Congratulations to Ken Carbone and Leslie Smolan Named New AIGA Medalists!

David : March 14, 2014 2:09 pm : Blog

We are pleased to share the news that Visual Marketing contributors, Kenneth Carbone and Leslie Smolan partners of Carbone Smolan Agency (CSA), are recipients of the prestigious 2014 AIGA Medal, the highest honor of the design profession. Representing a broad range of design disciplines including branding, interaction design and design education, together the 2014 recipients collectively exemplify the legacy of visual communications and the impact of design.

“I am thrilled and humbled to be included in such an esteemed group of design heroes, mentors and friends,” shares Co-Founder and Chief Creative Director Ken Carbone. “It is a career milestone that recognizes decades of hard work. And, to share this moment with Leslie makes the Medal even more memorable.”

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5 Ways to Customize Your Client Holiday Gifts

anitacampbell : December 4, 2013 8:00 am : Blog, Branding

This time of year, you want to show your appreciation for your clients, and so you send a gift. There are ample companies that offer you the opportunity to customize corporate gifts, helping your logo stand out in the minds of your clients. Here are some unique ideas.

1. Say it Sweetly

Who doesn’t like receiving a box of brownies or other holiday treats? Take this customary gift a step further and enhance it with your company logo on the tin or box. Fairytale Brownies is one of many companies that lets you put your logo on the box or in the card. more »

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How Often Should You Update Your Logo?

anitacampbell : November 4, 2013 8:00 am : Blog, Branding

For small businesses, it can be tempting to upgrade a logo when you’ve got more funds to invest in graphic design. But how much is too much? And when is not enough?

Consider Your Branding Power

Before you can determine how often you should update your logo, consider how much people associate your current logo with your brand. Is it instantly recognizable, the way a Southwest plane (the blue and orange highly visible) is from the sky? Could people identify the brand without seeing your company name, but just your logo?

If so, congratulations. That’s the purpose of a logo. If you’re not quite there yet in terms of brand recognition, it’s probably safe for you to update your logo, but keep in mind that goal: your logo should connect the dots for potential customers whenever they see it, be it on your website, business card, or social media platform.

Changing your logo too frequently can reduce your branding power.

Consider a Derivation

A logo refresh doesn’t have to mean you start from scratch. Sometimes subtle changes are just as effective, as we see from Google’s recent update to a flatter logo:

more »

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How to Use Vine to Market Your Business

anitacampbell : October 4, 2013 8:00 am : Blog

First there was Pinterest. Then Instagram. Now the latest in visual marketing social tools is Vine. With Vine, which is a mobile app for Android and Apple phones, you can shoot 6-second videos and post them to your social media profiles.

Brands are finding innovative ways to use Vine as part of their marketing mix. Whether you have a visually strong brand, such as one that sells products or one that designs graphics for clients, or if you’re in more of a B2B industry with little in the way of visual inspiration, such as software, you can use Vine to build new and interesting connections with customers and fans.

1. Give a Behind-the-Scenes Tour. Six seconds isn’t a lot, but you can use that time to show highlights from around your office. Humanize your brand by introducing the people who work at your company. Make it fun. Here’s an example of a Hubspot Vine showing off new office space.

more »

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How San Diego Zoo Uses Visual Marketing to Build Rabid Fans

anitacampbell : September 4, 2013 8:00 am : Blog, Branding

Now that some of the initial excitement about visual marketing tools like Pinterest and Instagram has died down, it’s interesting to see what strategies have stuck.

San Diego Zoo has a unique use for Instagram. In addition to promoting its own stream of cute animal photos, the attraction hosts a photo contest to coincide with certain programs each year. The brand recently winded down its Nighttime Zoo program, a summerlong event. To encourage members and guests to attend the events, the park invited the public to submit photos through Instagram of their experiences. Any photo with the hashtag #NighttimeZoo would be entered to win a prize.

Because so many are already taking photos of their kids and the animals while visiting the zoo, it’s pretty simple to enter the contest. The zoo wins because it gets user-generated images that other people will want to view on its site. It also gets additional benefit when visitors also share these photos through Facebook and other social channels.  more »

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Contributor Robert Pizzo Featured on Pomegranate

anitacampbell : August 6, 2013 8:00 am : Blog, Interviews

If you remember, we recently shared with you Robert Pizzo’s unique illustrated children’s book The Amazing Animal Alphabet of Twenty-Six Tongue Twisters. It seems he’s been attracting the attention of  folks int he illustration and arts world: he was recently interviewed on, the publisher of his book.

Here are some highlights from the interview.

Think Like an Illustrator, not a Author

Pizzo says he has a unique approach to his book because he doesn’t consider himself an author. As an illustrator, he approached the book from a different angle:

“I’m a well-established illustrator, with a bold and vibrant style that happens to appeal to kids, too. The book isn’t at all linear like a traditional story. It’s more like a crazy random-access list in the mode of Dr. Seuss books like One Fish, Two Fish. Seuss began as an illustrator, too. If it was good enough for him….” more »

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Contributor Michelle Villalobos Tackles Female Work Relationships in Her Book

anitacampbell : July 5, 2013 11:49 am : Blog, Reviews

We love getting good news from our Visual Marketing contributors. Here’s something we’re excited about: Michelle Villalobos, who taught us that headshots don’t have to be typical, recently published a book:  The Stiletto In Your Back: The Good Girl’s Guide To Backstabbers, Bullies, Gossips & Queen Bees at Work. Her book is based on a special report she created in 2010 called “Why Women Play Dirty.” Addressing the issues women often have in the workplace is important to Villalobos:

“It is important to address these issues and bring them out into the open because the very nature of female rivalry is under the surface. If we can shed light on it, admit what’s going on, and if each of us takes responsibility for our part in it, then we are ALL more likely to get ahead.”

The book, the first in a series called “Good Girl’s Guide To…,” addresses serious female work relationship issues that can keep a woman from succeeding professionally. It explains the evolutionary, sociological and psychological underpinnings of female rivalry, as well as the 7 archetypical female “bullies” and their techniques. Villalobos provides 8 tactics to manage  behavior to help readers be less vulnerable, more aware, and fully able to confront antagonists.

“I wrote this book because I had been delivering the workshop “Communicate Powerfully Without Being a Bit%&” and every time, women in the audience would (hesitantly) ask me about female-female work relationships, saying that they found working with women was actually harder than working with men, due to the under-the-table nature of female rivalry and aggression,” said Villalobos, “They asked about jealousy, envy, gossip, backstabbing, etc… and the truth is I didn’t know much about it. So I made it my business to learn. I ended up fascinated with the subject and did an in-depth research paper about the topic, which I released as “Why Women Play Dirty” about 3 years ago, and that project just morphed into this one. ”

What’s Next, Michelle?

Villalobos is already hard at work on her next book. It’s a variation on the topic of “Shameless Self-Promotion,” and should be available as an ebook by the end of the year, and a hard copy early 2014.

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Smedio Talks Visual Marketing, Plus a Visual Book Review

anitacampbell : June 19, 2013 8:00 am : Blog, Reviews

We may have been ahead of our time. When we published Visual Marketing, tools like Pinterest and Instagram were fledgling marketing components. Now they’re growing in use, and more people are using the phrase, “visual marketing.” Go us!

Here’s a fantastic, in-depth post by Douglas Idugboe on Smedio that not only quotes our book but also goes in-depth on why visual marketing is so fabulous, and how businesses can use it. He quotes the book where we talk about how well-designed infographics can have a lasting impact. He also points out the benefits of visual marketing:

  • Attract busy people who wouldn’t take the time to read long copy
  • Help people digest large amounts of data
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Drive engagement
  • More traffic
  • More inbound links
  • Increase the time visitors spend on your site more »
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5 Technological Breakthroughs Your Website Redesign Must Have

anitacampbell : June 5, 2013 8:00 am : Blog, Branding

Advancement in design and programming technology makes for a perfect storm: Now is the best time to redo your website.

