Friday, December 30, 2011

Some Key Benefits of Google+ for Businesses

In today's ever-competitive online ecosphere, the battle over rankings and social media platforms continues to grow. First there was MySpace and LinkedIn. Soon after, Facebook and Twitter sprung up. YouTube and Tumblr continued to grow. And now, Google+, the fastest growing social network in online history, is clearly making its presence felt in search engine results.

The +1 Button

Perhaps you've seen the little +1 button popping up everywhere? But you're not sure what it is? Similar to the Facebook 'like' button, the Google '+1' button can be featured on your website, your blog, your video or any anything else you want to promote. When users click '+1,' your rating goes up and user interest is generated.

But the key benefit of the '+1' button is that the activity is fed back into Google's search engine results. While this doesn't directly boost your search engine rankings (not immediately, anyway), the '+1' button is crucial in both increasing the click-through-rate to your site and also in improving how much your content is shared on other platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

The '+1' is been called a "stamp of approval" - and the more "stamps" your content has, the more likely it is that new users will access it. As Keith Kaplan on Mashable.com states, "when a user searches for the same phrase, the results might display the total number of +1's a link has received, which is another validation that it's a relevant link."

Why does this matter? Well, more relevancy = more traffic, more sharing and more referencing. And this, in turn, can lead to a higher SEO ranking for your business.

Google+ Circles

With the incorporation of 'Circles' in Google+, users now benefit from being able to share content with a chosen number of connections in particular circles or groups.

This means that when you post content on your Google+ page or if someone "+1's" your content or site, this will be visible to everyone in your circles (or the circles of those rating your blog or site). In this way, circles can be used to promote awareness of your business - the more people hear about your business, the more likely your traffic will increase, which in turn can impact your sales dramatically.

Search plus Your World

Google also recently launched "Search plus Your World" - a search function that personalizes a user's search results, returning content not only from the public web, but also from their Google+ connections, profiles, posts and business pages.

So, when users conduct searches using 'Search plus your World', Google+ business pages and brand pages now have a chance of ranking higher than content and pages featured on other social sites.

For those with up-to-date business pages and large circles, the differences could be phenomenal: In an ordinary search, you might see your business listed on the fifth page of results. But with a Google+ page, your business could be displayed at the top of a user's search results, if you happen to "share" some connection with the user (bear in mind, though, that the user has to have the 'Search plus Your World' function turned on).

Rand Fishkin on SEOmoz.com demonstrated the effect of this recently in his video discussion: "If I am searching for something and let's say Kenny Martin from SEOmoz [who is in my circles] has shared something on Google+ or he's +1'd it, I am likely to see that higher in my search results because Kenny is in one of my circles on Google+."

If you have a small Google+ network, this probably isn't going to affect your business much; but if you have a large network, the difference in your rankings in searches conducted by people in your circles could be huge. And while you're not taking over the Google-sphere just yet with your rankings, it's a pretty good start.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How To Fastest Way to Get Quality Speaking Gigs?

Speaking to groups and organizations is an effective way to generate leads for your business. The audience gets a firsthand experience with you and your topic. When you deliver a well-crafted speech, you can inspire, educate and create a strong desire for potential clients to work with you. Plus, you can add these prospects to your contact and ezine list (with their permission).

What my clients often ask me for is the most efficient way to contact meeting planners and program directors to get these speaking opportunities. While you can make a call or mail packages with your speaking topics and credentials, I don't recommend this. Many meeting planners and program directors are overwhelmed with the amount of contacts that reach them in this manner.

Instead, I have found email to be the most efficient method to find speaking gigs. All it takes to start is a very brief email with one simple question, "Do you accept outside speakers?" My signature talk is called ____. If so, please let me know."

The person you contacted might answer in four to five different ways:
1. "No, we don't accept outside speakers" No follow up is needed here.
2. "Yes, we accept outside speakers, but we don't pay."
3. "Yes, we accept outside speakers; tell me more."
4. "Yes, we accept outside speakers; what are your fees?"
5. "Yes, we accept outside speakers, but we are booked until next xear."

By asking contacts this one simple question, you make It very easy for them to answer and begin a conversation. This is so much better than adding to their overwhelming list of correspondence and not hearing back from them. With your email, they don't have to return your call or write a letter. They just hit reply and your single email question is handled.

