Tips & Tricks

Improve your LinkedIn engagement by following these steps

twenty20_b8bdcee6-5261-42ef-962b-ddae20688226.jpg

More than 500 million people use LinkedIn every single day. On average, two professionals join the platform every second. Two-fifths of B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn. And 91 percent of executives rate it as their first choice for professionally relevant insights. 

What does all that mean? It means that there are a whole lot of people and organizations who are thirsty for your content and ready to connect.

But too often, LinkedIn users prioritize quantity over quality. Here’s one common misconception:

More posts = more visibility = more leads.

 Wrong. 

Your mindset should alwaysbe quality over quantity. After all, you’d rather have one post a week that generates 15 leads than seven a week that return nothing, right?

Here are some pointers to help you create lead-winning LinkedIn posts.

Tip 1: Don’t always include links

They take people away from the platform and LinkedIn doesn’t like that, and if LinkedIn doesn’t like something their algorithm is more likely to penalize your post. 

Remember, this also applies to videos. Instead of pointing people to your YouTube page upload it as a native video to please the platform you’re publishing on. 

New to videos? Here’s how to get started on your smartphone.

 

Tip 2: Focus on your length

The general consensus among users and LinkedIn professionals is that longer posts tend to perform better, so don’t be afraid of using your full 1,300 character limit. 

Not sure what to talk about? Steal some ideas here.

 

Improve your LinkedIn engagement by following these steps  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Tip 3: Use emojis

They stand out from the rest of your text and catch people’s attention as they’re scrolling down. But remember, moderation is key. Going emoji crazy every other word will just a) make your post hard to read, b) turn people off, and c) look a little childish.

 

Tip 4: Like what you post 

Of course you like it, that’s why you published it! But that’s not the reason. Liking your own comments and posts can help spread your content further around the platform.

 

Tip 5: Give a little, get a lot

Don’t expect an encore of engagement if you don’t ever do the same to others. Like and comment on other people’s posts and they’ll be more likely to return the favor.

 

Tip 6: Stick to text-only

Keep it simple with text-only posts. On average, they earn more comments and views than their image and video counterparts. 

 

Tip 7: Speak directly to your audience

Refrain from starting your post with words like “we” and “I”. Some better alternatives include:

  • You

  • Your

  • How to

They put the focus onto the reader and show it’s all about helping them.

 

Tip 8: People do business with people

Give your audience a bit of insight into who you are and what you’re about - just be careful not to let these posts overpower your lead-generating ones.

 

Tip 9: Pick the right time

Sprout Social says the best time to post on LinkedIn is either between 9-10am or at 12pm on Wednesday...but don’t get too derailed by that. Different audiences have different behaviors, so before you get too stuck in a routine that may or may not be working do a bit of trial and error to see what works best for you.


 Hue & Tone: Social Media and Graphic Design

Whatever stage of social experience you have, whichever platform’s you are on and no matter what your goals may be, we’ve got the ingredients you need for social media success. Drop us a line on hannah@hueandtonecreative.com or give us a call on (336) 365-8559 to start improving your engagement today.

How to write a meta description that gets clicked

Be bold and stand out from the crowd with a good meta description.

Be bold and stand out from the crowd with a good meta description.

When you’re creating an email campaign you probably put a lot of thought into your subject lines, right? Because you want as many people as possible to open them.

Well, when you write a blog post or product page, do you put just as much effort into your meta description?

No? Then you might as well just tell organic visitors to check out the next search result down.

What’s a meta description?

A meta description is a snippet of text (usually around 155 characters) that appears below your page’s title in search results. It advertises the content on that page and it’s your chance to tell people why they need to click through to your site - and not your competitors. 

Time and time again though, people leave their meta descriptions down to chance, banking on Google picking a killer excerpt from their page. But, if you want to smash your SEO targets, that just won’t do. 

A properly put together meta description can:

  • Improve organic click-through rates

  • Increase SEO-lead visits

  • Reduce bounce rates

  • Support conversion targets

How to write a click-worthy meta description

1. Keep an eye on your length: Make sure all your important information is in the first 155 characters. After that, there’s a good chance whatever you write will get truncated and no-one will see it. As with any type of writing, short, snappy and to-the-point wins every time.


2. Inspire action: Let searchers know what they’ll walk away with if they enter your site by clearly communicating key benefits and inducing a sense of urgency. 