Technology breakthroughs are constant, but design breakthroughs – what’s that all about? Comedian Louis CK does a bit about how your stomach takes 20 minutes to tell your head that it’s full. He says you can stub your toe and your head knows right away how much it hurts, but why does it take 20 minutes for your stomach to communicate?

Well, embracing and using new technology to its fullest is a bit like communicating with your stomach: It takes time.

It’s been 23 years since Tim Berners-Lee launched the first website and we finally have the tools for designing a website that really focuses on the user. Yet it’s not only about the user, it’s also about the owner of the website and what the owner has to offer the user. It’s about a relationship between user and content holder.

And like any relationship, it’s hard work. more »

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Why Reviews Are So Important

anitacampbell : May 8, 2013 8:00 am : Blog, Reviews

If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon, consider whether you look at the product reviews or not. I know I do. Other consumers’ input is helpful in understanding whether a given product will work the way we want it to.

We live in a society that is quickly becoming review-focused. Many diners review restaurants (and these days, any other type of business) on Yelp. We’re using these reviews to determine where we spend our money.

So as a business, it behooves you to take advantage of reviews and encourage your customers to give them.

How to Get Reviews

Start with the customers or contacts you have a good relationship with. Ask them to visit your Yelp or Amazon page and leave a review. You want honesty, but don’t be afraid of a few negative reviews. They show visitors to the site that the reviews aren’t rigged by the company. And the more reviews you get, the less important those few negative ones become.

Make it easy for customers. Send an email after they make a purchase with a link to your Yelp or Amazon page so all they have to do is click and type. Put a sign in your store at the cash register reminding them to leave a review, and have your staff invite customers to go online to leave reviews.

Our Reviews

We’re always thrilled when someone reviews our book. It shows that we’re on the right track with our content, and that people appreciate what we’re doing. Here’s a great review we recently got:

“Visual Marketing – 99 Proven Ways for Small Businesses to Market with Images and Designs is a THE book for savvy business owners. This valuable reference is full of smart, creative and innovative ways to promote their businesses. Whether it’s on the web, in print or in-person, Visual Marketing provides fabulous ideas, illustrations, tips and the story behind each strategy. It’s one of the FIRST books I enthusiastically recommend to my business clients.”
— Teri Scheinzeit, The Savvy Business Coach

Reviews can be a marketing tool, just like social media or press releases. Use them to your benefit, and you’ll see an increase in customers coming through your door.

Photo Credit: via Compfight cc

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Getting the Most Out of Amazon as a Book Marketing Tool

anitacampbell : April 3, 2013 8:00 am : Blog, Writing a Book

If you’re an author, you know how important being on Amazon is. It’s like the Google of books. The site is basically a major search engine, and will help anyone searching for a book on a topic you’ve written about find your book.

All that being said, competition is still fierce on Amazon, just as it is on Google. You’ve got to use every available tool to ensure that readers find your book…and not some other author’s. more »

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Visual Marketing Contributor Tries His Hand at a Children’s Book

anitacampbell : March 6, 2013 8:00 am : Blog, Interviews

One of our book contributors, Robert Pizzo, whose unique email marketing designs were featured in the book, recently announced that his first children’s book, The Amazing Animal Alphabet of Twenty-Six Tongue Twisters will be published September of 2013.

The book features a silly tongue twister for each letter of the alphabet, accompanied by Pizzo’s iconic art:


When asked where his inspiration came from, Pizzo said it was close to home:

“As the father of three daughters, I had always enjoyed reading to my kids. We ended up acquiring quite a collection of books and I guess it’s in the genes that my girls always enjoyed the ones that had more of a graphically designed look to them. A few years ago I had this idea for an animal alphabet book loosely based on a little sentence game I would play with my kids while riding in the car. Though I had illustrated many book covers I had always wanted to see what it was like to illustrate an entire book.”
Pizzo says creating a book wasn’t that much different than his average illustration assignment, “only much, MUCH longer!”
He looked to authors like Dr. Seuss, who have mastered the simplicity of words in children’s books, and put more focus on the illustrations. “First, I took a jumble of seemingly random words beginning with the same letter and turned them into a complete sentence. The more unlikely and absurd the better! Once I had that I thought,  ‘OK, now, how can I illustrate that?’ You ought to see the gigantic stack of sketches and Post-It doodles this process generated.”
Pizzo says he would consider writing more children’s books in the future, depending on how well this one does.  “I have a couple of other book dummies and ideas in a folder on my computer, so who knows?”
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Visual Marketing Contributor Goes to Grammys

anitacampbell : February 8, 2013 8:00 am : Blog

UPDATE: We just found out that Visual Dialogue won the Grammy! Here’s a video of the acceptance speech. Congrats to Visual Dialogue!

It’s not often that a graphic designer is invited to the Grammys. Consider Fritz Klaetke and Susan Battista the exception. Their aim? Not (just) to rub elbows with celebrities. The two, who run Visual Dialogue, featured in our book, were nominated for the best boxed or special limited edition package Grammy for their work on “Woody at 100,” a four-CD Woody Guthrie centennial collection released in July by Smithsonian Folkways.

Creating Visual Briefs

In an article on, the pair of designers talked a bit about their process for decoding ” the often jargon-laden details of a business into a common language and then, like linguistic alchemists,” turning them into what they call a “visual brief.”

That’s a challenge many designers — and marketers — face: how do you take a ton of  information — sometimes not interesting — and make it exciting?

Clearly the two did so with this project.

The Finished Product

The Guthrie collector’s edition includes a book the size of a record sleeve (deliberate, I’m sure) that includes slits to hold the CDs in the back. Throughout the book are Guthrie’s sketches and drawings, which enhance the storytelling nature of the set. And that’s what the package is: a storybook, not just a set of CDs.

Congratulations to Visual Dialogue for getting the attention of Hollywood on this project.

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Applying Visual Marketing to Retail

anitacampbell : January 15, 2013 8:00 am : Blog

If you own a brick-and-mortar store, there is huge opportunity for you to implement visual marketing in your location. A tastefully designed in-store display can help draw attention to specific products as well as bring in people from the outside. Here are a few tips for leveraging visually appealing design in your store, no matter what you sell.

Draw Attention to Items You Want to Sell

A table tastefully set up with items you want to highlight can help you sell more of them. Bunch items that complement one another, such as a shirt and tie, to encourage multiple-item sales. But don’t just plop the items on the table; arrange them in a way that appeals to the eye and isn’t cluttered. more »

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10 Small Business Marketing Resolutions for 2013

anitacampbell : December 18, 2012 12:58 pm : Blog, Branding

I’m big on resolutions. But not the “lose 5 pounds” kind. Real, actionable resolutions that will get done.  I make them for my business each year, and I do my best to stick to them.

Were there things you wish you’d done in terms of marketing your business this year? Make 2013 the year you get them done. Here are 10 resolutions you might want to add to your list.

1. I Will Update my Marketing Plan. If you created a marketing plan when you first started your business, but haven’t bothered to look at it or update it in years, now is the time. Because technology brings so many new options for marketing, it is imperative that you revamp your plan to best target your audience through the latest tools available.

2. I Will Try Something New in Marketing. That might be Google +. Pinterest. Blogging. Whatever has made you uncomfortable in the past, you will try in 2013. Who knows? It just might bring in new clients.

3. I Will Get More Visual. If you’re a numbers kind of person, you might shy away from visual marketing. But as we’ve proven on this blog and in our book, visual works. Find ways to incorporate images and infographics in your marketing and see what the results are.

4. I Will Ask for Help. We small business owners have trouble delegating. And that makes it hard to accomplish things we either don’t have time to do ourselves or aren’t good at doing. If marketing isn’t your specialty, or if you’re too busy to do it justice, bring in help. Hire an intern, a consultant or a part-time employee.

5. I Will Diversify. You’ve heard what happens when you put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t do that this year. Instead, aim for a mix of marketing strategies, to include social media, email, content marketing and traditional marketing methods, if appropriate.

