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

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

Printed custom t shirts retail display

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

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

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

Screen Printing T Shirts

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

Screen printed custom t shirts

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

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

Advantages:

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

Disadvantages:

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

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

T Shirt Heat Transfers

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

Heat transfer custom t shirt design

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

Advantages:

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

Disadvantages:

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

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

Direct to Garment (DTG) T Shirt Printing

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

DTG custom t shirt printing direct to garment

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

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

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

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

Advantages:

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

Disadvantages:

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

T Shirt Quality, Color, and Design

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

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

Varied T Shirt Printing Methods for Your Project

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

Heat Transfers or DTG usage examples:

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

Screen Printing for:

  • Attendees and guests
  • Quick turnaround

Watch how screen printing compares with the heat press process:

Shirts for Smaller Groups:

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

Watch the direct to garment process:

Quality Printed Custom T Shirts Make an Impact

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing

2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 AtlantaGA 30309
(678) 235-3464

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

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Graphic Designer Salary, Software and Portfolio Tips

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

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

Graphic designer working with software on portfolio

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

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

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

What Is Graphic Design?

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

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

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

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

What Education, Qualifications and Design Software are Needed?

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

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

Bonus Skills that Can Increase Your Design Job Salary and Value

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

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

Graphic designer doing freelance work with software

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

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

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

What it Costs to Start a Basic Graphic Design Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First:

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

Second:

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

Third:

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

Finally:

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

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

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

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

What You Need To Know Before Becoming A Freelance Graphic Designer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Efforts to ensure a smooth business transaction

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

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

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

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

Business freelance graphic designer project and client

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

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

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

Your Graphic Design Business

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

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

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

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

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

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Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing

2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 235-3464

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

3 Best 2018 Super Bowl Commercial Ads

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

Super bowl 2018 commercial ads

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

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

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

Product Humor with Amazon’s Alexa

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

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

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

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

Humanitarian Effort from Budweiser

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

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

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

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

Marketing Genius from Tide

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

The marketing genius came in two parts:

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

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

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

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

Applying National Stage Marketing to a Local Level

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing

2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 AtlantaGA 30309
(678) 235-3464

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

How to Start a Business in 7 Steps

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

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

Entrepreneur business startup strategy planning

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

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

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

A well designed business plan should include the following sections:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Choosing and Registering Your Business Name

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

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

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

4. Create Your Business Logo and Marketing Material

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

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

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

Business graphic design marketing material

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

5. Get Business Tax ID, Licenses, and Permits

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

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

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

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

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

6. Choose and Establish a Business Location

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Plan Your Finances and Fund Your Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starting a Business Through Informed Decisions

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

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

Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing

2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 235-3464

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

Printing Essentials for Promoting Your Band and Music

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

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

Marketing and promoting band playing on stage

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

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

Using Outdoor Banners and Posters at Events

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

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

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

Having Business Cards and Flyers

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

Using business card for promoting band and music

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

Branding with CD Inserts and CD Duplications

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

Printed CD design and duplication with insert

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

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

The Success of Your Band and Its Music

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

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

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

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

Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing

2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 235-3464

Printed Materials for Your Clothing Store or Boutique

The opportunity to connect with your customer, showcase product, and create an in-store experience relies on a combination of digital tools and printed materials.

After investing in marketing and attracting customers to your store, now is your opportunity to sell products by using visual tools to showcase how you products will enhance their look and improve how they feel.

In this article, Clash compiled a series of printed materials for clothing store and boutiques. All of these products were engineered to put your brand on display and clothes in the shopping bags of your customers.

Plan Your 2018 Marketing Strategy

The following are printed material used to draw in customers and promote your brand once they are in your clothing store:

Window clings for clothing store display

Window Clings – Whether promoting new product arrival, limited time sales, or seasonal clearances, window clings can generate a lot of new and returning walk-in business.

Well designed, brightly colored window clings can also be used to display images of new products and designs or even your own models wearing them.

Captivating visuals are a familiar art of the shopping experience, and often the catalyst that draws traffic into stores. Use this powerful medium to pique interest and bring buyers into your boutique.

Standup Signs – Standup signs often work in two ways. On the outside of your store (on the sidewalk) facing oncoming traffic, and inside the store next to display tables or informing customers of dates, events, or new arrivals.

The design of this sign must catch a shoppers attention with your stylish fashion, or convey a compelling message or offer. If the printed sign is vague, long winded, or difficult to understand, it will certainly fail its objective. That objective is to be appealing enough to give people a reason to stop and shop your collection.

