MagCloud’s Favorite SMB Pinterest Boards

Pinterest

In addition to being a great tool to market your publication, Pinterest can be a great source of inspiration for your business. From infographics to marketing tips, the following are some of our favorite SMB focused Pinterest boards to follow:

Do you follow any SMB focused boards on Pinterest? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Use Pinterest for MagCloud Publishers

We’re quite fond of photos and videos much like the online community on Pinterest. It’s no wonder that we heart the pinboard-style visual sharing site (we made our own Pinterest account too!) and are always inspired by what people are pinning.

MagCloud_Pinterest2

Our publishers are also including Pinterest as part of their marketing strategy and we’re seeing a lot of readers using our new social sharing capabilities. Remember that readers can like, tweet, pin, and share their favorite print and digital publications from our website or within the web-based viewer.

For those of you starting a Pinterest account, here are a few tips we’ve found to be helpful on how to use the visual platform to market your publication and engage with your readers.

  • Pin photos from your publication or website – The pinned images will include a link back to your site, which will help drive traffic there.
  • Pin videos – Go beyond just pinning pictures and share videos especially ones that are highly relevant to the theme of your Pinterest boards.
  • Introduce the members of your team – Let your readers and customers know who’s behind the genius.
  • Follow other Pinterest users in your local area and/or field of expertise – You can see how other pinners are getting likes and re-pins and help build upon your presence in your community. Remember to follow us on Pinterest, too!
  • Ask fans to pin photos of themselves with your publication – This is a great way to build engagement with your readers and learn which issues are their favorites.
  • Test different captions – Be sure to include keyword phrases and hashtags, and remember to have fun with your captions.
  • Find out which pictures have been pinned from your site – Simply type the following URL: “http://pinterest.com/source/ADD YOUR URL HERE” and you can see which photos or content are most popular. Find out what people are pinning now, from MagCloud.com!

As a publisher, are you using Pinterest to market your publication? Share your tips on how to use Pinterest with us in the comments section below.

Vote for MagCloud as a 2012 Small Business Influencer Champion!

It’s great to have more reasons to keep celebrating MagCloud’s birthday this month! We’re thrilled to hear that we were nominated for the Small Business Influencer Award this year.  As you may remember, we were selected as one of the last year’s Small Business Influencer Champions and hope to repeat that distinction again!

This prestigious recognition honors companies, organizations and people who have made a significant impact on the small business industry. We remain committed to improving our services and offering new products to assist small businesses with their marketing efforts. Over the last twelve months, we’ve rolled out Digest Landscape, new Flyer options, Square Format, Large FormatPremium Paper and Shipping Options, and still have more to come!

We would love your votes to help us reach the Top 100 by August 5. Have we made a meaningful and lasting impact for your business? Place a vote! Yes, you can vote every day. :)

For more information on the 2012 Small Business Influencer, be sure to follow @SMBInfluencer on Twitter or the folks behind this initiative – Anita Campbell (@smallbiztrends) and Ramon Ray (@ramonray). Let us know that you voted by leaving a comment below and thanks for your support!

Print and Digital: A Winning Combination

Print vs. digital has long been hotly debated. Recently, we’ve seen several experts weighing in on the topic, arguing that print and digital can coexist and will in fact strengthen a brand when used together. Of course, we’ve always known this at HP MagCloud (check out our Jan. 5 blog post), and we are thrilled when other people realize it doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition. The challenge is finding the right medium to use to tell your unique story, so that it’s heard and understood by your audience.

So what are people saying? Novelist Dave Eggers in the Guardian said, “It’s our admittedly unorthodox opinion that the two can co-exist, and in fact should co-exist. … But they need to do different things. To survive, the newspaper, and the physical book, needs to set itself apart from the web. Physical forms of the written word need to offer a clear and different experience. And if they do, we believe, they will survive.”

When should you choose digital? “For news, facts and information, let’s tell stories as they unfold: a tweet here, an update there, a database, a video clip, a timeline, a slideshow, a conversation, a list. Let’s master the tools of digital storytelling and learn to match our tools and techniques to the circumstances,” stated digital guru Steve Buttry on Poynter.org.

What about print? “Let’s respect the pure, traditional story – the narrative string of paragraphs – by reserving that form for real stories,” Buttry added.

We’re fortunate to live in a world where we have both options.

In telling your story, you’ll want to rise above the chatter. It’s a good idea to participate in the online conversation by using Facebook, Twitter, email newsletters and more to share what’s happening in the moment. You’re demonstrating your knowledge about your industry and connecting in a more immediate way with your audience.