6. I Will Learn. Business owners don’t thrive in bubbles. We need inspiration and education from the outside world. Attend conferences. Read books, blogs and magazines. Talk to other business owners to get new ideas.

7. I Will Admit Defeat. If Google Adwords, for example, isn’t bringing you the ROI you want, cut it from your plan. Move on to something else. Admit when a strategy isn’t working for your business so you can cut your losses and move forward.

8. I Will Pay Attention to Analytics. If you’re not a numbers person, you might be tempted to ignore things like web traffic analytics and sales data. But this is the gold:  it tells you which of your efforts are working, and helps you tailor your marketing plan to better bring in more customers.

9. I Will Shoot for the Stars. It’s easy to get complacent if you’re making a comfortable living. And not all of us want to be billionaires. But it’s still a good idea to set your sights a little higher so that you push yourself and your company to do better. Even if you only hit a low star, you’ve made progress from last year.

10. I Will Keep My Goals Handy. Once you create your resolutions, don’t stick them in a drawer or folder on your desktop. Print them and keep them out where you can read them regularly. This will help you keep them in mind as you run your business, which will help you achieve them.

Photo:  Sukanto Debnath on Flickr

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Improving Upon a Successful Marketing Campaign

David : November 9, 2012 8:00 am : Blog, Interviews

If you recall, we introduced you to Expert Laser Services last year, as well as its Destroy Your Printer contest. For the past four years, the image solutions provider has invited frustrated office workers to submit videos of them demolishing their printers. A winner was chosen based on votes.

While the brand has decided not to continue the contest, the brand wanted to play off of the success of the contest. So Nathan Dube, Chief SMM Engineer and MPS Consultant for Expert Laser Services, came up with the idea to create a digital comic around the idea of destroying printers.

“I use the videos from the contest as an “icebreaker” when meeting with prospects for the first time in my sales endeavors. I find that many of the IT managers I meet with really enjoy the videos and they always make for an outburst of laughter and disbelief which sort of diffuses the staunch nature of such business meetings and allows for the vibration of the prospect to be become more positive and relaxed, thus causing them to be more open and receptive to what I have to offer them.”

The brand took an already-successful marketing campaign (the contest) and added on to it. It also helps brand Nathan, who now is a face, not just a name. See the entire comic here.

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What a Visual Marketing Strategy Looks Like

anitacampbell : October 4, 2012 8:00 am : Blog

We’re starting to move away from the concept of content as king, and now we’re opening up the court to add in visual imagery as the queen. But what does it mean to have a visual marketing strategy, and is it for every kind of company? Let’s dive in.

What is a Visual Marketing Strategy?

Just like you’d have a traditional marketing strategy, adding the word “visual” to it simply means you’re paying attention to how you can draw in potential customers with photos and images. Here are a few examples of how you can do so:

So really, your visual strategy will tie in with everything else you’re doing to market, including blogging and social media. It’s just ensuring that you’re taking into consideration how to reach those of your followers who respond well to imagery.

Is Visual Marketing Strategy for You?

So all this being said, can every business benefit from a visual component in their marketing plan? Yes, but to different degrees. You’ll benefit the most if you sell products that can be highlighted with photos, and you can take advantage of more tools like Pinterest and Instagram in this case.

But if you have a services business, you may assume you’ve got nothing to share visually. In that case you have to be creative: if you run, say, a marketing firm, you can include photos of your clients’ products or logos, as well as images from conferences you attend, photos of your staff and office, et cetera. The point is to show images that interest others, and draw in new customers that way.

If you run a graphic design firm or architecture firm, use the opportunity to show off images or photos of your work. What better selling tool do you have than what you’ve done for other clients?

If you haven’t considered using visual marketing, I encourage you to find new ways to use images to enhance what you’re already doing. You will likely find an increase in social media followers and traffic to your website as a result.

Photo: darkmatter on Flickr

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Why Your Blog Needs Photos

anitacampbell : September 5, 2012 8:00 am : Blog, Branding

If content was king a few years ago, visual images are now in charge. Studies show that blog posts and social media updates that include images are more likely to encourage response. Consider the blog posts that appeal to you the most. Likely they include appealing images like this one.

Photos help break up a blog post and provide something for the eye to look at. It’s worth it to take a few minutes to find an appropriate image to enhance each of your blog posts.

What Kind of Images Do I Need?

  • You can use  a photo that expresses what you’re talking about in the post. For example, if your post is about a travel destination, include an image from that city.
  • If you’re talking about a website or software program, you can use a screen shot to illustrate the benefits.
  • Infographics are also visual elements that attract blog readers. Make sure to attribute the designer.
  • Clip art and graphic design elements can enhance your post as well. Use them to express concepts, like networking.
Where to Find Images
The key in using photos and images for your blog is finding photos that are free to use. That doesn’t include just any image you find online! Look for what’s called “creative commons,” which means the owner of the photograph doesn’t mind if you use it. There are plenty of websites where you can find free photos you can use, including:

There are regulations that require you to attribute any photo you use, including creative commons. Pick a format like this and make sure to link to the source where you found the photo:

Photo: Kolobsek on stock.xchng

What to Look For

Images for your blog should be clear and professional looking. The sites with stock images tend to have cleaner backgrounds and more appealing subjects. Avoid using images with children, as any photo you use should have the permission of the subject, and some people post photos of their kids, unaware that they could be used on a blog.

Images of objects can help you portray what you’re trying to get across in a post, so find interesting ways to express yourself!

Photo: Kolobsek on stock.xchng

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Instagram: Everyone’s a Photographer

anitacampbell : August 15, 2012 12:24 pm : Blog, Branding

We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about Instagram on the Visual Marketing blog. The photo app, available for iPhone and Android, recently crossed into the 80 million users threshold. It’s not just consumers using the app, either. Brands of all sizes are finding ways to use Instagram to promote their products and create a community.

Letting People Inside Your Brand

One trend we’ve seen with different types of social media is having the unique ability to let consumers inside your brand, so to speak. Rather than only seeing the very professional, polished image of a brand, we’re instead getting behind-the-scenes, unfiltered, unpolished glimpses into companies, and we like that. Many brands use Instagram to take photos of employees, products, and events, and consumers are eating it up.

Participating in a Community

Instagram, like so many other social tools, uses hashtags to organize content. So if you run a jewelry company and tag your Instagram photos with #armcandy, your photo will automatically appear with all the other images of bracelets under that hashtag. More people will find your photos, and thus, your brand.

Instagram also serves as a great test market. Not sure about a product you want to launch? Upload photos and see what the response is.

Going Beyond Products

Brands like McDonalds are finding ways to tell stories around their brand, and they do that by sharing photos of more than just hamburgers. As a sponsor of the Olympics, the fast food chain has been sharing images from London this summer, further ingraining its followers into its activities.

Give it a Whirl

You might not be sure how Instagram might help your small business grow. The best thing to do is try it out. Browse viewing tools like Statigram to see what brands similar to yours are sharing. Follow your customers and start sharing photos. Tag your photos to help more people find them, and include a link back to your site. You might be surprised the response you get after a few months of using it!

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Using Statistics in Your Ads and Marketing Collateral

anitacampbell : July 19, 2012 8:00 am : Blog, General Information

Four out of five marketers agree: using statistics to prove your point works.

I may have made up that statistic, but it’s true: using numbers to back up your claims is a great way to convince customers to buy from you. Find ways to incorporate percentages or X out of Y in your verbiage and see what results you get. Here are some ideas:

  • Percent increase in benefit (such as get whites 35% whiter)
  • Number of professionals who recommend your product (9 out of 10 dentists)
  • Percent increase from regular size (now with 25% more!)

Where to Find the Numbers

You’ve got a couple of options when it comes to where to find this data. First, you can get it yourself. Create a survey and send it to your clients. Target points you want to address, such as:

Which type of laundry detergent do you use?

