How to Create a Brand Style Guide for Your Business

Are you making a good first impression with your potential customers?

As your business grows, you’ll have more and more opportunities to make a good first impression. People should have the same experience with your business, whether they see your logo on your company vehicle or go to your website to learn more about your services. 

Your brand is more than just a logo and color combination, though. It’s what people expect from your company and how they talk about you when referring others to your business. 

-And making a brand style guide is a great way to help you stay on track!

What a Brand Style Guide is and Why You Need One

A brand style guide is a document that outlines the specific fonts, colors, images, and styles that you want to use for all of your marketing materials. It can help to create a cohesive look across all of your branding, and it will make your company’s overall look more professional. 

Creating a brand style guide can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be!

If your business doesn’t have a mission statement already, you should think about what makes it unique and take the time to put it on paper.

What’s your company’s voice and personality? 

Who is your customer? 

What would they expect when interacting with you?

Answering these questions is a great place to start shaping what the heart and soul of your company looks like visually. Then, choosing the right design elements will help you achieve that goal. 

Remember, the intent is to create a guide that will help you maintain a consistent look and represent your brand’s voice and personality. So, don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with it!

How to Create a Brand Style Guide

When deciding on the overall tone and voice of your brand, here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Start by creating a mood board. This can be as simple as cutting out images from magazines that reflect the look and feel you want for your brand, or you can create a digital mood board using Pinterest or another online tool. 

It may seem unnecessary, but having this in place first is a helpful way to keep your thoughts and ideas organized.  It also gives you a visual representation that may help you make connections you wouldn’t otherwise have seen.

2. Once you have a good idea of the overall style you’re going for, it’s time to start thinking about specific elements like colors and fonts. Make a list of 3-5 colors and choose 2-3 fonts that you’ll use for all of your marketing materials. Don’t forget to do your research on color and font associations and continue to go back to your mood board for inspiration. 

You’ll want to include things like the color names, CMYK swatches, and hex codes (the HTML version of color names) in your guide. 

Also, be sure to find out if there is a cost associated with the use of the font or images you use in your marketing. Some fonts and images have specific copyright rules, and you will want to make sure that you are following their guidelines.

3. Your logo is one of the main things that people picture when they think of your business, and it should make it easier for them to remember your brand. It’s a good idea to put your logo and a description of what it stands for in your brand style guide. 

You can put as many different versions of your logo as you want in your style guide, but make sure that each one has a purpose. Outline as many parameters as you’d like, including dimensions and color selection that show exactly how your logo can and cannot be used.

If you haven’t put much thought into your logo design, you will want to check out why that’s so important in our previous blog post.

4. Now you are ready to create your brand guide to keep on hand or as a digital file that you can easily share with others. 

Include all of your chosen colors, fonts, and any other elements like photos, images, or wording that you want to use and circumstances or exceptions for any changes and a detailed list of those examples.

5. Finally, make sure to review and update your brand style guide on a regular basis. As your business grows and changes, so too will your branding. 

By keeping your style guide up-to-date, your branding efforts will always reflect your business in the best light.

Examples of Brand Style Guides

This page, taken from Scrimshaw Coffee’s brand guide, is a great example of how to showcase different colors and logos and how they can be used in marketing.

Njord Organic Restaurant shows just how detailed a brand style guide can be.

To see a wide range of the types of brand style guides different companies use, visit issuu.com.  

Saving You Time and Money

Your company’s style guide should be created early on in the branding process and updated as needed. Having this document on hand will make putting together promotional materials much easier.  It should also make it easier to bring in an outside marketing team if you get to that point.

With a list of your preferred fonts, colors, and styles, you’ll be able to save time, energy, and money by ensuring that everyone on your team is on the same page when it comes to your design standards. 

Again, the importance of making your business more memorable to customers, and therefore building more trust and customer loyalty, can’t be stressed enough.

If you’re ready to create a branding style guide for your business, our team at IFTS Inc. can help! Contact us today for a free consultation at 412-715-6266!

