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Archive for marketing tips

Pinterest Tab for Facebook Pages

Do you have a profile on Pinterest you’d like to share with your Facebook audience? I think there’s a lot of marketing power in moving your audience across multiple media to experience more of your online presence. Creating awareness of various social marketing profiles is a first step! Last week, a Facebook “fan” of one of the client pages I manage contacted me about how to enable a Pinterest tab like the one she’s seen on the client page — similar to the one shown on my own page here…

I was happy to point her to the awesome free resource, and I thought I’d share it here as well. The Pinterest tab is a free and easy-to-install application from WooBox.com. They offer a variety of applications to enhance your Facebook page, some available as paid subscriptions and some free for a certain number of pages. The Pinterest application creates a tab to link your Pinterest profile to Facebook and imports your boards and pins into a Facebook-friendly format, while still keeping the Pinterest feel. You can see how my Pinterest profile displays on the Small Pond Graphics Facebook page below. What I love about it is that you can view individual boards and pin, like or send via email right through the interface. It also sends visitors back to your Pinterest page when they click either the Pinterest logo or the individual pins. Pretty cool. All WooBox.com apps also have a built-in analytics section to show at least limited stats on your tab traffic, so it’s easy to see if you’re getting added visibility.

The set-up of the Woo Box Pinterest Tab is super easy. You can click the “Install” button at WooBox.com, and once you allow permission through Facebook, you’ll see a settings screen like the one below. Simply input your Pinterest username and configure the various customizable features. Presto! Pinterest on your Facebook page!

With the popularity of Pinterest growing so rapidly, and more and more businesses creating profiles on the image-sharing platform, integrating Pinterest with your Facebook page can be a great opportunity for cross-marketing and reinforcement of your brand. The WooBox.com app is a great tool to make it happen, and it’s hard not to love free! Let me know how it turns out on YOUR Facebook page.

 

Adding Twitter to Your Business Facebook Page

If you’ve talked to me at all about my approach to marketing strategy and online media in particular, you know that I’m a big fan of finding ways to move your audience across your digital geography from one online medium or social space to another. I think this offers multiple ways to engage with other businesses or customers and to communicate more of your unique story. With the new Timeline format for Facebook pages, the story of your brand in that particular social space is even richer with more opportunities to share larger graphics and photos and better ways to organize your own information. One thing I like about the Timeline format for pages is the newer “tab” location — the four boxes just under the right side of the cover photo. The “photos” box is a constant, but the other boxes can be prioritized based on what you feel is most important to your brand.

With the goal of exposing Facebook connections to your other online media spaces, including a Twitter feed as one of the top apps is a great approach. I’ve tried several Facebook apps for adding a Twitter feed, including the Involver app, Tweets to Pages. It works great and is an easy, free installation. However, I have to admit, that the one I like best is the Twitter app from Tradable Bits. It’s just as easy. It’s free for up to 5 apps installed per page, and I just like the interface a little better.

You can see from the screen shot of Tradable Bits Twitter on my Facebook page that the app works well within the Timeline page format. The thing I like about Tradable Bits over the other apps I’ve tried is that it includes your Twitter profile pic and bio at the top of your feed along with the “follow” button. I just like the continuity of having the bio present. I like the polish that it gives the tab’s view. The other plus for this app for me is that it also includes the tweets in your feed that come from Twitter’s easy re-tweet function. Some of the other Twitter apps I’ve tried didn’t do that. I tend to use the RT function a lot with links I find useful or interesting on Twitter, and showing those tweets in the feed demonstrates an interest in sharing information and engagement — something I actually look for in other tweeters.

The installation of Tradable Bits Twitter couldn’t be easier. When you click through their website and give Facebook authorization, you reach a screen similar to this one where you can simply type your Twitter handle and click a button to the right to publish to your Facebook page.

I’m always drawn to the details when I’m looking for marketing tools, and Tradable Bits Twitter app for Facebook pages has those small things that I think that can be very valuable in strengthening your online presence.

