How To Create a Great Impression

Whether you’re creating the layout and graphics yourself or outsourcing the task, ask yourself these questions about the finished product:

  • Does the layout and design look professional and make a good impression?
  • Does the graphics/design capture the essence of the product, content or website? Are the graphics relevant?
  • Are the graphics eye-catching?
  • Are the graphics simple (e.g., users can understand them with one quick glance)?
  • Do the graphics integrate your branding where applicable?
  • Are the graphics oriented in a way that draws the viewer’s eyes in and naturally leads them to looking at the text on the page?

If you have a particularly important graphic – such as an ecover graphic that you’re using to sell a product – then don’t just use your intuition and preferences to decide if a graphic is good enough. Instead, have your designer create multiple images, and then test these images to see which ones produce the best results.


The key to this sort of split-testing is to be sure that the ecover graphic is the ONLY difference between the two sales pages that you’re testing. The title of the product, the price, the headline, the call to action, the overall design of the website and everything else should remain exactly the same. That way, if there is a difference in conversion rates, you can be certain that it’s due to the graphic (and not some other variable).

Remember, presentation is just as important as information. That’s why you’ll want to invest time and money in making your products look great both on the inside and outside. And you’ll want to create a great impression with professional graphics in all your communications, including emails, blog posts, social media posts, slide shares, videos and more.

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How To Choose: DIY or Outsource?

Now decide if you should do layouts, designs and graphics yourself or outsource it to a pro. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have the skills necessary to produce a polished, professional layout/design/graphic?

If your efforts look very amateurish, then it’s best to leave this task to a professional. That’s because your graphics create a first impression when people see your advertisements or arrive on your website, so you want this first impression to be a good one.

  • Do I have access to and experience with the tools needed to create graphics/layout/design? (E.G., Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Canva, Gimp, etc.)

Take note that purchasing a good tool can be somewhat expensive, which may be a factor in your decision. However, what’s an even bigger hurdle is whether you know how to use these tools effectively.  Simply put, you can’t get access to a tool today and expect to be able to create professional graphics by tomorrow.

  • Can I obtain some of my needed graphics through a stock photo site such as or

In most cases, you’ll probably want to tweak your photos or get custom graphics created. However, there are cases where you can save time and money on graphics by purchasing stock images. One example is when you’re looking for relatively generic images to post alongside a blog post.

If you choose to outsource, then consider finding a designer in these ways:

  • Search for a designer or graphics artist on Google. Be sure to check both the organic search results as well as the sponsored ads.
  • Ask colleagues for recommendations. One of the benefits of this method is that it cuts down your due diligence work (if you trust the person offering the recommendation).
  • Check This works best if you’re seeking simple graphics, such as a tweak on a stock photo.
  • Post a project on, or Be as detailed as possible with your brief in order to attract the best candidates.
  • Visit business and design groups online. This includes forums as well as Facebook groups. You can then ask for recommendations.
  • Spread the word across your networks. Send out an email about your needs, blog about it, and post on social media. With luck, you may have a talented designer in your network. If nothing else, you may encounter someone who “knows someone who knows someone.”
  • Look locally. Still another way to find a designer is to post a local want ad. You can do this in a local Facebook group (search for a marketplace group in your city). You can also check the bottom of websites belonging to local businesses, as web designers often link to their sites.

Be sure to do your due diligence so that you work with reputable, talented designers. Here are the steps to take:

  • Ask for references. Then follow up with these references to determine if the designer displays a professional attitude and turns work in on time.
  • Check the designer’s portfolio. Be cautious if all the designs look very similar, as that may be a sign that the designer has limited capabilities or creativity.
  • Review the freelancer’s feedback ratings (where applicable). If the freelancer performs work on freelancing sites such as or, then you can check his or her feedback and ratings.
  • Do some Google research. Search for the designer’s name, business name and website in Google. See if you uncover any red flags, such as a designer accused of stealing work, or even a designer who doesn’t meet deadlines.
  • Ask about the designer’s policies (especially those related to pricing). For example, will the designer do any revisions for free? If so, what types of revisions? It’s important you fully understand the policies, as this is the only way to compare prices across designers.

