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Showing posts from 2010

To You and Yours...

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Front Row:(l to r) Steve, Laura
Middle Row:(l to r) Erin, Heather, Dana, Leah, Danelle, Alphie
Back Row:(l to r) Mike, Connie, Linda, Beth, Kevin, Ann, Lezlie, Jerry, Emily
Not Pictured: Shelley

Alpha Dog Marketing wishes you and yours a wonderful
pawliday season and a healthy and prospurrous new year!

Kudos to Linda

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It's sorta kind of a hot-dog-cool-cat deal when a recipient of one of our appeals sent by Alameda County Community Food Bank mentions the effectiveness of it on their blog. I know I walked around here a little taller (as tall as an all four walker can be, I suppose) last week when I received the email notifying us of this little nugget of goodness.

From the designer (Linda) of the package:"When designing this campaign I just pictured myself receiving the direct mail piece. What was it going to take to get me to read the copy and connect to the cause.  I’m a visual person, so getting me to read the copy of a direct mail piece is pretty tough.  I wanted to make sure that they took a moment and really looked at the picture. Who would say no to face like that?!"

Read the Kudos here.

Litter leader or last?

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With the holidays approaching like the speed of light (wha? Thanksgiving is tomorrow?) I start to think about family...even more than I normally do. I am part of quite a litter. I am one of five, and really, wouldn't want it any other way. It's always fun to go back to the farm and be able to roam free and investigate all the new places to run and jump. We always get fed so good when we go back too. Our favorite treats are usually in abundance.

Whenever the whole clan finds themselves in our childhood doghouse, we all quickly revert back to our young pup mannerisms and characteristics. the eldest, the middles and the youngsters. the bossy, the mediators, the chilled and relaxed. Do you ever wonder if your birth order in your particular litter plays a role in how you role? I am pretty sure it does.

It's said that the eldest in the family is usually well-organized, serious, goal-oriented, achievers, and believers in authority. Can be critical, scholarly, and self-sacrificing.…

What Can you Say in 50 Characters?

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Wow! With day light savings time over, the sun seems to rise...only to start it's fast fall out of the sky for the day. It kinda reminds me of how fast it takes your readers to decide whether they want to open your email or not! It's (snaps paws) that fast! And in the non-profit world, where our clients and friends are, this time of year is the most crucial...in people (and pets) needing our clients help...and our clients needing more money and donations.

Did you know the subject line of your email is probably the most important part? It's the first piece of that news that gets read...and the first piece to be judged by the recipient! (I know a thing or two about being judged...I used to enter contests for cutest puppy...and, well, I'm not going to braaaag, but I have a few trophies collecting dust up on my shelf...but I digress)

Anywho...subject lines! That's what I wanted to share with you today! Here are a few helpful hints from Convio on making that subject line …

Halloween, the Alpha Dog way

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L to R: Leah (CMYK), Dana (Pantone Color Swatches), Linda (RGB), Erin (Cowgirl -quasi Kalamity Kate), Beth (Mardi Gras Attendee), Adam (Dr. House)
Dear Friends, A few of the crew at Alpha Dog decided to dress up today in honor of Halloween. The three on the left are the creative department. They sorta look like a bag of skittles to me, but hey, if they want to call themselves CMYK, Pantone, and RGB, who am I to bark at them. They think they are so clever with these "print and web" related costumes! Erin was cowgirlin it up in her country gear, even down to the over sized freckles on her cheeks! Mike thought she looked like Klamity Kate, a local Nebraska celebrity. Most of us just looked blankly at him when he said that...it was sorta kinda before most of us were old enough to remember that sort of stuff. Beth came as a Mardi Gras attendee, but when she put her mask on backwards mid morning, she transformed into a traditional Native American with feathers in her headdress. And…

Sight for sleepy eyes

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Liam, a 4 legged friend of mine was heading out for his morning walk and bam! this is what greeted them! Sometimes it pays to get up with the sun. I hear Liam wakes her up e.v.e.r.y. morning by jumping up on her bed. That's a totally fun way to start the day, right? Right?! Right.
P.S. Thanks for the photo, Linda!

Dash? No Dash?

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How often do you check your inbox in one day? 4? 40? Yeah right! Maybe a "ruff" guess for my friends around Alpha Dog is more like "fur" hundred! Our inbox is one of the key elements in connecting with our clients.

