Wednesday, November 23, 2016

I Am Truly Thankful And Grateful

Here we are again, Thanksgiving is upon us. The day before Black Friday, seems like folks look forward to Black Friday more than Thanksgiving lol. But have you ever thought about people who are in their homes who don’t have anything to look forward to on either Thanksgiving or Black Friday. For some this whole holiday season is just depressing and sad.

There are people, some you may know, that won’t celebrate New Year’s Day, Christmas, or Thanksgiving because it is the saddest time of the year. But then there are families right here in America that can’t afford to buy a turkey to put on their table. They are struggling to make ends meet and a turkey is an expense that is not in the budget.

I remember when 2 and a half years into my dysfunctional marriage, how the day before Thanksgiving, we didn’t have a turkey. I didn’t know from one day to the next how we would eat, you see my ex-husband was an abusive, drug addict.  He would beat on me just because he wanted to. I know now he beat me because I reminded him of what he didn’t deserve, of his dislike for himself.  To be free of that marriage, that life, I am forever thankful and grateful.

So while you’re out celebrating this day, as well as this holiday season, keep in mind there is someone out there that wishes they had it as good as you do.  Stay blessed.  

Thursday, November 17, 2016

How To Get Picture Power On Instagram

I am on Instagram everyday sharing pictures I took or motivational sayings I found online and liked. It’s fun and it doesn’t require a lot of conversation.  I’ve noticed some businesses are buying ads on Instagram. And although I wondered what a sponsored Instagram photo would look like. I believe I like them more than I do those ones on Facebook. Which is ironic because Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012 for $1 Billion.

These sponsored ads on Instagram actually agree with the photo sharing flow of the network.  Primarily short, interesting videos and static graphics catch my eye. The photos I like the most are well composed and well lit (blame it on my own photographic eye) as well as pictures that create curiosity as well as intrigue me.   Pictures that standalone and tell a story are also perfect examples of the things that automatically get a heart shaped like from me. 

As a business owner, these are the types of things that are popular on Instagram. As a consumer, I will respond to sponsored posts on Instagram either I’m looking for a product like that or I find interesting.  Take a look at the post from Ecigguide  a company that promotes and sells vape products and accessories. The photo is simple, clear and without clutter. If you don’t know what the product is, inherently it causes curiosity and you just may show it some love by commenting or clicking the little ‘heart’ icon to show your approval.

This company doesn’t purchase many sponsored ads, preferring to create powerful, well shot photos its followers like. They are using Instagram to create brand awareness, drive traffic to their website where potential customers can purchase their products.  Their strategy is powerful in that they are not shouting obtrusively in your face “buy me!”  Instead, their approach is a kind of laid back in your face presentation.  Notice the business name in the lower right hand corner of the photo.  The name and logo also match their Instagram name and if you click on the company name in the upper left hand corner, you will be led the their profile page which shares the link to the webpage where you can get more information about their products.

Also when you begin posting photos on Instagram, use hashtags  (#) to reach a wider audience.  Keep your content fresh, and use the search tool on Instagram to locate trending hashtags.  You may just find a trending hashtag that is relevant to your business and the picture you are posting.

Keep me in mind by following me on Facebook (latease), Twitter-- @lateaserikard and on Instagram (teasastips).  Or do it the old-fashioned way and call me (314-495-2497) for more information and possible social media consultations. I’d love to help you!

Friday, July 29, 2016

How To Set Up a Mobile Messaging Campaign

There are two ways to access memory: recognition and recall. Recognition happens when you come into contact with something and remember it because of a previous encounter. Recall is when you independently remember something without a prompt. To break this down: If I asked you to name every piece of clothing hanging in your closet, you would be able to name quite a few (recall), but you would not remember quite a few as well. However, if I showed you each piece, you would definitely know it was yours (recognition). One purpose of branding is to build recognition (of a brand, product, or service) until your customers remember your brand. Why? Because people are more likely to interact with things that are familiar.

