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Annex Comics Taps Social Media to Boost its Base

Around since the 80s, Annex Comics flourishes in 2012, due in large part to the way in which owner Wayne Quackenbush took the social media bull by the horns to promote the fine (and funny) art of comic books.

Here’s Part I of our two-part interview.

NIM: Wayne Quackenbush, I can’t think of a better name to stick onto a Web domain than Quackenbush, but you’re Annex Comics. How long has the Annex been around?

WQ: I started working at the Annex in 1994, and bought it from the owner in 1998. I had an extensive background in retail, having managed several photo-processing and video stores in NYC.

NIM: What’s photo processing? Just kidding. So you’re a savvy retailer who likes new media. Are you a wave-rider in your business, or does the Annex rely on your fan base/repeat customers for its success?

WQ: We’ve ridden through fads over the years, made a lot of changes and experimented with product as much as possible. I introduced video sales and rentals, for instance. The Annex was the first store in the state to go all DVD, and now we have dinosaur status because we’re the last store in Rhode Island to offer DVD rentals.

NIM: That’s very cool, Wayne. I miss the excitement of going to a place and renting something. Speaking of dinosaurs, a few businesses still have yet to embrace social media as a genius marketing tool. But you have. Tell us how you market Annex these days, and how that’s different from before.

WQ: I used to run occasional ads in the local papers, I put up flyers for events and got interviewed in local magazines and on public access TV. Word-of-mouth was and is most effective.

NIM: And what’s faster at getting words out of mouths than Facebook? Your store has quite the presence there. You have a Facebook page for your store, and a Web page for Annex Art Society.

NIM: Before I started following (stalking?!!) you on Facebook, I thought of your clientele as the hipster/nerd/geek squad. Am I on- or off-base?

WQ: My customer base fits the categories named but there’s more. A general description would be male, college educated, mostly in their 20s and 30s.

NIM: How to you market to the Kids who know everything and think everything’s “whatever”?

WQ: I always try to shock and amaze. The store markets a sense of wonder.

NIM: What’s shocking or amazing at the Annex these days?

WQ: I think people would be surprised at the inroads we’ve achieved in promoting local artists via Facebook through our daily artistic challenges, where artists all over the world participate, and our efforts to encourage creativity, especially in young people.

NIM: How do you reach the young’uns?

WQ: The Annex showcases at least 30 artists a year in our galleries. I work with local high schools in artistic intern programs and I teach a drawing class in the store every Saturday morning.

NIM: Well it must be fun, if people are getting anyone under 80 out of bed Saturday mornings! I think that’s great.

NIM: It takes a lot of effort to man those contests because they are so popular! And social media gives people lots of access to your wall. Why has the response to these contests been so great and how do you keep up with them?

WQ: Personally, the daily Art Challenge is a kind of creative calisthenics, an exercise to keep my brain hopping. I know a few others feel the same way. Plus, humans are social creatures, and it’s extremely gratifying to connect in this way and share images and ideas.

NIM: Isn’t that the beauty of social media? It allows you to actually have fun while you promote your business and grow your numbers. And, it gets people in your door who might otherwise just have walked by, had they not seen the quality of the art that’s being posted on your timeline.

Installment II: Facebook, Zombies, hashtags, and more!

Visit Annex Comics in real life at 314 Broadway in Newport, or go to https://www.facebook.com/annex.comics

 


NIM Brings the Film Connected to Newport

 

NIMRI celebrates its overarching theme – connection – with a film showing of Sundance’s “Connected” March 29

It takes a really good movie to silence the smart phones of a room full of NIMRI-ers, but the only lights flickering in the Jane Pickens movie house March 29 came from the big screen. Premiered at Sundance 2011, the gem “Connected, an Autoblogography about Love, Death and Technology” held the attention of NIMRI members for 85 minutes.

