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Most business owners have a list of Marketing projects they need or want. Oftentimes, those lists get tossed to the wayside so that business owners can focus on the necessary things that MUST get done in order to pay the bills. The Marketing List gets set aside because it contains items that aren’t absolutely imperative for the doors to stay open, the payroll to be made, and the electricity to stay on. But, oh, how they ultimately do affect the bottom line! Prioritizing your Marketing “Wish List” could enable you to have it all! Here’s how to prioritize your Marketing efforts in order of importance so that you can establish brand recognition, brand loyalty, and ultimately customers for life!

1. Your Logo.
Do you have a clear and distinguished brand? Your brand consists of your logo, your name, your tagline, your graphics & your colors. Do you have a logo? If not, that needs to be #1 on your Marketing Wish List! Your logo is the visual representation of who you are and what you do. It lets your customers know you’re really in business, that you’re professional, and you’re committed to serving them. A piece of clip art and your company name are not a logo. Your logo is uniquely you and is the anchor for all other branding you will do. 

2. Your Tagline.
Your tagline, slogan, strapline, whatever you want to call it. It’s important. It is the key phrase that captures your business by identifying the essence of three elements: your mission, your promise, and your brand. Start by being clear about what your mission is. Next, identify the benefits your company provides. And lastly, incorporate the personality of your business. Pick an adjective that reflects who you are as a business and incorporate it into your mission and benefits. Taglines should be short, concise and again, uniquely you.

3. Website.
Whether you’re a large corporation or small business, you NEED a website. It’s one of the most important marketing tools available. Even if people can’t buy from you online or purchase your service, they’re likely to jump online to research you and your company. It also helps establish your business’s credibility. If you don’t have a website, people tend to believe you’re not really in business or haven't committed to being in business. You want to appear professional, committed, and the ideal choice for your customers.

4. Business Cards & Stationery Items.
Sometimes business owners neglect this marketing tool and assume it’s a thing of the past. Not true! Your business card identifies your company as a real business and is an effective marketing tool. Your business card and stationery establish trust that you are a legitimate business and are professional.  Oftentimes, business cards are the first item a potential client sees. Your logo and the overall branding of your company is often communicated through a 2x3.5-inch card. Make sure it’s professional-looking!

4. Social Media Graphics.
Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, Twitter... the list goes on. It is so important to have a Social Media presence. Your photos, videos, thoughts, tips, blog articles, etc. impact customer’s perception of you and your business. It’s important to reach them where they are. You need to brand all of your Social Media pages consistently. When your ideal customer sees you on Facebook, they need to know it’s you. When you Tweet, they need to know it’s you. When you post a photo on Instagram, they need to know it’s you. And the best way to do this is by creating consistency on all platforms. Your profile picture, cover photo, background image, they all need to be branded to support your other marketing materials.

5. Support Materials.
Do you have support materials you use with clients (ie. Sales sheets, Folders, Fact Sheets, Flyers, Powerpoint Presentation Slides, etc.)? If so, they need to be branded as well. When you present to a client or show a Powerpoint, is it clear it’s your branding? You don’t want them to forget you when they leave you or you leave them. Create materials that are specifically branded so that you can continue to create that connection with your ideal customers. Thank you cards and blank cards you can send to clients are a great addition to this list. When sent, they remind clients that you respect them and appreciate their business.

6. Promotional Materials.
If you’re doing an event, offering a promotion, or promoting your brand, your materials MUST be branded. Don’t forget the flyer you bring to a 5k you’re helping as a sponsor. Don’t forget to brand the discount you’re running the month of September. Don’t forget to create a cohesive campaign to support your next speaking engagement. Those items should also be branded so that your ideal customers know it’s you and continue to make a personal connection with who you are and what you do. These include Social Media graphics as well. When promoting your business or event, you definitely want to market online. Social Media graphics are a great way to promote and should be branded accordingly.