Printed clothing store poster ad

Posters – Larger than life posters will serve as a suggestion to your customers. These posters attract attention, help in branding and showing potential buyers how stylish they can look if they purchase your apparel.

Posters are generally of models wearing the current season’s apparel. A clever strategy would be to shoot in iconic locations within your community, at local events or in conjunction with organizations which may send business your way.

Since they hang in your store or boutique, the focus can be less on your brand and more on the clothing, setting, and evoking a feeling or emotion.

Marketing Materials in Your Customer’s Hands

Everything in your printed marketing campaign which customers receive should scream STYLE, QUALITY and VALUE! Here are a few of the printed marketing materials that will help your brand’s visibility and provide a greater sense of your value with your customers.

Printed marketing material clothing store flyers

Flyers – Whether it be handouts, mailers, or both, your flyers should be designed to give your customers a reason and a deadline to visit and shop your store.

That reason may be a seasonal sale, free promotional give-away, or invitation to an exclusive event. Whatever the reason, there must always be a sense of urgency and value added to the flyer which will motivate them to action.

Business Cards – Having business cards readily available is a business must! Your business cards should be designed to enhance your brand and be appealing to the eye.

The reverse side of your business card can be printed and used for a one-time discount, promotion, a map or directions to your location, or anything which provides valuable information or value to your customer.

Stickers and Magnets – Who doesn’t like stickers? Producing a well designed and printed sticker or magnet is another way to keep your brand and logo visible and relevant when your customers are away from your store. Stickers allow customers to express brands they like and are essentially free promotion. Think how many magnets you’ve seen hanging on refrigerators for years or even decades.

While these can be sold to your customers, the idea here is that they receive them free with a purchase or are simply given as a gift. Give and you will receive.

Custom tote bags for clothing boutique

Tote Bags, Paper Bags, and Plastic Bags – Thought should be given to the size, design, and feel of your brands’ shopping bag. If your bags look disposable, that is probably how they will end up. People in general are more likely to keep and reuse a high quality, durable and stylish bag.

When it comes to bags, its utility and being “reusable” and “recyclable” is key. Having them printed with your logo, store name or website will ensure continued exposure as your customers use them at the grocery store, farmer’s market, or in transporting personal belongings.

Visibility and familiarity is the name of the game, so to encourage the continued reuse of your bags, offer a discount every time a customer brings their reused bag with them.

With reusing and recycling in mind, not only are you helping the environment and potentially gaining esteem in your community, but stand to benefit your stores’ branding goals.

Custom clothing tags for boutique merchandise

Clothing Tags – Your clothing tags should be a prominent feature of each and every item you sell. Your logo, store name, and pricing are fundamental parts of tag designing and printing.

An Idea to Consider: Design a folding tag which may be personalized on the inside upon purchase. A simple hand written “thank you”, discounted offer, or “come back and see us” will go a long way in establishing a personal and lasting connection with your customers.

Celebrate Your Brand and Value

Help your brand grow in the coming year by conveying value through your printed marketing material. Everything your customers see and touch has the potential to generate familiarity and turn them into lifetime customers.

Your brand, logo, and everything that separates you from your competition should be featured prominently in your printed marketing materials. When used effectively, high-quality print materials offer value and are beneficial tools in helping brand, create visibility, and enhance your boutique or clothing store.

Say “Good-bye 2017” and “Cheers to a successful clothing store in 2018!”

Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing

2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 235-3464

To view the original version on Clash Graphics, visit: http://www.clashgraphics.com/printing-tips/printed-materials-for-your-clothing-store-or-boutique/

Hair Salon & Barber Shop Business Secrets Revealed

While sitting in the barber chair having my hair (what’s left of it) cut and styled, I had an epiphany. The next subject for the Clash blog would be about start up secrets to help you in opening your own hair salon or barber shop. After putting the word out, a successful young salon owner named Monica contacted me. Following is a Q & A session we had over a couple of acai bowls.

Barber drying hair in salon after drying

Describe Your Hair Salon Start Up Experience

“That’s a big question. It can actually be answered in four parts which led up to the grand opening of my salon. Inspiration, training, business plan, and courage were the principle factors leading to my successful salon opening and its longevity since.