What you'll find with this formula is that you book speaking gigs very quickly with just two to three emails back and forth. Or someone will respond that she is interested and wants to speak on the phone. They might request your bio or other additional information and then you are good to go. Personally, I have found this method to be miraculous. It works really well.

Your Client Attraction Assignment

If you are looking for quality speaking gigs as a way to generate business leads, set aside time in your calendar to do some research. You are looking for program directors and meeting planners and their contact information. Create a list of people to contact. One you decide on your signature talk, then you can try the email script above and start booking the speaking jobs you want.

The lesson here is, it's time to get over the hurdle and do what it takes to get to the next level.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Advice on Brochure Printing for Newbies

Brochure printing for newbies isn't very difficult. You can still obtain great results, but there are a few things you have to know. Each phase of the brochure printing process follows some specific rules for the brochures to look appealing and professional.

General Guidelines for the Design Phase

The first rule on brochure printing for newbies is to keep the overall design simple. Include pictures that relate to your business profile, add interesting information and the unique characteristics of the products or services you are promoting. Be sure to include such relevant information on all your materials. The goal of a brochure is to make your business more visible on the market and to attract new clients. When choosing a product or service provider, clients use such criteria as the costs, the quality of the service, the durability of the products and many other standards.

Tips for the Cover

The most important basic rule on brochure printing for newbies is to add an interesting selling message on the front cover. This is the first thing that people read and approximately 80% of the people who see them only read the headline or the message on the cover. This is why it should be compelling and it should focus on your company's strong points. The logo of your company should also be the central figure of the cover. People generally remember company logos with greater ease than the name or other features. It is also important to use a theme related to your company's profile and use it throughout your entire promotion campaign.

The Importance of Using Images

The advice on brochure printing for newbies would not be complete unless you fully understand the importance of using images on your brochures. Promotion materials usually represent the identity of the business, so you should choose pictures that relate to the background of the business. This creates a connection between the market and the company. Moreover, images are the most attractive and easy-to-remember parts of the materials. In order to make your materials more professional, always select pictures instead of drawings.

Tips on Brochure Printing

When it comes to printing promotional materials, you have two options: you can either print them yourself or hire a professional printing service. Independent of what you choose, you should consider applying print bleed. Print bleed provides insurance that the results will meet your quality standards. The first step of the process is to print the brochures in sheets. Afterwards, they are cut into individual units using a precise blade. Due to the fact that a single cut is used for hundreds of materials, it can fluctuate. If you expand the design over the established borders you will still benefit from quality results, even if the cutting machine fluctuates because the ink coverage will be from one edge to the other. Value this advice on brochure printing for newbies to ensure that the photos and the text will be properly shown on each individual piece.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How To Successful Lead Generation Matters for Business?

Generating leads is really worth for business and provides persistent income opportunities that keep the sales force intact or may be higher and cause more closings and income. I will ask you some question and if you can't answer but there are certain questions that you can definitely answer, like If you can not answer the question "which came first the chicken or the egg?" Easily, you should be able to answer, "which comes first in the sale or the head? " Without leads there is no purchase, and without revenue there is no company. Research like that, it is challenging to overstate the value of making revenue to the achievements of your company without probe banal, but what can you do about it? It is a proven reality that the key to developing your company from leads, leads and revenue come from the technology of the work plan. Your each and every point matters and can make positive effect on your business. In the sense the leads plays an important role.

I believe that some of the improvements are necessary for successful revenue and sales generation, Here are some points that should be keep in mind,

Always look for better resources "What and Why" you are looking for,

After what you are looking for just know from "Where" you can achieve the target market for those resources,

Ask in the "Right Direction" for right information like name, addresses and phones and e-mails and how your product worth.

"Offer" something of value to the probability in return for their details and time. It also allows you to develop a connection with leads, which creates them more likely to pay attention to your guidance on the part.

Finally "Keep Eye on Result and Variations". Regularly evaluate your outcomes, make improvements, try again, then do it again. No issue how excellent you get, there's always area for enhancement.

After completion of those points and revenue generation it will let you on the way to boost your sales and profits on next encampment, As many organizations get the appropriate revenue resulting from business and it is the key to its achievements.

Consider some points that are essential for successful Sales Lead Generation by your own transaction.

