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Friday, December 19, 2008

Missing a Piece of your Marketing Puzzle

Missing a piece of your marketing puzzle?
It’s not a stretch to say the marketplace today is tough, and you need to stand out from the clutter… What if the factor that made you memorable was something NEGATIVE? Is that a good thing or bad?

As Creative Director for OutRight Communications, I’m always on the lookout for something that catches my eye. On the hunt for a new DVD yesterday, I was flipping through a bin of movies, and came upon one that instantly caught my eye – but not in a good way.

The DVD cover had a large photo of the face of a woman, perhaps taken from a video still of the movie, zoomed in so close it was horribly fuzzy! I grimaced in slight shock and considered… Perhaps the storyline of the movie was fantastic, the actors were top-notch, and the cinematography awe-inspiring. But I would never discover any of this, because of the cover. Because of a bad cover image, I didn’t buy the DVD.

It made me realize this: It’s important to carefully consider how your image is perceived by the public, especially an important element that leads DIRECTLY to sales and the success of your business.

In contrast, if the company who produced the DVD had hired OutRight Communications to design the cover, we would have used a high-quality photo that represented the quality of the production which would in turn attract the consumer to pick up the DVD thus increasing the likelihood of a purchase. At OutRight Communications, we will expertly guide you through any aspect of design, writing and marketing, so you’re ready to get the top-notch results you’re looking for. We ensure you have all the pieces of your puzzle – it’s what we do.
Tanya Kapko

You can view our design samples in our portfolio here:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How to Create your own Holiday Greeting cards

This season you may have thought about the people in your life who you don't get to see often enough, but mean just as much to you as your coworkers, or informal acquaintances. Why spend money on Hallmark during these difficult economic times? You don't necessarily have to be a creative genius to do it yourself. Why not try making your own holiday cards this year?

Here are some tips on how to make your cards as special as they can be.

1. Don't be a perfectionist.
These cards are hand-made and coming straight from a loved one. That already makes them pretty special. With some help from our list of resources, you can be confident that no one is going to laugh at your crude attempts to draw Santa Claus - unless comedy is your goal!

2. Pick a theme
Maybe it's 'family' or maybe it's a religious theme. Whatever it is, try to continue your theme throughout the whole card. Don't try to include every snapshot or every Christmas symbol, or your cards will look cluttered.
Also, you don't necessarily have to use Christmas themes - a theme based on shared interests will mean your cards stay out on the mantelpiece longer!

3. Go Outside
Take your digital camera or camera phone and snap some shots of where you live. Round up the kids and put them in the foreground. Let distant family members see what they're missing.

4. Use some of these sites to help make your cards

Go to DaFont and pick out a cool typeface - it's free!

One of the coolest Flash sites on the web is ScrapBlog - where you can create and share online scrapbooks using pre-generated templates and your own graphics.
You can also print your cards straight from ScrapBlog.

Get some cool holiday icons for spicing up your holiday wishes.

Note: these resources are all free, but don't go stealing other people's images without permission! That will definitely put you on Santa's naughty list.

5. Keep it short and sweet
A common holiday tradition is to write about family activities and the current status of each family member. If you're a particularly skilled writer there's no harm in filling a page, but no one will feel like you're Scrooge if you keep it to just a few cheerful lines of plain prose.

6. Print on decent photo paper.
A package of glossy paper will only set you back a few dollars for the average Christmas card run. You should be able to fit a couple of cards on one page - look for the 'pages per sheet'option in your printer options dialogue. You can try 2up or 4up per page.

7. Invest in a paper-cutter.
These run the gamut from very small plastic zips to large wooden blocks with giant cleavers. Whatever your budget, a paper cutter will help you to trim down your cards to the right envelope size and avoid that hasty 'folded sheet of letter paper' look. Watch your fingers!

Creating your own holiday cards is a fun activity that will improve your computer skills, and can be done as a family.

From all of us at OutRight Communications
have a
Happy Holiday season!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why Publicity shouldn't be Overlooked

Why is publicity the last thing businesses think of when planning their marketing strategies?

