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Season Two of Mini Documentary Series from Adorama “Through The Lens” Premieres Today on YouTube

January 6, 2016 Comments off

New York, NY – January 6, 2016 Adorama, one of the world’s largest photography, video, audio, imaging and electronics retailers, today premiered season two of its popular online series “Through The Lens.” Making its official debut this past July, the YouTube show documents some of Instagram’s most popular photographers, featuring a different artist in every episode. While season one of the show focused on New York photographers and culture, season two goes nationwide, showcasing Instagram’s top accounts from all over the country, including Chicago, Portland, Seattle, LA and San Francisco. Episodes will explore everything from iPhone photography and food, to aerial, travel, landscapes and abstract photography.

Watch the trailer for season two of “Through The Lens” now on AdoramaTV and be sure to follow #TTL on Instagram.

“‘Through The Lens’ celebrates artists who have cultivated a rich community that transcends borders with the help of social media,” comments Salvatore D’Alia, senior producer at Adorama.“Adorama is an integral part of that photo community, especially in the Instagram realm. We tell stories and inspire people to get out and shoot, to get their camera and look for new subjects and explore new styles. ‘Through The Lens’ is designed to encourage professional and aspiring photographers alike to follow their dreams. Many of the successful photographers featured in this season left their day jobs, and we could not be more excited to join them on their journey as we chronicle what it’s like for them to pursue their passions with incredible success.”

With hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers, artists featured on “Through The Lens” share their journeys, biggest inspirations, tools and best tips in the AdoramaTV episodes. Season two of Adorama’s docu-series will feature Instagram artists @fursty, @swopes, @littlecoal, @samuelelkins, @chriscreature, @scottborrero, @samalive, @cannellevanille and @kdkuiper.

“After all of the interesting stories Adorama shared in season one of ‘Through the Lens,’ to be asked to share some of my own story in season two, alongside a wide variety of talented artists from across the country, was one of the highlights of my year.” Eric Ward, @littlecoal

Aran Goyoaga, @cannellevanille states, “Excited to see the new generations of photographers who are creating beautiful work on their own. Honored to be included.”

Catch “Through The Lens” Wednesdays at 10am
“Through The Lens” offers an interactive experience that caters to the young, social media savvy audience, introducing them to photography from a relatable perspective. New episodes go live Wednesdays at 10am. Visit the Adorama website to watch full episodes of “Through The Lens.”

ADORAMA: More Than a Camera Store
Adorama is more than a camera store – it’s one of the world’s largest photography, video, audio and computer retailers. Serving customers for more than 35 years, Adorama has grown from its flagship NYC store to include the leading online destination for imaging and consumer electronics. Adorama’s vast product offerings encompass home entertainment, mobile computing, and professional video and audio, while its services include an in-house photo lab, AdoramaPix; resources and gear for photographers, filmmakers, production studios, broadcasting and post houses, and recording artists through Adorama Pro; pro equipment rental at Adorama Rental Company; and the award-winning Adorama Learning Center, which offers free creative education in online channels such as the popular Adorama TV.

Adorama is listed as one of the top five electronics retailers by Consumer Reports, “Best of the Web” by Forbes.com, Internet Retailers Top 100, and is the official Electronics Retailer of the NY Giants.

Visit ADORAMA at www.adorama.com.

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MSPs, How Do You Get The Word Out?

April 19, 2015 Comments off

Get the Word Out!At the recent (March 26 and 27, 2015) MSPWorld keynote, Charles Weaver, CEO of MSPAlliance (The International Association of Cloud and Managed Service Providers, established 2000), discussed how alliance members should beef up their marketing efforts. And if the CEO of the MSPAlliance recognizes that there’s a gap, there’s clearly a gap in getting the word out to potential customers about their services. Traditionally marketing to potential customers meant direct mail, targeted campaigns, cold calling, email distribution lists, billboard ads, referrals, magazine ads, and online ads; but MSPs have found that generally speaking most of these methods are ineffectual. Historically MSPs have mostly relied on word-of-mouth referrals to bring new customers into the fold.

What does work for MSPs in getting the word out about their services?

