Resources

How to write a subject line that gets clicks

The world of email marketing is remarkably noisy. According to research conducted by The Radicati Group, a Technology Market Research Firm, 235.6 billion emails are sent and received worldwide every single day, and that number is only set to increase. 

For you as a marketer, that means there’s an endless stream of emails - both business and personal - to compete with, making the appeal of your subject lines crucial to getting an open. 

If you’re struggling to see the click through rate your campaigns need to succeed, we’ve got a bank of ideas to help give them a boost. 

How to write a subject line that gets clicks | Hue & Tone Creative


1. Short and snappy for the win

Short and snappy is usually the name of the game when it comes to digital communication, and email marketing is no exception. You’ll want to use as few words as possible, while still communicating a cohesive idea or call to action. You’ve only got a finite amount of time to capture people’s attention and if your subject line is too long it’ll truncate. If you’re struggling to know when to stop, aim to keep it within 50 characters.

 

2. Make it personal

Include personal information -- like the recipient’s name or location -- in the subject line makes it feel unique and tailored to the recipient. It’s important to only do this if you’re certain your data is accurate -- if you refer to ‘John’ as ‘Mark’ in your subject line, there’s only one place your email is going: the trash.

 

3. Use simple language

People don’t tend to read carefully when they’re scanning their inbox. So, don’t make it difficult for them to skim and easily  understand the subject line. Use simple language that’s easy to understand and gives a clear indication as to what’s inside.

 

4. Make it actionable

The reason you’re sending an email in the first place is because you have a desired end goal in mind, so incorporate that goal into your leading line. For example, if the email’s promoting a special offer, instead of saying ‘Boots are now 20% off’, you should say ‘Flash Sale: Get 20% off boots today!’ 

Use active and action-oriented language to encourage clicks and promote a sense of urgency. 

 

5. Create a sense of urgency

If people think something’s about to expire or run out, they’re much more likely to act sooner rather than later. Adding something as simple as ‘ends soon,’ ‘act now,’ or ‘hurry’ to your subject line can help communicate this message.

That being said, it’s important not to overuse this tactic. If you make every email sound like an emergency, it’ll quickly lose its novelty and recipients will stop taking action. 

 

6. Use numbers

Numbers can help spark intrigue and are great for promoting things like listicles, events, statistics, or blog posts. For example:

  • 8 ways you can save money this summer

  • Join our 2,000 happy clients

  • 200 others are coming to our event – don’t miss out! 

 The use of numbers helps make your subject line stand out, set expectations, and get straight to the point.

 

7. Ask a question

Questions draw people in, stimulate interest, and get people curious about what you have to say. For example, if your email exists to promote an article on ‘7 common subject line mistakes’, you could send it with subject line questions like: 

  • Are you making these subject line mistakes?

  • How successful are your emails?

  • Do you know where your subject lines are going wrong?
     

8. Dare to be different

If you don’t want to get lost in a sea of sameness, don’t fall into the trap of being the same. Be bold with your subject lines and don’t be afraid of injecting a bit of humor, sarcasm, or strangeness into them. 


Hue & Tone Creative: Email Marketing for the Triad

These eight tips are just the tip of the iceberg! We’ll get email marketing off your to do list and give you the hands on help you need for a successful conversion rate. Let’s chat about it: 336-365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com.

How to do a social media audit

Managing your businesses social media channels is a daily, if not hourly, endeavor. You get into the groove of posting regularly, and it makes it easy to forget about the big picture: your overall social media strategy.

If you’re finding it hard to remember the last time you reviewed your overarching social media strategy, it’s probably time to step back and do a social media audit.

In fact, routine audits should be an important element of your social media strategy. Regular audits will help you identify any weak points in your approach, give you more detailed information about your audience, and help you retool your strategy to match current trends. 

We would suggest doing an in-depth audit at least once a year in addition to a monthly or quarterly mini-audit. Doing a monthly check-in will give you a real-time idea of where you’re at with your goals, making it easier to pivot and adapt as you go. 

How to do a social media audit |  Hue & Tone Creative


Set goals for yourself

If you don’t have a set of measurements to grade yourself against, how will you know if your social media has been successful? 

