6 Steps To Customer-Centric Writing

LISTEN. SOLVE. REPEAT.

Most business owners come ingrained with a laser-like focus on their business. They’ll swell with pride and “shout it from the rooftops” to tell you about their newest, exciting product or service. However, like the majority of people in business, they tend to take a business-focused approach, focusing on promoting the features or specs of the product and making sure that you know how this new product or service is the best of the best.

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Herein lies the rub, as they say. While shouting it from the rooftops might seem like a good approach, customers don’t necessarily want to hear about your business. Instead, they want to hear about how your company will help THEM. They are more concerned that you understand their need and are offering a solution to address it.

Here’s where customer-centric writing and promotion comes in. Instead of writing with the focus on you and your business, you can stand out from the crowd by thinking about how your new product or service will benefit your customers. Writing with your client in mind demonstrates that you understand their needs and want to help them achieve their goals. Writing with empathy creates better connections, improved communication, and happier outcomes. Happy customers become your business’s greatest fans.

Here are six steps to help you shift your perspective to be more customer-centric:

  1. List at least three to five main features of your business.
  2. Arrange the list beginning with the most important feature.
  3. Now look at the list, select the first feature, and dig down to what that feature means to your customer. For example, if you are in the tire business and one of the features is that you’re within walking distance of a mall, then you might put “location” on your list.
  4. Step into your customer’s mindset. What does your location mean for them? How will it solve their problem? The benefit is they can drop off their car, shop, have lunch, or meet a friend instead of sitting in a dull waiting room.
  5. Take the next feature you listed and then go through the same process. Rinse and repeat with the rest of the features.

If you’ve never looked at your business this way before, it’s likely that you might not be sure of what your customers do want and need. How can you find out? That’s where tip #6 comes in. Even if you’ve been in business for a while and think you know the needs of your customers, it’s good to refresh your viewpoint.

6. Pay attention to the questions they have and ask them for more information about what they’re trying to do. Don’t assume you know what they want, find out by talking to them.

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Your customers are individuals, with goals and dreams unique to them. They come to you for help to make these happen. What does your company do for them? That’s the direction your marketing writing needs to take.

When you practice customer-centric marketing, you not only differentiate yourself from competitors, you establish the basis for customer loyalty, repeat business, and word-of-mouth recommendations.

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The Difference Between CMYK and PMS Colors

PASS WITH FLYING COLORS

The complexity involved in color and how big of a difference various color profiles can make on your print project is something you’ll want to pay attention to. Is there a specific shade of orange or blue that is included in your logo? Depending on who created your logo, your color scheme may include CMYK colors, PMS colors, or both!

CMYK Colors

The term CMYK refers to the four ink colors that make up the schema: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, which is considered the key color. This particular model mixes together the three primary colors and includes black to produce darker shades. To create an image, printers define four separate plates that make up a full image. One plate is used for each of the four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) and is designed to lay down a very specific amount of pigment on the image. While this may sound like a simple way to print, it has worked effectively for hundreds of years.

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PMS Colors

PMS (or Pantone Matching System) colors are slightly different than CMYK colors because they are mixed before they are applied to a surface. The pure spot color, or PMS color, is a mixed ink that allows for a wider range of reproduced colors than the CMYK spectrum. Each PMS color contains a unique hue, which can be matched by a number that is associated with the Pantone Matching System of swatches. PMS inks are not laid in a dot pattern but can be screened in a halftone to produce a variety of shades

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Viewing Colors

Viewing either PMS or CMYK colors on a computer screen is a challenge due to lighting changes and the display variation. Fortunately, Pantone LLC provides a printed color chart for PMS colors that allows anyone to see the exact color that will be printed on your project. A unique set of numbers allows printers and customers to communicate effectively about what can be a challenging and variable subject: color. What looks like magenta to one person could easily be described as a red-purple by someone else — making it tough to describe specific colors without the common language available with PMS standards.

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Ready to get started on your next printing project? Our color professionals are experts at matching current color schemes or helping you find just the right shade to communicate your brand. Contact us today to learn more and get started on your next project!

Win Customers With Colorful Packaging

ADD SOME COLOR COMMENTARY

When you consider the packaging that you will use for your clients’ products, remember that color is one of your channels that communicates instantly. There are thousands of shades of each color, and picking the ones that evoke the emotions you want can help you forge a connection with the consumer. Here are a few tips to help you get what you want.

Ask yourself which one color gets your message across.

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Red is vital and exciting. Green can communicate healthfulness or sustainability. Pink can be girly or comforting. In some cases, such as a label for strawberry ice cream, the color associations are obvious. For other products, choose colors based on the mood you think fits the brand. For example, an outdoor recreation store wouldn’t print their hangtags or envelopes in purple since purple doesn’t really evoke the feeling of the outdoors. Instead, they would choose colors that would get the message across while also fitting in with the company colors. And, remember not to overuse color. Too many trying to shout at once just turns into noise. Pick a dominant one, then accent with others.

Always plan a family of products and marketing assets in advance.

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Think in terms of how these items will look together. If you have multiple flavors of ice cream labels, for example, plan how all of the different flavors will look lined up next to each other. Creating a unified look will allow customers to identify which products come from your brand. While allowing each product or flavor to be easily distinguished from the others, the use of a strong overall palette will help build your brand.

