Franchise Business Tips

5 Reasons to Create a Marketing Calendar

Marketing calendars are essential tools for any business. They’re fluid but organized, there to help you manage your campaigns through a month, a year, or even longer. Whether you use Excel, Google Spreadsheets, or another program, these turn your hours of marketing planning into a simple, coordinated resource. Here’s why you should be creating an updated, widely-used marketing calendar in your business!

1. Unified Messages

Creating a marketing calendar allows your team to stay on top of your branded messages during a campaign. You may have an overall product or service you want to push for a month or a quarter. Organizing and unifying your messages through a calendar can help your social media posts, blog posts, and advertising materials to work together on this goal.

2. Promotions

Along with promoting particular products, using a marketing calendar can synchronize your offers, like discounts and special deals. This allows you to space them out as you need for your business, rather than risking all of them becoming clumped together in one part of the year.

3. Organizing Team Members

From project managers and content writers, to creative team members, everyone will need to stay on top of their job and what must be done to proceed with the project. Coordinate their efforts through the calendar. This helps everyone see what their tasks should be, and how they contribute to each marketing campaign or project. This is not only good for keeping track of who does what; it’s good for helping your employees feel and stay productive.

4. Accountability

Marketing calendars helps managers–both at the franchisor and franchisee level–stay on top of all that work. Creating a marketing calendar holds each team member accountable for thier piece of marketing tasks. You can use the calendar to establish deadlines for each member and piece of the project as well. With the help of this tool, you’ll be able to make sure your projects, posts, and advertisements go out on time.

5. Trends

Each marketing calendar helps you plan for the consecutive year. What worked and what didn’t? While trends come and go year by year, there will be some that resurface. For example, you might see what worked on holiday campaigns, and build on that in coming years. Using a marketing calendar can help you keep better track of how to use this to your advantage.

Put your marketing calendar to use with Divvy! We can help you schedule your marketing campaigns and print projects. Call or contact us today.

Marketing and Sales Tips for a Successful Black Friday

With November so close, it’s time to begin preparing for Black Friday! This unofficial holiday is vital to many businesses. That extra boost helps keep us all “in the black.” However, it’s important to do it right! Here are our tips for how to make your Black Friday successful.

Thanksgiving: Open or closed?

This has become rather controversial in recent years. On one hand, those customers who choose to work off their Thanksgiving dinners by shopping will be out regardless. On the other hand, it’s excellent for PR purposes to show that you do care about giving your employees a holiday to spend with their families.

If you decide to close your physical locations, make sure you still provide online deals on your website! Some of your buyers might be interested in taking advantage of these while everyone else is napping.

One alternative is to open very, very early on Black Friday or very late on Thursday. Think opening around 11 pm or midnight. This allows you to give your employees a holiday and capitalize on those sales!

With November so close, it’s time to begin preparing for Black Friday! This unofficial holiday is vital to many businesses. That extra boost helps keep us all “in the black.” However, it’s important to do it right! Here are our tips for how to make your Black Friday successful.

Online Offers

While plenty of shoppers show up in person to get the best doorbuster deals, remember that there are also many people who avoid the long lines! For electronics or other high-demand items, these customers turn to online shopping all weekend.

Take advantage of this trend! Make sure to share exclusive, online-only offers to your fan base. Now is the time to begin utilizing social media as well to generate hype for your most important items and sales.

While you’re at it, you should also make sure your site is optimized for mobile. Shopping through apps or on mobile sites has become very popular in previous years!

Shipping

Encourage online shoppers with special discounts. A survey by Inc. Magazine shows that customers buy online more if they’re offered:

Free shipping (80% of buyers)

Fast shipping (54% of buyers)

If you can, offer these special deals for higher online traffic!

Hold an Event

Make your big sale a party in-store! This can keep customers in the store or bring them back if they’re window-shopping. Spice up your event with prizes and drawings (another great way to get returning customers back to your store). If you can, offer food, drinks, or snacks. It’s going to be a long day for everyone, and the lure of free food can help draw people into your location.

