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Building a brand is all about consistency. Your customers expect to have the same (or darn close to the same) experience whenever they come in contact with your brand.  After all, consistency leads to reliability and trust.

Since I've been doing a lot with visual maps these days, I've really gotten into studying how visual schemes impact your brand.  Here are a few tips that might help you.

Design Schemes and Associations

Think about this - what if you bought one of those red cola cans at a convenience store only to find when you drank it, something orange came out of the can.  That's pretty crazy, right?  You'd probably storm back into the store and confront the cashier at the counter with your red can.  The experience would make you second guess ever buying another from that store, or possibly, ever again.

In fact, that actually happened...sorta. Remember when they came out with clear cola?  It crashed and burned badly...why? Because we expect cola to be dark brown.  And when a very popular condiment maker came out with green ketchup, it ended up making appearances as a collectible on eBay, not on kitchen tables.

Something very similar happens with brands online.  Certain colors and design schemes are associated with certain products. If the product has the wrong color or design, it's off-putting to potential customers.

An important part of creating a consistent brand image is to choose a visual scheme that will always be associated with your name or your company’s name.

Visual Brand Soda

Your Visual Brand Language

To create a design and color scheme for your brand, you need to create a visual brand language, or VBL.

So what's that? A VBL incorporates design elements such as shape, color, materials, finish, typography and composition. All of these items together should work smoothly to communicate your company's values and personality.

For a good example, take BMW's front grill. When you see it on an advertisement or website, you automatically think of BMW and all the qualities associated with this luxury car designer. This distinct design feature is used as a visual marketing tool by the company to trigger feelings and associations in the minds of its target market.

An important key to creating a VBL is to remember that it isn't static, but something can be changed and used in different ways.

Think about Google's logo - basic letters on a clean white background. During different times of year or during promotions,  incremental changes are made to this basic design theme. Your VBL can be something flexible as well.

Visuals for Your Niche

Your own images need to create a brand personality that fits with your niche. Think about your target market and what they like. Consider your products and look at how other companies in your expert niche create their brand personality.

For example, some niches tend to showcase stark, hard line visuals, while others use soft, curvy lines. Each image a company uses fits with its personality to create a sense of consistency across all of its marketing and content creation.

Your Brand's Logo

The single most important visual element is your logo.  Recently, I went to my friends over at Logo Nerds to come up with a new design for me.  I knew the one I had was not fitting well with my niche and I wanted it to make a stronger connection with my brand.

To create a logo, you need to go back to your brand's unique selling proposition. What is your brand's promise and personality? These should be communicated through your brand's logo. Your logo should be based on this foundation and it should harmonize well with your other design elements.

The best practice when designing a logo is to start by choosing a primary and secondary color. The primary color is for your symbol, icon, or lettering. The secondary color is for the background. Take advantage of color meanings and associations when choosing colors.

The Importance of Visual Branding

A common business mistake is to bring in outside visual experts as an afterthought rather than a central part of your business's initial planning.  Remember when I mentioned redesigning my logo?  I have seen people make the mistake of trying to design their own, but that sometimes doesn't send a clear message about who you are and your professionalism.

Here's another resource for you.  Pam Wilson has an amazing blog that teaches a lot about visual branding.  Be sure to check out her Big Brand System here for great tips.

Remember - your brand's visual plan is just as important as your unique selling proposition or your products: it's part of your company's basic image and it can help you communicate clearly about who you are and what you do for your target market.



You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it...

About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative online business strategist and coach specializing in showing independent service providers how to simplify, save time & stand out with simple strategies that engage more quality leads and clients. Her company Be Promotable provides fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote business owners as power players in their market. Get free tools to simplify and stand out online at:

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Outsource What You Can To Free Up More Time

Most of the people I know are high achievers; and a large portion of them are "control addicts".   But the bad part about being in control of everything is that you often end up doing everything in your business.

This kind of behavior creates failure, not success.

One solution is to consider outsourcing - hiring an independent contractor to help you get things done.  Outsourcing can help lift a huge weight off your shoulders.

And it's not just a resource for larger businesses.  Businesses of every size are starting to acknowledge the need to spend more time perfecting their expertise while they free up time by giving work away.  This serves to help you build stronger relationships with prospects and retain current clients.

Why Outsource?

Outsourcing can help you make the most of all of your resources—people, time, money and energy—because you and your staff can focus on the what's most important to your business. When you outsource, in essence you're allowing other companies or individuals with different skill sets (e.g., accounting, human resources or information technology) to do what they do best for YOU. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

As a result, you have more time to be laser-focused on your specialization which then enhances your credibility, and you become more attractive to people who are looking for the precise solution that you or your company offer.

Fitting Outsourcing Into Your Lifestyle

Outsourcing can definitely require an attitude shift and a willingness to give up a bit of control.  Realistically, it can feel uncomfortable at first.  But staying in a comfort zone is often what leaves some people stuck at the same level year after year.

Really think about your hesitation; what are your concerns about outsourcing?

Here are some common objections:

  • Reputation. Business owners might worry what their customers, clients, staff and other stakeholders will think about their decision to outsource. You might also be concerned that the outside specialist will make some kind of drastic error that will harm your reputation.
  • Security. Outsourcing may require that you consider sharing certain information to get certain tasks done.  Businesses may not be sure how to protect their intellectual property and other key data from fraud, tampering and other damage.
  • Offshoring. A lot of outsourcing is done at the local or national level, but more and more is taking place using foreign associates. You might be concerned about language barriers, health and safety standards, work quality or the impact on your national economy.

With each of these concerns and any others you may have, take some time to answer the question, “What’s the worst thing that could happen if we outsourced?” and then ask yourself, “If that happened, then what?”

