Create Amazing Mind Blowing Business Cards NOW!

Business Card by kvanhorn.

Lately I’ve had business cards on my mind because I need new ones and

unless it’s your fist job you probably hate ordering them too. They’re boring and they just sit in a placeholder or pocket anyway.

Then it hit me.

When most folks are getting theirs on the cheap, figuring they just need “a business card” to hand out, you NEED to spend extra time and more money! Have brainstorming meetings with staff, friends and/or family, hire a designer and create business cards that are as bold as you want your business to be! Throw out the rules and make an impact! Keep it on brand, but come up with cards that are sure to be remembered and, even more importantly, get cards you are proud to give out! You can engage your customers through your business cards, you don’t have to settle for just informing them!

I know it sounds extreme, but consider this…

Front of New Business Card by Brian

Your reflection: There’s a good chance you have a stack of business cards sitting on your desk, counter or next to your cash register for customers to take as they exit. Shouldn’t that stack of paper be an incredible reflection on you & your business? Don’t you want your customers to take them because “they’re cool” actively and hand them out to friends / family? Isn’t that what you were trying to get them to do with your last batch of flyers? Why not your business cards?

An extra $100 goes a long way! Where else in your company expenses can you say that? Business cards are INEXPENSIVE and should be treated with more care and dignity than that last flyer you handed out! A quick Google search for business cards reveals amazing deals and with just a little clicking around you will be amazed by the options you will find!

As simple as a logo: You don’t need to have your information etched into a razor blade to make an impact (although that would be pretty impactful). An unexpected shape, clever design or intriguing theme could strike a memorable chord with your customers! For example, if appropriate, consider recycled paper with the symbol to show you’re engergy & cash conscious.

It’s advertising! How many times have you grabbed another business card on “the way out” of somewhere to remember the place you were just in? Perhaps you recommended a former vender to someone and handed over their business card?

Old Gallagher Irish Tavern business card by currybet.

Check this out, a business card that’s actually useful!

Didn’t you cut that…: billboard campaign? …last round of tv or radio spots? Maybe you passed on updating your sign? If you’re spending less, your face to face time with customers / clients needs to increased! Generally speaking, the lower you’re marketing budget the more of it you should invest in yourself!

Second impressions: When you’re not around and Joe Client pulls your business card out of their pocket, or digs it out of a desk drawer, they may very well be fuzzy on the details of your meeting or even on the fence about calling you. Now days, weeks or even months later they’re remembering you from your crappy boring business card!

Some Tips & Examples

Avoid cheap clip-art: This isn’t about handing out little computer cut-outs with your phone number on the screen if fixing computers is your business.  Keep it simple, clever & professional and get direct feedback from 10 people you don’t know if you’re unsure about your design.

Less is more: Unsure if “x” information should be on your card? Then it shouldn’t! Put that on your website!

Platonic Business Cards by cmpalmer.

Get as creative as origami! If you really want to go the extra mile, which you probably should, and you really really really want to wow ’em (I’m talking to you Designers, Consultants, etc.) at the bottom of this post I’ve included a number of links to AMAZING MIND BLOWING BUSINESS CARDS, yes – business cards!

How crazy should I get? I suggest getting a stack of your competitors cards, find the coolest & most impactful ones and kick up another notch!

Email me your business card designs & I’ll post them on the bottom of this article. Here is the front of my new card, I was going for clean & clever, how’d I do? Let me know what you think! Did I live up to my own advice?

Front
Front - phone # left off intentionally

Update! Check out this NEW POST! > Amazing SOCIAL MEDIA Business Cards and Concepts! Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Mobile and more!

Finally, here some incredible links to AMAZING MIND BLOWING BUSINESS CARDS, yes – business cards!

Good luck!

-Richard (@richardbouchez)

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Now What!? photo by Sara Frantzman
second biz card phot by by Brian “DoctaBu” Moore
business card with map photo by by currybet
origami business card photo by cmpalmer

Create the “Where the Hell Did You Get That Idea” Ad

It’s fairly common to see an ad that has absolutely nothing to do with the product it’s supposed to be selling. Often referred to as “concept creative” or “high concept advertising” ads of this nature can fail miserably in two ways: an ad leaves the wrong impression about the product (such as a silly ad for a serious product) or the product is lost in the creativity of the ad. So why am I about to suggest you try it? Because when done right the results can be amazing and the process is a blast!

