eBusiness Blog

Deck Out Your Business Website and Social Media in Holiday Style!

Deck Out Your Business Website and Social Media in Holiday Style!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year; a time for celebration of the holiday season…

As we deck the halls with boughs of holly and trim the tree, it’s also time to get your business showcased for the holiday season.

This is the time to make sure your social media profiles and website are ready for the festive season.

Are your social media profiles and website decked out for the festive season?Click To Tweet

Here’s some ways to dress up your website and social media for the holidays:

Decorate Your Website Home Page

Place your best holiday deals front and center on your website.  Here’s a great example from retailer J Crew who held a “5 Days of Merry. 5 Surprise Sales” recently.

J. Crew 5 Days of Merry. 5 Surprise Sales

We’ve added a holiday banner to our site that provides holiday wishes from each of our team members: www.evisionmedia.ca

Design a Customized Christmas Logo

Why not create a fun holiday version of your logo for the holidays?  Google has been doing this for years.  Here is an example of a past Google holiday logo:

Google Christmas logo design

Host Holiday Gift Ideas

Tell your customers what to buy for the person who has everything.  When you make gift-giving easy they buy!

Target does a great example of this right on their home page with a gift ideas list. Listing gift ideas at different price points makes it convenient.  For example Target lists gifts under $25, under $5-, and over $50.

Target gift lists

Create Festive Holiday Content

Find fun ways to share your content with a holiday flair.  For example, All Business posted a great article on “The 12 Days of Christmas Retail

12 Days of Christmas Retail

Spruce up Your Social Media Account Too!

Design a special holiday Facebook Cover Image – Show customers your holiday spirit by designing a festive holiday cover image. Our eVision Media Facebook page incorporates our brand colours and logo into our Christmas banner.

eVision Media Facebook business page

Post Family Holiday Pictures

On my personal profile, I’ve posted a picture of our cat Taz by the Christmas tree.  Taz has formed min-celebrity status on Facebook. Moreover, a lot of people can relate to what it’s like having pets and hoping they don’t attack the Christmas tree.

It’s a fun image that helps us connect with our audience.

Taz sitting under the Christmas tree 2017

Use Holiday Hashtags

Make it easy for holiday enthusiasts to find you by creating holiday hashtags.  Some popular ones include #diy, #stockingstuffers, #holidays, #newyears and so on.

Display Holiday Hours

If you plan on taking time off for the holidays let your customers know.  A graphic for social media and your website is the perfect way to remind them.  Look at this example from The Comedy Spot.

See you soon! Closed for Christmas, back on December 26

So don’t be a Grinch.  Show your customers your holiday spirit!

Celebrate by sharing website and social media updates that you are decked out in holiday style.  ‘Tis the season. Set the mood for holiday shopping and you’ll be rewarded.

What has your business done to show Christmas spirit for the holidays? Post your examples below!

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get notified every Tuesday of that day’s blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Deck Out Your Business Website and Social Media in Holiday Style!Click To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Making a Commitment to Building Your Business

I shot this quick video about making a commitment to building your business while staying at one of my favourite bed and breakfasts, Blackberry Lane Bed & Breakfast. This is my go to hideaway to de-stress and recharge and is located less than an hour from where I live.

This eTip asks the question: How hard are you willing to work to make your business a success?

How hard are you willing to work to succeed?

My husband Daniel and I have very demanding schedules that begin at 5:30 am and don’t stop until about 8 pm at night.

It can be exhausting!

but it’s also extremely rewarding to have a successful business.

One of the things that dawned on me during this visit is how alike I am with Andy and Marlene, the owners of this B&B.

Since the B&B is located on a farm, when I arrived Marlene was decked out in full farming gear, working away keeping this place properly maintained. Her next task was to hop onto a riding mower and mow some acreage. After she was done she got to come in and start cooking!

Meanwhile Andy was busy at his full time job, which he does after he’s done his morning farm chores. When he finishes his day he heads home for even more farm chores. Their days are long and tough.

I’m familiar with that kind of a demanding schedule as I grew up on a hobby farm full of animals. It was a lot of work and my parents were always up well before I ever was just so they could feed the animals and maintain the farm (this included milking the family cow, Emma). This was all done while working full time jobs in Vancouver, which was an hour away in each direction.

This brings things back to my original question: how hard are you willing to work?

I hear a lot from clients about the distractions pulling them away from work. So the question then becomes: how important is your business to you if so many other things take priority?

You can’t magically succeed in business, so if you’re not able to commit to the business, don’t expect it to thrive. You have choices to make. Are you willing to make the sacrifices needed to build a successful business?

We’ve all read about the magical 4-hour work week but the number of people that kind of schedule is applicable to is minuscule.

How far are you willing to go and how hard will you work to make your business succeed?

When I first started eVision Media, my schedule was even more demanding. So even looking at my schedule now and how much I have to work, it took a lot just to get my business to where it is.

If you need help making the hard choices so you can succeed, please get in touch. I love to help people by mentoring them through their distractions so they prioritize their business and build the success they’re after.

That’s it for today’s eTip and don’t forget that if you liked what you saw here, please subscribe to our YouTube channel or newsletter so you can get updates and videos for small business entrepreneurs every week!

