Month: November 2019

Help!

Help, from the Beatles to Papa Roach, bands have sung about it. As business owners, help is certainly something we need. From supportive relationships to genuine help with running our businesses, we cannot thrive without it. I talk to a lot of business owners about how we can help them because that is what this business is built for, to help.

A little over a year ago, I knew I needed help with my business. I knew I do not possess the ability to photograph individuals well. Give me a landscape or a product and I can make my camera see what I want others to see but when it comes to photographing people, I have a hard time creating the same power. So, I reached out for help from a dear friend.

Around the same time, I was looking for help with bookkeeping needs because putting receipts into Quickbooks was something I loathed. I knew it was important and necessary to running the business, but doing it? Oh, I could put that off for an entire month and then scrambled to get caught up. I had several people who offered suggestions, particularly devoting time to it each week but yet, I struggled to do it. So, I reached out to another friend and she helps me with my bookkeeping and helps me focus on it once a week.

Earlier this year, I knew I needed help yet again, this time with managing everything I needed to do for the business and maintaining a presence away from my computer screen. This was a big one for me, because I know that no matter how much I would prefer to stay home and work, I needed to get out and talk to others to maintain the growth of my business. Again, I reached out to friends to see if they knew of anyone who would be willing to take on the challenge.

Help is something we all need and as a business owner, it is integral to the growth and success of our businesses. At Symbiotic Marketing, we are here to help, particularly small businesses. When I started this business, it was my goal to help the small business owner. While there are resources available to help, but when it comes to actually getting the work done, that’s on the owner or comes at a cost many are not able to afford. Let’s be honest, running a business is hard work and often we are left prioritizing what we do over what needs to be done to maintain a successful business.

With the goal of creating marketing services that small businesses can afford, Symbiotic Marketing has grown into what it is today, and I couldn’t be more proud of where we are right now. We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the help I received along the way. With that help, this year we have been able to help business owners build brand awareness on social media outlets and increase audience size and quality, build and update websites, create one sheets and other promotional materials, create logos and assist with purchasing promotional products to match the brand, write and post blogs and newsletters, and offer marketing ideas and assistance.

I am excited to see what the next year brings because of the help I have received along the way. I’d love to hear from you, what help have you received? We’re all in this together, let’s help one another along the way.

An Attitude of Gratitude

This time of year is a time of reflection and gratitude for many, myself included. I have been contemplating a great deal on where I’ve been, where I am currently, and where I’d like to go. Five years ago, I started working at the local radio stations and thought I had my dream job and in many ways, it was a dream job. I had flexibility with my schedule, was able to meet with many decision makers and small business owners and had a wonderful group of individuals working with me for the success of the business and other businesses. The position afforded me to flex my creative muscles while learning more about marketing as a whole. But a few years into the position, I found myself struggling to see how my vision of helping small business owners aligned with my employer’s vision. This was something I had struggled with before and knew that I could either put my head down and keep trying or leave the position all together. The decision was not one to take lightly, but in the end, I chose to leave for my health. My anxiety was at a constant high, depression had a tight grip on me, and a host of other health concerns were swirling around me. I knew I needed to make a change, but starting a business was not something I had fully considered.

Today, I am grateful for that experience. I am proud to have created a business that truly supports small business owners. More than anything, I am grateful for my wonderful team of individuals who help make Symbiotic Marketing special.

Meet The Team:

Phillip Whitley, owner of Mr. Phab Photos, creates stunning portraits, landscapes, and more. His work has been proudly displayed in many businesses locally and has recently began series of work based on concepts not widely portrayed by traditional media including strong black women, the LGBTQ community, and those with Down Syndrome. His vision of inclusion and acceptance shines through in his work.

Amy Weibley, owner of Weibley Media Consulting, is a graphic design master. With her extensive background in a variety of businesses and non-profit organizations, she brings ideas and concepts to life from logo design to website design and everything in between.

Jenna Kauffman, freelance writer and content coordinator at Chambersburg Neighbors, assists with social media branding campaigns, website design, content editing, and just about anything I may need assistance with. Jenna is my right hand, ensuring businesses quality work at a reasonable rate. Her work affords me the opportunity to continue working on the Symbiotic Marketing brand awareness and has been integral in the growth we have been able to achieve this past year.

