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Power Words that Sell

by: Neil Potter on

Before you've even had time for a coffee break you've probably already been bombarded with hundreds of marketing messages. Television, radio, signs, billboards, vans, taxis and newspapers  they'™re all screaming for your attention.

How many can you remember now? Unless your first name is Uri, we'€™d be surprised if it'€™d be far into double figures.

If you're looking to win new customers, you've got to be smarter to grab their attention. We can help. We've come up with some unusual ideas for intriguing potential customers.

Use These Words to Add Sales Punch:
Absolutely Announcing Amazing Approved Authentic Bargain Better Big Breakthrough
Complete Delivered Direct Discount Easily Excellent Endorsed Exciting Exclusive Expert
Famous Free Get Gift Greatest Guaranteed How Huge Immediately Improved Introducing Instant Impact Largest Latest Lifetime Limited Love Lowest Magic Miracle New Now Powerful Practical
Professional Profitable Quality Quickly Reduced Revolutionary Secrets Special Superior Successful Strange Today Unique Wealth Win You

Write better copy with A.I.D.A.

by: Neil Potter on

Run all your sales literature through this simple formula and you’d better be prepared for the increase in response. This is a great tool for writing powerful sales letters and killer copy and will give you a general understanding of how to target a market effectively.

Attention

Attract your reader’s attention with an exciting headine. Make them intrigued, just by reading it.
Either reveal or conceal a common interest. For example:

How to make yourself irresistible to ladies
Want to retire at 50?
Don’t make these common house-buying mistakes

Interest

Evoke interest from your potential customer by telling them multiple, life-enhancing benefits. Steer away from just listing features€“ people buy benefits, not features. Use simple, short sentences and talk to them as if they’re sitting next to you.

Desire

Make them want it. Make it irresistable. Give them guarantees of their money back. Or extra special bonuses or discounts. Don’t forget to state the urgency €“ make your offer timebound. You could try “Order within 7 days and get this free pen set. If you’re not 100% satisfied, we’ll refund you in full.”

Action

Tell ‘em what to do! You’s be amazed how much sales literature misses this vital step. Don;t assume they’ll know what to do. Get them to “Call now for a no-obligation quote” or “Call us to place your order”. You don’t need to close the sale there and then, just lead them through your sales process.

So there it is. Stick it on you wall, write it on a Post-it note, have it tattooed on your knuckles – whatever you do, just don’t forget A.I.D.A. It’ll make you a better writer.

120 tips for being a successful graphic designer

by: Neil Potter on

The Pocketbook is crammed with tips and inspiration - and it's free.

Cristian Eres, a graphic designer and illustrator from Valencia, Spain, has published an illustrated book on Behance aimed at graphic designers called 'The Pocketbook'. The book was created in collaboration with Spanish illustrators CranioDsgn and Grace García Salcedo, using Adobe Creative Cloud apps Photoshop and Illustrator.

The Pocketbook has a creative commons license and while it's targeted at graphic designers and fellow illustrators, Eres hopes it will be of interest to all types of designers.

You'll find The Pocketbook on Behance.
 

The 10 commandments of user interface design

by: Neil Potter on

This infographic lays out the rules for getting your site's user interface just right.


This is one of the best infographics we've seen covering user interface, or UI design. The creators of the 10 commandments of typography, Designmantic.com, have come up with this go-to graphic to help you get your website interface just so. 

Are you utilising the power of direct mail?

by: Neil Potter on

Are You Utilising the Power of Direct Mail?

Direct mail continues to be one of the most effective marketing tools for generating new business.

It can also be used to develop an on-going relationship with customers to maximise their loyalty, value and consequently, profitability over time. In this digital age when everyone is blogging, watching viral videos and updating social networks, why consider sending a humble postcard? Because it works. Professional marketers still believe in the power of direct mail and so should you.

  • Mailing each month creates strong front of mind awareness.
  • The more consistently mailers arrive the better the response will be.
  • It’s estimated that a prospect must see a message nine times before they will decide to purchase. That’s nine impressions to build the credibility, confidence and trust needed to make a sale.
  • Direct mail should be done alongside eshots, social media and not forgetting speaking to your customers directly, to really get your message across.

Join the thousands of different businesses who use Postcards to great success. To increase your response rate, follow this simple proven formula…

  1. Get your customers’ attention  Use a strong image or headline and our high-impact, high-gloss laminated Postcards will add emphasis.
  2. Keep their interest  Why are you contacting them? Highlight the benefits of your product or service, don’t just list features.
  3. Create desire  Think of a powerful, limited-time offer and make it hard for them to resist.
  4. Give them a call to action – What do you want them to do next? Call? Email? Visit? Tell them!

