Dreamer 2 Creator Business Magazine Issue 10

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PUTTING TOGETHER THE

PUTTING PURPOSE IN SWATCHES & STROKES PSYCHOLOGY OF DESIGN

PUZZLE PIECES OF A WEBSITE HOW TO CREATE A

TIMELESS VISUAL BRAND 7 TIPS TO DESIGN YOUR WEBSITE FOR CONVERSION VS. TRAFFIC

aligning design with your audience & your personality with Noel Cunningham

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AN UNCONVENTIONAL PATH TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP

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EDITORIAL K A R E N M. LOWE Executive Editor F R A N C I N E GREY Creative Editor K I M BL EY LOWE-B EN N ETT Editor N I C O L E LOWE Editor

6 HOW TO CREATE A TIMELESS VISUAL BRAND FOR YOUR BUSINESS by Svetlana Tryaskina

14 FINDING YOUR ‘AH-HA’ DESIGN MOMENT by Luma Qusus Awad


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RESOURCES

TABLE OF CONTENTS Page 10 PUTTING PURPOSE IN SWATCHES & STROKES Psychology of Design

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by Abigail Regucera & Candice Rozario

PHOTOGRAPHY & BRAND YOU

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by Michelle Elliot

PUZZLE PIECES OF A WEBSITE by Rachel Panasiuk

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Page 30 7 TIPS TO DESIGN YOUR WEBSITE FOR CONVERSION VS. TRAFFIC

5 TIPS FOR WRITING ENGAGING BLOG CONTENT

by Carli Parkinson

by Michelle Joseph

Page 42

40 PODCASTING: a Powerful Business Tool by Marsha Vanwynsberghe

UNDERSTANDING WEBSITE TRAFFIC & MAKING THE MOST OF IT by Karen M. Lowe


editor’s note T

his month’s theme is design, and I am the least creative person I know (yes, you heard me correctly), so I am excited about this issue. First, how can a non-creative be the publisher of a magazine? I asked myself that very question when the idea for the magazine initially came to me. As a reminder, the magazine was a follow-on project from a book I wrote called From Dreamer to Creator: Reframing Deterrents in our Path. The book can be ordered on amazon. ca, .com, and any other country Amazon is accessible .

😊

It is not always simple to find the resources you lack, but in my case, I was able to partner with a very talented graphic designer, Francine Grey. I start with a template, then Francine does a lot of the heavy lifting. I do not always know the look and feel I want, but she is able to guide me to make it happen. The cover design for Issue 8 was impossible for me and took a lot of time and effort for her, but she gave me the most gorgeous cover ever. As the photos were all taken by different photographers, she needed to change shades and sometimes objects in the pictures to make them connect as one. Why the details? We sometimes discount ourselves or quit before we begin, when we lack skillset or expertise. But there are always ways to get what you want with the right strategy, people and resources. We may not realize it, but our business always has design at the front end of a startup, an area with which many of us struggle. Unfortunately, it is instrumental in getting our business noticed and so cannot be avoided. My experience shows that your weakness does not define you. How you navigate that perceived weakness is what sets us apart from other micro-entrepreneurs. Read each article in this issue to supplement your perceived weakness and strengthen your gifting if you are a creative. Stay Motivated!

KAR E N M . L O W E Executive Editor


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Copyright 2019 Dreamer 2 Creator Business Magazine.

ISSN 2562-5330 (Print) ISSN 2562-5349 (Online)

All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be copied, reprinted, displayed, edited or distributed without the written consent of Dreamer 2 Creator Magazine Inc. Dreamer 2 Creator Business Magazine is a Canadian Magazine, published and distributed by Dreamer 2 Creator Magazine Inc, located in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.


How To Create A

Timeless Visual Brand For Your Business My background is 100% creative. As a result, the creative process is critical to my brand identity.

But what is brand identity? It is a combination of a variety of things related to your business. From your company name and logo, to

the tone of all your communications and colours you use in the aesthetics of your images on your website - all these elements form your brand identity. They help to create a recognizable personality that people associate with your brand. The trick is creating a timeless visual brand with a recognizable foundation and adaptable elements that allow you to remain relevant.

Photo Credit: Victoria Malanowski

The Concept of Brand Identity Brand identity might be a complex concept to wrap your head around. But I like to think of it as an extension of who I am. As an interior designer, I am all about visuals. I cannot help it; it is in my nature. So I focused on creating a brand that shows my creativity and desire to make the world beautiful. When we surround ourselves with things that bring us joy, we instinctively share that joy with the world. It makes us kinder. These are fundamental concepts that reflect my values. So my interior designs focus on comfort, beauty, and creating a sense of cozy security for my clients. That is my unique value proposition (UVP). What is yours? Your goal is to tap into your UVP to help you create a visual connection with your audience. What are your values? When done right, your brand defines who you are with confidence, and your visuals become unmistakable to your audience.

Understand Your Audience Today, businesses are not just faceless corporations. People need to identify with the brands they use. That is why you need to consider your

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values to create a brand that resonates with your target audience. Ask yourself these questions: √ What elements of design are worthy of the audience’s attention? √ What will engage your audience in the most meaningful way? I consider the pain points of my ideal audience, how I can resolve those pain points and what visuals will deliver my message in a profound way. As a result, much of my brand identity is connected to visuals that show off my work. Aesthetics are crucial to my audience, and therefore to my brand. What is important to your clients? Become empathetic to their needs, and you are more likely to create a visual brand that is timeless and authentic.

“People need to identify with the brands they use. That’s why you need to consider your values to create a brand that resonates with your target audience.”

Timeless Visual Brand Essentials Everything you produce, from business cards, social media, your website to emails, should remain consistent with the same clarity of design that makes your brand recognizable. Likewise, your visual brand essentials are the consistent design elements that make your business unique. These include: Your logo: I wanted a truly unique logo, so I used my own handwriting instead of a font. I combined it with elegant, simple typography and voila, a logo was born.

