Guest blog from Vicki Nicolson
Vicki Nicolson Branding Therapy
When you first started out in business I bet you thought, right, I’ll press my publish button on my Facebook page, launch my site, set up all my different social media accounts and then BOOM I’ll get loads of clients. And as soon as you did all this you got a few likes from friends and well wishes but not actual paying customers, am I right?
So here’s the thing when it comes to your lovely business, you really are the only one who cares about it more than anyone else. You are your biggest fan because you believe that you can do great things, change people’s lives and make a real difference. So why aren’t you telling anyone? Why are you sitting looking at competitor websites, pages and posts? Whilst in the back of your mind there is a little voice telling you, OH MY GOD THIS IS NEVER GONNA WORK, YOU ARE CRAP and YOU CAN NOT DO THIS.
This is called being normal! Brands build their reputation and recognition over time. There is no such thing as an overnight success. Speak to anyone in business and they will tell you the same thing. Crickey, Apple were literally on the verge of going bankrupt until Steve Jobs returned to Apple. They had to work mighty hard to get to where there are now.
So how can you too become a brand magnet and stand out from the crowd? Here are my 3 simple steps to help to magnetise your brand and supercharge your business.
Step #1 – BE YOU
Your brand is all about personality. You know already what makes you different but sometimes we just don’t have the guts to show our true colours and confidence holds us back. Find something you love doing, be YOU and be consistent and I guarantee you will feel more at ease with your brand and your biz.
So just be YOU. That is the one piece of advice I give on a daily basis. Stick your name in your biz name. This is key advice, especially for the coaching market. Right now I see a lot of coaches entering the market, using your own name makes you unique and will make you stand out in an overcrowded marketplace. Sticking you name right in there in your business also makes you look passionate about your business too. You love it so god damn much you put your name to it. This also works, especially if it is just you in the business.
Write your copy for your site the way you want to. Post on your FB page when you want and not on the basis of your insights – I get way more engagement when I don’t even take notice of my insights stats. And tell your brand story – tell people how you came up with your business idea, what your passion is and how you help them. People are intrigued by how you can help them. The whole brand building process is about building an emotional connection with you so that ultimately they buy from you.
Step #2 – Use eye-catching images and don’t blend in
First impressions matter – it takes milliseconds for your potential customers to form an opinion about your website, logo and visual branding, font, colours, spacing, symmetry etc so your brand image is everything.
Using eye-catching brand images will enhance your brand’s image ten-fold. I know the hard part can be finding just the ‘right’ image for your meme, Facebook cover or brochure but the biggest secret behind captivating your audience is to follow some of my simple basic steps to help you pull some images together fast.
- Try to choose images based on the relevance of what you are posting and writing about.
- Don’t blend in. So for instance, if you sell ethical products then it would be obvious to use all things green and eco related right? WRONG! Go down a different path, choose a different colour, like pink with a use of teal and yellow instead, and images of laughing women seem to get the most engagement on my own Facebook page. Try it and see.
- Use quirky images that pop and don’t just copy and paste other people’s quotes when you are posting memes, find your own voice and write your own quotes based on your own opinions.
- Use well-composed images that ooze greatness and that are well thought out.
Overall think about the emotion you are trying to communicate. How do you want you tribe to feel? You want to build an emotional connection with your brand, how will you communicate that?
Step #3 – Professionally brand yourself
We’re all drawn to visual gorgeousness. It attracts interest and it creates desire for something. If you want to make more money in your business right now then you need to create an exciting and irresistible brand identity for your biz. A well-developed brand identity is key for clients and customers in their decision making process. According to Google research, users spend most time focusing on your logo before moving on within a website – it’s 6.48 seconds – yup that’s more time than anywhere else on your site! Yikes! You literally have seconds to win them over. 94% of first impressions are design related. Google research, overall, said this, “invest in design – it’s what matters the most for pulling users in.”
The benefits of having a good logo are tenfold:
- It makes you look established, bigger, committed and reputable
- Conveys you are professional
- It explains your company name
- You will stand out from others in a similar field or explains an unusual line of business
It’s a no brainer to get yourself a good logo and consistent branding across all your marketing materials and that includes things like photoshoots, your office space and even down to what specific piece of clothing you wear. I am known for my love of all things pink – I wear a lot of pink. So my brand is pink. Nails are painted pink… Professional branding identity will boost your business and your confidence.
Once you nail these simple steps you will start to ask yourself, how can I do more with my brand?
Your brand will evolve over time but you need to be committed, consistent, be your biggest fan and be hands on in your brand. It needs daily maintenance, it needs love and your customers need to be engaged. So be prepared to look after your brand. Post every day, mingle in groups, get your name out there, be the expert, stand out from the crowd and be in it for the long haul and I guarantee it will supercharge your sales.
