How a 30-Year-Old Dance Studio Stepped Up Its Look

 

Located in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, Dance Workshop has spent 30 years helping people of all ages and backgrounds discover and nurture a love of dance. In addition to helping dancers build their skills, the business has always been dedicated to giving back. The organization’s charitable arm, Dancing for a Difference, has raised more than $170,000 over the years to donate to recipients like Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

After decades of running Dance Workshop, founder Shari Opfermann was ready to pass her beloved business off to a new owner. Megan Kamberis, who had been working as a dance instructor at the studio for over 15 years, took over just when the pandemic struck — and the studio found itself in transition in more ways than one. COVID-19 safety regulations forced it to shut down and find creative alternatives for bringing dance classes to its students.

After months of virtual recitals and Zoom classes with instructors tap-dancing in their kitchens, Dance Workshop was ready to get back to business, kickstart their outreach to the community, and hand over the reins to the new owner — but they couldn’t do it all on their own. An AlphaGraphics business makeover was able to help spin things around for the studio. Now, they’re ready to waltz into the next 30 years in style.

The Problem

To get ready for its next phase and start attracting new students, Dance Workshop’s look needed a refresh. The studio’s interior decor featured outdated airbrushed graphics and little sense of a cohesive visual identity. Rather than one recognizable brand, the business had separate logos for each of its programs — Shining Stars (a performing dance company), Toddler Time (for children and parents), Princess Ballerinas (themed classes for preschoolers), Super Heroes (dancing lessons for boys), and fitness classes for adults.

Additionally, there was little to visually set the studio apart from its neighboring businesses. Sharing an interior shopping center space with insurance agents and medical offices, Dance Workshop wanted to differentiate itself and set the tone for a fun, welcoming experience. There was also a need to establish privacy for the dancers, as exterior windows opened right into the studio spaces.

Finally, the studio had never done much marketing, but all outreach efforts stalled during the challenges of COVID-19. After taking ownership of the business, Megan wanted to refresh the space visually, solidify the branding, and spread the word about all the great things that Dance Workshop does for its students and the community.

The Solution

Impressed by Dance Workshop’s track record of charitable giving and inspired to help a new business owner get off to a great start, AlphaGraphics chose Dance Workshop as one of the three nationwide winners in the Make It Happen Business Makeover contest. To kick off the makeover, the team quickly got to work on plans to revitalize the business and strengthen its brand.

Brand Identity

The first step was to create a consistent brand that could encompass every segment of Dance Workshop’s business. AlphaGraphics designers established a color palette and signature pattern that could be applied in a range of ways, while still looking distinctly like Dance Workshop. The new branding was vibrant, bright, and energetic — matching Megan’s energy and vision for the future of the business.

Interior Signage

The next phase of the makeover focused on the interior decor. The team envisioned a cohesive visual experience that would flow from the studio’s entrance, through the coat room, and into each of the studios. With plenty of bright colors and visual appeal, the team designed the space to energize students and get them ready to dance. The lobby was updated with branded wall graphics, a digital sign to showcase class information and photos, and a backlit dimensional sign that dancers can use as a photo backdrop. Dancing for a Difference signage was also installed in the lobby, keeping the business’s charitable mission front and center.

The four studio rooms were repainted, with each one featuring a bold accent wall in a different color from the brand palette. Inspirational quotes were applied to the walls, contributing to Megan’s goal of making the space feel welcoming and fun — a true second home for the dancers and instructors.

Exterior Signage

The makeover also tackled the exterior of the studio. Opaque graphics were installed in the studio windows to add aesthetic appeal and provide privacy for the dancers in a fun and creative way. Wayfinding signage was created to help patrons locate the business within the shopping center. As an added bonus, the A-frame and feather flag signs are portable, so when dancers perform recitals at other venues, they can bring signage along with them and create a brand presence for Dance Workshop no matter where they are.

Marketing Strategy

With the brand on pointe and the interior space fully refreshed, the only thing left to do was to create a marketing strategy and set Megan up with the tools she’d need to get the word out about the business. On the print marketing side, Megan received a refreshed suite of business cards, flyers, notepads, and stickers that she can easily hand out to prospective new students. Dancers in the Shining Stars performance company were given branded tank tops and water bottles, encouraging them to showcase the Dance Workshop brand outside of the studio. AlphaGraphics will also support the studio’s digital marketing efforts, partnering with Marketing 360® to update the website and optimize it for SEO, and launch a digital marketing campaign to increase the studio’s visibility online.

The Results

On May 24, 2022, Dance Workshop’s business makeover was revealed in style at an event attended by over 50 people. The Shining Stars marked the occasion with an impromptu dance performance, confetti flew, and guests eagerly flooded the studio’s rooms, taking in all the changes with open-mouthed joy.

While music bumped and dancers showed off their tricks, Megan had an emotional moment of reflection over the studio’s transformation. Having played a central creative role in the process of bringing the makeover to life, she could finally say that the business felt like her own.

