May 24 2018

Why Your Social Media Sucks

So you’ve committed to, and prioritized your social media presence. You’ve thought about your audience, found a ton of free image content you can use, and started posting pretty regularly… you think. It’s been about a month, and you’ve lost that determination that got you started in the first place. Your numbers are horrible. You dread logging in to Facebook because that little arrow indicating your weekly total reach is always red, always pointing downward.

So what gives?

You may be making some common, key mistakes. As a social media manager, there are major issues I see all the time in the world of small business social media marketing. Here’s how to avoid them:

YOUR POSTS ARE TOO LONG

Facebook’s character limit for a single post is 55,000, but from a marketing perspective, your posts should never, ever approach this limit. Except in rare circumstances, you should even avoid having the “See more…” button appear on your posts.

One guiding philosophy I use across all online marketing is minimize clicks. People have short attention spans online. If your potential customer has to click “See more…” just to finish your post, it is way more likely they’ll lose interest before they get to the content you really want them to see. Make your clicks count! The ideal post both avoids the dreaded “See more…” button, and links directly to your shop/website/article/where you want your customers to go.

What you almost never want to see on one of your posts.

You’ll have to experiment with each post to find how just how long you can make it. There is no official character count before “See more…” appears. It depends on a number of variables (how you attach your photo, the title of your link, size of your screen, etc…) To find out, write your posts in Facebook’s publishing tools, and save it as a draft. From there, you can view the post as it will appear in someone’s feed.

YOUR PROFILE IS CONFUSING

I can’t overstate the importance of having an optimized profile on each of your active platforms. Your profile is the place people go once they’ve already been hooked– either by a post they saw, or looking you up by name– and they want more information about you. This is your opportunity to show your best side, while also directing people towards your end goal.

Yet, all too often, I see incomplete profiles, too-long descriptions in the “About” section, and incomprehensible profile pictures.

On Facebook, the “About” section is best used as a space for a very short description of what you do–I’m talking one, maybe two sentences. These sentences should be both engaging and immediately answer the question, “so what exactly do they do?” A longer description can be put into the “Our Story” section.

Make sure you fill in all the relevant details for your business, too: phone number, business hours, address, and founded date, link to your homepage, etc. This is the kind of information people are looking for.

Instagram is a little different, because profiles have a lot less information. In order to optimize that limited space, the profile description should be even more engaging and descriptive. Feel free to use emojis and hashtags, if you can identify some that work well for your business. The space to link to your website is prized real-estate on Instagram. It’s the only opportunity to point folks in a direction, outside of Instagram’s “Story” feature. Linking to your homepage is fine, but you should consider changing it periodically, to match what you are posting about. Advertising a specific item in your online shop? Change your link to go directly to that item’s page! Now, when you post about it, you can caption the photo with “Link in bio.”

YOU FOLLOW TOO MANY PEOPLE

PDX Alliance for Self Care is a new, local non-profit that is doing their Instagram profile right.

On platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, it’s so important to maintain a low follower to following ratio. These platforms use this ratio, in part, to determine “who to follow” recommendations. These suggestions are a key method of growing an audience.

And really, it comes down to a matter of trust and optics. As a potential customer, would you put more trust in a business that has 560 followers but was following 1100 people, or one that has 495 followers and following 460 people? It simply looks better to

have a lower ratio. It shows people that people are, in general, more interested in you.

One easy tactic to keep this ratio low is to only follow people that are already following you. Most social listening tools have automated this strategy, and allow you to toggle it on or off. But it’s not too difficult to do manually, especially in the early stages or if your overall audience is less than 1000 people.

 

It’s easy to make mistakes and oversights when first starting out in social media marketing. Even if you’ve made all of the mistakes I outlined above, I hope I’ve equipped you with the knowledge to fix them, so your numbers can improve. Rest assured, you’re still doing the right thing by getting serious about social media in the first place. After all, the first step to a successful online presence is an active one!

There are a host of further issues to explore. Social media marketing is an ever-evolving landscape, and it’s difficult to stay on top of things. We can help with that. With Upswept Creative, we’ll work closely with you as a partner in social media marketing. Together, we’ll build a presence that works. Reach out to us today!

May 14 2018

Authenticity Online

Authenticity can often seem like it’s in short supply. Especially on the internet. Whether it’s a snarky meme or “fake news,” genuine voices are in high demand online. People are starved for them.

Whether you’re managing the social media channels of an established business, or taking a DIY approach to building your own online marketing materials, it’s so important to keep it real. Trust is the basis of any good relationship, customer to business included. Connecting with potential customers from a place of genuineness, honesty, and passion will make them more likely to purchase your product or services. In fact, 80% of consumers polled said “authenticity of content” is the most influential factor in their decision to become a follower of a brand.

