Design tips and insights for nonprofits and social enterprises.

The design secret to increase email open rates

Design | Marketing
06.09.17
The design secret to increase email open rates

The key to a successful email is hierarchy. Why? It helps the reader skim, read, and understand the content, makes it more visually appealing, and increases click-through rates. And that’s really want we want, right?

If you’re not sure how to add hierarchy to your email here is a handy list:

3 steps to better emailers

1. Get your content together

  • You content first and foremost, so get your draft together. This may consist of a brain dump and just putting it all on paper, or collecting content from team members. Either way, gather everything you want and need to say in your emailer.
  • Edit, check for grammar, on-brand language, links, etc., etc.

2. Review your template and edit content accordingly

  • Next step is to look at your template and reorganize and edit the content to fit. Start thinking about the headlines, subheads, links, etc.
  • If your copy is missing some of these, add them in.
  • This works both ways. Sometimes your template will have to be tweaked to accommodate your content.

3. Use font size and style to make it interesting

Most people will see the larger, bolder, and colored items first. This is what tells them what they should pay attention to first, second and third. The sizes below are only guidelines. Depending on the font used, color, whether it’s bold or normal, etc., you can maybe go a bit smaller or larger.

  • Stick to 1-2 different fonts.
  • Large headlines should have a font size of 26-36px, depending on its length.
  • Subheads are used to break up large amounts of text, differentiate content and add visual interest. They should have a font size of 20-26px.
  • Body copy should consist of short blurbs of 1-3 sentences and should be 14-16px. Break up long content with subheads and images.
  • Also, mix up the bolds, color, italic to help as needed. But don’t go crazy. Think about how it supports the content and hierarchy.

People have more than enough to read in their inbox, so make sure your emailers get the attention they deserve by making them easy to read and visually appealing.

Got any other ideas on how to make emails better?

Leave a Comment

3 steps to better marketing goals for 2017

Design | Marketing
12.08.16
3 steps to better marketing goals for 2017

Do you hold onto things that are no longer useful? I do. I recently found 10-year-old art supplies that I’ve kept for some insane reason.  Well, now they’re out. Letting go can be hard, but we have to do it to make room for new and better things.

With the new year around the corner now is the perfect time to figure out how to be more efficient and effective. Better design can help.

How to take stock, assess, and reach your marketing goals in the new year:

Step 1
Review the past year’s campaigns, marketing, brand, etc. Did the brand feel cohesive? Was your audience uninterested in the marketing? Ask your team to participate. See what worked well, or not, ask questions and listen.

Step 2
Set some goals based on your findings from Step 1. This can be done individually and as a group. Think both short-term (1 year) and long-term (2–5 years). Examples might be: More funding for a new brand; change your annual report from a printed piece into a microsite.

Step 3
Develop a game plan for moving forward. Prioritize and set timelines to hold yourself, and others, accountable. Start looking for resources and services to improve your design, marketing, and funding.

I know this is easier said than done. But it’s necessary if you want to reach those big, hairy goals, not to mention, change the world.

Are you doing any goal-setting for the new year? I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours. 

Leave a Comment

DIY Behind the Scenes marketing campaign

Campaigns | Marketing
08.24.16
DIY Behind the Scenes marketing campaign

Telling your story and the impact you have can be difficult. It takes planning and resources, so here are a few tips on how to DIY a “Behind the Scenes” marketing campaign.

First, spend some time thinking about the actual project/initiative you’re working on and what kind of behind the scenes story you want to tell. Are you working with a photographer to get some client stories for your website? Or maybe putting together your Fall line of sustainable accessories? Each one will call for a slightly different approach.

Take pictures and video of everything.

  • Equipment, accessories, production assembly line
  • Transporting and going to venue
  • Setting everything up
  • People in action
  • Team meetings and gatherings
  • Taking a break and having fun

Take notes and ask questions

  • Capture funny things said and profound insights from participants
  • Get someone that participated to write about what it was like from their point of view.

Now edit and upload

  • Post 1-2 per day on your social media accounts. If you have multiple accounts try to use slightly different angles and cropping, so that it doesn’t seem like the same exact picture is being used. Add text to provide context, tag people, and use a hashtag.
  • Combine a few into grids using apps like Layout.
  • Add some to your blog or website.
  • Using an app like Canva and design a graphic with a quote from one of the participants
  • Feature a short synopsis of the day by one of the participants on your blog or website.

