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crafting brand experiences
for the modern audience.
We are Fame Foundry.

See our work. Read the Fame Foundry magazine.

We love our clients.

Fame Foundry seeks out bold brands that wish to engage their public in sincere, evocative ways.

WorkWeb DesignSportsEvents

Platforms for racing in the 21st century.

Fame Foundry puts the racing experience in front of millions of fans, steering motorsports to the modern age.

“Fame Foundry created something never seen before, allowing members to interact in new ways and providing them a central location to call their own. It also provides more value to our sponsors than we have ever had before.”

—Ryan Newman

Technology on the track.

Providing more than just web software, our management systems enhance and reinforce a variety of services by different racing organizations which work to evolve the speed, efficiency, and safety measures, aiding their process from lab to checkered flag.

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Setting the pace across 44 states.

With over 1100 locations, thousands of products, and millions of transactions, Shoe Show creates a substantial retail footprint in shoe sales.

The sole of superior choice.

With over 1100 locations, thousands of products, and millions of transactions, Shoe Show creates a substantial retail footprint in shoe sales.

WorkWeb DesignRetail

The contemporary online pharmacy.

Medichest sets a new standard, bringing the boutique experience to the drug store.

Integrated & Automated Marketing System

All the extensive opportunities for public engagement are made easily definable and effortlessly automated.

Scheduled promotions, sales, and campaigns, all precisely targeted for specific demographics within the whole of the Medichest audience.

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Home Design & Decor Magazine offers readers superior content on designer home trends on any device.

  • By selectively curating the very best from their individual markets, each localized catalog comes to exhibit the trending, pertinent visual flavors specific to each region.

  • Beside the swaths of inspirational home photography spreads, Home Design & Decor provides exhaustive articles and advice by proven professionals in home design.

  • The art of home ingenuity always dances between the timeless and the experimental. The very best in these intersecting principles offer consistent sources of modern innovation.

WorkWeb DesignSocial

  • Post a need on behalf of yourself, a family member or your community group, whether you need volunteers or funds to support your cause.

  • Search by location, expertise and date, and connect with people in your very own community who need your time and talents.

  • Start your own Neighborhood or Group Page and create a virtual hub where you can connect and converse about the things that matter most to you.

December 2016
By Kimberly Barnes

Going the Distance: Four Ways to Build a Better Customer Loyalty Program for Your Brand

Loyalty programs are no longer a novelty. That means that yesterday’s strategies won’t work moving forward, so look for ways to rise above the noise, setting yourself apart from the cloying drone of countless other cookie-cutter programs.
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Going the Distance: Four Ways to Build a Better Customer Loyalty Program for Your Brand

article-thedistance-lg It’s easy enough for a customer to join your loyalty program, especially when you’re offering an incentive such as discounts. All your customer has to do is give out some basic information, and voila! They’re in the fold, a brand new loyalty member with your company. From there, it’s happily ever after. You offer the perks; they stand solidly by you, bringing you their continued business. Simple. Or is it? In reality, just how many of those customers are act ively participating in your loyalty program? Do you know? Sure, loyalty program memberships are on the rise according to market research company eMarketer, having jumped 25 percent in the space of just two years. However, that figure may be a bit misleading. The truth is that, while loyalty program sign-ups may be more numerous, active participation in such programs is actually in decline. At the time of the study, the average US household had memberships in 29 loyalty programs; yet consumers were only active in 12 of those. That’s just 41 percent. And even that meager figure represents a drop of 2 percentage points per year over each of the preceding four years, according to a study by loyalty-marketing research company COLLOQUY.

When discounts just aren’t enough

So what’s a brand to do? How can you make your loyalty program worth your customer’s while—as well as your own? After all, gaining a new loyalty member doesn’t mean much if your customer isn’t actively participating in your program. Consider this: Does your customer loyalty program offer members anything different from what your competitors are offering? Chances are your program includes discounts. That’s a given. And what customer doesn’t appreciate a good discount? But when every other company out there is providing this staple benefit in comparable amounts, it becomes less and less likely that customers will remain loyal to any one particular brand. Frankly, it’s all too easy for customers to get lost in a sea of loyalty member discounts. They’re everywhere. In fact, just under half of internet users perceive that all rewards programs are alike, according to a 2015 eMarketer survey. The key to success, then, is to differentiate your business from the crowd. If you can offer your customers something unique and valuable beyond the usual discount, chances are they’ll be more likely to stick with your brand. Here’s some inspiration from companies who get it.

Virgin: Reward more purchases with more benefits.

