What Design Is… and Isn’t

11 01 2013

Dawn Tomczyk-Bhajan giving a web design presentationMy husband’s a great guy. And because he’s a great guy, he insisted on supporting me at a recent speaking engagement at Eastern Michigan University, through a seminar-based company called Web Adventure Workshops.

I was asked to give an overview of Website Design.

While my mind was awhir with psychologically strategic content placement, target audience impact, and structural integrity across browsers, my husband was, very understandably, not-so-eagerly awaiting a 45 minute schpiel on how to make a website look “pretty.”

Happily, my podium time gave me the opportunity to dispel this popular myth for more than just my better half.

While I’m on a roll, let me clear up this point here, too…

Design is NOT the art of “making things pretty.” Design is the psychology of making messages effective, of initiating action via sensory stimulation.

In simplest terms: it’s getting people to do things… not in a creepy or mind-controlling way, but in showing them how your product or service provides a solution to their problem, whatever that may be.

More than that, design does not always have to be “pretty” to be effective. Looks play a role, but it’s not the end-all-be-all goal of a successful designer.

Here’s the thing… the purpose of a website is to elicit some sort of action from a targeted group of people, preferably within a desired time frame. That could be a call to contact the company, read its blog, follow its tweets, visit its store, leave a donation, pass on information, watch a video… the list goes on. And it can be several of those things at once.

A web designer – or any designer, really – needs to think about the psychology, the science, and the math of making that happen. The “pretty” part is icing on the cake.

Corporate culture, existing branding, structure, competitors, and mission all influence how the message is presented. That’s design.

Audience age, gender, income, interests, location, and culture all influence how a message is perceived. That’s design, too.

Colors, layout, navigation, style, imagery, and content all influence whether a message is acted upon. And that’s definitely design.

So, when you contact DMT Artistry LLC with your next design project, anticipate a fascinating, in-depth conversation that will not only help ME create effective marketing for you, but will give YOU useful insight into your own company and clientele.

And you can rest assured that we will make it look pretty, too. The artist in me is always happy to oblige.

“An object imbued with intent — it has power, it’s treasure, we’re drawn to it. An object devoid of intent — it’s random, it’s imitative, it repels us. It’s like a piece of junk mail to be thrown away.”  ~ John Hockenberry

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

What’s in It for Me?: Determining Why People Buy

7 09 2012

It gives me very great pleasure to introduce today’s guest blogger – my dad and marketing wizard, Fred Tomczyk! Without further ado…

Why do people buy?As a Marketing Communications Manager, one of my jobs is to identify the messages we want to tell our customers about our company and our products. The usual goal, of course, is to move them towards purchasing one of our products.

Here’s a simple way to approach this task.

Let’s start by talking a bit about how to select a message that has the best chance of stimulating sales.

The first thing you need to recognize before settling upon a message is why people buy your products or services. I emphasize the word “people” because whether you’re selling B2B or directly to a consumer, there is always a person making the decision to buy what you have to offer.

Recognizing that you are selling to a person, you need to ask yourself why your customers would want to buy what you have to offer. This is actually more challenging than it sounds. Everyone who is considering whether or not they should buy what you are offering is standing in front of you with a question written boldly across their forehead, just waiting for you to read it and give them the answer they need.

What’s that question? It’s simply, “What’s in it for me?”

What your customer is always asking is how will what you’re offering benefit them. This is really powerful, so let me emphasize this again. They want to know how the product or service you’re offering is going to BENEFIT them.

That word “benefit” is what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter if your widget has a two inch diameter while the competition only has a one inch diameter (the feature). It doesn’t even matter that that two inch diameter means you are stronger (the function). All that matters is the BENEFIT he will derive from the fact that your widget has a two inch diameter and is stronger.

For example, because of this larger diameter, which makes your widget stronger, your buyer will experience increased confidence in using your widget. This may even help him protect his employees. It might help him make more money, improve his customer relations, reduce risk or save time..

Whatever the underlying benefit, your customer will decide to buy your product because they see the benefits that answer their question, “What’s in it for me?”

Here’s a simple example: Two people bought wrist watches. They both say they bought the watches so they can tell what time it is. One of them bought a $20 no brand, while the other bought a $4,000 Rolex. Both watches tell time. So why would one person buy a Rolex while the other buys a $20 disposable watch?

