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Promotion Scheduling Meeting

Promotion Scheduling

You could imagine that I deal with promotion scheduling on a regular basis. So that's this month's topic.  🙂

Steps of Promotional Projects

Before planning a promotional project, you should first have a promotional goal or problem you're trying to solve. Presuming that, the sequence of a promotional project is something like this:

  1. Research options and costs, and decide to do the project.
  2. Craft the message, write the text and create the graphics.
  3. Design text, layout or video.
  4. Decision maker review of the design(s).
  5. Tweak and adjust the design and content.
  6. Repeat steps 3 thru 5, sometimes several times.
  7. Print or produce the finished product.
  8. Ship the product to you.

So how long does it take?

Planning Times

I use the term "planning time". It’s an estimate that’s includes some time to "do it right" and is a little inflated in case there is a delay. The list below has planning times I suggest for typical promotional projects and commodities.

And earlier is even better because the commodity is one thing–the postcard, the website, the brochure. But what about the message you put on those commodities? That message is usually more important. Early planning means more time to generate ideas and refine your message. So earlier is a good idea, too.

  Simple – First Run
(Subsequent Runs)
Complex – First Run
(Subsequent Runs)
Business Cards 2.5 weeks
(1.5 weeks)
4 weeks
(2.5 weeks)
Brochures 3 weeks
(1.5 weeks)
8 weeks
(3 weeks)
Signs 4 weeks
(2.5 weeks)
8 weeks
(3-4 weeks)
Website 4 weeks 3-6 months
Logo Design 3 weeks 8 weeks
Promo Items 3-5 weeks
(2-3 weeks)
8 weeks
(3-4 weeks)
Logo Apparel 4 weeks (3 weeks) 6 weeks (and longer)
(4 weeks)
Trade Show 3-6 months 6-12 months
as early as possible
Photography 1 month
(2 weeks)
6 months
(6 months)
Video 2 months
(5 weeks)
8 months
(8 months)
New Branding Project 3 months 12 months

“Simple” means projects with a basic design or concept.

“Complex” means projects with extra features, high-end materials or complex design concepts.

“First Run” means the first creation and production of a project.

“Subsequent Run”, when applicable, means additional runs of the same project with very few tweaks or changes.

Holiday Image with Soft Shadows

Holiday Photography Tip: Bounce Flash

Greetings and Happy Holidays. I have a simple tip for better home pictures with almost any camera.

Bounce Flash for Softer Shadows

With the on-camera flash, the light and shadows are usually sharp and harsh. But hold a card at 45 degrees in front of the flash, and the flash bounces off the card then off the ceiling. It makes a bigger light source, better shadows and often more depth to the picture. It's just better light.

With the sample below, I used a Christmas card and a point-and-shoot camera something like this.

Bounce Flash Demo
Hold a white card at an angle in front of the flash.

And here are two sample shots.

(By the way, I was planning to photograph my nephews today for this demo, but the weather is threatening snow and rain here, so we canceled. I'm left with Homer Clause. It's small scale, but it still shows the difference.)

Holiday Image with Harsh Shadows
With direct flash, shadows are sharp, harsh and noticable.
Holiday Image with Soft Shadows
When you bounce the flash with a reflector, shadows are softer.

Notice how the shadows are much softer in the second shot. You can hardly tell that a flash was used. It works even better with people.

And a few more notes on this technique:

  • Your camera should be on AUTO or a similar setting so it compensates for the different amount of light on the subject.
  • If you bounce off a colored ceiling or wall, the picture may pick up that color.
  • Play around with it and experiment. Bounce the flash of a wall on the left or right. You'll probably find It works better in some situations than others.

Wishing You Happy Holidays and The Best in 2013

Finally, thanks for being a part of a great 2012 for Pacesetter Media. I could not have done it without you and all my clients, friends, associates and vendors.

And I wish you all safe and happy holidays and the Best in 2013.

Thanks.

Sorting Things to Do

Avoid Domain Name Headaches

Nearly every month, I receive at least a few questions from clients about renewing their domain names. They often receive official notices to renew their domain, but they aren’t sure if they are legit. Sometimes they are. Quite often they are not.

And I’ve helped new clients through the hassles of recovering a user name and password from a domain registrar. It can take weeks and be a headache.