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

P.S. Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Our “All Under One Roof” boutique web development and digital marketing firm can help you make your vision a reality.

› CONTACT US TODAY

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Getting Your Business Ready NOW for Holiday Shopping

Getting Your Business Ready NOW for Holiday Shopping

Black Friday and its good friend Cyber Monday are over. But it’s not too late to prepare for the next big spending spree: The Holidays

Christmas shopping and websites didn’t always go together. For years consumers had the option of ordering online for contacting a new business, but an unfamiliar audience only really took the online shopping and procuring services via websites in more recent years.

Now that we’re in the age of eCommerce and Amazon is the biggest company in the world, businesses are competing for the same customers who used to trample over each other in malls trying to get the best deal or the last trending toy.

This is not any different for those whose website is designed for lead generation.

Even if you’re already selling online, whether it’s a product or your service, you may not have all your bases covered. So today I’m going to talk about what you can do to make sure your business is optimized for the biggest shopping/lead generation season of the year.

Did you have a Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale?

If you did offer a discount or some other incentive for these two recently passed shopping days then you likely have a lot of abandoned carts or lead contacts that didn’t turn into clients or customers.

In online marketing, remarketing has become a great way to reach back out to people who expressed interest in what you do but for one reason or another never actually became a paying client.

Remarketing is a great way to reach back out to people who expressed interest in what you offerClick To Tweet

If you examine who contacted you and what happened in between them contacting you or trying to make a purchase and them leaving without converting (this is when they become a client or customer) then you will see many opportunities to address what can be understood as gaps in the user experience.

Was your shipping too high? Was the way you contacted a potential lead too aggressive or too passive?  Those leads would have become paying clients without that gap.

So fill the gap! Growing based on feedback is how good business evolves. Take the information and learn from it and then apply it.

The analogy many adhere to is a leaky bucket. If you have a leak in the bucket you should repair that leak before adding more water. Consider the holidays a coming storm with flood warnings!

Now if you have a repository of emails to reference you can draft an announcement about the change so it not only stops presenting a barrier for future leads, you’ve also let old failed leads know that you’ve changed and they can return for a better experience.

How you go about reviewing falloff from lead to client will vary depending on your business. B2C e-commerce will be quite different than a site designed for lead generation, but the reaction approach and remarketing remain the same.

Set Up Your Marketing NOW

If you haven’t already got your holiday marketing set up, you should start right away.

Things like your newsletter, social posting, content marketing and any other distractions from customer service should be set up to send on a schedule and then left alone while you focus on the customer.

In reality, having this work done in October is ideal but better late than never!

Don’t switch gears now on what tools you use but definitely set up a December schedule where all your sales and products and services are out there for everyone to find.

You miss all the shots you don’t take so now is the time to start sending out those emails and posting to your Twitter account!

Get in the Spirit

It can be tough to navigate political correctness and the holiday season. Depending on your market and locality, having “Merry Christmas” can endear you to leads or throw up a flag.

You’ll know best which is right for you, but at the very least a cheery-themed website header update and associated social profile updates would be a great idea.

If you need help with this, get in touch and we’ll make sure you have professional social media profiles set up.

Do you have a roster of loyal clients you love? Let them know!

Do your due diligence on your clients and feel out how they approach the season. Then craft your materials and messaging so it aligns with their expectations for the season.

If you have an office party, take lots of pictures and get them on Instagram. Then when you have the more settled, posed for pictures you can add a gallery to Facebook.

Presenting your business in a positive way and showing off the staff having fun never hurts and clients like to see the people they’re trusting with their money or their business as happy.

This kind of year can be very stressful and it shouldn’t be. Whether you sell a product or provide a service, try and enjoy yourself so you don’t run yourself ragged and ruin your own opportunities to make new contacts and purchases.

Thanks for reading,
Mark Hare

P.S. For more tips on how to make your website get you the results you’re looking for, sign up for our free website guide plus weekly newsletter for entrepreneurs and small business owners today.
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Getting Your Business Ready NOW for Holiday ShoppingClick To Tweet

About the Author, Mark Hare

Mark Hare

Mark has been working in search engine optimization, paid online advertising, content marketing, and usability since 2005.

He has worked with hundreds of clients on a wide range of web based projects and is a strong proponent of white hat SEO techniques and link earning over building.


How to Dream BIG in Your Business

How to Dream BIG in Your Business

The ABC’s of Business Basics Series: Tips for Your Company’s Mission to Mars

According to Google, “In theory, the closest that Earth and Mars would approach each other would be when Mars is at its closest point to the sun (perihelion) and Earth is at its farthest (aphelion). This would put the planets only 33.9 million miles (54.6 million kilometers) apart. However, this has never happened in recorded history.”

Wow! Think about it… 54.6 million kilometers. It is a number many human beings can’t relate to or believe would be possible to travel to. However, this doesn’t stop space scientists. They don’t focus on how far away the planet is, they just want to get that spaceship to Mars.

In my practice as a Business Advisor, I see too many owners who play it safe. They set low sales targets, retain a minimum number of employees, or advertise only to existing markets because they don’t want more customers than they can handle or to get too busy.