  • Product A
  • Product B
  • Product C

Then take the total number of people who filled out the survey and divide the number who responded to the point you want to highlight (Product A) by the total to get your statistic. So if 90 out of 100 people chose Product A, that’s 90% of those surveyed that chose your product.

Remember: use the statistics to your benefit! If the numbers are lower than you’d hoped, they probably won’t impress potential customers. And never lie about them! Made up statistics make you look dishonest, and that’s the last thing you want.

Another option is to find existing statistics. A simple search on Google for the topic you want to learn more about plus the word “statistics” or “survey” may net you some good results. Here you can see the results for “small business vacation statistics” as an example.

You might want to add the year after your search terms to ensure you get the most recent data,  rather than an outdated study.

If you’re looking for industry statistics, here are a few resources to check out:

Using the Numbers in Your Copy

Find natural ways to place your statistics into your web, product or marketing copy. You might use a callout bubble or starburst to call attention to it. If it’s on your website, consider making the font red and larger so that it stands out.

Don’t overdo the statistics. Use them effectively and judiciously so that you give potential customers something to consider when they’re shopping your brand.

Photo: sivlen001 on stock.xchng

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How Much is Your Logo Worth?

anitacampbell : June 27, 2012 1:43 pm : Blog, Branding

We all know that logos are extremely valuable in marketing a brand. But have you ever stopped to put a value on yours? In his guest post, “The Billion Dollar Ford Logo” on, David Langton delves into why Ford’s logo is so valuable to the company.

Here’s an excerpt:


The Value of the Logo

We define a logo as the image that captures not only where a company, product or service is but where it wants to be. It embodies the aspirations and future of the organization as well as representing the values of the past. Budelman, Kim and Wozniak write in Brand Identity Essentials(Rockport) that a logo is, “a picture…that represents the collection of experiences that form a perception in the mind of those who encounter an organization.”

Read the entire post here.

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How Experimenting With Pinterest Can Help Your Small Business

anitacampbell : April 13, 2012 8:00 am : Blog, Interviews

We’re hearing a lot about Pinterest for business these days, and for us as visual marketers, we think it’s a fantastic tool for many businesses. But sometimes it’s trial and error. What will your customers respond to? Will you spend a lot of energy developing a profile, only to find it fall flat? Come to think of it, that’s the fact with any type of marketing.

That’s been the case for book contributor Get Satisfaction. The company helps customers attract and engage their own clients, so it’s only fitting that Get Satisfaction practices what it preaches. Caty Kobe (@catykobe) Community Support Manager for Get Satisfaction, says that the company’s use of Pinterest has been an experiment:

“One of the great things about Get Satisfaction is that we have a strong culture of experimentation…Right now, our Pinterest presence is purely experimental. It all started because I wanted a board on my personal account to show off how great it is to work for Get Satisfaction. My coworker thought it was cool idea, and then asked if he could pin screenshots of custom GetSat implementations to the board as he was looking for a way to easily share the information with other colleagues & customers.”

Since Kobe and her coworker have started their Pinterest boards, other coworkers have joined in the fun, creating a company-wide fever. Sometimes experiments bring the most fun results.

Being Where Your Customers Are

Whether it’s Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn or Quora, being where your customers are is key to a small business’ success. Social media may sometimes be trendy, but that’s all the more reason to hop on early to participate.

“We can’t predict where we will connect with customers but we do know that we have to be where they are so that means we will continue to try new things as well as optimize where we already are,” says Kobe.

Managing Customer Communities

Kobe manages communities of customers every day for her job, and she’s got lots of tips for the rest of us. The first is to follow the Company-Customer Pact (and as you can see from the list of supporters, some very recognizable names agree with her).  Her other tips (below) are essentially what we all look for when we’re on the customer side. A good company delivers on all points, be it through its Pinterest page or customer support line.

  • You need to be human when connecting with your customers online. Be respectful and conversational, show some personality and avoid all the cliche phrases that make you mad when you’re a customer.
  • You need to be personal when communicating… use your customer’s real names, comment on their avatar and be proactive about sending them content they’ll find interesting.
  • You need to be ready for anything. Anticipate the problems that might occur and solve them before they do. Set clear expectations so your customers feel like you care, and not like they’re getting the run around.
  • You need to be accountable for your customers. Customers spend a lot of money with each of our companies each year… the least we can do is make it easy for them to contact us when they have a question or problem. There are some conversations that need to be held privately, but definitely cultivate public conversations to demonstrate your accountability on a daily basis.
  • You need to be earnest in demonstrating your good intentions with plain, candid conversation.
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Reviews and News

anitacampbell : March 29, 2012 6:43 pm : Blog, Reviews

We’d like to thank John Sternal of Understanding Marketing, who recently reviewed Visual Marketing. He highlighted some of the tips he enjoyed the most from the book:

#3: Augmenting the reality of mobile advertising: Sharing brand information visually over mobile devices through apps. Simply put, the world is going mobile. All small businesses need to find a way to market their business through a smart phone.

#19: Good service is earned: Making a brand statement and creating viral content through infographics. We are huge believers of infographics on In fact, we have an entire Pinterest page devoted to infographics.

#33: Blogger outreach in the cloud: Using a visually inspired word cloud to start a conversation with a blogger. Blogger outreach is a skill that is acquired through experience, not necessarily through education. But word clouds are highly effective with bloggers and should be used by small businesses in an effort to build relationships online.

Thanks, John, for the glowing review, and we’re glad you liked the book!

Also, we want to mention that author David Langton has an article featured in Boomer Experience Speaks magazine! In it, he discusses “Why Visual Marketing Matters to Boomers.” Check him out page 11!

We’re always grateful for the coverage our book gets, so thank you to all of you bloggers and journalists who have written about it.

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Three Tools that Inspire Visual Marketing for Danielle Leslie

anitacampbell : March 19, 2012 12:38 pm : Blog, Reviews

A big thank you to Danielle Leslie for her video about visual marketing! She highlights three of her favorite visual marketing tools, as well as gives a shout out to our book on B2B Online. Thanks Danielle!

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Using Contests to Generate Buzz

anitacampbell : March 8, 2012 8:00 am : Blog, Interviews

We all find inspiration in unlikely places. For Nathan Dube, Chief Social Media Marketing Engineer at Expert Laser Services, his inspiration was borne of his frustration in the office.





“I experienced multiple occasions of extreme frustration due to various devices (namely a particular copier) not doing what I expected of them. Eventually, this frustration lead to a desire to take a sledgehammer to the copier,” says Dube.

Because he couldn’t actually smash the copier, he pitched the idea of holding a contest — The Destroy Your Printer Contest. Four years later, the company’s contest, which involves submissions of videos of people annihilating their printers with cars, fire and heavy objects, has garnered attention on multiple blogs, trade publications, three different marketing books (including ours), the New York Times and more. Dube says the contests have directed thousands of new visits to Expert Laser Services’ website, as well as opened the door for new business.

Turning a Gimmick Into Sales

“I have used the buzz from the contest as a conduit of conversation with new prospects of whom I think will resonate with the idea. Many of these prospects have eventually become retail customers and I have also gained a contract with a local fiber-optics company via our Facebook page, which had it not been for the contest would not be an on-going element of our marketing efforts. As for actual numbers I have garnered around $12,500 in retail/contract sales from our social media efforts namely, the contest.”

How to Use Contests

Contests can be a successful way to get more web traffic and increase sales. Dube says it’s important to get the public excited about the contest so that they vote and share entries. And you don’t have to offer a million dollar prize, if the contest is exciting enough. Here are Dube’s tips for starting a successful contest for your business:

1. Focus on using the contest as a catalyst to transmute negative emotions into positive ones.
2. Get non-contestants involved by opening the contest to a public vote.
3. If possible incorporate the need for contestants to create and submit content which can be re-used in future marketing endeavors.
4. Make the contest itself a rewarding experience so regardless of interest in the prize, people will still want to enter.

