Good advertising

July 30th, 2018

Advertisements are all around us. Whether we’re watching television, driving down the freeway, flipping through a magazine, or listening to the radio, we are bombarded on every side by messages trying to get us to buy a product or service. And although there have been countless debates over whether or not advertising is effective and whether it really does influence people to purchase products, the fact is many companies will spend billions of dollars on a single advertisement in the hopes that it will increase their profits.

Good advertisements have the power to make people stop and take notice. You have to have been living under a rock not to notice the success of Geico’s caveman series or the iPod’s silhouette series of commercials and advertisements. And as a result of those advertisements, sales went up significantly for those two companies.

Advertising creates awareness of the product and can convey messages, attitudes, and emotions to entice and intrigue audiences. At least those are the desired effects of an advertisement. Needless to say, some advertisements fail miserably in their purpose.

So, what makes the difference between a successful advertisement and an unsuccessful one? It’s all in the design. Typically, larger organizations produce more effective advertisements, while newer and smaller companies are the ones that produce the duds. This is largely because bigger organizations have the money to hire professionals while smaller companies do not.

The advantage of hiring an in-house advertising developer or hiring an advertising agency is that you get the skills of people who have been trained in creating effective advertisements. Many have spent years and years going to school, studying past effective advertisements, looking at elements of design, and learning how to create their own effective advertising campaigns.

Learning how to create effective advertisements does not happen overnight, but there are a few simple rules that many workers for professional advertising agencies follow to create effective advertisements that will appeal to audiences and hopefully increase the company’s revenue. The following paragraphs list a few advertising principles that companies and advertisers follow when creating their own advertising campaigns.

Perhaps the most important quality of an advertisement is its uniqueness. In a world where people often see hundreds of advertisements a day, an advertisement must be unique and different in order to capture audiences’ attention. Going back to the iPod example, the single block of color with an image of a black silhouette was extremely effective at the time because it was unlike anything else around it. The simplicity of the advertisement stood out against posters and billboards that had busier images and much more text. Also, the use of bright, bold colors made people stop and look at the image. Even though the advertisement had little text on it, people got the message that this product was new, fun, and bold.

Of course, there are a variety of ways to make your advertisement stand out. Look around your area and write down descriptions of advertisements you see. What are the trends? Are they text heavy? Do they use similar colors? What kinds of images are on the advertisements? Once you start noticing trends, try to think of ways your advertisement can go against those trends and be something different–something that will make people stop and look.

One word of caution: Once you’ve made people stop and look at your advertisement, they need to be able to understand what you’re selling. You may have the most eye-catching image on your advertisement, but if it is completely unrelated to your product or service, then viewers won’t understand what you want them to buy. So, be sure that when you are selecting your images and text for your advertisement, people will understand what you’re trying to sell.

A well-designed advertisement will also communicate well to audiences. In order to figure out how to make your advertisement effective, you need to identify your audience. Who are you trying to target? Teenagers? The Elderly? Business people? Parents? There are a variety of different audiences, and the more specifically you can identify the audience for your product, the better chance you have of designing an ad that will effectively influence your audience.

For instance, if your audience consists of young teenage girls, you might choose to use bright and bold colors, but for business people you may want to create an advertisement that uses more professional blues and blacks (but don’t be afraid to be a little bolder if you’re trying to stand out).

The key is to think of the general traits of your specific audience and try to reflect those traits in your advertisement. What do they value? What do they fear? What motivates them? Once you’ve answered those questions, it should be easier to come up with a few solid ideas for an advertising campaign.

Once you’ve developed some ideas for an eye-catching advertisement and identified how you want to communicate with your specific audience, some good, solid design principles need to come into play. The advertisement needs to be legible. Viewers shouldn’t have to work to get what you’re trying to say. The advertisement needs balance. One side shouldn’t feel heavier than the other. The advertisement should also make good use of contrast, repetition, color, and pattern. When these design elements are implemented well into an advertisement, the result is a fabulous ad that will appeal aesthetically to viewers.

The above is just a brief overview of what advertisers have to think about when designing an ad. You can see why many people find it helpful to hire an advertising agency to help them develop ideas and create effective advertisements. And whether you’re looking for a Seattle or a Miami advertising agency, you shouldn’t have a problem finding an organization in your area to help you create the perfect advertisement campaign for your company.