Don’t Discount Everything

Huge retailers and franchises can afford to discount most of their merchandise. For smaller franchises, however, this may hurt far more than it can help on Black Friday.

Create levels in your discounts. Use your highest price cuts on more expensive, hot-ticket items. You’ll be sure these will sell fast without hurting your sales.

 

See what Alexander’s can do for your business this year! Call or contact us today to learn how our printing and marketing technology can make your Black Friday successful!

5 Advantages of Using Online Print Portals

Divvy thrives on web-to-print made specifically to benefit your franchise. We accomplish our automation through web-to-print print portals, made specifically for each franchise we work with. Franchisees can place orders of products designed by corporate to get branded kits, campaign pieces, and promotional material delivered straight to their business. Here’s what sets using web-to-print portals apart from traditional ordering methods.

Efficiency

Using web-to-print processes streamlines the ordering process, saves time, and reduces waste. Divvy handles large orders on a regular basis, meaning we’re prepared to deliver quality, timely orders no matter the size.

Online previews allow the owner of each portal to check the design, variable data, and layout of each order piece. This saves you time as you plan the elements of your campaign.

We allow you to duplicate previous orders as well! This makes it easy to repeat elements of a campaign or send repeat pieces to recipients. If you need to create an element again, this saves you and your franchisees time.

Related: Web to Print: Benefit Your Business with Automation

Cost-Efficient

The efficiency of online portals continues to benefit our clients by reducing costs. Saving time on our end–whether in design, printing, or shipping–means we can pass those savings on to you. That gives you more leeway to make your marketing campaigns even more spectacular for your audience.

As always, Divvy focuses on keeping your branding uniform. We use your colors, fonts, and designs. Down the road, this will save you money by avoiding the misrepresentation of your brand as well as potential reprints.

Monitor Orders Online

With Divvy’s portals, franchisors can keep an eye on everything their franchisees order. Our web portals let you track everything about an order, as well as shipping once the items have been completed and sent out. Track orders by date range, product, item, companies, or in-process orders.

Corporate admins can even simulate their franchisees’ accounts and add items to their cart, if necessary. For some franchisors, this is a vital part of maintaining their brand, giving Divvy an advantage over other web-to-print portals.

Automated Shipping

Because of our online portals, we can send your products, direct mail, and campaign material directly to recipients. Each item will arrive in a recipient’s hands right when they need it. This might involve sending packouts to individual franchise locations at the same time to begin a promotion, or making sure your client base gets a piece of direct mail in time for your special offer.

Remember, with our monitoring system, you can track shipping for your orders.

Easy-to-Use

On top of all this, Divvy portals are easy to use! It’s simple to place orders, keep an eye on franchisees’ orders, and prepare products for printing all in one place. Plus, we have one final feature for corporate admins: easy-to-assemble kits! Franchisors can add as many products as they need in a single kit, uniquely packaged for store openings, campaigns, or holidays. Franchisees order this kit, which we receive and produce right away.

 

Ditch your old methods of ordering printed franchise material! Join the many companies who automate and maintain their branding through Divvy’s online portals.

Five Tips for Effective In-Store Displays

Putting up signs and ads is the best way to share promotions with customers already in or near your store. Research suggests that:

  • 82% of buying decisions are made in store
  • 62% of shoppers make impulse buys in store
  • 16% of impulse purchases were made in response to in store displays

These numbers show how vital it is to have effective in-store displays for your business! Here’s how we suggest using your displays in your store.

1. Brand Your Design

Large format displays are no place to be generic! This valuable marketing real estate should convey your branding and lure in your target audience–especially if you’re sharing that space with your competitors, such as a supermarket or mall.

In this example, Dove has chosen Valentine’s colors and shapes to draw attention at the point of sale. And it’s not just because the display itself is tall! There’s more to a POP display than that. Everything here is heart-shaped or wrapped up like a fancy gift. Plus, it’s pink, red, or gold–colors of romance and luxury. This may remind their target audience at checkout that they need to buy chocolate for their special someone–or just for themselves.