5 Things Small Businesses Can Talk About Online

The internet holds a wealth of marketing opportunities, to be sure. For small businesses in particular, marketing through online channels is very attractive because it often requires a lower budget investment compared to the potential return in exposure (and in real leads that produce sales). I hear buzz phrases like “be the media” and “education-based marketing” tossed about a lot, but the thought of producing original content to put online is pretty daunting to most small business owners. However, the process may not be as difficult as you think when you use what you’re already doing.

Small businesses often have a great advantage in the ability to connect with customers just by their very nature. And connecting with clients is what online media is all about — meeting your customers right in their laptops, inboxes or smart phones. Small businesses are usually already trained to give one-on-one personalized attention to customers as well as cater their services to specific customer needs. This more personal approach is simply the way of life in building a small business. And, that approach can provide a head start in developing content for online marketing just by using what you do every day in your relationships with customers. Whether it’s a company blog or an email newsletter or a Facebook profile, here are 5 things small businesses can talk about online.

1. Your Staff — In a small business, customers tend to know your staff by name already. And more importantly, your staff tends to know their customers by name as well. Regardless of where (or who) your market is, I bet a large chunk of your customers would choose to work with someone they know by name rather than some anonymous sales representative. Online media gives the opportunity to expand the base of that personal attention beyond just those who can walk into your storefront. Use your online media channels to help people get to know your staff better. Share well-chosen personal tidbits about those personnel who are often the face of your company to help customers make a stronger connection. Give customers more insight into the personal expert service they can expect by sharing information about your staff’s experience and training.

2. Your Expertise — Sometimes small businesses battle the fallacy that bigger knows more. We all know that’s not necessarily true, and online media offers the opportunity to share the expertise your small business offers. When customers come into your store or business seeking your services, they trust your advice because you can cater it to their specific needs. You can share that same expertise online through tips or suggestions that relate to your services or products. Yes, you may be giving away some free advice, but you will also build trust in your knowledge to serve customer needs.

3. Your Customers — One of the time-honored marketing boosts of small (particularly local) business is the proper use of text message software. Folks talk about your business to their neighbors and friends. Your online media offers that same opportunity, only your network is greatly expanded. With the permission of your customers, share testimonials of their experiences with your company. When you’re working with other businesses, extend public “thank yous” in your online media for their business. This not only gives your online audience a glimpse of the people who already trust your services, but it offers free publicity to your customers as well.

4. Your Calendar — In your small business marketing plan, you probably already target certain times of the year that are significant for marketing your services or products most effectively. You likely plan for special sales, product showcases or events throughout the year to connect with customers or move your inventory. And, you probably develop traditional advertising like printed flyers or newspaper ads to let your customers know about it. Add online media to the mix! Online you don’t have to pay to add color or worry about advertising deadlines. Use your online media channels to get specific about your promotions and share information that may not necessarily fit into your normal column inches. Plus, in the online format, you can offer updates about availability and special discounts that may occur on the spur of the moment, giving your online audience the opportunity to get “inside” information.

5. Your Vendors — Similar to what I mentioned about expertise, sometimes retail customers default to the big “box” stores because they believe they are the best source for the brands they want at the lowest price. Another myth! Small businesses can use online media to dispel that idea by sharing specific information about the brands they carry.  Often times, you’ve developed personal relationships with the representatives for the brands and retail lines in your store. Offering customers some of the detailed information they provide not only highlights the benefits of the products, but it establishes your small business as an authority and resource for that particular brand.

