Every year I choose a word of the year. It is a word that I want to focus on for the upcoming year. I do this instead of making new year’s resolutions. For 2017 my word was Growth and for 2018 my word was Freedom. These words ended up fitting their respective years perfectly.
A look at the past
2017 was a year of growth for me, especially business wise. In 2017, I finished out my first year of teaching special ed instead of pre-k; I started a new web design business and learned a lot from it; I started a new direct sales business which took off and grew like crazy; and overall had a year of change and growth.
Freedom was a perfect fit for 2018. My new direct sales business gave me the freedom to be able to quit my teaching job and work from home. And what a blessing that has been! I am not sure how I would have managed to get through my first trimester with pretty bad morning sickness while teaching full time. It was definitely the freedom I needed.
I also was able to take my husband on a really nice vacation to Jamaica using money I made from my business. It was amazing to be able to have the freedom to go on that vacation without worrying about the cost!
My 2019 Word of the Year and why I chose it
And this year. My 2019 word of the year. This year my word is Discipline.
This year I am choosing the word discipline because it’s something I desperately need more of in all areas of my life. I am often not a very disciplined person, maybe even more so now that I am working from home and at home all day with the freedom to do what I want.
My home life needs more discipline: taking care of the laundry regularly instead of waiting for it to pile up and we’re running out of underwear (someone tell me I’m not the only one who does this); doing the dishes every day instead of letting them sit in the sink for days; cleaning the bathrooms before the get disgusting; and generally keeping up with housework and doing what I know needs to be done around the house, even though I don’t always want to do it. It takes discipline.
My business life also needs more discipline: sending hostess packets to my hosts each month and keeping up with mailings in a timely manner; hostess coaching and partnering with my hosts; chatting with those interested about the business opportunity instead of making excuses; writing the blog posts that I say I’m going to write; keeping up with my social media posts since I am running an online business; cleaning my office and keeping it organized instead of letting it get messier and messier; and actually doing the work that I know I need to do to run my business instead of wasting so much time scrolling Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest. It takes discipline.
In just a few months (June) I am due with my first baby. I don’t want him/her (we should find out soon!) to grow up and learn to be lazy and undisciplined like me. It is important to me that I set a good example for my child. I want to be able to create routines and have the schedule that my baby needs. It will take discipline. I know that I need to work on this NOW and not wait another moment.
Is it possible to do direct sales without being spammy?
Have you ever wondered how to do direct sales without being spammy? Is that even possible? You may already be in direct sales or network marking or maybe you’re thinking about joining, and you may be wondering if there is a way to do it without being spammy. I’m here to tell you, there is! It seems like everywhere you turn online, there are direct sellers spamming like crazy, on their profiles, in groups, and everywhere they can. Is this the only way to get sales and do business? Absolutely not! There are much better ways! Here are a few tips.
Business page vs personal profile
First things first. Do business on a business page, not your personal page! Facebook created business pages for a reason…for businesses! It is actually against Facebook’s terms of service to business on your personal page. You could risk getting put in Facebook jail. And yes, that is a real thing. Don’t risk it! It’s not worth it.
People don’t get on Facebook to be sold to! If you are doing business on your personal page, your friends and family are going to get annoyed and unfriend or unfollow you. You don’t want to lose friendships because of your business, do you? I didn’t think so. Using a business page for your business allows people who are actually interested in it to follow you and engage with you over there, and allows you to build relationships and stay friends with everyone else! Which in the long run is better for you business, anyway!
Second… DON’T ADD PEOPLE TO GROUPS WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION! Sorry to yell at you, but this one is a big no-no. People are starting to get very annoyed, to say the least, at getting added to groups that they don’t want to be in. This will not only hurt your relationships with your friends/family, but it will also hurt your business and your group, as well. Many, if not most, of the people you add are not actually interested in being there. If they do not leave the group, then they are just empty group members, not engaging with your group or buying from you. Adding people to groups is just a great way to make people mad and turn them off from your business. Let them request to be added themselves, or send them a message first and see if they are interested in being a part of it!
My first two points touched on this, but one of the most important, if not THE most important, things you can do is to build relationships. Building relationships is really the key to growing your business. People don’t want to do business with a company. They want to do it with a person. And they don’t want to buy from just anybody. They want to buy from someone they know, like, and trust. So build that relationship (AUTHENTICALLY!) and let people get to know, like, and trust you. The real you. Engage them in conversation, get to know them and let them get to know you, serve them, provide value, etc.
