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Marketing and Social Media: Using Hashtags on Business Signage

  
  
  

social mediaSocial media marketing is an excellent way to reach people who might not have otherwise heard about your business.  In a recent study, Mediabistro found that 71 percent of social media users purchase items from brands they follow. One of the ultimate ways to be found, most notably on Instagram and Twitter, is with the use of a hashtag. Are you asking yourself, “What the heck is a hashtag?” It’s not as complicated as it sounds. A hashtag is simply adding a hashmark, or the pound sign (#), before a word or phrase.  This categorizes your post or tweet so that it is easily found by those interested in the topic. For example, a lot of our information is for businesses in the southwest Florida region. Therefore, on Twitter we often use the hashtag #SWFL.

Hashtags are a valuable addition to any marketing campaign and can really ramp up your visibility on social media. It’s also a great way to promote a new product, menu item, or any special promotion. You can even include hashtags on your signage to encourage even more customers to engage with your brand on social media. Signage is already an excellent marketing source for your business, but if you’re ready to give your business an added boost, it might be time to come up with a hashtag for your business. Here are some tips for ways you can use hashtags on your businesses signage. 

Hashtag the Business
Creating a hashtag for your business isn’t rocket science; it can be as simple as placing a hashmark before your business’ name.  Make sure people know you are on Twitter and encourage them to follow you and tweet a review using your brand, new hashtag.  Having your own hashtag also makes it easy to track what people are saying about you on social media and to problem shoot as needed. 

Hashtag a Giveaway
Have a big contest or giveaway coming up that you need to promote? Create a hashtag for the event. You can also ask entrants to tweet about the giveaway and use your hashtag as a form of entry. 

Hashtag New Items or Promotions
Your customers love learning about new products and specials you’re running, Why not promote it all with a hashtag? The hashtags make the traction of the special or product easier to track and find.  

Print marketing items are a great way to draw people into your business and incorporating your social media marketing efforts will take that over the top. Hashtags are extremely useful for visibility and spreading the word and adding them to your signage gives you some edge over your competition.

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Avoiding Clutter in your Marketing Signage

  
  
  

tacky sign clutterWhile signs can be a great way to bring in new business and upsell within your store, balancing the design, placement and number of signs that you display can be a science. We’ve already discussed the design elements that are required to create a really effective marketing sign, but knowing how to display your signs can be as important for their effectiveness as sign design. In order to avoid clutter in your marketing signage, here are some tips that might help when it comes to positioning.

One type of sign at a time.
Unless you own a full strip of stores located next to one another, you’ll want to make sure to limit the quantity of each sign that you post relative to the size of your store. For example, if you have a banner up, you probably shouldn’t put up another banner to promote another special until you remove that banner. Cluttering your storefront can detract from the visual appeal of your location. The same applies for inside your store. Position signs far away from one another and limit the quantity that you have in your store. One or two signs in a single space are more than enough to promote your store specials and deals to your customers.

Limit outdoor display of multiple promotions.
This is important. While you may have multiple promotions that run at the same time, posting multiple banners, banner stands or other signage outside your store to promote them could cheapen your brand and make you appear as though you’re hurting for business. Keep in mind that simple is better. Don’t confuse your potential customers by throwing too much at them at once. If you’re worried that one promotion won’t be enough to get them, find a great copywriter to help you position a single sign to promote multiple sales. 

marketing signageTake a step back.
If you’re not sure how your signage appears or whether or not you are displaying too many signs outside your store, take a step back and look objectively at your storefront. Does it appear cluttered with more than one of the same sign? Are there too many promotions being communicated? Stepping back, snapping a photo and even consulting friends and family are great ways to get insight and make sure you’re not cluttering your storefront.

Above all: remember that less is more. There’s a lot to be said for negative space and a clean appearance in your store. While you probably want to encourage your customers to return and have many ideas for special deals and promotions to offer your loyal customers, remember that clutter can be stressful and overwhelming. Honor your brand by keeping things simple, keep all your ideas in a scheduled content calendar and offer your customers each promotion in different ways to avoid a cluttered storefront.

