Why Social Media Marketing Matters

Why Social Media Marketing Matters

A few years ago, social media was this shiny new past time where no one really knew what they were doing. You could post on the fly or share anything that came to mind. Simpler times, right?

But you can bet things have changed.

If you haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon yet, you’re missing out. In fact, here’s a gentle wake-up call. If you aren’t using social media marketing for your business by now, you’re way behind the times.

But fear not! It’s never too late to get up and at ‘em.

Feeling reluctant and skeptical? We get that you shouldn’t follow what everyone else is doing just because everyone’s doing it. And you shouldn’t.

But you need a social media marketing plan catered to your business and audience. A plan that works for you and you alone.

Because that’s how you’re gonna stand out, that’s how YOUR social media marketing is gonna work for you.

We’re sure you already know this, but it takes plenty of moving parts to gain traction on social media (not to mention keeping up a consistent presence with enough flavor and wow factor to ensure your biggest fans stay your biggest fans).

If you’re still feeling unsure, or breaking a sweat just thinking about how to get started, don’t worry we’ve got your back.

But first, let’s shed some light on why social media marketing matters, and what it can really do for you when done right.

1. Organic Posts vs. Paid Ads

What’s the difference and why should you lean towards one or the other?

An organic post is free and what people come across organically. This means you don’t have to whip out your credit card and “pay” so more people can see it. It’s the most basic level of social media where you hit send and let things happen.

The beauty of organic posting is that the more followers you have, the easier and faster it’ll be for your social media marketing to work its magic.

In a perfect world, this sounds great doesn’t it? You spend time instead of money to craft an awesome post and the right people will naturally stumble upon it.

Unfortunately, these ever-changing social media algorithms don’t make it that easy. Ready for the truth?

Your followers will only see 10% or less of what you post.

If your reaction is, “Whaaa? What witchcraft is that all about!?” We don’t blame you.

If you’re posting consistently everyday but you stay stuck at only 60 followers, in reality you’re busting your butt for nothing since:

  1. A) You don’t have a big enough audience right now to make an impact with your posts, and 
  2. B) Barely anyone is actually seeing your posts because of these pesky algorithms.

For organic posts to truly work on your gorgeous behalf, you need to have the numbers. You need to get more followers, which then equals to more people seeing your posts.

The next reality is that you need to spend money to make money, right?

Organic reach, especially with Facebook, has been on the decline for awhile.

So if you want to take your social media marketing to the next level, get more people to see your posts, it may be time to shell out some cash and “boost” or “promote” your top posts.

This brings us to paid ads, which are dominating the social media landscape lately. No matter what platform, people are only starting to see select pieces of content and the most relevant content.

So why venture into using paid ads? The upside is that you can increase your reach and customize the post to target a certain demographic, industry, or location.

You don’t have to spend a ton of money either. Even as little as $5 could get your post an extra 1,000 views.

They say you gotta pay to play, and when it comes to paid ads? They do in fact lead to a larger reach than organic content.

If you haven’t explored the world of paid ads yet and want to give it a shot (or you want to grow your following like a mad magician), reach out to our team of experts and we’ll get the ball rolling for you!

2. Engage to Grow Instead of Ignore

If you aren’t authentically engaging with your audience or creating opportunities to grow your followers, why is your business on social media?

Maybe you don’t have a clue on how to engage, or how to create those opportunities (which is totally fine by the way, that’s why we’re here to do it for you!)

First things first, here are some quick and dirty ways to create and maintain engagement.

Let’s start with contests and giveaways. Who doesn’t love freebies, goodie bags, or even a coupon to use if you spend over $50 at your fave store?

People LOVE free stuff and they love winning free stuff even more.

Hosting a giveaway or contest over social media is an awesome way to generate buzz about your business and to start collecting more likes and followers. How? As part of the contest rules, be sure to say you need to “like, share, and tag a friend.”

Next, you might wanna think about going a step further. Ask everyone to answer a question like, “If you were given $1,000 but had to spend it immediately, what would you spend it on?”

