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Archive for Branding for Success

Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerThese days, it seems that more and more companies do not care about their product or service and they are apathetic toward their customers. But as a work at home Mom or Dad, you have an excellent opportunity to stand out. And as a Christian, by striving for excellence in all you do you can be a shining light in the business world.I see people promising way too much and not coming through. This hurts a brand.

Have you noticed this trend toward mediocrity? Have you ever had lackluster customer service? I wouldn’t doubt it! I know that my husband, Travis, and I have been fighting our former mortgage company for months. My husband practically had to tell the customer service agents how to do their jobs and it was only until we threatened legal action did they come through with our request, which was by the way what they had to do by law.

This lackluster customer service reflects badly on a brand. In fact, companies can become “branded” in a negative way.

But as a work at home business owner, you can choose to be different. From your marketing to your identity collateral to your product and/or service to your customer service, you can strive for excellence.

So how does that practically look? Here are some ideas:

1) Look out for your customer’s interests, not your own.Does that sound slightly biblical? It certainly is! I think of my husband’s potential client, a restaurant owner. My husband could tell this client that he needs this and he needs that done and it would bring us a lot more money. But we know that the client wants to keep this project simple, so Travis is going to bat for him with the city. It’s not about how much we can get from him, it’s about providing excellent service at the level he needs it.

2) When you say you’re going to be somewhere, be there! So this seems really simple, right? Yet more and more I see people promising way too much and not coming through. This hurts a brand. It’s called over promising and under delivering. You always want to be careful about your commitments and make sure you can be counted on. This is a huge way you can stand out. Under promise and over deliver.

Read More→

Oct
26

10 Low­-Cost Vendor Booth Ideas to Rocket Your Brand Recognition

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DanamarketAs Christian work at home business owners, we need to get out in the community on a regular basis. I have found the best way to get out in front of my target market is to participate in vendor fairs.

But signage can be extremely expensive. And how can you make your booth appealing instead of drab and boring?

This is an area where I’ve put much thought into. While I have a long ways to go, I have also made great strides, all while being on a limited budget. Let me share some ideas with you:

1) Make a banner with CafePress.com

This is where I had my large, full­color banner made. It was extremely affordable, I believe less than $50. It didn’t take me long to get it and I could fully customize it to my branding. Their banner fits easily on a typical vendor table and it comes with grommets. It is durable vinyl. I have had mine for a couple years now and it is in good shape.

2) Use presentation boards from Hobby Lobby.

Hobby Lobby seems to have the best variety of tri­fold presentation boards at the best price. They have many colors that will fit within your brand.

3) Use fabric to cover up the boards to make them look even more unique!

This is what I did with a couple of boards I had. I spruced them up with fabric. Actually, they were curtains that I got for cheap and I cut them to fit. It made for a very unique presentation. I had to use a very sturdy tape to glue the posters onto the board, so be aware of that! Read More→

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Aug
31

3 Ways to Keep Your Brand “Top of Mind”

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Keeping your brand “top of mind” with your prospects and customers is an important goal. Why? Because when a need or want arises, your prospect will think of you first and naturally want to reach out to you for help. This will result in more sales, both with new and repeat customers.

How does this work? First of all, you have to build credibility and likeability. Because people do business with people they like, know, and trust. You have to continually be adding value to your prospect and customer, no matter what medium you use, whether an email, a phone call, or a branded card with a personal note.

But what specific methods or strategies can you use to keep your brand “top of mind” with your prospects?

Here are three ideas to get you started:

1) A follow-­up system

Creating a follow-­up system with prospects and customers will be the most effective way you can keep your business “top of mind.”

Most businesses do not do this at all. By practicing this one habit, you can vastly improve the bottom line of your company and bring customers to you. Kevin Knebl, author of “Social Media Sales Revolution,” became a top seller and worldwide speaker in demand by creating a follow up system that truly nurtures relationships. I had the privilege of attending one of his seminars and what he shared was life changing!

Because communication is a timeless principle. Just because we have new technology does not mean the tried and true methods of influencing people is out of date. In fact, they are more important than ever!

This is why “old fashioned” snail mail printed pieces like business cards, postcards, and thank you cards will never go out of style. Brand your identity collateral and use it to keep in touch with your prospects and customers. It will be well worth the investment!

2) A regular e-zine or newsletter

Marketing experts tell us it takes seven exposures to make a sale. Probably in reality, that number is even higher. There is more competition today than ever before, due to the fast- paced world of the Internet.

Providing your customer or prospect with a regular e-zine or newsletter that features information that will make their lives better will keep your brand in front of them continually. The trick is doing market research to know what kind of information they are looking for and providing it on a regular basis.

Read More→

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Aug
03

Relationships: the Key Factor to Your Branding Success

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DanaIn this Internet age, trends seem to rule the roost when it comes to building a work at home business. Everyone is searching for that “magic pill” that will bring them instant success with very little effort.

