Blog Archive

I’m what I’d like to think of as a successful small business owner, I need to remain connected to all of the goings on in my physical office, even when I’m on the road. That goes the same for any remote staff or business partners (like freelancers) that I work with. It’s vital for me to have my finger on the pulse of what’s going on in my physical office with an arsenal of mobile tools to stay connected, even when I’m collaborating with a graphic designer half way around the world or conducting business from a coffee shop.

That’s why I highly recommend the following four mobile apps for entrepreneurs who want to successfully manage their small business on the fly.

Dropbox Logo

1. Dropbox (Free for iPhone)

The Dropbox app offers the most convenient and secure method for storing, distributing, editing, and sharing documents across the cloud. I honestly don’t know what I did before Dropbox. The cloud-based system allows me to upload all of my secure client briefs, meeting notes, presentations, images, financial spreadsheets, and more, and have the peace of mind that when I save them to Dropbox, I can share them securely among my team members, business partners and even share them securely with specific clients (i.e., if I pitch them a story) without worry. I also use Dropbox when I’m meeting clients on the road. I know that regardless of what computer or mobile device that I’m using, I can access whatever document I need in the Dropbox cloud with just a few clicks!

Skype Logo

2. Skype (Free for Android, iPhone, iPad & BlackBerry)

I work remotely with many of my clients, and to be honest, without Skype it would be difficult to keep tabs on their progress and explain more complicated tasks over a distance. I also use Skype to meet and communicate for free with clients based half way around the globe. Skype’s offers almost every communication feature for free, including messaging, virtual meetings, video conferencing for team collaboration, and video calls, right from any desktop, laptop computer, tablet, or mobile phone. With this tool you’ll never worry about a disconnect between remote staff, clients, and business partners, or freelancers, regardless of where you are in the world!

Intuit GoPayment Logo

3. Intuit Go-Payment (Free set up for iPhone, iPad & Android)

This merchant account by Intuit.com is a free credit card reader, one that you can use on the fly to collect credit card payments on your iPhone, iPad, or Android. All you do is swipe the client’s card, get them to sign in the box right on your mobile phone screen and the payment is instantly processed, you can even print them out a credit card receipt right on the spot or text them an e-receipt. Intuit Go-Payment is an invaluable tool for small business owners who sell on a mobile basis. Plus, if you have a team of salespeople, this tool will let you add up to 50 users, so your staff can accept payments on the road as well.

Evernote Logo

4. Evernote (Free for iPhone)

I was riding public transit last week when I thought of the most brilliant headline for an article I’m writing for a corporate client. I’m not going to share it with you, but I will tell you that even though I didn’t have a pen or paper handy, I wasn’t worried in the least. Why? Because I had Evernote on my mobile phone, an app that lets me take what I like to call audio or virtual text sticky notes to capture my ideas as they come to me in a wave of caffeinated brilliance. All I did on that bus was launch my Evernote app, and quickly record a voice capture of my idea. You can do the same when clients book meetings with you on the fly. Simply jot down reminder or to-do in text or audio form so that you don’t lose track of it. And, once you need to access all of your notes and ideas, you can be sure that the sync feature in Evernote has already stored them across all of your mobile devices: mobile phone, laptop, desktop, tablet, etc.

About The Author

Pearlie M Davis

Pearlie Davis is a staff writer for Andgeeks, a popular site that provides cell phone news, commentary, and reviews on popular mobile devices and industry news.

If you enjoy this article, you’ll want to check out these others:

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LinkedIn: The professional playground for professional connections


How to successfully localize your business

The greatest compliment you can pay us is the referral of graphic and web design projects. 

Will Sherwood
CEO/Chief Creative Officer
The Sherwood Group: Graphic Design & Website Design
Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, California, USA

Professional links:
Graphic Design/Web Design | Color Printing | YouTube Introduction

Social media links:
LinkedIn | Facebook Design | Facebook Printing | Twitter

Comments: Please note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Only comment if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

You’re on Facebook to communicate with your customers and increase social interaction. Are you unknowingly falling victim to some of the most common Facebook blunders business owners make that actually send customers away?

Below are 10 Facebook mistakes to avoid while marketing your business:

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1. Using a personal profile instead of a business page:

We’ve all seen it. You’re eating at a new restaurant, enjoying it, and you want to go to Facebook to like the page and make it “Facebook official”. Only, when you finally get there you realize the business has set up a personal profile instead of a business page, leaving you unable to Like it or interact with it at all.

Ouch. Nothing screams “I have no idea what I’m doing” like assigning your business to the wrong category.

As a business owner it’s important you create an official Business page for your brand, not a personal profile. This allows you to take advantage of much richer functionality like fan likes, checks ins, deals, full analytics, and better advertising options. It also ensures that Facebook can’t take your page away from you for assigning it to the wrong category. That can happen. If you’re currently using a personal profile instead of a business page, go migrate it.

