Marla Murasko Enterprises, Inc. - Special Needs Mom Blogger, Health Activist, Parenting Mentor, Author, Social Media Enthusiast, Event Blogger, Mompreneur, Passionate Philanthropist http://marlamurasko.com - Special Needs Mom Blogger, Health Activist, Parenting Mentor, Author, Social Media Enthusiast, Event Blogger, Mompreneur, Passionate Philanthropist Mon, 17 Dec 2012 14:38:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Advocacy Corner: Employing People With Disabilities http://marlamurasko.com/blog/advocacy-corner-employing-people-with-disabilities/ http://marlamurasko.com/blog/advocacy-corner-employing-people-with-disabilities/#comments Mon, 17 Dec 2012 14:36:17 +0000 Marla Murasko http://marlamurasko.com/?p=2750 [Read On] ]]> I wanted to share with you an encouraging article I just read about “Employing People with Disabilities.”

The encouraging news continues. Staffing Industry Analysts on December 14, 2012 reported that Allegis Group, the largest staffing firm in the U.S. made a deal to acquire GettingHired.com, a job board serving people with disabilities. “We believe people with disabilities have been an underserved part of the job seeking community,” said Michael McSally, vice president, enterprise operations, at Allegis.

“There are many talented individuals looking for employment and many companies looking for a good fit for their organizations. This acquisition reflects our commitment to helping connect this often underserved segment of the population with good job opportunities. It also helps us meet the needs of our clients, who are seeking to better understand and serve this population.”

With the ADA The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities. Employers are finding a real value in employing people with disabilities.

If you are a small business owner you can go to the SBA website to find out how hiring employee with disabilities will provide you benefits.

As an employer, you can take advantage of various programs that encourage the recruitment and hiring of people with disabilities. This will also make you eligible for tax credits that help cover the cost of accommodations for employees with disabilities. While this is an excellent way to expand and enhance your business, keep in mind that you will need to comply with certain legal requirements concerning the accommodation of employees with disabilities.

Other big companies like Wal-mart are making a difference in the disability community.  Here is a great story out of Georgia, “People With Disabilities a Priority at Wal-mart”:

Residents of Summerville, Ga., sometimes shop at the local Wal-Mart twice in one day, but it’s not because they forgot anything the first time. They just want a second chance to visit Finn, the black Labrador retriever service dog who works at the store with owner Spann Cordle.

Cordle has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair daily. Initially a store greeter, he acquired the service dog a few months after being hired. Managers welcomed Finn to the team, if not the payroll. Soon, Cordle’s polite manner and superb way with people earned him a promotion to the electronics customer service desk, and Finn came with him.

Disability Outreach
Cordle’s story is one of many that Wal-Mart Manager of Disability Outreach Crosby Cromwell uses to illustrate the tremendous effort her company is making to reach out to the disability community. A pair of initiatives heads corporate policy when making hires within the company.

Opportunity Works, Inc. is a Florida based full-service staffing company that brings a motivated and diverse workforce to our customers. Our focus on employing people with disabilities brings value and diversity to the workforce of our customers like no one else. Contact us today to learn how we can help complete your team.

This news is encouraging to me as a mother of a child with disabilities.  It’s nice to know there is hope for him to have a meaningful place in our community.

 

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How to Integrate Pinterest into Your Marketing Strategy http://marlamurasko.com/blog/how-to-integrate-pinterest-into-your-marketing-strategy/ http://marlamurasko.com/blog/how-to-integrate-pinterest-into-your-marketing-strategy/#comments Wed, 12 Dec 2012 02:31:51 +0000 Marla Murasko http://marlamurasko.com/?p=2472 [Read On] ]]>  

  If you are a business owner, chances are you have a marketing strategy. You have established goals for each of your individual marketing tactics, including content marketing.  And you have created a step by step plan to achieve those goals.