Visit my Portfolio to see these priorities in action. Some clients start with a logo and save for the next steps. I love being able to help them establish a unique and strong anchor for their brand. When they’re ready, we work through next steps to ensure they’re properly branded and targeting their ideal customers in a cost-effective and marketing-savvy way. What’s next on your list?

 
 
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Your logo is the visual representation of who you are and what you do. It lets your ideal customer know that you’re fully invested in your business, that you’re committed to serving them, and that you’re a professional. With all those important things on the line, it’s imperative that your logo look great, be well-designed, and be used consistently throughout all your marketing materials.

Oftentimes, the incredible amount of work it takes to get your business started and to maintain the level of commitment to your customers can be exhausting and overwhelming. And sometimes, you just don’t have the time, energy, or finances to devote to creating a fantastic logo. This is an absolutely imperative part of the creation of your business. Having a perfect logo designed by a professional is one of the most important aspects of marking your presence in your respective market. The ultimate aim of your logo is to present your business in a positive, professional and memorable manner and impart in your ideal customer’s mind an image of stability and reliability.

I take Branding VERY seriously and creating perfect logos for each of my clients is the foundation of those branding efforts. It’s my first step in the visual picture of every client’s journey. It’s necessary for all stationery, including business cards and letterhead. It’s necessary for all websites and social media graphics. It’s necessary for signage, packaging, advertising, and any promotional graphics. It’s the core of a company’s brand. Therefore, logos are not to be taken lightly.

The logo I recently designed for Kimberly Kate is a perfect example of the importance this piece is in branding. Kimberly is a health coach committed to helping others by teaching them to make healthy food, lifestyle, and spiritual changes. She has an approach that focuses on clean eating, perseverance, and support and her logo was created to reflect that.

Elements of her logo and her unique approach to helping solve her ideal customer’s biggest ache were incorporated in her other marketing efforts such as her website, her Healthy Living Journal, and her Social Media graphics.
A logo is the anchor for a company’s brand identity and the foundation for other visual details. For this reason, I challenge you to evaluate your current logo. Is it unique? Is it relevant to your industry? Does it engage your audience? Take my quiz below to see how your logo stands up. Or download a printable version of this quiz HERE. If you discover that your logo could use some changes or you need a logo that adequately represents your business, click HERE and I can design your perfect logo.
 
 
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As a business owner, when I want something done, I want it done now and I want it done right. I don’t want to wait on hold for the next available representative. I don’t want a project manager to play telephone to talk to his boss, to talk to his boss, to talk to his supervisor, to tell me they can do the job. I want an expert to help me. Right away. Most business owners are juggling clients, products, services, day-to-day operations, and ways to increase revenue. When you have a need, you need it filled. It makes sense to go directly to the source. It’s important to have an expert work directly with you when you’re paying for a service. It’s the best way to get your problem solved, your message communicated, and all the facts into the right hands. As a business owner, the game of telephone can be really frustrating. You are depending on a translator and when you’re in a time crunch or spending lots of your hard-earned money, a translator just won’t do.

Here are my top 8 reasons to work directly with a designer:
1. From the beginning of a project til the end, you will be speaking with the designer working on your project so project specifications don’t need relayed through a game of telephone before action is taken.

2. There are no separate account managers, senior creatives or junior designers, each with differing interpretations of the design brief. All knowledge is given directly from you to the designer working on your project.

3. You are hiring the person responsible for all of their design portfolio. Great designers get great clients based on their portfolio. It’s always in the best interest of the designer to do fantastic work to add to their porfolio instead of living under a company umbrella of work.

4. All phone calls, email, and Facebook messages go directly to the designer working on the project — not a sales person or account manager.

5. With many freelancers working from home, they can often transfer considerable savings made through low overheads. Thus, passing that savings on to you.

6. Design revisions can frequently be made almost immediately after the request. There is no “procedure” via an account or project manager for revisions.

7. Billing inquiries and delivery time frames can be clarified at the same time as specific design discussions. Again, this ultimately leads to a savings in time and therefore, money.

8. The consistency of your branding will never be an issue. By working with a single designer who has deep knowledge of your brand, has designed other projects for you, and has a great working relationship with you, the overall look and feel of your brand will remain consistent. And consistency is key in establishing brand recognition and equity.

