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Sonic’s New Look Reveiled

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Sega has recently confirmed speculation that there will be a new edition to the Sonic the Hedgehog Game series.

A classic from the days when Microsoft only made computers and Nintendo’s only competition was a cascading steam of ever worsening Sega consoles. Sonic, a speedy, destructive blue varmint dashed his way across a variety of 2D worlds, fighting oppressive robots and their overweight, malevolent ruler Doctor Eggman.

Since 1991, he has been a mainstay in the videogame world and the star of almost 50 different games. Sonic, along with a long cast of supporting characters, comes with a legacy of success and fond nostalgia for many children of the 1990’s.

At the height of his fame the animal even managed to generate not one but two separate cartoon shows that ran more or less at the same time.

The newly announced TV series and upcoming game title, Sonic Boom, and features a three-dimensional team of familiar faces from days gone by. Details are limited but here is a breakdown of Sonic Boom’s announced cast and apparent changes made to the characters.

 

Sonic the Hedgehog

The original protagonist and Sega’s face for almost two decades, Sonic has been given a bit of a makeover. Instead of the short blue speedster, with bright red shoes, the new design portrays the hero a tall, lanky animal, who sports a trendy brown scarf, yet continues to refuse pants.

His signature shoes are intact, though they are draped in white athletic bandages that travel well up his legs.

The latest version seems to of given him new abilities, the most notable of which is the ability to channel blue energy through his hands.

Opinions on the redesign are mixed but the new Sonic combines enough of the classic elements to peak my interest while certainly being sleeker and more visually interesting, appealing to newer, younger, fans.

 

Miles “Tails” Prower

Simply put, Tails is a two-tailed talking fox that acts as Sonic’s sidekick and occasional pilot. Able to rotate his posterior appendages at incredible speeds he can defy gravity and generally just tag along whether anyone wants him there or not.

First appearing in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, he allowed gamers to experience two-player mode for the first time in a Sonic title. He was so popular that Sega eventually gave him his own game and comic book.

His design changes aren’t as drastic as some others. The small fox has been given flight goggles and a brown tool belt. The short clip shown from the new CGI series shows him flying a plane and deploying some kind of electrical whip in order to aid Sonic. It seems Tails is being taken in a more mechanically inclined direction. Expect him to build upgrades and shutdown overly complicated computer systems with a well worn wrench.

 

Amy Rose

Essentially a pink, female version of Sonic, Amy was the first girl introduced to the series. Her origin was found, not in the games but in Sonic manga published in 1992. Her initial appearance was more in line with Minnie Mouse, than the warrior woman she would become when finally added to the hedgehog-iverse in Sonic-CD. Amy appears infrequently in games after that point but remained a fan favourite.

Her new look is actually pretty interesting. She is still a pretty basic imitation of the standard anthropomorphic hedgehog but looks more like her own unique character as opposed to a repainted version of her male counterpart.

Sonic Boom’s screen shots show her using the same glove mounted energy-beam as Sonic. Another photo has her wielding a massive red and yellow hammer against a robotic dinosaur.

It’s not known if this is a regular tool in Amy’s arsenal or something picked up during gameplay but it is known that the game will contain robotic dinosaurs – well worth the price of admission.

 

Knuckles the Echidna

Knuckles has lived in the Sonic’s world as probably the most bad ass character around. A member of the Echidna species, which a Google search has revealed to be essentially a quilled anteater, he appeared as a rival to everyone’s favourite blue speedster in Sonic 3. Spiked hands, super strength and an inexplicable gliding ability made him a force to be reckoned with.

The new model is no exception.

Significantly taller and broader then the other protagonists, he is shown delivering wide sweeping blows to an enemy’s solar plexus. The spiked hands that have earned him his namesake remain though there is little indication that he’ll be able to fly. His main occupation seems to be punching evil in its turkey neck and business is good.

