Category Archives: branding

RhinoTech Shares a Little 411 on How to Build More Internet Traffic.

Courtesy of  Eric Siu, Contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine; CEO, Single Grain & Founder, Growth Everywhere, we share Foster Organic Traffic in a Crowded Internet with These 6 Steps. It’s a quick read that will most likely generate questions, what ifs and how-to’s, but in a good way. Because…. everything that comes after what we’ve learned and introduced will only aid in improving a business vision and image generating increased organic movement toward our websites in, as the author points out, a very crowded Internet.

What IS ORGANIC TRAFFIC?

When you randomly or naturally search on-line for eco-friendly screen cleaning products or how to digitally print on DARK apparel with transfer paper, RhinoTech and a list of choices emerge. This is termed an ‘organic’ search;  a natural search. According to Conductor Blog, nearly half of all website traffic comes from natural search. Based on that information, our quest becomes how to build our presence so that this naturally occurring traffic lands on our sites.

A BIG UNDERTAKING. Rhino Left Facing New

The task of how to drive more traffic to our websites can be daunting. How many blog posts per week? Social media posts per day? The decision to take this on ourselves or implement a robust SEO hand by hiring a professional SEO company/person or marketing team is even larger and anxiety producing. It’s tough to believe that any person or team will truly understand our company and vision in just a few meetings and a couple of days of studying our Internet and social media presence. So…what is the play?

HITTING THE HIGH POINTS

Eric Siu helps figure this out for us by hitting the high points of what all of us should be doing as part of our business marketing efforts particularly regarding: 1) studying the analytics of who our audience is and where they come from, 2) establishing credibility with a solid marketing plan. Remember, it can be altered, but it’s a necessary guideline, 3) It’s important to write and write well. Each piece of content from blog posts to infographics holds an opportunity to convert new customers and raise brand awareness. It really is important that audiences read past a headline of any content that is written/posted, 4) figure out your “key words” and repeat, repeat, repeat, 5) try and format headlines and sub-headings that will induce readers to want to read more, 6) promote what you write/display about your company in Google+ communities such as Screen, Digital & Graphics Printing. Figure out which of your posts/content have generated the most notice and then work that strength.

And, finally,  Quality content,  published consistently, optimized, and aggressively promoted is the key to building links, page rank, keyword share, and readership.

A different sort of energy and framework is definitely required when promoting a brand than for what is needed when creating artwork and printing apparel. But, it is worth it. In the long-term, the pay-off is higher page rank and more natural search traffic to our websites; company visibility is increased and inquiries are converted to customers and orders.

Many thanks for joining us.

Add rhinestones to DARK shirts digitally printed with RT SunAngel heat transfer paper & bold Fluorescent colors!

Make your Screen Printed Apparel ICONIC with 47 Colors.

IMG_1033

These images are of two Hermès of Paris scarves that were gifts to me. Their original owner was a life-long friend who felt that an outfit just wasn’t complete without a beautiful scarf. I remember her being especially elegant and sophisticated when wearing one of her gorgeous, purchased-in-Paris silk scarves. Four years ago, my darling friend died at too early of an age. I was deeply touched when her sister wanted me to have two of her Hermès of Paris scarves. When I wore one for the first time, I finally understood the special effect of an Hermès. Isn’t that the same effect we want our apparel to have on customers?

How does ICONIC happen?IMG_1034

How does a screen printer’s work become iconic like the house of Hermès? Is it by using many screens similar to the 47 screens that go into printing each Hermès scarf? Or is it like the 11 stages of silk screen printing that Hermès screen printers go through to create the perfect art? Or is it just the original design? Or…. is it similar to the “Tipping Point” (by Malcolm Gladwell) when he shares the story of Hush Puppies shoes that were suddenly “discovered” by a younger generation that helped the company return from a downward slide (I hope I’m remembering that correctly; BTW – great book for anyone in business).

So, how do screen printer’s creations get discovered? One way is to think impulse buy. Pierre-Alexis Dumas, the artistic director of Hermès International and the great-great-great grandson of Hermès creator Thierry Hermes shared the story about the time he saw a long-haired young man with roller blades buy a twilly, a small silk band scarf in the Paris Hermes store because he needed to hold his hair back. What a opportune moment for Hermès and the next group of potentially young consumers seeking out silk bands by Hermes! Talk about on a whim purchase helping to tip the scales in a new direction!

