Create Effective Custom Signs For Your Business

Custom signs for storefronts are vital in today’s tough economy. The more unique and personal your sign is to your company, the more likely you are to draw foot traffic into your business. Many in the retail and hospitality industries believe that you only have three seconds or less to attract a customer’s attention. For many that own brick-and-mortar businesses, custom signs are definitely a great way to get someone to turn his or her head.

What A Quality Sign Will Accomplish

Your custom signs should suit your unique characteristics while showcasing your business. In essence, they are part of your marketing plan, and the style, colors, font, and type should be a large part of your branding and promotional strategy. If this advertising is done well, it can lead to a word-of-mouth campaign that is sure to attract more visitors to your business.

Many times something that stands out from the crowd can ignite enough curiosity that you will see an increase in foot traffic. Remember, foot traffic can easily be converted into sales once customer interest is piqued, so try to be original and unique with your designs.

Colors and Fonts

The colors and fonts you use on your custom signs are a reflection of your overall brand and should not be taken in stride. In essence, even if you do not already have one, you are creating a de-facto logo for your company. You need to think about what type of reputation you want your business to have, and the image that you wish to project to potential customers.

Don’t fret if you are not much of a graphic designer. Many companies that design custom signs have online templates that you can work with. Remember, the most visible colors from far away are black and red on a white background. Depending on your business’s location, this is something that you may want to consider. Also, make sure that your font is large enough to be seen over long distances. All the bold colors in the world will not be noticeable when used to accentuate teeny-tiny print.


The best thing about good signage is that you only pay for it once, but it works for you 24 hours a day and seven days per week. This is why that to be truly effective, and you must place it where it can be seen by the largest number of eyeballs whether they are driving a car or walking by on foot. Always remember to consider external factors such as parked cars and glare when placing your sign. It would be a shame to spend all that money only for the result to never really be clearly seen. Always consider the eye-level of the average person and what would attract them to your little corner of the street.

Remember, signs give you the option to stand out from the crowd and give the competition a run for their money. Always use this first opportunity to communicate with potential customers to your full advantage.

3 Ways To Do Some Marketing When You Are On A Shoestring Budget

Most people think that starting out in business is pretty expensive and so they hold back because they doubt their ability to fund it. However, there are ways to start on a shoestring budget. And here are a few ideas for you…

1.    Go where your prospects are in great number and tell them what you do. So, you don’t have cash. Take some time to figure out who your ideal customers are and then decide where you think they will be and take some time to go and see them where they are in great number. Think Meet up groups, think low-cost networking events, set up your own networking events and invite people to your event. Keep it low-cost and use a community funded room or a room in a local restaurant where they are willing to allow you bring people to the restaurant as long as your prospects buy something. Have a mini-speech prepared which tells people exactly how they can benefit from working with you and collect business cards from anyone that seems interested in speaking to you again.

2.    Set up an email marketing campaign – Sending emails are fairly low-cost. Most customer relationship management systems provide a 30 day trial period. Set yourself a goal to make money from the people on your list within that first 30 days and your business becomes self-funding in the first month. It is incredibly surprising what you can do when you set your mind to it. So, set your mind like flint to make things happen very quickly in your business.

3.    Take full advantage of social media – We live in an incredibly accessible age where we can reach anyone at no cost whatsoever. You could use LinkedIn to search for and connect with a vast number of people and then you could invite them to your event or be where they are. Same goes for Facebook and Twitter and all the other social media platforms. And in this day and age, people are less private so you can make contact with them. Please do not sell immediately but you can build a relationship for free. Also, when you meet people on your outings, you can connect with them on social media based on the business card information you have collected. There are innumerable groups that you can join on social media where your prospects may also be hanging out and once you have connected with them in group, then you may find them more willing to make contacts away from the group.

How Direct Mail Fulfilment Can Work for You!

