Branding, Creating Content, Set up Email Blasts Webinar

Branding, Creating Content, Set up Email Blasts Webinar

May 11, 2017


Hello everyone and thanks for joining us for our fourth Digitize NS Webinar — where has the time gone?

As always, I hope you have been enjoying the course so far and have brought any and all questions you may have. For anyone wishing to catch up on our webinar from last week or one from previous weeks, we will be happy to provide you with a link in the chat. As with all of our Digitize NS webinars, this will be recorded for later playback of you wanted extra time with a certain section or for listening on the go. Today's webinar is going to focus on branding, more information on crafting content and preparing your first email blast.

For those who may be joining us for the first time, we've been exploring a fictional entrepreneur named Joe who runs a local business making sweaters.

Joe has owned his own business for over 20 years located in Downtown Dartmouth and selling at the Halifax & Dartmouth Farmer's Markets, he is seeing a decline in business. To tackle this issue, he has decided to take his storefront online to open up his consumer base.


Today, we're going to continue on Joe's path as he starts branding his website, writing more content and preparing to send his first email blast as he gets ready to launch his website. The main topics that will be covering the importance of branding and style, a deeper look into writing content and, preparing to launch an email blast. Before we dive in, however, let's refresh ourselves on where Joe left off.

Check in with Joe

When we last left Joe, he had:

  • He has continued to develop and follow his strategy
  • Found an online site building company that meets his needs
  • He has started writing content, built an AI and has a domain name (
  • Started gathering email addresses
  • He is starting to see the Big Picture

Let's break that down — Joe's objectives for his strategy is to launch an e-commerce site, create an email list to reach his customers and open a Facebook page to promote his shop. As you can see, Joe has broken this down into steps to tackle one objective at a time to create a strategy.

Joe's Strategy

Here is a diagram of Joe's strategy with the objectives he wants to achieve outlined as Step One, Two and Three. As we said last week, traditionally these steps would have a bit more detail such as how many hits Joe wants the sight to have or the open rate of his emails but we are letting Joe go slow.

Joe's Strategy Step One

For step one, Joe is making fantastic progress — he has built a website according to the Information Architecture wireframe he created so that he knows where everything will be located. Through the e-commerce website he is using, Joe licensed the domain and has started creating content. Now, we're entering the final stages of the website design process where Joe is looking to brand his website and give it some style.


Think of a brand you truly love - one that you go straight to when you go shopping. It can be a clothing brand, electronics, jewelry, a food, or drink.

Now - what draws you to it. Is it the product or company's story? Is it from a local business? Ethically sourced? Tone on social media? Their corporate culture?

All of these elements go into making the brand for a company and helps the brands evolve - whether that evolution is in a positive or negative direction.

The same questions can be applied to why you won't shop under a certain company as well, which is just as important to keep in mind

.Over time, this brand comes to represent not only your business but the characteristics of the services or products it provides. Characteristics could be the level of quality the product is associated with, the organization's credibility and all of this is supplemented with customer satisfaction.

In Joe's case, he wants to build a brand around his locally-sourced, ethically-created sweaters and wants his brand, and the elements used to bring his brand to life, to reflect that. Joe keeps this in mind as he maps out his website's style.

When we say style today, we're going to speak of it by means of color and typography (fonts and the physical styling of letters). If you know any designers in your life, you may have already encountered this unique section of design.

How color plays into a brand has been a well-debated section of marketing and to this day the jury is still out. Luckily, there are still many tidbits of advice available online if you are looking to design your own logo and branding colours.

While we cannot say for sure of color has any effect on consumers on a psychological level, as colour preferences can vary from person to person due to cultural and upbringing differences, research has revealed interesting insights. Colour can influence someone's purchase of a product and there are mental connections between what colour is being used and what is sold.

An example would be buying environmentally products that are green, a color often associated with sustainability as opposed to environmental products that are red. With this in mind, Joe decides that the primary color of his website is going to be a deep, evergreen to present the idea of his naturally-sourced sweater.


In terms of font and typography, Joe has a selection available via the website builder he is using. An important tip that he learned through his person research is that sans serif fonts look better in short text boxes than serif fonts. While some of you may not have heard these terms before, you have been seeing these types of fonts all of your life.

A serif font is a font that has ornaments and flourishes on it that accent the letters — an example of this would be Times New Roman or Courier. The term serif comes from the flourishes, which are called serifs. A sans serif font, sans come from the Latin word sine or absentia, means without. An example of a sans serif font would be Tahoma or Calibri.

