Alphagraphics blog

Optimizing Images for Digital Output

When working with digital photographic imagery for use in digital printing you should follow the same basic rules as when preparing images for offset print. All enhancing and editing were done using Adobe Photoshop CS 4. (v11)

 

Special considerations when printing specifically to a digital press.
Avoid images with light backgrounds unless completely clipped to white.

Unsharp mask

Consider sharpening the image with the Unsharp mask filter.

For toner based digital presses, I like to start with these settings for unsharp mask:
Amount: 70%
Radius: 1.2 pixels
Threshold: 0

Without UnSharpen Mask

 

With UnSharpen Mask

  Brightness and Contrast

Consider adding a little contrast to extremely flat looking images. Just don’t over do it!

Original flat image

 

With Contrast Added

  Hue/Saturation

You can quickly enhance an image with the hue/saturation tool

In this image, we adjusted the green hue out.

Original green image

 

Hue adjusted image

  Color Balance

If your image looks to have a strong or dominant color, you can quickly reverse the problem with color balance. Pull the sliders until the image looks more gray balanced.

Image with strong green/cyan tone

 

Image with Cyan reduced and Magenta added

  Profile Assignment and Conversions

Assigning Correct Color Profiles to untagged imagery is highly critical for your color management success. Going back to the Color Settings File that tell the Adobe Creative Suite programs how to handle color when opening files and documents, the settings file handles issues like non-existent color profiles when opening images in Photoshop. I’m sure you have seen this warning at one time or another.

Well, what this is telling you is that the image you are opening doesn’t have an embedded color profile. I like to think of it as not having a name tag, saying it’s from this place or that place. If you ignore this you most likely will end up with less than great color. Ignoring it just automatically makes the image assume the working color space, in my case the sRGB color space is my working space. This might work out just fine, but it is always good to check other profiles for better assigning.

When you get the missing profile warning, check the “leave as is” and hit okay. Now you need to go into Edit> Assign Profile.

At this point you can select from one of the standard RGB color spaces. There are five typically pre-configured in Photoshop, they are Adobe RGB (1998), Apple RGB, ColorMatch RGB, ProPhoto RGB and sRGB IEC61966-2.1.

 

 

 

 

 

Typically images without embedded profiles are in Adobe RGB or sRGB. When images are saved for the web, sRGB is the profile that the image should be converted to in it’s final stage. You can leave image that are not going to the web as they are and just include the profile when saving the file. For now, assign a profile that makes the image look most realistic and pleasing to you, then say Ok.

 

 

 

 

Next, you will want to convert the image based on your specific needs or where the image is planning to be used in it’s final form. If it’s going to be an image on the web, then convert the image to sRGB and save it, you can include or not include the sRGB profile when saving the jpeg, either one will work fine in browsers, but one will be slightly larger in file size. If you assigned the image any of the other profiles, make sure you save and embed the profile at that time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A note about PNG files for web: If you like using PNG files for websites, that’s great. You will notice when you save PNG files that you cannot embed a profile to that file format. Therefore it is crucial that if the image is in fact going to the web, you should convert the image to sRGB color space, then save it. The image will have the proper color appearance online.

For more about Assigning and Converting see:
RGB Just Wants to Have Name

Correctly Assigned Adobe RGB Profile as Source, then converted to sRGB for web

 

Adobe RGB Source but assigned sRGB incorrectly prior to conversion

 

Completely the wrong profile assigned, assigned ProPhoto RGB and the original was Adobe RGB

Create More Compelling Layouts Use  imagery with “white space” or “negative space” to place copy in.

By utilizing “white space” in imagery, you can end up with a much more compelling design.  The Macy’s image initially had a pink background. We extended the left side by adding space to the canvas of the image then tranforming the left side of the image by stretching a small sliver of space on the left.

Please fill free to add your comments to this article. If you have better or other great suggestion, why not share with everyone!

October 29 / 2011

Start Planning Ahead for Next Year’s Marketing Now!

