Business

The beginner's toolkit to hiring a graphic designer

Completely devoid of design sense? Struggling to put in words why others should support your business? It may be time to bring some outside help in. Whether you’re thinking about hiring an agency, graphic designer, or web designer, there’s a few things you need to know before hiring outside help.

We’ve pulled together some of our best articles from over the last year to help answer some of the big questions you’ll run into when hiring outside help.

Whether you’re a new business just getting off the ground, your business is suddenly growing, or you’ve just realized you’re in too deep — we’ve got an article here for you.

Best post if you’re just getting started: The essentials: Must have marketing assets for new businesses |  Hue & Tone Creative

Best post if you’re just getting started: The essentials: Must have marketing assets for new businesses

You know you need the basics like a logo and business cards – but what other marketing assets should you make a priority? We’re here to tell you what you need it, why you need it, when you need it, and how you get it.


Best post if you’re looking into doing a rebrand: 7 reasons why you should invest in a professional logo design

Your logo is an integral part of your brand. It identifies you. It distinguishes you. And it creates consistency across everything you do. This post breaks down how a professional can design a logo that has meaning, purpose and power.

7 reasons why you should invest in a professional logo design  |  Hue & Tone Creative

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Best post if you’re in the process of finding a designer: 15 Questions to ask your designer before hiring them

Entrusting your business’s online presence to a trained professional is an excellent choice.  However, before journeying any further, there’s something you must consider: you’re the boss. Like with any other hire, it’s your responsibility to find the right talent to perform the task. Here are 15 questions you should ask a designer before shouting, in boss-like fashion, “you’re hired!”


Best post if you might need website help: Pros and Cons: DIY Web Design vs. Hiring a Web Designer

You’re in need of a new website, but you’re not sure if you should take a stab at it yourself or hire outside help. It all depends on your needs. While web site builders make it easier than ever for non-designers to pull together their own website, they don’t work for everyone. If you’re a tech savvy business owner who needs a simple site, they might be a great option. But, if you’re tech-challenged, short on time, or in need of a more custom site you probably need to consider hiring a web designer.

Pros and Cons: DIY Web Design vs. Hiring a Web Designer  |  Hue & Tone Creative

What’s the difference between a graphic designer and a developer?   |  Hue & Tone Creative

Best post if you already know you need website help: What’s the difference between a graphic designer and a developer?

As online tools make it easier for people to learn new skills there’s been more and more overlap between the jobs of graphic designer and developer. Although they are experiencing more and more of each other’s worlds, there are still several clear-cut differences between the skillsets of graphic designers and developers — so, who do you need to hire?  


Best post no matter who you are: How to give honest feedback without frustrating your designer

If you do it right, giving feedback won’t be perceived as negative. In fact, it’s an important part of the design process – and it’s something that your designer is anticipating. But giving feedback in an unproductive way can lead to an overall unproductive relationship between you and the creative you hired. 

How to give honest feedback without frustrating your designer  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Hue & Tone: Your new marketing partner

You probably made it to this blog post because you’re considering hiring an outside designer. We’d love to throw our hat in the ring! 🎩🙋🏻‍♀️No matter who you are or what stage your business is at, we’d love to sit down and tell you why we’re the right marketing partner for you. Let’s set something up: 336-365-8559.

Pros and cons: DIY Web Design vs. Hiring a Web Designer

Pros and Cons: DIY Web Design Vs. Hiring a Web Design  |  Hue & Tone Creative

We’ve all seen commercials for web builders like Wix, Squarespace, and Wordpress. They lead with a promise of creating a great website at lightning fast speed... even if you have no previous experience. It almost sounds a little too good to be true, right? 

It all depends on your needs. While web site builders make it easier than ever for non-designers to pull together their own website, they don’t work for everyone. If you’re a tech savvy business owner who needs a simple site, they might be a great option. But, if you’re tech-challenged, short on time, or in need of a more custom site you probably need to consider hiring a web designer.

Anyone can point out a website they like or select a template – but designers are the ones who can identify and execute all the elements needed for an on-brand, functional website. From color palettes and font pairings to white space and photography, there are some things a novice just won’t be able to execute on their own. 

Before you decide which route to take, let’s run through some of the pros and cons of DIYing or outsourcing your design: 
 


Outsourcing design: pros

Professional end product

There’s no denying that the end result of hiring a web designer is inevitably going to be stronger than what you’ll be able to create on your own. A strong website design will inevitably help you achieve your website goal, no matter if it’s more email opt-ins, a higher conversion rate, or more brand exposure.  

Functionality aside, did you know that 75% of consumers judge a brand’s credibility based on their site’s design? Web users are savvy, and they can sniff out a homemade website from a mile away – which in the long run could translate to a lot of missed opportunities. 
 

