mistakes

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.

 

Common Outdoor Signage Mistakes

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 and paper substrates won’t stand up in a rainstorm. But that’s not the only thing to consider. For example, 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. Plus, a driver trying to catch a complicated message on your billboard or banner can become a distracted danger on the road in seconds.

Make sure your words are few and very large. Not only that, make sure someone can easily read them 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.

 

When it comes to marketing for your business, Divvy can create signage on a wide variety of substrates meant to withstand the great outdoors. You’ll successfully promote your business or event in any weather!

Blunders That Killed These 5 Franchises

Failure is the best teacher. For some, that lesson comes harder, and leads to the closing of a business. But these former business owners are not the only ones who can learn from their mistakes. Other franchisors can have that chance too. Here’s a list of franchises we can learn from, and why they failed.

Branding Blunders

Sambo’s

Opening in 1957, Sambo’s restaurants faced controversy early on. Despite their claim that “Sambo” came from the founders’ names, it couldn’t justify the caricature of Li’l Black Sambo so easily. Rebranding could have saved this company had they done it earlier, but even trying to become “The Jolly Tiger” couldn’t undo the damage of poor corporate-level decisions that made it grow too quickly.

White Tower

Seeing the popularity of White Castle, John E. Saxe decided to imitate. They copied much of White Castle, down to the menu, advertising, and architecture of the restaurant. But as popular as this might have made them, they would have been better off distancing themselves a little further. Legal action from the original chain made them change their branding tune, and this ultimately killed White Tower.

Overreaching

Burger Chef

This food chain, popular in the 60s and 70s, once was a real challenger to McDonald’s. They were the first to develop a flamed-broiled burger, a self-serve bar, value combos, and a “Funmeal.” However, this company closed its doors for good in 1996. Why did it fail? It tried to do too much too fast. This rapid expansion helped bring Burger Chef to its knees.

Though you’ve got great ideas and you need to get them out before your competitors, make sure you’re not growing faster than you can handle!

Competition

Other franchisors will always see your success and try to imitate it. To avoid going under or losing customers to them, you have to stay on the edge in product and service.

Henry’s Hamburgers

Another once-challenger to the might of McDonald’s, Henry’s had over 200 restaurants by the early 60s. That’s more than McDonald’s had at the same time! But they could not adapt to the changing industry, as dozens of other hamburger chains began popping up. For example, as other chains began adding drive-thru pickup, Henry’s failed to do so. Plus, they had the disturbing controversy of possibly using horse meat.

Blockbuster

With the advent of streaming services and more convenient DVD rentals like Redbox, the once-common Blockbuster began shutting down in 2013, after going bankrupt in 2010. Their attempt to stick to their old model backfired, closing the vast majority of their stores. Imagine if Blockbuster had changed with the times instead of holding onto the DVD rental model. We might still see them around!

 

Divvy can help you avoid any social media or printing blunders. Just contact us today to learn how we can help your franchise succeed!

4 More Mistakes Franchises Make with Social Media

Social media can drive a third of your referral traffic, and is a great way to grow and market your brand. After all, most people have a smartphone and spend up to 30 percent of their time online. But social media is often underused, overused, or misused in promotion. Many franchisors or brand owners overlook the social aspect of social media, or fail to protect their brand when posting. Last time, we posted 4 major social media mistakes you may be making online. Here are four more you should avoid to keep your social media platforms friendly and, well, social.

1. Being inconsistent

Inconsistency–such as changing voices, long silences between posts, and changing responses to common questions–tend to drive away potential followers. Consistent schedules and voices, however, keep a brand and its content strong. When planning your social media, keep a schedule for your post times and dates. Find a voice and style of content that works well with your following and that will drive future fans your way.

However, when planning content, be careful not to stay so “consistent” that you fall into a rut. Post a wide variety of content to appeal to all your followers, and to encourage them to spread the word.

2. Responding inappropriately to negative feedback

We warned against ignoring feedback in our previous article. This is, naturally, very dangerous to do with your customers. But you should also avoid simply deleting comments or getting into an emotional argument. Negative feedback can carry strong emotions on the customer’s end, and you should be careful not to use those same emotions. Getting into a battle–especially a visible one on your Facebook page–can only lead to disaster.

It will also damage your brand to be inconsistent, canned, or unclear in how you respond. Work with your social media team to create guidelines for negative comments and reviews. This consistency will help your customers feel they are being treated fairly, especially if you fix response times to within a certain window.

3. Buying likes

Many brands and blogs still believe that they can purchase followers and likes to pad their numbers and gain higher notice or credibility. However, this actually damages your brand more than it can help. The number one reason is that fake likes and fans cannot spread the word, nor boost actual interactions. If you have high numbers but little interaction, this puts out a signal to both the platform and to potential buyers or followers that your content is just not that interesting. Certain social media platforms can also delete your account if they find out you are purchasing fans.

