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Ever seen an ad at a bus stop that you thought about the whole way home, deconstructing it mentally? While you might not have the budget for an ad campaign that’s remembered down the centuries, you can still apply the same key elements to ensure your marketing material’s success: a fantastic layout design.

 

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If you want customers using your business, you must tap into your customers’ needs and show them how they can’t do without your product or service. To do this, you need the right marketing materials. In this article, we’ll look at what makes a successful layout. While we will use a poster as our example, you can use these pointers for brochures, flyers, or even business cards.

Color, white space, and reading patterns

You might be surprised to learn that around 40-50% of poster space should be left to white or empty space. Lots of empty space is what allows your poster to divulge its message in the right way. While some business people find this slightly unnerving, it is vital if you want your poster to be well-received.

Color-wise, don’t go crazy. You may think a brightly-hued palette will prove a head-turner but in reality, this can really tire potential customers and mask your poster’s take-home message. Try to use no more than three colors total.

Remember that potential customers only glance at your poster for a few seconds, so it is really important to make your call to action short and to the point. How do you want your poster to affect them? How will your call to action help to address their needs?

It’s also worth bearing in mind that a lot of people read in exactly the same pattern – left, right, up, down. Make sure the message your poster gives follows the same “Z” pattern.

Writing for your audience

When you are confident that you have a clear message, think about how you’ll put this to your customers. If you own a coffee shop, for instance, how will you convince your customers that your shop is the place to grab a coffee from? Do they visit you for speed, cost, or a luxurious setting? Choose phrases and keywords that your target audience will find most appealing. Whether you are writing for grannies or young girls, make sure what you write is crystal clear and cannot possibly be seen as ambiguous.

Don’t pick typefaces that come free with your computer if you can help it. These tend to be easy to recognize, and it can be hard to associate your brand with one of these typefaces.

Make sure the typeface you do go for has a “personality” that matches your brand’s image. If you tend to use minimalist advertising, choosing a typeface that is overly ‘fancy’ will do very little for your brand’s cohesiveness.

Image is everything

It’s essential to ensure the message your poster puts across is consistent with your other advertising ventures, such as social media accounts, brochures, and your website too. Your ad campaigns obviously change over the years, but the image you are attempting to project must be the same across all of these platforms.

How has it worked?

Clearly, a poster is unlikely to help you learn new things about your customers unless you plan for this learning. How will you make sense of the poster’s success, or indeed failure, if this happens?

Try to find out as much as you can about customer behavior before, during, and after the advertisement campaign. What worked well, and how do you know this? If you include vouchers in the advertising campaign or a voucher code, assess the number of customers who redeemed them against one of your products with the total number of posters you printed.

After crunching some numbers, you’ll be able to look at why your campaign had the success it did and can learn some important lessons about what to change in your future ad campaigns.

Why not have a look at your advertisements to see if they match up with our advice?

Author’s Bio: Charlton Rhodes works for Minuteman Press, a printing company which provides printed marketing materials for a variety of businesses. More information can be found at www.shop.minutemanpress.com.

If you enjoy this post, you may also want to check out these others:

35 Amazing Ads Created in Photoshop
34 Excellent Print Ads for Your Creative Inspiration
40 Creative Brochure Designs For Your Inspiration
20 Awesome Album Cover Designs
30 Creative Examples of Poster Designs Using Typography

This article is provided here for your business education and inspiration by:

The Sherwood Group, located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, has over 30 years of experience working with the graphic design, website design, and marketing communication challenges presented by clients, small and large. Clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, through every business sector, from across the street to around the world. It’s not the size or industry that defines our clients. It’s their mindset.

Contact us by phone at 661-287-0017 or through our website so that we can help you think through your objectives and propose the best solution for your needs and your budget.

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

Professional links:
Video Introduction
| Graphic and Web Design Site | Online Printing Site

Comments: Please note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Comment only if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

We’d like to know: What are you doing to increase your business success?

The radically different type of internet behavior that mobile devices are causing continues to demand that businesses repeatedly review their mobile marketing and branding strategies.

 

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Vertical Search Engines Emerging

One specific dimension of this is the emergence of vertical search engines, like Yelp and TripAdvisor, that are increasingly supplanting Google as the search engines of choice when certain types of information are needed. A simple example —  a smartphone user that wants to quickly find a local coffee shop that is well-rated is unlikely to turn to Google. Yelp would be a more likely choice.