Saves you time and stress

Pulling together a list of your website needs and handing it over to a third party saves you immeasurable amounts of time and stress. You’ll be able to skip the hassle of doing background research, brainstorming concepts, refining ideas, finding your way around unknownsoftware, and making endless tweaks to the site. 

You can simply put your wish-list together, pass it on, and then get on with the rest of your to-do list while your designer handles the creative.
 

It’s a long term investment

Every business’ end goal is to generate revenue. But every good business owner knows that sometimes you have to spend money to make money. While you’ll pay a greater upfront cost to hire a web designer, you’re going to be walking away with a high quality final product that will serve your business for years to come. 

Creating your website yourself has the potential to open you up to issues with data security, mobile responsiveness, search optimization, and more – which long-term could lead to spending more than the cost of hiring a web designer.  

 

Pros and Cons: DIY Web Design Vs. Hiring a Web Design  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Outsourcing design: cons

It’s more expensive

The price you pay will vary from designer-to-designer (we would estimate anywhere from $500-$8,000 based on the complexity of your site) but it’s certainly more expensive than what a DIY tool will cost you. If you’re a brand new business or start-up with a limited marketing budget, the cost of hiring a web designer may feel prohibitive.  

Although we’ve listed this as a con, we urge you to think of the bigger picture, and your return on investment down the line.
 

Less insider info about your business

Every business has their own way of working, their own personal preferences, and their own knowledge of what’s worked in the past. Understandably, an outsider won’t possess nearly as much knowledge about your business as what you have. It make take a few meetings to educate them on the ins and outs of your business so that they’re able to create an effective website for you. 

If you feel like your designer isn’t listening or doesn’t have the time to talk through the backstory of your business, we suggest finding someone else who will. 
 

Finding the right fit

You do your research, talk to a number of potential designers, and still you feel like you can’t find the right fit. Keep on looking! 

Settling for the wrong designer is going to cost you more time and money in the long run, so be sure to do your research and settle on a clear scope of work before agreeing to anything. 

A good designer should ask you a lot of questions before providing a quote, should explain the process to you, be able to answer your questions, and will outline a clear scope before the project kicks off. If you feel like you’re in the dark about what you’ve agreed to or you feel like they just don’t get your business, then we suggest looking elsewhere. 

Ask for referrals, get the designer to provide ample work samples, and check out the quality of their online presence to get a good idea of their working style and final products. 
 



DIY design: pros

Save money

There are lots of online tools that let you create artwork for free, or offer additional features for a low fee. Either way, it’s likely to be cheaper than onboarding a designer. 
 

Total control

Working with a designer means having to make compromises based on their expertise, and we’ve seen first-hand how hard this can be for some business owners. If you think you’ll be unable to work with an outside party on your website, you may want to consider keeping the project in house. 

 


DIY design: cons

Compromised quality

Design is a skill like any other. The same way you can’t waltz onto a construction site and expect to be a builder, you can’t start using software and expect to be a designer.

Imagine you had to build a brick wall right now. Now imagine what the end result would look like. Compare that to what a professional mason would be able to build. The world of design is no different.
 

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More time, more limits

We’ve already mentioned that there are various cheap and/or free design tools around. But with their cost-saving benefits come limitations – both on what free software can do and what you’ll be able to execute with your limited skill set. 

There’s only so much you can do on basic design tools, and by limiting the flexibility of your designs, you’re essentially putting a cap on the potential quality of your finished product.

 

Tunnel vision

After working solo on your marketing for so long, you think you know exactly what works best and what your customers want. In some cases this might be true, but in a lot of cases there’s value for bringing in a fresh perspective – especially someone who is a marketing expert. Bringing in a web designer will help you get a fresh perspective and some new ideas. 

An expert designer will be able to take your marketing materials to a new level that you’ll never be able to execute with in house design, making you more competitive and more likely to stand out from the crowd. 
 

Loss of expertise

Last but not least, is the loss of experienced, tried and tested expertise. Let’s stick with our construction analogy. If someone asked you to build a skyscraper, you wouldn’t know where to start, or what best practices you need to follow, would you? Nor would you be expected to.

Professional designers have spent years mastering their trade. They’re hot on the heels of current and emerging trends. They’ve had past success and failures to learn from. And, they’ll be able to translate your ideas into something that works well for you while still fitting in with current trends. 

What does all that mean for you? A stand-out final website.


Hue & Tone Creative: Web Design for the Triad

Now convinced you need to hire someone to help with your new website? Give us a call so we can see if we're a good fit for designing your new site or sprucing up your existing one. From web mockups to executing the final design, we want to be your go to partner for all things web and design. 

