Monthly Archives: December 2014

Logo Design

Logo Design can be a difficult project to complete when starting a company or rebranding a current organization.  And to be honest that’s OK.  After your businesses name, a logo is one of the first items potential customers will see and remember. I f you aren’t happy with your logo and don’t like the way it looks on your website or other marketing materials what do you think consumers will think about it?

Depending on how many cooks you have in the kitchen the process can take a long time and have many revisions.  The first thing to think about when starting your Logo Design is to plain for the length of time you have.  Are you pitching a startup to potential investors at the end of the week and need something ASAP or are you looking at rebranding your company and have a flexible time table.  Don’t set yourself up for frustration and set a time table and share with everyone involved from final decision makers to graphic artists.

As with most creative processes the more information you can provide to the artist the better.  Don’t be afraid to share all your notes, sketches, and other logos you and your team like to have a starting point.  Once you have your starting point let the artists begin.  This process is hard to explain but I came across the video below that has a wonderful artist featured and he does a great job of taking the viewer through his process of creating a logo design.

A final note about Logo Design, Please work with a graphic designer or artist you trust. Get a deal in writing and know what to expect.  Allied Effect has worked with many clients that need to have their logo designs “re-created” in order to have the correct digital file manufactured to keep their brand correct across all advertising mediums.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get input from multiple sources.  The final product will be your logo for many years to come and every logo design professional wants you to be happy with the final version.

Aaron Draplin Takes On a Logo Design Challenge from on Vimeo.

Website Hosting Fees

How much do you spend on website hosting fees a year?  If you don’t know, NOW is the time to check the Amex statement and learn.  Everyone company has, or should have, a website so why is it that the majority of business owners I meet with are still paying too much to host their company’s website?  It may seem like a small budgeting item to miss but by paying too much for your website you are missing out on allocating those dollars towards other marketing avenues.  Many businesses find great ROI on online advertising none I know of are getting a better return from their website by simply paying more a year to have it hosted.

Website hosting has turned into a more boring version but just as important of the phone bill.  Once the average business gets setup with a plan and is used to paying the bill they will continue to until someone has the time to price check and let’s be honest that can be a while.  Allied Effect has enabled many clients to turn a yearly marketing budget of $0 into $1,000s just by helping them price check the current services they are paying for and finding ways to cut those costs.

If it has been a few years since you have checked into what you’re paying your web designer, website hosting company, e-mail provider, media buyer, etc. contact Allied Effect to setup a consultation and we’ll go through  your marketing costs and help lower them where possible.

Free Marketing

I know this topic might sound gimmicky but I have noticed more and more of my clients are not taking advantage of the free marketing available to them.  Now here is the caveat, just because the marketing is “free” doesn’t mean you don’t have to put some work in.  The great thing about the topics I’m talking about today is they can be done on the couch while watching a baseball game in the evening.  You are still putting in some hours but you’ll see returns, I promise.

Many people will read this post and say this is already common knowledge, etc. etc. but listen not everyone is in the marketing industry this isn’t common for everyone and really it shouldn’t be.  I am a true believer in doing what you’re good at.  If that means engineering the latest technology keep your focus on your target and let someone who specializes in marketing focus on sharing your new product, idea, or service.  The problem is when most people start off they need to do everything themselves and that’s who I want to help.  OK, Let’s get started, I’m going to focus one three main sections of free marketing; directories, SEO, and information.

Directories can mean a lot of different things and because it’s 2014 and every business should have a well throughout and productive website we’ll focus on online directories.  Take the time to put your business information out into the world as much as possible.  From your universities alumni directory, social media sites (They all have an “about us” section that is a wonderful place to marketing who you are and what you do), local business listings, and don’t forget about search engines.  Google, Bing, Yahoo, they all have the same job to get customers the results they are looking for.  They provide multiple ways to provide information about your business to them free of charge, use it.  I’m going to go one step further with the search engine specific listings; Don’t forget about and more than that embrace the Map listings.  Without going into too much detail here more and more search engine responses are being localized and having your business on their map will be hugely beneficial.  Business listings across the board from search engines to local town websites will help you with your first step to make sure people can find you and find the correct information about your business.

SEO can be a delicate, confusing, and frustrating adventure but take a step back and rethink what you are trying to do.  At the most basic level you are making sure that your website is focused, easy to navigate, and both search engines as well as people know what your business is about.  Sometimes, as the saying goes, you have to go back before you can go forward.  Before you start going crazy with paying for SEO services and spending money on online keyword advertising take a look at your website, compartmentalize your different thoughts, and make sure you are doing as much for “free” before you start tapping into that marketing budget.

Last but not least, information.  It starts with talking to your current customers.  Don’t be afraid to ask people how they found you.  Most people want to share things about themselves so ask them.  You found us online, great, What were you searching for?  You saw our listing on (blank), excellent, I’m on their listing because…  You get the idea information is power and the more you can collect the better.  What about your website are you using analytic programs because Google, among others, has great free programs that can help you know who is using your website, how they are using it, and how they got there.  Putting all this information together is going to give you a much better plan and direction in all your marketing avenues.

I understand this has been a generalization and a very high level of only a few topics but after talking to business after business that believes they need to spend a lot of money on advertising to see results let’s all take a step back and remember the basics.  There are many blog posts and articles across the internet that will go into all these subject and more in a very detailed manner.  Read up, learn as much as you can, and of course if you want to bounce ideas off someone talk to someone in the marketing field.  Spend the time to get second opinions and have someone from the outside help make your plan and look over your information.  Taking some time to slow down and take advantage of the free marketing because there might not be a free lunch but if you are willing to do some of the work your self and have someone help guide you the returns will be great and like anything you do yourself very rewarding.