But this is an illusion. It is like the foolish man building on sand. A Christian work at home business needs to be built on solid ground. On timeless business principles.

Branding is one of these timeless principles. Branding is not a hot new trend, though sometimes it appears that way since so many more people are talking about it. Branding is just the expression of who you are as a business and what makes you unique.

And effective branding is built with relationships.

God values relationships highly. Can we treat relationships less as His representatives?

How are we called to treat people?

For me, the central principle is found in 1 Corinthians 13. Many years ago, I prayed that I would have this kind of love for people, for those whom I minister to. And now that I am a business owner, I am still guided by these ideals.

Because the business is not about me. It’s about God working through me to help others. The other night, I was working hard on a display board for a fair the next morning. The thought came to me, “Why do I work so hard? Why do I put myself under this much pressure?” Read More→

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Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggerstand outCorporations spend tens of thousands of dollars on branding. Think about the “big guys” out there—the Targets and Visas and Starbucks, to name a few. They jealously guard their images. They trademark their logos and slogans. And they go after violators with a vengeance.

They know that their branding is their most important asset.

So why should you, as a work-at-home business owner, think any less?

Unfortunately, many small business owners gravitate to logos and branding that is cheap and free. In fact, some business owners don’t even know what branding is!

A good brand is more than finding a pretty or cool logo. Or going to a cheap and free resource that will give you templates and all you do is plug in your information.

The problem with these resources is it is not tailor-made to your unique business. It is not customized so that your prospects will easily recognize you.

It’s kind of like being lost in a sea of “cookie cutter” homes. Where I live, there are plenty of them! Every time I go in one of these neighborhoods, I get lost because I can’t tell the difference between one house and the next.

It’s the same with your logo and branding. If your logo looks the same as your competition, your prospect will be lost. There’s nothing to distinguish you from the crowd. This is especially problematic with the Internet.

But when you base a logo on strategic analysis, on your Unique Selling Point, your mission, target market, and other factors, you will be building a brand that brings value. This will mean an increase in your bottom line!

Read More→

Dana Susan Beasley, Branding for Success bloggercreatingthebestbrandimageA name is the foundation of your brand. Your name is the single-most important clue as to what your brand image will look like. Your name helps you connect with your prospects and customers. Obviously, your name is what gives you brand recognition.

So how do you create a good one? And what do you if you are a direct seller or representative for a company?

There are two basic kinds of names: persona or personal brand. A persona is a descriptive name that encapsulates the essence of who you are and what you do. A personal brand is your own name.

Now there is hot debate about which one is better, but it comes down to your personal preference and what works best for your business. What are you most excited about? To me, names based on a persona offer a lot of room for creativity when designing. Words are pictures and when you find a good word, you can turn it into a memorable graphic that will help distinguish you from above the crowd.

You can find clues for your business name in your own personality, in your mission statement, or Unique Selling Proposition. Just make sure it resonates with others and that it is memorable and not too hard to understand!

A persona name can also be based on keywords. I know for one business I helped start, we used this method. We had to do very little marketing to make our first sales because of this strategy. Our market found us!

Bloggers, coaches, writers, and artists often choose to have a personal name brand. They want people to be able to search their name to find them on the Internet. Of course, for this strategy you have to do a lot of brand building so your audience recognizes your name and knows what you do.

A combination of the two works very well in this Internet age. The great advantage we have as small business owners is that we can come out from behind the curtain. We don’t have to be faceless corporations that are impersonal and dehumanizing. Because people want to do business with people whom they like, know, and trust. So when you add your name and photograph to your mediums you are going to be building that trust and like ability. Read More→

Jul
06

3 Common Logo Design Mistakes that Detract from Your Brand Image

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DanaIn stand outthis Internet age, it is more important than ever to stand out above the crowd. You can get literally lost in a sea of choices these days! So how can you get noticed?

One very important way is through having a professional brand image. Many home-­based business owners make common mistakes when it comes to their logos that detract from their brands. As a graphic designer and brand expert, I see these mistakes often. If you know what they are, you will have an edge up on your competition and you will get the attention you need for your business to thrive!

So here are the three common design mistakes:

1) Using Inch/Foot Marks

Now, you may be wondering, what in the world am I talking about? Foot marks and inch marks are symbols that stand for measuring length. They are straight up and down and they look UGLY. Due to the limitations of the Internet, these symbols have to be used for quotations and apostrophes. But you should not be using them in your brand images and marketing materials! Instead, use what’s called “smart quotes” or “curly quotes.”

Before the advent of desktop publishing, typesetters had the job of turning copy into columns of type. There were standards that were adhered to and widely known in the industry. Upon the introduction of computer layout software and image manipulation software, graphic designers became in effect typesetters. Professionals knew the standards.

But these computer programs became so widely used that amateurs had no idea about the difference between these marks. The typesetting aspect of design got lost.

