Category Archives: Chicago

The Weekly Walk: Are You Wagging at Me?

Chicago Dog Walkers Reader

The Weekly WalkArticle of the Week: Tails are for More than Sweeping

A study suggests that a dog wagging its tail can indicate to other dogs if it’s friendly or not. NPR, Slate, The Washington Post, and other publications recently ran articles about the study. Dogs were shown videos of dogs wagging their tails to the left or the right. When the pooches saw another canine swinging its tail to the right side, they were more relaxed and their heart rates remained about the same. However, when the pooches saw another canine swinging its tails to the left, they became anxious, which you can see on the video the in The Washington Post article. Researchers hope these studies will give humans a better idea of how to calm dogs at the vet or in other high-stress situations.

Joke of the Week

Q: Why do dogs wag their tails?

A:…

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When Does A Business Go Beyond The ‘Start Up’ Title?

As Chicago Pet Video is now entering the end of year two in business, I’m starting to think about how to classify ourselves. We’ve seen significant growth in the level of clientele we serve and larger business accounts, as well as more complex, and ultimately more rewarding work. However, I often still use the term ‘start up’ business when referring to our company.

Murray and Lizzie

What exactly does the term ‘start up’ mean, really? I use it to explain the fact that 2 of my employees still sit at a large table in lieu of us purchasing them desks – after all, we can’t spend all this money on fancy furniture, I need to make sure the business stays profitable. Also, I use it explain away the fact that pets run rampant in the office and it’s okay, it’s usually extras we’re using on a shoot, and a part of our culture. And I use the term ‘start up’ as it kind of just sounds cooler somehow, like I turned my back on corporate America and chose this as a way of life.

But this all begs the question, how much longer can we continue to call our business a start-up? Is it a certain sales point? A certain number of clients? Number of employees? When we get the fancy coffee in the kitchen instead of the cheap stuff?

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I’d like to think that we can consider being a start up as a state of mind – staying lean, focusing on the basics – which is producing great work and keeping our clients happy. As we outgrow this new phase and enter our adolescence, I want to keep those values strong and continue to push boundaries with our creative video campaigns and technology – Total Pet Expo TV was a success we’re super proud of! We really want to be the premiere video production company that specializes in working with animals and animal-related businesses which means we may have to start accepting some responsibility which comes with being a company that sticks around past the start up phase, like offering health insurance, increasing educational opportunities, and allowing ourselves to take a vacation periodically. I feel blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful and talented people that help ensure our high quality work every day, now it’s time to relinquish control, at least a little, so I can start to focus on continuing our growth and future success.

-Andrea Fischetti, Managing Director of Chicago Pet Video

Andrea Working

Have a question? email us at info@chicagopetvideo.com

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How To Do Facebook Hashtags

Facebook

Facebook icon

Hashtags have been on Facebook for a few months now so it is important to understand the RIGHT way to use them. But, before you can use them you should know how they work.

Hashtags are created when you type a word or phrase (without spaces) after a pound sign (#). The pound sign is referred to as a hashtag when used online through social media. By adding a # to a word or phrase you are making it a searchable link. Then readers can click the link and see who else is talking about a specific topic.

The purpose of hashtags is to make posts more visible. A person searching under that hashtag topic is able to see all the posts, including those they have not yet “liked.” Therefore your company’s page can be more visible to new customers, always a perk!

Our Top 3 Tips:

1. DON’T Over Use

When hashtags are used too often in a post, it makes them harder to read and they can get over looked. Also, avoid using hashtags more than 1-2 times per post.

2. Privacy Settings

Privacy settings are still in effect with hashtags so if you use a hashtag on a post that can only be seen by a specific group, then only that group will see it, even when it is being searched.

3. Promotion

Facebook hashtags can be used to promote your brand, product, event, contest, or special discount offer. Creating a hashtag can help your promotion catch on more quickly with consumers.

Be careful if you are running a contest to only promote the contest through Facebook’s approved contest rules. For example, it is okay to spread information and awareness about the contest through a hashtag such as, #WinAChewToy. However, it’s against the rules to allow contest entries through that same hashtag.

