#7in30

What's Your Story: How Collecting Stories Can Be a Gamechanger for SkateXS's Brand

To put it shortly, SkateXS creates skateboards for kids — carrying quality parts for those just starting out to those that are pro level.

For this company, I’m going to talk about a specific, long-term strategy they could use to help build brand engagement, increase their following, and boost sales. 

What is this strategy?
Story curation.

You’ve most likely seen this story curation format before, from Humans of New York, or HoNY, on Instagram and Facebook.

I’ve talked about this before in previous articles, and I want to touch on it again drilling in the benefits SkateXS will reap from. 

Everyone Loves a Good Narrative

Did you read her story?
From the image above…

Did you?

I can’t fault you if you did. 
In fact, I wouldn’t blame you for leaving this article after reading her story, to go to HoNY’s Instagram page to read some more posts. 

Everyone loves a good story. 

“Storytelling enables [people] to develop a deeper connection with the audience. Storytelling is a fundamental human experience that unites people and drives stronger, deeper connections”. -Kimberly Whitler, Forbes

To hear the fears, the growing pains, the wins, the thought process you usually keep to yourself on “how you’re going to get out of this one”.

That’s what piques our interest.
And that’s what keeps us coming back for more.

Take a look at this photo.

 image from SkateXS  Instagram

image from SkateXS Instagram

It’s a dope photo.
But now I’m curious. 

How long did it take for him to nail this move?
Was he scared the first time? 
How did it go?
Does he remember the first time he landed it perfectly?

And this photo.

Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 1.54.43 PM.png

Freakin’ precious.
If this is dad helping his daughter skate, I would want to know his perspective. 

How long has it been that your daughter wanted to learn to skate?
Has she crashed yet?
What your first thought when she fell for the first time vs. your daughter’s reaction?
What changes have you seen in the skate culture over the decades?
What changes has he seen in his daughter as she learns to skate?

And last photo.

Girls who shred in a skirt.
Badass. 

The questions I would have for her:

Are you intimidated by the boys?
Do the boys try to harass you or support you?
You’re a fashionable skateboarder. Did you pick this outfit out yourself?

And in other photo instances, sometimes a short and sweet caption will do.

This was almost done perfectly with this image. 
I just made a small rewrite.

Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 5.13.13 PM.png

CONCLUSION

I could go into detail about the Facebook and Instagram Ads I would pair with this campaign, but I’d rather stay focused on the benefits of storytelling on social media platforms.

We see it everyday, and we’re all guilty of it. 
Going for the quick snappy quips on a post. 

But, if you look at those profiles where the owner takes the time to give context — to tell an honest and personal story, no matter how long or short— you’ll be surprised by how many comments come into the feed. 

 image from  SkateXS Instagram

And not the half-hearted — “This is cool” or “Nice!!!” — comments where you wonder if it’s from a person or a bot. 

But 1–2+ lines of juicy interaction from strangers who’ve taken the time to read your story.

When I googled, “Why is Humans of NY so popular?”, this answer on Quora came up and I think it sums up many peoples (and their 8 million followers) sentiments nicely. 

I’ve been following Humans of New York for almost a year now and I still never get bored of the photos and the captivating captions. I definitely pondered at this question before, especially considering many other cities have similar ideas but none seem to gravitate as much attention as HONY nor do they seem to be quite as personal. 

I think HONY is popular not because of the photos photographer Brandon Stanton takes (because in all honestly, the photos aren’t particularly amazing or anything) but because of the stories. Brandon seems to have an exquisite way of getting mere strangers to open up to him. Every photo he takes allows strangers to share some sort of quirky and/or emotional story to millions of followers. There’s just something so compelling about his stories. -Merisa Lee

As always, whether the owners of this store take my strategies or not, I wish them the BEST of luck!

From what it looks like they have an amazing fanbase and some quality products. 

And personally, I dig the designs of the boards. 

My prediction, just like all the articles in this series, if SkateXS were to embrace this strategy AND pair it with running Instagram & Facebook ads, they would quickly see an uptick in the engagement they receive, they’ll have the opportunity to become a HoNY of the kids skateboard community, and other opportunities and collaborations will sprout from the work put in.

Tell a story.
Make new friends.


Welcome to my personal #7in30 challenge.

During this challenge I’ll be looking over (1) Instagram account and/or Shopify store every few days for 30 days , to analyze what they’re doing that’s great, and what they could improve on to increase brand awareness and/or their bottomline.

This series is designed to give ecommerce business owners, and anyone who is looking to build their brand, a springboard for your online & social media strategy — no matter what industry you’re in.

This series is suited for the beginner, or a seasoned business that’s finally taking their social media strategy seriously.

SkateXS is #7 of 15.

Swagger, Solved | The Bold Brand Strategy I Would Use to Give Fear & Fancy A New Glow

 image from Fear & Fancy Facebook

image from Fear & Fancy Facebook

As stated on their website, Fear & Fancy is a social club and creative powerhouse that operates on one simple motto: eat, drink, be swanky, and have fun getting the job done. 