If you’re looking to build your audience or grow your followers, make it easy for them to follow you in the first place. But remember to make it fun for them too of course.

Here’s another important engagement tactic—social media customer support. When you get a message or question from someone online, are you replying to them right away?

Even if it’s a gut-wrenching, horrible comment, are you responding with dignity and professionalism? Because the last thing you want to do is ignore the negative messages.

Heck, positive or negative, you should respond to every comment even if it’s as simple as:

“Thank you! You’re the best!”

“Great question! We don’t have an immediate answer for you right now, but we’ll look into it and get back to you ASAP.”

“I’m deeply sorry you didn’t like the item you purchased. We gladly accept full refunds or exchanges within 14 days.”

Trust us, potential clients and customers will respect the fact that you responded to a bad comment or a question you didn’t have the answer to—it shows you care about their concerns and how you’re willing to solve their problem.

3. Content is Everything

When it comes down to it, content will make or break your social media marketing.

Everyone says content is king (or queen) and the same holds true for your social media.

For starters, you need to create content that ties into your business identity. Sharing irrelevant content about your business is a huge no-no.

For example, just because it’s National Pierogi Day doesn’t mean you need to participate in the celebrations too.

If your business has nothing to do with pierogies whatsoever and you can’t contribute anything relevant or clever, it’s probably better to keep quiet on this one.

Because if you continue down this road of irrelevant posting, you’re on the fast track to saying see ya to your followers.

So what can you do to achieve relevant, consistent, and super cool content?

Plan ahead of time, build a strategy, offer truly valuable content, and work with themes. If you’re on Instagram, working with a visual theme in the form of filters or colors will do wonders for your engagement and lead to an eye-popping feed.

Or if you’re on Facebook, for goodness sake remember to optimize your business page to the max. How you ask? Don’t forget to fill out the “about” section with your business contact info, address, hours, or website.

Treat your social media platforms like a storefront. A storefront where anyone can come across what you do, and don’t let them escape!

If people are interested in your services or products but can’t for the life of them figure out how to reach you, then you probably lost them for good.

As much as your content should be varied and different, you also gotta remember to stay true to your business’ brand.

For example, say you’re always sharing vibrant, positive photos on Facebook. Then suddenly, you’re in a cold and wintery mood so you choose to post black and white snapshots instead.

If any potential clients or customers see this stark change, they’ll wonder what’s up and could very well change their mind about doing business with you.

Another juicy tip if you really want to keep things interesting for your audience: go for a triple-threat combo of using words, photos, and videos in your social media marketing.

Now if you’re thinking, “Holy moly, who has time to do all this?” Well, we do!

With our tribe at Zonion Creative, we do more than just the strategic stuff when it comes to social media marketing. We help you make a statement, we help you grow and connect with your online audience, and the best part?

You can sit back and relax because we’re more than happy to navigate through this social media minefield for you.

Just say the word!

The Importance of SEO

The Importance of SEO

It’s time to get real frank and honest here.

We’re talking SEO frank and honest. Now if you’re thinking, “SEO wha? That’s like FOMO right?” or, “Is SEO the new CEO?”

Nuh-uh, my friend. If you don’t have the slightest idea what SEO is, and the importance of SEO in today’s day and age, then it’s time for a huge wake-up call.

SEO = Search Engine Optimization.

We’re not about to get all smarty pants on you and drone on about the technical intricacies. We believe you already know why SEO is important and why you need it—you’re a superstar business owner after all.

BUT here’s a little reminder anyways. A reminder of how you can really use it to up your game, your online presence. And ultimately, how to up your chances of drumming up more business moolah.

For starters, what is SEO?

Think of it as feeding the most delicious 10-course meal to Google and other search engines. We’re talking Chef’s Table on Netflix delicious.

Let’s say you consistently make the engines over-the-moon happy with this exquisite “food” (aka special keywords and phrases that appear on your website and in your content).

If you keep this up and blow them away time and time again, they’ll remember you, they’ll even reward you. How? By increasing your chances of your website getting found when someone searches for that special keyword or phrase.

You’ll be at the top of their minds, which means your website and content will show up first when searched. Pure gold, right?

