Initially, this requires analyzing information, like who your target market is, what makes you unique as a business, what solutions you offer, and what message you want to reach your audience.
It also includes writing mission statements, defining your goals, and thoroughly understanding your competition. You need to decide what your communication and marketing objectives are and specific benchmarks you will use to evaluate these objectives.
Successful planning for your brand encompasses three steps:
- a business plan
- a marketing plan
- a strategic brand strategy.
There are many ways you can do a business plan. Initially, I made my first one using a PowerPoint template. It had everything I wanted.
What should be included in a business plan? Your mission, your USP, your goals, milestones, target market, competition, strategies, revenue and expense projection, just to name a few ideas. Ask yourself, what is your business model? Is it online exclusively? Is it a party business? Retail? Wholesale?
Basically, you are writing this to prove that your business is viable. Think of your audience as investors and you are trying to convince them to be stakeholders.
Many companies offer business plan templates. You can find them off of the Internet, download an App for your smart phone or tablet, or hire a firm to help you.
You may need a business plan for investors to raise capital. If you do, you will want that business plan to be as professional as possible! Read More→
We all want financial success. But how do we get there? What proven methods in this digital age will lead us to that pot of gold just looming over the horizon, that Promised Land that we eagerly await? When will it ever get past a mirage and to the real thing that we’ve been dreaming for and planning for?
Here are eight proven steps, key lessons I learned from both the school of hard knocks, and Ryan Deiss from Digital Marketer in my pursuit of a Professional Digital Marketer certification which I achieved last year.
1) The first step to financial success with your brand is to plan a sales funnel strategy or sales process strategy.
Here are the key areas that you need to achieve in this area:
Map out customer stories
Write a statement of value
List all your products and/or services
Brainstorm three giveaways
Brainstorm three loss leaders (low cost products)
Brainstorm three core offer products
Brainstorm other products that can be added on
Make a plan to nurture your customers so they will return to you
2) The second step to financial success with your brand is to plan your content marketing strategy.
Here are some key activities to help you do that:
Identify your funnel content plans (top, middle, and bottom)
Plan or improve a WordPress Site
Plan a basic blog launch (or re-launch)
3) The third step to financial success with your brand is to plan your paid marketing strategy.
Research popular sites to refine your customer profiles
Choose which traffic stores you want to campaign in
Map your traffic system plan
4) The fourth step to financial success with your brand is to plan your social marketing strategy.
Here’s four key activities that you need to do:
Assess your current social media
Plan out your social media topics
Create your social media listening plan
Plan your keywords
5) The fifth step to financial success with your brand is to plan your email marketing strategy.
Here’s some basic ideas to get you started:
Choose an email service
Identify your promotional assets
Create your promotional plans Read More→
Has this ever happened to you? You mention something on Facebook, some sort of struggle, and then all of a sudden you get a message from a friend trying to sell you something?
Or maybe a friend pressured you to buy something from them. And because you didn’t, they stopped being your friend!
Or perhaps you got a message from a Facebook friend (more of an acquaintance) out of the blue that just seemed random. They had no idea what you liked, what you needed, or what your life situation is, they just wanted to sell you something.
Does this sound familiar? Has this happened to you? Or more importantly, have you done this?
Unfortunately, some network marketing companies encourage this behavior. But let me tell you a harsh truth–it is unprofessional and turns off more people than you gain!
I remember years ago when a friend of mine from work wanted me to join the latest network marketing rage–long distance cards. Remember those? They were really hot once. I was completely not interested.
And this friend stopped being my friend because I said no!
And that’s not the only time it has happened.
Here’s another trend that seems to occur a lot these days, and again it’s encouraged by networking marketing companies:
A Facebook friend posts a random question. You answer it because it just seems fun.
So a minute later you get a Facebook message asking you to buy something or for a referral for their recruiting efforts.
Smells kind of slimy, doesn’t it? Read More→
As Christian work at home parents, we have a unique opportunity to bring Christ into our businesses. For me, it’s the ultimate reason why I am in business in the first place. I look at my company, AngelArts, as a Business As Mission.
Think about this: we have an opportunity to share more about Christ than most pastors! You and I will rub shoulders with people that will never talk to a church professional.
None of us is exempted from the Great Commission, to make disciples of all nations. And He ends this commandment with a promise: He will be with us!