My Old Friend, 8 1/2 x 11

Have you thought about 8 1/2 x 11″ lately? I’ve recently worked on a few client projects sporting the standard “letter” size, and I thought I would share a glimpse today. Admittedly, the 93 1/2 square inches of marketing space available in a regular piece of paper is a little over-used–so much so that I sometimes recommend against it to help clients break out of the “standard” box. However, this tried and true format can also offer a lot of well-designed punch within a manageable budget. The fact is; it’s easily mailed, easily stuffed and easily hand-held. Not to mention the fact that it can be produced without much fanfare with your own desktop printer or with any quick-print company in your small pond. And, as the designer in the room, I kind of enjoy squeezing my creative juices to make this common format sparkle! Although the format is the same, these three clients each used the 8 1/2 x 11″ format in a slightly different way. Take a look…

Starkville Academy Annual Fund: This piece served as a folded self-mailer giving it a little more presence than the typical #10 envelope provides, but concentrating the information in a simple and inexpensive one-pager.

Greater Starkville Development Partnership Blue Ribbon Business Resources Flyer: This flyer was included in a packet of other information mailed to Chamber of Commerce members. Keeping it in a format that could be combined in a standard presentation folder or a standard envelope offered just the right amount of flexibility.

The Rogue Christmas Wish List: This mini “catalog” of favorite gift items (produced in collaboration with Halo Business Advisors) was hand-delivered to area offices and restaurants around the store’s location. Keeping the format simple made it inexpensive to print, easy to distribute and quick to grab attention.

Top 10 Marketing Moves for 2011 (part 2)

I still can’t believe we’re already ten days into 2011. Can you? Sometimes I think it’s easy to let January slip by us as we settle back into normal routines after holiday fun and traveling. It’s easy to do with the marketing efforts as well. I don’t want to do that! I want to begin right now taking 2011 by storm. Last week I shared the first half of my top 10 recommended Marketing Moves for 2011. Some of those recommendations, like an effective logo and a solid website, took business promotional efforts back to the basics. Some moves, like a “yes” mentality and a well-told story, were more toward the mindset variety in re-evaluating how we see the experience of our customers and how we communicate our story. For the second half of my list, I’ve included a few “essentials” that have made a big difference in my own marketing efforts as well as some that my clients are using.

6. Facebook Page — Yeah, I know. Why do I need a Facebook Page? I get that question a lot from both clients and colleagues. I also field a lot of questions about whether Facebook can be an effective marketing tool for a variety of businesses beyond the restaurant or retail sector. My answer is yes. And, I’ve included it as an “essential” because of how important it’s been in my own efforts to get the word out about a new company in the service industry called Small Pond Graphics. My business FB page has been invaluable in raising awareness among my existing network of colleagues and friends about my new business venture as well as in opening up opportunities for new business. And I don’t sell any specific products or make any widgets. My largest target audience is business-to-business, and FB has still given me solid marketing leads. That’s because every clientele whether direct consumers or business-to-business is made up of people. People want to work with people they know and people they feel they can make a direct connection with. Facebook provides that opportunity without the constraints of location.

7. A (Flexible) Plan — One of the biggest mistakes I see customers make in their promotional efforts is embarking on a marketing program without a clear plan. A clear plan requires setting goals that are specific and attainable, choosing marketing venues that match goals with the appropriate target audience, and executing the logistics effectively. If that plan isn’t in place, then you have no basis for determining whether marketing opportunities have the juice to make an impact on your bottom line. But, having a plan doesn’t mean being rigid. If you maintain a level of flexibility in your plans, you can keep a portion of your efforts (translation: your time and your budget) open for creative ideas or options that come along unexpectedly.

8. Multi-media Approach — Because your target audience absorbs information from many “channels” it’s important to consider relaying your marketing message in multiple channels as well. Yes, limiting your marketing venues to one place–a single brochure, just a website, or one print media outlet–can offer some exposure. But, repeating your message with a multi-media approach has exponential value in making a marketing impact. As you are making your marketing plan, consider overlapping messages through several channels like email campaigns, website features, social media as well as print media and face-to-face encounters.

