Archives January 2015

Branding Your Small Business: Five Things You Need to Know

After years in the industry, you are privy to successful strategies of helping small businesses grow their marketing strategies and assisting with the creative direction of thousands of small business logo designs. Here are the top five tips based on this experience that you can implement now to ensure your small business brand stands out.

1. You Must Know Your Audience
Marketing has developed into a pull economy. With the growth of digital marketing channels, sophisticated segmentation and personalisation has shifted marketing interactions from outbound to inbound. A brand needs to be much more than just a standard business logo design or some cool designs. A brand must build a deep relationship with its customers. To achieve this, it is essential for you to know your audience, as well as their desires and needs, and the challenges they face to progress. You must understand your customers’ purchasing habits, as well as the avenues they use when interacting with businesses similar to yours.
A sub-set of your audience is your niche – those customers who enjoy the most benefit from the type of services offered by your business. You should shape your brand and your marketing mainly towards this niche within a more mass market. As your business develops into new markets you will have the ability to target additional niches. Marketing to niches means that you can design value propositions for each target market, to address distinct needs and triggers for a highly reactive inbound strategy.

2. You Must Know Yourself
How do you create a brand that is compelling to your audience? You must discover and then express the values of your brand – the driving purpose and passion of your company. Think about what the inspiration was for starting the business. Consider what the value is that you offer to your customers.
Stay away from values that are superficial, cliché or statements that vaguely talk about revenue and profit. The values of your brand should be sincere and fervent assertions that demonstrate the prevailing qualities of an outstanding brand. Perhaps you hold authenticity above everything else, or you do your utmost to offer the most straightforward solution to a common problem. No matter what sort of business you are in, you have something essential to present to your prospective customers. If you re-focus on this as your reason for existence, customers will be sure to take notice.
Some brands base their identity on battling against something, but you should avoid comparisons with the competition. Always keep the message positive, and focus on the values of your brand and the benefits of your product, rather than on what the competition does not do.

3. You Must Communicate Well
First impressions set the standard for every customer interaction going forward. Begin with authority and clarity, and continue with responsibility and excellent customer service. The effectiveness of your communication about your product can have a greater impact on the success of your business than the product itself. Even in the instance where a customer has an experience that is negative, with communication that is honest and open you have the chance to make that customer into an evangelist for your brand.
If you treat all stakeholders in an honest and respectful manner, then your reputation will reflect this. The brands that put time and energy into effectively communicating develop long-term relationships with their customers and create vast amounts of goodwill.

4. You Must Design To Impress
A compelling brand is immediately recognizable. Such a brand will have a unique style and design, which evokes an emotional response and which is pertinent to their niche market. High-quality graphic design must be part of all of your business’ marketing materials. The website, the logo, pamphlets, and email communications must be designed for the highest aesthetic appeal. Attractiveness and grace equate with expertise, and evoke feelings of wellbeing and comfort, which serves to reinforce your brand’s value in the mind of the customer.
Impressive design does not have to mean graphics and visual elements. Design functionality includes factors such as the typography, the page layout, intuitive user experience design, and readability, which are all important for a brand image that is effective and engaging.

5. You Must Be Consistent
It’s likely you know the taste of a Coke, you can visualise an iPad and can recall the colours that make up Google’s logo.
A fundamental value of branding for a small business is that it is consistent. If there consistency is not there, then a business will never have the chance to develop into a brand that is sustainable and familiar. Consistency not only builds up trust, it also leads to recognition. In the long term, consistency works to drive larger profits. Capitalise on the values of your brand, its impressive design, and your thorough understanding of your audience, by ensuring a brand experience that is consistently enjoyable. You will become well known not only for the product or service you offer, but also for invoking a specific emotion in your customers.
Every single communication regarding your brand should make clear the best and most compelling thing about the brand. By unifying research and design and consistency of message, you can make enduring and lucrative relationships with your ideal customers.
Your business’ website is often the main presentation of your product or service, and a very important channel of communication for your business.

This article was contributed by Magicdust, a full service digital agency who specialize in business logo design and small business websites.

 

3 Tips to Finding A Talented Graphic Design Company in Wollongong

Graphic design is so much more than pretty pictures, colors and fonts. A graphic designer can transform your company’s product (or service) and messaging into one, consistent design that will essentially become the brand that connects you with your audience. With so much on the line, you certainly want to make sure that you find a graphic designer in Wollongong who’s up to the challenge, both creatively and professionally. But how can you find the graphic designer for the job? Here are 3 tips to help you along the way.

