Bolchalk FReY's Blog



FREE (well almost) Advertising Ideas for Small Businesses
May 29, 2013, 2:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

If your business is usually slow during the summer time, there is no reason to stop marketing even if you don’t have much of a budget.  Here are some easy ways to promote your business that won’t cost you anything but time:

  1. Send out a monthly email to existing customers with either a special offer or introduce a new product that just came in giving them the first opportunity to purchase.
  2. Register your business on free website directories including Google places, Yahoo places, Foursquare, City Search.  Use Google Maps Listing and Yahoo Local city listing.
  3. Create a business page on Facebook.  Register, build a profile, add friends and prospective customers
  4. Join industry forums and contribute to the online community. It is best to search industry keywords through online group websites like MSN, Google and Yahoo.
  5. Use Wikipedia, Wiki travel or other wiki sites where you can upload information about your product or service. Start blogging with free services like Tumblr, Word Press and Blogger. Include the blog/site name in your email signature or IM status.  Talk about your products and services.  Use e-How and other websites to write how-to articles related to your products.
  6. Put a company logo on the license plate or place a window sticker on the rear of your vehicle. Make sure it contains contact information that is clearly visible.
  7. Use Craigslist as a free online classified board to post your products. Craigslist is one of the top 25 websites that are visited in the world, take advantage of it!
  8. Attend as many meetings, and industry specific events as you can to know competitor as well as meet various prospective customers.   Hand out those business cards.
  9. Cross promote with neighboring businesses in your area.   

Katrina Noble, Media Director



Infographics – A Whole Other World of Design
May 23, 2013, 10:40 am
Filed under: Design | Tags: , , , ,

By definition, inforgraphics are “graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.” English please! Basically, infographics are ways to explain complex topics in a visual way. These graphics allow the intended target to understand the information quickly and easily.

At one time or another, we have ALL (including the non designer audience) created some sort of inforgraphic… maybe it was the pie chart in math class or the venn diagram we drew in elementary school to compare and contrast things. If it’s so easy that an elementary student can do it, then why is it such a large part of the design world? Where’s the art in it? The truth is, anyone can create an infographic, but figuring out how to create them in a way that’s informative AND creative is the real art.

After scouring the web, I found all kinds of infographics… some simple and some more complex. I also found a wide range of topics – both serious and goofy. From the examples below, you can see that there are no set rules to infographics, as long as you are getting the information across to the viewer quickly and clearly.

InfoGraphic01

One that most of us have seen before… a subway system map.

InfoGraphic02    InfoGraphic03

Some infographics help consumers.

InfoGraphic04

Others get impactful messages across.

news illustrated 121201 GStyle outline

InfoGraphic06

And some are just for fun!

Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer



Why Your Facebook Page Isn’t Getting More “likes”
May 21, 2013, 11:38 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

You finally got around to creating a Facebook page for your business, but your posts aren’t getting any likes.   Securing more engagement can be simple to correct by avoiding these faux pas:

1)      Don’t ask questions that are too broad– having an open ended question will come across as rhetorical.  Instead ask a specific or multiple choice questions that will reflect your audience’s connection to your business.

2)      The tone is boring – yes, it’s your business page but it doesn’t mean you can’t put some personality into.  Show your human side and have fun.  

3)      Just posting text – add pictures that relate to your post or company to be more visually appealing to the audience.

4)      Too much selling – it is fine to pitch your services and products every so often but don’t over sell.  Fans expect news, tips and photos that go beyond your business. 

5)      Not responding – Make sure to interact with your fans so they know that their feedback and comments are appreciated. 

6)      Lack of offers –  your fans are looking for perks.  Be sure to reward them with exclusive contests, deals and insider offers to make them feel special. 

Katrina Noble, Media Director

 



Print-Ready Files for Happy Designers (Part 2)
May 16, 2013, 4:47 pm
Filed under: Design | Tags: , , , ,

shutterstock_111279338

Last week I enlightened you with 5 helpful tips for successful print-ready files. As promised, I’ve returned with Part 2 of this topic, so without further ado, here are 5 more tips for preparing your print-ready files.

6. SIZE MATTERS! (Print Size, That Is)
Be sure to always create your files at the actual size you want them printed. Also, make sure you have the appropriate resolution, for most print jobs (e.g. brochures, business cards and flyers) 300dpi is acceptable. If you fail to build your files at actual size, you will most definitely run into issues during printing. Just think about it, it wouldn’t make sense to create a poster at business card size and expect it to print out perfectly crisp when the printer enlarges it to poster size, right? *Please note that large scale printing (e.g. bus benches and billboards) follow different rules for file size… but that’s a topic for another day!