Photo Credit: Mike Chajeski

Brand colours: Colours are tricky as they can trigger emotions. Orange exudes confidence; Yellow is optimistic; Red is high energy; Purple is imaginative; Blue is dependable. Green is eco-friendly and nurturing; While black and white are elegant and simple. I chose the simplicity of black and paired it with gold to enhance the feeling of elegance. Typography: Font trends come and go. The trick is to choose a font that is easy to read and goes well with your logo design. My font is a sans serif type that is easy to read yet projects a high-end feel. Consistency, authenticity and remaining true to your values ensure your brand essentials support a strong brand identity.

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Continue to Evolve Change is a natural process that allows us to evolve as we learn and experience new things. But how do you create a timeless visual brand that continues to be relevant to your audience and your changing business? It is possible to create a timeless concept that can exist in unison with simple refreshes that keep you relevant. This might include a font update, website revamp, subtle colour transitions, or a logo refresh that becomes more focused on your icon once you gain brand recognition. Change and timeless concepts can coexist together if you always remember to represent your true sensibilities. When you understand your values, all of your decisions are rooted in intention, so you will find your brand identity. About Svetlana Tryaskina: She is a Principal Designer and a founder of Toronto-based Estee Design Interiors, a boutique firm that creates unique, livable, and cozy spaces. A winner of multiple prestigious national and international awards. Svetlana’s approach to design is to embrace modern aesthetics mixed with tradition and ethnicity in creating one-of-a-kind spaces. Photo Credit: Mike Chajeski

By: SVETLANA TRYASKINA Founder/Owner of Estee Design Interiors Website: https://esteedesign.com/ Email: stryaskin@esteedesign.com Social: @esteedesigns


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Putting Purpose in Swatches & Strokes Psychology of Design

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s a designer, the colours, fonts, and shapes we choose to represent the brand influence the consumer choice, making our role in the design process start from conceptualization right to the checkout counter.

Today, I work full-time in marketing and run my own freelance design business. I see myself as a therapist for people who need human-centred design solutions. I have always been fascinated by the human mind and all things creative. We cannot predict what a viewer will conclude from a design, but we designers can ensure design psychology is used in our work. Consumers have split-second reactions to a design, which are either good or bad. As creators, we want the viewer to have a good response to the design. We can achieve this by understanding our target audience and overall strategy engaged with. Once we have this, we wade into the psychology of colours, shapes, and fonts.

Hacking the Hex

Photo Credit: JERONE REBELLO

Photo Credit: KAREN K. TRAN

Studies indicate that we shop with our eyes. Up to 85% of consumers choose a product because of its colour.

My relationship with colour began when I was eight. We moved into a house, and I got my very own room. Imagine my excitement about getting to choose how I wanted to paint and decorate it! My mom and I compromised on our ideas, and I had a half pink and half blue room. It impressed me then, but not as I got older. That was my first ever lesson in design—design should be timeless.

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People reach subconscious decisions about a brand - the catalyst being the colour of a logo. How many times have you remembered a brand by its logo’s colour rather than its name? While it is imperative to acknowledge that colours have subjective meanings specific to a particular culture, colours have universal meaning. Know colour associations like your ABCs; if you understand what a colour, shape, and font imply psychologically, you can stop short of sifting through different hex and pantone codes, wondering which to finalize or simply ‘looks good.’

Shades, Tints, and Tones Once the colours are chosen with purpose, play around with shades, tints, and tones. When white is added to colour, it gets lighter and is called a tint. Contrarily, when black is added, thus making the colour appear darker, it is known as a shade. When grey is added to the colour, it is referred to as a tone. Like love, colour does not need language as its medium. The meaning is in its being. But sometimes, that meaning can be two-fold. For instance, blue can mean security and calmness to one person, but it could suggest coldness to another. Adding shades, tones, and tints can influence precisely what these colours make the viewer feel.

Figuring Out Fonts Fonts too evoke specific emotional responses but are the most overlooked component of design. The implications range from rounded fonts being softer and mild to sharp-angled fonts being assertive and every other emotion in between. Fonts should not conflict with the contextual feeling that colour and design should imply. With half a million fonts out there, it can be challenging to find the perfect one. The process of researching fonts should begin as early as strategizing the design. There are many resources online to find new fonts. Stapling on a font to a design without much thought can undo the hours of work invested in creating the design. To create purpose in every swatch and stroke, analyze every design, logo, font, and movie poster you come across. Remember, as designers, we do not just design; we create a timeless visual personality that stays in the customer’s mind, whether they are 8 or 80.

Shaping It Up Like colours, shapes have an influence on our minds. Throw a bunch of random shapes together, and the human mind makes a connection between them. Shapes, and their arrangement, illustrate a personality. A logo’s big and bold shapes give a sense of openness, while small and sleek shapes point at exclusivity. For example, straight lines imply stability. Ever seen a construction company’s logo have thin lines? If you have, chances are you did not use their services. Sometimes, you can use a specific shape and offset its meaning with a pastel shade, for instance, toning down a triangle’s sharpness by placing it on a pastelcoloured background.

By: ABIGAIL REGUCERA & CANDICE ROZARIO Website/Contact: https://abigailregucera.com/ Social: @abigaaailr

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DESIGN IS A FORMAL RESPONSE TO A STRATEGIC QUESTION.

MARIONA LOPEZ, BUSINESS OWNER


F IN D IN G YO U R ‘A H-HA’ D E SIGN M OM E N T

Photo Credit: RENATA POLLOCK STUDIO

Many ideas cross our thoughts each day, but how many of these ideas make it into an actual product? If you are an entrepreneur, a business owner or a creative, you must find your way of keeping your clients excitedly anticipating what comes next.

My name is Luma, and I am the founder of Inamullumani Jewelry. I have been creating jewelry for over 15 years. My journey was not easy as I had no idea how to run a business or turn my ideas into products; I was simply an artist who loved to create. However, with lots of trial and error, failure and success, I managed to navigate my way through the industry.