That’s not to say you need to get rid of discounts entirely. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Customers still love a good discount. The goal is to be creative in terms of the loyalty perks you offer. Take the Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, for example. As part of its loyalty program, the airline allows members to earn miles and tier points. Members are inducted at the Club Red tier, from which they can move up to Club Silver and then Club Gold. Here, it’s not just a discount. It’s status. And people respond to feeling important, elite. Still, even where the rewards themselves are concerned, Virgin is motivating loyalty customers with some pretty attractive offers. At the Club Red tier, members earn flight miles and receive discounts on rental cars, airport parking, hotels and holiday flights. But as members rise in tiers, they get even more. At the Club Silver tier, members earn 50 percent more points on flights, access to expedited check-in, and priority standby seating. And once they reach the top, Club Gold members receive double miles, priority boarding and access to exclusive clubhouses where they can get a drink or a massage before their flight. Now that’s some serious incentive to keep coming back for more. Discounts are still part of the equation – but they are designed with innovation and personal value in mind, elevating them to more than just savings.

Amazon Prime: Pay upfront and become a VIP.

What if your customers only had to pay a one-time upfront fee to get a year’s worth of substantial benefits? It may not sound like the smartest business idea at first glance. But take a closer look. Amazon Prime users pay a nominal $99 a year to gain free, two-day shipping on millions of products with no minimum purchase. And that’s just one benefit of going Prime. It’s true that Amazon loses $1-2 billion a year on Prime. This comes as no surprise given the incredible value the program offers. But get this: Amazon makes up for its losses in markedly higher transaction frequency. Specifically, Prime members spend an average of $1,500 a year on Amazon.com, compared with $625 spent by non-Prime users, a ccording to a 2015 report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

Patagonia: Cater to customer values.

Sometimes, the draw for consumers isn’t saving money or getting a great deal. The eco-friendly outdoor clothing company Patagonia figured this out back in 2011, when it partnered with eBay to launch its Common Threads Initiative: a program that allows customers to resell their used Patagonia clothing via the company’s website. Why is this program important to customers? And how does it benefit Patagonia? The company’s brand embraces environmental and social responsibility, so it was only fitting that they create a platform for essentially recycling old clothing rather than merely throwing it away. The Common Threads Initiative helps Patagonia build a memorable brand and fierce loyalty by offering its customers a cause that aligns with deep personal values. OK, so their customers get to make a little money, too. Everybody wins.

American Airlines: Gamify your loyalty program.

If you’re going to offer your customers a loyalty program, why not make it f un? After all, engagement is key to building a strong relationship with your customer. And what better way to achieve that goal than making a game of it. American Airlines had this very thing in mind when it created its AAdvantage Passport Challenge following its merger with USAirways. The goal: find a new way to engage customers as big changes were underway. Using a custom Facebook application, American Airlines created a virtual passport to increase brand awareness while offering members a chance to earn bonus points. Customers earned these rewards through a variety of game-like activities, from answering trivia questions to tracking travel through a personalized dashboard. In the end, participants earned more than 70 percent more stamps than expected – and the airline saw a ROI of more than 500 percent. The takeaway: people like games.

Stand out from the crowd.

Your approach to your customer loyalty program should align with your overall marketing approach. Effective branding is about standing out, not blending it. Being memorable is key. To this end, keep in mind that loyalty programs are no longer a novelty. That means that yesterday’s strategies won’t work moving forward, so look for ways to rise above the noise, setting yourself apart from the cloying drone of countless other cookie-cutter programs.

482 How to fail in business without really trying

Tired of dealing with all those pesky customers and the hassles of innovation? Then just follow this step-by-step guide to ensuring that your business goes down in a truly spectacular blaze of glory.

775 Boost email open rates by 152 percent

Use your customers’ behavior to your advantage.

June 2016
By Jeremy Girard

Small Changes, Big Impact: 5 Things You Can (and Should!) Do Today to Boost Your Website’s Performance

There’s no time like the present to implement these quick fixes and reap the rewards for months to come.
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Small Changes, Big Impact: 5 Things You Can (and Should!) Do Today to Boost Your Website’s Performance

artice-smallchanges-lg Every spring it happens like clockwork: the temperatures get warmer, the days get longer and everything in nature becomes more vibrant and colorful. Along with these changes in the great outdoors comes the irresistible urge to clean house and embrace a fresh start. Why not keep that motivational momentum going and apply it to your business – and, more specifically, to your website – as well? After all, there’s no time like the present to sweep away the old and outdated and bring in fresh new ideas and technologies. But you don’t necessarily need to dive head-first into a full redesign and all of the time and expense that entails to reap measurable results. Instead, here are five small steps you can – and should! – take today to ensure that your site is up-to-date, relevant and doing all it can to bring you new customers and grow the community around your brand:

