If a complete stranger where to look at all your marketing materials – your website, brochure, business cards, advertisements – would they be able to tell at a glance – without looking at the name – that they were from the same business? If the answer is no, you have a problem.
What is the problem? It relates to the rule of seven. This old marketing adage states that your prospects need to see your message an average of seven times before they are motivated to buy. But you aren’t accumulating seven ‘hits’ if the prospect doesn’t realize each message is from you.
Like the old expression “too many cooks spoil the broth”, too many graphic designers can spoil the marketing message.
If you are like many business owners, your printer designed your business cards and brochure, someone else designed your website and you take advantage of the fact that newspapers, magazines and the yellow pages will design your ad for free.
But consider, if you have a different designer for each ad, your target market may not recognize that each ad is for the same business.
What’s the answer?
The solution is to hire a graphic designer to create all your advertising. Your designer can create an overall ‘look’ that will appear in all your visual marketing. This can include a logo, specific colours, fonts and layouts. Done properly, your marketing materials will tell everyone it’s you before they even see your business name.
This doesn’t have to be expensive. If you have regular advertisements going into publications, plan ahead and create several ads in the correct sizes. Then when it’s time to place your next ad, you can just send it to the publication.
In addition, many publications will give you a discount if you provide “camera ready” ads (ads that can be dropped into the publication without any changes). Depending on the discount, the amount you save may pay for the graphic designer.
How to hire a graphic designer
Talk to other business owners whose advertising always looks professional. Ask who for a referral.
Be sure to talk to several graphic designers to get prices and a feel for their abilities and style. Ask about printing too. Most have relationships with printers and can negotiate better printing deals for their clients.
Also speak to print shops – most have qualified designers on staff and may give you a discount if you have both your design and printing done with them.
Be sure to shop around because prices and ability can vary widely. Ask to see a portfolio and ask for references. Check the references because you not only want someone who does good work, but who is easy to work with.
Make sure you own the copyright
Make sure that you own the rights to any work the designer creates for you. Some designers claim ownership of the copyright and expect a royalty any time you reuse an ad or logo they design.
This is not standard practice in the industry and you shouldn’t accept it. Negotiate with the designer or choose someone else. You don’t want to be in a position of being unable to change designers or printers without changing your logo.
Having one graphic design “cook” in your marketing kitchen can really increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Andrea J. Stenberg