Silk Laminated Foil Business Cards: Go Above The Standard

Sometimes the standard just doesn’t cut it. Sometimes you require something more. At Day2Day Printing we are well aware of this and have kept the idea in mind while preparing our new site. With the launch this past week, we have decided to offer our clients that “something more”—Foil Stamped Silk Business Cards.

Silk Laminated Foil Stamped Business Cards

Silk Lam + Silver Foil

Silk lamination provides a smooth elegant feel to the cards, while foiling gives off a shine that’s hard to ignore. Notice how on image 1, the designer put foil stamping to good use by emphasizing a vital piece of information–his phone number.

 

Silk Laminated Foil Stamped Business Cards

Silk Lam + Gold Foil

 

Why invest so much into a business card you may ask? The answer is simple. Handing out cards like these shows that you care about presentation and makes a great first impression with new contacts. Attention to detail is big in any business, and implies a sense of professionalism. Image 2 showcases gold foil and how such a  finishing can add a vividness and sense of elegance to the simplest design elements.

Business Cards in Holder

Not only does handing out a quality business card look good, but it also provides you with benefits that you may not even think about consciously. When things are organized, clean, high in quality, a sense of trustworthiness is subconsciously associated. There’s no doubt that handing out a high quality business card is effective in getting someone to trust and remember you. Trust us when we say: “A little customization goes a long way”.

 

7 Smart Tradeshow Tips for Startups

As a startup company the path to trade show success may be clouded with the anxiety and pressure to succeed. However, the foreignness of a trade show shouldn’t thwart your desire to attend. Vast opportunities for financial gain and network connections are present. The following are 7 smart trade show tips will put you on the right path for victory.

  1. Plan Ahead

Trade shows are events that require meticulous planning, thought, and organization. To plan the first thing you need to do is set a reasonable budget that accounts for all related costs. The next thing you need to do is create measureable goals to prevent lackadaisical attitudes at the trade show. An example of a simple numerical goal is to increase sales on your featured product. However, one non-numerical goal that all startups should have is to develop and grow brand awareness. Lastly, sketch an outline of what your table should look like and ensure you have all of those materials beforehand and packed to take to the show.

  1. Get noticed
Author: Sergey Galyonkin  Source: http://bit.ly/13TRh88

Author: Sergey Galyonkin
Source: http://bit.ly/13TRh88

The trade show environment is an extremely competitive one, and to succeed getting noticed is key. If the trade show allows you to pick your own table, get there early, and choose the location you think will have the most foot traffic. High traffic areas will be near the entrance, main walkways, and even the trails to the bathroom. Next you need to astatically excite, try using colorful balloons, monitors, or even play some catchy music to draw people to your table. Once people are at your table they will need a reason to stay engaged. If it is within your budget, hand out swag that is relevant to your brand. If swag isn’t an option create an interactive attraction that will electrify people and create buzz about your table throughout the trade show.

  1. Approachability and attitude
Author: Philippines Outsourcing Corporation Source: http://bit.ly/17dSJ7N

Author: Philippines Outsourcing Corporation
Source: http://bit.ly/17dSJ7N

Your table looks superb, the materials you brought are exciting and informative, but the people manning your table appear unapproachable. Think of these people as tools, which if used effectively can propel your startup to success. We get that you are nervous, but this is the time to put on your “friendly” face. To help relieve the nerves, develop a list of opening lines to attract and help you interact with anyone who comes up to your table. Questions could be thought provoking, direct, or something even more conversational to break the barrier and help you connect.

  1. Establish professional connections

This is an ideal time to network and make professional connections. During the event you will be overwhelmed at the number of people you talk to. A helpful trick is after you finish talking to a person take a moment to write down a summary of what you talked about and who they are on the back on their business card. After the event dedicate time to connect with each person on LinkedIn. In addition to connecting with the people who came to your table dedicate time to network with your competition at their exhibits.

  1. Professional materials

Having a professional trade show exhibit sends a distinct message that you intend to be a serious competitor. Companies like The Trade Group specialize in delivering a wide variety of exhibit options for any budget. The sheer size of banner stands makes them essential tools, because they are so large the eye is drawn right to them and people instantly know the name of the company and any other information displayed there. Another exhibit element that can increase the professional look of your table is tabletop displays, which vary in size and design and can really energize your exhibit.