“I can’t even begin to explain what an amazing experience this has been for me. The studio looks amazing and everyone is so excited about the reveal,” Megan said. “[AlphaGraphics] helped this vision come alive and I am forever grateful! I am proud to continue Dance Workshop’s journey in the beautiful space you helped create.”

And with the pandemic’s challenges in the past, a gorgeously updated space to work in, and a powerhouse marketing strategy leading the way to a bright future, everyone in the Dance Workshop community can agree that the studio is more than ready for its next act.

Could Your Business Use a Makeover?

Transitions of all kinds can be tough hurdles for businesses to overcome. Whether it’s changing ownership, relocating to a new space, or adapting operations to our changed post-COVID world, a business makeover can make a new start something worth celebrating. Contact your local AlphaGraphics center today to learn more about the possibilities a makeover could offer for your business!

Reinventing a 20-Year-Old Restaurant

When you sit down to eat at Tio Chilo’s Mexican Grill in the Mission District of San Francisco, owner Liz Vazquez wants you to feel as though you’re sitting around her family’s kitchen table. The restaurant is a place for her to share the traditions and flavors that have been part of her family’s history for generations.

Originally opened by Liz’s parents Isidro (known to all as Tio Chilo) and Maria, Tio Chilo’s is on its second generation of family ownership and will soon celebrate its 20-year anniversary. But two difficult years of the COVID-19 pandemic put the beloved restaurant’s future in jeopardy.

Seeking a fresh start and a helping hand on the restaurant’s road to recovery, Liz entered AlphaGraphics’ Make It Happen Business Makeover contest in late 2021. Read on to learn how winning the AlphaGraphics makeover put a fresh spin on this business’s stale look and is helping to usher in new customers — along with a brighter outlook on the future.

The Problem

Like many small businesses, Tio Chilo’s was hit hard by the pandemic. They were initially forced to close due to public health orders, and after reopening, they barely scraped by. “It impacted us really hard financially and mentally,” remembers Liz. “We had to cut our business hours as we had days that not one person would come in.”

Liz credits the strength and support of her community — the tight-knit Calle 24 Latino Cultural District — in helping her stay in business. She did her best to give back, participating in charity events where she would give away hundreds of free burritos to members of the community despite the difficulties she was experiencing.

Even aside from the pandemic, Tio Chilo’s had been struggling to bring in new customers. While the restaurant always enjoyed a loyal following in the community, they had no way of reaching new customers — like the many tourists who frequent San Francisco and the Mission District in particular. Tio Chilo’s lacked a website or online presence that could draw in new business, and the aged storefront wasn’t doing much to capture attention from passersby. The tattered awning was badly faded, and the storefront failed to present a welcoming impression. “A lot of people don’t know we are here because the storefront looks so dark,” Liz said.

The Solution

As the first winner of the AlphaGraphics business makeover contest, Tio Chilo’s was set to receive a $25,000 package including graphic design, print, signs, a website, and digital marketing support — everything the business needed to get a fresh start. As soon as Liz received the exciting news in February 2022 that she won, the AlphaGraphics team quickly got to work making it happen for her.

Brand Identity

The team first tackled the restaurant’s branding. To set Tio Chilo’s up for a promising future, they focused on creating a brand inspired by the business’s past. Designers incorporated a vivid color palette evoking the family’s vibrant homeland of Jalisco, Mexico, as well as patterns reminiscent of the traditional Mexican paper flags known as papel picado.

The restaurant’s new visual identity also celebrates the colorful characters who have been central to the Tio Chilo’s story. A chili pepper in the new logo is a nod to Liz’s dad, the original Tio Chilo, who is known for always carrying a chili around in his pocket. The team also created and installed a stunning 32-foot custom mural featuring imagery of the family along with San Francisco landmarks.

Signage and Printed Materials

In addition to honoring the restaurant’s history, the team aimed to give Tio Chilo’s a more inviting appearance to help the business accomplish its goal of expanding its customer base. After redesigning the logo in a bolder font that’s more easily readable, the team added a tagline, “Come on in,” to immediately set a welcoming tone. A brand-new awning and window graphics were installed to capture attention from people on the street.

Once inside, wall graphics highlight some of the restaurant’s signature offerings, like their famous margaritas, and help create a memorable (and Instagrammable) dining experience. Refreshed print collateral like dine-in and takeout menus, table cards, business cards, stickers, magnets, and staff uniforms rounded out the makeover and helped Tio Chilo’s establish a strong and consistent brand.

Online Presence

While the restaurant’s space was a huge focus of the makeover, Tio Chilo’s also needed to establish a digital presence to grow its customer base. Liz maintained an active following on Facebook and Instagram, but without a website, the restaurant had little visibility outside of the local community. The AlphaGraphics team partnered with Marketing 360® to create a new website, which was optimized to help Tio Chilo’s show up in local searches. Complementing the website, Tio Chilo’s will also receive support creating blog posts and social media content, along with digital advertising to reach a broader audience.

