Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Importance of Your Material's Color Scheme


Finding the perfect color scheme for your project can be a total cinch or an absolute brain buster, depending on your project and inspiration.

Next time you’re struggling to pair colors and find the visual sweet spot, consider using a helpful color tool that lets you mix and match until the perfect combo pops off the screen. Whether you’re pairing two colors, choosing an accent color or picking an extensive array of color options, you can use tools to blend colors to your heart’s content.

Creating a Palette

Finding a theme color might be a cinch, but what about the coordinating colors that you need for a campaign? Use a tool like Paletton to help you pinpoint color, hue and coordinating colors by accessing options around the color wheel.

You can play around with saturation and hues to find the combination that you like best, or custom mix a palette to suit your client’s tastes. With options for choosing complementary colors or triads, you can make unique palettes that fit your project perfectly.

Working with an Inspiration Piece

Of course, sometimes the item that you’re working with brings a color palette or inspiration color of its own. If you’ve got an inspiration piece or a photograph, choose a tool that picks primary colors from a photo of the item and gives you palette suggestions based off that photo.

Color Hunter is a great tool that gives you a custom palette based off a photo that you submit. Use Color Hunter to develop an online color scheme for a physical place or item.

Setting up Color Mood Boards

Even simple tools, like Pinterest, can be invaluable when it comes to color inspiration and pairing. Pinterest’s board style layout lets you pair photos in different arrangements so that you can compare color options right on your computer screen.

If you’re working with multiple inspiration pieces or have a few different color choices that you’re trying to test, Pinterest design boards can provide you the logical layout and comparison options that you need to see your options objectively. For collaborative projects, you can even invite friends or colleagues to pin to the design board and help the process along.


Whether you’re working on a personal project or a commissioned piece, it pays to take the time to develop a strong color scheme for the item that you’re designing.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

How to Maximize Your Procrastination Time

Some days you’ve got laser focus and you get everything done on your to-do list. Other days aren’t as good—you have a big task that you just can’t get focused on to complete, no matter how hard you try. Instead of staring at your computer screen, or staring off into space, here are some tips for maximizing your procrastination time. If you do these things, just think, you will no longer be procrastinating.

·        - Check your email. You probably have a lot in your inbox, so this is a way to make your time a lot more productive.

·        - Take your dog for a walk. After all, your dog is  probably staring at you staring off into space and  he’s probably wondering why you don’t just go outside already! The exercise will do your dog  good, and it might clear your mind and help you get that task done. If you don’t have a dog, take a walk anyway. It will get your blood pumping and the creative juices flowing.

·         -Do the dishes. You may feel better when your kitchen is really clean.

·         -Return phone calls. Maybe you have a list of people you need to call back, so this might divert your attention just enough to be helpful.

·        - Clean your office. Organize your papers, clear away clutter, and finally wash that coffee mug. If your work area is more organized, maybe you’ll think more clearly and be more productive.

·        - Set goals. Review your goals for a bit. Are you accomplishing them? What are your setbacks? Add a new goal: Stop procrastinating!

·         -Pay bills. We’re not sure if this will make you feel better or make you feel worse, but it might be nice to knock a few of these out of the park.

·         -Watch TV. Decide that you’re going to take a quick break and watch 15 minutes of TV just to clear your mind. Then it’s back to the task.

·        - Read. This is the same concept as watching TV. Read a chapter, a magazine article, or a couple of online news articles. It might be just enough to give your brain something to focus on so you can later return to your task.

·        - Exercise. Maybe a few sit ups or push ups, or maybe a few jumping jacks will get you going!

·        - Meditate. Try to push every nagging thing out of your mind and just focus on your breathing for 5 or 10 minutes. You’ll be surprised how well it works to clear your head.

·         -Power nap. Take a short 15-20 minute snooze, but don’t forget to set an alarm. You’ll wake refreshed and ready to conquer that task.