Studies have shown that given a choice, most people in an unfamiliar location will make do at a chain restaurant they know rather than try a local restaurant that they have never seen before. That is the power of branding and branding is essential for your SMS marketing program. Here are proven ways to ensure your program will have long-lasting effect by establishing an official program name and use it consistently in all promotions. Make sure the program name appears in all SMS messages as well as cross-promote it to all of the marketing channels you are using: Web, email, social media, print, radio, television, everything.

 Here is an example of an SMS message promoting a restaurant offer: The good thing about SMS marketing is the more your customers see your messages, the more they will begin to recognize program branding. The goal is to ensure that subscribers to your SMS program will have already seen the branding in a Facebook feed, Tweet or email message. Leverage all of your social media channels. It goes without saying: a customer who elects to receive communication in multiple channels is a retailer’s most engaged customer and will have better recognition and recall of your brand.

Make sure to post regularly about your SMS marketing program including highlighting the subscription benefits – for example, a generous welcome offer for signing up to the program. Reward customers, especially those who opt into your mobile marketing program. In addition to regular updates, motivate potential subscribers by offering a welcome discount on their next purchase when they sign up. You should also plan to deliver exclusive offers and promotions available only to subscribers of the SMS marketing program. Just as importantly, make sure non-subscribers know about these benefits enticing them to join by advertising them in your other marketing channels.

Note: if sourcing exclusive offers is too difficult, announcing offers early (“Insider Alert: Members only sale this Friday only”) can be a great way to deliver exclusive value. For consumers opting into your SMS program through your Web site, the benefits of membership should be featured on your homepage before they click through to the sign-up page, increasing the probability those visitors will click on the link. An attractive graphic that bullets the benefits in brief, text that appears upon mouse-over or any number of other options will deliver the message that your mobile marketing program is for them. (Another example of an SMS customer loyalty campaign)

 Boost your mobile marketing subscribers by leveraging your in-house email-marketing list. Research has shown that overtime, a large percentage of customers on an email list will sign up to receive SMS promotions, if invited. This is a huge win. Customers who receive communications in multiple channels are high recognition, high recall and your most engaged customers. These people are brand loyal as demonstrated by the fact that they want to see and hear from your brand from more than one channel.

 Want to start an SMS customer loyalty campaign?

Contact me on Facebook— Or give me a good old-fashioned phone call at 314-495-2497!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

19 Reasons Why Text Messaging Works For Business

General Texting Statistics

Texting is the most widely-used and frequently used app on a smartphone, with 97% of Americans using it at least once a day. (PewInternet)
People worldwide will send 8.3 trillion text messages in just this year alone. That’s almost 23 billion messages per day, or almost 16 million messages per minute. (Portio Research)
Over 6 billion text messages are sent in the U.S. each day.(Forrester)
Over 80% of American adults text, making it the most common cell phone activity. (Pew Internet)
Text messages have a 98% open rate, while email has only a 20% open rate. (Mobile Marketing Watch)
Text messaging has a 45% response rate, while email only has a 6% response rate.(Velocify)
Texting takes up 14.1% of cell phone users’ time.(Nielsen)
90% of all text messages are read in under 3 minutes. (Connect Mogul)
75% of phones worldwide (4.5 billion) are text-enabled (Duo Call Communications)
96% of smartphone users text.(Acision)
Americans sent 69,000 texts every second in 2012(CTIA)
The average adult spends a total of 23 hours a week texting (USA Today) The average Millennial exchanges an average of 67 text messages per day (Business Insider)
On average, Americans exchange twice as many texts as they do calls(Nielsen)
Only 43% of smartphone owners use their phone to make calls, but over 70% of smartphone users' text (Connect Mogul)
55% of heavy text message users (50+ texts per day) say they would prefer to receive a text over a phone call (Pew Research Center)
In 2011, 31% of Americans said they preferred text messages to phone calls (Pew Research Center)
It takes the average person 90 minutes to respond to email, but only 90 seconds to respond to a text message.(CTIA)
American women text 14% more than men.(Nielsen)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Fire In His Eyes: Questions | Part 2

I didn’t see Daymon again until the next morning. While making coffee and frying bacon he walked in the door. Maybe it was the hypnotic smell of hickory-smoked bacon and premium roasted coffee that brought him through my door. Just as quietly as he left, Daymon returned the same way. I was having awkward feelings and thoughts on how to approach the situation. Should I ask? Should I just forget about it and push it to the side?