2. Not filling out your profile completely:

Facebook gives you a place on the Web to advertise your business and help your customers learn more about you. To aid in this goal, you need to completely fill out your business page so that users can find you and they see that you are invested in this community. When completing your profile take time to include your hours, phone number, your site URL, and all other relevant company information so that a user can find the information they’re looking for. Don’t make them hunt for it. Because they won’t.

Businessman with a Boom Box

3. Using Facebook as a broadcast medium:

Using Facebook to blast out your latest press release or post a link to your latest blog with absolutely no conversation? Yeah, you’re using Facebook wrong. While all social platforms are intended to be social, Facebook is perhaps the most social of them all. In order to see any benefit, brands must put a focus on creating conversation and giving users a reason to want to engage with their brand. In fact, too many posts where users don’t engage and Facebook will simply stop showing your updates in their News Feed altogether. That’s how seriously Facebook takes user engagement. You want to take it equally as seriously.

4. Ignoring comments:

Knowing that Facebook is all about engagement, it’s a bad idea to ignore fan comments on your wall or messages users may choose to send you privately. Of course, it’s not because of Facebook’s algorithms that you shouldn’t ignore your customers, it’s because they’re you’re customers! Your business is built on people. By fostering those relationships, you show customers that you care about their needs and, in the end, build a better business.

5. Leaving spam on your wall:

Of course, not all comments are created equal. Don’t create your presence and then walk away. Monitor it! If you see Facebook users throwing garbage on your lawn, remove it. Delete spam comments. Don’t allow people to harass one another. And make sure everyone is playing by the rules. This page is associated with your brand. You have a responsibility to take care of it.

6. Using hashtags:

Hashtags are for Twitter. Using them on Facebook makes you look like you’re not sure what platform you’re using.

7. Liking your own posts:

We know you liked your post. You posted it. You don’t have to hit the like button. It makes your customers wonder if you have any friends.

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8. Ignoring Facebook Insights:

One of the perks about creating a Business page is the free analytics information. Facebook Insights provides business owners with important page data like how many users are seeing your page, whether or not they’re interacting with it, who is talking about your page, where they’re located, etc. You can even export the data to use it for your own benchmarking. As a business owner, you want to be looking at and using this information to better understand your audience, what they like, and how you can better reach them.

9. Using a bad avatar:

Your avatar represents your brand on Facebook. Use something that will be clear, recognizable, and grab a user’s attention when it scrolls by in their News feed. This may mean redesigning your logo or creating a logo that is social media-friendly (meaning it works as a square). Don’t use an avatar that is text-heavy or which doesn’t scale well. Remember, most users won’t visit your brand page after they’ve Like it. Instead, they’ll rely on their News Feed to get your updates and information about your brand. Make sure your avatar is one they’ll recognize.

10. Not customizing your cover photo:

Your Facebook cover photo gives you a valuable opportunity to showcase what you do in your top header. Select the photo you use wisely and have a little fun with it.

Original post: Thanks to Lisa Barone and Small Business Trends for this article. It is presented here for your education, inspiration and enjoyment by:

Will Sherwood
CEO/Chief Creative Officer
The Sherwood Group: Graphic Design & Website Design
Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, California, USA

Professional links:
Graphic Design/Web Design | Color Printing | YouTube Introduction

Social media links:
LinkedIn | Facebook Design | Facebook Printing | Twitter

Comments: Please note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Only comment if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

The above ten common mistakes brands make on Facebook certainly aren’t a complete list. What Facebook mistake do you see most often?

Launching and growing your local business online presence these days can be a really scary prospect because you have to think about so many different things. Thankfully, when it comes to marketing there is a relatively simple and easy way to get found in your local area and that’s with local SEO.

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Online marketing at a local level has proven to be a very effective marketing strategy for smart small businesses because it allows the people who are looking for you to find you easily.
Gone are the days where people would open the Yellow Pages to look for a dentist. Now they go straight to Google or directories like Mojopages or Manta to find someone nearby who is trustworthy.

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The Secret Source of Never-Ending Customers and Clients
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Use Google+ And Improve Your Search Engine Rankings

Here are 15 tips to help you get found:

1. Get Connected
The first mistake most people make when starting out is spamming their social communities. Instead of going down this dark road get involved in your local forums and websites instead. This increases the relevance of your site with your signature links pointing to your website.

2. Distinguish Yourself with Google Places
We all want to be found on Google and Google maps and getting listed on Google Places makes this really simple. It’s great for people to find your website, address, contact details and a list of your services but it can be hard to rank highly on it. So make sure the information on your listing is accurate, is exactly the same as that on your website and that you place a link to your site.