But how can we practically bring Christ into our businesses?
Every month, my husband and I attend a meeting at Glen Eyrie Conference Center (owned by The Navigators) to discuss this very question over breakfast. Business owners give their testimonies to share their stories of how they brought Christ into the workplace, or how they discovered Christ in the workplace.
It can be as simple as taking an interest in someone; in developing a friendship and guiding them to the path that leads to eternal life.
That was the particular story of a gentleman, Rob, who was involved in the banking industry, that I recently heard. A colleague invited Rob to a Christian networking meeting and demonstrated he cared. When times got tough, this man was there for Rob. Today, Rob is a successful mortgage banker and Christian business leader actively engaged in bringing Christ into his workplace.
Integrity matters. It demonstrates Christ in the workplace most of all.
A story by a man named Charles was especially encouraging. Throughout his life, he acted with integrity. He would make very tough decisions with the desire to please Jesus. Sometimes he had to say no to opportunities. While this hurt at the time, he found that God used him in unexpected areas, even sharing the gospel at the World Cup in Brazil! Read More→
You’ve probably seen them. Sponsored ads in Facebook. And you have probably noticed this creepy phenomena where you go to a Website (like Amazon), then when you go to Facebook, that same product shows up!
You might think it’s strange, but it really is no mystery. It’s called retargeting or pixeling. It’s all done by grabbing a pixel and inserting it into your website.
It’s an extremely effective and cheap way to get the word out about your brand. After all, it’s repetition of seeing your offer that makes a difference in sales.
So how can you take advantage of retargeting ads in Facebook?
First of all, be specific in your offer and who you are offering it to. This will give you the best results.
Facebook Website Custom Audiences lets you make the right offer to the right audience who already knows you! Now that will really help you increase brand awareness!
Facebook Website Creation lets you create a list and run ads to audiences who have visited your website.
This is powerful because they have shown interest in your website and they have shown interest in you. They showed that by visiting your site.
How? Use your content to build focused lists and offer them what they want.
Here are the steps to take:
1. Segment your website content based on your audience and niche
2. Create keywords that will go into every URL that you produce in the future
3. Organize your existing content into a spreadsheet
4. Go into Facebook
5. Log into ‘Create Audience” button
6. Choose “Custom Audience from Your Website”
7. Accept Facebook’s TOS and click “Create Audience.”
8. Set up your website custom audiences.
9. Insert Custom Audience Pixel into your Website’s code (do this only one time).
10. After you click submit, the custom audience will display in the audiences tab in ads manager.
11. Create ads that target this category. That could be a blog or a lead magnet (freebie).
12. Do this over and over again! Test and test! Learn from your failures and build on your successes! Read More→
Creating a bestselling book on Amazon. A laudable goal that many business owners aspire to. It’s perfect as a Christian work at home mom or dad to publish a book because it brings credibility. But what’s the number one factor when self-publishing a book?
Yet many business owners skimp on this by doing it themselves or outsourcing it out to someone who is sub professional. This results in less sales and less exposure, which does damage to your brand.
Let’s face it: a prospect will take seconds to decide whether or not to click on your link, and that is highly dependent on the quality and relevance of the graphic of your book cover.
So how can you create a book cover that not only stands out, but helps you skyrocket sales? Here are five graphic design secrets that will help you!
1. Think of the book cover as an art poster
As a graphic artist, I have always approached designing book and magazine covers this way. Would you want to hang up your book cover as art?
When I was in college, one of my favorite magazines was The New Yorker. They always had such intriguing art! I saved many of them and one of these days I am going to put them up on my office wall!
What about your book cover? Would you want to hang it up on your wall or are you embarrassed by it?
If you don’t know what constitutes a good art poster, check out some art galleries or go to your local library and peruse through the periodical section. Get inspired by some ideas (but don’t steal them), and your cover design will improve!
2. Make the title readable
This is the first and primary rule of graphic design. Your font selection needs to be readable! It’s amazing how many people overlook this essential principle.
After all, if your audience can’t read the text on your cover, what’s the point? Read More→
Awkward. The moment I sat in front of a brick and mortar service provider and told him that his logo missed the mark when it came to expressing his brand.
