Neuroscience of Fonts

The architecture of your brain makes retaining everyday reading a major challenge. Psychologists and researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne developed a font that helps you recall and tuck away in your brain what you have just read. They call it Sans Forgetica.
The science behind this font creation is fascinating. Well if you are in the print and marketing business it’s fascinating. They made it sleek and back-slanted with intermittent gaps in each letter allowing the reader to recognize the letter but makes each word a simple puzzle for the brain. The more you need to process information the better you recall.
Visit http://www.sansforgetica.rmit/ to see what was behind the creation of Sans Forgetica or download the “The back story behind Sans Forgetica”.

If you want to use this font in any of your print and marketing collateral we got it and are ready to use it.

Storytelling for Business

Isn’t it time you wrote your story? I’m not talking about writing a book, although there may be a market for that within your business, I’m talking about engaging your potential clients to a point that they see you as an authority in your field.

There is no better way to engage a client than to tell a story. Humans are hard-wired to want to hear, read, and understand stories. You can do so much with them! You can educate, entertain, share experience, etc. In order to really make a difference in your audience’s mind though, you need to make an emotional connection.

In order to make an emotional connection, you need to know who your target audience is and what they will make a connection with while reading. Once you know what your story is, you can tell it across multiple media and in many different ways. Direct mail, Radio, Billboard, Displays, Banners, etc. All of these things can be a piece of the puzzle or they can tell a story with just an image and a few words. It’s up to you, or up to us if you want, to find the best way to tell that story.

So how does one tell a story without writing a book?

Well, most stories carry a similar structure, and the audience expects that a good story will use this structure to surprise and delight. Ready for the secret formula? We grabbed this off of MarketingProfs, who nabbed it from Pixar:
Continue reading Storytelling for Business

Do you SEO, PPC, or go both ways?

As you may know customers can get to your website many different ways. This blog is about SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click). Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines are how your customers find stuff on the web. They pull out relevant information gathered from what you put in your search. Google alone accounts for 3,500,000,000 (3.5 Billion per day) that’s a lot of people looking for answers, products and services every hour of every day.
So how do you find which is the best way for you and your company to the first page on search engines? Both SEO and PPC work, but do you need both? To understand the difference between SEO and PPC, let’s take a look at them and see their strengths and weaknesses.

PPC (Pay Per Click)
Instead of organically and gradually ranking your way toward the top of search results, you pay the search engine to place your website on the top of page instantly. Every time a user clicks on your ad or website, the search engine charges a small fee. One thing to take note, it’s more than money that gets you to the top. It’s also “quality score”, location, relevance, and site functionality. But PPC search words are sold on the open marketing, meaning anyone can come along a take your spot if they want to pay more. Here are some of the top keyword costs per click:
Continue reading Do you SEO, PPC, or go both ways?

Understanding Your Color Space

In grade school, we learned how to mix primary colors (yellow, blue, and red), that yellow + blue = green, blue + red = purple, red + yellow = orange. Guess what? That was your first lesson in color theory. It’s not that simple when you are trying to color match your prints, though. It gets complicated in offset and digital printing vs. what you see on your monitor and smart phone.


Establishing your BRAND color is a great place to start, but it won’t cut it to simply say “We use dark green”. In fact, just knowing your company’s Pantone color values isn’t enough, since those values are generally used for specific printing processes. What about spot colors vs. CMYK vs. RGB?

One of the keys to having a successful brand is consistency. Every company Continue reading Understanding Your Color Space

Net Neutrality: Not Neutral Anymore

Net neutralityIf you aren’t familiar with net neutrality, you are not alone. Most Internet users don’t realize what it is or how they can be effected. Below is a quick overview.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality legislation was put into place to prevent Internet service providers from discriminating against or showing favoritism toward certain websites. Let’s say you use your local cable and Internet comp for streaming video; without Net Neutrality they could now intentionally slow down the stream of competing services such as Netflix, giving themselves an unfair advantage.

How Will It Impact You?

Broadband providers will be able to charge consumers and companies varying rates. You could be charged more for a package that allows unrestricted access to streaming sites than someone else who only uses their Internet for email and reading newspapers.

What Does This Mean for Web Searches?

Currently, websites all have an equal opportunity to be found and visited. Without legislation in place to keep it that way, the stage is being set for large, established companies to be able to push out the little guy much like with current TV stations.