So, if you’re thinking of creating a new ad or ad campaign for your company, by following the above guidelines and suggestions, you can create the most effect advertisements as possible, convey the message you want to convey, and be one your way to increasing revenue.

Strategies

Especially powerful when business, non-profit, public entity and association managers plan for and create the kind of external stakeholder behavior change that leads directly to achieving their managerial objectives. All the more so when they persuade those key outside folks to their way of thinking, then move them to take actions that allow their department, group, division or subsidiary to succeed.

What they will have done, of course, is apply public relations strategy to doing something positive about the behaviors of the very outside audiences that MOST affect their operations.

And the payoff from combining sound public relations strategy with effective communications tactics is achieving the bottom line – perception altered, behaviors modified, employer/client satisfied.

And now the hard part. What steps must managers take to apply this public relations approach to their operation? By employing public relations activity that creates first perception, then behavior change within that key outside audience.

You can do it if you accept the fact that the right PR really CAN alter individual perception and lead to those changed behaviors you need. Plus, that right PR comes with its own blueprint: people act on their own perception of the facts before them, which leads to predictable behaviors about which something can be done. When we create, change or reinforce that opinion by reaching, persuading and moving-to-desired-action the very people whose behaviors affect the organization the most, the public relations mission is usually accomplished.

Obviously, you will need a lot more than news releases, brochures, broadcast plugs and fun-filled special events to get a satisfactory return on your PR investment. Among the results business, non-profit, public entity and association managers can expect are renewed interest from your key external audiences, new proposals for strategic alliances and joint ventures; rebounds in showroom visits; membership applications on the rise; new community service and sponsorship opportunities; and even new thoughtleader and special event contacts.

As time passes, you will notice such customers making repeat purchases; prospects reappearing; stronger relationships with the educational, labor, financial and healthcare communities; improved relations with government agencies and legislative bodies, and perhaps even capital givers or specifying sources looking your way.

A caution here. Satisfy yourself that your PR people are really on board for the whole effort because you want your key outside audiences to really perceive your operations, products or services in a positive light. Reassure yourself that your PR staff accept the basic truth that perceptions almost always lead to behaviors that can help or hurt your unit.

And by all means, invest the time to review your public relations plan with your entire staff. Especially so with regard to how you will gather and monitor perceptions by questioning members of your most important outside audiences. Questions like these: how much do you know about our organization? How much do you know about our services or products and employees? Have you had prior contact with us and were you pleased with the how things went? Have you experienced problems with our people or procedures?

It’s our good fortune that our team members are also in the perception and behavior business and can pursue the same objective as the professional survey firms might were they to handle the perception monitoring phases of your program: identify untruths, false assumptions, unfounded rumors, inaccuracies, misconceptions and any other negative perception that might translate into hurtful behaviors.

Now it’s time to directly address the problems that appeared during your key audience perception monitoring. Probably, your new public relations goal will call for straightening out that dangerous misconception, or correcting that gross inaccuracy, or doing something about that awful rumor.

Let’s pause for a moment and ask ourselves how we plan to reach that PR goal? You have just three strategic choices when it comes to dealing with a perception or opinion challenge: create perception where there may be none, change the perception, or reinforce it. Unfortunately, selecting a bad strategy will taste like macadamia mousse on your gnocchi. So be certain the new strategy fits well with your new public relations goal. For example, you don’t want to select “change” when the facts dictate a “reinforce” strategy.

Structuring your corrective message is especially crucial because persuading an audience to your way of thinking is the hardest kind of work. And never more so than when you’re looking for words that are compelling, persuasive, believable AND clear and factual. Hard work yes, but a must if you are to correct a perception by shifting opinion towards your point of view, leading to the desired behaviors. Review your message with your communications specialists for its impact and persuasiveness.

Being particularly careful to select the precise communications tactics most likely to reach your target audience, you will find literally dozens of them available to you. From speeches, facility tours, emails and brochures to consumer briefings, media interviews, newsletters, personal meetings and many others. Be certain that the tactics you pick are known to reach folks just like your audience members.

Another wrinkle to guard against is this. The very credibility of your message can depend on how you deliver it. So, until you’re certain as to its impact, try introducing it initially to smaller gatherings rather than using higher-profile communications such as news releases or talk show appearances. Before long, you’ll need to produce a progress report, which means it’s probably time for you and your PR folks to get back out in the field for a second perception monitoring session with members of your external audience. You can use the same questions used in the first benchmark session, but now you must stay alert for signs that your communications tactics have worked and that the negative perception is being altered in your direction.

