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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

WHAT!?!?! It's not ALL about the internet?

Well... no... it's not. I mean - the net hasn't been around since the beginning of time has it? Just because the rest of the world is on the Internet promoting their brands, it doesn’t mean they aren’t (or shouldn’t be) continuing to utilize traditional offline marketing strategies!

Before there was Face Book - there were signs! Before there was Twitter, there was Word of Mouth! Before there was Linked In... well, you get the idea. Point being, even though the internet offers companies a whole new world when it comes to advertising, it is important to remember the basics. Believe me, I use the internet for advertising all the time. It just offers too many venues for me to ignore. But where I might find it to be the best thing since sliced bread, other small business owners might actually feel a bit out of their depth or that it might be a bit more work than they can actually commit to. Instead, they need to analyze, evaluate and strategize then determine if the net is the way they want to go for additional advertising and marketing.

First, small business owners need to take stock of what their current marketing initiatives are and analyze their success rate. If your current marketing stratagey is bringing in credible leads, keep doing it, even if it is not on the Internet.
In addition, you should be analyzing your competition. What are they doing that is working? You want to do what they are doing... just do it better!

Next, you need to look at all your current marketing efforts and evaluate how effective they are in terms of return on investment. If you are currently spending a fortune in SEO but not seeing any scalable results, then that is not giving you a return on your investment! You're selling your product for only Pennies more than you paid after that promotion? well... that might not be considered a great return - but if it broadened your customer base and brought in more sales, then it had scalable results. Any effective marketing is a return on your investment and should be included as part of your overall integrated marketing strategy.

The last step is to strategize or plan. This is not a final step because your marketing strategy should be dynamic in order to remain competitive and keep up with the ever-changing market and latest technologies. Without a clear and concise marketing plan, the small business owner can literally get lost on the Internet scrambling to try to find out where to put the most effort.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Are Banners and Yard Signs Right for Your Business?

Outdoor advertising with banners and yard signs

There are a number of outdoor advertising venues that numerous businesses and other organizations take advantage of in order to boost their business. The two most commonly used venues are banners and yard signs, and for all practical purposes, they are two of the most cost-effective methods as well. Businesses and other organizations will use banners and yard signs to advertise and/or promote a number of things from products and services to charitable or sporting events.

The advantages of using banners and yard signs

If you’re looking for the most cost-effective or low cost advertising, banners and yard signs definitely have the edge over other forms of outdoor advertising. So why is it that banners and yard signs are some of the most effective forms of advertising? There are a number of reasons but the following are still the most common reasons for this:

Banners and yard signs are like mini-billboards and are the most visible types of fixed outdoor advertising other than roadside billboards. Where marketing campaigns are concerned, banners and yard signs can be customized to promote a number of different things such as:

o The announcement of an upcoming event
o Promoting your business and promoting brand awareness
o Advertising your products or services
o Targeting certain demographic audiences

These are the four most common marketing strategies that banners and yard signs are used for, but there are other uses as well. This sheds light on the two key reasons why banners and yard signs are used by so many businesses and organizations and are such an effective form of advertising – the FUNCTIONALITY and VERSATILITY aspects.

Three reasons for using banners and yard signs to promote your business

Advertising is a way for you to promote your business, specific brand names, your products, or your services. They also inform the consumer of the benefits of using them as well as how your business, brand names, products, or services will solve their problems. Any time a consumer gets connected with your products and/or services and the purchasing of these fixes or solves a problem for that consumer; your advertising is considered effective.

The biggest advantage to using banners and yard signs for outdoor advertising is that they accomplish three important things:

They deliver your message to the consumer – the message is that your products or services will help fix or solve a problem for the consumer.

They provide directional information – this is the “what, where, and when” aspect of advertising with banners and yard signs in that you are telling the consumer what you are offering, where you are offering it, and when it is being offered. Examples of directional information are direction arrows, phone numbers, street addresses, and/or websites.

They make a call to action – key words such as BUY NOW or CALL US TODAY are calls to action in that you are telling the consumer what to do. Keep in mind that the call to action is the primary reason for using banners and yard signs as part of your marketing strategy.