From past experiences with my physically abusive husband I knew to ignore a problem only makes a bigger problem.

Daymon had disappeared into the shower. I missed his strong body holding me last night. I didn’t sleep well. I knew I needed to know what was going on. But my body just wanted him to hold me and tell me everything was going to be all right. That what I saw last night was just a ‘thing.’ To be honest, I didn’t want to know what was going on. I just wanted my Daymon back. I needed his strength to complement my lack of. I was so deep into my own thoughts I almost let the bacon burn. Removing it from the frying pan, I went into the bathroom with Daymon. Needing his warm eyes, those strong hands to hold me and not even say everything was back to normal, but just give me a confirming look. I needed reassurance.

Like a chess player contemplating moves, I went back and forth between creating a subtle segue into the events of last night or just leaving it alone. My flesh won out, as I eased into the shower with Daymon holding onto him ever so tightly in silence.

Glad I turned the stove off before heading into the shower with Daymon. We started in the shower and ended up in bed basking in the warmth of satisfying togetherness. His strength overtook me, rendering me incapable of speaking let alone questioning him about last night. A part of me tugged at my common sense, demanding an answer, or an explanation. I gave in to the tug as it was seeking freedom only obtained by the truth about last night.

“Daymon about last night…” was all I could get out before his once loving warm eyes turned cold. “Baby leave that alone. It’s taken care of. So don’t concern yourself with it anymore, alright?” “But you were gone all night. Where were you?”

That was when I felt Daymon create an imaginary wall between us. He was standing his ground, and I was made to feel like I was out of place for asking such a thing. Without another word, he got up, put his clothes on and left. Daymon walked out my door the same way he came in, silently. All I could do was cry.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Fire In His Eyes |Original Short Story

By LaTease Rikard

He was the best. Courteous, handsome, kind, funny and unpredictable all in one. We met at the supermarket, me going out the door dropping a bag of fruit, him coming in the door seeing this beautiful woman in a vulnerable moment. Maybe the reason I dropped the fruit was to continue looking at the Adonis headed towards me. All eyes on him! In a moment of weakness he saw me. Saw me for who I was, an awkward, beautifully shy woman seeing her soul mate for the first time. At that moment time belonged to him. I just happened to be a part of it.

Daymon and I began dating. The dropping of the fruit, him saving my apples from tire wheel death was the beginning of a love affair not to be forgotten. Within weeks we were spending time eating ice cream, enjoying movies and of course more supermarket runs. He wasn’t pushy or demanding, just a man more comfortable in his maleness than I’d ever imagined. His chiseled jaw and well-structured body gave the false impression of demand. Instead he was more along the lines of a gentle lion willing to die for his woman lest she ever be disrespected. Since moving in together, he assumed the role of a man that takes care of his woman. Taking the helm with finances, going to work, paying the bills and allowing me to spend my money on what I needed and wanted long as he was included in that shopping adventure.

In a way I was a kept woman, and loving every minute of it. His caramel brown smooth skin couldn’t reveal his age even if you guessed today, tomorrow and next week. At 55 he had lived a drug free, alcohol free life. Preferring to eat healthy, exercise frequently, and enjoy the simple things life offered. But his hands were what kept me coming back for more. Daymon owned a construction company, and his strong, hard hands were what I waited on every night he came home. Walking in the door his eyes sought me out to kiss and wrap those rough hands and strong arms around my body. We kissed like we hadn’t seen each other in weeks. Daymon was all I’d been looking for in a man. He was the real deal.

One night after leaving the gym, I saw it. His representative was on break, and the real Daymon appeared. Subtle at first, but when the strange man walked up to him in passing appearing to whisper something in Daymon’s ear. Maybe I was imagining things; the man quickly walked past us and gave me a deadeye stare. A stare so intense my heart fluttered from fear. Who was he? What secret was Daymon hiding?

“Baby what was that about?” I asked.
Daymon turned to look at me more serious than he ever had and lied to my face.
“Nothing. I’ll take care of it,” Daymon said.
“If it’s nothing then why do you have to take care of it,” I asked innocently. That’s when the monster appeared. As if this fire-breathing dragon had been brought to life by the innocence of a question, for the first time I saw a side of Daymon I did not know.

