Growing your email list is a quick way to increase your reach and promote your products or services to a warm audience. Email subscribers offer businesses a great chance to reach engaged customers who have previously shown interest in your services. Below are seven ways you can generate more email subscribers for your outreach efforts.

Off-Site Options

  1. Conduct a Webinar
    This is a particularly good tactic if you offer a service to customers. A webinar, often conducted for free online, invites people interested in learning from you and your company about a specific topic. This is the perfect way to expose potential customers to your expertise and gain addresses for your email list.
  2. Create a Viral Loop on LinkedIn
    LinkedIn is a great networking platform. One of its lesser known features is creating a viral loop via a post. In short, you would create an article that is giving away something of value for free. In the example at the top of this article, Anna Vital created a PowerPoint template to help potential customers speed up their presentation design process. By instructing users to respond "yes" to the post and then add their email address to get access to the materials, Anna created an opt-in list. Once the additional materials are ready, it's also a good idea to send it to your already established email list for added exposure.

On-Site Engagement

  1. Gamification
    One of the newer options for list building is to offer a "spin to win" feature on your web site that allows for an email capture. There are plug-ins you can use to easily create this feature. You will determine what site visitors are spinning to win a prize, which could include on-site discounts or a free item. Once the user has spun, they will be prompted to add their email address in order to claim their prize.
  2. Pop-Ups
    While this may seem like a dirty word, on-site Lightbox Pop-Ups are a great way to capture visitor emails. A Lightbox Pop-Up appears on the screen once a user has clicked through and "darkens" the rest of the website. The user can then enter their email address and click continue to see the rest of the content. Careful about how you use pop-ups! Earlier this year Google started cracking down on annoying tactics.
  3. Crowdsourcing
    Use your audience to generate ideas on a certain topic and offer a prize. You will gain email subscribers as people offer their opinion and sign up for the offer.
  4. Turn Commentators Into Subscribers
    If your site has a blog with a decent amount of comments, offer an option for commentators to sign up for your newsletter next time they leave a comment.
  5. Use Trigger Words to Generate Action
    Certain words will persuade readers to become email subscribers more than others. Some of the key trigger words that prompt a call-to-action are: You, Yes, New, Stop and Instantly.

At Energyhill, we strive to help our customers make the most of their online presence. For more information about how we can help increase your email subscription list and ultimately generate more revenue, contact us today.

Social media has rapidly become an integral tool for most businesses. Due to its unprecedented reach and its amazing growth, it is easy for small business owners - and even some larger business owners - to be overwhelmed by all the options. Plus, even if you choose the one or two platforms you think are the best fit for your brand, how do you approach them? Below are the top four social media guidelines for business owners.

BE CONFIDENT

Remember, people post their best in personal profiles - the latest selfie that looks particularly dashing or the most recent family portrait. However, just as you shouldn't compare your family to someone else's, don't compare your business either. There is always going to be an organization that is better, older, younger, smarter, better looking, etc.

This is a pitfall you must avoid. You don't get any points for comparison. Avoid letting doubts creep in and overwhelm your brain. Just because company X does one thing, doesn't mean it's right for you. And that's okay.

Most of all, remember why you started your business. Be confident in what you do.

MANAGE YOUR SOCIAL NETWORKS PROPERLY

Social networks need to be managed - post and pray isn't going to get you far. Managing your networks means replying to and giving feedback to people, removing inappropriate comments, setting ground rules, answering questions, generating leads and more. This is where the 'social' in social networking comes in.

A big question that people ask about managing social networks is whether to reply to everything, even negative comments. Chloe, our SEO and Advertising Lead, wrote a great article on our blog about the “BEST 7 WAYS TO DEAL WITH NEGATIVE CUSTOMERS”. Click the link to find out more about handling less than positive feedback. Here are the two main takeaways:

Remember, saying “I hear you” does not admit fault, you are just being proactive.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT SOCIAL NETWORKS

As an agency, we suggest using the following networks: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

When building your organization's social networks remember to put time into them. Don't feel like you need to do all of them at once. In addition, it's important to only select the networks you can think you can handle. Your social networks sites (SNS) should be managed or monitored to make them most effective.

