Success is in the cards when you've got business cards that convey the right message.
A business card is an integral part of any good marketing plan. For its size and cost, it's probably the most powerful part. Of course, you can't expect your business card to tell the whole story about your company. What you should expect it to do is present a professional image people will remember. A business card can make or break a client's first impression of your company. In fact, this little card makes as much of an impression as your personal appearance-the suit you wear or the briefcase you carry.
Choose a card style that's appropriate for your business, industry and personal style. If you're a funeral director, for example, you don't want to be caught handing out day-glow cards with cartoon figures on them. If you're a mechanic whose specialty is converting old Beetles into dune buggies, a formal, black-on-white engraved card will probably be dropped into the nearest circular file. When crafting a design, start with the style that best supports the business image you wish to project. To help you get started, here are five different card styles for you to consider:
Basic cards. A basic card is usually printed in black ink on plain white or cream stock. This is a good style to choose when utility is all you need. It's a no-nonsense approach that can appeal to clients and prospects who would not be impressed by fancy design features-the people who want "just the facts, ma'am." The design is simple, and the information is clear and concise.
Picture cards. Having your face on your card-whether it's a photograph, a drawing or a caricature-helps a contact remember you the next time he or she sees you. Images representing a product or service, or a benefit your business provides, can help you communicate your business better than dozens of words. A splash of color (rather than just black and white) is often helpful on a picture card, too.
Tactile cards. Some cards are distinguished not so much by how they look as by how they feel. They may use nonstandard materials, such as metal or wood, or have unusual shapes, edges, folds or embossing. Tactile cards tend to be considerably more expensive than regular cards because they use nonstandard production processes such as die cuts. But for some businesses, this more unusual card may be worth the price.
Multipurpose cards. A card can do more than promote your name and business-it can also serve as a discount coupon, an appointment reminder or some other function. It may also provide valuable information that the average person may need. For example, a hotel may include a map on the back of its card for any guests who are walking around the local area. A card of any type can be made multipurpose by adding any of these types of features.
Outside-the-box cards. A wildly original, fanciful or extravagant presentation can draw extra attention. Creativity knows no bounds-except the amount of money you wish to spend. Some examples are cards made of chocolate or that folded out into a miniature box to keep small items in.
Now It's Time to Order Once you've settled on a basic idea for your business card, it's time to head to the printer. There are four primary considerations when ordering business cards:
Weight. Most business cards are printed on 80-pound cover stock.
Finish. Of the three available-smooth, linen and laid-the smooth finish is the most popular.
Color. Right now, two-color cards predominate. If you're selecting from a catalog, there are between five and 15 standard colors to choose from. If you have another ink color in mind, your printer can show you a Pantone Matching System book, which includes every shade under the sun.
Quantity. It generally pays to print more cards rather than fewer, because the printer's cost is primarily in the setup
Make sure these 3 crucial elements are part of your marketing plan.
Want to know how to spend your marketing dollars this fall? Here's a hint--throw out last year's plan and start fresh. The economic downturn coupled with the rise in social media and the full-bore acceptance of an internet that's accessible virtually everywhere has forever changed the way customers shop.
Rather than rely solely on media such as television, radio, newspapers and magazines, it's time to allocate a larger percentage of your budget to less traditional tactics. Winning and keeping customers now calls for innovative marketing that engages prospects in more direct ways. As you plan your holiday marketing tactics, be sure to factor in these three critical elements for a campaign that will work in today's socially and economically altered marketplace:
1. New Media Has Taken HoldThis is not the time for an off-the-shelf media buy. Now is the time to integrate traditional media with new ways of reaching customers. For example, you could use cable TV ads to build recognition and credibility for your business, and newspaper ads to draw prospects to specific price promotions. But both techniques produce better results today if combined with a terrific interactive company website--the first stop many customers make to learn more about you--as well as positive online reviews and recommendations on third-party sites. If you regularly use radio advertising, this fall combine it with a social media effort built around a fun or innovative concept that keeps customers listening for the next installment in your ad campaign.
2. One-on-one Communication Builds Bonds They say everything old is new again, and that couldn't be more on point when it comes to devising opportunities for customer interaction. Consumers who are evaluating every purchase want to make safe and sound decisions. So they're spending their money at businesses, and on products and services, they trust to deliver on every level--from the purchase itself to customer service, low price guarantees and shopping convenience.