Inspiration – As a child, mom and dad gave me a ton of stuffed animals and dolls. Armed with a pair of kiddy scissors, I went to work cutting and grooming all of the hair on all of them. As I grew older, it dawned on me that their “hair” never grew back (chuckling), but our hair never stops growing or changing. We will always have a need for barbers and stylists. That moment and realization was the turning point in my life. I knew my calling was in the beauty industry.

Training – For a barber or stylist, certification and experience are vital components to their careers. For the salon or shop owner, certification, experience, business administration, financial administration, marketing, and investing must all be accurately mastered and employed to secure and maintain a successful venture. These skills can be improved over time, but hiring and training the right people is a tremendous shortcut and advantage.

Business Plan – The guiding light of your vision is your business plan. As simple or complex as it may be, this plan is the blueprint of how your business will look and operate. Some of the necessary components of a business plan are a set of operational values and mission statement, acquiring proper training, skilled persons, a timeline targeting specific goals and deadlines, location scouting, pricing, furniture and supply cost, financing opportunities, filling key positions, and when to fill them. The core structure and outline of this plan can prevent the haphazard operation and failure that many proprietors face.

Courage – You cannot quantify the amount of courage, hard work, and persistence needed to start your own business. There are numerous “unknowns” that come with a start up, and your ability to remain committed and adapt to circumstances is crucial to your success. Meeting any and every challenge, with the ability to modify your plan accordingly will get you through the toughest of times.” Business IQ takes experience to learn, but success is attracted to fearless leaders that take bold action. If you need coaching or consulting, ask for help, but never ask for permission.”

How Did You Choose Your Salon Furniture and Equipment?

“The beauty industry is well populated with successful business models, as well as not-so-successful ones. When I was developing my business plan, I visited many salons and barber shops. I spoke with barbers, stylists, owners and customers to get first hand knowledge of what worked and what could be improved.

An interesting aspect of the salon vs. the barber shop became very evident. Most of the furniture, equipment and products were virtually the same. Decades ago, the setting of a barber shop was dramatically different from that of a salon. Now-a-days, the core structure is not very different, in fact, in many cases, they are nearly identical.

With my vision firmly laid out, I also scoured the internet looking for salon equipment suppliers and comparing their prices and financing opportunities. I broke the materials needed down into four segments; Salon equipment, salon furniture, hair products, and the reception area.

Salon Equipment – The selection of quality equipment, tools, and supplies is fundamental in creating an excellent work environment, leading to fantastic styling and customer experiences. Once you have decided on the brands, colors, quantities, and varieties, start shopping local and online stores for the best prices and terms. For example, salonca.com will offer or create a “package deal” offering discounts and special financing.

You really need to look at everything. Whether it’s brushes, combs, clippers, appliance holders, appointment books, towels, aprons, and hair dryers, be detailed in what you want, expect, and need from each piece of equipment.

Salon chairs furniture and equipment

Salon Furniture – The selection of salon furniture is another tremendous ingredient of the decision making process. The question here is “What theme/era are you planning for the salon?” Whether it be a contemporary, luxurious, goth, pastel, or posh theme, the quality and comfort of your furniture can set you apart from the competition.

The comfort of your salon chairs, barber chairs, cushions, styling stations, shampoo chairs and bowls will impact and can determine whether or not you win over and attract repeat customers.

Before choosing your location, these equipment and furniture details should be ironed out. It is imperative that you compare companies for pricing, warranties, and financing. Strategic planning and knowing how much you are going to spend in your start up is a key factor in determining most other aspects of your business plan. After the location has been chosen, the interior plan can be modified to accommodate the size and physical limitations of the space.

Hair Products – The hair products that are used and available will speak volumes about your salon. The better the quality of shampoo, conditioner, gel, and coloring products, the better the result for the customers. Having reached this stage in your profession, you have probably already chosen a favorite line of products. Find a reliable supplier that will keep you stocked up without breaking the bank.

Reception Area – The first impression! Having visited hundreds (yes, hundreds) of barber shops and salons, I can attest to the absolute necessity of a comfortable, well lit, relaxing environment for your customers to comfortably wait in. Offer them the opposite and you are asking to wave goodbye to your clientele.

It should always begin with a warm greeting, but there’s much more to it from that point. The reception desk, displays, pictures, chairs, tables, magazines, television, etc. all play a role in the vibe and customer’s experience. Always keep in mind that customers are shopping with more than their budget restrictions. Most often consumers patronize businesses where they feel respected, appreciated, and part of the community.