Afterward, the crowd spilled into Yesterday’s across the street to re-connect to their phones and each other, reaffirming the filmmaker’s message that human beings function maximally both naturally – and synthetically – as interdependents.

About the Film

Organizational leadership expert Dennis Rebelo of University Business Consultants sponsored and introduced the film, which was written, produced and directed by Tiffany Shlain, founder of the Webby awards. Viewers anticipating a trek through how social media is overtaking the universe were surprised – and deeply moved – when things got more personal. Shlain had initially intended for the film to talk about technology and where the human race is heading. But the plot takes a sad turn when her beloved father Leonard, a renowned surgeon and best-selling author, is diagnosed with brain cancer as Shlain herself negotiates a high-risk pregnancy.

There couldn’t have been a better plot device than hospital visits to humanize this technological coup of a movie. Shlain’s father is so brilliant and charismatic that visits with him are part classroom and part favorite grandfather. Through him, Shlain’s larger message about where the human race is trying to go via technology is somehow made palatable even to those who fear and loathe technology. The takeaway from the movie is really that humans seek out connection naturally, and do their greatest work in collaboration with others — and technology is simply a tool to support that. Technology is so often accused of thinning out human interactions, but Shlain’s magnified look at a family dealing with crisis shows how it can also deepen those connections.

Unfortunately, Shlain’s father died before the movie was over, and viewers are bounced into a reality of technological limitations that reminds us that we are still more human than ever.

Part memoir, part documentary, “Connected” is packed with animation, home movies and statistics, narrated by Shlain in a fast-paced, upbeat style that keeps the viewer running to catch up, mimicking the social media exercise of being everywhere, all the time.

Innovatour: Athletic Standard Helps Recruiters I.D. Student-Athletes

Athletic Standard Logo Rhode Island-based Athletic Standard simplifies the college athlete recruiting process, resulting in a win-win for both student-athletes and the institutions where they will pursue higher education and athletics.

Through certified athleticism and athletic potential testing, Athletic Standard provides potential players a gateway to college coaches across the country. Testing is based on the EPIC Index, which was used by a major Division 1 university to win more than 25 national championships in 25 years.

Via social media, Athletic Standard registers prospective college athletes’ information and test results into a database that can be accessed by coaches across the nation. The coaches are able to view a complete athletic profile, which includes academic records, videos of students on the field or court, and more.

Athletic Standard is revolutionizing the youth athletic market through this testing. If an athlete wants a recruiting edge then Athletic Standard is a must.” –Steve Gibbs, Hoop Mountain Basketball.

Hoop Mountain Basketball is one of Athletic Standard’s key players. With numerous locations throughout the country, facilitators of these programs assist scholastic basketball players in meeting their athletic and academic goals. The testing tool also provides student-athletes with maximum exposure to college and prep school scouts, which is a crucial connection for prospective players. Other key players include Noble and Greenough School and Elite 75, which is specific to New England.

Athletic Standard benefits Rhode Island by preventing nationwide coaches from overlooking the small state’s potential athletes. It gives coaches outside of our state the opportunity to observe the talents of students whom they might not have access to otherwise.

Who are Athletic Standard’s key players?

  • Their key players are Mountain Hoop Basketball, Elite 75 New England and Noble and Greenough School.

What is the Process Athletic Standard uses?

  • ATHLETIC STANDARD can help simplify the college recruiting process by testing and registering potential college athletes for free onto a secure database that can be seen by college coaches from all over the country. Coaches will have a certified athletic test score as well as a complete athletic profile including academic records, game video, and more. (athleticstandard.com)

How does Athletic Standard benefit Rhode Island student-athletes?

  • Allows students to be matched with Rhode Island colleges.
  • It helps high school and club coaches looking to provide opportunities for athletes.
  • It helps college coaches who want to take advantage of the recruiting process a high school or club coach looking to provide o

Why do you personally find it interesting?