Some Examples:

Friskies

Friskies

  • Friskies is using the hashtag #CatJobs and having customers post photos of the work their cats do around the home. It’s a way to build engagement with their followers and the cat community.
Earth Rated PoopBags

Earth Rated PoopBags

  • Earth Rated Poop Bags uses #earthrated and #poopbags to reach potential new customers searching for the brand.
Pup-Peroni

Pup-Peroni

  • Pup-Peroni has a wonderful and very easy hashtag of #pup to reach both those searching for the company and as a nice alternative to #dog, which comes up with a massive number of results.

To see more examples of hashtags on Facebook, we invite you to visit our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/chicagopetvideo

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Video Marketing For Your Pet Business

Online video has become a first stop for many customers. Early adopters of video have gained an edge over their competitors and a direct channel to speak with their customers that used to only be accessible to larger companies who could afford expensive TV ad placements. The combination of imagery and sound, when done well is an invaluable and powerful communication tool for brands and their products and services. Even more so when you can add an emotional attachment to it. Here are four main ideas you should focus on when creating video.

Delivery of Core Marketing Message:

A large majority of videos have served as an avenue for product demonstrations however they can be used for much more that. Many companies have gotten extremely creative when using video for important company announcements and updates or as a way to distribute their core marketing messages. This is a prime example of a company who made an announcement that was simply just a merging of themselves with another company – although their main focus was not to entertain, there is a personal touch that many viewers may appreciate.

Entertain Your Viewers:

Rather than producing multiple marketing videos for products, why not create something that your viewers will enjoy and feel obliged to share – because it’s just that dang funny and entertaining? Nowadays people’s attention spans are shorter than ever. Twitter’s new video sharing app, Vine offers a perfect opportunity to create videos that are meant to be viewed quickly with the hopes of increasing shares. Check out General Electric. For somewhat of an ‘unsexy’ and boring brand, they are really hitting the spot when it comes to creating shareable content. This post in particular was liked by 46k+ people and ‘revined’ (shared) 37k+ times on the Vine App.

A Destination for Viewers:

Try making your videos a destination for something. Whether it’s sharing a new recipe or offering them a sales tips of the week. Give your listeners a reason to tune into you at the same time every week. Don’t just pitch your product, make it a goal of yours to establish a people-friendly channel that is full of information and solutions to meet a need of theirs.

Simplify Your Ideas:

About 65% of people are visual learners. Companies need to realize that many people learn  by seeing something rather than listening or reading. When informational and interesting facts are paired with beautiful and intriguing design, such as video, people are much more likely to understand and pass it along to others. Creating a video can help simplify a concept while making it much more relatable to the consumer.

Have you experimented with video for your company’s products or services? What has been your experience? Pros & Cons?

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CPV meets Bryan Bickell, Founder of Chicago Loves Pits

What an honor to sit down with Bryan Bickell, one of the Blackhawks most highlighted players during the Stanley Cup playoffs for an interview with Chicago Pet Video. Despite being wrapped up in this heated series of games, registering eight goals and five assists for 13 points in 17 of the playoff games, the 27-year-old and his fiancee were happy to talk about their charity group Chicago Loves Pits and the so-called “bully breed” dogs. The video (to come) is part of a series of videos that we’re putting together on different popular dog breeds, this one specifically focusing on the pit bull breed, one that’s especially close to Bickell’s heart. The video will be available on PetMD’s website along with a second video with our very special interview with the two.

Bryan Bickell & Fiancee Amanda

Founded by Bickell, his fiancee Amanda Caskenette and animal advocated Alicia Boemi, Chicago Loves Pits is dedicated to promoting awareness, starting conversations, sharing the truth, and opening minds and hearts to encourage rescue and adoption of Pit Bull type dogs. With the help of Adopt-a-Pet.com, Chicago Loves Pits was an idea that turned into a reality. In 2012 Chicago Loves Pits launched its first campaign featuring two billboards located in prominent areas of Chicago that bore the headline: Bryan Bickell is the only fighter in this family. From there, Chicago Loves Pits has grown into a registered non-profit organization.