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3 Ways to Retain and Increase Gym Memberships

  
  
  

178371905 resized 600Retaining current memberships and reaching new prospects for new memberships are probably the two most difficult parts of owning and managing a gym. Traditional advertising methods like radio and print advertisements can be costly. While some larger chain gyms might have the resources to spend on traditional advertising, smaller gyms have to be creative when it comes to their advertising budget. Here are a few simple ways to maximize your marketing budget and retain or increase membership in your gym.

Special Promotions.

Take the time to create regular membership promotions every single month throughout the year. If those considering a membership with your gym have an incentive that changes on a monthly basis, it might be just what they need to push them over the edge to sign up. Present these specials in such a way that guarantees maximum exposure. Some great ideas are with mounted banners and signage outside your gym.


Referral Programs

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Here’s a staggering statistic: 65% of new business comes from referrals. And another: 92% of those surveyed trusted referrals from people they knew. Those two percentages are huge! Take advantage of these statistics and make your existing membership base work for you by incentivizing them to bring more business in. Referral cards can serve as a reminder to your existing members to help promote you gym.

Loyalty Programs

Getting existing members to stay members is one of the hardest things that you can do, but the fact of the matter is that it’s worthwhile. In fact, it’s up to 7x more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep existing customers happy. Loyalty programs are a perfect way to keep customers engaged and coming back. Some good ideas for loyalty incentives for gyms could be merchandise and nutrition purchases or even discounts on membership renewals.

Whatever you decide, make sure that you promote your special deals and programs in a way that works with your budget. Use banners, signage, e-mail marketing and social media to get the word out and increase your membership base while also retaining your existing members. If you’re looking for more small business marketing ideas, check out our resource section on our website

Three Ways to Promote Loyalty Programs

  
  
  

small business marketing

Rewarding the customers that come and spend their money in your business is crucial. Here’s a striking statistic: a customer that has purchased from you only once has a 27% chance of returning. Someone who has made three purchases from you has a 54% chance to make a fourth. What’s more is that a returning customer spends 20% more than a first time customer. Why are these statistics so important? They tell us that we should spend more of our marketing budget on our most loyal customers, since they’re not only more likely to return, but also more likely to spend more money. Loyalty programs are the perfect way to keep customers coming back. It allows retail businesses to create incentive offers and rewards programs that bring customers back. Getting the word out about your loyalty program can prove difficult. Employees can be unreliable and traditional advertising can be extremely expensive. Here are a few great ways that restaurants can promote loyalty programs.

Signage.

There is no better way to capture the attention of your existing customers than in the place that you first met – your retail location. Promoting loyalty programs starts at the scene of the crime. When people are making purchases, they love to hear about discounts and special promotions – so sign them up while you have them engaged. A customer considering a purchase might see a sign promoting loyalty programs and be pushed over the edge if they’re torn between your store and a competing store. By placing signs throughout your location, you can almost guarantee success.

email marketingE-mail.

If you’ve been diligent in getting the e-mail addresses of your customers or have hosted a contest that has yielded customer e-mails – take the time to nurture your customers by marketing your loyalty program to them. Send out regular reminders about your loyalty program via e-mail to all of your contacts. If you offer a sign up bonus or special reward incentive, you’ll be even more likely to have success.

Social Media.

Don’t forget your loyal fans and followers on Facebook when you’re marketing your loyalty program. Social media is the perfect way to get new member sign-ups. Even if they have not yet shopped at your location, just having them signed up for your loyalty program allows you to re-market to them and could even help build ecommerce business for online storefronts.

When it comes to marketing on a small budget, it’s all about thinking outside the box. We’ve already learned that loyal customers are your greatest source of revenue. Take the time to establish a great loyalty program and market it effectively and you’ll be well on your way to repeat business and increased sales.

 

Need more small business marketing ideas? Check out our ideas page.

Restaurant Marketing Signage: Tacky or Effective?

