• How to get more referrals for your small business

    Generating more referrals, better referrals, is all about word-of-mouth efforts. You want to get information out about your company so that people will hear the right things at the right time during their buying journey. So how do you do that? By enhancing and making all word-of-mouth efforts more targeted and brand-focused. Consider the following tips:

    • Offer Gift Incentives.  If you’ve ever read Freakonomics  or listened to the podcast under the same name, then you’ll already have an idea about the power of financial incentives. Harness that power and offer customers incentives — a gift hard or special package — for every new customer they refer to you. This both gives them motivation while also showcasing your own appreciation of customers.
    • Build Business Partnerships.  The more, the merrier right? Look around you at businesses that are within the same industry but perhaps a different niche. Consider their industry reputations and get customer testimonials. Then, offer to work with a business that as a good and trustworthy reputation to create a co-referral program. Such a partnership will benefit both of you as you refer more new and unique customers to them and they do the same for you.
    • Be Visible.  While it might be the most obvious, it is also obvious that a lot of companies struggle with this form of getting referrals. Add a company card to customer receipts or after a business meeting so they both now exactly how to contact you, and they can pass on that contact information to another potential customer. If you have a brick-and-mortar location, register with Google Maps so that information about your store will pop-up on I-need and Where-is searches.

    Most importantly, focus on not trying to convince people that your company can simply do any given job, but rather that your company is worth seeking out for a given job, product, or service.

  • Your Marketing Checklist for 2017

    Everyone who runs their own business knows the importance of marketing. This is the only way to educate the public about the impressive products and services that the company features. With this in mind, there are some important marketing tips that everyone should keep in mind as the calendar rolls over to 2017.

    Business Cards

    While some people think that business cards might be antiquated and outdated, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact remains that business cards are an easy, familiar, and portable marketing device that even includes the contact information for the business as a reminder of the services a company provides. This doesn’t mean the business card can’t be spiced up. Use these business cards as a promotion for prospective customers and as a marketing tool to spread the word about the business. Then, watch the phone calls and emails roll in!

    Take Advantage of Social Media

    Social media has completely changed the marketing game. It is not secret that almost everyone has a social media account of some sort, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This gives businesses a direct line of communication to the pocket of their customers. Take advantage of this platform to learn about customers and target products and services to their needs. Best of all, this marketing strategy costs little to no money at all!

    Do Not Neglect Promotional Campaigns

    Do not be afraid to have customers sign up their friends in exchange for some promotional offer for both parties. This is one of the most efficient marketing campaigns out there because everyone enjoys free stuff. Offer up a discount for a current customer and their friend if they get their friend to purchase something. This doesn’t cost much to the company and helps to spread the customer base. Give it a shot!

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    How to stand out at your next tradeshow or conference

    Tradeshows and conferences are an excellent opportunity for your business to promote your products and services to a new audience of potential customers. The number of industry-specific shows and conferences, filled often times with your direct competitors means you have to know the best strategies for making yourself distinguishable from the others, in order to gain an edge.

    Here are some simple strategies to employ that can help your company stand out and shine at your next tradeshow or conference. These tips, if properly executed, should provide you with an increase in foot traffic and access to the type of prospect with whom you want to do business.

    Create a Theme/Product Specific Display

    Your display says everything about your company, its products and services, and the message you wish to communicate to a tradeshow or conference audience. There are many portable tradeshow and conference display kits on the market that can be made customizable for your event. Invest money in purchasing a portable display that allows you promote the appropriate message for your event. Spend the extra dollars on displays that include a multimedia element (i.e. front mounted LCD projector) in order to display product videos, commercials, and other visual content that attracts attention.

    Be an Active not Passive Participant

    Often times when attending a tradeshow or conference, you will see people standing behind a display booth with an expression that suggests that they are merely passing the time until the end of the show. The purpose of any conference or show is to make new contacts and increase the visibility of your company’s offerings in order to increase sales. This means your participation should be active, not passive. Actively engaging conference participants as they walk near your display booth, offering samples, giveaways, and other merchandise improves your odds of finding that prospect who can impact the bottom line of your business with a large order.

    PS – Check out our banner stands here!

  • Is Advertising In Newspapers Still Worth The Cost?

    It used to be that if you wanted to make sure people were reading about your business, it was necessary to advertise in newspapers. Now, it’s important to ask the question: is it worth it? Newspapers are still selling advertising space, but it’s expensive. Is it worth the expense?

    There are plenty of ways for you to advertise that are more effective than newspapers. Target audience has a lot to do with how you choose where you will advertise. For most people, the newspaper is not a place where they get a substantial amount of information any more. There are many people who no longer subscribe to the newspaper in their community simply because everything that they need is online.

    With so many places to advertise, why advertise in the newspapers where it’s not as cost effective?

