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Erin Ferree
San Luis Obispo, CA
I help small businesses stand out with logo, marketing material and website designs that shine!
Interests: design, branding, small business, painting, web design, graphics, websites, logos, cooking, corgis, dogs, brand strategy small business, list building, small business ownership
Recent Activity
You have a business plan. And a marketing plan. So why don’t you plan out your next moves with your brand? Just look at what can happen when you plan your brand: A brand plan makes you get strategic about the results you're getting - and that you plan to get - from your brand. The first step in planning for your brand is to look at what you've been doing - what's worked, what hasn't, reviewing client reactions, and looking at what could have gone better and what new ideas were sparked along the way. Armed with that kind of knowledge, you can really dig into creating better results with each new step in your brand. A brand plan creates more profit from your brand. When you plan, you can make sure that you're using all of the existing elements of your brand to your best ability. After all,... Continue reading
As you prepare to promote your brand on a site like Facebook, you obviously go through a long list of different dos and don’ts to focus on. Amongst the dos, you’ll find a lot of good tips. In fact, you could conceivably find thousands of different tidbits of useful wisdom. However, most successful advertisers on Facebook find that it’s not so much doing it correctly that works, but rather avoiding the incorrect things that ultimately leads to success. For example, you may have heard the phrase that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. And that is obviously true. So the end result, a skinned cat, is the same regardless of how you get there. Making sure you get there is the important part. But to really help you find the best way to do this, you would want to avoid the negatives. I.e. a tip stating “don’t... Continue reading
When you’re developing your brand, you’ve got to make sure you’ve got its’ back – from a legal standpoint. That means knowing what’s going on with trademarks, if you’re in the United States. The trademark symbols are a bit confusing, and incredibly important for establishing your rights with your brand. Here’s an extremely brief guide to what’s what. TM indicates that you intend to trademark your logo (or that your application is processing). The Register mark ® may only be used after you have completed the official trademark registration process with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Continue reading
As you prepare to promote your brand on a site like Facebook, you obviously go through a long list of different dos and don’ts to focus on. Amongst the dos, you’ll find a lot of good tips. In fact, you could conceivably find thousands of different tidbits of useful wisdom. Continue reading
Do you want your message to spread far and wide – without a whole lot of marketing effort on your part? It sounds like a dream come true – the dream of going viral. Getting hundreds and thousands of clicks and opt-ins for your “thing” and having other people pass it along for you! When your free gift goes viral, you get the credibility boost of having other people talk about it instead of you having to make all the marketing noise for yourself… which gets to be a little huffy and puffy at times. The question is, how to make a free gift that’s hot, without sounding like you’re full of hot air? I surprised myself last month when my new free gift went viral. Since I’m filled with curiosity, I wanted to know why… so I deconstructed the experience, looking for the lessons. I asked some of the... Continue reading
You’re throwing your event to do all sorts of very exciting things for your business, right? You want to increase your credibility, raise your visibility, get some industry attention, grow your list, position yourself as an expert, create a memorable and fabulous experience for your clients, attract new clients, build buzz, and oh-so-very-much more. Oh, and of course, we all know that you’re hosting this event for one big reason – to make your offer and profit from it! Guess how you can make all of these very exciting things happen? That’s right, through your event brand! The key to getting the results and profitability you want from your event brand is to go about designing your brand strategically. You can’t just create some pretty pictures for your event and expect that you’ll get the full benefit you could from a planned-out event brand. These are the first 3 secret... Continue reading
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I'm taking a stand... with a big, bold thumbs-down on boring ebooks and blah-blah gifts. You know the ones I'm talking about... The ebook that you open, take one look at and sigh. You were so excited to download this free "amazing" thing and then when you got it, you felt let-down. Deflated! Because this ebook turns out to be page after page of dull and droning text slapped into Microsoft Word and then made into a PDF. Perhaps there's an image or two sprinkled in, but it's just not enough to make slogging through the content feel fun. Maybe you manage to read a page or two, or half-heartedly skim through it. Then you leave it cluttering up your desktop, thinking, "one day, I'll be more into this..." Until that fateful desktop-cleaning day, when you finally drag this poor unread ebook over to your trash. Don't let that poor,... Continue reading
Spot-check: on your ebook! Your gift is often one of the first interactions a client will have with you – you want to make sure that it’s good! How old is your free report? When was the last time you opened and read it? Has it been a little while? Is it “dusty”? I know it’s a PDF or an eBook, but you know what I mean. (Have you even looked at it since you set it up?) How’s that content looking? Does it talk about a topic that leads into your current offers? Does it cover a topic that you’re even coaching/consulting/training on or doing anymore? Is it interesting and engaging? Do you want to read it, or do you find it hard to slog through? Does it work for your clients? Is it as advanced as you or your customers now are and do you need to bring... Continue reading