It’s all about the benefits they were seeking.

The $20 watch buyer may be content with telling time to be sure she gets to her appointments on time. The Rolex buyer says he’s buying the same function, but he’s also buying several other benefits. He’s buying the feeling of prestige. He’s buying something he believes makes him look and feel good. He’s buying something that he thinks tells people, “I’ve made it!”

So, if you were selling a Rolex, would you talk only about the high precision manufacturing process? The composition of the metal? The spring tension on the watch band?

Or, would you explain to your customers how their friends will admire them? How good it will look on their wrists?

Use the following list of benefits (“Reasons Why People Buy”) with your products or services. Develop your list of deliverable benefits so you can use them with all of your communications tools – face-to-face sales, web site, ads, literature/flyers, press releases, signs, packaging, etc. Remember to differentiate between Features, Functions and Benefits. Then use your lists of benefits to answer your customers’ question, “What’s in it for me?” and increase your sales

Reasons Why People Buy
To Increase:
• Profit
• Satisfaction
• Confidence
• Convenience
• Pleasure

To Protect:
• Investment
• Self
• Employees
• Property
• Money

To Make:
• Money
• Satisfied customers
• Good impressions

To Improve:
• Customer relations
• Employee relations
• Image
• Status
• Earnings

To Reduce:
• Risk
• Investment
• Expenses
• Competition
• Worry
• Trouble

To Save:
• Time
• Money
• Energy
• Space

Next Blog: Just two weeks away. If you can’t wait that long, contact me! I’m always happy to talk smart business.

Found today’s topic fascinating? Me, too! Here’s a bonus TEDx video, “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” that makes a phenomenal compliment to what my dad wrote above. Thanks to Chris and Jenny of Body Within Personal Training for bringing this video to my attention!

Dawn M. Tomczyk-Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC   |  www.DMTArtistry.com

All content Copyright © 2012 DMT Artistry, LLC, unless otherwise noted. All Rights Reserved.

Business, Meet Pleasure: The Facebook Conundrum (Part II of II)

2 02 2011

Launching your posts into social media orbitSo, social media. It’s a marketing tool. Let’s move on…

Last week, I gave you some ideas about how to post responsibly, and how to hold yourself accountable with regular posting. This lays the foundation for your social media marketing success.

Now, in this second part to my “Facebook Conundrum” blog, let’s talk content. Of all the questions my clients ask with regards to social networking, this one tops the charts:

“What the heck do I post about?”

There are a couple things you want to keep in mind here. First, Facebook and MySpace and Twitter (etc.) are, above all, about fun. It’s fun to indulge our mildly voyeuristic desire to peek into people’s daily lives and activities. Many users recognize this on some level, and spruce up their posts with fun commentary, fun links, fun pictures and fun videos. It makes THEM appear fun, and we all like a fun person, right?

On the same bent, businesses who are attempting to market their product or services can tap into this “fun”ness to ramp up their like-ability and memorability.

However, you wouldn’t get very far with your marketing if you blasted funny videos and cartoons all day, every day. You’ve got something to sell, and that somehow needs to get across to your readers. Hard sells aren’t “cool” in these most sacred of online “escape from the daily grind” institutions.

Let’s take a look at some launching pads for post possibilities, shall we?

Resources: You’ve got something we want, and that’s in-depth knowledge of your field. What do you know, that we might need or want to know, too? Links to helpful content? Recommendations? Tips and tricks? Professional advice?

Imagery & Videos: “A picture is worth a thousand words” isn’t just hype. Visuals garner more attention than plain-jane text. If you sell a cool product, have readers contribute photos of them using it. If you offer a first-rate service, post videos of the process. Think creative.

Fun Stuff: The occasional dancing elves video, funny quotation and tongue-in-cheek cartoon are acceptable, too, when used in good taste.

Soft Sells: Don’t beat people over the head with your sales spiel; sometimes it’s okay to beat around the bush. Invite them to store barbecues. Laugh about a funny situation at work. Share your joy over a super-satisfied customer. If you’re genuine, people will respond.

