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Why you need to show your life in your marketing

A woman celebrating - you can put life into your marketing too.

You’ve probably seen loads of marketing advice telling you that you need to share your knowledge and establish yourself as an expert in your field. That’s all true. When you have a small business, you need to go one step further and share a bit of your life with your customers. The big brands can build a corporate image around their values, but you need to show your audience who you are as a person. Here’s why you need to put some of your life into your marketing.

It makes your audience feel part of something

Content marketing is designed to help you build a relationship with your audience so that they’ll buy from you. When your marketing creates a community, it helps your audience feel as if they’re part of something amazing. That might happen because of chats in the comments on your posts or what you share in your Facebook group.

The easiest way to make your audience feel included is by giving them a glimpse behind the scenes. If you create products, you can share videos or posts of you making something. Someone might see the work in progress and decide they must have the finished product! Case studies are brilliant if you’re like me and offer a less visual service. You can show prospective customers the process so they know how you work and can read about the results.

Shared experience connects you with your customers

Maybe you started your business because you came through a challenge and wanted to help other people do the same. Your story needs to be central to your marketing. It shows your customers that you understand what they’re going through because you’ve been in their shoes. You can build trust by talking about your experiences. This is particularly good for business or health coaches, personal trainers and parenting experts.

Showing your life and the experiences you share with your customers can also work in another way. Whilst it might not be directly relevant to your business, sometimes you just want to work with someone who’s on the same wavelength as you or support their business. I work with lots of business-owning mums and it gives you a shorthand that makes communication easy and fun.

Sharing your life shows people you’re human

When you spend time running a business online, you’ll inevitably come across people who forget you’re a human being with feelings. They think that those nasty comments will bounce off (if they even think before they type). Sharing posts that show people what your life is like when you’re not at work helps to remind people that you’re a real person. It could also help to distinguish you from another, similar, business. I haven’t had anyone tell me they want to work with me because I’m a rugby fan so far, but you never know!

One word of caution; use posts like this sparingly. Every so often is fine but your customers aren’t your friends. They don’t need 500 pictures of your baby, cute puppy or to hear about how hungover you are. Just an occasional reminder that you have a life outside business.

Are you ready to put some of your life into your marketing? I can help with that. Book a call here and let’s have a chat.

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3 ways you can put your personality into your marketing

Photograph of Kirsty France, demonstrating how to put personality into your marketing.
Photograph by Amber Gosden

It’s a cliché for a reason – people buy people. Most big brands don’t build themselves around the personality of the owner, but small businesses like ours have to. It can feel utterly squirm inducing to put yourself out there in your marketing, but it’s worth it. Your personality is the biggest difference between your business and every other similar one out there. Need more convincing? Read this. If you’re already sold on the idea of putting more of your personality into your marketing, read on. I’ve got some great ideas to get you started.

Write the way you talk

Grammar is a slippery little beast. I know the rules which means that I can bend and occasionally break them for effect. (Like starting a sentence with a conjunction – my ten-year-old was horrified by that one.) The great thing about content writing is that the overall effect is more important than sticking to the rules. You can write the way you speak and your content will often be better for it, as long as it gets your point across.

If you find it difficult to sit down and write, start by recording yourself. Imagine you’re explaining something to a customer and go from there. You’ll be able to hear the phrases you naturally use and include them in your writing. You can then edit your writing yourself or send it to someone like me.

Show your face

If this idea makes you want to hide under a rock, I get it. I’ve built up my confidence over time but there are still days where I’ve planned to go live and talk myself out of it. The reason I do it is because it helps people get to know me. When you show your face, it gets more personality into your marketing. It makes it more likely that people will pay attention because they recognise you from earlier posts or face to face networking. You stop being a faceless business owner and turn into someone they can trust.

The easiest ways to show your face involve video, whether it’s live, prerecorded or a reel. Plan what you’re going to say then just press the button and start talking. The more you do it, the easier it gets. If you really can’t face that yet, start with photos that have you in them and build from there.

Tell a story

The human brain loves stories. We associate them with happy childhood memories or good times with friends. Telling a story in your marketing can put your audience in the main character’s shoes or give them insight into your life. (Which gives them another opportunity to see you as a real human being.) Case studies are a great way to do this as you can tell them the story of someone you helped who is just like them. They can identify with their struggles and see you as the solution.

Sharing a story from your life is ideal if you share common ground with your audience. You might have been in their shoes in terms of life experience, for example as a parent. You could also have felt the same emotions, like overwhelm or imposter syndrome. It doesn’t mean sharing your life story but giving a bit of yourself will help you to build a relationship with your audience.

Would you like to put more of your personality into your marketing content? I can help with that. Just click here to book your no obligation chat.

If you’d rather get to know me a bit first, you can sign up to my mailing list for blogging hints and tips straight to your inbox every month. You can unsubscribe whenever you like and I won’t share your information with anyone else.

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Why focus on the people who hate you?