Before you jump into your first social media audit, set some guidelines for what success looks like. There are many third party templates available – like this one from Sprout Social– or you can set your own goals. 

You’ll want to review the following for each profile: 

  • Engagement numbers

  • Publishing frequency

  • Consistency

  • Audience demographics

  • Referral sources

  • Social media budget/ROI

  • Channel specific metrics 

  

Delve into the numbers

Whether you use built in analytics or an outside platform, you’ll want to make sure you’re checking in regularly to gauge the health of your social media channels. Analytics are invaluable in terms of steering your future strategy and ensuring you are tailoring your content to what works best for each platform.

A few basic things to be looking for:

  • Are you on the right platforms? There’s little value in investing time into daily Facebook posts if the majority of your audience uses LinkedIn. Even if you’ve already done this in the past, behaviors change, so make sure you’re up-to-date with current trends. Do some digging to find out where your audience actually is and refocus your efforts accordingly. 

  • Who is on your page? Thought you were marketing to young women, but most of your traffic is middle aged men? That’s good information to have so you can tailor your strategy accordingly. 

  • What content is most popular? What content is really connecting with you audience – and what isn’t? Consider cutting what isn’t connecting – especially if it’s content that’s taking up the bulk of your content creation time. 

  • When is your audience online? Built in analytics make it so you no longer have to guess about peak posting times. 

  • Don’t forget to track these stats all the way through to your web traffic. When people come over to your site from social media, how long are they staying? Are they happy with the links you’re serving them?

other MAINTENANCE steps

Once you’ve outlined the metrics you’ll use, there’s a few more things we suggest you do:

Need to display more than one link in your Instagram bio? LinkTree is the solution! Check it out here

1.    Go back to your bios

If you don’t regularly check in on your social media bios, you’ll probably be surprised how much has changed since you last updated it. Business objectives change, taglines get updated, and advertising campaigns shift focus – and your social media bios should reflect every one of these significant changes.

Your bio should be tailored to each platform, and no matter where it’s displayed your social bios should be short, snappy, and on-brand. You’ll want to make sure you’ve included an overview of your services, your location, and who you work with/for.

 

A great example of an Instagram bio

Trendy and affordable clothing boutique for professional women of all ages. Charlotte and Greensboro locations open M-F, 7a-5p. #BoutiqueName

Why it’s good: This bio tells you who this boutique is for, where they’re located and when they’re open. Chances are, that info covers most of the questions first time visitors would ask. Hashtags in Instagram bios are live links, making #BoutiqueName is a valuable use of space. 

 

A bad example of an Instagram bio

Great clothes, great prices. Founded in 2002, open daily. Visit www.URL.com for more. 

Why it’s bad: When you were founded is pretty much irrelevant information. And, this bio isn’t properly tailored for Instagram – that hyperlink should only be listed in the website field, because that’s the only place a URL is clickable.

How to do a social media audit |  Hue & Tone Creative

2. Refresh your imagery

Visual branding evolves over time – and your cover photos should evolve as well. Bonus points if you update them to fit the seasons, your most current advertising campaign, or special events. 

When it comes to cover photo quality, make sure you’re up to date with the latest trends. For example, most major brands have swapped out a high res image in favor of a video cover photo. If you opt to make the switch, you’ll want to make sure your video looks clear and loads quickly. 

 

3. Scan the web

Do a quick Google search and make sure there aren’t any profiles out there claiming to be you -- or that you don’t have any old profiles of your own lingering around. If there are, you could be losing out on some business-winning followers.  

If you do come across your own old profile, delete it. And if it’s someone else impersonating you, ask them to remove the page - if they don’t, report it.

 

4. Create new goals

Now that you’ve tracked and measured your goals, how are you going to improve and change them? Once you’ve concluded your social media audit be sure to set new goals that you hope to achieve in the next month, quarter, or year.  


Hue & Tone: Social Media Solutions for every business

If you need help refining or maintaining your social media strategy, you’ve made it to the right place! No matter what state your social media plan is in, we can help you get your profiles back on track. We can even do the posting for you! To learn more, get in touch with us.