    The reason that some people are still advertising in the newspapers is because they don’t know where else to advertise. If you don’t want to advertise online, direct mail is still an option for you. You simply create a campaign with a postcard, brochure, or catalog, get a hold of a mailing list, and advertise inside of everyone’s mailboxes.

    Direct mail can be more affordable than advertising inside of a newspaper. You aren’t limited by space and you are able to get your advertising message into more hands simply because you are putting your message into a mailbox where everyone goes at least a few times a week.

    Especially when you are in a new area, advertising to a large audience is important. When you are looking for a place to advertise that gives you mass appeal, it’s not as cost effective to advertise in newspapers as it once was. Try direct mail and you will see an increase in your business as a result.

  • The Importance of Testing with Email Marketing

    When it comes to email marketing something as little as a typo, wrong URL, or non-responsive frame could be devastating to your ROI. In order to avoid wasting time, effort and money most email marketers have a pre-send checklist they go through before launching their email into the World Wide Web. Unfortunately, not everyone understands just how important it is to test marketing emails and email marketing campaigns.

    •       Are You Thoroughly Testing Your Email?

    When it comes to testing marketing emails it’s important to check for typos, verify all links work and test it on various devices and email providers. Sending a test email to your outlook and Android phone won’t really tell you if the email is going to look the way it’s supposed to when it gets to your clients. Gmail has a habit of cutting off emails and Outlook sometimes reformats emails entirely. This is why the best way to thoroughly test your email is to view it on a variety of providers and devices.

    •       Failing to Test Guarantees a Failed Campaign

    If you’re not testing all of your emails thoroughly, your marketing campaign is set to fail. For example, if you had 100,000 subscribers that you sent out an email campaign to so that you could reach your sales goals for this quarter. If that email is not mobile compatible you just lost a third or more of those possible sales because the people who got the email can’t even read it. If you sent the emails with a landing page link and the link it was broken you not only lost those sales, you may lose the interest of those particular clients entirely. If you didn’t bother to check your email on different providers, such as Outlook, you may end up with gaps and a client who thinks you don’t care enough to put effort into your emails. All of that can truly hurt your ROI and sales numbers.

    Some email marketing companies allow you to click one button which shows you how your email will look throughout the different providers and devices. You can also create various testing email accounts and test it manually one by one, although this may take a while. Regardless of how tedious it may be, do not send out any emails without checking them first!

  • How To Use Postcards to Market a Business

    With the ever improving technology that defines the 21st century, many people have questioned whether postcards can still be used to market a business. The answer is a resounding “yes,” but there are some critical rules to follow.

    1. Disguise the advertisement within the postcard

    First of all, the postcard should not look like an ad. Most advertisements are easy to pick out. Potential customers will quickly discard this item. Try to use fonts that look like handwriting. Print with uneven lines. Make the postcard look like a letter. People are more likely to read the postcard.

    1. Leave a little mystery

    Do not reveal all of the information on the postcard. If the customer knows everything up front, there is no reason to check out the rest of the business. Entice the customer with an attractive offer that will convince them to invest the time to check out the product. Make sure there is an easy web address to guide them to as well.

    1. Print the ad on the back of the postcard

    For people who have worked in the marketing industry, this is an ad trick. Mailmen have to look at the back of the mail to see the address. This is how they know where the mail goes. Therefore, the mail is placed in mailboxes face down. Print the ad on the back so customers do not have to flip over the postcard to see the ad.

    Ultimately, these are some easy tricks to effectively market with postcards. Give it a try and see the results!

  • 5 ways to save time and money on this year’s holiday cards

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Family, friends, turkey, pie, presents, lights, and all of the things that go along with the holiday season. And when the holidays roll around, it’s time to send everyone a Christmas card. The good news? It doesn’t have to take forever. Here are five ways to create the perfect holiday card (in an hour or less):

    Skip the greeting card aisle:

    You can go online, and design your very own, personalized Christmas card. No more wandering up and down the aisle, looking for a cute box of Christmas cards that you can send to everyone. And they can’t be too basic, but you don’t want to spend a fortune… It takes forever! Be honest, you’re never really happy about the ones you pick out either. Well now you can make your own here.

    You don’t have to handwrite the message anymore!

    In the past, after spending ages picking out a box of blank cards, you had to sit and hand write a message in every card. If you have a lot of family and friends, that’s a lot of cards! No more! You hop online and you can type your message, and it will be printed in every card for you. Easy peasy.

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    Include a family photo:

    Generally, when the Christmas cards go out, family photos are included. Which means that in addition to picking out the blank cards and handwriting the message inside – you had to go and have copies made of your favorite family picture to include with the card. By creating your own, you can simply upload a picture of your family and have it included right on the card!

    Pre-print your envelopes:

    Now that you’ve got your custom holiday cards made, you have to mail them out. Instead of printing out every address on your list, as well as your own address, have some envelopes made! You can have your address ready to go on the envelope. That way, all you have to do is fill out the address of the recipient.

    Start now!

