I’ve kind of been on a growing and learning binge lately. Blame it on the new year, or my ten year business anniversary this year. But man, you know what I’m finding out? We may be missing the mark on what really produces growth and recognition in our businesses.
Believe me, I’m an advocate for strong visual branding. It’s really the first impression and can be the deciding factor between a visitor that stays with you or moves on. But, before you tackle that monster, here’s what I’m seeing the winners out there focusing their attention on:
1. Give before you sell. So often, we think the best method to build that loyal client base is to make sure they have their eyes on what you’re selling. Whether you’re spending hours on Instagram posts making sure the crowd knows about your new campaign or paying hundreds of dollars in advertising -- while those can help sometimes, those are no means for loyal customers.
People buy from people they know and trust. They want to know about you. Your story. They want inside access. If they saw you at a coffee shop, they would say, “I know her! I mean, I’ve never met her. But I feel like I know her!” Hmm, if you’ve been giving of yourself, your story, and your free help and guidance for a long time, the moment you try to sell something, there is no hesitation to buy!
So try it. Tell your story. Give away valuable information. Give give give, until it’s time to sell. (Email lists are an ideal avenue for this. Jenna Kutcher has an excellent take on this HERE.)
2. The Visual Bank. Ever land on an Instagram feed and got bored because there was so much to see, but no face to the name? Lots of #regrams, but no real work of their own? Just like the idea that people buy from someone they know...they also like to SEE that person and SEE their real work.
Maybe a branding session or even a lifestyle session with a photographer who gets your brand is what your web and social media presence needs.
Let’s admit it, we’re all nosy. We want in. And before we buy, we want to feel like we know every aspect of that seller’s business and life. Creating a bank of those images are the open door to connection with your followers that will likely turn into clients.
3. Planning and Creating Margin. I know. We creatives just want to create. How can you systemize creativity? You just want to flow. But you know what? Sometimes, creating flows better when everything else behind it is in order. Unless you really thrive within your own beautiful mess...most of the brands making a mark are being more intentional than you think.
They’re creating a time bank of how many hours of creating vs. growing their business they really have. (I have started this myself, and oh my word, the difference it has made on my schedule!) For some, it may mean making the jump to hiring help if it helps their time bank. Growth usually never happens alone.
They’re putting all their visuals into that visual bank to pull from in an order that makes sense, instead of piecing together the visuals for a post each time they sit down to market. The app: Planoly - oh my goodness. ‘Nough said.
They’re intentionally creating margin for their time and their money. I like to replace the word “margin” with SPACE. Space to work, space to play, and space to rest. It also creating space in your pricing to cover your costs and space to actually pay yourself.