Bamford Named MVP of RA Marketing Roundtables Meeting

Tanya Bamford named MVP of RA Marketing Roundtable, marketing award, tcb marketing

And the Marketing Roundtables MVP is: Tanya Bamford!

At a recent Remodelers Advantage Marketing Pros (RAMP) Roundtables meeting, I was honored to be named the meeting’s MVP. In recognition of my contributions, I received this nifty plaque which now resides in a place of honor in my office.

One of the reasons receiving this award is so gratifying is because it was bestowed by a talented group of my peers. Participants in the RAMP Roundtables are marketing professionals working in the remodeling industry at companies of all sizes from across North America. Throughout the two-day conference, each roundtable participant shares their marketing challenges and group members weigh in with ideas and suggestions. At the conclusion of each meeting, a vote is taken to determine who contributed the greatest value throughout the event. This brings me to the next reason this award is so meaningful to me: It’s my first marketing award.

Throughout my career I have received numerous awards and honors for work performance, leadership, and even been named Small Business of the Year, but this is the first award I have received which specifically recognizes my marketing acumen. It’s probably worth noting that I haven’t applied for any marketing awards either. Unlike larger firms, as a small business owner I have limited resources to dedicate to non-essential activities like awards applications. That is why being voted MVP by this distinguished group of marketing pros was such an unexpected yet wonderful surprise. I could not be more proud.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge a few people who were instrumental in supporting me. First, many thanks go out to my peers in the RAMP group for this recognition. I think you are all MVPs and your vote of confidence is greatly appreciated. I would also like to thank Custom Craft Design Build Remodeling for their on-going patronage. I could not have participated without the support of my husband, Steve Bamford, who did double parenting duty while I attended the meetings in Baltimore. Finally, special thanks go out to Mark Harari and Victoria Downing of Remodelers Advantage for organizing another fantastic Roundtables event. For as much as I contributed, I received that much and more in return. Thank you all!

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How to Lure Customers with Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go: More than a Gaming App. It’s a Social Phenomenon

Like many marketers, I try popular mobile apps and games to stay abreast of innovations in mobile advertising. When Pokemon Go was released, I was curious to see what the excitement was about. The initial buzz and early adoption have been impressive. In fact, Apple reported that Pokemon Go had the most downloads of any app in its first week of release. Friends and family across the globe have been posting to Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat about capturing these virtual creatures. In my own neighborhood, groups of teenagers have suddenly been circling the park peering at their phones and joking with one another. Teenagers aren’t the only ones. I have witnessed plenty of adults playing, also. Pokemon Go is getting people out of their homes and into their communities for exercise and interaction. In short, it’s become a social phenomenon and I think it’s brilliant.

collecting items at a PokeStopWhen my own sons wanted to download the game, I did not hesitate to consent. As a result I learned that those teens roving the park were not just hunting Pokemon. They were also taking advantage of the four PokeStops that are located there, as well as a PokeGym. For novices, PokeStops are designated points where players can replenish their game supplies for free. Gyms are where players engage their Pokemon in virtual battles to gain experience points and earn coins to make purchases in the PokeShop.

Before long, I began receiving messages from clients wanting to know how they could capitalize on the PoGo craze. The bad news is that advertising is not currently available on the app. The developers appear to be monetizing the game solely through in app purchases. Similarly, businesses who are interested in having a PokeStop or PokeGym at their location are out of luck. According to their website, Niantic is not currently accepting requests for new locations. I anticipate that this will change once they work out some other glitches in the game, as well as some challenges they’ve been grappling with related to the volume of traffic to their servers which has been causing delays and disruptions of service.

In the interim, if you are looking for ways to leverage the popularity of this game for the purpose of business development, here are a few ideas to consider. But remember, using any trademarked images or names in advertising without permission is a violation of copyright law and will expose your business to risk. So, just as their website cautions, be sure to use caution before you proceed.

