Whether you believe it or not, a good digital creative has the capacity to help you garner truckloads of leads or sales.
And I’m not just talking about good-looking creatives, by the way, I’m talking about those that are compelling enough to convince people to make a purchase, try out a service, or just spread the word about a company.
If, in case, you are fairly new in the digital marketing scene and are wondering what the term ‘digital creative’ means in the context of marketing and business, allow me to explain.
First of all, the word “creative” is a broad term that encompasses all of the visual promotional media used to draw in prospective buyers or clients. It’s a relatively common term in advertising, but one that can be easily mistaken to mean a person, rather than a marketing tool.
Below are popular examples of creatives:
Now that you have a better idea of what digital creatives are, let’s talk about how you can design your creatives so it delights your audiences’ senses, and persuades them into taking action on your offers.
To answer that question, it’s important to first gain insight into…
Your company’s marketing goals
Your goals serve as your brand’s compass. Without it, no amount of progress will yield relevant results, and you may even end up wasting resources.
The clearer your goals are, the better you can produce creatives to help you achieve those goals.
Fortunately, you can identify some of the major marketing goals of your agency by answering a few simple questions.
1. Emotional Value
Some digital creatives enthrall the audience, while others leave them wanting for more. That’s good. You want your creatives to have that effect.
People, for the most part, are emotion-driven beings than logical ones. Sounds depressing? Well, it’s a fact. Agencies and marketers have been using emotional branding strategies for years to sway people into buying their products, and it’s almost always a huge success.
Let’s focus on the written content of your creatives. How do you add emotional value to it?
One way to gain insight into the emotional weight of your blog titles is to use tools like Advanced Marketing Institute’s Headline Analyzer:
The results can be hit-and-miss, but the tool at least tells you if you’re using enough emotional branding when crafting the headlines.
The same approach isn’t difficult to apply when making creatives for your digital agency. Research on high-emotion words and choose ones that are motivational, encouraging, or inspiring in your creative’s headlines. This is great for creating a positive emotional connection and making your advertising material more persuasive.
2. Engaging and Relevant Content
The digital world is littered with truckloads of poorly crafted content that are published every single day.
The goal of your agency is to stand out from all the mediocrity.
The best way to do that is to make your visual and written content as relevant as possible to your target audience. That means stripping down your content to only the valuable bits of information. Everything must add value to your main marketing goal.
There are some tools that will help you identify what people are currently interested in, such as Buzzsumo and SimilarWeb.
If you’re using SimilarWeb, you’ll be conducting what’s called competition analysis.
In the marketing world, this means thoroughly gathering data from competitors in the same line of business and using that data to improve your own marketing strategies -- whether it’s by learning from their mistakes or mimicking their most effective techniques.
SimilarWeb is great for this. Not only does the tool help you analyze the incoming traffic of competing businesses, but it also tells you which of their pages are getting the most shares, and which topics users are most interested in.
3. Appropriate Context
Creatives must be designed with the right context in mind.
So, how do you do that?
For starters, the message of your creative must be clear, with no room for misinterpretation. And the content should 100% tied to the message.
The best way to do this is to use an outline or template. Although not a rule, outlines do help to make sure you haven’t deviated from the main point of your marketing material.
Furthermore, pay attention to the type of audience you’re targeting. Is your message even relevant to their needs and interests? If not, then you’re creatives are still lacking enough content for them to be effective.
For example, if you’re creating an advertising material for your SEO agency, bear in mind that the primary concerns of your target clients are ranking higher in SERPs and increasing organic traffic.
So, in the advertising creative, make sure you state that you offer both in your services and that you’d even be willing to cover long-tail keyword research to help clients better increase their online visibility.
The message of your creative must be clear, and every other information found within it must add value or be related to your main message. That’s how you use proper context in marketing.
4. Audience-Targeted Design
The more advanced our technologies get, the more we’re finding out just how people can be negatively or positively affected by different types of design.
Even before the Internet, marketing design has been extensively researched on and used to gain a competitive advantage in the business world. In fact, it’s amazing how many guides, techniques, and schools of thought (think Minimalism vs Maximalism) there are on the topic of design.
