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Build Brand Awareness through Email


Build Brand Awareness through Email


Employing an effective email marketing strategy is an essential tool for building up brand awareness.

Many online businesses tend to view email marketing solely in terms of sales, but that’s a short-sided view of what email marketing can really do for you. Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing mediums, offering brands the opportunity to reach loyal customers regularly and directly.

Consumers subscribing to an email list are telling you they want to hear from you so use this to your advantage!

When employed well, email marketing can:

  • Foster serious customer loyalty by creating direct links with consumers

  • Leverage ROI of any marketing campaign

  • Establish a brand as a reliable reference point for consumers

  • Decrease email list unsubscribe rates

In short, email marketing provides one of the most powerful tools for encouraging long-term habitual interactions with a brand.

You’ve been given a great opportunity – don’t squander it!

Here are some things to keep in mind when developing your email campaign:

Personality and Tone of Voice

Should a brand be serious or friendly? Scientific or colloquial?

The personality of a brand’s marketing communication should be

consistent with all points of contact with the consumer.

By keeping to a tone that is representative of its values a brand will instill confidence and reliability in the eyes of their customers.

Email Campaign Template

People love consistency – especially when scrolling through a full inbox. Building up recognition is the foundation of strong brand awareness and loyalty.

The easiest way to establish this is with an HTML email template that is in line with the company’s objectives.

It is important to consider the following:

  • Do the fonts, colors, call-to-action and layout match those of the business?

  • Is the logo being used correctly and is prominent?

  • Are contact details clear and easy to see?

  • Does the email message contain a personal signature or the company name?

Email marketing templates are an opportunity to reinforce brand recognition. Making an email instantly recognizable will encourage consumer confidence.

Make Sure That Your Email Campaign Converts

You spend all this time putting together your emails, make sure thy convert.

Put the most effort into your subject line as this will determine whether or not a consumer opens to explore more – you need to grab their attention and pique their interest

  • Use graphics as these tend to perform better than the text-only transactional emails

  • Include the company logo prominently as users are more likely to open messages from brands they recognize

  • Put a compelling image in the top area of the email to convey a brand’s message and engage consumer

  • Place at least one call-to-action so that the receiver knows exactly what to do

  • If possible, split test all email campaigns. A split test could include testing a different call-to-action, graphic or layout.


Match the link to the message

The email marketing sales funnel is not complete without ensuring that you are sending the consumer to the right place.

From the customer’s perspective there is nothing worse than being presented with a scintillating offer, eagerly clicking on the call-to-action in the hope of redeeming the offer, only to be directed to a landing page where it’s hard to find the offer or worse still one that doesn’t contain the offer at all.

Keep it simple. Give them what they want.

Avoid Continuous Sales Pitches

Email campaigns are a simple way to communicate that a brand is an authority in their niche, but a brand that is only interested in sales will find that their email drop off rate is high.

By offering solution-focused email content customers will not only remain engaged with the brand but will be eagerly awaiting the next email follow up.

The sales will come later.

Send Emails Regularly

Consistency is key – not just in brand and tone, but also in frequency. Build a calendar and stick to it. Keep track of the days and times of days that convert the highest and incorporate those metrics into your planning. Track everything!

Segment and Personalize

Any company not working on list segmentation and deeper personalization are missing out on a method for solidifying brand awareness. Segmenting an email list into highly targeted micro-segments allows for more customer targeted product marketing.

The benefits for brand awareness include minimizing the unopened email rates, decreasing email list subscriber drop off and fostering confidence in the customer that the brand really understands what each individual customer needs.


The key to developing brand awareness through email marketing lies with consistency, providing solution-focused content, personalization, and highly optimized campaigns.

A well thought out email campaign can run for many months and keep customers coming back for repeat visits and repeat conversions.

If you’re not employing your email marketing strategy to its full potential, it’s time to get to work on content and mailers and start thinking about how to keep those customers coming back.


Our Principles for Effective Branding Online


Our Principles for Effective Branding Online

Principles for Effective Branding Online

Before you can build an engaging, purposeful site to promote your brand, products and/or services effectively, you first need to understand the viewing habits of users. 