12 tips for a successful webinar

If done right, webinars are a great way to engage your audience, add credibility to your name, build meaningful relationships, and raise your brand awareness. But if things go poorly, you’ll be funneling a lot of time and energy into a failed presentation. 

Not sure what “getting it right” looks like? Well, we’ve put 12 tips together to help guide the creation of your webinar.  

12 tips for a successful webinar  |  Hue & Tone Creative


1. Make sure the speaker’s engaging 

If you’re expecting your audience to tune in for 10, 20, 45 or 50+ minutes, make sure the person delivering the webinar has a voice for it. You need someone who has an enthusiastic tone and, most importantly, is clear with their delivery. 

 

2. Sound out the sound quality 

There’s nothing more annoying than trying to intently listen to something that’s too quiet, keeps crackling, or has irritating background noise behind it. Do a few test runs before you go live so that you can ensure your sound quality is top notch.

 

3. Don’t forget about the design

As with any collateral you produce, your webinar slide design needs to be high-quality and on brand. Use easy to read brand typefaces, don’t cram too much on one slide, and don’t go overboard on graphics or photos. 

 

4. Analyze the length

There’s no golden rule when it comes to the length of your webinar. If you’ve got past recordings to learn from, see what time people tend to drop off and take it from there. If this is your first ever webinar, we would suggest never going over 60 minutes. 

 

12 tips for a successful webinar  |  Hue & Tone Creative

5. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

No matter how confident you are with your delivery skills, always do a test run. Fine tune the order of the slides, practice tongue-twisting lines, and work out all the glitch with your transitions –it’s better to work these things out now rather than later.   

It’s a good idea to have someone sit in on the practice run too - their fresh perspective might help you uncover issues you hadn’t previously picked up on.

 

6. Keep it conversational

Unless you’re delivering your webinar to robots, keep it conversational. It’ll make it easier for people to keep up with and digest, and itwill bring that all-important human element to it.

 

7. Introduce Q&As

Allowing a forum for Q&A’s is a great way to involve your audience, keep them engaged, and provide them with key takeaways that are tailored to them. 


8. Speak in second person

Refer to your audience as ‘you’. This’ll help submerge them into what you’re saying, build interaction, and make the entire webinar feel as though it’s being delivered to them on an individual level.

 

9. Bring it to life

Refer to real-life experiences throughout your webinar. In doing this, you’ll instantly make the information more relatable –and, the power of storytelling often makes details easier to remember.

 

10. Keep mobile in mind 

When you’re doing your test run, bear in mind that people might be watching your webinar on either their desktop, tablet, or mobile. So, make sure it works and streams easily on all types of devices. 

 

11. Your personal plug 

Don’t forget to mention your product or service at least one point - after all, the goal (whether now or in the future) is a sale. Just make sure you don’t go overboard. If your pitch is toosales-y you run the risk of listeners zoning out.

 

12. Don’t forget time differences

Last but not least, if you’re targeting people from different countries or time zones, factor these variances into the date and time you’re hosting your webinar –no matter what you’re sharing, people probably won’t wake up at 2am to see it. 


Hue & Tone Creative: Marketing for Greensboro, NC and beyond

If you feel like your webinar isn’t connecting, we can help you take your content to the next level. We can work with you on every marketing project, no matter what the format. To get an idea of what we can do, see some of the projects we’ve worked on in the past or get in touch.

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

15+questions+to+ask+your+designer+before+hiring+them+++|++Hue+&+Tone+Creative.jpeg

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.

Why you should (probably) be using Hubspot

Why you should (probably) be using Hubspot | Hue & Tone Creative

Should you be using Hubspot for your business? We’ll start by giving you a quick answer so that you know if this article is for you. 

We believe you’ll get a great ROI on using Hubspot for your business if you plan to spend a minimum of $2,000-$3,000 a month on digital marketing. 

Now, to back that up…what does Hubspot do?

Hubspot’s an all-encompassing marketing platform, and it provides businesses with the tools they need to optimize their inbound marketing efforts. 

In a nutshell, some of their software includes:

  • Email: the ability to create custom-made email templates, tailor subject lines to your audience, and conduct A/B tests to continue making improvements.

  • Blogging: helps you optimize your copy to aid with conversions and organic visibility, as well as keep your formatting consistent and clean.