    Mailing

- Email is a good way to get in touch globally and locally with possibilities to make revenue and sales. Using an easy mail, it could be included into the revenue purchase. New techniques are costly, so first your strategy should be to target to old clients for more business.

    Internet

- Got your web site? Online prospecting is the quickest, most affordable and most efficient way to get more clients. E-mail will be sent without any cost, you can use it to generate and offer current clients and also use it to make dales as well.

    Competitions

- Why not to work to get guests to your web page competitions or in action. This technique is a good way to make as an outcome of your organization. Simply provide the reward in return for their information and make sure that they have to sign up to check out your website or business.

    Trade Fairs and Exhibitions

- This is one and the most important one. Very few organizations actually do this, but it is the best way to increase display or display. For generating the leads effectively it must be to held the competitions and catch as much information as possible and then follow the sales lead after the display.

    About

- All you need to do is just sit down, be patient and with calm mind create a content of the organization and publish it to good number of article submission sites online. Getting visitors to your website and provided that you have the information catch web page, you can preserve the new prospects.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Referral Marketing Strategies You Need To Know

Contrarily to what most people believe, it is possible to grow a business with minimal advertising. How can this be done? Well, simply by having a powerful referral system. It is a very good system especially when a business is young and new. Here are some tips...

Create a system that gives complimentary services in exchange of referral.

That means everyone who refers a client needs to be paid either by way of discounted or upgrades. The key to decide what incentive to give depends on the life time value of a new customer to be acquired. If someone refers another to a hotel that charges $3000 per night, he can't get the same reward has one who refers another to a hotel that charges $300. In addition some referrals will give repeat business. Take motors repairs. Several times a year a car needs servicing, oil change wheel balancing and other minor repairs. Clearly as long as this person has this car, this is repeat business for years to come. So look at the business that you will get and give an incentive commensurate to this business.

Always thank referral sources.

A simple phone call or a thank you note to the person who referred business to you can lead to even more business from the same person. That means it is important to find out the sources of every business that comes your way. You need to measure every aspect of your business. It is perhaps the only way you can know how much business is coming from referrals. And who among your current clients is referring the most.

Educate your current clients.

It is very crucial that you current clients know all the services you offer. Too often providers assume that their clients know all they do. However, you need to make effort to share all the knowledge while at the same time asking for referrals.

Refer people to other business.

Get to know what your clients do and whenever you get an opportunity, refer other clients to them. It will certainly be appreciated and will cement the relationship.

Provide value continuously and consistently.

This is quite obvious however; it is difficult to get referrals if you provide mediocre services. That means you should never cut corners, compromise on quality. It is better to make a loss on one transaction instead of making a profit at the expense of quality. It is a difficult position to enforce but is probably the only thing that make you stand out.

Have clearly defined services; under promise over deliver.

You need to have clear standards that your customers are aware of. Let them know the time frames, quality expected, service levels for answering correspondence. For instance, if you promise to answers emails within 24 hours, go ahead do it within 12 hours or less. This is going beyond your state standards. In addition, perhaps you promised a report within 7 days and you went ahead and delivered within 5 days- that is going beyond keeping your word. Similarly you can over deliver by giving 10% 30% extra services at the same cost, and make sure you bring this to the attention of your customers. They need to know that though they requested and paid for text messages consultancy, you have given them an extra report of using short codes that would normally be charged at $500 as an incentive for them to do business with you.

Join associations and strategies alliances.

Getting into some formal affiliations with people who provide complementary services can get you off the ground far quicker than you would expect. You get to be introduced to a client base that already has trust on the services provider. And chances are you will get the same trust. Web designers may already have a client base and as an SMS expert you can bet those clients your need help.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How Choosing the Best for Your Business?

If you run a business, the chances are that your printed materials are an important part of your advertising and marketing strategy. Whether it's a business card that you leave with a prospective client or flyers for distribution over a wider area, the design and quality of your printed materials are paramount in presenting your business as professional, polished and attractive to potential customers.

Choosing the best printing service for your business can be a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. With so many printing companies claiming to offer the best quality and services, and throwing in added incentives such as free delivery and a super-fast turnaround, how can you be sure that the company you select is really going to deliver?

