Friday, November 8, 2019

Expand Sales with Responsive Customer Surveys

Airbnb is one of the most iconic names for startup success in our generation, quickly becoming one of the world's fastest-growing companies with over 80 million reservations booked per year through their service.


A considerable part of Airbnb's marketing strategy includes its responsiveness to both customers and hosts. The company regularly surveys hosts and guests and makes this a priority in their business.


Why? Here's what Airbnb says:


"At the center of everything we do is community. Our community of hosts is what delivers magical travel to our community of guests. For more than ten years, we have worked to build this community, which now includes hosts in nearly 100,000 cities."


A typical Airbnb survey invite looks something like this:


Hi ____,


Thanks for using Airbnb. We really appreciate you choosing Airbnb for your travel plans.


To help us improve, we'd like to ask you a few questions about your experience so far. It only takes 3 minutes, and your answers will help us make Airbnb even better for you and other guests.


Thanks,


The Airbnb Team


Airbnb politely asks for customers' opinions after their stay, giving them the space to decide whether they want to share their feedback or not. In fact, Airbnb has increased the number of bookings by 25% with their referral program alone.


Companies like Airbnb recognize that surveys are a powerful way to:



  • Grow new sales opportunities

  • Recognize and help dissatisfied clients before they leave

  • Create deeper relationships with VIP customers

  • Build competitive advantages for a business

Six Tips for Building a Successful Survey


When it comes to customer success and satisfaction, your team must collect feedback about your product or service.


As you assess customer needs, you increase value for your company and validate strategic decisions that your leaders make.


Want to build more sustainability and growth into your business? Here are six tips for building a successful survey.


1. Keep it short and simple.


Concentrate on the 5-10 most important questions.


2. Avoid loaded questions.


Leading questions taint your survey because you tempt people to give answers they THINK you want to hear.


3. Start with basic questions that have straightforward answers.


This increases the confidence of the customer and encourages them to continue the survey (rather than abandoning the process). If open-ended questions are important to you, use them at the end of the questionnaire.


4. Avoid compounded questions.


Avoid grouping multiple questions together in one line, like: "Did you understand what the product did? Why or why not?" This increases your likelihood of gathering unclear data.


5. Target the right people.


Don't waste your time on people who are not prospects or target customers. The RIGHT data is much more important than a plethora of unhelpful feedback!


6. Include enough people.


To know how many people to send surveys to, take your sample size (how many responses you'd like to receive) and divide it by your estimated response rate.


For example, if you want a sample of 100 customers at an estimated response rate of 10%, you would divide 100 by .10 to find that your survey should be sent to 1000 customers.


A Customer-Centric Experience


Every product or service revolves around customers and their experiences.


Well-structured survey campaigns are well worth the time and expense they involve because they allow you to assess customer needs, provide effective solutions, and increase client retention. Start with the basics and build from there. Your business will thank you later!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

4 Modern Design Resources for Your Bag of Tricks

Looking for a few hacks to sharpen your designs?


By adding a few extra resources, the force of your talent can expand exponentially! And with new design tools being released regularly, the possibilities are limitless.


Everyone needs a few handy helps in their bag of trips. Check out these four modern design resources and up your game today!


Quick Design


Want to learn design?


Quick Design is a platform that lists free design courses available online. From 3D and animation to things like cryptocurrency and "ethical hacking," you can select free courses for design based on your skill as either a beginner or an expert. Step-by-step practical resources are available to a wide range of 3D, CAD software, and other industry-oriented specialists.


As an additional benefit, you can follow other designers of your interest, which can help in networking or creative brainstorming.


unDraw


For quality illustrations that you can embed in your design on a moment's notice, check out unDraw.


unDraw is an MIT licensed collection of quality open license images that can be dropped directly into your favorite design tool. These thoughtful, elegant, and functional SVG images can be downloaded and customized in three easy steps:



  • Browse or search to find illustrations you want to use for your design

  • Change the color to match your palette or through your asset colors later

  • Download the image to your clipboard and paste it wherever you want

unDraw images can be used for free in commercial or personal projects without worries, so drop some into your print pieces, mobile apps, or whatever you can create!


