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.