I’ve *just* come back from the Artful Business Conference – hooley dooley!!! SO. FREAKING. GOOD. I could tell you a zillion things about it: how aaah-maaaaaz-ing was Ricci-Jane Adams, how beautiful it was to see my friend Karyn Sealby up on stage because I know where she’s come from business-wise, how hilarious and smart was Kate Toon, how utterly thought-provoking was Peter Tullin and his ideas on the future of business, collaborations, and what audiences want (they want experiences, not just products), how totally on the money were all the workshops (practical video tips from Dawn, how to pitch and be the perfect podcast guest from Katie, how to disrupt the status quo bigtime in your hometown…. hahaha, thanks Peter – watch out Wagga!)
But I’ll save all of that for another blogpost shortly.
One thing that was touched on over the weekend was creating the perfect opt-in that will attract the exact people you need on your list.
And you need a list.
Because your audience can forget to visit your website, they can forget to visit your FB page (which has virtually no reach these days anyway, thanks FB [not]), and they’ll probably lose your business card – but you can keep turning up in their inbox regularly and reminding them of how you can help.
It’s NOT a numbers game.
It’s about nurturing those relationships once they’ve joined you (because of your deliciously juicy opt-in). Having a highly-engaged small list is way better than having a list of thousands that delete your emails as soon as they turn up in your inbox. What’s the point of that? F’rinstance – I recently bought some bedlinen from a major retailer online; they automatically put me on their email list. They subsequently sent me THREE emails in the space of a week, all trying to sell me more stuff. Guess what I did on the third one?
Yup. Unsubscribe. That was pretty silly, no!? They could have sent me a discount voucher, they could have sent me home decorating tips, they could have sent me all manner of useful information and kept me engaged; but no. They sent me more pushy salesly stuff. Yuk.
But I digress. This is about creating a value-packed opt-in to get THE RIGHT people onto your mailing list in the first place.
Here’s my best tips:
1. Understand who your audience is.
If you don’t know WHO you’re talking to, then you’ll have no idea HOW to talk to them, or WHAT you need to be talking about. Figure out who they are first, what they want/need, and how you can help them.
2. Solve ONE problem.
Broad + general + covering all bases = VAGUE. Nobody finds that useful.
Solve their one burning problem.
For my opt-in, if you don’t know where to start with your branding and it’s all too overwhelming, I set out the basic foundations of what you need to do, so you can go through them step by step (if you’d like a copy of the Build Your Brand ebook, you can grab it here).
3. Keep it simple.
I know you want to help them with everything (because that’s one of my biggest issues too! I want to give you guys EVERYTHING that’s in my head because I know how much it will help you).
But in fact, too much information creates overwhelm, and overwhelm means that people simply abandon all that carefully crafted knowledge. No one actually wins there.
Be succinct. Create something that’s simple to apply or do.
4. Make sure it’s on target with everything else you have to offer.
While of course you’ve got lots of knowledge in different areas, don’t offer them apples when your business is all about oranges.
Think about how they got to your page in the first place. You, for instance, likely came to my site because you were interested in figuring out how to brand your small business, and read a couple of my blog posts. The flow is then that my opt-in offers you more information about branding for small business. If I offered an opt-in on how to set up an auto-responder series in Mailchimp, while it’s still small-business related, it would be quite disconnected from the main focus of my website, and I doubt many people would opt in.
5. Make sure it’s clear how your opt-in will benefit those who sign up.
Vague labels like “Sign up for my newsletter” aren’t going to cut it. The conversation in your audience’s head goes something like “What-the-hey for? What will I learn? What useful stuff will you give me that I can’t get elsewhere? Are you going to teach me stuff I need to know, or are you just going to be pushy and sell me stuff all the time? My inbox is already too crowded – why should I stick around?”.
Tell them exactly the sorts of things that will help them get where they want to go. For instance, “Get small business tips and tricks”, or “Get free photos weekly” or a one-off specific thing like “Learn 20 ways to build better relationships”.