9. Customer Database — Consumers today have an expectation that businesses and organizations are ready to make it personal when communicating their messages. Plus, potential clients have so many message flung their way that only the ones that are most immediate and most personal tend to rise above the fray. The starting point of meeting the new realities of customer interaction is developing a customer database. Gathering and categorizing information about your individual customers allows you to communicate with them consistently and in a meaningful way. It’s as simple as that. Start gathering email addresses, physical addresses and even information like birthdays and purchasing preferences today.

10. Partnerships — This particular marketing move has proven to be a very successful and inspiring effort for Small Pond Graphics over the last six months. That’s why I encourage it as an essential marketing move. It’s easy to think of your business as a lone wolf. But, those days are over. Conducting business focused on protecting yourself and your own control of the customer experience is outdated in today’s marketing climate. Partnering with other businesses you admire and respect can open up great opportunities for growth. Well-placed partnerships and collaboration allow you to expand your service offerings AND your customer base. Plus, I’ve found that working with smart people makes me smarter . Working with other creative people makes me more creative. It’s a win-win.

As my thinking on some of these 10 essential Marketing Moves grows, I plan to share a few more specific posts on their effectiveness as well as some stories from my own experience about their importance. Meanwhile, choose one and get started with making 2011 great for your marketing efforts!

Branding in the Small Things

HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT HOW YOUR BRAND LOOKS HERE?

So, you have a great logo design. You’ve carefully chosen your website colors and imagery to reflect your company “look.” You’ve created consistency across all your printed materials with typefaces, colors and patterns. You’re watching how your logo is used to make sure it conforms to your brand guidelines. You’ve carefully crafted the verbiage on your promotional materials to reflect your company’s approach to products and services. You’re adequately branded, right?

Maybe so. But often, the dividing line of whether your brand reaches a level of customer engagement that really makes it memorable is found not only in the traditional marketing materials, but also in the details–the details of how your customer experiences you and your business.

I’ve been thinking more about the details of branding as I’ve been working on various client projects that take an existing brand image and expand it or fine-tune it. That process sometimes involves redefining. It sometimes includes augmenting. And more often than not, it requires a keen attention to detail.

I’m kind of a brainstormer. I use the technique of listing as part of my creative process sometimes. In this recent thought process on branding in detail, I’ve been brainstorming areas of a business operation or a customer experience where brands can reinforce themselves and even make their mark just by adding a little intention. Here are some of the results — 25 branding opportunities you may have overlooked. Have you thought about how your brand looks (or sounds) here?

1. Email signature
2. Restroom doors
3. Parking lot signage
4. Voicemail messages
5. The back of your business card
6. Invoices
7. Friday casual-wear
8. Your front door
9. Sales tickets
10. Your website “favicon”
11. The materials you use to take notes during client meetings
12. Office computer screen savers
13. Office or store wall art
14. #10 business envelopes
15. Price tags
16. Your Facebook “place” page
17. Packing materials
18. Gift enclosure cards
19. Appointment cards
20. Company vehicles
21. Your Twitter background
22. The beverages/refreshments you provide clients
23. Your email opt-in thank you message
24. Event name-tags
25. Your on-hold message

Five Questions to Ask Yourself with Every Customer Encounter

I was talking recently with a new client–a business advisory service who hired me for brand development and start-up marketing–and he asked me some questions about why I decided to name my business Small Pond Graphics. The client had been to my website and wanted to discuss some of the ideas a little further. Some companies that are local occasionally use feather flags to get customers from sidewalk traffic. As it turns out, we had similar impressions of the value of our small town business experiences, and the conversation expanded into a discussion of how many of the typical small town attitudes and ways of conducting business translate into the wider marketplace.

My thoughts on the name Small Pond Graphics began germinating with the idea that I live in a small town in the rural South. It’s a fact that has colored much of my career over the years. Being in a smaller community sometimes means that companies have to be a little more ingenious in their marketing efforts. It means they may need to approach services and customer service with a little more flexibility, creativity and a personal touch. Whether a business is located in a small town or a large city, however, the reality in this digital, media-rich age is that all are part of the same small world–a small world that is getting even smaller by the minute. It was that thought that really resonated with me in trying to determine the focus and “culture” of my own company. Perhaps those flexible, creative and relationship-centered approaches aren’t confined to small ponds after all.