Create opportunities to communicate directly with customers. If you're a retailer, it's a great time 3. Consumers Expect to Be Engaged and Understood
In this era of instant and pervasive interpersonal communication, engagement through online dialogue helps customers relate to your company or brand. The key to establishing a positive relationship is to demonstrate that your company cares about the same things its customers care about. Encourage customers to talk with you or about you, just so long as you get them talking.
There are several smart ways to engage customers online. You can participate actively in social networking websites and add an interactive element to your own company website where customers can communicate with you and each other.
This fall, consider selecting individuals to be part of an online "advisory" group that will provide you with feedback and insight in exchange for early notifications of sales, new products and offers, or free or additional rewards. You can post their insights through a message board or blog and feature stories about their experiences with your products or services on your site.
Are there charitable causes that are important to your customers? There's no better way to demonstrate you share their concerns than by contributing your time or dollars to address issues important to them. Detail your charitable efforts on your website to demonstrate that your company is one customers can trust and believe in.
As we look toward a future beyond the recession, marketers are fixing their sights on the customers who will be at the core of the economic recovery. In the past it was the Baby Boomers, with their optimistic attitudes, sheer numbers and buying power, who helped pull America out of recessions. But not this time. Those born between 1946 and 1964 have been hit hard and they've seen their savings and retirement accounts decimated. So close to retirement age, their focus on practicality will likely continue well into the economic recovery years. And Baby Boomer interests will turn more toward home, finance, healthcare, personal care and lifestyle issues, according to a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and Retail Forward.
This time the economic recovery will be driven by the affluent segments of Gen X and the young Gen Y, plus another source that many marketers have failed to consider--the growing Hispanic market.
Gen X and Gen Y: The Newest Gadgets and Technology Rule It's the Gen X and Gen Y demos that have disposable income, says PricewaterhouseCooper, and they spend differently and have different ways of seeking bargains than Boomers. Though there is discrepancy among sources, Gen Xers are generally described as individuals born between 1965 and 1976, up to the late 70s, and Gen Y (also known as Millennial) consumers were born from the late 70s or 1980 to the early-mid 90s.
The reports suggests "up-market affluents," a segment of the Gen X market, will have a meaningful positive impact on the recovery due to their stage in life and above-average spending potential. About 60 percent of Gen Xers have attended college, though they may work to live rather than live to work as many Boomers do.
For the young Gen Y consumers between 18 and 27 who were surveyed, just 25 percent say the economy has significantly changed their spending behavior. This is likely due to their higher proportion of discretionary income as a result of fewer debts and a less urgent need to save. Marketers must take into consideration their preference for texting and online communication rather than phone or face-to-face communication and other forms of interaction, which remain more popular with Boomers and Gen Xers.
Latinos: A Growing Demographic That Values Family and Home
More than 15 million Hispanics in the US command $1 trillion in buying power, according to a new Hispanic marketing trends survey commissioned by Orci. Latinos make up more than 15 percent of the population and are predicted to number 50 million after the 2010 census. That's an increase of 42 percent since 2000. Hispanics are the heaviest users of wireless access to mobile phones and laptops and 80 percent of Latinos socialize online.
Campaigns targeting Latinos will benefit entrepreneurs marketing everything from diapers to fashion and beauty. According to a recent study from The Nielsen Company, Hispanic shoppers, on average, spend more on products for babies and children and more on food consumed at home when compared to the general population.
Marketers targeting Hispanic demos should take into account specific cultural differences and ethnic preferences. For example, according to the Pew Hispanic Center's National Survey of Latinos, more than half of Latinos ages 16 to 25 identify themselves first by their family's country of origin, and an additional 20 percent generally use the terms "Hispanic" or "Latino" first when describing themselves. They are satisfied with their lives, optimistic about their futures and place a high value on education, hard work and career success. A valuable market indeed.
Today's focus on health and well-being has created a marketplace filled with opportunities. Countless people looking for their chance to start a home business have taken advantage of this new interest in health and bought an internet franchise or started a health based business from scratch. There are countless products out there that you can choose to sell, and finding one that works for you is as easy as doing a small bit of research. Since many supplements and vitamins can be sold from the comfort of your own home, but can you actually build an entire business around them, or should you simply use them to supplement a more traditional income?