Let me help you. Directly.

Together, let’s cut the red tape and get your work done exactly the way you’d like and in the time you need. Click here to get started working directly with ME.

 
 
It’s not enough just to have a website. Anyone can do that. But a great website? That can make all the difference in the world. Your website is visible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to people all over the world. It’s your most powerful marketing strategy. Treat it as such. Here are 10 ways to elevate your biggest marketing tool.

1. Successful design and branding boost your sales numbers.
Your website needs to look good! It needs to look like you’re really in business and not that you’ve designed this on the fly to “make money.” If your site is over-crowded by ads, pop-ups, and buttons, you are making it really tough for your ideal customer to achieve their goal of buying from you. This does not mean that all of your effort need to go into a fantastically designed website, but your site needs to support your other branding efforts. Can your ideal customer recognize and link your website to your social media marketing? Can they be sure they’re in the right place when they link from an ad? Can they find the items or services you want them to purchase? If you’ve answered “no” to any of these questions, it’s time to re-evaluate your site.

2.
Your website design must enable sales.
When you are selling products or services online, you need to drive traffic to your website. Good design and branding will do this. If you have an unattractive or boring website, it is generally a sign that your products or services will be equally unattractive or boring, whether or not that is actually the case. Or if your site is poorly designed and organized, your ideal customer may be too confused while navigating it and may assume your products or services are just as confusing. Make it easy. Help them see that the products or services you provide are fantastic by having a site that’s as fantastic as what you’re trying to sell.

3. Brand it, but don’t over-do it.
Your logo is a HUGE part of your branding efforts, but you don’t need to scream it on your site. They’re there. They came to you. Remind them that they’re in the right place, but your website isn’t the place to use a giant logo. In fact, if your logo takes up the majority of the “above the fold” space on your site, you’re wasting prime real estate where you could be educating your ideal customer about the benefits you provide.

4. Create a great customer experience through design and branding.
Keep in mind that all this design and branding stuff is ultimately to boost sales. Don’t lose site of this ultimate goal. If a customer comes to your site after being familiarized or educated about your products or services, then they’re coming to buy. The hard part is over, they want to give you their money. Make it easy for them to do that.

5. Give them something of value for FREE!
Everyone loves getting a valuable resource, something they would normally pay for, but are able to get from YOU, the expert, for FREE! It should go in the top portion of your page, usually on the right or left sidebar. Make it easy for your ideal customer to see – above the fold – so that they know it’s there. This is your opportunity to bless them with something that only you, as the expert, can give them. It’s also your opportunity to increase your list. When they sign up for your Freebie, you have a way to keep them abreast of new products, services, and any other important information you have to offer.

6.
Make sure to freshen up your site on a regular basis.
Are you launching a new product? Are you speaking at an area conference? Are you offering a free training? Let your ideal customers know. And let them know that you have fantastic new things coming all the time, to check back frequently. More traffic equals more sales. And more sales are good.

7. Be sure you haven’t over-leveraged yourself.
Have you committed to host ads on your site? Have you signed up for lots of affiliate programs that require buttons on your home page? Is your website just becoming a billboard for others? Go to your site. Re-evaluate. Look at it with fresh eyes. Would your ideal customer feel like they’re looking at a college ad board listing too many things, but never really saying anything? This may be the time to re-think your commitments to others and start thinking about your commitment to yourself and your business.

8. Administering changes on your site should be pain free.
What if you wanted to change out a graphic or add a promotional page to your site? Can you do it? Or do you need to contact a web designer for every misspelling or new post? If you don’t have control of your site, you need to re-claim it. You rely on the success of your business. You need control of how it looks, what it says, and how your customers can purchase from you.

9. Be sure the buying experience is easy for your ideal customer.
If you have something people want, make sure they can get it. If your shopping cart is terribly complicated and requires a dozen pages before your customer receives a payment confirmation, you’ll lose them. Ensure that the buying experience will be simple. Most people expect to jump through a few hurdles to make an online purchase, but it shouldn’t feel like donating a kidney.

