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How to attract great word of mouth referrals

Attracting your ideal profile client and get those word of mouth referrals will be a reflection on the way you focus.

Focus on your potential clients, rather than trying to appeal to all of them, gives them a reason to talk about you. Why you may think…

Your potential clients will feel as if you truly understand them. Your communications, your marketing will be relevant, will also feel directly relevant to them.

When the people in your  targeted niche feel that way about what you do and show, they will tell their friends too.

So soon you will be attracting more targeted clients and more word of mouth referrals, just by changing your targeted content.

The key is really focus exclusively on delighting, to a targeted niche of your marketplace. These should be the people you most want to attract, your ideal profile of client. Be directly relevant, delight them and then watch your work spread.

Motivating people and businesses!!!

Happy New Year to all of you!!!

I believe this is the year to tell you a bit of my story , may inspire you, give you ideas  or just motivate you to keep going and never give up your dreams. I have always loved to motivate people and businesses!!! Here is how I have been doing it …

About 9 years ago, after having my first baby, I decided to start my own business. Having a professional career and keeping family duties is not quite that simple, I needed flexibility and  the design industry could be very demanding… extra hours, out of hours work, … the list goes on. But I also wanted to be able to be a mum and give my children the best education I could give. Pass to them my best life skills and motivate them develop theirs. I never would give that job to another person because has been my responsibility to do it the best I can. I have felt very proud of myself I can say,  from all my achievements in life!

You know,  all my life I have been having crazy ideas, my mum would call them,  but because I am a dreamer I have never given up and have been making them a reality. Crazy ideas will eventually bring you results if you try them and never give up of your dreams.  Always have goals in life, personal ones and business ones.

Successful people live often in a  dream world people tell us! I love to say to people: I am doing now what you don’t want to do, to have in a near future what you will not be able to have.

I always wanted to be a business woman, manage my time while doing what I like most, creative graphic design. I like to help, solve and fix other people’s problem, because I see them all as opportunities to grow,  so Artideas was born in 2005.  I am going back on time so you will understand why I am who I am…

I started working for myself from a very early age, I was about 12, selling Avon Products. I convinced my mum I could do it, it was my first big crazy idea. She sign up for it and I was selling the products in our street. I did some good money, lots of friends and was seen as  an expert in beauty, but I wanted something more challenge. I did other similar business,  following a friend’s advice, I did sell cleaning machines, then it was cleaning products and also health products.

I was really good at selling, did very good profits and have created a team of people selling with me,   but I still wanted something different… I loved to fix things, have ideas and create new things, got those from my dad. I would stay close watching him fixing our washing machine or other things in the house that were faulty. My dad has been a professional electrician and very good with any DIY job, dad would always fix things and find a solution for any problem, this has been also my motto. From my mum I did learn sewing and cooking, I do really good and tasty Portuguese food, my friends say,  and my children love to be in the kitchen with mum. So I have had a lot to explore from my skills and could create many different business. I decided to do Graphic design, because everyday I deal with a different problem and a different business!!!!

During my teen years, I did study Art & Design at college and found out I was good helping my friends in Descriptive Geometry and 3D visuals, so soon I was doing tuitions in school and at home. It was so successful, than  I was spending my Saturdays mornings with groups of students around our dinner table. I was teaching all subjects from year 5 up to college. They would say it was the way I would explain things and show them how to study, creating methods and strategies.

I loved so much then later while doing my University degree in Design of Communications, I did teach Visual education in colleges. What I loved most it was to be able to motivate students with very poor social backgrounds. They would come to the class with empty hands and no interest, it was very challenge but after my persistence they would bring a pencil and ask me for some paper. It was very challenge but I was sure I could do it.  I did teach them the curriculum subjects but the most gratification was to see their  confidence grown and I got the best from them, soon they wanted to learn more skills and were talking about getting a job/career after college. People can be motivated for all negative factors but if the right person in there they will make the change!

So during those 5 years at University I wouldn’t stop, I was teaching in college, giving tuitions on Saturdays mornings and was planning to start my business with a friend.

PRISBEL was the name we wanted, PRIScilia + ChamBEL, the beginning and end of our names. But didn’t work, we had different life goals and didn’t have the time to do it. So I continued to spent my Saturdays mornings giving tuitions and teaching at college, started to have my first recommendations and kept my dream business in mind. Soon I was very well know by my skills and reputation, got students coming from other near towns to be taught  by me. It was the way I would  solve problems and help them get better grades, but also they liked the way I did motivate them.

