How Graphic Design DIY Tools Will Make Your Life Easier


How Graphic Design DIY Tools Will Make Your Life Easier

Running a business is a balancing act; on the one hand, when you are focused on your clients and the products or services you provide, you feel confident and in control. On the other hand, when it comes to getting services to help market, promote and run your business, you can feel resentful and annoyed that you haven’t the skills to get everything done. Thankfully there are a ton of tools out there to help you with everything from designing your own website to keeping your personal accounts on track, and even graphic design. 

Eye-Catching Graphics

There is no doubt that having good quality images, from snapshots of your work to professional looking logos can really help when it comes to establishing your brand and getting your name out and about. But if you cannot draw for toffee and have no eye for design, this can be really tricky. Paying someone else to do the job for you might make the most sense, but it tends to eat into the budget and can feel counterproductive. With the explosion of new tools, many of which are free, you can do some serious graphic design work without having to spend a penny.

Things to Consider

The biggest thing to consider is that graphics used in business should be unique, stock images, those are images that are sold or offered for free on the internet are not particularly friendly when it comes to search engine rankings. It is always better to have something unique. Tools like Canva are great because they allow you to combine your own images with extra features like text and graphics to create anything from newsletters to social media posts and everything in between. It is also intuitive and easy to use. There is a lot you can do for free, you don’t have to spend money, but if you choose to subscribe, you can get access to more features. They offer a monthly type subscription which provides a lot more content, or you can work on a pay as you go system where you can purchase images and graphics that are not offered to free users.

Premium Services

So, whether you need a premium service or not is really up to you. The best advice is to explore all the tools on offer and see whether they are going to allow you to create the things you feel would work for your business. Pic Monkey is another similar offering to Canva but with unique features. Adobe Spark offers you the chance to be creative, but as with all Adobe products, there is minimal content on offer without a subscription. Fotor gives you the opportunity to hone your professional graphic design skills without having any experience. There are loads more out there, but if you want to save yourself some money, and brand your company with a professional outlook, then DIY design tools are certainly worth a look before you get the company credit card out to pay an expert.

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10 tips for beginners on using Pinterest


10 tips for beginners on using Pinterest

Pinterest is one of my favourite platforms at the moment. It has a higher user count globally than Instagram, and people are generally going there to shop for something, so it has highly engaged users. The reason for that is it is incredibly powerful for both businesses and consumers.  From a business point of view, if you want to know what your target customer is looking for, get onto Pinterest and look at what consumers are searching for. By doing this, you can promote the things people want to see the most, and in turn inspire more sales.

For example, for my venue business, it is essential to understand some of the decor trends for things like children’s parties and baby showers. By going onto Pinterest, I can see that bright decor, doughnut-themed signs, decorations and bright drip cakes are all big trends for people in this area. So now when I design my Party venue marketing, I can use those trends in my visuals and show people I really understand the party market. Try it and see what you come up with for your own industry niche.

That’s a bit of context to Pinterest now here we go with the 10 tips:

1. Before you get going with Pinterest, you need to make sure your own website is pin friendly. So download the Pinterest button for your own website so people can pin your content easily. This is very simple just google Pinterest button, and you will get instructions to install this toolbar.

2. As a business, the absolute best way to use Pinterest is to link your pins to a blog post. You want to be using bright, stand out images on those blogs that you can link back to your Pins. If you get it right, this will send your website traffic crazy.

3. Pinterest is not like Instagram or Facebook. You do not need lots of followers to drive traffic on Pinterest. I currently have 220 followers for my Space at 61 Venue account, yet my monthly unique views are at 463K at present.

4. Pinterest is a blend of search engine and social, in this sense it’s unique among the tools you use each day. So you need to optimise every Pin with as many keywords and phrases as possible for best results. You can start this job by typing in your most relevant category word for example ‘Handmade’ and see exactly what others are searching on to find that term. Then use it!!

5. Pinterest is about pinning content, yours, and also others. Pinterest rewards those who are generous in their ratios so consider for every Pin of your own content you do (linking carefully back to your well written relevant blogs of course) pin 3 of someone else’s content.

6. You should have around 10 boards filled with interesting, relevant content for your niche to make sure when people visit your profile they find something of interest. Think around your product and create interesting boards that are well named (you should optimise your board names based on customer interest)

7. Your very first board should be filled with only your content. This means when someone opens your profile they will see your products/services first.

8. If a pin does well, which you will know if it is getting repined, use it again somehow. For example, you can re-pin your own pin into another board, which will boost its visibility again on the home page, and drive you even more traffic. This is a great strategy for any content that does well on any platform really. Reuse it and maximise the organic reach with your customers.

9. Pin consistently. I get it; we are all very busy. If you can only pin once a week, do that. But don’t pin 500 items on Monday, and nothing for 6 weeks. Pinterest rewards consistency of pinning. You can use a tool like Tailwind, load it up with content, and it will pin away for you at optimise times based on when your users are online.

10. Have great on brand imagery. Pinterest loves bright and eye-catching. You can use a free tool like Canva to create the right size post for Pinterest.

I often run 90 minute long Pinterest for Business Beginners at my venue Space at 61 in Peckham, Keep an eye on my Facebook Page for upcoming dates.

This article was originally written for the Parents in Business Magazine issue 3.

SHONA CHAMBERS

MARKETING CONSULTANT

Shona Chambers is a Marketing Consultant based in SE London. Having worked in various Media and Financial companies from 2001 to 2011 within a Marketing function starting with the brand then moving to customer insight, Shona now works with small business owners wanting to use marketing to improve their impact. She also owns Space at 61 a venue for hire in Peckham, which is a base for local freelancers and small business owners. Mum of two, Shona has lived in London since 1999 & can’t see herself ever leaving.

https://www.spaceat61.com/

 

#PIB41 Pinterest your lead generation machine with Maggie Lamarre


#PIB41 Pinterest your lead generation machine with Maggie Lamarre

Interview with Maggie Lamarre, Pinterest Visual Marketing Strategist. In this episode, you will hear Maggie dispel myths around Pinterest. She tells us all about the power of a Pinterest lens and how you can use Pinterest as your lead generation machine in your business and family life.

Maggie uses her Branding and Marketing skills combined with her innovative ideas to support small and emerging businesses to connect with potential customers in order to attain an unprecedented level of success.

Links mentioned:

Cascade Avenue 

Pinterest Free Training

Thanks for listening!