3 Reasons to Include Animated Videos in Your Digital Marketing Strategy

With the growing popularity of online marketing, people are constantly bombarded with more information than they can reasonably consume. Unfortunately, this wealth of stimuli has been shown to cause the average Internet user’s attention span to drop to mere seconds, making it more difficult to capture their interest. So if people aren’t interested in consuming long-form content, how do you convince people to stick around and listen to what you have to say?

The answer lies in presenting your content in the most engaging medium possible: animated videos. Truly, this undeniably versatile and highly shareable medium works so well, some studies have found them to be several times more effective than print and direct mail marketing efforts combined.

If you’re still not convinced about the benefits of animated videos, here are three reasons why you should consider adding them to your digital marketing strategy:

They Can Inform and Educate in Minutes

With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, people now prefer content that they can consume as quickly as possible, even while they’re on the go. Indeed, one survey discovered that almost 80 percent of people would rather view an animated video from start to finish than read an entire blog post.

That said, there are scientific reasons why people find it easier to consume an animated video rather than a written article. Put simply, this is because animated videos relay information using a combination of text, audio, and visuals. While using only one mode of communication is usually enough, using two or more of them has been found to greatly increase retention. These various forms of stimuli also make the brain more active, making it easier for audiences to recall important pieces of information. All these help to explain why animated videos are so engaging and memorable.

For best results, you’ll want to cut up your content into a series of shorter animated videos. We recommend making them around a minute long, with each video focusing on a particular subtopic. Think of it as presenting your offer in bite-sized pieces, which are easier for audiences to consume compared to a lengthy but rambling video.

They Can Improve Your Conversion Rates

In today’s digital age, it’s easier than ever for consumers to look up a product or service they’re interested in. With just a few clicks, they can browse through numerous reviews and forums to conduct their own research about a particular brand.

While written reviews are here to stay, studies have noted that nearly half of online users prefer to watch videos to gather more information before making a buying decision. Research has also shown that consumers who view animated product or service videos are twice as likely to complete a purchase compared to non-viewers.

The best part is that a well-produced animated video can do wonders for building your audience. Consider this: videos are shared nearly 12 times more than text-only posts or photo-only posts combined. Additionally, two-thirds of viewers who enjoyed a particular video are highly likely to share it with their friends and family, broadening your reach.

Given this preference for video, you can’t go wrong with creating short but sweet animated videos to explain what your brand is all about. Don’t forget to add a call to action at the end, enticing your viewers to visit your website or purchase your offering.

They Can Boost Your Search Engine Ranking

Adding a video to your website can significantly increase your chances of showing up on the first page of various search engines. This is because search engines consider videos as high-quality content—that is, assuming that they’ve been optimized for SEO. Done right, optimized animated videos can even attract two or three times as many monthly visitors, while also doubling how long these people spend on your site. 

Given these kinds of results, it’s no wonder why many marketing experts predict that videos will soon make up the majority of all search traffic. To give your own animated videos a fighting chance, take the time to craft a catchy title and meta description for each one. Make sure to include the right keywords, and to write them in such a way that audiences will be curious enough to click through and give your videos a watch.

You may also want to consider adding a transcript on the same page as the video. This not only makes your content more accessible but also acts as indexable text, which can help you rank higher for certain search queries.

But whatever you do, don’t over promise what the video is about. It may give people the impression that your brand is dishonest, causing them to disengage entirely.

In Conclusion

When done correctly, animated videos can be a powerful tool in your company’s marketing arsenal. So what are you waiting for? Start incorporating them into your content strategy now so you can reap the benefits sooner rather than later.

6 Essential Parts of the Content Writing Process You Shouldn’t Skip

content writing

Many newbies mistakenly think that content writing is as simple as typing up an article from scratch and publishing it immediately. However, effective content writing takes a lot of skill, patience, and determination.

If you’d like to master the art of writing great content, read on to learn some essential steps of the process you should pay extra attention to.