The Results

Together with the AlphaGraphics team, Liz and her family unveiled the makeover at a reveal event held on April 15, 2022. The Mission District community turned out in droves to celebrate the restaurant’s new look, with hundreds of people stopping by over the course of the night to check out the makeover, enjoy margaritas, and sample some of Tio Chilo’s fresh and authentic food. A troupe of Aztec dancers helped Tio Chilo’s mark the occasion, performing celebratory dances in traditional costumes complete with elaborate feathered headdresses.

It was clear from the event’s massive turnout how much the community loves Tio Chilo’s and wants Liz and her family to succeed. But going forward, the restaurant will also be able to introduce new guests to their timelessly traditional recipes. In addition to their refreshed, inviting storefront, Tio Chilo’s brand-new website and digital marketing support will help to increase their visibility online and attract new business from tourists and San Francisco residents alike.

Could Your Restaurant Use a Makeover?

Locally owned restaurants across the country are still reeling from the devastating effects of the pandemic. But as Liz Vazquez experienced, a fresh look can translate to a fresh start, and a big boost to business and morale. Contact AlphaGraphics Middleton today to learn more about the possibilities a business makeover could offer for your restaurant!

Does Your Print Collateral Need a Refresh? Here’s How to Tell

Printed marketing and sales collateral plays a crucial role in securing customers for your business. Unfortunately, all too many businesses use the “set it and forget it” method of creating collateral. While some pieces can be used for a while without trouble, others might quickly become outdated. It’s smart for businesses to get in the habit of auditing their printed materials and refreshing them regularly.

Why should you audit your collateral?

Using fresh, up-to-date marketing and sales collateral ensures that you accurately represent your brand to customers. These materials should speak to your brand, demonstrate what your business does, and showcase your current offerings.

If your collateral is out of date or irrelevant, it can cause confusion or frustration among buyers. Depending on how much your branding or your business has changed, the materials might not even be effective for your target market at all! If your goal is to persuade customers to make a purchase, you want to ensure your messaging is both accurate and fresh.

When should you do a collateral audit?

You’ll want to conduct a routine audit of your sales and marketing collateral. A good rule of thumb is to revisit these materials every three months, or once a season. Not only will this help your team catch necessary updates, but it also allows you to capitalize on seasonal promotions and align with seasonal trends in your industry.

There are a few other critical times to audit and update your collateral:

  • Any time you launch a new product or change your product line
  • Any time you rebrand or update your logo
  • Before every industry event or trade show where you’ll hand out printed materials
  • Any time your contact information or physical location (such as your address, phone number, and website) changes

Right now is also a great time to audit and refresh your marketing materials! Consider how your printed collateral can best support your sales team as they begin scheduling in-person meetings.

How to tell when your collateral needs a refresh

As you conduct your audit, there are a few important things you should look for to determine whether your marketing and sales materials require any updates.

Are they consistent with your branding?

All marketing and sales materials should be consistent with your current branding and align with the style of your other marketing efforts. Ensure that each piece fits in seamlessly with your visuals on other channels, including your website, emails, and social media. Customers should easily be able to identify the materials as belonging to your business. If you find discrepancies or outdated imagery, refresh and modernize the design.

Do they speak to your target audience?

Every piece of collateral should use customer-centric messaging to make a strong point. Align your message with what your audience cares about—their needs and desires, challenges they face, and questions they ask. Also double-check your imagery and ensure that any photos of people reflect who your customers are. Consider things like age, race and ethnicity, gender, marital and family status, and lifestyle to ensure your customers feel represented.

Do they have a clear call to action?

No marketing materials are effective without pointing customers in the right direction. Whether it’s “Visit our website,” “Call today,” or “Redeem this coupon at checkout,” make sure you have a prominent and clear call to action on every piece. Use trackable coupon codes, custom landing pages, or other tools to gain insight on whether your CTAs work to drive customers to take your desired action.

Do they reflect your current offerings?

Businesses are constantly evolving, and your company’s offerings might not be the same as they were six months or a year ago. Ensure that every piece of sales and marketing collateral reflects what your business offers right now. Make changes to feature your newest or most popular products, and remove any products or services you no longer offer. It’s also smart to switch out seasonal products or services to keep your collateral as fresh as possible.

Do they include your contact information?

Remember to provide customers with a way to reach you by including your website, social media handles, phone number, email, and/or physical address on every piece.

Don’t let your collateral fall behind

As you go through the process of updating your collateral, don’t forget to involve your key stakeholders! A material audit and refresh is the perfect opportunity to consult with your sales team and ask what collateral they need to do their jobs better. Find out what messages and calls to action they’ve found successful and integrate them.

