A Little of This, A Little of That

The Lay Off from my job really has made me explore my creative side! At first, it seems like it’s the end of the world. All doors are closing. Then comes the lack of pride and even the lack of motivation…

It’s actually quite the opposite! The Lay Off has made me think beyond what I was doing. The ideas came flowing. Possibilities were around every corner! Now, my creativity seems endless!

The Lay Off has allowed me to open two Etsy sites!

The Craftology 101 Store Etsy site is a great find! Were it not for The Lay Off, I wouldn’t have came across Gina, my partner with this Etsy store! She came up with the idea of personalized canvases and I design them! We hope to go beyond canvas art too!

www.etsy.com/shop/craftology101store

The other store is the branch off my Social Ballyhoo business. This one is all my own. So far, I’ve designed Christmas cards, Valentine cards, thank you cards and more! www.etsy.com/shop/ballyhoodesignahoo

It’s been such a  blessing to have this opportunity to take me creativity beyond a newspaper ad! I’m learning new design skills at the same time! So thank you Previous Job for not CLOSING a door but for OPENING a new one!

door

New Twitter Header Dimensions

If you go to your Twitter profile, you’ll see that it’s got a pretty make-over! I personally like it! It’s got a header photo, it’s CLEAN…is it bad that it reminds me of Facebook???

Which leads me to this post. You’re going to want to insert a photo of some sort in that header spot. It catches attention, it gives branding, it’s a great way to highlight YOU and YOUR BUSINESS!

So, let’s get to the point. Twitter’s recommended dimensions for header photo is 1500px in width X 500px in height.

Here’s a template! I must warn you though…that despite these dimensions, Twitter still crops it as they see fit! My recommendation: keep everything centered and away from the edges.

twitter-header-template-12skip

 

And if you need me to design your header photo, contact me on Facebook. (Don’t worry, it won’t cost you an arm & a leg!)

How to Get Direct Mail to Work for You

We provide print marketing materials!

The digital era is definitely on the rise. Newspapers are slowly dying, and now people are wondering if direct mail is  dying along with it.

Though newspapers and direct mail are becoming less frequent, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a place in our world of advertising.

Here are some facts regarding direct mail:

BizReport 2010 reported that up to 85% of a business’ customer’s work or live in a five mile radius immediately around the business location.

The Little Book of Bigger Returns (Royal Mail Group Ltd 2011) found that mail boosted ROI (return on investment) by 20% when it was part of an integrated marketing campaign. Mail also increased the life of local ads by 44% and on line campaigns by 62%.

Also, although there IS a shift to digital marketing, that doesn’t make it the best option for all audiences. For example, only 45 percent of seniors have Internet service.  Additionally, Market Scan found that “the figure for available emails is around 20 percent of postal addresses, meaning that by avoiding direct mail you could be missing 80 percent of your target market.” People who  use email regularly have become experts at blocking out sales messages with filters.

A study done by the Direct Marketing Association found that the response rate for direct mail to an existing customer averages 3.4 percent, compared to 0.12 percent for email.

Here are 6 steps toward a successful direct mail campaign:

1) Send out coupons or discounts. Everyone loves a discount. Mention FREE or 50% off, their eyes gravitate towards it!

2) Target your market. Find a database that helps filter the results based on your needs. The more refined the search, the better.

3) Stand out! No one said direct mail has to look boring! Envelopes that catch the eye and engage the reader with customized teaser copy, customized letters that include handwritten notes, and vivid brochures/inserts that showcase further details capture and engage readers.

4) Never forget quality control. Proofread your copy. Look for grammatical errors, typos and inconsistencies. I know nothing turns me off more than a misspelled word in an ad that a business paid money for!

5) Integrate strategy. Leverage your message with other marketing initiatives; this helps to ensure brand cohesion. Consumers might need to hear your message five times before they act on it.  When your mailing is designed, be sure all pieces are consistent with your logo, background, font choice, colors. You want to be easy to recognize from one ad to another.

6) Don’t forget follow up. Turning people into loyal customers is going to take more than just one mail out; it’s going to be a continual process. Direct mail materials should have a call to action for people to connect with you online. When people visit your website, blog, or social media channels, they are asking to be kept in the loop on new information. This will help to keep them engaged beyond the mail delivery.

So just because direct mail isn’t the newest form of sending word out about your business, it doesn’t make it ineffective.

I would love to help you with this! Having one designer is helpful for a consistent look. I can create pieces, not only for a direct mail campaign, but also translate those ads into static digital ads or memes for your social media. Your direct mail can become flyers for networking events, postcards for mailing or for your front desk, inserts for newsletters.

Sound good? Contact me.

cheryl@socialballyhoo.com

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Google+

5 Tips For Using Google+

A few (of MANY more to come) Google+ tips.

Did You Plus One Someone Today?