Study Your Target Audience

Writing content without a target audience is like writing a letter without a recipient in mind. Without a deep understanding of who you’re writing for, you’ll likely end up with haphazard and disjointed work that will miss the mark.

Study your ideal reader’s demographics, psychographics, and other characteristics. You can even go one step further and invite some of them for an interview. That way, you’ll be able to ask them directly for their thoughts on your subject matter, as well as any pain points that they may have.

With this, you can craft a content strategy that will appeal to them. This will also let you know what keywords you should incorporate into your content.

Pick the Right Tone

Many experts agree that writing in a friendly, conversational tone works best. By using simple and accessible language, you can make your content less intimidating to consume. This helps readers feel more like they’re talking to a friend rather than getting lectured by a teacher.

However, writing in a style that’s too casual may cause readers to not take you seriously. Certain audiences may also be more receptive to formal writing styles than others.

Trying to sound professional yet approachable can be difficult. But ultimately, the tone you choose will all depend on the type of language your audience uses. For instance, do they use particularly technical terms in their line of work? By using the same words as they do, you’ll instantly bridge the gap between yourself and your readers.

Brainstorm Topic Ideas

Once you know who you’re writing for, it’ll be easier to think of relevant topics. You can start off by using word association exercises such as mind maps to draw from your existing knowledge. This will help you come up with ideas by breaking broader concepts down into narrow topics.

Another effective way to generate ideas is to do some keyword research. This can give you insights on what topics people are interested in and what queries they’re searching for.

If you’re still out of ideas, you can always try repurposing older content that performed well in the past. You can even take it one step further by employing the Skyscraper Technique. This method works by researching existing well-received content and creating a new and improved version of it (making it ‘tower over’ the content it competes against).

Research Your Chosen Topic

Now that you know what to write about, make sure to thoroughly research your topic. This will not only help you build the foundations for your article, but it will also boost the validity of your content. 

Remember: your target audience likely already knows a thing or two about your subject matter. So they’ll immediately be able to tell if you’re making anything up.

That said, the quality of your research also matters. Look at the data, statistics, and other information you gather with a critical eye and determine whether the source is credible or not. That’s because flimsy citations can negatively impact people’s perception of your brand.

Outline Your Article

Have you ever stared at a blank document and struggled to get the words out onto the page?

If so, you’ve experienced writer’s block, wherein you find yourself unable to write for any reason. Often, content writers feel stuck because they aren’t sure how to start their article. Others feel paralyzed by fear that their output won’t be of good quality.

To overcome writer’s block, start by breaking the article down into manageable chunks. You can do this by crafting a simple outline. This will help you organise your thoughts so you can connect one idea to another.

Outlining will also allow you to identify potential gaps in your article that may require further research.

Edit and Proofread

After you’re done drafting your article, don’t publish it just yet as the first draft is often far from perfect. Instead, set the draft aside for some time first. By stepping away from the article, you’ll be able to come back to it later with a fresh and more objective perspective.

When you’re ready to edit, pay close attention to the general structure of your article. See if any sections need to be rearranged for a better flow from one idea to the next. You should also take note of any sentences that are either off-topic or don’t add any valuable information for the reader.

Finally, do a final skim of your article to correct any spelling and grammar mistakes.

These are just some of the most important parts of the content writing process to keep in mind. By taking the time to execute each step, you’ll be one step closer to creating engaging content that can hook your audience in.

5 Tips for Choosing a Logo Design for Your Business

working logo design

A logo is more than just a group of letters or a unique symbol. It’s one of the most prominent elements of your business, something that’s going to be associated with you and your brand for years. That’s why it’s in your best interests to hire a good design company and invest in a logo that represents your professionalism and gives a great first impression. They’ll make sure that it will establish your brand’s identity and reflect its personality. 

No matter how good your design agency is the final decision will still fall upon you as the business owner. Whether a logo is “good” or not is completely subjective. If you don’t have a design background, you might be at a loss on what to do. 