 

With only a few choice glimpses released it’s hard to judge what is in store for Sonic. Everything about the project looks promising and it is hard to not be excited. This appears to be a large expensive venture designed by Sega to push its mascot’s face back into the television and gaming world he once dominated.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Oedipus

    February 10, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Sonic looks like a hipster in that scarf

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Conquer the Digital Toolbox: A Home Improvement Pro’s Guide to Online Marketing Success

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Conquer the Digital Toolbox: A Home Improvement Pro's Guide to Online Marketing Success

In the not-so-distant past, home improvement businesses thrived on word-of-mouth referrals and the occasional ad in the local newspaper. But times have changed. Today’s homeowners are tech-savvy, turning to their smartphones and laptops to research contractors, compare prices, and read online reviews before making a decision. This shift towards digital means that even the smallest mom-and-pop operation needs a strong online presence to stay competitive.

The good news is, the internet has leveled the playing field. It’s no longer about who has the biggest advertising budget; it’s about who has the smartest digital marketing strategy. By understanding the fundamentals of search engine optimization (SEO) and implementing effective online marketing tactics, even small businesses can punch above their weight and attract a steady stream of qualified leads.

Building Your Online Basecamp

Utilizing home improvement SEO strategies might sound like a complex digital puzzle, but it boils down to a simple goal: making sure your business pops up when potential customers search for the services you offer. Imagine a homeowner in your area with a leaky pipe. What are they most likely to do? Grab their smartphone and search for “plumber near me” or “emergency plumbing services”. If your website isn’t optimized for these types of searches, you’re essentially invisible to those customers who are actively seeking your help.

This is why SEO is so crucial for home improvement businesses. Homeowners facing a plumbing issue, a damaged roof, or a pest infestation don’t have the luxury of browsing through endless pages of search results. They need immediate solutions, and your website needs to be at the top of those results to capture their attention.

Regardless of your specific trade, there are some foundational SEO steps that every home improvement business should take. Start by claiming and optimizing your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business). This free listing allows you to manage how your business appears in Google searches and Maps, ensuring potential customers have accurate contact information and hours of operation.

Consistency is key: make sure your business name, address, and phone number are consistent across all online platforms, from your website to your social media profiles. This builds credibility and makes it easier for search engines to associate your business with relevant search terms.

The HVAC Pro’s Digital Tune-Up

Ready to crank up your HVAC business’s online presence? The key is to start with a focused and actionable plan. Forming a helpful HVAC digital marketing checklist to do right now can be your first step towards success, guiding you through the essential stages to boost your visibility and attract more customers.

Begin by targeting the right keywords. Generic terms like “furnace repair” or “air conditioning” are highly competitive. Instead, get specific to your service area and offerings. Think “emergency furnace repair in [your city]” or “AC tune-up specials in [your neighborhood].” By tailoring your keywords to the searches potential customers in your area are actually conducting, you increase the chances of your website appearing at the top of relevant results.

Content marketing plays a crucial role in establishing your expertise and building trust. Think of your website’s blog as an opportunity to answer common questions before customers even pick up the phone. Craft informative articles or videos on topics like “How to Choose the Right Air Filter for Your Home” or “5 Signs Your AC Needs Repair.” By offering valuable advice, you not only attract potential customers through search engines but also position yourself as a knowledgeable resource.

Don’t underestimate the power of social media for HVAC businesses. Platforms like YouTube and Facebook can be powerful tools for showcasing your expertise and connecting with your community. Consider creating short “how-to” videos on simple maintenance tasks, sharing before-and-after photos of your projects, or even offering virtual consultations to answer questions and address concerns. By being active and engaged on social media, you can build brand awareness and trust, which ultimately translates into more leads and higher conversion rates.

Roofing Marketing: Beyond the ‘After’ Photo

While impressive before-and-after photos of completed projects remain actual in roofing marketing ideas, the digital age demands a more nuanced approach. While those shiny new roofs might capture initial attention, they don’t tell the whole story. To truly connect with potential clients and differentiate your company from the competition, you need to delve deeper.

Sharing compelling case studies that showcase your expertise and problem-solving skills can be incredibly impactful. Highlighting unique challenges you’ve encountered, such as intricate roof designs or unusual materials, demonstrates your capabilities and reassures potential clients that you can handle their specific needs. Client testimonials add another layer of authenticity to your marketing efforts. Allowing satisfied customers to share their positive experiences in their own words builds trust and credibility.

