In part one of this article, we covered the first five tips for building bad@ss banners. Hopefully that gave you a taste of the potential power by building a banner to get the most for your buck(s). Not to mention, this article is free but clearly is a $100 value – and is not available in stores.
We started with:
- Use a popular and standard size.
- Use clean fonts.
- Make your banner interesting.
- Don’t use gradients.
- Add your comic’s title.
Let’s get to it. Or back to it. Whatever…read on…
- Add your comic’s URL. I used to think you didn’t need it. In fact with a lot of advertisers I work with in the Affiliate Marketing industry, I usually don’t use them. That’s because they’re established brands and you, well you’re…I want to say this as nicely as possilbe…you’re you. Ha! Actually, the problem with most comics is that because there is such diversity in titles and web URLs, you almost HAVE to put the website in the banner. Granted, the banner should click you through to the site, but you HAVE TO consider that not everyone is going to read your banner and click through. If you’ve followed these ten tips (they should click through or there’s something very wrong with them), then you’ll reap the benefits of future clicks based on building familiarity with the viewer. We haven’t even discussed unique spellings or dot nets or shared hosting URLs. Put your URL in the banner and save any confusion.
- Invite the viewer to do something. In advertising this is referred to as a ‘Call to Action’. The call to action is usually in the form of a button with a catchy action-oriented phrase. In comics we might use the old standard “Click Now”, or something a little more specific to the banner like “Catch the Hilarity” or “Solve the Mystery”. Whatever it is, you’re goal is to help the viewer along in the decision process. If they’re thinking “this looks interesting” you want to help them by planting the idea of clicking will have them LOLling in their chairs – and they’re going to feel good about it. Trust me – if you use the right phrase – you’re saying as much, and you should be.
- Don’t worry about animating your banner. Seriously. Don’t do it. There’s little benefit and if you’re worried about getting all your information on a static banner – here’s a hidden tip: USE LESS INFORMATION!. It’s true. With animated banners, you have to trust the fact that the viewer will see the entire animation to get the full effect – how many times have you been scrolling down a page and come across an animated banner and stopped to read the entire thing? Please don’t say anything more than “never”. Don’t do it, please.
- Make it make sense. If you’ve gone ahead and used tips one through eight and set upon your way, you’ve probably built yourself a dandy little banner. So let’s go back and wreck it. It’s not my fault you stopped at 8. You should have finished the article! Make it make sense means that when your reader reads the banner, they get it – not just the banner, but your comic. And make sure it makes sense with the page you’re sending them to. Don’t feature a wacky character with a silly catch phrase and the call to action ‘See What Happens’ only to redirect them to your cast or character page. You’re setting expectations with everything you put in your banner – make it make sense.
- Use a border. That doesn’t mean use a 20 point frame around the edge of your banner. It means put a border on the banner. It’s okay to have a character or your logo busting out, but if you have a white background and place your ad on a white page, you’re message is less likely to stand out. This is a simple but occasionally overlooked design feature that if used smartly, can add a dynamic and unique element to your banner.
- BONUS TIP: Know your audience. If you’ve listened to the Webcomic Workshop, and by that I mean if you’ve listened to ALL of the episodes of the Webcomic Workshop (because I know you have), then you’re likely to remember a conversation we had about developing special banners that are geared to target specific readers of a like-minded comic. That’s an important thing to consider as you’re dropping your hard earned cash into your campaign. Don’t throw away your money by advertising a kids comic on an adult-themed website. Sounds simple right? Just be cautious – not every audience is as it seems.
Many of these tips have been written as a general rule of thumb. Results may vary. In fact, we do not guarantee results – even bad results. Typically if you follow these ten tips, you’ll see better results.
Ken Drab (me) has a small brain but a savant-like interest in branding, marketing and design. He better, that’s what he gets paid to do in real life. In make believe – he’s a Comic Artist.