Marketing Planning and Budget

Marketing Planning and Budget

Start Planning Ahead for Next Year’s Marketing Now!

The best business planning takes place months ahead of time—it gives owners and operators time to look ahead to plan viable goals, allocate proper funds for different campaigns and allots time for changes or updates that have to be made to a business’ timeline. While you can’t control everything when it comes to planning for your business’ future growth, you can certainly control how you’re going to market yourself.

Planning marketing campaigns and branding initiatives ahead of time is one of the smartest things a business can do. Not only is marketing directly linked towards growth, it can also be one of the costlier aspects of running a business, which makes it prudent to plan ahead of the costs your campaigns with incur. Not sure how to plan so far in advance when it comes to marketing and branding? Talk to one of the professionals at AlphaGraphics! We have a depth of experience in helping growing businesses to project their own futures and, more importantly, plan accordingly for sustainability in the long term.

Calculating your Campaigns

Does your business have an editorial calendar? Do you know how to create and budget campaigns based on an editorial calendar? If not, this is your starting point for future planning.An editorial calendar is an outline of what your business’ marketing focus will be on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Within an editorial calendar you’re bound to find everything from budgets to deadlines, materials to assignments and anything else that’s pertinent to accomplishing your marketing goals. But, most importantly, an editorial calendar is a steadfast plan that you can use to plan financially for the upcoming weeks and months ahead.

As an example, let’s say you’re planning to run a huge campaign for Valentine’s Day next year.Rather than putting together materials a week in advance and recording these costs after the fact to discern whether or not your campaign was a success, an editorial calendar will give you insight into what materials you’ll need upfront, what the cost of these materials is and what revenue goals you’ll have to reach in order to justify the cost of the campaign.

Factoring in Budgets

Now, aside from an editorial calendar as a dynamic tool for planning your future campaigns, you need to take a fiscally responsible approach to planning for your business’ future as it pertains to advertising. This doesn’t just mean allocating X% of your yearly revenue to “marketing” as an overhanging objective—it means breaking “marketing” down into its unique, individual costs.

So what are Marketing Costs really?

Well, it’s a collection of costs that encompass materials, media buys, fees and more—but more than this, it’s a subsection of categories that require their own attention: brand building, lead generation, client retention, brand awareness and sales boosting. Each of these unique goals of marketing becomes its own segment and each requires part of your business’ marketing budget to successfully plan ahead.

Here’s a quick example of how you might break down your Marketing Budget over the next quarter, to make sure you’re planning properly:

 30% total marketing budget to brand building materials

 30% total marketing budget to lead generation

o 10% to brand awareness campaign #1

o 10% to brand awareness campaign #2

o 10% to promotion materials

o 20% to advertising materials

o 10% to advertising radio campaign

 20% total marketing budget to sales materials

 20% total marketing budget to client retention

o 10% to direct mail program

o 10% to referral program

The above example may look complex—and to an extent it is—but even this is only skimming the surface of how in-depth a budget can get. The further you can break down your anticipated costs, allocate your business’ funds and plan for desired outcomes, the better the position you’ll be in and the more comfortable you’ll feel heading into the future.

If planning months and months ahead seems like a daunting task or you’re not able to align your future plans with your current budget projections, it might be time to speak with someone who can help. Contact AlphaGraphics today to sit down with a marketing professional who can put everything in its place for you to see and help you feel more confident in your decision to plan ahead.

November 09 / 2015
Author britt.johnson
Category Uncategorized
Comments No Comments

Start Planning Ahead for Next Year’s Marketing Now!

Planning head for next year's marketing

The best business planning takes place months ahead of time—it gives owners and operators time to look ahead to plan viable goals, allocate proper funds for different campaigns and allots time for changes or updates that have to be made to a business’ timeline. And while you can’t control everything when it comes to planning for your business’ future growth, you can certainly control how you’re going to market yourself.

