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ACORN NEWS September 10 , 2007

Castle in the Country (New Site)“We are certainly thrilled with our new site.  Even though guests would always compliment our previous site, we had a feeling that it just didn’t really reflect exactly what we offered.   When guests would arrive they always seemed, “happily surprised” how much more our business offered than what they had seen on our previous web site.  But now they are eagerly anticipating a wonderful experience and are referring their friends at a higher rate than ever.  I really enjoyed going through the design process with Lisa, Sharon and Tracy.  Each of them were extremely helpful, professional and willing to share their expertise with me.  Now, our Web site is a great, “second-in-command sales person” and I feel confident that we will be able to analyze it, tweak it, add to it as needed so that it continually sells our guests on the experience our Inn will provide. 

Please remind us that we plan to completely re-design our site every two years!  We both agree that the new look of the web site is important to our guests, both new and repeat, but we think it is equally important for us (as Innkeepers) to go through the whole re-design process so that we’re forced to take a fresh look at our business and how we are selling it. Thanks so much!"

Herb & Ruth Boven, Innkeepers
Castle in the Country Bed & Breakfast
Allegan, MI

We’ve all heard this before … it was beaten into us at the PAII Conference at Myrtle Beach in April 2007.  Here it is, the proof is in the “pudding”, or as we at Acorn like to say, “the proof is in your new web design”.  

How long has it been since you did any significant updates to your web site?  If it has been more than 2 years since you added professional photos or updated your design, navigation, and search engine optimization/marketing, it is time to take a close and careful look at the message your web site conveys as compared to your competition. 

What could your site become with a re-design? 

To help you visualize that potential, visit Acorn’s “New Designs--Before & After

Allow us to give you a quote on web site overhaul – you won’t regret making this important investment in your business.  

Call or E-Mail Marian Talbert at 719-329-0977 x2

To view all of our new designs completed in the first and second quarter of 2007, check out our Portfolio of New Designs


It seems to be the time of year when some of our customers are receiving solicitations from other companies to change the marketing of their Web sites.  BEWARE.  Please talk to us first...

The search engines are constantly changing their methods of reading and ranking Web sites.  Our staff is continually educating themselves on search engine optimization (SEO) so that we may provide the best and most up-to-date marketing services available.

Even though it is not quite Halloween season, don't allow yourself to get caught in a horror story of moving your site or unraveling all of your existing marketing based on someone trying to sell you on the hot topic of the day.  Other companies do not use Acorn's proven methods; they may set their sights on just one of many elements needed to execute a successful SEO campaign – picking up on the latest industry “buzz” word or approach and ignoring the layered aspects that earn the desired results: strong, organic placement. 

Yes, the rules do change and evolve in the SEO game, but we are on top of ALL elements necessary to make your web site successful.  

If you haven’t had us review your Web site in the last 6-12 months to insure you have the most current search engine optimization/marketing applications in place, please contact Marian by e-mail at Marian@Acorn-IS.com, and she would be happy to call you with our recommendations and quote for a marketing update of your Web site.

As we prepare our business strategies for 2008, we will be asking for your input.  Before the end of this year, we will E-Mail you a short survey that should take a few minutes of your time, the results of which will help us continue to meet your needs as we continue to grow together.  Stay tuned!
The travel directory Discover Our Town is offering a $25 discount on their membership if you let them know you are an Acorn customer.   We have seen that this Directory does well in some parts of the country, and it may do well in your location. But before joining any directory we recommend you check how well they show up in the major search engines for your area's popular search phrases.  If you wish to join the directory and receive the discount, contact Eric Coulter at Discover Our Town and mention you are an Acorn Customer.

Tracy Howard
Tracy joined the Acorn design and development team in 2006 with a background in Graphic Design and Public Relations.   She has her BS degree from Davenport University (Holland, MI) in Marketing, and spent the first several years of her career in marketing and design for Neiman Marcus luxury travel service.  Later she left the corporate world to pursue her goal of freelancing, and has provided design, branding and marketing support for numerous clients including: restaurants, mortgage firms, design/build contractors, bridal boutiques, commercial realtors, commercial contractors, churches, and retail stores.  In addition to her work with Acorn, she runs a small handmade cosmetics company that makes all natural toiletries - customized for resorts, B&B's, and boutique retailers throughout Western Michigan.  She is particularly fond of the B&B industry as her parents own a bed and breakfast in Holland, MI and she has spent many weekends inn-sitting for them!