For example, if it’s a blog on ‘Why meta descriptions are important’ don’t just start summarizing the page’s content, dive straight in with the benefits, a bit like this:


Increase your organic traffic, leads and conversions today by understanding and implementing the power of your page’s meta descriptions.

 

3. Include a call-to-action (CTA): Remember, your meta description is your sales pitch for the page it’s linked to, so make use of CTAs like you would with any other type of advert. Phrases like ‘learn more’, ‘get it now, ‘come on in’, and ‘try for free’ ought to do the trick.


4. Use relevant keywords: Don’t go keyword crazy by adding keywords into every other word because you think keywords are the answer to your keyword problems. See what we did there? Keep it natural. 

Generally speaking, Google’s more likely to use a meta description that includes text that matches all or part of a searcher’s query. 

As an added bonus, they’ll also highlight corresponding keywords making your listing even more compelling, like this:

Meta-description-bold-keywords.png

 5. Make sure it matches your content: Luring people into your site with misleading meta descriptions won’t work; Google’s smarter than that and they’ve been known to penalize people for it.

It’s not just for Google’s sake though. Enticing visitors in under false pretences will just irritate them and result in more bounces straight back out as soon as they realize they’ve been taken for a ride, and that won’t do your reputation any favors.


Hue & Tone Creative: greensboro graphic design

If you know what you need to do but you don’t have the manpower to do it, we can help. We’re pros when it comes to creating copy and design that converts. Get in touch with the team at (336) 365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com to take the first step.

Everything you need to know about your site’s bounce rate

Don’t let people say “peace” to your web page.

Don’t let people say “peace” to your web page.

Your website traffic isn’t quite where you hoped it would be. You were way off last month’s email sign-up target. Your conversion rates are looking a little lackluster. And your blogroll of posts just isn’t getting read. Sound familiar?

When numbers aren’t being met most people jump straight to loading more money into PPC or churning out an extra email campaign a week. But have you ever tried putting the spotlight on your bounce rate? 

Get this metric right and you’ll set yourself up for the ultimate business journey: more traffic > more conversions > more money. Get it wrong though, and you may as well just point your visitors to your competitor’s site.


What does bounce rate mean?

The term bounce rate refers to the number of people who enter your site - either from Google, a social media ad, email campaign or otherwise, and exit before exploring any of your website’s other content. 

For example, someone types “real estate advice Greensboro” into Google. They land on a blog about house-hunting tips. After they’ve finished reading it, they hit the back button or close out of the browser without clicking through to any others pages. They’ve ‘bounced’ right back out.

Now you know what it is, to help you keep your bounce rate low and conversions high, we’ll be looking at:

  • How it’s calculated

  • How to find it

  • Analyzing your data

  • What a high and low bounce rate means

  • How to improve your numbers

  • Tracking your progress

So, let’s get started.

How is bounce rate calculated? 

The formula’s simple: the number of one-page visits on your site divided by the total number of visitors.

For Example: Yesterday, 2,000 people landed on your website’s homepage. Of those visitors, 700 left without interacting with any other of your site’s pages. Your homepage’s bounce rate would be 35%.

How to find your bounce rate

You can quickly and easily access the bounce rate of any or all of your site’s page on Google Analytics. Here’s how:

  1. Sign-in to your account and select the site you want to look at.

  2. From the homepage, you’ll see your site-wide bounce rate straight away:

3. To delve deeper and see your bounce rate for individual pages, head to the menu down the left of the screen and go to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages / Content Drilldown / Landing Pages. Once you’ve done that, you should see a screen a bit like this: 

Google-Analytics-site-pages.png

Within here you can start to get specific and fiddle with things like the date range, acquisition type, URLs, device, browser, location, gender, age, and more.

For a really detailed look at all the ways you can slice up your data, check out this in-depth guide.

bounce_t20_x6KY7l.jpg

Diving into the stats

Numbers are only the start of what you need to know — once you’ve located your bounce rate data, you need to root around to discover some trends and see what is and isn’t working for you. When you’re investigating your page numbers, ask yourself things like:

  • Does the time of day impact bounce rates?

  • Do certain sections of the site receive higher bounce rates than others?

  • Does social media traffic receive higher bounce rates than organic?

  • Are there any on-page patterns across low-performing pages?