UI Sources


Inspiration regarding design "flow" can be hard to find.


Enter UI Sources.


Launched in 2018, UI Sources is a curated repository of motion design. To date, UI Sources catalogs around 500 interactions from apps that bring inspiration and strategic navigation options in everything from augmented reality, chatbots, in-app purchasing, and more.


UI Sources can help you with your own projects, giving you tools to analyze product flows and features and to get real design inspiration for your apps, web designs, or even big-picture schematic print designs. This resource is extensive and can be used by designers, developers, product packaging specialists, and entrepreneurs of all kinds.


Absurd Illustrations


What to play around a bit?


In a digital era, sometimes, we need to interact with something more human to make us appreciate both the beauty and the imperfection of something made by hand. Absurd.design is a project that comes with a set of downloadable, surrealist illustrations for articles, landing pages, marketing materials, and more.


High-quality images are available in a variety of formats. From here, you can craft a truly distinctive message with an illustration that's available only to you.


Improve Your Workflow


Each designer has their own personal list of "aha" tools.


Check out these four goodies and share the love with your colleagues too. You'll enjoy using them to increase efficiency and to dazzle your best clients!

Friday, November 1, 2019

How to Age Gracefully at Every Stage of Life

If people can age with class, Harlene Goodrich should be considered a maestro of maturity.


Goodrich, age 81, is a former schoolteacher who lives in Seal Beach, CA. Goodrich returned to school at age 50 to get her master's degree and has since published a children's book and won several playwriting contests. Despite serious back and knee surgery in the past decade, Goodrich didn't shrink back from traveling to Washington, D.C., at age 79 to participate in a national protest march.


Goodrich says that aging well means proactively beginning the process while you're still young by engaging with stimulating people and activities. This includes a healthy dose of humor. Recently, Goodrich gathered friends ages 65 to 83 and heard them complaining about aches and pains. She stopped the discussion and suggested they go around the table to give each woman five minutes to complain. That's when everyone broke out laughing.


A Healthful Approach


No one can stop time, so it's important to remember that aging isn't something to be avoided. Instead, aging healthfully should be your goal.


This includes taking stock of your physical, social, and mental wellness, and prioritizing health as you would invest in your vehicle maintenance. Want to age healthfully? Here are some checkpoints in each category.


Physical Health


Early identification of health problems makes them easier to manage, so prioritize regular check-ups and complete the recommended health screenings for your age group. Here is a medical schedule to help you best navigate these guidelines.


Exercise is also vital. It's estimated that physical functioning peaks around age 30, and at this point, you begin to lose muscle mass and function. Sedentary individuals can lose as much as 5% of their muscle mass each decade! However, you can maintain muscle through regular exercise, specifically strength or resistance training. Resistance training also strengthens bones and helps prevent osteoporosis. 


Social Health


Aging can sometimes feel lonely, so it's important to make new friends and widen your social circles.


How can you do this? Consider new hobbies, volunteer opportunities, or even classes at a nearby college. You can also expand connections by proactively befriending younger people. Intergenerational relationships can open doors for powerful mentoring opportunities while decreasing depression and helping you navigate changes in technology and culture. 


Mental Health


Cognitively speaking, mental development continues into middle adulthood.


Later in life, your cognitive processing speeds may slow, but wisdom and experience-based problem solving will continue to increase.


It's important to feed your mind and your soul to stay sharp mentally. This includes consistent sleep patterns, building new connections, and cultivating a sense of purpose. Practical steps may consist of caring for others (to maintain a positive outward focus), tackling puzzles or strategy games, using mental arithmetic instead of defaulting to a calculator, playing an instrument, and surrounding yourself with upbeat people.


Research shows that smiling, even a fake smile, can boost your mood. When you catch your reflection in the mirror or a window, smile at yourself, and you may be surprised at how it lifts your spirits. Smile at others, too; you might make their day!


Be a Participant in Your Journey


One of the essential things about aging is to do it proactively.


