- We’re fully SEO-optimized! Now, customers searching for a wide range of print, marketing and signage services will be directed to our new website, where they can easily explore our capabilities.
- Our website now features responsive design, which enables customers to browse on any device with optimal results. From desktops to smartphones, tablets and beyond, we welcome customers across all modes of tech!
- We’ve opened the lines of communication! Customers can now contact us directly through our website to get quotes and information about their unique print and marketing projects.
- agOnline is now live through our website, which enables recurring customers to order materials and manage their print products remotely, from any location at any time. We’ve made collaborating with your local AlphaGraphics even easier!
Category: Branding and Identity
Let’s face it: small business marketing is done chiefly online these days. The Internet is its own ecosystem and learning to properly project your business’ brand within that ecosystem can lead to some amazing results—results that your newspaper ad or billboard could never even dream of achieving. As a small business owner you’ve probably heard a lot about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but maybe not as much about Search Engine Marketing (SEM). And while they’re both important to master for your business to thrive online, SEM can be particularly beneficial to budding businesses when used appropriately. Let’s take a look at 5 ways SEM can positively boost your business’ abilities and why it makes sense to spend some time learning the ins and outs of marketing through Google directly with Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads and other forms of direct advertisement. 1. Conversion tracking: Virtually everything having to do with SEM is measureable. Want to know how many people clicked on your ad? What time of day they clicked? Which of two ads was more popular? Thanks to quantifiable data, all of these questions and more can be answered. Not only does this give you insight into what works, it also allows you to change what doesn’t. And, at the end of the day, you can match up your investment to your sales conversions to see just how effective your SEM campaigns are. 2. Targeted advertising: Gone are the days of marketing to anyone who will give your ad a second glance! Thanks to SEM, targeting a specific audience is more viable than ever before. Get as granular as you need for a specific campaign or focus on a niche based on your message. The depth of control you have over an SEM campaign is astounding, which means you have the power to shape your marketing like never before. Target keywords, age, geographic location, gender, hobbies/interests and more to see if your message is reaching the right people. 3. Controlled advertising: Thanks to SEM, you’re the master of your own ad campaign. You can choose when your ad runs, what your budget is, which devices will see your ad, where your ad will run and more. This is extremely important for small businesses who need to make smart moves on a limited budget! Being able to tailor your campaign around your needs means control like never before over how your advertisement dollars are working for you. 4. Ongoing exposure: Even after your latest SEM campaign has run its course, you might still be reaping the benefits of your digital exposure. Thanks to cookies and sophisticated tracking technology, you can advertise to great effect on other platforms such as social media, with significant overlap! Users will keep seeing your ads wherever they go online, which helps boost exposure and keep the ball rolling on your marketing, even after you’ve pulled your PPC ad. Moreover, if no one clicks on your ads, you don’t pay, which means free advertising! 5. Instant exposure: Trying to shout your name out online is like shouting into the void—with so many other companies trying to do the same, you’re not likely to be heard unless you have a plan. SEM puts you front and center with your customers, to give you an opportunity to speak to them, without shouting at them. Most PPC ads are front-page on Google and targeted ads occupy prime real estate on other websites. Positioning your brand front and center means getting the best chance to appeal. As you plan your next online marketing campaign, look for SEM opportunities to maximize its effectiveness. When utilized appropriately, SEM could just be your small business’ secret weapon. Consult with an AlphaGraphics marketing professional today to learn how you can master search engine marketing! Read article →
October 17 / 2016
As a small business owner, you’ve got a lot of responsibilities on your plate. You have to run a business from all angles and make sure everything operates smoothly and efficiently to ensure the success of your investment. Every detail is important—especially those minor ones that are critical to your long-term success. Your small business website is one of these small, yet critical factors and unfortunately, is one that’s frequently overlooked by smaller establishments. Many owners often tell themselves that other tasks are more important than being a webmaster, or that having a website is unnecessary because they’re a local business with local customers. And while these excuses might make you feel better about not having a website for your business, they’re simply covering the fact that you need one. Visibility and presence When you want to find a local coffee shop or a place to grab a bite to eat nearby, how do you do it? If you’re like most people, it’ll take mere seconds to punch your request into your smartphone to get the answers you’re looking for. Not surprisingly, these answers are brought to you by Google and the Internet, where having a web presence is paramount. Visibility and presence are far and away the most important reasons to have a website for your small business. Showing up in local search results, having your data raked and delivered to customers searching for applicable establishments, and having a digital presence for information for your local customers means being seen in the digital age.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) can catapult your visibility even further into the spotlight. Optimizing your website for location and keywords means showing up first when customers are searching for businesses like yours.
