Small Business Resource Center

4 ways to improve your local Google search results

by Amber Humphrey
Amber Humphrey

When conducting online research, consumers use local search terms to find everything from seafood restaurants in their area, to nearby gyms, to child care providers that are close to where they work. To attract local customers or clients, small businesses must take action to ensure they’re found by local searchers.

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5 signs your logo is hurting your business

by Bridget Aymar
Bridget Aymar
September 15, 2017

Woman with heads on head as if havign a headache

A logo is the visual representation of your business. It should provide a snapshot of your mission and values, and capture the attention of your customers. But for many small businesses, their logo makes the wrong impression.

“Your logo represents who you are: It’s your face,” says Anne Gelbman, founder of Cuisine Culture and Conversations. When she first launched her travel agency, she hired a designer who delivered disappointing work that reflected poorly on her brand. She recently partnered with the designers at Deluxe to refresh her business logo, and received a design that her clients love. “I’ve learned designs that appeal to me, might not be appealing to my clients,” she says.

Ask yourself these questions to determine whether your logo is harming your business’s reputation.

1. Does it translate to black and white?

Logos that contain multiple colors or rich details like illustrations, mascots and drop shadows look fantastic on your computer screen or when printed in full color. But do those details get lost in black and white?

To test your logo, print it in full color, and make a black and white photocopy. Does it look blurry and distorted? Are the words legible? If so, the design will also look sloppy on invoices, on social media or small screens like smartphones and tablets, or on other printed media where the size is reduced. These logos are also challenging to embroider, which hinders your ability to create branded apparel or uniforms in the future.

2. Does it contain clip art?

When small business owners lack the time and expertise to craft a custom logo, grabbing free clip art seems like a solid solution. However, because this method is popular, small businesses within the same industry often gravitate toward the same designs. In the future, it’s likely a similar business will use the same clip art in their logo, and you’ll have no legal recourse to stop them.

Your logo is the identity of your company distilled into an elegant mark that tells a story in one glance. A clip art image will neither differentiate you from competitors nor will it be memorable for your customers.

3. Do the colors fit your brand?

Color is one of the most important elements of your logo. Different colors have unspoken meanings, and tend to convey different traits. For example, yellow says warm, happy and relaxed, while red shouts passion, energy and excitement. Ask yourself what you hope customers will feel about your brand, and determine whether the colors in your logo inspire those emotions.

4. Are there too many words?

Your slogan, location or founding year may be important to your business, but they don’t belong in your logo. Too much text interferes with the visual impression your logo should make.

5. Did you forget to develop a style guide?

A brand style guide is a document that describes how your logo and brand should be used across different types of media, from newspapers and billboards to website banner ads and social media. As your business grows and you promote it more heavily, the style guide ensures your logo looks great no matter where it appears. It includes guidelines on color, size, taglines, legal uses and more.

Does your logo need a refresh or redesign? Deluxe will connect you with a design expert to develop a logo and style guide with impact.

Get ready to love your new logo

Build your brand, starting with professional logo design.

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Think you’re ready to be an entrepreneur?

by Deborah Sweeney
Deborah Sweeney

According to the Kauffman Foundation’s State of Entrepreneurship 2017 report, entrepreneurship is on the rebound across the United States. Job creation is on the rise, and optimism has been growing among small business owners. 

But before you decide to quit your day job and start a business, it’s a good idea to determine if the entrepreneurial path is the best one for you. Ask yourself these five questions before you begin your pursuit:

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Speeding into a new era with a revamped logo

by John Habib
John Habib
September 13, 2017

After Rick and Kim Archuletta took over R & R Auto Repair, a 40-year-old fixture in Sacramento, Calif., they grew its business by 30 percent in just a few years. However, they still faced the challenge encountered by many well-established small businesses: how to keep an old-school company relevant in the 21st century.

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eCheck enhancements for better bill paying

September 8, 2017

Paying bills is a necessary, albeit tedious, practice for everyone. For the small business owner, it’s also essential to keeping your books in order, tracking your finances and quite literally keeping the lights on. And while we can’t eliminate the bill-paying process, we have made it easier and more efficient with the new enhancements to Deluxe eChecks. An improved mobile app, a smoother, smarter online experience, and new personalization options make sending and receiving Deluxe eChecks faster, easier and better than ever.

