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The real cost of going cheap on logo design

The real cost of going cheap on logo design

Logo design is the most crucial aspect of your brand. It’s a visual representation of who you are as a business, what you stand for, and what you promise to deliver to your customers; your logo sets the tone of what’s to come when customers engage your business. When it comes to branding, your logo is the foundation of your brand, so it needs to be right.

Unfortunately, there are too many examples of bad “DIY” logo design. Or new businesses using outsourcing to dodgy logo design folks, just to save a few bucks. Whilst there are plenty of aspects of business which don’t hurt to “DIY”, logo design isn’t one of them. Take a read why…

Your brand is your promise

Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells potential customers what to expect from you, your services and products, and it sets you apart from your competitors. Using a $10 logo you purchased online hardly screams “quality”, so be careful the message you’re trying to convey.

Logo design comes first

You need to understand that business cards, stationery, signage, your website, packaging and promotional materials. All of which feature your logo—are vehicles to communicate your brand and can only be developed once you have finalised your logo and brand strategy.

With logo design, you get what you pay for

Whilst there are now a number of low-cost options for startups and SMEs to develop a “logo”. Paying $10 to an online designer will most likely result in exactly that – a logo that looks like you paid $10 for it.

These types of logos are often just duplicates of other logos (which defeats the purpose of your logo setting you apart from competitors).

Why use a marketing agency for logo design

  • A marketing agency will consider the strategic elements of your branding campaign; not just create a pretty picture.
  • A reputable agency will create a unique logo that no one else has. They ensure you don’t infringe on copyrighted or trademarked materials, or, at the very least, you don’t have a similar logo to your competitor.
  • Marketing agencies will often provide a style guide for your brand. A style guide includes your brand fonts and colours, as well as guidelines on how to use the logo to ensure it always looks its best.
  • A good agency will provide all the logo files you need for future marketing work. This saves money and time when you’re looking for professional print or if you need to use particular files for a new design or for web projects. If your logo is designed in a Microsoft program or Canva, for example, many professional printers won’t accept these logos and will charge you to recreate to the correct file type.
  • They will get it right the first time. There’s nothing worse than designing your own logo, or having something that isn’t quite right, printing thousands of business cards, letterhead, setting up your Facebook page, getting uniforms and signwriting, only to reflect a few months later and realise it’s not doing the job. Get it right early and have a professional take care of the logo.

At Birdcage Marketing, we absolutely love putting together brand strategies and designing logos. In fact, we’ve been trusted by some of Australia’s best startup, small and medium sized businesses to make sure their branding is up to scratch. If you’re looking for help with making a statement, contact us today to learn more about our affordable logo design packages for startups and SMEs.

8 essential marketing steps you should have already taken

8 essential marketing steps you should have already taken

As a business owner, it can be difficult to know exactly what you should be doing to properly market your business. Sure you’ve heard you need an effective website design, to be on social media and the importance of email marketing. But with so many avenues, what are the essentials you need to focus on?

At Birdcage Marketing, our small business marketing consultants have sat down and worked out the top steps you need to take as a small business owner.

Our essential marketing steps:

1. Cut-through branding

This doesn’t just mean a logo (although that’s the very least!). It means developing key messages which position you as a brand. There might be hundreds of plumbers or accountants all vying for the same target market, so you need to be able to articulate what sets you apart.

2. Invest in printed stationery

A business card, letterhead and with comps slips. These are essential printed collateral your business needs to have. Whilst most marketing is now digital, there’s just something about tangible, printed goods that leave a lasting impression.

3. Really good website design

These days there are so many options to suit every budget, there’s no excuse for your business not to have at least a 1-page website. Even if you only have a modest website, it still needs to be modern, easy to navigate and present a professional image. Remember, your website is your 24/7 salesperson and no one likes a badly put together dude that doesn’t make any sense.

4. Install Google Analytics

Now that you have a good website design, you need to be able to track how many people are visiting, what pages they’re looking at, and for how long. Google Analytics is a free service from Google and will tell you more than you ever thought you wanted to know about the traffic on your site.

5. Have a centralised email list

The good news is that if you’re a services business you most likely already collect email addresses as part of quoting and invoicing. That’s a great start. If you’re a bricks-and-mortar retail store you need to make sure you’re collecting email addresses at the checkout. You also need to go one step further and collect all this data in one centralised location. There are hundreds of CRM programs available from low-cost to premium and feature a range of options for you to track customers and their purchase behaviours.

6. Regularly check your online reviews

You might think that because you never signed up for a Google My Business or Facebook page that your business isn’t in the online space. You’re wrong. Customers can still review your business online even without you creating a profile. Ensure you’re regularly Googling your business to keep on top of any negative reviews. There are a few Best Practice rules you can use to handle bad reviews, but the key is to address them.

