Alphagraphics blog

Category: Self-promotion

The Importance of a Local Small Business Website

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.
Better customer service Along with having great visibility online, your website is going to function as your automated customer service solution in a digital capacity. It’ll provide answers to customer questions, give people critical information about your establishment and will help them better understand what you have to offer them. A website is also a touchpoint for communication. If your customers have questions or concerns, they’re going to visit your website to voice them directly to you. Or, if you have communications that every customer needs to see, a website is the best way to get the word out for all to see. Communication is key in good business, which means a website is your best answer to the question of how to foster it.
  • 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.
Marketing and sales Alongside being a customer service tool, your website can also function as a marketing and sales tool. Use it to introduce promotions, generate leads or drive traffic—a website is a platform for all stages of marketing and sales, making it a core component in your business’ overall marketability. Your website can also be a medium for sales as well. Something as simple as offering digital gift cards for sale or selling advertisement space for other local business on your site can generate new revenue streams that add to your business’ success—even capturing leads that aren’t local to you!
  • 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.
Your digital face Today, the digital world is just as real as the physical one, which means your business needs to exist in both spaces to stay relevant and successful. Your brick and mortar shop is enough to drive foot traffic, but it’ll need a website to ensure the digital doors to your business stay open and thriving. If you don’t have a small business website already, it’s time to make it a priority. And, even if you do have a website, it might be worth reevaluating to ensure it’s giving you all of the critical benefits it should be. Consult with an AlphaGraphics digital marketing and web specialist today to learn how to best maximize your business’ website. Read article →
August 30 / 2016

Using Professional Printing to Boost Your Real Estate Campaign

Summer is the prime season for real-estate. People looking to upgrade their living space are touring houses for sale and when they find that ideal upgrade, they’re putting their own homes up for sale. Listings are plentiful and the market is as hot as those summertime temps! The problem with this prolific real estate season is that with so many homes flooding the market and so many buyers and sellers looking to stand out, it can be hard for realtors to help their clients get the best value. For realtors representing sellers, it’s all about keeping that asking price high and illustrating the value of a home; for realtors helping buyers, it’s about finding the perfect home at the right price. If you’re a realtor—no matter what side of the real estate transaction you’re representing—it’s important to think about the best way to provide your clients with value. Often, the best way to do this is by making an upfront investment in professionally printed materials. Bolstering your buyer’s confidence As a realtor, your reputation and presentation are going to be your keys for success when it comes to working with clients. Often, this directly correlates with having professionally printed materials and a strong ability to market yourself. To that end, it’s important to think about the essentials when it comes to printed offerings:
  • Business cards with a professional appeal to them and all of your vital contact information are going to be of major importance.
  • Having data sheets or sales materials regarding your specific territories will be helpful in showing potential clients that you have in-depth knowledge of housing trends in the areas you represent.
  • Having quick FAQ sheets to answer new buyer questions will help boost confidence and quell fears, all the while building your rapport with clients.
And these are just the essentials! In heated markets where competition for clients is strong, many realtors will go above and beyond in creating marketing materials that are truly encompassing to home buyers, such as branded folders that contain realtor information, which can be stuffed with FAQ sheets or specific housing information for desired listings. The end goal is to ensure you’re attracting clients by answering their questions, instilling them with confidence and marketing your skills and expertise in a way that benefits them. Printed materials can be an answer to all of these objectives. Exceeding your seller’s expectations When you’re representing a seller, it’s your duty as a realtor to help them sell their house for the highest possible price, with as few bumps as possible along the way. Often, this is easier said than done! But, with some quality marketing upfront, you can help your seller’s home stand out from the crowd in a way that ensures it fetches the best possible value on the open market:
  • Having data sheets for the home readily available at every open house, homebuyer’s seminar or other sales opportunity will give prospective buyers a glimpse into the home that will make them look twice.
  • Creating yard signs and markers that draw attention to a home beyond the “for sale” sign. These attention-grabbers can also be placed in high traffic areas away from the home, to drive prospective buyers to the listing.
  • Flyers and mailers can give potential buyers a quick synopsis of a home and its appeal, as well as some fast facts to push a sale.
Again, there’s always more you could be doing, but starting with some quality printed materials can go a long way towards creating opportunities for your seller. Going beyond print Marketing goes beyond print as well. It’s important to consider the many digital avenues that can supplement your marketing and how you can leverage these things to ensure you’re giving buyers and sellers the best possible advantage in the real estate market. Personal websites, housing descriptions on listing websites, email newsletters and more are all great ways to supplement your print marketing efforts for maximum effectiveness. For all of these materials and strategy planning from talented marketing professionals, consider visiting your local AlphaGraphics location today. We’ll help you become the foremost realtor in your area by supporting your marketing efforts on both sides of the industry. Read article →
August 15 / 2016
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Update Trade Show Materials Before Your Next Convention