Basically, users’ habits on the Web aren’t that different from customers’ habits when shopping in brick and mortar stores. Like window shoppers scan windows before deciding to enter a store, web visitors glance at each new page, scan some of the text, and then click on the first link that catches their interest or vaguely resembles the thing for which they are looking before entering too far into a site. In fact, there are large parts of the page they don’t even look at. And, if they don’t see anything that catches their attention, they will move on to a site that does.

Web users are impatient and insist on instant gratification. Very simple principle: If a web-site isn’t able to meet users’ expectations, then the design has failed to get the job done properly. Complicated and overloaded with information are two quick ways to get users to leave the web-site and search for alternatives. 

Users follow their intuition.  Users want to have control. Users want to have an experience that is comfortable and easy.

honos+creative design principles:

1. don’t make users think 

2. dont squander users' patience

3. manage to focus users' attention

4. strive for feature presentation/call-to-action 

5. effective message, content and copy

6. strive for simplicity

7. dont be afraid of white space

8. communicate effectively visually

9. basic design, functionality and navigation are our friends 

10. test early, test often

bottomline: if you want an effective site, your must test and re-test


5 Big Trends and Tips for Social Media Marketing


5 Big Trends and Tips for Social Media Marketing

In the last five years, social networks have acquired about 1 billion new users. 

Over one third of the world’s population is now accessible via social media, and companies have gone from being skeptical about social media marketing to seriously investing in it.

In this social media dominated world, marketing is heavily reliant on technology, but that technology remains focused on people. This year’s trends will help marketers reach and engage their audience on a more personal level, over social media noise. Companies will be able to fine-target their niche communities, with increased support from software solutions.

Social Media Marketing Trends and Tips

The following is a list of trends and tips for social media marketers to leverage now.

1. Investment in Visual Marketing Will Increase

Most social networks have already launched their versions of live-streaming. Twitter has Periscope, Facebook’s Live, and other networks like Blab and DubSmash support live video sharing. Live-feeds are becoming the “in-thing”. Even the US Presidential election updates were broadcast live by BuzzFeed on Twitter.

You can use live video platforms to engage you audience will near-tangible experiences. If you don’t have a Facebook Live strategy, now is the best time to get one.

With social feeds growing crowded and viewer attention spans growing shorter by year,  you’ll need powerful graphics to captivate your audience. In the last five years, the graphic design software market has expanded, giving marketers extensive options to choose from. You can put together graphics on a drag-and-drop editor to simplify your content creation process.

2. Personalization Will Become Priority

Today’s social media users are faced with ads and commercial content on multiple fronts. The receive information from multiple sources, and breaking through that barrier is becoming a tough task for brands and marketers. Personalization will help marketers slice through the chaos and reach only the people who matter.

Tracking consumers’ behaviors on social platforms and targeting them based on interests will become an essential part of marketing. Some social media marketing tools and apps are already incorporating features to support personalization and targeting. More technology solutions will appear in the time to come. You can target your high-potential market by posting content that only they can relate to, or by targeting them using data pulled from tools.

3. Brand Advocacy Will Grow Popular Among Marketers

Ad saturation is driving brands to look for alternative means to reach their target markets. Investment in advocate marketing has seen a steep increase (by about 191 percent) in the recent times. Micro-influencers could be the key to increasing your brand’s reach on social media, because they are more influential and credible than your brand can be.

Employees, customers and social fans are among the micro-influencers that brands are activating. There a quite a few great employee advocacy guides and case-studies that you can look at for inspiration in building your brand advocate outreach programs. You can use an advocacy platform to build and run your brand advocacy program.

4. Native Content Promotion Will Expand

In Joe Pulizzi’s words, native advertising is content marketing’s “gateway drug”. The modern audience is wise to commercial ploys, and traditional advertising alone may not be a great option for branding your company. Native ads help you create awareness without disrupting users’ activities. Content delivered in this manner can help you connect with your audience without being too pushy. According to a study, native ads are set to to grow to $21 billion by 2018.

Content discovery tools, content distribution platforms and content amplification tools are interesting means to having your content shared organically on social media. You could use one of these solutions to have your content positioned where it can earn you some traction.

5. Marketing Automation Will Go Mainstream

Companies with constrained marketing budgets may have not used marketing automation until now, but according to a study, 92 percent of these companies are losing revenue because of that decision. 2017 may see business of all types and sizes adopt marketing automation. 91 percent marketers are convinced that automation is an indispensable part of marketing.

Each social network is unique in terms of demographic and use-cases. This may force businesses to be present on more than one of them to keep consumers and prospects engaged. Managing social pages can be a time intensive task, without the assistance of a supporting social management tool. The idea is to use the tool to automate tasks that don’t require personal attention – like posting created content to multiple accounts and catching mentions of your brand. You can also curate content with a tool and take the final call on what to share. It all comes down to the extra-time that you can save to better invest elsewhere. Managing content on a central platform can also help you maintain consistency across different pages.


Social media marketing is set to evolve into a highly tech-focused and detail-oriented effort. To succeed  at reaching and engaging your target market, you need to explore and stay abreast of the latest developments and technologies offered for social. The areas mentioned on this post are good places to keep tabs on.

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5 Must-Have Tools for Every Startup


5 Must-Have Tools for Every Startup

Let’s face it – you are struggling to get your startup on track but failing to manage everything on your own. Well, you surely don’t have enough budget and investors to assemble a top-tier marketing team, nor do you have enough time to learn the basics of everything and become jack-of-all-trades.

In fact, the age of “if you build it, they will come” strategy is long gone and is never going to provide you the same exposure that it did in the past. However, making use of some tools will get you started on the right track and give you enough pace to kick-start your profitable business in no time.

Check out these 5 must-have tools for every startups.

1. Content Marketing Tools

It has been reported that 58% eight percent of B2B marketers increased their budget for content marketing in 2015. Content marketing tools are considered as the backbone of most online businesses today as they help in creating, distributing, and measuring effectiveness of their contents. Here are a few content marketing tools that can be useful:

Google Analytics – Google’s analytics tool makes it easy to customize reports, measure the impact of social media and mobile on website traffic.
Alexa – Though this tool is currently neglected by many, it provides data and global rankings for commercial websites and their effectiveness on the web.
SEMRush – This tool helps to track keywords and rankings, both paid and organic.
Moz – This platform can be used to monitor social media, manage SEO campaigns, and measure different online metrics.

2. Social Media Marketing Tools

Social media is considered the future of online marketing and As a startup you need word-of-mouth, and you need to start promoting you or your brand on social media starting on day 1. While there are several social media platforms available, using them one at a time might be time-consuming and boring. There’s no need to worry as social media marketing tools are there to back you up. From creating, curating, managing, scheduling and analyzing, these tools will empower your brand to capitalize the market. Here are a few that might be helpful for you:

Buffer– From creating a posting schedule to different social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and G+ pages, Buffer is an all-in-one social media marketing tool.
IFTTT– Another all-in-one tool that has recipes for your social media needs, IFTTT lets you post, read and do all sort of things with almost all social media platforms available.
Social Rank– This tool helps you to identify, organize and manage your followers and potential customers on different social media platforms.

3. Email Marketing Tools

Email marketing is probably the oldest and still one of the best ways that are proven, effective and important for any kind of businesses and startups. No matter what comes in and goes in the world of digital marketing, email marketing is what will exist forever and will always remain crucial to grab success. Here are a few email marketing tools you need to use:

MailChimp– An ESP tool that has both free and paid plans, you get some pretty useful and powerful features with MailChimp.
The Hemingway App–  Want to make you copywriting clear and conversational? This is what the tool will help you with; optimize emails.

4. Project & Employee Management Tools

Most startups and small businesses do not care much about using project and employee management tools as they handle a small number of projects and work in small groups. But, if they are to grow big eventually, they need to have the know-how of handling bigger projects and large employee and clients’ base.

Pingboard‘s CEO Bill Boebel says: “We found that most of our customers were still managing their org chart in PowerPoint or Visio — even with several hundred employees. These documents are time-consuming to maintain, difficult to share and often become out-of-date shortly after they are created. And quite frankly, org charts made this way are ugly.”