How is this relevant in making marketing creatives?
Again, go back to your target customers. What you know about them should be the basis of your design strategy.
Perhaps they’re more likely to take action if you use adrenaline-pumping or high-energy colors like red, orange, and yellow. Or maybe monochromatic tones appeal to them more. These are all important information to have if you want to design creatives that really speak to your target audience.
If you’re a digital marketer or agency owner who doesn’t have the skills or manpower to produce attractive posters or rich media ads, don’t worry. There are plenty of tools and graphic design resources that make the process incredibly easy. Examples of tools are:
If, however, you’re completely clueless about design and don’t know where to start, let the below tips serve as your guidelines:
However, if you still aren’t confident in your graphic design skills, we highly recommend investing in a professional graphic artist to take care of the heavy lifting for you.
5. Clear Call-to-Action
If the customer is left assuming what the next step is after seeing your creative, you’re not doing things right.
Make sure to tell the audience what they need to do next. Don’t let them guess. We already showed you how to identify the goals of your creative when we started in this article. This part is where you use that knowledge to create better calls-to-action (CTA).
Below are examples of effective CTAs commonly used by agencies and marketers:
“Join the Webinar TODAY”
“Schedule an appointment”
“Download the FREE guide”
“Get in touch with us now!”
BONUS: Optional Ingredients To Consider
Who says you can’t add a few personal touches to tried-and-tested cooking recipes?
We’re sharing with you two more ingredients that can add a more robust flavor to your secret sauce, making it more potent than it already is. But of course, they’re optional. You’ll still get amazing results with the first five ingredients we’ve shared above.
You don’t want your graphics to look awkward when people stumble onto them on their mobile devices.
If your creatives look ugly and disproportionate, audiences won’t have a very good impression of your brand. And they’re more likely to go to your competitors. Mobile optimization, in general, also offers more benefits, such as helping your website rank better on search engines.
According to Statista, 52% of all web pages are being accessed today via mobile phones. With that said, make sure your creatives and website layout are optimized for both desktop and mobile users.
Fortunately, Google is willing to help out website owners. Their Mobile-Friendly Tester is free for individuals and businesses to use, and the tool can help you identify key areas that lack mobile optimization:
Having your website and creatives mobile-optimized gives online users the very best experience navigating through your site. And you can be sure that they’ll be more like to engage with your CTAs.
Just remember to cater to different mobile display sizes, as there are several variations and the number just keeps on growing. And don’t forget to re-optimize your website after a while, making sure you’re applying the best practices and latest trends.
Don’t stick to just one type of material in your marketing strategy. A lot of agencies do this and it can be a huge mistake.
For example, most agencies don’t produce any other type of content except blog posts. They fail to see the importance of diversification, and their reach is very limited as a result.
Conduct a split-testing analysis of different types of creatives, see what works best for certain channels, and refine your creatives according to the data.
To know how well your creatives are doing on different social media platforms, you can use social media management tools like Hootsuite and Buffer.
Buffer’s Analytics tool, for example, provides you with insights into the number of likes, clicks, and shares your posts have.
So, before you publish a creative, decide on which metrics you should track to determine its level of success. For many companies, two metrics to keep an eye on would be Reach and Clicks to determine if it’s eye-catching and engaging enough.
Throwing it all together
Now that you have a complete list of essential ingredients for a kick-ass creative, it’s time to throw them all together. Each ingredient works well when used with the others, and this is the secret to its effectiveness.
The success of your agency’s marketing campaign naturally depends on multiple factors. But if you can create compelling and persuasive marketing creatives every time, your business has a chance of climbing that ladder of success easier and faster.
Your secret sauce is all about the ingredients
When someone mentions a secret sauce, people are often hooked on the idea of the tantalizing, mouth-watering sauce as a whole. It’s easy to forget that it’s the ingredients that make the sauce as special as it is.
So, when cooking up your next standard or rich media creative, remember the core ingredients we’ve shared with you. Also, be sure to tweak the strategies to suit the dynamics of your business.
Feel free to comment your ideas, questions, or suggestions below. Cheers!