The ringleader of this initiative is rapper, singer, and music producer, Jidenna (aka ‘The Classic Man’ aka ‘The Chief’).

 Jidenna, The Chief // image from  Wondaland Records

Jidenna, The Chief // image from Wondaland Records

Fear & Fancy is known as “the club before, and after the club,” providing services from music production & artist development to styling & design. 

“For Fear & Fancy, we love dressing to the nines and ripping our clothes off…“It’s always a combination — partying and pondering”. -Jidenna, Maxim Interview

Though, they’ve been inactive for a while. 
Their last posting was in November 2017.

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 12.23.52 PM.png

But if they ever decided to give Fear & Fancey new life (fingers crossed people) here’s the strategy I would suggest to bring this project back into the light.

THE INSTAGRAM & FACEBOOK FOUNDATION 

First, if you know me by now, you know that I have a thing for organizing an Instagram account by the color wheel. 

And this’ll be no different. 

Fear & Fancy’s Instagram is a mix between: 

  • promoting The Chief 

  • and promoting his team

The tweak?
I envision their profile to be a mix between: 

  • promoting The Chief (always in the center)

  • promoting the team

  • and featuring Bespoke/Afropunk styles (micro influencers) from across Instagram.

By having this as a feature page for men who swim in swagger, women who bring the ‘grown & sexy’ vibe, AND people who look at the Afropunk festival as their New York Fashion Week — not only is The Chief bringing in a new fan base for his music, but Fear & Fancy will become a trending feature page to be coveted within that community. 

Second, Facebook is still our friend.

When I look at Fear & Fancy’s Facebook page, it feels as if it’s geared towards the gentlemen. 

It may have been on purpose, or accidental, but either way — let’s go with the theme that this page is geared towards the fellas. 

So how would I approach this? 

By turning Fear & Fancy into a triple threat. 
By becoming a “media company” and creating content in video, long form articles, and audio content. 

So now the questions are: 

  • What kind of content do you create if your page is about uplifting the African diaspora, Afropunkism, Bespoke dress, etc.?

  • Will it be entertainment based or informative?

And the bigger question to answer:

What do you hope they will get out of interacting with your brand? 

Off the top of my head, create content that touches on:

  • The ‘high/low’ in achieving a bespoke look on a budget

  • Book recommendations

  • Telling a story about American and African leaders of the past and present (Revisionist History style)

  • Tips about surviving and thriving in the music industry

  • Music production & performance tips

  • Podcast roundtable discussion: Black men of the world

  • Tips about getting your clothes tailor made

  • Jidenna’s mindset about connecting the African diasporas across continents

  • Giveaways

  • Leadership & Negotiation tips

  • Live streaming concerts (with behind the stage access)

 image from the  Rolling Stones

image from the Rolling Stones

And so much more.

But again, this is coming off the top of my head.

I’m sure the fellas would have a roundtable discussion to come up with a plethora of topics that they would want to address and present to their audience. 

And lastly, nothing will ever beat the tried and true practice of organic distribution through content marketing practices (in my humble opinion).

So that means, getting a team of people to help take your content and post it in other social media platforms like:

  • Answering questions on Quora

  • Posting in Facebook Groups

  • Posting in LinkedIn Groups (if applicable)

  • using HARO (when applicable)

  • re-writing and publishing your article on Medium.com ;c)

  • Using Tailwind & Pinterest

  • Creating an original article for a large blog, that has links back to your other content, etc.

Spending MONTHS chopping up video into 1-minute snippets for Instagram or YouTube. 

Chopping up video from an interview into a 4-minute bit for Facebook or LinkedIn.

Talking with the community via hashtags on Twitter and putting out content that adds to the conversation. 

Uploading your podcast content on Stitcher, Libsyn, Soundcloud, iTunes, etc.

And ALL of that. 

the longest list I've ever had.gif

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you’ll most likely spend 20% of your time creating the content and 80% of your time distributing it.

And not for days, but WEEKS — which should, honestly, turn into months. 

RUNNING ADS: A NEW FRONTIER (for me)

When it comes to running ads for a brand or ecommerce store, I am N-E-W.

Though from what I’ve learned thus far, I’m intrigued to get with the program and accomplish 3 things for Fear & Fancy: 

  1. Growing the Email List

  2. Growing their Audience on their major platforms (Facebook, Instagram, the Podcast, Website, Snapchat)

  3. Making Sales (e.g., for any new albums that come out, merch, services they provide, etc.)

This is a good idea.
And it easily compliments my tried & true content marketing strategy. 

So let’s dig into it a bit.

THE RECONNAISSANCE

 Screenshot of Facebook Ad Insights

Screenshot of Facebook Ad Insights

I did a quick look at the Audience Insights of Jidenna.

Why?

Because if you’re going to run ads (or even create a marketing strategy) you want to know as much about your target audience as possible. 

This generic search told me a lot and answered the questions I would need to know to formulate an effective marketing plan.

Answering such questions as:

  • What other artists do they like?

  • What other Facebook pages do they like?