Your marketing strategy likely also has a plan for testing and tracking the success of your goals. Finally, if you’ve been in business for some time then your marketing tactics overlap and you plan how to maximize each new tactic by integrating it with the others.

For example, you may integrate your content marketing efforts with your Facebook strategy by posting teasers and links on Facebook to newly published content on your website.  As Pinterest continues to grow in popularity you may be looking at how you can capitalize on this social trend.  Before you join the “Pinheads” (Pinterest members and users) consider how you can integrate this tactic into your existing marketing strategy.

Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

#1 Blog Plug-Ins

This is one of the easiest ways to integrate Pinterest into your existing marketing tactics and strategy. There are several Pinterest Plug-ins and more are being added as the site continues to grow and develop. In addition to “Pin This” and “Follow” buttons on your blog you can add plug-ins that allows you to share your most recent pins.  You can see how I have integrated this plugin on both of my other websites SpecialMoms Entrepreneur Club and my blog Jacob’s Journey | A Special & Determined Little Boy.  It’s a way to motivate visitors to pin your images and also to follow you on Pinterest.

#2 Content Marketing

Consider taking a look at your existing content marketing plan. Evaluate how you can add more visual interest to your blog or website. For example, can you add more images to your blog posts? Can you convert some of your content into short videos?  You can pin videos on Pinterest.  You can see how I have done this by following me on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/MarlaMurasko/Do any topics lend themselves to infographics that you can share on Pinterest?

#3 Social Networking

Pinterest is intimately connected with Facebook and Twitter. In fact, if you don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account you can’t get a Pinterest account. And you can post any pin onto your Facebook or Twitter profile. You can also add buttons to your Pinterest profile so Pinterest followers can find you on Facebook or Twitter. Take a look at your existing Facebook and/or Twitter marketing tactics. How can you enhance them with Pinterest?

Remember to test and track your efforts. Add Pinterest to your analytics. Pay attention to who is pinning your content and repining your pins. Track your Pinterest traffic. And integrate your efforts. You’ll reap more benefits in less time.

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Green Christmas Presents Also Mean Green Wrapping and Green Cards http://marlamurasko.com/blog/green-christmas-presents-also-mean-green-wrapping-and-green-cards/ http://marlamurasko.com/blog/green-christmas-presents-also-mean-green-wrapping-and-green-cards/#comments Sat, 08 Dec 2012 17:58:54 +0000 Marla Murasko http://marlamurasko.com/?p=2643 [Read On] ]]>

I saw these beautiful handmade Christmas Cards on Pinterest from Wanda Guess.  I think they are beautiful and wanted to share them.  You can follow Wanda on Pinterest here.

Green Christmas presents aren’t just about what you choose to give as a gift – it’s also important to think about wrapping paper and even the greetings cards you’re sending out. Christmas cards are a fantastic way to get in touch with people who you may not have spoken to for a while, and are perfect for sending good wishes to family and friends. However, the numbers quickly add up, and most of us will end up using huge amounts of card for these yearly greetings. There are ways in which you can minimize the environmental impact of the cards you send.

 

Make Your Own Cards

If you’re really feeling creative then why not try making your own cards from recycled materials? You can use parts of old greetings cards, or scraps of card, to put together cards that are personal and fun. This is an especially good idea if you’ve got kids who enjoy arts and crafts!

You can also go digital and design your own cards on the computer. This can be another fun project for you or the kids and is an easy way to send out cards without wasting any paper at all! Save the paper cards for only your closest friends and family and you’ll be helping to save a lot of trees this Christmas.

Wrapping Gifts

A lot of gift wrap is difficult to recycle, especially since it gets torn up and thrown out with other trash! Try not to add to this waste by using recycled materials to wrap your green Christmas presents, such as old newspapers, magazines, old brown paper bags, or wrapping that you’ve salvaged from previous years. Most people won’t mind you wrapping in this way – in fact, you can usually make it look unique and creative with a little effort! If you still want to buy wrapping paper, many stores now sell recycled options.