Web Basics: What is web hosting?

Web hosting. We hear those words a lot, but how many of us actually know what it is? Well if you don’t, then look no further. We’ve cut out the jargon and waved goodbye to all that techy mumbo jumbo as we take a quick look at the basics of web hosting. 
 

What is web hosting?  |  Hue & Tone Creative


Web hosting vs domains

When it comes to web hosting and domains there can be a bit of confusion between the two. We like to break it down like this: 
 

Web hosting: This would be your house, because it’s the space where everything is stored.

Without web hosting there wouldn’t be any websites. It’s the physical location that your website (and everything it entails) sits, and it ensures that your site maintains a sturdy connection to the internet -- without that connection, people are unable to access any of the files on your site (which, in layman’s terms, means you have no website!).

Some examples of web hosting companies include InMotion, 1&1, HostGator, GoDaddy, Wix and Weebly.

 

Domain: This is the equivalent of your address, because it’s the location your host can be found.

It’s not a physical entity, it’s just the series of characters that make up your site’s unique location. So, the same way you’d enter an address and ZIP code to get to your end destination, you enter your domain name into the search bar to get to your website.

Some of the most popular domain name providers out there are GoDaddy, Hover, Dynadot, Google Domains and Namecheap.

 

Where should you buy web hosting from?

When it comes to choosing the right web host for you, there are a lot of solid contenders out there. To help you along your way, here are the top five as rated by the experts over at Techradar.


Web host

InMotion

Voted

Best overall shared web hosting

Selling points

Wordpress hosting, business hosting, web design services, and 24/7 US-based support

 

Runner-up overall shared web hosting

Baremetal servers, free SSL certificate, secure hacker protection, and email marketing

 

Best ‘cheap’ option on the market

Unmetered bandwidth, unmetered disk space, money back guarantee (45 days) and $150 search credit

 

Good all-round service

SEO services, free domain, database backup/restore, and unmetered bandwidth

 

Wordpress’ #1 preferred partner

Unmetered bandwidth, WooCommerce hosting, Free domain, 24/7 US-based support


What does all that terminology mean?

We just threw a bunch of terminology at you -- but since this is a beginner's guide to web hosting, let's go ahead and break it down: 
 

Bare metal servers: The term ‘bare metal’ refers to a hard disk, and so a bare metal server is when a computer system or network’s virtual machine is installed directly on to hardware.

SSL certificate: In its simplest form, an SSL certificate is a public-facing, digital document that tells people a site is secure. It also lets you know that the company that says they own the website you're accessing legitimately owns it. 

Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the amount of site content and visitor traffic a server can transfer in a certain amount of time.

Unmetered bandwidth: A hosting plan with unmetered traffic. The price you pay each month does not depend on the amount of traffic (data) sent to and from your server during the month

Unmetered disk space: Disk space is the amount of data you can store on a web server. The amount of disk space you need will vary depending on the size of your site. Similar to unmetered bandwidth, unmetered disk space means you are given an unlimited amount of disk space. 

SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the online practice of increasing the amount of traffic you get through to your website via organic search results, like Google. Some hosting companies offer services to help you improve your SEO.

 

Questions about what any of these terms mean? Leave them below in the comments -- we'll be happy to help clear up any questions you have! 


Hue & Tone Creative: Web Design Services

Once you've secured your domain and hosting, let us help you bring your site alive with a great design and intuitive user experience. Get in touch today to see how we can support your website’s set-up.

How to curate a case study that connects

When researching a potential purchase or prospective partner organization, 78% of business to business (B2B) shoppers report seeking out case studies during their research. 

It’s hardly surprising. When you go shopping for a pair of pants online, there’s usually buyer reviews and customer snapshots available to help aide you in your purchasing decision. You can see if things are true to fit and what percent of verified customers would buy the item again. Case studies are like the business equivalent of that – they showcase outcomes of your work and convey your customer satisfaction. 

You can scream about how brilliant your brand is until you’re blue in the face, but at the end of the day, it’s the words of others that validate what you’re saying.

Keeping that starting stat of 78% in mind, think about all the potential new business you might be able to capture -- case studies can help seal the deal on referral business, as well as help pull new folks in off the street. 

How to curate a case study that connects  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Once you’ve identified a few past clients or projects you would like to highlight, it’s time to get the ball rolling. To help jumpstart your interview with your past customers we’ve put together a list of questions you can ask. These will help facilitate a useful conversation that should give you a few prime quotes to include in your case study:

 

Getting client feedback for a case study

1. How has our product/service helped your business?

Until businesses buy from you and experience your business for themselves, they’ll never truly know how much you can help them. So, let other businesses give them an insight into how you made their life easier. Chances are they’ll be able to see how your offerings would fit into their life as well. 

