Friday, November 30, 2007

Getting to the Point

Sometimes it's not easy taking the customer's or end user's view when designing or thinking about how to present your marketing material. Who is your audience? How are the materials being distributed? How long will the piece be in someone's possession? How are they going to use it? How much do they already know about you and your product?

Business cards are a great example. Many think it's wise to make the phone number very large and to list as many of the products and services provided as possible. Think about how people generally get your business card. In most cases, you give it to them. They already know something about you and what you do. The business card is an easy reference guide for them. When I look through my business cards, it's usually because I want to get hold of somebody. I know the phone number's on there. It doesn't have to jump out at me. I'll find it. What's more useful is being able to spot your card among the crowd. A colorful background, a recognizable logo, a picture, something that tells me right away....that's the one I'm looking for.

In the case of an ad such as in a newspaper, a doorhanger or a flyer, the viewer may not be familiar with you, or your services. You have just a second or two to catch their attention. A prominent picture of someone enjoying your product, or the results of your service is a good start. A consistent logo will also add leverage. Recognizable images catch one's attention. Of course you want to include contact information, but job one is to get them interested in what you're selling. Too much information jammed into a small ad is self-defeating. Get them interested enough to look for more.

Brochures are a great venue for more detailed information and are normally picked up by people looking for just that. Again, you want to "illustrate your point" with imagery between blocks of text or tables. There's also room for a map of your location. Helpful tips related to your product or service will increase the probability that the recipient will hold onto the brochure longer.

Websites are the new Yellow Pages, only better. In fact, I only use the phone book these days if I can't find you anywhere else. You can put as much information as your heart desires on a website. You start with an overview on the main page and links to more information on subsequent pages. Your web address should appear on everything you put out, just as often as your phone number and address. If you're not "web savvy" don't be intimidated. Just Google "free html lessons" and take a few hours to learn the basics. You don't have to become a web designer or do your own site, but knowing how it's done will take the "magic" out of it and you'll have a better understanding of what you're paying for when you do hire someone.

Whatever the medium, consider the viewer. Different contexts call for different presentations. They all have different functions which can amplify and enhance one another.

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