  • Landing pages: allows you to easily build responsive landing pages, personalize their elements (like content, CTAs and forms), and analyze, test and optimize them to keep leveraging their conversion rate.

  • Marketing automation: saves you time by automating your email campaigns with the ability to tweak triggers, conditions and actions, so you’re contacting the right lead at the right time.

  • Lead management: with the click of a button, it enables you to see which leads you’ve contacted, when, and how they responded, to tailor future campaigns to their behavioral patterns. 

  • Analytics: with built-in analytics, reports and dashboards, it gives intelligent insights on all your inbound marketing efforts to see which channels are and aren’t working for you.

  • CMS: it enables you to build a responsive, SEO-friendly site, that’s fully integrated with all your marketing funnels.

  • Social media: you can seamlessly build your social presence by sharing your content from the same place you build your campaigns, and monitor how different social channels perform. 

  • SEO: with content strategy tools, search data stats, SEO tips as-you-type and reporting suites, it gives you all the tools needed to easily plan, optimize, and monitor your organic efforts.

  • Call to action (CTA): it provides you with a platform to design dazzling CTAs and see who’s actually clicking them. 

  • Ads: it takes the guesswork out of your Facebook and AdWords adverts with reports that prove your ROI – with precision.

And that’s just some of the major draws – they also provide a suite of service and sales tools, many of which are free add-ons. 

  Lead customers the right way with Hubspot!

Lead customers the right way with Hubspot!

Really good resources

Beyond their software packages, Hubspot also has a large database of free resources that will help you stay plugged in to any emerging trends or best practices.

Our top five reasons why

When it comes to inbound marketing, Hubspot’s one of the leaders in the pack. There are countless reasons to couple up with them, but here are our top four: 

1. It’s an intuitive tool. While Hubspot’s interface is incredibly layered – and can be a little intimidating to first time users – it’s also designed incredibly well. Once you get a basic idea of where everything is at, you’ll be able to seamlessly navigate within the interface as you learn to master their tools.

2. Great free options. Hubspot’s CRM is always free, and many of their basic marketing tools are free as well. It’s a great way to get a hang of the tool and see if it works for you before you spend a single penny.

3. Superb support. In addition to the comprehensive database we previously mentioned, HubSpot’s online and phone support team is available for Service Hub and Enterprise users. 

4. An integrated approach. By letting you control the entire sales process from start to finish, Hubspot cuts out the need for multiple tools. In the long run this will save you time and make your day-to-day digital marketing more efficient. 

5. Detailed reporting. Intensive reporting allows you to see the details on everything from who your customers are, to what they’re viewing, where your customers came from, how your  content is preforming, how you stack up to the competition, and more.


Hue & Tone Creative: Digital Marketing for Greensboro, NC

Need to refresh your stale online ads? Give your Facebook a lift? Breathe new life into your website? We can do all that and more. We’ll rechart the course of your marketing strategy and help you increase the ROI on your digital efforts. Just give us a call to get started: 336-365-8559.

When + why + how to create a new hashtag

Hashtags are everywhere on social media. You’ll see them tacked on to the end of Instagram posts, incorporated into the body of a tweet, and sparingly used on Facebook. They’re key for discovering and organizing social media posts – they make it easy for you to find additional posts on a related topic so that you can more easily contribute to the conversation on a topic.

 But, why should you start your own hashtag(s)? The easy answer is to group your posts together so that people can find more of your content. However, you don’t want to start randomly making hashtags with no rhyme or reason – that will only confuse people and further bury your content.  

Let’s dive into the why – and when – you start your own hashtag. 

When + why + how to create a new hashtag  |  Hue & Tone Creative

The why

Some hashtags are overused -- meaning they get a lot of reach – but after a while the content associated with them may turn into spam. Piggybacking off already popular hashtags can help get you a lot of reach, but your posts may also get lost in the shuffle. 


By creating your own, you can help convert a follower of a more general topic (for example, #marketing), into someone that follows you (#hueandtone). When people discover your content using a general hashtag, the theory is that they’ll want to see more, leading them click on your branded hashtag to see what else you have to offer.  

