Category Archives: direct mail

How Will You Meet Your 2011 Goals?

OK, so it’s October…It’s Fall…Do your thoughts turn to dry brown leaves, cooler days, holidays and gatherings with friends and family?

OR as a business person, do your thoughts turn to the fact that you haven’t met your 2011 goals and you only have 3 months left to do so?

As a commercial from way back used to say…”So what’s a mother to do?” (or in this case, what are YOU to do?)

Well, as the owner of a graphic design business, I’ve been thinking the same thing (although I have to admit I almost bought some Candy Corn the other day….That once-a-year purchase that I eat til I feel awful, and then I don’t do it again til next October…After all, it’s tradition!)

But I digress…One thing that I am going to do is touch base with all the clients I’ve done business with in the past.  I want to remind them that Designer Mouse is available to help with their promotion…To help them meet those 2011 goals.  I plan to utilize email marketing and make a monthly connection. For a reasonable investment in time and money, you could do the same.

Follow ups could include a postcard, a personal note (an art that has gone by the wayside!) or a phone call.

Provide an incentive. Offer a discount. Do something to get your clients to reconnect. Or simply connect to see how that individual and their business is doing.  Just a reminder that you’re available to help them meet their goals can go a long way.

So those are my ideas…What are yours? Please share your thoughts for the benefit of all! I look forward to your comments.

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Filed under Designer Mouse, direct mail, effective sales promotion, email marketing promotion, Graphic Design, graphic designer, leads, marketing, promotion, referrals, Sales, sales force, save money

Money Saving Ways To Promote Your Business

There are so many avenues to promote your business…so which way do you turn? You need to think about how your audience gets their information…Direct mail? Google searches? Social Media? Emails? And of course there’s always the good old fashioned  “in person” approach.  All are of value and ideally, you need to cover all the bases in order to reach the largest audience.

Now we come down to budget and time…Show of hands…How many of you have an endless supply of money to promote via print, email, online, social media?  How many have time to keep up with all of this?

What I have discovered is that baby steps are the best way to go. Most of us cannot do it all all at once BUT if you take the attitude that “I can’t do it” and do nothing at all, then six months from now you will be at the same place you are now. If on the other hand you tackle one thing at a time, looking back, you’ll be amazed at what you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come.

So let’s look at the baby steps you can take to cover the areas that are currently not covered when it comes to the promotion of your products and services. Hopefully I can provide some money saving promotion ideas along the way.

Direct mail – Postcards, flyers, door hangers – The cost of full color printing has come down so much over the last few years. You can get a good looking piece for a decent price if you know where to shop! And if you go the “door hanger” route, find an organization (Boy Scouts? Youth Groups? etc.)  that is looking to raise money. They can canvas a neighborhood, raise money at an inexpensive rate…It’s a WIN-WIN situation.

Check into QR Codes… Here is a sample just in case you don’t know what it is. If you have a reader app on your phone, you can scan this image and it’ll take you to a website, dial a phone number, etc.  Go ahead and try it…This is a shameless plug…This QR Code goes to the Designer Mouse website….Be sure to come back and read the rest of this post! qrcode

Add a QR Code to your business card (so easy to create – just do an online search for “QR Code generation”, follow the steps and you’ll have artwork in a matter of minutes.

Email Marketing – For $15/month, you can create a template and put out an endless number of eNewsletters/ePostcards to connect with current and potential clients. Visit http://www.constantcontact.com or http://www.icontact.com. Both sites provide templates, storage for your email list and reports at an affordable price.

Online promotion – Do you have a website? You need one! People need to be able to find you and be able to check you out! How about a blog? If you set this up yourself, you can do it for free… The cost is your time to maintain it! Link your blog to your website and your social media profiles, and begin to generate a buzz!

Speaking of  Social Media – facebook, LinkedIn, etc. – Include your website and blog URLs in your social media profiles, participate in the online chat, and generate some interest in you and your business.

