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[Reposted from http://www.mike-g.ca/mgxc/growing-your-business-online/]

How do I make use of the Internet to take my business to the next level and start generating revenue?

Just the fact that you may be asking the question, tells me that you’re on the right track. More often than not, folks jump right into building a website, starting a blog, and sending out Tweets without ever thinking about what specifically they are trying to accomplish in doing so.

“That’s simple, I’m trying to grow my business. I need to be on all the social media because my competitors are, and that generates them business.”

Yeah, but how? Did it really help them, or is that just your assumption? And if it did indeed build them up, what were they doing right? What’s your game plan?

Too many business out there are trying to jump in on the latest trends, and think that just simply having a Facebook fan page, LinkedIn profile, and Twitter feed are going to generate them a whole lot more business. Sorry to say, it doesn’t work like that. If you don’t have clear goals (and the right benchmarks to measure those goals against) in place, you’re wasting time and resources.

There is a lot to know, and it’s important to avoid the pitfalls along the way. From website design, to properly implementing and executing a social media strategy, I will be creating posts that are designed to help answer your questions and guide you down the right path so that your business can grow effectively online from the perspective of someone who has been in the game for over 15 years.

Every week, I will be posting a new article on properly planning your strategy, designing your site, and marketing your business through the Internet. I always welcome your comments and questions, and hope that you all find this helpful.

Peace.

Mike G

Epik Creative

Epik Creative is a Vancouver-based freelance firm that knows where it’s at. Founded by designer Devon Gayfer, Epik is rapidly emerging as a key player in the graphic design world through a concise understanding of the functional application of creative form. We like what they’re doing.

Devon brings together experience in print design, web design and writing with her work as a professional artist for an international giftware company to create design that delivers its intended message with artful impact.

Environmental consciousness is a thing that we here at Pondstone are truly passionate about, and we’re excited to see that Epik Creative uses only Forestry Stewardship Council certified paper products using only 100% post-consumer recycled papers using vegetable-based inks.

Here is some of Epik’s work, check it out!

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http://identity-clothing.com/

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website:        epikcreative.ca

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by Mark Burgess

The LowDown Online
Published: Thursday, June 18, 2009

Greg Fergus at Kaffe 1870 June 14

Liberal insider Greg Fergus launched his campaign to represent the Liberal party in the riding of Pontiac, Quebec.

June 17, 2009  -  No call to the polls has been issued – yet – but the local Liberal riding association is gearing up for its own election.

Seemingly out of nowhere, a new face appeared in Wakefield June 14 to announce he’s taking on incumbent Cindy Duncan-McMillan to represent the Liberal party in the riding of Pontiac.

A few lines in the email mail-out of the Wakefield News were all that announced Craig Fergus’ campaign launch at Kaffe 1870 last Sunday. But the tall, confident career Liberal with the thousand watt smile managed to pack the place.

”I’m running because I believe,” Fergus announced from the small stage of the local bar. Out of hard economic times, comes the will to work hard for positive change, he said. “There’s a real hunger among Liberals to move Mr. Harper’s representatives out.”

Greg Fergus – born in Montreal, current resident of Aylmer, fluent in French – was the Liberal party’s national director from October 2007 until this past February.

He’s worked for John Manley and Pierre Pettigrew and was senior policy advisor to International Trade Minister Jim Peterson, where he worked on the softwood lumber file. He was president of the Young Liberals of Canada from 1994 to 1996.

But Fergus is quick to dismiss the “star candidate” label, along with any myths about being parachuted into a strategic riding. (With the exception of Liberal Tom Lefebvre surviving Joe Clark’s minority victory in 1979, Pontiac’s member of parliament has also been a member of the government since 1968).

“That would have been nice,” he says.

But Fergus said the Pontiac riding interested him because of its diversity and embodiment of many Canadian challenges. He spoke of the riding’s vastly different communities and the economic interests they represent, from Chelsea’s commuters to Wakefield’s village feel to Shawville’s self-sustaining community.

He thinks what works here can be applied to similar communities across the country.

Cindy Duncan-McMillan, who led the Liberals to a second place finish in 2008 and who will vie for the nomination again, doesn’t think Fergus is suited for the riding.

“We need to ensure that our representative shares our values and understands our situation,” she said. “And as much as Greg is charming, he doesn’t begin to know that.”

Duncan McMillan said that while it’s flattering “that outsiders are Pontiacker wannabes,” it’s “insulting for someone to think we can’t find one of ourselves to represent us.”

Still, Duncan McMillan, a beef farmer from Farrellton with a poor command of French, will have a tough battle against a nominee who comes with so many friends, and probably funds, from the party. With leader Micheal Ignatieff already prioritizing Quebec seats for the next election, a politically-savvy candidate would be needed to take on current Conservative MP Lawrence Cannon.

