Direct Response Marketing Strategies & Graphic Design

Marketing, branding and design are truly inseparable. They are like the Three Musketeers, all supporting one another. As you desire to get a message out about your company or business (marketing) the cohesive design of your company is absolutely crucial. Branding is that unified front of your business, and design is what drives and delivers your message.

Dan Kennedy is a marketing genius who wrote No B.S. Direct Marketing, as well as many other great works. He insists that outrageous marketing is what will lead to success. No bland advertising, no unnecessary fluff, and no …b.s. And it works!

In terms of marketing, the direct response strategy is a great way to go since it elicits a response from the viewer. Direct response marketing is effectively communicating a message directly to your consumer. This can be done through online ads, fliers, emails, promotional media, newsletters and so on. Whatever the medium, direct response marketing is clear, efficient, and effective. At Designflair, we care about strategic marketing because we create designs catered to employ direct response marketing for our clients.

Let’s focus on one crucial aspect of direct response marketing: making an offer. If done correctly, direct response will always include an offer from the company, business, or non-profit to the consumer or client. Here are some things to think about when you’re creating your next marketing strategy.

What does your company offer?

Start with what makes your company unique. From there, think of what specifically you can present to your client. Did your last professional newsletter include an offer? How about your email update? Wise marketing is not just information, but proposing something to the reader.

Make your Offer Clear

Make it quantifiable. Is it a one-time offer? Is a monthly or seasonal offer? Are you proposing 50% off or buy one get one free? This seems obvious, yet it is important to highlight these details. For example, if your offer involves people contacting you, how do you want them to contact you? Be sure to include crucial information such as, “Email us today for your 10% discount!” This is where the design aspect comes in. Succinct and bold design allows the offer to pop and grab attention.

Carter's Coupon

 

photo from The Direct Marketing Voice

Gear Ads Towards the Consumer

As Dan Kennedy says, “Your ad isn’t about you. It’s about them.” As you do when you are planning your branding, think of your audience. (Again, here we see an overlap of the Three Musketeers!) Who is reading your advertisements or letters and what do they want to hear? Determining who you want to target your marketing to will allow you to easily generate what information to include or not.

Many businesses wing their way through marketing strategies, finding out works through trial and error. Don’t let money and time slip through your fingers.

Speak with us today to develop a marketing strategy that will be ideal for your business! We can come up with innovative ways utilizing design to get your company out there and to get people to respond.

What is SEO?

What is SEO? How does SEO help my website?

Have you heard of SEO and yet you’re unsure of what it really means? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is the development of traffic from search engines such as Bing, Google, and Yahoo. Whenever you do a web-based search, there are thousands of wheels that are moving in the background to bring you results. Mathematical algorithms determine which sites appear at the top for your particular search results; SEO is the on-going strategy that uses knowledge of these algorithms to gain higher search rankings through the correct keywords. Companies and businesses want to be easily found online through search engines so that they are found by potential customers searching for their services. SEO is a vital part of any business marketing strategy, which is why there is so much talk about SEO these days.

“SEO” may be tech jargon, yet it is something you should know about if you have a website. We promise, SEO is truly not as intimidating as it sounds and we’re here to give a quick overview.

According to Google, they make over 600 improvements to their algorithms for SEO yearly. Google is constantly changing and fine tuning the algorithms they implement, which is why no one can truly figure out how to “work the system.” (Sorry, I know this still sounds intimidating – hang in there!) In fact, faulty tactics such as keyword stuffing can result in a site getting penalized or lower rankings. These kinds of strategies are also called ‘Black Hat,’ whereas authentic strategies of SEO are referred to as ‘White Hat.’

It may be impossible to predict the outcome of SEO due to its complexity, yet there are correlations that can be discovered. What we do know to be true is that the content a site contains is connected to the traffic it receives. Search engines are going to give higher rankings to sites that have quality content, workable links, and less junk (such as advertisements). The creators of search engines understand that people do not want to see sites stuffed with keywords, filled with ads, or containing shallow content. The best way to increase traffic on your site and improve your search engine rankings is by looking at your content. Write your content for your human readers, not the robots that crawl the internet.

“Google wants to make its users happy by delivering the content they are looking for. While there are many strategies and ‘White Hat’ tactics to improving search engine optimization, the overall strategy should be to provide valuable, quality content that people want to read so that they visit your site and spend a good amount of time looking around” says Designflair owner, Alyssa Williamson.