I think there’s much that those of us in the screen printing industry can learn from Hermès of Paris; about creating something that’s timeless with perfect technique that offers perfect art (think: vintage Rolling Stones T-shirt). And, a pathway to a very different status with apparel that appeals to the “impulse”.

Think Star-Power

Just like the screen printers who send their original printed designs to their favorite musicians or to American Idol contestants and then spot them wearing their shirts in local and national venues and in the media, be proactive.  When Grace Kelly was spotted in a Hermès of Paris scarf, you already know what that did to help make Hermès accessible and symbolic of beauty and class.

Here are a few thoughts: Retire a bestselling piece and then give it new life after sufficient hiatus. Add a touch of an unexpected color in the design. Give it a vintage edge. Print it on a more form fitting, athletic-type shirt that does away with the baggy effect. Print on DARK. And, make it into a t-shirt dress that is always timely. Use an Icat or exotic motif. Make your creations accessible to impulse buyers. And, get your art out on social media. And, remember, there is not just one type of customer. They are all ages and sizes.

Learn from Hermès.

I learned the history of the Hermès of Paris printing technique after stumbling upon a few articles written by Allison Carey, The Plain Dealer. She detailed an event in 2013 hosted by The Cleveland Museum of Art and Cuffs Custom Clothing of Chagrin Falls that featured Hermes of Paris and two printers from the Hermès Ateliers in Lyon, France, who were invited to demonstrate the secrets of printing the company’s iconic scarves. I’m grateful to Ms. Carey for the information. Please read her articles Here and Here.

The tradition of Hermès began in 1937 when Robert Dumas created the first scarf or carres. It continues with Dumas who says that Hermès are image-makers; that “my family is obsessed. We are dreamers. Human relations are very important, and the desire to achieve a form of excellence is very strong. Whatever you do, you have to do it with your heart and as best as possible. I think the small company started to attract people who share the same values and Hermès became a very special place.”

Is this what you wish to achieve in your small business, as well? Do you share these values with your customers? Do you put your heart and soul into everything you produce? What about your printing technique? Dumas relates that although the process has changed since 1937, art is unable to be separated from tools. “All artists love their tools. They love their brushes, their little tricks, their recipes and techniques. Artists are inventors and innovators…” . Do you love your tools; your printing press, the squeegees that should be in top form to lay the ink onto your substrate? Do you have a perfect set-up? Are your screen cleaning products eco-sensitive (think RhinoTech environmentally-sensitive screen cleaning products) and perfect for the job at hand? Do the final results of everything you do in your work reflect your best creative efforts?  Do you embrace new tools and technology like Dumas who offered that though his company has employed the same master screen printers for decades, they explore all new digital and other technologies to ensure that the art that results is true?

We want you to be iconic and hope we can help. Thanks for reading.

Shelley Markus, Marketing Director/RhinoTech

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The CMO’s Guide to the 2014 Social Landscape

The CMO’s Guide to the 2014 Social Landscape. This is a great article shared by Brandlove. Weren’t aware that “Pinterest activity associated with a web page is among the top 10 factors that generally result in a higher Google search ranking, according to a recent survey?” Aren’t excited about Google+? Read on and understand why you should be.

RhinoTech is one company that has learned along the way that utilizing social media is a great tool, customer and friend builder. Don’t delay! RT Screen Graphics Digital 3 2014

Thanks, again, for reading and subscribing and sharing this info. And, kudos to Brandlove for continuing to offer great info time after time….

 

So You Want to Start a Screen or Graphics Printing Business. Here is your Business Plan.

There are many notable, highly successful business people who, without a Business Plan, took a big idea and just plunged forward with their life’s savings and made it. Some went bankrupt a few times before hitting the big time. Many will tell you today to just to “go for it” and don’t waste time on writing a Business Plan. The following will help you decide whether or not to just plunge in or to write a clear plan that you can have in your head and on paper. Good luck with whatever you decide.
Posted on July 17, 2012 by CAPS International

Don’t be afraid to “Create a Business Plan”. By following the sample outline that provides added explanation, we offer you a simplified way in which to write a logical, compelling plan that you will need if applying for funds to help with a start-up or existing business. Whether asking for financial support from family or friends; completing a grant or loan application, you will need a focused, clear business document to portray your well-thought out plan of action and repayment for Year 1 of your venture through Year 5 (potentially).

Here is the link to a the Small Business Administration, business plan template that, from a former Business Plan writers opinion, is a an outline worth using. Other resources include a whole host of books on the subject that often include a sample plan on disc. or those on-line that are uploadable.