2. Check Your Placement!

Even the best signage will do you no good if it can’t catch your customers’ eye. Make sure you situate your large format displays and signage where people will see them, both to draw them into the store and to hang onto their attention at checkout.

POP displays should be near your checkout lines and counter. If you’re using a display of products that is small but attention-getting–like the candy and magazine stands in grocery stores–then use it directly in the line. If your products or display are too large, it should be at the start of the line, where people can still see it as they pass and make that impulse purchase.

3. Use Brief, Specific Offers

You have only a few seconds to get customers’ attention at the point of sale! Even when your customers are waiting in long lines during the holidays, attention spans might be short, or divided between multiple distractions.

Rather than using a lot of information like a menu of options during checkout, make the choice easy with a single offer with only as much information as you actually need to entice them. Then, make sure that you give clear, unique offers at the point of purchase. Don’t stick to generic messages or reinforcing your brand! Your customer is in your store already; they know who you are. This is the moment to capitalize on impulse purchases or getting a customer to join a mailing list.

4. Pair Products and Displays

Even if you can put your products right behind the glass, it won’t stand out without signage! Are your products on sale? Are they new–and more importantly–are they necessary?  At the same time, some signage displays–like for clothing–fall flat without the product to go with them. How can someone see how the fabric drapes in real life without that display?

Products and displays are stronger together. Use careful color branding and designs to draw attention to your store and to the products within. Excellent window dressing design along with the actual appeal of what you’re selling can help draw someone into your store for a closer look.

Related: What Can You Do with Signage by Divvy?

5. Time Your Offers

Everyone runs large format displays and big sales during the holidays. While they’re certainly still effective this time of year, few designs will stand out among all the other stores. Try out big, attention-grabbing displays during the rest of the year, too!

 

Want the most effective in-store signage for your business? Contact Divvy today to create the most effective signs for your franchise.

Creating Dynamic Product Packaging

Packaging your product will make or break its sales. Regardless of how high-quality, useful, or important your product is, its wrapper or box gives its first impression. There’s a reason specific brands have higher appeal than generic imitations, no matter how good or bad one or the other is. Make your products stand out from the rest! Use your packaging to its fullest effect with these tips.

Get the Message Right

The packaging needs to support the product. Your company has a story and your products are the characters. Tell your story through the packaging. Explain your mission, vision and promise. Give the viewer insight into what they will experience through buying your product.

This chocolate packaging stands out quite a bit from a typical plastic-wrapped Hershey’s bar, doesn’t it? Its fonts and copy speak to a more sophisticated, maybe more health-conscious audience. But that’s not the only thing that makes it stand out; the earthy-toned cardboard box uses texture and color that also appeals to consumers looking for a healthy sweet without the bright, loud, fake frills of other brands.

What does your box say about what’s inside?

Sneak Peeks

Where you’re able, let consumers get a glimpse of your product in creative ways. People like to see what they’re getting. But it’s not enough just to show your product; you’ll need to show it in a way that reinforces your branding.

Trident did just that with this packaging. It immediately shows not only what their product is for, but serves as a reminder for their brand. Trident gum bases its marketing around being better for teeth than other brands of gum. Showing white, clean teeth with their packaging in this way shows, not just tells, how their brand is all about teeth.

Related: How to Design Product Packaging That Sells

The Power of Touch

If your product isn’t about food or other edible items, you may also allow buyers to touch it. This applies to items like clothing, yarn or fabric, or other items with weight and texture. This lets your customers see the quality of it right away.

Can’t let someone touch the product before buying? Want to spice up a food package? You can still use the power of touch on your packaging! At Divvy, we can create branded packaging with digital foil or spot UV varnish to create texture that makes almost any package that much more interesting to hold.

 

Remember that your packaging includes more than just the box! Your brand can be a sort of package, encompassing everything about your marketing campaign. Using the brand and the story your company needs to tell will help you get the most out of your packaging, whatever medium you choose.