Sound like it’s over your head? It’s not and you can apply this technique to video, print, radio, or whatever! Here are a couple of great examples from the Google Mobile Blog:


These videos aren’t just memorable and entertaining; they also showcase new and different ways of looking at these gadgets, which is exactly how Google wants you to associate their mobile efforts. You can find more Google videos like this here: http://www.youtube.com/user/MobileTrix

Here’s a memorable way we showcased the slogan, “Accurate, Balanced, To the Point,” for a holiday promo:

Ok, here are some tips just to get you started:

  • First narrow down what you are selling. Notice the Google videos focus just on phones in simple surroundings and the holiday promo focuses on just 3 words. The simpler you make it, the more memorable the ad will be and the more your product will stand out.
  • Start with a long list of common metaphors, comparisons and relationships that are easily relatable to your product, but preferably not in the literal sense. For example a fire truck is obviously related to hot sauce. Keep it simple, make sure it’s obvious.

Once you’ve gotten to this point, you just need to avoid a couple pitfalls:

  • Pick an overall theme that’s appropriate for your product or brand. In other words, don’t get goofy with a serious product or try to shock the audience when selling a conservative product.
  • Be aware of your target audience’s age and make sure you’re age appropriate.

Test your concept! The best way to find out if you’re idea is “on target” is by rounding up potential customers and asking them, not by asking your immediate family and friends. I also highly recommend posting your ideas as discussions in LinkedIN groups and asking for feedback from peers & marketers.

Want a non-video example? Here’s an entire website built using “being in the doghouse” to connect to potential customers. Women can put their guy “in the doghouse” and suggest gifts that will get them out of the doghouse. Check it out at: http://bewareofthedoghouse.com

Here’s one of my all time favorite ads:

In this clever ad, a fight breaks out between the bear and a guy over salmon… you may ask yourself what does that have to do with John West brand and the answer is “it’s so good you do anything to get it” – a good reinforcement of their message.

At the end of the day only one thing matters and it’s the answer to this question: Did the audience remember your product?

Good luck!

If you are interested in clever ads I highly recommend visiting NowThatsaCoolIdea blog where I ran across the Doghouse website.

-Richard (@richardbouchez)

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Click here to connect to me on LinkedIn, using Richard at RABpromo.com as the email address. Please mention InovediaMarketing.com or follow me on twitter by clicking here (@richardbouchez).

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Blogs to Facebook, Where Your Biz Should Be and How to Start

Ok, perhaps you have a website… what’s next? You’re certainly aware of blogging, Facebook and other social networking. Perhaps you’re even considering starting a blog, but what should you do with it? The first thing to do is read “If I Started Today” by Chris Brogan. I’m going to describe Chris as a “Crowd-sourcing Leaking Sieve of Social Marketing Tips, Tricks and Information.” With his vast expertise, a common sense approach and his own hindset in mind Chris walks you step by step through the “what’s and how’s” of getting online & marketing your business through blogging, Facebook and Linkedin. Chris includes simple strategies and tools that will set you on the right path and point out other social networks you should venture onto from there.

“If I Started Today” By Chris Brogan

Here’s what I’m going to do. I’ll build three different scenarios out, and give you the starting points for what I’d do with social media if I were in these steps.

This really is a remarkable resource as is Chris’ blog at www.chrisbrogan.com. If you found this, or any of our articles useful, Linkedin recommendations are greatly appreciated! To view my Linkedin profile visit: www.Linkedin.com/in/richardbouchez For help marketing your business or to learn more about me click here.

-Richard

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You may also be interested in our article: 7 ways Linkedin Will Work for Your Small Business

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7 Ways Linkedin.com will Improve Your Small Business

Claiming a community of 30 million, Linkedin.com is a social network for professionals offering small business owners vast potential for increasing their bottom line whether they have national, regional or local customers. Here are some straightforward and some “more clever” ways you can tap into that 30 million users to get real results for free.