Yet big dreams can actually propel you into the life and business you want. Let’s look at a business owner I know who had a big dream…Walt Disney. He “saw” Disneyland in his head. He knew where his company was headed, and held the dream through the naysayers and the banks. Imagine how proud he was when his dream became a reality.

Do you have a dream large and exciting enough for your business? If not, then perhaps it’s time to create one. Just like the Mission to Mars, it may feel so big or far away that it doesn’t feel realistic. It may scare you or it may seem impossible to accomplish. Create one anyway.

Not sure how to dream big in your business?

Here’s three tips to help out:

Tip #1: Don’t get hung up on the “how,” just the “what.” Do you want a 2nd location? How about an international presence or double the revenues? Identify your “Mars” first.

Tip #2: Own it. Is this really what you want? As the owner, and just like Disney, you need to really believe this is what you want and where you are taking the company.

Tip #3: Share your dream “Mission” with everyone. The “dream team” will help make it happen!

Dreams give us the incentive to get out of bed everyday, fill us with renewed purpose, energy and effort, and ignite the spirit of human achievement.

Go for it!

About the Author, Pamela Chatry

Pamela Chatry

Do you work too hard? Is your business in chaos? If you are struggling with business issues, contact Pamela Chatry for a complimentary assessment. Pamela has been a trusted and highly respected Business Consultant, Mentor for Women in Business, Self-Employment Advocate, Trainer and Keynote Speaker for over 25 years.

Visit www.pamelachatry.com or call her at 778-856-8970 for help in getting your business to its fullest potential.


8 Personal Branding Mistakes that are Hurting Your Business

8 Personal Branding Mistakes that are Hurting Your Business

There’s no denying consumers crave a deeper connection with the companies they do business with. And that’s why these days having a fancy website and logo isn’t enough to define your brand.

Consumers crave a deeper connection with the companies they do business withClick To Tweet

Therefore, it’s very important to thoughtfully create a personal brand that truly shares who you are and what you stand for.

If a brand isn’t appealing to your audience or not genuine, it can repel customers.  But the process of creating a brand can be intimidating for some.

So how do you avoid personal branding blunders when it comes to helping instead of harming your business?

Here’s the biggest personal branding mistakes to avoid:

  1. Thinking you don’t need a Personal Brand

    Whether you intentionally create a brand or not, every communication and experience you have with customers and potential customers is shaping your brand.
     
    That’s why it’s critical to create a positive brand communication.  If you don’t take time to define your brand, your message can get wishy washy.  That lack of clarity will hurt your marketing efforts.

  2. Using Copycat Branding

    Often when people start out in business they feel like imitating their top competitors is a good idea. Don’t imitate, instead innovate.
     
    Accentuate what makes you unique.  Differentiate yourself.  Show why your differences make you a better choice.
     
    Do this by creating signature systems, products and messaging that sets you apart.

  3. Not Being Authentic

    Some people take a dress-up approach to branding.  They feel like they must be something they are not in order to attract customers.
     
    Authenticity in marketing matters more than ever before.  Being honest and transparent builds trust.
     
    A brand should be genuine and always maintain consistent messaging that is in alignment with your personality and brand.

  4. Lacking Consistency

    Your personal brand promise and message should be clear with every communication.
     
    The more consistent your brand is, the stronger it will attract followers. So as you write blog posts, eBooks and social media posts etc., make sure the thoughts, opinions and information shared is consistent with your personal brand.
     
    Every communication should reflect your brand personality and values.

  5. Not Writing Your Own Stuff

    Content marketing helps you develop leadership in your industry. Your fans want to hear from you – not the same old thing that everyone else is writing.
     
    Every time you write it’s a communication that builds a relationship with your followers. They experience your personality and voice. Make time to write your own tips, checklists, guides and freebies for your content marketing efforts.
     
    Writing unique articles also boost your website SEO.

  6. Not Defining Your Niche

    No business can be all things to all people. It’s really important to define your target market.  Period.
     
    The more narrowly you can define your target market the better; otherwise, you risk confusing your customers and you’ll have a harder time attracting the right kind of clientele that you want to serve most.

  7. Not Loving Your Tribe

    Your tribe is a group of people where an unconditional love and connection exists.
     
    Raving fans will tell the world how amazing you are.  That’s why it’s important to give special treatment to your tribe.
     
    Find your tribe. Love them hard.  Give them special offers.  Allow them behind the scene’s peaks.  Share advanced notice about things coming down the pipes.

  8. Forgetting Quality and Professionalism

    The Internet knows all so if you make a mistake, someone’s going to catch it.
     
    When you send a newsletter with typos or broken links it reflects poorly on your brand.  When your customer has a problem and calls customer service, they want their issue resolved.
     
    Pay special attention to your appearance.  Watch the language you share on social media. Your demeanour should be humble not arrogant. Display ethical behaviour when attending public events. Answer the phone professionally.

Take these lessons to heart and keep them at the core of your personal branding strategy. Even if you feel good about your branding efforts, it’s smart to step back and take a look at your existing strategy and double-down your efforts to protect your personal brand.

What stories do you have where your personal brand made a difference for your business?

