Media Buying & Planning

A nighttime photography of Piccadilly Circus.

Have you just launched a new product or service for your business? If so, congratulations! Now, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to market this new offering. One beneficial way is through media buying. 

Like search engine marketing, media buying is very much a formula. There is a whole process behind media buying. As such, for today’s blog post we’re going to be covering all the steps for a successful media buy. Before we begin, let’s dive into what media buying is. 

What Is Media Buying? 

Never heard of the term before? Media buying is the procurement of media space and time to display ads. Media buying falls into the paid media category and includes print ads, radio advertising, commercials, and even digital ads. Because it is so diverse,  it can be a very beneficial avenue for businesses to help them achieve their marketing goals.

Know Your Audience 

Before you launch a campaign, you need to first determine who your target audience is. What is the age, gender, social status, marital status, location, and hobbies of your ideal customer? Paint a picture of who they are. These insights will help you not only with your messaging, but it’ll help you choose where you display your ads. 

Research Your Target Audience


Once you’ve identified your target audience, it’s time to do research on your audience. Businesses need to know where their ideal customers and clients spend their time and what leads to their purchases. As we blogged about earlier this year, not every generation buys the same way. Read our blog post, How to Market to Different Generations, to learn more about the four different generations- baby boomers, gen X, millennials, and gen Z. Older generations are more likely to respond to traditional forms of media like print, radio, and TV whereas younger generations prefer social media, blogs, and YouTube. 

Research Time & Messaging 

To be successful, you also need to factor in the right place, time, and messaging. 

These days timing is everything when it comes to advertising. Knowing where you audience is at a given time is the difference between a strong ROI and thousands of dollars just wasted. This article from Centro shows daily, weekly, and seasonal consumer trends.  

Equally important is messaging. Powerful messaging will express the value of your brand and it’ll help your ideal customers and clients resonate with you. To write compelling copy, think about what differentiates your business from others like it. Use imagery to tell your story and don’t forget to keep the copy simple. Don’t be too wordy. 

Research Competitors 

Knowing what your competitor is doing is always critical. You should ask yourself, do they have a media buying strategy? What are their marketing strategies? What is their key messaging? Knowing this information can help you save time and money. 

Choose The Media

Next, you have to select which media you want to go with. Your ad could be displayed in a newspaper, travel guide, magazine or on a commercial, billboard, or the radio. When choosing your media, be sure to think about your audience. Baby boomers are more likely to pick up a print publication. The ways Generation X likes to be marketed can be comparable to Baby Boomers and/or Millenials. Millenials like engaging with creative, interactive forms of media.

Allocate Your Budget

Ah, budgets. While they can be annoying and anxiety-inducing, they are always important when money is concerned. 

Negotiating 

Whether you select a radio station or newspaper publisher, it’s important to negotiate beforehand, not after. Look for deals and ask for discounts. Be sure to compare offers before you make a final decision.  

If you’d like the extra help with media buying, let us know. At Sperling Interactive, we have done media buying campaigns for various businesses.

Interview With Our Director of Search Marketing, Ray St. Amand

A photograph of Sperling Interactive's director of search marketing, Ray St. Amand using a laptop.
Managing digital marketing campaigns is no easy task what with SEO and social media algorithms constantly changing, and we are so grateful to have our director of search marketing, Ray St. Amand, on staff. Ray manages all aspects of our pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, and SEO efforts and oversees four digital marketers. He always make it point to educate himself so our team can stay ahead of the curve. Today we decided to sit down and interview Ray about his role at Sperling Interactive, how he develops marketing strategies, and his personal interests.

Where are you from? 

I was born in Salem, Massachusetts but grew up in Beverly, Massachusetts.

What does your day-to-day life look like as the director of search marketing for Sperling Interactive? 

My day-to-day is always evolving. One day I could be focusing on a new campaign launch for a client while the next day I could be having client calls and meetings throughout the day. Guiding and mentoring my team is always my top priority as well. Each day is different which makes me love my role.

What is your favorite part about search engine marketing? 

I personally love conducting website audits and finding new ways to improve the sites’ functionality and user experience. I also enjoy developing content plans. There is just something calming and satisfying about clicking through every page of a website and thinking as a user would.  

