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Inbound marketing: 8 tips for design that converts

Inbound marketing: 8 tips for design that converts  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Are your inbound marketing efforts failing to secure the numbers you projected? Are you confident in your concept and scratching your head to figure out where it’s going wrong? Well, perhaps it’s time to look in the direction of your design.  

Design possesses the power to convert spectators into engaged customers. It’s the first and last thing people see when engaging with your business. And it should be a key focus when working to increase your conversions.

So, without further ado, here are eight design tips to give your numbers a nudge in the right direction.

 

1. Hick’s Law

Hick’s Law is a popular theory that suggests the time it takes someone to make a decision is directly proportionate to the number of possible choices they have. So, in Layman’s terms, the more options you give your visitors, the less likely they are to perform the desired action.

To implement this theory, take a look at your site’s design and structure and ask yourself (and honestly answer!) whether you’ve got too much going on. If the answer’s yes, see how you can hone things down to give consumers one or two key choices. 

 

2. Don’t be afraid of white space 

To a degree, the phrase “less is more” couldn’t be truer. Don’t cram your designs with color, text, and imagery out of the fear of being ‘bland’. White space can contribute to clean and clear designs that emphasize the content you want visitors to focus on… which, in turn, increases conversions. 

 

3. Choose your colors carefully

Color can evoke emotion. Emotion can result in action. Action can result in conversion. Use contrast to ensure your text, headlines and call to actions stand out, and experiment with your color choices to see which returns the best results.

 

4. Remember the 8-second rule

It’s true what they say, the human attention span is less than that of a gold fish - a mere eight seconds, in fact. That means you’ve got limited time to grab a visitor’s attention. 

Think about using: 

  • Large and snappy headlines

  • Eye-catching imagery

  • Clear call to actions

  • Power words

  

5. Use real faces

Using natural imagery and real people can improve your brand’s authenticity and in turn portray you as more trustworthy, human, and familiar. 

If you’ve got an ‘About us’ section with a breakdown of your employees, put a photo of them next to their bio. And, instead of buying stock photos for everything, consider organizing a photoshoot that shows off your product or office. 

 

6. Quality is key

Poor quality pictures don’t make a good first impression. They reflect badly on your brand and lead onlookers to associate the quality of your imagery with the quality of your product or service - after all, if you can’t master your pictures, how can you follow through on the other things your website promises? Now we know that’s not necessarily true, but it’s a conclusion people can jump to.

If you’ve got pictures on your site that are pixelated, distorted or just plain tacky, it’s time to go ahead and replace them.

 

7. Optimize your forms

Having trouble designing a form that converts? We can help with that

When it comes to conversions, your formsare key – because it’s where the action takes place. So, don’t let yourself fall flat at the final hurdle. Keep your form simple and concise, include a clear CTA, make sure the fields are clearly labelled, and use a large submit button.

To see where there’s room for improvement, we suggest trying out some A/B testing (more on that here).

  

8. Don’t leave out your logo

This one might seem obvious, but it’s not unheard of for people to overlook the most obvious element of their website.  

Whether it’s a landing page, flyer, brochure, business card or online ad, you need to always include your logo. That’s how you reinforce your branding for people – and while it doesn’t have to be the focal point of your page, it does need to be strategically placed so people know where they are and who’s talking to them.


Hue & Tone Creative:

Feeling like these design changes are outside of your expertise? Not to worry, that’s where our creative team comes in! To see what we can do for you, get in touch today at hannah@hueandtonecreative.com

12 tips for picking a good URL

Lead your website visitors right where they need to go…

Lead your website visitors right where they need to go…

Picking the perfect URL is a pretty big deal. It’s your online identity, it’s got to fit your business, and it’s got to be easy to find and promote. Not to mention, if you change your mind down the road it’s going to be a pain to go back and undo.