For Businesses Fortunate Enough to Be Located Near a PokeStop or PokeGym

For those of you with business locations near a PokeStop or Gym, consider one of the following techniques to drive traffic to your location during key times of the day and week. These can easily be promoted via social media, SMS text alerts, and email.

  1. Near a PokeStop? Have a PokeParty! Cast a lure module at a nearby PokeStop every 30 minutes during regular business hours on a given day of the week. Lure modules attract Pokemon, which in turn attract PoGo players and parents. You will have to purchase the lures, as only a limited number are available initially with your account. The coins you will use to purchase the lures are available in various quantities in the PokeShop.
  2. Host a Competition. Gyms are popular destinations because they give players the chance to earn points and coins, and also because they can see the cool Pokemon that other players have found. Be sure to post regular updates to your social media accounts on which team currently holds the gym and the prestige level of the gym as well.
  3. Offer a Course by a Professor. Gym locations are the ideal spots to offer free instruction on how to compete. There are few instructional resources available through the game. More and more videos are appearing on Youtube each day to fill the void. That said, there’s a great benefit to having an experienced player show you how to do this in person in a safe, educational environment. Offering a course taught by a “PokeProfessor” would have huge appeal for parents and others who are just starting out in the game. If you don’t have anyone on staff who can perform the role of professor, try partnering with or requesting a referral from a local gaming store.

No PokeGym? No Problem.

  1. Team [Insert Color] Day! There are three team colors in Pokemon Go: Blue, Red, and Yellow. Tap into team loyalty by hosting a celebration for each of the different team colors. Decorate your business with those color balloons, offer discounts to people who come dressed in their team color, etc. Print and post flyers about your event at gym locations within a 3 mile radius of your business location.
  2. Show your Poke Pride! Offer an incentive for trainers who have different types of Pokemon: Example: PoGo players who have a Magmar receive a [insert offer] between the hours of 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Tuesdays.
  3. Promote PoGo Safety. The news is full of reports of people getting themselves into trouble playing Pokemon Go. Express concern for your clients and their children by offering safety tips and recommendations for hunting Pokemon safely.

These are just a few thoughts on how you can capitalize on this latest game craze to help drive traffic to your business, build audience in social media, increase awareness, and enhance your brand. Have more ideas? Please submit a comment below. Need help developing a promotion for your business? Feel free to give TCB Marketing a call at (215) 368-8226.

 

 

Leverage Awards to Enhance Brand and Encourage Referrals

The Award Marketing Conundrum

It is a general truth that consumers want to be associated with brands that represent quality. There is little that conveys quality better than winning an industry award which clearly sets your work above that of your competition. And yet, when small business owners are recognized with industry awards, it often creates a conundrum. On one hand, award winners are excited about their accomplishment. On the other hand, those same winners can feel reluctant to share the news for fear of being considered vain. This is a fairly common reaction and is no surprise. Pride is universally considered the worst possible sin–and people who are overly prideful are the objects of disdain. Does this mean we should avoid sharing our accomplishments? No. But, it does mean that we should give sufficient care in crafting the message.

Master the Art of the Humble Boast

The solution to this challenge is to balance the award promotion language with a generous helping of gratitude. Let’s face it. It’s unlikely that you won that award on your own. Acknowledging the various parties who contributed to earning the honors is an act of humility that will neutralize any appearance of braggadocio. In your awards communication, be certain to recognize your staff, your vendors, your family, and your customers. Recognize anyone and everyone who either helped directly, or inspired you to be the fabulous, award-winner that you are.

Use Your Award to Fuel Repeat Business and Referrals

Your current and past clients are the most important people to share award news with, but don’t forget to share the news with your staff, vendors, networking group members, and any other potential sources of referral, as well. By sharing your award win with these groups, you will be providing past clients with justification to patronize your business again. You will also be giving all of the members of those groups a method for justifying their referrals to others.

