Packaging, Labels and Branding Solutions for Small Businesses that Sell Products

One of the toughest things that small businesses selling products deal with is packaging. Typically it is pretty simple for a large company to label and package a product at a reasonable cost. They have the leverage of doing a large volume of business with printers and packaging manufacturers. They also have the advantage of long runs where they can create many labels of the same exact thing. This drives down per unit cost and allows them to afford world class packaging design.

An additional advantage is that they can hire experts on staff to handle regulatory issues. So what does a small business do to counteract that in a constantly regulated world? There is probably no better example of that for small business that the burgeoning Marijuana industry in Colorado. The industry literally has sprung up overnight creating lots of demand. In addition, the industry is highly regulated, with many specific requirements that must be met for each product.

Dispensaries are small but rapidly growing businesses that struggle to keep up with the demand, and yet they must face at the same time regulatory hurdles and requirements the change as governments grapple to manage the industry as well.

There are many opportunities for dispensaries to save costs and eliminate headaches as they are trying to package all of these different products. What some dispensaries are doing is calling on experienced label designers and packaging companies and asking them for consulting help to solve the packaging process and deal with the issue.

“We are more than happy to sit down with dispensaries and other marijuana industry businesses and evaluate their labeling and packaging to see where we can save them time and money.” said Amber McConnell from American Tape and Label. “We want to help them in our experience in pharmaceuticals and many other product lines over the course of 42 years can be helpful in finding ways for them to reduce costs and hassles.” “Other advantages are things like quick turnaround time and help though the entire packaging process. You need 1 place that brings all of these skills together.” she added.

What are the main ingredients of a successful packaging and labeling program? It starts with:

  • quality artwork
  • a company who will provide you with outstanding customer services. Something as little as a timely response matters most. Waiting for a day just to hear a yes or no answer is unaccepatble.
  • a company who is willing to work with your customer needs and time frame.
  • a company who will find the correct adhesive for your products specific environment.
  • a company who not only know design but is familiar and has connections for the rest of the packaging process. This will save you time and money because something as simple as the rewind direction could ultimately lead to a rerun costing a company. Experience matters.

By doing these things, industry businesses can actually lower their costs and increase regulatory compliance all at the same time. This is your basic checklist for lower costs, great quality and reduced headaches.

What other labelling issues have you had in YOUR business? What do you find tough in terms of regulations? Are you printing labels yourself?


FlashIssue: A pretty cool new tool for Gmail folks

One of the things that attracts small business to Gmail is the cost (yeah we know…don’t deny it).  :-)

One of the things that makes people frustrated with Gmail is the lack of ability to market with gmail easily and effectively. If you have tried it then you know what we are talking about. Enter This is a tool that turns your Gmail account into a marketing weapon and radically simplifies email design, easy targeting and email analytics all at once.

It is NOT free (well there is a small free version, but for any REAL benefit you need to have one of the purchase options which starts at $10 per month for 500 contacts.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!


2014 SEO = Building Authority, Social, Traffic, and Branding all at once

People keep asking our team how to build their rankings in 2014, now that Google has changed the rules on authority building and rumors are that there are more changes on the way. Here are a few things that are MUST DO items for small businesses.

  1. Build ALL relevant social media pages and leverage them. This means that you need to have a Facebook page, a Google Plus Business page, a Google plus page, a linked in page etc etc.. AND you need to be building the circles, likes, friends etc NATURALLY by adding people and asking them to add you back.
  2. You need to be writing regularly AND posting what you write on your social media where appropriate AND you need to be EARNING tweets, likes, mentions and retweets.
  3. Your posts and online activity should promote your industry AND your brand. BOTH. All of the time.
  4. Doing 1-3 will get you some links. You need to create other opportunities for links that are from TRUSTED industry sources and legitimate press.
  5. You need to focus on strong local sites that you can focus on working with. A local team of business friends that promote each other is as valuable online as it is in real life. Make some Chamber of Commerce friends. Seriously.

Ok… these are the barebones basics. Want to take it to another level, there are more advanced strategies to expand authority, branding, social, and traffic and the truth of it is that many of them involve getting really creative with the basics. Think about this:

  • Do you take advantage of ALL the marketing events that you do to maximize steps 1-5?
  • Do you leverage vendor relationships for getting the most out of social media?
  • Do you leverage your staff’s time on social media? (There are ways to do this)
  • Do you take advantage of your staff’s google authorship? or do you let it go to waste?

Basically, most small businesses would benefit GREATLY by doing the basics of online PR correctly and then kicking it up a notch.


Targeting Multiple Areas with your Web Presence

Ok. Among small businesses, REALTORS are not unique. They are service businesses. They are local. They are focused on attracting attention to themselves, but maintaining a professional appearance. And finally, they are often targeting multiple cities at once, even though they have an office in once one or two of the cities.

Let’s take Sue Adler as an example. she is a busy REALTOR with a team in New Jersey. She covers the following areas:

  • Millburn and Short Hills
  • Chatham NJ
  • Summit NJ
  • Madison NJ
  • Maplewood NJ
  • New Providence NJ
  • South Orange NJ
  • Berkeley Heights NJ
  • etc get the idea.

It amounts to a lot of little towns that she must maintain a web presence in. So let’s consider the following channels: Pay per Click, Google Local, and Organic Search engine marketing.

Ok, pay per click marketing is fairly straightforward. This is a simple process of creating Landing Pages for EACH of the target cities and driving traffic directly to them as opposed to the homepage (a pretty common mistake for small businesses). You want people who are looking for homes in South Orange to actually go TO a page with homes from that specific area. Sometimes that means breaking out niches like First Time Home Buyers, or Condos or other non geographic terms. Then you need to drive PPC traffic to them with SPECIFIC ads that are designed for that geography or niche.

Next is Google Local. This is MUCH tougher. Remember that Sue’s office is located in Short Hills NJ. This means that for Google local THAT is where we need to focus. By using and other such tools, we can get her Name Address and Phone number all pointing to Short Hills. We can also get that profile associated with Makes sense right?

In our next post we will discuss Organic search and how to target multiple cities. (Hint: it is actually done all of the time and it is getting easier than before.).