Have you ever seen an ad campaign that just made you groan? Mismatched graphics, awkward font choices, and just amateur--- everything? Yes, me too. But, let’s be honest, that ad could have been mine a year ago. Professional marketing isn’t a cakewalk. More often than not, advertising is a huge challenge for small to medium-sized businesses.
There’s more than one reason for it. One is money. As a small business owner, I have minimal capital, and there are never more than ten spare cents in my operating budget. Adding a professional graphic designer to a small business team is very rarely financially feasible: the only time it will happen is if you’ve just won a big round of startup funding. Even then, you’ll need to make sure your advertising plan pays very high dividends before you make a hire.
But if adding a professional designer and marketer to the team is not happening, what is the alternative? Well, you could design every ad yourself. In my case, the problem with that would be lack of skill: I’m good at what I do, but it just happens to not be graphic design. Traditional design software has steep learning curves, and even if I spent days focused on nothing but that, I’d come up with nothing better than that ad we were just talking about. The one that made you groan.
So—what about outsourcing? Still not happening, even if I could find someone well qualified who was willing to be paid in peanuts. There’s time. I have very little free time, and it’s the same way for every other SMB owner I know. Short-staffed with a hundred demands on every spare moment, there’s no way I can spend precious hours communicating my needs to someone outside the company: someone who starts with no knowledge of what we’re about and will need to have everything explicitly explained to them.
So, that was what my problem was one year ago. Our problem, because I know I wasn’t alone. What would your ideal solution look like?
Here’s mine: a graphic design program that has absolutely no learning curve and makes complete sense to an absolute newbie who has never seen it before. An ideal program should take me minutes to produce professional-looking ads that will resound with my prospective clientele and community and won’t look like they were built with a cookie-cutter but will instead carry my branding and my unique signature.
Oh, one more thing. It has to be free, or at least almost free because of the budget we talked about. Once our advertising has successfully raked in more clients, we might be able to pay something for that advertising. Before? Not much chance.
Well as hard to believe as it is, I have actually found what I was looking for. It’s called PosterMyWall and it’s an online graphic design software that’s so easy to use that it hardly seems to be a software at all. Imagine an interface that guides you through what you need: sit at the computer with no inspiration whatsoever, and by the time you’re through the process you know exactly what you need, and as a happy bonus, you’ve got it, too, all ready to print or publish. And double bonus: that entire process, from inspiration to finished process, might just have taken ten minutes with no drain on the budget.
Part of the offering is a wealth of design templates, intuitively organized by category and size. If I’ve got a theme in mind, I’m sure to find something that’s a good fit for it. If I am beginning with a blank slate and no idea what I need, I’ll develop a good sense of what should work for me after I’ve scrolled through a few templates in the gallery.
When I’ve selected one that fits our needs, everything begins to happen really quickly. Customizing the information on the templates so it advertises what I want it to takes maybe 5 minutes in the easy to use editor.
Placing my logo and brand name for consistent branding in my marketing graphics is another minute or two. For the sake of maintaining a consistent brand image, I can switch the colors and typography used in the design to my brand’s colors and fonts. If I want, I can even switch up the visuals by uploading my own image or video or choosing one from the stock libraries right there in the editor. And then I’ve got it; the stunning social media files or posters or web graphics or whatever is the need of the hour to bring my small business into the spotlight. One of my favorite features is the way I can create one perfect design and then resize it for free to fit any of my social media channels or other platforms like my website or blog.
Another feature I like about PosterMyWall is the way there’s room to grow as your needs change. I currently use the free version: unlimited free social media templates without any watermark and tonnes of other design image and video templates with a small, easy to miss watermark that you can pay a small fee to remove. Higher quality, pay per piece downloads are also available at affordable prices. When our budget gets a little roomier, we can spring for a Premium plan to get unlimited downloads of high-resolution images and videos.
Videos seem to be key in digital marketing strategy for startups these days, and with PosterMyWall I can prepare high-quality social media videos, digital signage and more to get our message out in a way that can’t be missed. The promo video maker is as easy to use as the rest of the website, and there are more than 2,000 small business video templates available.
In the US, I can also order banners, posters, and flyers at fairly competitive prices. Not having to download, upload, and haggle with local print shops is a definite bonus: with this service, everything is streamlined.
So that’s where we are. Utilizing web-based, affordable solutions like PosterMyWall is one of my top marketing tips for small businesses because it just changes the scene so much. I don’t need to buy fancy new computers or graphic editing software, and I don’t even need to hire a new team member. With online graphic software, I get to skip multiple tools to get to an end-to-end solution. I find myself able to reach my audience effectively, without putting a strain on my budget. That’s small business productivity right there. Try it yourself, and tell me what you think of it.