Facebook Ad: For promotions involving sales of discount or pretty much anything. A tool you can use is the Facebook ad. It allows you to select your target audience in terms of interests, profession, age and geographic education. So, if you have a dance studio in San Diego, California you can run an ad targeting people from that part of the country that meet your other requirements. A Facebook ad can cost you as little as $5/day to, however, much you’re willing to spend. Even if Facebook is not your social media of choice. Other social media platforms have their own forms of advertising. Something that’s especially good about running a social media ad is that it reaches most of the people in your social network and the people connected to them. If you haven’t tried it before I encourage you to give it a shot. If you’re not very computer savvy, feel free to contact Uzo Design to help you with that.
Social Media Banner: In the situation of keeping you on clients’ minds or simply just celebrating the holiday spirit one way to do this is by temporarily switching the design of your social media banner to capture the holiday theme. If you’re not sure how to create the social media banner for your platform. There are tools out there on sites like canva.com or stocksnap.io that have preset templates or sizes of various social media platform where you can generate upload your own images or simply use theirs.
Pop-Up Ads: Although, people may find pop-ups annoying, it all really depends on how you set it up to function. All the same, they are a very good way to catch people’s attention with what you want to promote since they are in your face. Alternatively, you can always use a static banner strip that can be displayed at the very top of your website. It allows people to opt-in to your offers.
App Notification: If you haven’t gone to the cool route to developing an app for your business you should seriously consider it especially if you have a huge fan base or clients who patronize you. The great thing about apps is that since everyone has their cell phones with them almost everywhere they go, they are easier to reach. Apps allow you to send notifications that pop up on people’s phones so they can see your offers simply click on it and be taking to it.
Website Banners: You can also use a website banner that briefly displays your offer and links to the page with your promotion.
Video Ad: You can create and run a video ad as part of your social media promotion and include a call to action at the end of the video or attach a link to your social media page. Here’s a video sample from Uzo Design. Just remember to tailor your video to the season you’re using it for.
Hopefully, these pointers will help you successfully reach your next holiday goals. Are there any other tools you use to a great effect that we didn’t cover? Please, free to share.
The holidays are upon us and for some reason, it is a time when people are more inclined to spend money for various reasons. As a business owner or organization, what is your plan to engage them using your online presence?
Here are a few suggestions of what you can do this holiday season: Boost sales, show your customers how much you appreciate them or simply staying on your clients’ minds until the next time they are in need of what you have to offer.
As stated above the holidays can be a very good time to boost sales if your business is in a dull state of affair. There are several ways you can do this, depending on the nature of your business. If you’re a product based business it would mean that you may have to take a different approach compared to a service based business or an organization. All the same here are a few things you can do to boost your business sales during these holidays.
Discounted sales: you can run a sales promotion that is for a limited time period. For example, if you’re a company that sells handbags you can offer a buy one get half off or 20% off promotion. The trick is to create a certain window of opportunity for people to take advantage of this offer. You want this window to be at a duration revolving around the specific holiday. If it’s too long people may feel they have all the time in the world t act and may delay taking action. One of the best ways you can do this is through an e-mail marketing and Cloud Awards breaks down how you can use e-mail to accomplish your goals.
Contest: You can also run a contest that offers people a reward for their participation. Right now, Uzo Design is running a photography contest for Halloween offering the $25 and other prices. The goal of this contest is to generate more buzz around Uzo Design in order to engage existing clients, fans, and potential clients. The idea is for them to share their Halloween images with us on our social media pages or through our website in hopes to increase our traffic, boost our relevance on search engines and hopefully generate some new sales. Besides, it will be cool to see all the costumes ideas people have to share from their Halloween events.
Referral incentives: This is also a good time to ask people who might visit your website or Facebook or other social media pages for referral in exchange for a reward.
Call to Action: People are often in an emotional mood during the holidays. What better time than then to rally them to support a cause that your Not-For-Profit Organization is standing behind?
“Begin with the end in mind” is a quote by the late Stephen Covey that every business or organization should adapt in their design making decisions. This might sound like a no-brainer. However, in my experience with clients, a lot of them seem to forget this. In this situation “the end” is the organization’s public or target audience. Why does this matter?
