Creative Industry Related Information for Graphic Designers & Web Designers!

6 Print Marketing Ideas to Promote Your Small Business

Posted: July 1st, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Articles | No Comments »

Nowadays, when digital marketing is a must, you shouldn’t neglect the power and effectiveness of more traditional marketing tactics.

Print marketing is one of them, and it’s still highly relevant.

If you’re wondering how this kind of promotion can help you grow your business, it’s worth mentioning that 56% of customers believe that print marketing is the most trustworthy type of marketing.

While online ads and email marketing are great strategies which will definitely help you stay on your prospects’ radar, print marketing has another quality which will improve your brand awareness and make it more memorable in the eyes of your audience – it’s tangible.

Unlike online promotional materials which are in a way ephemeral and available only on mobile and computer screens, print media items stick around homes and offices for days or even months, thus having a longer impact.

Here are a couple of print marketing ideas that you can leverage.

1. Business Cards

Despite the fact that people have their smartphones with them at all times, and that they can easily memorize phone numbers or start following businesses on social media, business cards will never go out of fashion.

They’re excellent for traditional, person-to-person networking.

You can hand them out at expos, trade shows, meetups, or any other industry event you attend. You can also leave them on the counter in your store or give a bunch to your friends and family so that they can promote your business within their networks.

Business cards help you establish both a mental and visual link with your prospects. Given that these wallet-sized pieces of paper give you a chance to make a great first impression, it’s crucial to make sure to opt for a quality, visually appealing design which will present your business in the best possible light.

Remember that 72% of people will judge your company based on the quality of your business cards.

2. Postcards

Postcards are a pretty convenient medium for conveying your promotional message.  They can be read without opening and turning pages, so that you can be almost absolutely sure that your prospects will at least have a glance at them even if they decide to throw them away.

Again, aesthetics play an important role, which means your postcards have to be eye-catching and printed on high-quality materials if you want them to stand out from all the other direct mail your prospects receive.

You can score additional brownie points if you decide to send birthday and holiday postcards to your customers, as this practice is a great way to build an emotional bond with them.

3. Branded Merchandise

People love freebies especially if they’re functional and attractive.

That’s what makes pens, thumb drives, phone chargers, or tote bags with your logo on them great for marketing purposes. Your customers will be happy to use them every day, which means your brand becomes a part of their daily routine.

This is a great example of subtle and nonintrusive brand repetition – your customers promote your brand simply by using the pen you gave them, and by circulating around this small item reaches a lot of people and spreads brand awareness.

Similarly, you can use digital printing to customize your branded T-shirts and turn your customers into your walking advertisements.

4. Flags, Signs, and Banners

All brick-and-mortar stores need proper signage.

This means that your business will greatly benefit from custom flags, signs, and banners that you can put both in your store as well as in front of it.

It’s equally important to take advantage of these promotional materials to distinguish your company from your competitors at different trade fairs.

As these events tend to be crowded, it can be hard to stand out.

Printed banners are an essential element of any successful trade show marketing strategy, which is why you need to include them in your trade show kit.

A well-designed display will turn heads and attract visitors to your booth as well as reflect the identity of your brand.

5. Stickers

Although seemingly obsolete, this old school marketing tactic has great potential for promoting your small business.

If you look around, you’ll actually see a lot of stickers on car bumpers, laptops, windows, phones, and any other place you can think of.

Politicians have been using them for decades to promote themselves and attract supporters.

Popular brands, such as Apple, give away branded stickers with every item they sell.

The best part is that this tactic is very affordable, cost-effective, and sticky – these promotional items generate long-term brand exposure.

Besides, you can use stickers as part of a guerrilla marketing campaign and place them on signs, poles, bus stops, and other public spaces – this is a strategy that helped Alexis Ohanian, Reddit co-founder, promote the social news aggregation website on a budget.

According to him, the company only spent $500 on marketing, and a big portion of that money was used on stickers.

6.  Catalogs

You probably wonder why we are suggesting physical catalogs in the age of Amazon and digital promotions.