Always do a color-accurate printed proof.

Inks respond differently to different surfaces. To ensure that your assets will look exactly as you want them to, have a color-accurate proof made before doing your entire run. Even if you have printed that color in the past, testing it first can lead to better outcomes.

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Always consider how things will look and how they will make your customers feel. By keeping these vital color rules in mind, you can create packaging, brochures and other assets that make your brand attractive to consumers and easily recognized.

The Volume Advantage

07 Vlum.jpgThe more you print, the better the price can be per piece. That can have its advantages in many situations. Planning your marketing for the entire year, or even just a season, will save you in dollars and time.

Plenty on Hand
Those pieces that don’t change throughout the year and go out the door in high volume are perfect to print in larger quantities. You will always have these pieces in stock and can fill your orders or fulfill your mailings with ease.

Lower Costs
For flyers, brochures, postcards, and other things that use full-color print, the more you print, the lower the cost per piece. This kind of “discount” pricing is beneficial for planning longer term or for larger-volume projects.

Quick Turnaround
Short-run options may be more advantageous when looking at either smaller volumes or quicker turnarounds. Sometimes convenience is more important than cost.
No matter what you plan for or what your budget is, there is a print-volume solution that will fit the size of your wallet. Call us today to discuss your next printing project 856.429.0715.

The Power of Simplicity in Marketing

KNOW YOUR ENEMY

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You have an upcoming marketing or sales campaign and want promotional materials that have the right combination of imaging, color, design, and narrative to make the biggest impact on your customers. How can you design the right balance for your materials to make that impact?

Balancing Perfection and Excellence

The 19th-century American essayist, Henry David Thoreau, had great advice for us living with the overload of the information age: “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand…”

On the other hand, we can temper Thoreau’s advice with a caveat by Albert Einstein: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” So how do you strike a balance between perfection and excellence? What are the enemies of simplicity?

The Enemies of Simplicity

Marty Neumeier addresses the enemies of simplicity in his book The Brand Flip. The enemies of simplicity, according to the author, can sabotage your marketing in 7 ways:

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So, remember that in our enthusiasm to succeed, we can create clutter. Start simple and build that foundation. To paraphrase our friend Thoreau, your castles in the air are where they should be. “Now put the foundations under them.”

Perfect Your Proofing

MAKE IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME THROUGH

 

It may seem like there is never time to proof something thoroughly the first time, but when it is not done, you may end up making time to do the entire job a second time. Just what are some of the things that should be checked during the proofing process? Here is a list to perfect your proofing strategy:

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Proof the text.

The first place to start is the text. Review all text for spelling and grammatical correctness, check punctuation, and most importantly, accuracy of content. Making changes to text later in the production process will only slow things down, so make sure that everything is perfect before moving on to the next step.

Proof the images.

Viewing the images on your computer is a great place to start, as long as your screen is calibrated properly, but keep in mind that the colors on-screen will not be a perfect match to the colors that are printed. Be sure to check the size and resolution of the image. For high-level image quality jobs, it may be wise to have a physical proof rather than just an on-screen proof of the images done on professional proofing equipment so you can get a better idea of the true color of the piece.

Proof the pages.

Checking an entire page of an original can be done on screen, but it is also a good idea to print out the pages. Look over the typography, placement of images, illustrations and text, as well as hyphenation and line arrangement, page format, and bleeds.

The difference between a thorough proof and no proof at all is the time you may spend having to redo a job. Taking the time at the beginning will save you time and money in the long run.

Add Some Motion to Your Designs!

MOVE YOUR IDEAS

Artists have long sought ways to convey motion and the passage of time within a static, two-dimensional space. Implied motion can transform an otherwise uninteresting design into a far more dynamic expression that catches the consumer’s eye. Here are just a few examples of how you can incorporate implied motion into a two-dimensional design:

Eruption of Form: A grouping of shapes, expanding from or retreating to a focal point, gives the suggestion of movement and can convey an outward rush of ideas or emotion. The repeating elements in the design below give the impression of objects moving outward toward the observer.

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Directional Cues: Objects with a pointed or triangular shape help to lead the eye through a design. A simple arrow, like the one below, will lead the viewer through your message and impart the feeling of momentum.

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Dimensional Lines: Strong perspectives will draw the eye of the viewer across the page, while outlining a curved path or adding a dashed line will create a visual path that provides movement within a design. For example, the dimensionality of this curving line of text gives it movement and depth.

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Breaking a Static Plane: A centered object, with lines parallel to the edges, appears to be static and unmoving. Skewing the object to create a strong diagonal presence will lead the eye through the design and add the illusion of motion. Cropping the object will give it the appearance of entering or exiting the plane of motion.

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Sequential Time: Drawings, or photographs, placed in a row, work to tell a story over time. These images, placed side by side together, tell a dynamic story and instill a strong sense of motion within a static, two-dimensional medium.

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By arranging composition elements with time and motion in mind, as we’ve shown you in the examples above, you can more effectively control the movement of the viewer’s eye and convey your message in a more memorable and visually interesting way.