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?


March 16, 2011

How to rock your business card

Filed under: Design & Art,Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 9:38 am

some of my favorite biz cards

Recently, there was a segment on CBS News about the importance of business cards. It got me thinking: what makes a business card effective?

I host networking events, so I see a lot of business cards (not to mention designing quite a few for my own clients). I’ve noticed that some of them just naturally stand out from the others. So, what makes a business card rise to the top of the stack?

Qualities of an effective business card

  1. It’s unique and memorable. Whether expressed through format (size, shape, folds), paper stock (heavy, textured, plastic, wood) or design, a memorable business card will stay in your recipient’s mind—and on their desk.
  2. The contact info is clear and complete. Ever received a card without an address or URL? It’s frustrating—and makes you less likely to keep that company in mind. Make sure your business card includes the basics: name, address, phone/fax number, email, URL. Then consider adding “extras”: twitter username, blog URL, hours of operation, product offerings
  3. It expresses your business. Incorporate an aspect of your business or personality into the card: if you’re a home builder, print your card on wood. If you sell a product, include a photo of it. Remember: this little piece of paper is selling for you long after you’ve walked away—so make the space count.
  4. It doesn’t overwhelm the recipient. Nowadays, many of us wear multiple hats—but don’t cram everything onto a 2″ x 3-1/2″ card. Consider creating a second business card for your ancillary business offerings.
  5. It’s well-designed and thought-out. A good business card—just like a good business—is not thrown together quickly, but thoughtfully considered, planned and executed. Need help? Talk to a graphic designer experienced with branding and identity (and I just happen to know one!)

View the CBS news segment “The Business of Designing Business Cards” here.

Seen examples of effective business cards? Thoughts about business cards in general? Share them in the comments!

February 21, 2011

Are you using O2O marketing for your small business?

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion,Social Media — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

photo on flickr by zoovroo

I recently read Duct Tape founder John Jantsch‘s article on 5 Trends that Will Shape Small Business in 2011. One trend that resonated with me was: O2O (online 2 offline) marketing.

What is O2O marketing?

John refers to it as “the logical integration of instant media with traditional media, social networks with chamber mixers.” He adds, “Online and offline, traditional media and new media, will stop competing and start working together.”

Admittedly, I’m an avid user of social media, however I also have a personal campaign to encourage people to send handwritten communications (read my articles here). Needless to say, I’m very fond of—and familiar with—the concept of online to offline marketing. And after being bombarded with social media opportunities, going offline for awhile is a nice change of pace.

How can O2O marketing be effective?

In my articles, I talk about about my own business relationships that were initiated online (i.e. twitter, blogs) but became established offline (i.e. handwritten note, in-person meeting). Without the offline communications, I wouldn’t have been able to to get to know the person and learn about their business. In each of these situations, I made not only a valuable business connection, but a new friend. And in small business, it’s all about creating personal relationships, discovering how we can work together or help each other.

How do you use online 2 offline marketing techniques in your own small business?

January 26, 2011

Social media? How about handwritten media?

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

Nice to Meet You card from Lidia Varesco Design

Being an avid user of social media, I can’t deny the effectiveness of making business connections via Twitter, blogs and the like. However, I believe staying connected with clients and prospects also requires a more personal approach: handwritten communications.

Over the years, I’ve personally experienced how handwritten or personal correspondence can positively impact a small business.

I’ve shared some of my experiences, as well as those of other small business owners, in this article for The Paper Mill Store’s latest newsletter.

Still skeptical about sending handwritten notes?

Watch this recent segment from the CBS Evening News about writing thank you cards. Not only does it make you feel good—but it can change your life.

Anyone else have positive experiences with using handwritten communications? Share them in the comment section!

Want handy tips for using handwritten communications?

Download my small business tipsheet on this topic.

October 22, 2010

Paper sells: the comeback of paper

Filed under: Design & Art,Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , — lidia @ 1:30 pm

Paper is making a comeback.

Though the last few years have seen an increase in digital and online marketing channels, people are now realizing: paper sells.

Whether it’s a direct mail piece, catalog or marketing brochure, printed pieces are a way for businesses to stand out in the digital age.

This is great news for a print designer such as myself. I do strive to be be green, going paperless when possible. But being a longtime fan of paper (OK, paper junkie), I can’t deny the joy of seeing a printed brochure or announcement on a fabulous paper I selected.

And why not use paper? Most paper companies have responded to customers’ requests, offering environmentally-friendly options. Designers can create a design that uses less paper more creatively (saving trees and money). And there’s no substitute for experiencing the tactile quality of a printed piece.

According to the recent Deliver Magazine, direct mail generated the majority of donations to nonprofit organizations in 2009. Marketers are also realizing the value of combining print with online channels.