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 4.20.33 PM.png
  • What tv shows, podcasts, blogs, media personalities do they gravitate towards?

  • What’s their age range?

  • Are the majority of our followers men or women?

See the advantages?

SIDE NOTE:
Here’s something interesting I saw. 

When I changed Jidenna’s audience from “Just Men” to “All (both Men & Women)” — Jidenna is pulling in, almost evenly, from both sides. 

But especially the 25–34 crowd.

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 4.41.27 PM.png

Impressive. 

Should that determine what content to produce?
It’s worth discussing.

THE AD STRATEGIES

We can go into various types of ads to accomplish a plethora of results (e.g., building the email list, increasing sales, brand awareness, etc).

But again, I’m N-E-W to this. 
So here’s one of the first approaches I would make.

Example: List Building Campaign
Create an explainer video that teaches the audience how to accomplish a specific task. Keep it <1 minute long.

 Image from  PureWow

Image from PureWow

Have a CTA (Call to Action) at the end of the video (and in the video description) that will send people to a landing page that provides a sweet offer related to the video they just watched. 

Post it organically on Fear & Fancy’s Facebook Page.

And then I would test different combinations of ads to promote this video to: 

  • Warm audiences (people who know you and are already fans. Where the majority of the money would go)

  • Friends of Fans (Fear & Fancy has a sizeable fan base to try this)

  • Lookalike Fans

  • And Retargeting 

Each ad getting their fair shake of $3-$5 per day and re-evaluating their effectiveness every 2–3 days.

Would I split test ads?
ABSOLUTELY. You never know the copy that’ll have the most impact to get people to sign-up/make a purchase/leave a comment on your video or article.

Would I test ads for video AND images?
OF COURSE.

 L: Image from IG:  ohwawa_

L: Image from IG: ohwawa_

Historically speaking, video ads that autoplay do better than photo images.

“Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users. Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined”. -stats from Wordstream

But you never know until you test it out for yourself, right?

QUICK OVERVIEW:

The TL;DR to review.

1 — Create a theme for your Facebook & Instagram page & be one of the top go-to resources for all things in your arena.

2 — Facebook & Instagram ads are still your friend.

3 — Become a triple threat.

CONCLUSION:

I discovered Jidenna’s music a little over 1-year ago, and I’ve been a fan since. 

His first album, The Chief, is spectacular. 
My go to tracks that have been on repeat for that year are — “Chief Don’t Run”, “A Bull’s Tale”, “A Little Bit More”, and “Extraordinaire” — to name a few.

 Jidenna in Esquire Magazine // Yeah…this guy is a rapper.

Jidenna in Esquire Magazine // Yeah…this guy is a rapper.

Though what I personally enjoy most is his gift of storytelling, like at this presentation at the 2017 CFA Strategies for Empowering the Next Generation of Leadership on Africa.

Jidenna’s presentation starting at 8min and 17 seconds, if you care to watch.

As always, whether the creators of this account take my strategies or not, I wish them the BEST of luck!

Fear & Fancy and Jidenna are a part of the Wondaland Records Entourage. 
You know the leader of that tribe, The ArchAndroid herself — Janelle Monae.

I’ll always be a fan.

My prediction, just like all the articles in this series, if Fear & Fancy were to embrace these strategies, they would slowly see an increase in album sales, they’ll build a culture ON TOP of the culture they’ve already created, and other opportunities, and collaborations, will sprout from the work put in.

Long Live The Chief.


Welcome to my personal #7in30 challenge.

During this challenge I’ll be looking over (1) Instagram account and/or Shopify store every few days for 30 days , to analyze what they’re doing that’s great, and what they could improve on to increase brand awareness and/or their bottomline.

This series is designed to give ecommerce business owners, and anyone who is looking to build their brand, a springboard for your online & social media strategy — no matter what industry you’re in.

This series is suited for the beginner, or a seasoned business that’s finally taking their social media strategy seriously.

Fear & Fancy is #4 of 7.

Doritos & Wine | Why This Should be a Thing for Premier Estates Social Media Strategy

Screen Shot 2018-09-19 at 8.14.25 PM.png

Premier Estates Wine sells award winning wine, whether it’s by the case or by the bottle, for affordable prices.

Before I jump into the strategy on how I would help with their social media presence & brand marketing, let’s check outwhat they’re already doing right.

WHAT PREMIER ESTATES IS DOING RIGHT:

1 — The Immediate Benefit, Front & Center.

On the homepage, in their Hero Section (or Banner Section) of their website, they state two main BENEFITS TO THE CONSUMER right off the bat.

Benefit #1: “Award Winning Wines at Every Day Prices”

Within whatever business you’re in, you should be able to tell someone “what you do and why they should care” in ONE SENTENCE (or tagline, if you will).

This goes back to knowing your customer and having in place your customer avatar.

  Expat Quest  // Tagline: A resource to help you bypass the fear frustration and confusion about moving to Shanghai // A good tagline.

Expat Quest // Tagline: A resource to help you bypass the fear frustration and confusion about moving to Shanghai // A good tagline.

