All posts by Alex English

Instagram is King

People remember 20% of what they read and 80% of what they see. Research shows that Instagram engagement is 58 times higher per follower than Facebook. Therefore, if your brand is looking for more social engagement, you should not underestimate Instagram’s marketing potential.
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A couple ways to optimize Instagram is first by implementing the basics. Whether you already have an account or are just setting one up, you may run into the problem of your company name already being taken. This is where it is important that you are implementing your company logo as your profile picture for all social media across the board. Consistency in social media will help people quickly recognize your content wherever they may be. Your Instagram bio should express your company’s personality in a brief description of what your company does. It would also be beneficial for you to include a link to your website so people can find you on the Internet.

The best part of Instagram is posting attractive photos, so I encourage you to get creative with promoting your product. Do not post basic product shots with an interesting filter. That is not likely to draw attention for ‘likes’ or more ‘followers.’ Your posts should look “branded” in the sense that they are consistent with the online voice you are building behind your company. It does not always have to be about selling something. I encourage you to share behind-the-scenes photos—maybe a company event or a typical day in the office— both are interesting and make you more accessible to your audience. Don’t forget, video is fair game too for this; more behind-the-scenes action, showing reactions to your product or funny promotions, all help bring your brand to life on Instagram.
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Brand Rejuvenation

A brand makeover has to potential to completely rejuvenate a dying brand. If you are attempting a makeover, make it noticeable. The reason you are rebranding is to be noticed, so commit to the change in your brand. Any companies’ makeover should include a visual component to help the businesses re-establish the lines of communication with customers. Whether that’s new packaging or a redesigned logo, these tools have the potential to engage audiences to rediscover the brand.

In making your first steps at rebranding, the first thing to do is have your team go back and identify your existing audience, and then identify your new audience. If there is no difference between your current and desired audience then find where the miscommunication lies—failing to focus on a clear, identifiable audience leaves the brand at risk of trying to do too much and often backfires into reaching no one.

The benefits of brand rejuvenation entail the potential opportunity to communicate the shift in business model, as well as allowing you to transform your brand into new markets and audiences. Rebranding allows you to update the company’s mission and vision, which will ultimately re-engage employees as well. The ultimate goal in rebranding is to strengthen your brand’s messaging and allow it to evolve. When rebranding it is important to stay true to the brand’s mission as it should support your core message while connecting with your established audience in a new and authentic way.

The Psychology of Color

The psychology of color is one of the most interesting and controversial aspects of marketing. There has always been debate on the importance of color in marketing and its effect on persuasion. According to a study titled, The Impact of Color in Marketing, Satyendra Singh describes that the typical person makes up their mind within 90 seconds of their initial interaction with either people or products. She also claims that about 62-90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone.

It is believed that the most effective colors for advertising are those that stimulate the viewer’s senses. Warm colors, such as red and yellow, are known to make people feel comfortable, and encourage them to linger—a reason why many restaurants primarily use warm color schemes. Nearly all logos, advertisements, and menus of fast food chains feature reds, oranges, and yellows. This is because warm colors are some of the best colors for advertising food, as they are known to increase the appetite, which may translate to higher revenue.

Cool colors on the other hand, like blues and greens, are very calming colors often associated with knowledge and understanding—why many businesses tend to use a cool color pallet. Darker shades of blue are known to indicate dependability and integrity making it a good color for business ads and logos; you will often notice financial companies incorporating dark blue. Shades of light blue seem to be very effective for advertising over-the-counter medicines and other health products. It is believed that light blue has a calming effect on people and it is most often associated with health and healing.

One last color pallet to point out is black and white. People often underestimate the power of the simplicity behind a black and white color scheme. According to research, these are two of the best colors for advertising because they create a strong contrast when paired together. Black and white often indicate opposites—white associated with purity and freedom, while black is interpreted as elegant, powerful, and/or evil. However, when used together, black and white can give off a highly professional feel for the brand.
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The Contact Form

The goal of a landing page is to collect information from site visitors with the hope that they will be converted into a customer. From a business standpoint, we would like as much information as possible from these potentials. However, the average site visitor wants to spend as little time as possible filling out the contact form to get access to the offer they’re trying to receive.

In an article from HubSpot’s Social Media Scientist, Dan Zarella, looks at which types of form fields lower or increase customer conversation rate. From his studies we are able to analyze the best approach to a successful contact form.