3: Keep Your WHOIS Updated
SEO experts believe that Google checks to see if your domain name is registered with your business address when ranking for local searches. So sign into your registrar account and update it today.

4. Submit to local Search Engines and Business Directories
Google is not the only player out there. Bing is also a contender and a valuable addition if you use Bing Maps. Also consider local search engines such as Yandex(Russia), Baidu(China) and Kvasir (Norway) if you’re in these countries. Local business directories are also becoming more important these days. If you’re in the USA, consider submitting your local business information to these directories.

5. Use Google Analytics
This is the best free tool out there at the moment. It takes just two minutes to sign up and add their code then you can start collecting your web traffic data almost instantaneously. The data harvested from this neat little tool includes number of visitors, their duration on your site, where they’re located, what site directed them to you and much more.

6. Get Social Buttons
Add a link to your Google and local page in the form of social sharing buttons.Make sure your email and phone number is listed on every page of the footer too.

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7. Webmaster Tools
Identify issues with your website with Google or Bing Webmaster tools. Search engines can have issues finding your website when local searches are made and these tools will tell you if it’s so.

8. Go Mobile
Mobile search traffic is going to surpass desktop traffic very soon in the future. This is why you need to optimize your site for mobile use. If your site is slow and difficult to navigate on a phone or tablet, people will switch to your competitor’s site.

9. Blogging
Support your site with a blog. Blogging helps your site in three main ways: it sharpens your knowledge of your business, brings in traffic and informs your customers.

10. Google AdWords
Launch a paid traffic campaign with Google by selecting keywords, writing ads and attracting visitors instantly. Set the maximum limit of how much money you want to spend and when your ad is clicked you will pay Google a few cents. If no one clicks you don’t pay. Nifty huh?

11. Get Reviewed
Ask your satisfied customers to write you a review on Yelp or another local directory so that Google understands you are providing good quality services.

12: Link to Facebook
Don’t forget to link your Facebook page with your blog. Adding the RSS reader application to Facebook will push your blog posts to Facebook automatically.

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13: Multiple Domains
Google checks to see if your domain is relevant to your country so set your geo-targeting with Google’s Webmaster console.

14. Offline Community
Supporting a charity or participating in events can get you mentioned in local newspapers and other websites.This will increase your relevance and can boost traffic to your site as well.

15. Social Networking
Make your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare accounts seem more trustworthyto Google by getting your friends to like and follow your business for a quickboost.

There you have it! Now get out there and make your local presence known. This guest post is provided by Sameer Panjwani who is the CEO of Maximizer e-Services. You can visit his site DirectoryMaximizer to know more about promoting your local business using their local business directory listing service

Original Source

This article is provided here for your business education and inspiration by:

Will Sherwood
CEO/Chief Creative Officer
The Sherwood Group: Graphic Design & Website Design
Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, California, USA

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

Professional links:
Video Introduction
| Graphic and Web Design Site | Online Printing Site

Comments: Please note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Only comment if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

We’d like to know: What strategies do you use for growing your local business online?

Okay… So maybe you CAN have too many free fonts, but isn’t it fun taking a look at a nice collection like this and finding the perfect font for a current project?

So, here at long last, are your free fonts for the year 2012! We have tried to gather a large collection of fonts for all occasions. You can download most of them for free, and though some are for personal use only, others may be used for commercial purposes.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you might also like to check out these:

20 Free and Fresh Fonts For Your Design
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Original Source

This article is reproduced here thanks to Adrian and DesignModo. It is presented here for your education, inspiration and enjoyment by:

Will Sherwood
CEO/Chief Creative Officer
The Sherwood Group: Graphic Design & Website Design
Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, California, USA

Professional links:
Graphic Design/Web Design | Color Printing | YouTube Introduction

Social media links:
LinkedIn | Facebook Design | Facebook Printing | Twitter

Comments: Please note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Only comment if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

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Would you like to increase your likes on Facebook, drive Facebook fan engagement, and overall grow the number of your Facebook page fans? If so, this article will help you learn how to get Likes on your Facebook business page.

Why are Facebook Fans Important?

Fans are a form of social proof. In an ideal world, we’d all have access to perfect information before making decisions. In reality, this would be difficult and time consuming. So, we base many of our decisions on what other people are doing.

You can have hundreds of thousands of fans, but if none of them buy your services, recommend you to a friend, or help you to find work, your Facebook marketing has failed.

As a result of social proof, the more fans you have, the more people will trust you. They’ll think: “If hundreds (or thousands) of other people like this business, there must be something to it.”

Think about it. If a page only has 25 or 50 likes, will you like it? Probably not, unless you know the person or business already. Whereas a page with thousands of Likes looks like something valuable. You’ll wonder if you’re missing out.

