5 Ways to Self Promote

To promote any business successfully, the first thing you need to know is who you're talking to. Marketing your product or service to 'everyone' just doesn't work anymore, so the clearer you are about who your ideal client is, the easier it is to craft your message to address that person's needs and wants that are relevant to what you're selling. I'd like to share five effective ways to self promote that work for me.  
  1. Networking: One of the most effective ways to self-promote is through networking. When I began my business I knew that the only way to reach my ideal client on a local level was to meet face-to-face so that I could connect and build relationships. In the beginning I went to every networking event I could until I found one or two that I felt really comfortable in. Now I attend those regularly and actually enjoy it. To build relationships and friendships takes time, so commit to going every week, month or fortnight and you will see results, but it takes time and consistency. Once you're known within your network, other members will refer you too. Of course, it's good manners and good karma to do likewise and when you find the right network for you, that all comes very naturally. I currently am Leader at Key Business Network Centenary in Brisbane and we meet every Tuesday morning - you're welcome to come along!
 
  1. Social Media has been one of the best ways I've found to self promote in an organic and social environment. It's all about conversation, engaging in other people's discussions and generally being friendly and informative. Facebook is my favourite because it fits well with my time and because that's mostly where my ideal client is hanging out. There I get to chat, comment, talk about relevant events and meet new people. I treat my personal page as a place where I comment on my general every-day happenings, I don't write anything too personal there, after all this is a public forum and not the place to share really intimate information, but it is brilliant for connecting and keeping up to date with events and other people. My Sassy Branding business page is more about informing and sharing information for my followers about my business and services and cross-promoting other businesses and people I like. Social media gives you the opportunity to reach not only your local market, but national and international too! The best part? It's free!
 
  1. Blogging is another brilliant way to connect with your ideal client and share your knowledge, information and general thoughts. The more information and 'how to' knowledge you share with your followers, the more people will trust and remember you as a specialist in your field. While you're imparting your knowledge, you're attracting more followers and that's a great way to self promote in an informative and generous way.
 
  1. Websites are no longer expensive scary things, you can get a great website professionally designed and built for under $1,000 or a DIY WordPress site for less that $500. Have a look at www.bluedogdigitalmarketing.com.au for some great options and tell Clark and Tegan I sent you. WordPress is my pick because it's robust, easy to use and has endless options for plug-ins and functionality. I believe every business needs to have a web presence because that's the first place most of us go looking for information and services, so if you haven't got a website, you're missing out on massive opportunity to connect and promote yourself.
 
  1. Articles are a great way to impart your knowledge, gain respect and gracefully promote yourself in an organic natural way. Getting your articles into magazines that your ideal client is likely to read is a great way to share information that's valuable and fresh and relevant for the reader. It also helps to put you in a position of authority about your topic and raises your profile. Articles are also great foundations for future blogging topics because when you break it down into sections you can use each one for a blog!
In conclusion, it is easy to self promote online and offline with ease and grace. Take one step at a time, commit to consistency, and just be yourself!

Better than a billboard – your vehicle could be your best advertisement!

I got a call about a year ago from a lady who was really excited to talk to me. She said she'd decided she wanted to find a graphic designer who would 'get her', someone who was intuitive and feminine and professional. Not long after she'd decided all that, she spotted my car on the highway and thanked her lucky stars for giving her the answer to her prayers. Who knew I could answer prayers? Guess what - we all can - it's just a matter of letting people find you.   So back to the story... She called me, we met for coffee, then a consultation. I read the draft of her book, we shared our stories, she came to my workshop, I designed the logo for one of her clients and now we're working together on the graphics and branding for a company she's founded AND we're friends who enjoy coffee catch-ups together. And all of that from simple signage on my car. Seriously it's better than a billboard! Much cheaper in the long run, it's mobile so it can be seen in all sorts of places and really easy to update if you need to. Red lights for me mean advertising opportunities! So if you're thinking about signage or better ways to promote, consider car signage because it really does work! - You do need to be nice on the roads though... My goal is to have a fleet of Sassy red cars buzzing around the country so keep an eye out! And if you need the artwork done for your car, call me! If you'd like to discuss your branding further or want some help with your graphics, contact me here and let's organise a time! Or coffee 🙂