Simply put without your customers (target audience) your business or organization will cease to exist or exist without much substance. Yeah, that’s pretty much it, end of the blog you can now go back to surfing the net. Alright, I’m kidding there’s more to it. So, let me break it down. Your target audience determines your brand and your organization’s goals. This includes your design decision as well. However, by beginning with the end in mind you get to have a greater control in which direction your brand goes; which is what most clients who come to designers want anyway.
The simple answer to the above question is that you should use both. So, now you can stop reading. Just kidding, please continue reading. A lot of people tend to think that once they have a social media page they don't need a website and then there are others who don't see the need for a social media presence. I suppose if they uneducated about the subject then to each their own. However, the main issue I have found is people who think that their social media page(s) is doing the work of a website. In most cases the people involved don't know any better. So, here's what you need to know about the subject.
The most important thing to take away is that social media (which is a type of website) and your traditional website were designed for different purposes. Although, it's fair to say the similarity they both share is to engage people. So, when it comes down to the everyday use they serve different purposes. However, as a business or organization, you should use both to maximize your reach.
I like to think of social media as a spokesperson for your organization at a conference or your organization's booth at a trade show or exhibition. They can engage people and show off certain aspects of your business. However, you are using them to draw people into further engaging with your organization at a later time or have a live conversation. As the name implies it is for a social interaction and depending on the nature of your entity, you might not even need a social media page.
Last week I was with a potential client who told me that his previous experience with designers has been bad because they ignored what he wanted and just did whatever they wanted. This got me thinking, are designers an arrogant bunch?
Personally, I wouldn’t consider myself arrogant but then again that’s just my opinion isn’t it? However, I do think back on my college days and recall vividly a few arrogant designers that I knew at that time in my life. There was Maddie who knew better than everyone including our professors and she saw every constructive criticism as an invitation for conflict; which she was hell bent on winning. There was Leigh who was widely praised and whose work I admired; However, she was very snooty and secretive. Knowing what I know now perhaps it helps to put things in context. More on this later.
My freelance working experience has been a mixed blessing. I’ve mostly had great clients who gave me the opportunity to share in their dreams and project; many of them were genuinely happy with the work I had done for them. Some of whom I have stayed friends/acquaintances with till this day. The few that I had bad experiences with will only fall into the client from hell category. Do see my blog on that. My experience has put me in the path of clients who wanted ridiculous things like using a photograph mixed in with other complicated elements to form a logo, ignoring the warnings that this doesn’t work and then coming back to have it changed to another ridiculous version.
Then there are other clients who want to be overly involved in the design process and I get that they are paying for this. Still you wouldn’t tell your doctor how best to treat you, otherwise why hire him? However, by wanting to be involved they end up getting in the way. They nit-pick at various details that aren’t relevant to the overall success of the project.
As a designer I want the best for my clients because their success also reflects on me. My process has generally been to find out what the client wants, see what they need while using my design education and artistic style to solve the problem. In other words, finding a harmonious common ground that will solve the design problem at hand. The issue I’ve observed with some clients is that because they are hiring you to do the job they feel they know better than you and what is best for the project to succeed. So, if you were to offer a design solution that goes against what they have in mind they get upset and say that the designer isn’t following their requests.
As a designer one of the things that stayed with me through my education is that you begin with the target audience in mind or as the late Steven Covey put it “Begin with the end in mind”. One of the reasons I love the consultation session with a client prior to the start of a new design project is because it allows me to get a better understanding of them, their target audience and what they want. Sadly, enough half of the clients I’ve worked with were focused on themselves; and weren’t even sure who their target audience were or had a really broad range of target audience. I can see why a client would get upset and view a designer as arrogant for not giving him what he wants; when what he needs would best serve his target audience and him or her in the long run. If a client can convince me from a business aspect why a certain design decision is good or bad for the goal of the project, I am willing to make adjustments.
