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How Small Businesses Use Social Proof To Boost Sales

TD Blog Small Business and Social Proof

Positive reviews can work wonders to increase business. In a time when many people use their smartphones to help them determine where to eat, shop and stay, and even which home service providers to use, social proof is more important than ever to the health and well-being of your small business.

Social proof drives small business success

According to a recent Nielsen study about referrals, respondents indicated that word-of-mouth isn’t just effective for specific industries. More than 80 percent of Americans actively seek advice from family and friends on major purchases. Nearly 70 percent say they are somewhat more likely to make a purchase after a family member or friend shared their experience on social media.

If your target market is younger, social proof is especially important to business growth. Regardless of the industry, 92 percent of survey respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 say they want recommendations from friends and family before a product purchase.

Americans with household incomes over $100,000 are also more likely than the average consumer to seek the opinions of others before considering a new product or service.

Use review management and monitoring tools to reach customers

Monitoring and managing customer reviews online can quickly blossom into a time-sucking monster. Neglecting unhappy customers isn’t an option for businesses who understand the importance of social proof.

It’s not difficult to turn around a negative experience and even create a loyal customer by handling their complaints with grace. Responding in a timely matter is crucial, and in an online review platform like Yelp, Facebook or Twitter, you have a wide audience.

Review management tools can help you reach unhappy customers before their comments damage future business opportunities. Monitoring all reviews in one place is a real time-saver for small business owners and managers.

It’s not just the unhappy customers that require attention. People who leave positive and in-depth reviews that will help others decide to use your products or services deserve your swift and sincere thanks.

Review management and monitoring tools handle the heavy lifting for you. Logging in to one platform allows you to see all reviews across all social media outlets. This makes responding quickly a simple task.

Let customers know their opinion matters

Businesses who actively seek reviews are better able to offer sought-after social proof. They can tweak their products and services to better serve their customers and keep positive reviews rolling in.

There are several ways to solicit customer reviews that are simple for small businesses to immediately implement. The review funnel tool sends automated emails to customers with a request for a review. When your customer clicks on the “Review Us” button, they have the opportunity to quickly and easily leave comments about their experience with your company.

Another way many small businesses successfully solicit reviews from customers is through a printed review invitation. This tangible reminder is simply a small card that thanks the customer for their business and asks for a review of their experience. A QR code lets the customer leave a review using their smartphone in real time.

Social proof is an important part of every small business, and new technology offers the opportunity to stay on top of customer praise and complaints without letting it take a huge bite out of your day.

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A Genuine Update for The Original Egg’s Website

Original Egg Blog Image

When our hunger pains won’t subside, we can’t think of anything more satisfying than walking into an eatery featuring quality home cooked meals. With sincere faces and traditional breakfast and lunch items everywhere in sight, a place like The Original Egg just might compete with a family meal at moms. That’s why we felt it would only be fair to update their website to reflect that homey feeling of goodness.

To do this, we began by creating an overall message for their site. Starting with a tagline of “Genuine breakfast, brunch and lunch”, we created a consistent voice throughout the site to match their quaint, blue-adorned restaurant.

Introducing hues of golden-yellows, warm wood textures and a few close ups of their most popular items, the site started to replicate the welcoming feeling you get when you’re really there.  

To avoid too much clicking around, we kept the most important information on the home page using a one-page scroll. Menus, hours, contact info and catering are a few of the important elements we wanted to highlight.

By using the one-page scroll, we were also able to simplify the navigation bar and its corresponding scroll downs. One adjustment we made was creating a new name and look for their popular “Birthday Club”, which featured more than just a birthday bonus. By changing the name to “Rewards Club”, we were able to attract a wider ranged audience while also showcasing all of The Original Egg’s perks on one page.

With the site complete, it’s our hopes that the new look and navigation (paired with photos of their famous blintzes, giant pancakes and drizzled French toast) are enough to convince viewers that this eatery isn’t one worth passing up. 

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Website Makeover for World Class Dentistry

WCD-TD-Blog-Image

World Class Dentistry can be described as just that: World Class. Taking a closer look though, you’ll find they have much more to offer than just quality dental care. Husband-and-wife, Dr. Jill Morris and Dr. Burr Bakke work side-by-side, blending their strengths to offer the most thorough patient results possible. Together, they offer topnotch restorative, general, preventive and holistic dentistry. While their duo team alone speaks to WCD patients, their honest marketing also offers transparent insight. Using real patients, a sense of trust can be undoubtedly placed into their hands.

