Your Best Work: Book It. Blog It. Badge It.
Think of that job you recently completed, stood back from, and admired for a few minutes… with a well-earned sense of pride. Or that head-turning design you’re working on right now – you know – the project that has “Portfolio piece” written all over it.
If you stop to think about it, you’ve invested a great deal of time, effort and money over the years in order to be able to achieve that “Wow!” factor for your customer’s business – to create a brand image that delivers customers and revenue.
None of that happened by accident.
Think of the years of persistence it took for you to reach this point. You reinvested profits in capital equipment and software. You spent countless hours honing your design, application, and production skills. You paid staff while you trained them – and you undoubtedly wasted a pile of materials in the process. You probably endured some heavy duty frustration at times. You worked overtime and weekends. You sacrificed.
It’s Payback Time
Here are three, relatively easy and relatively inexpensive ways you can leverage increased return on investment from your best sign, display graphics and vehicle advertising work…
Most customers need visuals to stimulate their imagination. Help them discover what they want – and it’s much easier sell them what they need. With today’s digital photography and print-on-demand technologies, there is no excuse for not having a gorgeous, professional portfolio that reflects the quality of your work, and ignites the imagination and desires of your customers.
High quality photo books are a fantastic tool for face-to-face encounters at the sales counter – or when you’re out and about. They’re relatively inexpensive, easy to create and tactile. A nicely bound, printed and branded portfolio will speak to the quality you provide in ways that an old-fashioned photo album or three-ringed binder simply can’t. Two “musts” are a decent digital camera, and a solid understanding of the basics of good photography. Spring for one or two photo books for the shop and another one or two to carry under your arm, when you’re out visiting customers.
The benefits of blogging are many. The short story is that companies that blog get 55% more web traffic and 70% more leads than those that don’t.
Sharing high quality photos and keyword-rich copy about your sexiest and most successful jobs isn’t hard work. It’s fun! It’s also great for your site’s SEO – and gives you the opportunity to promote your customer’s business while you’re at it. They tend to like that. And they tend to share links to stories about them with friends, family and colleagues – via email and social media.
Tip: Be sure to link your stories back to your customer’s websites. Inbound links are the ultimate Google juice – and there’s a good chance they will reciprocate with links of their own.
It’s also easy to push stories from your blog out to social media outposts, like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin – automatically – to minimize the time you need to spend updating your social networks.
Davinci signed the Mona Lisa. Every billboard bears the outdoor media company’s brand. Within reason – and when appropriate – your logo and web address should be on every job you deliver. You don’t have to be obnoxious about it. A small badge, bottom right will do just fine.
Some customers will be fine with it, some won’t. And that’s OK. Your job – over time – is to persuade an increasing number of customers to give you permission.
Get started by politely asking customers with whom you already have a strong relationship – clients who view you as a partner in their success. It won’t always be necessary, but be prepared to negotiate: offer a $100 credit (or whatever would be appropriate, based on the project) off their next order. That “Badged” portfolio piece will be out there working for you, 24/7, for a long time to come. It’s low-cost, high value advertising for your business.
Tip: You can also begin “conditioning” new customers by introducing “Badging” early in your sales process.
What other ways can you find to use your best work to land more customers and sales? What else are you already doing? We would love to hear from you!