Does your business still need business cards?

Designflair Business Card Design & Print

Business cards do still have a purpose, but like all marketing, should be targeted to a specific purpose to get the best results.

Designflair Business Card Design & Print
Business cards printed with Spot UV (gloss) and metallic foil to create extra dimension.

With the move to everything digital, many predicted that print business cards would be a thing of the past. Some have gotten creative in using only digital cards, exchanging info through apps, or even creating 10 second video ‘business cards’, but others still believe that a physical card has value. I agree with both thoughts, business cards are valuable for providing information about your business, but when targeted and created with a specific purpose in mind.

In COVID times, there is an even greater emphasis on digital: there are digital meetings, less in-person interactions and fewer physical exchange of products, meaning that there are fewer opportunities to hand out business cards.

My belief is that once things return to a new normal, there will be a greater emphasis on the physical and in-person meetings. When we use more of our senses then just sight (as with online meetings and digital business cards), we have greater appreciation and engagement with our environment.

When You Need Business Cards

Foremost, business cards are important to give to customers and potential customers. One of their first impressions of your business is often your business card. It tells them your basic information, but also creates consistency in your brand and can be a way to ‘wow’ them.

The design of your card is important, but even more so is how you print it. As a designer, I notice these things: a thicker business card, textured paper, glossy (spot UV) or other embellishments stand out to me and lets me know that the business takes pride in their name. (When I’m at a place of business that has business cards, I almost always pick one up.) The more a business card creates an experience, the more I remember it – especially when it ties in with the business itself.

Always have just a few business cards handy, as you never know what conversation will start in the middle of the grocery store, in a line etc. I’ve been asked for business cards more often in a casual setting than I’ve ever expected.

When A Digital Business Card is Better

For many business owners, networking means meeting lots of new people, exchanging business cards and then ending up with a box full of business cards you never look at.

No matter the good intentions, most business cards just end up in a box for future sorting. The most efficient method in this setting is to take a photo/use a digital business card scanner to take a copy and add your notes – less space and easier to find in the future!

For networking, where lots of people are coming together to exchange information, a digital business card may be better received as it can be stored in email and on their computer for future use. Proactively sending a digital business card can also help you stand out from the crowd.

For digital business cards, a well-designed business card is still important to the brand and growth of your business.

Business Card Design Inspiration

Looking for business card inspiration? Here are 60 awesome business card designs for inspiration. Notice how they carry the brand style, and even help enhance it. Some even have a talking point that encourages conversation with you.

Your logo is the start of your brand and business, but the business card and website are what help create your visual identity and how others will relate to you.

Whether you need a creative business card, professional one, or just a simple business card, I can help you create the look to suit your brand. Check out some of my business card designs on my portfolio., under ‘Branding’.

What about you?

As a consumer or client, do you use business cards? Do you look for a business’ information? Consider how you use business cards and if you are similar to your ideal customer.

Black Lives Matter, The Message, The Movement and the Brand

As the owner of a small business, I try not to get political on my blog. At the same, time as a human, a business owner, a woman, a white woman, I must take stand as well.

I grew up in a relatively diverse population in CA, but still very ‘white’ (I hate that word, we’re European descent, not white.) or Asian community, with only 2% of my hometown being African American. However, in the East Bay there was a lot more diversity in the wider region than I now see in Eugene, Oregon.

Black Lives Matter, and that doesn’t mean other lives don’t matter. It just means, that at the moment they are the ‘house that is on fire’ figuratively speaking, and that is where the most focus needs to be. Of course all lives matter. But our society doesn’t treat them that way. As a woman, I don’t walk alone or in the dark for fear of being raped, but I’m not afraid that every action could be taken the wrong way to lead to my death (by police or other forces).

Growing up as a first generation American, with New Zealand parents, and Dutch grandparents and relatives, I have an international view of the world rather than one restricted by the societal beliefs that have been passed down in America for generations. However, I know that I am not immune to split second assumptions, or even racist thoughts and actions. All I can do is do my best in every moment. Do my best to right wrongs as I see them and to be there if I ever feel that there is racism going on.