It might also benefit your business to consider a mix of first, second and third tier networks. Each requires its own amount of attention and strategy.

Social Network Options

First Tier Social Networking Sites

Second Tier Social Networking Sites

Third Tier Social Networking Sites

There are a handful of other tertiary social media networks that are worth mentioning. However, none of them has the traffic yet to provide significant impact to your social media strategy.

ASK FOR TESTIMONIALS

Find your biggest, loudest, best fans and ask them to write a testimonial on your social networks. Think of testimonials as digital word of mouth - still one of the most effective forms of advertising. If used correctly, testimonials illustrate someone's personal experience working with you and their brand.

When you are asking for a testimonial, make it easy.  Give customers a link to where you want them to write about you whether it's your website, product detail page or one of your social networking sites. Also, check out these tips on customer testimonials.

To find out more about social media guidelines and how to best manage it for your business, we invite you to contact Energyhill today. Also, follow us online. Our handle is @energyhill. And, if you follow us on Instagram during the months of October, November and December, Energyhill with give you $100 in Google Ads credit.

$100 Google Coupon

There are few elements of the natural world more evocative than color. Perhaps second only to smell, seeing or experiencing certain colors causes a visceral reaction. Much research has been done in the realm of colors and what they mean. Red often equates to anger or passion; blue offers a sense of calm. Whatever the colors might mean, advertising and marketing professionals have long stressed the importance of color when designing logos and branding.

However, singular colors appear to be so 2016. Gradients are now a popular design element. Is it possible that color gradients are the new black? Let's examine why using a color gradient for your next design project might be the best choice.

A Rainbow of Options

Gradients provide so much more depth and interest than a simple, flat color. In general, people can identify about 20 standard colors. But with a color gradient, you have added a unique look and color element to your advertising, packaging, logo or more. Instagram's logo might be the most readily identifiable use of gradients in logo design.

A More Realistic Approach

The world isn't simply flat - it features dynamic dimensions and contours that gradients help to reflect. Natural objects have shades of color - flowers, fruits and more - making it easy for our eyes to see and interpret color gradients.

A Standout Choice

As of right now, few brands use gradients as their primary color palette. Hence, using a gradient at this point can truly help set your organization apart. Branding with a gradient is just another way for your company to rise above others in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

A Bold Hue

Choosing color gradients in bold tones can give your design a more modern feel. Using a gradient is a clear indicator that you and your organization have moved into the 21st Century, with a progressive perspective.

If you want to find out more about color gradients and how you can use them in your design, contact Energyhill today. Our team of branding experts looks forward to demonstrating this rising trend and how your organization can benefit from unique and progressive design elements.

There are times in life and business when things come together for the good. It could be called destiny, karma, luck, sovereignty, or a plethora of descriptive phrases.  Ryan and Gloria Lowe have found it. Maybe it found them. However it may be described, there is an “Aura” about this couple and their rising marketing and design business. Somehow they have found the opportunity to do what they love. Behind Energyhill’s aura of excellence is a story of the American dream.

Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life.   - Confucius

Behind Energyhill - Emergence of a Design Agency

The journey began in 2001 in Pittsburgh, PA. Ryan started building computers from scratch. It was a wonderful time with amazing technology surging on every front. Ryan was there in the middle of it all investing in a future enterprise loosely referred to as “RyTek.” Later, it evolved to “RyDesign”.

He drew his whole family into the process and a lengthy debate arose to choose the ideal domain name for the future. The final choices were Energyhill.com and (believe it or not) Energypuppy.com. Obviously, Energyhill won the vote.

As time passed, DESIGN emerged, and then MARKETING. Ryan was honing his skills and loving every minute of it. In 2002, Ryan was accepted at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. On scholarship for his strong personal portfolio of work and development of an innovative hub for students, Ryan began gathering the building blocks for the owned but dormant domain name of Energyhill.com.