As in most organisations, as part of your corporate and marketing strategy you’ll be invariably trying and testing out a range of traditional and non-traditional marketing tools and running various promotional campaigns to advertise your products and offerings. This can not only be extremely tricky when dealing with a number of marketing projects running at the very same time but costly if you are having to invest in additional staff and equipment in order to achieve your objectives.

So what exactly should you do?

Are you able to efficiently operate your company without focusing your efforts on key capabilities?

Do you have the in-house capabilities to run a full-scale and effective direct mail campaign?

Without doubt, one option is to transfer your mail fulfilment burden to 3rd party suppliers and benefit from cost and time savings as well as many other advantages of a well-managed order processing unit.

Outsourcing your mail fulfilment to a professional fulfilment company will deliver your business genuine rewards:

1. Spread the word

You will be able to communicate your message much more successfully to clients by using a 3rd party to maximize direct mail activities in order to spread the word about your organization and publicize your products and solutions. This is exactly where a direct mail fulfilment business can be invaluable to obtain, pack and ship your mailing items to consumers within a timely manner.

2. Engage your customer

A firm that fails to engage with target audience is unable to flourish and succeed. Using direct mail, you can send an appealing mail piece to your target market using a letter, postcard, leaflet or brochure format to convince them to undertake business with you. A third-party provider has the expertise and the equipment to not only design and print your direct mail piece but to pack and deliver your promotional collateral to your audience and as a result, helping you to communicate your message in a more professional manner.

3. Save money!

Reap the benefits of cost savings by choosing a professional direct mail fulfilment provider who will effectively process your direct mail campaign, from the design brief concept to letterbox delivery. This will allow you to take full advantage of bulk discounts that these third-party providers have negotiated with postal and shipment suppliers. Due to the vast quantities of mailings that pass through these fulfilment companies, postal companies can offer negotiated competitive rates which are then passed down to the customer.

How Product Managers Can Manage A Shift

Manage ShiftMany product managers are placed in charge of multiple products. Often, among these products certain products will start to perform better than others. When this happens, it’s very natural for our focus to become fixated on the products and the product development definitions that are doing well and we start to ignore the other products in our portfolio. However, things can change and when that happens, we need to shift our attention. This is exactly what’s happening at the mobile phone firm Blackberry right now.< Happens At Blackberry

Once upon a time, Blackberry made the world’s most popular smartphones. However, as it always does, time marched on. Apple, Samsung, and others have moved past Blackberry and now Blackberry only owns a fraction of the smartphone market. Many managers would have packed it in, gone home, and started to update their product manager resume. However, that’s not what has happened at Blackberry.

The Blackberry managers took a look at their markets and made a major shift decision. They decided that the firm would no longer compete in the highly competitive consumer market. This was a significant change for the company. The consumer market had come to represent a very large part of the company’s revenue along with being the focus of its marketing efforts.

Instead, the Blackberry managers have decided to start to focus on providing secure smartphone technology to the enterprise market. They have not given up on making mobile phones, instead they’ll make a few specialty models. One big change is that they’ve outsourced the production of their phones that will target business customers.

Blackberry’s New Plan

As product managers we always hate to give up working on products that we know and love. What will the Blackberry product managers do now? The company now plans to spend their product management efforts on focusing on the more profitable business of mobile security along with new types of software based services.

The Blackberry product managers have taken a look at what their product is going to be able to produce in terms of new software products and the timeframes that they’ll be able to do it in. What they’ve discovered is that they don’t think that they’ll be able to move fast enough to deliver the products that their customers are going to want. In order to fill in this gap, Blackberry has been buying smaller firms. They’ve bought a company that has a product that can guard against eavesdropping on mobile phones and another who can help companies control employee device costs.

Will this new strategy work out for the Blackberry product managers? A great deal of this comes down to determining if the company can successfully make the shift from being a consumer focused firm to now becoming a business focused firm. Yes, it is possible but it is going to take some very good communication from the product managers to the rest of the company so that everyone knows where they are going and what they want to accomplish.

