Blog Archive

Many of us dream of the ability to work at home. We fantasize of working in our comfortable clothes, whenever we feel like it. We dream of long lunches and saving money on childcare. However, working from home has many challenges (and distractions).

 

work at home, the sherwood group, web design santa clarita

Here are some tips to working at home so that you are productive in your business:

  • Set goals and be sure to follow them. When you own your own business, you will have to figure out one of two things, how much money you need to make or how much you want to work.
  • Re-evaluate your goals to see if you need to work more (or less) to accomplish your goals. You might have set your goals too low that you are not making enough money. Maybe you set your goals too high and you can’t realistically follow them. There are also times when your goals will change and you need more income for an unexpected expense.
  • Set a schedule and work when you say that you are. Do not allow interruptions. You need to remember that this is your job and your schedule. Then, you need to stick to it.
  • Be organized. No one can be successful without being organized. You need to know all of the tasks that you need to do and when they need to be done. You need to know where your important papers are located. You can’t waste time looking for things that you need to complete projects. Instead, when you have time to work, you should be making money.

Nobody said that working at home would be easy. It can actually be even harder than working in an office. However, set goals (and re-evaluate them as needed). Set a schedule and stick to it. You should also try to be organized so that when you have time to work, you are ready to sit down and get some things done.

Contact The Sherwood Group for more ways to be productive in your business.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to check out these others:

What Today’s Marketers Can Learn From Door-to-Door Sales
Are You Charging Enough for Your Services?
3 Tools To Help You Deliver Legendary Customer Service
Is Facebook Dead for Business?
How to Make Social Media Marketing Work for Your Business
Is There Still Gold in Cold Calling?
5 Tools for Blogging on the Go
4 Tips for Entrepreneurs Looking to Grow Business
3 Ways to use LinkedIn Groups to Grow Your Professional Network

This article is published by The Sherwood Group, Creative Agency:
The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, California.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?

How A Purple Cow Can Triple Your Sales in 2015

Seth Godin is an inspiration to any great marketer. Willing to be unique and different, yet still grounded enough to stand by principles of paying attention to what works. Marketing and Advertising in the media driven world we surround ourselves in each day builds a tolerance among the masses. People don’t want to be advertised to anymore than they would want someone or something to tell them what to do.

The masses have spoken! Godin says “In a world where we have too many choices and too little time the obvious thing to do is just ignore stuff.”

 

Is Your Product or Service Remarkable?

What makes your brand, your product, or your service unique? What is the driving force behind why people making a buying decision? As Seth Godin explains in the Ted Talk “How To Get Your Ideas To Spread” People don’t make a buying decision in the grocery store when they need to make a purchase for pain medicine based on a commercial on TV or and Ad they saw in a magazine. The TV/Industrial Complex is a broken model that no longer works to the level of effectiveness that it once did.

What works now is finding the people that believe what you believe. Finding the early adopters and the innovators that can get behind your dream, your product or your vision for the world. So they can be a part of what you have, and see how that thing helps to reshape their world in a positive way. Make positive change in your consumers lives and build a relationship with them. They will become grateful, they will become loyal and they will tell someone about it. If the brand has done it correctly the customer experience is remarkable, it’s not an interruption it is welcomed.

seth godin purple cow image

What is your Purple Cow?

Perhaps it is exceptional customer service? I personally know a woman that was a stay at home wife. She had a career and a college degree but after having children her focus shifted to family and being an exceptional mother. Her husband made a great living and the family life was something that she enjoyed. As her children began to grow up she began a business selling products on Amazon. In months she grew her product sales to well over 40,000 per month and she had to make a decision that was very tough.

Amazon had approached this woman and asked to buy her business, in a way where they would take over her product listing and the brand, keep her in as the manufacturing party and continue doing business as her brand. The brand that she had just 6 months earlier built up from nothing to over $40,000 in monthly sales revenue. She considered the offer for several weeks and finally she turned them down. What this woman knows and what she knew when making her decision is that her purple cow was providing her consumers with exceptional customer service. She personally contacts every person that has ever bought her product on Amazon. She knew that would all end had she passed off the company reins to the largest online retailer and corporate fulfillment giant.

Seth Godin - Ted Talks Ideas That Spread Win!

Maybe it is an idea worth spreading?