What do you need?
In addition to deciding which promotional materials you'd like to have printed (business cards, letter heads, flyers etc) you'll need to think about the design and quality of your items. If you already have a design for your printed business materials then you're likely to be looking for a company who simply offer printing services. If, however, you need help with your logo design and are perhaps looking for professional input regarding your company branding as a whole, you'll need to find a company offering graphic design in addition to printing services.

The Finer Details
Without getting too technical, printers categorise printing paper in gsm - grammes per square metre. Technically, you can print any item onto any weight of paper, however this would not be advisable! Printing your business cards, for example, onto a low gsm paper will produce something rather insubstantial and fail to communicate the high quality, professional image with which you wish your company to be associated.

Neither would you wish to print a large poster onto high gsm paper; not only would it be impractical, it would also cost a lot more in delivery than would be desirable. If you're unsure as to the best type of paper for your business stationery, business cards, flyers of posters, a good printer will be able to advise you accordingly - don't be afraid to ask.

The quality of your final product is clearly very important and it's a good idea to ask your prospective printer for recent examples of their work. If you're fortunate enough to know a little about printing, you'll be in a good position to ask more insightful questions about specific printing processes, resolution etc, however few people are! The quickest and most reliable way to establish the quality you can expect from your printer is to inspect a range of their work and to ask yourself the simple question, would I be proud to give this to a potential customer? It's also a good idea to visit the printer's website and read their testimonials. If other customers have been happy enough with their work to go to the effort of putting it into writing, the chances are you will be too.

The pre-printing process is vital in ensuring that end up with a finished product that you're delighted with and it's important to find out how any prospective printer will deal with revisions to your design. Good customer service means that your printer should revise your design until you're completely happy with it. If you're going to be financially penalised for making changes at the pre-printing stage, find another printer! It's also worth asking whether your printing costs will be discounted if you use the company's design service.

The People Behind the Printing
A Stradivarius violin in the hands of a musical novice will not sound any better than a cheap second-hand fiddle bought from the local market. Similarly, your printed materials will only live up to your expectations if those people carrying out the process have the necessary experience and expertise to do an exceptional job. It's easy to be seduced by printing companies claiming to be using the latest digital printing equipment and of course, this should be taken into consideration. It's arguably even more important, however, to consider the people behind the printing! Don't be afraid to ask questions about their experience and customer service policies and to inspect samples of their work. A reputable printer will be more than happy to share this information with you.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Different Methods of Lead Generation

Success is possible in the United Kingdom, as long as the proper business tools are used. Among the things that many entrepreneurs can take advantage of is through the use of sales lead generation services. Indeed, the use of quality sales leads can be the best means for a company to get a better picture of the market they are working in, not to mention that this can help them identify new business opportunities. What counts here are the various methods employed in generating good sales leads. Knowing what these are can greatly help your firm choose the right medium for you.

Now, what are these methods?

First in the list is telemarketing, which is also known as cold calling. Even though a lot of people are not happy with cold calling services and have registered to do-not-call list, the phone remains to be the most powerful tool to generate sales leads. It can perform the most direct and flexible approach in the job.

Live seminars are a good idea. They provide you the chance to advertise the latest product and services that you may want to offer. This is also a good means for you to increase your market visibility by organizing these events. In this way, more people will be aware with what you are offering. It can also help create a professional impression on your prospects about your company.

Print advertising also plays a huge role in the lead generation process. If done correctly, then it can be a very effective tool in reaching out to the most number of prospects. You can create presentable and professional print advertisements about your company and what you are capable of doing. Of course, this will all depend on just how good is the publication company you hired. Choose the wrong company, and you will end up with a greater marketing headache.

Trade shows are also a great medium. They are very effective in generating the sales leads that you will need. These events will not only attract the attention of the prospects, but these can also be venues where you can actually make a sale. The important thing here is that you make your business presentable and attractive for them. This can make all the difference between a successful sale or not. This is also a good way to generate quality sales leads for your company's marketing team to follow up.

The next method that you can use is a business referral system. This is possible if you can provide your clients with good services. If your clients are happy, then they will spread the word about just how great you are. This may sound too simple, but you will not believe just how effective this can be.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Ten Tips for Running a Golf Competition on Facebook

Running a competition on your website or via Twitter or Facebook is a great way to increase your followers and generate awareness of your golf equipment or your golf course. But there are some rules that you need to follow.