Is it because they don’t really know what publicity is?

Publicity is vital for all businesses and should never be an afterthought.

Consider what publicity can do for your company:

- it builds credibility

- it generates interest and gets the word out to the public

- it makes you the expert in your industry

- it creates a buzz and name recognition

- it’s inexpensive for massive exposure of your product or service

With all these bonuses-, how can you NOT afford to make publicity a part of your marketing strategy?

At OutRight Communications, one of the forms of publicity we use consists of booking our clients on radio, TV and getting coverage in magazine and newspapers. Check out a sample of the coverage we've obtained for our clients here and call us to see what we can do for you:


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Marketing Plans- Why they will Save You Money

Have you ever written a marketing plan for your business? And if so, how often do you refer to it?

A marketing plan is a road map for determining the best way to get the word out about your business. They allow you to analyze your target audience, research your competition (and the need for capitalizing on a niche market), show monthly business expenditures, follow timelines and budgets for marketing initiatives, and how to execute the tactics you have in place. After writing a marketing plan, it's easy to see how to leverage your marketing investment with all that you're doing for your business.

Since we specialize in marketing plan development and implementation, we have noticed that many businesses lack solid marketing plans that it's sometimes quite difficult for owners to grow their operations because their objectives and goals are not clearly outlined. All their ideas and plans for their business are in their head, not on paper. Without a comprehensive plan, nothing is thought out and you're basically coasting month to month making impulse decisions. How can you launch a successful campaign if nothing is written down, researched, or planned?

For ultimate business success, be sure to review your plan every 3 months and add to it as needed. Determine how your business has progressed in the past few months and assess whether the items you outlined initially are still applicable. Consider distributing your marketing plan to all the members of your team so they can share in the business vision and mission. If they can visualize your business alongside you, your plans can be realized more easily.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Tighter the Grip, the Looser the Perspective

Many businesses have the idea that growing larger is a measure of success. Yet to do that requires that they loosen their control over their company, and many people are reluctant to do so, because they are worried that giving their ‘baby’ to someone else will result in chaos.

This is simply not the case.

It’s so beneficial to step outside of your business and invite new energy and gain a fresh perspective from someone else. You still have control – after all you are the person hiring for the best fit. Are you going to hire the lowest skilled person to help your business grow? I hope not, or you have other problems to address!

The facts are, you can’t expand your business without welcoming change, be it with new staff, machinery, technology, marketing strategies, advertising opportunities or networking events.So loosen the grip on your business and grow!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hosting an Event- Why Should you want one?

Hosting an event is an opportunity to meet new clients, re-unite current clients with each other, inform an audience about your new products, and gain media coverage for your business.
Recently, Outright Communications hosted the event Sinful Secrets for Business & Books at Chapters on Calgary Trail. It was successful in that it provided information for the audience, generated traffic for the location, and provided business leads for the company.
But when thinking about hosting an event there are many factors you need to consider.
You need to make sure your entire team is on board with all the planning – because they are vital to its success. Planning an event can take months, not weeks and you need to make sure your team is up to the challenge, and also that your budget will allow for incidentals. It’s rare that event can be pulled off without one or two glitches!

Here are some tips if you want to get the word out about your company.

