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Promotional Marketing

Invest in Your Marketing in 2018 (5 tips!)

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As a small business owner, how much should you be spending on marketing, and what specifically should you be spending it on? The answers will of course be a little different for every business owner, but there are some solid principles we should all be keeping in mind as we move ahead into the new year.

Today I’m bringing you five tips to help you plan to invest in your marketing – and it all starts with a must-do mindset change.

  1. Remember, marketing is an investment, not a cost.

Many small business owners and entrepreneurs categorize their marketing costs as an expense, just like anything else. But before you go any further with your budget planning, it’s time for a mindset shift!

Marketing is an investment in your business, meaning it will bring you huge returns, now and especially over time. As much as possible, don’t think of marketing as spending money, think of it as planning for your business’s growth.

  1. Keep track of how your prospects become customers.

Sketching out an effective marketing budget require you to track results throughout the revenue cycle of your business, from prospect all the way to customer.

You’ll be able to get this data from your marketing automation software, CRM, or you can simply commit yourself to keeping an eye on this information yourself.

As best you can, determine:

  • The number of website visits you’re getting each month.
  • The number of leads you’re generating each month, and the cost of getting them. For instance, website development, paid ads, your own time spent on discovery calls with these leads, etc.)
  • The number of these leads that eventually become paying clients.
  • The average value of a new paying client.

This information will help you make an educated guess about next year’s revenue,

  1. Be thorough when projecting your expenses.

This part isn’t always fun, but it’s necessary. Remember, since marketing is no longer classified in your mind as an expense (see #1, above) you can skip right over it as you tally up your other expenses. These might include:

  • Rent/mortgage.
  • Subcontractors or employees.
  • (Setting aside about 25-30% of your earnings for quarterly taxes in a great rule of thumb.)

Don’t forget those seemingly-small, infrequent budget items that can easy fall through the cracks when you’re planning out your budget:

  • Office supplies.
  • Postage and shipping.
  • Food and travel expenses for client lunches and meetings.
  • Membership dues for any professional associations you belong to.
  • Conferences, subscriptions to industry magazines, etc.

Finally, give some thought to those “unexpected” costs that tend to pop up (often when you really wish they wouldn’t). These can really knock your budget off-kilter if you don’t plan ahead and set aside money to cover miscellaneous expenses. These expenses might include anything from a broken laptop that needs to be replaced to a big rent increase for your office space.

Remember to review your budget once a month.

  1. Determine your income goals.

Let’s talk dollars and cents! What are your income goals for the first quarter of 2018? How about for the year? It’s common for small businesses with revenues of less than $5 million to spend 7-8% of that amount on marketing.

How much will that be for you?

  1. Understand the current (and future!) trends in your industry.

When setting your marketing budget, don’t be afraid to put some funds into trying out different technologies to keep up with the changes in your industry.

For instance, is email marketing a big part of your strategy? Maybe you send out an email newsletter or even touch base with your email list on a daily basis. Make sure you’re taking advantage of email tracking, scheduling, contact insights, and more.

A marketing budget should also include investments in traditional market techniques as well as the social media platforms where your ideal clients spend time. Always have a picture of your ideal client in your mind – what form of communication is she most likely to respond to? What would you most like to say to her, and what would she most like to learn from you?

At the end of the day, any marketing budget is all about your customers and clients. As a business owner you’ll spend lots of time tallying up the dollars and sense for your marketing budget, but it will all be completely worth it when you get to reach and serve your dream clients.

Want to chat about how you can invest in your business next year with powerful traditional marketing techniques (flyers, postcards, and more), cutting-edge visuals for your website or social media, or anything in-between? Click here.

Promotional Items = Walking Billboards

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Take a second and look around. You are probably at your desk reading this blog post or you are reading this on your phone. My bet is you have a few promotional items around that you may not realize are there anymore, but for one reason or another you kept it nearby. Me? Just at my office, I have an acrylic cup from one of my favorite vacation spots, a cup from the World Championship Goat Cook-Off, a couple of coasters, one representing my Longhorns, koozies from numerous clients, a client’s calendar and too many pens to count! At home, I have so many chip clips that I am never hurting for one when in need! Do I use them all? Yes! That’s what makes them effective. Even the notepad that I love so much I use it daily has the company’s logo on it.

