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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.

Expand your sales by selling on Instagram

Expand your sales by selling on Instagram  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Sales are down, and you’re looking for creative marketing strategies to help boost them. Enter shoppable posts.

As Instagram’s grown in influence, so has the sophistication of its sales funnel. Shoppable posts take Instagram’s selling cycle one step further, streamline the user’s journey, and boost your business’ odds of converting followers into customers. 

With around 90 million Instagram accounts tapping on a shoppable post every month, they might just be that sweet spot your business has been missing.

Not sure how or where to start? Not to worry. We’ve covered the A to Z of everything you need to know to get going.


What are shoppable posts?


In a nutshell, shoppable posts enable Instagram users to complete the entire purchase journey - from discovery all the way through to checkout - without ever leaving the app. The benefit to you? Less steps. Less chance of distraction. Less chance of losing customers.

On or off Instagram, your customer journey is crucial. For starters, almost three quarters (76%) of consumers cite it as an important pre-purchase factor. But did you also know, 86% of customers say they’re actually willing to pay more for a great user experience?

Looking at Instagram alone, here are some successful case studies from brands who use shoppable posts as part of there social strategy:

  • Spearmint LOVE witnessed a 25% increase in traffic and 8% uplift in revenue

  • Tyme saw their web traffic rise by 44%

  • Lulus attributes more than 100,000 site visits and 1,200 product orders to shoppers who started on Instagram

Here’s what it looks like in practice:

 
 

With more than 200 million Instagram accounts viewing at least one business profile per day, shoppable posts unlock the door to a whole load of opportunities.

A few quick-fire facts:

  • You can tag up to five products per image or video

  • A maximum of 20 products can be tagged per carousel

  • When you tag products in Instagram, they’re shared on the explore section (where 200 million accounts visit daily) as well as with your immediate audience

  • Products can be tagged within stories too, by using what’s called a ‘product sticker’. We’ll delve into the detail of how this differs a little later on, but below’s a snapshot of how product stickers vary from shoppable posts

A step-by-step guide

So, let’s get started with the details of how to actually create your own shoppable Instagram posts. 

 

1.  Account requirements 

To be able to make the most of shoppable posts, there are a few boxes you need to tick:

  • Your business must be located in certain countries (if you’re in the US, don’t worry, you’re covered). For a full list of countries that are and aren’t included, head here

  • Your Instagram account must primarily sell physical goods

  • You must convert your account to a business profile

  • You must comply with Instagram’s commerce policies

  • Your Instagram business profile must be hooked up to a Facebook catalog

  • Your Facebook profile (which must also be a business page) can’t have any country or age restrictions attached to it

 

2. Facebook catalogs

As we just touched on, to enable shoppable posts, your Instagram account must be associated with a Facebook catalog. In its simplest form, a Facebook catalog is a hub containing information on each of the items you want to sell - like their name, price, condition and category, and looks like this:

Image via    facebook.com

Image via facebook.com

Now, there are one of two ways you can go about setting your Facebook catalog up:

  • Option A: Add a shop to your Facebook page. Find out how to do this in five simple steps here.

  • Option B: Use a catalog on Business Manager. This guide will walk you through the set-up process.

3. Account review

Once you’ve hooked your Instagram profile up to a Facebook catalog it’s a bit of a waiting game because, before you can start exploring Instagram’s shopping feature, your account has to be reviewed - this’ll happen automatically. Typically, it takes a few days for the review to complete, however, it may take longer if your account needs to be reviewed in more detail.

It’s worth noting that if you’re creating your very first Facebook catalog, the catalog itself will need to be reviewed before your automatic review can commence.

 

4. Start adding tags and/or stickers

The penultimate step revolves around actually adding your product tags and/or stickers on Instagram. Before you get going, here are a couple of points to bear in mind:

  • Before you can add tags or stickers, your Instagram account must be approved for shopping. If it’s not, you’ll hit a dead end; and

  • Make sure you’re using the latest version of Instagram’s app to ensure you’re utilizing all its latest updates.

If you’re up to speed with everything you ought to be at this point, then you’re ready to turn on your product tags. To do this, just work your way through these easy-to-follow steps:

 

1.  Head to your Instagram business profile

2. At the top right of your screen, you should see an ellipsis (…) - click on it

3. Look out for the ‘Shopping’ option under the ‘Business settings’ tab and tap into it

4. Hit ‘Continue’

5. See which product catalog you want to use within your shoppable posts and select it

6. Voila. You’re set-up and ready to start tagging products in your posts and/or stories.

 

5. Creating the actual post

So, you’ve got all the ingredients you need to create a shoppable post or story, now it’s time to pull the final concoction together. 