- Having business hours, contact information, address and location data, and more will all serve to make you and your business more accessible to searchers on the web.
- Using signup forms for email or running promotions through your website can be a great way to build an email list, which means better marketing access for your future promotions, digital or otherwise.
August 30 / 2016
Your logo defines your brand. Whether it’s an image that accentuates your company, a text-based logo that proudly touts your brand name or a combination of the two that serves as a beacon for new and returning customers, it’s safe to say that without a memorable, quality logo, your brand is going to have a hard time making a name for itself. Most small businesses start with an idea and the logo and branding tend to follow. Then, over time the business grows and evolves, until it becomes something sustainable. The problem is that while you’re focused on growing your business, you might not be updating your logo and branding at the same pace, if at all. The result, is a strong business that’s lacking strong representation. Making a name for your business There are a few things that any good logo should be able to do as a standalone part of your business’ brand image: • Tell people what your brand’s name is or associate symbolism to the business name. • Give people an idea of what your business does or invite them to learn more. • Exude professionalism and prestige that makes people respect your brand. If your logo is a hodgepodge attempt at graphic design, something that looks outdated or an image that has poor association with the rest of your brand, it’s probably time to take a step back and look at how it can be improved. After all, your business needs something at its core, to tie all of your marketing and branding efforts to! Improving upon your image How exactly do you improve upon a logo? The answer can be summed up in one word: rebranding. Rebranding is the concept of taking your brand’s existing tenants and pillars of business, and redesigning its image around them. If you’re known for being hardworking and honest, for example, branding your business’ logo around these ideas can reinforce them, as well as give this impression to newcomers who might be considering choosing you for service. The first step is to have your existing logo evaluated by a marketing professional—someone outside of your industry who can give you an unbiased review. This person will be able to tell you if your logo is appealing, what can be done to improve it or what needs to be changed to make it better. Sometimes this can be as simple as changing a font or color; other times it might mean redesigning your entire logo, to better match your business. Next, after you’ve evaluated your logo and its inherent message, you’ll need to get any changes made. For this step, hiring a professional graphic designer is an absolute necessity—even if you’re confident in your design skills. A designer is going to be able to work objectively on your logo’s improvements and provide you with finished, optimized files that you can use for all future marketing and branding. Finally, once you have your new logo designs in hand, it’s important that you get to work in using them! Replace your existing logo on all web and digital materials; rebrand any printed materials you might have; start using your revised logo wherever new branding opportunities present themselves. Making a statement Customers are sure to notice your new logo, clients are sure to comment on it and your business is absolutely going to be reinvigorated by your approach to solidifying branding efforts. At the end of the day, your logo might just be a single component of your business’ brand, but it’s one that is sure to be the biggest defining characteristic when it comes to how people view and form opinions about your brand. If you’re interested in exploring the full potential of your business’ logo, contact your local AlphaGraphics today to speak with a branding professional who can assist you in learning more. We’re here to help your brand reach its true potential! Read article →
January 25 / 2016
When you think about the complexity of a business—from the physicality of the brand itself to the operational aspects that keep it running—it can be easy to overlook single components in favor of seeing the big picture. And while big picture prospects might be ideal to look at, it bodes well to remember that single business attributes can play a tremendous role in how that big picture is shaped. Take business signage for example. Could a simple sign really be the chief driver of business, the identity of your brand or the selling point for potential customers? Absolutely! Take a look below at the power a good sign can wield and how having the right sign could allow your business access to this type of clout. A few facts on signage First things first: what’s the purpose of a sign? To bring in customers? To create brand awareness? To let potential customers know you exist? If you said “all of the above,” you’re right: a good sign is a multipurpose tool that your business can and should use to its advantage. Take a look at some key pieces of data in regards to the different functions of a good sign, as compiled by signs.org: - A good sign has been proven to attract up to 50 percent of a new startup’s initial customers. - Roughly 35 percent of customers report that seeing a sign has alerted them to the existence of a business without any prior knowledge of that company. - Customers living within five miles of your business will likely see your sign an average of 50-60x per month. - The impressions made by one sign are equivalent to 24 full-page newspaper advertisements made annually. The remarkable statistics