Monthly Archives: January 2015

Unique Ways to Use Your Company Logo

By | B2C Marketing Communication Strategies, Brand Management | No Comments

Car Branding Specialist Puts Logo With Car Wrapping Film On Auto

Your company logo is one of the best representations of your brand, your products or services, and your company. More often than not, it’s also the first impression customers have with your brand.

If you have run out of ideas of creative ways in which to use your company logo, it can be good to remember that sometimes simple is better. After all, images do speak louder than words. Perhaps it’s time to turn to a little guerrilla marketing for some innovative and inspiring uses for your logo.

Here are a few ideas for unique ways to use your company logo:

As part of graffiti art. Perhaps you are seeking something eye-catching, and you happen to have large amounts of space on your building where you would like to market. Hire a graffiti artist to incorporate your logo into an art piece (as per local signage laws) that fits your brand.

Sponsorship on public transportation. Some cities with modern light rail systems sell sponsorships to put your company logo on the rail cars. The same can be true in other cities with street cars. What better place to publicize your company logo?

On company vehicles. There’s no better place to display your logo and brand than your own company vehicle. For a relatively low cost, you can have wrap-around professional graphics installed on your vehicle fleet. If you want to get creative, partner with other companies who have vehicles (such as radio stations) to create co-branded graphics.

Bottom of the glass. A branded pint glass adorning your company logo is always a great way to reach potential customers while they are unwinding at local pubs. Now, promotional companies will even print your logo at the very bottom of the glass.

Creative door handles. There’s no better (or obvious) way to get someone’s attention easily than when they reach for a door handle to enter a building. Incorporate your logo into the handle of the door with marketing graphics like this.

How to Use Visuals to Get More Likes on Social Media

By | Search Engine Optimization Strategies, Social Media Tips, Tech, Tools, Gadgets and Apps | No Comments

6533528_orig

Do you incorporate a strategic visual presence on your social media channels? If not, know that you’re not alone, but also that you should really read on.

People who are familiar with social media marketing know that visuals – colors and images – dominate the social media space. In fact, there is loads of valuable data to support the premise that choosing the correct colors and images for items you share online will impact the effectiveness of your marketing and brand recognition, connect with your community, and drive purchasing. Basically, it makes you memorable.

So how do you go about incorporating the right colors and visuals on social media? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Set your color palette. Your company should have specific colors associated with it, and use them uniformly to create brand recognition and convey brand personality across all social media channels.

And use the right colors. People have emotional responses to colors. Studies have shown color increases brand awareness by up to 80 percent and may be 85 percent of the reason people buy. This infographic shows the emotional guide to color.

Set your fonts. Don’t forget about the importance of fonts in conveying your brand. Pick two or three fonts, and use them across all of your marketing and media channels.

Understand buying influences. People are inherently (65 percent) visual learners and 92 percent of buyers make decisions based on a visual factor. Color can increase brand recognition by up to 80 percent and comprehension by up to 73 percent.

Visuals dominate social media. When you can, show it instead of saying it. Photos on Facebook get 53 percent more likes and 104 percent more comments, while images on Twitter get 150 percent more re-Tweets.

So try photo filters. You can add a “look” and consistency to your images and photos with photo filters. Reinforcing your brand’s culture, vibe and personality with photo filters – and doing it consistently – will help convey the type of messages you intend.

Create social media templates. Using templates with consistent elements (fonts, colors) for your updates (sales, promotions, images, quotes) across social media channels will make your campaigns easily recognizable.

Best Business Management Software

By | Tech, Tools, Gadgets and Apps | No Comments

Business Communication

Every successful business relies on efficient software behind the scenes. The ability to start, run and grow your business only happens when you are supported by software solutions that create advantages.

There is certainly no shortage of business management software out there to choose from. And many focus on certain aspects of business such as accounting, project management, scheduling, supply chains, facilities, and so on. Other business management software have a broad focus as more all-in-one solutions.

So what will work best for you? Here’s a short list of the top business management software.