1. Reposition your contact form.

For most website owners – especially those in service-based businesses such as law, accounting, consulting, real estate, etc. – the key “win” for their site is when it motivates a visitor to request more information or schedule a meeting. Contact forms are a ubiquitous website staple intended to provide a convenient – and highly measurable – avenue to initiate communication between an interested prospect and a company. However, perhaps because they are so commonplace, all too often these forms are given little strategic thought, resulting in a cookie-cutter name/email address/phone number format that yields more bogus spam submissions than legitimate new business opportunities. However, there is one simple change you can make that has been shown to get better results: reposition your standard “Contact us” form as an “Ask our experts” feature. By doing so, you shift the focus of the form to providing your visitors with an opportunity to submit a question that is specific to their needs and concerns. Rather than feeling like they are opening themselves up to an endless barrage of solicitation calls and emails, your visitors will sense that they are initiating a dialogue with an expert who will help them solve their particular problem. Make sure to respond to all inquiries within 24 hours, provide helpful advice that is free of charge and tailored to your prospect’s situation, and leave the door open to continue the conversation in a future meeting or phone call. By doing so, you will establish an important foundation of trust and confidence with your potential new client that will make them more inclined to engage your professional services. expert I have personally seen the submission rates on these types of forms increase dramatically. On one site where this small change was implemented, form submissions jumped from one or two per week to one or two per day – all legitimate business opportunities that were sparked simply by repositioning the focus of the form.

2. Productize your offering.

Another challenge that professional services organizations face in creating a website that works as an effective customer conversion engine is that they do not sell a specific product but rather a suite of services that can be customized to each client’s specific needs. This makes it terribly hard to market to visitors who come to their site and simply want to know “What exactly does this company sell, and how much does it cost?”. Because there are so many variables to the company’s offerings, there is not a quick and easy answer to these questions. If this challenge sounds familiar to you, one approach you can try is to “productize” what you have to offer. Create a bundle of services with a fixed price, and market that package on your site in a simple, straightforward manner that makes your offering easy to understand and helps visitors feel like doing business with your company is as simple as buying a product off the shelf at a store. package This is exactly what my company did with some of the technology consulting services that we offer. Instead of only listing the array of services we provide, we also created a product that representing a very specific offering. This made it so much easier to answer the “What do you sell?” question, and it gave us something tangible to promote in our marketing campaigns. In reality, this approach in no way limited the range of services we are able to offer our clients; rather, it merely served as a vehicle to open doors to new opportunities and made it easier to start conversations with new customers for whom we could ultimately provide a custom-tailored solution. Examine the services that you offer, and work with your marketing team to create an appealing package that you can market – understanding all the while that this “product” is really just a means for you to connect with customers and begin the sales process with something tangible that they can easily understand.

3. Lose your home page carousel.

One simple change that I have seen many websites make in the past year or so is to remove animated image carousels from their home pages. These carousels have long been a popular fixture of website design, but the reality is that they can sometimes do more harm than good. Home page carousels typically feature giant, screen-spanning images which carry with them heavy download requirements both for the images and for the scripts that power the animation sequences, thereby creating a potential stumbling block in performance for users on mobile devices or with slower connections. Additionally, studies have shown that click-through rates on animated carousels are extremely low, and they drop significantly from the first slide to the subsequent ones. This is why many companies are replacing rotating carousels with a singular static message instead. This one change can greatly reduce a page’s download size (when my company did this on our home page, its file size decreased by 75 percent) while having little to no effect on actual user engagement or click-through. In fact, because the page now loads more quickly, many sites actually see an uptick in user engagement because fewer people are abandoning a site due to poor performance. image Do you have a carousel on your website? If so, do you know whether or not it is working well for you? Your marketing team may be able to do some A/B testing between a version of your site with this animation feature and one without it to see which performs better. Since carousels do work well for some sites (like news organizations or sites with lots of frequently updated content), having this data can help you determine whether or not it’s time to ditch the carousel.

