Implementing your New Brand Style Guide

Implementing your New Brand Style Guide

When building a brand, it’s important to establish visual consistency to showcase an increased level of professionalism. From logo design to colors and website layout, it is vital that a cohesive look defines your business and allows potential clientele to recognize your brand.

You’ve worked with AMW. You’ve got your logo. Your colors. Fonts. Textures. Image styles. You’ve got your entire brand wrapped up and ready to go….but now what? A recent Demand Metric survey found that fewer than 10% of businesses believe they are very consistent in their brand presentation. Now that your business has all of these elements developed, we have created a list of ways that you can best implement these guides in the future!

1.) Keep your brand’s core fonts consistent in all future materials, including online graphics, printed ads, and signage.

2.) Color is essential to setting the mood in your branding, but don’t be afraid to play around with the proportion of each color you use when developing materials! Having the ability to style your colors in varying proportions to one another makes your palette versatile and allows different tones to be set.

3.) Find yourself in a situation in which your logo won’t naturally fit with the space given by a third-party publication? Consult your style guide for acceptable logo variations that can be used instead!

Creating Website Copywriting that Converts

Creating Website Copywriting that Converts

Your website copywriting is a very important part of your branding identity. It can mean the difference between a nonchalant visitor to your website and someone who becomes a customer. So, what exactly is good copy? Good copy is content that draws people in and converts to sales. High traffic is a good thing but if people are simply coming to your website but aren’t soliciting your services, it isn’t serving its purpose. Here are some tips on how you can create copywriting that generates sales and helps you grow your business.

Your website content should be leading people to a “call to action” which is anything that encourages your site visitors to do something other than simply browse your website. This can be something as simple as a “subscribe now” box, a link to a free e-book, or a direct purchase link.  A call to action mechanism also needs to come with a strategy on developing copywriting content that is engaging and encourages an interaction. For example, simply asking for an email address doesn’t provide much incentive for someone. However, a statement such as, “Subscribe now and get my free e-book that contains some free tips and tricks” gives an incentive and will therefore encourage an action.

A customer may not be fully invested in the product enough yet to make a purchase, but they may be willing to get a helpful template or some free advice. It’s ok if they don’t buy anything immediately but the fact that you have their email address gives you plenty of opportunity to convert them to a future customer.

“What’s in it for me” is the million-dollar question when creating content that converts. Your content needs to tell a complete story on how your offerings can improve their life. When creating your website content, adapt the mindset that it is about how you can help your customer and less about you making a sale.  Think about how you can help them make a transformation with your product or service. Examples of this are a healthier lifestyle, financial freedom, knowledge, and enjoyment, just to name a few. You can add a lot of fancy sales language that sounds good but unless your content clearly shows the benefit of your product or service, most people will simply browse and move on.

It’s also important to make sure your brand personality is consistently represented in your website content. If your brand personality is funny with a dash of sarcasm, then you need to consistently make sure that your content reflects that. Showing your brand personality is an advantage that will help you stand out from your competitors. Make sure you use it to its full capacity.

Lastly, remember to have fun and keep it simple. Your content doesn’t have to be wordy to be effective. Your goal should be to create content that can grab people’s attention within a few seconds and pique their interest right away.

Good copywriting that converts will prove to be one of your most important assets. A well-designed website is important, but the content is what can make the difference between a sale and a pass.

How to Choose the Best Website Platform

How to Choose the Best Website Platform

In today’s day and age almost every aspiring entrepreneur or small business starts their journey by looking for a simple and quick way to establish themselves online, with a website. Many turn to popular free website builder sites like WordPress.com, Weebly, Wix or Squarespace but are unsure which one is best. To help, we’ve analyzed four of the top free builders below for your website design and weighed the pros and cons of each.

WordPress.com

Pros

  • It’s free for up to 3GB of space. After that you will have to pay for space ($19.95 per year for 5GB) or ($289.97 per year for 100GB)
  • They make regular backups of your site
  • You don’t have to get involved with finding a domain name and a host on your own, or hiring a web designer before you can start to add content to your site
  • Similarly, WordPress.com supplies you with a choice of “themes” or layout styles

Cons

  • They place ads on all free websites and it costs $29.97 per year to remove them
  • You cannot use plugins. WordPress is well known for its flexibility due to the plugins but WordPress.com does not allow you to use plugins. You’ll have to get WordPress.org for them (their alternative more professional platform)
  • You cannot use custom themes. They do offer a “design upgrade” for $30 per year. Meaning, you can change the color of your site. But if you want to add something really custom, you cannot
  • Even if you pay for their upgrades, you still have to tell others that your site is powered on WordPress.com
Wix

Pros

  • 500 MB of storage
  • Best collection of professional caliber design templates
  • Wix’s templates are already structured, formatted and pre-populated with content so you simply have to pick your favorite one and replace the pre-set content
  • Most innovative drag & drop website builder – For example, you can build 1-pager parallax designs, insert video backgrounds, creating multiple sections on your pages, all without touching any codes
  • Support and help available everywhere – help buttons, phone & email support

Cons

  • Difficult to switch templates, once you’ve picked one to use you can’t switch to another template without losing your content
  • Visible advertisements on the free plan – Using Wix’s free plan comes with noticeably large and prominent advertisement Wix logos on the side and at the bottom of the website after you publish
  • Not designed to handle complex e-commerce needs – If you want to build an online shop, Wix’s e-commerce tools are not advanced enough to help you fully manage your store. They don’t include sending out automatic confirmation emails to your customers after they pay, configure taxes and shipping costs, and general management of orders such as marking orders as shipped or paid
Weebly