If you are looking to sustain your business, a genuine approach to SEO is best. So what is quality content? Google gives higher rankings to sites that it deems to be relevant to a search, trustworthy, and credible.

Create content that is…

  • Relevant – What questions do you commonly hear from clients? How can you educate your ideal clients about your niche?  Publishing content online that people are looking for  will increase the number of potential clients visiting your site. You can include keywords within your content in an authentic manner.
  • Updated – Constantly updating your site with fresh information will boost your search engine ranking.
  • Workable links to trustworthy sites – This is also referred to as “link building.” Think of your website as a college essay. What are your sources? Include links throughout your site that take people to reliable sources. This doesn’t mean you should hyperlink every word possible. Instead, think of what information will be beneficial to those viewing your site.

At Designflair, we will take a look at a company’s website and examine how effectively your site is working for you. We work with clients over the long term to ensure their business success. Need help improving your website and social media platforms? Want help updating your blog in order to gain clients? Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help you get more leads on your website!

The Power of A Logo

“Good design is making something intelligible and memorable. 
Great design is making something memorable and meaningful.”
– Dieter Rams, legendary German designer

Logos are everywhere, all day long, whether or not you realize it. There are logos on the sides of trucks, passing us on the freeway; the lunch you had today likely came from packaging with symbols displaying the product or company.

We take in and process logos frequently yet unconsciously, and their power is immense. As Dieter Rams stated, “Great design is making something memorable and meaningful.” A great logo, therefore, goes beyond a symbol and also makes a lasting impact. It has purpose behind it’s existence.

A logo is part of your brand identity. It’s a seemingly small element, yet holds much power. Here are a few characteristics every great logo has.

Impressionable

Your logo is the first encounter  someone will have with your business, and also the last. It’s what they will see on your website, social media platforms, and branding materials. Not only is it the first impression, but it will be a lasting one if your logo is memorable. If you give out business cards, this will be the thing people takeaway from your company. An impactful logo properly represents your company and makes an ongoing impression.

Readable and Describable

Is your logo readable? As Dieter Rams mentions, is it intelligible? A logo should be understandable to the viewer. If a logo is a coffee cup, for example, does it literally look like one or does it convey the essence of a coffee cup through the steam?  Whether literal or simplified and abstract, it should convey your business meaning.  This helps with referrals and gaining word-of-mouth business. For example, one could easily describe McDonald’s as the fast food place with the large, yellow “M.” A describable logo is ultimately a memorable one.

Simply Elegant

What you’ll notice about great logos is that they are simple. A common mistake is to overwork a logo by trying to incorporate too many elements. A logo must be simple in order to gain recognition. Simple does not mean boring, however. It doesn’t mean easy  either – it can take longer to design a simple logo than an overly complex one as each line speaks volumes.

Fedex and Coca-Cola are two fantastic examples. Fedex contains space between the “e” and the “x” which resembles an arrow. This denotes the speed and urgency of their deliveries. Coca-Cola is another huge company with a clean logo design. Although their logo is simply their name, it is still an elegant design. This is due to the script font and bold, red coloring.

FedEx & Coca Cola Logos

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

Think of a logo as the book cover of your business. While people are browsing, they need something to catch their attention.

A great logo is worth the investment because it will stay with you and be utilized in many aspects. Your logo will appear on all your social media sites and branding material. Are you in need of a logo? Does your current logo need to be updated or redone? A simple logo can speak volumes, yet the process to develop this simplicity can require much thought.


Logo design is one of our many areas of expertise. Contact us today to see how we can create a logo for you!

Client Relationship Building

Lately we’ve been discussing the importance of branding and unity. Branding is how others perceive your business, the associations they make with you, especially your clients. Clients are vital to your business and your relationship with them should be treated as gold.

Follow up after a project is completed and client relationship building are both part of your brand identity. By thanking your customers or clients for their time and support, you show that you go the extra mile. You actually care about them. Follow up is all too easily forgotten or left off in the rush to start the next project.

At Designflair, we highly value our relationships with our clients. Follow up is a means for us to maintain and strengthen that connection.

Follow up takes place while we are working with a client and after a project is complete. Businesses are typically great at communicating while there is still a need on either end. However, once there is no longer a need, the ball is often dropped. Maintaining contact even after a product is sold or service is finished will make your company stand out. You will go from being the same as your competitors to being excellent.