Don’t pick your designer based on the person with the lowest price. Instead, use your due diligence research to guide you towards the designer who best fits your needs.

In all cases, you’re looking for a designer with a long, established history of providing good work for clients. If you see any red flags (such as a designer who doesn’t honor his terms by not offering revisions or refunds where allowed), then move on and find someone else.

Once you’ve selected a designer, then be sure to create a detailed brief. Your brief should answer the following questions for your designer:

  • What type of graphic do you need? Describe the graphic, being sure to be clear about whether you need something completely custom or whether tweaks to a stock image would be sufficient.

NOTE: Be as detailed as possible when you describe the graphic. Your description should detail what you envision as far as the images, colors, and anything else.

  • What is the purpose of this graphic? How will it be used?
  • Will there be text on the graphic? If so, what is the text?
  • Is this a static image (like a .jpg) or a .gif? If it’s a .gif, what will each frame depict?
  • Who is the audience for this graphic? List their demographics here, such as “middle-age women who want to lose weight.”
  • Does the graphic need to be in a format suitable for offline printing? (Note that graphics you intend to print require a much higher resolution, which is why your designer needs to know if this graphic will be printed.)
  • Do you need the graphic in different sizes? If so, what sizes?
  • In what format or formats would you like the finished graphic? (E.G., in .jpg format.)


Whenever possible, it’s a good idea to show examples to your designer to help them get a better idea of what you’re envisioning. For instance, you might show your designer the types of fonts you like. Or if you want an illustration of a dog, you might show them four or five illustrations that are similar to what you’re envisioning.

When you show an example, be very specific regarding what it is you like about that example. E.G., “I like the colors used in this graphic, particularly that specific shade of blue.”

Another example: “I really like the whimsical look of this illustration of a dog, particularly its eyes, and I would like an illustration that captures this same whimsy. Here are two more examples of whimsical dogs…”

Next step…

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How To Compile a List

Your first step is to determine where all you need a designer’s touch in your business. Use this list to kick off your brainstorming:

  • Ecover graphics.
  • Business logo.
  • Web graphics.
  • Web page design/layout.
  • Interior design for ebooks, reports, etc.
  • Layout and design for tools (worksheets, checklists, etc.).
  • Newsletter templates.
  • GUI for software, apps and plugins.
  • Video graphics (e.g., templates and graphics for a slide-share video).
  • Webinar graphics.
  • Social media graphics.
  • Graphics and design for offline content such as flyers, postcards, etc.

The above list is just a start – be sure to add any items to your list that are specific to your business.

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How To Create Content for Bolstering Conversions

A good piece of content can warm up a prospect or even directly make a sale. Here are different ways to accomplish these goals:

  • Post a direct-response sales letter on your site. Be sure your letter has all the components of a good piece of copywriting, including:

–Benefit-driven headline.

–An opener that engages and holds attention.

–A set of bulleted benefits that stoke desire for the offer.

–Objection handling.

–Proof (such as testimonials, case studies, screenshots, etc.).

–Risk reversal (guarantee).

–Justification of the price.

–Call to action (works even better if you create urgency).

  • Send a solo email to presell prospects. This is a benefit-driven mini sales letter with the goal of getting prospects to click on the link to get to the sales page, at which point the sales page will close the sale.
  • Publish a pre-launch sequence of articles on your blog, on social media and via your newsletter to build anticipation. This sequence should build anticipation by focusing on benefits, as well as arousing curiosity about what all the offer will include. A launch sequence works best if the initial offer creates a sense of urgency, such as by offering a limited launch-week discount.
  • Create a Before-Turning Point-After sequence of emails to promote an existing offer. These three parts include:

–Before: This is where you talk about the current state the prospect finds them in and build a case for why they don’t want to stay in that condition. This is a good time to create a sense of urgency for change and make a limited time offer.