4. Over-promoting your products

Social media marketing exists to grow your brand. So the occasional sales pitch meant to drive sales isn’t a bad thing. But you should be careful about the frequency of these ads and sales pitches. Remember, social media platforms are places to grow relationships, and relationships rarely form from an impersonal, loud, or repeating advertisement. Follow the 80/20 principle: post valuable content 80 percent of the time, and focus on product promotion no more than 20 percent of the time. Even better, focus on getting your fans into a marketing funnel so you never need to use your social media accounts for sales.

 

Overall, make sure your team is properly trained about social media and how to market effectively. Remember as well to treat your customers as if you were meeting them face-to-face. This can help you avoid the worst social media mistakes.

4 Major Mistakes Franchises Make with Social Media

Many franchisors have given up on social media, which in its early days was an ineffective marketing tool. While originally an understandable move, today it makes little sense to underuse or abandon social media marketing. Recently, social networks like Facebook and Twitter use metrics to provide statistics and tracking tools, as well as paid ads that actually work. This makes it much easier not only to view a business’s conversions, but to make them happen.

But even a few years ago, social media marketing was not as effective as it could have been. According to FranConnect’s 2015 Franchise Marketing Report, only 1 of 5 franchises use social media effectively. Worse, these focus more on what customers say about their brand without actually making changes.

This powerful tool should be in your arsenal, if it isn’t already. But you’ll need to know how to use it correctly, and how to avoid major mistakes other franchisors make with their social media. These serious errors include:

1. Ignoring Customers’ Comments Online

Customers just want to be heard–even if it doesn’t fix their problems. Complaining customers require feedback more quickly as well, with 42% wanting a 60 minute wait before receiving a response. Yet the FranConnect report showed that none of the participants used social media as a primary way to gain customer feedback. Putting time into a response, whether it’s for kudos or grievances, can help increase confidence in your brand’s customer service.

2. Spreading Yourself Thin

One key to successful social media use is to pick a handful of outlets, rather than trying to use every major site out there. Spreading your brand to every social media platform creates much more work for you and your franchisees. It may be more difficult to respond to customers’ comments, for one. For another, this practice can lead to attempts at promotion through redirection. In other words, instead of posting the necessary information on your accounts, customers must go back and forth to Facebook, Twitter, and a blog in order to enter a promotion or get offers, or even to follow your business.

If it works for your franchisees, let them pick the two or three social media platforms where they already succeed, and let them build their campaigns around these. This lets you and your franchisees target specific audiences more effectively.

3. Not Monitoring Your Franchises

Franchisors who do use a platform’s tracking functions often focus on a corporate or global level. However, they fail to monitor franchisees’ social networking. Your brand is your greatest asset, and if left to their own devices, some franchisees may begin altering it. This could be by deviating from approved designs and phrases, using vastly different marketing, or simply not posting at all–potentially damaging customers’ trust in the brand.

Learn how your franchisees are communicating on social media, and how they use the marketing material provided. Once you have a clear picture of their social media use, you can create a social media strategy. Make sure it involves and motivates your franchisees. A successful promotion will also encourage your franchisees to keep up-to-date on their social media platforms in order to facilitate future events and promotions.

Once you begin these kinds of campaigns, you can learn how to streamline your social media promotion on the franchisee level, and your franchisees will be motivated to stay up-to-date with their platforms.

4. Avoiding Social Media Automation

Traditional methods for monitoring and posting require large, expertly-trained teams of account managers. So, to stay on top of your various platforms–especially if you have many franchise locations–why not try social media automation?

Automation helps you maintain consistency as well as your brand, and gives you more control over what you share. The time you can save with automation then benefits your business. The trick is knowing what not to automate versus what you should automate.

You should automate scheduled posts, campaigns, press releases, blog promotion, and metrics. However, do not automate direct messages and conversations with customers and franchisees. These should be kept personal, rather than delivered as a form, which only do damage to your brand and to you when used this way.

 

Divvy’s social media automation creates branded content and can help you monitor your franchisees.  This frees up your time and gives you the horsepower necessary to steer your franchise’s social media marketing in whatever direction you need. Contact us today, and learn how Divvy can help your franchise better use its social media.

6 Giveaway Mistakes You May Be Making

If you’ve got a grand opening coming up, or you need to generate traffic for your store or brand, one great way to accomplish this is through a giveaway. People love free stuff, so what can go wrong? Surprisingly, a lot. Giveaways come with their own set of guidelines and mistakes you can make. Here are six giveaway mistakes you may be making, and should avoid if you aren’t.