What is happening is that, essentially, internet savvy minds are doing some of the basic sorting. Second and third tier search engines are going to increasingly become the ones that are used for certain endeavors pertaining to travel, real estate, and retail businesses.

An Alternative To PPC

As a result, advertisers may want to re-direct some of those PPC dollars to display advertising on industry-specific engines like TripAdvisor. For example, this travel site now has over 9 million U.S. visitors each month. Globally, traffic exceeds 50 million unique visitors per month. What’s more, this company asserts that 24 percent of visitors remain on its site for more than five minutes, and that a similar percentage return to the site at least four times within a week.

Follow Your Customer

For many enterprises, this means an adjustment in where advertising dollars are spent. As loyalty to industry-specific apps expands, advertising directly with a Yelp or a Trulia might be more effective.

Another scenario exists as well. Say one is looking to purchase a home. Day after day, the prospective buyers may use Google. Then, they begin to realize that Trulia or Zillow is being utilized more than other sites. So that app is downloaded and they are basically done with Google right through the closing on their new home.

Also, when they re-enter the market to relocate in a few years, are they going to return to Google? Hardly. If anything, by then, another layer of apps may have emerged that cause them to embrace sites even more specific that Trulia or Zillow. Once again, monitoring changes in user behavior and following them wherever they go can be a beneficial strategy.

If you enjoy this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Design Your Email Newsletters with Pizazz
Using Social Media to Position Yourself as The Go To Expert
How to Get More Business by Using a QR Code on Your Business Cards
How to Stay Out of Spam Filters AND Run a Successful Email Marketing Campaign
4 Time-Saving Ways to Generate More Online Sales via Email
The Secret Source of Never-Ending Customers and Clients
How to Successfully Localize Your Business
Use Google+ And Improve Your Search Engine Rankings

This article is provided here for your business success and creative inspiration by:

The Sherwood Group, located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, has over 30 years of experience working with the graphic design, website design, and marketing communication challenges presented by clients, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, through every business sector, from across the street to around the world. It’s not the size or industry that defines our clients. It’s their mindset.  Contact us by phone at 661-287-0017 or through our website so that we can help you think through your objectives and propose the best solution for your needs and your budget.

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

Professional links:
Video Introduction
| Graphic and Web Design Site | Online Printing Site

Comments: Please note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Only comment if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

We’d like to know: What strategies do you use for growing your business through mobile marketing?

Many of these free serif fonts are very suitable and appropriate for headlines and body type, in fact some of them are downright beautiful, though a few might be more appropriate for use only as display fonts.

I’ve heard many times that through the use of these sorts of free fonts we may diminishing the incentive for font designers to create new fonts. A good point. Personally, I prefer to use fonts purchased through sites like Adobe, fonts.com, or myfonts.com, though I’ll occasionally use a free font for a logo or specialized project.

The serif fonts in this collection were all verified by me personally. If you’ve ever selected a “free” font from another collection, only to find that there was a charge for the font, or it was to be used for personal purposes only, you’ll understand why I went to the trouble to be sure each of these are, in fact 1) free, and 2) are easy to download.

Should you find a font here that you like, you have 2 choices: 1) you can download the font directly from this site, or 2) if you prefer to see an larger example of the font, you can:

  1. Visit FontSquirrel, (BTW, they didn’t pay me to post this article.)
  2. Search for the font by name, and
  3. You’ll be served an image just like this one:

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Okay… That said, here’s the listing of the fonts. Just click on the font image and a true-type font will begin downloading:

 

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If you’ve enjoyed this post, you might also like to check out these:

93 Free Sans Serif Fonts For Your Design Inspiration
20 Free and Fresh Fonts For Your Design
40 Excellent Free Fonts for Your Collection
Ultimate Collection of Free Fonts for 2012

This article is posted here for your education, creative inspiration and enjoyment by:

Will Sherwood
CEO/Chief Creative Officer
The Sherwood Group: Graphic Design & Website Design
Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, California, USA

Professional links:
Graphic Design/Web Design | Color Printing | YouTube Introduction

Social media links:
LinkedIn | Facebook Design | Facebook Printing | Twitter

Comments: Please note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Only comment if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

Perhaps the best way to increase your credibility is by becoming perceived as an expert. And, apart from mastering the skills of your trade, this is often best be accomplished by increasing your visibility among prospects and colleagues.

