Thursday, August 27, 2015

The power of postcards

Imagine the attention and power your message can convey with a billboard advertisement, in a high traffic area. Now, imagine the effect of thousands of billboards, directly targeting your audience, that they can take home with them. Utilized effectively, a postcard or flyer can be just that: a mini billboard, suitable for pinning to a fridge with a magnet, kept in a car’s sun visor for later use as a coupon, and even as artwork in some contexts.

 A flyer or postcard has the advantage of mobility over a billboard, however many of the same principles can be applied to both methods of advertisement. A post card or bill board is not meant to close sales, but develop interest, and leads. Your design should grab attention, have a strong graphic presence, and clearly convey your message and how to contact you.

Postcards, utilized in a timely fashion, and distributed properly, can serve a variety of functions and call attention to: appointment reminders, coupons, new product releases, store grand openings, event access and tickets. Keep in mind, postcards are generally not meant to explain your whole life story. When adding text, think “newspaper sale ad” and not “War and Peace”. 

Utilize both sides effectively as well. One side should be to grab attention, with big bold lettering and graphics. The more poster like and pleasant to look at this side is, the more likely someone will care enough to read the other side. The other side should be used to convey information, such as contact details, locations, sales or any other promotion you are offering. 

The most effective word you can use with this, and many forms of advertising is “FREE”.   If you’re clever, and creatively inclined, you could even devise a way to utilize the word “FREE” to grab attention, without actually giving away anything more than the postcard. Jimmy John’s, a sandwich shop franchise’s “FREE smells” campaign, is a perfect example of this tactic.

A post card or flyer is not the time to go cheap on printing. The difference between getting tossed with the recycling, or on the floor even, will be made in the quality. If I’m invited to attend a conference, and the invitation looks like a Xeroxed garage sale flyer, it will be used as mulch and little else. 

Know and target your audience. A postcard or flyer can work a thousand times better than a TV or Radio ad that indiscriminately targets everyone. Appeal to the aesthetic sensibilities of your audience and keep your design in harmony with your product, service or offer. If you’re not the creative type, by all means you should definitely hire a professional graphic designer to create your postcards image and proof.

You should also utilize professionals to distribute your post cards as well. The United States postal service offers what’s known as “EDDM” service, an acronym for “ Every Door Direct Mail”, which allows you to target whole zip codes without the need for an address list.

Professional street teams should be utilized to distribute your flyers at events your target audience tend to frequent, to drop off at stores, cafes, and other places with space for print and other literature and announcements, and to post bills in public places as allowed by law.

Years ago, I worked in a small bookstore that was suffering for business. As a new hire (that also got a small commission on each sale) I immediately thought to utilize print to increase traffic. Taking a postcard, and a small complimentary button we gave away free, I taped the buttons to the postcards and had my coworker hold down the fort for an hour. I then went two blocks away and started giving away the postcards with the buttons attached, which a few people actually pinned on their jacket or bag in front of me. 

Upon returning to our rather small retail space, I was overwhelmed by the number of people in the store! My co-worker informed me I arrived not a moment too soon, stating “I don’t know what you did, but thanks for all this commission!”

Put the power of print to work for your business today, and watch as your small initial investment helps your business grow larger than you thought it could! offers a variety of sizes and styles of postcards, and allows you to choose the printer and price that works best for you. Browse through a variety of professionally designed templates, or upload your own design.

Our simple to use design wizard is a powerful and flexible tool to create or modify your own design on the fly, too.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Is your business card classier than you? Five tips on business card etiquette

A business card is perhaps the most valuable resource you have at networking events. If you have a great card, but push them on people like a used car salesman trying to get rid of a lemon, you’re likely to leave a bitter taste in people’s mouth. The following are five tips on business card etiquette, gleaned from countless conferences and events. 

1.) Don’t leave home without them! You don’t want to be the person who has to make excuses and explains why they don’t have a business card. Saying “they haven’t shipped yet” is like asking for advice “for a friend”. We all know the truth.

2.) Keep your cards fresh and clean. A business card holder, or wallet with card pockets, are good choices. Crumpled, torn, folded, or dirty business cards give a bad impression. 

3.) Make a comment or compliment about someone’s card when you receive one. Logo’s, location, and business name are all good to remark upon.

4.) Make sure your card is up to date. Nothing screams unprofessional more than an old phone number or email crossed out, with a new one penciled in.
5.) Only offer your business card when asked for it. If someone is interested in contacting you in the future, they’ll be sure to ask for a way to keep in touch. Alternatively, you could ask for their information, and exchange cards after they hand theirs to you. 