6. Keep your headline simple.
Be specific and succinct about what you’re offering – if you have to take a paragraph to explain what your opt-in is, then it’s (a) obviously too complex and doesn’t solve the ONE problem (see points 2 & 3 above); and (b) ain’t nobody got time to read that. These things need to behave like billboards – grab your audience’s attention before they drive past.
If the headline grabs them, then you give them a brief summary of what’s covered under that (dot points are good; or a single, descriptive sentence).
7. Make your opt-in button stand out on the page.
Don’t buy into that rubbish about “red buttons convert better” – they don’t. What DOES convert the best is the button that contrasts with the rest of the page – so if your brand colours are predominantly red and orange, then make your button blue or green (and of course, make sure the colour still fits with your overall branding!). As Seth Godin says, “Show me where to click”.
8. After you’ve got them, keep them.
After you’ve gone to all this trouble, make sure you nurture them. Give them useful stuff. Entertain them. Intrigue them. Respond to them when they write to you (and they will).
Make them feel like they’re part of something.
Make them feel like they’re part of your tribe.
Love them hard. Give them stuff.
Make them feel like they’re part of something. (repeat)
Follow those 8 points and you’ll be able to build your tribe much more easily. However, keep in mind that even if you do those things to the best of your ability, they’re not bulletproof. They’re simply pointers, and you’ll still be spending time refining and tweaking your beautiful opt-in.
But that’s OK! The long game is the only game in small business. Build relationships, and your audience will sing your praises. And that’s good for business.
I wanted to make sure you know about my Masterclass which starts WEDNESDAY.
Are you launching something soon and need help with your next Social Media campaign?
Because your visuals are your first encounter with your potential customer, and they take a fraction of a second to decide whether they want to click for more, or scroll past.
My Masterclass will teach you how to create stand-out ads for social media using Canva.
15 days to get YOUR next social media campaign sorted from the ground up. You’ll learn what your customers want to see, create an eye-catching & on-brand image bank, pick up next-level graphic design know-how – and substantially increase your Canva skills at the same time.
All the details are here – http://bit.ly/CanvaSocialMaster.
And of course you’re always welcome to send me an email if you’ve got any questions – email@example.com.
Hope I’ve made you think about your opt-in and now your imagination’s working overtime!
Have you got any questions about opt-ins? Pop a comment below, and I’ll point you in the right direction.
What the hey is ‘branding’?
I get asked this question a LOT, so thought I’d do a quick video to explain. No, it’s not just your logo.
Basically, branding comes down to being consistent in what you put out into the world, curating your customer’s experience of you.
In the video, I mention Nike and Adidas as fabulous examples of branding, and how they differentiate themselves – because, as we know, they actually sell the same stuff. But they target their markets very differently – Nike is about heroic striving; Adidas is a bit more down to earth and ‘real’.
What do you think – does your customer’s experience of you stack up? Or are there things you can improve?
Let me know in the comments below – what one thing are you planning to fix in your branding next?
(Oh, and if you’d like to grab the free workbook Build Your Brand, you can grab it here.)
You know that EVERY interaction with your audience adds to their impression of you – whether it’s your sparkly, amazing website design, your luscious business card that everyone oohs and aahs over, or your YouTube channel banner.
In fact, I was just listening to Tash Corbin today talking about where to start with branding/rebranding your business, and she suggested to start with the things that get the most interaction from your audience, i.e. your Facebook page, and your Youtube channel – because really, unless you’re the Huffington Post, your social media is where all the interaction is happening and your site is not.
So, here’s today’s tutorial on how to put together a great banner for your YouTube on Canva. There are a couple of SUPER important things to remember about your banner for Youtube, especially the size and placement of your text – and so I go through how to use Canva’s guides and snap tools to help you (and I explain why NOT to use any of Canva’s templates for this too!).
As mentioned in my last post, I’ve got a Canva Masterclass happening VERY soon – it starts on Thursday, 16th March. If you’re launching anything anytime soon (a new product or service) or even if you just want to raise your social media profile, I suggest you check it out.
You can learn next-level Canva skills and create a whole social media campaign from the ground up, with tonnes of individual attention in a small group setting – find out more here.
See you there!
