Forum Posts

sifat
Feb 16, 2022
In Get Started with NAO 6
Graphic design matters - a lot. I’m sure many of you would agree. A company’s image can rely heavily on their graphical elements. Look at companies like Apple, Nike and Amazon. Their logos alone encapsulate each brand’s vision and personality. Each is unique in its own right. What’s more is that their brand design never fails to carry over into other consumer-facing channels. From their social media handles to their online ads, outdoor billboards, flyers and packaging, their brand image is consistent, attractive and identifiable. Impactful design is the kind of stuff that many small businesses hope to achieve for their own brand. But the reality is that graphic designers aren’t always available for your day-to-day needs. Maybe their bandwidth is short; perhaps their quote for a project would have broken your budget. The point is, it’s not always viable to have a graphic designer involved every single time you need a visual piece created. Unfortunately, this is one of the most common challenges small businesses face. Creating visually appealing designs that represent your brand and bolster trust among customers usually takes time, a specific skill set, and expensive design software. But what if it doesn’t? Today I want to outline a web app that all small businesses should keep in their arsenal for those times when leveraging a professional designer just isn’t doable. Please, for the love of brand marketing, do not succumb to using clip art or stealing online images for customer-facing materials. (Yes, I’ve seen this happen). There’s a better, professional way to fake your design prowess. An Intro to Canva First, let me say that this post is not sponsored. We don’t have any affiliation with Canva. I just genuinely find this tool extremely helpful and, more importantly, simple for us non-designers. Canva is an online app that lets you create fast and easy designs. The Pro level account starts at $9.95 US a month with a free 30-day trial. I have a free account and, to be honest, it’s all I’ve ever needed. Depending on your particular needs, the free account might be enough! Budget-friendly tools are such a bonus. Design Practically Anything This is where Canva has the edge over other design apps I’ve used. They have a massive library of over 50,000 ready-made templates to leverage. Simply select a template to start with, edit the text, select an image from their library (or upload your own imagery!) and you’re ready to download. Most of the templates, fonts and images are free, so teams with a limited budget especially will love it. Others, I’ve noticed, start from as low as $1 so it’s not likely to break the bank. Canva 01_templates Template categories vary for needs too. Brand new businesses can start by exploring Canva’s pre-made logo templates. From there, templates for business cards, stationary, brochures and even websites are available. My favorite thing about their template library is the variety of designs they provide to suit different styles, audiences and industries. Canva 02_business cards For example, suppose you start a small catering business and need to quickly create new, affordable business cards. Here’s a glimpse of some of the pre-made business card templates they have if you search for “catering.” (There are even more templates I didn’t capture in this shot!) Now if you do have a graphic design background, you’ll probably like the familiar editing features available. Similar to Photoshop and Illustrator, Canva allows you to create separate canvases to work within. Typographic designers can adjust the tracking and kerning of text. You can even define specific Hex color codes for your design elements if you need to. So whether you’re an amateur designer or you have an advanced graphic designer on your team, there’s plenty of inspiration you can draw from Canva’s collection of templates, images and even fonts. Content Marketing, Social Media and Canva Around here, content marketing is always a hot topic. How to produce fresh content, best practices for appealing to your audience, learning what content is share-able, standard image dimensions for social channels...the list can seem endless. Needless to say, the content marketing world might be a little foreign to the same small catering business I referenced earlier. What’s a caterer to do when their competitors are all over visually-driven channels like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest? This is where Canva can fit into a full blown content strategy. Here’s a glimpse of key features I like: Social media standard sizing - when it comes to social media images, one size does NOT fit all. Twitter header sizes differ from Twitter post images; same goes for Facebook ads and Pinterest’s pins. Optimizing your imagery for each individual channel can determine Philippines Photo Editor how eye-catching your content is to your audience. TIP: See “Social Graphics” templates for an entire collection of pre-made graphics for Instagram, Facebooks ads, YouTube thumbnails and even Etsy shop icons. Dimensions and resolutions are all taken care of for Canva users. Variety of display ad formats - new businesses in particular might not realize that ad sizes can heavily impact conversions. Catering businesses everywhere can rest easy knowing that Canva’s web ad templates come in standard sizes for leaderboard, skyscaper, rectangle, inline rectangle sizes and more. So you don’t have to worry about learning all the different sizes! Canva 04 App integrations to streamline workflow - a great feature to all teams looking to scale or boost efficiency is Canva’s tool integrations. Canva can connect to other popular third party platforms like Mailchimp, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and more; loading Canva designs directly onto platforms can be a huge productivity boost for any online strategy. TIP: If you’re a larger team or have an outsourced designer, the integrations with Slack, OneDrive and WeChat promote quick, easy and real-time collaboration. Canva is a powerful tool in a small package. Learning how to use Canva to make impactful images, which you can across across multiple platforms and channels, is something every marketer, team and business owner can start doing today. The ratio of time/effort vs the impact Canva can have on your marketing efforts is the exact type of big win every business needs to make the jump to that next level they’ve been striving for.
