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Any business owner will tell you that one of the most difficult parts of sustaining and growing a business is getting people to know that your company exists and keeping customers happy enough that they want to tell others about your product or service.

This is why we took the trouble of summarizing some of the best advice from the book “Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth” and compiling it into the free downloadable business starter kit below.

Based on insights from interviews with more than 40 successful startup founders—including Paul English (Kayak), Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia), Dharmesh Shah (HubSpot) and Alexis Ohanian (reddit)—”Traction” will teach you how to:

  • Find and use offline ads and other channels your competitors probably aren’t using
  • Get targeted media coverage that will help you reach more customers
  • Boost the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns by automating staggered sets of prompts and updates
  • Improve your search engine rankings and advertising through online tools and research

You can read key concepts from the first 14 chapters in this post or download the entire audio and text book summary (as part of our free business starter kit) below:

 

Chapter 1: Traction Channels What is traction?

It is quantitative evidence that your company is growing rapidly due to customer demand for your product or service.

After interviewing 40 different successful startup founders, Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares identified 19 different “traction channels” you can use to obtain rapid growth. While most startups focus only on those they have heard before, the most successful ones leverage a combination of these, especially channels ignored by the competition:

  1. Targeting niche blogs
  2. Media mentions
  3. Unconventional PR
  4. Paid search
  5. Social and display ads
  6. Offline advertisement
  7. SEO
  8. Content marketing
  9. Email marketing
  10. Widgets, microsites and free tools
  11. Customer referrals
  12. Strategic partnerships
  13. Sales
  14. Affiliate programs
  15. Existing platforms
  16. Trade shows
  17. Offline events
  18. Speaking engagements
  19. Community building

 

Chapter 2: Traction Thinking

One of the major challenges startups face is having a great product that people love but not getting enough traction. This is why it is important to focus 50% of your time on developing your product and the other 50% on testing different traction channels (The 50 percent rule).

Working on both of these fronts in tandem has several advantages:

  • You will get a large amount of feedback that will help you further refine your product so that it fully meets customers’ needs.
  • You can test different channels and learn what works and what doesn’t. This way, when launch time comes, you can move full speed ahead.

To start, you need to first define your traction goal: How many new customers will you gain and at what rate?

To put this into context, think about the three phases of startup growth:

  • Phase 1: Developing a product that has customer demand
  • Phase 2: Marketing a product that people want
  • Phase 3: Scaling your startup
  • In the first phase, you refine your product until you achieve product-market fit, evidenced by a high retention rate.
  • In the second phase, now that you have a product that actually satisfies customers’ needs in a way that no other alternative does, you can ramp up your traction efforts and adjust your marketing messages based on what you observed in the first phase.
  • In the third phase, once you’ve established a viable business model and attained a significant position in the market, you can focus on scaling your business to increase profits and market share.

Since startup growth happens irregularly—there will be peaks and valleys along the way—it is best to test all the different traction channels available to you. Once you’ve exhausted one, you can move on to another until you hit the growth spurt you’re looking for.

 

How Much Traction Are Investors Looking For?

Begin by reaching out to those who already have real-world experience in your industry and have a clear understanding of what you aim to do.

Investors who can grasp and envision the potential of your product are much more likely to invest in it, even if you still don’t have a lot of traction just yet.

And if you don’t get much of a positive response, remember that even if you have a small amount of clients, a significant and constant rate of increase in the number of customers who engage with your product over time is always a positive sign for investors.

 

When Is It Time to Pivot?

There are many startups who throw in the towel too early. Much of startup success depends on going after the right market at the right time.

To find out if it’s time to pivot, make an honest assessment of whether there is real engagement with your product. Even if there are only a few enthusiastic adopters of your product, the fact that they exist provides a glimmer of hope. Ask yourself: Are they outliers? Or early adopters? If they’re the latter, then you might just be a bit ahead of the market and should wait it out.

 

Chapter 3: Bullseye

Many startups make the mistake of wasting valuable marketing dollars on every distribution strategy they can think of, instead of zeroing in on the one channel that can generate the most ROI for every dollar spent.

The name Bullseye refers to the framework used to identify your single most successful traction channel. The first step to do this is to think of at least one viable idea for each of the 19 traction channels.

One way to identify viable marketing strategies for your specific startup is to do some research into what has worked (and not worked) for other successful companies in your industry that offer similar services or products.

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Zeroing in on the Target

To zero in on your one successful channel, start by experimenting with low-priced traction tests to identify those that have the most potential. The ones that generate the best results can be moved from the outer to the middle ring.

Next, continue your traction experiments with those in the middle ring to determine which channels you should focus on by answering the following questions:

  • What is the cost of customer acquisition for this channel?
  • How many potential customers can you reach through this channel?
  • Are these the kind of customers you want to target in this phase of your startup development?

Finally, Weinberg and Mares recommend focusing on the one traction channel that can bring the most growth for your particular startup phase. One you’ve zeroed in on your target, keep experimenting to further optimize your strategy and scale it until it is no longer generating significant growth or costs too much.

 

Chapter 4: Traction Testing

According to startup adviser Andrew Chen, “over time, all marketing strategies result in shitty click-through rates.”

Since all successful marketing strategies will eventually become saturated, Weinberg and Mares suggest brainstorming innovative tactics others haven’t tapped into yet for reaching new customers.

To scientifically determine your most effect channels, use online tools such as Optimizely or Unbounce to run A/B tests, which are nothing more than showing one version of a page or post to one half of your audience and another version to the other half.

In order to make decisions based on concrete numbers rather than assumptions, keep track of all your numerical results in a spreadsheet and compare them before deciding on a specific channel strategy.

 

Chapter 5: Critical Path

To ensure that you don’t get off track anywhere along the way, make sure to clearly define a traction goal that is aligned to your business goals. For example, if your goal is growth rather than profitability, then an example of a traction goal could be 100 new users per day.

Once your end goal is defined, you can then work backwards and set specific, quantifiable subgoals, along with milestones or steps needed to get to those subgoals.

In the end, what you have is the Critical Path you should follow to reach your end traction goal. Anything that doesn’t move you further along your Critical Path should be ignored for now.

To make sure you’re making progress, you can incorporate periodic assessment of these goals into your management processes and even plot them out on the same calendar where you have visualized your product development milestones.

 

Root Out Channel Bias

One of the ways to exploit underutilized channels is to analyze each of the 19 traction channels mentioned in the first chapter of this book and determine which have been ignored by your team for whatever reason.

Almost all founders have an inherent bias against certain traction channels because they believe they will not be successful, but this is precisely why this tactic can lead you to channels and tactics that are being ignored by your competition.

Start by identifying those traction channels, especially the ones you know least about. Mentors who have had success with these channels can provide advice that can lead you to a cutting-edge channel strategy.

 

Chapter 6: Targeting Blogs

One of the best ways to acquire your first customers is to target blogs read by potential customers.

 

Basic Strategy & Special Tips
  • Identify relevant blogs using a variety of tools, including Twitter, Google search, StumpleUpon, Delicious, Social Mention, YouTube and Google Alerts.
  • Sponsor small, niche blogs by offering money in exchange for displaying a small advertisement on their sites. Or get influential bloggers on board by offering VIP access in exchange for getting the word out.
  • Offer something of unique value to top blogs, such as a special offer, bundles or freebies.

 

Memorable Quote

“The need to do something unscalably laborious to get started is so nearly universal that it might be a good idea to stop thinking of startup ideas as scalars. Instead we should try thinking of them as pairs of what you’re going to build, plus the unscalable thing(s) you’re going to do initially to get the company going.”

 

Chapter 7: Publicity

Getting covered by traditional media sites like The Washington Post or The New York Times can help you not only gain significant traction, but also boost your credibility and reputation in the eyes of your users and followers.

 

Basic Strategy
  • Start by targeting smaller sites and blogs and then work your way up to the major media sites.
  • Since these sites usually look to smaller blogs to find story ideas, it is a good idea to first get featured on these to increase the chances of getting picked up by sites like TechCrunch and Huffington Post.

