Wednesday, July 18, 2018

What is a Marketing Funnel

Marketing funnel design concept

When implemented correctly, a marketing funnel can increase sales and revenue for your business. Also referred to as a sales or conversion funnel, a marketing funnel is defined as:

"The process and experience from being introduced to your company up until eventually doing business with your company."

Marketing funnels are used by businesses across all sectors regardless of size. Generally people do business with companies and brands that they know, like, and trust, and a funnel is a mechanism that enables multiple interactions while fostering rapport and trust.

In this article, the marketing experts at Clash Graphics identify how companies use various media strategies to create marketing funnels and grow their businesses.

Stages of a Marketing Funnel

The complexity within a funnel depends on the resources invested in it. Some reach their conclusion within four or five steps, while others may have an intricate system of emails, text messages, and printed marketing material.

Here is a breakdown of a funnel’s stages and basic components:

1 - Awareness - This is when and how people are exposed to your brand (when they see, read, or hear something about it).

Marketing funnel awareness stage

The goal in this stage is to educate, identify a problem that can be solved, show value, and begin building a relationship with people new to your brand.

Awareness may occur via:

  • Television Ads
  • Radio Ads
  • Newspaper Ads
  • Direct Mail
  • Word of Mouth
  • Text Messages
  • Emails
  • Billboards
  • Flyers
  • Business Cards
  • Bumper Stickers
  • Online Pop-up Ads
  • Online Sidebar Ads

 

Building your strategy involves knowing the demographics of your desired clientele. Not only does this help you understand when and where to advertise, but it also helps you craft a perfect irresistible offer.

We see and hear these ads everywhere. “Click here for your free sample,” “Call now to take advantage of this great offer,” “Only twenty spots available,” and “Time is running out...”

2 - Lead Capture – (Often referred to as “Consideration”) When your traffic successfully interacts with your ad/pitch, by visiting your location, engaging and submitting info via your online sales page, downloading a coupon, or making a reservation for a product or service, they are getting to know you and your business.

Lead capture stage of a marketing funnel strategy

As this happens, a primary goal is to acquire as much of the following necessary information as possible:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Mailing address
  • Home Address
  • Company/Title

Attaining this information allows the funnel to "go to work”, wherein you send strategically personalized messages, reminders, and promotions to your new lead.

By this time, the need, curiosity, or desire for your product or offer is such that the lead is taking steps to engage and acquire it. Creating desire is easier once you have successfully built trust and the lead has gained confidence in your product as a viable solution.

3 - Conversion – (Often referred to as “Decision” or “Customer”) When your funnel effectively articulates the problem that a lead has and how your product solves it, the probability is greater that they will decide to make a purchase. Voila, this is conversion, and the lead becomes a customer or member.

Marketing funnel strategy conversion stage

4 - Retention – Repeat and longtime customers will play a significant part in your success. After conversion, follow-ups are an opportunity to further engage your customer without necessarily pushing a sale.

Marketing funnel strategy retention stage

The following are ways to follow-up digitally or by printed media with your customers:

  • Send a “Thank You” note or email, thanking them for their purchase and inviting them to see other products, use a special discount code, participate in a free webinar, etc.
  • Send a questionnaire about their experience. This will give you valuable insight to better the customer experience.
  • Send educational material regarding the item or service your customer purchased.

Without a retention component, your business risks losing cash flow and customers – which are more expensive to acquire and then to retain.

5 - Advocacy – If your funnel has sufficiently engaged and satisfied your customer, they will likely become a repeat customer, and some will instinctively rave, thus creating awareness to their coworkers, friends, and family.

Marketing funnel strategy customer advocacy

In essence, your customers can become a fundamental part of your previously paid for “Awareness”, as they introduce people to your brand – starting them down the funnel.

The more customers that are advocating for you, the more potential your company will have for exponential growth.

Funnels are Used Everywhere in Marketing

The following is an example of a marketing funnel that most everyone can relate to:

Credit Cards - All of your credit cards use funnels to get new members and keep existing members excited about using them. Let's break down the components and actions of this funnel example:

  • “Awareness” – Credit card companies will use TV, online ads, billboards, radio, etc. to present celebrities and catchy slogans in advertisements to create a sense of familiarity and trust.
  • “Lead Capture” – When you (the prospect) call, write, or request online more information regarding a service or product.
  • “Conversion” – When you apply for a service or product. In this case a credit card.
  • “Retention” – Once you are a customer, you will receive reminders and promotional offers via regular mail, email, and even by phone.
  • “Advocacy” – With great offers, ease of use, rewards, and seamless customer service support, credit card companies (like all companies) rely on you to rave about them, and many will offer incentives or bonuses for referring new customers.

Credit card marketing funnel strategy

All of this is meant to build a relationship of trust and familiarity, which are leveraged to get you to commit to new products and services.

Can You Afford to Not Have a Marketing Funnel?

Without a marketing funnel, even the most attractive business ends up handicapped in attracting and converting new customers, and is subsequently leaving revenue on the table.

It’s straightforward. For your business to be highly competitive and successful, there must be a funnel in one form or another.

Now that you understand what a funnel is in its basic components, it's time to start developing and benefiting from your own today. Sign up below while supplies last… (wink wink, see what we did there?!)

Sources:
https://buildfire.com/marketing-funnels/
https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33711/The-Steps-You-Need-to-Define-the-Stages-of-Your-Sales-Marketing-Funnel.aspx
https://autogrow.co/best-sales-funnel-examples/

http://plus.google.com/+Clashgraphicsprintshopatlanta

Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing
2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 235-3464

To view the original version on Clash Graphics, visit: http://www.clashgraphics.com/printing-tips/what-is-a-marketing-funnel/

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Branded Promo Materials and Give-Aways to Promote Repeat Business

Free promotional material give away

Custom promotional items are an easy and effective way to market and brand your company. They can also be an effective delivery system for promotions, create repeat business, and potentially increase your customer lifetime value (CLV).