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Building a Better Business Card

anitacampbell : February 8, 2012 8:00 am : Blog, Interviews

The eyes might be the window to your soul, but your business card is the window to your company. If it’s stuffy, unprofessional or plain ugly, it reflects on how people see your business. Visual Marketing contributor Katrina Hase of Mix Creative has seen more than her fair share of business cards that didn’t do the businesses justice. And that’s silly, simply because it doesn’t take that much to stand out. Hase says:

One thing that I’ve discovered with my clients, and among the small business owners I network with, is that they’ll spend all kinds of money on the tools they need for their business—on sales coaches, seminars, networking events and even designers like me—but when it comes to printing their marketing collateral, they’ll go with the least expensive printing and paper options time and again. Sometimes the simplest way to stand out is to spend the money on a thicker card stock than your competitors, adding a spot varnish, selecting a unique and memorable paper, adding a die cut, or printing them with a pure Pantone color or with letterpress.

Think about the business cards you’ve remarked on upon receiving. Something about them stood out to you: be it the color, shape or texture. A simple tweak to your card can make you more memorable to the people you meet. Here’s a sample of an appealing card Hase has designed:

Hase says many businesses spend a lot up front on brand identity, but then dwindle down their budgets over time for marketing materials, making their business cards the last thing they focus on. But even if you go DIY, there’s no reason to design a bland card. Her tips for creating a memorable business card center around simplicity and uniqueness:

  • Keep it short and sweet. Question how much information is REALLY necessary to include on your card, knowing that most people can visit your website for information.
  • Use both sides of the card. I often use the back side of the card as a sort of ad space: it’s a great place for a tagline, web address, or bulleted list of products/services (no more than 3, please!)
  • Look at cards you like: what do you notice? Chances are they’re doing something more than all center-justified type in capital letters.
  • Leave a generous amount of white space. It serves two purposes: to show that you’re not the type of person to try to get in every word in every conversation, AND it leaves room for the recipient to write down a little note about how they met you.
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Creative People to Watch This Year

anitacampbell : February 1, 2012 5:29 pm : Blog, General Information

Drew Davies from Oxide Design was named one of the “People to Watch in 2012” by Graphic Design USA. Drew and his firm are featured in Visual Marketing in the chapter entitled, “The Omaha Cow and Snowboarding: Using an Iconic Symbol Updated with Current Culture to Create an Au Courant Logo.” Co-Author David Langton and his business partner, Norman Cherubino were named to the “People to Watch” list in 2009.

The 49th annual People to Watch list has identified many designers who have since become luminaries. Drew shared his one of his greatest assets as a designer with GDUSA publisher, Gordon Kaye, “I think being obsessive compulsive probably counts as both [strength and weakness]. OCD helps me organize information and brings clarity to my design work.”  Congratulations Drew!

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Getting Personal With Your Clients

anitacampbell : January 11, 2012 8:00 am : Blog, Interviews

Sometimes it’s easier to be professional and boring than it is to get personal when it comes to communicating with your customers. That’s why designer Nicola Black jumped at the chance to design a cookbook for the clientele of Penn’s View Hotel in Philadelphia. She knew the collection of family recipes would touch the hearts of guests of the hotel like no other type of marketing.

Black, whose work on the cookbook was featured in Visual Marketing, says that when it comes to creative marketing, “What is noticed in a hodgepodge of the same old marketing techniques are those messages that are different and usually speak to us personally. They bring a level of being human into the mix — something that speaks to the consumer in a way that says you’re the same as them.”

The Role of Images

What made the cookbook really sing, says Black, were the photos. Nothing sells a cookbook better than lush, vibrant photos of the results of the recipes found inside. Black always looks for some design element that people can relate to, and in this project, the images were what warmed people up to the marketing piece.

How You Can Stand Out

Black encourages small businesses to avoid those “old, tired, trade tactics in our marketing that every other business who’s competing with us uses,” and instead focus on making the customer feel like a friend. Avoid becoming a machine that simply spouts off reasons someone should buy your product or service, and instead focus on providing value to your customers.

“Treat them like that and you’ll find that locating those personal aspects to use in your marketing are easier found than you think,” says Black.

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Stepping Outside the Lines with Creative Video Marketing

anitacampbell : December 19, 2011 8:00 am : Blog, Interviews

When you run a website, how can you get people to interact with you in person? For, this was a dilemma. The New York City-based food delivery site wanted to get three-dimensional, so to speak. According to VP of Marketing Jonathan Mark, “We wanted to make some noise and connect with our users on a local level. As a website, our users only get to interact with us online; we felt a bigger impact would be made by coming to see them offline, and of course keeping it fun and lighthearted.”

The result, featured in Visual Marketing Book, is Delivery Man Stan: a video of a delivery man attempting to make the world’s largest food delivery. As you can see in the video, he’s ridiculously loaded down with boxes and bags as he traverses New York City.



The stunt naturally got some attention on the street. But the video in general goes a long way to show that this isn’t just another online delivery service. It’s one that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Continuing to Color Outside the Lines

What’s neat about is that the company didn’t stop innovating with this video. It looks to see what successful brands are doing in the online space, and takes a page from the best in the business. Take its social media customer service, for example. Few companies are yet using Twitter and Facebook effectively, but has mastered the art of connecting with customers through these social channels.

“[Social media customer service] was something that our followers demanded and we heard them. Social media is a  communication channel for companies, but it is important for companies to understand that communication goes both ways… We have a great customer service team so expanding those efforts to Twitter and Facebook was a natural for us,” says Mark. has also created its online version of the punchcard you get when you frequent a restaurant or retailer, and users can get $5 off an order for every 10 they place online. Not a bad deal! Here’s hoping expands into our corners of the country.

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The Power of Email for Small Biz

anitacampbell : December 12, 2011 8:00 am : Blog, Interviews

It can be hard to get someone’s attention through email when everyone’s inbox is crowded with junk. But illustrator Robert Pizzo knows how to get the attention of potential clients. He sends a unique illustration for holidays and other events that serve as examples of his talent as well as a way to stay at the top of potential clients’ minds. He’s surprised that more designers and small businesses in general don’t market themselves better through email.

“You’ve got to stay visible in the minds of clients and potential clients,” Pizzo explains. He finds email to be a flexible medium that he can adapt to the times, where direct mail tended to be stagnant and unchangeable once you approve a campaign.

Leave the Sales Push Out of It

Pizzo’s emails aren’t designed to make a big push toward a sale. He simply enjoys sending creative means of expression. If someone wants to buy, so much the better. He’s created email campaigns around Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, School’s Out, School’s In, Flag Day, Mid-Summer, Beware August, and Halloween Pumpkin Pie Recipes. He finds that by providing visually stimulating illustration, he gets people’s attention better than pushing for a sale.

The Right Place, The Right Time

Appearing in his contacts’ inbox each month proves its benefits: “A few months ago I sent something to a design firm and got an email back less than an hour later that a client of theirs requested something similar to my promo right afterwards. I landed a nice assignment from them not just because of my work, but also because I was right there at the right time. So the moral is: be there!”

Tips for Business Owners

Pizzo says that it’s important to measure out your marketing emails throughout the year: “Generally speaking, most folks don’t mind getting something about once a month, especially if it’s clever and timely.”

He says you should always ask for permission when emailing new people, and keep the content simple with no more than one image per email.

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Beefing Up Your Professional Headshot

anitacampbell : December 5, 2011 8:00 am : Blog, Interviews

Michelle Villalobos loves Sharpies. She uses them to draw charts and enhance her visual presentations on branding. But she didn’t know exactly how big a role these markers would play in her business until she had professional headshots taken.

Villalobos took a few headshots with a span of Sharpies spread out in front of her. She didn’t take the shot seriously until she saw how it resonated with her clients. Now it’s her trademark: “It has become a major piece of my visual brand,” says Villalobos, “So much so that as I follow my own advice and periodically get updated shots, I’m not able to do away with that picture altogether – people are just too attached to it, and it has too much brand equity to let it go altogether. So now I mix it up with other pictures in order to “ease” them into the transition.”