What All Of This Means For You

Product managers just like everyone else can become comfortable with the status quo. We don’t like change any more than anyone else does. However, when a significant market change happens, our product manager job description tells us that we need to react and shift our product management activities.

Over at Blackberry the mobile phone maker is in the middle of a major shift right now. They used to make mobile phones that they sold to the consumer market. However, the arrival of Apple and Samsung has taken this market away from Blackberry. They are now shifting their focus away from the consumer market to the enterprise market. They’ll focus on mobile security and other software products.

Product managers who want to survive a significant change in their market need to understand how to successfully make a shift. This has a lot with being willing to give up what has worked in the past and move on and focus on what you’ll need in order to be successful in the future. Nobody ever said that this was going to be easy, but it’s exactly what good product managers can do well.

Effective Marketing Tips for Image Consultants

Do you struggle with getting more clients in your image consulting business?

Have you tried to advertise with no results?

You might be really good in your dressing and grooming skills. However, when running an image consultation business or any business for that matter, your priority is to find clients.

1. Country Clubs

You could approach country clubs and speak to them about running a short talk or workshop for their members. Most of these clubs are already organsing workshops on lifestyle topics such as gardening, cooking, art classes and more. They might be looking at expanding their list of offerings. Hence you could approach these clubs to explore working with them.

2. Events and Exhibitions

Events and exhibitions are also great platforms for you to reach out to a large audience at any one time. Look out for relevant events and exhibitions that offer speaking spots. While you might be expected to speak for free, these platforms give you the exposure you need.

3. Preview Sessions

You can organise your own preview sessions to market your services too. Give a one-hour talk and excite your audience about how you can help them transform. You could also think about running a promotion and offer a special package for your audience to encourage sign-ups at the end of the preview session. Even if they do not sign up on the spot, preview sessions are great opportunities to build up your list potential clients whom you can continue to market to.

4. Spa and Beauty Services

You do not always have to do the marketing on your own. One great way is to partner up with businesses that share the same target audience as you. Think of the type of clients you are targeting and what businesses might have clients of similar profiles. Businesses that would make good partnerships for your image consulting services are those in the spa and beauty industry. These include hair salon, slimming centres, spa boutiques and more.

5. Clothes and Accessories Stores

Since your business also about dressing, tailors, clothing stores and even accessories boutiques would be terrific partners too. As it helps to promote their merchandise, they would be happy to partner and work with you too.

Each of the above-mentioned platforms offers you a targeted audience to help raise your profile as you reach out to potential clients. So, get in touch with them to explore working opportunities.

A Product Management Challenge: Pot

So you think that you have a tough job, eh? Just imagine how hard it must be to the product manager who works for one of the new firms that has just popped up to start legally selling marijuana! In the United States, a handful of states now allow marijuana to be sold either for medical or for recreational purposes. This means that there is a legal market for consumers. Just exactly the kind of situation that calls for a bit of help from a skilled product manager with a well-thought out product development definition.

The Problem With Pot

In the United States, the state of Colorado has legalized the recreational use of marijuana. However, change happens slowly and right now how consumers can get the marijuana that they want has not yet caught up with the new demand for the product.

What this means is that the pot dispensaries that are currently the only places where people can legally buy pot are not really places that you’d want to go. They are dingy, poorly lit, and have bars on the windows. The staff behind the counter wear hoodies and look like they smoke as much pot as they sell. All in all, this is not the type of place that most law abiding citizens would really like to go.

Making Cannabis Cool

The product managers who have been brought in to transform Colorado marijuana from an illegal street drug to an everyday recreational activity have their hands full. Somehow they have to transform the process of buying pot and make it more like going to Walmart.

The first step in the process is to change where marijuana gets purchased. The new dispensaries now have clever names like “Mindful” and they are trying to modernize the selling of cannabis. In these new stores, employees wear uniforms and the company logo is everywhere. If product managers can rebrand pot successfully, then they’ll really have something to add to their product manager resume.