After you’ve armed yourself with this type of intel you’ll be ready to start putting plans in place to boost your numbers - but we’ll talk about that in more detail a little later on.

What does a high or low bounce rate mean?

What constitutes a ‘good’ bounce rate varies from industry-to-industry and site-to-site. Here’s a rough guideline of what’s accepted as the norm though:

Type of website: Benchmark average bounce rate %

  • Content websites: 40 - 60%

  • Lead Generation: 30 - 50%

  • Blogs: 70 - 98%

  • Retail Sites: 20 - 40%

  • Service Sites: 10 - 30%

  • Landing Pages: 70 - 90%

 

And here are some figures by industry:

Bounce-rate-by-industry.png
 

High bounce rates

Generally speaking, high bounce rates aren’t great. Think about it, if you were consumed by something you’d seen or read on someone’s site, you’d probably poke your nose around a few more pages, right? Well, that should be the aim of every single page of your site, and a high bounce rate could be a sign you’re not delivering. 

If you’re not sure where to start looking, here are a few things that could be contributing to your numbers:

  1. Slow page load times - according to research, a two-second delay can equate to a 100%+ increase in bounce rate.

  2. You’ve provided the visitor with everything they could possibly want and need on that one page alone. To see if this is likely to be true, check out the ‘Average time on page’ stats.

    If visitors have spent a decent amount of time on the page (say a couple of minutes) then they probably did spend the time needed to digest everything and get what they need. If it’s low though, say 10 - 15 seconds, they probably didn’t get past the first paragraph.

  3. Luring people in with misleading title tags and/or meta descriptions and not giving them what they’re actually looking for.

  4. Technical errors. If a visitor lands on a 404 page, for example, there’s not much encouraging them to stick around.

  5. If the content on your page(s) is weak people will bounce straight back out and look for a stronger alternative - which is why quality is so important.

  6. Poor user experiences (UX) can also be a deterrent. Whether you’re bombarding visitors with adverts, pop-up surveys, and/or subscription options, or your navigation set-up isn’t intuitive, both will make it harder to keep people on your site.

Low bounce rates

While low bounce rates on the whole are a good indicator your page(s) are performing well, if it’s suspiciously low (say 10%) it could be a sign there’s a technical error - usually, duplicate analytic codes are the cause.

What are duplicate analytic codes? 

Basically, this just means you have two sets of the same code on your site which results in two page view requests. The effect is Google Analytics then thinks two separate actions took place, disqualifying it from being called a bounce. 

Of course, you should celebrate successes and take credit where credit’s due, but just remember, if something looks too good to be true, it usually is.


How to improve your bounce rate

If you’ve identified a site-wide or specific-page problem with your bounce rate, here are 10 tips to give it a nudge in the right direction.

  1.  Make your content more readable by looking at things like your font, paragraphs, and quantity of text.

  2. Don’t bombard people with interstitials. They’re irritating.

  3. Make your next desired action glaringly obvious. If visitors can’t see your call-to-action, they’re unlikely to click it.

  4. Take a look at your design and branding. If your site looks naff, people might assume your brand’s naff.

  5. Target the right keywords and write compelling - and accurate - meta descriptions. If you’re enticing the wrong type of organic traffic to your site, it’ll instantly impact your bounce rate.

  6. Revisit your email, social, referral etc. databases, and make sure you’re attracting the right visitors. You can have the best website in the world, but if you’re not reaching your target market it won’t work.

  7. Take whatever steps are required to reduce your page load speed; people don’t have time to sit around and wait.

  8. Make sure every single element of your website oozes quality. If it’s not adding value, get rid of it.

  9. Set any external links to open in new windows to minimize the risk of visitors not returning to your content.

  10. Invest in a mobile-friendly site. Desktop versions can be a pain in the ass to navigate around on mobile, and that’s a one-way ticket to losing visitors. 

  11. Introduce relevant landing pages that target high volume keywords. According to a study by HubSpot, companies with 40+ landing pages earn 12x more leads than those with five or less.

Track your progress 

Last but by no means least, don’t forget to track and analyze any changes you make. This will help you further hone in on what does and doesn’t work – then you can harness what you learn to improve other pages of your site.