As you can see, there’s all sorts of opportunity to promote your business… A bit overwhelming, huh.  Remember…baby steps…You don’t have to do everything NOW.  And you don’t have to do it all yourself. Remember that your time may be better spent focusing on your core business.  What is your time worth?  Would you be saving dollars in the long run by hiring an expert to assist you with your promotion?  All things to ponder.

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Filed under Designer Mouse, direct mail, email marketing promotion, graphic designer, marketing, Orange, Orange County, promotion

Graphic Designer – PATIENCE is my Middle Name

The graphic design process is not simple.  It is not something that is quickly accomplished.  It is just that….a “process”.  And many times in that process is a lot of trial and error…Well, not really “error”… The process is one of getting inside your client’s head…Figuring out what floats their boat!

Many times in the “process”, I have clients apologize for saying, “yeah, that’s close, but not quite what I was looking for.”

I’ve also heard “I have NO idea what I want but I’ll know it when I see it.”

Well that opens up the entire world! As I said, the process becomes one of getting inside the client’s head, evaluating their personality, their likes and dislikes, their sense of humor (which I LOVE to work with!), their target market, the marketing approach, their expectations, etc.

It is only at that point that the physical design begins. If for instance you need a concept for a marketing campaign but have no idea what you want…As a graphic designer, I would go through the “get to know you” process mentioned before and then provide you with 2-4 quick concepts. They would be varied. At that point, we as a team begin to narrow down your likes and dislikes. This is where the fine tuning begins.

This is also where I usually hear the apologies for my client’s “picky-ness” and the fact that I’m “so patient.”   Yes, I am patient, but this process is part of the graphic designer’s job. Apologies are not necessary!!!

The creative process is actually quite fun…And the reward is when the final concept is “just what the client wanted.”

So don’t hesitate to work with a graphic designer because you have no idea what you want for a concept. We will work together and come up with something that will hit the mark and bring in more clients.

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Filed under CA, Designer Mouse, direct mail, effective sales promotion, email marketing promotion, Graphic Design, graphic designer, marketing, newsletter, Orange, Orange County, photo editing, photo restoration, photoshop, promotion, Sales, website promotion

QR Code – The Print/Online Promotion Connection

You know, I thought most people knew about QR Codes. But apparently not.qrcode

I presented this image at a weekly networking meeting and got enough questions that I am compelled to discuss this further.  There are great opportunities for using a QR Code. Want someone to view your website? Want to send a text message? Want a phone call? A QR Code can prompt all of these and it’s SO SIMPLE!!!  Google “QR Code generator”, find a resource and take it from there.

You can put a QR Code on the back of your business card or on a newsletter prompting someone to visit your website or blog.

A realtor can place it on a “for sale” sign. If you drive by a home and would like a look inside, this code could take the visitor to a website that provides photos and more information regarding the property OR it could place a phone call back to the realtor.

Have a discount offer? How about utilizing the QR Code to send out a text message for your 1/2 off deal?

As I said originally, the QR Code is the print/online connection. You need the printed image on your promotional materials — business cards, flyers, newsletters, signage, etc. — Via your smart phone (yes, you need a smart phone), this image transports you online “for the REST of the story”…
That is what Paul Harvey would have said….For those of you who don’t know who Paul Harvey is, pull out your smart phone and click here.qrcode

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Filed under CA, cheap promotion, Designer Mouse, direct mail, effective sales promotion, email marketing promotion, flyer, Graphic Design, graphic designer, marketing, newsletter, Orange, Orange County, post card, promotion, QR code, save money, website promotion

How come the photo I downloaded looks so blurry in print?

Have you ever copied an image off a website , pasted it into your file, printed it and were disappointed with the blurry results?

It looked fine on my computer monitor!!!

Well, there’s a reason for that…Online images look terrific at 72 dpi (dots per inch). This is fortunate, because the lower the resolution, the smaller the file…The smaller the file, the faster it displays online. If you’ve ever waited for a huge file to display on a website, you know what I’m talking about. Generally, unless it’s REALLY important, you don’t wait…You move along to another site.