 

2. What was the tipping point to buying our product/service?

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. It’s not uncommon for businesses to do things a certain way because that’s “how they’ve always done it.” Long term, this can mean getting stuck in a serious rut – sometimes without evening realizing it. 

By asking past customers what made them choose you you’ll be able to get a better idea of how to sell to new customers. Pay close attention to the pain points that customers site – what problem did you fix for them? Chances are, this is the same pain point a new potential client might have. 

 

3. Which part(s) of our product/service do you find most valuable?

Get your clients to brag for you! It might even give you a new idea or angle to target in your marketing.

 

4. Would you recommend us to other businesses? And if so, why?

The all-important seal of approval. In a world where you’re constantly fighting for clients against your competition, shout about why other businesses opted for you over them.

 

5. If you had to describe our business in one sentence, what would it be?

Adding in a nice little one liner is a great way to get a short and snappy overview of your business. While questions one through four are all great questions, sometimes you just need something a little less lengthy.

If you’re lucky enough to get clients recommending you on camera, this one’s great for creating a to-the-point video compilation that brings the words of many together.

 

6. Do you think there’s any way we could improve our product/service?

This one’s not for your actual case study, but why not kill two birds with one stone and do a bit of market research while you’re at it? Use this question to find out where your gaps are, see if there are any trends emerging, and tweak your product or service accordingly.

 

What else to include in your case study

Now that you’ve got a handful of client testimonials, it’s time to put together your actual case study. There’s a few things you should include to give your client an accurate idea of the scope and effectiveness of your work:

  • Give a little background around the client. If you need to keep it anonymous, no worries, just give an idea of the size of the company, industry, and a few of their products. 
  • Outline the goals they were looking to accomplish. What was your client or customer looking for when they came to you? Did you help them tailor their goals? What goals could you help them with – and what services should people go elsewhere for? 
  • Highlight the process, products, and services you used when working toward the client’s goal. This is your opportunity to emphasize the services you offer and show what sets you apart from the competition. Establish yourself as a subject expert by showing off what you know. You don’t have to give away your industry secrets, but showing you have a firm grasp on your field will help you build trust with a potential customer. 
  • Emphasize the outcomes. In conjunction with the client quotes you gathered, you’ll want to use hard numbers to prove your success. Personal relationships and client satisfaction are important – but when it comes to business, employees want to be able to show their higher-ups that you’ll be able to deliver on what you said. Facts and figures will help you drive home your pitch. 

 

Distribute your new case studies

Now, it’s time to start capturing potential clients. If you’re taking the time to curate case studies, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most out of them. Once you’ve got a bank of case studies, you’re armed to hit every single marketing touchpoint.

You can spread the word about your case studies just about anywhere: 

  • Test out pop-ups on your website with a case study download
  • Create tailored landing pages with different case studies that appeal to different buyer personas
  • Share them on social media
  • Distribute them in your email newsletter
  • Create videos or motion graphics using the information and quotes 
  • Still utilize a print newsletter? Share your case studies there! 
  • Arm your sales team with case studies to help them close the deal
  • Link a favorite case study in your email signature 
  • Highlight them in PowerPoint presentations or lunch n’ learns 
  • Use them as a training tool for new employees

Whether it’s splattering an excerpt on social media or including a banner in your emails, don’t hide them away. Use your case studies to support your messages, and take every opportunity to get your potential clients to read them! 


Hue & Tone Creative: Marketing in Greensboro, NC

Completely stumped when it comes to your B2B marketing? Case studies need a design overhaul? Or maybe you just need help distributing them? We can help with every step on the process. Want to see what we've done for our other clients? Take a look at our portfolio.

The Importance of Strong Content... according to Yoda

Millions tune in to watch shows like Grey’s Anatomy, events like Super Bowl LII, and cult favorites such as Star Wars. Why? Because the content is so darn good.

Content, as stated by the Oxford English Dictionary, is information made available by a website or other electronic medium. People know good when they see it and recognize good content when they read it. Which is why crafting strong content is so important on the information-overloaded web.

The Importance of Strong Content according to Yoda  |  Hue & Tone Creative

“The force is strong with this one.” –Darth Vader, Star Wars: Episode IV

“What makes for strong content?” you may be asking. It starts with knowing your audience. The subjects you discuss as well as how you choose to tackle them are dictated by those seeking your infinite wisdom and wares. Exploring topics that are helpful to your customers, followers and clients make for good content because it’s relevant. Ask yourself, “what can I do to serve the needs of my unique base”? And create from there.
 