For example, after learning that TCB Marketing had been named Small Business of the Year, a referral for our services might have sounded like: “Oh you need marketing help? Try TCB Marketing. They do fantastic work. Did you know they were named Small Business of the Year?” Alright. That was somewhat gratuitous, but hopefully, you get my point. By providing your contacts with information about your award-winning work, you are in effect giving them a way to validate their referral. “It’s not just my opinion. They won an award.”

How to Promote Your Award

Start the process of promoting your award by creating a news release and sending it out via email to all of your local media contacts. Next, do the following:

  • Distribute the release via email to any membership organizations your business belongs to as well
  • Post the award release to your blog
  • Announce the award to your clients in a brief email, with a link to the blog post
  • Share the news on all of your social media channels with a related photo, and a link back to the award blog post
  • Update your website, company email signature, and marketing materials with the award badge/emblem

As always, if you have any questions or need help effectively promoting your awards, please contact TCB Marketing at (215) 368-8226.

 

Prioritize Updating Your Website in 2016

search engine optimizationIn 2016, one of the most critical marketing tasks every small business owner should have at the top of their ‘to-do’ list is to update the content on their website. By effectively updating, and adding new website content on a regular basis, businesses will experience elevated ranking in internet search results, and a corresponding increase in website traffic. The ripple effect of this activity will likely be increased leads and sales which will help businesses achieve their 2016 revenue goals. This is the foundation of content marketing. Seems simple right? Why is it then that so many small business websites go months or even years without an update?

Small business owners frequently experience one or more of the following challenges when it comes to maintaining their websites:

  • Lack the time to manage these updates themselves
  • Are not proficient in using the CMS their website was created with (WordPress, etc.)
  • Have not created a strategy for updating the website content
  • Do not have the budget to outsource updates
  • They have the budget to outsource, but are either working with a non-responsive vendor, or someone who is not competent
  • Get stuck coming up with ideas for new content to add to their site
  • Find it easier to post something to their favorite social media page (i.e. Facebook)

Time and resources are the biggest obstacles to keeping websites updated. For this reason, when content is shared, it typically gets posted directly to a social media page. To derive the greatest benefit, however, content needs be to placed on a website first, then linked to in social media, email, etc. To overcome the challenges associated with managing website content, consider these practical, and easy-to-implement tips:

  1. Target one page on the website per week to update
  2. Incorporate strategic keywords on each page
  3. Create a calendar entry for each update (i.e. Update Services Page on Tuesday, 1/5 @ 3 p.m.)
  4. Take a course on how to update a website (Lynda.com offers a free 10-day trial for WordPress users)
  5. Make it visually interesting by supplementing text with photos, videos, and PDF documents
  6. Delegate the task of updating the website to a trusted, marketing-savvy staff person
  7. Outsource website updates to a reliable vendor who understands your business

Keeping website content fresh is one of the easiest ways for small businesses to improve their page ranking in search results, increase site traffic, and generate new leads and revenue. Get your 2016 off to a great start by prioritizing this critical marketing task.

If you have questions related to your website content management, please contact Tanya Bamford at (215) 368-8226.

Tanya’s Quinoa Salad Recipe

quinoa salad recipeRecently I participated in the PennSuburban Chamber’s Cook-off and won the salad competition. While I love to cook for family and friends, I have never aspired to be a professional chef. Competing in this cook-off was something of a whim and was both more fun, and stressful than I had imagined. This is a photo of me at the event, prior to the voting.

The voting was done by both professional chefs and by the event attendees. The pros sampled all the dishes and awarded a variety of prizes for the dishes they liked the best. Alas, I did not earn any of the awards from the professionals. To be fair, none of the salads did. My dish won in the popular vote. The event attendees all had tickets and would “vote” for your dish by placing a ticket in the jar in front of you. Picture me standing there attempting to appear confident and friendly while serving sample cups of my salad to every passerby–hoping desperately that they liked it better than the other salads so they’d place their tickets in my jar. Ack! Can you say nerve wracking? I’m just thankful I could sip on some wine throughout the process. It was all I could do not to look at my competitors’ jars to see how they were doing by comparison. (I actually succeeded in not looking–a true test of my will power. The wine may have helped here.) In the end, my jar had the most tickets among all the salad entries, so I won the popular vote for that category. Hooray!