Why does this matter? Because the image created with smart quotes looks professional and the foot/inch marks look amateurish. A professional image sets your business apart from the competition. That means you will be noticed if you follow these standards.

So how do you use smart quotes? Most software programs have a toggle switch in the preferences window that allows you to turn on smart quotes. There are also keyboard shortcuts, but they are different between PC and Mac. It’s not too hard to find out just by doing a little research.

2) Lack of Aesthetic Design

Making a brand image, a logo, is graphic design. This is an art unto itself and there’s a lot involved in it. Experienced graphic designers understand the elements that go into creating a logo. Basically, these elements are the same principles used in fine art. These range from color balance to aligning of objects, which is a very important standard in graphic design. Images need to be grounded, not floating on a space. There needs to be proportion and evenness.

Understand the elements of design and your brand image will be professional and that will mean it will get noticed!

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Jun
29

What Does It Really Mean to Be “Authentic” with Your Brand?

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Dana“Authentic” is another buzz word heard a lot when talking about branding. I use it myself in my branding courses. It’s core to what I do and how I help my clients.

But what does it mean? And how do you be authentic?

Authentic is being real. It is being you, not a carbon copy of someone else. It is not fake. It does not promise one thing and not deliver.

Finding your authentic identity involves a thorough analysis of your talents, gifts, callings, vision, dreams, weaknesses, personality, strengths, and more. When you fully understand who you are and why you are in business, you can build a brand based on you and your uniqueness. It will truly be customized.

It’s kind of like this: Have you ever driven into a developer neighborhood and gotten lost? I certainly have! Cookie cutter neighborhoods look all alike. I cannot find my destination by memory. I have to work extra hard to know the address.

But when you go to a custom house, do you not remember it? If it is really well designed, is it not worth more?

It’s the same with a brand. When your look is cookie cutter (like from one of those cheap business card templates you can get from the Internet), you will lose customers. You will not be easy for your customer to find because you will not be memorable. There is nothing to distinguish you from your competition.

But when you customize your brand you are adding value to your business. That in the end means increased revenue.

That is why building a brand based on your authentic identity is so important. It has be to be who you are, who your business is, at the core. And part of that authenticity is delivering on your promises.

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Jun
15

4 Tips to Overcoming Procrastination in Your Business

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DananapProcrastination. Really, quite honestly it is one of my biggest weaknesses. It’s so easy for me to get caught up in Facebook or checking my email a hundred times per day or wasting my time just “putsing” around. It holds me back from accomplishing everything I need to accomplish and it definitely could hurt my brand if I let it continue.

In fact, if clients rely on you, procrastination can be a brand killer!

So how can we overcome procrastination? Perhaps these ideas will help us:

1) Take things in bite­size chunks.

It’s really easy for me to get overwhelmed with everything I need to do. I feel pulled in a million different directions. When that happens, I just want to chuck it all and do nothing or waste my time doing trivial things like spending excess time in Facebook.

The trick is to break projects down into small steps. Don’t overwhelm your “to­do” list with hundreds of items. That will only burden you down. This drag leads to avoidance behavior. Believe me, I am speaking from experience!

It’s so much better to concentrate on the three or four strategic things you need to do for your business rather than 20 things you think you have to do in a day. Be committed to get those few things done and then you can go on with a feeling of success. This will give you strength to tackle more.

Once you accomplish a few things, be sure to give yourself little rewards to keep yourself motivated. You might think of a huge reward when you finish a big project. Read More→

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Jun
08

3 Print Promotional Ideas to Skyrocket Your Marketing and Sales!

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DanaIn mJb165Ithese days of Internet marketing, it is easy to forget about old-­fashioned methods. No, they are not dead!

In fact, think about this: what do you receive in your mailbox? Junk and bills, right? So perhaps you can stand out above the crowd through some direct mail campaigns targeted to your audience. May these ideas get you started!

1) Postcards

Postcards are an extremely effective way to introduce yourself to prospects, especially in a localized area. Relatively inexpensive, they also offer a lower rate when it comes to mailing services.

Want to introduce your products or services? Then this is a perfect way to give a shout out to local businesses or individuals that you exist. Don’t know where to start? Check with your library! They usually have databases that you can use to help you target a list. Then you can follow up with a phone call a few days after the postcard is received. And that will mean you won’t be strictly cold calling, which will be more effective in the long run.

2) Notecards

Sending notecards is a more personalized method of promoting your products or services. This is especially helpful for current customers. After all, they are your best customers.

Using notecards is the first major marketing campaign my husband will employ in his new endeavor as a full time self­employed architect (yes, he now works at home!). I designed special notecards that included his branding and one of his best drawings on the cover.  He will write personal notes (with my help) to construction and engineering firms around the state to announce that he is open for business. He will then follow up with a phone call or email or both. Read More→

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