Gwynn~ content submitted by Noelle Noble

Monday, January 18, 2010

Campaign Time!

There are few political campaign tools that help win votes and build name recognition like yard signs. Whether you're running a smaller local political race or you're a candidate for office in a larger statewide or federal election, yard signs should be an integral part of your campaign plan.

Free yard signs simply don't exist (unless you want to make them yourself, which isn't really advisable). With a little research, though, you can find companies that supply cheap campaign yard signs online that are both professional-looking and effective.

Remember: there are countless printing companies that can provide campaign materials, so it's best to do your homework before settling on a supplier. Production costs, yard sign quality, shipping costs and customer service should all be factors in which business you choose to buy from. Prices are going to vary widely between one company and another, and there are always specials and discounts on price that might be available at different times of the year.

Political signs can play an important role in any election or issue-based campaign. Signs can be used to raise public awareness about a candidate or a cause as well as demonstrate popular support. As such, designing an effective sign is a vital part of any political visibility campaign. This article lists a number of best practices for designing effective political signs.

Not all signs are effective, and some could just as well have spared the candidate his/her money and committee's time. Though designing an effective sign is not rocket science, failure to pay attention to some basics could fail to get your campaign "off the ground".

In order to get the most for your money take a few extra moments to consider the design of the sign before you start getting quotes. Below are 7 tips to creating a successful campaign sign:

1. If you have a shorter name (such as Beth, Ben, etc.) you would want to use a PORTRAIT layout. But if you have a longer name (such as Schwarzenegger :-P) you would need to consider using a LANDSCAPE layout. Sign printers can accommodate both - a PORTRAIT layout for short names, and a LANDSCAPE layout for longer names. Both orientations present the same print area at no penalty in cost or weatherability. Now, if you happen to be a Mr. or Mrs. Smith, or have an otherwise common last name, it would be best to include your first name (JOHN or JANE) in your design to distinguish and avoid confusion with other Smiths who may (or may not be) running.

2. Including the official position you intend to hold after the election is important. Make certain it shows as a recognizable position, and as it would appear on the ballot. Keep your information short and sweet by eliminating extraneous information and specific numbers. Use abbreviations sparingly - preferably not at all. Font size for the office should be equal to surname size.

3. Always choose a dark (high value) color (e.g. black, navy blue, burgundy, red, forest green) for your signs. Never use a low value color (light color) with a low value color. Similarly never use a high value color with another high value color. For example: black lettering on a navy blue background will not show - but white lettering on a red background will stand out well. Lettering and background must always be of contrasting value in order to be readable.

4. Decide if you want one color or two color signs. There has never been a one color design that cannot be improved by adding a second color. A one color sign can say and be everything you need - but using a two color sign gives contrast and helps to draw the eye. Though I would recommend using a 2 color sign, it is important that you keep in mind that two color signs require two films, two screens, two setups, two runs and two cleanups. This costs money. So for a two color sign always expect to pay more per sign.

5. To slogan or not to slogan? A slogan is great for signs placed at stop lights or stop signs, but most drivers are zipping by at 30 plus miles per hour with little time to read what your signs say. If your going to use a slogan, the best way to ensure it gets attention is to keep it simple, short, and to the point.

6. In this age of iconography, most people recognize the appropriateness and symbolism of a school house (SCHOOL BOARD) or a five- pointed star (SHERIFF), a balance scale (JUDGE), a donkey (DEMOCRAT), an elephant (REPUBLICAN), a statue of liberty (LIBERTARIAN), etc. To save precious "word space" on your signs, consider using some iconography!

7. Last, but most important, don't forget your "Authorized and Paid for…" or whatever the exact wording and size and position is as dictated by your local and/or state election boards. It is the candidate's responsibility to find out the regulations and make this known to the printer.
If you do not add this disclaimer, you can be fined.

Hopefully these suggestions will aid in your campaign sign creation. For a wider range of ideas, it is helpful to consult galleries on a screen printer's web site. If you have questions, do not hesitate to consult directly with your screen printer - they have the expertise to help.For quick pricing and design options, check out these links!