Given its impact, this area within your business should be well planned, researched, and budgeted beforehand.”

How Does Location Impact the Business?

“Quite frankly, location is everything. You will need to ask yourself, (pause) here let me ask you, it will be easier;

  • How much money have you projected for rent?
  • What demographic are your skills best suited for?
  • Can you communicate and interact well with a diverse clientele?
  • Is this going to be a permanent location or will you eventually expand and move?
  • What types of businesses do you want in the vicinity of your salon?
  • What are the city and/or county taxes on business income?
  • Are there grants, tax breaks, or financial assistance for new businesses at the city, county, or state level?

With those questions in mind, let’s now switch gears and take a look at three typical locations for a barber shop or hair salon.

Retail Area – The cost for this type of location may be a bit higher than average. However, this can easily be offset in revenue generated with the right marketing and advertising campaign that turns passerby’s into paying customers .

A core benefit of this type of location is the visibility and traffic created by businesses surrounding it. What anchor stores are in the vicinity or nearby strip malls? Will they help promote your business? Popular grocery stores and restaurants help to attract large volumes of people, furthering your exposure and growth opportunities.

Strip Mall – In this scenario, you will likely end up with a neighbor on either or both sides of your salon. There will also be a list of rules regarding the use of the facade, hours of operation, trash and dumpster location, etc.

Barber shop entrance in strip mall

You can add a property, maintenance, or building administration fee to the rent. And depending on the affluence of the neighborhood, that rent may be a hard cookie to swallow.

Again, location is everything. If there is a popular anchor store in the strip mall, foot traffic resulting in walk-ins will increase. Are there schools or community centers in the vicinity? Reaching out in the surrounding community offering promotions or even sponsoring events will attract great press and increase your visibility.

Shopping Mall – Locating a hair salon or barber shop start up in a shopping mall can get extremely expensive very quickly. The rules and guidelines for store operations and advertising are extensive and may be limiting, so get full disclosure of all policies and regulations.

Quite frankly, the idea of opening a start up in a shopping mall is way too risky. Once your business has established itself, accumulated significant capital, and a stable customer base, this may then be a viable option.”

Target Customers and Demographics of the Immediate Area

“Most salons and barber shops serve a particular customer base from a certain geographic area. Ease of access and convenience are major factors, so it is important to consider the area surrounding your location, and survey:

  • Where are the surrounding competitors?
  • Is there sufficient density of the market segment your salon is catering to?
  • What are your prices and the wealth or affluence of the homeowners in the area?

Your location is a major decision in the success and outcome of your salon. Be mindful and extremely considerate before making a commitment to your business location.”

How do You Go About Financing Salon Equipment?

“As I mentioned earlier, salon and barber shop supply stores will typically offer financing for larger purchases. In many cases, they are willing to bundle equipment, furniture, and all the supplies into a single salon equipment package.

In many cases, banks and credit unions will offer low interest loans to help get your business started, in return for your banking business. A little research here goes a long way. Online there are a number of resources, such as Kabbage which offer short term business lines of credit. With Kabbage, you can obtain a business line of credit up to $150,000.00 with 6 or 12 month terms (subject to approval of course). You can read more about them here kabbage.com/hair-beauty-salon-equipment-loans/

Your success or failure in receiving financing hinges on your personal and business credit worthiness. Be vigilant with your credit scores, how you use your credit cards, and more importantly, make your payments on time. Late and missed payments reported to the credit bureaus can heavily impact how lenders see you, dissuading them from offering you loans or further credit.”

What Advice Would You Leave Us With?

“Do it right the first time. Make a plan, do the research, educate yourself, get the proper training, acquire the proper licensing, get your website up and running, start a social media campaign, acquire a good location, get your salon equipment and furniture, hire amazing people and train them well, watch videos like this one:

This list can go on and on. Ultimately, your business will reflect the amount of energy, education, and passion you are willing to invest in it. As with any other business start up, make sure you have a plan and have fun as it comes to life.”

To view the original version on Clash Graphics, visit: http://www.clashgraphics.com/printing-tips/hair-salon-barber-shop-business-secrets-revealed/

Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing

2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 235-3464

Real Estate Marketing – Secrets Shared at a Private Event

Sitting in on a real estate marketing meeting was never on my list of things to do. Until one day, I was shamed by my best friend Shawn into going.