Meanwhile, a print publication showcases your photographs and carefully crafted story to an audience who wants to linger over and slowly digest your content. No matter how great digital content is, readers can stash magazines in their purses, dog-ear the pages and tear out their favorite articles. Quoting The Economist (June 9 issue): “As long as there are coffee tables, people will want things to put on them.” The high quality of print makes you proud to display your work to clients, and likewise, your clients will be happy to share your magazine with people they bump into.

HP MagCloud provides both print and digital offerings because different stories beg to be told in different ways. Plus, you might reach new readers who prefer to read content on their iPad or smartphone. We realize there is much to consider, and one of the main deterrents of print is the expense and complexity. With HP MagCloud, it costs only 20 cents per page for Standard and Square products, there are no upfront costs and everything can be done via our website with a few clicks of the mouse. So a small business on a tight budget can afford to self-publish their content.

For a small business, blending print and digital elements into your marketing is a win-win. Does your business plan include both digital and print? If not, here’s your chance to consider both.

Publishers in Their Own Words: Mike Lesnick Photography

My name is Mike Lesnick, I am the owner and photographer of Mike Lesnick Photography. I use MagCloud to make my brochure/portfolio available to all past and future clients. It’s a great way for me to have my information readily available to everyone.

I created my brochure so that anyone could see a sample of my work, pricing and little snippets about myself and the weddings I have photographed. With my brochure I have made an impact on brides and grooms with my neatly presented work, pictures and lay out. My latest brochure was updated to include all pictures from this past wedding season (2011) as well as full-page spreads of previous weddings I have photographed.

MagCloud has provided me with the most cost-effective way to  distribute and manage my brochures; as well as providing the print quality that as a wedding photographer I expect and need to present my work in a manner that I feel is professional. Thanks so much MagCloud, keep up the good work!

Mike Lesnick, Owner/Photographer, Mike Lesnick Photography

Visit Mike’s website to learn more about his work or preview his work on MagCloud.

Publishers In Their Own Words: Merritt Design Photo

I love when January comes and I can take a moment to dream up new strategies for my small business in the coming year.  For 2012, I made a decision to crank things up a notch with a new creative marketing strategy for my wedding photography business, which had previously been promoted solely “word of mouth.”  I had used MagCloud before and knew that it offered an excellent solution to get started with a custom-designed, high impact product that I could print affordably enough to leave after meetings with wedding coordinators, and even send to begin a dialogue and make a lasting impression with potential clients.

For my first Weddings issue, MagCloud’s format, quality and great price-point give me ample space to share insights into my personal approach to wedding photography; what clients can expect from the experience of working together; some information about packages; and finally, plenty of space for rich color photographs to jump off the pages. Because I can design the whole issue myself, it is the perfect product to give a sense of my personality and style — hopefully enough to inspire people to want to learn more!

I am proud to share this gorgeous, stand-out marketing piece with potential clients; in the first few showings alone, the response has been overwhelming! I’m so excited to be working with MagCloud and I already can’t wait to create my next magazines!

Jennifer Koskinen, Owner/Photographer, Merritt Design Photo

Visit Jennifer’s website to learn more about here work or preview her work on MagCloud.

MagCloud for the Wedding Photographer

Whether you are a professional wedding photographer with a studio space and a team of five, or you’re flying solo, it’s important to present your business in the most professional and appealing way possible to your clients. MagCloud is an easy and affordable way to publish lookbooks, promotional tools and affordable products that that you can sell as a part of your business’s offerings. With easy publisher settings you can offer any, or all of your publications in both print and digital formats.

A number of photographers have already discovered the value of MagCloud for their business. They are using the service to promote themselves at trade events with a brochure or glossy catalog, provide lookbooks to potential clients, print proof books for existing clients; and even as a sales tool intended to up-sell clients to an entire gallery of prints rather than just one or two.

Let’s explore some of the options available for your wedding photography business:

Portfolio and Catalog:

At just 20¢ a page for Standard size or 16¢ for Digest size, MagCloud offers full-color, full-bleed printing on HP’s beautiful Indigo presses–a true advantage for today’s professional photographers.

For example, if you want to create a full-color soft-bound book to highlight your photography and present your services, you could do so in a 28-page Standard-sized perfect-bound publication for just $6.60 a copy. Yep, you read that right, $6.60 a copy. And you don’t have to buy 100 to get that pricing, you could order them one at a time if you like, or drop-ship them to an address list of potential clients who have seen your work online and are interested in learning more.

**Want to create one of your own? If you use Microsoft Publisher, we’ve already got a great basic 4-page catalog template to get you started. Don’t use Publisher? Feel free to use the design as inspiration for your own services catalog.