 

Special Tips
  • Play the long game by cultivating relationships with reporters who cover your market. Follow them on Twitter, regularly read and comment on their work, and offer to provide some expert advice to use in their articles.
  • Tap into emotions that will make readers want to share your story with others. Package your startup’s milestones into a newsworthy, emotional narrative that will make your story more compelling.
  • Journalists receive hundreds of pitches a day, so make yours clear and concise. Make the value of your proposition easy to understand at a glance, relieving the journalist of as much work as possible as they read and decide whether your story is newsworthy or not.

 

Memorable Quote

“The news has fundamentally changed. Think of The New York Times. When they decide to publish an article about you, they are doing you a huge favor. Blogs are different, as they can publish an infinite number of articles and every article they publish is a chance for more traffic (which means more money in their pockets). In other words, when Business Insider writes about you, you are doing them the favor.”

 

Chapter 8: Unconventional PR

One way to garner attention is to experiment with unconventional PR tactics.

 

Basic Strategy & Special Tips
  • If you are ready to experiment until you find a stunt that sticks, you should do something ostentatious and creative yet inexpensive. Successful startups have tried everything from viral videos and billboards to competitive stunts.
  • Treat your customers exceptionally well, e.g. startups like Zappos and Hipmunk are well-known for going above and beyond the call of duty to serve their customers by sending gifts and handwritten notes to them and running creative contests.
  • Find a brainstorming and selection process that allows you to select the most promising ideas, but be aware that not every idea will be a success.

 

Memorable Quote

“Customer appreciation is a simple way of saying ‘be awesome to your customers.’ The goal is still generating publicity. However, if you fail to get press coverage, you still have happy customers and a stronger, more relatable brand, which significantly increases word-of-mouth effects.”

 

 

Chapter 9: Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Buying ads related to keyword searches – these ads come up along with the organic links when a word or phrase is searched for. Payment is made for each click by a user on the ad (pay-per-click).

 

Terminology
  • CTR – Click-Through Rate is the percentage of ad appearances translating to clicks.
  • CPC – Cost per Click is the amount paid for each click on the advertisement.
  • CPA – Cost per Acquisition is the price of acquiring a customer after a click. This is a measure of actual purchase.
  • CPA = CPC/conversion percentage

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Basic Strategy
  • The first step is to identify the keywords that can be most effective in attracting customers using tools like Google Keyword Planner.
  • This is followed by testing these keywords on a platform like Google AdWords.
  • Then create eye-catching ads, which also include a call to action.
  • Different keywords have different rates, and an analytics tool can be used if the cost and conversion rates are in sync.
  • A small-scale test at the beginning can let you know if SEM is the right channel for you.
  • The channel can be further optimized on different metrics to improve the ad quality scores.

 

Special Tips
  • After establishing a profitable campaign, consider expanding to the Google content network
  • Use advanced tools like retargeting, conversion optimization, negative keywords and programming scripts
  • Aggregate long-tail keywords, which are cheaper as they have low search volumes

 

Case Study (Inflection)

The genealogy service used AdWords even before building its product to identify the most desirable product features, and then continued with it as the core traction channel to drive customer acquisition.

 

Memorable Quote

“Over time, all marketing strategies result in shitty click-through rates.”

 

Chapter 10: Social and Display Ads

Social ads involve advertising on sites like Facebook and Twitter, while display advertising is seen across the internet on websites. These are not only great for creating awareness, much like conventional advertising, but can also be used to push sales and drive greater customer engagement.

 

Display ads
  • These ads can..
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Ever wonder what makes certain products “stickier” than others? What compels us to check our phones up to 80 times a day? Or automatically go to Google when we have a question (rather than any other search engine)?

According to Nir Eyal, author of the best-selling book “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products,” all of the most addictive products use what he calls the Hook Model to associate users’ emotions and routines to a product, prompting them to return to it time after time, without having to resort to expensive advertising.

A Silicon Valley favorite, “Hooked” is a fascinating read that will give you insight into the intersection between technology, business and psychology. But for those who are pressed for time, it can be hard to set aside time to read the entire book. This is why we decided to make it easy for you: We read the entire book and summarized the key concepts of each chapter!

You can read excerpts from the first half of our review below or download the full audio and text summary here, as part of our free business starter kit:

Introduction: The Hook Model The importance of habits in business
  • For many companies, turning their products into habits – behaviors requiring no conscious thought – drives a lot of value. This makes loyalty as important as gaining millions of customers.
  • Once a product has become a habit, it does not require extensive advertising to ensure usage; it is linked to users’ emotions and routines.
  • The result is that users begin considering these products indispensable, which ensures repeated use and, in turn, continued success for the companies that manage to create such products.
  • But how do successful companies actually go about creating habit-forming products? Is this all chance, or is there a technique to it? This book covers some of the key aspects that any designer or seller of a habit-forming product would do well to keep in mind.
What are hooks?
  • Hooks are a series of experiences that can together modify user behavior and encourage formation of new habits.
  • As we will see, greater accessibility, more data and improved speed of delivery have increased the likelihood of hooks being employed to drive habit formation in our times.
  • The hooks employed by companies essentially follow a four-phase process called the Hook Model. Successful products go through multiple cycles of these four phases to reach a refined stage where users keep coming back for more on their own, without any need for aggressive marketing by the company.
  • The four phases of the Hook Model are:

  1. Trigger – External or internal cues that prompt certain behavior
  2. Action – Use of the product, based on ease of use and motivation
  3. Variable Reward – The reason for product use, which keeps the user engaged
  4. Investment – A useful input from the user that commits him to go through the cycle again

We will look at these four phases in greater detail in chapters after the next one, and also explore some ideas related to this whole field of user manipulation.

Chapter 1: The Habit Zone Benefits of habit-forming
  • Getting consumers to form habits related to their products can be critical for many companies to succeed, but it is not necessary for every single company.
  • For cases where it is needed, and where a company successfully manages to achieve it, habit forming can have a number of benefits. These include:
    • increased customer lifetime value (CLTV) – the amount of money that the company can make from customers before they move to competing offerings
    • more flexibility in raising prices or charging for premium services
    • supercharged growth by word-of-mouth publicity (characterized by Viral Cycle Time – the amount of time taken by a user to invite another user)
    • greater competitive edge, because the competition finds it difficult to make inroads, e.g. people continue to use the QWERTY keyboard despite better keyboards available
  • But people are creatures of habits, and creating new ones requires them to forget certain old ones.
  • This means that for new types of behavior to really become ingrained into our decision-making systems, they need to be reinforced again and again.
  • The benefit is that once you have succeeded in turning your product into a habit, another competing product will find it tougher to displace your product, e.g. Google’s ubiquity and synonymity with Internet search has meant that products that are not particularly bad, like Bing, have failed to become as popular.
How to test the habit-forming potential of your product?
  • Use the frequency-vs.-perceived utility plot. If the product falls in the Habit Zone, i.e. is used often and has a high enough utility compared to competing solutions, then using it can become default behavior for a consumer.
  • In one of the two examples marked in the figure, a single search result on any engine other than Google is not noticeably poorer than what you would get on Google, but Google is used so frequently that it is the option most of us turn to.
  • On the other hand, purchasing on Amazon is nowhere as frequent as much of our other online activity, but its perceived utility is higher because we know that every time we log on to Amazon, the likelihood of finding the product we are looking for is high and it is also going to be available at a competitive price.

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  • The position of a product on this chart is not static – many habit-forming products start off as vitamins, but with repeated use, turn into painkillers that satisfy the itch to use them.
  • Vitamins are products that do not solve an obvious problem, but feel nice to have, while painkillers are products that cater to a very obvious need.
  • Many products that are habits for us now because of their perceived utility to us might have been less important to begin with.
  • Before we delve further into the Hook Model, an important caveat: In the quest to encourage consumers to form habits, product designers and sellers should not forget that this is a type of manipulation. Conscientious sellers always need to ensure that the habits, or addictions, they encourage are healthy. We will consider this very important aspect a few chapters later.
Chapter 2: Trigger (Phase 1)
  • Habits, much like pearls, need a foundation and layer upon layer (of continued behavior change) to be completely formed. Triggers are the cue or the foundation for this behavior change.
  • Triggers can be of two types: external and internal.
External triggers
  • These are bits of information from users’ surroundings that prompt them to perform an action. Types include:
    • Paid triggers – channels like advertising that capture attention, but are too expensive for the long run
    • Earned triggers – continued media presence, like viral video and press mentions, which can be difficult to sustain for any product
    • Relationship triggers – come from engaged users who enthusiastically share information with other potential users
    • Owned triggers – most useful, as these employ tacit permission from users to send triggers like app updates and periodic notifications into their personal space

Internal triggers
  • For a product to truly become a habit, its triggers need to move from the external forms to the internal.
  • Internal triggers are driven by users’ emotions and associations stored in their memory.
  • Trying to rid oneself of negative emotions like boredom and loneliness are powerful triggers for using a particular product.
  • As a product relieves these negative emotions repeatedly, our mind subconsciously begins to associate it with this relief.
  • This gradually strengthens the bond with a product, resulting in the formation of a habit, e.g. our reliance on Facebook or Twitter for instant social connection.
  • Designing a habit-forming product requires an understanding of the emotions that are tied to these internal triggers, as well as knowledge of how external triggers can be used effectively to urge a user to perform a certain action.
Chapter 3: Action (Phase 2)
  • The Behavior Model developed by Dr. B.J. Fogg of Stanford University says that the user’s behavior (or action) depends on three prerequisites (B = MAT):
    • M – sufficient motivation
    • A – ability to perform a certain action
    • T – a trigger to prompt the action
  • Therefore, for a clear trigger to be effective, the user should be motivated enough and should be able to perform the action with minimal effect.

What motivates people?
  • There are three Core Motivators that drive behavior in most humans:
    • Desire for pleasure and/or avoidance of pain, e.g. use of scantily clad models in print and TV ads acts as a motivator based on pleasure for certain demographics like teenage boys
    • Desire for hope and/or avoidance of fear, e.g. Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign used the plank of hope to great success
    • Desire for social acceptance and/or avoidance of rejection, e.g. showing friends shown cheering for a sports team in a Budweiser ad makes people identify the product with getting together with friends to watch a game
  • One or more of these core motivators provide the motivation to a user to perform an action.
What factors moderate the ability of people?
  • Even when there is a successful trigger and a compelling enough motivation, a person needs to be able to perform an action. The easier it is to perform it, the greater is the likelihood of it becoming a habit, e.g. the boom in blogging in the 2000s after Blogger made it possible to open a blogging account within minutes or the ease of taking photos with an iPhone.
  • There are six elements of simplicity that have an effect on the ease-of-use of a product:
    • The time it takes to use it
    • The money it costs
    • The degree of physical effort involved
    • The level of mental labor needed
    • The product’s social acceptability
    • The degree to which it matches or disrupts current routines
  • The lower the time, money, physical effort or mental labor involved, or the more socially acceptable it is, or the least deviation it requires from a user’s existing routine, the easier it is for him to perform an action.
  • Consequently, the greater is the likelihood of the product becoming a habit.
How to increase motivation and ability?
  • Between motivation and ability, it is easier to target the latter. Design your products such that it reduces the effort involved for the user, instead of trying to build motivation levels.
  • Both motivation and ability can also be increased using counter-intuitive methods called heuristics. These are mental shortcuts that all of us employ to make quick decisions. Examples include:
    • The scarcity effect – the scarcer a product is, the higher is its perceived value, e.g. the ‘limited stock’ tag on Amazon products ends up increasing sales for those products
    • The framing effect – context can alter the desirability of a product, e.g. the same wine is reported to be tastier if the price is increased
    • The anchoring effect – one aspect of a product is given undue importance over other features, e.g. people end up buying more products of a brand that has a discount sticker on it, even if its quality and the effective cost might be no different than other competing products in the vicinity
    • The endowed progress effect – in case of reward programs, the closer users feel they are to the goal the more motivated they become, e.g. the ‘Improve Your Profile Strength’ step in LinkedIn has a completion bar that starts off all users with part of the bar already filled, strengthening their belief that a full profile is not far away.
Chapter 4: Reward (Phase 3)

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  • Variable rewards, and not just any rewards, make users come back to a product again and again by reinforcing the motivation.
  • Finite variability can become boring after a while, while infinite variability sustains user interest.
  • Thus, variable rewards should not only satisfy one or more user needs, but also keep them interested in engaging again (and again) with the product.
  • There are three types of variable rewards:
    • Rewards of the tribe – those that satisfy our social needs by making us feel more important and accepted, e.g. Likes, shares and comments on Facebook
    • Rewards of the hunt – those that satisfy our basic survival instincts by helping us acquire things we consider important, like cash and information, e.g. the mix of mundane and relevant content on Twitter entices users to keep looking for more
    • Rewards of the self – those that help us in self-determination by providing a sense of accomplishment, e.g. apps like Mailbox that segment emails into neat folders, helping achieve a state of ‘inbox zero’, giving a sense of completion and mastery
  • But gamification, or the introduction of rewards, cannot be used blindly to drive user engagement. It is extremely important for product designers to figure out the kind of reward that will motivate their intended users, e.g. Mahalo, a Q&A forum gave monetary rewards to answerers, but bombed, while Quora, a similar service, only provides upvotes, and is very successful.

It is also important to provide users with a sense of autonomy or choice – a reward when they feel constrained might not work. If they feel that they are being forced to adapt a certain behavior, they can rebel – a phenomenon known as reactance.

Chapters 4 to 8

You can access the full audio and text summary of the “Hooked” book here, as part of our free business starter kit:

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Do you have an unmissable event coming up?

Are you looking for a way to promote your services or new products?

An eye-catching flyer can really help get the word out. Flyers can be easily created for your events, special promotions or about the services you offer.

Leave a little stack of printed flyers on the counter at the local coffee shop for customers to pick up, or hand them out around the neighborhood. Give out flyers at festivals and outdoor markets.

If the flyer includes a special discount or free item by showing the flyer at your shop or stall, you can improve the chances of your flyer not getting thrown in the bin!

Don’t limit yourself to printed flyers, though. If you think about it, social media graphics that promote services and events, are essentially flyers too! You can easily send eye-catching flyers via email or by sharing on social media.

Create an even greater connection between print and web by including a QR Code.

So, you’re not a designer? Don’t worry.

Creating a good-looking flyer doesn’t have to be that complicated. Here at Visme, we’ve got lots of template flyers ready for you to customize and print. Much of the guesswork is already taken care of!

Regardless of the reason for creating a flyer, we suggest following some easy steps to get better results—and save tons of time.

Take a look at the flyers below:

The one on the left is for a musical event at a lounge and the one on the right is for promoting the sale of a house. They are quite different to each other but both are quite eye-catching don’t you think?

The vibrant colors and illustration of the flying macaw really catch your eye on the flyer for the musical event. The beautiful images on the house sale flyer call attention to the content and speak volumes on their own.

These are great flyer examples that you can get inspired by.

What to Do Before Designing

When you are getting ready to design your awesome flyer, define its purpose first.

A good way to start is to ask yourself, or your team, these questions.

  • What is your flyer for exactly?
  • Is the flyer meant to show general information about your business or is it for a specific event?
  • Who exactly is the flyer meant for?
  • Where and how will you distribute it once it’s designed?
  • What size does your flyer need to be?

When you’ve defined the exact purpose of your flyer, it’s time to organize the information in a way that will save you precious time when designing.

Organize your information

It’s good practice to have all your information in a specific folder that holds all the things you need in one place.

Here’s how you can do that:

We always suggest that you organize everything in a cloud-based program as well as on your computer. This is specially important if you are working with a team to create the flyer. Syncing a folder from your desktop to the cloud, to Dropbox or another program like Asana or Basecamp can really help.