Looking back on the experience, I can say that it was truly an eye opener. The people were friendly, the food was excellent and the drinks were killer! Most impressive were the topics and ideas presented to the 30 men and women that day.

Following are the enlightening real estate marketing tips that were presented by Don and Pat (husband and wife real estate wizards).

Build a Website That is Capable of Generating Leads

Don began by explaining how the methods of marketing had dramatically changed over the past decade. People’s attention span was about 2 seconds and if your website content couldn’t deliver a clear benefit quick enough, it would fail.

He then showed us the differences between successful websites and poorly managed one’s. The successful sites were well structured with pertinent information, high-quality and captivating photos of all properties, video walk-throughs, and other features that enhanced the process for a buyer or seller. Take a look at this video walk through virtual tour example:

After delivering valuable information and rich content, the website left you asking for more but required your email address or phone number. This turned visitors into leads, and made the website more than a digital brochure.

After Don’s presentation, it became obvious how certain elements could greatly impact the effectiveness and value a website delivered.The two core principles Don presented that stood out were;

Navigation through successful sites was obvious and always simple. Even the novice users could get the information they needed without getting “lost” or having to search. Visitors come to a website for their own benefit; make what they are looking for easy to find and they will reward you with their attention. In the web design industry, intuitive design and ease of use is known as “user experience”. Ensure your web development company is proficient in this department, or little else will matter.

Branding and curated content that spoke to a specific segment of the market. We can’t be all things to all people. A real estate website is no different, and must clearly indicate the market and people it serves. A first time homebuyer has vastly different needs than someone looking for a luxury home. Or consider parents buying a home in a great school district and the things that would be important to them. Knowing and displaying this information on your website speaks volumes, and subconsciously lets the customer know you understand them and their specific needs. Feeling understood is an intangible that makes your customer comfortable. When setup properly, your website can help earn the goodwill and trust of a potential client.

Take a look at this well branded website that is catering to luxury condo owners:

Real estate agent branded website

Establish a Referral Program

Pat took over at this point and provided an interesting and shocking statistic. She said, “On average, out of every 100 people that call you, only 18 will come from your marketing efforts. The other 82 will be referrals from past or current clients.”

This made perfect sense to me. All my adult life, I have understood the building power of “word of mouth” and how important it is in any business to keep your clients buzzing about your products and services.

Real estate meeting and referral program

Thus this staggering statistic cannot be overlooked, or you will fail. Put into perspective, 8 out of 10 calls are a function of your network and six degrees of separation amongst people you know, or people that know you.

With this in mind, a large part of your marketing efforts must be to encourage and facilitate said referrals from this group. In essence, your job in marketing is to create visibility and awareness while fostering deeper relationships within your existing network.

She went on to explain how simple “rewards for referrals” would entice people to spread your name. Be creative she said, “rewards can be in the form of any number of fun things, like concerts, dinners, or money.” People want to be acknowledged and appreciated for their efforts.

However, Pat warned us, “Your service and product must contain superior quality in all of its aspects. Without quality, there will be no referrals to worry about.”

Remaining Relevant With Social Media Profiles

Don picked up seamlessly where Pat left off and asked the room for a show of hands, “How many of you have a Facebook profile?” Everyone had a hand in the air. He then went on to explain that social media is the new-age dominant word-of-mouth marketing medium.

Real estate agent social media facebook profile

“Everyone in some way is connected by social media, Facebook alone has over 2 billion users.” and that “Anyone shying away from building and asserting their brand and value on social media is losing out on potential clients and revenue in a big way.”

After taking us on a quick tour of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, Don said this: “Quality and engaging engaging content is your #1 goal. Not sales! If you can’t focus on quality content that’s relevant to your customer, don’t waste your time.”

Home buyers and sellers are interested in a wide variety of things. Use your social media platform to call attention to the important ones that are directly affecting your clients. Some examples are: pricing trends, housing inventory levels, interest rate hikes, a new home coming available in a highly sought after area, or highlighting the schools and local amenities within a neighborhood.

Relevant facts and statistics are critical in getting people to pay attention. Stop and think, how many of us randomly post images, phrases, and comments without giving much thought to them. What if we were (as Don put it) focusing first on the end-user and their needs.

The majority of the time you should focus on their interests, but being entertaining also has its benefits. Watch how this young realtor uses her YouTube channel to be personal and showcase a day in her life:

Sponsorship of Local Teams, Charities, and Events

At this point, we all expected Pat to pick up the microphone. She did not and Don sat down. They toasted each other with their martinis as Brad came from the back of the room (microphone in hand) talking about sponsorship.