“Always pass on what you have learned.” –Yoda, Star Wars: Episode VI

You can’t teach what you don’t know. Integrate your company’s core competencies (those things you do exceptionally and distinguishes you from competitors) into your content. Kim K posts tons of information regarding make-up and fashion help. Oprah’s website is packed with inspirational tidbits and plenty on healthy eating. Your content could detail how to start a non-profit, demonstrate yoga techniques, or show the masses How to Curate Their Instagram Feeds. Basically, write what you know.
 

"There is NO substitute for WORK." –Vince Lombardi, Green Bay Packers Coach (1959-1967)

Content is often copied from one site and reposted on another. This should only occur when express permission has been provided by the content’s owner. It should also be an option rarely elected. For one, originality is rewarded by Google search rankings and secondly, you can’t contribute much to the virtual conversation if you’re only saying what has already been said. Don’t have the time to create original content? Partner with a professional content provider. Unlike reposting published pieces, working with a content generating service is a savvy alternative that provides you with unique postings for your site.
 

"Pretty good is not enough, I wanna be great." –Christina Yang, Grey’s Anatomy

Your content choices and execution should be in alignment with your brand image. If you’re known for being reliable, posting consistently and on time is a way to demonstrate that trait. Presenting thought-provoking and engaging topics showcases you as the thought-leader that you are. Great at design? Be sure that your content is presented in the showiest of packages that displays your exceptional stylistic talents. If you’re great, your content should be great. Post that which you are.
 

"Knowing is better than wondering." –Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy

What content have you produced that garnered the most engagement and views? There’s an analytic for that.  Refer to your site’s pageview data and determine what your readers prefer. This helps to cultivate similar content that speaks to the needs and wants of your followers. Do your research and give the people what they want.

Keep in mind, your web content may not make a colossal mark or be permanently enshrined in greatness like Star Wars. Instead, it might convert a visitor into a lead or even a client. She may be persuaded to subscribe to your newsletter. He could be moved to try your service. And that is much better and even, dare I say, compelling.


WEB DESIGN, CONTENT CREATION, and SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT 

No matter what you're looking for help with, Hue & Tone Creative can help take your website -- and the content on it -- to the next level. If you'd like to see what we can do, be sure to take a look at our design portfolio, scope out more of our blog posts, and take a look at the services we offer. 

Our 7 Favorite Posts of 2017

As we were planning out our 2018 content calendar, we got thinking about all the great content we posted over the last year: a total of 51 blog posts (to be exact).

From social media and font pairing to color inspiration and web design, we ran the gamut on everything marketing and design related. But out of all of our content, there’s a few posts that stand out among the rest. We’ve rounded up our top 7 -- here's what they are + why: 

6 SIGNS IT’S TIME TO UPDATE YOUR COMPANY LOGO  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Best branding post: 6 Signs it’s Time to Update Your Company Logo

Your logo is your company’s primary visual symbol, and one of your brand’s most important assets. If you haven’t changed it in a while, we’ve put together 6 signs that should kick-start a rebrand.


HOW TO CREATE CUSTOMER PERSONAS  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Best post for finding new customers: How to Create Customer Personas

Customer personas are detailed representations of your customers’ demographics, likes, dislikes, traits, and buying behaviors. These traits are not made up, you need to discover them through comprehensive research. Here’s how.


HOW TO CURATE YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Most popular social media blog post: How to Curate Your Instagram Feed

Ever stumble across a gorgeous Instagram feed and suddenly come down with a major case of account envy? We’ve all been there. Creating a lust-worthy Instagram account is more than just slapping on a filter and a handful of hashtags. 


MOOD BOARDS: HOME SWEET HOME  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Our favorite design post: Mood Boards: Home Sweet Home

A compelling image can capture attention, tell a story, and help you connect with your viewer.  But inexpensive, non-cheesy stock photos can sometimes be hard to come by. To save you the hassle of hunting for decent photos, we’ve narrowed our top 10 (mostly free) stock photo sites.


Our pick for must read: 4 Elements for a Killer Landing Page

When it comes to lead generation, landing pages count. We've broken down our four must have elements for a lead generating landing page. 


7 SQUARESPACE FONT PAIRINGS  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Our most read blog post: 7 Squarespace Font Pairings

We've taken the guesswork out of selecting the perfect fonts by putting together 7 suggestions that will revive your favorite Squarespace template.


THE 6-STEP CONTENT CALENDAR  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Our most stress relieving blog post: The 6-Step Content Calendar

Creating a content calendar will save you time, provide consistency, and help you manage your communication channels. Avoid stress and get organized with this 6-step process.


Web Marketing + Design in Greensboro: Hue & Tone

Looking to market your business in Greensboro, Winston Salem, or the surrounding areas? Hue & Tone is a creative graphic design agency specializing in logo design, web design, social media management, and more. 