Branding is by definition “The creation of a name, symbol, logo, or design which identifies and differentiates one product from its competitor’s products.” Making your brand visible, memorable, and useful through customer experience and promotional materials is an effective brand strategy that can attract new business and entice repeat business.

If your marketing strategy does not include the use of branded give-aways and promo items, you may be missing an opportunity to be seen and remembered when your customer needs your product or service.

In this article, the team from Clash Graphics offers valuable insight on how attracting new customers, the customer experience, and the CLV can be greatly influenced by the use of custom branded promotional materials.

Perfect Promotional Products for Your Customers

In any field of business, knowing the demographics, habits, trends, routines, and tendencies of your customers is fundamental to building an effective marketing strategy.

To illustrate how promo materials can be incorporated strategically, we will act as if we are marketing a local taco shop

TACO SHOP PROMO EXAMPLE -

Let's imagine this taco shop is in a busy business district, and the majority of their customers work in an office environment at a desk. Here are a few branded promotional materials their strategy could utilize:

Pen & Sticky Notes - Every Friday, all lunch deliveries would include a branded pen and pad of sticky notes. The majority of their lunch deliveries will be to offices, so including functional items that can be used every day is a no-brainer that keeps their brand in plain sight and on their customers minds.

Mouse Pad Monday - One Monday each quarter, everyone that orders to-go gets a branded mouse pad. The taco shop logo, lunch menu, and a compelling discount code is printed on the mouse pads. This incentive encourages repeat business, while allowing you to assess and track the effectiveness of the campaign using the promo code.

Promotional free material mouse pad

Punch Five Card - The customer carries a branded punch card (similar to a business card) and gets a punch with each entrée purchase. Once the card is full, it can be redeemed for a free entrée and another punch card. Numerous studies show this strategy is effective because humans want to complete incomplete loops, especially when it leads to a reward.

Taco Tuesday Office Kit - On Tuesdays, ten random lunch deliveries leave with an office kit (packed in a branded tote) including a pen, pad of sticky notes, mouse pad, note pad, coffee mug, lanyard, silicone wristband, and keychain, all branded with the restaurant’s logo, website and phone number. Also in the tote is a hand-written card from the manager thanking the customer by name.

Coffee Shop Placemats - The taco shop courts a nearby and popular coffee shop and strikes an agreement to print placemats for the tables of their coffee shop.

Printed on the placemats are product and strategic branding information for both the coffee and taco shop; include a fun game, puzzle, and a free item from the menu that is claimed using a promo code and their cell phone number or email address. Direct customer contact info is the best way to stay in touch and nurture a long-term relationship. Done properly, and this leads to repeat business and an increased customer lifetime value.

If the coffee shop needs more convincing, include a branded “free coffee” coupon in the delivery bag of every to-go order. This example shows how two non-competing companies that share a customer base can work in partnership to increase repeat business and reduce the expense of their marketing campaigns.

The following video shows statistics on a variety of promotional products.

How Give-Aways Can Promote Repeat Business

The message you are leaving with your customers after giving them relevant and useful promotional material (swag) is, “Thank you! Enjoy this token giveaway, and we welcome you to please come again.”

By using these materials, the customer has your brand in their hand, or within sight as it’s creating an impression. As long as their experience with your staff and product was pleasant, the grader the chances of them returning to your business.

When those items are interactive, like the “Punch Five Card” mentioned above, you have successfully added “renewable” incentive to the marketing formula. This is a vital component because of acquiring a new customer can cost you a magnitude of order more than the cost of encouraging an existing customer to return.

Watch this video to see how this restaurant attracts both new and repeat business.

Acquisition and Retention Statistics Prove the Value of Repeat Business

Customer acquisition can be far more costly than customer retention. According to research by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company a 5% increase in customer retention produces more than a 25% increase in profit.

Simply put, returning customers feel more comfortable purchasing from a company they have already done business with if they had a pleasant experience. They are willing to spend more, try new products, and when impressed, they refer their friends and family.

Consider acquiring new customers typically involves a much more expensive and involved marketing campaign including advertisements, billboards, digital marketing, direct mailers, etc.

Depending on the market and demographics you are targeting, a new customer can cost anywhere from 5 times to 25 times that of a returning customer.

Best Practices for Customer Retention

Return business can be inexpensively fostered by perfecting the following:

Customer Service - From from your business’ first contact with a patron, customer service must serve and exceed their necessities. Listening to them and getting their order or needs handled right, the first time, is a key factor to their subsequent return.

Staying Connected - For customers that have provided you with contact information, drop an email or text message ever-so-often - just to say hello, thank them, and reward or encourage them to provide you an open channel of communication to them.

You can sell them on a promotion or discount another time. This initial contact is to further the connection and forge a more personal interaction.

Once a deeper rapport is initiated, you can invite them to follow and engage on social media. Through your social media platform, engage, offer incentives, invitations, discounts, and reminders for upcoming events and invites to exclusive experiences.

Promo Strategies

There are several methods for generating sales, but capturing customer information and creating loyalty are also goals very important. To get the most from each promotion, ensure that your campaign is strategic and optimized. Here are a few promo strategies to accomplish this:

Promo Code Incentives for a New Account - By offering promo codes for your customers to access exclusive discounts and pre-release products, you create an exclusive appeal where they feel part of something special and compelled to return to your business.

Repeat customer QR code promotion give away

To join and claim the deals, required that they create a new account. In doing so, you have the opportunity to gather their contact information, sales data, and buying habits.

Promotional registration for online account

Promotional Events and Customer Appreciation - Organize a customer appreciation event in which custom promotional products and branded merchandise are given away or raffled.

For the event, incorporate a “Bring A Friend” component where your existing customer is incentivized with a free product or discount, when they bring their friend.

This is a very efficient, low-cost new customer strategy that you can depend on to deliver. The idea is that everyone tries something new, has an enjoyable experience, and equally as important, leaves with something branded that will keep your company visible and in your customer’s mind.