As a creative, you need space to let your mind wander until you find that Ha-Ha moment. And when you have found enough Ha-Ha moments, you can find yourself in a state of what they call “flow.” Perhaps that’s a story for another time. Having a sketchbook next to you is always a good idea to keep your ideas documented. While we tend to draw most of our inspiration from the digital nowadays, magazines can be a fabulous source. I am a big proponent of vision boards, the vintage Pinterest. Putting all the images and ideas, you find in magazines on one sheet will help you get a clearer picture of your design vision. Once you have your selected theme(s) on paper, start asking these questions: What gap or need am I satisfying? Who will this serve? In what way will it improve the life of my client? In other words, what is your value proposition for this product? This will give you a clearer vision as you begin designing your product or service. After getting some of your questions answered in this phase, you can start sketching out your idea. Your sketch does not have to be perfect at this point; you are simply translating your vision into a drawing or an illustration. My advice is to sketch out as many designs as possible and zoom into the details of the design. Once you are happy with the concept, pick a few - up to three sketches - and identify what you like most in each. Now, find a way to integrate the specified features in your design of the final product. This is the time to put on your creative hat and refine your design.

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Depending on your industry, you can create a prototype for your product. This could be handmade or using 3D printing, anything that can bring you closer to visualizing your design. There are many inexpensive 3D printers you can buy and apps that can help you in this phase of design. Your prototype does not have to be fancy; that is why it is often called your “minimum viable product.” What is the least amount of effort, material and design you need to put in to satisfy the original need of your client? Once you have mastered this, the rest is all value-added. This is important to help you prioritize which elements of your design are indispensable, and which are simply additions. When shaved down to its simplest form – what is your product? What does it look like? What purpose does it serve? In this stage, consulting your team or a close circle of friends is invaluable.

Start small and simple, do not overwhelm yourself with many features or details. If you have a product, you do not produce yourself, order minimum units if possible. If it is your own, work on building an MVP (minimum viable product). Remember, this first iteration of your design will be your first exposure to real market insight, and there is bound to be lots of trial and error. In every failure and success, there is a lesson learnt. So, use this knowledge and experience as a gateway to creating more products that will take your business to the next level.

Have them interact with your product and use their feedback to pivot your design, to take you to the final step. Once you are happy with the design and have sourced your material and all that is needed for production, it is now ready to be brought to life.

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By: LUMA QUSUS AWAD Founder of Inamullumani Jewelry Website: https://www.inamullumani.com/ Social: @ inamullumani

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Puzzle Pieces of a Website

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he thought of creating a website can be overwhelming. Maybe you are considering hiring a designer, or you are diving into a DIY website, either way, you are wondering where to begin.

Before you start searching the realms of Instagram and Google to track down a designer, or the best howto articles, let us consider the pieces of your website puzzle you should have locked down before you begin.

PURPOSE

Photo Credit: Mark Eadie

It is wildly important to have a website (more now than ever.) But a website without purpose falls flat. So, before we start gathering the rest of our puzzle pieces, let us think about WHY your website is going to exist. Do you have a product to sell? Great. You are going to need eCommerce functionalities. Are you promoting a service? Ok, maybe you need a scheduling tool. Is this an information-only website? Not a problem; you can really focus on your branding to be clear on WHY you exist. Not only is understanding your website’s purpose essential for functionality, but the purpose will also dictate what your calls to action will be throughout your site. PLUS, it will make mapping out your pages and navigation so much easier!

BRANDING Visual branding is one of the most integral pillars of the design of your website. Without a whiff of branding, there is no backbone or guiding force to the design. So what is visual branding? √ Your colour palette √ Logo & logo variations √ Watermarks √ Typography √ Illustrations/graphics √ Imagery

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their life will be better with you in it. It also helps to give you and your brand a voice. Depending on the website design route you are taking, you may hire a copywriter or write the copy yourself. I provide my clients with writing prompts, because more often than not, they ARE their brand and their business, and so it is important that their tone comes across in their copy.

Of course, some things ARE NOT part of your visual brand, like your mission statement or core values. But yes - those are also part of your brand.

PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY While it is not IMPOSSIBLE to create a website using selfies from your iPhone, I do not recommend it. Whether we like to admit it or not, we humans are judgmental creatures. So, hear me out - if you are on the hunt for a service or product and you go to a website that has lacklustre low-resolution photos, chances are, you are not going to take that business very seriously.

Now, remember I said that it is wildly important to have a website? So let us chat about why good website design should be at the top of your priority list. √ It gives you credibility. If you do not have a website, how do you exist to those beyond your network? √ A Stanford study revealed an incredible 75% of users judge a company’s credibility based on website design. √ Most people do not want to DM or call you. Instead, they want to visit your website. They want to check out the waters before they commit to scheduling a discovery call or purchasing a product. √ If you DO sell products, eCommerce is the way of the future, thanks to the pandemic. √ A website allows your business to be ‘open 24/7. (This bodes well for all of us 2 a.m. online shoppers.) √ A good website will work FOR you, alleviating some stress off your shoulders. √ Your website ultimately equates to REVENUE... that is money in your pocket...should I go on? Let us take the concept of being overwhelmed out of website design, so you can launch your big, audacious dreams into the world where they belong.

Professional photos enhance the visual appeal of your website and show your viewers you mean business and that they should take you seriously.

WRITTEN COPY The written content on your website is just as important as the visual aid of photography. This is where you get to tell your potential clients who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Your copy tells your viewers how

By: RACHEL PANASIUK Founder of RachelDyanWebdesign Website/Contact: https://www.racheldyan.ca/ Social: @rachel.dyan.webdesign

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1. The One-Page Business Plan 2. Financial Projection Plan 3. Product/Service Differentiation 4. "New" Product/Service Development 5. Portfolio Development 6. Marketing and selling of the final/new verver sion of your product or service

1. Realize Your Dream 2. Make Money 3. Create a Profitable Product or Service 4. Define and Attain a Successful Business 5. Customer and Client Awareness – Having clients who understand the quality and value of your product or service 6. New Differentiated Product and Service