–Turning Point: This is where you appeal to the prospect’s rational side by using data to back your claims. A good way to do this is by sharing proof such as a case study of how using your product can take the prospect from “before” to “after”.

–After: Here’s where you appeal to the prospect’s desire to change by sharing all the benefits they’ll receive if they order.

  • Distribute a product review or product comparison on your blog, social media and via email. Be sure to share the perceived weaknesses of the product, as doing so will help generate trust among your prospects.

Even better is if you can justify these perceived flaws and/or turn them into strengths. For example, if a dieting guide doesn’t include recipes (which is a perceived weakness), you can justify this by explaining that recipes aren’t needed since the guide shows readers how to make all their favorite existing recipes healthier.


  • Send press releases to local media as well as via an online service such as Check your local publications to see what types of press releases they tend to publish, and then model your press release after these successful ones. It’s also a good idea to nurture a relationship with the editor of the publication, as it will make it easier to get future press releases published.
  • Post a case study and testimonials for your prospects to review. Be sure to only post your strongest testimonials, which are the ones that talk about results. Even better is if you can post video testimonials.

Content is a valuable tool when it comes to building your business. That’s why you want to be sure you only publish high-quality content that’s designed to meet a specific goal.

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How To Create Content for Building Relationships

This type of content is designed to build trust with your prospects and customers. Here are different ways to use relationship-building content:

  • Send useful how-to articles, tips and other content to your mailing list subscribers. For best results, create a series of emails around each topic, and then pitch a related product at the end. E.G., “The Five Secrets of Landing a $100,000 Job Without a College Degree.”
  • Post useful content on your blog. In order to create a “sticky” blog, post tips and information not found anywhere else. Focus in and specialize on one specific topic, and become the “go to” source for information on that topic in your niche.
  • Share case studies with your prospects and customers. Even better is if you do “live” case studies that you post on your blog and social media pages, as this will keep people coming back on a regular basis to see the next installment.
  • Upload an onboarding sequence to your autoresponder for new customers. This sequence should remind customers of the benefits of the product they just purchased, and it should encourage them to use the product. Once your customers use the product, their satisfaction will increase, which in turn leads to them becoming repeat customers.
  • Share useful content on social media, and then encourage questions, comments and other interaction.

A good way to get interaction is to post a call to action. E.G., “Post your favorite tips below!”

Another good way to encourage interaction is to ask questions. E.G., “What do you think?”

  • Do group coaching on live webinars or via private Facebook groups. You can collect questions and then answer the top questions once per week or so.


TIP: Be sure to hang onto these question and answer sessions, as you can compile them to create a lead magnet.

  • Share high-quality freemium information products with your visitors. You can share reports, ebooks and tools to both your prospects and customers. These freemium offers might be “lite” versions of a paid product, or even excerpts. For example, if you have a video series, you might share one module for free. This naturally leads to your prospects purchasing the entire series.
  • Post an explainer video on your site to introduce yourself and your business to visitors. This video should only be two or three minutes long, and it should focus on what your business can do for your prospects. Focus on the benefits in order to hold your viewers’ attention.
  • Create extensive support documentation for your help desk. This not only creates a good experience for your prospects and customers, but it also cuts down on the customer service inquiries flowing into your help desk.

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How To Create Content for Boosting Traffic

You can create a variety of content to attract leads and buyers. Here are some of the top ways to do it:

  • Optimize your blog content for the search engines to draw in targeted traffic.

In order to create optimized content, you need to know what words your market is inputting into the search engines. You can discover these words by using a keyword tool, such as

  • Do guest blogging on high-quality, high-traffic blogs in your niche.

The key to this strategy is to use your author’s byline as a mini-advertisement that sends visitors back to your site. One good way to do this is to create a guest article that’s “Part 1” of a series, and then offer the rest of the series for free to those who click on your byline link. (Ideally, your prospects should land on an opt-in page and exchange their email addresses for access to the rest of the series.)

  • Post viral content on social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and similar).

To get a feel for what type of content your audience responds to the best, do some market research on your competitors’ social media sites. Pay special attention to the types of content that get lots of shares, likes and interaction.

For example, if your audience seems to really respond well to humorous memes, then you’ll want to create this sort of content too.

  • Share videos on YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and Twitter.

You can create a variety of videos to see what your audience responds to the best, including:

–Talking head videos, where you look directly at the camera and share information (such as tips).

–Slide-share videos, which is a PowerPoint style presentation.

–Demo videos, such as when you share the “how to” steps of a process while demonstrating these steps at the same time.

In addition to “how to” or tips videos, you can also create and share product reviews and comparisons, sales videos, explainer videos and similar.


  • Create and share slide-shares for For best results, watch several of the top slide-shares on the site to get a feel for what people want. Keep these tips in mind:

–Present unique tips and other information (and/or present it in a unique way.

–Create a polished slide-deck template to present a professional image.

  • Host webinars on in-demand topics in your niche. Be sure to practice your delivery a few times to create a more polished presentation. Depending on the topic, you may want to accept questions during the webinar.
  • Create desirable lead magnets to attract leads to your mailing list. These lead magnets may include reports, ebooks, videos, audios, access to membership sites, or even tools (such as checklists, worksheets, templates and similar).

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How To Integrate Your Branding

Once your branding is complete, then you’ll want to build brand awareness by integrating it throughout your business. Specifically:

  • Design your website with your branding in mind. Be sure your web developer is well aware of your branding so that he or she can create a design that best reflects your business.
  • Install your branding into your product packaging. In other words, use your colors, fonts and logs within your ecovers.
  • Train customer service staff to reflect your branding, where appropriate. For example, if your branding is based around making people feel special, then be sure your customer service staff treats every prospect or customer as if they are the most important customer.
  • Include your branding on your social media pages. This includes posting your branding in your cover or profile photos, as well as mentioning your slogan in your “about” blurbs.
  • Reflect your brand (where applicable) into all your social media posts, blog articles and other content.

For example, if your brand is built around sharing cutting-edge information, then your content ought to reflect the latest advances in your niche.

Another example: if your branding is built around quick solutions for busy people, then be sure your content is succinct so that it doesn’t take much time to consume. In addition, you’ll also want to be sure you offer the quickest, easiest solutions that will provide great results for your target audience.

Special Note: If you employ ghostwriters to create your content, then be sure you brief them on how to properly reflect your branding in every piece of content they create for you.

  • Inject your brand into your advertising campaigns. Your branding should be reflected in both your advertising graphics (such as banner ads and videos) as well as in the content itself, where applicable.

Again, if you’re hiring copywriters, graphic designers or other third parties to create your content, then be sure these freelancers are briefed on the best way to reflect your branding.

  • Create business cards, flyers, advertising specialties and other physical items with your branding. For example, you might attend a niche expo and hand out ad specialties such as pens that include your logo, colors and branding.
  • Develop products that fit with your overall brand. Let’s suppose you run a business selling software. If your branding is based around using technology to make people’s lives easier, then your product planning phase should include determining if a product idea will fit in with this branding.
  • Host webinars that integrate your brand. If you create a slide-share presentation as part of your webinar, be sure the slide deck includes your branding. If you do a screen-share, then you might want to change your computer wallpaper to your logo.
  • Brand videos and other materials with your logo, slogan and colors. For example, if you create slide-share presentations for, then be sure your template integrates your branding. And, as always, be sure the content itself is reflective of your branding.

The point here is to make sure your branding seeps into every part of your business. Even when all you’re doing is jotting off a quick email to your mailing list, you want to check that it reflects your branding.

Take note that your branding shouldn’t be limited only to the places where your prospects and customers will see it. Your branding should be deeply integrated into your business so that everyone is aware of it. This includes:


  • Reflecting your branding when you’re talking to marketing partners, such as affiliates or joint venture partners.
  • Integrating your branding into your physical office space. If you’re the only person working the business, that’s okay – integrating your branding into your office space helps you keep your branding at the forefront of your mind. However, it’s especially important for your branding to be visible if you have employees working out of your office and/or you have customers visiting.

