You might see me reference a particular password management tool in this blog post, which is an affiliate link. If you click our affiliate link, LastPass will give us a small fee, but it won’t affect the cost of your subscription at all! THE OLD SKOOL METHOD OF PASSWORD PROTECTION Recently, on the […]
We recently became part of the DepositPhoto affiliate program, and we wanted to share with you how to set up your own account and start making money as a DepositPhoto affiliate! Before you start, we just want to be upfront: If you follow this link to create a DepositPhotos affiliate account, the nice folks […]
A creative brief, also called a design brief, is a set of specifications for a design that you want to create. It includes sections like: the purpose of the design, the dimensions of the images, what kind of file type you need, etc. The brief makes it clear to your designer exactly what they need to produce for you.
If you’ve never worked with a designer before, you may not be sure the best way to describe your project to them and may not know which details you should include to get a design that fits your vision. Even if you have an in-house designer or have worked with designers before, using a creative brief can streamline communication as well as make it easier for new designers to get up to speed with your company’s brand style.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF A CREATIVE BRIEF
Your creative brief should focus on the outcome of your design rather than the aesthetics of your design. You should allow the designer to use their skills to create something that is individual to your business. However, you should try to provide your designer with as much background information as possible.
Don’t assume that a freelance designer knows about your company’s style. Introduce your business so that they have some idea of your expectations. Give them a clear idea about what your company does so that they can create images that are relevant to your niche. Make sure your designer understands the goals of the design and also understands the products or services that you offer.
BENEFITS OF USING A CREATIVE BRIEF
Using a creative brief will help you save a lot of time in the long run, especially when working with multiple designers. You will be able to avoid chatting back and forth discussing basic details if they are clearly written in a brief.
Your designer can help you add to your creative brief by asking you relevant questions and by including information such as the color palette, fonts, tone of voice, etc. that they’ve used in previous designs. This document will become particularly valuable to future designers as they will be able to start from a specific structure and be able to create images that are consistent with your existing designs.
HOW LONG SHOULD A DESIGNER TAKE TO CREATE A DESIGN?
We’ve found through our own experiences working both with in-house designers and freelance designers that they tend to do best when you give specific deadlines rather than asking them “how long” it will take them to complete a certain project. If you’re not sure how long something should take, you could try asking anyone that you know in a relevant business for an estimate of the amount of time that would be appropriate for the specific task. Even so, consider how long it takes to create a painting. A painting can take an hour or a year, depending on the artist’s vision.
Giving a concrete time frame can help the designer to craft an image that fits in with your company’s budget. Skilled designers work quickly and should be able to give you a rough draft in as little as an hour. In fact, this is often how we’ve worked with freelance designers. You can pay them for one hour of their time to create a rough draft. Then you can review it and decide whether what they created matches your expectations before hiring them for the full job.
By the same token, don’t get too hung up on the hourly cost of a designer. We’ve found that we’ve actually saved money working with a more expensive designer. Experienced designers can often be much faster to catch on to your vision and create something that you really love and want to use over and over again. Visual elements in your blog posts and social media are extremely important in crafting your brand’s identity and finding a good designer can make a big difference in the impact that your images have on your audience.
WHAT SECTIONS SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE DESIGN BRIEF
Included in the SOP provided above are various sections that you need to fill out before you pass the creative brief document to your designer. The first section includes the client information. Even if your organization is small or you are bootstrapping a business, including the Client Information section is an easy way for the designer to know who to contact and who to pass the files to once the design is complete.
The Client Information section also helps designers who are working on multiple projects to keep things in order. Staying organized helps projects be more cost-effective as you won’t waste time or resources passing questions back and forth or digging around for files and information about a project in the future. Everything is laid out clearly in the creative brief document and the designer can get started with the actual design work right away instead of coming back to the project manager with a list of questions.
The next section that you’ll need to include is the Project Overview. This section includes information about which platform the design will be used for (Instagram, blog, printed flyer, etc.) along with any details about the project that may be relevant such as whether the design is going to be part of a marketing kit for a specific product or if the project is ongoing. If you’re unsure about some of the details, don’t get too hung up on this section. This should just be a brief, quick and dirty overview of how you’re going to use the designs. You can add more details as the project progresses and the brief will become even more useful for subsequent projects.
The next section included in the SOP download is the Purpose of your design. In this section you should describe what you want your designer to achieve once the product is complete. For example, you may be creating social media images for a campaign to sell a specific product in which case you should include detailed information about the product.
Target Audience is the next section of the design brief. Here you will include details about who the images are meant for. If you’ve created a target avatar before, you should pass this information to your designer so that they can adjust the style of the design to match the interests of that audience. If you haven’t created a target avatar or brand style guide, here is our Brand Style Guide template which includes a section on defining your target audience.
WHAT TO INCLUDE IN THE “DELIVERABLES” SECTION OF THE DESIGN BRIEF
The next section of the creative brief template is about the deliverables. Deliverables in short just means what stuff the designer is going to pass back to you when they are finished with the design. Clarify to your designer the dimensions of your design as well as what file types (PNG, JPG, etc.) you need with the working files. As a rule, you should ask your designer for the working files for any design. The working files are the files the designer has used to create the design such as Photoshop files, Adobe Illustrator files, etc.