Just like business cards, these colorful booklets are still here and they won’t go away soon, because they deliver a unique, rich, and most importantly, tactile customer experience. There’s something irresistible about flipping through glossy, crisp pages of the latest product catalog from your favorite store.

For example, IKEA is still big on the idea of print catalogs – more than 210 million copies are delivered to their prospects in 44 different countries. And this strategy apparently works, as the Swedish furniture giant invests in this strategy despite the fact that the online version is available too.

To make the most of your investment in this strategy, combine it with customer data and target customers who are likely to spend more. Another reason for the persistent success of catalogs is that they offer a more intimate customer experience. 

These traditional print marketing ideas can help you cut through the noise more easily and outperform your competitors who rely mainly on digital strategies. By combining online and physical marketing, you can expand your reach and make sure that your message is properly conveyed and heard by every segment of your audience. Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.


Designer Challenges Himself To Create A Typographic Logo Every Day For A Year, And They’re Pretty Cool

Posted: April 21st, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Articles | No Comments »

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These people aren’t real. Can you tell?

Posted: April 21st, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Articles | No Comments »

The image above looks like a collage of photographs, but in fact, it’s been generated by an artificial intelligence. And as real as they may look, the people in the image aren’t actual humans. 

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What Firing A Comedian For Old Jokes Is Like

Posted: April 21st, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Articles | No Comments »

Graphic Design Memes

Posted: April 21st, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Articles | No Comments »

This will make you laugh, cry and just hate your clients!

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Stock images – do you want cheese with that?

Posted: April 21st, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Articles | No Comments »

The quality of stock images just sucks more and more and more and more!!!!!

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How to boost your online store to the top: 5 methods

Posted: June 4th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Articles, Business, Design | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Venturing into the world of e-commerce? If you’re looking to become a driving force within your chosen market, it’s important you know how to do it. With so many people fighting to claim the top spot, these five tried and tested tips will ensure you’re ahead of the pack and growing exponentially and continuously, ensuring success for the future.

Have a good level of customer service

One of the best ways to attract new customers whilst keeping existing ones around is by ensuring you upkeep a great level of customer service. It’s the most important part of any business – if you’re offering constant communication and customer service, you’ll be ensuring you build those valuable consumer relationships which will keep your business thriving.

Ensure you have an easy, straightforward way for customers to get in touch in regard to products and services they may have queries about. A phone call is regularly said to be the most effective form of communication, building trust and relationships between businesses and customers – but an email is a good choice if a phone line isn’t feasible. So long as you’re able to communicate clearly with customers and establish yourselves as a reliable company, you’ll keep people coming back.

Ensure you’ve got the right hosting

First things first – you need to make sure you’re choosing the right level of hosting to suit your future goals. Are you looking to remain relatively niche, with a limited outreach that remains consistent? Or, do you want to keep getting bigger and bigger, with no limit in sight? If you’re reading this post, it’s likely the latter.

And so, with that being said, you need to consider which hosting provider to opt for. There are plenty out there to choose from, and it all comes down to your personal desires – should you want to grow exponentially, a dedicated server may be your best bet. Although it’s more expensive than a shared server, having your very own dedicated platform reduces the risk of overloading due to increased traffic, which could end up with significant downtime upon your site and effectively making customers look elsewhere.

Design your site to look appealing

Another way to grow your site and establish yourself as a worthwhile company is by ensuring your design is forward-thinking and easy to navigate, whilst also being visually appealing. Consider the appearance of your competitors and the frontrunners in your market – although it’s good to stand alone and excel from the crowd, you need to understand just what makes your neighbours so successful.

Flat, clean designs are all the rage on the internet currently, so consider stripping it back and letting your products do the talking – you’ll be sure to reap the benefits. Minimalism is in, and combined with responsive design you’ll undoubtedly get the best results.

Also be sure to remove any elements of your design that could harm your ranking—everything from the wrong header tags to intrusive pop-ups could lead to penalisation.

