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What Makes a Product Really Stand Out & Get Noticed??

Although I don't consider myself to be an expert of marketing or digital product branding, I do get asked this question quite a bit...


I really enjoy what I do and I thought I would share some of the tips and advice I have learned over the years. I often feel like I fall short when it comes to my own product brand and marketing, but I seem to excel when helping others.. go figure!!

I believe that there are three KEY ingredients to making sure your digital products really stand out...


#1 LAYOUT & DESCRIPTION
Your layout is not the actual colors or clipart you've included in your design, but how you have placed those items in a product preview to draw people in. I always work in grids.. I like to see that elements are placed evenly, proportionately, and balanced on a page - no matter what type of page you are creating. 

Now... I do have a Masters degree, but I did not earn my degree in art or design (maybe now I wish I had..lol). This is just my own "eye" and how I am able to creatively and objectively look at different designs elements. 

Think of it this way... the layout of your design tells a story... what story is your layout telling? 

Is your story random, messy and not well thought out? Or does  your story show you took great care and time to think about how to use the space you had?  Having white space is also not always a bad thing... especially in design. Just because there is space for more images, doesn't mean you need to fill it up with more.

Having too many elements in a layout will distract people from the visual story you are trying to convey. Keep the design and layout simple - I know you have all probably heard the saying, less is more.... but it's true... LESS is MORE.. in design. You want people seeing your product preview to know exactly what it is you have and to focus on the content. 

Leanring how to design an effective layout takes time, practice and many do-overs to get it right.. haha.. Just take a look at some of my old previews.... OR DON'T!!! There is always more to learn and I take pride in knowing that I am a life long learner of as many things as possible.. LOL

#2  FONTS HAVE FEELINGS TOO
Using clear and easy to read fonts on your product covers is VERY IMPORTANT!! If I can't read it, then I surely will not be buying what you are selling. Keep it simple, clean, and bold and people will be able to read the previews even when they are only 200 pixels wide on the web.

Every font has it's own "personality" and tone... Use fonts that reflect a "personality" that complements the purpose of the product. If you take a little peak at my PORTFOLIO, notice how the fonts I chose for each design takes on its own personality that complements the overall design and nae of each blog. Those choices didn't happen by accident, people. I often spend more time choosing fonts than doing anything else in a custom blog design. I can literally spend hours searching for just the right font that complements each design. It is a process, but it's an important process. 

Think of the fonts you choose as your online "body language".. what are your fonts relaying to those reading?  I recently read a great article about WHY FONTS MATTER that talks about how fonts can relay our emotions and what we are feeling... just like colors (but I'm not getting into colors today.. that could be an entirely other post). It might be a good idea NOT to create a product cover while you're mad.. haha

I love design messages that help us learn... like the design of this T-Shirt from Amazon

If you thought the shirt was funny, there is an entire Facebook Community dedicated to spotting reasons as to "Why Fonts Matter". Check out this Facebook page, WHY FONTS MATTER and be prepared to laugh, but also be prepared to start thinking about your own font choices and what messages your font choices are conveying... it's really important!!
Here is an example from this FB page:
I am pretty sure the person who chose this font was not thinking that the style would make this company look like it says KKK boxing!!! Font styles can play tricks on our eyes and on the way we feel about a company or product... start thinking about your fonts.

I have had clients in the past ask me to use specific fonts together that look terrible when paired. Even when I have literally begged that client to "trust" me, I end up having to appease the client and use the font combination requested... 99.99% of the time I do this, the client will ask me to change the fonts once they have seen their decision and how it looks in relation to the overall design - I kid you not!! 

Make sure if using more than one font, that those two fonts complement one another as well. test it out, print it or get some fresh opinions if you are unsure. There are so many of us Teacher or former teacher bloggers that would jump at the chance to help and share our knowledge and input with you. Don't end up sitting for hours by yourself feeling frustrated when you have a community of amazingly talented peeps to give you some tips.  

#3 EXCLUSIVE CLIP ART AND REAL PHOTOS
Do you want to really make your products stand out and get noticed?? Use real photos taken by YOU or create your own clip art that no one else has. There is nothing more appealing than a high quality image or unique clip art! In my Clip Art 101 Course, I am teaching teachers and bloggers- just like you- to create their own images! Come join us - I would love to teach you what I know... 

Just imagine if you could create a quality product and then illustrate the entire thing using your own unique art!! You would certainly have something unique. I get asked all of the time why I do not sell the art I use in my Hello Business Planner or my End of the Year Memory Coloring Book.  The reason I do not sell the art I used to create these two products is because I wanted to create a product that was completely unique each time. 

