6 Things New Business Owners Overlook When Launching a Brand.

Launching a business can be an exciting time. In my opinion, the process itself is what makes it fun. But keeping the ball rolling is a lot easier said than done. No matter how prepared you are, unexpected occurrences can easily pull the rug out from underneath you. This is why it’s crucial to be able to keep your focus and have a sound game plan. With that said, here are 6 things business owners overlook when developing a product or service.

1. Don’t Plan on Having Many Sick Days.

As an employee, calling in or taking a sporadic vacation isn’t uncommon. Staying in bed because you’re not motivated to get up or you don’t feel well isn’t that big of a deal. The operation still functions without you. But when you’re calling the shots, you better be able to overcome a bad day or night’s sleep. The business is going to need your attention and leadership throughout the infant stages.

Not only is it your responsibility (and what you signed up for), but your attitude is contagious. A lack of passion will most certainly influence employees, customers and any partnerships. If they’re having a rough day, you need to be able to get them going. It’s easy for frustration, doubt and discouragement to creep in. So make sure you have a way to deal with it professionally.

Vacation days aren’t a pipedream – you’re just going to have to work really hard and put a lot of stuff in place before considering a break. When new business owners overlook the minor details, it affects everyone around them. So manage your work/life balance on the front end to keep yourself in the right mindset.

2. The Passion of the People They Hire.

Employees and contractors are not going to have the same passion as you do. You’re the business owner, not them. Expecting everyone to match your energy and tackle everything with zeal is pretty ignorant. They’re not going to care about the brand, service or values like you do. On top of motivating yourself, they need to be led, nurtured and managed. Handing out autonomy without a trial can set you back big time.

Every person is different. They all have different desires, emotions and needs. So instead of forcing them to embody your “perfect representative”, find ways to encourage them to uphold your standards. If they were ambitious enough to take initiative, they’d probably start their own business. But they’re working for you. So do what you can to make them comfortable with accountability

When you understand people, it also gives you a chance to explain your passion and values so they can respect your vision. It’s all about relationships. So if you’re bad with people, start working on it.

3. You Can’t Do Everything Yourself.

One of the most common things new business owners overlook is multitasking. There is plenty of published content about this topic on the world wide web. Wearing too many hats or prideful attempts to do it all yourself can have devastating consequences. Not only can you mess something up and have to pay an expert to fix it, but errors or inconsistencies can negatively impact first impressions.

It may seem like you have everything under control in the beginning, but you can quickly become overwhelmed and inattentive to the business itself. Although it can be tough to trust people these days, it’s important that you develop a process that fills holes, plugs gaps and covers your weaknesses. This way, you can focus on value and the experience. Working harder while repeating mistakes will never fix the problem.

4. The Importance of Judging Character.

Nobody likes the extensive process of hiring. But today, you have to stay on your toes. Resumes, product descriptions and service presentations are extremely craft and sales-heavy. If you’re not a critical thinker or good at reading people, it’s going to be tough to not get burned. Unfortunately, contractors and coaches prey on start ups and hope new business owners overlook their reviews. It’s really bad in the marketing realm.

So do your due diligence before making decisions. Take time to establish brand standards, expectations and what an ideal representative looks like. Good questions provide great insight. Taking the time to find the right people allows you to build upon the foundation instead of constantly starting over. 

5. The Value of a Quality Experience.

There’s a big difference between presenting something as a qualitative option and providing a quality experience. I’ve spent a lot of time talking about this already – but the key is to be memorable from start to finish. You can have a great sales process and terrible product. You can have a great product but unappealing marketing. Both scenarios leave money on the table and hurt you from the get-go.

Unless you’re walking through every phase of the customer journey, it’s difficult to have clarity on what the problem is. So do this beforehand to make sure you’re not dropping the ball somewhere. When new business owners overlook the experience, consumers start to overlook them. Waiting for someone to leave a bad review and point out your flaws is hard to overcome. 

6. Initial Struggles and Contingencies.

If you don’t get the results you’re looking for right out the gate, what are you going to do? Are you expecting success? If so, why so? Like I said before, not everyone is going to be willing to feed off your passion. Despite your personal excitement, people may not care. How are you going to respond to overcome or bounce back if you struggle? This is where a sound contingency plan comes in handy. 

New business owners overlook this possibility because many are taught to be optimistic and positive. But the reality is, you have to expect the operation to fail. This way, if it doesn’t, you can take those vacation days.

Be purposeful with everything you do guys, and always remember to PreFocus

Unique Blog Ideas for DIY Influencers That Believe in High Value Content.

Let me start off this article by saying this: blogging is not an easy task. It’s even more grueling when passion, knowledge and/or skill is lacking. No offense; but consumers deserve better. Any ethical venture requires a consistent foundation. If you disagree, you don’t have to keep reading. The fact of the matter is, most people underestimate the concept of high value content and quality readership. It’s easier to cover popular culture and collect affirmation than think outside the box. But it’s so wasteful. Coming up with unique blog ideas and developing original content is far more rewarding.

Choosing Between Qualitative & Quantitative Marketing.