Cheap Yard Signs for Political Campaigns
Cheap Magnetic Car Signs for Political Campaigns

H-wires for Political Campaign Signs


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stickin' it to the HOA!

As we all know, the HOA levies a ton of restrictions against those who purchase a home in their "territory". Among those restrictions is the fact that signage is not allowed in any form. Even yard sale signs, not properly removed within 2 days, can get a homeowner fined. For those who like to show their neighbors and the rest of the world where their political loyalties lay, these restrictions have, in essence, violated their right to free speech by disallowing signage in windows or yards. For those who dare to flout the restrictions by putting out their signs anyway, there are high penalties along with the removal of the signs. The HOA's strict policies have been rather hard to fight in past, but in Indianapolis the HOA might actually have to swallow their restrictions for at least 30 days during election.

A proposal in the Indiana Statehouse would stop homeowners' associations from banning political signs in members' yards and windows near elections. The Senate Election Committee voted 6-1 Monday for the bill to allow people to put up signs starting 30 days before an election regardless of association rules. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.

Supporters say the bill protects political free speech. However, anything that can be supported can also be railed against. Opponents say people who join homeowners associations know the rules before they buy property. They say restrictions on signs are often imposed to make sure an area looks nice. And while I tend to agree that there should be imposed limits (who wants to go every few feet seeing signs like flowers littering the streets?), I also feel that most people would be grateful enough to have the opportunity to show their political support that most will abide properly and remove their signs after the 30 day period has passed.

While Indianapolis is hundreds of miles from where this writer currently abides, it is hoped that if the bill can be passed there, it might make its way elsewhere. And even if this can only be seen as a small step in the right direction - I think we can all agree that finally stickin' it to the HOA makes even baby steps seem like a huge accomplishment!


Monday, January 11, 2010

Sign Ordinance Changes!

San Jose City Council to review proposed changes to city's sign ordinance! Not only San Jose either :-) We will be seeing changes in Towanda Borough, Pennsylvania as well!

On Tuesday, for the first time since 1992, the City Council will consider a comprehensive update of San Jose's sign ordinance, including so-called "supergraphic" signs, temporary signs on blank walls in downtown San Jose. The council also will review seven other sign modification recommendations to the ordinance made by the city's planning staff, which has sought the input of businesses and residents in several public meetings over the last year. The council also will consider whether to retain the city's existing billboard ban for both static and electronic/digital billboards; whether to allow freeway signs with a digital/electronic component for large shopping centers; and whether to modify rules for electronic/digital signs for large ground floor spaces in downtown San Jose, among other proposals.

To find out more about the ordinance changes in San Jose, you can contact Tracy Seipel at 408 275-0140 or e-mail:

One down, and one to go!

Towanda Borough, Pennsylvania now allows neon signs in store windows!
The Towanda Borough Council has amended its sign ordinance to allow internally-illuminated signs in showroom windows. However, the signs cannot flash and the words of the sign cannot "move" across the sign. Also, the signs cannot be more than 25 square feet, according to the amendment to the ordinance that was passed.

To find out more about the ordinance changes in Towanda Borough, Pennsylvania, you can contact James Loewenstein at (570) 265-1633; or e-mail:

Thanks for reading! Gwynn~
Information for this article was taken from Mercury News and The Daily Review

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Long time no write!

Well my friends, it has been several months since my last post here and I have missed all of my readers! To make a long story short, time constraints took me away from the words, thoughts, and readers that always made my day brighter. Time constraints are still here but not as pressing as they used to be! Therefore, I am going to do my best to post at least once a week.

Today's topic? Hmmmm..... let's see..... Oh! I know :-) SIGNS! LOL

It is the new year and I say we start it with a laugh, so here is a glimpse of a few of the funnier signs and banners from last year and a few of the funnier signs printed at Super Cheap Signs. Hope you guys get as good a laugh as I did! As always, if you need something to announce that special occasion, business, or just need some cheap advertising, please check out Super Cheap Signs! They now have business cards and door hangers too! Now.... on to the laughter :-)


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