It’s also a good idea to survey your customers. This helps you learn more about their needs, so you can speak those needs in your messaging. In doing so, you’ll help answer their questions and demonstrate how your business can solve their problems.

Keeping your sales and marketing collateral up to date is essential for effectively communicating with customers and putting your best foot forward as a business. If you haven’t revisited your collateral in a while, take the opportunity to do so now and make a plan to do a regular audit and refresh going forward.

4 Ways to Boost Employee Retention and Show Appreciation

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a wave of changes and challenges for businesses of all sizes to contend with. One of the more significant challenges has been the difficulty in hiring and retaining quality staff. Staff turnover can have a deeply detrimental effect on a business, especially a small one. The process of reviewing applications, interviewing, processing paperwork, and training new employees is time-consuming, and your customer service and productivity will suffer while you’re short-staffed.

Need some help weathering the Great Resignation? Read on for our tips to boost retention and make your investment in your employees pay off.

 

Build Pride in Your Workplace

People weigh many factors when deciding to stay at or leave a job. Many are practical, like pay, benefits, and commute. However, others are less tangible but equally important: a sense of pride in their work, a good company culture, and a vested interest in the business. By taking a few simple actions, you can significantly boost your employees’ experience of working at your business.

Everyone likes to feel that they are appreciated and their work is valued. Make sure you are cultivating a culture of respect and recognition. Celebrate wins and give praise freely. Work to build pride in your brand, too. When you think about all the ways you market your business, don’t limit those only to your customers. You should essentially be marketing to your employees, too! By building a positive brand perception among your staff, you’ll earn their loyalty.

 

Make New Employees Feel Welcome

This process of earning loyalty should start from the very beginning. Make new employees feel valued from the start and show that you are excited to have them on the team. A great way to welcome a staff member is with a new hire agBox. These completely customizable boxes can be designed with your branding and packed with unique branded promotional products and printed materials of your choice. You can include anything they might need for their job — like a uniform or a mousepad — along with fun things like a mug, tumbler, or even a tech item with your company logo. Whatever you include in the box, creating some fanfare and making your new employee feel special on their first day is sure to have a lasting positive effect.

If your workforce is remote, it’s even more important to make them feel part of the team. Mailing a new-hire welcome agBox is an unexpected gesture that sends the message that your employees are valued and your business cares about maintaining a positive company culture. Thoughtful actions like this can help take the place of things like team-building exercises and group dinners or happy hours that are not as feasible for remote teams.

Remember, first impressions matter. By sending the message right away that your employee is valued and you’re happy to have them on board, you’ll be setting yourself up for a great, lasting relationship.

 

Reward Great Service with Branded Gifts

Another way to build a strong company culture and make your employees happy is by being clear with your expectations. Setting realistic goals — and rewarding those who achieve them — can create a sense of friendly competition and inspire everyone to work harder. Again, an agBox or a premium branded promotional item on its own is a great choice for expressing your appreciation for a job well done.

A reward for hitting a work milestone should be something extra special. Invest in a high-value premium promotional item to really show your gratitude for your employees’ hard work. Not only will it inspire them to give the job their all, but the gratification of knowing that their efforts are appreciated will go a long way. Plus, the higher quality the gift, the more likely your employees are to use it regularly and show it off — spreading awareness for your brand and potentially earning you new employee referrals.

 

Create a Positive Work Environment

A more subtle, but equally important, way to build employee loyalty and boost retention is simply to make the workplace an enjoyable place to be. We spend a lot of our time at work, and if the environment doesn’t make us happy, it’ll take a toll on our mental health — and ultimately prompt us to look elsewhere. Take a critical look around your space and determine how you might improve the aesthetics.

This might mean decorating with some canvas prints or installing window, wall, and floor graphics that reinforce your branding and company values. You could invest in more comfortable chairs and desks, or wrap the walls to brighten your space with splashes of color. If your workforce is currently remote but planning to return to the office, make use of this time to invest in an office makeover that will actually get your employees excited about going back to working in person.

 

Partner with AlphaGraphics Middleton to Show Appreciation

From welcome gifts to achievement rewards to office makeovers, AlphaGraphics Middleton designs and prints a wide range of solutions that will help make your employees love working for your business. If your business could use some help with employee retention, get in touch with AlphaGraphics Middleton today!

Top Print and Marketing Products to Help Your Business Succeed at Every Stage

Most business owners understand that print and marketing materials play an important role in driving the success of their enterprise. However, it can be hard to know which products are most effective and will provide the best return on investment.

As print and marketing experts — and business owners ourselves — we’ve rounded up the most essential, tried-and-true print materials that can help businesses grow and succeed at every stage of their life cycle. Whether you’re launching a new business or exploring new ways to grow your customer base, read on for the top products we recommend.