This video was filmed by Ted. Ted Talks are phenomenal resources to see intellectual giants speak about any number of topics. They are great ideas that push the envelope. As it suggests in their slogan, Ted Talks are “ideas worth spreading.” Their entire platform, including: why it exists, why colleges and universities across the world use the videos in their curriculum and why it is seen as a huge value to the people that watch Ted, is the purple cow. For each person that has ever been inspired by a Ted Talk, they have “otaku.” They know it was unique in its early stage, it was certainly remarkable and people told their friends, their colleagues and their classmates. Ted used their purple cow to build the greatest platform of educational and theoretical videos on the planet.

Convince the Innovators and Early Adopters First!

Innovation Adoption Curve

How Can Your Business Reach More of the Early Adopters That Can Help Spread Your Message?

First and foremost, you really need to know who you are marketing to. Give them a name and a face. Make sure that they are someone you can describe in detail. Who are those personas (target demographic description of people you want your brand to reach)? What do they love? If you are familiar with Oculus Rift then you have seen them grow from a concept, to achieve a successful Kickstarter campaign bringing in 2.4 million in pledged funding and now they are in the marketplace. The Purple Cow that Oculus Rift had created was the physical product, but the company did not try to sell everyone on the planet as to why their virtual gaming goggles were the best. They only marketed it to dedicated video game players that kept abreast with the current trends. The ones that wanted the best and they wanted to be the first to have it. Those 9,522 people raised their hand and said ‘I want to be apart of this great vision before the first one is available for sale, I’m in.’ Those “Innovators” saw a purple cow on the side of the road and they stopped and bought a piece of the dream.

The Century of “Idea Diffusion” is upon us. No longer can people be blasted with 5,000+ ads daily and gain anything great from it. Instead they will continue to ignore and wait for someone that they trust to tell them about the next new thing, better thing or unique thing. Something the person knows their peer will love as much as they do.

How can you reach more early adopters with your business? Let us know in the comments below.

If you enjoyed these ads, you may also want to check out these:

The 10 Most Watched Ads on YouTube in 2013
The Honda Hands Ad
Canine Domino Effect
Fun Television Advertising at Its Best!
From Love to Bingo in 873 Images
Motel 6 Takes a Trip Through Time
The World’s History in 3 Minutes

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

The Sherwood Group, located in Santa Clarita, California, a planned community outside Los Angeles, has over 30 years of experience working with the graphic design, website design, and marketing communication challenges presented by clients, small and large. Clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, through every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). It’s not the size or industry that defines our clients. It’s their mindset–They want quality and service.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

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The digital age has transformed the world of marketing, but that doesn’t mean the hard-won lessons from the door-to-door sales people of the past have lost their value.

 

E-commerce Business Deal

While businesses are increasingly shifting away from in-person marketing and embracing the Internet, social media and other types of digital promotion and sales, they still stand to benefit from understanding the skills of the door-to-door salespeople of the past. Many of those tried-and-true techniques still apply – you just have to look at them the right way.

Apply the following five door-to-door sales techniques to your online marketing, and see their real-life advantages for yourself:

1. Get personal

It’s easy for someone to dismiss a pitch when it’s presented by a nameless, faceless entity. If you’re marketing online, though, how are you supposed to interact with prospective customers face-to-face? Here’s the thing: It’s not necessarily the physical presence that matters. Rather, it’s the knowledge of interacting with an actual human. This is where social media pays off handsomely. Let your customers see that your company is made up of living, breathing humans to earn their trust, gain their respect and get their business.

2. Upsell whenever possible

A successful door-to-door salesman isn’t satisfied by merely selling one product. After reeling in a customer and selling him or her on the idea, the next step is encouraging another sale (it’s how telecom companies do so well “bundling” TV and Internet, or upselling you on more channels). This strategy continues to pay off to this day, and if you’re not actively putting it to work for you, you’re almost certainly missing out on exciting upselling opportunities.

3. Sell a lifestyle

Seasoned door-to-door salespeople know that merely highlighting the benefits of a product or service isn’t enough. Companies need to help people envision themselves using the product – and seeing the benefits of doing so. It’s all about selling a lifestyle, and this strategy can just as easily be put to work online as in person. Rich, compelling product descriptions, informative videos, engaging social media posts and other online techniques are key to helping customers see themselves engaging with your product.

4. Get to the point

If your wind-up drags on too long, your customers won’t stick around for the pitch. Door-to-door salespeople understood the value of a brief introduction, because they could see people’s interest waning right before their eyes. Online, you can’t see people’s reactions as they read your “virtual” pitches, but the rule still applies (and, you can see interest waning in the form of bounce rates and other analytics). Don’t hem and haw. Instead, be direct, get to the point quickly and tell people what they need to do before they click away.

