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All you need to know about your Target Audience.

Target Audience is a core theme of any promotion, advertising campaign and of course, business strategy. It’s a particular group of people within the specific target market which is going to buy your product and listen to your advertising messages.

To sell successfully, we need to find these people. And surely we will start with an idea and imagination. Imagine your ideal customer who is this person and why is he or she going to purchase your products or services?

Not all consumers are the same. Some people will prefer to buy your goods and others will not. Some will love to buy from you but will not be able to afford it. So your main criteria, as always, is the capability and zeal to spend some money for your stuff.

Business needs to recognise what problem their product or service solves, or what demands it meets, to set the “target audience” .

And now let’s create our ideal customer.

The First level of understanding is Demographics.

  • What is the age of your TA?
  • What is TA gender (he, she, other)?
  • What ethnic/cultural/religious group your TA belongs to?
  • What is their income level?
  • Are they single or married or divorced?
  • Do they have children or do they support elders in the family?
  • What are they doing for a living?
  • What type of education they got?

Geographic Sub Level

  • Where are your customers located?

The answers will allow you to understand who is your target audience on a very basic level.

The Second level is Psychographics
This level is a bit deeper and requires some field work. Some marketers recommend following your customer to understand what they do during the day. (I think you can start with a few questions before you become a detective) –

  • What values your TA shares?
  • What interest and hobbies it has?
  • What type of lifestyle it has? (this is important to understand that we are dealing with real lifestyle and not the social media one. A lifestyle is defined in three main sections – activities, interests, and opinions).
  • What books or magazines they read?
  • Which sites they visit?
  • Whom do they vote for during election?

The third level is Behavioral. Dig deeper.

  • What makes them buy?
  • Who influences them?
  • What type of purchase do they love – online or offline?
  • Also, where do they read and how do they consume information?
  • How do they spend the day? (For example, people who drive the car to work will not be able to read a newspaper during this time, but will be able to get some audio information. On the other hand, the person who reaches the work by metro has plenty of time for reading, but may prefer listening to something on headphones instead).

A deep analysis of this level will help you get how to reach your customers.

Moving Forward

The moment you create a portrait of your ideal customer and research on it in real life, start asking them questions. Analyse the market. Do they like to buy your products if no why, if yes when? You may find out that your imaginary target audience has nothing to do with your product and you could make more money with a better targeting.

Once upon a time, we were working with the bra company which primarily sold one type of bra to teenagers for over twenty years. The product was very old-fashioned and we doubted that teenagers would buy anything like this. So we did a research and found out that product is doing pretty well. Except we were right, for the last 20 years, very few teenagers got it as a gift. The main buyers were ladies over the age of sixty. They did love cotton fabric, great range of sizes and super affordable prize. Could the client make better if he advertised to this group?

Want more? Read how to find your target audience.

What is brand and branding? The meaning and definition.

To find out what is branding, let’s first remember the definition of a brand.

The brand is the image created in a customers’ mind. It forms when the customer experiences product or service related to a particular company and consumes its messages through the various information channels.

Accordingly, the branding is a process which involves a lot of things. Some of them are — Name Creation, Identity creation (Logo, corporate style, site, etc.), Defining Target audience, creating Brand personality, the Voice and Visual Communication rules. Once all this is established and a positioning statement is set, the most interesting part takes place. Following the brand guidelines, advertising agency creates an image of the brand in the customer’s mind via messages, images, actions and more.

Once you understand the brand process, everything looks clear. However, you can sell with advertisement only once. All next sales will be based on the quality of the product and service. Customers may not remember the promotion which forced him or her to buy the product, but he or she will always remember the experience.

How design and photography work for your brand

I’ve been working in the advertising industry for many years. Once upon a time, I was a designer and it was a tough job. But life changed, and if you need to create a design for your online communication today, you can make pretty good artwork on your own. Here are some ideas how.

Part 1. Less is bliss.

The better design — the lesser the unnecessary elements it has. Remove all redundant components and keep only indispensable ones to achieve perfection.

