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How To Make Your Website Less Boring "You have something in your teeth."There is rarely another phrase in normal social interactions that will elicit an immediate response (i.e., looking in the mirror and getting that piece of spinach out of your front tooth). Yes, it's embarrassing, but we need honest, well-meaning people in our lives to help us put our best selves forward. So, with that being said, we may have something to tell you: your website is boring. There are too many clicks to get to the information we need, the overall design is the same as every other local business in town, and those stock photos from 1993 are just not your best look. Hey, we all need a website refresh every few years. Here's how to get started: 5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Website You have a smartphone in one hand and the yellow pages in the other. Which would you use to find information about a local business? If you said smartphone, you are part of the 86% of consumers who rely on the internet to find a local business. Yet many business owners are still hesitant to invest in a website: "they're too expensive," "I'm not good with computers," "I don't have the time," or our personal favorite "I have enough business and I don't need one." The reality is, every business needs a professional website built to increase sales, capture leads, and establish your business in the local market. Here's why: Top 3 Ways to Make Your Trade Show Booth Less Awkward Public speaking. The phrase alone sends chills down most of our backs. At a trade show, it is literally your job to speak off the cuff, to strangers, in public, for hours. You can leave feeling utterly exhausted after days of trying to perfect your "elevator speech" while that creeping feeling of anxiety lingers in the back of your mind. Conversing with people on the exhibitor floor can be pretty awkward - but only if you let it. When it really comes down to it, people who are attending the trade show oftentimes feel just as uncomfortable as those working the booths. With that in mind, here are our top three tips to make the experience less awkward and a little more productive. 5 Trade Show Giveaways That Are Definitely Going in the Trash I have a confession to make: Your trade show swag is not hanging on my keychain, cleaning my glasses, or being used to write reminders on your branded notepad. In fact, it's probably collecting dust in the back of my desk drawer or was given to my kids and I haven't seen it since. We all know people expect swag at every trade show booth, but most of the time we choose items that have nothing to do with our overall marketing or business goals. If your trade show strategy includes slapping your logo on a cheaply made tchotchke, it's time to rethink your game plan. Here are the top five promo items that are probably your worst investment. How the Future of Branding is Changing If you had your logo created by Tulip Tree, chances are that you probably received a document called "branding guidelines." This simplistic document provides information such as a brand's fonts, colors, and general usage rules. How to Build Your Brand Beyond Your Logo As a business owner, growing your business is constantly on your mind. One minute you're thinking about how you can draw in more customers. The next minute you're brainstorming new ways to increase your profit margin, but how much thought have you put into branding and how it can grow your business? Coffee Makes Everything Possible (Well, For Some of Us!) Are you a coffee addict or need coffee to function during the day? We get it! We don't just appreciate coffee on National Coffee Day, we love coffee every. single. day, and feel like we are not alone. My Business Needs Tagline...Right? You're starting your very own business (congrats!) and you've been working with this really cool marketing firm - let's call it "Tulip Tree Studios." Tulip Tree Studios has helped you pick a unique name and designed a creative logo, but there's one last decision to make: tagline or no tagline? Do Billboards Still Work? Out of Home advertising (or OOH, for those you in the biz) is a platform that's effectiveness has been intensely debated over the past decade. We all know billboards are great for visual impact, brand awareness, and finding the next McDonald's on a long road trip, but do they actually give your business a tangible return on investment? The answer is clear...as mud. We've listed our top Pros and Cons to billboard advertising to help you decide. Watch Your Tone "Don't you take that tone with me!" If you are a child or someone's spouse, you've probably heard this phrase at least 2 or 10 times this past week. Why? Because it's not always about what you say, but how you say it. Establishing your tone of voice is important because you want people to easily recognize your brand and accurately communicates who you are. 4 Things NOT to Do on Your Business's Social Media Sure you've got accounts for yourself on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. to stay connected with your friends and family in your personal life, so you know exactly what to do and what NOT to do on your BUSINESS social media accounts....right? Rebrand, Refresh or Remain? When to invest in a new website design Digital marketing, one of the industry's most popular buzz words, is any promotion of your business that involves electronics or the internet. Everything from digital advertising to e-blast, social media posts, and even your website qualify as digital marketing. What Motivates You What's your motivation? It's what gets us out of bed in the morning. I'm not talking about the reasons we have to get out of bed Ã¢?? like your bladder. What motivates you to keep working towards bettering yourself and your career? Crafting A Sticky Message When it comes to advertising campaigns, most messages are forgotten immediately, while others are stuck in your head forever. The messages that have the power to remain relevant for decades are sometimes referred to as sticky because they can stick with you over time. 3 Ways to Grow Your Business Keeping plants alive is a lot like taking care of your business. It takes hard work, patience, and opportunity for growth. 4 Reasons why you should love to design signage Designers love glamour. As much as we deny it, the idea of working on THE project for THE client is something that 99% of designers strive for in our careers. So, when it's time to work on more utilitarian tasks such as signage, it is usually met with indifference. However, this seemingly "boring" task is something you may want to look at from a new perspective. Why? Because designing signs could be some of the most enjoyable and important work you will ever produce. Don't believe us? Here are four reasons to love the art of designing signage: New Year, New Resolutions, New Business Plan?! It's that time of year again, where we sit and reflect on the past year - what we have endured, our accomplishments and our shortcomings. As you think about your business for next year, are you making choices to grow your business or are you remaining stagnant? 