  • Look for similar past successes. While you may not have much in terms of branding at the moment, chances are you have an idea of the direction you want your company to head towards. When looking for a graphic design artist, be sure to find one who’s demonstrated the type of work similar to what you have envisioned. For example, are you looking for a product-based website, a movie poster, or are you in a specific field that requires familiarity? Make sure your graphic designer’s portfolio demonstrates similar examples.
  • Have an idea of what you want. When you’re vetting potential graphic designers in Wollongong, the best way to make sure you narrow down your field is to have a clear idea of what you want. You should be prepared to offer a detailed business brief that will set the stage for your designers. That way the designers can present their ideas and costs, in direct correlation to your project.
  • Claim ownership of the final product. Once you’ve narrowed down your graphic designers to those who have what you’re looking for, let them know that you require all original art files once the project is complete. Believe it or not, but that’s not standard practice for many graphic designers. However, you want to have ownership over all of your work, so negotiate that before you commit to a designer. Chances are you’ll find a few designers hesitant to agree, which only serves to narrow your pool down even smaller.

With so many applications out there helping people create their own artwork, it’s easy enough for anyone to claim they’re a graphic designer. But by doing your research, and carefully dissecting the portfolios and reviews of your potential designers, you’ll find one who will help you push your branding to new heights. Many people looking for graphic design in Wollongong turn to Graphic Traffic. See why by visiting them at http://www.graphictraffic.com.au/.

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Build Your Business With A Professional Looking Website

Although your business is big or small, having a website is very necessary. Developing a website is not easy because there are so many things that you must take care, such as web design, contents, and search engine optimization (SEO). Having professional and experienced web developers will be really helpful. The value in spending money on a professional website is a long term investment for your business. You can hire graphic design Washington DC to start building your professional looking website.

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Here are reasons why it is important to have a professional web design, and how a professionally designed website can help your business.

First impression matters. People visit your site and make a decision on if they are going to spend time at, or move on to another website. It takes something special to keep your visitor interested and come back to your site. A great design leads to a great experience for your visitors. This word of mouth leads to more traffic and potential clients based on your well-designed website.

Nowadays, the simpler and clearer the logo, the more professional your brand appears. A good professional designer will be able to create something memorable and visually appealing. If you do use graphics in your logo, your designer will make it unique and does not look like a generic logo icon.

You’re looking for visitors who browse through your site and get to know what is your main business. You will be able to submit your professional web design to the web galleries, and have it showcased to more visitors. This means more traffic and potential clients, and more sales.

With an easy-to-navigate and professional web design, you will be able to highlight your main content. This would make big differences rather just having a site no real direction. Your personality can be brought out by a professional graphic designer and reflected in your site. People want to do business with people and not just faceless companies. A good web design should be an immediate reflection of your personality, and your business.

Potential clients are searching your website for contact information, and comparing your site to your competitor’s in order to determine who suits their needs the best. Make sure that your website is accessible to the visitors of your site. A good website should be properly viewable on all major browsers: IE6, IE7, IE8, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Chrome.

Having a quick and easy way for customers to find your phone number, address, or email address is a huge benefit. They can easily find out what you do, what you have done previously and what you can offer them.

A professional design put a visual hierarchy to use. A visual hierarchy tells us that the eyes move top to bottom, left to right. This means you’ll get the most eyes on your button in the top left corner of your site, and those eyes could very well mean more clicks. Visitors will decide whether they’re interested in your site within the first few seconds of seeing it. Sometimes a big, high-resolution imagery can keep them interested and will make your site look more professional.

With a professional and well-organized web design, you will have more time to focus on the important content to drive traffic and sales. You only need to contact your original designer to update your website design every year or two. An effective design builds a solid foundation for the improvements you will want to make after the foundation site is finished. You are ready to continually maintain your website and stay at the top of your market.

A professional web design will have an impact to your search engine rankings and visibility. A professional web designer will make sure that the code markup is clean and easy to read, which is great for spiders who crawl your page. And when a design blog features your web design, it will add a link back to your site, increasing your natural back links.

A professional-looking website will also looks professional-looking on mobile devices. You don’t want to miss out on potential site visitors because they’re on the go.

Traditional vs. Digital Marketing – What Works Best?

