Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Make 2017 the Year of Gratitude

Monday, February 6th, 2017

“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Maya Angelou

We’ve just closed the books on a tumultuous 2016, and let’s face it, we feel pretty beat up emotionally. We know we’re not alone. Many of you are also exhausted from seeing everything become a political debate. It’s draining, and it divides us by pointing out our differences in just about every way.

Let’s get back to the basics by showing genuine thanks and appreciation to each other all year round! One of the easiest ways to do this on a professional level, is to send a handwritten note. It’s one small but powerful way we can feel more connected.

Thanks and Gratitude – it’s not just for the holidays
How can you incorporate more “thank you’s” and gratitude into your sales and marketing systems year round? Showing thanks and appreciation with a hand written note is an easy, one-of-a-kind way to do that, and works regardless of the season!

Building relationships the write way!
A handwritten note is such a rare treat these days, and a surefire way to make the recipient feel special. As the Experience economy* becomes more relevant, this is an excellent marketing tool to promote the customer experience.

Go Old School
It’s ironic that now, you can make someone feel special simply by putting pen to paper. There’s something powerful about a thank you note received in the mail vs. receiving a text or email. The extra effort and deliberate thought process involved in writing and sending one is definitely felt and remembered by the recipient.

Be Different
According to John Coleman in an article in the Harvard Business Review, the average home only receives a personal letter once every seven weeks. The stats Coleman cited date back to 2010. I imagine it’s even more a rarity today. What an easy way to stand out!

This past Holiday season, we were inundated by electronic season Greetings emails. Outside of a few exceptions, most were easy to delete or ignore and focused on communicating holiday business hours instead of expressing sincerity and gratitude.

Tips for sending handwritten notes
• Don’t fret about your handwriting skills! Your kind words, and the perceived investment in time will make an impression.
• Keep it to a few meaningful and personalized sentences.
• Your choice in words – and even paper stock – becomes a part of the customer experience, and an opportunity for you to express your brand.
• Build note writing into your marketing and sales process. Carve out time in your schedule each day, or week. Whatever works for you… just do it!

This month, we’re promoting a pretty cool deal on custom note cards featuring Cleveland architecture that will help you make a great brand impression.

Contact us for more information!

*The Experience Economy, written by Joesph Pine and James Gilmore. 2011. A great business read reinforcing the importance of making unique connections to secure customer affections. (back cover)

Trade Show Marketing Tips

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Trade shows can be one of the most effective and efficient lead generation tools for businesses, but they can be costly too. From design and print of the display and marketing items, the investment can be thousands. And if it’s out of town, even more. Now’s the time to start planning on how to maximize your investment.

Trade show

Get the most out of trade show marketing

Take advantage of the entire experience of the trade show attendee to build awareness, and fill your pipeline. Here are a few tips:

Before the show

  • Months before, strategize on the entire process from the attendee’s perspective. Put yourselves in their shoes and consider what they’re doing, thinking, wishing for and experiencing days before the show, during the show, and perhaps most importantly, after the show. Call a prospect or client and ask for their feedback to get really great data points.
  • How will you grow your list, and generate leads and sales by exhibiting at this trade show? Research sponsorship opportunities to the show in exchange for a list of attendees.
  • If you’re sponsoring, be prepared to receive the list only weeks – sometimes only days – before the show. Ask about timing, and plan to send a postcard or email to generate pre-show sales and excitement.  Add an offer to make reaching out or visiting your booth compelling.
  • Know what your post-show follow up will be so execution can be seamless and timely.
  • During the show

  • Capture interested prospects info. If you have multiple products/services, have them specify what they may be interested in.
  • Have plenty of options for takeaways based on the level of interest and/or quality of lead.
  • If you have a list of attendee’s, consider same day promotions using a text messaging service to draw more folks to your booth.
  • After the show

  • Follow up within 5 days. Remember, good leads can go cold fast. Make sure your follow up includes a few touch points to remind those who may have been swamped with to-do’s when they returned.
  • If sponsoring, ask for a complete attendee list, and plan one more touch point for those you have not gotten response from.
  • Build your list so you can continue to communicate with prospects in the future.
  • Track the results.  Is it worth it to invest in the show again?
  • Maximize your trade show ROI with a well thought out plan to attract, capture and follow up.

    Google Wants Your Website Mobile-Friendly

    Sunday, March 22nd, 2015







    Did you catch the announcement from Google earlier this month regarding it’s new ranking preference for mobile friendly web sites?