SAP Business One – Small business software that can help you better manage every aspect of your company – from sales and customer relationships to financials and operations. The affordable, scalable small business software is servicing more than 40,000 businesses.

Mhelpdesk – This all-in-one software can handle just about everything, including managing field employees, booking jobs, invoicing clients and managing work orders and billing. It’s ideal for small businesses who need improved organization, mobile access, scheduling, and billing.

Netsuite – This cloud-based software combines back-office operations and financials, CRM, e-commerce and PSA in one unified system connecting all of your data. The award-winning software is running more than 20,000 businesses.

Front Desk – Widely used in hospitality and service industry companies, this simple client management tool helps you manage scheduling, attendance, billing and invoicing, financials, e-commerce and even marketing.

Essential Items Every Business Person Should Have in Their Desk

By | Business Management and Leadership, Innovative and Creative Design | No Comments

Group of Business People Working on an Office Desk

So, what’s in your desk?

That might seem like an odd question, but face it, you spend a lot of time at your desk. So, it makes sense that you would have a stash of necessary items that can help you navigate almost any situation, from an impromptu client meeting to a dying smartphone to an unplanned rainy day.

As a professional, you need to be prepared for contingencies, especially the ones you would normally overlook. Here are 10 items every professional should keep in their desk.

Device chargers – You never want to be caught with a dying tablet or smartphone when you really need it, so keep extra chargers stored away. Chances are a client or colleague might need them as well.

Lint roller – Pet hair or fuzzies from your office chair aren’t a great look for you or your co-workers when you’re in a rush to get to a client meeting.

Extra set of keys – Your neighbors likely have a set, but it makes too much sense to keep an extra, unlabelled, set of home and car keys at work. You will be glad you did.

Energy snacks – There will be times when you don’t have time to eat properly, so keep supplies to power up. Energy bars, almonds, vitamins and powdered energy drinks will help in a pinch.

Mouthwash and breath mints – It would be easy to regret not having these items around when you need them.

Hand sanitizer – It’s easy to pick up germs after shaking hands or riding on public transportation. Also keep bacterial wipes on hand to disinfect your work area.

Plastic silverware – You don’t want to be caught with take-out or delivery and no way to eat it when you’re in a rush. Plus, you’ll be stocked for every impromptu work celebration.

Umbrella – A sudden rain storm is made much worse when you have to get through it to meet an important client and you’re not prepared.

Earbuds – These will come in handy when you have extra work to do and need to focus.

Deodorant – A travel-size deodorant or antiperspirant can be great during the summer months or when you’re rushing to meetings and appointments.

Small Business Tax Changes for 2015

By | Business Management and Leadership | No Comments

Business Accounting

Yes, it’s almost tax season again. As a small business owner, you’re keenly aware of the looming tax deadlines that will impact how you go about your business.

It’s that time of year for small business owners to get their financial ducks in a row and prepare for tax season. There are many new pending tax changes afoot, some of which will be particularly important and need to be on your radar when you meet with your tax professional.

Here are five tax changes for 2015 small business owners should be aware of:

The Affordable Care Act. Changes here should be at the forefront of your tax agenda and planning. This is especially true if your small business is near, or just passed, the 50-employee threshold. Business with more than 50 employees must offer health-care insurance to full-time workers, a mandate which is expected to be enforced in 2015.

Retirement account contributions. Many of the rules regarding contributions to retirement accounts are changing for 2015, allowing employees to put away much more than previous years. For SEP-IRA and solo 401(K) accounts, both commonly used by small business, the maximum contribution has increased to $53,000. Employees may contribute up to $18,000 for 401(K) accounts.

Tax extenders may expire. Within the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 that expired at the end of 2013, there were 55 extended tax benefits. Of those expired benefits, 14 impacted small businesses.  Be prepared if your business has relied on any of the benefits that have not been renewed.

Increase in corporate tax rates. This is one of the key issues for small businesses in the upcoming tax season. Companies structured as corporations currently pay a higher rate, and if corporate tax rates are lowered, how small businesses are structured could impact their tax advantages.