The final step in the rebranding of pot is to try to work it into more of everyone’s everyday life. What this has meant in Colorado is having the Colorado Symphony host shows called “Classically Cannabis” and holding cannabis cocktail parties. Not content with those efforts, a new yoga class called “Vape and Vinyasa” has been introduced along with a new smartphone app that allows the placing of online pot orders.

What All Of This Means For You

Marijuana has become legal to sell, buy, and consume in a number of places in the United States. Now that there is a product to be sold and consumers who can legally buy it, it’s time for the product managers to step in. However, pot has been illegal for so long, what’s a product manager to do with this new type of product in order to make it a success? Our product manager job description never told us how to handle this situation!

In Colorado, the new companies that have started to grow and sell marijuana have discovered that they have a problem. There is no efficient way to distribute their product. The few stores that currently sell pot are very seedy looking and are staffed by people who are really best suited to interacting with people who use illegal drugs.

The new marijuana company product managers are starting to make changes in order to grow their market share. They are rebranding a number of ways that people refer to marijuana in order to make it more palatable to a larger audience. They are also starting to cross marijuana with other activities that their target audience is participating in.

It’s still early on in this new product field. The pot product managers have a lot of work ahead of them. They have to recast the image of their product from forbidden illegal drug to desirable recreational pastime. The good news is that it can be done. Now it’s just up to the product managers to find out how to do it.

What's A Product Manager To Do When Your Product Costs Too Much?

Product manager, just imagine that you find yourself in the following position: your company creates a great product development definition that it uses to make a new product that a large group of people want, in fact they might even need. Then you have the issue of what price you should sell your product at. Generally speaking, you’d want to set your price as high as possible, right? Is there any way that this could cause a problem? Is this going to be the kind of thing that you can put on your product manager resume?

Say Hello To Sovaldi

Let’s be frank here, hepatitis C is a very bad disease to get. The U.S. CDC describes hepatitis C as a contagious liver disease that ranges in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious, lifelong illness that attacks the liver. It results from infection with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is spread primarily through contact with the blood of an infected person. HCV is spread primarily by blood-to-blood contact associated with intravenous drug use, poorly sterilized medical equipment, and transfusions. An estimated 150-200 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C.

The pharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, Inc. has just introduced a new drug called Sovaldi . This new drug has been shown to cure a hepatitis C infection in just a few weeks. Clearly this is a breakthrough in treating this disease. There have been other treatments, but these treatments generally just dealt with patients symptoms. There were a few that went after the disease itself, but often they didn’t work and they had some nasty side effects.

Sovaldi sounds like a miracle cure, right? What’s holding the product managers back from making it available to all of the people who need it? In one word: the price. Sovaldi costs US$1,000 per pill. A typical person’s treatment is going to end up costing them roughly US$84,000. Clearly this solution comes with quite a price tag!

How Product Managers Should Handle Pricing

The Gilead Sciences product managers are facing a real challenge. Advocacy groups and members of Congress are starting to investigate how the price for this drug was reached. There are other expensive medicines out there, but Sovaldi seems to have crossed some sort of magic barrier that has attracted a great deal of attention.

In defense of the product managers involved, it turns out that without the new treatment the cost of treating a hepatitis C patient can be quite expensive over time especially if their liver start to fail. Just as an example, the lifetime cost of treating an HIV patient is estimated to be US$380,000. 60% of the people who contact hepatitis C will end up with chronic liver disease.

So what should the product managers do? It turns out that Sovaldi is actually a good deal – the upfront cost of the medication is less than the long-term cost of treating the symptoms of the disease. Additionally, if you can cure someone of hepatitis C then they can’t pass it on to anyone else. These are both great stories that the product managers need to clearly communicate. What they need to do is to reframe the discussion so that people are not focusing on the per pill cost, but rather on the savings that they realize by using this new drug.