Many businesses have outsourced successfully and made mistakes that you can learn from. Do your research and be confident and intentional about your decision to move ahead.

How to Get Started with Outsourcing

Look at the activities you are spending time on that divert you from the core of your business. What’s draining you? Is it administrative tasks, technical support, accounting, human resources, internet technology or something else?

Determine how much time it's taking you to get these things done.  Are you generating profit by doing these yourself?  Could the work be assigned to someone else who has expertise?  What would it take to give up the work?

Start with these questions and begin looking into options for outsourcing to quality contractors.

Need help getting started?  For a complete course on how to find the right outsource partner, check out my brand new online course, "Outsource Your Service Business" on  I will walk you through the entire process step by step.  For a limited time, you can get it at no cost here:

Ready to focus on what you do best and outsource the rest? The move to outsourcing requires a shift in thinking, some preparation and a slight learning curve, but in the end, you will emerge with a stronger focus on the "main thing" in your business. And it might just be the answer to growing your business to the next level.

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In this 20 minute interview, I'm speaking with Attorney Aurelia Mitchell-Durant of AMD Law Group ( about Pinterest and the key issues service providers need to be aware of when using this social tool. Aurelia is an expert in international branding for businesses, as well as brand protection. Some good stuff here.

Catch the interview audio here

Here's a few of the tips shared during the interview:

  1. Keep the images you use intact in their original format (i.e. don't make the mistake of claiming something is yours when it's not)
  2. Look for signs on the site where you're pulling images from that it's acceptable for you to post the image (i.e. is there a "pin it" button?)
  3. Remember you can always  ...

Check it out and let me know what you think. Anything else to add to the list?

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There has been a incredible shift in the world around us.  From the Northeast hurricane, to many people stepping out on pure faith and starting new businesses, ending unhealthy relationships to even finally taking health seriously. We’re all being charged with “purging” something. In the midst of this though…doesn’t mean there are challenges or days when you simply want to “quit”.

::The client money isn’t coming in on time

::The husband just “ain’t acting right”

::The kids are a mess at school

::Your stress level is out of wack

::Your business is good…but it’s not “great”

::You seem to be working harder for the same result.

::You feel enslaved to your purpose.

As women we come as a package deal and with that means that often overwhelming feeling of wishing and wanting to just “quit” – to let it all go. To throw in the towel and just let the sh!% it the fan!

I know that feeling and I have to have a “come to Jesus”  meeting with myself. And get real.

It’s time someone offered you a dose of truth…and that is


Truth be told, women of color tiptoe around our issues in our lives and ultimately our businesses. We don’t invest in ourselves however we expect others to invest in us.

Do you? Do  you invest in yourself or do you quit at the thought of doing the work

QUIT at the thought of truly asking for assistance and support in growing your business or how women like Cameka Smith (founder of listed BOSS Network) has done by fostering a community of women entrepreneurs who network for good?

QUIT feeling like you can’t really work with other women because “they always want to take what’s mines”. And the hard work of learning to trust your own “GET IT GIRL!” so you can work with other women without the “crabs-in-the-barrel mentality” like LaShanda Henry (founder of Black Business Women Online) did with her girlfriends

QUIT at the thought of truly (and I mean truly) investing in quality mentorship and guidance and humbling yourself to end the thinking that you must do everything on your own or that perhaps Women of Color can’t produce high quality events and workshops that are impactful and profitable like thePOWER CIRCLE Conference & Expo happening Jan 2013.

What’s my point? I’ve been in a “Inner BITCH” release pilgrimage for some time involving releasing all the GUNK that was stuck in my belief system for too long.  My sister on this journey of complete liberation and I have been charged with not only calling ourselves out…but other women. Particularly women of color and Black women more specifically on how our emotional wellness is the TRUE source of abundance.

If you’re still reading I offer that I realize this post is making tons of assumptions about you – the reader – but perhaps it’s not. Perhaps somewhere inside of you, a-lot of this rings true. If not to this extreme, perhaps in your own self-sabotaging efforts to define “success” merely as the sum of your bank account or based on the number of episodes of  Donald Trump’s
The Apprentice” you’ve been able to copy-cat in your own business journey.

Whatever it is…there is a time to call it quits, but not on yourself…but on the nonsense that is causing many of us to live beneath the truth of our possibilities. The truth is that there is another more authentic way of living and creating and this video offers a bit of that truth.

Join me Friday November 9, 2012 here.

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bigstock-variety-of-detailed-horizon-25105949.jpg?width=360The right business branding strategies could spell real success for your business. What convinces people to invest in you or your products or services is how well they know, like, and trust you --- branding positions you for this.

What is a Branding Strategy?

Now hear me on this, a brand is not just about your logo or a name, it represents your complete business identity. It is an essential part of the startup process for any business. And if you're already established without an intentional strategy, it's time to get one in place.

Having branding strategies can provide the fundamental steps and it will help identify the most valuable tools to create a powerful business brand. In general terms, a strong brand is one that people recognize and believe to deliver quality. Have you ever found yourself at the store choosing one product over the other because it is the more recognized or trusted brand? I know I do. For example, there is a certain type of soap I always buy because I have come to expect it keeps my skin moisturized, smells great, and doesn't melt in the shower. I know when I see the box on the shelf that it's the brand I recognize and trust.

Recently, I did a survey and one of the comments was this:

"...what I see always is your name and that spells 'quality'"

That's the kind of response that shows your branding is on the right track.

It is a branding strategy's objective to identify what could turn your business into a trusted brand name. How do you influence people to trust your brand and its reputation? What should you do to communicate the objective and mission of your company? What is the message you are trying to send out to produce loyal, ideal customers? A sound business branding strategy will aim to find answers to these questions so you can establish a brand for your company that would excel in the market.