Before the Event
First steps to a successful event include thinking about:
Specific goals that you want to achieve
  • Why you are having an event?
  • Who are your intended attendees?
  • What methods of promotion will you use?
  • How large of an event/location do you want?
  • How will the audience benefit? What can you offer?
  • How will you structure the event? How long are the speaking presentations? What props will you need- projectors, power point or other forms of visuals?
  • Will the date conflict with other events- and do you have enough time to put everything into place?
Getting the Word Out:
What’s the point of going through the trouble hosting an event if no one shows up? Your company suffers and your credibility flies out the window. The following tips will help to ensure that you aren’t left talking to an empty room.
  1. Seek out sponsors who align with your business. They can send out your company and event information including brochures and Event posters to their client base. Make sure you’ve chosen people who suit your target audience.
  2. Have brochures, business cards, product samples and gift certificates to encourage people to visit your business after the event.
  3. Collect marketing collateral from your sponsors to be used for prize giveaways.
  4. Have a draw for prizes and gift certificates that incorporate your sponsors and your business.
  5. Have ballots that allow the participants to receive more information about your company or future events- by way of email address or phone number.
  6. Post your event on Facebook, Blog, your website, your sponsors’ website and their Blogs.
  7. Send a media invitation to all your local media.
  8. Place your event information onto all the local free event listings on line, in print, and on television.
  9. Hand out postcards to everyone you meet and have them available at the location you are hosting the event at. Give them out at networking events and to all your clients so that they can spread the word.
  10. Invite a client to participate in the event- this shows that you have even more credibility in your business- a real person who has benefited from your expertise.
After the Event
  1. Follow up with the sponsors and location thanking them for participating and telling them the results of the event, and that you hope there will be future opportunities to work with them on other presentations.
  2. Have your company sit down and do a post mortem to analyze the event- did you achieve the goals you set out to achieve? What would you change for next time?
  3. Follow up on any business leads and include offering them specials on products or services to encourage them to work with you.
  4. Take a breath and plan your next one!
In saying that, Outright Communications would like to thank all those that attended their first event- we had a great time and hope you did too.
As a post event special, we are currently offering $50.00 off the purchase of a media kit writing and design package. A Media kit is a necessary component for business building, attracting media coverage, and increases your chance of being on radio and TV! It also assists reporters in the guest selection process. Click here for details:http://www.outrightcommunications.com/media-kit-offer.html

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sinful Secrets Event

Please join us at this amazing event to benefit the Love Of Reading Fund for needy schools.
Bringing Business owners and Authors together can be a mutually benefical collaboration, and what better way to open the doors to new ideas than by hosting an event to discuss ways to save money and make sales without making the usual mistakes. You’ll benefit from years of insider information on the inner workings of publicity, advertising, design, and publishing by speaking with those in the biz. Helpful tips, reading resources and business direction are all being offered at this free event. Special guest will be Dr. Larry Ohlhauser the author of the Healthy CEO. Presentations will be held at 2:00pm-3:00pm with 10% off all book purchases being donated to the Love of Reading fund until 6:00pm.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Outright Communications and Chapter South Point Presents

Sinful Secrets of Business & Books
Four mini workshops on publicity, design, publishing and advertising for your business or your new book. These are insider secrets that the average business owner or author don’t know about. These tips can help you make it or break it in the world of business and publishing. You won’t want to miss it! 10% of the proceeds of books sold between 2:00 and 6:00pm will be donated to the love of reading fund for needy schools.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Do You Stand Out Enough?

In today’s extremely competitive environment, your business design and marketing concepts need to make potential clients stop dead in their tracks. Whether its web design, graphic design, book launches or publicity,your print, radio, and TV advertisements need to scream, “Look at me!” Your website should be so unique that all the visitors will bookmark your site and tell all their friends to check you out!Here are some great ways to stand out from the competition:
  1. Your business cards are prime real estate to display what you do. If you’re a design company for example, develop an artsy card that illustrates your design abilities.
  2. Business signage should be prominent from the street with big fonts and bold colors to make drivers turn their heads as they drive by.
  3. At a trade show run a great contest, give away free samples of your work, have demonstrations of your product and design the booth to be interactive so attendees will be lured in.
Put yourself in your clients’ shoes - would you drop what you’re doing to take a second glance at your own marketing material? Every marketing initiative you implement must yield great results - so grab the attention of your target audience today through amazing branding, website design, web pages, and advertisements.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Know When To Walk Away from Time Wasting Customers

I recently attended a marketing networking group and one of the ladies I was chatting with brought up the subject of a customer that she felt was high maintenance and took up way too much of her time. It prompted me to think about whether business owners even know what the signs for spotting such a customer are, and what to do when that kind of situation arises. The subject is very open to interpretation depending on what kind of business you run.