If you’ve been blinded by this, be honest. Believe it or not, you’re not alone. Some of the most genuine, creative voices are never heard because they try to stand out in a crowd that’s wearing the same thing. There’s no reason you have to follow suit. Three quality pieces of content will easily outperform fifteen trendy topics every single time. When the value is higher and the competition is lower; it’s a lot easier to be found. Focusing on high volume keywords or publishing a high volume of blogs (quantitative) won’t get you much traction.

Not many “marketing” (sales) agencies will tell you this, but modern content strategies are rarely original. Despite premium pricing, cheap contractors are usually hired to duplicate popular articles. This eliminates the need for a creative process (most important element of writing) and keeps costs low. Paying for unique blog ideas is risky if you’re the expert. So I thought I’d highlight the DIY industry to better explain the benefits of originality.

Why DIY Pros Could Use a HQ Content Boost.

Those of you that are passionate about teaching people how to do something have to be willing and able to stand out in a valuable-sort-of-way. Even with knowledge and skill, you’re not going to captivate anyone by doing what’s already been done – especially if you’re just getting started. Even with a market share, discussing trends and news stories that have nothing to do with your value is obsolete. This is selfishness disguised as information in order to stay in front of your followers (which defeats the purpose of your influence).

When you have consumer attention, it’s imperative you buckle down and find where the real opportunities lie. Many of you just need a little help getting in front of the right audience. Studying who you might serve best is a great way to kindle momentum. Give yourself some credit and set aside time to think. There are tons of things you know or see differently that are worth putting into perspective. Jumping on the bandwagon of popular (high volume) search phrases only distracts you from your element of appreciation.

How High Value Content Aids DIY Bloggers.

Unique blog ideas generate far more awareness, build confidence and elicit trust while improving search engine rankings. High value content like this may not immediately place you in front of thousands of searches, but it’ll grab the attention of ideal viewers that want to share your stuff. This is a lot more difficult when you’re an option. A quality first impression also makes it easier to keep people engaged and supportive. Wide-net approaches only lengthen your journey.

Understanding this will help you become more than common and intentional with other areas of your life. It’ll also help you formulate a sensible brand identity.

Take this topic for example. At first glance, it may seem like I’m targeting bloggers and influencers with ambition. I might come off as a “rah rah” kind of guy. But the fact of the matter is, they’re not my ideal audience. Truth be told, I don’t think many of them would hire me anyways. DIY stuff is normally produced by hobbyists with a FT job and minimal budget. Earnings tend to be reinvested. Helping this group find their footing is a great way to explain my value and potentially change someone’s life!

This is also a topic lazy marketers wouldn’t dare copy haha.

Examples of Unique Content for DIY Influencers.

In case you haven’t yet picked up on what I’m laying down – content marketing efforts don’t always have to be about the “ask”. Investing in quality will breed certainty that grows over time. To many of you, the long game will be worth it because it’ll better equip you. So ignore the finger-crossing-activities that place you into a bucket of options and start building a foundation of high value content. In the meantime, here are some unique blog ideas that should spark your creative juices.

1. Content Ideas for Gardening Blogs.

When it comes to planting and growing things, there are so many different approaches and methods. Even though you’ll never cover them all, it’s good to be open minded. You never know what you might discover and be able to share. For example: Those of you with no-till gardens could try tilling a patch of soil and comparing the results. You could plant a few fruit trees, try something tropical, or talk about prep for a Christmas Tree lot. Even ideas can be valuable. A few hours a week on something new will give you tons of content. Just make sure you write it all down!

Some of the simplest of things, like how you start seedlings, can elicit tons of unique blog ideas. Where do you buy seeds? What has failed in the past? What type of lighting do you use? Do you start all of your seeds indoors? Are they under lights, in a greenhouse or straight in the ground? Do you have a different process for each plant or are they all nurtured the same? If you don’t use fertilizers, explain why. People love a story that means something. Have you tried natural remedies on any plants? Do you treat the soil? Why do you do what you do or what have you done that gives you confidence in your methods?

Every Gardening Task is Worth Explaining.

No matter what topic you focus on, do your best to maximize every inch of detail. From the soil composition to post harvest activities. Make an outline of everything you do and brainstorm with people who know gardening – and those that do not. Get feedback and organize questions so you can answer them in story form. Be vulnerable and talk about stereotypes, misconceptions or common failures. Be willing to learn about terrains and climates outside of your region to reach new audiences and educate your current one. Even the discussion of environmental factors, like flooding, will improve your credibility.

Last but not least, find ways to talk about yourself. Why do you enjoy gardening and what sparked the interest. How did a passion for it transpire? How has it been beneficial in your life and who have you been able to help or vice versa. Personalizing your channel or blogspot is the best way to establish trust and a relationship with viewers. Most will be able to relate to something you share – so don’t be shy!

2. Unique Homeschooling Blog Ideas.

This is something that I’ve seen explode over the past few years. Since many parents are partaking in homeschool for the first time, information is in high demand. But after researching quite a few channels, there aren’t many influencers talking about the psychological side of things. A majority of the chatter surrounds program reviews, the entertainment of kids, organization and finding “mom time”. Anybody that’s willing to cover tension in-the-home, personality testing (to assess learning capacity), discipline and progress reports (for parents and kids).