  • I personally find it interesting because I have never heard of this type of organization. Rhode Island can benefit from this because it is the smallest state and high school athletes can be overlooked. I think the website is a great and safe way to help coaches and athletes in the right direction.

Alexa O’Rourke and Claudia Blanco

ChipLeakas

Quick Tips to Lure Visitors From Newport Interactive Marketing Experts

Smack between tech-savvy Boston and New York, Newport is also hosting the America’s Cup World Series & Tall Ships. How can you use new media to lure visitors to your establishment? Panel featured:

  • Mindfull’s Social Media Training Guru Chip Leakas, specializing in real estate
  • RI Blood Center’s Social Media Maven Kathy Manchester, who rocked NIM’s Social Media on a Budget panel
  • Social Media Manager Brian Hodge, who feeds multimedia for GoProvidence.com

PLUS a blitz round NIM experts will shout-out their best quick tips and fixes

Perfect for organizations and businesses, whether they are technical or not. Come to NIM to learn, network & maximize benefits of Newport’s busy season!

Missed this great talk? Learn more about video & visuals and more via the NIM media library!

Become a NIM $upporting member, if you aren’t already, for access to the vast video library of past presentations and watch from your device at your convenience.

NIM Events You Missed

New Media events you may have missed

April 26, 2012 – Pinterest for Business: All You Need to Know

Annie Colella of Discover Newport (the Convention and Visitors Bureau) shared how Pinterest can work for your business. Attendees learned how to get to get started with Pinterest and how to get the most out of the social media site. Highlights from Pinterest for Business are posted on the Newport Interactive Marketers blog.

March 29, 2012 – The film “Connected” at the Jane Pickens Theater

 

 

March 1, 2012  Optimize Online Marketing With Secrets of a Revenue Coach

Let’s take a look at our websites and social media from a proven sales perspective.

Does your website put customers off? You think your website describes your company and products or services. You think you’re not “in the way” when they come to your site to learn about you — or via social media Read More

1/26/2012 Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

Annette Tonti, CEO of MoFuse, shared mobile web best practices for publishers and advertisers. NIM attendees learned the difference between a mobile app and a mobile site and how to build effective web content.

Check out the highlights from “Make Your Business Mobile Friendly.” Learn how to use mobile to engage with customers on Designated Editor’s blog.

 

Newport Interactive Marketers @ URI Social Media Social

Kevin Vine: Interactive Marketing Manager, Dunkin’ Brands, Inc.

Shawn Simmons: Director of Public Relations, StyleWeek

Suzanne McDonald: Chief Content Strategist, Designated Editor, NIM founder

11/29/2011

Newport Interactive Marketers joined the University of Rhode Island for the URI Social Media Social. The NIM speakers provided insights to students and Newport Interactive Marketers about what an intern can do and how social media can boost a business.

Discover what attendees learned from “Cross the Digital Divide” between digital natives (interns) and busy professionals on Designated Editor’s blog.

Create and Market Your Brand Story

Jamie Palmer

10/27/2011

Jamie Palmer, the Senior Practitioner at University Business Consultants LLC, taught NIM attendees how to tactfully articulate the brand. Jamie stressed the importance of telling the story and not selling the story. NIM attendees learned how to engage their audience with messages that would resonate.

Check out the key points from “Create and Market Your Brand Story.” Learn how to create a personal and effective brand story on Designated Editor’s blog.

Enhance your Brand with Google+ and Twitter

Discussion Panel

9/29/2011

Panelists Matt Medeiros of Slocum Studios and Michelle Quillin of New England Multimedia shared their insights on Google+ just as it launched. A general consensus was Google+ was not appropriate for all brands at that time. But for those who are concerned about SEO, it’s worth considering.

Learn more about to enhance your brand using social media from “Google+ Twitter Q & A at Newport Interactive Marketers” located on Designated Editor’s blog.

