Marketing can make or break a business. In today’s world of social networking, businesses can easily take advantage of interacting with current and future clients through the use of social media. With Twitter now having over two hundred million users (and growing each day), businesses can communicate and promote in 140 characters or less. Your business has the opportunity to offer exclusive deals to your Twitter followers, while driving traffic to your website and getting to interact with your clients. Here are 5 ways to effectively market via Twitter.

The Alternative Title Tag Conundrum

The Scenario

This is not a post about “10 Surefire Ways to Optimize a Title Tag” or “Increase your Title Tag Click-Through-Rate in 3 Simple Steps.” Not to knock any of those blog posts out there, but I feel like the same information is being regurgitated with catchy titles and cool graphics. Instead, this is an example of a situation I experienced, the test I ran, and the result from that test.

Quick…. Do a search for your brand, company name or even your URL. What do you see?

Do you see the nicely written title tag that you crafted or do you see your exact brand/company name?

More often than not, you will see your company’s name.

web marketing

How to Write Your Marketing Plan?

How to write your marketing plan?A marketing plan is the basic foundation towards the success of a product or service whether it’s offline or online. Various methods can be used to come up with this type of plan. The use of marketing software and templates are the methods popularly used by individuals in coming up with marketing plans. However, your choice will depend on your situation and how comfortable you are in using it. Below are some of the steps you can follow in order to come up with a well written marketing plan.

    • Choose the approach you are going to use in writing your marketing plan. If you don’t have the selected approach or method with you, you can either download it from our reliable site or buy it directly from the stores. After this, you can download a sample marketing plan online which will give you detailed instructions on how well you can link your sections in order to come up with a well written marketing plan.


    • The next step is to get started in writing your marketing plan. This point can prove to be a challenge to an individual, especially if you don’t have the strategies to help in the writing. However, you can gather information based on your company and its environs in terms of competition, trends, statistics, etc. which will help in the process of writing your marketing plan throughout. When your resource is internally based, you will be prompted to gather information based on your own business, depending on the size of your company. These can be in the form of pricing, strategies and income statements. On the other hand, you can also use the knowledge of your employees which will lead you to an understanding of external resources.  External resources can include information based on existing articles, research or industry news. Even though you will be prompted to make a printing of the resources, what matters most is the information you will get.


    • The third step is where you finalize your marketing plan.  Writing marketing plans can bring about feelings of exasperation, but upon completion of the writing, these feelings are replaced with feelings of elation as the burden lessens. To achieve this, try setting aside other priorities and focusing more on writing the actual marketing plan. Failing to do so can cause the writing of your marketing plan to continually be pushed back with possibly no completion. Make a schedule you are likely to follow by setting viable due dates on your calendar while keeping other plans (i.e. meetings) in mind. Such a schedule will ensure you finish writing your marketing plan in a timely manner.


  • Run thorough tests on your written marketing plan ensuring all mistakes are rooted out. You can use the written marketing plan to execute all other marketing related programs through the year. It is not advisable to keep your written marketing plan in your drawer; rather, you should refer to it now and then in order to help you execute other marketing plan programs.


Biggest Marketing Mistakes:

  • Not developing a marketing plan.
  • Not planning a marketing plan.
  • Not targeting a specific audience – you need to know who you are selling to!
  • Not developing a clear and consistent marketing message.
  • Believing your product will sell itself – every product has to create its own reputation and brand awareness in the market before sales can occur.
  • Not clearly defining the product benefits – why is your product superior to others like it?
  • Not using wide marketing techniques from offline to online – use all types of marketing techniques from the Internet and TV to radio and leaflets.
  • Not having a back-end revenue program.
  • Not having plans/ideas on how you can grow in the future – it’s a fast moving world. You need to update your products; otherwise your competitors will overtake you with ease.
  • Not upselling your products to your existing clients – if your products do have the latest updates, than you need to voice this to your current clients.
  • Not hiring a marketing firm that will get you the best results – this is probably the hardest bit. Every company out there will tell you they will do the best job, but choosing the right company is difficult. Do your research on the company, ask them to show you their portfolio of the work they have done. This is necessary because you want to be spending money in all the right areas.

Photo By zaraki.kenpachi

Create a Vintage Steam Locomotive Poster in Photoshop


Click the image to see the final result in full size.

Tutorial Resources

  • Photo: Old train CPR_2026_5 (Flickr)
  • Font: Franchise (Derek Weathersbee)
  • Font: Goudy Bookletter 1911 (The League of Moveable Type)
  • Font: ChunkFive (The League of Moveable Type)
  • Font: Ballpark Weiner (
  • Texture: Vintage Page (stock.xchng)

Step 1: Create the Poster’s Background

In Photoshop, create a new 800x1200px document. Fill the default Background layer with black (#000000).

Create the Poster's Background


Create a new layer (Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + N) and fill it with a beige color (#e0d3b1).

Create the Poster's Background

Step 2: Create a Frame Border for the Train

Create a selection using the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) (see the image below as a reference).