What All Of This Means For You

Every product manager’s dream is for part of their product manager job description to require them to be responsible for a product that has a built-in market: people who both want and need it. In these cases, it’s not if we’ll be able to sell our product, but rather for how much. Very quickly the question of what price we should set for our product comes up.

An example of this situation has arisen in regards to the medication that can cure hepatitis C – Sovaldi . This treatment is currently priced at US$1,000 per pill with a total treatment cost of roughly US$84,000. A great number of people are starting to ask if this price has been set too high.

As product managers, it is our responsibility to control the story around our product. Yes, a high price can easily cause both our potential customers and others to start to question our ethics, etc. However, if we control the story and make sure that everyone fully understands the value of obtaining and using our product, then we can allow both our product and it’s price to be accepted. Keep your eyes open and stay on top of your product’s story!

What's New In Marketing Events – Understand These Rules

Flash mobs are no longer viable, you want something new and happening that will resonate with your users. Event marketing in the modern world is all about the best stunts as standout events are the in things today. Various names for it are participatory advertising, live marketing and numerous other monikers. The aim is to blow everything up to protect, built-in technological overlay of real-world places. It is an art to convince the passersby and make them dance to the marketing tune as a means of engagement. What is the secret to arranging memorable events? It is important to ensure consumer engagement during not only the event but also long-time afterwards.

Creating events within another

It is important to talk with the consumer on a one-to-one basis even when you are communicating with them within a large gathering. In order to achieve this, ingenious marketers create separate events within the big picture. They aim to engage the consumer directly and interact qualitatively. One option is to arrange games and question-and-answer sessions like truth-or-dare questions complete with freebies to keep participants interested. You do not know what the masses are capable of doing once they shed their inhibitions. Dancing in the streets and spilling out personal secrets ultimately prove to be a fun experience for the participants.

Such events also become huge hits on the Internet through social sharing or coverage by the event marketing companies. The best results are possible with mass media as the participants tell their family and friends to watch videos, or go somewhere particular. This helps to create entire social media events that can bring limelight to any business. The main reason behind the success of such events is creation of new experiences for common people. They enjoy everything to the brim and can’t wait to share this with others, just because it’s so cool.

Event real time tracking and GPS

You cannot succeed in the field of marketing today without the proper use of technology. GPS and location can prove to be the tools in the hands of the marketers as it ensures participation of targeted cross sections complete with real-time coverage. Even if you are not present in a particular place, you can participate in the event and enjoy the experience. As people share what they see, it helps in building up of community and press around the event, making even small occurrences huge with big and positive implications.

Adding new dimensions

Most of the potentially transformative technologies are intangible and their use is growing constantly. For example, use of projections, augmented reality, and 3-D technology have become quite common at various events and offer natural experiences. When it comes to project demonstrations use of augmented reality can make a big impact on your audience. It no longer appears awkward a.k.a. special effects in Hollywood movies. Even QR codes are becoming acceptable and more natural making them ideal for interactions.

Maximize Your Spa Retail Space

Retail is a strong component of your spa business; if it’s not 20% of your total sales, it needs some attention. There are three parts of a successful spa retail space: (1) having the right product mix, (2) designing a space that is customer-friendly, and (3) employee training. (For this post, we are going to assume that you have a strong retail mix.)

Often, spas look at retail as a secondary tier to their business and therefore do not give it the time and attention that it deserves. Making some minor and possibly major adjustments to your retail space can increase your bottom line.

In a 2010 Day Spa Association study on retail, some telling statistics were the following:

Full-service salons, day spas, medical spas, holistic wellness centers, hotel and destination spas were surveyed. More than half of the respondents generated less than $400,000 in annual gross revenues while 25% reported sales volumes over the one million dollar mark. Almost 60% of the respondents had a retail-to-service sales revenue of 15% or less, while 35% had retail sales revenues of greater than 15%.
What do these statistics tell us? That you should be hitting above 15% in retail as a bottom line benchmark and striving for 20, 25, 30%. So let’s get to work:

How to Maximize Your Retail Space:

Take a good look around. Are you fully utilizing the space to the best of its ability? Ask staff for their input and ideas. You may be surprised by what you learn.

