Graphic Matter, Inc BLOG

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Graphic Matter, Inc BLOG - www.graphicmatter.com

Do You Speak SEO?

Search Engine Optimization continues to be a popular topic, so thought it was a good idea to revisit some of the fundamentals. Here are some commonly used SEO terms, their definitions and how they apply to a web page.

SEO-Search Engine Optimization; SEM-Search Engine Marketing

1. Title: official title of the page

The text that appears at the very top of the browser window
Most prominent information displayed in search results

tip: Use a different title on each page, typically a 40-60 character limit
tip: Title should be pleasantly readable, not awkwardely stuffed with keywords

2. HTML Page Name: aka file name

Appears at the end of the website name in the browser window

tip: Use words that related to the content of the page [keywords work well]
tip: Be specific to your company; it’s an opportunity to distinguish from your competition.
[i.e. use “nj-handmade-chocolate-services.html” instead of “services.html”]

3. Meta name “keywords” content: your keywords, phrases, best relevant words

Identifies the relevant keywords, phrases to search engines
Confirms for the search engines that the content of the site is relevant to the search phrase

tip: Include common variations, even common misspellings.

4. Meta name “description” content: describes what page is about

Typically the most prominent text displayed in search engine results

tip: Include search word or phrase most commonly used in content
tip: Use it multiple times, and include common variations, even common misspellings
tip: Should be concise yet pleasantly readable

Client Spotlight: Unette Corporation

Unette Website Refreshed

AFTER: Unette’s website Today

Graphic Matter just completed a sharp new website for Unette Corporation. These images show the dramatic transformation–read on for more project details of what we accomplished and how we did it.


A Typical Story

A leader in the flexible packaging industry since 1955, Unette’s growth as a company had far outpaced its branding and Internet presence. Carol Ann Hark, vice president of Unette, contacted Graphic Matter with specific, yet not unique, objectives for the website project: update the “look”, update the content, clarify the list of services, simplify the navigation and ability to edit content on select pages. These issues are very typical to what many businesses currently experience, and many savvy business owners who entered the Internet marketing arena early are finding it’s time to hit the “refresh” button.

Client-Creative communication is key to an effective design process–and optimal results

Unette supplied sample websites that represented the type of “look” and/or features they wanted. This jumpstarted a visual dialogue with our creative team, and the resulting site is one that will promote Unette’s products and services successfully for the foreseeable future.

Budgeting for the Long Haul

Giving clients the ability to edit content not only helps to keep the site’s content current, but also reduces the overall costs by allowing them to update or add information as often as the need arises.  And every update counts: Search engines LOVE new content; each time Unette updates their site, they also improve their search engine optimization results [SEO].

Removing the cost barrier puts site maintenance in different terms: when the update is desired or needed, not “when the budget allows.” Graphic Matter offers several self-administration options, which can be tailored to meet a variety of business needs.

Unette Corporation website BEFORE update

BEFORE: Unette website. circa 2005

A Happy Ending

The client loves the new site–isn’t that the best measure of project success?

Have you evaluated your Internet presence lately? Is it still an effective marketing tool for your business? Is it non-existent? Graphic Matter’s creative team can address a spectrum of objectives–typical to not-so-typical–to meet our clients’ business needs and budget. Call us—we can answer your questions and point you in the direction towards effective marketing.

 

 

Client Spotlight: NTSG, Inc

Graphic Matter created NTSG's large format bannerGraphic Matter designed this large banner [pictured] for NTSG, Inc.’s sponsorship of the last year’s WBENC National Conference. This year NTSG’s President, Nancy Elberty, [pictured here with Graphic Matter’s Amy Melick] stepped up her company’s visual impact with the addition of 2 new retractable banners. These banners were designed to complement the larger 10’x10’ banner when used in conjunction, and to function well when used either individually or as a pair without the large display. The banners, printed on high quality, durable vinyl, are extremely lightweight and roll up to fit in a small carry bag with a NTSG's sponsorship booth at the 2011 WBENC National Conference and   Business Fairstrap. An event must-have, at a price that makes it easy to own more than one. Need one? Call us.

Graphic Matter also provided consulting and design services for the complete booth design, promotional items and a sponsorship advertisement in the program booklet.

Graphic Matter: Here, There, & Vegas too!

Spring has moved quickly into summer—and we’ve been so busy! Graphic Matter has participated in several business events on the Amy Melick, Graphic Matter, at the ISM-Supplier Diversity Fairlocal, regional, and national levels. It’s been an energizing time, reconnecting with clients, colleagues, and venturing into new markets and making new connections. Perhaps we saw you?