To help you decide, here are some tips to consider:

Think About How and Where You’re Going to Use It

People are going to interact with your logo in different ways. For example, if you own a coffee shop or restaurant, you’ll want your logo printed on the menus. If you’re a service provider like a plumber or a commercial cleaner, you might want to add the logo of your business on the side of your vehicle. In short, there are endless possibilities on where you can put your logo.

If you want an illustration or an icon, it should be recognisable in any size. For text-based logos, it should be easy to read. You should also consider how it’s going to look on business cards and stationery, as well as promo products such as T-shirts, caps, and mugs.

It is also important to note that if you want to use your logo for more than one application it requires more design work. Sometimes the designers will need to do multiple versions to ensure that it will look good on any of the chosen mediums be it on the screen or printed. 

Try Applying Colour Philosophy

Many established companies around the world use the colours blue and black in their logos. Blue is associated with competence, dependability, and trust, while black is a colour that signifies stability and strength. For these reasons, you may also want to use these colours for your logo.

However, it is important to take into account what message it is that you are trying to convey. These colours won’t always be a good match for the message you want to communicate. If you’d rather communicate growth, why not use the colour green? Or if you’d rather be a dynamic, energetic brand, yellow is a good choice. Your design agency will be more than happy to render your logo in different colours to help you decide which one best suits your business.

Choose the Right Style

In the same way that your colour choice affects the message you want to communicate, so does the style of your logo. Do you want to say that your business is a dependable institution? Consider incorporating simple shapes and contemporary elements. Do you want to be seen as a whimsical company that’s all about having fun? A light-hearted design with two or three colours might be a good bet.

You should also do your own research about what logos are already out there. Not only will you get a bit of inspiration, but also know what designs to avoid. You want to stand out and be remembered in a good way, not be labelled as a copycat.

Consider Text-Based Logos

A logo doesn’t always have to be based on a picture or an object, like Apple. Indeed, a lot of established companies like Google, Facebook, and Coca-Cola have text-based logos. This only highlights the importance of typography in design. The right choice of font can help you achieve the message you’re going for. Below are some details you should consider:

Serifs

Serif fonts like Times New Roman and Baskerville help communicate tradition and knowledge. If you want to come off as serious and professional, it’s a good idea to go with serifs. However, do note that serif fonts can look a little “old school” when used on websites.

Sans Serifs

Sans serif fonts like Helvetica are all about modernism and minimalism. These fonts are clean, simple, and very easy to read. One downside of using sans serif fonts in your logo is that there is a high chance it will look like other existing logos. Sans serifs are effective and are thus quite popular, so work closely with your design agency to ensure that your logo stands out.

Scripts

Script fonts can communicate elegance, but it could also be casual and fun. The downside is that some script fonts can be hard to read. The challenge comes with finding that perfect balance of creativity and legibility (think Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, or Kellog’s) when using scripts.

Think About Longevity

Your logo will be your logo until the day you close down your business. There’s always the option to re-brand, of course. However, rebranding can take time. It can also be a little trickier to do when you’ve been in the business for a long time. Thus, a “good” logo is something worth investing your time and money into.

Remember: humans are visual creatures. With a professionally designed logo, you have a better chance of standing out against the competition. Consider these tips and collaborate with your design agency for a logo that will hit the mark.

Common Business Card Design Mistakes to Avoid

These days, pretty much every paper-based system has been replaced by a more convenient digital equivalent. Email messages have replaced snail mail, and the Yellow Pages died a sudden death in the face of Google's rise to eminence.

But in the age of the digital revolution, business cards are still alive and well. That’s because they remain one the easiest ways to let someone know how to get in touch with you. After all, there’s no need for an internet connection or a gadget; all you have to do is hand your card over and you’re done. And if you know what you’re doing, a well-designed business card can make more of an impact than any digital card ever could.

That said, there are a few common mistakes you should avoid when designing your business card. Read on to find out what they are and how to fix them.

Not Using the Right Branding

Your business card represents you and your business. The colours, fonts, shapes, and other design elements you choose can already give others a hint about what to expect when working with you. So make sure that the design is in line with your branding.

