- We will talk to our advertisers.
- We will become the Complete Community Connection in our town or city.
- We will not erect pay walls where we are not providing unique value.
- We will get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
- The word “Christmas” is Old English, a contraction of Christ’s Mass.
- Germany made the first artificial Christmas tree of goose feathers dyed green.
- Electric lights for trees were first used in 1895.
- It’s a Wonderful Life appears on TV more than any other holiday movie.
- “Jingle Bells” was first written for Thanksgiving then became one of the most popular Christmas songs.
- If you received all of the gifts in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” you would receive 364 gifts.
- Christmas became a national holiday in America on June 26, 1870.
G. Michael Maddock and Raphael Louis Viton of Maddock Douglas have a novel idea for anyone–business owners, salespeople, designers, photographers–who strategizes for their business. It’s called the “stop-doing” list, which is basically a list of non-essentials that are prohibiting you from conducting business in an effective, efficient way. Read this intriguing Business Week article summarized nicely by its opening quote:
“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say “no” to almost everything.”–Warren Buffet
You’re heard of businesses that blog. You may have even read some business blogs and wondered if it was something you should be doing. If so, here’s an article that spells out the ins and outs of blogging and what it can mean for your business. If you’ve considered a business blog, this post on ShoutMeLoud.com answers the question “So, where does blogging fit into my business?”:
If you decide to start blogging, don’t forget you can get web resolution photos and illustrations from Creative Outlet for just $5.
If you’ve ever wondered, “Am I creative?” you should perhaps ask yourself instead, “What inspires me to create?”
“Creativity” is often paired up with the Arts–Sculpting is creative. Writing is creative. Designing is creative. So if you’re a sales manager, an accountant or a network administrator, can YOU be creative?
Of course. Creativity is in all of us; for some it’s undiscovered potential. And it’s not necessarily becoming one with the Arts. Corporate creativity involves innovative thinking, problem solving, and creating new processes and procedures. Here’s Hewlett Packard’s take on fostering creativity in the workplace:
Rules of the garage:
- Believe you can change the world.
- Work quickly, keep the tools unlocked, work whenever.
- Know when to work alone and when to work together.
- Share–tools, ideas.
- Trust your colleagues.
- No politics. No bureaucracy. (These are ridiculous in a garage.)
- The customer defines a job well done.
- Radical ideas are not bad ideas.
- Invent different ways of working.
- Make a contribution every day.
- If it doesn’t contribute, it doesn’t leave the garage.
- Believe that together we can do anything.
-1999 HP Annual Report
Need help being bringing out your creative side? That’s our thing. Check out some of our inspirations
It’s the holiday season, and nine times out of 10 you’re going to be running some kind of holiday ad. So, how do you stand out as the “Rudolph” of the pack, brightly guiding your business to great holiday sales?
Use a holiday motif…sparingly. There are many types of holiday ads you can create…elegant, fun, professional or whimsical (see Creative Outlet’s holiday selection). But your employees in Santa hats? Just say no.
Come up with a jolly good headline. Remember, your reader is being inundated with holiday ads. “Merry Christmas from XYZ business” isn’t going to stop them in their tracks. But “Buy one for her, get one for yourself!” just might.
5,4,3,2,1…A countdown is especially good for a series of ads. It creates a sense of urgency and reminds your customers that they have a limited time to take advantage of what your business has to offer.
Track your sales. Say: “Mention this newspaper ad and get an extra 10% off any product or service!” Train: Instruct your employees to ask where they heard of your business or what prompted them to come in. Follow-up: Consider asking those who came in as a result of the ad to fill out a short survey that you can use to better serve your customers in the future.
The bottom line? You know you want a holiday ad. But if you’re going to do it, do it right, and make it an effective part of your yearly marketing plan, not just an afterthought in a busy holiday season.
No matter how long you’ve been in sales, you’ve heard plenty of objections when it comes time for the rubber to meet the road. Here’s how to circumvent the criticism and close that sale:
- Establish a rapport. This is important not only to make a customer comfortable with you, but for you to learn more about them and how what your selling will best fit into their lifestyle. Listen to who they are, what they do and what they think they need, then fill in the gaps by tailoring your product’s usability to their situation.
- Be genuinely excited about your product. Enthusiasm is contagious. If you are truly passionate about what you sell and its benefit to your customers, make sure you convey that to them. Don’t be apologetic about selling and don’t be shy when boasting its features and benefits.
- Acknowledge their objections. There’s nothing worse for a customer than having what they believe to be a viable concern fall on deaf ears. Be empathetic to their objection, then emphatic on how much this purchase will benefit them. Some customers need reassurance; others play devil’s advocate to ensure that they are making a worthy purchase.
Finally, realize that objections may in fact mean that the customer is interested. After putting their mind at ease, go for the close. But in the immortal words of Kenny Rogers, “Know when to hold ’em, and know when to fold ’em.” Sometimes a sale is imminent, other times, it’s best to back off and try again at a later time.
Think of sell sheets as the “Cliff Notes” version of your business – you have to get the basic gist of who you are and what you have to offer in an attention-getting, informative yet not overloaded sheet of paper.
Here are some tips for creating sell sheets that will work for you:
Basic Guidelines for Sell Sheets
If you’ve been thrust into the world of
flash, CSS and animated gifs, you may be feeling a little like a fish
out of water. Often times, those of us who are in the peripherals around
the designers who actually know what these terms mean and do are left
to try to somehow understand them without appearing as if we don’t know
Creative Outlet to the rescue. Here are some commonly used design terms and their meanings:
The process of combining images to give the illusion of movement.
graphic file that is made up of square dots (pixels). Scaling these
images to larger sizes results in these pixels becoming larger which can
make the image look blocky with jagged edges.
for Cascading Style Sheet. With CSS, both web designers and end users
can create style templates (sheet) that specifies how different text
elements (paragraphs, headings, hyperlinks, etc.) appear on a web page.
Multimedia technology developed by Macromedia to allow much interactivity to fit in a relatively small file size.
for File Transfer Protocol. FTP allows you to copy or send files
(HTML-documents, graphic images, spreadsheets) from one computer to
another via the Internet.
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
is a widely used graphics format for the Internet that allows
transparency and animation. The limitation of this format is that it the
maximum number of colors is 256.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
This is THE standard format for the Internet. Html pages can include text, images, animation, video, sound, and more.
This is a language used to do things on the Internet that html coding often cannot.
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
is the main format used on the Internet (and elsewhere) for
photographic/continuous toned images. Because the Jpeg format uses
compression, you can often obtain much smaller file sizes and still
maintain photographic quality.
HTML tags that can be used to identify the creator of a web page, what
HTML specifications a web page follows, the keywords and description of
the page, etc. The most common use of a meta-tag in online marketing is
the keyword and description tags, which tell the search engines that
index meta-tags what description to use in their search query results.
PDF (Portable Document Format)
format developed by Adobe makes it possible to keep the exact fonts,
format, and layout of a document across any platform. These files can be
created in Adobe Acrobat, or any program that can output to PDF. An
Adobe Acrobat Reader is needed to view these files.
PNG (Portable Network Graphics format)
is a lossless compression format that is used on the Internet to
display high color graphics like photographs. You can also have
transparency with PNGs, but the file sizes can be larger.
Royalty-Free Photos or Images
graphic images, or other intellectual property that are sold for a
single standard fee and may be used repeatedly by the purchaser.
A small version of a graphic image.
URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
address referring to a document on the Internet. In other words, it is
the address of an individual web page element or web document on the