Entries in Blogs (7)


FLC at Pubcon

I've been at Pubcon South 2010/ Dallas today, and will be here again tomorrow, learning cool new ninja tricks to help my clients' businesses.  Pubcon is an amazing conference with emphasis on SEO, social media and a bunch of other dorky stuff.

I wanted to share some cool advice that I've received thus far today, because I'm filled to brim and about to burst with great ideas.

From Ted Ulle with Converseon, an awesome point was made.  He said that too often, companies design their websites like applications.  There's a difference between websites and applications.  Application users are willing to LEARN about an application because they purchased it.  Your website users are NOT willing to take time to learn how to use your website.  It's ridiculous to think that a user would spend more than 5-10 seconds looking for information when they could very easily go to your competitor's site and have a much better experience. 

Additionally, you should never design a website for YOUR use.  Rather, design your site for your user.  Bring in a few random folks, treat them to a cup of coffee and ask questions.  "If you were trying to find a widget, where would you look on my site for information about said widget?"  "Oh really?  You'd look under 'Products' instead of 'Services'?"  Once you figure out how someone completely unrelated to your business would use your site, you'll have a much better idea of how your site information architecture should flow.

Another really good thought was from Scott Stratten of Un-Marketing.  His point was that you should not have a presence within the social media conversation if you don't want to or intend to be present.  That is to say that you should NOT have a Twitter account, or a Facebook page or a blog, if you do not use them.  Nothing looks worse than someone happening upon or finding your blog and discovering a single three line post from 2 years ago.  This is the equivalent of you shrugging your shoulders and saying "Eehhh.  I really don't care that much to communicate with this potential customer."

Looking forward to sharing more about what I learn here!  To follow my ongoing tweets about what's happening here at Pubcon, check out the Fresh Look Creative tweet feed here.


Sacrificing for Social Media Glory

We design logos.  Did you know that?  We're a marketing company, so maybe you just assumed that we offered this service.  Well, you assumed correct!  We've done our share of brand creation, but this is not a blog post about OUR brand creation services, so read on...

We've started doing some work for a client who's number one goal is to get his company's site to the top of Google for a certain keyphrase.  This is a marathon, not a sprint, and we continue to look for ways to edge closer and closer to this goal.  One of our first initiatives was to integrate social media for this client.  Google now indexes Facebook and Twitter postings, so it was important for our client to be found in these places.

About a month ago, I discovered an opportunity for a client that made me both jump for joy and swallow my pride.  You may have heard of the innovative company I Wear Your Shirt (I actually blogged about these guys many months ago...)  Very simply, you send them your shirt, and they wear it.  Well, maybe not that simply: you pay them to wear it.  And then they blog about it, Tweet about it, create video posts about it, etc.  As I've told you before, I love good ideas.  And this was a great one.  In March, I Wear Your Shirt partnered with two designers and launched I Design Your Logo.  Aside from the fact that I wished I'd thought of the idea, I was ecstatic. 

We'd just started working with For Sale By Owner Homes, a flat fee MLS listing company, and this was a great way to increase their social media impact AND get a new logo designed for them.  Also incredibly intriguing is the pricing structure used by both I Wear Your Shirt and I Design Your Logo.  You would pay $2 on the first fiscal day, and the price increases by $2 each day.  So, we paid $86 for today, April 12 (I Design Your Shirt's fiscal year started on March 1.)

Since uploading the new For Sale By Owner Homes logo to the web about an hour ago, they've written a blog post about the new look, tweeted about the logo to their 511 followers and posted a link on Facebook to their 224 (and growing) fan base.

Aside from getting backlinks in new, highly-ranked places, by client will also get exposure to hundreds of new potential customers.

Search for unique ways to get out your message, and opportunities to piggyback on the hype or good ideas of someone else.  Even though I didn't think of this cool company idea, my client will benefit greatly from it.  And, if you don't mind, head on over to I Design Your Logo, and let everyone know what you think of our client's new logo.


10 Ideas To Grow Your Biz THIS Week

This is a short week, and I've always thought of the week between Christmas and New Year's as kind of a blow-off.  Lots of people are on vacation, no one's really doing a ton of business, etc.  (Although, I have heard that the week between Christmas and New Year's is great for the car and furniture business....)

Anyhow, I'm guilty of goofing off and having snowball fights during this lag time instead of really looking for innovative ways to grow my business.  I've compiled a list of to-dos - the kind of things that you'd really like to make time for, and never really have the chance.  Well, if your business is anything like mine, you have time this week if you'll discipline yourself and commit to getting at least THREE of these done.

1) Come up with a rewards plan for your employees.  If you're a smart business owner, you know that your employees are your NUMBER ONE "public," meaning you should always keep them in mind, just as you would your customers.  Employees will make or break your company, and if they're making it, you should reward them!  (If they're breaking it, either fire them, or incentivize them to do better.)  This could be anything from an ice cream party to a monetary bonus, so set some realistic goals and follow through with some cool rewards for your people.  Truly, this will improve your overall business environment, and customers will feel the excitement and enthusiasm when they deal with your employees.