Pros

  • Super User-Friendly – Weebly doesn’t overwhelm its users with a ton of prep work prior to making their website. The instructions are clear concise and easy to use. You can literally drag and drop images, pieces of text etc. into your webpage without worrying about the constant uploading and downloading of images. A user can actually create a basic website model within 10 minutes of logging in
  • Mobile Responsive
  • Pre-Created Page Layouts – Weebly has included over 40 preset page layouts so that you will have a plethora of templates to choose from. And even then, you can pick a premade template and customize it to your preferences accordingly

Cons

  • Weebly Elements Are Basic – You are given the option to further edit the design of the elements within a page, but ultimately Weebly lacks more options. Weebly doesn’t offer any advanced design options. Including, single page scrolling, parallax, background video players, or page transitioning effects (that you would see in Powerpoint; fading, sliding, bouncing etc)
  • Limited Customization – Weebly allows you to change color schemes and font styles within a page, but doesn’t offer any other options such as adjusting content width or menu color design
  • Blogging is Not that Great – Most often nowadays if you come across a blog, it will at least show you the most recent post, a related post to a topic you type in or at least some kind of news line of popular and related information. Weebly doesn’t incorporate these features
Squarespace

Pros

  • Template Design – Squarespace’s tagline is “Build It Beautiful.” They live up to it with their design templates
  • Backend Design – They build the beautiful brand in their ads and extend it to the user experience. Simply clicking around the admin section makes you think that Squarespace is really cool software. If you’ve ever used purely functional ugly software, it’s a bit of fresh air. It makes building the website interesting
  • All-in-One Platform – Squarespace has all their features built-in. Everything is Squarespace owned and developed. That means that everything just works. There’s no figuring out if this app or extension is compatible. There’s no troubleshooting or topics outside their Knowledge Base and/or customer support
  • Speed, Security & Data Export – Squarespace hosts the websites built with their software, and the cost of hosting is included in the monthly price. This bundled approach not only ensures that your hosting is compatible & optimized, but also that Squarespace handles all the technical needs of hosting. They take care of website speed

Cons

  • Advanced Marketing Tools – If you build a website, people will not simply show up. You have to actively market your work. There’s thousands of marketing & advertising channels. Some are better than others. But all give an advantage to websites with the right tools for that channel. Squarespace has all the basics (aka, share buttons), and a few advanced ones (aka URL redirect options). Overall though, there are lots of marketing features that either aren’t there, or require some workarounds. For example, their SEO options are sort of present, but require workarounds to get the right meta data in place. Their support for Twitter Cards and Facebook Open Graph is touch and go. A/B Testing is not integrated.
  • Apps & Extensions – Squarespace has a lack of support for 3rd party apps and extensions. This approach does ensure that everything just works. However, any features that can be rolled out have to be rolled out by Squarespace, which is a big disadvantage if you want seamless integration of specific functionality.
  • Backend User Functionality – For a website builder that is advertised as simple, straightforward and easy, Squarespace’s backend functionality is not a breeze to use. Editing and adding content, opening new pages, adding blog functionality, editing the design template, moving elements around, etc. You never have to touch or edit HTML or CSS code, but the actual mechanics of building a website with Squarespace are not smooth at all. Compared to competitors like Weebly, finding the right touch elements can be frustrating

If you are interested in having a professional WordPress website designed for you with conversion focused copywriting, click here to learn about our website design package.

Creating a Brand Mood Board

Creating a Brand Mood Board

When establishing your business’s brand, sometimes more than just words or colors are needed to properly convey it. Social media sites like Instagram require a visual representation of your brand’s look and feel, photos that speak directly to your target audience and evoke emotion. But how do you select which photos to use and stay on brand? You refer to your brand mood board as a guide.

A brand mood board is a collage of images, sayings, colors and patterns that are meant to provide photo inspiration for your brand. The board should follow the company’s color scheme and should properly convey what your brand stands for and represents. Follow these steps to develop or refine your brand mood board.

Step 1: Create a Color Scheme

This is the heart and soul of your businesses’ look and feel and should include 3-5 colors. If you are unsure which colors look good together try using Adobe Color Wheel’s Explore tab. Once your colors are selected save them and record their RGB and HEX codes.

Step 2: Come up with Words that Represent Your Business

Who’s your target audience? What are you selling? What are some adjectives you would use to describe your brand? Think of your audience’s interests that can relate to your business and come up with 5-10 words that speak to what your brand believes in and represents.

Ex. Brave, Elegant, Feminine, Strong

Step 3: Find a Photo Platform to Compile Images

Pinterest is an awesome platform to easily compile images for a brand mood board. Create a dedicated board and search the words that represent your company. Then pin the ones that match your color scheme. You can also search by color.

Step 4: Transfer Images into a Board

The final piece of the puzzle is transferring your best photos, words and colors into a board that you can easily access via image file or PDF. Canva is a great tool to create this. Search ‘Mood Board Photo Collage’ for templates already designed for customization.

If you are interested in creating your own brand mood board, download our free brand style guide template which includes a section for photo inspiration! We are also available to create your brand mood board with our brand design package, click here to learn more.