Business

6 reasons to send a company newsletter

“For years, in large part thanks to the newsletter I think, I’ve never had trouble attracting new clients and the right kinds of clients. People will read my newsletter and be able to tell if I’m the right person for the project before they even call me.”

Tom Ahern, Small Business Owner


6 reasons to send a company newsletter  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Sold already? 

Newsletters can, and should be, a staple lead-generating part of your marketing activity. They add credibility. They add value. And, most importantly, they add revenue to your books.

In fact, you could say the proof’s already in the pudding. According to research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, 83% of B2B marketers already send out email newsletters. And let’s be honest, the majority of organizations wouldn’t be willingly pouring their time and resources into them if the investment wasn’t worthwhile…right? 

Whether you’re already sending newsletters or are new to the scene, here’s a reminder of their six core benefits:

 

1. Constant communication

Sending a regular newsletter to prospective, current and past customers (providing they’ve asked for it, of course) opens up a non-invasive, continual line of communication. It might be one-sided, but it enables you to keep talking to your target market in a way that doesn’t leave them feeling bombarded. 



2. Gentle reminders

Whether you opt to send your newsletter weekly, biweekly, monthly or biannually, it serves as a reminder of your business to the recipients and ensures your name remains at the forefront of their mind. The benefit to you? It means they’re morelikely to turn to you when they’re in need of your product or service.

3. Add value

If your newsletter is packed with genuinely useful hints, tips, guides and videos, you’ll be giving something back to people for free - and they’ll appreciate that. But (and this is a big but) you’ll only reap the rewards of this if your newsletter content’s rich and relevant, which is where we can’t stress the importance of quality content enough. 

 

4. Increase sales

If you plan and pick your content smartly, your newsletter could help build your business’ bottom line. By using it as a platform to subtly sell as well as educate and inform, you can give both prospects and existing customers a polite nudge in the direction of a new sale.

For example, if you’re a social media management company and, say, 30% of your customers have only signed up for your Facebook services, why not include an article in their newsletter around the benefits of your Instagram and/or LinkedIn expertise? If not immediately, it could spark a sale down the line.

6 reasons to send a company newsletter  |  Hue & Tone Creative


5. Bolster your social following

More social media followers = more engagement = more reach. It’s as simple as that. As an added bonus, several studies indicate social signals can contribute to how search engines rank pages, so it could aid your SEO efforts too.

To maximize the benefits of this one, just make sure you remember to include links to all your profiles and in a place where they’re easily seen. 


6. Make your content go further 

If you’re investing time, money and resource into producing great content, it just makes business sense to make it go further, right? And your newsletter’s certainly one extra outlet for that. 


Now we’re not suggesting you start churning out generic content and pushing it out through every medium just for the sake of it. It’s important to tailor your content to each platform, audience and end goal -- but if you’ve got a bank of dormant articles, why not tweak and recycle them to boost their value and reach? 


Hue & Tone: all things creative marketing

If you’re sold but just don’t know where to start, we can help you with everything from your content and layout to design and social media. To get the wheels in motion, get in touch with the team at (336) 365-8559 or 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. 

woman-using-smartphone_t20_AeLxr0.jpg

 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.

Belief in business: 2019 is the year of woke advertising

You’ve likely seen and heard about Gillette’s ‘The Best Men Can Be’ ad. This ad reignited the debate on whether or not there’s a place for advertisers to take a moral, ethical, or political stance in their marketing. While the Gillette ad is the latest ad to provoke this debate, it certainly isn’t the first of its kind. Cause marketing ads have been around for some time – for example, Procter & Gamble’s ‘The Talk ’and Nike’s ‘Dream Crazier' promos.

 

What is woke advertising?

Woke storefront art, anyone?

Woke storefront art, anyone?

The slang term ‘woke’ refers to awareness around “important facts and issues - especially issues of racial and social justice.” Woke advertising doesn’t promote a product, instead, it focuses on real-life, political or moral topics.

Historically, brands have avoided contentious topics for fear of upsetting, disgruntling, or outright alienating their audience. But, in an increasingly polarized political climate, playing on identity and political belief can lead to a big buy-in. 

And, as a rule, we’ve seen it works. 

After Nike’s use of Colin Kaepernick in their ‘Just Do It’ ad, the company reported a 6.25 per cent increase in their stock post-campaign, which equated to a healthy $6.38 billion boost to the business’ overall value. 

It’s not always rosy though. Let’s take a look at Pepsi’s attempt to get in on the social justice action with their 2017 ad featuring Kendall Jenner, which took place against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter movement. The soda company was criticized for trivializing such a sensitive subject, and they received some very frank feedback on social media as a result. 


Is there a place for it? 

When it comes to whether or not there’s a place for woke advertising, opinions are split. Personally, we see brands taking a stand on something as a positive step… but only if they back up their words and advertisements with their actions.