For example, Premier Estate says that they have award winning wines.

As a wine drinker, when I see “Award Winning” anything, I automatically think it’s going to be WAY out of my price range, OR, more than I’m prepared to spend on a bottle of wine.

So they address that by adding, “…at every day prices”.

Boom. 
Still be in this game. 
Now let’s shop.

Now, it can take people hours, days, or even weeks — to whittle down what you do and why your audience should care — to one sentence.

 from The  Simpsons

from The Simpsons

But whether you hire a copywriter on UpworkPeople Per HourFiverr, or you bribe one of your writing friends with pizza and beer (a college trick that still works) — this 1-lined opening statement can be the determining factor on whether your audience stays and sifts through your content or whether they bounce…in seconds.

Benefit #2: “Free Delivery”

How many times have you gone shopping online, to pause and rethink your purchase, when you see how much shipping is?

For myself, if shipping is above $5, even though I’ve racked up $100 worth of merch in my shopping cart, I’ll question the WHOLE purchase because of the shipping costs.

“73% of consumers are more likely to make it across the finish line, if they have free shipping. [But on the flip side, a whopping] 74% of respondents had abandoned [their] basket due to high delivery charges”. — econsultancy

Premier Estate made a great choice.

By offering free shipping, it’s reduced the friction of me making a $100 purchase, than me abandoning the cart — and you LOSING $100 — because of a $15 shipping fee.

2 — They Have a Great Sense of Humor

If I was ever to do Twitter strategy, right off the bat I know:

  • You post what can be of value to your audience.

  • Use hashtags to join in on the conversation.

  • Video is always a plus.

  • Jokes are welcome.

Premier Wine is having a laugh that I can appreciate: It’s funny, cause it’s true.

 from  Premier Estate Wine’s Twitter . That middle one is my favorite.

from Premier Estate Wine’s Twitter. That middle one is my favorite.

WHAT PREMIER ESTATE IS MISSING & WHAT I’D DO IF THEY BROUGHT ME ON BOARD

[TWEAK #1]: REFRESH THE BLOG.

When it comes to food & drink, especially, sell your audience using visuals.

It’s not something that’s even debatable anymore.

Omitting images from your articles will only cause people to ignore them from the beginning. Articles with images get 94% more views than their visual-lacking counterparts.
The images in an article are a simple way to judge the quality of the content before you even read it.
[And by 2019] video will be part of 80% of all internet content, [with video] taking over the content marketing world. — Jeff Bullas, JeffBullas.com

When I look at Premier Wine’s current blog posts, it’s in need of more high quality visuals.:

 from Premier Estate’s Blog

from Premier Estate’s Blog

But even more so, an explainer video of how to make, what looks like a delicious looking cocktail.

“Posts with videos attract 3X more links than text-only posts”. — Larry Kim, Founder of WordStream

Again going off our own behavior, if I have a choice to watch a “how to” video vs. reading the text, I’ll choose the video.

Why?

Because it leaves little room for misinterpretation.

Reduce the friction.

[TWEAK #2]: START A VLOG.

 images from Google Images

images from Google Images

What wine pairs well with Ranch Doritos?
How about Taco Bell?
Beluga caviar?
Butter chicken?
Nachos during the World Cup?
Wontons?

Think it’s an odd question?

 From  Mythical

Apparently 80,000 viewers don’t.

“Award winning wine for every day prices.”, that’s the slogan for the business.

“Everyday people, pairing every day eats with wine.” — that can be the tagline for the vlog.

Just spitballin’ here.

Starting a vlog is the perfect opportunity to have:

  • A lot of fun

  • Hit up your local (or international) grocery stores (#supportlocal)

  • Build up a strong following for your brand

  • Get discovered by people outside of your customer avatar circle

  • Order out from the most popular (and unknown) take out restaurants (#supportlocal)

And to give the people what they want to know.
What wine pairs well with Kung Pao chicken?

[TWEAK #3]: INSTAGRAM STRATEGY

This is Premier Estate’s current Instagram.

 Premier Estate Wine’s  Instagram

Premier Estate Wine’s Instagram

Where does you’re eye go?

A little everywhere, right?
There’s not a clear theme to the account, which — as you should know by now — goes against the cardinal law of Instagram Strategy.

So what can they do?

Well, they’re all about wine right?…
How about something like this:

 mock Instagram feed I created. images from  Pinterest

mock Instagram feed I created. images from Pinterest

Hire a food photographer (or a creative intern with a good camera phone) that has the creative eye for tablescaping.

Yes, that is a thing. 
 
Give him or her some wine bottles and a laptop. 
And have your creative marketing manager/mixologist and your photographer make a bunch of wine cocktail recipes.

“Well G, that sounds nice, but all we can afford is our intern and they’re just ‘meh’ with food photography. So now what”?

You skill that intern up by watching these two videos!