From a social proof perspective, the more fans you have the better.

But there’s more to it than that.

You can have hundreds of thousands of fans, but if none of them buy your services, recommend you to a friend, or help you to find work, your Facebook marketing has failed.

Which leads me to a second reason fans are important. Fans can become clients, or they can help you find clients.

Fans extend your sales funnel, but only if they’re the right kind of fans.

Okay. You’ve created and set-up your Facebook Page. What’s your next step?

Your next step is is getting people to become Facebook fans and Like your Page.

But first, let’s take a close look at the type of people you want to like your Page, and share tips and tricks for turning these people into engaged Facebook fans.

Who Are the Right Fans for Your Freelance Business? The right fans for your freelance Facebook page are potential clients or those who can put you in touch with potential clients. In other words, the right fans are people who trust you, and people who need your services.

As such, your ideal fans are:

  • Your current network, including friends and family. These are the people who know and trust you, and even if they don’t need your services directly, you’ll find many of them willing to support you and recommend your services to a friend.
  • Current and former clients. Facebook helps you stay in touch, which means you’ll be front of mind when they next need your services.
  • Prospects in your target market. For example, if you provide web design services to faith groups, you want church leaders to like your Facebook page.
  • Your tribe. Such as those who follow your blog or connect with you on Twitter.

What makes all these different types of people the ideal Facebook fans? Facebook is about connecting with people through conversation, and building trust through relationships. All of these people have an interest in what you do, so they’ll want to engage and build a relationship with you.

As such, you’ll create an engaged Fan base who like what you do and are interested in what you say.

Engaged fans comment on and like your posts. If you have a good level of engagement, that is if a significant percentage of your fans frequently like or comment on your posts, Facebook rewards that by showing more of your posts in your fans’ news feeds. What’s more, engaged fans will share your content with their friends, giving your page a wider audience.

An engaged audience is better for your marketing, as it brings more prospects into your sales funnel, and is more likely to lead to prospects becoming clients.

How to Get More Facebook Likes: Free Options

Now we’ve laid the groundwork for who your ideal fans are, you’re ready to start growing your fan base. There are a number of free strategies you can use.

Ask your family and friends to Like your Page. You can do this by posting an update about your Page in the timeline of your personal Facebook profile. If you have time, you could also send individual Facebook messages to supportive friends about your new Page.

Inform your broader network about your new Page. Facebook allows you to invite Skype, Hotmail, and Yahoo Mail contacts to Like your Page.

 

If you use GMail, you’ll need to send out an email about your Page directly from your email account, as Facebook’s spat with Google means they’ve currently blocked GMail integration..

To keep your network informed about your Page on an ongoing basis, set up a custom URL for your Page (I show you how to do that in an article on Facebook page configuration). Also, add your Facebook Page URL to your email signature, Twitter background and business card.

Integrate Facebook into your website. An easy way to do this is to add the Facebook Like Box plug-in to your blog or home page. The Like Box shows website visitors how many people like your Page (including whether any of their friends like your Page), and offers them the option to Like it too. This is FreelanceSwitch’s Like Box:

 

Lastly, get your tribe on board. Write a blog post about your new Facebook Page and what you plan to share there. Tweet about your Page to your Twitter followers. Promote your Page in your email newsletter. Post a LinkedIn update to let your contacts know they can connect on Facebook, too.

Once you’ve started to build momentum in your fan growth, set a goal, and ask your tribe to help you reach that goal. For example, if you have 430 Likes, set your Facebook fans, Twitter followers and blog readers the challenge of helping you reach 500 Likes. If you have an engaged audience, they’ll be willing to help. You could even offer a prize to your 500th fan, or promise to make a special video or publish a ground-breaking blog post when you hit 500 Likes.

The advantage to using these free options to grow your page organically is that you’re more likely to attract the right kinds of fans to your Page. The disadvantage is that, unless you already have a huge network, your fan base is likely to grow slowly.

The more you’re engaging across the web, such as through your blog, Twitter and LinkedIn, the easier it will be to grow your fan base organically.

How to Get More Facebook Likes: Paid Options

If you’ve got the cash to splash, then your fan page can grow faster.

Facebook Ads are the obvious choice for freelancers seeking paid growth. Facebook Ads are highly targeted. You choose the age, gender, and location (right down to zip code) of those you want to target with your Ad. What’s more, you can pinpoint people with specific roles or interests, such as small business owners, early technology adopters, or people interested in education. Use this carefully, because advertising indiscriminately is a massive waste of money.

 

When you create an ad, you need to include text (up to 90 characters) and a picture. Remember to ask people to like you in your ad. Including this call to action will increase your click-through rate. That’s good for your fan growth, and good for your wallet, too. The better your click-through rate, the less Facebook charges per click.