So, to make your future easier, here are 12 tips to help you settle on a good URL the first time around:

 

1. Make it easy to type

You want it to be as easy as possible for people to type your domain name into their browser, hit enter and land on your site. If it isn’t, you run the risk of losing potential visitors. So, try to avoid the use of slang (using ‘u’ instead of ‘you’ for example) or words with various spellings (like express and xpress).

 

2. Keep it short

Tying in with tip number one, keeping your domain name short reduces the chances of people mis-typing or mis-spelling it. Plus, long and complex URLs can be hard to remember, and you want people to remember you, right?

 

3. Watch out for bloopers

Here’s a prime example for you: penisland.net. The company’s called Pen Island, but we don’t need to tell you what the domain name can be interpreted as… 

The moral of the story: always check for embarrassing double meanings before you buy your domain.

 

4. Insert keywords

Try to include keywords relevant to your business. For example, if you’re a door repair company, you might want to register for a domain along the lines of doorrepair.com or doorreplacements.com. Keywords not only aid your organic efforts, but they just make sense to your customers.

 

5. Geographic targeting

If your product or service operates on a local basis, consider tying this into your domain name too. Sticking with the door repair example, this could mean having a domain like: vegasdoorrepair.com or doorrepair.vegas. Again, this makes your domain easier for people to find and remember.

 

6. Avoid numbers

Numbers can be easily misunderstood. For example, a numeral number 5 could be misplaced with a spelled out number five, and vice versa. 

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 7. Skip the hyphen

Try to stay away from using hyphens, too. They can be forgotten about which, you guessed it, makes your website more difficult to be found. 

 

8. Do your research

The last thing you want is a legal battle on your hands, so make sure you research your chosen domain name to make sure it isn’t trademarked, copyrighted or being used by another company.

 

9. Don’t gloss over your extension

When we say ‘extension’, we mean the end bit of the url, like .com, .net, .org and .info, for example. Here’s a breakdown of how each is typically used:

  • .co - an abbreviation for company, commerce and community

  • .info - informational sites

  • .net - technical, internet infrastructure sites

  • .org - non-commercial organizations and non-profits

  • .biz - business or commercial sites

  • .me - blogs, resumes or personal spaces

Don’t be afraid of straying from the standard .com. It’s by far the most popular, but because of this, it can be tough to get your hands on a short and memorable URL that isn’t already taken. The key to choosing one that’s right, is making sure it’s relevant.

For example, if you’re a non-profit organization, it wouldn’t make sense to opt for a .biz extension. It might throw visitors off the scent and make them less likely to remember your link.

 

10. Buy back-ups

Everything up until now has been centered around building a URL that’s sheltered from being misspelled. But, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so it could be worth registering misspelled versions of your domain too, so people still make their way to your site anyway.

 

11. Bat off your competitors

Stop your competitors from stepping on your toes by purchasing similar domains to your own and redirecting them to your primary URL. For example, if your domain is doorrepair.com, you might also want to consider owning:

  • doorrepairs.com

  • doorrepair.biz

  • doorrepair.net

  • doorrepair.co.uk

 

12. Check its history

And finally, using sites like who.is and WaybackMachine, check out the domain’s history. After all, you don’t want to be associated with something that has a shady past.


Hue & Tone: Let us help you with your website

Brainstorming, agreeing on, and purchasing your domain name is the first half of the battle... building a website that converts is the other - and that’s where we come in. To see how we can help, contact our team at (336) 365-8559.

Data trends: 7 metrics you need to be measuring

Your data’s essentially the backbone of your marketing efforts. It tells you what is and (perhaps more importantly) isn’t working. It shapes strategic decisions. It funnels your money into the marketing channels that give the greatest return. It helps you prevent dead time, maximize resources, and effectively utilize your budget. 