Read article →

October 28 / 2015
Author Bryan
Category Marketing
Comments No Comments

Balance Your Work and Home Life by Streamlining Your Day-to-Day Professional Needs

Back to school season is upon us, which means it’s once again time to ship off the kids to classes and get back into the swing of things—and for most parents, this means catching up at work to make up for all of those summer vacations and days spent with the kids. It can be hard adjusting to life at maximum capacity, especially after a lax summer, but with some insightful planning and a few simple tips, you can create the perfect work/home balance that will see you spending quality time at home and productive time at work.

One of the biggest issues for most professionals when the summer season ends is the simultaneous ramp-up of work that comes with the fall season and the passive summer projects that are now coming to a close. Together, these things can mean long nights at the office or hours spent working from home, when you could be listening to how your kids’ day at school went or helping them with their homework.

The easiest way to avoid work and home overlap is to make sure you’re efficiently using your working hours and there’s no better way to do this than through a synergistic approach. Being able to delegate work, partner with someone else or punt on a job when you have to means being able to get your work done on time, in a quality capacity and to a level of success that makes you proud to go home stress free at the end of the day.

If your working day or current projects involve printed materials or digital marketing materials, make sure you’re coming to AlphaGraphics for assistance. We’ll gladly help make sure your projects come in on time, within budget and looking nothing short of professional! We aim to be your partner for any and all marketing materials.

How can AlphaGraphics help?

Picture this: you’ve got a marketing campaign forming at work, revolving around a brand new product your company is launching. There’s tons of work to be done:

  • Email newsletters and communications need to be written.
  • Product brochures need to be designed and printed.
  • Banners for a local expo need to be designed and printed.
  • Web pages have to be designed and written.
  • Press releases have to be sent out.

The list of materials goes on and on… and between yourself and your small team of two or three people, this campaign is shaping up to be far longer than a 40-hour week of work. As a result, you’re spending long hours at the office after 5pm, missing your kids when they get home from school, losing sleep and fraying at both ends. What can AlphaGraphics do to help?

Consider being able to ship a portion of your design and copywriting materials off to AlphaGraphics to free up more of your day to work on other core needs of the campaign. Then, think about leaving at 5pm, spending time with the family, getting a good night’s sleep and waking up to proofs from AlphaGraphics that you can review, with finals being ready well in advance of your product launch.

This is only a simple example, but something AlphaGraphics customers are familiar with on a regular basis—the peace of mind, reduced stress and fantastic results that come with every AlphaGraphics job.

If the back to school season is wearing you thin and making you wish you’d spent more time prepping for the busy season over the summer, don’t fret: take action and give your local AlphaGraphics in West Valley City a call today to see how we can help alleviate the burden you’re saddled with and help your daily workday or important project come out looking perfect in the end.

August 03 / 2015
Author Bryan
Comments No Comments

The Outdoor Retailer Summer Market | Get Your Last Minute Printed Materials Before the Show!

From hikers to campers, hunters to anglers and the companies that supply outdoorsmen of all types, everyone is excited because it’s that time of year again: time for the from August 5-8 at the Salt Palace Convention Center! This show is the biggest of its kind and exhibitors from all around the country will be here to show off the newest, best products and promotions—you can bet it’s going to be a huge event with an amazing turnout.

Whether you’ve presented before or this is your first year as an exhibitor, the most important thing to remember when attending the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market is to make sure you stand out from the crowd because chances are, whatever you’re bringing to the event, someone else is going to be vying for the attention of your prospective customers.

What can you do to stand out from the competition and make sure your booth is a premier destination at this four-day expo? Well, for starters, it helps if you’ve got the signage, banners and printed materials to make sure everyone knows exactly who you are, where to find you and what you have to offer!

If you’re not confident that you’ve got the materials to make your name synonymous with the show, don’t worry: AlphaGraphics of West Valley City has you covered! We’re here to be your last minute source for materials big and small, and we’re happy to work with you to make sure you get the highest quality, best looking, most effective marketing materials for the show. We can help you design and print:

  • Posters
  • Banners
  • Handouts
  • Flyers
  • Business cards
  • Brochures
  • Trade show graphics
  • Table cards

Whether you’re the new company on the block or this isn’t your first time on the grand stage, AlphaGraphics is here to make sure you have the materials you need to accomplish what you set out to at this tremendous event. No matter if you’re looking to prospect potential clients, make sales right at the show or just network with the right people, our marketing experts will put the right materials in your hand and make your booth one to remember.