Graphic Matter sponsored a booth at the Institute for Supply Management – NJ [ISM-NJ] Supplier Diversity Fair on May 11, 2011 at the Bridgewater Marriott Hotel, in Bridgewater, NJ. This event presented local companies and their capabilities to area corporate supply management executives. Amy debuted our new banner, pictured here. The banner, printed on high quality, durable vinyl, is extremely light-weight and rolls up to fit in a small carry bag with a strap—An event must-have, at a price that makes it easy to own more than one. Need one? Call us.

 

Pitney Bowes Supplier Diversity Summit 2011June’s events began with an invitation for Bev & Amy  to participate in Pitney Bowes’ Supplier Diversity Summit 2011, in Stamford Connecticut on June 13. The Diversity Summit focused on the importance of supplier diversity inclusion and the growth and sustainability of a diverse supplier chain.

Graphic Matter at SCBP Small Biz Expo

 

On June 16, 2011, Graphic Matter exhibited at the SmallBiz Connect: Small Business Networking Showcase sponsored by the Somerset County Business Partnership [SCBP.org]. The event, held at the Bridgewater Marriott Hotel, provided the opportunity for Somerset County businesses to promote their capabilities to area businesses of all sizes. Chrys & Bev enjoyed reconnecting with clients, and were excited to see how many local businesses featured marketing collateral designed by Graphic Matter!

 

 

 

Vegas!Graphic Matter - WBENC - Pfizer

For the fifth consecutive year, Graphic Matter attended the WBENC National Conference and Business Fair, held this year at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and Resort in Las Vegas on June 21-23. Aptly called “The Opportunity Connection,” Bev & Amy reconnected with some familiar clients and opened the door to several new opportunities. Pictured here at the Tribute Dinner are Amy, Bev and the Pfizer procurement team.

Pfizer- Graphic MatterImmediately following their return from Vegas, Bev & Amy were invited to participate in Pfizer’s Supplier Summit, held on June 27th in New York City. The invitees included 20 of Pfizer’s preferred Marketing Industry suppliers; the event was designed to encourage us to create alliances and partnerships between prime- and sub-contractors in this field, in an effort to capture a greater percentage of marketing dollars in diversity spend.

 

Digital Printing vs. Traditional Offset Printing – What’s best for you?

Changes in how our businesses are structured and how reliant we’ve become on technology have Graphic Matter - print and prepress specialistsdramatically changed how we do business. There was a day when we all worked in offices [not HOME offices], we communicated via landlines and snail-mail, and advertising and marketing efforts were not available to us as DIY options due to ability and cost.

Technological advances have provided options that are so much more accessible to small businesses, like blogging, creating our own online promotions, Smartphones, QR codes, and digital printing. While these wonderful tools provide solutions suitable for smaller budgets, some of the “old” ways are still viable and necessary options.

Digital Printing is one of these tools. We print everything from photos to business cards to flyers and tri-fold brochures from our home & office printers and retail quick print services [Staples, Kinko’s, etc]. How do we know which is the best choice for our needs? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Digital printing is quick, and ideal for lower quantity runs. It offers the option of variable data allowing you to personalize the message, addressee, and/or images on each printed item – an effective marketing tool that enables your message to be customized for each recipient. This alone brings targeted marketing within reach of the small business.

On the downside, inks used in digital printing are not absorbed into the paper. As a result, folded edges will often show “cracking” in the color, where the paper color is peeking through. There are limitations on the stock and sizes that can be used in digital printing as well.

Commercial Offset printing still offers the highest quality printing and best color control. If your color matching needs are critical, this is the only method that provides true control. This method also offers the ability to print spot colors, which are produced by printing a custom or PMS color [not process color] using a separate plate. Many special effects such as spot varnishes are produced this way. Offset printing allows many more options for size, specialized inks, and paper stock, which are not cost-effective using a digital press.

Since much of the cost in offset printing is due to the pre-press preparation, printing large quantities will decrease your cost per item, and printing is dramatically faster than digital printing. We hope these tips have helped you to better understand the choices available to your business for your marketing needs. Graphic Matter’s print specialists have an exceptional degree of experience in the technical aspects of commercial print, offset, digital, variable and prepress, as well as image retouching services. Give us a call.

 

Graphic Matter… Out & About!

It’s spring and trade show season!

Graphic Matter will be participating in several upcoming events. We love opportunities to meet new prospective clients and reconnect with familiar faces, so look for us at these upcoming events!