BOGO - The “Buy One Get One” promotion can be used as a powerful tool to draw in both existing and new customers, because who doesn’t like free stuff?

However, have a purpose to the promotion, and use the offer in a way that will allow for deeper future communication. Capturing social media profiles or Mobile devices is the most direct and meaningful contact information.

Promotional code online consumer

What Is the Lifetime Value of Your Customer?

Known as the Customer Lifetime Value or CLV, this is the predictive sum of the net profit from the entire relationship with a customer. Knowing the CLV allows business owners to adjust their marketing campaigns to either generate more repeat business, attract new customers, or increase the sales of returning existing customers.

Research by market experts like Shopify have shown that the average lifespan of a customer with an establishment or service is 1 to 3 years.

However, before calculating a customer’s lifetime value, you must first know a customer’s single transaction value. For this example, we will take the average transaction value and multiply this figure by the average number of transactions of a customer in a year.

In our simple example, we would then take that customer value and multiply it by 3 to attain a net customer lifetime value (CLV) for that individual.

The above is a simple equation to aide in the understanding of the importance of CLV. For a more comprehensive look at calculating CLV, Harvard Business School has a downloadable Lifetime Customer Value Calculator tool

Watch this video to further understand how a customer's lifetime value is defined and calculated.

Customer Experience and Promo Materials Can Promote Repeat Business

When your customers are given a reason to return, they will. In some cases, it is the rapport that is built with your team. In others, it is the convenience of the location in combination with the quality of the product or service.

Incentives like punch cards, functional and branded promotional items, BOGO’s, give-aways, etc. all serve the same purpose. That purpose is to create an environment in which your customer feels appreciated, rewarded by their loyalty, thus returning frequently, and adding to their CLV and your bottom line.

Sources:

https://blog.smile.io/easy-way-to-calculate-and-increase-customer-lifetime-value
https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrymyler/2016/06/08/acquiring-new-customers-is-important-but-retaining-them-accelerates-profitable-growth/#5838b20f6671
https://www.invespcro.com/blog/customer-acquisition-retention/
https://hbr.org/2014/10/the-value-of-keeping-the-right-customers

http://plus.google.com/+Clashgraphicsprintshopatlanta

Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing
2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 235-3464

To view the original version on Clash Graphics, visit: http://www.clashgraphics.com/printing-tips/branded-promo-materials-giveaways-repeat-business/

Monday, May 14, 2018

Screen Printing, Heat Transfer and Direct to Garment for Custom T Shirts

Whether you’ve been tasked with ordering custom printed t shirts for an organization, upcoming event, or you are starting your own t shirt line, this article will help you make an informed decision and eliminate potential mistakes and expense.

Printed custom t shirts retail display

Depending on the quality and number of shirts required, heat transfers or “heat applied film” can be more economical than screen or even direct to garment printing. , screen and direct to garment boast huge value in speed and scale.

Below we will explore their differences, advantages, and disadvantages to help you get the best results for your project.

The team at Clash Graphics compiled this guide to help you determine how to get the best options for custom printed shirts, and how to get it at the greatest value.

Screen Printing T Shirts

Also known as silkscreening, this process involves applying ink or paint to the shirt using a prepared screen. This method (in some form) has been in use for more than a thousand years.

Screen printed custom t shirts

With this process, each color in your design will require a different screen, increasing the initial cost. However, since this process works like a stencil, the higher quantity of shirts you order, the lower the unit price will be.

Because the media is transferred to and permeates into the fabric, your design will last much longer than that of a heat transfer. Take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of this process.

Advantages:

  • Colors used in screen printing are vibrant
  • High quality image
  • Long lasting results
  • Cost effective for large quantity orders

Disadvantages:

  • Setup costs are high when compared to other methods
  • Most printing companies will have require a minimum quantity order
  • Multiple colors require multiple screens, adding to the initial cost
  • Small quantities can be very expensive

Setup costs for this method are relatively high. For larger quantity orders, screen printing is ultimately the better option for its speed and efficiency. For lower quantity orders, the cost (in this case) may not justify the means.

T Shirt Heat Transfers

There are two primary methods utilized for heat transfers. The first involves using a heat press to transfer your custom vinyl cut out designs onto the shirt. The second uses specialized ink to print the design onto transfer paper, which is then placed on the shirt and heat pressed to the fabric.

Heat transfer custom t shirt design

Here are a few of the advantages and disadvantages of using heat transfer to create a custom shirt or garment

Advantages:

  • Different shirts in the same order can be customized
  • Designs with multiple colors are easy to execute
  • Complicated designs can be easily transferred
  • Great option and extremely cost effective for small quantity orders

Disadvantages:

  • The design will fade over time
  • The design will likely crack after several runs in the dryer
  • This method’s results won’t last as long as screen printing or DTG (direct to garment)
  • Heat sensitive fabrics cannot be used
  • If there is shrinkage (in the shirt) after washing and drying, the design will likely have wrinkles or a warped appearance

If your job is a small one which requires multiple colors or customized shirts, heat transfer may be the option for you.

Direct to Garment (DTG) T Shirt Printing

DTG printing is ink jet technology and works very similarly to the way an inkjet printer does. This technique uses specialized water-based ink which is absorbed directly by the fibers of the material.

DTG custom t shirt printing direct to garment

This process allows images to be printed in greater detail than screen printing, and there’s no limit to the amount of colors you can use.

For those working with limited resources, and in need of smaller quantities, DTG offers excellent results without heavy setup costs.

For low quantity five color orders, the prepping, printing, and curing process for direct to garment takes minutes. When compared to screen printing, the same job would require hours.

Outlined here are some benefits and drawbacks of using DTG for your next custom T-shirt printing project.

Advantages:

  • Full color high detail printing
  • The finished product has a professional appearance
  • This method preserves the soft feel of the garment
  • One-off or single shirts can be produced easily
  • Low cost per printed unit

Disadvantages:

  • When compared to screen printing (for larger quantities) DTG is slow.