    From Google’s statement: “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

    If your business relies on Google rankings to be found, take action now to make sure it’s a mobile friendly site. To test your site’s readiness, use this handy Google tool. and pay attention to the items that show up on the mobile tab.

    If you’d like to learn more, check out Google’s Mobile Guide.

    How to Choose the RIGHT Promotional Product

    Wednesday, August 28th, 2013







    Promotional products and apparel are great for showing your appreciation, launching a new service, or even for building loyalty. The key, of course, is to choose them wisely.  Here are a few tips for choosing the right promotional item for your customers, prospects or employees.

    Know Your Target Market
    This is the most important place to start.  Keep in mind your audience will accept just about any free item, but the goal is to get them to use it, and that’s why it’s important that the item addresses your target markets needs AND their tastes.

    So, who is your target market?  What’s their average age, gender and income level?  What do they struggle with?  If your target market is a business professional, what position do they typically hold?  Analyze your customer base and figure out what makes them tick. You can do this by simply exploring social media sites, or surveying some of your clients directly.  Once you’ve defined who your audience is, it’s easier to find relevant items.  Reach out to us or a professional in the industry for help if you’re still stuck.

    Know Your Distribution Method
    How will you get these in your target market’s hands?  If you’re including a product in a mailing campaign, chose a light, thin item like a pen or a magnet.  Apparel items and mugs or stemware are ideal handed out in person or at trade shows.

    Looks ARE Important
    Cheap looking items or those of low quality, or worse, items that don’t consistently work, will reflect poorly on your brand and company reputation.  Always make sure they are good quality.  Keep in mind, that doesn’t mean expensive.

    A few more tips to remember:

    • Don’t be boring. You’re not boring, so why should an item that represents your brand be boring? There are so many options for almost any type of product you’re seeking out.  Remember, the objective is to choose an item that gets held on to and used!
    • Choose a product with a long shelf life. The longer it gets used, the better brand exposure you get. Great long term items include lipbalm, unique mugs and quality apparel to name a few.
    • Imprint with your logo and a call to action. Do you want people to visit your website, email you or call?  Whatever you want them to do should be your call to action.  Make sure the color of the item works with your brand.
    • Have a few different items on hand for various occasions. This is a great strategy for trade shows.  Have an inexpensive give-away for all who stop by and a nicer item for those who give them contact info, and an even nicer option for those you have a conversation with.
    • Think ahead! It’s best to get a sample of what you’re interested in ordering so take action weeks – maybe even months – before you actually need the item in hand.  This allows time for you to touch, feel, and even use a sample before committing to a large run.

    If you’d like our 3-step worksheet on How to Choose the Right Promotional Item, just send us an email!

    Creative Retail Window Displays: Art Meets Apparel

    Monday, November 12th, 2012

    Store windows used to be the retailer’s first touch point with their consumer.  Although technology has become that primary touch point – usually through the company’s website – retailers still need to stage their windows to set the tone for their brand, and give the consumer a feel for what they can expect once they step inside.

    Whenever we travel, we enjoy checking out what retailers are creating to capture the attention, and communicate their brand to busy shoppers.  During a recent trip to Toronto, we found quite a few stores utilizing objects like old books, birch logs, styrofoam and plastic plates.  It was refreshing to see such creative and tactile solutions – especially for the electronically over-charged consumer.  Check out a few of our favorites…

     

    Retail window display using text books

     

    Retail window display using plastic and syrofoam plates, cups and metallic disks.  Second photo is a close-up.

     

    Retail window display with old clocks for a change the clock themed sale.

     

    Retail window display using 8-1/2 x 11 “snapshot” prints as background

     

    Microsoft’s New Logo… Good to be Square?

    Monday, August 27th, 2012

    By now, you’ve probably seen Microsoft’s new logo… four colored squares forming one large square, and flanked by simple grey type “Microsoft”.  It’s been 25 years since it’s been re-designed, and no doubt, it needed an overhaul.

    But as a designer, I’ve got to ask… what’s with the square(s)?

    The square is comprised of four 90 degree angles. By it’s very nature, it doesn’t express movement. It’s not an interesting or dynamic shape, and because of that, is used when companies want to convey stability, consistency and safety (think H&R Block).

    The downside of the square? Well, it’s boring.

    What does that say about Microsoft?