In a pay to play environment, large companies could put their websites in an express lane of searches. This is of course bad for smaller or new companies and bad for us as consumers, because our freedom to evaluate two services on a level playing field is restricted. This gives larger payers an advantage over smaller, similar services.

Specific to SEO, without net neutrality, it could mean that sites that rank high may not get the traffic or customers they did in the past. Also consider how highly Google values website speed; sites that are paying for speed will have access to their sites, a clear advantage based on money not merit.

The Internet has become a very integral part of our everyday lives. Even though recent legislation protecting Internet equality has been killed, it will take months if not years to see the full impact of an unregulated Internet.
If you are a small business owner with a websites or and online store, don’t completely overhaul everything just yet, the SEO industry isn’t going away for quite some time.

And the Future Will Be?

Web searches as we know them will be changing in the next couple years. But changes and evolution are just part of the game, good changes will evolve and bad ones will disappear. Help keep the internet equal for everyone:

SUPPORT NET NEUTRALITY

On a budget and tight deadline? Browse our Idea Book

It’s a given that in most industries you can have only two of these three things at any time: low price, good quality, and quick service. What if you just want a smidgen of all three? Purdy please?

You’re not exactly Mr. Monopoly, you don’t want to just plop some text on a brochure and call it good, and you need it yesterday. Yes, yes, you should have a budget for this, you should have been prepared far enough in advance to hire a good designer, and you knew this was coming —but sometimes not. Or sometimes you just need a little mercy!

So, here is a smidgen of luck for you. We can make you a custom piece, but we can also use some pre-made templates to get you started. Call it an idea generation tool if you will. Just go here, download our catalog, and reference which one you want to use. We have the same catalog in our office (of course) so we know which one you are talking about.

Browse the idea book by going here and clicking on the image of the book: http://www.api-marketing.com/our-services/design-services/

Why Business Thank You Notes Are Important

TY NOTE

Growing up we were always told saying thank you was important; writing a thank you note was even better. The art of sending a Thank You Note has faded a bit but there are still a lot of people that send them and for good reason. Not only does it show you are appreciative for an item, an action, or just a relationship, but in the business world you are giving your perspective customer or current customer another reason to see your name, your business name and just another “touch” in a world that likes to be noticed.

Sometimes we get busy, sometimes we just plain forget, but making sure to send a thank you is a GREAT thing when trying to make someone feel the warm and fuzzy. It requires very little effort, it doesn’t have to be a novel, just a quick jot of words will do. A proper thank you note contains just a few things; generous, specific, prompt, concise and personal. Even if you are late to write the note, don’t let that hold you back, late is better than not at all.

Writing a Thank You note will set you apart from your competitor. Like I said before, Thank You Notes are fading a lot from what they were in the past, so sending a handwritten thank you sets you apart from the other company that has been trying to get their business. When you send a thank you note, the receiver is more likely to see your worth and value your appreciation than just a quick email or social media post. Studies have shown the great power of saying thank you. When you send a Thank You to your customers they in turn spend more, they tell their friends about you and your service delivery.  This drives profit, margin and success.

Project Management: The Have, Need, How Method

Imagine you are moving along in your project and planning your next campaign when five other projects are dumped on your desk. A few minutes later, somebody peeks around the corner and says “Hey, that one there is a rush, can you get it to me ASAP?”

Sure. You set down your stuff and move it aside. You pick up the ASAP project and find out it’s not in a state that should be sent to you quite yet. So you send it back to the service rep. It’ll come back to you within the hour, so you think you should work on some other stuff for a bit so you don’t get interrupted again. An hour later the ASAP project comes back and so do 3 other projects. Now you have 7 projects plus the ASAP and the campaign. But you haven’t counted them yet; you just see lots and lots of paperwork. Emails, phone calls, special requests, break time. You come back from break and all projects you sent out have come back with changes. You work on those, put out some theoretical fires in the office, and before you know it, you have to go home.

Get your mind back on track
Is the image on the left what your mind feels like halfway through the day?

What have you even done today? Are you feeling a little lost and overwhelmed?

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received in regards to campaign or project organization is what I call the Have, Need, How method. This was a little something I gleaned from Gwen Amos at CSUS  while she prepared us for the onslaught of projects we encountered. In addition to getting analytical people to think creatively, she was tasked with getting a bunch of creative people to use their analytical side even if for a short time, and she did both quite well. Could you have asked her a question if you hadn’t considered the things on your Have, Need, How list? Yes, but you might just be told to make one such list as her answer.

