Category Archives: Graphics

Fresh Graphics in 2017

Good design is good design, and that never changes.  But in marketing, we need more than just good, solid design.  It’s our job to grab attention, and to do that our graphics also need to be fresh and on-trend.  So let’s dig in to the most hip elements of today’s graphic design.


        

To illustrate what’s happening in advertising, graphics and marketing right now, I invented a pretend brand, Perspective, a unisex clothing line targeting consumers 18-24. I then created this faux ad campaign featuring my very own daughter, Lauren.  (Hi, Lauren!)  First off, I want to point out how very different these three graphics are, and yet they hold together due to the similar vibe.  Let’s break down why this works:

  • Native Images: As 2017 progresses and rolls into 2018, you’re going to see a lot fewer perfect stock images and a lot more native, natural photography.  (I “liberated” these selfies from Lauren’s Instagram page.)  Brands like Urban Outfitters and American Apparel are paying big money for professionally-shot campaigns that mimic a native look.
  • Text-based Logos: Our faux brand has a logo that is simply the name of the brand in all caps Ostrich Sans Medium with a double underline.  That’s it.  No picture. Nothing tricky. It looks sharp, clean, spare, minimal.  It looks very 2017.
  • Minimal Design: One image. One logo. One branding color. Nothing extra at all.  Right now, this is the height of design chic.
  • Bright Colors: For years, we’ve been confusing minimalism with neutral color palettes.  All hail the return of REAL minimal design, featuring gorgeous rich pop-art colors.  This super-bright pink is perfect.  It’s just edgy enough to feel new.
  • Tone on Tone: The center image is the best example of this trend, utilizing a gray scale image and sheer overlay of the brand color (shifted to a darker version).  We’re left with a pink tonal image.  Then we added the text logo in the pure brand color.  It pops.
  • Sheer Overlays: You can’t get away from semi-transparent shapes.  They are everywhere.  Use them to divide space, add a brand color or offset text without losing the single-image impact. Or, as in image three, do all of those things at once.  

Take these tips to your own drawing board and see how they can freshen up your marketing efforts!

Struggling to Think of Blog Topics

Repeat after me, folks: Blogging is not hard.  Thinking of things to blog about is not hard.  After all, your blog should be on a topic you know a lot about.  Hopefully, you’re passionate about it.  You might even consider yourself an expert.  So relax.  You already know how to do this.  You just don’t know that you know.

Let’s try an example.  Say I have a blog about pet dogs.  I love dogs.  I love taking care of my dogs. I love taking pictures of my dogs.  And I know a lot about dog care, dog grooming and doggy love. What could I blog about?

There are a zillion angles you could take on any topic.  Like…

  • My favorite thing about ________ is…
  • I can sometimes struggle with …..
  • The 5 Best (products/activities/etc)…
  • 10 Facts You Should Know About….
  • Did you know that…
  • How to choose the right…

I bet you can already see how this is going to work out.  

  • My favorite thing about walking my dog is…
  • I can sometimes struggle with doggie separation issues…
  • The 5 Best Puppy Schools in Portland…
  • 10 Facts You Should Know About Chew Toys
  • Did You Know That A Pit Bull Has a Bite Pressure of 1,200 Pounds per Square Inch? 
  • How to Choose the Right Harness for your Dog…

 

But what if my blog is about gardening?  Then what can I write about?  The logic holds…

  • My Favorite Thing About Perennials Is…
  • I Can Sometimes Struggle With Allergies when Gardening…
  • The 5 Best Natural Weeding Products…
  • 10 Facts Your Should Know About Succulents
  • Did you Know That Some Plants are Poisonous to Pets?
  • How to Choose the Right Mulch for your Garden…

The truth is that you could write a thousand blog posts on your topic of choice.  You just need to pick an angle and get started.  Happy blogging!