Questions: One of the best ways to figure out what your potential customers like or want is… drum roll, please… to ask!! Go figure! Throwing out the occasional query gives you a good gauge of who’s reading, and helps you direct future content toward what they want to know.

If you’d like to see five of my favorite examples of businesses, local and otherwise, that are doing a phenomenal job of social media marketing, check out the following (click their name to visit their Facebook page). A measure of their success is how often people post or respond to posts on their page. Take a look:


Hometown Bicycles

Old Spice

Shi Lessner Photography


There are, of course, manymanymany more not listed here that are equally noteworthy. What’s your favorite? Your own business perhaps? Share it here!! You may very well pick up a few more Facebook friends!

“I take my business seriously. I don’t take myself seriously.”  ~Candice Olson, Divine Design

Dawn M. Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

Living by the Lakes is Looking Good

9 12 2010

Christina Ehli is the type of person you would instantly describe as “genuine”. She’s warm, witty and quick to smile, and carries a work ethic a mile wide.

It’s the sort of personality you’d love to see in any industry, but it just so happens that Christina is in the real estate business.

Christina, along with her husband Jeff, launched Living by the Lakes, a Keller Williams Realty company. Living by the Lakes serves Commerce and a large diameter of surrounding communities in this lake-rich region of Southeast Michigan.

The Challenge
Christina’s existing websites were incomplete and stuck in a rigid “corporate” template. She wanted a site that would generate repeat visitor traffic, be a resource and show some vivacity. Most importantly, she wanted to be able to maintain the website herself.

The DMT Solution
We gave Living by the Lakes a customized, real-estate-specific blogsite. The lake theme is front and center, while rotating graphics and ever-changing blog posts keep the website lively.

Her pages are packed with bonus bytes of helpful information, links and calculators for buyers and sellers alike. Cool home/property search features are an additional resource that bring visitors back again and again.

Best of all, after a couple consultations, Christina was confidently posting and updating on her new blog! (Click the image below to visit her website.)

Living by the Lakes

Want to translate your professional passion into a website that spotlights your company’s “awesomeness”? Contact us today for a complimentary quote on your website design or redesign!

DMT Artistry, LLC  |  Dawn M. Bhajan  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

The Psychology of “NO”

18 05 2010

Have you ever played this fun, little mental game with people?…

“What’s the opposite of least?” — Most.
“Casper the Friendly…” —
“If you’re not the guest, you’re the…” —
“What’s the part of the fence that goes in the ground? —
“Another word for shore.” —
“What do you put in a toaster?” —
Toast… er, oh shoot, I mean Bread!

If you ask the questions fast enough, guess what? You’ve just built a pattern and, whether we recognize it or not, we humans LOVE patterns and will see them through to the end. It’s human psychology 101!

People LOVE patterns!So if people intuitively follow a pattern, what happens when that pattern is “NO”?

Think about the advertising you’ve seen on television: “NO long waits! NO shipping fees! NO hidden costs! NO re-routed customer service calls through Siberia! So don’t you want to buy this widget?!”

Um, no thanks.

The listed benefits are good ones. How wonderful that you can relax in the comfort of your home while your widget is delivered to you free of charge, and your questions will be answered by John at the help desk instead of “not-so-good-English-me-speaky” Bjork in Siberia. Great.

But the “NO” pattern was ingrained in us from the start, and the most natural thing in the world is to keep that pattern going… even into our subsequent decision.

Take a look at your own marketing. How often do you use negatives, such as “never”, “not”, “no”, “won’t”? You may be using them with the best of intentions – “never late”, “not a problem”, “no more worries”, “won’t disappoint” – but your customers are hearing a pattern that might unintentionally give them other ideas.

Use your negatives with extreme caution.

Better yet, flip it upside down, so that you’re “always on time”, “can handle any problem”, “make their lives worry-free”, and “will impress the socks off of them each and every time.”

Create a pattern of “YES”s, then let human psychology do its thing!

Have any examples of negative or positive marketing of your own? Go ahead! Advertise!

Want to appeal to a broader audience? Want to create a positive vibe around your business? Want to morph your marketing into something spectacular? Then how about giving me a call? I’d love to work with you on creating a psychology-friendly campaign!