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Noel Cunningham

Aligning Design with Your Audience & Your Personality Tell me about yourself and your business. My name is Noel Cunningham, and my company is Cuisine by Noel. It is a full-service food catering company and restaurant that specializes in providing our clients with an exquisite culinary experience. My style of cooking is a fusion of inventive interpretations and modern creations - inventive because it gives me creative freedom to use my experience and style to create dishes and experiences. I build on authentic cuisines from different cultures, like Caribbean and Italian, and mix them with my style. I was cooking and baking simultaneously. I thought about pursuing a career as a pastry chef. I loved baking and wanted to improve my decorating skills. However, the industry quickly recognized me for my culinary skills. During the pandemic, I allotted more time to baking and developing my decorating finesse. Baking has become a significant component of my business, as you will see noted on my social media pages. What led you to this career? I had a lot of curiosity about food. I grew up with my mom and aunt, who spent a lot of time in the kitchen. As I watched them, I would ask a lot of questions. Eventually, I got an opportunity to cook. My aunt recognized my passion in the kitchen and motivated me to investigate the field further. She introduced me to the Food Network. I realized that there are many options within the industry other than being a chef, such as a cookbook author, a food presenter, a food critique; there are a large array of options. I studied the culinary arts in high school. I was rewarded twice for my top performance. I have been

cooking since I was 12 years old and have worked professionally for over 12 years. I trained at the Runaway Bay Heart Hotel and the Training Institute in Jamaica.

My style of cooking is a fusion of inventive interpretations and modern creations - inventive because it gives me creative freedom to use my experience and style to create dishes and experiences.

Do you think professional training is necessary to excel in the industry? It is, although many people do not believe that. Some people believe that it is a gift you were born with, but you need to be certified and acquire knowledge like any other profession. There are aspects of the role instructors will teach in a school that cannot be taught on the job. We all want to go to an accredited lawyer and a certified doctor. A chef should honour the profession by attaining a plethora of education. There is many layers to cooking. You have completed professional studying. Have you done any market research or training on how to design your business? As a Jamaican and a chef, there were expectations

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Photo Credit: Josh Pereira DRE A M E R 2 C RE A T OR B U S I N E S S M A GA ZI N E

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Photo Credit: Josh Pereira

on the branding. Jamaicans like red, green, goldgenerally loud colours. There are specific fonts that are better received. Also, chefs like to use images like forks and knives. When I created my logo, I wanted something that uniquely speaks to my business-a catering company that provides an exquisite culinary experience. The big font and loud colours did not represent my vision. I studied other chefs, especially Food Network stars. They sparked my creativity, and I implemented aspects into my design. I did not do formal research. I will post something on social media to get some feedback and make adjustments as I move forward. What do you think is the difference between design and style? Style is more about the aesthetic, how the public accepts it. Design is the function, how it is utilized. For example, I have a jerk marinade; this is the style. However, the jerk marinade is not limited to grilling jerk chicken; it can be used in many different ways, representing the design.

Regarding product packaging, the design is more about layout and functionality, with the customer’s experience in mind. The style has to do with the font that is used and the placement of the label. Design for branding and product should be based on a consensus of your target markets. How does one separate their personal taste from the most recommended design for their branding products? It is always about the customers, and business owners should always hear them. That is a must. I believe we are in a time where people like a personal touch and a unique story. When doing business, I think you should allow your professional side to shine more than your personal. For example, if I am doing a logo, I will ask two or three people their opinions on it to see if we are on the same path. Choosing unbiased people will offer the most significant benefit. I think you should allow your personality to shine in your business. Your character will dictate your market. Once the market is established, use your clients to determine future changes in design and style.

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I grew up with my mom and aunt, who spent a lot of time in the kitchen. As I watched them, I would ask a lot of questions. How do cultures influence design? It is based on experience and development from childhood. Many Jamaican businesses use loud colours and bold fonts. In Canada, the design and style are more simple. Canadians use more icons for logos or branding. What you are accustomed to seeing will have an impact on what someone thinks looks good. We are all influenced by culture, but it is good to break away from the culture sometimes. When I designed

my book, someone asked, where is the Jamaican flag? As a Jamaican, you are expected to have the flag on the book and other Jamaican emblems. Canadians do not need that. Does design, including colours, text and overall appearance, come easy to you. No, because I am very picky. I strive for perfection. After some time, developing pieces for the brand becomes easier. For example, my favourite colour is blue. When I was starting my business, I never had a brand colour. I was going with the flow of our business. After some time, I realized that the colour orange, specifically burnt orange, was showing up around me, and I connected with it. It became the brand colour. Sometimes the creating and developing process, it is not easy. I want to sleep on it, think on it a little more, and look at it repeatedly.

Give me an example of when you found success and experienced failure in your design experience. When I was starting, I had several logos that I just never used. I asked a person to design for me, but I was not happy with the result. Also, I produced a semi-jerk marinade. Initially, the label had my picture on it, with the burnt orange colour palette. When I was preparing to enter the Canadian market, specific rules had to be addressed. I had to consider font size, borders and accommodate the label in both English and French. The re-editing of the label proved successful. Photo Credit: Josh Pereira DRE A M E R 2 C R E A T O R B USI N ESS M A GAZ I N E

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You have an audience in Canada and an audience in Jamaica. Do you have different designs for each audience, or do you use one design for both? I have one that covers both. Maintaining a consistent brand also allows me the opportunity to grow. I do not want to be limited to the Jamaican audience. I want to be accessible to both Jamaicans and Canadians. I can fuse both because of the food. It is diverse, and people love diversity. Often, once you show them what you are doing, they support you.

What type of professionals or talents have you integrated into your business to help you with its design? Find a PR representative. Find an excellent graphic designer and stick with them. They both have great insight into style and design and knowledge of best practices for presenting your product or service. A marketer will help to give insight on where and how to make people know about your product or service. In terms of your products, do you create the design on your own? I am a very visual person, and as a chef, I am also creative. I often have a design in my head and know how I want it to look. For example, the graphics artist who designed my book was in awe of the details of my layout plan. I did art and crafts in school, and culinary arts gives me a creative outlet.

Photo Credit: Josh Pereira

We have lots of entrepreneurs who are not creatives. How do you, as an entrepreneur, develop an eye for design? Research, use YouTube. Allow yourself to feel the rhythm and beat of what you do; spark your emotions, and partner with creatives. Find ways to train your creative eye. Ask questions.