5. Timing is crucial

The most successful door-to-door salespeople knew their products and understood the people who would most likely benefit from them. They kept their ideal customer’s basic demographics in mind when selecting neighborhoods and times to pound the pavement, and you should be doing the same in your online marketing ventures. Online marketers today need to understand their target audience, and target the channels that these demographics use. If you’re selling something that appeals to young people, for instance, pay attention to the social sites they use and focus your advertising on those platforms.

The way in which we market and sell goods may have changed drastically on the surface. But at its core, marketing in the digital age still revolves around the same proven techniques that were once used by the Willy Lomans of the world. By keeping this in mind, you can kick your online marketing efforts into high gear.

Author: Abby Perkins is Editor in Chief at Talent Tribune, a Software Providers blog about business, branding, marketing and more.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to check out these others:

Are You Charging Enough for Your Services?
3 Tools To Help You Deliver Legendary Customer Service
Is Facebook Dead for Business?
How to Make Social Media Marketing Work for Your Business
Is There Still Gold in Cold Calling?
5 Tools for Blogging on the Go
4 Tips for Entrepreneurs Looking to Grow Business
3 Ways to use LinkedIn Groups to Grow Your Professional Network

This article is published by The Sherwood Group, Creative Agency:
The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, California.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?

Without Further delay… Here are Our Favorites of the Top Ads from 2014!

 


Friskies/BuzzFeed “Dear Kitten: Regarding the Dog”
Creative Agency: BuzzFeed
Upload date: 10/7/2014
Views: 8.5 million


Budweiser “Puppy Love”
Creative Agency: Momentum Worldwide
Media: SMG
Upload date: 2/2/2014
Views: 53.2 million


Budweiser “Friends Are Waiting”
Creative Agency: Momentum Worldwide
Media: SMG
Upload date: 9/19/2014
Views: 19.4 million


Beats By Dre “The Game Before The Game”
Creative Agency: R/GA, Beats by Dre
Media: Haworth Marketing + Media, Mediacom
Upload date: 6/5/2014
Views: 25.5 million


Always “Like A Girl”
Creative Agency: Leo Burnett
Media: Starcom MediaVest Group
Upload date: 6/26/2014
Views: 53.2 million


Chrystler “America’s Import”
Creative Agency: Global Hue
Media: Universal McCann
Upload date: 2/2/2014
Views: 11.6 million


Microsoft “Technology”
Media: Starcom MediaVest and Performics
Upload date: 2/2/2014
Views: 3.9 million


Air New Zealand “The Most Epic Safety Video Every Made”
Creative Agency: True Advertising
Media: OMD New Zealand
Upload date: 10/22/2014
Views: 13 million


Nike “LeBron James: Together”
Creative Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Media: Razorfish
Upload date: 10/30/2014
Views: 3 million


GE “Brilliant Machines”
Media/Creative: Framestore
Upload date: unknown
Views: unknown

 

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

The Sherwood Group, located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, has over 30 years of experience working with the graphic design, website design, and marketing communication challenges presented by clients, small and large. Clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, through every business sector, from across the street to around the world. It’s not the size or industry that defines our clients. It’s their mindset.

Contact us by phone at 661-287-0017 or through our website so that we can help you think through your objectives and propose the best solution for your needs and your budget.

 

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

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

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

We’d like to know: Which tips in this article did you find most helpful?

It doesn’t matter if it’s a business meeting, conference, charitable event, or social gathering, you can light up any room just by cultivating an air of confidence and calm that others may envy.

 

The Sherwood Group, Web Design Santa Clarita, Project a Professional Image

How do you project a professional image? Just follow this sage advice:

For starters, be at your best:

  • Your hair should be clean and recently washed, and if you bleach your hair, with no dark roots showing.
  • Nails should be well groomed, and buffed or polished with no chips.
  • Go easy on the aftershave, perfume or makeup. You’d be surprised how many people find strong scents, even expensive ones, annoying.
  • Ladies: limit jewelry to two pieces. Wear earings and a bracelet or a necklace and ankle chain, but not all four.
  • In clothing, style matters more than color. Choose a color that makes you happy in a simple, understated style. Too many details and patterns will make you look fussy. If you are fresh and stylish, your outfit doesn’t have to scream “look at me” for people to pay attention.
  • One more point on dressing for success—be comfortable. Nothing should squeeze, pinch, or bunch up. And, ladies, if four inch heels make you pitch forward like a sapling in the wind, leave the stilettos home.

