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Posted on January 25, 2016 by
At Roaring Pajamas, we rely heavily on various software programs that make running our small business more efficient. We also rely heavily on our friend Sam Battles, of Sam Battles Networks, our IT consultant who fixes most of our PC problems, moves data over when we get new laptops and keeps up posted on useful small business software tips. Sam recently sent me this tip for users of QuickBooks, Quicken and other aging software programs. I am passing along his sage advice, in the event you find it as helpful as we do.
For those of you who use Intuit products like QuickBooks, Quicken, TurboTax or other aging software and who may find these ‘broken’ after a Windows 10 upgrade, read on. A little technical, but things you need to know.
Middle of the night last night, out of my ‘memory archive’ came a ‘trick’ or a work around if you wish. Ten or more years ago, I had a customer who needed to keep his Lotus123 spreadsheet program alive but was unable to have the Lotus Suite of programs work. It worked in Windows XP, but the advent of Windows 7 was when it stopped working. If you remember, it was with Windows 7 that there were options for both 32 and 64 bit installs. Then in researching this, there was a suggestion that did work. It was, in the install process to choose the install ‘location’ outside of the more recent “C:\Program Files (x86)” which was the 32 bit location or just “C:\Program Files” which is the new 64 bit location. In the case of Lotus123, I chose to install to the ‘Root’ (C:\Lotus) rather than to either of the above-mentioned program file locations. Lotus123 now worked as designed. Programs do not have to be installed in these two locations to work and in some cases are better off in today’s world installed outside of either of those locations. Most software, either by choosing ‘custom install’ or just following the prompts, takes you to a place where you can choose the Folder/File location where you want to install the program. One word of caution, you should create a folder under C:\ for this. For example “C:\Intuit” for QuickBooks would be a good idea, otherwise all the files will go to just C: and garbage up the root of the drive which is not good. Just FYI, and for interest sake, I was also able to make a 2000 version of Microsoft Flight Simulator work this way for another customer.
This morning I installed both Quicken2006 and QuickBooks Pro 2013 software on a small business computer that was upgraded from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10. Both installations worked. Since I am a fairly ‘simple’ user of both Quicken and QuickBooks, I have no way of knowing if every available ‘feature’ in both will work, but my gut feeling is they will.
The small business customer who still does use and depend on his Lotus123 software informed me that it has continued to work even after the Windows 10 upgrade. This is because I had done what I described above when it was a new Windows 7 PC.
I hope this helps those of you with small businesses who might be struggling with software, the Windows 10 upgrade and getting everything to work.
Roaring Pajamas knows well the value of both time and resources as one utilizes programs to help run an efficient and successful business. Hopefully you find this small business software tip as useful as we do. Please let us know if this is helpful and if you’d like to see more posts like this one in the future. Happy computing!
Posted on January 12, 2016 by
I’ve known Melanie and Kent for a number of years, even before the creation of their digital marketing agency extraordinaire; a good handful of years ago, Melanie and I worked closely with Melanie on life-changing volunteer projects with the Junior League of Palo Alto•Mid Peninsula, Inc. I have always admired Melanie’s drive and work ethic, and I’ve enthusiastically watched her start and grow two businesses.
2016 marks the seven-year anniversary of Roaring Pajamas, and I jumped at the opportunity to interview Melanie and write this post celebrating the last seven years as a digital marketing agency. We sat down recently and chatted about all things social media, SEO and how barbecue sauce – of all things – started this seven-year journey of Roaring Pajamas.
How did Roaring Pajamas start?
After 20-plus years as an electronics engineer, I decided to combine my business knowledge and my obsession with gourmet foods. In 2002, I created Melanie’s Fine Foods and my brand was Big Acres Gourmet Foods. I loved creating and selling gourmet barbecue sauces and marinades, the perfect intersection of my career skills and personal passion. Over the course of marketing Big Acres Gourmet Foods, I became a savvy social media marketer and realized the value of Twitter to garner widespread and free PR. In those days, you could really connect and engage with people on Twitter and it captivated me. As my brand grew, others in the industry and community took note. I worked on the social media marketing of a book launch, among other things, so I created Yunk Consulting – now Roaring Pajamas – in 2009.
At the same time, Kent was deep into SEO, so it was a natural fit to combine efforts over the years. For a couple of years, I juggled digital marketing clients in the food industry, local businesses and the San Carlos Chamber of Commerce along with Melanie’s Fine Foods. In 2011, though, I sold Big Acres Gourmet Foods and Kent and I focused solely on Roaring Pajamas.
I love the name, Roaring Pajamas. How did you come up with it?
The name Roaring Pajamas hatched from a branding exercise. I want to express that we get the word out from anywhere, anytime. “Roaring” indicates getting the word out, and “Pajamas” implies you can get the word out anytime, anyplace… including in your jammies!
We have a running joke that we can’t ever share a webcam view with clients because they would see what we actually wear to work. But, believe it or not, it’s never pajamas. Unless it’s after midnight and we are still working, but Kent and I try to keep that to a minimum.
Did you envision the Roaring Pajamas journey would still be going strong seven years after you started?