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get notified every Tuesday of that day’s blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

8 Personal Branding Mistakes that are Hurting Your BusinessClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

5 Steps to a Strong Personal Brand on Social Media

5 Steps to a Strong Personal Brand on Social Media

Social media is everywhere and having yourself on it can be great; however, your professionalism doesn’t stop at your professional profiles.

If you’re an influencer in your industry or the face of your business, then paying attention to personal branding is essential in your social profiles.

To be an influencer in your industry, personal branding plays a key roleClick To Tweet

So how do you get personal branding working for you?

Here’s 5 steps to ensuring you have a strong personal brand that will help with your business success:

  1. Audit Yourself

    A quick audit of your personal profiles is a good idea so you can prune anything you wouldn’t want associated with yourself professionally. It will give you a chance to update all your profiles as well.
     
    Make sure all your profiles are connected so users can easily see the relationship. The idea here is that you are an extension of your business and all social profiles clearly indicate to the user who you are and what you’re about.
     
    When posting to your personal social media accounts, keep in mind your business goals and remember optics is key. When someone searches your name, what do they find? Remember anyone may repeat that search so if the results aren’t good you could lose a potentially warm lead.

  2. Set Goals

    Being the face of your business can also lead to you being an influencer in your industry. But that doesn’t just happen automatically. You need to set targets for yourself. And not just in terms of the metrics of measuring success but in how you will achieve the higher standing in your industry that you’re after.
     
    Look at people already established in your niche. They may have a business profile but then on their own how are they presented? Successful personal branding should show their personal profile is aligned with the style of their business.
     
    Once you see what content has been effective and how often your peers have been successfully posting, you can estimate how often and what kind of materials you should post.
     
    Also pay attention to where they post and you’ll see what platforms have returned results for them.  Then you’ll know where to focus your efforts.
     
    This element and the audit can be time consuming and confusing so don’t hesitate to reach out to social media experts if you require assistance.

  3. Create Your Social Media Strategy

    You have your goals set and you know how often you want to post and how many new people you want to see your content.
     
    Now it’s time to incorporate the previous steps and develop a goal-based strategy aimed at realistic growth.
     
    Achieving your goals is a dynamic process where you will consistently evaluate your successes and refine your approach until you start seeing the results you want.
     
    Share other people’s content while promoting your own to establish yourself as an authority in your industry and not just a self promoter.
     
    There are various content aggregation tools available that will make it easier for you to find relevant content. And the bonus is you’ll get to read more about what you do!
     
    Alltop and POPURLS are some favourites but there are many more you can choose from.
     
    Try tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to help you schedule out your posts but remember to check in often for any engagement. The best thing you can do to establish yourself as an authority is to provide feedback and commentary on other users that shows you know what you’re talking about.
     
    By making it a conversation you are becoming an influencer. Other users will see that dialogue whether its tweets or comments and they’ll see your expertise in action.
     
    Each approach will vary but there should be consistent elements to any strategy such as choosing which platforms you are going to be able to log into on an ongoing basis and what kind of content is best suited to your industry.

  4. Update Your Profiles

    Having a professional headshot is a great idea for your personal branding.  If you don’t have that already make sure you get one and place it as your avatar on each social media profile – both personal and business profiles.
     
    Each platform’s profile should easily convey a connection to all others. Users should see consistency in both the visual elements and the content you’re posting.
     
    If you’re having trouble with the various images and sizes required, it’s quite easy to set up a free account with Canva, which has predefined image sizes for all platforms and is very user friendly.
     
    Use Canva for graphic social media design

  5. Hire a Mentor

    It never hurts to have a third party review your profiles. While asking friends for help may seem like a good idea, an experienced, professional personal branding mentor will know what has and hasn’t worked in the past.
     
    Look for someone who has helped others achieve a solid personal brand and reputation in their industry and contact them for assistance.  But make sure they know this is about your social media presence so you get someone with relevant experience to your goals.

Personal branding is not as easy as a lot of people think. If you are ready to start but not sure where or how then please contact us and we’d be glad to help. We’ve helped many people perfect their personal and business branding and I’m sure we can help with yours as well.

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get notified every Tuesday of that day’s blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

5 Steps to a Strong Personal Brand on Social MediaClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

3 Telltale Signs You’re Procrastinating and How to Overcome this Problem

3 Telltale Signs You’re Procrastinating and How to Stop

I don’t know about you, but I can find myself in a tight spot once in while – all because I procrastinated about something I knew I needed to do.

And then of course, I am frustrated with myself because now I need to drop everything else I’d rather be doing and I’m stressed and not happy at all.

Again!

In this article I will help you understand how to recognize procrastination when it comes up for you and learn how to reach your goals.

Is it really procrastination… or are you making the right decision because something else is more important right now? If it is really procrastination these strategies will help you recognize the early warning signs and give you strategies that will work for you so that you stop playing small and live your life to the fullest.

The end of the year is quickly ending so this is a perfect time to reflect over the year and see what you had planned to accomplish compared to what you did accomplish. Think back to when you planned out your goals.

Remember how excited and dedicated you were? And then life happens and the day-to-day gets in the way and before you know it another day has gone by without reaching your goals.