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In Zarella’s studies, he found that as the number of form fields increases, conversation rates of customers slightly decrease.

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This graph represents as the number of single line text fields increase, there is a small decrease in conversation rate.

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This next graph shows that multiple text areas have a noticeably shrinking effect on conversation rate.

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Lastly, this graph proves that multiple drop down fields, can lower your companies conversation rate.

We can infer from Zarella’s study that the fewer form fields implemented on your landing page will bring you greater conversation feedback. In fact, conversation rate improves by almost half when the number of form fields are reduced from four fields to three- that is a 50% increase!

A few small details that will keep your contact form most efficient is by reducing all friction. The more friction you can eliminate from the user experience, the more your conversation rate will increase. One way to do this is by creating trust on your page. Reconsider the information you are requesting in your form fields; if you do not need it right away, get it from the user later. Another thing you might want to consider is providing the user with help text. By utilizing help text, you are telling the customer exactly how to fill out the form by eliminating any extra thinking on their end. Last but not least, don’t be afraid to design your contact form; it should be memorable to the customer, as well as clean, simple and efficient.

Effective Design: The Grid System

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Web design is much more than how a site might look in the eye of the viewer. An effective website is primarily focused on form and function. As a designer, it is important to not get caught up in the look of the site, but to go back to the skeleton and focus on the layout of the content you are working with. It does not matter how talented you are in Photoshop and Illustrator, if your content is randomly scattered along the page, the appearance is messy, unorganized, and difficult to navigate, resulting in sub-optimal Google Analytics.

This is where a grid system is very effective. A grid system is used to arrange content into a clean, organized structure by implementing horizontal and vertical lines. By arranging content in consistent way like this, the presentation is much more readable, making it easy for the viewer to absorb.

A few things to keep in mind when designing your page layout is the “F” pattern design. Eye tracking studies have identified that when people enter a website, they quickly scan the page in an “F” shape pattern; left to right, and top to bottom. This is evident that your design must have an effective flow line. A flow line typically enters the page from the top left-hand corner, carrying the eye horizontally across the page. This is the base of your structure for you to impose starting and stopping points when aligning your text and images.

Your grid should organize your graphic elements in relation to the page, as well as each other. Whether you decide to implement a three-column, four-column, or six-column grid—commit to it. Consistency is the most important thing as it will only help you later when applying your content to the page.

You Are The Company You Keep

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Working in a successful company is more than being good at what you do. Competition for work is high these days and to be the most successful you must aim at keeping your clients happy. It is a matter of both attracting and retaining clients.

In doing so, you must truly work at your networking skills. Remember to always be open and available to your clients. If they call you to ask a question, don’t just brush them off quickly but take the time to explain the answer. Your time is valuable, but so is keeping your client base happy. Do not charge them for your advice and if you do not know the answer to a question, find someone who does. Referrals are your best friend. They not only please your client, but it builds up your own credibility. By referring a client to someone else in your network it makes the client believe that you really know the industry.

On the other end of success you now just have to be good at what you do. Ask them plenty of questions and listen to the answers. Most people are not used to working with designers and often do not know what they want. Always provide updates for the client, even if they do not ask. The clients like to see what is going on, so show them examples and get their feedback.

My last tip of advice would simply be to be nice and remember to love their brand as much as they do. They need to see someone believe in what their doing and reassure them that they are making the right moves. People like to work with pleasant people; I believe that good energy is everything in the workplace and positive vibes go a long way with the projected ups and downs of a project. Therefore, if you aim to be energetic and polite in your work, you should always get the repeated business you deserve.

3 Design Differences Not to Forget

Whether you are a designer yourself or a person of the design industry, here is a list of some terms that are beneficial for anyone in the design world to know and never forget.

1. Raster Images and Vector Images

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While vector images are made up of points and created in Adobe Illustrator, raster images are photographs made up of pixels, and typically edited in Photoshop. You will find that there is a loss of quality when resizing a raster image vs. a vector image.

2. CMYK and RGB

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CMYK is the standard colour mode for sending documents; anything sent to print. It stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. RGB is typically what our eyes see; it is used for screen output and stands for Red, Green, and Blue. When working in Adobe programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, you may choose to set your document’s colour mode as CMYK or RGB, but keep in mind that you can experience a loss of colour when converting from RGB to CMYK.