keep going. In the end, the message is this: a business with good signage is going to see impressive returns on their investment in that sign, whether it be in the form of quality advertising, cohesive branding or persuasive allure. A case study in signage success Statistics are all well and fine when it comes to proving a point, but what really convinces people is an example they can relate to. And, when it comes to making an example of signage that has dramatically impacted the growth and perception of a business, there’s absolutely no substitute for a closer look at the iconic Golden Arches of McDonalds. No matter what country you travel to, what language you speak or what your understanding of the business world may be, everyone understands immediately what the Golden Arches mean: they stand for Big Macs, French fries, chicken nuggets, coffee and more—everything McDonalds is selling and everything their brand revolves around. Today, the Golden Arches are widely considered the most recognized brand symbol in the world. What does having the biggest and best signage get you? In the case of McDonalds, the Golden Arches are responsible for pulling in more than $21 billion each year—more than the entire economy of Vermont! All in all, the value of the Golden Arches rings in at around $85 billion, making it more than just the most valuable fast food brand by a wide margin, but one of the most valuable brands regardless of industry! Now, it’s fair to say that McDonalds has done a lot more than just put up Golden Arches to achieve the success that it has—but it is fair to say that the brand’s iconic sign is largely responsible for its continued notoriety. Think of it this way: would you pull into a drive through at an unmarked building if you were craving a hamburger or would you keep your eyes peeled for those Golden Arches? Harnessing the power of good signage Signs come in all shapes and sizes—what makes a good sign effective is its appeal to the customers you’re trying to garner. Make sure your sign speaks to your target audience, that it communicates your business’ values, that it’s proper and professional, and that it’s clearly recognized. Paying attention to your sign—even if it is only one part of your overall business—means setting a foundation for growth that can be traced back to good signage. If you’re designing a new sign from scratch, take the time to get it right and put in the effort to make sure it’s a sign that you can be proud of. If you already have a sign proudly hanging over your entryway, go outside and take a look at it—would you shop at your store based solely on the signage? Evaluating this singular component of your brand could have ramifications that transform your business for the better. Read article →
September 15 / 2015
The real estate market, like any market, is governed by supply and demand. For a seller bringing their home to market, it’s all about creating demand for that unique home; for prospective homebuyers, it’s about having enough homes and enough variety to choose from. It’s simple economics. What’s not so simple, however, is creating demand for singular components of the market: or, in layman’s terms, generating interest in a home as it relates to others on the market. If a home you’re trying to sell is put side by side with other, similar homes on the market, what’s going to make people choose it over another that might be just like it with a more flexible price point? It’s something that every realtor has to think about and overcome if they’re going to help their clients succeed. Distinguishing a home starts with understanding the power of vertical marketing within the real estate niche and utilizing the right advertising mediums to generate better bids for potential buyers. Multi-channel advertising to bolster your home’s image How do people search for homes in today’s day and age? Most people head online to their favorite real estate hub. Some people still buy the paper for the classifieds section. Some people visit a real state office. No matter where they go to get information about available real estate one thing remains certain: if the information about a home isn’t accessible through the channel they’re visiting, they’re likely not going to know about that home. This is what makes multi-channel real estate marketing so valuable to you as a realtor. By utilizing every vertical channel within the real estate market to leverage a home, you can target a wider audience, cast a wider net and reel in a buyer that’s going to pay the right price for the home you’re helping to sell. But multi-channel marketing isn’t always easy and it takes the right tools and materials to not only reach everyone, but to entice people that you do reach. In short, the home you’re pitching needs to be appealing, accessible and worthwhile for anyone who might be interested. Utilizing the right materials Generating interest in a home in every available marketing channel comes down to having the right materials at your disposal and a message that prompts people to act. Take a look at a few of the modern marketing methods good realtors use to help boost the value of their clients’ properties:
- Online advertisements: By utilizing geo-tagged keywords, buzzwords and appealing imagery, realtors can create targeted online ads that funnel online users to your home’s web listing.
- Postcards: Postcards are by no means an antiquated form of advertising and are actually making a resurgence in the real estate marketing niche of all places! By coupling intriguing postcards and appealing messaging with targeted lists and every door direct mail (EDDM) campaigns, realtors are able to get the word out about your home to people who are actively looking to pull up roots and set them down elsewhere.
