Tag Archives: Small Business Advice

Product Packaging Tips for Small Businesses

When thinking about how to market your product, its packaging shouldn’t be the last thing that you consider. Even if you’re selling an online-only digital product, packing design is still relevant.

For instance, in the days when computer stores sold boxed software on DVD/CD, they needed a well-designed box to sit on the shelf. While that is no longer a reality, people still remember the packaging. Browse through computer software advertisements on the Internet, and you’ll be surprised at how many feature ‘virtual’ product packaging.

The packaging that you use will say a lot about your company – it’s one of the first impressions that customers will create about your business. Your packaging is also a great opportunity to further spread your branding and even turn customers into repeat customers!

Keep reading to discover plenty of handy tips on how to make the most out of your product packaging as a small business.

Invest in Eco-Friendly Packaging

Going back even just five years, how many vegan products would you expect to see in an average supermarket? Certainly not many, and very expensive at that compared to their non-vegan counterparts. But now every food category has a vegan/vegetarian or health-conscious alternative.

Given that this sector is more environmentally conscious than the average and consumers seem willing to pay a little more, it’s fair to assume that general consumer attitude is trending towards the environment. In today’s environmentally conscious world, this is probably one of the most relevant product packaging design tips.

How to Make Your Packaging More Environmentally Friendly

Look carefully at the materials that you’re using. Most urban houses have recycling bins—make sure that most of the product’s packing is recyclable and prominently display a recycling logo on the packaging.

Show your company’s green credentials by using recycled materials in product packaging—it’s true to say that recycled materials tend not to look and feel as pristine as non-recycled. However, being able to print ‘Made from 100% recycled material’ on the packaging is a big plus point.

Don’t forget to use recycled paper for your paper mailings, too – otherwise eco-friendly packaging may come across as a token gesture or gimmick, rather than a sign that your business is serious about the environment. At 123Print, you can purchase both letterheads and envelopes made of 100% recycled paper.

Consider the Unboxing Experience

Over the past several years, the phenomenon of the ‘unboxing video’ has become popular on social media sites such as YouTube and TikTok. Simply put, they feature a customer unboxing a new product (opening it and taking it out of its packaging), and reviewing the experience.

You might wonder why anyone would sit through a video about unboxing a product, but they have become insanely popular. Steve Jobs at Apple revolutionised this experience, designing packaging with the same care and attention to detail lavished on the product itself. This approach sets and enhances the customer’s expectations for the product.

Now consumers, especially of high-end electronic devices and luxury cosmetic products, crave this experience. When choosing between different products, in the same category, many people search for unboxing videos on YouTube. A flattering unboxing review might make the difference when choosing between similar products.

Tips for Successful Unboxings

Here are some general tips to enhance your customers’ general unboxing experience.

1) Consider the cost of packaging. The material cost of packaging, especially high-end, can reach up to 10% of the total manufacturing cost. If your product is in a price-sensitive market, would this extra cost hurt your bottom line?
2) Know your customers. What is your target consumer’s attitude to the environment? To some, the cost of high-end packaging may seem an unnecessary expense and detract from the product.
3) Be creative. YouTube is a visual medium, so your packaging material should look good under lighting, not be too reflective and feature attractive colours with a well-designed logo and font.
4) Use easy-to-open packaging such as a cardboard box. The opening process should be smooth and easy – having to hack plastic packaging open with a pair of kitchen scissors isn’t very appealing.
5) Ensure the product is secure. You don’t want it falling from the packaging upon opening. If your product features multiple parts, use packing foam inside the box and make sure that each part is visible and secure. If your product is a foodstuff, package it in a resealable bag—it looks good, is easy to open and enhances the freshness of your product.

Imagine yourself as a YouTuber, unboxing your product: what comment would you make—if the experience feels good to you, then you’re on the right track.

Theme Your Packaging

The theme is an important element of packaging design. A product’s packaging may comprise multiple items, not just a single bag or a box. It’s good to employ a consistent design with each element.

Maybe you use matching colour schemes or design elements, such as tying packages with twine. Whatever it is, remember that people like the personal touch. If your product is presented in plain packaging, it’s unlikely that your customer would choose to feature it on their Instagram feed or other social media channel.