The 5 Step Formula to Designing a Killer Logo
guest post by Hubert Dwight
It is amazing how much influence the right image can possess. For instance, a company logo is just a tiny picture. It doesn’t even have to contain any words and it can still say a thousand of them. These carefully selected corporate symbols carry a lot of responsibility, so it is important that yours has precisely the impact that you want.
When designing a logo, you should follow a clear and logical process. This is a good way to ensure that the finished product is sleek, sophisticated, and striking. Proofing is absolutely imperative, so make sure that you check and recheck your design for errors before taking it to a professional printer.
Classic Colour, professional printers in Melbourne, know what it takes to create a successful logo and stand out from the crowd. Read their five step guide to getting it right first time.
1. Do Your Research
It is a misconception to think that all of the work put into a logo is sketching, drawing, and producing mock up designs. The research stage, before you even put pen to paper, is just as important. Start with a loose, informal brainstorming session. Make notes about favoured colours, the intended mood, key design ideas, and your motivations. It is also useful to take a look at your market rivals and try to understand why their logos are good or not so good.
2. Start Conceptualising
Whether you do this for yourself or you outsource it will depend on what type of business you are. If you don’t have a design department, it is perfectly okay to with an outside source on a high-quality mock-up. Just make sure that you don’t ‘leave them to it.’ You need to be a part of the process at every stage and collaborate closely, in order to have your vision realised.
3. Review and Evaluate
Once you have a rough logo design to work on, you can start looking at it from all kinds of different perspectives. For instance, could you actually afford to get rid of some of the detail? Simple, clean logos are always the most effective. Get rid of any unnecessary baggage and take things back to basics. You are trying to create a symbol for your business. You’re not trying to explain it with this design.
4. Test It in the Right Environment
When you’ve got a logo that you’re happy with, don’t forget to test it out in its native environment. This means taking it off that plain white or grey background and actually inserting it onto letterheads, flyers, leaflets, and posters. Take the time to consider how it looks and feels before you make a final decision. In fact, you can even mock up a set of flyers and take them to the streets; ask shoppers what they think of the new logo.
5. Take It to the Printers
The thing to remember is that logo design is an organic process. It might take two, three, or more attempts before you hit upon an idea that works. Revisions and edits are an important part of this process, so try not to rush through them. Switch things up, change different elements, try all kinds of colour combinations. Before sending your final design to the printer, you have ultimate freedom and you need to use it to explore as many possibilities as you can.
Why a Great Logo Design Is the Key to Business Success
All great logos become synonymous with their brand. This is why you should be trying to create a design that is striking and attractive, rather than attempting to have it describe your business. It needs to be clean and simple. Bright colours, arresting graphics, and brief slogans are all great ideas but don’t overload the design. A good logo is, essentially, shorthand for your business, so getting it right will ensure that shoppers remember you every time they see it.
tractorgirl.com.au collaborated with Hubert Dwight to supply this post. Please rest assured that I only ever share things that I think will benefit my readership.
I confess: if someone were to tell me I should put together a mood board for my business a couple of years ago, I would have rolled my eyes and ever-so-politely ignored them. Pfffft. I already KNEW what I liked; I had a strong sense of design, I had some colours and fonts sorted for my brand and I figured I was good to go. Well of course, how totally arrogant of me.
A mood board does a whole bunch more than help you choose your colours and fonts – it sets the complete tone of your brand, and will guide you for every piece of content you put out in the world. Think carefully about your current collection of images for social media and web – does everything all look like it comes from one place? Does it all carry your brand ‘voice’? Just using whatever takes your fancy on the day and then stamping your logo over the top of everything certainly doesn’t make it all hang together, and even when you use the same fonts and colours throughout, you can still have an awful lot of variation.
If you’re in a creative business, if you’re running things on your own, YOU are a brand, and you need to project something cohesive.
To help you figure out just what that ‘thing’ is, mood boards are ace.
Mood boards help you create a visual language.
Your visual language includes colours, fonts and image style, as well as projecting the overall vibe of your brand.