I think it’s safe to assume there are millions of parents overwhelmed right now. If they’re reaching a breaking point or their marriage is suffering, they don’t need to know how to be more fun and engaging. They need to learn how to manage the transition and the set of emotions that come with it. While it’s tempting to focus on what the student needs, most parents are not trained teachers. They have to put the oxygen mask on first – so to speak.

You Never Know the Real Impact You May Have.

Daring to bring up real things that people are avoiding will most certainly draw dialogue. It’ll also encourage families to talk about problems and know they’re not flawed for having them. All it takes is one person shedding light on a shadow. Doing so will open up new conversations, giving you plenty of unique ideas for your DIY blog.

Reminding parents that every child is unique by exploring personality traits and learning styles is also a good place to start. There are tons of ways to  At the end of the day, you only know what you know. So if you’re going to be helping people with homeschooling, you better have vast knowledge of the whole spectrum. Education is far more than choice curriculum, personal planning and home decor.

3. Unique Topics for DIY Home Decor.

This is another space of content explosion over the past couple of years. With so many people banking on real estate and remodeling, everyone wants a piece of the pie. While some DIYers have plenty of experience and skill to warrant quality readership – others simply know how to captivate an audience. Either way, the competition is extra thick in every category. So I’m going to tailor these unique blog ideas to the hobbyist that has a decent social media following. Interior design is a whole different art.

First and foremost, with so much information out there already, you need to pay attention to what’s been written as well as the author. Working hard on an article you’ll never rank for is ignorant. This is why creativity and thought matters. (Ie: ‘DIY decorating vs Interior Design’ hasn’t been written but ‘Interior Design vs Interior Decorator’ is very competitive by major sources) Looking for opportunities instead of inspiration will help you come up with unique blog ideas and avoid duplicating high value content.

The Value of Creating Homes Spaces on Your Own.

After my wife showed me a few DIY decorators the other night, I couldn’t help but notice many of them were simply trying something for the first time – like floating shelves for example. These accounts are popular because they show women they can do things themselves. So if you’re looking for unique ways to generate a audience, be vulnerable with your achievements. Shed more light on the process. It’s the whole purpose of DIY, right?

The little wins you’ve accumulated over the years have obviously given you enough confidence to start blogging about it. How has it affected you? Have you overcome anything? Did you struggle with anything before? Did decor give you an outlet? What are some of the benefits of decorating your own home? Organize your thoughts and garner feedback to help you establish a definitive list that can dominate the search category. Be detailed about the different reasons homeowners try DIY. What are some of the tools, apps, guides, plans, materials, finishes or simple tips that make home decorating easier?

Differentiating Yourself With Thoughtful Insight.

Don’t just talk about colors and shades and design. Obviously these things are important – but is it really your forte? Is the goal to inspire people to create their own space or to duplicate your inspiration? (I’d say that’s a major difference between designers and DIYers) Either way, topics (with questions) that help homeowners determine the look and feel of every room would definitely help you stand out. There are endless personalities, behaviors, interests and preferences in the home worth talking about.

Watching you hang a floating shelf for the first time is definitely inspiring – but don’t simply settle for the kudos. Explain how the shelf can be used and modified. Find out who likes this style the best and talk about why. Maximizing your content helps you take a proud moment and add a little value.

4. DIY Workout Content Topics.

Since I rambled a lot in the first three categories, I’m going to keep this one simple. When it comes to high quality fitness content, consumers want to follow someone with a personal fitness journey and loads of education (or personal evidence). These two things are pretty much a prerequisite. From here, you’re going to want to figure out some sort of specialty that has to do with your experience and strengths. For example, if you’re more quick than fast, stick to agility over speed training.

What types of muscles, ligaments, joints, tendons and bones play a role in one’s agility, burst and acceleration. How important of a role does the core play? What kind of cardio, maintenance (stretching, treatment, recovery, etc) and weight training exercises will benefit every component? There’s 30-40 unique blog ideas right there. Taking the time to detail one area of the body (as much as your education allows) only adds value to your ability to plan workouts. Keep it simple. One little fact every day will draw people in.

5. DIY Epoxy Table Blog Ideas.

This is another little hobby that a lot of people are trying. The thing is, it’s really expensive – and not a lot of table makers (or woodworkers) are being transparent about it. Although it is a fairly simple process (with the right tools), educating people on the risks, potential problems and consequences would be a good idea. I know it can be difficult to promote mistakes, but this actually builds trust. Everybody knows craftsman make mistakes time to time. Teaching people how to avoid what you did is the definition of selfless consideration.

Influencers that have had a lot of success building epoxy tables usually produce content that’s creative. It shows their work and how they did it. I think I’ve seen every which way these things are put together now. But very few talk about the little details of the project. What types of frames are you using and why? Is your decision based on price, stability, convenience or trial and error? How might the average joe go about making a decision that’s best for him? Do certain materials work better for bigger tables? What are some of the issues or advantages of each material?

Prove The Handiwork Takes Knowledge and Skill.

What are the misconceptions of the project and what have you learned personally? Have you tried anything new that’s worked better than something you used to believe in? What should enthusiasts know about working with epoxy? Why is it so expensive and what dangers does it pose? How important is the mixing process and how much time do you have to make the pour? Is it OK to “eyeball” measurements? If you overfill the slabs, is it that big of a deal? Are there any tips or tricks for cleanup or to make things less messy? How long should you really let it cure and how can you go about cutting it?