It’s a good idea to split test different pictures and text for your ads to see which get the most likes.

Once you’ve written your ad, and chosen who you want to target, let Facebook know the budget for your ad campaign, and launch your ad.

It’s a good idea to split test different pictures and text for your ads to see which get the most likes. Set yourself a maximum budget, too, because advertising can burn money fast. Experiment with a small budget, and see where it takes you. If it goes well, you can always increase your budget. If it proves costly, you may need to rethink your ad picture and copy, or even the design of your page so it better engages your target audience.

Facebook Ads are the best paid option, because you can ensure they’re going out to prospects in your target market.

A paid option to avoid is buying fans. Though it’s possible to grow fast with paid likes, doing so is against Facebook’s terms of service. These fans are usually automated spam-bots, so they don’t create any additional engagement with your freelance business, and actually drive down engagement as a percentage of your overall fan base. Facebook has said it is cracking down on these fake likes.

Start Where You Are

However small your current network is, chances are at least some of them will Like your Facebook Page and support you in your marketing efforts. Starting small, where you are, is the only place you can start. Every Facebook Page starts with a fan count of one and grows from there. What’s more, you don’t need tens of thousands of fans to support a thriving freelance business. Aim for a few hundred, and see where that takes you.

Most importantly of all, always respect your fans, and help them out whenever you can. Helping your fans is the key to a flourishing Facebook Page. I’ll explore the best ways to engage and help out your fans in my next Freelance Switch article.

Original post

David Masters is the author of 52 Ways to Get More Freelance Clients. He teaches small businesses (including freelancers) how to buzz up their social media marketing at the Social Caffeine blog.

This article is presented here for your education, inspiration and enjoyment by:

Will Sherwood
CEO/Chief Creative Officer
The Sherwood Group: Graphic Design & Website Design
Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, California, USA

Professional links:
Graphic Design/Web Design | Color Printing | YouTube Introduction

Social media links:
LinkedIn | Facebook Design | Facebook Printing | Twitter

Comments: Please note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Only comment if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

We’d like to know: Who are your ideal Facebook fans, and what strategies do you use to grow your fan base?

 

20 Awesome Album Covers

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Often when people think of great album covers, they often look to the past. Though Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Pink Floyd and many others had some great cover artwork, there are many contemporary album designs that are just as good.

 

Album covers are a great source of inspiration for illustration in design. Many modern bands, in an effort to stand out from the pack, have gone above and beyond with their album covers, which will undoubtedly become part of the amazing album design canon.

This is a collection of 20 modern album cover designs that inspired the author, Adam Farwell, as having great artwork, illustration and design sensibilities. Any of them would look perfect on a t-shirt, print or poster and he’d proudly wear or decorate with any of them. They’re presented in no order other than alphabetical.

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Abe Vigoda: Skeleton

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Blacklisted: No One Deserves to be Here More than Me

11-blacklisted

 

The Coathangers: Scramble

12-coathangers

 

Com Truise: In Decay

13-comtruise

 

Dead to Me: Cuban Ballerina

14-deadtome

 

The Dismemberment Plan: Emergency and I

dplan-e&i-gatefold

 

Electric Six: Flashy

16-electricsix

 

Future Islands: On the Water

17-futureislands

 

Future of the Left: Travels With Myself and Another

18-futureoftheleft

 

Iron Chic: Not Like This

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Killing the Dream: Lucky Me

20-killingthedream

 

Lightning Bolt: Wonderful Rainbow

21-lightningbolt

 

Neon Indian: Psychic Chasms

22-neonindian

 

Parts & Labor: Receivers

23-partsandlabor

 

Rational Anthem: Breadline

24-rationalanthem

 

Red Fang: Murder the Mountains

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Screaming Females: Castle Talk

26-screamingfemales

 

Sister Kisser: Vipers

27-sisterkisser

 

Sonic Youth: Sonic Nurse

SY NURSE BOOK.qxd

 

The Howling Wind: Of Babalon

29-thehowlingwind

 

This article is presented here for your education, inspiration and enjoyment by:

Will Sherwood
CEO/Chief Creative Officer
The Sherwood Group: Graphic Design & Website Design
Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, California, USA

Professional links:
Graphic Design/Web Design | Color Printing | YouTube Introduction

Social media links:
LinkedIn | Facebook Design | Facebook Printing | Twitter

Comments: Please note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Only comment if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

Your business profile page or the fan page on Facebook needs to be attractive and unique in such a way that it gives the visitors a reason to join your community right away by clicking on the ‘like’ button of your fan page. Apart from having a great appeal it should also have enough scope for communicating with the fans and engaging them in constructive discussion. Many advanced applications have been integrated in the Facebook community page which if exploited in the right way will assist in increasing the number of followers in your page.

