Category Archives: small business marketing tips
Check out what Deborah Brody has to say about making the most of your business cards.
In this age of smart phone bumps and cloud-based contact lists, it may seem a bit old-fashioned to advocate for the business card. But the business card should be the ace player in your budget marketing arsenal. A business card is cheap (relatively speaking), portable and useful. It gets your information right into the hands (and hopefully, databases) of the people you connect with. Done well, a business card keeps you connected with your prospects and brings you business.
However, not any old business card will do. You should spend time (and money) to get this little piece of marketing real estate done right. If someone picks up your business card from a pile of cards, it should be immediately obvious who you are and what you do. Following are some tips to make the most of your business cards.
Spend the money to get professional graphic design. You could do this as part of a letterhead and/or logo package, if you are just starting out. You aren’t like everybody else, so why have a non-customized card? Make sure to use your colors, logo and maybe even an image.
Print your cards professionally, on good paper stock. Nothing says unprofessional more than flimsy cards printed on your ink jet printer. There are many online, digital printers that will do your cards for a fraction of the price you would pay a traditional offset printer, while making them look spectacular.
Make the best use of the space you have. This means using the back of the card, perhaps to list your services, provide your bio, offer a discount code or even have a version of your card in a different language.
Include as much information as possible, thinking of what would be relevant to someone looking to do business with you.
Information that must be on the business card includes:
- Your name and title
- Organization or business name
- Email address
- Tagline and/or short description of what your organization does (if not obvious from the name)
Other items you may consider adding:
- Twitter handle
- LinkedIn information
- Testimonials from clients
- Skype information
Finally, a word about design: Some folks get uber creative with their business cards, and in some cases, that helps to bolster their brand or show off their design chops. However, weird card shapes may be a conversation starter or be more memorable, but they are less likely to fit in conventional card holders or card scanners. Keep that in mind. Same goes for the layout. I prefer a horizontal layout, since that is how most cards are read.
Saturday, December 1: Have you organized your December editorial calendar? The 12th month of the year is a fantastic time to connect with your clients and engage with your followers.
Sunday, December 2: The weekend is primetime for Facebook Page updates. Upload your seasonal Facebook Page timeline cover today. Try a different look each week! Holiday versions of corporate logos are fun, too. Ask Fletcher Prince to design these assets for you.
Monday, December 3: Time to mail holiday cards to clients and supporters. If you are having a special holiday invent, mail invitations now, too. Fletcher Prince can design your company holiday cards for you.
Tuesday, December 4: Today is National Cookie Day. Can you create a cookie with your logo? Try it — and post the photo!
At 5 p.m., the Capitol Christmas Tree will be lit by Speaker of the House John Boehner. Follow @USCapitol on Twitter.
Thursday, December 6: President Obama and the First Lady light the National Christmas Tree today at 5 p.m.
Friday, December 7: Inspired by all these Washington, DC Christmas trees? Have a tree decorating party in your office today!
Saturday, December 8: Wish your followers a Happy Hanukkah! Tonight, Hanukkah begins and is celebrated through December 16.
Sunday, December 9: The lighting of the National Menorah takes place tonight in Washington, DC.
Monday, December 10: What does your company do for good in the community? Publicize a story about your community involvement or support of a local nonprofit organization via your blog, or even an online press release. Send a short note and photos to your local newspaper. Fletcher Prince can help you with public relations efforts.
If you haven’t yet started a company goodwill effort, the holiday season is a good time to start! Consider a food drive in your office to benefit SOME (So Others Might Eat). You can follow them on Twitter @SOME_DC
Wednesday, December 12: Today is National Poinsettia Day. Why not gift your clients with pointsettias to show your appreciation? Or offer them to followers as an online give-away.
Saturday, December 15: People will be tweeting about Santarchy today! Join in the fun by posting photos of your employees in Santa hats.
Monday, December 17: Today is a good day to upload your company’s previously recorded holiday greeting video to YouTube, and send it to clients and customers via email to your permission-based contact list. Post it on your Facebook Page, Pinterest account, Twitter profile, and Google+ account to wish your supporters happy holidays. Fletcher Prince can record your holiday video.
Monday, December 24: Today is Christmas Eve. The North American Aerospace Defense Command tracks his progress each year. Follow on Twitter through @NoradSanta.
Tuesday, December 25: Merry Christmas!
Thursday, December 27: Time to look back at the old year as you get ready to ring in the new! Discuss with your staff what marketing tactics worked well and what should be continued in 2013. What were your most popular blog posts? Which of your videos got the most views? Talk to Fletcher Prince about developing an actionable marketing plan for 2013.
