Archive | December, 2019

5 Pro Tips for Spectacular Sell Sheets

27 Dec

Looking to showcase the benefits of your business or idea in a concise, compelling way?

Use sell sheets to connect and close the sale! Like one-page billboards, these grab-and-go promotions can educate prospects, motivate buyers, and offer a point of reference for further review.

What is a Sell Sheet?

Perhaps you’re new to the concept of sell sheets.

Sell sheets are simple. Like a miniature billboard, they showcase the benefits of your idea in a concise, persuasive way. Typically, these documents are just 1-2 pages, and contain all the information about a product or offer that your decision-maker needs. When you’re ready to multiply your message, sell sheets can be delivered by mail or in person.

5 Tips for Head-Turning Sell Sheets

Ready to get started with your sell sheet design? Here a few helpful guidelines.

1. Use High-Quality Photos

One of the most important features of your sell sheet is an image of the product, concept, or the people engaging with your company.

Typically, this “beauty shot” is the focal point of any sell sheet, so be sure your photos or graphics are top-notch.

2. Highlight the Big Benefit

What can your product or idea do for the customer?

Will it save them time? Eliminate fear or reduce spending? Maybe you just want to make them smile. Whatever your pitch, try to reduce it to one sentence and then again to 2-3 words (think, “Eat Fresh,” or “The Quicker Picker-Upper”). Your unique selling proposition should drive the theme of the sell sheet and also be a visual priority on the page.

3. Offer Testimonials or Video Links

To bring your big benefit to life, feature people who have tried your services and love them.

Use real names, cities, or customer photos, or link them to YouTube videos or website landing pages where people can see your product in action. Social proof is a highly effective sales strategy.

4. Include Pertinent Contact Information

Beyond a strong call to action, sell sheets should clarify how clients can get in touch.

Round out your sell sheet with a next step teaser (i.e., “call today for a free estimate”) and include your website, phone, e-mail, etc.

5. Avoid Information Overload

The goal of a sell sheet is to provide enough information to prompt a second look, but not so much detail that you overwhelm readers.

Organize information so that it is easy to read in a glance and to lead viewers to a clear next step.

Put Sell Sheets to Work for Your Business

Are sell sheets the right fit for you?

These simple tools can be used for trade shows, personal sales visits, mailers, and more. Use sell sheets to build awareness and sales for:

  • Presentation folder inserts
  • New product promotions
  • One-time events
  • Take-out menus or special-order items
  • Seasonal sales
  • Travel packages or subscription services
  • VIP or customer-loyalty perks
  • Salon, chiropractic, or health services
  • Handyman, lawn care, cleaning, or consulting

Perfectly Custom

Whether you’d like an uncoated recycled look or a glossy ultra-thick stock, you can make your sell sheet stand out by going creatively custom.

Upload your own file, consult with our team, or rely on our start-to-finish professional design services to attract attention and put the facts in focus. Contact us today to talk about custom design options.

How to Make Performance Reviews More Effective and Enjoyable

24 Dec

Performance reviews don’t have to be something to sweat about.

These conversations offer a valuable feedback loop for people to ask questions, identify needs, and drive professional growth.

Building Conversations that Count

Whether you’re conducting or participating in a review, here are a few strategies to make the most of your next review:

Share Facts and Document Goals

Before a review, make sure you are clear about what is expected.

Review job descriptions and jot down ways success has been achieved or where one person is being overloaded. Include measurable data (i.e., project output, sales goals achieved, etc.) that is understood by all participants. Link any examples (like improvement strategies or success stories) to the facts. Then, conclude by recording time-sensitive, measurable goals that are linked to the objectives discussed in the review.

Questions to Consider:

  • What’s working?
  • What’s not working?
  • What has been your greatest accomplishment or challenge this year?
  • Where do you feel there is room to improve?
  • What’s something you don’t think I see but should know?

Regularly Document Progress

To avoid the “dread” factor, intentionally calendar regular check-ins that are communicated in person or through e-mail.

While many yearly goals end up at the bottom of the drawer, monthly or quarterly updates make space for effective dialogue and regular course corrections. This relieves pressure from the yearly review while keeping everyone on the same page.

Questions to Consider:

  • In what areas are you delivering the best results?
  • What are the biggest challenges you face in your current position?
  • Where has your team been helping or hindering your work?

Build From Personal Strengths

While everyone has particular tasks to accomplish, each person has gifts that can positively impact the company in unique ways.

During reviews, ask this question: “What 20 percent of my contribution generates 80 percent of my impact at work?” Work together to clarify untapped potential and discuss how this could be optimized for greater results. If needed, seek extra support, resources, or an alteration of current responsibilities.