I’m as impatient as the next person, so I suspect the same may be true of you. If things slow down, you can always accelerate matters with a broader selection of communications tactics AND increased frequencies.

Managerial public relations applied this way can be a beautiful thing to watch or, better yet, to happen to you. It also suggests that managers like yourself can take a giant step forward when you use public relations to do something positive about the behaviors of the very outside audiences that MOST affect your operation.

Success thru advertising

I’ve read about all kinds of ways to advertise. And they all are promising. But, the truth is, There is only one way to advertise Successfully… So, what are the best ways to advertise?

Remember the one who advertises the most, makes the most money.

Think of advertising like going fishing:

1. You need good equipment(website, products to sell)

2. The best bait (ads, sales letter, advertising)

3. Know where the fish are biting (target the right prospects, every where)

4. Patience (relax and wait for a bite. Then reel them in)

The ABC’s of successful advertising:

A. Advertise

B. Business

C. Continuously

Advertising is the very heart beat of your business. No matter what business you’re in, doctor, lawyer, babysitter, painter, internet entrepreneur, etc. Why are some businesses so successful? Is it their products? Maybe, but I don’t think so. The main reason is not their products, it’s their advertising.

I’m here to tell you. Advertising is the key to your success. Stop or slow down on advertising and your business will soon die. I guarantee!

You have to be dedicated to advertising 90% of the time and the other 10% should be used to find other products to sell, or creating better ads or sales letters.

Have you ever stop to think about all the advertising around you every single day?
Pick up anything around you right now, and you will see the brand name or logo of the company on it. Any thing from remote controls, magazines, toys, ink pens, pencils, clocks, etc. Hey, what about your vehicle you drive, see the advertisement, Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota, etc. Tires have Goodyear, Firestone, and so on. Coffee, tea, bread, milk, bottled water, etc.

What about driving down the highway? Billboards, store fronts, semi trucks (company name on side of them.) Ups, FedEx, Cex, Pam, J. B. hunt, etc.. What about tv, radio, the internet… Lets face it advertising is powerful and the way to your success.

Now, I’m going to knock you for a loop.. Did any of these advertisement have a single prospect in mind? No, they flashed their message before everyone… Why, because like fishing you just don’t know which fish is hungry and will bite at any given moment… So you always have to be prepared for a bite from the strangest places…

Which leads us to the reason I wrote this article.

What are the best places to advertise? Everywhere online, offline. Make up some flyers, index cards, business cards. And place them at laundry matts, bulletin boards at the super market. In magazines while you wait at the doctors office, dentist office. Be creative.

Should you use free or paid advertising? Use both at all times. When you can’t afford to pay for any more ad postings, start placing free ads.

Hey, did you ever think about exit signs along the highway. Those signs are a sort of advertising. They are advertising the most popular exit. Which one is the most popular exit you ask? It’s the one your looking for to get off the highway.

Now, I know this may sound off the wall, but I don’t think so. Even nature itself advertises. Yes, it’s true. Say you are driving down a road and see a beautiful sunset.. And you say I would like to have a picture of a sunset hanging on my wall… What about pets nature gave us. Say you see a certain breed of cat, and you say I want a cat just like that one. What about dogs, You see a collie and you say man I would love to have a collie.. What about trees, You see a beautiful pecan tree and you go and buy one and have it planted in your back yard.. See what I’m trying to say here, advertising is every where.. You can’t escape it.. If you tried you would only run into another one. So, you also should be advertising every where you can.

Hey, check your cell phone. What brand is it? You might be that company’s sales person and not even know it. How? By word of mouth. Say someone says to you, Wow, I really like the look of your phone, it looks cool. What kind is it, and you tell them. And now that person goes out and buys a phone just like yours. See what happened. You advertised that companies brand of phone by word of mouth.. And that company just got free advertising…

See how important advertising is. It’s like a river flowing free.. Until someone builds a dam and stops its flow.. How can we stop our cash flowing in, from our business? By stop advertising (we just built a dam.) And our river will dry up…(cash flow.)I can say from experience. If you follow this advise I’m offering you here, you will in time become successful.. Just wait and see. Don’t be a quieter, be a doer.. Stay focused and advertise everywhere…

Now here is another example: Say you are going on a trip to see someone Or vacation. Make sure you take your flyers, index cards, and business cards along with you…
Leave them in all kinds of places. Leave one on the table with the tip… How about placing business cards in the envelopes when you pay your bills.