A commonly accepted rule is serif fonts are appreciated in large bodies of text, such as in books, magazines whereas sans serif work well when there is less text as it provides a cleaner appearance such as on posters, small website text boxes, and brochures. This being said, there are literally 1000s upon 1000s of fonts you can find online under both of these categories that provide different intrinsic meanings. If you are opening a Victorian style cafรฉ for example, you would likely prefer to use a serif font with large flourishes and a font that denotes formal styles. If you are announcing a futuristic product, a sans-serif font with thin lines and wide spacing that has a space-age feel may be more of the style you are looking for.

Since the majority of the content that Joe has written is smaller paragraphs and he is going for a clean' style, he sticks to sans serif font in a pure white to create contrast between the font and evergreen background.

Content Cont'd

Joe is now working on creating additional content for both his website and the email blast he is planning to send out when his site launches. He has taken photos of sweaters he wants to put on his website on his checkout desk and his working on their descriptions as well. In both of these cases, the best advice for writing content is to keep it:

  • Simple
  • Unique
  • Descriptive
  • And Emotional

When we say simple, we mean to keep it clean and be wary of what you name your products. Steer clear of elongated names and haphazard spellings — if the customer can't pronounce, remember or spell what you are selling, it could damage your sales.

When we talk about being unique, we mean to describe what is unique about the product. Is it the material mixture? Features such as pockets, distression, colour? Find what makes that product stand out and sell it.

To the point of description, use words that describe the product — is it soft? Light? Does it breathe? The key here is to write about what you think the consumer would feel having this product.

Finally — emotional. While this may sound like a cheesy element, it is important to remember the tone your words convey. Think about how the description of a denim jacket would be on a high-end, California-centric brand compared to a hard rock designer brand. The words you use can create a vision for the reader — it is something that is truly dynamic about the written word.

Don't just sell the product, sell the story of the product to set it apart from others.

Now that Joe has started on creating more content, he is getting ready to send his first email blast in a week!

Email Content

As we start talking about email content, I'd like to quickly revisit our talk on CASL.

CASL is an extremely important of piece of Canadian legislation and outlines a large amount of checkpoints that emails you send out need to meet, not to mention WHO you can send it out to. Penalties for no adhering to the rules laid out by this law can be costly for both you and your business.So far, Joe has stayed compliment as he has asked customers to write down their email on a physical form wherein the customers are expressing their consent. Expressed consent can be given in many ways from filling out online phones and writing on physical forms to over the phone and by responding coupons. Implied consent is a bit trickier as it deals with persons you would have a reasonable right to contact, such a business associate.As Joe turns to writing copy for his email, there are specific information he should include: the location of his business, current sales he is preparing to have and a link to his website. In keeping with CASL regulation, Joe also has a โ€˜unsubscribe' button at the bottom of his email so anyone who doesn't wish to receive the emails again can let Joe know to take them off the list.An important element of this email is to have uniform branding with his electronic communications and his website. He should use the same font and colours to keep consistent to his brand, this will help the establish it further.He has decided that for the week he launches his website, he will have a buy one, get one half off sale on his website. To draw attention to this, he puts it near the top of his email and in his subject line writes โ€˜Joe's Sweaters opens website — limited time offer in email'What do we think about this headline? Would you open it? Does it sound a little spammy? Joe decides to keep it for now, will come back to it next week to see if it may be a good idea to change it.

Lessons Learned

When it comes to websites, remember to do your research and pick the colour and fonts that are best suited to your purpose. Remember that serif and sans serif work in different ways and to pick one that can both represent your brand while being easy to read both on and offline.

Content continued to be King — write with simplicity, uniqueness, emotion, and description in mind. Don't just sell the product, sell its story and show your customers why they should invest in it.

Speaking of Kings, when it comes to email — keep CASL in mind and write to inform. Make sure you have the address of your business, a link to your website and an unsubscribe button at the bottom of your email and keep the branding uniform.

Next Week

Tune in next week and see:

  • Joe launch his website
  • The importance of a good subject line
  • Joe sets his sights on Facebook.


Until then, please put any questions you may have in the chat or feel free to email me at jay — J A Y @ a great week and enjoy this week's course. If you would like to watch any of our previous webinars, we'll put the link in the chat now for you.

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