Nov 292016
 
You can buy this piece of Search History on ebay.
Kind of a precursor to search (if you wanted to find a result to a simple math problem).

Decades before Google search Granddad had one of these beasts on his desk (Image: Wikipedia)

My Grandpa mastered Search Engine Optimization 75 years ago!

Gotta hand it to my Grandpa. He got Google search, before the invention of the calculator, decades ahead of the internet. My grandfather loved technology, he was an early adopter, before anyone had even coined that phrase.

Granddad – or Vati-Vati as he liked to be called, was an avid inventor and had founded his own company after in Germany after World War II.

He also had a brilliant mind for business and used SEO long before the world-wide web was born. Here’s what he would do:

How SEO worked in the 50s

In the 1950s the preferred “search engine” was a big, fat book with yellow pages in it, where businesses advertised their phone numbers to get new clients.

Every time someone would call his shop, to ask if they offered a specific service, this man’s answer was always yes, even if they didn’t. After he hung up he’d figure out how to solve the customer’s problem and once he’d gotten the solution, he would create a new listing 

Nov 162016
 
#MrMindChanger and the Blogger Union

What is the big deal with video, anyway?

If you have yet to make your first video for your blog, then get this. It is estimated that three years from now, 82% of all online traffic will be driven by video. You have some time to get ready, so start now! During our October meet-up with the South Florida Bloggers, we learned the basics to making the perfect video.

south florida bloggers girls at how to shoot the perfect video.

And Pascal Depuhl—chief mind changer at Photography by Depuhl, a Miami-based visual content creation company—led the conversation. His school of thought was simple:

Create mind-changing video!

mr mindchanger pascal depuhl at how to shoot the perfect video.

#MrMindChanger

Because the perfect video will make you do something different. And bloggers have this as an end goal in mind as well. We want our readers and viewers to wear the cozy sweater we just layered on, and test out our favorite beauty products. Some of us want them to eat at the restaurants we frequent and order the lobster mac and cheese just like us.

So then now what? We took away some great pointers from Pascal last month and want to share them with you now. Let us take you to the beginning. It all starts with an attention grabber. Like a good blog post, your title has just a few seconds to draw in your audience. The same thing is true about the first glimpse to your video. Have you given your viewers something to care about? Pascal says that if that is not there, then you’re going to lose them pretty soon.

south florida bloggers workshop on how to shoot the perfect video by #MrMindChanger, Pascal Depuhl

 

Here are some other “Video Don’ts” from Pascal:

  • south florida bloggers girl at how to shoot the perfect video.Don’t explain everything. We don’t need a play-by-play like in football. Just explode into the action.
  • No need for a long intro. Viewers might think they are watching the same video if you always start with the same introduction. Once you have their interest, then queue in cameo of self.
  • Make your videos concise. Put the edit together, cut it in half, and then cut that in half. A two and a half minute length video is a good place to start.
  • Have a hero. It can be a thing, a place, a product, or a service—not always a person.
  • K.I.S.S. – it doesn’t have to be long or drawn out. Keep it simple. And make it worth watching. Show us what you’re eating. Show us what you’re wearing. Show us where to get it, or who made it.

south florida bloggers girl 2 at how to shoot the perfect video.

Then we move on to the body of your video, which is what keeps viewers peeping through the end. A video is multi-sensory. You have auditory and visual senses turned on. Pascal shared that more than half of the content comes across on audio. So pay attention to sound. It is just as important as anything else you are providing in your content. And this will make the body of your video a bit heartier.

Let us not forget the end. It has to have a call to action (CTA). Where do you want to end up? People need to know what to do next. And once you have it all together, where do you want them to go? Here is your selling point. But please, make your CTA’s subtle. Leave the infomercials for late night TV.

 

In case you missed it, click the link here with the slides of the presentation from Pascal.

south florida bloggers learn how to shoot the perfect video from #MrMindChanger, Pascal Depuhl


Join us this upcoming weekend to learn from veteran fashion blogger, Daniela Ramirez, on how to monetize your blog.