Although it’s tempting to generate a following that gawks at your skill, don’t be afraid to prove your worth. Even if you have to give away a few secrets, you have to know that most people aren’t able to do what you do. There are tons of questions surrounding epoxy tables just waiting to be answered. Jump on Quora and see for yourself. I’m going to go ahead and assume you’ve spent a lot of time trying, failing and trying again. So use some of your experience and certainty so you can stand by the price of your tables.

6. Unique Blog Topics for DIY Photography.

This form of art is nothing new and there’s advice all over the internet for both amateur and professional photographers. From styles, to shades, equipment and lighting – opinions are certainly not lacking. But no matter the amount of information available, creativity cannot be bound. It’s why I’ve always enjoyed helping my wife build her photography business. There are so many elements that go into a quality product. Every single time you freeze the frame, there is an opportunity to learn something new. So talk about it! It’s that simple.

Personalize Your Vantage Point and Build Off Ideas.

Explaining how your style or approach has evolved and who has influenced you over the years is another great place to start. Let your passion, reasoning and drive shine through. At the end of the day, every experience you have as a photographer is different than another’s. Discussing sessions, placements, obstacles, interactions, locations and sporadic ideas will showcase your attention to detail and build rapport. What you do when there’s cloud cover, direct sunlight, rain, or the wind blows a certain way is always worth sharing.

Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time developing unique blog ideas for Danielle. We’ve talked about our top spots in different sub-cities, DIY lighting, managing events, taking photos for your business and even creating recipes. Helping people take good pictures isn’t just about the camera, subject and settings. Knowing how to work with people, get them to smile and feel comfortable is just as important. It’s easy to publish your work and talk about it – but it becomes valuable when people are able to take something away.

My First Annual 25 Days of Christmas Campaign.

When March 2020 arrived, I was ready for a vacation. After kicking off the year with pneumonia, I soon found myself overwhelmed with projects and client meetings. Although it was one of the most profitable times of my life – it took a lot out of me. By the time I was able to break away from things, the entire country was locked down with fear. While circumstances have allowed me to be more present at home, the past 21 months have been full of distractions to say the least.

For example, leaving the beautiful state of Arizona was tough. If I’m being honest, it still is. But looking back on things and our 150-day excursion in 2 RVs, my consistency shouldn’t have wavered. The journey provided a tremendous opportunity to be authentic with my vision and the obstacles along the way. But I failed. So as soon as we were situated, I knew I had to get back on the horse. After some brainstorming, I thought it would be a good idea to zero in on a strength of mine: creative direction.

sitting in front of woodsy area at prefocus solutions where jordan trask is recording live video to help business owners and ceo's market better with a brand identity and consumer targeting strategy

Directional Content Breeds Brand Recognition.

Whether my past contracts have involved content strategies or brand identification, I’ve always excelled at helping clients understand their ideal customer’s point of view. In today’s marketplace it can be easy to get distracted by general engagement (likes or views) from consumers that don’t even care. But this can be extremely wasteful when you think about it. Channeling your branded value and targeting those that will actually appreciate your offering most should be the foundation of every campaign.

Like I’ve mentioned in previous videos, leaning on deals or entertainment to reach the general population is risky. Perception is everything. But this doesn’t give you the right to stretch the truth or be cheesy. With all this in mind, I knew I had to publish some content that helped people understand this and value my PreFocus services. So I decided to come up with a holiday strategy for random industries every day leading up to Christmas. I titled it: The 25 Days of Christmas.

A FREE Consultation Can Go a Long Way.

Whether my videos result in a contract or not, every CEO or business owner can benefit from walking through the PreFocus process. In most cases, these 25 Days of Christmas will elicit certainty while allowing leaders to see and fill the holes in their marketing efforts.

Just imagine how much better every holiday strategy would be if we sat down and really investigated the actualities of your business. Either way, be purposeful with everything you do guys!

Note: Video 14 is only on Instagram as it didn’t save.

The Cost and Brand-Saving Advantages of a PreFocus.

I’m working on a few new video series here in Memphis, TN. So I wanted to share an outline I made a few years ago that helps explain why it’s advantageous to work with PreFocus. I know society tells you that you have to buy into the flashy stuff or agencies in order to capture the attention of ideal consumers. But it doesn’t have to be that cheesy guys.

Focusing on what you do and why you do it really well is enough to generate attention and drive credibility. Being cool, funny or extra random these days might seem to be it – but marketing quality has always been the bullseye.

At the end of the day, this isn’t a sales pitch. There are so many different things we can discuss that’ll not only improve your current marketing efforts – but the overall equity of your brand. So, here are some of the things I help my clients focus on. 

A. Stop Getting Burned by Flashy Overpromises.

Many sales pitches sound really good. But the solutions are normally basic.

  • Most popular concepts don’t even make sense for certain industries
  • Marketing efforts usually take around 90 days to analyze. Even Ads.
  • Client reports are often full of skewed data that’s misleading (likes).
  • Do you know why so many agencies deal with high client turnover?

Nobody can “do it all” for a major company without access to some talent.

  • Most “marketers” pocket large budgets and hire cheap contractors.
  • They read a book, buy a guide or take a coarse and become “experts”.
  • Cookie cutter strategies remove creativity from marketing efforts.

