I bet many of you are experiencing the same let’s-get-outside (while still social distancing) vibes that we are here in Philadelphia — 70 degree days and plenty of sunshine. In fact I’ve been spending a lot of time in the garden getting my vegetable beds in order and tending to my newly sprouted seedlings indoors for weeks. While I love the work I do for my clients at Wyndetryst, it’s so fulfilling to have another creative outlet and also get away from the computer and outdoors.
I find that I do some of my best thinking and brainstorming when I’m out in the garden. The repetitive task of digging, planting and raking helps to clear my busy mind, and it got me thinking about the idea of growth (pun intended!). I’ve been very focused on growth this year, not only in my garden, but also with Wyndetryst.
We’ve been at this for nearly 10 years and picked up a few tips along the way, so I thought I’d pass on a few of my tips and secrets for growing a business. Hopefully they’ll be helpful for you too!
Growth Tip 1: Keep your website refreshed.
This is the single most important thing — and most cost effective way — that businesses small and large can get ahead of their competition. Keep your website up to date with relevant content, as well as continually update it every few years.
- Building your website is only the first step. It needs to be constantly maintained (i.e., weeds pulled, new seeds planted…you get the metaphor). Your job is just beginning after the launch of your new or redesigned website, don’t let it wither on the vine.
- Every three to five years give your site a design facelift. Why? Technology changes and user experience standards change. Sometimes a light refresh is all it takes, while other times it may be best to get a little more intense with your redesign, especially if your business has changed a lot since your last design.
Growth Tip 2: Up your social media game.
It doesn’t matter if you like or use social media or not, the fact of the matter is…some if not most of your audience uses it. Generating valuable, engaging content is imperative to help grow your brand and engage your audience. Here are a few ways you can do this.
- Design a few go-to custom templates. This makes it easy to change out images, quotes, event information, etc. Putting an investment into some customization of your posts will go a long way in making you feel like you’re not just creating generic content people have seen a hundred times before. (Bonus…you’re not possibly infringing on copyright of someone else’s work which is easier to do than you might think.)
- Create an actual plan. When I’m in the garden, I spend the most time planning out where things are going to be placed and what will bloom when, in order to create the most vibrant show. Guess what…the same goes for social media. Coming up with even a loose plan or strategy will really help you to diversify your content and keep users engaged. Perhaps it’s a mix of educational and inspirational material with a dash of marketing and self promotion. This can be done with engaging designs, photos, videos and writing. Think about the feeds you feel most engaged with and use them as a starting model.
Growth Tip 3: Be Consistent.
I’m sure many of you have encountered the “Brand Police” at your organization or a strong willed designer who keeps refocusing you back to your core brand (could it be us? Maybe! 👮) Being consistent with your brand is so critical for growth and here’s why.
- People need to recognize your brand for it to grow. This takes A LOT of time. The more consistent you are with repetitive visuals and messages, the easier it will be to begin to create recognition among your audience.
- It puts your best foot forward. All the biggest and best brands in the world are highly consistent and for good reason. It shows they’re organized and professional and this in turn elicits confidence in your audience.
- Just because you’re getting bored doesn’t mean your audience is. One of the biggest temptations is to start changing up your brand because you see it every day and it gets to feel a bit monotonous. An important thing to keep in mind is that your audience is not seeing your brand everyday and even if they are, you’re still competing with all the other “noise” they’re being exposed to. If they don’t see a consistent visual and hear a consistent message coming from you, they might not remember you at all.
Growth Tip 4: Get Good Photography.
Good design needs good photography — it’s as simple as that. And the marriage of the two will help elevate your image and grow your brand and business. There are several ways you can accomplish this on small and large budgets.
- Go custom. Yes, custom photography in certain situations can be costly, and for good reason. You’re paying a highly experienced professional for a very time consuming task. Much of the work takes place behind the scenes in post-processing of photos. However, going custom doesn’t have to break the bank. With increased access to good photography equipment and even your phone, it’s possible to get engaging custom images. If you know how to take a technically good picture but something still seems lacking ask a designer, photographer or skilled friend for tips and tricks. We’re always willing to give feedback to get the best photos.
- Plan. Planning for the photos you need instead of designing around the photos you have makes all the difference. For instance, if you’re thinking of that next brochure, flyer or website project that you’d like to have custom photography for, first identify samples of photos that you like that will tell the story you’re trying to convey. Now you have a blueprint to work from when trying to recreate the scene yourself. This allows you to try the concept out at little or no cost and then you’ll be ready to take a stronger photo whether doing it yourself or hiring a professional.
- Use stock. Stock photos don’t always have to be that cheesy grinning couple. There are hundreds of thousands of photos that can usually serve the purpose to hit your communication and design goals. With some creativity and photoshop work, it’s also possible to combine photos to create the perfect image you’re looking for. Sometimes stock is the best way to go and even preferred over a custom photoshoot because the cost savings are so significant and the end quality may be better.
Growth Tip 5: Create an E-Newsletter.
We’re living proof that this works. In just a few months of starting our own e-newsletter, we’ve seen an increase in job inquiries, new projects and increased traffic on our website and social media channels. Plus, it’s given us a good excuse to keep connecting with all the people we care about. So, maybe you’re thinking, why’d you wait so long if it’s soooo effective? I bet my procrastination was the same one you have…content! Content generation can be daunting, but with the right tools and approach it doesn’t need to be. Here are a few tips to get your newsletter off the ground.
- Create a production schedule. Spending a little bit of time to outline the next few months or even the next year will help to give you a plan of attack and see the big picture. Think about who is your audience, how many times do you want to reach out to them (what’s the sweet spot of too much and not enough?), and what they’ll find valuable and interesting.
- Save your ideas. It’s amazing how quickly ideas will come to you for content the minute you start opening your mind to them. Set up your go-to idea document to keep the ideas logged. That way you’ll never lose them and you have a running list of resources…I think you’ll be surprised how quickly it grows.
- Create a template you can reuse. Spend the time and resources to create one banging template and then write your content to that template. This will help not only save time and money, but reduce the “friction” of feeling overwhelmed starting from a blank page each issue.
Are you interested in growing your business? I bet we can help! Call or email Matt at 267-564-5221, email@example.com to get in touch.