Your product, perhaps a manual coffee grinder, might come in a well-constructed, attractive box, but also include a matching bag for travel. These small touches of design flair make a difference when trying to stand out against the competition. This might not be so important in an online marketplace, such as Amazon, where advertisers focus on the product image, rather than packaging. However, for an online marketplace, such as Etsy, which focuses on artisan products, cute and thematic product packaging, helps products to stand out from the crowd.

Make Use of Seasons and Holidays

If your product is aimed at (or sold during) a particular holiday, design the packaging with that in mind—the obvious example is Christmas, with bold red, gold and green festive designs.

But it’s not only holidays that you should think about. There are seasonal products that would benefit from appropriate design. For instance, a consumer in a DIY store, looking for, say, a garden product, would subconsciously look for green packaging.

Use Clear and Attractive Language

If you’re lucky enough that a customer has picked up your product from the shelf, make sure that all the information they need to make the choice is included on the packaging.
For instance, if it’s a health food product, make sure that it includes details of its benefits.

Otherwise, the customer might put it back and choose another brand. If you’re selling clothing, you should have a clear label stating what materials it’s made from, and the percentage of the overall product.

Like all marketing, think like a customer. While your product packaging might include a detailed instruction leaflet inside, print enough instructions on the packaging to convince the customer that it’s what they need.

Is It Legal?

While the most important aspect of packaging design is to enhance the product’s desirability, you should always consider the legal aspect. Depending on product type, certain things that appear on the packaging, such as medicinal claims, may be legally restricted.

Also, make sure that any product claims that appear on the packaging are accurate and truthful. Lying to customers for the sake of selling more units isn’t a good look.

Encourage Brand Awareness and Recognition

While your company may have a varied product line, you always want people to know from whom they’re buying. Brand awareness requires a consistent design strategy across product lines.

For instance, consider supermarkets—they offer a range of products. There is never just one brand of soup or sunblock on the shelf and, of course, you want the consumer to pick up your product first, rather than the store’s own brand, or a competitor’s.

A consistent brand identity can help with this—something familiar in the packaging, perhaps a particular font or colour scheme to grab their attention and make them reflexively reach for your product first.

While your small business might not have the research budget of a national supermarket chain, it’s valuable, when planning product packaging, to put yourself in the mind of your customer. Think about what they might look for when searching for your type of product.

And of course, always prominently display your business’s logo and any taglines or slogans you may use on the outer packaging. That way, even if the customer doesn’t end up buying it, they’ll still be more likely to remember and recognise your brand in the future.

Include Extra Promotional Materials

In order to upsell to your customers, add some additional promotional material in the product packaging. For example, you might include a flyer with a special discount code for 10% off future purchases – this will encourage your customers to place another order.

You could also consider including a loyalty card inside the packaging, with one stamp already on it. People love to collect things, and loyalty stamps are no exception. The mere presence of a loyalty card will inspire them to shop with you again, and work towards the reward (whatever it may be).

Always make sure any promotional materials you include in your packaging are professionally designed and printed, to create the most favourable impression possible with your customers. 123Print carry a full range of professional-quality flyers, business cards and other promotional materials.

 

Our thousands of designs are fully customisable with your own wording and font choices, and will be shipped to you within 2 working days of your order. With our 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can have confidence in us to provide for all of your marketing needs.

9 Simple and Effective Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

As any entrepreneur knows, it can be very difficult getting your feet off the ground and your name out there in the early days of owning a small business. Nobody has ever heard of you before, you don’t have any past customers or testimonials, and you’ve got nobody to spread your services through word of mouth.

That’s where small business marketing strategies come in. In order to be noticed and considered by your target market, you’ll need to advertise or market your business somehow – but what actually works, and where should you start?

In this article, we’ll discuss some small business marketing ideas to jump-start your marketing strategy. Before trying any of these ideas, it’s worth sitting back and considering some marketing goals and budget. Not all the small business marketing ideas in this article are free, some cost money or time investment. Try to focus on what’s best for your business and make the best use of your marketing budget.

Online Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses

It is undeniable that online marketing has taken over the world of business. According to recent research, 70–80% of consumers research a company or product online before making a purchase. That’s a huge number of people to ignore if your company doesn’t have an online presence! Here are some ideas to kick off your online marketing.