  
  
  

466356267As a restaurant owner or general manager, you struggle to come up with promotions in your day-to-day marketing. From managing staff to planning menus with the chef and coordinating with management – it’s hard to come up with specials that will keep your regular customers coming back and bring in new customers at the same time. If you’ve already added upsell elements to menus and table tents to your tables, you might be looking for other ways to market. Some people have suggested signs and banners, but you might be wondering if it will cheapen your brand. Here are a suggestions for what to do and avoid when it comes to marketing signage.

DO: Create tasteful, branded signage with compelling specials.

No matter which medium you choose, whether it’s banner, banner stand, foam board, PVC or high end metallic, you want to make sure that your colors and design suit your brand. Nothing sticks out worse than colored signage that clashes with your décor, building color or logo. Be sure to carefully choose colors and sign layouts to maximize the real estate that you have with a compelling message that elicits action. Check out our blog for insight on what to include on your signage.

462512723DON’T: Be overly promotional.

Like a pushy used car salesman, no one likes to be oversold. Use copy that suggests deals and specials with creative marketing rather than generic sales copy. Your prospective customers want marketing that tells a story. Pick a theme for the month or quarter and use it throughout the banners and signage that you print. Printing generic signs with the words “SALE” or “SPECIAL” come across as desperate and can cheapen your brand. Campaigns are more refined and give customers what they want while promoting your specials in a way that is more indirect.

DO: Work with a professional designer or advertising company.

Often it’s worthwhile to work with a professional designer or outsource your graphics and design to a skilled marketing and advertising professional. Try to find a company that specializes in graphics and marketing for hospitality and restaurants so that you can best position yourself for success. Work with them directly to plan your campaigns and create graphics for signage that help them stand out without being too salesy.

DON’T: DIY it all.

DIY is great when it comes to crafting and the home, but your restaurant is a legitimate business that you want to be taken seriously. Unless you’re very experienced, don’t create signage or promotional material yourself. While it might save money in the short term, it has a stigma attached to it that isn’t the ideal image for your restaurant.

It’s no secret that marketing is difficult. You’re a small business with a lean budget that has to be maximized. Don’t just print a bunch of signs to post around your neighborhood and restaurant. Be sure to take our tips into account and consider your signage carefully before printing and displaying it. 

 

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Sign Design 101: Elements to Include in Signage

  
  
  

178707057There’s no doubt that signage can be an effective way to increase your reach by capturing interest from those passing by your storefront. But when it comes to determining what goes on that sign, you want to make the most of the real estate that you have. If you’re going to invest in a banner or other signage, there are a few things you’ll want to include on your signs, depending on their location and what your goal is. Let’s explore some great way to maximize your marketing budget by determining which elements to include in signage.

462018963Understand the goal.
Determine what the goal of your sign is. Whether you’re promoting an event, a special sale or a new product launch, you want to make sure your message is clear and that there is added value to the customer. Sales should be clearly communicated with a mention of a percentage off a purchase or buy one get one sale. While the end goal is to get people into your store front, knowing the value for the customers will set the appropriate expectations in understanding what a customer stands to gain from entering your store. Be honest, direct and compelling in your word choice for your banner.

Always have a call to action.
If you understand your goal, you know what you want your customers to do. Take your sign or banner a step further by asking your customer to do that. “Shop now” and “Save big” are perfect call to action messages for big sales. By letting the customer know what they should do, you eliminate any guesswork and ask them to take action rather than throwing a message out there and hoping they connect the dots. 

Provide information based on location.
If you have a large banner on a building that isn’t necessarily directly in front of your store, consider providing location information on your banner or giving directions to your customers. Signs that are not directly located on your building or suite should provide directions or even a phone number so that those seeing the sign are clearly directed to where they need to go or can contact your store for more information.

Choose colors and font that support your message and branding.
In order to have signage that stands out, its important to know which colors complement your current branding colors. You’ll want to make sure to incorporate these complementary colors in your sign and choose a font that’s can be read from a distance. While fancy fonts are tempting, it’s often more effective from a distance visibility standpoint to stick with basic fonts that clearly communicate your message.

Take these tips into account in order to create the most effective signage possible. With marketing budgets at a premium, you want to make sure you get the most from the investment that you’re making. By understanding your goal, defining a clear call to action, providing the right information and choosing colors and fonts that support your message you will get the most from the signs and banners that you print.