When asked recently in an Internet survey the top five reasons people gave for procrastination was: fear of failing (19%), lack of motivation (13%), lack of focus (12%), feeling overwhelmed (10%) and the task was unpleasant (9%.)

1st Sign You are Procrastinating

You indulge in distractions such as watching TV, surfing the web, social media, playing video games, taking naps, reading books, or hanging out with friends instead of working on your goals.

2nd Sign You are Procrastinating

You make excuses for not doing something you know you should be doing such as…

  • It’s been a rough week or
  • I need more time / money / resources / sleep or
  • I have too many other things going on right now – I just can’t fit this in or
  • I’m just not feeling it right now
  • Yada, yada, yada…

3rd Sign You are Procrastinating

Feelings of despair that can paralyze you from taking positive action towards your goals. This often sounds like…

  • Why is my life so unfair?
  • Why am I always the one that must do everything?
  • Why are things always so difficult?
  • Why can’t I be more organized?

If you can see yourself in any of these warning signs, then you are definitely procrastinating in a detrimental way.

Here are ten strategies that will help you overcome this problem once and for all:

  1. Vocabulary is important so choose your words wisely. Positive words yield positive results; negative self-talk gets more of what you don’t want.
  2. Reverse your calendar and start with the deadline and work backwards so you space out the work in smaller steps. Make sure the interim deadlines are realistic and allow space for unforeseen things to come up without jeopardizing the project.
  3. Fill your calendar so that you reduce the time you think you have available to work on the important tasks. Look at elapsed time versus effort time.
     
    For instance, it might take you 3 hours to complete a project step but you won’t have a 3-hour block of time all at once. So, give yourself a deadline of completing that task over 3 days so that you can find 3 hours of time spread over the 3-day period.
     
    Include recreational and family activities, too, so that the time you can dedicate to the project is realistic and achievable.
  4. Work in a state of flow because we’re most productive when fully engaged. Distractions, emotions and other concerns undermine our ability to focus. Consider spending 2-minutes in meditation to empty your mind and visualize yourself celebrating completing the task.
  5. Fully embrace your goals so don’t spend time working on things you don’t care about if you have any choice in the matter. There are some things we all must do regardless of how much we dislike them – so do those things first and get them out of the way so that you can enjoy the rest of your day doing what you really want to do.
  6. Look at the tiny steps if the big picture is overwhelming. Break each big step into smaller steps and before you realize it, the project is finished. And share the load by delegating as much as you can to someone who loves doing those types of things.
  7. Make your own rewards and treat yourself once a specific task is completed. Relish how good it feels to have that step completed and then do something fun before moving to the next step.
  8. Reframe its importance even if it’s not important to you. Remind yourself of how important it is to someone you care about or think about how good you will feel when this project is completed.
     
    I do that when it’s time to prepare my annual taxes because it is the one thing I dislike more than anything – but once it’s handed off to the CPA I feel wonderful knowing I won’t have to do it again for another year!
  9. Sleep, eat healthy & exercise because unless you feel good physically and mentally it will be almost impossible to focus on completing the task at hand.
  10. Uncover start and end points because once something has a beginning and an end, it’s a whole lot easier to start filling in the middle. That’s a lesson I learned from my home economics teacher in grade school when she made us measure twice and cut once.
     
    When I was learning to sew, I had to take out each piece of the pattern and lay it out on the fabric so I knew exactly which pieces I needed before I was ever able to start cutting. Of course, I wanted to jump right in and make a dress, but I’m so glad she enforced me to do it right the first time!

So now that you understand why you might be procrastinating, how to tell when it’s happening and some methods to develop some winning strategies it’s a perfect time to start planning for the new year.

About the Author, Katherine Hartvickson

Kathryn Wilking

Katherine Hartvickson is the founder and president of Hartvickson & Associates, Inc. dba Quantum Ascendance. She is an experienced business consultant and success coach. Since leaving the corporate world in 2009, her clients include business owners and other seriously committed professionals and entrepreneurs who want to gain the confidence and skills to break through the barriers of success and achieve their ideal life.

What separates her service from others is her experience in leading large teams and developing top performers in corporate environments and because of this, clients achieve individual & financial rewards and the recognition they earned without sacrificing their personal life. If you are interested in knowing more, she can be reached at www.QuantumAscendance.com.


Secrets to Creating a Visual Brand Identity That Sets You Apart

Secrets to Creating a Visual Brand Identity That Sets You Apart

8 Key Areas You Want to Keep Your Visual Brand Consistent

Have you ever wondered what your social media followers think about you?

Is it possible you are sending mixed messages to your prospects?

This month we’re talking about the importance of personal branding and how it helps your business. This article ties closely in with that regarding your visual brand – essentially how you come across to others.

Over the years I have seen a lot of business owners who haven’t taken time to define their brand. They don’t understand when businesses stray from their brand, it dilutes their brand power and impact. Or worse, they have nothing about them that sets them apart.

As a result, they complain they are attracting the wrong customers or hardly getting any leads at all…

This “me too” method of marketing that mimics what competitors are doing isn’t effective. 

The 'me too' method of marketing that mimics competitors is not effective.Click To Tweet

That’s why I feel compelled to share more what a visual brand is and how to build a strong one online.