Don’t just place 100 ads and say your done. You are never done placing ads. This is the life line of your business, your success depends upon it.

My moto is: The one who advertises the most, makes the most money.

When I can’t sleep. I get up and start placing ads. I look at it this way. If I get up only to watch TV, I’m spending money. But if I place ads I’m making money. I guess you can tell I’m so focused on advertising I even carry a small recorder with me at all times. This way if I think of a new title for a sales letter or ad. I just record it and come back to it later and write the ad. This works great for those with busy schedules. You have to be an aggressive advertiser to become successful at your business.

Tip for today: Start searching the web for new places to advertise. New ones pop up every day. I even give my customers a free gift for just letting me know where they seen my ad.

Advertising ideas

We all realize that when it comes down to it, you can advertise all you want, but when you call it a day, how many leads did you generate and what is the revenue you generated?

All 6 and 7-figure Networkers ask themselves this question: How much money did I generate?

These 7 Strategies will help you to create leads, generate sales, and quite possibly start branding you as The Networking Pundit. Obviously, you don’t have to use all of them at one time, but these 7 strategies are used by the 6 and 7-figure networkers who are crushing it out there on the internet.

Caveat! You are the momentum behind the idea. This is a sexy and succulent industry. You are able to create sexy and succulent results, but understand that YOU are the impetus behind the idea.

Now, onward to The 7 Strategies:

#1 -Copywriting

What are you using to create your advertising copy?
Or to put it another way: Are you copying or are you writing?
I need to know ‘how to’ write an ad. Yes, I agree. We all need to learn how to write advertising copy, a.k.a. copywriting. Joe Vitale and Dan Kennedy are among the amazing copywriting gurus. Their books Hypnotic Writing and The Ultimate Sales Letter (respectively) are two of the best books out there on the subject.

Copywriting is tantamount in our business and creates the most special bond between you and your reader. The more personal your story, the more that potential lead likes you. The more you open up and leave something on the table, the more they trust you. The more they read, the more they know. Know, Like and Trust.

This is the #1 Strategy because quite honestly, you won’t be successful unless you study copywriting. Well, I take that back, you can pay someone a butt load of $$ to write for you and then you can take credit for it.

But, I’m going to let you down easy: Those of you who are looking for some get rich quick kind of schematic will end up joining the Bernie Madoffs and J.David Dominelli’s’of the past. Despised and broke.

These are 7 Strategies you implement yourself, not 7 ways to make you richer faster than anyone else.

#2 – Facebook

What types of social media are you using to generate leads for your business?
Facebook is an incredible way to achieve results by generating leads without having to place ads. It’s F.R.E.E. Advertising!

Ask yourself, who is my best Avatar?
What type of professional resonates with me the most? (well, the network marketing professional of course!)
Who am I able to influence and who is interested in what I have to offer?
Here’s what the professionals do, they add friends. Therefore, take a look at your friends friends and add the people who you most resonate with. By adding 5-10 people a day your FB Page will grow exponentialy. One of the mentors in my Community grew his friend base to 5,000 friends in less than 4 months. Holy Crap! That’s a lot of people who resonate with this guy!

#3 – Placement of Ads

Next, you must plant seeds. If you want a harvest you have to plant the seeds.

Make yourself a commitment to place 7-10 advertisements per day. Professional 6 and 7 figure networkers place advertisements every single day. You are no different. Yes it takes time. Yes it takes effort and Yes it will take all of your energy to create 7-10 advertisements. But, once you continually do this on a daily basis, you will get better and better at it, and before long those 7-10 advertisements will turn into 25-35 advertisements.

Now you’re asking me, where do you place advertisements Nic? Well, I place all over, but the newest place to secure advertising is the most cutting edge of arenas.

Here’s an idea: Banner Advertisements! Go check out the smaller URL’s you visit and see what their banner advertisements cost. Sometimes you’re able to secure a banner advertisement for about $3.30 per lead or less depending on the venue you’re using to advertise your banner
Now for someone new that may seem like a lot of $$. Think in abundance my friend. You too will realize that by breaking your cost down per lead you will generate a heck of a lot more traffic. Don’t get caught up in the $$, get caught up in creating your dream.