Vicki is a creative branding stylist, designing magnetic branding for women in business throughout the world.
Vicki has two decades of graphics, marketing and communications expertise. She enjoyed a lucrative career working as an in-house designer for international corporations and when her son turned four she decided it was time to take the leap and follow her dream of running her own business.
Using her power of creativity Vicki helps women stand out from the crowd by branding businesses in such a way to target desired clients and to help convert customers into paying ones.
For more information: www.brandingtherapy.co.uk
Top tips to create a survey online
- What is your objective
Decide what you want and why you want to create a survey in the first place. Have a clear objective as to what information you want to get from the results.
Do you want to know what they think of an existing product? Do you want to know what they love about you so you can use this in your future marketing message? Do you want to know what frustrations clients have so you can look to add a new product or service to help them?
- Who is your target audience
Know exactly who you want to the answers from. In other words, who is your target audience. There is no point getting teenage girls to answer a survey about anti ageing products.
Identify your target market clearly and in your opening statement make it clear to only complete if they fit the mix.
If you are a woman over 40 who cares about her appearance and would like to keep your skin as youthful as possible for a long as possible, please complete my survey and be in with a chance of winning a sample pack of my new product
- Let your audience know how much time the survey will take.
If they know it will only take 2 minutes, then tell them. If it is going to take them 15 minutes, let them know and tell them to go grab a coffee. There is nothing more frustrating than getting to question 6 with no idea of how many more questions there are and how long it is going to take. Many people (including myself) will simply give up if they think it is going to take too long so set expectations at the beginning.
- Give an incentive
You are asking people to give up their valuable time so incentivise them to help you out. When you create a survey, offer a prize draw to win one of your products or a complimentary session if you sell a service. Everyone loves to think they are in with a chance of winning and if you have targeted your audience correctly, they are going to want what you are offering.
- Keep in short and sweet
Leading on from point number 3, short surveys get the best response unless there is a golden incentive for giving up longer periods of life to complete more in-depth ones. I always try to stick to 10 questions maximum as this is enough to glean the information I want and to not overwhelm the respondent.
- Keep it simple
Keep questions as simple as possible. Don’t overwhelm respondents by asking them to describe in detail a situation/feeling/opinion. This is going to take them time and thought which may put them off. If you have one area that you really would like to know more about, leave it until the end. Have the simple questions that they can get through quickly at the beginning and keep anything more detailed for last.
For simple questions, use multiple choice or checklists.
- Don’t use closed questions
Closed questions give a yes or no answer so should be used sparingly. Asking someone ‘Do you love our products’ is closed and can only be answered with a yes or no which doesn’t really give you any valuable information.
Ask open questions such as ‘What do you love most about our product/service?’ followed by another question of ‘what one thing could we do to improve our product/service?’. This will give you much better insight into vital information to help your business.
- Gather email addresses
Ask people to give their email address and by offering an incentive as in point 3, this is an easy way to get them to hand it over. However, don’t make it compulsory. The survey is to gain you valuable information and insight for your business and you don’t want to lose people who aren’t willing to give up this information.
You can then add survey respondents to your mailing list or send them a personal message to offer help with a specific problem that they have highlighted in their answers.
- Have a cut-off date
Don’t let the survey run forever. Have a clear cut-off date to collate and analyse answers, and of course, for the competition winner to be decided and announced.
Post your survey wherever you can. Send to your mailing list, post the link in social media groups, send to existing and past clients and all of your prospects.
So there you have it. My top tips to create a survey online that gets results.
If you create a survey that you would like me to share for you, simply come on over to my Facebook group and I will be more than happy to help.
Do you wish you could be more productive in your working day?
Did you get up this morning and before you had finished your first cup of coffee, had already started to feel completely overwhelmed. You knew you had so much to do and so many tasks to finish and you just didn’t know where to start.
Does this sound like you? Yes? Well first and foremost, if you are a regular reader of my blog posts and a member of my Facebook group and see my daily tips, you will already know that I always suggest taking a few minutes at the end of each day to tidy up your workspace and plan ahead by writing down your top three priority tasks for the next day. That way, each morning you can then come into your office or workspace and know exactly what you have to focus on for the day which will, in turn, help you to be more productive
The psychological effect of a timer
But even so, at times, you get up in the morning and still feel completely overwhelmed. So here is my tip. Get yourself a timer. This can be a kitchen timer or an app on your phone but make sure it has a decent ticking noise. There is something quite powerful in that ticking sound which creates a sense of urgency. No, I am not talking the gentle ticking of a Grandfather clock but the urgency of the tick tock you hear on the timer of Countdown (for UK readers) or the tick-tock from the crocodile in Peter Pan that made you aware of imminent danger. Hearing that noise can have quite a psychological impact to somehow propel you to get your work done as quickly as possible.
