February 9, 2011

Marketing to your Current Clients

One of your most important business assets is your customer list. You have established a level of trust with current clients, making it easier to get more business from them. But notice that I said easier not effortless. You must make the commitment to market your business to your current customers in order for them to decide to purchase from you again.

Marketing to your current customers has two valuable results: It boosts your sales and builds client loyalty. 

Maintaining meaningful contact with customers is important to your marketing success. It keeps you in the forefront of their minds so that when they are ready to buy, or when their colleagues need a referral, they think of you, your business, your product or your service.

So where do you start?

Know your customers. First you need to know your customers. Names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses are obvious pieces of information you must gather. What have they purchased from you in the past and what is the average dollar amount of those purchases? By integrating your  business or internet marketing systems with other internal systems such as accounting, point-of sale, and customer relationship management systems, you can track what they purchased in the past and project what they may need in the future. Additionally, information regarding individual customer buying preferences, favorite radio stations and magazines, sports team loyalties and other data are extremely helpful in marketing to your current customers. So capture as much information as possible in a system that allows you to access it easily.

Meaningful contact. Use the information you have about current customers to send them relevant messages to keep them coming back. What messages are relevant? The answer may be different for each customer but the key is to use the data that you have gathered to respond to their specific product and service needs. Every customer has a distinctive combination of preferences, interests and demands that make them unique. The closer you come to addressing those needs in your communications, the greater the likelihood that you will get additional business from those customers.

Build loyalty. Another way to market to your current customers is via a rewards-based customer loyalty program. One of the best-known and longest running loyalty programs is the airlines’ frequent flyer program. The theory behind these programs is that customers will want to spend more money with your company in anticipation of earning their rewards. Your business will benefit most from a loyalty program that entices repeat purchases from customers and encourages them to tell others about your product or service. An added benefit to loyalty programs is that they give you the opportunity to gather additional information about your customers’ buying preferences and specific needs, allowing you to further target your business and internet marketingefforts.

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February 6, 2011

The Importance of Company Branding

 

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The owner of Integraphix, a Chicago-based creative marketing company, explains the importance of company branding:

What is  branding?

Branding is what draws people to your company. It’s about creating a consistent image for your company through a variety of genres both on and offline. Many people think branding means having a logo, but it’s much more than that. Depending on your business or market, your brand might be a color you use consistently in all of your printing or web presence, like Coca-Cola and their use of a specific shade of red in everything they print and produce (Pantone 185). If you are marketing your company as a leader in the “green” space then you need to go paperless, and you will focus more on your website as a branding tool instead of mailing out news letters or print collateral. Your brand is everything that has to do with your company from your handshake to your eye contact, from the business card you hand out to the website on the internet, and to the Facebook or Twitter pages you update. It is about consistently messaging and engaging people effectively.

Who needs it and why?

With the current economic state being as it is, so many of us are independent contractors which leaves the markets flooded with personal brands. Setting your personal brand apart on AND offline from the others is really the only way to secure new clients. If you are seeking compensation for professional services you should have an easily identifiable brand. Having a brand identity will not only make your services more palatable to a wider variety of people but it also helps you realize your own potential by taking the time to really think about your brand and the messaging behind it.

How do you choose a Graphic Designer or Marketing Company to create your brand?

Use the resources around you. Google it. Ask for references, Ask your friends, colleagues, family. Since we are a Graphic Design and Marketing Company, our own personal brand was developed internally, but asking your network who they’ve used can be a great resource for choosing a Designer.

How much money would I have to shell out for the whole shebang?

There is really no cash value you can put on creating and maintaining a brand. It will be both time and probably a little money depending on what is valuable for your brand. For example someone who is always out networking with people is going to want to invest in a memorable and nice looking business card. Someone who has a t-shirt company is going to want to invest in their logo if that is what is going on their t-shirts. If you are a PR firm, you will need an extensive website showing examples of your work. It really depends on what is valuable to your brand.

I don’t have any extra money to pay for it, do you have any tips for do-it-yourself branding?

Of course. You can always do things yourself. It may take a little longer, and not be as focused as a Designer can get, but you’ll learning new things while growing your own brand yourself.

Figure out what your strengths are and play them up. Figure out what your weaknesses are and work on them. Write a business plan to help flush out ideas.

Build your own blog. My favorites: http://www.tumblr.com, http://www.wordpress.com, http://www.blogspot.com.

We happen to have all three by the way – Integraphix Tumblr, Graphic Design Blog, Chicago Marketing Company Blog

Create a Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn account, maintain and update constantly!

Stay educated and up to date on your industry. Subscribe to blogs (like ours!) and newsletters, go to local networking events, make sure you know what your competition is doing. Doing all of this will keep you ahead of the curve.

Setup Google Alerts for keywords or phrases you’d like to monitor. And start building your email list – this is a serious asset.

