Fun Facts About Graphic Designers

Things you should not say to a designer.

Designers don’t just play with crayons all day long. Good design makes a difference in our world.

If you’ve ever met a graphic designer, you know they are very special people with a few quirks of their own. I mean, who else will eat something just because they like the packaging? Who else critiques menus at every restaurant? And yes, they read the full list of credits at the end of the movie. That’s just how they are…they can’t help it.

So if you want to know what to expect next time you meet a graphic designer, here’s a fun list of characteristics you should know about them:

 

They Don’t Like to Work for Free

Many times companies ask designers to do spec work to compete for the work and if they like what they see, they’ll hire one of them. For instance, they may ask three designers to do a layout or a logo, etc. and only the winner will be compensated for their work. The problem with this practice is that it doesn’t happen in any other profession. You wouldn’t ask three painters to each paint a room in your house for free just to see which one you will hire. Or, you wouldn’t ask three accountants to do your taxes and the one that gets you the most refund gets your business. See what I’m saying?

 

Designers are Not Magicians, They Are Designers

If you’re a designer, you’ve heard this: “I’ve been meaning to call you for weeks. The deadline is tomorrow”. Despite the notion that people think designers just play with their Crayons all day long and they push a button in the computer and an awesome design is created, the design process is just that, A PROCESS. Don’t ask a designer to turn something around in a few hours or a day. They have to think through each project, do trial and error to see what works and doesn’t and produce the piece. This takes time.

 

Designers Don’t Like to Hear the Following

There are countless statements graphic designers have heard from clients over the years. They make a big joke out of it because they’re always the same. Here are just a few things you should never say to a designer:

– Can you make the logo bigger?

– Can you make the font bigger?

– Can you make it pop!

– My ten year old son could have done this

– I can’t explain what I want, but I’ll know it when I see it

– Just throw something together

– Maybe my cousin who has an eye for design can help you with some ideas

– I’m not an artist, but here’s how I would do it

– Go ahead and design it, we’ll give you the content later

– Have you tried putting this there?

– Can you take part of this layout and merge it with this layout since I like both?

– Don’t use burnt orange ‘cause I’m an Aggie

– Can you put this in a collage?

– Can you give me your design in Word so I can tweak it myself?

 

Good design makes a difference in our world. Designers analyze data about the client, audience, demographic and other things to educate themselves and see what that audience sees to speak to them with their visual vocabulary. Always remember to give a designer as much information as possible up front so they can execute the project correctly. You will be amazed at how far a little information can go.

If you think it’s time for your company to redesign it’s logo, collateral material or Website, get in touch with Hadfield Communications at www.hadfield.net. We’ll be glad to analyze your current materials and give you feed back on how to improve on what you already have.

The Secret to Writing Posts People Read

Reaching your audience through better posts.

People will read your posts more if they have brief copy, better headlines and attractive visuals.

Did you know that the average shelf life of a Tweet is less than an hour? That doesn’t give you much time to make an impact on your customers. Breaking through all the clutter in all the social media sites and actually reaching your target reader is not an easy task. Whether you’re developing content for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, a blog or other social sites, you should strive to create engaging posts that people want to read and give them useful information they can actually use. Here are a few tips for creating posts with a punch:

 

Get to the Point

People scan pages rather than read them in their entirety, so be smart about your formatting and content. You can make a post more compelling just by numbering your main points since that makes it easier to read. Make your posts clear and don’t use a lot of marketing mambo jumbo. According to a report by Buddy Media, posts with 80 words or less have, on average, a 27% higher engagement rate.

 

Headlines Are Key

Your headline is the first impression you make on your readers. Make your headlines pop and use numbers whenever possible. Numbers are an effective way to capture your reader’s attention. But always remember, the title is what’s going to bring a reader in by catching their eye. Once you hook them, it’s more likely that they’ll click on the link to read more.

 

Insert Visuals in Your Posts

People are drawn to stimulating, informational visuals more than text, so by all means, insert them in your posts. Create a great infographic, add a diagram or find a beautiful picture of what you’re saying. Pictures are indeed worth a…well, you know.

 

Measure Your Results

See when something is working or not working. By using Google Analytics you can see the search terms people are using to get to your posts. By using this data you will get new post ideas and better rankings by using key words.

 

There are many social media platforms out there and it’s hard to get reader’s attention. If you use the above tips, you’re sure to get better results when posting. And remember, consistency is key, so post frequently so your readers know you’re out there.