By creating your own hashtag, you’ll be able to: 

  • Stand out from the crowd

  • Cement credibility and establish authority

  • Increase your engagement and reach

  • Create cross-channel awareness (if you use it consistently) 

  • Be able to track posts other people make about your brand

The when

While there should be a solid reason beyond creating a new hashtag, we also suggest you have fun and play around with them. See what sticks before making it part of your brand identity. As an example, #ShareACoke, has become a staple part of Coca Cola’s social strategy. It works well, because it encourages recurring interaction and tagging. 

That said, some popular reasons for creating custom hashtags include:

  • Launching a new product, service, or campaign

  • Posting live updates from an event

  • Hosting a live chat or Q&A session

  • Running a competition

  • Establishing a general hashtag for your brand 

In each of the above instances, using previously and frequently used hashtags can cause havoc. Not only do they make it difficult for you to monitor, but it can confuse your audience. You don’t want to put your followers in the position of having to scroll through irrelevant content just to find what they’re looking for. 

 

How to create a hashtag in 5 simple steps 

When + why + how to create a new hashtag  |  Hue & Tone Creative

1.  First things first, define your goals. Some fairly common ones include increasing:

  • Brand conversations

  • Visibility

  • Total link clicks

  • Total reach

  • Mentions

  • Followers

  • Likes

Behavioral patterns vary on different networks, so if you’re using your new hashtag across multiple social channels, you should set goals specific for each one.

 

2.  The fun part - get creative! But make sure your hashtag’s the right balance between engaging and easily understandable -- if people don’t instantly grasp it, the effect’s kind of lost.

Here are some simple tips to start you off: 

  • Keep it short and snappy

  • Make it easy to remember

  • Ensure it’s relevant to your brand

  • Don’t make it too generic

  • Check it doesn’t have any obscure double meanings -- let’s not forget the #susanalbumparty fail!

3. Do your research. Make sure it’s not already in use on anysocial media networks, and double-check it doesn’t, for whatever reason, have any potentially offensive roots or connotations. 

 

4.  Make it actionable. At the end of the day, every marketer’s end goal is to drive revenue. Even if your hashtag’s goal is to increase social follows, the bigger picture is more sales. So, if you can, put an actionable spin on your new hashtag -- ask a question, play on an emotion, encourage engagement, or incite urgency, for example.

 

5.  Last but certainly not least, triple check your hashtag for typos and post it! See what kind of reaction you get, and if you feel like the tag falls flat after a handful of posts, then don’t be afraid to try out a new one. 


Hue & Tone Creative: SOCIAL MEDIA Services for Greensboro and beyond

Struggling to keep up with the comments, likes, and mentions on your posts? Can’t come up with a creative hashtag? Stumped for original content ideas? We can handle all of that for you. From multi-channel audits to content generation and social media monitoring, Hue & Tone is the solution for all your social media woes.

12 things you need to be doing for social media success

12 Things You Need to Be Doing for Social Media Success  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Successful social media will generate quality leads, drive sales, and reinforce branding. But creating quality content takes a lot of planning, creativity, and time. 

Once you’ve identified your goals and audience, it’s time to start brainstorming quality content that will engage your followers. If you've already done that, but feel like your engagement is low, we've got a few tips for you to try. 

These 12 tactics should help you secure those elusive likes, shares, follows, clicks or leads: 
 

1.  Engage with your audience

Despite what the name implies, it’s actually pretty easy to get on social media and not be social. You wouldn’t ignore a current or prospective client’s call or email, so why should your social media communications be any different?

If someone leaves a comment or messages you, be sure to get back to them with an on-brand response in a timely fashion. 

 

2.  Mix up your feeds

Looking for some fresh posting ideas? We've got a whole series of blog posts on that! 

There’s nothing less effective than social media streams that regurgitate the same old stuff day after day. Content like blog posts and job vacancies are great content -- but they’re not all you should be posting day after day. Hop on trending content like current news, mix up your post formatting, and get creative!

 

3.  Take a multi-medium approach

Instead of trying to make all your marketing channels work in isolation, make social media a part of your print campaigns – and vise versa. If you’ve got an email or PR campaign going out, create a buzz around it on social media too. Creating a multichannel campaign can help increase your reach and direct new people over to your social channels.
 

4.  Time your posts

Figuring out when your followers are online will help you increase your reach. While Instagram gives you insight into the days and hours that your audience is online, you'll have to experiment with posting times when it comes to other platforms. Play around with posting on different days to see what works best for you and then analyze which hours get you the highest reach and engagement. 
 

5.  Post bold content

On social media getting noticed often means taking risks. People are inundated with fresh content every time they refresh their feeds – and to get results you’re going to have to think outside the box. 

This means something different for reach business -- but start by playing around with different post formats, riskier graphics, and out of the box content.
 

6.  Plan in advance

Don’t overlook big events -- or the social media exposure that comes with them. We suggest creating a social media calendar that spans several months in advance so that you can be proactive and maximize all topical opportunities. 
 

7.  Push people back to your site

Use bit.ly to shorten your links -- and track your traffic. 

If you’re not pushing people back to your website, you’re not getting the full benefits of posting on social media. Whether you’re sending people to a blog post, product page, or dedicated landing page, be sure to include links when they’re relevant. 
 

  Use a content calendar to keep track of your social media posts!

Use a content calendar to keep track of your social media posts!


8.  Blur the boundaries

Having strict brand guidelines in place is key for consistency, but if there’s one place to blur your boundaries, it’s on social media. We’re not suggesting going completely off brand – but we are suggesting that you play around with the style of your graphics and the buzz words you use. This will give you a great opportunity to see what your audience responds to – and what they really don’t like. 

 

9.  Up your video content

Facebook's algorithm has long favored video content over other mediums -- and we don't foresee that changing any time soon. Millions of videos are being watched each and every day, so make sure you incorporate them into your social media strategy. 

 

10.  Team up with an influencer

If you’re struggling to get the kind of reach you want, think about teaming up with a relevant influencer to give your following a boost. Just be sure you find someone that feels like a natural fit and speaks to your target demographic. 

 

11.  Shout about your success

Whether it’s a charity sale that went well or an award you recently won, shout about all the great things -- big and small -- that are happening with your business. It’s a fabulous and free way to promote your culture and aid your recruitment efforts.

 

12.  Be inventive with your images

Use a mix a graphics and pictures and don't be afraid to shake up the content. While your pictures should have a consistent style and look, feel free to branch out when it comes to subject matter. If you're posting multiple times a day, it's easy to get into a visual rut.  


SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING IN GREENSBORO, NC

Have you hit a plateau for likes and follows? We can fix that! Whether you’re looking to increase your views or simply need a break from handling your account, Hue & Tone Creative has you covered for all things social.

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.

6 branding mistakes to avoid

Branding is made up of the values that guide you, the visuals that communicate who you are, and the language you use to communicate with your customers. 

If you’re a regular reader, the number one thing you’ve probably learned from our blog is how important branding is. That’s because it’s essential to attracting, converting, and keeping your customers. It builds loyalty, brand recognition, and acts as a touchstone for consumers. 

We believe branding should be flexible and fun. And, while consistency is important, that doesn’t mean all of your assets should be identical. No matter what your industry or offering, there's a few things we think you should avoid. Here’s our top six: 
 

6 branding mistakes to avoid  |  Hue & Tone Creative

 

1.  Sea of sameness

Think outside of the box and make sure your logo, values, and messaging differentiate you from what’s already out there.  

Everyone has competitors -- and chances are they sell similar or identical products/services. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to imitate what they do! Work with a designer to create a strong brand identity for yourself and then stick with it. It may take time, but you want to establish your identity separate from the competition. 

 

2. Behind the times

Don’t let your branding give off a less-than-contemporary vibe. In the customer’s eyes outdated branding translates to inferior products and subpar service. 

Just because you went through the branding process when you first started your business, that doesn’t mean you’re set for life. Your business’ branding should be periodically reviewed and tweaked to reflect the constantly evolving digital landscape.

 

3. Inconsistency

Consistency is key. Your market needs to be able to identify you across every channel and it’s counterproductive to have an entirely different look and feel across different mediums. Whether it’s on social media, direct mail, a billboard ad, or website banner, your brand should be instantly recognizable across everything you produce. If it’s not, you could miss out on brand awareness and the benefits of an omni-channel campaign.