Is Trade Show Marketing Still Relevant?

  
  
  

trade show marketingTradeshows. Are they a necessary evil? Some might suggest that tradeshows are a waste of time. Their viability in marketing for small businesses has been questioned. Tradeshows have been criticized as too costly, too time-consuming or filled with “tire kickers” that aren’t interested in your products and services. But the facts are a little hard to ignore. Let’s explore some of the statistics that give us insight about the audience at tradeshows and determine some tactics that might be more effective for engaging that audience. 

Your audience.

When tradeshows are criticized, many suggest that they’re only good for networking with others within your industry rather than a source of new business. But the statistics suggest otherwise:

  • 81% of tradeshow attendees have buying authority.
  • 67% of tradeshow attendees represent a new prospect and potential customer.
  • The number one reason for attending trade shows is to see new products.
  • 46% of trade how attendees are in executive or upper management.

The decision makers spend thousands of dollars to get to the tradeshow and plan to get the most from it. Take advantage of the time they’re spending educating themselves by being present at the show and providing something of value for them.

Stand out by educating.

One of the most difficult things about tradeshows is getting the attention of the attendees. You could stand there awkwardly pitching to each person that walks by, or you could take a different approach to how you engage those passing by.

Make your booth stand out. It’s not enough to show up and pitch. You have to have an engaging booth setup. Do some research about those that are attending the show and pick some statistics that are likely to appeal to their needs as a buyer. Display those statistics where they can clearly be seen on a screen or with a banner stand. Offer a printed resource or downloadable guide (via QR code) that answers the questions they’ll have and take the time to educate rather than pitch anyone that approaches you.

Use social media.

trade show marketingWhen you attend tradeshows, you can almost always guarantee that there is a Twitter hashtag for the event. Maximize your educational offers by using the hashtag and engaging and answering questions via Twitter. By engaging on social media, you prove that your company is utilizing up-to-date technology and increase your reach far beyond the confines of the tradeshow. A simple tweet has significant reach, especially when that tweet is retweeted by others! Event hashtags are a great way to connect with attendees and get more exposure.

While some might think that tradeshows and other traditional marketing efforts are dead, savvy business owners know that it’s just a matter of evolving. Be creative, stand out and use emerging technologies to capture of the interest of attendees and you’ll be getting tradeshow leads like never before. 

Effective Signage Options for Real Estate Marketing

  
  
  

real estate marketingAs a realtor, you balance your out of pocket expenses with the potential commission payout that comes when you sell or lease a property. But marketing expenses for each property can pile up quickly. Between website membership fees, advertisements in real estate magazines, signage, billboards and other marketing efforts – it’s a wonder you even make any commission after all is said and done. In order to maximize your marketing budget (and your commission), explore some unique ways to use signage to get the exposure that you’re looking for without blowing your entire marketing budget.

Directional Signage for Open Houses

Open House SignsIn order to get more prospects interested in your listing, you probably hold regular open houses. But a single sign on the lawn isn’t the best way to attract prospects. The traffic counts within individual streets of residential neighborhoods pale in comparison to major intersections. Rather than placing a single sign at the property itself, print directional signage for your open houses and use arrows to point traffic in the right direction from major intersections. Traffic counts for intersections surrounding a home for sale can be in the tens of thousands, while only a few cars might pass the home itself in a given day. Printing directional signs can maximize the exposure of your open house, which means a Saturday showing prospects your listing rather than a Saturday sitting alone in your prospect’s home.

For Sale Signs with Impact

With so many homes for sale in the Southwest Florida area, drive by traffic can zone out on a “For Sale” sign. Use design and color and to make unique “For Sale” signage for your listings and attract buyers with unique visual elements. You can also consider printing your signs in different shapes to give them more character and help them to better stand out for those that are passing by. Take advantage of color psychology to give your sign the best chance to get noticed. Did you know, for example, that yellow is the most visible color and the first color that the human eye notices? Red is a bold, powerful color that demands attention. Take a look at a few resources and balance your logo and branding colors with complementary colors that demand action.