Being a serial entrepreneur, I was ready for a change when the social media and digital marketing agency opportunity presented itself. The gourmet food pursuit was fantastic, but it made sense to move on and develop this new business. I didn’t necessarily have a seven-year plan, but I knew my skills and passions. I went with the flow, adapted and learned as the years rolled on.
I always tell people you never want to be so stuck in what you are doing that you can’t grow your business; that mindset of never wanting to be stuck allowed me to grow this business over the last seven years. And, we are definitely still thriving and we foresee many more years ahead in the digital marketing space.
How do you and Kent work and live together – and do it all successfully?
We work really hard to separate work from life. It isn’t always easy, but it is critical to both our personal and business success. Part of that is insisting that we turn work off at night and resume our personal lives. We love working together and being together, and we are best friends, so that helps. Kent is an artist, and I am an engineer, so we have complementary personalities that balance each other. One key, though, is that someone has to be the boss, someone has to have veto power. At the end of the day, I make the executive decisions on unresolved items. It works for us.
What do the upcoming years hold for social media, SEO and Roaring Pajamas?
Social media is alive and well and SEO is certainly not dead, despite many of the foreboding predictions seven years ago! So many opportunities exist for an agency in the digital marketing world, and it changes on a regular basis. This constant change presents an amazing opportunity for us to continue to learn, improve and serve our clients in new, engaging and exciting ways.
As for Roaring Pajamas, business is great. We have plenty of clients, our expertise is in demand and we are heading in a fantastic direction. Our agency sees more digital marketing competition now than we used to, but we have built a solid reputation as trustworthy, dedicated and competent providers for our clients. We continue to grow our network of marketing professionals and agencies, so we always have reliable partners for services complementary to our scope. As well, we recently gained eligibility to apply for government contracts since we are a women-owned business. We are also considering adding new digital marketing services and capabilities to our repertoire to serve our clients even more extensively. In fact, we hope to be announcing something new in the coming months – 2016 will be an exciting year for Roaring Pajamas!
Posted on December 21, 2015 by
In part one of this two-part series on the blind spot in social media metrics, we discussed dark social – the social sharing of content that occurs outside of what can be measured by Web analytics tools – and the impact of dark social on marketing metrics. We established how dark social occurs and the very large gap in metrics it presents, currently estimated at 70% of global social shares. Now, let’s talk about why dark social exists – the behavior that confronts and confounds social media marketers – and tactics to combat the dark data of social media metrics.
First, why aren’t people clicking trackable links? Marketers create promotions and expect to see an increase in activity in social media metrics. Often, a marketer sees an increase in social engagement in the form of likes, shares and comments, but little increase in Web analytics and conversion metrics. Frustration stems from knowing something is going on, but not being able to truly quantify the activity. In many cases, the invasiveness of social media drives your audiences’ behavior; many opt to respond to a social media call to action differently than a marketer expects or intends the user to react. This is because the user doesn’t wish for all of their activities to be tracked – either by the marketer or their social media friends and followers. Instead, a user severs the referral chain and types a URL directly into a browser or conducts an organic search for the item or concept marketed to them.
Additionally, rather than share a link via social media, where a user may first see an item or concept they wish to share, many see something on social media then share a non-social link via email or text. This also causes a break in tracking and leads to dark social. The follower does not usually desire to stump the marketer but intends to more privately share content with specific people. One easily understands this behavior with more sensitive topics such as politics, health or other private matters. However, one must also recognize how this practice becomes routine.
Next, what can marketers do to increase transparency in followers’ social media activities and metrics? Given this increase in organic search and typing a URL directly into a browser, consider alternative methods of capturing data on which marketing vehicles and tactics produce which traffic. Think about creating specific landing pages for each promotion and employ simple and memorable URLs. Already good marketing hygiene to create special URLs for each promotion, the significance and necessity increases when one realizes it may be the only tool to track the true metrics of a social media program.
Ruminate over this scenario: Jenny sees a Roaring Pajamas Facebook post promoting a special SEO consultation. Jenny doesn’t want her Facebook followers to know she may need help with her SEO (perhaps she’s a marketer or just a very private person). Instead of clicking the post and advertising to all of Facebook what she’s doing, Jenny sees that Roaring Pajamas has a unique and easy URL for this promotion. Jenny notes this, opens a new browser window and types that simple-to-remember URL directly into her browser. She finds the content she wants. Roaring Pajamas knows that URL only appeared on Facebook and now clearly establishes the link between the Facebook promotion and Jenny’s action. The keen marketer recreates this same situation for each social channel, all with particular landing page URLs to ascertain exactly which social method drives which traffic. In addition, Roaring Pajamas adds a banner or button on the homepage advertising the same promotion. If Jenny forgets the unique URL and just visits roaringpajamas.com, she stills find her desired content and we distinguish from where she referred.
This tactic allows a marketer to illuminate dark social media metrics and better understand the effectiveness of each marketing program despite these new user behaviors and the limitations in Web analytics tools. Even if all programs aren’t recorded in such a way as previously described, a marketer can eventually glean enough information from properly tracked programs to extrapolate more precise performance across an entire marketing plan.
Understanding dark social and finding creative ways to manage user behavior that causes missing metrics due to dark social is critical to marketing success. Continuously evaluate these and other methods to illuminate all of social media metrics.← Older posts Newer posts →