 To keep your analysis orderly, it might be worth setting up a spreadsheet and recording things like:

  • The URL of the page(s) you’re working on

  • Bounce rates before any on or off-page modifications

  • The date any changes were made

  • What changes were made

  • The bounce rate after your tweaks - just make sure you leave yourself a meaningful amount of time to get a true picture of whether or not it’s helped

 Try not to get too caught up on industry averages either. When determining what success means for you, keep on top of peaks and troughs and focus on your trends over time.


Hue & Tone Creative: Marketing for Greensboro and Beyond

Need some support with your site’s bounce rate? We’ve got you covered from every angle. Get in touch with the team at (336) 365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com to see how our design, content, and campaign services could help. 

3 cross-sell email templates that convert

Picture this: you head to your local sports store to grab a new pair of sneakers. One of the assistants comes over and asks if you need help. You accept. While showing you the shoes, they point out their range of high-performance socks, insoles, and foam rollers. 

You walk out of the shop with the shoes you originally came for…and a three-pack of new socks too.

You probably didn’t realize it at the time, but you were just the subject of up-selling and cross-selling in person.

This tactic works well in person, but it works just as well online. There’s endless potential sales out there to seize -- but if you’re not grabbing these cross-sell opportunites with both hands, your business’ bottom line could be missing out.

To help improve the chance of upselling, we’ve compiled three proven cross-sell templates for you to tweak and use.

3 cross sell email templates that convert  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Opportunity #1: Right after a sale

Your very first cross-sell opportunity comes right after a new customer has made a purchase. We recommend sending out a thank you email — while you’re still fresh in the customer’s mind, offer them some complementary products.

For example, if you’re a DIY company and someone’s just bought a gallon of paint, why not highlight your paint brush, roller, and trays range? If they don’t already have them, odds are they’ll need them very soon… 

Sticking with the paint example, here’s some sample copy:

 

Hi [insert name],

Thanks a bunch for choosing us for your next DIY project. 

Your order’s been sent to the warehouse and should be on your doorstep in the next 2-3 business days.

If you need some more tools for the job, check out our range of [paint brushespaint rollers, and paint trays]

If there’s anything else we can help you with, get in touch with our customer service team on [insert number].

Thanks again,

[Company X] team


Opportunity #2: when asking for a review

It’s good practice to check in with customers down the line and ask for a review. The review itself will not only help you attract more new customers, but it could help you improve your product or service too.

So, if you’re already doing this, take the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and steer them towards some more of your offerings. Here’s how you could do it:

 

Hi [insert name]

Thanks for shopping with us recently. 

Here at [company name] we take what you think to heart, and we’re always looking for ways to build on what we’ve got. If you have just a minute to spare, we’d love to hear what you thought about your recent purchase. 

>LEAVE A REVIEW< 

If you liked what you got, these might just be up your street too:

[Reel of relevant product names and images]

We look forward to hopefully seeing what you say soon.


Thanks,

[Company X] team

3 cross sell email templates that convert  |  Hue & Tone Creative


Opportunity #3: promotional pitch

Your cross-sell efforts don’t always have to piggyback onto another of your email activities. You can also send emails when you have a sale happening, you want to promote a new product, or offer a discount on a certain service. You can send cross-sell pitches whenever you want, just make sure you don’t bombard your database with emails — and be sure to keep the products or service offers relevant.

Here’s an example to steal some inspiration from:

Hi [insert name]

So, you’ve taken out our [insert service name] service, but have you ever considered our [insert service name] offering too?

If the answer’s yes then now’s the time to make your move, because we’re exclusively offering 15% off to existing customers!

By taking out our [insert service name]service, you’ll benefit from:

  • Benefit #1

  • Benefit #2

  • Benefit #3

  • Benefit #4

To claim your discount today, just use the code SUMMER2019 at checkout.

Thanks,

[Company X] team 


Hue & Tone: Email Design and Marketing

So, you’ve got the words, but do you have the design? Don’t worry if not, we can help you create kickass email templates that complement your content and encourage customers to re-convert. Interested? Then get in touch at (336) 365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com.

4 common web design mistakes - and how to fix them

You can have the best product on your shelves, the best customer service around, the best words on your webpages, and the best advice on your blogs, but, if your website’s design isn’t up to par it can all fall flat. 

Getting your website’s aesthetics just right can be a tough nut to crack - especially if it’s not your area of expertise. Small mistakes here and there can wreak havoc with your conversion rate. Many of these web design blunders are easily avoidable – or can be quickly corrected. 

