5 Reasons Business Cards Still Matter


Posted By : Amanda Cox 0 Comment

Everything we do in business today is digital — sending mail, signing contracts, attending meetings, even networking. The business card is one thing that digital will not fully replace anytime soon. Here are five reasons why the old school business card is still important — and why you should have a pocket full of them at all times.


1. Swapping contact information digitally is impersonal.

Networking is about making genuine connections. Sending contact information via text or email on the spot is convenient but it is also extremely impersonal. Engaging in eye contact and actual conversation is how real relationships begin. Two individuals with their heads buried in their phones typing away won’t create any kind of significant memory of the encounter. You can easily transfer the information from a business card to your mobile device after the conversation.


2. They are the most effective direct marketing tools.

Email marketing, search engine optimization and paid media all do a great job of attracting leads and prospects, but they still aren’t as effective as an in-person meeting sealed with a handshake along with a business card exchange. You can encounter a potential lead or contact at any time — trade shows, industry conferences, happy hour, airport lounges — and arming yourself with business cards at all times will ensure that you never miss an opportunity to make a valuable business connection. Keep some in your pockets, wallet, money clip or laptop bag so the next time you encounter a prospect you are prepared.


3. A business card is the first impression of your brand.

When you meet someone that could potentially be a great prospect or connection, don’t you want him or her to walk away with a great first impression? A memorable business card does a lot more than just pass on an email address or phone number. When I make a connection via my business card, I don’t want my brand associated with the word cheap. A retail store trying to make a great first impression wouldn’t create a storefront sign with a piece of cardboard and a Sharpie. I have that same mentality when it comes to my business cards.

My goal is to make a memorable first impression. A well designed business card makes a great first impression and they also act as a great icebreaker. I have never once had a conversation end after handing over my business card. A unique business card will actually fuel the conversation even further.

Yes, they cost more — but think of how many unnecessary expenses you can cut to allocate funds for great business cards. Hold off on the ping pong table and espresso machine for the office and get some business cards that will make a great first impression.


4. Creative business cards get shared — continuing to market for you.

A business card is a physical object that a potential prospect leaves the encounter with. Your brand stays with them. If you meet a prospect and exchange email addresses and phone numbers you each walk away with another contact on your mobile phone — it ends there. If you hand over a creative business card that makes a great impression that person is likely to show it to other people — putting you and your brand in front of additional prospects.


5. Business cards show you are prepared.

Have you ever had someone write his or her contact information on a cocktail napkin and hand it over to you? How about someone that had a mobile phone with a dead battery? It isn’t the most professional approach. If you met two individuals and one was scrambling to find a pen and something to write on and the other person simply pulled out a business card, who would you want to do business with? Showing that you are prepared at all times is a great indicator that you are professional.


Fear not. Conversations will still end with, “Let me give you my business card,” at least for a little longer.

How do you feel about business cards — do you still use them and see them sticking around for a long time? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Do you need better designed business cards?
Well designed, stand out, creative business cards can make all the difference when keeping your brand in front of people. OPTIMAL Graphics offers a variety of business cards to meet your branding needs. We have plastic cards, frosted cards, recycled cards, trifecta cards, cards with di-cuts, spot UV and all that’s in between. Let us design your card that WOWS! Contact us today for card options and a free quote.

The Importance of Having a Mobile Friendly Website


Posted By : Amanda Cox 0 Comment

The internet started on the PC but with more than 3 billion mobile phones being used world wide, we are soon approaching a time when many people’s first internet experience will be through a mobile device. These rapid changes have left the business world with no choice other than to adapt to them. With mobile devices taking over the place of the PC, not having a mobile friendly website is like committing business suicide.

Why You Should Have a Mobile Friendly Site

Rise of the smart phones: Smartphones have become affordable over the past few years. Almost everyone is looking to buy one. These devices are excellent for hand held browsing. Since the sale of smart phones is increasing, it only makes sense for companies to have a site that can be easily browsed through on these devices.

Popularity of mobile internet: According to studies, about 40% of the people who have a mobile phone use it for going online, and half of them will go online at least once every day. This presents a huge opportunity for a business.

Inexpensive option: Because mobile screens are a lot different from computer screens, the site design has to change accordingly. It is a relatively cheap process and not very time consuming either.

Don’t get beaten by competition: People love to browse while traveling. However, when they find that sites that they normally used at their PCs are not mobile compatible, they might end up switching to a site which provides similar services and is mobile compatible as well.

SEO: Having a mobile friendly website also helps in SEO as it helps improve rankings on mobile friendly search engines such as Google or Yahoo.

Compatible with all platforms, unlike mobile apps: The alternative to mobile friendly site is producing apps that perform similar functions. Now this can be a very tedious task. Making an app is also quite expensive and apart from that, you would have to make different apps for different platforms. Once you make these apps, they have to fight hundreds of thousands of other apps to get into the spotlight.

Better user experience: Earlier, it might not have been possible to make a mobile site and give the user a good enough experience because of the low bandwidth and server speeds. However, in recent times, this has changed and you can be assured that using a good mobile site will be an enriching experience for a user.

Within a span of three years, the number of people accessing the internet via mobile will be more than those accessing it via a PC. This, more than anything else, should be a clear indication for you to start working on the mobile version of your site. Apart from that, the biggest draw on the internet today are social networking websites. Many people access these websites through there mobile devices. If they come across a link to your site, they would want to view it on their mobile screens.

