5 Graphic Design Tips For Your Marketing Strategy

5 Graphic Design Tips For Your Marketing Strategy

Time To Read: 4 minutes

5 Graphic Design Tips For Your Marketing Strategy

The thing about graphic design is that it either captures your attention or it barely holds a quick glance. As a business owner or marketing director, you’ll have instances where you have to create designs. We know it’s easy to see a professional graphic and think, “I can do that,” but then get overwhelmed when you actually sit down to create it. To help you be successful, we interviewed our Graphic Designer, Chad Boyd, to provide graphic design tips for your business marketing strategy.

1. GRAPHIC DESIGN IS ABOUT PROBLEM-SOLVING

It is said that “design fulfills a need or solves a problem. So as a designer, you are the problem solver.” The first thing you must understand before creating a visual is that graphic designing is communicating. A graphic’s point is to communicate something, whether it is directions, a sale, information about a product, etc. For this reason, a graphic must be crystal clear. Chad states, “Less is more. You have a short amount of time to grab your audience’s attention. If it’s overwhelming, they will not continue to read it. Aim for clear, to the point, and not over complicate.” A 15-second rule states you have 15 seconds to capture your audience’s attention, whether it is a website, magazine ad, brochure, social media ad, etc. We encourage you to simplify information through visuals and content. Boil down to the highlights that are clear to the viewer. Your audience should not be confused after they see your graphic design. Strive for a visually pleasing, simplistic, and minimalistic execution of the project for a successful impact. Find a balance of what you provide between services/products, photography, and include a call-to-action for each channel.

2. MOBILE-FIRST DESIGN

Move from desktop-first thinking to mobile-first thinking. Ensure the graphics and images are saved in high resolution since phones have the capability to present high-resolution images. This is true for organic social media posts, paid social media, websites, and anything else that falls under the digital marketing umbrella. Chad also suggests keeping consistency across all channels, stating, “People need to be able to recognize your brand, your business.” Verify that your brand (logo, colors, fonts, voice & tone) are consistent throughout all graphics.

3. EMBRACE WHITESPACE

According to a Visme designer, Daniela Verduga, “overloading your design or trying to fill every space is a common mistake for non-designers or clients.” Be intentional with negative space so the project can provide aesthetic appeal, make it understandable, and keep from cluttering. As Chad puts it, “Have a good balance between whitespace and content. Avoid the need to fill every space.” Whitespace is typically thought of for visual appeal, but it also makes your message stand out. Research confirms that whitespace can increase comprehension by up to 20%. Let the graphic visually communicate the simplified information your business is trying to convey to the audience.

4. DESIGN FOR YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE

This may sound like a simple tip, but as the Creative Director of Edge of the Web, Sam Orchard, notes, “This happens a lot with people new to the industry. Instead of thinking about the target audience and their preferences, they rely on their own tastes or current trends. You end up seeing promotional material for the local bookstore that looks like a flyer for a night club. While everyone wants their work to be right on trend, if that style doesn’t resonate with your target audience, you’re not doing your client any favors.” This goes back to branding. Identify who your target audience is and who you are marketing to. This doesn’t mean you can’t stay on trend; we highly recommend you stay on-trend, simply make sure it resonates with your target audience. As our graphic designer puts it, “Stay with what is trending within your business industry.”

5. ADAPT AND EVOLVE

Avoid stagnate graphics by adapting and evolving. Seek out and implement trends that are current for your industry. Consider using graphic creator apps and platforms that will elevate your graphics and photos. If you need graphics to display information for your business, we recommend using a drag-and-drop, easy-to-use graphic builders, like Adobe Spark and Canva. You will be tempted to use many templates, use all different logos, and colors that will steer you away from your brand. Refrain from this! Keep your graphics on brand. To keep your graphics on brand, you can subscribe for a monthly fee to upload your brand and make branded graphics, so your pages don’t look all scattered. There may be projects where you don’t have the photography needed to complete it or rather use photos than graphics. We recommended using stock photos, like Freepik and Unsplash.