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As you may know, Facebook is the most popular social media platform today. It attracts as many as a Billion users from all over the world. Big, medium and small brands are using Facebook to expand their business and win over  loyal followers. It has undoubtedly evolved as an important platform for reaching out to the potential clients and thereby expanding the business. However it is not an easy job at all as the competition is really tough. Though it might be quite easy for the renowned brands but if you are starting up a new business house, then you really need to work to attain this goal.

Here is a list of 40 creative and awe-inspiring business profile pages of Facebook that have been able to able make its presence felt owing to their attractive layouts from which you can draw inspiration for designing a successful and striking business profile page.

1. Fox News

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2. Red Bull

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3. Gap

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4. BMW

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5. Windows

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6. Volkswagen USA

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7. Star Bucks

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8. Cranium

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9. Sony

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10. Porsche

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11. Walmart

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12. The New york Times

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13. Facebook

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14. People.com

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15. Sharpie

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16. Fanta

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17. Adidas Original

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18. LL Bean

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19. Burt’s Bee

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20. Coca Cola

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21. Oreo

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22. McDonald’s

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23. Mabel’s labels

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24. Zappos

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25. Community Coffee

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26. Johnny Cupcakes

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27. Skull Candy

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28. NBA

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29. Travel Channel

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30. FML

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31. Ben & Jerry’s

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32. Pizza Hut

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33. Mtv India

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34. King Fisher

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35. Pringles

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36. Nescafe

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37. Burberry

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38. Scania Group

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39. Paramount Pictures

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40. Toyota USA

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This article is reproduced here thanks to our friends at 2 Experts Design. It is presented here for your education, inspiration and enjoyment by:

Will Sherwood
CEO/Chief Creative Officer

The Sherwood Group: Graphic Design & Website Design

Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, California, USA

Professional links:
Graphic Design/Web Design
| Color Printing | YouTube Introduction

Social media links:
LinkedIn
| Facebook Design | Facebook Printing | Twitter

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LinkedIn: The professional playground for professional connections


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LinkedIn is by far the largest professional network on the Internet with over 150 million members. Given this, the chances are good that you can find potential clients for your business there. What’s more, as LinkedIn is a professional network, people are there to do business, so it’s the ideal place to promote your products and services.

Marketing on LinkedIn is all about building relationships. You’re there to connect with people who could buy your products, hire you, give you testimonials, or put you in touch with prospects. As such, I’m going to show you how to use LinkedIn to:

  • Get in touch with potential clients
  • Allow potential clients to find your profile
  • Stay in touch with potential clients

Getting in Touch With Prospects

Before you contact prospects, you need to know exactly who your prospects are. The tighter your focus, the greater your chances of success.

When you know you’re niche, you’re ready to make contact with prospects. On LinkedIn, you can do this with InMails, through Groups, or using personalized contact requests.

Getting In Touch: InMails

On LinkedIn you can only send messages to your contacts, with a couple of exceptions.

One of these exceptions is InMails.

InMails cost $10 each to send, and you’re guaranteed a response, otherwise you get your money back. Alternatively, you can send a small number of InMails every month with a premium LinkedIn membership, which starts at around $15 a month.

When copywriter Kelly Parkinson experimented with InMails, she got a 41% response rate, and six new clients.

InMails have a ten times better response rate than cold calls.

When copywriter Kelly Parkinson experimented with InMails, she got a 41% response rate, and six new clients. You can read more about how she did that (including an InMail template) here.

As InMails are expensive, you must do your background research before you send them. For every person you contact, you must find out who they are, and work out the value you offer them.

InMails are a good option if you have an established track record, a clear niche, and you need to find work fast. Otherwise, Groups are a better bet.

Getting In Touch: Groups

Groups are LinkedIn’s virtual version of networking events. They’re where you should go to meet new people and build relationships with potential clients.

Essentially, they are discussion forums for professionals.

With thousands of groups on LinkedIn, whatever your niche, you’re almost guaranteed to find a group that fits your needs. What’s more, if you’re unable to find a suitable group, you can set one up.

Some groups are more active than other. When you’re searching for groups to join, look for groups with active members. You can see how active the group is by looking at how many posts have been added recently.

Don’t just join groups based on your skills. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, don’t just join graphic design groups. While it’s great to network with your peers, you should focus on networking with prospects. That means going where your clients are. So, if you’re a graphic designer who creates visual identities for law firms, join groups for lawyers. If you write copy for tech start-ups, join the tech start-up groups.