And they’re not just for when you’re starting out – they continue to be useful throughout the life of your brand! They’re your starting point for when you’re pulling together your branding elements for sure, but they also double as inspiration and focus every time you go to put out something new for your brand – a new social media graphic, a new blogpost, designing you new business card or packaging – your brand mood board keeps you focused and gives you plenty of clues on how to do that.
Putting a great mood board together is a scavenger hunt, and it’s just about the best fun scavenger hunt there is I reckon! Because it’s all about you, and you can spend lots of extended time on it. You don’t need to put it all together in one hit; there’s always more you can add in. Take your time, do it as you go about your day to day business; add in bits and pieces as they appear – it’s a work in progress.
So where do you start?
1. What’s the purpose of your board?
What’s your mood board for, specifically? Is this board about your business brand and what you want to project? Is it to help you identify your ideal customer/audience and what their expectations are? Is it to share with your designer, so they can interpret it to put your website together? Or to share with others on a collaborative project so they get a sense on where YOUR ideas are headed (which can save a whole lot of angst further down the track when you present a finished ‘thing’ and they say they don’t like it…)?
The more specific you are about your purpose, the easier it will be to choose elements that relate to that.
2. Get some keywords.
Keywords will help you drive the direction of your mood board and keep you focused (and not disappearing down the pinterest rabbit hole). These should be chosen VERY carefully, as each impacts on the other (context is everything). For instance, “sexy” can mean very different things to different people; combining it with “whimsical” or “electric” will point it in different directions, and adding in “cool” or “vibrant” will shift and define its meaning even further.
3. Where can you find the best source material?
If you’re making a mood board for your brand, sure it’s useful to look to your competitors to see what they’re doing, and see what your target audience is responding to. But take what you find as a springboard – you don’t want to copy, because that just means you’ll end up looking like everyone else. Use your personality, especially if you’re a solopreneur – you are what sets you apart from others in your field.
Inspiration can come from anywhere. Don’t limit yourself to Pinterest (and I KNOW there’s oodles of fabulousness on there so it’s definitely one important avenue to investigate). But inspiration can come from many other places too – use images from magazines and books, and old photos (just scan ’em in if you’re making a digital mood board; print out your scan if you’re working with scissors and paper).
And PLEASE don’t forget to look around you in the real world. Pick up things that interest you, write down ideas that capture your imagination, keep your fingers ready for gorgeous textures, and always take your phone camera with you.
4. What do you need to include?
Well, inspirational imagery of course. You don’t have to stick to your niche for imagery either. If a sad clown pic expresses what you want even if you’re in the tech industry, go for it. If a cute puppy does it for you even though you’re in the wellness industry, stick it in. Don’t limit yourself, especially when you’re in collecting mode – you can always cull it later.
Collate, then curate.
There’s lots of other things you can include as well that are evocative of the mood you’re after. Examples of fonts you like would be great for your branding mood board; and especially if you include your keywords in some of the fonts you’ve chosen.
Textures are fabulous too – a crinkly leaf, a gorgeous bit of velvet or brocade, a piece of bark from a tree, a scrap of leather, a pretty carved button, a fragment of patterned ceramic, a shell from the beach…
Colour is one of the most important factors in tying a mood board together – you might have to work at getting a cohesive colour scheme, so keep searching and adding in more things that speak to the style you’re after, and culling out things that don’t fit – you’ll get there eventually!
And when you’ve got a harmoniously colourful board happening, then you can start pulling out particular hues – if it’s for your branding, I would recommend including your palette somewhere in your mood board, and don’t forget their hex codes. Also, if particular colour combinations are going to be a key element of your brand, emphasise them.
Inspired? Get onto it! If you’re still a teensy bit unsure about what/how, check out what google brings up.
But wait, I’ve got more!! Next week, I’ll write about the different tools you can use to create your mood board (believe me, a real-life one that you can touch has a different feel to it than a digital one) – including a bunch of tech and styling tips to make yours sing.
Got any questions about mood boards? Pop ’em below.
Do you have one for your brand? Are you happy with it? Share it on my FB page – I’d love to see! If you’re not happy, what specific aspect are you struggling with?