Weekly Q&A | April 4, 2018

What confuses you about marketing?

Social media marketing

Social media marketing can be quite the beast to face, but it doesn't have to be as confusing as we make it.

Basically, great and consistent content is the main goal. I've found the best way to do this is to create a pillar of content.

Your content pillar can be a blog post, podcast, video – any large chunk of content that you can pull other smaller pieces of content from. For me, that's oftentimes my Q&A sessions with you guys. So from my live stream, I can create this blog post, some Twitter highlights, Facebook discussions, etc. It gives me a consistent direction every week for my content so I can plan accordingly.

It's also extremely helpful to plan your content in batches, once or twice a month.

Batching tasks is a known way to get things done with the highest efficiency, and it's much easier to do when you know the plan for your content. So if you know you're going to be posting to Instagram twice a day, Twitter three times a day, etc., you can take a few hours to create that content for the next couple weeks all at once and schedule it out so you don't have to think about it daily. These pieces of content would, again, stem from your main pillar of content.

Then post and engage with your audience!

I would start there!

 

Attraction marketing

Attraction marketing has recently gained popularity in multi-level marketing forms of business, but is super relevant for any business.

Basically, you are creating a personal connection and relationship with your audience before you sell anything to them.

You oftentimes won't promote the product or a service directly, but will simply share the real-life benefits you're experiencing and generate interest that way.

Here's an example: If you're selling lipstick, you might post about how you never used to wear lipstick because it wouldn't last, would smudge, you couldn't find the right color, etc. You may post photos of your "lip color of the day" and talk about how great it is to never have to worry about your lipstick fading by the end of the day.

You're going to get people messaging you saying, "Wow! That lip color looks amazing on you! Where do you get your colors from??"

From there, you can connect with your audience, asking them what they are looking for in a lipstick. Then, you know exactly what they're needing and can help them find what they're looking for in the products you offer.

Let me emphasize, this is about genuine connectionDon't try to connect with people just to make the sale. You should truly care about the people who come to you and have their best interest in mind.

All this to say, attraction marketing is about these things:

  1. Know yourself
  2. Know your audience
  3. Know what frustrates
  4. Have a solution
  5. Build authentic relationships
  6. Alleviate the pain

Be genuine, don't pitch, and aim to create genuine connections with your audience through your content.

 

I wish I knew how to design...

Websites

There are tons of different facets of web design. I think the first thing to figure out if you're just starting is how committed you are to the process of learning. This will ultimately affect the platform you design on and the range of features you can offer your clients.

If you know general graphic design and want to get started on websites quickly, I suggest working in Squarespace. There are amazing companies like GoLiveHQ that design custom Squarespace sites for their clients. They also offer pre-designed packages that can be used with existing Squarespace templates.

This could be a great place to start – it gives you an easy-to-use platform to get your feet wet with web design and also gives your client an easy-to-manage system after you finish the project.

If you want to get into more complicated web design (custom Wordpress, HTML5, CSS, etc.), you have to be ready to become a student for a bit.

Find courses on Skillshare, Udemy, or even free videos on Youtube and invest the time into learning (and applying) everything you possibly can about the platform you're wanting to use. You can become a professional for free. You just have to be willing to devote yourself to the process of learning and practice.

A word on great web design: Web design is just as much marketing as it is design. If you want the quality of the websites you design to immediately improve, ensure the design is helping achieve the overall goals of the site.

For example, if my goal is to sell products, then every encounter someone has with the site needs to direct them to a product. Then, their experience with the product page needs to answer questions they may have, eliminate fear or doubt, and lead to a sale. This will change your layouts, funnels, and so much more.

Remember: a website can be gorgeous and ineffective. Make sure the design is helping, not hurting, the main goal.

 

More intricate logos

Let's just get this out of the way first: Any logo design must be done in Illustrator or another vector-based program. I can't say this enough! If you design your logos in Photoshop or another raster-based program, your design cannot scale without distorting. Distortion looks bad. So design all of your logos in vector. Period.

Learning to design more complex logos will likely be more of a learning curve as an illustrator than anything else. Getting comfortable with developing your concepts with pen and paper will help translate those complex designs into Illustrator more easily.