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sifat
Feb 16, 2022
In Get Started with NAO 6
Summary: Learn all about content marketing, why it's so important for your business' digital presence, and get access to all our content marketing resources. A long time ago, marketing involved a lot of interruption. To get the word out about a product, service, or brand, marketers, and advertisers would place ads in newspapers, between TV shows and songs on the radio, on buildings and billboards – hoping to catch a consumer’s attention during some other activity. Content-Marketing Some efforts were more subtle: paying a celebrity to wear a particular brand, or showing a beloved character in a movie using one specific type of dish soap. Others even more closely resembled today’s content marketing, like educational brochures on a front desk, free checklists mailed to your house, or a sponsored article placed in a popular magazine. The Rise and Fall of the Content Farm Then came the internet, a breeding ground for cheap and fast content production. Businesses realized they could attract new customers by answering their questions rather than creating expensive printed materials or interrupting their media, so they commissioned content farms to produce cheap, low-quality content en masse. Many businesses used shady SEO practices to “hack” the system so their unhelpful content would rise on the search results page. Fortunately, Google caught on and began rewarding high-quality content and penalizing the junk. Today, marketers face a unique challenge that also presents an opportunity. Consumers have access to more information than ever. They can choose which media they want to consume, and which they wish to ignore. The solution? Content marketing. What Is Content Marketing? Content marketing strives to be the media that customers want to consume. Instead of interrupting a TV show, for example, content marketing is the TV show. Content marketing isn’t limited to one type of media, either; it spans many formats and channels, with more being invented every day. Content marketing can be a: Blog Loose-leaf printed material Movie, TV show, or YouTube episode Podcast Video game Book Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn post Quiz or other interactive content Your Content Marketing Strategy Your content marketing strategy, like any digital marketing strategy, should be tied to your broader business goals. Are you launching a new product, expanding into a new target market, or focusing on client retention and increasing customer lifetime value? Define your business goal, and then you can lay the framework for your content marketing strategy. Next, consider the topics related to your business line that Photo Editing Services you want to be known for – and connect those back to your more prominent business goal. If you’re a plant nursery hoping to increase brand awareness, your broad topics might be “landscaping,” “vegetable gardening,” “annuals,” and “perennials,” for example. Before you get into the nitty-gritty of what you’ll create, you’ll want to spend a good chunk of effort identifying and getting to know your target audience. Remember – content marketing is all about the people consuming your content, not about you. If what you create isn’t entertaining, informative, or educational, it isn’t effective content marketing. Getting to Know Your Target Audience Defining your audience, and catering your content to them, is one of the hardest parts of good content marketing – but possibly the most essential. There are many different ways to garner information about your target audience’s interests, beliefs, and problems: Talk to the sales team. Your sales teams, no matter how big or small, interact with prospects more regularly than anyone else. They’ll be privy to common objections, questions, and concerns your leads are facing – and they’ll have insights into what’s driving customers to make a purchase. Study the data. Get a Google Analytics account for your website to learn about what people are doing on your site, which pages they prefer, and which search terms are leading people to you. Use Google Search Console to conduct basic keyword research for free, or opt for a paid service like SEMrush or Moz for more in-depth functionality. Conduct primary research online. Consumer behavior on social media, review sites and forums can tell you a lot about your audience's issues. It can also serve as an excellent tool for brainstorming content ideas. Talk to them directly. Content Marketing Institute states that while only 43% of B2B content marketers talk to customers directly, and open conversation is one of the most effective ways to get accurate, updated information. Conduct a panel, survey, focus group or reach out to individual customers directly for feedback. Once you’ve gathered data about your target market, create customer persona documents for your content team to reference. Your writers and designers will be thankful for this, but a clear definition of personas will guide the next step in your content marketing efforts: choosing which types of content to produce. Content Planning for Content Marketing The biggest mistake you can make, as a marketer, is to create a whole bunch of disparate content pieces and publish them at random. Even if they’re all related by subject matter, they won’t have any impact on the business if they don’t relate to one another and work together to move customers down your sales funnel. To get the most out of your strategy, let your marketing funnel guide your content production. Some types of content work better as top-funnel lead magnets, while others are superior for helping you close a sale. Top Funnel Content This is content for your cold leads and prospects. These are the people who either haven’t heard of you or don’t know enough about you yet to make a buying decision. Top-funnel content should make your potential customers excited to engage with your business. Humor, uniqueness, and authenticity help content stand out in this phase. Common goals for top-funnel content include generating leads and nurturing prospects. Here are the types of content that usually perform well as top-funnel pieces: Blog posts Lead magnets (valuable, free resources) Explainer videos Podcasts Helpful/interesting newsletters For more on using content marketing for top-funnel initiatives, check out our video series on attracting new customers with content marketing. Middle Funnel Content Middle-funnel customers are aware of your brand but haven’t purchased yet. They may not fully understand your product or service or see how it will make their lives easier. Your job as a content marketer is to help mid-funnel prospects weigh their options while providing a deeper understanding of your offerings. The best content for the middle of the funnel includes: Infographics Events One-pagers and flyers Webinars Software downloads Educational resources Discount or coupon club emails Whitepapers Bottom Funnel Content Bottom-funnel customers have their credit card in hand and are ready to buy – but haven’t pulled the trigger. They may also be previous customers who are thinking of buying again. Bottom-funnel content should focus on landing the sale. It should show why you’re trusted, the most exceptional value, or the best at what you do. It should inspire existing customers to come back for more. Company newsletters Case studies Classes Landing pages Demo videos Rewards programs Free trials Direct mail and letters Read More: Content Marketing Ideas to Try Writing Creative Briefs: The Nitty-Gritty Once you’ve identified the types of content you need for each stage of your funnel, it’s time to get down to the details and write your creative briefs. A brief can be anything from a single paragraph to a full page (or two), as long as it clarifies to your writers, designers, video editors, and other professionals as to what you’re looking to receive. Here are some things to include: Title or Headline: Plan your headlines, video titles, lead magnet titles, and more based on the topics you want to cover, or the keywords you want to be on focus. It should be descriptive and compelling; even if you create great content, your prospects will never consume it if the title does not hook them.
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