Bottom Line

Our graphic designer, Chad, shares, “For me as a designer, something I am constantly trying to fight is not to overcomplicate it.” We understand that there is a struggle when creating graphics for your business, but you will successfully create professional visuals if you provide simplistic information to your audience, make it mobile-friendly, refrain from over-cluttering through embracing whitespace, and evolve with your business industry trends.

Improve Your Webpage Loading Speed

Improve Your Webpage Loading Speed

Time To Read: 3 minutes

IMPROVE YOUR WEBPAGE LOADING SPEED

We have hit on the fact that you should set up your business webpage in a way that will provide the best user experience. Among the practices that should be implemented, fast loading speed is very important because it determines if your visitors will stay on the page or not. This week, we interviewed our Web Director, Dustin Beaty, to provide the best ways to improve your webpage loading speed, understand how this metric works, and to discover the factors that influence it.

WHY THE NEED FOR SPEED?

The Gomez Report states that 47% of users expect a maximum of two seconds of loading time for an average website. The reason for this is because we live in a time when people receive information instantly. Your audience isn’t the only one judging the loading time; it is also an SEO factor that affects your website ranking. Optimized web pages enhance user experience and ultimately boost search engine rankings.

PERFORMANCE-OPTIMIZED HOSTING

Choosing your hosting provider makes an impact on your website’s management and performance. You want a host that will optimize their environment for what your site is built in. Find what they specialize in and make sure it aligns with what your business needs. Make sure to choose a host and provider to cater to your site and provide a powerful platform designed for speed. The worst mistake you can make is opting for cheap hosting. Often, this decision translates into poor performance. Do your research and make sure there isn’t any sharing of resources between multiple websites happening. This can lead to an overloaded server and strain your page loading times.

WEB-SAFE IMAGES AND GRAPHICS

According to our Web Director, this is hands down the number one speed killer. Businesses tend to place large graphics on their website. Ensure your graphics and images are saved at a lower resolution and quality to keep its integrity on the website but lower the loading time. Some steps can be taken when saving the graphics or photography that can be done in a web-safe format. Businesses tend to do this at the beginning during the website buildout, but it is an important step to carry throughout website updates, changes, and landing page add-ons.

CACHE THE WEB PAGES

Caching is a very effective way to improve your webpage speed. When you build a webpage, it’s built in a code and the host takes the code and translates it into a rendering. If there are many people hitting that site, it would have to be produced each time without the cache. With caching, the site temporarily stores the fully rendered page how it would be presented to a new client, minimizing the server’s work to generate and serve a web page to a visitor’s browser. You choose a physical location for where the hosting sits, and it is typically not near to where your business demographic is located. When caching is done on a site, a content delivery network (CDN) should also be used because it helps minimize delays in the webpage loading by reducing the physical distance between the server and the user.

DISABLE UNNECESSARY PLUGINS

Take the time to eliminate unnecessary plugins. Having too many plugins can slow down your webpage. Take a look at the plugins used on your business website and get rid of the outdated ones. One poor plugin can cause beneficial plugins to work poorly too. Frequently go through the active plugins and review if they are necessary. Every plugin that you use will use resources from your website, be sure to review and test plugins that may slow down the page speed. The key is to use quality plugins for the best performance.

Bottom Line

If your website doesn’t load quickly or lags, your audience will check out and move on to the next competitor. Items that slow down your website include large images, using cheap hosting, using unnecessary plugins, and caching the web pages. Your site is only going to perform as well as the quality software and work that you put into it. It may cost money and it’s definitely going to cost time, but improving the webpage speed is key to keeping visitors engaged.

The Rundown On Twitter Fleets

The Rundown On Twitter Fleets

Time To Read: 2 minutes

THE RUNDOWN ON TWITTER FLEETS

Have you heard of Twitter’s new feature, Fleets? On November 17, 2020, Twitter launched their version of Stories, allowing users to share momentary thoughts for only 24 hours. Following behind Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook, Twitter now has the familiar format and what users are saying lives just for a moment in time. Here is the rundown on Twitter Fleets and what to expect with the new feature.