The great thing about follow-up is that there are a variety of ways to go about it. Depending on the style of your company or business, as well as your budget, you can pick the way that is most ideal for you.

Personalized Email

  • Sending an email to say thank you will demonstrate your gratefulness. This is the most time effective and costs you nothing. There are an array of templates online but I recommend writing one from scratch. People can tell when emails have been previously generated or automated, and it feels less authentic.

Handwritten Letters

  • Handwritten letters take time but I guarantee your clientele will appreciate it. The personalization of handwritten letters is unequaled. Don’t have neat handwriting? Check out Handiemail, a company that you can hire to do handwritten letters for you!

Phone Call

  • What’s that? In a world of texting and e-mail, a good ol’ fashioned phone call means a lot.

Gift Basket

  • This is a bit more costly, but is worth it in the long run. People often go with food for baskets, but get creative! Office supplies are a great gesture. Be sure to include a few business cards or fliers for your clients to share with others they know! Have a theme that matches your services and continue the branding!

Follow up and follow up again. A simple “thank you” goes a long way.

Designflair has grown our brand and helped others grow through unique Thank You cards. Nothing shows commitment more than someone who is willing to spend money on their own business – people want to do business with successful people. A custom branded Thank You card is simple yet speaks volumes when sent to customers.

Get in touch with us today for your custom designed Thank You cards!

Create an intriguing “About Us” page for your website!

Need some tips and tricks on how to create a memorable website to your customers? Take a closer look at your “About Us” page first.  Although just a page on your website, it is actually a reflection of how your company views and presents itself, and  therefore, part of branding. Use it as a tool to gain more customers.

The “About Us” section is too often neglected, yet it is the most frequently visited part of your website. This creative infographic from Referral Candy, an online marketing tool, briefly details how to make an “About Us” profile to draw people in.

Let us know your personal experience with “About Us” pages! As a design firm, we look at everything creatively and would love to help you build your brand through your website content.

6 Tips To Acquire Customers With Your About Page [Infographic]
ReferralCandy – Refer-a-friend Programs for Ecommerce Stores

Building a Creative About Us Page

Remember the last time you worked on your own website? Maybe you created your own content, spending hours trying to convey your services in a way that would appeal to your customers. Or maybe you hired a copywriter to get the words just right – creating the message with an insider’s knowledge but an outsider’s point of view. This is always a long and thoughtful process but the hardest page is often the infamous “About Us.” This is the part of your website or blog that can easily be overlooked and is the most daunting to fill out. Creating an “About Us” profile can be as uncomfortable as describing your strengths in an interview. Fret not, we’ve got some experience with this and we are here to give some pointers.

Quality Content

First, develop your content.

Content should be informative but also compelling to read. Dry and wordy text will win you no points – you might even have to earn clients in spite of it.

Be sure to include accurate, quality information. Go beyond explaining who you are, but also inform people about the why of your existence. People do business with people, especially those that have values or motives that they are passionate about. Why you do business will tie into the benefits that your services provide to the end customer. Yes, the “About Us” profile is about you, but thinking of your audience will help you figure out what information to include.

If your website is for a store, restaurant or business where clients visit, then that location should be clearly displayed. You may even include directions or a Google maps plugin. Are your viewers familiar with your business, product, or service? If not, briefly explain what you offer. Providing links to resources or internal site links are ways to give information without adding too much text, answering your readers questions. Are your readers concerned about philanthropic efforts? The “About Us” is where you get to brag about what charities or organizations you support. Thinking about your audience will determine what goes in your “About Us” page. Fine-tuning the information you include will also make your mindfulness evident to your viewers.

Basically, simply state the who, what, where, why, and how of your company. Don’t forget contact information! Surprisingly, people mistakenly tend to leave this out.

As far as how the information is displayed, you get to be creative.

  • Lists. Using a bullet-point list to display your information and services is simple and sweet. A way to get creative here is by adding a quirky or unique fact about yourself or your company. Keep your list relevant to your company and a few points will suffice.
  • Infographics. An infographic is a creative way to tell your story. Of course, this takes some design experience. Bellroy makes wallets and shows their products in a unique infographic. This is just one aspect of their multimedia “About Us” page, which also includes a video and professional photographs.
  • Video. Many non-profit organizations and companies are now using videos to explain themselves. If you do include a video, make sure it’s fairly short (no longer than 3 minutes). Include some text along with the video for those who are seeking additional information.