These files are valuable to you because in the future, if you work with a different designer, they will have the option to start with the existing working files as a template to create any new images that you may want to look similar to your current images. The working files also make it possible for you to change text or adjust parts of the design in the future if you decide you want to just tweak a design rather than have somebody go back and create a new design from scratch.
DESCRIBING YOUR BRAND’S STYLE AND TONE GUIDELINES
In the next section, Style and Tone, you should detail your brand style such as the colors that you want to use, font styles, and text that you want to include. To make things easier, you can create a brand book. If you haven’t done this already, you can go to our Style Guide SOP and create your own using the template provided. This will become a valuable resource for yourself, your team members and your freelancers so that you can all stay on the same page regarding your brand’s style. Consistency is crucial in creating a clear brand identity and a brand book can be an invaluable way to maintain that consistency.
The designer should also know the tone of voice that they should use or the tone that your images should reflect. Ask yourself questions such as: Is the tone formal or more relaxed? Do you want to use humor or should the designs convey a more serious tone? Is the content edgy or should it be family-friendly?
No doubt before you hand over this design brief, you’ll have seen other websites and social media content that have inspired you. You should include this information in the Resources section at the end of your design brief. Add links to designs that you like, existing designs from your company, links to your brand book or Style Guide, links to information about your target audience, links to your social media channels and whatever else will help you designer successfully complete this project.You may also detail how your business differs from your competitors so that your designer can create something unique for your brand.
WRITING THE PERFECT CREATIVE BRIEF
The SOP provided is completely editable so you can add any additional sections that you think will be useful to your designer. The more you work with these briefs, the more efficient you will become and the more complete they will be.
Record questions the designer asks you throughout the design process and use this information to create an even more detailed Creative Brief the next time around. Even if you are a small or medium-sized business, you should aim to create detailed documentation as if you are a million-dollar business. Creating this documentation may feel tedious and unnecessary at first, but as you grow you will realize how critical it is to scaling your business quickly.
Using a creative brief can help you feel more confident and appear more professional while working with designers. We hope this SOP template proves an invaluable resource for crafting designs that you love. Good luck!
We found Adobe’s Affiliate Program to be a bit cumbersome to set up and some of the help files outdated, so we created this ultimate guide to walk you through the steps of setting your website up as an Adobe Affiliate.
You’ll find all the steps included here (we update this on a regular basis) and we’ve also provided a free SOP Template that you can access by entering your email above. If you’d like to pass this task to a coworker or freelancer to have them set this up for you, send them the SOP.
PERKS OF BEING AN ADOBE AFFILIATE
You can find detailed information about the payouts for the Adobe Affiliate program in the HELP section of your affiliate account once you’ve applied, but here is a basic breakdown of what the program offers:
Month-to-Month subscription: 85.00% of the first month (yes, 85%!)
One Year, prepaid subscription: 8.33% of the first year payment
Post View: 3 Days
Post Click: 120 Days
Adobe has a massive range of products which makes it pretty easy to find a good match for your audience. These products are professional-grade and used to be very expensive, but Adobe has since switched up their pricing strategy. Users can now get subscriptions that are much more affordable, even for individuals and small businesses. For example, for 9.99USD/mo you can now get access to Photoshop and Lightroom as well as get 20GB of free storage on Adobe Cloud. This new pricing model makes it easier to sell Adobe products to your audience.
Regardless of your niche, your audience will likely find at least one of Adobe’s products useful and cost-effective for their business. Being familiar with Adobe products is key to offering the best solutions to your audience. Take some time now to take a look at what products Adobe is now offering and their price points.
HOW TO SIGN-UP FOR ADOBE’S AFFILIATE PROGRAM
Go to the Adobe Affiliate sign-up page and click the APPLY NOW button to create an affiliate account.
Fill out the required information and then click CREATE ACCOUNT. Below is a list of the information that you will need to complete this section. If you are delegating this task to a coworker or freelancer, be sure to add this information into the SOP template before passing it over to them.
A list of everything that you need to add to the SOP will be in the email we send you along with the SOP as both a PDF and DOCX file.
REQUIRED INFORMATION FOR BECOMING AN ADOBE AFFILIATE
When you create a new affiliate account with Adobe, they will ask you for the following information:
- Country – where your business is located
- Language – your preferred language
- Business Type – choose from Individual, Organisation (non-taxable) and Company
- First Name – business owner’s or account manager’s first name
- Last Name – business owner’s or account manager’s last name
- Email – email address that will be associated with the affiliate account
- Username – create a username for your affiliate account
- Password – create a password for your affiliate account
- Your Website – provide your website’s URL
ACTIVATE YOUR ADOBE AFFILIATE ACCOUNT
Once you have filled out the information required by Adobe’s Affiliate program, check the inbox of the email address that you used to register. You should receive a welcome email from the Adobe Affiliate Team with an activation link. Click the link in the email within 15 minutes of applying.
HOW TO VERIFY YOUR WEBSITE
After activating your account, sign-in to your affiliate dashboard. (Note that adobe uses an affiliate network called TradeDoubler, so the style of the login page may sometimes look differently from typical Adobe web pages.)
Once you are logged-in you will see a big blue banner at the top of the page telling you to verify your site. You need to complete two steps in order to finalize the verification process. First, add your contact details by clicking the CONTACT INFORMATION link in the blue box.
Fill out the required information and click the SAVE button in the bottom-right corner of the screen.