Print and Marketing for New Businesses

When you’re just starting out with a new business, your biggest focus should be on establishing your brand identity and making connections. Print products reinforce your efforts by serving as a tangible reminder and keeping you top of mind with prospects. Having business cards at the ready during networking events and consultations will help you make a more lasting impression and give your connections an easy way to get in touch with you later.

Additionally, materials like brochures and flyers allow you to go in-depth about your business, your products and services, and what sets you apart from your competitors. By using these materials for your small business marketing, you can spread awareness while beginning to build trust in your business. Having branded custom letterhead and printed envelopes also add credibility to your new professional venture.

Top Print Products for New Businesses: Business Cards, Flyers, Counter Cards, Brochures, Appointment Cards, Printed Envelopes, Letterhead, Open/Closed Signage

Find these products and more in the AlphaGraphics Business Essentials Bundle, specifically tailored to the print and marketing needs of new small businesses.

 

Planning a Grand Opening

Networking and marketing should start well before you even open your doors. But once your business has officially opened, holding a grand opening event is a great way to make a splash, capture attention from the community, and make a positive impression on your new customers.

Think of your grand opening as not just a celebration, but as a form of marketing. It’s a way for people to experience a taste of what you have to offer and get a sense of what it’s like to do business with you.

Carefully planning and having the right print products, signage, and marketing materials on hand will help you see the best return on your investment. Start spreading the word about your event weeks in advance with flyers and invitations to generate excitement and build awareness. Be prepared on the day itself with a grand opening banner, gift certificates to raffle off, and of course, business cards and other marketing materials for guests to take home with them.

Top Products for Grand Openings: Flyers, Invitations, Printed Envelopes, Gift Certificates, Business Cards, Retractable Banners, Promotional Products

Find these products and more in the AlphaGraphics Grand Opening and Events Bundle, full of customized print products and signage to help your event make a splash.

Showcasing Your Business at Trade Shows

While a grand opening event is a great way to get noticed by your local community and begin drumming up business in your immediate geographic area, eventually, you may want to increase your reach to new audiences in order to continue growing. Trade shows are a wonderful opportunity to get your brand out there to new potential customers. Trade show attendees are already interested in your industry, offering huge potential for lead generation.

By carefully planning your trade show booth display, you can take advantage of all the opportunities that these big events offer. To bring in as many leads as possible, make sure that your exhibit booth is designed with bold signage that can grab attention from multiple angles, like retractable banners and floor graphics. Once you’ve piqued the interest of attendees, you’ll want your booth well equipped with print materials like counter cards, flyers, and brochures to tell your brand story. Make a plan for how you’ll follow up with leads, like using appointment cards to schedule free consultations.

The interactive nature of trade shows offers endless ways to create a memorable experience for any visitors to your booth. Make sure you and your staff look the part of brand ambassadors with custom t-shirts and buttons. Free giveaways are common at trade shows, so custom branded promotional products can also go a long way in helping visitors to your booth remember you.

Top Products for Trade Shows: Flyers, Floor Graphics, Counter Cards, Brochures, Appointment Cards, T-Shirts, Retractable Banners, Promotional Products

Find these products and more in the AlphaGraphics Middleton Trade Show Bundle, full of customized print products and signage to help your event make a splash.

 

The Print and Marketing Products You Need for Your Business

Planning for your business’ print needs and ordering materials can be time-consuming and confusing. AlphaGraphics Middleton makes it easy with product bundles that are designed to meet your needs! Skip the guesswork, save time, and get a complete package of fully customized print and marketing essentials with our product bundles. Consult with AlphaGraphics Middleton to select the bundle that’s perfect for your needs and your budget.

4 New Ways to Connect with Customers in 2022

A new year is on the horizon, and there’s no better time to think about getting a fresh start or exploring new ideas on behalf of your business. As technology evolves and customer expectations shift, it’s important for marketers to be constantly examining their strategies and evaluating whether it’s time to make adjustments.

If you’re looking for new ways to connect with your customers in the coming year, check out our top ideas.

Augmented Reality and Interactive Print

Print is increasingly going beyond the page as new technologies offer potential for creative integration into traditional media. Augmented reality (AR) refers to the overlay of digital elements atop the real world — typically experienced via a smartphone screen. This technology offers the opportunity for a fun and engaging experience that adds another dimension to your branding. It also allows you to curate an immersive brand experience anywhere, at any time.

The pandemic brought QR codes, which were largely fading out of popularity after a brief period of novelty, roaring back into mainstream use as businesses scrambled for safer alternatives to high-touch print materials like menus. Now, businesses are exploring more unique ways to use QR codes and other forms of augmented reality.

A few ways brands might consider incorporating AR include:
Allow customers to digitally “try on” products like clothing, glasses, and makeup
Help customers find more information about your product or company without taking up space via incorporated QR codes
Bring advertisements to life with interactive digital elements that only appear with the use of a smartphone

Short-Form Video

Ever since TikTok took the world by storm, short-form video has been springing up everywhere. Even if you’re not on the platform yourself, you’ve likely noticed this DIY style of video creation, as well as popular TikTok trends, influencing content on other channels.

