The Psychology of Fonts

The Psychology of Fonts

The fonts that you choose in your marketing can have an influence on how people connect with your content on an emotional level.

(In this post, am using the term “fonts” to describe fonts in general, including typefaces. However, technically typefaces are the letters, numbers, and symbols that share a certain design. Fonts are the different set of glyphs within a typeface. A typeface can have many font families within it.)

Why are fonts important? Think about the last ad that you saw. What caught your eye? Probably the colors, images, and words. But were the words easy to read? Were different fonts used in the same visual element? Did the font styles flow together, or did they contrast each other? You may not have consciously thought about these questions, but your subconscious mind was noticing. If you look at the history of font usage in marketing, you will notice a trend towards more simplistic, cleaner fonts. Gone are the days of complex, ornate fonts used in branding and visual content. Consider the difference between these three fonts:

Which of these is easiest for you to read? If you are like most of the general population, the first or second fonts are probably the easiest for your brain to understand. According to a study by MDG Advertising, decorative fonts are harder for people to read, particularly in large amounts. There is a reason that most word processing systems have Arial or Calibri as their default fonts. That does not mean that decorative fonts don’t have their place in marketing, but they should be used sparingly and not in large text areas.

How do you choose the right font for your purposes? You want to consider several factors when choosing the font (or fonts) to select for your creative:

  • Brand – refer to your brand guidelines and make sure you are incorporating your brand font appropriately. In most cases, you are not going to want to introduce many new fonts into your creative if you already have primary and secondary fonts as part of your brand guidelines.
  • Form – if you are creating an infographic, you may want the simplest font that is easier for the eye to read. If you are creating a website banner, you might want a bolder font that is in the same font family as your logo font.
  • Function – are you developing a creative piece that is meant for your audience to click on? You will want to make sure that font is large enough for people to read and click on with their mouse or finger (on mobile devices).
  • Intent – are you looking to make a splash with your creative? Perhaps an over-emphasized or unusual font style would be appropriate. (But do so sparingly.)
  • Channel – this is another area where accessibility standards are important. If you are creating a piece of content to be used on a digital platform such as your website, you will want to choose a font that can be interpreted correctly by most devices. If you are creating something for print, make sure that your fonts can withstand the print process without blurring or adjustments.
  • Environment – put together, different fonts can appear more or less cohesive. It is also important to pay attention to the other visual elements around the fonts.

It can take time to figure out the best font pairings for your marketing efforts. And it is another good reason why you should hire an experienced graphic designer. If your font pairings are not cohesive to the eye, it will interrupt the message getting through to the audience’s brains.

Content Inspiration – Quizzes

Content Inspiration – Quizzes

We tend to get stuck in the same routines, using the same tactics, formats, and channels. I am starting a series that will showcase examples of types of content that you might want to consider adding into your marketing mix.

This month, let’s focus on quizzes. They can be fun, educational, or functional. They also serve a dual purpose. Not only are they a good engagement tool, they provide you with information about your audience. Some examples of quizzes include:

  • Ask your audience to choose from a list of possible challenges to accomplishing a task.
  • Have your audience choose from 3 – 4 icons to identify their favorite item.
  • Take people through a personality quiz to determine which of your products would be best for them.
  • People love to show off their knowledge. Let them tell you how smart they are on a particular topic through a series of fun questions.

TIPS

  • Be clear that you are collecting their answers for marketing purposes.
  • Don’t have too many questions in your quiz. If it is too long, your audience will check out without completing it.
  • Make sure you have a call-to-action at the end of the quiz that takes your customer closer to a product purchase.
  • Provide people a way to share their results!

Check out these examples below 👇

Red Lobster created a quiz that encouraged users to discover their “Endless Shrimp flavor” and shared it on social media. This was visually appealing (and mouthwatering if you like shrimp) and fun for people to take.

People who are passionate about a topic usually want to show how much they know about that topic. The Chicago Bulls created a fun quiz where people could test their trivia knowledge about the team. The results were shared after answering each question and users could see if they were correct.

Beauty subscription brand Birchbox created a quiz where their audience could answer questions to find their makeup brand spirit animal. After the quiz was completed, Birchbox would recommend makeup for the user based on their answers.

Every data point is an opportunity

Every data point is an opportunity

As a marketer, you have a plethora of data at your fingertips. That is both a good thing and a bad thing. It is great because it helps you make better decisions. But it can also be overwhelming. Data from your website, from you social media posts, from your emails – what do you do with it all?

The first step: breathe.

The second step: make a plan.