7. STICK WITH CMYK
This is a design basic! RGB is used for on-screen, such as websites and eblasts. CMYK is used for print, such as posters and flyers, just to name a few. That being said, always convert your files to CMYK before printing – even if you can’t see any change on screen, it can make a world of difference when printed.

8. GET A PROOF
For multi-page documents, such as programs or books, it’s helpful to provide your printer with a proof. That way they can ensure that all pages are in the correct position and things are aligned the way you want them. In addition to giving your printer a proof, also request a color proof from your printer. This will allow you to fix any color issues before they run the whole job and you’re stuck with something that isn’t right.

9. BLEED
No, I’m not talking about actual blood, I’m talking about the bleeds on your document. Be sure to ALWAYS include bleeds on your document… I have found that a 1/8” (or .125”) bleed works fine.

10. GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER
I have found that the key to successful printing projects is to get to know your printer. Most printers are more than willing to work with you to get your projects printed to your satifaction. Don’t be afraid to ask question, tour the print facility or voice your opinion when your project just isn’t printing right. If your printer doesn’t seem to be offering you any help, don’t be afraid to try a new printer!

Hopefully some or all of these tips will help you create successful print-ready files. Good luck and happy printing!
Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer



6 Vital Components to Small Business Growth
May 14, 2013, 4:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Who doesn’t want their business to grow but do you actually have a strategy in place? Where do you begin? It is not as cumbersome as you may think.  Start by asking yourself these key questions: 

1)      Who is your ideal customer?  – Please don’t say everyone.   Start by looking at your most profitable clients and determine what they look like, where they live, and what they do for a living.   More often than not, you’ll start to see a pattern.

2)      What separates you from your competitors?  –  It may not be what you think.  Spend some one- on-one time with your customers to get feedback and listen carefully!  The key is to find out what truly differentiates your business. 

3)      Are You Reviewing Your Customer Engagement? – There are 7 stages of engagement ~ know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat and refer.   Review these stages and see if you have any gaps in your current process.

4)      What Are Your Revenue Streams?  – Determine if there are services or products that you can add to your existing business to increase the number of sales.   What pricing or promotion could you reconfigure to increase the average transaction?  What new market could you enter to increase the number of customers?   Remember it is always easier to sell more to an existing customer than to acquire new ones.

5)      Are You Developing Relationships? – Look for ways to cross promote your business with other companies especially vendors or suppliers that you currently worth with.  The business next door to yours could be a good place to start.

6)      Are You Tracking Your Results? – Keep tabs on percentage of leads converted, business referrals and cost to acquire new customers to keep your plan on track.

Determining the answers to the above will help start your path to success!

Katrina Noble, Media Director



Print-Ready Files for Happy Designers (Part 1)
May 9, 2013, 10:37 am
Filed under: Design | Tags: , , , ,

shutterstock_111279356

You know that feeling you get when you finally finish a project and send it off to the printer? It’s a pretty great feeling, right? How about that feeling you get when the printer calls you saying there’s something wrong with your file or when your project has been delivered and the client calls you ranting that there’s a typo in your design?!
I know, I know… that totally killed your happy feeling!

Well, here are a few tips to get you on the right track to print-ready files and successful outcomes!

1. TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Contact your printer ahead of time and figure out how long they will need to print your project. Count back from your due date and create deadlines for yourself… remember
to add a bit of cushion just in case something goes wrong.

2. FONT FAILURE
Unless you design every piece with Times New Roman or Arial, you can’t expect your printer to have every font that you’ve used in your design. To avoid font defaulting once your file gets to the printer, remember to embed your fonts into your file.

3. CHECK IT… AGAIN!
Nothing is more important than proofing your documents… I mean you wouldn’t want
to have your client’s name or website misspelled, right? Even if you’ve proofed your document 100 times, I recommend having someone else proof it (even if they aren’t
a designer) — sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can make all the difference!

4. IMAGE QUALITY
Be sure to double check your image proportions, dimensions and resolution. Please don’t be one of those designers that stretches an image out of proportion so it looks super squished or super stretched! en if the actual size of your image is correct, the resolution may be too low – creating ugly pixelated images in what could have been
a beautifully designed piece.

5. ATTENTION TO DETAIL
It may just be because I have obsessive compulsive tendencies, but I find this tip
to be extremely important! Paying attention to the small details and keeping things consistent is key to a great design. Make sure that margins are consistent on
multi-page documents, punctuation is the same throughout, spelling is consistent
(for example, in my job I have to fix many inconsistencies between BolchalkFReY, BolchalkFrey and Bolchalk Frey… it may not seem super important, but it is), etc.

Hopefully these few tips will help you get started on creating great print-ready files,
but stay tuned next week for more tips for successful files that make happy designers!

Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer