Many independent title professionals who run agencies are already overtaxed. From managing personnel to overseeing marketing, HR and billing, they have little time to take on new responsibilities.
Still, gaining an understanding of the basic principles of graphic design is a valuable use of any business owner’s time. In a world of unlimited content, your messaging, accompanied by vivid graphics, helps you stand out from the crowd. You can always find a talented designer, but understanding the basics and handling even small designing tasks can save you money and time.
More importantly, doing so has a net positive impact on your brand. Here are a few tips to help get you started.
Color is a cornerstone of graphic design, dramatically impacting how we think and feel about a brand. Think, “Coca-Cola.” Do you immediately see red and white in its logo? Establishing a compelling color palette, and then learning to pair your colors effectively, can go a long way toward creating visual messages that are memorable, emotional and impactful.
To start building your mix of brand colors, hop online. A cursory search produces tutorials and resources. Canva, for example, has put together a terrific primer on why color matters, how different hues convey different emotions, as well as what different colors mean and how to start putting together a comprehensive palette. A number of blogs take a deep dive into the matter. This particular post is especially helpful and explanatory.
The font family you select for your brand should be as intentional. Like color, your brand’s typeface communicates many things to your audience – although typically this works on a more subliminal level than a color palette. Think about the tone or purpose of your company’s brand when making your selection, ensuring that your font reflects that core identity.
For instance, perhaps you want to position your agency as a sleek, forward-thinking and, most of all, modern brand. You probably won’t want to pick a big cumbersome font like Impact or an antiquated text like Copperplate Gothic. Instead, you would want to consider something elegant-looking and clean, like Avenir Next LT Pro and Gill Sans Nova. Similarly, if you want to present a knowledgeable and professional image, you won’t want to use an ornate or playful font like Algerian or Modern Love. Instead, you should perhaps select Helvetica or Myriad Pro.
As with brand colors, there are innumerable online resources that can help you understand the theory behind the font family selection process. Do your reading and give careful consideration before moving forward.
When making these decisions about your company’s colors or fonts, keep in mind the critical nature of contrast. Your color palette should include complimentary hues but also colors that draw a sharp contrast with one another, allowing for designs to be more vivid and powerful.
The same principle holds for fonts. When designs only feature a single font, a piece of collateral can quickly become stale-looking or stodgy. Incorporating a secondary font that differs wildly from your primary font can overcome this challenge, providing you with greater flexibility when laying out information.
Images are everything when it comes to design. Without pictures, you often have little to work with so use them with gusto! Capitalize on images to break up walls of text. This tip is particularly useful for title insurance agency owners. While you may not be creating a lot of graphic design collateral on your own, you almost certainly will have a website you have to update. Data shows that pictures make web pages more inviting, less intimidating and raise the probability that visitors will take desired action.
When sourcing pictures, be sure you have the right to use the image. There are a variety of royalty-free websites you can use for graphics. Pexels ranks as one of the best. Using a picture you don’t have permission to use can subject you and your agency to financial penalties — even litigation.
Pictures represent an important design consideration, but ample whitespace is equally as important. Whitespace matters because every element you add to an image increases the risk that your collateral could look cluttered and disorganized. Whenever possible, aspire to keep designs clean and orderly – and whitespace can be an invaluable tool.
A New Tool in Your Toolbelt
We know title insurance professionals, particularly those who have a responsibility to an entire firm, hardly have an easy time managing everything on their plate. To learn a new skill or understand a newsubject is a tall order. But increasing your knowledge of graphic design is not just an intellectual exercise. It is a valuable endeavor that can save you real-time and money.
After you have internalized the above principles, put them into practice. Take advantage of the many online exercises, templates and frameworks, and start experimenting with some small design projects. You will be glad you did. This knowledge base can only benefit your business, ensuring that your brand stands out from the crowd and possibly even netting you new business as a result.
If you’re just starting out with Twitter, this guide will show you how to craft a winning strategy. If you’re already using the platform to grow your business, jump to our section on smart Twitter tips for business.
Business leaders, and anyone representing the face of that business, must be aware of how their words and actions can impact that business.
The bottom line is: don’t be stupid. While it seems trite, those three words really get to the crux of avoiding PR nightmares.
