Archive for category marketing makeover

Marketing Makeover Lesson 3: Learn the Capewalk.

The first time I ever heard of the Capewalk, it was in a very different context than business: it was a tip to help guys pick up women.

The Capewalk is all about confidence. And just as confidence is that intangible “it” factor that can be the make-or-break element in asking for a date, it’s also the make-or-break in business. It’s a great exercise that immediately creates non-verbal signals of competence and leadership. It goes something like this:

When you walk into a room (or toward an executive for a handshake), imagine that you’re wearing a cape. Seriously. Think about how Superman (or Superwoman!) would walk into whatever situation you’re facing: in such a way that that cape would flow elegantly behind him or her. Superheroes never look silly with a cape because they own their capes. So then, should you.

So let’s break that down a little. If you’re wearing a cape — and you don’t want your cape to lay limply at your back; remember, this is an accessory! — there are rules to how you stand, walk, even sit. Shoulders back, but not too back. Chest puffed out just enough so that your cape can flutter. And capes need to drape, so no slumping!

If I told you all that breakdown as individual things to remember, it’d be overwhelming. But tell you to walk like you’re wearing a cape, and bam! You’re a superhero.

Looking forward to your success story,

Megan Tackett

Go back to The Write People.

Have an issue you want addressed? Leave me a comment with your suggestion, and I’ll tackle it on my next blog entry!

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Marketing Makeover Lesson 2: Invest in a logo.

You may be a great graphic designer. You may have designed dozens of logos. When it comes to your own, however, get a fresh mind involved. And if you’re not a designer, it’s even more important to get a professional involved.

I am not a graphic designer. I design page lay-outs and can play with already-created images, but what takes a graphic designer 20 minutes to draw from scratch takes me two hours. To save money and time, I bought a stock image of a quill from istockphoto.com and created a logo-esque design for my company from there. I consider that a rookie mistake, and it’s one that a lot of entrepreneurs make.

Tempting as it may be, do not use clipart or a stock image as the graphical element of your logo. You — and more importantly, your company — deserve better. Your logo should be as unique as you company and should last just as long. When deciding on a logo, you want to imagine your business 10 years from now. Will that logo still be impactful? If not, ditch the logo idea. Keep tweaking a concept until it is just right. As you invest in building a brand for yourself, you don’t want to sabatoge that brand by having a second-rate logo that you’re going to have to change down the road. Because as all the blue-chip megacompanies out there can attest, even as you change your logo, you only do so subtly over long periods of time. That way, you keep your logo (and your brand) fresh and timely without compromising your image.

And so, in my mission to follow my own marketing advice, I’m currently working with my graphic designers to develop a new logo for The Write People LLC. A few things to keep in mind when deciding on a logo that represents your company:

  1. Color. Psychologists and designers know that different colors evoke different emotional reactions in people. So choose the colors carefully. You can learn about the meaning of colors with some brief research. Here, a quick guide:
    • Red: Energy, power, passion.
    • Orange: Youthfulness, fun, warmth.
    • Yellow: Cheer and energy. A word of caution, however: While a bright yellow evokes a happy, positive feeling, darker yellows can evoke associations with filth and grime.
    • Green: Growth, health, wealth.
    • Blue: Wisdom, loyalty. A very calming color. Warning: Blue suppresses appetite, so this is not a good color for a company involved in food services at any level!
    • Purple: Luxury, power, royalty.
    • Black: Elegance, class.
    • White: Purity, cleanliness.
  2. Font. It says a lot about your company. If you want a clean look, go for a sans seriff. If you’re wanting a more corporate look, go with a seriff. And for a more fun look, well, the options are limitless, but make sure you choose something readable and well spaced. Remember, your logo needs to be adaptable, as it will be displayed on everything from your website to your business card. You need a font that will look just as good at 8-point as it does at 36-point.
  3. Graphical element. Remember that not every logo requires a graphical element. Sometimes just the name of your company in a font and color that conveys the image that you want associated with your brand is perfectly sufficient. Others need a graphical element to really make it stand out. Choose what works for you, but heed my earlier warning about investing in a unqiue image that you can trademark: a clipart or stock image won’t cut it. And even if you are a designer yourself, sometimes it’s tough to see the forest through the trees with your baby. An outside professional will give you priceless unbiased perspective.

There are thousands of logo designers out there. Regardless of your budget, there is a designer that is a good fit for your needs. There are a few designers out there willing to work for $50 per logo, and there are a few designers that charge $1,000 per logo. For those looking to find something in the middle of the cost spectrum, expect to pay between $200 and $500 for a professional logo. You should have full rights to your logo — it does not belong to the designer. And you should have high-resolution images in multiple formats to maximize versatility. Anything less is unprofessional and not worthy of your business.

Do you have a story about your own logo experience? Share it; don’t be shy!

 

Looking forward to your success story,

Megan Tackett

 

Go back to The Write People.

Have an issue you want addressed? Leave me a comment with your suggestion, and I’ll tackle it on my next blog entry!

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Marketing Makeover Lesson 1: Don’t go it alone.

You’ve heard all the trite answers.

Question: Why do you want to start your own business?

Trite Answer #1: I want to be my own boss.

Trite Answer #2: I want to work from home.

Trite Answer #3: I want to make my own schedule.