T Shirt Quality, Color, and Design

The quality, color, and custom design of the t shirts you order will have a major impact on how much your project will cost. A single color print on a basic white t shirt is the most inexpensive option, and prices increase from this baseline dependent upon the projects’ requirements.

Depending on what you are promoting, celebrating, or selling, the quality of the shirt itself will play a large roll in how the end user or customer will treat and use it. You can have the most incredible and vibrant print, but if it’s printed on a flimsy or cheap shirt, you risk losing its intended impact.

Varied T Shirt Printing Methods for Your Project

For screen printing, the larger the quantity, the lower the unit price will be. Taking this into consideration, the following combination of printing methods is recommended for events and projects requiring large quantities:

Heat Transfers or DTG usage examples:

  • Security Staff shirts
  • Event Staff shirts
  • Entertainment events
  • Brand merchandise

Screen Printing for:

  • Attendees and guests
  • Quick turnaround

Watch how screen printing compares with the heat press process:

Shirts for Smaller Groups:

In the case of small groups or gatherings looking for the best price, purchasing the shirts separately and having them embellished with heat transfers can be a more economical option. DTG is also popular for its longer-lasting, visually appealing results.

Watch the direct to garment process:

Quality Printed Custom T Shirts Make an Impact

The shirts you acquire for your clothing line or event will not only make an impression, in many cases they will be kept as treasured mementos and worn on occasion to relive a cherished memory.

It is worth noting that a large portion of the cost involved is associated with the shirt itself. Shirt quality, size, and color will all have a direct impact on the overall bottom line.

Take your time when selecting the shirt type and color (we recommend having a copy of your design to see it against the shirts you are considering).

Once you have chosen the best printing process for your custom printed shirts, get several bids. Different print shops may have specific or limited equipment that may not allow them to be versatile when attending your needs.

Find a printing company that is flexible, and has the equipment necessary to accommodate your custom t shirt project.


Source(s):
https://heatpressguide.com/types-t-shirt-printing-methods/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screen_printing
https://www.hamblyscreenprints.com/heat-transfer-vs-silk-screen-printing/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_jkNM4gFeo
https://www.impressionsmagazine.com/digital-decorating/dtg/dtg-vs-screen-printing/
https://www.printful.com/blog/printful-101/dtg-vs-screen-printing/

http://plus.google.com/+Clashgraphicsprintshopatlanta

Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing
2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 235-3464

To view the original version on Clash Graphics, visit: http://www.clashgraphics.com/printing-tips/screen-printing-heat-transfer-direct-to-garment-custom-t-shirts/

Friday, April 20, 2018

Graphic Designer Salary, Software and Portfolio Tips

With the explosion of digital devices, industries and businesses are relying heavily on the Internet to market and promote themselves. To remain relevant, both companies and individuals need to produce compelling content consistently.

This movement has created demand and vast opportunities for graphic designers. Creatives with design ability are being hired for in-house positions, as contractors, and as freelance designers.

Graphic designer working with software on portfolio

When contemplating a career as a designer, it is important to look ahead and assess future demand, where the industry is headed, and the potential ROI (return on investment).

First off, you should consider the cost of a graphic design or arts degree. Next, compare the salary of working in-house for a firm or corporation, to the cost of starting a freelance design business.

Our team of designers at Clash Graphics has compiled a guide to help you further understand what it takes to become a graphic designer, and detail the various opportunities within the profession. Hopefully, the insights we outlined here will help you determine if becoming a graphic designer is - in fact - the right choice for you, and how to go about it.

What Is Graphic Design?

Graphic design is the creative vision and artistic execution to encapsulate and project ideas, concepts, and experiences through visual mediums. In short, it is conveying an idea, message, and feeling to a desired audience using visual design and typography.

Graphic design work exists in the form of virtual or physical media, and can include graphics, images, or words to create its experience. The visceral and visual experience may be instantaneous or one that progresses subtly over time.

Design work ever-present in our daily lives, and can be used personally or commercially. For example, an individual would use a flyer in announcing a community cook-out, whereas a business in displaying meal choices on the menu of its’ national restaurant chain.

Potentially seen by millions, such creative work serves the needs of clients in the varied private, commercial, political, and educational fields.

What Education, Qualifications and Design Software are Needed?

If you are looking to secure employment as a graphic designer with an ad agency or commercial organization, they typically seek the following requirements and skill sets:

  • Must possess a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art Design, Marketing or related discipline
  • Extensive experience with InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and/or CorelDraw
  • 3+ years in professional commercial design
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Willingness to absorb and apply constructive criticism from both peers and clients

Bonus Skills that Can Increase Your Design Job Salary and Value

  • Working knowledge of HTML, CSS or JavaScript
  • Experience with WordPress or Joomla CMS platforms

As with any profession, there are individuals that do not have formal training, but acquired the skills and are self-taught. Acquiring design skills through personal experience only requires an immense passion, dedication and persistence to learn the discipline and relevant software platforms.

Graphic designer doing freelance work with software

For an individual that is considering going this route, they should be highly motivated and possess an advanced skill or talent in:

  • Art / Design
  • Computer Platforms
  • Determination in task completion

In freelance or in-house design, the more experience and complementary skill sets brought to the table, the better equipped and successful a designer will be. Ultimately, the ability to produce desirable results will determine your demand and the value of your creative design services.

What it Costs to Start a Basic Graphic Design Business

For an individual choosing the entrepreneurial path, it will cost somewhere between $2,000 and $5,000 to get your freelance design business up and running. Some of those expenses include:

  • Business Incorporation and Licensing
  • EIN (Employer Identification Number)
  • Bank Account
  • Computer
  • Design Software (CorelDraw, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign)
  • Printer
  • Phone
  • Website
  • Business Cards

To fully equip your business, another $3,000 to $5,000 can easily be invested in the following:


NOTE: As you launch your business and exchange services for money, you will want a business entity (LLC, Inc., etc.) to limit your liability while providing tax benefits. As the sole proprietor, it will be your responsibility to adhere to local, state, and federal tax codes and regulations.