 Both videos by Peter McKinnon. Link to  Video #1  AND Link to  Video #2

Both videos by Peter McKinnon. Link to Video #1 AND Link to Video #2

Once you nail the recipe down, make a video. 
Take more than the necessary amount of pictures that you need. 
Edit. 
Publish. 
NEXT bottle of wine!

“Gigi…again, this sounds fun and all — but we don’t have the time to do all this everyday”!

Let me share something with you that I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone mention before — or at least not to my knowledge.

Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 6.14.57 PM.png

[TWEAK #4]: PINTEREST STRATEGY / ADD VISUALS

This section is going to be fast.

You have all these BEAUTIFUL videos and pictures of cocktails and wine pairings.

To help with the distribution, since you’re playing off the visual aspect of your product, you use Tailwind to run Pinterest strategy.

 image from Tailwind

image from Tailwind

The quick and dirty on Pinterest strategy (though there is a lot more to it than I’ll line out here):

  • Create beautiful images

  • Make sure your profile is setup correctly using relevant keywords

  • Share your images in relevant groups in Tailwind

  • Participate heavily within the groups, and they’ll return the favor, by helping your images get spread and picked up by the right audiences.

QUICK OVERVIEW:

1 — You’re in the food industry. Make my mouth water. 
Invest in more pictures and video.

2 — Pick one theme for your Instagram strategy & nail down the art of food photography — if you haven’t already.

3 — Pinterest strategy can only help.

CONCLUSION:

As always, whether the owner of this website takes my strategy or not, I wish them the BEST of luck!

They’ve been around since 2001. 
They might even be around into the next century.

My prediction, just like Article #2 in this series, if they were to embrace these social media strategies, they would slowly see an increase in sales.
Their brand will become more well known. 
And other opportunities, I’m sure, will arise from this.

Raise a glass folks. 
Salut.

. . . . .

Welcome to my personal #7in30 challenge.

During this challenge I’ll be looking over (1) Instagram account and/or Shopify store every few days for 30 days , to analyze what they’re doing that’s great, and what they could improve on to increase brand awareness and/or their bottomline.

This series is designed to give ecommerce business owners, and anyone who is looking to build their brand, a springboard for your online & social media strategy — no matter what industry you’re in.

This series is suited for the beginner, or a seasoned business that’s finally taking their social media strategy seriously.

Premier Estate Wine is #3 of 7.

Let’s Talk About The Man in the Mirror | The Branding, Instagram, & Distribution Strategy I’d Use to Help Build Mind Journal

Journaling Saves.

Mind Journal is doing a lot of things right.
In the past few years, journaling has become a high priority subject.

This issue has found a platform with entrepreneurial juggernauts, best selling authors, and even the scientific community.

 Image from  Mind Journal

Image from Mind Journal

All of them championing why journaling is all-upside if you can commit to the practice.

Many people attest journaling to:

  • Their creative breakthroughs.

  • Overcoming depression (journaling created stepping stones for their recovery).

  • A way for them to clear their mind and prioritize the work that needs to be accomplished throughout the day vs. doing “urgent” busy work.

  • Writing strategic plans to bring their ideas into reality, and more.

 Image from  Mind Journal

Image from Mind Journal

As the entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss put it:

“I’m just caging my monkey mind on paper so I can get on with my fucking day. [Journaling doesn’t] need to solve your problems. [You] simply need to get them out of your head, where they’ll otherwise bounce around all day like a bullet ricocheting inside your skull. Could bitching and moaning on paper for five minutes each morning change your life? As crazy as it might seem, I believe the answer is yes”.

And now that we’ve talked about the purpose behind Mind journals creation, let’s go into how they set themselves up for success.

WHAT MIND JOURNAL IS DOING RIGHT:

1 — They Connected Their Facebook & Instagram Pages to Their Shopify Store.

Many ecommerce business owners don’t think this is a big deal to have.

Something they’ll get to, eventually.

Let me walk you through a customer’s journey of finding your item on Instagram and making a purchase.

The long route OR the shortest route possible — to making a purchase

 The long route OR the shortest route possible — to making a purchase

The long route OR the shortest route possible — to making a purchase

The Long Route (the image to the left) demonstrates the shopping experience for someone who has to do a search on your website for the item they saw on your Instagram profile.

There are, at least, 7 steps the person must go through to make the purchase.

This can lead to frustration that causes the person to abandon making a purchase altogether.

Then there’s The Short Route (the image to the right), where after they click on the image in your Facebook or Instagram page, they’re IMMEDIATELY directed to that item in the store.

No search party to find what they’re looking for.

So what am I trying to say?

REDUCE THE FRICTION.

Make it effortless and as easy as possible for your audience to make a purchase from you.

It can be the difference between you making $100 in sales in a month, and $1000 in sales in a month.

So yeah…
It’s a big deal.

2— They’re Doing (Some) Instagram Strategy

The quick and dirty on Instagram strategy is that:

  • You have a TIGHT theme/aesthetic that you adhere to

  • You use up to 30 relevant hashtags per post

  • You post at least 3 times per day on a daily basis

  • You do collaborations with other people, brands, businesses in your niche

  • Distribution, distribution, distribution

If you’re a business or brand on Instagram, and you’re growth is at a snail’s pace or has stalled altogether, check and make sure you’re executing on the above points.