Getting Analytical in the New Year

Getting Analytical in the New Year  |  Hue & Tone Creative

A business’s ultimate success has grown increasingly reliant on its web presence; particularly its website. According to an April 2017 survey taken by Statista, 40 percent of internet users in the US stated that they purchased items online, several times per month. Retail e-commerce sales worldwide are expected to nearly double between 2016 and 2020. More people than ever are performing research online before journeying to a brick and mortar store to complete a purchase. With so many transactions occurring online, how can you be certain your website is performing up to par?

Most small business owners can at least determine how much traffic their website solicits. But this can be as beneficial as knowing how many people attended a party without actually talking to anyone. There’s so much more information available. So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to get analytical in 2018.

 

Conversion

This statistic tells you how successfully your website is completing your intended goal. For example, if you’re Pizza Hut and your website’s primary purpose is for a visitor to complete a purchase, then your conversion statistic will indicate the percentage of visitor’s doing just that. Maybe you’re a real estate company, and your conversion goal is to have web users complete a contact form; this statistic will give you those percentages.

 

Source Report

Again, most people are familiar with Traffic Acquisition Reports, which measure the amount of traffic your website is getting during any given period of time. But remember, we’re after much more; like, how did they find you in the first place? There’s an analytic for that. A Source Report can tell you if someone arrived at your site by way of a search engine like Yahoo, or a referring site like Pinterest which includes links that route users to a pin’s original site or page. It can even determine how many people typed your url directly into the address bar.

 

Medium Report

There is also a Medium Report which indicates whether the result was the product of organic search or unpaid search, a paid search result, or via a referring website. All of this information could help influence marketing decisions going forward and guide a strategy for capitalizing on the sources and mediums already generating much of your traffic.

 

Bounce Rates

This statistic can inform several website elements, because it tracks what happens once a visitor enters your online presence. Do users journey to another page within your site or do they leave it all together? If your bounce percentage is high, you can determine where visitors are landing, which may prompt insight into why they’re leaving. Essentially, this analytic provides valuable insight into what visitors like about your site and what they don’t. Moreover, it empowers you to customize and alter your website accordingly.

 

Pageviews

This statistic is self-explanatory. It measures how many views a specific page receives. If visitors are returning to the same page again and again, hypothetically, you can formulate content that may garner similar interest. It could also point to other contributing factors like design schemes that users prefer. Using this information to formulate a strategic response can ultimately assist in improving your overall conversion rate.

 

The world wide web will continue to change and grow to meet human demand and businesses must evolve to keep pace. With the new year, usher in a new marketing strategy with the help of web analytics. It will be the best resolution you’ve ever made.


web marketing consultants  |  Greensboro, NC

Need help getting your website set up? Want a second set of eyes looking over your analytics? Hue & Tone Creative will take the stress out of marketing your business online. Check out our design portfolio to see clients we've helped in the past, and then give us a call to get your web presence ready for the new year.  

Should you ever work for free?

There’s a Twitter Page entitled Don’t Work For Free where freelancers can “out” companies and individuals requesting free labor. With over 16,000 likes and just under 2,000 followers, it’s evident that there’s a faction of society who considers working for free sacrilegious. As for me, I was torn on this issue. Then I began writing this article. As a freelancer, I understand the difficulty in locating work then asking for and receiving sufficient pay for the time, enery and training that went into creating my product. Even after earning billions and billions of dollars, Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates still demand that mean green, so why should any of us ever work for no pay? Well, there is one reason working for free is justifiable and even beneficial. I’ll explore that first, then I’ll tackle the common reasons people use to rationalize working gratis and briefly discuss the resultant dangers associated with doing so.

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To Gain Real-Life Experience

Working for free is a great method to gain experience in a field in which you’re interested, but have no prior knowledge. This is especially true if you’re about to invest years of your life in school or lots of money on training. Working for free could provide access to a field it would be challenging to penetrate otherwise. Take me for instance. My senior year of high school, my father arranged an unpaid gig on my behalf. The gentleman for which I worked, was an attorney. It had been my hope and intention, since the age of 3, to pursue the same profession. With unwavering doubt, I knew that law was what I wanted to do with my life. My Father wasn’t so sure and suggested an internship. Turns out, my Pop was right.
 

I discovered that while Matlock and Law & Order’s Jack McCoy spent much of their time making lofty speeches in courtrooms, actual criminal attorneys spend long hours in solitude completing paperwork. There were other discrepancies between what I thought being a lawyer was like and the reality. Working for free saved me hundreds of thousands pursuing a career that was nothing like I thought. Thanks Dad and thanks to the opportunity working for free afforded me.