Requiring signup

If you must do signups, run a test that sends traffic to one of two options. 50% of your traffic should be able to sign up and then enter the giveaway, and the remaining 50% should enter the giveaway before signing up.

Vagueness

Make it clear for people where, how, and when to sign up. If details are vague about how they should enter, how they can win, and when/how they’ll be notified, they won’t enter.

Jumping through hoops

Another major barrier on giveaway entries is if the entrants feel they have to jump through hoops. This may be entering a lot of information up-front, which people may feel wastes their time. Try getting just a name and an email address from participants. You’ll still be able to contact winners afterward and get more information to send them their prize.

Overvalued or misaimed prizes

When deciding to hold a giveaway, you must first decide who your audience is and what you’re giving away. Does the prize match your audience? Free pizza or other free meals, while appealing, may not provoke a visible response among your audience if it doesn’t stand out specifically to them and their needs.

Your prize also won’t get a response if it’s of low value or too common for your customers to bother entering for. Make sure your prize relates to your business and audience, and that it’s something entrants will care about winning.

Good examples of prizes that match their market include:

  • Clothing store: a watch or jewelry item that matches a large variety of shirts
  • Conference: books and other products from featured speakers
  • Athletics brand: athletic shoes
  • Outdoor/camping store: ski lift passes

Poor Marketing

Though you may know your audience, it’s still possible to botch your giveaway by mishandling your marketing. Some giveaways post once or twice out of desperation on their social media pages, but that is not enough. You’ll need to send out emails, encouraging people to share*, and posting multiple times over the course of your giveaway.

Of course, it’s also possible to over-market. Giving everyone a hard sell from the beginning and posting several times a day to the same group of family and friends may deter your audience, and even alienate them. Or, your ads may become obnoxious, from their frequency to their design. Make sure you have tested out your ads and marketing efforts with a small group first to determine how effective they’ll be, or if you need to try again before launching.

*If this is part of their entry into your giveaway, it’s a great way to spread the word!

Timing

Don’t schedule your giveaway over a holiday weekend or alongside an event like the Super Bowl. While people are rarely separated from their mobile phones, they won’t be checking them as frequently over these busy days and weekends. Your promotion, no matter how valuable or interesting, will go largely unnoticed by your target audience. If you’re hosting a giveaway specifically for a holiday or major event, make sure to do it well in advance, while people are thinking of the event but not actually participating yet.

Another mistake may be holding a giveaway that’s too long or too short. Various durations will depend on your prize and your audience, but a good rule of thumb is to keep your campaign running for as long as you can advertise and market without wearing on your customers. Some examples:

  • Holiday sales — 3 weeks up to the holiday itself
  • Grand opening — 3 or more weeks prior to the opening
  • Books — 1 or 2 months before the release of the book or an ARC; several months over the course of a book tour

 

How to Resolve Common Employee Complaints

A work environment has the power to alter the proficiency of a business. Working together in harmony as a team will create a strong, productive business. However, unhappy employees can mean disharmony, and a dysfunctional team. In order to restore a positive work environment, learn about the top most common complaints employees have against their bosses or leaders, and how you can help resolve common employee complaints.

Micromanagment

As important as it is to get jobs done right, few people appreciate constantly being told what to do,  and how to do it. Instead of micromanaging every aspect of a project, first train your team on what’s expected of them. Set up deadlines, and then trust them to meet those deadlines.

Not Giving Clear Instructions

While it’s unnecessary to micromanage, it is necessary to lead and direct the team. Give clear instructions, so employees understand what’s expected of them, and what their deadlines are. Be available for questions if employees require clarification.

In addition, be sure to provide clear feedback when required. When expectations aren’t met, give constructive criticism so employees understand what the problem is and how to fix it.

Not Recognizing Achievements

This is the number one complaint employees have against employers. Everyone enjoys feeling like a success and knowing that they’ve done a good job. If employees are quick to criticize, but slow to complement, employees may feel belittled, disrespected, or unwanted, which will push them into working someplace else. Instead, take time to recognize and reward the good work of employees. This will boost confidence, and encourage positivity in the workplace.

Not Listening

When meeting with employees, listen to their ideas or concerns. Many employees are frustrated when employers aren’t aware of other commitments and deadlines the employee must meet. This can lead to an unrealistic workload that will quickly overwhelm, frustrate, and burn out employees. Instead, talk openly about time restraints and job expectations so everyone is on the same page.

Not Knowing Employees

Last of all, try to connect with employees on a personal level. No one wants to feel like a cog in a machine. Instead, learn each employee’s name so that they feel recognized and valued. Say hello as you walk in. Ask about their families during conversations, and show them that they matter. Connecting with employees is one way to show that they are respected and valued.

 

How do you resolve problems with your employer?