Set your Foreground color to a dark tan (#b2a37c) and your Background color to white (#ffffff). Create a new layer. Hold down Option/Alt (so the resultant effect is stronger), then go to Filter > Render > Clouds.

Create a Frame Border for the Train

Create a Frame Border for the Train

Change the Blend Mode of the layer to Multiply and set its Opacity to 55%.

Go to Layer > Layer Style > Stroke and give the layer a stroke effect using the following settings:

Here is how our frame border should look:

Step 3: Isolate the Train

Download the Old train CPR_2026_5 image and open it up in Photoshop. Zoom in as needed, and then use the Pen Tool (P) to trace carefully around the train.

Once you have traced around the train with the Pen Tool (P), Control-click/right-click on the path, then choose Make Selection from the menu that appears.

Go to Select > Inverse (Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + I) to invert your selection, then just press delete to remove the background.

Step 4: Place the Train into the Scene

In the Layers Panel, Cmd-click/Ctrl-click on the train’s layer to make a selection around the train. Copy (Cmd/Ctrl + C) the selection, switch to the main Photoshop document, and paste (Cmd/Ctrl + V) the train in our design.

Place the Train into the Scene

Convert train to a smart object so that we can perform nondestructive transforms on it; do so by Control-clicking/right-clicking on its layer and then choosing Convert to Smart Object.

Use Edit > Free Transform (Cmd/Ctrl + T) to adjust the size of the train (make it a bit smaller).

Step 5: Mask the Train

To hide a few unwanted parts of the train that spills out of the frame border, we will use a mask. To start, with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), create a selection like the one shown below:

Mask the Train

To mask the areas outside the rectangular selection, go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection.

Mask the Train

Here is the result of our layer mask:

Mask the Train

Step 6: Aging the Train

In this step, we will slightly alter the surface of the train to make it more harmonious with other design elements in the poster.

Duplicate the train layer by clicking on its layer and then pressing Cmd/Ctrl + J. Change the Blend Mode of the duplicate layer to Color Dodge and reduce the layer’s Opacity to 50%. Apply Filter > Other > High Pass with Radius at 5px.

Aging the Train

As you can see in the image below, the train is now a little less saturated:

Aging the Train

Step 7: Create Some Steam

Reset your Foreground color and Background color to black and white (press D on the keyboard). Create a new layer above the train layers. Use Filter > Render > Clouds on the new layer.

Create Some Steam

Go to Layer > Layer Mask > Hide All. Switch your Foreground color to white (#ffffff). Use the Brush Tool (B) with a very soft brush (0% Hardness) to paint and reveal steam around the train. Paint on the layer mask using different brush sizes (press [ to reduce the brush size, and ] to increase the brush size) as well as different opacities to create natural variations.

Create Some Steam

Create a new layer above the steam layer and, with a soft brush, dub a few white spots over the steam.

Create Some Steam

Then, change the Blend Mode of the layer to Overlay and set the Opacity to 60%.

Step 8: Create the Poster’s Title

Use the Horizontal Type Tool (T) to write "Steam Power" onto the canvas using the Franchise font; a muted red text color (#b3251b) is a good complementary color to use.

Create the Poster's Title

We will now create a nice drop shadow effect for our text. To start, in the Layers Panel, Cmd-click/Ctrl-click on the text layer’s thumbnail to load a selection around the letters.

Create the Poster's Title

Hide the visibility of the text layer temporarily. Create a new layer below the text layer.

Create the Poster's Title

On the new layer, fill the selection with a dark gray color (#38383b).

Turn your text layer back on. Switch to the Move Tool (V) and then use your arrow keys to nudge the dark gray drop shadow about 7px to the right and 5px down.

Cmd-click/Ctrl-click on the text layer’s thumbnail (or go to Select > Reselect) to reload the selection around the letters. Nudge the selection 3px to the right and 2px down; we only want to move the selection, so if you still have the Move Tool activated, switch to the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M). Make sure you are on the gray drop shadow layer, then hit Delete to remove a small section of the drop shadow around the edge of the text layer.

Set the Blend Mode of the drop shadow layer to Soft Light.

Here is a preview of our progress so far:

Step 9: Add More Text to the Design

Using Goudy Bookletter 1911, type some city names towards the bottom of the canvas.

With the Custom Shape Tool (U), insert red (#b3251b) stars between the city names.

Type word "via" using the Ballpark Weiner font below the train station names. Use a medium gray text color (#aa9090) and a font size of about 42px.

Step 10: Create a Trendy Ribbon

Switch to the Rectangle Tool (U). In the Options Bar, make sure that the tool is set to Shape Layers. Create a red (#b3251b) vector rectangle under the text we added in the previous step.

Place a horizontal guide (View > New Guide) in the middle of the rectangle to help us make the proper adjustments to the red rectangle. In the Layers Panel, select the vector mask of the red rectangle shape layer by clicking on it (it is the thumbnail preview on the right of the link icon).

Click-and-hold on the Pen Tool in the Tools Panel to find the Add Anchor Point Tool. Use the Add Anchor Point Tool to create an anchor point on the left side of the rectangle, using the horizontal guide we created to aid in the creation of the anchor point.