Here’s the thing though, obviously there are consequences if you overfeed the search engines. Trust us, they WILL NOT be very happy with you if they’re overfed.

There’s a fine line between just the right amount of food and overindulging, right? The same goes for SEO. It’s equally important to not keyword-stuff your content.

Make your SEO game work for you, not against you.

Now we’re sure you’re wondering how to do that. How to reap the benefits and finally discover the jackpot of why SEO is important, so amazingly amazeballs important.

The reality though is that a successful SEO game doesn’t lead to instant gratification or instant high-flying results. In a perfect world maybe, but then it’d all be too easypeasy and where’s the fun in that?

Hate to break it to you but, just like pretty much everything else, SEO takes a crap ton of time and consistency. Not to mention learning and relearning as algorithms constantly change in the online world.

We know you want to spend your precious time doing what you do best in your business. So voila here’s the next best thing: let us do the heavy lifting on the SEO because we’re the tribe who gets it.

For 2018, word has it that these three strategies are important as ever for your SEO game. Let’s dive in.

  1. Mobile-friendly Website = Priority Ranking

Tell us, who doesn’t have a smartphone these days? I mean, you see babies and great grandparents glued to them like pros, like it’s always been an extension of themselves.

We spend sooo much time browsing websites, social media, and email on our phones we don’t even realize we’re doing it. So if your business website isn’t up to par—if it’s not mobile-friendly—you could be losing out on some prime visitor traffic.

Your SEO game suffers too as a few years ago, Google started prioritizing its search rankings with website content that performs best on mobile devices.

What can you do? Make sure your website has a responsive mobile-friendly design and that your content and SEO is consistent whether on mobile or desktop.

Sound like a mouthful and not sure where to start? Reach out and ask us! We don’t bite because our tribe is always lighthearted and fun.

We also know what we’re getting ourselves into with SEO. We’ll dive head first into researching and evaluating your most important keywords—the keywords that were meant to shine bright on your website.

Next, our SEO experts will breakout their tools to analyze your competitors and gather even more insight on what truly works best for your business.

Trust us, we got you!

  1.  Prune Your Content

Let’s not beat around the bush—content and links are the foundation of badass-working SEO. Your website content and blog posts literally need to be the best stuff ever otherwise no one gives a hoot, including the search engines.

If a strong content marketing strategy isn’t part of your business plan, you could be missing out on the growth you’ve been craving for, even crossing your fingers for!

Once you’ve written something—awesome or not—it doesn’t stop there. Go back and add more value to your blog posts. Maybe it could use an infographic, or an instructional video (because video is hot right now too and FYI, people are staying put on the video marketing bandwagon because it’s working).

Even better, comb through your old content and check if it’s still relevant. If it’s not, it’s time to prune and improve.

No one wants to read about an obsolete dentist tool or technique that was introduced 20 years ago, right? Same goes for that once beautiful and serene city park that no longer exists.

If your audience doesn’t care, neither will the search engines. And your SEO game? Sadly it’ll flatline, but you can prevent this from happening of course!

We’re always here for you so you can bet we’ll help you spruce up and optimize your web pages, content, and more. We can add those credible links for you and help promote your content.

Plus, we love all the behind-the-scenes work with tracking your website search performance, page views, traffic sources, and conversions.

The important jargon you probably don’t want to spend tons of time on, right? But that’s why we’re here to help!

  1. The Rise of Voice Search

With Google and Amazon speakers now making their way into homes across the country (for better or worse), people are gravitating towards instant information via voice more than ever.

They say one in six Americans own one of these speakers and the numbers are only growing. So what does this mean for SEO?

Wait for it, hold your breath—your content should be optimized for voice search phrases and keywords too.

If you’re shaking your head thinking you want to give up now, we don’t blame you. We get it. Like we said, SEO is A TON OF WORK.

But how cool would it be if your business pops up when someone asks, “Hey Google, what’s a healthy restaurant nearby,” or even, “Alexa, find me an accountant in San Francisco.”

Pretty dreamy, right?

With all of these SEO improvement options to consider, we hope it sheds new light on the importance of SEO and why it’s more relevant than ever.

If you’re still unsure about it all, talk to us! We’re up for the challenge to make SEO work for you, not against you. Rant to us about your struggles, and we’ll make sure to get you back on track again.

We’ll give you the results you’ve been looking for and to prove it? We always send over weekly or monthly status reports and recommendations.

SEO is a long-term game and we’re here to consistently tweak and improve your plan so you’re always on the winning side.

Company For A Cause

Company For A Cause

Ever thought about why you started your business? In other words, what’s your business purpose? Your “why?” There are many reasons why someone would start a new business, and many business owners haven’t really spent time thinking about why they started their business in the first place. (It’s ok if that’s you – we won’t tell anyone)

Maybe you are really good at a particular skill like graphic design, coding, or you’re a great seamstress. Everyone told you that you just HAD to go into business, and rather than moonlight on projects at the end of a busy day, you went all in and hung out your shingle.

Or, maybe you started your business because you saw a need in the marketplace for something and decided you could fill it. A lot of great businesses are born this way. You realized something was missing and you couldn’t rest until you were the missing piece of the puzzle. Innovation was the name of your game, and you’re changing the world, one widget at a time.

Or, sometimes people start businesses as a way to give back to a cause they care about. Today we’re going to focus on these companies for a cause and talk about why someone may start this type of business, and how it works in their marketing.

Business with a social mission is, well, big business! Many people feel good when they buy from a brand that helps others. This of course adds to the brand’s bottom line, so it’s a win-win. And we love those!

 

Millennials love socially minded brands

Love em or not, if you market to millennials you’ll want to pay attention this!

Millennials not only prefer businesses with a social good component, it’s a big part of their decision making when it comes to purchasing. Consider this – millennials make up about 30% of the population and spend on average $200 billion yearly (that’s a lot of dough!). You don’t want to forget about them when you’re trying to get a piece of the marketplace pie.

So, just how many of them consider a cause worthy of their hard earned dollars? About 68% of millennials state that a social or environmental cause would be important when deciding what to buy. That’s a pretty good indicator that if you’ve got a cause, you can use it to your marketing advantage (and rake in some millennial moola)!

Of course, it should go without saying that if you’re going to join the ranks of companies for a cause, you’ll need to actually care about that cause, right?  It’s the shared cause that matters to the millennial – not just a random afterthought tacked on at the end of a busy marketing calendar. (We know you’d never do anything like that, this warning is for the other guys…)

 

What brands are rocking a cause right now?

There are tons of businesses that give back to great causes, but here are a few that we think are doing a great job.

  • TOMS gives shoes to people in need. Whenever someone buys a pair of TOMS, someone in need gets a pair of shoes. It’s a simple business model that gets them big results!
  • Stella Artois beer partnered with Water.org and Matt Damon to bring clean water to those in the developing world.
  • Sudara gives back by providing living-wage jobs, skills training, and education to those who were previously stuck in human trafficking.

 

Your Why Matters

In the end, whether you choose to be a business with a cause or not, there’s one takeaway we’d like to leave you with that works for any type of business – Why you started your business matters!

If you haven’t really thought through the why you started your business, now’s the time to get on that! As Simon Sinek has famously said, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” In his book Start With Why, Sinek goes into details on why your why matters (try saying that 5 times fast!) We’d recommend you check it out. Or, you can check out this shortened version of his TED Talk if you’re too busy saving the world to read an entire book.

 

Zonion gives back

Here at Zonion, we’re excited to start our next chapter with a company for a cause – our very own  Elephant. Elephant is a way that we help other businesses market to their local audience, while also giving back to a cause we care about – elephants of course.

When you buy advertising through Elephant, we give 5% of proceeds to help banish cruelty to these gentle giants and let them live in peace. We think it’s pretty awesome, and we’d love to  tell you more about it. Ready to find out how you can join our cause and give back to elephants while also growing your biz?

Click here to head over to Elephant and help us celebrate our grand opening!

Ready to get digital?

Ready to get digital?