Since announcing the results of the competition, I have had many requests for the recipe. To make it easy to access and share, I decided to place it on my blog. If you make it, please leave a comment below and let me know how you like it.

Tanya’s Quinoa Salad with Mozzarella and Herbs

Ingredients
1 cup quinoa (rinsed)
1 ½ cups chicken stock
1 tbsp coconut oil

1 1/2 cups marinated mozzarella balls (use the small bocconcini, cut into halves)
1 cup chopped fresh basil
½ cup chopped fresh, flat leaf parsley
1 cup diced red onion
1 cup diced cucumber (seeds removed)
1 cup diced fresh tomato (seeds removed)*
*You can substitute grape tomatoes cut into halves or quarters

¼ cup of red wine vinegar
½ cup of olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation
Rinse quinoa then toast in a pan with coconut oil on med-high heat for approx 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes until liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and either set aside to cool completely, or refrigerate. (Note: Quinoa has to cool completely before being combined with cheese, or the cheese will melt.)

Dice vegetables and place in a large mixing bowl along with herbs and mozzarella ball halves. Prepare red wine vinaigrette, then add to the bowl with veggie/herbs/cheese. To this bowl, add your cooled, cooked quinoa. Once combined, the quinoa salad is ready to be served immediately, or can be covered and refrigerated to be served later. The longer this sits, the more intense the flavors become. It’s a good dish to make the night before you plan to serve it.

Optional garnish
For the competition, I made a little garnish to accompany the salad. It was essentially a mini Caprese salad on a bamboo toothpick. The garnish consisted of a rolled up basil leaf, ½ mozzarella ball and ½ grape tomato. (I’ve seen these served as appetizers at other events drizzled with a balsamic reduction.) They are as attractive as they are tasty.

Enjoy!

p.s. Many thanks to Pam Kelly, President of the PennSuburban Chamber of Greater Montgomery County for encouraging me to do this. Call me a glutton for punishment, but I may do this again next year.

Content Marketing Basics for Small Businesses

Perform a quick Google search and you will find that Content Marketing is a top trend among marketers for 2015. Yet among small businesses, this marketing approach has not been widely embraced. In speaking with many small business owners, I have noticed that there is a general lack of awareness about what Content Marketing is, let alone how it can be leveraged to sell products and services at the local level. To help clarify, we produced this video that covers the basics. Watch the video, or scroll down for a more detailed explanation.

Content Marketing Overview

To explain the concept of Content Marketing, it is important to understand what types of marketing assets qualify as content. Essentially, marketing content is the educational material that companies produce to share with targeted consumers about their products and services. Examples of marketing content include:

  • Blog articles
  • Brochures and sellsheets
  • Infographics
  • Newsletters
  • News releases
  • Product/project images
  • Videos
  • Webinar presentations
  • Website copy
  • White papers

The common denominator between these forms of marketing communication is that they are intended to educate consumers, rather than persuasively sell. Content Marketing is the process of strategically developing, distributing, and curating these materials to advance the sales process. This approach has proven to be very effective because of an increasing trend among consumers to educate themselves prior to making a purchase. The internet plays a integral role in this process, by providing consumers with on-demand access to these educational resources. As this graph from Consumer Barometer details, U.S. consumers frequently research products online before making a purchase offline.

consumer-barometer-graph

To adjust to this trend in consumer decision making marketers are adopting a Content Marketing approach to provide consumers with the educational tools they need–both online and offline–to make a purchasing decision. By making those resources available to consumers online, companies enhance their brand by positioning themselves as an authority on the subject matter. For more on the topic, read these three small business content marketing success stories courtesy of Business 2 Community. Producing and distributing these educational resources to past and prospective customers also helps businesses to build trust, elevate their page ranking in organic search, increase traffic to their websites, and ultimately increase sales.

