How to Make Boring Facts and Figures Boost Sales

You’ve grabbed a few minutes during lunch to take a quick look at that investment packet you requested. You rip open the envelope, pull out the cover letter, and this is the first thing you see:

“Thank you for your interest in our real estate investment service. As of this writing, housing starts in Harrin County rose 50 percent last year to 1,200, up from 800 the previous year. That 2008 figure was an increase of 33 percent over the 2007 figure of 600 housing starts, which itself was up 50 percent over 2006′s 400 starts. In 2005, housing starts increased 33 percent over the 2004 figure of 300.”

OY! By the time you’ve slogged through that puppy you feel your eyelids twitching and your temples thumping. You toss the packet aside for later. Unfortunately, the chances that you’ll pick it up again are next to none. And that company just lost a sale.

Now, here’s the million-dollar question. Are you making the same mistake with your promos?

Let’s face it. Too many raw numbers can cause MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) Syndrome. And when that happens, readers have the perfect excuse to bail out.

Plus, numbers appeal to the analytical side of the brain — the left brain. And sales are made by appealing to the right brain — the part that  deals with emotions, intuition, symbolism, and art.

Still, numbers and statistics can add a great deal of credibility to your claims.

So how do you present them without bogging down your copy? You do it with right-brain friendly “infographics.”

Infographics are charts, graphs, and tables that present data in a simplified form. They help readers understand the information faster and remember it longer. They also help break up the copy and make it more visually appealing.

So, how do you decide which infographics to use in your promotions? And how can you “dress them up” to make them visually interesting?

Let’s take a look at the ones you’re most likely to use:

1. Pie Chart

The pie chart depicts the proportion of parts to the whole. It is circular (like a pie), with wedges cut in various sizes to illustrate percentages. For instance, you might use a pie chart to show how a business’s budget is distributed between salaries, supplies, building maintenance, and so on.

Design Tips: Avoid splitting a pie chart into more than eight pieces. More than eight, and the pieces become too small to recognize or label. You can use a screen tint or bold color on the most important piece of the pie, or pull that piece partially out to separate it. You can also tilt the pie, add a shadow, or try a three-dimensional effect.

2. Bar Chart

The bar chart displays the relative quantity, size, or frequency of data. You might use a bar chart to compare:

  • opposites (e.g., income vs. expenses over a period of time)
  • quantities (e.g., the number of active members in several organizations)
  • averages (e.g., the average amount of money spent on direct-mail campaigns over a five-year period)

Design Tips: Avoid having too many bars or they’ll look too thin. You could add a drop shadow, a three-dimensional effect, or a screen tint to make them stand out from the graph behind them. Or you could replace the bars with illustrations — maybe stacks of coins, chimneys, or building silhouettes.

3. Line Graph

The line graph shows changes over time. You draw lines from point to point to show progress made. Line graphs are frequently used, for example, to chart the price of a stock.

Design Tips: Avoid using more than three lines in one graph, or it will become confusing. You can use different colors or screen tints to help separate the lines from each other. For added interest, you might put the graph inside an illustration.

4. Table

The table gives more precise information — and a larger amount of information — than a chart or graph. Tables are left-brain devices. Readers need to study a table rather than merely glance at it. So  use it:

  • when readers need exact numbers, not just lines, bars, or pieces of a pie
  • when you have too much information to condense into a chart
  • when readers are already used to similar information being presented in tabular form (such as an expense report).

Design Tips: Use a different color, a screen tint, a wider border, or a double-rule to highlight rows or columns that should stand out.

When building your infographic, you’ll want to include a legend next to the graphic or labels within the graphic. To help readers understand what they’re looking at, add a caption, just as you’d add one to a photograph.

The infographic isn’t the only design element you can use in your promotions to increase sales. Stay tuned for more articles on design that sells right here.

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Are You Aware of These 3 Critical Travel Web Design Flaws?

Perhaps you feel a bit confused about what to look for when finding a travel web design company, especially since there are so many of them, and the price range is so broad—from FREE to tens of thousands of dollars. So, we’d like to help you out by revealing to you the 3 most critical web design flaws that plague most modern travel websites so you know exactly what to look for.

Web Design Flaw #1 – Lack of Strategic Marketing Content

Most travel web design companies don’t provide content for your website. In fact, they usually ask you to provide them with the text and content for your website because they’re just designers, and not marketing consultants. Even if they do write content for you, it’s usually ineffective because they’re not trained as marketing copywriters so they always use the 3 Forbidden Phrases that cause dismal results.