Intertwining Social Media and Customer Service

Chuck Dennis

8/25/2011

Chuck Dennis, Vice President and Senior Consultant for Knowledgence Associates, taught NIM how to infuse social media with customer service to boost engagement and ROI. NIM attendees learned how to interact with customers’ concerns and complaints through social media. Tips for detecting and redirecting what could become a PR debacle were also included.

Discover what attendees learned from “Social Media and Customer Service With Newport Interactive Marketers.”

Join NIM at the top of Newport Tweetup

7/21/2011

Keeping the social in NIM, attendees gathered high over Newport for free appetizers, drink specials, and nonstop networking.

Drive ROI from Google Analytics

Jay Murphy

6/23/2011

Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts instructor Jay Murphy showed Newport Interactive Marketers how to maximize Google Analytics to drive ROI. NIM attendees learned how to attract people that will actually buy and how to bring in more buyers and prospects.

Find out more about what attendees learned from “Google Analytics with Jay Murphy at Newport Interactive Marketers.” Discover how to get the best results from your online efforts, on Designated Editor’s blog.

SEO Mythology and Tactics from SEO Book Community Manager Eric Covino

Eric Covino, http://www.creativesignals.com/

5/19/2011

NIM was thrilled to have Eric Covino of internationally regarded SEO community SeoBook.com and CreativeSignals.com answer questions on Search Engine Optimization and Google rankings. NIM attendees learned tactics to get search engines to rank their sites number one. Eric gave tips on how marketers can boost their websites in just one week! He also explained how SEO differs for service businesses and local retailers.

Learn more about SEO from “SEO: What’s working? What’s relevant? A Newport Interactive Marketers session”, on Designated Editor’s blog.

Facebook Marketing Best Practices to Boost ROI

Tom Schuyler, Pandemic Labs’

4/27/2011

Tom Schuyler, Pandemic Labs’ Director of Accounts, shared Facebook best practices and ROI measurement types. NIM attendees gained tools and insights to measure the value of marketing on Facebook. Tom explained how to utilize Facebook analytics to assess weaknesses and opportunities to make brand presence more valuable. Attendees learned the core metrics you can use to determine how much Facebook is doing for your brand/business.

Find out more about what Newport Interactive Marketers learned from “Facebook Marketing: Best Practices to Boost ROI.” Discover how to increase your return on investment using Facebook on Designated Editor’s blog.

Learn and Leverage Video for your Brand Success with Newport Interactive Marketers

Patrick Hughes of Visual Post

3/29/2011

NIM hosted Patrick Hughes and Scott Quillin to share their expert opinions on online video posts. NIM attendees learned why videos are so important to the success of their businesses. The experts explained how to use YouTube and how to start your own brand channel.

Check out the highlights from “Optimal Video on a Budget with Newport Interactive Marketers.” Learn how to incorporate cost-effective video marketing into your business on Designated Editors blog.

Mobile for Marketing with Newport Interactive Marketers

Tamara Gruber

1/20/2011

Tamara Gruber, the founder of Red Giant Consulting, guided NIM attendees into the mobile marketing world. She explored the difference between mobile apps and mobile sites and how they could optimize their businesses.

Discover more about what attendees learned at “Marketing with Mobile with Newport Interactive Marketers”, and grasp why mobile marketing matters on Designated Editor’s blog.

Social Media Secrets with Newport Interactive Marketers

Kathie Manchester from the Rhode Island Blood Center

Dana Duellman & My Perfect Space Entrepreneur, consultant, Realtor

Moderator: Nick Brown, Community Manager at Astonish Results,

10/21/2010

Newport Interactive Marketers hosted a panel of social media experts to teach attendees how to optimize social media. Experts shared the best way to connect with customers through social media and discussed the most effective platforms to use.

Learn how to enhance your success in social media from Designated Editor’s blog post, “Social Media Secret’s Out: A Recap and Tools with Newport Interactive Marketers.”

