Saffire Version 2.6 has arrived

Here at Saffire we love that we get to continue to develop our software per our clients’ requests. Our latest update has some pretty awesome features that we were thrilled to put on our clients’ websites this week. Here are some of the highlights of our latest release:

  • Multi-image upload made faster – now you can quickly populate an entire photo gallery or specific module on a dynamic page all at once!
  • Free-form price field – donations, dollar amounts unique for each customer? No problem, any item for sale, event, or form will increase your revenue and allow your customer to fill in their own dollar amount while you control the price range.
  • BUY NOW buttons EVERYWHERE! Catch your customer from the get-go with a call to action button anywhere an item is for sale, even multiple places on the homepage.
  • Even more specific tracking on your website. We’ve added Google Analytics to your Sponsors regardless of homepage, event page, or dynamic page so you can report to your sponsors the specific reach your website has given them!
  • Enhanced LIVE reporting. Check the status of your ticket redemption and online sales as they happen in real-time. Having a head’s up on attendance will help you prepare for a successful event!

Of course we had a TON of other behind the scenes updates to make things work better, faster, and smoother, but adding these 5 key ingredients to our clients’ online mix will really help them to generate sales, attendance and most importantly INCREASE SANITY!

Web Design-on-a-Dime

Design-on-a-Dime

We all know the importance of having a great online presence, but now with so many websites and apps out there it’s easy to get lost in all the online “noise.”

The good news is you can break through the clutter with standout design, and there are so many inexpensive ways to create unique images and looks that will make your site pop. Here are some of our favorite tools for designing on a dime.

  1. Try Canva. Www.canva.com is a new, free online tool that we love! You can create anything from online graphics to posters to business cards using their library of graphics and fonts. They make it easy to turn a blank canvas into something awesome. It’s easy to be bogged down with complicated software like Photoshop or Illustrator, but Canva has simplified graphic design in a way that makes it really fun.
  2. Good photography goes a long way. One of the most important parts of your online marketing is photography. You definitely don’t have to hire a professional (although we’d never argue against it), but there are simple things you can do to make your pictures pop. Using the rule of thirds and making sure you have good lighting can make a huge difference in the quality of your photos. After all, sharing photos is one of the most popular activities on social media, so it’s best to provide great photos!
  3. Use Designspiration. Www.designspiration.net is a great place to help you find and share design ideas. You can create an account and save your favorite illustrations, typography, graphics, and anything that inspires you so that you can reference it later. Another cool feature of this site is that you can pick up to five specific colors and Designspiration will filter its archive so that you can see how other people have used those colors in their own designs.
  4. Find a standout color palette. Www.colourlovers.com is an online resource that offers over a million different color palettes and all of their details. Using the right colors in your designs is important because they can actually effect how people think of your brand. You don’t want to turn people off by having colors that clash or send the wrong message, and COLOURlovers offers you a way to find palettes that just work together. (Hint: this is a great tool to use when you’re about to create something on Canva.)
  5. Just say “no” to clipart. Yes, it’s free, but it’s a thing of the past. Clipart has a way of making a website look generic and outdated, which is the opposite of what you want visitors to think of when they come to your site.

Getting inspired and finding easy, free online tools can really change designing graphics from a daunting task into something fun and rewarding. You don’t have to be an artist or a designer to be able to create something awesome for you site, but trying out these five things can help you feel like a pro!

Welcome Crosby Fair & Rodeo

CrosbyFair-Rodeo

We are excited to announce a new client, the Crosby Fair & Rodeo in Texas! We first met them at the TAF&E Conference in San Antonio, where they didn’t hesitate to show us some southern hospitality by helping us do the heavy lifting for our booth breakdown. After a visit to their fairgrounds (and a promise to come to their awesome rodeo), they quickly made the choice to join the Saffire family. We are thrilled to help such an awesome group of people who are so close to home take their online marketing to the next level!

Social & Email: They Go Together Like Peanut Butter & Jelly

pbjHave you noticed a drop in your customer’s engagement on social media over the past few months? Are fewer people seeing your event or venue’s posts than ever before? Whether you’ve realized it or not, the unfortunate reality is your business Facebook page is likely suffering from both of these issues. In December, many brands saw an average 44% decrease in organic reach to their content and engaged users dropped over 35% from 16% to 3%.

Regardless of how many fans have “Liked” your business page, Facebook has implemented an algorithm to determine how many of those fans will actually ever see an individual post from your event or venue in their news feed. They test whether it’s a “good” post by showing it in a small fraction of your fans’ news feeds and see what their engagement is.  If the post receives lots of likes, shares and comments, then they’ll increase the number of people who can see that post by continuing to place it in other fans’ news feeds. The more engagement it receives the larger the audience it will reach.

