I recently had the joy of taking photos of local business-person Kay Joy, from Kay 9 Dog Training. My remit was clear – we needed to capture some informal, yet professional, photographs of Kay and her dogs Beryl & Betty to use on various platforms – including memberships of professional bodies. And Dorset being Dorset, we headed to the beach.
Kay is no stranger to the camera – she gives her clients clear visibility into her business through regularly posting pictures and videos of her classes, tricks and tips, and more. But, she’s often behind the camera, not in front of it. Thankfully, she realised the one thing that so many businesses simply don’t: People buy from people – and if you’re not visible, how are they going to be able to establish any sort of connection with you – before they’ve set foot in your class / office?
I’m amazed by how often businesses overlook the importance of having a personal visibility to what they do. And if you’ve ever been in any doubt, here are 5 reasons why you need to show your customers who you really are.
Whether you’re selling products or services – your About Us page is your opportunity to introduce yourself (or your team) to your prospective client. The way you portray yourself is the definition of your brand. Some choose to be silly, some choose to be stern. Some prefer a professional headshot, while others prefer the more relaxed. Whatever it is, and however you choose to show yourself – remember, you’re creating an impression. So make sure that the pictures match the service that matches what the client gets. Someone who is looking for a fun-loving, creative way to do some guerrilla marketing, may not be pulled to an image of someone in a suit, in black and white, sitting in front of a bookshelf full of encyclopaedias.
In a world filled with AI, Bots, Automation, Robotics – we’re at risk of losing a very crucial part of our buying process – the human interaction. I’m not saying that automation is bad, I’m saying that we’re going to have to work twice as hard to demonstrate our personal values, outlook, humanity – in a world that is filled with the immediate. Displaying and using images of your team (even if if it’s just you) is the key to standing out from someone who does exactly what you do. People buy you – let them see you.
Many, especially as I’ve experienced personally in the world of dog training, are nervous about taking their first step. In a B2C service environment, and certainly from what I’ve seen industries like healthcare (joining the gym), dog training (taking your less-than-behaved cocker spaniel to a class of all-stars), or even attending just joining a community group for the first time – people are nervous to step out of their comfort zones, to be exposed, to look silly. Before committing to joining anything for the long-run, consumers do a lot of research about the group they’re joining, and the people who run it. And it’s not too dissimilar in the B2B world either. Consumers (regardless of who they are) want to know what they’re buying into – and unfortunately, a bot or a great piece of content that says lovely things, is not enough to give them the confidence they’re looking for.
Stepping away from the personality reasons for a sec – in the world of SEO – people often forget the importance of a picture. Search results from image searches bear as much importance as a good blog or a solid SEO write-up. Sharing images, and relating them back to your business, to you, to what you do – is a great way to build your search rankings in a different way.
If you’d like to update your staff photos – or even just build a personal portfolio of professionally taken photos, then I’d be happy to help. Whether you’re looking for studio photos, or spontaneous office shots – I can help. Just give me a holler.
Looking out of my London hotel room this week, I’m greeted by beautiful sunshine, blue skies, and a fan sitting on the windowsill, working overtime – but providing very little relief.
It’s a hot summer in the UK at the moment – and I love it. Coming from South Africa, the heat and sunshine is a welcome nod to outdoor living, al fresco lunches, chilled watermelon in the fridge and random, spontaneous walks on the beach. But (and there’s always a but), one thing is certain – many buildings in the UK are just not built for the heat. They’re built to keep us warm – because it’s usually chilly. And the amount of heat that most experience in the UK is minimal compared to the need for cosy, snug, insulated indoors.
But that’s not what this blog is about.
“We [our hotel, or us physically] are just not built for this heat”, says many, in an effort to excuse or cope in some way. And I realise that we are – we’re just not planning properly.
Or at least, we don’t have the tools we need to be able to cope. Give us a rainy day – and we have an assortment of wellies, coats and umbrellas, anti-wet dog coats and special little water-absorbing mats that we magically pull out from nowhere. We’re geared for that. Because we’re used to that.
So, how does business who is not used to something, overcome in times of challenge? Simple – they look at the tools they need.
The beauty of us as freelancers means that we have years of experience on our side – and we’re accessible.
I’ve worked with one client whose raison d’etre is to equip businesses with access to the best specialist consulting know-how. When organisations know they need help, but they have no idea how to access it – Talmix matches them to an independent consultant who has been vetted, has the experience, has the ability to step in, pick up and move on.
As a freelancer myself, we bring something that many others simply don’t: A flexibility and versatility to work according to your timeline, budget and need. It doesn’t matter if you’re not “built for that”, because we are.
Looking for help to become better? Let’s chat.
We all start out with the best intentions. Which is exactly how you should start anything. With gusto. But sometimes, and especially for those business owners who daily juggle the role of accountant vs marketer vs sales person vs customer service delivery, best intentions often get replaced all too quickly by business-of-today – the stuff that simply has to be done in order to make money.
That’s ok. It’s happened to all of us.
The only thing that’s different is how long it takes before business-of-today becomes the number 1 priority, and marketing and other “nice-to-haves” become the things we save for a rainy day.