4. Update your image(s).

Stock photography is something of a necessary evil of website design, as more often than not, companies don’t have the budget to execute a full-fledged custom professional photo shoot. However, not all stock images are created equal. Stock photos that are overused or that look so obviously staged that they scream of their “stockiness” can cheapen a site’s design and leave visitors with a negative overall impression of the site. Replacing those images can make a big difference in a site’s visual appeal. If your site’s imagery is stale, you can make some simple image swaps to freshen it up. If you are going to change out old stock images for new stock images, make sure to seek out photos that feel fresh and that are not terribly overused (most stock photo sites will tell you how many times an image has been downloaded). An even better option is to try to add some unique imagery to your site. This could be photographs that you hire a professional to take or – in keeping with one of this year’s hottest trends – custom illustrations that you commission from an artist. illustration If your budget is tight, incorporating even just one or two such one-of-a-kind images in key spots on your site can really boost its visual impact. For instance, if you lose that aforementioned carousel on the home page and replace it with one truly compelling static image and message, it can make a really powerful first impression on your visitors.

5. Publish less.

Most experts agree that publishing original, value-add content on your site on a regular basis is key to optimizing its success – both from a sales and marketing standpoint and as an advantage in the never-ending battle of SEO. While I agree with this approach in principal, for many companies, the drive to publish regularly has resulted in putting out mediocre content simply to meet an inflexible standard of frequency. This is often an entirely counterproductive effort, as content that lacks in quality, original thought or value for the reader reflects poorly on the organization and its perceived level of expertise. Publishing original content to your site on a regular basis is still a best practice, but that content must offer value for it to succeed. Let’s say a visitor comes to your site and is impressed to find that you publish new articles weekly or monthly; however, once they click through the headline to see what they can glean from your writing, if what they find is mediocre at best, what motivation do they have to return to your site again in the future, let alone entrust you with their hard-earned dollars? If, on the other hand, you publish new content less frequently, but everything you produce is of the highest quality, then that same visitor will know that the time they spend on your site will always be worth their while, and they will look forward to the next time you post something new. Re-examine your current content marketing strategy, and ask yourself whether you are focused on quality or frequency. If it’s the latter, commit instead to writing less but to improving the quality of what you offer on your site. While this change may not have an immediate impact, it will absolutely yield long-term results that your visitors will appreciate and respond positively to.

In closing

Eventually, your website will need a redesign, but in the meantime you can make small, strategic, surgical changes that will pay immediate dividends in your site’s success. This approach of implementing gradual but regular modifications will also benefit you when it does come time for that full redesign. By making intelligent improvements over time, you will ultimately be closer to your end goal, leaving less to accomplish with the redesign and thereby paving the way for a smoother and less costly project.

492 Get real about mobile marketing

Smartphones and tablets are not just a hot tech trend, they are the new reality for your customers.

January 2011
By Jason Ferster

The Gathering: Social Marketing, Old School

With all the hype surrounding social media, don’t underestimate the power of face-to-face connections to grow and strengthen your brand’s following.
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The Gathering: Social Marketing, Old School

gathering The brave new world of Web 2.0 offers a wide array of platforms that allow businesses to connect virtually with the people who want what they’ve got. But long before the advent of the Social Web – before anyone had ever heard of Twitter, Meetup, Craigslist or Facebook – social marketing flourished. From Tupperware parties to trade shows, whether in living rooms or convention halls across America, people came together in gatherings to connect with products, sellers and other customers like themselves all at once. And while today’s culture of hyper-connectivity has dealt much of traditional marketing a fatal blow, the gathering has stood the test of time. In fact, social technology has given new life to the gathering. No longer confined to fixed time slots or venues, the content and conversations of events now live on in perpetuity through social media, event-specific websites and online video. It’s important to make sure that gatherings have a place in your marketing arsenal.This relationship works in the other direction as well. As communities form around common interests on the Web, real-world gatherings are a natural extension of members’ online interactions. Like a handwritten note in the age of e-mail, the face-to-face connection has become a rarefied, premium experience in a time when virtual connectivity is always only a finger-swipe away. For these reasons, it’s important to make sure that gatherings have a place in your marketing arsenal and that you’re investing time in engaging with your tribe of followers offline as well as online.

"Ideas worth spreading"

