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Re-Evaluate your Target Market

Most businesses know that a well-defined target market is more important than ever. What they may not know, is that it’s worthwhile to re-evaluate who your target market is because the business climate is always changing. New competitors, technology and economic drifts are just a few factors that contribute to a changing market. Here’s a crash course on defining your target market to get you started:

Choose Demographics

Understanding who your customers are and how they are changing is crucial to your business. Figure out who has a need for your product or service and tailor your marketing accordingly. Some examples are:

  • Age
  • Income Level
  • Location
  • Marital Status
  • Race/Ethnicity
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Consider Psychographics

Psychographics go deeper into the personality of your target market. Some things to consider are:

  • Values
  • Lifestyle
  • Buying motives
  • Religious/Political beliefs

Look at your Competition

Who are your competitors targeting? Instead of going for the same market, think about what they’re missing. Here’s a great article by Inc. about how niche marketing can be successful.

Analyze your Product/Service and your Current Customer Base

Think about the features of your product or service and their benefits. Then think about what kinds of customers would benefit from the features. Look for common characteristics and interests in your current customers and find out why they buy from you. Analyzing them can bring in similar customers and lead to opportunities to expand you customer base.

Evaluate Your Decision

You should now have a pretty good idea of who your target market should be. Next, consider these questions:

  • Are there enough people in the area that fit my criteria to develop a market out of?
  • Would these people be able to afford what I’m trying to sell?
  • How and when should I reach them?
  • What drives my target to make decisions?

 

If you can’t find answers to these questions doing a basic Internet search, you might also try looking up blogs of potential customers to see what they’re talking about, asking your current customers for feedback, or even creating a survey for current and potential customers and then offering a promotion item to encourage their feedback.

 

Get Creative Outlet iPad App FREE!

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Creative Outlet recently launched an iPad® app that is free to both subscribers and non-subscribers. The new app will make it easier and more convenient for sales representatives and designers who are on the go to search, store and share art content.

Creative Outlet’s “My Library” feature, a quick-syncing and convenient way to store and share content, is even more handy for creative teams needing to share content more quickly when they are offsite with clients. For example, a sales representative can quickly share content that a client likes with one or more designers who are in the office.

“We understand that in today’s workplace, most employees are not tied directly to their computers, so we created a tool that can be used by the entire team at any time,” said Jill Addy-Wright, senior vice president at MultiAd.  “The iPad app allows sales representatives to work directly with clients and their production team to increase efficiency, productivity and sales.”

The app allows users to share notes in “My Library” so that everyone in a group or a company can view and make comments. Users can also upload and share photos within the app. Users who operate on iOS 7 or higher will have the ability to instantly share images, illustrations and spec ads with others using iMessage®, Mail, Twitter or Facebook.

While the iPad app is the first app that Creative Outlet has debuted, work is underway to get the product delivered to more channels, with the iPhone® next on the radar.

Download the iPad app in App Store by searching for “Creative Outlet” or simply click the link below:

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Back-to-School Targeting Ideas

Even if small businesses aren’t selling school supplies or clothing, there are plenty of ways to attract back-to-school shoppers to their products and services with targeted back-to-school ads. According to Forbes, back-to-school spending is the second biggest consumer spending event for retailers behind the winter holidays. Try pitching these back-to-school targeted ideas to help businesses take advantage of one of the biggest retail seasons of the year:

Targeting Ideas

  • Restaurants can offer discounts to college students and teachers during the first month of school
  • Hair salons and barber shops can offer discounted back-to-school cuts and hair services
  • Tutors can promote early registration
  • Photographers can offer back-to-school discounted sessions
  • Local book stores can offer discounts on popular novels

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When targeting back-to-school shoppers, reaching them at a specific time is important. Suggest that businesses advertise in July and August when people are thinking about back-to-school preparation most.

Good Deals

Recommend that businesses give  customers what they want – big discounts. They can advertise contests with big rewards and other discounts in the local newspapers as well as social media. Businesses should consider offering free shipping and other back-to-school bundles to help increase sales.

Here’s a slideshow from BizBash that shows how companies are doing back-to-school marketing right.

5 Compelling Headlines

The most important part of writing an ad or an article is the headline. If the content is a cake, than the headline is the icing. You could have a delicious and rich cake but if the icing is white and runny, it might not get eaten. You could have excellent content or great design but if the headline is mediocre, you won’t capture the attention of your audience. Here’s what David Ogilvy has to say about headlines:

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. “

With your focus being primarily on the title, you’ll want to ask the question, “will this headline make me want to read on?” There are 5 compelling headlines that grab attention:

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1. The Question Headline

Ask a question that the reader would be curious to find out the answer.

  • Do you make these common mistakes?
  • Are you having trouble making healthy meal options?

