Thursday, August 28, 2008
• Consistency Equals Recognition. Distributing a red tee shirt with your name on the back, followed by a blue tee shirt with your name on the sleeve might keep things interesting, but it may cause you to lose brand recognition. Major national corporations can get away with this because they have so much recognition already; but for a small company, keeping things the same will help you a lot more.
• Placing the logo. Put your image EVERYWHERE –but be consistent. You can build effective advertising from the top, bottom, left or right of any item, as long as you keep it in the same place. Keep things uniform on paper products, such as invoices, as well.
The more people see your logo, the more interest your company will drive. Put your logo everywhere you can for the best response.
Where’s the most creative place you’ve ever seen a logo?
Photo Courtesy of emaringolo
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Once you have your branding kit, at some point in time you’re going to need to make some changes. Depending on your design skills (and budget) you may want to try to make the changes yourself. Photoshop is the universal program to make these changes. Through Photoshop you can edit text, change colors, add images…basically, if you can think it, it can be done in Photoshop. The diversity of this software can make editing a document a little cumbersome and the program is not cheap. But, if you’re interested in making a long term investment, both in the software and tutorials on how to use it, Photoshop is the way to go.
For those looking to make some basic edits, check out the free design tools offered at download.com. According to the reviews, GIMP seems to be a close match to Photoshop and it’s FREE. You can’t beat that price!
Once you’ve got your program, the one thing to keep in mind when designing is it’s all about what you like. Design is very subjective so you can’t please everyone. If I can give 1 tip, it’s to make sure your text is legible. Many beautiful brochures are ruined because customers can’t read the text (too small, to light of a font color, etc.).
Don’t forget, if you have design related questions post a comment. I’ll definitely respond.
Photo Courtesy of syazamst
Offering a guarantee may sound like a dangerous proposition for a small business, but quality assurances can offer major benefits to companies of all sizes. With a good guarantee, you can easily get all of the following benefits:
Increased sales. When customers are hesitant about anything, they are much less likely to buy. A guarantee assures there’s nothing to worry about. Aren’t you more likely to buy something you know is guaranteed?
Reduced number of complaints. As strange as it sounds, guarantees reduce the number of returns and complaints. The longer the guarantee, the fewer dissatisfied customers you have.
A point of difference. When looking at two similar products in similar price ranges, buyers are much more likely to try the one with a guarantee. Who wouldn’t?
A chance to improve. If you need to honor a guarantee, it can be taken care of through a replacement product or service. Doing the job again will not only help the customer, but also will help you improve your company.
Increased loyalty. Whether a customer invokes a guarantee or not, they will think highly of your brand for protecting them after the purchase. This feeling of goodwill is likely to turn into future sales and referrals.
Whatever your industry, a guarantee can build business and customer satisfaction.
Have you had any good experiences with guarantees?
Photo Courtesy of stephenliveshere
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Rewards programs work because everyone wants to be rewarded for doing something they enjoy doing anyway. Who says “no, I wouldn’t like a free sandwich now that I’ve bought my fifth one here?” There are a variety of different programs to choose from and I’m sure one of them can really help your company.
• Frequency Cards. Create a card for customers to carry around and once they get enough stamps, they get something free. This system works best for businesses that have one main service or product, like a sandwich shop or dog groomer.
• Spend $100, get 15% off next purchase. This system is similar to the one above, but it is better adapted for companies with multiple products and services, such as spas, retail shops, etc.
• Schedule your next appointment now and get $10 off. This is a great offer for places like salons to get customers to book their next appointment while they are still euphoric from getting their recent service done.
• Reach platinum level, get a gift. This program operates with a point system. For example, customers receive 10 points for every dollar spent. At 100 points, they earn a promotional pen. At 1000 points, they earn a company hat or a free service/product.
• Refer 5 customers, get a $50 gift card. Referrals are great for every business, but for some, they are critical. Cell phone companies frequently use this program, offering customers a $25 credit for each friend they get to sign up.
If you want to keep customers loyal, you need to keep offering a great product at a great price with excellent customer service. But following these tips will help bring loyal customers back again and again.
Did you know Starbucks just launched a new rewards program? Customers who register their rewards cards online will be able to partake in free refills and wifi while in the stores.What rewards programs do you take advantage of? Personally, I like my credit card’s cash-back rewards.
Photo Courtesy of mandamia
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Advertising is essential, but it can be relatively inexpensive. Here’s what can you do to advertise on a low or non-existent budget.
• Spend time near your customers. Whether it’s online, a spa, a coffee shop or a sporting event, building a relationship with your customers will make them like and trust you more. This is something every small business owner should be practicing. Aside from marketing to them, you can also learn valuable information about your customers and how to please them.
• Offer free samples. People love freebies. I sure do. Offering your product or service for free shows customers you have good stuff to offer. Plus, it provides a feeling of goodwill towards you -always a plus.
• Send out press releases. Local papers -especially small neighborhood publications- frequently need more stories. Send them information on your promotions and business practices and you just might get coverage. If your first few don’t get picked up, keep writing. You never know when they will be interested in the next one.
• Hang signs around town. Print up signs with your company info and post them on community bulletin boards, telephone poles, etc. Check your local laws about this as some places have requirements of where signs can or cannot be hung.
Did you know 1-800-GOT-JUNK started to get big only after owner Ben Hopper posted wooden signs for the company throughout his community? He advises putting the signs up high so no one can mess with them.
• Offer rewards for referrals. A fast way to build loyalty and increase your customer base is by thanking customers who sending you new business. This can be done by offering discounts or monetary credits toward their next purchase for every new customer they bring you.
• Write for trade publications. Websites and magazines in your field always need new articles from business owners. If you write articles for these publications, your name will spread as being established and credible.
• Offer gifts to help sales. Try offering a promotional product or inexpensive merchandise to motivate buyers. The best way to do this is to pair the offer with another ad medium and warn that supplies are limited.
• Test out social networking. MySpace, Facebook and other sites can work wonders for marketing. While they don’t work for everyone, the sites are free. There’s no harm in trying.
• Send hand-written thank yous. Thank you notes are a rare commodity in the modern world. Sending one written by hand shows customers you did more than print and sign a pre-written form. You care.
Enhance your marketing campaign with these simple tricks and you’ll see a boost in sales in no time –without a big budget ad campaign.
Do you have any tips to market your company without spending much?
Photo courtesy of kissyface
Monday, August 4, 2008
• Recognizable –If your logo contains text, make it readable. Your brand won’t be remembered if it can’t be read. Similarly, if your logo looks like another company’s, your customers will think of that brand when they see your advertising icon -a waste of advertising dollars.
• Associative –There is a reason car companies use strong, majestic animals for their icons. Your logo should work with your company or it will leave people scratching their heads.
• Credible –A logo should represent the work you do. A cartoon monkey may work for a children’s party company, but not an accounting office.
• Timeless –Every time you change your logo, you lose the branding built on the past version. Trendy logos may be outdated in only a few years.
• Simple – The simpler a logo, the quicker it can be associated with your brand. Consider the most famous company logos around, a curved check mark, a red bulls eye, a rearing horse, etc. They are all simple. That’s why they work.
Did you know T-mobile has gone so far to make their logo simple they use just a color? That’s right, they placed a copyright on the color magenta to protect it as their logo.
Make your logo stand out from the crowd and get your brand noticed. Do you have any good or bad logos to share?