“Sponsorship of local events, charities, and athletes is one of the fastest ways to create visibility, awareness, and build trust in a community. With banners, flyers, hand-outs, and signs, you are able to personally engage and show the people your investment in their well-being and the local community.” He went on to explain, “For your yard signs to be effective, there must be a level of trust behind the brand. Only then will the SOLD sign be attached.”

Real estate community charity sponsorship

Turns out that Brad is Don and Pat’s son. Also a very successful real estate agent (and great bartender too). His message ended with an emphasis on the quality of all printed material and again, “Your content on everything printed must contain the highest quality customer-focused information, otherwise it will not convey your message and simply be tossed in the trash.”

This is part one in a two part series. For the rest of these real estate marketing tips, check back here: www.clashgraphics.com/printing-tips/

Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing

2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 Atlanta, GA 30309
(678) 235-3464

To view the original version on Clash Graphics, visit: www.clashgraphics.com/printing-tips/real-estate-marketing-secrets-shared/

Restaurant Marketing – Increase Sales and Fill Empty Seats

Successful restaurants establish a connection with their customers. It is this connection that keeps loyal customers coming back and telling others. Customers become “Fans for life” when the ambience and food quality come together to create a lasting emotional and culinary impression.

A fantastic example of this impression is found with a memory nearly all of us over 30 from all walks of life share: It begins with red and white checkered table cloths, dark wood finishing on the tables and booths (with their red leather padding), slightly dimmed lighting, parmesan and chili flake shakers next to the salt and pepper shakers, a juke box in the corner, and winding down to a table top PacMan or Space Invaders game somewhere close to the salad bar.

As the example illustrates, when a restaurant is able to capture all or a part of something unique and special, business picks up, sales increase and empty seats get filled. After all, “the greatest expense a restaurant can have is an empty seat.”

In this article, Clash Graphics addresses the impact of customer experience and marketing on keeping the seats in your restaurant filled. Both of which every restaurant owner should relentlessly keep at the top of their priority list.

Restaurant Customer Experience

Ask yourself this: “How do I see my restaurant?” Before answering that question, consider getting feedback from both customers and employees. Ultimately, it is the customer experience that drives a restaurant’s revenue. While it is the employees that support the customer experience by maintaining the ambience, food quality, service, and engagement with customers.

Discovery – The two principle ways a person finds a restaurant are by personal recommendations or through the marketing plan with ads, signs, invitations, etc. Both of which provide the opportunity to exceed expectations and create a customer for life.

Customer Expectations – Understanding the wants and needs of customers is vital to meeting their expectations. Encourage them to give reviews, fill out comment cards, or take online satisfaction surveys.

Customer feedback is often priceless insight that should be taken seriously. It is this information that provides an exact blueprint which enables the development of a plan to meet and exceed their needs.

Diner providing feedbackfor restaurant customer service

Curb Appeal – What does the entrance of the restaurant look like? Are there cars in the parking lot (signaling success and popularity). Is the location easy to find for a first time customer? The importance of location and visibility cannot be overstated. That said, the outside of a restaurant will often times determine the customer’s mood and expectations before ever stepping foot in the actual restaurant.

Restaurant Staff – These are the people responsible for bringing your vision to life. In turn, they must deliver an elevated level of service, and seamlessly work together from all points in the restaurant to create an amazing experience for all customers and guests.

Think how genuinely engaged the staff at Disney World is, and how their cheer, charm, and willingness to go to any length impacts your experience and emotional association with their brand.

For this reason, service staff applicants should be screened and hired with the customers in mind. Remembering that personality and attitude are fundamental, they can’t be taught. However, the skills to support an amazing customer experience can be taught, and must be purposefully reinforced.

Food – The greatest asset (or detriment) to the customer experience is the food. It is the make or break ingredient from your menu (click here) which ultimately determines whether a seat remains empty or a restaurant has a highly sought after waiting list.

One of the most special things to hear is your customer saying, “Mmmmmm, this tastes so good…” or “This reminds me of…” It is food that is nearly always associated to people, places, and memories. Thus, being associated and part of a lifelong memory of your customer is the greatest of accomplishments.

Satisfied diner eating pizza in restaurant

So, when customers offer feedback on a restaurant’s food, they are speaking from their taste in food, cultural experience, and more importantly their expectations. Use this invaluable information to fine tune the kitchen and at times, refine the menu.

