marketing

9 Free Resources You Can Use Every Day to Market Your Creative Business

Sometimes you just want to do everything yourself. Or, you don’t know how to delegate your marketing needs to another person, because quite frankly you haven’t figured out what works and what doesn’t.

And then there’s that feeling when you say want to say f**k it. Or, “what’s the point?” But then you resign - you know you must must promote your business, but you get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

So here are 9 free marketing tools and resources you can use on any given day. Each provide various sparks of motivation plus a good dose of reassurance that you’re probably doing a lot of stuff right.

1) I start with the marketing Queen, Marie Forleo. Delivered in a straightforward manner, she‘s a New Jersey gal who knows how to sell. And she’s full of heart and freebies. Her paid program, B School, has some 40k participants around the globe, plus she’s creative, funny, outgoing and motivating. She provides formulas for how to drive traffic to your site, and use ‘inbound marketing’. I.e - get more customers to come to you.

2) Miki Agrawal - she’s not a “marketeer” but she kills it at marketing. Her brands like Thinx are a result of a personal need and when it comes to creating visual marketing assets for any project I find myself frequently repeating her advice : “Does it pass the refrigerator test?” (jump to 15 minutes where this is addressed) I.e - is your postcard, business card, poster, ad, etc personal enough that someone would want to put it on their fridge? If so, you discovered something powerful. Watch her youtube videos (for free) and take notes.

3) Interested in Geeking Out over SEO? (Search Engine Optimization - the results in Google or Bing that get your site higher up on page one). SEMRush Webinar series are a GOLDMINE of information. These free webinars are live, and did I say free? And they’re held by the best and brightest SEO geeks from all over the world. There is zero gimmick, here. These brilliant people just enjoy talking about what they do and want to share it with you.

4) Amy Porterfield. This warm, generous host of a podcast called ‘Marketing Made Easy’ offers a ton of online courses for how to market your business. But her email is free and so is the podcast. While she targets individuals who’d like to run an online only business, she offers tons of free and very applicable tips for any business. Oh, and she worked for Tony Robbins so she knows her stuff.

5) Seth Godin. The master marketeer. His quirky, brainy, and insightful advice is loaded with digestible tips. If you’re bootstrapping, if you have investors, if you have an agency, or you’re freelancing, he offers little bits that apply to the bigger picture.

Image via Unsplash

Image via Unsplash

6) Add some laughter to your morning email routine with Talking Shrimp, and learn a bunch about writing your own copy. Laura Belgray, the mini genius behind Talking Shrimp works for NBC, Nick at Night, TNT, and has a daily blog and plenty of paid classes, too. But for free you can get her email delivered to your inbox which will remind you every day the critical value of getting your copy RIGHT (she also offers a free copy-tips download).

7) Very cool agencies that inspire, or good companies who present a powerful online presence are worth noting. Enter Sister London. Take a peek at their site and see what grabs you. These ladies are doing it right. Remember - you can always learn something new. It’ll become your own when you execute what inspires you.

8) Duct Tape - Owner, John Janstch is pretty buttoned up if I do say so myself. In his t-shirt and sports jacket or button up shirt + blazer, he delivers for big-box company. But here’s the thing - the marketing formula used by a marketer at Verizon or Nike is the same formula you can (and ought to) apply to your own small business. And Duct Tape offers a very special funnel-like resource for a very streamlined and specific method of implementing your marketing strategy. And John Janstch really wants to help. If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re probably slightly Type A and that part of your personality will be thankful.

9) This one takes a little work - but more like mental work. Get into the mind-frame of consistently thinking about people (influencers) or companies (brands) that really grab you. You may find that you’ll go back to these again again. Or you’ll get excited when you see their images on Instagram or read their posts. Do a study of these businesses. What ‘voice’ are they using when they write? What style or tone do they communicate by use of images? Are they partnering with anyone? What are they promoting and how? Let these case studies become your best teachers. Their examples and triumphs can easily be replicated - but remember, when you do it, the idea becomes your own.