Rinse and Repeat

Communicate your message consistently to connect with your clients authentically and create a thriving business naturally.
I was giving a talk the other night at a Business Brainstorming Meetup and the topic of marketing came up, as it always does. Marketing is intrinsically connected to graphic design and branding and it was interesting to note that most of the business owners in the room were overwhelmed with marketing their business. When we start our own businesses we do it because we're skilled at something and we want to share our skill to help others. What most of us don't realise is just how much time it takes to market and promote, whether that's through networking, advertising, social media, emails or website, it all takes up a tonne of time!  Trends are dictating that visual branding is more and more important, especially online, because everything we send out, post or print is first seen visually, and it's that first impression of your business that's so important. Communicate-your-message-sassybranding.com Social Media, although overwhelming and confusing at times, is a wonderful way to promote and market your business. Firstly it's free (unless you choose paid advertising) and the potential reach is huge. My best piece of advice to you is to be consistent in your graphics and stick closely to your branding. As tempting as it can be to change colours and update logos, it's advisable not to because it causes confusion and people won't remember you if you keep changing the way you look. It's about building trust, being reliable and professional. My role is to guide you and create the graphics that represent your business, but most importantly it's to make sure that everything you post or print is visually consistent and carries the same brand/colour/theme/look throughout. That's how you create a recognisable brand. Consistency is crucial. If you'd like to discuss your branding further or want some help with your graphics, contact me here and let's organise a time!

How to get more likes on Facebook

Sassy Branding“I know Facebook can be good for business, but I don’t know what to say…” sound familiar? Facebook is all about being social, that’s why it’s called Social Media. There’s no need to be stuffy and boring when you’re sharing information and news on your business page, just be yourself. People want to connect with people, that’s why it’s important to be social, transparent and engaging. Still sound too hard? OK, try these steps… Show your personality: Inject a bit of humour into your posts, be a little bit vulnerable and share some daily experiences. That doesn’t mean telling us what you had for breakfast (unless it was something amazing in an exotic country), but things that make your heart sing. For example, I recently toured Italy with my art tutor and classmates, and we painted every day in the local Italian towns (I had to keep pinching myself – it was AMAZING!!), so I shared some of my musings and photos about that trip. The response was great, for some people it brought back memories, others were inspired to travel and others talked about their desire to paint, or dance or sing… Your vulnerability gives others permission to do the same and share their thoughts and feelings. Share your knowledge: Tell us why you’re the expert in your field. Share stories of encounters with clients, talk about the great outcomes you’ve had and really importantly, tell us how your clients have benefitted from your services or products. Post testimonials. Give us some tips that are relevant to what you offer. For example, I have a ‘Tip of the Day’ and post one sentence that might be useful to someone out there, such as “Use white vinegar to wash windows, it’s cheap, environmentally friendly and works a treat!” If you don't have any tips, jump on to google and find some. Use images: Images are powerful and a great way to engage people. It’s statistically proven that pictures and graphics get more likes and comments than plain text. Personally I like to use both and when I do post images, I mostly use ones I’ve created myself and try to make sure my branding is on it somewhere. So now you’re thinking; “Well it’s alright for you, you’re a designer” – true that. But there’s a groovy little program called picmonkey, it’s free and easy to use to make your own graphics. Go on, give it a try! See that pretty quote up there on the left? I posted that graphic on Facebook the other day and it got more than 50 shares… what a great way to organically promote your business! There are heaps of other ways to engage and connect on Facebook, but try these for starters and see how you go. Oh, and the other thing that’s really important is consistency. Post at least once a day. It’s the same principle as branding, the more you do it, the more people will get to know you, trust you and share your stuff. Mix it up, be creative and have fun! Have you got any other ideas? Share them here... Back to Previous Posts