Several paper companies have launched recent campaigns to promote paper. NewPage Corporation launched the Paper Sells More Product” campaign, giving away $100,000 in print services to help catalogers, magazine publishers, and retailers sell more product.

Domtar Paper launched the “PAPER Because” campaign to highlight the key role paper plays in our lives and the reasons why it’s an environmentally sound choice.

Several paper and printing companies have also partnered with The Print Council. By providing education, awareness and research, they aim to promote the importance of print and the role it plays in your business’ media mix.

So, when you work on your next marketing or promotional campaign: think paper!

September 13, 2010

Me and hue: researching color

Filed under: Design & Art,Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , — lidia @ 9:00 am

Pantone mugs from Uncommon Goods

Lately, I’ve had color on the brain. Between working on a new packaging project and developing new designs for my line of business greeting cards, I’ve been perusing, reading, sketching and generally immersing myself in the topic of color.

Color is generally rather subjective, as one person’s favorite may be detested by another (case in point: I know someone who loves kelly green but for me, not so much). However, as historical and cultural color connotations have grown and evolved over time, some general feelings of color have emerged. Who can argue that a bright, curry red restaurant poster conveys “heat” while a pale, muted gray business card speaks “tradition” (of course, typography and design falls into play, but we’re just talkin’ color).

Here are my general feelings on color as it’s used in business:

  • Red: powerful, bold
  • Orange: unique, creative
  • Yellow: joyful, light-hearted
  • Green: grounded, natural
  • Blue: reliable, trustworthy
  • Purple: spiritual, ethereal
  • Magenta: playful, whimsical
  • Brown: solid, strong

Businesses can use color to their advantage. We’ve all seen how a brand’s colors become so recognizable, that we know who it is without even seeing the entire logo. When you are developing your business or marketing materials, it helps to think about color and how it will portray your business: unique, conservative, intelligent, fun?

Along those same lines, a recent article in Deliver magazine spoke about color hues in relation to the outcome of a direct mail campaign. Color Communications Inc. examined colors in regards to how they make customers perceive pricing, value, safety and sophistication in products. For example, they found that orange helps to play up affordability, while white implies a higher-price point. Very interesting and useful stuff if you are marketing a product or service.

Are you using color effectively for your business?

September 3, 2010

Kicking off Friday Afternoon Marketing

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion,Small Business — lidia @ 3:14 pm

Between working on client projects and office duties, I bet many of us have a hard time squeezing in time for our own business marketing. I’ve decided to kick off Friday Afternoon Marketing. (Yes, I even created a “logo” for it, below)

I started a list of marketing tasks and will devote time each Friday afternoon to check things off the list. This avoids: A) doing marketing tasks in small, inefficient chunks; and B) not doing marketing at all. Of course, my schedule may not always allow me to devote an entire afternoon to marketing but if it’s on the calendar, I’ll be less likely to skip it.

So, what kinds of things will I do on Marketing Friday?

Typical Friday Afternoon Marketing tasks

  • update my profile for online portfolios and directories
  • rewrite my business bio
  • write a blog post (today’s post is a perfect example)
  • send thank you cards to clients and vendors
  • work on designs for new promo pieces
  • write a new Small Business Tipsheet
  • follow up with potential clients and prospects
  • file project samples, upload project images to my flickr portfolio
  • update my website: add new projects or newsworthy items
  • research potential clients
  • answer questions or write a recommendation on LinkedIn
  • watch a small biz or marketing webinar

How do you devote time to marketing your own business?

August 30, 2010

Sharing good (business) news

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 12:09 pm

Your business won an award. You’ve been published in an upcoming book. One of your projects has been mentioned in the newspaper. Don’t be shy—now is the time to share your good news!

When one of my packaging designs was recently chosen to be included in a book (hooray), I realized I don’t have a plan of action for sharing good news with clients and other members of my network.

I jotted down a list for future reference and thought I would share with other small businesses.

Tips for sharing good (business) news

  1. Write a blog post: include an image if possible
  2. Tweet the good news: include a link to your blog post
  3. Post an image of the award or project on your flickr or Facebook page
  4. Post in the news or press section of your website
  5. Mention it in your e-newsletter
  6. Add the project to your online portfolio: include a sentence about the award or publication
  7. Mention it to business or networking groups you’re a member of: if they have a group page, post it there as well
  8. Send a press release to local small business writers or editors
  9. Send a promotional mailing, i.e. a postcard or one-sheet with details of the project and/or award
  10. Last but not least, send a handwritten thank you note to the publisher or editor expressing your gratitude for the opportunity

Read more small business tips on our Resources page.

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »