What's on the iPod: Today's Cross by Frightened Rabbit
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Yesterday was the first day since the time change that I felt like I was finally on the same clock as the rest of the Eastern seaboard. I finished a client project draft and contracted with another client for another, similar project. It's been rather nice that my marketing from last year is still paying off -- both of these clients are ones I spoke to a year ago (almost to the day). Thought for the day: Keep marketing; you never know who's paying attention.
Who isn't paying attention is the company I'd ordered my business cards through last year. It was a new company, and I was reluctant as I really like the service with Vistaprint. However, I was awarded a free order in a blog contest (thank you, Kathy Kehrli!), so I went with them. And I found the perfect fit for who I am and what I'm projecting in their templates -- so much so I'd created brochures to match.
I went back to reorder them. What's this? Gone are the templates. Gone are the design elements that I fell in love with. More importantly, gone is my ability to get the exact same product and design. That, friends, ticks me off.
The company must have gone through a restructuring of their business. They needed to because it took me forever (three weeks is forever with a simple print job) to get the proofs to where I wanted them. Each change took days to approve. I swore if they hadn't had the very thing I was looking for, I'd have skipped it altogether.
So now I'm about to spend money -- more money than I'd intended -- on new business cards. To me, it's important to keep my branding the same since I'd just changed it last year. But spending money on your marketing is, in my opinion, a good thing. Spending it wisely...ah, there's the trick, isn't it?
Here are some splurges that may be worth your while:
Logos. A logo sets the tone for your site and your brand. I bartered my writing for my current website logo. While I've long outgrown it, I haven't yet developed a plan for moving on to another image. I want something more along the lines of my business cards, but only if I can get everything cohesive. It may mean going to one provider, and I'm prepared to pay for that.
Unity. If your website is pink and green and your business cards are black and silver, there's a disconnect. While you may get away with being inconsistent, you may find yourself struggling to convince clients that you're worth what you're charging. Part of that could be the perception that you're not serious about your business. Try to tie your marketing pieces and website image together. Pay for that one consistent look.
Travel. No, it's not necessary that you meet with clients or attend trade shows or even go to networking events. But oh,what a boost in your activity and client base you'll see if you put forth that effort! I'm about to bite the bullet and book my flight to LA. It's going to cost me for the ticket and for the hotel. Most of the meals -- if not all of them -- will be free. If clients don't pick up the tab, the conference has plenty of free food floating about. Don't let the perceived costs get in the way of your meeting clients and showing them you participate in their business areas.
Equipment. That includes software and hardware. I couldn't do this job without Office applications. I could maybe get by without Publisher, but why should I attempt to? Likewise printers that offer top-quality printing and computers that have the latest processors. Invest in your ability to earn.
How do you spend your marketing dollars? What are your essentials? What do you have no problem plunking down money for?