I file her advice on this list with other gems like: “Get it out of your head and on paper or it doesn’t exist,” “Don’t vomit on paper, you would all be fired if this were a job,” “Even if you don’t have everything I asked for, at least have something new,” “This is good paper, it makes colors pop; everyone look at this paper,” and “I’m going to show you all something, but only once.”  It was tough making the Have, Need, How list at first, but not as tough as complete writer’s block. This method at least asks you a question you can most likely answer about what you have done, helps you list what needs to get done, and start thinking about how you are going to accomplish those needed items. If you need to make your list specific to each project that is OK, but you can go broader if you want, and go over your schedule for the day or week. Keep this list where you can see it.

You need 3 sections: Have, Need, and How.

What do you have? In this section write down all the things/pieces of the project(s) you have available or have done already. You will feel a little better about yourself as you write this because it forces you to acknowledge that you actually did do something.

What do you need? You’re not done with your project yet, and you’ve got to address the missing pieces at some point. So write down all the things you need to accomplish or need to acquire for the project.

How will you accomplish the items on your need list? This is perhaps one of the most important steps for people who need a little help to get moving. Let’s say you need a new Facebook banner but you don’t know the size. In order to get the correct size you can find the specs on Facebook’s website. Then of course it’s design time. So your action item, or your “how”, on “make new Facebook Banner” will be “1. look up size for Facebook Banner on their website. Here is the size___________. 2. Using our current campaign theme, current fonts, colors and images from style guide (on the book shelf), make banner.” This can go on for some time depending on your position in the company, but it’s usually 1-5 tasks.

list example
Here are some items I would like to get done

This method basically gives you a sense of where you are in a project, and no excuse to not start working on something. Plus you get a handy list that you can check off as you go. Now that you know exactly where you are in a project all day long, you can at least know where you left off if you get distracted.

It’s a good idea to start one of these lists at the beginning or end of the day so that you can get a fresh start. But if you are ever feeling overwhelmed and you don’t have one of these lists to go by, I can almost guarantee that if you take a few minutes to make one, you’ll be more productive (and feel more productive!).

Join me next time for Are You Sure You Read That?—3 ways to make sure you comprehend what you just read.

FYI your SEO and PPC work together

Before I explain the details, let’s take a look why it is important for your online business marketing. As you may know, Google, Bing  and other search engines are basically how people find stuff on the web. It pulls out relevant information it thinks people might find useful. That’s millions of people looking for answers to their real-life questions every hour of every day.
So how do you find your way to the first page on search engines? There are basically two ways to do that: SEO and PPC. Both of them work, but do you need both? To really understand what the difference between SEO and PPC is, let’s take a look at them individually and see what their strengths and weaknesses would be. Continue reading FYI your SEO and PPC work together

The Case for Newsletters

It’s cheaper to keep existing clients happy and engaged than it is to get new clients, which makes it so much sadder when companies neglect their client base and give exciting offers or much needed assistance only to potential clients.
With so many options today, a client needs to see value in your company in order to stick around. This value may be there already, but they need to see it! In fact, 90%* of people would switch to a new company that they feel has a better Corporate Social Responsibility ethic, or supports a cause that they like. With people that are willing to make a switch, the modern day business must frequently communicate what they are all about—without being annoying.

There are many ways to communicate: emails, newsletters, posters, flyers, brochures, mailers, videos, social media, community efforts, etc. They can range from passive, to in-your-face. The value of each depends on frequency, timing, content, and audience.  You won’t be able to praise the benefits of grass fed beef to vegans, and have them decide to eat it, no matter how good that beef is.

Quarterly and Monthly newsletters are a great way to give your clients and supporters assertive, yet not annoying bits of excellence. They can:

  1. Build loyalty by offering relevant, helpful information from your area of expertise.
  2. Let people know what you’ve been up to in the community and what your company personality is like.
  3. Give your company a voice.
  4. Give you an opportunity to get to know your clients, and segment your audience for different content, based on how they respond to your newsletter.
  5. Nurture existing leads in a cost effective manner and generate new leads and new sales by allowing people to discover what you have to offer. For example, every now and then a person comes to us after seeing an article about banners and tells us “I didn’t know you printed banners!”

We are offering 25% off printed newsletters through August 2017, so if you are curious to see what a newsletter can do for you, get a quote! Email quote_request@api-marketing.com or call 530-885-9674


*According to Cone communications/Ebquity’s 2015 Global CSR Study

 

Photo credit: Foter.com