In my research, I found it interesting how the Black Lives Matter is treated as a brand and wanted to share this article. Brands are the representation of a company and brands are also how others view that company, or even us!

Since Black Lives Matter is a social movement and not a brand, here’s a look at how branding rules apply to them. Their brand could also be appropriated and hijacked by those who don’t really follow the cause.

Black Lives Matter, The Brand is an in-depth article by Fast Company on how the brand has evolved and how they work to maintain its integrity.

Black Lives Matter, website for more information

Black Lives Matter homepage

About Black Lives Matter

About Black Lives Matter

The Black Lives Matter Brand

The Black Lives Matter logo is a wordmark, using text in a particular layout and font, to represent their movement. This ensures that it is powerful, and easy to be used in different formats, sizes and media.

As a social movement, they have also had growing pains as different causes or focuses have tried to appropriate the name and movement. However, it has grown to become a social movement.

“We spend a lot of time—too much time, in my opinion—really trying to counter this narrative that isn’t ours because somebody irresponsibly used a piece of our design to further their own political goals.” (Black Lives Matter, The Brand)

I want this blog to be a chance to reflect on what is currently going on in our world and how to address it. We can’t just keep going on as we have. However, society won’t be able to change instantly. We need to approach this situation with love and compassion and respect. Respect for others and their lives. As white woman, I know that I have a lot to learn in this category to combat racism and to support my friends and family who have a different skin color. The color of our skin…

Wishing you lots of love and healing and hope!

 

What Does Marketing Have To Do With Graphic Design And Website Design?

You may have noticed that many of my blogs have been directed towards marketing topics, although in the end what I create are designs: websites, logos, brochures, business cards, etc.

Marketing is the Foundation of EFFECTIVE Design

This is because marketing is the foundation of any good design. To create an effective design, I need to know who the target audience is, what their pains/challenges are and how we (my client) is solving those problems and making their clients’ lives easier. So right off, I need to know the marketing!

It is possible to create an aesthetically pleasing design that can be effective without the research and work put into marketing, but it has a lower chance of working to its maximum impact.

This can be the case with a new business who does not yet know who their target market is (it can also evolve in your first few years of business as you gain more experience). It might also be the case with businesses who know their clients very well, or have a time-tested message that is attracting ideal clients, but I find this to be rare.

Bring your design into crystal sharp focus with a foundation of marketing.
 

Most businesses do not know their clients as well as they think they do, unless they are regularly collecting client feedback and reports on what they did well and where they can do better. Feedback directly from those who pay you (and refer you) is the best way to verbalize the value you provide.

Marketing To Attract Clients

Every aspect of your business and brand is also marketing and sales material for your company. Whether it is a business card, an employee talking to a potential customer, a brochure you share at a networking event, a presentation on a topic you are an expert of… etc., this all is a process of getting potential clients to know, like and trust you to want to hire you.

When you have the correct words to let your ideal clients know that you can help them, and connect with them so well that they KNOW you are the one to work with. Well, that’s when you have magnetic marketing. And having the correct wording on your print materials, on your website and when you are out networking makes all the difference!

Once you have the wording correct, then you can go into building your marketing materials. To summarize, effective design requires knowing your target market so that you can attract them to want to work with you. Marketing drives the designs you use for your business.

Have a feeling that your marketing could be stronger? Request a free marketing strategy session where together we’ll review your current materials and look at areas that you may want to strengthen.

Marketing and Website Design

Your website should give visitors an option to take action in the first few seconds that they visit your site. If you know your customers, then you can anticipate their needs and have exactly what they are looking for in the first section of your site (the area considered ‘above-the-fold’).

This is most valuable as a Call to Action for a free book/offer/guide/training that you offer them, or a way to reach your products or services easily as well.
This then leads into the marketing campaign, where I go into more detail. Every step is layering your customer with more information and incentive to work with you, called the Customer Journey Map.

I work with clients to brainstorm the content, message and then even create it for them for peace of mind and efficiency!