 

Exposure

Defined as the act of exposing, laying open, or uncovering. As research for this article, I wanted to find out what my spiritual leader, Oprah, had to say about all this. This is where exposure as pay entered the conversation. Instead of an inspiring Ted Talk or an enlightening interview with Shonda Rhimes, I found hula hoop sensation, Revolva. In 2014, the performer penned an open letter to Oprah Winfrey, admonishing her for an invite to perform pro bono at Oprah’s Live Your Best Life tour. Revolva was offered compensation in the form of exposure.
 

Let’s be honest, exposure is essential for any business. How can people patronize you, if they don’t know you exist? But those in the market to live their best life, are not necessarily in the market for a hula hooper. Exposure doesn’t guarantee future earnings. Working guarantees future income, which is why we work and for it, we are paid. Exposure is not legal tender.



Resume and Relationship Building

I toyed with the idea of working for free in order to forge a connection with a truly impressive business mogul based in New York. I wanted this connection so badly that I was willing to do most anything to jumpstart the relationship. I figured that rubbing shoulders with this person and being able to say I worked for their company would be like steroids to my puny career. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to move to New York and live in New York or feed myself in New York if I were working for free. Even if I could swing it, my plan bordered on the absurd. Folly aside, what’s important is how I arrived at that thinking.



The Truth

I had never had my talents or skills valued in a traditional workplace or compensated at the level at which I performed. As a result, I struggled with my sense of worth and hoped to happen upon a benefactor that, after I’d demonstrated my worth for less, would happily offer me more.
 

After years of following this strategy, I found that it rarely works. No one or very few will give you what you’re worth, even if your value has been demonstrated. You must know your worth and ask for, some would argue, demand due compensation. Why is this essential? Because, it’s your contribution. It’s what you have to offer the world. It’s what will be left when you are no longer here. That, in itself, is invaluable. Your essence, your legacy, your mark. Don’t discount or give it away, unless it directly helps sustain your momentum or motivation towards delivering your contribution to whom it is meant. Exposure alone just won’t do. It can be a remarkable perk in addition to income. Relationship building doesn’t justify, unless that relationship is truly symbiotic where both entities are actually benefitting. Impressive resume additions are great, but if you’re in doubt over your own greatness, it won’t be enough and you may continue compromising in the future. Relish in your worth, stand in it, marinate on it, reach for it, rise from it, and then boldly and unapologetically ask for your check, please.


Tamika Page  |  Hue & Tone Creative

MEET THE WRITER:

Tamika Page works as a marketing assistant and instructor in Atlanta, GA. Her first words were “increase market share.” Although her first words were far less remarkable than previously stated, she does have extensive experience in helping small businesses grow and discover their unique identities.

Want to chat with Tamika directly? TamikaMPage@gmail.com

How to Create Customer Personas

How to Create Customer Personas  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Successful marketing takes more than coming up with eye catching advertising schemes and posting frequently on social. It’s about making a genuine connection with your customers – and to do that, you have to know who your customers are!

Customer personas (also called buyer personas) are detailed representations of your customers’ demographics, likes, dislikes, traits, and buying behaviors. Keep in mind that these traits are not made up, you need to discover them through comprehensive research.

Digging into the data and discovering who frequents your business will help you develop more effective marketing materials, allow you to boost sales, and make you an all around more effective business owner. 

Whether you’re a brand new business or a company that’s been around for a while, understanding who your clients are and how they shop will go a long way in building a stronger business. 

 

Focus on the Good & Bad

While life would be easier if we only focused on the positives, being a business owner means taking in the whole picture. In order to have a strong and thorough understanding of your brand, you need to be familiar with both your strengths and weaknesses.

If you’ve had negative customer experiences in the past, reach out to those clients and learn how you can avoid it in the futures. Unfortunately, not everyone will be in love with your company, but you can still use their constructive feedback to pinpoint who you should be focusing your marketing efforts on and what you need to improve in the future.

Alternatively, if you have your top customers who are always liking your social posts, and praising your products, find out what they love about your company, how they prefer to shop, and what they expect from your brand.

Understanding your ideal customers and customers that aren’t interested in your company can help you pinpoint who you should target and who to avoid. 

 

Creating Your Personas

When it comes to building your personas, the more details you include, the better they become. Here are a few areas to focus on:

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  • Age
  • Income
  • Education level
  • Location
  • Occupation
  • Goals
  • Challenges
  • Values
  • Likes & Dislikes
  • Favorite brands
  • Hobbies
  • How they discovered your brand
  • Favorite social media accounts
  • How often they shop

Your personas should provide a glimpse into who your customers are and how they think.

