Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Brochures, Postcards & Business Cards...You Got Em?

It's an obvious question really, but sometimes in the frenzy of starting your new pet business, getting anxious to launch, putting together your budget, spreading the word little things like marketing materials may fall by the wayside.

Although you may be budget bootstrapping you can still find creative and innovative ways to keep you fresh in your pet parents minds. I'll share some good resources and ideas that you can use or add to.

-->1. Prints Made Easy.com - A fabulous website that I use often to print business cards and postcards. They have reasonable pricing and you can get your order sooner or later depending on your budget. If you can wait a couple of weeks shipping is on the cheap, if you need it sooner you may need to reconsider.

-->2. UPrinting.com - Yet another printing alternative that I use to prints larger volume marketing materials. Pricing here is darn good for when you're ready to order in the thousands. I like these guys because turnaround is especially quick and when I want something I usually want it yesterday so these guys really deliver.

-->3. Print Your Own - Yes there are still ways that you can print your own handouts and still be professional. It really depends on your design of what you're handing out. Personally I like to dabble with Adobe Photoshop and make all of my materials myself. This saves me in paying someone else to try to get my design vision right, only to have to make costly revisions along the way. There is time involved but in the end for me it was always worth it. Make sure to get cardstock paper and not just regular printing paper. This type of paper usually comes in many different colors and is measured in 'lbs'.

For instance a good cardstock is 115lb, it's heavy and feels sturdy in your hands. I've never really been a fan of printing your own business cards, simply because I have yet to see any that truly look or feel professional. If you can pull it off, than by all means go for it, and send me a copy I'd like to witness it. Business cards are so affordable now that if you can have them printed, I suggest you give it a try.

Or you might even try printing your own postcards on cardstock then taking them to a FedEx/Kinko type place and letting them cut them for you. Since cutting is where we run into postcards that look like...well like we cut them. You don't want that as your marketing message.

Having ready, professional marketing materials is not just a great way to spread the word about your awesome pet business, it's a way to keep potential and loyal pet parents informed about you and what you can offer them.

Now what are you waiting for, get to printing!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Traffic Boosting via Contests!

Who doesn't like a contest or the chance to win something that is pretty cool? Well everyone does, and best of all contests are a great way to drive traffic to your shop or website and gain new customers along the way. Here are a few tips and pointers about contests that will put you ahead of your competition:

-->1. What You Want -- What are your goals you want to achieve from your contest? Do you want to get your customers to interact more, get more incoming links, get to know them a bit better, get them to spread the word about you or all of the above? Define these parameters before you launch your contest so you haved direction.

-->2. Choose the Prizes -- So you're gonna host a contest now you need prizes that will make your contest smokin' hot. If you have goodies that your customers clamor for, use your items. Or if you're feeling generous and creative get some sponsors on board to donate goodies in exchange for the publicity. Having awesome prizes increases traffic, buzz and in the end your brand awareness which is always a good thing for you.

-->3. Make 'em Work For It -- So yes you do want to ultimately give something fabulous away of good value because it is an investment that is worth it. But don't just 'give it away'. You gotta make 'em work for it. Encourage them to leave blog comments, tweet to others about it and post a blog post on their blog. You're giving something away and in exchange for that you're getting some traffic, buzz and putting you and your pet business out there.

-->.4.Let People Know -- Once you have your contest in place and live, now you have to let your customers, and potential customers know about it. Get on your social high horse and let people know. Tweet about it, Facebook it, send out newsletter shout outs and email your members, followers and friends. Don't forget to encourage extra entries when they spread the word on your behalf.

Contests are just one easy way to increase traffic to your website but there are several other ways you can do it too! Real Easy ways that are fun to boot. Get creative and explore your ways.