As long as email has been around, it’s still relevant today and proves to be one of the best marketing channels for reaching your target audience. […]
Valentine’s Day is Feb. 14, and if your reservation plans fell through, don’t worry! We’ve rounded up a list of amazing restaurants that you can visit for a special meal.
*image source When the second week of February rolls around each year, Adam and I inevitably look at each other a little bewildered and ask “So… what should we do for Valentine’s Day?” As much as we love going out to dinner, nice restaurants can feel a little cheesy (not to mention crowded and overpriced) on this day of the year, so I’m always on the hunt for unexpected date ideas that will still feel romantic and special. I remember the first year we celebrated Valentine’s Day as a couple, we cooked a really fancy dinner at Adam’s place complete with steak and chocolate soufflés, and it was so memorable that we’ve tried to do something outside the box every year since. Whether you’re coupled up or single (gather your favorite girls!), keep scrolling for 13 unique ideas that will ensure your Valentine’s Day is actually fun, with no clichés in …see the slideshow here
Those who suffer from an incurable case of wanderlust can be famously hard to buy for when it comes to Christmas and birthdays. They’re likely to want flight tickets, weekends in new places, or even just a bit of money to put towards their next adventure over anything material. And besides – if we can’t fit it in our backpack, we ain’t taking it with us.
Here at STA Travel, we firmly believe that filling your life with amazing experiences instead material possessions is the key to happiness, but when it comes to Christmas, we understand you want your travel-obsessed brother/friend/significant other to have something physical to open under the tree. Here’s some ideas…
Fjallraven’s iconic Kanken backpacks have been donning the coolest Scandinavian camper’s backs since the seventies. They’re perfect for weekends spent exploring cities and are the perfect size to fit laptops in.
A post shared by Herschel Supply Co (@herschelsupply) on May 10, 2017 at 11:00am PDT
Need something bigger for an extended trip around the world? There’s always the trusty Herschel – for those back to the camera, amazing landscape shots they’ll be ‘gramming.
Gone are the days when you needed a fancy Nikon with four different kinds of lenses to be a totally awesome travel photographer. These $80 accessories have micro and macro lenses ready to be slid onto your iPhone – so you can capture and share amazing panoramas and really tall buildings, waterfalls and mountains instantly. Buy one here.
A post shared by Cabin Porn (@cabinporn) on Nov 22, 2017 at 11:54am PST
If you’re shopping for your camping-crazed dad or that one nature loving friend who’s happiest out in the sticks, we recommend Cabin Porn – a scrapbook turned hugely successful Tumblr, turned Instagram, turned coffee table book.
Historically known by Christians as the Patron Saint of Travel, you might recognise this dude from your nan’s car. But guys don’t have to be particularly religious to wear one of these – they look awesome and are hands down a failsafe gift for anyone heading off on an adventure. Click the link above to buy our favourite, or have a rummage in your nearest antiques market.
Lizard vs. Snake, lioness vs. giraffe… and that sloth who decided he was a mermaid = THE BEST TV IN HISTORY. Our hangover days got a whole lot better since the new season of BBC’s Planet Earth came to our screens. Sir David Atteborough, we salute you.
Personalised playing cards
Travelers need cards – so why not make sure each one of the 52 is emblazoned with a different snap of his travel triumphs?
Us travel-obsessed lot in STA Travel HQ have as much fun customising each of these playing cards as the recipient has always had opening them and rifling through for the first time.
Disclaimer: we won’t be held responsible for any never-ending card games. Each card is a sure-fire distraction. Queen of spades? Ah… Machu Picchu. Seven of hearts? There’s me outside the Taj Mahal… *sigh!*
You can upload photos and order them to your door, here.
Scratch the World
Is he an obsessive passport stamp collector? Enter his new toy. Scratch maps are seriously addictive. We recommend a large one like this one from Maps International as its less fiddly to scratch off all of this tiny, obscure countries you’ve conquered over the years.
A festival ticket
A post shared by EXIT Festival (@exitfestival) on Nov 14, 2017 at 12:19pm PST
The 2018 festival calendar is filling up fast, and if he’s heading to Europe at any point… well, let’s just say his adventure wouldn’t be complete without at least one European festival experience. We’ve teamed up with FestTicket to bring all of the earlybird discounted tickets to you.