  • Hire a lawyer to prepare or audit the contracts your clients will sign.
  • Consult an accountant to fully understand the advantages / limitations of your business structure, how to account for all allowable expenses, and the total amount of taxes to withhold and submit each quarter.

Graphic Designer Job Salaries and How Much to Charge for Freelance Services

A salaried graphic designer is like any other salaried employee. You get paid a set amount, regardless of how many designs or creative assets you produce. With time and as you gain experience, your salary potential increases. The following salary ranges display entry level to highest level salaries by city:

Graphic Designer
Atlanta GA - $33,000 to $61,000
Houston Tx - $31,000 to $58,000
New York Ny - $34,000 to $71,000
San Diego Ca - $35,000 to $60,000

Senior Graphic Designer
Atlanta GA - $44,000 to $78,000
Houston Tx - $43,000 to $72,000
New York Ny - $50,000 to $93,000
San Diego Ca - $45,000 to $85,000

While the security of a salary provides certainty, some individuals opt for more upside potential, and are attracted to the freelance route where you can earn more over time if you're willing to put in the work.

However, placing a price tag on your work can be a difficult task when starting out as a new designer. The time you are investing in a project is your sole source of revenue, thus your prices should reflect your level of experience, the quality of your work, and the value you produce.

Take for example: An in-house designer with mid level experience makes approximately $50,000 as a yearly salary, which translates to $24.00 per hour. That’s $50,000 divided by 2,080 working hours in a year.

As a freelancer when bidding or quoting a project, you must…

First:

  • Define an equivalent salary based on your experience and work quality.
  • Divide the annual SALARY by 2,080 which equals $/HOUR.

Second:

  • Estimate the number of hours required to design, revise, and complete the project.
  • Multiply that by your $/HOUR value to give the project an estimated value.

Third:

  • Define the costs for all materials, travel expenses, stock photos, or other digital assets needed for the project.

Finally:

  • Add the “project labor value” to the “material value” to arrive at a “full project value”.
  • Local, State, or Federal taxes may apply, so consider this if you are required to collect tax

A skilled and experienced freelance designer willing to put in the work has the potential of making $5,000 to $10,000 per month. Reaching said earning potential will require an aggressive print and digital marketing campaign, consistent referrals, retainer fees, and monthly contracts.

As a freelancer, you are only paid when you have a client or project, so your marketing ability must be as strong as your design skill. Otherwise, you will be forced to accept cheaper rates and projects to stay busy and earn an income.

Watch this video to see how this freelance graphic designer makes his income.

What You Need To Know Before Becoming A Freelance Graphic Designer

Of the many difficulties a freelance graphic designer will face, we identified several that - if understood from the beginning - can greatly improve your chances of creating a successful design business.

Your Portfolio - The face of your business is your portfolio. Having your portfolio in print and published online (on the Internet) will allow potential clients to see your capabilities, and provide a reference of the quality and implied cost of your work and time.

Do not cut corners with your portfolio, the beginning and future of your business depend on its excellence and ability to convey your value.

You Will Work With Difficult People - At times, your clients may approach you with an undesirable attitude or unreasonable expectations. It is their view of perfection that matters, and despite how they make you feel, it is ultimately your job to fulfill their needs, or reach a resolution that leaves them completely satisfied with the finished product.

As a graphic designer you are an artist, but if you are a freelance contractor, this means you are in the service business also.

Learning to effectively overcome obstacles and please your clients will help you establish a strong reputation; as a result you will increase the flow of referrals and generate new business opportunities.

You Work for Your Client - The work you do is not all about your artistic abilities and preferences. It is in fact more about delivering a product that satisfies the vision that your client possessed before they even hired you.

At times, you may have leeway to make suggestions; just remember you are a conduit that creates their vision, not your own. Likewise, since they control the check book, your job is to effectively discern their taste, and intuitively produce the creative that will appeal to them and their customers.

Efforts to ensure a smooth business transaction

Being a successful designer means working well with clients or project managers. This is key, and having clear terms and expectations will help you limit misunderstandings.

Here are a few considerations and ways to ensure a smooth and more pleasant design process.

Require A Deposit Before Beginning Any Project - When negotiating a contract, define the price, what’s included, what’s not included, payment terms, options, and finally require a non-refundable deposit. This will protect your time in the event the client backs out of your contract prematurely.

Ask Questions for Clarity - Although your clients are not designers or may have had little experience in creative production, it is important to ask questions and clarify anything that seems ambiguous or ill-defined.

Business freelance graphic designer project and client

You will find many clients are unable to fully and/or clearly articulate what they want. Often it is easier for them to say what they don’t want and point out designs that they dislike. Thus, your job calls for paying close attention to their responses, becoming intuitive, reading between the lines, and learning their true taste.

Without clarification, you will risk presenting a project outside of the client’s parameters. The result of this is wasted time, resources, and the potential loss of the client.

Start intentional dialogue to get the information you need, ask the right questions, help your client identify their design goals, and further clarify their expectations.

Your Graphic Design Business

Starting your own business requires a defined and well-known target audience. Next you must convey who you are as a brand, and the differences or unique advantages that set you apart from their other options.

Your print and digital marketing campaign should accomplish this goal while showcasing the experience of working with you, your professionalism, and the quality of your design services.

The success of your career as a graphic designer freelancer ultimately lies in your hands. Keep yourself up-to-date with cutting edge software releases, the latest in design trends, and remain flexible enough to make changes in your approach and delivery methods.

Being a successful designer requires flexibility, effective communication, and great interpersonal skills. Be honest, audit yourself, and think whether you will fit best in an agency or as a freelancer. Choose the path that best suits your personality and provides growth and opportunity in the future.

We live in a dynamic world that is quickly evolving, so continue to educate yourself and improve your skills daily.

http://plus.google.com/+Clashgraphicsprintshopatlanta

Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing
2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 235-3464

To view the original version on Clash Graphics, visit: www.clashgraphics.com/printing-tips/graphic-designer-salary-software-portfolio-tips/

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

3 Best 2018 Super Bowl Commercial Ads

When I say the words, Super Bowl, what probably comes to mind is a momentous football battle and equally entertaining night of commercials. After 52 championship games, it is not only the competitive football, but also the entertaining commercials that viewers across the nation continue to be excited to watch.

Super bowl 2018 commercial ads

From a branding and marketing perspective, there is a lot at stake, and varied rewards for the best produced ads. Long after the game is in the history books, the commercials will be searched for, seen millions of times, and shared or talked about amongst friends and co-workers.

This year there were three runaway winners that exploited the Super Bowl platform, and displayed an exceptional level of marketing brilliance. These brands obtained massive visibility, and as of the date of this article, their commercials collectively have accumulated an astounding 65.5 million views on YouTube alone.

The Clash Graphics team reviewed, categorized, and voted on the best commercials from the 2018 Super Bowl. The three motifs these ads fit were: “Product Humor”, “Humanitarian Effort”, and “Marketing Genius”. Not only will you be entertained, but in their analysis we will offer ways to transform these concepts from a national stage and apply it to your regional or local business.

Product Humor with Amazon’s Alexa

Amazon combined star power with humor and used its clever voice-assistant to entertain, generate buzz, and inspire potential buyers to question whether they are missing out and should consider one of their latest Echo products.

This self-deprecating commercial of their Alexa voice-assistant losing its voice and being replaced with the likes of Chef Gordon Ramsay, Musician Cardi B, Actor Anthony Hopkins, and others illustrates how using humor to display a product’s utility can elevate and create an iconic Super Bowl ad.

In maximizing their branding potential, Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, was placed in the beginning of the commercial. This seemingly insignificant cameo was enough to gain significant media coverage, in addition to making him more familiar, likable, and personable to the public and all Amazon supporters.

“Thanks guys. But I’ll take it from here.” coupled with “Nobody does it better” ends this ad with a very clear message as Amazon flaunts their hot product and well orchestrated hit Super Bowl ad.


Humanitarian Effort from Budweiser

For the second consecutive year, Budweiser has not used its iconic clydesdale horses in its Super Bowl ad. This year’s ad showcased the humanitarian efforts the company led, and their commitment to help the American people whenever and wherever disaster strikes.

The commercial relies less on tradition and more on its a recent response to disaster and action. The mentioning of Florida, California, Texas, and Puerto Rico at the end shows viewers across America the massive relief effort the company is engaged in and committed to. Many were oblivious that over the past thirty years, Budweiser has “bottled” tens of millions of cans of water which are sent for disaster relief worldwide.

What makes this ad so impactful is that few viewers knew this was taking place behind the scenes. With little to no media coverage of their involvement, it appears Budweiser is a good spirited company that stands for more than just beer. That in and of itself tells us so much about the company’s values and their commitment to the American people.

As you can imagine, this will earn them the goodwill and support of more American consumers that share their values and find their actions commendable.

Marketing Genius from Tide

All things equal, no other Super Bowl ads were as brilliant as the Tide ads from Saatchi & Saatchi (New York ad firm). With a cleverly orchestrated idea that felt fresh and familiar, yet unexpected, not only did they promote Tide, they cleverly incorporated the iconic Old Spice Guy and Mr. Clean character (all are P&G products - under the same parent company) to reenforce it.

The marketing genius came in two parts:

Using Parodies - The use of parodies allowed the viewers to believe they were watching an ad for something else (Old Spice, Mr. Clean, Budweiser, insurance, pain relief, etc.) until the reveal - by David Harbour from Stranger Things - where it humorously exposed that it was actually a Tide ad all along.

Creating an Experience - With the principle ad aired and the parodies randomly popping up, Tide was able to capture a piece of every other commercial by exploiting the viewers cynicism.

The experience was the expectation of non-Tide ads to be Tide ads, and even when they weren’t, Tide was still on everyone’s mind. For the duration of the Super Bowl, every viewer was psychologically hacked - literally - to try and avoid being “tricked again”, thus always found thinking about Tide during many other commercials.

Tide’s creative brilliance garnered massive attention, publicity, and Ad-Weeks top advertising award for the Best Ad of the 2018 Super Bowl!

Applying National Stage Marketing to a Local Level

While your marketing budget may not afford an ad spot during the Super Bowl, you can use these basic marketing concepts to generate heightened awareness, likability, and increased earnings.

Humanitarian Activities - If your company regularly donates time, product or services to those in need or those aspiring to a greater education, make it public knowledge.

Your local marketing campaign should include the way(s) in which your business supports the community. By doing so, a sense of trust is developed between your business and both current and prospective customers.

While you may consider this wasteful or counterintuitive, people will often more readily do business with those who support and are actively involved in their communities. A secondary benefit can occur as the people in your community become aware of and support the cause that you were supporting, which in turn is a massive win-win.

Product Humor - Whether your product is brand new or well established, a dose of humor is a fun and entertaining way to introduce or reenergize a product within the market.

At a local level, find out what issues are at the top of discussion, what part(s) of local history are popular among your target audience, the music they listen to, and the clothes they are wearing. Gather as much information as possible and find ways to bring out some humor, keeping it classy of course.

In the Amazon commercial, Alexa loses her voice and is hilariously replaced with several celebrities responding with absurdities. A similar approach can be taken by finding local celebrities to participate in your product’s marketing campaign. Communicate and welcome ideas from the celebrities, as they may be able to offer clever angles and pitches from their own life or noteworthy topics surrounding their likeness.

Marketing Genius - Ads like the 2018 Tide Super Bowl ones are rare. Being able to captivate an audience in that way for that amount of time is an amazing feat. At the local level, it is creating the experience that will serve to strengthen your brand and product.

Creating expectation through simple misdirection and other products (from your brand) is an effective way to generate interest, curiosity, and anticipation.