7. Get social

Almost every type of business would benefit from being on social media. Even if you’re not overly active on your account, Facebook Groups are a great avenue for online networking and connecting with other people in your industry. There’s a lot to be learnt from collaborating with similar businesses that might be servicing another market (i.e. you’re a builder in Mackay but you’re chatting with a builder in Newcastle with some marketing techniques they’ve had success with).

8. Facebook Advertising

It’s the paid advertising platform of the moment. It’s affordable, effective and targeted. We absolutely love it and think (given the right strategy implementation) you would too.

Building (and keeping) a valuable email database

Building (and keeping) a valuable email database

As a digital marketing consultant, our focus for the month is email marketing. We’ve explored why micro, small and medium sized businesses need it, now we’re going to look at the fundamental steps involved in building and keeping a successful email database. 

Step 1: Gather contacts for your email database

The very first step of successful email marketing is to create a database of contacts to send your material. 

Whilst it’s always a failsafe to include a newsletter signup form on your site, the reality is you’re not going to get hoards of contacts entering their email address simply to “stay up to date” unless they really love your brand. 

The key is to entice contacts to share their email address. Here are some examples of “enticing” a new contact:

  • offer a free eBook (or similar material) for download

  • ask contacts for their email to download a price list or special offer

  • offer a multi-part email series on a topic of interest

  • provide a “pre-release” update for a new product or service

  • run a competition

  • require email submission through the purchase process (if you sell a product online)

These are just some ideas which may or may not work based on your industry and brand.  

Step 2: Ask for permission 

It’s not enough to just ask for a customer for their email address to add to your database. You should always check that it’s ok to send future communications. If a person is interested enough in what you’re offering to provide their email address in the first place, they’re likely to be happy to hear from you again. Ensure you include an “opt in” tick box in your online form.  

Step 3: Send a confirmation email and encourage “adding to address book

Once a subscriber submits their details, send them a confirmation email immediately and encourage them to add you to their address book. This achieves two things:

  • Instant interaction with a customer who has just engaged with your brand

  • Helps your future emails avoid the junk folder

If you have a decent signup form on your site, you should be able to set up automated confirmation emails. 

Step 4: Do what you say and say what you do

Like most things in successful business, you need to manage client expectations. This is something we focus on a lot in our business to ensure our clients are happy clients. And it’s the same with email marketing.  

If you’ve promised a weekly email containing “xyz” content, you better only send one email a week with that valuable content. Otherwise, you’ll be getting a lot of unsubscribes if you send an email every two days containing nothing but sales pitches. 

Remember, email marketing is about building relationships with customers by offering valuable content, not just another platform for you to flog your product.

if you want to hit fast-forward and get us to manage an effective email campaign that will convert customers without the fuss, contact us directly now. 

Small business marketing 2017: time to grow

Small business marketing 2017: time to grow

With the beginning of the year upon us, is it time to grow your small business marketing? It’s always a good idea to take stock of your small business goals at the start of a new year. If one of your goals is indeed “growth” and for many businesses (including Birdcage Marketing) chances are it is then now is the time to act. To ensure we do in fact grow and meet our small business marketing goals we have targets – gross earning as well as a client number target in mind too.

Speaking to a number of clients, it’s evident that growth is a common theme in business marketing in 2017 for micro, small and medium sized businesses. It seems the time of start up, struggling through (and figuring out what the hell you’re doing) has passed for many.

Strategise how to grow your small business marketing

If you’re looking to grow your small business marketing in 2017 it’s important you don’t just throw money at “marketing”. You need to be strategic about how you’re allocating your budget to maximise your return on investment (ROI). 

If you feel like your small business is ready to up the ante, take a look at our top small business marketing 2017 tips below and make sure you’re ticking all the boxes. Even if you’re only at the start of your entrepreneurial journey, it’s a good idea to start right, so the following will also be relevant to you.

A proper logo

You know that logo your cousin’s daughter who’s still in uni made up for you, it’s probably not cutting it. Sure it worked for your start-up phase when you had a hundred-and-one other things to get going. But if you’re serious about creating a lasting brand image you need to invest in a strategic logo designed by a professional.

Many business owners, unfortunately, underestimate the value of good branding. They figure the work will just speak for itself. And whilst your product or service is at the core of good business, you need to be putting your best foot forward when it comes to making a good impression. 

That also goes for making sure your stationery suite is up to scratch. There’s no use having great branding if you’re still using last years’ letterhead and a DIY business card. 

A website which actually attracts clients

After you’ve got your logo sorted it’s important that your website is built to engage new customers and drive them to take action. We’ve mentioned previously that a website is your 24/7 salesman. It’s often the first impression a new customer will get so it needs to look good. It also needs to convert the “browsers” to actually get in touch with you. That means, strategic copy, easy to navigate structure and a few solid contact forms. 