Are fads good or bad? Should they be implemented into your business content? Yes, they are good and have a purpose. It keeps you relevant and gives you a new audience who never knew you before. However, trends do not last; fads do not last. They are just for a while. Businesses should tap into that moment and seize that moment as well. For example, what changes can be implemented to reflect the hype of the Olympic Games? What can a company do to capture the interest of the influx of vegans or those eating a keto diet? You have to stay relevant and reinvent yourself to maintain your customers because every industry is fast-paced. To stay relevant, I use social media insights. We can see what time of day my audience is on and what type of picture my audience likes. You have to also get insights from people, ask your followers what they want to see. However, you cannot please everyone. And that is where I think a lot of business people go wrong. Find your market, find your niche and stick to it. When should a design idea be abandoned? If it does not speak to you, if it does not speak to your core values, if it does not speak to your business

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What design elements did you develop specifically for your online presence? I established an online personality. When you engage my website, you will see my current style. I say current because I outgrew my previous website; it no longer served me or represented me. I went without a website for a long time, during which I researched other websites and spoke with members of my target market. My audience wanted recipes. I like simple, clean and straightforward designs. When you go to my website, you see my logo, which identifies the site as mine. My clients will acknowledge the consistency of my branding. Everything should align; your Instagram, your Facebook, your website, and also your personality.

Photo Credit: Josh Pereira

mission statement, if it does not speak to your target audience, then it should be abandoned. Alignment is essential in business. How do you know whether a design speaks to your mission statement or your brand? I trust my gut feeling to let me know that a design works. Sometimes my network will like a design, but I disregard it because I could not connect with the piece. Personality plays a role. Some people might weigh the opinion of others more than their own; they will go along with outside influences without having a personal bond of their own. With business owners being different, the process can be unique for each person. For example, utilizing social media, a person writing a book may post ideas or create a poll to garner feedback about what they should write. I offer material, products and services based on what I want to extend. Be prepared that things may not always go as planned. There is often an element of trial and error.

Has a customer ever asked you to conceptualize a design for a cake, dish or menu that you did not like? How do you deal with it? Yes, customers ask for stuff I did not think would match their event. I will politely make suggestions from my professional point of view, explaining what changes should be made and why. I recognize that my clients are not culinary artists, so they would be unaware of what flavours will best compliment each other. I also have to protect my brand. If my client and I cannot agree, I will respectfully have to decline. Thankfully, that has never happened. My clients understand the necessary changes, and we adapt as needed.

To stay relevant, I use social media insights. We can see what time of day my audience is on and what type of picture my audience likes. How do you design a plate for service? How do you determine the arrangement of items on the plate? There are lots of components that influenced that. One is culture. Oriental cuisine tends to like the meat on top

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of rice, in a bowl with fresh scallion. Jamaicans love rice as well, but they also like larger portions without drizzles and foams. As chefs, an empty plate is a blank canvas. We have an opportunity to shine. Lastly, there are tips that I have learned over the past years that have proven successful in creating an appetizinglooking plate. What is inventive cuisine versus modern cuisine? In terms of food, every year we have different trends. Vegan diets are a modern trend. Yet, Jamaica has had ital food (Jamaican vegan dishes) for generations, but the culture did not recognize it or modernize it until now. Vegan is the modernized version. Inventive interpretation is blending different concepts. I did not invent the fried chicken, nor did I create the jerk, but I invented a fried jerk chicken; putting them together is an inventive interpretation.

Photo Credit: Josh Pereira

Leaving high school, I thought of becoming a teacher, but I could not afford a teacher’s college. As mentioned before, I also had a passion for cooking. Runaway Bay Heart is a prestigious college for cooking, so I decided to go there. While I was at Heart Academy, I got on-the-job work experience at the Runaway Bay Hotel. So I was gaining knowledge and experience simultaneously. It was a well-rounded curriculum. We had courses in tourism, environmental studies, Spanish, French, German, English, Maths, and more. The program develops students in areas of study like culinary, sewing, textile, or plumbing. We have made mention of your book several times. What is it called, and where do we find it for purchase? Cuisine by Noel; it is the same name as the restaurant and catering company. It is on amazon.ca and .com., as well as on my website, cuisinebynoel.com. My restaurant is located at 300 College Street, Toronto. We also offer catering services, restaurant consultancy and cooking classes and demos.

Photo Credit: Josh Pereira

Talk to me about Heart Academy in Jamaica. Heart Trust Academy is an organization in Jamaica that train skillful individuals who lack the financial means to go to university. Through the program, they are certified to work with several skills. It is my proudest achievement.

Website/Contact: https://cuisinebynoel.com/ Social: @iamchefnoel

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Rehoboth Electrical Services Inc

OUR TEAM IS READY TO SERVE YOU CONTACT US TODAY [289] 401-9742 Rehoboth Electrical Services INC. is an electrical contracting firm that values efficiency, quality and customer satisfaction. Our electricians can install anything from new security lighting for your outdoors to a whole home generator that will keep your appliances working during a power outage.

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7 Tips to Design Your Website for Conversion vs. Traffic

I

Photo Credit: SABRINA DOMIZE

s your website designed with conversion in mind, or is it designed just for the purpose of traffic? Getting traffic to your website is a great start but not so great if it does not convert into customers or clients. Optimizing the design of your website can have a considerable impact on how much traffic converts into business and an overall positive user experience.

Photo Credit:

MEEPhotography

When designing your website for conversion, you should always keep your customers and target audience in mind. The purpose of websites is to help you sell a product or service and connect with your customers, but if your website visitors do not have a good experience, they will likely leave the website and not make a purchase or inquiry. Therefore, you need to be clear on your target audience, what the most important elements are on each page of your website, and how to make the website experience better for your visitors. When you are clear on those things, you can get into how your website should function, how it will be used and how it should be designed to maximize your results.

