As you can see from the leaderboard, the first round of the Officejet Pro Challenge is too close to call in this final fourth week of feedback from our five small businesses. Who do you think has delivered the most useful insight into how the HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless can help small businesses get professional quality color printing with significant cost and energy savings?
If you haven't voted, be sure to head on over and check out this week's collection of blog posts. We asked the five companies to test-drive the HP Creative Studio for Business and use the free customizable templates to make some simple marketing materials for their own business. From business cards and flyers to trifold brochures, I think you may be pleasantly surprised by what these business owners were able to create within a short amount of time using the HP Creative Studio -- and by their feedback on the quality of the printouts.
So make your opinion count and vote for your favorite posts. The winning small business will receive a prize package that includes keeping the printer, 1 year's worth of Original HP ink and paper, and a professional design package from Logoworks by HP.
If you own a small business, I think you'll be interested to hear how you can save up to 50% off color printing cost per page and save up to 50% energy, too. You're just not gonna hear about it from me.
In the HP Officejet Pro Challenge, 5 small business owners have agreed to set aside their old printers to test drive the new HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-in-One and blog about their experiences.
HP thought it would useful for small businesses to hear firsthand what other small businesses think about printing everyday documents and marketing materials using the new HP Officejet Pro 8500 in comparison with their old printer. So useful, in fact, that we're asking entrepreneurs and small business owners to vote for the feedback they like most.
The small business who receives the most votes for the best posts will get to keep the Officejet Pro 8500 printer, plus they'll receive 1 year's worth of Original HP ink and paper and a custom design package from Logoworks by HP.
Up this week: See what the businesses think about printing costs and supplies -- and vote for the best post!
As a small business owner, odds are good you keep a keen eye on expenses. You think technology has its place: It should work for you and improve your bottom line. If this sounds like you, then read on...
HP is inviting all U.S. small businesses with 20 or fewer employees to check out the HP Officejet Pro Challenge. We want five small business owners to swap out their current non-HP printer and test drive the award-winning HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-in-One for 4 weeks. We want you to learn firsthand how you can get professional quality color printing while saving up to 50% cost per page and up to 50% less energy than comparably priced laser printers.
Simply share your experience online with other small business owners via HP's Small Business Community. Members of the community will review and rate your feedback. The participant who receives the most votes for "useful" feedback will be the grand prize winner.
The grand prize winner will keep the HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-in-One and will also receive a year's worth of free HP ink cartridges and paper plus a design package from Logoworks by HP.
And I currently work for HP (which is ranked
#9 in the most recent Fortune 500
listing). So I've seen my share of marketing and brand-building efforts - both
good and bad.
Here's one marketing secret I want
to share: You don't need a dime in your marketing budget to successfully launch
and build your brand. You simply need the right resources, a bit of time, and
the commitment to learn, improve, and share.
Free DIY Marketing Resources
The adoption and acceptance of
social media is very good news for small business owners. The quality of
marketing expertise that's available via blogs, communities and online
conversations is staggering and could cost you thousands of dollars were you to
actually pay for it out of pocket (I did when I had a business). But why would you, if you can get the same
expertise for free (or at incredibly affordable rates)?
Your brand's "story" (the mission statement, logo, brochure, web site) is
often the reason customers decide to spend money with you. Start building the brand story for your
business by checking out these free resources:
- Small Business Marketing Guide:
Top small business marketing experts such as Guy Kawasaki,
Campbell of Small Business Trends, and Duct Tape Marketing's John Jantsch share their expertise,
to help you develop and evolve the compelling story of your business . (As
of this writing, the Small
Business Marketing Guide also offers free marketing webinars, too.
Webby-Award winning site offers dozens of free, professionally designed templates that you can download,
customize, and print for your business within minutes, including:
cards and Business Identity Kits
and Blog Templates
Creative Studio is also a great asset to find tools, access to discounts,
and other DIY and affordable design services (such as Logoworks
Layouts) that professional marketing
agencies use every day.
Get expert advice, get
opinions and share your expertise with world (or just your neighborhood) -
in real time. Any marketing expert worth
their salt is on Twitter, and you get their sage advice for free. Better
still, many experts will follow you back and respond to your questions.
Even better still, when you're ready to test drive your new marketing
materials, the Twitter universe is a great place to ask for feedback and
opinions. (Author and marketer Tara
Hunt asked her Twitter followers to rate the jacket design of her new
book "The Whuffie Factor", and she got hundreds of opinions plus free
designs in response.)
Use the following resources to get started and put
Twitter to work for you (I've also included links to the resources'
How to Use Twitter to
Grow Your Business (via @Copyblogger)
Ideas on using Twitter for Business (by @ChrisBrogan)
We Follow (@wefollow): This is a user-powered
Twitter directory that makes it extremely easy to find people by topic, company
or interest. (You'll find me in WeFollow's
Take the first few steps to launch
your brand - there's a world online ready and willing to help. Including me.
but I'll say it again: Whether your business is just launching or has been in
the black for years, your brand is -- or should be -- as unique as you are. Your
"story" is often the reason customers decide to spend money with you.
shared in the Small Business Marketing Guide (brought to you by HP) will help you develop the compelling and unique story
of your business -- whether that brand story is a logo, a brochure, your company
letterhead, a website, or all of these
and more. I want to help you start
sharing that story -- without breaking the bank. And it starts with three easy
- Visit the HP
Creative Studio and select a free template.
- Download the
template and customize it with your information.
- Print it,
share it, and start building your business.
It's really that easy. But I'm
betting you'll be more likely to give it a try -- and succeed -- if I show you
Follow these steps to get
customized, professionally designed letterhead and envelopes for your business in 15
minutes or less.
Then I selected the FREE "Circles" Letterhead
Template. (You can choose from more than 25 FREE
professionally designed letterhead templates by using the arrows to scroll
through the thumbnail menu.)
Then I downloaded the matching
Step 2: Customize and Save your new Marketing Materials
Tip: In Microsoft Word, I first do a "Save As" to rename the files and save
them to my notebook. (I find it's better to have a locally stored copy to edit,
tweak, and have available for future use and printing.)
Get started by selecting the text
and replacing it with your company name. I'll show you what it looks like
before and after I change the text.
Here's what it looks like after inserting my own text:
Be sure to customize the contact and address information in the footer of the page, too:
Then do the same for matching envelope by editing the placeholder text to insert your company name and address. The before and after...
Step 3: Print it, share it, and start growing your
business. (And get a 20% off coupon!)
You now have professionally
designed, customized letterhead you can print yourself. But I'd be remiss if I
didn't share one more piece of advice: If you want professional quality color
marketing materials that you can print yourself (at up to 50% less cost per
page and energy costs than laser), I highly recommend the HP
Officejet Pro 8500 and Original HP
Officejet Ink and Supplies.
Related articles from the Small Business Marketing Guide,
brought to you by HP:
From John Jantsch: Incredible,
Credible Marketing Materials
From Anita Campbell: What
Google Can Teach Us about Printed Marketing Materials
From Guy Kawasaki: The Art of Branding
From Dane Carlson: Make
your marketing market you
5 reasons Small Business Can Hit Print Affordably
Got a question or comment? I invite you to send it my way.