Often as people age, they feel isolated or embarrassed. And in today's connected generation, there's just no reason to shrink back from others. Aging healthfully means making a plan, asking for help, and being an active participant (versus a spectator) in your own life. That's Harlene's outlook:


"No one suddenly gets old," Goodrich said. "I think we're all on the path of life. I may be old in years, but I'm the same person who's been living the same life. The key is to participate in each stage along the way."

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Increase Conversions with 3 Headline Hooks

Do you ever wander through a library aisle you would normally avoid?


Perhaps you're a fiction reader who ambles into the autobiography section. Surprisingly, a cover grabs your attention and you check out a book you've never heard of.


What was it that caused you to act? Just one short glimpse at the title.


That's telling.


Fool-Proof Headline Formulas


Headlines matter. A lot.


Researchers estimate that in today's content-saturated culture, only 8 out of 10 readers make it past the headline of most pieces. In 2016, an academic study of bit.ly links to BBC, CNN, Fox News, New York Times, and Huffington Post articles found that 59 percent of the links were never clicked.


And even if you do get readers past the front door, you still need to bring them to a point of purchase.


Which headlines best engage readers and maximize response? Here are three headline formulas to increase your conversions:


"The Best" List Headlines


Readers are selfish.


When they engage with content, they want something of value.


Think about it from your own perspective. What kind of "hacks" grab your attention? Weight loss? Easy savings? Life management tricks? Most people wish to avoid sifting through information, so "best" headlines offer fast and easy value.


Best list headlines use a formula like this: The __ Best Ways to Get ______


The trick to this headline is to be concrete in your wording and to ensure corresponding content backs up your claim. Here are three examples:



  • The 20 Best Ways to Make Money on a Side Hustle

  • The 12 Best Ways to Make the Most of Your Commute

  • The 8 Best Ways to Give a Non-Threatening Sales Pitch

Threat-of-Loss Headlines


Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is real. Just think of how tempting some phony clickbait ads can be!


FOMO headlines are a compelling motivator because they are time-sensitive and prompt vulnerability in the reader. As an entrepreneur, ask yourself these questions when crafting a threat-of-loss headline:


     -- What damage or cost can my service help people avoid?


     -- How will acting today save them money or inconvenience?


     -- If they forget to respond, who might they disappoint?


FOMO headlines use this formula: You'll Be _______ if You _____________


For example:



  • You'll Kick Yourself if You Miss This Early Registration Discount

  • Your Wife Will Be Stranded if You Cut Corners on Seasonal Auto Maintenance

  • You'll Lose $200 if You Delay Your Renewal

You can use threat-of-loss headlines for both serious and light-hearted topics, so have fun and be specific!


Curiosity Headlines


One of the best ways to grab readers is to engage curiosity to affect change.


People are painfully aware of their shortcomings, so arouse their need to educate themselves so they can avoid danger or uncertainty. Tell them how they're wasting time, losing money, missing out on helpful technology, or unintentionally hurting someone.


Curiosity headlines use a formula like this: What You Don't Know About _______ Can _______


For example:



  • Here's What You Don't Know About Electric Cars That Could Bust Your Budget

  • Here's What You Don't Know About SEO That Could Harm Your Business

  • Here's How Grain-Free Dog Food Can Increase Canine Heart Disease

Write Powerful Headlines They Won't Ignore


Dull headlines tell consumers your content will be just as lifeless.


Do you want to elevate your headlines from mediocre to marvelous? Use the threat of loss, curiosity, or sneak peeks at the "best" options to boost curiosity, grab readers, and move people to purchase.

Friday, October 25, 2019

7 Greetings to Use in Corporate Thanksgiving Cards

Want to make the holidays happier this year?


Showing gratitude through your year-end greetings takes some creativity and planning. Maybe this would be a good time for your business to break the mold when it comes to year-end tidings!


In 2016, Mayville Engineering Company, Inc (MEC) decided to amplify appreciation through an employee-empowered kindness campaign. In lieu of traditional greeting cards, MEC created a series of fun in-house GIFs for their employees to get them smiling.


In tandem, MEC sent "acts of kindness" prompts to spur a contagious rash of goodwill. These 25 acts of kindness included both personal and professional ideas, such as, "compliment someone to their boss," or "donate a piece of clothing for every present you receive." Employees were encouraged to share the love in and beyond the company and to share photos on its social channels using the hashtag #MECKindness.