While rebranding WCD’s website, Think Donson had two main goals in mind. Firstly, we wanted to demonstrate their combined, extensive knowledge of dentistry. Secondly, we wanted patients who visit the site to see their visible marketing model: those real patients with real results.

On WCD’s homepage, we built sliding headers as an intro for visitors. Each header displays a WCD service, patient photo and quick testimonial. Clean, tasteful colors and subtle textures allow the headers to pop—soft blacks, muted oranges and grays. From there, every page carries a similar feel. (Authentic before and after photos and references appropriately placed.)

With so many available services, we needed them to be extremely easy to locate. To accomplish this, we divided their main services up into display boxes on the homepage. Upon entering the service of your choice, corresponding subcategories follow. Suitable text is spaciously displayed in order to not overwhelm readers.

If you still weren’t convinced of their abilities after perusing the site, a video featuring Dr. Morris and Dr. Bakke offering a rundown of who they are and what they offer is just one click away—and also featured on the homepage.

Visit sarasotadentist.com to see World Class Dentistry’s complete website makeover.

WCD Before and After

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A Refined Website for Black Tie Tree Services

Black Tie Blog Image

Professional, knowledgeable, efficient and safe: these are the words Black Tie Tree Services use to define their tree care projects. Devoted to providing high-end tree maintenance throughout the area, they are not just interested in accomplishing impressive results, but in building ethical relationships, offering more options—better options—and doing so following a precise timeline.

With such complete offerings and refined services, Black Tie lacked only an updated website to match their reputation. When Glen Rieth of Black Tie approached Think Donson, he knew he wanted to start from scratch to receive only the best possible results. For him, that meant producing “a professional looking website that showcased Black Tie’s services.”

With Glen’s concerns in mind, Think Donson began to rebuild Black Tie’s site by rewriting their copy. Maintaining a clear voice, we placed the content in appropriate categories so services would be easily understood. Complementing their new voice with a clean design was next on the list. Throughout the process, Glen was kept in the know. He noted that he was given the chance to “digest the new site, from copy to design features. Think Donson also took any concerns I had to heart by making changes I felt were needed. At the same time, they didn’t allow me to make changes that would not benefit the site.”

When you scroll through Black Tie’s new website, you’ll notice a fresh homepage with a new tagline, crisp photos and quick cues. What does Glen think? “My hopes of highlighting our services was achieved with this new site, and most importantly, it’s professional,” says Glen. Visit their site and find out how easy it is to request an estimate, quickly learn the ins and outs of tree care, or even, just to watch a short video of their work in action.

Black Tie before and after

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A Quality Website for Southwest Florida Veterinary Services

SWFL Vets Blog Image

Committed to quality care, pet owners have come to rely and depend on Southwest Florida Veterinary Services as a compassionate skilled partner for care of their most beloved companions. Using state-of-the-art technology, SWFL Vets provides superior care to any other clinic in the area. So, when they decided they needed a new website, they wanted to communicate this authentic, qualified attitude. And, so did we.

At Think Donson, we began designing SWFL Vets’ website by picking a professional color palette featuring soft blues and just enough white space. Welcoming, friendly photos and a subtle design fill the top headers. Appropriate words follow each header where information is purposefully laid out in a clean, clear manner.

All important information pet parents may need to know swiftly, is easily in reach. For example, emergency checklists with phone numbers and office hours can be found without hesitation.

On top of offering approachable, quality care, SWFL Vets is “…diligent about promoting client education and responsible pet ownership.” This was always the sense patients developed when they visited the office and now it is found throughout their entire website, too.

SWFL Vets before and after

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An Effortless Website for Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club

GCCC Blog Image

If you’ve been listening to us talk about websites lately, you’ll know how important it is to have easy navigational experiences for the consumers who roam them. It might be even more essential to do so when you’re a company like Gulf Coast Connoisseur Club. This loyalty program rewards members for their “good taste” as they accumulate points by frequenting specific eateries. They also organize and lead exclusive journeys to the most exotic food and wine destinations in the world. Potential GCCC members are going to want to know a few things when investigating their site: how to become a member, and how it all works. 

Kimberly from GCCC approached Think Donson knowing this, and, knowing she wanted to enhance the overall experience for spectators. With a plan in place, Think Donson went to work. Keeping in touch with Kimberly throughout the process, she recognized, “Think Donson is extremely easy to work with and they're available to fix a problem or make a change quickly.” 

