A Reminder A Business Always Needs

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Your marketing strategy should rely on 2 things: your consumer and your business.

There is so much information being thrown at you all day, every way you turn for everything in your life. Now, with your business, it can become overwhelming and you can read all kinds of things that will make you want to change your business daily if not hourly. Stop the madness.

Focus.

Here are few tips to zone in and stay the path:

  • Unsubscribe to the mountain of emails you receive. Clear that clutter!
  • Remain subscribed to the select few that truly inspire you!
  • Inventory your Facebook groups. Leave the ones that don’t make you better and that are full of promotion.
  • Seek pros that are giving you unique advice for your business. When I talk to a business owner presenting a new soap line to a host of gift shops, everything I say is different than what I will say to the photography business I am branding. It should be.
  • Don’t forget that so much of what you absorb is generic advice. That makes for a great foundation but at some point you will realize that you really need to go deeper. Focus.

Get you free Branding Workbook here.

 

Design Shake Up :: Direct Mail Review

I am a bit of a junk mail junkie. What I mean by that is that I enjoy sifting through the junk mail, and always ValPak, to review all the advertisements. It is like a weekly design exercise for my mind. I thought it might be fun for me to share some of this insight with you.

Here is one that came this week:

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Front and back design.

If there is ONE thing I am constantly aware of when designing for my clients it is creating a piece that feels authentic and that is designed without a gimicky feel. With that said, that is what my clients need and what builds their business. However, there is certainly a lot of success around gimick design so my intention here is really to focus on design insight that supports authenticity as a strategy.

Okay, back to my mail! I picked this piece to highlight because I know I am the target of this ad. I also have lovely house cleaner and she happens to be my client and I’m totally in love with how she is steering her business to grow.

My very first thoughts upon picking this up:

  • Obvious stock photo
  • No logo
  • No brand feel jumping out at me
  • Stale
  • Toss

So! If your business is trying to avoid this type of sales strategy, what do you do? How can this exact same content transform to translate a different response?

  • Develop your brand’s art direction and commit to it. Use it on everything to grow recognition.
  • Our social media, photo sharing world has become ULTRA sensitive to photos that appear super staged. Push your mind to really think and find or take a photo that isn’t like the other. Or, use design wisely to make stock photos your hero.
  • Don’t hide your brand.
  • Certainly use a call to action like their “year of free cleaning” but how you display this on your piece will be critical

I’d love to give you honest feedback on your designs, send me an email!

 

 

 

Problems & Solutions

6 years later into owning my business, I’ve learned a few things! Here is a quick run down of small things that had a big impact for my business.

Impressions vs Reality

I struggled when I first plunged into my own business with being open on social media regarding my personal aspects of life. It felt very hard to share things that weren’t’ related to my business because I felt like it would discount me as a professional. I was wrong. Over time, this thought grew weaker and I began to be more open on social media. It lead to creating meaningful relationships with my clients. If anything, today my struggle is finding the time to post on social media.

Corporate Mindsets vs Small Business

I have a background in corporate work and that is an incredible foundation to have but the downside is that processes in small business don’t need to be corporate. Once I started to listen to my business’s flow, things because so much easier.

Demand vs Schedules

I have a schedule that works for me and I honor it now. When I first started my business, I was bending backwards meeting client requests, taking phone calls, and obtaining projects. It burned me out quickly. It allowed me to really set some boundaries in my business to strike a good balance. Every day now, I have solid work chunks, solid gym time, solid family times and every day I honor that so that I can be the best version of myself in each of those roles.This is the BIGGEST thing that has contributed to my success and it was also the hardest thing to implement.

Take a moment to reflect on your day to day to identify what it is that you struggle with that might just require a simple change. Let me know what it is in the comments!

Find me on Instagram, my fave social media spot!

Holiday 2016

 

Holiday Marketing, Christmas marketing, holiday design

Where are all of my Holiday loving businesses at?! My favorite time of the year has arrived for special design projects focusing on my love for Christmas design.

Join the many businesses planning right now for their holiday marketing and taking steps forward to get things prepped and ready to hit the ground running when you first start smelling pumpkin spice every day.

Send me an email to chat about your upcoming marketing needs and how I can help you!