Institute of Supply Management - NJ

Visit Graphic Matter’s booth at the Institute for Supply Management – NJ [ISM-NJ] Supplier Diversity Fair on May 11, 2011 at the Marriott Hotel in Bridgewater, NJ.

 

 

 

On June 16, 2011, Graphic Matter will be exhibiting at the SmallBiz Connect: Small Business Somerset County Business PartnershipNetworking Showcase sponsored by the Somerset County Business Partnership [SCBP.org]. This event will also be held at the Bridgewater Marriott Hotel.

 

WBENC National Business Conference & Fair 2011

Follow Graphic Matter to Las Vegas on June 21-23, where we’ll be attending the WBENC 2011 National Conference and Business Fair,entitled “The Opportunity Connection,” at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and Resort in Las Vegas.

Also, Graphic Matter was recently interviewed by the Hillsborough Beacon about our recent award presented by the WPEO and WBENC. See the article here.

Do you have plans to attend any of these events? Reach out to us so we can connect!

 

Brand IDENTITY vs. Brand IMAGE – What is Said vs. What is Heard

Brand Identity vs. Brand Image

We often see these two terms used interchangeably [and incorrectly] and while it seems there is a relatively small distinction between them, it can speak volumes in how you choose to spend your marketing dollars.

Brand Identity is how you want the consumer to perceive your product or brand. It helps to shape the personality of the product, service or company. It’s the voice you give your product or service.

Brand Image is the perception of your product or brand by consumers. It’s what they hear.

So many factors combine to create a brand image – some of which you have no control over. This increases the importance of the factors within your control, the strategic choices you make regarding your brand and marketing efforts.

The strongest voice you can give your product is a well-defined and consistently communicated brand identity. Teachers use this when they repeat an important concept for emphasis, and then really let it sink in. Have you given your brand a strong voice? Do you know what your next marketing initiative should be? If you’d like to know more about what your clients hear, give our marketing team a call.

 

How good is your reputation?

White Hat SEOYou carefully guard your personal and business reputations, but did you know that it’s important to monitor your online reputation as well? Knowing what people are saying about your business gives you the power to capitalize on successes or correct misrepresentations where they crop up.

Black Hat SEOHow do you know what’s being said, and what control can you have?

1. Own all variations of your domain name. Think of the most likely errors [misspelling, plural vs. singular, etc] someone might make when searching for you, and purchase those domains if you can. Also purchase domains for your own name [not your company]. They don’t cost much and it provides peace of mind. Have you ever misspelled a web address and reached an incorrect website — perhaps it belongs to a competing business, or even one that is a bit [eek] awkward?!

2. Set up Google Alerts for your business name and product names. This FREE and easy-to-set-up Google feature will advise you when there is any Internet mention of the terms you have specified, so you can see the good, and even the bad, of what’s being said. You can even have alerts for your competitors and target clients too. Unfortunately you can’t always change what’s out there, but again, knowledge is power.

3. Use only White Hat SEO. There are good SEO practices, and not so good ones. The good kind – White Hat SEO – search engine optimization, search engine marketing, SEO, SEMconsists of the appropriate & ethical embedding of keywords and metadata into your copy and images. Black Hat SEO refers to sites where the SEO techniques are not in compliance with search engines’ guidelines for webmasters [Search Engine Optimization, An Hour a Day. Grappone and Couzin, 2008]. Search engines don’t like Black Hat SEO and you may find your rankings suffer as a result.

Your online reputation will say as much about you as your personal reputation does. Protect it and promote it accordingly. Want to know more about the Do’s and Don’ts of Internet marketing?

Google’s new Instant Preview in search results

Google recently introduced a new Instant Preview feature that seems to have replaced the thumbnail image typically shown in search engine results. This new feature displays a mini snapshot of the actual web page, and highlights the relevant search terms as they appear on the page. Previews allow the searcher to quickly compare results and to choose a page that best matches what they are looking for. [read more]

search engine optimization

Seeing this direct link between your search terms and Google’s search results demonstrates the importance of search engine optimization and the strategic use of “landing pages” throughout your website. How confident are you that your prospects can find you with a Google search? Contact Graphic Matter’s web team to be sure.

Auto-piloting your website

Once your website is up and running, it would be nice to think that it will happily function on autopilot, magically bringing new prospects to your door. It can do that… ALMOST. But just like an airplane’s autopilot function, you first need to set some “coordinates,” so to speak. These tips will help to guide your site to your target audiences.

Fresh content: Web crawlers love fresh content, so add it as often as you can. This can be in the form of company news, blogs posts, photos or video via mobile upload.
Keywords, metadata, SEO, SEM, search engine optimization

Relevant Design: Keep the design of your site current. Design trends, just like clothing trends, become outdated. No one wants to visit a dated site.