More than just being able to put your brand’s materials in front of someone or drawing attention fro passersby on the floor, the right marketing signage and promotional materials can help you to build your brand in an organic way—especially at an event as big as the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. All it takes is one person talking about your great booth banner or someone passing along a brochure about your products and suddenly you’ve expanded beyond the expo floor and into the thick of your target market!

Are you coming equipped to make the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market a success for you and your brand? If you’re lacking on marketing materials or want to make sure all of your bases are covered, make sure you’re stopping by AlphaGraphics of West Valley City for your last minute printed materials and marketing advice. We’ll help you walk away from this year’s expo as one of the most memorable names on the floor and set you up for future years of success at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market.

Give us a call today at 801-972-2900 or stop by our convenient location at 2189 South 3200 West in West Valley City, UT 84119! We look forward to making your trip to the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market one to remember.

July 31 / 2015
Author Bryan
Category Marketing
Comments No Comments

The Power of Direct Mail and How it Can Help Grow Your Business

When you stroll down to your mailbox to grab the mail, what do you usually come away with? Most of the time it’s a couple of bills, a poorly constructed piece of advertising and that same tattered-looking bundle of coupons that arrives every other day, right? But, once in a while there’s always something that causes us to stop while thumbing through the mail and really take a look at what’s staring back at us—generally, a beautifully designed, well thought out piece of direct mail.

Direct mail was once the best way to put your advertising message right into the hands of the people you’re advertising to and today, it still remains a highly viable, severely underrated way to accomplish that same task. In fact, direct mail is making a resurgence in marketing brainstorming sessions behind the doors of companies big and small. Why? Because the core idea of direct mail is a sound one and today’s modern resources have made it even easier to track, convert and entice potential brand advocates through a simple direct mail campaign!

Modern advances in direct mail

Once, direct mail was the marketing equivalent of fishing with dynamite: drop your message into a sea of customers and hope that when it lands you’re able to snag at least some collateral. Today, direct mail has taken a bit more of a refined approach and now, it’s more like casting a net to see exactly who you’re able to reel in. This paradigm shift is the result of some great innovations in targeted dissemination and tracking:

  • EDDM: Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) campaigns are the newest and best way to get your direct mail out to people in a quick, cost efficient way. Businesses partner with the United States Postal Service to target a group of mailing addresses for a direct mail campaign: the business creates the marketing collateral and the USPS carriers deliver the message directly to these recipients during regular routes. In this way, the cost of obtaining mailing lists and creating variable data printing runs is eliminated, while the message still reaches customers.
  • QR codes and unique URLs: Tracking was one of the major downfalls of direct mail campaigns in the past, simply because after the campaign went out, the only metric to track success was conversions. Today, tracking is made simple through QR codes and unique web URLs that give marketers insight not only into conversions, but also in queries and interest. Any interaction with a piece of direct mail can be tracked as soon as the recipient bridges the digital gap, making it much easier to gauge a mailing’s effectiveness.

Growing your business with a successful direct mail campaign

While a direct mail campaign can be used to market just about anything, it’s best leveraged as a tool to help grow your business and generally, this come in one of two forms:

  • Reactivating old clients/customers that are no longer active.
  • Bringing new customers through the door and creating brand advocates.

While accomplishing either of these objectives will help to bolster your business’ platform, it must be understood that they’re two distinct groups and require two distinct forms of messaging. For new customers it might be easy to draw them in with the allure of a deal or sale; to reach older customers, you might have to showcase something new—it’s all relative to understanding what your customers want to see and what will make them stop shuffling through the mail to digest your direct mail message.