In order for the “About Us” page to serve it’s purpose, it should look great and convey information quickly.

Impactful Images

Let’s be honest. Attention spans are getting shorter by the minute. Keep this in mind when building your page, as the “About Us” section can end up being very text heavy. To prevent this, add a stunning photograph to grab attention. Inc.com is a reputable company that uses many photos in their “About Us.”

  • Use real photos. A word of wisdom, do not use stock photos. Although they may look great and are readily available these days, use a photo you (or a professional) took to demonstrate authenticity. People visiting your site want to know about you. Use a real, eye-catching photo displaying who you are or what you do.
  • Show the “How”. If your company or business involves a process, show photos displaying that. This demonstrates that you are genuine and reputable.
  • Group Photos. If you have a large team or group of staff, show everyone! This allows people to put a face to the name.

Up to Date

There’s nothing worse than having outdated information in your “About Us” section. As your company grows and business carries on, add new information.

  • Add testimonials. A written response from a previous client makes the “About Us” section feel less like a sales-pitch and adds credibility. Testimonials are also an important aspect of building customer relationships. Don’t be afraid to ask clients to write testimonials. These stories will demonstrate to customer satisfaction.
  • Social Media Links. Links to other sites will allow visitors to gain new information. Microblogging sites, such as Twitter, lend themselves for quick updates. Be sure to make these sites accessible in your “About Us” profile.
  • Staff Bios. Give viewers a glimpse behind the scenes. Adding profiles about new employees is another way to keep your “About Us” fresh. Check out Charity Water’s site as an example.

People head straight to the “About Us” section of a website to discover who you are. Be confident, clear, and creative in displaying information about your company. You don’t want the content of your website to be overlooked. At Designflair we work hard with our clients to ensure they are well represented online.

Creative About Us Page Examples

Creative About Us Page Design

The Kyan About Us page highlights each person on the team in a creative and engaging photo. Some show their pets or personalities. It makes them seem more approachable.

Wunderkinder - Great About Us Page

Wunderkinder has a much larger team but they still show a headshot of each individual to create a sense of connection.

Need assistance with your website? Inquire about our website design services by filling out our Designflair contact form today!

Branding for Your Business: Messaging and Social Media

In our blog, Why is Rebranding Important?, we defined branding and showed our own rebranding process at Designflair’s. Now we’ll take a look at why branding is crucial to your business’ success and how to create a consistent message. A brand is the associations that a person will make with your company, product or service. Branding is about creating and maintaining your company’s identity.

Consistency is Key

Branding ensures consistent representation of your company, product or service. Having a cohesive message creates a consistent experience  for customers to gain familiarity with you or your company. Branding impacts the performance of your company for the better. If it’s done well, that is.

What is Your Mission?

In order to create unity in branding, you must first be confident in your company’s mission statement. It should encompass the who, what, where, why, and how of your company.

Who are you selling to? What do you offer? What are you selling to your clients? What differentiates you from your competitors? Where will you sell it? Where will you advertise it? Why do you do what you do? How is it accomplished?

Many businesses use a tagline or slogan. This is a very short description to grab attention. For example, the tagline we developed for Designflair is “We design solutions to grow your business.” In a few simple words, this taglines engages the reader and gives a glimpse of what we do as a company – we design. Design is still a broad term but in combination with the rest of our branding, it hints at what we do.

Your mission statement, or message, however, can be longer than just a tagline. This is a complete description of who you are and what you do and why you do it. It is the essence of what motivates your company. A mission statement should be detailed, yet factual. One example of a successful mission statement is from Patagonia.

Branding-Patagonia Mission Statement

Patagonia About Us

Patagonia’s mission statement clearly describes what they do and what makes their company stand apart from the rest. This understanding influences all interactions their brand has with the outside world (customers & vendors) as well as internally with their employees and management.

The mission statement belongs in your “About Us” page or section of your site. In our next blog post, we will share ideas about how to spruce up your “About Us” page!

Social Media & Branding

How you present your company and how you interact with fans on social media are all aspects that influence your brand. What social media platforms are you represented on? If you’re not using a platform, don’t advertise it. If you never tweet, for example, it is not beneficial to have a link to Twitter from your company’s website.