Creating Your Business Name, Logo, or Website

Coming up with a name for your business goes hand in hand with creating a logo that will identify your company. When it comes to logos, always opt for something that represents you in a unique way. Logos will be used over and over again in your advertising and marketing campaigns, so it must be easy to recognize.

For starters, think of a logo that will readily connect with consumers about the nature of your business. Choose images that are associated with your business and perhaps the products they represent.

TOOL ALERT: One of my favorite logo creators? Try Logonerds (this is my affiliate link, and I use them for almost everything).

Coming Up With Slogan or Tagline

Once you have the logo you want, think of a slogan that will reinforce the message you are trying to communicate to your market. As long as you keep this part brief and straightforward, then this can be an effective branding tool for your business. The tagline canserve as an additional touchpoint connecting to the main message you are trying to deliver. The more connected the message, the more likely you get the edge over your competitors. Use this to highlight the unique experience or service that customers will be able to have with you.

One advantage that you can have by including a tagline is that it is not permanent, unlike the logo. So if your company later decides to employ a new marketing strategy, you can readily adapt your tagline to highlight this new marketing plan.

Applying Colors and Images

As with logos, colors and images can be used to establish the identity of your business. Colors depict a corresponding set of emotions as well. So you need to carefully pick out exactly what type of color you are going to use in your logo so it is aligned with the image and personality of your business. Try to conduct a little bit of research about the different qualities of color types so you can determine exactly what best to use for your company.

Integrating Differentiators In Your Services

When communicating your company branding strategy into the market, highlight the services that only you can offer. If you can guarantee a service that none of your competition can, then you create a differentiator that draws more people into your business. An example of this would be a time guarantee on your delivery services, if you're in the graphic design business.

Learning how to effectively employ these key business branding strategies will help boost your company's marketing efforts and get you that much closer to the success you want.


WANT TO RE-POST THIS ARTICLE ON YOUR BLOG OR USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE, E-NEWSLETTER OR WEB SITE? You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative business strategist and coach specializing in showing service based solo entrepreneurs how to simplify, save time & stand out with simple strategies that engage more quality leads and clients. Her company Be Promotable provides fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote business owners as power players in their market. For instant access to your free branding templaes, visit us at:

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bigstock-Its-Raining-Money-7156297-300x200.jpg?width=300Aren't you always hearing "I wish I could attract more money into my life?" I think I've said it myself a few times...I've heard it a lot of times. Especially with that mega millions lottery in the U.S. a few short months ago! And we all heard a few stories coming out of that one, didn't we?

I've checked around and couldn't find anyone who answered 'no' to this question. The reason is - like it or not - much of what determines how much enjoyment we get out of our business or even life depends on the amount of money we have. Sure there are people out there who will tell you they don't want to be rich and that money is the root of all evil blah, blah but these are really misguided beliefs about money that have developed over time. (By the way, the scripture actually says "the LOVE of money is the root...", but we won't get into semantics for this article. Check it out.)

But seriously, who wouldn't want to be able to afford the things they want and need? You already have the ability; you just have so much poverty thinking and baggage in the way, you can't make room for prosperity in your life.

Much of what I share about branding and putting automation systems in place has to do with money - either making more of it or saving it. If you are in business, you need money to keep the business going; otherwise, it's a H-O-B-B-Y, or something else.

It's important to put aside any negative limiting beliefs others have dumped on you about money (did you cringe just now because you read that word again? if so, that's a sign of those ill-gotten beliefs kicking in).

If you are one of the few who had parents with a positive money mindset, consider yourself blessed. But if you are in the majority of people who had parents who believed in hard work, education and the idea that anyone who made money easily was simply lucky, lazy or immoral, then keep reading because you need this.

Money is, of itself, not bad and the amount of it you have is in essence a result of a few key beliefs some people engage in very well. (Trust me, it's taken me quite awhile to get this. I wasn't the fastest cookie in the jar on this at first, especially when I was newer to business).

Let me share just a few brief principles here...
Develop A Wealth Mindset

If your head is full of the conviction that rich people are greedy or power-hungry or must have done something illegal in order to gather the riches that they have, then you don’t have a wealth mindset. And if you don’t have a wealth mindset, then no amount of hard work you do will make up for your lack of money. Just like the poor dad in Robert Kiyosaki's 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad, you will ALWAYS be struggling.

Here's something about rich people that you may not know. Rich people are people who have a strong conviction that there is nothing wrong with being rich and that they deserve it. Not only that, people with a true wealth mindset actually believe that money can be a source for good. It supports families and provides them with food, clothing and shelter. It launches successful businesses that in turn support and replenish communities.
Change Your Motivation

Money can help us get whatever we want. However, there are lots and lots of motivations for being wealthy, some of them good, some of them not so much.

There are people who believe the world is full of abundance and money is instrumental in that cycle of abundance. So it is natural that they think being wealthy is a worthwhile goal. They see it as being within their reach. And for these people, it generally is easier to achieve, because their belief system is in complete alignment and harmony with their sub-conscious mind, which always wants to push us towards well-being. Isn't that cool how God did that? ... creating us to be well? do well? It's our own choices and actions that often take us down a different path.

Something I learned studying NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) for a year with a master practitioner was "mind and body are part of the same system and affect each other", so what you have been programmed to believe shows up in the way you act and make choices. can change these beliefs. It's a choice you have to make though. Choose to live the way you are now, or prayerfully choose to change direction.

Unfortunately, having a positive mindset about wealth is not something adopted the majority of people. Most people go through life with a 'poverty mindset' and keep striving and striving to meet their immediate needs for fear that they will somehow not have enough.' So they do things like lowering their prices, sounding weak in their offers, giving away services they worked long & hard to invest in building.