Friday, December 28: After Christmas is a great time to blog your company annual report. Chronicle the achievements of the past year.
Sunday, December 30: Most people are in New Year’s resolutions mode. Ask your Facebook Page followers about their resolutions for the new year, throwing in your industry-specific suggestions.
Monday, December 31: Today is New Year’s Eve. Be sure to wish your clients and supporters a Happy New Year, and offer them plenty of helpful suggestions for success in 2013. This is also a good time for brave thought-leaders to make their industry 2013 predictions.
Congratulations to all of you for a successful year, and thanks for reading our blog posts and supporting Fletcher Prince. Happy New Year!
- Marketing Idea: Create a Holiday Greeting Video (with video examples) (fletcher-prince.com)
- Tips for recording a great holiday greeting video on YouTube (fletcher-prince.com)
- Grab these holiday greeting video and design deals (fletcher-prince.com)
- 5 Tips For Writing Great Holiday Cards (inspiration.vistaprint.com)
- Grab these holiday greeting video and design deals (fletcher-prince.com)
- 5 Tips For Writing Great Holiday Cards (inspiration.vistaprint.com)
A couple of years ago, American Express created the promotion “Small Business Saturday” as a way to encourage consumers to frequent independently owned small businesses during the busiest holiday shopping weekend of the year.
Supporting local businesses helps you keep your community economically healthy, and sometimes you can find unique items.
This is especially true in Fletcher Prince’s diverse community in Falls Church, VA! As we encourage you to support small businesses this weekend, check out some of our favorite small business retailers.
The holidays include lots of cooking and sweets. Those are two good reasons to visit Aphrodite Greek Imports 5886 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church. Among the many Greek specialty items, Aphrodite sells bulk cooking and baking spices at terrific prices, plus delicious pistachio nougat candy (similar to Torrone). A generous bag of this individually wrapped candy is about $2.50; plenty to include in stockings. You’ll also find Turkish coffee, dried fruit and nuts, olives, an assortment of feta cheeses, phyllo pastries, delicious breads, and more.
From there, head to German Gourmet on 5838 Columbia Pike in Falls Church. This German specialty shop sells a delightful number of must-haves for Christmas, including Advent calendars, nutcrackers, chocolates, gummy-everything, Stollen, and Lebkuchen. The candy would be beautiful in a stocking. If they offer it, buy the Bratwurst lunch (with Bavarian potato salad and red cabbage). You will also find a wide variety of sausages, meats, cheeses, wine and beer.
If you’re looking for quality toys this holiday, skip the big retail chains and visit Doodlehopper 4 Kids, 228 West Broad Street (Rt. 7/Leesburg Pike), instead. This toy store has a fabulous selection of toys, stocking stuffers, and books for children of all ages.
For antique items, including nostalgic toys, collectibles, barware, dishes, souvenirs, and Christmas ornaments, browse through the Falls Church Antique Annex, located at 250 West Broad St. (Rt. 7/Leesburg Pike), Falls Church. The store features offerings from 20 vendors and the prices are reasonable.
- Amex Small Business Saturday – a Stroke of CSR and Marketing Genius (sterlingpr.com)
Reading the Examiner yesterday, I discovered some interesting facts about the origins of Black Friday.
Back in the day, department stores used to lure parents in for shopping the day after Thanksgiving by having downtown Christmas parades. They hoped the parents who brought their children to see the parade would decide to go shopping in the stores afterwards.
But the combination of street closures and influx of cars caused such traffic problems, the local police started calling this day “Black Friday.” And the name stuck.
Now retailers call it “Black Friday” because this is usually the weekend they begin turning a profit — or move into the “black.” Retailers bring in an average of 40% of their revenues between the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas.
When my sister and I were young children, we got to ride the toy train in the Thalhimers Toy Parade because my mom worked in the special events office for the Richmond, VA department store and helped plan the Christmas parade (see video below).
She was also the first “Snow Bear.” I still remember wondering where my mom was in that big suit as she handed out lollipops to children in the department store. Here’s a nostalgic video peek at Snow Bear.
And here is my mom’s recollection of what it was like to work for one of the city’s largest department stores during the holidays, and be the first “Snow Bear.”
(May Link Inside) For Your Editorial Calendar: April Events and Content Marketing Ideas PLUS Hashtags
Sunday, April 1 Today is April Fool’s Day. Not kidding, it really is.
