How to Create a Compelling Marketing Campaign Poster: 7-Point Checklist (+ a Real-Life Example)

I’m based in Germany, but I write copy and offer website reviews only in English (if you knew German language, you’d understand why 🙊). So, it’s very rarely that I get meet my clients in person or see my work printed out or hanging on walls in real life.

But last week it happened: I got to work on something that I now could also take a selfie with.

Today, I’d like to share with you my approach to creating a marketing campaign poster for a crowdfunding project to share on social media. You can use the same strategy to create eye-catching posters to print out, too.

What will you learn from this article?

I’m sure you’ve already figured out how to create a marketing campaign poster in a jiffy, without hiring a designer (hello, Canva & Co.!) The problem with those tools though is that some of the default options their templates offer aim for the design to look pretty and not for it to make your message stronger, which makes your poster less compelling.

Often, you end up making changes to the default design that hurt your message yourself. Not to mention that it’s also difficult to pick the best design from hundreds of possibilities.

Want to make your life easier (and your marketing visuals more effective)? Use this 7-point checklist to make sure that:

  • The default design of a template you select for your marketing campaign poster has the least amount of issues
  • The way you customize the template doesn’t get in the way of your message and makes it stronger

Special offers inside (but only till May 3rd)

I have a couple of special offers connected to this project I worked on: A personal video greeting, a hand-written postcard, or a $300 discount (say what?! 😯) off my web page review services (only 5 available). Read till the end to learn more.

How it started: Original poster copy & design

In my free time, I coach my son’s football team. A couple of weeks ago, one of the clubs in the neighborhood shared a poster for a marketing campaign they started in one of the WhatsApp groups:

Marketing campaign poster: original design
The original version of the poster with names changed and German copy translated into English. Ok, aaalmost original version.

As someone who spots issues with copy and design for a living, I immediately noticed a gazillion things wrong with this visual.

Could I have stayed out of it? Sure.

Did I stay out of it? Obviously not 😁

Because this is how I roll. And also because I knew these people in person and really want their campaign to succeed.

Marketing campaign poster analysis: 7-point checklist

To understand if your marketing poster copy and design are any good, slip into the shoes of your target audience for a second and try to imagine how they’ll react to your poster:

  1. Will the photo you use stop people in their (scrolling) tracks? Is it clear what it represents? Does it evoke the emotions you need it to evoke?
  2. What would they notice first? What order will they read the text in? Will it still make sense or confuse them for a second?
  3. Can they easily read all the text?
  4. Is your message clear?
  5. Is your message succinct enough? Or can you remove some words without weakening the message?
  6. Is it clear what you what people to do?
  7. Can they take that action easily?

Let’s analyze the original design based on this checklist.

1) ⚠️ Compelling visual

What I really like about the photo they used in the original version is that it’s authentic. It’s a snap taken during a real football practice of one of the teams.

But the image is too busy. One needs to look closer to understand it’s about football. Too many faces makes it harder to process. And because the faces are small and the kids are looking away from the camera it’s hard to pick up on their emotions.

2) ❌ Strategic visual hierarchy

Here’s how their target audience – people who are just going by their day and will spot this marketing campaign poster on social or hanging on a fence “in the wild” – will read it:

– Oh, ok. It looks like something exciting is starting today.

– Crowdfunding of what?

– Oh, ok, got it.

– Ehm… didn’t we have this already?

– What am I supposed to do with this? It’s not clickable and even if it was, it won’t lead to the project’s page.

🤔🤷

3) ⚠️Readability best practices

  • ❌Longer text in all caps
  • ✔️Good contrast between the background and the text color
  • ✔️Enough white space

4) ✅ Clear message

The main message is clear: future football players need new goals, and it’s a crowdfunding campaign.

But…

5) ❌Succinct message

…lots of text on the poster doesn’t add value and just occupies space: Starting today/starting now, taunacrowd.de.