Think about which platforms are conducive for your business. For example, if your business often runs sales and promotions, Twitter will be a beneficial platform to implement. Pick a few platforms and update them frequently. Then, include connecting links or social media plug-ins to each platform, encouraging visitors to explore all your sites.

This is when you make sure that your identity is clearly expressed on each platform. There are a number of ways to accomplish this, from filling out the “About Us” or “Info” section, the way you display your logo and tagline to the messages you posts and the conversations you have.

Your brand identity can be maintained by having your logo displayed on everything, from your website to business card. Another way to establish unity on your platforms is using the same colors. Utilizing company colors can be a quick identifier for people visiting your various sites.

Starbucks is a prime example.

We are all familiar with the Starbucks logo of a Siren, which Starbucks deems to be “the true, welcoming face of Starbucks.” They wisely use the same green from the logo throughout their website.

Branded Menu Page

photo from Starbucks.com/menu

We see this green in a color block on the top of the site and as a way to highlight keywords on their menu. By consistently using this deep green color, Starbucks builds their identity. It allows the viewer to feel as if they are in a Starbucks cafe, just from browsing their website.

Colors, logo design, and your mission statement are all ways that clients and potential clients associate with your brand. Take advantage of these ways to create and engage loyal customers.

Hire a Professional

Your company’s identity is foundational. Being consistent in displaying your identity will build trust with your clients. With something as important as brand identity, it is worth the investment of hiring a professional. Designflair creates marketing pieces that build a seamless message, and convey your mission and brand across all media. Ask about how we can help you create a unified brand.

 

What is a Rebrand? Why Does My Business Need One?

A rebrand is the process of refreshing your business identity to better represent your company. Your business is a changing and evolving thing and over time you may discover that your logo and branding no longer represent your initial goals or else you have grown beyond your current brand message.

What is Branding?

A brand is the associations that a person will make with your company, product or service. If a brand results from a set of associations and perceptions in people’s minds, then branding is an attempt to harness, generate, influence and control these associations to help the business perform better.

Why Rebrand?

  • A shift in target market
  • An extended period of time since your initial branding
  • A temporary logo and brand was initially setup due to budget constraints
  • A need to elevate the professionalism of the brand
  • An introduction of new products or services
  • New ownership or business succession to the next generation
  • A change in product or services

Rebrand Case Study – New Logo

The most immediate example of a rebrand is my own Designflair. Designflair was first developed in college as my freelance business and had a very flowery, girly feel to it. I used the ribbon as a ways to represent the ‘flair’ of my business name and to emphasize the finesse with which I work. It was a sort of visual representation of myself (although I don’t think of myself as super girly) early in my design career.

Designflair logo and business card rebrand

When I began to work in a more professional environment, I used the opportunity to develop a cleaner, more modern logo with a bold red instead. I cleaned up the typography within ‘Designflair’ and developed the tagline “building business identity”.

The most recent iteration of my logo is actually a temporary one. It was time to bring a new image to Designflair, one that represents my growth and the further refinement of my skills these last few years. It also is a fresh start for this chapter in my business life. However, the process of designing for one’s self is always most difficult than for a client so the temporary design was created for a quick launch while we spend more time developing a fresh look and feel for the new year.

Rebrand Case Study – Branding Elements

Sometimes a rebrand is just adding some extra elements to the main branding materials. In this case, we updated a client’s stationery to improve the visual hierarchy of the information and create a stronger sense of identity.

business card rebranding

Rebrand Case Study – Same Logo, Updated Brand Identity

With another client, they loved their logo and the blue tones of their brand but it just didn’t have the depth or in the case of their business cards, the legibility they needed.

As an accounting firm but also business consultants, they wanted to create a sense of stability and tranquility related to finances. We brought in a green and cream as a secondary color and played with the depth of the blue throughout their new business cards and tax folder they give to clients.

Essential Business Concepts tax folders and business card redesign

A rebrand can range from just changing the colors on a business card, to updating the design across brochures, stationery and website to a complete redesign of the logo and corporate identity.

The benefits of working with Designflair is that we work as an extension of your company, an external marketing department and we are available to provide advice and offer these improvements to your brand as quickly or as gradually as you require.

Contact us today to learn more about how a rebrand can help your business – or if you really even need one!