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One key part of being a great marketer is understanding how people think and knowing why they act the way they do. 10 principals.
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Which Social Network Should You Advertise On? Social media advertising is a great tactic to use to supplement your print advertising.
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Thursday, 28 July 2022 11:55

It's Good to Get Some Perspective

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Are they looking up to you and your graphics? Keep scale and readability in mind with these design tips... Print offers more ways than ever to remind people why they like you, need you and should keep paying attention to your business. We can help.

Woman Looking Up

When designing your large format signage, one of the most important factors to remember is the perspective from which people will view it. Images that are higher above attendees will appear different than those closer to ground height. This may affect the placement of images and text and what you want to be emphasized on your banner. Designs that are too complex or messages that aren’t clear are likely to get lost the further they are away from the ground.

Large graphics must awe their audiences and remain visible at a distance, influencing what sort of colour and imagery you utilize.


Does it pass the squint test?

It is essential to understand how the distance between a piece and its audience affects the message. One trick to simulating the effect distance has is to squint while you view it, effectively cutting down on the contrast and detail. It will be clear at a distance if it's clear and readable through a squint.


Keep up the contrast.

The contrast between the foreground and background plays a role in readability. The higher the contrast, the easier it will be to read.


Keep fonts simple.

Tests have shown that modern sans serif typography is best for anything that will be read from a distance (think road and traffic signs). But that doesn't rule out the careful use of serif typography. Keep the point size large and avoid setting it in all caps—experiment by adding letter spacing and leading until it passes the squint test.


Fewer words, bigger type.

The farther the viewing distance, the fewer words you can use. Billboards work with a 12-word rule, and large graphics are similar, especially if the audience is moving. Use a QR code or reference a website page when more information is needed.

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Please contact us for free information, tips and assistance!

Written By: Trent Ainsworth / Source: Beeline

Thursday, 25 February 2021 14:52

Is Your Business Ready to Spring Ahead

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Are your processes and B2B and B2C content, promotion-ready for sales to flourish this spring?...

Spring Ahead

It’s finally time to spring forward. You are more than ready to shed both the Covid and winter doldrums and get your business fired up for the warmer months ahead. But how exactly do you spring ahead for the best results?

 

#1 Review Current Processes

It’s time for some spring cleaning. Review all of your marketing and sales processes, and see what is working and what isn’t. If you have no idea, it’s time to put some monitoring processes in place so you can actually track results.

Once you have this information, you can focus more time and effort on the tactics that are actually working… and get rid of those that don’t.

 

#2 Prepare Your B2B and B2C Content Strategy

What are your sales goals and what kind of content are you going to produce to reach those goals? Who are the audience members you want to reach and how are you going to get your targeted content to them?

Ask yourself these questions, and write down your plan. Then, create an editorial calendar of the content you need, when it will be posted, how it will be distributed and tracked, and who is responsible for each element.

People want valuable information. Give them what they want!

 

#3 Talk To Your Team

How are things going with the people who help you run your business? Are your employees happy? Reach out to all of your associates, partners, clients, employees, and more to get their feedback. How can you make their lives easier?

Now is the perfect time to fix potential issues from becoming big problems, improving processes so your business runs as smoothly as possible, motivating others to do their best work, and thanking people for their help.

 

#4 Be Creative

The best way to get out of the “same old routine” is to make changes happen. Set aside some time to develop new ideas for your business… on your own and with others.

Hold “creative” brainstorming-sessions with your team members, have a business “field trip” or party at a fun, outside location, or just reserve some quiet time to think about resolutions to key issues.

By focusing on creativity, you may be surprised at how you can improve your business and jumpstart marketing, sales and more!

 

#5 Enjoy the New Season

Spring is a time for new beginnings. Why not give your business a fresh start?

Review current processes, develop a content strategy for the months ahead, and spend some fun time with your employees and associates to improve processes and develop new ideas.

You’ll have fun being creative, get organized and help boost sales… just in time to do more of the things you like to do outside in the warmer temperatures!

 

Want more help to boost sales with your Print and Signage?

Please contact us for free information, tips and assistance!

 

Source: StartupNation

No one can do business with you if they don’t know you exist. In order for you to start making some traction in your business or to level up, you must invest in your personal branding, and work hard to get the word out...