Does this sound like anyone you know?

Well, to sum it up; if you desire wealth because you believe it's your ticket to achieving good things for yourself and for others, then it will be much easier for you to become wealthy. Your desire to free yourself from the slavery of having a day job, or working your business 24/7 so you can really live and spend more time with your family and be involved in your community is certainly a worthwhile goal. And you should remind yourself every day how worthwhile this goal is.

Sometimes a little structure and a plan can help...Saturday, 5/19/12 I'm holding a half-day virtual bootcamp called Reclaim My Money Power. If you are an entrepreneur sick of making weak offers, want step-by-step strategies to transform your mentality and you really want to design a wealth legacy for yourself and your family, come join me. You can find out more here: No pressure - I really put this together for all my friends who have been asking. Consider and if it's right for you, I'll see you there.

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iStock_000015432761XSmall.jpg?width=207There’s a pretty well-known online marketer whose favorite quote is “Hope is not a marketing plan”. In other words, you can’t just pick a marketing strategy and “hope” it will work. Instead, you have to put together a detailed marketing plan where you lay out your bevy of strategies for meeting your business goals. I don't mean a comprehensive list of daily tasks...rather, it's about breaking down each tactic you want to use and the process you’ll put in place for its implementation.

Start With Your Business Model

Not every marketing strategy will work with every business model. You’ll hear lots of promos about “proven” tactics, but that doesn’t mean they are the right ones for you. First, examine your own business model then outline some of the characteristics of that model and your market, including:

  • A detailed description of the key features of your target customers
  • Where customers will come from - is it organic search, paid search, joint ventures, offline sources, affiliates, etc.?
  • What are the buying triggers for your prospects buying triggers? Where or when do they usually make a purchase decision? For example, it could be from a personal referral, a product review, a trusted expert's endorsement, through surfing content sites, through email suggestions, etc.

What Are The Most Popular Marketing Strategies?

Now, look again at your business model and the most popular marketing tactics used by your competitors and what I like to refer to as "role models of excellence". How do they convert from prospective client to paying client? For example,

  • Do they have sales pages that lead to freebies that put prospects into an email series
  • Do they host regular free teleseminars that include a special offer at the end
  • Are they using straight SEO and traffic generation
  • Are they engaged in multiple joint ventures and recruiting affiliates

Which Attraction and Marketing  Strategies Will You Focus On?

If you try to do several marketing campaigns at once, it's hard to do either one of them just right. It's probably better to focus on one to start with. Test it out, see if it’s working, and then look at adding more strategies. There are endless methods to choose from. Try choosing the easiest marketing strategy so you can put it in place and get moving straight away. You should always have at least one easy tactic you can use that doesn’t require a lot of thought and planning. For example, you can create an autoresponder series that starts every time a person signs up for your list. It’s a very passive form of marketing that requires almost no attention once you have it up and running. Then you can start planning out more campaigns.

Try Working Backwards

In order to put your marketing plan down on paper (or computer), start by looking at all the steps involved from the end result back to the first step. What are the activities you need to complete in order to implement and maintain each strategy? Now put those steps into order by priority and use a process you can follow. Which steps are interdependent? Which ones need to be managed first? You can even use a mindmap to lay out a visual of the process, which makes it easy to move things around. Freemind is a great, free tool for creating mindmaps on PCs. SimpleMind is another one that works well on iPads (this is one I use frequently) and it has a desktop version as well. You can export any of the mindmaps to a pdf so that you can print them and post them by your computer.

Make sure you set deadlines for achieving each step in your marketing plan.The success of much of your strategies will be dependent on a specific timeframe, like the length of time between emails or follow-ups. Get it on your calendar and set firm dates for yourself. Your marketing plan will help you determine what actual tasks you'll need to do from day to day. For example, if you know that your emails need to be set up in daily intervals, then you’ll need to put the outlining and writing of those emails down on your to-do list every day. Just don’t make the big mistake many impatient, overambitious marketers make by trying to do everything at once. Focus on a single strategy at a time, set deadlines, and follow it through to success.

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pinterest-webinar1-300x203.gif?width=300Pinterest is the latest social networking craze, but not only that - it has some potential to be a useful tool that drives traffic to your website. For example, you can add pins to your boards that link back to your website.

Need a little help? Here are a few simple steps you can take to increase pins and links to your blog or website.

#1 Pin Using the Bookmarklet Tool
If you’ve installed the Bookmarklet tool onto your browser then simply visit your blog or website and click the button to “Pin This.” It automatically includes the link with the image you’ve pinned so that if anyone clicks on the image or pin in Pinterest they’ll be taken to your website.

#2 Add a “Pin This” Button to Your Website or Blog
There are a few ways you can add a “Pin This” button to your site. You can use the code provided in the “About” menu under “Help.” Choose “Goodies” ( and you’ll see a few options to add buttons to your site. If you have a WordPress blog there are also a few handy plug-ins that do the trick. Once the button is on your site, then you simply visit the page you want to pin and “Pin it” to your board.

#3 Use the Add+ Feature
You can also use the Add+ button located at the top right of your Pinterest page. Click it and you’ll get a drop down menu with a few choices. Enter your URL, click “Find Images” and choose from the selection of images shown. You’ll notice one image is displayed with the words “Prev” and “Next” underneath. Click “Next” to scroll through your images until you find the one that you want to pin.

#4 Write a Clear Pin Description
If you prefer, simply type the link you want people to visit in the description area of your Pin. The thing to remember here is that when people repin your image, they can and probably will change the text in the description area to match their own purposes. The link and description will remain intact only on your boards. Depending on your goals this may be okay.