Before you can understand what to do with the data, you need to know what data you have. Different distribution methods will produce different data. And not all data is created equal. Every metric tells a different story and will help you answer different questions. If you are looking for a way to collate all of that data, there are several ways you can do it. It could be as simple as a spreadsheet or as complex as a platform like Datorama or Domo to connect all your data in one view.

If you are just beginning to work with your data, here are some common metrics and what story they tell:

CHANNELDATA POINTWHAT IT TELLS YOU
WebAcquisitionHow did the people who visit your website find it? Acquisition can tell you where those visitors were before the landed on your website? Did they click on a link in a paid ad? Did they come from a social media site? Or did they come from organic search?
WebBounce rateA high bounce rate indicates that a large number of people who found themselves on your website did not find what they were looking for and left your site quickly. This means your content was not what they were expecting to find or not appealing to them.
WebConversion rateDepending on what type of conversion you are measuring (web form completions, purchase, newsletter subscriptions, etc), this metric will tell you what percentage of people who land on your website complete that action.
Social mediaEngagementThis is an umbrella term that covers several different metrics. In general, engagement measured how involved your followers are with your content. It encompasses likes, comments, shares, and clicks.
Social mediaAwarenessImpressions and reach are both included in determining awareness. These both tell the story of how many people were shown your content, either in their feed or through someone sharing it, as well as the potential that their connections might also see it.
EmailOpen rateMust as it sounds, this is the number of people who actually open your email. This data point might indicate that your subject line is not enticing enough for a subscriber to want to read the contents.
Paid searchCPC (cost per click)The cost that you paid from your planned budget based on the number of times your ad was actually clicked. You generally want a lower CPC.
VariousCTR (click thru rate)This metric is measured on several different channels and will tell you how frequently or how many times people have clicked a link that you have provided. You can publish all the content you want, but if people don’t eventually take action, you are not going to move them down the funnel towards purchase.

Once you have mastered the basics of collecting, reviewing, and understanding your data, you can get into more advanced measurement that will give you even more insights into your audience, how they interact with your content, and how that leads to sales.

Learn more about data points that that are not based in numbers here.

The details matter

The details matter

I use my phone for everything. It is probably not healthy, but I’m a big fan of anything that makes my life easier. I have the apps for all our favorite restaurants so that I can easily put our name on the wait list or order carry out. I have all of my travel apps so that I can easily scan my flight tickets or order my hotel room door with my phone. I have health apps, productivity apps, even apps to control appliances in my home.

Why am I telling you this? The other day, my husband was working around the house and needed more spackle. He asked if I could go to the hardware store and pick up some more. I live in the suburbs of Indianapolis, Indiana and we have a lot of hardware store options around here. The big three are Menards, The Home Depot, and Lowe’s. Then there are some smaller ones like Ace hardware and True Value. So we have lots of options. But anytime I can, I choose The Home Depot. Why? Because their mobile app (and even their mobile site) is so very helpful.

To start off, they provide an option to either scan or take a photo of the item you need to find. As you can imagine, with hardware, not everything has a bar code. In this case, I was able to scan the pack of the bucket. Right away, the app displayed the item I was looking for as well as some very helpful information. It told me in which aisle the item was located. But not only that, it told me exactly which bin to look in. Most importantly, it told me that there were 47 of that particular item in stock. How many times have you gone to a store only to find that they item you were looking for was out of stock? This provided me peace of mind knowing that I would actually be able to purchase the item when I got to the store. When I got to the store, the app showed me exactly where in the store the item was located.

Inside the store, everything is clearly marked. It literally took me less than 5 minutes to find what I was looking for in the store. The only thing that slowed me down was that they didn’t have tap and pay. I had to dig in my wallet and get my credit card out and actually put it in the machine to pay.

What lessons can be learned by this?

  • Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Think about what your customers need from you. What are the barriers to them making a purchase? Get rid of those barriers.
  • KISS. Yes, that is Keep It Simple, Stupid. Make things as easy as possible for your customers.
  • Every touchpoint is an opportunity. It doesn’t matter if it is in the mobile app or in-store, the experience was easy for me, the customers.

Now think about your business. How can you make every touchpoint easier for your customers?

What’s in a name?

People occasionally ask me why I named my consulting business Hijinx so I figured I would write a blog post about it.

When I decided to start doing consulting, I wanted a name that had a little bit of sass and was unique.

“High jinks” is also known as its shorter form – hijinks. The definition is “boisterous fun”.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a fan of symmetry and crisp creative design, which is why I changed the ‘ks’ to the letter X. Voila, uniqueness!