If you have a premium Visme account, you can organize all your information inside the editor with the help of the folders feature (one of my personal favorites).

Create the folders like this:

  1. Create one general folder and name it with the title of the flyer, or any other name that you and your team will recognize easily.
  2. Inside the general folder, create four other folders:
    • The text or copy
    • The visuals
    • Design drafts
    • Final files

Each folder is meant to keep all the information organized so that when you are designing, you don’t waste time searching your desktop or the dreaded Downloads folder for what you need.

Also, as you are designing and downloading, keep the drafts in the “drafts” folder just in case you need to go back a step in the process.

Checklists for different types of flyers

According to the the type of flyer you will be designing, there are some points that you can’t forget to include.

We’ve got you sorted with a checklist for both event flyers and promotion flyers:

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The amount of information you include in the flyer is up to you. Below are two very different event flyers. The one of the left includes a lot of information while the one on the right is pretty minimalistic.

The same idea about amount of information applies for promotional flyers. How much information you include really depends on your brand and your message. For some, the flyer on the left might feel a little cluttered with too many capital letters. But in this case, it works because of the color block separations.

Make sure that if you need to put a lot of information, you don’t reach a level of visual confusion. And if you can stay minimal, more power to you.

Start Designing Your Flyer

Using a template can be really helpful and time saving, specially if you are not a designer. Believe it or not, some designers also use templates because they save so much time!

Within Visme, you can either choose a fully designed template or open a blank canvas and use the provided blocks to build your own composition. If you have a premium account, you can even save the finished templates for future flyers—a great way to stay on brand!

Use your checklists and outlines to make sure you don’t forget anything when filling in the template.

Nobody likes seeing a flyer with a section that says “insert your title here.” That would be a total facepalm moment, specially if you already printed a hundred of them! So always check and double check before really deciding it’s finished.

Make sure to proofread and replace all template text with your own.

If you are using a template, follow these instructions:
  • Open a flyer template in Visme (or your favorite graphics editor) that most closely matches what you need. Visme has two sizes of flyer templates: 8.5 X 11 in. and 5 x 7 in. These are the standard flyer sizes but can be changed later if necessary.
  • Fill in the information for your flyer in the template. If you have more, or less information than the template is set up for, just move the assets in the design so that your content fits better. The Visme editor lets you move everything around for easy customization.

In the example below, I used the “Cupcake Sale” template and turned it into a flyer to promote a Pizza Sale. Here is a fast-motion video that gives a broad overview of how I changed the text and customized the design to meet my content needs.

  • Add or change the visuals in the template. If you are using images from the provided gallery inside your editor, double check that the dpi is at least 300. If using your own images, also make sure the quality is high enough for printing. If you aren’t sure what this means, there is an explanation at the bottom of this guide.
  • Remember to stay on brand. Use your brand style guide and change the colors in the template to your brand colors. Include your branding elements like backgrounds, visuals and shapes. Don’t forget your logo!
  • If you need a different size, changing it is pretty simple. Just click on “canvas size” and enter the size you want. All the assets in the template will stay the same and you just have to adjust them to the new size.
  • Proofread all the text and double check all the information. Do this twice. Ask someone on your team to look at it as well. Grammatical errors are the number one reason that flyers need to be reprinted!
  • Save the design as a PDF with bleed marks. Below is a screenshot of how to do that in Visme.

If you are starting from scratch and using Visme:
  • In the main dashboard, choose the “custom size” option and input your measurements. There is also an option to simply use a common size.
  • From the left-hand menu in the Visme editor, choose text and image blocks to make your own composition. This tool is a real lifesaver when you can’t find a template you totally love.
  • Using the folders that hold all your information, input all the text and copy into your design. Make sure to follow the checklist so that you don’t forget anything.
  • Add the visuals to your design. Always use images that have a dpi of at least 300. Anything below and the images will look blurry when printed!
  • Remember to stay on brand. Use your brand style guide and change the colors in the template to your brand colors. Include your branding elements like backgrounds, visuals and shapes. Don’t forget your logo!
← SLIDE →

If you have the premium version of Visme, staying on brand is really easy. Your Brand Kit holds all your colors, fonts and logos so that you don’t have to be second guessing yourself every time. Forget scrolling for the right font!

How to Avoid a Flyer Fail

These are the things you should be careful with when designing your flyer:

  • Avoid clutter. Keep your design balanced. Think in terms of big and small or light and dark. If you aren’t sure, you can check our guide on how to create social media images. There are plenty of great tips there for avoiding clutter.

  • Avoid complicated wording. Just keep the information simple and easy to grasp. Remember that people are usually skim text and skip to the important parts. Make it easy for them.
  • Avoid using too much uppercase in your text. When there is excessive uppercase, it feels like you are yelling. Keep the big letters for titles or subtitles at most.

  • Avoid using a photo without checking its resolution. There is nothing worse than printing a photo and it coming out blurry or pixelated.

Look at the flyer below. Even if it’s eye catching it’s also quite jarring don’t you think? There is too much going on and it’s hard to focus on one thing.

Print and Digital Are Not the Same

These are a couple technical things you need to know about designing for print. Knowing them will help your communication with the printers.

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Has this ever happened to you?

You’re right in the middle of giving what has, so far, been a pretty decent presentation (if you do say so yourself), when suddenly you draw a complete blank. Nada… zip… nothing is coming to mind… and you start to sweat as time seems to slow down and that breakfast burrito you shouldn’t have had starts to make its way back up.

You’ve been hit by the stage fright fairy, and now weird stuff is happening in your brain.

Stage Fright: The Real Enemy

Charles Darwin knew a thing or two about human evolution. He understood that we were able to evolve and thrive over thousands of years because there are primitive parts of our brain that control our reactions to our surroundings. This “fight or flight” response is what has kept our species alive for so long, despite being a delicacy for bears and sabre tooth tigers.

He also knew that perceived threats can seem very real. Once while visiting a snake exhibit at a London zoo, Darwin attempted to put his face as close to the glass in front of a snake he knew was ready to strike.

No matter how hard he tried to remain calm and keep his face next to the glass, Darwin would inevitably jump back each time the snake lunged at him. He later wrote in his diary:

My will and reason were powerless against the imagination of a danger which had never been experienced.

While Darwin’s intellect could reason that there was no real danger, fear is an ancient response that is hardwired into our brains to keep us safe.

As a public speaker, you may wonder why you get so nervous standing in front of people and discussing a topic you know well. While there may not be a real threat, there is a perceived one—and that is failure; that you will forget what you want to say, that people will stare, a few may even laugh.

Of course, the chances of people actually pointing and laughing are slim to none, but that doesn’t stop the fight or flight response from kicking in, trying to keep you alive and well.

What Happens in Your Body When You Get Nervous

When we perceive a threat, a specific part of our brain gets activated. This area is in charge of critical functions such as regulating blood pressure, heart rate, body temperature, and blood sugar levels, in addition to maintaining homeostasis, memory (that’s a clue!), and learning.

Essentially, when you fear something, your brain tells your body, “Stop what you’re doing and be prepared to run like h-e-double-hockey-sticks!”

Your hypothalamus discharges corticotropin-releasing factor into the pituitary gland, which triggers the adrenal cortex and leads to the release of several hormones, one of them being adrenaline. Adrenaline helps redirect blood and energy to the parts of the body that will help you stay alive, most notably the heart and muscles.

In doing so, it takes blood and energy away from important processes, such as digestion. (Who needs to digest food when you are running for your life?) As a side note, when blood flow is directed away from your stomach, the blood vessels around the stomach close. It is believed this is what causes that tingly, butterflies in your stomach feeling.

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We mentioned that the ancient fight-or-flight response can cause a memory lapse as well. But what specifically happens to your body when you’re giving a presentation?

Besides adrenaline being released into your blood stream when a threat (real or perceived) is noticed, cortisol, another important hormone, is also released. Cortisol does some pretty important things in trying to keep you alive. It manages how your body uses carbohydrates, fats and protein, boosts energy, and regulates blood sugar, just to name a few things.

