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 As you know (maybe you don't) that it has a been part of my business model to go out to meet two new people a week and go to a networking event once a week. I do this to get my business name out there and to promote my business. I learned that it is one more asset of marketing that businesses need to do (even in good time)s.

When the US had economic troubles in 2008 I almost lost my business because I never went out to either sell or market my business. When a couple of sources dried up and I was forced to live off my credit card for three months. Bad decision, so I sucked it up and started networking with people/businesses in my community.

I found myself attending this networking event last week (FREE Small Business Event: How to Become a Social All-Star) that was put on by Frontier, at the Embassy Suites in Beaverton, OR. It was here that I got to hear from a couple of local big hitters in the social media world. Patrick Galvin (Galvin Communications), Jan Wallen (mastering LinkedIn) and Ryan Lewis (Bonfire Social Media). I even met a woman that has an automotive repair shop close to my office that was interested in talking about her business and the downtown Rotary group. This may be another post and opportunity for Molly's Fund to meet corporate sponsors.


Patrick Galvin - Chief galvanizer for Galvin Communications.

I went up and introduced myself to Patrick and asked if he would like to meet for coffee and have more conversation. He was more than happy to meet at Case Study coffee shop that is located in the Hollywood district of Portland. Finally, during his introduction at the Social Star Event he spoke on his commitment to WOM marketing. I am a heavy endorser of Andy Sernovitz's WOM campaign. He has a great newsletter called, "Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That".


Speaking of WOM… Patrick is a Connector and endorsed Case Study coffee shop that a friend of his owns (and the little bakery next door to it). It is always a treat to find someone locally that has a passion about helping other businesses through word of mouth!

Patrick owns a PR firm in town and has a handful of clients that he promotes in the traditional and social media venues. He also is a professional speaker that presents to various groups and events. 

 Bella the boxer

But what really caught my attention was that he has a dog, Bella the Boxer, that he has creatively introduced as the star of the Hollywood neighborhood (especially businesses). He speaks through Bella as a Goodwill Ambassador. It is pretty funny. It was so popular that Patrick had a written, Secrets of a Working Dog: Unleash your Potential and Create Success

I really enjoyed my conversation with Patrick and welcome him into my group of Strategic Partners. He passed on information about a local video connection and also one in the Bay Area (where I may be reaching out to because of my connections down there). We talked about our adopted children and lives outside of the business world. I will keep him in my thoughts when I see anything of interest in the Social Media world. I would recommend signing up for Patrick's blog - Buzz Builder.


Published in marketing 101
Tuesday, 27 December 2011 13:41

Interview with Idea Mensch

Idea Mensch interviewed me & my business.


I was very honored by the article and my thanks to Mario. I can't say anymore about speading your company's message to your audience.


Published in marketing 101
Tuesday, 04 October 2011 11:17

QR code tips

Better have a Smart Phone!

If you are designed any marketing piece with a QR code I recommend that you test it out before you send it out to the masses.


1. Reversing QR Code

I designed a piece where I vectorized the QR code and reversed it so that it was white on a solid color. I would also check when using on colors that have the same hue/value. Result: It doesn't work!



2. Let the user know where it takes them

Like I have in the sample above, "for more info go to our website". It is better to inform and not frustrate.

Please let me know if you have any other QR tips & tricks.


Published in marketing 101
Friday, 15 July 2011 12:50

Does your business have a Purpose?


Another one of the wonderful tips from DHX Advertising's "Marketing 101"  digital booklet.


What is your Purpose?

I think that a better word is Purpose. There is another great book that I have to share with you called, "It's Not What You Sell, It's What You Stand For". Roy tells stories about companies that will be left standing after our little recession because they are businesses that stand for something (or cause).

The majority of business people will say, "To make a million dollars!" Because that is what every company wants to do. But by having a purpose, you have something unique about yourself or business. Whether it is to help your local community, school or non-profit…the message will get spread to others in the community that will always come back to you in a positive light.


© 2011 Michael Johnson - Inkspot Graphics. All rights reserved

Published in marketing 101
Friday, 01 July 2011 05:59

Marketing Promotion for Local Printer

Mastermind Brainstorm for Local Printers

We were brainstorming marketing ideas for my business during our bi-monthly Mastermind group. One of the members, Terry said that I should come up with a marketing piece for local printers that are struggling in this new economy. I told him that I had a postcard that I designed when I was at Revere Graphics (prepress company in Portland, OR).

Now the printing company could either direct mail these to their existing mailing list or even to new markets. My client, Derek (from Lasko Printing) likes to present something to his client when making sales calls. 


While at my office, I came upon another great concept that may work better than a postcard. I bought these along time ago for creative brainstorming from Roger von Oech. This would be another great option is to have an oversized trading card size that the client could keep in a package that was branded with the Lasko logo. 

I pitched both ideas to Derek and he liked the trading card idea. Now I slowly have to build up all the card/tip designs.


Lasko Trading Card Idea

This is what I came up with. They are a little bigger than playing cards or your business card 3" x 4.5" but printed on a durable 100lb card stock. They have been varnished to keep off finger prints and protect from the wet weather. I also like the die cut rounded corners, it is very subtle but adds a little extra. Very professional!