Here’s a few more people and co’s that inspire me every day:

Block Shop textiles - These sisters offer daily creative sparks via their Instagram feed and Stories. They’re also marketing savants, so take notes.

Casey Neistat - The quirkiest video producer out there. Or “Vlogger”. He rose from nothing to securing an amazing video deal with CNN through his daily vlogging experience. He’s a born story-teller.

Mother Bees - A service-provider and distributor of nutrient-rich food products, this sweet company has totally nailed their target market with a soothing and trusting approach.

Justina Blakeney - She’s a self-made interior design guru with a Target partnership while openly sharing she only pays herself $60k/year because she’s more interested in long-term investing for her business than a short-term pay-out.


What's Instagram’s Algorithm? #3

This is the third post in a series about Instagram’s algorithm. You can read session 1, here and session 2, here.

As I wrote in the previous posts, I’m not a social media strategist. I’m a marketing strategist who, among other things, can help professionals determine which social media platform is best for their needs - Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Then I can help curate content that speaks both on my client’s behalf but also solicits authentic engagement from a target audience.

Lot of marketing jargon in that last sentence. But it’s important to differentiate that a social media strategist is more likely, for example, to help you accumulate that audience of 10k within 3 months on Instagram. And to even do that you’ll likely need to engage in a paid advertising campaign to push your ads - on any platform (I may also add that your presence online needs to be sharp before you bring 10k followers to your content - that’s also where I typically come in :))

So I continue to do the research so we can use a platform like Instagram without all the paid (or too much of it) advertising and still benefit. And I find the insight from Alex Tooby is both relevant and useful. I did, for example get an out-of state client using my Instagram account. As I write this, we’re currently working together on a monthly basis. Not to mention a number of old colleagues have contacted me via Instagram for work. A return on your Instagram investment is certainly a positive.

Image by Earvin Huang via Unsplash.

Image by Earvin Huang via Unsplash.

Alex’s backstory:

She studied digital graphics and design in college and when she started her own business in social media consulting out of Vancouver she worked hard to “figure out” the Instagram algorithm. Insta with Alex, one of her verified accounts has over 40k followers. Men and Coffee has over 400k followers, also verified by Instagram. Plus…she’s reached a $1 million in revenue via her online work. She’s Canadian so we believe her.

4 Ways to Increase Your Following Engagement in 5 Minutes

Session 3

Not all followers are created equal. Get followers who are actually going to support your goals and visit your website to buy what you’re offering. Attract the right follower, not just any follower (This goes back to defining your target market. Who is your ideal customer? Know this. Learn it. Take time to develop it).

Optimize your headline

This means toying with the first bolded line of your instagram bio. The Headline of your profile is searchable. Added keywords are needed to make your bio become searchable. And you must select keywords that will attract your target market to your feed. This Headline will show up in grey when your account appears in search results within Instagram’s search bar.

Right now? Your head line likely has your name or your company’s within it. But you should dedicate this Headline bio space to keyword placement. Add searchable terms to your Headline. For example: Architect Firm. This specificity to industry gives the account a chance to show up in keyword search for architecture. (Go to your profile and edit this bio, stat! Takes 1 minute to change)

 
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Engage with specific content and people

Go to ‘search’ within Instagram and toggle over to ‘tags’: (you must first know your target market) and type in a keyword that describes this target person: “independent business owner,” “interior designer.” The results will have ‘top’ and ‘recent’. Click on recent.

Here’s where you get to have fun. What catches your eye? Which image grabs you? Go in and like those images. Aim to find a few images within each account that you can like and maybe even write a comment.

Be genuine and just wander through images that are within this keyword search. This should be enjoyable!

You’re giving engagement and encouraging these people to visit your page.

(Alex does not mention this, but you can follow that tag. And that tag, which is relevant to you, will begin showing up in your feed. You won’t have to follow all the people within the tag, you can just follow the tag and use the same advice above - engage.)