For instance, you may not want to use bright pastel colours if you work in a very serious corporate environment. If you seek to take your branding to the next level, you’ll also want to design a logo that people will easily remember.

Choosing the Wrong Font

You might be tempted to pick a very decorative font for your name and contact details. But this may not be the best idea. Overcomplicated fonts can be hard to read. If people can’t figure out what your card says, it would defeat the purpose of a business card entirely. 

For best results, we recommend picking a professional-looking but simple font to keep things legible at a decent size. It’s also best to stick to only two to three fonts for the whole design to make things look more unified.

Adding Too Many Elements

Some people think that they should maximise all the space on their card by cramming in as much information on it as possible. Obviously, this can be overwhelming. Remember: your business card is a reminder of who you are and how to reach you, not a flyer.

The proper use of typography could make or break any business card’s effectiveness. So resist the urge to fill up your card with every line, shape, and colour possible. Instead, leave some white space so that the design has some room to breathe. This added space will also help you put more emphasis on the most important details. Just remember: when it comes to graphic design, less is more.

Placing Elements Out of Order

Some people experiment with the placement of their contact details so that their business card will stand out. For example, they might put their phone number at the top of the card using a large font size, thinking that this will increase the chances of getting a call.

But it’s usually not a good idea to arrange your information in an unusual way. This is because people are used to reading business cards in a certain order. Generally, the first thing they should see is your name, followed by your title, your company, and then your contact details.

In Conclusion

The simple act of handing over your business card gives you a chance to connect with others, so don’t scrimp on your business card design.

Strengthen your personal branding now with the help of Activate Designs graphic design services. With over 16 years in the industry, we’ve got the skills and experience to help you create a design that’s memorable and meaningful.

4 Reasons Why You Need a Professional Web Designer 

graphic designing

Quality web design is a powerful tool that any business can use to better connect with and provide a positive experience for customers and prospects alike.

When done well, it can convert a casual browser into a valuable customer. However, some businesses still balk at the idea of paying for professional web design. If this sounds like you, read on for a few reasons why you might want to leave your website in the hands of an expert.

#1: Good design attracts more customers

In many ways, maintaining a retail website isn’t that different from running a physical store. To make sales and become a profitable business, you need to attract customers. Brick-and-mortar establishments do this by investing significantly in visuals. After all, visuals draw people in from the street. An eye-catching window display can entice a passer-by to slow down and admire it. It also gives that person an idea of what awaits them inside, thus enticing them to enter the shop. 

Visual appeal is even more important for a website for essentially the same reason: most customers use their eyes to interface with a site for the entirety of a potential transaction. Hiring a graphic design and print services company can give your site the same professional sheen as a well-executed store façade. 

#2: Web designers can make the browsing experience more user-friendly

Good web design isn’t just about making a website pretty. Quality design work also involves improving a website’s overall usability, which has a direct impact on minimising user frustration.

A well-designed website should make it easy for visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for, whether that’s information about a product or your business’s contact details.

In addition to being easily navigable, it should also load quickly. Research conducted by American content delivery network Akamai shows that 53% of users abandon visits to a website if a page takes longer than three seconds to load on mobile.

Finally, the website should also be responsive across both desktop and mobile devices. Sites that are not mobile-friendly lose out on a significant percentage of users who use their smartphones and tablets to make online purchases.

#3: Good design improves recall

We’ve already talked about how it can be used to make a first impression enticing enough to convince a casual user to continue browsing the offerings.

Good web design also involves creating a consistent experience for the user, which helps build trust and improves brand recall. 

Take Facebook as an example. Both the website and the mobile app use the same dominant shade of blue. It’s become a recognisable enough trademark that when we see that same shade of blue against a white background, many of us would recognise it instantly, even subconsciously as Facebook colours.

A good graphic designer can create an aesthetic that suits your business and apply it across your website, logo, letterhead, in-store experience and anywhere else your customers interact with your brand. 