Upon entering the website you’ll find pleasant neutrals and wood grain textures which set the scene. Headers with short descriptions and relevant photos reveal a sneak peak into all of GCCC’s offerings. From there, noticeable tabs in multiple locations allow guests to get where they’re going. Tabs like “Join” lead directly to a quick form for new members to fill out.

With the website completed, Kimberly says, “Think Donson took the time to listen to our ideas and made them come to life...” We’re excited ourselves knowing new and current members have an effortless, scenic voyage ahead. 

GCCC website before after

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New Name & New Look for Paradise Dermatology

paradise derm blog image1

Paradise Dermatology offers comprehensive dermatologic care. Dr. Pennie is one of only a handful of dermatologists on the West Coast of Florida that attended a year long fellowship training program in Mohs Micrographic Surgery, the most effective and precise treatment for most types of skin cancer. Among offering exceptional treatment, Dr. Pennie and her staff are known for their sincere, professional nature towards clients.

When Paradise Dermatology approached us at Think Donson with the task of updating their brand, they opted for something that resembled their work: professional, sincere and effective. Formally known as Pennie Dermatology, our team had a unique opportunity. We needed to keep their image similar to what it was as to not confuse clients about the name change, but we also needed to enhance their overall look.

Starting with an updated logo, we chose to keep their vibrant color scheme and appropriately place their new name snuggly under their recognized graphic element. With subtle font changes (and a few graphic tweaks here and there) we were able to tie it all together.

From there, we rebuilt their brand starting with a responsive website containing intuitive navigation. Email newsletters, call tracking, monthly reporting and ongoing consultation ensure their new changes are portrayed with ease. Print designs included business cards, appointment cards, postcards, letterheads, envelopes, signage and a billboard.

If we may say so ourselves, we think their new branding looks like paradise…

Check below for a before and after of their updated website.

PARADISE derm before and after

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How to Verify a Facebook Business Page

fb verified image

How do you know if your page is verified?

  • Your page is verified if you have a blue or gray checkmark next to your page name:

    • A blue badge is a verified celebrity, public figure or global brand.

    • A gray badge is a verified local business or organization.

 

Why do you need to verify your Facebook page?

  • A verified business page will rank higher in search.

  • You will build trust with your customers and potential customers.

  • People will know they are on the correct Facebook page for your business.

  • Verification adds credibility to your page.

 

How do you verify your Facebook page?

  1. Login to Facebook and go to Settings in the top right corner of your business page account.

  2. Make sure you’re in General settings (on the left), scroll down to the Page Verification section and click edit.

  3. Choose to verify your page by Phone or Documentation:

    1. Phone:

      1. Enter the Business Phone Number, Country and Call Language and click “Call Me Now”.

      2. You will receive a call with a verification code.

      3. Enter the 4-digit verification code and click Continue.

    2. Documentation:

      1. Upload an official document showing your business name and address.

      2. Facebook with review the documentation and you will receive a notification within a few days of your verification status.

  4. That’s it! Your business is verified!

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Great Web Design, Great Business

wed design blog

The Benefits of Having a Well Designed Website

You own a business and you offer brilliant service. What’s your website look like, though? (We hope it’s as good as your best product/most famous dish/you fill in the blank.) If it’s not, you’re missing out on a significant amount of business. Your website is the heart of your digital marketing presence; it’s the first impression of who you are. Customers spend roughly 60 seconds looking at your website before deciding if they want to give up and move on. Within that time, a high quality website is going to put trust in customers and generate traffic. This is due to more than one factor. We are here to tell you what those most important factors are and how we can provide you with a site that matches that fill in the blank of yours.

Responsive Design: Reactive on laptops, phones and tablets

Minimalism: White space, flat colors and fewer pages

User-friendly: Simple, intuitive and functional navigation

High Quality Content: Well-crafted images, videos and written copy

Rich Graphics: Interesting (not distracting) hover animation and clever actions when placing mouse over content

Think Donson offers complete web design services including custom layouts, responsive design and Joomla CMS. We’ll make it responsive, intuitive, functional, conversion-driven and optimized for discovery. For an example, take a look at our recent website makeover done for our valued client, Outer Image Spa. 

outer image spa before and after

 

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A Modern & Clean Website for Twin Dolphin Marina

twin dolphin marina

As the premier port on the Manatee River, Twin Dolphin Marina is the hub of Bradenton’s notable downtown. It’s a beautiful spot for not only a marina, but for its neighboring restaurants, shopping centers and the historic Bradenton Pier. So when the marina’s Marketing Director, Natalie Meyer, approached Think Donson with the hopes of a new website, she wanted to illustrate those matchless features.