If you think it’s time for your company to get more involved with Social Media, get in touch with Hadfield Communications at www.hadfield.net. We’ll be glad to analyze your current Social Media efforts and give you feed back on how to improve on what you already have.

The Skinny on Infographics

Infographics have become extremely popular but a lot of people still don’t know what they are, how they are created or why they are so important. In a nutshell, people are attracted to visuals more than text and an infographic is an interesting way to visualize data. In an age of big data, we need to both make sense of the information and be able to easily tell the story of what the information tells.

If you create a visually pleasing, informative infographic, it can do wonders for your marketing because people are drawn to those stimulating, informational visuals. But what better way to explain infographics than with an infographic, right? The infographic below by Infographic Labs will help you understand the steps required to create an infographic. It will explain what it is, why it can benefit your marketing and the basics behind creating one on your own.

But as we all know, just because you may have the right information to create an infographic or you know how to create one, it doesn’t mean yours is going to be good or effective. With so many people trying to create inforgraphics out there, there is certainly no shortage of downright awful ones bouncing around on the Web. Needless to say, information design displays the information efficiently and effectively and it encompasses many design disciplines that are better left to designers. There’s nothing better than using design to communicate a message that is both clear and universal.

An infographic should use innovation and imagination to provide clarity. It channels information in a visually pleasing, instantly communicable way, making it not only powerful, but beautiful as well.

If you think it’s time for your company to get more involved with Social Media, get in touch with Hadfield Communications at www.hadfield.net. We’ll be glad to analyze your current Social Media efforts and give you feed back on how to improve on what you already have.

5 Tips to Make Your Email Campaign More Effective

There’s so much information overload in everyone’s email box these days that it’s hard to see how email campaigns could still be successful. But a report by Epsilon shows that open rates increased quarter over quarter (5.9%) and year over year (12.6%), resulting in an overall open rate of 26.2%.

Chart showing email open rates

This graph by Epsilon shows how open rates continue to climb (click chart to enlarge).

In order to be successful with your email campaigns, there are two important factors you need to consider:

Make sure you have a good list – are the intended recipients getting your emails? There are third party email companies that will validate your email list as a part of their service. If your list is old and outdated, make sure you validate it or your efforts will be wasted.

 

Send emails to people that request them – often times marketers don’t want to spend the time and effort to create their own mailing list so they buy one from a third party vendor. This doesn’t guarantee that you’ll reach your target audience or people that are really interested in your product. A better practice and more efficient way of getting a list would be to send emails to people who have requested to receive emails from you. Build your list with good contacts and your results will be much better as you’ll be reaching the people that want to hear from you.

 

But once your target audience gets your email, how do you get them to open it? Below are 5 tips to help you increase the chances that the email will be opened:

1)   Make an effort to come up with a good “subject line”. Try to entice the reader to want to read more by having a good subject line. Make the subject relevant and interesting. Be witty and keep it pithy.

 

2)   The “from name” needs to be consistent. This is your company or brand name and it always needs to be the same. This is how you’re going to get recognition and your open rates should increase once the reader recognizes you. Your goal should be to earn their trust with good content and have them know who you are.

 

3)   The content has to be useful information – you should discuss topics that are important to those receiving your emails. Give your recipients useful information on things that they are interested in. Educate them on your product and send them content they can use.

 

4)   Frequency is key – if you send emails too often, your recipient will get annoyed and opt out of receiving your emails. If you don’t send them often enough, you risk them not recognizing you. You’re going to have to find a happy medium and see what works best for you.

 

5)   Make sure your email campaign is mobile device friendly – more and more people are opening their email on the go throughout the day on their mobile devices. Marketers however are not taking advantage of this by optimizing their email content for mobile devices. Email design and readability is an important factor that needs to be a part of your email campaign. Keep paragraphs short and call to actions clear.

 

As mobile and tablet usage begins to outpace desktop usage, it’s important for marketers to understand their consumers’ behavior and preferences and create effective cross channel campaigns that will be more successful at acquiring more customers.

 

If you think it’s time for your company to launch an email marketing campaign, get in touch with Hadfield Communications at www.hadfield.net. We’ll be glad to analyze your current email campaign efforts and give you feed back on how to improve on what you already have.