Just this week, there was a discussion about how to correctly write the word that derived from electronic mail....you know what I'm talking about...email! Or is it e-mail? or E-mail or how about Email?

Some tidbits to chew on while chewing on a chew toy:
If you are using "email" on forms along with "phone" and "fax" and "web" it would look most like the others with no dash.If you are using "e-mail" along with other "online and social media" terms, you may want to use the dash, so when it comes to e-commerce and e-environment, you can easily distinguish it from a misspelling (doesn eenvironment look kind of funny?)When using email or e-mail, there's no reason to capitalize it, it's deriv…

Hey, I’m a social dog….right?!

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Holy hot dogs, I keep hearing all these terms like Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, Digg, LinkedIn and more. What are all these things? I know the little birds Twitter when I chase them, I think Four Square is that game the kids in the neighborhood play until I run in and chase their ball, I REALLY like to Digg in the yard and I feel LinkedIn when I get walked with the neighborhood dogs on one of those group dog leashes…but I don’t think that’s what everyone’s talking about.

I finally had a chance to Digg a little deeper into this social media thing, and I found some pretty interesting stuff. There are hundreds (maybe even thousands!) of social media sites that are available for use. Some of our clients use a few social media platforms to communicate with their donors and key community members. Even though it’s worked great for a few of our clients, there are a few things they had to think of before diving into social media:

Do some research: Learn what’s out there, see what other organ…

Sending Paws-i-tively Perfect Photos!

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The holidays are almost here, and it’s a busy time for most Alpha Dog clients. And we get TONS of pictures from our clients to put in their newsletters and e-blasts.

I’ll admit, whenever I can get my paws on a camera, I LOVE to take photos and send them to friends and family. But one thing I learned recently is that photo resolution makes a big difference when our graphic designers are trying to put something in a newsletter, versus something that goes online.

In very basic terms, photo resolution tells us how close lines or dots can be together for the image to be properly resolved or viewed. There are different ways to measure this, but to keep things simple, we measure photo resolution in PPI (pixels per inch). The higher a photo’s PPI, the closer those lines can be to each other, and the higher the image quality. But keep in mind, the higher the PPI of an image, the more file space it’ll take up in your computer or on your camera.

Most of our computer screens are at a resolution of 7…

De-Stress - Wind Down, The Alphie Way

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When my owners drink their coffee and watch the news in the morning, I like to sit and watch TV with them. I saw this program on CNN (who took their information from Parenting.com) about how to de-stress in five minutes or less. I thought it might provide some great advice, given that the holidays are coming up. I put my own little spin on some of these:

Lighten Up:
When the body absorbs sunlight, it enhances the effect of mood-stabilizing chemicals like serotonin. During the summer time, I like to play out in the yard as much as possible. (But you humans need to make sure you’re still putting on lots of sunscreen!) And during the winter months, when it’s too cold to go outside (other than to go potty) I like to lay in the sun patches next to the windows in the house.

Take A Virtual Vacation:
Close your eyes and visualize you’re in a wonderful, relaxing place. I like to think that I’m in the park and my owner is scratching my tummy.

Jump:
 Or jump rope. Or get some exercise. Chase you…

Tiny Makes a Big Impact

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Are you tweeting? Are you blogging? Are you facebooking?Are you what-ever-is-coming-nexting? If you like to link your readers/followers/friends to places all over the internet, you are used to copy and pasting links, right? But whoa there, some of those web addresses are super duper long...what do you do then? Sure, you can copy that whole address as your link, but ugh! All those letters and numbers in a long continuous string just doesn't do anything for the feel of your post. And what about twitter? Having 140 characters to use is usually fine, but with a really long link, you won't get said what you want to say.

Tinyurl.com is there for you. Such a great name too. So...so...so self explanatory! This site...you guessed it, makes tiny urls (web addresses) for you to use wherever you deem necessary.
Just copy the super duper long url address and paste it in the box in the middle of the screen (shown below) on tinyurl. then click "Make TinyURL!"
And -abracadabra-there …

NCOA – My new favorite treats?

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I was hanging out in one of the account manager’s offices, and she said something about ‘En-Cee-Oh-Ayh.’ My ears immediately perked up...ooohh! Is that a new, exotic snack for me?!