The following are our top tips for running a competition on Facebook

1. Follow the rules of Facebook.

As you can imagine, there are literally thousands of competitions on Facebook at any one time. In the past Facebook required you to get their permission to run a competition, now they just ask that you follow their rules.

2. Don't use the 'Like' button

DO NOT run a competition by asking the entrant to 'Like' a post or a picture, OR a page, OR checking in to a location. But you can ask someone to 'Like' your page to access the competition, this is where you would use a 'Like gate' and most third party apps will enable that for you.

3. Stay legal

Make sure your competition is legal in the country in which it operates. If the competition runs across political borders (different countries) then you need to make sure that all the relevant laws are followed. You can limit a competition to a specific country, but you need to make this clear in your terms and conditions.

4. Get the mechanics right

YOU MUST run your competition through a third party app, our software tools are designed for the golf industry and based on the social media app platform called Pheme from 650hours.com, Facebook will not allow you to use the native mechanics of Facebook to run and manage a competition. What this means is that you cannot post an entry on to your wall announcing a competition and then have your fans posting their entry in response. A classic example of this is the current Facebook competition from Gary Player - Gary is generously donating some tee slots at an event he is hosting around the time of the US Masters. A great competition but it's being run the wrong way!

5. Be creative in your choice of prizes

For example, don't just offer an iPad in exchange for Likes. The current competition run by Mizuno and Luke Donald is a great example. The winner gets to play a hole at Bearwood Lakes in Berkshire, England (that's important as they do not cover travel costs) with Luke Donald and take home a custom fit set of clubs. That is a prize that money cannot buy and it requires the winner to be able to play golf. So they should get loads of entrants and pre-qualified data from golfers, and not just entries from people who like to enter competitions as a hobby!

6. Plan and measure your ROI

Whatever marketing activity that you run, you need to make make sure that it was all worthwhile. Let's face it, in this economy we need to make sure that every penny counts, and before you embark on your competition you need to plan what you will do with all these new Facebook fans and their contact data. Can you measure the value they will bring to your business against the cost of running the competition and the prizes? For example, remember that driver that I won from GolfMagic.com? Well, it was a £249 prize and they had just 28 entrants and I have received no follow up marketing from either GolfMagic.com or the sponsor John Letters - so it's quite difficult to see what they were trying to achieve. On the other hand, the Mizuno competition looks like it has gathered data from over 17,000 golfers which is a very good ROI (even if they are just trying to raise awareness) for what amounts to about 2 hours of Luke Donald's time and three sets of clubs. If you are golf club running a competition you might for example offer a prize of a team in the annual pro-am. But what about all the people who didn't win? How about sending them a follow up email with a voucher for a discounted four ball valid for a certain period of time? Or get your club pro involved and help generate some business for them with an offer related to a course of lessons? Either way, these are measurable activities and will help you to determine if it was worthwhile or not.

7. Keep it simple and keep it accurate

The chances are that any competition that you run will require the participant to answer a simple question or two. If this is the case, make sure that it is possible to discover the answer without too much work. You also need to make sure that the question is accurate. Consider three recent examples: (i) I recently saw a competition on Facebook for an iPad!, that required the participant to identify three pictures from their business page wall. I'm a naturally curious individual so I decided to have a go - 45 minutes later I had managed to complete the task, but I wonder how many people started then gave up out of boredom or simple time restraints? (ii) The Gary Player competition mentioned earlier asks a question relating to the golf clubs that he used in 1965 to win the US Open. Well, the answer can be found on his website, well, actually it can't. His website refers to the golf shafts that he used, but makes no mention of the club heads. So we have half an answer. The competition also fails to make clear if this weeks question is the only one we need to answer, or if we have to answer next weeks as well, or maybe next weeks question relates to a second prize? See what I mean about accuracy and simplicity? (iii) The Luke Donald competition requires you to watch a YouTube video to determine his 'swing dna' - now, in the video you can quite clearly hear Luke Donald and Chris Voshall of Mizuno state that his swing dna is '92 4 3 5 5′ and yet this is not an option in the competition. Now this might just be a typo on the multiple choice form, but what effect does this have on the legality of the competition and the trust with all the entrants?

8. Default landing page

In order to boost the performance of your promotion, make sure that you make the competition app / tab the default landing page on your Facebook business page. You can set this up with a Like gate and our preferred platform, Pheme, has this as a basic option.

