Wednesday, October 21, 2009

SmallPond designs logo for new downtown Truckee coffee shop

SmallPond Studio created a logo for a new coffee shop coming soon to downtown Truckee. Elijah Bleu's will serve great coffee and Southern-inspired grub out of the Jackass Ridge building in downtown Truckee.

View SmallPond's logo portfolio >

Check out the transformation of Elijah Bleu's on Facebook >
Elijah Bleu's online >

Friday, October 16, 2009

Grow Your Email Marketing List

Read more about SmallPond's email marketing services >

E-mail marketing has become an increasingly popular and inexpensive way to stay in touch with your current clients and find new ones.

But before you hit the “Send” button, you’ll need some email addresses. Many of our clients ask us if they can buy or rent lists; however, the key to successful email marketing is to send messages only to those who have opted-in. Even though people are overloaded by email, they will usually read what they’ve asked to receive.

(For email marketing basics, visit and read “Email Marketing – Where to Begin?” – February 2009.)

Here are some easy tips to grow your email database:

1. It’s all about who you know
If you aren’t already collecting the email addresses of your existing clients, customers, and business associates, start now.

The people who already purchase your products and services are your best audience for email marketing. They will want to hear about your seasonal offers and new products.

As with any of these tips, be sure to let people know they will be added to your email list. Not only is it the law, it also prevents people from becoming irritated with your brand when they receive unexpected email.

2. There’s no place like your home page
With most email marketing software, you can add a simple signup form to your website that will automatically add people to your email marketing list. Place the form prominently on your home page and give it an enticing title, like “Sign up for our eSpecials.”

To view an example of such a form, visit

3. The good old fish bowl
If your business has a table or booth at an event, be sure to bring a glass bowl to collect business cards or forms to collect names and email addresses. If you have a retail business or storefront, keep a form at your front counter.

After the event or a long day at work, grab a beer, kick up your feet, and add these new people to your list.

4. We have a winner!
Host a contest offering a product or service for free. Have entrants give you their email addresses, and watch your list grow! We’ve had clients host contests for the sole purpose of expanding their email database.

5. Content is king
If you write an article or whitepaper related to your industry or products, post it on your website, but require people to sign up and opt-in to your email list before they download the article.

If you belong to a trade or professional organization, have them distribute a teaser about the article in their eblast. This is a great way to target people you know are interested in your products or services.

Why not purchase email lists?
Many of our clients ask us if they should purchase or rent email lists. This is a bad idea for a few reasons:
  1. SPAM laws require that people opt-in to receive email from you.
  2. Sending email to people who will likely delete your messages is a waste of your time and resources.
  3. SPAM traps are found on many purchased or rented lists. When these traps are triggered, they cause your email to be treated as SPAM.

It takes a little work to build your database, but the reward of a high-quality email list can be quite profitable for your business.

Contact SmallPond Studio for more about email marketing. E-mail or call 530-587-5625.

Read more about SmallPond's email marketing services >

Monday, September 21, 2009

What are people saying about your Truckee/Tahoe business?

What people say about your company on the world wide web is especially important in a tourist economy like Truckee and Tahoe. Travelers will research local restaurants and services oftentimes before driving up the hill.

That said, social media marketing is quite important for Truckee and Tahoe businesses.

Read more to find out why >

Contact SmallPond today to see how we can help you navigate the world of social media marketing.

Friday, August 14, 2009

SmallPond gets Best Marketing Company in Sierra Sun poll

SmallPond Studio was tapped as the top Marketing Company in the Sierra Sun's Best Of poll. Thanks to all who voted for us!

Find out who else won in the Best Of insert in the Friday, Aug. 14 issue.

Check out SmallPond's online portfolio >

SmallPond designs new map for North Tahoe Regional Park

TAHOE VISTA — The North Tahoe Public Utility District unveiled an updated map for the the North Tahoe Regional Park that reflects new facilities, provides current information about available rentals and information on the District's Friends of the Park Fund.

Read more >
Check out our design portfolio >

Friday, July 31, 2009

Social networking overload?

Where does one find all the time to tweet and keep up with friends on Facebook? This article from Mashable gives us some tips to sort it all out -- for your business and your social life.