Employ “niche marketing”

There’s a difference between a niche market and niche marketing, and you need to be aiming for the latter. Where a niche market will limit you in terms of potential customers, as there’s less of a demand for the products you’ll be selling, niche marketing will have a completely opposite effect.

Niche marketing basically means you’ll be finding your own space in a market that is perhaps oversaturated with the same own. Stand out from the crowd and offer something new, and you’ll attract customers who are looking for the next big thing.

Make sure your site is secure

Another way to ensure your store doesn’t suffer any setbacks is by having a sufficient level of security to protect it. Attacks such as SQL injections are common upon online stores, and with the risk of things such as sensitive information being leaked, it’s important you’re doing all you can to prevent it.

If you do suffer any security breaches or attacks, it’s likely your customers will begin to look elsewhere as a result. Be sure to prevent anything that could prove to be detrimental to your success.


4 Elements Your Website Needs so You Can Land High-Paying Clients

Posted: May 29th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Articles, Business, Design | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

There are elements that make the best websites tick.

“How do they acquire and convert high-paying clients consistently?”

“What do these websites have that we don’t?”

These are the questions those who barely get any sales out of their website often ask.

In this article, we aim to uncover some of those reasons.

Surprisingly, some of them are easily overlooked and are just considered normal elements of a website when in fact they can be the difference between a successful sale and lost one.

The Basics

Before we talk about the elements, we must make sure that the basics are in place. By basics, we mean good on-page search engine optimization (SEO).

To name a few, good-on page SEO consists of good site architecture, a good keyword strategy, and a better than normal website loading speed.

Out of the three, a lot have hiccups on the site speed factor, especially on mobile. According to Google, the benchmark for website loading speed on mobile is three seconds.

If your website takes longer than three seconds to load, you might want to consider optimizing your loading speed.

Using a CDN can help speed up the delivery of your webpage content to your users.

You can also minify your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript codes.

Good on-page SEO equals a usable and reliable website for your visitors to use. A usable and reliable website is the foundation that goes hand-in-hand with the elements below.

1. Social Proof

Robert Cialdini, the author of the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, said that when people are uncertain, they tend to look at the actions and behaviors of others to determine their own.

We are more complacent to purchase something if it is used or endorsed by an influencer or accepted by society.

In a nutshell, social proof is something like this – “others say that this brand is awesome, so… this brand must be awesome”.

Think about it. We would be compelled to buy something from Amazon if it is rated five stars and has a lot of positive reviews.

There are different kinds of social proof depending on your industry and website. Moreover, some are more applicable for Business-to-Consumer (B2C) companies while some are leaning towards Business-to-Business (B2B) ones.

For those in the B2C space, social proof you can use on your website can be social media in the form of Facebook posts or tweets from customers.

On the other hand, B2B companies can leverage on testimonials from past and current clients to persuade future ones.

(Zoho, a CRM platform shows testimonials from brands that use their platform.)

Showcasing your client’s logos or media publications where you are mentioned in on your homepage is another good social proof for B2Bs. These are also known as trust icons.

(Salesforce, another CRM platform, showcases the brands that use their platform.)

2. Blog Platform

A blog can help build your brand’s thought leadership and expertise in the industry by providing relevant, informative, and useful content to your customers or clients.

When we see a brand publish noteworthy content on their blog, we consider them authoritative and competent on what they’re doing.

The content you publish in blogs helps nurture your customers as they go through the customer journey.

For example, you can publish blog posts aimed at generating awareness for your product or service.

On the other hand, you can also craft content that aims to remove doubt and last-minute questions to help your customers reach a purchasing decision.

Other than building thought leadership and lead nurturing, a blog is also a useful repository where you can store content that can help your website get found easier with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

3. Consistent Call-to-action

The best websites are designed to have one end-goal or conversion in mind. Those conversions can be a sale or a sign-up on a lead generation form. These conversions depend on your industry, website, and whether you’re B2B or B2C.

For example, if you are a B2B website, your conversion can be a lead. Of course, the occasional inquiries that directly lead to a sale is good. But most of these big-ticket clients needs some nurturing before they buy.