In an anger filled voice with fire in his eyes Daymon said, “If it was any of your business you would know about it. But since you don’t know about it, then it must not be your business!”
Those words would have incinerated my eyebrows had it been fire. At that moment I felt worthless to him, just a woman seeking permission to be in his presence. Silently he drove us home, opting to leave me at home while he left to “go take care of some business.” Of course, that business didn’t involve me. And I didn’t dare ask where Daymon was going.

{END OF PART 1} ©2016 LMR Publishing All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Underground Railroad Slave Station: Josiah White's Log Cabin

Yesterday, I visited a 'station' - a safe house along the Underground Railroad in Southern Illinois. The Josiah White Log Cabin sits behind the Cheney Mansion, as undetected as one could imagine. If you're not looking for it, you'll drive right by.

Amazingly if you Google "Cheney Mansion" there is very little mention of its role in helping the slaves. Cheney was a politician and an active abolitionist. In fact, many abolitionists lived in Jerseyville, Illinois. When Harriet Tubman was helping slaves to freedom, she needed help, she needed a network of people who believed what she did that slavery was wrong. So she helped as many slaves as she could get to freedom. "The railroad truly was the feet of the escaping slaves or a silent trip hidden under the hay of a horse-drawn supply wagon of a "conductor." If you can, imagine walking from the deep South up to freedom, the north. Think about traveling only at night where it made it harder for slave trackers to catch them. Think about the conditions Harriet Tubman and her escapees had to survive under. Surely there was rain, cold, heat, and of course the wildlife that lived in those wooded areas. How about what they ate? No one had coats, only the bare clothing on their backs the night of the slaves escape. So it was important to have a conductor and stations in which to rest in order to get to the next stop on the Underground Railroad.

"The conductor was a person who assisted the slaves in getting from one station to the next. A "station" was a code word for the next safe stop on the railroad. And this railroad ran from the south to north into Canada (the promise land or freedom). Conductors suspected or caught helping fleeing slaves, risked being fined as much as $500, as well as threat to their life, limb and property. Alton's riverfront location was a vital hub in helping slaves create connections to freedom in the north. Free blacks and hired slaves who worked on riverboats were able to spread the word about the Underground Railroad to other slaves. Because St. Louis, down river from Alton, was one of the largest slave-holding areas north of New Orleans, historians believe many slaves escaped through Illinois as it was a free state."

The Josiah White Log Cabin was considered a "safe house" -- a place in which slaves traveling to freedom to the North could rest, get a good meal, before they left out the next night towards their journey to freedom. I must admit this was a daunting experience, it left me feeling humbled and very appreciative for what the slaves went through so I could have freedom. So we could have freedom. This is the 3rd in a series of articles on various historical relevant Black History events and locations in and around the St. Louis, Missouri region. Come back each day to enjoy more! Leave a comment below and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Elijah Parish Lovejoy: Abolitionist, Martyr

Though he only lived 35 years, Elijah Parish Lovejoy made a lot of Missouri slave owners angry. You see, Lovejoy lived in Alton, Illinois a the time and was an abolitionist who believed slavery was wrong, and he used his newspaper to write about it. This didn't go over well with the slave owners on the St. Louis side of the river. Lovejoy, "published a religious newspaper, The St. Louis Observer, and began to advocate the abolition of slavery. Despite the bitter feeling against him., Lovejoy persisted in arguing the fights of freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom from slavery. After seeing a slave, Francis J. McIntosh, burned at the stake, his editorials became so strident against slavery that he became an object of hatred by both Southerners and slave-holders. His press was wrecked by a mob in July, 1836, and he moved to Alton in the free State of Illinois."

That was the first time. However, Lovejoy would not be stopped. He believed what he believed and wasn't afraid to stand up against an angry mob intent on making slavery legal in all states. Anyone opposing them, were intimidated or even killed. "In Alton, Lovejoy became the Stated Clerk of the Presbytery in 1837 and the first pastor of the present College Avenue Presbyterian Church. He actively supported the organization of the Anti-slavery Society of Illinois which enraged the Alton citizens. He continued writing and publishing the Alton Observer even after three presses had been destroyed and thrown into the Mississippi River."