10. Always have good content.
Create a relationship with your ideal customer. This is your forum and opportunity to prove that you are the expert. Provide them with invaluable information. Educate them. Enlighten them. Empower them. And always, inspire them.

Your website is a dynamic tool you can use to acquire and service your clients. Aesthetics are important, but so is usability. Be sure your site has both. What are some of your favorite sites? Post your website or some of your favorite sites below in the comments section.
 
 
One very important way to look like the expert is to be consistent with how you use fonts. It’s not enough to use your logo, you need to establish consistency throughout all of your marketing materials: in your website, on social media, in print, on your business card. All your materials as a whole really establish your unique look, your brand. There are some very important and simple rules about how to do this through the fonts you use.

1. Practice the Rule of 3

Choose 3 main fonts for your “font family.”
  • Emphasis: A strong font you use for emphasis (like a headline).
  • Accent: A font you use for support that should be used sparingly to accent (like a tagline or highlight text).
  • Body Copy: A font you use for body or large blocks of text.
  • Web Font (Optional): You may want to also include a web font if the fonts you’ve chosen above aren’t able to be used for web. Google Fonts has free web fonts and readability is key here, as well, since the web font will need to be able to accommodate large blocks of text. This should be easy to read and not a “fun” font. (Think Arial, Verdana, or Trebuchet.)
2. Never choose creativity over readability!
You worked hard on choosing the perfect words to say. Make sure they can be read.
3. Just because you like a font, doesn’t mean you should use it.
Discretion is important here. There are millions of fonts available, a lot are free, but when you deviate from your “font family,” you lose consistency and since consistency leads to brand recognition, you’re doing some damage here.

4. Make sure the font you choose relates to the message you’re sending.
If your ideal customers are males, ages 25-50, don’t choose a scripty, feminine-looking font just because you think it’s pretty. Be sure you appeal to your ideal customer and the style they can relate to.
5. You can have more fun with shorter text.
If you are writing a headline and it’s short and concise, it’s still not appropriate to use a “cute” font. Again, readability is key here and you can get by with using a “cute” font on words like “New” or “Now Open.”
6. Keep your font styles separated.
When using serif style fonts, don’t mix them with other serif style fonts. Serifs pair well with sans serif fonts. If you’re using a strong, sans serif font, they pair well with script fonts or handwritten fonts, or serif fonts. Try not to use them with other strong, sans serif fonts.

Of course, as with all rules, there are occasions when these rules can be broken. Generally, when these rules get broken, it’s by a professional designer who has a bigger scope for the project. Your goal should be about establishing and maintaining the overall consistency of your brand and these are basic rules you can use to do that through your typefaces. I highly recommend establishing a “font family” immediately if you don’t already have one. Or if you’re completely lost, I’d love to help you find your way through all the beautiful fonts that can effectively communicate your message. What are your “font family” fonts? Share below which fonts you use consistently.
 
 
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I’ll admit it, our family gets bored of the same routine. We love adventures and are always looking for ways to take a family vacation. This can be tough in many ways, including time off work, the spending that occurs on trips, and travel and lodging. Family vacations don’t have to be daunting, though. We do mini-vacations and long weekends whenever we can and that works to break up the monotony of the day-to-day. Here’s how we frugally vacation and spend intentional time together outside of our home:

1. We plan! We look forward to vacations, so we plan them at the beginning of each year (and sometimes years in advance.) My husband and I have a Wish List of places we’d like to visit. On our Wish List are places near and far; some require a passport, some are a car-ride away. We know we can’t do a “Wish List” vacation every year, but we look for ways some of them can be checked off and we work toward those goals. Luckily, our 15th wedding anniversary and 40th birthdays happen next year, so chances are, it will be an opportunity to mark off a “Wish List” vacation.