Banner advertising? It’s everywhere. Find it on your newsletters that you are a part of and receive daily. Find it on forum websites. Start looking for it, you will find it. Banner advertising is popular and efficient. Don’t overlook anything that reaches the masses.
#4 – Strategic Relationships

CPA – Cost Per Acquisition/Action

This is a relatively new way to create/generate leads for network marketing professionals. Although, it’s been around for a while.

CPA or Cost Per Acquisition/Action is based on leveraging other people’s lists and databases. You give your database and list in kind for someone else’s database and list. Leveraging their names and their leads for your business and vice/versa; It’s strategic relationship building and it’s the newest way to create and build your business.
You have received a lot of advertising based on CPA Networking – just look at your mailbox. CPA Networks are a lot more mainstream now that the internet is more content based rather than information based and people are now targeting leads based on the content they read, listen to, subscribe to, and search for. With 1.8 billion people on the internet and 6 billion people on the planet, the CPA Networkers are positioned very well.

CPA Advertising is a bit more in depth than this definition and honestly and to tell you the truth I have yet to ‘try it out’ but, when a guy who was over +$283k in debt to the Federal Government has now made this a way to create and leverage a 7-figure a year income uses this type of advertising to generate leads and is successful at doing so, I believe I will start paying more attention to this new way mode of internet marketing.

#5 – Ezines

Ezine advertising is a way to generate leads based on specific interests and target markets. Search for the directory of Ezines and find one that you want to use to advertise your specific niche. Use the Ezines that you believe will help you in your specific niche. Sometimes your ads will work, sometimes they won’t. The best thing about Ezine advertising is that you can test copy, solo ads, pictures and the like. Test, Tweak and Track, that’s your motto!

#6 – Use 3 Unknown Traffic Sources

Since the Google Fiasco everyone who had made oodles of $$ on the internet is now wallowing in their sorrows because they put all their eggs in one basket and now they’re wondering where the heck to get more leads. Most, if not all, of these people have been banned from Google Ads and only those who are generating traffic on different modes of transportation are still in the game. The rest of them have cut their losses and are now out of it for good. That’s a blessing to the rest of us.

For those of us who are new and weren’t slapped around, hit up, banned, or otherwise chastised in any way by Google are wondering just what does all this mean for me?

It means we have to find ways to advertise that are different or more challenging that what most of the industry pundits were used to on the Google GravyTrain.

Billboard Advertising
Print Advertising / Offline Advertising
Banner Advertising
F.R.E.E. Advertising
Social Networking (not just the big networks, the smaller one’s too)
Twitter
Facebook
LinkedIn
Google Buzz
Four Square
Eebieee Jeebie, Ooooga Booga and the rest…
Article Advertising
Blogging with valuable content that targets a specific professional
CPA / CPV Networks
Pick 3 of these and get out of your advertising comfort zone. Create some content and see what happens. Remember, test, tweak and track. It’s all in the doing, the creating the making it happen. The book doesn’t do much on the shelf if you know what I mean.

#7 – Are You In or Are You Out?

When you finally get your leads after all of your hard work creating the advertising, using the venues of choice and are ready to make the call to that lead your strategy that you use to set yourself apart from the rest of the so-called gurus is to ask “Are you in or are you out?”

Leave it up to them. If you are that good and you are working with the integrity of a Leader you will not need to ‘sell’ your leads anything. Your product is not what they’re buying; they’re buying a Leader. People want to be lead, they don’t want to lead. People want to buy, they don’t want to be sold. People want to have a choice, but they would rather have your recommendation.

Hire the Best Print Design Company

July 30th, 2018

Advertising and promoting your business is expensive, so it’s important to get the most from your advertising budget. That means understanding how to get the most from your ad agency or graphic designer.

Let’s start by understanding the difference between agencies and designers. Typically, a designer will work on specific projects under your direction. For example, you may request an ad design for your Halloween event, and give the designer your copy (the text) and the party theme. You are responsible for booking the ad with the newspaper, getting flyers printed, having posters made, etc.

