Comic Relief: Online Visual Marketing for Bridal Businesses
It's the trend of all trends in the wedding industry: visual marketing. If you've been following this series, you know that the way to today's web 2.0 bride is through imagery...pictures, video, pin boards and more. But part of the magic that happens with visual media isn't just the image itself...its also the message behind the medium. What message are your images sending?
Connecting with brides can be easy....just make them laugh! I don't know of a quicker way to do that than with a silly joke. That's why I've invited cartoonist Mark Anderson of Andertoons to tell us all about how a simple little comic can work wonders for your online marketing.
Kathy DalPra (KD): Small businesses hire you to create custom comics for their own use. What are the most common applications you see these comics used for?
Mark Anderson (MA): I find a lot of businesses are looking for content for newsletters, blogs, and training materials, all of which are great candidates for cartoons. If you've got pages and pages of text, a reader is very appreciative of a quick cartoon break.
KD: What are some other ways that wedding businesses might use cartoons and comics in promoting their brand and/or services?
MA: Business cards are a good option. In fact my own business card has a cartoon on the back about giving out business cards. It's a fun little surprise that people inevitably show someone else.
KD: When used for marketing or brand awareness, what kind of affect do you see these comics have on an audience and their perception of a business?
MA: I think people are looking for businesses/brands to connect with, and one with a good sense of humor is easy to like. My favorite brands (Apple, LEGO, Tabasco) often use humor in their marketing, and when they do it feels like I'm getting something enjoyable in return for being advertised to. In that way cartoons are a perfect fit in a marketing strategy.
KD: What are the most important elements of a good comic?
MA: It's a blancing act between the writing and the art. Good writing can carry mediocre art, but great art will never carry mediocre writing. For me the best combination is a cartoon where neither the art nor the caption makes sense without the other.
KD: What are some common mistakes you see small businesses make when they first consider having a comic illustration created for them?
MA: Committeeing a cartoon to death is common. Asking a cartoonist to ape another style is also a problem. And it's important to remember you've only got about 5 seconds for that cartoon to do it's job with a reader. Don't fill it with unnecessary details.
KD: Have you ever created a custom comic for the wedding market?
MA: I've done a number of cartoons for couples getting married. I did one cartoon for an announcement where the bride and groom were both mathematicians and wanted specific forumlas written on a blackboard. I never understood the science portion of the joke, but they loved it and it was a big hit.
KD: How much should a wedding professional budget, as a general range, if they want to have a custom cartoon or comic created?
(Note: Mark sells a wide variety of hilareous stock cartoons for as low as $30, which can be used for blogs and online marketing.) A custom cartoon in grayscale runs $300, and a custom color cartoon is $500. And if the professional and/or couple asks nicely up front, it's difficult to turn down a request for sending the original art along as a keepsake. Here's how the whole process works...