Logos can be quite a mystery to anyone outside of the creative industry. Small business owners can wonder what the difference is between a ‘home made logo’ and a ‘professional corporate identity’. Why should a small business owner hire a professional designer when there are hundreds of cheap (or free) logos available?
The answer is simple… your customers will analyze your logo with their own concept of what is ‘professional’, can you be trusted to supply their wants and needs?
A simple variation in an ‘off the shelf template’ will ruin the message you are trying to convey to your target audience and you may come across as being unprofessional. A logo is often the first impression that your potential customers will have of your business. A good, well designed logo can build credibility, help increase sales and attract a wider share of your target audience, but only when it meets your customers’ pre-conceived ideas of what a professional corporate identity should be – not the business owners!
Several key areas define success for small business owners and brand perception is an important one of them. When looking for someone to create a professional logo brand for your company, make sure they understand how to create an identity that will appeal to your customers and promote your business as someone that your customers can trust.
A professional logo will impact greatly on whether your potential customers will pick up the phone and speak to you!
Q. What is one strategy that can help business owners make the most of seasonal marketing campaigns?
Their best answers are below.
Seasonal Marketing Tips for Small Business
1. Start Early
It can really help to beat the noise by starting a seasonal campaign before everyone else. For example, you might send out thank you notes a few weeks before Thanksgiving or send out promotions during the spring for products that are useful for the summer. Avoid fighting the noise by starting a bit before everyone else. – Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Video Doorbell
2. Organize Your Content From the Start
You’ve heard the saying, “Don’t reinvent the wheel.” For seasonal marketing, you’ll want to organize content effectively from the start so that you can recycle your best-performing ideas next year. Use a shared drive for your team so all files are uploaded in the same place for review and implementation next year. – Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
3. Enhance Your Web Design and Logo With Seasonal Images
A great example of leveraging design and logo changes to promote seasonality and events is Google Doodles. Google changes its logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous people. You can do the same! For instance, add some snowflakes, outdoor themes, or fall foliage to your logo or change some design elements to promote seasonality. Be creative and consistent with changes. – Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com
4. Customize Your Services
For each season, try to customize your services to what customers need the most. You way want to consider offering side services that you normally don’t to match customer needs. A lawn care company for example, could offer raking during the fall season, taking advantage of a limited customer need, even though it’s not relevant the rest of the year. – Matt Doyle, Excel Builders
5. Check Out the Competition
Research what others have done in the past to see what works and what doesn’t so you can use this information as a benchmark for your own campaigns. You can adapt their strategy and use your messaging and differentiation points to set yourself apart and stand out during various seasons. – Drew Hendricks, Buttercup
6. Take Note of Last Year’s Holiday Trends
It seems like every year there is something new and exciting going on in reference to seasonal promotions. Whether it’s social media, mobile or online coupons, it’s important to keep an eye on the competition and see what’s worked in prior years. At the same time, you don’t want to waste time on trends that didn’t. Combine what has worked in the past and what works today to find a winner. –Zac Johnson, How to Start a Blog
7. Build Reusable Assets
If your business has the opportunity to capitalize on seasonal trends (which not all companies do), spend the time to design campaigns that develop assets that can be used for seasonal campaigns in the future. These could be creative, websites, mini-apps, Facebook pages, email lists, etc. The main idea is to conceptualize these campaigns as investments rather than one-offs. – Nick Eubanks, I’m From The Future
8. Use Google Ads Extensions
During holidays, use Google Ad extensions focused on the holiday season. If you are a clothing retailer, insert ad extensions related to the holiday. For example, if it’s Easter, advertise “Blowout Easter Sales” on all of your Google ads to get consumers to increase their likelihood of clicking. Use time-sensitive offers to give viewers an incentive to click. – Marcela De Vivo, Brilliance
9. Map Out Strategy Early
Regardless of whether you’re running a seasonal business or have constant sales flow throughout the year, there are ways to take advantage of seasonality. It is key to map out a strategy for the seasonal pushes that can help the business. Whether it is a discount for the holiday months or a free session to kick off member New Year’s resolutions, it is always smart to have a plan to boost sales. –Josh York, GYMGUYZ
10. Take the Opportunity to Connect
Use the holiday or season to send a quick note, update or joke to your prospects and customers as a way to stay top of mind. Marketing is about repeat impressions and if you are falling off their radar, your marketing is failing. – James McDonough, SEE Forge creators of FAT FINGER
I recently came across the greatest dog bed in the history of dog beds — seriously, it felt like it was made of clouds. And after asking the dog owner about it, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the same company also made regular beds. (Score.)
