I first met Avi Barak the smiling sign maker, owner of Sign Source Solution at Mark Goodfield’s The Blunt Bean Counter – Let’s Get Blunt About Your Financial Affairs book launch in Markham Ontario in late August 2015, and I snapped this photo of him after knowing the man for less than a minute.
We chatted briefly before he asked me what I did for a living. He was probably wondering where I was going to post his picture. I told him I practiced SEO and he asked me to analyze his company. I went home that night and researched the wrong company! I did a comprehensive analysis on a little known competitor of his, which made him even more eager to see the results of such an in-depth diagnosis done for his firm. So I did it all over again the next day and likely profited by knowing the landscape a little better. As I recall his company wasn’t as interesting as the little known competitor; and there weren’t as many shocking revelations to behold, but he was impressed all the same.
When the dust settled Avi engaged me to make the vehicle wrap installers at Sign Source Solution more findable on the internet. In other words he wanted his website to be listed near the top on page one of Google for ‘vehicle wrapping’ queries which we identified as the most popular search term in the niche. At that time, Sept 2015 his website was not getting much traffic for that term and the estimated Google AdWords PPC campaign costs were discouraging to say the least.
First thing I did in this campaign was put Sign Source Solution on Yelp and felt entitled to leave the first review of the business because of the cool designs they did for SMOJoe for my Toyota Echo right in front of my eyes. I uploaded three good quality low res wide angle pictures of the interior and exterior of the shop, and gave them four out of five stars because in my experience, (and you can refute this if you know better in the comments) the ‘quality score’ that determines rankings and visibility on Yelp is only partially driven by individual user reviews. Its also about the quality of the pictures of the establishment, and the percentage of completeness of the business profile. I also believe the overall competitiveness of the category raises or lowers the bar. As there are not many vehicle wrapping businesses (compared to restaurants or hair salons or dentists) its not surprising that Sign Source Solution is easy to find on Yelp today.
Sign Source Solution employs brilliant graphic designers, and I knew that if business owners could only see their work they would certainly consider engaging. I reasoned that we could get good incoming links from third party business blogs if we took the time to create compelling vehicle wrap designs for these businesses on spec. I promised Avi and his design crew that they wouldn’t have to do more than ten such free schematics..
Business blogs are perpetually hunting for interesting brand ideas they can share with readers.
First Storia PR blogged about ‘hanging your shingle on your car’ and detailed some small business marketing science as it relates to vehicle wrapping as an advertising tactic and branding tool. They were impressed with the design primarily because the open book is the core branding element, and this is their own business story motif, and they liked seeing it front and center on the side of Karen’s car.
Shannon Tebb from Shanny in the City wrote about a vehicle wrap on a mini cooper, Her blog is widely read by Toronto area singles who are people of all ages and demographics. She had no problems putting the attractive vehicle wrap design on her blog and congratulating the graphic artists at Sign Source Solution. Her headline and opening paragraphs position the freshly wrapped pink and white branded Mini Cooper as something her business could aspire to achieve.
Everyone was thrilled with entry made by Sarafino olive oil importers, who are considering a vinyl wrap for their delivery van. They are leasing a new van in 2016 and were (or maybe still are) in the process of taking bids for the wrap. Avi was asking approx $2700 for the full vehicle wrap you see below, on the condition they accept free design, and Sarafino marketing dept agreed this was a fair price for a great design. Whether they will close the deal remains to be seen, but this is a good example of how good marketing just feels natural.
Claire Matthews the owner of Yoga Truly in Grimsby knows a cool vehicle wrap could help her marketing as she expands her Yoga school business down to Port Colborne with the understanding that she would be driving thirty minutes or more in each direction every day. If you consider that highway driving can result in the wrap getting the most impressions per second, which on her route could average a hundred good solid impressions per minute, her one hour of highway travel time alone could spread her marketing message to six thousand people per day.
This is the same notion that Deb Lewis CityEvents vehicle wrap design blog post explored when she conceived of wrapping a mini cooper and leaving it beside her friend Shanny’s mini cooper at mixers they co host in the summer. Such auspicious parking would certainly garner attention for the wrap installers and Deb reckoned it would be like signing the attraction for pedestrians who may be curious about the social event they can see and hear in the distance.
Auspicious parking at the beach is what Snappy Towels has in mind for their distinctively wrapped Mitsubishi car where the designer impressed everyone by putting freshly folded towels over the car’s distinctive rear quarter panel folds. The natural bend in the metal lends texture to the towels and they appear more lifelike in this full vehicle wrap design.
Each of the bloggers above was informed that the estimated price for each of the designs is about $240 hst and in real life it would have included the following five steps (the very first of which is some consultation which they did not receive),
- Retrieve the Vehicle Template,
- The approval process – (which includes the initial layout + 2 revisions or 2 hours of design time – whichever is greater – additional small revisions or extra hour are $85).
The best part of being a sign maker is being able to get creative with designs, but the back and forth with clients as you navigate their expectations and influences can really dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for the creative process. So in this way the designer was free to spring his creative designs on the business owners without any conditions or criteria imposed that may have limited his inspirations. In that respect I hope the sheer volume of work involved in making ten spec designs for ten different companies based only on their logos and what they could glean from their websites, was mitigated by the freedom they enjoyed.
Getting the free designs really impressed the business owners most of which immediately recognized that these pictures could make good blog entries, and good Twitter and Facebook fodder for their pages, and would also put them on the Sign Source Solution Facebook Page which is growing a global audience. With that in mind most participants readily agreed to be part of the program. They complied with the directives and were in turn rewarded with more traffic to their sites as their blog posts were promoted..
Not everyone complied however, some folks rejected the designs for one reason or another and so wouldn’t blog or play ball and that’s to be expected. Of the ten spec designs that were made, we have six third party blog posts already and two more pending. I would put the response rate at approx 65%. The work done appears to have the necessary ‘social relevance’ required to vault the business webpage higher in search rankings. This is a good case study for everyone as I truly believe Sign Source Solution deserves to be found on the first page of Google for all ‘vehicle wrapping’ search terms; they are indeed one of the top ten most informative destinations on the subject. So this content marketing campaign really is a win win scenario to benefit consumers and all businesses involved.