Oct 262016
 
Cloud based business has to rely on automation

A low tech look at cloud based business

Salesforce Ecosystem I want to share how I use automation in my day-to-day workflow, so let me grab my trusted Moleskin notebook and sketch out what we’ll be looking at. “Wait–what?” you ask “I thought we’re talking high tech and the cloud; and you’re gonna pull out a pen?” Yup and it’ll all make sense in a moment.

I go everywhere with my Moleskin notebook. It’s full of notes, sketches, location info, phone numbers–the list goes on and on. So I figured, it’d be a great place to start, when talking about cloud based business. In the end the cloud needs to help us in our business, it’s a tool that let’s us connect with our clients, retrieve information and share documents easier than before. If it’s not making our life easier, you’d be foolish to use it.,

SalesForce – the center of my cloud universe

SalesForceSalesForce is the 800 pound gorilla in the room, when it comes to Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It’s used by some of the largest companies in the world and is one of the leading online services, when it comes to keeping track of your contacts, calendars and opportunities.

However, like everything in the cloud, it really shines, when you automate it. Sure you could type a potential clients contact info into SalesForce, but where’s the fun in that? Here are three channels I use to capture new leads into my client database:

      1. The contact form on my website.

        I’ve written about this before, but basically as a prospective client fills out the contact form on my website, they are actually entering their data into my CRM, which then sends them an automated personalized email response, notifies me via email, that I have a new lead. All this info is accessible via the web interface or an app on my phone (Read more about it on this Strictly Business article: Quick Tip – Automate).

      2. The subscription button on my blog

        Subscriber information is captured here via a MailChimp plugin on my WordPress blog, that send all the data straight to SalesForce. That plugin also takes care of sending email updates to my subscribers when I write a new blog post and maintains my mailing list. All day, every day. Don’t have to think about it.

      3. Business cards

        There you go again with that low tech, old school stuff.” I can hear you think – but wait, this ones actually the most magical of them all. I love business cards. I hand them out everywhere I go, but I collect them as well. Here’s how they end up in my SalesForce:

Evernote – my digital brain

EvernoteEvernote plays a huge role of my cloud, it is basically a digital storage place for everything you can think of. If you can digitize it, Evernote can store it. Take for example the photograph of my moleskin notebook page – if you click on it, it will actually take you to a shared Evernote. The true strength of this is that the page is searchable, yup even my handwriting. So I can type “TASKS” into Evernote’s search function, it will return the image of that scan with the search phrase highlighted.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 9.30.13 PM

Back to business cards–Evernote has a little app called ‘Scanable’ and it’s truly magic. Scanable turns your phone’s camera into a scanner, which is one way to get info into Scanable.

Here’s what I do when someone hands me a business card:

Step 1: Take a picture of the business card in Scanable.

Step 2: Scanable, reads the card and fills in all the data that is on the card. Then it goes to LinkedIn – finds the LinkedIn profile and fills out any data that’s not on the card, but on LinkedIn (how cool is that?)

Step 3: Scanable gives you the option to save the card in your iOS contacts or Evernote (actually it does a lot more than that – check out Business cards call for an awesome Habi-matic).

This whole process takes about 15 seconds and although it’s not perfect, I get about 9 out of 10 cards to read perfectly, sometimes a rescan takes care of an issue, but sometimes the card is just too artsy.

OK, now the info is in my contacts, but not in SalesForce. There’s a little web app called IFTTT (If This Then That), that takes care of this: anytime a new contact is added to my iOS contacts, it pushes that info over into SalesForce. It also sends me a text to let me know a new contact is added to SalesForce. IFTTT doesn’t care if the contact came from my contact form, a blog subscription or a business card ingested into Evernote via Scanable. I get an SMS from all. And getting those makes my day, because someone wants to work with me.