But cortisol has also been shown to impair memory. So, while cortisol helped our ancestors stay one step ahead of those marauding sabre tooths, it doesn’t do a heck of a lot for us when we’re standing in front of an audience, trying to present a speech we’ve worked on tirelessly for weeks.

But here’s the good news…

Having a memory lapse during a presentation is quite common. In fact, there is probably not a single professional speaker that hasn’t experienced it at least once in their career.

While both may be nervous before taking the stage, the difference between a pro and new speaker is how they handle this situation. While the newbie will turn a molehill into a mountain, the pro will remain calm and do the following eight things, summarized in this infographic we created with Visme (or you can click here to skip ahead and read a detailed explanation of each tip).

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<script src="//my.visme.co/visme.js"></script><div  data-url="g7m8p9r6-8-ways-to-recover-from-a-memory-lapse-during-your-presentation" data-w="800" data-h="2972" data-domain="my"></div><p  >Created using <a href="http://www.visme.co/make-infographics"  ><strong>Visme</strong></a>. An easy-to-use Infographic Maker.</p>
1 Say something… anything.

One of the biggest newbie mistakes is to freeze and panic. Having a minute of dead silence is a complete giveaway that you have forgotten what you were going to say next.

Don’t stay silent for long or your anxiety (and the audience’s anxiety) will grow. Just say something, anything to break the silence.

2 Ask your audience a question.

One of the best ways to buy yourself some time so you can remember where you were is to ask the audience a question. That question could be rhetorical, or it could genuinely engage the listeners. As an added bonus, not only will you buy yourself some time, but since you will know the answer to your own question, you will remain a figure of authority and none will be the wiser as to what’s really going on!

3 Keep up the eye contact.

This is a big trick used by the pros. When you maintain eye contact with your listeners, it keeps you in that position of authority. Try to focus on one specific person (who has a neutral if not pleasant expression) for a few seconds. This will most likely look as if you are intentionally pausing to reinforce your last point.

4 Use a summation.

Another pro tactic is to summarize what you’ve just said. You could say something like, “Now, because I really want you to understand these points, let me briefly go over what I just said,” or “What’s important to remember is…” Something like this will allow your brain to reboot and, as you go back over points A, B and C, your mind will more than likely naturally pick up where you left off.

5 Take a sip of water.

Pro speakers know they need to stay hydrated throughout their presentation and will always have a bottle of water handy. This is one simple way to kill two presentation birds with one stone. No one in the audience can hold your thirst against you, and while you’re sipping you can take a moment to remember where you were.

6 Have your notes handy.

When you were creating your presentation, you most likely were using an outline to lay in the right information in the right place. Having this outline on the podium will help you should you ever lose your place. While you’re sipping that water, you could surreptitiously scan your outline.

7 Don’t memorize.

The reason people get so stuck during a presentation is because they have tried to memorize their entire speech. This is not a play and you are not an actor. You should never freeze because you have forgotten your line.

Instead of memorizing every single word, simply internalize your key messages. Plan on what important information you want to share with your audience, and practice saying the flow of this information. Leave the memorization for Hollywood’s A-listers.

8 Forget trying to be perfect.

Too many new speakers think the audience expects them to be perfect. NO! Your audience does expect you to be highly-knowledgeable but very human at the same time. Stop thinking your audience is just waiting for you to make a mistake, and when you do, they will all point and laugh.

Your audience is on your side. They want you to succeed. They want to learn from you. They do not expect perfection, but rather an education. You could forget where you were multiple times during your presentation but as long as you leave your audience with a core message and actionable steps to take, they will see you as a huge success.

Having a memory lapse is just part of giving a presentation. If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it probably will. But as long as you do what the pros do, you will come across as a pro. Don’t sweat the small stuff, just go out there and have fun.

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There are many kinds of content that can be shared on social media, from blog posts and case studies, to photographs of the products you sell. The general rule for sharing content online is 80/20. This means that 20% of what you share should be direct selling of your product or services, while the other 80% is meant to be content that will interest, inform and engage your audience. This 80% can be blog posts from other sites, news articles that pertain to your brand values and other content from relevant sources.

Included in this 80% are the kinds of posts that will help your brand create a community and stay relevant. You can share quotes, ask questions, show comparisons or give tips. These are a few ideas that will make your followers stop scrolling and want to engage with you. This type of content needs to be shareable, and that is why it also needs to be branded. As your engaging content makes the rounds on social media, so does your logo and your brand, improving brand awareness.

Here is a handy infographic we created to sum up all the social media campaign ideas in this post. Or you can click here to skip ahead to read a detailed explanation of each content type:

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<script src="//my.visme.co/visme.js"></script><div  data-url="n063md44-14-types-of-social-media-graphics" data-w="800" data-h="6816" data-domain="my"></div><p  >Created using <a href="http://www.visme.co/make-infographics"  ><strong>Visme</strong></a>. An easy-to-use Infographic Maker.</p>
How to Brand a Social Media Graphic

A branded social media graphic is a visual created specifically to share on social media which follows your brand’s visual style guidelines. The most common branded graphic is the blog post title graphic. This is the one used as a featured image inside your blog and therefore as the image that appears on social media when said blog post is shared. For this article, we will leave those aside and concentrate on all the other types of branded graphics that you can make for your brand.

No matter what type of content is used for the graphic, it needs to have your brand essentials. These include your color scheme, logo, fonts and general branding shapes. It’s very important that these graphics represent your brand. Not only in the message they relay but also in the way they look. Having a brand style guide will help your team create these graphics faster and easier.

When creating any kind of branded social media graphic, especially ones meant to make followers stop and engage, you have to make sure the message also meets your brand standards.

Read this article to learn how to create your brand style guide. It is a good idea to also add a section in your brand style guide about how to word content and which terms should be avoided. Include suggestions of how to form sentences and what tone to give the overall message. By having this clause included in your guide, it is easier to prevent any social media fails through bad wording or unintended offenses.

If you use Visme to create your graphics, you can use the brand kit to keep things organized for your team.

Branded Social Media Campaign Ideas You Should Consider

There are so many possibilities of what you can create for that important 80% of social media content! Here is a list of ideas we will look at in detail below. Of all the types of content listed, remember that they can be created as static images, videos, GIFs or presentations. After describing each type of content, we will look at where to best share them.

  • Quotes
  • Questions
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Tips
  • Comparisons
  • How-to instructions
  • Behind-the-scenes snaps
  • GIFs
  • Data GIFs
  • Micro-content infographics
  • Series
  • Visual statistics

Are you already creating some of these? Do any of them grab your attention? Try one or two of these and see how your followers react.

When creating these graphics, look back at our guide on how to pair text with images for some practical tips.

This is an example of a branded tip post with illustrations that can be posted on Instagram or Facebook.

Quotes

Using quotes is a great way to get a brand message across without being pushy. By using someone else’s words about something that pertains to your brand values, it gives the concept or idea an added amount of relevance. There are hundreds of resources online where you can find good quotes. They can be searched according to topic, making things even easier.

Try and use quotes that are not too long and that haven’t been overused. Always include the author of the quote! Also, if the name of the person who said the quote is well-known, it will help to attract more attention online.

Using a quote by a professional in your niche is a great choice. If your followers feel a connection to the quote and the graphic, they will share it, which is one of the goals of posting this type of content.

Questions

A great way to engage your followers is to ask a question. Remember to stay in the realm of your brand and what it represents. Don’t steer away from your values by asking something that your audience won’t relate to.

Great questions to ask are the ones that will make your followers think for a second and want to answer. Try tying in current events, pop culture or trends within your niche topic. For example, if you own a company that organizes events, ask your followers a question like, “Do you love or hate theme parties?”

Another idea for question posts is to use an “answer with a GIF” prompt. These are pretty popular on Facebook, especially among bloggers.

Fill in the Blanks

Similar to a question post, a fill-in-the-blanks post prompts the reader to react and answer. These types of posts can be used simply to engage your followers or as a kind of competition. If they fill in the blank correctly, they could win a prize.

