Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Tips for Starting Your Own Business

You saw a need in the community, you came up with an idea and you are now determined to start your own business. With a firm idea in your mind of your new business, you need to keep in mind a few tips along the way to make sure your dream can become a reality. It is easy to get overwhelmed on this journey to owning a new start up company, but the reward is unparalleled in both accomplishment and potentially financial security. With some additional attention to basic tips, you can help reduce some of the uncertainty you’ll have as you begin on your journey and get off on the right foot. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

How To Stand Out At Trade Shows

Guest Post By: ModernLitho
Let's start with an all too familiar situation, you're setting up your company table at a trade show, you tape the generic company banner to the front of the table,  pull up a couple of chairs, put out a bowl of candy out and a trifold poster board with some basic company data on it. Then, the trade show  begins and all day you're sitting their wondering "We have such a great product, why isn't anyone stopping by our booth?". The answer? You're booth is boring! Trade shows are a chance to stretch your creativity muscles and put together a great booth that draws people in and makes them want to get to know you and your company. Check out my Top 5 Ways to Stand Out at Your Next Trade Show using wide format printing below.

        Pump Up Your Signage 
The first thing that you need to do at a trade show is to get patrons to notice your booth, the best way to do that? Wide Format Printing, which is signage on steroids. With wide format printing you can make your booth truly stand apart from the rest. Put your self in the shoes of those walking around, the show, which booth are you most likely to stop at? The basic booth with the trifold boards and stress balls or the booth with high quality vinyl signs and displays? I think we all know the answer to that one. Whether your limited to a table cover, or want to go all out with 3D displays and custom lighting, wide format printing gives you plenty of options that basic poster boards don't. Pro Tip: Include all your social media sites on your signage to encourage connection, make it easy with a simple QR Code.

                                                                                        Make Eye Popping Displays

Even the most basic and mundane data can be spruced up to make passerby's stop and take a look. Whether that's having a fully back-lit  display of your latest company doings,  or showcasing fully customized menus and product catalogs that don't put potential leads to sleep. How about those patrons who seem glued to their phone? Why not advertise with signage on the floor of the show room directed right at them! Now that's something your competitors won't have thought of.

         Go 3D With Displays

I mentioned this briefly above but it's worth noting again. With wide format printing you can create awesome 3D Displays that are sure to stand out. Hang 3D Displays from the ceiling showcasing a company logo, fast fact or hash-tag for the show, or even just use them to display your products in a brand new way. 3D Displays create a better and more long lasting impact that shows you think outside the box.

                                                                           Ride in Style

You can even make an impression on attendees before they even walk in the door! Use wide format printing to wrap a company vehicle and have it parked right near the entrance, in general the K.I.S.S. rule applies to your design so keep it simple and to the point, list some services, showcase your logo, use a QR code that people can scan with company info, a potential discount, or chance to be entered in a giveaway if they stop by your booth. Using wide format printing for vehicle wrapping gives you great brand recognition right off the bat, and if you use it in tandem with some of my other tactics you'll see a much better conversion rate at your next trade show.

The main idea behind using all of this signage in all these different ways  is to excel in every area, even the small ones that your competitors are not  that will make trade show patrons and potential leads remember you over anyone else.

What do you do to make your company or business stand out at trade shows? Let me know!

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Creative Ways to Bid Farewell to a Co-Worker

If it’s a lazy, uncooperative co-worker, you might just yell, “Good riddance!” and let the person walk out of the building without any sense of loss. But there exist some co-workers whom you have spent a lot of time with through the ups and downs, and so making their last day an extremely memorable one is a must. If a giant farewell card is not enough, you can add a little more twist to the occasion to make the other person feel grand.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

All About Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mailWhen it comes to marketing for your start-up business, direct mail is a traditional but still successful way of attracting the attention of customers. Using a personalized touch, direct mail is personally addressed to the customer and delivered by post. Contrary to emails, direct mail does not compete with other messages in the recipient’s inbox nor sent to the spam folder.