4 Common Web Design Mistakes -- and how to fix them  |  Hue & Tone Creative

All you need is the knowledge about how to correct them, and then you can get your design quickly back on track. If you’re not sure where you might be going wrong, here are four common mistakes we come across and how to overcome them:

1. Hidden contact details

Getting people to land on your website is one half of the battle, getting people to take action is the other. So, make it as easy as possible for visitors to find your form, email, or number.

All too often, organizations leave their contact details buried in their footer or three links deep into their navigation, making it hard to get in touch. 

The fix: Task someone who doesn’t know your site inside and out with tracking down your contact details. If they report back it took them more than a second or two, it’s time to look at your placement. A couple of easy-to-see suggestions include: 

  • At the top right of your main navigation bar, so it’s instantly visible on every page

  • Within your main navigation bar, clearly labelled - something like ‘Contact us’ or ‘Get in touch’

2. Cluttered pages

4 Common Web Design Mistakes -- and how to fix them  |  Hue & Tone Creative

The phrase “less is more” couldn’t be more true when it comes to designing a clean and easy to navigate web page. Lots of sites out there are guilty of cramming each and every page with images, buttons, text, and widget – but all these elements are competing for your visitor’s attention and can quickly become overwhelming. 

People don’t know where to look, what to read, or what’s most important, and they certainly can’t skim your content - all of which can be a big turn-off.

The fix: Go through your website page-by-page and really question what the value of each element is. If there isn’t a motivation behind a certain element, go ahead and remove it. Once you’ve whittled your on-page items down to the essentials, start strategizing about each page’s hierarchy. Make sure you’re incorporating clear call to actions and plenty of whitespace.

Shameless plug: hiring a designer might help with this.

3. Fatal contact forms

Complicated contact forms can be fatal to your conversion rates. If you’ve got lines and lines of fields to fill in, there’s a good chance your visitors will take one look, race to the back button, and exit your site altogether. After all, time is of the essence for everyone on your website or social media. 


The fix: Similar to your site’s pages, go through all your forms field-by-field to see what info is and isn’t needed. For example, you probably don’t need a prospect’s address until they’re further down the funnel – so don’t ask for it, because it could deter people from filling out your form.

In most cases, we recommend keeping forms to just a name and email address. Often, even just an email address field will suffice. 

By the end of this process you should be left with concise, tidy forms, and a clear plan for your data collection strategy.

After some extra advice? Here’s more on how to design a user-friendly form.

4. Absent search boxes

Quick tip: Another quick and easy workaround could be Google Custom Search.

If your site’s relatively big (more than 10 - 20 pages including regular pages, products, blogs, etc.) it’s probably a good idea to add a search box. It makes your site easier to navigate and ensures people will be able to find the content they’re looking for. No more worrying about people leaving the site because the blog post they were looking for was buried in your archives! 


The fix: The solution will depend on your CMS. Some will have a search box feature built-in for you to download, but for other platforms you might have to source a developer to help create a custom one. 


Hue & Tone Creative: Your Website Design Expert

If you’ve not got the time or experience to give your website’s design the attention it needs, then we’re here to give it the TLC it deserves. To see what we can do for you, get in touch today at (336) 365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com.

How to conduct A/B testing

Colleague #1:“Lets change the layout of this landing page.”

Colleague #2: “What’s the reason for the change?”

Colleague #1:“Just because. Maybe it’ll work better.”

 

How many times have you had or heard a conversation along these lines? It’s the marketing equivalent of shooting in the dark and hoping for the best. 

software-developer-and-ux-ui-designer-are-designing-mobile-application_t20_gopNPx.jpg

Spoiler: there’s a better way to make big business decisions.

A/B testing, also sometimes referred to as ‘split testing’, is a type of experiment used by marketers to gauge which variation of a campaign works best. 

The concept itself has been around for a long time, but is particularly relevant in the worlds of email and web marketing. It’s an inexpensive and reliable method to really understand whatworks for the correct audience. 

When it comes to what you can test the possibilities are almost endless, but some common examples include:

  • Landing page copy

  • Call to actions (CTAs)

  • Email subject lines

  • Headlines

  • Product descriptions

  • Advertisement imagery and colors

  • Email sender names

  • Personalization options

How to conduct A/B Testing  |  Hue & Tone Creative

The benefits of A/B testing

How many times have you or a colleague made a decision based on instinct, a gut feeling, or best practice? It’s impossible to predict how people will react, and A/B testing will help you remove some of that guess work.

If done right, it can give you tangible insights that increase web traffic and conversions -- and decrease bounce rates and missed opportunities. 

If done wrong, inaccurate results can be extracted which can result in performance-damaging decisions being made. So, let’s make sure you get it right! 

How to get started 


1. Pick your variable

First things first, you need to pick which variable you want to test. It’s important to focus your efforts on only one element or change at a time, otherwise you won’t know which is responsible for your surge or slump in performance.

For example, if you were focusing on improving the conversion rate of an email and changed the color of your CTA and the template, how would you know which change was behind the results?

That doesn’t mean you can’t fiddle with various elements of a single campaign, it just means they can’t be measured concurrently. Sticking with the email example, you’d need to make your CTA change, analyze your results, take action accordingly, and then experiment with your template

2. Set your goals

Once you’ve settled on your variable, you need to set its primary goal. Let’s say your experimenting with the text on a landing page, your primary goal could be to either: 

  • Reduce the page’s bounce rate

  • Increase the average time spent on the page

  • Increase the page’s conversion rate

3. Create your variables

Next up, you need to create your two variations. Your control version is either what you already have (i.e. current webpage copy) or what you’d normally use (your standard email template, for example).

Your second variation - the ‘challenger’ - is the same asset, but with the isolated change you’re looking to test. For example, let’s pretend your testing if changing the color of your ‘Buy now’ button increases conversions.  

Your control version would be simply leaving the webpage unaltered, and your challenger version would involve using the exact same page, but changing the color of the button to X, Y or Z. It’s as simple as that.

 

4. Split your data

When it comes to splitting your data, it’s important to divvy it up equally - i.e. 50/50. The reason for this, is that it’s the quickest and most reliable way to get statistically significant results.

To make a decision on which variable is more effective, each has to be viewed the same amount of times. So, if you were to split your data 30/70 (with 30% going to your challenger version and 70% to the original), for example, it’d take much longer for your challenger to rack up the numbers needed to complete your experiment.

If you’re not sure where to start with this bit, here are some of the best rated A/B testing tools to help you:

5. Set your sample size

This one will vary depending on what you’re testing and which A/B testing tool you use. If you’re testing a webpage, for example, you might want to set yourself a target number of visitors to base your experiment on.

Or, if you’re measuring a social media ad, you might choose to set your campaign to run until each variation has earned 3,000 impressions, for example.

For help on how to determine your sample size, check out this guide.

 

6. Analyze your results

Last but not least, you need to take the time to carefully read and understand your results. During the analysis stage, it’s important to keep your primary goal in mind and not get distracted by other metrics.

By this, we mean if your main goal was to improve email conversions by changing your template, try not to get too caught up with things like open rate, click through rate (CTR), and bounce rate.

Important things to remember

Before you get going with your A/B tests, here are a few final points to bear in mind:

  • Run both your variations at the same time

  • Run your tests for the same amount of time

  • Only run one test at a time

  • Give your experiment enough time to produce meaningful results


Hue & Tone Creative: Your Marketing Partner

If you need help producing your A/B testing assets, you know where we are. To discuss your needs, goals and requirements, contact the team at (336) 365-8559 or hannah@hueandtonecreative.com.

Typography for beginners

Typography for Beginners  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Some web pages and brochures good… and some look terribly unprofessional. If you’re new to graphic design or typesetting it can be hard to determine what makes someone’s branding look good or bad.  

If you’re a beginner – or you’re attempting to brand your own business -- there’s a number of type rules you can follow to give brand a polished look. Following these simple rules will help even the most amateur designer get their webpages and print assets in tip top shape!

 

1. Less is more when it comes to typeface

If you’re looking for some font pairing inspiration, head over to these two posts about pairing fonts on Squarespace (here and here). 

Choosing the right typeface is key. Get it right, and you’ll set yourself up for stylish, simple and easy-to-read assets. But get it wrong, and you’ll end up with illegible, cluttered and unappealing pages. 

Simple fonts should be used for main body copy, and decorative typefaces should be used sparingly for things like subheadings.