Online Community Participation: Is your business suited for a community forum– like a product rating by your customers [think Amazon, Target]? This fresh content will continue to work even when you’re not.

Directory Submissions: Once your site is up and running it’s important to submit it to the major search engine directories to jumpstart it’s online presence. Our team can help.

Email Signatures: Always include your web address in your business email signature. This is a quick & free way to get your web address out to your clients and make it easy for them to access your site. Suggest they bookmark it for future convenience!

Business Cards & Stationery: Your web address should be included on all of your company stationery and marketing collateral. If you don’t promote yourself, who will?

Press Releases: At Graphic Matter, we find that in the days following a press release Google Analytics shows a remarkable increase in traffic to our site. Press releases are a relatively inexpensive promotional tool that is often overlooked in the small-to-midsized business arena. Talk to our marketing professionals to get started!

SEO and PPC: You use words and images to speak to your customers; your website uses them to speak to the search engines – and it’s all going on behind the scenes. For more information about the powerful impact good SEO and can have on your web traffic look at our series of blog posts.

Blogs: Hosting a blog on your site is an easy way to generate fresh content and provides opportunities for new connections with your customer base. Your SEO advantage is super-charged if you host your blog on your custom domain rather than using free hosting by WordPress or blogger.

Newsletters: E-newsletters can carry your marketing message to your entire customer list with just a click. And while your customers are reading the words, the web crawlers are reading the strategically planted keywords and links. Be sure to create links back to your website.

Should you implement ALL of these items? ABSOLUTELY! Call our marketing experts to help you design the best Internet marketing strategy for your business’ needs and budget.

Graphic Matter’s Favorite Blog Posts of 2010

Over the past year, Graphic Matter has shared with you the many different ways you can promote your business and your brand. Let’s sum up our year of informational posts and share with you the ones that were our favorites.

Here they are:

1. How I Love to Follow A Blog, Let Me Count the Ways! Parts 1 – 3

2. Organic Marketing? Really?

3. Get Pushy with Your Marketing: The Difference Between SEO & SEM

4. Graphic Matter’s Fab 5 “Shout Out”

5. Graphic Matter Client Spotlight – NTSG, Inc.

We hope that you have enjoyed our blog posts and have shared them with friends. We look forward to hearing from YOU and invite you to share with us your favorite tips from 2010 as well as what questions you would like to see answered in 2011.

The team at Graphic Matter wishes everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Implementing and Building Your Brand – Building a Brand Part 6

How Do I Do THAT?

In recent posts, we identified the main challenge to building your brand is to create awareness and recognition of your company and brand, and we broke it down into four areas:

1. Choice of font or typeface

2. Use of Color

3. Logo Design

4. Choosing a Designer

To complete the series, we are offering some ideas about how you can promote your brand consistently with everyday or off-the-shelf items. The most important tip we can give you is to be CONSISTENT about promoting your brand.

OFF-THE-SHELF ITEMS

Many office supply stores stock business supplies and accessories that you can purchase to reinforce your brand. Will you need binders, presentation folders, envelopes, boxes, or labels? See how many of these items you can get that are consistent with the colors that you have chosen for your logo or brand. Since you haven’t invested any money in these types of items at this point, you can adjust your color choices for them as necessary. For example, instead of bright blue, you might need to switch to a light blue or a grayish-blue. Make these decisions early, before you start to accumulate materials. Consider searching online — you might get a wider selection of colors. Companies like Paper Direct and Paper Access specialize in creating pre-printed materials for small business owners.

BUILD THE BRAND

Now that you have selected your basic elements, use them relentlessly. Find every opportunity to reinforce your brand.

When you select checks, include your font, color(s) and logo. Take a look at your email; create a standard signature that incorporates your complete business name, address, phone and Web address in the footer. Use your colors, your font and if you know how, add your logo. Evaluate all of your existing support materials – not just marketing materials. What do your invoices, estimates, and contracts look like? Do they reinforce your brand and the professionalism of your company? Pick up each piece and ask, “Does this help or hinder my brand in the eye of the client?” More importantly, if prospective clients see this support material before they meet you, will it encourage them to contact you or will it send a clear message to go elsewhere?

Thinking about how both prospective and existing clients view your business is very important. You want to make sure when they have a need they think of you first and ask you to help them fill it. By branding your business, and then building your brand, you create brand recognition, which turns into more sales for you!

For more information on how to build your brand, contact Graphic Matter!