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Why Professional Design is Vital to Your Small Business

I was testing out different customer relationship management tools  (CRM’s) and had narrowed my options to two services. One was completely free and had fairly good user-experience. The other one – Dubsado – had a great user-experience and beyond fantastic customer support (as well as a main Facebook community and sub-communities that also offered further support). The only catch was the price. At this point, I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to a monthly fee. I was really struggling with this decision until one day in the Facebook group, I saw that someone had received a “welcome package” from the owners of the company. I checked it out and was blown away. It wasn’t some cheap “thank you” gift either. You could tell that they put effort into finding a quality welcome kit to really make you feel at home. I decided on the spot, right then and there, that I wanted to be apart of that community. I went and got my credit card and paid for a 1-year subscription.

 

Now, the gift itself was not why I decided to go with them. It was really just the icing on the cake. The real reason that I decided to go with them, even though I had a free option that would have served me well, was that I saw the commitment and promise to deliver a quality experience. This is their marketing strategy. They treat their customers like family, they dedicate time to answering our questions personally, and they sincerely thank you for joining their service by mailing you a package. (Picture below).  My point? Design is in everything, whether it is visual, in structure, or in delivery. Design is a process and it is vital to a successful marketing strategy.

According to Business Insider (and observed from my years of experience), first impressions take about seven seconds. Judgments are then based off of that quick observation. Effective design draws the attention of your customer, resulting in more time for them to form an opinion and attachment to your brand.  Research suggests that at least a third of product decision making is based on packaging!

An effective marketing design must include a call-to-action and must communicate the sales message. Good design makes this process efficient and effective. If you’re selling a product, your packaging represents a promise to deliver a specific level of quality experience and convenience (both choosing a product and utilizing that product).

Also, Design is used to help targeted customers feel an emotional attachment to a brand and/or product. This is why it’s so important to have a strong and clear brand. (Need help with your brand? Click here!)

Clear branding and design helps establish you as a professional business. It provides a great first impression with clients, customers, vendors, and the general public. If you have a cheap and outdated logo – what do you think prospective clients or potential collaborators will think? Will you stand out as an expert in your field? Unfortunately, a cheap design will negatively impact your business (be it a negative impression or lack of sales and leads.)

Taking the cheap route will also end up costing your more money than hiring a professional designer. You may only have a mediocre design  – causing you to spend more time refining the design or having to hire a designer to create an entirely new idea for you. The solution is to hire a professional designer with experience in both design and marketing.  It is a waste to blow through your entire marketing budget on bad designs.

So, let’s quickly go over the benefits of design in your marketing:

More than making things look good – design is about efficiency and increasing the profitability of the business. Great design is professional, functional and leads to sales.

Let me take your design to the next level. Click here for a custom quote.

Design Marketing Musts:

  • Have an excellent design:

Have a design that communicates your band message and gives a clear call-to-action. Remember – design is really communication. It needs to be effective. It needs to accurately reflect your mission and your brand.  Ultimately, it needs to build up trust and credibility.

  • Have quality materials:

In my experience, quality materials provide the most value. There is a wide variety of quality materials. For instance, eco-friendly, durable, and luxurious. These materials send a subconscious message to your customer that “Hey! They care about their product! They share the same values as I do”. Of course, you need to make sure that your customers care about those qualities as well.

  • Be creative!

If you’re feeling adventurous, think outside the box. Do you want to do a standard business card to hand out or do you want to give them something completely different? I’ve seen people hand out bags instead of business cards at events. Why? Well, those people need something to carry all of the other business cards, notebooks, and folders in. It’s a useful product that will come in handy. Instead of a basic card on basic card stock, why not go for a thick and quality paper or go for a custom-shaped card, or even go for a clear plastic business card. Something that is interesting, stands out, and makes people pause will increase the chances of that marketing piece ending up in your customer’s collection instead of the bottom of their trash can.

  • Create an exceptional experience

Marketing is about creating experiences for your customer. It’s a journey from the initial awareness of your brand to the building of trust and credibility, and ultimately to them being raving fans and wanting purchase your product or service. A great quote to remember is from Warren Buffet, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” It’s imperative that you give your customers the best experience of their lives when they interact with your brand. Your brand is all-inclusive – your website, customer service, processes, mission statement…everything.

  • Show your personality

Don’t blend in with the hundreds and thousands of other products and services. This is the time to really make your brand stand out. You want to set a standard of expectations for your customers – what quality and experience are they going to get from you every time they interact with your brand? There are almost 7 billion people in the world, and there are so many brands to choose from. There is only one you though. Don’t waste your time trying to be someone else. Work on your problem areas and highlight your strengths. Being authentic in your marketing is the new expectation. If customers cannot connect with you, then you’ve lost them.

  • Be concise

There is a time and place for long blocks of text, but typically your marketing materials, especially your packaging pieces, are not that place. No one has time to read through 5000 words on why  your product is amazing (even if it is). Generally, short and concise is the way to go. Information should be scannable. Someone should be able to pick out the most important information with a quick skim of your marketing. You want to get your message across with the least amount of effort exerted by your customer.

Design is a crucial piece of your marketing. It is also present in every aspect, visually and structurally. Design the journey your customer goes through when they interact with your brand. Design your visuals to accurately represent your brand and to draw the attention of your target demographic. Design your business to build trust, credibility, and relationships.

Please remember, design communicates your message, gives awareness to your brand, sets expectations for your customers, and establishes you as a professional. It’s an investment that will impact the overall health of your business.

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