Archive for October, 2011

This is a re-post of a lesson from Integrated Marketing Communications at St. Catherine University. It was originally posted in the private class blog.

As much as we live in an online world, paper still has a place.

Everywhere I go, I bring a couple of business cards. To the conference I presented at recently, I brought a 2 inch thick stack — just in case. I came back with half, but that means I gave away that many, too.

Order some business cards. Vistaprint.com regularly discounts business cards. Click here for details.

Step 1:  Choose a design.

Here are some snapshots of professional, unprofessional, and borderline-professional designs. As a rule, consider anything “cutesy”to be unprofessional. The “borderline designs” are industry specific. It’s not that they are unprofessional, it’s that if they don’t apply specifically to your desired employment, they are no longer professional.

Step 2:  Select the information you should include

Required:  Name, phone number (mobile vs. on campus), email, LinkedIn address

To find your LinkedIn public address, go to your account, view your profile and scroll down, you will see the address at the bottom, like mine: 

Optional: Your blog address — only if you plan to write regularly on a professional basis about your field

Very optional:  Your Twitter handle. Again, only if you want employers to find you here and you plan to write professionally, all the time…

Step 3:  The Front:  Fill in the blanks

Once you have selected a design, you will go to page like this: 

Under the design is a blue oval with the words:  “Remove Sample Text”

Click it.

Then start filling in your information in various blanks.

Put text where you want it to appear on the card. I.E. I put my phone number in the address line because that’s where I wanted it positioned on the business card.

Once you are satisfied with the placement of your information, proof it.

Double check it to make sure you did not put the wrong phone number (651 when it should have been 612 for instance) or email address, etc.

Then click on “Back side” under your design.

Step 4a:  The Back:  You can spend money here

In this example, I selected “Full-color printing from $12.99” and added some text.

In the next example, I selected “Gray Scale Printing $6.99” and  then chose “Using Your Photos and Logos” at the bottom of the list.

I selected the design option on the right with text above and below the image.

In the meantime, I had to decide what to put in that “photo/logo” space.

This card is about ME, not my company, not my hairstyle (so no photo). Its purpose is get my contact information in the hands of potential clients (for me) or employers (if I were you).

Step 4b:  The Back:  Make it work for you

Use a QR code — you know those funny little square pictures you see everywhere in print (t-shirts, posters, soap bottles, direct mail, catalogs etc.) — that you scan with your smart phone and then are directed to a website or…

If you have a smart phone with a QR reader app, scan this code.

Where will it take you? Nowhere, but it will upload St. Catherine University’s general phone number into your smart phone. Instead of making people type in your contact information into their smart phone, include it in a QR code on the back.

Step 4c:  Make your QR code

So how did I make this? It’s really, really easy. Go to Delivr

Choose your code type, in this case “Contact Information” and then fill in the blanks.

Click the button “Generate QR Code” and save the .png file to your computer.

Step 4d:  Upload your QR code to Vistaprint

Back on Vistaprint website, click on the square on your back design and choose edit. Then “browse” your computer for your QR code .png file and upload that.

You’ll notice in the image to the left, that I changed the text on my card back, as well.

Just like on the front, you type text — if you want — that will appear on your business card. Maybe you’ll choose something like “Marketing Professional Grounded in Ethics” since we are big on that at St. Kate’s or simply “Marketing Professional.”

While you’re at it, double click on the text areas on the card and then you can highlight that text and choose from a list of fonts and styles.

Step 5: Finalize your design

Proof once again!

Then, click the “online proof approval” button and then the “next” button.

Step 6: Shipping and the “Next” button

Shipping with Vistaprint is expensive.

When they say “slow” takes 21 days, it does, so if you plan on ordering business cards for the Career Fair, you’ll have to order them with slightly faster shipping.

Then, “click Next” a lot. Vistaprint will try to up sell you many, many wonderful items. It may take you 6 clicks to get to the final check out page!