Take Advantage of EDDM :: Real Estate

Your marketing efforts should be a mix of different avenues that all work to bring your business attention and most importantly, new clients. It is easy to jump into the things everyone does like social media, business groups and ads. What about the road less traveled? Consider how experimenting with other strategies can help you stand out, especially when there isn’t nearly as much competition. I’m talking about Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) from the USPS. This service is especially useful for real estate agents for picking up new markets and listings.

If this is making you feel overwhelmed, hang in there with me. It is not nearly as hard as you imagine to get into the mailboxes you want to land. You can literally circle a neighborhood, a radius around a specific landmark, or even a specific route and your mailing can be scheduled for delivery. With the help of a designer, you can get your postcard ready and be hooked up with a mail house and printer and the smooth process will take over from there.

What kind of marketing strategies can I use for EDDM?

“Just Sold”

You can announce your recently sold listing to the neighborhood with the intentions to raise your brand’s awareness and capture the eye of someone else considering to get their home on the market.

Inventory Announcement

With the focus on your brand here, show your current area listings with beautiful photos and exceptional design. Think of this as plating seeds for future clients and listings.

 

Want more help with your real estate marketing? Download your workbook here!

Branding workbook www.amiebakercreative.com

 

Updating Your Website

Check in with your website

Every August, I schedule (make myself) time to evaluate my website and either make big updates or re-design as necessary. Last year I did a re-design and I’ve decided to re-design my website again this year. Before you get scared off regarding my frequency, remember I am a designer and it is a part of my business offerings and skill set. This doesn’t mean you should be doing this yearly. You SHOULD be updating images, copy, pricing, links, ect. monthly though. This will keep your site fresh and up to date.

There are 2 routes you can go for a new website or a re-design. Completely custom or through the use of a template followed by customizing it. I used to design completely custom sites for my business but with the increase of beautiful templates available, it just didn’t make any business sense to me anymore. If I am able to shave off 40% of the work in order to reach my goal faster and more timely than it should be an option to consider. The price of the template is pennies compared to the amount of time (money) I would spend designing and a completely custom site to the same spot of the template. Smart thinking in my case. We can have a conversation to best assess which is the best option for your business. While this post promotes the use of a template, there is pros and cons to both.

Interested in checking out what kind of templates are available for your needs? One of my favorite sites to browse is:

https://themeforest.net/

Of course, if you need help customizing your beautiful template, I can help with that!

Follow me on Instagram, the new “Story” feature is so much fun!

 

A Plain White Sign Background Isn’t A Rule

Fordon Front

This gal has her brand style figured out and it includes a bright dose of color! I applaud this! So often, I drive down the road and I see the same ol’ sign over and over and over… just with a different logo slapped on it.

Let me tell you the truth- there is no rule that says your sign design has to be on a white background. Contrast is a powerful way to grab attention and if your branding allows for it, you should use it to your advantage.

Jessica’s sign uses a light background with a contrasting color which is sure to catch eyes!

Is your sign in need of some design TLC? Email me.

Dribbble Debut Shot

dribbble, debut shot, @amiebakercreativeI’m very excited to become a part of the creative community at Dribbble. If you’ve never heard of this site before, it is a place of beauty! So many creative professionals that I admire come together on an invite-only platform to create and inspire on a level you won’t find anywhere else.

The above image is my “debut shot” and I’m looking forward to learning more and being inspired by those I’ll meet along the way.

You can find my page here: www.dribbble.com/amiebakercreative

“I Need A Logo But I Don’t Need Branding”

I’ve learned through my clients that it can be hard to understand how your website represents your brand. It can be hard to imagine how your logo expands your business. I’ll often hear that my client only needs a website but not branding, or they just need a logo and not really sure of the whole “branding” thing. Here is a little quick summary of branding if you feeling confused about it all.

What is branding?  www.amiebakercreative.com

  • Branding is not just a logo
  • Think of all the ways your customers experience your business. Email signatures, copy tone, visual representation, photography, signage, staff, clothing. Experiences and visuals work together to build a brand.
  • “Your brand is what other people say about you when you‘re not in the room.”
  • Write out the process of which your prospects go through to turn into a customer. For example, if you have a bakery they could first find your website, social media, or walking by. It is in your best interest to make sure that you have a cohesive image in all 3 of those spaces to create a firm impression of what exactly your bakery is going to serve up. The design of your posts and images, the colors of your website and food photography, the signage and even paint color followed up all the way to the cute apron the staff wears all create an impression. Make it cohesive and strong.

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