KEY ELEMENTS YOU NEED TO DESIGN A WEBSITE THAT CONVERTS: DESIGN AND FUNCTION Most people start designing a website based on how they want it to look first, but you need to think about how your website will be used, then how it will look. An aesthetically pleasing website is important, but having a well-functioning and easy-to-use website is also a significant factor in whether someone stays on your page or leaves to go to a competitor’s website. Your website should be clear, easy to navigate and

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have obvious call to actions, so your website visitors know what the next step is. MOBILE RESPONSIVE Design your website with responsive design to adapt to whatever device a visitor uses and is mobile-friendly. When you have a responsive design, your website supports mobile users and provides a better experience for them. It is vital that you make sure the fonts you use are large enough to read on mobile, the buttons are big enough to click with a thumb, and that you have links on phone numbers and email addresses so if someone clicks them, it takes them directly to phoning or emailing you.

Most people start designing a website based on how they want it to look first, but you need to think about how your website will be used, then how it will look.

SIMPLE NAVIGATION When someone cannot find information quickly, they get frustrated and are less likely to stay on your website. If your navigation is hard to use or hard to find, it could be the cause of your website’s low conversion rate. Focus on designing simple, organized navigation so your website visitors can clearly see where everything is located without having to search for it.

CALL TO ACTIONS (CTA) These guide your website visitors, so they know what to do next. Whether that is “buy now” or “sign up here,” your visitors need and want to know what the next step is. Make the CTA buttons pop on your website, so they are easy to see with a colour or style that stands out from the rest of your website. CONTENT The information you put on your website plays a massive role in the type of traffic that goes to your website and whether or not it converts to an inquiry or purchase. It needs to be written for your target audience to draw the real customers in and educate them about what you offer. Your content needs to have relevant information to what you are offering to build brand awareness, keep their interest and make them want to take action to make a purchase/ inquiry or become a client. It is vital that you do keyword research and ensure you have the proper heading tags on the keywords you use on your website so that Google and other search engines can find them. Make sure the title tags, descriptions and images’ alt texts describe your services or products for those search engines.

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CLEAR STEPS Include a section on your website that identifies what the steps are to hiring you or buying your product. This can be short and sweet but identifying your process is a great way to be clear with your website visitors and ensure they know how it works and what they can expect.

When all of the elements above are correctly done with your target audience in mind, your website will work for you by drawing quality traffic in and converting them into buyers or clients.

EASY CONTACT FORMS Ensure that your contact form is easy to find and not complicated. A contact footer at the bottom of every page with a navigation link directed there is a great way to do that. Another option is to have a contact page if your form requires more information than the basics. Always include your email address and business phone number near your contact form, so your website visitors have options of how to contact you.

By: CARLI PARKINSON Founder of Elevation Branding Website: https://www.elevationbranding.com/ Email: levelup@elevationbranding.com Social:@elevationbranding

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“DESIGN ADDS VALUE FASTER THAN IT ADDS COST.” Joel SPolsky, creator of Trello

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PHOTOGRAPHY & BRAND YOU

Photo Credit:

MEEPhotography

To begin, step out of the tightly packed box of cleanbackdropped, folded-arm headshots and explore the area of personal branding sessions. Attracting your ideal client with personalized and exclusive insight into what you do and how you do it will provide a more authentic brand experience than a generic headshot alone. Thinking outside the “headshot box” leaves space to creatively tell the story of your business through “lifestyle,” “behind the scenes,” and “detail” images. Potential clients will feel part of the action, having insight into your creative process and method. You will position yourself as a professional in your area of expertise while potential clients and customers get a sense of you as a business owner.

A

rt is subjective. This we know to be true. Photography, arguably one of the most predominant artistic genres (especially in the world of social media and online selling), has the ability to attract and maintain your target market within seconds. But what makes an image stand out in a world of carefully curated newsfeeds and websites? How do you create imagery that draws potential clients in, maintaining their engaged and curious attention?

What makes an image one with a lasting effect? There are a few touchpoints that stand out.

A solid first impression combined with consistency is crucial. Showcasing your brand or business in a clear, concise and professional manner will lay the groundwork for potential clients and customers wanting to know more about you. Moreover, maintaining that manner consistently will position your brand or business at the forefront among a market of similar businesses. Simply put, quality images will help to elevate your brand.

Creativity helps. Drawing on the environment around you, specifically a connection with a particular area (local landmarks), and wardrobe styling (area designers/makers) are excellent first steps for creating an impactful image. For example, if you are adventurous in nature, incorporate that into your choice of location, perhaps at a known lookout point, waterfall or trail. If you are a strong supporter

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within your local community, consider adding locally made pieces into the wardrobe selected for your session. Including unique and identifiable props is also a way to stand out. Small, though intentional choices in this respect will provide a subtle reminder of your brand or business to those who have similar interests.

Be yourself. Authentically showcasing yourself, your brand, or your business will stand out in a world full of glossed over, over-edited images by simply being yourself. When considering the location, wardrobe, and overall theme of your

are endless when it comes to brand imagery and personal branding sessions. Total customization of your session to accurately and authentically portray the story of your brand or business will allow you to tell the story of what you do, how you do it and why.

Quality over quantity is also paramount. Professional photography can be an expensive investment, though a critical one for your business or brand. Having even a small number of professional images can help you stand out among similar businesses. A recent study reported that 60% of the over 900 billion Instagram users had found services or products through the app. High-quality, creative images for your business or brand will put you ahead of those with similar offerings. A tip for staying within your budget is to spend time creating engaging and informational graphics to compliment your professionally taken images.

U

Photo Credit:

MEEPhotography

ltimately, a potential client’s opinion is based on their perception of your business. Much of that is out of your control; but, there are characteristics within your command. Through meaningful and impactful brand images, your tone rather than their perception can become the narrative of your brand.

session, be sure to remain true to yourself and your brand or business’ mission statement. Potential and ongoing clients will feel more comfortable if they are connecting with the authentic you, rather than an over-processed image. The possibilities

By: MICHELLE ELLIOT Founder of MEEPhotography Website/Contact: http://www.meephotography.ca/ Social: @meephotographylondon

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“DESIGN CREATES CULTURE. CULTURE SHAPES VALUES. VALUES DETERMINE THE FUTURE.”

