Browsing Category: "Branding"

What’s in a headshot?

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009 | Branding with No Comments »

I recently had new headshots taken and it got me thinking…I see a lot of websites for coaches and life changers that have no picture or a really bad one.  Do you have a headshot or picture of yourself on your website and networks?  If not, add one!  Your potential clients want to know what you look like.  As a coach or life changer, of any kind, your services require that people put their trust in your ability to help them get where they want to go.  A current physical representation of you is one of the fastest ways to build that trust.

I’m a big fan of the headshot, but I’m not a big fan of a picture.  Yes, there is a difference.  A headshot is a picture that reveals who you are.  A picture is just a physical representation of what you look like.  A headshot is an attraction tool and gives people a peek at who they will be talking to on the phone when they choose to move forward.  This is especially important when what you are selling is a one-on-one service!  When potential clients look at your headshot, they are looking for something they can relate to.  This is their first impression of you, outside of the text you’ve written for them.

As a former Actress, I’ve been through several sets of headshots.  Most business owners just go to a regular portrait photographer or they ask a friend to take their picture.  This is NOT the way to do a headshot!  I’m going to share what I’ve learned over the years that will help to bring out who you are and get you a shot that sells.

1) Hire a professional headshot photographer - Don’t have your friend take the picture or hire a portrait photographer (unless they specifically do headshots too).  Not all headshot photographers are the same and they don’t exist everywhere.  Sometimes a photojournalist can do a great headshot.  Also, there are some portrait photographers who are all about capturing the personality.  These are the people you want to talk to.

Now, in NYC and Los Angeles headshot photographers are a dime a dozen.  Each has his/her own style.  Go to a photographic printing house and get a headshot photographer book or look at them online.  You see all the different styles.  Look for the headshots that you feel bring out who the people are most…not necessarily the most artsy (unless you ARE artsy), but the one that has more human in them.  Reproductions is a big and very reputable company, I recommend, on both coasts:

NYC - http://www.reproductions.com/NYC/directory/index.html
Los Angeles - http://www.reproductions.com/LA/directory/index.html
In smaller areas, you can look in the newspapers or go to the studio and look at some of their pictures.  If they just have pictures of people, then you want to go elsewhere.  If they have pictures filled with personality then it’s worth talking to them.

2)  Interview your photographer - You have the right to a phone call or in person visit with the photographer before you commit to the shoot.  Ask them if they have experience with headshots. Ask how many rolls or shots they will take.  You want 2-3 rolls or 60-100 digital images.  Ask if they do color shots, which you want.  Ask if they have a variety of backgrounds they can use.  Ask if they do outdoor shots.  Ask if they allow for a change of clothes.

3) Clothes - It’s best if you have several outfits for the shoot.  Every outfit will bring a different personality trait out in you.  If you are a very professional, male, corporate coach, then you may want to bring a few different colored suits.  If you are a creative coach that works from home, you may want to wear your most comfortable creative clothes.

DO wear solid colors.

DO NOT wear white or black.

For women, especially, bring a few different outfits that bring different emotions.  Bring one that makes you feel compassionate, another that makes you feel very confident and happy, then another that makes you feel absolutely in love with your life.  How you feel will translate to the picture.  If you are a wellness coach, then bring outfits that make you feel healthy, well, and whole.  It’s important that you represent the type of person you are on the calls with your clients so think about what clothes will elicit that.

4)  Music - This is a trick I learned early on as an Actress, but didn’t actually use until a later round of headshots.  Music will help you find the personality you want to convey.  I’m in love with the song “Defy Gravity” from Wicked because of the strength and courage of the words.  Using this song got some awesome smiley headshots from me.  I took a whole bunch of songs to a shoot and got some great pictures because of it.  So, I highly recommend finding some music that goes with the type of coach you are.  Make sure to ask your photographer if there will be a way to play music during the shoot if you choose to do this.

5)  Be conversational - If your headshot photographer is good, they will get you in conversation about your work.  You can ask them to talk to you about it too.  If you are thinking about your work, your mission, and what it means to you, it will come through in the shot.  If your photographer asks questions, engage!  It will create amazing shots for you.

6)  Take Charge - Be the person you are on the phone with your clients!  This is the key.  Take a few minutes, before you start the shoot, to think about who you are as a life changer.  Think about how you are with your clients.  Get in that frame of mind and ask for a few minutes to refocus through the shoot if you need it.  It’s easy to get distracted by all that’s going on in a shoot.  You want the best shots you can get, so take charge and create what you need in order to BE the life changer you are.

What have you learned from your photo shoots?  Do you have questions?  Leave a comment!

Even the font matters in marketing.