Share a Simple Thank You


While you may not start a company-wide campaign, perhaps you could launch appreciation in action through corporate Thanksgiving cards.


A simple thank you goes a long way, and Thanksgiving is a perfect opportunity to say it. Why should you consider Thanksgiving greetings instead of a more traditional Christmas card? Here are three reasons:


To encourage holiday sales


Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a peak season (or planning for an upcoming business calendar) for many people.


While showing your gratitude in November, you'll also strategically position your name at a time that customers are ready to buy. While expressing appreciation, your brand and products will receive top-of-mind awareness in a strategic season.


To surprise and delight clients


Customers love to associate with companies that have human qualities.


Thanksgiving greeting cards will bring an element of human contact that is intensified by this unexpected November gesture. Appreciation cards sent any time outside of Christmas are especially memorable, so avoid the December mailbox clutter and be the first to wish them well this season.


To build brand loyalty


When you care for your customers, not only do you improve the likelihood of repeat business, you create advocates who are loyal to your brand and determined to spread the goodwill about your service.


Take advantage of the concentrated attention you'll receive outside the holiday rush and highlight reasons your brand is worth every penny!


7 Ideas for Your Thanksgiving Card


Need a little prose for your Thanksgiving cards? Here are seven phrases to inspire your designs:


1. May your table be filled with family and gratitude this season. Happy Thanksgiving!


2. All year long, but especially during this season, we're grateful for incredible customers like you.


3. Though we're thankful for all of our customers, you're especially high on our list. Thank you for being a great customer and Happy Thanksgiving!


4. With appreciation for your business and your loyalty throughout the year. Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!


5. It's the perfect time of year to send our sincere thanks for your business. Happy Thanksgiving from our business to your home!


6. Sometimes in the rush of the day, we fail to say THANKS loud enough. So today – and this holiday season – we want to express our gratitude. Thank you for your patronage, partnership, and your commitment to crafting vibrant industries here in ____________.


7. At ____, we believe that relationships are our most valuable resource, and a vibrant local business community is something worth celebrating. Thank you for the privilege of doing business with you this year!


Get Started Today


Ready to get started? This season, we've got you covered at Print It! when it comes to customer engagement. Call us today at 864-882-3609 to discuss a custom holiday card or to get your design up and running!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

5 Ways to Make Your Newsletters Shine

What's so great about vacation? It's a chance to cut loose and take a break from the ordinary!


But vacation just wouldn't be as fun if it wasn't anchored to the sense of consistent routine in our lives. In order to vacate, you have to have a place or a routine to break AWAY from.


A Foundation to Build From


The same is true in design.


To have the freedom to challenge the norm, some type of coherent foundation must first be established. This is particularly true in multi-page publications like newsletters. One of the most important features of multi-page publications is consistency. So, before you go rogue in design, first you need to ensure each page looks like it belongs to the whole.


How can you create this sense of cohesion? With repeating colors, icons, fonts, bulleted lists that repeat a formatting style, matching pull-out quotes, and more.


Here are five strategies for organizing your next newsletter so you compel viewers to read and respond:


1. Avoid a different typeface or formatting arrangement for every article.


Instead, create a strong, consistent structure throughout the pages and add flair with boxed photos, pull-out quotes, or just ONE free-flowing graphic per page.


2. Make headlines clear and bold.


Most people skim newsletters, so headline text should be straightforward and easy to read. Use leading questions or creative subheadings to build suspense and entice the viewer to read more.


3. Keep alignment consistent.


To build an organized page, choose an alignment and stick with it.


If everything is left-aligned, photos should be cropped to this sharp margin as well. 


Does this mean you can't ever break the rules of the system you've created? No! A firm set of columns actually creates MORE space to break out of the grid. But when you do this, do it with gusto! Items that are just a smidge out of the normal alignment will look like a mistake.


4. Avoid Helvetica and Arial


If your newsletter seems drab, juice it up with heavy sans serif typefaces that create a strong visual hierarchy.