Behind Energyhill - Evolution of a Quality Brand

Meanwhile, far away in Florida, a highly skilled designer was enrolled at the Art Institute of Tampa. It was there that Gloria began infusing her Dominican passion into her beautiful art and where she would meet her soulmate. Meanwhile, Ryan completed his Master’s degree at SCAD and was hired by the Art Institute and moved to Tampa. After Gloria completed her degree, she began working with Ryan on the side. As their professional relationship grew, so did their courtship and they married in 2008. After joining together, they realized what advantages they had as a couple that they didn’t have before. Their combined skills, knowledge, and experience exceeded the combination of the same as separate individuals. After a few years of contracting and outsourcing in the industry, they decided in 2013 to officially launch Energyhill.com. To better equip himself for a future enterprise, Ryan earned a doctorate in business from Argosy University in 2014.

When a team works well together as a unit, they are able to accomplish more than the individual members can do alone.

Behind Energyhill - Expectations for Future Vision

Gloria and Ryan found the sweet spot of collaborative design and business aptitude. They complement each other, work tirelessly, and put everything into their brand. The result is a design and marketing agency that is competitive with much larger companies. They deliver in every aspect to make others succeed and grow while at the same time establishing solid relationships with each of their clients.

Each client knows they can be trusted to deliver on time and with the highest quality, and every member of their staff is trained with this in mind. Energyhill is now established and entering its fifth year as an entity. With many years prior to that working with small and large businesses, Ryan and Gloria were positioned to hit the ground running.

Making others succeed is a pretty good formula for Ryan and Gloria; it’s what makes them successful. “Clients are part of us, and we are part of them,” they say. If the clients, who they call “partners” suffer, so do they. If they prosper, so do they. Thankfully, the latter is what happens with Energyhill.

Behind Energyhill - Loving What We Do

It’s obvious that Ryan and Gloria and every one of their team at Energyhill LOVE what they do. Does this mean they never WORK a day in their lives? Hardly. The fact is they are TIRELESS workers, and they function as a TEAM. They are so passionate about design, advertising, and marketing, that it seems like they are not working. That’s the mystery of the Confucius quote, it’s about LOVING what you do.

By the way, they have three small children that require NO WORK, and are a JOY. Well, at least the second one 🙂

Competition for consumers and their hard-earned dollars appears to be at an all-time high. Gone are the days when an ad in the Sunday paper or a banner campaign across the web's top 5 sites would garner you the ROI needed. Now with media options on the rise - and changing every day - it's difficult for brands to know where and how to spend their money. Here are some trends to look out for in 2017.

The Decline of Clicks

While there is no doubt that online and mobile advertising are still very useful to brands, click-thru rates on banner ads have declined to a paltry 0.06%. And to make it worse, the adoption of ad blockers is up to 41%. This number is even worse among the millennial generation where 2 out of 3 millennials claim to use an ad blocker.

The Rise of Native Advertising

Craving connection, advertisers tried a new tactic - one that would go above and beyond a simple banner ad: native advertising. This immersive experience was meant to provide relevant content to the user while underscoring the product or service that sponsored the content. Many media outlets found native advertising a boon as it generated content for them while also selling ad space. It was a win-win.

The Growth of Native Advertising

However, as with most shiny new things online, native advertising began to lose its appeal and now it seems that we have moved onto native advertising 2.0. This new version of native advertising will be more visual in nature and will endeavor to provide users with a seamless experience. Also, it will attempt to grab their attention with arresting visuals.

Visual Advertising Takes the Stage

Humans process visual images 60,000 times faster than text. And over 80 percent of people only skim the online content they read. This makes visual advertising even more important. To capitalize on this trend, marketers will start to focus more on images and typography than content. Visual advertising will make it more important to grab the consumer's attention than to keep it.

How do you see your organization incorporating visual advertising in 2017? If you're interested in learning more, please contact us today for more information.

Agencies across the world have made their digital predictions for the second half of 2017 and beyond. These predictions often shape the media we recommend, how we allocate marketing budgets and more. So, how can some of the more common predictions for 2017 influence strategy moving forward? Let's examine some of the newest digital trends and how they might effect our campaigns.