With these common sense tips in hand, we hope you make as good an impression at your next event as your card does!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Designing the right business card for you

A business card serves as a visual symbol for your business, and conveys not only your vital information, but also serves as a touchstone for the memory of the past interaction you have had with the person you handed the card to.

It is recommended to choose a unique design that stands out from the crowd, yet still conveys the general idea of the product or service you offer. A travel agent may not want to use a card with an all black background to encourage people to go on vacation, whereas a bar might find a black background conveys the notion of nightlife.

Here are some design choices to consider:

-Don’t use text on top of pictures, it can be difficult to read.

-Don’t go cheap. A flimsy, poor quality card stock says you don’t care enough to invest in quality for your business. 

-If your company logo uses highly stylized fonts, thats fine. You don’t, however, want to use a hard to read font for your contact information. Stick with Helvetica or Times New Roman if in doubt.

Card Colors

Colors can be used to enhance the emotional impact and visual appeal of your card. Below are some ideas you can use to get your message across with creative use of color.

White: White is standard, and safe. It’s a good choice for a traditional business or anyone who wants to be conservative and not rock the boat. 

White is also a blank canvas, you can get wildly creative if you like, too.

Black: Black is striking and stands out, and can convey not only elegance and sophistication, but power and mystery as well. Depending on the color you use for the lettering, you can drive a range of sentiment. Black and gold can say “high end couture”, while black and red might be used for an exciting profession such as a stuntman.

Gray: Gray is an excellent background color as it doesn’t stand out, yet conveys stability. Ash Gray, combined with brighter colors such as blue, red, or green can be used to impart a “high tech feel” to your design.

Blue: Blue shouts reliability, safety, and authority.

Red: Red is attention getting and exciting, and demands you take notice of it’s presence in any composition.

Green: Suggests eco friendly, nature, compassion, and currency.

Yellow: Yellow is refreshing to look at, both bright and mood enhancing. It implies a light, carefree, and playful spirit.


Photographs, illustrations, and other images can be used in your design to powerful effect. And by all means, if you have a logo for your business, use it on your card! It serves as a visual cue for your business and functions as an instantly recognizable hieroglyph for your business name without having to spell it out.

Ideas to consider:

- If you're going to use a photograph for a background, make sure there is some blank space in the image to add any text, if necessary.  

-If including a picture of yourself on your card, make sure your image isn't fuzzy, and you have a blank or muted background behind your face. No bathroom selfies folks! Highly unprofessional.

-If you're using an illustration, leave room for any necessary text without being too cramped. Illustrations and text will blend together to become unreadable without some breathing room.

If this is your first time designing a business card, have a look at some of the awesome templates available at , you can start with something basic, or elaborate, add your own images, and customize your design with a variety of fonts all online, no Photoshop necessary.

Post your card design in the comments if you like, and be featured on this post and on our social platforms.

Happy designing!  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Principles of design

There is no right or wrong way to create art or design, as aesthetic appeal is largely a matter of opinion. There is, however, universal appreciation of harmony, balance, and symmetry in design, and we'll explore some simple concepts below to keep in mind the next time you need to create a business card, flyer, or logo.


Harmony can be achieved by calling attention to your main idea with a design element emphasis, and a balance of the other elements of the design. Every element should balance the rest, and have a purpose in your overall design.


Harmony in design should also allow enough space between elements, so as not to distract from the overall design. If you use a patterned background, you may not want to use an overly elaborate font. You may also want to allow distinct space for each element in order to draw attention to different information in order of importance. 


The difference between a zen garden, and the contemplation it offers, and a chaotic undergrowth is arrangement. 

Similarly, if you’d like to invite contemplation of your design, and the information it conveys, it pays to arrange the elements of your design in a harmonious manner.

We hope with these principles in mind, you're better able to design the perfect graphic for your needs.

(The designs seen here can be viewed at:

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The power of asking

In a recent meeting, we spoke about growing our base via social, and doing it by asking social media influencers for their support and opinions.  As we spoke, I realized that not everyone just asks for support even though it seems so simple to me.  The social media game can be a difficult one to play. 

There are countless people working to get their brand seen in a sea of online content who would like to be noticed by an influencer.  Many people put content out and just hope it gets found but in the end they just don't ask directly for support .  

My training from years of sales and working at fortune 500 companies quickly kicked in. The idea is simple, anybody can implement it and grow their social influence quickly.  It's a rarity when there is viral organic reach where a blog or a person is just discovered by the public and develops millions of followers quickly.  That’s an ideal model of growth, but the majority of the time you have to work hard at gaining influence and you almost always have to have help. 