#4: Good design projects your credibility 

Online, the adage about not judging a book by its cover is flawed by default.

Users only often have the cover to go on, and 75% of them can make judgments about the credibility of your business just from the way your website is presented. 

A website that looks outdated gives the impression that whoever is running it isn’t up with the play and inaccurate or poorly-researched content can make users question your products or doubt the legitimacy of your business. 

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In closing, paying for professional web design might feel like a significant investment at first, but it is one that will eventually pay for itself. With a well-designed website, you can showcase your brand’s spirit, creativity and legitimacy while differentiating you from your competitors. 


 

 

7 Amazing Design Tips When Creating Your Company Logo

7 Amazing Design Tips When Creating Your Company Logo

 

Thinking of what unites big brands like Apple, Windows, Android, Nike, or McDonald’s? It’s that you’ll be able to recognise any of these brands, wherever you are in the world, because of their iconic logos. They’re the modern success stories of how a company can use their logo to do the following: make a strong impression on customers, communicate distinctive brand identity, and demonstrate what the company’s vision is with just one visual idea. 

A well-designed company logo is a functional investment. It will attract customers to your business, help them distinguish you among your competitors, and uplift your reputation within your chosen industry. You’ll want to partner with someone who provides high-quality graphic design and print services in order to realise these goals.

The following design tips may also help when you’re in the brainstorming phase with your creative team.

1. Study the logos of your competitors or other companies in your industry. If you want a better idea of how a similar business uses their logo, do some research on either your competitors or companies related to your industry. Not only will this give you a better idea of what visuals you want for your own logo, but you’ll also be able to tell whether certain colours, graphic elements, or catchphrases are overused.

2. Be simple and clean in your design approach. Yes, your company logo should be pleasing to the eye, but that doesn’t mean you should cram as many visual elements into it as possible. Most great logos make use of clean lines, simple shapes, negative space, and symmetry.

3. If you want your brand identity to be memorable, aim for something clever. There are several ways to get a customer to remember your brand, and one of them is treating them to a clever inside joke in your logo. One example is the curved bite mark in the Apple logo—without so many words, people understand it to be a pun on computer “bytes.” If you and your creative team can come up with something similar for your logo, all the better it will be!

4. Incorporate something that has to do with the nature of your business. This will serve as a visual cue for your target customers as to what service your business offers. For example, the logo can include a graphic of a spark plug if you offer electrical repairs or the silhouette of a bridal veil if your company organises wedding events. 

5. Integrate your brand colours. Colour gives life and texture to any visual work, but to a company logo, it’s essential in communicating what your brand is all about. There’s already a shorthand as to what people associate with colours. For instance, green evokes nature and is therefore suited to health and environmental brands. Alternatively, gold and silver evoke power and exclusivity and are therefore good for luxury brand logos. Do explore different hues for the colours you’ll use in your logo, and make sure that the finished product looks good in greyscale for use in black-and-white documents.

6. Be particular about your choice of typography. Don’t neglect the textual element of your logo, either. The font you use for your brand name, as well as a catchphrase, should be readable. It should also seem like the natural choice given the logo’s other visual elements: for a premium business-related brand, the font should look crisp and professional, while a brand that has to do with selling artisan products can afford to use similarly artsy custom-type text in their logo.

7. Be open to something other than your initial idea. Lastly, do remember that it may take time to arrive at the perfect logo. You might be set on your first idea, but the first draft might not be bold, communicative, or original enough. Ask your graphic artist to help you come up with at least three studies before you pick one out. You’ll be surprised at how creative you can all be once your initial ideas on the logo are challenged!


Out of the many bland, overly complicated, or confusing logos out there, yours should be able to stand out. May you and your design partner come to a creative, original understanding of what your brand is trying to do—because, in the end, that’s what will elevate a company logo from amateur to amazing.