I am in awe when I reflect on where I have been and to see where Symbiotic Marketing is currently. My goal of owning a small business that supports small businesses has grown and changed in a beautiful way. I am proud to work with such talented individuals. I am proud of the work we have been able to accomplish for our clients. I am crazy, ridiculously excited to see where we go from here. For that, I am eternally grateful for everyone who has supported this crazy dream and continues to support this dream. I am also eternally grateful for every client that we have been able to help along the way. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey and for allowing us to share in your dream. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it weren’t for you.

Embrace the Chaos

Anxiety is something I live with every single day. For me, it is something that is inherently a part of my everyday life and comes in ebbs and flows and lately, it has been flowing. As much as I would rather not discuss this topic, it needs to be. So many are living with some form of mental illness or traumatic episode in silence and in that silence, the illness takes hold. It can become suffocating, overwhelming, all consuming and above all else, lonely.

An entrepreneur’s life can also be lonely, even if you have a team of people with you. You are in control of every aspect of your business from making sure the lights stay on to making sure work is completed. Many work well past the hours of “normal operation” to ensure everything that needs to be addressed has been because people rely on us to get it done, from our clients and customers to our family and loved ones. Sometimes it’s early mornings and late nights. It’s never having a set schedule but being flexible enough to make the important things fit into a schedule. Owning a business means these are your monkeys and this is your zoo and yes, at times, they are throwing “stuff” at you.

So, why would someone who struggles with mental and emotional health decide to embrace the chaos and start a business? Because it is fulfilling on so many levels. Yes, it can be scary, frustrating, and physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. But it can also be incredibly rewarding. I read an article a while ago that discussed the relationship between being an entrepreneur and personal development. While I cannot find the link to the article, there is a rather clear line between the two. Personal development and growth are closely tied with the success of your business.

Looking back over the past three years, I can see now that I’ve been making huge steps in my personal and professional growth. By focusing on myself and my overall health, I was also allowing my business to grow and become successful. I have big goals for Symbiotic Marketing, but I cannot reach those goals if I allow myself to fall into negative habits. That means going out and meeting with people when I want nothing more than to curl up in my comfy chair and binge Investigation Discovery all day and going to networking groups and meetings when I don’t know a single person there. It also means I need to make healthy choices for myself every day, getting exercise, eating healthy foods, and making time for me without feeling guilty about it.

I’m telling you about this because I know I am not alone. Many business owners struggle with some form of mental illness or trauma that continues to follow them years after the event. I know this because assisting others with marketing endeavors can become very personal. Marketing is closely tied to emotions and behaviors and the more I am able to learn about my clients and their businesses, the more I can do to help them reach their goals.  More than anything, I want you to know that you are not alone. While being an entrepreneur can be lonely, it doesn’t have to be. You’ve already done the scariest thing by following your dream. Embrace the chaos and together, let’s see how far that dream can go.

Your Website and Social Media – How Does It Work?

Your website is up and ready for potential clients to visit! You also have a Facebook page up and have invited friends and family to like your page. Now what? How do you make these things work to build your business? Much like other marketing devices, it’s all about the relationship!

To understand the relationship, we first need to have a general understanding of a sales funnel. Everyone you meet or who sees your page or website, fall in your sales funnel.  A sales funnel runs from cold (new to learning about you) to hot (ready to purchase). While all fall in a sales funnel, this does not mean that everyone is going to have a need for your product or service. Having an “always on” sales attitude breaks down the opportunity to build relationships.

We’ve all had that person on our newsfeed that is always pushing their gig, always. Always be selling pushes people away, but you want to get the word out about the awesome stuff you offer! Following the 80/20 rule (give more than you ask) is a great way to build you audience and move them along the sales funnel.