How To Build a Website for Your Painting Business + 5 Alternatives

A professional website is an essential element for every business’s brand strategy. Apart from being an authoritative platform on which the company communicates its brand, it also helps considerably with engagement and conveying your services.

Having a website makes it very easy for people to find you and discover what you do. It also makes you stand out as a professional in your field.

Then, there’s marketing. Through website analytics, a business owner can quickly tell the demographics of those who show interest. On-page and off-page SEO also goes a long way in building online visibility and search engine ranking.

But how do you actually build a website? And what are other options if you can’t afford one?

Before we get started.. We have 7 simple steps that will help you get your business in front of the right customers, downloadable as a free guide.

The Painter Marketing Broad Brush Effect

Get a FREE download of our 7 simple steps that will bring in more painting customers than you can handle in 2021 and beyond.

Ready to roll?

How Do I Build A Website For My Painting Business?

There are various ways to go about building your painting business website. And frankly, anyone can create a website these days with a good Internet connection. Here are your options:

Template-based website builders

These require no design or development skills at all and are exceptionally popular when it comes to building a website on a low budget. Some of the best website builders out there include:

Do keep in mind that you will still need to pay for things like a domain name, business email, hosting, and customized themes. There’s also photography to take into account, or the purchase of stock images. You will additionally need to put in some time and effort to learn the platform of your choice. WordPress, in particular, is the trickiest but also the best when it comes to ranking on the search engines.

Seek out a freelance web designer/developer

It is not a secret that you can hire freelancers online these days for a fraction of the price you would pay your local creative agency. This again applies to those on a small budget who are also short on time and other resources.

Some of the most popular freelance outsourcing sites include:

While this is an affordable option, finding the right freelancer will take some time and effort. To streamline the process, make sure you create an ad with specific details about what you want, so that the freelancer can bid on it knowing all the specs of the job. 

Don’t hire someone simply because they’re cheap; check out their profile and portfolio first and have a look at what projects they are currently working on (you would want to avoid anyone already working on 27 other projects!).

Before you decide to hire, hop on a video call with your candidates to verify that they are not scammers or fake profiles — unfortunately, this does tend to happen when there is no supervision or control over who creates a profile.

Hire an agency

Agencies will be your best option when it comes to creating a professional-looking, fully functional website. 

They won’t limit your options with template designs and quick fixes, and they usually consist of specialists, in which case you may be able to get a full package of web design, marketing, and branding services by a team of real experts who know what they’re doing.

But do be aware, these professional services come at a higher cost due to the quality they offer, and a website alone could cost you anywhere from $500 to $10,000!

As a small business that requires an uncomplicated website with only a few pages, consider putting aside $1000-$3000. If you’re serious about your painting business, you will not hesitate at making such an important investment.

At IFTS we work with our clients to make customized solutions for your website development and marketing needs.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you are considering creating a professional website for your painting business.

5 Alternatives to Building a Painting Business Website

Are you hoping to avoid the whole website-building hassle altogether? If you are, you can still build your online brand and presence. It’s only the platform that will be different.

A website is not the only tool that a business can utilize to create an online presence. There are various alternatives you can look at which are much less pricey, too.  Below are some of the most commonly sought after alternatives for painting businesses:

1. Google My Business

A Google My Business page is an all-in-one listing management tool. This tool displays your business information and your business’s location will also appear on Google Maps

You can also take advantage of other tools, like Reviews and Insights. You can even create a DIY site if you like and promote events and special offers. It will boost your visibility on the search engine results page when a relevant query is placed. 

A GMB page is responsive, mobile-friendly, and can be optimized for SEO.

Need help creating or optimizing your Google My Business profile? Check out our Introduction to Google My Business for tips on how to set up your profile correctly and accurately.

2. Online Local Business Directories

Yes, you can pay for a listing on your local online business directories such as Yellow Pages and Foursquare.

These online directories allow you to optimize your listing for SEO and showcase as much information about the business as you can. You can also just list the basics – name and contact information of the business and services and working hours, and you’re good to go.

3. Review Sites Listings

Review sites such as HomeAdvisor, Yelp, and Angi are well-optimized for search results. Hence, a listing on these sites will allow you to take advantage of their undeniably impressive business-boosting functions.