 

Now, let’s pretend that we own an organic juice bar. Here's what two of our personas might look like: 

 
How to Create Customer Personas  |  Hue & Tone Creative
How to Create Customer Personas  |  Hue & Tone Creative
 

 

From looking at the profiles of our two fictional customers, we’re able to better understand what they’re looking for in a brand. We also have a better idea of how they’d prefer to receive information.

When it comes to making personas of your own, don’t be afraid to reach out to people. Past customers and followers on social are the best ways to find information. Get creative by sending out email surveys, creating Facebook polls, or simply conducting phone interviews. Just be sure to offer an incentive for their feedback and time. Gift certificates, freebies, or discount codes all work well.

Now, get building those buyer profiles! Or, leave us a question below if you need more information.


Graphic Design & Creative Marketing in Greensboro, NC

Need a second opinion on your current marketing strategy? We can help! Whether you need to spruce up your landing page or create a more engaging email campaign, Hue & Tone Creative can help your brand that extra touch it needs to stand out.

The 6-step content calendar


"A content calendar is a shareable resource that marketing teams can use to plan all content marketing activity. The benefit of using the calendar format, rather than just a long list of content to be published, is that you can visualize how your content is distributed throughout the year." - Convince and Convert 


When you’re swamped with meetings, deadlines, and daily work hiccups, squeezing in the time to create content to promote your business can be a hassle.

Creating a content calendar will save you time, provide consistency, and help you manage your communication channels. Chances are, if you’re not pre-planning your social posts and blogs in advance, you’re constantly struggling to find last minute material... usually resulting in rushed and irrelevant content.

Avoid stress and get organized with our 6 step process:  

 

Step 1: Brainstorm with no distractions

Need some fresh posting ideas? Checkout our What to Post series for, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Sit down with a pen and paper and set a timer for 30 minutes. In that time, write down a list of every blog/podcast/content idea that pops into your head. Making sure that you have no distractions is key. When the timer goes off, start divvying up what's appropriate for blog and social media.  

If you're a little low on ideas, you may need to do this process a few times. 

Once you’re done brainstorming, go on a fact-finding mission to study what other businesses and experts do. Then, add any new ideas you have to your master list. From here you can start refining things and decide what works best and what to toss. 
 

Step 2: See what worked

Sidebar: Perform an audit to determine how impactful your social presence is.

Before you start planning, take some time to revisit past posts. Which posts have the most likes and engagement? Which blogs and newsletters have been the most successful?

Once you’ve analyzed what your clients respond best to, you can tailor future content to fit their needs.

Step 3: Determine how often you should post

Tip: Plan content for holidays, anniversaries, product launches, or important events in advance. 

If don’t have a plan in place for how often you want to post on your blog and each social network, you run into the problem of inconsistency. If you’re posting on Facebook 10 times on a Monday, 3 times on a Wednesday, and 6 times on a Friday, your followers will probably get confused, annoyed, or simply unfollow you because they're overwhelmed.

Give your audience a routine so that they know when and how often you’re going to post (especially important with a blog, podcast, or email list). 

The 6-step content calendar  |  Hue & Tone Creative

These are just general guidelines, so feel free to adjust to the frequency that works best for your business and audience.

Step 4: Create a resource library for social and blog images

Take time to compile a long list of post ideas and sources for material. Having a database of quotes, photos, statistics, relevant websites, and content ideas at your disposal will help you organize all of your content ahead of time. And, in the case that you need some last minute content, you already have quality content at your fingertips! 
 

Step 5: Select a tool

There are several great content planning calendars to choose from and many of them are free.

Sprout Social

Basecamp

CoSchedule

Asana

Google Docs/Sheets

Excel

Buffer

Requeue

 

We personally prefer to plan our content with Google Sheets, and then schedule things out from there on a weekly basis in Hootsuite. But, if you already have a tool you're comfortable with, try to fit your content planning tools into your existing work flow.
 

Step 6 : Plan everything out

While planning is great, don't miss out on trending tops and current events. If a post you have planned doesn't work don't be afraid to change things up!

Now that you’ve brainstormed and found out what works for you, spend time planning out your content on an actual calendar. Figure out how far you want to plan - we suggest planning at least two or three months out, all the way up to a year. 

Plan out big pieces of content like blogs, infographics, podcasts, and emails first. Once you've got that in place you can work your social content for the week around these big content offerings. Don't catch yourself getting bogged down planning out every social post -- you can always just put a general outline of content you’d like to post on the calnedar (quotes, stats, blog throwbacks, tips, etc.)


Greensboro Marketing Firm: Hue & Tone Creative

Stumped on how to make the most of your inbound marketing plan? We can help you plan the traffic driving blogs, social, and email campaigns your brand deserves.