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009 | Branding with 2 Comments

I was reading through my Twitter stream the other day and found a very interesting article linked by Mary Motz (@provirtual). I keep saying that it’s the littlest things in marketing that make big differences.  Everything from your branding colors carried through, to your font choice being consistent.  Well, Mary was nice enough to point out an article on Time Magazine’s website that demonstrates this perfectly!  The article is:

The Font War: Ikea Fans Fume over Verdana

If you read the story, you’ll find that Ikea’s loving fans were in an outrage about their brand font change.  Now you may be thinking, yeah, right!  Like anyone cares about your font!  Um, read the article.  Read Twitter.  You will see that people do care!

Your potential clients see your brand over and over again before they buy.  They don’t register that.  Most of the time they aren’t even consciously aware that they’ve seen your brand.  However, the moment you change it up and do something different, they WILL notice.

As I keep saying…consistency builds trust.  If you decide you are going to change your font, your biz colors, your entire brand, your website domain, etc… let your public know about it first so they aren’t caught off guard.  Social networking helps tremendously here.  Use it!  Make sure you give those in your network a heads up.  Let your list know.  Let your partners know.  Let everyone know beforehand, so you lose nothing in the transition.

Just my 2 cents.  What do you think?

Are you missing out on links?

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 | Branding, Links with No Comments »

It’s so simple, but it’s forgotten way too often and it can cost you more than just google rankings.  It can cost you potential clients.

No matter what you are putting on the internet, make sure you always link back to your website.  We see it all too often with new clients that come to us.  They aren’t taking advantage of the little places that could be bringing good money.

Some of you may have more than one brand that you are working with, so having one link is not an option.  If that’s the case, then create a web hub for yourself.  It can exist on a current URL or buy a URL that has your name in it.  Put a little about yourself as a person and then list all the different brands you have created with a graphic and easy to scan description.  This way people can quickly/easily scan and find the place they want to go.  Use this hub page as your link wherever you can.  For an example of one of these pages, you can see my very simple page at http://www.kristenbeireis.com.  Here I have links to all my pages, brands and activities.

Below is a list of 10 places that are easy to add your website URL to and will provide you with more exposure, traffic, and better rankings.

1)  Link from you blog to your site and vice versa.

2)  Facebook profile - there’s a place in your profile information AND that little bio box under your picture is a good place to link back to your website.

3)  Facebook Fan Page - If not in the bio box under your picture, at least have a link on your boxes tab and in the profile information.

4)  Twitter - There’s a place for a link in your settings.   You can also create a background graphic that has the link.  It’s not clickable, but if you have an easy URL, they can just type it in from there.

5)  LinkedIn - Make sure you include your link in your bio.  You can have several links here, so keep that in mind.

6)  Sales Pages - Yes, I know, sales pages are supposed to be plain (that’s a whole other discussion).  If you don’t have a link back to your main website, then how are people supposed to get to know who you are? When I see something I want to buy (especially coaching related), I want to know who’s behind it and what else do they offer.  So, at least include a little tiny link at the bottom of the sales page that leads back to your main website.

7)  Autoresponder e-mails - It’s easy to forget that e-mails in your autoresponder system do not always link back to your website.  So, it needs to be in your signature.  Some systems allow a global setting where that signature is added to the bottom of every e-mail.  Others will require that you add it into the e-mail message itself.  Either way, don’t miss this easy way to link back to your website.

8)  Any online profile - If you are a member of a social network, or have a listing on a website, make sure you have a link back to your site somewhere on your listing or profile.  Sometimes these sites will ask for a URL but they don’t always add it in a way that’s obvious for people to find. So, make sure you display it prominently in one way or another.

9)  Article submissions - Most aritcle submission sites will allow a bio or author box.  Make sure you include a link to a sales page or website in each article that you submit.

10)  Newsgroups or message boards - It’s easy to forget to include a link to your site in these e-mails.  It’s important to remind people that you have a website.  It also helps if someone passes on the great information you share.  The link right in the message makes it easy for the new person that just discovered you.

So, were there any new ones that you hadn’t thought about?  Do you have others to add?  Feel free to leave a comment and let us know.

Got Buzz?

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 | Branding with No Comments »

Since I’ve been talking about little ways to get your brand out to the world, I thought I’d invite a brand expert to share some thoughts with you.  Judy Winslow has graciously stepped up and offered some words of wisdom on brand building and clarity.  Here ya go!

As you know the word BRAND is a big buzz word these days. Many are running around thinking they’ve got a brand or they want a brand but first, consider the ‘why’. Why is a brand useful for you, why would creating a brand presence benefit your revenue and why go to the trouble to build a brand when your time could be spent doing other things? There are many other ‘why’ questions, but those will get you started. Thomas Leonard said: Clarity affords focus, and so it is with brand building. Becoming clear is essential.