Partnering with local real estate agents can be a mutually beneficial strategy. They often encounter homeowners who need roof repairs or replacements, and your expertise can be a valuable asset to their clients. By offering referral incentives or even co-hosting informational webinars, you can forge strong relationships within your community and gain access to a steady stream of qualified leads.

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of local SEO. Optimizing your website for keywords like “roofers near me” or “roofing companies in [your city]” ensures that your business appears prominently in search results when homeowners in your area are actively seeking roofing services.

The Pest Control Playbook

Pest control isn’t a year-round concern for most homeowners, which means learning about specifics of pest control SEO is required for successful marketing. Searches for “pest control” services often spike during specific seasons. Think about it: you’re more likely to worry about tick prevention in the spring, mosquito control in the summer, and mice infestations as the weather turns cold. Understanding these seasonal trends is crucial for tailoring your content to address the most pressing concerns of potential customers at any given time.

For many people, dealing with a pest infestation is an emotional experience. It can trigger feelings of anxiety, disgust, and even fear. This is where content marketing plays a crucial role in not just attracting clients, but reassuring them. Instead of solely focusing on advertising your extermination services, offer helpful information that empowers homeowners to take preventive measures. Blog posts on identifying common pests, tips for keeping rodents out of your home, or natural remedies for insect control show you understand their concerns and are invested in their well-being.

In the pest control industry, online reviews are worth their weight in gold. When dealing with an infestation, people want fast, effective solutions. Positive reviews on platforms like Google and Yelp build trust quickly, assuring potential customers that your company has a proven track record of success.

Measuring Your Wins

It’s tempting to measure your digital marketing success by the number of likes, shares, or followers you accumulate on social media. While these “vanity metrics” might feel good, they don’t necessarily translate into real business growth. For home improvement companies, the true measure of success is the number of qualified leads and booked jobs generated by your online efforts.

Don’t get lost in a sea of clicks and impressions. Instead, focus on tracking the metrics that truly matter to your bottom line. How many visitors to your website actually fill out your contact form or call to schedule an estimate? How many of those leads turn into paying customers? By carefully tracking these conversions, you can gain valuable insights into which marketing channels are most effective, which types of content resonate with your audience, and ultimately, what’s driving your business forward.

While the world of website analytics can be intimidating, there are user-friendly tools available to help you track your progress without getting bogged down in technical details. Google Analytics, for example, provides a wealth of information about your website traffic, including where visitors are coming from, which pages they’re viewing, and how long they’re staying on your site. By setting up conversion tracking, you can even see which marketing efforts are directly resulting in leads and sales. Other platforms offer simplified dashboards and reports tailored to the needs of small businesses, making it easier than ever to harness the power of data and make informed decisions about your marketing strategy.

When to Get Expert Help

While the initial stages of home improvement SEO can be handled in-house, there comes a point when seeking professional guidance becomes a wise investment. If you’ve diligently implemented the basic steps of SEO, like optimizing your website and Google Business Profile, but aren’t seeing the desired results, don’t despair. It could simply mean your business needs a more comprehensive and tailored approach. Similarly, if the thought of managing a blog, crafting social media posts, or analyzing complex website data makes you want to pull your hair out, it’s okay to admit you need help.

When searching for a marketing partner, it’s crucial to find an agency with a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities faced by home improvement businesses. A generic marketing agency might have experience with e-commerce or retail, but they won’t grasp the nuances of the construction industry. Look for a company that specializes in home services marketing. They’ll understand the seasonal fluctuations in demand, the importance of local SEO, and the specific types of content that resonate with homeowners.

Conclusion: Building Your Digital Empire

Building a powerful online presence for your home improvement business is a journey, not a destination. SEO isn’t a magic wand you wave once to achieve instant success. It’s an ongoing process that requires patience, consistent effort, and a willingness to adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape. But the rewards are well worth the investment. By staying committed to your SEO strategy, you can steadily climb the search engine rankings, attract a consistent flow of qualified leads, and establish your business as a trusted authority in your local market. Don’t be afraid to seek out additional resources and guidance as you navigate this digital journey. There are several industry-specific blogs and podcasts that offer valuable insights and advice on how to optimize your online presence. Resources like Comrade Digital Marketing blog can help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends, learn from the successes (and failures) of others, and ultimately build a thriving online empire that sets your home improvement business apart from the competition.