Monday, May 15, 2017

Keep Your Copywriting Simple Stupid

Marketers can often get caught up in word counts and creating lengthy messages.  No matter what you’re writing, it’s important to keep your copywriting simple.  More words will not mean that your message is better received.  These three tips will help you keep your writing simple and readable.

Have a Purpose with Your Writing

This means that you need to consider what your purpose is and how you can connect with your audience.  Determine what your purpose is before sitting down to write your materials.  Are you trying to sell a webinar?  Do you want them to sign up for an estimate?  Are you selling them a new widget?  This will help you connect with your audience. 

You also need to think about your audience to help you get into their mindset to determine what motivates them, and what will convince them to go through with your call to action.  You will want to try to be logical and emotional as you consider the different reasons your readers may respond to your writing.  People like facts to back up what their emotions are telling them.

Less is More

You want your writing to be easily readable, and that can be accomplished by trying to keep your writing scan-able.  Aim for clear and concise over verbose.  In fact, you should aim to hit a 5th or 6th-grade level understanding for your writing because this means that it won’t take long for your audience to get your message.  There are websites that will grade your materials to let you know what grade level you wrote it at to help you get a better idea of what constitutes what grade.  
 
Wait to Send

One of the best things you can do is write something, and then set it aside before sending it out. This gives you a chance to read it over again with fresh eyes to ensure that you don’t need to add any final touches or change things up.  It can be helpful to read things out loud as you may notice things that you missed when reading quietly.  At this point, you can also ask for other eyes on your work to see what they think.  Bad grammar or spelling can be just as big a turn-off as work that’s too wordy. 
 

Following the KISS method of keeping your copywriting simple stupid will help to ensure that your readers actually read through what you’ve written.  Short and sweet is often a powerful way to go in your marketing as it helps to connect the person with your message without clouding it with unnecessary extra information.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Get to Know Donna Beheydt of Minuteman Press Stow


Donna Beheydt is the dynamic President-Owner of Minuteman Press in Stow, OH. She’s been in this role since founding the company in 2009 and has made great strides in local leadership, as well as innovation in printing for the community.

Minuteman Press was born out of a desire to see a new opportunity for businesses to print locally in the Stow area. Donna saw a need for this densely concentrated center of economy to have another option for local printing. The location was right, and she knew that the company would be a hit from day one.

And it was. Since opening its doors in 2009, Minuteman Press of Stow has serviced a variety of local customers for all of their printing needs. This location allows Stow business owners to invest their money right back into the local economy by choosing to print onsite at the Stow location.

If anyone knows about local leadership and innovation, it’s definitely Donna. She’s passionate about investing back into the community through servicing local businesses and hiring locals for jobs at Minuteman Press. Donna is proud of the local investment that drives the daily operation of Minuteman and gives back to the community in a host of tangible and meaningful ways.

Additionally, the company is a proud member of chambers and associations in the Stow area and beyond, including the Stow-Munroe Falls Chamber of Commerce, the Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce, BNI, and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses.

Donna also has great advice for others looking to get into business in Stow or in their own communities. She recommends that interested individuals get to know the community where they want to start a business. That they get to know the business owners who operate there, because they’ll generally want to help new entrepreneurs get their feet on the ground.


She also recommends that new business owners join chambers and BNI in order to stay on top of local and national small business happenings that may impact their companies. Involvement with these organizations can also help to build personal networks - a vital component to gaining the trust of the community and getting the help necessary to get a business off the ground. Organizational involvement can help with marketing, too, as it will give business owners the opportunity to learn more about marketing to locals - a skill that Donna views as critical to business success.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Why Printed Promotional Items Are Still More Effective Than Digital Marketing


Our modern culture seems to have us brainwashed into believing that digital advertising is the only realistic and successful form of marketing these days. An idea has spread that any other form of advertising is simply wasteful, and that anyone who is not spending most of their marketing budget on the internet will be left in the dust. It is no surprise that most of these ideas have been pushed onto us by-- guess who-- online marketers. They would have us believe that the internet was God’s gift to small business, and we should all line up to throw our advertising dollars at them.