A phone shows an angry emoji. I try to understand why you would focus on the people who hate you,
Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

In the 5 and a bit years since I became a business owner, I’ve learned a lot about mindset and motivation. A fitness coach once told me that you needed to aim for a positive outcome as trying to avoid a negative one didn’t work. I repeated this theory during a writing workshop, run by one of the most insightful and encouraging women I’d ever met. I don’t know what I expected her response to be, but “b***ocks!” certainly wasn’t it! I understand that avoiding the worst can be a powerful motivator, but I’ve seen a trend among some people in my network that focuses on talking about the people who hate you. I don’t get it. Why would you focus on that?

The people

We can all think of people in the public eye (like Katie Hopkins) who seem to thrive on being hated. I get it, up to a point. If you find it easy to make controversial statements and it gets you work and fame, why wouldn’t you? The thing is, I’ve started to see other people doing it, whose businesses aren’t built around writing opinion pieces or turning up on TV as a talking head. I find it harder to understand why someone who runs an ordinary business should be shouting about being hated, yet I see it all the time.

Doubters vs haters

I feel it’s important to distinguish between the people who hate you and ones who are trying to protect you. Starting your own business is risky. You know it and the people who love you do as well. When I started out I was leaving a profession and a steady income behind. I had plenty of people tell me that I could always go back to it if things didn’t work out. I bet you did too. Hearing those kinds of comments could dent your confidence. They motivated me because I knew I didn’t want to go back. There’s a world of difference between that and trolls who send you abuse.

The people who hate you

When I hear most business owners talk about negative comments, they describe it as an annoyance. It’s something that takes time to deal with, often when they don’t have time and mental energy to spare. One business owner said that having haters is a sign you’ve made it, because it means that people are paying attention. There might be something in that, but if you’re talking about the people who hate you, why not mention the ones that love you too? Otherwise, it could just mean that your marketing isn’t reaching the right audience.

The psychology

It’s been a while since I studied psychology, so I did some revision to try and understand what’s going on. For a divisive celebrity, the appeal of being a hero to some could counteract the effect of being hated. It could also be their way of putting two fingers up at anyone who tells them what to think. My favourite approach is in a 2015 study which suggests that knowing who your enemies are makes the world feel safer, so drawing them out might have its benefits. I think we can all understand wanting to find a bit of certainty just now.

I’m not going to start celebrating hate (it still feels like a waste of precious time and energy) but it’s given me some insight into the ones who do. Personally, I’d prefer to focus on the people who like what I do, because they’re the ones I can help.

What do you think?

While you’re here, if you need help attracting the right kind of customers, let’s talk. You can book in for a chat here, or sign up for monthly hints and tips using the form below.

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How you can refresh your wardrobe post lockdown

Hello August!  How can we be in August already?  It only seems five minutes ago we were in our duvet coats sitting in each other’s garden under a blanket to try and keep warm.  What a memory that was, desperate for some normality.   And now things are slowly getting back to normal.  I have mixed feelings about this, about going back into the ‘real’ world.  How about you – are you ready for it and excited to have your life back or are you nervous and don’t feel ready?  There’s not a right answer to this.  I guess we just need to prepare ourselves when we do feel 100% comfortable.

So it got me thinking – Is my wardrobe ready ?

So much has changed over the last year that I am using this time to CLEANSE my wardrobe.  I know work has changed as many of us are now working from home, therefore many of our wardrobe pieces no longer serves us.  Long gone are the suits we needed, instead we are opting for more comfy attire.  Not only is this comfortable to wear all day, but also helps with the extra pounds or three we have gained during lockdown.  Or is it just me?!

 There is nothing more satisfying than cleansing your wardrobe and having a good declutter.  August is a great month for this as we start to transition our wardrobe back to Autumn.

Not only is it good for your mental wellbeing (tidy house, tidy mind) but when you open it you won’t have that dreaded feeling of, ‘I’ve got nothing to wear!’ 

So my top tips are ….

  1. Remove everything out from your wardrobe and look at each item. 
  2. Ask yourself, Does it spark joy ?  Does it still fit? When will I wear it?
  3. Organise your clothes based on these 3 questions in to 3 separate piles

a KEEP pile, a DONATE (to friends or charity) pile  AND a  SELL pile.

  • Be ruthless, as a tidy wardrobe with items you love, is better than a crammed wardrobe you struggle to find anything in.
  • Think about your change of lifestyle and how this may have changed.  If you no longer require wearing suits consider selling them or donating them to a charity close to your heart.
  • When you put everything back in your wardrobe, anything hanging up place the hanger the opposite way.  When you wear a particular piece hang it back the correct way.  In 3-6 months you can see the clothes you wear lots as they will be hung correctly and the ones still hanging the other way you don’t wear often…maybe it’s time for a another cleanse in 6 months?

Now your wardrobe is looking less decluttered (and hopefully not too empty), it’s time to start dressing to make YOU happy.