3. DPI and PPI

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Two terms pertaining to Resolution. DPI stands for ‘Dots Per Inch’ and refers to the number of dots per inch on a printed page. 300DPI is the standard for printing images, but the higher the DPI, the higher the image quality. PPI is similar to raster images as it refers to ‘Pixels Per Inch’ and is also edited in the Photoshop software.

The Importance of Logo Design

Many designers dislike the thought of logo design. Just imagine the responsibility of incorporating a client’s ideologies into one single graphic. That is a challenging task. A Logo must provide a legible and recognizable face for your brand.

A brand should be the sum of everything, while a logo is more of a clue, or window into your brand. You must define your brand and then execute it. When looking at your logo options, there are a few things to consider. First, does it work vertically? Pay attention to the scale—it should be equally compelling whether it’s scaled to 10mm or 10 meters. How about without color, or viewed only in black and white? Are you implementing less than two fonts? Can you sketch it near-instantly?

Simplicity is key in logo design—too much detail will make it feel cluttered and vague. If it’s not easily recognizable, the whole point of the logo is lost. Ariel de Lisio, graphic designer for Negro Nouveau, states, “A great logo must be unique, with a clear and simple message. It should have personality, and create a reaction in the viewer. If you can’t say it in a simple way, it’s better not to say it.”

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My best advice for developing a successful logo is to focus on these technicalities. Pay close attention to what is trending and remember, don’t be so harsh on yourself because there is always going to be someone unhappy with your final choice.

Why Designers Need Human Contact

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I am the classic definition of an introvert, and anyone who knows me would agree. In my biased opinion, most designers, like myself, fall into that same category. It is a strange perception, but it is true. It’s just in our nature to be more in our heads and less in our words. And with the patterns of nature, working mostly behind the computer monitor, we are prone to only fall deeper into this habit.

But we speak of introversion like it is a bad thing. Introverts are more cautious and deliberate; they think things through and can make smarter decisions because of it. We are better at listening and take pride in our ability to sit still and focus. Introverts and/or designers, have absolutely no problem spending long periods of time in solitary work. I can sit down to work on a project and suddenly four hours have passed me by… designers, you know what I am talking about.

If it were not for my introverted personality, I would not be the designer I am today. In the office, this works to my advantage, but this trait is not exactly in my pride outside the workplace. It’s not so easy here in America—land of the loud and home of the talkative. Designers must find their balance. We cannot act like a victim to society because be were born with these quiet and reserved personalities. Shyness is a choice and in my opinion so is depression, (common in introverts). The healthiest, happiest people are the ones who can balance both an introverted and extroverted lifestyle.

So, to my fellow design freaks… go out and do something after work! Break the norm of staying in, reading a book, watching TV, and being alone. Those are all great things, trust me, I enjoy being by myself just as much as the next introvert. But, I enjoy my alone time ten times more, after a day or two away from it. I promise, once you find your balance between introvert and extrovert, you will be living a happier, healthier, and more successful life than ever before.

Embrace Social Media Marketing to Boost Revenue

Today social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, all represent a new network of opportunity for businesses to grab the attention of customers. Each of these sites already have people addicted to them, this means you do not have to look for customers because they are already there. The Facebook social network alone is available in 70 languages with over 1 billion users worldwide, and more than 33 million users in the UK.

Just a few years ago people mainly obtained information from the newspaper and television. Although these traditional media of communication are still being used, the Internet world has developed into the primary way of acquiring information. This transformation changes our way of communication from one-way to two-way. In two-way communication, like on Facebook, people can acquire information, as well as voice their own comments and ratings at the same time.

One thing to remember is that Facebook Marketing is very different than the traditional marketing. What makes this new form of marketing so convenient is that it provides your business with customer interaction. Through comments or posts, you get to have direct feedback and conversations with your target audience, which will ultimately help you develop a loyal fan base.

Another way to benefit from Facebook Marketing is its viral business promotion and advertising. If someone likes your page, it then appears in their news feed for all of their friends to see. You also have the option of posting advertising campaigns. You can build your advertisements and choose a campaign suitable for your business with the decision of how often these ads will appear.

While spending money on promoting your company through a page is not required, it is still recommended. Many people feel that simply having a page or a group on Facebook is enough to help their company, which is not necessarily true. If you do not remain active through these social media sites, then they do not serve any benefit. With this summarized checklist from Jon Loomer, you too can learn how to fully utilize social media and ultimately boost your companies revenue.

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