Eventually if you like enough of a social influencers photos, they may recognize you and lend their support; although, it's more likely that media influencer has thousands, or maybe even millions, of followers, so you may never get noticed .  They might respond to flattery with a thank you, but the point is, if you don’t directly ask for support, they are unlikely to spontaneously give it.  They most likely won't know you need it or want it.

The more help you get the easier it will be for you to grow your social influence.   Reach out to influencers doing things similar to you and simply ask for support.  Knowing your target is a key element about how to approach.  Whether your approach is soft or direct always ask for support.  It creates a call to action for the influencer, and the clearer you can be in asking for what you need, the easier it is to get that support.  

So simply ask for it.  Get comfortable with saying the words "will you support us?".  Or you just may disappear in a sea of endless content.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Direct mail, even more important in the age of digital?

Direct mail marketing campaigns remain a standard practice for many entrepreneurs. Its effectiveness and proven track record are evidenced by its long, widespread usage and the encouraging results. 

It's an attractive option to small businesses, as a direct mail campaign offers reliable returns and convenient tracking via coupons.

Print offers a tangible product delivered to your customers’ front door. You're guaranteed to have eyes on your message, and there are different types you can use to avoid monotony - postcards, letters, brochures, or even, depending on your budget and business type, product samples, coupon books, and promotional items. 

If you're on a tight budget, post cards are an effective advertising tactic and cost less to mail than larger print items. 

Even in a digital age, some still do not own a computer, and a significant portion of the population only uses them in the course of employment or business. Not everyone surfs Facebook or Yelp. A direct mail advertising campaign can engage those who may never see a digital ad. With a mailing list, you are directly targeting your customers, without having to buy ad space from Google or pay for SEO. 

Michelle Van Slyke, vice president of marketing at The UPS Store, says this about direct mail marketing: “The results are trackable, and both our franchisees and their small business customers who have used it have seen results—new customers and repeat business.” She continues, “A direct mail piece stands out. It gets noticed, it gets read, and its offers and coupons get used.”

You're more likely to drive traffic to your business if your customers have a coupon in hand. You can time your sales and promotions to coincide with major events and holidays, when people are more apt to spend money.

What's more, print can include, and help you drive, your digital presence. Be sure to include your website, email, Facebook page, Twitter handle, Instagram profile, and any other platforms your business is present on. You can include a QR code with your contact details to make it easier for potential customers to store your contact information digitally.

Mail is familiar. The postal service is a long-standing institution in most countries. Some people may be skeptical about email messages or other digital advertising, and would be more receptive to direct mail, which they're more comfortable with. 

Ideally, combine traditional print media with digital advertising and marketing to get actual eyes on your message, instill confidence in your product, and drive your customer base.

You'll not only see an increase in customers, but word of mouth becomes a factor when your target demographic uses your service or product and begins to share their feedback. Use print to grow your initial base and drive your digital campaign. The results will speak for themselves. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Less is More: Simple Business Cards that Pack a Punch

Being the business pro that you are, you’ve got your company set up, your financials on point, your goods and services perfected. Check, check, check. You’ve had to become a master of a lot of things, so how hard could designing a business card be?

Turns out, there are an infinite number of ways your creativity can go, and it can be frustrating trying to come up with the perfect design that embodies everything that your company does and represents.

Keep it simple. Sometimes, the more you try to cram, the less you get your message across. People respond to uncomplicated images and symbols that succinctly communicate an idea. And simple, clean designs have the added appeal of not needing too much time or effort to look world-class.

If you’re still banging your head trying to find a design for your business card, consider these beautiful no-brainer designs.

1.)   Say Something

Make your business card the start or follow up of a conversation. All you need is a pop of color and friendly text, and voila, you have a business card.

2.)    Shorthand Symbols

Most people are visual learners, and the brain processes images and symbols a lot faster than it processes letters and words. The card below is very clear about what the business is about without having to explain anything.

3.)  Smart Use of Color

It’s funny how one bold color can elicit an immediate reaction from the viewer. And that’s what you want to do – grab their attention. The judicial use of a very few colors in your design, especially if you can tie it in to the actual work you do like the design below, is both simple to achieve and bold to behold.

4.)   Take a Picture

There is a reason people say a picture is worth a thousand words. You can stand out from the crowd of the oh-so-hot minimalist designs by using one stunning, visually interesting photograph, like this template from Not only is the image both interesting and arresting, it can add a personal touch as well.