I have just launched my new website and blog last week (look around while you are here!) and want to share my experience with the process that led to the decision to showcase my smiling face being the featured visual on the homepage.
It’s one thing to advise others what they should do, it’s quite another to practice what you preach. The tables turned when I became my own client and I had to put the advice I give clients into play for myself: it was hard. My advice before I undertake any type of marketing plan project for a new client, especially when we are developing a Content Marketing plan, is to figure out exactly who your ideal client is and the core messaging that will resonate with them. So how did I enjoy being my own client?
My awesome design partners The B.O.S.S. Group really put me through my paces. They are very strategic in their approach and will not undertake a project to build online presence until your objectives are clearly defined and there is a clear vision about the ideal client, client demographics, products and services, etc.
I was given homework, lots of it! A document I had to fill out and many things to seriously think about and figure out. I had to think about what my core strengths are, the type of work I enjoy most as a marketing consultant, and the type of clients I want to do it for. An exercise I often perform with clients on the opposite side of the table.
Here’s what I figured out about my “ideal client” with the help of the B.O.S.S. team:
• I want to help Small to Medium sized businesses develop and execute their online and content marketing strategies. I enjoy working with this size of business most
• I want to develop a strong working relationship with my ideal client; one of mutual trust and respect
• My ideal client either has no marketing plan or a marketing plan devoid of any online/content strategies, and an under-developed online presence.
• My ideal client is in need of inbound leads
• My ideal client understands the importance of marketing but does not have the time, internal resources, ability or interest to handle it themselves
• My ideal client is generally the business owner or key decision-maker/Head of Marketing
After analyzing my homework and psychoanalyzing me, my team felt strongly that based on my personalized and customized approach I should be the face of the business, featured prominently on the home page. Humanizing your business is an approach that I strongly agree with—when it’s not about me.
This whole thing gave me great anxiety. I emailed my contact at B.O.S.S. with a million questions about what to wear and what poses to shoot. I got my hair and makeup done and took 10 potential outfits to the photo shoot because I could not decide on the look I should go for. My wonderful photographer, Brian Stephens of Green Gecko was extremely patient with me, making it as painless as possible while gently pushing me in the right direction.
When it came time to do the selects, I completely over-analyzed each shot and drove my family, friends, photographer and design team members crazy. We debated about the pros and cons of using one shot versus three rotating banners. Eventually when I admitted that I was paralyzed and unable to make a decision, I begged the B.O.S.S. team to make their recommendation. When they did, I spent hours agonizing over their selects; roping my poor husband into completing a detailed analysis of each shot. In the end, we ended up agreeing with the recommendations but it took 3 hours to get there.
While this might sound like vanity, I can assure it is not. My anxiety was caused by the fact that I am now The Visual Brand, and a key driver of brand perception. Do I look friendly enough? Smart enough? Professional enough? Does it come across as egotistical that I have plastered myself on my home page? Am I grinning too widely? Are my eyes too squinty (a problem I have when I smile)? And so on and so on. Yadayadayada.
Eventually I will quiet this voice in my head, and the feedback has been positive so far. This isn’t as controversial as a Dove commercial but I would appreciate your thoughts and comments on my site once you have had a chance to review it.