June 3, 2014

Round-up: kicking LinkedIn up a notch

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion,Networking,Round-up — Tags: , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

This week’s round-up features my latest obsession: LinkedIn. I never thought much about my profile, however after talking with a marketing coach, I decided to revamp mine and use it more actively—and found lots of great resources along the way.

  1. 10 Insights: How to Use LinkedIn to Build Business Success Faster than Your Competitors [Jeffbullas’s Blog]
  2. How to Use LinkedIn as an Effective Prospecting Tool [Smarter Freelancing Podcast]
  3. How to Attract Great Clients With LinkedIn [Smarter Freelancing Podcast]
  4. How I Used LinkedIn to Get a 41 percent Response Rate and 6 New Clients [biznik]
  5. How to Create a Compelling & Optimized LinkedIn Profile [Top Dog Social Media]
  6. Build a Killer LinkedIn Profile | Think-n-Drink, Chicago – LIVE EVENT TONIGHT 6/3

Have you found ways to maximize LinkedIn? Share your success stories.

Our Round-Up features useful business tidbits we’ve collected. See past Round-Ups here.

March 12, 2014

Marketing tip: decide who you will NOT target.

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , — lidia @ 5:07 pm

A key part of marketing is deciding whom you will NOT target.

From Tips & Traps for Marketing Your Business Tips and Traps for Marketing Your Business by Scott Cooper , Fritz Grutzner and Birk Cooper

December 31, 2012

Things I want to learn in 2013

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , — lidia @ 11:07 am
2013 greeting card by Laura Berger

2013 greeting card by my friend Laura Berger. Buy in her etsy shop! 

So, at the beginning of every year I make a list of things I want to learn. Apparently, I skipped 2012’s list—but I was already busy learning how to be a new mom! (see 2011’s list here).

Things I want to learn in 2013

  • How to create an eBook in Adobe InDesign
  • How to use Google Analytics effectively (admittedly, this has been on my list for several years!)
  • How to narrow down all of my personal creative projects
  • QuickBooks
  • Recipes for my slow cooker
  • Fitting in exercise into my biz mama schedule
  • A fun DIY holiday gift for friends
  • Sewing

What do you want to learn in 2013?


October 22, 2012

Dream of seeing your photography in Chronicle Books? Two ways to make it happen.

Images © Chronicle Books (top) and © Janine Vangool, UPPERCASE magazine (bottom)

If you’re like me and regularly fantasize about having your work published by Chronicle Books, here are two opportunities that might make this a reality.

This is happening – Instagram book

Chronicle Books and Instagram are teaming up on a new book featuring Instagram users’ photos.

The assignment: send your favorite Instagram that captures a fleeting moment that made your day.

“This is Happening” page with submission details and entry form.

Typewriter Notecards

Janine Vangool, editor of the lovely UPPERCASE magazine is designing/curating a set of notecards featuring vintage typewriters, also to be published by Chronicle Books (spring 2014).

She is seeking Polaroid or lo-fi/retro-inspired photographs of vintage typewriters, taken by UPPERCASE readers.

Submission details can be found on the UPPERCASE website.

Good luck!

October 9, 2012

How do you tell your story? Insights from great storytellers @chicagoideas #CIW

Filed under: Branding,Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 4:45 pm

This week is Chicago Ideas Week and I was anxiously awaiting today’s session on storytellers, presented by Leo Burnett.

Rushing downtown after a last-minute pediatrician visit, I settled in for an hour-and-half of storytelling inspiration (and a much-needed break).

Speaker highlights:

Obsession—an essential part of storytelling

Author Rebecca Skloot talked about how obsession is an essential part of storytelling. I totally agree, in fact the concept of “creative obsession” drives a lot of popular blogs (including my own type-obsessed blog). She also gave an inspired account of how a professor’s lecture sparked the idea for her award-winning book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. “You never know what one sentence will do to affect someone’s life.” (paraphrasing)

Telling a brand’s story

Susan Credle, Chief Creative Officer of Leo Burnett spoke about storytelling through advertising and marketing. She discussed approaching brands and products as characters in a story. She also elaborated on how storytelling has evolved in advertising: brands are starting stories and people are taking those stories and expanding on them. She showed a wonderful example, the Leo Burnett-produced Secret Mean Stinks campaign (a must-see for parents of girls especially).

Becoming a part of your story

A.J. Jacobs gave an entertaining talk on observing and participating in storytelling. In his case, this means a year of living according to the Bible and reading the entire encyclopedia. “You change your behavior and your mind follows.”

Telling your own story

I was delighted to return to my office and stumble upon this 99u.com article in my inbox: Want Your Message To Stick? Tell A Story. It tied in nicely with today’s storytelling session and offered  tips for telling your story, such as figuring out your idea (or “character”) and setting the mood. Read the rest here.

One of my recent goals has been to focus more on my (and my business’) story.

What about you…how do you tell your story?


October 4, 2012

Meeting with a prospective client: after [CFC blog post]

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion,Small Business — lidia @ 1:19 pm

Yesterday I talked about how to prepare for a meeting with a potential client. Today we’ll talk about what to do after the meeting (which went wonderfully, of course!)

What to do after your meeting:

  1. Send a thank you note: Yes, I said a note. I admit I do send follow-up emails to prospective clients, but I also follow-up with a handwritten note.
  2. Review your notes: There is usually a lot of information exchanged in a first meeting. I like to go over everything while it’s still fresh in my mind.

Read the rest of my tips for what to do after a meeting on the Creative Freelancer Blog.