2. We save! We know vacations will cost more than if we were staying at home and eating meals in. We look at our vacations and estimate what we can spend on each one and we save over time for these trips. Sometimes it works the other way around. There are trips we plan based on what we can save. Either way, we make sure the funds are available to take a trip. There’s no benefit to putting a vacation on credit and resenting the financial burden later.

3. We are sensible! Some people even call it “cheap.” We use every opportunity we can to pack our lunches or buy groceries and cook meals onsite when we travel. Sometimes, the small cost of a room with a kitchen is worth the savings of not dining out each night while vacationing. We don’t buy souvenirs or unnecessary gifts on our trip. Our kids are very familiar with hearing the word “no” from us when we’re in a gift shop or at an amusement park. They bring their own money for any purchases they choose to make, which makes their purchases very minimal. We look for discount coupons, Groupons, passes, or free admissions to parks, zoos, and other attractions. We usually do this in advance so we have an idea of what we’ll spend.

4. We savor the moments! Sometimes our Family Vacations aren’t about where we’re going, it’s about quality family time. We may be in our home state, staying in a hotel for the night just so we can swim in the winter. We may be camping in the rain 5 minutes from our house because it feels like a vacation and we can tell scary ghost stories. We may visit friends or family we don’t often see. Or we may be playing at the beach for 5 days straight because it doesn’t cost a thing. All of these special times together are snapshots we can save and the memories made on family vacations are really important to us.

5. We reconnect! The burden of everyday life can really wear us down, but when we’re on vacation we are able to really live in the moment. We leave our computers at home, we don’t feel compelled to check email on our phones, we let our calls go to voicemail and we… TALK! Just like in the olden times. We play silly games in the car, like “Would You Rather” or License Plate Bingo or we make some up.

6. We go on adventures! We choose activities we don’t do at home and savor our vacation destination. We’ve seen bears in Alaska, we’ve kayaked in estuaries in Florida, we’ve climbed rocks in Kentucky, we’ve hiked rainforests in Washington, we’ve searched for sand dollars in South Carolina. We also try to incorporate this adventurous spirit close to home. We’ve taken geocaching days with the kids near our home. It’s like a treasure hunt and the kids love it. We take nature hikes and see views we’d never see from our car or anywhere else. We go to local festivals, farms, and events. These are the mini-vacations that cost very little, but have a huge impact on our family.

Spending time as a family is incredibly important to me and going on vacations and mini-vacations has become one way we connect and enjoy time together. What are some vacations you’ve taken as a family? I’d love to hear about trips you’ve taken or stay-cations that have strengthened your family bond. Please share your ideas and comments below.

 
 
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Images are everywhere. We see them in print, on websites, social media, television, billboards. They communicate messages words cannot. They capture emotions differently than any other form of communication. They’re important! Very important. They can also be very expensive. Even the “free” ones.

So what can you do? You want to use an image, you don’t want to pay for it, or if you do, you don’t want to blow your entire advertising budget on one Facebook graphic. I get it, but there’s a lot to consider. 

You have a few options:
1.    Stock images
2.    Personal images
3.    Fair use images
4.    “Free” images

1. Stock images
Stock images break down into two main types: royalty-free and rights-managed.

Royalty-free images can be used in virtually any application, for as long as you choose, in as many different projects you choose, as long as you comply with the terms of the license agreement. You also get almost unlimited use. You may not use these images for free, but once a license fee is paid, you may use them without any additional fees. The initial license is necessary to protect you and your clients. Once you purchase the license to use that image, you may use it and no additional royalty fees are necessary.

With rights-managed images, you have restricted rights to an image. You have limitations on things such as the duration of use, where you use them geographically, what industry you’ll be using the image for, etc. These are established by your license agreement.

2. Personal images
Images you have photographed personally are your images. You own them. Whether they were taken with fancy, expensive, professional equipment or on your iPhone, they are YOUR images. According to several attorneys, you can own the copyright of your photos without registration, although, if you want to protect them from unauthorized use, you need to register them with the Copyright Office before you publish them. And when I say publish, I mean post on any form of Social Media, use in any sort of marketing, and generally put them in the public eye. Unfortunately, this will really only help you if you are willing to legally protest the use of your personal images. Although several social media sites claim that you must own the content you are posting. They do not take responsibility for unlawful use of your content, including images.

