Do Your Business Cards Measure Up?

Measuring Tape

This little seemingly insignificant 2″ x 3 1/2″ piece of paper can be the difference between a follow up or no follow up after a networking event like a Trade Show, or Conference.

There are really only 2 purposes for your business card, Establish your Brand and provide your Contact Information.

Here are some tips about what NOT to do with your card.

Common Mistakes to Avoid:

Font Frustration

Don’t make your font too small. Avoid light colors and distracting elements.

Your name, company and relevant contact information should be easy to read at arm’s length. Don’t make me get my readers out. It makes us both look bad.

Icon Overkill

Only include social icons if it is important to your company.

If you haven’t secured your vanity URL ( ie: www.Facebook.com/MarkitMotion ) then a Facebook icon is unhelpful. Facebook thanks you for the advertising though. You must list the full URL if you can’t be found by name.

Unless you have a purpose for showcasing your social presence, leave it off your card. If you don’t manage your social sites, it’s like inviting someone to your house when you’re out of town.

Information Overload

Your Business Card is not a brochure. Decide what’s important first, before you design it.

  • Do you need your address if no one ever comes to your business?
  • Do you use a fax anymore?

Inconsistent Branding

Is your logo the same as on your website or store front? Policing your brand is crucial to building trust. Be sure your logo is consistent and clear.

Don’t forget about the back of your card. This is a great place to share your brand message or logo. Reinforce a promise or give directions.

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Thinking Outside the BAG

Cooler-Bag

Memorial Day marks the unofficial first day of Summer. It’s time to clean up the grill, find your picnic basket, and chip the ice off the pool. Sunny days, vacations and fun times guide us all to the weekends ahead.

Conference, Trade Show and Company Meeting attendees all have a bit of Summertime daydreaming dominating their thoughts so summer months are a great opportunity to have some fun with your event bags.

The Advertising Specialty Impression Study shows that over 50% of all people in the US own a promotional bag and each printed brand on the bag is viewed more than 5700 times during the lifetime of the bag. That makes bags the king of all promotional products in effectiveness.

Throughout the year, our most requested bags for Conferences are messenger bags and briefcases but in Summer you can add some fun to your business bags by adding color.

A more non-conventional (pun totally intended) Convention Bag choice may lead to an even more memorable experience for your attendees. Try mixing it up by giving them a Cooler Bag . Tablets and printed meeting handouts still fit nicely.

Duffel-Bag

Duffel Bags and Backpacks also fit into the category of fun items they can use during their Summer activities.

For 10 years our company has provided registration bags for a conference of 4300 Oracle Users. Every year we attend the conference and the overwhelming response from the attendees is that they remember the year they received backpacks instead of messenger bags.

Make it personal. This Summer give them a bag sporting your brand that will go along with them while creating memories with their families and friends. Who knows, your logo might make it into a few Facebook selfies and go viral.

The Cost of Free Design

Nothing-Sign

You’re in a meeting discussing the need for a new brochure and redesigning your company logo, when George (from accounting) offers to create the logo for FREE. Everyone’s excited that the project can be done in-house and you’ll save tons of money because it’s free.

Sounds like a great idea right?

Wrong. Nothing comes for free. Free is costly and free can be damaging.

You may not know how much revenue is lost if a design is done poorly. But if you miss the mark with your customers, you will lose business. Maybe a lot of business!

Do you have someone on staff that can design a logo for free? What does that mean anyway?

Doesn’t it mean they are going to stop doing the job you are paying them to do to dabble in design?

Doesn’t it also mean that if they were a great designer, they probably wouldn’t be working for you in accounting?

Even if your billing representative artist comes up with a new design, they may not understand the file formats needed for various projects.

An incorrect logo file format might be:

  • Rejected by a printer
  • Incompatible with different computers
  • Painfully slow to download
  • Reproduce with terrible results

Be sure your designer can do more than sketch something fresh. If the designer happens to be your boss’s sister, you’ll want to approach this gently.

Professional printers will typically ask that the artwork be created as an .eps file.

Experienced designers know exactly which file type to use.

Asking your designer to provide the final artwork as an .eps file might be all you need to do to avoid a lot of pain and money lost later.

Ready for a Redesign? Talk to an Expert Today.

Top Tips for Postcard Design

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The postcard has evolved into the marketing instrument of choice for many successful B2B & B2C companies. Marketing Postcards provide a method of presenting your company’s message quickly and clearly, without asking too much of your prospects’ time.

A lot rides on the design of your postcard because you must capture the reader’s attention before they discard it (if you will).

For valuable insider tips on getting the most from a postcard

Size Matters

When many think of postcards, they conjure up images of the old-school 4″ x 6″ ineffective version. Today’s postcards come in many sizes that get you noticed in a mail stack of #10 envelopes.

We recommend designing a 6″ x 11″ postcard with an in-your-face image area to get their attention.

Color Outside the Lines

Always, always, always print your postcard in full color. Wow your prospect with color. Don’t stray too far from your brand colors but certainly don’t be shy about making them big and bold.

Use color on the entire postcard and beyond. Don’t use borders; bleed your colors off the edge of the sheet to create intrigue.

Use full color postcards for maximum impact.

Write it Right

Keep your copy short and to the point.

The reason postcards are so effective is that we’ve learned to scan subject lines in our email for relevant content. Write your headline copy like you would an email subject line. The advantage postcards have over emails is that you also have graphic images and color to get their attention as well as copy.

Use 2 or 3 word headers, bullet points, and just enough copy to engage your reader. Make them want to look on the other side.

