Save money on marketing

Thomas Jefferson was one of our most innovative presidents. On a recent tour on Monticello, I was able learn more about his constant tinkering and inventing to make his home more comfortable, save time and money, and produce more at harvest time. His home is featured on the back of the nickel. Since my clients are always interested in saving money, I thought you’d be interested in some cost saving ideas related to producing marketing materials. It might put more nickels in your pocket.

Before you embark on a marketing project, consider how you can save money by finding many purposes for your efforts. When customers are looking for ways to save money on marketing, we take action by finding multiple uses for the messages, materials and graphic images.

For example, one of my clients creates graphic email messages to go out from the association promoting members’ services. To help members with their budgets and as an added value of membership, the association shares the graphic art file through a private portal. That way, those who are part of the group can modify the eblast by adding their own logo and information. Some of the members use the text from the message and customize it to more prominently promote their own firms when sending it out to their own contact lists. This saves members the cost of writing and designing the message.

To take the project a step further, the association then turns the email into a pdf flyer that can be inserted into mailings or used as an attachment on individual emails. The flyer graphics are similar to the eblast; this cohesive look reinforces the brand. This is another cost saving measure as it does not take the designer very much time to use similar graphics on the flyer.

When you are implementing your communication tactics, you should think about ways your efforts can be repurposed for multiple uses to save money on your marketing budget. You can make very nickel count.

If you interview a client you may be able to get:

  • Testimonials to use on brochures or tradeshow displays
  • Content for a blog post
  • Information for an article in your newsletter
  • An announcement in a press release

If you take photos at an event, you can use them:

  • In social media posts
  • On your website
  • In ads or billboards

If you produce postcards, use them to:

  • Mail out to your contact list
  • Hand out at a tradeshow
  • Package in a gift basket with promotional items

Planning ahead and thinking creatively can help you get the most out of your marketing budget and leave more nickels jingling in your pocket.

Hacker Lab – It’s good for business

Sierra College has collaborated with Sacramento’s Hacker Lab to open a maker and co-working space in Rocklin, CA. The new Placer County site offers an array of tools, technology courses, start-up resources and a community of people excited about collaborating, sharing their expertise and inspiring innovation.

I had the opportunity to join the community and would recommend that you check it out. Whether working on one of the many tables or having a meeting, it makes a convenient off-site office. While I was working on a project, I could see others on their laptops, using the laser cutter and working in the electronics lab.

Hacker Lab is committed to education and introducing the joys of technology to the next generation. Hundreds of kids have participated in youth hack-a-thons. The children are so excited to be learning to program, solder and create with other tools. I watched a small boy stand in front of the 3D printer mesmerized for nearly half an hour. Hopefully these young people will be the future Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) workforce.

In the evening, you might see a group of people learning to use the industrial sewing machines or cutting out fabric on a huge table. Evidently one of the machines can sew through leather easily. Although I haven’t had a chance to try it myself, I am looking forward to taking a class and learning to use this equipment. The way Hacker Lab works, members take classes that include the safe operation of the equipment and then get a notation on their membership badge that allows them 24/7 access to a specific lab.

The Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) secured equipment for Hacker Lab that includes 3D printers for rapid prototyping, the laser cutter and CNC router. The entrepreneurial maker community is attractive to local companies, according to Carol Pepper-Kittredge, CACT Director, Sierra College. “Businesses are making prototypes, entrepreneurs are building their businesses and community members are gaining new skills,” said Pepper-Kittredge. “Businesses can suggest meet-ups and offer to teach classes. Hacker Lab powered by Sierra College is also a great place to connect and arrange internships.” Interested employers can contact Carol Pepper-Kittredge at (916) 660-7801 or cpepper-kittredge(at)

Learn more about Hacker by going to the Sierra College page on the website:, watch for open houses and other Meet-ups, and check out upcoming events on the calendar –

STEM: Welding Adds Applied Math Lessons at Sierra College

Sierra College Math and Welding departments worked together on a National Science Foundation (NSF) IGNITE grant with the University of West Virginia at Parkersburg (UWVP) to infuse math into welding curriculum.

Sierra College Welding Department chair, Bill Wenzel worked with Katie Lucero, chair of the Sierra College Math Department, to develop the new applied academic curriculum. The math lessons tied directly to a student project and significantly improved students’ math skills. Carol Pepper-Kittredge, director, Sierra College Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT) facilitated the collaboration of faculty with the University of West Virginia on this NSF grant project.

See the movie showing these technical education students integrating math into welding at Placer Herald Sierra College addresses skills gap by fusing math with welding (11-29-2012).

Learn more about Sierra College STEM projects.

Tips to Start a Business Services Newsletter

If you are thinking about starting a newsletter to promote your business services, consider these tips to take marketing action:

  1. Plan on producing a quarterly newsletter. This gives you some flexibility in the dates for distribution.
  2. Focus on how your clients are using your services and benefiting.
  3. Keep it short – one or two pages.
  4. Include photos and remember to take your camera to events and client meetings.
  5. Ask your clients for testimonials to include in the articles.
  6. Use a professional designer to make it eye catching.
  7. Keep a running list of story ideas.
  8. Post your newsletter on your web site.

To see an example of a business services newsletter, look at the College of the Sequoias Training and Development Summer 2012 newsletter. This California community college produced the newsletter to promote customized employer training and business services to manufacturers through the Center for Applied Competitive Technologies.