BUSINESS PLAN SAMPLE

The Executive Summary is the beginning two pages (or less) of your Plan document even though it is actually written after the entire Plan is completed. It is the all-out final, enthusiastic descriptive summary of  who you are, what you want to do, why you can accomplish this great business venture; goals/objectives. Write it as if  the Shark Tank entrepreneurial crew of the world will be your audience (watch it ABC and you’ll understand). Along with the written plan, Robert Herjavec, a Shark Tank member, recommends  finding time to talk to people who will actually buy your product. Designate abundant time to his suggestion that will only make your Plan more powerful.

Business Description and Vision: short/concise business purpose, a vision statement (that is your perception based on research/talking to people of the company’s growth potential in 1, 3 5 years); goals and objectives; brief history for existing or start-up business – discuss how/why/goals met/will be met to date; name of company officers or board members.

Definition of the Market: Use trade publications and stats to describe screen printing industry/outlook; define the critical needs of your perceived or existing market or why you believe (facts/#’s) your business will fulfill a niche in the industry; your target market and how you found them along with their general profile (non-profit agencies, senior clientele etc); your current and potential market share and how you figured that out (interviewed 100 people, etc).

Description of Products and Services (why they’re so great/how they fulfill a need): description of your products/services (how much they sell for) and why they are/will be competitive. In this segment, reference images of your work, brochures, a website; physical location of business (walk-in traffic, web site potential) that will be in plan appendix.

Organization and Management: Include an Organization Chart and description of how company is organized. Keep it short/concise so the general flow of operations is understood; convey whether it’s a proprietorship, partnership, corporation, etc.; identify necessary or special licenses and/or permits you have acquired or will need; list of key managers/staff w/brief bio (education, experience, financial background etc.).

Marketing and Sales Strategy: identify/describe who your customers are/will be; what/how you will fulfill their needs; what the demand is for your products & services (and how you figured that out; how you will distribute and promote products/services (social media, web store, outside/inside sales etc.); identify the 4 Ps of your SALES STRATEGY that are pricing, promotion, products and place.

AND THIS IS THE BIGGIE because the individuals and/or institutions who you are requesting a loan from need to know that you have a REALISTIC knowledge of the financial projection/commitment it’s going to take to build and sustain the business.

Financial Management for a New Business: estimate of start-up costs and how you figured them (CAPS International will provide you with a free estimate of screen printing equipment and supplies); a projected balance sheet (1, 3, 5 years forward); a projected income statement (1, 3, 5 years forward); a projected cash flow statement (12 months forward).

For an Existing Business (this is standard):  balance sheets (last 3 years); income statements (last 3 years); cash flow statement (12 months).

If Applying for a Loan (in addition to the above): current personal financial statement on each principal/partner/investor; federal tax return for prior year. These are standard.

 

How To Photograph Your Screen Printed Tee Shirts 101

Wanted to share this blog by Jonathan at Catspit Productions. It’s well done and answers the question for many of us who are often frustrated with the process. The Catspit Forum is a great place for Q and A.

Thanks for checking out this video and subscribing.

 

 

Sustainable Screen Printing – Motion Toward Functional Harmony.

This small, screen printing shop strives to offer sustainable, fairly-traded t-shirts and other products that are screen printed. Check out their website at www.sustainablescreenprinting.com. It’s a great source with lots of practical information besides showcasing their products and business.

This is their Modus Operandi that is: We print t-shirts! (among other things).

We seek to work with businesses, organizations, musicians, artists, crafts-people and anyone who would like to see their vision become an amazing screen-printed reality. We are here to promote beautiful situations and empowering surroundings for whole living.

Sus•tain: v. 1. To keep in existence; maintain. 2. To supply with necessities or nourishment. 3 To keep from falling or sinking. 4. To support the spirits or resolution of; encourage. 5. To endure or withstand: sustain hardships. [< Latin. sustinere, hold up.]–sus-tain´a•ble adj. -American Heritage Dictionary

Sustainability– “…meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet there own needs.” -1987 Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development

What does it mean to use sustainable practice in screen printing?

Small is Beautiful~ 1st we are a small shop. Being small allows for great efficiency in the use of resources and materials, such as water, electricity, ink, and  other tools of the trade, while still being able to handle large volume orders.

There are several other practices we use to bring our products closer to an ideal of sustainability.

•We use water-based inks, which have a much lower environmental impact than the pvc-based industry standard.