If your aim is to generate leads, your website’s call-to-action and the copy must be consistent all throughout. Every page must be designed to lead to that end-goal.

(Ahrefs, a tool for marketers, communicates one call-to-action on their homepage.)

Some websites forget about these end-goals and add other call-to-actions or generate copy that makes the visitor ask “what do you want me to do?” or “where do you want me to click?”.

Or even worse, some websites even forget to add a call-to-action that often leads to a visitor leaving with no meaningful interactions with the website.

4. Lead Generation Mechanism

If a visitor lands on your website, lucky you! He or she chose your website instead of the countless others. But the challenge now is how to transform the visitor from a visitor to a paying consumer or client.

Not all visitors will convert on the spot, and this applies to both B2C and B2B companies. That’s a reality we all have to accept.

The visitor is interested in your product or service but there are a lot of factors that can influence his or her purchase like lack of money or lack of time to make the purchase itself.

You don’t want that interest to die down now that he or she is aware of your product or service, don’t you? Remember, awareness is hard to come by nowadays.

A useful element to add to a website that helps keep leads interested are lead generation forms. These forms are where visitors can opt-in in exchange for something of value like an ebook or a free trial of a software.

(FreshBooks provides a lead gen form where visitors can opt-in in exchange for a free trial.)

A lead generation form typically subscribes the visitor to an email newsletter. Email newsletters help your visitors navigate through the consumer journey by sending our targeted and well-timed emails depending on where they are on the journey.

For B2B companies, programmed emails help prospective clients learn more about the product or service on the awareness phase. This also helps them keep interested in the product or service.

On the flip side, sending an email that encourages your clients to renew a trial or consult with you if you are offering a service is effective in the consideration phase.

Conclusion

The four elements, when done and integrated right, can be powerful tools to increase and retain your customers and client base.

Found this article helpful? Help others learn more about these four elements by sharing this article.


B2B Digital Marketing: What New Trends Can We Expect?

Posted: March 2nd, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Articles, Business | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

B2B

B2B digital marketing isn’t easy. Marketers are expected to be fully in sync with the sales team to understand both branding and performance, stick to a comprehensive data-driven approach, as well as run reliable tests using a range of tools and technologies. Still, the B2B digital marketing space is a lot more exciting today than ever before.

With the rise of technology, there are even more possibilities for engagements between B2B businesses and their potential prospects. Therefore, the best way to prepare is to anticipate upcoming trends and incorporate them into new, more effective strategies.

Awareness of the latest trends means that B2B businesses can embrace changes early, stay ahead of the competition and reap the attached benefits. Here are some of the new trends we can expect in B2B digital marketing.

Account-Based Marketing and Sales Strategies

For the past few years, Account-Based Marketing (ABM) has generated a lot of interest in B2B marketing, growing steadily all the while. Studies show that the value of ABM is recognised by 92% of firms as a ‘must have’ in B2B marketing. ABM represents a more effective way to generate new business, instead of relying only on ‘inbound’ methods of lead generation. This is especially true for B2B companies with lengthy, complex cycles that often involve different transactions and stakeholders that are generally high-value in nature.

Account-Based Marketing requires a close collaboration and alignment with business development, but companies are also beginning to see the importance of a transfer to an account-centric model for marketing and sales purposes.

Marketing Automation

As a consequence of the simplicity and affordability of the web/cloud based marketing automation platforms, the B2B industry is seeing a fast-paced growth in the adoption of marketing automation. It’s therefore the perfect time to understand customer needs, break down and classify the customer database, and prepare need-based or seasonal email marketing campaigns.

Such campaigns target a highly customised audience and use trigger-behaviour-based emails / drip email marketing methods. To achieve a seamless outcome, businesses need to integrate email marketing with their content marketing strategy.

The full potential of marketing automation systems (to create comprehensive customer engagement throughout the purchase process) is yet to be realised. Still, more businesses can be expected to adopt automation, with email marketing being the easiest place to start.