Of the many different marketing strategies, referrals, blogs, email marketing, Requests for Proposals (RFPs), and cross selling offer the best returns to MSPs. Although referrals are very good in converting connections into sales, the number of them is very low. For an MSP to be successful, it has to launch a multi-front marketing campaign.

Referrals

Referrals from current customers seems to be the number one method of attracting new business for MSPs. The reason that MSPs hold referrals in such high regard is that this type of business prospecting has a high rate of return and has a very low cost to the MSP in terms of financial outlay and time required for the sales process.

Making a referral network work is a fairly easy task. Ask your customers if they could refer your services to at least one company in their customer base or within their sphere of influence. As your network grows through referrals, continue to ask for referrals from each new customer.

However effective, this type of organic growth is slow and requires some relationship nurturing to assist and to fuel the process.

Blogs

Blogs, especially guest posts in a corporate blog by customers, are effective in increasing customer base. Potential customers can read about how other companies have solved similar problems using your services and expertise. That gives the reader an immediate connection to your business and your solutions that can help them.

Sphere of Influence – a business network where companies or their officers or principals have some expressed or implied influence over others because of mutual trust, a working relationship, a partnership, or out of respect between the parties.

What you don’t want a blog to be is a pure sales pitch or a marketing tool. You want to be sure to inform and educate your reader about how your services have increased sales, streamlined processes, made it easier to buy, increased customer service, or boosted profits.

Make your blog entries about the customer and not about you. Provide real data and real customer testimonials where possible. Numbers speak louder than marketing fluff. Keep posts concise by telling a compelling story in 750 words or fewer. Post new blog entry URLs to all social media outlets to gain a diverse readership.

Email Marketing

Email distribution lists, whether created from correspondences or acquired by rental from a list broker are often a good source of prospective customers. The return rate is typically not what one would expect from such a contemporary medium. The rate of conversion is even lower. Expected rates of return are in the single digits and conversion rates are in the single digits of those returns.

The upside to email marketing is that it’s inexpensive, even if you rent or buy lists. It’s also an excellent method of getting your name in front of a lot of business influencers whether or not they buy anything from you. It often takes several iterations of a message to receive one positive return.

Rather than creating generic email messages touting your products, it’s often more effective to create a newsletter and distribute it via those lists. Newsletters aren’t seen as spam and potential customers read them with enthusiasm. To make your newsletters a welcome Inbox addition, include industry news, links to your blog entries, and information about your company and its services. Don’t make it to “salesy.” You want people to see it as having value and not just as an opportunity to deliver unwanted pitches for your services.

Optionally you can setup an opt-in/opt-out mailing list for your customers or website visitors.

Requests for Proposals

Requests for Proposals (RFPs) can be used to acquire new business by entering into competitive bid situations. RFPs often require some moderate amount of effort to create a sale because of the bidding process and submission of detailed information about your company, its leadership, its capabilities, delivery times, Service Level Agreements, and related information.

Sometimes the bidding process is lengthy (months), but the dollar amounts are also higher for these types of agreements.

Cross Selling

Cross selling is one of the most effective methods of gaining new business for MSPs. It involves selling additional services to existing customers or entering into cross promotional agreements with other vendors. Cross selling is a low cost marketing method because you’re selling to a customer who’s already bought into your services. Return on investment is very high.

Cross selling deepens the vendor-customer relationship and builds loyalty for both parties.

Social Media

Although relatively new to the marketing scene, social media selling has become one of the hottest new marketing strategies for all businesses. MSPs can ride this wave by engaging its current and its potential customers in conversations via social media. Feedback, ratings, and testimonials are all very powerful drivers of new business.

Tweet blog post URLs, post to your Facebook page often, ask for guest posts on your blog and Facebook page, engage your customers via LinkedIn, post your blog URLs to LinkedIn, and to all LinkedIn groups of which you’re a member. You have to use social media to your advantage. Check in when you’re out to lunch with a customer and tag him or her on Facebook to let everyone know that you’re entertaining a customer.

Start a conversation on Twitter with your customers. The easiest way to start a conversation is to ask a question. Gain followers by using relevant hashtags and posting often to all of your social media sites. Follow all of your customers and their customers. Follow influencers, thought leaders, and technology journalists.