 

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These days, everyone seems to claim to be an expert. If you search for a niche market online, you’ll find a thousand people or businesses that say they are the best. I remember laughing at a definition of an expert. It was a combination of two words: Ex, meaning a “has been” and Spert (spirt), meaning a drip under pressure.

Humor aside, if your really want to set yourself apart from the crowd, be recognized as an expert, and increase your credibility, try the following tips:

Become involved in a professional organization.   There are professional organizations for all industries.  Find one that fits you specifically, where your prospects tend to congregate, and volunteer to be on a committee.  Once you are on a committee, be active, and participate.  The thing about professional organizations is that they are run entirely by volunteers.  Those volunteers are looked at as leaders in the profession, since they are the ones setting up conferences, preparing newsletters and giving presentations.

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Give presentations.  I’ve heard these called “Rainmaker Speeches,” and there’s a good reason. Some years back, I gave seminars on “How to design your own brochure.” The target audience was people who were fairly new to business, and even though it was quite difficult to fill up each seminar, often as not, people would come up to me afterwards and say, “I know who’s going to design my brochure…. You!”

But, you don’t have to launch your own seminar series. Professional organizations are always looking for people to give presentations at technical conferences.  It’s a good idea to make sure that you or one of your associates are doing presentations as often as possible.  But beware: Stay away from sales-pitch  talks. Stick instead to informative discussions and ideas that will help your audience succeed.

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Write papers and get them published.  This has worked for my company quite well. In fact, after submitting an abstract of a proposed article, the editors of several publications came back to me and asked that I write a article about company, our clients and our work.

You can get started in this area by researching several technical publications for your industry.  Contact each one and find out the calendar for their publications.  They will give you a calendar showing the topics that they want to cover in each of the upcoming issues.   Look through that calendar and identify a few topics that you might be able to write something for.  Send the publication an abstract of your idea, and work with them on an article.

These tips will set you up to be seen as an expert in your industry and will increase your credibility.  For more tips on how to achieve higher credibility, contact The Sherwood Group, or visit our new responsive website.

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If you enjoy this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Design Your Email Newsletters with Pizazz
Using Social Media to Position Yourself as The Go To Expert
How to Get More Business by Using a QR Code on Your Business Cards
How to Stay Out of Spam Filters AND Run a Successful Email Marketing Campaign
4 Time-Saving Ways to Generate More Online Sales via Email
The Secret Source of Never-Ending Customers and Clients
How to Successfully Localize Your Business
Use Google+ And Improve Your Search Engine Rankings

This article is provided here for your business education and inspiration by:

The Sherwood Group, located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, has over 30 years of experience working with the graphic design, website design, and marketing communication challenges presented by clients, small and large. Clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, through every business sector, from across the street to around the world. It’s not the size or industry that defines our clients. It’s their mindset.

Contact us by phone at 661-287-0017 or through our website so that we can help you think through your objectives and propose the best solution for your needs and your budget.

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

Professional links:
Video Introduction
| Graphic and Web Design Site | Online Printing Site

Comments: Please note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Only comment if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

We’d like to know: What are you doing to increase your visibility?

How to maximize your business through the use of micro sites…

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What is a Micro Site?

Micro sites can be thought of as mini websites, usually ten pages or less, designed to provide specialized or in depth information about one specific product or service. Micro sites have their own navigation, very often their own domain and depending on its ultimate purpose it may or may not link back to the parent site. Subdomains are often used to isolate a micro site’s content while still maintaining brand relevance to the parent domain.

From an SEO stand point micro sites are useful due to their tightly focused, yet detailed content. This is also a good trait for Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising since relevancy can be established between keywords, ads and the micro site’s content, resulting in low bounce rates and higher conversion rates. When matched up with a very specific and relevant domain name and a check-out cart, a micro site can evolve into a highly efficient conversion site.

Can your business take advantage of a micro site’s specificity? It can, as long as you have a very specific product or service that you want to break out from your main website. What’s more, if you are able to acquire a domain name which closely matches the name of said product or service, you may be able to get a good page rank to quickly boost your sales.

Below are a few more micro site ideas for your business:

Product launches:
Micro sites offer a great opportunity to separate your new product or service from the white noise of the rest of your site. Micro sites product launches also look great on off-line media such as magazines, billboards, etc.