When I look back at my classmates Maddie and Leigh I am forced to consider, that though they may be designers their personalities will always come to the front. To be fair to them to being in the design program in college had a lot of prestige attached to it. If your work your good, you got recognition for it and everyone talked about you. This probably made people take more ownership of their work, even it is to the point of ego investment. That type of environment can often bring out competitive side of people and what might seem like arrogance is just their way of trying to stand out. I believe the same thing applies to clients as well who are probably accomplished in their fields and thinks that makes them qualified to judge what design is best for their project.
So, what has your experience been with designers? Do you still think they are an arrogant bunch? Leave your comments below.
This is probably just my opinion and you are more than welcome to disagree with me. For a while I have been under the impression that good customer service is dying. Although, all the cool marketing tools and resources out there today might imply otherwise.
As a designer I have to sell my services to potential clients and it can be very rewarding, challenging and at times disheartening. All the same while doing this I have come to discover that it seems that most clients who seem to have a satisfactory amount of business coming in don't seem to really care about their clients.
There seems to be either one of two things going on. The first is actually design requests from them that cry "me, me, mine, mine" while implying "I'm paying you so me, me, my way , how I want it". What about their customers? How does their design demands reflect good customer service? The second thing going is clients or potential clients' attitude that if business is great why bother going out of their way to enhance current client or potential client experience.
It seems that many clients who contact designers for work to be done for them aren’t prepared most of the time. It’s hard to tell if this is a personality flaw or just lack of education. However, all hope is not lost. Here’s a basic guide of five ways you can prepare for the design of your new website.
One thing I’ve noticed is that many clients call asking for design work without having any idea of how much it should cost; once they have been told the price they assume it’s expensive, which shows that they might have not done some research. The truth is that design prices for your website may vary depending on what type of website you are looking to build. Still it’s a good idea to have a general idea of price range so you can budget accordingly. A quick way to get an idea is to contact designers and ask for a quote, be sure to supply them with basic information of what type of site you want and its functionality so you can get the right quote. Make sure your budget takes into account extras like feature services from 3rd party sites, as well as hosting and domain name. These are not generally included in the design fees.
Research The Designer’s Style
Most designers have samples of their work on their site. So, look through their portfolio of works to find out which designer’s style appeals to you. You should do this so that you know what to expect once work has commenced. As you pick your designer it is important to keep your target audience in mind. The reason for this is to make sure that the style of the designer you’re picking meshes with those of your target audience.
It is safe to assume that prior to getting your website built, that you have some sort of vision about the image you want your organization or business to have. There are probably similar organizations to yours whose practices you admire. Yes, it is also assumed that you want your organization to stand out. There’s nothing wrong with having an initial frame of reference.
So, what should do next? Collect links of examples of websites that inspire you for your designer to use as a source of reference. In addition to links, you can take screen shots of these websites, while making notes of how you want yours to differ; or you can simply leave that up to your designer.
Gather the contents of your new site
As a designer one of the difficulties of working with clients is getting contents to work with from them. Clients won’t supply contents in a timely manner and expect the work to be completed in time. Design work isn’t magic. Below is a checklist of the kinds of content you would need to gather. Please beware that this isn’t an extensive list but a good guide for a starting point.
· List of menus: Think of them as folders and arrange them as you would like them to be viewed.
· Copy for each individual page you would like to see on the site. Don’t forget to include your terms of service.
· Contact information
· Pictures, videos and links. As far as pictures go if you’re on a limited budget you may want to consider using stock photography to find images that reflects your organization. Some sites such www.bigstockphotos.com have a Free 7 days trial that allows you to download 5 pictures each day. This is something you should definitely take advantage of or you can leave it up to your designer to select the images for you.
· Testimonials from your clients that should be on your site
· Set up your social media pages: Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ etc. and get the links for each of those sites. If you’re not social media savvy then find someone who is to set these up for you otherwise you might have to pay your designer a little extra to set these up for you.
· PayPal, Square Register, Google wallet accounts etc. if you plan to accept payments on your site.
· Keywords related to your organization or business’s industry for your basic SEO.