Your Social Media

Your social media should be a means of directing traffic to your website but also as a means of getting to know about your business. This is where your audience gets to know you, but what to post? Here are some tips to build your audience, engage you audience, and build your business with social media:

  • Like other pages as your page
  • Tag other businesses in your posts when applicable
  • Share other business posts to your page when applicable
  • Share any blogs from your website onto your page
  • Create visual posts such as pictures or videos especially for holidays
  • Create informative posts that relate to your business

 

When looking at what to write on your social media page, think of individuals who are on the cooler side of your sales funnel. Keep posts short and simple, if your text is too long, people are less likely to read what you have to say. Longer posts may be better suited for a blog or a Note on Facebook, and should be focused more on a warmer audience, those who already know about you and are looking to learn more.

Your Website

Your website should be more focused on transitioning a warmer audience into a hot audience. Individuals who seek out your page are there to learn about your specific business. Some choose to use blogs on websites to build a client base. Here are some tips to build a blog on your website:

  • Blogs should be between 200-500 words. If they are longer, use subtitles to differentiate the portions of your blog
  • Use tags – this helps with SEO and brings individuals looking for a specific topic to your site
  • Categories – this helps define what your blog is about, this is very helpful when writing on multiple subject matters
  • Check SEO settings – every builder is different, but all offer some SEO settings on for your blog
  • You are the expert, write what you know!
  • Download Grammerly – you can easily use the free edition to capture any misspellings and grammatical errors

 

Social media is meant to drive traffic to your website and gather an audience who may be interested in what you have to offer. Websites are dedicated to what you are offering and are a platform to sell your goods, to give individuals more information about what you offer, and to motivate the individual to reach out to your business. By understanding the sales funnel and how it works, you’ll be better equipped to handle both digital platforms well and build your business. As always, we are here to help, no matter where you are in your marketing journey.

Maintaining Your Social Media Presence

Maintaining a presence on social media can be overwhelming for many individuals, let alone business owners. What to post, when to post, even where to post. It’s a lot to consider! Most people will post on the platform they feel most comfortable using, but even then, we’re more likely to scroll and share others posts more than create our own. Let’s be honest, there’s only so much that can be said, and no one likes a laundry list of things you’ve done or every thought that passes through your mind. This can seem like a burden on business owners. I understand, there’s only so many hours in a day and running a business is tough! Not only are you focused on what your business does, but all the backend stuff that needs to happen to keep the business running, bookkeeping, sales, planning and marketing. It’s a lot, and to then think of something to post on social media? That tends to take a back seat. But it doesn’t have to.

Schedule It Out!

Did you know that you have the ability to schedule posts for a variety of platforms? There are a lot of scheduling tools available, many at no cost to you. If you are just starting to get your feet wet, and only focused on Facebook, you don’t even need to think about a scheduling tool! Facebook will already allow you to schedule posts for your page. Access your page and click on Publishing Tools (it may be under the More dropdown, depending on your page layout). Once there, click the Create button. When the window opens to create your post, there will be an option to show on your newsfeed, in the drop down you may Share Now, Schedule, or Backdate. Scheduling your posts alleviates a lot of the pressure of maintaining your social media presence!

For our clients, we will schedule posts out for a month in advance. This allows our clients to maintain control of what is posted on their pages to maintain consistency and tone of the page. Clients are highly encouraged to check their social media accounts monthly (or the scheduling tool) to ensure posts we create for them are accurate for their specific business and quality before the posts are live. While we meet with every client before work begins to discuss different types of posts that may be appropriate to share, we want our clients to feel comfortable and in control of what is posted and where. You know your business best, and we want to make sure your business is always shown in the best possible light.

Be Comfortable and in Control

We have found that many of our clients feel secure knowing their page is being taken care of and begin to share more personal wins on their page, which really help boost their reach and engagement figures. From being recognized as the top salesperson in the office to sharing a beautiful vacation pic, they feel at ease sharing these wonderful accomplishments because it does not seem out of place on their pages. It’s a beautiful thing when this happens, and it makes my heart sing. I love seeing people shine and be comfortable in sharing their successes.

If you are feeling stuck, overwhelmed, or simply frustrated with maintaining your digital presence, I’d love to talk with you. Sometimes a little direction is all that’s needed to help us get to where we want to go.

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Chambersburg, PA