How to modernize your marketing methods.

Remember the good ol’ days when you could take out an ad in the local newspaper or Yellow Pages and have clients lining up around the block for your services? Those days are gone. Sorry.

Nowadays it’s still possible to get a big bang from advertising, but the methods have changed. Today, it’s all about digital. If you’re newly arriving to the digital age, then pull up a chair, grab a cup of tea, and get ready to bring your biz up to speed with digital marketing.

Start with Your Website

If you’re just getting started with digital marketing we suggest you start with your website. Seriously, if you’ve got a sad little website that harkens back to the dawn of the internet, it’s time to whip that baby into shape.

If you can make one change to your site, make sure it is mobile responsive. This is an absolute must in order to attract your ideal customers (and keep Google happy). Why you ask? It’s no surprise that cellphone and tablet usage is on the rise (maybe even an epidemic?). That means that people are turning to their phones more than ever to search for what they need. If they land on an unreadable page, or one that is seriously hard to maneuver because it doesn’t work on their device, it’s not only bad feelings about your site they have – They start to distrust Google too. That, of course, makes Google unhappy. And when Google’s not happy, nobody’s happy.

Not sure your website fits the bill? You can actually check how mobile friendly your site is with this handy tool from Google.

Of course, you’ll also want to make sure you have swoonworthy graphics, up to date fonts (no Comic Sans!!!), and content that doesn’t put them to sleep.

SEO

Once you get your website working for you and your customers, you’ll want to think about search engine optimization aka SEO. What is SEO for? In a nutshell, it’s to improve how you get found on Google and other search engines. When someone types a phrase into the search bar, the results that show up are thanks to SEO. Of course, that means you need to have the right words on your site for Google to find you. By the way, if you believe that an SEO campaign consists of writing a keyphrase over and over until the end of time, think again!

While keyword phrases are still “key” to getting found by search engines, what matters most is that you have smart and helpful content that answers questions and solves problems for your ideal clients, while still making use of keywords. Please don’t write a bunch of mumbo jumbo and expect the Google Gods to send you an overflow of traffic. It doesn’t work that way and you’ll actually lose brownie points (and credibility too). So, get those keywords in your pages, but don’t overdo it. Everything in moderation.

If you’re just getting started with SEO, never fear. SEO giant Moz has an extensive beginner’s guide to SEO that you can check out and learn all you need to know.

Socially Aware – Get started with social media

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat – depending on what you sell, there are several social media platforms crawling with your ideal clients. But, does the idea of getting started on social make you nervous?

This is an area where many people throw in the towel because there are so many platforms, it’s enough to make your head spin. We suggest taking it slow. Choose one or two platforms and get really comfortable there. Start showing up, interacting with your audience, and then when you’re ready, you can move on to another platform.

Confused about what to say? Start by joining the conversation your clients already have going in their head. Not sure what that is? Ask them! And for a perfectly executed campaign, ask us!

Blogging

If you think of blogging as some sort of online diary and nothing more, you’re missing out on one of the greatest ways you can share information with your customers.

Blogging done right can help your target market see that you are the solution for their problem. How do you do that? By answering their questions.

Yep, the best way to get started with blog posts that will get you business is to ask your customers what they want to learn about and then teach them. Sure, you will be giving away free advice, but that will only increase your popularity and get you known, liked, and trusted. Plus, since it takes about 7 touchpoints before you turn a prospect into a client, you’ll stay top of mind when you continually put out awesome content. Win win!

PPC – Pay Per Click Ads

Your ideal clients are searching for what you sell on a daily basis. Sure, in the past they opened up that trusty ‘ol Yellow Pages, and flipped through the ads. They are still doing the same sort of search today, just not in some flimsy paged book. Instead, these days customers are searching Google, or asking Siri or Alexa to find what they need.  

If we had to sum it up, we’d say that PPC ads are like taking out an ad in the Yellow Pages on steroids. Instead of showing up on paper to a handful of people, you show up all over the web to anyone who is searching for what you sell.