Often people default to Helvetica or Arial, but these just aren't bold enough to create a strong contrast. Instead, invest in a sans serif family that includes a heavy bold version as well as a light subheading complement (such as Eurostile, Formata, Syntax, Frutiger, or Myriad). You'll be amazed at the difference this contrast makes.


5. Create a Compelling Call to Action


Printed newsletters are a great way to build goodwill and reinforce brand awareness, but at the end of the day, you want readers to take action.


When scripting your text, ask yourself, "if the reader was going to act on the content in this newsletter, what would I want them to DO?" Brainstorm many call-to-action phrases and places they can be used in your design, and make this journey easy for the eyes to follow.


Ideally, there should be a call to action on each page with one very prominent "next step" CTA near the end of your piece. Here are a handful examples:



  • Subscribe Now!

  • Sign Me Up!

  • Activate _____ Today!

  • Find Out How!

  • Claim Your Discount!

  • Try it Yourself!

  • Schedule (or Book) __________!

  • Register Now!

  • Call for a Free Estimate!

Make Them Look Forward to Your Next Newsletter


Time is a precious commodity, and the moments people invest in reading your newsletter are important.


To make the most of this unique privilege, build a strong design grid with a few spectacular deviations. Need help writing?  We offer off-the-shelf articles and stories to make your job quicker and easier. Give us a call at 864-882-3609 to see how we can help! Create visually engaging publications with helpful takeaways, and your newsletters will be something your audience looks forward to reading!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Inspire Imagination with 4 Creative Design Catalysts

Do you enjoy creating?


Are you an illustrator, a graphic design specialist, or a photographer who loves to see ideas come to life?


If so, you've probably experienced a few slumps. Even the most innovative people need new inspiration from time to time. Ready to ignite a fresh perspective for your projects?


Here are some creative exercises that may spark your next fantastic idea.


4 Design Catalysts to Inspire Your Imagination


Loosen your turtleneck pullover and host an art night with friends.


If you create for a living, what better way to connect with your inner muse than to host a no-holds-barred, imaginative free-for-all with your best pals?


Tell guests to dress for a mess and drag out your paints, beads, clay, stamps, ink, and more. Remind people to leave the perfectionist self at home and have fun with the process. After all, some of the best art is spontaneous.


Takeaway: Creating things with friends reminds us that art is fun, and beauty can arise from unexpected sources.


Build and broaden your artistic muscle by doing icon reps.


Choose an icon (like a sun, heart, leaf, crest, or set of cherries) and create 25 thumbnail icons that depict its message and its meaning. If that's too easy, try 50 or 100.


Start with basic sketches and transition into graphic design or large-scale renderings. As you build variations, try different shadings, color combinations, or typographic elements to stretch your normal design boundaries.


Takeaway: Forcing yourself to sketch the same thing in different ways can build and broaden your artistic muscle.


The next time you work on a concept, fill a full page with icon sketch versions of it before you settle on your design of choice. Begin with quantity and finish with quality!


Identify your core audience and ask yourself what subject would best connect with these viewers.


Then, brainstorm ways to feature the perfect person doing the ideal activity in perfect circumstances.


How can you best capture the age, gender, or appearance of this "perfect" individual? Experiment with collages, photos, silhouettes, stick figures, or only body parts (such as the hand, eye, or mouth).


Takeaway: Featuring the wrong people in your piece (or possibly the right people in the wrong atmosphere) can tank your design.


In contrast, a piece that features the right people in the right way can befriend viewers and make them extremely receptive to your product or message.


Tend your roots by asking yourself: "Why did I become a Creative in the first place?"


Make a list of passions and interests that led you to this stage in your journey. Then, cultivate these roots through revisiting some of the places or people who inspired you in the past.


Takeaway: Neglecting your creative soul apart from your professional commitments puts your growth as a person at risk. Nurture your nature, and momentum will freely flow in all that you do.


The Human-to-Human Connection


While many designers have a free spirit, often professionals end up spending a great deal of time alone.


However, much of our success in design is rooted in human-to-human connections. The connections you make will have a massive impact on how you see the world and what you create in response. So connect with others, connect with yourself, and have fun with your next best design.