I’ve been OBSESSED with figuring out Google+. I’ve recently created my business Google+ page for Social Ballyhoo. And now I’m doing the research, because it IS different than Facebook. If you’re asking WHY you need to be on it, check out 5 reasons to initiate change and join Google+.

As I’ve said, I’m obsessed with figuring out Google+, mainly because it takes me a while to get used to new platforms. I’ve decided to blog about ONLY 5 tips per blog at a time. These are tips I’m learning along the way that any new Google+ user should find helpful.

1) To build your circles, share other people’s posts, tag them, plus 1 their posts (plus 1=LIKE in Facebook lingo!), comment. Google+ has more interaction…so interact! (This actually goes for Facebook too, but it’s apparently more advantageous in Google+.)

2) Speaking of interaction, when sharing a link from someone or from a website, comment with WHY you’re sharing it. This is better than a random link with no explanation. It adds the HUMANITY to social media! (And don’t forget to use KEYWORDS so it shows up in Google searches!)

3) Link ALL your social media platforms to each other. Be sure all your platforms are on your blog. Link your Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. URLS on Google+ and vice versa.

4) Did you know you can format your text in Google+ (unlike Facebook). You can BOLD, strike-through and italicize your text in posts!

  • Use asterisks around text to bold, i.e.,  *this is your text * becomes this is your text
  • Use underscores around text to italicize, i.e.,   _this is your text_ becomes this is your text
  • Use hyphens around text to strike through, i.e.,  -this is your text- becomes this is your text

5) Often, I hit the enter key before realizing I made a typo in a Twitter update. This is not a problem on Google+. If you need to edit an already-published post, just hover over the post, click the down arrow in the top right corner and edit.

There’s so much more, but I do have to limit my excitement to five tips per blog as to not overwhelm myself or YOU! If you haven’t already, take that leap and create your Google+ account now.

5 Reasons to Jump on the Google+ Bandwagon

Your business NEED to get on Google+ NOW!

Join Google+ NOW!

Everything I’ve been reading says Google+ is the place to be for businesses. I’m so tied to Facebook, that I had to research Google+ and as of this week, Social Ballyhoo is officially on Google+.

It’s definitely different than Facebook but in ways that I’m beginning to think it’s BETTER for businesses. I’d like to share what I’ve learned thus far . Below are 5 reasons why your business NEEDS to get on Google+

1)  Basically, within search engine results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without verification, which will result in most users clicking on the top (verified) results. So if you have a Google+ page, you’ll show up higher (if not at the top) of search results.

2) If you use great keywords in your posts, your page will be found near/at the top of search results! Use keywords that relate to your business in each post, and you will be found almost instantly!

3) Many people think there isn’t much happening on Google+, but that’s not really the case. It’s the second most actively used platform! More active than Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube.

4) “Facebook helps you to keep in touch with the people you already know, Google+ helps you to get in touch with the people you want to know.” I read this on the Google+ Helper. This is why it’s great to include people you don’t know in your circles. Of course, you want  to add new people that somehow relate to your business in some fashion, but don’t be afraid to “circle” those that reach out to YOU! You want to reach out beyond who you already know!

5) Google+ is great for bloggers. You want to use Google+ (and even other social media platforms) as a place to VISIT, and use your blog or your website a place to GO. You can blog away and use Google+ as your medium to share your business news. It’s also good to use as a mini-blog. There’s no character restrictions!

If being on top isn’t enough for you to get on Google+, I’m not sure how else I can convince you! If I can do it, you can do it! Let’s figure it out TOGETHER! Your homework until the next blog post: Create a Google+ account! Already have one? Read 5 Google+ tips I’ve found to be helpful.

 

Less Is More! Control Your Fonts!

 

Let’s talk about design real quick. This is something I’ve run across many times when designing ads for a client. They want to use 203 fonts in one small ad. No joke. Okay, I slightly exaggerated. Consider this my tip of the day. Typically when designing an ad, you want to limit yourselves to 2-3 fonts. Anything more than that, it makes the ad look busy.

 

Personally, I like to use one serif font, one san serif and one script font IF it’s appropriate. I usually stick to two fonts in an ad. Granted, with some ads, you can get away with more fonts…maybe if it’s a disco party or something.

 

So just remember that when you’re designing or if you have someone doing design work for you. Less is more in design!

Proof!

Design term of the day: PROOF.

I chose this word because I DO use it…and sometimes I wonder if clients know what I’m talking about!

Proof-

A proof is simply a printed copy of what your materials will look like.

Sometimes in the case of a printed proof, there are often white edges and hash marks called crop marks in the corners. Looking at this untrimmed document, you’ll notice some of the images come out farther into the margin than others. This is called a bleed and it’s printed beyond the edge of your postcard, banner, or other printed material so there are no white edges when the piece is trimmed.

So don’t worry if the colors, illustrations or copy aren’t all in place yet. I’m just saving you money by not investing in anything until we’ve both agreed on an end result you like.

Design word of the day