When I finished my University, and got my first job as graphic designer, I was left in the design department alone to manage it all. The guy that was there stayed a couple of days just to show me around and then he was gone forever.  I started taking briefs, creating/designing, doing artwork, cutting vinyl in big plotters, laminating, I did digital large format printing, … well a bit of all really! I have learned a lot on my own. Then my boss found out about my crazy ideas and started to take me to the client meetings as a design consultant. I would be the one taking the briefs, giving ideas for improvements and of course back to the office creating and producing it all. I deal with the printers and with the team that would produce the outdoors and big stuff.

After a couple of months I did train to 2 juniors designers and I was not alone anymore, I was managing a team. I was enjoying my work, but wanted to move to close home as the 2-3h commute journey was a bit too much everyday. So I got another job about 15minutes from home by car. I got a better salary and was a Senior designer, doing just the creative work and managing the production team. I was there  about an year and moved here to UK, a new life and all started over until Artideas was born.

I have had a very challenged career but love it! All those skills and experiences,  gave me the confidence to have my own business. I help and educate people in marketing and business skills, I create strategies to improve business images and I implement all of those, because I know how to get the best of people and business. Some people say I always think in something they don’t! I always fix things and I always have the solution for everything, when I don’t have it I will find it.

Doing something you love will make your work simple, but that alone  doesn’t mean you have a good business. Hard work, the right opportunities and passion, will also help you to  succeed. Be the best you can and know what are your best skills. One of the skill every business owner should have is to be a good marketer.

Every business owner needs to know some marketing skills, even if you hire someone to do it, you need to know your strategies and know your business, how do you want to communicate your product or service and to who. You need to know who are your competitors and where and who is your market. These are really basic things to learn if you want to succeed . It’s not just the numbers you ask your account or finance department, finances result from a good or bad marketing strategy, the way you communicate and sell.

My own journey has taught me many lessons, today I have two children, that I feel very proud of, they know already what they want to be when adults and they keep following my steps and skills, I have become their leader, and all of us need to be a leader at some point in our business,  if we want to be know by what we do and by our best skills. I am starting to get the flexibility I have been looking for, while keeping a good mixture of business and family moments. Life is that, a moment, we create our moments to be the best they can be.

Things I have done to improve myself and my business are:

1. Get to know successful people who have achieved what you want in business.

Have people that will inspire you, motivate you and guide you. Read biographies, business books, marketing books,… you will learn something from them. I advice business owner to have or try a coach. They will get the best of you! If you can’t afford one, read some good books like “Be Your Own Life Coach”, by Fiona Harrold ( http://www.amazon.co.uk/Be-Your-Own-Life-Coach/dp/0340770643) , or create a JV with one and help him with your skills. I have had many moments in my business journey, where I have worked with other businesses owners, we have been swapping our services and skills. We grow together and we are very good trusted friends today. These are part of my Network, my trusted connections,… I recommend you to  develop yours as soon as you can.

2. Always have something to offer.

I do marketing consultations, but I still pass a lot of my experience to my clients for free, I genuinely help them to achieve their goals, I help them dream higher and get the best from their business images. I develop ideas for expansion, for grow ,  I develop their reputation using social media tools but also using simple marketing strategies to improve more sales and more leads, for better profits and grow. Each case is different and not all fit the same strategy and budget.

3. Look for new ideas where success already exist.

Use your network and resources, when you don’t have a skill, someone you know will. I don’t want to learn them all, I don’t have to, I want to know them all,  to be able to choose the best for my clients, I am specialised and can give the best advice for all the other skills I may not have, because I have someone I trust that will have and will do it for me. I will get the best for what is required or for the budget they have.

4. Leave your comfort zone.

For some people these are the worse they will have in their business life. For me I really didn’t feel that hard, I have been having a sort of mad life since my 12 years ! I have had already small nights of sleep, while in my university, not because I would go to parties, but because I would have to travel 2-3h every day to commute to Lisbon from where I lived, my university could start from 8am and finish at 7pm sometimes. So my day would run from 5am until 10pm, and back home would work on my projects sometimes until 2/4am… not much different than work at your business… just focusing in different things… today I have school runs that need to be done, homeworks that need to be done, bedtime stories and of course all the other things a mum have to do with their children and around the house. So it’s normal for me to be at my desk late in the night if I need to, working in and on my business.