Excess inventory:
Micro sites capture your visitor’s attention much more than any link within your main site. Should you need to promote a particular product due to overstock, a micro site may be the perfect way to do it.

Holiday Sales:
Although by definition a micro site should have a tight focus, you may be able to develop a micro site with specialized holiday merchandise (the tight focus would be on the holiday). If this is the case, you may be able to develop a holiday micro site once and use it again and again, changing only the merchandise while maintaining a consistent site structure.

Highlighting a Particular Product:
You may also opt to create a micro site for a specific product which is selling particularly well or one that isn’t selling at all. Often time specificity and relevance can radically improve the conversion rate of a product or service. You may have a diamond in the rough somewhere in your inventory which could become a great seller in the spotlight of a micro site.

Although micro sites have a limited range of applications, they may just solve a very specific problem on your site. Feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss micro sites with you and how they may improve your bottom line.

If you enjoy this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Design Your Email Newsletters with Pizazz
Using Social Media to Position Yourself as The Go To Expert
How to Get More Business by Using a QR Code on Your Business Cards
How to Stay Out of Spam Filters AND Run a Successful Email Marketing Campaign
4 Time-Saving Ways to Generate More Online Sales via Email
The Secret Source of Never-Ending Customers and Clients
How to Successfully Localize Your Business
Use Google+ And Improve Your Search Engine Rankings
This article is provided here for your business success and creative inspiration by:

The Sherwood Group, located in Santa Clarita, California, just outside Los Angeles, has over 30 years of experience working with the graphic design, website design, and marketing communication challenges presented by clients, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 companies, through every business sector, from across the street to around the world. It’s not the size or industry that defines our clients. It’s their mindset.  Contact us by phone at 661-287-0017 or through our website so that we can help you think through your objectives and propose the best solution for your needs and your budget.

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

Professional links:
Video Introduction
| Graphic and Web Design Site | Online Printing Site

Comments: Please note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Only comment if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

We’d like to know: What strategies do you use for growing your business online?

Businesses dream of discovering unique and memorable business branding that will keep their product alive in the minds of the consumer long after the ads stop running.

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The Power of the Right Brand

Remember the uproar when it was learned that our beloved Twinkies may become extinct?  Hostess Brands was going under, and with it Twinkies. They were so loved, people started to hoard them so that they could enjoy them for as long as possible. Hostess has other well-known products too, including Wonder Bread, but it was the possible loss of Twinkies that drew the most response. Twinkies were often the ‘bribe’ many a parent gave their children on those long road trips in return for good behavior!

How about those magnificent Clydesdales hauling the famous red, white and gold beer wagon for Budweiser?  Then there is the non-stop Energizer Bunny. Some ads may make you laugh, others may grate on your nerves, but one thing they have in common is that you remember them. This is the power of business branding.

Test of Time

Long after a commercial image has moved on, just mention a specific image and instantly many will remember the product. Here are a few from over the years:

  • A fox terrier listening to the gramophone
  • The Marlboro Man
  • Indian shedding tears
  • Tony the Tiger
  • The Need to Adapt

They all show the power of a strong image, which speaks to the public. Some images are popular for short periods only, and the company must look for another more updated image to present. Branding also may includes your logo, but logos must change as tastes change.  Companies who have done this are Starbucks, Pepsi, Nike and Apple. The main image idea remains, but it is presented in a new and fresher manner.

OK, how does this pertain to The Sherwood Group and what we do? We help our clients develop imagery that will clarify their market positioning in a unique and memorable way. We strive to make our advertising inspiring and still have it clarify your business.

If you enjoy this post, you might also enjoy:

Showcase of Creative Magazine Covers
45 Fun and Creative Examples of Print Advertising
35 Amazing Ads Created in Photoshop
40 VERY Cool Examples of Concept Art

This article is presented here for your education, inspiration and enjoyment by:

Will Sherwood
CEO/Chief Creative Officer
The Sherwood Group: Graphic Design & Website Design
Santa Clarita and Los Angeles, California, USA

Social links (Like us on Facebook and we’ll return the favor):
LinkedIn | Facebook Graphic & Web Design | Facebook Color Printing | Twitter

Comments: Note that we reject all posts that are clearly leaving a comment simply to acquire a back link. Please only comment if you have something of value to share with our other readers.

 


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