Use Instagram Poll Features

To get more engagement, you need some to start with. You must encourage it.

Try taking advantage of Instagram Story features like polls, questions and quizzes. Ask people things that are relevant to what you offer and when people start participating in it, Instagram signals that people are interested in what you’re sharing and will share your content to those people again next time you share.

Only takes a minute or two to set up a poll or quiz! Additionally, this will give you some insight into what your audience likes. You could ask: do you prefer to see images of houses in the woods or do you prefer city scapes?

Be relatable and honest

Typically, people will read a caption to the end and may comment on something in which you’re being honest and raw. This is hard with a business profile - but if you present yourself as an individual, this is a major opportunity to be open. You may have experienced this before in pervious posts. Use that as encouragement to keep going. If you’re a business, you can tell a personal story related to your industry but doesn’t have to be embarrassing or revealing of your businesses weaknesses or shortcomings.

karina-napier-creative-marketing-agency-portland-maine-advertising-social-media-kamazhay-tulkibayeva unsplash.jpg

You can watch Alex’s session 3, here. Approximate view time: 35 minutes.







































What's Instagram's Algorithm?? #2

This is the second post in a series about Instagram’s algorithm. You can read the first one, here.

As I wrote in the previous post, I’m not a social media strategist. I’m a marketing strategist who, among other things, can help professionals determine which social media platform is best for their needs - Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Then I can help curate content that speaks both on my client’s behalf but also solicites authentic engagement from a target audience.

Lot of marketing jargon in that last sentence. But it’s important to differentiate that a social media strategist is more likely, for example, to help you accumulate that audience of 10k within 3 months on Instagram. And to even do that you’ll likely need to engage in a paid advertising campaign to push your ads - on any platform.

Image by Teemu Paananen via Unsplash

Image by Teemu Paananen via Unsplash

As for Alex Tooby, who’s content I present here, everything she teaches is based on her personal experience, and she’s built accounts to almost 1/3 million followers. Everything she shares are approaches she’s personally tried that also work. I’m not being paid to write these posts, I simply find her content useful and relevant. So enjoy!


3 Mistakes You’re Making That Are Costing You Followers and Engagement

Session 2

One

Maybe you’re posting too much or not enough.

If you post too much it’s not only too stressful, you may be overwhelming your followers and the quality of your content may be weak.

If you’re not posting enough, you followers may forget who you are. PLUS, posts can compete with one another. The newest post will outshine the earlier post, according to the Instagram algorithm. Because the ‘older’ post is considered no longer relevant:/ Read more about this here.

Find a frequency that works for you and is consistent. Post multiple times a day - fine - but STICK with it every day. If not, then find a schedule that really works for you. Consistency is more important that quantity. Every other day or every day is perfectly fine. Erratic posting throws off Instagram’s understanding of your behavior.


Two

Not using hashtags correctly.

One, if you’re not using them at all, start (you can use up to 30). And if you are using them, you may not be using them right. Here’s some guidelines:

  • Use 30. Each hashtag offers exposure so may as well get the exposure. More hashtags = more exposure.

  • Use hashtags between 1000 and 5000 posts.

  • Use hashtags that describe your account as a whole. This is hard. (If you’re a painter and paint and post a canvas of say, the ocean, but your other work contains mostly portraits, the hashtags may throw off visitors who follow the hashtag #water and who then arrive at your profile and see mostly portraits. They want images of water. I know. Human behavior can be so fickle.)

  • Not switching your hashtags regularly can trigger a spam alert for instagram. (So, I recommend that you can collect several groups of hashtags, up to 30 in each group and store those in Notes on your phone and rotate these regularly). A tool like an Instagram hashtag generator will help you find hashtags that are relevant to what you offer.

Three

Posting content that is irrelevant to your following and target audience.

I.e you’re posting content unrelated to what you do or offer. (You design interiors and you love wildlife and post sporadically about wildlife. Your followers want your interior design expertise. They do not necessarily share your love of whale pics.)