Krista Connor
Krista joined Acorn’s design and development team in February 2007 and brings with her a working knowledge of web site design and development as well as database and information system management.  She graduated from Rowan University (Glassboro, NJ) in 1992 with BA in Communications and today has over 14 years experience in a variety of skills related to marketing communications.

Prior to joining the Acorn team, Krista worked for almost three years as the Marketing Manager for the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII). At PAII, Krista was responsible for all aspects of marketing and communications related to membership acquisition, retention and satisfaction.  Krista lives in Marlton, NJ with her husband Dennis and 15 month old daughter Kayla.

Pam Prentice
Pam joined the Acorn staff in August of 2006, and provides support to our web site Development and Marketing departments by performing search term look ups (based on Search Term Starter Kits), technical editing and content writing.  Pam also works with Acorn clients in reviewing, setting up, and maintaining their Pay Per Click campaigns in Google & Yahoo.  She graduated from Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa, GA in 2003 with a degree in psychology. While in college, she worked as an assistant in the PR department helping to schedule and book tours for their music groups. Upon graduation, she toured the eastern US and Ecuador for three months with a music group sent out from the college. After touring, she relocated to PA and began working as a crisis counselor for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center health system. Shortly after that, she became a stay at home mom, and since that time has had another boy.

Helena Stamper
Helena joined the Acorn team in June 2007 as a Junior Marketing Project Manager, supporting our Development and Marketing Project Managers.  She graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.S. in Economics, and has almost 15 years working in the telecom industry holding various positions within Tymnet and MCI.  Her career started in Government Markets/Sales and expanded to almost every division within MCI.  She brings with her a vast array of business knowledge from Marketing, Order Entry System Training and Technical Support, Customer Service Support, Billing Support, Development, and Project Management. 

When you have an occasion to email one of us at Acorn (outside of our new Support Ticket System), it would help us greatly if you would be sure to include your business name and the topic or reason for your note to us in the subject line of your email.  In your signature line, repeating your business name, along with your name (first and last please) and the best phone number to reach you at should we need to call you will expedite our response to your questions!

Are you sending a monthly or quarterly newsletter to your client list through an email/subscription product such as YourMailingListProvider (YMLP) or ConstantContact or iContact or other newsletter product? 

IF SO? Please E-Mail Sharon and tell us about it. We've been asked to write an article for PAII on this very subject, and we want to hear from you!

IF NOT? Please read on!

Consider polishing up that effort by placing your content on stationery that looks like your web site! We would be happy to help design a very nice piece of “stationery” for you to drop your newsletter content onto that would resemble elements of your web site home page, at a one-time cost to you of about 30-60 minutes of development time at our current rates ($65).

Are you posting your archived newsletters to your web site?  If not, we could help you by building a single Newsletter Archive page to your site and teaching you how to post each month’s content using SnippetMaster to a new page (using a straightforward FTP upload process) and preserving last month’s newsletter to it’s own page.   Initial training and support to get you started would take about 1 hour at $40/hour. 

You also have the option of just sending us your newsletter content and having us design and build your newsletter and sending it out for you via your YMLP or similar account.  The cost of this support will vary depending on the size and complexity of your newsletter, but will generally take 2 hours at $65/hour for a full service production and distribution.

Please contact Marian or Sharon to request your newsletter "stationery" today!


Your Mailing List Provider (YMLP) adopted a new fee schedule in May 2007 that customers and prospects will find easier to understand. This new fee schedule is based on the number of e-mails customers would like to send per month*.  The old plans were based on the number of subscribers managed in an account.

The new fee schedule has been created in such a way that the fee will not increase for the vast majority of YMLP's customers. Only customers sending e-mails at high frequency (weekly, daily etc) may have to pay more. For additional information, visit YMLP directly.

Based on the number of e-mails you have been sending per month in the past, your account was automatically switched to one of the new YMLP plans that they determined was best suited for your situation. If this does not suit you, you can switch to another plan through the "Upgrade/downgrade"-page in YMLP's control panel.

* # e-mails/month = # newsletters/month x # recipients
Example: Two newsletters/month x 150 recipients = 300 e-mails/month

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