All it takes is a creative vision and a little smartphone savviness to hop on this trend yourself. A fun, creatively edited video is an engaging way to tell your brand story or showcase your products and services. Plus, you’ll come across as authentic and relatable, unlike a highly produced commercial which is clearly recognizable as marketing. Have fun with it and your audience will respond.

Hyper-Local Marketing and Advertising

Consumers have grown weary of traditional marketing methods, and are likely to respond with cynicism to a one-size-fits-all, nationwide ad campaign. Instead, prospective shoppers are much more likely to conduct their own research before pulling the trigger on a purchase, ensuring that they can feel good about their decision.

The process of researching a potential purchase typically includes time spent on Google, but modern searchers are more likely to eschew website results in favor of the localized information found on Google business pages. This data could include customer reviews, hours of operation, COVID-19 related requirements, and even details like whether the business is minority-owned.

In addition to Google, consumers are turning to other locally-focused platforms for information, like Nextdoor and Facebook. Ensuring that your business appears on these platforms — particularly along with helpful and consistent information and positive reviews — is a great way to connect with customers while making them feel like they’ve found you on their own.

The hyper-local approach can be applied to more traditional media, too. For example, Every Door Direct Mail® allows you to reach every household on a specific postal route with a marketing mailer. Targeting your audience neighborhood by neighborhood allows for highly personalized messaging. By indicating that you know the community and understand their needs, you’ll build trust with your audience.

Content and Influencer Marketing

As we’ve established, today’s consumers are both savvy and skeptical when it comes to marketing. The best way to get their attention is to meet them where they are and give them something that they consider valuable. That’s why content marketing in particular is skyrocketing in popularity. By creating content that is interesting or entertaining to your customers and relevant to your brand without feeling overly promotional, you’ll capture their attention and garner positive interest.

Along the same lines, influencer marketing allows you to build a positive association between your brand and an individual that your audience already likes. It’s an effective way to get your message in front of your target audience without it feeling forced. Unlike the stiff, inauthentic celebrity endorsements of old, modern influencer marketing comes across as genuine and compelling. It carries the same weight as a word-of-mouth recommendation from a trusted friend.

Evolving Your Marketing in 2022

Don’t be afraid to try out something new with your marketing in the new year. The more you can demonstrate that your company understands modern consumers, the more effective your tactics will be.

A partner like AlphaGraphics Middleton can consult with your brand and guide you in determining a path forward that incorporates the newest marketing trends without losing sight of what your brand stands for. From print pieces that come to life digitally, to a locally optimized web presence, to engaging brand content, AlphaGraphics Middleton can help you bridge the gap between traditional marketing and more modern approaches.

4 Steps to a Total Business Transformation

Enter to win a $25,000 business makeover from AlphaGraphics! Our business makeovers provide a complete transformation that brings business dreams to life. Enter to win one of three $25,000 makeovers that AlphaGraphics is giving away to deserving businesses across the country. Entries are due by November 21, 2021. Enter today at AlphaGraphics.com/MakeItHappen.

It’s easy to wish for the business of your dreams — but how do you actually make it happen? With four simple steps, you can refresh and revitalize your business, build customer loyalty, and expand your reach. Read on to learn more about what goes into an AlphaGraphics makeover, and how to plan your own business transformation.

1. Update Designs

Is your brand feeling outdated, or just not making a strong enough impression? Let’s start there. A graphic design refresh can put a modern spin on your brand to stand out to customers and represent your business accurately. Designers will work with you to understand your business and what makes it unique, then determine how to best communicate it visually in a way that captures attention and makes a lasting impression.

Branding goes beyond a logo. It’s also important to establish the fonts, colors, and imagery that you’ll incorporate into your business designs. If your branding isn’t already well established, a designer can help you outline each element of your visual representation. Once this set of brand guidelines has been created, it’ll be easy for you to keep future business materials consistent.

2. Refresh Print Collateral

With your branding established, it’s important to make sure that it’s reinforced at every customer touchpoint. A print collateral refresh will start by auditing all of your existing print materials that reflect your brand: business cards, brochures, promotional materials, menus, packaging, product labels, and more. Then, opportunities for how to improve them can be identified.

This step could be as simple as just updating your existing collateral to match your refreshed branding — or it could be a complete overhaul. You might take this opportunity to reprint collateral that is highly visible with customers, like your brochures, on higher-quality paper or even incorporate premium print finishes. When it comes to reusable items like menus, opting for extra durable or even waterproof paper can help your print materials stay in good shape for years to come.

You could even come up with new pieces of collateral, or new ways to use existing items. If one of your business goals is to earn more repeat customers, you might create loyalty cards, or coupon cards to hand out with purchases to encourage a return visit. Ensuring that you have the right print collateral for your needs is all part of a business makeover!