#5 Make Your Site Pinterest Friendly
As my recent post about the 80/20 rule of content sharingsaid, you shouldn't be adding Pins from your own site too often. Remember, the point is that others will be motivated to pin images from your site onto their boards. That's a much more organic, less pushyway to get links to your site.

The more Pinterest-friendly your site, the better. That means making it visually interesting and adding “Pin This” buttons to your site.

You can build your Pinterest followers by becoming active on the site. Comment, “like” other pins, create boards and repin – USE the site. And remember to spend time integrating your activities on Facebook and/or Twitter to grow a larger following.

Want to know more about using Pinterest for your business? Check out my latest webinar: 4 Myths About Pinterest for Business, Tuesday, 6/12/12. Replay will be available for a limited time!

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pinterest-300x168.png?width=300If you've been hearing a lot about Pinterest, it's because it has caught on like a really catchy almost seems as though it just came out of nowhere and now it's breaking record speed for popularity, length of time on site (average? 90 mins+!), and more.

If you are a business owner, chances are you have not yet figured out how Pinterest could be used in your marketing strategy. Sure, you have established goals for each of your individual marketing tactics, like your content marketing. You have even created a step by step plan to achieve those goals, possibly with the incorporation of social media (why not, everyone else is). But I bet you didn't think that posting pictures could be much of a marketing boost, right?

Pinterest is boasting faster growth numbers than some of the more popular social networks when they first started out - i.e. Twitter, Facebook, etc. At my last reading, they had nearly 12 million monthly unique visitors and it hasn't even in existence very long. Creating a Pinterest profile could very well help you be exposed to new leads, drive traffic and boost your business growth.

Pinterest is actually catching on so fast, I suspect, because it's heralding the next social media phase - visual imagery. Remember when it was all about written content? Then we heard video? Pictures and visual imagery are hot right now because they speak to people emotionally. Visual aspects of how you market are becoming more and more important. And it would be very smart to develop an image sharing strategy to tell your story, to convey your branding, to make faster connections.

Here are a few ideas to help you get started using Pinterest in your marketing approach:

#1 Blog PlugIns

Blog plugins are one of the easiest ways to integrate Pinterest into your existing marketing tactics and strategy. There are several Pinterest plugins and more are being added as the site continues to grow and develop. In addition to “Pin This” and “Follow” buttons on your blog you can add plugins that allows you to share your most recent pins. This could be a way to motivate visitors to pin your images and also follow you on Pinterest.

#2 Content Marketing

Consider taking a look at your existing content marketing plan. Evaluate how you can add more visual interest to your blog or website. For example, can you add more images to your blog posts? Can you convert some of your content into short videos? You can pin videos on Pinterest. Do any topics lend themselves to infographics that you can share on Pinterest?

#3 Social Networking

Pinterest is intimately connected with Facebook and Twitter. In fact, if you don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account you can’t get a Pinterest account. And you can post any pin onto your Facebook or Twitter profile. You can also add buttons to your Pinterest profile so Pinterest followers can find you on Facebook or Twitter. Take a look at your existing Facebook and/or Twitter marketing tactics. How can you enhance them with Pinterest?

Remember to test and track your efforts. Add Pinterest to your analytics. Pay attention to who is pinning your content and repinning your pins. Track your Pinterest traffic and integrate your efforts with other traffic generation strategies you're using.

By the way, you have to be invited in order to set up an account. If you need an invite, simply visit me on Facebook and let me know you need an invitation. You'll be able to view my Pinterest tab there also (remember? integration :) ).


WANT TO RE-POST THIS ARTICLE ON YOUR BLOG OR USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE, E-NEWSLETTER OR WEB SITE? You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative business strategist and coach specializing in showing independent service providers how to simplify, save time & stand out with simple strategies that engage more quality leads and clients.  Her company Be Promotable provides fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote business owners as power players in their market.  For instant access to your free 7 secrets to online time management report, visit us at:


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How To Create the Perfect Spicy Sales Cycle

dreamstimefree_2204450-150x150.jpg?width=150I am such an impatient person. I can admit it right out of the gate, but one thing I've learned after a number of business "beat-downs" is that planning is priceless.

One of the steps often forgotten in the excitement of creating a new business that you're going to market is the planning phase. But this is particularly important when you're creating your sales and marketing strategy.

You have got to spend some time mapping out how your content, products and services, and marketing are all going to work together to build a profitable online business.

To help you out, I'm going to share a few key steps - all of which I'll be talking about in my brand new coaching program that launches in a few weeks - Spicy Hot Systems That Sell (SPICY = simple, profitable, impactful, convenient, and getting your buyers to YES!):

Step One: Develop high quality offerings. Starting off on the right foot with your customer service approach is very important for the livelihood of your online business. Quality products, from the very first freebie to your largest ticket item, will help you gradually build a positive reputation for yourself. Any future dealings you have where you can do repeat business with your customer should leave them feeling as if they were treated as well if not better than the first time around.

Step Two: Create your product line. A sales funnel is a series of incrementally more valuable, and perhaps more expensive, products or services to offer your customers. However, people are going to enter your funnel at various stages. Some may begin by taking advantage of your free offer while some may jump right in and buy a product or service. Create a plan for each type of customer. Set the stage for the next level of products you have available. Figure out which ones might be of interest to your clients, or which ones could be useful. Help them to see just how they can be helpful and how to implement them effectively into their present business or organization.

Step Three: Maintain the Communication. In addition to creating a line of high quality products and services, you’ll also want to establish consistent communication with your prospects and customers. Accomplish this by continuing the flow of valuable information in the form of blog posts, email messages and perhaps a newsletter.

Maintaining the flow of valuable information makes it easier for your customers to confidently pass your information on to others. You could soon find yourself starting the process all over again with new referrals, or other people you have found on your own who have become customers.

