I am proud to announce today that the Smart Biz Marketing Blog has been moved to my own domain
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Thanks for the interest.
Darren J Deverux
When designing a logo for a small business one of the first things that needs to be discussed is the color scheme of the logo and the rest of the business’ brand. Colors are psychologically ingrained in us to mean different things and cause different emotional responses. Colors are powerful elements in any design. Different colors trigger a variety of feelings in those viewing it and it’s important that you understand the natural response that different colors cause in consumers when you’re deciding on what colors you’d like in your business.
Meanings: Alert!, Aggressive, Danger, Love, Passion, Action/Adventure, Drive, Energy, Excitement, Blood and Strength
Red is an intense color for humans. It causes passionate emotional responses spanning both sides of the spectrum (from alert and danger to passion and love.) It’s an exciting and dangerous color that attracts attention and raises blood pressure and can also cause us to get hungry.
Examples of Use in Logos: Coca-Cola, Red Bull, McDonald’s, Shell Gas Stations
Meanings: Femininity, Appreciation, Gentle, Delicate, Gratitude, Innocence, Floral, Girly, Romantic, Tranquil and Soft.
Pink is a feminine color that triggers feelings of innocence and delicateness. Stirring up thoughts of soft things like cotton candy and bubble gum, pink is commonly used for “girly” or feminine products and services and also is closely related with the cause of breast cancer awareness.
Examples of Use in Logos: Barbie, Victoria Secret
Meanings: Authority, Security, Confidence, Loyalty, Power, Dignity, Established, Calm, Success, and Trust.
Blue creates feelings of security and authority (such as with Police and Security services). Possibly the most popular color in corporate logo design. Blue is used in a number of Fortune 500 companies as well as law enforcement and other Governmental organizations.
Examples of Use in Logos: IBM, ADT Security, Ford, HP, Wal-Mart, GE
Meanings: Affordable, Creative, Youthful, Fun, Jovial, Enthusiastic, Lighthearted, and High-Spirited
Being a mix of red and yellow, Orange can encompass elements of both of those colors. It is not as intense as red but still attracts attention and is commonly found in logos meant to convey playfulness and other happy emotions.
Examples of Use in Logos: Amazon, Nickelodeon, JBL Speakers, ING Banking, Harley Davidson
Meanings: Nature, Renewal, Crisp, Fresh, Environmental, Health, Money, Harmony, Healing, Inexperience, and Tranquility.
Green is a soothing color that conveys feelings of nature and tranquility. While being a symbol for renewal and life it can also represent inexperience and jealousy. These days green is used quite a bit by companies wishing to show themselves to be eco-friendly.
Examples of Use in Logos: Animal Planet, Starbucks, Whole Foods, John Deere
Meanings: Cheerful, Positivity, Warmth, Sunshine, Cowardice, Curiosity, Happiness, Joy, Caution, and Playful
This bright and highly visible color can send some conflicting messages. While conveying feelings of warmth and positivity, yellow can also represent cowardice and caution for the viewer. Yellow is most often used to convey playfulness and to draw attention.
Examples of Use in Logos: McDonald’s, Subway, Shell Gasoline, Best Buy
Meanings: Fantasy, Regal, Justice, Royalty, Spirituality, Ceremony, Expensive, Mystery, Nobility and Sophistication
Purple can be found in many logos from companies wishing to convey luxury or mystery. Hotel chains, musicians, and religious products and services often employ the use of purple because of it’s ability to trigger feelings of nobility, sophistication, and ceremony.
Examples of Use in Logos: Yahoo, Hallmark, Cadbury
Meaning: Earth, Nature, Calm, Depth, Woodsy, Rough, Simplicity, Rich, and Serious.
Often used in construction related products, Brown conveys feelings of woodsy roughness. Brown is an earthy and natural toned color that conveys feelings of simplicity and seriousness while being natural and earthy. Any product or company involving wood or nature typically employs the use of brown.
Examples of Use in Logos: UPS, Timbertech Decking, Coach, Louis Vitton
Meaning: Formal, Bold, Authority, Tradition, Classic, Distinctive, Secrecy, Conservative, and Serious.
A lot of companies use black in their logo design for its boldness and simplicity. Black is devoid of color and it conveys feelings of authority and formality but can also imply secrecy . A classic choice that corporations and other traditional companies use possibly more than any other color.