Here are a few easy-to-use and useful tools:

Org chart software– This tool helps to create and structure the members, their relationships, and relative ranks according to their positions and jobs
Basecamp– From managing projects, groups and client works, Basecamp is an all-in-one tool to manage everything at one place.
Trello– Another project management tool to give you the perspective over all of your projects, Trello makes collaboration with employees and clients easy.

5. SEO Tools

If you or your company needs to gain quick attention and visibility online, search engines need to be your top priority. From gaining leads, making sales and making an impact through online visibility, SEO is what every startup need to focus on first. Here are a few SEO tools to track and maintain the online presence:

Ahrefs– From link profile data to content referral information, Ahrefs does everything you need to track you and your competitors.
Schema Creator– Addition of schema or microdata can increase search engine visibility and Schema Creator is what does it in minutes to your website or blogs.
MozBar-It lets you perform a range of SEO tasks from your browser, including keyword ranking data analysis, schema validation, and SEO metric reporting.

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5 Website Design Trends That Will Emerge In 2017


5 Website Design Trends That Will Emerge In 2017

As always, the fonts must match the product, the brand and the target audience, and be web responsive to be effective.For non-website designers, it is nearly impossible to stay on top of the technological advances and countless new design options emerging almost daily. But you know that your website must be user-friendly and engaging on any device.

As a business owner in the digital marketing space, I often become the translator for designers and coders. Here are five of the most important website design trends to help you engage visitors and achieve your website conversion goals in 2017:

1) Responsive Website Design

Responsive website design is a requirement in today’s mobile society. Users may not know what it takes to make a website design responsive, but they know that without it, they will be looking elsewhere for answers, products or a viewing experience. In short, a mobile responsive website is one that is designed so that it looks the same when viewed on any device. A great source to view some prime examples of responsive website designs can be found at; browse them and compare on different devices to see the unified effect.

2) Semi-Flat Design

Semi-flat design makes the elements appear as though they exist on a single surface. The widely-used design approach can bring clarity to the website for the viewer, while making transitions appear more unified. While it can be difficult to execute convincingly, when done correctly, semi-flat design makes it easier for website visitors to understand the cues and directions of the website. The result is a more intuitive navigation experience across the entire website.

Flat designs from a year or two ago had a lot of problems with their inability to draw users into the site and create a more immersive experience. This was because the images and characters were flat without any shading or differentiation, making it difficult for users to know where to click to navigate the websites. The discovery was chronicled in Windows 8 Usability Tests conducted by the Nielsen Norman Group.

Semi-flat designs overcome those challenges, and the use of the style in both Android’s and Apple’s software releases make it something that many mobile users are used to seeing.

3) Minimalism Paired With Micro-Interactions

It’s all about the mobile experience in 2017 and beyond. Micro-interactions are user enabled interactions that provide control, guidance or rewards, or just impart fun to the experience for the user. Minimalist design means web pages are uncluttered. By combining these semi-flat and minimalist design trends in 2017, websites can deliver great user experiences that take advantage of visitors’ short attention spans and need for instant gratification.

In the last two years, my firm began to discover that even though our clients’ websites had been optimized for mobile, we weren’t always seeing the bumps in conversions or longer visitor interactions that we expected. The biggest challenge was having too much content on the page. Best practice search engine optimization is in our blood, and having at least 200 words on each page tends to improve search engine results. But, in an era when people are looking for faster mobile interactions, users were getting frustrated navigating through too much content per page.

We adjusted by balancing snackable content on scrolling pages, and have seen great results.

4) Parallax Scrolling And Interactivity

Moving different parts of a website page at different speeds (parallax scrolling) is not new, but those who know how to use it innovatively reap the rewards of visitor engagement.

An example of using it innovatively would be applying it to interactive storytelling and interactive assessments. Each engages the user at a deeper level. We’ve all experienced websites with great parallax scrolling where the images and text are highly structured and fold on top of one another as we scroll down through or swipe across the page.