If you’re interested in a partner to help you tell your brand story, contact Divvy today. We create branded print materials for your franchise and marketing campaigns, automatically ordered and shipped to every location.

Screen Printing for Events

Screen printing is a good way to create buzz about your event. Fabric, more than paper, is likely to stick around in a client’s desk or at home. And it’s far more interactive than most pieces of paper or card stock. Just that texture of the fabric and ink invites handling! These ideas can help you get started on screen-printing for your next event or campaign!

Shirts

Send your attendees away with something to remember you by, or entice them in with T-shirts! With prices ranging from a couple dollars to a couple cents depending on the style, it’s an inexpensive, simple solution!

Shirts give more than they take because of that ROI. Whether you sell them or give them away, be prepared to get your money’s worth out of a well-done event shirt.

Make your shirt successful with more than just a logo slapped on it somewhere. You don’t want all your effort going to waste if the shirt ends up forgotten or given away! Find a design your clients, attendees, and even employees will want to wear again that still speaks to your brand. This one belongs to Alexander’s and is versatile enough that any of our Utah-based team can wear it every day! Using creative, versatile designs like this keeps your marketing efforts going long after the event.

Invitations

We usually think of printing our physical invitations on paper–but did you ever think to do it like this? This invitation for Franklin Covey comes on a cleverly-done napkin. It perfectly matches the theme and feel of their Meet and Eat events, and serves as a great reminder just with its form. Similar ideas are especially effective for your event if it’s themed around food, weddings, or decor. Print an invitation on something small and easy to use again–especially if your event is annual or part of an ongoing campaign!

Event Collateral

You can use something like the napkin from above at your event, too! Printed collateral for your event can be useful giveaway items and, like T-shirts, continue to work after the event has ended. These might include:

  • Tablecloths
  • Napkins
  • Handkerchiefs
  • Bags
  • Shorts or sweatpants
  • Pillows
  • Art prints

Make your printed event ideas a reality! Contact us today to learn more about our screen-printing process and how you can use it for your event or franchise.

 

Types of Printed Signage for Your Franchise

There’s more to your store signage than the neon sign over the door. Divvy can print a wide variety of signage for every one of your franchise locations using your branded designs and colors. If you’re looking for ways to expand the types of printed signs in your franchise, look no further!

Window Clings and Decals

The windows to your location are the first thing your customers passing by will see, possibly excluding your sign. This is your chance to show your brand’s colors, style, and overall message!

Use reusable window clings and permanent or semi-permanent adhesive decals to draw attention and advertise before visitors even enter your store. These are some of the easiest ways to get branded, consistent signage to dozens of your franchise locations to cover a single campaign or event.

Related: Effective Window Clings & Decals with Divvy

POP Signs

Set up point of purchase signs at the entrance, at the check-out counter, or near an item you want to advertise. It’s a great way to remind customers of deals, or to sign up for your rewards program and receive those deals. Without reminders like this, it can be much harder to increase your loyal customer base! POP signs can also help if your business has self-serve elements, like a self check-out counter or self-serve food. It’s an excellent advertisement that speaks where a cashier or server might not be able to.

Print POP signs through Divvy using materials like foamcore, falconboard, posters, and more to suit your business!

Related: What Can You Do with Signage by Divvy?

Banners

If you’re trying to attract customers from off the street, small signs and text are a waste of your time and money. Grab attention right away with bold banners! Large, colorful text or images can help draw in impulse customers or just help them find your store. You can also use your banners in-store to draw attention to a certain section, fill up dead ceiling space, or announce an event or sale!

We print our banners on durable vinyl. We can get as big as you need by attaching sections together. We’ll also provide grommets (shown in the photo) to install it by hanging it wherever you need!

Related: 4 Easy Outdoor Signage Mistakes to Avoid

Wall Decor

Every store or restaurant needs something to spice up its appearance. Not only is it good branding; it helps your location from feeling bland or without personality. Fill your store with branded materials that evoke feelings your target audience wants to connect to. These might be posters of people wearing your brand’s clothing or accessories, vinyl decals listing ingredients or menu items, or just fun art that fits your message.