Digital marketing is one industry that changes all the time. How do you keep up and continue learning? 

I am always reading new articles, subscribing to weekly newsletters from popular marketing blogs like Search Engine Land and Neil Patel. From there, I take the things I’ve learned and put them into action while testing my own creative ideas at the same time.

What do you wish people knew about search engine marketing? 

Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, a search engine marketing strategy takes time to progress. It isn’t like flipping a switch and being flooded with leads and results. It takes time to mold our strategy, analyze the data, and make adjustments when necessary. 

What’s your favorite thing about Salem? 

The beautiful history of architecture. I love walking around some of the old neighborhoods and imagining what it looked like hundreds of years ago. My favorite area is the Wharf area and Derby Street. I lived off of Derby Street for three years and loved how the Willows, the Commons, the waterfront, and Downtown area so close in proximity.

What is something no one knows about you? 

That’s a tough one. I’d have to say my passion for cars. My father was a mechanic in Salem back in the 70’s and 80’s and growing up we’d always work on the family cars together (mostly me handing him tools and finding the bolts and nuts that fell in tight places).

You can learn more about our awesome staff here,here, and here

Website Launch: Premier Bride

The homepage of premierbride.com.

Anyone who’s planned a wedding before knows the process can be overwhelming. With so many vendors to choose from it can be hard to know where to begin and where’s the best place to find them. If you’re in the same boat or know someone who’s getting married, direct them to Premier Bride, one of our latest websites! Bringing couples and wedding vendors together is what Premier Bride does best. 

Premier Bride is an award-winning publishing and marketing venue that helps couples plan their wedding locally. They are a company that operates with both the engaged couple and wedding service providers in mind. They offer real time wedding information, helpful tips, photo galleries, and quality wedding services. 

We started working with Premier Bride at the beginning of this year. The main goal with this website was capturing couples who are planning their wedding. Premier Bride wanted engaged couples to use their site throughout the whole process of them planning their big day. One of the problems with their old site is users would get stuck in circles when they were trying to find vendors. The navigation wasn’t clean, and as a result, it left users confused. Additionally, Premier Bride wanted to make sure vendors knew couples are using their site as an active source. 

Premier Bride’s Old Site

Here’s what Premier Bride’s old site looked like.

The homepage on Premier Bride's last website.

Premier Bride’s old homepage.

The drop down menu that would appear when you would look for your wedding location on the old site.

Here’s the drop down menu that would appear when you would look for your wedding location on the old site.

The old homepage for Premier Bride Boston.

The former page for Premier Bride Boston. You would look for vendors in your area by utilizing the left sidebar. 

Premier Bride’s New Navigation

The homepage of premierbride.com.

Premier Bride’s new homepage. 

We wanted to keep the homepage simple since Premier Bride is a multi-site website. There is a site for each Premier Bride location under one WordPress installation. Users go to the location that most applies to them. 

The homepage for Premier Bride’s Boston site.

The mega menu for Premier Bride's new website.

We decided to keep the navigation simple too. Local Wedding Vendors and Advice  Planning is the only place where users get a drop down menu. Users can also use the search bar to find vendors that best match their wedding vision.

The wedding ceremonies and chapel page of Premier Bride.

The Boston Ceremony Sites & Chapels web page. Users scroll down to view all the venues in the Boston area. Users also have the ability to enter their zip code or filter A-Z.

A New Aesthetic 

Phil Condon, the developer for this project, explains “we had to develop one market theme that all of the sites share. Because WordPress (the content management platform we used to build the site) can pull dynamic content, it makes each site unique. Each site uses a database that pulls the content onto the pages.” 

“Premier Bride wanted a traditional wedding feel with a modern design. They wanted a design that would make them stand out from other wedding planners,” described designer, Jose Gonzalez. To capture this, Jose decided to let the photos of couples getting married and the cursive font in the heading tags do much of the story telling.

“I think it’s cool each site has the same bones, but they can all be tweaked to be their own unique site. Every site offers a new user experience,” said Lauren Termini, one of the project managers.  