Number One Marketing Problem

 

When Chic CEO was in its first year of business, I remember getting to a networking event after just leaving another and met a woman in the bar line - because #wine. We introduced ourselves and she said, “I see you everywhere.” It was the first time we had chatted, but she already knew Chic CEO. My business partner and I were on a mission, bound and determined to be seen.

Obscurity can be one of the biggest business killers to any venture. Here are some ways to step out and get known.

 

Niche Down, Down, Down And Find The “That’s me!” Response

Homing in on your target market is one of the very best things you can do for yourself and your business. When you can get super clear on who you work with, marketing becomes exponentially easier. I recently met a woman who is a hair stylist and she said she specializes in blonds with short hair. “That’s me!” I squeaked. Brilliant. I rarely hear of a stylist getting that specific when describing what they do. Cut, color, style, what else is there? Turns out, a lot. I didn’t realize that stylists niche down too, until that moment. She actually made me say, “that’s me!” and that’s marketing gold. The more specific you can get on who you serve, the easier it is to break out of obscurity and the internet noise.


Pick One Social Channel And Hit It Hard

Watering down your presence isn’t a smart strategy. Your audience might hang out in a few places, but chances are, the majority of them prefer one social platform over another. Focus your time in being ever present on that channel. Melyssa Griffin, a prominent blogger who teaches others to create profitable blogs, doubles down on Pinterest. Larry Kim, founder of Mobile Monkey, puts a lot of his effort into Medium. It’s not that they aren’t present on other social channels or platforms, but you can see they have found where their audience hangs out and they show up to that party. If you are working solo, your best bet is to stick to one social channel and hit it hard - so you can maximize effort with the little time you have.


Post Content Where Your People Are Hanging Out

To piggy back off of the previous point, you may notice that there are more people hanging out on platforms like Medium, than they are on your blog. When you are posting non-stop to your own blog with little traction, start posting where people might actually see it. There are many media outlets that allow you to write for them, or places you can post your content. Start pushing your message, ideas and value to platforms that already have an audience, rather than your blog where only a handful of people might see it.


Create Strategic Partnerships

Linking up with another business who has the same audience but an ancillary product or service can only help the both of you. Get creative on how you can promote each other to gain more awareness and value for the customers and clients you serve. Related: How To Create Strategic Partnerships. Find ways to create cross promotions, team up on events, help each other achieve the peak end experience or simply do some email swaps. Leverage each other to bring more value to your customers and benefit from the awareness it brings.


Become The Local News Expert

One of the fastest ways to get seen is through press. Press can be tricky, but the key is to provide value. Always provide value. When you are someone that the local press knows can give great tips on how to keep the kids busy for summer, or the proper way to stretch before a marathon - they will call you first. Be their trusted expert in your subject matter and they’ll think of you when something comes up.

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Worried there’s too much noise in the market for your business to cut through? In this clip, Seth Godin explains why the traditional idea of differentiation is selfish and shares his much more generous approach to market positioning that won’t make you want to stab your eyes out with a fork. Watch the full interview with Seth Godin here:

Seth Godin

Sources: Forbes / Written By: Stephanie Burns ... YouTube / Seth Godin

 

Thursday, 24 October 2019 14:40

Casting a Niche Net | Getting Personal

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As author and entrepreneur Seth Godin puts it: “Personalization wasn’t supposed to be a cleverly veiled way to chase prospects around the web, showing them the same spammy ad for the same lame stuff as everyone else sees. No, it is a chance to differentiate at a human scale, to use behaviour as the most important clue about what people want and more important, what they need.”

Casting A Niche Net

Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution:

Trends in customer trust by Salesforce Research reinforces the notion that brands can win more business by creating personalized customer experiences — a message we’ve heard for some time now. Based on a survey polling over 6,700 individuals from more than a dozen countries including Canada, the 2018 report finds consumers are demanding greater personalization and will often disclose the kind of personal information needed to create more personalized experiences if they feel the business is being transparent about how the data is used.

“Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, an era defined by continuous technological innovations that are transforming customer expectations. As lines between digital and physical worlds blur, today’s customers demand deeply relevant, personalized experiences across devices, channels and interactions,” according to the report. “In fact, the average customer uses 10 different channels to communicate with companies. Despite this, today’s customers expect tailored engagement across all channels.”

