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We talk a lot about marketing here on this blog. We also talk a lot about design on this blog too. And things change over time. What worked even five years ago may not work as well now, if at all. Even how we do things here has changed a lot from when I wrote this previous version of the article back in 2013. With this in mind we present to you the updated version of our Quick & Dirty Rules for Creating Marketing.
These updates reflect on the changes of the marketing and design landscape where the internet is the dominant format now. These updated rules also reflect seven years of practical experience of applying and updating the rules based on the real world experience.
This is the one rule I think is more important than any other. I’ve written about it several times here on the blog and will be covering it on our developing youtube channel. As this is the quick and dirty marketing design rules, I’ll just go over it quickly here. When I design any marketing material I always have the 5/10/15 second rule foremost in my mind. I work on the principle that you have only 5 seconds to grab someone’s attention before they move on to the next thing, so that headline has to be the hook to make them want to read more. You’ve now got 10 seconds to make the key selling point of your offer, the reason why they should go with you over someone else. In the remaining 15 seconds you have the time to give them at least 3 more good reasons why they want you and your services. After that you can fill in the rest of the details because by then you have them. Is it a perfect rule guaranteed to hook people every time, no; what it is is a system to help streamline your design and get those important points front and centre.
This is the companion to 5/10/15 second rule. There’s always the need to get the most out of every item you design. The problem is the more you cram into it, the busier it becomes and the harder it is to understand quickly. In this busy media age you have seconds to get people’s attention before they move on to the next thing so you have to make clear and to the point. It’s better to make 3 good points in your 15 second slot backed up by extra evidence or testimonials than to have 12 brief ones. Another thing to consider is that people are lazy, they don’t feel like scrolling down the screen or flipping over to the other side of the flyer. You have to make your pitch in that window of interest so keep it short and to the point. This applies to a web page, a flyer, most brochures.
There are exceptions to this rule. Based on the current research while facebook, instagram, twitter, prefer posts under 100 words or (30 seconds for videos), youtube is most effective at 2-3 minute mark and blog posts like this work best at 1000-2000 word size. For physical media, while you should have a single page for most flyers and rack cards, a building development brochure is more effective the more detail it provides. For a website, a builder might have only a few pages covering the basics, but a wedding planner or a photographer needs to have nunourse ‘pages’ showcasing their work to both sell their services and to inspire their clients. Which way should you go, less or more? That all depends on the nature of the business and how you want to promote it. This is where talking to us at Copy Express will help. We’re able to help come up with a new perspective on what you can do, and narrow down the options you should be considering.
These days everyone has limited time and money to promote their business. You might be tempted to spend time trying to get things perfect so you maximise your marketing ‘dollar’ when you do put it out there. Problem is that while you are perfecting it, you’re not promoting yourself and your competitors are getting the sales you are missing. So better to get a bit of basic marketing out there now to get you some business, than have nothing out there getting none of the business. Better to have a simple static web ‘landing page’ from a template that puts you into net searches than spending lots of time and money having a souped up fancy web site that doesn’t improve your search engine rankings and costs you more to have hosted. Better to have standard business cards generated through a Copy Express design studio template you can give away in the hundreds than spending for fancy custom shaped embossed cards that you can only ever afford to give away to a select few.
No one gets their marketing right the first time. Even the multinationals get things wrong from time to time, and that’s with them having the resources of huge advertising teams. If you’re just a small business, you don’t have the time or money to do hundreds of test versions to find what works for you. It’s totally fine to come up with something less than perfect. This ties back into our ‘okay’ marketing rule, you’re going to refine what you do based on what feedback you get from customers. So don’t print off tens of thousands of flyers or spend hundreds of dollars on business cards that you have to throw out unused based on your feedback. A better way to do things is to do small runs and tweak it with each new batch to match what you’re doing and what the market expects of you. We find ordering enough to last you 3-4 months seems to be the sweet spot for this as it lets keep just enough to do the job while you’re figuring out what works for you.
What is a design bible? Simply put it’s nothing more than a list or set of rules to make sure you stick to the same consistent look and feel for your marketing and design. We cover this in more detail in it’s own article but here’s the overview. A design bible is simply a document that lists the colours, fonts, graphics and logo options you use for all your marketing and branding purposes. The more advanced ones have detailed guidelines for everything from how webpages look to downloadable templates that you can fill in to ensure that everything done is consistent. For most small businesses a document containing information about logos, fonts and colours will help a lot. If you’re paying for a designer to create things for you, see how much extra it will cost to have them provide you with the bible so you know what you need if you go to a different designer in the future or want to try doing it yourself.
There’s nothing wrong with using templates to get your design and marketing work done. There’s hundreds of thousands of ready to use designs covering everything you need to save you reinventing the wheel, especially if you have no design skill yourself. Here at Copy Express we have an integrated design studio on our website that has a supply of templates you can use free of charge. If none of those match your needs, there many stock images sites you can find both free and pay for templates that will let you get something out there promoting you and your business (tying back to the rule about better to have ‘okay’ marketing than none). It also makes the iterating process faster too, as you can start with a template that is almost right and modify it to better match your needs over time, or give your designer a starting point to speed up the design process.
This one is a big issue for us as a printing company. Everyone thinks they will only ever be doing things online these days. Have a website, use cloud based applications to do the paperwork, promote themselves through social media. The reality is you still have to have business cards, print out flyers and brochures, signwrite vehicles, embroider uniforms, and so on. And that’s when you find all the art designed for the screen is too low resolution, or has too much fine detail, or even too many colours to be economic or practical to use. So how to avoid this problem. We cover this in other items on this blog but here’s the basic rule. Design for black and white print first big enough to be on a side of a car and as small as on a business card. Then add colours, one at a time till you have just enough to get the ‘feel’ across. At this point you can convert and scale down to fit on to any digital medium you need with little effort.
We kid you not, are here to help you get your marketing sorted. You are reading this article, which is one of many we have written on marketing. You can send us an email with questions and we can give you quick answers. Drop on by and have a chat with us to brainstorm a few ideas. You can book a meeting with us to sit down and discuss what you should have set up to match your marketing needs and what needs to be designed to make it work for you. We want to help your business grow so you come to us for more and more of your marketing needs, a win-win situation for everyone.
This has been just an overview of the quick and dirty set of rules for creating marketing. There’s so much more to it than what I’ve covered here, but it will get you on the right track. What will really help is talking to us as we can sort out a lot of the process for you and keep you focused on the essentials you need to have to cover the basics and get potential customers seeing your name first. Book a meeting with us today and we will help you make your marketing process simple and quick.