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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Small Businesses: How to Make the Right Signage Choices

Custom Signs, Real Estate, Magnetic, Yard Signs

You may call your business "Joe Miller and Associates", but is that the right information for your building signage?
The answer is no.

If the name of your business doesn't say anything about what your business is, then chances are the average Joe (no pun intended) will have no idea if your business is a law firm, insurance company or travel agency. If you do not run a franchise with a recognizable name, consider ordering signage that is generic.

Three years ago, I would have said that branding is everything, but in a down economy your name is not much worth to you if no one is patronizing your business if they don't know what it is.

This advice is for business located in a strip mall, on busy highway or in professional building with other businesses. If you have a stand alone operation (you are the occupant of your office or store location) branding should be the highlight of your signage. But if you are running a restaurant in a strip mall with three or more stores your signage should be the type of food you serve.

Example:  Mary Ann's Bistro is a nice name - but if someone driving by on a busy highway saw it they wouldn't  know what type of food the restaurant served.  But if the sign said "Mary Ann's Italian Bistro" or simply "Italian Restaurant" in bold letters people will know what they can get from the place immediately.

There is a really great camera store that I drive by every day on a very busy highway called "Right Photo."  When I needed to buy my Canon PowerShot SX20IS , which is an awesome camera by the way with HD video with zoom function, I bought it from there. I noticed recently they placed a large free standing sign on the lawn out front that now just simply says "Camera Store".  The previous branded signage was on the top of the three story building that was hard to see driving directly in front of the store. This was very smart because the company name is not widely known but the simple lawn signage is eye level to most drivers.

Remember it doesn't matter what your name is if you are not putting $$$ into making your branding known.  Focus on getting customers in who have a need. I needed a camera - I could have bought it online but I wanted to go to a place with sales clerks with knowledge of the cameras.

If you own a non-franchise business signs like "PIZZA", "ITALIAN RESTAURANT", "TRAVEL AGENCY", "LOCKSMITH" can go a long way to drive new customers who don't care about your business name but only need the service you provide.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Small Business Owners: Don't Get Hosed By a Photographer

If you need to hire a professional photographer for an event, portraits or commerical photography you need to be clear about what you want back from the photographer.

A client hired a photographer to take photos of her work. She pays the guy his day rate (full or half) to take photos. That fee structure is typical.  The guy delivers all the photos website quality 72 dpi on a disk. I let the client know that she would need high resolution images if she wanted to do any printed material. She was unaware that her photos could only be used on a screen.

She put me on the phone today with the photographer and when I asked if he would deliver a disk with all the high resolution photos he explained that he provides a disk with all low resolution images for you to look at or use (again can only use the images for screen). He added that if my client would like high resolutions images she would select those photos and he will charge AN ADDITIONAL FEE.

OK she pays him his full rate - no matter what but his rate only includes low resolution images?  Keep in mind at the time she engaged him several months ago - she had no website and had no plans for one.  This is what I call getting seriously hosed because of misinformation.

The small business owner client didn't understand what she was getting until I told her. I also let her know that  Ihave hired many photographers and they have delivered dvds with all high resolution photos upon my request.

I understand that photographers have to get paid, but there is no way that it should be EXTRA to get a high resolution photo - #1 the photographer SHOOTS high resolution- PERIOD.  You can not shoot low resolution and make it high resolution. The pixels are not there to work with - it cannot be done. He is not doing anything to the image to make it high resolution. He may adjust color etc - but he is not making magic. Retouching is almost always extra, but sometimes unnecessary.

I advised my client to kick the photographer to the curb - PRONTO.

Before you hire a photographer:
  • Find out what you are paying for
  • Clarify you want high resolution images (you can always make them low resolution for the web)
  • Tell the photographer you would like a disk with all the high resolution images - no extra fee
  • If you don't need retouching and are happy the photos as is ...don't pay for retouching. Minor color balance and contrast adjustments should not/not be extra - PERIOD
If the photographer says that you have to pay for this and that ...move on. Find a photographer that is willing to work with you and not rake you over the coals in order to deliver the service you desire.

Check this Out:
The Art of Engagement: Bridging the Gap Between People and Possibilities - Free Book Summary

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Google Ups Search Ante with Instant

I have two words to describe Google Instant.

Holy Sh$T!

I started a search while signed into Google tonight and before I could type the THIRD LETTER in the search box results started showing below.

WHOA.... Then I saw a friendly note telling me not to be alarmed introducing Google Instant. As described by the geniuses themselves, Instant..." is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. We are pushing the limits of our technology and infrastructure to help you get better search results, faster. Our key technical insight was that people type slowly, but read quickly, typically taking 300 milliseconds between keystrokes, but only 30 milliseconds (a tenth of the time!) to glance at another part of the page. This means that you can scan a results page while you type."

If you haven't paid attention to where your website appears in google search results - get off your duff now and figure it out. (Have you heard about the search engine ranking loophole?)

Instant will be a hit for fast search results. My prediction? Sponsored links may suffer - Instant says search results save 2-5 seconds - I believe this will work against sponsored links. I think peeps will spend less time on the search page because results will appear faster. There are MILLIONS of other websites that Google ads appear so they won't be heading to the poor house any time soon. But I do believe there will be less clicks on sponsored ad ON Google search pages.

Care about your search engine optimization today or die tomorrow - PERIOD.

Check this out for starters:
Website Traffic is the single commodity that no one seems to have enough of, yet also one of the most written about ebooks on the planet.

Here's the bottom line...
If you want whatever the latest greatest ebook is about getting traffic, just let me know and I can go find it for you and you can waste your money on it.... BUT...

If you want to skip all of the crap and simply go directly to the source and flood your site with as much traffic as you can stand, then simply read this click here.