Thursday, April 30, 2015

5 Tips to a Successful Advertisement

The definition of the word Advertise is:  To make the public aware of something (such as a product) that is being sold. 

Advertising is all around us. When employed effectively, it can single-handedly pull a business from obscurity to success.  People encounter it in just about every aspect of their lives, from the time they first crack open an eye to look at their phones in the morning to when they sit back and enjoy their favorite programs in bed.  

This is the way of the world.   In 2014, $180 billion dollars was spent on advertising.    To put into perspective, that’s about equal to the GDP of Ecuador.

With so many businesses pouring massive resources to get themselves noticed, how can new entrepreneurs compete and get their message across? 

5 tips to a successful advertisement:

1. Identify with your brand – If you don’t believe in what you are selling, no one else will either.  

2. Profile your target audience – Decide for whom or where your product fits the best.

3. Have an Agile Game Plan – Be ready to adapt as the market changes.

4. Be results-driven – And have systems in place to measure the results, collect valuable data, and apply your learning to your advertising strategy.

5. Be persistent – Continue to fight for awareness as it most likely won’t happen overnight. Engaging your audience and building your profile takes time.

Next week, we will go into further detail about the Agile Game Plan.


Perfect prints; DPI, RGB, and CMYK

Your computer screen produces light, while ink on paper absorbs and reflects light from the environment.

Images on a screen or monitor are shown in a combination of red, green, and blue light, or "RGB"

If you've ever changed certain brands of printer cartridges, you may have noticed the color component consisted of a spectrum of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, or "CMYK". 

You may have also noticed that when printing an image, it did not exactly match the sharpness or color shown on your screen.

Below, I'll explain why this is the case, and how to get the image on the screen to match the printed product in your hand.

Your computer screen is capable of displaying millions of colors at a time. In contrast, printers are capable of producing several thousand shades of ink. What may look rich on screen may appear washed out in a piece of print due to the way the colors are produced and combined.

Before submitting a digital image or design for print, you'll want to be sure you convert your piece to the CMYK color mode, and make adjustments as necessary. Better yet is to design in CMYK mode to begin with if possible, although different image editing programs have different capabilities. 

The good news is that programs from Microsoft Paint to Adobe Photoshop have the ability to at least save an image in a CMYK format, with varying levels of ease, depending on the software you're using.

By doing this, you will ensure your printed image's color will be accurate, and not overly saturated, or washed out.
Now, you may also have noticed that your image looks blurry, or pixelated in some cases. The image may display just fine on your screen, and even be sized correctly for the dimensions you are trying to print. What's the issue here?

More than likely, if your image is sized correctly and still pixelated, DPI is the issue.

DPI is an acronym for "dots per inch". It is used in printing to determine the printed resolution of your image or design, by measuring the amount of ink for a given amount of paper. 

Generally speaking, one should provide an image of no less than 300 dpi for optimum clarity on a print job, though for large format prints sometimes a higher number may be required. 

With your knowledge of the mysteries and intricacies of printing, you're guaranteed to be producing clean, professional quality prints for your needs very time.
We hope this article furthers your journey to success in all your endeavors! 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

5 Tips on How to Give Your Business Card a Marketing Edge

Business cards have a funny way of making every space their home - our wallets, our desks, our cars, our counters, etc. We come in contact with them every day, and we rely on them as a reference and as a necessary tool for business networking.

Their ubiquity also lends them as powerful marketing tool. Don’t underestimate the power of a 3.5 x 2 inches of paper. A business card is the starting point of your sale, and it’s vital in making a memorable first impression.

Below are 5 effective ways to #getyourmessageacross with your business card and employ them as your miniature marketing army:

1.     Have a Beautiful or Eye-Catching Design

Okay, so this seems obvious, but it still astounds me how dated or cheesy some business cards look, whether it’s because there’s too much going on or because little though was invested into it. Be prepared for people deciding on whether or not you’re worth their time based on the sturdiness of your cardstock and the aesthetics of your graphic design.

Invest in a good designer for your logo and marketing materials, one who understands the draw of clean visuals and the judicial usage of pleasing colors. It’s awfully tempting to pack as much info as you possibly can, but remember, you have very little surface area to work with, and when you try to throw too much at a person, nothing might stick.

In this case, less is more. Use no more than 3 colors, make sure your logo isn’t complicated, and don’t clutter your card with a dozen bullet points summarizing all your services.

If you really want to grab someone’s attention, bring your card to life and make it into 3D or interactive art. Look up business cards with perforated lines that fold them into mini sculptures, and play with cleverly strategic cut outs. Have fun thinking outside the box.

2.     Be Generous and Give, Give, Give

Act like your business cards have an expiration date and give them away as fast as possible, because they’re of no use to you neglected in your pocket. Anyone with a hint of interest in you or your business should have your card in their hands after the first 60 seconds of conversation.

Many people are clinically incapable of remembering names, so any assistance in this department will be appreciated.

Even if you’re talking casually with a new acquaintance, wouldn’t you rather be remembered by name instead of as “That guy we met at the thing the other night?”

Perhaps an immediate business opportunity isn’t readily available, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be in the future. And don’t limit yourself to the possibilities directly in front of you. Manifest bonus clients and give two cards at a time – one for the recipient and an extra they can give a referral.

3.     Make Them Useful
A business card that I can use as a periodic table? Heck, yes! Business cards will need the requisite contact info and logo, but more and more people are trying to stand out by making their cards multifunctional and relevant to the business. Think eye charts on the back of a card for an optometry practice, or a ruler for a construction company.

A 2 in 1 product may seem like a mere novelty, but adding an extra element of utility and practicality to your business card creates a multitude of positive associations with your company. Customers would be naturally more inclined to hire someone who projects plenty of ingenuity and resourcefulness. Whatever your strategy, the more useful your card, the longer it will stay out of someone’s trash bin.  

4.     Leave a Trail
Don’t be afraid to ask other local and related businesses to leave a stack of your cards at their front desk. You want to get your name out there, and building alliances can benefit you greatly in getting more eyes on your company. Haven’t you ever picked up a card while visiting a salon or an event venue, knowing there would be a definite use for it in the near future?

At conferences and shows, it helps to have a strategic partner carry a stack of cards at their booth and have their help in cross promoting your business while you do the same for them. Not only does it open up another stream of potential clients, you look like a trustworthy and knowledgeable resource with strong connections. Referrals tend to have the happy knack for turning into the smooth and easy sale.

5.     Give Food for Thought
Modern marketing is all about being genuine and connecting with peoples’ interests and opinions. Consumers, especially millennials, are quick to sniff out insincerity and shy away from aggressive sales pitches.

If speaking as a promoter isn’t your style, try incorporating quotes (“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”), phrases or words that reflect the vision and values of the company. The copy can be humorous, or it can be contemplative, depending on what feels most appropriate for your business.

Another strategy is to get people to interact and learn. Interacting with customers may get them interested in other things you may have to offer. You could include fun facts or trivia (82% of brides have regrets about their wedding day…), or you can redefine a word based on your company’s understanding of it.

In anything you do as a company, make it a habit to regularly engage your audience.

Challenge them. Start a conversation. Your business card can be the tangible starting point of a long and mutually rewarding relationship.