While, at some level, all of these answers are legitimate benefits of having a business, they certainly shouldn’t be the first reason that pops into an entrepreneur’s head (what about the passion to share an innovative product or idea with an emerging or underserved market?). And while all these answers speak to self empowerment, don’t they also sound a bit lonely? Working in your slippers instead of your dress shoes is more comfortable, but how much human interaction are you getting in your closet home office? Probably not much. I should know!

As I’m undergoing my “Marketing Makeover” for my own business, I’ve realized that the best way to stay energized is to engage with other people as excited about entrepreneurship as I am. Without giving away too much too soon (I know you’re on the edge of your seats), the most fun part of remaking my marketing plan is reaching out to the people behind the expert opinions I’ve been researching. Not only am I finding valuable sources to inform the feature articles I’m working on for local business publications, but I’m also tapping into an entire community of like-minded people that, frankly, know a lot more than I do. What more could I ask for?

Starting a business has a bit of a rap for being a one- or two-person activity. Don’t fall into this trap! As you perform your market research, make sure you are doing as much primary research as secondary. It’s important to look at quantitative data, but putting together the stories behind the numbers is more interesting. And meeting the characters that comprise the stories is more rewarding still. No matter what your niche, there is a network in your area literally at your fingertips. Next time you read an article relevant to your industry, take note of the names of the sources in that article. If you read a quote that sticks with you, jot down the name of the speaker. Then, next time you’re on Google, type in the name of that speaker. Chances are, you’ll find an e-mail address or a website on the first page of hits. Your next step? Reach out! The worst thing that can happen is that you never hear anything back, but at least you worked up your nerve to try to establish a human connection. The best thing that can happen is that you connect with someone to establish a lasting relationship.

This is a lesson that every journalist is taught in learning to scope out possible sources. It’s a lesson I had to remember as a business owner looking to scope out the mentors and peers that create communities. What are you waiting for?

 

Looking forward to your success story,

Megan Tackett

 

Go back to The Write People.

Have an issue you want addressed? Leave me a comment with your suggestion, and I’ll tackle it on my next blog entry!

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The snow has melted. Spring is here. Time for spring cleaning and new beginnings.

Being a ski instructor is a great job: it’s personally rewarding, it keeps me in physical shape and I get to do what I love, all day long. The only downside? I don’t get to do it all year long.

As my season came to a close, I realized that it was time to get serious about my business. Until now, I’ve mostly relied on word-of-mouth advertising here in Aspen and letting clients come to me. I also realized that my old website, while functional for my start-up purposes, no longer accurately reflected my services. I had a great winter season, but it was time for some spring cleaning.

So I completely redesigned my website. I deleted the services that hadn’t proven marketable and added services that, while not in my original business plan, cater to a need expressed by most of my clients. Out with the old, and in with the new.

At first I was concerned about this total revamp. I had worked hard to create an image for my company, or so I thought. But had I, really? Sure, I had a website and business cards. And I was constantly attending webinars and local business seminars to be an even more informed source for my clients. But was I taking my own advice? Not really.

So here it is, the advice package that I didn’t follow during the ski season. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be giving updates on the progress of my Marketing Makeover so you can follow along. You’ll get the inside scoop on what works and what you should skip. And of course, I’d love to swap stories and hear about your own successes.

  • Have a written marketing plan. I’m always happy to write business and marketing plans for others, but somehow always had an excuse for why I didn’t have time to write my own. Big mistake. I’m not finished with it yet, but having a written marketing plan has already demonstrated its value. It has forced me to sit down and really get to know my ideal client, which in turn has helped me figure out the best way to reach out to him or her. It’s also gotten the creative juices flowing for social networking opportunities and future events. By writing it all down in a timetable, I’ve created not only a plan, but a domino effect: even as I write the details for one idea, it usually inspires another.
  • Nail down the geographics. It’s easy for business owners to say that they want to expand their businesses, but to where, exactly? Creating a physical map pinpointing where you want to do business now and later is a crucial step in making that expansion a reality. Once you can look at your future expansion, it will motivate you to learn all you can about those places: the demographics of the people living there, the local culture, the local media… everything!
  • Get your books in order. All of these new plans you’ve been making are far more likely to succeed because they are well researched and written down. But they’re all going to cost money, which means you’re going to have to have a realistic budget. There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of launching a marketing stunt only to realize that you’re going to run out of funds before pulling it off. If the financial side of running a business makes you squeamish, outsource it. Get your EIN (employee identification number) if you don’t have one and hire an accountant. Or check out my favorite resource, Corporate Tax Network. Instead of having just one financial adviser, I have access to an entire network of them, 365 days a year.
  • Identify potential partners. No matter how good you are, marketing is not a one-person job. It relies on your ability tonetwork with others. So decide with whom you want to network, what you want from the relationship and what you can offer in that relationship.

So that’s it. Seemingly simple. Now for the final ingredient to ensure a Marketing Makeover: follow through. I’ll unveil my makeover incrementally over the next few weeks. It’s scary undergoing a makeover — feedback helps!

 

Looking forward to your success story,

Megan Tackett

Go back to The Write People.

Have an issue you want addressed? Leave me a comment with your suggestion, and I’ll tackle it on my next blog entry!

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