Search Engine Optimization Insights with Newport Interactive Marketers

Doug Wilson

9/30/2010

Newport Interactive Marketers hosted Doug Wilson SEO specialist at Netsense, a Pawtucket-based market leader in outsourced IT, website, and web marketing solutions. NIM attendees received a how-to seminar on search engine optimization insights. Attendees also learned how to boost their Google rankings.

Social Media Answers With Newport Interactive Marketers

Patrick O’Malley

8/26/2010

NIM hosted nationally known expert Partick O’Malley. Patrick is the former VP of Operations for Northern Light, Google’s former top competitor, and has spoken across the country and nationally. He is an expert on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Google. Attendees gained insights to use social media to effectively boost their businesses.

Newport Interactive Marketers Networking

Stephen Melanson

7/29/2010

Stephen Melanson opened the attendees’ eyes to the importance of Verbal Branding. The seminar focused on concise messaging.

Check out highlights from “Social Media and Verbal Branding: Get Your Twit Together.” Learn how to build your social media foundations with verbal branding on Designated Editor’s blog.

Newport Interactive Marketers Networking

Highlights from OMMA Conferences

Jessan Dunn Otis

6/24/2010

Jessan Dunn Otis, a linchpin, recapped Seth Godin’s talk in Boston on June 17, 2010. The seminar also highlighted from the OMMA Conference.

Check out a key point from “OMMA Video Conference 2011 Highlights on Designated Editor’s blog.

Newport Interactive Marketers

Matthew Mamet

5/20/2010

Matthew Mamet of EditMe presented how small businesses and individuals can use a Wiki platform to share information and foster communities. NIM attendees learned how to up their online presence quickly and easily.

Discover what NIM attendees learned from Designated Editor’s blog post, “Tips for Building Communities from Matthew Mamet of EditMe, presented at Our First Newport Interactive Marketers Event.”

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Newport Interactive Marketers: Increase Sales With a Revenue Coach

Revenue Coach Shares Proven Strategies to Increase Sales

Let’s look at our websites and social media from a proven sales perspective. Revenue Coach and author Kristin Zhivago helps helps brands become to customer-centric. 

What Your Current Clients Can Teach You 

  • What you think is important, isn’t what is important to the customer
  • Go where the customers are: a lot of CEOs are NOT on Facebook
  • If you’re imitating another company then you’re blowing it…customers are coming to you for a reason!
  • Best market research/data mining is asking existing customers the RIGHT questions
  • Client interviews will reveal the trends, in 6 phone calls; they’ll all basically say the same thing
  • Anticipate their questions and help buyers on their journey. You guess= you lose!
  • Have to ask current customers the right questions in the right way
  • People are doing their homework on you before they even contact you
  • If you call your customers yourself, you will still get the data, they’ll just be more polite
  • If you’re only asking one question of an existing client, ask them what they would do if they were in your shoes.
  • Channels,social media etc.- without customer knowledge is like whistling in the wind
  • Treat customers properly and give them what they want

Understanding the Buyer’s Process

  • Buying process changing radically. Overall, you are NOT in control of the process
  • Buying: First friends, then websites, and then Google
  • 80% of buyer’s questions are answered by others, not you!
  • Need to know why and how buyer’s bought from you
  • What’s going to happen to me after I buy? A key question buyers have that you need to answer.

Common Marketing Flaws

  • “Marketing is no longer about what you say, it’s about what you do.”
  • Don’t follow fads and don’t obsess with channels!
  • Is your data flawed? If you’re relying on salespeople, focus groups, social media, surveys and 3rd parties, the chances are your data is flawed
  • Stop selling and start supporting the buyer process
  • Relationship marketing is a misnomer. Do you want car dealers showing up to dinner?
  • Surveys are a waste of time, people will not say in writing what they are really thinking
  • Need to understand where you are in the spectrum to know what to say on your site, newsletter and other content
  • Everyone is doing something that gets in the way of sales
  • Usually you’re screwing up how you’re presenting the product or something else that’s fixable
  • Are you emphasizing what everyone already promises anyway? Everyone expects a boat to float
  • The problem with social media, It’s the biggest time-suck!
  • Usability matters more than design: We don’t look at billboards on the highway never mind on your screen