An ad agency plays a more active role in planning the promotion of your events. They can work with you to plan your ad schedule, suggest the right mix of promotional tools to reach your audience, help you evaluate the effectiveness of your promotions, and negotiate ad rates and printing rates on your behalf. They can also help with choosing promotional themes and writing ad copy. Of course, you will pay more for these additional services – but you may actually save money by letting your agency do your negotiations and booking.

Whether you are working with a designer or a full-service agency, it pays to plan ahead. If you can plan your advertising a year in advance you should be able to lock in much better ad rates. Leaving a couple of extra weeks when printing flyers will save you “rush printing” charges. And giving your designer extra lead time will almost certainly get you a better looking result!

A typical small agency might require final “concept and copy” at least a week in advance of newspaper deadlines, four weeks in advance of distribution for printed materials like flyers (to avoid rush charges), and six to eight weeks in advance for complicated projects (such as die-cut and folded invitations). Many business owners don’t understand why final copy is required so far in advance… they ask the designer to do a design, and add the text later. But in a good design, text and typography are very important to the look of the piece. So if you want your advertising to look good, plan on providing the copy when you give the job to the designer.

The above lead times allow time for the client to proof the final artwork, and make minor corrections, based on a single design. But when working with a new designer, or when promoting an important event, you may want to see several design concepts, and possibly several versions of the artwork. This can add one to two weeks to the schedule (more for very complex ads), and of course will cost more than a single design.

When ordering the work, make sure the designer understands your market and the image you are going for. For example, you may look at a design and say, “That’s not cool enough for our market.” Another business manager may look at the same ad and say, “Whoa, that’s way too weird for our customers.” Show your designer ads you like (and don’t like) to help them understand the look you want for your business.

But what if you don’t like the designs your agency produces?

Well, you obviously shouldn’t run an ad that you feel really damages your image, doesn’t convey your message, or isn’t what you requested. But at the same time, avoid the temptation to micro-manage the design. You are paying your designer for their professional skills; their judgment is probably better than yours when it comes to layout, typefaces, color choices, etc. Also, if designers feel that the work they do for you is going to be extensively changed, they won’t give you their best efforts.

So find an agency or designer whose work you like, and trust their design sense. If you find you consistently don’t like the work they’re producing, talk to them about the problem, and if necessary find another design firm. But don’t spend your time trying to “fix” the designs.

It’s also very important that one person from your business deals with the design firm, and has final authority on all design and copy decisions (many agencies will insist on this). If a designer is getting conflicting input from several people, they can’t do a good job for you. If you need to, talk about the design with everyone at your business who is involved in the decision… but select one person to convey your feedback to the design firm. (A good design firm can schedule meetings with clients where everyone can contribute ideas and feedback – as long as one person represents the client when it comes to final input and decisions.) Note that this can be complicated when co-op advertisers or sponsors are involved. Typically the person or company being invoiced provides the input, unless they specifically designate a different person.

So far we’ve talked about printed advertising and promotion, but for most businesses, the internet has also become an important promotional tool. Print design, web design, and e-mail promotions require different skills and tools, so you may use different firms for each. However, there are some advantages if you can find a single firm to handle all your needs. The design firm can make sure that your print and web communications project a consistent image. And you will only need to provide your event information and promotional goals to one firm, who can then make sure that the print ads are placed, the website is updated, and the e-mail invitations are sent. Some firms can also handle other design tasks, including menus, signs, and promotional items.

Typically, in order to get this range of services, you’ll need to work with a mid-size agency or design firm. There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing large or small agencies:

An individual designer (free-lancer) or very small agency can give you personal attention and often lower rates. But you will need to work around their schedule if they are out sick or on vacation, and you will need to find a new designer if they change jobs. Individuals and very small agencies probably cannot provide a complete package of design services.

Mid-size firms give your somewhat less individual attention, and may charge a higher rate than free-lancers. But on the plus side, they can provide a broader range of services, and they have several designers on staff so they can accommodate your needs even if someone is out, or if you need a lot of work done for a key event.

Large firms can offer a full range of services and a large staff to meet all your needs. Unless you are a large account, you will probably get little personal attention. (In fact, in a large firm, the smaller accounts are often given to junior designers and trainees.)

So, how should you choose?

Above all, find a firm whose work you like! Ask for samples and references, and if possible meet with the designers before making a selection.

Decide if you want to hire a design firm (and manage the ad planning and placement yourself) or an ad agency to provide more assistance with your promotional planning (most ad agencies will also provide “design only” packages if you prefer).