While consumers are practically demanding companies believe in something other than boosting their sales, promoting a political agenda in a country that thrives on call out culture is risky business. While relating to your consumers on a value level is a great way to stand out, if you don’t back your beliefs up with brand culture and moral business activity, you risk consumers writing you off forever. 

To us, successful woke advertising means aligning your beliefs to your brand’s culture and ethos, and going out of your way to support the cause you’re rallying around. It’s not enough to take an empty stand on a talked-about political topic for the sole purpose of boosting brand awareness. It’s transparent and empty. Most customers are attuned to the fact that woke advertising is a strategic plan to support sales, and it’s unlikely they’ll be easily fooled by hollow words.

Here’s a few examples of companies that put their money where their mouth is --

Belief in business: 2019 is the year of woke advertising  |  Hue & Tone Creative
  • TOMS: One for one. For every TOMS product that’s purchased, the company helps a person in need. You can find out more about their model here.

  • Cora: Cora’s an organic tampon company, and they put aside a percentage of their monthly revenue to provide people in India with sustainable period management solutions.

  • Patagonia: One of the first defenders of environmental ethics, Patagonia uses recycled materials and organic cotton, and, working with Fair Trade Certified factories in India, Sri Lanka and Los Angeles, is an advocate of labor ethics too. 

  • IKEA: For starters, IKEA sources 50% of their wood from sustainable foresters and 100% of their cotton from farms that meet Better Cotton standards. Secondly, they use hundreds and thousands of solar panels to power their stores, and strive to be powered by 100% renewables by 2020.

It’s not for the faint hearted

Keep in mind it’s impossible to please everyone - even the woke ads that positively boosted business revenue received negative backlash. 

They used to say there’s no such thing as bad publicity – but in the age of social media, that’s obviously not true. If you’re thinking about taking a bold political stance, make sure you’re fully educated on the issue and that you actually consult with the group or cause you’re talking about.

Don’t assume you know how others will feel or react – and don’t make your marketing choices in an echo chamber of homogenous decision makers. If you look around the room, and you’re staring at all white men, you probably shouldn’t put out an ad about the black community. If you do, we would suggest brushing up your crisis communication plan.  

Speaking of crisis communication plans, let’s see what happened when Pepsi decided to release their ad with Kendall Jenner… 

“Lmao Pepsi’s new ad Kendall Jenner ‘end racism’ by handing police men a Pepsi - way to degrade 50 yrs of black/minority struggle” @HanorahHardy tweeted.

And another Twitter user posted:

Once Pepsi realized the errors of their ways, they soon pulled the ad and released a statement explaining their intentions and apologizing for the damage done: 

“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,” they commented to the Associated Press. “Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize.” 

There was nothing published to suggest the soda company suffered long-term financial repercussions, but there’s also good chance that kind of intel would be kept behind closed doors. 

Big brand names like Nike, Gillette and Pepsi can afford to take a gamble. If things don’t go as planned and their sales take a hit, they won’t go out of business. But is this true for you? Before you make a bold proclamation about the beliefs of your business, make sure you have a solid fall back strategy in place. 

What’s your opinion when it comes to woke advertising? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook and  Twitter pages!


Hue & Tone: Your Marketing Partners

Whether you’re looking to make a big splash or just build your online community, we would love to help you fine tune your digital presence. If you need a fresh set of social templates, help with your general messaging, or a full-time community manager, we believe Hue & Tone Creative might be a good fit for you.

Back to basics: Google My Business

Back to basics: Google My Business | Hue & Tone Creative

Need a new way to aid your organic traffic efforts? Then look no further. Google My Business is a free, easy, and proven method that will help improve your site’s visibility in search results, make key information more accessible, and enable your company to cut through the crowd with a competitive edge.

The proof is in the results — for example, websites with a business listing get 25-35 percent more clicks than those without? If you’re sold by the stats and want to get the wheels in motion, read on for the all-important ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business lets you take control of how your business appears in Google search and maps, by letting you specify things like your name, description, location, opening hours and busy periods.

In addition, it enables you to monitor and reply to your customers’ reviews, add photos, and get more intel into how and where visitors are searching for you.

This is what Google My Business looks like in search results:

Back to basics: Google My Business | Hue & Tone Creative

And here’s how it looks in maps:

Back to basics: Google My Business | Hue & Tone Creative


Google My Business: the benefits

There are endless benefits to making the most of Google My Business, but here are our top seven:

  1. It’s free - so what’s there to lose?! 

  2. It helps your current and prospective customers find your physical location more easily

  3. It enhances your search visibility

  4. It makes genuinely useful information more accessible

  5. Your Google My Business profile opens another communication channel to talk with customers

  6. It equips you with useful analytics and insights into your visibility, engagement and audience, which can be used to shape future strategies

  7. Reviews are relied upon by many, so getting customers to leave them is key. Fortunately, Google My Business makes this easy, allowing customers to rate your business by simply googling your name (they must have a profile themselves, though)

How to create your Google My Business listing


Step 1: create your profile

First things first, you need to set your business’ listing up. To do this, either create a new Google account, or, if you already have an account you’re happy associating with your company, log in using that.