When it comes to print, though, a crisp, clean image needs to be at least 300 dpi. 

As a graphic designer, I often receive “artwork” from clients that appears fine on their computer screen. They assume I’ll just be able to drop the image provided into a layout and go from there…If the image came directly off a website, chances are it is a very low resolution and will need editing.  Sometimes simply increasing the resolution and sharpening the image will do the trick; but in most cases, the original file is your best bet.

Bottom line, your graphic designer will be able to determine the quality of the image and the potential printed outcome before you go to expense of printing….so NO SURPRISES!

Surprises are great when it comes to parties, but when it comes to a print project, you want “WYSIWYG” (“What you see is what you get!”).

So work with a professional graphic designer. Take advantage of their knowledge and experience. It’s possible that individual learned the hard way and wants to save you that experience!

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Filed under Designer Mouse, direct mail, effective sales promotion, Graphic Design, graphic designer, Logo design, logo designer, marketing, newsletter, Orange, Orange County, photo editing, post card, promotion, save money

Turn Your Customers Into Your Sales Force

I just got a great idea from a client of mine. This is a carpet cleaner that is turning his customers into his sales force.  When he visits someone’s home and cleans their carpeting, he leaves a personalized postcard at the homes of the immediate neighbors…The card says something like “Your neighbor (FILL IN NAME HERE) just got their carpets cleaned by (CARPET CLEANER’S NAME). Come by and see how beautiful their home looks.”

If I needed my carpets cleaned, then I would certainly talk to my neighbor and see if they were happy with the service they received….And there it is, a personal referral…The BEST PROMOTION OF ALL.

We don’t all have a business where we go into someone’s home BUT consider what you could hand out to your customers (aka sales force) to pass along to their friends and business associates…Make it worth their while…If your customer hands out five promotional cards with some sort of discount offer and that becomes business for you, you could give your original customer a discount on their next purchase. Now they have a reason…a personal reason…to promote your business.

By the way, my carpet cleaning client says this method of promotion is one of his most effective.  He averages one new client for every ten cards he distributes…Pretty good odds for a very simple promotion.

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Filed under cheap promotion, Designer Mouse, direct mail, effective sales promotion, flyer, Graphic Design, graphic designer, leads, marketing, personal referrals, post card, promotion, referrals, Sales, sales force

Friends Don’t Let Friends Do Their Own Graphic Design

graphic designerI am part of a networking group that is full of smart, creative people….all promoting their businesses. Every week we have our turn to give our 30-second commercial. Every so often as we go around the room, the commercials take on a theme that everyone picks up on.  One week, the printer said “friends don’t let friends do their own printing.”   Well, that started it….Everyone was following that theme…”friends don’t let friends represent themselves in front of the IRS, do their own computer repairs, make their own chiropractic adjustments…you fill in the blank…We all know that surrounding ourselves with experts rather than attempting to do everything ourselves helps us move forward!  It’s an issue of working ON the business rather than IN the business….It’s a entirely different perspective.

Well, friends don’t let friends do their own graphic design and there’s a good reason for that.  We’ve all been handed a business card or brochure that screams “homemade”!….thin paper stock, microperfs, text running across the fold, etc. A graphic designer has an eye for color and layout. They know the correct color formulas, file formats and resolution for print vs. online display.

Plus, hiring a graphic designer to produce your marketing materials saves you time to focus on your core business, thus saving you money!!!  You can spend HOURS creating your marketing materials or you can spend that same time doing what you do best and leave the task of promoting your products and services to the marketing professional.

Success happens when we surround ourselves with the right people that have the right skills and allow them to do their job! Don’t allow your friends to develop their own marketing materials unless that is their core competency….And don’t! don’t! do it yourself either…Guaranteed, you’ll save money and time by hiring the right individuals who will take you and your business to the next level.

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Filed under branding, corporate identity, Designer Mouse, direct mail, email marketing promotion, email marketing promotion, Graphic Design, graphic designer, Logo design, logo designer, marketing, newsletter, website promotion