6) ❌Clear call to action

Plus, it’s not clear enough what they want people to do. The only hint that they are collecting donation is the hashtag #crowdfunding that comes before the main message.

7) ⚠️Easy to take action

And the worst part of it is that there is NO way for people to get to the page where they can make a donation just by looking at the poster.

Sure, they can link to the page from the text of their Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter post. But why not make taking action even easier?

Huston, we have a problem. Lots of problems, actually. So, let’s get to solving them.

How it’s going: Improved poster

We were short on time. So, we decided to build upon the original design that was provided by the crowdfunding website. Which wasn’t bad per se. It’s just the default options for the copy and colors it provided were not the best. Plus, we needed to make sure that all the custom elements we added made our message stronger (or at least didn’t get in the way).

Keeping in mind our end goals for the poster:

  • Compelling visual that evokes emotions
  • All text is easy to read
  • Visual hierarchy that guides the gaze of the reader strategically
  • Clear message where every word counts
  • Clear call to action that’s also easy to take

…here’s the final version we ended up with after just an hour of work:

Marketing campaign poster: improved design
Final poster version

The main changes:

  1. A different, more compelling visual: less busy, clear as to whom it depicts, with a child looking directly into the camera*
  2. A color accent on “Every euro counts” to make it clear that we are asking for donations
  3. The main message written in a sentence case to make it easier to read
  4. #crowdfunding hashtag placed after the main message to make it clear what’s being crowdfoudned
  5. The most important thing: QR-code that leads to a dedicated page where people can make donations

* – It’s a stock photo, and truth be told, I’m not 100% happy with this image. We had a better one, an authentic picture snapped on the field showing three young football players smiling into the camera next to a mini goal (the same one they are collecting the donations for). Unfortunately, we weren’t able to use it, because of the privacy concern. Which is understandable, but still a pity.

To summarize:

How to design a marketing campaign poster people will notice (and act upon): 7-point checklist

Marketing campaign poster design: Before and after comparison

1) Add a compelling visual

Make sure a visual you choose makes your message stronger:

  • Is clear as to what it represents
  • Can be instantly processed
  • Strategically evokes a certain emotion

If you can, use an authentic, non-stock photo.

2) Mind the visual hierarchy

People won’t read your poster from top to bottom, but from most visual prominent element to the least visual prominent element. Decide in what order you’d like people to read the text on your marketing campaign poster and set visual highlights accordingly.

3) Mind text readability best practices:

  • No long text in all caps
  • Good contrast between text and background
  • Enough white space

4) Make everything clear

Duh.

5) Make every word count

Can you remove a word or a phrase without weakening the message? Do it.

6) Make the call to action clear

Don’t rely on people connecting the dots and figuring out what you want them to do themselves. Tell them loud and clear what their next step should be.

7) Make taking an action as easy as possible

Make sure people know how they can take an action you’d like them to take. For example:

  • On a website, make the image of your poster clickable so it leads to the page they can take the final action on.
  • On social media, add a short and descriptive link on the image OR put the text “Link in post” right on your visual if there’s no way to give a short and descriptive link. You may also consider adding a QR-code for platforms that don’t allow links in posts (like Instagram).
  • On a poster you print out, add a QR-code.

And that’s it. That’s the process. But before you go, one more thing 👇

Get on these special offers

(only till May 3rd, 8 pm CET)

Help the kids reach their crowdfunding goal, and depending on a sum of your donation, you can get:

Donation: at least $14 / €15 Euro (unlimited).

Donation: at least $27 / €30 Euro, only 10 available

Donation: at least $150 / €135 (you save $300 / €270), only 5 available.

Interested? Here’s what to do next.

For a video greeting: Donate. Send me the receipt + your language preference to contact@gillandrews.com. Get a good laugh by watching me embarrass myself on camera 😄

For other, limited offers: Send me a message to contact@gillandrews.com to double-check if the offer of your choice is still available before donating.

If you want to support the kids just because or as a favor to me, because of all the helpful tips you got over the years, that’d be absolutely great, too 😊🙏

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