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My beloved, local hardware store–yes I do mean beloved–emailed me an offer I just can’t refuse. This is the place I can find everything I need for my old house and then some. They are the romantic Five and Dime for the DIY set. I should only visit them with a list and just enough cash to cover the listed items, otherwise, I’ll spend double the amount I intended.

And no, it’s not Target.

It’s…Frattallone’s Ace Hardware!

Their idea:  offering free lawnmower storage with the purchase of spring mower tune-up

Why it’s brilliant:  The two Frattallone’s on Grand Avenue in St. Paul (yes TWO!) are surrounded by small turn-of-the-last-century houses. These not-so-big houses have teeny, tiny garages in a city where it’s nice to keep your car off the street in the winter.

The consumer problem they solve:  Safe storage for your lawnmower where it’s not in the way of your car, snow shovels, snow blower, golf clubs, and bicycles.

Their big win:  Revenue and reservations for the busy lawnmower tune up season.

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Surrounded by all this Irishness in the Saintly City, sometimes I need to respect my Italian heritage somewhere other than in the garden or in the kitchen.

Awhile back we navigated the sea of road construction that is St. Paul these days and meandered to Harriet Island for (maybe) the first Festa Italiana Minnesota.

We entered from the St. Paul Yacht Club Classic Boat Show on the East end of Harriet Island Park. The riverfront was transformed into Little Italy with laundry flapping overhead and red-checked covered tables lining the pathway. As you would expect the food was delicious — St. Paul does have an Italian history, after all.

Maybe it’s more work for the vendors, but I much prefer using cash vs. tickets to buy food. Five dollars for Sausage and Peppers from DeGideos, $3 for a Cossetta Connoli, and $5 for a big piece of foccacia pizza were more than fair prices. All the food booths’ awnings were branded to match the logo pictured at the right. And the lines were long, but not impossible. I wish there had been large signs at awning level listing the prices and food for sale–there were a lot of curious people wondering what each booth was selling. I had no idea that Unico was selling “olives on a stick” — I thought there were just displaying information, so I didn’t even go to their booth. A low tech column of helium balloons made to look like olives with a price tag would have done the trick.

So yeah, it was fun. The Italian cars were gorgeous, the bouncy houses made the kids happy, but something was missing.

My husband said it was music…where was Frank Sinatra? But I don’t associate Italy with music. I think of fashion, crumbling buildings, twirling pasta with a spoon and fork, and biscotti in milky coffee.

So what would I add?

  • Giant foam building blocks for kids like me to make their own leaning tower of St. Paul
  • Bicycles — a kids’ race and an around the town tour ending on the island
  • A biscotti baking contest
  • Local designer fashion show
  • Juried art fair featuring leather goods, designer clothing, and gorgeous paintings
  • Something scholarly, like a brief history of Italian art and what you can easily see in the Twin Cities

Fiera d’Arte anyone?

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Welcome to Pub School, a new venture with local writer and social media strategist, Erik Hare.

Here’s what you get from a Pub School Social Media Workshop:

A finished communication plan worked out for your unique business.
Practical, working knowledge of social media tools.
Methods for evaluating social media away from the trends and hype.

How do we do all that? Here’s how:

A social “brainstorming” system
Active participation
Proven methods and practical examples
A relaxed pub location
Coaching rather lecturing

Plus – PubSchool is a 100% PowerPoint Free Zone.

Interested? Curious? Click here to learn more.

And Tell Your Friends!

Did I mention that the 3-part series is only $75? You can attend 1 for only $30! We’re meeting at Merlins Rest in Minneapolis and The Happy Gnome in St. Paul.

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In marketing, we always talk about distinguishing yourself, finding your niche, emphasizing your uniqueness.

Lately, I’ve been telling my students to think about using paper.

Paper, as in door hangers, business cards, and table tents. All with QR codes, of course. But paper, never the less.

Why? Because people don’t use it that much anymore. Now it’s unique, different, and special.

What are you doing to stand out from the crowd?

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