Task your marketing team or ad agency to weave together an ad campaign that includes print, televised, and social media ads to keep your customers curiously engaged and coming back for more.

The larger your brand and product recognition becomes, the more impactful your ad campaign can be. Steal a page from the Super Bowl advertisers playbook, and make an impact with your next sales and advertising campaign.

http://plus.google.com/+Clashgraphicsprintshopatlanta

Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing
2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 235-3464

To view the original version on Clash Graphics, visit: www.clashgraphics.com/printing-tips/3-best-2018-super-bowl-commercial-ads/

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

How to Start a Business in 7 Steps

Small businesses are part of an overwhelming majority of all combined businesses in the United States. In fact, there are nearly 30 million small businesses that make up well over 99% of all businesses in the U.S.

Becoming an entrepreneur and designing a flexible career path doesn’t require a college degree, decades of management experience, or tons of money in the bank. Having a plan, following necessary steps, and maintaining the persistence to see it through are the only basic prerequisites needed to set you on a path for success.

Entrepreneur business startup strategy planning

Remember to set goals for yourself, your team, and your business as you go, and follow these seven steps to help get your business up and running smoothly.

1. Successful Business Start-Ups Have a Vision and Plan

A business plan is a clear snapshot of your business. It should be designed to clearly define the start, growth, and objective of your business, and the products and services one intends to offer and sell. In solidifying what’s ahead, a plan should outline its goals and milestones, primary operating procedures, and its greatest competition.

A well designed business plan should include the following sections:

1. Title Page
2. Summary
3. Business Description
4. Marketing Plan and Strategies
5. Competition Analytics
6. Development Plan
7. Operation and Management
8. Business Projections
9. Appendix

NOTE: If you seek funding from a loan or venture capitalist, nothing will be achieved without a business plan. Make sure your plan includes a marketing campaign, as sales is the lifeline of every business, and a business can not last without new buyers and customers.

2. Starting a Business Based on Market, Product, and Customer Research

The majority of new entrepreneurs will tend to neglect market research, but such due diligence is critical and helps you in the following ways:

Identify Your Target Market - Identify and research the people you are trying to reach, their needs, mentality, and current options in the market.

Test Your Idea - Before going to the market with your idea or product, test its viability and feedback from potential customers. This process will help you to identify ways to better your approach by revealing opportunities to better your product.

Understand the Needs and History of Your Target Market - Knowing all previous and current solutions will help to further define your options for bettering your product, and the approach you take in getting it to the market.

Research the Competition AND Market Partners - Start with online searches. Observe how their websites are structured, how they present their product, and the mechanisms they use to illustrate the benefit of becoming a customer.

NOTE: If no one else is doing “this” in the market, find out why. There may be a strong reason or validation that your product is in fact unique.

When researching or holding a focus group, ask about the factors that lead to the purchase (or not) of the product, about areas or opportunities for improvement, and (if purchased) about product satisfaction. Be willing to accept negative (or harsh) feedback as well as the good, both forms of information serve the same purpose: to better your product and improve chances for long-term success and profitability.

Research their advertising and marketing approaches. Learn from their mistakes and their success. Every pitfall you can identify and avoid will help to get your product to market faster and more efficiently.

Diversify Your Market Research Approach - Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in only one form of research, rather employ various methods such as: online, face-to-face, phone, surveys or questionnaires. The content value of your research gains value when diverse methods of acquiring such information are used.

3. Choosing and Registering Your Business Name

Before anything else, you must understand that your business name represents your business, your product, and you. It has the power to attract or repel potential customers and is as important as the product it represents.

Keyword brainstorming will help you to come up with a list of relevant potential names. Remember that this brand name will play a role in every aspect of your business and branding efforts. When developing a short list of possible names, identify potential implications (positive and negative), and associative words that represent your product.

When you settle on a business name, research it to make sure it is not in use or trademarked. If the name is okay to use, register it with your local and/or state Government (Secretary of State or County Clerk). Also, secure it as a domain name via GoDaddy.com or other Domain name registrar. If the exact name is not available, use slight variances until you find one that is relevant and available.

4. Create Your Business Logo and Marketing Material

Establishing your company’s identity (branding) involves a combination of Business and creative efforts. To help potential customers find, identify, and remember. You should have a logo that makes sense. That logo should then be visible in every aspect of your company’s marketing and promotion campaign.

Seeing its importance, the logo should embody your companies core character, and display these values using relevant colors, designs, and font styles.

Printed marketing materials include business cards, letterheads, envelopes, notepads, t-shirts, stickers, etc. Generally the more visible you become, the more the public will begin to know, like, and trust your company.

Business graphic design marketing material

Marketing is about effectively communicating the benefit of your company, and it starts with your logo and the design of your marketing materials. If you need a savvy graphic designer or printed marketing materials for your business, visit clashgraphics.com.

5. Get Business Tax ID, Licenses, and Permits

In order to avoid intellectual theft, lawsuits, or being misled in a partnership, take steps to secure all of the legal aspects of your business early on.

Some of the requirements to ensure your company is properly structured are:

  • Business Name
  • Business Structure (corporation, partnership, LLC, etc.)
  • Federal Tax ID or Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • State Tax ID
  • Municipal Tax ID
  • Register Your Business
  • Commercial/Business Permits
  • Commercial/Business License
  • Business Bank Account
  • Insurance

Being in good standing with your local government and tax authority is a fundamental prerequisite to your business success. It is prudent to consult a lawyer, tax specialist or accountant to ensure you are operating in accordance with all laws and fully protected. If you have employees, be aware that the following payroll requirements may also apply:

  • OSHA Requirements
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Federal Tax
  • State Tax
  • Local Tax
  • Payroll Tax (FICA, Social Security, Federal and State Unemployment Tax)


6. Choose and Establish a Business Location

Your business location should fit your current business needs and be flexible enough to support growth. Take the following into consideration:

Business Location - Does the location geographically suit the needs of your business and the business you will be doing? Is it convenient and easily accessible to your ideal customers?