4 Ways to Use Facebook to Attract More Customers

Are you using Facebook to its fullest potential to generate leads? Do you know what makes people follow a brand on Facebook? In the Infographic to the right, What Makes People Want to Follow a Brand? by getsatisfaction, a blog about how to succeed in social business, you can see what are the top reasons for people to follow a brand. Since there’s so many people on Facebook, you can bet your current customers are spending time there and you should be reaching them. Below are a few things you can do to convert fans into solid leads.

 

Set Up Specific Goals

Unless you set up specific goals, you will spend endless hours on Facebook with no results. Do you want to get more fans, get more leads, get new customers? All these are specific goals you need to think about before you embark on a Facebook campaign.

 

Are You Targeting the Right People?

You need to establish a demographic and Facebook can help you with that since they have demographic details about your audience. Facebook gives you data and targeting capabilities so you don’t have to guess at targeting a segment. Some of the key questions marketers ask and Facebook provides are: What age is your target audience?, What is their education level?, What gender are they?, What’s their occupation?, What is their geographic location? So you can segment the market to reach the people that you are interested in. Once you have a target audience, you can start promoting content based on your target.

 

Build Relationships Once They Become Fans

By using customized communication, you can nurture leads on Facebook and get your fans to trust you. Frequency in communication is also expected by your fans and you should deliver this. Make sure you recognize your customers’ wants and needs and provide them with solutions to their problems. You can get an insight in their behavior by looking at your Website analytics and figuring out their browsing history, clicks, downloads, pages visited, etc.

 

Post Content that Will Get You Fans

So you don’t know what to post? The main idea is to engage with your users and have content that is useful, educational and fun. You could run contests, polls, post new product or service information, post events you want them to register to, post links to your blog, industry news and much more. But, don’t advertise too much or post gimmicky content. People will notice and unfollow you quickly.

 

Facebook can be a great lead generating source. But the key is to have goals and a plan of action before launching a new campaign. You also have to use reliable market analytics to see what’s working and what’s not. And don’t be surprised if you have to shift your strategy a little after consulting your analytics. Make your Facebook page engaging and vary the content so your fans want to be a part of your community without getting bored.

If you think it’s time for your company to get more involved with Social Media, get in touch with Hadfield Communications at www.hadfield.net. We’ll be glad to analyze your current Social Media efforts and give you feed back on how to improve on what you already have.

Is Pinterest Right for Your Business?

This great infographic by Modea illustrates who is using Pinterest.

This great infographic by Modea illustrates who is using Pinterest.

What is Pinterest? As their Web site states, Pinterest is a Virtual Pinboard. It lets you organize and share all the beautiful and interesting things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan many facets of their lives like weddings, home decoration, recipes or menu organization and more. And one of the best features is that you can browse pinboards created by other people to get inspired about your own interests. This lets you discover new things and get very creative.

But in order to really understand Pinterest, what better way to explain this highly visual platform than through visual content? HobSpot’s Blog 10 Pinterest Infographics: Visual Explanations for a Visual Social Network, tells the story in pictures, not words. They have posted easy to understand infographics illustrating who uses Pinterest, why is Pinterest so addictive, how to get more pins and repins and lots more.

Pinterest is a great platform for B2C retailers offering visual product lines and there are many retail brands already participating in a big way with pin boards like Nordstrom, Kate Spade, Real Simple and Whole Foods. It’s easy to understand how these retailers can showcase their product in a creative way by pinning boards such as “recipes for the week” a “bathroom renovation”  “how to put an outfit together” and more. So if your business mainly markets to consumers, there are many creative ways you could show your product to people in an educational and fun way and your business can use this platform as a way for people to find ideas and inspiration.

But, not all the content on Pinterest points to a products or retailers; blog posts and infographics are also big destinations. A B2B marketer can use this to their advantage by using Pinterest to draw traffic to content  that engages customers and prospects through visual content. By using infographics or compelling images on blog posts, you could post the image on Pinterest with a link to your content. This will give you a chance to share knowledge of your industry in a visually appealing way. By linking the image to a page that goes into detail about the image, you can have great success with increased traffic to your Website or blog.

Another way you could use Pinterest for your business is to share an image of your product or service linking it to a case study or write up to you Website. The key is to always use visually appealing imagery as Pinterest users thrive on visually capturing imagery.

It may take a little more imagination for B2B marketers to find content that’s right for Pinterest, but as long as you provide value, there’s a good chance you may get many qualified leads from it.

Social media marketing is constantly evolving and companies are going to have to get creative in the way they approach the different platforms. They will have to adjust to the formats and provide exceptional user value. With Pinterest, the main focus is to provide compelling visual content. If you’re willing to get a little creative with how you share your content, you can use Pinterest to get access to a new set of customers.

