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The latest news and industry trends

Posts in digital marketing
Will You Accept This Rose?....And Will It Make You Happy?
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Everyone won’t always love you, and that’s okay.  

Sometimes you won’t get the final rose, and that’s okay. Not everyone is meant to be your customer. When I first started my business, I was so afraid to be completely open with my branding. Ironic, considering the fact that I was preaching that very thing to my clients. Trying to be everybody's "friend" was not helping me build a sustainable business. I had to throw away that please the whole internet mentality and just be myself - flaws and all. Did I lose a few people along the way? Absolutely. But the ones who were a good fit stayed, and we grew together. I also found other awesome people to work with who challenged me, helped me grow, and understood my vision. In order to get the right clients who fit well into my business, I had to get the right mindset for my brand.

 

The problem that many of us face is that things in the business world can change so fast, that we get lost in the shuffle. The information overload saga is absolutely ridiculous. In this day and age EVERYONE is an expert (*insert MASSIVE eye roll here*), so the amount of information, both positive and negative is insane. As an entrepreneur, you have to know what information to digest and what information to leave right where you found it. You have to be able to find your own brand voice that fits in with YOUR Vision. Just because a fellow business owner offers the same products or services as your business offers doesn’t mean that you have to build your brand the same way. The “Final Rose” won’t always look like you expect. And that’s okay too.

 

If I knew what I know now, I would have had way less headaches along this journey. But I didn’t know. There was no way I could know everything so early on in my business. I want to share with you all what I’ve learned along the way, and the resources you can use to make SMART business decisions.

 

Join me for the Your Vision, Your Way Webinar. It’s a FREE webinar built for busy entrepreneurs who are serious about building amazing brands. Register today and save your spot for this awesome clarity training.

 

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3 Benefits of a Written Marketing Plan
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Developing industry specific marketing plans can be difficult to achieve with little to no direction. Just like a business plan gets you set up for strategic growth, a marketing plan serves much of the same purpose. While some may think that you can mix and match marketing methods as you go along, it is always much more efficient to develop your plan of attack well in advance. Your marketing plan should serve as the companion piece to your business and financial plans.

Marketing plans are not a one-size fits all scenario. Your plan should be specific to your industry, as well as your time in the business. It brings you clarity, structure, and most of all - more effective marketing. Here are a couple of the benefits of having a written marketing plan for your business.

Gain Clarity

  •  A written plan helps you gain the clarity you need to expand your business with effective marketing strategies. It takes your original business plan and stretches it out in a way that shows your creativity in a structured manner. As a companion piece to your business plan, it lays out the specifics of your business plan and assigns a marketing task to each area. It also shows you where your challenges may lie within reaching your target market, and how you should address a financial plan of attack.

Track Your Methods

  • A lot of people approach marketing without a strategy. They throw a couple of things at the wall and see what sticks, then get frustrated when they don't see a return. A written marketing plan helps you keep track of what you've done. It gives you a clear view of what has worked, what hasn't, and how much time and money has been put into it. Are you delivering things to your target market that actually address their wants and needs? If not, how do you change that? What new techniques can you use to better serve them?

Establish Company Culture

  • What better way to help your employees learn about your company culture than to have it in writing? Although you may think that you've expressed the core of your company culture and brand values, it is can easily be misconstrued by an outside party. Instead of assuming that employees know how to represent your brand, why not feel comfortable in knowing that they are clear on how to represent your brand. You can even ask for feedback through meetings and forums, and incorporate that data into a working plan for your employees. 

No matter the industry, your marketing efforts should be tailored to fit your specific needs. Just because a similar business has had success with a given marketing tactic doesn't mean that your business will enjoy that same success. It takes time, introspection, and documentation to get together a proven formula for success that can grow with your company.

Don't take chances on missing the mark with your marketing. Contact us today for a consultation on developing a targeted marketing plan for your business.

The Shea story: Branding Mistakes from the pros
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In the digital world, brand ambassadors can either make or break you, Having every day consumers share the benefits of your products and services can be one of the most low cost ways of advertising. But what happens when you do something to disappoint that customer base? How in the world do you rebuild a brand that is trusted by the people who will put money behind your brand and endorse you at all times? Shea Moisture is just one brand that is feeling a huge negative effect from a campaign that angered their core base. Now we are looking at what they could have done differently to avoid the backlash. 

Shea Moisture is known is for creating products primarily for African American women. The company prides itself on using all nature products and endorsing a mission to give reverence to its African ancestors It's latest ad did not seem to reflect that mission. The company, who has recently been acquired by a larger company, is expanding its customer base. They have created new products that can be used by women of all different hair types. The newest ad expressed the perils of women who have experiences "hair hate". Shea Moisture presented an ad that showed them as the solution to these women's problems. The only problem was that they left out one important hair type in the ad: that of the African American woman. 

 

The internet was immediately in an uproar as Shea Moisture began trending on social media. The response from women in the African American community was so swift that Shea Moisture immediately issued an apology. 