My best skill is to believe in myself, when I want something I believe I will get it, and I do everything to get it. I am very resourceful and always find what I am looking for. That’s the main reason my clients love my work, I will get what they need to succeed.

I use these skills for life and business. Until know I have always felt happy with my achievements, personal and business ones,  every day I wake up knowing I will do my best and will get the best from my day.

  • Are you doing what you Love ? Do you really know your business being a good marketer?
  • What are the skills you have learned from early age that have impacted your business life?

Leave your comments or feel free to send me your story, if you would like it published here let me know, I will share it with my LinkedIn connections.

For skills for life and business, for making your business the best it can be, to be a better marketer or have some crazt ideas understood, give me a call on 01737763189 or send me an email to paula@artideasdesign.co.uk .

I will give you the motivation to achieve your business goals, some life skills and a new business image!

Marketing Strategy and Social Media

Business people may say they are using social media, are you using it or trying to understand it?

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress, … they all can help you branding your business and yourself, a strategy needs to be in place.

Who are you targeting? Should you pay for advertising or maybe invest some of your time while having a cappuccino and develop those connections? Branding is your reputation and will not develop by itself. You need to give yourself and be yourself, create engagement with your connections to start being seen as an expert in your field.

Branding your products and services is another way, but who is behind them?

People buy people more easily, people want to know what are the top 10, why someone bought from a company and not from another, they want to make sure they will make the best decision. You will not try to sell them, but educate them and inform them about the advantages of your products or services.

Social media is just starting… invest time today to develop the brand for tomorrow…

To combine design and strategy or just to learn more about social media and branding, book a marketing consultation with me.

Please call us on 01737 763189 or send an email to info@artideasdesign.co.uk

Are your marketing strategies not bringing you leads?

Are you worried that your traditional marketing is just a hole in your budget? Maybe you don’t know how to complement it with all the free Social Media tools?

Do you have a proper marketing plan? I mean a writing one even if in a simple plain language?

Marketing is not difficult to understand but the way is changing could be difficult to notice by some business.

Marketing mix - 7Ps

A lot of companies will just see that maybe their advertising is not bringing leads, or the leaflets are not bringing more calls… well Social Media is here to stay and it brings us a huge number of free tools  to brand yourself and your business more efficiently.

Websites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress Blogs, Infographics, … there are plenty of networking events, free webinars, videos and informative blogs, and much more, that will give you the necessary knowledge to work out what is marketing all about.

Of course you may don’t have the time, that’s the reason people like me are here to help you creating your marketing strategy and apply it with creative and bespoke design ideas. I wrote an article some time ago about Design & Marketing Consultancy and Research.

I feel really proud that I am a very resourceful person since young age.  Problems are for me opportunities with work uniform!!! 

“Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.”  by Henry Kaiser

Before Social Media came, you would need to put your products and services in front of your customers eyes, you would need to convince them that you are the best in what you do and you would give them the best price and quality.

Today things are a bit different, you don’t need to convince your customer, you will need yes to be where your customer is and inform him about what you do and positioning yourself to engage with them. You need to promote and brand yourself and your business. But their decision will be made probably from a recommendation or from watching an informative video from your website or YouTube, or maybe a friend or someone (could have been you) on Twitter,  told them to visit your website because you are highly recommended .

People are looking for information, for recommendations, for the top 10, for the best sale and deal … they will make their mind and go to your shop or website and buy from you when they convince themselves. So are you in those lists? Are you being recommended, do you share information that will help to understand your products or services? Be where they are, listen to their needs and offer your advantage and benefits.

The traditional 4Ps are now at last 7Ps in the marketing mix, there is more out there than before and if you are not prepared to change it will be your customers that will change and go someone else instead!!!

But first let me tell you some of the reasons your marketing may not be working anyway.

1. Do you believe in your product or service?

Lack of commitment and disbelief in your business is one of the main reasons of poor results. You need to know well what and why  do you sell and how you are promoting it. Commitment is a important key, believe in what you do and share your enthusiasm with your customers and clients. That is one of the tips to  improve your sales and increase your profits.