Knowing which numbers to monitor, and what they mean, is key to properly utilizing the data you’re collecting. Here are seven key marketing metrics you need to be measuring: 

 

1. Total visits

Your totals visits refer to the number of people who check out your website. You can monitor your total visits on Google Analytics for things like:

  • Your entire website

  • Specific pages of your site

  • Campaign landing pages

 Keeping an eye on this type of data is important when you’re trying to gain an understanding of the effectiveness of your overall marketing efforts or the effectiveness of a specific campaign.

Data trends: 7 metrics you need to be measuring  |  Hue & Tone Creative

2. Acquisition type

Looking for different ways to measure your traffic? Here’s our top four methods.

Acquisition is where your traffic comes from – for example is it direct, referral, email, organic, paid or social? This is a key metric to stay on top of, because it tells you which channels are top performers and which may need to be revisited. Either way, it helps you put your efforts into the areas that actually generate a return for you.

 

3. Bounce rate

Bounce rates tell you how many visitors enter your website and leave before exploring any other pages. For example, are people making it to your ‘About us’ page and then heading off the website without clicking on any internal links? 

Generally speaking, the lower your bounce rate the better. High bounce rates canbe associated with people not finding the content on your page useful, and low bounce rates are more likely to convert and perform meaningful actions.

Bounce rates can be measured on your overall site or for specific pages.

 

4. Conversions

 This is arguably one of your most important metrics. A conversion can mean different things depending on what your goals are -- for example, it might be a newsletter sign up, filling out a lead form, and or completing a checkout.  

Your conversion numbers help you measure the profitability of your marketing efforts and they can be tracked either directly on your site (depending on how it’s built) or by setting up goals in Google Analytics. If your conversion numbers are looking pretty low, it might be worth looking at your design, content, user experience or product/service.

 

5. Cost per lead

Quite simply, this is the amount it costs you to turn a prospect into a customer. Your cost per lead should be calculated on a channel-specific basis, and the numbers you retrieve will give you a good idea of which channels are most profitable.

To calculate your cost per lead, simply work out how much you’ve spent on each medium and compare it to how many conversions it’s earned you. For example, if you invested $1,000 into a PPC campaign and got 15 conversions out of it, your cost per lead would be $66.66. 

This cost per lead needs to be weighed against the cost of creating or delivering your product. If closing a customer costs $100 and it takes $400 to manufacture your product, you need to seriously revisit your marketing efforts. 

 

6. Open rate

Open rates tell you how many of the emails you’ve successfully sent are actually being opened. For example, if you send 600 emails to prospects and 75 of them are opened, your open rate would be 12.5%.

It’s important to keep track of your open rates to understand how a) far your email campaigns are reaching, and b) you can improve your subject lines. Low open rates mean your emails aren’t being read, which results in missed opportunities. 

 

7. Customer value

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Last but certainly not least, is customer value. This is how much a customer is likely to generate you per year (or whichever cycle is most relevant to you) and can help you determine your overall return on investment. 

If you’re a start-up this figure will be more of a forecast. If you’ve been in business for some years, you can use the past few years’ sales numbers to calculate out the average number of yearly sales, along with the value of those purchases.

You can work your customer value out as an overall average or based on clusters – and your clusters could be anything from age and geography to persona and profession. Knowing your customer value helps you set organizational goals and expectations. 


Hue & Tone: Greensboro Marketing firm

When it comes to your business’ numbers, everything from your design to your social media management plays a part in your success. To see how we can help give your bottomline a healthy boost, get in touch with our team today at (336) 365-8559.

Forecasting for 2019: Social Media Trends

Social media continued to dominate the world of marketing through 2018. From an increase in live streaming and Instagram stories to customized chatbots and an ever-increasing emphasis on social listening, brands all over the globe have been improving their tactics by carefully tracking each platform’s changing trends.

Because social media’s constantly evolving, what works today won’t necessarily work tomorrow -so let’s take a look at what we predict is on the horizon for 2019.

Forecasting for 2019: social media trends  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Authenticity

Social scandals were rife last year. From fake news to personal data breaches, social media made the headlines for all the wrong reasons, causing users to really question who they could trust.