 

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Posted in logo branding

Understanding the Importance of Typography in Good Web Design

Importance of Typography in Good Web Design

What is typography? Before the internet age, it was known as the art of logically arranging and designing the text of any printed matter to make it logical and easy to read while also having a pleasing and attractive look. Good typography was considered essential when it came to the publishing of books, manuscripts, newspapers, and other types of print media.

Nowadays, this form of art is still held to a high standard. But with digital media and the internet becoming more popular over print media, some of typography’s finer points are being forgotten in place of flashy animations, high-resolution images, and stylised backgrounds. This is especially evident in website development, where many website designers often rely on attractive graphics, auto-playing videos, and other distracting features to attract visitors and compel them to stay on the page.

Unfortunately, this particular trend can have a detrimental effect on a website’s ability to keep their visitors around, especially when such features have become commonplace. As such, it is up to web developers to once more employ good typography practices to ensure that their websites remain effective in attracting visitors.

But would good typography still be able to help, even if websites are drastically different to newspapers and books in terms of design and consumption? The answer to this is yes. To further elaborate on this, the following is a list of reasons why typography is important in good web design, and why it’s also important for a company to look for good typographical skills when employing a graphic design and print services provider.

Good typography immediately communicates the website’s purpose to the visitor

One of the hallmarks of great website design is that a visitor should be able to tell almost immediately what its purpose is at a glance. Good typography can help with this by ensuring that the right typeface is used, as well as how the text content is logically arranged throughout the website. 

For example, by using basic typography principles, a web designer can quickly convey to a visitor that they are looking at a news website by having their article titles displayed with bolder and larger typefaces than the rest of its content. These article headlines would then draw the visitor’s eye to the smaller blurb paragraphs below them, prompting them to read further.

The same goes for an online shopping website’s front page. In contrast to a news website, an online shopping portal’s front page with good typography should have a minimum amount of text, while also featuring a large quantity of attractive and colourful product images. The text is minimised to prevent distracting the visitor with unnecessary information, which then increases the chances of them making a purchase.

Good typography can help evoke the right mindset and emotion in the visitor

Another reason why typography is important in web design is that it can help evoke specific emotions and mindsets within the visitor. Just like the previous news website example, the larger size of the headlines among the other text immediately grabs the viewer’s attention and establishes a sense of urgency, as well as a desire to know more. As such, they stay on the website for longer as they satisfy their curiosity through reading the articles in full. 

Meanwhile, the small amount of text with the shopping website example, when combined with the attractive product shots, puts and keeps the visitor in a shopping mood and raises the chances of a purchase. The minute amount of reading they have to do also ensures that they can find and spot the specific product or product line they’re looking for.

Good typography can make a website look more attractive and pleasant to look at

Just as the proper typeface and a logical arrangement of text can make newsprint look professional, trustworthy, and respectable, so too can a website enjoy the same effect with competent and considerate typography. This effect can then aid significantly in the web site's main purpose, such as an online shopping site's visitors feeling like they can trust it well enough to buy their goods from it or to perceive the reporting in a news website as credible and accurate.

Good typography can help make large volumes of content easier to read

Reading large volumes of text, especially from a computer monitor or smartphone screen, can easily cause eye strain and eye fatigue. This can make it difficult for a website, especially one that conveys information through large blocks of text, to retain visitors. However, a text-heavy website can avoid tiring out its visitors and encourage long periods of enjoyable binge-reading by implementing design decisions based on good typography such as a larger font, a bold and clear typeface, and ample empty spaces between paragraphs for the eyes to rest. Doing so also helps with more efficient content and information delivery.

Typography: a website content element that should never be neglected

It’s easy to overlook typography when it comes to building and designing a website. However, to do so is to risk making your website look confusing or difficult to engage with, which can drive off its potential visitors and users. Recognise how good typography can shape the perception of your website and take to heart its importance in web design for the reasons listed above, and you’ll see why this fine art is still essential even today.

 

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Posted in Graphic Design

Top Tips to Handle Any Small Business Challenge with Ease

small business challenges

Small business challenges can come in many guises—client complaints, cash flow issues, faulty software, even government audits. To run a successful business, you need to be resourceful and up for the challenge. We’ve put together some top tips to help build your company’s resilience in the face of these common small business problems.