Expiration of tax credits. Small businesses may find that many of the tax credits they previously relied on have expired or been greatly reduced. Bonus depreciation ended in 2013. The work opportunity tax credit and the energy tax incentive are also both gone. Section 179, allowing business owners to deduct the entire cost of certain assets, has been greatly reduced.

Quotes to Inspire Entrepreneurs

By | Entrepreneurship | No Comments

Trees With Quotes.

Life as an entrepreneur is not always easy. Most entrepreneurs have learned that lesson, sometimes the hard way. And even the most successful entrepreneurs still have their bad days.

So it’s never a bad idea to take a few quick seconds for a little push. A small source of inspiration can help clear your vision and unleash your motivation. Here are 15 of the best inspirational quotes for entrepreneurs.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.” – Tony Hsieh, Zappos founder and CEO

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese proverb

“You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.” – Richard Branson

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”  – Steve Jobs

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” – Tony Robbins

 “Always deliver more than expected.” – Larry Page, Google Co-founder

“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.” – Florence Nightingale

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

 “I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO

“Don’t worry about failure; you only have to be right once.” – Drew Houston, Dropbox Co-Founder and CEO

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth

Avoiding Presentation Disasters

By | Administrative Support | No Comments

Businesswoman Reporting To Sales In A Seminar

You have an important sales presentation coming up with some all-too-important clients. It’s a chance to land a big account. A chance to impress you bosses. So, how do you not blow it?

Some sales presentations are a hit and others fail, and it’s good to know not every factor is under your control. Still, there are many different ways to make mistakes during a sales presentation, and you can stack the deck in your favor by avoiding some of the most simple and basic errors.

Here are five quick tips on how to avoid sales presentation disasters:

Avoid too much obvious ad-libbing. While you want to avoid a canned, stiff presentation full of clichés, presenting on the fly can bring about its own set of problems. Don’t slack on your level of preparation, so that your organization, information and talking points are spot on even while you’re being casual.

Know your tech. Do not let computer or projector problems take away from your presentation. Know how to use PowerPoint, back up your presentation files, prepare for poor Internet connectivity (with backup files), use a remote, and disable updates and notifications on your tablet or laptop.

Know what to do if you get caught off guard. You won’t have an answer for everything. So know your responses to those situations ahead of time. When you’re met with objections or don’t have all of the necessary research on hand, know what you will say and do next.

Be aware of body language. It should be obvious, but don’t stand with your back to the room – you should not be reading word-for-word from your presentation. And be aware of awkward, non-verbal body language – always smile and look people in the eye.

Don’t talk too much … really. Yes, it’s your presentation, but you can talk too much. No one wants to sit through a boring one-way presentation. Make plenty of time to listen, answer questions, and make it interactive.

Bring real value. Whatever mistakes you might make, don’t make the mistake of giving a presentation that doesn’t include valuable information. Be clear and concise in articulating the value of what you are presenting and why it’s important.

The Benefits of Face-to-Face Communication

By | B2B Marketing Communication Strategiesv | No Comments

Image of two young business partners discussing plans or ideas a

When it comes to modern business best practices, the concept of face-to-face communication might seem like an antiquated practice.

Thanks to new technology, alternative communication methods have rapidly replaced face-to-face communication and become a preferred method for many young business professionals. For many, it’s more comfortable and more efficient. Yet, even with the immediate availability and options of business communications in our digital world, many business experts warn not to overlook the value of face-to-face communication.

Here are five benefits of the effectiveness of utilizing face-to-face communication:

Make it personal. Personal communication goes beyond what is said–it can offer insight into your influence and how you make people feel. Engaging and collaborating with your clients, customers and partners allows them a chance to get to know you as a person, making the relationship personal.

Build a trusted network. Many agree that only face-to-face communication can build stronger, more meaningful and longer-lasting relationships. Those face-to-face meetings and conversations are more candid and can lead to long-term relationships that are nurtured online and elsewhere.

The non-verbal factor. Only face-time allows people to read body language, analyze facial expressions and interpret nonverbal communication signals. Those signals allow key opportunities for negotiation, persuasion, engagement, inspiration and quick decision-making.