• • •

See all of my small business posts on the Creative Freelancer Blog here.

September 7, 2012

When you promote your small business, do you show what you do?

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion,Small Business — lidia @ 10:00 am

Left: HEEX hand-sewn direct mail piece; Right: Lidia Varesco Design Valentine Day promotional piece

I saved a past article in Deliver magazine because it featured a fantastic direct mail piece for a Czech fashion label.

The piece (shown at left) was a hand-sewn mini-garment, with pockets for the business card and letter and contact info printed on the “garment tag.” It was a fabulous example of a brand showing what they do—quite literally—and it resulted in large volume of sales for the company.

Does your small business effectively show what you do?

When you send a marketing or promotional piece, does it reflect your business? Not all of us can create a direct mail piece that is as literal as the fashion brand example. But we can still express an aspect of our business.

A few ways I show what I do:

  • I have a passion for—and extensive knowledge of—paper, so I chose a unique paper stock for my business cards (Gmund Bier Papier made with beer by-products!) I’ve also incorporated handmade paper into my website design.
  • I also love books so for a Valentine’s Day promotion, I sent clients a copy of the CRAVE Chicago guidebook and a handmade bookmark (see above.)
  • Typography is another obsession of mine, so I created Typography in the City, a blog to share found typography in my Chicago neighborhood.

Do your marketing materials reflect your business?

July 20, 2012

Book review: Visual Marketing by Anita Campbell and David Langton @visualmktgbook

I love marketing. I love designing marketing pieces for my clients. And I especially love marketing my own graphic design business. Sometimes I think I dream up personal projects or side businesses just so that I can market them. (In case you’re wondering, this is my current budding side business).

However, it seems that not everyone enjoys marketing as much as I do. And I think I know why: most marketing books are text-based.

Visual Marketing by Anita Campbell and David Langton is different: each page is illustrated with a successful marketing campaign or solution. The book is divided into three chapters: web/electronic, packaging/3D, and print/branding.

For people who “don’t have time” for marketing, The “Takeaway Tips” on each page offer specific ideas you can easily incorporate into your own business. For the skeptical folks, “Success Metrics” offer proof that this stuff works.

After reading the book, I had lots of new ideas for marketing my graphic design business. I especially liked the tip to use a profile photo that expresses your personal brand (pg. 13). And I was also pleased to see one of my favorite packaging designs included (Help Remedies, pg. 80).

I only wish the book was in full-color, but it’s easy enough to locate many of the examples online to see them in color.

This book is a must-have for new business owners as well as seasoned pros looking for marketing inspiration.

Happy marketing!

January 20, 2012

Bright spot: people prefer print and paper

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , — lidia @ 11:50 am

paper, glorious paper...

Now, here’s a story that warms my heart: a recent survey commissioned by Two Sides showed that people prefer to read print communications rather than on a screen. As a print designer—and someone who still gets excited when a magazine arrives in the mail—this makes me happy.

And now that I’m a new mom, I’m buying more books than ever. Frankly, I would rather have my infant chew on a colorful board book than an iPad. And according to this story by Two Sides, I’m not alone: most parents agree that children should read good ol’ fashioned books, not electronic gadgets.

The Two Sides survey also found that many respondents believed electronic communications were more “green” than books, magazines and mail. Two Sides President Phil Riebel says “The fact is that both electronic and paper-based communications have an environmental footprint, and making both smaller is the right environmental choice.”

So keep on buying those books or hit the library. And don’t stop sending brochures or direct mail to potential clients—just be smarter about it. Use a smaller page size, print a lower quantity, link to detailed information on your website, clean up your mailing list to include only true prospects.

Thanks to Print in the Mix for sharing this story.

Have your print habits changed? Share in the comments!

July 6, 2011

Are you and your business memorable?

Filed under: Creativity,Marketing & Promotion,Small Business — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 3:09 pm

lsvdesign on flickr

I often notice a recurring theme in my (business) life. Something that seems to follow me around wherever I go. Right now, that theme is: being memorable.

What makes you fascinating?

The closing speaker at the HOW Design Conference in Chicago last week was Sally Hogshead, author of the new book Fascinate. Sally gave an engaging and inspiring talk featuring the 7 triggers of fascination and how they can be applied to people, products and brands to make them more fascinating or memorable.

For example, my primary trigger is PASSION. According to Sally, that means I draw people closer to myself and my ideas with a warm and open style of interaction (which is true).

PASSION could also be used by a brand who communicates passion for their product to their customers—thus making it more memorable.

And aren’t you more likely to buy something from a passionate shop owner, rather than one who doesn’t greet you when you walk in the door?

What makes your ideas “sticky”?

Earlier this week, I was reading a blog post from Megan Auman of Crafting an MBA about “making your business stick.” Megan references the book Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath—which outlines 6 basic concepts that make ideas stick—and offers her ideas on how to apply these concepts to make your business more “sticky” or memorable. (incidentally, happened upon this book at the HOW Conference and was intrigued by it)

One of her suggestions is based on the concept of stories: are you telling stories about you and your business? People buy from you because they are interested in the story.

This was a concept discussed in a session at the HOW Design Conference (there’s that theme thing again…) and it goes along nicely with the idea of making your business more memorable. If you tell a story about your business (on your website, for example) a potential client will not only feel more comfortable (it’s like they know you already), but they will also remember you.

Find your Fascination Factor: take Sally Hogshead’s ‘F Score’ quiz here.

How do you make your business memorable?


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