"On the historic night of November 7, 1837, a group of 20 Lovejoy supporters joined him at the Godfrey & Gilman warehouse to guard a new press until it could be installed at the Observer. As the crowd grew outside, excitement and tension mounted. Soon the pro-slavery mob began hurling rocks at the warehouse windows. The defenders retaliated by bombarding the crowd with a supply of earthenware pots found in the warehouse. Then came an exchange of gunfire. Alton's mayor tried in vain to persuade the defenders inside to abandon the press. They stood fast. One of the mob climbed a ladder to try to set fire to the roof of the building. Lovejoy and one of his supporters darted into the darkness to over-turn the ladder, for they knew they would be doomed if a fire was set. But again a volunteer mounted the ladder to try to ignite the roof with a smoking pot of pitch. As Lovejoy assisted Royal Weller in putting out the fire on the roof of the building, Lovejoy received a blast from a double-barreled shotgun. Five of the bullets fatally struck Lovejoy. He died in the arms of his friend Thaddeus Hurlbut. The mob cheered and said all in the building should die. Amos Roff tried to calm the mob and was shot in the ankle. Defenders of the press then laid down their weapons and were allowed to leave. The mob rushed the building, found the press, and threw it out a window to the riverbank, broke it into pieces and dumped the broken parts into the river, The body of Lovejoy was left undisturbed, remaining there until morning, guarded by friends who finally carried him home. He was buried on his 35th birthday, November 9, 1837."

Monday, February 1, 2016

Why Was The Dred Scott Decision So Important?

This month I will be writing a post each day on an event in Black History in celebration of Black History Month. I live in St. Louis, Missouri, and had no idea of the historical gems I was living around. All photos are mine, and original. I visited these places and took pictures just for the purpose of this series. I hope you enjoy it.

Why Was The Dred Scott Decision So Important?

“Dred Scott was a slave whose owner, an army doctor, had spent time in Illinois, a free state, and Wisconsin, a free territory at the time of Scott’s residence. The Supreme Court was stacked in favor of the slave states. Five of the nine justices were from the South while another, Robert Grier of Pennsylvania, was staunchly pro-slavery.”

“Chief Justice Roger B. Taney wrote the majority decision, which was issued on March 6, 1857. The court held that Scott was not free based on his residence in either Illinois or Wisconsin becausehe was not considered a person under the U.S. Constitution–in the opinion of the justices, black people were not considered citizens when the Constitution was drafted in 1787. According to Taney, Dred Scott was the property of his owner, and property could not be taken from a person without due process of law.” --

Basically, the court ruled that no slave or descendant of a slave could be a U.S. citizen, and therefore had no rights, nor could they sue the court for freedom. This court decision rendered slaves again powerless further stating that Dred Scott must remain a slave. The court took his freedom away, nullified it, and made this man a slave when he had only known freedom for many years. This trial went on for 11 years, making the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional. This trial took place in St. Louis, at the Old Courthouse, a now historical landmark.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

How To Target Your Customers

Reality check time.

I was doing some reading last night and came across a couple of well thought out concepts that I felt could help generate more traffic to my website.

These two things were interesting enough to cause me to take notes, and rethink parts of my ad campaign. I can report though, that just by coming up with these two things, my marketing is more focused and targeted.

My Most Wanted Response (MWR) as well as my Unique Selling Position (USP). These were two components I needed to incorporate in my marketing program ASAP! Inserting them was going to breathe life into my campaign and distinguish me from my competitors.
An MWR was explained as being the thing you want your ad, your website to ultimately do. Whether that MWR be a sale, a signup or a telephone call, you should structure your marketing efforts toward obtaining your MWR.
Your USP is the thing that separates you from your competition. Having a solid USP will bring you higher conversion rates as well as loyal customers.
Your USP could be the fact that you are the only one providing website reviews; with your information customers can now make an intelligent decision on whether to do business with that online merchant.
The next time you look at a website, see if it incorporates an MWR and a USP. The way you can tell if you are getting traffic to your site.
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