How to Make Customized Social Media Graphics from our Free Templates

At Mad Science Consulting, we love to see beautiful graphics that are perfectly branded to highlight the best qualities of a company or organization.  Our “Marketing for Ministry” initiative puts special focus on making this especially easy for independent ministries in the world.  Whether you are a minister, the communications director of a church (or temple or spiritual center, etc.) or a faith-based coach or counselor, we want you to succeed!  Gorgeous graphics do not have to be terribly expensive or difficult to achieve.  In fact, we’ve made it as simple as possible, with this offer:

Download FREE social media graphics templates for your ministry here.

We’re giving away twelve beautiful graphics specifically designed to promote ministry on social media — Bible quotes, inspiration quotes, Sunday service invitation, new member welcome and more — in a variety of styles and looks.  Every graphic is high quality and will make your ministry look good!

We’ve provided two versions of each image: One is a branded mock-up, included to show you where to place your branding information.  It will look like this:

The second image is a template .jpeg for you to upload to canva.com so you can add your own information.  It will look like this:

 

You’ll notice that the filename of the template image includes the font style, font size and color number we recommend for your branding information.  (By branding information, we mean the customized information you want to add.  It might be your church name, your web site, your name, etc.)  Below, you’ll find our infographic instructions on how to use our  FREE templates (get them here) in www.canva.com.  Once you’ve played in Canva, you’ll see how simple it can be to create amazing graphics for your ministry!

 

Get your free social media graphics templates now!

Fun & Easy Free Graphic Ideas For Social Media Marketing in Ministry [Infographic]

Social Media trends in 2017 are moving more and more in the direction of shareable graphics.  In fact, graphics use in social media marketing increased 130% between 2015 and 2016 alone.  The good news is that there are fun and easy ways to create custom graphics for your ministry that will only take a few minutes and won’t cost you a dime. Here’s are a few great ways to utilize free graphics in your ministry:

fun & easy (1)

 

Here are some fun examples that I made on www.quotescover.com.  In case you are wondering, each graphic took me less than two minutes to make!

Famous Quote Example:

SMMFM Quote example

 

 

Testimonial Example:

SMMFM Testimonial Example

 

 

Scripture Example:

SMMFM Scripture example

 

 

Question Example:

SMMFM Question example

 

Have fun creating free custom graphics for your ministry.  It will make a huge difference!

Lezli Goodwin is Creative Director for Mad Science Consulting.  She finds extreme joy in helping clients find their footing in the nebulous areas of social media, blogging and small business marketing.  Follow her on Twitter @madscienceinc   www.madscienceconsulting.com

Six Great Things to Post on Facebook to Build Your Ministry [Infographic]

Six Great Things to Post on Facebook to Build Your Ministry

 

Lezli Goodwin is Creative Director for Mad Science Consulting.  She finds extreme joy in helping clients find their footing in the nebulous areas of social media, blogging and small business marketing.  Follow her on Twitter @madscienceinc   www.madscienceconsulting.com

5 Tips for new Facebook Business Pages

So, you have a brand new Facebook Business page. Good for you!  Whether  you came to this understanding on your own or finally caved to nagging from your interns, you’ve taken an excellent step for the visibility of your business.  We’ve reached a phase in social media development that nearly every business owner and entrepreneur now has a Facebook page. Having a page and using it successfully, however, are two completely different animals.  Here are a handful of tips to get you headed in the right direction.

 

Tip #1: Finding things to post about is easy.  You have something happening in your business every day that people need and want to know about.  Right now, in my business, I’m writing a blog post. Am I going to post it on Facebook when I’m done?  You bet I am.  Events, collaborations, projects, products, new developments, new employees — all are opportunities to share.

 

Tip #2: Clearly introduce the things you share.  Very often, I see businesses posting links with no additional information.  Take a moment now and think, “Would I click on a link with no additional information?”  Of course you wouldn’t.  A simple introduction to a link could read like this: “Check out this great article about gender roles in the NYT.  I was glad to do the interview, and I thank Janice Wilson for covering the issue in a balanced way.”  Just let your people know what they are clicking on and why they should click.

