Mirador is a powerful neoclassical font family designed for various usages — ranging from editorial and corporate design to web, interaction and product design. It is a contemporary take on high contrast typefaces that have never gone out of style — defined by elegance, tradition and timelessness. Although Mirador seems to be a display font at first glance, its proportions and design reveal a powerful and characteristic workhorse when set in smaller sizes. Mirador comes in 10 weights with matching italics. It is equipped with ligatures, a large set of alternative glyphs and many more opentype features. Y’all know I love to share a font sale and this one is big! Mirador is 86% off until November 1 so grab it now!
Social media is an extremely powerful tool for business marketing and promotion. One reason for that is because it has the ability to provide a massive amount of organic traffic–something that we love as bloggers and website owners. Free traffic? Heck yes, we’ll take it!
However, including a social media marketing budget as a part of your strategy helps to make this tool even more powerful. There are many different avenues for what to spend your social media marketing budget on. Maybe your budget will go towards outsourcing. (Time = money, people. If your time is better spent on your business, outsource or hire someone to do your social media.) Or maybe your plan is to do your social media yourself, so your budget will go towards social media ads and things like that. (Don’t fret if this is your plan–it’s totally cool! I write an entire blog helping solopreneurs, small business owners and bloggers to DIY their own social media marketing.)
But whatever you choose to put your budget towards, it is important for you to first have a budget. Follow these steps to determine your particular social media marketing budget.
Who does your marketing?
I touched on this just a bit ago, but if you still weren’t sure who was going to be doing your marketing, now is the time to decide.
If you’re a solopreneur or small business owner, it’s probably wisest to do your own social media marketing–especially if you don’t have enough revenue coming in to hire someone. If you’re a small (or maybe larger) business owner, outsourcing to a social media manager/agency is always a great idea. Or, if you have the funds to allocate it, you could even hire your own dedicated marketing director.
Determine your online platforms
Your main social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn. (Don’t forget YouTube if video is a big part of your business!) If you don’t know which platforms will best benefit your business, check out this post here.
You also need to decide which other online marketing avenues you will allocate a budget to. This could be things like AdWords, email marketing, SEO, and content. (However, I believe that content and social media really can’t work without each other.)
Calculate your budget
If your business is just starting out, then your entire marketing budget should be 15-20% of your sales/revenue. More established companies can reduce the amount to 10-15% of sales/revenue.
Think about your marketing strategy. How much of that is going to be online? In 2013, companies allocated about 35% of their marketing budgets to digital marketing. However, over the past couple of years, 74% of businesses have been reducing traditional advertising budgets to make more room for the power of digital and social media marketing. So if you want to devote 50% of your marketing budget to digital marketing, that’s fantastic! Even 75-80%.
However, there are a few traditional marketing channels that you want to keep open, so leave at least a little bit of your budget for those. Here are a few examples:
- Business cards
- Networking events
- Referral cards (i.e., small cards sent with physical items)
- For those who sell items, decorative packaging materials
Determine which of these traditional marketing avenues you need to budget for and subtract those costs from your overall marketing budget.
Your digital marketing budget will be split between email marketing (Mailchimp subscription, etc.), SEO (virtual assistant/SEO specialist), AdWords (or other PPC marketing), and social media/content. If you will be using any other digital marketing avenues other than social media, determine the cost and subtract that from your budget. You have two avenues now:
1. Outsourcing your social media.
Now you know what you will be able to afford if you plan on outsourcing. You can find a virtual assistant, freelance social media manager, or social media agency to help run your social media.
2. DIYing your social media.
Depending on which social media platforms you use most for your business and which are most engaging/beneficial to you, that will tell you where you need to allocate your social media funds. A common breakdown of a social media budget can look like this:
- Facebook: 40%
- LinkedIn: 25%
- Instagram: 25%
- Twitter: 10%
You can determine if this breakdown will work for you or if you need to move platforms around. For example, if you sell a product, LinkedIn and Twitter might not be as important to you as Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Know your most popular and beneficial platforms and allocate funds accordingly.
Download the Free Worksheet!
Use this download to help you calculate your own social media marketing budget.
Summer might technically be ending, but down south it stays forever hot until late October. In honor of that, my team and I wanted to do a summer-y ice cream shoot with more moody tones and deeper hues.
I wanted a downtown, relaxed, cool-girl feel for this concept. I met our model, Isabella, at a local café called Magpie. I immediately wanted her for the shoot—she had the right vibe and perfect nails for our detail shots of the sherbet.