Some examples of traditional direct mail campaigns that have proven tremendously successful in the past include:

  • Sending redeemable coupons that can be used either in person or online, prompting new and returning customers to take action by interacting with your business.
  • Advertising a product or service with a high value proposition. Giving people information about something they deem valuable can incite action.
  • Singling customers out and creating the illusion of exclusivity. If direct mail feels personal or exclusive, people are more likely to act.
  • Creating a sense of urgency, whether it be about a limited time offer, sale, product, etc. Urgency breeds action and can create rapid returns if executed properly.

The bounds of a direct mail campaign are nearly endless and their ability to grow your business both in the short term and the long term are invaluable when utilized properly. If your business isn’t currently utilizing direct mail, make sure you’re taking steps to make it a core focus of your next campaign. Let AlphaGraphics help you with the design and execution of your next direct mail venture and we’re certain you’ll see the value in this time-tested form of marketing.

July 27 / 2015
Author Bryan
Category Marketing
Comments No Comments

Take Advantage of Seasonal Signage for Maximum Summertime Marketing

Summer brings with it many things: great temperatures, sunny weather, festivals and events, opportunities to be outside, etc. What many small businesses don’t realize however, is that summer also brings with it a wide variety of opportunities for marketing to potential consumers at a highly effective level. What are we talking about? Why, seasonal signage of course!

Summertime seasonal signage is a huge asset for businesses big and small for a variety of reasons—namely because of its increased exposure and attention-grabbing design. And, utilizing a variety of different types of summer signage can be the difference between a summertime bump in business and a stagnant season for commerce.

Take a look at a few different types of summer signage you should be thinking about for your small business and how these unique marketing pieces can turn the tide of business in your favor during the warmest months of the year:

  • Yard signs:Yard signs aren’t exclusively for politicians—in fact, many small businesses and organizations use them to a high degree of success during the summer season. Whether it’s promoting a call to action that brings people through the door and turns them into new customers or it’s a way to get your brand name out there on a massive scale, yard signs are easily spotted and quickly digested, making them a key piece of your seasonal marketing arsenal.
    • Example: Joe’s lawn care business is taking off and he’s looking to expand past his usual subdivision of clients. By creating yard signs and asking his satisfied customers to place them on their lawn, Joe can advertise to drivers and other passersby, spreading his lawn care business’ reputation further.
  • Outdoor banners and signs:When the weather is great people will find any excuse to get outside and generally, that means taking a stroll around the town. Outdoor banners and signs provide the very best opportunity for you to market to people taking advantage of the summer weather and because they can be made in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, it’s easy to have them custom-tailored to fit your needs. Whether you’re a small business with a new location or you’re an event organizer promoting community happenings, outdoor banners and signs are a necessity.
    • Example: The Jonesville Chamber of Commerce is hosting its annual Picnic in the Park event and the group is trying to raise awareness all around town. By putting up a few banners on the sides of participating businesses and placing signs throughout the park, the group is able to get people’s attention who might not know about the upcoming event.
  • Flags:When something is flapping in the breeze and attracting all types of attention, it’s pretty hard to ignore it—and that’s the logic behind flags as a form of signage! If your business is promoting an event, trying to increase its brand appeal, trying to direction attention to other forms of marketing or just looking for a cost-effective way to draw the eye of passersby, flags are an invaluable marketing tool during the summer month.
    • Example: Stacey is trying to make her bakery stand out in a strip mall to attract people to visit during her Donut Days promotion. By attaching flags to her awning and putting several streamers roadside to attract attention, Stacey is able to alert people to her bakery when they might have otherwise passed her by.

There’s a lot to be said for all types of summertime signage—the above examples are just three in a larger scope of seasonal marketing materials. Chalkboards, sandwich boards, flyers, handouts, window clings and more can all be utilized in conjunction with the materials listed above to create a summertime marketing campaign that’s cohesive and successful.

Is your business taking advantage of seasonal marketing materials? If not, stop on by AlphaGraphics today to learn more about how you can tie together the perfect summertime campaign with the help of a few select materials!