Why the Jump On the Band Wagon?

According to Twitter, it was brought to their attention that “Tweeting is sometimes uncomfortable because it feels so public, so permanent, and like there’s so much pressure to rack up Retweets and Likes.” The team set out to find a solution, driven to no longer have great Tweets left in drafts. In designing Fleets and testing it in Brazil, Italy, India, and South Korea, they found that people felt more comfortable joining the conversation since it disappears after a day. It provides an easier way to share personal and casual thoughts, opinions, and feelings. The creation of this product ultimately is an effort to spark interaction in a new way.

How It Works

Fleets are for sharing momentary thoughts and help start conversations and only stick around for 24 hours. The new feature is located at the top of the home timeline. Anyone who can see your full profile can see your Fleets there too. Within Fleets, you can write text, share a Tweet, record a video, or post a photo. The ability to customize your Fleets with various background and text options is offered. To share a Tweet as a Fleet, tap the “Share” icon at the bottom and then tap “Share in Fleet.” Twitter recently announced they will soon offer stickers and live broadcasting within Fleets.

How to Use It For Your Business

According to Fortune, Fleets offer another venue for Twitter to sell advertising. “It’s estimated that Instagram Stories is responsible for 10% of all Facebook advertising. Facebook reported more than $21 billion in advertising revenue in the third quarter.” Twitter is considering integrating ads within Fleets but is not yet doing so. If Twitter is a recommended platform for your business, we recommend you get familiar with the feature now. Integrate it into your business’ digital strategy to become familiar with the new product and stay relevant with your social media organic posting, along with paid posting.

Bottom Line

In the words of Twitter, Fleets give you the power to use and interact with Twitter in a whole new way, right in the moment. It is designed to give people more places to interact with one another on the platform in a way that is not necessarily public or visible on a user’s profile long term. Though it is a familiar format, your business can begin interacting with it now to stay in the presence of your Twitter audience.

The Ultimate Guide To Capture Quality Pictures With Your Phone

The Ultimate Guide To Capture Quality Pictures With Your Phone

Time To Read: 4 minutes

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO CAPTURE QUALITY PICTURES WITH YOUR PHONE

Photography is essential for your business’s marketing strategy because it solidifies your message when accompanied by effective content. Companies tend to place focus on content, but the target audience focuses on visuals first. Photography can be used to generate more emotions than just text because it grabs attention quicker. For example, you can photograph a leaf ten different ways and give ten different moods; you can only write the word leaf one way. Here at GreenFox, we always recommend our clients include photography in their marketing strategy to ensure high-quality images for their social media, website, and print collaterals. Because times are difficult, we understand that it may not always be possible. So, we decided to interview our photographer and digital director, Aaron Meeks, to provide the ultimate guide to capture quality pictures with your phone.

Focus On One Subject

It is easy to slip into the habit of trying to put everything, and then some, in each photo. Avoid making the photos cluttered. Your subject must be clear to the viewer whether it is your business product or service. Your target audience will check out if the photograph is too busy and proceed to ignore the content that goes along with it. Remember that negative space is okay and should be used intentionally.

Get Creative with Different Perspectives

Think outside the box. Take photos of a product or service from a new angle where someone doesn’t typically view it. It is okay to stray away from typical angles. For example, instead of shooting a bookshelf straight on, try to shoot from a different angle, like from above, looking down with someone reading on the ground. The goal is to make memorable visuals with an unexpected perspective. Don’t be afraid to play with reflections. There’s something about seeing your product or shop in the reflection of a puddle of water or someone’s mirror lenses.

Draw In the Viewer’s Eye

Use leading lines to your product or service. Whenever you take the photo, think of where you want the audience’s eye to stop. You don’t want them to leave the photo. Make sure the leading lines end them at the subject. Look for symmetry and balance within shots. Symmetry relaxes people if it is a smooth image with fewer items in the frame. If you want to catch the audience’s attention, make something in the shot not symmetrical; Odd numbers or something that is typically symmetrical but isn’t will stand out. Repetitive patterns are pleasing to the eye, whether it is color, shapes, objects, etc. Capture candid photos of people with or wearing your products. If your business offers services, take candid photos of someone receiving the service or at the location.