Create a Trendy Ribbon

Switch to the Convert Point Tool by, again, clicking-and-holding the Pen Tool button in the Tools Panel to find the tool. Click once on the anchor point we just created to delete the Bezier curve handles.

Create a Trendy Ribbon

Next, use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select the anchor point, and then pull the anchor point to the right.

Go to Layer > Layer Style > Stroke and use the following settings:

Duplicate the ribbon layer. Go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal to change the orientation of the duplicate layer. Use the Move Tool (V) to position the ribbons as shown below:

With the Rectangle Tool, create a diagonal rectangle as shown below, and fill it with a very dark gray (almost black) color (#1f1a0d). You could draw the dark gray rectangle horizontally, then use Free Transform to rotate it.

Using the Direct Selection Tool, adjust the anchor points of the dark gray rectangle using the image below as a reference:

After adjusting the anchor points of the dark gray rectangle, move its layer below the ribbon layers.

Let’s add text on the ribbon. For the font, choose ChunkFive with the text color set to white, and font size set to 45px. Also, increase the Vertically scale option (found in the Character Panel) to 120%.

Here is our ribbon completed:

Step 11: Create the Poster’s Border Using a Layer Mask

In the Layers Panel, select all the layers except the black background. Then go to Layer > Group Layers (Cmd/Ctrl + G) to place all the selected layers into a layer group.

With the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M), create a selection that is slightly smaller than the canvas.

Create the Poster's Border Using a Layer Mask

Be sure that the layer group is selected in the Layers Panel, and then go to Layer > Layer Mask > Reveal Selection. The black default Background layer we created in the first step now shows through the borders of the canvas.

Create the Poster's Border Using a Layer Mask

Step 12: Add a Paper Texture

Download and open up a paper texture (such as this Vintage Page texture) in Photoshop. Using the Magic Wand Tool (W), click on the white background to select the white background of the paper texture.

Add a Paper Texture

Invert the selection (Shift + Cmd/Ctrl + I) to select just the paper texture.

Add a Paper Texture

Copy and paste the paper texture into our design and scale it with Free Transform (Cmd/Ctrl + T) to fit the canvas.

Go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate to remove the colors of the paper texture.

Add a Paper Texture

Change the paper texture layer’s Blend Mode to Multiply.

Add a Paper Texture

We are finished!

Tutorial Summary

I hope you enjoyed this Photoshop tutorial! To summarize, we created a vintage-inspired poster using an old train photo, paper textures, basic shapes, layer styles, layer masks, blend modes, Photoshop filters and more. We used some trendy design techniques such as creating a cool drop shadow on the poster’s headline text and a ribbon banner. Thanks for reading this tutorial and I hope you have learned some useful tips and tricks.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them in the comments section below.

Download Source Files

Font Collection: 10 Stylish Free Stencil Fonts

1. Octin Prison Regular

This free stencil font is by Canadian font designer Ray Larabie, the creator of the free Larabie Fonts set.

Octin Prison Regular

Download Page

2. UnitedStencil

UnitedStencil is a free offering from the House Industries type foundry. The font is thin, stylish, and highly functional.


Download Page

3. Scriber Bold Stencil

This free stencil font has straight edges inspired by contemporary architectural and computer aided designs.

Scriber Bold Stencil

Download Page

4. OricNeo Stencil

Influenced by the movie series, The Matrix, OricNeo Stencil is a free font made by The Northern Block.

OricNeo Stencil

Download Page

5. Lintsec

Lintsec is a popular free stencil font by David Rakowski, a successful musician who was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize.


Download Page

6. Major Snafu

This free stencil font by Vic Fieger is in all-caps and has strong characteristics, both common features of stenciled lettering.

Major Snafu

Download Page

7. Octin Stencil Regular

Octin Stencil features powerful and commanding characteristics that are perfect for athletic, construction, and military themes.

Octin Stencil Regular

Download Page

8. Sylar Stencil

By The Northern Block font foundry, the free Stylar Stencil font has a unique and modern look-and-feel — a font that will surely garner attention.

Sylar Stencil

Download Page

9. Boston Traffic

Boston Traffic is a free stencil font that moderately mimics the often rough and irregular results of spray painted stenciled letterings.

Boston Traffic

Download Page

10. WC Wunderbach Rounded Bta

This free stencil font has interesting rounded corners, giving it a somewhat elegant look. Be sure to also check out the non-rounded version, WC Wunderbach Bta.

WC Wunderbach Rounded Bta

Download Page

Augmented Reality: Where Internet Marketing Is Headed

Leona and I held a Small Business Boot Camp on Internet Marketing on Wednesday here at Murata.

We covered a ton of topics about what we do. But the one thing that made the most impact on our audience (as far as I could tell), was my mention of Layar and the augmented reality technology that’s right around the corner.

This app for Android mobile phones uses the phone’s GPS, the onboard camera, and Layar’s database of geolocated data to overlay info about your surroundings directly on your camera.

Deciding between two neighboring restaurants? Point your phone at each one and read the reviews superimposed on the front of the buildings.

Here’s a video:

So what does this mean for you businesspeople out there?