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Archive: November 2015

Budgeting Your Print and Signage Needs for the Year Ahead

The secret to running a good business is planning and organization. When you’re able to plan ahead and organize your approach to the future, it bodes well for your ability to keep things running smoothly on all fronts—especially when it comes to budgeting.   With the end of the fiscal year in our sights, now is the prime time to start budgeting for 2016 and that means taking a good, long, hard look at the expenses you’re going to be faced with over the next year and taking the time to allocate funds to all of the essential components of your business. Perhaps the most important of these allocations is the money you’ll be dedicating to your marketing and branding budget.   Planning for marketing perfection   Marketing your small business shouldn’t be a fly by night approach—it needs to be something that’s well thought out and planned with specificities in mind. Budgeting and planning in advance of the upcoming year’s marketing and branding efforts is a first step in the right direction so that you’re not slinging money you don’t really have at half baked marketing ideas.   Now, it may be hard to sit down and plan out multiple campaigns a year in advance or figure out exactly how much you’re going to have to set aside to accomplish the marketing you want to in the coming year, which is why it behooves every small business owner to consult with an expert when setting up their budget.   At AlphaGraphics, we enjoy sitting down with small business owners during the early stages of budgeting, because it allows us to help our clients grow positively over the course of the coming year. In knowing your wants, needs, goals, budget and ideas, we can help you create an airtight marketing plan for the future, complete with pricing and timelines that will keep you out of the black when you’re reviewing your expenses this same time next year!   Inventory, plan and promote   Print materials and signage are going to be core components of any marketing campaign you undertake and thankfully, these components are easy to price out and quote—even a year in advance. This is why, at a minimum, it’s a great idea for you to consider the physicality’s of your marketing platform and get your ducks in a row when planning for 2016.   Where do you start? Easy! Start with what you have! Take a look at your signage inventory, your collection of printed products from the previous year and anything else you may have invested in during prior months and see if these things can be reused or repurposed for campaigns in the future. Qualifying your inventory is going to cut down on costs—even if it’s just reusing a sale sign from a past event or digging into your stock of fliers and handouts.   Once you know what you have, figure out what you need. Again, this is where an AlphaGraphics marketing professional can come in and help you to get a better handle on the future of your marketing endeavors. Whether it’s printed fliers, direct mail, promotional materials, business cards, brochures or anything else, realizing your needs during the initial planning process is going to keep you within your budget and eliminate superfluous costs that can creep up on the unplanned marketer.   Finally, once you know what you have and what you need, you’ll need to set the ball rolling on these items. Break down your marketing campaigns and attach dollar values to these things throughout the year; break down different print and sign products so you have itemized budgets; lock in pricing wherever possible to eliminate flux in your budget—all of these things and more will help you enter the new year with a better handle on what your marketing efforts and funds look like on paper.   Plan ahead and reap the rewards   When you’re running a business, it’s hard to set anything on autopilot. Luckily, if you’re proactive in your planning and take the time to sit down to look at what you’ll need in the future, you can cement a few variables early on—namely your marketing for the upcoming year and the funds you’ll need to set them in motion.   Give your local AlphaGraphics center a call today to learn more about how we can help you take the reigns of your marketing plan for 2016 and what we can do to make this all-important part of your business just a little bit easier in the coming year! Read article →
November 23 / 2015

Boost Your Ecommerce Sales with Traditional Print Materials and Signage

The world between traditional commerce and Ecommerce is filled with blurred lines. Conceptually, the two share many similarities that make them one in the same, but the obvious mediums by which they operate could not be more different. Simply put: in theory, they’re the same but in practice, they’re different.   One key to succeeding in today’s world of rapidly growing and evolving Ecommerce is drawing inspiration and ideas from the proven practices of traditional commerce. When it comes to marketing and sales, this means learning from experience by looking at things that have worked well in the past and avoiding the common mistakes made by so many.   Many people think the game has changed in regards to marketing an Ecommerce versus a traditional brick and mortar store—but it really hasn’t: it has just expanded. Email and direct mail are one in the same; popup ads and fliers are cut from the same cloth; referral links and landing pages are akin to canvasing and customized offers. The trick to succeeding in Ecommerce marketing isn’t thinking of new marketing as different, but rather in adapting old marketing concepts to new, modern media!   All of this is a simple way of saying that materials like print products and signage are too often overlooked by Ecommerce marketers, when in reality, they should be a cornerstone of any marketing campaign, digital or otherwise!   Making the jump from real-world to digital   Even though your Ecommerce marketing is delivered digitally, your customers are still a part of the real world, which means you’re going to need ways to bridge the gap between online and offline. Traditional print materials and physical signage are one answer to building this bridge.   Whether it’s a brand name, a web address, a product or something else altogether, printed materials and coordinated signage are two footholds in the physical world that will induce your potential customers and target demographic online, to learn more about what they’re seeing offline. Think about it—when you see an interesting brand, product or subject, what’s the first thing you do? Chances are, you look it up on the Internet.   Having the right print materials in the physical world is going to jumpstart your Ecommerce in ways digital campaigns can’t match. While online, you can hide popups, ignore links and navigate away from referrals but in the real world, you can’t ignore a physical sign that’s right in front of you!   Crafting a real-world, Ecommerce campaign   The beauty in using physical printed materials and signage for an Ecommerce campaign is that it’s more of a soft sell. Generally, popups and email spam that people associate with digital advertising and Ecommerce marketing have a bad reputation for being invasive and a hard sell. The perception of a soft sell, as might be perceived with a simple print product—will be a welcome change that can actually encourage people to visit your Ecommerce site, rather than flee from it!   Like any real-world campaign, crafting a successful physical campaign for Ecommerce takes planning and the right materials. Whether you’re trying to drive people to a landing page, promote a specific product, increase memberships or just build brand awareness, it takes refined marketing materials and a coordinated plan to funnel action into the form you want it to take.   At AlphaGraphics, we understand the synergy between offline print products and signage and the world of Ecommerce marketing. Stop by your local AlphaGraphics today to learn more about how a few traditional materials and a proven approach can elevate your Ecommerce marketing strategy to an entirely new plane in the coming year! Read article →
November 11 / 2015
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