Riding Association president Philip Ozga expects a tough fight for the nomination, which he thinks – barring an early return to the polls – will be decided by the fall.

“The two candidates present different approaches and very different personalities,” he said, adding that Duncan McMillan ran a strong campaign last year.

“Either one would be a great candidate for Pontiac.”

Both Fergus and Duncan McMillan mentioned three-time Pontiac MP Robert Bertrand as another candidate for the nomination but Ozga could only confirm the two.

Fergus thinks his advantage lies in his fluency in English and French, as well as his ability to speak to the riding’s economic and social issues.

He said he’s ready to take on Cannon, a former neighbour whom he knows well.

His decision to leave the back room and enter the political fray required some consultation with his wife and three kids – Alexandra, 16, Ben, 14, and Sarah, 11.

“They’re comfortable and ready to help dad,” he said, adding that he was pleased they even brought some of their friends to Kaffe 1870.

More on Fergus at his website: www.gregfergus.ca.

2009-06-17 – from The Low Down online

Hear the latest from Greg’s campaign at www.twitter.com/gregfergus

Reality TV meets social marketing in a tasty for Doritos Brazil.

The Sweet Chili bags of chips have an access code that consumers can use online to ‘release’ a Doritos Lover, a weird and unique little cartoon like monster. Yes, you heard right – a little monster. Then they get you to activate your webcam and ‘chat’ and ‘teach’ your little monster things – which others can watch.

Check it out: http://www.doritos.com.br/sweetchili/

The campaign, created by Cubocc, Sao Paulo has seen some fantastic results so far with 23,000 lovers already being freed in a week.

Upon being released, the Lovers are added to their owner’s Orkut profile – the largest social network in Brazil – as a special app. Owners can take pictures of their Lover, create birth certificates or even put the unwanted Lovers up for adoption!

The most exiting part though is that the Lovers have a mind of their own with built in AI, Lovers will interact with others online and can randomly ‘introduce’ their owners to other Doritos Lovers owners… amazingly, there are over 18 trillion possible Doritos Lovers combinations.

Speaking of our South American friends, check out what BBDO Argentina did for Doritos in their native land.

Cheers everyone,

Adam M.

I’ve been saying for a while now that prediction markets are going to play a huge role in everyday social media. We aren’t there yet but things are starting to pick up.

“Prediction markets (also known as predictive markets, information markets, decision markets, idea futures, event derivatives, or virtual markets) are speculative markets created for the purpose of making predictions. Assets are created whose final cash value is tied to a particular event (e.g., will the next Prime Minister be a Liberal) or parameter (e.g., total sales next quarter). The current market prices can then be interpreted as predictions of the probability of the event or the expected value of the parameter. Prediction markets are thus structured as betting exchanges, without any risk for the bookmaker.

People who buy low and sell high are rewarded for improving the market prediction, while those who buy high and sell low are punished for degrading the market prediction. Evidence so far suggests that prediction markets are at least as accurate as other institutions predicting the same events with a similar pool of participants.” (courtesy of Wikipedia)

So we wanted to try it out. Signing with a Chicago-based company, Inkling Markets, we created a test project called Whosthekiller.com, predicting what will happen on the CBS’s TV show Harper’s Island.

Harper’s Island is horror thriller/mystery mini series. The show will have only one season comprising 13 episodes. One or more characters will be killed off each week. To make things even better, the series had been shot in Vancouver and the actors and actresses were not told about their deaths until the day that each script was given. You can watch all the episodes for free on Globaltv.ca.

Our site, Whosthekiller.com, is a prediction market around the hit show. New users start with a virtual pot of $5000 to buy shares in whichever outcome they think is most likely in a given market.

Right now the current markets that you can trade on are:

Who is the killer?

Who will die in episode eight?

Is John Wakefield still alive?

Will Henry and Trish still get married?

Will CBS cancel Harper’s Island before all 13 episodes have aired?

In which episode will the identity of the killer(s) be revealed?

whosthekiller_market

Here is the best part…

we are often right.

Episodes 4 and 5 (with 75 and 90 traders respectively) we correctly predicted who would die each night. For episodes 6 and 7  we were damn close with the individuals who died being the 2nd choice.

Can we get it right for episode 8? We think so.

Invite your friends to sign up, add them to your network under the “Friends” tab to see each others stats, and start competing today. Track your friends’ progress and compete to see who’s got the best guess.

Happy trading folks,

Adam M.

Update:

I should have mentioned this is a free service.

Today we are launching our first poll – What do you think of the new Pondstone website. www.pondstone.ca

Don’t be shy, tell us what you think.

Thanks everyone!
Adam M.

Pondstone Communications

Pondstone on Twitter

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