  • Make a More Personal Connection: Don’t just offer your Linkedin connection to colleagues and peers. Offering a connection to everyone from customers to clients and venders is a great idea! Doing so shows customers you are online, and more importantly, it’s a meaningful gesture sure to give you an edge on the competition who is probably not engaging customers in the same way. Remember, and this relates to your business too, at a restaurant everyone wants to know the owner!
  • Make a Great Impression and Improve Your Image: Once you have a Linkedin profile, encourage customers, clients and venders to give you a “Linkedin” recommendation. Here’s why: If I’m looking for a home builder and I Google “custom + homes + your area” your Linkedin.com profile will help you appear toward the top of that search. If I Google your name, there is an even better chance you will be at the top of that search where I can be very impressed by: your many flattering customer recommendations, your well defined business description, expert answers you’ve provided to Linkedin questions (see next tip) and direct links I am now presented with to your website.
  • Answer Linkedin questions: Regardless of what your business does this will build your brand and promote it in the Linkedin community. One could argue that this is particularly relevant for B2B and national services, but certainly anyone can benefit. By answering questions related to your product, brand or service you are placing your name in front of a large attentive audience and effectively soft selling your services to potential customers! You can also directly offer your services to “question askers” but be sure that your “answer” is actually helpful to the asker or you will be doing yourself a PR dis-service.
  • Keep Track of important and “not so important” contacts: By connecting to practically everyone you meet via Linkedin you will build yourself a “one stop shop” for keeping track of customers, clients or whomever. You don’t have to keep up with them because as they update their own information it will be available to you. When that time comes for you to make some quick cold calls, reach out for a favor, check in on a customer who hasn’t been by in a while, or quickly push excess product, their information will be sitting there waiting for you!
  • Test Your Ideas: Join a Marketing group and utilize the “start a discussion” feature to act as a focus group for your marketing materials to test new ideas you have for expanding your business before you take the leap. You will be putting your ideas in front of a large well spoken community of professionals, many of whom are upper level executives and creative types in large agencies who you may otherwise never be able to connect!
  • Connect with other Small Biz Owners: By Joining a Small Business Group you will find many small businesses owners and other small business resources readily available to you. Some of these will be local to you and some won’t but having the wide and diverse group will serve you well.

You may also be interested in:

Christine Pilch’s Top 10 mistakes people make on LinkedIN

Chris Brogan’s Elements of a Good LinkedIn Recommendation

LinkedIN’s blog http://blog.linkedin.com/.

Guy Kawasaki’s 10 ways to use LinkedIN

To view my Linkedin profile visit: www.Linkedin.com/in/richardbouchez If you found this, or any of our articles useful, Linkedin recommendations are greatly appreciated! For help marketing your business or to learn more about me click here.
-Richard

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Video Tips: “How to” and Demonstrational Videos

Whether you are going to pick up a camera yourself or put the camera in someone else’s hands, professional or amateur, here are some tips to help you keep your message front and center.

  • Narrow your focus. Don’t talk about all of your services in one video; create many videos that each demonstrates one service. More choices = more inviting.
  • Have a plan! Try your best to script and map out everything. To get a more natural performance in a longer video, I suggest using discussion points instead of cue cards that have the whole script written out word for word. Shorter projects should be memorized whenever possible because it’s both obvious and distracting when someone is reading directly off cue cards.
  • Schedule extra time! You’ll be surprised at how quickly time flies, if you have plenty you won’t have to worry about how many takes… it takes. You may even be able to accommodate new ideas that strike you in the moment. The less rushed, the more natural the performance and the more you have to repeat lines, the more comfortable they’ll be read.
  • Do a trial run! Television shows often shoot pilot episodes, you should too. This will reveal obstacles and give you a good idea of how much time and resources your project will actually take. You may find yourself scaling back or gearing up to ensure success!
  • Keep it simple! Keep the area that will be on camera clutter free, well lit and reasonably quiet if possible. Be sure that everything shown on camera actually needs to be there. Conditions will vary greatly from project to project but think about this… Lighting can take a project from good to great, clutter can kill your message and background sounds can be added later, where adding dialog later may be much more difficult.
  • Shoot tight. Make sure everything you’re showing and demonstrating is clearly visible. If you’re showing me how to roll sushi, tighten in on the working area… in this scenario, if your face is on camera the shot is probably too wide for me to really see the demonstration. Web videos are often small when viewed and because the quality is fairly low you need to make sure viewers can see what you’re showing.
  • Virtually every video camera has an input for headphones. Get an inexpensive pair of “over the ear” headphones. Make sure the videographer is wearing the headphones during the shoot. This is the best way to identify audio problems allowing you to reshoot if need be.
  • Keep segments short! Break up videos into multiple parts making sure individual segments can “stand alone” then also upload the entire video as a single clip (if possible), this will give the user the choice that works best for them. Clearly mark each video with details such as “Large file” or “Part 1, length 3 minutes” so viewers know exactly what to expect.
  • If there is editing involved, keep transitions and other effects to a minimum. A good transition is one you don’t notice.
  • If someone else shoots the video for you, professional or amateur, make sure you will receive all of the footage. Be sure to include this requirement in your upfront negotiations. There may come a time when you need that footage, you could be in a bind if videographer is unavailable.

Remember, video projects can be as complicated as you make them. If you focus on keeping your message clear and concise, you should have a winner every time. This is in no way meant to be a comprehensive list, just general tips on producing better “how to” videos for the web for folks who have little or no experience putting together projects like these. Please share this article by clicking the + button below my name.