Here is a list of the information that you need to provide in addition to the information you have already provided when signing up for the affiliate program:
- Reporting currency – what currency would you like to appear on your affiliate reports
- Address – including street address, postal code, country, etc.
- Market – choose the area where the majority of your audience is located
- Phone number
After you have saved your contact information, click the HOME button to return to the affiliate dashboard.
In the big blue box, you’ll now click the CLICK HERE link. You will see a list of your websites (at this point you will probably only have one site listed here).
Click the text that says NOT VERIFIED next to your website’s URL to see the instructions for verifying your site.
You will now see a set of instructions with two ways that you can verify your site for the Adobe Affiliate program.
WEBSITE VERIFICATION METHOD 1: ADD META TAG TO HOMEPAGE CODE
Using this method, you will copy the meta tag provided into the HTML code of your website under the <HEAD> tag of the code. TradeDoubler (the company that manages Adobe Affiliates) has provided this video with more detailed instructions. It is outdated, but you will still be able to figure out how to do this by watching it. Here is the instructional video: https://hst.tradedoubler.com/file/20649/tdpull/tdDomainVerification.htm
Once you have pasted the meta tag into the code and saved the updated version of your website, you can click the CLICK HERE TO VERIFY YOUR SITE button on the Site Info screen of the affiliate account. If you’ve accidentally navigated off of this page, you can get back to it by going to the homepage of your affiliate account and clicking the CLICK HERE button in the big blue box at the top of the page. From there, click the NOT VERIFIED text next to your website’s URL.
WEBSITE VERIFICATION METHOD 2: ADD FILE TO THE ROOT OF YOUR WEB SERVER
If you have already verified your site using the previous method, skip this step and move on to the next step. Here is an alternative method for verifying your site. Create an empty file and name it as the instructions say on this screen, example: 3018026.html. Then save this file in the root of your web server. You will need to access your hosting via your FTP or web browser to do this. If you’re unclear how to do this, you can find more detailed instructions here.
Once you saved the file and updated your site, click the CLICK HERE TO VERIFY YOUR SITE button on the Site Info screen of the affiliate account. You can get back to the Site Info screen by going to the homepage of your affiliate account and clicking the CLICK HERE button in the big blue box at the top of the page. From there, click the NOT VERIFIED text next to your website’s URL.
HOW TO COMPLY WITH ADOBE’S AFFILIATE PROGRAM CONTENT GUIDELINES
If you scroll down on the Site Info screen of your affiliate account, you will see a form with some information that you need to fill out about your site (yes, even more info!). Though it doesn’t explicitly say anywhere in the instructions, you need to fill out this information before you can get approved for the program.
This is the last set of information that you’ll need:
- Site description – give a brief explanation describing your site’s purpose
- Promotion type – choose from a list of options for how you’ll be offering the affiliate (we chose “Bloggers”)
- Traffic size – select the range that matches how many unique visitors you get to your site per month (at the time that we applied, our site was in the lowest tier but we still got accepted)
- Select website content – tick the boxes of different content types that match the content of your site
- Site type – choose from PC/mobile/mobile app
Once you’ve filled in the information, make sure to tick the box at the bottom of the screen to assure that your site doesn’t include any content that goes against Adobe’s content guidelines. Click SAVE to complete this section.
HOW TO GET APPROVED FOR ADOBE’S AFFILIATE PROGRAM
At this point, you must wait for approval to get into the affiliate program. Initially we foolishly thought that once our website was verified, we were ready to go with adding Adobe links and ads to our site. This is not the case, and you will likely get frustrated (as we did!) trying to navigate the Affiliate Dashboard attempting to find links to add to your site. You’ll have to be a little patient as you won’t be able to take any action at this time.
We were not all that patient and decided to contact Adobe’s Affiliate Team after 24 hours of applying. We were approved pretty much immediately after doing so. It’s possible that we would have been approved that quickly anyway, but if you want to push things along, you could try sending them an email as we did.
This is the text from the email that we sent to Adobe:
Sent to: AdobeAffiliates@arvato.com
I have verified my website and see the different ads available for the affiliate program, but how do I apply for one so that I can put the ad on my site? My website: www.soptemplates.com
They replied the same day with an approval for our site to enter the program. Again, this might have been a coincidence, but it couldn’t hurt to try.
NAVIGATING ADOBE’S AFFILIATE DASHBOARD
While you are awaiting approval for your site, take the opportunity to get familiar with your new affiliate dashboard. Sign in to your affiliate dashboard using this link: http://reports.tradedoubler.com/pan/public?pvnId=1993633.
Once you are logged-in to your account, you can have a look around before you’ve been approved to join the program. The main dashboard gives you a snapshot for how your affiliate links and ads have been performing. You’ll be able to see your impressions, clicks, account balances and more, directly on the dashboard when you login to your account.
VIEWING AFFILIATE LINKS AND ADS FOR ADOBE OFFERS
Even if you haven’t been approved for the affiliate program yet, you can take a look at some of the links and ads that are available for you to put on your website. You won’t be able to get the affiliate code until you have approval, but you can use the time while you wait to decide which ads/links you want to add to your site.
Sidenote: The welcome email that you will have received from Adobe has some instructions for how to view/manage the ads available, but we found that it is not up to date. In fact, we got pretty lost trying to navigate the program, which is the whole point behind writing this article. In the end, it’s been worth it to figure it all out, because the program has great payouts. We hope these instructions help to make the whole process smoother.