"Wow - we really f-ed this one up! Please know that our intent was not, & would never be, to disrespect our community" 

 

But for some, the apology made it worse. It seemed empty and meaningless, and was only met with more criticism. While most people can understand a company wanting to expand, and ultimately increase its profits, loyal customers want to continue to feel an attachment to the brand they grown to love for long. Dove, another beauty centered company seems to be able to hit the mark every single time with its rebranding initiatives. When Dove decided a couple of years back that they wanted more influence in the African American market, they went straight to the source for assistance in how to deliver a campaign that this new audience could identify with. They asked for input from women in the African American community and used the results to expand its market. Dove got it right. and continues to get it right repeatedly. There is a craft to changing things up within your brand. Here are a couple of suggestions on how Shea Moisture could have done things differently: 

Expanding the Product Line

A great company is expected to grow over time. It's perfectly natural to see companies expand their offerings as they grow. But it's important to be cautious about doing so. You have to access the details of your expected results. Are your results to sell more products, or to create more loyal customers? If your company is focused on creating loyal customers, then its important to think about the long term effects at all times. Your customers should serve as silent partners or board members to whom you look to for guidance on how to operate effectively. The last thing you want to do is exclude them from your expansion. 

Alternative Ads

A world where one company offers products that are inclusive of a variety of different groups is an amazing setup. However, when trying to stress inclusiveness its important to remember to include all groups involved. Once again, we can refer to some of the campaigns previously launched by Dove where they focused on showing a variety of women with different skin and hair types, and even different shapes. It helped to build a sense of community. Instead of adding on to the customer base and merging two markets together, Shea Moisture divided them. As women continue to fight for equality in the US, one of the last things they need is more division.

No Apologies

Sometimes there are things that are better left unsaid. Shea Moisture's long, heartfelt apology was almost like a slap in the face to those who were already outraged. The apology seemed like a simple "No. We still want you to buy from us", instead of a "No. We really do understand you. We promise". Once you've mad someone feel as though they matter less to you, words just don't cut it. People want action, and they want it right away. They want a crisis communication team in place that can work on slowly developing that trust again. The trust was not built overnight, and it most certainly will not be regained over night, 

 

What do you think Shea Moisture could have done differently? Would you continue to support a brand that made you feel excluded? Let us know in the comments. 

5 Quick Ways to Create New Content

Coming up with great content can sometimes be a chore. During months when you are swamped with your work-life balance, or perhaps in need of a vacation, making sure you are continuing to deliver content is something that most of us struggle with. When there’s a monkey wrench thrown into your existing plans, you can most certainly roll with it and continue to crank out content for your followers. Here are a couple of quick tips to keep the content stream flowing.

1-      Throwback Posts Unless you’re someone like Gary Vaynerchuk, it is probably likely that most people haven’t read ALL of your content. Even if they are a loyal reader, chances are that they’ve probably missed a post or two. Posting a “throwback post” is a great way to re-purpose content while ensuring that your readers get what they missed. Go back into the archives and look at some of your best performing posts, and repost them for your current reader stream. You can even go so far as to rewrite those posts, or do an intro as to why you chose to share that particular post. Add in some new graphics (or not…your choice), and you are good to go.

2-      Quotes Instagram is easily one of the biggest platforms in which you can find quotes.  Some people have even created accounts that are based solely on posting quotes. Take a cue from these wildly successful accounts and post your own quotes. There are tons of apps and programs that allow you to create your own background and use text overlays to achieve this same effect. For added value, it’s an even better idea to use your own quotes from blog posts, magazine articles, or interviews. Take a couple of lines from one of your blog posts and type in your URL on the bottom of the graphic. If that doesn’t work, maybe share a quote from one of your favorite books. Just make sure to give the author proper credit, and even tag them if they’re on social media.

3-      Video vs Written Content Your audience will vary on each platform. You may find that your blog followers don’t necessarily convert into Periscope followers, and vice versa. To ensure that all of your followers across all of your platforms have access to all of your amazing content, convert the content across all platforms. If you’re a person who writes out notes for your Periscope broadcasts, you are already halfway there. Add a little bit more text, and even some great points from comments during your broadcast, and you’ve got another great blog post. The same can be said for converting blog posts. Take the main points of your post and discuss them with your Periscope followers for a quick information packed broadcast.

4-      ‘Best Of’ Posts Blog posts, even when written a year ago, can always be repurposed. Perhaps you have a blog post that did exceptionally well and created tons of traffic to your site last year. You’d want a creative way to re-share that post right? Why not take your posts and compile them in a ‘Best Of’ post? It’s a great way to offer comprehensive information in a specific niche from within your blog. Take a look at your most popular meta tags, and share the top five performing posts with that particular keyword. It will not only serve as a great way to recycle existing content, but also offer convenience to readers who are looking for a complete set of posts on a specific topic.

5-      Guest Bloggers Need a break from cranking out those awesome ideas? Well, you can always hand off the baton to someone else. Having a guest blogger is a great way to show a diverse side to your blog or website. It also allows you to expand your audience with the readers that particular guest blogger may bring. Take a look at some of the experts in your niche that you communicate with and look into collaborating. Just be sure that your collaboration is with someone relevant to your audience.

Creating great content on a regular basis is not always easy, but it doesn’t have to be very difficult either. Step outside the box in terms of content creation, and you’ll soon find that new and amazing content is usually right under your nose.

Do you have a hard time creating and sharing new content? What are some creative ways you share new content?

*This post was originally publishing on LinkedIn.com and was republished for Billingsleamedia.com*