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!

 

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 2010 Year in Review

2010 was a year filled with accomplishments and milestones for Graphic Matter Inc. As we review this list we have compiled, we are again grateful to you, our clients and partners, for your support and confidence.

January 2010 – Launch of Our 2¢, Graphic Matter’s blog, opening a new line of communication and resource for our clients. We covered the topics that our clients asked us about the most – everything from blogs, SEO, branding, and client projects.

February 2010 – Graphic Matter attends WPEO Done Deals and Matchmaker Event in NYC and has matchmaker meetings with various corporations.

March 2010Mitushi Banerjee joins the Graphic Matter team as web designer.

April 2010 – Graphic Matter attends the WPEO Done Deals Challenge Reception in NYC.

June 2010Graphic Matter is awarded 3rd place in the NJ AD Club 42nd Annual Awards for the exercise booklet we designed for the Pink Ribbon Program, Recovery for Breast Cancer Survivors.

June 2010Graphic Matter designs trade show graphics for NTSG, Inc., providing visual impact for their sponsorship booth at WBENC’s Women in Business 2010 Conference, This visually compelling marketing tool is both versatile and portable for use at future events.

June 2010 – Graphic Matter renews WBENC Certification.

July 2010 – Graphic Matter attends New Jersey’s largest industry networking event sponsored by the NJ Marcom Council.

August 2010 – Graphic Matter celebrates our 8th anniversary as a Hillsborough business.

September 2010 – Graphic Matter creates a new business plan for growth in 2011 with the Haufman FastTrac Growth Venture program

October 2010 Graphic Matter wins the WPEO/WBENC Done Deals Partnership Award for securing the most WBE-to-WBE contracts.

November 2010Graphic Matter designs advertisement and accompanying micro-site for Pink Ribbon Program’s Breast Cancer Rehab.org, marking our first ad placement in a national publication [USA Today].

December 2010 – Graphic Matter wraps us another exciting year and prepares for a productive 2011.

Thanks for reading our blog. Let us know what you would like us to discuss in 2011. We look forward to more rewarding project with our clients in 2011!

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!

How Do I Choose A Logo Designer?

Here is a checklist for you, to help you hire the right designer for your project.

1. Experience:
Ask your designer for samples of other company or product logos they created. It is important to see that the designer can meet a client’s objectives, personal taste and business constraints. Designing a logo as a class project is not the same as meeting the needs, preferences and budget of a paying client.

2. Positive Testimonials:
Ask for testimonials. When speaking to their clients ask about the communication process, how well the designer understood their needs and how they managed the design and edit process. The design process is a translation process, where a client states their requirements verbally and the designer translates these needs into a physical object or symbol.

3. Portfolio:
Good designers have a strong and varied portfolio of work. From the simple to the complex, it should include product and service businesses, conservative and contemporary, premium and discount brands. You can view our portfolio here.

4. Design Process & Professionalism:
When Graphic Matter designs a logo, we follow a process to ensure that we understand and fulfill the client’s needs and requirements. Attention to detail, trustworthiness, strong communication skills, project and time management are all integral components for great customer service. Can your designer accurately estimate the time and cost of your project?

5. Price:
In most cases, you will get what you pay for but don’t take price as the only indication. A designer is a professional who is selling their experience and time. An experienced professional designer, with a strong portfolio is not going to give away their work when they can sell it at fair market value. They need to allow adequate time to do the necessary research and background work to make your logo unique and relevant for your target audience.

6. Customer Service:
Do you know the business behind the website? Can you call or visit the office and meet the designer – if you want to? Do they respond to your emails and calls? How do they present themselves and their ideas? Do they ask you the right questions about your business and objectives? Do they listen to you and understand your change requests? Do they respect your ideas and input? Do you get back what you expect from the designer? When you do get something back  are you “surprised”? Is it a good surprise? It should be!

Graphic Matter can help you to build your brand.

Why not give us a call today?

The Left-Brain/Right-Brain Guide to Building a Brand – Part 1

At Graphic Matter, our blog posts are driven by our clients most frequently asked questions. Recently, we have had several inquiries from start-up businesses, about ways to launch a new brand that provides the best value for your budget.

Our past post have focused on promoting your website. Well, once they have found you, how will you stand out so that they remember you?

So let us offer our 2 cents….It’s all about BRANDING.