So, my client conversation got me thinking. How DO businesses approach customer encounters in a small town? What makes that process so appealing? What can I glean from it as I market my business on a daily basis? How can I market to every customer and prospect as if I’m marketing in the small pond?

It boils down to relationships. There’s no question about it. They are the hallmark of marketing with a small pond approach. People want to do business with folks they know. It’s a tried and true reality straight from small town USA. Embracing that reality means that every customer encounter is an opportunity to build a deeper relationship. That sometimes requires approaching the experience from a slightly different perspective than what marketing or sales trends might dictate. With that in mind, consider asking yourself these 5 questions with your next customer encounter.

1. HOW CAN I SAY “YES”?

Instead of immediately evaluating how a contact may fit into your “ideal customer” profile, figure out a way to say “yes” in some way. It’s really what customers want to hear. Put determining how a customer is positioned in your sales process or list of services on the back burner. The ability to say “yes” shows that a company is willing to step beyond a rigid business model in order to address a customer’s individual needs.

2. WHAT CAN I GIVE TO THIS SITUATION?

Rather than asking “what can I get out of this?”, make an investment. Relationships are built on investments–offerings of time, resources, effort, and self. The laws of farming say that you reap what you sow. Sowing is required FIRST before reaping the benefit of a good crop. Make a plan for what seeds you want to sow with each conversation or customer experience. Be willing to give before you expect to get.

3. HOW CAN I LISTEN MORE CAREFULLY?

Instead of trying to figure out how to squeeze in your elevator pitch, devote yourself to listening in your next customer encounter. Before a company can meet a client’s needs through products or services, it has to know what those needs are. That understanding doesn’t come through anticipating or completing the sentences, it comes through really listening.

4. HOW CAN I MAKE THE MOST OF THIS ONE-ON-ONE OPPORTUNITY?

Rather than asking “how can I make the most of this time?” in a hurried effort to multi-task, focus your attention on the person in front of you (virtually or otherwise). Lay aside the need to be available to everyone else at that moment and pay closer attention to this one-on-one opportunity to connect and build a lasting bond. Your entire relationship with a customer may rest on this one encounter. Make sure you’re all there.

5. WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT THIS CUSTOMER & HIS SITUATION?

Instead of asking yourself first”what products or services can I provide?”, let your customer take center stage. Listen for the unique qualities to emerge and respond to those. Focus on offering resources to resolve unique problems or highlight unique assets–whether your products and services apply or not.

At the end of the day, customers still value the same things they did when your grandparents were doing business. They still value the wave on the street, someone calling them by name, or the handshake at the grocery store so common in small towns. It’s just that some of the venues today are places like Facebook or GMail or Skype. The small town approach works. Are you on board?

Responsible Facebook Marketing: Page or Profile? (part 2)

A few weeks ago I shared some thoughts on responsible Facebook marketing for businesses in part 1 of this article. My comments centered on the important impression it makes for businesses to market within the Facebook Terms of Service when using this ever-growing social networking website. Since the Facebook Terms of Service disallow users from conducting more than one “profile”, I recommend that users set up their business Facebook presence in the “page” format. While I appealed to our need for responsible (and TOS-abiding) marketing as a way of setting examples of how to conduct business in this new digital age, I also promised some more concrete reasons in a future post.

Hello, part 2. Business ethics aside, using the Page format rather the Facebook Profile option just makes good marketing sense. And, here are 5 reasons why…

1. Pages look like businesses. There are quite a few business or organization options that are available when setting up a Page format in Facebook. Creators can choose ptions like restaurant, retail, professional organization, and many other specific business types. Facebook allows Pages to be designated as a local business; a brand, product or organization; or an artist, band or public figure. Each option has built-in display items for information that is relevant to the specific type of entity. Options like hours of operation, service listings, mission statements and products are just a few of the items you can include in the information displayed on your page. On the other hand, Profiles look like people. So, your business information looks amateurish at best. Businesses don’t have birthdays, favorite quotes and movies, or many of the other items displayed in the standard Profile. In trying to apply normal business information to this more personal format, your message becomes clunky, or even confusing.