To access the list of ads and links available in Adobe’s Affiliate Program, click the TRACKING dropdown menu from the main affiliate dashboard page and then select BANNERS & TEXT LINKS.
While you’re in the Banners & Text Links section, click the SEARCH button in the bottom-right corner of the screen. You can also make the search more specific by adding details here, but we found that seeing ALL the ads and links available was the best method for us to find the ones that would fit our website and audience.
Once you have tapped SEARCH, you’ll be able to see a list of all ads and links available through the Adobe Affiliate program. There are several pages of these ads and links, so make sure to page through everything that’s available.
Before your website is verified and before you have been accepted into the program, you can notice two things when viewing the ads on this screen. First, the box under “Adobe Affiliate Program” is blank. Second, you will see text that says “Not verified” on the right column of the table.
After your site is verified and you have been accepted into the program, this same screen will look like the image above. Now there are two links in the box below “Adobe Affiliate Program”. The first is where you’ll be able to get the code for the ad and the affiliate link. The second is a preview for what your audience will see when they click on the ad from your website.
Also note that in the rightmost column of this table, the text has changed from “Not verified” to “Accepted”. Once your table on this screen looks like the image above, you’re ready to start adding links and ads to your site.
If you are still waiting for approval, use this time to map out which ads will work best for your site and decide where you would like to add them into your content.
ADDING YOUR FIRST ADOBE AFFILIATE LINK TO YOUR WEBSITE
If you have verified your site and received an acceptance email from Adobe, you are now ready to begin adding ads/links to your site.
To insert a new ad into your content, go to the TRACKING dropdown menu and select MY ADS. You can filter the ads available by size or type or you can select LIST ALL AVAILABLE ADS to see a list of all the assets available to you through the program.
Next to the ad that you would like to put on your website, you will see a link that says SHOW CODE. (If you don’t see anything in this box, you have not yet been accepted into Adobe’s Affiliate program for that ad.) Click SHOW CODE to view the options that you have to add the ad or link to your website.
For our site, we chose the HTML link and copied the code into a widget on our sidebar. We recommend you make sure NEW WINDOW is selected in the “Open link in” section so that your audience is still on your website after they have finished visiting Adobe.
CREATING DEEP LINKS IN YOUR BLOG POST TEXT CONTENT
If you want to link to an Adobe product from within your blog post text, you can create a deep link to any page of Adobe’s website by clicking the CREATE DEEP LINK button on the My Ads page of your affiliate account. (Go to the TRACKING dropdown menu and select MY ADS to get to this page).
Steps to creating a custom deep link for your text content:
- Switch from Full Anchor Tag to PLAIN URL
- Paste the link on Adobe’s website where you want your audience to land from your text link
- Copy the code that gets generated in the “Deep link code” box
- Test your new deep link either by pasting the code into a browser window or by clicking the MY TEXT button
You can now paste your deep link as the hyperlink for text within your blog post. This can be a great way to lead your audience into making a purchase with Adobe in a more organic way. If your users click on your deep link and don’t make a purchase the first time around, like with the other Adobe ads, there will be a cookie that lasts 120 days in their browser which will track whether they make a purchase within that time window. If they do, Adobe will credit you a commission.
GETTING THE BEST RESULTS FROM YOUR AFFILIATE LINKS AND ADS
The best performing affiliate links are those that provide a relevant tool that your audience actually needs. If you go pasting ads in every possible space on your website, you will end up losing your audience’s trust. Remember that you’re not getting paid for impressions, only for actual purchases. Make sure each ad or link is carefully calculated with your audience’s best interests in mind.
You can put ads on any posts that contain relevant content, but we find that text links do especially well when used appropriately. Being honest with your audience that you collect a commission can be a powerful tool in gaining trust with your audience. If you decide to take that route, make sure to let your audience know that using your affiliate link will give you a commission without costing them anything extra.
DON’T FORGET THAT YOU CAN DELEGATE THIS TASK
We hope this post helps you start earning money with Adobe’s Affiliate program. If you struggled with any section or have questions, we’re eager to know what’s on your mind! Send us a message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember to grab the SOP template if you’d like someone else to do the grunt work for you and want the delegating process to be as smooth as butter. Happy delegating!
Managing several social media platforms at once can sometimes be overwhelming and it can be difficult to maintain all aspects of your marketing strategy. Although this social media checklist will help you manage the business side of things, it may also help you arrange your time more responsibly. For many people, having a list that they can actively tick off, helps establish a realistic timeframe in which to complete these tasks during the day.
Having worked out how much time you need to spend on social, you may want to split up these tasks into more manageable pieces throughout your day. I use a tool called Plan to arrange my tasks for the day, including my social media.
Whether you’re new to using social media for business, or you’re a seasoned social media manager, having a checklist can be great for accountability and helps keep you and your team on the same page. Additionally, if you outsource some of your social media tasks, you can share the spreadsheet that accompanies this list with your freelancer, so that they can check off their tasks when they’re completed.
Both the social media checklist doc and spreadsheets can easily be edited, so if you have additional daily, weekly or monthly tasks that may be specific to your business or niche, you can add them. As the social media industry changes frequently, there maybe new features that can be used in marketing, and you may want to add these to the list as well. We’ll update the checklist and spreadsheet regularly, but we may miss something!