Good goals vs bad goals

Good goals vs bad goals

Yes, there are such things as bad goals. How can that be? Take these two examples:

  • Goal 1: Increase sales of my widgets.
  • Goal 2: Increase sales of my widgets by 20% by the end of the year.

Can you tell which one is a good goal and which one is a bad goal? Of course, you can. The second goal is more specific and precise. It gives you something to measure your success by. This is because it uses components of a framework called SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound ). Sometimes it is a little harder to tell a bad goal from a good goal. How about these examples:

  • Goal 1: Increase our email database by 500 recipients by the end of the month.
  • Goal 2: Increase our email database by 5,000 recipients by the end of the month.

These both have measurable goals – both in number and in timing. So, which one is good and which one is bad? It is a trick question. Either one of them could be good, depending on your business. If your business currently has 2,000 names in your email list, maybe 500 new recipients is a good number. However, if your business currently has 100,000 names, 500 is probably a bad goal. Why? Your goals need to be proportional to your current situation. The company with 100,000 names on their email list should set a more worthy goal of adding 5,000 recipients. 

Another consideration is the potential audience pool. If you are in a very niche industry and your email list already contains 90% of the potential pool of possible targets, then perhaps a small goal number is warranted. You also need to match your goal with your potential resources. If you create goals that will require a $1 million marketing budget to achieve, but your budget is only $100,000, you aren’t going to meet those goals. You are setting yourself up for failure if you don’t match your goals with all of these factors.

This may not be what you want to hear, but it is what you need to understand in order to be effective at any type of marketing, let alone the specific niche of content marketing. 

Let’s talk Pinterest

Let’s talk Pinterest

Pinterest logo

No matter what your small business sells, you have a lot of options for your marketing. But have you ever thought about Pinterest as a marketing channel?

Do you think that Pinterest is just for people to post recipes and crafts? Yes, it is used for a lot of that type of content. But that is not all that is pinned on that site. Did you know that the site is the 3rd largest social media platform globally with 322 million users?

You can take advantage of this large audience for your business marketing, particularly if your core audience is female with disposable income. You can use Pinterest for product marketing, but it is also ripe for your content marketing initiatives. Here are some ideas for you to try:

  • Pin links to each of your product pages
  • Create boards for each of your product categories
  • Create ‘how-to’ content on your website and pin those on Pinterest
  • Interact! Follow boards that are relevant to your business or influencers in your industry. Respond to comments on your pins.
  • Pin content from third-party sites that backlink to your site
  • If you are using Pinterest a lot, add your Pin code to printed marketing materials (brochures, business cards)
  • Add Pinterest save buttons to your website

There are a few things you will want to think about when using Pinterest:

  • Have a plan. Don’t just create an account without having an idea of what your content plan will be. Lay out your goals for your account just like you would any other channel.
  • Google does search Pinterest for content, so make sure you are aligning to your SEO goals and using keywords in your pin titles and descriptions
  • If you are linking to your website, make sure you are using ‘pin-worthy’ high quality images
  • Don’t forget to measure your results!

Do you use Pinterest as part of your marketing strategy? Add your tips in the comments!

Your customer has a question…

Your customer has a question…

Business owners talk to their customers all the time, right? Well…not always.

I am continually surprised by how many large companies do not respond to their customer or potential customers on social media. WHY? If a customer walked into your store or called you on the phone, would you ignore them? I would hope not! If you are not going to engage with your audience on social media, then maybe that is not the right channel for you to communicate.

Don’t be like those big companies. You are in a unique situation as a small business to engage with your customers at a personal level.

Here are some common queries that customers ask and how to respond to them:

Logistical questions: What time are you open? Do you carry a certain product?

Response: Always, always answer these type of questions. As quickly as possible. If you use Facebook, you can even set up standard responses. Or develop a list of answers to common questions so you can easily respond to your customers. These are no-brainers.

Compliments: They love your products, had a great experience with an associate or want to share your generosity.

Response: Some businesses think they don’t need to respond to these type of messages. But that is wrong. By responding (particularly to a public comment), you elevate these brand-boosting messages. If it is a really good comment, you might even think about asking the person who made it if you could use their comment (or image) in your marketing. This is called UCG, user generated content.

Complaints: They had a bad experience with you, your staff or your products.

Response: It may not be comfortable, but you need to acknowledge complaints. Do not just leave them hanging out there without responding. Show empathy. Make it right (if you can). There is no excuse for not responding to a complaint, particularly when it is public. Responding shows everyone else that you are paying attention and make things right if there is a problem.