We can print these on heavy-weight paper products or on gatorboard, a sturdy mounted material that is easy to install.

 

Of course, Divvy can do even more! It all depends on what your franchise needs for your brand. Contact us today to learn what other options we can create for your business.

4 Easy Outdoor Signage Mistakes to Avoid

Designing for the great outdoors–like on the outside of your building or near a freeway–is very different from the design on interior signage. Because of the difference, sometimes designers and businesses make some crucial mistakes. They forget to account for the fact that these designs are outdoors. And because of that, their marketing efforts go to waste. Here are some big mistakes you can avoid making when you create outdoor signage.

4. Sticky Fingers and Vandals

Depending on your area or how long you need to leave up your signs, you may need to add security measures. Many signs become subject to graffiti or vandalization. While you can’t prevent all vandals (think of graffiti under bridges!), you can make your signs easier to clean. Use a laminate to make spray paint come off easily.

3. Even Signs Need Sunscreen

Just as the sun can damage your skin without sunscreen, it can ruin your signs! Outdoor signs need UV-resistant inks to keep from fading. If your design won’t be outside longer than a day, you can continue using water-based inks. However, if you intend long-term marketing, you need those special inks!

2. Weather? What Weather?

Similarly, some printers or designers forget to create signs to be weather-proof! It’s obvious that paper won’t stand up in a rainstorm. But that’s not the only thing to consider. Some inks might suffer under moisture. Your sign itself might be vulnerable to extreme temperatures, melting or cracking under certain kinds of weather. Or, a powerful storm might carry away a banner or break a hard sign in two. Again, if you need your sign to be outside for more than a day, create it to survive the weather–whatever that may be.

1. Indoor vs. Outdoor Design

Outdoor signage needs to be seen from a distance. Especially if your target audience is driving, you have to get your message across quickly. Not everyone will have time or the inclination to come up close and read dozens of words on your banner.

Make sure your words are few and very large, easily read in a hurry. Don’t use difficult-to-read fonts or complex ideas. If you can, let a picture and a brief tagline speak for you.

 

With our white-label storefronts and your product designs, it’s easy to create outdoor signage with Divvy. Contact us today to get started on signage for your franchise or business locations.

 

Avoiding Offensive Advertising Blunders

We live in a world where “political correctness” can be a divisive topic for some. While you may not feel the need to coddle all of your customers in regard to your business, it will be healthier for your company if you avoid such missteps and avoid offense where you can. Doing so spares your business from negative criticism, or a potential loss if your marketing campaign fails. Here are our tips for avoiding such offensive blunders in your advertising efforts!

Get Feedback

This is probably the biggest way to stop an offensive ad or campaign from seeing the light of day. Put your slogans and product designs by multiple viewers from multiple backgrounds. Is your product or design about relationships or for women? You probably should have a woman look at it. Doing so helps avoid the problem seen in this ad.

Image result for bloomingdale eggnog ad

Bloomingdale advertisement

If this advertisement had gone past a woman for feedback, for example, it likely wouldn’t have gotten any farther. A woman (or anyone who has had to think about assault) would easily catch the implication of drugging someone to coerce them into romantic or sexual activity. Also, a woman might have noticed that the man in the advertisement doesn’t look especially friendly, and may come across as creepy. Imagine how much flak (and money!) the company could have saved themselves by letting a woman see the ad first.

Getting feedback can also help you dodge bullets with race, age, gender, and other different backgrounds. It may not matter if people from different backgrounds are on the marketing or design team; find someone in your company to give it a glance!

Do Your Research

If you have an idea that includes a joke or comment about women, gender, race, or any similar group, do your research on that group. You may miss some of the implications of stereotypes or other seemingly humorous/clever matter at first, but research could tell you if your “joke” will come across as off-color or rude.

Lose the Intentional Insults

The old adage (“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything”) is apt in all walks of life. Marketing and advertising are not exempt from this rule. You’re free to use humor, but avoid campaigns and ads that are meant to insult.

