37 results

  • Unique Uses for Business Cards

    Posted on 03/06/2014 by | Comments Off on Unique Uses for Business Cards

    business-cardTraditionally, business cards are thick 3-1/2-inch x 2-inch pieces of paper spelling out essential contact information for business professionals. By no means are business cards a thing of the past, they still serve a significant purpose in the business world for networking and even marketing purposes. However, business cards are evolving to create a more personal experience showcasing the business owners’ creativity and product or service offerings in unique new ways.

    Anyone can create a business card but professionals who understand their customers, are creative and willing to try something new will receive the greatest benefit from developing unique business cards. Traditional business cards are boring and serve one purpose to the recipient – a helpful place to find someone’s contact information. Unique business cards are exciting, bold and offer the recipient more than just contact information, including:

    • Additional access to your business through advanced technology
    • Convenient reminders for appointments
    • Coupons/punch cards for in-store rewards
    • Snapshot of work

    If you haven’t changed your business cards in years, it’s time to consider updating the 3-1/2-inch x 2-inch piece of paper in your wallet. Create an appealing design, stand out amongst your competition and make people want to keep, use or pass on your business card to their friends and family. Here are a few unique examples of how you can update your business card to showcase your business in a distinctive way.

    Add value

    In certain circumstances, black and white business cards hold merit, however, utilizing bold graphics, vibrant color and a sleek design will deliver immediate value to your card. If you lack the creative gene, consult your staff for ideas on color schemes or logo integration to see if you have any in-house talent, otherwise, seek out a professional designer to create a bold new look. Most designs look best on 14- or 16-point matte glossy paper – keep this in mind as you create and order business cards with eye-catching graphics.

    You can also add value to your business card by giving recipients a snapshot into your work. This is a great idea for artists, photographers or actors as they can incorporate thumbnail images of paintings, headshots and published works.

    Add tech and social

    If you haven’t changed your standard business card template in the last 10 years, chances are they don’t include any social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+ and you certainly don’t have a QR code. Staying active on social media is a great way to build your brand, engage with customers, share company news and it enhances your online credibility and presence. Include your username and URL for your preferred company social networks on your business cards – you can even incorporate branded hashtags or a unique contest or promotional hashtag. Including this information promotes user engagement and increases online awareness of your business.

    QR codes are another great way to boost user engagement and grant card recipients deeper access to your company. A digitized square, QR codes are scanned from a user’s smartphone and open a specific landing page – this could be your businesses’ website, an app, a contest page or anywhere else you’d like to direct customers on the web. QR codes are easy to make and embed on business cards – they are also a great way to generate traffic to a specific page.

    Loyalty/coupon/appointment cards

    Using your business card as a way to promote customer loyalty further entices the card recipient to hold on to your business card and create a lasting relationship with your business.

    Appointment cards help schedule the customers’ upcoming engagements with your business – these work great for doctors, dentists, mechanics, physical therapists, trainers and more. Keep your company information on the front of your card and create a space on the back for your staff to jot down return dates for upcoming appointments.

    Loyalty or coupon cards also help promote return customers. The idea is the same – create a bold and eye-grabbing business card with all of your company contact information – but also incorporate a punch or stamp reward club into the design so customers can earn points each time they shop. This incentivizes the customer and gives them a reason to keep your card close by at all times as well as spread the word to their friends about your great products and deals.

    Become inspired

    Updating your business card takes time, thought and a lot of trial and error when crafting the perfect message or look. Business cards are beginning to drift further away from the traditional wallet size and embody what the business represents. From bottle opener business cards for breweries to a tiny skateboard deck for a repair shop, unique business cards are popping up everywhere. Here are a few articles where you can become inspired to create a unique business card your customers will love:

    Make sure to check back with the Vistaprint blog for small business tips and techniques to help grow your brand and further your customer base. And don’t forget Vistaprint Canada can help you produce visually stimulating, high quality and unique business cards with hundreds of available designs and personalization options to choose from.