3 Ways to Keep Brand Consistency Most consumers need to see your brand at least 6 times before they will remember you. On social media, at least 50% of consumers follow a minimum of two brands. Et tu, Brute? Is the Brutalist movement making a virtual comeback? Designers want to break away from the premade-templates and challenge the visual language we've all become accustomed to. If you do any research on Brutalist websites, you'll come to find that they are not likely to be classified as creative, beautiful or even imaginative, leading us to wonder, "What's the point?". Social Media & Copywriting Specialist Have you heard what's new in the coffee world?! Are you a coffee lover, coffee connoisseur, or add a little coffee to your creamer just to stay awake? Coffee may be the staple in your day, but have you heard of the newest trends? We are introduced to new trends frequently - do we dare mention the Starbucks Unicorn drink? Every week it seems there is a new way to enjoy a classic, sometimes it is worth the hype, sometimes it is a total flop. Make it POP How to give better feedback and get the most out of your designs. 3 Reasons why you should be excited about a new Rochester City Flag How can you communicate a city's brand? And why should you be excited about it? Recap: How Design Live 2018. HOW Design Live has a reputation as a "build your own experience" conference. This gives attendees the power to choose the sessions that will help them improve the most. In all honesty, I walked in expecting to be inspired by design work, but my takeaways are much more substantial. Hate Social Media? We Love It! Have you, or someone you know, ever said, "I hate social media?" Social media, without a doubt, can be incredibly complex. For you and your business, you might think it is too difficult to understand all of the available features, it's too time consuming, and/or you don't think it would benefit your business in any way. Bathroom Advertising: An Opportunity Knocking? When it comes to your business, advertising is essential, but specifically "restroom advertising" might seem like a creative risk you are not sure you want to take. It may seem intrusive at first, but is it worse than those pesky website pop-ups when you're trying to read your local news online? Responsiveness: more than just replying to your mom's texts With the rapid rise in mobile browsing and changing screen sizes, designers (and developers) have become accustomed to making their creations adapt to a user's device. Recently, while researching design trends of 2018, the concept of "responsive logos" presented itself. I found myself fascinated by article after article outlining the need for responsive logos. Your Website Will Not Actually Make Sales for You As the digital realm continues to expand and dominate commerce, most businesses are recognizing the importance of a digital presence and are subsequently investing in it through websites, digital advertising, SEO services, and more. Content MATTERS Just as an Instagram photo is precisely chosen to reflect a specific type of imagery, the caption should also be strategically selected. Words form sentences, which form paragraphs, which, in turn, form stories that your audience can build a relationship with. If you are telling the wrong story, your audience won't take the time to read it. What the...font? I love a good Old Style in the morning (no not beer). Old Style refers to a classification of typography--just one of many, in fact. From its humble beginnings as moveable pieces (circa 15th century) to the digital formats we've come to know and love, the use of typography has become an art form of its own. Social sharing buttons are useless But consider this: do you ever actually use the social sharing buttons on any sites you visit? Statistically, it's very likely you answered "no," but social sharing buttons continue to find their way into new designs on new sites. 4 Reasons Why Your Small Business Needs Marketing You can't deny that marketing plays a critical role in leveraging your small business. Your goal is to achieve overall success in various disciplines with your small business, so why not bring in a team completely dedicated to helping you achieve that success? Customers, customers, customers--you need them, so let a marketing team work their magic. Does Learning Ever Stop? Nope and this is why A dangerous amount of coffee and complete lack of sleep, make me a sea of creativity. An ocean of ideas. Reservoir of innovation. The catalyst for the world's next great design movement... at least that's what I tell myself each morning as I sift through my emails and sip my second (or is it sixth?) morning cup of joe. Fall cleaning: refresh your website and keep it maintained Spring cleaning is a concept invented to get your home or office back to being neat and tidy after up to a year of neglect, but did you know that your physical space isn't the only thing that needs upkeep? Many business owners are aware that it's important to have a website, but what they may not be aware of is that regular website maintenance is just as critical. News Flash: Design is just a bunch of C.R.A.P. Prepare to have your foundational knowledge about designers completely shaken. Are you ready? Okay. Here it goes: Designers are not, nor have they ever been magicians (or wizards... warlocks...or any other wand-wielding creature). They cannot "magically make things work." There is no "fountain of creativity" or "faucet of flair" we secretly tap into at 2 a.m. Social Media Business Management: Simple tips to gain more clicks In an every-changing, digitally infused world, keeping up with social media can seem like an exciting adventure, or a 24/7 job. Don't get us wrong, the job is fun! Having a digital presence is your choice, and choosing to follow these guidelines will lead you to a successful social media experience to help further the presence of your business. What to do After Launching Your Website Creating a new website for your business is a big accomplishment. There are countless hours that go into designing, coding, reviewing, testing and publishing a website. You may think it's the end of the work after months of effort, but the launch is when the work really begins. If you want your site to succeed and grow, then you'll need to keep up the effort. Marketing to Millennials I have an upper hand in writing this post. Not because I've studied the purchasing habits or market trends for the millennial generation, but because I am one! With first-hand experience and an expertise in knowing what goes on inside my head, I'd call myself a pro millennial marketer. 5 Ways Collaboration Works for EVERY business Today let's take a few minutes to chat about collaboration. (Don't worry, I promise it won't be boring!) We've all seen that word being thrown around in the business world, usually in reference to complex project assignments or high-power business deals. Color Me Surprised It's no secret that we, the Tulip Tree team, are black and white aficionados. Our affection for the classic color scheme spans to the far reaches of our day impacting everything from our wardrobe (mostly black) to our coffee (also generally black). As a designer I appreciate the dynamic duo for its simple elegance but also understand the necessity of color in successful designs. Selecting colors, believe it or not, is not as simple as blindly picking palettes from a book.