Protection 

Many small businesses begin as a self-employed or sole-trader operation, and before you know it, you have staff, a commercial property lease and possibly loans for plant and equipment. The increased financial risk can creep up on you and without proper protections in place, you could lose everything. Registering a limited liability company is essential to protect your personal assets – it puts a firewall between you and your business.

Business insurance is another means to protect yourself if something goes wrong. Types of cover include liability, commercial property and business interruption (which covers you for events like natural disasters).

Accounting

Cloud-based accounting software has turned the often dreary task of invoicing and bookkeeping into something almost fun. Ok, maybe not fun, but at least a lot more efficient! Platforms such as Xero and MYOB allow you to not just keep the books, but to analyse your cash flow and get a clearer picture of your financial position. Well-presented invoices and statements also help to market your business as a professional operation.

Training

As your company grows, the management expectations increase. Many business owners come from a background of self-employment, and may not have the necessary people management skills the business now demands. That is why training is such an essential component in any successful company. Whether it’s a management course, product training for new employees, sales workshops or an industry conference—upskilling helps you and your staff stay engaged and ready to take on new opportunities as they arise.

Scheduling

A classic small business problem is time management. It's easy to get distracted by incoming demands on your time and before you know it, the day is gone and you haven't even got to your to-do list. 

One strategy to take control of your workday is to actively book out time for yourself – schedule it into your calendar. Prioritising is another useful skill—focus on the tasks that will achieve the biggest gains for your company. 

Outsourcing

One of the challenges for small business owners is maintaining a professional level of service with minimal staff. A common misjudgement is to do everything yourself and save money. This can be a good strategy for some tasks, but sometimes the best option is to hire a professional and get the job done quickly and to a high level. A good example is website design, where a DIY effort could leave a negative impression on potential clients before they've even made contact with you. Graphic design work, such as your company logo and branding, is another task best left to the professionals, as it’s generally a one-off expense and having outside input on your company's ‘look' can be invaluable. 

Marketing

Small business marketing challenges invariably revolve around cost. Large scale campaigns are beyond the budget for many small businesses, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a marketing strategy. Online promotion through social media channels, sales landing pages and simple SEO techniques can offer good exposure to your target audience for minimal cost.  Social media marketing is one area where a hands-on approach can yield good results. Customers seek authenticity and by providing a consistent stream of posts, images and videos on your customer’s preferred channels, you’ll help build up your company’s identity and increase traffic to your business.

We hope these tips have been helpful. For further advice on internet marketing, website development and graphic design, drop us a line here at Activate Design – we’ve been helping local small business since 2003.

 

 

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5 Best Practices When Designing a Header for Your Website

graphic design

The header is the first thing users see when they visit a website. It typically contains the business’s brand name and logo, and it can also be used to help visitors navigate the site’s contents with ease. Because of this, it’s essential to create an attractive and functional header to provide a consistent and positive user browsing experience. However, designing a unique header is challenging. With so many design factors and ideas to consider, it’s easy to get lost in the process. 

Here's a guide to help simplify the header designing process:

1. Highlight the Important Elements
The header must contain meaningful information about the brand. This way, users will have an idea of what type of website the business is running, allowing them to scroll through each page with a clear goal in mind. Aside from the company’s name and logo, the following elements should also be emphasised:

  • Navigation links
  • Search button
  • Call to action
  • Contact information
  • Social media icons
  • Multi-language toggle (if necessary)

Take note that these elements will vary depending on the website. For example, if the site is handled by a non-profit organisation, there should be a “donate now” section on the header. On the other hand, if it’s an online retail site, a shopping cart must be added.

2. Use Readable Fonts

Although using dramatic fonts does give the website a unique edge, a lot of users may find it incomprehensible. As such, it’s better to use clean and clear fonts. It’s also smart to keep the words short and in a relatively large font size to make the header readable at a glance.