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The Written Word – Making a Comeback

By | advertising, branding, Direct Marketing, email marketing, Graphic Design, Promotional Marketing, website | No Comments

I’ve noticed more and more lately that writing is sort of “last week.” It’s old school. Blame it on technology, if you like. Pick one: whether it’s cell phone texting,  word processing auto correct,  or spell check they’ve all contributed to the slow demise of a basic skill. Sometimes I wonder if a person realizes that they’ve sent me a business email that ignores the basics of spelling and grammar. When I get those emails IDK. I’m def not ROTFL. It’s okay to smile, we’ve all done it.

When is the last time you sat down and wrote something? Some of us write daily emails to clients, friends and colleagues, but are they well written? Do they sound professional? When is the last time you sat down and really tried to put your thoughts down, or explain something clearly and concisely? Well, the same technology that may have stolen our ability to write is also pushing us back in that direction.

As a graphic artist, I’m often asked to design logos and even web pages for entrepreneurs who are ready to launch their new dream businesses. They’ve got an idea and are so enthusiastic and passionate about getting started. When I ask what their web content will be like, their eyes glaze over for a second and then you can see it dawn on them that they’ve got to come up with (zoinks!) content? Panic! Words? Write something?

Do you blog? Do you keep your websites dynamic? Are search engines finding your page? Do you have printed marketing collateral like brochures? Do you need to send newsletters or sales letters? Do you need help?

Thankfully, there are still people who like to write and do it well. It’s a resurgence of the copywriter. These professionals can write just about anything. It’s what they do. Many of them are small entrepreneurs just like you. They’re easy to work with and can really make a difference for your business. We know the best and most creative folks who feel as passionate about what they write as we do about what we design. Ask us for referrals if you need help with a big job, or a small one.

Marketing: All Wheels need to be in orbit.

By | advertising, branding, corporate branding, design, Direct Mail, Direct Marketing, email marketing, full moon design group, Graphic Design, marketing, Promotional Marketing, social media, strategy, Uncategorized, website | No Comments

Introducing the Lunar Cycle: All marketing wheels need to be in orbit!
*Note: Our model is to serve as a summary of good marketing practices.

To be successful in business, you have always needed a marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy has always needed to promote your brand while protecting it at the same time. And the result of a truly successful marketing plan is a well recognized brand of a profitable business! Smaller businesses struggle daily to keep up with their marketing and branding. It’s easy to get focused on one particular method and forget about the rest. I am writing this blog today to stress that marketing strategies have not changed and as a business, you can’t survive on just one approach!

Full Moon Design Group’s Luna Cycle

Print doesn’t substitute your networking activities and web doesn’t substitute your print materials and social media does NOT substitute for all of it! Instead, you will want to make sure that they are all working together, in unison, promoting your brand and communicating the same message.

There are five different marketing wheels and each one orbits around your brand. Each of the five, have their own moving parts. We will be expanding this blog into several posts in an effort to start the conversation of each of the wheels and the components it is made of.

It all starts with your Company Culture. Developing a strong company culture will ensure that your company’s mission is brought to the forefront and that you are getting the Word of Mouth marketing that you want.

Next, you have your Activities. These activities consist of Special Events that you hold as a company, Charities or Non-Profit organizations that you and your company support, local Chambers that you are a member of, Professional Associations that make sense for your company and employees, Sponsorships that promote your brand to the right audience and Tradeshows that will help you get in front of your audience.

Your printed materials will consist of creative Ads, Direct Mail, Stationary, Brochures/Flyers/Pushcards, Promotional products and Presentation Materials. When engaging in your Activities, it’s always helpful to have printed material to support your brand. What printed material you have at each activity should be relevant and impactful.

Moving to the digital world, you now need to have a website. Your website should be clean, inviting and engaging to your current clients and prospective ones. Features of your website that should not be overlooked include a Blog, Newsroom and Email sign up form for your newsletter. In your Blog, you’ll be the expert and offer advice, your Newsroom will keep people abreast of the “goings on” in your company, and your Email newsletter will be a place for special offerings and information.