Our location was the Spanish Moon, a local music venue. The Walls Project, a nonprofit in Baton Rouge, does these amazing murals on the sides of buildings around the capital city. Each is unique and playful with bright colors and interesting shapes. I thought it fit well with our concept—it helped warm the colors in each photo as a composition.
PSA: Don’t try this at home. It gets very messy. We were so sticky and gross after pouring melted sherbet on the white dress and shoes!
When my best friend told me she wanted to host a bridal shower for me I was so excited. Normally, I would design my own invitation, (because hello, that’s what I do) but with so many other wedding things going on, I forced myself to take a back seat on design and instead turned to Minted. I started by choosing an invitation design that I liked and my friends and mom went above and beyond with all the other details. My new last name is going to be White so my mom even made me custom “Mrs. White Wine” labels, how cute and clever! I’ll let the photos do the talking but everything was amazing, the decor, the food, the games, the company. This shower was so special to me, I’m a very lucky lady!
- Floral Canopy Bridal Shower Invitations
- Foil-pressed Table Confetti
- Foil-Pressed Table Runners
- Wanderlust Food Labels
- Paper Straws
Floral Canopy Bridal Shower Invitations, Foil-pressed Table Confetti, Foil-Pressed Table Runners, Wanderlust Food Labels and Paper Straws courtesy of Minted. Wine labels, signage and other decor courtesy of Graffiti Graphics and Crescent City Graphics.
Kelsey came to me looking for a chic, sophisticated and bold look to represent her high-end event company on Martha’s Vineyard. She wanted her brand identity to showcase what makes her company special, which is her deep dedication to each of her clients and a commitment to execute each event as if it was her own. Kelsey has strong community ties and a drive to make each event completely unique with very meaningful and personal touches.
After I collected inspiration on Pinterest, we moved on to finalizing the color palette and designing the main logo along with a few variations for different applications. As you can see from the moodboard we decided to go with a neutral color palette so that it leaves room for growth when the company starts to expand.
If you need a new logo, brand identity or a refresh for your business I only have ONE space left for this year and then I’ll begin booking for 2016.
I’ve got some fun news today! Remember these DIY Geometric Coasters that I created a while back? Well, now you can grab all of the supplies, templates and instructions right from my Darby Smart shop and get them sent straight to your door! And more great news, I’m offering this kit for 25% off for the next 7 days, just use code “npucuc25” at check out.
When you are ready to start a new project, it is easy to get swept up in the excitement and reach out to a designer right away. Whether it is a new business that needs a logo and branding or even a new e-book or e-course offering that needs an identity, it is imperative that you take a moment to get organized and prepare before reaching out.
Here are five things you should be sure to do before hiring a graphic designer:
1. Know the mission of your business and understand the target audience
You may have a stellar idea, but until you have a deeper understanding of why you exist, who you are trying to reach, and what those people are like, it will be difficult for your designer to create a brand that accurately represents that. If you try to have your brand identity designed before you truly know what you are offering and who you want to reach, you might run into the trouble of going through a redesign shortly thereafter.
2. Have a list of all the places your new design might be used (both now and in the future!)
You want to have a logo, color palette, and system that will make sense in the ways you want to use them and will suit your future goals. Perhaps you run a food blog but have a goal to have a product line in Target someday – your designer needs to know that your logo could be used this way! Not only will it help build an expansion-proof design, but it will also help you visualize where you see your business going.
3. Determine your timeline
Do you have a date you want to launch a new website by? Do you need to go to print with business cards in time for a conference? Items like these are ones you need to think about before searching for a designer. Many are booked weeks or months in advance, so you may need to prepare to wait for an open slot or decide that you need to find someone who can work with you right away. Also, know that good design takes time to develop, so don’t be looking for someone to design an entire e-commerce website in just a few days – that’s simply not feasible if you want quality.
4. Prepare all of your content before the start date
It makes a world of a difference when a designer can see what your photos and copy are before beginning the process. For example, it’s pretty hard to design a logo if you haven’t settled on a final business name. Or, it is much easier to design a website when you can see the personality and colors of the photos that will be on the site. Above all, it is much more respectful of everyone’s time if you are ready to go when the project begins rather than asking everyone involved to wait around while you finish writing your web copy.
5. Look at a designer’s portfolio before hiring him/her
This might sound like a no-brainer, but very often we look to friends or colleagues for a recommendation and go with that person without seeing if the designer is a good fit for you first. Someone might be fantastic at designing feminine and bohemian brands, but if you want something modern and sleek, you’ll never be on the same page. It’s just like dating – someone may be a wonderful person, but if you two don’t click in style, it won’t be as successful. Along these same lines, have a grasp on the styles, colors, and aesthetics you do like, using other sites or brands as examples. You don’t want to copy anyone of course, but this will help guide to the type of style you are seeking.
