August 28, 2017

August 18, 2017

10-Minute Marketing: Implement a CRM system

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 11:05 am

10-Minute Marketing: Implement a CRM system

As someone who’s been tracking prospects in Excel spreadsheets for years, switching to a CRM (customer relationship management) tool has been a real game changer for me. Not only can I reach out to and follow up with my prospects and leads more efficiently, but my communication with them is in one place rather than scattered throughout spreadsheets and email folders.

There are a lot of CRMs available and they have varying levels of features and complexity, so I recommend testing a few to see which one is best for your needs.

Here are a few that have tested by or recommended to me:

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Open an account with a CRM and add 5 prospects.

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.

July 26, 2017

6 lessons I learned about life (and business) from Cars 3

Cars 3 movie still

I recently took the morning off to watch the new Cars 3 movie with my 5-year-old. I loved the story and characters in the first movie, so I was curious about the third installment in the Disney Cars series. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that although the story is targeted toward kids, the movie also had life (and business) lessons for all of us “big kids” as well. Luckily my son had a notebook in his backpack so I started scribbling notes in the dark.

The Cars 3 characters of Lightning McQueen (an, ahem, older racer feeling aged out of his sport), Cruz Ramirez (a female trainer who dreams of being a racer) and Jackson Storm (one of the high-tech racers taking over the sport) spoke about facing adversity, thinking creatively, gaining confidence, finding a mentor, overcoming ageism, and standing your ground. Whew—quite a lot for a so-called kids movie!

Face (and overcome) adversity

Cruz has always dreamed of being a racer, but because she thinks she doesn’t look like the other racecars, she is afraid to try. Lightning advises her, “Just because you don’t look like the others, doesn’t mean you can’t be in the race. You ARE a racer, use that.”

Think creatively

Lightening realizes that his age may be catching up with him and he just can’t keep up with the fancy, high-tech cars that are faster than him. Instead of giving up, he comes up with a creative solution to get back in the race (no spoilers, you’ll have to watch the movie!) As he says, “I can’t go out on the track and do the same old thing, it won’t work.”

Be confident

At one point when Cruz is trying to talk herself into the fact that she can be a racer, she asks Lightening “How did you know you could do it?” to which he replies, “I don’t know, I just never thought I couldn’t.”

Don’t fear failure. Be afraid of not having the chance, you have the chance! – Sally Carrera

Find a mentor

Once Lightening realizes he needs help getting back in the race, he goes out in search for a mentor. He finds a (reluctant) mentor, his coach’s former mentor Smokey, who helps him regain his confidence through unconventional training methods that encourage him to use his smarts as well as his speed. Smokey tells him, “You will never be as fast as Jackson Storm, but you can be smarter than him.”

Overcome ageism

Lightning quickly comes to the realization that the younger, faster racers have an advantage over him. When the TV announcers are predicting his retirement from racing, Lightning declares, “I decide when I’m done.” And instead of speed, he instead uses his experience and creativity to get back in the race.

Stand your ground

Toward the end of her big race, Cruz faces opposition from Jackson Storm who sees her gaining on him and says, “You’re not one of us, you don’t belong.” She confidently replies, “Yes, I do!” and goes on to…well, I won’t give away any spoilers, but I think you can figure it out.

As one of the racing announcers in the movie observes, “The racing world is changing.” Things are changing in the “real world” too. And we have to use both our smarts as well as our speed to keep up.



April 26, 2017

A to Z of Design: N is for negative space

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

A to Z of Design: N is for negative space

Also called “white space,” this refers to the areas of a design that are empty, or don’t contain any design elements. Negative or white space gives a design “breathing room.” Using adequate negative space allows design elements to stand on their own, prevents a design from looking cluttered, and helps to guide the viewer’s eye successfully around the design.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

April 25, 2017

A to Z of Design: M is for monochrome

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , , , , — lidia @ 10:30 pm

M is for monochrome

Monochrome refers to a design that only uses one color, or shades of one color. A grayscale (or black-and-white) design is considered monochrome, as well as a design printed using one Pantone color (see example above). Monochrome designs are sometimes chosen to keep printing costs down as only one ink color (and related printing plate) is required.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.


April 24, 2017

A to Z of Design: L is for leading

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 8:20 pm

L is for leading

Leading is a typesetting term that refers to the vertical space between lines of text. Leading is measured from baseline (the line the text rests upon) to baseline and is calculated in points, i.e. 12 point leading. Leading is used to avoid letterforms from touching and to make text more legible, especially in large blocks of type. The term leading comes from the early days of metal typesetting when small strips of lead were inserted between lines of type.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

April 20, 2017

A to Z of Design: K is for kerning

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 10:12 pm

A to Z of Design: K is for kerning

Kerning refers to the space between characters (letters, numbers, etc.) as well as the process of adjusting that space to make words more legible or pleasing to the eye. Most fonts require at least some kerning to avoid awkward gaps or spaces. These gaps are more apparent in larger text such as headlines.

Kerning is more art than science. A designer usually adjusts a word’s kerning by sight rather than specific measurements. Bad kerning is usually a designer’s biggest pet peeve.

See kerning in action in my Kerning Design Demo:

April 19, 2017

A to Z of Design: J is for juxtaposition

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , — lidia @ 10:00 pm

A to Z of Design: J is for juxtaposition

Juxtaposition is the art of placing design elements close to each other with the intention of creating visual interest or contrast. The design elements may be similar to each other or jarringly different. The goal is to create a situation that will draw in and engage the viewer.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

April 18, 2017

A to Z of Design: I is for indicia

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , , , , — lidia @ 10:33 pm

A to Z of Design: I is for indicia

An indicia is an imprint on a mailpiece, that is instead of a stamp, indicating that postage has been paid. All pieces in a permit imprint mailing must be the same weight. The mailer must submit forms and a fee to the Post Office where the pieces will be mailed.

TIP: Many print vendors handle this as part of their mailing and fulfillment services.

For more info, see this USPS Quick Service Guide on permit imprints.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

A to Z of Design: H is for hierarchy

Filed under: Design & Art — lidia @ 10:16 pm

H is for hierarchy

An important principle of graphic design is visual hierarchy. It communicates to the viewer the importance of each element in relation to the rest. Elements with more importance are made bolder in size, weight or color. Items are also arranged on the page according to their importance to the reader or viewer.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

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