Step 2: Fill out key information

Then head to google.com/business and hit the “Start now” button towards the top right corner of the page. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be prompted to fill in all the details of your business. Be prepared to fill out the following:

  • Your name

  • Address - there are two additional options with this one:

    • You can hide your address if you don’t have a physical store

    • If you deliver your product or service to your customers rather than them coming to you, you can check a box to tell people this

  • Next you need to give delivery details by either telling Google you deliver within a region, city or postcode, or by pre-setting a specific number of miles from your business. The two choices will look like this:

 
Back to basics: Google My Business | Hue & Tone Creative
 

Step 3: Pick a business category

You’ll be asked to specify your business’ category. Your response to this will help determine who Google displays your listing to, so it’s really important your category closely reflects your offering.

Step 4: Contact info

The penultimate step is dropping in your phone number or website URL.

Step 5: account verification

And last but not least, you’ll need to pick how you want to verify your account (if you’re not quite ready to verify, you can opt to do this at a later date). Whether it’s now or later though, your options are:

  • Postcard: To verify your business listing by mail, enter your business address in Google My Business. They’ll send you a postcard with a verification code. 

  • Phone: If your business is eligible to get a verification code by phone, you'll see the Verify by phone option when you request verification. If you don't see it, verify your listing by mail instead.

  • Email: Not all businesses can verify their listing by email. If you don't see this option, try another verification method. Before trying to verify your listing by email, make sure you can access the email address shown in the verification screen.

  • Instant verification: If you’ve already verified your business’s website with Google Search Console, you may be able to verify your listing instantly.

  • Bulk verification: If you manage 10 or more locations of the same business, your business listings may be eligible for bulk verification. 

For more information on how to navigate your way through each verification method, head here.

 

Making the most of your account

To optimize your profile and make the most of all the fancy features we listed at the beginning of this article (like opening hours, reviews and photos), once you’ve verified your account, make your way to your Google My Business dashboard and select “Info.”

 You should then be presented with a screen that looks like this, for you to work your way through and edit the relevant sections:

Back to basics: Google My Business | Hue & Tone Creative

Hue & Tone Creative: All things marketing in Greensboro, NC

Whether you’re looking for help with branding, design, social media management, or email campaigns — or you just want to learn how our experts can help with your Google My Business listing — give us a call (336) 365-8559. We’re ready to connect and learn more about how we can help support you and your business.

The beginner's toolkit to hiring a graphic designer

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Hue & Tone: Your new marketing partner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Outsourcing design: pros

Professional end product

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

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

Saves you time and stress

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

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

It’s a long term investment

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

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

 

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

Outsourcing design: cons

It’s more expensive

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

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

Less insider info about your business

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

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

Finding the right fit

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

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

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

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



DIY design: pros

Save money

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

Total control

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

 


DIY design: cons

Compromised quality

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

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

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More time, more limits

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

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

 

Tunnel vision

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

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

Loss of expertise

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

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

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


Hue & Tone Creative: Web Design for the Triad

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

Web Basics: What is web hosting?

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

What is web hosting?  |  Hue & Tone Creative


Web hosting vs domains

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Where should you buy web hosting from?

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


Web host

InMotion

Voted

Best overall shared web hosting

Selling points

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

 

Runner-up overall shared web hosting

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

 

Best ‘cheap’ option on the market

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

 

Good all-round service

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

 

Wordpress’ #1 preferred partner

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


What does all that terminology mean?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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


Hue & Tone Creative: Web Design Services

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

How to curate a case study that connects

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Getting client feedback for a case study

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

What else to include in your case study

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

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

 

Distribute your new case studies

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

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

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

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


Hue & Tone Creative: Marketing in Greensboro, NC

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

The Importance of Strong Content... according to Yoda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


WEB DESIGN, CONTENT CREATION, and SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT 

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

Our 7 Favorite Posts of 2017

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

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

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

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

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


HOW TO CREATE CUSTOMER PERSONAS  |  Hue & Tone Creative

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

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


HOW TO CURATE YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED  |  Hue & Tone Creative

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

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


MOOD BOARDS: HOME SWEET HOME  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Our favorite design post: Mood Boards: Home Sweet Home

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


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

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


7 SQUARESPACE FONT PAIRINGS  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Our most read blog post: 7 Squarespace Font Pairings

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


THE 6-STEP CONTENT CALENDAR  |  Hue & Tone Creative

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

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


Web Marketing + Design in Greensboro: Hue & Tone

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