After Christmas

Once Christmas is over you’ll likely be left with a huge number of Christmas cards that no longer have any use. It’s important that you recycle cards as much as possible – whether this means re-using them for your kids’ craft projects, or dropping them off at local stores who include a Christmas card recycling point.

Although these are easier to recycle, you should also try to save as many envelopes as you can when receiving cards. When it comes time to send cards again, you can reuse the better quality envelopes by using special “reuse labels” to cover up old details. This is a habit you can continue throughout the year, too!

You can also recycle holiday gift wrap. When unwrapping gifts, try to do it carefully rather than tearing it all and you can use it as is. This is the perfect way to turn the presents you receive into more green Christmas presents!

Here is another great article I found from eartheasy a website that discusses solutions for sustainable living.  This article is about how to have a Green Christmas.

 

Enjoy your green holiday!

 

 

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Interested in Using Social Media to Promote your Fundraising Event http://marlamurasko.com/blog/interested-in-using-social-media-to-promote-your-fundraising-event/ http://marlamurasko.com/blog/interested-in-using-social-media-to-promote-your-fundraising-event/#comments Wed, 04 Apr 2012 20:25:51 +0000 Marla Murasko http://marlamurasko.com/?p=2212 [Read On] ]]> Interested in Using Social Media to Promote your Fundraising Event?

Not sure quite how to use social media for your fundraising event or incorporate it into your marketing strategy? Let us help.

Whether you are a small downtown community, museum, nonprofit or new business, we work with you to promote your event or business and help you to find ways to engage your audience.  Social media is making that a lot easier and a lot quicker then the traditional print method.

Organizations are realizing that social media is an effective and cost-efficient way to reach their audience, and really be able to engage them on certain products, campaigns or services.

Not sure how to do this we can help.

Please contact us at marlamurasko@gmail.com

 

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Spring Is In The Air – Time To Add A New Look To Your Business http://marlamurasko.com/blog/spring-is-in-the-air-time-to-add-a-new-look-to-your-business/ http://marlamurasko.com/blog/spring-is-in-the-air-time-to-add-a-new-look-to-your-business/#comments Wed, 04 Apr 2012 17:55:36 +0000 Marla Murasko http://marlamurasko.com/?p=2151 [Read On] ]]> Spring is in the air, the flowers and trees are blooming beautiful hues of colors.  The sweet smell of tulips and cherry blossoms are in the air, it’s time for a change or a rebirth and we can help you do this for your business.

People everywhere are excited to start their spring cleaning to freshen the dull dreary life of the winter months to a fun, vibrant and colorful life of the spring.  They feel refreshed and want something new.  You should be thinking the same way about your business.  Freshen it up!

What spring cleaning are you doing for your business?

Have you taken a look at your logo, tagline or marketing material?  Do they need a “pick me up” a change to attract some new interest – new clients?  Do you have a new fun campaign that you need to capture the eyes of your audience or attract new clients?

Let us help.  We can help you:

  • Create a new logo
  • Give your website a new fresh look, people get bored of seeing the same pictures/content on a website.  They want to see new things, to keep them interested
  • Do you have a new campaign you want to launch and need help creating an “opt-in” box for your website or facebook page to create your list
  • or maybe you just completed your ebook and now you need help designing a great captivating ecover to attact clients

Our team member Dawn Papandrea-Kahn from DPK Graphics can help you do this.  She is a wonderfully creative person, and here is just some of the work she has done for me:

 

 

 

 

She created this logo/header for my SpecialMoms Entrepreneur Club - an online community that empowers mothers of a special needs children to reach for their dream of becoming entrepreneurs.  As like-minded moms, we are here to support each other personally, as well as professionally.  Here we Support, Inspire… and Share!

This is a logo/header she created for me for my company Beleafe , a small town business focusing on helping downtown businesses grow, secure financial stability and build their brand through through marketing, social media as well as, helping local non-profits with active fundraising events and helping them communicate their story of how their organization strengthens the community.  Believing in the strength of community.