Check out the article >

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

SP Design Selected for Burning Man Sticker

Meg Raymore's design was selected as one of the official Burning Man 2009 designs. Look for it on the playa!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

You, as a Brand: Branding Yourself for Small Business Success

From SmallPond Studio

By Meg Raymore, SmallPond Studio

Recently, a client asked me, “I’ve heard the best thing a small business can do during a recession is strengthen their brand. Does this mean I should send a postcard to everyone in Tahoe? What if I don’t have the money for a big marketing campaign like that right now?”

His question got me thinking, how can small business owners build their brand with little to no extra money in the marketing budget? And the answer struck me – “Start building your personal brand.”

Like branding, which is not about short-term marketing and advertising efforts, personal branding is not simply about self-promotion. Personal branding is the basis upon which you build your self-promotion, identity, and marketing program. It is about understanding and projecting your core values, and by doing so, building trust and loyalty. Take email for example. Anyone can send you an email, but how do you decide which ones to open and read and which ones to delete? The answer: personal branding. You will open and respond to messages from people you trust – people you know offer a promise of value.

Why is a personal brand important to a small business owner? In addition to creating trust and loyalty, a strong personal brand will help clearly differentiate you from your competitors in the minds of your potential clients. It’s not enough to be known for what you do – you must be known for what you do differently.

So how do you develop your personal brand? Just as you would a corporate brand.

First, develop your brand. This is the soul-searching step in which you ask yourself the hard questions, such as “What are my values? What am I most proud of? What do I want to be known for? Why do I do the work that I do?” By answering these questions it will become clear to yourself and others who you are and what you stand for.

Next, package your brand. It’s no secret that companies spend millions on their product packaging because people make decisions based on appearance and perception; thus, it makes sense that you invest in your own identity package. As a small business owner, you should already have the obvious items, like a logo and a business card, but also take time to evaluate tangible things like your office space (does it reflect who you are?) and your website (does it tell your story?). This also includes intangible items like how you answer the phone, how you respond to emails, and even your personal style.

Finally, communicate your brand. Now that you’ve developed your personal brand, get out there and convey it to the world. The key to marketing yourself is through “word-of-mouth” promotion, and every personal interaction you have is a chance to brand yourself. Position yourself as an expert in your field. Give presentations, write articles, lead discussions about your industry. Meet people, go to mixers, volunteer in the community. All of these interactions will build trust in you as a person, which will go far in building trust in your company and the services or goods you offer.

In the words of Dale Carnegie, “There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.” You are a brand. Put “You” to work for your business success.

SmallPond Studio can help you build a strong corporate brand. E-mail us at or call 530-587-5625. View our online identity portfolio.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Facebook: "Virtual parlor for the middle-aged"?

A recent San Francisco Chronicle articles tells us what we likely already knew by looking at our friends list: People 35 to 54 are now the biggest age group on the Web site.

Check out the story for yourself.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Email Marketing: Quality vs. Quantity

Many of our clients are often looking to grow their email lists to astronomical numbers as quickly as possible. This goal is completely understandable, especially considering how inexpensive email marketing can be; however, we would argue that the quality of your list is far more important than the quantity of people on it.

A recent article on Chief Marketer argues that when you grow your list too quickly or email too frequently, "You can lose customers, prospects, credibility, not to mention that you can easily get blacklisted by major ISPs (Internet Service Providers) and corporate networks."

Check out more of the article.

Monday, June 22, 2009

SmallPond Develops Site for the Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee

From SmallPond Studio

The Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee has a new Web site, featuring non profit and community resources.

The site,, offers links and information on everything from child education and development, to alcohol abuse and domestic violence.

“The Web site will be a great hub for those interested in joining us and for those in need of services,” said Alison Schwedner, director of the Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee.

Truckee marketing and graphic design firm SmallPond Studio designed the Web site.

The Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee is an organization comprised of 35 health, social service, education and community-based organizations who meet monthly to collaborate, network, share and learn. The CCTT partnership works together to address fundamental needs of families in the Tahoe Truckee region. To learn more about Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee, visit or call (530) 587-1776.

For more information on SmallPond Studio, a graphic design and marketing company located in downtown Truckee, call (530) 587-5625 or visit

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Five Must-Haves for a Successful Website

By Renée Deinken, SmallPond Studio
Check out our online web portfolio

It doesn’t matter which stage your website is in – brand spankin’ new, old and dilapidated, or non-existent – these five strategies will position your Truckee or Lake Tahoe business for success on the world wide web.

