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Top 10 Things Designers Hate: Number 8

Welcome back! To recap: last week, we talked about “borrowed” images, and before that we covered ads with too much text! Today we’re covering number eight on our list:

“Please, Read the Rate Card!”

Ah, do you hear that? Off in the distance? you can just make out the troubled cry of many a frustrated designer.

What’s a “Rate Card,” you ask? And why should I read it?

A Rate Card is a document provided to you by the publication in which you will be placing an ad. The Rate Card contains all the information that you need about placing your ad in a publication: prices, deadlines, size requirements, and in what format your ad should be sent to us (i.e., .pdf, .cps, or .tif). Often, the Rate Card will look something like this:

This is the rate card we gave to clients who were placing ads in the 2014 Quilts Buyers’ Guide. As you can see, the card shows ad sizes, costs, for both black and white and color ads, and deadlines.

This is the rate card we gave to clients who were placing ads in the 2014 Quilts Buyers Guide. As you can see, the card shows ad sizes, costs, for both black and white and color ads, and deadlines.

The publication where you’ll be placing your ad will always give you one of these—please read it! While working on a publication like the Quilts Buyers Guide, which contains many ads placed by different companies, designers can spend a surprisingly large amount of time fielding emails and phone calls with information about sizes, deadlines, and prices—in other words, information that can be easily found on the Rate Card.

Your designer will be happy to help you out if you have questions or difficulties with your ad! But if you check the Rate Card first, you will help ensure that the conversations with your designer are focused on more important and difficult questions than “when is this due?” For example: you want a flying squirrel in the ad? Sure, why not!

Thanks for reading your Rate Card!

 

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It’s that Time of Year, Again! Evaluate your Marketing Strategy

The year is winding down and budgets are being created for 2014. First you have to evaluate the money you spent and if the marketing strategy you planned for this year is actually working. Here are a few questions to get you started on that evaluation:

  • Have you discovered your true market opportunity?
  • What size is the market?
  • What are the key trends that inspire your success?
  • Is your business affected differently during a certain time of the year?
  • Do you work harder in some months than other?
  • Do you know your exact audience you are targeting?
  • What trends in advertising have you not tapped into yet?
  • What competitor threatens your success?
  • What can you learn from them?
  • How can you differentiate yourself from them?
  • What improvements can you make?
  • Take a look at the promotions and advertising that you did. What was your most effective campaign?
  • What events increase your organizations visibility?
  • What information material do you have available on the spot?
  • Where are your communication efforts most well received?
  • What platform of social media is working for you?
  • What does your website say that your advertisements don’t?
  • Find out what works, and what doesn’t and then attack the budget. What mistakes from last year did you make that you don’t intend to carry over to the next year?