Whether you’re creating a new brand or updating your existing one, your brand’s visual identity is the most important factor in your marketing.

Your brand is so much more than a website and a logo.  It’s a user’s total experience and perception of you.

So every touchpoint a prospect has with you should have one consistent look and theme.  This includes your logo, website, stationery, social media, videos, brochures, business cards, and of course your personal brand in how you dress and present yourself to the world.

Watch: Here’s how Dana J. Smithers integrates her personal branding with her business brand.

A solid visual brand:

  • Helps people know what to expect from you.
  • Promotes professionalism and purpose.
  • Draws prospects who align with your ideas, attitudes and values.
  • Enhances confidence, trust and rapport with your followers.
  • Builds upon the existing brand experience they have with you in a positive (or a negative) way.

Visual branding adds real power to your marketing.  It increases engagement and understanding.

Visual branding adds real power to your marketing.Click To Tweet

With all these benefits to personal and professional branding, it’s more important than ever to brand your visual content and images so you stand out from competitors.

How Can You Keep Your Brand Consistent?

You write blog articles and posts every day.  You are working back and forth on projects.  How can you be certain that all the marketing you do resonates with your core brand?

Creating a style guide makes it easier to keep your marketing pieces consistent.

Firstly, ensure your brand is consistent in the following areas:

  • Headshot – Having a professional headshot goes a long way in developing brand trust.
  • Logo– your logo is the nucleus of your brand, everything else stems from that. Ensure it’s designed properly that includes the psychology of what it represents.
  • Colour Palette – Colours that will resonate with your target market and be meaningful to your brand.
  • Brand Message – This is the essence of your business that includes your slogan or tagline of who you are, what you do, and how you deliver value.
  • Fonts – Being consistent with the same one or two typefaces throughout all written materials as well as graphics
  • Design Elements – The use of borders, lines, shadows and filters should all become familiar to being associated with your visual brand.
  • Tone – Set the tone of your business presence and stick to it – whether serious, high-tech, sarcastic or soulful, this is a big part of building a solid brand presence.

For example: our eVision Media colours are purple and green.  Our typeface is: Asap.  Our logo is: a mother Emperor Penguin and her baby chick. Our slogan is “creating your brand, showcasing your business, nurturing your dream to reality” as seen here in our website header:

creating your brand, showcasing your business, nurturing your dream to reality

We have also created a template that we use for our marketing eTips and inspirational messages, so people instantly recognize them:

Visual Branding of eVision Media Social Media posts

 Create a Style Guide as Your Road Map

A style guide acts like a map that helps your team to stay on track. Sharing your style guide with key members of your team can ensure everyone knows the style guidelines and can follow them.

This is especially important for companies with virtual employees spanning in multiple geographic regions. Make it easy for your team to access your logo, fonts and templates. Always protect your brand. Double check when new marketing pieces come in that they conform to brand guidelines.

Here is a snapshot of our current style guide:

Visual Brand style guide for eVision Media

With this style guide in mind, here’s 8 areas you will want to keep your brand consistent in everything you do in your business marketing and social media efforts:

  1. Website

    Your website is the biggest brand statement your business has.  It serves as a reference to make sure all other brand elements are in alignment.

    That’s why I am so against people who use cookie-cutter template sites.  They may look polished, but they lack the warmth, connection and personality of a branded website (not to mention how badly they are built.)

    Make sure the images you use are reflective of your ideal client.  Use language that resonates with your target audience.  Create an about page that helps your visitors understand your backstory and why you are passionate and good at what you do.

    The more your website looks and feels like you, the stronger attraction tool it will be for potential clients.

  2. Professional Headshot

    Professional headshot before and after of Susan Friesen

    I was very camera shy when I first started my business.  So when it came time to get some updated headshots, I dreaded it.  But I found that going through the process brought me confidence.

    My new headshots are used as a personal and business branding tool that help me to be more recognized online.  They are on all my social media profiles and on our website.  As a result, people recognize me when I attend local networking events.

    Investing in new headshots can truly jump start your brand and success.

  3. Sharing Photos

    visual branding with Dana Smithers, Julie Salisbury and Susan FriesenSharing photos makes your marketing more personable and showcases your personal brand.  Consumers love seeing the real person behind the business.

    So be mindful of when you are working or in group situations and see how you can snap pictures to show followers what you are up to.

    Take a picture holding your new book.  Grab a shot with a new friend you met while networking.  Show the resort you are staying at for your business mastermind.

    Here’s Dana Smithers, Julie Salisbury and myself while at a recent WOW (Woman of Worth) event in Harrison Hot Springs.

  4. Video

    Creating videos helps build a strong following online.  It’s important to have your videos match your brand too.  Dress in a manner that is consistent with your brand.

    You could also shoot it in similar places or locations.  Whether that’s sitting at your desk, cooking in the kitchen, or standing in front of a green screen with a projected background, that consistent setting helps build familiarity.

    Be warm, friendly and connective.  If you promise to offer weekly video tips, then get them out on the same day each week so viewers can anticipate them. Create a custom hashtag for your video tips too – we created our eVision video eTips with the hashtag #eTip for consistency.