Buying from entrepreneurs, adopting strategies or buying guides is limiting.  

  • Trying to learn and do things yourself will only stretch you thin.
  • If you don’t differentiate your value, you become a stagnant market option.
  • Investing in your brand, it’s culture and your customers has a higher return.

You need to work with somebody that’s motivated to understand your offering and listen for your value. Someone that can assess the market accordingly and piece together a purposeful strategy. It’s a tremendous peace of mind when your marketing has sound direction. When you’re able to focus on the business, you get to really reward the customers that support it.

B. Implement a Form of Marketing Accountability.

Do you really need to become an expert at marketing? The answer is a big no. The problem is, many business owners are hesitant to throw large sums of money at uncertainty – and rightfully so. The issue lies with trust. Even if you hire a CMO, it’s still hard to know if you’re heading in the right direction or not.

Unless someone is truly able and willing to immerse themselves in the business, it’s normally a lost cause. So here are some questions to determine if some marketing accountability needs to take place.

Do you know if your marketers legit or telling the truth?

  • Would you like to know if you’re wasting $500 a week?
  • Are you managing KPI’s or do you just relinquish cash?
  • Do you have a list of expectations and goals you need to see? 
  • Will you need to change course or cut ties with someone?
    • Have you had to go through a transition before?

Are you paying for good work AND getting a solid ROI? 

  • Do you know what quality looks like and how to price it out?
    • Have you met everyone working with your budget?
    • Have you ever compared plans or contract details?
      1. Many content strategies are $1200-$2000/mo.
        1. Blogs and social posts based on trends and holidays blah.
        2. Is the investment any different or better than competition?
      2. Is longform content being broken down appropriately for reach?
        1. Does every publication have a minimum of 12 touch points?
        2. Do you know how to measure the cost and return of views?
  • Did you know it’s more expensive to fix or reverse ineffective marketing?
    • My resources have taken over plenty of bad sites with a number of costly errors. While these things can be fixed (and paid for twice), a bad first impression takes time to overcome. Anything from grammar to spammy backlinks can deter people. Other things – like stock photos, convoluted pages, slow responsiveness or inconsistent designs – can also hinder perception. High priced sites need accountability and an experienced advocate to establish cohesion.
    • Are you aware of the multitude of “olay” social media strategies?
      1. Buying features, followers and likes from pools of managed accounts.
      2. Advising people to do things for attention instead of strengthening value.
  • Are you guilty of “doing what you’re told” by phony “experts”?
    • Did you know that mediocre efforts could actually be costing you thousands per year?
      1. Did you know there are plenty of ways to effectively spend $5K per month?

Do you know how to spot cheap, lazy marketing companies?

  • Do you know how to look past sales pitches and identify trustworthiness?
  • Have you ever gotten help when it comes to things you’re not experienced with?
  • Would you value an extra set of eyes and ears during interview sessions?
  • Are you marketing with unrecognizable branding, low cohesion and poor professionalism?
  • How do you know if an agency lacks originality or quality SEO services?
  • Do you shop around or simply compare the loudest options available?
  • If you’re basing your decision on price, do you know why?

Direction improves leadership ability.

When you invest in a PreFocus, you’re able to make intelligent, confident decisions.

  • Strengthen competence – what to cut and when to invest.
    1. Less hesitation and focus on things you’re not skilled in or at.
    2. Regain control of and change your business.
    3. Ensure you get what you pay for.

Even though the industry has gotten a bad wrap, it’s still important to get marketers what they need.

Working with an expert helps you see the value in being creative and thinking things through.

  • Many companies easily spend $20K/mo on new acquisition strategies.
    1. Better intent and spending improves P&L statements.
  • What’d it be worth to make sound decisions and trust your spending efforts?
    1. Know that someone else has your brand’s best interests in mind.
    2. Vision and control for far less than your current budget.
    3. You don’t have to hire a salary position – just access when necessary.
  • Experience the growth you envisioned when you got started.
    1. Same budget, better decisions focused on an identity that makes sense. 

How About an Example to Bring it Home?

Think of marketing like farming. You can’t just scatter seed or hire some people that claim to be seed scattering experts and hope something grows. Different types of seed requires different elements to thrive and some seeds have no business being thrown in certain climates. If you’re starting a farm, why wouldn’t you want to find a farmer to help? Now maybe that’s a cheesy analogy but them seeds cost money don’t they?

  • If the produce was less than because you did it your way, would the return be worth it?
  • What if the guidance helped you reap two-fold?
  • Good marketing isn’t cheap but bad marketing shouldn’t be expensive.

So if you’re unsure how to tell the difference, see the opportunity, or simply ask the right questions; then a little help can go a long way. So give me a call and see why it’s advantageous to work with PreFocus in 2022. I’m not in business to make money. I’m in business to create lasting memories. Be purposeful with everything you do and always remember to PreFocus.

Holiday Marketing Concepts Focused on Deals or Entertainment Diminish Your Brand.

prepping for christmas break holiday marketing concepts for businesses stay true to themselves this season instead of cheapening tactics to lower value and quality prefocus solutions memphis tn media
Every year, businesses across the country gear up for the loose spending habits of the holiday season. The frenzy in America is real. Because of this, getting in front of consumers is a big deal (no pun intended). When brands aren’t jumping on seasonal trends to make a profit, they’re eagerly vying for consumer attention. Leading up to Black Friday, this normally involves “can’t miss” offers or some form of entertainment. But using these types of holiday marketing concepts aren’t going to help you win the long game of business ownership.