July 10 / 2015
Author Bryan
Comments No Comments

The Value of Working with Nonprofit Organizations: Giving is Receiving!

Nonprofit organizations exist in all shapes and sizes, support a variety of causes and make a difference in the lives of numerous people far and wide. And while these selfless organizations strive to provide progress for whatever mission fuels them—spreading awareness, creating social change, inciting equality, etc.—it must be realized that sometimes, even the people helping other people need a little help themselves!

Helping out a nonprofit isn’t always about dropping your spare change into a bucket or signing a petition—it’s about giving that organization something they can use to help further their cause: be it time, effort, money, support or something else entirely. Nonprofits often operate on what they have available to them, so making these things available in whatever capacity you can goes a long way.

A small business helping hand

Small businesses have a lot to offer in the way of helping nonprofit organizations—more than they realize in fact! And, truth be told, when a small business decides to lend their support to a nonprofit, the business is also helping itself.

A small business has as much to gain from a partnership with a nonprofit as the organization does, although the mutual benefits come in different forms. Take a look, for example, at how both parties benefit if a local print shop donates printed materials to a fundraising event hosted by a nonprofit organization:

  • The nonprofit gets professionally printed, high quality materials at no cost, allowing them to successfully appeal to donors by projecting information in a clear, concise and appealing way. On top of this, the organization itself appears professional and well-organized, giving people peace of mind that their donation is being put to the best use possible.
  • The print shop gains credibility as a supporter of the local community and the good causes that are based within it, shedding a favorable light on the business itself. In addition, words gets out about the company’s quality products—through the nonprofit that it supported and through anyone who came into contact with the donated materials—and more people start to choose this print shop for their printing needs.

It’s amazing how much both a business and a nonprofit can benefit with absolutely no money changing hands! All it takes is a little giving for a good cause and the returns can be limitless.

Picking the right cause and providing the right help

It’s important to realize that, as easy as it is to give to a cause or support its mission, it’s not always as easy to figure out which cause you can and should support. Simply put: it’s impossible to lend a helping hand to everyone you meet, so it’s important to pick something you’re passionate about.

Finding the right nonprofit to support starts with finding the area where you can do the most good. In our print shop example from above, it doesn’t always make sense for a sprint shop to partner with an organization that has an in-house printing department or one that can allot its own marketing budget. It does pay, however, to saddle up alongside an organization that might not have the means to get high quality printed materials without spending excess funds.

It’s also very important to support an organization whose efforts are seen within your own community. Now, this isn’t to say you shouldn’t support a nationally-operating charity or nationwide nonprofit, but if you’re looking to do the most good, you should be looking locally. Find an organization that works within your community, where there’s tangible proof of their efforts—this way, you support a nonprofit and your community simultaneously!

Everyone wins

At the end of the day, any time, money, materials or services you donate to a local nonprofit are negligible in how they might affect your small business—the returns on these donations, however, are tremendous and lasting. Aside from being able to support a worthwhile cause, you’ll bolster your own business in many different ways, and you’ll go to sleep at night knowing you’re making a difference.

June 23 / 2015
Author Bryan
Category Sales
Comments No Comments

Small Business Networking Through Community Service

There are a lot of fancy-sounding words that get tossed around in the corporate business world—synergy, sustainability, interfacing and transparency being just a few of them. One word that’s used more often than not is “networking” and it’s used in a huge number of settings. Are you going to that networking lunch? Are you attending that trade show for its networking opportunities? Did you network with John to get the information you needed?

When it comes right down to it, all of these fancy corporate words have simple meanings and “networking” is no different: it’s basically a fancy term for talking to people and making new business connections that might be useful in the future. Most of the time these connections are mutually beneficial and can go a long way towards helping you to grow your business in the long term.

But how do you network properly and where does good networking take place? The answer can be anywhere at any time, but more often than not, it happens right in your own community. You don’t have to fly across the country to a fancy trade show or spend hours and hours at seminars to cultivate the right business relationships: all you have to do is get out there and be a part of your hometown community!