 

2. The Direct Headline

The direct headline is straightforward and highlights the main point of what you’re trying to convey.

  • 30% off summer dresses
  • Free drink with purchase of entree
  • Come in Friday nights to see live bands

 

3. The Reason Why Headline

This headline highlights the benefits of your product or service immediately. The copy will usually have a list of features and benefits.

  • 10 reasons why you should bike to work
  • 20 things you need to take on a beach vacation
  • Tips for road trip safety

 

4. The How-To Headline

This headline suggests that the content will answer your question on how to use the product or service.

  • How to clean your entire house with one product
  • How to lose 10 pounds in 10 days

5. The Command Headline

This is a bold headline that tells the reader what they should do. Use strong verbs in this headline.

  • Join our mailing list to receive free coupons
  • Make the switch from summer to school
  • Stop wasting time and money with baking, try our pre-made cookies

 

1 Minute Workshop- Photo Edging

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Creative photo edging using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop with this 1 minute workshop.

Add interest to images with artistic edges. Customize your edges using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Step 1

Place a photo of your choice into a new Illustrator file. Draw a shape over the area of the photo where you want the focus to be with the pencil or the pen tool. Assign the shape no fill and a stroke color with a weight that is easy for you to see.

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Step 2

With the shape selected, click on the Brush tool. Choose from one of the many brushes available in the Brush Libraries. This example uses the Chalk-Scribble brush from the Artistic_ChalkCharcoalPencil library (#1). Make the edge as thick as you want by assigning it a stroke weight (#2).

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Step 3

Still working in Illustrator, assign the shape the same fill color as the stroke. With the shape selected, click on Expand Appearance under the Object Menu.

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Step 4

Next, Option-click on the Add to shape area button in the Pathfinder palette. All the pieces of the shape and edges should combine. Delete the placed photograph and save the shape template you have just created as an eps file.

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Step 5

Open the photograph in Photoshop and Place the shape template you just saved where it should be. The shape will now be on a layer of its own. Select that layer, go to the Edit Menu and click Clear. The shape layer should still be selected but free of any pixels.

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Step 6

Now go to the Select Menu and click on Inverse. Return to the Edit Menu, go to Fill and use whatever color you want as the background shade. In this example, white is used. Now you should see the photo framed within your shape.

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Step 7

The final step is to eliminate the layer so the image can be saved as an eps file. Go to the Layers palette and choose Flatten Image. You may want to use the Crop tool to make the file size smaller.

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Here is the completed image. You can create endless effects by drawing unusual shapes and assigning any one of the many brush styles offered in Illustrator. The line weight assigned to the brush stroke will also greatly change the look of the edge. Taking time to experiment with creating unusual edges on photos is sure to get your designs more attention.

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Facebook Ads vs. Promoted Posts: Which is Better?

Facebook may be one of the best ways to promote and advertise your business. There are two major ways to use Facebook for social media advertising: Facebook ads and promoted posts. Let’s observe the two options and figure out which is best for what you’re trying to achieve:

Facebook Ads vs. Promoted Posts

Facebook allows you to place paid advertisements which are displayed to your target audience. Before you even create an ad, you can customize it by answering what kind of results you want from your ad.

When customizing the ad, you can narrow down your audience by using demographics such as age, gender and location. You can even choose specific interests such as whether you want them to reach people who like certain things such as ‘painting’ or ‘women’s shoes’ which Facebook then uses to estimate the size of your target audience.  

The number of individuals to whom the ad is actually served depends on your budget and unfortunately, there is no guarantee that anyone will click on your ads.

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Pros:

  • See which versions of your ads work best
  • Extremely well targeted
  • You can use the targeting options to show your ads to only the people you want to reach
  • Facebook makes it easy to set up. No heavy coding or designing required

Cons:

  • There is no guarantee that people will click on your ads. Just because they have the option, doesn’t mean they will do it
  • Some users may see the ads as spam and not click on them

 

Promoted Posts

Unlike Facebook Ads, there is only a lifetime budget option and this can be as cheap as $5. However, a lower budget means less people are likely to see it. Once you promote a post, the post will be labeled as a ‘sponsored post’ and your audience will be only the people who already like your page and their friends. You can’t expand your audience too much and can’t pick and choose demographics and interests with promoted posts. 

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Pros:

  • Budget friendly
  • Easier to spot in a news feed
  • Increases engagement from followers

Cons:

  • Smaller reach means less impact
  • The only people who will see the ad is your followers and their friends
  • It will cost more to reach more followers

 

So now that we’ve compared Facebook ads vs. promoted posts, which one is better? It depends on what your main goal is. To increase awareness among many users, you might want to consider Facebook ads. If you’re promoting something like a sale or event, promoted posts might be better for you.

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