Erika Laguna, ETR’s graphic designer, said, “My goal is to make ETR’s marketing efforts look pretty.”

Everyone laughed. The entire ETR team had gathered for a staff meeting, and each member was revealing his or her daily goal.

Little did we know that Erika wasn’t making a joke. She was 100 percent serious!

“What does pretty mean in our business?” asked Michael Masterson. “Does anyone know?”

Erika was the only one who spoke up. “Something that’s pretty brings in more money.”

“That’s right,” said Michael. “In direct response, pretty means graphic design that understands and supports the written word… and the selling process. Something can’t be pretty just for pretty’s sake. It’s about directing the reader’s eye and making an emotional message consistent with the sales message.”

“Did you know that graphic design used to get short shrift in the world of marketing?” Michael went on. “For the longest time, direct marketers believed that all that mattered was the copy. But it’s been proven that images have a potentially huge impact on revenues. In fact, a colleague of mine was able to double his response rates in the mail just with good graphic design.”

And it’s worked for ETR, too. Our marketing team tested one Yahoo banner ad against another. They were able to quadruple the number of clicks the banner ad received just by changing the image that appeared on it.

So how can you make graphic design work for you?

Test.

Michael recommends that you test different graphic formats to see what type of responses you get. That’s the best way to see what’s “pretty” to your customers. When you’ve got “pretty” sales promotions, websites, and e-letters, you’ll have a healthy and successful business.

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