There are a number of different strategies businesses can employ to make their Content Marketing more effective, including creating an annual plan and content calendar. If you have any questions about how to create an effective Content Marketing program for your business, post a message below, or contact us directly at info[at]tcbmarketinandmore.com.

Proofread your messages for more than misspelled words

proofreading tipsOne method for achieving a trusting relationship with your target  audience is to consistently provide them with information that is relevant and error free. Technology has made publishing this sort of marketing content quicker and easier than ever–but this can be both a blessing and a curse. In their haste to publish content, many marketers have failed to follow proper proofreading protocols which has lead to the appearance of numerous, relationship eroding errors. Spell-checking software is being relied upon far too heavily–even exclusively–for proofreading purposes. Yet checking for spelling errors is only one step in the proofreading process. Checking for grammatical and factual accuracy are tasks that are equally as important–and ideally should be performed by more than one person.

The Importance of Checking Semantics

Sometimes, we inadvertently commit errors of semantics by using the wrong words to express ourselves. Just this morning, I was reading this article on Entrepreneur.com and discovered an error in the first sentence. The author uses the word “each” instead of “teach” when referencing a class that he instructs at a college. In my eyes, the author’s credibility is diminished by this mistake. Spell-checking software would not have caught this error, because “each” is a valid word in the database. This is an embarrassing proofreading fail that could have easily been prevented.

Another error I came across recently was within a message posted by a remodeling contractor on Houzz. They expressed how “humbly and graciously honored” they were for having received a Best of Houzz award. The thought the contractor was trying to convey–that they were humbled by being recognized with such an illustrious award–was poorly worded. Had this post been proofread properly, the error could have been avoided. As it stands, what should have been a feel-good announcement was instead reduced to a very awkward statement that reflects poorly on their communication skills.

Check Your Facts

Incorporating relevant statistics in marketing content is a common practice. Executed correctly, this approach helps to strengthen whatever position you may be asserting. On the other hand, failing to fact check those references can also damage your reputation when errors are published. Ironically, a well-publicized #factcheckfail example comes to us courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2014, Justice Scalia published a dissenting opinion that included a factual error and it created quite a stir. Read this insightful piece about the scandal published by The Washington Post. This regrettable error not only tarnished the reputation of a distinguished member of the Supreme Court, it gave Justice Scalia’s critics plenty of fuel for their fires. Think about how your competitors might attempt to capitalize on a similar error in your marketing materials. In the wrong hands, an innocent error can become a weapon that can easily be used against you.

And then, of course, there are the legal risks associated with knowingly publishing false and inaccurate information, just ask Newsday.

Proofread Carefully to Preserve Your Reputation and Relationships

Errors in your marketing messages can damage your credibility and undermine your relationships with clients. To prevent these errors, have one or more people proof your marketing content prior to publication. Your proofreaders should check carefully for proper spelling, and grammatical and factual accuracy, as well. By consistently providing your customers with well-crafted, accurate content related to your products and services, you will enhance your brand and strengthen your position as a trusted resource.

My Proofreading Failed. What Now?

Even with proofreaders in place, mistakes and errors will happen occasionally. Don’t fret. It happens to the best of brands. For a good laugh, check out this compilation of famous marketing fails courtesy of Unbounce. The good news is that your clients are likely to forgive you the occasional error, so long as you humbly acknowledge the mistake with a quick correction and a gracious apology.

Content Calendar Planning Tips

tips for creating an editorial planning calendarNow that so many businesses find themselves in the role of publishers, many are struggling to develop meaningful, relevant content for their websites, email campaigns, and social media pages. To address this challenge, I recommend adopting a best practice employed by news media companies: using calendars to plan content development.

