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10 tips for creating effective communication materials

When creating advertising material for your business, it is
vital to consider how you will best speak to your audience.

Here are 10 tips for communicating effectively in your marketing materials.

1. Identity your audience

Not everyone is going to be a potential customer for your products and services. You’ve likely
heard the phrase “selling ice to eskimos”. It’s essential in business to identify your target
audience, the group of people or organisations who are most likely to buy from your
company.

2. Tailor your message to the target audience

It is often not possible, or beneficial, to direct your message to everyone. By trying to be
everything to everybody, the material risks becoming not much to most people. Focus on your
target audience. In some industries (such as banking) a business may have several,
completely different, target audiences (young couples vs retirees).

3. Identify your medium

Understanding who your target audience is will help determine the medium best suited for
your communication. Different audiences are more aware of, and responsive to, messages
delivered in different ways. Consider the rise in social media versus the decline in daily
newspapers, along with the respective age groups who might access these forms of media.

4. Know your competitors

By understanding how your competitors communicate, you may be able to contrast your
medium or materials to theirs. Know what claims your competitors make, and how you can
set yourself apart by offering different or better products and services.

5. Advertise your benefits

The features and benefits of your business that set you apart from your competitors -- that
make you unique -- need to be at the forefront of your communications. These benefits form
the focus when writing all your communication material. Remember, clients buy benefits, not
products or services.

6. Keep the message focussed and simple

The simpler a message, the easier it is to take in and remember. The most effective ads are
usually those with minimal words and a simple, clean appearance. Audiences don’t have long
attention spans, so your message needs to be identifiable before the audience tunes out. This
applies to all forms of communication -- short and sweet.

7. Capture your audience’s attention

You may have targeted your message to your target audience, but before the message can
even be communicated, you need to make sure the audience notices your materials. The
heading may be the first thing the audience sees, so make it interesting. Ensure that your
materials visually speak the language of your target audience.

8. Make it stand out

Careful use of colour in your branding will help to differentiate your material from that of your
competitors. Consistent use of colour will build a strong, instantly recognised identity that will
enable your potential customers to identify your products and materials quickly.

9. Maintain the look

Constantly changing the look and feel of your material will only result in confusing your target
audience. Many businesses make the mistake of becoming bored with their own branding,
mistakenly assuming that consumers feel the same way. A consistent brand is essential in
maintaining brand recognition, which is an important element of standing out from your
competitors.

10. Ensure that others maintain your look

To ensure that graphic designers -- and even your own staff -- maintain your branding,
develop a style guide that outlines the correct usage of colours, fonts and visual elements in
all your materials. And lead by example -- always stick to the branding specifications yourself.
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