More than just an address book

That takes care of my contacts or the address book. SalesForce does a lot more than just being a fancy rolodex, it correlates all the data that’s pertinent to that client – past jobs, emails send to them, upcoming opportunities, ect. So let’s say that the new client, who’s info just got added to SalesForce is going to hire me for a job. So the lead, gets converted into an account, with the person added as a contact and an opportunity is created in SalesForce, that contains a lot of info of this job, but as you know a photo production is made up of many 100’s of tasks that need to be managed. Since I use a single user license of SalesForce, I have to find another cloud based service to keep track of my tasks, especially when I’m sharing them with a team.

Asana – keeps tracks of all the tasks on my To-Do list

AsanaEnter Asana, the perfect way for teams to communicate or you to keep multiple projects’ tasks organized. When I create an opportunity in SalesForce, Zapier (another automation app) creates a new project in Asana. The Asana project (again via Zapier) creates a tag in Evernote, which will be on every piece of data relevant to that job – receipts, client briefs, production books, scanned business cards, notes from your last phone call or that spread sheet of the shots the client just emailed you. In fact Evernote lets you create templates that you can use to stream line the way you do business, you’ll need to customize them for your shop, but once you have one – you can use the same one over and over, it can even be a list with boxes you can check off when they’re done.

So once I’ve made one of those check box lists in Evernote, using the job tag, Task Clone reads the list and creates tasks automatically in Asana, that I can assign to teams, add due dates to, write a list of sub tasks, ect. Each one of these tasks get imported into SalesForce via Zapier, which completes the circle.

Cloud based business

There is so much more to talk about when it comes to automating your business, from the simple app Expensify that can create expense reports for you from photos of your receipts to the complex web delivery of images via PhotoShelter, which allows me to let clients see their final images, but not download them until they’ve paid.

As small businesses, we can save a lot of time, effort and money, if we automate some of the mundane tasks–especially those that we repeat with every client or every project.

 

Aug 232016
 
CreativeMornings/Miami Beach

Collab Miami style

George is one of those guys you can’t help but love. He’s the graphic designer, who runs Collab Miami – a creative community of freelance friends, exchanging ideas and getting feedback while being inspired and encouraged to succeed.

Collab Miami is not your traditional networking meet up group. I’ve gotten to meet some great people and all of them are willing to help out, teach, learn, answer questions, critique and ask for help (…)

(This week I get to take over CreativeMornings/Miami’s tumblr blog. I’ll share some of my favorite places and people, who make Miami an awesome place to live. Check it out. Read the rest of this post on tumblr)

The Blogger Union has partnered with CreativeMornings/Miami for a collaborative storytelling marathon. Tune in to read the story of our city told by local creatives, bloggers and entrepreneurs. Each week, a different member of CreativeMornings will take over to post what inspires them about South Florida. Do yo want to take over the CreativeMornings/Miami blog and share your take on our community? Email Paola at info@thebloggerunion and we’ll get working on it!
Jun 232016
 
Productivity with a Post-It note

Productivity is a must as every Small Business Owner wear many hats: sales rep, customer service rep, accountant, ect. Fortunately there is a ton of great software to help us do all those jobs, but we still have to create all the digital assets necessary to use these apps, services and websites productively.

The Problem with Productivity

Setting up a digital workflow is only as good as the information you put into it and -especially when things get hectic- it’s easy to miss setting things up correctly.

In my workflow as a product photographer is use
Evernote to organize and store all digital documents – creative briefs, model releases, estimates, permits, notes, ect.

SalesForce is my Customer Service Management service of choice. It keeps tracks of accounts, contacts, leads, opportunities, expenses, ect. and links automatically to Evernote, Expensify and Trello.

I’ve just started using
Trello to give me a clear picture of all current projects and tasks and Expensify builds expense reports easily and quickly, that I then import into QuickBooks.