Parallax scrolling enables the user to have a one-touch scrolling experience that engages them, provides an interactive experience, and can tell a story through progressing content and images that they control. They can have the same experience on any device, which helps to enhance their experience as they learn about a brand, a product or a solution.

5) Stronger Use Of Typography

It seems we are always learning about effective fonts and using them in new ways with website design. One of the latest and most enduring trends is to blend fonts that work well together in a single page. This works with both different (but compatible) fonts as well as font sizes. As always, the fonts must match the product, th


web design hot tip


web design hot tip

The Proliferation of UI Patterns

One of the side effects of responsive design has meant that a lot of sites look similar. However, responsive design isn’t solely to blame. The rise of WordPress sites and the booming theme market also have a hand in it.

And some folks, such as Matthew Monbre, have copped to being guilty of following everyone else’s look with his company’s site.

But having a similar look isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That’s because we’ve changed the way we consume the web, which has resulted in a lot of common UI design patterns. Design patterns have matured and as such, there’s little in the way of innovation when it comes to UI patterns.

In other words, a checkout will still be a checkout and should function as such. Same with a login model. There’s no real reason to reinvent the wheel. UI patterns must guide users through a smooth experience.

- The honos creative team


How design can boost clients' profits


How design can boost clients' profits

How design can boost clients' profits

For a client, the success of a design project usually hinges not on acclaim, but sums. No matter how many Yellow Pencils, social media mentions or column inches a project tots up, it’s hard for a client to see true value for money unless the work boosts their profits by generating cold, hard cash.

According to a 2013 report by the Design Council, for every £1 a client spends on design, they reap over £4 in net operating profit, over £20 net turnover and over £5 in net exports. The same study also reveals that two-thirds of companies that ignore design have to compete mainly on price, whereas that’s true of only one third where design is integral to the business.

Earn more with the designer's guide to money!

To designers, the benefits of creative work are obvious, but convincing a client that it will yield a return on investment requires tangible statistics from previous outcomes. However, whether it’s a commercial campaign that shifted a larger than average volume of products, a charity campaign that raised a considerable sum of money or a high-profile rebrand that can be credited for helping reverse the fortunes of a business, measuring effectiveness can be a slippery task. 

Part of the problem is that design work rarely exists in a vacuum. Separating the power of a well-timed rebrand from the appeal of a good product or service, and the consumer trends surrounding it, is often nigh-on impossible. It might be possible to measure a packaging design overhaul's impact on sales figures, but a rebrand is an investment that could take years to pay off – and sometimes in ways that aren’t immediately apparent or easy to measure.

Laying the right foundations

Dedicating some time to assessing brand health before you even start thinking about the creative side is an investment that will pay dividends when it comes to measuring how much you’ve improved a client’s bottom line. When it comes to qualitative data, interviews and focus groups that establish desirability, satisfaction and aesthetics are the keystones of ROI measurement – but when calculating bang for buck, quantitative metrics need to be finely tuned to the client’s business objectives. 

“I think where design fails a lot is where it doesn’t connect to organizational goals,” says Hulse & Durrell partner Greg Durrell, whose rebrand of the Canadian Olympic Team led to overwhelming financial and social success. “If you start with aesthetics and style, it’s not going to create meaningful change. Knowing where the business needs to go can really help define your path.”

The strength of a brand overhaul isn’t just in the finished outcome

How you define success – as well as your approach, and most likely the creative itself – is going to be different depending on whether your client wants to sell more products, break into a new market, increase its attractiveness to sponsors or buyers, cultivate brand loyalty or amplify social media clout. But remember, the strength of a brand overhaul isn’t just in the finished outcome, but in helping clients see their strengths and weaknesses, and streamlining their operation throughout the process. 

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” adds Durrell. “Foundational branding work is largely about the long-term goal, but what rebrands can do is be that rallying point for an organization to change.”

Next page: discover four ways in which design can help contribute to a client’s financial health...

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10 Perceptions Outdated Websites Create That Damage Credibility


10 Perceptions Outdated Websites Create That Damage Credibility

1. “They’re going out of business”

Where’s the latest blog? Press release? Social media status? Upcoming sale? New product release?