 

Tip #3: Be yourself. Your business has a personality, a tone of voice.  Often, that voice is YOUR voice.  My voice, for example, is casual and playful.  (My husband might add that it’s a little bit bossy.) Make sure that the overall thrust of your posts has your personality.  After all, people don’t buy products.  They buy YOU.  Every so often, include a “behind the scenes” picture, a meaningful quote or a fun story.  Use this as an opportunity to build and strengthen relationships.

 

Tip #4:  Invite two way conversation.  After all, we’re building relationships here, right?! (If you say no, go back to tip #3.) We want people to comment and interact, even if we don’t always agree with what they say.  Don’t worry about complaints and criticisms.  Seeing them on your Facebook page gives you the opportunity to address those elements productively and professionally.  A customer who has had his or her issues addressed effectively can become the most loyal of clients.  Be open. Be ready. Be responsive.

 

Tip #5: Post every business day.  (This shouldn’t be hard, because of tip #1.)  Yes, every single business day.  Consistency is the name of the game.  Because of the nature of Facebook business pages, not everyone will see a given post.  Posting daily raises the likelihood of any one client seeing a post during any given week.  It gives clients a reason to check your page frequently.  It shows that you take your social media relationships seriously.  It’s the way good social media business is done.

 

So, get to work, my friends.  You have a page to build and relationships to strengthen!

mad-science-consulting-inc

www.madscienceconsulting.com

Lezli Goodwin is Creative Director for Mad Science Consulting.  She finds extreme joy in helping clients find their footing in the nebulous areas of social media, blogging and small business marketing.  Follow her on Twitter @madscienceinc   www.madscienceconsulting.com

Invite Client Engagement, Every Time

In social media posts, engagement is the name of the game.  Client engagement (likes, comments, shares, clicks) demonstrate a two-way conversation.  We get to know more about what our customers think, like and value.  They get to tell us what we’re doing well and where they think we can do better.  They feel appreciated, valued and heard, which leads to higher customer satisfaction.  Most importantly, customer engagement on social media spreads the word about our company, showing up on the feed of every friend our customer has.  So, it makes sense that we should actively court client engagement. Raise your right hand and repeat after me.  From this day forward, I will NEVER post anything for my business on social media that does not have an active invitation for client engagement!  So help me God!  But how do we do that?  We always include at least one (but preferably more) of the following things:

 

1. A link.  This can be a link to your web site, to the page of an online store to purchase the item you’re advertising, to your blog article that contains more information.  A link says “click me”, DO something in response this post.  Clients like things to be as easy as possible.  If you make action available in just one click, you are more likely to get engagement.

 

2. A hashtag.  Actually, I generally recommend two hashtags.  One for your company (see #ALSA) and one for the specific project, item or idea you are promoting (see #icebucketchallenge)  Encourage your clients to use your hashtags when posting about the issues that matter to your company.  It builds a sense of community and raises the visibility of your business.  Plus, in case you’ve been under a rock for the past few years, hashtags become internally searchable links.  Click on one, and it will bring up every post that used the same hashtag in the last couple of weeks.

 

3. A question.  People love to give their two cents, but sometimes they need to be invited.  The diet Coke Facebook page regularly asks questions like, “What is your favorite time to have a refreshing diet Coke?”  What would your clients like to weigh in on?  What would you like to know?

 

4. A call to action.  Give them a suggested form of engagement.  Call now! (Be sure to give the number!) Go to this site! (Include the link.)  Share this post! (Give them a great reason, like a contest entry!)

 

We’ll be watching, making sure you invite two-way communication with your customers.  As your client base becomes more engaged, you’ll see the quality of your interactions on social media rise.  Happy Posting!

 

Lezli Goodwin is Creative Director for Mad Science Consulting.  She finds extreme joy in helping clients find their footing in the nebulous areas of social media, blogging and small business marketing.  Follow her on Twitter @madscienceinc   www.madscienceconsulting.com