Creative Business Tips

Short & Easy Creative Business Tips
I hope you have had a creative and productive week! I also hope that you have been working on your creative business dreams! So far we have covered Making a Start, Being Accountable and Streamlining your Brand. Today, I want to chat about your Online Presence! You will notice that although the tips are divided into segments, they all flow together and influence each other. For example, the things on your starting list from Tip #1 should include your branding covered in Tip #3. The best way to make these tips work for you is to follow on from week to week, and to continually reflect back to what we have covered and check up on yourself or make yourself accountable as we discussed in Tip #2. Okay...let's delve into this week's tip and task.

Online Presence:
Being online is a crucial aspect of your marketing strategy and business plan. It isn't about the most expensive or flashy website, but rather about the best that you can afford for your business right now! Budget plays a huge role and is often the excuse used for not being online. The other excuse is that creatives confuse over-sharing on a personal level with sharing and communicating about their business on a positive level. Today, I want to banish those stereotypes and really focus on inspiring you to be online with a purpose. The purpose is of course to share, communicate and market your business.

Why Should my Business be Online?
We live in a world where we no longer rely on phone books or the Yellow Pages to find a service or product. Instead, we Google what we are looking for or we rely on word of mouth and recommendations from friends. Your online presence is there 24/7 for people from around the world to find your product or service. An online world where you don't need a passport to travel across borders or stay up 24 hours a day to market your business. The point is if people don't know about you and they can't find you - then how do you expect to grow and shape a successful business. Imagine having to run around consistently handing out business cards, or making announcements on street corners - it wouldn't work. Being online allows you to communicate about your business, to share new products or ideas and to tell potential customers where you are going to be selling your wares. It also allows for an easy point of contact when someone would like to order something, find out facts or get in touch with you directly.

Analyse Your Budget:
Don't use a lack of budget as an excuse to not be online. Remember Facebook is free and easy to use and it's better than not being online at all. If you already have a blog - is it the best you can possible afford and are you managing your online platforms effectively? Start small and graduate to the next level. It's no use you spend money you don't have on a website, rather use the budget that you do have to invest in the best possible platform for the current stage of your business. Remember to add this to you goal list, save and progress as your business changes and grows. 

Plan your Content:
Planning is of course essential. Spend some time thinking about what to say and how to say it effectively. What sets your business apart, is there an event or special holiday coming up? Think about sharing with a purpose of communication and sharing useful information, not just random updates. 

Building your Online Community:
Don't feel discouraged if you have a small following, rather focus on growing it. Also, please, please,  please remember that Facebook likes don't necessarily equal loyal followers, sales or feet through the door of your business. Rather build a smaller community who have a true interest in your business. Facebook likes are a dime a dozen, but a loyal following is what we are aiming for! Make sure your main online platform is listed on your business card and used in your branding. It could be as simple as having a stamp to add to all your packets, so each time you sell something the shopper walks away with that address. Tell clients and customers that you are online and give them the address so that they can visit the space. People like to know what is happening within brands that they like - so tell them a little about what you share online. It's no use putting a Facebook or Twitter icon on a card or banner if there is no reference to the link or profile name. If you want to use those icons, give them a purpose. It's great knowing you are on Facebook, but what is your page called, how lovely that you are on Twitter, but what is your handle? This is a common mistake - don't make it.

Essential Online Elements:
Regardless of whether you have the best blog in town or just a neat Facebook business page, make sure it has the relevant details on. Contact information, images of what you sell or make, a list of stockists and so on. Give this some thought and make sure you are using that platform to the max! 

Handy Tools:
Pic Monkey allows you to design a Facebook Timeline Cover. You can also read my post on Facebook Timeline and a few thoughts on designing your cover.

This post I wrote has a few tips on free things to do for your business. Good grammar and spelling is a free and professional way to give your brand credibility online.

Analyse your online platforms and update them to be the best that they can be. Does your Facebook page have contact details listed, does it show your work? Are the platforms listed on your business card?

If you have no online presence for your business, I suggest starting a Facebook page for it today. Take your time, do it properly and make sure it has all the right information on.

Further to this task you can start focusing on planning your content for your online platforms.

Read More:
Read the Creative Business section of my blog or book a consulting session if you want me to assist you.  I do these on a one on one basis in Durban or via a Skype call. I also setup business Facebook pages for clients in a professional and affordable way. On top of that don't forget about my creative business workshops - there is a beginners workshop on the 8th of June. Email me for more info.

I want to know how things are going?  If you have questions or something to share then please leave a comment or send me an email.