Break the Code

The front of the postcard captures attention, but the back of the card should be designed with the clear response mechanism (or call-to-action) in mind.

Consider how you want people to respond and make it easy for them with a phone number, website, address or map to your location.

QR Codes can be added to the design to allow potential customers to scan the card and give them more detailed information on their mobile device.

Tell the recipient exactly what you want them to do; visit your website, sign up for conference, call for more information, go to your store location on Saturday for the 2 for 1 sale.

The response prompt should be the focus of the back of your postcard.

Postcards can be used for more than just mailing, the offer many benefits:

  • They make for a great tradeshow booth handout
  • Fit nicely into a pocket in presentation brochures
  • Are an effective “leave behind” at sales calls with potential customers
  • Don’t take up much space next to the checkout at your store

Following these design tips will increase the response rate of your postcard.

Related articles

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Are you Taking Advantage of Discounts for Business Mail?

Why You Must Know the Four Personalities of Design

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Perception is reality. How your customer perceives and receives your message is just as important as the message you intend.

The telephone game shows us that what is heard is rarely what was said. We send and receive communications in many ways, depending on our personality types (Personas).

Marketing requires we make broad assumptions about our audience while targeting them enough to get them to act. The complication is that we are all a mix of 4 personas.

  • Get to know the 4 personas and how they buy.
  • Understand your customer’s personality.
  • Talk to them the way they want to hear it.

Here are the 4 Personas and how to engage them…

Director (Competitive)

This persona doesn’t have much time, wants to get down to business, and move on to the next challenge. These are the ‘Natural Leaders’ that are awesome at their best, and insensitive at their worst. This crowd has an eagle-eye view. You won’t find them in the weeds.

Who are they? CEO’s, Owners, Upper Management

What they want? Achievement, Control, Winning

Best ways to engage them?

  • Authenticity. Don’t pretend you’re not trying to sell them.
  • Clarity. Give it to them in bullet points.
  • Efficiency. Tell them on the cover of the brochure and above the fold on your website.
  • Challenge. Let them think it’s their idea.
  • Get out of the way. Allow them to act fast and decisively.

Socializer (Spontaneous)

This persona is great at brainstorming. They love coming up with ideas and discussing them. Similar to a Director, they don’t spend too much time on one idea. These are the 3rd shelf shoppers; they won’t be searching the bottom shelf at the grocery store for items they have to reach for.

Who are they? Public Relations, Salespeople, Entertainers

What they want? Attention, Peer Appreciation, Persuading others

Best ways to engage them?

  • Activity. Give them something fun to do.
  • Ask. Get their ideas.
  • Specials. “Free”, “Buy now”, “Save” work well. Starbursts on your site.
  • Shine. Be the shiny object that gets their attention.
  • Fast & Easy. Don’t make them jump through hoops to purchase.

Thinker (Methodical)

This persona does it correctly every time. These are spell checking, spreadsheet formula writing dynamos. Unlike Directors and Socializers, Thinkers take a long time to purchase while analyzing all of the information. The Director set the goal of getting man on the moon but the Thinkers got us there.

Who are they? CPA’s, Engineers, Scientists

What they want? Precision, Accuracy, Dependability

Best ways to engage them?

  • Proof. Graphs, Charts and Research.
  • Solutions. Exactly how does this solve their problem?
  • White Papers. They will scroll down on your site for details.
  • Information. Feelings have very little to do with their buying habits.
  • Time. Don’t rush them. They are a slow sale.

Relaters (Humanists)

This persona wants to know what others think. They frequent online forums and seek out groups for their opinions. Relaters look at your testimonials from other satisfied customers to support their decision. They will go out of their way to avoid buyer’s remorse before they purchase.

Who are they? Negotiators, Counselors, Customer Service

What they want? Stability, Consensus, Friendship

Best ways to engage them?

  • Predictability. Don’t surprise them with an up-sell.
  • Stories. Let others tell your story and listen to theirs.
  • Testimonials. Share feelings from other satisfied customers.
  • Modesty. Flashy, boasting messages are a turn off.
  • Time. Once again, don’t rush them. They’ll get back to you in a few weeks.

It’s likely that you see yourself in more than one of these personas. You may be a Director-Thinker, or a Socializer-Relater.

Analyzing the titles of your current customers can reveal a lot about their personality types and how to talk to them through the sales process.

DESIGN TIP:

Your designs should include bullet-points for your Directors and an easy to understand offer for your Spontaneous types on the cover or above the fold on your site. Then for your Thinkers and Relaters, place testimonials and statistics inside or below the fold on your site because they will do their research and find them.

Refresh Your Brand

When developing your brand strategy it’s important to be consistent and authentic from the inside out. Altering your brand can change the perception about your business to your customers and community so carefully consider why you want to make the change.

Reasons for refreshing your Brand:

  • Out-Dated Design
  • Doesn’t reflect current business
  • New Products/Services

For companies, changes in the industry and marketplace are inevitable. How we market our businesses can also create a necessity for change.

There are risks, however, in changing the perception about your business to your customers.

Rebranding Risks:

  • Customer Confusion
  • Loss of Brand Recognition
  • Retelling Your Story

Rebranding is often a result of necessity rather than desire. Businesses can lose market share and their competitive edge if their brand doesn’t reflect current trends in their industry.

Many large companies make alterations to their brand over time that we don’t even notice, and we can learn from them to keep our brand current.

Refreshing a tagline, a font, or colors can successfully update your brand without a complete overall, reducing the risk of losing the recognition you have. You can phase this rebrand in with your current brand so cost can be minimal and spread out over time without confusion.