Media

Use media connections and technology journalists to your advantage by scheduling interviews to be posted on their outlet sites. Use social media to promote those posts once their published. Public Relations and brand marketing firms can help you connect with the correct people for your business.

Upstream Partnerships

Your upstream partners can also send a steady flow of traffic to your site and to your attention. Your upstream partner should give you qualified leads that will help expand and extend your business. A good partner will offer you training, significant hardware and software discounts, marketing assistance, and some visibility as to who your customer base is. Leverage your partner’s resources to grow your business. Remember that a partnership works in both directions. The more you engage your partner, the more your partner will engage you and your business.

If you’re an MSP that offers top notch services to your customers, you need to get the word out. First, start in your network by asking for those referrals and then expand by putting some simple, time-tested marketing techniques to work for you. You can continue to grow your business year over year by applying marketing pressure in the right places. And don’t forget to engage your upstream partner to help with your growth because it benefits both of you.

IBM_logo

This post was brought to you by IBM for MSPs and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM’s PivotPoint. Dedicated to providing valuable insight from industry thought leaders, PivotPoint offers expertise to help you develop, differentiate and scale your business.

Momentisa app (Product Review)

April 15, 2013 Comments off
Figure 1

Figure 1

Momentsia
madbits, LLC.
Free
iPhoneography effect app

I am an avid freelance, semi-pro photographer and as such, I really enjoy all types of photography from the very lowest common denominator of point-and-shoot film cameras all the way up to my fancy shmancy digital SLR (Canon T3). I’m equally intrigued by iPhoneography. I like the instant effects I can get with different apps that mimic, almost imperfect pixel by imperfect pixel, the effects I get with film and cross processing. I’m also a big fan of art, especially the various schools of modern art or what I call modern art–from the post Impressionists through the Bauhaus movement all the way up to what’s popularly known as Post-modernism*.

The Momentsia app gives you sort of a Modrian type effect in multiple collage type frames. See Figure 1 for an example.

The app is very simple to use. See steps below. Once you open the app and select the frame style that you want from the dozens of options, then tap a frame to take a picture with your phone’s camera to send to that frame. Repeat for the other frames.

Using Momentsia

  1. Select a layout.
  2. Capture or select a picture.
  3. Save or share.

If you’d like to add any shots from one of your albums, then tap and hold to bring up your album options. Select a photo for the selected frame and continue until your frames are filled. You can also use your front or rear facing camera with this app to get yourself into the action.

Mannequin collage

Figure 2: Mannequin collage

You can perform some minor manipulation like zoom in, zoom out and pan on your photos, which can give you some more interesting effects even with the same photo. See Figure 2 as an example.

The photo in Figure 2 is the same mannequin picture used for each frame. I zoomed in on the face for the lower left frame. The upper frame is a zoom and pan. The lower right frame is the original photo as it landed into that frame.

You can change the frame arrangement after your photos are in place if you want by tapping the design icon. Your photos will stay in the buffer. You can add, remove, take new shots and rearrange your pictures an infinite number of times.

Once you’ve completed your new masterpiece, you can save it to your Camera Roll, email it to a friend, post it to Instagram, attach to a tweet or post on your Facebook page.

The app is easy to use, versatile, offers lots of options and does what it says it does: creates collages.

Momentsia is free but I think if madbits wanted to monetize this app, they could for a cool 99 cents. I don’t think many people would pay more for it and it’s totally worth a buck for all you can do with it.

One thing to note about this app: the colors you see in the design preview have nothing to do with the actual colors in the end product. I’m not exactly sure why there are different colors, since they have no apparent effect on your photos.

In all, Momentsia is fun to use and is a great little app to have for you iPhoneographers out there who want something a little different to play with. I say, “Get it.” Why not, it’s free so if you hate it, you can delete it without a moments (Yes, that’s a slight attempt at a pun) remorse.

I give Momentsia a 7 out of 10 because there are few options and I can’t figure out how to get color tinting, if it’s even an option, for my frames. It’s a “good enough” app for a collage special effect but don’t expect spectacular and you won’t be disappointed. Hey, it’s free, after all.

Review: 7/10

*In today’s terms, Post-modernism would no doubt have the name Modernism 2.0.

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