Planning is the key to online business success. Create your sales funnel plan, marketing plan and content plan and work to integrate the three into a seamless and efficient system. Consistency is the key, and by using the same plan over and over again with each new person, your online business will grow. And everyone will be receiving the same great quality products and services you have to offer.

Now that's SPICY!
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This is part 2 of a 4 part series where I'm sharing the essential systems entrepreneurs must have in place to support a solid brand.

System #1: Customer engagement

iStock_000007773142Medium-150x150.jpg?width=150Brand support system number one is about the way in which you engage your customers. This is the process by which you create a path of attraction to your business. It's the way that you make it easy for prospects to meet you, to love what you do, to test drive your services. This might look like your current opt-in strategy. Or it may even be the type of events you host that attract people to your business.

Creating an easy path for prospects to engage is critical to building your pool of interested buyers. As a system, this path should be outlined in such a way that you can powerfully reflect your brand with ease. The goal is to create a connection between you as a solution provider and the potential client, or prospect.

What is evident when you view an entrepreneur’s website is whether or not there is an easy way to determine your next step. Successful entrepreneurs are clear in the single action they would like for a viewer to take when visiting their website the first time. But unfortunately too many business owners fail to streamline the instruction for their prospect. There is no opt-in form. There is nothing “sticky" about the page that keeps a person there, so viewers leave after only visiting a few seconds.

One example of a way to engage customers that capitalizes on the way they first interacted with you is to create a social media landing page. This blog post by visibility guru Nancy Marmalejo tells you how to do this:

There are other ways to engage your customer or prospect. One of the most widely used ways is to develop a strong opt in form. A blog post by marketing diva Ali Brown shares great insight into how to make this work for you:

The key to customer engagement is to entice prospective buyers within the first few seconds so they can receive your valuable information.


You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative business strategist specializing in showing coaches, consultants and freelancers how to spend more time making money with simple, yet profitable marketing systems. Her company Be Promotable provides clients with fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote their small businesses as power players in their market. Claim your instant access to a free 10 part ecourse, 10 Ways To Grow Your List at:
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I've been studying copy quite a bit lately because I want to improve my own business brand and make sure my stuff gets more eyes on it! What about you? Doesn't that matter to your business? Writing good copy is actually ESSENTIAL to your success, so even if you choose to outsource your writing, you should be familiar with at least the basics.Study and save this simple list of words you can use to attract more views.
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System #2: Customer Relationship Management

The customer relationship management system refers to the way you take care of your current customers. It may be the way that you process their intake into doing new business with you. It's about how you provide here and service once your clients have already paid or invested in your services. Ultimately the goal is for prospects to become clients and eventually to become raving fans for your business. This happens when you treat current clients or fans very well.

How do you deliver on the promises that you make in your brand. Does it require a lot of manual labor? Can you automate delivery of your services? Can you set up systems with the click of a button that will accept payment and deliver on the promise? If you're conducting a coaching group is there self-service function word new clients can go and access their profiles, pay an invoice, create a support case? This is all part of delivering on your brand promises.
When you have easy tools and systems in place it's much easier for your clients to rave about your services and to refer others to them as well. A great service experience can immediately expand your level of influence and authority.

I am a huge fan of Customer Relationship Management systems (CRM). CRMs were like a dream come true because I was tired of manually tracking loose pieces of paper, sticky notes, e-mails that flooded my inbox from people I worked with. A solid CRM can manage projects, automate your billing, and make it easy for you to find essential correspondence between you and the customer. Examples of great CRMs to research for your business include BaseCamp, Salesforce, Capsule CRM, and WorkEtc.

Another part of the relationship management, however, involves your approach to follow-up. Send Out Cards is a simple but highly distinctive way to show your clients you care. I purchased an account with the company years ago but did not realize the power of the program until I used it to mail personalized postcards to members of a course I was teaching online. It really made an impact with my clients to receive a special thank you from the right at their doorstep.

Trust me, in this age of Internet marketing a postcard or greeting card will help you stand out from the crowd. It will also help to solidify the emotional connection with your customer, which has the potential to generate more sales. Besides, sales are really about creating a personal experience for the buyer.


You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative business strategist specializing in showing coaches, consultants and freelancers how to spend more time making money with simple, yet profitable marketing systems. Her company Be Promotable provides clients with fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote their small businesses as power players in their market. Claim your instant access to a free 10 part ecourse, 10 Ways To Grow Your List at:
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dreamstimefree_1333671-300x199.jpg?width=300Every solo business owner has a set of processes or systems that either promote their business very well or contribute to the business’ demise. There are really 3 essential systems that any successful business owner needs in place in order to automate the things they repetitively do over and over again, while adequately supporting the brand. These systems form the structure of success because they are the ways in which you continuously reinvigorate your business for expansion and growth.

What is a system?

For purposes of this article, we’re going to define a system as follows: a set of integrated, interdependent processes that can be replicated over and over again to produce similar results.

This article is designed to explain the 3 critical brand support systems for real breakthrough in your business. These essential systems are key to ensuring your success and creating a structure on which your brand can thrive.

It all starts with the BRAND

Before we cover these systems, let’s talk about brand first. As a solopreneur in the “entrepreneurial renaissance” age – a coin termed by business coach, Marcia Bench, you will have to compete against many people who claim expertise in the same field as you. Regardless of their level of experience or visibility, the sheer numbers require that you carve out a way to stand apart from the crowd. Your brand must be distinctive, powerful and recognizable.

The brand is the foundation of any effective marketing strategy. It is how people perceive you. The brand is YOU in a single owner business. If your brand is weak, the systems I will describe below will not operate to support your business. An analogy would be like building a new house, installing a beautiful kitchen, hardwood floors, and hiring a dynamic salesman to greet buyers at the door when the house has no walls yet.