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  • Make the Most of LinkedIn Groups

    Posted on 02/06/2014 by | Comments Off on Make the Most of LinkedIn Groups

    business-handshakeLinkedIn is one of the most populated social networks online with more than 259 million monthly active users. The audience is full of career-minded business professionals invested in creating productive relationships and partnerships. In fact, LinkedIn is a 277 percent more effective tool for lead generation than Facebook and Twitter, according to a Hubspot study. One of the best ways for small business owners to connect with professionals in their industry is through LinkedIn Groups.

    More than 2.1 million LinkedIn Groups exist online with daily discussions organized by moderators and engagement stemming from CEO’s to account managers across all industries. Joining a LinkedIn Group and actively contributing to the discussion leads to countless benefits for your small business, including:

    • Seek or provide advice: LinkedIn Groups work as a forum for members to ask questions, share ideas and interact based on a particular topic, industry or geographic region. Here you can read or share unique experiences and points of view to help guide you and others in the right direction.
    • Create deeper connections: It’s essential to contribute to current discussions on LinkedIn Groups. Once you’ve shared your thoughts or posted a question of your own, send invites to other members who responded.
    • Elevate your social currency: LinkedIn Groups are a great medium to boost your credibility within the industry by showcasing your expertise in a variety of ways – sharing relevant blog posts, contributing to prominent industry group message boards or moderating a group of your own.
    • Become inspired: LinkedIn Group forums can also help inspire you. Simply reading questions and responses from members can help influence a new idea or marketing strategy for your small business. That’s why it’s important to join multiple LinkedIn Groups allowing you to interact with a diverse range of professionals.

    Now that you know the benefits of joining and participating in LinkedIn Groups, we’ll dive into the how to properly use this tool to your advantage and keep up with the latest trends, news, talent and events in your industry.

    How to find the right LinkedIn Group

    Searching for LinkedIn Groups is exceptionally easy but knowing what to search for can help narrow down relevant groups pertaining to your businesses’ needs. Use LinkedIn’s search tool to plug in keywords relating to your business or personal interests – small business, digital marketing, hiking or outdoors, for example. In Canada, you’ll find several groups centered on small business including, Go Small Business Canada, Small Business: The Globe and Mail and Canada Small Business Owners Network.

    How to choose the right LinkedIn Group to join

    Choosing a LinkedIn Group is like choosing a school or job – not every option is a great fit. You should be selective in your process for choosing what groups to spend your time with. Do so by researching who the group managers and top contributors are – their credibility? Do they share an excess of promotional items? What group rules have they established? After answering these questions, read into the dialogue of the group – what is being discussed? How many people are contributing? Are their insights valuable? The answers to all of these questions will help determine if joining this group will benefit your business. Look for groups with well-established rules or a code of conduct, this helps keep discussion relevant and helps weed out excessive self-promotion.

    You should also consider joining corporate sponsored LinkedIn Groups. Although sponsored items on many social media networks are looked down upon, LinkedIn has partnered with a few brands and corporations to build robust groups in a variety of industries. Here are a few of the top sponsored LinkedIn Groups to consider:

    Best practices for LinkedIn Group participation

    Joining a LinkedIn Group is the first step. In order to receive any benefit from the group tool, you need to participate in discussion and follow-up with people you’ve interacted with to form a connection. Here are a few of the best practices when participating in LinkedIn Groups:

    • Never automatically post your personal or company blogs. This is blatant self-promotion and can interrupt a string of thoughtful and relevant discussion. Instead, find a blog you’ve produced that answers a question posed by another group member. This shows you’re invested in contributing to the group and helps boost your overall credibility.
    • Don’t answer every question. Sometimes people will post to a discussion topic or answer a question when they have nothing helpful to contribute. This form of pseudo online activity isn’t fooling anyone. Only post when you have something worthwhile, engaging or helpful to share.
    • Follow-up with other members. If you’ve shared a noteworthy exchange with another group member on the discussion board, make sure to reach out and connect on LinkedIn. Connecting with other group members is a great way to increase your network and ultimately cultivate leads.

    Make sure to check back with the Vistaprint blog for in-depth topics helping push your small business forward.

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  • Twitter

    Posted on 21/07/2013 by | Comments Off on Twitter

    Twitter Posts Our Live Feed

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  • Are You Ready for the Naked Economy?