DAILY SOCIAL MEDIA CHECKLIST FOR BUSINESS
RESPOND TO MESSAGES ON YOUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Answering direct messages from your audience and customers is essential to building your brand loyalty. Your customers may ask questions regarding your niche and products which may be time sensitive. Responding quickly is in your own interest, as leaving your customers in the lurch may lose a sale or loyal fan!
REPLY TO COMMENTS ON YOUR POSTS
Your audience is probably leaving comments on your social media posts or retweeting with their own thoughts and opinions and you should reply to as many of these comments as you can. This will improve engagement and maintain customer loyalty.
CHECK FOR BRAND AND CAMPAIGN MENTIONS
You can use a tool or social media management software to track mentions of specific keywords relevant to your brand. People may be contacting you about an element of your business and not tag you, so you should keep an eye on these things regularly.
I use Hootsuite to follow specific hashtags and keywords for Twitter and Instagram, although Instagram now has a feature that allows you to track your keywords within the app.
ENGAGE WITH OTHER PAGES AND POSTS
One of the main things you should remember about engaging with other pages, is to add value to their content without appearing spammy (you know what I’m talking about). A good way to engage is to contribute to conversations on social media posts with relevant comments and without being self promotional (unless for some reason its relevant). You’ll soon build up a reputation in your niche and get noticed by your target audience. Don’t forget to ‘LIKE’ content you also think is valuable and share articles written by your partners.
CHECK YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR
Whilst you may schedule some of your social media posts for the week or even month, but you should view your social media calendar to check the times and content for your daily posts. If you outsource your social media scheduling, you should also take this time to check your already scheduled posts for mistakes or changes you might want to make.
CHECK FOR TRENDING EVENTS AND CREATE IMPROMPTU CONTENT
To keep your social media posts fresh, you should keep on top of trending events and create impromptu based on these events. Checking for trending hashtags in Twitter can often give you a good idea of what’s popular in your part of the world, or where in the world your audience is. You can also see what events your competitors and partners are talking about.
CURATE, SCHEDULE AND POST
To see what’s going on in the news, in our niche as well as personal interests, I use the RSS tool, Feedly. Feedly makes curating and managing your consumption of content easy, by separating everything out into categories. Once you’ve found relevant articles, schedule or post them on the relevant platforms or schedule them using a social media management tool such as HootSuite.
WEEKLY SOCIAL MEDIA CHECKLIST FOR BUSINESS
VIEW YOUR ANALYTICS
Each week, take a quick look at your insights and analytics for each of your social media platforms. Check to see how your social media posts are doing, so you can tweak and improve your content for the following days and weeks. Don’t panic if you have a post that doesn’t do well, try making small changes to your content and see if your analytics improve. This also may be a good time to experiment with different hashtags for Twitter and Instagram. If the ones you’re using aren’t really working for you, change some of them and reassess next week. You can see how your hashtags work for your Instagram posts within individual insights.
ENGAGE WITH PARTNERS AND INFLUENCERS
Give your partners shout outs, compliment their newest blog post (whilst adding value, of course) and keep in touch so that your audience knows about other companies you’re involved in. It also keeps connections alive and promotes good business practices.
REVIEW AND CREATE YOUR CONTENT
Based on your analytics, make improvements to your planned social posts. If certain posts have been successful, try and use this as a template to create even more engaging content. You may need to change your image, develop your copy or change angles completely!
STAY UP TO DATE WITH SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING UPDATES AND TRENDS
Not only do social media platforms change ridiculously quickly, with new features or changes to their algorithm, but these also affect how we use social media for marketing purposes. Find some time once or even twice a week to read about updates to the platforms you use, up and coming platforms and suggestions on how to use social media for your marketing.
MONTHLY SOCIAL MEDIA CHECKLIST FOR BUSINESS
ANALYSE YOUR SOCIAL INSIGHTS & COMPLETE A KPI
Take a comprehensive look at your insights based on the goals you’ve set for your company. What can you improve? Are all your social platforms fulfilling your expectations? You might want to record the numbers in a KPI (Key Performance Indicators) report.
UPDATE YOUR SOCIAL STRATEGY DOCUMENTS
Based on your analytics, you can create or update strategy documents for the upcoming months detailing the strategies you can implement to improve your metrics and achieve your company’s goals.
UPDATE YOUR SOCIAL PROFILES
Take some time once a month to update your profile cover art and make improvements to your bio where necessary. You may want to change your profile cover to promote a social media campaign you’re running at the time. When you update your profile cover photo it will get posted on your timeline, which gives your page an additional boost.
LOOK AT COMPETITORS FOR INSPIRATION
As well as spending time researching new methods for improving your social media posts, you should also take a look to see what your competitors are posting about. You can also get a good idea of their new products and whether they’re providing their audience with valuable content.
UPDATE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA CALENDAR
Each month I create a new sheet in my social media calendar spreadsheet and fill in some of the important dates that are coming up that month. These may be specific holidays relevant to your audience or niche, or start dates for specific social campaigns. When I come to creating images and copy for each platform, I can consider these specific dates.
CREATE NEW CONTENT
After you’ve analysed content from the previous month(s) you can begin to create content for the following month(s). Perhaps some of your posts didn’t do as well as expected, how can you improve the images or copy to increase engagement or clicks. Once you’re happy with your content, add them to your social media calendar and schedule what you can.
You can get your social media checklist for business by filling in your email address in the space above and you’ll get your templates to your inbox!