Here are my  top tips to help make you look fabulous:

  1. Wear a pop of colour to lift your mood – wear a bright scarf, colourful Tee or a splash of a bright lipstick
  2. Update an older outfit with a statement necklace or a pair of statement earrings – remember jewellery always fits!
  3. Wear blazers for a smart yet casual look (don’t just save them for best!)  Team them with jeans or your favourite comfy trousers for an updated look.  Have a look at my collection of magic pants on my website – once you own a pair you will never look back!
  4. If you’d like your legs to appear longer and slimmer, wear heels!  I’m not sure I am ready for this challenge yet!  I am living in trainers at the moment!

Clothing should always make you look great, make you feel fabulous and give you confidence no matter the occasion, and I love helping woman achieve just that! 

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog and if I can help with any styling queries, style tips or help you find the perfect pieces for your wardrobe I’d love to hear from you.  I own a ladies online fashion boutique offering stylish and affordable clothing and accessories for the real woman.  I’d love you to be part of my facebook style community for the latest style drops, collections and offers – https://www.facebook.com/groups/lisalovesstylecommunity/

I can be contacted here too.

www.lisalovesstyle.com

hello@lisalovesstyle.com

FB – lisa.loves.style

IG lisa.loves.style

Thanks so much for reading this,

Stay Stylish,

Lisa x

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How you can create the right branding for your business

Guest blog on branding - Julie Grant Photography

When I started my business in 2015 I thought all I needed was a logo and some business cards and my branding would be sorted. I had a huge list of “To Dos” and branding was something that I could put a big tick next to.

I was good at this business lark!

Then, when I started to read more about marketing the words Ideal Client kept coming up…

Who is your ideal client? Which product would your ideal client choose? Where can you find your ideal client?

The answers were easy. Everybody was my ideal client, so they’d like all of the products and they were everywhere. Move on.

But it continued to come up time and time again so I decided to do some research into this whole branding thing.

Turns out, a business is way more successful when they have a clear message and how do they create a clear message? Through having an ideal client and a strong brand. Not only are businesses more successful, decision-making becomes much easier too.

So when we use the term branding what are we talking about exactly? We are talking about the overall message that a business conveys. Some key elements (but not all) are the logo, the colours used, the fonts, the language and importantly; the imagery.

I will touch on each area below:-

Message

Who do you want to attract? Who is going to buy your product or service? A 20 year old man is likely to be attracted to a very different brand to a 75 year old woman.

Logo

Should it be clean and simple? Bold and colourful? Monochrome? Do you include a motif? Any words? Do you have more than 1 logo?

Colours

Did you know that colours carry very strong messages with them? Red can suggest passion, excitement and importance, whereas Green can signify new beginnings, growth and nature. A couple of well-known brands that use colour well are Virgin and BP. For me, the red of Virgin says adventure, fun and excitement, whereas the green in BP says light, nature and energy. Both very different messages, but equally powerful for the companies concerned.

Fonts

When you start to search for fonts you will find that there is a choice of hundreds! From gothic to script to comic sans and everything in between. What message does your choice of font say about your brand? Is it sophisticated and high quality? or do you want to be seen as fun, high energy and lively? It really can make a huge difference to what people will expect from your company.

Language

The language that you use is extremely important. Spelling mistakes and poor grammar may go unnoticed by many, but to some it will indicate poor attention to detail and could even be a deal breaker. Some people prefer you to get to the point by being bold and direct, whilst others will enjoy more elaborate language, overflowing with metaphors and similes. There is a well-known company in the beauty industry that always addresses it’s clients as Darling. I can’t stand it!! I don’t know why, but it makes my skin crawl… The company in question has a huge following so this approach clearly works for them. I guess I’m just not their ideal client, and that’s absolutely fine.

Imagery

Which is, of course, the most important part (don’t worry all you graphic designers, I’m only joking, it’s all important! but great photographs are high up the priorities). The photography that you use is an essential part of your company’s message. Make it too generic and people will just scroll past. Incorporate all of the above elements and your ideal clients will instinctively know your style and you will have their attention. Add to this the notion that a picture can say a thousand words and suddenly you have the ability to deliver a very clear message. Many companies use lifestyle images to suggest that the purchase of their product or service will improve your life – and it works exceptionally well! Who doesn’t want to have more money? do lots of fun stuff? or spend more time with their family?

People buy from people that they know, like and trust. By getting your branding right (I have lots of tools and resources to help with this) you will be able to become more visible, save yourself hours of time and attract your dream clients.

Please contact me for a free consultation.

Julie is a specialist Personal Brand Photographer, who helps local businesses to become more visible, stand out from their competitors and to attract more of their dream clients by providing them with a bank of beautiful on-brand images.

“I didn’t realise how much my business needed this! Since having my photographs taken professionally, I feel so much more confident posting to social media and I am now attracting more new clients than ever. Thank you” Emily.

Julie Grant - personal brand photographer creating beautiful branding images.