2. Pages offer business-friendly application options. These applications can enhance your Facebook marketing efforts, but many aren’t available for use on Profiles. You can add custom tabs to your Page with specific company information, integrate FB with your other social media outlets and channels, import blog feeds, post slide or powerpoint presentations, and much more by adding applications to your Page.

3. Pages give fans instant gratification. In the Profile format, users request a “friendship”, but must wait for confirmation. Even if it’s only a few minutes or hours, you’ve lost that potential customer or contact’s interest in your business. When a user “likes” a Facebook Page, they immediately gain access to all the Page has to offer, and your posts begin showing up in their stream. Yes, they can immediately begin interacting with your page with wall posts or comments based on your page settings, which can be risky. But, that opportunity fosters an open relationship of engagement with a potential client — the hallmark of doing business in a social environment.

4. Pages include a helpful set of analytics about page use. Unlike Profiles, Facebook provides data on who is interacting with your Page and how. Brief statistics are part of your account notifications and more detailed information is available to any Page administrator. These stats can help you gain a better understanding of which Facebook marketing approaches are gaining the best response from fans.

5. Pages allow for multiple administrators. While the Terms of Service disallow passing around your password information for FB Profiles, the Page format allows the creator to designate multiple administrators who can edit settings, make posts and add features to the Page. This feature is particularly helpful for organizations who may need multiple staff to be able to promote their projects on Facebook. It also helps ease the burden of maintaining a consistent message in this social outlet.

To make this a well-rounded post, there are also a couple of drawbacks I see in the current Facebook Page format. I’ve noticed quite a few requests in the FB discussion boards for development changes surrounding these two issues, and it’s possible solutions will be developed and implemented into the Page structure.

1. Pages do not currently provide notification of fan wall posts or comments. If an administrator has “liked” or commented on a post already, he will receive notification of any subsequent interaction with the post. However, there is not a vehicle for alerting administrators of new posts or comments.

2. Pages are not specifically tied to the Facebook advertising opportunities. Only profiles are enabled with administrative privileges for the FB pay-per-click ad options. Any ads related to a Page must be administered by a specific profile user. The option to place ads or change them isn’t possible for multiple Page administrators. In addition, a user can only have one credit card listing on file for advertising. So, multiple pages administered by the same user can not have separate credit card payment options designated.

Responsible Facebook Marketing: Page or Profile? (part 1)

I’ve been thinking alot about Facebook recently. Not only have I been launching the Small Pond Graphics Facebook page, but I’ve had several clients seeking my input on how to create or maximize their own pages. With over 400 million active Facebook users worldwide, and the statistics growing for the impact engaging with companies online makes in how consumers respond to products and services, Facebook is indeed becoming a more and more valuable marketing commodity. Just the other day, I saw Google’s statistics on the most visited websites on the internet during the month of May, 2010. Facebook topped the list with over 540 million unique visitors during the month and a mind-boggling 630 billion page views.

One of the pieces of information I shared on the Pond FB page this week was a link to a new application for Facebook profiles that has been released. It was produced by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and offers a “panic button” of sorts for 13- to 18-year-old Facebook users. The application adds a profile tab that allows the teen to quickly report suspicious users. In the press release about the application, James Gamble of the Centre commented that online predators are often dissuaded by visible deterrents. The hope is that this application might serve to protect young Facebook users from falling victim to the inevitable unscrupulous and sometimes dangerous online realities.