In addition to raising your profile and putting your face in front of prospects, groups have two key advantages:

  • When you’ve met someone in a group, LinkedIn allows you to add them as a contact without providing their email address (usually LinkedIn requires that you know someone’s email address to add them as a contact). That makes groups an effective way to grow your network, fast.
  • When you’re in a group, you can send messages to any member. That way, you can save on the cost of an InMail.

The more you participate in groups, the more group members will see your face. This creates familiarity, which breeds trust.

When you’re sharing posts in a group, avoid the temptation to shout about your services. Instead, join the conversation and show your expertise. When people see you know what you’re talking about, they’ll check out your profile. If you’ve set up your profile correctly, it will do the selling for you.

Getting In Touch: Personalized Invites

To expand your network, you’ll need to invite people to connect with you on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn offers a standard text as a lazy way to send invites, but you’re best to avoid this for two reasons:

  • First, defaulting to the standard text tells people they don’t matter all that much to you. They matter so little, you couldn’t even write a short message of introduction.
  • Second, and more important, you’re missing an opportunity to start a conversation, and it’s conversations that lead to clients.

Before you connect, take two minutes to find out something about them from their social media profiles, blog or website. Use this information to create a personalized message showing interest in them.

Before you connect, take two minutes to find out something about them from their social media profiles, blog or website.

In your message, explain how you know or found the person, why you’d like to connect, and the value you offer them. What will you bring to the relationship?

Also, ask them a question. This gives them an easy opportunity to reply, and gets the conversation going.

Writing a personalized message takes slightly longer than the lazy way, so you’ll connect with fewer prospects. But you’ll be building a relationship with everyone you connect with. Far better to have 100 quality connections than 1,000 acquaintances who couldn’t recognize your face in an ID parade.

Helping Prospects Find Your Profile

As well as getting in touch with prospects yourself, you can encourage prospects to do the work for you and get in touch with you by making your profile accessible, engaging and easy to find.

If you’re hanging out in groups and adding value to discussions, people will click through to take a look at your profile.

Taking part in LinkedIn Answers is another way to demonstrate your expertize and get clicks to your profile page.

Lastly, you can search optimize your profile, which I explained in more detail here. Essentially, you want to use the words prospects type into Google when they’re looking for your services, and include them in your LinkedIn headline and summary.

Staying in Touch

Once you’ve gone through the effort of making connections with prospects, you want to keep yourself at the front of their mind. When they need to hire a freelancer, they’ll think of you first.

When you’re sending messages, don’t just say hello and ask how they are. Always include something valuable to them.

There are two ways to stay in touch: direct and clandestine.

To stay in touch clandestinely, post frequent updates to your LinkedIn homepage. You’ll be seen whenever your contacts log in and look at their LinkedIn homepage. Additionally, update your headline and summary on a regular basis. Each time you do this, LinkedIn emails your contacts to let them know.

Direct contact involves sending messages to clients and prospects. How often you do this is up to you, but I recommend staying in touch with your top prospects at least once per month.

When you’re sending messages, don’t just say hello and ask how they are. Always include something valuable to them. This could be a link to an article you know they’ll find helpful, an introduction to another of your contacts, a request to be put in touch with one of their contacts, or a question you need help with. People love to be helpful, so giving them opportunity to help you is a way of providing value, provided that you’re willing to be helpful in return.

Your messages don’t have to be long. Shorter is better, as your prospects are busy people.

Keep Going

The strategies I’ve outlined are simple, and if you engage in them consistently you will find work. The trick is to keep going until you get results. I recommend tracking your results. By watching for which techniques draw in the most clients, you’ll discover the most effective ways of finding clients in your niche.

Most importantly, have fun. If you learn to enjoy marketing your services, you’ll be more likely to do it. And your prospects will respond to your positive energy.

This article is reproduced here thanks to David Masters of Freelance Switch. It is presented here for your education, inspiration and enjoyment by:

Will Sherwood
CEO/Chief Creative Officer

The Sherwood Group: Graphic Design & Website Design

Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, California, USA

Professional links:
Graphic Design/Web Design
| Color Printing | YouTube Introduction

Social media links:
LinkedIn
| Facebook Design | Facebook Printing | Twitter

Comments: Please note that we reject all posts that clearly are leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Only comment if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

How does LinkedIn works for you? What techniques or strategies do you use to find prospects on LinkedIn?

As creative people, we all love the combination of design and typography to convey a message with feeling and emotion. This article brings together 20 creative typography designs in one showcase to fuel your inspiration. As always, follow each link to see more great work by each talented designer.