The bottom line: It’s very, very important that you keep track of your domain name and some specific information about your registration. It’s easy and involves just a few bits of information, but it can become very, very crucial.

Now, did I say “very, very” enough? It's not necessarily urgent, but when the time comes, failure can put your company out of business for a day or a week. I've seen it happen. That's pretty crucial in my book.

Here’s what you need to know.

The Basics

There are a few pieces of the puzzle you should understand.

  • Domain Name: It’s your web address like PacesetterMedia.com
  • Domain Registrar: A company that registers domains for you. It costs between $10 and $35 a year. You simply visit a registrar’s web site (there are lots of them), check if a domain is available, and if it is, pay the yearly fee to own a domain. I usually recommend GoDaddy.com.
  • Web Hosting: This is where your web site is physically stored. A web site is a collection of text, photo and multimedia files stored on a high-speed web server with a high-speed internet connection 24 hours a day, which is exactly what you get with web hosting service. Small businesses typically lease the service, and it usually includes e-mail for your domain.
  • Visitor: Well, this one’s easy…a person who visits your web site.

A Gross Oversimplification of How It All Works

Before giving the explanation, I have to give this caveat: This explanation is ludicrously inadequate to a web techy. There’s lots of cool networking magic behind the scenes, but business owners and managers don’t need to know it. So I’m billing this as “A Gross Oversimplification of How It All Works.” You’ll get that exactly. So here goes.

  1. A visitor types your domain in the address field of a browser like Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari or clicks a link to visit your site.
  2. The registrar for your domain points that user to the correct hosting computer somewhere on the internet.
  3. The hosting server responds by sending your home page to the visitor.
  4. The visitor continues clicking around your site to his heart’s content and finally buys gobs of your products and services. You subsequently have a prosperous, happy life

So in Step 2, the registrar is an important step in getting the visitor to your site.

Recommendations

Register your domains yourself.

If you already have your domains, go to the next recommendation.Wh

Even if you hate computers, gut your way through this. Don’t delegate this one thing. Or if you have to, delegate it carefully. Then go on to the next recommendation.

By the way, I often recommend GoDaddy.com for domain registration. They are a legitimate, established company and only charge about $10 a year per domain.

Know Your Registrar and keep the user name and password safely on file.

We created a savable and printable PDF to help you save this information. Get The PDF.

Imagine the worst case: Your web guy (or gal) falls off the face of the earth. First, please take a moment of silence, but soon after that you’ll need to manage your web presence. At a minimum, you’ll need the ability to move your web site to another web design company. (I highly recommend Pacesetter Media, of course.) To move your site, you need to Know Your Registrar.

Don’t wait on this. I’ve seen horror stories when a new client calls telling me they can't contact their webmaster, and they don't have the user name and password for their registrar accounts. Registrars are rightfully very diligent about making you prove who you are when you try to recover security information, and I’ve seen it take weeks sometimes. Your web site and e-mail could be down for weeks because you can’t move your site…ouch.

At a minimum, keep this information on file where you can find it:

  • Registrar Web Site
  • User Name
  • Password

Know the expiration dates of your domains.

If your domain registration expires, your whole web presence breaks, so know the expiration dates of your domains, and renew before they expire.

Check your domain registration and contact info once a year.

It's a good idea for you, and ICANN, the top level group that manages domain names, requires registrants (that’s you) to verify their contact info once a year.

BTW: ICANN stands for Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. How’s that for an acronym? Those techies who run the internet sure know how to mash letters together. You should try reading their technical bulletins. It’s a great way to break your insomnia. www.ICANN.org

So I recommend that you

  • Log in to your registrar once a year.
  • FIRST TIME ONLY: Confirm that you or your company is the Registrant (owner) of the domain. I’ve seen companies that hired a web designer to register a domain, and the designer made himself the registrant. MAKE SURE YOU ARE THE REGISTRANT ON RECORD.
  • Verify your domain(s) expiration dates.
  • Synchronize expirations so they are all in the same month. (GoDaddy.com offers this service for minimal fees.)
  • Renew upcoming expirations.
  • Verify your contact info.

However you manage yearly to-do items for your business, put this one in the cycle, too.