As a direct result, 2019’s expected to bring a change in what kind of content is popular. Instead of focusing on social reach, brands are likely to shift their focus to creating genuinely meaningful, transparent and personalized content. This’ll inevitably increase the time it takes to create quality social media content, but the level of engagement that comes as a result will likely justify the time investment.

 

Social stories

Social media stories grew at an exponential rate in 2018 and there’s no sign of that growth slowing down in 2019. According to findings published by Block Party, social stories are growing 15 times faster than feed-based updates, and some believe they’re set to surpass it completely in the not-too-distant future.

 If you’re not already on the social stories bandwagon, it’s certainly time to hop on board. But remember, stories require a different approach to be effective. Instead of being static updates (like with your feed), they should be live (even raw), provide a narrative, be personal, and give your followers a glimpse behind the scenes.

 

Instant messaging

 Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp now boast 2.8 billion users between them. That’s a whole load of potential interaction. The jury’s still out on whether instant messaging intrudes customers’ personal space, but there’s no denying that it’s worth trying out with your customer base. 

In an almost completely digital world, 89% of consumers are crying out for businesses to branch out into instant messaging apps for their customer service. However, the same study uncovered only 48% of companies are equipped to do so. That’s a lofty gap to close in order to meet consumers’ expectations – and we expect the gap will begin to close in 2019.

 

Dimensional ads

Over the years, social media ads have become saturated. Whether it’s a sponsored story, promoted post, or suggested follow, the majority of businesses invest in them, which has lead to increase in prices and a chance in consumer mindset. 

Social ad overload has begun turning audiences off – and many social media users are so inundated they’re starting to become oblivious.

Big brands like Spotify and Netflix have already taken their paid social approach to the next level by building them into full-fledged campaigns that incorporate videos, motion graphics, and narratives. These multichannel platforms are focused on driving engagement, upping discussion, and building trust. In 2019, it’s expected many other businesses will follow suit to stand out from an increasingly competitive crowd.

 

Groups 

1.4 billion Facebook users tap into the platform’s groups every month, and their usage saw a 40% uplift in the last year alone. Groups are valued by consumers for their intimacy, and because they allow consumers to hold more meaningful discussions in a relatively private forum.

Tapping into this trend requires additional patience and planning – but those who put in the work can expect to see big gains in trust in 2019. 


Hue & Tone Creative: Social Media Services

If you need a hand getting your business’ social media in shape for 2019 (and beyond), then you’ve found the right site. Get in touch with our team today at (336) 365-8559 to see what we can do for you.

8 elements of a great economic development website

8 elements of a great economic development website  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Creating a strong online presence for your development project allows you to widen your reach and share information with interested people and businesses. In addition to capturing the essence of your city or surroundings, your website should also follow a few marketing best practices in order to enhance your effectiveness. 

The things that make an economic development website great are the same things that make any website a dream: intuitive navigation, on-trend branding, and clear messaging. But what else can really help your website stand out from the pack? 

Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to overhaul what you’ve currently got, here are eight useful tips to help you get the most out of your economic development website.

 

1. Make your mission clear 

If you want to stand out, your mission needs to be clear, inspiring and distinguishable from the competition. The overarching goal for any economic development campaign is to connect with prospective companies about why you’re a good fit for their company.  

To lure potential job creators to your area, you’ll need to thoroughly develop your mission statement and make sure it’s clear who you’re targeting, how your site or area will benefit them, how you plan to engage them, and what the next steps will be. 

 

2. Show off your support

No one does economic development alone –chances are you have a handful of partner organizations and public or private financial backing. People should easily be able to determine who is involved with your project, and what portions of the project they are involved with.

However, just adding this information to your website isn’t enough –you’ll want to keep people updated as your project progresses. It can take years for a project to go from the idea stage to groundbreaking, and staying active on social media or sending out a monthly newsletter can help keep people bought in to your project. 