  1. Using social media
Author: Sean MacEntee Source: http://bit.ly/1wdTKSV

Author: Sean MacEntee
Source: http://bit.ly/1wdTKSV

Incorporating social media into your trade show affairs is a savvy way to raise brand awareness and generate sales. Before the trade show begins do some research and see if the show has an official hashtag. Let your followers know you will be at this trade show and with the hashtag let others know who you are. During the trade show post a picture of your table and entice people to check it out. Another strategy is to create your own brand relevant hashtag for the event and encourage people to take pictures at your table and share it digitally. You can motivate people by creating a promotion only those who share will get or by saying one random participant will win swag. To continue engaging customers after the trade show write down all the questions you were asked during the show and write a blog post afterwards answering those questions for all to see.

  1. Follow up

At the trade show you did a great job connecting with people, now you have to maintain and grow that relationship. During the event invite people to connect by leaving their email address, and after the trade show add all of the email addresses to your newsletter distribution list. In addition inspire people to connect with your business on social media. Now you have connections with all these people don’t be lazy! Email and thank them for coming to your booth, continue generating exciting social media posts, and distribute a timely newsletter.

As a startup your first few trade shows can come with a major financial learning curve. However, if you follow these 7 smart trade show tips you can efficiently display your products and optimize financial gain.

How to Engage in the Digital Age – Digital Marketing

 

If engaging clients and prospects through social media isn’t part of your overall marketing strategy, it should be. Social media represents a proven method for communicating with a target audience, building a loyal base of followers and generating leads. When businesses actively engage clients on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social media platforms, they’re not only increasing the opportunity to make sales, they’re strengthening brand awareness — the gold standard in marketing today.

Here are suggestions for successful digital age engagement:

Listen and learn

Do you know what your target audience thinks about you? About your industry and competitors? Such valuable information can be found on a variety of social media channels, where people comment all the time, both about your business and your industry. If you’re not doing so already, be sure to regularly check your business Facebook page and see what people are talking about. You can also set up a keyword/hashtag-monitoring stream to stay current on consumer sentiments on Twitter.

Get a conversation going

Of course, listening is only part of the interactive nature of social media. You can always kick-start a conversation by asking questions online — open-ended questions related to your business (and, when possible, tied in to current cultural events).

You’re also in a position to answer questions people pose online, thus demonstrating your willingness to engage with prospective clients on the social media channels where they “live.”  People respond favorably to a business that promptly answers specific or industry-related questions.
The same principle applies to negative feedback. Occasionally, someone will post a comment critical of your product or service. Rather than going overboard with a defensive reply, think of this as a chance to build some goodwill.

“Customers will criticize and complain,” notes Andrew Pressault of Hootsuite. “Every comment and complaint represents a great opportunity, though — an opportunity to fix the problem, and do it publicly. Or, at the very least, show empathy.”

Make it easy to follow your business

Your various social media profiles should be prominently displayed on all of your communications and websites, from email newsletters to your “About Us” page. This makes it easy for clients and prospects to “like” or follow you. It’s also a great way for them to share your content with their own social networks.

Another tip: When responding to a blog post or client comments, be sure to include a link to your site at the end of your reply. Someone who likes what you have to say — or has a new interest in your product or service — can easily click on the link and go where you want them to go.

Offer content of value

It should be clear by now that social media is not the venue for blatant advertising or self-promotion. Instead, follow the 80/20 rule, making 80 percent of your content relevant and useful to your target audience, and 20 percent reflecting your key marketing message.

Content of value includes “how-to” posts, commentary on industry trends, “5 Ways to …” articles — whatever helps improve the lives of users. Not only does this generate goodwill in the social media realm, it helps build your reputation as an industry thought-leader.

“Posts that are rich in content reflect well on your company and have a higher probability of being shared on the social networks of your users,” notes Colton Matheson, SEO & SEM Coordinator at the University of Utah. “This can help increase your referrals and strengthen your online business profile.”

Share content from others and engage with influencers

Social media etiquette doesn’t preclude mentioning other businesses (and competitors) on occasion. When you come across valuable content from other sources, don’t hesitate to share it with your network. People appreciate getting useful information and will remember whom it came from.

Also, look for industry influencers and work on developing a relationship with them online. Such a relationship can open up a completely new audience for your business. Aligning your brand with respected voices in your field can help establish social proof and build brand awareness.