June is a great time to kick start your marketing with direct mail as Postcards are half price. Need help with design? Speak to your local studio.

Once you’ve planned out the design of the mailer, read our tips on how to Reduce Your Mailing Costs.

Colour Matters

by: Neil Potter on

So choose wisely and avoid giving the wrong impression.

Have you ever considered why that airline might have chosen their unmistakable orange? Or why blue is the colour of financial institutions like banks and accountants? Why do health food shops and supermarkets use green in their branding? These colour choices were no accident. Colour plays a vital, yet perhaps subconscious, role in how we perceive and react to a brand, so it's important to consider the colours you use to represent your business.

Red suggests excitement, warmth, vitality and danger. It increases our heart rate and encourages a passionate response from people.

Orange can make products seem less expensive. Cheerful, warm and happy. Often associated with value-led businesses. Also a popular colour used inside fast food restaurants, as it stimulates the appetite.

Brown is rich, earthy and natural. Ideal for products and businesses who want to appear trustworthy and organic.

Yellow symbolises sunshine, happiness and optimism. Apparently an effective colour to increase sales.

Green suggests health, freshness, and freedom. Ideal for products associated with health, food or activities with a strong emphasis on the environment. Dark green is known to appeal to wealthy customers.

White symbolises purity and truthfulness. Contemporary and clinical. It’s the best web background colour. Encourages us to clear clutter or obstacles.

Black symbolises power, sophistication and mystery. Shooting products on black backgrounds can make them look desirable and luxurious.

Blue represents trustworthiness, coolness, cleanliness, stability and honesty. A popular
corporate colour, especially
for financial institutions.

Purple suggests spirituality, royalty and luxury. Using purple can denote a superior product or service as it conveys gravitas and power.

Pink suggests caring, gentleness and is calming. Ideal for massage rooms and spas. Often used by charities.

Just like your wardrobe, colour tones can go out of fashion  that's why some major brands make subtle adjustments to theirs through the years.

Give us a call and we can arrange for a free and honest appraisal of your existing identity. It needn't be painful. Sometimes we can spend an hour or two on a quick facelift. Or if you can afford to invest a bit more in your identity, we'€™d be delighted to chat through some options.

 

Colour Theory Colour Wheel

9 Generic Logotypes You Should Avoid When Designing A Logo

by: Neil Potter on

One of the most crucial aspects of designing a logo is making elements reflect what the company really is.

But there are times when we as designers get influenced with current design trends. It may be caused by false inspiration, unintentional plagiarism, or just a plain result of the changing design times.

Graphic designer Giovanni Todini curated a list of logo cliches most run-of-the-mill designers use.  Logos using Trajan font cut by an arc or the use of graph icons for finance-type firms are all too familiar to us by now that we would probably mistake one for the other.

Building up on this, redditor /u/still_thinking_, moderator of the subreddit /r/logodesign, compiled logo clones reflecting popular design choices by designers.

1. Warm, multitone triangles family

2. Three lines on blue circles family

3. Flipped letter “C” family

 

4. Red circles logo family

5. Southeast open teardrop family

  

6. Orange doughnuts with triangle holes family


7. Hands and leaves family


8. Black letters with a touch of red family

 

9. Incorporated number “1″ logo family

 

 

The 10 commandments of colour theory

by: Neil Potter on

This infographic lays out the rules for getting your site's colour scheme spot-on.


We visited Designmantic.com and found this – one of the best infographics we've seen covering colour theory in web design. Designmantic created the 10 commandments of typography and 10 commandments of UI that you may have seen on our pages already, and now they've designed this bold graphic to help you get your website colour scheme spot-on.  

5 ways to tackle creative block

by: Neil Potter on

Stuck in a creative rut? The answer lies in mockups, explains Jerry Cao of UXPin.  

Designer's block is a downward spiral. It's a lot like quicksand – the more your struggle, the deeper you go. But what are you supposed to do, just sit there and sink?

We know what it's like, so we want to throw you a rope. Here are 8 strategies that we've found useful in unblocking ourselves, all of which can be executed specifically with mockups.  

 

01. Redraw existing sites

If this sounds like mindless busy work, it's because it is – but that's exactly what you need. Shifting your focus out of the problem at hand and onto something still design-related will reveal new options, whether on the screen or in your head.

Why redraw existing sites, though? As you (re)build multiple sites, you'll start to notice repetitions in structure and recognize similars skeletons behind the design. You'll see UI patterns implemented in various ways, but learn which elements are always the same, or should be. It's a practice that's always helpful in general for sharpening your skill as a designer, but when you're blocked, it could be a life-saver.