The best business doesn’t feel like business

They say that the best business interactions feel more like play than work—those times when you take a client to lunch or go on a company retreat or something else outside of your office enclosure. This is often true because there’s a sense of unburdening that comes with getting out of the office. It’s this feeling that will let you know when you’re about to make a meaningful networking connection.

The best part about networking within your community is that you don’t have to put on your best business suit and speak the company line—all you have to do is be yourself and participate in things that you enjoy. It sounds crazy, but it’s proven to create longer, more meaningful business relationships! Take a look:

Jim works for a local print shop during the week, but on the weekends, he’s an active part of a community cleanup organization. They help to beautify local parks, clean up the highways and they partake in local eco-events to raise awareness about environmental sustainability.

While participating in one of his weekend cleanup events, Jim finds himself talking to Pam about her job—Pam works for a local veterinary clinic. Pam tells Jim that her vet needs updated brochures about different pet care options, but isn’t sure where to go to get the materials made up to look professional. Jim smiles, gives Pam a business card and later that following week, the two email about Pam’s needs and Jim’s capabilities. Pam gets her brochures, Jim brings in business and a new connection is made.

The above example or something similar happens far more often than you might think! All it takes is two people from different career backgrounds talking and a mutually beneficial partnership is sure to blossom in time. What’s more, these collaborative community efforts often go beyond just two people—connections can happen in entire groups, where everyone walks away with a new prospective networking partner.

Find those who need your help

How can you make your networking experience within your community as simple as the example listed above in this blog? Easy: find something you’re passionate about and the rest will come naturally!

Think of it this way: when people with a similar interest or common cause get together, they’re bound to get to talking and sooner or later, things always come around to, “what do you do for a living.” In many cases, people will be genuinely interested and take note of what you do—especially if it can benefit them—and more often than not, as the conversation rolls on, people will start to see opportunities to network with you. The rest will take care of itself!

It all starts with finding something you enjoy and meeting people who also enjoy this same thing. It can be a community cause, a local club, an enthusiast’s meeting or even just your local group of bar patrons—what matters is that you immerse yourself in your community and the people who are a part of it. Who would have thought that a snazzy business term like “networking” could be the same as chatting with a person in your free time or making a new friend who lives in your town?

June 16 / 2015
Author Bryan
Category Sales
Comments No Comments

Why Your Small Business Needs Signage

Picture a world with no signage at all. No billboards, no channel letters to mark business locations, no sandwich boards on the sidewalk and absolutely no banners or flags to let you know about exciting products and sales. What would the world look like?

It’s a very interesting concept to think about, a world with no signage. It’s also something that you’re never likely to see in today’s day and age, simply for the fact that advertising is just about everywhere you look and signs are an integral part of our daily lives. And, when it comes to who’s putting the signs out there for us to see—businesses big and small—the answer for why signage exists becomes clearer and clearer.

Grabbing their attention

Most signage exists to sell us something—a product, an idea or something else. Sales are in fact what makes the world go round: we work to earn money and use that money to buy things, which other people work to make so they can earn money! It’s one of the most fundamental truths in our society. But choosing which goods and services we want to invest our hard earned dollars in is where competition is truly born and it’s only those businesses that stand out from the others that are able to stay relevant.

Signage is the de-facto method of staying relevant in society that’s filled with business competition, which means that companies utilizing signage to its fullest are going to be those companies that come out on top.

Reaching an audience

Even if your business exists in the minds of customers, being able to tailor how you exist can be a fundamental way to make sure that you’re bringing business through the doors. For example, a customer may know what your business is and what you’re selling to them, but if they’re not interested, it’s all for naught! However, on the flip side, if a customer knows your company exists and they have a favorable impression of you, they’re more likely to give you their hard earned dollars.