Don’t just try and sell your product all of the time. 80-90% of your social media posts should be about things other than selling, and only 10-20% should be about your product. This means that you need to be providing value and engaging your followers.
No matter what product or service you are selling, you will get better results when you shift your mindset from “how can I get customers/clients/sales” to “how can I provide value for my followers.” Ask questions, share info and tips and tricks, share behind-the-scenes photos, etc. Think about what other things your followers are interested in other than your product and talk about that. Build the relationships first, and the sales will follow. You will get better results when you shift your mindset to providing value. Click To Tweet It is very possible to do direct sale without being spammy, but it takes a mindset shift and implementing these tips. Tell me…what do you to to make sure you are not being spammy in your business?
You know those posts where they ask everyone to share their Facebook page or Instagram link and everyone is supposed to “like” or follow everyone else’s links to help them grow their following? We call those “like ladders.” Almost every business group that I am in have certain days where they do this. For some reason, there is this idea out there that the goal to growing your business on social media is to get as many followers as you can. Maybe at one time it was true. But is it true now? Do like ladders really help your page? Let’s talk about it!
When you participate in a like ladder, are those people typically interested in your business? No! They are just hoping to get “likes” in return and secretly (or not-so-secretly) hoping to convert you as a customer. They are never actually planning to buy from you or even engage with your page or business. That is what we call “empty likes.” They do nothing for your page or business. They are just…..there. And if those people are not engaging and there is no chance in you converting them to a customer, why keep them or even try to gain those likes in the first place? How is that going to help your business? It is just going to drag your engagement on your page down, which is actually very bad for your page and your business. Empty likes are not going to help your page! They really just drag your engagement down! Click To Tweet
Speaking of engagement, you may have heard about Facebook’s “algorithm.” It’s sort of like this secret algorithm that nobody really knows exactly what it is, but they are constantly trying to figure out….and it is constantly changing! But one thing we do know, is that Facebook does not care about numbers of “likes” on a page. It cares about engagement. So if you have tons of “likes,” but no one is engaging on your page, then Facebook thinks your page is not important and will not show your posts to many people in your news feed. On the other hand, if you get lots of engagement on your page from your followers, Facebook thinks your page must be awesome and so they show your posts to more people in your news feed. It’s kind of like they “test” out your posts at first. They show it to a few people, not many, and then see what kind of engagement it gets to decide if your post should be shown to more. So engagement is huge for the Facebook algorithm!
So, which is better? Quality followers or the quantity of followers? Quality followers, people who actually want to like your page and engage with it, is way better than the quantity of likes on a page. I know this can be hard to accept, because we all want to grow the number of followers we have. Buuuut, a small, but engaged following is going to be way better for your page than a large, unengaged following. Numbers really mean nothing. Engagement does. So don’t focus on how many likes you have. Don’t compare your number of likes to someone else’s! Only focus on your engagement. Focus on attracting quality leads to your page. When you see these like ladder posts, DON’T participate, no matter how tempting it is! Remind yourself that it just going to hurt your business! If you are realizing that you made some mistakes in the past, don’t fret! There are always things that you can do to turn your page around and help your page’s engagement.
So, what next?
You can start today by cleaning out your likes on your page. Go through and delete the people who have liked your page from a “like ladder” or something of the sort. If they are someone who is not going to engage on your page, then there is no reason to keep them around. Time to let them go! Bless and release. You can do this in the settings of your page, under “people and other pages.” Then, work on teaching your followers to engage on your page. Post simple questions, such as “this or that,” “A or B” type of questions and engage back with anyone who comments! Ask them a followup question. Show them that it is ok for them to comment on your page and that you will engage them back in conversation! It may take some time, but you can work to grow your page’s engagement over time.
What are you going to do TODAY to help your business grow? Are you going to go through and delete empty likes? Start posting engagement posts and respond to all comments? Train your followers to engage with you? Tell me in the comments below and let’s celebrate your growth together!
As a direct seller or network marketer, you may have heard about branding your direct sales business and how important that is. You may know that you need to brand yourself and not your company. But how do you do that exactly? Where do you start? What steps do you take to do it? Do you just need a logo? Some colors or fonts? What exactly does branding mean?
