Summer Special: My “One for One” Marketing Offer

Recently, I listened to an inspiring interview with Blake Mycoskie, who founded the iconic Tom’s shoe brand and also the concept known as One for One® sales.

As you may know, for every pair of Tom’s sold, they donate a pair to someone in need.

It got me thinking: As a marketing consultant, I want to be of greater value and service. I love helping clients succeed online, but I believe there is more to life than that.

So I decided to make an offer this summer.

For any new client who buys marketing services from Go For Launch (now through August 30, 2017), we will donate free digital marketing expertise to the charity of your choice.

#BrandAndGive

It will work like this:

Services Level Purchased

$2,000-$3,000 worth of GFL consulting purchased
5 hours of charitable services donated ($750 value)

$3,001-$5,000 worth of GFL consulting purchased
10 hours of charitable services donated ($1,500 value)

$5,001-$10,000 of GFL consulting purchased
15 hours of charitable services donated ($2,250 value)

$10,001-$15,000 worth of GFL consulting purchased
24 hours of charitable services donated ($3,600 value)

Above $15,000 worth of GFL consulting purchased
Wow, I can’t think that far out at the moment but we’ll come up with something fantastic!

As I mentioned, I’m doing this because I want to give more value beyond my services. I hope this might resonate with you or a small business you know who wants to improve their digital marketing efforts and help change lives through worthy organizations at the same time.

There is no special “tax breaks” for us doing this, by the way. The IRS is very clear in not allowing deductions for services that are donated to charities.

Services Available

Based on your needs, we will put together a package that fits your company (pricing starts at $2,000). Our primary services include:

  • Content Marketing
  • Marketing Automation (lead generation funnels & software)
  • Design/Branding
  • Public Relations
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Online Advertising (PPC)

Additional details are available on request.

Specifying Your Charity

If you do not have a favorite charity*, you can choose from one of the following:

A Child’s Place
A Child’s Place works to remove barriers to learning that accompany child homelessness via individualized student plans within the school. They provide guidance, support, food, school supplies, and other necessities so the student is prepared to participate and achieve in class.

Guidestar listing >>
Learn more >>

Fashion & Compassion
Fashion & Compassion is a non-profit, jewelry and accessories brand seeking to fulfill our mission by connecting caring consumers with vulnerable artisans to bring dignity through economic empowerment.

Guidestar listing >>
Learn more >>

* Your selected charity must be listed on Guidestar.

If You Are Interested

If you would like to inquire about this, email me at brandon [at] goforlaunch [dot] io. I will contact you to schedule a time to chat about your needs.

Thanks so much for considering this and spreading the word to others!

Brandon

Rule No. 1 in Branding: Face-to-Face Presentations Matter

branding presentationPart of the communications business I play in involves branding—the art of helping companies convey their essence to the world. It starts with a logo, an identity…but of course it extends to much more than that.

Good companies that become great companies owe much of their success to their brand–the collective presentation of who they are, what they are and how they make people feel—all of which becomes anchored to and triggered by brand symbology and “touch points” (what people see, hear and experience when they encounter you) over time.

To some, it’s flippant work. Fluff stuff. Just-pay-somebody-five-bucks-who-cares-we-can-always-change-it-later-stuff.

Those are not the people who “get it.” The ones who “get it” know branding is hard work, and important work. It’s not work that you rush. It’s not work that you do at a distance, by committee or with rubber stamps.

It’s definitely not work that you meddle in if you don’t grasp its significance to the core, or if you don’t understand principles of design or if, God forbid, you don’t possess the ability to discern good design from bad. (Admit you don’t know and leave it to the experts.)

It’s also not work that you do by getting someone to send you a link so you can “see what you think.” No. Some things are meant to be done in a more measured fashion. And no self-respecting branding expert—graphic designer, writer, account executive, web designer, etc.—will break this rule. It’s a cardinal rule.

Caveat: The only time this rule might be bent is between designers or account people who work together and who have developed trust in each other over time. They will sometimes review work in progress asynchronously between themselves—but never to the client.

Every person who has been fortunate enough to create iconic brands knows how the process works best. They will suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and tyrannical executives, but they will not “send the link.” They will postpone the universe and the machinations of commerce until they get their fair chance to present the work.

Best case, they will move heaven and earth to physically be in front of you when they present. Because they want and need to be there. They need to see your eyes and read your body language. They need to hear your reactions. They need you to shut up, turn off all devices and pay attention.