An SEO strategy

Our favourite! If you do one thing for your business this year it’s to invest in getting your website found on Google. (Check out our last post about the benefits of SEO for small and medium sized businesses.)

Many SME’s are afraid of SEO as they don’t quite understand it and keep receiving junk emails for a $199 per month service from offshore suppliers. SEO isn’t as scary as you think, and if you use a quality local, Australian SEO supplier who provides monthly reports and keeps you updated on their progress you know you’re getting value for money.

SEO is basically the coming together of many small (and large) factors to get your site on the first page of Google. And many suppliers are only offering a small portion of that picture and getting a small portion of results. 

Many of our SEO packages include a brand new site design (like the one we recently did for Progressive Pest Management), as well as regular blogging and social media management etc. on top of our strategic on-page and off-page optimisation. 

A regular email newsletter

This is probably something you’ve thought of many times, but don’t know how to get it going (or keep it going). But the fact is; REGULAR EMAIL MARKETING CONVERTS CUSTOMERS. If someone has signed up for your newsletter through your website, or has worked with you in the past, they are always easier to convert than unengaged audiences. Just take a look at these stats:

  • Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter

  • 72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media

  • 90% of email gets delivered to the intended recipient’s inbox, whereas only 2% of your Facebook fans see your posts in their News Feed.

  • Email marketing has an average ROI of 3800%
    source: Campaign Monitor

And the best part of email marketing is that it is extremely low cost to set up and maintain (compared to traditional marketing methods such as ad placements etc.). Birdcage Marketing can set up an email template starting at a one off fee of just $540 in an email platform (such as Mailchimp) and provide full training so you can send out the info yourself each week/month. Compare that to a half-page print ad in a local publication for around $900 each month where you won’t receive any engagement stats or reporting. 

To learn more about how you can grow your small business marketing in 2017, or if you need some ideas to get you started, connect with us! We’re always happy to have a quick chat over the phone to nut out some basic ideas (obligation free, of course!). 

Wishing everyone a prosperous 2017!

Why should small & medium sized businesses invest in SEO?

Why should small & medium sized businesses invest in SEO?

Search engine marketing directly focuses on making your small business easier to find by customers with SEO (search engine optimisation). SEO is the wonderful and powerful process of increasing your site position and page rank organically through correct set up of your site, and using quality backlinks, effective keywords and building an online community. It is, by and large, the most effective way to increase traffic to your website. 

Clever businesses invest thousands of dollars each month into landing and keeping the top spot. And with only 9% of searchers scrolling past page one, you can see why. So why should your small or medium sized business invest in SEO? 

Embrace small business SEO and generate the leads you actually want

Like with many digital marketing techniques, a major benefit of SEO is the ability to target the right people. Unlike a TV commercial which costs tens of thousands and is screened to a blanket viewership which may-or-may-not contain your target customers. SEO relies on target market profiling to ensure the right keywords are being maximised for the right customers. For example, if you’re on page one of Google for “Ladies Hairdresser Mosman”, you’re highly visible to someone who is actively searching for a ladies hairdresser in Mosman. This compares with paying for a print ad in a beauty magazine where you’re paying for not just your target market, but their entire readership. 

Increased brand exposure

The keyword “Builder Sydney” has on average 260 searches per month on Google. That means, if you’re not on page one for that keyword, you’re losing up to 236 new leads every month (with 91% of searchers not going past page one). Consider Google a digital billboard – and if you’re not up there, you might very well not exist to some customers. 

Build the credibility of your brand

In business, appearances matter. And sometimes this is as simple as where your website is ranked on Google. Many customers are quick to dismiss a business which doesn’t sit in the top spots on Google. Remember, marketing is all about building trust – and if Google doesn’t consider your website to be “trustworthy”, then why should a potential client? 

Safeguard yourself for the future

Many of our small business SEO clients aren’t just in the “growth” stage of business – rather, they are established organisations with a fantastic offline reputation and a booming customer base. So what would drive these businesses to invest heavily in Search Engine Marketing? As mentioned previously, SEO isn’t a “quick fix”. It’s not an ad in a magazine or a discount flyer in the letterbox. As any savvy business owner knows, there are always ups and downs and it’s important to protect yourself during the ups, so you can weather the downs. SEO is a long term solution which protects your small business by being your 24/7 salesperson. When the customer base shrinks, ensure your small business is at the top of the list (Google’s list, that is).

If you’re considering investing in SEO services for your business, contact Birdcage Marketing to discuss your options. With our basic local SEO packages starting from just $480 a month and offering comprehensive packages for more competitive markets, we have an option to suit your business requirements.