  5. Branded Images

    Kick up the interest of your blog articles and social media with images.  There are loads of free tools to help you make graphic quotes, infographics, and other visuals to add impact.

    Make sure all your graphic images are consistent with your brand.  Adding your logo makes it easy for people to instantly recognize the content is from you.

    For instance, the other day we re-posted an older article about “6 Steps to Nurturing A Profitable Business“.  We featured an image of an Emperor Penguin family.  It suggested the idea of nurturing but also tied into our brand with the Penguin theme.

  6. Social Media

    Social media provides so many opportunities for visual branding.  From Facebook cover images to profile pics, to graphics, there are endless opportunities for people to learn more about what you do.

    The images you use can evoke the feelings and emotions you want your brand to convey.  The goal is for someone to look at your social media account and get an impression that helps them understand your unique vibe.

  7. Free Giveaways

    When you are offering free reports, tools, and other goodies to visitors, make sure they have the same colours, logos, and visual feel as your other materials.

    eVision Ultimate Guide Report CoverWhen it looks professional and makes a great impression, it builds credibility.  Plus, it’s just one more piece of the brand puzzle that helps them understand what you do.

    For example, our free giveaway is “The Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website’s Profitability“. 

    The cover features a headshot of me for familiarity, (mind you, this is an old photo so fixing up this free report is a priority of mine.) It has our brand colour of purple and includes our logo. 

    So it looks and feels like eVision Media. If someone forwarded a copy of this to a friend, they would get an accurate sense of our brand.

  8. Email Signature

    Susan Friesen eSignatureA graphic email signature can add visual impact to every message you send.  Services like Wisestamp make it easy to add your logo, picture, and social media links to your email signature.

    We have designed many eSignatures for clients that exactly match their brand and it’s an effective way to enhance their brand with every email they send out.

    Have your virtual team members set up a signature too so you come across as a professional team to your customers.

Are You a Wanna Be or a Real Brand?

It’s really important to take a look at your brand as a whole to make sure everything is in alignment.

Is your visual brand:

  • Clear,
  • consistent,
  • authentic,
  • memorable, and
  • in alignment with changes in the marketplace, your offerings, or your success

Even if your brand was on target 3 years ago, the nature of your business may have changed where your brand no longer accurately reflects what you do or who you serve.

You have become more specialized.  You may have new product offerings.  Maybe you are now the host of a new podcast.

Take a look at your brand with the eyes of an outsider and ask yourself if what you see truly reflect who you are now as a company.

How Does Your Business Score from a Visual Branding Perspective?

At eVision Media, we are experts at building, managing and marketing Brands online. If you need help developing your visual brand or just need some direction, contact us today. Our team of creative marketing professionals can help keep your brand on the path to success.

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Secrets to Creating a Visual Brand Identity That Sets You ApartClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Integrating Your Personal Brand with Your Professional Brand

In this eTip I was recently at the WOW (Woman Of Worth) event in Harrison Hot Springs where I had a chance to speak with Dana Smithers about the importance of getting your personal brand aligned with the goals of your professional business brand.

How can you incorporate personal branding into your business?

Dana has had several businesses over the years and we’re lucky enough to have her count on us as her ‘go to team’ for professional web development, graphic design and online marketing services.

Dana embodies her own branding and her passion for her work is reflected in her commitment to owning her brand.

Choosing the colour red was no mistake. Dana picked it to convey her message of education, inspiration, and empowerment and it is a staple in all her branding both for herself and her business. She literally wears it and that consistency is what we’re talking about today.

Dana is now at the point in her career where she is so committed to her brand that her wardrobe is absent anything not part of her style palette: red, white, and black.

We helped her with her branding and she isn’t limited to one shade of red so don’t think you need to be pinned down to a style guide that restricts you. Dana makes a great point that different shades of your primary colours are 100% allowable.

These shades and even your brand can change but make sure it’s always designed to aide in attracting your ideal clients.

Dana recently updated her own site but kept things relatively consistent to build on the momentum established already by her strong branding position which is focused on helping solopreneurs achieve their goals.

Something Dana made very clear was that if you’re thinking of asking a friend or relative to handle aspects of your business, you’re never going to get the same level of service that you would from having a professional team at your disposal.

When Dana launched her book this year she came to us regarding the book jacket and layout. We know her brand inside and out having built it with her so she knew she could expect something that worked with her website and her branding easily and that’s just what she got.

By keeping the consistent colouring that is integral to her branding, Dana has even encountered people whens she’s not in red asking her where the red is in her outfit! They know her brand so well when she appears to deviate it’s noticeable, but as she points out, her lipstick and nail polish are always in her signature red.

Aligning your personal branding with your professional branding goes beyond the visual element we’ve focused on here and you’ll be able to see those elements when you analyze your branding.

By getting these two elements in line, you increase your prospects of being recognized and brand recognition is always good for business.

If you’d like to establish a strong brand both personally and professionally like what we’ve accomplished with Dana, please get in touch. Our team loves helping with branding projects so let us now if you’re interested in taking yours to the next level.

Don’t forget that if you liked what you saw here please subscribe to our Youtube channel or newsletter so you can get updates and videos for small business entrepreneurs every week!