The support systems we will talk about in this article will allow you to deliver great service, they will engage your customer base, and they will automate your delivery but only when you have taken the necessary steps to first put in place your brand strategy.

This means getting clear about what you do, the market you serve, and how you provide the service. Brand support is most connected to the latter – the “how”.

We will spend time outlining the 3 systems over the next group of articles in this series.


You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative business strategist specializing in showing coaches, consultants and freelancers how to spend more time making money with simple, yet profitable marketing systems. Her company Be Promotable provides clients with fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote their small businesses as power players in their market. Claim your instant access to a free 10 part ecourse, 10 Ways To Grow Your List at:
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graphorange-300x221.jpg?width=300Sticky notes are not the best way to keep track of a prospect you need to call. There is a better way - thankfully. It's called a CRM.

A CRM is a sales and marketing term for "customer relationship management". It's a system to keep track of important information about your clients, customers, sales prospects and a way to centralize your business communications and resources.

I love technology. You may already know that from some of the resources I share. But I really didn't discover the power of a CRM until I started realizing that I had too much paperwork floating around with my client's notes, names of people I needed to follow up with, and even keeping track of any missing payments to my client accounts.

So here are some benefits of using a CRM:

  • Organizes your business records
  • Creates a safeguard of all your key contacts
  • Automates your appointments
  • Helps you develop a "pipeline", which is the path you work each client or prospect through to work with you
  • Gives you an easier way to pay attention to your customers
  • Makes it easy for people to pay you
These are just a few of the things that I've learned a CRM can do for my business. And when you're a solopreneur, it helps to make your workflow as simple as possible.

Need a few ideas on CRMs to try?

I'm developing a video kit to help you use the simple, slick system I use, but for now here are some recommendations you can look into:,,,

Try one and let me know what you think in the comments below!

WANT TO RE-POST THIS ARTICLE ON YOUR BLOG OR USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE, E-NEWSLETTER OR WEB SITE? You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

About the Author: Tanya Smith is a creative business strategist specializing in showing coaches, consultants and freelancers how to spend more time making money with simple, yet profitable marketing systems. Her company Be Promotable provides clients with fresh actionable strategies and virtual resources to promote their businesses as power players in their market. Claim your instant access to a free 10 part ecourse, 10 Ways To Grow Your List at:
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iStock_000007606415XSmall-150x150.jpg?width=150I had a dream last night. In the dream I invested in some type of postal supplies shop - you know, like the ones you see on every corner now? This guy from an office next door kept coming in to say he was there to help me. Seemed like a nice enough man. At first, he offered to lay a customized floor tile that looked like a stamp for me in front of the counter. He described how it would have my initials, my favorite colors, and it would really light up the place. I was convinced and I said, "sure, that would be nice". Then after he put it in and I realized it wasn't just one tile, it was half the floor. Cha-ching.

Next, he came in and offered to change the locks on my door. I said, "yes, that's probably a good idea". And of course, he upgraded the entire door. Cha-ching...again. After a series of these offers, I realized I'd drawn up quite a bill. That's when I finally sat down to look at the total costs of my initial investment, the add-ons, and the history of success the shop had before me. Guess what? The previous owner sold it because she hadn't made a profit.

It was a pretty dismal outlook. I had the same dream at least once more the same night. It was like I had to go through it all over again, even knowing what the end would be. Then I woke up.

I realized that this was a pretty accurate picture of some decisions I've made before as a business owner. Not researching the so-called investment first, saying yes to everything that looks short-term shiny, looking at the total profit/loss picture only after I've spent all the money...

Notice I didn't say anything about "adding value" or "profit generating" decisions? What investments are you making in yourself and in your business that will add long-term value and generate profit? Got the wake up call yet?


WANT TO RE-POST THIS ARTICLE ON YOUR BLOG OR USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE, E-NEWSLETTER OR WEB SITE? You may, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:

About the Author: Tanya Smith of Be Promotable is a premier personal branding & marketing coach. Her creative genius has unlocked the potential of many women solopreneurs, helping them to reinvent themselves as power players in their startup business. Claim your free instant access to a free video download, 5 Secrets to Developing Your Unique Brand Proposition at:

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4 Parts to a Fabulous Personal Brand Statement

iStock_000008473282XSmall-150x150.jpg?width=150I often hear the question, "how do I develop a personal brand statement?" and my answer stays the same most of the time. A strong personal brand statement can be one of the best tools you can have and certainly one of the most critical ones for your branding and marketing toolkit, whether you are a business owner, or a professional working for someone else.

There are certain components that are variable and others that are pretty foundational in developing your personal brand statement (P.B.S.). Some of the factors that may be variable are:
  • When and how you will use it - e.g. interview for a job? networking situation? speech?
  • Who you're talking to - e.g. language needs to meet the needs of the audience; the message is the same, but the approach should be adaptable
Even though these may change, there are basically four parts I like to use in developing the main statement, so I'll share these next. A great basic statement tells people:
  1. Who you are - let the recipient of the statement know your identity, your name
  2. What you do - the core service or opportunity you provide
  3. Who you do it for - your target audience and/or ideal client you work with
  4. How you do it - your style, your unique approach, what distinguishes you

Let me give you an example of how this might work -

"Hi, I'm Tanya Smith of Be Promotable, the No Guesswork Branding & Marketing Resource for women solopreneurs. We show our clients practical, step-by-step online marketing strategies to confidently promote their business and get them noticed."

Now you try it. Add your own P.B.S. with the 4 parts in the comments and I'll share feedback...come on, you can do it!