You see, the most marketing leverage available in your website is in the content. The old adage, Copy is King, is just as true for marketing online as it is offline. For example our travel web design customers can get anywhere from 4 to 10 times better response—even more—from their marketing materials just by having us re-write the content. We take them through an advanced, scientifically-based consultative process to create strategic marketing messages so that your customers and prospects buy from you and not your competitors. You can learn more about this by clicking on the Bottom Line Profits™ link on this website.

Travel web design flaw #2 – lack of properly scripted videos

Video is one of the most powerful means to communicate quickly and effectively with your target audience. The problem with web videos created by most design companies in travel, however, is that the the videos they produce are all riddled with the 3 Forbidden Phrases and they’re usually not created to achieve a particular marketing goal. At Anchor Marketing, we include video production in all of our web design packages, and we have one of our marketing consultants properly script the video using our advanced scientific process. You can talk to one of our Account Executives for some case studies with existing clients.

Travel web design flaw #3 – Outdated coding

Did you know that at current adoption rates, mobile access to the internet has now surpassed desktop access? To ensure that mobile internet users can access your website, it must be HTML5 compliant, meaning that your site should not include Flash or other outdated technology. At Anchor Marketing, all of our websites are HTML5 compliant, and even our videos are all encoded to ensure that they play back properly on iPads, iPhones, and other mobile devices. Our travel Web Design simply cannot be beat.

Before you invest in a website for your company, be sure to download the Website Design Checklist. This easy-to-understand report will walk you through everything you need to ensure that your next website is a powerful marketing tool that serves your company for years to come.

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5 Reasons Why You Don’t Want a Custom-Designed Website

If you’ve been wondering whether or not you should “cough up the big bucks” to have a web development company make a brand new website for your company, then please read the information below.

The following “5 reasons” will save you a lot of time, money, effort, and frustration:

1. Nice-Looking Websites Are Not That Valuable

If you think you need a nice looking website, then you really don’t understand the point of a website in the first place. Unfortunately, too many business owners think that their website should be a place where somebody can find out more information about their business—like an online brochure.

This is the wrong perspective. You should consider your website to be a marketing tool—that is, an educational powerhouse that actually makes you real money because it causes your prospects to draw this conclusion, “I’d have to be an absolute fool to do business with anybody else but you regardless of price.” In order to have this effect on your prospects and clients, you need to have the right content and message on your website. If you have the right content and message, then the design basically doesn’t matter—as long as the design is not terrible or distracting, your website will be effective.

2. Custom Web Designs Take Too Long To Develop Today

The best way to get a website built quickly is to use an existing template. There are many incredible templates created on a number of different platforms like: Joomla, WordPress, RapidWeaver, etc. that can be customized and ready to go for your business within days instead of weeks or months. Why wait for endless revisions on a custom design, when you can simply pick a nice-looking template and get started NOW?

I know that some people worry that their website will look like other websites on the internet if you use a template. However, this is an illegitimate concern. The likelihood that someone looking up your business will recognize your website as being similar to another website using the same template is probably statistically less likely than being eaten by a shark. There are so many websites out there (into the millions) and furthermore, you can still customize your template to make it unique—so don’t let a custom web developer pressure you into their high priced custom designs by telling you that custom is the “only way to go” to avoid looking like other websites out there.

3. Custom Web Designs Cost Too Much Money

If you want to give away tens of thousands of dollars for no good reason to a custom web development firm so that you can have a custom web design that doesn’t make you any actual money, then go for it! It’s your money. But think about this—you can have a website that is just as aesthetically appealing as a custom design for 50% to 75% less by simply using a template. Remember, the content on the website matters a thousand times more than the design.

4. Custom Websites Cannot Be Easily Changed

If you use a template-based website, you can usually make complete changes to the look-and-feel of your entire website in a day or two (in some cases it can be done in a matter of seconds). That’s right, a few clicks and you have a completely new website! This can be done quickly and inexpensively if your website is starting to look dated, or if you just want a new design. With a custom website, you’re going to have to start from scratch and spend tens of thousands of dollars again.

5. Web Designers Don’t Know How To Create Valuable Content

There is a big problem in the web design industry that is not really being addressed, though it is easily explained and understood. Here it is: Web designers are not marketing consultants or copywriters and they usually have no idea how to create, or help you create, good content that actually generates sales for you.

On the flip side, a good marketing consultant or copywriter who does know how to create good content and craft powerful, strategic, marketing messages usually has no idea how to design a nice looking website. So, you end up with one of the following: a nice looking website with worthless content, or a website with great content and a strong marketing message that looks like garbage. It’s a real problem.

The best way to solve this problem is to work with an agency that has both the web designers who can quickly modify and customize existing templates and marketing consultants in house who both share the same vision for your company’s website. This way, they can both focus on their individual and unique competencies, as long as they both are looking to create a website with the purpose of being used as an effective marketing tool, and not just a fancy online brochure.

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