Advice for those that think they need a brand

Yes. Trust your company. Trust is the most important thing to building a business or brand. Trust is what makes a brand – your customers will have it in your company. If you can’t give trust to others, they will not give it back to you. Consult with someone to help you understand the value of your brand and make smart purchase decisions based on your needs.

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January 24, 2011

Website Wonders

We would really like to know what’s going on here. Really. This is what GeoCities did to the internet. We can all be happy it’s gone now. Thank you Yahoo.

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January 24, 2011

Funky Stuff


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Because I wanted to.

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January 21, 2011

The Most Devious Deviants

I am a huge fan of Deviant Art. I happen to think that the artists on Deviant Art are some of the most talented and under-appreciated artists on the web today. The photography, design, photo-manipulation, and poetry on Deviant Art could very well rival any famous artist of poet in our modern art world. The images below are not only gorgeous, but are just a tidbit of the artist’s full breadth of work.

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This was done by a photographer named Zemotion and is depicting a stylized version of ‘Rapunzel’ although in this morbid version of the fairy tale, Rapunzel has been forgotten.

This image is from the same artist and is just as emotionally evocative as the one above it. Her talent is incredible and mostly, unfortunately, unknown.

This next photography looks a tad like a stock photo, but the talent that went into it is no less great than finished photos. The concept is fun, and the delivery and execution is very well done. The artist is Alexiuss and you can find their portfolio here.

Enjoy the Below Images – They are more examples of great deviant art Artists. Click on the image to be taken to their deviant art portfolios.

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January 21, 2011

The Future of Mobile Tagging or Mobile Shopping?

This is an interesting concept…though it could blow up in their faces if not done well. Personally I also think this is just another elaborate advertising scheme, but it is very innovative if I have to say anything.

January 20, 2011

Magic Lights and Your iPad

This is some of the most ingenious ways of using your ipad that I’ve ever seen. It took someone very intelligent to think this stuff up! The iPad is useful because it is a high resolution screen, very light, and very portable – so it’s perfect for their uses. The movie after the initial explanation of their process is pretty cool (and cute) at times.

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January 18, 2011

Amazing Artists on Tumblr

Tumblr is an example of an under-programmed site that has huge potential. Their constant server crashes have become a joke on the photo blogging site, but the concept of the site is amazing. We even have our own tumblr because we couldn’t just -not- get into that piece of the pie. Especially when we can find beautiful things like you see below. I’ve not seen this photo anywhere else, so the greatest design sites in the world may publish their work and never been seen unless somebody posts this with a link back to their website. It’s amazing the talent you find on a social network that you wouldn’t normally see elsewhere.

 

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January 13, 2011

Chicago Marketing Company Gives Back

In December 2010, the staff of a local graphic design and marketing agency, Integraphix Inc. have decided to partake in The First Annual Holiday Sponsor Day.
The reason for the event is to connect with one family or person in need in the community to improve their holidays by donating gifts, clothes, food, and toys.  The items donated will be chosen after the recipient is chosen and provided based on the suggestions made by the nominee.
The staff at Integraphix Inc. is hoping to spread the word about The First Holiday Sponsor Day to find a deserving person or family as well as encourage others to participate this giving season.  People in the surrounding suburbs of Chicago are encouraged to send in or email information about a friend, family member, or acquaintance that could benefit from the Annual Holiday Sponsorship.  They are also hoping to inspire other businesses to join in their efforts.
“We are hoping to make a difference and show that even small acts of kindness can make a positive difference,” said Scott Ventura, owner of Integraphix, Inc.  Other local business owners are encouraged to participate by contacting Integraphix Inc. to sponsor one of the nominated residents.
Unlike a coat drive, toy drive, or food drive, this event is aimed to give back on a more personal level.  It’s also a way to provide a uniquely chosen gift or sponsorship for a deserving individual.
Integraphix Inc. is a marketing and design agency located in Palatine Illinois, providing custom designed websites , marketing, consulting, and print designs for more than 20 years.  They have regularly taken part in other philanthropy programs such as: Letters to Santa, Compassion, and The Make a Wish Foundation.
For more information, to submit the name of a deserving friend or family member, please contact Integraphix Inc. at 847-537-0067 or email us at info@integraphix.com.
January 13, 2011

Great Photo Manipulation

If you’re like me, then you love a good photo-manip. Some of the great ones can express an amazing amount of emotion from a picture that would normally be unrealistic to photography in real life. Perhaps the subject of the photo isn’t based in reality at all and in fact could never be photographed at all. Deviant Art is a great source for finding these amazing artists and photo-manipulations. Take a look through these examples and see for yourself.

This for a moment that this artwork is from a free portfolio site – Deviant Art – and wonder why there is so much artwork in the world and professional scene that isn’t anywhere near this.

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