Branding is more than just visuals, although they are important. It is also your voice, your personality, your message, etc. Branding is knowing your target market and who your ideal customer is. Did you know that branding your direct sales business can help grow your business? We’ll get to that in a minute!
But before we get into the how, let’s talk about the why. Just so we’re all on the same page here, mmmk?
I also gotta make sure and mention something. You’re doing business on a Facebook business page, right? It is against Facebook’s terms of service to do business on a personal profile. We wouldn’t want you to get put in Facebook jail now, would we? Yes, that’s a real thing. There’s lots I could talk about on this subject, and there is a way to use your personal profile to your advantage, but for now, let’s just stick to doing business on a business page, ok?
Why Branding Your Direct Sales Business Is Important
It helps you stand out
When you have a clear brand for your business, it will help you stand out from all of the other consultants in your company. You will be representing yourself as your own business, not just your company. This means you will be seen as a legit business owner, not just another consultant. When you stand out from the crowd, you will get more followers and more customers. Don’t do what everyone else is doing, and don’t copy someone else! Stand out, be yourself, and be authentic! Customers will appreciate this about you and choose to buy from you.
This means that you want to make sure you are branding yourself, not your company. Create your own brand around your YOU: your personality, your voice, your target market, etc. Your company already has its own brand. They already spend money marketing their brand. You don’t want to be “just another Scentsy* rep” (*insert your company here). People will choose to do business with you because you are YOU. You don’t want them just going and looking for just any rep; you want them to specifically want to come back and do business with YOU.
When you brand your business apart from your company you become recognizable, especially if you are consistent in your branding. Why is this important? If your visual branding is on point your customers will easily recognize you when scrolling through their news feeds. This makes them more likely to stop and read what you have to say. You want them to stop on your page and get to know you so you can begin to build a relationship with them. Relationships are very important in business!
Branding your direct sales business successfully will not only cause your customers to recognize you and your brand, but it will help them to remember you as well. When they remember you they are more likely to buy from you. Repeat buyers are huge for your business, so stand out and be remembered! If you are copying what everyone else in your company is doing, you are not going to be remembered. Create your own graphics with your branding, come up with your own posts, and do things your own way!
Your brand will also follow you if you ever change directions or companies. This is why it is important to brand YOU and not your company. If you ever decide to switch you won’t have to start all over from scratch. You will already have a brand and (hopefully!) a loyal following. How do you want to be remembered? What do you want your customers to think of when they think of you? How do you make them feel? These are all good questions to ask.
It helps you grow the know, like, and trust factor
When you are recognizable, memorable, and stand out from others in your company, your customers are more likely to come back to your page and your business. They will get to know you, your personality, and your message. You will be able to build a relationship with them. When they get to know you, they will realize they like you and learn that they can trust you. This is huge for your business because customers buy from people they know, like, and trust.
In order for them to get to like you and trust you, you have to provide value. You can’t just promote your products on your page all of the time and think they will buy from you. Provide valuable content. Engage with them. Ask questions. Share other information that your target audience is interested in that doesn’t have anything to do with your product. Work on building those relationships, knowing that your branding can help with that!
So, what exactly is branding? Like I said before, branding is not just visuals, although that’s what most people think of it as. It is more than just a logo, colors, or fonts.
Your brand is how others perceive you and your business; how they feel when they come across your posts or think about your business. You can help define that through your vision, message, values, voice, personality, target audience, customer service, visuals, etc. These should be unique to you and will help you connect with your customers.
Have a clear message and vision
If you have branded your business successfully, then your business and brand should have a clear message coming across to your customers. They should know exactly what you stand for and what your business is all about. Let’s face it, for most of us our business is not just about selling a product. There is usually another driving force behind it.
Maybe you are all about helping women feel more beautiful and confident. Perhaps your goal is to help people be more organized, help people get healthier, make people’s lives easier, etc. Your brand’s vision and message should come across to your customers through your branding. You should have a specific brand voice, personality, etc, that is unique to you.
Know your target market
When you try and market your business to everyone, you end up looking “watered-down” and appealing to no one. You need to have a specific market for your business and who you are marketing to. And be specific about it! Instead of just saying your target market is “women who need better skincare products,” come up with a specific “person” who you are marketing to.