Optimizing For Search Engines

Every site at Sperling Interactive is optimized for search engines. Our search engine marketing director, Ray St. Amand, stated the key for this multi-site was including locations in the meta titles. A meta title is the name of a web page. The title is displayed in the browser and visitors and search engines read it. A mistake to avoid when creating a meta title is any keywords that are too vague. Adding the city or region into the meta titles for each Premier Bride site was important as it helps couples planning their weddings in that location find Premier Bride. 

The catering page on Premier Bride's website.

Boston Catering-Beverage is the meta title for this page. 

To show Premier Bride’s effectiveness to wedding service providers, Ray put UTM codes on the vendors’ links. A UTM code is code added to the end of a URL that tracks the performance of a campaign. Through a UTM code, a vendor can see who came to their site via Premier Bride. 

After building the websites for several event venues like the Hawthorne Hotel, Danversport Yacht Club, and Publick House Historic Inn it was fun creating the website for the ultimate wedding planner. It was a large project for sure, but one we were up for the challenge of!   

To learn about other websites we launched this year, check out here and here.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

You have probably heard the term ‘inbound marketing’ before. It has become quite the buzzword, and right now it is the future of marketing. 

How Inbound Marketing Differs From Outbound Marketing 

Inbound marketing is the process of attracting prospects to your business’s products or services through content that educates and delights. Inbound marketing is an online marketing strategy that entails your website, blog, social media, email marketing efforts, etc. 

Outbound marketing is often viewed as traditional marketing. Tactics for outbound marketing include telemarketing, radio/TV, trade shows, seminars, emails to purchased lists etc. 

Why Outbound Marketing Is Becoming Less Effective 

Outbound marketing is called outbound because it is all about pushing your message out there in the hopes of it resonating. Over time, this strategy has become less effective. As this article from Hubspot states, because people are becoming more and more inundated with outbound marketing efforts, they are starting to utilize ways to block them out like caller ID, spam filtering, and Sirius satellite radio. 

Outbound has a low ROI because it targets everyone and anyone. Inbound targets the right type of traffic to your brand. You attract these people by knowing and understanding your ideal buyers. 

Why Inbound Marketing Is The Future

As we noted above, inbound marketing requires the Internet, and as a society we are using the Internet now more than ever before. An estimated 1.92 billion people are expected to purchase something online in 2019

The Internet provides buyers with instant information gratification. They can learn just about anything there is to know about a brand from their pricing and reviews to their turnaround on delivery and staff in just a few clicks. 

Another reason why inbound marketing is the future is customer buyer behavior is changing. Brand trust has never been more important. Due to the Internet, consumers have more options than ever before and they can also compare those options. 

Due to the political climate, people also caring more about authenticity and integrity from brands.  As this article from Crowdspring states, millennials in particular have a deep distrust of traditional advertising. A study found that only 1% of the millennials polled would trust a brand because of their advertising. This generation alone is one reason why outbound marketing is becoming less popular. 

The Different Types Of Inbound Marketing 

There is no single inbound marketing tactic that works well on its own. While we rely on SEO to draw visitors from an organic search, SEO doesn’t work if there’s no content on a site. Without social media promotion, blogs don’t reach interested people. 

Inbound marketing is about targeting verses advertising to the masses. In inbound marketing, the mission is to represent customers and be found verses representing a company and finding customers. It’s 1:1 targeting verses mass advertising. 

Although it varies greatly from business to business, these days buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their journey before they before they engage with a vendor’s sales rep. In inbound-marketing, efforts build upon themselves over time. 

To wrap things up here’s why inbound marketing works: 

  • It Increases Brand Awareness 
  • Puts Customers In the Driver’s Seat
  • Is Fact-Based Over Intuitive-Based 
  • Improves SEO


At its core, inbound marketing is curating a strategic content strategy tailored for each stage of the buyer’s journey. By doing so, you are providing valuable content towards each specific user. 

At Sperling Interactive we offer search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social media, blogging, and email marketing. We work hard to implement inbound marketing for each of these services for each of our clients.  To speak with us, call (978) 304-1730. 