While digital marketing certainly has its benefits, it is far from being the end all and be all for small business advertising. In fact, for many types of businesses, particularly small local businesses, there are many other areas of advertising where their marketing money could be better spent. One advertising vehicle that seems to be constantly overlooked in its importance and efficiency is the printed promotional product.  Many people think of printed promotional items as only being business cards or flyers on windshields, but the most effective marketers can get much more creative than that. This level of creativity combined with the personal touch of a gift normally shows huge returns on the small investment normally required. In fact, a recent survey showed that 52 percent of people who received free promotional gifts from a business had a more positive impression of the company afterwards, and 50 percent said they used those products daily. So, what are some of the benefits of printed promotional items that could make it a better option than internet advertising? There are more than you might think.

- Brand Recognition
One of the most important things a small business can do is get its name out there. Any successful company, big or small, knows the importance of brand recognition. While your company’s name and logo may be seen for a few seconds with a digital ad, it could be seen many times daily on a properly created promotional item.

- Targeted Advertising
Social media and other internet advertising is great for reaching a worldwide audience, but can present some problems for advertising locally. If you are a car dealership, lawyer, small local shop or any other company who would only need to advertise on the local level, your budget would be much better spent on printed items.

- Low Cost
Social media advertising is free, right? Well, not exactly. Anyone who has ever tried to run a social media marketing campaign knows that it can get very expensive very quickly. Printed promotional items are usually very low-cost and have the potential of yielding a very high return.

- Stick Out With Creative Items

Advertising is all about catching your target’s attention in a positive way. One of the best ways to do this is with a creative printed promotional item that could be specific and useful to your customers. If you own a bar, try printed bottle openers or beer coozies. If you have a computer repair shop, have your company’s name and logo printed onto USB flash drives for your customers.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Dos and Don'ts of Business Cards


Business cards are a powerful tool that often gets overlooked thanks to the Internet. Having business cards on hand are a great way to pass on your information when networking or even engaging in social pleasantries. There are some general guidelines with dos and don’ts for business cards that you want to keep in mind when purchasing them and handing them out.

Dos

- Include ONLY the necessary information for your audience.
They need to know your name, the name of your business, and the contact information that they’ll use to get in touch with you later.

- Include several ways of being able to contact you, such as your website or email addresses and your phone number.  Some people prefer reaching out with a telephone call while others like being able to shoot off a quick email requesting a quote or asking a question.

- Make your cards stand out for their readability over their creativity.  Fonts that are hard to read may be cute or whimsical, but that may end up with your prospective client looking for someone else to do business with because they can’t read your contact information.  

- Try to stick with the standards and style of your industry.  Think of your business card as an extension of your brand, and keep this in mind with the style.  If your business is a non-standard type of business, you can loosely express this in your business card.

- Stick to a standard size business card for your card stock.  A different size business card may look interesting but may make it hard for someone that stores their cards in a file or card box.  Graphic designers and other artistic businesses may consider going outside of the standard size to an unusual sized or shaped card, but most traditional businesses should avoid this tactic.

- Use a practical layout.  You’ll only want to use the front of the card to make it easier for storing as well unless you have vital information that needs to go on the back.  For instance, if you do business in other countries, you may want to have one side in English and the back side in another language. This is making good use of your business card’s space.

- Work with a designer. They are trained to come up with a creative and interesting business card that fits your business without falling into the pitfalls of many of the don’ts.  A designer has a trained eye that will help you to produce the best card possible for your needs.

- Proofread your information before sending it off to the printer.  Typos, spelling errors, and other mistakes can make your business card, and you, look unprofessional.

- Keep your business cards handy at all times to be passed out to other professionals and potential clients.  You never know when the opportunity may present itself to introduce your business to someone you meet through friends, church, or at other events.

Don’ts

- Use a crazy color for your business card is not recommended.  A nice pop of color on your logo or elsewhere can help your business card stand out, but printing the card on brightly colored cardstock may make it hard to read for your potential clients.