EXIT in Serbia brings a mishmash of techno, rock and everything in between to thousands of revellers inside an old fort complex, Secret Solstice sees three days of non-stop music amidst Iceland’s dreamy landscapes (spoiler: the sun literally doesn’t set), and October means only one thing: Oktoberfest in Germany!
Those who’ve traveled anywhere tropical have been there – sat on a cushion on the floor waiting patiently, staring longingly at those lucky to have bagged a beach hammock to swing out their hangover under the swaying palms… Solution? Bring your own!
These hammocks also have a more practical purpose too – they’ll save him heaps of cash!
If he isn’t already signed up with a Spotify premium account, get him an annual membership here and curate him a roadtrip playlist or two to listen to.
These Betron speakers are compact and affordable, and run off Bluetooth. Portable speakers and a Spotify playlist in a hostel dorm full of backpackers keen on a party? Instant friend magnet.
Of course, travel does = the best gift ever. You can search our flights and tours and lock one in for him with just a $49 deposit! Happy gift hunting.
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Web design represents your business online. After all, isn’t your digital marketing all about promoting links back to your website and encouraging visits to your website? And once everyone’s there ogling your logo and everything, what will they think about you?
- Is your brand plain and minimal?
- Are you intentionally rough or un-polished?
- Is your brand fussy and buttoned up?
- Would someone call you bold and fierce?
- Maybe you’re a mix of everything: fussy, bold, fierce, AND minimal.
Let’s explore web design ideas to show off your personality in six areas: fonts, photos, colors, illustrations, copy, and design accents.
Choose Fresh Fonts
I think your choice of fonts is one of the easiest ways to show your personality. It’s kind of like picking out your favorite dinnerware at Target. They’ve got plain white dishes that go with every decor and every food. Or pick something densely patterned and best suited to refined dishes. You might even be the type to go for a mismatched set where somehow nothing and everything goes. Show me your favorite dishes and I’ll know something both about your personal style and about your personality. I’ve taken screenshots of free fonts available from Google to try and show how a few different fonts styles reflect different personalities.
Plain fonts like Roboto and Lato are beautiful in their simple, crisp communication. They are best used for large chunks of text, but a skilled designer can turn even a plain font into a high-end looking logo.
Serif fonts have tails on the ends of letters and work for a classic, dignified look.
There’s also a category called “display fonts” that are best used only for logos and special occasions.
Keep a Consistent Look With Your Photos
One of the keys to a polished-looking website is creating consistency with your photographs. It’s easy to spot stock photos when they look different next to others on your website. If you’re stuck using stock images, sometimes you can find multiple related photos from the same photo shoot, so they at least have similar lighting and finishes. Check out a collage of different hip photo styles I found by browsing the free photo site unsplash.com.
Some of these images are heavily edited, others look very natural. Some emphasize bright lights while others are intentionally calm and muted. And it’s ok if you’re not quite sure how to describe your style! I often use basic terms like warm and cold, dark and light to describe image styles too.
Even if all your photos are originals you shot yesterday, take time to use a simple photo editor to tweak brightness and contrast on each so they’re consistent. When you stand back and look at the set all together, there shouldn’t be any standouts. Be wary of using cheap-looking photo filters that artificially add sepia tones and “fun” looks.
When you choose a consistent look in your photos, you can work on making it unique to you and truly own it by using it on everything. Of course, when you need to break your own rules, use a different look to make a photo immediately pop.
Pick Your Colors Carefully
Aside from your font choice, colors are the obvious way to let your personality shine through. Colors are an important element of your brand that are critically important to designing your website. This is especially true in today’s wave of minimalist web design. Since many designs are simple blocks of text with different colored backgrounds and reduced reliance on images, your fonts and colors have to be very strong.
Hopefully you already have an idea about which colors to use based on your logo and branding guide. As a web designer, I love to have a guide for which of your colors should be used often, for many purposes, which should be used sparingly and exclusively for buttons or high priority messages, and other rules of thumb.
For help choosing your colors, try consulting a color theory guide. Color theory assigns different meanings to colors to help you choose colors that create the reactions in your customers you desire. Blue is often associated with calm and trustworthiness. Red is exciting and eye-catching, but also signals danger, which could work if you’re a hot sauce brand. Or if your product is red, like tomatoes or red wine, picking an appropriate shade of red is a no-brainer. If you chose blue, however, you run the risk of all the doctors and lawyers who use a lot of blue. If that all sounds crazy to you, good news! There’s plenty more color theory to be found with Canva’s in-depth color theory article.