Making an entrance:

  • Posture counts, but don’t try to hold your shoulders back and stomach in, simply lift you rib cage. You’ll instantly look five pounds lighter.
  • When you walk, lengthen your stride and slow your steps slightly to convey an air of relaxed confidence.
  • Smile—just smile and be pleasant.
  • If you’re a woman, don’t carry a purse unless you have to. And, whether a man or a woman, don’t cross or fold your arms in front of you. The goal is to be open and approachable. At social gatherings many people throw up barriers without even knowing it. Don’t stand behind a chair, or table, and don’t gravitate to the corners or edges of the room. Mentally welcome the group with open arms and you’ll be surprised  how many people want to talk to you.
  • If there is no one to introduce you, introduce yourself.  If you’re at a party, mention how you know the host; if it’s a business function, mention your company and your position.

Small talk:

  • Food, not weather, is the number one best subject for small talk and most gatherings provide lots of leads to get the ball rolling. The food is great, lousy, cold, hot, there’s too much, there’s not enough, etc.  Not everyone goes to movies or is into video games and music, but everyone eats and everyone seems willing to share their likes or dislikes when it comes to food, which isn’t true about a lot of things.
  • Other safe subjects for small talk might include the venue, the room, the building, or the traffic. If it’s a business meeting come prepared to talk intelligently about the business at hand.
  • At a social gatherings, if the conversation lags and you feel the need to keep it going, instead of talking about a book or movie, bring up an interesting but off beat news story. Something featured on a strange or weird news feed will introduce new fodder for discussion, an element of levity or wonder, and prompt others to participate.
  • Just don’t bring up anything distasteful or disgusting.
  • Without being rude, avoid talking about religion, politics, or who is bombing whom unless the gathering has an agenda that aligns with one of those subjects.
  • Be a good listener. Stick to one conversation at a time. Give the other person your undivided attention, and don’t be distracted by a more interesting person or conversation happening a few feet away.
  • If someone makes your uncomfortable, say something like– “Excuse me. I just wanted to say ‘Hello’, maybe we can talk later.” Then walk away.

Eat, drink and be merry:

  • If there is food, enjoy it. Nothing says uptight more than a dieter or picky eater.  Consume alcohol in moderation. Even taking time to think about it, most of us would be hard pressed to name a drunk we admire.
  • Don’t fidget. Relax and enjoy the experience, the place, and the people. Stay in the present and block thoughts of where else you could be, or what else you could be doing.
  • Be content, if you’re happy, others will want to be happy with you.

The graceful exit:

  • When it’s time to go, just go. Even if you’re the center of attention, the party will survive without you.
  • Make your exit short but unrushed.
  • Thank your host and/or hostess. Complement the success of the event.
  • Shake a few hands, give a few hugs, and leave the party as confident and fresh looking as when you arrived.

There are times when being yourself is overrated and a little positive visualization and internal pep talk can go a long way toward helping you feel comfortable and confident in social situations. Feeling like the light of the room isn’t crucial, but it doesn’t hurt a thing. Let us help you expand your professional image through our creative branding, graphic design, and website design services. For more information, please contact The Sherwood Group.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to check out these others:

Are You Charging Enough for Your Services?
3 Tools To Help You Deliver Legendary Customer Service
Is Facebook Dead for Business?
How to Make Social Media Marketing Work for Your Business
Is There Still Gold in Cold Calling?
5 Tools for Blogging on the Go
4 Tips for Entrepreneurs Looking to Grow Business
3 Ways to use LinkedIn Groups to Grow Your Professional Network

This article is published by The Sherwood Group, Creative Agency:
The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, California.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?

 

Website Design Tips - How To Build A Website Wireframe

Wire framing your website is the first step in a new design planning process. By taking your vision and implementing that into a wire frame, your website design can begin to take shape. Wire framing is the preparation that will determine what your new site website looks like, especially when it is a custom website. It all starts with the site’s wire frame.

What is a Wire Frame?

Often a wire frame is a very simple schematic or blueprint for where: objects, images, titles, copy and navigation will layout on a website design. The nice part about wire framing before designing a custom website is that you have room to play with different concepts regarding: placement, bounding boxes, shapes, negative space and the site’s visual hierarchy.

Website Desiign Tips for Developers

Before the days of buying canned, done-for-you WordPress themes, a web design was limited to creating a website using programming code like: html, java, php or asp/ajax. Today’s web design has moved beyond Adobe Dreamweaver to open source development using: Ruby on Rails and HTMLpad. No matter what type of code your new website will be using to build its Content Management System, a wire frame will help you avoid making major changes to the design elements and function of your website.