However, one instance where you’ll want to avoid reflecting your branding is in your market research, such as customer surveys. That’s because your branding could skew your results.

Bottom line…

Invest time in developing your branding strategy, as this effort will pay off over the long term.

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Previous: How To Illustrate Your Brand

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How To Illustrate Your Brand

Once you know the feeling you want your brand to evoke, then it’s time to illustrate this feeling with colors, a logo, and a slogan.

  • Designate colors to reflect your branding. These colors will appear on your logo and throughout your business.

If you’re not sure what colors work to reflect your branding, then look around at other well-known brands. For example, if you’re looking at how to represent decadence/indulgence, then check out a company like Godiva. Or if you’re looking at how to represent love/security, then check out companies like Pampers (which sell diapers).

  • Design a logo that reflects your brand. Hire a professional logo designer for best results.

TIP: To find a designer, you can search Google for “logo designer.” You can also post on a freelancing site such as or Or you might try a specialty site such as, which lets you run contests that get multiple designers competing to create your logo.

  • Draft a slogan that captures your brand’s feeling.  Your slogan should be succinct and compelling by sharing a main benefit. Once again, it’s a good idea to turn to a professional if you struggle with this step.

Note: for inspiration, look at popular real-life slogans both past and present. For example:

We try harder.

Fly the friendly skies.

Mountain-grown coffee.

Better ingredients, better pizza.

  • Develop your branding. You may want to test different branding strategies to see which ones your audience responds to the best.


A focus group or survey will give you some insight into what your audience wants. However, the best way to determine what really works is by letting your target market vote with their wallets. This means running a/b split-tests to see which branding gets people taking out their wallets more often.

For example, you might set up two identical sales pages for a product, with the ONLY difference between these two pages being your branding (colors/logo). You can then see which branding your audience responds to the best.

Now the next component of building your brand…

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How To Identify Your Brand’s Feeling

A brand is about the feeling you want your customers to experience when they think about or use your products. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What emotions does my product naturally evoke?
  • What emotions would I like my audience to feel when using my products?
  • What emotions are important to my audience?
  • What emotions do my competitors’ brands evoke?
  • Which emotions are a good fit with my product, company culture and overall business?

Here are ways to determine which emotions are important to your audience:

  • Brainstorm. Sometimes common sense tells you which emotions are appropriate for a product and which are not appropriate.

Let’s suppose you’re selling baby products. It makes absolutely no sense to create a brand based on a feeling of power, as most people don’t associate this feeling with babies. Common sense tells you that emotions such as joy, love and security are a much better fit for baby-related products.

  • Ask your customers what they think of or how they feel when they use your product.

Note: the key here is to be sure you’re asking open-ended questions that aren’t skewed in any way. In other words, you don’t want to create leading questions. Oftentimes people who take surveys tell you what they think you want to hear (they’re people pleasers), or they’re simply susceptible to suggestion. You want to make sure your questions are neutral/unbiased.

Let me give you an exaggerated example. Imagine if you created a question like this: “Many customers feel joy when they use this product. Do you feel joy too?”

This is a leading question, because you’re going to have a higher-than normal percentage of people saying yes because they want to conform and be like others who feel joy.

Instead, you can simply ask: “What sort of emotions do you experience when you use this product?” or, “How do you feel when you use this product?”

That way, you aren’t leading people to a specific answer.

  • Eavesdrop on your prospects. Read their product reviews, group discussions and blog comments to get a sense of what’s important to your audience.


For example, let’s suppose you’re selling fitness-related products.  You might read product reviews on Amazon for similar products. Perhaps you’ll discover customers talking about feeling healthier, more attractive, or even happier when they’re using the products.

You can also go offline to learn more about how people feel. For example, if you’re selling fitness equipment, then you might go to a fitness gym, workout alongside your market, and casually talk to people who’re using the equipment. This will give you some insight into how they feel or how they want to feel.

Here’s the next step in building your brand…

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