 

3. Use statistics sensibly 

If you are using statistics to support something you’ve said or to support the value of your mission, make sure they’re up-to-date, accurate, and applicable. If you try engineering semi-relevant stats to fit your message, you’ll just end up confusing your audience. 

 Use tailored statistics and use them sparingly to make the most impact on your audience. 

 

4. Disclose individual contacts

Don’t use generic email addresses like info@mywebsite.com or contact@mywebsite.com. Potential site consultants will want to be able to do research on all parties involved and want to know they’re about to build a personal connection with someone. 

We suggest including the name, job title, email address, contact number and photo of each of your employees.

 

5. Stick to the three-click rule

You might have lots of really great content on your website, but if your visitors can’t find it, it’s not going to be doing you any good. The less clicks visitors have to make the better!

As a general rule, you don’t want to make pertinent information further than three clicks away from any given location on your site.

 

6. Don’t cut corners on imagery

The look and feel of your online presence is clearly important –but it’s not just about branding. When you’re choosing your imagery, don’t cut corners on the quality. 

There will be times when you’re selling a vision for a mid-construction project, which means you may have to use stock photography. If that’s the case, look for images that feel authentic. Try to target stock images that all have a similar style so that your site looks cohesive. 

If you’re in the early stages of a project, we suggest incorporating lots of placemaking imagery to give prospects a better sense of your community. Photos of lively town centers will help balance out the sterile feel of elevation drawings and floorplans.

 

7. Boast about your buy-in

If you’re in the early stages of a project or are searching for an anchor tenant, community buy-in matters. Showing off major backers will definitely turn heads -- but if you’re stretched for valuable web content don’t limit yourself to just the big names. 

Consider compiling a semi-exhaustive directory of all the small businesses and civic leaders who are engaged with your project. Pull quotes that highlight public support to convey a feeling of success…before you’ve even broken ground. 

 

8. Keep it fresh

Keeping your stats up-to-date is one thing, keeping the rest of your content fresh is another. When a project is in a construction lull, or you’re waiting for permits to come through, it can be easy to let your content get stale. 

To make sure you don’t fall into a rut, we suggest putting together a content calendar together that highlights key developments for the next year. This will help you brainstorm relevant content for the down times and force you to think outside of the box. Just be sure to keep revisiting your content calendar as construction schedules change! 


Let’s get into business: together.

If you need a partner to help you optimize your website, help you develop a campaign, or maintain your social media efforts, get in touch at 336-365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com.

How to maximize your Black Friday marketing efforts

Black Friday officially marks the start to the holiday shopping season. It’s the kick off to what has turned into a four-day shopping frenzy – and whether you’re looking to capture Black Friday shoppers or Cyber Monday sales, you’ll have tons of consumers who are ready to jump on limited-time only deals. 

While this means the competition out there will be tough, it also means you’ve got a load of hungry consumers to target. If you’re gearing up to get in on the Black Friday or Cyber Monday action, here are five tips to help you make the most of your marketing.

How to maximize your Black Friday marketing efforts  |  Hue & Tone Creative

 1. Start it early

Don’t wait until the night before to advertise your Black Friday bargains. We’d recommend warming your audience up a week or two in advance so they: 

  • Know to come straight to you once your sale starts

  • Can start scouting out what items they might put in their basket

  • Can spread the word on your behalf

 

2. Be clear

People aren’t mind readers, so make it super easy for them to find out when your sale starts/ends, what the discounts will be, and which products or services they’ll apply to.

Drumming your Black Friday bonanza up to be something bigger and better than it is is a risky game to play. You run the risk of not only annoying customers on the day of, but also losing their long-term interest as well. 

 

3. Check your capacity 

If you’re lucky, your server will see a steep spike in traffic on and around Black Friday as consumers hunt through your site for the best deal. Make sure your systems can handle the increase in volume with ease - the last thing you want is your site or app crashing during peak buying times.