If you think it’s time for your company to get more involved with Social Media, get in touch with Hadfield Communications at www.hadfield.net. We’ll be glad to analyze your current Social Media efforts and give you feed back on how to improve on what you already have.

5 Ways to Get Content Ideas for Your Readers

Ideas for good content for your social media posts.

Sometimes you need a little help to create good content that your readers will like.

The only way you’re going to be successful with your social media efforts is if you give your readers the content they want to read. If you have good content, people will be inclined to share it on their social media networks. And, if people share your content, your social media rankings will improve. Below are five ways for you to find out what your readers really want to read.

 

Here’s the Obvious One: Ask Them!

Don’t assume you know what content your online community wants to read about. Reach out to your audience and ask them what they want. Do a survey by using SurveyMonkey, Free Online Surveys or Zoomerang. Create a list of topics and ask them to vote “yes” or “no” for each topic or have them rank them in order of interest. Add your survey to your Web site, email newsletters and promote it on Twitter and Facebook to get results.

 

Check Your Blogs Comments

When you write a post that gets lots of comments, you know that’s a topic people want to hear about. Look at all the comments and see what they liked about the post. Consider doing a series of similar posts and educate yourself on the topic to see where you can expand on it.

 

Check Websites that Rank Content

There are Websites such as Topsy and Inbound.org that are real time search engines and they rank the most popular content by the hour, day or week. You can find a site that focuses on content relevant to you and check it daily to get ideas. There are sites for relevant news for small businesses ranging from marketing to finance or others with content for SEO, Mobile, Social Media, Analytics and many more.

 

Check Your Retweets and Facebook

People usually retweet posts they believe are useful and interesting. When you post links or articles people retweet a lot, turn them into articles that you can post. The key is to find a topic people are interested in. Once you know that, creating content about that topic is only a matter or research.

 

Hire a Ghost Writer

Sometimes even the best of us either run out of time or run out of steam and  need a fresh take on our content. Hiring a ghost writer will give you an influx of fresh ideas and your readers may enjoy the variety in writing styles and topics.

 

Your take away from this post should be that in order to get people interested in what you post, you have to give them what they want. Don’t assume you know what they want to read. Get engaged and ask them what their interests are. You may be surprised at the response.

If you think it’s time for your company to change gears when it comes to content creation, get in touch with Hadfield Communications at www.hadfield.net. We’ll be glad to analyze your current content and social media efforts and give you feed back on how to improve on what you already have.

5 Ways to Have a More Dynamic Website

More traffic to your Website

Having a more dynamic Website will keep visitors coming back and your Web traffic will increase.

Is your Website in need of a little pick-me-up? It’s easy for businesses to neglect their site once it’s up as they feel all the necessary information is up there for people to see. But the truth is, you need to keep your Website updated and uploading current content is a must if you want people to keep on coming back. If you get into the habit of doing these five simple things on a consistent basis, your customers will appreciate it, you’ll see your Web traffic grow and people will spend more time on your site.

 

Create Videos

Videos are a great way to keep people engaged. You could create How-To videos to show people how to use your products. Videos entertain and educate people and they’re a great way to personalize your company and your product.

 

Put up an RSS Feed

By putting an RSS feed on your home page, it will give your visitors the sense of activity. Furthermore, the feed will provide up-to-date content so your visitors will feel like there’s new content all the time. Have news stories or blogs that would be useful to your visitors and that are in your niche. This will grab their attention and it’s content that is targeted to their interests.

 

Have More Imagery

Pictures, graphs, infographics and other imagery are a great way to keep people interested. Having content that they can download, like a great infographic that explains something, is a good way for people to get engaged. Have a photo gallery of your last product launch or company function.

 

Create a Blog

As mentioned on our last blog post 5 Ways to Bring People to Your Web Site, a blog is a great way for your business to keep people informed on any new developments, news, articles and ideas related to your company or product. It’s also a good place to answer the questions your customers want to know about. But, make sure your blog provides value to your readers. If you upload good content regularly, this will give your visitors a reason to come back.

 

Integrate Twitter

Twitter is a great tool to use to bring people to your site and if you use Twitter, why not integrate your Tweets to your blog, making it more dynamic. Your visitors will see the daily activity on Twitter and they’ll see that you’re engaged.

