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Advertising Tag

Good design + good content = increased readership

Outdated, confusing or convoluted design can greatly diminish your content’s effectiveness. That’s true whether your content is web-based, or a PowerPoint, newsletter, print ad, or social media.

But a well-constructed, thoroughly planned design can brilliantly lead the eye through content, illuminating key points, and facilitating understanding.

Effective marketers know that design and content are intricately linked together. They are also very good at understanding what drives human behavior. Because (of course), the nature of human behavior affects everything we do. And buy. Which means that to be an effective marketer, you’ve got to be focused on what will persuade your potential buyers to see, appreciate and “get” what your product/s are all about, no matter what format you are using.

Powerful persuasion is the point. And it is both an art and a science.

To get there, you’ve got to use effective design and psychology to engage readers in specific behaviors, leading the eye and the brain toward creating calls to action at the ‘right’ times.

Good design persuades users to engage with your product or content in the way you want, leading to a specific outcome – brand influence, product awareness, understanding, reinforcement, and/or the desire to purchase.

The opposite is also true. If your user confronts five pop-up ads, a long loading time, or a sea of disclaimers before they reach your primary content, chances are good they won’t stay long enough to be persuaded.

So how do you get someone’s attention long enough to present them with information, using good design and good content?

That’s where the true art of persuasion comes into play. You not only have to be good at understanding human nature, but you also have to be a good storyteller – on two very distinctive levels.

That first level of effective storytelling is a very central one. It is message and fact oriented. You reach your audience with Focal Point Designinformation specifically framed to reinforce attitudinal thinking. For instance, “This paint is formulated to cover colors better. Here’s how…” This is sometimes referred to as central route processing.

The second level of good storytelling uses secondary influence such as visual appeal, presentation and enticements like sex or humor to engage users on a more superficial level. For example, “Look how rich, colorful and smooth this paint can look when applied to your (drab and boring) walls.”

The best marketing uses both effectively, since some people are more drawn to having all the facts and want to know the “why” behind what they purchase, and other folks are more interested in having what’s cool and beautiful. Since most of us seek a little of both types of information, the best messaging and design addresses both as seamlessly as possible.

In summary, truly effective marketing understands what will drive all types of end users. The advertising messages need to be relevant to the consumer and easy to access and understand.

They must be written and designed professionally — in a way that takes into consideration psychology, design, and technology — to influence or motivate a desired outcome, a purchase decision. Because if one of those elements is missing, the desired outcome is far less likely to happen.

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“Can you help us pull together a website?”

At FocalPoint, the answer is, “Sure, we’d love to be your go-to company on your website project. But let’s talk about this before we get started.”

If this is our first work with a new client, we initiate a lot of conversations before we touch the cursor. We like to think of this as “Website Design and Development 101.” It really is a prerequisite before we begin work.

Why? Because the best place to begin is to really consider why you want a website in the first place.

  • Is this to replace or update an existing site? Why replace it? What was right and what wasn’t about the existing site?
  • What is your single most important message and why?
  • What does the site need to do?
  • Answer questions about what you do or be a resource to provide info or tools to existing customers?

We want to be sure that your website is more than a place to talk about who you are and what you do. If that’s all your website does, it won’t drive traffic. It will probably just sit there as a line on your business card.

For a website to do what it’s supposed to do, it has to:

  • Is your website responsive?
  • Draw you in
  • Provide you with needed information right off the bat. In three minutes, a potential customer should know who you are, what you do, and why your company matters
  • Be strategically engineered to drive readership
  • Built around intuitive navigation (i.e., making your key points easily understood and getting eyes further into the site to provide more information)
  • Set a strategically considered tone with color, visuals and copy.

Once we begin communication with new clients around the strategic design of their website, we often uncover previously undiscussed topics, for instance:

  • What really sets you apart from your competition?
  • How does what you do matter?
  • Does your logo accurately reflect a sense of what you are/what you do?
  • Does your tag line provide memorable new information about your company, or just sit there because you’ve used it for ten years and never thought much about it?

Even after the site work is begun, we’re really just getting started. Because once that website is up, you’ll need to manage it to keep if working for your business, adding fresh content from time to time.

So yes, we can help you build and design that new website. But with us, the site will be much more than new.

It will provide the right information to your audience at the right time. It will drive the right kind of traffic to your business.

It will also provide your potential client with a reason to contact you to learn more.

This is how we think at FocalPoint.

We position our clients strategically to succeed.

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Is networking marketing?

At FocalPoint, we think it’s fair to say networking is on the marketing spectrum. After all, it is a way to get your brand or name out there using communication.

 

The biggest difference is that unlike paid advertising, networking is impossible to control. You don’t know what is being said about you or your company – or where your business card or a friend’s text may end up. Could be deleted or thrown out. Could be put to good use. Who knows?

 

Of course, there is always a chance that it could lead to a key contribution to your work, or can impact someone else in your network, or become a customer by virtue of their sphere of influence, network, or present job. And yes, they could also screw things up for whomever you connect them to, reflecting badly on you.

 

Most importantly, networking outside your usual planes has the potential to broaden your knowledge, gain new perspectives in life and business, and maybe help open doors for someone simply needing help to build a new opportunity. We’d say that’s well worth the effort.

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What makes a brand memorable?

How many Super Bowl commercials can you remember, a couple of weeks or so out from the game? And of those you do remember, how many do you also remember the brand?

Chances are good, not many.

I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with folks over the years about an ad they “loved,” but couldn’t remember the name of the product.

And then, there are the generic brands. They don’t advertise because they aren’t going for brand recognition. Generic products like black and white cans labeled “Cat food,” or “Dish soap,” don’t want brand recognition. They are just filling a product need with direct, brutally obvious, hyper clear messaging.

And that labeling is certainly marketing, too. And it works for stuff where we don’t care about quality; we are just filling a need as cheaply as possible.

But for the majority of brands, making a connection with potential users of the product is what is at stake. We want that connection to last. Like the Doritos Super Bowl commercials, for example. You not only remember that the chips are Doritos’ brand, but you also remember the commercial’s payoff – humor. In fact, Doritos brand was the one most often mentioned when folks were asked which commercials they remembered a week after the Super Bowl.

What other brands do you recall immediately when you think of a product? Hoover, Kentucky Fried Chicken, The Beatles, Apple computers… all of these products have name recognition because of marketing tying brand to product.

But how to get there — especially when you don’t have the corporate budget of Apple computers? The best idea is not to do it in house. A group of untrained folks searching for a word or phrase tends to push toward obvious or generic way of thinking about a product. And generic advertising doesn’t stick. Instead, you need a hook, something memorable to link your product and brand to your customer’s need.

That’s where we come in. Folks experienced in marketing, who will see your product from a different perspective, and explore how to set your brand apart. Maybe with humor, maybe with elegance. Perhaps with music or a tag line that sticks.

So if you’re exploring new ways to get your brand to stick like a Doritos ad, we would be delighted to share some of our interesting branding work. Give us a call. We’ll provide the chips.

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