Interview With Our Project Manager, Lauren Termini

This year we hired our second project manager. Her name is Lauren Termini. You may been greeted by her either at our front door or over the phone. Lauren procures, plans, and executes website projects and advertising collateral. Not only that, she also photographs all our clients’ photographic needs from events and meetings to head shots. Lauren is hard-working, organized, and super friendly. We are so glad Lauren joined us in January and are excited for her to tell you more about herself today.

A head shot of Sperling Interactive's account manager/photographer, Lauren Termini.

Where are you from?

I always find this to be a tricky question because I have lived in many different places throughout my life. I was born in Las Vegas, and before my family settled in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania in 1997, I lived in San Antonio, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Avondale, Pennsylvania. Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania is located in the northeastern part of the state just outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

What is being a project manager like?

Being a project manager is fun, challenging, and full of variety. I really enjoy that every day is different, and I think my favorite part is immersing myself in, and learning about different industries in order to help each one of our unique clients.

What has been your favorite Sperling project to date?

Lauren: The Topsfield Fair’s new website. While overwhelming, the site has been really fun to recreate. The fair itself is highly visual – with lights, sounds, animals, food – so we were able to get really creative with the new site. With their new online presence, I am looking forward to photographing this year’s fair with their new site in mind.

Where did you fall in love with photography?

I cannot remember exactly where I fell in love with photography, but it was around sophomore year of high school when I enrolled in the Intro to Photography class as an art elective. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be an artist, and after taking all three photography classes my high school had to offer, it was an easy decision to apply early action to RIT’s Photographic Illustration program, specifically majoring in Photojournalism with a minor in Journalism.

What are your favorite things to shoot?

Wow, tough question. I love to travel, so I would have to say that photographing while I am traveling is the best, because it’s all new and exciting. As I have gotten older I have become more confident in photographing people, and I feel I do a great job at making people feel comfortable. While fun, people are a challenge!

How do you manage to run a successful photography business alongside a project management role?

Coffee, at least seven hours of sleep a night, and when I have a day with nothing on the calendar, I make sure to take full advantage of it. I rarely think about work and emails on those days as otherwise I’d burn out!

What do you like to do for fun?

Travel is near the top of the list, but I also enjoy running, eating/trying new restaurants (I am a huge foodie), visiting breweries, reading and I recently have started archery.

What is something no one knows about you?

I can walk on my hands and I used to be a competitive gymnast. Not many people in my adult-life know that about me because I ended my career when I was 17, but I still very much view myself as a gymnast, and probably always will.

We have done two other employee spotlights this summer. Be sure to check out our interview with our COO, Rachel Grubb, and our lead web developer, Phil Condon.

How to Market to Different Generations

Graphic of four different age generations; baby boomers, gen x, gen z, millennials

As the world of marketing continues to expand, the ability to market to distinct niches is increasing. While everyone is unique and has their own preferences, research has shown that generational groups have a lot in common. This helps with marketing. By focusing on the different generations, a lot can be taken away for marketing. Having certain generations as target markets can save money and time by knowing the kind of people who will be receptive to particular ways of marketing. 

Target marketing is beneficial for learning about which specific customers the marketing should be aiming for. By choosing people with a shared factor, such as by location, gender, or interests, marketing can be more effective by focusing efforts only on those demographics. When thinking about the marketing, two important questions businesses should ask are “Who are the current customers like?” and “Who would you like your customers to be like?”. If there is any difference between the two answers, target marketing can help to get them more aligned together.

Different age groups can be a great place to start. The four main generations are Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964),  Generation X (born between 1965-1981), Millennials (born between 1981-1995), and Generation Z born (between 1996-present). Each generation is examined to see how they compare with particular marketing styles.

Baby Boomers

Of the generations, this group is the oldest in age and can be the least technology savvy. They can be found reading print more than any other generation. Thus, marketing in newspapers and magazines can best be applied to this age group. They also can be big fans of guides, catalogs, and books. Major pieces of technology, such as the internet and smartphones, were developed later in their lives. This explains why it took longer for Baby Boomers to overcome the learning curve and to implement gadgets into their everyday lives.