· Create a Google account that will be affiliated to your site. It is important for your analytics and SEO
Set Up SEO and Advertising Services
It’s one thing to have a great site that people can check out but most importantly it’s best if you can be found online by people in need of your services, otherwise what’s the point in having the website? Some recommended sites for these services are Yelp, Google, Yext etc.
After you’ve done all these things or at least 75% of them, by all means go ahead and contact your Web Designer. This will make his job easier and in return you are likely to get your website up and running in a timely manner and avoid the extended back and forth of the designer wanting x, y and z from you. What did you find helpful in this article and is there anything missing that should’ve been added to this list?
It is never an easy thing making that bold move of starting a new project. However, for those of us who dare, we know the excitement that comes along with the ideas that floods our minds. This excitement often comes from the possibilities of sharing our passion with the world. So, how should you start out on your new project?
Well, if you are starting a new project that involves any kind of design, whether it is print or web based; you should start off right, by talking to the right designer. Doing this will obviously involve research on your part or referrals from friends. Doing your research first, will keep you well informed on things like pricing, duration of the design work etc. The purpose of this research is to lead you to the right designer. It might seem like the obvious decision to start off one’s design project with a designer still many skip this step only to regret it later. One quick way to judge a designer’s reputation is to look at their testimonials and reviews, especially if the designer isn’t one that wasn’t personally referred to you.
Some common mistakes I’ve witnessed from people starting off anew project on their own, is making design based decisions while being uninformed. Some people will purchase domain names that might sound right at the time but may not work for the projects they have in mind. It could be something along the lines of having a long name that their audience might not remember for their website, using the wrong color for their logo, using a wrong name or even starting the project with a non-designer only to realize later that it looks bad. This eventually leads to wasted time and money on having to fix these mistakes later.
Even if you are not totally ready to move on with the project, you can always pay a designer for consultation to acquire the right knowledge. When you finally get ready to start off on your new project you are well informed, know what to do and expect.
Don’t forget starting off a new project without a designer to save costs, can cost you more in the long run. As a designer what kinds of mistakes have you had to fix for your clients? As a client what kinds of mistakes have you made on a new project that could have been avoided?
With the amount of resources today there’s the notion that one doesn’t need to pay the cost of professional services such as a web design or graphic design. Why pay someone else to do it for you when you can simply do it yourself?
I believe that’s a valid question to ask yourself; with that being said you should consider the cons and pros of doing it yourself. I will get to that soon. Some of the things to consider with regard to doing anything yourself are specialization, time involved, the cost, education and image.
If you learn how to design a website yourself (that will include using templates). It will save you a lot of money that would have been spent hiring a professional to do it. As we can all agree, most of us want to cut cost and maximize profit. If we can’t cut the cost we want to divert it to something else in order to get the most out of our money.
Learning a New Skill
As people we want to expand our world view. Expanding that world view might include something like acquiring a new skill. The reason for this being that when you devote your time to adding a new skill set to your arsenal it gives you a sense of accomplishment; that pride of “look what I have been able to accomplish all on my own”. You feel more resourceful and independent.
While it’s true that using a template website can help you cut the cost of hiring a web designer; it could come at the cost of having a poor image. This is especially true if you don’t have the deep technical and psychological understanding of design and the design process that most formally trained designers have. While you can pick up on how to set up your templates website by following instructions; not having a deep understanding that is acquired through years of study and practice can give your site an amateurish look. Some people are totally unaware of how font alignments, choice of colors, images used, image size and more can give their site an unprofessional look. The downside to having an unprofessional look is that for most people perception is everything. Sometimes, first impressions is all it takes to judge your business and lose a potential client.
If you are running your own business by now you realize how time consuming it can be. When you decide to add more responsibilities to that by building your site yourself, updating it etc. That can take away from time you can spend with your loved ones and doing other things you enjoy. While you might save some money in the short term, in the overall scheme of things, time is the true currency in life which we can’t get back.