  • Less means — readable fonts, it is better to use professional fonts (check some here)
  • Less means — enough of breathing space around the elements of your design, also, it makes the design look more expensive. (Check Apple Ads)
  • If you are not trained to design professionally, NEVER use this: gold decorations, free unreadable fancy fonts, and acid-bright gradients (unless you sell golden toilets to Russian oligarchs)

Part 2. To Know or not know the software.

Some people think that the software knowledge miraculously transforms them into designers. Wrong! If you just know Corel Draw or Photoshop you are not a designer yet, you are a person who knows Corel Draw or Photoshop.

The software is a tool. You have to know it without a doubt. But artistic taste, composition, understanding of colour, broad knowledge of typography, drawing skills, and many other artistries are more important then new devices and programmes.

Hint: Think with a pencil in the hand!

Part 3. Photography and design.

If you add a logo to the photo, it’s already a design attempt and it brings more information to the customer than a just photo or a logo itself.

  • If your message is more important than the photo, check out the balance between both. Buyer’s attention has to be on the headline, message or call to action.
  • If you plan the photo shoot, check out if you leave enough of space for the text in you photographs. Plan it in advance. (Check how to plan photoshoot)
  • Click some backgrounds on location to add text over them later. Let them not be too cluttered. You can click interiors, landscape, textures and many other things to use them as backgrounds in the future projects. Try to keep in mind what type of business you advertise; it may give an idea which textures you may need, or what backgrounds will correspond with your concept more.
  • Always remember the difference between commercial and editorial photography. While one product on a white base with little text may sell the phone, it won’t show the story behind. If you need a story, the creatives have to tell it.

Social media platforms and print media may be suitable for different type of design and photography. Do your research to find out which pictures will engage your audience better and on which platform to place them.

Part 4. Design as it is.

Many times you may like to use the design without any photography. And when you start to create your brand, it’s great to know how it will work via pure design; how it will work via pure photography; or how it will manifest itself via a combination of design + photography.

  • The pure design aesthetic requires a clearer font solutions, careful colour choices and supporting elements such as icons.
  • Even if we add an elaborate illustration or infographic to it, the brand message and style still have to be delivered to a consumer.

Part 5. Easy templates.

With easy technology in hands nowadays, more people can create good looking compositions. Use canva.com or fotor.com both of these online designing and editing sites will help the beginners via sets of fantastic templates and predesigned elements. Both sites have some advantages and disadvantages, so try them and choose one which you appreciate more.

  • If you want to create decent creatives, follow the template to a T. If you see four letters in the template word — use a four-letter word. If they use some font, do not change it. If they use those colours, it’s probably on purpose.
  • Eventually, you will be able to create similar designs on your own. But it will require some time, learning and practice.
  • Both sites are amazing platforms to hone your creative skills and give a real push to your Social media.

In conclusion

Design and photography are the versatile elements of visual communication. They can work independently or in combination. The illustrations, icons, fonts and other components have to be used in moderation to crave the ideal brand message for people who are going to buy your product.

P.S. Read more about design and photography in my new book “Good photo = good brand”. Cheers 🙂

How to photograph pictures which sell for you?

It’s a valid question, isn’t it? It’s actually quite easy, all you need is a creative idea, a decent lighting, and an ability to capture the image. Well, I would also add the understanding – why you need this image! Yes, it’s important. How many times you were just clicking some pictures for the sake of clicking, or passing something really interesting, and didn’t even remember about a camera in your bag? When we find out why are we going to photograph something, the idea, creative approach, and execution details come along. The keys for good photos are WHY, WHAT and WHO (the viewer).

Let’s say you want to promote the new cakes from your online shop. That means a customer will not be able to taste them, smell them, or touch them, they will only see the pictures, and read the description on the shop page.

Answer the question, WHAT are we going to shoot.  Something sweet, delicious dessert, cake! (You can start with a long description, which itself will push some creative ideas.)
All right, so let’s see WHY we need these photographs? To attract the customers and make sure they buy it. 
Then, WHO the customers are? If we know who is going to buy the cake, we are going to address these people first. (Describe them in details.)

So, how to photograph pictures which sell for you?

Option one — the object on a white background. (Any cake for any customers).
We can photograph the cake on a white background, and focus on the image, and nothing extra. For those who want to buy any cake, it may work. But why they need this cake, not any other?