Technical Elements

Use natural light to your advantage. Don’t be afraid to take photos after dark since it allows you to play with shadows. Avoid zooming in when you’re at a distance; the quality of the photo will be significantly lower since it is taken with your mobile device. The new phones, like the iPhone 12, allow you to take photos in raw. The benefit to this is that raw has more data and pixels to work with, which is more forgiving when editing. Photos taken in the JPG setting have less pixels because it captures less data, making large amounts of editing to it lower the quality. When it comes to editing the photos you take, you want to use the best apps to create your project’s mood or theme. We recommend Adobe’s Lightroom mobile app. Though it’s not free and requires an Adobe account, it’s one of the best tools since you can custom edit or use preset filters. A free photography app we also like to use is Darkroom. If you’re not photo-savvy, we recommend using the free app Preview: Planner for Instagram to edit your photos. This app allows you to edit your photos with 100+ filters and also allows you to preview what your business feed will look like and shift “posts” around to make sure it looks aesthetically pleasing. These technical elements are great in helping you use the right tools to build your social media strategy and website strategy. Using a Gimbel or phone tripod is always recommended to keep shots smooth and elevated as it adds a professional touch to your photos.

Bottom Line

It is always beneficial to leave your business marketing photography to the professionals, but it’s understandable when that isn’t always an option for the budget. If this is the case for your business or as the marketing director, it is critical that you follow these guidelines to produce the best quality photos from your mobile device. Focusing on one subject at a time and getting creative with different perspectives as you take photos will give an elevated edge to your visuals. Captivate the audience as they scroll through your social media or website. Be selective on editing platforms to develop intentional moods or themes in the photography. Remember, photography is essential for your business’s marketing strategy because it effectively tells your message when accompanied with clear content.

5 Reasons Your Business Needs an Updated Website

5 Reasons Your Business Needs an Updated Website

Time To Read: 3 minutes

5 REASONS YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS AN UPDATED WEBSITE

Your business receives first impressions based on your website and the user experience it offers. Redesigning or building a new website can take work and may require money, but the results are worth the investment. Though it is easier to think of reasons to prolong the idea, here are 5 reasons why your business should get an updated website.

1. Visualization Appeal

Your business’ website is essentially your digital office. The organization is reflected by the impression your website gives. If the visuals, design, and structure are outdated, the target audience will make assumptions that your business cannot evolve with the product or services it offers as well. Take note of what works, what doesn’t, and what your website has outgrown; then, evaluate if a new website is the most effective option for your business.

2. Viewers Get ConfuseD

Is your business website as user friendly as it could be? Functionality is the key component that will keep your website relevant. Ultimately, your traffic and lead generations can be affected if the design strategy is not considered. Check if the following issues could be resolved with an updated or new website: non-readily contact information, confusing navigation, hidden important content, unclear call-to-action, and un-updated offered products or services.

3. It’s Not Mobile-First, Let Alone Mobile-Friendly

Statistics states that more than 17% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. If your website isn’t responsive, you’re most likely losing lead generations and potential customers. We are in a digital age where your website should be made mobile-first; mobile-friendly at the very least. Mobile users desire their user experience on their devices to be first priority if they are to stay on the site. If your business website is not mobile-first, let alone mobile-friendly, it’s time to get a new website.

4. Your Competitors’ Website is Updated

Keep tabs on what your competitors are doing. If they make improvements on their website that substantially improves their rankings, they could push your business website down in searches. You don’t have to update or get a new website every time your competition makes changes, but you should consider it if you’re the oldest and less user-friendly website in the inner-competition circle of your industry. Hubspot suggests that “maintaining an edge in search shouldn’t be your only goal, but if you’re not near the top of SERPs because competing business is keeping you from there, analyze what SEO adjustments you can make to your site.”