A recent gathering I attended began like a bad joke: an artist, an engineer and a socialite walk into an auditorium. This time, however, there was no punch line. Instead, I was participating in a TED event, and the room was electric with the pre-show buzz of right and left brains, liberals and conservatives, vegans and slow-food carnivores wearing “I ♥ Meat” t-shirts. For decades the famed TEDTalks have brought together artists, angel investors, designers, doctorates, engineers, entrepreneurs, communicators and community leaders, all in pursuit of one common passion: “ideas worth spreading.” With its famously short talks (25 minutes or less), TED is a petri dish for innovation, and most followers would sever their right arm to attend the invitation-only conference in Long Beach, California. Historically, the group met in druid-like seclusion. But with the ascension of new leadership came a new vision: world-changing ideas should actually be shared with the world. The arrival of online video gave TED a second, virtual life, and in the early 2000s, TED.com began offering free access to full-length videos of its proceedings. For years, TEDophiles like myself have gobbled up this content online while dreaming of experiencing it in person. Fortunately for us, the masterminds behind TED realized that ordinary people everywhere have ideas that could change the world, or at least their local communities. So in 2009, TEDx Events were born, with TED lending its name, brand collateral and mission to independently planned and executed local gatherings. In December 2010 alone, 165 TEDx Events were held in 54 countries. I myself became an official TEDster on September 24 at the inaugural TEDxCharlotte, right in my hometown. A dream came true as I sat with hippies and hipsters for one glorious day of ideas worth spreading. As TEDizens like me have discovered, it is the gathering itself that is the holy grail, not just the content and information. The conversations and connections that can be sparked when people meet and share experiences in the real world are deeper and longer-lasting than those that are confined to tweets, Facebook wall posts or even forum message boards.

Gathering your tribe

TED is a shining example of the value of creating opportunities for people to meet and interact with others who share their interests. Identify the commonalities that unite your tribe.However, you don’t need their massive, worldwide following to harness the power of the gathering to grow your business. You just need to identify the commonalities that unite your tribe and orchestrate an event that taps into their shared passions and provides an outlet for engagement. Remember that those who would make the effort to spend time and energy with you are your champions. They are people who believe in – or at least are interested in – your product, service or company enough to bother. You don’t have to dazzle them. But you do have to show up, make authentic connections and give them something of value for their effort. The end result? They will love and trust you more. In order to ensure the success of your gathering, here are some key points to keep in mind:

Bigger isn’t necessarily better

Often, the slicker and more carefully controlled the interaction, the less special the event can feel. Instead, just keep it simple. Invite a handful of your best customers or, if the invitation is open to all, limit registration. This will foster an atmosphere of intimacy and privilege for those in attendance. Most importantly, don’t use the event as a ruse to assemble your followers for a sales pitch. Be genuine and focus on delivering something of real value.

Show what you know

If you’re a service provider, your customers routinely pay for your knowledge and experience. Play to your strengths by hosting an educational gathering related to your area of expertise. For example, a lawyer could offer a free estate planning workshop to recent retirees or present a seminar for small business owners about the implications of recent health care legislation. The payoff for this type of effort is a group of prospective clients who believe in your credibility as a knowledgeable resource and trust in you more than your competitors.

Break out of your box

Perhaps people associate your business with a particular line of services or products even though your catalog is actually much more diverse. A gathering is a great opportunity to shed some light on your less well-known areas of expertise. For instance, a pest control specialist might know as much about protecting garden vegetables from aphids as floor joists from termites. A lecture to the local garden club could open a new niche market hidden from competitors’ view. Likewise, an interior decorator could offer working moms a workshop about organizing with style, thereby becoming the savior of the super-busy.

The power of privilege

Treat your best customers (the ones you or your staff know by name) to a special appreciation event. Give away products and thank them sincerely for being so faithful to you. They will love your company all the more and become even more vocal evangelists for your brand.

Party like it’s $19.99

If your brand or your products already have a fan base, give those fans an excuse to get together and have a good time – all under the banner of your brand. You’re throwing the party. They’re your fans. The conversation will inevitably lead back to you. You don’t have to force it. Think gallery crawls, wine tastings or product launch parties.

For the love of rewards

Oh to be in the audience the day Oprah gives everyone a new car. Most days, though, you’re at least going home with a free book. oprah-giveaway When you host an event, reward the effort people make to attend by giving away products to those who show up. Better yet, give more products to people who bring others with them. In doing so, you’re not only giving them a no-risk way to experience your product or service, but you’re incentivizing them to spread the word to others as well.

Use the Web to promote your gathering

If you want a large event, invite all your Twitter followers. If a smaller gathering of your best customers is what you’re after, send direct messages to only the most active or influential among them. You can even turn your event into a contest by challenging your Facebook fans to share why they love your products in order to win a place on the guest list. You’ll not only have an instant list of eager attendees, you’ll also reap some great testimonials for later use.

Transcend time and space

When your event is over, share pictures or video online to demonstrate the good time had by all and the value those who attended received. For example, if your event was instructional in nature, offer a recap of the tips that were covered or access to video of a presentation delivered at the event. Get people talking about your event and keep them talking. The important thing is to get people talking about your event and keep them talking – and sharing, and linking to, and blogging, and status updating and tweeting – about what wonderful people you and your staff are and how much value they find in your product, service or expertise.