Crafting a Logo from Art

Many of my clients work within the healing and spiritual arena, and as such, I'm often asked to create a logo that’s a little bit 'left of centre'. You may know that I love to paint with pastel, and so I’ve found a way to merge my love of art and graphic design to create unique brands and logos for my clients. The following logo design is one of those creations. My friend Samantha works as a psychic medium and runs tours to Sacred Sites all over the world (what a life!). My mission was to develop a logo that depicts what Sam does and embrace her specific request for feathers, Stone Henge and her preferred fonts and colours. I’d be fibbing if I said it was easy, but after a lot of talking and spending time with Sam looking at images, trying pictures of this and placement of that, drinking wine and cups of tea, we finally managed to bring her vision to life. We found a photograph of Stone Henge that Sam liked, but we couldn’t find one in the purples and reds that she wanted. So, I painted it! Now she not only has a unique hand crafted logo, she has an original painting to hang on her wall - who knows, one day it might be worth a fortune - move over Picasso! hee hee... Inspired Soul Logo           Once the painting was complete, I purchased a vector stock image of a white feather and re-coloured in Sam's branding shades to suit. Each of the elements we’ve created have spiritual meaning for Sam, she was very specific about what she wanted so her input was essential to make sure she got it. Sam had already settled on the font style for her name, so that part was easy, I just had to re-shape it a little and incorporate it into the design. We’ve aligned the I with the spine of the feather and when we printed the business cards, the font 'Inspired Soul' was done in metallic silver.  It looks pretty spectacular! So, there’s the story of Samantha’s logo development for Inspired Soul Travel. It took a few weeks and a lot of concepts and ideas, many cups of tea and a couple of bottles of wine, but at the end of the day, Sam is very happy with the outcome, it’s exactly what she wanted and it makes her heart sing. It makes my heart sing too, to create something unique and specific that's aligned with my client's vision and brings their brand to life. Thanks for allowing me to share and I hope this has helped to show you some of the process involved in creating a brand... Ciao!    

What do you do when the work dries up?

Thank YouToday was the first day in a long time that I didn’t have any urgent work to do. Everything was up to date, all my proofs had been sent, invoicing done, blog written (amazingly, I haven’t done a blog for more than six months - and now I've written two!), jobs sent to print and nothing else to be done...
My days and nights are normally so filled with work and meetings, it felt strange to have no urgent or pressing work. The phone was quiet, emails nowhere to be seen. I was in limbo, and wasn't sure what to do with myself. Then I started to get that weird acidic feeling in the pit of my stomach and thoughts began to creep into my head like ”oh no, I’m going broke” and “what will I do if my business fails?” and “how will I pay the rent and the car payments?” and on it went for a whole minute and a half... then I stopped myself – what was I thinking? Don’t I KNOW that thought creates reality? Of course I do, that’s how I built this business in the first place, on dreams and a wing and a prayer and a lot of determination! So I stopped thinking those thoughts and looked around at all the beautiful things I own and I felt thankful. I scrolled through my client database and I felt thankful, I wrote out ‘thank you’ cards to a few clients I haven’t heard from for a while and got them ready to mail. I counted how many projects I’ve completed in the last three years (about 526!!!) and I felt thankful. I checked my bank account and relished in the feeling of abundance, amazed that somehow and in all ways there's always enough, knowing that there will be more prosperity coming very soon and I felt thankful. I even found time to read some blogs and check out some websites I've been meaning to do for ages and I checked through my project files and put away the completed jobs with a kiss to make room for new ones. I de-cluttered my desk to clear my mind and make space for more opportunities to come in, and I felt thankful. Today was a gift, a time to reflect and acknowledge how far I’ve come. I do have to pinch myself sometimes to make sure it’s real. I get so caught up in the ‘doing’ and being busy building my business; sometimes I lose sight of the magic of it all, the wonder and the blessings. So to my clients, I thank you, for trusting me to share in the creation of your business, as you have in mine. I am so blessed.

Three Bs for a Beautiful Brand

Letter BMy sister's a graphic designer, just like me. In fact she inspired me most to start my own small business, she's a wonderful mentor, younger than me, but so much wiser!