-Richard

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Web Video: Choosing a Videographer

A question posted on http://www.Linkedin.com inspired this article:How much does it cost to shoot a video for our own website?”

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question due to the many variables in any given video project. Without more specifics, we may speculate about other costs costs beyond the videographer such as equipment rental, lighting, locations (if permits are involved), and extra help such as gaffers or grips if it’s a particularly high-end project.

Here are some guidelines, assuming this is a relatively low budget production involving one camera in a location which you have full access at no cost to you:

  • The key here is your plan, the better and more specific your plan the more cost effective your project will be – guaranteed! A well thought out plan can yield great advice from a seasoned videographer or set expectations from an inexperienced one.
  • The best way to shop videographers is via referral, there is no better way! The second best option is to use a combination of demo reel search and phone interview. It is important to view demo reels and look for your projects potential in the reel as there is a good chance you’ll run across someone who specializes in a technique that could take your project into “the next level.”
  • There is no “set price” for a shooter and even hiring the best doesn’t guarantee results. You may, in fact, be better off with an inexperienced “rising star” who will put every ounce of energy into getting you an amazing product because they need the work for their demo reel.
  • Negotiate! Occasionally you can find a shooter who will cut you a deal if they need the work and more often than not you can negotiate a half day rate.
  • If you’re shooting video, you’re going to need it edited… my suggestion is to get the best videographer possible. While you’ll probably have to pay the videographer by the day, you should be able to find an editor you can pay by the project. This will insure you have their attention until your project is completed to your standards.
  • I always recommend using an experienced videographer, but that doesn’t mean they have to use their equipment (which they will charge you for by the day). You could save big money on equipment, especially over a couple of days, for example, web projects do not require high end video cameras and an experienced videographer could get you great looking video, which could literally save you a couple of hundred bucks per day!
  • My final advice: overshoot, overshoot, overshoot! Consider future projects you where you may use the video you’re shooting and shoot extra elements now. You’ll be surprised at how much better future project will look and how difficult it will be to recreate elements found in your original video, no matter how good your team, lighting is unbelievably difficult to match.

This article was not meant to be an all inclusive answer, but advice and tips on getting you started. It is a part of series intended to help small business owners improve their marketing efforts utilizing the web, social marketing and other online tools. My portfolio is available at www.RABpromo.com, and I will gladly recommend videographers or producers in your area if I know of any. I am available for consulting, producing and multimedia project management.

-Richard

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Web Video: Customers as Spokespeople

“How do you take an existing customer evangelist / enthusiast and make them comfortable doing a video testimonial about your company and its services?” This question, posted on http://www.Linkedin.com, inspired this article.

There’s nothing like having your praises sung! Using testimony known as MOS, or Man on the Street, many businesses integrate real people into their commercials, infomercials and presentations. When done correctly, results can be extremely useful and cost effective.

For the inexperienced I do not recommend walking around your establishment with a camera or surprising your customers because the results usually yield video with poor lighting and more often than not, your customers will have nothing to say. At first don’t get too creative! Concentrate on getting good sounding audio with well lit video. Start with an interview type scenario in a well lit room; this may be inside a restaurant or outside a store during off hours. Make sure you have plenty of time and plenty of light.

Here’s what you do:

* You should be prepared with a number of bullet points that you are looking to get on camera. While you don’t want to fabricate answers you do want to put words in their mouth – literally. The key here is the producer… you want a producer who can get a subject to feel at ease in a conversation about their experience.
* Let your subject know they can say whatever they want as many times as they want, you’ll edit it later anyway.
This is the key: Tell them very specifically that during your conversation you will be suggesting lines or ideas to them and if they feel that they agree they are welcome to use your suggestion or make it their own.
* If you are trying this with little or no experience, over shoot this like crazy. Shoot wide and close and have your subject repeat the same lines over and over and over… the more they say the lines, the more comfortable they’ll be on camera. You are always better off having too much video! With a little practice, a good plan and enough time this will work for you.
* It’s a great idea to get everyone’s email address before shooting their video, so you can email them the final product in hopes they will spread your marketing message with their family and friends. Speaking of which, be sure to look around the web for places to upload your video where your potential customers may see it. Also, this doesn’t have to be a video project! There are creative ways to make this an audio project similar to a radio commercial! Finally, I highly suggest putting your videos on Youtube.com even if you can put video on your own website …I’ll write more about hosting video on Youtube and other ways you can utilize social marketing, and I may even include a post on “teasing” your content.

Good luck!

@richardbouchez

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