Wikipedia defines Brand as: The identity of a specific product, service or business. A brand can take many forms, including a name, sign, symbol, color combination or slogan.

One of your biggest challenges is building an awareness of your company and your brand. This is a two-fold process: telling prospective customers why they need your product or service, and promoting your company as the best provider of these products or services.

If there is already an established need for your business, as in the case of dentists or bankers, your task is that much simpler. Otherwise you must educate potential buyers about why they need your services, which can be a significant effort on your part.

As for promotion, to accomplish your goals you must be familiar, known and trusted. The process of establishing a reputation is called “brand building.” It’s a simple concept we’re going to break down into four areas: Choice of Font or Typeface, Use of Color, Creating a Logo, and the Implementation and Consistent Use of Your Brand. All of these areas are geared toward establishing your brand and being able to incorporate the creative decision making with an emphasis on the practical business requirements and constraints.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of The Left-Brain/Right-Brain Guide to Building a Brand. In the meantime, if you have questions about branding give Graphic Matter a call!

                   
                   

Conversions: Turning Prospects into Purchases

“A Conversion… is when a prospective customer takes the marketer’s intended action. [www.Wikipedia.com]

 

A Call to Action generally initiates a Conversion. We see them all the time: a retail business offers a coupon [call to action] to entice a purchase [conversion]. A service-oriented business may identify a service your business needs followed by an easy solution [contact form]. You may have several actions, or conversions, that are desired for your business. Your website should be able to generate most of them, and it’s likely that the point of conversion doesn’t always happen on the home page. How do you find the right page[s]?

Optimize your website for better conversion rates[#1]: Identify Conversion Opportunities: Generate a list of all the desired outcomes, or conversions, for your business prospects. This could include requests for more information or follow-up, completed purchases, subscription enrollment, or submitting contact information to download a white paper – and there are many more possibilities.

[#2]: Locate Conversion Points: Where on your website does each of these occur? Is there a Call To Action? Make sure the opportunity is easy for the visitor to find and understand what action they should take. This may be a contact page, or a sign up or purchase form, for example.

[#3]: Optimize for the conversion: By embedding metadata on targeted landing pages, that are relevant to the specific search phrase of each visitor, you can create a virtual path to the desired outcome: conversion.

Some additional points to consider:

  • In order to maximize the conversion rate it is crucial to have a well thought out and well developed landing page. See Our 2¢ post on July 15, 2010, and www.activemedia.com.

  • Attempts to improve conversion rates often involve testing different landing pages to see which perform best. See Our 2¢ post on August 10, 2010, and www.thehoneypotbook.com.

When we focus on search engine optimization we sometimes lose site of the fact that increasing traffic to our website is not the only desired result. In the end, if our traffic improved dramatically yet we have not sold more product or service, have we accomplished what we set out to accomplish? Conversions offer us a way to track our progress by creating opportunities for site visitors to identify themselves to us as prospective clients, or to potentially complete a purchase transaction directly.

Are you confident you’re getting great conversion rates from your website? A call to Graphic Matter will help ensure your website is working hard for your business 24/7.

What Is A Landing Page?

 

When we started the Graphic Matter blog, we decided that we wanted it to be a no-nonsense source of information that focused on our most frequently asked questions. Well, this is certainly one of them! Here are ourfavorite answers to “What is a landing page?” and the sources that provided them.

  • In online marketing a landing page, sometimes known as a lead capture page, is the page that appears when a potential customer clicks on an advertisement or a search-engine result link. www.Wikipedia.com
  • The first page that a visitor lands on as a result of a traffic acquisition activity. The landing page can be a stand-alone page, a part of a special-purpose microsite, or a page on the company’s main website. Landing page optimization: the definitive guide to testing and tuning for conversions, by Tim Ash, John Wiley and Sons, 2008
  • The first page that a user views during a session. This is also known as the “entrance page.” www.netstrategies.com
  • A Web page that is the click-through point for an online advertisement. Special landing pages are often prepared that focus specifically on the offer or keywords that the Web surfer clicked on. www.neubertweb.com
What are the landing pages on your site? When a prospective customer enters your site through a landing page, is there a clear path to the information they seek, or the results you would like? We’ve been focusing a great deal on how and where people land on our web site – as well as our clients’ sites. Give us a call for a no-nonsense evaluation today; you may find that just a few small changes can dramatically improve your rankings and results!