- Email templates: A good email goes a long way when it comes to generating interest in your home, simply because an enticing email can open the door to all forms of interaction with your home’s online listing. Link it to the listing, hyperlink your phone number, enable email responders, etc.—these options and more will get people interacting with your listing so that you can field offers in real time.
- Video tours: With a video tour in your repertoire of marketing materials, potential buyers won’t even have to leave their seats to see what a home has to offer. These tours can give people a basic glimpse into a home and generate excitement before a showing, to up the “wow” factor of the real thing when they finally come for an open house or walkthrough. It’s a nice primer that often lends to the value of the home, driving up the perceived and actual value.
- Slideshows: The more you can show someone about a home before they visit, the more reasons they have to visit. Slideshows, like video tours, are a great way to give people a glimpse of the home before they visit. Giving people pictures of the interior and exterior can get them thinking and envisioning themselves in those areas and slowly, people get attached to these homes. All of this leads to concreteness when it comes to maintaining the home’s market price!
- Restoration photos: If you’re pitching a home that has had work done, showing before and after pictures really ramps up the value. People like to see what they’re getting for their money and what better way to show them than what could have been! Whether it’s new moldings, restored floors, a finished basement or something else, giving people a true peek into the upgrades that have been made to a home can really cement the asking price at a higher level.
June 26 / 2015
If you’re a business owner without the million dollar advertising budget of a big company or are struggling to find a marketing niche that covers your investment with its ROI, it’s time to see what an EDDM campaign can do for you. In the booming digital age of advertising, it’s easy to lose sight of advertising roots in favor of flashier online marketing options. With every email campaign we send, every AdWords account that’s opened and every mobile marketing hit that’s tracked, we lose more and more faith in the old standbys—especially direct mail. A dying form of communication… or is it? Direct mail advertising was once a staple of marketing because it was a surefire way to make sure thousands of people would all venture out to their mailboxes and see your message, plain as day. But, as time has gone on and the direct mail market saturated, junk mail became the scourge of mailboxes everywhere and soon, it was nearly impossible for anyone to distinguish what was junk and what was worthwhile. In the wake of the booming junk mail era, people started to rely less on their physical mail and more on their email and over time, email has slowly taken the place of snail mail for many people. The only problem with this is that the junk mail has also migrated and today, it’s nearly impossible to keep your inbox free of spam—including advertisements you may want to see! All of this is a roundabout way of saying that people are paying less and less attention to their email these days and as an effect, email campaigns are on the decline. It’s just too easy for someone to hit “delete” and in fact, this often happens to expensive marketing campaigns. But let’s take a step back for a moment and look at the big picture: if it’s so easy for people to flag emails or delete them on sight, how is a marketer supposed to succeed when it comes to direct mail? The answer might surprise you. Going back to your roots With such a market saturation of email, smart marketing professionals have begun to look for ways to revive traditional direct marketing, the result is Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM). And the pioneer of such a brilliant direct mail comeback? The United States Postal Service, of course! Think about it: it costs fractions of a cent for spammers to send out email after email, flooding the inboxes of unsuspecting victims—email spam is truly the lowest cost solution to disseminating junk mail. So why would a spammer pay to produce and distribute snail mail for several times that cost? They wouldn’t, which leaves a safe niche for quality advertisers to fill when it comes to direct mail. Every Door Direct Mail EDDM works like this: advertisers go online and block sections of neighborhoods, subdivisions, towns, cities or counties that they want to target with their next direct mail advertising campaign. This data is fed into the U.S. Postal System and assigned to various mail carriers. Using materials generated by an advertiser, specifically for this specialized EDDM campaign, postal workers will deliver direct mail along with the usual mail, thus blanketing specific areas with quality advertising! EDDM is so simple that it is genius and it’s gaining the favor of more and more smart marketers out there. From local businesses looking to spread the word about their commerce, to larger companies that want to bolster business in targeted areas, EDDM is driving traffic like no other direct mail campaigns—and it’s rapidly being touted over email campaigns that are losing ground to spammers. And, as experts in the budding advertising niche of EDDM, AlphaGraphics is here to help you create one success after another, one piece of direct mail at a time. Read article →
February 10 / 2015