Visual Tips

Giving practical tips on how to use your products or about something in real life that pertains to your brand are great ways to grab people’s attention. Try using photography or illustrations to make these graphics visually appealing. Make sure the tip you are giving actually works! When sharing a tip graphic, ask readers if they have any tips of their own about the same topic.

Topics work great as series, but more about that in the next section.

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Visual Comparisons

This type of graphic can be a comparison of two things that are part of your brand or a comparison of your brand to another. It can even be a comparison of something conceptual like a feeling or idea.

Common comparison graphics on social media are “expectation/reality” posts. They are mostly about baking but can be about anything really. Another type of comparison is a “before-and-after” post about any kind of process. A comparison graphic could even be a Venn Diagram.

How-To Instructions

Static and animated graphics that explain how to do something are some of the most popular types of content on social media. From recipes and crafts to complicated concepts explained simply, how-to instructions are a great way to teach something new to your followers.

Videos are the most common type of content when it comes to how-to instructions. Tech Insider, for example, has an entire YouTube Channel of videos of all kinds. There is a section called “Explainers” with lots of how-to videos. And yes, all their videos are branded.

How To Use A Semicolon Correctly - YouTube

How-to instructions can easily be turned into infographics or slideshows. This infographic gives step-by-step instructions on how to brand your email.

Behind-the-Scenes Snaps

Sharing photos of your team and what happens in the office is a great way to connect with your customers and followers. Letting them have a look inside their beloved brand will make them feel closer to you and give them a sense of familiarity. Branding these photos can be done by adding a frame, watermark, a logo or even a little banner with some text.

You can also get creative with some speech bubbles. Another way of branding a behind-the-scenes photo is to include the logo or name of the company that is up on the wall.

GIFs

GIF marketing is not a new concept but it’s one that can still be tapped into. Creating your own branded GIFs can be a great way of adding a bit of entertainment to your social media feeds. A GIF can be one of all the other types of content we mentioned previously. A GIF can be a quote writing itself as an animation, or a tip post that shows different sections one after the other. Comparisons can also be turned into GIFs for a more interesting approach.

Read our article about GIF marketing to find out more about how to use GIFs in your social media campaign ideas.

Data GIFs

Apart from marketing and humorous GIFs, there are also data GIFs. The purpose of data GIFs is to show data in an innovative way. It can display a change or progress, or it can be about how something influences an outcome. Creating a branded data GIF is much like creating any kind of GIF, just that the information is a bit more formal and informative.

Lena Groeger put together a collection of data GIFs and displayed them on her website. They are all great examples of well-made data GIFs.

Another style of data GIFs is the one you can make with Google’s Data GIF maker. Google’s blog has the best explanation for how to make these.

Micro-Content Infographics

There are infographics and then there are mini-content infographics. This style of graphic is an infographic but with a minimal amount of information displayed. These can be displayed either as pieces of a larger infographic or standalone graphics.

Visual Statistics

Graphics with statistics are perfect for brands and non-profits that can use numbers to get a point across. Smaller brands can also use statistics graphics if they need to show change or growth.

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How to Use Series or Themes

A great way to attract more attention to your social media content is to create a series or theme to unify a set of posts. By doing this, you can create a bit of hype for the next post, therefore creating momentum for your content. After creating and posting these collections, they can be turned into a blog post, or an entirely new page on your site, or even a downloadable PDF.

Life Hacks created a collection of 1000 life hacks and..

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Visme - Visual Learning Center by Payman Taei - 1M ago

<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span><script src=”//uat.visme.co/visme.js”></script><div class=”visme_d” data-url=”ep8dod7r-infographic-fatigue-2″ data-w=”800″ data-h=”11139″ data-domain=”uat”></div><p style=”font-family: Arial; font-size: 10px; color: #333333″ >Created with <a href=”http://www.visme.co/make-infographics” target=”_blank” style=”color: #30a0ea”><strong>Visme</strong></a>

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How many people do you know who can help grow a new company from $200K in annual revenue to $3.2 million in three years, with limited resources?

Not many, I assume. Madhav Bhandari is one of these rare, gifted marketers who can build a business out of a few bricks—and still have time to take a vacation.

Last year, he was in need of an all-in-one visual content tool that would allow him to create quality infographics and presentations on a budget, without having to spend hundreds of dollars on a designer.

He came across Visme and started using it not only to create presentations in a fraction of the time it used to take him with traditional software, but also create infographics for his content marketing efforts.

Here is what he had to say about using this DIY graphic design tool, in his own words:

For those who are unfamiliar with Hubstaff, tell us a bit about your organization and what makes it unique.

Hubstaff is a time tracking and remote hiring platform. Our mission is to help businesses manage their increasing reliance on remote teams and skilled freelancers at scale. We operate with a 100% remote team spread across 15 countries, so don’t have a physical office space.

This is our remote team in Chicago during our annual team retreat.

Tell us about your role in this organization.

I’m a marketing manager at Hubstaff (and also the first marketing hire). My primary role is to identify our next big marketing channels and scale them, so we can hit our aggressive yearly revenue goals. In the last 3 years, we have grown our annual revenue from $200,000 to $3.2 million. We’re also very transparent about our core business metrics.

How did you hear about this DIY graphic design tool and what made it stand out against other competitors?

I was a heavy user of Canva and relied on it to make most of my blog graphics. But there were many limitations in Canva. For example, the inability to create infographics easily. Also, I didn’t have too many presentation templates and it wasn’t a very data-driven tool.

So I had to hire infographic designers to get these data-driven graphics built. That used to cost me a lot: easily about $300 to $400 per graphic and up to 4 hours spent with the designer on feedback calls.

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The money wasn’t worth it for me. Especially, if you’re in the early stages of your business and bootstrapping, I’d rather spend $10 a month on a graphic design tool than hire a designer for $400 an infographic. So I gave Visme a try.

I understand there is an opportunity cost, but trust me—making infographics has been SO simple, fast and I’m happy to have full control over these graphics.

Can you give us a few examples of how Visme is helping you create visual marketing content?

Yes, I’ll share two. The first is a freelancing trends study in which we interviewed 15,000+ freelancers and got their insights. I had to share the results in a talk at an event. I built that presentation in 4 hours in one go:

Also, I repurposed an article of mine into an infographic via Visme, which took me only two to three hours. Here is that infographic:

What positive business results have you seen from using this DIY graphic design tool?

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Getting an infographic built used to set me back by $400 and 4 hours of feedback time. Also, I’d get the infographic in a week or two. So that delay needs to be taken into account.

Right now, I can build an infographic for free using Visme and 4 hours of time building it. I also get the infographic whenever I want.

In order to make better use of my time, I’m training my virtual assistant to build infographics using Visme, which should hopefully make this very cost effective for me.

Also, looking at the full capabilities of this DIY graphic design tool, I have become a lot more interested in making data-driven information more beautifully presented to my audience. That should definitely up my content marketing game.

Which Visme features do you like the most?

Infographic blocks. They’ve made my life SO simple. It was a brilliant idea from these guys.

Whenever I used to create a content piece and had to think about creating an accompanying infographic to it, I never felt motivated to do that. Creating a good infographic would easily take me at least a week or two to create, if not more.

These infographic blocks have eliminated that anxiety of the effort it would require to build an infographic. Now it takes me like 2 to 4 hours to build one, thanks to those infographic blocks. I’m planning to create more and more infographics for my content as the content marketing industry moves more towards visual storytelling.

Visme’s wide infographic template library makes the time needed to create infographics even shorter.

I’d also like to add that their blog has helped me design better infographics. One useful technique I learned is to use images in place of points when explaining something. Here’s an example from a presentation I created using Visme:

I also like that the editor has a lot of options to present data in an engaging and elegant way in an infographic.

To summarize, the value Visme provides as a DIY graphic design tool is easily covered with the infographic features themselves. I consider the other visual storytelling features as a bonus.

Would you recommend Visme to others? If so, why would you recommend it?

Yes. If you have the budget to spend $500 per infographic, then go ahead and hire an infographic designer.