Things to Keep in Mind

There are numerous reasons for you to have a mobile version of your site. Mobiles are the device of choice for many people today, and you would want to be accessible to them. However, while making mobile sites, you need to keep certain things in mind. People use mobiles for browsing because they want to save time. If a site takes too long to load, then there is no point of a mobile user visiting that site. You need to keep the page size small enough so it is loaded quickly on cellular networks.

Often the problem of text size also crops up. It is not a good idea to cram the most information you can in one page. Mobile screens are small and it becomes difficult to read a lot of text. Also clicking on links becomes a difficult task. Make sure that the content of your page can be viewed easily and the site can be navigated easily as well.

If you are not someone who is surfing the net from your mobile, then you will soon be in minority. In the near future, most people will be using a mobile phone for browsing. This means that any business that has a presence on the internet right now should make appropriate changes so that its website is mobile friendly.

To Hire or Not to Hire?


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Risk Word In Red Showing Peril And UncertaintyHiring a graphic designer nowadays is not easy. It can be a very stressful process. From high hourly rates to no call backs and ridiculous turn around times, it’s no wonder there are more articles posted titled “Top Reasons NOT To Hire A Graphic Designer” than I can sift through. I came across a few that were quite humorous to me at first, and then I started thinking; What if people really do think like this? If people are thinking like this then why not give them a reason to think again about these negative lists. Here are some reasons that were created BY graphic designers to get people to think about things they were doing.

1. “Joe, the IT guy, knows how to stretch and squish photos and place them into PowerPoint to make cool tri-folds we can just print out on our desktop printer.”

Your company image is everything. And that doesn’t just refer to your uniformed men or the people who answer your phones. It flows all the way down to items you present to potential customers and current customers. Things as simple as brochures and business cards are being judged, especially if you are in a high competition industry. You may not think so, but winning a bid can come right down to who had the better sales materials. Consider hiring a graphic designer or professional print company to make sure you have quality products you are using to present with.

2. “Because you KNOW that people will look at your ad longer if you fill every inch of it with all the information they ever needed to know about your product.”

If this is your thinking you may want to consider changing it. You have approximately 3 seconds to grab your readers attention before they navigate to the next page. Make it count! Less is more. Make sure you get a headline that captures their attention and then get the basics, phone number, website, and call to action. If they read EVERYTHING about your product in the ad what makes them want to call you?

3. “Kinko’s doesn’t suck. They do a rip-roaring job on all my important collateral.”

Yes, Kinko’s offers you all the means for quality printed materials. But if the design is terrible who cares where it is printed? A glossy paper isn’t going to make it present any better. Remember, think about the image you want your potential and current customers left with.

4. “Default 12pt Times New Roman type with auto leading is easier for my great-grandmother to read than any of those fancy fonts designers use.”

That may be true, but is your great-grandmother reading your ad? Or looking through your brochure to buy? Probably think. Think about the people who are. We as consumers are attracted to bright colors, whimsical fonts, and things that draw our eye from the “norm”. Default 12pt Times New Roman font just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Bottom line, think of your ads, sales materials and promotional materials as YOU. Your brand, your image, your company. You don’t have to be to flashy or too off the wall. And you don’t have to pay gobs of money for it. What you spend is well worth what you will get back from it. A well designed set of materials can become a very beneficial sales tool.

Creating A Successful Print Ad


Posted By : Amanda Cox 0 Comment

mcdonalds-angusThe first step in creating a good print advertisement is to establish the appeal; why should your reader buy, or request more information? Think about your headline. Do you want to sell your fast service, discounted rates, or free estimates? The key is to capture the attention of your reader before they see a similar ad on the next page. When designing your campaign look through the magazine or paper you are listing your service in. Try to find something different than the other ads. Your ad will more than likely be one amongst hundreds so offering something your competition doesn’t makes for a appeal!

The body of the copy or bullet points you list should state the benefits of using your product or service. It should emphasize how they are different, or better, than your competitors’ benefits. Emphasize words like “free” or “no obligation” to make your customer feel comfortable about calling. Think about adding a short testimonial. And the obvious, don’t forget to include full contact information; telephone number, address if you have a physical location, and a website. Consider also adding information about your social media pages as this is becoming a business standard.

Next think about the design of your ad. The size of the headline font should be big and powerful enough to grab the attention of the reader. Pictures can be helpful, but, if possible, don’t use pictures that have nothing to do with the product or service. You want the pictures to attract buyers, not curiosity seekers. Pictures of the product, of the product in use, and of people using the product, work best.

Include organization logos and seals of approval. Making your customer feel that you are not only established but you have companies keeping you in check. Consumers nowadays rely heavily on organization memberships such as Check A Pro, Angie’s List, Service Magic, and the Better Business Bureau.

Where and when to place your ads are vital to its success, so it’s important to put together a strategy and media plan. The media plan is a schedule of ad placements for the year, and includes, the publication name, which ad will run, dates the ads will appear, size of the ads, placement within the publication, and fees. It can be time consuming but setting a strategy helps you get the most out of your ad. The plan can also include other types of ads that will run throughout the year in different mediums that may highlight your print ad. Think about email marketing or social media campaigns to run in conjunction with your print ad.