Fifty-four percent of respondents say the marketing messages they receive aren’t as relevant as they would like them to be – suggesting that some companies drastically need to improve their personalization capabilities – while 84 percent say “being treated like a person, not a number” is very important to winning repeat business and maintaining brand loyalty. “Customers expect businesses to understand not only what they are purchasing, but why, as well as how they use products and services, and they expect it fast,” the report reads.

The majority of survey respondents say they are willing to share personal information if it is used to deliver more personalized engagements, and expect that personalization to be coupled with transparency. What’s more, 51 percent of respondents across all age groups say they are comfortable with companies “applying relevant information about me in exchange for personalized engagement,” as compared to 64 percent of millennials and Gen Zers.  

What’s interesting is 86 percent of total respondents – and 91 percent of millennials and Gen Zers – say they are more likely to trust companies with their personal information when they explain how it is being used to deliver a better experience for them, suggesting that strict security and privacy protocols alone may not be enough to dispel fears of data misuse and breaches.

“As time goes on, businesses will contend with a more savvy customer base that expects greater personalization, along with respect for the data they swap for it,” the report concludes.

Source: PrintAction / Written By: Alyssa Dalton

 

“Without trust, your relationship does not exist; all you have is a series of transactions,” says Rosa Sheng, architect and senior associate at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.

Trust is the foundation of any relationship between architect and client, and cultivating trust has huge benefits: repeat clients, patience when challenges arise, and referrals to new clients. But a weak or eroded sense of trust can harm your reputation, cost you future business, and even drive clients toward litigation.

Due to the complex nature of architecture projects, a number of factors can make or break an architect-client relationship. Here are seven tips from architectural experts to help you build and maintain trust.

Build Maintain Trust

1. Have an Effective Online Presence.

The first way to build a client’s trust—before you ever meet in person—is with your online presence. An unsubstantial or outdated online presence can be a red flag for prospective clients, so keep your website and professional profiles (including LinkedIn) updated with information about your firm and projects. “How is the client supposed to build trust if they look you up and can’t find anything about you?” Sheng asks.

2. Communicate Well Consistently.

Good communication is the cornerstone of building trust. “We get lost in the design process, and then we forget to communicate what’s happening and how it’s happening in an effective way and on a regular basis,” Sheng says. A regular check-in can bring potential problems to the surface early in the process and show the client you’re fully engaged.

Communicating your design intent to clients in a language your clients can understand is also essential to building trust. Make sure you don’t use “archispeak”—words such as “parti” and “trombe wall.” Architects often assume that clients can read drawings well and share the same technical vocabulary, which is usually not the case.

3. Show Your Vision With BIM.

Using 3D-modeling software like BIM, you can convey design and site-planning concepts via virtual walk-throughs and visualizations, leaving little room for clients to misinterpret your designs. This process also allows you to anticipate conflicts that may come up in construction with more accuracy so you can solve problems and reduce change orders.

“With BIM, you can go in with a wider array of tools and answer questions that would never have come up if you were just looking at 2D plans,” says Philip Noland, design visualization artist and owner of Noland Design Studio. “It brings about new exploration. The questions aren’t glazed over—they’re really looked at.”

For architect Lionel Scharly from Scharly Designer Studio, using BIM visualizations instills trust because clients can see the whole picture. “The more the client has details of the project, the better they understand, the more you accumulate their trust,” he says. “They are the ones paying, but they often don’t have a background in architecture, yet they want to be ‘in the project.”

4. Don’t Overpromise.

One of the most fundamental ways to build trust is to deliver what you’ve committed to doing. “The fear of saying no is rampant in our industry,” Sheng says. It’s especially hard to say no when it’s a down market and architects are starved for work. But in the long run, when you’ve said yes to something you can’t deliver just to get a job, your client will stop trusting you.

To avoid biting off more than you can chew, talk your clients through their project goals to confirm what they want can be done. “If it passes the three-question challenge, then it might be okay,” Sheng says. “Ask about the desired goal in three different ways—with a focus on design, budget, and schedule—to make sure they thought through their idea.”

5. Do Your Homework.

Designing a building entails a lot of moving parts. It’s important that you do your homework on factors such as applicable codes, the properties of materials you want to use, and what things cost. Clients rely on architects to be the experts in many arenas, and by doing your homework, you will convey the correct information and make fewer mistakes. “You definitely have to know what you’re talking about, so when you tell the client something, always double-check that it is accurate,” Sheng says.