Option two — photograph with the Mood.
Photograph the cake in an interior with beautiful props, create the mood with a natural light from the window, add a cup of tea, a vintage postcard. Well, that’s a little better. The mood is an important detail which adds value. Customer starts to associate with the idea and decides to buy the product.

Option three — here’s a close up of the detail.
If your cake is decorated with some beautiful flowers, you may showcase this element, and add some attractive text nearby. Well, it may work for some products, but not for all. And, it’s good to have a design in mind before the photo shoot starts.

Option four — Somebody eating the cake.
The big cake is in the background. The piece of it is on the plate, the spoon is nearby, the tea is served. (Invisible human factor). Sometimes, it may work as a very engaging photo. This option can be used for a more sophisticated audience.

Option five — Models eating.
A boy and a girl are eating the cake, they are enjoying and their faces are all smeared with cream, they are laughing. This time, we show the happiness, and if we sell for the birthday parties, it may work amazingly well.

Option six — Bon appetite!
The girl model proposes us a cake, camera focus is on the cake. The eye contact with another human may push people to make a decision to buy. It may help to sell the cake for an anniversary or so.

I can continue with the options, but I guess the thinking process has been described more or less.

Just to add even more clarity, here is the checklist:

  • Why do we need these pictures?
  • Who do we want to sell this product?
  • What idea does this product represent?

After you answer these questions, create an idea, which will promote itself with the light, props, models, and equipment.

More Pictures in my Shutterstock Set ‘Cake Photography’ here

How to create a better restaurant review blog post with your photography

There are many food bloggers who like to review restaurants and share their recipes on social media. Sounds good, isn’t it? But let’s see how it looks. Some media gurus of questionable expertise recommend that you can put just anything online and people will love it. Well, they may appreciate your thoughts, for sure, but will they buy from you, will they trust you just by seeing your images? Probably no. Why? Because they just don’t take you seriously enough. So shall we photograph with that huge DSLR, you may ask? Not, again. Photography is never about the camera, it is always about the play of light and shadows. And if you are familiar with this play, you will be able to produce better pictures.

So, how to take good food pictures or restaurant photos for your food blog with a smartphone? Check it out.

First of all the Idea

What are you going to highlight in your blog post today? Are you talking about a dish? Are you reviewing the restaurant and your attention is on the interiors, services, and clients? Are you are taking an interview of some owner, manager, or chef?
Decide what you are going to focus and make some list with drafts. This list has to give you ideas and answer what has to be photographed to illustrate your story. It will save a lot of time and give inspiration.

If you like to plan your photo shoot or seek the inspiration, check these posts too.

Planning the food photography photo shoot

How to find the inspiration for the photo shoot with Pinterest

Secondly, once you are on location — find the light!

Light is the most important element of photography. Don’t think that a photo, taken in a poor light condition, may attract your readers. Unlike you, they didn’t see this restaurant, they didn’t eat here, didn’t appreciate the aroma of the food or background music. It’s your job to translate all these experiences with mere words and visuals. And if your images are looking not up to the mark, you may create a very bad impression about a good place or a good dish. Well, no need to say, that it will neither attract readers nor help to monetize your blog.
So, if the light is so important then find it. Search for the biggest source of light, such as a window, alternatively create your own light source, or just don’t click the picture. Yes, you heard me right. If you planned your shoot in advance, you will find the light. But if not, then better click the picture of the restaurant entrance or the signage in a good light condition. Also, you may tell the restaurant manager that you are going to review the restaurant and the dish on your blog. Then ask for the permission to use artificial light to create really great pictures.

Lumie Series Muse LED Light

Check this little magic lights by Manfrotto, they may help you a lot in this situation.

And if you would like to know more about photography basics, check this post.

Learn photography basics

The third component is the story behind

The blog is always a storytelling. Let your pictures follow the text. When your fans are reading the review and enjoying the copy and illustrations, it’s just awesome. They may like to share it as well. Do not add too many pictures, choose only the best.

So, the great restaurant review is not difficult. Amazing ideas, good pictures, interesting text and voila — post is ready. Now, go on, share it with your friends and readers on social media.