LinkedIn Marketing

If your B2B business is yet to invest in LinkedIn marketing, you still have a lot to do. Social selling has grown to become a lot more than an experimental marketing strategy. It is the new standard as far as B2B sales is concerned.

Generally, social media was regarded as a better fit for B2C lead generation and marketing, with B2B marketers choosing trusted hosting companies to handle Domain Names space and other online advertising methods.

However, more B2B marketers are changing their focus to social media as a means to communicate with and educate their potential prospects. In addition, LinkedIn – once regarded as a hub hosting sketchy recruiters and hungry job applicants – is now one of the most widely recognised advertising giants for B2B marketers.

Following their 2016 acquisition by Microsoft, LinkedIn has released a number of features, all working towards cementing the site as the most cost-effective and efficient platform companies can use to reach a B2B audience. Now, targeting for ads using this network are incomparable for reaching specific subsectors of potential customers in a range of industries and job roles. Therefore, just as in the previous years, the platform can be expected to outshine other social channels for B2B businesses.

We can therefore expect to see an increase in the use of LinkedIn’s social lead generation forms – InMail Analytics. This is one of the recently released features that works to improve the performance of your entire team, and help attract greater response. B2B marketers are making use of LinkedIn to make more data-driven decisions than ever before, and this trend is expected to continue in the future.

Improved Thought Leadership

Well-written content will always have a place online – despite the rise of video and other types of media content. B2B content marketing therefore needs more focus placed on genuine thought leadership, instead of concentrating solely on sales and self-promotion. There is an important role which thought leadership generated content (with valuable insight) plays throughout the buying process.

Such content follows the buyer from awareness of the product to consideration and then selection. We can expect content marketing to return to its original form, where the main aim was to create and share relevant, valuable and consistent content to attract and hold on to a specific audience. We can also expect an increasing demand for thought leaders creating their own content on LinkedIn and other social networks.

The new trend in B2B digital marketing calls for content that looks to inform, educate and demonstrate the thought process and expertise of a company to a prospective buyer. Such content will be characterised by less focus on sheer quantity, and more emphasis on quality thought leadership.

How can B2B businesses take advantage of this trend to improve marketing?

More demand should be placed on business leaders’ experience to create insightful pieces that can be accessed on the network. If a network shows interest and connects with you, it’s an opportunity to further showcase your expertise, creating content that provides a window into the level of thinking your company is positioned to deliver. A more obvious benefit is that prospects will have a more personalised channel to engage with your business.

In addition, alternative content formats should also be explored. Different forms such as infographics, whitepapers, videos and whitepapers should be used appropriately across the network. Backlinks can also be created to give your intended B2B audience (researchers and decision makers) the impression that your brand’s products and/or services are everywhere.


10 web design mistakes hurting your Google search ranking

Posted: March 2nd, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Articles, SEO Marketing | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

SEO

For established websites with ample traffic and fantastic search engine rankings, the major challenge is updating site design to meet the latest algorithm without losing visitors. Google is now on a mission to rid the internet of poor content and design. Therefore, it’s essential your website displays content from the finest writers and incorporates SEO savvy designers if you want to avoid a Google penalty.

Regardless of niche, your website design should be stunning and visually appealing to online users. Google tweaks its’ algorithm on an almost daily basis, so it’s hard to keep up with SEO best practices when designing a website. Sadly, these mistakes will cost you traffic, site authority, page ranking, conversion and revenue.

Which web design mistake is affecting your site performance and ranking?

  • Poor technical SEO

The first step to conversion is attracting traffic to your website. Next, your site performance should be excellent if you want visitors to enjoy a positive user experience. This involves testing your site for mobile-friendliness, ease of navigation, page load speed and removal of all broken links. Your SEO will suffer if your site isn’t optimised for these features.

  • 404 pages and missing H1 tags

Imagine taking the time to build a sumptuous website even the best designers would be impressed with. There’s a beautiful background, user-friendly font and colour scheme. Meanwhile, the browsing is simple and it all looks great , except that it’s not showing up
on search engines.