You see, definitive value is the driving force of a brand. In fact, it’s what makes a brand, a brand. An advertisement, or strategy for that matter, is meant to explain – not incentivize or persuade. Although it may not be my job to direct your marketing campaigns, it is worth noting the disadvantages of swerving from qualitative measures during a season of quality buyers. At the end of the day, every company has the ability to steer their own worth.

The Draw of Holiday Discounts.

For the most part, deals are meant to get people on-site or in the door. Offering “buy one get one half off” or “5th person free” definitely drives interest. During the holiday season, while people are eager to shop, it’s a prime opportunity to show consumers your stuff. It may be difficult to compete with higher end retailers or chain stores and discounts help draw people away from opposing businesses. If you’re able to make large quantities of something or have a lot of inventory, this may ensure all of it gets bought up.

I do want to make one thing clear – there’s no shame in giving back when you have a lot of “success”. I don’t want to discredit the idea of rewarding your customers. At the same time, I don’t want people with a solid offering to discount their worth in order to take advantage of the market.

The Reality of Holiday Specials.

While they can most certainly milk bargain shoppers and spending fanatics, deals can also be very misleading. Return business all depends on the overall experience. If the product or service is low quality, then it’s going to be forever associated with the concept of a deal. Even if it’s not, it becomes susceptible to this viewpoint. This means, buyers probably won’t complain but also won’t return – no matter what you do.

Nobody wants to be seen as the discount choice. So if you don’t own a high quality solution and position yourself as cheap, you’re going to be viewed this way. Standing firm in the value you provide by investing in a creative ad that expresses why can be so much more powerful. Instead of looking to compete to jump on a trend, you could end up trending yourself. So don’t look past the disadvantages of discounts.

The Drawback fo Holiday Deals.

Even if you sell out of merchandise or enjoy full classes during the holidays, revenue can still dry up fast. Restocking or quitting a job could backfire quickly. Corporations are able to take a hit while driving up awareness with cheesy holiday marketing concepts – but can you? Does the “one hit wonder” status feel as good when it fizzles out? The worst thing to see is a business that fails to sustain because it was founded on deals.

Don’t cut yourself short and feel like you have to give things away while the season is here. If you really got something going, there’s good reason to stay the course and wait for your opportunity to arise.

Examples of Entertaining Ads.

One of the most annoying strategies, in my opinion, is the use of humor to generate a memory (this is another thing large corporations do that smaller operations just don’t need to touch). Far too often, you see entertainment as a form of persuasion. As if a company is more believable, trustworthy or valuable because of their ability to make us laugh. Has anyone ever decided to look and see if Geico’s claim to save people 30% or more is actually real? Do you know how they got to this number?

In most cases, consumers don’t even care. Because they’ve been entertained, the insurance provider will more than likely pop into their mind. They know if it’s bad, they’ll switch to another. Is this how it works with realtors, hairdressers, physical therapists, home service companies and construction crews? Sure, you might get some business from the grab. People might see you as more recognizable. But is what you offer not worth explaining?

Why Entertainment is Ignorant.

At the end of the day, it’s a lot easier to remember a quality solution than a solid chuckle. What you show consumers is what they eventually expect from you. The last thing you want to do is cheapen the experience by getting their attention with entertainment. They ought to be drawn to you for other reasons before click bait is ever considered. You can use humorous segments or characters in a commercial, but make sure the story line is centered on value.

Better Holiday Marketing Concepts Matter.

No matter what industry you’re in, you have customers to serve. This means, there are a multitude of creative ways to captivate, intrigue, educate and lead them. Remember, your business or brand is founded on something people need or can’t do themselves. Not surrounding all of your holiday marketing concepts with these things is preposterous! It makes me want to say a Ebenezer Scrooge line or two. Each of you reading this has something unique and valuable worth sharing.

Everyone is looking to hear something specific this year. In most cases, quality campaigns are simple to do and easy to convey. It’s because an element of authenticity is always present. The more companies look to be like another, the harder it is to tell them apart. While it may be tempting to throw out deals and jokes this season, I challenge you to dig deep for the joy you bring. Oftentimes, you’ll find a concept or two that strike a cord with a good portion of your audience.

Let me know if you need any help.

7 Tips to Create Original Photography Content Yourself.

memphis physical therapist photographer out of olive branch where patient is getting should evaluated on table at facility well lit experienced staff new location prefocus media

One of the most overlooked elements of branding and marketing is the weight of authenticity. This concerns me because most advertisements don’t actually depict the customer experience – at all. Is it really that big of a deal to create original photography content yourself? Unfortunately, many businesses use stock photos, models, creative directors and actors to make their product or service appear a lot more appealing than it really is. So why isn’t the customer’s subconscious being considered?

Why Take Pictures For Your Business?

Believe it or not, perception doesn’t stop at the sale. Marketing agencies and officials create a dwindling experience when they throw all their chips at the first impression. In their subconscious, the consumer constantly chases the promoted visual. While awareness does matter – a counterfeit culture just isn’t sustainable. A company that leans on originality usually doesn’t have to worry about low satisfaction ratings and minimal market share.