Shoppable posts 

As we touched on earlier, you can tag up to a maximum of five products per single picture and 20 products per carousel (i.e. a series of images within one post). 

Each tag will show the name and price of the item in question, and if you want, you have the option to go back and add tags into old posts, too.

Shoppable stories

Instagram stories work slightly differently. For starters, you use what’s called a ‘product sticker’ which showcases the product’s name - but not the price. You are, however, given a bit more personalization flexibility with stickers, in that you can edit their color and text. 

Unlike with shoppable posts, you can’tadd product stickers to already published stories. If you want to add a sticker to an already-published story, you’ll have to delete and re-publish it with the product sticker.

 

The creation process: 

1.   Create your Instagram post or story as you normally would.

2a. If you’re pulling a post together, click ‘Tag products’ on the ‘Share’ screen.

2b. If you’re making a story, tap the sticker icon and then hit the product sticker option.

3. Whether you’re following the instructions for a post or a story, you’ll be presented with your product catalog - choose which one you want to tag and drop it on or close to the item you want to promote.

4. Share your post or story and prepare to monitor the traction you get from your product tags or stickers - you can do this by heading to the ‘Insights’ section of the app (for posts, tap ‘View Insights’ on your chosen shopping post, and for stories just swipe up once you’re in the story).


Hue & Tone: Your Social Media Partners

Overwhelmed just reading this guide? Ready to see your business' Instagram sales shoot up? See how we can help amplify your efforts today by getting in touch with the team at (336) 365-8559. 

Our Favorites: More Great Free Fonts to Download

Finding the perfect font is no easy feat. For starters, there’s an unfathomable number of options to choose from. Even once you select a font, there’s a ton of variables that can interfere with what does and doesn’t work - Do you need the font for print or digital? Are you designing something colorful or monochromatic? Are you laying the font over an image or putting it on a blank background? The the list of potential factors goes on and on!

What’s worse, is that many popular fonts require purchasing a license — one that can often be quite pricey. We’ve already compiled lists of our favorite Adobe Typekit fonts (free if you have an Adobe CC license) and our favorite Google Fonts. But if none of those are speaking to you, we’ve pulled together another list of ten great free and easy to download fonts.


1. Hansief

Hansief is a simple and bold typeface offering a unique vintage feel. It comes with two styles - regular and rough - enabling it to easily adapt to a range of design settings. Download here.


2. Tuesday Night

For those pieces that need an elegant, classy and handcrafted touch, look no further than Tuesday Night. Download here.


3. Mr Grieves

 If you’re after something with a bit of texture, then Mr Grieves has you covered. It’s rough, ready, and raring to grab your audience’s eye. Download here.


4. Bosk 

A handmade brush font by nature, Bosk lends itself very well to artwork in need of that personal and custom feel. Better yet, it’s multilingual and comes with more than 400 characters, so you won’t struggle for choice. Download here.


5. Oraqle Script

Talking of choice, enter Oraqle Script. It’s got uppercase, lowecase, numerals, punctuation and multilingual characters, and also includes things like ligatures, stylistic alternate characters and swashes. Modern, striking and full of texture, it ticks all the boxes. Download here.


6. THE BOLD FONT

 If there’s one thing The Bold Font absolutely oozes, it’s trendiness. It’s streamlined and ideal for anything from logos and packaging to social posts and on-page headings. Download here.


7. Nikoleta

Simple, slim, refined and commanding, Nikoleta is good to go for things like posters, headlines and online ads. Download here.


8. Old Growth

Inspired by the old growth forests of the west coast, Old Growth is fairly new which opens up the door to testing something relatively untried and really standing out. In the words of the creator, it’s perfect for branding, quotes, headlines and more. Download here.


9. Buffalo

Now this one’s definitely different, but different is by no means bad. While we wouldn’t suggest overusing this one, we think it’s the perfect pick for key headlines and accents. Download here.


10. Bodoni XT

For those after more of a classic feel, Bodoni XT offers the right balance between traditional and on-trend. It’s also readable, making it a good fit for longer chunks of text. Download here.


Hue & Tone Creative: YOUR Graphic Design PARTNER

Whether it’s a complete overhaul of your branding, a one-off social media ad, an eye-catching business card, or a logo refresh, we’ve got the expertise you need to make your branding pop. Contact us at (336) 365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com to see how we can start working together.

5 ways to incorporate social media into your placemaking

5 ways to incorporate social media into your placemaking  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Here at Hue & Tone Creative, we love working on projects that contribute to a sense of place – especially if that place is our hometown of Greensboro, NC. 