You don’t have to have all the answers when you approach a designer – that’s why you are choosing to hire one. But, it’s your job to understand the part you are bringing to the table: your business. Don’t be afraid to ask your designer questions, and together you can create design that benefits your business in spades!
Download the Free Worksheet!
Download this free worksheet to help you plan your project and get the most out of you time with your designer.
Jenny came to me after seeing my safari themed baby shower invitation on Etsy. Shed loved the look but needed it customized for her son’s first birthday party. She also needed some matching items, like signage and labels for party favors. Jenny had so many great ideas for the party, and well deserved, it was just featured on Hostess with the Mostess! I’m so happy to have played a small part in making Jenny’s dream party for her son a reality. Here are a few details of items I worked on and you can see the full feature over on Hostess with the Mostess today!
Photos by: Dowoo Lee
Running a blog can be a lot of hard work, so today I’m sharing my favorite WordPress tools and plugins to help improve your site and simplify your life!
This is the easiest way to get more shares for your content! This free plugin allows you to easily create tweetable snippets for your readers right from WordPress. Whoever clicks on the link will have the message automatically added to their Twitter status box. This makes it easy for people to share your content and grow your traffic.
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. It’s well-coded and well-supported. The Genesis framework uses child themes so you can update without losing your customizations. It’s inexpensive with tons of possibilities and dedicated plugins. It comes with built-in features like multiple layouts, custom body post classes for each post, breadcrumbs and numeric navigation. Unlike other theme companies, StudioPress’s Pro-Plus Package is a one-time fee for life-time membership. You’ll get every theme they make, now and in the future.
I know I’ve mentioned CoSchedule here before, but it is one of my favorites and worth mentioning again. CoSchedule is a drag-and-drop editorial calendar for WordPress. With it, you can schedule blog posts and automatically send messages to your social. You can use this plugin to view the posts you have published for the month, posts that are in the works, and the posts that you have planned. My favorite part is that you view your content and social media schedule all on the same calendar.
Ever wish the visual editor in WordPress offered more options? Well, this plugin is for you! It will let you add, remove and arrange the buttons that are shown on the visual editor toolbar. It includes 15 plugins for TinyMCE that are automatically enabled or disabled depending on what buttons are chosen. I’ve had this one installed for so long I can’t even remember what the original Tiny MCE looks like.
If you’ve been blogging for a while, I bet you have tons of broken links in old posts. Dead hyperlinks are not just annoying to your website visitors – their existence can result in a negative impact on your website’s SEO rankings. This plugin will monitor your site (blog posts, pages, comments, etc.) looking for broken links and let you know if any are found.
Google Analytics Dashboard gives you the ability to view your Google Analytics data right in your WordPress dashboard. Sure, you can open up Google Analytics every time you want to look at your stats, but if you just want a quick glance, this plugin is certainly convenient. You can also allow other users to see the same dashboard information when they are logged in.
Optimized WordPress is a new hosting platform from HostGator that is specifically built for an optimized WordPress environment. Packages will come pre-loaded with PHP 5.6 by default (the most recent PHP version offered). HostGator will handle all of the core, theme, and plugin updates without the need for any action on your part. In other words, you won’t have to worry about logging into your WP-Admin panel to handle common updates. Additionally, Optimized WordPress does not provide cPanel access, allowing you to install and access your WordPress sites without needing to access or navigate an extra control panel to do the things you want to do.
I hope these resources enable you to simplify your processes and improve your site!
Thank you HostGator for sponsoring this post and thank you for supporting this blog by allowing me to post occasional sponsored content. All sponsored posts feature products or services that I truly feel would be of interest to you. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Happy summer! The heat is sweltering, per usual, and all I want to do is take a dip in a pool with a nice, big margarita. Lucky for me, after we shot this, I got to keep the big kiddy pool we bought—so that’s where I’ll be the rest of the summer.
The inspiration from this shoot came from the Solange’s Instagram. I loved the colored water and wanted to incorporate it into a more urban glam shoot.
I always need to have a hint of vintage in everything I do. Time Warp provided the awesome 60’s polka dot bottoms and french floral swim suit, as well as that killer Egyptian tank. I need that in my life, pronto.
We gave the ladies complimentary cocktails that matched their distinctive color schemes. Vanessa, our pink lady, and Sydney, our tropical warm-hued goddess. I loved the way these two different themes looked next to each other.
You can try this at home, too. Just buy food coloring and mix the primary colors until you have a shade you want to splash in!