Lookbook:

If you’d prefer to woo your customers before revealing all of your pricing, or would just prefer to have something less time-sensitive for showing off your work, we suggest creating a lookbook. Lookbooks are a great way to express your style, showcase your best work, and really tell your potential customers who you are.

Some publishers have started to use our ultra-portable Digest Landscape format to create a marketing piece that shows off their best work in a portable format that doesn’t break the bank.

What’s great about this idea is that the Digest Landscape’s compact 8.25″ x 5.25″ size makes it easy to keep on hand. Should you meet someone who is interested in hiring you, you can easily hand off the book to a potential client and not cringe at what it costs to replace. And with a max page count of 384, you could create a lookbook that includes hundreds of images, worthy of your coffee table. At just 16¢ a page for our Digest Landscape publications (plus $1 for perfect binding), you can create an impressive 60-page lookbook for just $10.60.

Album for family and friends:

Waiting for that big beautiful album can sometimes take weeks, or months, so while your bride is still excited about the wedding and singing your praises, why not surprise her with a mini photobook, or cool glossy magazine of photos from her big day? She’ll be thrilled to show off your work to her friends and family, and with our 3-day print turn around time, you could surprise the happy couple before they get home from their honeymoon.

You could also create a similar album as a product for your newlyweds to give as a thank you gift to extended family, bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Sales tool:

If you sell more than just digital packages, you know how hard it can be to sell prints–especially large prints (like the elusive 20″ x 30″ canvas) or collections of images, intended to be displayed as galleries. Most clients can’t envision what a gallery of their images could look like–”How would they arrange them? Where would it go?” That’s why some photographers have created booklets to help their clients place their orders. Diagrams and examples can help customers to envision a gallery in their home so they can select prints that work well together. If you went so far as to create this publication and save it as a template, you could drop a few of the customer’s images into the gallery diagrams creating a customized booklet to really seal the deal.

Proof Book:

It seems just about everyone has made the switch to online galleries for proofing, but there is something to be said about proofing photos in print, especially when you are planning to buy them in print.

So why not put together a proof book for your client to accompany that online gallery? This way your bride can have something in hand when she talks to her parents or grandparents about that 20”x 30” canvas. You could even go so far as to include your print pricing, packages or gallery inspiration guide into a custom publication to help encourage larger sales.

Showcase for Vendors:

If you’ve been in the business for awhile, you probably have already had a number of referrals come not just from happy brides, but also from vendors. You know that impressing a location rep means your images might get highlighted when they tour brides-to-be around their venue. Event planners love to show off your beautiful photos of their meticulously-planned soirées, so why not give them access to your photos in a way that not only highlights their work, but at the same time shows you off? We’ve seen photographers partner with venues and service professionals to create custom showcase publications for their specific businesses, but imagine how popular you’d be with everyone down to the makeup artist if you created a showcase book for each wedding and shared it them for their own promotional uses? Every time they show off that booklet, their client will see your brand.

Annual Retrospective for past clients:

If you do more than wedding photography, it makes sense to remind your clients of this. Then, as your wedding clients become growing families, they can make you their photographer for life – there to document their pregnancy, baby photos, family portraits and even high-school seniors.

Creating an annual retrospective photography magazine to highlight favorite sessions from the previous year is a great way to remind customers that you do other types of photography. Similar to a portfolio, this sort of publication can really highlight events, press-opportunities and sessions that occurred during the past year. Clients highlighted in the publication would surely love a copy to show off to their friends, and it keeps you top-of-mind for their next photo-worthy occasion.

Client Gifts:

A number of wedding photographers send gifts to their couples at their anniversary, or around the holidays, so why not create a calendar template that you can customize for each couple?

Swap in photos from their big day, add their anniversary to the calendar, and voilà! You’ll have a product that costs you $5.60 + shipping (a 28-page Standard publication) and reminds your bride how fabulous you are every day of the year.

Print or Digital? Why Choose?

There is a constant debate about print vs. digital, arguing why one is better than the other. Here at MagCloud, our motto is “Why choose?” What’s great about all of these ideas is that if you like, any one of them could also be enjoyed and shown off on the iPad or as a digital download to any PC or tablet device. With just a few clicks you can use one PDF for both print and digital purposes, just opt-in for digital distribution when you select your print pricing and finishing options.

More:

Along with all of these great ideas, you can also use MagCloud to print professionally bound Contracts, Employee Handbooks, Style Guides, Posing Guides, Workbooks, and Lighting How-to’s for workshops. Want more inspiration? Browse more wedding photography publications on the MagCloud website.

Have you used MagCloud as a promotional piece or product for your wedding photography business, or have you been inspired to create something from this post? Share your ideas in the comments section below.