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Archive of ‘Design’ category

How to Design Landing Pages for your Paid Search Campaign

When developing a paid campaign, advertisers need to think beyond the ad content and have appropriate landing pages for each ad. Instead of using an existing page on the site and assuming that’s “good enough”, build one specifically for the campaign to ensure the landing page serves as an extension of the ad.  The worst scenario is when a user clicks on an ad and can’t immediately identify the connection between your ad and the content of your landing page.  That’s when you’ll see a high bounce rate as they become frustrated and try another site instead of yours.

Keep it simple

Simplicity applies in so many areas of your digital marketing efforts and a simple form is very important.  Do not ask for more than you need.  An ideal form will have only email, name, and a place for a message.  Sometimes if the offer is some kind of trial, only the email address is needed.  If you are convinced your form with 15 fields is simple, try this quick test.  In your analytics, look at the number of visitors to that page compared to the number of forms completed.  For example, if 100 people visit the landing page and 30 people fill out the form, it implies they changed their minds once they saw the level of commitment (i.e. number of fields) required of them.  If you still feel the 15 fields are necessary, at least do some A/B testing where some users come to this longer form and others are sent to a simpler version.

Use arrows

Use arrows?  We create a form and think it’s incredibly simple with no other directions needed.  Keep in mind though that users will only spend a few seconds on your landing page and if it’s not obvious what to do, they may not do it.  Don’t assume it’s easy because the people who designed the site tell you it’s obvious.  We all become consumed with our own areas of expertise, forgetting others don’t have the same benefit of being immersed in something all day.  With arrows on your landing page, you can point them directly to the call-to-action button.  Your page should only have a small amount of copy, but users may not even bother reading that and instead be ready to go ahead and sign-up for what you offer. Make it easy for them to do so.

Promote coming soon

It’s not too soon to start your paid campaign even if your product or service is not quite ready for launch.  You can create a very simple page with a “Coming Soon” message to build up some interest before you go live.

Include images

Pictures are still worth 1,000 words. Although you will have copy explaining your offer, you should also include an image that is related to what you are asking.  And it doesn’t hurt to also include your logo to establish your brand.

Keywords are still important

Landing pages for paid campaigns need to have the keywords in them that you bid on.  This helps improve your conversion rate because it reinforces the ad message.  Also, the page may still come up in an organic search, which means you could get some free traffic along the way.  Landing pages are not only for paid search.

Use reviews/testimonials

You may say what you offer is great, but what carries more weight is if other people say you are great.  Use reviews or testimonials that include not just the user’s name, but also the user’s company name so it comes across as more legit.  And always get permission first before using someone’s info on your site.

Remember to structure the landing page on your site with the goal of presenting the content as the solution to a problem.  In all aspects of your marketing, never forget that it is always about the customer and never about you.  Think of each page on your site as a different entry point to a conversation and create pages accordingly.  When people are on a page that is about what they specifically need and it matches the message that brought them there, they will be more engaged and more inclined to see you as the provider of their solution.

Fundamentals of a Logo

I like to view logos as if you’re shaking hands with a stranger for the first time.  The first impression is very important and is established within seconds. Logos give your brand personality and an image to fall under.  The logo for your brand should serve the purpose of supplying your brand’s message across multiple platforms so people know what your company represents.

So what makes a logo functional and appealing?

Psychology plays a huge role in successful logos and how your logo resonates with people emotionally.

COLOR – I would say color is one of the biggest components of a logo. What colors you decide to use can affect how your target audience views your brand.

Blue: Trust and security.

Orange: Confident and social.

Green: Balance and growth. Usually associated with health (note: Green is also the easiest color for the eyes to process.)

Yellow: Optimistic and warm.

Purple: Creative and soothing.

Red: Alert and exciting (note: We respond to red when we are hungry. Why do you think there are so many fast food restaurants that use red in their signage? They want us to eat there!)

SHAPE – To the consumer, shapes can mean various things.

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Circles, Ovals, and Ellipses:  Projects a positive, community message. Also represents friendship, love, and unity.

Squares and Triangles: Projects a message of balance and stability. Also gives a sense of professionalism. But be careful because the sharp edges associated with blues and grays can seem distant and uninviting.

