1987 was more than the year of Dirty Dancing and the Princess Bride: It was also the year that Photoshop was introduced, which was an application that opened so many doors for creative individuals. Since then, more and more photo editing apps and software have been released, adding a new dimension to the world of marketing and replacing the traditional marketing specialists’ job with that of a graphic designer’s. Move over, newspaper and magazine ads, there’s a new sheriff in town. Well not really new, but graphic design has become a massive part of the marketing industry.
Is Graphic Design Really That Big Of A Deal?
Think about the way you shop. How do you hear about sales and promotions? What are the methods you use to get all that information? If you answered “online,” then there’s the answer to your question. About 64% of small businesses have a website that they use to promote their business, and you bet that their website was either designed by a graphic designer or by someone who has knowledge of the subject. Graphic design has taken over the internet and is one of the main ways that businesses market themselves. So the short answer is yes, graphic design really is that big of a deal and it’s worth understanding its importance, especially in the multitude of ways it can help you sell your business to the world.
Why Your Logo Matters More Than You Think
What do Apple, Twitter, Disney and Starbucks have in common beyond being hugely successful? You pictured the logo when you read all the names of those companies. Thanks to the power of marketing done right, you instantly recognize the company by its logo alone and don’t even need to be told what business it’s for.
That should be a goal of yours: To be so prolific that your company is recognized by your logo, which in itself is a symbol of your business. The more places that your logo is seen the more people will recognize it, so make sure that it’s something that you’ve thought long and hard about and that it is an accurate representation of what you do and what services you offer. The best part is that you don’t have to be an artist to design your logo anymore; while you can certainly hire a graphic designer to figure something out for you, why not try your hand at it yourself? Some programs online offer free logo maker software that is as easy and clicking and pointing to tweak your logo exactly how you want it.
A Killer Website
In order for clients to get any information out of your website it must be clean, readable and easy to navigate. If you’re planning on designing it yourself, bear in mind that there are some industry standards that clients really don’t like being messed with. What does that mean? Well, here are some surefire things that you need to include on your site:
Contact information and hours of operation. Your contact info should include an email address, phone number/extension and any social media handles that you use. Almost nothing is more infuriating than finding nobody to reach when you have a burning question.
A navigation bar that is in the top center of the website. There are variants here, but overall the majority rules: Don’t mess around with navigation too much or you will lose people.
An About section. Yes, really! People are genuinely interested in you and your story. Where did you get the inspiration to start it? Why did you pick this field? What year and what city did you begin in? Believe it or not, customers want to know these details because they want to do business with someone whose values they share. Don’t skimp on this step, it’s more important than you realize.
Social Media: Cat Memes or Marketing Platform?
In 2017, an estimated 90% of businesses were using social media to advertise. Even if you don’t like to use social media in your personal life, it can be one of the best possible modern ways to spread the word about you and what you do. Remember though, there are good ways to use social media and bad ways to use it, especially for professional purposes.
Tease new products without revealing too much. This generates buzz and gets people talking about your mysterious new Mystery Thing.
Interact with customers in a friendly, professional manner.
Announce upcoming promotions, sales and whatever else you want people to know about.
Swear, use slang or profanity. It reflects poorly on your character and can make people doubt your sense of professionalism.
Only talk about yourself and your business on other peoples’ posts and feeds. There can be a time and place to do that, but it is frustrating and annoying to see people who only like to discuss themselves and shamelessly promote their company. This is a great way to alienate yourself from the social media community by getting blocked.
Be overly confrontational. Sure, someone made a snarky comment that made you see red, but that’s no reason to personally attack them and call them out later on. Again, this looks unprofessional and causes people to shy away from you.
Marketing has changed immensely since the 1980s and as a small business owner you need to keep up with the trends. Understand how graphic design has changed the industry and use it in ways to help drive in new clientele and boost sales.