Website Blog

If your company has a website, it could benefit from the addition of a blog. A blog is a website page used to display articles, news and other useful information. For marketing, blog articles encourage customers to visit and browse your website.

For instance, if you run a home improvement business, include a series of articles with tips about how to improve and upgrade a house. Well-written content with search engine optimised keywords will show up in search engines, such as Google or Bing. If someone searches for ‘home improvement tips’ and your blog has a suitable article, they will see your link in the search engine results.

One thing that you hear a lot about in online marketing is ‘conversions’. This means, what do you want the customer to do after they have landed on your website? If, for instance, a customer looking for information on home improvement ideas lands on your website, you could add links in the article for your company’s home improvement services or perhaps encourage them to subscribe to your blog and receive emails when the next article is posted (this is great for email marketing—see below).

Email Marketing

Email marketing is still one of the most popular forms of online marketing. As noted above, this can be combined with a website blog. Subscribed customers get updates and you can send email promotions to the subscriber list.

With email marketing, it is important not to send emails too often, otherwise you risk getting listed as spam content (or your customers will unsubscribe out of frustration). Do it right and email marketing is very powerful.

Aside from using a blog, there are several other ways to get subscribers. Many websites offer free information downloads in exchange for a subscription, or some other free offer. Most email marketing companies offer free starter accounts for up to 2,000 subscribers.

Google My Business

If your company supplies local services, Google My Business is one of the best small-business marketing ideas. Register your business and if someone in your local area searches for your business type, your listing will appear, with others, on top of the search listing.

It is possible to add useful information, such as opening hours, business information, location and pictures. It also allows customers to leave a review—the best-reviewed businesses appear at the top of the listing, which is great motivation to provide first-class services.

Facebook Adverts

Despite some of the adverse publicity that surrounds Facebook, it is still one of the best ways to advertise products online. It is relatively cheap compared to other platforms, and extremely effective.

The most powerful aspect of Facebook advertising is the huge number of users on the platform and the amount of searchable information about them. It is possible to pinpoint users and groups with specific interests or living in a particular country or city if marketing locally. For instance, as an author, marketing a new book about meditation, you could direct an advert to Facebook groups promoting spiritualism.

Internet Influencers and Social Media Advertising

Internet influencers are product promoters who have large followings on social media platforms, such as YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. For instance, an influencer with a popular YouTube fashion channel might promote your new fashion product to their followers.

The cost of the service will probably depend on how many followers the channel has. Some influencers might promote products in exchange for free samples, while others charge a fee. If you don’t have the budget to pay an influencer, consider starting a YouTube channel for your business as part of your social media marketing.

Create Facebook and Twitter accounts for marketing your business and create promotions to encourage customers to like your posts. If you have a website, include links to your social media accounts. As with establishing a brand, it is a long-term strategy. Remember to use your brand image on social media posts.

Brand Development Marketing Strategies

Establishing a brand is one of the most important aspects of a long-term marketing plan. A brand is something that should permeate every aspect of your business and define its identity.

Customers who associate with a particular brand will happily pay a higher price for their products. For instance, coffee sold in most high street coffee shops is of a similarly high standard, but if drunk from a cup sporting a Starbucks logo, it tastes magically better. This is how a powerful brand can influence customer perception.

Unless your products appeal to a wide market, and you have a marketing budget to match, you’ll likely be aiming at a smaller niche. So, as an important first step, understand who your customers are. A common way of doing this is to create what they called a customer blueprint or persona. That means creating a profile of your ideal customer, the person (or business) who would buy your product.

Build a Brand – Quick Tips:

It takes time, but when done well, branding is the most powerful marketing strategy of them all. Here are some quick tips:

1) Decide on your mission statement and target audience.
2) Brand differentiation – make sure that your brand differs from the competition, make your business stand out.
3) Stay on message – promote your brand image consistently on every platform. You want customers to instantly recognise your products and marketing information.
4) Design your brand’s image – this will include a carefully designed corporate style with a logo, appropriate colours and an attractive typeface. The design and style should apply to every aspect of the business, including the website, promotional materials, and business cards.

For great design ideas, try 123Print – we carry a full range of fully customisable promotional materials.