Needless to say, I’m now the proud owner of the human-version of said dog bed.
You see, when a friend or family member recommends a product, you’re more likely to take their endorsement seriously. In fact, Nielsen reports that the most meaningful form of advertising is recommendations from friends and family: 83% of consumers in 60 countries say they trust these recommendations over any other form of advertising.
The story of how I bought my mattress is a great example of social proof, which refers to the theory that people tend to adopt the opinions or actions of people they trust. And to help illustrate how brands are using this persuasive technique in their marketing, we’ve put together a roundup of social proof in action below.
What Is Social Proof?
Social proof is the idea that consumers will adapt their behavior according to what other people are doing. It makes sense, right? When we see a line of customers waiting to eat at a restaurant or a photo of a celebrity drinking a certain brand of coffee, it lends an air of gravitas and quality to the product, doesn’t it?
But there’s more to it than that. In fact, according to Buffer, there are actually five different types of social proof:
1) Expert Social Proof
Expert social proof is when an industry thought leader or influencer approves of your product. This could take the form of them blogging, posting on social media, or being quoted or photographed as a product user.
2) Celebrity Social Proof
Celebrity social proof typically takes the form of a celebrity using a product and promoting it on social media or in public. This form of social proof is especially meaningful if the endorsement is unpaid.
3) User Social Proof
User social proof consists of positive feedback from actual users, typically taking the form of customer reviews and testimonials.
4) “Wisdom of the Crowds” Social Proof
“Wisdom of the Crowds” social proof appeals to our sense of Fear of Missing Out(FOMO): When lots of people are using or buying a product, others want to follow suit.
5) “Wisdom of your Friends” Social Proof
“Wisdom of your Friends” social proof refers to the phenomenon I described previously: The recommendations from people we know and trust carry far more weight than other types of promotions or advertising.
Which Types of Social Proof Work Best?
The (social) proof is in the pudding: Social proof in your marketing and advertising can have a huge impact. But what type of social proof works best?
Nature Made uses the expert certification of the USP (U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention) to speak for their vitamins instead of describing their quality themselves. The image of the seal of approval also echoes the text in their Facebook post.
Workday’s Newsroom features an article in the Harvard Business Review about their company culture, which is a smart use of social proof: By featuring a well-known university name and publication with expertise in business, they impress site visitors from the moment they try to learn more about the company.
Fitbit lets health and tech industry experts speak to the quality of their products in the “Buzz” section of their website. It adds a lot of weight to claims of Fitbit’s success when multiple publications are saying the same positive things they are. That could be why Fitbit is often rated the top fitness tracker on the market.
When celeb Kirstie Alley signed on as Jenny Craig’s spokeswoman, she lost a well-photographed 50 pounds on the program, helping to skyrocket the brand’s popularity in a crowded market: It’s one of the top three diet plans in the United States.
Here’s Cisco using celebrity social proof to add wow factor and storytelling to market their IT systems, which aren’t typically the most exciting commercial topic. The celebrity adds a human element to a highly technological space in a way that’s memorable and inspires recognition. (Who doesn’t love Obi-Wan Kenobi?)
Gwyneth Paltrow is a longtime fan and friend of Tracy Anderson and her exercise program, which she frequently posts about on social media. This isn’t an official celebrity endorsement, and its authenticity helps drive more people to Anderson’s program: The Tracy Anderson Method is now a multi-studio, DVD, and live streaming fitness empire.
I had never heard of Manuka honey until I watched this episode of Broad City, but it exploded in popularity after Kourtney Kardashian started using it on her reality show, and then became a celebrity ambassador. This is a particularly successful celebrity social proof because Kardashian’s longtime use of the product lends more authenticity than a celebrity endorsement alone would.
Website builder Wix uses Heidi Klum for celebrity social proof in their commercial. It works in two ways: to add a high-profile name to a business in a competitive industry, and to demonstrate Wix’s pitch (that anyone can build a website).
Yelp relies on user reviews to rate restaurants, bars, and business, and the use of social proof is beneficial for their company and for its users searching for customer reviews. Yelp generates roughly 145 million visitors each month and is one of the most popular websites in the United States.
IMDb visitors can consult their review directory to learn what other movie-goers are saying about films they’re interested in, and its savvy use of social proof helped make it the top movie review sites online today with 250 million unique visitors per month.
Customer reviews and testimonials are one of the strongest forms of social proof, and Amazon provides another great example of how they can be used. In their review sections, they publish the breakdown of the different ratings so visitors can easily see if the majority of purchasers were happy or unhappy with what they bought.
Customers can also publish reviews with specific comments and photos of their purchases, which are more eye-catching forms of social proof for visitors than testimonials alone.