3. Fair use images
Fair use is not the same as free use. Fair use is a legal exception to the exclusive rights an owner has for his or her copyrighted work. According to Wikipedia, these are the factors to be considered when determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use:
  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors. (Wikipedia)

4. “Free” images
Several websites claim to offer “free” images for your use, personal mostly, but sometimes even commercial. These claims tend to be a little misleading. Sites like: stock.xchng and morguefile still come with a disclaimer like this one, from morguefile: “You are still responsible for the legal content of the images including model releases and property releases. These images are provided with free usage rights, it is similar to taking the image yourself, but you can not claim ownership of the image.” Some of these “free” image sites, like Pixabay state things like: “Pixabay cannot be held responsible for any copyright violations, and cannot guarantee the legality of the Images stored in its system. If you want to make sure, always contact the photographers. You use the site and the photos at your own risk!”

“At your own risk” still seems a little “risky” to me.

My suggestion: Pay for your images! The artists who have taken the time, energy, and professional steps to create wonderful, royalty-free images for commercial and non-commercial use deserve to be paid for their work. I prefer to use http://www.istockphoto.com/ and purchase credits for the images I use and plan according to a client's budget. I use images in blog articles, client websites, client marketing materials, books, etc. I feel confident about the photos I'm using and choosing for my clients. I read the licensing agreements and make sure I adhere to the rules stated clearly. That is the way I can absolutely, without a doubt, use images that are meant for me to use legally and fairly.

Do you have image sites you use frequently? Do you know without a doubt the images you use are legally attained and fairly used? Leave me a comment below and I’ll help steer you in the right direction so you don’t have to doubt that you’re using the perfect image.

 
 
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I work from home. Let me repeat that: I WORK from home. That comment is usually followed by responses like, “Wow, what a dream job!” or “Must be nice.” It is; except for when it’s not. Let me explain, I love the perks – like getting to wear my pajamas to work or going to the office without makeup. I savor the opportunities to run to the grocery kid-free while my friends are hustling to pick up a rotisserie chicken at 6pm with a starving toddler in tow. At the same time, I have pitfalls, like jumping on the computer at 8pm to finish a 15-minute task that, in reality, takes 3 hours.

Over all, working from home has been a huge blessing for our family. I’m able to attend mid-day school musicals and quietly turn off alarm clocks when we get the Snow Day text at 5:30am, not worried about where my kids will spend their day. Working from home has enabled me to finish my work day when the kids are off the bus so I can feed them a healthy snack, help with homework, and prepare dinner before our evening activities start. I’m also able to cut an hour commute time off my workday.

But like most wonderful things, there are some downfalls, too. I have to be extremely diligent with my time. If not for my iBloom Life & Business Planner, I would be lost. I’d be wasting time doing laundry, housework, and other things that are distractions while working from home. Fortunately, I allot my time similarly to how I would if I were in an office outside the home. My day begins at 8am, after getting the kids off to school and quiet time with God. From 8am until 4pm, I am working on projects, with a midday lunch break. At 4pm, I am usually able to greet my kiddos, feed them a snack, and get them started on homework.

Now, there are occasions where my work isn’t complete by 4pm or we have a work project that requires additional time. Those occasions are balanced by days when I choose to run midday errands, help at my kids’ schools, or have lunch with my husband or a friend. I value the flexibility of working from home, for precisely those reasons.

Obviously, the positives FAR outweigh the negatives to working from home, but it takes steadfast time management, family support, and diligence to maintain a healthy work/life balance. What are some ways you’re able to balance your work and personal life, whether you work from home or elsewhere? Share in the comments section below some of your favorite strategies or ways you could improve your time management skills.

 
 
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With computers so abundantly available, it’s easy for small business owners to create their own logos, flyers, websites, and marketing materials. In this computer-saturated world, who needs a professional graphic designer? Answer: YOU DO! Here are 7 reasons you need professional (design) help.