6. Be Honest in Setting Expectations.

If you discover a problem, it may be tempting to cave to your client to curry favor. For example, if you learn the project will cost more than the client can afford, it’s important to deliver the message without wavering—even if the client pushes back. “There’s an expectation for an architect to push the boundaries, be innovative, and stretch the dollar, but the architect still needs to be financially responsible,” Sheng says. “Show conviction and maintain integrity in your professional expertise. Trust is built on consistency.”

Clients may also have unrealistic demands to squeeze the budget and schedule, and it’s your job to be honest about what’s feasible. “Sometimes the truth is hard to swallow, and in some cases, we lose out,” Sheng says. “But in the long term, the client realizes that you were right, and the truth prevails.”

Being up front about cost and viability can also prevent you from absorbing costs outside your initial scope, which can negatively impact your profit margin on the project.

7. Offer New and Creative Solutions.

When trust is lost due to a mistake or failed promise, it may take a long time to re-establish it. The best way to regain trust is to acknowledge where you went wrong, apologize, and offer solutions.

A contract BIM manager in the Facilities Management Group at Carolinas HealthCare System, Meghan Ruffo regularly collaborates with architects. For her, defaulting to problem solving within a linear 2D process—design, then engineer, then build—can erode confidence. “The willingness to think about how to solve the problem is important, rather than relying on the traditional approach or what an architect has always done in specific scenarios in the past,” she says.

For Sheng, creative problem solving is particularly important when the stakes are high: “Because construction is such a costly endeavor, costing hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, it is a huge responsibility for architects to be the steward of that kind of money in the form of a building.”

Source: Redshift by Autodesk / Written By: Taz Khatri

Monday, 24 September 2018 10:04

How Empathy for Clients Can Set You Apart

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Think beyond “educating the client” to build transformational relationships.

“If only we could educate the client about the true value of architecture,” goes the wistful narrative, “then they would have greater appreciation for architects and what they do.” It is clear to many members of the profession that this painfully slow enlightenment process needs to be accelerated. What if architects used an evidence-based approach to design a better way to transform their client’s thinking? What if these initiatives made use of research on experiential learning? What if more clients engaged in interactive experiences that generate exceptional value?

Empathy For Clients for BlogPost

The shift to transformational experiences

Transformational client-architect experiences are based upon mutually beneficial exchanges of knowledge and aha’s that occur before, during, and after the project. In contrast to fee-driven transactions, these two-way engagements bring out the best in both entities. They are built on empathy and the trusting relationships that develop when the architect and client think through possibilities and constraints together.

“I love my clients,” says Gregory Henriquez, Architect AIBC, FRAIC, managing partner of Henriquez Partners Architects and a leader among a new generation of ethical, activist architects. “We decline one or two project requests a week because we choose our clients. Rather than being reactive, we decided to take control of our careers and surround ourselves with people who have a reciprocal relationship with us. Clients are attracted by our commitment to doing something meaningful and exceptional together. We provide them with a positive experience.”

“Like a lot of architects, I used to be fearful of showing clients my work in progress,” Henriquez continues, “then I experimented with sharing the design as it evolved and discovered to my surprise,  the more I did that, the more excited they got about the emerging ideas.”     

More architects are taking the initiative to shape project opportunities and the selection process. They are using fresh thinking, meaningful interaction and empathy for clients to be the proverbial firm that has the inside track.

What is empathy-driven marketing?

Empathy is the ability to put yourself “in someone else’s shoes” to understand how they see things. For architects this involves being attuned to a client’s concerns, hopes and fears—both spoken and unspoken. When framing communication and marketing strategies for your firm, an empathy-driven approach can more clearly distinguish you from the many firms that vaguely claim they listen and collaborate. Empathy also means caring enough to interview clients long before they create their selection criteria and being in a position to influence those criteria.

Use empathy to triumph over apathy

When I conduct interviews with clients to understand why they choose one top design firm over another, they tend to talk about the working relationship. For example, they cite “someone who cares about my obsessions as a client, not just their obsessions,” and they praise the architect who “has our best interests at heart,” or the firm that “shows they really care about us.”

Overwhelming research on how people make major buying decisions indicates that emotions rule their choices. Typically, the purchaser’s conscious and unconscious feelings are then justified with logic (such as assigning point scores in the case of public work proposal evaluations).