Having worked with Gary and Felicia Donson on four websites in the past, Natalie was familiar with their process and noted that, “They are extremely knowledgeable about current website tools, technology and marketing.”

Gary and Felicia put Natalie’s vision in place with quality, relevant photos surrounded by subtle, clean textures and calming colors. Simple, yet eye-catching icons make for an extremely user-friendly experience, and applicable links with amenities and relevant information are easily in reach. “The end goal was to have an updated, unique and modern site with lots of imagery. Think Donson went above and beyond that,” Natalie said.

Fulfilled with the results of Twin Dolphin Marina’s new website, Natalie follows up by stating, “We appreciate working with a professional responsive team who offers great suggestions and understands our needs.” 

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Fresh Marketing for Restaurateurs

rest marketing blog

Being a restaurant owner is no easy task. You keep the kitchen in tact, delight and entertain customers and manage the staff. And if that’s not biting off more than you can chew, add marketing to the mix. The best marketing approach for your establishment depends on the personal flare, theme and audience you’re trying to reach.

Here are key tools Think Donson uses to achieve marketing feat for the restaurateur:

Web Design

Your website is not only the heart of your digital marketing presence, it’s where hungry customers are going to look first when out and about looking for a good meal. We’ll make it responsive, intuitive, functional, conversion-driven and optimized for discovery.

Content Creation

You already know who you are. You’re a locally sourced eatery, a traditional mom and pop diner, or everyone’s favorite brunch spot. Your customers won’t know that until you put your story into words. Web copy, ad campaigns, blogs, e-blast copy, press releases, or publications; you name it—we create it.

Digital Marketing

Welcome to the constantly evolving, brave new world of new technologies, new media and new platforms. Get your message to the local foodies, and the seasonal guests using custom-tailored, measurable initiatives that span web.

Creative Services

It’s your restaurant’s story. We’ll help customers hear it. Our dream team of marketing strategists, designers, website developers, copywriters, publicists, photographers and videographers will make sure you are heard.

Review Management

Think globally. Reach locally. Make your hometown presence known with top placement in all online directories, map listings and reviews.

Data Reporting

See all of your data channels in one customized dashboard by scheduling daily/weekly/monthly reports.

Email Marketing

It’s time to get personal with all of the restaurant goers. We’ll help brand your email campaigns, segment your lists and create seamless website integration.

Consult with Think Donson to tap into our experiences. We’ll explore your marketing goals from every possible angle. We know where to listen and we’re here to help.

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New Marketing for The John Chapman Law Firm

chapman blog image

As a business and estate litigation lawyer, John Chapman serves the Sarasota and Bradenton areas with over twenty years of experience backing him up. From construction, real estate or contract disputes, The John Chapman Law Firm is committed to providing sound advice and comprehensive legal services. With each client, his motive remains the same: to resolve issues in a way that benefits them. When John came to us for marketing advice, our motive at Think Donson was to get this message seen and heard.

Having a long term relationship with Felicia and her quality of work, John gave Think Donson a go-ahead to create a new website featuring original graphic design, data reporting and local directory management abilities. John said, “I was looking for good, or a better product than I was getting from my current provider.”

With a new website including easy navigation, responsive design and a professional, clean look, John’s requests became an actuality. An all in one reporting platform allows him to see all of his data channels in one customized dashboard. A local directory management tool allows his online presence known.

When all was said and done, John noted that “…the quality of work, personal service and quick turnaround” from Think Donson made his marketing transition an easy choice. 

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Why white space?

whywhitespace blogart sIn graphic design, the use of white space is incredibly important for many reasons. But first, let’s start with Wikipedia’s definition of the term: In page layout, illustration and sculpture, white space is often referred to as negative space. It is the portion of a page left unmarked: the space between graphics, margins, gutters, space between columns, space between lines of type or figures and objects drawn or depicted.
 