UPDATE: ORIGINAL FILE TREE TOOL NO LONGER WORKING!
When this post was originally released, we used a tool created by a third-party developer. This tool is not longer being updated. We are in the process of creating our own tool for this purpose. If you are interested in accessing this tool when it’s ready, enter your email above. Cheers!
The world is full of many different kinds of trees, but none is more useful for business than the Google Drive File Tree. If you’ve worked with Google Drive for any amount time, you may have become frustrated with finding documents and folders- especially with shared content within your Drive.
Solve the Google Drive organizational nightmare with a file and folder tree that you can generate instantly. Get the simple instructions delivered to your inbox by entering your email above. Then you can follow them yourself or pass them to your virtual assistant/freelancer.
USING KEYWORD SEARCH VS. SIFTING THROUGH FOLDERS
Although Google Drive has a search bar which lets you keyword search for specific folders and files, this can cause confusion and be more time-consuming if you have similarly named files and folders or if there are multiple files within shared drives. The Google Drive File Tree will provide a clear overview of everything in your Drive.
The File Tree is not meant to be a replacement for the search bar in Google Drive, but rather an additional tool to help you and any other teammates (current or future) to navigate Google Drive. It also helps you to consistently add new documents in more logical places within the folders instead of just randomly guessing where they should go. This can be an invaluable time-saving practice in the long run.
Generating the File Tree is extremely fast (takes just a few minutes) and will also help you to restructure the folders in your Drive. You’ll also be able to pinpoint and consolidate duplicate folders which contain similar content. Once the File Tree has been created, you can easily save or print the HTML file for your reference. Being able to print the tree makes it easier for you to adjust or restructure your folders and files. You may also want to hang your printed hierarchy tree somewhere in your office so that you and your team members can see at a glance the likely places where the content you are looking for will be. It will regularly reinforce the organizational structure that you have created.
HOW ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES CREATE LESS HEADACHES
While creating a sound organizational structure for your files and folders may make you want to get a lobotomy, it will make it so much easier for you to scale your business in the future by allowing new team members to quickly and painlessly sift through documents to find what they need. Like with any aspect of your business, get into the mindset that you’re creating a multi-million dollar business and do things right from the ground up. The organizational structure for your documents is no exception. In fact, you’d be surprised how much time is wasted in new businesses due to disorganized files and lack of structure.
In this day in age, many of us are using freelancers and outsourcing many of our tasks. Once you’ve generated the tree, it will not only show you where files are located within folders but also provide direct links to those folders on the Drive. This gives you a great alternative way to navigate or help others find what they need within the Drive with ease.
Once you’ve built an Android app, it’s time to think about the promotional materials that you’ll put together in order to get the app seen and downloaded in the Android market. Since you’ve spent so much time and effort on developing the app, many of these promotional details may have been pushed to the back-burner.
The truth is, some of these details are just as important as how your app functions because they may be the determining factor for whether or not a user will download your app. One of these details is the feature graphic, which appears at the top of the screen when you look at the details for an app in the Google Play App Store.
The feature graphic acts as a visual summary to describe your app’s purpose and its benefits to users who may not have ever seen or used it before. The image should be colorful and eye-catching in order to stand out in the sea of apps in Google Play or any other Android app markets.
Android Feature Graphic Rules
Feature graphics must follow the guidelines that Google provides in order to fit perfectly in the space provided in Google Play. It’s better not to take a graphic that you used for a different promotional spot, like on your Facebook page or your app splash screen, and stretch it so that it fits in the feature graphic space. The feature graphic should be specifically designed for use in the Google Play Store.
That being said, you can certainly use elements or the style from other graphics you’ve created for your app. Just make sure that your designer creates the feature graphic using the dimensions outlined by Google. The design requirements can be found in the SOP document available for download above.
When considering the design of your feature graphic, think about whether you plan to translate the app into different languages in the future. If this is the case, you should think carefully whether or not you want to include any text within the feature graphic. Google allows you to change the feature graphic for each language but this may end up being a an unnecessary use of your time, especially if you plan on keeping the style of the app updated with market design trends.
If you can come up with an image for the feature graphic that describes your app without any text, it will simplify your work in the long run. Additionally, try to avoid using screenshots of your app in the feature graphic or you will need to update the graphic every time you make changes to your app.
ANDROID FEATURE GRAPHIC SAMPLE GALLERY
The Importance of the Feature Graphic
The feature graphic is the very first thing that your audience will see related to your app after they click on the app icon in Google Play. They will see this graphic before they see the your app’s written description. They may even judge your app based solely on this graphic.
Creating the feature graphic for an app is often an overlooked or rushed task, but it’s important to spend a little bit of effort creating a graphic that grabs the attention of your target audience. Choose bright colors, simple messaging and make sure you don’t crowd the space with unnecessary images or text. This will encourage users to download your app which in turn will lead to a higher ranking in Google Play and more potential revenue for your team.
As the design is so important for the feature graphic, outsourcing this task to a designer with a marketing background may be a good idea if you don’t have one in-house. Experienced graphic designers will understand the best layout for the space and will know which elements to include within the graphic to attract the attention of your audience. The designer can use some of the working files from your user-interface design and playfully incorporate them into a graphic which becomes an eye-catching ad for your app.
The SOP document that will be emailed directly to your inbox is a creative brief with all the instructions that your designer needs to create a feature graphic for Google Play.