    Posted on 23/05/2014 by | Comments Off on Are You Ready for the Naked Economy?

    By Katie McCaskey (Google+)

    Naked Economy by Vistaprint DealsIn the “Naked Economy” all you need to wear to the modern office is a smile and some sunscreen.

    Okay, actually, you’ll need more than that. A lot more. The phrase “naked economy” may sound titillating but, according to the book by the same name, “naked” defines our rapidly shifting economy. That’s because the emerging global economy is increasingly leaving workers “exposed” as health care, retirement benefits, living wages, the idea of “job security,” and other protections are “stripped away.”

    Rising in the place of the workplaces, jobs, and careers we’ve known is a very different environment. The sooner you willingly “get naked” to this new reality the sooner you can successfully navigate this new landscape. We can either roll with the punches or be rolled over by them. Let’s peel off some clothing and look at some changes we’ll be experiencing as individuals and as business owners, shall we?

     

     

    Among the differences between our former concepts of “work” and today include:

    Physical Space
    The ability to work anywhere and sell virtually means the world of work is changing dramatically. Physical space is still important, but more of our economy is increasingly detaching from office parks, factories, and other physical places of work.

    Instead, more job creation is blossoming in a largely location-independent “knowledge economy.” Knowledge work — everything from developing apps to performing surgery with remote healthcare — is removing previous geographic barriers and constraints, notes Diane Smith in her book, TheNewRural.com, about the role of technology businesses in rural America.

    The authors of The Rise of the Naked Economy: How to Benefit from the Changing Workplace contend that office space itself is changing to allow loosely configured, modular space that invites casual collaboration and inspiration between independent workers (notably, the authors are owners of a co-working space in the Northwest).

     

    Short-Term, Freelance, and Startup Arrangements

    Now everyone is self-employed. Increasingly more of us are working as entrepreneurs, freelancers, and in short-term, project-based work (or a combination of all of the above). One common thread to these engagements is that all are without the “protection” offered by yesterday’s jobs and careers.

    Whether you consider protection to be job security (staying at the same job for many years), benefits (health care or retirement), or upward mobility based on organizational seniority, all of these are assumptions based on yesterday’s economic model. Get ready to regularly reprint your business cards. Most workers will change jobs, if not careers, at a regular pace over the course of her or his career. Those who can adapt, retrain, and explain their narrative in a meaningful way will be the winners.

    Specialists and Generalists Both Thrive
    Another important trend of the emerging “naked economy” is the idea that rewards will come to specialists and generalists, not exclusively one or the other. Specialists can increasingly narrow their focus of study and expertise if they are selling their knowledge globally — after all, it is easier than ever to locate and hire the person with the greatest knowledge in any particular area.

    Generalists, people who can understand and communicate trends by parsing diverse data, will also find handsome reward in a workforce saturated by content. Some will even find success as hybrids of the two: generalists in a particular niche and hyper-specialists in one particular area of that niche.

    As individuals, we’ll need to adopt a growing mindset. We’ll need to regularly retrain and expand our skills to remain competitive. We will need to choose an area of focus (as specialists) or refine our abilities to parse, curate, and make sense of disparate information (as generalists).

    As business owners — and yes, we all are business owners of “Me, Inc.” in our new economy — we’ll need to look for opportunities to sell our skills and work on bigger platforms. We’ll need to accept that teams will assemble, disassemble, and reassemble as the market dictates.

    As a result, we’ll need to understand that employees, partners, vendors, suppliers, and others won’t have as narrowly defined roles as before. Moreover, Millennials and more are choosing to integrate work into their lives instead of viewing work as outside or separate from their lives. Expect greater workplace flexibility as more people strive to integrate “work” into “real lives” rather than earlier attempts at “balance” between one and the other.

    In conclusion, that gold watch your father or grandfather earned during his one-employer career is a relic of the past. Today’s emerging economy may make you feel temporarily exposed, but there are ways to prepare and adapt. Unlike the tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” yes, really, in the new economy everyone is naked. Pass the sunscreen.

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