2. Are you doing similar to your competitors?

Have you done your marketing research? How do you compare with your competitors?
You need to have an USP (Unique selling proposition), so you know why your clients will by from you instead.

Marketing research is very important, you need to know where you are compared with other companies, who is buying, when and where, what strategies are your competitors using that may be taking customers from you? Otherwise how do you know where and how to promote yourself?

Do it with DIY or get an expert to help you!

3. ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’ – KISS

This is one of the rules of marketing, people sometimes complicate things when a simple plain idea works better.

Clear, simple and original ideas will always bring you more profits. Be clear with your customers, be simple explaining what you do and sell, be original and stand out from your competition.

Also here… Do it with DIY or get an expert to help you!

If you are still worried that your traditional marketing is just a hole in your budget, is an expense instead of an investment or maybe you don’t know how to complement it with all the free Social Media tools… get inspired with my great Business & Marketing tips, or…

Please call me on 01737 763189 or send me an email to info@artideasdesign.co.uk

Book your marketing consultation today and discuss your biggest challenge and business needs.

I will help you create a marketing strategy to brand yourself and your business and will implement it myself in a Clear, Simple and Original way !!!

What type of clients do you choose to work with?

Are you working with the right type of clients or customers, doing work that inspires you and rewards you on every level?

Well, you should be!

The challenge here, is that many small business owners and consultants, are not choosy enough to work for great clients. Instead, they decide to work with pretty much anyone who will pay them. In doing so, they create a cyclical challenge, which many never recover from.

It looks like this

They find themselves doing work for people, who don’t give them the freedom to do amazing work. After a while, the great clients won’t hire them, because they want to hire the ones who ARE doing amazing work.

A reader whose business is really struggling, told me that she will carry on taking whatever work comes her way, because she ‘can’t afford to be choosy’.

After a while she explained what her ‘cycle’, was. She said she was working flat out, doing crazy hours, and so broke that she can’t afford to turn away the low paid work that’s destroying her business. So, she accepts more low quality work and ends up undervaluing her time and doing work that makes her unhappy and pays poorly. The cycle then repeats itself.

Until you decide to take control.

It’s your business: Take control

Sometimes, especially when business is sluggish, it’s easy to forget a few critical facts:

  • The marketplace doesn’t set your prices or fees. You do.
  • The marketplace doesn’t determine how much unique value you provide. You do.
  • The marketplace doesn’t decide who you choose to work with. You do.
  • It’s your choice… a choice you make every working day of your life.

At any point, you can choose to draw a line in the sand and do work that matters, rather than work that merely pays. You can choose to operate at the top of your industry or profession, rather than the uninspiring, unrewarding and overcrowded middle.

The key here, is that YOU get to choose… every day.

by Courtesy of Jim Connolly

Why people buy from you AND how to make more sales?

How selling to businesses differs from selling to consumers:

  • When selling to consumers, people are spending their own money. It’s all about value, trust and quality.
  • When selling to the employee of a business, it’s about them keeping their boss happy. It’s about them not screwing up. Then, it’s about value, trust and quality.

Your sales pitch and marketing needs to reflect this.

Make it easy for businesses to buy from you

When selling your services to someone who is spending company money, your approach should be to make buying from you or hiring you, as low-risk as possible. They need something from you, tangible or intangible, which supports their decision to buy from you. This does 2 important things.

  1. It makes them feel more comfortable about buying from you.
  2. If it all goes wrong, you have made it easy for them to justify their decision to their boss. They see it as a safety net.

Ways to reduce the risk of buying from you include:

  • Provide testimonials from named, checkable people.
  • Offer guarantees.
  • Provide insurance policies.
  • Offer risk reversals. (Satisfaction or your money back).
  • Show them any awards you have earned.

Value and quality matter

Just because the primary motivation of someone spending company money is to avoid making a mistake, value, trust and quality are still extremely important.

In fact, the better you can demonstrate the quality of your product or service, the more comfortable the prospective client will be about spending the company’s money.

Be a safe pair of hands

My point here, is to incorporate risk reduction into your sales pitch and associated marketing. Show them that you are a safe pair of hands. Earn their trust. Make it so that they know their boss would understand them hiring you, if things went wrong.

If you simply tell them about cost savings or a unique selling point you have, you will achieve far fewer sales. It’s essential to make it crystal clear, that you are a low risk or no risk option.

Shared Kindly By Jim Connolly

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