Questions to Consider:

  • Do you have everything needed to perform your job?
  • What are the main drivers for success in your position?
  • What skills do you have that could be used more effectively?

A Structure That Builds Success

Want to create a positive environment for good communication?

Structure your reviews around facts, goals, and strengths to make your company as productive as possible.

Ensure Staying Power for Your Business with Great Local Marketing

20 Dec

Earlier this year, Gerrit Curran and Emily Wessner opened a Jersey Mike’s Subs in Muhlenberg Township, Pennsylvania.

To gain traction in their township of 20,000, these entrepreneurs knew that their new business must be intricately tied to a community connection. Curran and Wessner chose to use print as their primary marketing channel. The Jersey Mike’s staff distributed nearly 7,500 sandwich coupons throughout the community, encouraging patrons to enjoy a free sub and also to donate the cost of that sandwich to the Muhlenberg Township Athletic Association.

In the end, the promotion helped raise over $15,000, and the franchise gained an admirable reputation as a devoted community partner.

Stand Out in Your Community

Print marketing can be especially effective in creating a local marketing presence, especially when combined with integrated campaign efforts.

Smart business owners know that catering to a local market can be a point of power. But how do you leverage this connection? Here are several ways to connect your on- and off-line presence in compelling ways.

Demonstrate Community Connection

Integrate your business into local festivals, sponsorship opportunities, and regional traditions.

Does your community host a lobster festival? Find fun ways to weave this crustacean into your flyers or sales. Share pictures or postcards about your brand participating in local fundraisers, theme weeks, or service drives. Start conversations on things that are happening locally and, whenever possible, relate them to your business.

Personalize Advertisements

When advertising for your business, highlight testimonies or quotes from real, local customers. Try before and after pictures, photos of your customers in well-loved parks, or advertisements featuring your content in front of an area mascot.

Another option is to tailor your ads to regional events. Is your city sponsoring a music festival? Offer helpful content like advice on cheap parking, a schedule of places where kids eat for a discount, or print coupons that correspond to a felt need of these visitors. Creating ads with local content will connect with your audience on a very personal level.

Invent Reasons to Make a Difference

Too often, organizations focus on community involvement with a selfish perspective: more profits, more marketing, etc.

Instead, take a “community in the front, business in the rear” approach. Whether you build a nature center with other businesses or create a contest for local charities, genuinely help people, and the benefits will follow. Plus, employees and volunteers will love submitting their photos to your company newsletter or your social media pages.

Tell Your Story

If you’re from the area you’re targeting, do your best to tell the story of how your business came to life.

Make a video, print inserts for your bags or envelopes, or have a brand story display onsite. Customers love to support local businesses, especially those founded or run by a hard-working local resident.

Find, Engage, Repeat

While your brand may serve customers beyond your region, an enormous 85% of business owners depend on word-of-mouth referrals, so it is vital to actively influence your friends and neighbors!

When satisfied local customers are committed to your success, your business can do more with less while continuing to succeed.

Need help giving your brand an extra boost in the community? We’d be happy to help with your local marketing needs. Contact us today to find out more!

How This Successful Entrepreneur Keeps Inspiration Flowing

17 Dec

When you were a kid, what did you love to build?

When Frank Yang was eight, he dreamt of building all kinds of things. One of his first creative concepts was a dog food dispenser with a timer that could feed house pets on demand. Yang used to tell people he wanted to be an inventor, but the adults in his life said he should be an accountant or an attorney instead.

Today, Yang is the founder and CEO of Simplehuman, a privately-owned company that designs and manufactures kitchen, bath, and beauty tools. Simplehuman is devoted to finding ways to streamline daily tasks for efficient living, including touch-free soap pumps, sensor-activated vanity mirrors, and automated trash cans.

Last year Yang’s love for building practical “problem solvers” grew Simplehuman’s revenues by $15% to more than $200 million. Yang says he continues to find joy in the dreaming:

“Even though I’m the CEO of Simplehuman, I spend about 60% of my time on [Research and Development], because that’s what I love – I think about it all day,” said Yang.

Maximize Mental Energy Through Your Weekly Routine

What fuels your inspiration?

Though your job may be full of many “ordinary” tasks, how can you keep creativity alive each day?

Some experts believe grounding yourself in daily rituals can be a foundation for success. In his book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, Mason Currey writes about the habits, routines, and rituals of hundreds of artists, including Frederic Chopin, Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, and Ernest Hemingway. Even though their routines varied wildly, each individual had steps they followed to put them in an optimal state of mind. Currey came to this conclusion:

“In the right hands, [a routine] can be a finely calibrated mechanism for taking advantage of a range of limited resources: time (the most limited resource of all) as well as willpower, self-discipline, optimism. A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods.”