We featured Villalobos in Visual Marketing because of her unique approach to the professional headshot. Most headshots, says Villalobos, are stale and cookie-cutter. “Most of the time the photographer chooses the poses – and photographers don’t necessarily understand the strategic branding initiatives that a head shot contributes to and furthers. It is important for the subject to decide how he or she wants to be portrayed everywhere: on their website, in social media profiles, on media kits and on the web at large, and then communicate that to the photographer early, and develop a plan for executing that.”

Go Beyond the Traditional Headshot

Villalobos encourages all business owners to have a professional photographer take headshots for their website and social media profiles. But don’t let the photographer lead how you represent yourself.

“Give some real thought to your personal brand, and how you’d like the world to see you, talk to your photographer about that and brainstorm ways you can get that across visually,” explains Villalobos, “For example, an attorney client of mine was really struggling because he wanted something “professional” (i.e., wearing the traditional suit) but at the same time accessible and something that shows how hard he works. So we showed him with his tie on, jacket off, standing with his foot on a stack of books. He loves this picture – and so do his clients.”

Remember that while the photographer is the expert at taking pictures, you’re the expert at your brand and how you want to be portrayed. Make sure the headshots reflect who you want people to see.

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Book Reviews We’re Thankful For

anitacampbell : November 28, 2011 3:56 pm : Blog, Reviews

We hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving last week (for those of you in the US; I know we’ve got followers from all over the world!). It may be a bit belated, but we’d like to mention some of the bloggers and business owners we’re thankful for, because they’re helping spread the word about our book to other small business owners!

Seeing Eye-to-Eye with Small Business Owners

SCTimes highlighted Saint Cloud-based Adventure Advertising in this post. Adventure Advertising was the agency behind Northern Eye Center’s website, which was featured in our book. David Langton was interviewed about the eye center’s use of an “ad within an ad” concept, which we think is pretty darn neat.


Every Day Should Be Small Business Saturday

Dusty Bastian of As Mom Sees It brought up Small Business Saturday (go small biz!), and tied in the fact that small businesses need marketing advice! What was interesting about her book review was that she got the perspective on our book from a few different people:

Having shown this to both a business owner and a graphic designer, I was surprised how both saw benefits in the book, but from different points-of-view. In fact, I had to beg for the book back from the business owner, so I knew it had to be a keeper!

It’s important to us that designers see the value in the examples we provide, but also that small business owners get advice from the case studies in the book as well!

We’re Here to “Help!”

And we were so pleased that Anne Fisher over at Crain’s New York Business highlighted our contributor Help Remedies (whose products, by the way, we  just spotted in Walgreens!). I think Help Remedies’ minimalist design speaks to where design is headed (think: less is more), and small businesses certainly can get in on the trend.

I love what my co-author, David Langton, said for the interview: “Technology puts it within the reach of small businesses to use the kinds of visuals in our marketing that were previously cost-effective only for large corporations. Not only does the Internet make it convenient to find and hire design professionals, but online design tools make it easy to experiment with creating great visual elements on your own.”

Everybody’s Got a Favorite

What we noticed that with each review, the blogger or reviewer picked his own favorite from our book. What’s your favorite? Over on 800CEOREAD’s blog, GGRP’s amazing direct mail phonograph was featured. If you haven’t seen the video, check it out. It’s one you won’t forget.

We are humbled by the number of reviews we have had for the book, and are supremely happy that our book is resonating so well with small businesses! And we love the coverage our contributors are getting! Thanks to all of you!

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How to Stand Out in an Attention Economy

anitacampbell : November 21, 2011 8:00 am : Blog, Interviews

So many small businesses do a poor job of marketing their services. They either think they can’t afford truly innovative campaigns, or they go with the flow and do what everyone else does. Either way, you don’t get the attention you wanted.

Brand design consultants DAAKE were determined to stand out in what Principal/Creative Director Greg Daake calls an “attention economy” with its own branding: “The goal is to get someone’s attention,” Daake says, “You can’t play the same note on a flute as everyone else is playing and expect to get heard. Instead bring a cowbell to the concert.”

DAAKE was featured in Visual Marketing for its unique approach to getting the attention of potential customers. Rather than sending a traditional piece of direct mail, which Daake says people won’t remember, the company instead sent bright orange pillows with emoticons for “happy” and “sad.” Who wouldn’t notice getting a fun pillow in the mail?

Color as a Strategy

The pillows could have been blue. Or multicolored. But there was a strategy in choosing orange, says Daake: “We’ve found that we can own the color orange and we insist that it’s the one thing our pieces will scream to the viewer. At the very least, associations can be made between that color and us.”

And as to why the company chose pillows rather than pens or other traditional tschotchkes, the company wanted to signify comfort, and give recipients something they would actually keep. To create further engagement with the 100 contacts DAAKE sent the pillows to, the company followed up with a short video showing the pillow having its own adventures. Sure beats that coupon I got in the mail today!

Don’t Just Get Out of the Box–Burn the Box Entirely

Daake encourages small businesses to think creatively when it comes to branding. “…do the opposite of everyone else,” he says, “Do something that is completely strange or innovative – at the very least different. If other people are [doing] 8.5 x 11, do an odd size. If other people are sending postcards – send cupcakes.”

Daake says that overnight successes are the stuff of myths. He says rather than aiming to be a flash in the pan, you’d do better to commit to building a reputation and never compromising it.

“The best way is to relentless trudge through the ups and downs sticking to the path you believe in. That will attract the right kinds of customers/clients.”

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Packaging Design Speaks a Thousand Words

anitacampbell : November 14, 2011 8:00 am : Blog, Interviews

If a picture speaks a thousand words, how much is the packaging of a product that people actually pay for worth? That’s a question Fritz Klaetke, one of our contributors for the book, can answer. No matter if you’re a small or large company, if you sell products, the packaging is key.

“…packaging–and design as a whole–has a huge impact on how your audience reacts,” explains Klaetke, who is Principal and Design Director for Visual Dialogue, “And a small business can present itself and its products just as well (or better) than a huge conglomerate through great packaging.”

Four of the projects Klaetke’s firm has worked on were featured in the book: packaging design for StartMeUp Emergency Jump Starter, website design for Schwilliamz, website design for Topic101, and website and marketing material for Process. Package design is close to his heart: “The design of a product’s packaging is often the first thing a potential customer encounters. Their first impression of a product, a company, a brand happens at that moment (and you know the old saying about 1st impressions and 2nd chances).”

But good design alone isn’t enough for success, says Klaetke. You can have the best packaging in the world, but if your product sucks, well, you won’t make many sales. And if the formula is flipped and you have a fantastic product but bad packaging design, your product will sit on the shelf gathering dust.

Packaging Design for Small Business

Even small businesses can afford good packaging design (and it’s a worthy investment, so don’t skimp). Klaetke says the key is to start with a product that’s worth packaging. He also says it’s important to stand out from the competition: “T

he trick here is to be distinctive and eye-catching–doing what the others don’t–while still reflecting the brand/product’s key messages.”
He uses the
StartMeUp emergency jumpstart kit featured in the book as an example: “when we looked at other automotive products they all had “car-guy graphics”–lightning bolts and black and red and checkered flags and metallic effects. We went the opposite direction with a clean, minimal package to stand out in and reinforce the “easy as 1-2-3″ message.”

He also stresses the importance of reflecting your audience’s needs, wants and values. Packaging should speak to them, the way the StartMeUp packaging now appeals to an audience beyond guys who work on their cars.


Taking the “Junk” Out of Direct Mail

anitacampbell : November 7, 2011 8:00 am : Blog, Interviews

Despite technology taking marketing more online, direct mail is alive and well, just with an updated look.