Superior Relationship Marketing for Return Customers

“What am I going to eat tonight?” This is the question that your restaurant’s marketing campaign should consider and effectively answer. People in general want to feel they belong and are a part of something authentic. Running promotional “gimmicks” can generate short term results, but consistent, meaningful, and engaging interactions will create “life long fans” for your restaurant.

Comment Cards and Satisfaction Surveys – In the above section we discussed encouraging feedback, comments, and online reviews. This not only gives your customers a sense of inclusion, but also illustrates that their opinion matters. The win for the restaurant is a better understanding of what customers not only want, but what they expect.

However, merely asking for feedback isn’t enough, and is your opportunity to prove your genuine concern and commitment to a fantastic experience.

An impactful way to encourage customers to contribute feedback is as simple as offering a free side or dessert. Not only have you gotten valuable feedback, you’ve given them a reason to come back to claim their complimentary dish.

First Time Customers – Creating an experience for a first-time customer venturing into your restaurant can be truly exciting and leave a lasting impression. Ring a bell, make an announcement, offer a token of appreciation, a discount on the meal, free drinks, a free appetizer, or free dessert. And for a cherry on top, involve the chef or owner to personally welcome and extend these accommodations.

Not only does such a gesture buy goodwill and leave an impact, but this personal touch also gives the patron an opportunity to become acquainted with signature dishes and desserts they may otherwise have never tasted. Sometimes, putting on a little show can bring big results, especially when combined with culinary charm and great food.

Celebrating Milestones – Set up a customer contact database with contact information and relevant dates (first time at the restaurant, birthday, anniversary, children’s birthdays, etc.). This information allows for dynamic future customer interaction via text, email, or phone.

Diners toasting milestones in restaurant

Whether offering a “Half-Off” day for their “Birth” day, free champagne for an anniversary dinner, or even a free signature dish; their occasion will be unforgettable, unique, and special.

This level of personalization and attention is a sure fire way to permanently embed the idea that you and your staff care about and value them as customers.

And dare not forget about game day (if it’s that type of restaurant). If you simply collect their favorite team or sports preferences, you have the opportunity to create Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, or World Cup events. Which affords your restaurant another rapport building opportunity, where your customers can eat, drink, and cheer on their teams while enjoying your food and service.

All too often, marketing campaigns are selfishly-focused and structured for short term results. Employing a celebratory and unique approach not only provides a higher frequency of engagement, but also establishes a deeper and more meaningful relationship with your customers.

Take a look at these guest testimonials from Adventures by Disney:

Using relational marketing you now have the opportunity to acknowledge, invite, and celebrate their milestones along with them.

Lifelong Customers Expect Value and Quality

Marketing and acquiring new customers is expensive, thus care and special attention to improve customer retention is an efficient means of improving lifetime value, and creating long-term relationships with potential loyal supporters of your restaurant.

The goal of this article has been to initiate a conversation on how customer experience and retention-focused marketing are inseparable. Simply serving decent food will only get you so far. Offering value and quality in exchange for the customer’s time, money, and experience are fundamental for a business to survive.

As people are becoming more desiring of ordering takeout and prone to convenience, it cannot be stressed enough that “value” is the key to unlocking the loyalty of lifelong customers and filling those empty seats.

High-quality food and unique experiences go a long way in communicating your restaurants commitment to earning patrons business, and delivering an unmatched service. At the end of the day, filing empty seats is a reward for the restaurant that caters to and serves its customers best.

Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing

2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 Atlanta, GA 30309

(678) 235-3464

To view the original version on Clash Graphics, visit: http://www.clashgraphics.com/printing-tips/restaurant-marketing-increase-sales/

Three Secrets to Growing Your Gym or Personal Training Business

personal trainer providing individual customer experienceIf you work in the fitness and personal training industry then you know how competitive and difficult it can be to keep loyal customers. Some clients give up after just a few sessions in the gym, while others will change their gyms to avoid the monotony.

You may feel people are going to come to train at your gym simply because it’s the closest one too them, but a gym needs more than being close to a client to draw them through the door. Marketing strategies are needed to not just get customers to join your gym in the first place, but also to build and maintain the relationship that keeps them coming back for more.

The only way to attract new clients and ensure old ones keep coming back for more is to offer them something that is unique to your gym. They must also be kept motivated. They rely on you to keep them on course for reaching their personal goals. It is also critical to create personal relationships with clients and offer them benefits that make training in your gym a more attractive and unique experience that what your competitors are offering.

