“For Those Who Who Don't Know Jack” is a painting that finds its roots in vulnerability. The White Tailed Jackrabbit (which is actually a hare) changes color each year from brown in summer to white in winter. While this greatly improves survival chances in summer and winter—the periods when the change is complete—the time of transition is one of nervousness and caution with the hare constantly on the move. There is no safe place because the transition means the loss of protective coloring. There is no where to hide and danger abounds. Sometime, life feels this way. We find ourselves between places, not quite here but not quite there either. Staying focused and alert allows us to celebrate the transitions life brings and find enjoyment and inspiration on the journey.
Did you know that good Page Titles, Title Tags and Meta Descriptions are SEO components that advertise your business online? And did you know that your website has them all—even if you don’t give them a single thought or put any effort into them? The passive approach—using generic page names and title tags, and letting the search engines write meta descriptions. The low-effort, high-impact approach that will improve click through rates to your website—creative page names, optimal title tags, and meta descriptions written with your customers and clients in mind. Page Names We’ll start at the beginning with page names. Instead of having an “About” page, consider “About _____” (fill in the blank with your name or your business name). Or “Meet the Experts.” Or “Our Team.” Rather than a “Services” page, try something more descriptive like “Direct Sales Tips,” or “Work With Me.” Consider using the Google Keyword [...]
Are you looking for an easy place to get started with SEO? Search no more, Image Names and Alt Tags are it. Both image names and alt tags are underused SEO tools. They provide web accessibility to the visually impaired and they also improve search engine rankings for your website. This is because alt tags provide better image/context/descriptions to search engine crawlers and helps them to index the image properly. The good news is that the effort you put forth for the original intent: web accessibility for the visually impaired, is also good SEO practice helping search engines. To explore this area, I’ll use the image for the post. If I don’t change the name of the image file before I upload it (which is what most of us do, most of the time) and assign an alt tag, it will be “seen” as the number assigned it by [...]
You’re at a networking event and you’ve been asked about your business. You share what you do and who you do it for. Your words are impressive! You’ve created intrigue and a desire to know more, so you are asked for your business card. When you hand it to them, one of three things will happen. #1: It matches the eloquence of what you just said about your business. The feeling of connection grows and they move farther down the road to either becoming a client or a referral partner. This is the good beginning you are after. #2: The business card you hand them provides the necessary contact information, but it could belong to anyone and any business. It’s functional, but nothing more. It doesn’t do anything to move things forward. #3: The business card you hand them erodes the feeling of connection to you and your business. [...]
The inspiration for this painting happened on a camping trip. We had enjoyed a day hiking and were relaxing around the campfire at the base of Guanella Pass, at the Geneva Creek Campground. The weather forecast had been good for the weekend, but anyone who lives in Colorado will tell you that the weather in the mountains is unpredictable and can turn on you. Sure enough, just as the sun was setting, the wind came up and the thunder began to sound in the distance. But it didn’t stay in the distance for long. As lightening began to streak across the western sky, our dog Mica’s extreme distress reflected our own unease. We knew it was time to drown the fire, pack our gear and surrendered the night to the storm.
Welcome to 2020! Now that the new year has officially started, it’s time to execute the plans you’ve made to promote your business. Networking is key for new businesses. I’ve written other blogs on networking (links are below) and as I’ve learned more, I’ve found 3 top tips that have worked for me. #1: Focus on Building Relationships Some people love networking, some people would prefer to have a root canal. For these people, networking is much easier and more enjoyable when you focus on building relationships. Why? Because it takes the pressure off. You can approach anyone with a smile. You can rely on an ice breaker statement because you are focusing on the person, not on honing in on a potential client. (A link that lists some of my favorite ice breakers is shared below.) You can delight in the reality that even if the person you [...]
Telling someone that they’ve gone down a “bunny trail” is a kind-hearted way to let them know they’ve gotten off track with a story they are telling. This is what we were trying to tell life the year this painting came to be. Everything felt chaotic, especially with family and work issues. We yearned for a break, a time to hit the open road and drive. But that was not to be. Instead, Tom found peace in painting about our yearning and I found peace as I watched the painting appear from a blank canvas. When he told me the title, I laughed in delight. It was our private joke about a year we were glad had drawn to a close, thankful we had survived the lessons it taught us.
My last blog introduced how to use a survey to refine your mission and messaging. We’ll now take a closer look at how that works. The survey I conducted early in my business included 4 questions centered around how the participants handled their business presentation (logo, business card and website) when they first started. Business owners in this specific and early stage of business are the businesses I seek to serve. Following are the 4 questions I asked each participant. (Click here to download “Reap the Reward of Research/How to use a simple & short survey to refine the mission and messaging of your business” which outlines the complete survey process.) Did you hire someone or do it yourself? What was the biggest challenge or stressor (logo, business card or website)? What was your biggest fear about using the approach you used? If you could solve that problem and [...]
A SHORT & SIMPLE SURVEY TO REFINE YOUR MISSION AND MESSAGING In order to present your business professionally to your ideal clients, you have to know them well. Without knowledge of their pain points, your marketing and promotional efforts will miss the mark. How well do you know your ideal clients? Can you state their pain points? Can you reassure them that your unique product or service, combined with your background and experience, can solve them? If you answered no (or you’re not sure) it is time for you to embrace research. Research is not difficult to do but it may push you outside your comfort zone. Follow the simple process outlined below, starting with people you know. This will help you push through your reluctance to Reap the Rewards of Research. Start with people you know. Send an email requesting an interview. Call them at the appointed time [...]
Tom’s grandparents lived on a farm in rural North Dakota... During a visit in his early childhood a strong storm developed. Everyone was huddled in the house watching and waiting. Tom’s memory begins with hearing the twister rather than seeing it. As it approached, the strong wind tipped over the outhouse. To his horror, his mom and an older cousin ran out into the driving rain and blowing debris to set it upright. The distance seemed enormous to Tom and he tried to run after her. His grandmother had to hold him back. When the storm passed, everything was okay. A hay wagon had flipped over but there was no real damage. Yet the memory of his mom out in the midst of the storm shook the security of a very young Tom! He decided to commemorate the experience and “Vanishing Point” is the result.