So what’s a business to do? Here are some tips for this new world:

  • Mimic what your audience is already talking about. If your fans are talking about the Super Bowl, mention your favorite ad. If there’s a new development in your city or county, get involved in the conversation. Having a lot of content is good, but these days, context is king. Your fans will be more engaged if you’re talking about the same things they’re talking about.
  • Share “jabs,” non-direct to what you sell. Aim to hit an emotion so hard that the customer wants to share it because it will say as much about them as your event. We think of jabs as continuous ongoing blurbs to stay relevant in your fans’ news feeds, so when you deliver the “punch” of an actual marketing message, they’re already used to seeing your event or venue’s brand, and are more open to hearing what you have to say.
  • Be a real person, like a friend. Share things that will make them laugh as well as useful information they can utilize. Leverage pop-culture by sharing the music you’re listening to and the shows you’re watching. These can easily transition to the artists performing at your events.
  • Advertise. In today’s new world of Facebook, it is becoming a necessity to pay to have your posts seen. There are lots of options for boosting your posts, be it individual posts or every post.  We strongly suggest you consider devoting a small budget a day to increase the number of people seeing your posts to increase the chances of engagement. Even $3/day to boost all posts could go a long way.  

So how does email fit in the picture?  Unlike social media, you own your email lists. Facebook will continue to regulate the type of interaction you can have with your fans in their environment, but via email, you’re able to control your own destiny. You determine how often your most loyal customers hear from you, and what message they will receive. Social media will continue to be a mainstay of your marketing plan, but we don’t want anyone to lose sight of this valuable tool.  Checking work and personal email remains the number 1 activity on mobile devices, so hit your customers where they are. Cross-promoting between social and email is also crucial. Include an email sign-up option on your Facebook page, and link your emails to your social sites. Increasing awareness between the two will continue to boost your fans engagement.

Cassie’s Travels: Beyond the Lanyard

As many of you know, I’ve been on the road visiting fairs and conferences all over the country this past month! I thought you may like to see some of my adventures. We have clients that jokingly say that I’m wearing a lanyard in every single one of my Facebook pictures so I’m going to go “beyond the lanyard” in this post and show you what goes on behind the scenes.(Okay, so maybe I get used to the lanyard and wear it to the fun stuff too!)

20140106_200758I started the year by heading out to Anaheim, CA to the Western Fairs Association Convention. I had a great time speaking on the 25 Best Ideas for Online Marketing, and seeing friends. The suite parties were incredible, especially the one by Helm Entertainment, with all of these spectacular desserts! They were too pretty to eat!

louiefoxx2

I also ran in to my friend Louie Foxx. He’s a great magician, and hilariously funny. If you run in to Louie out on the road, ask him to do a  magic trick. You won’t be sorry that you did!

 

 

After a visit to San Antonio for the TAFE Conference, I left for a quick trip to the Missouri Association of Fairs and Festivals meetings.

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20140201_173049For a Texas girl, it was FREEZING there! 13 degrees! I didn’t really pack clothes warm enough to wear in that weather-in fact I’m not even sure I OWN clothes warm enough for that weather-so I stayed inside the hotel almost the whole time I was in Missouri. It was okay though because I got to hang out with our friend Tony. He’s really nice and someday maybe will give us a Charlie Daniels autographed fiddle! (That’s another story for a different blog.)

20140205_122716Finally, I finished off my travels with a trip to South Carolina to meet with several of our friends there. One of my visits was to the South Carolina State Fair. The fairgrounds are right next door to the University of South Carolina. In fact, the fair shares its parking lot with the university on football game days!

20140205_134135I’m loving the time we’ve spent with the South Carolina State Fair, and I can’t wait for more good times to come! I also think they are maybe the only fairgrounds with their very own rocket.

As you can see I had a great time on all of my trips, and I’m not ALWAYS wearing a name badge! I’ll try to share more with you throughout the year. I know there are many more adventures to come!

 

Welcome South Carolina State Fair

SouthCarolinaStateFair

The South Carolina State Fair of Columbia, SC has joined the Saffire family this week and we are over the moon to be working with such a strongly branded organization! We originally met their team members at the Florida Federation of Fairs/IAFE Zone 2 Meeting last summer and got to speak to them more at the IAFE Convention in Las Vegas as well as the South Carolina/Georgia State Fairs Association meeting. We are most looking forward to continuing their online marketing with email campaigns, enticing website content and design, and text message marketing all controlled from their Saffire platform!