3. Rethink Signage

Is your business location eye-catching and enticing to passersby? Can customers easily find their way around your store? Does the interior appearance of your business reflect your branding? These are all questions that you should ask yourself as you’re planning your business makeover — and if the answers are “no,” they’re all problems that can be solved with signage.

Signage that’s well-thought-out, beautifully designed, and properly installed can offer many benefits for your business. Wayfinding signs ensure a pleasant and smooth experience by seamlessly directing customers where they need to go, while window, wall, and floor graphics can reinforce your brand’s visual elements. Seamless navigation and strong branding are both essential to building a memorable and enjoyable experience for anyone who enters your business.

AlphaGraphics Middleton’s signs experts can help you to determine the best types of signage for your space. By identifying empty or underutilized spaces outside of and within your business, you can ensure that every inch of your space is being used to strengthen your branding, build a great customer experience, drive sales, and attract new customers.

4. Spread the Word

So you’ve got a beautifully redecorated storefront, a wow-worthy interior, a brand you’re proud to show off, and a whole suite of high-quality print collateral ready to go. The only thing that’s left to do is to bring in new customers to experience all the positive changes you’ve made!

There are a wide range of digital marketing tools that can help you connect with prospective customers. Your AlphaGraphics Middleton team can guide you through the process of making sure that your digital presence is just as effective as your brick-and-mortar location by examining your SEO performance, website usability, and more. Depending on your business goals, you might place display ads, develop a content marketing strategy, or adopt a CRM system to help you manage leads and deploy multi-channel marketing campaigns. Digital marketing is the cherry on top of your business makeover.

Give Your Business a Fresh Start

Coming off of a difficult year and a half in the wake of COVID-19, there’s no better time to transform your business and breathe new life into your operations. Stop just wishing for the business of your dreams and make it happen! Enter to win a complete business makeover from AlphaGraphics today.

How to Capture Holiday Magic in a Box (and Earn Brand Loyalty)

The holidays are all about connection as we seek to share the magic of the season with those we care about most. In addition to connecting with loved ones, the holiday season is the perfect opportunity to reach out to employees and customers to show your appreciation and strengthen your relationship.

With COVID-19 still affecting our lives and disrupting the way we build those connections, it’s time to get creative this holiday season. Whether or not you’re able to engage in person this year, AlphaGraphics Midleton’s Holiday in a Box is the perfect way to make a memorable impact with your holiday outreach. Read on to get inspired with three ways to make an agBox part of your business’s holiday celebrations.

Holiday Party in a Box

Throwing holiday parties is one of the biggest opportunities for companies to show appreciation to employees during the year. Staff looks forward to fancy dinners, open bars, awards, entertainment, and the opportunity to mingle with colleagues outside of work hours. Unfortunately, many individuals are uncomfortable attending large live events this season while COVID-19 is still a cause for concern.

If your organization opts to forgo the in-person holiday soiree this year, never fear — agBox can deliver the party to employees’ doorsteps. Playing off traditional holiday party elements, these branded boxes might include cocktail sets, giveaways, raffle tickets, and of course, plenty of holiday swag.

Sending employees an agBox is a great way to bring virtual events to life. If you intend to hold a virtual holiday celebration, include items in your Holiday Party Box to make your event more engaging and interactive — like bingo cards, scavenger hunt instructions, or photo props. For extra fun, add a sticker instructing recipients not to open the box until the date of the party, then watch everyone open their boxes at once on screen!

Employee Appreciation Box

If your organization isn’t holding a holiday party at all, an agBox full of branded gifts makes an excellent replacement. With the budget savings from forgoing the rented event space, catering, open bar, and entertainment, you can splurge on high-end gifts that will be enjoyed and cherished by your employees for many years to come.

Popular holiday gift items include jackets, tumblers, blankets, and tech items like portable chargers. Choosing premium gifts from popular brands communicates to your employees that they are valued and the company is willing to spend a little extra to treat them. Be sure to customize everything in your Holiday Box with your company’s branding!

When planning your Holiday Box, think beyond the contents — there’s plenty you can do with the box itself to build a sense of celebration and connection. A custom printed box can reflect your branding or reinforce company values before it’s even been opened. Want to take things a step further? Consider embedding a video player inside the lid of your box that will auto-play a message from company leadership when opened — perfect for adding a personal touch. And if you don’t have the budget for a high-tech box, a handwritten note will do the trick instead. Whatever you choose, these customizations give employees a tangible reminder of who they work for and can help reignite the pride they feel in being a part of the organization.

VIP Customer Box

Holiday boxes aren’t just for employees. Let top customers know that you’re thinking of them too! A thoughtful agBox is a sure way to surprise and delight your clientele. Include a range of gifts that prominently feature your company’s branding — in addition to making your client feel appreciated, these will also earn you free advertising every time they are worn or used! Choosing premium gifts can pay off here too, as people are more likely to use a higher quality item frequently — showing off your brand every time they do.

