Whatever your business size you need social media. It has become a part of the marketing mix that isn’t likely to go away any time soon, even if the platforms of choice change.[Read more…] about Why you need to hire a social media manager
Twice recently, clients have opted to use vendors that are cheaper rather than my recommended suppliers. In both cases, this has entailed my doing a lot more work to manage the vendor and a loss of quality. It doesn’t even make economic sense as the client has to pay me for the additional time![Read more…] about Beating down prices
Setting colour aside, do you know what your font says about your company? Fonts can have a gender bias, an age slant and tone of voice.
A font can have tone of voice, I hear you say? Definitely. There are big shouty salesy fonts, clean clear professional fonts and friendly approachable fonts – here are just a few examples of fonts that are similar to well known brand logos – can you recognise them?
Loud fonts that sell products:
Clean clear professional fonts:
Friendly, approachable fonts:
Fonts for body copy
For corporate branding you not only need a font for your logo but you need a compatible heading & body font to carry through all of your marketing materials (and ideally every document that is generated by the company) to keep branding consistent.
Here the choice can be restricted by the output; for the website you can use a web-safe font or you will need a web font service like Google Fonts or Typekit to render the fonts correctly across visitor’s browsers.
For print purposes, it can be better to choose a font that is designed specifically for print, like Times New Roman or Garamond, Verdana and Helvetica (the latter, incidentally, look great onscreen too though any designer will groan inwardly when you recommend them).
Serif or sans-serif? The choice is yours
From a branding standpoint, the choice between a serif and sans-serif font can be straightforward but there is another consideration; legibility. On which font type is more legible onscreen, the research sits on the fence. It could be down to personal preference.
Legibility research is inconclusive as to whether serif fonts are truly better than sans serif.” – Nielsen Norman Group
Ideal font size
A more important choice in my opinion is what size fonts you are going to use. I am a big fan of clear type – although I have the best eyesight of any of my family members, I am fully aware of how difficult it can be for them to read text onscreen or off.
Regular print is 10-12 points in text documents, according to RNIB, but I have seen designers go right down to 8 or even 6 points for small print – and I’ve watched many a customer squint to read it!
One of my favourite copywriting gurus is D Bnonn Tennant and he suggests a minimum 16 pixels for online body copy.
I know what you’re thinking. “Did he just say 16 pixels? For body copy? Obnoxiously big! 12 pixels is ideal for most websites.” I’d like to persuade you otherwise…..” – D Bnonn Tennant
Of course, there are other considerations when writing, particularly online, like line spacing, paragraphs and headings, but my gut feeling is ‘why make it difficult for your customers to read your text?!’ What kind of message does that send to your customer?
There is a perception that building websites with WordPress is easy, and it is, as long as you want a very basic website with no real functionality. As soon as you need your website to do anything – display a gallery, show social media, provide a contact form – you move into the realm of plug-ins. Some plug-ins are great, don’t get me wrong, I am particularly a fan of those that protect your website from harm. There are literally millions of them that are well built and well maintained.
So what are the problems with plug-ins? First, there is the headache of the constant updates that face you each time that you log into your WordPress dashboard. These can cause real issues with the version of WordPress and the theme you have chosen to use, as well as the upgrade itself. Who hasn’t had a Windows Update crash and burn their computer? Same story with plug-ins.
Then, the real problem with plug-ins, which is that you have no idea who built them, so each and every one of them is a potential open doorway that you have forgotten to lock and secure against problems. Leaving doors wide open is not something that you would do in everyday life but it is something that WordPress users do on a daily basis. Did you choose your original plug-ins carefully? When was the last time you checked if your plug-in was recently updated and still compatible with your version of WordPress? I thought not……
Do I still use WordPress?
Of course I do, always mindful of the developers and plug-ins that I choose to work with. WordPress is genuinely a brilliant tool to get you and your business started on the web.
Choosing the images to go with your company page on Facebook or Twitter profiles are key to how you want to be seen by your customer. One really good image can say what you do or what type of company you are in seconds, keeping potential customers on your profile for long enough for them to get to know more.
Beware the stock photo!
Stock photos are all very good and have a certain value but they need to be very carefully chosen so that they do not look like the awful corporate images seen everywhere. Here is an amusing article about how cheesy stock photos might work for once: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/243613 (to promote the Unfinished Business launch).
Working with businesses who use multiple languages can be quite challenging. Everything, from titles and text, to captions for images and links to the correct language translation page needs to be thought of, including disclaimers and error messages.
The meaning of language
There is also the possibility that a marketing message can be lost in translation. What means one thing in English may not mean the same in another language and all use of colloquialisms and slang terminology has to be thought through carefully particularly where culturally it can cause insult (easy enough to do in a home language as it is).
Another complication with multiple languages is that the space required for one line of text in one language may translate into a much longer (or shorter) line of text in another, throwing layouts in adverts and menus on websites out.
Updating a website or email in multiple languages
Care needs to be taken when cutting and pasting translated text into emails or web pages too as if the content editor isn’t familiar with the language, they can’t know if they have made a mistake and they can’t proof-read either. It is a good idea to get the translator to check over the work once it has been completed.
Regardless of all the above, working on marketing material that reaches a wide range of audiences can be beneficial and well worth doing.