The term arises from graphic design practice, where printing processes generally use white paper. White space should not be considered merely 'blank' space — it is an important element of design which enables the objects in it to exist at all, the balance between positive (or non-white) and the use of negative spaces is key to aesthetic composition. - Wikipedia

White space gives the viewer a place for their eye to rest. A page or website crammed with too much information or images confuses the eye and the client will quickly look elsewhere, to another page in the publication or in search for another website that is more visually appealing. Some of my clients originally believed that leaving white space was essentially a waste of advertising space. “You need to fill all the space!” they would say – but actually it is the opposite – and the design becomes more inviting to the viewer. The elements stand out better when there is breathing room!

The advantages of white space in design:
 
• White space attracts the eye and gives you a place to rest
• Improves readability
• Makes the pieces look cleaner, elegant, and sophisticated
• Gives more focus to the product
• Helps with movement and the importance of elements on the page
• Separates items
 
“ Negative space is magical – create it, don’t just fill it up!” Timothy Samara
 
The goal of marketing is to capture the interest of a potential client. You want them to respond to your marketing efforts with a call for more information,  a purchase of your product, or the use of your services. Make sure your designs are inviting and bring people in!
 
At Think Donson we help you focus on your message and create memorable and clean designs that will bring you results.
 
 
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Learn the process of logo design

processoflogodesign blogart s“A logo does not sell (directly), it identifies.” - Paul Rand

What is the process of designing a logo?

Sometimes when a potential client hears the price of logo design they cannot understand why it costs so much. There is a multi-step strategy for creating good logos, and because we want to be sure that the final design suits the client’s needs, we go through an individualized process to ascertain what those needs are. Here’s a quick description of that process:

1. Design Brief – We begin by asking the client the following questions. This gives us a better idea of what the logo should say about their business or product.

• What is the overall market you are looking to reach (demographics)?

• Who are your main competitors? How do you differ from them?

• How do you want to be perceived by others? (For example: friendly, approachable, technologically advanced, etc.)

• What are some logos that you like -- and why?

• Is there a specific image you have in mind?

• What is the overall look and feel you want for your logo?

• Do you have certain colors that you prefer?

• Where will your logo be used? (This is an important question. Your logo should be able to be used on anything, not just business cards, letterhead and marketing. Think about advertising specialties such as pens, ball caps, etc.).

• If you are redoing your logo, what is the reason for the redesign? What do you like – and dislike -- about your current logo?

• Time frame – When do you plan to start using your new logo?

• How would you describe your services? What are the key words that you often use?

2. Contract – Before starting the research process a signed contract and deposit is due. This way the client understands the terms and agreement prior to any design work.

3. Research – We research competitors and the specific industry to see how other companies are doing business and how they represent their company.

4. Concepts – Based on the information I’ve gathered from the design brief and research, I come up with several different concepts. I start with a lot of thinking – then creating potential images, fonts and graphics, that might work together. I put these thoughts to paper – experimenting with fonts that work well – thinking about the iconic element of the logo… then I try putting the two together to see which font works with which icon.

Sometimes I go back to the drawing board, sometimes I throw my ideas around with another colleague. But I always keep in mind that simplicity is the key. A good logo should work well anywhere, whether it’s on a billboard, a business card, a website. Logos that are simple and clean stand out from the crowd and can work on anything.

5. Presentation – By this stage I have narrowed my designs down to a small group of logos that I believe work best for the client. My goal is to offer the best possible logos that represent the thoughts and ideas of the client’s. I usually offer color choices that I think work well with each particular concept. Once the client has chosen a logo the colors can be tweaked and finalized to their exact specifications.

6. Final– At this end stage, my client has selected a logo and the color(s) have been finalized. The client pays for my design work and receives a final artwork of the logo saved in several different formats for varied usages (web pages, print advertising, letterhead and business cards, etc).

I hope this helps with understanding the logo design process. It is a lot more in depth then one might expect. Since everything in your company’s branding revolves around your logo, it’s got to be great!

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Why is color important?

whycolormatters sWhy do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No. Just as one can never learn how to paint. -- Pablo Picasso
 
Color plays a vital role in designing a piece. Whether you’re working on a logo or trying to figure out the best colors to use in creating your brand, color creates certain moods. Colors can make a piece look rich, fun, sophisticated – or extremely ugly or cheap. Some colors are soothing, some are exciting, some go perfectly together and others clash. Color can totally change the way we think about a piece, so our choices are really important. How do you go about selecting the right colors for your marketing materials so that the viewer responds favorably?
Here are some of the points to consider:
 
• Do the colors convey the right message to the audience?
• Do the color choices create the quality you’re trying to achieve?
• Are you choosing the colors for the right reasons? (Not because they are your favorite or your school colors!)
• Color needs to enhance the product, not take away from it. Does the color improve the readability and design?
Color theory infographic
 
Let’s discuss color process so you will have a better understanding: Colors can be broken down into CMYK, RGB and Pantone colors:
 
• CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) -- Used for print design; also called 4-color process.
• RGB (Red, Green Blue) -- Mainly used for website applications, banner ads and other web technology.
• Pantone Colors -- The popular matching system used in the print industry. Similar to a paint swatch book, you can select exact matches on color when printing.
 