Here are some ways you can find your authentic voice in your online marketing efforts:

Authentic to You

In order to come off as honest online, you first have to know yourself. At the very least, know your brand. Is a funny and light-hearted tone appropriate, or does your marketing require a more serious approach? What sorts of images will communicate your desired tone? Think these elements through before you start posting, or you may risk of coming off as calculated and facetious.

Being true to the core of your business identity is the first step in attracting the kind of customers you want.

Share Your Excitement

It’s no secret that passion is appealing. You should feel passionate about the work you’re doing. If you aren’t, it becomes much harder to get people to pay attention. I believe humans have the capability to be passionate about anything, we just have to find the angle that lets us connect with it. If you’re managing social media for a client, spend the time to learn the ins-and-outs of the business. Even if it seems really boring at first, you’re likely to find something that fascinates you eventually.

For example, last year I was tasked with promoting a conference by and for professionals in a particular field of social science. I don’t have a social science background, and at first glance it could seem dry and academic to the average person. But as I performed my due diligence and really dove into the deep end with what this field was all about, I discovered this conference was actually very progressive. They had booked speakers centered around social justice, provided continuing education opportunities, and kept the price of registration as low as possible in order to accommodate low-income professionals.

Because I took the time to learn these things, and really get onboard personally, I was able to highlight them in an engaging way on social media. Finding your way “in” to a topic you’re tasked with promoting is one of the most important aspects of being a successful social media manager.

Don’t Be Afraid To Have Fun

Having fun with the topic at hand, when appropriate, is a great way to show genuine excitement and passion about the products and services you’re advertising. Don’t be afraid of it! A great example is Wendy’s twitter account. No one wants to engage with an account of a fast food giant that just posts ads all day. That’s why Wendy’s snarky, sarcastic, and meme-filled feed has found such viral success. People are both shocked and amused, and you can tell that the person (or team) behind the handle is having a blast.

 

Getting started marketing online can be intimidating. It’s not easy to decide  what to put out to a potentially massive audience, And I hope these have helped you wrap your head around the topic.

If you find yourself needing some more guidance, or you’d rather hire professionals to collaborate with you on the decision making process, Upswept Creative is here for you! We can work with you to take the stress out of online marketing, and get your social media presence on a course to success. Schedule some time to sit down with us today – you won’t regret it.

Apr 26 2018

Letting Go: 3 Things Holding You Back From an Awesome Brand Redesign

Do you get an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach when you look at your logo? Do you feel sheepish when you hand out your business card? You may be thinking about a brand redesign, or even know deep down that you need to refresh your brand… and yet, it feels like an awful lot of work that you don’t feel prepared for.

I’m not going to tell you that rebranding isn’t a lot of work, because it does take time and energy! That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it, however. In fact, if you’re overwhelmed in your work, a rebrand may be exactly what you need.

Even if you think you have to stay the course, here are some thoughts that shouldn’t hold you back from a brand redesign:

“I don’t want to lose the brand recognition I already have. ”

Businesses both big and small can stay strong, even through multiple rebrands. (IBM logo evolution via Hongkiat)

You’ve worked hard to build your customer base, so it’s totally normal to feel hesitation about turning people away. However, we’ve seen a variety of businesses update their visual identity, and still keep going strong–the trust they’ve already built keeps their loyal fans coming back, while updated branding attracts new eyes.

As long as you make the right adjustments to your branding, you can keep your audience and keep evolving your business. Your creative team will often guide you through how to debut and start using your new brand assets, so your customers know what’s happening. It will take your audience a little while to adjust, but new branding will help you make sure the customers you love will stick around.

“My current logo is already on all of my tags, t-shirts, signage, etc.”

It may seem like a lot of trouble to incorporate a new logo and brand messaging. And yet, isn’t it a bigger problem to have a brand you aren’t proud of stamped all over your marketing?

Sticking with your current branding means everyone who engages with you will see an ill-fitting brand that makes the wrong impression. And, that outdated brand will continue to draw in all the same people–including the “wrong fit” clients that you don’t want to keep attracting.

It’s true that printing new business cards, having new signs made, or replacing other brand assets will take some time and resources. But, investing that time and effort now will help you connect with more of the people who are right for you, and that will make your life much easier in the long-term.

“I don’t have time to deal with that right now.”

Time is precious in any business! But, if you don’t have time right now, when will you? Free time rarely appears on its own–you ultimately have to make the time for things that are important to the growth of your business.