Somehow, you’ve forgotten about H1 tags, a vital element for SEO. Google bots use the H1 tag to understand a webpage. Include this tag on your homepage and across your website if you want higher rankings. In addition to the H1 tag, add a target keyword for better clarity.

  • Using too much flash or frames on your site

Flash is attractive on a website, but not SEO friendly. Creating a homepage based on flash is a huge SEO blunder, as search engines index them poorly. When people see flash content, they can read the text within, but the only thing search engines see is a headline and nothing more.

Results from a recent poll show that 78% of respondents don’t like flash either, so why do you need to flood your site with flash ads? Chrome no longer auto-plays flash ads after finding it had a negative impact on users’ browsing experience.

  • Failing to optimise on-page elements and including important text in images

The most easily understood content for search engines is text. Videos, infographics and podcasts might gain more engagement, but when search engine spiders crawl your site, they’re looking for specific keywords in key locations.

Google’s official webmaster advises site owners to use text instead of images when displaying essential content, names or links. Google crawlers can’t identify text-in-images. This factor accounts for about 15% of Google’s Ranking algorithm. Where images are absolutely necessary, use ALT to add few words of descriptive text.

  • Infinite scroll

When incorrectly implemented, infinite scroll can hurt SEO performance.  Content keeps loading as the user scrolls to the end of the page. Set up your pagination correctly or search engines can’t crawl your web pages.

For example, you have 200 pages on your blog, which is enabled for infinite scrolling. By default, if you only display 20 recent posts, that’s all search engines bots will see. They crawl links, so there’s no way to see past the top 20 articles. Thankfully, Google’s Webmaster Blog offers a few insights for making infinite scroll pages more search-friendly.

  • Intrusive and irrelevant pop-up ads

Pop-ups aren’t indexed by search engines, nor should they be part of your web design. In fact, Chrome blocks them from appearing. Most online users also find pop-ups annoying. If one appears on the screen while you’re browsing, you’ll probably close it before reading the content. However, digital marketers say they’re great tools for increasing subscriber base and email lists.

It’s possible to display popups, increase sales and followers without hurting your SEO. Dan Zarrella and Entrepreneur.com are two successful examples. The key is to ensure the popup is relevant and unobstructed. Offer your visitor a mouth-watering offer that makes them forget the intrusion. Don’t be pushy, but always provide value to the user when displaying pop-ups. Examples include a product discount or free ebook.

  • Thin content

Your product and service pages are the most essential on your site. You’ll drive more business sales if you rank higher for keywords from your services and product pages. A few mistakes web owners make include:

  • No product or service page on their website: when you fail to include these pages, you lose the unique opportunity for organic ranking, related to your target keywords.
  • One-page listing for multiple products: as a thumb of SEO rule, only have one keyword on each page. This helps search engines properly understand the page and how to rank it. Your website becomes confusing when you pack several services or products on the same page, which causes you to lose ranking points.
  • Small text on your product/service pages: When you’ve chosen product/services pages to include on your site, create content or copies to accompany them. Descriptive content that highlights the benefits of buying the product from you helps the pages to rank higher and increases the chances of visitors shopping from your online store.

Other SEO factors that cause Google to penalise you include:

  • Keyword domains: domain names aren’t risky on their own, but using keywords in your domain name might be dangerous. If you repeatedly link to the anchor text, Google sees it as a manipulation.  To prevent this, ensure you have quality content on your site when using exact match domains. There are sites like Domain Names NZ offering services that won’t cost you SEO points.
  • Neglecting Hreflang: This is a tool designed to notify Google when you intentionally publish duplicate content for different languages.
  • Renting links
  • Overpopulating your web page with every design element you can find
  • Redesigning you site without updating SEO
  • Failing to upgrade to HTTPS

Conclusion

Your web development, design and SEO experts should work together to create an outstanding experience for the user, because that’s all Google really wants. When upgrading your site or performing a major redesign, don’t focus on deadlines, but think about how to maintain your engagement levels, traffic and site rankings.