1. Professional design equals impact
Whether your business is going for a clean and modern or an artsy and retro look, the appearance of your website is paramount to making a positive first impression with visitors.

Like it or not, people will judge your business based on how professional your website looks. When selecting a website developer, make sure he or she takes the time to understand your business’ brand identity and will design your site accordingly.

Also, ask to see proofs of the website’s design before the developer begins programming the site. This helps ensure the end result – your functioning website – looks the way you want.

2. Make sure it’s usable
This is, without a doubt, the most important factor for a successful website. It doesn’t matter if you have the best-looking site on the block; if people can’t find their way around, they’ll leave and probably never come back.

Your visitors should have to think as little as possible. Don’t make them figure out how to find your contact info; give it to them right away, on the homepage. Don’t ask them to search high and low for your navigation; put it somewhere conventional, like across the top or down the left side.

Good website usability starts from the get-go, even before the design phase. Map out your site and the hierarchy of your pages. Think like a visitor. See what similar businesses are doing. If you’re a contractor in Truckee, for example, check out the websites of contractors in Aspen.

The more research you do on the front-end, the more usable your site will be in the long run.

3. Appeal to search engines
Search engine performance is becoming more and more important for websites, whether you’re a national corporation or a small local business. With more companies promoting their goods and services online, the competition for that top spot in Google is stiff.

Make sure your website developer is familiar with search engine optimization best practices and builds your site so it’s findable by search engines from the beginning. This may not get you to the top right away, but it provides a solid base for strong performance in the future.

4. Update your site regularly
Now that you’ve launched your website, it’s vital to update your site regularly. When you make regular updates, it encourages repeat visits by your clients and search engines.

Feel like your website is stale? Consider adding an event calendar, links to articles, a blog, or a rotating featured project. Commit to making these updates on a regular basis, whether it’s once a month or once a week.

If you’re not an HTML expert, consider a website with a content management system. A content management system enables a non-technical person to load, remove, and edit content on a website without any HTML or coding knowledge using a simple editor. You can update your website on any computer with an internet connection, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without the help of a third party.

5. Market your site
Unfortunately, getting people to visit your website is not as simple as throwing your pages out there in Internet Land. You need to market your website in other ways to encourage visits, especially if there’s a lot of competition in your industry.

For starters, make sure your website is on all of your marketing materials, including your business cards, advertising, brochures, and banners. Also, put it in the signature at the end of your email.

Market your site online with a paid search engine campaign (like Google’s AdWords). Join industry groups that provide membership directories and confirm your website is included with your listing. Start an email marketing campaign to drive traffic to your site and let people know about your newest products and services. (Don’t forget to put a form on your website so visitors can sign up for your email newsletter.)

Follow these website must-haves, and you’ll have a strong platform for online success for your Truckee or North Lake Tahoe business.

Check out our online web portfolio.

Contact SmallPond Studio for more information about their website development services. E-mail them at or call 530-587-5625. For more marketing tips, visit SmallPond’s blog at

Friday, June 12, 2009

Website Marketing Turnoffs

These are all pretty good rules of thumb to consider when creating a website, courtesy of Entrepreneur Mag. While some pertain to larger sites (numbers 4 and 9, for example), a lot of these are just plain common sense. A couple peeves we share with the author:

  • Making users retype e-mail addresses: How about the patent-pending, curve-jumping Web 2.0 company that wants you to share content but requires you to retype your friends' e-mail addresses? I have 7,703 e-mail addresses in Microsoft Entourage. I'm not going to retype them into some done-as-an-afterthought address book.

  • Unreadable confirmation codes: A visual confirmation graphic system is a good thing, but many are too difficult to read. All you have to prove is that you're not a robot. So if the code is "ghj1lK," entering "ghj11K" should be good enough.

  • Read more >

    Thursday, May 28, 2009

    SmallPond Develops New Corporate Brand for Denali Group


    SmallPond Studio has designed a new corporate brand for Denali Group, a supply chain and sourcing consulting firm that works with Fortune 100 companies. A major part of the brand overhaul is Denali's new website,, which launched this week.

    SmallPond Studio worked with Denali Group to create a website look and feel that is indicative of the company's professional-yet-approachable personality. Stay tuned for a case study on Denali Group's corporate re-branding.

    Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    Social Networking and Small Business


    Social networking sites provide many marketing opportunities for small business owners. They help get the word out, but they can also be time consuming. Here's an article that helps you wade through what's worthwhile and what may be a waste of your precious time:

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009

    The Four Essential Marketing Tools Every Small Business Needs

    By Meg Raymore, SmallPond Studio

    When it comes to marketing these days, it seems all you hear about is social media, blogs, and Web 2.0. But before you start twittering or setting up your Facebook account, take a moment to make sure you have a strong foundation of marketing tools. The following are four essentials that every small business should have in its arsenal and tips on how to make the most of them.

    1. Business Cards
    It goes without saying that this single tiny piece of paper is essential to anyone in business, but so often its importance is overlooked. Your business card is your first chance to introduce your business to a future customer or client. Not only should your logo be prominently displayed, but the card’s design itself should also fully reflect your company’s image. Don’t just think of your card as a place to list your contact info; rather, view it as a mini billboard or advertisement for your company.

    You don’t need an odd-sized, die cut, or embellished (read: expensive) card to make a statement, but you should use all of the space available to you. Don’t forget the back; use it to highlight your website or list your products or services. And don’t shy away from full-color printing. Discounted printing options are available that make double-sided, four-color cards extremely affordable.

    2. Website
    Every business should have a website, even if it consists of just 3 – 4 pages. In addition to providing a place to fully describe all of your products or services, a website lends a certain legitimacy and credibility to your business. Most consumers today use the web to research products and services, and many prefer to visit your website rather than picking up the phone to call you. Thus, your website should clearly and concisely describe who you are, what you are selling, and most importantly, how customers can contact you. Once you have established an online presence, you should also look at how to maximize your exposure through search engine optimization.

    3. Printed Sales Piece
    Whether it’s a fancy catalog, an informational tri-fold brochure, a simple rack card, or a direct mail postcard, every company should have at least one printed sales piece that describes its products or services. Get the most mileage out of your marketing dollar by creating a piece that can be used in a variety of ways. For example, a tri-fold brochure fits nicely in a counter display rack but can also be conveniently included in a standard #10 envelope for a direct mail campaign. Similarly, a direct mail postcard can also be used as a handout at a tradeshow or conference. And both are handy “leave behinds” when visiting a client.

    4. Email Marketing Template
    Whether you manage it in-house or employ the help of a marketing firm, email marketing is one of the easiest, most cost-efficient ways to stay in contact with your customers. Create a customizable template and establish a distribution schedule that allows you to promote new products, offers, and discounts. Once the email has been sent out be sure to track the progress of your campaign (who opened it, who unsubscribed, which links were clicked) and make refinements to your strategy.

    Today more than ever, the art of marketing is complex and offers many options; however, these basic tools will give you the foundation upon which to start building toward marketing success.

    Contact SmallPond Studio to get started with your essential marketing tools. E-mail us at or call 530-587-5625. For more marketing tips, visit SmallPond’s blog at

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009

    SmallPond Designs Wholesale Lenders Resources, Inc. Site


    Wholesale Lenders Resources, Inc. has a new Web site, featuring information about the Truckee company’s finance and lending services.

    Through the new Web site,, visitors can learn about the company’s commercial real estate financing services and products, as well as submit loan inquiries. Visitors can also view loan criteria and success stories.

    “It’s great to now be able to highlight our financial services on the Web,” said Mark Stebbins, owner of the company. “Since the economy has taken a downturn, many people who were relying on conventional lenders have not been able to get the loans they were counting on. Whether a banker, broker or potential borrower, people can easily learn about our services for unique financial situations online.”

    Truckee marketing and graphic design firm SmallPond Studio designed and developed the Web site.

    Wholesale Lenders Resources, Inc. is an Authorized Agent for ReProp Financial, Inc., a private money lender since 1978 dedicated to the acquisition of small balance commercial real estate loans. The financial products offered through ReProp Financial, Inc. are designed for unique and special borrowing situations when traditional financing sources are unable to help. To learn more about Wholesale Lenders Resources, Inc., visit or call (800) 784-1687, ext 101.

    For more information on SmallPond Studio, a graphic design and marketing company located in downtown Truckee, call (530) 587-5625 or visit

    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    SmallPond Adds New Logos to Online Portfolio


    SmallPond Studio has updated their online identity portfolio, featuring the company’s latest logo design work.