Brand Ambassadors

Get your employees involved as brand ambassadors. For example, if your business is in retail, give your staff a discount! It’ll surprise you how many of their friends want to make use of the staff discount. It is a good way of both rewarding your employees and spreading the word about your products to their wider social sphere.

Flyer Campaign

There’s nothing wrong with good old-fashioned letterbox marketing. Flyer (leaflet) distribution may sound old-fashioned, but there’s a reason it’s been around for so long: it just plain works.

You’ve likely received flyers in your letterbox yourself. You may have thrown them away eventually, but did you at least look at the flyer first, and take a mental note of what company sent it? Of course you did. And you’d recognise that company name if you saw it again in the future, increasing your familiarity with them.

Try a simple letterbox marketing campaign in your target postcode area. Include your logo and branding all over the flyer, and an enticing offer to get people shopping with you, and you’ll spread awareness of your company at lightning speed. You can design personalised and high-quality flyers at 123Print.

Loyalty Cards

Loyalty cards are very good for marketing your business and encouraging customers to buy again. They can be as simple as a card that is stamped every time a customer purchases a cup of coffee, or other products – after a certain number of stamps, the customer gets a free cup of coffee, for example.

Alternatively, loyalty cards can be a full-blown computer system, where a customer scans a card at the cash register and is awarded redeemable loyalty points. While powerful, the computerised loyalty system is a significant investment best suited to medium and large businesses. Stamp-style loyalty cards are much more affordable, incredibly simple to set up, and still very effective – check out a huge range of customisable loyalty card designs at 123Print.

Small Business Spotlight – EducateBusiness

Here at 123Print UK we’re big fans of small business. You’re the backbone of our business and the backbone of our country. Because of this we’ve decided to dedicate part of our blog to you, giving you the chance to talk about your business and tell others how you got started and what makes you great…

SmallBusinessSpotlight
Educate Business

This week in the 123Print UK small business spotlight is award winning agency Educate Business. Read on as we meet owner Laura Morris and she talks us through how she became inspired to take the entrepreneur route, as well as what makes Educate Business such a fantastic British business.

educatebusiness Continue reading Small Business Spotlight – EducateBusiness

Small Business Spotlight

Small Business Spotlight – Le Massage

Here at 123Print UK we’re big fans of small business. You’re the backbone of our business and the backbone of our country. Because of this we’ve decided to dedicate part of our blog to you, giving you the chance to talk about your business and tell others how you got started and what makes you great…

Small Business Spotlight
Le Massage

This week in the 123Print UK small business spotlight is Le Massage, a business which had a less unusual start but one which I’m sure will be an inspiration to many people. Read on as we meet Ariana, the founder of the massage therapy practice, who talks us through what makes Le Massage such a fantastic small British business.

Ariana owner of Le Massage in front of a mirror

So Ariana, how did you get started with your business?

I was ready for the next stage in my career:  running my own business. Unlike the inspirational stories I read, or the people I knew, who happened to be arty, musical, sporty, or super techy, I was none of the above. I couldn’t think of any recyclable skills that I could found my business on. I knew I had to keep it simple, and capitalise on my strengths but it is not always easy to pull out of the bag what makes you unique and marketable at the same time. After a few eureka moments, and a lot of thinking out of the box, it became clear to me that my biggest asset was actually what I used to think of as my weakness: Fibromyalgia. How could I turn my chronic pain and chronic fatigue into a rewarding business venture?

My connections did not understand Fibromyalgia, a syndrome falling under the Chronic Exhaustive Conditions umbrella, such as ME and Chronic Fatigue. I found inspiration within myself. From my personal experience, massage helps with chronic exhaustive conditions. However, few massage therapists in the UK were familiar with the condition, while other specialist clinics advocating treatments for Fibromyalgia came at a price tag that was beyond my reach. My epiphany came in a roundabout way, but in essence, I decided to open a Massage Therapy practice for the treatment of Chronic Exhaustive Conditions. My niche market was obvious to me: I would target professionals and business people affected with chronic pain. My differentiators flew naturally, as they were close to my heart: availability, affordability, understanding, in convivial, non-clinical surroundings.

Wiki Definition: Fibromyalgia is characterised by chronic widespread pain and allodynia (a heightened and painful response to pressure).

What are some challenges you faced in starting and growing your business? 