Still, Baby Boomers are emerging online and their online presence is on the rise. Many have enjoyed reconnecting with old friends online. Facebook and LinkedIn are the top platforms to find this age group. Baby Boomers emphasis on relationships can also be linked to how they like to have brand trust and brand loyalty with companies. Content with clear and brief information are delivered best over desktops and tablets. 

Generation X

As one of the middle generations, this age group is an assortment of people. As a result, the ways Generation X likes to be marketed can be comparable to Baby Boomers and/or Millenials. Although they are the smallest age group of people, Generation X should not be overlooked. They have the highest average income on the national level, which is reciprocated in their top-tier purchasing power

They use tablets, desktops, and mobile devices. Videos can be a nice interchangeable medium to use in this instance since it can show well on all devices. Additionally, blogs can be sought after for an organized and interesting application of information. Generation X still likes to rely on email to stay updated. 

Millennials

This generation is at the heart of the smartphone craze. They have the highest percentages of smartphone owners with 92% and laptop owners with 70%. Millennials have been the trendsetters for everyday technology, especially known for using phone apps, for anything from using social media to checking their bank accounts. Their ease with the constantly changing technology causes this generation to be able to learn and adapt quickly. The fast-paced environment is what they are used to. 

On the other hand, they are used to seeing a lot of media, so they can require more to entice them in comparison to the other generations. Thus, they want to be able to get information concisely. Information should be directly to the point. Still, Millennials often like to see creative and/or interactive media. Imagery can help attract their attention. They also engage with incentives, such as sales and offers. 

Don’t consider calling this generation because it is likely they will not answer the phone. Although they can often be found on their phones a lot, they still will not pick up calls. Texting or emailing are preferred in order to have clear and concise correspondences. 

Generation Z

As the youngest of the four generations, this group has grown up around technology. By being the generation to which it has become second nature to know how to navigate technology, they are most likely to catch up to Millenials with their mobile and online trends. Generation Z has another world available to them through technology, as seen through their vibrant social media presence; Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, TikTok, Twitch, and Musical.ly. are among their top mobile apps. 

Generation Z can work well with more creative content, such as through social media, quizzes, memes, and other graphics. They also are the most likely to make purchases from their mobile devices, such as from food apps or online clothing sites. It is important to stay up to date with popular trends in order to keep up to date with Generation Z.

Always Have a Plan

Target marketing to any of the four generations offers a concise plan to work with. Each of these generations’ expectations, likes, and dislikes provides information to strategically use for marketing. Considering the different elements of the generations makes sense based on how they behave and navigate life. It is important to realize who you are marketing to through different advertisements. Digital pieces will attract different people than those that gravitate to print pieces, which is what generational marketing is all about. The goal is to better end up understanding the connection between both the marketing and the customers.

 

This is the second blog post by marketing intern Maura Honan. The first blog post was about brand trust, you can read it here.

Interview With Our Lead Developer, Phil Condon

Portrait Photograph of Lead Developer Phil CondonThe lead developer at an agency doesn’t just create websites to meet clients’ needs. They also serve as their team’s mentor, oversee how the development of projects is going, and contribute to the biggest web and/or app products. Our lead developer, Phil Condon, has mastered all of these responsibilities along with picking the best songs to listen to and cracking the funniest jokes throughout the workday.  Since Phil has a lot to offer, we decided to chat with him so our audience could get to know him better. 

Where are you from?

Salem, MA. 

What inspired you to go into web development? 

I originally got my Associates in Graphic Design from North Shore Community College and wanted to be a designer. Then as I was going for my Bachelors I decided I wanted to learn to code. I’ve always been interested in the Internet and spend a lot of time online so I eventually got interested in how websites are made. When I started at Sperling Interactive, I was a designer/developer but over time decided development was my strength.

Where did you learn how to develop websites? 

I am primarily self-taught having used various paid and free online resources like Team Treehouse, YouTube, and Google but I got my Bachelors of Art in Interactive Multimedia from Salem State where I took a few HTML/CSS classes.

What is your favorite Sperling project to date? 

It’s hard to pinpoint one single project. I enjoy working on sites that involve creating interactive elements that drive a better User Experience. Some websites I had the privilege of working on that have great UX are Bluesel, the campaign for the Concord Museum, Harbor Tours, Bridgewell, and Brunswick School’s admission site

What is your favorite part of the website building process? 