 

4.  It’s not all about you

When you’re establishing your branding, it’s imperative to remember that what you’re aiming for isn’t about you and your personal preferences -- it’s about your potential customers or clients, so try to avoid getting too personal. 

Just because a color isn’t your favorite, doesn’t mean it won’t connect with your potential customers. If you're having trouble separating your emotions from the process, consider putting some data behind your decisions by conducting market research to gain valuable guidance.

 

5.  Lack of clarity

Your branding should quickly and effortlessly communicate what you do -- and it should easily grab your potential customer’s attention. In a world where time is a highly valued commodity, it’s essential you snag people’s attention quickly.

If your branding’s unclear, you run the risk of not being memorable…which may send them running to your competitors. 

 

6. Not following through

Never, ever make false promises. If you are a delivery company and your tagline is “always on time,” make sure you’re always on time! If you fail to deliver on your promises, your branding is irrelevant, and you leave yourself open to complaints and lost customers


Hue & Tone: Branding for the Piedmont Triad

Branding doesn't have to be hard -- in fact, with the right people in your corner it can actually be fun! Let us turn marketing into something you enjoy doing -- not something you dread. We can help you with everything from your initial branding to your day-to-day social media needs. 

The essentials: must have marketing assets for new businesses

  Get your new business of to the best start possible with the right marketing materials! 

Get your new business of to the best start possible with the right marketing materials! 

So, you’ve decided to start a business. You know you need the basics like a logo and business cards – but what other marketing assets should you make a priority?

Marketing materials can encompass everything from websites and letterheads to social media graphics and promotional videos. If you’re just starting out in the small business world, chances are your budget is probably a little tight – but skimping when you start up can mean unnecessary spending down the road.

Think about it: you pick the first business name you think up and print up a bunch of business cards, letterheads, and pens. A few weeks later, you’re hearing from your customers that they can’t remember your business name. Now you’ve confused people, still have to pay for proper branding, and you’ve got to pay to reprint materials you could have gotten right from the start. 

The good news is that we’re here to tell you what you need it, why you need it, when you need it, and how you get it. We hope this run down of essential marketing materials helps empower you when you’re hiring a graphic designer or marketing agency.

Here’s what you need to successfully get your business off the ground:
 

1. Brand Values

Because no physical products come out of this stage of the branding process, it’s often rushed or disregarded – but this is one of the most important stages, and it will influence everything you do from here on out. Your brand values are the set of principles that will dictate every aspect of your business, including the look, messaging, and customer service approach.

Here’s what you’ll want to define:

  • Values: what does your business stand for?
  • Objectives: where do you want to be in 1, 5, or 10 year’s time?
  • Customer personas: who are your talking to and what do they care about?
  • Tone of voice: how will you talk to your customers? And why?
  • Proposition: what will you do for your customers? And how will you benefit them?
  • Tagline/mission statement: how can your brand’s essence be summed up into as few words as possible?

Taking the time to properly develop your brand values will allow you to properly train your workforce and will help you communicate your brand to third parties. We suggest asking your marketing team for a brand book or set of written guidelines that you could hand off to an outside team.

The essentials: Must have marketing assets for new businesses  |  Hue & Tone Creative


2. Brand Identity

Now it’s time to develop the look and feel of your brand. This is where you’ll work with a designer to create a logo and everything that goes with it. You’ll want to come out of this stage with:

  • Primary logo: as well as any alternative logo formats you might need for packaging, online use, or small sizes
  • Logo usage guidelines: what is the smallest size your primary logo should be printed? What do you do when you can only print your color in one logo? Make sure your designer provides you with guidelines for every situation you might encounter.
  • Font palette: what fonts are you going to use on print, web, and in Microsoft Office?
  • Color Palette: what primary and secondary colors will complement your look, logo ad tone?
  • Graphic elements: anything needed to complete your print and web designs.
  • Sample usage: make sure your designer provides examples of how all these elements will come together to create your signature look. 