Examples of Use in Logos: Nike, Goodyear, Ferrari, Adidas, Caterpillar, Microsoft
Meaning: Stability, Practicality, Somber, Respect, Corporate Mentality, Dullness, Humility, Authority, and Moody
Grey is used as an element in logos often because it is considered neutral and goes well with most colors. It has a cool element that will accentuate whichever color its used with. Also used for products related to steel, chrome and metal such as automobile companies.
Examples of Use in Logos: Dell, GM, WordPress
Meaning: Purity, Simplicity, Refined, Cleanliness, Truth, Innocence, Peace, and Sterile
White has always represented purity and peace. Another shade found in logos a lot as an element working with other colors. Also can be used as negative space or reversed text.
Examples of Use in Logos: Puma, Volkswagon, Swarovski, Harley Davidson
Additional Note about Logo Design: No matter which color you use in your logo. It should be designed in a way that can be use as an all white or all black vector image. This is important for times when you want to place your logo on material outside your own such as in sponsorship or other branding situations where you are giving your logo to somebody else to use. (See example below)
It’s important to understand the meaning of colors when designing a logo for your small business. Combinations of these colors also can produce different meanings and feelings and thinking about those concepts will help you create a logo that is in-line with your company message, goals, and objectives.
Show Me Your Logos! Did you create your company logo using any of the above color concepts or did you employ your own strategy? Please show me your logo in a comment and share your strategy for the design. Long live the small business owner.
Not sure if you’ve heard, but the economy isn’t doing so good these days (a newsflash I know) and now more than ever it’s important for small business owners to manage their costs as efficiently as possible. Unfortunately for small businesses across the country, the budget for marketing efforts are (sadly) one of the first things to get cut in a down economy. But I’m here to tell you that not only should your marketing efforts not be lessened in a time of economic downturn, they should be increased!
But how do I increase marketing when my business is earning less money?
When times get tough, it’s important to be resourceful if you want to survive. The way that you increase your marketing efforts without increasing your costs is to start shifting from traditional marketing methods such as TV, radio ads and print advertising and begin focusing on more affordable (but possibly more time-consuming) electronic marketing methods such as general online, local, social, and viral marketing. In this day and age there are so many things that you can do to advertise or bring attention to your business for low to no-cost.
If there was ever a time to be experimental with your marketing, even if it means spending a little time learning some new tricks, now is that time. Please take advantage of these articles below for a few ways on how you can tap into the global internet market of over 2 billion users.
General Internet Marketing
It’s your turn – Got any posts that could help small business owners market their businesses for low to no-cost? Post them in a comment and I’ll add them to the list.
To build on a previous post of mine Why Local Listings are Crucial for Small Businesses, I thought I’d compile a few pertinent statistics from surveys like the Brightlocal Local Consumer Review Survey into a nifty little infographic. The numbers that grabbed my attention were:
• 7 out of 10 online consumers trust reviews that they read on sites like Yelp, Google, and Yahoo Local
• 69% of online consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
Feel free to use this infographic on your blogs and pages, I’m going to try to do more of these as I think up statistical groups that apply to small business marketing. If you have any ideas about infographics you’d like to see, leave it for me in a comment. Thanks for looking.
Local listing sites like Google Places, Yelp, and Yahoo Local have become the new way people find what they’re looking for in their area. The power of reviews on these sites has become increasingly important for driving new customers and smart business owners are figuring out numerous ways to encourage more positive reviews on these very influential sites. To learn more about the importance of local listings, check out my post Why Local Listings are Crucial for Your Small Business.
If you want to start getting more positive reviews for your small business online, start with this list of easy-to-do tasks:
1. Provide Stellar Service – Yes, it’s a no-brainer of sorts, but the first and best way to get positive reviews on any of these sites is to make sure you are providing the best and most memorable customer experience possible to each and every one of your customers. You can do all the other things on this list and it won’t get you any reviews if you don’t give your customers something good to talk about.
2. Ask for Reviews – Ok, so some of these sites actually discourage you from asking your customers for reviews outright. That being said, since all of them don’t have this policy, I feel the best practice is to simply ask for a “review online.” Always ask at the end of your business transaction and don’t ask for a positive review, just a review online. This way you’re encouraging folks to leave you a review on any of these sites they happen to use without influencing them to review your business one way or another.