I noticed the other day just how many product covers look exactly the same while scrolling through TeachersPayTeacher (Actually, Teachers Pun Teachers right now... hilarious!), so why not stand out with your own clip art OR photos. 

I like being different... I really do..  Try it... try it, Sam I am... (lol)


Last Thoughts/Tips
Staying consistent in your preview designs with branding will also benefit you in the long run. This is something I have a difficult time doing, because I like to change things up! It's hard to be consistent. Its NOT impossible, but it does take work to become recognizable and familiar. If you create a good brand identity or hire someone to do that for you, then you are on the right track already.

If you don't yet have a TpT shop and you are struggling to figure out how to begin, I always suggest starting out with a blog and begin connecting with people. Blogging was really my starting point and I had no idea how much it would positively impact my life. I have made incredible friendships, learned so much, and I have grown both as an artist and as a business owner through the relationships I made through blogging. 

If you need a little help, you can always hire me to create a custom blog or website design -that's right... I also design Weebly websites! You will have to email me for my website package pricing. Click HERE to hire me or email me at 3amteacher@gmail.com I am always ready to help create a unique design and get you started on your own blogging.business journey OR to help you get a fresh new look. Either way, I really do love what I do. 
(I do not design Wordpress blogs - email me about my Weebly package instead)

I certainly continue to grow and learn - and I am far from being an expert in design, but I do love sharing my knowledge - I hope this little bit was helpful.

Have some suggestions or tips on how to make a product really stand out and get noticed? Comment below with your tips! I would love to learn your secrets as well!!


Your friend,
Michelle



How to Cure Hiccups with a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge!

While working on uploading more module videos to Clipart 101 (and I may have had a glass of wine), I got a really bad case of the hiccups. I tried holding my breath, running around the house and even attempted to drink an entire bottle of water to rid myself of the hiccups.

It was a little past midnight and my hiccups were so bad that it was keeping my family awake.. even though I was quietly working in my office.

I decided I would seek out help on Facebook for help.. and to my surprise, I had one friend awake.. who just happened to have a home remedy to getting rid of hiccups. She posted that all I needed to do was have a spoonful of peanut butter and my hiccups would be gone. I was a little hesitant, but thought I would give it a try. I then got a brilliant idea to take a video to see if the peanut butter REALLY worked as a home remedy to cure hiccups. What I discovered was quite surprising...

take a loog and watch my embarrassing "Vlog" Video Blog...



Have fun watching, but this information might come in handy if YOU ever come down with a bad case of the hiccups. Watch how I cured myself... even without the suggested home remedy...

And that... my friends, is how hiccups can be cured with a Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge!! Who knew??!! This is hilarious!!!









Thankful For...


Because we will be having some family down the week after Thanksgiving due to a few unfortunate circumstances, I decided that I would still prepare a traditional meal for the kids and I. My son is coming down with something and my daughter will only be at the house for a couple of hours before she heads off to work, but I always look forward to a nice Thanksgiving meal every year. I don't think I could ever break that tradition... to be quite honest...I look forward to the day after left-overs..haha

I did not have time to prepare something special for all of you, however, I do want to let you all know how thankful I am for all of you! When I first started blogging back in 2010-11, I never could have dreamed that a few simple posts would be the beginning of such an amazing journey. Thank you so much for all of your support, encouragement and love along the way! I have some big announcements and surprises to announce in the coming weeks, but today...I just want to tell you how thankful I am to be able to run my own business and connect with the most amazing people.

Take advantage of a discount and sign up for Clip Art 101: From Start to Finish, set to launch on January 15th, 2016! I will be opening a special members only forum and Facebook page  mid December to share sneak peeks into the process of putting together the videos and to share our work throughout the learning process. 

The eCourse will literally cover everything from what programs to use to specific drawing and painting techniques to branding and marketing. I am really putting my heart and soul into creating this eCourse for you and I look forward to being a part of all of your journeys as well. 

As an extra little treat, I have created a blank version of my Thanksgiving promo image {from above} for you to grab for free and use as you like!  It is formatted to fit best in a blog post or large FB post (600 by 600 pixels).  Choose to add your own text for promos or even thank you notes/quotes for friends and family. 



You might also like to grab my gift from last year!! It's great to print and have family write down messages to frame!!



CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE TO DOWNLOAD THE FREE PRINTABLE FROM MY WEBSITE OR CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD IT FROM MY TPT SHOP


I hope you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving everyone!! 




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