Solving the Productivity Puzzle

Productivity via Post-It notesHow do I remember to add a Note and Tag in Evernote, that will help you organize a new job? Then there’s the opportunity that I have to setup in SalesForce if I want a bin, that will collect and correlate all information I need to have at my fingertips; a new list needs to be created on Trello and the expense report need to be created in Expensify.

Don’t laugh, but a little Post-It note does all that for me. Automatically.

I use Evernote to get this process rolling:

  • Pink Post-It’s are leads. That’s potential clients who have reached out to me and are inquiring about having product photography and/or video creates.
  • Yellow Notes are opportunities. These are the projects where I’m meeting with clients, pitching ideas and creating estimates.
  • Green Sticky Notes are jobs. Deposits are, production has started and we’re creating amazing visual content.
  • (There’s a blue note as well, but I don’t use that for my business)

The yellow Post-It kicks it off

As soon as I capture a yellow Post-It note, Evernote saves it in my opportunities notebook automatically (Evernote lets you assign notebooks based on the colors of the notes). All I do is save the note named with the job number associated with this opportunity.

Zapier takes over

As soon as that note gets saved, Zapier takes over and creates a SalesForce opportunity with the job number (which it gets from Evernote), builds a new Trello list with the same job number, captures an expense in Expensify tagged with that identifier (I hope that soon it can create a report), creates an Evernote tag – which will be used to be able to search all documents about that job and finally sends me a SMS to my phone. Done. That was not hard.

At the end of the day one photo of this Post-It Note creates all the digital assets I use in my day-to-day workflow.

How do you solve your productivity puzzle?


[Wanna learn more about how I use apps, web services and applications to run a more productive small business?]

Mar 092016
 

Getting your foot in the door

Sure, you can do what everyone else it doing. Or you could try something else. You can market in those tried and true channels or you can rock the boat. If you’re looking to stand out in a very crowded field, here’s how you get your foot in the door.

Start on a firm footing

Before we go any further, there is one thing I want to stress: your work must be solid. You’re pricing must be dead on and your customer service must be top notch. If these things are not firmly in place, you may get that new client, but you won’t keep him. Here we’re taking about how to break through all the noise to reach new clients and that requires you to be different in your marketing.

Put your best foot forward

Who are you as a photographer? More importantly, who do your prospective client perceive you to be? With every interaction, you must put your best foot forward, since you can’t make a first impression for the second time. When a client looks for a visual content creator, they are looking at more than one photographer. How do you stand out from that field? What can give you a leg up?

It’s not just your work – your client is looking at other people who can deliver similar quality.

It’s not just your price – unless you’re interested in a race to the bottom, there’s always someone willing to do it cheaper.

It’s not just your marketing – since we all are on social media, online, …

If the shoe fits…

Before a new clients hire me, they almost always start looking for a generic “photographer” with in a ‘cold’ google search. Once they’ve found my company, it stands out from the rest. How? By hacking the market. By doing things differently, especially by trying things, other photographers say won’t work.

Step into your clients shoes

Understand who your perfect client is.Then learn what they are looking for, when they hire a photographer. If you know the answers to these two questions, then you can gear your marketing hacks to help those clients find and book you. Does this approach work? Listen to a recent client talk about her experience:

Great marketing can happen on a shoe-string budget

25 Marketing HacksAbout a year ago, I wrote “25 marketing hacks for creatives” here on the ASMP blog. Did you try some of these out? They range from the very simple act of mailing a copy of a magazine to an art director (MarketingHack #8) to flying a plane half way around the world for a movie premiere in an airplane hangar (MarketingHack #11).

One thing they all have in common, they are unusual and are all done on a shoe-string budget. Many of these marketing hacks don’t look like your average photographer’s marketing efforts, but that’s just the point. If you’re looking for some more detail on the MarketingHacks that have worked for me, I’ve got a blog post with all the details for each one of the 25+ hacks on my list.

Share your favorite way to hack the market in the comments.