Banners for Commercial or Multi-Family Realtors

For large apartment complexes or commercial buildings, you want to maximize the size of the building and any frontage that that building might have. Signage is the perfect way to announce availability on commercial buildings, retail strips and even apartment buildings. Property management companies and commercial realtors should consider using banners to get the most from the foot and vehicle traffic passing by.

Every dollar that you invest in marketing your properties has to be a dollar well spent. Signage has been proven to attract customers. Don’t believe us? Check out this infographic on the effectiveness of signage. Whether you choose to change the shape and design of your signs, get a banner to increase exposure for a large listing, or want directional signage to get more prospect in for your open houses – signage is one of the most effective real estate marketing tactics that you can invest in.

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Integrating Print & Digital: Mobile Loyalty Programs

  
  
  

482569031In an age of technology, customers want something new, exciting and full of features. While historically key tags and membership cards have been the only way to implement loyalty programs, new technologies are allowing for web and mobile integration. Customers want to be able to check the status of their loyalty program from their phone. But how does this all wrap into a small retail business’ existing loyalty program? Let’s explore how we can use our existing loyalty program elements in new ways with digital technology to make the most of modern marketing for mobile loyalty programs.  

Does it Have to be One or the Other?

For the last few decades, print has been threatened by digital presence. But there’s still something to be said for an in-hand marketing piece that your customers will be carrying around if their phone dies or isn’t immediately available. Key tags and membership cards can still be useful for supplementing a digital loyalty program by offering a physical reminder. By making the most of design and features with regard to these cards, you can maximize their use in conjunction with any application.

456056975QR Codes & Mobile Loyalty Apps

One of the great features of mobile loyalty programs is the ability to add QR codes. This melds the print and digital world and allows businesses to link websites, apps and other resources directly to the user with the code. By adding a QR code with a download link to your loyalty program mobile app, you can ensure that users have the ability to access the resources of the app with the physical benefits of having key tag access. If you don’t already have a mobile app for your loyalty program, you can link the QR code to your website or other resources that your users might find useful. 

These days it’s not enough to just have an amazing product or store. Cultivating loyalty customers is a must for any retail business, but in today’s climate retail stores have to go beyond the basics and integrate with emerging technologies. By establishing a mobile loyalty program that accommodates for both a physical element (membership cards) and a digital element (mobile applications), businesses can cater to a new savvy demographic and remain ahead of their competition, without losing essential elements for a loyalty program.

key tag printing

 

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The Truth Behind Wide Format Sign Advertising

  
  
  

177307146When it comes to promoting your business, getting the most for your advertising budget is a must. As you take the time to assess where that budget should go, you’ll want to explore how your budget should accommodate different advertising mediums. While print advertising has been under attack in recent years when compared to digital marketing, sign advertising is an often overlooked advertising medium that can be extremely effective. Let’s explore some of the statistics surrounding signage advertising and why it might be a viable option for many small businesses with limited budget. 

Signage is not your average print ad.

Readship in printed media continues to decline. If it weren’t enough that more and more households were getting their news from the internet, the increased popularity in mobile devices has almost assuredly send print periodicals into extinction.

86492263 resized 600On the Move.

As Americans engage more and more on the go with mobile devices, we find that time spent away from home and in the car is actually increasing. In fact, the average driver spends 540 hours on the road each year. On top of this fact, 20-45% of business for most retail shopping centers comes directly from unplanned stops on the road. How do you think these random stops occur? The answer is signage. 

Single vs Recurring Investment

Signage is a singular investment when compared to print advertising, TV commercials and direct mail. In a world where nothing is constant, a single investment in a wide format sign or banner could mean the difference between capturing an audience and not.

Impulse Shopping

It’s not just about traffic coming from the road, large retail plazas are a great source of traffic and most stores pay a premium for rent in those plazas. Make the most of the prime space that you’re paying for by marketing to those passing by with banners and signage.

Statistics don’t lie. While print advertising has become less popular in recent years, signage advertising will always remain a viable way to attract prospects driving by and in your retail center. Keep in mind that the single investment required from signage could yield exponentially in the long term as compared to the short term investment from other traditional advertising methods.

 

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