How To Begin Your Wire Frame

The first stages of wire framing for a website should begin with a blank white slate canvas. We recommend starting with a canvas size that is close to the pixel size (width and height) that your actual site will be. As you begin adding elements to the canvas, a structure and layout will soon emerge. It is important that the elements you have chosen to add on the page layout will fit both: the needs, wants, desires and functions of the consumer that will be visiting the site and the client.

Wire Framing Tip: Use very light colored, neutral tones for imagery position and elements that are added to the wire frame.

Here we have an example of a wire frame layout in its first stage:

How To Wire Frame A Website Design

As we begin to layout the key elements that our site needs to have for the homepage we can see things begin to take shape. We have already determined a placement for the: logo, primary & secondary navigation links, business information, categories, footer and search box.

Wire Framing Tip: Often the best ways to get inspired by the site you are designing is to first seek sites that you may enjoy using and then emulating the aesthetics and function of those sites in your wire frame.

It is okay to try more than one concept in your first stages of wire framing.

Here is a second option that we have considered using for the website home page:

Wire Frame for Your Website

In the second wire frame option you can see that we removed the secondary navigation and replaced it with 3 feature images and 3 columns that provide the user a short description of each feature that we want them to see on the home page. We have also included a slider with a description box, to elaborate more on the message that each slide image may be conveying to the site visitor. We no longer have the business info on the home page, where we initially placed it on wire frame #1. Since we have moved that information from the home page to a contact or contact us page, we can begin designing the layout for the contact us page next.

Wire Frame Website Tips

Once again we can choose to entertain a second layout or design frame for the contact us page:

Contact Form Wire Frame

In our second attempt at a contact us page we have decided to include a contact form with four fields: name, email, phone number and notes. Once we have chosen the wire frame for the site’s contact page, we can translate that into how our other pages may look:

Wire Frame Your Website

Our website’s wire frame is taking shape nicely and now we can decide if the services pages will each match the layout used on the contact us and about us page, or if we would like to have an alternative design for services pages.

As we near completion of the wire frame process it is important to account for the many functions of the site. If we will use the search box in the header of the website design then we do need to determine how to code that in place to work properly. The same goes for the navigation links, the map, social icons and the contact form. These elements are an important part of the web development. Choose wisely!

Website Design Tips

Wire framing websites can be a designers best friend. If you skip these steps you will be left shooting in the dark with an unclear direction for your new website’s design, function and abilities. Always design sites with the user experience in mind. Keep it simple, clean, straight forward and intuitive for the user. A website presented to the user should make sense instantly and your website should be responsive!

Learn more about Website Design with our Four Tips on Effective Web Design from The Sherwood Group.

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

The Importance of Unique Content On Your Website
7 Steps for Getting on Board With Social Media
5 Ways You Can Benefit By Using LinkedIn
How To Amp Up Your Visibility With Facebook
How To Spark Conversation About Your Business
4 Essential Tips for Growing Your Business with Pinterest
3 Tips for Social Media Marketing Brilliance

Social Media Links

(Like us and/or Follow us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor):
Google + | LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Twitter

Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article helpful?

You always turn in your projects on time. You go above and beyond for your clients. They often ask you if you’d like to work for them again. If this sounds like you, then it it is likely you give your clients great value, which means it’s time to ask yourself, “Am I charging enough for my services?”

 

Are-You-Charging-Enough-516985825

How to Decide if You’re Charging Enough

For contractors, it is important to ask this question every so often. You want to be sure that what you’re charging reflects your cost of labor and expertise. To find out how much you should charge for your rates, look for  the average rate for the type of work you do by either performing an online search on it and investing in market books that list the lowest, average, and highest rates for your field. Then, jot down which rates seem to fit you and the kinds of services you offer.

Cases Where You Should Charge More

There are several cases where charging more makes sense. For instance, if you are an expert at your field, charging more can give you momentum to keep producing exceptional work. It will make you more excited about what you do because your business will be growing financially.

It is also important to keep in mind that solopreneurs should charge four to five times what they hope to have after overhead, taxes, paying for software and hardware, and performing administrative tasks. Doing this will help them gain enough profit to continue sustaining their careers.  For more info, see also: Are You Charging Enough for Your Time?

If you conclude that you want to charge more for your work, make sure your services are so good that every dollar your client is paying you is worth it. When they look back at your service, you want them to remember how well-done your service was, rather than how much it cost.