    Through the online portfolio, visitors can view logos designed for the North Tahoe Event Center, Mamasake, Tahoe Ticker, the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe’s Black Tie & Tails event, Chill the Earth, Tahoe Truckee Homes, Enterprise Search and Retrieval, and the Truckee Sunrise Rotary Chili Cookoff.

    For more information on SmallPond Studio, a graphic design and marketing company located in downtown Truckee, call (530) 587-5625 or visit

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    Are You Ready for a Content Management System?

    One of SmallPond Studio's Content Management System Clients


    Our clients have many choices when creating a website for their business. From the site’s appearance to the content on each page, each aspect of website development amounts to a valuable and rewarding final product.

    The very first decision to make when launching a website is whether to build a content management system (a website you can update yourself, without HTML knowledge), or a standard static website (which must be updated by someone with HTML knowledge).

    What is a content management system?
    A CMS enables a non-technical person to load, remove, and edit content on a website without any HTML or coding knowledge using a simple editor. You can update your website on any computer with an internet connection, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without the help of a third party.

    With a CMS, you can create fresh, up-to-date content that keeps people coming back for more. Studies show consumers are more likely to return to a website when they know they will find something new each time.

    And another bonus of keeping your content current — when search engines like Google see new stuff on your site, they’ll check in more often, thus improving your natural ranking.

    What’s best for your business?
    Just a few years ago, a CMS was an expensive proposition for a small business. These days, systems are more affordable since more plug-ins are available to web developers, lessening the need for custom programming. While a CMS can be an affordable option for most businesses, it tends to cost more than a standard HTML site.

    Here are some ways to identify whether a CMS is a good fit for your business:

    Use a CMS if
    • You update calendar or news pages regularly
    • You change or add content more than once per month
    • You want to improve search engine position
    • You need customer management tools, such as members-only areas or secure payment options
    • You want a blog

    Use a standard website if
    • You have content that’s relatively stagnant
    • You don’t have the staff time or resources to update your site
    • You need a website but have a limited budget

    The bottom line
    In this evolving world of online marketing, your company’s website needs to be an active and nimble promotional tool.

    More than ever, customers and businesses are looking to the internet for product and service information. Search engine position is getting more competitive as an increasing number businesses scramble for the attention of online consumers.

    A content management system can improve your search engine performance, give you control of your content, and keep maintenance costs down; however, it’s not for everyone. Evaluate what’s best for your business.

    Contact SmallPond Studio today for more info about a custom content management system or standard website for your business. E-mail us at or call 530-587-5625. For more marketing tips, visit SmallPond’s blog at

    Thursday, April 9, 2009

    SmallPond Develops New Site for Wrondel Self Storage

    Wrondel Self Storage has a new Web site, featuring information about the company’s customer-service-oriented storage facility.

    The new Web site,, allows visitors to view information about the company’s services, as well as request information about available space. People can also learn about unit sizes, mail box and mail delivery services and current move-in specials.

    “The new site is great because people can now conveniently learn about us online,” said Stacie Creps Smith, owner of the company. “It’s exciting to finally be able to showcase our services on the Web.”

    Truckee marketing and graphic design firm SmallPond Studio designed the Web site.

    Wrondel Self Storage is centrally located in the heart of Reno, just two blocks east from the Peppermill Casino and South Virginia Street. The facility offers storage units of all sizes for short-term or long-term rental with a live, onsite manager, security coded access gate and 24-hour surveillance cameras. To learn more about Wrondel Self Storage, visit or call (775) 826-6621.

    For more information on SmallPond Studio, a graphic design and marketing company located in downtown Truckee, call (530) 587-5625 or visit

    Thursday, April 2, 2009

    SmallPond Designs North Tahoe Event Center Site

    The North Tahoe Event Center has a new home online, featuring information about the facility’s options for weddings, conferences and other special events.

    The new Web site,, allows visitors to learn about the event center’s scenic location for weddings, meetings, conferences, trade shows, parties and community events. Visitors can request more information for their next event and view photo galleries to get inspiration for their event setup.

    “We are excited to display our services through our new Web site,” said Kathy Long, park and facilities manager of the North Tahoe Public Utility District. “The site provides an easy way for people to learn about the North Tahoe Event Center’s capacity for any type of occasion, and with a beautiful view, as well.”

    Visitors may also sign up for the North Tahoe Event Center's eSpecials via the Web site. Once a visitor enters an e-mail address, the information will be automatically added to the event center's contact list, making it easy for event center staff to manage potential sales leads and their e-mail marketing campaigns.

