Tag Archive: marketing


Techsnoops Helper Marketing UpgradesStep Up Your Small Business Game

So, you have a small business and need to increase your marketing presence. What actions offer the most “bang for the buck” or great ROI? If your marketing budget is small, start with the basics to increase your reach on Google Local Search.

First, if you do not have a custom domain name, buy one now. Your domain name and business name must be unified so that customers can find you quickly. More than 70% of customers do local searches on their smartphone when looking for services. You must be listed. And if you have not formally registered your name, do it now. You don’t want to have to change your branding later if someone else takes your name.

Next, if you cannot afford professional web design just yet, make sure you create an attractive LinkedIn company page using your business and domain name. Park a simple template landing page on your domain name with contact phone number and email so customers can connect with you. Although not optimal, a template landing page is better than not being found.

Webdesign Ninja Techsnoop

Professional Email

A branded, professional email is important to distinguish you between hobbyists and serious business professionals. In fact, without a professional email address, LinkedIn will not allow you to create a company page. There are also many services on the internet that won’t accept your registration with a generic email address.

Yet another reason for a professional email address; Yahoo mail has had over 54 outage issues since January 1, 2017. This means if you are using a Yahoo address for business, you are missing messages. Since timely response to customers is a major reason for customers to switch, you cannot afford this. Techsnoop loves Yahoo and has used them for years, but not for business.

Cheap Marketing Upgrades

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Use 2017 as the year you narrow the gap between your business and the big box stores. Create a seamless online experience for your customers.

HTC One M8It’s no secret that Techsnoop likes HTC products. Having been an EVO owner since 2010, Techsnoop has followed the brand through its ups and downs. With a superior product and ground breaking features (remember the 8 megapixel camera? HTC was first), HTC was in the unenviable position of having a superior product with sub-par marketing. But they have been trying to turn this around.

Here’s To Change

Techsnoop thinks they have struck marketing gold. The new commercial series with Gary Oldman is clean, hip, and captivating. It also generates the all-important “buzz” factor. Yet, purposefully or not, they have also dredged up the spirit of Steve Jobs. Yes, Gary Oldman in his geek-hip frames and crew-neck black shirt provide a new millennium contrast to the wire-frame, turtle-necked Jobs. Jobs was a master showman using mood lighting and emotional appeal to tout products for a targeted audience.

The new HTC One M8 ads use similar techniques in a clean, fresh way that appeals to the information overloaded generation. Techsnoop approves. Let us know in the comments if you agree with this approach.

 

Branding is a complex process that involves a number of people and trial and error.  However if you are a small business start up you likely do not have funds to hire professional branding firms or to undertake extensive market research.

So how do you establish an identity for your business that will stand out in the crowd?  First check out the competition.  See what is working for other companies similar to yours.  Do not copy them, but make notes on things they have in common.  Color is a great place to start, for instance, blue is a highly used color in many logos and websites.  Blue conveys trust and dependability and so is used to create a bond between customer and business.  Black equates with value and sophistication and thus the rise of black websites and business cards.

Use tools like Kuler from Adobe to create and select complimentary colors for logos, text and website graphics.  The site allows you to upload a photo you like and create a color palette as well as creating color mixes on the fly.  Having a firm color choice can make the web design process faster and cheaper.  Colors create the tone and can suggest a theme for your company communications.

Instead of using expensive market research, try out your brand with a small run of business cards, Facebook cover, Twitter background and mailers.  Enlist friends and family as test audience.  As you collect customers, ask for honest feedback on your marketing materials.  Ask what made them come to you or what caught their eye.  Also ask what they feel doesn’t work as this is the critical part that needs changing.

Choose a graphic designer who is comfortable creating a logo and graphics that will evolve over time and will include this in the pricing.  Don’t expect your designer to make changes for free.  Know that designers charge based on time, talent and creativity.  The combination is what causes variation between designers.  If your budget is really low, you need to consider using an intern with the expectation that the project will take longer and quality may be less.

Finally, look at your brand carefully to make sure it feels right for you and your business.  The whole point of your brand is to convey your uniqueness, if this doesn’t come through the brand fails.

design hangoverI love designing. The colors, type, shapes, patterns. Linking them together in a way that makes sense and solves problems for the client is great fun.

But, I am worn out by design that screams at me. 16 fonts on a 4 x 6 card and 5 colors is too much. Please, stop screaming your message at me. I tend to throw away any card or flyer that shouts or is cluttered.  I know it’s hard to get marketing into the hands of customers.  But if your customer throws out your message, you just wasted money.

Great design creates interest, not apathy and encourages, not screams.  The day of the hard sell is over.  Social media platforms and DVR has made it all too easy for your audience to tune you out if you annoy them.  The best design has great typography, and is set against complimentary colors and subtle patterns.

The best thing any designer can do is to limit themselves to 3-4 features in any project.  Just because you can do 20 different effects, doesn’t mean you should.  This is hard for designers.  There are multiple tools and brushes and unlimited colors to choose from.  Further, clients often want all the latest bells and whistles for their project.

At this point, the designer must explain the pros and cons of each effect on the desired outcome of the project.  If the end result is not achieved, the design is a failure no matter how beautiful it is.  This guide is true for print and screen design.  We as designers are the guardians of good taste and arbiters of what will work.

Best of all, if you can present ideas that lead to profits, your customers will value you more and send you referrals.

So don’t be afraid to say no to the customer, just be prepared to back up your statements with documentation that shows you care about the customer’s bottom line.

Pass the mochaccino.