Benefits of Direct Mail as a Marketing Tool

  1. Targeted. Other forms of mass adverting, such as TV, radio, newspaper, etc., can be expensive for a start-up business. Direct mail lets you focus on a smaller, more focused target who is more likely to respond to your advertisement.
  2. Personal. You can talk to the customers by name and persuade them of your product or service better when you can show that you understand their needs. Done the right way, you can make a personal connection with the customer using emotional copy drivers effectively. These seven copy drivers are further explained in this article, “Use Direct Mail to Generate the Emotional Response”.
  3. Flexible. Mail can come in different forms, such as postcards, brochures, letters, and other affordable and easy formats. You can also provide a free sample or special offer in the envelope to increase the impact of your campaign.
  4. Tangible. The customer can physically touch your message, which can make a memorable impression, especially if you add some interesting elements like stickers, coupons, and samples.
  5. Measurable. You can count the inquiries you received or count the coupons redeemed. When you track and analyze the results, you can see which part of the campaign is working and which needs adjustments.
  6. Affordable. As long as you have the know-how in computer design or word processing software, you should be able to create your own mailpiece without the help of an expensive marketing company.

How to Prepare a Mailing List

Much more ideal than a rented mailing list is having your own list of ‘warm’ prospects to achieve better response and conversion rates.
  1. Work with what you have. Start your list based on your existing customers, prospects, and names in your sales inquiry records. To look for prospects, get help from your own customers and suppliers who may be able to give you new contacts.
  2. Do your own research. Find other possible outlets for your products using web searches. Online directories and trade publications are also possible rich sources of prospects. Visit your town council and ask for a list of individuals in the area.
  3. Try cross-selling. You can join forces with another company selling a different but related product to yours. For example, you sell shirts and the other company sells ties. Mailing your campaign together can halve the mailing costs. You can also try swapping customer lists but make sure that the customers have given their consent first.

More Help

Being new to the direct mail business can be overwhelming, but there are organizations to help you figure it out. An important name to remember is the U.S. Direct Marketing Association (info@the-dma.org, 212-768-7277), the world’s leading independent organization for data-driven marketers. They will be happy to answer your questions and provide you more sources of specialized information if needed.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Business Signs: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

After looking and laughing at a blog post of The World's Worst Real Estate Signs, I was inspired to put together my own similar post. Instead of focusing solely on signs, I expanded my search to include business ads and banners, vinyl graphics and more. I also wanted to make selections from a variety of business industries instead of just ones from real estate.

Once I started doing a little research, I realized that there were an endless amount of REALLY BAD signs to choose from so for pure entertainment purposes, I decided to go with a couple of funny ones for the good category. Here are some of my favorites:

The Good


The Bad


The Ugly

This post provided by a guest contributor for CM Graphics, a Lansing sign company. In addition to signs and banners, they specialize in designing and installing custom vinyl graphics for vehicle wraps, boat wraps, and building wraps.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Most Bizarre Insurance Policies Ever.

When Mark McGwire was chock full of steroids while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals back in the day, it seemed ludicrous that the team took out a $12 million dollar insurance policy on him. He was a mountain of a man...BUT, when you're making star baseball money and the player in question is inflated on god knows what, maybe it wasn't such a crazy idea. The truth is, there are any number of companies out there willing to insure just about anything.

So, in honor of those companies willing to put an insurance policy on just about anything, here's a list of some of the most bizarre policies you're ever going to see.
  • Alien Abduction Insurance. This isn't a joke. Perhaps some people truly believe they're going to be visited a la George McFly...but more than a scare, they'll actually be escorted out of the galaxy. Not to fear, you can purchase some insurance here.
  • Ransom Reimbursement. This one sounds crazy, but if you're an international company with high profile travelers heading into areas of the world where kidnapping is commonplace, it may not be as crazy as it sounds. Though, if someone was taking out this policy on me, I'd reconsider my line of work.
  • Ghost Insurance. If you're too smart for the alien abduction policy, you may want to be safe and insure yourself against ghosts. The Royal Falcon Hotel in England actually has a policy protecting staff and guests from any harm caused by ghosts. Well, not just ghosts, they covered their bases and also put in policies for werewolves and vampires.
  • Chest Hair Insurance. This is a joke, right? Nope. Tom Jones, notorious Vegas crooner apparently was so concerned with the importance of his chest hair to his look that he took out a...wait for it...$7 million dollar policy on it. Whoa. Flaunt it Tony!

This guest post provided by Lamborne Insurance Agency of Grand Rapids, Michigan.