Important Things to Keep in Mind

If you’re worried that charging more might make it difficult for you to keep your clients, remember that clients who care about high quality work won’t settle for the cheapest offer. In fact, understanding which rates are perfect for you to charge can do wonders for your business, especially if you are great at what you do.

To learn more about what rates to charge for your work, feel free to contact us.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to check out these others:

3 Tools To Help You Deliver Legendary Customer Service
Is Facebook Dead for Business?
How to Make Social Media Marketing Work for Your Business
Is There Still Gold in Cold Calling?
5 Tools for Blogging on the Go
4 Tips for Entrepreneurs Looking to Grow Business
3 Ways to use LinkedIn Groups to Grow Your Professional Network

This article is published by The Sherwood Group, Creative Agency:
The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, California.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?

 

Not too many years ago, only the largest companies could afford dedicated customer service. That’s not the case today, though. In the Age of Technology, if you aren’t providing world-class customer service you’re losing money.

 

Legendary Customer Service

Are Customer Service Dollars Well Spent?

A 2013 Dimensional Research Survey confirmed the importance of customer service to bottom line sales. Here are just a few of the findings. All percentages are for business-to-business sales, but business-to-consumer sales follow a similar pattern:

  • There is no more powerful way to build trust with customers and clients than to provide excellent customer service.
  • Good customer service boosts sales. 62 percent of participants said they purchased more from vendors when customer service was satisfactory.
  • How many stop buying altogether when customer service is poor? Two-thirds said they would not keep working with a company with poor customer service.
  • Do online customer service reviews matter? 88 percent said online sources influenced the buying decision.
  • When you deliver less than stellar customer service, does the word get around? 95 percent said they share those experiences with others.

Smart Tools to Help Your Customer Service Soar

Do you want to get better at customer service, but aren’t sure where to start? Here are some suggestions to help. You don’t have to break the budget to take advantage of amazingly powerful customer service tools. Almost any company can find the time and personnel to get started.

  • Zipwire is a powerful platform for managing customer interactions. It is a cloud-based system that grows as you grow and can accommodate small start-ups as well as large, established companies. The pricing scales with client needs. Check their inbound info page for a look at what your customer service can easily become.
  • What if you built an online community for fielding questions and observations from customers? You can do that readily with the Get Satisfaction system. For small companies with limited resources, this can be a business builder. As the community grows, your staunch supporters will step in to voluntarily help with customer service by assisting their peers. People love to be of value, and Get Satisfaction gives them a place to shine.
  • Hootsuite is a time-saver and all-around great friend to have around. You can monitor and manage your social media channels from one dashboard. With a little practice—and maybe some help from Hootsuite University—you can do everything from engaging with customers and vendors to monitoring discussions about you or your brand online. After all, there is no question about whether or not people will talk about you in online media. The only question is whether or not you will join the conversation. Hootsuite apps extend the functionality considerably.

No matter which tools you choose make sure you and your team stop thinking of handling orders as “customer transactions.” Rather, develop the picture of every customer contact to be an “interaction” and develop an ongoing relationship, not a one-time event.

To help with that process, figure out how much each customer brings to your business over the lifetime of your relationship. No one is more important than your customers. Without them, your business can’t survive.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to check out these others:

Is Facebook Dead for Business?
How to Make Social Media Marketing Work for Your Business
Is There Still Gold in Cold Calling?
5 Tools for Blogging on the Go
4 Tips for Entrepreneurs Looking to Grow Business
3 Ways to use LinkedIn Groups to Grow Your Professional Network

This article is published by The Sherwood Group, Creative Agency:
The Sherwood group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering, Now what do we do?” We are located in Santa Clarita, California, a planned community just outside Los Angeles, California.

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The very site that brought MySpace to its knees, Facebook, is now facing upstarts like Ello looking to supplant it as the go-to social network. With that in mind, should companies invest in building a strong Facebook presence? Is Facebook dead for business?

 

Is Facebook still good for business? The Sherwood Group, graphic design and website design in Santa Clarita

As anybody who remembers meticulously building their MySpace page into a gorgeous web home, complete with a theme song and glittery background can tell you, social media is a volatile environment.

Uphill Battle

Proclaiming Facebook dead for business is probably premature, but creating a robust presence on the network is indeed more difficult than ever, and Facebook is helping make it that way. If your company isn’t advertising on Facebook, only a small portion of your followers are likely to even see your content.

