June marks midway through flag season and reminds us that we're almost halfway through the year.
Seasons change and so should our marketing efforts to remain current and relevant to our customers.
In this month's Markit-in-a-Minute Newsletter we offer quick tips to:
Designing a Memorable Banner or Sign
Creating a Powerful Brochure with a Lasting Impression
Understanding Customer Perception
Be Prepared for a Rate Increase on Standard Mail
Are you on track with your business goals? These monthly newsletters will give you a read on some of what's trending in business marketing.
Try something new this summer.
Give me a deSign
When you combine the internet, television, radio, billboards and direct mail we're exposed to 14,000 advertising messages every day but only 5 of them stick with us for more than 24 hours.
Summer is the season for outdoor activity that brings more pedestrian meanderers, road trips and outdoor events offering some new possibilities for marketing your business. Street side flags, sidewalk signs and promotional canopies are some ideas that may apply to your business.
Here are 6 tips for designing a sign that will be remembered.
1) SIZE & SCALE
The biggest difference in designing a sign is scale. Considering that a brochure is maybe 8 1/2" x 11" and a business card is 3 1/2" x 2", large scale design requires a different mindset when designing it.
Signs have to be read and understood from a distance; often by people who only have a few seconds to look in that direction. Everything should be big and simple for maximum impact.
Billboards can be 14' x 48' so art file resolution is paramount and vector art is required to avoid a blurry image when enlarged.
Designing for location can be tricky if a single design is going to be used for different environments. If you design a sign with a sky blue background that will have the sky behind it, it will blend in too much and not get noticed.
A sidewalk sign or street-side flag, however, may have lots of different colors behind it, so a bold solid color may be your best choice to break through the clutter.
3) COLOR & GRAPHICS
Generally graphics and color should be bright and saturated. Avoid light colors or pastels and opt for colors that will stand out - especially between your text and background.
For images and graphics, pick a single element and go big with it. Your design has to catch the viewer's attention in a second and a single, simple focal point will help.
Color can be one of the most important decisions you'll make in designing an effective sign.
Go Big and Bold!
Keep it Simple
4) TYPOGRAPHY & MESSAGE
Aside from the company logo, pick a single typeface. A san serif font works best for signs.
And make it big! Think about lettering in terms of 10 to 100, that's 10" tall for every 100' of viewing distance.
Bold lettering can increase the readability from a distance but avoid italics as they confuse the view.
An industry standard is to keep your message at 15 words or less and use the 3 x 5 rule. That's 3 lines of 5 words or 5 lines of 3 words. Less is better if you can make your point.
Simple, Bold Type
Simple, Short Message
While contrast is an important consideration of any design project, it is especially important when you only have a couple of seconds to get someone's attention.
Every focal point must be clearly distinguishable.
With type, size and simplicity as key factors, selecting colors that stand out from one another will help get your message noticed.
While I'm personally not a fan of using borders in design, the use of a border can help to create a contrast between your sign and the background environment. Of course, using a border on a street-side flag will not make much sense.
Bold Colors Create Contrast
Borders are OK
Substrate is the material that your message is being printed on. Knowing the material and method of printing can help in your design process.
Whether it's a vinyl banner, fabric flag or a graphic-wrapped bus, consulting with your manufacturer can help you provide the appropriate art files for best results.
Knowing if your sign will be for indoor or outdoor use can help you select the appropriate substrate to print your message on.
Select Lasting Material
Most designers don't spend their day designing signs. Typically it will be the same person who creates brochures and business cards and only asked to design a large format graphic for special occasions like tradeshows, outdoor events or special promotions.
Reaching out to your manufacturer before you begin designing for large format graphics can help you avoid the headaches that may come after the design is finished.
Websites, email campaigns and Search Engine Optimization(SEO) are all important tools in your outreach to prospective and existing customers. The printed brochure is also a powerful tool in marketing your company's products and services with an even longer lasting effect.
Having a strategy for the use of your brochure will guide you in the creation of your brochure's content, design and manufacturing process.
Here are 5 considerations for an effective brochure strategy.