A few things to keep in mind

  • Bring extra cameras
  • Have someone dedicated to taking pictures and talking to participants
  • Be flexible and a fly on the wall
  • Tell a story using images and interviews
  • Don’t be a perfectionist

Everyone loves to see how things come together and get a glimpse behind the curtain. This is your opportunity to showcase your dedicated team and the hard work they put in—even if it’s a team of one.

Have you done a behind the scenes campaign before? What worked and didn’t work?

Leave a Comment

You only have 15 seconds to convince your audience

Branding | Marketing | Web Design
07.05.16

You’re passionate and knowledgeable about the work you do, but sometimes that gets in the way of convincing others how important it is. More than half of the visitors to your website will spend about 15 seconds on your homepage or any other page for that matter. Holy crap! I think many sites will fail this test.

What’s the key to breaking this? Show more, tell less. Show what your mission/product is. Show your impact. Show the reader what action they need to take. The rest is icing.

Leave a Comment

3 proven ways your brand can increase supporters, donors and clients

Branding | Marketing
05.28.16
3 proven ways your brand can increase supporters, donors and clients

We all know that marketing campaigns can help raise your organization’s awareness, but did you ever think that your brand could as well. Marketing is an important part of branding, it’s how you promote yourself and communicate with your customers, donors, or supporters. Your brand is the core of what you do and why you do it. It should not be ignored, because when it’s done well, people remember you and take you seriously.

Be consistent and have standards
If the collateral and materials you create — from the website to postcards —use different fonts, colors, and style of imagery, then it’s time to get it together. Everything should look and feel consistent, even the tone of voice.

Special events, conferences, or marketing campaign can break this rule from time to time. Think of it as the brand is your personal style of dressing, speaking, the heart of how you are. Sometimes, for certain events, you might dress more formal or casual, but it doesn’t change who you are. Also, please treat your logo with respect. Make sure it’s always visible, and whatever you do, don’t distort it. That screams “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Stay organized
In order to be consistent, you have to be organized. Make sure you have a naming convention for your files, and that anyone who looks at them will know what to use. Using a cloud storage like Google Drive or Dropbox can be a big help. Then you can share files easily with others and access them anywhere.

Be unique
Being unique is probably the most challenging of the three ways. It takes guts to stand out from the crowd. Take a look at your competition. And don’t tell me that you don’t have competition because you do. Who are the organizations working on the same issue you are or have a similar mission? You might not be directly competing with them, but you work in the same “space.” If your brand gets lost in the crowd, doesn’t resonate with your audience, or doesn’t match your organization anymore, then it’s probably time for a rebrand.

Leave a Comment

How to turn a website template into an effective marketing tool

Marketing | Web Design
05.03.16
How to turn a website template into an effective marketing tool

Launching your new website can be stressful

I get it, you’re strapped for time and money. So you found a cool looking template (or theme) that comes with everything you need for your new site. It looked really good on the preview site, and you thought, “awesome,” but now you’ve added all you own content and images and it’s not working. Something isn’t right and you can’t put your finger on it.

Templates are always awkward without some tweaking
You’ve asked for feedback from a few trusted colleagues and everyone confirms your suspicions. There’s too much happening, they’re not sure where to click first, they don’t understand what you’re trying to say. So, what now?

Make your site authentic by putting your audience first
It’s time to take a step back and really think about what your audience needs, what you want them to know, and what you want them to do. Yes, this means that you’ll be making some programming and design changes to the template you bought, but honestly, that’s a good thing. Very few organizations can take a cookie cutter site and make it work for their content. Yes, it makes things a bit more complicated, but it’s better this way. You want a site that people are going to understand what it is you do, how it helps them, and what actions they need to take. If it takes them longer than 5 minutes to figure this out you’ve probably lost them. Why? That’s all the time they can spare.

For a superior website think clear, short and engaging content
People will usually skim a page first to get the overall gist of what you’re offering. So write as clear and concise as possible — think buckets with subheads, and use bulleted lists when possible. Remember not to overwhelm your audience with too much information, or choices.

Your home page should say:

  • what you do
  • what they will gain, or what the benefits are
  • and what action they need to take

How you do this is where the beauty comes in. Crafting sentences that engage, visuals that inspire, and calls to action that excite, takes practice. The beauty of the internet is that you can easily keep tweaking and make adjustments, even to a live site.

So take a step back, reassess your site, adjust as needed, and launch that sucker already. Don’t wait for perfection, he’s an elusive boyfriend.

Leave a Comment