Have more questions? Let’s chat! Message me for your free strategy session today!

2 Tools to Create Delighted Customers for Life: Marketing Funnel & Customer Journey Map

Do you have potential clients running up begging to work for you? Do you ‘wow’ your customers and clients? Do you have a process to make sure that every client gets the same, excellent experience while working with you (every time!)?

If you’re not certain of any of these answers, you want to create a Marketing Funnel & Client Journey Map and how you interact with visitors to turn them into leads; leads to turn them into prospects; prospects to turn them into customers; and then customers to turn them into referral sources for your business.

The Marketing Funnel

You’ve probably seen or heard about some aspect of the customer journey, the marketing funnel. This follows the process that you grow your business by turning an unknown audience into your customers.

The Marketing Funnel to Create Lasting ClientsAt each touch point, your goal is to provide value and demonstrating your expertise in your field, so that they see you as a valued resource and the person they want to work with when they are ready to act.

This process also includes helping them realize that they need to take action and motivate them to take it as quickly as possible (dependent on how powerful their pain points are). This process is important to ensuring that you are addressing your potential clients’ needs, concerns and pains at each step of the buying process.

The Customer Journey

Have you ever considered and planned out the touch points that your client has with your business? This is a larger blanket that includes not only the pieces of the Marketing Funnel, but also a deeper understanding of your Client Personas to best address their needs.

Whereas a Marketing Funnel is very linear, rigid and is more of an overall process for how leads will move down the funnel to becoming a client, the Customer Journey is much more customer centric and can be a more fluid process. It becomes a map of a customer’s journey through interactions with your business.

What Do You Need to Know to Better Address Your Customers?

Creating a Customer Journey Map means understanding your client personas: their motivations, desires, hopes, dreams, plus the pains and fears that you can help them overcome. A client persona is the foundational step for any branding or marketing process. To truly speak to your clients, you need to understand them.

Looking for more help with this process? The first step is creating your Ideal Client Persona (aka Avatar).

Know How You Can Interact With Clients

Consider the touch points you have with customers, places that they learn more about your business or even interact directly with you.

  • Your Website/Blog
  • Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Free Guides/White Papers
  • Google/Yahoo/Bing Business Listings
  • Review Sites: Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.
  • Friends and Family
  • Phone Calls
  • Referral Sites
  • Speaking Events
  • Networking Events
  • Tech Support Calls/Connections with Your Staff

 

And more! Any interaction with your company or brand is part of this process and it is why branding is so valuable too. This process continues even once they are clients and should include looking at your customer service process and interactions.

Two Biggest Roadblocks for Businesses To Earn More Money & Thrive

Every business is unique, yet similar in that most businesses suffer from the same types of problems as they work to grow and expand. The biggest breakdown is in the branding & marketing process. These can be can be broken down into 2 main areas:

  1. Not enough income
  2. Not enough leads

 

  • • Not enough income can be caused by mistakes in branding, marketing and even pricing.
  • • Not enough leads are caused by a lack of activity or a lack of system to entice and process new potential leads.
  • • Not enough leads are also a cause of not enough income.

 
business woman reviewing leads at computer

Not Enough Income

The problem with not enough income can stem from:

  • • Poor branding
  • • Poor marketing
  • • Poor service/product packaging

Poor branding means that a business is not able to properly stand out from their competition, or it may even be that their brand is hurting them by portraying a lack of quality, or even the wrong message.

Poor marketing could be that the message is incorrect to attract their target market. Maybe they are too general and broad, or maybe what they feel is their ideal clients’ largest concern may actually not be correct. They may be selling the wrong message or targeting the wrong people for their service/product.

Poor service/product packaging happens when a company sets the price of their service or products, but may not correctly charge for them. They may be offering one-off services that could be better packaged in recurring services to ensure their clients receive the best results.

Branding and marketing go hand in hand and I love to work on these types of problems. Contact me for a FREE Brand & Marketing Audit to see if I can help your business.