The winter season and heralding New Year are more than just precursors to a fresh start: for businesses big and small, they’re a signal that trade show season is right around the corner!   According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), roughly 13,000 annual trade show events are held in North America, with more than 10,000 of these focused on the B2B market. Trade show season for most of these major B2B industries begins in the winter season and runs through early spring, meaning it’s tremendously important to start making sure your business is prepped and ready for any and all upcoming trade show events that are looming.   Focus on presentation   The number one thing to consider when assessing and updating your trade show materials is your booth. It doesn’t matter if you occupy a basic stall or if you’re a featured attraction at a convention: if your booth materials themselves aren’t up to par, you’re going to fall flat in the impression you make.   Your booth needs to be attractive, captivating, provoking of inquiry and, above all else, memorable. Remember: the goal at any trade show is to spread awareness about your products, company or brand, and your ability to do this is going to be dictated by the impression you leave on visitors. Consider these simple materials as you update and retool your booth’s image for maximum impression:   • Table runners are a great way to create cohesion at your booth. If your branding is projected outwards via table runners, you’re going to have a better chance at getting someone to step over and sit down, where you can engage them organically.   • Be they vinyl or mesh, big or small, trade show banners are a key component for your booth because they’re the biggest and most captivating tool in your marketing arsenal. If attendees can see your signage from afar, it’s going to draw them in closer for more information.   • Floor signs can come in all shapes and sizes, but they work to do the same thing: create a stand-out message that causes attendees to stop, read and inquire. A floor sign here and there is a good investment in your trade show efforts.   Far and above just having the right materials, it pays to have materials that are up to date, in good condition and tailored with your company’s branding. Cohesion is key and when done correctly, creates a powerful presentation that’s sure to stand out among the crowds.   Smart marketing materials   The second component to a successful trade show appearance—and an equally vital one—is having marketing materials that can be purposed to drive your exposure. This means having informative, heavily branded and attention-grabbing materials on hand, including:   • Business cards are always a necessity at a trade show—you’ll be giving them out and collecting them frequently. Make sure yours are up to date with current information and designed to stand out from the inevitable stack they’ll end up in.   • Brochures and pamphlets are going to give your prospects the information they need in a branded format that is indicative of your company. Make sure your handouts are speaking well of your brand with crisp designs, up-to-date information and clear contact information.   • Signup sheets are often overlooked, but deftly important in walking away with critical information. Getting attendees to, if nothing else, sign up to receive communications with you will keep the channel open.   • Freebies may seem like a waste of money to you, but they’re a marketing tool that keeps on giving after you’ve disseminated them. People love free stuff, which will bring them flocking to your booth, and what they take away will keep your company’s name and branding in front of them long after the show has ended.   There’s no end to the marketing materials that can play a vital role in turning your trade show visit into a success. Make sure you’re pinpointing the materials you need to fuel your brand exposure and get these items in order now, before trade show season is fully upon us. Getting everything updated, printed and in hand before you start setting up shop means being one step ahead of potential competitors who might not be as well-equipped to captivate attendees. Read article →
December 15 / 2015

Why Try an Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) Campaign?