Expanding into the digital world, we find Social Media and boy does it get complicated and overwhelming! Social Media is an all access pass to the world. It’s a free medium for you to engage strangers, communicate your thoughts & ideas, and invite people in to really “get to know you” as a business. Social Media is now the gateway to higher rankings from search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Ask. To keep it simple, we’ve grouped Social Media into several descriptive categories…and this just scratches the surface!

The most familiar outlet is the Lifestreams/Microblogs which include Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. Within these Lifestreams, you will find Location Based applications like Gowalla, Foursquare, and Whrrl…great ways to promote your business and interact with the public. When blogging or offering useful white papers, Social Bookmarking is a great way to make sure people find you. Popular methods are Delicious or Stumbleupon. Moving on to more fun stuff, you’ll find the Media Sharing sites like YouTube, Ustream and Flickr. For businesses, it’s important to participate in Business and Niche Networking sites like LinkedIn, Ning & Spoke. And last, but not least, you have the Review based sites including Yelp, Google & Yahoo.

The sixth component of the Luna Cycle is Public Relations. Your public relations strategy should be coordinated with your marketing strategy and pushing the information out to the public. Full Moon Design Group has strategic PR partners in place that we work with frequently to ensure our clients get exposure in all aspects of their business, in as many places where their audience resides.

Hotel ZaZa – A Branded Success

By | advertising, branding, corporate branding, design, Direct Marketing, full moon design group, Graphic Design, marketing, Promotional Marketing, strategy | No Comments

A little over a month ago, I headed to Dallas with a very good friend. Since it was a girls’ weekend, we decided to pamper ourselves and stay at Hotel ZaZa. I had not heard of the boutique hotel before this trip, but after staying there for two nights, I’ll never forget it! From the interior design of the hotel, to the coasters in our room, to the vibe at the pool, Hotel ZaZa made sure you remembered to “Stay ZaZa”.

Chandeliers filled the hotel

>From the moment I entered the lobby I was engulfed by youthful luxury and style with magnificent chandeliers, velvet curtains, marble floors and vivid colors. Our room had a balcony filled with oversized furniture and overlooked the pool. I felt comfortable and spoiled!

When exiting the lobby for dinner and drinks that evening, we were met by the hotel’s very own car service. It’s a sleek black SUV with their “Stay ZaZa” tagline on the side doors and the skull of some horned animal on the grill. Complimentary car service again offers a luxurious and carefree feeling.

Hotel ZaZa’s Car Service

Having a room booked at the hotel that night was like having the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. We were automatically VIP status…or as Hotel ZaZa puts it “ZZIP”. The pool and restaurant area turned into one of the hottest night clubs in Dallas and we had front row seats! Once again, the hotel was a true destination.

Urban Oasis

Saturday brunch was incredible in their elegant restaurant. When it was time to pay the check, we were handed a promotional card that featured quotes from media write-ups about the hotel and a “Stay ZaZa” pen.

Pen, Matchbook & Promotional Card

While walking out, we found a matchbook and mini notepad once again with the famous tagline reminding you to “Stay ZaZa”.

Daytime at Urban Oasis was definitely the place where you went to be seen. Poolside cocktails and a free popsicle made me a happy camper! As the day went on, the pool grew smaller and smaller as more and more people joined the party. And Hotel ZaZa likes to host a party.

Balls of Fun at Hotel ZaZa

Around 2:30pm beach balls started flying from a 2nd floor balcony. I can’t believe how crazy I went over a beach ball. I even tried to take my new prize back to the room and was stopped and ask to leave the ball behind. When I inquired as to why, I was told that they were protecting their brand and didn’t want their logo to “end up somewhere they didn’t approve.” I respectfully gave up the beach ball!

As someone that discusses the importance of branding daily and as a business owner that is working on our very own brand, I was thoroughly impressed with Hotel ZaZa and all they had done to enforce their brand and image.

I’ll be back…and I might take my little dog too!

All Dogs Go To ZaZa