I was short on time and resources. I was working full-time in an all consuming job. As a single mum, family commitments were huge, and – I was not a Massage Therapist!

My motivation to change my lifestyle and improve my well being were so powerful, that I embraced these many challenges. I retrained as a Massage Therapist by choosing an intensive course. It was tough but the intensity kept the pressure on and helped me focus on the end goal. Even before I passed (with a Distinction), I took the gamble to signing a lease on a therapy room in one of the most prestigious addresses in London. Once I was committed, there was no going back, and that pulled me through the last few weeks of arrowing revisions. The well-being business centre I set my sights on was simply too wonderful a space to miss. I loved the therapy room from the moment I walked in: it felt like it had my name on it.

Massage addresses the symptoms, but with chronic exhaustive conditions, it helps longer term if we can work on the underlying causes, and thus I embarked on qualifying as a well-being coach, with more massage courses in between. Choosing to take on further training presented more financial challenges. I invested my website budget into well-being coaching training instead.

By prioritising professional development over marketing, I was in the absurd situation of not having a website up and running by the time I opened my practice.

The next hurdle was to get my practice on the map and get clients through the door. Everyone likes a giveaway, and (nearly) everyone loves massage. I offered promotional massages to targeted champions who would recommend me. The challenge here was that it could be a double-edged sword, and many therapists would disapprove of giving massages for free. I am lucky enough that my skills can be demonstrated over one session. I had the confidence that my skills were the best recommendation for my service. I had experience in building client relationships in a non-salesy way, and so I opted for this route as it felt right for me.

I had a web page on the well-being business centre site where my therapy room is, but I needed a website of my own. In between massage appointments, I built my own website. As soon as my website was up and running, came the first recommendations through. My champions left reviews on the Testimonials page, but also as comments on the home page, which I hadn’t expected…

Ariana taking a massage

What has been the proudest moment for you in your growth as a business?

My business is still very new but I already have three milestones that spring to mind.
In chronological order:

  1. The wow factor of my therapy room as clients come in
  2. Communicating that my website was up and running
  3. Getting recognition through client Testimonials

La Massage Customer Review
What methods of online marketing have you found successful?

I am still exploring various channels of online marketing, to find the avenues that are right for me and my target audience. I created a Facebook page for Le Massage, and a Twitter account @FibroWellbeing.
My assumption is that Linkedin and Youtube will be a more natural fit, so that will be my next focus.
I have an advert in the online UK Fibromyalgia newsletter to target my niche market: chronic pain.
Many clients look online for reputable massage therapists. For this reason, I am registered with the CNHC (Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council), and the FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapists); featuring on the websites of governing and accrediting bodies demonstrates that I meet the professional standards backed up by the Government for my industry and that I am fully insured to practice.

I released an online press release to mark the launch of my practice, which loops in with my website, Facebook page and Twitter account. I am planning more newsroom campaigns to engage my clients through stories.
I have a promotional event in The Lanes of Mayfair, an online business directory. Here I am aiming at business through local businesses.

As a business in the making, I am sharing the journey real time with other new entrepreneurs. This is where I feel that most of the support and spotlight are needed. Watch this space as I report back to base on the success of my various campaigns in a few weeks time.

CNHC Logo

What other marketing materials do you use to promote your business?

I had some lovely business cards made on 123print. I spent a huge amount of time creating two different templates to target clients from different angles, one aimed a professionals, the other emphasizing chronic exhaustive conditions. I am running small batches of 50 cards to check effectiveness. I am constantly improving the design and content, and trialling new batches at networking events for example.

Once my branding and logo are ready, I will get leaflets and gift vouchers done as well in time for Christmas.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start their own business?

Ask for critical input, take feedback constructively, but do not let your spirits be dampened.
Don’t let yourself be held back. Surround yourself with positive people with entrepreneurial minds who will support and inspire you.

Both your motivation and your circumstances will shape your determination to start your business and this combination is unique to you.

My best advice would be to remember my three Fs “Fear of Failure is Futile”.

 

Here at 123Print UK, we also want to provide real, useful information from the mouths of people who’ve created great businesses and transfer that information to people who will one day want to make a great business themselves. If you want to star in our small business spotlight then please contact us via our Facebook Page or comment below and we’ll get in touch.