Terry Holman, Founding Partner of ActuallyWeDo™ Design says that relevance, along with good design, is key in creating direct mail that gets people’s attention. His company worked with Trap Media to create a visually appealing voucher book, which was featured in Visual Marketing.


“Most of the junk that comes through our door rarely includes a ‘must have’ offer, the sort where you have butterflies and rush to the phone in excitement to place an order,” says Holman, “Far too often it would be more effort to use the offer than it’s worth. The voucher needs to be beneficial and really easy for people to use.”


Direct Mail Design 101

The first step in creating direct mail that people will read and act upon, says Holman, is knowing your audience. What interests them? What sort of offers will make them jump off the couch? Next, you need a strong call to action and clearly visible contact information.

When it comes to design, there are several ways to get the attention of your audience. Holman’s team strategically placed the words “£1200 Free” on the outside of the voucher, which made people want to open it. But it’s important not to mislead your audience: “Stay true to the offer you are providing even it takes a slightly different form than may be perceived. While this voucher leaflet did not physically give out £1200 it did offer £1200 in savings, which put £1200 back in the pocket of each user,” explains Holman.

Tracking Your Direct Mail

These days, technology gives us ample opportunity to see what offers are working best. Holman and Trap Media implemented reference codes on each of the coupons so that they could see which deals were redeemed the most, and which did the poorest. Barcodes and QR codes are also great ways to track how well direct mail does. Thanks to the tracking, Holman says the project produced a 2,000% ROI. Not bad for a day’s work.

Taking the time to carefully plan out your direct mail strategy, as well as including a tracking system, can help you reach new customers. Get creative visually, and have fun with it! You’ll end up with mailers that people talk about and use.

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Small Businesses Can Afford Quality Design, Says Bex Brands

anitacampbell : October 31, 2011 8:00 am : Blog, Interviews

Becky Nelson of Bex Brands loves nothing more than finding a way to express a company’s philosophy, culture and approach visually. Her work with To the Point Acupuncture in San Diego was featured in our  book. The brochure she designed for the acupuncture firm perfectly aligned with the company’s style: “I love that this project honestly and accurately expresses our client’s approach to acupuncture,” said Nelson.

And you don’t have to have a large budget to afford good design, she explains. Many small business owners assume they’re stuck with clipart and DIY until they have big budgets for design, but it’s more affordable than they think.

“Now that the computer and software that we as professionals use is available and quite affordable to the general public, a large percentage of small business owners seem to be surprised at the cost of good design,” said Nelson, “The challenge is to educate small business owners so they can identify good design and understand its effectiveness when trying to capture your target audience.”

Working with To the Point, Bex Brands designed a brochure that could be reproduced in smaller batches to save on costs, and built it on a template that could be edited as the company grows. Making adaptations like this helps small businesses with small budgets who need to be flexible.

Bex Brands has been working on projects for restaurants, which Nelson takes as a sign the economy is getting better. “We also participate every year in Chairs for Chair’ity, in which designers take chairs from a local furniture store and reinvent them to be auctioned to benefit Make A Wish Foundation San Diego,” said Nelson.



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Check Out Our Book’s Video!

anitacampbell : October 28, 2011 2:34 pm : Blog

The book doesn’t do justice to the amazing design work we sifted through to select our 99 contributors. In our new video for the book, you can see more of the projects that we highlighted in the book.

We’d love your feedback on the video! What examples caught your eye? We’re happy to tell you more about them in upcoming blog interviews with our contributors!

In the meantime, let’s get some discussion going. How do you use visual imaging in your  marketing? That includes everything from your logo and business card to ads you place online, videos you produce, even product packaging. What are you most proud of when it comes to your visual marketing? Or what do you want to know more about?

One thing we found out in the recent #SmallBizChat with our authors is that a lot of small business owners assume good visual design is out of their budget. That’s simply not true, based on what we saw with the designers who put together the projects featured in our book. Quality design is affordable, and it’s something your business can’t afford to miss out on.

Leave a response » Literally Wrote the Commandments on Outdoor Advertising

anitacampbell : October 24, 2011 8:00 am : Blog

In Visual Marketing, we really like companies that push the envelope.  That’s why’s 10 Commandments of Outdoor Advertising appealed to us. It’s a tongue-in-cheek instruction sheet that plays off of the common mistakes companies make on their billboards (overstuffing them with too many words, using photos of their pets to sell products) visually played on a vinyl poster.

The 10 Commandments started as a blog post, but Todd Turner, Editor of TheHangline, immediately saw the visual potential.

“We knew it could make some waves in the outdoor industry because these “rules of thumb” have never been put into a permanent format,” explains Turner, “Basically, these rules were often broken because nobody bothered to write them down in one place and make a strong stance about them. Creating a poster was another way of setting the Commandments in stone so to speak.”

But staying true to his encouragement to avoid cliche, he didn’t want to put the Commandments on a stone tablet. (Besides, who chisels in stone mass production these days?) The result is a visually appealing poster that is a sure conversation starter.

Turner says the posters have served as a great tool to promote the blog, and Eclipse Imaging, the company who printed the posters on billboard vinyl, also use them to show what they can do. “Most people are using them as wall decor which sparks a conversation or can be pointed to when someone wants their phone, fax, email, website and address included on a billboard.” (for that reference, see #4)

We’re hoping to see more quirky creativity from Turner says that they have plans to have a billboard campaign to promote their site about billboards. Coming to a city near you, we hope

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Traverse Traveler: In-Hand Marketing

anitacampbell : October 17, 2011 8:00 am : Blog, Interviews

iPhone ScreenIn Visual Marketing, we highlight Traverse Traveler, the iPhone application that has been downloaded by more than 5,000 visitors and locals to Traverse City, Michigan. The app allows visitors to learn more about local attractions, find them on the map and follow them on social media. Local businesses can post specials in the app and list events for free. The app is geo-location-based, which means visitors can find restaurants and hotels closest to them.

We asked owner Brandy Wheeler to share some insight into her brand’s success.

Wheeler owns Meal Tickets & Unusual Ideas, a company that provides “little card displays” in more than 70 hotels and wineries in the Traverse City area. Wheeler recognized that guidebooks, maps and brochures are quickly becoming a thing of the past, and wanted to provide useful information to visitors to her area through a mobile app. It is what she calls in-hand marketing: “What’s more convenient than something that fits in the palm of your hand?”

How Visual Marketing Plays In

Wheeler is a graphic designer by trade, and knew she needed to tie in the elements of her brand. She created custom illustrations for each icon, which took the shape of a tented card, just like the ones she places in hotels. She used purple for the primary app color to match the Meal Tickets & Unusual Ideas logo. There are very few apps with purple icons, so hers stands out on a crowded iPhone screen.

Each listing has a professional photo of the business, hotel, restaurant or shop, which adds to the visual appeal.

Unexpected Audience

Wheeler knew that visitors to the area would love the app, but what she didn’t bargain for was the number of locals who use the application.

“I’ve spoken with some of our Bed & Breakfast customers who really take the time to talk to their guests about what to do and where to go when they come to town. They love sharing our app with them. The maps make it easy for guests who aren’t familiar with the area to find restaurants and wineries that are off-the-beaten path,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler has plans for an iPad version of Traverse Traveler, as well as the Android release.

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What We Learn From Our Reviews

anitacampbell : October 11, 2011 12:56 pm : Blog, Reviews

The reviews of Visual Marketing are starting to come in, and we’re really excited about what people have to say about the book. We thought we’d share what people are saying, as well as what we’ve learned from the first reviews.

Dainty Squid

Kaylah on The Dainty Squid (love the name) was inspired in what she found in our book (and for good reason! Our 99 case studies know their design). Thank you, Kaylah, for taking such beautiful photos of the book. They’re exactly in line with what we call VizThink (using visual imagery to enhance a blog post, ad, website, etc).

Angie from The Work at Home Wife thought that most of the examples in the book were great for solopreneurs to put into play, although a few she thought would require more tech experience than some entrepreneurs have. Point taken. We tried to include a wide range of examples, and naturally, some will require more tech knowledge, design experience, et cetera, than others.