And this is the logo/header she created for my son’s blog Jacob’s Journey | A Special & Determined Little Boy celebrating life and the beauty of Down Syndrome.  As a special needs mom blogger and advocate I wanted to give my son the platform to help create awareness, acceptance, inclusion and understanding of Down Syndrome

 

This is the opt-in box she created for my Jacob’s Journey | A Special & Determined Little Boy blog, to encourage people to sign up for our sensory friendly children’s activities:

This is the ecover she created for my ebook for the SpecialMoms Entrepreneur Club:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see her work is clean, crisp, professional and best of all she is very easy to work with.

If you are interested in learning more about how Dawn can help your business get some new life to it, please email me at marlamurasko@gmail.com.

You may also follow us on Facebook at:

Marla Murasko Enterprises, Inc.

SpecialMoms Entrepreneur Club

Jacob’s Journey | A Special & Determined Little Boy 

 

 

 

 

 

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Do You Know What A Smart Tag Is or Even How To Decode it? http://marlamurasko.com/blog/do-you-know-what-a-smart-tag-is-or-even-how-to-decode-it/ http://marlamurasko.com/blog/do-you-know-what-a-smart-tag-is-or-even-how-to-decode-it/#comments Wed, 06 Jul 2011 18:58:49 +0000 Marla Murasko http://marlamurasko.com/?p=2003 [Read On] ]]>

Technology is getting farther along than I think most Americans can keep up with.  Do you know what this funky box is to the left?  Well it’s a smart tag a or a QR code 2D bar code.  It’s similar to the scanning bar codes found on all grocery products that give you the cost of food, or maybe used for sale items.  But they are now being incorporated as a marketing tool as well.

You can create them for free, you don’t have some expensive software to do it.  Microsoft has a free service that you can create these tags, used to direct people that have a smartphone with scanning ability back to any web address you prefer.

Are you still wondering how businesses are using this code?  Well they can use it to direct people back to a landing page to sign up for a course, newsletter or ebook.  It can be used for a registration tool for large conference and seminars.  You can even use it to direct people back to your product or catalog page.  Sounds great wow, right?

But I ask you, how many of you have the ability on your smartphones to scan this pretty box in to get to these ebooks, newsletters or to sign up for the business expo?  Probably not many.  You have to download the reader onto your smartphone which can take long to download and is taking up space on your phone.  According to the report done by the Nielsen Co. they projected by the end of 2011, only about 49% of Americans will actually have a smartphone.  But even if you have one like me, do you have the actual reader on your phone to scan a smart tag?  Do you have the time to download it and what will you get from doing all that?

The craze around smart tags is really becoming the “in” thing for marketers.  Have you seen the interesting campaign that Macy’s has started the “Backstage Pass?”

It’s a very interesting and well thought out campaign.  I love how they branded their Macy’s star into the actual smart tag, they actually show you a video on their website of how to scan the tag and what you will get from doing that.  Videos of tips and tricks from the designers.  But my question to you is, would you actually spend the time while you are shopping to scan these codes into your phone?  It would be great if they could have incorporated an optin screen that would allow the people scanning the tag to be able to get information on sales or coupons about the designer they are scanning but I don’t see that done.  Here is a great article about the campaign and notice the comments.  Very interesting comments and really things that marketers need to think about before they spend money and time jumping on the technology bandwagon.

Here is a link to a vendor who is incorporating and printing QR codes right on to apparel now.  Even political campaigns are incorporating them into their fundraising campaigns.  I just received a flyer in the mail today with the smart tag on the back of it.

I think this is a very exciting and interesting marketing idea, however, I think that businesses need to think it all through before spending time, energy and money before entering into the world of the SMART Tag or QR code.

My question to all of you is do you have the reader software on your smartphone, and if you use these new fangled technology what do you use it for?