•We print on garments made of 100% certified organic cotton.

•We print on garments that are sweat-free, either American-made or in foreign facilities using fair-trade standards.

This does not mean our products and our process is perfect. We are always researching and tuning our process to provide a product that creates the least possible impact on our home, the Earth.

Hope you enjoyed this information as we all strive to consciously be sensitive to Mother Earth.

 

 

 

A Late Night Blog…

Beware of late night blog attempts to churn out “just one more”  even though you believe that you are at the top of your game despite the fact that you’ve been running on high for the previous 15 hours (with no caffeine – based beverages).  I share this fresh experience and ask that you please re-read,  the MUST DO blog completed in the early hours of 5/23 that now includes the CORRECT link to the American Screen Printing website. Please click HERE to check out this site.

I offer sincere appreciation!

MUST DO!

There is a wonderful publication in Sarasota, Ft. Myers and Naples, Florida, and probably others that are similar throughout the country, that specialize in providing the broadest possible amount of information regarding the local area attractions. “Must Do” targets arts venues, festivals, restaurants, the best beaches (#1 Siesta Key Beach)

natural attractions, family fun, single fun, night life, shopping, accommodations and more. And it includes a plethora of coupons from 2 for 1 meals to rent one kayak, get the second for half price. The publication is a “Must Do” for both tourists, part-time residents and local residents.

So…in the fashion of this magazine, here is a short list of “Must Do” items for screen/graphics printers:

Attend a trade show. This is where you get revved up. Learn about the latest technologies and techniques, see hands-on demos, meet manufacturers, attend seminars at, for example,  ISS/Las Vegas, August 12 – 14, the Chicago/Craft Hobby Association show,July 16 – 19; the NBM show in Philly, September 21-23; SGIA Expo, October 18-20 in Las Vegas.

Invest in becoming educated and involved in Social Media to up your game. Doesn’t matter your age, just get going! Start with Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, Twitpic, Foursquare, Google+, Orkut. Figure out how to add an e-coupon to your marketing campaign that will help you engage others to learn about what you/your business has to offer.

Learn how to navigate youtube.com and watch hands-on video demos. People love to teach and post on youtube.com/screenprinting and there are plenty of screen/graphics printers out there who relish in sharing their craft and art in step-by-step educational videos or ones that are just plain hysterically funny.

Join a forum such as the one offered by Catspitproductionsllc.com (this site also offers educational videos) and talk to the experts. Reading all the Q and A’s is a great way to figure out how to formulate your own questions, find start-up business equipment and sources for products, screens, supplies, and more.

Join a trade association such as the American Screen Printing Association to read about professional screen/graphics certificate programs, printing techniques, new technology and more.

Research and then institute the use of eco-sensitive, screen cleaning products like RhinoClean Green² to help lessen your carbon footprint on mother earth. The introduction of these types of products into a shop showcases responsible business practices that have enormous advantages for employees and customers, as well.

Read/subscribe to trade publications either on-line or in the printed version. This is where you can receive guidance, read about new printing techniques, learn about all the new innovations on the market. For example, pick from any number of publications such as Sign and Digital Graphics, Impressions Magazine, Printwear, Screen Printing en Espanol. 

Follow/subscribe to this blog and others. You’ll find who/what to follow on Twitter, Facebook and all the other social sites.

Best of luck on your adventure and, as always, thanks for reading and subscribing.

Screen Printing and Pinterest

The question is: why should screen and graphic printers participate in Pinterest Logo ?

Simple put…because Pinterest is a gold mine of ideas, a prime place to display your creative genius, another avenue in which to engage and exchange with others in the screen and graphics printing worlds, to maybe even sell some of your t-shirts, hats, hoodies, pillows, invitations and more to new clients you’ve gained as a result of your involvement (pillow screen printed by Emily Chushman, Living Room Board via Pinterest).

art by Carisa Lee via PinterestTo join, however, you must first be invited. Once you’ve been invited per email, its NBD to begin.Just follow the prompts and read everything to ensure frustration-free Board creations. Site creation begins with a series of Boards that showcase your company’s screen printing work and/or, for example, community events you’re involved in, travel, art,  adventures, fashion, fair trade clothing, architecture. From your boards, you can view all types of sites and “repin” other photos from Pinterest that pique your interest to your boards. Slowly, your repertoire will be constructed and your step into this new world of liking/repinning will evolve into fresh e-social circles. It’s motivating, too.