Find a firm that is large enough to meet your needs, but small enough to care about your business. We typically find that local, neighborhood businesses are best served by free-lance designers or very small firms; regional or metro-market businesses do well with mid-size firms, and major national companies get the best results from large firms (and can afford to pay for them).

Talk to the firm about how you will measure the effectiveness of your advertising. It’s a good idea to try different types of advertising over time to see what works best for you. Consider coupons and special offers to measure how many people are responding to your ads.

Remember that even the best advertising campaign gets stale over time. Plan for (and budget for) occasional reworking you advertising. Most designers respond very well to an opportunity to do something new for a client, and you will get the best results from both your design firm and your customers if you freshen your advertising every 6-12 months.

If you’ve ever worked with a design agency on a printed document or marketing collateral, it may sometimes seem like they’re speaking a foreign language. The print design world contains many words and phrases that are unfamiliar to the average person. But if you don’t understand the basic terminology, you could end with a printed piece that doesn’t look the way you want. Worse, it could lead to the dreaded (and costly) reprint process – an outcome nobody wants.

To help make sure your print projects come out right the first time, here’s a basic glossary of important print design terms.

Bleed. This refers to any design element on a print piece that extends past the edge of the paper. Designers indicate a bleed by setting up the document with a bleed mark, typically measuring 0.125 inches past the trim area of the final printed piece.

CMYK. No, this is not dyslexic for “check your mail.” CMYK stands for the combination of ink colors most commonly used in 4-color process or digital printing: cyan (blue), magenta, yellow and black (represented by the “K”). Images in print documents are always printed in CMYK, and must be converted from other color formats to CMYK before printing, unless it is a low-Pantone color run.

Pantone colors. Also known as PMS (Pantone Color Matching System), these comprise a set of universal colors that every printer in the world can replicate. Each Pantone color comes with CMYK, RGB, hexadecimal and Pantone color codes. Using these codes helps create color consistency throughout print and digital branding materials.

Crop marks. Printers typically fit multiple prints onto one large sheet of paper. Crop marks indicate where the printer should make cuts to the final printed piece. They are also used to cut and separate the excess paper and other prints.

Digital printing. Also known as 4-color process printing, digital printing is specifically for CMYK color. It is most cost-effective for smaller quantities (250 to 1,000 pieces), as it requires less prep work for the printer.

Finish. This refers to the surface quality of the paper used for the printed piece. Different types of paper have different finishes, such as matte, luster, glossy or textured finish. Commonly used finishes include glossy and matte.

Offset printing. Offset printing is generally used for larger print jobs of 1,000 pieces and up. The printer sets up a different plate for each color, and runs every print through each color plate to create the final printed piece. This requires more setup on the part of the printer. But it enables both CMYK and Pantone colors to be used on the press, and allows for larger initial runs as well as re-runs for larger print jobs.

PPI/DPI. PPI stands for “pixels per inch”; DPI for “dots per inch.” Both are used to communicate the resolution of images, and since they refer to the same measurement can be used interchangeably. There are two standard PPI measurements, with 72ppi referring to the optimal resolution for a computer screen, and 300ppi referring the typical optimal resolution for printed images.

Print document images should always be at 300ppi before sending to print; otherwise they will look blurry and pixilated. If 300ppi images are printing blurry, it means they are too small for the image print area, and a larger image is needed. Making the photo larger in Photoshop will not resolve the pixilation problem.

RGB. RGB is an acronym for “red, green and blue” – the colors that make up all the color combinations seen on a computer screen. Documents and images set for screen viewing are typically in RGB. In order to use the images for print, they must be converted to CMYK in Photoshop. It also helps to make sure they’re at 300ppi, as images taken from the Internet are usually set to 72ppi and may not be large enough to print.

Proof. After prepping the final design files, the printer sets up a printing proof, which is typically a digital file in PDF format. Viewing a printing proof is essential for identifying any design or content-related issues before the piece gets sent to press. Once you approve a proof, you can’t make any more changes. The best way to review the digital proof file (if it’s a PDF) is to open it and view it carefully in Adobe Acrobat. Do not print it for review on your home or office computer, as these printers use different inks and techniques not up to par with professional printers. Viewing the proof on a computer screen is the closest you can get to the actual final product. Any differences will be minute.