But more importantly, they need you to literally see, hear and understand them. They are presenting to you like a top defense lawyer who is there to convince a jury her client is not guilty and deserves to live. It’s the same thing. To the designer, brand champion and visionary–it’s a matter of life and death.

Worse case, because the world is big and we have lots of technology, the designer may agree to present through a Web conference. Reluctantly. Now and forever more, this is a necessary evil in the branding business. But it’s never as good as face-to-face.

Imagine if you can the first time someone was presenting the Nike logo. Fortunately, they didn’t have the Internet then, so some exec could just ask for “a link” to check out options. I don’t even know if the original designer presented options, or just the simple mark she created. But can you imagine the email exchange that might have ensued?

DESIGNER: OK, Bill and Phil. Here’s the link you requested. Let me know what you think.

PHIL: WTF is this? It looks like a check mark.

BILL: No. No! What else ya got? We’re paying you for this?? Go back to the drawing board.

Instead, the designer was given the chance to present her case, rightfully so, resulting in her ability to paint pictures, words and a story behind the swoosh that launched a thousand swooshes, and a thousand companies that all wish they were Nike and aren’t.

Or what about Starbucks? Can you imagine if that was designed over email?

DESIGNER: Here’s a link to view my recommended direction. I think you will love it.

HOWARD: WTF is this? We are selling COFFEE here. I have no idea what this is supposed to represent. What are all these squiggly lines? And why doesn’t this cartoonish woman have HANDS? AND WHERE ARE THE COFFEE BEANS OR ANYTHING COFFEE RELATED? We are paying you for this??

Instead, the designer was given the chance to present her case, which launched the brand you can’t escape, with the alluring logo and products you are addicted to, that other coffee shops only wish they had.

***

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are great brands. Because great brands are works of art—not science projects and Survey Monkey polls…and most certainly they are not commodities.

If you hire a talented, passionate brand expert who “gets it,” you’re going to have to wait and follow a process. Be thankful and grateful for that process. Grab a Starbucks and relax. Just do it.

Create Vector Graphics Fast with Vectr

Vectr

If you can’t afford Photoshop or just want something simpler to create vector graphics, try Vectr. It is a web-based design tool with downloadable apps for Mac, Windows, Linux and Chromebook.

After spending time playing with it, I like Vectr. Currently, it’s pretty low frills. However, the company has an interesting development road map, with coming features such as:

Versioning: All Vectr documents already have a near infinite history of changes. You can close Vectr, come back and re-open the app later, and hit Command+Z into infinity.

When Built-in Versioning is ready, you will be able to save multiple versions of your file on a timeline of your file’s history. This means multiple versions of a design, in the same file.

Marketplace: They will offer a design assets marketplace directly inside of Vectr. If you want to sell something you create, you can add it to the marketplace and set a price. Or if you want to buy something like a web template, you’ll be able to import design assets that others have shared.

Embedded Editor: This will allow you to embed the Vectr editor on your own website. That seems pretty slick in theory. For example, if you have a t-shirt, sticker design or something else that you want users to be able to customize, they will be able to do it without leaving your page.

Cost: Free

Does Your Business Still Need a Phone Number?

Recently, I had an “argument” (more like a pointed email exchange on LinkedIn) with an allegedly smart person who owns a “big data” software company. They were looking for a marketing director and I wanted to inquire on the position.

When I went to their website and looked for a phone number to call them, however, I noticed there was no number listed. So I tracked down the CEO and politely suggested he add it to their contact page.

His response was rude and frankly dumb. He insisted that in the “digital age,” phone numbers are irrelevant, and that if prospective customers need a phone number to reach them, then they aren’t the right prospects for them.

Are you kidding me?

I told him, you have a right to your opinion—and good luck. If I were a prospect, you already lost me by forcing me to fill out a form to reach you. By the way, if I had prequalified your company as a potential partner (which 70+% of B2B buyers do beforecontacting providers), then I went to call you and couldn’t find a number…your chances just went down the tubes. I had questions and was ready to talk to someone…but you were too aloof to give me the opportunity.

I also pointed out how one his largest competitors in the space had multiple phone numbers listed on their website. Put the sites side-by-side and guess which one looks like the amateur?

No wonder his company can’t find a marketing director. Who is going to want to work for someone so arrogant as to think they don’t need a business telephone number?

I understand we’re in the “digital age” and yes, some technologies are dated and unnecessary (Exhibit A: fax machines). But phone numbers aren’t dead and are still very much a critical communications tool for B2B sales and support.

Furthermore, phone numbers are easy and cheap to get—whether you’re using Google Voice, eVoice or another of the dozens of VoIP providers.

