Our blog has a new home!

Readers: our blog has moved! Visit the bright spot in its cozy new home at blog.lsvdesign.com

For some reason, the topic of sustainable graphic design keeps coming up lately in my reading (I think I read too much). We’ve been implementing green practices in our design studio for awhile now. Thanks to these green resources for designers and marketers, I have lots of new ideas…

Do you know of other green resources especially for design and marketing folks? Share them here!

After listening in on a HubSpot webinar called Marketing Lessons From The Grateful Dead, I realized The Dead were way ahead of their (marketing) time.

Brian Halligan and David Meerman Scott gave a spirited webinar inspired by the marketing tactics of The Grateful Dead. Having attended a Dead show or two in my day, I found it to be a unique and entertaining take on marketing for small businesses.

Here are a few of my favorite marketing tidbits:

  • Be remarkable—make your content interesting/valuable enough that people will want to share it
  • Watch your competition, but don’t follow them
  • Free content attracts customers—win through familiarity
  • Make it easy for people to share your content—create a community of sharing
  • Experiment, improvise, take a chance
  • Put your loyal customers in the front row—give them perks, first dibs on products or news
  • Stay on top of technology in your industry

Next up, PR tips from The Rolling Stones… April Fool’s!

Join Neighborhood Networking next Tuesday to mix and mingle with fellow businesses at Katerina’s (1920 West Irving Park Road).

You can also help us toast Neighborhood Networking’s first anniversary! (can you believe it’s been a year already?)

Buy tickets in advance for $10 ($12 at the door).

Neighborhood Networking is hosted by Lidia Varesco Design and Elizabeth Lulu Miranda of Mercury Organizing Professionals, with BBR Chicago joining us as co-hosts.


Northcenter businesses: promote your business by donating an item to our raffle! Contact us for a donation form and details.

click to view website

We recently created a website for The Law Offices of R.D. Skelton, Ltd. in Geneva, Illinois.

Located just outside of Chicago, the firm, which specializes in business law, estate planning, and probate and trusts, wanted to establish a web presence that would set them apart from other attorneys without being overly complicated and sterile.

With the use of bold graphics and a brown/green palette, we created a website that was understated, yet strong enough to stand out and emphasize the firm’s experience and qualifications.

I first read about referral marketing campaigns in the book, The Designer’s Guide to Marketing and Pricing by Ilise Benun and Peleg Top of Marketing Mentor. Yesterday I listened in on an informative webinar hosted by Duct Tape Marketing called Building a Referral Engine that shared more ideas for successful referral marketing.

Below find the tips I found most useful from webinar panelists John Jantsch – Creator of Duct Tape Marketing; Bob Burg – Author, “Endless Referrals”, “The Go-Giver”, “Go-Givers Sell More”; Ivan Misner –  Founder & Chairman of BNI; and Ben McConnell – Principal, Ant’s Eye View.

Referral marketing tips:

  • Shift your focus from getting to giving
  • it’s not about you, it’s about them – take the focus off yourself
  • Add value to others – freely share your knowledge
  • Teach your referral partners what to listen for (“I can’t…” or “I need…”) – make it easy for them to give you referrals
  • Create visibility and credibility: tell people what you do and show them you are good at it
  • Establish relationships with new connections before asking for referrals
    • KNOW -> LIKE -> TRUST
  • A great networker enjoys helping others
  • Send a handwritten thank you note after receiving a referral
  • Make strategic referral alliances with fellow business owners who serve similar clients (wedding vendors are great at this)
  • Build relationships and the referrals will follow…

Do you have other great ideas for creating or maintaining a referral marketing program? Share your comments!

Yesterday marked the first day of Make a Referral Week. The best way to celebrate? Why yes, by giving referrals.

A referral campaign should be part of all small business marketing plans. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it can be as simple as asking a client if they know someone else who might benefit from your services.

But it’s not just about getting referrals… we should also focus on returning the favor by giving referrals. Let’s see how easy it is. Grab a pencil and pad of paper. Jot down 5–10 businesses (or retail shops) that you rely on for their top-notch products, reliability, quality work, superb customer service or just overall fabulousness.

Now, here is your chance to sing their praises to the rest of the world: submit your referral to the Make a Referral Week website. It’s an easy way to help fellow small businesses (and perhaps improve your karma). And if you’re lucky, someone will write a nice referral for you too.

By the way, you can continue the referral love by participating in Make a Referral Monday on Twitter. Share your referrals each Monday using the hashtag #marm—or if you need referrals, just follow along.