And, consider this: how much time could you save if your marketing was refined for who your business is now? If you can attract more of the right customers, and fewer customers that don’t fit, you could save a lot of time in your day-to-day. You could deal with fewer questions or less back-and-forth on pricing, you could focus on your best and most beloved products, rather than maintaining a huge product line. The possibilities are plentiful!

 

Rebranding is daunting–I get it! It’s a big task full of tough decisions. But, thinking critically about your brand is how you not only survive, but thrive in an ever-evolving business landscape. Facing your fears, acknowledging where your brand can do better, and making those tough choices will leave you feeling refreshed and reinvigorated about your business.

Remember, you don’t have to do this alone! Upswept Creative offers all the resources you need to have a successful brand evolution: web design, logo and graphic design, and social media management to get the (new) word out. Contact us right now to start feeling good about your brand again.

Apr 13 2018

Design Monsters: The Committee

Often a project has multiple stakeholders who need or want to weigh in on a project. We call this designing for a committee. Whether your team of stakeholders is co-owners of small business, an entire non-profit Board of Directors, or representatives from each department in your operation, it can be quite valuable to tap into the knowledge and perspectives of a diverse group. But designing for a committee can also contribute to confusion, frustration, and missed deadlines. Here’s how to get it right.

Opposing Opinions

It may be tempting to send your designer a digest of everyone’s feedback. We’re always asking for more feedback, aren’t we?  But this is a case when quantity does not equal quality.

If one person on your team likes the green color in our logo concepts, and another thinks it’s too evocative of grass clippings, that leaves your designer with no clear path forward. We cannot both change and not change this possibly-too-grassy green, and we may not have a firm grasp on whose opinion carries more or less weight within your group.

Make sure you distill your group’s opinion in a coherent way. It should sound like it could be the opinion of one person.

Confusing Communication

Effective communication with your designer is key. As the Committee grows, however, so does the risk for communication breakdown, especially over e-mail.

You may feel tempted to e-mail five of your team members about your project, and copy your designer so they they can “overhear” the conversation, but that can actually be counterproductive! For one, there is a social context that your designer is likely wholly unaware of. They don’t know the dynamics of your team as well as you do. They can’t rely on existing relationships to understand the subtext of the messages.

Additionally, details can also be easily lost in long group e-mail discussions. Sifting through e-mail threads to look for possibly-actionable directives isn’t an effective use of your design team’s time or expertise. A clearly-stated action is guaranteed to get the job done faster.

The Committee by Indigo Kelleigh, 2017.

Curb the Committee

Being mindful of your communication and workflow can make all the difference in keeping dangers of The Committee from derailing your project. Here are our top tips:

Develop a trusting relationship. At the risk of sounding like a relationship counselor, you’ve all got to trust each other. Keep in mind that you’ve hired your design team specifically for their experience and expertise. Making you look awesome is why they’re here, and your cooperation and trust lets them do their best work!

Set expectations and boundaries, and speak up if something’s not working well for you. Talking about expectations at the outset of a project is an important part of getting started, and becomes even more critical if you’re working as a group.

  • Ask for a transparent project plan and an estimated timeline.
  • Discuss the ways you’ll all help to keep the project on-track, such as responding to queries within an agreed-upon period of time.
  • If your designer hasn’t provided you with any, ask for feedback guidelines to help make the most of your review.
  • If you have a problem, let your designer know what’s up promptly instead of simmering in your dissatisfaction. Sometimes workflows or communication plans need fine-tuning.

Assign a single point of contact to communicate with your designer. It’s likely that they have one individual who’s managing the details of your project, so your point of contact can take on a similar role. Over time, you’ll get to know each other’s communication styles, making collaborating on the project easier and more rewarding.

Take a moment to consolidate everyone’s feedback, whether you are meeting with your design team in person or sending an e-mail with your notes. Putting your feedback into one unified voice will make it much easier for your designers to understand and tackle your requests, while taking advantage of the richness of multiple perspectives.

Are you feeling as excited as we are about leveling up your brand’s presence online and in print? Team Upswept can’t wait to dig deep into the design problems keeping you up at night. Let us know what’s on your mind and schedule your free Clarifying Consultation today.

 

Mar 30 2018

Social Media Tools for Success

Running a full-scale social media marketing campaign for one business is a lot of work. You’re responsible for creating and scheduling content, keeping up on analytics, honing strategies, and developing a brand voice that engages directly with potential customers. All across multiple accounts, ideally with some coordination between them (but without too much crossover).

Luckily the tools that assist in this kind of work have become more sophisticated. As a social media marketing professional, I’m here to tell you about the most essential apps and services that you can use to succeed.