And then we sit, when we have a lull in business, and we start to find that initial creative excitement that once ignited your business into being – and you realise that you have horribly neglected that one thing that you swore you’d never neglect.
For almost all my clients, the notion of creating content is daunting – which is why they use me to help them. Having a solid, consistent, regular content stream (in whatever shape or size) is essential to any business – especially if you want to
So, if you’re reading this and you’re feeling pretty rubbish that you’ve neglected something that you feel you should be doing more regularly, don’t feel that way. It happens to the best of us. It just means that your business has been moving – and you’ve been driving it.
Finding yourself some quiet time to get your focus back in check is the first way to get things back on track. Here are a few tips that may help.
I am forever making notes – on my phone or on a random piece of paper – about things that resonate with me, throughout the day. I may be walking my Spaniel and have a thought about a cool blog idea, or I may be having a chat with my best friend, and realise the importance of something else – and make a note to come back to it later to explore it in a blog. I may read an interesting article in City A.M. which sparks a discussion on a client’s blog, or I may see a picture that is simply worth sharing. Whatever it is – I make a note of it (mental, or otherwise) and when I’m ready, and in the right frame of mind to turn that into an idea, I develop that (usually into a blog) into something that I can use in my marketing activity, social media or emails.
Things don’t get done, because you let them. Yes, that does make sense. Scheduling time to get things done is one way to ensure that you get to everything on your to-do list – including blogging. So, whether it’s taking a Friday morning in your favourite coffee shop to write a blog and schedule some social activity, or whether it’s a first thing, every day, mission – whatever it is that works for you, identify 1 (or more, if it works) time in your diary, every week, where you focus on getting a piece of content together. You’ll soon see yourself looking forward to these focussed little meetings with yourself, and the excitement of getting something done.
It’s easier to spot mistakes in other work than our own – especially if you’ve read and re-read your content so many times. If you’re worried about grammar and spelling, or if you’re worried about simply getting your train of thought across, test your piece of content on someone that you trust – a co-worker, a friend, a business mentor. Do it for as long as it takes you to build up your confidence and start pushing out promising content that delivers even more traffic to your website.
If you don’t know what the point is, then how will your reader? Often, we start out with a great idea, and then once you’ve written the opening paragraph – you’re faced with a “but what’s the point” dilemma. That’s ok too. Sometimes we (and our message) gets lost in our excitement of delivering it in a compelling way. It just means that you need to strip it back. Try this:
Then – break your thought down into sections.
Tip / Thought 1
Tip / Thought 2
Tip / Thought 3
CALL TO ACTION (ie: Call us to talk about your query, today / Email the team for more / Take our survey today)
If you need some help building a content strategy that works – and finding out the best way to get your brand echoed through your website, then get in touch.
Recently, I was asked to write a 200 write-up about a hotel that I’ve never been to, in a city I’ve never breathed, in a country I’ve never set foot in. My tools: other content written about it, a few photographs, a couple of reviews.
So often, marketers are asked to perform miracles. Not in so many words, but certainly in as much expectation. “Build my brand,” the client says – when there isn’t an agreement on what that brand represents. “Help me engage with my audience,” when there is no audience to start with. “Develop my sales funnel,” when they aren’t even clear on what their value proposition actually is.
And it’s more common than you think.
In this day and age where everyone is encouraged to have an opinion, unfortunately, quite often, one finds the mouldy fuzziness start to appear around the line that separates uninformed and expert opinion. One becomes the other, and (often) one even drives the other. A dangerous territory. And unfortunately, very often, we find that it’s this same opinion that drives strategy – upon which targets are set, goals are made and visions created.
But lets pause for a second.
What is the purpose of storytelling? Well, storytelling describes the “social and cultural activity of sharing stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatrics, or embellishment.”
So, if we look at that within a professional environment – marketing tactics is simply about telling a story (your message) through a series of actions which support it (social media, content, advertising, PPC, SEO, event marketing, partner marketing, email campaigns).
What’s the point?
I am often surprised by businesses who unconsciously blur the line between achievement and customer benefit. “We’ve been in business for over 30 years”. “We have the best technology and very accessible offices”. “We won the award for the best manufacturer in Britain”.
I say, “So what?”
The art of storytelling is uncovering and communicating benefit.
Here’s an example:
Client: “We have been in business for over 30 years”.
Me: “So what?”
Client: “Well, it means that we know how the market has changed over the years”
Me: “So what?”
Client: “Well, we have built up expertise that can forecast how things are going to go.”
Me: “So what?”
Client: “Well, it means that our clients get the best expertise to help them navigate their fields”.
Using the “So What” exercise in storytelling is probably one of my favourite things to do. Many of us get stuck in the all-about-us paradigm that we forget the relevance it holds to our customers. And that’s when things go awry. Sometimes it means that it really doesn’t matter what you’ve done. And sometimes it’s just a case of flipping the story – for it to resonate with your client.
I work with clients to identify and uncover their stories. It could be 1, it could be many. We identify the story, which then forms the fundamental basis for everything you do. Your sales team use the same story, your social media communicates the same story, your corporate culture emanates the same story – you are consistent, you are clear, and your customers understand the benefits they get when they work with you.
If you’d like help uncovering your story, I’d love to work with you.