Let’s do a quick social experiment. Look at the front cover of this magazine.
Do you like it?
Whatever your answer (and I hope you said yes), chances are you made up your mind within 1/20th of a second.
First Impressions Mean More Than You Might Think
Researchers at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, conducted a fascinating experiment on how quickly people judge a business based on the look of its website.
First, they showed volunteers the briefest glimpse of pages that had already been rated as either easy on the eye or visually jarring. They found that study participants developed an opinion within the first 50 milliseconds of viewing the website.
Then, they asked them to rate the website for visual appeal on a sliding scale.
Here’s what was incredible: Even though the participants had seen the image for just 0.05 seconds, their verdicts matched those of the folks who’d seen the page for longer.
What this means for you is that, unless you nail it with your first impression, your visitors may jump off your website before they even have a chance to learn about the value you offer.
Great Design Says More About Your Value Than Anything Else
There’s also a psychological phenomenon that occurs when somebody has a positive first impression of your business card, website, brochure, or even video.
It’s called the “halo effect.” It means that people tend to overlook minor faults if the whole picture is pleasing. If you have a great website design, visitors will actually rate your content as being better than it is. The design creates the halo. It tells the consumer that this is a strong brand.
This is because we are all prone to cognitive bias. People love to be right—so they will continue to use a website that they decided from the outset was great, just to convince themselves that their initial decision was the right one.
Standout Design Without Breaking the Bank
So, how can you create that great first impression within a limited budget?
With some basic tools and a few hundred dollars, you can easily create the impression that you used the best design firm in the city.
As a former art director, I know that professional logos can run anywhere from $2,500 all the way up to $50,000 or even $100,000.
But who has that much money to drop on a logo?
Instead, there’s a great website called Graphicriver.com. They have 48,000 logo templates starting at $29, with styles ranging from contemporary and comical to high-end and approachable. Icons, mascots, wordmarks—the range is staggering.
If you want to make a few tweaks to one of their designs, you can have a designer work on it for just a few extra bucks. So right there, you’ve gotten an amazing logo for about $30.
If you’ve got a bit more to spend, then head over to 99designs.com.
There, for a minimum project fee of a few hundred dollars, you’ll have access to hundreds of designers who will compete for your project, providing you with ideas as you go.
Once you find the “perfect” one, you award the designer the job and receive the branding you love.
Your Business Card
Now that you have a logo, the next step is business cards.
My favorite source is Moo.com. Moo specializes in higher-end and luxury business cards, stickers, and flyers. They have a gorgeous array of stationery and expert-produced design styles.
All you have to do is upload your logo, pick your style and stock, and you’ll get your cards in about a week. I’ve used my Moo business cards at networking meetings with some of the top marketers in the world, and every time I hand someone my card, he says, “Wow.” It’s that impressive.
My personal favorites are in the extra-thick luxe range, printed on 32-point Mohawk Superfine paper.
Now, let’s talk about brochures.
I love Stocklayouts.com. They have some of the most beautiful designs, and the site is really easy to use. You just buy a brochure template and download it in Microsoft Word format. Then, you edit the placeholder content.
If you’re looking for postcards, tri-fold brochures, or any kind of signage, you can buy an entire set of designs for around $200.
So there you have it! You can get your logo, business card and brochures on a budget and look like a Million Dollar brand.
- Buy a pre-made, professional logo from Graphicriver.com.
- Moo.com has great, luxurious, professional-looking business cards.
- Stocklayouts.com is an amazing source for brochures or other collateral design.
In Part 2 of this series, you’ll discover how to instantly upgrade your videos, presentations, and client overviews by using more ninja sources – including a surprising solution that increased one of my clients results by 4,266% on Facebook. See you in the next issue!
About Jeremiah Desmarais (De-ma-ray)
Labeled “one of the greatest marketing minds in the insurance industry” by insurance executives, Desmarais teaches insurance and financial advisors to generate more leads and commissions using digital marketing strategies in less than 37 days. A TED speaker to a standing ovation and ranked among the Top 40 Direct Marketers Under 40, he’s been cited on Worth, CNN, Fox and has helped over 100,000 agents generate two million leads. He’s keynoted national events and high level mastermind retreats, as well as authored several important white papers. Download his free digital marketing jump start course for advisors at www.agencygrowthacademy.com.