Given the prospect of investing time, money and resources in a direct mail campaign, many advertisers would likely pass and opt for something digital. For many campaigns, passing up on a direct mail campaign can be a costly mistake—especially if that direct mail campaign is an Every Door Direct Mail Campaign (EDDM) through the United States Postal Service.   What makes an EDDM campaign right for your advertising and marketing needs? When should you decline a digital marketing platform for a more traditional one? How can you raise your odds of seeing positive results from an EDDM campaign? Take a look at some of the opportune instances where taking the direct mail route might just be the best thing you can do for your advertising campaign:   When your target audience is geographically based. If you’re marketing to a select audience of people, all confined within a specific geographic area, nothing beats an EDDM campaign. This is an optimal investment for brick and mortar stores and those businesses that are restricted by their location. Being able to “carpet bomb” local area neighborhoods with your advertisement ensures that the people seeing what you have to say are also the people who are most likely to take advantage of it.   When you’re looking for new customers. Email marketing is fine and dandy for reaching out to an audience you already know… but what about those people who don’t know you or your business? Rather than spending countless dollars on pre-compiled customer lists or ramping up your digital marketing to find new customers, why not use a good ‘ol EDDM campaign to make some new friends for your business?   When you have a time-based event. People can go for days or even weeks without checking their inboxes online, but one thing’s for sure: everybody gets their mail on a daily basis. If you’re advertising a limited time offer or have time restrictions on something you’re marketing, you want to make sure that people see that message as soon as possible. EDDM puts your message in the hands of customers when they need to see it, not after the fact or days down the line.   When you want to reach a large audience on a small budget. It’s the age old question of “how can I get the most stuff for the lowest cost?” Generally, you’d end up finding a compromise that either leaves you paying more than you want to or getting less than you desire—with an EDDM campaign, there’s no compromise at all! EDDM campaigns are highly cost effective and cover a huge swatch of geographic area, giving you more for less.   When you’re coordinating campaigns. If you’re a seasoned marketer, you understand the effectiveness of cross platform and multi-level marketing. This means complementing your marketing efforts on every front possible, including physical advertising. Many marketers forget that direct mail is a staple they can rely on and with an EDDM campaign supplementing your email blast, PPC ads, radio spots and more, you’ll reach a wider audience with a more cohesive message.   These are just a few instances where EDDM can improve your business’ marketing efforts. And, with EDDM still just beginning to pique the interest of advertising professionals everywhere, you can stay ahead of the curve. AlphaGraphics is here to assist you as your EDDM marketing professional and we’re more than happy to help you design and deliver your direct mail—whether you’re in a position to capitalize on one of the above situations or you’ve carved out an opportunity of your own that would benefit from direct mail success. Read article →

The History of the Business Card – And Why You Should Care

We’ve all seen them, and maybe even use them on a regular basis, but have you ever wondered where the practice of distributing business cards comes from?   (more…) Read article →
March 24 / 2014

The Continual Rise of the QR Code

Think for a moment if you will, when was the last time you walked down the street, and didn’t have your cell phone with you? If you are anything like me, there a couple of things that I always make sure I have prior to heading out, whether heading into the office, to meetings, or simply out and about in my free-time.

Wallet?             Check. Keys?               Check. Cell Phone?      Check.

As cellular phones have evolved over the years, whether in size, morphing from large brick like objects, to what is essentially a miniature computer that fits into your pocket, so too have they opened up the almost endless possibilities as to what they can actually do, (more…)

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Event Marketing Your Business

Hosting an event for your customers can seem like a daunting task.  Themes, prospect lists, invites, promotions… not to mention giving them something worth showing up for!  But in spite of all the planning and effort involved, event marketing can be the perfect way to improve customer retention, while teaching clients a little bit more about your business and the ways you can help them succeed. (more…) Read article →