Thank you to Bryan and his fiancee, Amanda for taking the time out of one of your busiest weeks of the year to show your dedication and passion for such an important four-legged friend of yours.

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How To Integrate Video Into A Robust Content Marketing Strategy (Guest Post)

Steve Farnsworth's Old Blog

Video is powerful because it shows there are people behind your business, which is important for building a strong brand that people can relate to. But how can you integrate it into your content marketing strategy effectively?

Know Your Audience

Before you can put together a video that will be relevant to your audience, you need to know precisely who that audience is. It’s important not to try to appeal to everyone – instead, figure out your archetypal customer. Two tools to help you do this are Sally Hogsheads 7 triggers of fascination and a simple guide to creating a customer persona. This’ll smooth out the rest of the process, because it’s much easier to figure out what to say to one person than to 1000.

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★ How To Integrate Video Into A Robust Content Marketing Strategy

Know Your Reasons Why

Why are…

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8 Ways to Get Website Visitors to Stick Around

When people land on your website how much are they really engaging with your content? If you use Google Analytics you should be able to make informed decisions about your website knowing how much time people spend there, what pages they stay on or leave from and whether or not they ever return. Getting people to your site is a project in itself but getting them to stay there and engage once they arrive is the hardest part. Below are 8 sure ways to get them to stick around:

1. Teach your visitors something new every time they come back: If you visited a site today and again in a month to see that there are no changes or updates, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t think anything is happening within the business. A blog would serve as a great solution here!

2. Keep the website navigation clean and simple: Once landing on your page, visitors should immediately understand what your website does, what value it will bring to them and what they should do next. Headline copy should be short and clear. Page copy should explain what you do in the simplest of terms. It is extremely important to have one main call-to-action on each page of the site – this could be a sign-up, a download, a free-trial, watching a video, or any other type of action you want your visitors to perform while visiting.

3. Provide pictures and video: Visuals are a great way to demonstrate and communicate how your product/service works. People don’t always prefer reading through text but they are open to watching and listening to a short explainer video about a product or service. These videos will also help increase the amount of time your visitor spends on site versus an otherwise quick skim through of page copy.

websitevideo

4. Update your content: You often hear content is KING. Updating your content and keeping your site relevant could be as simple as adding an ‘Updates’ or ‘News’ scroll with new product/service announcements, events you’ve attended, internal promotions, new contracts or recent partnerships. This will help change up your website so visitors aren’t visiting the same site over and over.

5. Add a blog: Give your visitors something valuable. A blog helps to increase the authenticity and show the personality behind your brand. You can think of it as an extension of your website’s ‘About Us’ page. Visitors are able to get a better understanding of your company, its employees, your values and what you really take pride in such as sharing and building a product that benefits your customers.

6. List the benefits of your products & services: This page should clearly highlight your various products and services giving your readers the information they need in order to research and understand what your business has to offer. There should be specific points describing how your product/service can fulfill a need or solve a problem that your visitor has. Be clear as to how you differentiate from your competitors. What can they expect to get from you that they wouldn’t anywhere else?

7. Case studies/testimonials: Case studies are a wonderful way to highlight your company’s success. These can help add a concrete and personal touch to your product and services. In each of your case studies be sure to mention the customer’s challenge, how your service helped them overcome that challenge and the outcome or result(s) they’ve had since using your service.

8. Test, Test, Test: Tweaking your website into it’s most successful version is going to be a night and day difference when it comes to ROI. Sites that can keep their visitors occupied with easy-to-find information are going to be the real stand-outs here. For example, f you have a newsletter sign-up form it’s extremely important to test out different forms, which styles get the most conversions? Are you asking for too much information for your guests? Is what you have to offer intriguing enough to get them to sign up? Does the signup button perform better when it’s green or yellow? Believe it or not these small details can make or break your click through rates. Never stop TESTING!

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Leveraging LinkedIn for Your Small Business

While the general public views LinkedIn as a place to connect with recruiters and post an “online version” of their resume it’s also an exceptional platform for businesses to seek out and capture some very targeted leads. It provides a great opportunity for you to promote your product and/or services where many conversations around topics specific to your industry are most likely already happening. If you haven’t taken advantage of what LinkedIn has to offer, now is the time to start.