If you can’t afford to spend $500 per infographic but don’t want to miss the benefits that infographics bring, use Visme to build your infographic.

I’d also add that Visme does an excellent job at educating their users. I’m an avid reader of their blog and have definitely improved my visual storytelling, thanks to their content.

Lastly, what features, if any, would you like to see improved or added?

First of all, I love the new update on the Visme editor. It’s made my experience using Visme a LOT better. Thanks!

As for improvements, I would say that the app interface can be slow sometimes, so I’d appreciate if you can work on improving the speed there. I understand the program is in beta, but I’d love if those small bugs here and there can be fixed. Also, a bigger icon and image library would be nice. More variety.

Your Turn

Looking for a cost-effective way to quickly and easily create infographics and presentations for your startup or business? Take Visme for a test drive here and let us know what you think below.

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Several years ago, people might have thought that having your personal website or your own blog was a fancy thing and if you wanted one, you were a hipster-ish kind of person.

However, nowadays having your own website is a must no matter what kind of business you own. Maybe you have a business and simply want to reach a wider audience. Or maybe you just want to share your thoughts on your blog and reach the world with your message. It doesn’t really matter why you need a website—all you need to know now is how to create one.

That’s why we decided to create this short website development tutorial for you.

So let’s first tackle the question you have in mind right now: How do you actually approach the website development process?

People usually think they need to either get a big, fat check ready or learn how to code in order to create a website of any kind. However, that’s not really true in 2018.

RELATED: How to Create a Visual Style Guide to Help You Stay on Brand

What Are the Most Popular Ways to Create a Website?

Here are the most popular ways to get your own website:

  1. Hire a freelancer to do it
  2. Hire a web studio to design it
  3. Do it yourself (no real coding skills needed)

Let’s review the amount of resources and skills you need in each situation.

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Finding the right freelancer for your job may turn out to be extremely time consuming, especially if you happen to hire someone who is unreliable or is unable to execute the concept you’ve envisioned. Considering the high risk of this path, there are other options you may want to pursue.

Of course, you can always hire a web studio to do it for you, but if you are not some Fortune 500 company, it might easily be a waste of money. You will likely end up doling out a large amount of money in return for an exclusive, yet very overvalued website.

On the other hand, if you have a limited budget or simply understand that there is no need to waste your money on something you can do on your own, there are other alternatives for creating your own website at a very reasonable price.

If you decide to develop a website on your own, all you’ll need to do is access a premium website template, buy a domain name and pay for the hosting plan.

The actual website customization process is easy, even for those who do not know how to code or how to design a website.

So, what option should you choose? If you are planning on developing a website on your own, here’s how you can start.

RELATED: 50 Gorgeous Color Schemes From Award-Winning Websites

How to Design a Website: What CMS Should You Use?

Let’s start with the basics and decide what kind of content management system (CMS) you should choose. In layman’s terms, this is the engine under the hood that powers your entire website.

If you are planning to develop a blog, company website or a personal page, you will need to choose one of the following:

If you want to build an online store, you’ll need to choose from these:

If you want to build your own site (and not an e-store), then the best option for you is WordPress because it’s the most popular and user-friendly CMS of all.

You can use WordPress to build your blog, company website, landing page, portfolio or a personal page. For example, here are just a handful of famous magazines that use the WordPress CMS:

Even a fancy-looking site like Kinfolk uses WordPress for their online presence. This CMS is so flexible that you can start a project of any size or complexity. There is no need to worry that this platform works only for small blogs. This is lesson number one: Don’t underrate WordPress!

By the way, did you know that even NASA’s Glenn Research Center blog uses WordPress?

They credit this system for being flexible, but let us highlight the key feature that makes WordPress the best choice for you: easy to use. This is because they’ve created a product that you can start using right away without resorting to 500-page instruction manuals.

Even if you do not understand something, you will find tons of easy-to-follow tutorials on the web. And, not to mention, WordPress websites look amazing.

If you browse Template Monster’s WordPress responsive themes category, you’ll see that there are a variety of visual themes to choose from:

Responsiveness and Mobile Friendliness

A few years ago, you had to go out of your way to look for mobile responsive WordPress themes. Nowadays, you’d have to spend quite some time to find a template that is not mobile friendly.

Smartphones and laptops require the template-building market to adapt, so everyone understands the importance of mobile friendliness now. Just take a look at these bestselling mobile responsive themes:

Our marketplace is full of all kinds of WordPress templates. There are dozens of niches covered, so if you choose the WordPress CMS, you will never have to worry about looking for a decent template for your business website.

What Do You Get With Your WordPress Theme?

So, once you’ve purchased a WordPress responsive theme, you’ll receive your order. Let’s dig inside and see what you will receive with the template you buy from our marketplace.

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Let’s review the components one by one:

  • The file documentation.html includes a link to the big documentation page, where you can see how to install and customize this template.
  • The files info.txt and license.txt include the general info about the licensing.
  • The Screenshots folder includes banners and screenshots of the main Monstroid² skin.
  • The Theme folder includes the actual theme .zip file that you should upload to your WordPress dashboard.
  • The sources.zip file includes all the Photoshop source files. Feel free to use them, but not sell them.
  • We include all the files you may need in the process of customizing the template. If any questions arise, you can review the documentation file or call our customer service center, which is available at any hour.

RELATED: 16 Web Design Trends to Watch Out For

How to Install a WordPress Theme in Just 20 Steps

To install the template, visit the WordPress admin panel located at the following link: [replace with your website.com]/wp-admin

To log in to your account, use the username and password that you chose when you installed WordPress through your hosting provider admin panel.

The WordPress admin panel (also called the Dashboard) looks like this. You can see all the sections on the left and the window on the right will display all the settings you can work with.

To begin, you need to change the theme. Here, at TemplateMonster, we offer lots of great-looking WordPress themes, so feel free to choose one that suits your needs. For this article, I decided to use the Monstroid² theme. The reason is simple: Monstroid² is a multipurpose theme, so it usually works for all kinds of website topics.

In order to change the WordPress theme, you should click on Appearance and click on the Themes menu option.

This option will redirect you to the page where all the installed themes are listed, but we are not interested in these as they look boring!

In order to install a new theme, you should click on the Add New Theme option and upload the template you want to use.

After the installation process, click on the Activate button to apply the changes and set the new theme as the default one for your website.

Once activated, the WordPress admin will show you a tip right above the templates area. It will recommend you install the TM Wizard, which you should use.

The TM Wizard will offer to start the skins installation process. Simply click on the Start Install option and proceed to the next step.

The wizard will check if all your system settings are optimal and will notify you if something is wrong. When you see that everything is in green, just click the Next button to proceed to the next step.

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Even though the demise of infographics has been hinted at for years, they are actually far from disappearing.  

They are still being created at a rapid rate and people are still sharing them. Educators are using them for classroom lectures and research projects. Instructions and how-to explanations will almost always be more effective as infographics because when people follow directions that include illustrations, they do 323% better than those who follow text-only instructions.

The question is, though: How can you make infographics work for you and your brand when the Internet is overrun with hundreds of poorly conceived and badly designed infographics?

In this article, we will take a look at some of the best and most creative trends in infographic design and show you how you can apply them to your own visual marketing content to make it stand out in a sea of visual noise. We will also take a look at the future of infographics and how you can use that information to improve your infographic content.

Cool Infographics: How to Make Yours Stand Out in the Age of Infographic Fatigue

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<script src="//uat.visme.co/visme.js"></script><div  data-url="ep8dod7r-infographic-fatigue-2" data-w="800" data-h="11139" data-domain="uat"></div><p  >Created with <a href="http://www.visme.co/make-infographics"  ><strong>Visme</strong></a>
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What Is Infographic Fatigue?

Infographics have been around for a long time, way before the digital era. But, generally, when we talk about infographics, we are referring to those long vertical graphics that are all over Pinterest and featured in blog posts. Ever since the creation of simple online graphic creation tools like Visme and Piktochart, infographics have become quite popular across the online world.