Be More Engaging

While the value your business once reaped from an active Facebook presence has diminished, Facebook still has plenty of important applications for business. Small businesses especially benefit from the interactive flow of content. By sharing relevant posts from other small businesses a community, albeit insular, does develop. Having a place to go that everyone is familiar with makes Facebook’s enormous brand recognition an asset that any business can still leverage.

Good Luck Finding a Replacement

Another reason to be on Facebook is that there really isn’t a better option. While Ello, or other small platforms could find themselves and become viable alternatives rather quickly, it’s not as easy it as it may seem. Facebook is deeply entrenched in its leading position in the market and even Google+ with the full weight of Google search behind it, has not done any damage. As this recent article from the Guardian explains, Ello might already be dead in the water.

Contact us for more insights into the world of graphic design, web design, advertising and marketing communications.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to check out these others:

How to Make Social Media Marketing Work for Your Business
Is There Still Gold in Cold Calling?
5 Reasons Why Smart People Never Bring Smartphones Into Meetings
5 Tools for Blogging on the Go
4 Tips for Entrepreneurs Looking to Grow Business
3 Ways to use LinkedIn Groups to Grow Your Professional Network
Greeting Cards: Are They a Thing of The Past?

This article is published by The Sherwood Group, Creative Agency:
The Sherwood group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering, Now what do we do?” We are located in Santa Clarita, California, a planned community just outside Los Angeles, California.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

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Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?

 

Gieco: Ickey Shuffle “Get Some Cold Cuts” vs.
Esurance: Shirlee “Candy Crush” and
Esurance: Beatrice “Off-line Over Sharer”
Advertising Campaigns

 

On one or more occasions you may have seen the Gieco “Ickey Shuffle: Did You Know” ad campaign over the past few months. In my opinion it is a great ad and it does have its amusing moments as former pro football player Ickey Woods spikes his cheese into the supermarket floor. Ickey then continues on into the “Ickey Shuffle,” an end zone dance that Ickey Woods was best know for, as a full back for the 1988 Cincinnati Bengals.

There’s no doubt by now you have seen the recent Gieco TV Ad Spot, right? But, what about the Esurance Commercials, stick around for those in the closing of this article…

Ickey Woods: Gieco Commercial

For one thing kudos to the ad agency as they begin the scene using the Gieco Gecko and cleverly use the dentist office as a great way to transition into the lead in of #44 and what happens next with Ickey Woods. They may have missed a few details, where Ickey seems to spike a package of cold cuts and yet he is waiting to be served them.

While I can appreciate the Ickey TV spot, I believe that even the Ickey Shuffle is no match for the head-on advertising approach that Esurance is taking with their ads and their marketing message. Esurance will save you money in half the time! This is powerful stuff. I can recall way back when the first Gieco ad ran on the Superbowl some 14 years ago. At that time Gieco repositioned itself from the Government Employees Insurance Company into the hip new ready for mainstream insurance company, offering little to no hassle auto insurance and many more policy options all by the steady promise of solving your problems and saving you 15% or more in just 15 minutes.

Gieco vs. Esurance: Rival Esurance With The Leg Up

I can understand that the Gecko has lost it’s cool factor and I agree that from Gieco’s standpoint it is time to find or create new ways to get their commercials booming with fans and making the phone ring. I know that Ickey isn’t a permanent replacement for the Gecko and I had some good things to say about the Ickey Shuffle Ad created by The Martin Agency. However, Esurance is winning and they’ve nailed it twice.

Esurance ‘Candy Crush’ Commercial: Esurance ‘Beatrice’ TV Ad 2014

Esurance is coming out with the gloves off and they aren’t holding punches. What once seemed to be a great offer, 15% saving in just 15 minutes by phone, has now been left to appear dated and out of touch as put by the competing rivals Esurance and their ad agency, Leo Burnett.

Leo Burnett is responsible for these great Ads, including:

Esurance ‘Beatrice’ Commercial 2014
Shirlee: Candy Crush Enthusiast
Always #LikeAGirl

After Esurance was acquired by The Allstate Corporation, long standing Allstate ad agency, Leo Burnett took over for creating the Esurance Ad Campaigns. They have done a smashing job of positioning their client as the logical choice for people that prefer to do their insurance shopping online. This firm has clearly struck a chord with the Beatrice ads and their follow-up ad is a clear winner with the reference to mainstream mobile game “Candy Crush.”