Maybe “she is a 55 year old women who can’t find a good skincare product and wants something moisturizing and good for dry, aging skin. She used tanning beds when she was younger and did not take care of her skin…” Keep it going and be specific! Not only will you attract people like your ideal client, but you will be attractive to others as well when you know exactly who you are marketing to!
If you haven’t already done so, take some time to sit down and write down your brand’s mission, vision, goals, values, and your ideal customer. These are all going to play a part in your brand message. Make sure you know your “why” and what your business stands for. What do you hope to accomplish with your business? How do you serve your customers/clients? What problems do you solve? What are you passionate about?
You can even think about your personality and how that is incorporated in your brand. Is it fun, light-hearted, humorous? Is it serious and professional? Make sure whatever it is, it is authentic! Authenticity is huge because that is how you will connect with people!
Make sure you take time to think about all of these things and write down anything that comes to mind. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You can always refine it later. You may want to start by writing down some adjectives that you want to describe your business. Just get started on it and see how far you get.
Be sure to download my Brand Workbook as you are working through it! Just enter your name and email to get access to it!
Time For Visuals
Finally, it’s time to work on your visuals! Here you are going to want to come up with three to five consistent colors and two to three fonts to use in your branding. You may want to think about other patterns and brand elements as well. Be sure you think of your target market and your brand message when you are coming up with these. For example, if you realize your brand is going to have a very professional image, you probably don’t want lots of bright, neon colors!
If you’re not sure what colors to choose you may want to google “psychology of color” and do a little research on that or check out this article to help you get started.Design Seeds is a really great website with color palettes that you can look through to help you choose colors that go well together. Creating a Pinterest board and adding pins of images that you feel reflect your brand can also be helpful. You will probably notice a common theme throughout!
If you need help choosing your fonts, I’ve found a couple of websites that might help. Here is an article that talks about font pairing that might be helpful. This is another one that is about choosing the right font for your brand. You can also google (or search on Pinterest) things like font pairings or choosing the right font for your brand.
Another thing to think about is a logo if you don’t yet have a one. You may want to find a professional (or at least someone with a good eye for design) to help you with one if you don’t have the skills to create it yourself. Investing in a logo is a great thing for your business. If you don’t have the money to invest right now, you can always find and use a nice typeface you like and just use that. Make sure to check that the license allows commercial use!
Now that you have figured out your brand visuals, you can take it a step further by creating some branded graphics! Make sure you stick to your brand visuals for every graphic you make. All of these visuals are things you are going to use on your FB business page, IG page for your business, blog post images, etc. (And yes, I said FB biz page, NOT personal profile! )
If you want to create your own and not pay to have someone else do it for you, Canva is a fantastic and easy-to-use site to create graphics! There are others, such as PicMonkey, and lots of phone apps you can use as well, but Canva is my go-to site for most all of my graphics. You can use the free version or you can upgrade to the paid version to save your brand colors and fonts (my recommendation).
If you have never used Canva or other graphics software check out this blog post by my friend Erin from Alexander Design Company. She gets a little more in depth in Canva and even links to some helpful tutorials that you can check out to learn how to use it. It is a great skill to have in your business, and the more you use it, the better you will be! Of course, you can always hire someone to create your graphics for you, but it is good to at least know how to do it.
You will want to make sure your graphics have a consistent look, style, and feel to them so that when people see them they start to immediately recognize them as yours. Keep in mind all of the things we have talked about up to now (your brand message, voice, personality, ideal customer, colors, fonts, etc.) when you are creating your graphics. Here is where you get to pull it all together!
Now that you have your brand created you will use it across all of your social media platforms. When you post photos or graphics on Instagram, Facebook, or whatever social media platforms you use, make sure they reflect your visual branding. Your content should have your target audience and ideal customer in mind, your voice and personality should shine through your posts, and your message should be the same across all platforms.
When you do all of these things you will have successfully branded your direct sales business. Now will stand out from all of the other consultants in your company.
You did it!
Congrats! You did it! I am excited to see how it turns out! Leave me a comment and tell me about your new brand! I’d love to hear and even check it out!
So, let’s talk about the visual part of branding. Here is a list of some do’s and don’ts to think about when you are creating your visual brand.