Throughout our work with spaces like Revolution Mill, we’ve developed an interest in all things placemaking, economic development, and real estate related. Whether you’re a marketing generalist or, like us, you strive to take on more economic development projects, we believe placemaking is a concept every marketer should be familiar with. The methods used in effective placemaking can be applied to a number of campaigns across a wide range of industries. 

The Project for Public Spaces (PPS) defines placemaking as “a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value. More than just promoting better urban design, placemaking facilitates creative patterns of use, paying particular attention to the physical, cultural, and social identities that define a place and support its ongoing evolution.” 

Placemaking is all about creating spaces and places that people want to be – places where citizens feel comfortable living, learning, working, and playing. These places are people friendly, visually interesting, accessible, and memorable. 

Robert Steuteville, editor of Public Square: A CNU Journalargues that a Quality Place possesses the following features: 

  •  A mix of uses

  • Effective public spaces

  • Broadband capability

  • Multiple transportation options

  • Multiple housing options

  • Preservation of historic structure

  • Respect community heritage

  • Arts, culture, and creativity

  • Recreation

  • Green space

  • Quiet, unless they are designed to be otherwise

Now that you know what placemaking is, it’s time to figure out how to marry your social media strategy with more traditional placemaking efforts. That’s called Digital Placemaking – and PPS defines it as “the integration of social media into Placemaking practices, which are community-centered, encouraging public participation, collaboration, and transparency.”

As you start to incorporate social media into your placemaking efforts, here’s 5 ideas you can use as a springboard for your brainstorming: 

  

1. Use social to amplify temporary placemaking efforts

Temporary placemaking is the bootstrap version of true placemaking – and it’s perfect for activating areas people perceive as unsafe. It allows you to experiment with a variety of ideas on a smaller scale, and then grow what worked.  

Good examples of this are an interactive art project, an activity or game, or an event. Even something small like an Instagram-able mural or photo background can help transform an otherwise unused wall. 

 Once you have your project in place, set up a hashtag and a sign or photobooth that will encourage people to use and share their experience. 

5 ways to incorporate social media into your placemaking | Hue & Tone Creative

2. Use social media to establish your city/space as a tastemaker

Instead of hiring influencers, it’s time to set your own trends -- start utilizing your social accounts to amplify your subject matter expertise. That means using your accounts to show off your expert knowledge about a place – Where do you get the best Pho? What boutique do visitors need to check out? What downtown city corner has an incredible history?  

Answer those questions for your followers and you won’t have to hire someone to show off what’s cool about your city or space.

Hashtagging properly and regularly interacting with followers will help activate people who already live in your city -- and long term you’ll be enticing new people to visit your neck of the woods.

 

3. Establish transparency using open source data

Did you know City of Greensboro does a good job of making public data available? Their open data program, “Open Gate City” was launched in 2016 to facilitate transparency, promote community engagement, and stimulate innovation. Open Gate City is a collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies' "What Works Cities Initiative."

Check it out here.

The idea behind open data is that data should be readily and freely available to the general public to use and republish as they wish. Additionally, the idea of open government means that access to government documents and proceedings allows for effective public oversight and protects against extensive state secrecy.  

City governments and public agencies can leverage open data to help build positive relationships with the public. In addition to building general good will, these open data efforts are a treasure trove of potential content for municipal marketing efforts. 

4. Create a hashtag campaign that encourages citizens to share their views  

Create a unique hashtag and use it as the central sharing point of your campaign. Embed the hashtag across all your touchpoints – social, web copy, print collateral, direct mail, email advertising, and online ads -- and encourage people to use it when they’re talking about your campaign (or your city).  

Don’t just sit behind your screen though! Hit the streets with merchandise, handouts, spray paint, or banners, and get to know the people you’re targeting. In-person marketing efforts are sure to connect with a new group, not just the same old group of active users that are constantly retweeting you. 

 

5. Use social media channels as a tool for crowdsourcing data 

With its exponential reach, social media is an incredibly powerful - and free - tool for crowdsourcing. If you’re stumped on what the public wants to see in a space, use social media to start running polls, start discussions, or gather feedback. 

The insights you gain can then be built into future stages of your placemaking campaign! 


Hue & Tone Creative: Your placemaking partner

Ready to brainstorm some fresh ideas? Or, maybe you just need the creative muscle to execute your ideas? Let’s talk and see if we make a good fit: 336-365-8559.