The best part of registering your business with review sites is that clients tend to trust any review they read on them! And if you’re low on reviews, you can always invite your current customers to these platforms and have them give their two cents.

Want to know how to win over customers with your online reputation? Here, we discuss proactive tactics for online reputation management to get more clients.

4. Facebook Business Page

Facebook has over two billion active users. It is one of the few platforms that are continuously improving their B2B offerings and helping new businesses promote themselves. 

With a Facebook business page, you can create an ecommerce store, accept payments, book appointments, share content through posts, create promotions, announce events, set up ad campaigns, and do pretty much anything you need to attract and retain customers. 

You can also use Facebook for SEO purposes or targeted advertising. The possibilities are endless!

5. Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces perform well on the search engines, and a listing on them can significantly boost your presence and sales.

They are also a great starting point for small niche businesses, as you can position your business in front of your target audience without the need to resort to advertising.

For home services business, your go-to marketplaces should be Handy, ProReferral, and Serviz.

Regardless of the options you choose, you must maintain a professional online presence at all times. 

Be sure to craft an online marketing strategy and implement, review, and improve your online marketing efforts constantly.

Click the button below to download our free guide, The Painter Marketing Broad Brush Effect. This guide will walk you through 7 simple steps to bring in more painting customers than you can handle in 2021 and beyond.

The Painter Marketing Broad Brush Effect

Position your business to get in front of the right customers with 7 easy steps

If you need help creating a website for your painting business, or figuring out a marketing strategy that drives results, feel free to ask us any questions! Give IFTS a call at 412.715.6266 for a free consultation.

How To Create The Perfect Landing Page For Your Law Firm

Are you spending money on digital ads and not getting the leads you want? 

This could be due to the web page that you are sending people who clicked on your ad to.  This page is called a “Landing Page”.

Creating a well-designed landing page for your law firm can be the answer to getting more leads. In this article, we are going to cover the basics on what a landing page is, and we’ll provide tips on how to optimize each section to increase conversions.

What Is A Landing Page?

A landing page is a standalone web page that is created specifically for advertising campaigns to send people to. This is literally where your visitors will “land” when they click on a digital ad.

The purpose of a landing page is to have one focused page where you tell your visitors why they should hire you for a specific job and how to start the process. You just want them to take one specific action.

How Does A Landing Page Convert Visitors?

While homepages are still very important website elements, they are usually not specific to one particular task.  They are also designed to give your site visitors multiple avenues to explore your business. 

With a landing page, you are able to control how visitors arrive on your site and direct them to do one thing.  If they click on an ad for Divorce Law, they should see specific information about divorce cases.  If they click on an ad for personal injury, they should see specific information about personal injury.  This makes a landing page the very best place to send them when you want to convert higher percentages of visitors into leads. 

With that said, here are 7 tips for creating the perfect law firm landing page that will help increase conversions:

1. Stick to One Call-To-Action (or CTA for short)

Your CTA is simply the action that you want your visitors to take. You will want to give this main action high priority on the page. The CTA should be the first thing that catches their eye when “landing” on your page.

Pro Tip: Most CTAs are a unique-colored button that reoccurs throughout your landing page.  The wording for each button should be EXACTLY THE SAME.

When a visitor clicks on your ad and arrives at your landing page, you want to make their decision as easy as possible – don’t give them a number of actions to take. Keep the objective as simple and as clear as possible.

Whether your landing page objective is for visitors to call your office, schedule a free consultation, or sign up for a newsletter, make it consistent across the board. Only focus on one action for them to take. The more choices they have, the harder it will be for them to make a decision.

Include your CTA at the end of each text block to guide them and tell your visitor what to do. You don’t want to leave them hanging wondering what’s next.

2. Match The Message of Your Landing Page to the Ad

Consistency is key here. If a visitor clicks on your ad, clearly something about it caught their attention. They click because it either fulfills a need of theirs or it found them at the right time. Regardless, they clicked because in that moment, they felt that it was worth their time!

This is called “Ad Congruity”.  