With the news of this new application that attempts to protect young online users from the internet’s worst tendencies, I’ve also been starting work on an online media contract for a local private school. It has me thinking. We have been trained in recent years to consider corporate responsibility and the ways businesses can or should involve themselves in social issues. How does that concern for ethical and responsible business practices extend to online marketing? Given the fact that we have no control over who reads our contributions to the online buzz — their age, their nationality, their proximity, their gender — how do we orchestrate a responsible online presence?

There are undoubtedly many answers and viewpoints to those questions. A full discourse would certainly produce a much longer word count for this post than I would ever recommend for a blogging client. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject, but for now, I’ll limit MY answer to just one recommendation regarding Facebook.

Follow the rules.

Facebook is a free service. It isn’t a democracy. It isn’t an “economy.” It doesn’t have juris prudence. It’s an idea that has come to remarkable fruition. And, marketing a business or organization on Facebook is a gift. My number one recommendation to businesses seeking to reach out to customers on Facebook is “don’t look a gift-horse in the mouth.” Say thank you, and follow the rules. By doing so, companies promote an ethical and responsible approach to doing business online. They demonstrate that “Terms of Service” agreements aren’t just a checkbox after a password is set. They are guidelines that are important to follow as we take advantage of our internet privileges. I appreciate organizations that set an example in the way they approach online media for the scores of young users we know are watching.

And, I notice when they don’t.

One of the primary ways I’m disappointed by businesses marketing on Facebook is when I see them presenting themselves in the “PROFILE” format. The site offers businesses a free way to promote themselves using the network through their “PAGE” format. The Facebook Terms of Service prohibit an individual from holding two different Facebook accounts. So, if you have a personal profile AND a business profile, you are in violation of those terms. In my opinion, businesses and organizations who violate this policy send a subtle, but immediate message that they don’t mind stepping outside the rules when conducting their business. In this age when the global focus is more and more on corporate responsibility for both large and small companies, that’s just not a good marketing strategy.

Not convinced by my “set a good example” theory? Stay tuned for Part 2 and a few solid marketing reasons why giving your business a Facebook “PAGE” presence is a better option.

Sketchy Ideas

My friends Jennifer and Juliette deserve “thank you” notes. These two fabulous women, whom I most often connect with via Facebook, were kind enough to send me special “happies” last week to celebrate the move to my new home office. Sweets and jewelry–two of a girl’s best friends. The gifts have served to confirm for me the power of acknowledgement, even in the business world. I’ll save the soap box for another post, but the common courtesies we learned from our mothers and grandmothers are just as important for doing business as they were for sweet 16 parties and high school graduations. The fact is; “please” and “thank you” are solid marketing strategies–perhaps even more so in today’s digital age than ever before.

To that end, I decided some custom Small Pond notecards were in order based on a few sketchy ideas. Literally. I think I’ve mentioned that I have been weeding through files (and piles) over the last few weeks. It’s an integral part of moving offices. Sadly, it hasn’t been an integral part of my organizational routine, so the process of late has netted some crazy stuff.

I keep most of my sketches for design projects, especially those “doodles” used in developing logo designs. The sketches are kind of like visual brainstorming sessions with overlapping images and notes, little dots or boxes representing where the text might go, and the occasional note about reference material. These doodles sometimes segue into drawings on tracing paper (or bumwad, as I learned in architecture school) destined to be scanned. Being the design pack-rat that I am, I keep almost all these wrinkled pages. You just never know when they might come in handy.

As you can imagine, I found a considerable set of sketchy blissdom when weeding through my office piles, and dutifully filed them away in drawer #2 of the red filing cabinet. I decided they would make nice visuals for the inaugural “Sketch Paper” series of Small Pond notecards. I may subject you to more of the sketches and their stories here at Plop! as time goes on. Meanwhile, you are the first to have a peek at the notecard designs, and I plan to enlist the USPS in firing off a couple to Jennifer and Juliette this week. Saying “thank you” is important, even if the “look” is a little sketchy. Come to think of it, YOU deserve a “thank you” for reading these Pond ramblings. So, message me your address and I’ll fire off one for you too!

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