Changing perception is not easy, however—it takes a dedicated marketing approach and the cost of most business marketing approaches rely on good ‘ol fashioned signage! Whether your sign can move a person, make them laugh, intrigue them or drive them to act makes all the difference in how they view your business in their minds, which can quickly bring them through your doors and make them a brand advocate.

Never forgotten

One final reason that signage is considered a staple in the advertising world is due to its consistent relevancy. Basically, if you see something over and over again, it’s pretty hard to forget about that thing—signage acts as a constant reminder for people, sparking interest in a business or product or service, even if it’s not at the forefront of your mind.

More than even just staying a constant presence in the minds of their demographics, however,businesses are able to use signage to implement new information and up to date data across everyone they reach, all at the same time. If you’re introducing a new product, have a change in sales policy, want to announce a promotion or just have exciting news to share, a sign can accomplish widespread dissemination with ease, in a way that’s directly accessible by anyone with eyes.

Signs may be one of the simplest, most traditional forms of advertising, but it doesn’t stop them from being any less effective. A properly applied sign that’s appealing and relevant is going to go a long way for any business and can be exactly what a business needs to keep itself at the forefront of the industry it’s a part of and the customers who are interested in that industry.

May 19 / 2015
Author Bryan
Category Marketing
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What’s the True Value of a Vehicle Wrap for your Small Business?

We’ve all seen them at least once, whether it’s next to us at a stoplight or zooming around town—that’s right, we’re talking about vehicle wraps! And regardless of what your impression of vehicle wraps may be—clever, gaudy, attention-grabbing or a nuisance—there’s no denying that these advertising investments are certainly a cost effective way to get the word out because they simply can’t be missed.

But when it comes to plotting the quantitative value of a vehicle wrap, things might get a little fuzzy. Sure, it’s easy to get a quote on how much a wrap will cost or what your total cost will be to have one designed and printed up—what’s not easy to measure, however, is the value of the impressions you get while driving your vehicle around town or the value of every new customer that might be a result of these impressions. This brings about a very important question: “what’s the true value of a vehicle wrap and how do you measure it effectively?”

How to quantify a vehicle wrap’s value

Understanding the value in dollars that your vehicle wrap will bring your small business is based on a simple equation and a couple of variables:

  • The original cost to have your vehicle wrap designed and printed.
  • The number of miles your vehicle drives each day and where those miles take place (city/highway/rural) and how many impressions you’ll garner per day.
  • The estimated dollar value per impression for your vehicle wrap.

Knowing the above variables is going to provide you with the crucial variables you need to create a formulaic equation that measures the ROI of your vehicle wrap. Let’s take a look at what that might look like using some example values:

-$1000 wrap cost + (15,000 daily impressions x $.15 per impressions) = $1,250 ROI

Now, the above variables are just examples, but they serve to illustrate just how quickly your ROI can add up—the equation measures daily ROI—and any ROI after the initial cost of the wrap is recouped is money back in your pocket: 100 percent pure profit based on new customers through your door!

A variable return that always trends high

Regardless of where your business is located or what driving radius you’ll be covering on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, it’s important to understand that each and every impression is an impression you might not have made with a static piece of advertising, or even a blanketed advertisement for that matter.

The key component to remember is that radio and television ads can be turned off, billboards can be ignored and paper advertisements can quickly be thrown away: vehicle wraps can’t be ignored when they share the road with other drivers. Take a look at some of the exceptional statistics that vehicle wraps have been known to produce:

  • More than 95 percent of Americans are reached by some form of media targeting vehicle drivers and passengers.
  • One vehicle wrap can generate between 30,000 and 70,000 impressions on average, daily.
  • Fleet vehicle advertising has been proven to increase name recognition 15 times greater than any other form of advertising.
  • Roughly 30 percent of mobile outdoor viewers indicate they would base a buying decision on the ad they see.

Combine these stats with the low cost of investing in a vehicle wrap and the prolific impression rate that comes with one and you’ve got a recipe for an advertising investment that’s far and above one of the best for bringing value back to where it matters most: your growing small business.

May 04 / 2015
Author Bryan
Category Marketing
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