Pro Tip: If your ad congruity is on point, Google actually lowers the cost per click when you run ads.

If your ad talks about a free consultation for a personal injury case, and your landing page talks about divorce, you will not meet the visitor’s expectations. In this scenario, you are more likely to lose visitors than convert them because your landing page does not specifically align with your ad.

3. Offer and Emphasize Value

Every visitor to your landing page is most likely considering your firm to handle their case. They are going to assess whether or not they believe you can provide value to them. Here is where you are going to focus on the client, not your firm. 

In order to secure a conversion, you’ll need to offer something of value to your site visitors. 

You only have a short amount of time to convince your site visitors that they have found what they have been looking for. Use this time wisely to reel them in with the benefits they will receive by working with you and be sure to focus on what’s in it for them. Emphasize how you will address the specific needs of their legal issue.

If you want them to hire you as their attorney, you need to show that you are worth the investment.

Pro Tip: Spin your language to talk about your customer. Minimize the amount of times you say “we” and instead, use “you” or “your”.

4. The Length of the Landing Page Matters

The length of your landing page depends on your end goal. Do you want your visitors to fill out a contact form? Do you want them to call your office? Or do you just want to educate them? 

For example, you may need more content if you are asking a visitor to call you, as opposed to downloading an ebook about bankruptcy law. It takes a lot more effort to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment than it does to submit an email address for more information. Therefore, you will need to provide more information that will convince them your firm is the perfect fit.

5. Add A Video to Your Landing Page

A study shows that having a relevant video on your landing page can help increase conversions by 86%.

Now, slapping any old video on your landing page isn’t going to be a shortcut to success. While incorporating video can be a total power move, it could also distract visitors from your CTA. This video needs to complement the rest of your landing page, tying everything together. Keep it short and to the point without making it the primary focal point of your landing page. 

Pro Tip: Want to know how to create an awesome video and content to go with it?  Check out Law Firm Marketing Year’s “Content Planner for Attorneys”.  Use code “attorney2021” to get $20 off!

The best place for a video is partially above the fold of the page. Here, it will not distract from your CTA and value proposition, but it shows that you have even more value to offer as your visitor scrolls through your page.

6. Feature Supporting Proof

The best social proof will come from your clients. Include testimonials and quotes from real clients that talk about their experience working with your firm. When you talk about yourself, it’s usually seen as marketing fluff, but when someone else says it, it’s more powerful.

Did you know that 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from friends or family? Having these reviews visible on your landing page will provide the validation that potential law clients are looking for given that 65% of people found attorney reviews to be extremely or moderately influential in their decision.

Pro Tip: Be sure to use reviews from 3rd party, reputable sites like Google, Facebook or FindLaw.  These look much better than just having a client give you text to use on the website.

Another way to brag a little bit to your visitors is by advertising other impressive metrics or features that can include case results, firm credentials or awards.

If you decide to incorporate firm features, don’t over do it. You don’t want to over-saturate your landing page with features as they should be seen as complementary to the benefits that were discussed above. When deciding on the benefits and features that you want to put on your landing page, make sure there is a strong correlation and consistency between them.

7. Optimize Your Form For Conversions

The number of fields required can make or break conversion rates. It is imperative that you collect as much information as possible so you are able to follow up with a potential client, however, if you ask for too much information, this will reflect poorly on those conversions. 

On the other hand, if your form is too simple, only including name, email and phone number, this may come off as a simple information grab. 

We recommend using the following fields: 

  • Name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Message 

Giving the option to leave a message allows the visitor to discuss their situation and creates a bridge between new clients and their attorney.

Landing pages are the way to go when it comes to converting as many visitors as possible into clients from online ad campaigns…and now you know all you need to know to get started! 

But…how’s your website’s homepage?  Is it optimized to convert visitors? We have a free 47-point homepage quick guide for law firms that you can download and begin using today!  Visit our guide’s landing page to get started (see how well a landing page works?).

Still not sure where to begin? Let us help you. Send me (Stacey Ivol) an email at si@iftsdesign.com or give IFTS, Inc. a call 412.715.6266 for a FREE consultation.