    Local marketing and graphic design firm SmallPond Studio designed and developed the Web site.

    The North Tahoe Event Center, located on Lake Tahoe’s picturesque North Shore, offers options for indoor and outdoor gatherings year-round. Both large and small events are welcome, from weddings, meetings and conferences, community events, parties and more. To learn more about NTEC, visit or call (530) 546-7249.

    For more information on SmallPond Studio, a graphic design and marketing company located in downtown Truckee, call (530) 587-5625 or visit

    Monday, March 23, 2009

    How to Produce Fresh Content and Copy Everyday for SEO

    Fresh and relevant content is becoming more and more important to SEO and establishing rankings, both for money terms and in the long tail. It may be easy to tell people “generate fresh content on a daily basis,” but in the long run, writing an article or blog post everyday can be tiring and troublesome, especially when an SEO manager has multiple things to do and reports to digest.

    Read more >

    Thursday, March 19, 2009

    Why Traditional Marketing Remains Important to Local Businesses

    It’s indisputable that the face of advertising is changing. From website, email, and blogs to social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, digital marketing has become the way to communicate; however, there are several reasons why traditional forms of printed marketing collateral remain an important arrow in any company’s marketing quiver.

    Reason 1: Not everyone has access to, or uses, the Internet
    According to a 2008 report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, approximately one-quarter of Americans have no Internet access, and those with limited or no access to the Internet tend to be older and less affluent. Thus, if your business targets an older demographic, old-fashioned print advertising or collateral may be a better tool.

    Limited Internet access is especially relevant in the Tahoe-Truckee area, where many of our potential customers are out-of-town vacationers. Take, for example, the family who rents a ski cabin for a week. If they don’t have Internet access, they are most likely to make decisions about where to shop, eat, and play based on the publications they pick up or the signs they view during their stay.

    Reason 2: Print collateral remains a powerful branding tool
    A strong brand creates customer loyalty and name recall in your clients’ minds. Strong brands are built through constancy and repetition, meaning that to become memorable to your clients, your brand (ie., your company’s logo, identity, and image) must be seen frequently and consistently.

    Print collateral still remains an excellent way to build brand strength. Imagine the second homeowner who lives in Bay Area. Each day he is inundated with advertising for products and services from his local media or from his favorite websites, which most likely are not Tahoe-focused. However, every month or so, he receives a postcard from House Painter X and every time he comes up to visit he sees ads for House Painter X in our local newspapers and on trucks driving around town. For years he doesn’t pay much attention to these ads, and then one summer he notices his vacation home is in desperate need of a new paint job. For a reason he can’t put his finger on, the homeowner suddenly remembers House Painter X as he is flipping through the Yellow Pages and decides to call them for a quote.

    Reason 3: We process printed information better
    A 2008 Forrester Research study finds that spam accounts for 90 – 95% of all sent emails. We have become accustomed to dismissing unfamiliar messages that as spam, and thus, the advertiser’s message is lost.

    Similarly, it has been proven that people have a much easier time processing printed information than that which we read on screen, as seen in the tendency to print out emails or lengthy reading material in order to better remember or understand it. Thus if your marketing messages are detailed, educational, or technical in nature, printed material may be a better choice than electronic media.

    Even though digital marketing continues to grow and remains an excellent investment of your marketing dollars, printed collateral cannot be left out of the mix of any successful marketing campaign.

    For more marketing tips, visit SmallPond Studio offers a full range of design and marketing services. You can reach us at 530.587.5625 or

    Freitas Rangeland Improvements Launches New Web Site

    Freitas Rangeland Improvements has launched a new Web site, featuring information about their solar-powered water pumping services.

    Using Flash, Javascript and XHTML, the new Web site,, allows visitors to learn about the company’s services, view current projects and get in touch for a consultation. All Flash on the site is set up so visitors without Flash enabled can still view all site content.

    Truckee’s SmallPond Studio designed the new site.

    Freitas Rangeland Improvements specializes in design and installation of solar-powered water pumping systems. They introduce water to remote areas of rangelands to open the door for better distribution of livestock, increased efficiency in forage utilization, wildlife habitat improvement and wetlands restoration. For more information about Freitas Rangeland Improvements, contact Jed Freitas at (925) 580-6415 or

    For more information on SmallPond Studio, a graphic design and marketing company located in downtown Truckee, call (530) 587-5625 or visit

    Monday, February 23, 2009

    SmallPond Designs New Site for Sacred Artichoke Catering

    Truckee-based Sacred Artichoke Catering has a new Web site with info about their unique services and a blog for foodies.