Until next time,
Susan Friesen

P.S. Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Our “All Under One Roof” boutique web development and digital marketing firm can help you make your vision a reality.

› CONTACT US TODAY

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

7 Crucial Elements to Building an Effective Personal Brand

7 Crucial Elements to Building an Effective Personal Brand

How to Gain More Income, Influence and Impact Through Building a Personal Brand

It used to be that if you had a logo and a website you had a business brand.  But today’s consumers demand a lot more.  Branding for them is about the experience of being with you, the owner of that business.

Today businesses have to look a lot deeper when it comes to creating a personal brand that is in harmony with their business brand.

When you have a strong personal brand, you become a mini-celebrity in your field. With that strong brand comes clout and credibility. People look up to you.

When you have a strong personal brand, you become a mini-celebrity in your field.Click To Tweet

When people think of your industry, you’ll be the first one to come to mind. It also gives your offerings a higher perceived value – suddenly you can charge what you are worth to clients who are happy to pay.

If you want to build a dynamic and effective personal brand that will help grow your business but don’t know where to start, let’s break it down…

7 Key Elements of a Personal Brand that is Infused with Your Business Brand

  1. Embracing Consistency

    When prospects know what to expect of you it creates a feeling of familiarity and trust.  That’s why consistency of everything you do and how you present yourself is so important.
     
    But many business owners go willy-nilly with their brand, not paying attention to colours, fonts, graphics or style of messaging that all makes up a personal and business brand.  This can be confusing for your audience.  Your brand should be developed with consistency and standards that reflect well on how you want your business to be perceived.
     
    For instance, take colours – one way to be consistent with your business brand on a personal level is to wear similar colours to your visual brand. For many years, Mari Smith wore her signature turquoise blue wherever she went, which was a match to her business brand.  She has since changed this strategy, but it was very effective in her brand positioning while she was building her leadership presence.
     
    Dana J. Smithers, one of our long-time clients is another one who fully embraces her brand messaging by consistently wearing only her business brand colours: Black, red and white. (Stay tuned for an upcoming eTip where I interview her on this subject.)
     
    Consistency is king when it comes to branding.  Aside from your personal appearance, other things you do also affect your personal brand. For instance, if you say you provide a weekly newsletter, you need to honour that commitment and make sure a newsletter goes out every week.  If you post twice a day on Facebook, keep up that frequency.
     
    That kind of consistency will win over the trust of your followers, which will make them more likely to make a purchase when they are in need of your product or services.

  2. Forming a Compelling Story

    Your story is the single biggest differentiator for your business.  Make your story be a part of your personal brand. (Read my story here or a fuller version on a book I’m a co-author of: Entrepreneurial Spirit Sauce.)
     
    Hundreds of people may sell what you have, but you are the only one who is exactly like you.
     
    Your followers yearn to know who you are, how you got to where you are at and why you love what you do.  Think of it as your Cinderella rags to riches story.  It allows people to see how you came from no-where, learned the lesson, and came out on top.
     
    Connecting to your story gives followers that feel good, heart-to-heart connection with you.  Once you craft your story you can add it on your about page, your bio, in presentations, your book, and more!

  3. Owning Authenticity

    When you share from your heart you inspire and connect with people on a deeper level.
     
    Share the real you.  Let them see your values.  Talk about what you stand for.  Give them a peek behind the scenes so they feel included.

  4. Being Visible and Accessible

    Out of sight means out of mind. There are many ways you can showcase your personal brand by becoming more visible in front of your target market. Here’s just a few ideas:

    • Have a networking meetings.
    • Get featured in the media.
    • Be a podcast or telesummit guest.
    • Show photos of events you attend and the people you meet on Social Media.
    • Hold webinars and Facebook Live Q&A sessions with your followers.
    • newsletters so you are unforgettable.
  5. Creating a Value Proposition

    This is such an important brand element but sadly most businesses do not have a clear value proposition statement.
     
    A value proposition is a clear declaration that explains who you serve, how you serve them, and why your solution is better.
     
    A good one is clear, specific and easily understood.  When you can articulate this in a compelling way, it’s a powerful client attraction

  6. Defining a Focused Ideal Client

    Many businesses aren’t clear about their ideal customer.  They cast their net too wide when it comes to customers.
     
    Once you clearly identify who is in your tribe, it not only supercharges your marketing messages but also helps you better understand how to present yourself in front of them in order to win them over.

  7. Showcasing Your Expertise

    Personal branding also means being the best and most knowledgeable at what you do.  Don’t just be a follower of other top experts, instead lead the industry with your perspectives, findings and views.
     
    Create studies to publish new results.  Develop your own signature system.  Craft terms that become the coined phrase for the industry.
     
    The more you differentiate yourself from others in your industry the more you will become the go-to expert people will be drawn to.

Want to Stand Out and Get Noticed?

At eVision Media we understand what it takes to succeed online.  We do more than help you look good online through a business brand design; we go to the core of what makes you unique and communicate it with a personal brand that defines you.

Find out more today about our website design, branding, and online marketing services or talk to me about my mentoring options where I’ll help you define your personal brand.

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

7 Crucial Elements to Building an Effective Personal BrandClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".