Type: The shape of your font also determines how your logo is perceived. Angular typefaces may appear aggressive, where as soft, rounded letters give a youthful appearance. A script typeface would represent elegance or tradition.

You can get a sense of what I am trying to say about how shapes can define your brand by viewing some of these examples.

There are also some rules to follow…

VERSATILITY

ms2Does your logo look as good on a billboard as it does in the corner of a letterhead? What about in black and white? A successful logo must be able to cross multiple platforms and still stay consistent. Some brands will add minimal variety within the logo, like a selection of colors to alternate between, a logo with a tag line and without, but only change minor details to where it maintains the brand image.

The Mohawk logo is a great example of a logo using multiple variations, yet still maintaining consistency in its image. Only minor details of the logo changed and the foundation remained the same.

SIMPLICITY

An easy way to make sure your logo stays versatile and readable is to keep it simple; having one single feature of your logo stand out. You want your brand to become a recognizable symbol across the board, and simplicity ensures you can achieve this. It is also easier for the eye to recognize. For example, if you are driving down the highway and a logo displayed is excessive and loud, your logo will only be a distraction and unmemorable.

UNIQUE

Unless you want to become a part of the white noise, don’t follow trends. Like every trend, they tend to fade and you will be forgotten in the fog. Make your logo unique to who you want your brand to be, whether it’s a customized font or a specific icon that sets you apart. A brand like Coca Cola has had the same logo for decades and remains to be an iconic brand in our minds. Now, achieving this is very difficult and you can hit or miss, but it is better to try to be original than follow the herd and lose sight of what your brand’s message. Don’t worry, even Coca Cola didn’t have their logo nailed the first time and went through alterations.

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The possibilities are endless! Just remember to have fun and get creative. Here are a few logos that I think will inspire you.

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Wait…Microsoft Paint Still Exists?!

Yes it still exists. And it can be a fantastic tool for creating fast, and free, graphics!

Images constitute a huge chunk of content marketing today — especially eye-catching photos or graphics that stand out on our social media streams. In order to create a good image, it’s easy to think you’ll need to spend money on Photoshop or a similar high-quality editing program, or on access to unique fonts and colors. Not quite — as long as you have an eye for design, you can get by without spending a dime.

I do have to qualify this post and say that there is a difference in quality between Photoshop and Paint. However, if you’re only looking to add some flair to your all-text posts or you don’t have the budget for Photoshop, you can definitely get by without forking over a few hundred dollars. I feel very comfortable using images I’ve made in Paint for clients’ pages, and here’s how:

Types of images:

Like most programs, Paint works better with some types of images than others. Photos usually do not look good after you’ve saved them in Paint; however, graphics look just fine. The most common images I create include:

  • Blog posts pull quotes: Sometimes, a good photo works well with a blog. Other times, you may want to pull out a punchy quote. Why not make the quote into a graphic?
  • Dates/events: To announce an event, use paint to make a graphic for social media. Also, you could make a series of graphics to count down to an event.
  • Inspirational quotes: I’ve said this before in previous posts, but I often notice inspirational quotes and sayings perform well on social media pages, regardless of the audience. Spice up the quote by turning into a graphic in Paint.
  • Other text-based posts: Things like hashtags, or even recipes can all be made more eye-catching through Paint.

I definitely wouldn’t give up photos completely, but when it comes to text, what’s more likely to get noticed, this:

Status: Hey everyone, don’t forget! Our big event is this weekend, so get ready! 3 days. #EventName2014

Or this:

Status: Get pumped. (With accompanying photo)

Fast Graphics in Microsoft Paint

 

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Photoshop Tutorial for Non-Designers: Removing a Background

Design for Marketers

As marketers, we’re asked to wear several hats. Occasionally, one of those hats is designer. But without the right Photoshop skills, your graphics can come out looking…well let’s just say you were better off paying a designer. With our series of “Design for Marketers” demos, you will be provided with a complete toolbox of design skills needed to wow your manager with your next HTML email, image ad, or website banner.

Next up in our series is a step-by-step demo on how to remove the background from and existing image.

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