Saturday, September 29, 2012

Cost-effective Advertising

Here at Advanced Cabinet Systems, we are always looking for ways to advertise our company that are both cost-effective and reach a large audience. I can't say that everything we do reaches our target audience, but it does help to get our name out there and give us more credibility within our field.

Below, is a compilation of free (or very inexpensive) ways to advertise your business online. All of which ACS is already taking advantage of--and reaping the rewards of a significant increase in website hits! Whether you are just starting your small business or have been established in your industry for years, a little free advertising never hurts, right?

1. Facebook: Last year Facebook introduced a new program aimed at helping small businesses promote their services. To access the free ad offer (worth $50)*, you will first need to take out an ad on Facebook, and then will be credited with $50 worth of free consumer clicks.

2. YouTube: Earlier this year, YouTube began giving away $50 million worth of $75 credits to small business owners when they sign up for a video advertising service. This service replicates many of the features from Google's AdWords, including pay-per-click and setting budgets for bids, but within the video advertising realm.

3. Pinterest: While I guess this isn't technically an advertising outlet, it is a great (free) way to promote your company by pinning things such as new products, completed projects, blog posts, and press releases.

4. LinkedIn: Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn allows businesses to claim a "company page" and provide information on their services, employees, job openings, and link to their company website. Another great feature is the fact that, unlike Facebook, LinkenIn does not offer as many interactive features--i.e. their is no "wall" to worry about maintaining--making it a great choice for employers that don't have the time or resources to spend updating statuses on a regular basis.

5. A Blog Platform: Whether you use Blogger, Typepad, WordPress, or any of the other numerous sites that offer free blogging platforms, a blog is a great, fairly easy way to give potential customers and job seekers a glimpse into what your company is all about. Blogging not only gets your name out there, but if done correctly, makes your company a resource by providing others with pertinent information on subjects in, or even outside, of your field.

Whether your company embraces one or all of these advertising outlets, they are great ways to increase your online presence and make your name more visible on search engine results. I will warn, however, that it is important to regularly maintain whatever accounts you decide to use, because honestly, how disappointing is it to find the company you have been searching for online but realize they haven't updated any of their information for the past two years?

Does your company take advantage of cost-effective or free advertising? Have you seen a difference in your sales numbers? 

*Please note that this free offer is limited to the first 200,000 businesses, on a first-come, first-served basis.

sources: one

Friday, September 21, 2012

Avoiding Social Media Mistakes

I have to admit that I have never felt very compelled to network with other people in the design industry via social media. However, a few months back, my supervisor was featured on the Woodworking Network blog discussing the vital role that social media plays in making new business contacts and increasing sales figures (you can read the post in its entirety here).

After reading the article I could see where his arguments were coming from; social media is everywhere. Unless you don't have access to the internet or have an enormous amount of willpower to resist its pull, you too are most likely linked to it in some way or another.

I recently came across an article on that gave several great tips that businesses who are just getting into the social media game would to wise to follow. Below is a quick run-down of what they had to say, but I would suggest that you check the article out here, it is a very informative read!

Mistakes to avoid when using social media for your business...

1. Starting without a plan
  •  Resist the temptation to skip creating a strategic plan that outlines your goals and any resources that you will need to reach those goals.
  • Sit down with your staff and develop a well laid out plan that includes who is responsible for what.
2. Poorly timing social media posts
  • Know your customer and how they behave on social networks. 
  • Be sure to time your posts so that they are seen by the largest audience. Research has shown that the majority of people using social media live in Eastern and Central Time Zones. Therefore if you live live in the Pacific Time Zone and are posting the majority of your information near the end of the work day, you have missed the boat on the largest possible audience seeing what you have to say.
3. Breaking social media rules of etiquette
  • Before you start, be sure to familiarize yourself with some of the basic "rules" of social media.
    1. Start conversations by asking thought-provoking conversations.
    2. Don't follow someone on twitter, then unfollow them when they begin following you.
    3. Promote other people as well as your own brand.
    4. Don't spread yourself too thin.
4. Failing to measure social media success
  • Employ services that will help you measure the effectiveness of your social media campaign.
5. Ignoring your competitors
  • Know who your competitors are and what they are up to. 
  • Keep a careful eye on their social media campaigns and use their followers praises and complaints to shape your own online presence.
Does your company have a strong social media campaign? What do you think makes it successful? 