Illustrate Your Pages
One of my favorite web design predictions for 2018 is the increased use of illustrations in web designs. In places where a photograph might been used, expect to see cutting-edge brands using custom drawings, digital illustrations, even animations. Your personality can shine through in the illustration style you choose.
Try thinking about smooth lines for a bold, modern look. Thin, smooth lines look elegant and expensive. Will you round all your corners for a friendly, humanist feel? Or sharpen every angle to a precise and impactful point?
Speak With Your Own Voice
Our copywriters at Roundpeg will tell you the best way to share your personality with the world is by writing about it. Develop your unique brand voice and use it for all of your headlines and body copy! Voice is the special quality that makes a block of text content your content. Start developing a voice for your brand by looking back on your existing social media posts or other previously published work and identify similarities in the style. Look for the words you choose to use and choose those you avoid, the length of sentences, the use of contractions (or not), and anything else that sticks out.
Another way to experiment and identify the elements of voice is to edit someone else’s text to make it sound like you. Look at how you marked up and edited the document for clues to your own voice.
Deliberately Sprinkle Design Accents
What other graphics go with your brand? Notice that I said brand, not logo. Many beginning businesses focus heavily on getting their new logo design and basic colors chosen. Fast forward five years and a web designer working on a new site just has a logo and 2 colors to work from. A complete brand is a more nuanced, complete set of communication tools that includes everything we’ve been discussing here in addition to something I’m going to call accents.
Web design accents are additional graphic elements inspired by the logo. They are used to wrap content in a consistent branded message without repeating the logo excessively. Think of little underlines, an expanded color palette, or a custom set of icons. Use web design accents to thoroughly mix your personality into every page.
What’s your personality like? Could I accurately describe it just looking at your web design?
Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. While many people may be looking forward to all of the heart-shaped candies and roses that are on the horizon, as a small business owner, you can start celebrating for a different reason: The holiday is an excellent time to build your email subscriber list. Growing a contact list is crucial to the success of any email marketing program, so to help your ongoing efforts, we’ve come up with four swoon-worthy ways to get prospects to sign up to receive your emails.
1. Be your own marketing cupid
Partner with another business in your area that offers a complementary service or product, or a business that’s targeting a similar demographic. For instance, a boutique owner could seek out a salon, a florist could partner with a wedding planner, and a restaurateur could collaborate with a community theater. Ask your partner to share a link to your sign-up form or a landing page on their social media accounts or in their next email newsletter. Your business will return the favor. This type of local partnership is not only a great way to introduce your brand to a new and receptive audience, but it also gives you the opportunity to show a little hometown love.
2. Throw a “we love our customers” event
Encourage people to visit your business by throwing a customer or client appreciation event. Hand out free goodies, serve sweets and give out coupons. You can use this party to build your subscriber list by placing email sign-up sheets throughout your establishment or offering additional discounts to anyone who joins your list.
3. Print valentines with an opt-in prompt
Use print marketing to get more subscribers by creating valentine-themed postcards. Ask prospects to join your list and share the address of your website or sign-up form. Send the postcards to customers on your direct mail list, slip them into shopping bags, place them on your restaurant’s dining tables or hand them out at any pre-holiday community events. Along with your Valentine’s Day message and call to sign up, succinctly explain the benefits of subscribing in a few bullet points.
You might even consider adding a space on the postcard for people to write down their name and email address. If you go this route, include an offer on the postcard that can be redeemed when the completed form is brought to you.
4. Hold a Valentine’s Day giveaway
Just think — how many companies have you shared your email address with for a chance to win a trip to Cancún or a shopping spree? This tried-and-true method of acquiring new subscribers works for big-name brands, and it can work for you too. Run a sweepstakes in which people enter by giving you their email address. In honor of the holiday, offer a Valentine’s Day-themed prize. A romantic dinner for two is an obvious choice for restaurants, but you could also present the winner with one of your most loved (aka best-selling) products or services, or create a prize pack of red and purple items.
Make sure that you clearly explain to participants how their email address is going to be used. They must know that entering the contest will automatically sign them up for your company’s emails.
This Valentine’s Day, show your email marketing program a little love and use these sweet ideas to start growing your email list.
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© 2018, Amber Humphrey. All rights reserved.
The post 4 sign-up ideas to make customers fall in love with your business appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.