The golden rule in the design world is to stick to a maximum of three fonts in any given piece of artwork - whether that is a website page, social media banner, or hardcopy flyer. However, whittling your fonts down to two can sometimes be even better. 

If you stick to just one or two fonts, you can use varying weights to create a more refined look. 


2. Use a sensible hierarchical structure

Following a logical hierarchy helps to give your site’s pages a clear flow and effortlessly guides readers through the structure of the website. Let’s compare and contrast two examples to give you a better idea of what we mean: 

Good content formatting.png

Exhibit A is a bad example. The website’s name, navigation bar, subheadings, and main body copy are all the same font size. Now there are two issues with that – first, it gives readers no visual indication where they should start reading or what’s most important to look at. Secondly, it makes it really difficult for the reader to skim through the copy.
 

Now, let’s contrast an example of a solid hierarchical structure. The page’s title, navigation bar, subheadings and copy are clearly defined with varying font points, making it much easier on the viewer’s eye.


3. Be creative with contrast

Typography for Beginners  |  Hue & Tone Creative

Being creative is part of being a designer. Now we know we said earlier you should stick to two to three font combinations per project, but that doesn’t mean you can’t mix up your styling by playing around with things like the font’s size, weight, color and style.

Whether you emphasize a key word with italics, change the color of a subead to something more bold, or bump up a term in your tagline to a size that’s more eye-catching, there are endless ways to create contrast within your copy.


4. Keep your alignment neat and tidy

Alignment applies to all your on-page elements - like body text, titles, logos, images, and menu bars. When it comes to alignment, everything should be connected in one way or another. For example, you might want your logo to align with your main navigation bar, your body copy to align with your page’s title, and your images to align with your body copy.

Well thought-out alignment will help prevent your page from becoming disjointed and ensure all your assets create well-measured sizes and distances between each other.


5. Don’t be a stranger to whitespace

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to fill everynook and cranny on your page. Creating whitespace around your words can be incredibly powerful, can help draw attention to text, and will aid you in achieving a simple and trendy look. 


6. Choose your colors carefully

Last but not least is your color choice. The right colors can make or break the look and readability of your copy – there’s nothing worse than colors that make your words a strain to read.

When it comes to color, there are three key components: 

  • Hue - the shade of the color

  • Saturation - the brilliance of the color

  • Value - the lightness or darkness of the color

Source    &gt;

When it comes to choosing your colors, the aim of the game is to make your text as easy as possible to read. It’s as simple as that.


Hue & Tone Creative: Let’s work together

Feeling overwhelmed with information? If you’re not a designer, knowing and deciding what does and doesn’t work is easier said than done. If you need a hand with your typesetting - or any other area of design, get in touch with our team today at (336) 365-8559.

8 elements of a great economic development website

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

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

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

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

 

1. Make your mission clear 

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

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

 

2. Show off your support

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

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

 

3. Use statistics sensibly 

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

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

 

4. Disclose individual contacts

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

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

 

5. Stick to the three-click rule

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

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

 

6. Don’t cut corners on imagery

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

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

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

 

7. Boast about your buy-in

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

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

 

8. Keep it fresh

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

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


Let’s get into business: together.

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

How to write a subject line that gets clicks

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

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

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

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


1. Short and snappy for the win

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

 

2. Make it personal

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

 

3. Use simple language

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

 

4. Make it actionable

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

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

 

5. Create a sense of urgency

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

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

 

6. Use numbers

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

  • 8 ways you can save money this summer

  • Join our 2,000 happy clients

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

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

 

7. Ask a question

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

  • Are you making these subject line mistakes?

  • How successful are your emails?

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

8. Dare to be different

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


Hue & Tone Creative: Email Marketing for the Triad

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

How to do a social media audit

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

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

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

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

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


Set goals for yourself

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

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

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

  • Engagement numbers

  • Publishing frequency

  • Consistency

  • Audience demographics

  • Referral sources

  • Social media budget/ROI

  • Channel specific metrics 

  

Delve into the numbers

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

A few basic things to be looking for:

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

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

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

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

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

other MAINTENANCE steps

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

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

1.    Go back to your bios

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

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

 

A great example of an Instagram bio

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

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

 

A bad example of an Instagram bio

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

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

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

2. Refresh your imagery

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

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

 

3. Scan the web

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

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

 

4. Create new goals

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


Hue & Tone: Social Media Solutions for every business

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