been living under a rock (or maybe running a small business ;>) then you've heard about the controversy surrounding Beyonce's delivery of our National Anthem at President Obama's Inaugural soiree on Monday.  Even before she had sat back down the twitterverse was rocking with tweets of did she or didn't she.  If you haven't seen it take a look and decide for yourself:
        To be sure, the National Anthem is a really hard piece to sing.  Have you ever tried it solo?  It covers every inch of a singers range, requires huge breaths and is usually delivered when a large audience is completely still and silent.  It is particularly scary when presented a capella. Start that sucker too high and you are in deep trouble at the end.  Try and start it nice and low and you sound like Marilyn Monroe for the first few bars.  So I am not faulting Beyonce' or her team for any decisions they did or did not make about how the song would be delivered.  I just know the one thing they ALL agreed on - DON'T SCREW IT UP.
        But whether she did or didn't is not the point here.  The point is that in the age of Idol/X-Factor/The Voice did we expect to hear some imperfection?  Really.  Think about it.  It's cold, she's singing a difficult piece outside, it's hard to hear, etc...  Shouldn't it be a little "pitchy" (a term none of us should know but do)? 
        Ultimately, what does this say about our human nature?  Are we constantly looking for the big screw up?  Do we anticipate doom, nay, HOPE for it?  Did we secretly plot for the incredibly beautiful Beyonce' to tumble down the risers before she even got to open her mouth? 
        And what does this say about marketing and advertising (yeah, you knew I'd have to get back to that eventually)?  If your customers, clients and patients are anticipating the worst what are you doing to set them up for a better experience?  Do they get what they expect?  Is it lip synced or live?  do they walk out with something better than they came in with?  I promise, it's a lot easier than singing the National Anthem.
        Comments are appreciated.
 
 
        If you’re like most local businesses, you’re probably a little behind on planning your marketing and advertising budget for the year.  Believe me, I feel your pain, because I run a small local business just like yours – and there is always a never-ending list of things to get done.

        Well, take heart.  There’s still time to make plans for the best year you’ve ever had.   With 97% of U.S. internet users shopping online for local goods and services – and nearly 60% of those users specifically stating they are shopping online in order to buy offline - you simply cannot ignore the power of a local internet strategy.  In fact, now - more than ever – local businesses and the customers they’re trying to reach are firmly planted in a search economy.  The world wide web has quickly become the down the street web, and there’s no turning back.

        Interestingly enough, the advertising companies that you’re planning a budget for - like yellow pages, TV, newspaper and radio stations – are rapidly making plans to move their businesses online. What about you? 

        Listen, there are two things you need to do right now.  First, go to Google and type in your business name.  What comes up? Hopefully you show up at the top.  If not, you’d better fix that fast.  If so, what type of image are you projecting for your customers, clients or patients?  Does your online presence project the type of image that will drive prospects to take action and do business with you?   Second, go back to Google and type in the general terms someone would use if they were looking for what you have to offer. We call these keywords.  What comes up in the search results?  If it’s not your business then you’re losing opportunities and profits.

        Does this simple little exercise change your plans – and your budget – for the next year?  We want to help.  Modern Media Consulting is a small business just like yours and we know how powerful a local internet and social media strategy can be for your business.   So, for a limited time, we’re offering a complimentary baseline assessment of your internet presence for local businesses in the Auburn-Opelika area.  We’ll show you where you are so you can figure out where you need to be – to get more customers, clients and patients for your business.  Then, if you’d like our help, we may be able to work together to that common goal. 

        Get in touch with us on the web. We’re easy to find.   ;>)

        Until we meet – better business to you!
 
 
        For some reason my Grandmother was on my mind the other day.  Maymie Shell Chambliss kept us all hoppin' until the age of 93.  A rural school teacher by trade and a farmer's wife by design, my Grandmother cooked with real lard, butter and salt, used fresh eggs right from under the chicken, milked cows and goats (unpasteurized of course), and shared a lot of chocolate candy and real Cokes in glass bottles with us kids.  She was a strong woman with a big faith and a catchy laugh.  We always enjoyed hanging out on the farm helping Grandaddy harvest his crops (peanuts mostly), peddle vegetables off the back of his Chevy pick-up (biggest and most sought-after cat head tomatoes in Butler County), and playing with the cows, goats, chickens, ducks, pigs and various yard dogs that were always wondering around.  And my Grandmother LOVED watching it all.