Do’s and Don’ts of Visual Branding
Do… have a cohesive color palette. You want to choose 3-5 colors that look good together and stick to those colors when creating graphics, designing your website, etc. If you don’t yet have an idea of what your brand colors will be, check out Design-Seeds. It is an awesome place to look through their color palettes that already have colors put together for you. Find something that speaks to you and your brand. You can also search psychology of color and see what different colors mean and how they are perceived. This article is a good starting place.
Don’t… choose too many colors or patterns. You don’t want your brand looking chaotic or unrecognizable because there are too many colors or patterns. You want it to stand out and be recognizable to your customers. 3-5 colors is sufficient, one or two main ones and the rest accent.
Do… choose your brand fonts. Next, you will want to look at different fonts and choose two or three that look good together. You don’t want them to be too similar or to busy. If you choose a script, or something bold, then choose something easy to read for your main text font. Here is a good article about how to pair fonts.
Don’t… have too many. Like I said, you will want to make sure they are visually appealing together and not too busy. You want them to be readable and recognizable, so 2-3 fonts max is perfect.
Do… create your own graphics. Don’t be just another consultant in your company if you are in direct sales. Stand out and brand yourself by creating your own graphics instead of sharing company graphics. Anyone can create them. There are websites that make it so easy, no matter how creative you are! I LOVE using Canva to create all of my graphics. I use it on my computer, because I find that easiest, but there is an app as well. Another good website is PicMonkey, and there are lots of good apps such as WordSwag, Spark Post, and Rhonna Designs.
Don’t… just use pictures you find on google. PLEEEEASE don’t do this! Don’t just hop onto google and download a picture from there! Did you know that it is illegal? It could cost you lots of money and your business! Don’t let that happen to you! Many, if not most of those pictures are copyrighted and you don’t want to get caught violating copyright laws. There are lots of good sites for stock photos that you can use for commercial use (check the license first). Pixabay, Pexels, and Unsplash, are some good ones that I use, and you can use pictures from Canva as well.
Do… be active on social media. You’re going to need a place to post those graphics you made, right? Be active on social media! Posting frequently on your Facebook business page or Instagram can be positive for your business so customers and potential customers can get to know your brand. You want your target market to get to know, like, and trust you, so using those social media outlets for this is a great idea (as is blogging! 😉 ). Just be sure you create a business page on Facebook and keep your business posts on your personal profile to an absolute minimum.
Don’t… be too salesy… While using social media for your business is a must, you don’t want to be salesy or spammy. You will want to follow the “80/20 rule” (or 90/10). For every eight or nine non-salesy/product posts, you may post one or two sales post. People do not get on Facebook to be sold to. The want to connect, build relationships, be entertained, etc.
You will also want to be sure to post different things on different platforms. This means you don’t want to push your Instagram photos to your Facebook business page automatically. If you do this, people will realize it and choose to only follow you on one platform instead of both so that they don’t see your posts twice. You may repurpose your graphics on the other platform at a later time (I suggest at least a week), just don’t post them on both at the same time!
Do… stick to your visual brand. Once you have your visual brand created, stick with it! Use your colors, fonts, images, patterns, etc in everything! If you do this week, people will start to recognize graphics as being yours, before they even see your logo or name!
Don’t… change your branding frequently. There is a time and place for rebranding, and rebranding can be done well, but you definitely don’t want to do it often! Stick with your visual brand as long as possible until it become necessary to rebrand for some reason. If you are frequently changing things up, people will not know what your brand is or recognize it when they see it.
Do… be consistent. This goes along with my last point. Be consistent. Use your visual brand everywhere and on everything. Stand out from the crowd and own your brand!
Don’t… copy someone else’s brand. Create your own brand, don’t try to copy someone else’s! You want to make it yours. Yes, you will see other’s color palettes, fonts, graphics that you admire, and there is no harm in using them as inspiration, but change it up and make it your own. Don’t copy someone else. Be authentically you and you will shine!
Do you have any other tips for visual branding? Please leave me your tips, questions, or input in the comments! I love to hear from my readers.
I’m Melissa Mackey, a leader with Color Street and a new lifestyle/mom blogger. A former special ed teacher turned work from home mama who loves coffee, wine, Mexican food, donuts, horses, and Jesus. Passionate about helping women like you feel just a bit more put together without taking much time out of your day – dry nail polish for the win! Sharing my about my pregnancy and journey to becoming a new mom while working my business. Come alongside me in my journey through womanhood and life. Even though it’s messy at times. Let’s be our beautiful selves together.