Last week she put a post on facebook about a new client who had come to her for a quote for a website - that's fairly normal in our profession - but when she delved deeper (well, not that deep really) it became apparent that this client didn't have a business yet, nor a business name, she didn't have products or clients and wasn't sure what a blog was. She just had an idea. Needless to say this makes a designer's job very difficult. So my sister stated that before a client comes to her for a quote, they need to have the three B's (at least). I agree. Here they are:

A Business - one can't sell or serve without an actual business. This means having a business name, trade marking that name or logo, registering the name, and buying a domain. I didn't say it was quick and easy, but having these things in place before you go getting websites and business cards is important. This is the foundation stuff. There's a lot more to it on an emotional level too, but I'll save that for another day.

A Brief - we designers like to know as much as possible about your business. Not only do we make things look pretty, we also need to know things like who your target market is; including their gender, age and profession, what your product or service is, how you plan to reach your market, what makes you different to everyone else doing a similar thing. A design brief should contain all of that information as well as things like the colours you want to use and why, the style of your business (corporate, spiritual, alternative, healthy etc) and the moods you want to convey through your branding. I know!! We're nosy people us designers, but in the end you'll get a design that's created specifically for your business, not some random generic logo you got online for five bucks that Bob over the road could use.

A Budget - You need to know how much money you can commit to your design project because us designers can generally tailor a package to suit or offer payment plans. Lots of people shy away from talking about money but it's important to get that sorted from the start. Then there are no nasty surprises and everyone's happy. I generally give a fixed price quote because that's what I prefer myself. Hourly rates are too varied and it can blow out really fast, so a fixed price is much better for you - often not so good for me, as design work is incredibly time consuming and can go on and on - but them's the breaks.

So, if you're thinking about a website or a logo, answer the above questions first and you'll be off with a flying start. I'm more than happy to have a chat if you want to know more and would love your comments below.

A Taste of Thailand

PatongI’m in Thailand! Yes, another bucket list ‘to do’ has been achieved, and all in a very short time. It’s amazing what you can do in a week, thanks to my wonderful travel agent. So, here I am with hubby, staying in a very nice resort on the western beaches of Phuket. It’s just lovely and such a treat to have a break from work and our daily routine. How blessed we are!

Our main reason for being here is dental work. Hubby needed some major work done and talking with friends lead us to choose Thailand for the dental work, and it really is brilliant, not to mention so much cheaper than at home in Australia. I thought I’d just come along for the trip, I didn’t think I would need any major dental work, just a check up and a clean, but it turns out I need a crown and root canal. Not fun, but we’ll make the most of it while we’re here!

So on our many visits to the dentist we’ve been constantly invited/begged/cajoled to buy from every vendor we pass in the street, and there are so many (as those who’ve been here would know), not to mention the taxi drivers and masseuse girls. I’ve noticed with interest how I react to the different personalities when they’re selling their wares. I don’t like the ones that crowd me, or feel threatening or get loud. I shy away from the pushy massage girls that step in front of us, or the tuk-tuk drivers that want our fare, and the guy that sells DVDs and holds pictures of recent movies in your face so you can’t pass easily.

And it got me thinking about my approach to people as a business, because if you’re like me, I prefer to market my business organically, by word of mouth and through social media, where people have a chance to get to know you a little before deciding to use your services. It’s about trust and connection, not standing at the front of your shop pouncing on every poor soul that wanders past. As a result, I’ve caught myself standing back and watching the taxi drivers, before choosing the quieter more respectful one to drive us back to our resort. I choose the shops I like by observing the owner, if they stand back and give me space, I’ll happily go in. If they stand at the front and hassle me, I walk away. It’s always good to walk in your customer’s shoes for a while. What do you think? How do you like to be treated as a customer?

We’ll be back in Australia in a few days, and boy oh boy, am I looking forward to the cooler weather! Oh, and my biz partner Krishna and I are running our Magnetise Your Brand workshop on the 23rd May, so if you'd like to learn how to market and brand your business in a nice way, without having to yell about it, come along!

'La-Korn' or 'Goodbye' in Aussie

Jeanne x