    Don’t wait until the last minute! Save yourself some time and start working on those Christmas cards now. That way it’s done, they are shipped out, and you’ve completed your annual family duty. The longer you wait, you’ll have to contend with increased traffic at the post office as people mail out gifts, you’ll have to work around extended holiday hours, Christmas parties, and the general hustle and bustle that goes along with the holiday season. Don’t wait, visit our website and start designing beautiful holiday cards today!

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  • Three Tips to Help Build Your Newsletter Subscriber List

    Getting consumers to sign up for your newsletter is no easy feat. People are hesitant to give out their information or too busy to go looking for a sign-up form. You have to make the process as easy and rewarding as possible for your potential newsletter subscribers if you are ever going to grow your list. To that end, here are three tips that will help you entice consumers to join your newsletter list.

    Make Your Sign-Up Easy to Find

    This may sound obvious, but the number of companies that accidentally hide their sign-up forms is staggering. If you want people to sign-up to your newsletter you have ask them upfront. Some of the most successful newsletter sign-up forms are popups. However, most browsers now utilize popup-blockers, so this technique isn’t as useful as it once was. There are other proven sign-up form placements. Place a feature box with a link to your sign-up form on your website. Just be sure that you give your potential newsletter subscriber plenty of of prominent chances to sign up.

    Give Them a Reason to Sign-Up

    At its root asking someone to subscribe to your newsletter is asking them to do something for you. And nobody likes to do something for nothing. You need to offer your potential subscriber an incentive for signing up. Offer exclusive deals or coupons as a reward. This shows your subscribers that you appreciate them. Be sure that the incentive is related to your product, service, or mission.

    Don’t Forget about Social Media

    If you forget to include social media in to your newsletter campaign you are missing out on thousands of potential subscribers. These sites are ready-made for advertising the incentives you choose for newsletter subscribers, so use it.

  • How To Improve Your Website Copy

    There are hundreds of thousands of websites on the Internet. Some are extremely successful and some are not, receiving maybe five to ten visitors a week. If you are reading this, chances are you are somewhere in the latter group. No need to worry, there are several things you can do to improve your website copy and move up the success ladder.

    Proofread

    Your readers are looking to you as a professional in your given field. Be sure that the content you are putting out there reflects on yourself in a good light. If it is poorly written, has bad formatting, contains a lot of grammar errors, or is just plain boring to read, those visitors are never coming back and certainly will not recommend your website to anyone they know.

    Make it Easy to Read

    Statistics show that approximately 17% of the people who visit will actually read the entirety of the content. The remaining 83% will simply skim. Make sure your content is accessible to those who are just giving the article a glance. Follow this tips to make your content easy to skim:

    • Short sentences
    • Short paragraphs
    • Lists
    • Bullet points

    Make the Content Interesting

    While many of your readers will skim the articles, your goal is to produce content that they will want to read more fully. Follow this tips to make your content more interesting and informative:

    • Add a touch of humor (if appropriate)
    • Make sure your facts are correct
    • Use words people can pronounce (big fancy word do not mean anything to someone who can’t say them (if they can’t say them chances are they have no idea what the words mean)
    • Write what your readers want to read about (if you have an ecommerce website that sells party favors, then write about party ideas, tips, themes,etc)

    Ask Your Readers

    One way to know what your readers are looking for and what will draw them in is to ask them! Add a poll or survey and ask your readers what they want to read about. The more involved your readers are in your website the more likely they are to return again and again.

  • 5 Tips for Digitally Printed Materials

    Although many differences exist between digital and offset printing, art results from both. Getting the most out of your digital prints though requires preparation before you create your image. These quick tips will help you create the best result possible.

    1. Plan your image. Keep it simple. If you’re planning a logo, it needs to appear clearly to viewers on any media from billboards to business cards. Using too many colors, shadows and details will render poorly on larger media. Avoid large solids, too, suggests Printing Industries of America. Shoot with a high quality camera at the highest resolution. Use a zoom lens, if needed.
    2. Test the fonts. The gorgeous font you downloaded from a design site may contain a use restriction that prohibits .pdf printing or creation. Test each font after download to ensure you can embed it before you use it in a project.
    3. Color correct images using RGB. Edit your image before you convert to CMYK. An image loses color information when converted from RGB to CMYK. Leave conversion to CMYK and its creation of the black separation as your final step.
    4. Avoid printing photos over the fold. The toner used in digital printing varies greatly from the ink used by lithographic presses. Toner fuses to the printing surface using heat and fuser oil. Toner printers tend to band, mottle, or print large solids unevenly and to crack on the fold. If you must print along the fold, try to use rules, lines or headline text there. Ask the printer to score the printed sheet before folding if a graphic must cross the fold.
    5. Use the best quality materials possible. Whether you’re creating prints to sell or business marketing materials, the quality of your print represents you. Show attention to detail, quality and care by using the best available materials.