Have you thanked your customers lately?

Your most important customers are the ones you already have.  Businesses often spend thousands of dollars per year marketing and advertising to attract new customers while ignoring, or taking for granted their current customers.

Existing customers have already chosen to do business with you, the chances they will do again is high if you look after them.

Sending your current customers something as simple as a thank you card could be the best value marketing you could do.  Of course you could also give them a small gift or make them a VIP offer to encourage them back to see you.

I know one business that sends one handwritten thank you card to a different customer everyday.  It is a habit that pays dividends.

To employ this idea, you need to know who your customers are.  Do you have a list of customer contacts?  If you don’t, you should – start building one today!

Brochure design for Khan Photography

Khan Photography is a successful Christchurch based business run by talented husband and wife team Nazeef and Rachael Khan.

I had the privilege of being introduced to them as they were on the hunt for a Graphic Designer to improve on their previous wedding photography brochure.

This couple blew me away with their work. Still a young company, Khan Photography are steadily gaining a good reputation that is well deserved. Nazeef and Rachael carefully refine each image to achieve the best possible results for their clients.  Their attention to detail in this way is what I think makes them so good at what they do.

Nazeef and Rachael were keen to see the size of the existing brochure and it’s content reduced, so to create an attractive DLE card to replace it, became the brief.

Khan Photography - Brochure design

Khan Photography - Brochure design

What we came up with was a clean and simple design, which showcased their stunning work. The change in direction was subtle enough to support their current branding but offered a smart, fresh and contemporary result.

If you or anyone you know is getting married soon, we would defineately recomend checking out  more of Khan Photography’s beautiful images.  You won’t be disappointed!

Hair today, record for tomorrow

Somewhere between my last post, and getting my photo taken, I got thinking about Hair salons.

The trouble I have always had with getting my hair cut, is explaining what I want to the hair dresser.  I can never express how I want it, or even how I have had it before. A few times I have resorted to cutting a picture from a magazine and handing it over – “I want my hair to look like this, as long as it won’t make me look stupid”.

So why don’t Salons take pictures of their clients?  Before and after shots every time they come in, would make it easy to discuss with the client what they liked and what they didn’t.  It would build a tangible history with their clients.  Do you think this would build loyalty from the client when the hairdresser puts that much effort into knowing what they like?

Could be very interesting looking back after a year or two.

How could this idea be used in other businesses?

Ever have a Lemonade stand when you were a kid?

Lemonade stand

Lemonade stand

When I was a kid, I used to make a little stall in front of our house during the holidays.  We used to make Lemonade to or go up the back of a farm nearby and pick blackberries or passion fruit to sell.

I always remember getting excited about how much money we would make while picking the berries or lemons.  Followed by the boredom and frustration after hours of sitting waiting for people to buy our produce.  Sometimes we would knock on doors to try and sell some faster.

One holiday when I was a bit older, I spent a whole day writing a leaflet offering my services to do odd jobs washing cars and the like.  When it was finished I had to talk my mum into going to town to make lots of copies on her work photocopier, and then spent a few more hours posting them in letter boxes around the neighbourhood.  I got a few jobs washing cars and cleaning swimming pools for my efforts, giving me a tidy sum of pocket money.  The thing I remember is the making and distributing the leaflets took twice as long as the actual jobs, which only took a few hours to do.

I always think of these experiences when I hear people mentioning celebrities getting paid huge sums of money to front brands.  Back in the early 2000’s Nike reported paid Tiger Woods more to market their products than they paid their workforce in china to make their shoes.  Many people considered that unjust, but I can’t help thinking, that you make money from selling products, not just making them.

photo credit: EvinDC

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Love is blind

You have heard the phrase “love is blind”… Often a flippant remark when we notice a seemingly mismatched couple. But often this cliché runs true. When we are in love, we are more forgiving of the little problems and imperfections. In fact we can come to value these imperfections and personality quirks and become some of the reason we love so much.