Not Enough Leads

The problem of not enough leads can be caused by:

  • • Not enough lead generation activity
  • • Not having a marketing system or funnel to attract leads

When a business is not creating enough activity to build a source of leads, they will not be able to build a strong client base. Without a strong client base, this can also lead into not enough income.

When I talk about lead generation activity, I’m talking about the marketing pie.

Not enough lead generation activity means that in order to generate leads, someone in the business needs to be going out and meeting people (networking, speaking, door-to-door cold calling, getting referrals to new potential clients) that could be your potential client (or could introduce you to a potential ideal client).

In the online realm, this could mean creating new content (blogs, white papers, press releases) that has been search engine optimized to attract ideal clients interested in the topic you are talking about. Each business can choose the areas that are strongest for them, based on their ideal client, but should at least be looking at the marketing pie to create their own custom lead generation strategy.

Not having a marketing system or funnel to attract leads means that lead information gathering may be haphazard or inefficient. To maximize your website, a valuable free offer/guide will encourage users already on your site to sign up for more information from you. Once you have their contact details, you then add them to a layering process in the form of an email campaign where you are providing more information as an expert resource, in order to create more trust for your brand.

Looking for help to create systems in your business for more consistent leads (and income!)? Contact me for a FREE initial consultation.

What is Designflair’s Ideal Project & Client?

One of the first questions I ask my client is who are you targeting (Who is your ideal client?) and what are you offering them (what is your ideal project?)?

I’ll share my own answer of my ideal client and project.

The Sweet Spot: Media, Message & Market

As a graphic designer, I’ve always looked at the bigger picture of what I am doing. I’m not just creating a pretty looking logo, website or brochure to make your business look professional; I’m developing a piece that is intended to help your business grow by attracting ideal new clients.

This involves not only the visual image (media), but also the message and the right audience (market).

Anyone error in these three areas and an otherwise well developed campaign can flop, but hit all of them right and you have the sweet spot of a successful campaign or project that compels your ideal client to reach out and work with you because you are able to solve their exact challenge or problem.

Media, Market, Message Venn Diagram

I look at this as a puzzle to be solved. How can I get into the heads of your ideal clients and know what they are thinking? What pain they have in their lives that you have the exact solution to?

To many, this is marketing, but I consider it such an integral part of any project that I don’t separate it out from the original design project. Here’s a little break down between Marketing and Branding.

What is Marketing?

  • The process of promoting the value of a product or service in order to get someone to buy it.
  • Marketing is the message you use to promote you product or service; what you say and how you say it to explain how awesome your product or service is and why people should pay for it.

What is Branding?

  • A brand is a set of associations that a person (or group of people) makes with a company, product, service, individual or organization.
  • If a brand results from a set of associations and perceptions in people’s minds, then branding is an attempt to harness, generate, influence and control these associations to help the business perform better.

 Why Are Both Important?

  • Branding alone does not make someone buy your product or service, but it does help you stand out from the competition.
  • Marketing can be used to push or pull customers to buy your product or service, but it is not what differentiates you from your competitors.

Who is my ideal client?

I love to work with new or emerging business owners who are running their own practice, or building to a business of 10 or fewer.

They struggle with marketing their business effectively.

They would like to get a lot more new and recurring clients, without having to work so hard.

What is my ideal project?

Working with my clients as part of their team to really understand the minds of their ideal clients, then developing creative and innovative ways to have them visible everywhere so that their clients just have to contact them to schedule a meeting.

From there, then developing the message, content and graphics to bring those marketing pieces to life.

Essentially, I love the strategy process to develop a marketing campaign and then taking those ideas into print and digital branding.

Examples of this include (but are not limited to):

  • Designing a website for a new business and creating the homepage content that will then be transferred to their print brochures
  • Creating a more effective business card with actual pain points of clients
  • Redesigning a website for an existing business who now better understands their clients and wants to add more features
  • Developing a campaign brand for a seasonal sale or product launch

What Is It Like to Work with Designflair? (Graphic Design, Web Design & Marketing Projects)

One thing that we always prominently focus on is that we are
all business owners; as a client of ours, you are running a business, employing
others and supporting your family.