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Building Your Unique Brand Identity http://marlamurasko.com/blog/building-your-unique-brand-identity/ http://marlamurasko.com/blog/building-your-unique-brand-identity/#comments Mon, 27 Jun 2011 21:17:37 +0000 Marla Murasko http://marlamurasko.com/?p=1993 [Read On] ]]>

You have just created a great service or product, now you are trying to build your brand.  Creating a brand or logo is a very daunting task, one that does not come easy for some.  However, it can be done.  First, you have to create your brand “identity”, something that when people look at they know it’s you.  So,

What is a brand identity?

A brand identity is the visual look/effects of a business (name, symbol, design, fonts, colors) that together identify and distinguish a brand in a consumers’ mind.

If you convey your unique brand with a powerful image, you’ve got immediate leverage to make your business more memorable in the eye’s of the consumer.

How do you build your brand identity?

The powerful image that is the foundation of every brand identity is a logo.

Your logo is often the first impression your business has on a potential customer, so it’s important for it to be professional and memorable. When you start to create your company’s logo consider the following three basic fundamentals:

1. Your business/product name, also called the logotype or wordmark.

A signature font and/or a special type treatment of your name will aid public recognition of your business. Some companies use a logotype as their primary form of brand identity. Well-known examples are:

 

2. Your icon, the graphic image or symbol that often accompanies the name.

It’s not always necessary for a brand identity to include an icon, but it’s another recognizable element that distinguishes your brand.  So if you are a new or even a small business incorporating an icon to your logo is recommended. But it’s on you to use your logo or icon wisely and effectively.  Once a brand is well-established, an icon can sometimes stand alone without a business name. Great icon examples are:

 

 

 

 

3. Your tagline, the phrase that explains your company’s mission.

Big businesses have taglines, too, but they are especially critical for new and smaller businesses.  An informative – and catchy – tagline can help you start to get the recognition in the market for your product or service.  People will start to know who you are.

 

After your logo is designed and tagline is created, your brand has a solid foundation on which to build both your online and offline identity.

Here is the logo I just created for my new business,

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Inspiring Information about Woman Entrepreneurs http://marlamurasko.com/blog/inspiring-information-about-woman-entrepreneurs/ http://marlamurasko.com/blog/inspiring-information-about-woman-entrepreneurs/#comments Wed, 08 Jun 2011 14:12:48 +0000 Marla Murasko http://marlamurasko.com/?p=1979 [Read On] ]]>

Woman are more and more becoming entrepreneurs.  Over the past few decades more woman are looking towards the path of entrepreneurship and pursuing their dreams of owning a business.

But why do woman strive to become entrepreneurs?  Is it because they just want something to do or do they feel a need to network with other woman?  What is it that drives woman to pursue becoming business owners?  More and more woman seem to be looking for that balance or harmony between their worklife and their family/personal lives.  They want their goals and aspirations to fit their lifestyle.

  • According to the American Express OPEN report, click here to read more:
    * As of 2011, it is estimated that there are over 8.1 million women-owned businesses in the United States, generating nearly $1.3 trillion in revenues and employing nearly 7.7 million people.
  •   *  Between 1997 and 2011, when the number of businesses in the United States increased by 34%, the number of women-owned firms increased by 50% – a rate 1 1/2 times the national average.

These are some very interesting statistics and very inspiring to women who are considering taking the jump into the world of entrepreneurship.

So now you can see why I am inspired to work with other businesses, women entrepreneurs to help other woman find their dreams.

I would like to share this great video from Savor the Success, a premium network for women entrepreneurs.

Here is a perfect example of what I just talked about above.  Here is a post from Entrepreneur that talks about a mom filling a need in the marketplace for personal hygiene products for boys.  How an Atlanta entrepreneur Marie Gelin launched Stinky Boyz, a line of sports-themed natural shampoos and body washes.