When I ask business owners and CEO’s why they allow fabricated pictures, the main response I get is, “Well, we don’t think our customers care.. Everyone else does it and they’re having success..” They usually believe their failed marketing efforts lie in a blog or media-buying strategy. There’s no desire to create original photography content.

However, succumbing to industry standards or basing decisions on competitor efforts basically means you’re OK with being average. I can’t work with that. I think it’s safe to say any human being would be lying if they said they weren’t interested in who’s making a product or offering a service they’re paying for. Original photography not only satisfies this subconscious desire, it also gives people a reason to browse your content. The amount of time people spend on your website is a major factor for search engine rankings (Google, Bing, etc).

fred-weaver-looking-at-macbook-during-work-meeting-for-real-estate-photographer-session-in-tempe-az-by-prefocus-solutions-branding

How to Maximize the Use of Your Original Photography.

If you’ve already been publishing a lot of original content on your social media profiles, that’s good. But you’ll also want to make sure some of the media is making it on your website and other local citations. Whether you like it or not, your business is plastered on all kinds of online directories that try to obtain traffic and send referrals your way. (Yelp, Mapquest, Apple Maps, Google Maps, Yellow pages, Houzz, Thumbtack, to name a few). Adding original photos here and optimizing them for SEO really helps with click through ratings.

The goal, at least with me, is to try to create a seamless experience that’s cohesive on all channels. Being consistent with your posts when you create original photography content gives you a chance to be recognizable when ideal customers are in the buying stage. While it’s not always a bad idea to have a go-to publishing platform, limiting your authentic reach leaves money on the table. Some of the photos you take might even come in handy for signage or display ads.

Who Would Really Benefit From Original Photography Content?

Medical practices, for example, are loaded with stock photos of doctors and nurses that are clearly fake. Has the industry lost touch with society? Do they really think all their business derives from referrals and insurance coverage? In reality, most patients stumble across the same pictures during their search. It can be rather discouraging when you’re already sick or in pain. Not very often do you come across a physician’s website that’s loaded with original photography content.

I haven’t met many people that like going to the doctor. It can be kind of a crap shoot picking one. When a patient can get to know a provider before meeting them, it tends to create a sense of trust and peace of mind. You can’t tell me this wouldn’t improve conversion rates.  Since turnover tends to be high in the medical industry, staying up to date on who’s in the office and why you hired them shows you’re committed to the patient – without having to tell them. So don’t tell me you don’t have the budget for it.

If you offer home services, showcasing your people and their capabilities is just as impactful. As a husband and father of 6, I like knowing who’s going to be entering my house. When you’re not able to communicate that online, it subconsciously tells me two things: You’re not proud of your staff or their appearance may detour me from the sale. Going the extra mile to show ideal customers who’s involved and what they can expect is a big deal. While video is far more impactful, it’s not hard to create original photography content.

founder of prefocus jordan trask directing client during branding photoshoot for purpose and passion in phoenix az consumer audience

7 Tips to Create Original Photography Content.

Once you understand the value of authentic measures, it can be easy to become overwhelmed with ideas. Most business owners that tackle something new often get stuck in the planning stage. So the main key is to figure out what you need to capture most and do it!

1. Get Going On a Gameplan Today!

You don’t need professional help to create original photography content yourself. While the quality may suffer, it’s better than nothing at all. Like I said, it shows you’re proud of the business and have nothing to hide. Everyone has a smart phone that can easily capture a product, team picture, happy customer or people at work. If you want to start with the culture, then schedule a company photo and some basic headshots (at least for management) right now! Don’t go overboard or it won’t get done.

Until you get into the habit of capturing original content, you’ll want to make short strides. You can plan out different types of photography down the road. In order to make the most of your time, take as many pictures as you can. Since you’re not a professional, it’s going to be hard to know what the best angle will be. Besides, somebody is always blinking, standing awkwardly or making a disgusting face. A plethora of options is always better than 2-3 standard poses.

If it’s just you or a small group in the photographs, then you can always find someone willing to snap away for free. When you finally decide to create original photography content, do your best to be resilient. You’re going to run into some snags and will probably receive some pushback. But follow through. If you have a web development team, you can ask them to put your favorite photos online right away.

2. Please Consider Your Presentation.

To be frank, I’m not a big fan of shaving or dressing up for people in order to garner likes or obtain their business. When you’re not being yourself, it can be toxic to the original passion. But that doesn’t mean it’s OK to not care if you look like you just rolled out of bed. Having some sort of respect for who you’re doing business with is definitely important. If you can’t pull off a solid presentation for the camera, what do you think that communicates?

Taking Pictures Helps You See How You Look to Customers

When you create original photography content, it really helps you see how you (or your employees) might look in front of customers. This is one of the major things I touch on in my PreFocus process. While it’s important to be yourself, it can be hard to see past yourself. If one of your employees has a sloppy appearance or won’t stop slouching, it needs to be addressed. A bad attitude or poor professionalism can impact the entire culture – especially if they’re tenured with the company.