Conversations Will Lead to Conversions

The intimacy and immediacy of mobile and digital communications has made it easier than ever for brands to target their messaging. Digital platforms, especially social media, make it seem as though large brands and corporations are speaking directly to consumers one-on-one. By engaging in conversations, rather than in traditional advertising, consumers are more likely to feel a personal connection to the brand. This personal relationship makes purchasing and other conversions more likely.

Immersive Content is the New Toy

The advancements in virtual reality and augmented reality have opened new doors for advertisers. As immersive software and hardware continues to develop, so will the possibilities for consumer engagement. Look for brand video experiences to become more interactive.

Accountability is Still Key

Metrics is still the magic word. Brands will continue to hold marketers accountable for ROI. This will be true on both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer sides.

Artificial Intelligence is on the Rise

First it was Siri. Now, she has sisters: Alexa, Echo and well, Google. These smart technologies will continue to mature, making consumers' lives increasingly easier. Look for brands to continue working closely with device makers to discover the best ways to leverage AI.

Adaptability Equals Success

Perhaps the biggest truth of digital trends and predictions is that adaptability will continue to separate the successful from the unsuccessful. The more nimble an organization can be in their tactics, the better chance they will have at staying at the forefront of innovation.

As with any digital trends, following the latest and greatest tactic might give you whiplash. However, with a bit of careful planning and consideration, you'll be able to choose the digital trends that work best for you and your business.

At Energyhill, we are always looking for ways to expand our imaginations, learn something new, and innovate. Not only does this help us become better designers, marketers, and advertisers, it also helps us become better client partners. Recently, the design team at Energyhill participated in the international 36 Days of Type. Two graphic designers (Nina Sans and Rafa Goicoechea) from Barcelona first conceived the event. Nina's last name is Sans... born for this! Their goal was to challenge themselves to create one new thing every day while still balancing their normal responsibilities. And of course, they had to post these new creations to social media. Through the help of their friends, 36 Days of Type became a global event. Now, multiple participants around the world take the type challenge every year. In 2017 Energyhill joined the fray.

What is the Type Challenge?

The type challenge is essentially a 36-day commitment to think outside the box. The goal is for designers to create a new letter or number every day. It can be as abstract or literal as the designer wants - the point is simply to imagine these familiar characters in novel ways.

Why did We Participate?

The creative team wanted to participate because it was an interesting side challenge. However, our designers discovered that a friendly environment of competition was quite productive and fun. Our team made friendly bets over morning coffee. Likewise, our creative team was very inspired by interacting with designers across the world.

What did We Learn?

Our designers learned quite a bit by participating in the type challenge. We learned about ourselves. Our internal processes are fairly structured. We also have a clean workflow with project management playing a role. This challenge was open ended. Working without guidelines or parameters was challenging, but also invigorating. The passion was real when we started combining organic and graphic elements. Even Ryan, our president, joined in and helped with the stop motion piece.

All of our design team's entries can be found on our Instagram page. Also, we invite you to take a look and see what you think of our type challenge entries. We'd love to hear from you! Contact us today for information on how our creative team can go to work for you.

Today's gig-driven economy means there are more individuals than ever hanging a virtual shingle and advertising their expertise for hire. Especially in advertising, marketing and design fields, freelancing has become a key aspect of the gig economy.

Marketing Agency vs Freelancer

While it is tempting to hire a freelance writer or designer for your next project, an agency might be a better option. Here are some points to consider when making the choice.

It Takes a Team

In most cases, hiring a freelancer is cheaper - there, the cat is out of the bag. However, freelancers are often one-man bands (or one-woman shows). They don't have a pool of resources to draw from - there isn't an extra set of eyes reviewing copy or design elements. There isn't anyone to brainstorm with or rely on for new insight. A marketing agency, on the other hand, brings the added benefit of more people to your project. More people means more experience, wisdom, and creativity than you can get from just one freelancer.