- Put a coupon or discount for your services on your card.  This can be seen as unprofessional and will demean the brand image that you’re trying to present with a professional looking card.  This doesn’t mean you can’t offer discounts or coupon codes, but your business card is not the proper place to advertise these types of deals.

- Go overboard with graphics.  Including too many pictures, clip art, or other types of artwork can make your business card seem too busy and unprofessional.  You only want to put what’s necessary on your card.  You may want to add some personality with a picture of a dog you’ve groomed or a room you’ve remodeled, but make sure it works with your business card.  Too much may get your card overlooked.  

- Give out cards that look like they’ve been through the ringer  
You want your business card to be in pristine shape as you are handing out a card that represents you professionally and your business.  It can be a good idea to invest in a little storage case that keeps them in great condition while allowing you to keep them in your pocket or purse.

Following these simple rules for your business cards will help you put to use one of the most simple, and well-proven tools that you have for success.  Don’t worry about a prospective client fumbling with their phone to input your number or trying to find your company’s website while you stand around.  Instead, reach into your pocket and produce one of your professional, tastefully simple and highly effective business cards.  


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

7 Tips to Make Working with a Printer Quick and Easy


No matter what your print project is, whether it be flyers, brochures or a presentation, there are ways to make it go smoother by keeping certain things in mind.  You can help streamline the process by having certain things in order before even approaching a printer.
Here are 7 helpful tips that you can do to help keep things smooth with your printer:

1. Pay attention to what size you send in and what size you're ordering.
Proper sizing is important when working with a printer. If you send them a file that you created in 8.5 x 11 but request something that's 11 x 17, or vice versa, don't expect it to be easy. Those dimensions don’t scale up equally and can take much effort to create. This is a common problem when printers receive files and doing this will only irritate and make more work for them. Your graphics may change size and the project could end up not looking like it’s supposed to.

2. Make sure to follow the directions of the printer and send in the proper file type.
Printers should let you know what they need from you in order to move forward. These things will include the type of file that they work with. Make sure you send PDF files to your printer. If you send them something in Word, Publisher, Corel Draw, or even InDesign, they can have a hard time printing it. Even if those files are setup properly, it adds an extra step that can mess up the vision of what you wanted. If you send a PDF to begin with, you can avoid all those problems that can happen during conversions. This will save a lot of time and headache for everyone.

3. Review the entire proof before responding.
To make the editing process efficient, make sure to look over the entire proof before you start requesting changes and avoid sending multiple emails of changes. Also, the more detailed you are in looking things over, the quicker the changes you request will be and the faster you can get your print project to where you want it to be. Remember, it’s the smallest mistakes that are the easiest to miss so be thorough before approving your proof!

4. Don’t try to negotiate down prices.
Printing companies are just like most any other company. They won't haggle with you, so don't try. The prices are set for a reason and you will be expected to pay them, just like every other client. Printers don't play favoritism. Trying to get the price down will only irritate the printer and waste everyone's time.

5. A printing company's job is more complicated than you think it is.
The process is more complicated than just hitting “print.” There is a reason you're paying professionals. The equipment that is used is much more complicated than what you may buy and use on your own. Completing your request takes multiple people, multiple computers and often times even multiple printing machines.

6. Plan for production and turnaround time.
Standard production time can take between 3 and 5 days. The turnaround times are given because there is a schedule that these companies need to adhere to in order to satisfy all of their customers. While rush jobs can be taken on, you can't expect each order to be rushed. You also have to keep in mind that rush jobs will cost you extra. It's better for both you and for the printing company if you simply plan ahead.

7. Know what you want going in.
Make sure you design your print project in detail before sending it into a printer. You want to have a clear vision of what you want and have it executed before you start the printing process. The better you plan your print project, the easier it will be for both your printer and you to get it done and done properly.
By making sure to plan ahead, you can assure that your experience with a printing company is a pleasant and positive one. This will also help you build a lasting professional and profitable relationship that can help you with all your printing needs going forward.