Finding leads on LinkedIn:

  • Use the advanced search opportunity to find members based on location, company, industry, job titles, size of company, etc.

  • Check out who’s been viewing your profile and reach out to them, they’re probably looking at your profile for a reason.

  • After you connect with users, send them a message thanking them for the connection. None of those generic messages either, it doesn’t take much to add a little personalization to it.

linkedin

Building Brand Awareness & Credibility:

  • Post engaging and relevant updates 3-4 days a week from both your own personal page and from your company’s page. LinkedIn is known to have a peak time between 12pm and 3pm during the workweek.

  • If you have more connections than fans on your company page – which is most likely the case – make sure you’re linking to your company’s page. Linkedin just recently added the @ mention feature making it easier to grab the attention of specific individuals and lead your connections directly to your company’s page more easily.

  • It’s important that you’re active in at least 5 groups pertaining to your industry. The people here are most likely already interested in what you have to share. Start sharing relevant content, engage with other user’s posts and generate conversations.

  • We highly suggest creating and hosting a group of your own as well. Build up a community that’s centralized around your brand and become a resource for your members by establishing a forum for them to share their best practices, obstacles, new ideas and opinions. This will help create credibility of your brand amongst your target market. We recently started one of our own, Your Pet Business Networking Group as a place to share ideas, meet other pet industry professionals and provide a networking opportunity for ourselves and other members

  • Encourage your current customers to leave recommendations on your company profile. Personalized recommendations, ratings and reviews are a HUGE market right now. Consumers are constantly seeking out what others have to say before making a decision to purchase a product or use a service.

What to do once you’ve created a LinkedIn Group:

  • Promote, promote, promote! If you have a monthly newsletter that you send out to your subscribers, include invitations to your LinkedIn group in it.

  • Once you build up your Group, it may be obvious that you have some very prominent and powerful members that contribute to the group. Need new content for your blog? Promote these members while doing so! If they’re introducing a new product or service of their own what better place to shine the spotlight on them than your company’s blog and within the group! The group members will be more apt to share the content with their audiences which in turn will help create brand awareness for you.

  • Avoid being too salesy or pitchy. People join LinkedIn groups because of the low-key relationship that’s expected of them. They don’t want to feel pressured into buying anything, but rather find a place to seek out information at their own convenience.

What are some of your favorite aspects of LinkedIn? What tactics work well for your small business, which ones don’t? Feel free to share in the comment section below, we’d love to hear about them!

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Why We Don’t Recommend GoogleApps for Small Businesses

Okay, so if you’re in the small business domain, you’ve heard all about the amazing world of Google. There is Google+, Gmail, GoogleApps, etc. Just one teeny problem that is missing in the marketing, the customer service is AWFUL. If you have a problem and call the 1-800 number, you will be connected with someone whose first language is not English and although that in itself is not an issue, it can present a problem when you’re trying to communicate.

Also, one small glitch we’ve come across is when we tried to upgrade from Gmail to GoogleApps, we lost our entire YouTube channel! That’s right, a video production company without samples, active video links, or unpublished videos (used to privately share content) all of a sudden disappeared. This is apparently a problem when you have a YouTube channel that is registered under the same domain name, in this case it was the name of our company, “Chicago Pet Video.” While we are a small company, we are incredibly busy serving our clients and to have our YouTube channel completely disappear did cause some waves and majorly effect the way we conduct business.

Initially we were switching our email system over and went straight for GoogleApps, but now Microsoft’s Outlook is going to have to win this small battle. I’d love to support Google here, but Microsoft’s customers support is definitely better (not by much, but still) and ultimately we can’t forgive them for permanently deleting our entire YouTube channel, with likes, comments, and all.

Anyone else have two cents to share on Gmail vs. Outlook or a similar customer service nightmare story to share?

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How to Get Your Press Release Noticed

Episode 3 of Your Pet Business video blog. Tips and Advice on How to Get Your Press Release noticed from Clay Jackson, Deputy News Editor of Pet Product News and Veterinary Practice News.

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