About the Author: Tanya Smith of Be Promotable is a premier personal branding & marketing coach. Her creative genius has unlocked the potential of many women solopreneurs, helping them to reinvent themselves as power players in their startup business. Claim your free instant access to a free video and audio download, 5 Secrets to Successfully Starting a Solo Business While Working Full Time at:

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Simple Steps to Creating Your Marketing Map

iStock_000001184887XSmall-150x150.jpg?width=150Solo professionals are like big businesses when it comes to the need for a solid marketing strategy. The distinctive thing about solopreneurs, however, is that you get to be the head decision maker for every part of the business. That means it is all the more important to take your strategies from complex to simple whenever possible.

Now is a great time to develop your branding and marketing plan. While you definitely need to consider mapping out a strategy that is more comprehensive to cover you for at least the next twelve months, here are four simple questions you can answer in order to set a basic foundation for promoting your distinctive brand and services you provide:

How will I generate leads?

This is one of the most critical steps to developing a solid branding and marketing strategy. Assuming you have already identified who your ideal clients are, you must now figure out where to find them. Immerse yourself in studying your target market - find out what they read, where they frequent, and what they buy - and put yourself in front of them.

How will prospects get to do a "taste test" with me?

Before a potential client will buy BIG from you, they will want to know what your services are like. Depending on the business you're in, you will need to decide what is most effective and most practical to give away. For example, you might offer a free strategy session, or a free audio, or even an e-book. What can you offer that will be of interest and take little effort or investment on your part?

How will I direct them from one point to the next?

Now that your prospect has had a taste of what you do and they want more, make it simple for them to know what is next. This involves some thinking on your part of what your marketing funnel looks like. Whenever you engage a client in your product or service, be prepared to promote the next thing and make it easy. At the end of your teleseminar, share the next program or info product. This is the time where you can extend even greater value to your new customer - at the point that you have already made good on your initial promise!

How will I follow up?

The client engagement process usually follows a certain path - suspect --> prospect --> client --> advocate/evangelist. In order to move people through these stages, you need some idea of how to continuously follow up and stay in touch. Whether this looks like a series of autoresponder emails, a regular ezine, postcards, etc. consider how you will stay in front of your leads. The key is to add value to their inbox, not being pesky.


I now invite you to claim instant access to a free video and audio download, 5 Secrets to Successfully
Starting a Solo Business While Working Full Time
at: to learn even more about great solo professional business branding tips. - Tanya Smith, The Solo Business Brand Coach at Be Promotable.

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Goal Setting Is Not Dead...Just Boring

iStock_000015158998XSmall.jpg?width=167This post was originally published on Tanya Smith's blog. Click here to see the original post.

Goal setting always gets to be pretty popular this time of year. You hear a lot of techniques about how to do it and one of the most common ways is the SMART technique. I'm not writing about that here, because it's so overused now, I don't think you'll care.

No matter what you use, the new year always kicks us off with a great start, right? But then somehow you lose interest. There is this cycle that we seem to get into and it goes a little something like this:

  • Day 1: Whoo hoo, yeah, I'm on it this time. I'm going to [your goal here] -->
  • Day 3: This is great. I can't believe how this is changing [enter positive results] for me! I will definitely keep this up. -- >
  • Day 5: You know what, I'm just going to take a little bitty break...I'll come back to it, I promise! -- >
  • Day 10: What was that thing I was trying to do again?
  • Day 20: Start over again or drop it completely..
Part of the reason this happens is that we haven't really developed for ourselves a tangible, exciting "why" and "what". What I mean by this is the vision of what we want to get to and why we're doing it was never really that clear and constant.

You see, when you are setting a goal, it's important to identify the most clear picture possible of what you want. And doing this early in the process is one of the best ways to I learned this training in NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) when I studied with a celebrated master pracititioner, Susan Stageman, for over a year.

Yes, it took me that long to really get it and start applying the techniques . I can be kind of hard-headed, as my mom used to say. There were so many good ones, but the one that has stuck with me forever is called creating a "well-formed outcome" (WFO).

This is a very powerful way to set long-term and short-term goals so that they STICK...and really, that's what we set them for in the first place.

So I'm going to share with you my criteria for remembering the WFO in 5 simple steps. Maybe this will keep your goal setting from being so boring. ;). I call it the PLEAS approach (as in, can I have another goal, "pleas"):


State the goal in positive terms. Describe the present situation and compare it with the desired future goal. Make sure you can see yourself having obtained the goal.


Line up the goal with your values and beliefs. For me this means lining up what I've asked for, or stated, to be sure it is in the will of what God has for my life. I pray and ask for spiritual guidance around the goal. You may line it up however you see fit. It's important that your goals are a good fit with what's important to you.


Describe the goal using "sensory" terms. What will let you know that you have attained that desired state? This is a critical piece - think in terms of what you will hear, see, and feel when you have success.


Consider if the goal is right for you in all areas of your life. Is there something that may hold you back? Is this goal right for you right now, in this place where you are?

Self-initiated & Maintained

Self-initiated and maintained. Your goal must be something that you can initiate and maintain. It must not be something dependent on other people. Make sure that your goal reflects things that you can directly affect.

If your goal, or outcome is set each time with these criteria in mind, you will have crystal-clear vision that you can hang on to and it will get you past those tough times when you're ready to let go. OR it will bring you back to what you wanted in the first place...SUCCESS!

Share one of your clear outcomes in the comments below.


About the Author: Tanya Smith of Be Promotable is the "no guesswork" personal branding & marketing coach. Her creative genius has unlocked the potential of many women solopreneurs, helping them to reinvent themselves as power players in their startup business. Claim your free instant access to a free multimedia downloads including 10 Branding Mistakes Made by Solopreneurs and 5 Secrets to Successfully Starting a Solo Business While Working Full Time at:

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