As I came in the building that morning to give him a presentation on my branding programs, a mix match of signs greeted me. One on the building and a different one inside. Okay, that’s confusing!
He wanted to know how he could attract more business, especially wanting to know how his clients could better understand what he provided.
And yet, when I mentioned that his logo needed to communicate the essence of his business and that perhaps it wasn’t doing the job, he rankled.
He had “designed” it himself. Or maybe a relative did it. The logo was cool, he said. I can’t remember, this meeting was so long ago. But I remember how I felt about his response: Oh dear, he is taking his logo personally! He was attached and couldn’t see it objectively.
This scene is all too common among business owners as well as authors or artists. Putting something up on the Internet because it’s pretty or you like it or it’s cool is not a good enough reason to choose a logo mark, book cover, brochure, or any other marketing material you are producing.
Why? Because your logo or any other product/marketing piece needs to communicate your intended message. In particular, a logo needs to communicate what you do and convey trust and credibility to your target market. Read More→
So, Christian work at home mom or dad, have you played with your kids lately?
Why is that important, and what does that have to do with branding your business?
Well, let me illustrate my answer with a story, if I may!
Before, during, and after Thanksgiving I worked myself ragged on a book promotion. After that, I was burned out. It took me a long time to recover. Then came Christmas, with all its family demands. I completely lost focus for awhile in my business. It didn’t help that I threw my back out because I had worked so hard!
As it says in Psalm 32 The Message version, “all the juices of my life dried up.”
Then my nephew, Nathan, and his wife came for an extended visit. A talented young man with many visions and dreams and with the support of his talented and enthusiastic wife, we started to dream and plan together that first full day they were guests in my home.
So it was at our favorite coffee shop that we brainstormed many ideas, including what activity to do in my homeschooling club. This led to us preparing for an amazing creative play experience for my son and a dozen other students.
What was it? We made medieval boffer swords and the children engaged in play sword skirmishes! The kids had a blast and we had a blast facilitating this!
But even more importantly, we had a vision. To continue this creative play not only in the homeschool club, but at home as well as part of our PE time. Read More→
Recently, a friend of mine messaged me horrible news. Her house had been robbed and along with that her electronic valuables. She had no backups! Thankfully, she had some files on Google Drive, but her story reminded me of the importance of always having a backup of computer files.
I’ve been caught several times, too. Not by theft but by the inevitable crashing of hard drives in laptop computers. It only had to happen to me a couple of times to realize–using a backup service is essential to running my business!
Also, years ago one of my external drives had failed. One company quoted me $3,000 dollars to recover the data! Thankfully, a computer whiz I knew managed to restore the data for $75. That was a bargain!
And computer backup cloud services are a bargain, also!
Sure, you can do it yourself. For Macs, there is Time Machine. Um, can’t remember the last time I did it. Besides, if there was a disaster or a theft, most likely your external drives would be history, too!
So if you don’t want to go to the expense of a cloud service, at least backup your computer to a drive you will keep off site!
But suppose you are sold on the idea of paying for a service? Where do you turn?
Here are three companies that can help:
This is the service I have used for years. It’s a no brainer in that it automatically backs up my computer as I work on it. For one or two computers, it’s reasonable. The payments start at $59.99 annually so it’s easy on my budget.
The negatives are that when I did have a computer crash, recovering the files was not as smooth as I would have liked. Some files didn’t appear to work. But I managed to download everything that was important so I don’t think I lost much.
The other drawback is that the charge is per computer. However, if you purchase the office plan you can get unlimited backup for computers, devices, and external drives for $269.99 per year.
One more negative–if you are working on a file and then realize later you need to restore it to its original, it will be too late. The backup is actually so fast that whatever’s on your hard drive currently is what will be on the Carbonite cloud soon after. For those projects that you are continually working on, it would be beneficial to periodically backup these files independently to another cloud service (like iCloud. See below).
iDrive promises to be much more competitive. I like that I can backup all computers (Windows, Macs, external drives, and devices) in one account. It starts at $69.50 for the first year (but there is a sale as I write this so it is even less). It will even do older operating systems. And it has a 5 GB offer that is free. So you can try it and see if you like it.
I did try the free account awhile ago and I found it a bit more complicated to use than Carbonite. But I’m not sure I didn’t give it a fair shake. Considering the amazing deal I will probably try again! Read More→