In other words, an excellent way to build greater appreciation for what architects do is to communicate that you recognize the demands, risks, pressures and primal fears of being a client. Often when spending large sums of money, clients must justify their decisions to others, some are under hostile public scrutiny, and some may even fear losing their job if project planning mistakes are made. Also, clients are frequently asked to quickly digest concepts that may have taken a design team days or weeks to evolve back in the studio. So you can set yourself apart by integrating clients into your design and planning deliberations so that they can proceed with confidence.

Every project begins with a conversation

From my experience, thought leaders in the profession begin the design process with the premise that we must seek first to understand,” says John Stephenson, OAA, MRAIC, partner, FORM Architecture Engineering and current president of the Ontario Association of Architects. “This involves not just passive listening; it requires insightful questions that are ‘designed’ to achieve an exceptional level of understanding before leaping to a hypothesis. It poses design ideas not as solutions, which presume that the architect has all the answers, but as a series of ‘what if’ questions that challenge both designer and client. This quality of interaction brings real craft and greater perceived value to the design that emerges.

Where are you on the empathy spectrum?

A doctor can be dedicated to the medical profession while not appearing to care that much about patients. Likewise, on one extreme of the marketing spectrum we find architects who describe themselves as passionate about architecture without explaining how their passion translates into benefits for a client. Marketing profiles that neglect to mention the client’s role may unintentionally convey a message that clients will be viewed primarily as a means to expand portfolios, win awards and fulfill a need for self-expression.

On the other side of the empathy spectrum we find architects who see a common cause with clients, serving their own agenda as well as client needs, fears, hopes and priorities. These architects build trust and enthusiasm with clients through interactions that demonstrate they truly care.

From the client’s perspective, how can I tell where you fall on this empathy spectrum? Many architect profiles are written in a way that appeals to other architects, rather than speaking to the client as reader. If your clients would truly say you “care about us” this is a crucial differentiator that should be conveyed through all your written and verbal communication.

Caring does not mean compromise

If you practice principle-centred negotiation you know that in order to get what you want, you must first discover what the other person wants. Finding common ground—or agreeing on a common cause—does not need to involve compromise. So when we talk about a client-centric, empathy-driven marketing strategy for architectural services, it does not mean that design quality will be diminished. But it does require asking astute questions that reveal where your interests intersect with your client’s.     

Bryan Croeni, AIA, director, B+H Advance Strategy immerses his clients in a rigorous participatory design experience that sparks animated dialogue about what’s truly important and meaningful to stakeholders. This empathy-driven approach has multiple benefits that serve to differentiate the firm. “In addition to enriching the value of our interaction with clients,” Bryan says, “our process saves time by surfacing challenges and opportunities early on in the project. In a rapidly changing, complex planning and design environment, our clients can’t afford to settle for easy conclusions and untested assumptions. Status quo mindsets are destined to yield status quo outcomes, which is risky in an environment of accelerating change.”

In my consulting work I encounter architects who have collaborative process talents that they take for granted. These capabilities, rooted in empathy and appreciation for the high stakes decisions that clients must face, often get masked by standard marketing claims. An empathy-driven approach to marketing can reveal fresh opportunities and strengthen client relationships. To do this, you need to paint a picture of what it feels like to collaborate with your team and the benefits of your unique way of working. How do you develop a deeper understanding of what each client wants their project to achieve?

Rather than rely on well-worn phrases that clients see as norms for the profession—such as years of experience and vague, me-too statements about excellence and innovation—what if you conveyed the quality of client experience and the benefits of that interaction? If empathy is about understanding how clients see things, how do you gain that understanding rather than proceed on the basis of assumptions?

Communicating a higher quality of interaction could encompass:

  1. How you help clients think through options in order to make better, more confident decisions.
  2. How you probe beyond stated requirements to discover true needs and wants.
  3. How you find out what matters most in the client’s mind, rather than acting on assumptions.
  4. How you identify a “common cause” that reflects both your interests and the client’s priorities (without compromises).   
  5. How a client would describe the experience of working with you (vs. generic marketing language).

Describe your consultative approach

In recent years, doctors have added “patient interview skills” to their classroom curriculum. They realize that traditional, paternalistic ways of dispensing their wisdom must be replaced with a consultative approach. Design clients often don’t know what questions they should be asking, in the same sense that you may not know all the questions you should be asking your doctor. Also, clients frequently don’t fully understand their needs until the design process begins to unfold.