When you get up each morning, make sure that you have your three key tasks in front of you and your timer. Then sit down and work out how long it is going to take you to complete each task. Once you have done this, you need to then break down any longer tasks into 15 or 20-minute chunks. Therefore, if you have a task that you believe it’s going to take two hours, simply break it down into six lots of 20-minute chunks. Doing this will make life so much easier and keep you focused for short bursts of time rather than getting overwhelmed thinking you have to work for two hours solid where you are more likely going to faff about wondering where are you going to start and actually getting not a lot done for a least first hour.
For instance, if you’re writing a section of a workshop such as I was yesterday morning, or creating content for your website, break it into bite-size sections. The first 20 minutes will be for mapping out the content. The second 20 minutes will be pulling together all the resources and relative articles that are needed. The third 20 minutes will be bullet pointing into a PowerPoint keynotes and pulling images together etc. The next three chunks of 20 minutes will actually be writing the content.
If you are making a product, your first 20 minutes could be getting all of your materials together setting up your workspace. The second 20 minutes will be putting the basic items together that form the framework of whatever you are making.
If you are a web designer or graphic designer, your first 20 minutes could be something such as choosing colours and fonts in order to be ready to move on to your next 20 minutes of sketching out an initial design. Think of all the things you have to do and keep breaking each area down until they fit a 20-minute time slot.
The key trick to be more productive and get your work completed
The key trick to getting your work done is to take regular breaks so when that timer goes off after each 20 minutes, you need to take a two-minute break. You may think this is wasting time if you are in the flow of things but I promise you it’s not. It gives your brain a rest just by moving your body around, just walking from one room to another, stretching and grabbing a glass of water.
Taking these regular short breaks will keep your mind fresh so you feel like going back and doing the next 20-minute task. This can be so much more effective than just trying to go at something for hours on end and losing momentum and motivation along the way.
You can apply this principle to anything. Try it with your housework (I do all my housework in 20-minute dashes). Try it with your fitness rather than feeling you can’t achieve something. If you think you’ve got to go out and do a 1-hour run but you really don’t feel like it, break into 20-minute chunks. Go run for 20 minutes then stop and walk for two minutes. Run for another 20 minutes, stop and walk for two minutes. Have a final run of 20 minutes. Doing it this way stops you feeling overwhelmed by thinking you have to run for a full hour. By breaking it down and having a rest in between, you have achieved what you set out to do without losing motivation part way through.
At the end of each hour of work, yes, you have taken more time as your one hour of work will have taken one hour and six minutes, but by giving yourself breaks it helps you get refocused and keeps you motivated.
Try it for yourself and tell me in the comments below if it helps you be more productive or not.
How many times to you get an enquiry from a prospect, send them some details and then file them away and hope they get back in touch? Too often I suspect. Some of these prospects could be good potential future clients but they do not receive enough contact to be converted to buying from you.
How many times do you think you should follow up a prospect?
People tend to lead busy lives and if the email you send or voicemail you leave arrives with them at an inconvenient time, they may forget to respond or, be full of intention to, but then something else happens that takes priority. Past research has shown that it can take up to seven touch points with a prospective client before they take action and with the huge rise in social media, this figure can now be significantly higher.
I have included a simple diagram which shows 13 touch points, but illustrates how the buying process can take time and most sales people do not make enough contact to keep in the potential client’s mind. You may not see yourself as a sales person, but in reality, yes you are if you are trying to gain paying clients.
Therefore, you need to set up a system to ensure regular activity to try to make contact and if no response is forthcoming after a set period, to at least add them to your mailing list for an ongoing newsletter (you did take their email didn’t you?).
After someone has requested some information on your business and you have sent it out, a simple seven point contact plan could be as below. Once a prospect buys from you, they would move out of the remaining sequence and be added to your client mailing list so that ongoing contact is still maintained. The types of contact you have will be determined by the information you have available so at the point of initial enquiry, get as much information as you can. Ask for an email as the bare minimum but if you can, take a phone number and mailing address.
- Attempt contact via email or phone call to see if info received and if any questions. If no response, leave message or send acknowledgement email (within 24 hours)
- Follow up call to prospect and if not there, leave a message (+24 hours from step 1)
- Send follow up email (+ 1 week from step 2)
- Send written letter (+ 1 week from step 3)
- Final phone call (+ 1 month from step 4)
- Final email (+ 1 week from step 5)
- Final letter – confirm no further contact will be made but will add to mailing list (+ 1 month from step 6)
Once prospects have moved off the main seven steps and on to your mailing list, this database of contacts can be used for sending out your newsletter, free advice and tips and for future marketing purposes including competitions/surveys etc.
To find out more about the follow-up process and how it can dramatically help you get more clients, watch my webinar recording on How To Double Your Sales In 90 Days. It may just be the most valuable 60 minutes you spend on your business!