As recommended in Web UI Best Practices, first begin with skeletal wireframes, then move into detail. Each new phase reveals different elements you hadn't thought of before, and challenge your creative thinking in how to recreate them.

02. Zoom out

both literally and figuratively. Perhaps the reason you're stuck is that you can't see the forest for the trees. Try shifting your viewpoint away from the details and onto the big picture – and the best way to do that is to physically change your viewpoint.

Working in a zoomed out view of a mockup creates the proper context you need to reevaluate the problem. You'll see how each element relates to the whole, and notice layout choices you hadn't seen before.

New methods of rearranging paragraphs, columns, sidebars, menus, navigation bars – anything, really – will come to light just by changing your perspective. 

03. The Blur Test 

The blur test is a personal method of Lee Munroe, which he describes on his blog. It's used to test visual hierarchy, but can also help in designer's block by giving you a fresh outlook on a mockup.

The idea is that you view a blurry version of a screen so that, with the details obscured, you won't be distracted when analysing how the overall format fits together. Yes, visual details are the most important part of a mockup, however, these details won't matter unless your visual hierarchy is on point.
Image courtesy of UXPin via Lee Munroe

Munroe recommends taking a screenshot at blurring it with a Gaussian Blur filter in Photoshop by 5-10 pixels. Your screenshot will be reduced to colourful blobs, text will be unreadable, and you'll be able to see which blobs stand out (and which ones don't, but should).

04. Try new software

It's a poor craftsman who blames his tools… but a clever one who experiments. Trying out new design tools gives you an immediate change, or at the very least a distraction.

The excitement of a new “toy” might be enough on its own to inspire some new ideas. If not, exploring the new features and relearning your old techniques might spark something inside you previously forgotten. Equally possible, you might realise how much you miss your old software's features, and the reason why might be the inspiration you were needing. 

05. Design badly on purpose

This may seem like one of the more “alternative” strategies, but it's also one a lot of respectable designers use successfully. Often designer's block is less about not having any ideas, and more about not having any good ideas. This puts a lot of pressure on you to stop thinking up bad ideas, and designing badly on purpose alleviates that pressure.

As graphic designer Alexander Charchar suggests, try creating or recreating your mockup with a few ugly design elements. Use that creative but illegible font. Clash the colors of the icon against the background. Make the logo tiny. Indulge in any fun or goofy instincts, then still try to structure the overall layout so the design makes sense. What happens is you're still thinking critically about the design, but with a new calmness in the absence of pressure.

At the very least, you'll get those bad ideas out of your system, and have a bit of fun before a more serious fresh start.

Even the best of us are susceptible to designer's block from time to time, so it's helpful to know which ways work best for unblocking yourself.

In addition to these mockup strategies, there's the tried-and-true methods: get plenty of sleep, exercise, eat healthy, and try to distract yourself a little bit. And remember to relax – battling designer's block is a battle against yourself, and the best ideas sometimes surface in passing.

 

 

5 Minute Workshop: Creating a Customer Feedback Scheme

by: Neil Potter on

When would you rather you found out you’ve lost a customer? In a years time when they’ve built a relationship with your competitor or as soon as you’ve upset them? There’s no use delaying bad news. If you’ve annoyed them, best to find out sooner so you can put it right.

One of the best ways to get quick feedback is to run a feedback scheme. If it’s something you know you should be doing but haven’t got round to it yet, follow these 5 steps and have your scheme set up in no time.

1. What do you want to know? Sounds simple, but what do you want customers to rate you on? I’d suggest picking between 5 and 10 aspects of your product or service that you think are important.

2. How should they answer? It’s usual to give people a few tick box options to choose from like “great” or “poor”. Always have at least one question where they can write comments which they may not be able to fit into one of your questions.

3. Should I offer an incentive? Possibly. You may encourage people to fill your cards in if you offer a prize or discount. Think about whether once a month you give someone a free haircut or a free meal, picked out of the cards you’ve had returned.

4. How should it look? Keep it clean and simple an A6 postcard size is usually big enough. Your local printing.com team can help design a comment card to match your branding. Try our SmoothWove Showcards these are easy to write on, thick and bright white. Get them for Half Price when you order in February!

5. Where to put the cards? If you run a cafe or restaurant, put cards on your tables. Run a hotel or guest house? Leave cards in your rooms. Manufacturer or distributor? Put cards in your boxes. Accountant or architect? Send cards with your invoices.