Of course great PPC campaigns begin with an understanding of SEO best practices (yep, that again), and a deep understanding of what your ideal customers are looking for, so don’t jump into PPC before doing that research.

Need a little help?

Are you ready to join the digital age and start marketing your business on the world wide web? The good news is, you don’t have to go it alone! Here at Zonion, we help business owners just like you get their marketing efforts online in a flash. We also don’t require an arm and a leg to get started. Phew!

TRIBE is the perfect solution for businesses who are ready to tackle the digital world without breaking the bank. <<Check out our membership specials>> to see how we can help you ramp up your digital efforts and start putting more cha-ching in your bank account.

Holiday Cheer

Holiday Cheer

Not to blow an unwelcome horn in your ear but… Right at this moment, how holiday cheerful are you?

Are you slammed out of your mind with last minute customer purchases or nervously looking at your cash flow as your seasonal work dried up? Is your company going to hit its budgets for this year? What happens January 1st?

Or maybe on a more personal level you’re grumpy because people aren’t saying Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, or the snow plows aren’t getting your street as fast as other neighborhoods.

It’s time to HOLD IT! Stop right there. Yes you. All of this is not worth losing your cheerful attitude and enthusiasm for a bright new year. Just take 5. Not after the new year, NOW.

If you need to, pour a cup of tea, an espresso, a glass of wine or a bourbon and pull out a piece of paper. A napkin will do.
Answer these three questions:

  • What am I doing this for
  • What am I worried about
  • What am I hopeful for

Now, if the first one (why are you doing this) is still as true today as it was when you started your company, then give yourself a big holiday hug. Excellent!

If the third one (what you are hopeful for) is still what you dreamt of when you stayed up late plotting your course in the stars, have a drink on us! Fabulous!

Lastly, if you like so many others have a list of ‘what I am worried about’, it’s time to talk with an advertising agency like ours.

Because we’re full service and we’ve been around the block more than a few times to help you with worries like:

  • Cash flow
  • Running out of inventory
  • Having too much inventory left over
  • My competition has a better campaign than me
  • Am I advertising in the right places
  • Can I pay my bills and cover my marketing too
  • Is my P&L solid
  • Why am I not at the top of google searches (but my competition is)
  • Am I using social media correctly
  • Is my TV ad reaching the right people
  • What should I be planning for a solid new year
  • Where do I start!?

How about you start by telling us the answers to those first three questions. We’d love to hear your why, and your worries.

It’s free to talk to us. It’s confidential. And it’s fun, because we’re goofs at heart. If you need a tribe, join ours!

Don’t. Just don’t.

Don’t. Just don’t.

I hate to admit it, but I treat most sales people a bit like dirty Junk Mail.

I give both a quick look over, a nod to where they came from and that’s it unless there is a hook or a look that makes me want to know more. Otherwise, give me a break! I am busy! I am too overwhelmed to absorb the whole story you’re about to pitch me!

Sales people, just like direct mail, you get about 3 seconds of my time to make an impact, turn my head and steal my heart. You better be good.

So how do you win me over? Get straight to the point. Assume I am smart enough to understand the point and make a decision without a lengthy explanation. If your pitch is good, you can trust I will ask more questions if I need clarification. If your message is drab or meaningless, see ya later!

Yes I am talking to the sales person and the cute little postcard in my mailbox both.

Lay it on me quick! You have 3 seconds (or 2.3 if you’re a billboard). It better be creative, impactful and head turning babe! Don’t start with a long history about how your group is the oldest radio group in the region, or if you’re my orthodontists direct mail, how reputable you are and your long list of credentials. I don’t care. I mean, I might care LATER. But remember, this is a first impression. I am not ready to meet your family yet.

Face it- most business owners are up to their eyeballs in things that are MUCH more important than your whimsical stories or curriculum vitae. Even if your story were to lead up to something they REALLY should know about, they just don’t have time to slaughter the cow to get to the meat.

And this, my friend, is an unapologetic plug for the advertising agency in your life.

Let your creative marketing agency solve both of these issues.