    Through the new Web site,, visitors can learn about the company’s philosophy and request to schedule a consultation. Sacred Artichoke also features a unique array of menus, including an aphrodisiac menu for newlyweds.

    “The new site is a great showcase of our catering services,” said Tommy Adkins, owner of the company. “It’s a convenient way for people to learn about our culinary philosophy and get in touch to plan their next event.”

    Local marketing and graphic design firm SmallPond Studio created the Web site.

    Sacred Artichoke Catering works to develop seasonal, sustainable and ethical menus, designed with care and perfection. With over 25 years of combined experience, the company caters large and small events, ranging from weddings and corporate parties to smaller, private affairs. To learn more about Sacred Artichoke Catering, call (530) 414-3368 or visit

    For more information on SmallPond Studio, a graphic design and marketing company located in downtown Truckee, call (530) 587-5625 or visit

    Wednesday, February 18, 2009

    Email Marketing - Where to Begin?

    With the economy in the shape it's in, it's difficult for small businesses to know how to spend their marketing dollars. We recommend e-mail marketing as one way our clients can make the most of their marketing budget.

    A recent survey of marketing execs by Datran Media found that e-mail leads all other marketing channels by a wide margin in terms of performance for their companies. Nearly 60 percent of respondents anticipated they would increase their spending on e-mail marketing in 2009.

    E-mail is a great way to tell potential clients about your product and services, and it reminds your existing clientele that you exist. Best of all, it’s relatively cheap.

    On a side note, this is not to discourage print advertising. Times are tough in the publishing world, so now's the time to get deals on ad space or to see if you can renegotiate your print advertising contract. Print advertising will always be important in our region’s tourist market.

    Back to e-mail marketing. Here is a bit about the basics:

    What is e-mail marketing?
    Basically, it is the messages you receive in your e-mail that look like a web page. Sometimes they let you know about a store's latest specials. Other times they're newsletters. Usually they include the company's logo and other branding elements.

    We generally recommend our clients keep the content short and to the point. People don't have much time to read e-mail, and you must be sensitive to that.

    How to get started
    At SmallPond Studio, we build custom templates for our clients, so they can either leave it to us to update their eblast each time they send it out or they can do it themselves with our simple editing tool.

    Once the e-mail is set up with the design and content, we import the client's e-mail contact list, set up a date to distribute the e-mail, and our software sends it. It's as easy as that.

    With our new e-mail marketing system, clients can even log in via the SmallPond web site and distribute their own e-mail campaigns.

    This is when the fun begins. After the e-mail has been sent out, our clients can log in and check the progress of their campaign. You can see how many people opened the message, who opened it, who clicked which links – the statistics are endless. They can even see what time of day the recipients opened the e-mail to determine when to send the next campaign.

    All in all, a custom e-mail marketing template is inexpensive to set up, and it's downright cheap to send. Couple that with the ability to track its success, and you have a lean-on-the-green marketing machine.

    Contact SmallPond Studio today to get started on your e-mail marketing campaign. E-mail us at or call 530.587-5625.

    Monday, February 16, 2009

    SEO Stuff: Google Analytics 101

    One of the more powerful tools SmallPond Studio adds to its web sites is Google Analytics. We set up each of our sites so our clients can view their site's performance and usage statistics.

    For example, with the use of Google Analytics, our clients can see how many visits their site has had in the last week, month or year. They can see where those visitors went once they arrived, how long they spent on the site, and how many pages they visited. They can see how people arrived at their web site – either by links on other web sites, from search engines, or through direct traffic (people who actually typed in the site's address to get there).

    You can even see which keywords people type into Google to arrive at your web site.

    There are varying degrees to which we use these statistics. For some of our clients, we use Google Analytics to help craft their online marketing plan. These statistics help us set up and track the success of Google AdWords and other online marketing campaigns. For other clients, we use analytics to improve their ranking in search engines like Google and Yahoo.

    Some of our clients simply enjoy knowing how people found them and where their visitors live.