More than 80% of people choose a product by color and over 90% purchase a product because of how it looks visually. Are you going to leave your color choices to chance?
 
Contact Think Donson to talk about what colors will work best for the promotion of your product.
 
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Sharky's On The Pier Launches an Updated Website and Online Store!

Sharkyswebsite blogimage sJust one visit to Sharky’s on the Pier, and you’ll understand why it has become a favorite Venice area landmark. Officially opened on February 12, 1987, at the site of what was once an outdated beach concession, they’ve become known for exceeding expectations in drinks and dining. So when Marketing Director, Emma Kate Silvestri, contacted us about revamping and updating the Sharky’s website, we were excited about the possibilities!

“We wanted our website to reflect our restaurant – bright, fun, the “Sharky’s laid back lifestyle” – while also showcasing the breathtaking views and great food and service that guests will experience when visiting Sharky’s. Gary and Felicia created a fully responsive website that is functional and easy to use, while looking sharp at the same time. We love it!”, she says.
“A big part of our new website is the new online store. We want people to be able to shop Sharky’s, Snook Haven and Fins’ merchandise no matter where they live (including gift cards!) and now you can do that on a more user friendly e-commerce site. The online store will continue to grow with more products over the next few months – very exciting!”

When asked about her experience working with Gary and Felicia of Think Donson, her response was, “Absolutely fantastic! They really know the ins and outs of website development and go above and beyond to make sure we are happy with our new site. Gary explains things very thoroughly and in a way that is easy to understand. He’s extremely quick to respond to any questions you may have and makes necessary changes to the website right away. They are a local company which we love and are extremely easy to work with. We are very happy we ended up working with Think Donson to re-do the Sharky’s site!” Check out the new Sharky's On The Pier website here!

If you’re ready to revitalize your website, contact us! We’ll work with your vision to make it responsive, intuitive, functional and optimized for discovery. Your website is the heart of your digital presence. Why settle for less than excellence?

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Why is it so important to have a marketing budget?

whyimptohavemarkbudget blogartMost small businesses have little or no money set aside for marketing – but even with a small budget it’s possible to effectively brand your company’s products and services. You just need to be sure you’re using your dollars for all the right reason and getting your money’s worth.

When starting up a business consider your start-up costs for marketing. An obvious first step would be a great logo design. Your logo will be around for the life of your company and should be simple and clean, memorable and effective. Secondly, your business card is your “calling card” – it should leave a positive impression of you after a face to face meeting with a potential customer, and should entice that person into contacting you about your product or services.

A badly printed or designed card, a cluttered look, too much information, an unattractive or unreadable font, the wrong colors, poorly chosen artwork – all these mistakes and more may send clients away and over to the competition. A well-designed card says you’re serious and professional about your business and gives you a head start in attracting the right clientele.

Another important marketing must is your business website. Don't skimp on your site -- it needs to function easily, be well designed and bring in traffic. Do your research; make sure you understand what you are getting for your dollar. Even a well designed website won’t mean a thing if it can’t be found by search engines! Good branding and effective optimization are equally important – one brings in the consumer and the other keeps them engaged.

Let’s discuss some things to consider when working on your marketing budget:


• Ideal Customer – knowing who your ideal customer is will help you best determine the places to spend your limited funds. Many people will try to sell you marketing services, so do your research and know what will be the most effective approach to reach that particular demographic.
• Make sure you have the right marketing message – What makes you stand out from your competitors? Why should they use you? Make your service a necessary part of your potential customers lives.
• Social media – Post special events, sales and testimonials through social networking. This is a way to get your company’s name out there. Build your brand – and at a very nominal expense. Social media can reach a large number of people and it’s also a great way to track traffic.
• Email newsletter -- This is another inexpensive way to reach potential customers. Give them more
Information about your company, build a database, send out your blog or get people
to your website with special offers.
• Blog – Blogging can keep your business and services updated; it engages and builds trust in your readership. Post stories, testimonials, interesting articles about your field of business, sample work, etc. – it all helps your credibility, builds your brand and increases SEO (search engine optimization).
• Testimonials: Ask your customers for recommendations. Why were they satisfied with your services? Why should people should use you? Include these testimonials on your website, in your printed materials or on your facebook page.
• Building a network of contacts: Building contacts is key. Referral programs with other businesses
Is a win-win for both businesses. Partner with companies that you respect. Check back with those clients who use any referred businesses or services to confirm their experience was positive. Be sure you are building a positive image for your company!