Rituals you might include to fuel your creativity could consist of things like:

  • Rising early
  • Making coffee or making your bed
  • Morning runs or daily stretching
  • Prayer, breathing exercises, personal affirmations, or journaling
  • Lunchtime yoga or sports commitments
  • 10 minutes of browsing Pinterest or your favorite design publications
  • Accessible scratch pads in your car, office, or house (for random idea bursts)
  • Regular times spent visualizing success, writing goals, or brainstorming for future projects
  • Weekly lunch gatherings with friends who inspire you
  • Writing tomorrow’s goals at the end of each workday
  • Wind-down routines like space tidying, piano playing, evening walks, light reading, or “brain dumps” in a journal

Finding Solutions in Unlikely Places

Yang says that, though he has many responsibilities as CEO, he likes to stay focused on his primary passion, which is creating and developing.

And when he’s stuck in a rut, he goes back to simple pleasures:

“I really believe that my mind and body work together. We have a basketball court in the office, and if there’s a problem my team and I can’t solve, we’ll go there and shoot around . . . I [also] love cycling. I have three bikes in my office, and when I need a break, I ride around the parking lot for 15 minutes. I get this sense of freedom when I ride, but I also love the mechanical aspect of bikes, the way the gears shift, the way the frame is made, the geometry of the design. That inspires me.”

What is the “bicycle” in your life? Sometimes taking your mind in a different direction can help you find solutions when you are stuck!

5 Keys to a Simple Design Update

13 Dec

The United States Open Tennis Championships is a professional tennis tournament that takes place in New York City around Labor Day each summer.

The US Open draws fans from around the world to watch players like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Serena Williams compete. The 2019 US Open set an all-time attendance record with 737,872 fans coming to the National Tennis Center, with the largest stadium (Arthur Ashe) selling out 23 of 24 sessions.

In 2018, the United States Tennis Association announced it was introducing a new logo for the tournament. This featured a speeding tennis ball with an updated font while dispensing with several elements of the old logo. The previous icon (a flaming ball with a red swoosh) was a dated image that presented challenges in digital media and failed to represent the US Open as a premium sporting brand.

By keeping elements of the original logo, the USTA was able to redesign in a way that captured the excitement and movement of their world-class event. The entire Tennis Center (including grounds, merchandise, and courts) received a surge of energy as the logo came to life at the tournament.

How to Overcome Frumpy Designs

Are your designs starting to fade with age?

After many years in business, your branding may not feel as contemporary as it should. Your 1990’s neon-colored bubble letters could certainly use a fresh take, or maybe your mascot (or your photos) look like they need plastic surgery. Some companies may require a total design overhaul, while others need to freshen up a logo, a catalog, or point of purchase display.

No matter the scope of your project, here are five steps to guide you through graphic re-designs:

1. Start with the focal point

Decide what it is you want viewers to see first.

Unless you have a very symmetrical, consistent design, be sure your focal point leaps out by providing strong contrasts in font size, color, typeface, etc.

2. Organize information into logical groupings

If items are related to each other, group them into closer proximity (like a title with a subtitle or an address with a phone number).

The most important groupings should be the focal point of the page. Create generous visual space between the focal point groupings and less prominent pairings.

3. Build and maintain strong alignments

If you see a strong edge (such as a photograph or vertical line), strengthen this edge by aligning it with other texts or objects within the design.

4. Create repetition

Brainstorm ways that specific colors, symbols, or fonts can be repeated in a design.

In multi-page pieces (like a brochure), create connection through the repetition of bold typeface, spatial arrangements, or unique bullet or list icons. In a simple logo, repetition can be used by highlighting key letters or adding shadows or overlaid shapes for depth.

5. Use bold contrasts

Contrast is everything because the eye is irresistibly attracted to distinct differences.

For example: if all your elements are bold and flashy, nothing will stand out. Contrast a logo with a graphic, a bold typeface with a script font, a dark sidebar with a white text box, or a rigid graphic with a free-flowing tagline.

A Visual Identity That Better Carries Your Brand

When announcing its logo update, the USTA said the new design “better captures and expresses the dynamism of the US Open,” with a visual identity that will confidently carry the tournament forward in years to come.

What about your image? By refreshing your look in five simple steps, you can transform your look from one that drags to one that excites!

The Ultimate Sizing and Concept Guide for Your Next Flyer or Brochure

10 Dec

Want to generate interest or keep the conversation going with your most promising leads?

Brochures and flyers are two of the easiest ways to generate the momentum you need. But what appears to be a straightforward design can sometimes be more complicated. After all, isn’t a flyer the same thing as a brochure? Is there a substantial price difference? And when would it be best to distribute a brochure instead of a flyer?

From folds to sizing, to finishes, finding the right promotional piece can be a little trickier than it first appears. Here are a few design basics to shape a print piece that does exactly what you need.