Did you know we field all your media solicitations so you don’t have to skip one minute of your precious day. We are actually quite entertained by the process plus we’re doing it for dozens of clients per region so we filter the goods through our ‘bullshit-o-meters’ and save just the good stuff to share with you at our monthly meeting. All you have to do is whip out the magic words ‘talk with my agency’ and bam! Back to work you go!

Plug number two for a creative agency like yours truly? Let us get the first impression right for you. If you’re going to tell the world about your stunning new product at 50% off, let’s get it perfect the first time. Otherwise you might as well stuff everyone’s mail with dollar bills, which would get more attention and ultimately cost you less because the takeaway is not ‘ewww, how boring are those guys’.

You know where to find us!

How to stay true to your brand

How to stay true to your brand

First of all, if you don’t know what you’re doing, get some help. When you wake up in the morning and put on knee high white socks and slip on your favorite sandals, that’s a NO. And you need a fashion guru pronto.

Just because it is comfortable for you does not mean everyone will like it.

Just because you watch ESPN all day does not mean your potential customers do. You loving it does not make it the right place to advertise (although you will enjoy watching your ad often).

Just because you are a democrat or a republican that does not mean all your potential customers are.

You should be comfortable in your own skin (and socks and sandals) but in business, your job is to attract people who like what you have to offer.

If you’re selling unicorns to burning man folks, by all means wear a unicorn mask and goggles. But if you’re selling plastic surgery, at least come off as bright enough to do the job, by showing your potential clients you understand them. Your favorite colors may be your college mascot or navy blue. Your customers are women who have money and they like the softer finer things in life in most cases (not all!). Appeal to the largest amount of people in your target demographic by showing them you understand. Your brand is not about you, it is about conveying to them you understand them.
Unless, when it is not.

Because perhaps you’re looking for your soul mate in business. The exact right client that sees you, the clouds open, birds sing, love at first sight, that sort of thing?

Then be you. Be very you. Because that other sock wearing sandal person is out there looking for YOU. And only you. And it will be magic, profitable and exciting.

If you’re a cowgirl and you’re looking for a calf wrangler… be a cowgirl. He’ll know who you are. If you’re a hippy and tie-dye is your thing like it never went out of style, but you are selling tie-dye shirts and marijuana, you’re going to land with the right crowd.

The point about branding is you’re a flower looking for a bee.

First know what kind of bee you want. Then be that right flower.

If you only want to work with republicans, then by all means advertise on the right networks that secure that base. If you only want to work with nuns because you are one, then shine in that platform. If you want to work with school kids, get used to primary colors, crayons and vivacious advertising and be willing to surrender your ‘old school’ beliefs.

Business is not like any other relationship. You get to decide who you want to be in relationship with. You either do it true to your own brand (your special you) or to their brand (who am I with).

We’re here to help.

One last thought – we always like to be ourselves and work with people who enjoy that. We build very long term relationships so we like to enjoy a sense of camaraderie. But we work with all businesses, all political viewpoints, all sizes of companies and all dress codes. We just like to be us. And we know that if you’re the bee to our flower, you like what we’re about too.

Are we trying too hard?

Are we trying too hard?

As the director of a small ad agency, I can say my team and I have seen a lot of this, a bunch of that and a fair amount in the middle.  Everyone wants to stand out, make their mark, differentiate.  Without knowing their objective, businesses launch themselves like paint balls at the newest buzz and want to belong to it.  Their worst fear – FOMO.  Fear of missing out.  

Many ad agencies capitalize on this; no question.  If our problem has become ‘making you feel like YOU belong’ rather than making your ‘customer feel like THEY belong’, we can solve that.  We just need to know what YOU, dear business owner, are afraid of missing out on, want to belong to, what your passions are and what you worry about at 4 am.  

But you know, it’s cheaper to hire a professional of an entirely different sort, to solve that problem.

If there is one thing that irks me as a business owner, it is people who manipulate business owners at their weak points.

Your business doesn’t need another master manipulator.  It needs a plan.   And do you know what the hardest thing for any business owner is?  It’s to speak to THEIR CUSTOMERS needs, not their own needs.  Your needs will be met when your customers’ needs are more than met.  If not, then reconsider being in business altogether.