What You Pay For

Agencies have overhead which drives up their rates. However, the leverage of an agency can bring unexpected benefits to your project. An agency has often worked with the biggest media in town, established relationships with high-profile people, and generated a body of work that can be leveraged to increase your reputation. All of these elements work in your favor. In the end, an agency rate may be higher on paper, but the connections, insight and advice you'll receive from a team of experts might make it the more cost-effective option.

Time vs. Talent

Some marketers hesitate to use agencies due to a long held belief that they are stodgy or maybe a little too set in their ways. Freelancers are a little quicker, typically younger, and seem to know all of the latest buzz words. However, just because something's fast, doesn't mean it's good. The breadth of talent a marketing agency can provide far outweighs the extra one or two days it may take them to turn around a project.

When deciding between a freelancer or agency for your next advertising, marketing or design project, consider all of the above. Remember that it must be about value, not cost - you want to see the best possible work for the money you'll spend. A marketing agency is almost always your best bet in that regard.

Ryan's Experience as a Freelancer and Working in a Marketing Agency

I have worked for large and small agencies. Also, for 10 years I was solely a freelancer. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. Finding a freelancer who is talented and experienced, can communicate well, and is available is a challenge that I see many companies running into. Working with a marketing agency typically avoids this scenario. However, processes can bog down a lot of agencies. That is why we formed Energyhill: to have processes that align with our clients' goals and are customized to our clients' needs. For example, we've had partners that just need print material, but need it to tie into their digital campaigns and initiatives. As a team of digital experts, we can make that happen; most freelancers working solo would have trouble. Flexible processes and a team of specialists allow us to pool resources, get creative, and deliver on our goals efficiently. All in all, I'd much prefer the agency route, now that I have been in both worlds.

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The 2016 election is gearing up to be the battle of the logos. Following are my evaluations of the top democratic and republican contenders' logos, each one graded for its use of color, shape and font.

Democratic Presidential Candidate Logos

Hillary Clinton

hillary-clinton-logo
The Clinton campaign has created a simple, strong and straight forward logo to represent Hilary. The logo has a good sense of movement and direction, moving us to the right made with the arrow.
 
Shape: A
Color: B+
Font: B+

Jim Webb

JimWebb
The font is distributed oddly across this logo, and the star on the “i” it looks too little compared to the font size, but the overall shape is solid.
Shape: B
Color: C
Font: F

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders Logo

The logo has a nice sense of movement with the lines underneath his name, and the font the campaign chose has a nice, friendly form.
Shape: B+
Color: B+
Font: A

Martin O'Malley

O'Malley
A simple, fun and modern logo. This is the only logo of the bunch that is square and has the feeling of an app icon. Its flat design conveys social interaction and modern messaging.
Shape: A
Color: A+
Font: A

Lincoln Chafee

Chafee Logo
One of the more conservative designs among the democratic logos, the green outer circle seems unnecessary to the design, and "Chafee" is longer than the red lines it's stacked between.
Shape: C
Color: C
Font: B

Republican Presidential Candidate Logos

Mike Huckabee

Huckabee Logo
Good font choice and colors, but the the lines forming an off-center arrow pointing down are an odd way to describe the “higher ground” tagline. The stars feel a bit more playful than the overall design.
Shape: B
Color: A+
Font: A+

Donald Trump

Trump-2016
Conservative and rectangular, this logo could still work with a better font choice. The red color bleeds against the dark blue, which would have been an easy design fix.
Shape: C
Color: F
Font: F

Jeb Bush

Jeb-Bush-logo
The Bush logo has a young, fun, playful vibe. It's both simple and memorable. Good font choice and colors.
Shape: A
Color: A
Font: A

Rand Paul

Rand-Paul-Logo
Simple and bold. Great use of the negative space between the A and the N to create the base of the torch.
Shape: A
Color: A
Font: A

Ted Cruz

Ted-Cruz-Logo
The shape of the icon is a little confusing: Is it a flame, or a burning flag? Also, the way the star is cropped is awkward, and the 2016 looks like an afterthought.
Shape: C+
Color: B
Font: B

 

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