ROBERT L. PETERS, DESIGNER & AUTHOR

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5 Tips For Writing Engaging Blog Content

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log writing can be fun. Yes, really! Though I am a bit biased as I have been blogging for over eight years, creating content for your business or pleasure can be simply fun.

true formula after consistently posting content and achieving great results. If you are looking to start a blog or improve an existing one, the following five tips can help you create engaging content in no time! Niche down First things first, you need to come up with a purpose for your blog. For example, is it for business, or is it a hobby? Once you have decided on the goal, you should focus on what you would like to write about. If your blog content is too general or focuses on various subjects, the reader may get confused. This may lead to them looking to other sources for the information that they seek. The easiest way to create a niche is to stick to one topic or write about a topic that you know very well. However, it does not mean that you only talk about one thing; you can also write about matters that relate to the identified subject. For example, if you are writing about your business, you can also write about trends in the industry, new technology, running a business during a pandemic, etc.

Through my almost decade-long blog writing experience, I have figured out what works and what does not. It has not been an easy process, in any case. One day your post can garner over a hundred views, and the next day you may not receive a single view. However, I have not deviated from my tried-and-

Create a clear picture Remember when you were in grade school, and you were learning how to write an essay? Do you recall when your teacher said, “Use the 5 Ws (what, where, who, when, and why)” as a guide to help you flesh out your essay? Believe me; your teacher was onto something. I like to throw in an “H”(how) in there as well. Ensuring that the content in your blog post answers all or most of the 5 Ws, will help you create a clear

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Be yourself Consistently coming up with content for your blog and creating your own voice can be daunting at times, but stick with it. It might seem easy to “borrow” the style of other bloggers, but I do not suggest that. Your audience visits your site because of your voice, your opinion, and your expertise. Be patient and true to yourself.

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picture for the reader. But, more importantly, your reader will not end up feeling confused and disappointed. Keep it simple True, I just wrote that you should include as much information as possible to create straightforward communication, but you do not want to overdo it with complicated language. Even though you may have a Ph.D. in linguistics, use words that are comprehensible to the reader. You do not want to irritate or go over the reader’s head.

Use visuals Pictures can emphasize your point. Likewise, you can use photos, videos, infographics, or even memes to reinforce a point or add humour to your post. I hope that these pointers help you to create clear and entertaining blog posts.

Blogs are not typically considered “formal communication” (unlike newspapers or a thesis); so, feel free to use slang or casual language. Not too casual, though, as you still want to be seen as a trustworthy source. Less is more In a world where the average attention span is getting shorter and shorter (You can thank Tik Tok for that!), concise posts that get to the point quickly get the most attention. As a writer, I can admit that I can be a bit flowery at times. However, I am fully aware that longer posts get less views. So if you want your audience to read your post in its entirety, give them the info quickly. An average blog post is anywhere from 500 – 1500 words.

By: MICHELLE JOSEPH Founder of Words With Michelle (Copy Writer & Podcaster) Website:https://wordswithmichelle.com/ Social: @wordswmichelle

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PODCASTING:

A POWERFUL BUSINESS TOOL

Photo Credit: Hilary Gauld Camilleri

start a podcast platform to share other’s vulnerable stories. I felt the more we could share our difficult stories; we could begin to normalize the things we do not typically want to talk about in society. I was inspired to share stories of people who had overcome their circumstances and were dedicated to sharing how they used their lessons to pay it forward to others. So, I committed to messy action and just started. Looking back, there are many things I would do differently. Yet, I am grateful for the learning experience and the incredible people podcasting brought into my life. In 2017, my podcast, Own Your Choices Own Your Life, was created, and we have recorded well into 260 episodes streaming all over the world. In 2021, I launched my second podcast as a co-host called, Every Body Holds a Story. I believe it is a powerful tool that everyone can add to their business.

Here are four tips for using a podcast as a business tool.

1

Have you ever dreamed of starting a podcast? In this period of rapid growth for online businesses, many entrepreneurs are joining the podcasting industry to grow their businesses. Podcasting is a powerful form of communication and an excellent opportunity to share your message and network with other entrepreneurs. Four years ago, I had a vision of starting a podcast. Honestly, I did not have a clue where to start. I was in the process of finalizing and launching my book, “When She Stopped Asking Why,” and I felt called to

It starts with branding. What is your business about? What solutions or results does it provide for others, and how can your messaging be clear and unique to your business. I decided on the title, Own Your Choices Own Your Life because the words ownership and choice literally changed my life and completely describe my journey. Think of your podcast as an umbrella and make sure it encompasses all potential aspects of your business. Branding is also essential when you are looking for guests for your podcast. Have people fill out a google form, look up potential guests and make sure their message and delivery are on-brand for your show. Every single episode represents the branding for your business.

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2

Photo Credit: Hilary Gauld Camilleri

Be willing to give it all away. Podcasting is a great opportunity to build a know, like and trust factor with your audience. In a time of social media dominating how we interact with our potential customers and audience, podcasting is a way to lift the veils and connect in a truly authentic manner. Let your audience see you, share in your highlights and let them live through the stories you share. Give away your content and shorten the learning curve for your audience. Literally, give more content - more value - away without any expectation of the outcome. This is so hard for many entrepreneurs to do because there is a fear that “no one will want to work with me if I give it all away.”

However, I have found the exact opposite to be true. The more you allow your audience to see you, hear you and learn from you, the more it will enable your ideal clients to find you and connect with you.

3

Network and be consistent. Podcasting is the new way to network with people in your field and experts who are willing to share their stories. If you promote and intentionally share your episodes, you are now in front of your guest’s audiences as well. Whatever you decide to do for episodes, make sure it is something you can

deliver consistently. Your audience needs to know when your episodes go live, and your commitment to them is to deliver on your promises consistently. I originally started with one episode a week, and over the last year, I have built it to three episodes per week.