100+ Different Tips & Tricks

I started to write a list of different subjects/tips that I could write for printers. Here are just a sampling of the subjects that I covered:

prepress techniques


social media for printers

spot vs. four color printing

software tips

direct mail

marketing tips for small businesses

photography tips

creative graphic design tips

digital printing

what to look for at a press check, etc.

It seems almost endless…I could probably write 300 of these tips, if I put my mind to it.


 © 2011 Michael Johnson - Inkspot Graphics. All rights reserved



Published in marketing 101
Thursday, 23 June 2011 08:06

Great Brainstorming Idea #1

Great Marketing Idea to Help City with Speeders

I just saw this video. It was amazingly brilliant. Why can't we come up with more contests to deliver great ideas like this?


The Speed Camera Lottery - from


"That’s a question Volkswagen recently posed in a public contest — and the winning entry was the Speed Camera Lottery, conceived by Kevin Richardson of San Francisco. Richardson’s idea, quite simply, is to build a better speed trap. Strategically placed traffic cameras will photograph all passing cars. Drivers exceeding the speed limit are sent tickets, while those obeying it are pooled into a lottery funded by the fines. Every now and then a randomly selected winner is sent a check."



Published in marketing 101
Friday, 17 June 2011 06:46

Inkspot Advertisement for Publication

Catch their eyes!



I was very happy with this ad that I created for local CEIC publication. It does a couple of things…


1. It will stop people when they are reading publication because of curiosity. Why does this cow have a funny icon on him? Now they have to read the copy.


2. It is humorous which reflects on my personality and business model. 


3. The icon (or QR code) is one of the fairly new social media technologies that will actually direct you to my website blog if you were to use a QR reader on your smart phone.


We also thought about putting a testimonial from another CEIC member but I thought that it would disrupt the clean layout. I love the white space!


Do you have any other samples of good layout that has plenty of white space?


© 2011 Michael Johnson - Inkspot Graphics. All rights reserved

Published in marketing 101
Monday, 28 March 2011 11:58

Stand out in a crowd

St. Patrick's Day Marketing.

Our crazy neighbor down the hall, Frank DeSantis, in one of his many costumes. Always gets your attention when he is in the room.



 © 2011 Michael Johnson - Inkspot Graphics. All rights reserved.


Published in marketing 101
Friday, 25 March 2011 07:01

Portland Design Agency & CEIC member

Meet DHX Advertising

I was introduced to another CEIC (Central Eastside Industrial Council) member that used to be the president/executive director (Tim Holmes). As being the curious student that I am, I naturally went to their web site and was very impressed. Very clean and direct.



Marketing 101 Booklet

They also have a wonderful booklet that is included on their site of great little marketing tips for business people. It is an easy read and great little illustrations. I will be providing snippets and my thoughts on the subject matter in my next posting.




 © 2011 Michael Johnson - Inkspot Graphics. All rights reserved.



Published in marketing 101
Monday, 21 March 2011 06:42

Mobile Marketing Conference 2011

Mobile Technology - Marketing Conference 


This one day seminar was put on by Don Elliot of Elliot Designs. I enjoyed it (and not just because it was in the Migration Brewery). I took away a lot of information on what the future holds for the marketing of the smart phone. I will be attending their next seminar. I will post it on my Inkspot Graphics LinkedIn page.


Local Professional Speakers



One of 2010's most influential women in technology and local TED Talks speaker, Amber Case will present with four tech professionals including mobile app developer Chris Skaag, SEO specialist Dan Delmain, mobile payments and marketing professionals Don Elliott and Lynn Gray, covering topics from tech history, future, strategies, methods and ways to adapt with mobile media.


Cyborg Anthropologist Amber Case, TED talks speaker, the co-creator of, writer of the upcoming book, A Dictionary of Cyborg Anthropology, and creator of, has a growing following as an anthropologist. Her fascination rests with studying the rapid growth and change in our society as the internet and mobile technology becomes more prominent. A Lewis and Clarke grad, Case worked for global advertisers Wieden + Kennedy and is recognized as one of 2010's most influential women in technology. Case resides in Portland.


Chris Skaggs is the CTO of Code-Monkeys in Newberg, OR is a ten year veteran in the creation of B2B and B2C technology solutions including two years in the mobile technology space. Code-Monkeys builds a variety of custom apps for iOS, Android, and Netbooks, as well as backup software for mobile apps. Chris has appeared as a technology consultant with Intel, Mashable, MTV, Comcast, Fandango, Mobile Portland, the SAO and Oasis Audio.


Another one of my strategic partners - owner of the SEO and Search Engine Marketing firm Umbrella Web Solutions, Dan Delmain will talk about techniques for targeting the mobile market through search engines and local maps.


Northwest Agent for Priority Payment Systems, Lynn Gray will speak on Mobile Payment Solutions. and Don Elliott, president of Elliot Design will wrap up the seminar with useful tools and strategy for marketing with popular mobile technology.

 © 2011 Michael Johnson - Inkspot Graphics. All rights reserved.

Published in marketing 101
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“I hired Mike Johnson to assist me with a branding concept for my bookkeeping business in January of 2008. His work has been impressive! He helped me develop my advertising foundation and designed several key promotional pieces. I love my new company image and would highly recommend his services for anyone seeking marketing materials. He is very knowledgeable and a friendly professional. Thanks, Mike!”

-Lisa Soto, Action Bookkeeping