As the business owner of Designflair, I understand where you
are coming from and how it can be so overwhelming to run a business AND also
market it to bring in more customers. I enthusiastically adore the process of
getting to know your business and understand your ideal client in order to help
them understand how your product or service will add value to their lives.

25 Website Must Haves - Download Now

I operate business the way I would want to be treated…

Free Initial Consultation

I offer a free initial consultation to all potential clients
so that we can decide if it is a good fit for us to work together. I want to
ensure that I have the skillset and solution that will match your need, and
that I can deliver on the solutions that I promise to create for you.

A free initial design or marketing consultation helps me
understand your business better and already be brainstorming ideas for
solutions we can develop. This is a get-to-know-you process and I believe it is
extremely valuable that we meet and that you aren’t stressed out about any
charges coming your way.

Free, Project-Based Quotes

I believe that you should know the upfront cost of your
project before you even start. For that reason, I quote on a project basis for
logo design, graphic design, website design and marketing projects whenever
possible. In some cases, the scope of work is open ended and so I am not able
to set a figure to it, but then I will quote on an hourly basis with a total
estimate, or a project estimate where I check in time segments to ensure we
stay within your budget.

Your Business Is My Business

As a vendor to your company, you are trusting me with your business’s brand, website and/or marketing. I am honored by that trust and want to ensure that I am doing the best that I can for your business. In addition to focusing on the projects you hire me for, I try to point out any other items that I may notice along the way that could use tweaking. Your business success is partly based on my actions so I try to treat your business as if it is my own – using all my skills to help you attract ideal clients to your business.

25 Website Must Haves - Download Now

Staying On Time & On Budget

In the business world, deadlines matter and I know that any
lost time is lost business. I set realistic deadlines based on the information
I have, and help set realistic expectations. In addition, I know that sometimes
life happens that can lead to new urgencies. I work with you to put in the
extra time if needed to meet that deadline. If the scope changes in such a way
that the budget or timeline must adjust, I will give you as much advance notice
as possible so that you can plan for it within your business as well.

Helping You Excel

At the end of the day, I run my business to support and help other businesses grow. I love tweaking marketing strategies and messages to create a magnetic pull with your ideal clients. I love updating your website or redesigning a brochure or flyer to help convey your message. But most of all, I love interacting with, and working with, other business owners for your success.

Contact me today for your free initial consultation. Want to hear a little more? Read my testimonials from satisfied clients!

Much love,

Alyssa

Eugene Logo Design with an Oregon Country Fair Flair – The Development of a New Logo

The Pacific Northwest has it’s own unique style and flavor
and long-time Oregonian, Bill, wanted to convey that in his new business
Climatize.

Climatize is a Eugene business focused on installing and servicing mini-split ductless heating, which
is much more efficient than a traditional furnace with ducts. Their focus is on
efficient home heating & cooling to help homeowners reduce costs, but to
also have a smaller footprint on the environment. Essentially, it is a ‘green’
company in the HVAC space!

In addition, as a Eugenian, Bill has had
long-time ties to the Oregon Country Fair (OCF), an annual 3-day art and music
festival held just outside of Eugene, in Veneta. The fair focuses on local art and
it’s vintage/Victorian style, hand drawn font has always spoken to Bill. He
wanted to maintain some of this hand-drawn, classical style in his logo, as
well as give a nod to the artists that make up the OCF.

To make sure we were on the same page of ideal
styles, I created a mood board of sample logos and art that appealed to Bill.

To start with the logo, we first narrowed down
the font styles that most appealed to Bill. He loved the characteristics of
Landsdowne and from there we started developing design elements to suit it.

The first round of designs that we provided to Bill included 6 options of widely varied styles and colors to best narrow down the elements that he liked best. Round 2 offered 4 variations on the 2 design styles that he liked best from Round 1. Through a process of design updates and feedback (each round getting more refined and offering smaller adjustment) we created this final solution in 4 rounds.