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How to create a small business budget

by Bridget Aymar
Bridget Aymar

Roughly 82 percent of small businesses fail in their first five years, many because they run out of capital. A key mistake some small business owners make is failing to create a budget, opting instead to use financial statements or bank account balances to assess the health of their business. But these documents offer a narrow view of your financials.

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Enhance your email marketing with Landing Pages

by John Habib
John Habib

We’re excited to announce that Landing Pages are now available to all users of Deluxe Email Marketing. Landing Pages are a quick, easy and effective complement to your email campaigns. They work in tandem with your email messages to generate interest, capture leads and increase sales. What are Landing Pages and how can you put them to work for you?

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Deluxe’s guide to online marketing for the real estate industry [PLAYBOOK]

by Amber Humphrey
Amber Humphrey

Traditional forms of real estate marketing don’t have the same impact they once did. With a staggering 92 percent of home buyers searching online before they buy, it’s clear the future of the industry is digital.

But reaching those prospects online isn’t as simple as promoting your business on real estate listing sites like Zillow and Trulia. To attract new clients and gain an edge in the digital landscape, you have to develop a strategy that encompasses multiple online marketing channels and techniques.

Leverage today’s digital marketing tools to reach people in the market looking to buy, sell or lease. This succinct Real Estate Industry Playbook provides a three-step approach to building your real estate business online, focusing on your online identity, your online presence and your online personality.

Establish an online identity

Did you know 70 percent of buyers and 75 percent of sellers found their real estate agent on the internet?

Now that most buyers and sellers begin their home or property searches on the web, it’s more important than ever to grow your online presence. When they search, prospects want to know about your company’s specialties, certifications, personality and what they can expect if they decide to work with you. As the foundation of your online identity, your logo and website can help answer these questions and provide your business with the kind of digital curb appeal that will entice new clients.

The guide explains:

  • How to build brand equity with a professionally designed logo
  • The five requirements for a powerful real estate logo
  • How to maximize your online identity with a professional website

Attract clients through search engines and online listings

Did you know nearly 65 percent of internet users click on the first three results in a search engine listing?

With so many other realtors, property managers, appraisers and brokers all vying for the same clients, it’s crucial your company doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and online directory listings make it possible for people to find you on the web. SEO and PPC help you stay competitive by improving your search rankings while directories like Yelp, Foursquare and Yahoo Local further increase your online presence, maximizing your business’s visibility.

Our real estate guide explains:

  • How to improve your SEO rankings
  • The benefits of PPC advertising
  • How to increase your online visibility with directory listings

Leverage your client base to win referrals using social media and email marketing

Did you know 74 percent of home sellers use social media to find a real estate agent?

As you know, in the real estate industry, your work with a client doesn’t end when the sale has been made. Because nearly half of all sellers choose their representative agent based on a referral from a friend or relative, it’s critical that you’re remembered months or even years in the future. Social media and email marketing are both great ways to stay engaged with past clients and build top-of-mind awareness. If your messages are consistent and relevant, and provide readers with valuable content, you can use those channels to turn your client base into ambassadors who spread the word about your services.

Our guide explains:

  • How to develop a robust social media strategy
  • The basics of Facebook advertising 
  • Email marketing best practices

If you haven’t employed these tactics or if previous efforts have failed to deliver an adequate return on investment, download the Deluxe Guide to Online Marketing and Promotion for the Real Estate Industry, and get your marketing efforts on track.

Ready to renovate your digital presence? Get started with our online marketing and promotion guide.

Download the eBook

(It’s free!)


How much should website photos cost?

by Bridget Aymar
Bridget Aymar

Your website is often the first impression that customers have with your business. As a primarily visual medium, your website must greet visitors with images that entice them to interact with you.

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A new way for the auto industry to pay

by Bridget Aymar
Bridget Aymar

Despite major advancements in the payment industry, there’s no perfect way for auto businesses such as dealerships, repair and body shops, and auto parts providers to make payments. ACH transactions are secure and fast, but require the recipient to supply their private banking information. Credit cards are everywhere, but the merchant pays big fees for the convenience. Checks are secure and easy, but can get lost or intercepted by fraudulent parties.

Deluxe, a trusted checks provider with more than a century of experience in the payments landscape, has developed a solution. eChecks are a secure, affordable, online payment product that allow businesses to instantly create and send a check to anyone with an email address. They work just like the paper checks you use now, but are sent by email.

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