What they’re doing now is good, but I’m going to throw out an idea (that I’ll mention below) that will heighten what they’ve already accomplished.

3 — Their Website Was Thought Out

Overall, Mind Journals website looks fresh and well thought out.

The copy focuses on the audience’s pain points, and the solutions they have to offer, without using a lot of flowery language.

And you can tell that they did some customer research (or created a customer avatar) and used some of that language in their website copy.

“Times are changing for guys. Roles have shifted yet stereotypical expectations remain the same”. — Mind Journal

“Looking after yourself shouldn’t feel like a chore”. — Mind Journal

“Asking for help can be tough”. — Mind Journal

Using the language your customer would use to describe their problems or pain points?

Smart.

A tactic I highly encourage for everyone to use when writing copy for their product.

WHAT MIND JOURNAL IS MISSING & WHAT I’D DO IF THEY HIRED ME

[TWEAK #1]: INSTAGRAM STRATEGY

Like I said earlier, Mind Journal is doing “some” Instagram strategy, but I see some places where it can be improved.

Right now they’re posting artistic photography, images of their product, and quotes — about 2x per day, semi-regularly.

Inside each post they give a little context and try to engage the audience.

Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 5.33.04 PM.png

My suggestion? 
Go deeper, not wider.

Meaning to do a deep dive into the mental health space that’s effecting men across various professions and backgrounds.

So, I would go the Humans of NY (or HoNY) route.

 image from  HoNY Instagram

image from HoNY Instagram

Why?

So that the reader knows that they’re not alone with these issues.

I would collect statements and stories from men across various professions, ages, backgrounds, etc. — about:

  • their journey to self awareness

  • their bouts with depression

  • how they went from looking for motivation to becoming disciplined

Touching on everything, and anything, related to men and mental health issues.

And just like HoNY does from time to time to protect the subject’s privacy, I WOULD NOT want a picture of their face, but a picture of them in their normal state or environment. Like this:

I would want to do this to, again, protect their privacy, but also for them to have the anonymity to encourage honesty.

[TWEAK #2]: START A PODCAST

They’re talking.

Men are opening up and getting real with issues that they would never DARE speak about in public, or even to family and friends, before.

 From the series  Man Enough on YouTube

From the series Man Enough on YouTube

And on that note, I would suggest starting a podcast where Mind Journal interviews:

  • entrepreneurs

  • athletes

  • men in the military or armed services

  • retired politicians

  • mental health professionals

  • blue & white collar professionals

  • social media celebrities, and more

Asking questions about:

  • how they overcame depression

  • how they built up their self awareness

  • how they may have journaled to get them out of a bad period of their life

  • how they were able to reach the scopes of success they’ve reached

  • what their thoughts are on the mental wellness space

  • daily rituals to keep them in the right state of mind at all times, etc.

If you’re asking yourself, “how do I start a podcast?”, you could do a Google search and you’ll see that you have a plethora of options to choose from.

Choose one of these aficionados and go forth.

But here’s the quick & dirty on how to start right now, with ZERO dollars or for $36.49/month.

Step 1: Have a conversation with someone over Skype, Zoom, or in-person.

Step 2: If it’s over Skype or Zoom, record the conversation using Quicktime.
Select ‘New Audio Recording’.

SIDE NOTE: Some people choose ‘New Screen Recording’ — where they’ll record the video conversation. They’ll post the full video on YouTube. And then, strip the video keeping only the audio, and posting that to their podcast.

Step 2a: If it’s in person, record the conversation with your phone. 
If you’re phone is always low on storage (like mine) use a video camera.
Whether it’s a pocket camera or a DSLR, find a quiet location, put it in between you two on the table, press record, and start talking.

 Come with an empty memory card, a full battery, and you’re good to go. Image from  DPReview

Come with an empty memory card, a full battery, and you’re good to go. Image from DPReview

Step 3: Add an intro/outro and edit the interview with whatever editing software you use. 
I’m personally all about Premiere Pro which is where the $31.49/month comes into play. 
You can do a search for free online video editing software or apps.

Step 4: Upload to Soundcloud (free), Libsyn ($5/month), or whatever platform you’re using for your podcast.

And you’re done. 
You’ve started a podcast.

Now all you have to do is be consistent with it.

That’s great Gigi, but how do I FIND these people to interview?

Social media to the rescue.

 Don’t use one. Use ALL of them to do outreach. Everyone’s a winner!

Don’t use one. Use ALL of them to do outreach. Everyone’s a winner!

  • Put up a post in your LinkedIn profile.

  • Post on your Facebook page.

  • Post in Facebook groups.

  • Post in Reddit subs.

  • Shoot out a tweet (don’t forget the hashtags)

  • Reach out to your friends via email, text, Instagram, or smoke signals, and see if they know someone you could interview, and if they can give a warm introduction (the BEST option from this list).