If you enjoyed these ads, you may also want to check out these:

The 10 Most Watched Ads on YouTube in 2013
The Honda Hands Ad
Canine Domino Effect
Fun Television Advertising at Its Best!
From Love to Bingo in 873 Images
Motel 6 Takes a Trip Through Time
The World’s History in 3 Minutes

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

The Sherwood Group, located in Santa Clarita, California, a planned community outside Los Angeles, has over 30 years of experience working with the graphic design, website design, and marketing communication challenges presented by clients, small and large. Clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, through every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). It’s not the size or industry that defines our clients. It’s their mindset–They want quality and service.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

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Winter is Coming.… Maybe you’re not a fan of the mega HBO hit “Game of Thrones,” but if you’re mildly familiar with the show, you know what that phrase means. Hardship is on the way. You’d better start preparing. Things are going to get rough and you don’t want to be left out in the cold. But winter can be a GOOD thing, especially if you’re a business.

 

Social media possibilities

Mashable’s Kristin Kovner has predicted that e-commerce will explode with a 16.6% increase in sales up from $61 billion in 2013. It’s no secret that marketers everywhere are trying to make the most of the holiday season. When the weather is getting colder, the sales will be getting hotter.

Now is not the time to get behind on your holiday marketing campaign. The world of social media is a kingdom in and of itself. And to climb your way to the top, it’s important to know the rules. As you craft your own social media marketing strategy, here are the five social media marketing commandments.

1. Thou Shalt Not Go On Social Media Without a Strategy

Social Media expert Heather Smith explains that not many businesses actually have a social media strategy to begin with: “Less than 20 percent of businesses say that their social media strategy is mature.”

Social media users are flooded with information every second of every single day. Businesses that don’t have a clear and concise social media marketing strategy won’t ever cut through the clutter and deliver an effective message to their target audience.

Don’t commit the sin of aimless social media marketing. Without a strategy, you will lack the engagement you’re craving.

Social Media Sins 1

2. Thou Shalt Use Images

Research Company Roost conducted a study that found that photos get 50% more impressions than any other post type on Facebook, while also gathering more likes and comments.

People are more visual than ever. Utilizing visual social media like Vine and Instagram can make a huge impact in your social media strategy.

3. Thou Shalt Remain Human

In an age where buyers are constantly bombarded with deals, promos and ‘lowest price’ taglines, your brand’s personality is crucial to stand out from the pack. Corporate jargon and automated replies will send your audience running in the other direction, while brands that aren’t afraid to let loose will be welcomed with open arms. This Twitter conversation between Pizza Hut and one of its followers is a great example of a brand having fun with its personality.

4. Thou Shalt Think Before You Tweet

Recently, Digiorno pizza really goofed up on Twitter. They used the hashtag “#whyistayed” without knowing that the hashtag was what Tim Herrera at the Washington Post called “a resonant, emotive campaign to show support for women who stay in abusive relationships.“

Last year, AT&T earned serious social backlash for a failed 9/11 tribute, and, Gap crossed the line when it took to Twitter to promote discounts during Hurricane Sandy. It’s true that marketing today is time-sensitive, but you’d rather be late to the game than be perceived as offensive.

Committing the sin of impulse social media sharing can prove costly. What’s even more difficult is the fact that people remember your mistakes much more than they remember your pretty cool post that got hundreds of likes.

5. Thou Shalt Not Assume All Social Platforms Are Created Equal

Your social strategy shouldn’t be one size fits all. For example, B2B audiences spend most of their time on LinkedIn, while B2C buyers can be found on Facebook, according to Social Media Examiner.

The kingdom of social media can be a cold and complex place from time to time, but learn the ins and outs and you can reach the crown of engagement and business sales. Get an inside look on how to win the game of social media while developing great relationships and building sales this holiday season.

Author: Russel Cooke is a business writer and consultant who lives in Los Angeles, CA. You can follow him on Twitter @RusselCooke2.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to check out these others:

5 Reasons Why Smart People Never Bring Smartphones Into Meetings
Does Your Business Really Need A Website?
5 Tools for Blogging on the Go
Business Card Etiquette for Young Professionals
4 Tips for Entrepreneurs Looking to Grow Business
3 Ways to use LinkedIn Groups to Grow Your Professional Network
Greeting Cards: Are They a Thing of The Past?
How To Amp Up Your Visibility With Facebook

This article is published by The Sherwood Group, Creative Agency: The Sherwood group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering, Now what do we do?” We are located in Santa Clarita, California, a planned community just outside Los Angeles, California.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter of the best-of-the-best tips of each month by clicking here!

”Like” us and/or “Follow” us at these social media sites and we’ll return the favor:

Google+ | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?

 


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