My friend Bob has a sign on the wall of his screen printing shop just to the right of the desk where he sits with customers to take their orders. It says: You can have it fast. You can have it cheap. You can have it be good. But you can’t have all three. For Bob, it’s a constant reminder that he can’t be all things to all people. For his customers, it’s a subtle reminder of what they should expect. In business, we have to choose our focus or we’ll exhaust ourselves trying to be all things to all people. What sets you apart? What do you value? Ultimately, you should choose based on a combination of your preferences and what you think is important to the customers you want to attract. What you want to end up with is a direction that is authentic and easier to follow because it fits you. There’s something else. They are conduits to connect with your readers. They help you generate all sorts of fabulous ideas for content. Sometimes you will be obvious and whomp your reader with your message about identifying your values – it’s a way to obliterate a major roadblock to writing great copy. When you have those values in mind, you have cleared a path to write copy that attracts and engages your audience. These values set the tone for everything you write: “No one beats our prices.” “You won’t find a higher quality.” “When you need it done fast and right.” More often, however, you will be subtler and find ways to weave your message throughout your copy creating a beacon that calls to your best customers. Let’s take a look at what that looks like in real life. Suppose you sell cars. Not just any cars, however. These are expensive, luxury cars. As you write about your business, you are going to focus on the aspects of these vehicles that are most important to your customers. Maybe it’s how quiet the engine runs or how shiny the metal detailing is. What you are not talking about is price and how cheap these cars are. “Give her the present that will keep giving all year long.” “There’s no stress behind the wheel of this car.” “You don’t need to know where you’re going when you’re getting there in style.” “On the other hand, if you’re selling cheap used cars, you want to focus more on the price than the quality of the vehicle. “Have a car to get home and bring the presents.” “The car of your dreams without the price tag of your nightmares.” “What good is a car if you don’t have money to put gas in the tank?” Try this interesting exercise – as you look at ads, social media posts and emails that come from companies, see if you can identify the values behind the messages. As buyers, we make decisions based on those values all the time whether we’re aware of it or not. If something is expensive, we assume it’s high quality. If it’s cheap, we have our doubts. As you review what your website, social media profiles and other collateral, ask your self if it expresses the right values for your company. And as you draft your communication plans...read more
Every October, artists from around the world put pen to paper to create drawings for a daily challenge called Inktober. They can follow a list of official prompts or one of several spin offs. Or, they can just wing it. The only “rules” are to draw every day and post on line with #Inktober.read more
When I work with clients, we talk a lot about who they’re trying to reach. We spend a great deal of time defining and honing in on the ideal customer, called a “buyer persona” in marketing speak. It’s a good place to start. Afterall, the more you know about who you are trying to reach, the easier it is to develop content that will appeal to that person.read more
Yeah for summer finally being here. Barbecues, beaches, sailing and sun. It’s a great time to relax and recharge, which is vital to your business success. And, it’s a great time to do a mid-year check in on all those fantastic plans you set up in the beginning of the year. As you’re scheduling vacation and Friday afternoons out of the office, schedule some time to work on your business. My colleague Tara Gearheart at TMedia Consulting offers these tips to help with strengthening your marketing efforts for the second half of the year.read more
It’s important in business to understand what your customer wants, but it’s even more important to understand why. What are the underlying needs, issues, concerns or problems that are driving people to seek out a particular product or service? Knowing the answers will help you create better content for your blog and social media.read more
Most people think successful blogging is about writing, but that’s only part of it. It’s really about decision making. What are you going to write about? How are you going to write it? And finally, when will you post it?
Should it go up first thing Monday morning so people can start their week right? Or is Friday afternoon better because they’re winding down? Maybe Wednesday morning as a mid-week boost?read more
As someone from the other side of the city, I’m not always clear where on the route of the Boston Marathon I am. I drive until I hit the road blocks then I park and walk toward the cheering crowds.read more
It seemed like a simple request from my client. She wanted a serious headshot and one that showed the lighter side for her website. But how often is it simple when it comes to photos?
My last headshot was taken more than two years ago when I had shorter hair. In the one before that, I had almost curly hair and fewer worries. Neither fit her goal. Besides, they were no longer quite accurate, which means they aren’t quite authentic. And went it comes to online marketing, authenticity matters.read more
The sun finally came out on Sunday bringing a welcome warm breeze. I know because I glanced at it longingly from my desk in between furtive bursts of working to catch up on a year’s worth of bookkeeping. I would love to have been outside, but instead, I was at my desk going through my calendar and crunching numbers.
At some point in the afternoon, a little piece of advice I was once given floated into my brain: Systems will set you free.read more
In my business, we talk a lot about what to say, how to say it and when. The focus is on using words both on screen and in person to communicate a message. But there’s another side to the conversation.
While it is important to know how to talk, it is also important to know how to listen. The thing about being a good listener is that you will not only be better informed but also find it easier to get your message across. When people feel they have been heard, they are more open to hearing.read more