Designate a retail specialist, an employee whose sole purpose is attending to retail. Their job is to monitor, stock and merchandise on a daily and weekly basis and write orders. They are also highly trained and educated on all products and can help clients with their purchases.

Organize the retail space so its easy to navigate. Group lines together and create a feature product area for items that you may be promoting. A feature area should be inviting and interest clients to stop, test, smell and try a product. Brands that have the best eyes appeal/packaging should be placed in the most visible area.

Cleanliness and neatness are a must. Have a ZERO dust policy.

All retail spaces should be eye level, at least 2 ft off the floor and no higher than 5 feet. Think of Sephora for example, all products are mainly eye level and in reach. Clients should not have to bend down or reach too high. Pass on manufacturers displays if they do not work for your space.

Create retail opportunities within your space. Use hand cremes in the restrooms, have special feature vignette in key spaces: client relaxation areas, waiting areas, drying stations and treatment rooms.

Signage is key. You can have product price lists, event information and specials displayed within your merchandise space.

Vendors are your partners. If you feel stuck, have your brand representatives come in and help with merchandising. Additionally if you have items that are not selling at all, switch them out, or schedule more product education and training.

Stay Current. When is the last time you introduced a new product or brand? Is your retail platform looking a bit dull? Just like wearing the same thing every day, clients and staff need to try to use new products. Don’t get stuck and try something new.

View your spa retail as a whole and analyze your staff, brands and retail space. It is a multi-dimensional area, where your clients, staff and product intersect. Make your retail space the best it can be and increased profits will follow.

All That Hype!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!THIS IS THE GREATEST IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!BUY NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ONCE IN A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did I use enough exclamation points? Does this remind you of some of the e-mail you get or some of the postings you see in social media?

Hype. It’s all around us. It’s in our mailboxes, on our computers and televisions and radios. Where did it all begin? Who was the first pitchman to scream, “I’m Crazy Joe for Crazy Joe’s Used Widgets and I ought to be put away for selling widgets so cheap!!!!” Why did the next person think that his/her ad needed to be louder and gaudier? Where will it all end? Most of all, is it really necessary?

When I was in college, I attended a fine arts camp one summer. During one of the sessions, the leader asked about ten of us to do something that would attract the attention of the other hundred or so people in the room. The task of this hundred plus audience was to ignore us as much as possible and only pay attention when one of us really did something worthy of their notice.

You can easily picture the scene in your mind. Those of us who were trying to get attention were getting in the faces of our audience, shouting, pleading, urging. Then one young man did the unthinkable. He got up from his chair and sat down right in the middle of the room. He did not say a word. He just sat there while the rest of us were continuing to flail and wail and jump and jive to get someone to notice us. You can probably figure what happened. Every last member of the audience turned his or her attention to the man sitting quietly in the middle of the room. He had won.

There is so much hype surrounding us today that it seems as though there is very little truth in advertising. This could be a key to the successful marketing of your business. By simply and plainly telling the truth, you can and will stand out from the crowd.

A character played by Walter Brennan used to say, “No brag, just fact.” Joe Friday of “Dragnet” fame was famous for saying, “Just the facts.” This should be your motto for promoting your business. When it comes to self-promotion, exaggeration is simply not necessary. If you’re good, the facts will prove it. If you’re not, no amount of yelling or ADS WITH ALL CAPITAL LETTERS IN THEM will make you good.

When you are looking for someone with whom to do business, don’t you go in search of someone you can trust? So does everyone else. We all want someone who will deliver what they promise. To me, that is the bottom line of what we should all be seeking to get across to our target audiences. Tell them what you will do for them, and then do it. Actions STILL speak louder than words, no matter how many exclamation points you put at the end of your sentences.