Author: Allisa Jacobs

Finding Your Marketing Voice

Finding Your Marketing Voice, sign by Oh Dier

image credit Oh Dier 


I admit it. When I first thought of marketing my brand five years ago, I imagined phony phrases, fast ads, and shouts about awesomeness. Flashbacks of my short- lived career as a telemarketer paying my way through college came to mind.  But I learned effective marketing is not about gimmicks or even advertisements; it’s about crafting a story and connecting with your audience. Which in some ways is a bit more daunting than just the prospect of buying a bit of ad space or posting products on Twitter.

So just how do we go about doing this? How do we find our voice to communicate with customers?  It’s pretty simple: we just have to let go of our previous notions about marketing, ignore what other folks are doing, and focus on the heart of our brand. What we’re all about.  And then, share it.

More specifically, establish your niche – the core group of customers who find value in what you do.  Next, identify the core concepts that are important to them. Then, take these concepts and focus them down to a few words. You might think of this as ‘speaking the language’ of your target customer.  From there, you can use these words in your conversations, facebook posts, tweets, blog articles, and of course throughout your site.

To me, this makes marketing feel natural and sincere. I’m speaking to people who want to hear about what I’ve got going on and I’m telling them things they’re interested in. No more tweets trying to appeal to the masses or bland product descriptions.

Let me use my own brand as an example. I create handbags and have narrowed down my niche in the last year to focus on weddings and special order clutches. My customer base adores custom options, personalized touches, and colorful textiles. So when I talk about my brand I communicate these concepts clearly: custom + personalized + design.  It feels less like a flashy advertisement and more like a conversation, which is exactly what effective marketing should feel like!

Throughout my creative business journey I’ve been inspired by a lot of brands who are able to communicate their marketing voice so clearly and effectively. Here are a few who’ve nailed it and what they say are a few of their target words.

il_570xN.416985964_ltbaJillian from Jillian Rene Decor:   Color – Design – Quality “I keep a close eye on what’s trending outside of home decor and I’m not afraid of trying a color combination that’s unexpected. It gives me an edge on the home furnishing’s market and keeps me ahead of the curve. People want different!”


Danielle from Merriweather Council:  Colorful, Modern and Custom


Isa from Noisette Academy, a business strategist who focuses on Success Your Way: Strategy, Action, Success

I’d love to hear how others have learned to speak the language of their target audience. Which words would you identify as core concepts to communicate? It can really get you thinking!

Seeing The Forest For The Trees


image credit :: eloise renouf

Like so many other creative entrepreneurs, I love the details in business.  All those little things we do to keep it going on a daily basis.  Making, answering, shipping, problem-solving, sharing… it’s what we do. I mean, writing my to-do list is one of my favorite bits of the day (truly!) – I love seeing all those details listed out, and then feeling the crazy joy of crossing them off throughout the day.

The problem with all these details though – as you may have guessed – is that they can keep us from seeing the bigger picture. In our creative windstorm of detail pursuing, we often can’t see the forest for the trees.  Or in the case of this month’s theme; we’re missing the garden for our flowers.

This is something I struggle with immensely. I’ve got those big garden ideas and goals, I do! But somehow, days – weeks – months pass by and what do you know, I’m still there crossing off my daily to- do list.

If I’m being truly honest I know I’ve passed up a few awesome opportunities simply by being sidetracked by little things. And earlier this year, after reaching a high point of success with my shop, I sort of popped the champagne and put it on cruise control.  Not consciously, but you know, it happened. Along with those missed opportunities, I also overlooked some super important site updates that changed everything for me. I was busy being busy and the big picture sort of faded from sight.

But! I snapped out of my detail laden fog and managed to refocus on the bigger things. Operations, efficiency, strategy, new directions – all big picture stuff to move my business forward.

My detail-busting strategy:

1. Say It Out Loud:  Describing your business aloud, including your vision and process can highlight areas that need revamping or more attention. Last November, I met up with another creative for coffee. We chatted and shared our current projects and endeavors. When she asked where I was going with my Etsy shop, it sort of stopped me short. I didn’t know. I mean, I thought I knew. But somehow saying it out loud made me really choose my words and think about what I felt.  I seriously went straight home and began journaling about what to change.

2. Question It All:  To see the bigger picture, scrutinize what you’re doing.  I know it’s easy for me to fall into patterns & schedules – but just because we’ve been doing something a certain way for a long time doesn’t mean we’ve been doing it the best way for a long time.  I had a bit of soul searching and forced myself to answer questions I knew were there inside me.

3. Take A Vacation From Details: Set the daily routine aside for a bit. Hit pause on the make button. Instead, spend some time on the bigger picture stuff – discover new trends, learn about site or social media changes and upgrades, research different opportunities, and take care of the macro aspect of your business.  Suddenly, all the details seem not quite as important…

4. Let Go of the Details:  Now that you’ve explained and questioned and even taken a break from the details – it’s a good time to let some of them go.  Maybe it’s finding an assistant or reworking your day to limit detail-driven tasks. You might explore a new technique to increase efficiency or simply let go of something requiring way too much busy work.  In my situation, I found two assistants who work on the details of things. It is one of the smartest things I’ve done and am kicking myself for not going about it sooner.

After freeing ourselves up from the little details, I think we’ll notice there’s much more room for creativity to blossom. And there’s also a bit of confidence that comes from not being tied to a list but instead growing our gardens with a smart, passion-driven strategy.

Can you relate to not being able to see your garden for the flowers? How do you take a step back and get perspective so you can see the larger picture for your business?