How do you engage with influencers? “For instance,” says marketing specialist Matthew Collis, “you can share some of their posts you like, answer any questions they post to the community, and closely monitor their social channels so you can see which subjects and issues matter to them, and then engage with them about those things.”

Don’t neglect email marketing

Email marketing is still a productive method for engaging with prospects and clients. It’s cost-effective and generally has a stronger response rate than direct mail. And it’s a great method for pinpointing your ideal demographic. When inviting people to subscribe to your email newsletter, you can (depending on the questions you ask) learn a lot about their age, what part of the country they live in, their unique interests, etc. — which helps refine your message to best meet their needs.

Traditional marketing remains a useful tool for businesses, but the results pale against the vast potential for client and prospect engagement in the digital age.

Networking: Things to Avoid when Making a First Impression

How to Make a Horrible First Impression When Networking

Networking can be a source of invaluable connections and leads, or a road to nowhere. It all depends on how well you do it. If you’d like to improve your networking skills, there’s no better place to start than at the beginning. What kind of first impression are you making when you enter the room?  Are you inspiring potential customers and referrers to get to know you … or get away from you? Here are several things to look out for, things guaranteed to make a terrible first impression on your fellow networkers.

The Horrible Handshake
Networking issue: Bad handshake

Photo Credit: https://www.flazingo.com/

Non-verbal communication speaks volumes, and it all starts with your handshake. Get that wrong, and you’ll be fighting an uphill battle all the way. The way for a business professional to shake hands is to offer a firm grip and look the other person straight in the eye. Don’t grip too firmly, or you’ll make people feel like they are trapped in a vise. Even worse is the limp, “dead fish” shake – you don’t want people thinking of you as a decomposing carp. Old-school etiquette says women should wait for men to extend a hand, but according to this recent Forbes article, women should have no compunction about taking the lead.

Name Games

When you shake hands, give the other person your FULL name.  Not “Joe,” but “Joe Smith.”  A first-name-only introduction is weak. It signals that you’re not serious about your work and that you have no clout. Some people give only their first name because they figure the other person will pick up their last name from their nametag or business card. Sorry, it’s still a bad technique. First, the other person may or may not have the presence of mind (or interest) to read your nametag or business card. Second, it doesn’t matter. A first-name-only introduction still sounds amateurish and leaves a forgettable impression.

It’s All about Me
Photo Credit: https://www.flazingo.com/

Photo Credit: https://www.flazingo.com/

After the introductions, the worst thing a networker can do is launch into a monologue. Monologues are usually boring, and always off-putting. Why is that? Because people go to networking events to build relationships and exchange information about business issues, not to listen to the exploits of a stranger. The more you try to impress people, the less impressed they will be. A far better technique is to ask questions. What kind of business are you in? What did you study in school? What do you like to do when you’re not working? Questions like these signal a genuine interest in establishing a relationship and lay the groundwork for effective networking conversations.

The Hard Sell

Peppering people you’ve just met for leads, or pushing them to buy your products or services is so obviously counterproductive it’s amazing how often it happens. Nobody goes to a networking event (or pretty much anywhere else) to be subjected to a sales pitch. Overly aggressive selling is probably the most horrible networking mistake you can make, because it not only derails the relationship, it also inspires the person on the receiving end to warn others to steer clear of you.  Very few will say, “Stay away from Joe – he shakes hands like a flounder.” But just about everybody will say, “Stay away from Joe – all he does is sell and won’t take no for an answer.” We have to remember that networking takes time, because it’s based on relationships. Perhaps down the road a contact from a networking event may (or may not) be the right person to lean on for a lead or an order. But at the first impression stage – never.

It’s Like Twitter
Flickr user Kooroshication

Flickr user Kooroshication

Five or six years ago, I wrote an article that tried to explain Twitter, a new social media platform, by comparing it to a networking event. Nowadays, the tables have turned, and we can learn about networking by comparing it to Twitter.

Like Twitter, networking events are quick, bursts-of-information exchanges. The exchanges may be one-to-one or among small groups. The better you know people, the more engaging the exchanges become. Too much selling or an off-putting style tends to shut the offender out of the conversation. Showing an interest in your followers is the best way to attract new followers and develop business opportunities with them.

In short, when networking, communicate as you would when using social media for business. Which brings me to a final point about horrible networking first impressions. Don’t get caught tweeting from your smartphone in the middle of a networking conversation!

Featured Image: Flickr user Opensourceway