3. Make it Visually Appealing
Making a visually appealing header doesn’t necessarily mean to add every stunning icon, photo, or effects on the website. Sometimes, the simplest and cleanest options are enough to keep the header engaging. Examples of amazing header designs usually have the following features: 

  • Combines transparent headers with impressive images
  • Utilises fixed or sticky headers
  • Features distinct spaces by layering objects

4. Choose an Efficient Menu Style
There are several menu styles businesses can use to make their headers more functional. However, two of the most efficient options are expandable and double menus. Expandable menus provide plenty of space for images while double menus present users with two layers of navigation. 

One of the most common menu styles seen on headers today is the hamburger menu. This expandable menu gets its name from its design, which consists of horizontal lines that make it look like a hamburger. The hamburger menu is easier to access and contains the website’s core categories.

5. Be Familiar With the 3 Common Header Design Patterns
People scan or read through information differently, so businesses need to choose a header design pattern that allows their users to absorb their content the way they intended it to. The three most common models are as follows:

  • F-pattern. Typically used on websites that display blocks of content (e.g. blogs and search results pages.)
  • Z-pattern. Designed for websites with minimal copy and where simplicity is their main priority.
  • Gutenberg diagram. Applied to pages with text-heavy content. It also describes the general pattern on how the eyes move when looking at evenly distributed information.


The header is an integral part of a website, so businesses should take the time to create a header that’s attractive and practical for their users. To learn more about the importance of great header design and ideas, contact Activate Design today

 

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Want to Succeed in Internet Marketing? Do These 6 Key Things.

6 Key Things For Internet Marketing Success

Last month we looked at some of the reasons why, despite our best efforts, an internet marketing strategy fails. These include having a fuzzy goal, no research, poor audience targeting or not offering anything of value to your potential customers.

This month, we’ll look at six key internet marketing tactics that are guaranteed to succeed and encourage business growth.

1. Develop Your Own Website.

When developing internet marketing for a small business, control is a vital attribute. You can sell through Facebook, Amazon, eBay or Trade Me, but in doing so, you surrender a lot of control when you should be funnelling customers to your own website.

When building your site, it’s best to avoid website platforms like Wix and Weebly, that lock you into a restrictive CMS system . You need to retain complete control over your content and system, including the ability to easily transfer to another hosting service if required.

2. Use Sales-Oriented Landing Pages

Once you’ve got your website up and running smoothly, it’s time to focus on marketing strategies and tactics that will pull potential customers into your sales funnel. A well-designed sales landing page is a powerful tool that engages the customer and delivers an immediate Call to Action—what more could you want!

3. Be Mobile

Whether it’s your website, online ads or video content—make sure it’s mobile-friendly. You should tune the content to the needs of mobile users. For example, they’re more likely to be looking for easy to read information such as contact details or a location map, rather than blog posts or PDF downloads.

4. Get Personal

Through careful research, you can learn a lot more about your potential customers—who they are, their interests, their age group and other demographic indicators. Using this information, you can create tailored marketing strategies that are more personal and will resonate with your audience. At the same time, you will save money by not spending marketing budget where it has little chance of payback.

5. Be Visual

Videos, pictures, live streams and infographics all have an appeal because they convey instant information. Viewers can see your product or quickly get to grips with a concept. Visual content is much more likely to be shared, and customer-generated video content is highly effective on social media.

6. Be Technical

All these internet marketing tips play a crucial role in attracting customers and growing your business, but to be truly successful requires a technical approach. From web analytics and user testing to SEO strategies—the best way to create success is by studying and understanding your audience, and then creating a content plan for them, with a schedule and a clear set of goals. The best way to measure success is by studying the data that you gather as your campaign progresses. Are you reaching the people you need to reach?

Want to learn more about small business web marketing? Sign up for our free email course and receive actionable tips and strategies straight to your inbox.

Is it time to activate your business? We offer a complete website and digital marketing service for small businesses looking for a professional online presence at a reasonable cost. Contact us today!

 

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