G2 Crowd is a business built on user social proof: It offers businesses a database of reviews and recommendations before making a software purchase. The reviews feature verified users of the product, their LinkedIn career information, and the logo of the product being reviewed, which is a research-backed strategy for promoting greater viewer recall and retention.
Here’s a thorough example of user social proof from BuzzSumo. Their website features customer testimonials and case studies so visitors can read about the full story behind the product they’re considering without any question of its impact on real customers and organizations. This transparent user proof is extremely compelling for visitors and potential customers.
Copyblogger has a fantastic blog, and they use the CTA above to get readers to subscribe by encouraging them to join a larger community of people with shared interests. If 334,000 other people are finding value in the content, it must be good, right?
Netflix takes advantage of user trends by suggesting new TV and movie options based on popularity. This clever use of social proof helps them keep people binge-watching instead of navigating away when they finish a movie or season — a great retention strategy, if you ask me.
Much like when things are trending on Twitter, trending suggestions aim to pique the interest of users and persuade them to tune in.
TrackMaven’s blog features a “Most Popular Content” sidebar shown above to show blog readers other articles that are generating lots of reader traffic. This feature encourages visitors to go with the crowd and spend more time on the site, where TrackMaven can prompt them with calls-to-action and content offers to generate leads.
Facebook suggests Pages and articles for users based on how their friends are interacting with the social media platform. This form of social proof is supported by our inherent trust in people we already know:
Ticketfly pulls customer Facebook data to show them which of their friends are attending the same events as they are. It also uses social share buttons so users can share what events they’re attending to garner more interest among their social media networks.
Stitch Fix recruits new customers for its personal shopping service using social proof by offering a hefty $25 referral bonus for sending friends to the site. It’s a cost-effective method for retaining me, their current customer, and recruiting my friend, who could become a new one.
Now that you’ve learned all about social proof, check out our article to learn how to take your social proof to the next level. Happy brainstorming!
‘How Do Doctors Think’ is a NIH-funded study, run by University of Pittsburgh researchers, designed to assess the ability of an adventure video game to influence physician decision making in trauma.
They are recruiting emergency physicians who work at non-trauma centers in the US to participate in the trial. The study uses two apps to give Doctors an inside view of what a Trauma unit might be like.
77 Design Co. was selected to help revise the branding and materials for this year. We created several pieces including booth banners, coroplast signs, labels for the iPads, documentation, handouts and flyers.
Our expertise allowed us to examine their needs and create a cohesive package that will communicate exactly what the research study is about and how Doctors can learn more about Trauma.
Every salesperson knows the pain of “the ones that got away.” Think of the prospects you just couldn’t set meetings with, no matter how hard you tried. Consider those who never purchased your product or service — even after you poured time and energy into making the sale. It’s easy to remember exactly who these prospects were. But do you know why they got away?
In sales, it can be difficult to recognize the mistakes you’re making. Asking would-be customers for their comments rarely results in honest, helpful feedback on your sales approach. Fortunately, most customers decide not to buy from a salesperson for the same few reasons. Chances are, you’ve lost sales — and prospects — due to one of them.
It’s time to learn the five most common reasons why customers don’t buy from you. Once you understand the mistakes you’re making, you can finally start to dominate your competition in sales. Take a look:
1) You’re trying to sell to everyone.
A good sales pipeline is about quality, not quantity. If your prospects aren’t buying from you, you must reevaluate the quality of your sales pipeline. Plain and simple.
Great salespeople don’t try to sell to anyone and everyone. They understand that most prospects aren’t good fits — and they disqualify them rather than trying to force a sale. By taking this approach, you’ll free up your time to focus on the best prospects who are most likely to benefit from — and ultimately purchase — whatever you’re trying to sell.
2) You’re “turning off” customers.
The vast majority of salespeople have a huge problem: They’re salesy. That is, they’re overly enthusiastic about their product or service — and prospects can see it coming from a mile away. What a turn-off! If you want to stand out from your competitors, stop being salesy. Tone down the enthusiasm for a more genuine and personable approach.
Other salespeople turn off customers by asking prospects to educate them. They might ask, “Hey, George, can we set up a call so I can learn more about your business?” Prospects don’t want to educate you — they just want you to fix their problems. Always show the value you bring before engaging prospects in a conversation about their business.
3) You’re not asking enough questions.
Many salespeople make the mistake of being so focused on their offer that they never ask questions to determine what’s going on in their prospects’ world. Once you’ve engaged your prospects, it’s time to move forward with understanding their key objectives.
