One of the biggest mistakes I see entrepreneurs making in their business is launching and running a business without having a strategy in place. Instead of focusing on the long-term strategy, they pull together a logo and a website, put together their services with prices that have often been plucked out of thin air, create a profile on all the social media platforms and then just hope for the best.
Now, this solution may work for a while but it’s not sustainable. It’s not the key to running a successful online business as a creative, coach or educator. In fact, it’s not the key to any business.
When I launched Fleurir Creative, I worked with clients on their branding and website design only. Even though I had 10+ years experience in marketing for various companies, I didn’t add this as a service to my business as at that time, I couldn’t see how it worked. I was worried that I’d be seen as a jack of all trades and master of none. When in fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. After launching several brand identities and websites, there was one common problem, they didn’t have a clear strategy in place. They didn’t have a full understanding of the foundation of their business which comes before the branding. They also didn’t know how to properly market themselves and they didn’t have a marketing strategy.
This is why I launched the Flourish experience. A complete brand and marketing experience for online business owners who are ready to grow and scale their business. With my Flourish clients, I cover the five steps that I am going to go through with you today and these steps form the basis of a sustainable and successful online business.
Step One – Brand Foundation
I pride myself on building brands from the inside out. Creating a foundation for your brand is a crucial step in building, growing and scaling a successful business. After all, you wouldn’t build a house without digging the foundations first. The same goes for your brand.
Your brand foundation is about you understanding what your brand is about. It’s about realising what makes you unique and using that to ensure you stand out in this crowded, noisy online world.
Building a successful and sustainable online business is about figuring out the best way to position your business. Positioning means how you want others to see you. What do you want to be known as the expert for? Your brand foundation consists of your mission, your vision, your ideal client, your USP and more. Knowing all of this is crucial in creating a strong foundation for your brand.
TAKE ACTION: Step away from your computer, grab a notebook and pen and plan out your brand foundation.
I have a free 5-day email course that goes into the above and each of the five steps detailed in this blog post in more detail. Sign-up to the e-course below.
Step Two – Signature Offer
Your signature offer is ONE offer that you promote above everything else. Yes, you can have more than one offer (although I’d recommend no more than three) but a signature offer will help position you as an expert.
In the case of my business, my signature offer is the Flourish experience. Flourish is my high-level package that encompasses all I stand for in my business. It’s a complete done-for-you brand and marketing strategy offering for creatives, coaches and educators looking to grow and scale their online business.
No longer do I take on clients who just want me to do their branding. No longer do I do just SEO audits for clients. No longer do I do just website design for clients. I have packaged all of these up into my signature offer as I believe all of these steps and more are so important to a successful business.
So what defines a signature offer? The way I think of signature offers is that it’s a product or service that makes you more money. Think of it as your premium offering. Your top-level package. After all, people pay experts so it’s time to start acting like one.
TAKE ACTION: Review your packages and decide which package you can uplevel to make your signature offer.
It’s highly likely you won’t need to create something from scratch. You simply need to take something you are already doing and make it premium by adding in extra value.
Step Three – Brand Identity
Step three of the five pillars that I work on with my clients is the brand identity. This is the visual part of your brand. It’s the part where you start to see your brand come to life however it’s by no means near the end of the brand process. In fact, it’s still only the beginning.
Your brand identity consists of your logo, colour palette, font choices. I also design a secondary logo where applicable and also a brand mark that can be used as an icon throughout the brand. Some brands go deeper into this with patterns and illustrations and this really depends on what we discover throughout step one as to whether this fits. Your brand needs to be a reflection of who you are, the level of service you offer and it also needs to appeal to your target audience.
Your brand also needs to be consistent across all of your platforms. This is why when I work with my clients, we create social media graphics, blog post graphics, Facebook group headers and more to ensure they are promoting a consistent presence.
TAKE ACTION: Have a look at your brand identity and decide if it’s a true reflection of the level of service you offer and the direction you want to take your business. Look at the logo, the colours, the fonts you use. Are they consistent across your platforms?
Step Four – Marketing Strategy
Marketing is one of the most important aspects of running a successful online business. You could have the best service or product in the world but if you don’t know let everyone know about it, you are going to fail.
Your marketing strategy is not the HOW part of marketing, that’s your visibility plan that comes in the final step. Your marketing strategy is the WHAT. It’s what you need to achieve in order to meet your vision.
For example, if a business goal for the year is to book 12 1:1 coaching clients at one per month then the marketing strategy is where you outline what you need to do in order to achieve that. An example strategy might be to increase your email list to 2000 subscribers. It might be to start a Facebook group and grow it to 1000 subscribers. It might be to increase your visibility via video so you can make more of a personal connection with your clients. All of this is your strategy.
TAKE ACTION: Do you have a marketing strategy? If not, now is the time to create one. Start to think about strategies that you need to put in place in order to meet your bigger business goal.
Step Five – Visibility Plan
It’s time for the final step in building, growing and scaling a successful online business – the visibility plan (aka, a marketing plan).
As I mentioned in step four, your visibility plan is the HOW. It’s how you will break down the larger strategy into smaller tactics or tasks in order to meet your bigger business goal.
Let’s go back to the examples I used above. Say you want to book out your 1:1 coaching clients, then you definitely need to have an email list. To grow that email list to say 2000 subscribers will require a clear plan that is consistently adhered to. That plan may include researching an email marketing platform, setting up the email marketing platform, creating a couple of opt-ins that you can use to grow your list and adding a sign-up section to your website. You then need to start bringing traffic to your website in order to grow your list. Ways to do this may include blogging (which I highly recommend) or Facebook Ads.
But it’s not enough to just say that you are going to blog or that you are going to do Facebook Ads. You need to have a clear plan that details when you are going to blog, what you are going to write about and what content upgrade you are going to include in your post that brings people to your list. I recommend doing this in 90-day chunks.
TAKE ACTION: Review your marketing plan and see if it’s working. Are you sticking to the plan or is it ad-hoc? If you don’t have a marketing plan, then you need one.
If you’re ready to grow or scale your online business and this all seems very overwhelming to you, then I would love to help. You can find out more about the Flourish experience and apply to work with me here.