We also received a video review by Denise O’Berry (thanks Denise, for taking the time!). She calls our book “thick and meaty,” which, if you like steak, is a great compliment for a book! She does a fantastic job of pointing out specific examples, page numbers and all.

What We Learned

Some of the reviews pointed out the fact that a book about design shouldn’t be in black and white.

We understand. Naturally we would have loved to have full color for the book, but then the cost would have gone up significantly. There is one advantage, though, to black and white. It helps focus more on some of the graphical elements we want to highlight when the color is stripped away.

Visual Marketing is designed to provide inspiration, and get your creative juices flowing. We want you to use the case studies as a springboard to your own creativity.

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Three Visual Marketing Examples From Forbes Interview

anitacampbell : October 9, 2011 12:02 pm : Blog, Interviews

David (my co-author) and I are doing interviews right and left for the launch of Visual Marketing. One of the joys of a book that features 99 marketing examples of real live businesses is that we can point out those examples.

Lunchology lunch bagIn the interview at Forbes earlier this week, written by my friend Dan Schawbel, publisher of Personal Branding magazine, we highlight several examples from the book:

  • First there’s Lunchology — a line of children’s lunch bags that “educate, entertain and inspire” (pictured right). Who would have imagined that a mom could create a new product niche just from drawing inspiring pictures and messages on her daughter’s lunch bags? Entrepreneur Kristi Thomas did just that.
  • Traverse Traveler’s mobile app is cool from a consumer’s perspective. It helps visitors to Traverse, Michigan learn about local sights and restaurants. It also is an example of how to use mobile to expand an existing product. No longer is the company held hostage to the logistical limitations of print. Now it can reach out to people without the visitor having to be physically in the same place as the company’s line of cards featuring Traverse businesses.
  • Two Leaves and a Bud tea company’s stunning website background is another example. The company uses its own photography featuring lush tea fields from far off places. This design element helps answer the age-old question of how you differentiate one commodity product from another. Simple – don’t treat it like any old commodity. Visual elements help highlight “… its freshness, its high quality (they go to the tea fields to choose the tea by hand), and its company values as a fair trade company offering a fair price to tea farmers.”

Read the whole interview on Forbes — there’s lots more there. Even Richard Branson is mentioned. :)

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We’re Rising Toward the Top

anitacampbell : September 21, 2011 2:08 pm : Blog, Book Info

Visual Marketing isn’t even officially out yet, but we’re already ranked at #159,378 on Amazon, and #82,085 in the Kindle Store! We thank you very much for your support. Our official launch of the book is September 29, but if you want to buy Visual Marketing on Amazon, it’s ready for you now.

Visual Marketing Amazon

And speaking of Kindle, we’re really proud to have our book there. Because our book is so heavy with graphics, it had to be specially formatted to ensure that you can see all of the visuals that make our book what it is.


Visual Marketing Google Books


You can also get a sneak peek of Visual Marketing in digital on Google Books. You can see snippets from the book and the table of contents. Just enough to make you want to read the whole thing!


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Visual Marketing is Nearly Here!

anitacampbell : September 9, 2011 7:32 am : Blog, Book Info

We’re thrilled that our new book, Visual Marketing, is being printed and packed as we speak. It will be on bookshelves September 29.

The book is an idea generator. Visual Marketing: 99 Proven Ways for Small Businesses to Market with Images and Design is just what the title says. It Visual Marketingcontains 99 amazing examples of how small businesses (and a smattering of small non-profits) are using visual images to speak to and connect with customers and the public.

It’s what’s known as a “visual thinking” (“VizThink”) book. It helps you solve problems and address business issues, by using images to convey information.

We’ve got case studies and examples to get your creative juices flowing, as well as takeaway tips you can apply to your own marketing. The words are sparing. Images and pictures are key to the teachings of this book.

Pre-Order Visual Marketing Now:

Can’t wait to get your hands on the book? You can pre-order it online at these fine retailers:




Barnes and Noble









Save the Dates:

  • Join the authors at the Small Business Influencer Awards, where the authors will the book will advance debut. New York City, Sept 13.
  • Join author Anita Campbell at TouchPoint. Salt Lake City, Sept. 15-16.
  • Visual Marketing is released. Sept. 29.
  • Meet the authors at BlogWorld Expo. Los Angeles, Nov. 3-5.
  • Meet the authors at the New York Business Xpo. New York City, Nov. 16.

Interview the Authors:

If you’d like to interview David Langton or Anita Campbell on your publication, radio show or blog, or review the book, please send requests to

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The Birth of a Book: Visual Marketing

anitacampbell : September 7, 2011 9:30 pm : Blog, Writing a Book

Writing a book is no easy feat, as authors will attest. But David Langton and I have loved every minute
of the process. Here we thought we’d walk you through some highlights of the birth of Visual Marketing: 99 Proven Ways for Small Businesses to Market with Images and Design.

David and I worked “virtually” for most of the project. Email, Skype and Wufoo were among the tools that helped us stay connected despite the fact that I live and work in Ohio, and he in New York. We did, twice, meet in person. But mostly we worked alone and came to together via phone and online when it was time to collaborate.

I spent a few days in New York at David’s offices as we were nearing our deadline with the publisher, Wiley. That’s when I snapped this impromptu shot of David poring over the colored spreadsheets used to keep track of the information for the book:


David Langton

Every great book starts with an introduction … or two. Here’s a secret: we actually wrote our Intro at the end, after we had all the other content! This was in the last few days before our manuscript deadline:

Introduction Screen


more »

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Visual Marketing Book Cover Unveiled

David : May 24, 2011 8:43 pm : Blog, Book Info

Seeing is believing

The cover for the new book is ready. Visual Marketing, 99 Ways for Small Businesses to Market with Images and Design by David Langton and Anita Campbell is coming from Wiley Publishers in September. Wiley’s inhouse designer C. Wallace used a cover image by Penfold/iStockphoto to create the cover which is based on an abstract “eye.”

The inside pages, designed by David Langton, will feature a large image from each case study and smaller secondary images. Co-author Anita Campbell has been analyzing each case study to come up with just the right “take-away” tip that encapsulates the main marketing angle for each project.

Visual marketing is coming in the fall of 2011. You can pre-order the book online at either Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Borders.

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Promote and celebrate your small business marketing solution!

David : April 15, 2011 7:38 pm : Blog, General Information

Submission Art

What exactly is “visual marketing”? Simply put, visual marketing is the part of your marketing plan that involves visual media. Any type of media — print, “new”, or on site.

Hello. We are David Langton and Anita Campbell and we are compiling a new business book celebrating visual marketing solutions for small businesses. The book will contain 99 case studies celebrating excellence in visual marketing online, in print and on site. Wiley Publishing will release the book in the fall of 2011. This is a great way to get some publicity and recognition for your work and business.

What we are looking for
Right now, we are reviewing examples of visual-based marketing solutions that promote small businesses in unique and unexpected ways. Projects should have definitive results in increasing sales and marketing awareness and may be print-based, online solutions, or environmental solutions. Projects must have been created for small businesses (1,000 employees or less) and completed in the last two years. more »

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What types of projects can be submitted?

David : November 4, 2010 6:43 pm : Blog, General Information

Online Solutions may include:
• Apps
• Interactive games tools and modules
• Infographics
• HTML emails
• Widgets
• YouTube videos
• Flash animation
• Social networking campaigns
• Websites, weblets, mini-sites
• Podcasts/MP3s
• Projected signage
• Blogs
• PowerPoint/Keynote presentations more »

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When is the submission deadline?

David : March 28, 2010 10:03 pm : Blog, General Information

All projects must be submitted by April 25, 2011.

To be considered for publication we will need the following information:

1) Your contact information
2) Name of project
3) Brief desciption of project
4) A low-res image of project

Use our online form when submitting your project. You will be able to type in contact and project information and upload a low-res image.

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