If you want to argue with me about it, call me: (704) 584-9656. Better yet, ask me how I can improve your company’s marketing efforts—starting with making your phone number more prominent.

How To Create and Sell Digital Products

Learn to monetize your knowledge online

I recently launched my mini-course, How to Create and Sell Digital Products.

launch a digital business ebookIt has some nifty stuff in it including:

  • Three training videos showing how I created and sold a digital product in less than one week
  • A comprehensive 76-page ebook, How To Launch a Digital Product Business
  • A 5-page checklist to use when launching your digital product
  • A Resources Cheat Sheet for recommended software and service providers
  • A detailed mindmap to help you brainstorm and plan new product launches

Easy Trello Hack to Supercharge Your Boards 

I ran across this great post today on Medium that makes it easier to view your Trello tasks and project statuses at a glance.

It just took me a few minutes to install the Google Chrome extension (I didn’t even know you could change the CSS of any website to suite you, very cool!), and then copy the code from this post.

Source: Simple Trello Hack to Supercharge Your Boards — Medium

“Is my website down?”

isup

When somebody in your office (or maybe a client of yours) starts complaining that their website is down, calmly check it using Isup. Enter the URL, and it will tell you whether it’s down for just them…or everyone.

Put a big smile on your face when you say, “Sorry, Dick/Jane, it’s just you.”

Cost: Free

Source: Cool Tech Tools

Career Advice to Recent College Graduates

The Ladders, a leading career site, reached out to me recently and asked me to give advice to graduating college students.

I’m honored to do it.

Here are my top insights…nearly three decades past my graduation from UNC Chapel Hill.

Don’t Settle

When I graduated, the economy sucked (sound familiar?). I couldn’t get a job applying my newly minted skills as a journalism major. For a few months, I stayed in Chapel Hill, delivering pizzas, waiting tables and working in an outdoor store at a mall. It was demoralizing, to say the least.

It tooks me several months of hustling to finally land a job in PR, which meant moving to New York City and living with five flight attendants in a one-bedroom apartment. But I was determined to make it work.

To young graduates, I say: Stay focused, even if you are schlepping through low-paid, agonizing work you hate. Don’t give up.

Another thing—you have probably been told your whole life that you needed to go to school, get a degree and work for someone else. That’s one way to go…but you also have my permission to become an entrepreneur.

Build Your List

When I was young, I hated the term networking. I thought it was slimy for some reason. Yet I did enough of it to land a few quality internships that eventually help me get that first PR job.

It would take me years to understand that I should’ve focused on building a stronger network from the start. Great supporters are like money—you can take them to the bank.

A few years ago, I tested this theory when I was forced to leave an entrepreneurial venture I had started. I desperately needed a “real job” to make up for lost salary and time. Fortunately, my networking efforts paid off quickly.

You can read about what I did here during what I called my Open Source Job Search. Feel free to steal my playbook.

My advice is to treat your network like gold—and stay in touch with them regularly (not just when you are desperate or need something).

Three years since that job search, I’m happily back doing what I love as an entrepreneur. But I still email my entire list of contacts every two weeks without fail.

Always Give Back

You’re never too young to give back to others. In fact, the more you give, the more you’ll get. You might not believe it, but just take my word for it.

Why should I stop what I’m doing and write this article, for example? Because it might help one person on their journey. That’s all I care about right this moment.

I know plenty of older people helped me when I was young, scared, untalented and naive…and I probably didn’t even recognize their contributions at the time. Now I know better.

Wherever you find yourself, you can always give something back. I find it especially vital to never turn down a request by young people for advice. You just have no idea what impact you can make.

One more thing–used tools like the Ladders, LinkedIn and social media to your full advantage. I didn’t have any of that stuff when I graduated. Be grateful for the times you live it, with such amazing technology at your fingertips.

Best of luck to you!

Design Like A Pro With Canva

Canva free graphic design tool

Need to make a quick graphic for your blog, social media site or a presentation? Canva lets anyone create graphic design layouts quickly, with minimal design skills. It won’t replace a bona fide graphic designer, but it’s great when you need something easy and cheap.

Canva features a lot of predetermined graphic sizes ranging from social media graphics to blog graphics, Facebook covers, cards and more. It also has many free stock images, fonts and background images. Canva also offers over 1,000,000 premium graphic files that you can purchase cheaply (around $1/graphic).

After you create a graphic in Canva, you can easily download the file or share it on Twitter and Facebook.

Cost: Free and premium graphics available for your layouts