Before you decide to buy an internet franchise and build a home business selling vitamins and supplements, it's important to take a look at how they work and what they do. Your body needs countless nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in order to function properly but today's diets often don't deliver the proper balance of needed compounds. Vitamins and supplements that target specific problems make it easy to find the right ones for you. From joint pain, high cholesterol, immune system boosters and more, there are vitamins that you can sell to every person of every age.
There are even children's vitamins and those targeted specifically for men, women, or the elderly. Different supplements work for different people's needs, and there is truly something for everyone. This means that you can market your health supplements and vitamins to a huge range of people, targeting them towards people who have cholesterol troubles, weak bones, joint troubles, vitamin deficiencies, and more. You'll be able to take advantage of a wide customer base, and this is a key factor that you need to consider when you look into which home business is the best for you.
In addition to appealing to a variety of customers, you'll want to invest in an internet franchise that allows you to build up repeat business. Health products like vitamins and supplements are perfect for this as well, and once that your customers realize the benefits of an isotonic delivery system they'll likely buy more from you. You can certainly build a home business by selling vitamins, and with many other types of health products or services. But you need to remember that it will take effort on your part and time to reach the level of success that you're looking for.
Working from home is easier than ever thanks to technology, and taking it a step further and starting your own home business is just as simple. While either option can present challenges, the chance to work for yourself from the comfort of your own home makes starting a home based business extremely popular, and it isn't hard to understand why so many do it. If you're thinking of selling products from your home, you'll have two choices. You can either start your own company from scratch or buy an internet franchise and use it to sell existing products that they represent.
There are a number of great internet franchise options available. From selling supplements and vitamins to running a cleaning business from your home, you'll have a number of choices. If you opt to sell products like these, take the time to investigate the market before you commit. Even though buying an online franchise is much cheaper than a traditional brick and mortar franchise, there are still some expenses involved. Since your home business is an investment, you'll want to ensure that it will pay off. And that means that you need to be selling something people want.
Deciding what to sell is really as easy as seeing what there's a demand for and where there is a hole in the supply. For example, there is a huge push today towards health and fitness, and numerous supplements and vitamins are on the market. Some, of these products use unique concepts like special methods of absorbing into your body or have special all natural ingredients to help boost overall health. Factors like this can greatly enhance a product's marketability. Take the time to find out just which products will sell and you'll be able to make a good investment in your home business.
Also keep in mind that repeat business is vital. Estimates say that eighty percent of a company's sales come from twenty percent of their customers. Don't buy into an internet franchise just because it seems 'neat'. Your friends and family will only buy so many candles or cosmetics before they don't need anymore, so look for products that will be purchased by anyone and will create repeat customers. For example, vitamins or supplements will last for a good bit, deliver great results, and then leave your clients ready to buy more when their supplies run out. Choose good products that create repeat business, and your home business will flourish.
There's no way to deny the excitement that can come with owning your own business, especially if you're operating a home business. Whether you're giving massages in your spare room or have bought an internet franchise, operating a business from home is a great way to make money, be your own boss, and enjoy all of the other advantages that business ownership provides. It can also be a huge amount of work, and will take skills and effort to get it right. From selling health supplements, and vitamins to operating a tech consulting firm online, here are some commonly overlooked tips that can help you find success.
First of all, even great products like supplements or vitamins aren't for everyone. If you waste too much money on generalized marketing, you'll be doing just that – wasting it. Instead, you need to focus on niche marketing that will target the exact people that want your products. In the case of health supplements and vitamins, this would mean people that are interested in boosting their health and fitness. If you pay for advertising to promote your internet franchise, be sure that you not only design ads for your niche, but put them in places where your niche market will see them.
Operate an internet franchise or any other home business, will require self-starter initiative for long-term success. No matter what you want to sell or do from home, research it so you'll know what to expect. By selling products through and Internet Franchise, you can be in the black and stay in the black from the start. When you are selling something you are passionate about, you are sure to choose the right business. This will drive you to talk to more people which in turn will bring in more sales and help you build your business more quickly. Being your own best customer creates the best advertising for your business.
Take a realistic look at your home business. Buying an internet franchise or embarking on any other kind of business venture from your home definitely costs less than traditional businesses. Plus, the training and mentoring from seasoned professionals, ensures that you continue to make the right business decisions. When you are continually learning and growing, your business will continue to blossom. Keep these tips in mind, and your business is sure to go nowhere but upwards.