Flyers

A flyer is usually a single, unfolded print piece used to draw attention.

Flyers can quickly convey small bursts of information and are great for highlighting sales, new locations, upcoming events, or coupons. Because they are easy to print, flyers can contain very targeted, time-bound information, or messages that are specific to a particular audience, neighborhood, etc.

Standard flyer sizes typically fall into these categories:

  • Letter size: 8.5” x 11” or A4: 8.3” x 11.7”
  • A5: 8.3” x 5.8”
  • A6: 5.8” x 4.1”
  • DL (dimension lengthwise): 8.3” x 3.9” or one-third of A4

Because flyers are meant to grab attention, they should be colorful, easy to read, and contain a clear call to action. Whether you distribute them on car windows or through the mail, flyers an effective tool for at-a-glance marketing. Need inspiration? Here are 100 stellar flyer examples to get you started!

Brochures

The main difference between a flyer and brochure is this: a fold.

While brochures can also be straightforward and simple, brochures use strategic content panels to guide the reader through the piece. Brochure layouts are limitless (and lots of fun, too!), but here are several commonly used fold types:

  • Tri-fold
  • Half-fold
  • Gatefold
  • Double gatefold
  • Parallel fold
  • Z-fold
  • Accordion fold
  • Roll fold

Because the paper quality and content of brochures are typically richer, brochures are best used for dates and details that don’t expire quickly.

Brochures can be distributed to qualified leads, to showcase products on the floor, and to help customers make purchasing decisions. Because brochures give a more comprehensive scale of information, they are seen as trustworthy, credible, and worth reading. They are also (typically) more expensive.

Where Do I Begin?

When designing a flyer, brochure, or even a sell sheet, remember that the product’s purpose should determine the size or format you select.

Ask yourself,

“Do I want to share multiple images or one basic message?”

Or:

“Where does this print piece strategically fit in terms of my sales funnel?”

Starting with the size and content in focus will lead you to the best size, shape, and material for your next work of art!

Want to chat more? We’re happy to share samples, give estimates, or take the lead with our full-service graphic design specialists. Give us a call to talk options!

Tips to Make Your Brand More Memorable

6 Dec

Just Do It.

Think Different.

Have You Had Your Break Today?

You Can’t Beat the Real Thing.

The 1990s brought us many of the world’s most iconic slogans, but certain companies have a corner on memorable branding.

For example, a 2015 survey of 3,000 people in the U.S. and the United Kingdom were shown logos of 100 top global brands, then asked to name and describe those they found most memorable. Nike was at the top (16% of respondents cited it), followed by Apple (at 15.6%), McDonald’s (at 11.1%), and Coca-Cola (at 9.7%).

But aside from logo design or slogan, what makes a brand stick? Experts say it’s a combination of things: some which are inspired, some unusual, and some packaged in the form of contagious stories. The volume of exposure can also increase the likelihood that a brand will stand out, but not many businesses can afford to plaster their logo all over the world.

Increase the “Stickiness” of Your Brand

Use Humor

Don’t be afraid to use humor to promote your brand because humor has staying power and innate personal appeal.

Consider the Super Bowl. This event is as much about the ads as the game, and today people can remember Super Bowl ads from years ago (though they have no idea who competed or won that particular contest).

Release Personalized Content

Who writes your blogs, posts your Facebook notices, or takes your social media photos?

Technology and stock photos make content production easy, but automating the process leaves a bland taste in people’s mouths. Use personalized content whenever possible, and sign the names or signature photos of your staff to the pieces you write. Share examples of personal failures, company celebrations, or hometown references to anchor your content with a more authentic voice.

Create Interactive Communication Channels

Can your customers reach you as easily as you can reach them?

Creating an online brand community enables communication and engages your client. Whether you stick to social media pages or go for a full “gated” membership sites, online brand communities create space for Q&As, meaningful discussions, or offer valuable content that can be accessed by subscribers. This can lead to engaged customer communities, lowered service costs, and greater repeat purchasing.

Launch Giveaway Contests

Giveaways contests are a fast and effective way to build momentum.

Giveaways trigger excitement, anticipation, and a spirit of competition. Any time you can arouse emotion, you’ve been successful! Use giveaways to spark social media sharing, to boost customer engagement, to capture customer testimonials, and to enlarge your e-mail subscriber list.

On-site giveaways also offer a great chance to build excitement through banners, point-of-purchase displays, or oversized decorations. Everyone loves a party!

Memorable Branding Makes Cents

Standing out is a challenge, and small businesses need to work hard to make their voices distinct.

But memorable brands can do more advertising with a small budget because strong branding drives sales and increases customer engagement. Be interactive and have fun, and your customers will too.