Why? “Boys are a truly deprived market,” Gelin says. Most boys share their deodorant and body washes with their father or end up using their mother’s products, she says. The inspiration for a solid product came from Gelin’s experience with her son, who would squirt her shampoo and body wash all over the shower: “a major waste.”

You can read more about the post here.

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We Are Expanding http://marlamurasko.com/blog/we-are-expanding/ http://marlamurasko.com/blog/we-are-expanding/#comments Mon, 06 Jun 2011 18:40:31 +0000 Marla Murasko http://marlamurasko.com/?p=1966 [Read On] ]]> Welcome to our new team members! Marla Murasko Enterprises, Inc. is happy to announce that we are expanding our portfolio of services to our clients.

I would personally like to welcome Dawn Papandrea-Khan, who as a graphic artist, her talent’s go way beyond my expectations.  I used Dawn for my SpecialMoms Entrepreneur Club logo, ecover, optin and Facebook page welcome and was so pleased at her work, her professionalism and creativity, I decided to ask her to join my team.  I wanted to let others experience her wonderful work.  I think that is someone’s greatest referral is to ask them to join their team.

If you are interested in learning more about our new team members please visit them here.  However, if you are interested in any of their services, I would ask that you contact me directly at marlamurasko@gmail.com/

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“Purpose-Driven Brand Building” http://marlamurasko.com/blog/purpose-driven-brand-building/ http://marlamurasko.com/blog/purpose-driven-brand-building/#comments Sun, 15 May 2011 00:35:54 +0000 Marla Murasko http://marlamurasko.com/?p=1933 [Read On] ]]>

I came across a post on Facebook talking about a commercial that Proctor & Gamble did with a Special Olympics athlete in it.  I am a big advocate for special needs children, as my 5 year old son has Down Syndrome.  I was even a “buddy” back in high school for Special Olympics so needless to say the post caught my eye.

Well I went on to view the commercial, here’s the link.  I love how it mentioned “Proud Sponsors of Moms”.  As I mentioned in my websiteMarla Murasko Enterprises, Inc. is passionate about supporting businesses that provide products or services that target affluent women, moms and focus on empowering mom entrepreneurs and/or making the lives of their families better.  Businesses are realizing that moms are a powerful and influential market.

Here are some interesting statistics:

  • Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases including everything to purchasing homes to healthcare
  • Women represent the majority of the online market
  • 22% shop online at least once a day
  • 60% of Moms used coupons in the last 24 months
  • 92% pass along information about product deals to their friends and family through social media platforms
  • 76% want to be apart of a special or select panel
  • Nearly 50% of women say they want “greener” choices.
  • Moms are very passionate about causes or events to foster awareness
  • Moms love to blog and create their own little communities

So if your product targets moms entrepreneurs, moms and their families then why not market with Moms?  Partner with them on your product launches or create a marketing relationship with them to help ”get the word out” for you. 

As a mom myself I love the ability to sample products and provide my opinions.  As a mom of a special needs child and having a busy family life, we are always looking for better; more cost-effective ways to have a “better” life.

So I went on to do more research on the Proctor & Gamble website and I went to their page entitled “Core Strengths” and I came across this video “The Inspirational Power of Purpose”, where the P&G Global Marketing & Brand-Building Officer Marc Pritchard explains how the Company is using purpose-driven brand building and creative innovation to thrive even in uncertain economic conditions.  Some of the highlights I came away with from watching this video were:

  1. Make a “shift from marketing to serving”.
  2. Forced to getting to “know” your customers and about their lives in order to make their lives better.
  3. Having customers become personally associated with the brand.
  4. “Participation means purchase.”

Watch the video to understand how to create a “purpose-driven brand.”  It is truly inspiring about how some of the brands we use every day is truly making a difference in people’s lives.

Kudos Proctor and Gamble, it makes me feel so much better when I purchase your products, the dedication to your consumers especially Special Olympics and moms.  Thank you!

 

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