Clash Graphics serves a number of fitness professionals that have and are aiming to grow their training businesses; below are 3 fundamental business strategies that will help accomplish that goal.

Offer Specialty-Focused and Unique Classes

One of the most common reasons for losing members – and an issue frequently brought up in customer feedback – is that there aren’t enough unique classes being offered by the facility. Providing clients with a range of relevant, popular, and interesting gym classes that give them the results they need is the simplest way to retain customers and boost business for your gym. Here are 3 fitness classes that focus and target varied demographics and customers.

Barre – Barre classes combines postures taken from disciplines such as ballet, yoga, and Pilates. Barre is popular with women in particular because it tones down the areas they want without stressing their joints. Barre is a group training that promotes community and brings women together as they tone their butt, thighs, abs, and arms.

outdoor gym class using hiit high intensity interval training

HIIT – HIIT – short for High Intensity Interval Training – is a kind of interval training where short but intense periods of anaerobic exercise are combined with less intense periods used to recover. HIIT produces great results and is ideal for both men and women looking to push themselves past merely lifting weights.

Zumba – Zumba is an aerobic fitness program inspired by a range of Latin American dance typically performed to Latin American dance music. Zumba classes appeal to former dances and people that enjoy burning calories and enjoying an elevated heart rate while having a lot of fun.

Engage with your customers. Find out what they enjoy and any new classes they have heard of and are interested in. Kickboxing, spin, and Crossfit are all popular classes that have exploded in popularity. Listen to your clients and satisfy their interest with new and exciting ways to stay fit.

Build Community and Personalized Experiences

Personal trainers and gym owners need to give individual customers their personal attention. Providing quality customer service is another way to build sales and improve retention. Even if you have the most physically fit personal trainers around, clients will look elsewhere if they feel they aren’t treated as individuals.

A good quality personal trainer aims to make working out as enjoyable as possible. They encourage clients during the tough lifts, and show members proper form and technique to prevent injuries, which can cause clients to cancel their memberships.

Make the most out of group training and classes. Offer a range of group activities to get your customers conversing with each other and creating the kind of relationships that go beyond the gym. This creates the feeling of community and friendships, and gives clients more reason to come back to the gym outside of having a good workout.

Prioritize Online and Search Marketing

Search engine optimization and marketing through search engines allows customers to discover you when looking for a gym or personal trainer in their area. Consider how important and valuable it would be to have your service right in front of potential customers right when they want to find a workout solution or personal trainer. There’s also the important fact that these people might be customers you would otherwise have no access to, and they might go to a competitor.

using a search engine to locate a personal trainer

Search engine marketing involves creating and distributing content relevant to your gym and potential clients. Create content that would interest your customers and makes you – and your gym – come across as an expert. You are an expert after all!

The content should be a mix of things like workouts, ideas for meal plans, and photos and videos of exercises. After producing the content you should push it out onto your social media networks and make use of relevant hashtags and keywords.

It all goes together to tell a search engine that you have a lot of relevance to fitness training, which means that your business will show up higher in Google search results when people search for local gyms and personal trainers.

Note: 9/10 online experiences start with using a search engine, and over two-thirds of customers that perform local searches go to locations within 5 miles of where they live.

Grow Your Gym Through Meaningful Marketing and Action

It is important that you think proactively about the next strategy you will use – along with how to best communicate the value and benefits of your services to ideal customers.

All too often a promotional or marketing campaign is focused entirely on bringing in new customers – and they do it well – but without considering, or indeed offering, the kind of long term care and attention needed to retain customers.

The process of marketing your gym or training business is an ongoing one. Surviving in the modern market means building interest and credibility through word-of-mouth, impactful advertising, and – perhaps most importantly – the results and experiences you deliver to clients.

Once you satisfy your customer’s needs, you must continue creating an unforgettable experience in the gym to keep them engaged, committed, and spreading the word.

In a later series we will cover specific strategies and promotions that will instantly drive new business. Check back, and for additional printing and marketing articles, visit
http://www.clashgraphics.com/printing-tips/

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

Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing

2140 Peachtree Rd NW #301 Atlanta, GA 30309

(678) 235-3464

To view the original version on Clash Graphics, visit: http://www.clashgraphics.com/printing-tips/three-secrets-growing-your-gym-personal-training-business/