 

3. Build a winning website

We talk a lot about the importance of a well designed and properly optimized website, so we won’t waste a lot of space here talking through why you need one. Instead, we’ll run through a few key considerations when it comes to building it:

  • Get to the point: you’ve got a limited time to capture visitors’ attention, so get your message across clearly and effectively on every page.
  • Contemporary: outdated websites make your brand look instantly aged and untrustworthy. Take the time to get your website looking slick, and outsource it to a specialist if you need to.
  • Architecture: once you start adding menus and pages, they can be a right pain to change down the line. To make sure you’ve got a great user experience from the outset, map out your site’s architecture before you start building it.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO): with a reputation for being the cheapest marketing method around, it’s crucial that you build and write your website with SEO at the forefront of your mind.
  • Contact: make your call to actions and contact information crystal clear.
  • Host: choose a content management system that’s reliable. Personally, we would recommend Squarespace – here’s why.
  • Domain: be sure to match your domain name to your business’ name.
     

4. Social media

Did you know, 70% of the US population have at least one social media profile? That’s a whole lot of potential customers to capture.

We suggest selecting just 2-3 platforms to get started on – especially if you’re handling your social media in house. To effectively leverage social media, there’s a few things you’ll need to do:

  • Only use high resolution profile and background images (pixilated pictures make you look untrustworthy and out of touch)
  • Write a succinct and enticing bio
  • Link back to your website
  • Include contact details
  • Keep an eye on your inbox/direct messages
  • Commit to regularly posting
  • Reply to those who engage with you
  • Interact with relevant people and/or profiles

Maintaining social media should be a daily job – if it’s not, you’re not doing it right. We suggest creating a content calendar to stay organized. And, make sure you have a set of templates on hand to save time when you need to create a quick Facebook graphic. 

5. Blogs

Investing in content marketing comes with endless benefits. A well maintained blog boosts your SEO efforts, helps you build backlinks and brand awareness, generates leads, adds brand value, and ups engagement.

Just remember the golden rule: the content you’re publishing must be quality. Churning out subpar articles won’t get you far -- if it even gets you anywhere. Here are a few general post types to get you going:

  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Webinars
  • Tutorials
  • Whitepapers
  • Presentations
  • ‘How to’ guides
  • Buzzfeed-style listicles

With good content, you need good images. If you’re not in the position to fork out money for sites like iStock and Shutterstock, consider Unsplash, Pixabay and Pexels for good, free alternatives. 
 

The essentials: Must have marketing assets for new businesses  |  Hue & Tone Creative

6. Templates

Next up is templates. The extent of this list will vary depending on the nature of your business, but below is an idea of the types of templates we suggest you think about:

  • Email campaigns - sales, welcome, thank you, updates, or otherwise
  • Newsletters
  • Direct mail
  • Job descriptions
  • Email signatures
  • Powerpoint presentations 
  • Social media graphics
  • Letterhead/memos

Your logo should feature on each and every one of them -- which is why it’s important to have a logo that sits well in different settings, and your brand’s look, feel and tone should be encapsulated too. Remember though, your templates don’t need to be uniform to be consistent.

7. Print collateral

We’ve been carrying on about online a lot -- and rightly so! -- but don’t forget about good old offline advertising. Depending on your industry, things like physical brochures and business cards can be an important asset.

If you’re investing in printed materials, remember to:

  • Do your research: spending a bit of time selecting a quality printer.
  • Don’t compromise: poor quality paper reflects badly on your business.
  • Don’t rush: if there’s a proofreading mistake that’s your fault there’s no going back -- without throwing money down the drain.
  • Keep it consistent: print materials still needs to mirror your online presence.
  • Think of the bigger picture: think about how you can make print materials evergreen so that you don’t have to reprint regularly. Consider what really needs a date and what could go without one.
  • Get the right amount of copies: you can easily order more, so don’t go print crazy and order 1000s of copies unless you’re absolutely certain they’ll be used. But, you usually get a discount the more you order, so don’t be afraid to print some extras.

Need a little help?

Getting all your marketing assets together can feel really daunting -- I know, I’ve been there! But here at Hue & Tone Creative, there’s a lot we can help you with. From logo design and letterhead to web design and social media management, get in touch to see how we can support your business’ success.