The post on social can look something like this:

Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 5.45.39 PM.png

[TWEAK #3]: DISTRIBUTION. DISTRIBUTION. DISTRIBUTION.

So many people still believe that if they create good content and hit publish, it will immediately grow legs of it’s own and run a marathon across the internet, bringing in thousands of customers screaming…

shut up and take my money.gif

It happens. 
But not often.

So what do you do?

You create a distribution plan.

We’re going to post the podcast, perhaps some of the Instagram posts, and any other articles you create to:

  • Your business’ Facebook Page

  • Relevant Facebook Groups

  • You’ll republish your article in the LinkedIn publication

  • ONLY if you have a group of people on staff, in LinkedIn groups

  • In relevant Reddit subs

  • Answer Quora questions with links back to the original content

  • Republish it on Medium.com

  • And other online forums you’ve researched, of course, in advance

And this is not to mention getting featured in roundups, or using HARO (Help A Reporter Out), Pinterest, running Facebook & Instagram Ads, and repurposing your content to get as much attention as you possibly can BACK to your content.

 Image from  HARO

Image from HARO

And that’s the plan.
Does this process sound tiring to you?

Yeah. It can be. 
But the spoils comes from the effort you put in.

You’ll spend 20% of the time writing brilliant content and 80% of your time distributing it.

But you won’t run the gamut on this ONE piece of content for a day, or even a week. But for MONTHS.

This isn’t a sprint, folks.
Welcome to the marathon.

marathon runner.gif

QUICK OVERVIEW:

1 — Go deeper, not wider in your Instagram strategy really keeping in mind what will resonate with your audience and bring them value.

2 — Start a podcast. Use the materials you have on hand to start, and upgrade later down the line. Don’t make the excuse and waste time saying you “don’t have the right equipment to pull it off”, because you most likely do.

3 — Distribution. Distribution. Repurpose. Distribution. Repeat.

CONCLUSION:

As always, whether the owner of this website takes my strategy or not, I wish them the BEST of luck and I applaud them on what they’ve accomplished thus far.

If you haven’t had the chance to read their story yet, give it a once over. 
It’s good.

 image from  Mind Journal

image from Mind Journal

My theory, if they we’re to take on these tweaks, is that they would slowly see an increase in sales, but more so they’ll be depositing solid building blocks to strengthen their brand for the long haul and nurturing a highly engaged audience.

It’ll be a slow process to build up that clout, but as Ryan Holiday stated in his book ‘The Obstacle is the Way’, “Think progress, not perfection.”

. . . . .

What’s an unexpected distribution platform that you used that brought in clients, traffic, or sales?

Share your knowledge with the community below.

. . . . .

Welcome to my personal #7in30 challenge.

During this challenge I’ll be looking over (1) Instagram account and/or Shopify store every few days for 30 days , to analyze what they’re doing that’s great, and what they could improve on to increase brand awareness and/or their bottomline.

This series is designed to give ecommerce business owners, and anyone who is looking to build their brand, a springboard for your online & social media strategy — no matter what industry you’re in.

This series is suited for the beginner, or a seasoned business that’s finally taking their social media strategy seriously.

Mind Journal is #2 of 7

The Retro Radio Farm Revamp: How to Think about a Website Redesign for Your Ecommerce Store

Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 3.32.15 PM.png

 Retro Radio Farm twangs on my nostalgic nerves.
They collect & sell vintage radios you would find in the 1950s and 60s.

They even offer their radios with Bluetooth MP3s, with an Amazon Dot already installed, repair & appraisal services, and more.

 Images from Retro Radio Farm

Images from Retro Radio Farm

But after skimming over their website, here are a few changes I would make off the bat.

THE WEBSITE:

This is what’s going through my head when I look at the website, at first glance:

Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 6.08.25 PM.png

1 — That background is distracting!

The main show is — and should always be — the product you’re selling.

The design of your website should help accentuate your products in a style that fits your audience’s, and brands, persona.

“Fit your audience’s, and brands, persona”? What does that mean?

When I think of vintage radios I think of women who dress like this:

And people who subscribe to Burlesque Baby and who’s dream car is in the realm of a 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible.

 Image from  CNN Money

Image from CNN Money

This kind of thinking, where you imagine your customer’s and your brands persona, is called a “Customer Avatar”.

That’s when you can nail down certain traits about your IDEAL customer and the kind of person who is most likely to purchase your product or need your services.

Traits such as:

  • What other online stores do they shop at?

  • What blogs, online platforms, facebook groups, reddit groups, do they hang out in?

  • What festivals do they attend?

  • What’s their age range?

And you do this to make sure that you’re targeting and promoting your product and services to the right people, instead of shotgunning it out to everyone hoping it gets to the right person.

 In case you can’t read my hieroglyphics handwriting, on the bottom it says, “Or the faster route — where you bypass those who aren’t interested in your product or service and go directly to those that are”.

In case you can’t read my hieroglyphics handwriting, on the bottom it says, “Or the faster route — where you bypass those who aren’t interested in your product or service and go directly to those that are”.