9. Data protection

It's important that you want to gain trust with your new fans. So make sure that you publish a data protection and data privacy policy as part of your competition. You don't need to go overboard with it, just make sure that you demonstrate that you will respect the data and ideally that you won't be selling it to the highest bidder. Of course in some countries, depending on the volume of data that you collect, you may need to have a formal process and adhere to local regulations.

10. Finally - promote it like there is no tomorrow

It's amazing how often an organisation sets up a competition and then fails to promote it (think GolfMagic.com). So if you are going to embark on this type of promotion, then use every tool possible. Send out tweets (not just the one), post it to your Facebook wall, run Facebook adverts (that's how I discovered the Mizuno competition), add it to your email newsletters and your email signature strip.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tips and Tricks in Conducting Online Focus Groups

With marketing rese`rch becoming all the rage for up and coming businesses as well as established companies that want to gain an edge on their competitors it is no surprise that people are curious as to how exactly this type of data is gathered. There are various ways that marketing research can be conducted. Selecting what kind of approach to take would depend on your target market, what kind of shopper insights you want to collect and how much time you are willing to invest in marketing research.

In-depth interviews are the perfect approach when you want to truly grasp your shopper's insights. This is a one on one interview between the respondent and the interviewer. A few tips on how to collect the most relevant information would be to identify what business concerns you would like to resolve and to prepare the proper questions that would be most helpful in creating a resolution. Preparation is key when conducting these in-depth interviews. Because one on one interviews consume more time than other marketing research services it is crucial that you ask all the right questions. It would be a shame for an interviewer to invest time conducting an interview ill-equipped with the questions you required to further the success of your business.

Another marketing research technique that has proven to collect accurate data is online focus groups. Online focus groups consist of a website wherein a moderator, a number of respondents and observers can exchange thoughts, concerns and answer questions. It would be advisable to select a moderator that is specialized in conducting marketing research because he or she will be the one that creates a sort of discussion guide, which will be the topic in the focus group. Having a user-friendly online focus group is also a plus. If the manner in which the focus group is conducted is too profound, some respondents may be intimidated, resulting in a counterproductive group.

Recruitment of respondents is also a very important aspect of conducting any type of marketing research. You may have the right moderator and interviewer, but if you recruit respondents outside of your target market the information that will be collected will be invalid. If you are conducting more than one focus group, it would be helpful to be given some type of summary of what was accomplished. This allows you to process a small amount of information at a time, which lessens the chances of overlooking something important.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

How Choosing the Right Graphic Designer?

Choosing a good graphic designer is extremely important in the development of your brand. There are dozens of graphic designers around and everyone you know will recommend someone.

When desk top publishing became popular, suddenly everyone was selling themselves as a graphic designer. Make sure to work with a designer who has had formal graphic design training at a reputable institution.

Spending some time to choose the right person will really pay off in the end. Look for a designer who has done work in your area of focus. If you are marketing a food product, make sure to choose a designer who has packaging, and in particular, food packaging experience. Packaging food is quite different from packaging electronic equipment! Most designers will gladly send you their portfolio for your review.

I recommend starting with three designers and narrowing it down to one. Make sure to have a conversation with each designer to see if you feel aligned to work with them from a personal chemistry standpoint.

How to find a graphic designer?

Start with your network and ask friends or colleagues who have done a great job on their brand. Look for design that you like and find out who did it. That's how I found my designer, Megan Hunt.

Every major city has a graphic design association you can call for recommendations. AIGA ( www.aiga.org ) was founded in 1914 and is the oldest and largest professional membership organization in the United States for graphic design. It has a chapter in every state. In Canada, you can contact the GDC, Society of Graphic Designers of Canada ( www.gdc.net ) for recommendations.

If you are tight on budget, go to a local art college and find out who their top graphic design students are.

Pricing design work

Before you speak to a designer for the first time, send them your brand summary. Make sure you are very clear on what you need, your timing, and your budget.

If you don't feel comfortable telling them your budget, make sure you have a number in your mind of what you are prepared to spend on design. Don't waste their time, asking for a proposal before you know if they are in your ballpark. Ask for a verbal price range to make sure they're in your ballpark. Once you know you are somewhat aligned with pricing, you can ask them to spell out the scope of the project, the deliverables, schedule and budget. I strongly advise that you do not make your decision based on price alone!