Buy or Lease? - Determine the affordability of the location and whether or not this will be a short, mid, or long term location. This will be a substantial commitment, so consult a real estate professional to ensure that you understand all terms of the lease or purchase agreement.

Home Office or Storefront - In many business startups, the storefront is the home office. As your business grows, will you plan to move the “home office” to another location? Do you have the capital to maintain two separate locations from the start?

Foot Traffic - For a storefront location, ease of access is fundamental. Is there sufficient foot traffic to bring walk-ins and is the location easy to find?

Parking - If your customers have trouble finding a parking spot or simply don’t know where to park, they will go elsewhere. Again, ease of access plays a tremendous role in the success of your company.

Competition - After having invested in market research and done the footwork to know your customer’s demographics, the choice location may be near your competition.

Lastly, consider the majority of customers will navigate and find your location using their smart phone devices. Check that Google and Apple Maps recognizes and provides clear directions to your new potential place of business

7. Plan Your Finances and Fund Your Business

Part of being a small business owner is having the upfront capital for the initial investments and ongoing expenses until your business begins to turn a profit.

Having a clear concept of the difference between one-time costs and ongoing expenses will allow you to appropriately plan and invest in both. The following are the potential one-time startup costs you may have:

  • Market Research
  • Leasing Expenses
  • Licenses and Permits
  • Legal Fees
  • Office Equipment
  • Manufacturing Equipment
  • Trademarking
  • Branding

A few of the ongoing expenses you will have to cover may be:

  • Salary / Payroll
  • Rent
  • Advertising / Marketing Budget
  • Supplies
  • Utilities

When you self-fund your business, you are in control of its path, equity, and future. Seek additional funding through a bank loan, credit union, or line of credit.

Another capital strategy is to negotiate advance payments from strategic partners, or offer a discount to clients willing to prepay their services. If your product is in high demand, those that have a need may be willing to fund you as well.

Kick starter or other crowd funding platforms are popular and effective methods to raise capital for your new venture.

While there are infinite ways to fund a new business, beware of unscrupulous contracts and agreements that may jeopardize the present or future well-being of your business.

Starting a Business Through Informed Decisions

When creating, developing, realizing the information and structure for a new business, every available venue for research and knowledge should be exhausted. Making informed decisions about the structure, functionality, size, and location of your business from the start will give you a better chance at obtaining steady growth and eventual success.

A potential framework for your new startups’ success is - having surpassed tangible milestones while setting new goals to reach.

http://plus.google.com/+Clashgraphicsprintshopatlanta

Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing
2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 235-3464

To view the original version on Clash Graphics, visit: www.clashgraphics.com/printing-tips/how-to-start-business-7-steps/

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Printing Essentials for Promoting Your Band and Music

Competition in the music industry is fierce. With so many online platforms to get songs out to the public, there has been a flood of aspiring musicians and bands releasing music haphazardly.

Many believe that releasing a good song is all they need to do to be “discovered”, only to find that without a team, fan base, marketing plan, and consumption of the music, failure is all but guaranteed.

Marketing and promoting band playing on stage

With everyone focused on digital marketing, there is a tremendous marketing opportunity for terrestrial or physical promotion. Don’t misunderstand this, the digital market is important. However, successfully promoting your band and music requires a multi-faceted approach that leverages all mediums and avenues available to provide exposure to your artistry.

The following are physical marketing essentials that any band or musician can use to increase their local visibility, brand themselves, and more importantly, stand out in an over saturated market that's primarily focusing on online marketing and social media.

Using Outdoor Banners and Posters at Events

Banners provide a “larger than life” image that when properly placed will catch the attention of onlookers near and far. To see examples of banners, large format printing, and signs, visit clashgraphics.com/large-format-printing/

Likewise, posters are another beneficial marketing tool. In a closed environment or location where there is heavy foot traffic, well designed posters can bring awareness to your latest release, next show, or simply help to increase your exposure to a new audience.

When booking an event, a consideration of your marketing team should be regarding banner and poster placement. Most venues do, so if the venue has the space to support them, plan to use posters and banners strategically.

Having Business Cards and Flyers

The music industry is essentially like any other business. Until reaching “Pop” or “Iconic” status, you will need to consistently promote an exchange your contact information with other music professionals, fans, and media. Professionally printed business cards and flyers are both great ways to accomplish this goal. For business cards, visit clashgraphics.com

Using business card for promoting band and music

Business cards will share your contact information, while flyers promote your activities, events, for upcoming releases. Both are invaluable tools that are efficient and easy to distribute.

Branding with CD Inserts and CD Duplications

Like anyone else, you probably have a stack of your favorite CD’s sitting somewhere. Some of them have elaborate designs or striking images (full color print), while others only have a name or title printed on them (partial print).

Printed CD design and duplication with insert

Whether you are marketing a single track or a full album, the visual can be as important as the musical content when it comes to brand recognition and accomplishing widespread adoption. Music is often associated with an experience or feeling, and from the branding perspective, its visual representation can also have a profound impact on the psyche of consumers and fans.

Besides CD duplications, CD inserts are a wise option. With inserts, branding, social media, the track listing, band members, and history of the band or musician, etc. can be easily presented and consumed.

The Success of Your Band and Its Music

Success in the music industry depends on several factors outside your immediate control, such as - what genre is popular at the moment, if the industry evolving due to cultural or technological changes, what the listeners want to hear.

However, what you can control is the quality of your music, your persistence, and the strategy you employ for your marketing and promotional efforts.

While nothing can guarantee “super-stardom”, maintaining a balanced quality marketing strategy with both online and physical promotion can help you solidify a place in the market, and hopefully atop the Billboard charts.

As with any other business, advertising and promotion draw attention! However, it is the quality of the product - and in this case music - that keeps the consumer coming back for more.

http://plus.google.com/+Clashgraphicsprintshopatlanta

Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing
2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 235-3464

To view the original version on Clash Graphics, visit: www.clashgraphics.com/printing-tips/printing-essentials-promoting-your-band-music/