Well, I found out it actually isn't a new doggie snack from faraway lands. Actually, NCOA processing is something Alpha Dog provides to its clients to make sure they’re compliant with the United States Postal Service regulations.

Did you know that more than 43 million Americans change their address annually? Wow!! Those people who move fill out those change of address forms through the USPS, who compiles them into a big NCOA database (National Change of Address). Neato!

AND as of 2008, if you mail to anyone (whether it’s first class or standard class), you have to make sure your database has their correct information. But wait…how are our clients supposed to do that?!

Have no fear! Every time you mail with Alpha Dog, your data will be checked against the NCOA database, and you’ll receive the updated informa…

Ok great, but what time?

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A few weeks ago, we talked about what day is the best day to send out e-news...and some fellow pack members asked the next obvious question....what's for lunch?

That actually was the first question they asked, but it was followed shortly after by, "Ok Alphie that's great and all, but what's the best time to send out e-news?"

Super question!
(A quick-like-one-sentence-recap of what day works best: You have to test different days and figure out what works best for your business depending on who your audience is and what your appeal is trying to accomplish.)

By gosh by golly, that is exactly what you have to do here too! A few industry wide thoughts on this very subject:
1)best time to send is between 11am-noon and right after lunch to 3 pm weekdays.
2)best time to send is between 8-10am and 4-6pm weekdays.

No kidding! Some say one, some say another. Here's what I say:
1)Avoid late in the work day, people trying to clean out their inbox for the day.
2)Avoid early morni…

What’s this Acquisition Thing All About?

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Well, hot dog! The Alpha Dog Team is already working on the fall and winter campaigns for their clients! Even though they need year-round support, our clients have found that the holiday season is always a great time to fund raise. But my little doggie ears have picked up a few phone calls from clients, who are asking about their fall acquisition campaigns. Some of them are concerned because these campaigns don’t make as much money as the regular direct mail campaigns. So I did some sniffing around to figure out why acquisition is so darn important.

I found out that each year, the number of donors who give to an organization usually shrinks by 15 to 18 percent. Yowza! These former donors may have moved, passed on or have found another cause to support. No matter WHY they left, those donors need to be replaced, or the organization won’t make as much money the next year.

Because of this, Alpha Dog works with its clients to acquire new donors. The only problem is, acquisition can cost the …

To Send or Not to Send, That is The Question

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When is the best day to send e-news? If you send out any sort of e-news at all, I'm sure you've pondered that very question. We've wondered it, asked it ourselves, have been asked it by you, 'Googled' it too. We, just like everyone sending e-news, want. to. know.

I thought this a pawfect time to share what I found: 
1) Sending on Tuesday and Wednesday allows for the rush of Monday to subside, but still allows for the rest of the week to act on whatever the e-news wants you to.
2) What day do you like to read e-news?
3) Are there holidays or local events that need to be worked around?
4) Friday was also mentioned as the best day because it leads right into the weekend.
5) There were a couple places that mentioned Monday as the "new and hot" day.
6) Another source mentioned Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as the best days.

(You ask) So, Mr. Alphie, what's a girl or guy or dog to do?

One thread wove it's way through all the articles. The best day may be dif…

Taking Nashville by Storm

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Photo by Alphie Dana (Design and Layout Manager), Mike (CEO), Heather (Account Manager), Jim (President, Alpha Dog Strategies), Laura (Account Manager)
This fine group attended the HSUS Animal Care Expo in Nashville in mid May. Despite some flooding problems in the area leading up to the event, the whole event was a happy success!  And look! behind these fine folks are the new display banners we are using at all our Humane and Foodbank shows...the creative department did a knockout job!

(I wanted to go to the Expo so bad, I jumped in Mike's carry-on at the last second, I'm so quick (some say I have cat-like reflexes), he didn't even see me. Imagine his surprise when he opened his bag to retrieve his granola bar!)
Do you have photos of the Expo? Want to share? Email them to me and I may post them here or on our Facebook page!

Hi, I'm Alphie!

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Well, hello there folks! I'm Alphie, official online spokes-dog for Alpha Dog Marketing. I am quite excited to be able to share my own knowledge about the non-profit world...and I will also be sharing tips, "tails" and pointers from around the office and also from others working in the non-profit and social media world. So, come on, let's embark on this journey together!