Elizabeth Cincotta

Marketing + Design Professional

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14

Small Business Marketing to Charm Your Socks Off

www.charmmarketinganddesign.com - updated with homepage changes, testimonials page (which I will continue to populate) and professional headshot

Charm Marketing and Design is a side effort of mine that resulted from my passion for helping small businesses benefit from high caliber marketing efforts and design work.

As my "day job" I am the Director of New Media for a large, successful insurance company. But my passion truly resides in branding and creating visually beautiful pieces for admittedly female-focused brands and businesses (think bridal shows, photographers, fashion bloggers etc.).

Due to the demanding nature of my day job, I haven't been able to fully focus on the potential of this idea or how best to position the venture.

11 Questions:

1.) What is Marketing for? What does this department/function/budget exist to do?

Marketing this venture would encourage more small businesses and bloggers to invest in their own brand and marketing efforts. I think many small businesses, namely event coordinators and bloggers just assume that any sort of professional marketing will cost them an entire year's profit to put into practice. My website and social media presence aims to educate my target audience that professionally-designed marketing pieces, websites and blogs are within their reach and should be an important part of their business.

2.) What are we allowed to touch?

As I offer a service and not necessarily a product, interested parties can visit and interact with my website and my social media presence on Facebook and Pinterest. I do have a physical portfolio of work that I would also be able to share with potential clients if they were local enough to meet. However, while close promixity might be a benefit in some instances, location is not a factor for my work.  

3.) What can we as marketers measure?

I am able to measure traffic to my website as well as my Facebook and Pinterest accounts. I can also measure interaction on those three platforms in terms of requests for quotes, comments, likes and shares on Facebook and likes and repins on Pinterest.

4.) What can we change?

I know that changes are necessary to my website, I just need the time (don't we all?) and outside suggestions before incorporating them. Thinking as a potential client is a goal of mine when viewing my website, but that's not always an easy task seeing as I'm also the one who created it.

Would more info about myself be convincing? Should the homepage be more salesy? 

www.charmmarketinganddesign.com

I also need to incorporate more ways of marketing myself. I'm a big believer in inbound content marketing, but I plan to design marketing pieces to send to area country clubs (who often host bridal shows), event coordinators and wedding planners, fashion bloggers etc.

5.) What promise are you going to make?

I purposely work with a small number of clients at a time to ensure focused attention on their brands. Developing a brand in terms of artwork, color palette, typography etc. is often a personal reflection of the owner(s). I fully understand the close connection and make it my goal to respect it and reflect it in my work.

6.) What’s the hard part?

There are a few challenges I've met so far. First and foremost is obviously getting my message in the right hands and relaying that message in a fashion that makes them trust me.

Another challenge I've met is working with business owners who aren't quite in tune with modern marketing best practices and don't agree or understand some of my suggestions. 

7.) Should your organization be making trends or following trends?

I try to do a little bit of both. Some clients identify that they don't want to reinvent the wheel and are simply looking to spruce up their image with more modern imagery, colors etc. These are typically well-established brands. Others are brand new and are looking to stand out from the crowd and really be impactful in their industry. I try to blend a little of both worlds when helping any business owner.

8.) Where is the risk?

The risk lays in the fact that marketing by itself does not make a business successful. Any client that I help needs to follow through by supporting their message in their business practices. Good customer service, fast, reliable service, attention to detail and fair prices are all factors that would be the client's responsibility to follow through with. I've never had it happen to me, but I would hate for a client to be unhappy with marketing services I have provided them because they blame a lack of new business purely on marketing.

9.) Who is in charge?

I work for myself, so I am! 

10.) Marketers spend money. Where are you spending the money? What is it for?

The little money I have spent so far has been on building and hosting my website, and on Facebook ads and business cards. My intention is to create marketing pieces that I can mail to prospective clients so I will eventually spend money on that campaign.

11.) How should you be spending your time?

I should be blogging more often and I should be networking more. I do have business cards, but once I have marketing pieces that I can have on me for when opportunities present themselves, I will be better posed to network.

The P Words

Choose three or four P’s you will prioritize to be the backbone of your marketing plan:

Positioning : I want people to think of Charm Marketing and Design as the go-to contact when they need beautiful, clean and consistent marketing that reflects their brand or event. I want to be associated with eye appealing design, unique typography and clean lines.

Price : The whole point of my venture is to provide affordable marketing services to businesses that appreciate the impact of consistent, attractive branding. All to often I hear, "I can't afford a website," or "Having a logo professionally designed is out of my budget." This should not be the case and my goal is to make that happen.

Promotion: I need to pinpoint the best ways to tell prospective clients about my services. I've gotten a number of projects through referrals, which is valuable, but it happens too slowly for that method to currently impact the success of my venture.

An Action Theory of Marketing

Of the 50+ concepts covered in the lessons, what are the top concepts you'll use to generate Emotion, cause Change, earn the privilege to Alert and encourage people to Share?

Emotion: I hope to generate a feeling of desire in people - a desire to reflect the passion that they have in their businesses in their marketing and branding efforts. They should look at example of my work and my own website and marketing pieces and think that their business deserves the same level of attention.

Change: I hope to change customer's points of view in terms of marketing. Huge, multi-million dollar companies are not the only ones who should be marketing themselves. Marketing does not have to cost an arm and a leg. Thoughtful, attractive branding that reflects throughout a business's marketing is a sound investment.

Alert: I gain a good amount of business through referrals, which is valuable because that means clients I have worked with are happy with the results. But I also hope to increase traffic to my website and to encourage more interaction on my social media channels. Studies show that people who interact with a business's social media channels are 60% more likely to purchase from them, and will spend 40% more.

Share: I have experienced a good number of referrals thus far, and thankfully a lot of my work allows for marketing opportunities for myself, i.e. a link in the footer of website's I design and my logo/web address is present on any marketing pieces I design. I'm hopeful that if I do good work, people will be open to referring my services.

Marketing Point of View

What do you stand for and what are you trying to accomplish? Include what you don’t and won’t do, what you believe in and what works for you and for your customers.

I believe in good, clean design and consistent branding that allows prospects to remember your business when they identify a need for it. All too often I see small businesses using Word and terrible stock imagery to quickly make flyers or other "marketing" pieces, or businesses who set up a Wordpress site that only lists their physical location because they think they're "supposed" to have a website. I'd like to help educate small business owners in good marketing practices and help them create attractive branding that supports their goals.

What’s Your Story?

I am a graduate of a marketing program at a well-established business school who has 6 years of progressive marketing experience under her belt. After working in a corporate-esq environment where I am in charge of the marketing for an industry that is not terrible exciting (insurance), I like to put my passion for design and best practices in marketing to good use by supporting small businesses.

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