How effective are your client interview skills? Architects who establish an outstanding reputation for empathy are more than good listeners. They certainly are not order-takers, because they don’t accept what clients say at face value. They do not say “we will build your vision.” Instead, similar to a good doctor, they know that better questions lead to better answers.

Your ability to respond to what matters most

Enormous amounts of time can be wasted when we jump ahead without asking “what matters?” to clients. Are we making the right assumptions? Are we ruling out the right possibilities?

“We make our thinking process highly visible by involving clients in hands-on working sessions, rather than relying on presentations that require us to convince decision makers, says Tania Bortolotto, OAA, FRAIC, president, Bortolotto. “Our transparent approach allows us to spotlight how we explore project possibilities and creative problem solving. It also helps clients digest complex issues so they feel more confident as we move forward.”

Are you hiding your most valuable client collaboration skills behind a wall of “me-too” claims?  Not every architect is interested in delving into these emotional aspects of the business. Yet an empathy-driven strategy will make the value of what you do more obvious to clients, and free you from the commodity services trap.

Source: Canadian Architect / Written By: Sharon Vanderkaay

Friday, 28 July 2017 11:07

Protecting Your Business Documents

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You're wasting money if you don't have a system in place for digitally storing the millions of pages of documents and files your business produces. Here's the lowdown on digital archiving...

Secure With MDisc

Discover M-Disc the 1000 Year Archive

Businesses in Canada and the United States make more than 1 billion photocopies every day and spend more than $25 billion a year to file, store and retrieve their paper documents. In many cases, records and information systems often represent as much as 50 percent of the total cost of doing business.

With the technologies that are available today, however, it doesn't make good business sense to spend large amounts of capital to store and maintain hard copy information. As with all aspects of a company's business, using technologies that will increase productivity and reduce costs is vital to your profitability and success.

Because of the cost-savings available, many companies are changing their attitudes toward data storage and are looking at innovative ways to handle the flow of data. Today, there are several inventive and cost-effective technologies available that can streamline the processing and storing of hard-copy data, which, in turn, will save you money--money that you can use to improve systems and invest in the future of your business. Let's take a look at one of these new systems.

Defining the Solution

Digital archiving, also known as scan-to-file, is one of the best methods around for processing and storing documents. Simply put, digital archiving is the process of converting paper information to a digital representation of the original document. These highly cost-effective conversions allow information to be stored and accessed easily, enabling companies to save time, storage space, money and resources, and increase their productivity and security.

Over time, digitally storing information will reduce the costs of document storage. It will reduce employee workload associated with filing, retrieving and re-filing paper documents. Additionally, it provides easy access to search, retrieve, read, print and e-mail imaged files.

Digital archiving also allows for expedient file transmission over the internet or an internal network. And it creates a flexible, electronic database of corporate documents, such as financial statements, required regulatory documentation, client and patient files, tax and legal documents--all of which can be password-protected to restrict printing and content extraction.

And there's more good news: The process is simple. Information is scanned and stored on one of a number of forms of media, most often on CD-ROMs (M-Disc is the most secure), but also on hard disks or other file formats. You then store the digital data in a secure location, either onsite or away from your business. The digitally stored information can easily be retrieved by simply loading a CD-ROM or disk onto any computer. The document appears just as it did in its original hard copy form and can be saved to the computer, e-mailed or printed.

Digital archiving enables companies to put unlimited amounts of information onto CDs. Imagine taking 35,000 pages of paper and converting it to three CDs.

If you think digital archiving may be right for your company, here are a few questions to ask your visual communications partner:

How is information scanned? Who does it and how long does it take?

Information can either be hand-scanned or fed into a scanner based on the type of data being scanned. Scanning should be done by a team of professionally trained and certified digital specialists, who know how to scan and archive your important documents. Scanning times will vary based on the amount of information being converted. For example, 1,200 pages can take up to four hours to complete.

Is the information secure while it's being scanned for digital archiving?

Most likely it is, but you need to ensure that the vendor has a dedicated and secure digital archiving imaging area designed with your sensitive documents in mind. Additionally, you need to verify that the information won't be shared with any outside source, and your vendor should return all documents upon completion. In some cases, you and the vendor may determine that the scanning should be done at your location.