 

4. Take a targeted approach

Instead of sending out blanket marketing campaigns and hoping for the best, take the time to create a more tailored approach by digging into people’s behavior and targeting them based on past habits. 

Target people who have recently abandoned carts full of items that are now going on sale. It takes more time to set up, but if done right the results will be worth it. 

 

5. Make sure you standout 

Whatever medium you’re using - email, social media, direct mail, or otherwise, there’s a lot of competition out there. But it’s not only your competitors you’re competing against. 

You need to make sure your marketing collateral stands out from the stuff you typically send out so that recipients sit up, pay attention, and immediately click through to your website. Find the balance between an eye-catching Black Friday ad and your usual brand. It’s a great time to push the boundaries of your every day branding – just don’t lose your brand completely. 


Your Holiday Marketing Partner

Not sure where to start? Not a problem. Whether it’s support with your landing pages, social media strategy or email campaign, we’ve got you covered. For last minute Black Friday support, reach out to us at 336-365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com.

Best 404 pages: Designs that stand out

In an ideal world, your website visitors would never find themselves faced with a 404 page. But, suffice it to say, this isn’t an ideal world — people type things in wrong, links break, and technical difficulties happen.

Although your first plan of action should be ensuring there are no broken links on your site in the first place, there are ways you can make the most of a bad situation. If a visitor finds themselves facing a 404 page, you can turn their irritation into an opportunity to entertain them, sell yourself, or provide them with valuable resources.

Here’s a few people we think will delight their customers with their weird and wonderful 404 pages:

Pixar

It’s clean. It’s simple. It’s on-brand. It’s a complete over-exaggeration of the reaction you probably had. And in our opinion, it completely works.

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Bluepath 

Funny and relevant: the best combination! Bluepath’s a data strategy company, so they aptly designed a data-driven map to show their lost visitors where they stood.

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Lego

Like Pixar, Lego let their 404 page serve as an extension of their existing brands. They capitalized on a few favorite characters to illustrate the situation visitors have found themselves in. 

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HubSpot

Not every brand necessarily has a set of iconic characters to bring their 404 page to life. But, as HubSpot have shown, this doesn't have to stop you from having a bit of fun.

They’ve also smartly reinforced their audience’s love of their services and cleverly tried to redirect them to a handful of other, selected pages - win, win!


GitHub

If all else fails, state the obvious. Super simple, but just as on brand.


Emirates

Everyone loves a good pun, right? The beauty of Emirates’ 404 result is that it puts their people on the page and capitalizes on a very obvious but on brand, pun-filled message.

Emirates.png

eHarmony

Another superb example of how your 404 page’s message can wittily relate back to your organization’s core message.


NPR 

Now there’s a lot more text on NPR’s 404 page than most, but it totally works. They do a lot here: in addition to giving you an alternative way to find what you’re looking for, they work in a little foolproof humor and even point you to a few other articles.


Magnt

There’s two elements on this page that we absolutely love:

1)   It puts some of the onus on the visitor - after all, 404s aren’t always the website’s fault!

2)   They’ve maximized on every single opportunity and managed to turn their 404 page into a sales pitch for their product


A couple of 404 basics…

 Now that we’ve taken a look at a few great examples, it’s time to create your own awesome 404 page. Daring 404 page designs aren’t for everyone, but even the most basic of templates must include:

Key links - make it easy for visitors to navigate their way back to live pages on your site. Ideally, you should make sure your main navigation bar is prominent on your 404 pages.

Branding - just because your 404 page isn’t a page you intentionally want to drive traffic to, doesn’t mean it isn’t important. Keep the look and feel of it consistent to that of your site so people know you’re still close by.


 Hue & Tone Creative: Custom design and marketing

When it comes to web design, we know what we’re doing. For help creating a killer 404 page or an entire website, make the first move toward better web marketing today: 336-365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com.

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.

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.
 

brooke-lark-609902-unsplash.jpg

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. 