Branding

  • The difference between branding and your brand? Branding is what you say; your brand is what they say about you
  • Branding is the promise you make. Your brand is the promises you keep

 

A special thanks to all the NIM attendees who tweeted during the event! @KristinZhivago, @JoAnnLefebvre, @SusanneDay, @johnpicozzi, @PRnick, @scottindermaur, @vallerieMalkin, @trendyjenny, @NEMultimedia, @sue_DesigEditor, @NewMediaNPT

 

Don’t miss Newport Interactive Marketers’ next gathering: March 29 public is welcome to the film “Connected” at the Jane Pickens Theater. Tickets are $10, payable to the theater. Preregistration requested. 

Revenue Expert Shares Proven Strategies on How to Increase Sales

Do you know why people buy from you? What about those who don’t?

Find out with Revenue Coach and author Kristin Zhivago at Newport Interactive Marketers on March 1 in Newport, RI.

Revenue Coach Kristin Zhivago is an expert at aligning buyers’ perceptions with sellers’ assumptions. Zhivago has interviewed hundreds of business owners and their customers to determine what attracts people and what makes them come back.

Join Newport Interactive Marketers on March 1, 2012, to learn from Revenue Coach and author Kristin Zhivago at 41 North, 351 Thames St., Newport, R.I. Offering Southern New England’s best networking and learning, Newport Interactive Marketers gather monthly to help area businesses and professionals leverage social media, online marketing, websites, and more. The March 1 event is free and open to the public.

Sellers, Zhivago says, do not know these crucial components: “What you think is important about your business may not be important at all, and what they think is important may be something you never even talk about.”

Her main goal is to help her customers understand the relationship they have with their own clients. And on Thursday March 1, Zhivago will help Newport Interactive Marketers attendees do the same.

“With that knowledge, all of your messaging – everything from your signage to your emails – will be relevant to new customers looking for the same experience,” Zhivago says.

The biggest mistake small businesses and local retailers make: They never find out why someone chose them in the first place – nor why they keep coming back.

It is possible to rectify these mistakes: Interview current and past customers by phone, using the guide Zhivago outlines in her book, Roadmap to Revenue. While online surveys may be more convenient, Zhivago advises using the telephone.

“These interviews work best because people talk freely when they are engaged in a private conversation,” she says. Using the information acquired from the interviews, businesses can make relevant changes to attract new clients.

It only takes about seven customer interviews for the business to see profitable trends. These interviews will show the company exactly what customers’ value about their business.

“The differences are sometimes subtle but always significant. Words matter. Sellers always talk to buyers in one kind of language, and buyers talk to other buyers in another kind of language. Until you actually interview your buyers, you won’t know what those exact words and phrases are,” Zhivago warns.

“And your words and phrases will not resonate with potential customers. And, by the way, you won’t get this data from social media discussions, interesting as they are,” she said.

Social Media and the Revenue Coach’s Perspective

In today’s modern age where every company seems to have a social media site, it can be difficult to “stand out” in the crowd.

“The trick, is to be helpful in a relevant way (interviews help with this also – you’ll know what is relevant).”

Zhivago advises companies to set up a content production system and work on it daily, whether it’s creating content from scratch or curating for your audience.

“Social media is the most resource-hungry marketing method ever invented. You can’t be lazy about it.”

Learn what to say to your customers, via social media and offline

Don’t miss Revenue Coach and author Kristin Zhivago and Newport Interactive Marketers on March 1, 2012. Free registration.

Register for Optimize Online Marketing With Secrets of a Revenue Coach in Newport, RI on Eventbrite