I am sure there’s more that can be added to the list of cons and pros. However, in order not to have an overly lengthy reading I shortened it to the above list. At the end of the day it comes down to it being your decision as a business owner or organization leader, on what you feel works well for you. There is a lot design-wise that goes into creating a website or making a logo. When you hire a professional you are rest assured that they have spent years of training and practice specializing in their craft. If cost is really an issue for you then you should consider adding design costs to your current or future budget. However, if you would rather do it yourself via a template. Simply sign up with Weebly using this link to get started.
If you don’t already have a website or logo for your business/organization or don’t have a modern and professional looking one, what is your excuse? What else can you add to this list of cons and pros?
If you have any design needs ranging from print, website, electronic newsletter and even app design Uzo Design is here for you.
Give Yourself a Head Start
Before enrolling for any class it would be in your best interest to do some research on the instructors for the classes you will be taking. A lot of times the same courses are taught by different instructors and it would be best for you to learn some more about these instructors prior to getting enrolled in one of their classes. This will help you to be better prepared to deal with them or to learn to avoid them altogether. Unfortunately, some instructors are just in it for the pay check. I had an instructor who wouldn’t teach and just expected us to go out there and find out the answers.
Although, this might be the case sometimes in the real world; but if you are paying to get an education then the instructor ought to be teaching you whether they think so or not.
My guess is every school is going to be different with regards to the curriculum and how it changes each semester. One of the things I discovered is that a lot of professors repeat the same projects each semester with slight modification. Perhaps this has to do with the convenience and laziness that is part of the human nature, unless there’s another explanation. If your school does this then you can benefit from the situation.
You can get a copy of the syllabus from seniors before you and ask to see those projects that they did. This will give you a head start prior to you taking that class. If you have the time during holiday session you can do your own version of that project and when you finally get into that actual class you either already have the work done or have an alternative to turn in if you find yourself pressed for time. If in the worst case scenario you have to do it over then you would have already had some practice.
Invest in your future
As with all things one day your college career will come to an end and if you had invested in your future back then, you will surely be reaping your rewards now. Here are some things you should invest in while you are in college: people, internship, software and tools (camera, computers etc.).
People: Remember those people in the high and low places that I mentioned in the previous series. Well, if you maintained good relationships with them some of them will come in handy when you start looking for job after graduation. A lot of jobs often ask you for professional references. Before you graduate be sure to collect a few phone numbers and letter of recommendations because they will come in handy.
Social Media: If you haven’t taken the time to do so. Find out how social media can help you with advertising and marketing. The reason I have mentioned it is because looking back over the years I deleted a lot of people I didn’t communicate with frequently on Facebook because I didn’t see the point. With what I know now I would’ve still left them as contacts because the more the better when it comes time to marketing your services to people in the future. Put your professional self out there. Join as many social media networks as you can handle and learn to use them effectively.
Internship: Some schools require internship as a part of their Graphic Design curriculum. Even if your school doesn’t have this requirement it is best that before you graduate you seek out a company hiring interns. Many companies will want you to work for free and in exchange they will give you course credits that will enable you meet your school internship requirement. If you are not overly busy with another job or stuck financially then take the unpaid internship. Just make sure that the company will actually have you do work that is directly related to design. If you are strapped for cash then seek out paid internships. Many schools have job boards where you can locate some of these job postings.
Software and tools: If you are in school and receive grants or financial aid there is always the temptation to spoil you with the refund check. Instead use this money to buy the software you will need to start doing work on your own after you graduate because chances are you will no longer have access to the school equipment. So, buy a lap top, SLR camera, video camera, portable scanner and a smart phone. These are things that will enable you to do your work as a designer more effectively. You should also purchase a domain name and a website (if you can’t design yours) so that you have a portfolio site with all your works displayed there.
In other to conclude this “Path to Success Series”, I will offer two pieces of advice.
Take the short cut: As a designer you will find yourself stumped for ideas with time being against you. The best thing you can do is take the short cut. Find a similar project or style online and use it as a source of inspiration. Borrow the ideas and create your own. This will save you time and energy. At the end of the stay it is still important to get that passing grade than the failing one for not turning the work in.
Provide Value: If you happen to be one of those smart students be sure to help others out and eventually they will need you again, and even provide word of mouth testimonials on your behalf and then you can reap the rewards of the value you had provided.