Sources: one

Friday, September 14, 2012

The ACS Catalog Goes 3D

By Kyle Rennaker, ACS Draftsman
The 1960’s marked the beginning of the CAD Revolution with the invention of “Sketchpad” by Ivan Sutherland, the CAD industry continued to flourish by leaps and bounds over the next five decades with the creation of BIM software such as Autodesk Revit (originally created in 1998 by the Charles River Software company).  As architects and engineers latch on to this BIM technology to help improve the process of constructing and designing buildings; manufactures must be able to keep up with new demands of 3D material.  And that is where Advanced Cabinet Systems comes into play.

In June 2012, Advanced Cabinet Systems released its first ever Advanced Cabinet Systems Revit Catalog.  Up to this point, architects were responsible of creating “generic” casework as “fill-ins” for specifications in their 3D projects.  Manufacturer-created 3D models, also known as Revit Families, help remove this trouble for architects by allowing them to easily download and drop them into their project. 

Easy accessibility is just one benefit of having manufacturer-created material; there are many more reasons why it’s beneficial.  One of the big benefits would be that each cabinet is to the standards of Advanced Cabinet Systems.  Every size that is available is easily accessible through a “type catalog”.  A type catalog gives all of the size options available through a pick-list without bogging down the model, thus keeping a relatively small file size.  Finally, another great benefit is that specifying the cabinets in a project is easier because the matching product number associated with the physical catalog is included with each model.  By loading in the “custom casework tag”, every floor plan would include the product number by being placed over the matching cabinet.

By having the manufacturer create their own Revit models, it creates a more stream-lined process for designers and architects in the overall build process.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Space Saving Furniture

I live in a small house--and when I say small, I mean it. We've got a downstairs with very little space division, a lofted upstairs, and two very, very small closets where I have to shove what seems like every possession we have into on a regular basis. To be perfectly clear, we need more space--or we need less stuff, whichever. Regardless, when I received an email from my boss recently about a new line of multipurpose, space saving furniture, it got me thinking about all the possibilities small spaces hold if a little forethought is put into their design and furnishings. Whether you are dealing with a small residence, office, or retail space, there are countless space saving ideas and fixtures that will meet a number of needs--all in one compact package.

Let's take a look at a few of my favorites...and I don't know about you, but many of these made me think, "well duh, why didn't I think of that??"

1. Boxetti

Designed by Rolands Landsbergs, each modules "is designed to achieve maximum efficiency of particular demands for functionality and suitability," and boy, does it look good doing it. I love the modern look and clean lines of this collection--from the office, to the bedroom, to the kitchen, this line can make even the smallest spaces functional. Check out the full collection here.

2. Club

Created by Daniel Debiasi and Federico Sandri for the German manufacturer Schönbuch, this space saving mirror/wardrobe combo would be perfect in a small home or clothing store.


3. As if from nowhere...

Designed by Orla Reynolds, I can think of countless places that this piece would be useful, i.e. my own home! A fully functional bookcase discreetly houses two tables and four chairs, making the need to worry about unexpected guests a thing of the past.

4. Minuetto Space-Saving Table

Produced by Italian manufacturer Milano Smart Living, this piece is great for anyone living in tight quarters. "It starts out as a console table but quickly transforms into a large dining table big enough to seat 10 people"--um, what?! That, my friends, is good engineering.

5. Folditure Leaf Chair

Created by architect Alexander Gendell, this chair folds to less than 3/4" thick and can be hung in a closet when not in use. With an aluminum composite frame and sturdy mesh seat, this durable chair is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

6. Twin Chair

This chair, designed by Philippe Nigro, is a clever two-in-one deal that allows a person to use the chairs stacked, or two people to use them separated--great for times when you need extra seating but can't afford to have chairs taking up space on a full-time basis.

Are you a small space dweller? Do you have a piece of space-saving furniture that has made your life a little easier? Leave a comment and let us know!

sources: one . two . three . four . five . six . seven . eight . nine . ten . eleven