Our Favorite Posts of 2018

Last year we shared our favorite posts of 2017 — and it was such a hit we wanted to capitalize on the chance to highlight a few of our favorite posts again this year!

While we put a lot of work into every post, we definitely have a handful of favorites that we can’t help but wanting to highlight a second time. If you haven’t been able to keep up with every post this year, we suggest just checking out these can’t miss picks:

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

Our favorite social media post: How to do a social media audit

If you’re finding it hard to remember the last time you reviewed your big picture social media strategy, it’s probably time to step back and do a social media audit. Regular audits will help you identify any weak points in your approach, give you more detailed information about your audience, and help you retool your strategy to match current trends. 


75 post ideas for Instagram  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Our favorite web post: 75 post ideas for Instagram

Are you lacking imagination for your next Instagram post? Everyone’s creative cogs stop turning now and then, but fear not, we’ve put our creativity to the test by coming up with 75 post ideas to help you through your creative block.


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Our favorite design post: Color Stories, City Views

To further explore the aesthetic and inspiration found in an urban environment, we’ve snagged Unsplash photos from cities all over the world. Cities are so much more than grey and concrete – and the colors we’ve pulled from these images prove that. 


Our favorite email marketing post: How to write a subject line that gets clicks

The world of email marketing is remarkably noisy. According to research conducted by The Radicati Group, a Technology Market Research Firm, 235.6 billion emails are sent and received worldwide every single day, and that number is only set to increase. If you’re struggling to see the click through rate your campaigns need to succeed, we’ve got a bank of ideas to help give them a boost. 

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

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Our favorite business blog: Must have Marketing Assets for every new business

So, you’ve decided to start a business. You know you need the basics like a logo and business cards – but what other marketing assets should you make a priority? We’re here to tell you what you need it, why you need it, when you need it, and how you get it. We hope this run down of essential marketing materials helps empower you when you’re hiring a graphic designer or marketing agency.


Our picks for must read  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Our picks for must read: 

This year we couldn’t pick just one must read post! But, all three of the posts we did pick have something in common – they’re all about finding, hiring, and working with the right marketing professional for you. 

We love these three posts because they highlight the importance of a good working relationship:

  1. 15 Questions to ask your designer before hiring them

  2. How to give honest feedback without frustrating your designer

  3. Pros and Cons to hiring a DIY web designer vs a web designer


Our most read blog post: 7 (more) Squarespace Font Pairings

Our most read post last year was 7 Squarespace Font Pairings, and this year our follow-up piece, 7 (more) Squarespace Font Pairings, was also the most read!

7 Squarespace Font Pairings  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Hue & Tone Creative: Web Marketing, Social Media, and Design

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. 

How to write a subject line that gets clicks

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

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

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

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


1. Short and snappy for the win

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

 

2. Make it personal

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

 

3. Use simple language

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

 

4. Make it actionable

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

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

 

5. Create a sense of urgency

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

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

 

6. Use numbers

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

  • 8 ways you can save money this summer

  • Join our 2,000 happy clients

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

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

 

7. Ask a question

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

  • Are you making these subject line mistakes?

  • How successful are your emails?

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

8. Dare to be different

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


Hue & Tone Creative: Email Marketing for the Triad

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

How to do a social media audit

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

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

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

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

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


Set goals for yourself

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

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

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

  • Engagement numbers

  • Publishing frequency

  • Consistency

  • Audience demographics

  • Referral sources

  • Social media budget/ROI

  • Channel specific metrics 

  

Delve into the numbers

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

A few basic things to be looking for:

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

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

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

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

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

other MAINTENANCE steps

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

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1.    Go back to your bios

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

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

 

A great example of an Instagram bio

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

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

 

A bad example of an Instagram bio

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

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

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

2. Refresh your imagery

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

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

 

3. Scan the web

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

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

 

4. Create new goals

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


Hue & Tone: Social Media Solutions for every business

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

12 tips for a successful webinar

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

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

12 tips for a successful webinar  |  Hue & Tone Creative


1. Make sure the speaker’s engaging 

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

 

2. Sound out the sound quality 

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

 

3. Don’t forget about the design

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

 

4. Analyze the length

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

 

12 tips for a successful webinar  |  Hue & Tone Creative

5. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

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

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

 

6. Keep it conversational

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

 

7. Introduce Q&As

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


8. Speak in second person

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

 

9. Bring it to life

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

 

10. Keep mobile in mind 

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

 

11. Your personal plug 

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

 

12. Don’t forget time differences

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


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

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

The beginner's toolkit to hiring a graphic designer

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Hue & Tone: Your new marketing partner

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