When one thinks of social media influencers, who comes to mind? Is it a group of the most highly-followed social media stars with millions of followers or is it someone more approachable and relatable, with a smaller, yet immensely dedicated following? If it’s the latter, they are likely micro-influencers. Read More
An emerging trend has entered the ecommerce marketing arena since such social media channels as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube became increasingly popular. Micro-influencers, have successfully settled in the world traditionally ruled by the Kardashians and eventually gained more value for marketers. Read More
And, positive media attention leads to increased awareness of your business. And that leads to more business opportunities. And those lead to business growth and increased sales. And, who wouldn’t want that?
If you are like most community businesses, you likely hire and promote people, sponsor a local school’s sports team, donate to community charities (food banks, disaster relief, cancer support groups, etc.), celebrate business and employee milestone anniversaries and have employees who have exciting extracurricular activities (marathon running, world travel, tiger-taming, etc.).
Here are four tips for turning these everyday occurrences into positive, and lucrative, media attention for your business.
Create a template for press releases. Create a general press release template, to make it efficient and easy for crafting an announcement about your company. You may want multiple templates, such as a “new hire” announcement, a “charity support” announcement, etc.
Press releases have general guidelines you should follow. Creating a template assures you’re following those guidelines without re-creating the wheel each time you make an announcement.
And, bonus! Your team at Alliant National can guide you in creating templates.
Know your local reporters and build relationships with them. Make it a point to know the editors and reporters of your local news media team.
Depending on the size of your community, this team may include a news or radio station, small community/neighborhood paper, or your area’s main publication. Get to know this team, send all press releases to them and invite them to cover your company’s special events, such as celebrations and charity fundraisers.
Send them pictures, too. Reporters love pictures.
Be mindful of opportunities. Be mindful in your daily activities by always thinking, “Is this something of interest in my community that the media would cover, and would it help portray my business in a good light, potentially creating more opportunities for my company?”
Make these practices a habit. Don’t be a “one and done” press release company. Designate a responsible and detail-oriented person on your team to manage press releases/media relations (it’s not as complicated as it sounds) for your business.
You should be sending press releases for newly-hired employees, milestone events, charitable endeavors and other newsworthy events.
One additional note: Keep in mind Alliant National can be a tremendous resource to you in getting started and staying active with your local media relations.
We’re here to help our agents grow. To schedule a digital marketing consultation, please email us.
You do a good job of promoting your business, right? You have a website, place ads in publications that your target market is likely to read and you support your community through key sponsorships.
You have a strong cadre of clients, influencers and prospects because you’re a great networker. So, why do you need to create and maintain a professional profile on LinkedIn?
Is this social networking thing ever going to go away?
It’s not going away, and LinkedIn is a fabulous tool for your business networking. If you utilize only one online network for your business, make it LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world, that’s why. Your network is using it, your competitors are using it, your prospective employees are using it, your local media is using it, and you better be using it, lest you fall behind.
Here are the key steps to creating your LinkedIn presence:
Create a strong profile. Tap into your marketing team’s writing skills to create a professional summary of your skills and description of your business. This is an opportunity to promote your business and establish yourself as a thought leader within your business. Use your resume to list your job history, education and highlight industry and community organizations in which you participate. Be prudent in listing any organizations that are personal.
Establish a presence. Once you’ve created a strong profile, begin building connections. Here’s a shortlist of people you need to invite to connect with you: coworkers, former coworkers, everyone in your network, former college friends (again, with prudence). Also, you’ll receive lots of invitations to connect with other professionals. Be sure to connect with them. Avoid “spammy” looking connection requests. They are not in your best interest.
Build and maintain relationships.
Scroll your LinkedIn news feed to stay abreast of your connections’ news. They’ll post when they change jobs, when they receive awards, have articles published, etc. Congratulate them. And, be sure to post your own news. This is an opportunity to grow relationships … relationships that may someday lead to new business.
Help others learn about you and your company. LinkedIn is a terrific recruiting and marketing tool. Encourage your teams to use it.
One additional note: educate yourself on the various security features of your LinkedIn account to mitigate unwanted email, connection requests and various other barriers to your privacy.