Take advantage of the opportunity to remind customers of your products and services, whether in an obvious way (like including free samples) or more subtly (by creating a theme for your box that reflects your industry or services). Although your primary goal should be to thank the recipient for their business and wish them a happy holiday season, make sure to prominently include contact information to help them easily get in touch with you. They’ll likely want to place another order as soon as they see the care you put into creating their holiday box!

Build Outstanding Holiday Experiences

Whether you’re bringing a virtual holiday party to life, showing appreciation for your employees, or sharing thoughtful well-wishes with top customers, agBoxes can help you capture the special sense of togetherness that is at the cornerstone of our holiday celebrations. At a time when meaningful connections can be difficult to form and maintain, sending an agBox is the perfect “above and beyond” gesture that will get your employees and clientele feeling excited about your business and loyal to your brand!

Your partners at AlphaGraphics Middleton can help you plan, design, print, and create every element of your holiday boxes. Not sure where to get started? Get in touch today to request a free consultation.

Get Ready for the Holidays: 5 Things Your Business Can Do Now

It may feel like summer just ended, but the holiday season is right around the corner! The key to kicking off a successful holiday season for your business is planning ahead. By working through the details and ordering your necessities now, you’ll be ready to drive sales, show appreciation to your customers and employees, and end the year on a great note.

Working with a local partner like AlphaGraphics Middleton makes it even easier to get through the busy holiday season. Let us handle the design and production of your print collateral, signage, marketing materials and more.

As you prepare your business’s holiday initiatives, here are five things to start thinking about now.

1. Order Your Promotional Gifts

Promotional gifts are a holiday season staple. Personalized, branded gifts are a great way to show your appreciation for your top customers or clients. In particular, investing in premium gifts is a guaranteed way to stand out. Every time your client wears a piece of high-end branded apparel or uses a gifted tech or cookware item, your company will be top of mind.

The huge variety of promotional gifts available means that you can choose items to fit any budget, in any shape or size. But whatever type of gift you decide to go with, be sure to order sooner than later. Due to COVID-19 related supply chain disruptions, manufacturers are experiencing challenges with reduced inventory. Production on personalized items is expected to take longer this year. Plan ahead now and make sure you order all promotional items well in advance, so your customers don’t miss out on free gifts and your business doesn’t miss out on brand awareness.

2. Don’t Forget About Employee Appreciation

The past two years have demanded a lot of flexibility and perseverance from every member of your team. This holiday season, it’s more important than ever before to show your appreciation for your staff and thank them for all they’ve done for your business.

Many of the same gifts you use to show appreciation to top clients are also perfect for your staff members. You might even choose additional customizations on these items, embroidering names into apparel or personalizing things like coffee and tea sets. One option is an agBox full of branded gifts. This unexpected gesture will help build pride in your brand and show your employees how much you value them.

3. Send Out Your Season’s Greetings

Exchanging holiday cards is another beloved holiday tradition that can also help to strengthen your relationship with clients. By sending out physical holiday cards, you can help spread some festive cheer while connecting with your customers on a personal level.

To increase the impact of your holiday cards, have a design and print partner like AlphaGraphics Middleton create a custom design for your cards. You can even get creative with die-cutting, embossing, foil stamping, and folding to create a stand-out card that will earn a special place on the mantel! Including a hand-written note or enclosing a photo of your team in the card will help reinforce your relationship — especially if your business has transitioned to doing more business remotely.

4. Prepare for Holiday Promotions

If, like many businesses, you rely on the holiday season for a large percentage of your annual revenue, it’s time to start brainstorming how you’ll get customers in through the door. Many consumers expect to see sales and special offers around the holidays, so running a promotion is a great way to drive more sales.

Prepare for these promotions well in advance with marketing materials. It’s smart to use a blend of digital materials, like email blasts and social media advertising, as well as physical materials, like postcards, mailers, and flyers. Creative signage for both inside and outside your storefront will capture the attention of passersby and help you capitalize on spontaneous purchases.

5. Deck Your Halls

Festive decor is key to feeling the magic of the holiday season. Help create a great holiday shopping experience for your guests by sprucing up your storefront and making the inside of your business look merry as can be. Unique decorations will help you stand out from other businesses to draw in more customers, too!

Go beyond tinsel and wreaths this year with creative signage that can transform your entire business into a winter wonderland. Choose wall, window, and floor graphics or pull-up banners to add splashes of holiday cheer to every surface. Think about how you can blend holiday motifs with your branding for a truly unique experience.

Get Festive with AlphaGraphics Middleton

When your business is ready to design and produce materials for the holiday season, reach out to AlphaGraphics Middleton. Our print and marketing experts can help you create a comprehensive strategy for making the most of the holiday season and all of its revenue-driving potential.