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  810.923.4582  | dawn@dmtartistry.com

When Good Bicycles Go Bad

14 05 2010

Bicycle breakdowns happen. Even the souped-up $15,000 carbon fiber models need a flat tire fix every now and then. But, “who ya gonna call” when your good bike goes bad?

Hometown Bicycles, that’s who.

Across from Island Lake and Kensington parks is a Brighton bicycle repair, sales and parts shop that handles everything from down-to-the-last-nut-and-bolt overhauls to quick safety tune-ups, with incredible speed, knowledge and efficiency.

But perhaps the most noteworthy part of the shop is the owner himself, Shaun Bhajan, and his philosophy of bike business:

“…I’m not in business to buy a yacht or out-renovate my neighbors. Heck, I’d rather just ride my bike. I’m in it because it’s not work… it’s fun, and it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

The Challenge: This element of fun is what’s attracting cyclists from every corner of the county and beyond to support this hometown venture. So how do we translate this into Hometown Bicycle’s online marketing?

The DMT Solution: Simple. Have fun with the design. Have fun with the content. And, above all, involve our customers every step of the way!

Everything from the imagery to the text reflects the spirit, humor, energy and personality that radiates from this cyclists’ paradise.

Below is a screenshot of the Hometown Home Page. Shaun loves the blog format for easy updating and customer interaction via the “comment” links.
Hometown Bicycles LLC of Brighton, MI

The following is a screenshot of our monthly Hometown Newsletter. It’s “A Fun Newsletter”… what more can I say?!
Hometown Bicycles LLC Newsletter

Want to have fun with your marketing? Contact me any time. I love putting “personality” back into tired, unoriginal marketing.  Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  (810) 923-4852  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

Face Time Begets Face Time: Market Yourself!

11 05 2010
Hello, my name is Dawn!

Hello, my name is Dawn! (Photo courtesy Jim Gilligan)

In a day and age where you can find out whether your marketing architect prefers smooth or crunchy peanut butter (crunchy, by the way), review your drycleaner‘s cross-country cycling photos, and monitor the progress of your favorite bike shop owner’s habanero plant, there is absolutely no question that today’s businesses have a straight-as-an-arrow link to the people who run them.

What does this mean?

Consumers want to know YOU. They want to know what you look like, what you’re about, who you’re friends with… they want to know the PERSON they’re buying from, as much as the COMPANY they’re buying from.

Guess what: This gives small companies a serious advantage over large corporations. Use it!

Put your picture and your personality into your marketing. Let people “meet you” through your advertising. Don’t exactly rate at movie star-level looks? Doesn’t matter. As long as you look approachable and human, you’re miles ahead of the take-a-number, computerized phone voice that plagues most of our big box company interactions.

There’s a reason corporations plaster their marketing materials with happy people pictures. It’s to appeal to our subconscious attraction to other homo sapien sapiens. But let me ask you this:

Would you be more likely to buy insurance on the scripted testimonial of a hired spokesmodel, or on the sincere recommendation of a trusted acquaintance?

So, let people know you personally. Of course, be professional about it, but move yourself from the role of spokesperson to trusted acquaintance.

Your “face time” on your company’s advertising will help beget “face time” with new customers. Try it and let us know how it works for you!

Contact me any time for ideas on how to ramp up your “face time” to help build your company’s success: Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

Zombie Advertising: 5 Ways to Revive a Dying Campaign

28 04 2010

"Zombie Crossing" sign$500,000 into your advertising campaign, you’re pulling your hair out. Where are the scores of eager buyers who desperately need what you sell? Why aren’t they responding to your message?

Looks like you’re suffering from a bad attack of zombie advertising! It devours your budget and scares people away without contributing anything to your bottom line.

It’s time to make a move before your campaign saps the life out of your business!

Take a look at these top 5 zombie-marketing culprits… and how to bring them back from the dead:

1) Location, location, location. Who is your target audience, and where do they go? Do they frequent the web, devotedly read the paper, live at the coffee shop? Are they constantly driving, addicted to their smart phone, an avid e-mailer? That’s where your business needs to be.

Zombie advertising happens wherever it’s cheapest, coolest or most convenient to advertise. Forget that. Advertise where your target market is most likely to see you.