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“I’ll do that soon.” “Later, when I have time.” “I’ll put that on the to-do list.” These are all the kiss of death for leaping on a cutting-edge brand-new trend. Because, the instant a new idea is born, it starts getting older. There’s a magic-full moment when a trend or technology is first discovered. When it’s just been released. When no one has jumped on it yet. This moment is your opportunity, oh dearest small business owner. You thought leaders! You entrepreneurs! You have such the competitive advantage here. Your business is nimble. You can move quick, like a bunny! You can see a new slice of awesomeness and hop to it – getting it put in place for your business before anyone else on the block even sees the potential. By being first, you get to blaze a trail. You get to build up the credibility that comes with... Continue reading
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I spent a big honking chunklet of time the other lovely day trying to write an article for my newsletter. Trying, trying, trying. And flailing! I was going to write a “3 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Free Gift” article. An old spin on a new topic. Simple, right? Oh, noes… Not at all the happy typing walk in the park I had planned. After hours of looking at blank pages, reading dozens of doomy, gloomy mistakes articles, and fighting the desire to beat my head against the wall… I showed some mercy on myself and called it quits for the night. I haven’t gone back to the article (even though it has been giving me stink-eye from the to-do list). Today, I realized the duo of why… 1. Starting with mistakes feels icky to me. I know that some readers do get their curiosity hackles raised from the mistakes... Continue reading
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Did you know I used to have blue hair? Back in college, I dyed my hair all sorts of bright colors – fire engine red, bright blue, hot pink. And this was way before dying your hair was really socially acceptable. What happened to that cutting-edge streak (and that hair streak)? Well, when I started my business right out of college, I thought I had to put a stop to my out-of-the-ordinary ways. I let my hair grow back out, so I’d look like a normal businessperson. And I started following formulas, systems and “the rules”. That never exactly worked for me. It felt icky, not particularly fun and it was so much harder than it needed to be! After 10 years of trying to do it their way, I’ve decoded to say, “No more!” and do things MY way. I’ve been doing that over the past couple of months…... Continue reading
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I've decided. FLAILING is my new word for failing. And here's why. I used to run about, saying I failed at this, failed at that. Until I realized how discouraging that was - chalking up all these failures all the time. That's no fun. I'm starting up a "be-my-own-cheerleader" initiative. Where I'm letting the rah-rah edge out the blah-blah. I'm declaring that things that look like failure and falling down are actually just me flopping and flailing around a bit. Being clumsy. Not getting it organized or together exactly right. And that's A-OK. A lot of my flailing recently is coming about because I'm out there on the edge of things, trying new stuff out and having adventures I've never had before. Why wouldn't I expect these first steps to be a little wobbly and disorganized? I'm learning a lot as I flail around. And developing those muscles that are... Continue reading
After all, this is where all my experience comes from… I started out as a graphic designer, helping very-first-timers design their first business brands. Along the way, I learned many, many valuable lessons about designing your first brand… so I thought I should share. Many first-time entrepreneurs consider designing their brand a “first order of business” - they think that before they launch, they’ve got to design their logo, business cards and their website. I get it… there’s a lot of not-fun stuff to do when you start your business. Setting up accounts. Creating contracts. Dealing with your business entity choice (whether you’ll be a corporation, sole proprietor or LLC). This is important stuff, and at the same time, it’s really not the creative adventure you set out to have in your business. So you avoid it… and try to have some serious fun by commissioning or creating your business... Continue reading
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Why are new ideas so tricky? As a business owner, it’s crucial to keep things fresh and interesting. However, it’s just as important to introduce new ideas carefully and thoughtfully. This article explains how to use a special mix of ingenuity, bravery, and finesse for successful new ideas in your brand. Continue reading
Merry, Happy everything to all of you! Whatever you're celebrating this time of year, I wanted to send along a last-minute gift I made for you. I wrote a complete how-to guide called "Invite Brand Engagement with Free and Low-Cost Stock Images", and it's yours for the downloading. You see, I've been doing some testing and have found that photos significantly increase brand engagement in blogs, websites, sales letters and on Facebook. I'm guessing you have personal experience with this. Aren't you more likely to read copy when it's accompanied by an expressive image? I know I am. I also have been hearing so many small business owners express frustration over all thetime wasted searching for that perfect image, or spending a fortune on premium photos. So I went ahead and put together this handy and info-packed report. It's a complete guide to finding great photos for your brand, at... Continue reading
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Do you ever feel like your brand's a little bit chilly? Like it's too professional or boring? Or you're distant... not as cozied up and close with your clients as you'd like to be? Why not warm it up a bit? Warmth in your brand can make it seem more alive, open, passionate, and even both interesting and interested. The warmth is a sign that your small business is run by a real person and that you care about your clients. A warm brand also does a lot for your client relationships. Warmth will create a better connection with your clients, make nervous, shy or hesitant clients feel welcome and at home buying from you, encourage engagement and conversation around your brand, foster goodwill and up your likeability factor. It can also increase your client attraction significantly, because people are attracted to warmth and openness - instead of feeling shut... Continue reading