    Contact us at to find out more about how you can use this powerful tool for your business.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    SmallPond Creates New Web Site for Green Engineering Firm

    Truckee’s Bender Engineering + Commissioning, Inc. has launched a new Web site, featuring the company’s energy and green consulting services.

    On the new Web site,, visitors can learn about the company’s various capabilities, which include commissioning, engineering, green building, energy ratings and LEED consulting.

    “Through this new Web site, we are able to show our full range of energy, certification and green consulting services,” said Jeff Bender, owner of the company. “The site allows our potential clients to learn more about what we offer and get in touch with us.”

    Truckee’s SmallPond Studio designed the Web site.

    Located in historic downtown Truckee, Bender Engineering + Commissioning, Inc. provides an assortment of services, including commissioning, engineering, green building, consulting and more. With a client base throughout California and Nevada, their projects range from small residential projects to large commercial projects. To learn more about Bender Engineering + Commissioning, Inc., call (530) 582-5578 or visit

    For more information on SmallPond Studio, a graphic design and marketing company located in downtown Truckee, call (530) 587-5625 or visit

    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    SmallPond Develops Two Web Sites for Tahoe Youth Golf Foundation

    Truckee-Tahoe’s youth golf organization now has a home online.

    The Lake Tahoe Truckee Youth Golf Foundation has launched a new Web site,, which allows visitors to learn about the nonprofit. The foundation also launche9 at Timilick Tahoe Golf Course. Through the site,, golfers and sponsod a site for its signature benefit tournament, the Tahoe Cup Challenge, held on June 25, 2009. Through the site, players can register for the event, view tournament information and learn how to get involved. is perfect for us because it makes it easy for golfers to register for the tournament,” said Keith Vogt, chief volunteer officer of the organization. “It’s a user-friendly way for people to learn how to participate not only in the Tahoe Cup, but in our meaningful organization.”

    Truckee’s SmallPond Studio designed both of the Web sites.

    The Lake Tahoe Truckee Youth Golf Foundation is a nonprofit corporation aimed to impact the lives of young people by providing learning facilities and educational programs that promote character development and life skills through the game of golf. To learn more about LTTYGF, call (530) 587-8137 or visit

    For more information on SmallPond Studio, a graphic design and marketing company located in downtown Truckee, call (530) 587-5625 or visit

    Friday, January 23, 2009

    SmallPond Creates New Web Site for Bella Vie Properties

    Truckee-based Bella Vie Properties has launched a new Web site, featuring their beach-front properties on the Mexican Riviera, California’s Central Coast and Lake Tahoe.

    The new Web site,, allows visitors to view photo galleries of the company’s properties, check availability and book a vacation home.

    “We are thrilled to showcase our homes through our new Web site,” said Mike Taterek, owner of Bella Vie. “The site provides a convenient way for our clients to view our properties and the spectacular scenery surrounding them.”

    Truckee’s SmallPond Studio designed the new site.

    Bella Vie Properties is a small collection of homes in beautiful and exotic places, including Mexico and California. Bella Vie works with clients to meet their needs in an honest, fair and ethical business setting. For more information about Bella Vie Properties, contact Mike Taterek at (530) 587-4982 or

    For more information on SmallPond Studio, a graphic design and marketing company located in downtown Truckee, call (530) 587-5625 or visit

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    SmallPond Revamps Humane Society Web Site

    The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe has revamped its Web site, featuring a new design, a content management system and expanded features.

    Through the Web site,, visitors can view adoptable animals, become familiar with the adoption process, learn about the organization’s programs, find out how to get involved and read success stories.

    Designed with an eye toward budget, the Web site’s content management system, developed by Truckee’s SmallPond Studio, provides a simple interface, so HSTT staff can make changes to the site without any coding knowledge.

    “Since we’re a nonprofit with a limited marketing budget, this new Web site is perfect for us,” said Stephanie Hiemstra, executive director of the Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe. “It’s really easy for us to make our own updates, and we don’t have to pay someone every time we want to add a new animal or remove an adopted animal.”

    The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe is dedicated to saving and improving the lives of pets through adoptions, community spay/neuter services and humane education programs. To meet adoptable dogs and cats, go to HSTT’s Adoption Day, every Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. at the Town of Truckee Animal Kennel, or call (530) 581-3199 to schedule an appointment. To learn more about HSTT, call (530) 587-5948 or visit

    For more information on SmallPond Studio, a graphic design and marketing company located in downtown Truckee, call (530) 587-5625 or visit