Does it matter if the messages are direct to you or public comments? In most cases, no. If you don’t respond to public comments and questions, everyone will see that you are not engaged with your customers. If you don’t respond to direct messages, you are ignoring customers who are actively seeking you out. They took the time to find you online to ask a question. You should take the time to respond.

Have more questions about engaging with your customers, contact me for a free 30-minute get acquainted call.

Data Rules the World (but not the way you think it does)

Data Rules the World (but not the way you think it does)

As humans, we are unique beings. We have a brain and a heart. We have emotions and feelings.

We use our senses to help us make decisions about a person when we meet them. What do they look like? Are they dressed nicely or are they disheveled? Do they smile? How hard do they shake your hand? Do they look you in the eye?

We use past experiences. Do they remind you of someone else that you had a good or bad experience with? Do they work for a company you like or one that you don’t?

We use other information. In what context are you meeting them? Did someone else give you a heads up about this person?

We use all of this data to make a determination about another person. And it is the same with businesses. Our audience uses all of these things to make a determination about whether to do business with companies. What will they think of you? Think of your business ‘courting’ new customers.

    • What is your appearance? Is your website neat and user-friendly? Or is it sloppy and loud?
    • How do you sound? Do you use colloquialisms in your marketing? Or do you sound like a legal contract?
    • Do you look people in the eye? Do you meet people where they are? Or do you come at them from an angle?
    • How hard do you shake their hand? Are you ‘in their face’? Or are you more subtle?
    • Do you smile? Is your marketing light and welcoming? Or dark and off-putting?
    • Did a friend tell your customer target about you? Do you know who your company’s advocates are? And are you engaging with them?

These are all things you need to think about when you are creating your marketing. And it is ok to get a second opinion. We all get tunnel vision about our own businesses and our own work.

If you are looking for that second opinion, contact me to learn how I can help.

5 Ways to make Every Piece of Content Count

5 Ways to make Every Piece of Content Count

These days we are all moving a million miles an hour. For small business owners, you don’t have time to worry about creating a ton of content to feed your various marketing channels. Between social media, your website, possible newspaper or magazine ads…it can be a full-time job. And if you don’t have a full-time creative team, you need to find ways to make the most of the content you are creating. And how in the heck to find more great content?

There are ways to get the most bang for your content so that you can spend more time running your business and less time tracking down and creating valuable content.

FOCUS

What is the use in creating content that won’t resonate with the correct audience? As a small business owner, you should know who your customers are. What do they like? What are their pain points? What makes them happy? How do they get their information? Are they digital savvy or prefer traditional media? Large organizations with full marketing teams often create personas for their target audience. If you don’t have the resources to go through this exercise, one good way to know is to just ask your customers. Use this information to help you focus your content – the topics, the channels, and the design.

OPTIMIZE

You have spent the time to make sure that the content you are sharing will appeal to your audience, that is it on brand, accurate and looks good. Then what do you do with it? Throw it on your website? Create a social media post to promote it? Send it out in an email? You have to think about what surrounds your content. If it is on your website, are you putting alt tags on your images? Are you using keywords to help with SEO? For social media, are you using hashtags that will help your content get seen by more eyeballs? For email, make sure your subject lines make your customers want to open your communication.

CHUNK IT

The best part of different types of content is the ability to take large amounts of content and chunk it up into smaller pieces. Did you write a blog post (like this one!)? Take different pieces and parts to make into graphics or separate social media posts. If you have a whitepaper, use the various graphics within the document to create a one-page infographic. Take one fact in an article and create a podcast or quick video on that one particular topic.

MEASURE

Just producing content doesn’t mean that it is good content. An essential step that many people miss is to go back and track the content that they publish. Do you even know how many people interacted with your content? Are infographics getting more traffic than long articles? Are you getting more traction from Twitter than Facebook? There are a lot of tools that can be purchased that would give you a full picture of your analytics, but you can do enough using the native platforms, whether that be social media or your website platform.

RECYCLE

It is not only good for the planet, but it is also good for your content. After you have measured the content you have published, make sure to re-share the best evergreen content again. Share it on another platform. Or tweak it slightly and share on the same platform. With the way social media moves these days, only a small percentage of people actually see your content the first time. (Yes, this is sad but true, fact.) For example, I typically recreate my blog posts on LinkedIn and include a link back to my website.

All of this can be overwhelming, but good content marketing will be noticed by your customers. And it will pay off when people become more loyal to your business because you are providing information that they find valuable.