This is just a starting place to build from; I’ve seen too many people waste their marketing dollars on sales tactics that are not effective. Use your budget wisely – do your research – start with the basics and don’t skimp on the important stuff! You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

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The advantages of using local printers instead of online printers

localprinters blogartWith 18 years of design experience, I’ve tried all the printing options out there. Some people may disagree, but I strongly believe in keeping your print jobs local – and here’s why:
 
• Face to face communication: There’s much to be said about talking directly to your printer. You can look at samples of their work, choose your paper, colors, and check proofs easily. If your job is not printing exactly the way you envisioned it can be adjusted.
• The value of ongoing relationships: Bring in several jobs to the same print company and you build a relationship while supporting the community you live in.
• Quality control: As the customer, you have more control over the end product with a local printer. You don’t have to mail things back if you’re unhappy with the print job and wait for days for a reprint – you can discuss it directly with your printer. Online companies may be able to beat the prices of local companies, but bear in mind what the trade-off is. You can lose time, quality and ultimately money in the long run if you need to reprint or find another online printer. Do you want the cheapest? Or the best quality?
 
“Good service is good business.” - Siebel Ad
 
The goal of your local printer is to build long term relationships in the community by providing good service and a quality product. Since your marketing materials may be the first introduction to your company you want them to look great. Working with the same printer can ensure a consistent level of professional materials – and the end results show that you and the print shop can produce a quality product.
 
When choosing a print company, make sure to weigh all your options -- talk to other business owners, find out who they use and why, compare products, and ask the right questions. You may find that the few dollars you save with an online print company causes problems you never anticipated. Is it worth it?
 
There are many great print shops in the area capable of handling any size print job – color or black & white, large format or small, business cards to full-color complex projects. We use local because we want the best quality and service for our clients.
 
 
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How a creative person charges? Crystal Ball not required.

howcreativescharge blogart Is there a method behind how a creative person charges a client?

Experienced graphic designers, photographers, writers and other creative service providers put a huge amount of effort into their work. Their pricing must be competitive and fair in the market and is based on the time involved, the depth of the project, and the skill required. Next time you’re looking to hire a creative service person, please consider the time and effort that goes into each and everything they do.

Does a writer simply write?

A talented writer doesn’t just sit down and write great copy. There’s a good deal of time and research involved, first drafts, meetings, edits and rewrites before the final copy is approved.

How does a graphic designer create a great logo?

An experienced designer doesn’t just throw a logo together. Thought goes into each idea, and the designer must fully understand the client’s wishes and the company’s mission and message before starting on any initial concepts. Color options, marketing plans and future goals as well as knowing the competition are all important considerations that contribute to a successfully designed logo.

Photography is not just about the pictures!

Similarly, a photographer meets with the client, plans and sets up the photo shoot and choreographs the project from start to finish. He takes the photos, returns to the studio, processes, photoshops, edits, revises and finalizes the work before the client sees any proofs. And there is more time involved in providing the client with the final product.

These are just a few of the steps that your creative services person goes through in order to provide you with a quality product. A good designer wants you to be fully satisfied with the end results!

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Can Graphics be used to explain information in a Court Trial?

Think blog

When people think of graphics they immediately think logos, fliers, and brochures. But are there other uses for graphics? The answer is yes! Graphics are used to communicate messages and ideas. Presented correctly, they can bring to life data and information while focusing your audience on key points. A perfect example is this presentation created for a court trial. Using graphics, the client was able to explain the process of an Audit in a simple and interesting way, while making it easy for the Jury to understand.

At Think Donson we can help your company identify its needs and create unique and dynamic images to inform, educate, and attract your customers. With experience in all industries of Marketing and Design, Think Donson can produce products tailored to your specific business.

Solutions come in all shapes and sizes. We combine creativity and technology to help move you out in front of the crowd.

Looking for a new solution? Contact us today!

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