Monday, April 2 Today is World Autism Day. Please place a blue light bulb in your workplace today — a lobby lamp will do — to show your support for the millions of families living with autism. We also encourage you to wear blue to work! Blue light bulbs are available for sale at Home Depot, or contact us before April 2 and we will deliver one to your workplace. Follow Autism Speaks @autismspeaks on Twitter and use hashtags #LightItUpBlue or #liub or #autism
April 2 – 6 Spring Break for many schools. Be kind to the tourists. It’s not their fault that they don’t know to stand to the right on Metro escalators
Saturday, April 7 Passover begins this week.
Sunday, April 8 Today is Easter. It is traditional to wear new clothes on Easter; a spring custom that goes back to pre-Christian times. A good excuse to buy a hat! Happy Easter, everyone!
Friday, April 13 Today is opening night for the Washington Nationals, playing the Cinncinati Reds. Follow the home team on Twitter @Nationals
Saturday, April 14 The Cherry Blossom Parade takes place today in downtown Washington, DC. Learn more about the National Cherry Blossom Festival and follow @CherryBlossFest on Twitter. Use hashtag #cherryblossom
Sunday, April 15 Ooh, tax time. Don’t worry; you have until April 17 to file. How much revenue did your business make in 2011? Did you spend enough on marketing? You should be spending between 5% and 10% of your revenues on marketing expenses. If you didn’t spend enough on marketing your business (or nonprofit) in 2011, refine your marketing budget so you don’t make that mistake this year. Fletcher Prince can help.
Sunday, April 22 Today is Earth Day. What are you doing in your business activities to preserve and protect the environment? Talk about your workplace recycling program! This could make an excellent YouTube video or blog topic, or even a press release (with photos, of course). Follow the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Twitter @EPAgov and use hashtag #
Tuesday, April 24 Join your Fletcher Prince friends for networking and lunch at Jaleo in Bethesda, Maryland today! Cost of lunch is on your own (about $15-$20, including tip); please register in advance.
Wednesday, April 25 Did you know there are more than 4.1 million secretaries and administrative assistants working in the United States. Admins are the “pulse of the office” and today is the 60th anniversary of Administrative Professionals Day! Follow the International Association of Administration Professionals on Twitter – @IAAP – and use hashtag #APW
Thursday, April 26 Today is the 20th anniversary of Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day (can you say “photo op?”) and is recommended for children between the ages of 8 and 18. How will you educate and motivate young people in your workplace today? Why not promote your efforts? It’s good community relations. Take photos and write a blog post. Or videotape the kids
Check back next month for May events and content marketing ideas!
- For Your Editorial Calendar: March Engagement Themes PLUS Hashtags (fletcher-prince.com)
I’m talking about an informal annual report for you — or your business. It could be a blog post or an internal document. It’s simply a chronicle of achievements and activities from the past year. It can be a document you either develop on your own, or in conjunction with your partners and staff. This “annual report” is a tool for looking at how far you have come, and for deciding what goals to set in the future.
Do you take the time to do that now? If not, why not try it this year? Your effort does not have to be elaborate. I have written an “annual report” and published them on this blog every year that I have been in business. The 2011 report will be published next week. It’s my way of celebrating the progress of my company, and being transparent about our business operations. Also, all year long, I know I am going to write this annual report. So I am very good at taking pictures and documenting our successes throughout the year.
How to Write Your “Annual Report”
There is no right or wrong way to write your company annual report for the purposes I am talking about. The only wrong way would be not to write and save anything at all. It really is fun and a feel-good activity. Here is how I do it.
I review the past year’s projects and billings. I look for patterns, then I report on our business activities. I talk about the kinds of projects we worked on, and I mention current and new clients.
Acknowledgements and Thanks
The “annual report” is a perfect way to say thank you to all the people who keep your business going: from employees to partners, from vendors to referrers. And don’t forget to thank your clients, of course! We also thank our supporters in social media — including our blog subscribers, video viewers, Facebook friends, and Twitter followers. Expressing gratitude should be a regular part of your marketing outreach and business operations.
Pro Bono Work, Donations, Mentoring, Community Service, Committee Work, and Corporate Volunteerism
You will probably be surprised, as I am each year, at how much you contribute to your profession and your community. Document that service! It’s important.
Professional Affiliations and Development
Staying connected and current is good business hygiene. Those benefits trickle down to our clients. So we make a point of identifying how we kept our skills sharp and networked.
Speaking Engagements, Recognition, and Awards
Crow a little bit at the end of the year. I do! You’re entitled! All year long, I know I am going to mention recognition and speaking engagements in my annual report, and it keeps me motivated to make my best effort.
Add whatever feels right to you. And if you can publish it, so much the better! It keeps you accountable for making your best effort. Good luck, and let me know if you decide to try it this year.