Marketing Trend Alert: Data Visualization

Marketing Trend Alert: Data Visualization  |  Hue & Tone Creative

We’re officially in a data-driven era. Decisions are made on it. Purchases are persuaded by it. And trust is gained through it. But what is data visualization? Where do its benefits lie? And how do you make data visualization truly effective? 
 

What is data visualization?

Qualitative data is information about qualities; information that can't actually be measured. Some examples of qualitative data are the softness of your skin, the grace with which you run, and the color of your eyes.
 Quantitative data is information about quantities; that is, information that can be measured and written down with numbers. Some examples of quantitative data are your height, your shoe size, and the length of your fingernails.

In its simplest form, data visualization is the representation of data in a pictorial or graphical format. Displaying information this way allows readers to grasp complex concepts with less effort and makes it easier to summarize a large of data quickly.

Data visualization can be used for both qualitative and quantitative data, but some common business uses include:

  • Breaking down market research results
  • Sharing customer insights and/or feedback
  • Displaying geographical variances
  • Detailing a timeline of events and/or activities
  • Presenting internal trading reports
     

Data visualization: the benefits

Your data is only as good as its interpretation, which is where visualization is key. For you visualized data to be successful it should have: 

Aesthetically pleasing results: lines and lines of numbers with the odd word interspersed never looks good -- nor does it read well. Data visualization removes the need for all the numbers and brings your pages to life with eye-catching graphics.

Digestible takeaways: data can be a minefield to understand and take several read throughs to understand. By presenting it visually, your audience can quickly and easily skim and digest the information you’ve given them.

Easier processing: by presenting your information visually, you’re upping the chances that people will understand and remember it.

 

Types of data visualization

When it comes to picking a type of visualization that’s right for your data, there’s no end to the choices. If you're looking for a jumping off point, we've compiled this list of different data styles for you to research and explore: 

Hierarchical

  • General tree visualization
  • Dendrogram
  • Radial tree
  • Wedge stack graph
  • Hyperbolic tree

Network

  • Matrix
  • Node-link diagram
  • Dependency graph
  • Hive plot
  • Alluvial diagram
  • Subway map

Geographical

  • Choropleth
  • Cartogram
  • Dot distribution map
  • Proportional symbol map
  • Dasymetric map

Time-related

  • Timeline
  • Time series
  • Connected scatter plot
  • Gantt chart
  • Arc diagram
  • Stream graph

Multi-dimensional

  • Pie chart
  • Histogram
  • Tag cloud
  • Bar chart
  • Tree map
  • Bubble chart
  • Waterfall chart
     

Data visualization examples

So, now that we’ve explored the benefits and types, let’s take a look at some great data visualization examples in practice.

 

Bubble cloud

Image via  E  xplorer.uk

Image via Explorer.uk

Looks more engaging than a load of words and values dumped in a paragraph, right?

 

Tag cloud

Image via  4  th World Movement

Tag clouds are a great way to bring word-frequency data to life. Like with this example, they can be extra effective if you use your creativity to mould your data into the shape of the topic, too.

 

Subway map

Image via  Concept Draw

Image via Concept Draw

Subway maps aren’t just for subways...This type’s a great way to attract attention because, odds are, visitors won’t be expecting to find a subway map on your site!

 

Timeline

Image via  P  oppyField.org

Image via PoppyField.org

This is a superb example of how a timeline (or really any chart) doesn’t have to be plain to be effective. With a few crafty tweaks, you can brand your charts and infographics to fit your brand! 

 

Looking for us to dive deeper on data visualization? Or, maybe you want to hear about another topic completely? Leave us a comment letting us know what you would like us to blog about!


Hue & Tone Creative: your marketing partner

Need your own custom infographics, charts, or presentations? We can help with all that and more! We'll help you define your brand and create tailored marketing materials so you can impress each and every one of your stakeholders. To get started, just shoot us an email explaining your needs: hannah@hueandtonecreative.com.