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        Later on in her life one of my Grandmother's guilty pleasures was getting a fish dinner at Captain D's in Greenville.  Back then it was a long drive from Brushy Creek to town, but a trip to Captain D's was always special.  So on a recent trip up Opelika Road in Auburn, Alabama, with "Granny" on my mind for some reason, I passed by a Captain D's I had been to before but had not eaten at in a while.  In honor of Maymie Shell Chambliss I decided this would be my lunch stop.
        Now I know a greezy plate of fried fish is not the healthiest choice, but I can afford a few calories - and it tastes a WHOLE lot better than rice cakes. 
        When I walked in the front door of this Captain D's (same front door I remember from a while back...door handles were always a little slippery) I knew I was someplace special.  Everyone greeted me sincerely, really, like they honestly were happy I had come in - not just because the manual said they had to greet me.  The place was pretty full for after 1pm on a week day and just about every diner who could see me turned a little and smiled as if to welcome me into the club.  It was not an odd look or stare, just a "welcome" smile that was very inviting.  The lady at the counter greeted me affectionately as "hun" just like she did everyone else who walked through the door.  The cooks in the back nodded "hello," the lady making the tea asked how many lemons I wanted, and everyone seemed naturally nice.  "Why does this seem so odd," I'm thinking.
        There were conversations across the counter and into the dining room - asking about the days' events, weekend plans, children, grandchildren, car trouble, hospital stays.  I began to realize that this crowd comes in a LOT.  People came and went and each one was a family member.  There was nothing special about this particular Captain D's except that, whether they knew it or not, these particular employees had created something we don't see much of and all of us crave:

        COMMUNITY.

        Every diner felt like this was THEIR place.  They were welcome.  They were appreciated.  They were important.  And this crew made it happen for me in just one visit!
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        So what does local marketing have to do with Captain D's?  Well, I will argue with you all day that online marketing, social media marketing and big money advertising will NEVER fix a bad product or service.  The one thing that will is COMMUNITY.  Community will cover up a bad mood, dirty tables and trash that needs to be taken out.  That's not to say that Captain D's has a bad product.  It was really good.  My Grandmother liked it and I do too.  But really - is Captain D's on your list of places to dine this week?  This month? This year?  They spend a lot of money on TV advertising on WSFA and WTVM.  Do the ads make you want to go and eat there?
        What makes people want to eat at Captain D's in Auburn, Alabama - and keeps them coming back - is COMMUNITY.  And therein lies the challenge: what type of COMMUNITY have you created in your business?  Is it worthy of people coming home too?
       
 
 
        It was a great morning for Auburn, Alabama and the Publix Corporation as we celebrated the opening of the grocery chain's second location on North College at University Drive.  It was a large crowd of dignitaries, store officials, Chamber members and folks like myself who rarely miss celebrating good news!
Modern Media Consulting was on site to help welcome the 2nd Auburn Publix to town.
        Our family LOVES Publix.  We always see folks we know in there (which makes "a real quick trip to the grocery store" an oxymoronic statement).  We also always see Justin Murphy (@murpho5) sackin' groceries and running for office.  Justin knows everyone - not just your name, but your family, what they do, where they've been.  He is the most genuine guy I know and reminds me to be MORE genuine every time I come in contact with him.  Not by TELLING me to be, but by being so himself.
        Justin is just one of the reasons that we love Publix.  He's not the only guy they've hired that we know and speak to and it makes me wonder why other similar businesses can't figure this out.  I KNOW I pay a little more at Publix (and I still go to other grocers in the area too), but I always feel good when I walk out of Publix.
        That's a valuable piece of marketing that is hard to maintain in this day and age.