The first and most important question to ask is, "why do I need a brochure for my business?" Maybe the answer is, "you don't".
Restaurants, for instance, don't need brochures. Creative signage, menus and direct mail might be the best marketing tools of choice for them.
Most industries, however, benefit greatly by creating brochures to sell, and 'upsell' to new and current customers. Here's an example - a prospect purchased car insurance from an insurance company after receiving a postcard in the mail about their amazing rates and personalized service. As a follow up, the broker gave them or mailed a brochure about their other offerings of life and homeowners insurance at reduced rates for multiple policies.
Once you understand the purpose of your brochure, create content that explains what's in it for the customer. Providing a list of your manufacturing equipment's make and model doesn't impress anyone unless you're selling them the equipment. Demonstrate how they'll feel after they purchase your product or service.
Sell them the sizzle, not the steak - right? What's your sizzle?
Pictures speak for you. How would you feel if your dentist's brochure showed rotting teeth with the caption "We fix these."?
It's more effective to show a happy family with straight, white teeth having fun together. That's a much better testimonial.
Graphics and photos help break up the text in a brochure and guide the reader to browse your brochure as you intended.
4) SHELF LIFE
Having a good brochure strategy should determine the shelf life of your brochures. They should be updated often to provide current information about your company. Handing a prospect a dusty brochure about a new product that you launched 3 years ago or touting an award your company received 8 years ago doesn't impress anyone.
5) HOW MANY?
High volume print orders always result in a lower cost per piece but that cost instantly doubles if your end up recycling half of them because you didn't need that many.
On the other hand, if you order too few you have to go back to press for a reorder and if you've ever ordered printing you know that 1000 brochures doesn't cost half as much as 2000.
Understanding your brochure strategy before you create one will define the purpose of it and determine the focus of what you want to say and how many you will need to achieve your desired results - MORE SALES!
Contact us today at 877-553-0857 or
The Results Are In
You've heard me say it many times in previous articles: Customer Perception is the ultimate reality. Reality to the customer is NOT what you want them to think about you, it's what they actually think about you when you're not around.
Giving a prospect, or a customer, or an employee a gift branded with your company's message will leave a lasting message about your company long after your contact.
Have you ever thrown away a promotional sports bottle that you didn't like? No, you gave it to someone else and the message lived on. That's the true power of branded products - they stick!
One size, however, does not fit all (pun intended for apparel) when choosing a winner to represent your company. Don't give your best customer the same promotional frisbee that you handed out at your last trade show booth. It's just as true that you wouldn't think about giving out $40 power banks for free at a community street fair to hundreds of unqualified attendees.
Did you know -
People in San Diego keep promotional bags for more than 2 years.
Minneapolis consumers wear their logoed caps 6X a month.
91% of US consumers keep promotional USB Drives
The 2014 Global Impressions Study has been released providing insight to WHO uses WHAT, HOW long they keep them, WHERE they live, and WHEN they were born. The Study is presented with great graphics wrapped around the very interesting information gathered from around the globe.
Understanding your target audience can increase the effectiveness of the product you give them.
Earlier this month, the Postal Regulatory Commission approved the US Postal Service's request for a rate increase on Standard Mail. The increases are scheduled to take effect on May 31st, 2015.
The Standard Mail category is what used to be referred to as Bulk Mail.
That's mail sorted and processed at a mailing facility before it goes to the Post Office. Standard Mail offers steep discounts for mailing in quantity, usually around 27 - 29 cents for a letter weighing up to 3.3 ounces.
The 1.937% increase will only result in an additional half a penny per piece.
The Postal Service has reported a $1.5 billion dollar loss in Q2 of 2015, but we believe the increase is due to the increased aggression by dogs toward postal carriers.
Last year, 5767 postal carriers were attacked by dogs in the US with Los Angeles leading the way with 74 attacks and Wilmington, NC among the lowest in the top 30 with only 10 attacks.
Rumor has it that a planned meeting between the NC dogs and LA dogs is in the works. It is said that the LA dog's increased aggression is rooted in their long-standing dislike for the shorts worn by postal carriers during the summer months while the NC dogs really don't care much at all.