2) Judge a book by it’s cover. First impressions count when you potentially have just one shot to make an impression.

Zombie advertising creates ads based on, again, what’s cheapest, coolest or most convenient. But what’s appropriate for your target market? “Caviar”-style advertising is fine, if your target market is elite, high income individuals, but may not mean much to a high school freshman.

3) I’m sorry… have we met? Today’s consumers are wary of nebulous, generic advertising … it’s too much like the Wizard of Oz hiding behind a curtain and blowing a lot of hot air. We want to relate on a human-to-human level, so that we know just who we’re buying from.

Zombie advertising has a corporate, impersonal feel, and lacks personalization. That won’t fly today. Be unique. Be warm. Be human.

4) Huh? I don’t get it. Don’t talk over your potential customers’ heads.

Zombie advertising assumes everyone’s an expert. News flash: we’re not. Shoot for making your advertising understandable, without being condescending.

5) Isn’t that nice. A pretty ad doesn’t mean a sure sale.

Zombie advertising makes a momentary impact, without giving potential customers a reason to follow up. Give people a call to action and, when possible, a deadline to act. A little urgency, and a direction to take, will go a long way toward reviving your stagnant campaign.

What actions have you taken recently to bring your advertising campaign back from the dead, or to keep it in a zombie-free zone?

Have you unleashed a zombie with your recent advertising? Call me to hunt down and revive your campaign: Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  Professional Zombie Hunter  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com

Client Spotlight: Shi Lessner Photography

26 04 2010

Allow me to re-introduce you to Livingston County’s networking rock star and gifted photographer, Shirley Lessner, of Shi Lessner Photography.

Shirley had a problem – a website that simply didn’t do her work justice. I offered a solution – www.shilessnerphotography.com revamped.

Working from a Flash template, I customized an online home for her photography, incorporating the logo I designed for her business. Her new site is the picture of elegance, sophistication and simplicity, and allows her the flexibility to easily modify the content to keep its appearance fresh.

Please visit the site (click the link above, or the screenshots below), and let me know what you think!

The best (and easiest) referral tip you’ll ever get…

20 04 2010

A little "Thank You" goes a long, long wayEver noticed how your blood pressure escalates when you let a driver into your lane and they don’t even acknowledge your existence? Or when you hold the door open for what seems like 50 people… and they all breeze by as though you’re a garden statue? How about when you spend a small fortune at a retail store, and they hussle you out the door without so much as a “glad you stopped in”?

What is the ONE THING that would have turned these situations from aggravating to satisfying?

You’ve guessed it: “Thank You.”

It’s amazing what a smile, a nod of thanks, or a “we appreciate your business” can do to your perception of an experience or, for you business owners out there, to your clients’ perception of your business.

Think about it for a moment. What do YOU do to thank your clients for CHOOSING to buy your product or use your service? Sincere gratitude is a door opener. An appreciative client is more likely to refer future business your way, than one who feels like a nameless face with a wallet.

So if you want referrals, let your clients know you appreciate them! Here are 4 “thank you” techniques I’ve seen used with great success:

1) Just Say It! – If it’s sincere, it can truly be as simple as that.

2) The Follow Up Thank You Note – An email, a handwritten note, or even a Facebook message will let clients know they’re appreciated, AND keep you top of mind for when their friend just happens to need that widget you produce or that service you provide.

3) The Hug – This one has to be used with some delicacy, as everyone has a different degree of personal space comfort. However, I can personally remember every meeting that has ended with a genuine hug. Those people and their businesses have been positively ingrained in my memory, and it’s easy to remember to refer someone who made such a personable impression.

4) The Customized Promotion – Sending a “You bought this widget, so now you need this add-on widget” promotion is impersonal at best. In conversations with clients, you’ll get clues about what they personally like and need. When you send your thank you promotion, show off the fact that you were listening. Customize it. That kind of impressive follow-up is something they’ll write home about!

What’s the most creative “thank you” you’ve ever received from a business? How do you personally thank your own clients?

And to all of my new and regular readers, thank you for your continued support and loyalty. I couldn’t successfully do what I do without you!

Want to get creative with your “thank you”s? I can help you design a customer appreciation system that’s as unique as your business! Email me any time for more information – dawn@dmtartistry.com.