Here’s one example:

PETA ad

While it’s a memorable message, it strikes a chord for the wrong reasons. Not only does it attack viewers who are overweight; it implies anyone who is not a vegetarian is overweight, and therefore a whale.

If your message includes such an insult, or you’re told that your slogan comes across as insulting, strike it before you alienate your audience!

Keep it Clean

Burger King ad

A brief look at this ad should tell you how Burger King flubbed this campaign. This advertisement from their 2010 Singapore campaign might have been targeted for adult men. However, they neglected the rest of their audience–which includes people of all ages. Making a dirty joke like this one alienated people who either found this rude or didn’t want their kids around such ads. If your market includes people of all genders and ages, it’s going to be better not to make similar jokes or visual references. And even if your target audience would find this funny, be aware that suggestive ads like this will make their way around the Internet, and you may suffer backlash.

 

Some say that any publicity is good publicity. But when it comes to our social media-driven world and the power of the dollar, that’s not always the case. Spare yourself the waste of money and the need to apologize or pull an advertisement. It’s better not to do it in the first place.

The Cons of an Open Office Floor Plan

Despite all the pros, open office floor plans aren’t for everyone. Though trends suggest it’s good for Millennials, it doesn’t even work for that entire age group (which covers people born in the 1980s to the 1990s). Consider carefully before you switch your office over! If you are set on an open office plan, we also provide some suggestions to make the transition smooth and your office feel happy.

Lack of Privacy

The first thing you’ll lose in an open office is privacy. While this sounds like a great thing for supervisors who want to make sure that their team members are staying on task, it may diminish effectiveness for some. There are employees who thrive with some privacy who, if their walls are removed, will falter and become far less productive.

Open floor plans also make some tasks more difficult. For example, if your business requires everyone to make plenty of phone calls through the day, such as in customer service or sales. Phone calls–especially if they’re taking place on top of each other–might be difficult to conduct in a professional manner.

Private spaces for business calls in such an environment then become essential. Make sure that if your business requires work like this that you have adequate space to allow everyone to work. Also, try to provide private booths or rooms for phone calls.

Distractions

While having an open floor plan reduces the likelihood that employees will waste time, it also actually increases distractions. The chances go up for employees to get distracted talking to one another. And this can be difficult to enforce, especially since one of the goals of an open-plan office is to increase communication and cooperation.

It’s also possible that even a dedicated employee could lose focus. Phone calls and other conversations can divide attention whether or not a person is participating. Annoying little habits become more prominent, which might cause tension or distraction.

To stay productive, your employees will have to get creative to shut out distractions. Encourage consideration of others in your office, and enforce your standards. Try holding good communication training to help your employees practice peaceful resolution to issues that might be distracting them.

Stress

With the decrease in productivity and increase in distractions, your employees will have more stress on their plates. Accomplishing projects may be more difficult, especially within tight deadlines. As with the above example, it might cause problems with placing calls or meeting with clients in a space with little privacy.

Plus, there are always those employees who will do better with privacy–both from their peers and from their superiors. These aren’t the ones who goof off; they’re just the ones who do better knuckling down and getting work done. If these are your best team members, knocking down the walls could make working harder for them.

If this situation might affect your work space, but you want an open floor plan, consider a hybrid office. You might combine an open plan with separate spaces–not quite cubicles, but something that feels a little more enclosed. Or, give those employees who require a separate space a seating arrangement that better suits their ability to get work done.

Contagion

Flu and cold season can be hard enough to fight as it is! However, open offices make it harder. Without walls to keep germs from coughs and sneezes in, bacteria and viruses spread fast. And while your employees may practice good etiquette by coughing into elbows or tissues, it’s still not as effective as a separate space that can be sanitized.

Fight contagion in your office by providing more sick days and encouraging team members with colds to work from home to keep sickness from spreading. Keep the area clean as well, and provide tissues and hand sanitizer.

 

An open floor plan, despite its cons, might still be worth the effort! Are you willing to give this change of scene a try in your business?