If the business is your baby then treat it as such! While it may be tough to get a good photo with “the guys”, I encourage you to try to be as serious as you can. Leading the business to brand equity is a big step that pays dividends. When everyone is working towards one goal, it’s a lot easier to come up with some cool ideas for pictures. In most cases, photography is used to communicate trust, competence and familiarity. So it’s on you to be recognizable while on the job.

How To Present Yourself When Photographing Original Content.

Instead of taking pictures of material things or posing at events, showcase your work and everyone involved. The idea is to create original photography content that captures people in their element. When people just look busy, it’s kind of cheesy. So try not to stage a lot of things and overdo it. It also helps when you’re able to incorporate branded merchandise (shirts, hats, pens, coffee mugs, etc.). Just make sure when it’s all said and done that the company’s presentation is consistent moving forward. Don’t let the photos be the only interpretation.

middle aged business man talking on cell phone important call suit jacket no tie beard black and white with brick backdrop coming out of tunnel personal brand financial advisor memphis tennessee by prefocus solutions

3. Consider the Angles You Capture At.

One of the worst things you can do when taking pictures is place the camera low. Although a nice hero shot (aiming up from the side as pictured above) shows authority, it’s better to leave this to the professionals. Angling up someone’s nose can be risky. Unless you’re trying to give the perspective of a toddler or puppy, chest height or higher usually works best. But don’t spend so much time of profile and team pictures. Over the shoulder or “heaven” shots (angled from above) work well.

However, when you create original photography content, it’s more about real moments in time, remember? You’ll want to take pictures as if you’re a fly on the wall or getting a bird’s eye view. A good way to do this is to capture the corners of different objects that are in the frame. A fence post, tree leaf, computer monitor or even the back of someone’s head can really add perspective to the photo. Leaving a bunch of empty space in the photo also allows you to add writing to the photos for future posts.

Shadows are the last thing you’ll want to consider when determining your angles. If a line of light is streaking across someone’s face then you’ll want to reposition them. Also, make sure you ask if anyone thinks they have a “bad side”. The last thing you want is to post images that people aren’t comfortable with or approve of.

4. Lighting Makes a Big Difference.

Speaking of lighting, there’s really only one way to go about removing shadows. This requires a 5 light setup (front, back, both sides, and a fill) that basically brightens every area around the spot you’re shooting. Most businesses don’t have this capability or even the need to. While standard indoor lights do hinder image quality, adding a “fill” light on the floor will help balance things out. A simple lamp and a “daylight” light bulb is enough.

As long as there’s an even amount of lighting in front of the camera or across the object your shooting, you should be fine. Don’t overdo it. Too much brightness is distracting and will cause squinting. Lighting behind a subject can give your picture a glow or halo effect, but it can also end up looking really bad! The easiest way to set up sound lighting is to just shoot near a window or go outside. Mid morning or an hour before dusk are usually good times to avoid a glare.

5. Know What You Plan to Capture.

If you’ve got a decent camera and someone to push the button, it’s always best to get your culture shots first. While this can be done with a timer, it takes a lot longer. Company portraits, followed by group (or department) photos and headshots are a good place to start. If you’re feeling froggy, try to get some natural shots of people interacting while they’re grouped together. We did this for one of our HVAC clients. It helped them create original photography content for each of their service teams.

Candid moments can involve the act of thinking, leading, collaborating, preparing, focusing and any form of interaction. The main goal is capture real life moments and the authenticity of people at work. It may be tempting to take pictures of personal leisure time, but it’s best to stick to the business side of things. For the most part, ideal customers don’t care about your car or fantasy football league. If you have a location or office then showcase its features.

Any way you can showcase some aspect of the customer experience, do it. Even images around the house can come in handy. If you’re a plumber, then there are plenty of things to take pictures of for your website and social media channels. You don’t need a big budget to have your wife click away while you’re inspecting the drain.

man wearing metal hood blue flame molding weld for customer in desoto county mississippi american apparel product shoot by prefocus solutions

6. Know How You Plan on Editing.

At the end of the day, you don’t need supreme editing software to make pictures look good. But you ought to have some sort of consistency when it comes to your brand image. My point is, don’t have a super edgy photo one day then a soft black and white image the next. Knowing how you want to express the business is just as important as any general design. So before you go about spending time and money on an editing process, make sure you nail this down. Again, this is another important step to the PreFocus process.

Once you have image guidelines in order, anyone can take care of your editing for you. Most people on Fiver or Upwork will for it for a couple dozen dollars. If you want to keep things cheap, most smart phones and social platforms has enhancement options you can use before posting. Canva also lets you make some tweaks to photos. We personally use Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Lightroom for our original photography content. All three cost about $50/month and give us some gnarly options when it comes to editing media.

7. Keep All of Your Photos in Order.

The last tip I want to leave you with has to do with future strategies. Once you’ve taken and utilized your pictures, make sure you’re organizing them. You can store them in desktop folders, your Google drive, a cloud or share them on your intranet or company CRM. Categorizing and labeling all of your content helps you access it if ever necessary. If you need to write a blog about drain cleaning, then you already have the photos your wife took. If they’re edited and optimized for publishing, you just saved yourself a lot of time.

This is what a PreFocus is. You’re either working in your business or working on your business. When you think things through, you avoid setbacks and perform at a higher level. Hopefully this article gave you enough reason to create original photography content yourself.