Uno Estudio is a great example of how this company is using Pinterest. The company has a board that displays grafica (that gives credit to the artists  – # 1 in etiquette). It also has one titled Screen Print complete with a video, a small screen printing project and more. RhinoTech recently had its RhinoBond Crystal, an adhesive catering to craftsters, jewelery-makers and hobbyists, repinned from its Jewelery Board to another jewelery designers board. And the 300 people following her will now have the opportunity to read about this product and …. on it goes from there.

This excerpt from a New York Times article, Drilling Down: What Small Businesses Should Know about Pinterest, helps answer the initial question:

Q: How do you determine if Pinterest may be right for your business?

A: Can you answer yes to these questions: One, do you have, or can you create, interesting and sharable content on your Web site? Two, do you have products to sell that can be presented visually? Three, are you willing to devote the time that it takes to market on Pinterest? Businesses are lured into social media marketing because it’s free. But the primary investment in social media marketing is time, not money. If you are not willing to devote the time to Pinterest, or any other social media, it’s not right for your business. It must be a scheduled business activity, just like opening the doors or doing payroll.

Be bold and may you reap intense exposure.

Thanks for reading and liking this!

Map invitations courtesy of Carisa Lee via Pinterest.

More Tips in the Social Media Realm

Thanks to BrandLove for the incredible 9 tips toward Building Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn. I worked the tips on my personal page to highlight my business and business page on LinkedIn. Here are the results:

Tip # 1 regarding Completeness of Profile: I agree that you should complete each section on the profile, but because I really want to highlight my business and not my personal profile, some sections (sadly) are not as complete as I’d like them to be.  Following Tip # 4 (rearranging profile), however, I moved the incomplete sections to the bottom of the page to emphasize a focus on my company and key words. Eventually, all sections will be finished.

Tip # 2: Regarding a Vanity URL. I created one. It was easy by just following the steps, as described. And I agree, it will be so much easier and less time consuming to find me and my business on LinkedIn.

Tip # 3: Regarding the creation of “sexier, more appealing links, again, I followed the directions and named my sites instead of just using the plain old Blog moniker. I used all three website links; though I’m not sure they’re sexier, at least they now have a more explicit description. These changes should definitely “help optimize my profile and drive Google PageRank to our other web properties.”

Tip # 4: Rearranging my Profile was easy. Again, I just followed the steps and moved the areas that I felt weren’t as complete to the bottom of the profile. Now my profile is highlighted with all complete sections at the beginning. And my business information, including the blogs I’ve posted, will also show up more clearly.

Tip # 5: Regarding Search Engine Optimization of Your Profile, I took this to heart and went to town. Each section now focuses on key words used in my business and industry.  I want our business to be easily extracted from all other companies in my industry and by increasing the number of key words we have the potential to be found by increased numbers of people.  I’m excited about the new format.

 Tip # 6: I changed my headline to emphasize key words closest to my business and industry.  In this way, LinkedIn is more likely to pick up my profile/business for those searching for screen or graphics printing or similar words. Optimize, optimize, optimize!

Tip # 7: Regarding Joining other Groups, I followed this tip prior to reading the tip by initially joining groups as soon as I developed a LinkedIn profile. I continue to learn how to navigate the four groups I’ve connected and have to say that I have connected with some exceedingly helpful group members. I intentionally kept the original number small until I learned the basics of belonging to groups. The only downside (that is also an upside, I suppose) is that I was  overloaded initially with requests to follow/like members on  FB and Twitter. It’s calmed down a bit, but seeing all those requests initially upped my anxiety level too much. Now it’s under control.

Tip # 8: I love this tip about adding Applications! Again, I followed the directions and immediately became linked.  Some great links are listed and I encourage you to try this step. I’m going to add more.

Tip # 9:  I’m taking the liberty of just sharing the tip in its entirely because it’s great the way it was written. Here’s how to Build Your Network. Once your profile is in good shape, work on building your network. Here are some things to keep in mind: when asking to connect with someone, use “we’ve done business together” rather than “friend.” Be sure to personalize any requests to connect with how you know the person or where you met or who you have in common.  If you do decide to try to connect with someone who may not know you well, be absolutely sure that you defend your network invite in the personal note section, such as saying you just purchased their book or saw them speak at a major conference. If you invite people to your network and they mark your invitation as someone they do not know, you will be banned (temporarily) from inviting new people to your network unless you know their email address.

 Thanks for following. I hope this industry-related news will help you be even more successful.

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