Where is the information stored? Will the CDs be given to me to store or will I need to have the vendor to store them in a secure location?

Typically, your vendor should store the information on CDs that will be returned to you for storage.

What format will the digitized documents be in?

At a minimum, documents should be converted to PDF because that's the widely accepted format for digitized information. Additionally, PDF formatting is approved and in use by a host of local, state and federal agencies. However, based on your needs, files can also be created in Word and other industry-specific software.

Click HERE to Learn More About Small and Large Format Scanning

Source: Entrepreneur | entrepreneur.com

Friday, 27 January 2017 13:45

Writing Copy That Sells

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In Chicago, there’s a famous restaurant called Alinea. It’s one of only a handful of restaurants in America that have earned the coveted 3-star Michelin rating, making it one of the best restaurants in the world. But if you ask people who’ve dined there what makes it unique, most will tell you that, somehow, it’s not just the food.

Alinea is an experience. The food, artistic and delicious as it is, wouldn’t garner its full effect if each course (there are about 20 in all) didn’t arrive just in time, perfectly ordered, with each dish complementing the one before it and simultaneously enhancing the one scheduled to arrive next. There’s a natural flow to the meal -- a rhythm. Each course serves a purpose, like the individual instruments of an orchestra.

The end result is something enticing, captivating, and memorable -- and fun. Really fun. Most importantly, the end result sells people. It compels them to write glowing Yelp reviews. It makes Alinea the topic of conversation. The end result drives people back again and again.

As a marketer, if you want to sell people like a Michelin 3-star restaurant, you have to execute like one. In other words, you have to 1) produce something remarkable and 2) present it correctly, logically.

If you don’t know how to do that, here’s a proven copywriting formula that will guide you ...

Writing Copy for BlogPost

Bob Stone's 7 Step Formula

Bob Stone was a giant figure in the advertising world. His colleagues called him “Mr. Direct Marketing” because he wrote countless successful direct mail pieces, selling everything from surgical dressings to business club memberships.

How did he do it? He had a trick: an adaptable formula made up of seven simple, logical steps he used to hook readers and keep their interest until the last line (at which point many readers did what he asked them to).

Stone’s formula -- referred to by marketers as “Bob Stone’s Gem” -- was originally used to write sales letters and other direct response advertisements. But in the decades since its invention, it’s been proven to work in virtually any type of promotion, from blog posts to landing pages to sales emails. Try it yourself and watch your response rates rise.

But first, let's break down each step. You'll notice that I've provided an example sentence (or two or three) under each to show how a copywriter might use Bob Stone’s Gem to create a blurb of copy (which, in this instance, is selling that beaut of a restaurant: Alinea).

1) Begin with your strongest benefit.

In the advertising world, features tell and benefits sell. That’s what makes Bob Stone’s Gem so compelling: it forces marketers to focus on and, therefore, highlight the benefits of their product, service, cause, program -- what have you. Of course, features should also be present in the promotion you create but, ultimately, they’re not closers. Only benefits are.

That’s why you have to sculpt your copy around a target persona, highlighting the benefits you know to be most important to her.

In this example, I’ll be writing to Foodie Francis, a married, middle-aged lawyer with two adult children. She loves cooking and is particularly fascinated by molecular gastronomy.

Let’s get started:

    "Dine at Alinea, and join the I’ve-Eaten-the-Best-Food-in-the-World club."

2) Expand on the most important benefit.

Make your main benefit difficult to ignore by describing the actual positive impact it can make on your target persona’s life. Change your reader’s perspective. Plant a seed.

For example:

    "A club that will open your culinary head, forever changing the way you look at food and, perhaps, even the way you understand ingredients."

3) Explain exactly (and in detail) what the prospect will get.

You’ve planted the seed, now water it. This is where you can drop some features. You can do so by painting a picture, which will give your reader something to visualize and gestate. Just don’t over-do it. Leave room for your reader’s imagination. After all, it exists for a reason ...

For example:

    "At Alinea, dine on tempura-fried pheasant breast, while experiencing the delights of a Midwestern fall -- even if it’s January. At Alinea, eat an apple masquerading as a helium balloon."

4) Back up your statement(s) with proof.