4

It is not about you; it is about your audience. To grow your podcast, you have to authentically share your story, who you are, the experiences you have lived through, the lessons you have learned and the mission behind your business and podcast. A podcast will only grow if you continue to speak to your audience if you spend time growing your community and continuously ask, “what they want to hear, what they need support with,” and then create content that drives providing solutions for them. Podcasting is also a great way to share your offers with your audience in unique ways. For example, they may receive giveaways, specials or opportunities that are only available for your listeners. Whenever I offer my programs or coaching, my podcasting community is the first to hear about it. I had no idea that my little podcast idea over three years ago would become such an integral part of my business or that I would enjoy sharing the lessons of my journey with my audience. Podcasting has brought some of the most incredible connections into my life, and it has challenged me to continue to grow to deliver content to them three times per week. In 2021, I finally contracted out support in the production of my podcast and knowing what I know now; I would recommend doing this sooner than later. It is a big-time commitment and one of the most valuable tools for growing my business.

By: MARSHA VANWYNSBERGHE Founder of Own Your Choices Own Your Life and CoHost of Every Body Holds a Story Website/Contact: https://www.marshavanw.com/ Social: @marshavanw

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Understanding Website Traffic & making the most of it

Organic traffic is what we, as entrepreneurs, are told to seek; we then convert that traffic into sales; however, all traffic matters, and some may be easier to achieve than organic traffic. Therefore, it is essential to understand your traffic and how to achieve them. Ultimately, converting traffic to sales is what sells products and services, but the first step is understanding traffic and how to get them to convert.

√ Social Media is a great source to develop your brand for free. However, there are several social media platforms to choose from which do not serve the same demographics. Therefore, selecting the one more closely aligned with your target market, then engaging clients and potential clients with suitable activities will grow your audience, giving you the opportunity to convert to sales.

Organic Traffic is from search engine results that Direct Traffic occurs when a visitor arrives directly at a website without clicking a link on another site. Direct traffic can be word of mouth, email marketing (including newsletters), and brand knowledge. Brand knowledge is where your brand is known to the person, and they intentionally visit your site directly. √ Email Marketing is an important tool in gaining traffic that can be converted to sales. Email traffic marketing that has been appropriately tagged with an email parameter will create more visibility.

are earned, not paid. Where your site pops up when persons search Google, Yahoo or other search engines for a topic, this will create organic traffic. Therefore, activities such as great Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tags on your website, relevant keywords, and great headlines in your blog posts and articles are good for boosting your search engine ranking. Social Media can also contribute to your ranking on search engines.

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Paid Search generates traffic from search engine results which is the result of paid advertising via Google AdWords or another paid search platform such a Facebook and LinkedIn. Paid ads are a great way to build and grow your online presence, whether brick and mortar or online store. More than half the world is on the internet, so choosing the audience most suited to your product’s or services’ demographics can yield great visibility.

Referral Traffic occurs when you are found through a site other than a major search engine.

Websites that provide the option for you to click on a link to another website are called the referrer. Partnerships with influencers, guest blogging or creating banner ads on other websites will create backlinks for you that yield visibility, hence traffic to your website. Always ask yourself, what is the best way to gain, not just followers, but also conversion, and which is the best way to get there. Which option is best for me based on my resources? Resources include knowledge and time.

By: KAREN M. LOWE Founder/Owner Epigram Consulting Services & Author: From Dreamer to Creator: Reframing Deterrents in Our Path Contact: klowe@epigramconsulting.com Social: @epigramconsulting

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BUSINESS: THE ULTIMATE ADVENTURE


resources Email Marketing is currently seen as a big booster in

MailerLite

converting traffic from your website to sales. Email

Free for up to 1000 contacts with 12,000 emails being sent per

marketing is used to connect with current and potential

month. The next price level is $10US/month.

customers, giving updates and educational information,

Includes automation, landing pages and reports. Built-in

giveaways and more. Keep in mind that there are rules

photo editing, drag and drop editor and mobile-friendly email

around sending emails, and you need to gain permission

newsletters, making it easier to create on newsletter then

to send; it is the law! One way to receive permission from

translate to mobile-friendly. Also include tools to grow your

persons is for them to sign up through your website or social

business, such as landing pages and pop-up subscription

media pages. Many businesses offer incentives in exchange

forms.

for signing up for email marketing. It is best to use an email

https://www.mailerlite.com/

marketing platform to schedule and send emails, which may not be free. If you are starting your business, you may not

Sender

have the money to pay for certain services. If you have been

This offers 2,500 unique subscribers sending 15,000

in business for a while, you may have to prioritize where

emails per month and all features included. The

cash is spent. You may want to try out a product or service

next price up is $45US/month.

before paying, or your operation is not yet large enough to

Autoresponders and transactional emails. Drag and

handle the cost of email marketing. Here are a few email

drop templates. Landing pages are not yet available.

marketing websites you can use. They are chosen because

https://www.sender.net/

they have a free option or are relatively inexpensive and are the most popular on the market. Which is the best option

ZoHo is more than an email marketing platform.

depends on the user and the needs of the user. As usual, the

It is a collaboration space that includes email

list below is not exhaustive, just a starting point.

marketing. Email marketing has a forever free option with

Your Website Host

2,000 contacts sending 12,000 emails per month. The next

More than likely, your website hosting plan comes with a free

level up is $1US/month, billed yearly. Include free email

or add-on email marketing plan. Your web host usually has

hosting, landing page, and drag and drop option. It also

templates to choose from, so start there.

includes A/B testing, web store tracking & reports. https://www.zoho.com/

For additional options, read on. Mail Chimp

Notes

Free for up to 2000 contacts, with the next level being $9US/

1. 12,000 emails per month means if you send emails to 500

month Compatible with most but not with all website

on your email list you have 12,000-500 remaining, even

builders. Limited templates with the free version.

though you sent a bulk, 500 emails went out.

Allows the creation of a landing page to attract new

2. Small banner ads from the software will be included

customers—also, social media posting. https://mailchimp.com/ DRE A M E R 2 C R E A T O R B USI N ESS M A GAZ I N E

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DESIGN IS NOT JUST WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE AND FEELS LIKE. DESIGN IS HOW IT WORKS.

Steve Jobs, co-founder


of Apple, Inc.


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