Your favorite newspapers and magazines have been developing content for their publications for decades using a calendar planning technique. Essentially, their editorial departments plan out the topics they will cover in each issue in advance of publication. This planning device is better known as their editorial calendar and is used as an internal planning tool, as well as a mechanism for sharing information with their clients and readers. For these organizations, the editorial calendar is beneficial in multiple ways. It helps editorial teams plan their content development activities, and assists sales and marketing departments in achieving their revenue and readership goals. Using this calendar planning approach can be equally as beneficial for small businesses, by helping marketers to plan and execute content in a more strategic fashion.

To create an editorial calendar for your marketing content, use this simple, seven-step process:

  1. Determine Frequency–Whether you will share content daily, monthly, or even quarterly, before you can plot it on a calendar, you need to figure out how often you would like to publish your content to achieve your objectives
  2. Assign Format–Content comes in many different styles, from blog articles, to webinars, infographics, videos, and more. When creating your calendar, take the time to note the various formats your content will take. This is particularly important because format will affect your production timeline. Some content takes longer to produce than others. Videos, for instance, can have a lengthier turnaround time than blog posts. For each piece of content, be certain to assign the medium for which it will be produced
  3. Plot it on a Calendar–Go ahead and schedule when your content will be distributed on a calendar. If you don’t already use a calendar planning tool, executing a search for “editorial content calendar templates” will return numerous free templates you can download. Google Calendars also works well for this purpose. If most of your content will reside on your blog, there are even free plugins for WordPress like CoSchedule and Edit Flow that provide tools for planning and promoting blog posts
  4. Outline Topics–Assign topics for each of the content items on your calendar. Topics will vary greatly by brand, product, service, and season, so don’t look for topic ideas here. Whatever your topic may be, it is another best practice to identify the target audience each piece is targeted toward and note it in the calendar
  5. Assign Tasks and Expenses–In this step of the planning process, you need detail who will develop the content and how much of your marketing budget will be allocated for its production. Including these details on your calendar is considered optional by some, but for small businesses I think it may be worth the effort to keep everyone on the same page
  6. Estimate Production Deadlines–An important part of executing your content marketing plan is to assign deadlines for each project. Now that you know what content you want to produce, as well as when it will be distributed, who will produce it, and how much it will cost to produce, it is important to back out the necessary time for producing each piece. Tip: The further you work in advance of each distribution deadline, the more time you will have to proofread each piece thoroughly. This will help to prevent costly and embarrassing errors
  7. Plan Your Promotion–Placing keyword rich content on your website is an effective way to improve your ranking in organic search, but ultimately, you want more than just search bots to see that content. To drive real people to your content, be sure to promote it with the appropriate channel, like email, social media, or a pay-per-click ad campaign

By following these seven simple steps to creating an editorial calendar for your marketing content, you will help to keep your company’s content marketing plans on track–and ultimately maintain high visibility and demand for your company’s products and services.

Less is More in Outdoor

Custom Craft Contractors Job Site Sign

To illustrate the point, here is a sign we designed for Custom Craft Contractors, a design-build remodeling company in Lansdale, PA. Our client uses these signs to create awareness in neighborhoods where they are performing their residential remodeling services. The simple layout of the sign helps them to quickly convey their company name, the services they offer, and how to contact them for more information.

Outdoor advertising encompasses any visual advertisement for your business that is placed outside of a building. Billboards, yard signs, banners, vehicle wraps, magnet signs, bus boards, transit shelter posters, even the signs on your building all fall under the umbrella of outdoor advertising. Executed properly, outdoor is incredibly effective at elevating brand awareness in strategic, geographic areas. It offers numerous other benefits, as well. But, elevating brand awareness (in my humble opinion) is what it does best.