You will get a PDF and a DOCX that you can edit yourself to add in your specific requests or details. Pass the SOP to your designer and they will pass the feature graphic back to you. Good luck on your project!
WHAT IS A BRAND STYLE GUIDE?
A brand style guide, also known as a ‘brand book’, ‘brand guidelines’ or ‘brand standards’ is a visual breakdown of your brand ranging from font styles and colours to image style and design. A style guide can also reference the kind of tone and point of view you want to use for your brand ‘message’ as well as detailing your target market. Although some companies create beautiful visual representations of their brand, it can also be a simple document that can easily be edited as your visual style develops over time. This style guide template download provides guidelines for you to fill out and use for your company’s branding.
WHY CREATE A BRAND STYLE GUIDE?
A brand style guide is an essential tool for your company regardless of its size. Even if you’re a solopreneur you should create a guide. Why waste brain space trying to remember a colour hex code when you can easily access it within your style guide. Furthermore, if you’re planning on outsourcing certain design tasks, you’ll need a brand style guide for a freelance designer to follow in order to retain aspects of your visual brand.
The same can be said if you’re working as part of a team. You should have a brand style guide with as much detail as possible so that every member of your team can understand (or easily find) the central elements of your visual brand.
Although the reason for creating a brand style guide is to make sure all the members of your team are on the same page regarding visuals, the aim of a style guide is to ensure all the elements of your brand, when combined together, are easily recognizable by your audience.
There are many companies out there with very strong visual style, and we can see this throughout their products, social media and other forms of advertising.
WHAT DOES A BRAND STYLE GUIDE INCLUDE?
One of my favourites is Marmite (yup, you either love it or you hate it!), whose yellow and black theme and red and white logo is instantly recognizable.
When introducing a new ‘reduced salt’ product the usual bright yellow colour was replaced by a contrasting blue colour. Whilst retaining its signature black bottle and red banner logo, the yellow becomes a minor colour. The audience will still recognize the brand but know there is a difference between Marmite’s ‘normal’ bottle and their new product.
The brand style guide might also include some less obvious content, including information on your target market, as this can make a big difference when creating visuals. Granted, you will have probably already considered your target market, also known as an ‘avatar’ to choose various elements of your brand, including font type, colours, logo etc before creating this brand style guide. However, it will also help freelancers or designers who are unfamiliar with your brand to glean context about your visual style before creating graphics.
TARGET YOUR AUDIENCE
You should be as specific as you can about your customer ‘avatar’, even going as far as creating a visual representation of them. Detail their occupation, where they live even their hobbies. Each detail may help your designer make a choice that could be the difference between your target audience paying attention to your visuals, or not.
INCLUDE VISUAL EXAMPLES IN YOUR STYLE GUIDE
If you have existing graphics that you’re happy with and uphold your companies values, include these within your style guide. If you want your logo to be in a specific place and a certain size on your social media graphics then you should also include examples with these specifications within your style guide.
LINK TO YOUR VISUALS AND LOGOS
If you’re sharing your brand style guide with a freelancer or a designer, you should include links to all your visuals and logos within the style guide. Create a specific folder that includes everything necessary for your designer to create visuals that fit your needs. If you’re using Google Drive, you can simply share your Style Guide folder with your freelancer and they can access those specific files.
You can download the Style Guide Template and instructional SOP by filling in your email in the space at the top of the page and it will be sent to your inbox.
Uh-oh…Something happened in your business and it’s time to apologize. Even if it’s not your fault it is important to let your users know that you care about them and that you’re doing your best to right whatever wrong has happened.
Sometimes this happens when you’re working with a 3rd party service and they make a mistake. You still need to take responsibility for what happened because at the end of the day, your users are trusting you to provide them with good service and take care of their needs.
When you discover something unfortunate happened it’s best to get ahead of the wave of support emails that might come in by being quick to release an apology letter to describe to your users the details about what happened.
COMPENSATING FOR A MISTAKE IN YOUR BUSINESS
As an apology to your loyal customers you might want to offer them something for free. If you have a subscription service that was suddenly not available to your users, you may want to offer them a free month of service or a discount on another product that you offer.
If you have a blog and your blog was down over the weekend, you might want to offer them a freebie PDF or e-book. Although problems with your site or online services are a serious thing, you might want to try and be light-hearted about it and slightly tongue and cheek and offer them a “How Not to Let Your Website Crash” PDF based on what you’ve learned from the incident.
PREVENTING ERRORS IN THE FUTURE
It’s all about building brand loyalty. You want your users to trust. Even if you think most of your users will not even be aware of the problem, you still an use it as an opportunity to gain trust. Being totally transparent about what happened can make your company appear more personal instead of being just a faceless corporate structure that your users may imagine your company to be.
When writing an apology letter, it’s best to have one person address your audience as themselves instead writing it from team’s perspective. For example, use the real name of somebody working in the company to sign the letter instead of signing it as “The Blah-blah-blah Team”.
MISTAKES ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO GAIN TRUST
This is also a good opportunity to reassure your loyal customers that you and your team will try and prevent this kind of issue from happening again. This also makes you open to customer feedback and may help you find additional customer concerns that you may not be aware of.
