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Monthly Archives: April 2017

Worst Mistakes of Company Letter Head Designs

Don’t Do Tip 1: Overcrowded Corporate Letterhead

If you are going for a corporate letterhead look you want to be sure to not crowd everything into the top of the letterhead. Sure there are a ton of things you want to include on there and a lot of important information. However with all of the contact details in today’s connected environment you letterhead can quickly become overcrowded and ugly. So plan ahead and make some decisions early on what is necessary for the top part of the letterhead. For example do you really need two different emails address, multiple phone numbers, address and all kinds of other junk crowding your logo and letterhead design. Instead see if you can’t leave some of these things off the letterhead and if not then place them down at the bottom in the footer area. The more open space you can provide in the letterhead the more of a corporate look it will have.

Don’t Do Tip 2: Overuse Of Color On Company Letterhead

Sure we can all admit that we love color and lots of it. However when you are working with a letterhead color should be used sparingly if at all. Your letterhead will be copied, Xeroxed and run through the fax which are all black and white only. So if you have lots of color and wonderful gradient areas on your letter head full of beautiful colors it is going to turn out ugly in the end. After it has gone through multiple fax machines and a few copy machines your letterhead will look like a big black ink spot. It might be now better used in a psychology testing laboratory then as your letterhead. In fact I often suggest when working with ideas for a letterhead design one should copy and fax it a few times along with crumpling the paper up and abusing the letterhead a little before deciding if it is the final look you want. By doing this you can see your letterhead as everyone else will.

Don’t Do Tip 3: Overly Detailed Letterheads

Getting a letterhead with lot of fine, small details is not going to work very well either. It will go through the same process as above and you don’t want your finely detailed artwork look like a old sailor’s tattoo that has spread and stretched out too much from over use. The fine details will be lost and thing will blur together. Again try taking it through the process yourself and see if you still like the final result.

Don’t Do Tip 4: Realtor Letterheads

You know we have all seen those glossy business cards and beautiful letterhead printed in full color that many Realtors will use and they look great. However they are often a little overboard and a little too gaudy if you are not in the realty business or field. So if you are not in that field do not put a pick picture of yourself with a beautiful sunset behind you on your letterhead. This will look very overdone and like you are into yourself too much. You want a letterhead that emphasizes your company and not just you.

No matter what you plan on doing with your letterhead and no matter what industry you work for don’t waste your time or spin your wheels trying to get a letterhead to only be disappointed later. Instead take some time to reflect on the company and mission of your business. Then try to design letterhead that communicated these feelings. You want your letterhead to act as a first impression and it is therefore important that it carried the mood and tone of your business.

 

Ways to Get Ideas Flowing if You Find Yourself Stuck

1. Read. Read everything you can get your hands on. Marketing articles (like this one), business articles, industry journals, the daily newspaper. You don’t get new ideas from doing the same thing every day. Be learning and looking all the time.

2. Go outside of your industry and read what others are doing. It will give you a different perspective on things. Read general business or start-up magazines like Entrepreneur or Business 2.0. These publications are filled with success stories from a variety of businesses.

3. Find someone (or several others) that does what you do in another part of the country. Watch their ideas and marketing techniques. Sign-up for their ezine. Try to get on their mailing list. In addition to finding similar companies online you may try to network with someone through a national association or at a networking event.

4. Allow yourself one day a month to get outside your office — outside your normal work environment — and brainstorm. Find a relaxed setting where you can sit down for a while and just write. Write down what’s happened over the last month or so, where you’re heading, and where you’d like to go in the future.

Find out what environment works best for you to do this exercise. It may be finding a big comfy chair at Starbucks for a few hours, or working from home instead of the office. It’s hard to come up with ideas when you’re in the thick of things; so get out of your work environment and relax. The ideas just might flow.

5. Search for marketing ideas online. You may have some ideas you’ve been kicking around but haven’t fully materialized. Jot down some key words and just go digging around. You never know where your next great idea will come from.

Surveying Your Clients

The best way that I have found to be able to get feedback from our full client base is by sending a survey. Surveys can be sent either by mail or via the web. I would recommend sending web-based surveys over printed surveys as it is much less expensive and provides a higher response rate and a quicker return of information. Email marketing software tool called allows anyone to easily create, send, and receive results from web-based surveys.

In sending a survey, there are a few questions that can be especially helpful to ask. These questions include :

– What do you like about our product or service?
– How do you use our product or service?
– How can we improve our product or service?
– Is there anything we can do to improve your satisfaction with our product or service?
– Are there any other services or products we could offer that you might be interested in?

Generally I would recommend leaving these types questions open ended. You can also ask non open ended questions such as “On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with our customer service?” or “Which of these five features add-ons would benefit you most?”

Once you have deployed your survey, the next step is to wait for the responses to come in. While this may vary by industry, I’ve found about 90% of the total responses will come in during the first 72 hours after deployment of a web-based survey. I’ve seen response rates for web-based surveys range from 5% to 50% depending on the number of questions, the type of list, and how well your customers know you.

Reviewing the Results
Once you have the results, the next and very important step is to review them. If you have more than a few dozen responses, I would recommend creating a Feedback Summary Document that categorizes each reported method for improvement and tabulates the number of times a similar request comes up. At the end of this process, you’ll be able to get a very good idea of why your clients like your product or service and what they feel can be done to improve it, probably the two most important pieces of information you can have as a business owner. With this information you can create an improved roadmap for your product that will allow you to stay competitive and provide the product that your customers want.

In addition to being able to create this improved roadmap, you’ll also likely have a number of very good testimonials or case study material that you can use from the answers to the “what do you like” and “how do you use it” questions.

Implementing the Changes
Once you have a good idea of what the most requested improvements are, you can consider how and when to implement these changes. Depending on your production or development cycle, it may take days or months to make some of the requested changes. Know that not all clients will want the same things. Some may even want changes or new features that conflict-causing you to have to consider offering multiple product lines or completing custom work.

When you have made some or all of the requested improvements be sure to get additional feedback from your clients prior to launching your new version or improved offering. One of the larger mistakes that I’ve made to date in my still young business career is not getting sufficient client feedback prior to launching a new version of my email marketing product to the full user base a few months ago. If we had allowed access to a few clients to review the new version prior to launch-we likely could have averted a number of the bugs and headaches that occurred after the launch. We since have changed our development process so that this type of beta client review is possible. In your organization, depending on what type of product you are selling certainly consider showing an early version of your new offering to some clients or holding a focus group session to get the very valuable post-change feedback prior to launch. Giving your client, and prospects for that matter, a role in the development of your product will help them feel valued and also be more likely to want to purchase your new product after launch.

Here is a review of the seven step feedback process I’ve discussed:

1. Ask the questions in a web-based survey
2. Create a feedback summary document from the results
3. Implement the changes
4. Get client feedback on the changes
5. Make final modifications
6. Go live with the changed product or service
7. Wait a few months and then restart the process

Listen to your customers and you’ll get the feedback you need to make customer-centric business decisions that will allow you to increase your client satisfaction, lifetime value, and retention rate.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a few best practice guidelines for sending out a web-based survey to your client base.

– Survey your clients at least every year, preferably every 6 months
– If your organization offers multiple products or services, create separate surveys for the customers of each major type of product or service you offer.
– Be sure to include questions asking both what your clients like about your product or service as well as any suggestions they have for improving it.