The “human” connection. When it comes to factors like teamwork and productivity, face-time can offer more context and insight into the bigger goals and objectives of teams, departments and companies.  The impact of solid relationships and cohesiveness can also be seen in engaging processes like brainstorming and idea generation.

Making better decisions. The best decisions can only be made with the best information available. The quality of the decision-making process is often based on complex information, negotiated agreements and the exchange of critical and confidential information, all of which are more effective in face-to-face communication.

A Quick Introduction to Marketing Automation

By | Brand Management, Uncategorized | No Comments

Web And Seo Analytics Concept

Marketing automation has become a trendy buzzword after an explosive rise in popularity. You may have heard of it, or know at least enough to know that marketers and sales folks alike have spent considerable time hyping it as a technology tool.

Still, you might still be left with some questions and asking what exactly marketing automation is really all about.

In layman’s terms, marketing automation refers to platforms and technologies which allow businesses to create, deploy, and automate online marketing campaigns and activities in an effort to increase revenue and maximize efficiency.

Conceptually, marketing automation allows marketers to more efficiently market on multiple online channels while automating repetitive tasks. In its most simple form it is the technology that simplifies the most time consuming tasks and processes of modern marketing and sales programs. It’s all about simplifying and automating a business tool that quickly grew very complex.

Marketing automation is looked at as a segment of customer relationship management (CRM). It focuses on the definition, segmentation, scheduling and tracking of marketing campaigns and customer segmentation of consumer data, often putting marketing and sales efforts on the same page. The technology allows for efficient collaboration between marketing and sales campaigns at the hub of the lead qualification process and buying cycle.

Marketing automation is used to create a target population and measure the efficiency of allocated resources, as well as to inform potential customers of business products and services. By displaying data both graphically and statistically, it provides marketers with information and key performance metrics to measure which campaigns are most effective. It allows for key consumer data such as customer behavior, retention, transactions history, product views, email open rates, ROI reporting, and much more.

By collecting and utilizing such consumer data, marketing automation platforms allow for a more complete and comprehensive profile and segmentation of valuable data on a large scale, and thus the ability to make smarter and strategic marketing and sales decisions.

In an ideal scenario, marketing automation provides data and solutions to convert prospects to customers and turn customers into long-term satisfied customers, generating significant sources of revenue and return on investment.

Quick Tips to Create Long-Lasting Customer Relationships

By | B2B Marketing Communication Strategiesv, B2C Marketing Communication Strategies, Uncategorized | No Comments

A blue nametag sticker with words Hello I Am Your Customer to re

No business will get very far without meeting the needs of its customers and clients. A business is only as good as how it serves its customers, and if you do it right, it will become a long-term relationship.

The truth is that there are many keys and tactics to successfully building relationships with your customers and clients. The end goal is to go beyond one business deal or transaction to provide consistent and continuous levels of service. Without it, you will certainly drive customers away.

So how do you create enduring and long-lasting relationships with clients and customers? Here are six quick tips:

Offer real value. Customers and clients depend on you for knowledge, expertise and information. Find out what they value, inform them, and don’t be afraid to share your expertise about your business or industry. The value will keep them coming back.

Define and deliver communication. Clients depend on you to continually keep them informed without being overwhelming. Find out how they prefer to communicate, and then deliver.

Always be straightforward and honest. You will never cultivate long-term relationships with your clients by hiding the truth in any circumstance. Meet their needs with your products and service, and keep them by being open and honest.

Learn how to engage with your customers. The experience of working with you or your company can matter as much as your product. According to a study, 81 percent of customers are willing to pay for a high-quality experience. Make it a great experience.

Monitor the behavior of customers. If you want customers and clients to become loyal and stick with you for the long term, monitor how they experience your product and then continually improve and adapt.  Prioritize which customers need immediate attention, and react quickly.

Reward their loyalty. Think of your clients as more than just “clients,” and find out about them as people. Give long-term clients preferential treatment and rewards and continually appreciate them. You will lose much more by focusing on new business than taking care of current clients.