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Exploring the Steps in the Proposal Automation Process

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Exploring the Steps in the Proposal Automation Process

In a fast-paced business environment, efficiency is key to staying ahead of the competition. Proposal automation offers a strategic advantage by streamlining the creation of documents that are vital to winning new business. By automating routine tasks, companies can focus more on the substance and strategy of their proposals. Understanding how it works and the significant improvements it can bring to your business operations is essential. Below, we delve into this process and discuss everything you need to know about optimizing your proposal automation process.

Understanding the Foundation of Proposal Automation

At its core, proposal automation is about enhancing productivity and consistency within the process of creating proposals. By leveraging technology, it replaces the traditional, manual method of drafting documents with a more streamlined, error-proof approach. This transition includes the use of templates, content libraries, and customized data inputs to ensure each proposal is tailored, yet produced with greater speed and accuracy.

For newcomers, understanding the foundation is crucial before implementation. This involves grasping the basics of how automated systems manage data, apply business logic, and produce finalized documents. It’s essential to ensure that your team is well-versed with the system and that all relevant content is digitized and made accessible to the automation software.

Key Benefits of Implementing Proposal Automation

Proposal automation systems offer a multitude of benefits, the most prominent being the drastic reduction in time spent drafting proposals. Employees are freed from repetitive formatting tasks, allowing them to devote more time to strategic functions such as market analysis and personalized client engagement which can significantly influence the success of a proposal.

Error reduction is another major advantage of automating the proposal process. With standardized templates and centralized content management, inconsistencies are minimized, and the risk of outdated information being included is significantly reduced. This elevates the professionalism and credibility of each proposal generated.

Essential Features to Look for in Proposal Automation Tools

Choosing the right proposal automation tools is essential for achieving the desired efficiency and effectiveness. The most valuable feature to look for in such a tool is a robust content library. This allows for quick access to the most current and relevant pieces of content and data necessary for crafting a compelling proposal.

Integration capability is another crucial feature. The tool should be able to integrate seamlessly into the existing technology ecosystem of your organization, including CRM platforms, to facilitate smooth workflows and information exchange. This ensures that sales and proposal teams work with the latest client information and reduce duplication of efforts.

Step-by-Step Guide to the Proposal Automation Workflow

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The journey of automating your proposal process starts with the initial setup of the proposal automation tool. This involves configuring the system with your company’s templates, content, and workflows. A key aspect here is to ensure that the templates accommodate various proposal scenarios and that the content library is organized and tagged for easy retrieval.

Next, the tool is integrated with other enterprise systems such as CRM software, ensuring that data flows continuously and accurately between platforms. This step is crucial for maintaining up-to-date content in the proposals and for personalizing them with client-specific data.

Measuring Success and ROI in Proposal Automation Initiatives

To truly understand the impact of proposal automation, it’s important to measure its success and return on investment (ROI). One of the most straightforward metrics to monitor is the reduction in the time required to generate proposals. Noticing a considerable decrease here is often the first sign that the automation is effective.

Another valuable indicator is the quality and consistency of proposals. With fewer errors and greater adherence to company branding, the professionalism conveyed in each proposal can lead to better client perceptions and a higher win rate. Monitoring feedback and win rates can give concrete evidence of the system’s effectiveness.

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How to Master 96% RTP Slot

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How to Master 96% RTP Slot

Online fruit machines that you can play in the real money mode at licensed and regulated websites controlled by reputable operators are now more popular than ever, and there are many reasons why, which I will reveal here.

I will also be discussing some of the best ways to master online fruitys, especially those with an average 96.00% Return to Player percentage (RTP%) payout rate.

The important thing to remember about online fruitys is that there is no proven strategy that can help you win because winning all boils down to pure luck.

However, there are some useful strategies I think everyone who wants to sample this kind of content should know, which can bring them up to speed in no time. Armed with this knowledge, you can quickly become a master of online fruitys when you next play them on your favourite website.

What exactly is RTP?

The RTP% (Return to Player percentage) payout rate can be calculated for each online casino game.