When people love a brand, they will forgive that a product is a little more expensive, or that they have to go out of their way to find it. They will refuse to admit another brand can be as good, let alone better. They’ll purchase the product(s) over and over again, and they’ll rave about it to friends and colleagues. A great example is Karen recently professing her love for her new Apple Mac.

On a recent blog post, Seth Godin writes about Love and what he considers its opposite… Annoying. Check out Seth’s full post here: Love (and Annoying). He gives some great examples of companies and products that aim to be loved by their customers and others that aim to be less annoying.

The ultimate goal in branding or designing a product is to be loved by our customers. While we would all love to have a brand that is universally loved by everyone, it is not always possible. Seth suggests, “If you can’t do that [be loved], perhaps you can make your product or service less annoying”.

The problem with love is that not everyone loves alike, and those who don’t love your brand will likely find you annoying. If your business model will work with fewer, but more loyal customers, then love maybe you should try to create a brand for people to love. But if you need more customers, then spend your effort making sure you are less annoying.

Print Finishes

Design in print is one thing. But the design OF YOUR PRINT is another thing altogether. AND well worth taking a look at exploring.

Within the realms of paper finishes and print finishes there is a whole new element to design and the influence it can have over the completed job.

 A designer can and should consider the end product when developing a concept. This means more than taking into account the most appropriate paper stock. It means thinking about how a myriad of other tricks and techniques (within the budget) can be used in tandem with the graphics to meet the brief.

Our son was given an organic cotton toy that was packaged in a special brown shoe box, printed in natural ink colours and die-cut at the side to expose the logo. Everything about the packaging screamed “natural!” to me and even though it had a matt finish and was predominately brown (think paper bag), the overall impression was one of absolute quality and that the product was worth treasuring.

A simple business card doesn’t have to be on clean white stock like everyone elses’ UNLESS this supports how your business is positioned. Sometimes a different finish, such as an emboss or metallic for example, can set your business apart from others as well as saying more about your brand.

 

 

Targeting your brand

First, your brand won’t appeal to everybody.  Don’t worry this is a good thing;  it shouldn’t appeal to everyone, because not everyone will want to buy your products or services.  An 18-year-old boy isn’t going to buy a crotchet kit, and a 65 year old couple are highly unlikely to purchase a new wakeboard.  With this in mind, ANY time, effort or money spent marketing to these groups is completely wasted.

To increase the effectiveness of your brand and all related advertising and marketing, you need to know who your most likely customers are.  Lets be honest, you already know this… it isn’t rocket science.  It is easy to slip into the “I’ll take money from anyone” mindset (and so you should, but you shouldn’t market to them), or consider it too hard to define your core customers; I’ve been there myself.  But it is CRITICAL to the success of your brand.

Think about it.  If I told you, that you could have all the profits from any nappies you could sell to one hundred people, would you ask the first hundred people you meet? or would you do better asking the next hundred people pushing a stroller?

The more knowledge you have of who your customers are, the easier it is to target them with your branding and marketing.  You can draw better conclusions as to what they want to buy, and why.  What their likes and dislikes are, and how they want themselves to be perceived.  It also gives you an insight into what radio stations they listen to, and what newspapers and magazines they read.

Demographic information you need to know about your customers:

·        Age (range)

·        Employment – Are they management, professional, or owner

·        Location – City, town, region

·        Gender

·        Education

·        Occupation

·        Marital status

·        Ethnicity

·        Income – total household income. Can they afford your products or services

·        Family status – do they have children? What age and stage?

 

If you supply products or services to businesses, you can also collate demographic information for the businesses you deal with.  Such as:

·        Industry

·        Size of business (sales, no. employees)

·        Type of business (manufacturer, retailer, primary production)

·        Location

·        Geographic scope of the business (regional, national, international)

 

So how do you get this demographic information for your business?

 

The best way to gather demographic information is through using market research companies.  However, these can be expensive.

It is possible to do your own research: it is relatively inexpensive to run your own phone survey, or observation of your customers.  My favourite method is to ask your customers if they would be willing to complete a quick questionnaire during the purchase transaction.  You could even offer an incentive such as a prize draw, small discount (or better a bonus).