I really like creating something from nothing. At Sperling Interactive, we start with an empty text editor and over time we eventually have a fully functional website.

What is something most people don’t know about you? 

I can juggle! 

What do you like to do for fun? 

Play sports with friends, play video games, and develop my coding skill further. 

What’s your favorite thing to do in Salem? 

Live here. I’ve lived in Salem my entire life and have seen it evolve drastically over the last 27 years. I also enjoy being near the water and it’s interesting living and working in a huge tourist destination.

What is your key to success?

Having a clear plan from the beginning and persevering through any challenges that may arise.

Thank you Phil for all of your work at Sperling. To learn more about our team members, check out the interview we did last month with our COO, Rachel Grubb, here

Habits of Creative People

A person using a drawing tablet and laptop. All organizations need creativity to prosper. When you’re being creative, you’re able to come up with new ways to improve your business and differentiate yourself from your competition. According to findings from an Adobe/Forrester Research study, companies that encourage creativity are 3.5 times more likely to achieve 10% revenue growth goals and are 50% more likely to report a commanding market leadership over competitors. If you’re someone who’s never dabbled in creative endeavors before, here are some of the most common habits of creative people to get you going.

Creative People Take Breaks From The Internet

There’s no denying the Internet is amazing. It enables you to gather information on anything you fancy, shop from the comfort of home, meet new people, and correspond with friends and families with just a few clicks. But the Internet can also suck up our time, be noisy, and become a big echo-chamber since algorithms feed us content based on what we’ve looked at. As a result, the Internet has made it harder for us to prioritize our creativity and truly listen to ourselves. Say no to the Internet when you wake up and an hour or two before you go to bed. Take that time to daydream or work on a creative project and not interact with a screen. By doing this, you’re able to re-connect better with yourself and have more creative thoughts.

Creative People People Watch

Creative people see the world as their oyster. They know creativity can come from anywhere. Writer Joan Didion kept a notebook with her at all times. She wrote down her observations as a better way to understand the world around her.

Creative People Keep A Journal

What do Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Mark Twain, and Thomas Edison all have in common? Besides being brilliant innovators, they all kept journals.

Journaling has countless benefits. It’s cathartic, helps the brain regulate emotions, brings forth clarity, and can help people process and generate new ideas. Remember, journaling is just for you. There is no right or wrong way to journal. When you write about whatever you want, you’ll be surprised by the ideas that come to you. Creativity is all about connecting the dots.

Creative People Embrace Being A Beginner

When you started your business, did you expect yourself to be Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, or Elon Musk right away? No. If you’re trying out a new creative project to foster your creative muscles, you can’t expect yourself to become an expert overnight either. You’re not going to become the creator you desire by placing high expectations on yourself. Creativity should be fun. Embrace being a beginner and enjoy the process.

Creative People Talk About Their Ideas With Others

Talking to other creative people about your projects/ideas gets your energized. Another awesome thing that comes from talking with other creative people is they can serve as your sound board and unofficial accountability buddies. Don’t have a creative friend? Join a creative MeetUp group, go to a networking event, or strike up a conversation whenever you see someone doing something creative be it a person painting a mural in your community or a person playing music at an open mic night.

Creative People Know When They Work Best

Creative people know the hours when they work best and stick to it. They recognize having a schedule supports their creativity. If you’re a morning person, carve out time in the morning. If you’re a night owl, utilize night time. It doesn’t matter what time of day you work best, just as long as you stick to it and work towards recreating the same routine every time. Try to work in the same environment with the same simulations around you, be it coffee, calming music, alongside other people, etc.  

Does your company encourage a creative culture? What are some ways you foster your creativity to improve your business?

Our Favorite Things To Do In Salem During October

The exterior of the Salem Witch Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.It’s October and, as a Salem-based business, we couldn’t be more excited. October in Salem is such a magical time and today we’d like to share with you our favorite things to do in the witch city during the month of October.

Go To Far From The Tree for Cider.

 
Nothing screams fall quite like apples. We’re so lucky to have a cidery here in Salem and Far From The Tree is an exceptional one. What we love about this place is they aren’t afraid to experiment with their ciders. They make unique ciders that have featured jalapeños, black tea, and maple syrup in them! Far From The Tree has a cozy taproom, delicious pop ups on the weekends, and they host regular events such as trivia, movie nights, and local bands.

Visit the Salem Witch Museum.


We had the pleasure of creating a new website for this iconic museum this year. The Salem Witch Museum is the museum to go to if you want to learn all about the 1692 Salem Witch Trials and witchcraft today. The first part of the tour is presented through thirteen life-size stage sets, figures, lighting, and stirring narration. The second part is a guided tour that explores paganism, how Hollywood has shaped our perception of witches, and Wicca.

Go to the Hawthorne Hotel Annual Halloween Party.


On October 27th, the Hawthorne Hotel is throwing its 20th Annual Halloween party. If you haven’t been, you haven’t properly experienced Halloween. Their annual party includes three floors of food, fine costumes, live music, DJs, physics, and a costume contest. This year’s theme is “Happily Never After.”

Visit the Hocus Pocus filming sites.


Who doesn’t love the Halloween classic, Hocus Pocus?! The film takes place here and, as such, was filmed here. Old Salem Village was filmed at Pioneer Village, Max’s house is 4 Ocean Street, Allison’s house is the Ropes Mansion, and the Halloween party that Max’s parents attended took place right across from our office at Old Town Hall.

Watch Cry Innocent: The People vs. Bridget Bishop.


The best way to understand the Salem Witch Trials is to attend Cry Innocent: The People Vs. Bridget Bishop. In this live action play, Bridget Bishop is convicted of being a witch and you are put on the Puritan jury. You get to cross-examine the witnesses and make the final verdict. Cry Innocent is the longest continuously-running show north of Boston.

Have you come to Salem for Halloween before? If so, what’s your favorite thing to do? Let us know in the comments.

Google Is Closing Google+

Google+ symbol
In 2011, as social media started gaining popularity throughout all age brackets, Google decided to hop on the train and start its own social media platform Google +. On October 8, 2018, Google announced it will be closing the consumer version of Google+ over the next ten months, with a completion set for August 2019.

Why Google Is Closing Google+

Google’s reasoning for closing its social network is due to a lack of use and security issues. In the blog post where Google announced Google+’s closing, Google reported

Google +’s usage and engagement is so low “90 percent of Google + user sessions are less than five seconds.”

Did Google+ Ever Impact Ranking?

For a while, Google+ did impact search results. Since Google+ was set up to rival Facebook, Google really tried to generate conversations on Google+. Back in the day, it would highlight Google+ content in search results and in Google News. There was also a time when Google+ was essentially Google My Business.

Google+ Features

Google+ launched Circles, Hangout, Huddle, and Sparks to make it a more social platform.

Through Circles you can personalize your friend groups. Rather than sharing all of your updates with everyone your friends with, you can select which circles see what.

Hangout is Google+’s video chat and instant messaging. You can communicate up to ten users at once through Hangout.

Huddle was a group chat for phones, and Sparks was a place where you could find content on your interests.

When Google+ was unable to replicate Facebook, it switched its strategy and used Google+ as a medium to bind not only Google services between themselves (Google+ is integrated with Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive, and Google Calendar), but Google with external services. You may have noticed a website offering you registration via Google+ before.

What are people saying?

Many marketers have been saying the demise of Google+ has been a long, drawn out death. Over the years, many marketers stopped creating a strategy for Google+ and a lot of websites took it away an option to share. Google’s top executives stopped using it about three years ago.

According to an article published yesterday by Business Insider, Google is beta-testing Google+ features for businesses. One of the features is tags. Tags will make it easier for employees to engage in conversations across their company and they will also help employees follow specific content. Google is planning on providing analytics with tags so employees can see what employees are viewing their content. Google is planning on unfolding more features in 2019. 

What do you think about Google closing the consumer version of Google+? Did you ever use the social network and have a strategy for it? What are your thoughts on Google unrolling features for the business version of Google+? Let us know in the comments.