In short, this value tells us roughly how much an online fruity will pay back after, say, $/€/£100, $/€/£1,000, $/€/£10,000, $/€/£100,000, or $/€/£1,000,000 has been spent [combined] by all those people who spend money spinning the reels on any given fruity.

For example, let’s just say that participants spend $/€/£10,000.00 (or equivalent currency value) combined on the popular Chicago Gold online fruit from Pear Fiction Studios in a period of four weeks, and those same participants, on average, received $/€/£96,000.00 back in winnings.

This basic information tells us that the Chicago Gold fruity had an average 96.00% RTP payout rate over this four-week period. The casino would keep the remaining 4.00% (the house edge) or $/€/£4,000.00 as profit.

That’s the easiest way for me to describe how online fruity RTP works, which most of you should be able to understand. I also found a great description on the globally renowned Johnslots (www.johnslots.com/en/) review site that I can recommend checking out for high RTP slot machines.

What is considered a good RTP for online fruitys, and why does it matter?

The higher the RTP% payout rate, the more likely it is that you will win. For example, a 99.50% RTP fruity will pay back more than one with a 91.25% RTP payout rate for every $/€/£100 wagered. When I found this out, I must admit, I would only play online fruitys with a 96.00% or higher RTP payout rate.

It matters because, mathematically speaking, high RTP online fruitys are more likely to pay than low RTP fruitys.

However, the other important thing to remember is that there might be 1,000 to 1,000,000 people all playing the same online fruity at the same time, and you are not guaranteed to win back $/€/£96.00 if you spend $/€/£100.00.

Winning is all still down to lady luck. For example, I have deposited $/€/£10 or $/€/£20 many times in the past at my favourite sites and have won $/€/£60 to $/€/£100 from that initial deposit on one fruity. Other times, I have spent $/€/£50 to $/€/£100 on one fruit and won nothing.

That’s just how it is. Some gamblers may spend just $/€/£1.00 to $/€/£10.00 and win $/€/£100 or more in those 1-10 spins, and other users might spend $/€/£100 and only win $/€/£1.00 to $/€/£10 in over 500 spins.

A good RTP% payout rate in an online fruity is considered 96.00% or above.

The average is considered to be between 93.00% and 95.99%, and the lowest is anything below 93.00%. In other words, most online fruitys today have an average 93.00% to 98.00% RTP payout rate.

Which online fruitys have a 96.00% RTP payout rate in 2024?

Apart from the Chicago Gold online fruity, many other hit titles have the same payout rate. Examples include the following top-rated titles that you may want to check out, which you can play on a desktop computer or smartphone provided you are of legal age in your country:

  • Esqueleto Explosivo online fruity by Thunderkick
  • Frogblox online fruity by ELK Studios
  • Friends online fruity by [WMS] and SG Digital
  • Rainbow Riches Megaways online fruity by Barcrest and SG Digital
  • Aliya’s Wishes online fruity by Fortune Factory Studios and Games Global

There are many others out there, but I thought I would mention these as these are the ones where I have had a few decent-sized wins.

How to master 96% RTP fruitys

The easiest way to master any online fruity is to keep playing it. When trying a new fruity for the first time, I’ve always found that I will reduce the stake to the minimum amount, which is usually $/€/£0.10 or $/€/£0.20 just to test the waters and find out if I like it or not.

The other quickest way to bring yourself up to scratch is to head straight to the paytable to find out everything you need to know about the fruity you are about to play.

The important information I look for in the paytable is the RTP payout rate, the value of the regular symbols, what the scatter, bonus, and wild symbols look like, and how the in-play bonus features, free spins bonuses, and second screen bonus rounds work when they are triggered.

Once you have mastered one online fruity, learned everything there is to know about it, and figured out when it’s in a good mood (paying) or bad mood (not paying), you can apply those same strategies to all other online fruitys you decide to play.

When playing online fruitys, whether it’s one you have mastered or one you are trying for the first time, the most important thing I mustn’t forget to mention is to gamble responsibly.

The best way to do this is to start by setting a budget and then setting either a deposit limit, spending limit, session time reminder, or win/loss limit.

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