This final logo incorporates elements of airflow, while maintaining a nod to the traditional Victorian sign boards and logos from a time when branding was hand drawn.

We currently have created the logo for branding and print purposes. Climatize created their own website at https://climatize.works Go check them out!

How Graphic Design Builds Your Small Business’ Reputation



Graphic design is integral to small business marketing. Potential customers and clients respond to visual content and brand experience more and more every year. The style of your graphic design directly tells potential customers about the unique value you offer. Your business’ graphic design quality is a make or break point for how potential customers learn to trust or distrust your business. 

Read more

3 Ways to Make Your Blogging Effective and Successful

effective-blogging-tips-pleasanton

Have you heard that blogging is the way to get new business. Was your New Year’s Resolution to grow your business so now, here you are, trying to write a blog post? If you’re feeling stuck, we know how you feel, we’ve all been there.

Blogging and fresh content continue to be a great way to create a digital presence and remain relevant online.

Recently we mentioned 3 practical ways to improve your brand identity in 2016. Blogging is another means of getting your business online and making your audience aware of your brand.
At Designflair, we are constantly researching the latest best practices for blogging. Here are a few ways to make your blogging endeavors effective and successful.

Create Longform Blog Posts

Blog posts are getting longer, and they are likely going to stay that way. You may be tempted to think that since people have shorter attention spans, shorter blog posts are the way to go. However, research from BuzzSumo shows that “long form content gets more social shares than short form content.” Content marketers are finding that long posts are what readers are interested in because the content goes into greater detail and is actually informing the audience.

According to an article from the marketers at Doz, on important marketing trends, “the average length of a post in 2015 was 900 words.” Longer posts are becoming more popular for digital content creation. Possibly the best blogger out there, Neil Patel, currently uses over 4,000 words for his blog posts! He recommends you do the same because it will build your authority, provide value to your audience, and increase organic traffic to your site.

When creating long-form content, make sure that the important facts stand out – making your content digestible and shareable; create snippets of information that readers can pull from your content. One way to do this is also to use list posts or how-to’s. These type of blog posts allow your readers to skim your post and take practical steps. Also, don’t be afraid of white space. Using space between sections of texts and visuals will improve the user experience on your blog.
Another way to make certain information stand out is by adding images! If you’re a well-versed blogger, you likely already do this. Continue to include photos, graphics, and videos to your blog posts to break up chunks of texts. This leads me to my next point.

Think Beyond the Text

One prediction for the future of blogging is that blog posts will more often contain a variety of media. Think about some of the posts you have recently read; they likely included videos, infographics, and downloadable white sheets. As marketing becomes more consumer focused, a successful blog is relevant and offers valuable information.

Marketers are incorporating more visual content into their call-to-action and it’s a way to provide valuable information to your readers.
Hubspot is just one example of a company that provides downloadable content for their users. They refer to content such as ebooks and whitepapers as “educational content.” Get ready to see a greater variety of content forms in 2016. Offer valuable information for your readers, and you will be able to establish your blog as a reputable source.

inbound-marketing-pleasanton

Image: Hubspot Marketing Blog

Create a Plan

One of the most common tips for blogging we come across is to create a plan because it works. Also, having a content strategy will help you stand out amongst competition. According to Quicksprout, out of “86% of marketers who use content marketing, only 30% have a consistent content strategy.”

First, review your blogging schedule.

As your starting off the new year and taking a look at how you are spending your time, ask yourself whether you need to spend less time or more time blogging. We recently did this in order to reprioritize our time and ensure that we were staying on point with our content.

Second, stick to your plan.

Hold yourself accountable. Use reminders to make sure you are on top of your content creation. Do you have one person who is in charge of blogging? Choose another team member to keep track of the blogging schedule. This will help you stick to your schedule, get content out, and prevent mistakes.

Blogging takes time and effort, so you want the time that you spend on your blog to be worth it. We continually update our Pinterest board with tips and tricks for blogging!

Feel like you don’t have a direction for your business’ blog? Set up a meeting with us and we can help your business figure out a marketing strategy.