One of the important thing mistakes small businesses make when creating an internet presence is attempting to do all of it themselves, says Jeff Fisher, a graphic designer with 30 years experience, and creator of two books on graphic design. Fisher is also a member of the advisory boards for How Magazine, UCDA Designer Magazine and the How Design Conference.
“I all the time tell business owners don’t do that at home,” he says. “Hire an expert who knows what they’re doing. It doesn’t have to break the bank, but there will likely be tremendous profit in bringing in someone who really understands the way to create what a business must get off on the fitting foot.”
His suggestions for locating an expert include:
- Check out designer portfolios online.
- Contact local design schools, universities or community colleges for recommendations of outstanding students who may have the opportunity to assist for monetary compensation and possible school credit.
- Some college business programs have outreach programs to help small businesses in marketing and promotion efforts.
- Research the resources available through the Small Business Administration. If what you are promoting has a service or product of value to a design skilled, consider bartering or a partial trade of equal value.
Remember, that the initial online impression made with a possible customer could make all of the difference; the associated fee of the web presence is an investment in the longer term of what you are promoting, says Fisher.
The Portland, Oregon graphic designer, author and speaker hails from a family with deep roots in PR and marketing; his father, mother and sister have all had careers in some aspect of the business. In fact it was his sister, who owns an ad agency, who helped Fisher zone in on the aspect of graphic design he enjoyed most at a time when he was experiencing burnout.
“For in regards to the first 17 years of my profession I took on any and all design projects that got here my way,” he explains. “I believed that was what graphic designers were expected to do. In a conversation with my sister I discussed I used to be beginning to get burned out by my work. Her comment was, Why aren’t you specializing in what you enjoy most? I form of checked out her with a blank stare and she or he said, Logo designs.”
That was when he adopted the business name Jeff Fisher LogoMotives and commenced marketing himself primarily as a designer of corporate identities.
Although his customers typically find him lately, Fisher has quite a lot of ideas about what works and doesn’t work with small business marketing. For example, he avoids paid traditional print promoting and Yellow Page promoting.
“I learned that print promoting was simply not effective in marketing my services,” Fisher says. While Yellow Page promoting, “tends to bring designers too many tire kickers in search of services based on price only.”
Strategies which have worked for Fisher include:
- Press releases, distributed online and thru traditional snail mail. The relationships developed with editors and writers over time are incredibly beneficial to a business.
- Writing also has develop into a significant marketing element for my business, Fisher admits, mentioning he has been asked to jot down quite a few articles for design and business publications and web sites.
- Two books, The Savvy Designer’s Guide to Success: Ideas and tactics for a killer profession released in 2004, and Identity Crisis: 50 redesigns that transformed stale identities into successful brands, in 2007 have earned him the status of industry expert.
- Business blog, bLog-oMotives, began in 2005.
- Speaking Engagements – Fisher speaks to highschool groups, design schools, colleges and universities, design organizations and at conferences just like the industry HOW Design Conference.
- Pro bono work – While such efforts might now be considered marketing by many, it does get my name out into the business community, puts me involved with many local movers and shakers, and provides a chance to advertise the tip results.
- One unsolicited mail-piece way back generated a targeted, self-created list of 500 individuals so powerful that Fisher has not needed to do a mailing since.
Like many small business owners, Fisher prefers low-cost – or no-cost – marketing tools. He has even managed to show a few of them, just like the writing of articles and books and speaking engagements into income-producing activities.
“With my writing, and speaking engagements, my business can be evolving into considered one of becoming an expert industry expert while taking over limited design projects,” Fisher said. “At a design conference a couple of years ago I explained to an audience that I desired to work less, charge more.”