“No news is good news” is certainly not applicable here.

This silence gets people wondering if the company is dying a slow death (even if their books show skyrocketing profitability!)

2: “Their customer support will be terrible”

If customer support is imperative to an organization, don’t you think their website should make it easy to get that support?

“78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.” (Source: American Express Survey, 2011)

Outdated websites come laced with wrong phone numbers, hidden email addresses, broken contact forms and confusing navigation — all red flags, especially to a prospective customer.

3. “The company must be OK with the status quo”

Consumer expectations are high, especially in retail. “Shoppers want to experience a brand online as they do within the store.”

A company OK with an outdated website feels like a company OK with just doing enough to get by. Technology companies in particular might be labeled “status quo” which cheapens their products/services.

4. “They just aren’t with it”

Though being “with it” is difficult to translate into practical meaning (and sounds like teenager speak), it’s still a gut reaction that damages credibility.

Being “with it” could mean a variety of things, but my guess it’s related to the website’s design — a factor with significant persuasion.

Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab found that almost half (46%) of people say a website’s design is the number one criterion for discerning credibility.

5. “They have technology incompetence”

We all live in the Digital Age, but using technology isn’t always easy.

A recent WSJ study found more than half (54%) of small to mid-sized businesses are concerned with “technology outpacing their ability to compete”.

Technology can’t be ignored. Especially on a website.

Outdated websites typically run old technologies (e.g. Flash, Frames, Hit Counters) and give the impression the company hasn’t left 1999. This creates the perception that the company faces similar technology incompetence — which impacts almost every single aspect of today’s business.

6. “They won’t keep my data safe and secure”

An outdated website tends to forget about the details, even the critical ones like keeping their SSL certificate renewed (which allows the URL to securely shift to https://).

Negligence with security (like an expired SSL certificate) leads to skepticism when giving up sensitive information such as name, email address, phone number and — especially — debit/credit card information.

7. “They must not be proud of their company”

When you interact with an updated and lively website, you can almost feel it. The company’s executives (especially if there’s thought leadership) and their employees feel proud to be part of things.

The website is an extension of their organization.

Outdated websites don’t represent organizations well because they send an apathetic message — which might not be an accurate measure of pride within the organization.

8. “There’s no buzz”

Most people like to buy from companies that are exciting and have a “buzz” to them. I’m sure you’ve heard of Apple?

This buzz is especially important in the B2C (Business to Consumer) sector where emotion has a dramatic role in marketing. Existing and prospective customers want to — sometimes unknowingly — be part of something buzzworthy.

This brand excitement is hard to see and hear without an updated website.

9. “They’re not good enough for my money.”

This perception feels a bit harsh, but I’m getting the impression that consumers just don’t care anymore. An organization with an outdated website is simply, bad business.

This study found that 35% of consumer walked away from a small business because of its poor website. Let me repeat. Over 1/3 of them WALKED AWAY.

The old fashioned business approach can only go so far without a solid website

10. “I could never work for a company like this”

An outdated website will impact a company’s ability to attract, recruit and retain talent. I know this perception exists because I’ve seen it first hand with my clients

One client’s leadership was galvanized because a hot recruit verbally trashed their outdated website, and another (Stanford Careers) made it clear that it was the #1 reason for hiring ProtoFuse.

An amazing work culture and competitive pay may, in fact, be a reality for a recruit, but this perception stops the conversation from even starting.


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The Best Super Bowl 2017 Commercials Already Released


The Best Super Bowl 2017 Commercials Already Released

Oh, the drama! Oh, the excitement! Oh, the household names! No, I’m not talking about football, I’m talking about the commercials that are sprinkled throughout the football. Whether you are into the actual game taking place on the field on Super Bowl Sunday, or whether you are more into the Puppy Bowl, everybody loves a good Super Bowl commercial–which are often filled with surprises, new products, and delightful cameos. At a sticker-shocking price tag of $5.02 million per 30-second spot, they better be good.

While some companies save their Super Bowl ads for the big game, others release their commercials early. Below, we’ve collected some of the most exciting spots released so far.

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