Ask thoughtful questions to uncover your prospects’ challenges, objectives, budget, and decision-making process. Add value by showing how your product or service will help them accomplish their key objectives. Remember, prospects don’t actually care about your offer. They only care about solving their challenges and accomplishing their goals.
4) You’re too focused on price.
When asked what goes into a prospect’s decision, many salespeople think that price ranks as one of the top two concerns. In reality, price ranks much lower on the list of priorities for most prospects — usually around sixth, seventh, or even eighth place.
Next time you sit down with a prospect, stop focusing on price. Instead, focus on the value of the challenges you’ll be solving for the prospect, and see how quickly concerns about price can fade away.
5) You don’t ask for feedback.
Smart salespeople get constant feedback throughout the sales process to gauge how the prospect is feeling about the conversation.
Try asking simple questions such as, “Do you agree with what I just said?” or “Does this make sense in your world?” If the prospect agrees with you, you know you’re on the right track. If they don’t, that’s your cue you need to change direction and get the conversation back on track.
Which of these common mistakes have you been making in your sales process? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Make the changes necessary to ensure your next prospect isn’t “the one who got away” and start crushing your sales goals.
20 Fall Marketing Ideas That Will Get Your Business Noticed
Fall is an ideal time to promote your business: people are back in town after vacation, kids are back to school, and everyone’s ready for a fresh start. Take advantage of the season’s opportunities with these marketing ideas.
Launch an Instagram photo contest: Invite customers to post pictures of themselves engaged in their favorite fall activities (apple picking, flag football, etc.) with a designated hashtag. Choose a winner and offer them a free gift, and re-gram the photo on your account.
Hold a “can-do” event: Email customers offering them a discount when they bring in canned and other nonperishable food items to donate to a local food pantry.
Put your name on it: Ditch the paper or plastic bags (at least temporarily) in favor of reusable shopping bags featuring your business’s name. You could also encourage customers to carry it by offering a discount when they bring it into the store.
Sponsor a team: Support young athletes in a way that fits with your business. For example, if you sell women’s clothing, maybe partner with a girls’ soccer team. Or if you run a restaurant, make your establishment the official pregame coffee spot for parents or postgame hangout for players.
Advertise on local blogs: Identify the most popular blogs in your community for news, style, food — whatever best aligns with your business — and advertise special promotions for readers. Not only are the rates less expensive, but you can more easily reach your target market.
Hit the festival circuit: Chances are that organizations in your area host a fall fair or Oktoberfest, so find out how to set up a booth or get involved in sponsoring the event.
Host a social IRL party: Invite all your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram followers to meet up in person at your store for a shopping party with special promotions and giveaways.
Offer an appealing deal: Entice people in by offering a discount. You can promote your sale via window signage, social media posts, or using something like constant contact.
Lend your space: Reach out to a favorite local charity, like an animal shelter, and offer them your shop for a fundraising event.
Celebrate new holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving get all the glory, but you can make your business stand out with fun, social media–friendly holidays unique to your business, like a “Sweater Weather Saturday” sale or a “Pumpkin Spice Appreciation Day” event.
Start a deal-of-the-week email: Send targeted messages to customers with an email marketing tools offering special discounts on specific items or services.
Team up with local businesses: Work with other neighborhood shops to pool your resources (and social media reach) to throw an autumn-themed weekend event with food, entertainment, and lots of special promotions.
Bring in the experts: Identify common problems among your customers (home organization, wardrobe ideas, hair updates), and designate a day to offer the expertise of your staff and outside consultants with free in-store consultations.
Throw a “treat yo’self” party: Email your best customers and invite them to a special event with complimentary manicures, chair massages, and makeup application along with cocktails and appetizers.
Spend now, save later: Holiday shopping season is looming, so tempt your customers with a deal: if they spend a certain amount now, they’ll get a designated amount off their purchase after Thanksgiving.
Get media savvy: Reach out to local TV news, radio shows, and podcasts to pitch seasonal stories that relate to your business, like fall fashion updates, seasonal recipes, and more.
Hire fresh talent: Need new photography, graphic design, or social media help? We know someone who can help!
Donate to local auctions: Fall is a huge fundraising time for schools and charity organizations, so reach out to some of your favorites and offer goods and services for raffles and silent auctions. You’ll raise awareness about your business and be a good neighbor.
Host a swap party: Create a Facebook invite and ask all your fans to bring in one good-as-new item for a clothing or home goods swap and shopping party. Donate any unclaimed items to charity.
Get some, give some: Promote your store’s preholiday shopping by offering a deal for buying in multiples, like get a free $15 gift card for every $100 you spend on gift cards.