5. Honestly, It’s Worth the Upgrade

Sometimes, getting a new website is a lot easier and worth the investment, especially if your website holds technology that is outdated. At GreenFox, we are trying to partner with companies to help them make wise business moves during this difficult year of COVID-19. For the first time ever, we are offering a WordPress website build for $2,500. This Is nowhere near the normal cost of a website built by our crew, so this is a great deal and not a sales tactic. If you or someone you know resonated with these reasons to get a new website, then reach out to us and let us better your business’ 2021. It is on a first-come, first-serve basis so we will begin building based on who is first in line.

Bottom Line

Visual appeal, viewer confusion, non-responsive website, and falling behind the competition are just a few reasons why you shouldn’t delay updating your business website or getting a new one built. Your website is meant to bring you business, and if it isn’t doing that effectively, it’s time to make the investment.

5 Tips to Create an Effective Landing Page

5 Tips to Create an Effective Landing Page

Time To Read: 3 minutes

5 TIPS TO CREATE AN EFFECTIVE LANDING PAGE

Hubspot describes landing pages as a way to enable your business to direct site visitors to better-targeted pages that have the ability to capture leads at a much higher rate than forms on other web pages. Lead generation relies on landing pages and the lead-capture forms that come with it. It is an effective option to convert website visitors into leads and reconversions down the road. Due to its direct and targeted identity, capture leads occur at a much higher rate than any other web page. Here are 5 tips for creating and optimizing landing pages.

1. Select a Landing Page Goal

This tip may seem obvious, but make sure your landing page goal is chosen wisely. Whether it is newsletter signup or sale of a product or service, select one goal per landing page. Hubspot states that “landing pages focus your visitors’ attention on one particular offer, limiting the distractions of everything else on your website. Visitors are on a landing page for a single purpose: to obtain an offer by completing a lead-capture form.” Choose a desirable offer that will lead your audience to complete a lead-capture form.

2. Basic Elements Needed

Start with the basic elements of a headline. Make sure to match the landing page headline to the call-to-action. It makes it clear to the audience what they can expect. You run the risk of losing trust with your audience if your headline doesn’t match the call-to-action or lead to confusion, all hindering lead capture. Create a brief offer description with a clear statement of the value. Be sure to include at least one supporting visual element, whether graphic, photo, or video. The most important element to include in your landing page is the lead-capture form.

3. Content: A Critical Component

Keep this offer description brief and clear. Emphasize the offer’s value by highlighting the benefits it offers. You want to provide your audience with a compelling incentive to download, subscribe, buy, etc. Don’t just include produce or service specifications; your target audience will most likely have that information available on the main webpage. Direct your content to specify how the offer addresses a problem or need your target audience face.

4. Less is More

Embrace space when it comes to the layout of the landing page. As mentioned before, you don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too much information, visuals, and other offers. By integrating less distractions, your target audience will know exactly what you want them to do.

5. Lead-Capture Form

In your lead-capture form, only ask for the information you really need. If you’re asking for personal information, reduce anxiety with proof elements like security seals. It helps to make the form appear shorter. If it looks like it would take a long time to fill out, the user may refrain from filling it out due to a “lack of time.” Do this by reducing the spacing between fields or by aligning titles to the left of each field. Avoid using the word “Submit” on your lead-capture form. Instead, use a phrase that displays how it will benefit your audience. For example, “Get Your Free eBook” or “Download Your Coupon.”

Bottom Line

According to HubSpot’s Marketing Benchmarks Report, companies see a 55% increase in leads when increasing their number of landing pages from 10 to 15. Your business can generate leads to more offers and landing pages that are created. It is targeted content to better appeal to all the personas your business targets. Landing pages can be effective if appropriately strategized. Designate a goal for the landing page and include the basic elements for it to capture the most leads. Write copy that is descriptive and clear. Avoid product or service specifications; instead, write about how it can help them solve their problems or serve their needs. Highlight the value the offer can provide. Plan out a simple layout, embracing space and the less-is-more concept. Develop a lead-capture form that intrigues your audience to fill out. With these 5 tips, your business will have effective landing pages and ultimately generate leads.