So you must must decide on your niche. You can then branch a little by choosing 1-3 potential subjects within this niche that give you some flexibility.

(For example, Alex mentions a feed about fitness. Part of this regime is related to food, some some food photos and content isn’t too far fetched. But sticking within your theme and providing context is important.)

Image by David Cohen via Unsplash

Image by David Cohen via Unsplash


That’s the end of Session 2! You can watch Alex’s youtube session of this content, here. Approx watch time: 19 minutes.









What's Instagram’s Algorithm? #1

Precursor: I’m not a social media strategist. I’m a marketing strategist who, among other things, can help professionals determine which social media platform is best for their needs - Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Then I can help curate content that speaks both on my client’s behalf but also solicits authentic engagement from a target audience.

Lot of marketing jargon in that last sentence. But it’s important to differentiate that a social media strategist is more likely, for example, to help you accumulate that audience of 10k within 3 months on Instagram. And to even do that you’ll likely need to engage in a paid advertising campaign to push your ads - on any platform.

Organic Growth. Image by Francis Cheung via Unsplash.

Organic Growth. Image by Francis Cheung via Unsplash.

So keep in mind, that while these social platforms were in fact built on the premise of free access for sharing personal and business content, the promise to investors and shareholders was and remains revenue growth. Enter business platforms and added features that come with a price - like access to the audience you’ve either organically grown already, or now need but must pay to get and grow. Hence paid advertising. And valuable paid advertising.

So I do the research to make sure that while the algorithms are consistently evolving, shifting and morphing to help shape and build the advertising and paid platform, you can keep up without having to pay.

The results are not the same as paid, but the basics are a must.

Image by Mark Adams via Unsplash

Image by Mark Adams via Unsplash

At this point, if you have a basic business profile, you’re probably interested in not losing more followers, or you’d like to get another hundred or two in the next few months and perhaps hit 1000+.

But how do you do that.

Instagram has a few guidelines.

Enter Alex Tooby. Her light hearted but strategic Instagram verified account like Men + Coffee has over 400k followers and she’s taught social media management for 3 years. Via her job as a social media strategist who generates income from selling tools like workshops, she claims to have reached $1 million in revenue. And she’s Canadian so we believe her.

The content below has been transcribed by me while listening to her work via Youtube. The transcription is not exactly word for word, but pretty close. Please keep in mind this is her advice, not mine. Though I do endorse her work as I’ve found it relevant and valuable. I’m not getting paid to write this :)


Understanding the Insta Algorithm and 3 Ways to Get it on Your Side

Session 1

First of all, lower engagement is being experienced across the board for everyone. It’s not just you. The kind of engagement that one could get a year or two ago is just no longer.

So what’s the secret: the longer you or any user are on the app, the more money Instagram makes. Longer use = more opportunity for Instagram to show advertisements. And Instagram rewards more engaging content by showing that content to more people, more frequently.

So - how can you create content that keeps people on the app longer? This is really the way of the platform. Really.

Also, if you haven’t gathered this so far, Instagram first shows you the content that it thinks you’ll like the most. This is based on what you like, who you DM, where you comment, etc. This is likely obvious. But you can use this feature to increase your own engagement.

Action Tip #1

Discover what content your ideal audience already likes.

(This means you need to be following the people who you’ve defined as your ideal audience).

Do some market research.

Go to your notifications tab and hit the “Following” tab in the upper left hand corner. See screenshot.

 
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This space in the Instagram app will tell you what the people you’re following like (which may also introduce you to cool, interesting and new content).

What do you see pop up the most? Paintings? Graphics? Loud colors? Black and whites? Posts with text? Faces or selfies?

Look for recurring themes. These themes can tell you a lot about what your ideal audience engages with most and inform your decision next time you post.

Action Tip #2

Use more video.

A video keeps people on the app longer. And longer engagement means Instagram will show your work more.


Action Tip #3

Write longer captions.

Again, longer time to read = longer time spent on app.


Timeliness

Instagram prioritizes information relevancy not by the content itself, but by when that content is posted.

The newness of a post is not based on the last time you posted, but the last time the user was active on the app.

If you post at 8 am and your audience comes online at 11am Instagram will show posts to users that were most recently made at say 10:45 am or 10:50 am. Yours post from 8 am will get pushed further back.

That means posting multiple times a day is not the answer. Determining when your audience is online, is.

If you have a business profile, you can go to your profile and hit the three stacked lines in the upper right and corner.

Click on “Insights”.

Hit “Audience” and you’ll see the times your audience is online most frequently.

 
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Alternatively, you can use a third party app called WhenToPost. (I’ve downloaded this and it’s Instagram approved. And Alex reminds us that whenever you use a third party app you should see the Instagram logo front and center. This format will indicate you’re not giving your login info to a spammer.)

 

This WhentoPost tool can give you up to the minute indicators of when to post or not. You’ll also see 3 best times to post per day and other days of the week. (I’ve been using this but haven’t found any major difference, but will give it a few more weeks for testing). If you don’t have instagram insights on a business profile this tool can be helpful, Alex says. If you do have a business profile with insights, this tool can help you cross reference.

Correct format when logging into a 3rd party Instagram app.

Correct format when logging into a 3rd party Instagram app.

Relationship

No matter how many accounts you follow, you should see your ‘best friends’ posts, first. This is based on again, your previous actions and the actions between another account with mutual engagement back and forth.

If you like images a lot on an particular account and that person is not liking back, the relationship is not considered strong.

The strength of an Instagram relationship can be built when you engage more with your ideal target market and encourage them to engage back. One way to do this is by ‘giving a little Instagram love.’ Go into your following list and begin participating in the various accounts of the people who are following you.

You’re basically opening up the lines of communication. Also, it tells Instagram the relationship exists. A CTA (call to action) can also help encourage relationship building by asking your followers to respond to something.

Image by Annie Spratt via Unsplash

Image by Annie Spratt via Unsplash


That content above is from Alex’s first session of her Insta Education series.

That said, I will allow that some of the above tactics are time consuming. This process takes work and commitment and consistency. You must know you ideal target market and you must have content that resonates with this group. I’ve made money off Instagram simply by attracting a client from out of state with whom I now work on a monthly basis. But I do have a strategy, I do use it consistently and I know who my target audience is. And I engage with them. And yeah, it’s a lot of work.



































The Solution You Can't Find in a Google Search

Last week, via Instagram, I mentioned having lunch with an old friend and colleague from my days in New York. He’s an incredibly talented designer and painter.

And he works in marketing.

And not just any marketing. He’s the creative director for the digital campaigns of a global fashion company that sees over $100 million in annual revenue from digital sales alone (I so so so wish I could say the name of the co. but the company is extremely private and he asked I keep the name to myself when sharing stats).

But wait, what does ‘creative director for digital campaigns’ mean exactly? It means he signs off on all digital content that goes public representing this company. And his job is not just about making the work look visually appealing or just aligning with brand guidelines. It’s a lot more.

mit-technology-review-karina-napier-creative-marketing-agency-portland-maine

And that “more” is the kind of solution we all need to improve online campaigns, a solution you can’t find via a quick Google Search.

So first, a few numbers:

  • Digital ad-effectiveness of this co. ranges from a 2x - 10+ x return on investment. This means for every dollar the co. spends on say, a Facebook ad, they’re seeing 2 - 10+ dollars back.

  • Next: they earn about $100 million dollars annually from just digital campaigns. How does the co. know this to be true? They track where the customer comes from and what the customer purchased on the company’s site. This isn’t big brother spying, this is simply a way of seeing what source or channel sent the customer to this company’s site and if the customer bought anything, and if so, what. If the company is running Facebook ads, the marketing team wants to know if people are clicking on those Facebook ads, going to the site and buying something. This is called a ‘customer journey’ and it’s trackable without being creepy. Plus, learning what’s working by means of your marketing tools and what’s not, is critically important. Say you run 4 ads simultaneously - by tracking how many people click on each ad and observing where people go on your site via each ad, then documenting what the customer buys will teach you a lot about which ad ‘performs’ best.

And there’s another piece:

What happens when the Facebook ad(s) works - ie is enticing enough that people click on it and land on the company’s web page? The web page has to have enough relevant information, but not too much to get the customer to take the next step. That step is buying something and this is called a conversion. A conversion in marketing terms is act of transitioning a potential customer to a buying customer.

My friend participates in making sure the text on the company’s page, the buttons, the images - all the content - is approachable and actionable and speaks to the customer such that the customer’s decision to make a purchase is as easy and as attractive as possible. The UX (user interface) on the site must allow the customer to buy easily and quickly. Remember, you have about 30 seconds to grab the customer’s attention and about 2 minutes to keep it.

So yes, there’s a formula to getting the customer on your page and keeping their attention and then ‘converting’ the customer to buying. And this process does not have to be sneaky, slimy, or manipulative in any way.

If you’re still not convinced:

Think about this experience like a brick and mortar store: you want an eye catching window-shopping display so the customers want to come into the store (a captivating window display is in effect the equivalent to your online Facebook ad). After the customer enters the store, you want them to easily scan your merchandise to see what you offer. Stores spend a lot of time on attractive, accessible display. Your website needs to do this, too. The cash register is also very visible in a brick and mortar store. You want people to be able to pay easily in a physical store and online. And pricing - the most important part - the PRICING is visible and easy to read. This piece must be presented and presented immediately - especially online. People, my friend reminded me, shop by price (the amount of data he must have access to is mind boggling).

So your Facebook ad is your window display and your website as we may have all heard, is your online store front.

Biggest point:

How do you get the people to respond to the window display and come in and then buy something?

Test. You test and you test and test again.

Just as you would likely play with various arrangements in your store’s window display to see what people respond to most, you do this with your Facebook ad. Then just as you would inside a store, you move your merchandise around a bit to see what people buy most and put those items up front, so customers can see this opportunity right away and buy more of those items.

But you must test. The variables you can play with online:

  • photos in your facebook ads (think: if you sell textiles and your customer is used to seeing a lot of patterns, maybe use solid, bold colors in your ads so the images stand out).

  • copy in your facebook ads.

  • the text and position of the call to action (button) on the page where customers land from the Facebook ad.

  • placement of pricing on your website.

  • display of items for sale on your website.

  • quality of photos.

  • how many times must the customer have to click to reach the pricing after they landed on your site? Get these clicks down to as few clicks as possible. 1 is ideal. 3 should be the max.

  • scrolling - eliminate scrolling as much as possible.

  • desktop vs mobile. Remember, many of us are on our phones. Esp. Facebook users looking at your Facebook ad. Test the legibility of your information on both desktop and mobile.

And really, have fun with this. Take your time. Some ‘tests’ can last an entire month. Maybe the first month fails, but by month 6 you could be winning.


Squarespace SEO Checklist

As a result of my work, I’m an administrator on a number of Squarespace accounts so I receive ‘special access’ to certain Squarespace forums (pretty cool). The Squarespace SEO Checklist-link below is in fact public but came across my plate as a result of this feature.

Image via Unsplash

Image via Unsplash

Also, note if you’re familiar with editing your Squarespace site, you’ll see a new update when clicking on the little gear icon in the pages editing section. There’s now a ‘SEO’ section within each page allowing for the manual entry of SEO-specific content for better results. Each entry only takes a couple minutes. I recommend copy + pasting only a few lines of text here. Copy + paste the most descriptive content from the page you’re editing. The SEO section for your About page, for example, should cover what your business is, who it serves and how. Again, just repurpose the content you already have on your site by copy + pasting it into this new SEO section.

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Click below for the Squarespace SEO Checklist. Note, the first section suggests ‘Before Launch’, but much of these suggested tasks can be performed even after your site is live. Good luck! It’s easy but yes, it takes time :)

https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/360002090267


The Marketplace - More Time & Money on Disappearing Stories

'Ephemeral Marketing' aka 'Stories' is by now a tool that most users know on Instagram. I've always been adverse to Snap Chat, and Facebook still hasn't really grabbed me, but Instagram had me from day 1. 

And when stories came out, I have to say, I was pretty captivated. And as a consumer, and a self-titled consumer analyst, I've been watching companies weave their way into the Stories I personally watch, right along side the hair-stories, or dog-stories, or travel-stories of my friends.

And I really love making Stories :)

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NPR's Marketplace, in case you missed it, did a brief piece on the 'Stories' tool yesterday. They interviewed a few people with interesting points:

"Branded stories appeal to users who are watching family and friend updates along side [the brand story]." - Katie Talbot, author, content marketer, entrepreneur.

 "I think [stories are] the future of content marketing...

"According to the recent Facebook Conference, more people are using Instagram stories than posting on the grid itself...[Users] like stories because they’re true and they’re authentic."

And this: The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) theory, which may be a cheap tactic to capitalize on people's inherent fear-nerve, but that's another 'story':

"Platforms [like Stories] that provide ephemerality - a sense of scarcity - get people to move. Hence flash sales...When you know that door is closing you feel a sense of loss aversion so you do what you can to avoid that.

Same with stories. If you miss it, you're disconnected, you're not a part of the network - from an anthropological perspective, your survival is low." - Marcus Collins, at Doner Ad Agency

And if that's not enough, about some figures:

They are currently an estimated 400 million daily users on Instagram stories.

100 million brands are creating  stories.

And on average, companies are reportedly allocating 8% of their marketing budget to Stories.

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- If you want a most basic Story how-to-tutorial, give Alex Tooby’s a try. She’s Canadian, so you can trust her :)

Mark(et)ing Happiness

Not enough money, not enough time. The scarcity model, when it comes to running your creative enterprise, and your life, is over.

 

If you haven't already noticed, you can get a LOT online, for free. This blog post is not about accumulating free stuff, but points out and asks why much of our consumer market has veered in two directions: incredibly, exorbitantly expensive, or basically free.

 

A dear friend passed along a killer article about happiness, via the Atlantic. Absolutely worth a read. I "don't have enough time" these days to read long articles, but I made time for this one and it was worth it.

I’ll also link these ideas to self promotion and the artist conundrum: 
self promotion is scary, money might be bad - or is it good?
I’m not good enough, or I’m so good that I don’t need to promote.

 

The summarized point: Scarcity isn't just a term in economics. It's also a mindset. And lately, a number of the most successful companies and industries in the world gauge their collective success on two things: is the creative process enjoyable? And is my team passionate about their work. 

art by cristina rusu.

art by cristina rusu.

These two values are the exact opposite of scarcity. They speak to opportunity, freedom of choice, and an increased value for good work (people's work gets better when they enjoy their work, and more likely than not, they master that work as a result = increased value), and giving away information with the objective to help others, also increases (back to point about our economy's fork in the road).

 

I'm writing about this not because I had an 'ah ha' moment but rather because I have long shared this perspective: there's plenty of everything (but don't waste), and do what makes you happy. Always. Period.

 

I also link these ideas to self promotion and the artist conundrum: self promotion is scary, money might be bad - or is it good?, I'm not good enough, or I'm so good that I don't need to promote. As a creative person, you have an infinite affinity to make. And as a creative person, you have an affinity to make because you feel something as a result. Mostly, you feel good. Self promotion and 'marketing' your work might feel in conflict with the euphoria, or ecstatic state. 

 

But it doesn't have to. Let your experience of happiness move into the promotional space. Share that with the rest of the world. You don't need to give away what you do, and you don't need to extremely price it. 

 

But you must share work and it's happiness. You must get rid of this idea that promotion is bad - or that you don't have enough time, or enough resources, or enough anything. That model is dead.

Spark J O Y

When I'm' moved by another person's idea, I grab tight and don't let go. This 'grabbing' can simply mean I use the idea in my own daily life, share it with others or think of it often - referring to as a way to improve my habits, lifestyle or work.

Enter Marie Kondo and her 'Spark Joy' concept.

Perhaps you've heard of it. Introduced in Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Habit of Tidying Up. I learned it and grabbed tight. The premise is simple: eliminate that which does not 'spark joy', keep or bring in that which does.

I use this concept frequently. And so do millions of others around the world.

KonMari repurposes a successful idea more than once to build her business.

KonMari repurposes a successful idea more than once to build her business.

Fast forward to now and Kondo is brilliantly evolving her concept from idea via book, to a product we can all buy with her new company KonMari. She's designed and selling beautiful, simple, elegant containers to help you organize your life and spark more joy.

Whether or not we need to buy more stuff when the idea here is to eliminate stuff, is another conversation. The point is that this woman is building on a successful concept, extending what already works. This is business growth strategy 101, but it's also marketing.

You can read more about her wild success, prodigal-like abilities, and Netflix series, at Fastcompany.com.

Leave This Trail Behind

I've worked in sales. Not the car sales type gig, but the media sales type gig. At times, this position was as lowly, petty, predatory, and even humiliating as one who's never done sales, can imagine. Then there were other sales roles (I got to be a sales 'director' at one point :)), which I found satisfying, engaging and confidence-building. These were better.

Fast forward to now, and in the last two weeks I've had not only been approached by my previous employer for a role in sales but by another media agency, today. 

And it felt terrible. The offer was introduced vaguely in an email. The writer is someone I've known in the field for a few years and I think we've grown to respect one another. In writing, she didn't initially state the type of job, just suggested I might be interested in some work.

Then I made an assumption. I assumed she'd done a little digging. At least looked at my profiles online; seen I was fully engaged with my current work. I think so far my content demonstrates that I'm not only happy but that I'm employed in marketing. 

In my head I began creating all types of scenarios: her media company could contract with me. We would work out a retainer deal. I'd get to execute my big ideas with their big clients. I'd add so much and in turn learn and grow!

Aw, so sweet.

Then. We met. For a whopping 20 minutes. She asked about my work. I told her. She asked if I was happy. I responded with a resounding yes. She frowned in disappointment and the meeting fell flat. Sure, I pitched my latest work. My skill set. Delivered what I love doing and why.

And then she asked me why I don't want to be in sales anymore.

And let's be clear. I use sales almost every day. I used sales with my neighbor as we exchanged plants. I use sales with my landlord to get off-street parking. I use sales every single time I log on to social media and tell my followers what I'm up to. 

I actually really like sales. 

So I told her: To be honest, there are so many other things that...I'm better at...that make me happy. At the end of the say, I was never proud to say I was in sales.

She nodded. Gave me a tour of their new office.

Maybe she'll keep me in mind. Maybe. I left and felt defeated because the wild scenarios in my head (albeit, totally realistic) couldn't have been further from her goals.

So I came home and debated a run. But a client call pulled me back into work-mode and suddenly I was doing research again and came across this: two of my favorite business leaders, sharing an interview. 

Seth Godin explains to Marie Forleo:

there is no perfect scenario; your fate or your purpose is ultimately a decision about commitment. The opportunities are like a carousel. They're going by you every single day. They were going by when you were 15, they were going by when you were 26. But if you didn't hop on that damn horse and ride, then they just passed by.  

So to hell with someone who doesn't want to leverage what I love. Moving on. I've hopped on and I keep moving. 

"...If you leave this trail behind of thoughtful examination of your world, you can't help but get better at what you seek to do." - seth godin.