2) Improve your accounting systems.  If your business is anything like mine, towards the end of the year, a lot has fallen to the wayside, and accounting is one of those things I'm always trying to play catch up on.  Take 1-2 hours a day over the next few days and COMMIT to either creating a more organized system to keep track of your receipts, or simply to log entries into your accounting system.  If you're completely up-to-date, (congratulations, you overachiever, you!!) sit down and analyze where you lost money, and where you made money, and find a way to capitalize on your wins and overcome your losses.

3) Plan a vacation.  I'm not kidding!  As a small business owner, I know how burnt out you can feel at the end of a long day.  You won't do your business (or your family) any good if you don't take some time to recharge your batteries.  Even if you take a three-day sabbatical to the bowling alley, spend some time away, WITHOUT EMAIL AND CELL PHONE.

4) Come up with a special for the new year.  Everyone loves a good deal.  For the first month of the new year, come up with a new sale or special that you've never offered before.

5) Devise a system to get more information!!  Several years ago, businesses wanted to collect phone numbers for telemarketing lists.  Well, folks got wise and decided to stop providing that information.  This day in age, you should be looking for ways to reach your customers wherever they are.  Ask for email addresses.  Or, if you have a website, make sure you have analytics tracking how many visitors your website is seeing on a daily basis.  Also, make sure your employees are asking your customers HOW THEY HEARD ABOUT YOU.  Information is power, but you have to commit to collecting it in the first place.

6) Email marketing is cheap- try it out.  If you've tried email marketing for your business yet, you may want to give it a shot.  Online systems like iContact make it very easy to create your own email messages, send them out to your email lists and track who opens and forwards your messages.

7) Commit to trying a NEW social media marketing technique.  Maybe you've hopped on Facebook, or you've begun to blog.  But what about Twitter?  What about LinkedIn?  Have you learned about Digg and del.icio.us?  (If not, don't freak out, but take some time to Google these and learn a little more about how social media can help grow your online presence.)  If this all seems VERY foreign to you, you can certainly hire a SEO expert to do all of this for you.

8) Speaking of blogging, DO IT!  I mentioned blogging above, and since I'm such a fan, I'll mention it again.  If you don't have a blog, now's the time to create one.  Blogs allow you to create unique and original text that can and will be indexed by search engines.  The more original, relevant content that you have available on your site, the better the chances that your site will be listed higher in search engine rankings.  If you have a blog and you don't use it, shame on you!  You're wasting a golden opportunity to grow your business, PLUS, it looks really bad when people see that you haven't posted to your business blog in three months - they'll think you're lazy.  Take this time to make a list of 30 different blog topics, so when you're feeling lazy, just glance at the list and pick a topic.

9) Thank your customers.  You may have just sent out Christmas cards and/or gifts, and if so, good for you.  However, never forget how an unexpected small goodwill gesture makes YOU feel.  Take a look around your neighborhood.  Is there a locally-owned bakery or winery who might be willing to partner with you for reduced-cost gifts?  Develop such a partnership, and once a week, have your salesmen take a gift or two out to their customers.  Or, have an appreciation event at your place of business.  The idea is to let your customers know you're thinking about them- it's a lot cheaper to KEEP these customers than to try and buy new ones with advertising.

10) Make it look good.  I'm a huge fan of pretty stuff, of creative stuff, of original stuff.  So I hate nothing more than ugly marketing collateral, or "logos" that were created using one of the twenty different pre-loaded fonts in Microsoft Word.  Are you kidding me??  If you don't think your business is worth spending some time making what you put out there (be it logos, brochures, website, OR EVEN YOUR OFFICE) look good, then customers sure aren't going to think you're worth a hill of beans.

Happy New Year!  I hope you're encouraged to do something to grow your business TODAY!


More Customers This Holiday Season

I found this fantastic article on Mashable, a social media news site.

This article details how you as a small business owner can use your own social media presence, be it on Twitter, Facebook or your blog, to build excitement and get more customers this holiday season. 

So many of us share news and information via these mediums, but savvy customers have started looking for great deals here too.  Why not offer a very special bargain to folks who follow you via Twitter?  Why not reward people who are fans of your business on Facebook the deal of the season?  Remember, in store is not the only place people should be talking about you, and you should fan the flame.

Read this article, and your business will benefit this holiday season.


Web Advertising Overtakes TV in UK

Long gone are the days when savvy entrepreneurs yearn to be able to afford TV advertising... well, maybe not quite- TV will always have it's place in our market, as long as the good 'ole boob tube is around.  (Although, Tivo and DVR is making the TV ad medium much less desireable...)  However, this article announces that in the UK, Web spending has overtaken TV in advertising spending.

If you're still stuck in the dark ages, thinking TV advertising is the way to go for your business, hop onboard the 21st century express!  All of the following are great ways to start using the web to advertise your business:

- Pay-per-Click advertising

- Search Engine Optimization

- Twitter

- LinkedIn

- Facebook

- Digg

- YouTube

- Blogging

These are just a few folks!!  Most of what I mentioned above has a free or DIY aspect, making web marketing not only essential, but inexpensive in comparison to TV!  You can get in trouble online if you don't know what you're doing- just yesterday, I had a client who managed to delete his entire blog without realizing what he was doing!  If you need help, we're just one of many experts out there who can advise you on a simple web marketing plan.  Welcome to the 21st centuty!