When it comes to preparing an outdoor ad, the “Less is More” rule of thumb is an important one to follow. To generate the intended response, an outdoor advertising message needs to be succinct and uncluttered because consumers are exposed to it very briefly in their travels. You have mere seconds to make an impression with your message. Whether they are strolling around their neighborhood, or driving down a highway, your target audience must be able to read your outdoor advertisement at a glance.

To make the most of your investment in outdoor advertising, here are a few easy tips to follow when preparing your next campaign:

  1. Use Legible Fonts–Typically, sans serif fonts like Arial and Calibri are easier to read at a distance
  2. Limit Word Count–The word count will vary a bit based on size and medium, but in general the fewer the words used, the better
  3. Keep Background Simple–Background images can add visual clutter and decrease legibility. Best to KISS (keep it simple sweetheart)
  4. Create Color Contrast–Use strongly contrasting colors to add visual appeal, and keep your copy easy to read
  5. Integrate Copy and Images–Avoid boxy messages that separate your text from your images, because it makes the message more difficult to read
  6. Do the Flash Card Test–Before you approve your creative, print out a copy of your ad and have someone flash the message to you from across the room. If you can read it easily, it should be good to go. If not, it probably needs to go back for another round of edits

If you are looking to raise awareness of your products and services in a specific geography, I strongly encourage you to explore outdoor advertising. By following these basic guidelines for your layout, you will produce more effective outdoor ads for your business.

Questions on outdoor advertising? Please leave a comment below, or feel free to email us at: info@tcbmarketingandmore.com
Like this post? Feel free to use the links below to share it with a friend.

 

Presentation Matters, Inside and Outside of the Kitchen

presentation matters marketing tip

The very attractively presented Stetson Salad. Photo courtesy of the Village Tavern in North Wales, Pa.

“Presentation is everything.” This idiom hails from the restaurant industry, where it is well known that the way food appears on the plate has a big impact on sales. This is because consumers have expectations for how food should look in order to taste good. In fact, numerous research studies have confirmed a positive correlation between consumer perceptions of appearance and quality. In lay terms this means that the better something looks to a consumer, the more likely they are to believe it will meet their expectations.* Similarly, perceptions of brand appearance also have an impact on consumer purchasing behavior. Since aesthetics are critical to perception, and perception is critical to sales, then it follows that great care should be given to how marketing content is presented visually to ensure that it continually makes a positive impression on the targeted consumer.

Whatever the product or service being offered, its visual presentation can have a significant impact on your target market’s perception of its quality–and ultimately influence sales. From your brochures, to trade show displays, website design, email messages, direct mail, videos, to PowerPoint decks, all of your marketing should strive to enhance your customer’s value perception.

If you are uncertain of the perceived quality of your products or services, try polling your current customers for feedback. Surveying customers has never been easier, given the proliferation of affordable, web-based surveying applications. We like Survey Monkey. If you lack the time and resources to conduct a formal survey, here are a four quick tips for polishing-up your presentation across every visual medium:

  1. Simplify–Remove visual clutter by eliminating unnecessary words, images, fonts and formatting. Less can truly be more in this regard
  2. Invest–Invest in professional photography and creative design services to better showcase your products and services
  3. Be Consistent–Use consistent copy and design elements across multiple marketing channels to reinforce your messages
  4. Proofread Carefully–Nothing is more damaging to your credibility than errors in your content. To avoid costly mistakes, have a third party proofread your materials whenever possible, checking not only for proper spelling and grammar, but for accuracy and regulatory compliance, as well

There are any number of different methods you can employ to improve the effectiveness of your marketing content, but by following these basic guidelines, you can greatly enhance the visual presentation of your materials–which will have the ripple effect of enhancing consumer perception of quality and improving sales.

For additional information, I recommend reading this issue of the Journal of Product Innovation Management, which delves into the relationship between marketing, product design, and packaging.

*For more on the science behind this topic, read this study conducted in 2012 in the U.K. on the relationship between perceptions of taste and color in orange juice.