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The jungle is dark, humid and dense. Birds of all kinds sing and call, while other animals rustle through the underbrush. The adventurers hack through the plants with their machetes to blaze a passable trail. It’s hard work, and it had to be done so they have a clear path to get where they’re going. Is your website like that jungle? Recently, I met someone at a conference and wanted to learn more about them while following up. So, I carved out a few minutes to check out their website. I was totally and completely unprepared for what I found there. 87 pages of information about their services. Not 10, not 20… 87. This is a common mistake that small businesses make – they put all the information they possibly can about their businesses on their website, and make a mega-huge website! They think that if they just make the... Continue reading
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Are you "marketing at" your precious potential clients or connecting with them? In other words, do your marketing efforts feel more like you're shouting at them with a megaphone, or like you're having a two-way conversation? We all have a craving for connection and conversation - for that rich, recognition-filled two-way exchange of thoughts and information. That goes for both YOU and your potential clients... in fact, the effect can be multiplied many times over for your clients. Feel into how much you want to be in conversation with your potential clients. How much you'd like to be on the phone with them, or talking face-to-face. Now, imagine how much they want to be in conversation with you. After all, they're already listening to you. I suspect many of them are yearning to be heard, to have their questions answered and to really talk to you. Here are two traits... Continue reading
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Do you ever feel like your brand is out of alignment with your values system? Like you have to do things in your marketing that you wouldn't want your mother or your mentor to see? If you said "yes", I'm curious: why is your brand icky? Your brand is made up of the look, the feel and the experience of doing business with you. Does it look like a mess? Is your design all over the place? Have you outgrown them and become more sophisticated and evolved? Does it feel pushy or sleazy? Are you using tactics that you think you need to use to make sales? Do you find that when you market, you wind up feeling like a slimeball? Is the experience in your brand one where your clients feel comfortable, cherished and welcomed? Do they understand what's going on every step of the way with you, so... Continue reading
Pretend your business is a party and ask your clients to come be your guest and enjoy themselves. Make sure everyone feels welcome and comfortable, and that you’re being charming and engaging. Talk “with” them instead of “at” them. You’ll see the energy turn around and I’d be willing to bet that you’ll all start having more fun in the process. Continue reading
My client, Ben Utley, sent in these thoughts on his new website - and they're so strategic that I just had to share (it's a proud mama-bear moment when your clients turn into branding geniuses themselves!) 1. Visitors are not trying to opt in - they're looking for a reason to rule me out. (This follows the principle of adult education that they seek only what's immediately applicable) 2. Every link is a promise. And every click says, "OK, prove it," giving me a chance to keep my promise and build trust, or to break it. Gold star, Ben! About Ben Utley I'm a Certified Financial Planner™ with Physician Family Financial Advisors Inc., a fee-only financial planning firm serving physicians in several states from coast to coast. http://www.physicianfamily.com Continue reading
Today I bring you a guest article by Anne Kenney of Bullseye Marketing: I just love learning about how the brain works when it comes to marketing and branding and couldn't resist sharing! I kind of hate to expose these psychological triggers to you because I feel like I'm betraying the secrets of my profession. Most folks just hate the idea that marketers use psychology on them. People think they're getting tricked. I always argue that there's no "tricking." We are all grown-up enough to make our decisions - good and bad. And, no diligent marketer uses it malevolently. Yes, they're will always be a few charlatans out there using flat-out deception. That's not what I'm talking about. The truth of marketing is that it is art AND science. The science is all the measurements you do to see if your marketing works like web traffic and gross sales. As... Continue reading
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Do you ever feel like instead of moving forward with your brand and your business, you’re stuck you’re going around and around in circles with your confusing brand? That your brand doesn’t communicate, doesn’t convert sales and is a bit of a mess? What if I could show you how to easily get unstuck and create a brand that works? One that helps you get more clients, make sales and makes your business profitable. The first step in creating a brand that converts is to get clear. Without clarity, your brand is going to be confusing and too complex for your ideal clients to really understand what you offer. And, without clarity, your marketing and promotion – and, even just telling other people what you do - will be way too hard. Let’s look at the first baby steps towards getting more clear: What part of your brand are you... Continue reading
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If the next person who visited your website could only do one thing there, what would you want that thing to be?
Having one main thing for your visitor to do on your website is a powerful strategy that will help you get better results for whatever is most important on your website. Continue reading
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“What do you do?” Such an innocent and curious question! And in the small business world, it’s where so many conversations go horribly wrong. As the other person starts to answer, a funny thing happens. The conversation starts spinning out of control. Maybe they’re talking too much. Maybe they don’t really know how to answer. Or perhaps they decide, on the spot, to make up and “try out” a new reply they’ve never given before. In any case, the person who asked the question in the first place goes from curious to confused, and starts looking, desperately, for the door. Don’t be the business owner who’s confusing the nice, curious people you’re meeting. Here’s a handy guide to the 3 kinds of confusing brands and what to do about each one: 1. The “Talking Too Much” Brand We’ve all seen this Confusing Brand in action. When you meet the “Says... Continue reading