What you ultimately want to do is to create an enjoyable experience for people to keep coming back. The key to keeping people interested is always having fresh content that is relevant and informative.

If you think it’s time for your company to get a more dynamic Website, get in touch with Hadfield Communications at www.hadfield.net. We’ll be glad to analyze your current Website efforts and give you feed back on how to improve on what you already have.

5 Ways to Bring People to Your Website

Fresh content increases traffic to your site.

Having fresh content on your site will increase your traffic.

Anyone who has a Website knows that people aren’t going to come to your site just because you put a site up. Getting traffic to your site takes hard work  and dedication. You have to work at it to get people to come back on a consistent basis. Here are 5 ways to help you bring people to your Website more frequently.

 

Write Fresh Content

Why would people want to come back to your site if your content is stale? If you constantly have good content, people will want to come back for more. The most important thing about content is to keep it fresh and up-to-date.

 

Create a Blog

A blog is a great way for your business to keep people informed on any new developments, news, articles and ideas related to your company or product. It’s also a good place to answer the questions your customers want to know about. But, make sure your blog provides value to your readers. If you upload good content regularly, this will give your visitors a reason to come back.

 

Get on Twitter

Using Twitter as a marketing tool is a great way to inform people about your Website and it is a very effective way to get noticed. Follow people that matter to your business and Tweet about interesting articles you think may help others or Tweet about posts on your blog where people can get useful information on the subject you’re writing about. Be cautious about just advertising your company on Twitter though. If you do, you will quickly lose followers.

 

Monitor How Your Site Is Used

By monitoring how people use your site, you’ll be able to tell what works, what people are interested in and what type of content you should have more of. The analytics on your Website can be a powerful tool and they will show you what to do and what not to do.

 

Have Dynamic Content on Your Site

It’s all about making a more enjoyable experience for your visitors so they’ll come back to your site. Create a message board, have a picture gallery, have a featured quote of the day, post relevant news items, have a calendar of events. Or, you may even want to engage your visitors on a contest, a fun survey, or something to spark their attention. Get creative and have fun with the people that visit your site.

If you think it’s time for your company to get a more dynamic Website, get in touch with Hadfield Communications at www.hadfield.net. We’ll be glad to analyze your current Website efforts and give you feed back on how to improve on what you already have.

What Should a Business Tweet About?

Twitter for Business says if you aren’t using Twitter for your business, you are missing out. Twitter can help you increase brand awareness, connect with customers, increase customer loyalty, increase sales and much more.

On the Ebook Twitter for Business by Shawna Fennell, there are some great tips and resources for businesses that are just starting out. The Ebook walks you through the steps of setting up a Twitter account to customizing your background and setting up some of your preferences. The author goes into detail about what businesses should Tweet about and strategies that have worked for her. If you aren’t really sure what to Tweet about, here are 5 of her top Tweet tips. Be sure to download her Ebook to get the complete list.

1. Link To Blogs - Follow some blogs that you are interested in via an RSS feed to a feed reader such as Google. Start by posting links to interesting posts that you like. If you found it interesting, you can bet other people will like it as well.

2. Quotes – Post inspirational quotes that may help someone or brighten their day. Personal development quotes and quotes by famous people are great. Quotes are frequently retweeted and will help you get more followers. You can find some good quotes at www.brainyquote.com.

3. Coupons – Don’t just be a sales person on Twitter. People don’t want to be sold to, they want engagement, value and a social experience. You can post links to your products or sites, but keep them to a minimum (maybe 5% of your Tweets). In fact, use TwtQpon to help you create coupons for Twitter.

4. Ask Questions - Start conversations by asking simple questions. Ask anything from what they want to accomplish today to what the best tip they have in the market you are in. Also ask them what they think of a new product or service or ask fun questions about their animals, kids, or life as a conversation starter. Get creative and make it fun.

5. Hold Contests - You can gain lots of new followers and customers by holding contests. TwiveAway can help you organize your contest and make sure people are following the rules of your Giveaway to be entered.

The purpose of Tweeting for your business is to remind your customers that you are here and open a dialogue with them so they can get to know you and your brand better. Once people trust you and you give them information that’s useful to them, they will follow you and you will see your list of followers grow. But always remember, Tweeting, like any other social media outlet, takes time and effort in order for you to be successful at it and see results.

If you think it’s time for your company to get started with a Social Media presence, get in touch with Hadfield Communications at www.hadfield.net. We’ll be glad to analyze your current efforts and give you feed back on how to make your Social Media work for you.

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