2 — Wait, is this a vintage radio shop or an ACTUAL farm?

The reason I ask if this is an actual farm is the “Yee-haw” with the image of a farm as their standing logo.

Get how that can be confusing to a person who, for the first time, landed on the website?

And when you have 6–7 seconds to grab someone’s attention after landing on your website — you better make it loud and clear:

  • Who you are

  • And how you can solve their problem — without there being ANY confusion.

3 — You were featured on CNN?! Whaaaaaa?!

You can’t see me, but let me get that slow clap started for you.

Well done!

And when I look at all your accolades, you’ve been featured in some majorpublications, podcasts, and articles.

With that being said, why aren’t those front and center?

When you’re featured on ANY platform — whether they:

  • Quote you

  • Feature you

  • Have you as a guest

You can display their logos on your website saying something to the effect of:

You’ve seen this before. 
It’s called “Social Proof”.

And to your audience that respects these publications, it gives your work and experience a boost in clout.

THE TWEAK:

 Before &amp; After

Before & After

The ‘After’ website is a mockup I quickly created in Shopify (it’s not live).

What did I do?
I simplified it.

AT THE TOP:

  • One of their products, the name of the company, and what they do. 
    I came up with the subtitle“The vintage look with todays surround sound”.

I’m not 100% sure if surround sound is relevant to these products, but let’s just go with it.

  • A Call to Action (or CTA).
    You don’t have to put a CTA at the top of your website. As Unbounce stated:

“Not to say that placing your CTA above the fold is wrong, most of the time it’s a good idea. But you shouldn’t be afraid of experimenting...

IN THE MIDDLE:

  • The logos of some of the publications, or platforms, where they’ve been featured. 
    As an example, to find the CNN logo I simply did a Google search “cnn logo” and this came up.

Select “Images” at the top, and pick the image you’re looking for.
Then simply download or take a screen shot, saving it to your desktop.

And if you’re looking for one with a transparent background — just type in “cnn logo transparent”.

The images may not look like they have a transparent background, but click on a few with the white backgrounds. 
The white turns to the checkered background once they finish loading.

THE PRODUCTS:

This is something small, and it’s a design choice really.

But I chose images that were with the radio angled towards me.
Going for a little repeated symmetry.

This way the product photography looks intentional.

WHAT DID I NOT TALK ABOUT, BUT IS WORTH LOOKING INTO?

  • Product descriptions.

  • Connecting their Shopify store with their Facebook/Instagram.

  • Facebook/Instagram ads.

  • Collaborations/Microinfluencers.

  • Distribution strategy.

Don’t fret. In the 29 other analyses I do, I’m sure we’ll cover each of these topics.

QUICK OVERVIEW

(Because I threw a lot at you)

1 — Don’t get caught up designing your online store. I would say, no more than 2-days. To start, do yourself a favor, and keep the design simple.

2 — Get straight to the point. You have 6–7 seconds to tell people what you have to offer and why they should care. Don’t use fancy words, and again, keep it simple.

3 — Create a customer avatar of your ideal (most likely to buy) customer. Answering the questions: Where do they hang out online? What’s the age range of my customer? What influencers do they follow online?, etc.

4 — Show off your accolades. If you’ve been featured in a newspaper, magazine, publication, podcast, etc — post that on your website front and center.

CONCLUSION

I’m keeping my fingers, and toes, crossed that you found this article helpful. If you feel your website has these same issues, I’ve composed how you can easily change it — and why it’s all upside for you.

I gotta say, I’m a fan of Retro Radio Farm.

In fact, I saw this in their “About Us” page:

I am an electrical engineer and IT industry professional for over 20 years. Repairing, restoring, and tinkering with these old radios is a hobby of mine. I repair these old radios out of my garage workshop located in Connecticut USA. I have sold hundreds of these old radios over the years.

I find this individual incredibly endearing and I wish them all the best of luck whether they go with my changes or not.

Hell, they’ve appeared on CNN and Chris Guillebeau’s podcast!
They’ll be fine. 👍🏾

Though my theory, if they we’re to take on these changes, is that they would slowly see an increase in sales — whether it be for repairs, add-ons, consulting, or to purchase a radio device.

And it won’t be a large increase in sales. 
It never usually works that way.

It’s more steady than anything. 
Incremental upticks. 
But an uptick nonetheless.

. . . . .

Welcome to my personal #7in30 challenge.

During this challenge I’ll be looking over (1) Instagram account and/or Shopify store every few days for 30 days , to analyze what they’re doing that’s great, and what they could improve on to increase brand awareness and/or their bottomline.

This series is designed to give ecommerce business owners, and anyone who is looking to build their brand, a springboard for your online & social media strategy — no matter what industry you’re in.

This series is suited for the beginner, or a seasoned business that’s finally taking their social media strategy seriously.

Retro Radio Farm is #1 of 7

. . . . .

What’s a piece of advice about website design that you wish you knew when you built your FIRST website?

Share your words of wisdom (and have a ‘look how far I’ve come moment’) with the community below.