Intricate logo design also means you'll need to get more comfortable with the functions of Illustrator. I suggest learning more about the pen tool, brush tool, and pathfinder tool. Get comfortable using strokes instead of expanded objects while in the early stages of developing the design – this makes any thickness changes really easy and quick.

So start on paper and scan your concept into Illustrator. From there, you can trace over your original design using the pen tool and fine tune elements as needed.

You can also use "image trace" for complex hand-drawn elements. Import your drawing in high resolution to Photoshop, convert to black and white, use the Levels adjustment to make your drawing as dark as possible and the paper as white as possible (create extreme contrast), and then import to Illustrator. From there, you can select the layer and click "Image Trace" (I like to click the arrow to the right of it and use the "Silhouettes" preset. Then, make any small adjustments to the vectorization in the "Image Trace" toolbar, expand the object, and clean up your points!

 

My business would change overnight if I knew how to...

Find clients who are educated in what their brand needs and are willing to let me create great designs that will progress their brand vs. staying in the rut they’ve been in.

This is the king of questions! Haha. As someone who did freelance for many years, I TOTALLY get this – and still do, let's be real.

First, if you want educated clients, you have to educate your clients.

Many business owners are focused on aspects of the business outside of branding, marketing, and design. That's why they're hiring you. So if you want your clients to be well-informed of why you're making the decisions you're making, then inform them!

Great ways to do this could be through an e-book, a welcome booklet outlining your process and their role, blogs and free resources, video, etc. Give them everything they need to be an educated client!

Second, I've found that a lot of the client-designer strain is often a pricing issue and/or a communication issue. We all ascribe value to things we pay a lot for, so a higher price will usually get you clients who are more trusting and understanding of the process. They want to protect their investment and see a return on it, so they'll often be more educated about what they want and why they want it.

Outlining your process before you begin will also help. You both need to have a mutual understanding of one another. The client is paying a lot of money for your work – they should be happy with the results. You are educated in your field and have experience in this arena – you should feel empowered to make design decisions. 

Dive in to the process of exploring what your client needs, while helping them better understand what it is they're needing, why they're needing it, and how your process of providing that solution works. After all, this is about them, not you. So make sure the number one priority is what's best for their business, not your portfolio.

 

What keeps you from pursuing your dreams?

FEAR

100% of you who answered this question said "Fear." Wow. Let's dive into that.

As someone who has "made the leap" from salaried job to self-employment, I can say that fear has never left me. Before I quit my job, I was afraid of making the wrong decision. What if I'm "supposed" to stay here at this job? What if it doesn't work out? What if I don't make money? Standard questions.

After I made the leap, the tense changed with the same questions. What if I was supposed to be at my other job and I shouldn't have left? What if this never works out? What if I never make money at this?

Now that I'm making a living, I'm asking the same questions. What if I should be expanding into other areas? What if this only works for a couple more months? What if I stop making money at this?

Fear doesn't go away. I wish it did, but it doesn't. It only changes.

And I think the key to conquering fear is to live with it. Engage with it. Debate with it. It can be really informative.

For example, I'm nervous about Creative Market being my main source of income. What if something happens and it's gone overnight? I could let that fear control me and stress me out, or I can engage with it. "Oh, that's a great point. Maybe it would be wise to diversify." 

Or even more personal, if I were afraid (I'm not, by the way haha) that Aaron was going to cheat on me, I can let that affect our relationship and my trust, or I can engage with it. "If I'm afraid of this, it might be a clue that I need to spend more time focusing on our marriage. I'm going to talk to him about this fear and figure out what's going on."

Fear doesn't have to be bad. It gets bad when we let it control the wheel, but it can be an informative passenger. It can help us protect ourselves as we move forward, as long as we continue to move forward.

Are you afraid of not making money? Then don't quit your day job. Work on building your business at night or in the morning before work. Or get serious now about saving enough to quit your job if that's the route you want to take. Don't let the fear of not making money keep you from even trying. It's a very real and valid fear. So acknowledge it and make room for it. Use fear to help you better prepare for the worst, so that you'll have nothing to fear when you move forward. Just don't ever let it hold you back from what you know you should be doing.

 


That's all I got!

Thank you guys SO much for tuning in to the Live Q&A! Please comment, email, or DM any questions you have for the next one and I'll be sure to answer them!

Much love,
Jen Wagner