The SOP Template provided includes suggestions for what you should add in your letter. Some sections to include might be a question and answer portion where you consider what a user might be asking about with regards to the incident. For example, What happened to cause this issue?, Why didn’t it get fixed earlier?, and What will you do in the future to prevent this thing from happening?.
BE PREPARED FOR FUTURE MISTAKES
Use this letter as an opportunity to remind your users that there are people behind the scenes who care about their interests and are on their side. Even if you haven’t had a problem happen with your business before, you may want to download a copy of this letter anyway just so that you can put it into your own SOP for the procedures that you will take when something like this happens. That way you are ready to go should an incident arise and you’re not scrambling around trying to think about how to deal with it.
In fact it’s very important to have this kind of emergency plan in place. You should know who will handle the users and what responsibilities each person has in order to solve the problem. You may even want to discuss with the rest of your team about potential issues that they foresee happening in the future that you may not have thought of. Cover as many bases as you can so if something like this happens, you will be ready.
You might want to go even further than this to prepare yourself by adding this apology letter into your email manager, such Convert Kit and then should the situation arise, all you’ll have to do is fill in the details and send it out.
We hope you’ll never have to use this letter and that your business will run flawlessly, but should an error occur, we hope this letter helps you maintain and even gain more trust with your users. Get the letter template sent to your inbox by filling in your email. Cheers!
Let’s put the “anal” in Competitive Analysis! I nerdily just cracked myself up with that one. But seriously, competitive analysis is tedious and dull, and yet absolutely critical for you to do for your website. The competitive analysis template that is downloadable above will help you get this task done without the headache. Once you’ve finished, you’ll have a good understanding of your market position and have a wealth of new sources for content ideas, designs and social media strategies.
It’s easy to get convinced that you’re the only person out there creating a website about a certain topic or product. Maybe you haven’t heard of or come across one before that provides the information or resources that yours will have. It’s time to put in a little elbow grease and find out exactly what’s out there and whether those sites are strong competitors to what you are offering. By the way, having competitors shouldn’t scare you out of creating your site. On the contrary, having competitors often validates your idea, proving that there is a market out there interested in your service or product.
If your website is already live and you still haven’t done a competitive analysis, don’t worry. No matter what stage you’re at in your business, you can glean great insight and inspiration from understanding who else is out there working in a similar niche.
You might be afraid to seek out your competitors, thinking that you’ll discover someone out there who’s beating you at your own game. Suck it up, soldier! It’s better to understand the threats facing your business and tackle them head on than to blindly find the competition after you’ve already sunk your blood, sweat and precious time into your project.
There are various methods of doing competitive analysis, but the one we’ll be focusing on here is to find out who your competitors are in Google. Unless you have a massive marketing budget (congrats for you!), you’ll want to make sure that people are able to find your website when they search in Google.
People that find your website by searching in Google or other search engines like Yahoo or DuckDuckGo are called “organic traffic” because they naturally find you without being served an ad or visiting your site directly through your URL. The more organic traffic you get, the less money you’ll need to spend on advertising to attract an audience. Plus, organic traffic is often more valuable than traffic created through advertisements because the people that come to your site are those who actually want to be there!
Determining Your Target Keywords
Before you start this competitive analysis, you’ll need to know which keywords you are targeting for your website. That is, what would you want someone to be typing into Google in order to find your site?
For example, pretend you run an e-commerce site that sells luxury dog beds. Potential customers might type keywords like “best dog beds” or “most comfortable dog beds” into Google in order to find your website.
If you already know which keywords you are going after, great, keep going! If not, take 20 minutes now to learn some strategies for picking great keywords from the links of resources that we’ve wrangled up below.
As a general rule, you should aim for keywords for which it will be possible to rank in the first page of Google. If all the links in the first page of Google are already being dominated by big names like Wikipedia, eHow, etc. for a keyword, then throw it out and go after some different ones. If you’re not sure about the strength of your competitors, you’ll know more about where you stand after completing the competitive analysis SOP available above.
Here are some resources from trusted sources for choosing the best keywords for your website:
Once you have your keywords ready, you can collect thorough data about your competitor’s websites. This task takes a bit of time but it doesn’t require any special skills. If you are strapped for time, pass the SOP document to your freelance worker and they will handle it for you.
Even if you’ve done a competitive analysis in the past, it’s best to run the research again every six months or so to make sure that there aren’t any new players on the market that you are unaware of. That’s why we recommend getting into the practice of outsourcing this task using the SOP template so that you can get it done regularly by a freelancer or virtual assistant without sucking up your own precious time.
Steps for Completing the Competitive Analysis Template
The process in the SOP template provided entails plugging your keywords into Google while using a special Google address that doesn’t skew the results based on your location or previous searches. This is all explained clearly in the SOP’s step-by-step instructions.
Afterwards, you will record the websites that come up within the first 15 positions in Google. You’ll then evaluate each of these sites using a free tool that will help you determine how strong of a competitor those sites are and how difficult it will be to outrank them in Google.
You can find key information, such as your competitor website’s domain authority, using some great free tools. These tools allow you to peek behind the curtain of your competitors, rather than having to guess. In online business data is king, so use it to your advantage.
The SOP download includes simple step-by-step instructions that anyone with basic computer skills will be able to manage. It will take you or your freelancer through all of the steps necessary to finish a competitive analysis and uses some excellent free online tools to collect the information that you need to determine your position in the market.
Get everything you need delivered to your inbox now by entering your email in the box above. Good luck with your business!