The first year or two in operation business owners are eager to take on any new customers that come their way - no matter what the consequences. There is little thought given to who they are, or their business ethics. Having new customers flock to your business and improving your bottom line is great, but what you may find is that the time and money required to satisfy and service these high maintenance individuals is not always worth it. You can’t take on everyone as a customer because not all people are a good fit for your business. In discussing the subject with several business owners, here are some agreed upon signs to consider when deciding whether it’s time to move on from an established or potential customer:
  • When they refer to another companies’ price for services, while bringing up their objections with working with you, after you’ve addressed all their concerns- it’s time to move on.
  • It takes an unusually long time to close the sale with them
  • When all the customer cares about is price and nothing else
  • Once you begin working with them, they request extra advice that is outside the realm of your staff roles and services offered. They also expect free tutorials and request free hourly updates.
  • The customer complains about the work your business does for them - but they keep coming back to work with you!
Sometimes owners automatically assume these types of people may be their top paying customer just because they take so much of their time, when in fact, they don’t even fit into this category. Be sure to have a good look at your sales numbers to see who your top paying customer is and stick to focusing your energy and wonderful service on these people.

I spoke with business owners from Edmonton and Calgary, and all of them agreed that when you get a gut instinct about a person, it ends up being the best choice to follow that feeling. Gently inform your established or potential client that you are not sure that your company is the right fit for them and refer them to another organization that may be more suited to help them out. If you have nothing to gain from working with these people – then make the decision to move on- you won’t regret it!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

No- You Can't do Everything by Yourself

When you start your business, your passions take over and you are eager to take care of everything yourself. But as time goes on you realize you are losing yourself in the everyday operational aspects and the fun you had in the beginning is gone.

What seemed easy in the beginning can sometimes become overwhelming. It’s a common misconception that business owners can actually execute all their business activities themselves. As much as you would like to think you are an expert at every aspect of your business, you cannot do it all. Consider all the aspects of your business. Are you really an expert at marketing, webpage design, human resources, management, accounting, finances, advertising, design, creative writing, copywriting, and public media relations? I’m guessing if you are honest with yourself then the answer is, “well I know a lot of those things, but not all of them.”

With all the stress, time, and capital it takes to learn all of these business operations, you are taking the risk of producing below par work and frankly, you may end up becoming disinterested in your own business. You started your business because you have a passion for it. So how then do you avoid this mistake? Outsource!

By hiring competent team members to assist in the areas you are weaker in, you’ll have better results and people to bounce ideas off about the direction of your business. Don’t learn the hard way. If you aren’t strong in every aspect of your business, or lack the resources needed to allocate a solid marketing strategy or brand – call us. We are the experts in marketing, book publicity, advertising and design. Now stop trying to do everything yourself!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Admit it- Everybody Wants to Be Famous

As a PR firm that specializes in placing clients in the spotlight by booking media interviews, and book publicity, I know clients need to get the word out about their businesses. I’ve realized however, that after I book them on one or two interviews, they want more. They want to keep using the media as their forum.Why?Is it because they love attention? Did they feel famous? What is it about being in the public eye that brings out the star in everyone?

I’m reminded of a great quote by Joseph Barbera- “Publicity…you want it, you need it, you crave it, and you’re scared as hell when it stops.”No one can escape the tabloids in the supermarket check out line. As much as we would like not to admit it, being famous has an alluring quality that just can’t be explained.We are bombarded with media and publicity as soon as we get up in the morning- the radio, the television, the newspaper- it is everywhere, and people will go to great lengths to hear their name mentioned hoping that the world will respond.In fact, there is a strange trend now with people writing their obituaries or even their own quotes to put on their gravestones, just to make sure they are remembered in the right light.I don’t want to die in order to be remembered - do you?Why not feel accepted and interesting to others now. Think about Publicity , Marketing, Advertising, and then think about making your mark today. Get the word out about you and your company. And if you need to know how, then give us a call!~ Crystal Dallner

Crystal Dallner, Media and Publicity Expert, is the founder of Outright Communications, a cost-effective marketing and design firm that offers Publicist services. Contact us today for all your Design, Marketing and Book Publicity needs and we’ll help get your message out. Right.