By this point, your reader has given you her attention, time, and effort. But she’s not a sucker, you know. She’s a leery, 21st century consumer. And if she’s to be sold, she is going to need some proof.

This is your chance to flash some facts, statistics, testimonials, awards -- anything that’ll give credibility to your claims.

For example:

    "At Alinea, experience the weight of 3 Michelin stars: the bites, the service, the art of it all."

5) Tell them what they’ll lose if they don’t act.

Bob Stone included this step because he knew that people are far more driven to avoid pain than they are to acquire pleasure. As a species, we’re constantly striving to prevent suffering and avoid discomfort. That’s why it’s important to incorporate some negativity into your copy.

For example:

    "But if you choose not to make a reservation, rest assured you'll go on living, laughing, and loving like you always have. Nothing will change. And wouldn’t that be unfortunate?"

6) Sum up the most important benefits.

You just took your reader to the darkside, now bring them into the light again. Recap all those terrific benefits that captivated your reader in the first place, reminding her why she should pull the trigger.

This is your last opportunity to sum up the value your product or service will bring to the reader’s life. This is your chance to push the reader over the threshold, so make it personal and emotional for your target audience.

For example:

    "Because beautiful and delicious and exciting as the Alinea experience is, it's nothing compared to what could be. It's nothing when pitted against the future -- your future -- after your mind is awakened to the potential of ingredients and the possibilities of food."

7) Present your call-to-action.

If you don’t ask your reader to take a specific action at the end of your copy -- if you don’t tell her what to do next -- you might as well have never written it in the first place. I don’t care how compelling your words have been, if there isn’t a clear next-step, your copy is almost certainly going to fail.

So keep your call-to-action simple and direct. Don’t force your reader to think.

For example:

    "Be our guest. Reserve your table on our website, www.AlineaRestaurant.com, today."

The Finished Product

When stitched together, Alinea’s promotional blurb is short and sweet. Depending on the circumstances, it could be expanded or even shortened. But for the purposes of this article, I think it reads just right:

    "Dine at Alinea, and join the I’ve-Eaten-the-Best-Food-in-the-World club.

    A club that will open your culinary head, forever changing the way you look at food and, perhaps, even the way you understand ingredients. At Alinea, dine on tempura-fried pheasant breast, while experiencing the delights of a Midwestern fall -- even if it’s January. At Alinea, eat an apple masquerading as a helium balloon. At Alinea, experience the weight of 3 Michelin stars: the bites, the service, the art of it all.

    But if you choose not to make a reservation, rest assured you'll go on living, laughing, and loving like you always have. Nothing will change. And wouldn’t that be unfortunate?

    Because beautiful and delicious and exciting as the Alinea experience is, it's nothing compared to what could be. It's nothing when pitted against the future -- your future -- after your mind is awakened to the potential of ingredients and the possibilities of food.

    Be our guest. Reserve your table on our website, www.AlineaRestaurant.com, today."

Is this copy going to sell everybody who reads it? Of course not. But then again, it wasn’t designed for everyone. It was designed for Foodie Francis, remember?

So, will it sell her? Perhaps. Nothing’s a sure thing. But thanks to Bob Stone’s Gem, I like my chances.

Written by Eddie Shleyner @VeryGoodCopy | Source: Hubspot

Six Rules To Simplify

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Why do people feel so miserable and disengaged at work? Because today's businesses are increasingly and dizzyingly complex — and traditional pillars of management are obsolete, says Yves Morieux. So, he says, it falls to individual employees to navigate the rabbit's warren of interdependencies. In this energetic talk, Morieux offers six rules for "smart simplicity." (Rule One: Understand what your colleagues actually do.)

Source: TED / Presenter: Yves Morieux

Monday, 19 September 2016 13:12

How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Written by

Still one of the most popular TED Talks in existence, filmed in 2009, this TED Talk by Simon Sinek has over 16 million views. He’ll have you thinking about the importance of your why and the reason that “why” truly makes all the difference in the world. While most people and companies start from the outside “what they do,” and work their way in, Sinek shares that true innovators start at the core addressing the “why” first, and then work from the inside out for great success. His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers ...

Simon Sinek TED Talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Wondering about Dominion Blue's "Why"

It's Simple

We're printing for your success and we believe that printing and should be stress free. This really is why people choose us. Click HERE » to find out what customers are saying.

Source: TED / Presenter: Simon Sinek

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