Traditional vs. Digital Marketing- What Works Best?

The goal of small to medium sized business marketing is to grow sales, and marketing is a core activity for generating new leads and sales. According Sydney web design agency Magicdust- ‘One of the key challenges for most small businesses is that they can’t afford to invest in marketing that does not have a direct or immediate impact on bottom line’.

Not only this, but with the advent of digital marketing, there has been an overabundance of new marketing terms to understand. Terms like closed loop marketing, multichannel marketing and inbound marketing can be distracting and can make you feel like marketing strategy is a daunting topic.

So, how is a business owner with limited financial resources, time and marketing expertise supposed to make good decisions about where to invest their precious marketing dollars? The following guidelines can help you figure out the difference between digital and traditional marketing, how they complement each other and what’s best for you.

There is still a place for traditional marketing.

Twenty years ago marketing was much easier. If you needed leads you used a direct response method like direct mail, telemarketing, newspaper, or magazine advertising with offer oriented advertising. If you wanted to build awareness of your business to a large audience of people you used TV, radio, magazines, or billboards.

The advantages of traditional marketing still exist today. They include:

1. It’s superior for delivering messages to mass audiences; especially TV and radio.
2. It’s an excellent method for building broad awareness about your brand.
3. It allows you reach anyone, including people who don’t use technology or computers very often.

A few of the key limitations with traditional marketing are:

1. It can be very expensive.
2. It is hard to measure the results and return on investment.
3. The creative elements can be hard to produce.
4. The majority of people who see, hear or read your advertising are qualified leads.
5. It can be costly, time consuming and difficult to change your advertising once it starts.

These are all potential reasons why expenses for traditional marketing have fallen 160% during the last year as it tries to compete with more cost effective digital methods. Although traditional has multiple benefits, it’s most important weakness is that it needs to interrupt whatever the consumer is doing in an effort to get their attention. Digital has the upper hand with being able to target and segment audiences so that marketing is focused on inbound rather than outbound interactions.

Digital marketing is all about the consumer.  

Today, you don’t have to invest large marketing dollars to find consumers that may be interested in your product or service. Consumers register which businesses that they’re interested in their search or browsing data of products and services on the Internet. According to research by BIA/Kelsey, 97% of consumers now use the Internet to research and/or buy products.

Digital marketing offers important advantages over traditional marketing, particularly when targeting a niche market or qualified segment which has a higher chance of conversion.

In most cases, digital marketing has a better return on investment with 61% lower costs per lead. You can also implement digital marketing on a low risk, pay for results basis. For example, when you use pay-per-click, you only pay when you get someone to clicks on your ad and visits your website or landing page.

Other advantages of digital marketing include:
1. It’s very measurable – so you’ll know when to pull back spend or invest more.
2. You can target your advertising to a very specific audience.
3. You can personalise your messaging
4. Most of the time, you can change your advertising quickly, and without a great expense.
5. You don’t have to wait for the next publication or available time slots. You can advertise almost instantaneously if you choose.
6. Digital is eco-friendly since you don’t need or use paper products at all.

Since consumers are more or less telling businesses exactly when they’re interested in via their browsing data, interruption marketing is virtually non-existent, which explains the growth of inbound marketing. Considering that 90% of people use the Internet to research and buy products, your prospective customers are either going to find your business online, or they will not, and you will surrender the opportunity to engage with prospects who are telling you that they are interested in what you offer.

Regardless of size of your businesses you no longer have a choice of whether or not to use digital marketing. Even if you choose not to use pay-per-click, search engine optimization, online display or even a website, your business is online. Remember, almost every print directory has moved online, and there are many other sources that people use to find information online that aren’t yellow pages directories or your website.

To find out how your business is listed online, Search Google for your business name. You may be surprised how much information exists about your business that you didn’t even know about.

The real key to success is using both traditional and digital marketing holistically.

Yes, people still read newspapers and magazines, watch TV, and listen to the radio. Just not as frequently or in the same volume as five or ten years ago. Good marketing consultants and agencies understand that traditional marketing is not dead.

Quite simply its role has changed in the over-all marketing mix. Businesses that want the highest return on their marketing dollars are learning their customer’s buying cycles, and using the traditional marketing axiom of using the right media to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time in a highly personalised fashion.

This article was contributed by Magicdust- who provides online marketing, e-commerce solutions and website development as the go to web design company Sydney small business owners trust.