3. Post Signage in Your Business – Imagine a tech-savvy customer of a small business who just finished having a wonderful buyer experience at your business (hopefully due to that stellar service we talked about earlier.) While they’re paying at the register, the customer sees a snazzy and colorful sign on the counter that says “Please review us on Yelp!” Do you think they would be more likely to give you a review? I think so too, so get some signage posted ASAP.
4. Put Links on Your Website – Another obvious but often-missed tactic that can drive online reviews is to post links or banners on your company website saying “Please Review Us Here”. It also serves as a good point of direction for your customers If somebody wants to leave a review but doesn’t know where to go you can simply direct them to the banner on your website which clicks through to the site of your choosing.
Do you know any other ways to get positive online reviews? Leave us a comment with your ideas and we probably will use them in a post (giving you full credit of course.)
Please read my other articles related to Local Listing Management:
It’s common to reach a point as a small business owner where you know you have to do something to improve your marketing. You realize that your logo needs to be redone. You feel like your website looks like one of those homemade websites (because you made it at home). Your business cards have a different color scheme or design than your logo and it doesn’t even have your website address on them and don’t even start on your advertising efforts that you haven’t paid attention to in months or the thousand other things you’ve thought about but just didn’t have the motivation for.
Why aren’t I Motivated?
Maybe you don’t really “get” why these things are important. It feels like there’s always something that could be done, but hey, you’re not going out of business. So you don’t need to do those things today, right? Ab-so-frickin-lutely WRONG!
First of all, the reason you feel like you need to improve your marketing, is because you do! The problem is, for whatever reason, you don’t want to start what feels like is going to be a long process today. The major problem with that way of thinking is if you don’t start today it will get perpetually put off until tomorrow, which means it will never get done. The trick is just getting started on tasks that you don’t want to do.
A Real Trick
Well I’m here to tell you that 50% of getting those little tasks done is just starting on them. Starting is quite often the hardest part of a journey. Once you’ve gotten started on a task, such as upgrading your website, it has a way of building on itself and motivating the person doing it. Make it up in your mind that you are just going to start today. You’re not necessarily going to finish the task but at least decide that you are going to get the ball rolling today. Make a list of the things you need to do and start taking them on one at a time. Each item might break down into several smaller tasks, make another list for those and start knocking them out. The point is to make the decision that you are not going to waste another day just knowing you need to improve your marketing, you’re going to start today.
The magic of “starting today”
The real magic trick for motivation like this is to make up your mind to take on each task one at a time. Get excited about new and fresh ideas and lay out tasks to turn those ideas into action. Know that if you don’t ever take on these seemingly small tasks, they will never get done. Try not to look at the tasks as a great big group of things, instead just make a list and take them on one thing at a time. Try not to set goals that are larger than needed. Lay out tasks for one day at a time. Remember, starting today really is the key. Once the ball gets rolling on these various goals it will become easier to motivate yourself to finish them.
There’s always a reason not to do something if you look for it. We are good at setting up barriers for ourselves for things we really don’t want to do. We say “that won’t really help” or “it’s not worth it” but we know it will. Solidify in your mind the idea that you will not let barriers be the reason you don’t start something. Understand that this is a natural human reaction and let those negative thoughts come and go. Do not let barriers take you out of the mind-set that you are going to start today on improving your business. If it doesn’t work, so be it, but its better to try something with a noble cause and fail than to never have tried at all.
Read material on avoiding procrastination, such as this article: 11 Practical Ways to Avoid Procrastination
Breaking out of your routine and taking on new tasks can be challenging, but for small business owners it is an absolute must. After all, if you would’ve never opened your business in the first place, where would you be now? It was the act of starting today that got your company going and it will be the art of starting today that will advance your business onto the next thing it needs to stay relevant and profitable. Shun complacency! Make a list of things you can do to improve your marketing and start today.
The US economy is going through what might be the slowest recovery in its history. Unemployment rates are sky high and people want answers as to why these large companies aren’t hiring more people. News and media stories have spent plenty of time covering the shortcomings of wall street investment firms, oil companies and automobile corporations. But what about the importance of small business?
Did you know that small businesses in the United States make up 99% of the employers, yet they account for only 30% of the total annual payroll? Companies with less than 100 employees make up half of the country’s employers. Those numbers mean that helping small business owners is going to be critical to lowering unemployment and growing our economy n the coming years. Small businesses currently employ over a third of our population and if it is able to grow then employment will grow with it.
Check out this infographic with more info about how important small business is in the U.S.