There’s a process to creating a brand, and there are concrete benefits as well. It’s similar to building a house. You can meet with a builder and say ‘Build me something pretty with 4 bedrooms’, and when he asks for the plans, you could say, ‘oh, just make it nice, I trust you’. Can’t imagine that, right? Further there are standards for the structural integrity of a building that are ensured through inspections. So it is with a brand. A brand provides a clear foundation for growth, a platform on which your business can stand. With that clarity and integrity you will be afforded the focus to grow your business with intention, so that upon inspection it will give you increased energy, rather than deplete you. You’ll be on path, rather than fragmented with your efforts.

Some wonder about the ROI on such an activity.  They wonder why they should spend any time or energy in this arena. Well, I would state that marketing and brand positioning is only important if you are interested in a successful business. This is not for the hobby-ist, or someone who has created a j.o.b. for themselves. This is for those who wish to grow and prosper. Consider some of the most successful products (or even not so successful products) and notice the difference marketing and brand positioning made. Would a Pet Rock have made it without a clear plan in place? Do you believe Gene Simmons or Donald Trump or Mrs. Fields (or Thomas Leonard for that matter) would have become household names without a clear plan and someone to assist in implementing for them so they could focus on their core business? Think of the biggest names in your field and think about the ROI they’ve had from such an investment. In today’s world, where it takes 7-9 contacts with each prospect to make a sale, any team member that could assist you with accomplishing those tasks would be a worthy investment.

Begin today. Begin to get clear about what you’d like to achieve, then get the support required to live this dream. Each of us has the power to create a brand presence, yet none of us can do alone what we can as part of a team. Imagine, get clarity and then focus on having it blossom into the beautiful flower only you can grow. You’ll be creating a brand worth buzzing about!

Judy Winslow is an avid entrepreneur who has spent her entire career partnering with business owners to build authentic brand platforms to showcase their services and products. Her classes, consulting and coaching are available to anyone ready to break free of the expected in order to live their dreams. Find out more at http://www.BrightPointeInfo.com.

Live your dreams. Design your life. Choose to be your best. - Judy Winslow

Judy Winslow, Brand Expert

Judy Winslow, Brand Expert

One brand breeds clarity for potential clients

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 | Branding with No Comments »

As a coach you help people find who they are, hold them accountable for being that person, and challenge them to continue growing into themselves.  I believe this is true, no matter what kind of coach you are.  Most likely, your clients are not be aware that they’ll get all that.  However, they do get a “sense” that they want clarity in one way or another.

Now, imagine you were looking for clarity.  You see an interesting title of someone in a networking room that you’d like to approach about helping you.  When you first speak to this person, they tell you their name is Heather.  You start talking about the clarity you seek and Heather then says, oh in that case call me Jennifer.  Then you talk a little more and she changes her name to Kerrie.  How would you feel at this point?  Would you be ready to hire Heather, Jennifer, Kerrie?  Sounds like she doesn’t have clarity about who SHE is so how can she help YOU have clarity?

This is exactly what I see on the internet all over the place.  A coach has one website with their coaching services.  Then each product has it’s own brand, is on it’s own website and has NO relation back to the original site where the coach offers their most valuable services.  When you have multiple brands, you create one of two illusions for potential clients;

1)  This coach ONLY has this product and I want something more.  Guess I need to go to a different coach for that.

2)  This coach has a lot of different brands, which one is the REAL coach?

Neither is an impression that’s going to lead to increased sales or more clients!  Now, I’m not saying you have to ditch all your additional domains and take down all your additional products/services.  In fact, it’s GREAT to have those domains and utilize them for SEO purposes.  Of course, I suspect you already know that value of having those additional sites, or you would never have put them into place.

What I’m talking about here is consistent branding. I’m talking about creating an identity for your business that is consistent regardless of what product or service you sell.  At a BARE MINIMUM, at least put a link from the sales page back to your main website.  Ideally, brand your sales pages to match your main website.  Use a similar template.  You don’t need to include all the links back to other pages on your site, but use a header that looks the same.  Use the same background color, the same fonts, the same colors.  Make sure it’s OBVIOUS that this product is created by the same person who owns your main site.  Make the link back to your main site obvious, so they can research who you are.  They’ll be more willing to buy if they can research you.

I have to say, I’m getting really tired of blank white boxes that have text and product pictures for a sales page.  They all look the same!  If your sales page looks identical to every one elses, you will NOT stand out.  You are a coach and your uniqueness needs to shine through in anything you put on the internet. Your potential clients will appreciate the consistency and the clarity you have about yourself.  They will admire it and want that for themselves…which is way more powerful than any text you can put on the page.

What are your thoughts?  Is one brand enough for you?