A few years back, social media experts were saying that infographics had hit their peak as online readers started growing weary of seeing infographics all over the Internet. The reality is that everyone was tired of seeing bad infographics, not necessarily infographics in general. It only takes 8 seconds for the average person to lose interest in content they don’t find interesting. Considering that 93% of Pinterest users resort to the platform to research and plan future purchases, hard-to-process infographics will never get a second look.

When infographic fatigue started setting in, brands had to find more innovative ways of creating content that wouldn’t bore their readers. Infographics started including interactive elements like animations, video and GIFs, as well as eye-catching custom visuals such as illustrations and photography. Meanwhile, designers started moving away from the usual templates to create new and innovative designs.

Are Infographics Still Relevant?

Infographic fatigue still exists, although we should call it “bad infographic overload” instead. Bad infographics are scrolled over quickly without making any impression on the viewer. Well done and innovative infographics are still very relevant and will keep being so for many years to come.

Should you keep creating infographics to use in your content marketing?

Yes, as long as you’re doing it to add unique value to your content and not just for the sake of creating an infographic because it looks nice. Make sure the information is accurate, that the visuals are not off-putting and that they’re easy to understand. Did you know that including a well-designed infographic in your blog post will make it at least 12% more shareable?

RELATED: How to Make an Infographic: A Visual Guide for Beginners [Free E-Book]

To avoid an “infographic fail,” your visual needs to have a certain je ne sais quoi quality to it. As online infographic creators and DIY editors have evolved over the years, so have the possibilities of what can be accomplished.

For example, many infographics have deviated from the general vertical composition to meet the size requirements of certain social media channels. We are seeing more and more square and rectangular infographics, micro infographics, animated and interactive infographics, among others. Meanwhile, some infographics are made to look like websites, while some websites are designed to imitate scrolling infographics.

Here are some of the most notable cool infographic trends we’ve observed in the last year:

Micro Infographics

Infographics do not always have to be long vertical creations full of information. Sometimes a micro infographic is all you need to present a single piece of information in a visual way. Also, micro infographics are much easier to share on social media in square or rectangular formats. For an even more amazing result, add animation effects and save the infographic as a video or GIF.

Infographic Style Websites / Scrolling Infographics

As infographics have gotten more and more interactive, they’ve gradually entered into the realm of web design. As a result, we’re starting to see web and app development tools being used to create infographics. (Read more on the relationship between user interface design (UID), user experience design (UXD) and infographics here.

Of the following examples, there are two variations: infographics meant to be enjoyed in full website format and websites created to look like infographics. In some cases, you can’t even tell the difference!

It’s a good idea to experiment with this format if your business has important information that needs to be explained visually (and you also have the extra time and resources to invest in the development of a website-like infographic). This type of visual content usually has interactive buttons and hyperlinks to other pages or parts of the infographic to create a better user experience.

Scrolling and Interactive Infographics

These are infographics meant to be enjoyed in a scrolling web format:

Websites Inspired by Infographics

These are websites that were created to resemble infographics:

Square Infographics

The social media channel of preference for sharing infographics has always been Pinterest because of its vertical qualities. Lately, though, more and more infographics are making their way to Instagram and from there to Facebook and Twitter. This trend is very new and we think it will take off in 2018. Since this trend involves only the size of the infographic, all other trends can be applied to it. For example, 3D design and animations can be used to create quite innovative square infographics.

Square infographics are great for providing quick explanations and facilitating fast social media sharing. Companies and startups can really benefit from this infographic trend since it’s so much easier to share!

Above are some of our favorite square infographics on the web right now. If you follow the hashtag #infographic on Instagram, you will see some pretty amazing examples, and every day there are more.

Animated Infographics

Some cool infographics you find online nowadays can include all types of animation effects. The animation can be a focal point or it can be a complement to the design. The best tactic for animating an infographic is to know when to use it.

Just ask yourself: Will the animation facilitate the transfer of information or will it distract readers?

The scrolling infographics we showed you above are full of animations and in-and-out effects of elements that move as you scroll. But these are not the only kinds of animations you can add to an infographic. You can animate charts and text.

RELATED: 7 Ways to Keep Your Infographics on Brand

When an infographic includes animations, it needs to be saved in a format that will show the animation to the viewer. These include .html5 which can be viewed on any browser, .gif which can be viewed on any device and .mp4 which is video format. It really depends on the kind of animation you applied to the infographic to know what kind of file format you need.

Above is an example of an animated infographic saved in .gif format.

Interactive Infographics

Interactive infographics are those that users can interact with. This can be accomplished with clicks, hovers or even data input. The main idea is that according to what the user does on the infographic, the information will modify itself.

These infographics can have any shape: square, rectangular or long and vertical. The one thing they have in common is that they need to be in .html5 format for them to work. This style of infographic cannot be shared on social media (yet). Their special clickability features are best experienced in a browser.

Here are some examples:

Multimedia Infographics

Online infographic makers took a leap forward when they incorporated the possibility of embedding video and GIFs. With just an iframe code snippet, any video or GIF can be included inside an infographic.

These interactive infographics need to be either embedded on a site or email, downloaded as an .html5 or .gif file format. If downloaded as a .jpeg or .png file, the videos and GIFs are displayed as still photos. Therefore, infographics that include video or GIFs cannot be posted on Pinterest.

These might sounds like setbacks, but they really aren’t. These cool infographics might not go viral on social media but they will surely give your content a leg up over the competition. They can also be used as presentations in a conference or as innovative digital CVs.

RELATED: What is an Infographic? And How Is It Different from a Data Visualization?

The possibilities of infographic design have grown to such heights that an infographic can even be considered an example of multimedia design. For example, you can use online infographic makers such as Visme to embed all types of interactive and animated content into your visuals, including video, audio, GIFs and real-time content.

For example, there are infographics that have background music and audio explanations of different sections. Clicks can have sound effects and activate narrations. Animations can be used to show real-time activity on a social media channel or a counter of online sales in an e-commerce site.

Integrated Third-Party Content and Real-Time Information

As infographics get more and more digital, the integration of third-party content is becoming more prevalent. What exactly is third-party content? Well, videos and GIFs are third-party content, but so are forms, maps and real-time social media feeds from Twitter and Facebook. By embedding third-party content, your infographics can reach a whole new level. The information displayed can have so many different channels of expression.

Here is one example:

Illustrated Characters

Another fun trend we have seen is the use of illustrated characters. Instead of displaying data on its own, characters are used as narrators or presenters inside the infographic. Another way of using illustrated characters is to use them as part of the imagery of the visual. Instead of relying on charts, arrow and flowcharts, characters can give an infographic that extra bit of personality and familiarity.

3D Illustrations / Isometric Infographics

Another trend we have observed is the use of 3D illustrations. Infographics that use 3D elements are called isometric infographics and have a really different feel. Three-dimensional illustrations are often used to create one complete scene inside an isometric infographic, blurring the lines of the classic sections we are used to. This style of infographic will continue to rise in popularity in 2018, but only time will tell if it becomes timeless.

Hand-Drawn Style

The hand-drawn style isn’t just a trend in infographic design—we are seeing it in all aspects of design. Since the hand lettering and script font boom, we have seen more and more hand-drawn style designs in all aspects of content marketing. When used in infographics, this style gives the information a really special feel to it. When used correctly, a hand-drawn style can get your cool infographics seen and recognized faster in the vast ocean of Internet visuals.

Photography

Including photography inside infographics is not a new thing at all, but the way it is being used can be really impressive. A lot of cool infographics have used a mix of hand-drawn-style design and photography to create some very creative visuals.

How Can You Use These Trends to Make Your Infographics Stand Out?

There is no need to try every single one of these trends with your own content. Pick a couple that fit your brand style and see if you like them and if they get you results. Of the trends we have mentioned, some are focused on digital-style infographics, like the use of animations and third-party content. Others lean more toward the artistic side, as in the case of static infographics.

Your choice of going more digital with your content greatly depends on your brand and product. If your services are geared toward connectivity, the web, responsive design and digital..

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