So it’s time for you to decide.  Do you want a plan that includes business growth, something stashed away for your offspring, something people are proud to talk about, a brand that stands for goodness and fairness?  Do you want to be pleased to run into your neighbor at Costco?  Or do you want to squander countless dollars fussing around with facades.

You may love seeing your ad in the newest glossy magazine – ‘boy isn’t that a beauty!’ say all your dinner guests.  ‘what a lovely magazine this is!’.  You may love hearing your voice on the radio!  “I heard you on the radio today!” say all your friends and family.  You might redecorate your entire office in gorgeous contemporary colors and refresh your logo and your patients love what you have done with the place.  

Did that work out for you?  Do you feel like you belong now?  Did it impact your bottom line? Or do you still have that uncanny uncertainty that other people have figured it out and you haven’t yet.   Is your competitor doing a better job with their social media than you are?  Are their pictures prettier?  Is someone else’s write-up in the newspaper better than yours and (while you grit your teeth) is it sooo wrong!  ‘If only they knew!’.

They’ve got you.

You are spinning your wheels.

You may be reaching for the carrot.  Oh that delicious warm rosy orange carrot.  

Please, ask yourself:  Am I trying too hard?

Take all the time you need.

::

 

Ok, welcome back!

You figured it out.

We, you, me, everyone… we try too hard.

 

::

 

My business is built on making you look amazing, sure.  And (throwing humility out the window here), we’re damn good at it.

But you being amazing is not WHY we make you look amazing.  We don’t heroically pull out all the punches to waltz around the town square with you on our shoulders so you can have the appearance of being amazing.

Again, in case you missed it : we don’t make you look amazing so you can look amazing.

We want you to sleep well.  Earn the right income for your right input.  Oh sure, a little more than that too!  We want the right people to know the right information about you.

You don’t need that amazing logo refreshed for that ‘right now – I am not trying hard – look’ that everyone has, you don’t need wooden pallets in your office, you don’t need a beer tap in your welcome area, and who in the world needs an oversized elephant in their office (except for me, I need that).  

What you need is a plan.

STOP spending money everywhere.  Just stop.

Stop trying to keep up with the Jones’s, the SEO’s, the Google analytics, the social medias, the bloggers (except this one), the PR’s, the coffee cup holders, the whatevers.  Just stop.

Put down the fear of missing out.

Please don’t try so hard.

Breathe.

::

Now, start over.  Give yourself time.  Think back on why you started the company you love.  Remember the slog, the late hours, all those student loans (Lord help us) , the begging for venture capital, the all night study groups, the family that rolled their eyes, the bruised knuckles and the people in your life that helped you move furniture and paint the walls.  THIS.  THIS MATTERS.  THIS is something YOU are about.  YOU believe in.  YOUR soul is carved into.  

THIS merits a plan.  YOU have the right to take a deep breath, and NOT TRY so hard at the outreach part of your business.  YOU need to do what YOU are passionate about.  Because you are passionate about it!  

Now what do we propose?  Aside from the breathing and stopping bit?

We propose you remember you are in charge.  You know where you came from, you know where you are (including the good bits and the ugly bits like profit and loss and health care) and you know where you want to go.

You really do know your original place.  You really do know WHO you are.  Furthermore, if you think about it, you really do know who your clientele is, could be and should be!

NAILED IT!

Now, all you need is your plan!  

It goes like this (over simplified but don’t try too hard!):

  • ME
  • My clientele
  • What I want
  • How much money I currently have
  • How much I want that to turn into
  • Someone who knows the terrain and can take me there

 

GOT IT?

Please – no more fancy logos and weird foyer flowers… just let’s get REAL and make a PLAN.

 

PS.

Do you know, there are other people who spent years, decades… learning how to help BUSINESSES like YOURS grow?  YOU be a dentist.  Let someone else be your tribe.   

I don’t want to fix my own teeth.  Please don’t feel like you need to fix your own marketing.  I can’t even open the hood of my car.  I am not very good at grilling.  You be you.  Let someone else help.