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Live Through This & You Won’t Look Back

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Birth School Work Death

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Sink or Swim

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On Top of the World

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Lowrider

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Motorcycle Safety Poster

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Tolkien Typography

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Sally

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You Are Important

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I Ain’t Got Time to Bleed

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Wander Postcard

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I Care Therefore I Kern

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Depalma Clothing

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Drink Good Beer with Good Friends

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Never Stop Learning

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Make it Look Nice

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Morning Has Broken

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Sell My Animals to the Bird

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I’ll Be The Brightest Someday

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Milk With Knives

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This article is reproduced here thanks to Chris Spooner of Blog Spoon Graphics. It is presented here for your education, inspiration and enjoyment by:

Will Sherwood
CEO/Chief Creative Officer
The Sherwood Group: Graphic Design & Website Design
Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, California, USA

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

 

Do you view your business card as a simple formality, or a powerful sales, networking, and marketing tool that can embed your person and brand in customers’ minds, motivate callbacks and generate sales?

Unfortunately, most professionals are in the former group. They print business cards that are more tiring than inspiring. And chances are you’re in this group. Therefore, here are 10 reasons why your business card sucks and what you can do about it.

1. They minimize “you”

People do business with other people, but many business cards spend more space on the company and brand than the person handing them out. Make sure your name is big and bold, along with your contact information to help establish customer relationships. Your company’s logo should be smaller than your own photo.


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2. You have a mug shot

OK, so your assistant finally wrangled you in a corner for that mug shot your designer has been asking for, and you look like a raccoon caught in a garbage can. If you want to get a mug shot taken, break the law. If you want to convince customers to do business with you, take a shot of you in action, in a positive light. Don’t constrain it in square borders; instead, have it take up half of your card or the entire background. No photo at all is better than a pre-coffee photo snapped in a dim corner of your office.


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3. No tagline

A great taglines tells customers what you do, how it benefits them and serves as a memory hook. Don’t forget to include one on your business card.


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4. No offer or call to action

A great offer (something other than “free consultation”) will entice customers to take the next step in the purchasing process. Put your offer on your business card, front or back and tell customers what they need to do next to take advantage of it.


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5. No added value

Customers keep things that have value. If you want prospects to keep your business card handy, give them something useful: a discount, a sports schedule, a checklist or brief how-to guide. All of these can fit succinctly on the back of your business card. Make it relevant to your customer base, and your business cards won’t be threatened with File 13.

6. Mundane

If your business cards look like everyone else’s, you’re missing the boat. Experiment with different sizes and shapes: square, jumbo square, slim and custom die-cut business cards. Try contrasting colors, bold text and symbols. Make your business card stand out and command attention.


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7. Forgotten technology

QR codes and augmented reality can help you instantly engage customers via mobile devices – right from your business card! If you want to appear progressive and cutting edge, do not miss the opportunity to incorporate technology into your business cards. Use it to promote a viral video, collect email addresses for follow-ups and more. Also, don’t forget to include your social media handles so customers can connect with you online.


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8. Poor printing

Considering printing your business cards on your desktop printer or local copy center? Think again. Not only is the quality of ink and paper suspect – and as such reflective of your own quality – it’s more expensive. You can print premium business cards on professional paper stocks cheaper than doing it alone, and you won’t have any of those perforated edges cheapening your brand – and personal – image.


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9. Never-changing cards

If there’s one thing I don’t understand, it’s why professionals never change their business cards – or, if they do, it’s a couple of times per decade. I know printing in volume is cheap, but printing business cards in general is cheap – dirt cheap, in fact.

Use business cards to help promote seasonal and special offers by printing a few versions every year. You don’t have to change your branded image, or even the front of your business card; but mixing up your business card with different deals on the back and perhaps a slight logo alternation (a Santa cap on your logo, for example) will help add a touch of personality and attention-getting prowess – not to mention targeted marketing – to your marketing efforts.


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10. Zero creativity

Come up with fun and unique ways to engage your prospects and get more attention for your company. If you’re going to a business conference, for example, hand out business cards with relevant and fun trivia questions on the back. Or, offer a fun game, story, or fast facts. Make them into humorous trading cards, or make a quick scavenger hunt. The goal is to get prospects sharing and talking about your business, so they’ll remember you when they get home and when it’s time to buy.


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If you enjoy this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Design Your Email Newsletters with Pizazz
Using Social Media to Position Yourself as The Go To Expert
How to Get More Business by Using a QR Code on Your Business Cards
How to Stay Out of Spam Filters AND Run a Successful Email Marketing Campaign
4 Time-Saving Ways to Generate More Online Sales via Email
The Secret Source of Never-Ending Customers and Clients
How to Successfully Localize Your Business
Use Google+ And Improve Your Search Engine Rankings

This article is reproduced here thanks to  and Speckyboy.com. It is presented here for your education, inspiration and enjoyment by:

Will Sherwood
CEO/Chief Creative Officer
The Sherwood Group: Graphic Design & Website Design
Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, California, USA

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

Professional links:
Video Introduction
| Graphic and Web Design Site | Online Printing Site


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