1. Quality. Don’t get me wrong, free software is great! Especially when you can color pretty frames around placed images and add 30 different fonts to one document, but is that really your area of expertise? I’d reason to believe it’s not. The quality of work you’ll receive from a design professional with $2,000 design-specific software will radically differ from the quality of work you’ll receive with the free Paint program you got with your new laptop.

2. Time. Chances are, you’re not a design professional (or you wouldn’t be reading this blog article.) Your passion and purpose lie elsewhere. That is where you should be investing your time. While you pay a design professional $550 to provide killer social media graphics, chances are you’ve been busy working in your sweet spot to create much more revenue.

3. Expertise. Design professionals who have spent 4 years of college (plus two summers) learning about typography, design & color fundamentals, image manipulation, illustration, web design and design software can do these things in their sleep. (Trust me.) That free software program that came with your new laptop may take you 3 hours just to learn how to rotate an image. Just as you are the expert in your field, it’s important that you use an expert in design to satisfy your marketing needs.

4. Uniqueness. Professional designers can make your brand stand out. They can create a unique logo that will represent you and enable your ideal customer to find you. Professional designers will offer custom design, not clip art that anyone else can use. It will ensure that you are uniquely placed in your niche and that’s what will make your brand stand out.

5. Consistency. It’s important to stay in contact with your ideal customer. You will hopefully reach them on multiple levels: printed material, your website, social media, direct sales opportunities, trade shows, webinars or online events. Each of those pieces must be branded so that your ideal customer knows it’s you that will be offering exactly what they need. Your branded materials must be consistent to get that message across. A design professional will ensure that there is consistency among all platforms.

6. New Ideas. Most design professionals are creative. We love looking at books, magazines, blogs, storefronts, etc. for inspiration. We see new ideas everywhere and can’t wait to apply them to our client’s designs. When you invest in a professional graphic designer, you’re investing in their new ideas that will enhance everything they produce for you.

7. Pride in Your Materials. When you’re excited about how your marketing materials look, you’re ready to show them off. You can’t wait to hand out that business card, or post a new Facebook tip. The more visible you make your work, the further you extend your reach. And that is how your ideal customer will find you.

Are you excited to show off your marketing materials or do you need a professional makeover? Share some of your biggest concerns about your current marketing materials and how I can help make them look their best.

 
 
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It’s almost Valentine’s Day and through the years, our Valentine’s Day celebrations have gotten smaller and smaller. So small now, in fact, that I try to keep my monumental display of affection for my husband under twenty bucks. I know, that’s pretty cheap, but the season of life we’re in right now doesn’t lend itself to extravagant date nights and exotic gift-giving. 

We know spending time together is important. It strengthens our bond, reminds us what we love about each other, and builds intimacy. But like a lot of other couples, it becomes discouraging when you spend $50 just on a babysitter. That doesn’t leave a lot extra for dinner and a movie, or gas to get there. That’s where the Dollar Date Jar comes in handy. It’s the ideal Valentine’s Day gift idea. 

Last year, I gave my husband a Dollar Date Jar. It was filled with ten Dollar Dates. Each date consisted of 2 rolled up dollar bills and a little date note. He picks a “date” out of the jar and we do whatever the paper says. Sometimes it’s just a milkshake and two straws, other times, we go to the Dollar Store to pick out something “special” for each other. Either way, it’s a time for us to celebrate together, it’s inexpensive, and sometimes, we can even complete them at home.

Of course, we do still have regular date nights, where I do my best at wearing heels, we get a sitter for the kids, and we stay out past 10pm, but the Dollar Date Jar has become something we both look forward to. 

You can start your own Dollar Date Jar using the PDF below. Print it, roll a couple dollar bills up with the “dates” wrapped around them, tie them up with a little ribbon and you have 10 or 20 activities to share with your partner. 

Download the PDF now to start your own Valentine’s Day tradition. Do you have ideas for other Dollar Dates? Please share them in the comment section.