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash.

Post Scheduler

This is the number one essential tool. It makes managing posts across platforms much easier. You can plan and schedule your content in advance, across multiple platforms, and a whole lot more depending on the service you choose.

Hootsuite is the most well-known and popular scheduler, but there are many options out there. Services like Buffer, Sprout Social, and Social Pilot all have the same basic set of features. However, their user-interfaces and other functionalities can be wildly different. To find the one that works for you, consider the scale of your project(s), budget, and the ancillary tools that come with some platforms (phone app in addition to web browser, social media analytic tools, etc…). Don’t be afraid to try a new platform and find out how it really works. Many of these platforms have free trials or even full plans for free. Trying something is the best way to determine if it will suit your needs.

Listen Socially

“Social listening” is the process of monitoring an account or set of accounts 24/7 in order to get the most data points as possible- a feat not many humans can pull off! Advanced social media analytics is impossible without some kind of social listening tool like Hootsuite, BuzzSumo, and TweetDeck.

It can be tricky to find the right one, or collection, especially on a budget. I recommend taking a look at what each platform you’re active on has to offer for free. From there, you can determine what additional information you’d like to have, and seek out the tools that can fill the gaps.

Holy Utility, Batman!

A lot of social media management happens from your smartphone. Creating good, engaging, and professional content on the go seems daunting, but phones these days are incredibly capable. These apps will help you work on the go:

Adobe Premiere Cut (iOS and Android) is the go to app for video production for social media. This free app allows you to edit video files on your phone, and the amount of options is very impressive. Soundtrack support, color and lighting touch-ups, and combining clips from multiple sources is all supported. If you plan on doing regular video content in your social media marketing (it is very engaging), this app comes highly recommended.

Datally (Android only) is an app that Google put out that empowers heavy data-plan users to take control of their data usage. A social media manager spends a lot of time on their phone. Unlimited data plans are expensive, and not always an option. Datally makes sure you only use data when you want to, which can help curb overall usage by 30%.

Clips (iOS only) is another video editing app, but this one is of a different breed. It excels at creating cute, short videos that feature graphics, live captions, and animated photos. It’s the perfect app for creating fun videos to share on Instagram. Cute catches the eye on social media, and this tool can definitely help do that.

 

Being a social media manager is a job where you get to wear a lot of hats. Copy editor, statistician, and graphic designer all come into play. It really is a lot of work, and many people who are starting their own business underestimate the time commitment and level of expertise required. That’s totally understandable. Lucky for you, Upswept Creative can help! Our very own Social Media Maven is not only a social media expert, but also an expert at meeting each client where they’re at in terms of budget, time commitment, and experience.

Find out how she can help you and your business today! Reach out and schedule a consultation, on us.

Mar 15 2018

Design Monsters: Scope Creep

We’ve already discussed one of the most formidable monsters of them all, the Problem of Good, Fast, and Cheap. Now, let me tell you about Scope Creep, how to stop it in its tracks, and still achieve the final product you want.

The Siren Song of a Private Patio

When I was a teenager, my parents decided to add a room to our house. Before very long this discussion ballooned to include an additional bathroom and a private entrance (via a small enclosed patio!) to my bedroom. Soon we were looking at catalogs of shiny fixtures and carpet samples because, my folks reasoned, if we were already doing some work, we may as well do all the work.

Thankfully, a voice of reason intervened and wrangled the project back down to its original scope, chastising my parents for submitting to a case of “While We’re At It-itis.” I never did get my private patio.

While We’re At It-itis, better known as Scope Creep, is a well-known monster we encounter frequently in all kinds of design projects. Scope Creep leads to unforeseen changes, because it keeps moving the creative target, which can be frustrating, expensive, and time-consuming.

Be Strong; Resist Temptation

Scope Creep is dangerous because it is distracting to both client and designer.  There should be some room in a project to pause and adjust course if new constraints or ideas come to light, but beware of veering too far off of the planned path—it can be hard to find your way home again.

Scope Creep is expensive, too, in terms of both time and money. When you want to add components or features that weren’t part of the original project, your design team must research the new idea and figure out how it will affect the structure of project as a whole. That means they have to divert attention away from doing the work you’ve already contracted them to do. And, once the door is open for more work, it’s so easy to lose your grip on deadlines and budgets.

Scope creep monster by Sarah Giffrow, 2017.

A “No” is Not Forever: Plan a Phase Two

It doesn’t have to be a negative experience when the designer you’re working with pushes back against incorporating new ideas into the work they’re doing for you. When inspiration strikes late or the problem you’re trying to solve changes shape, bring it to the table to find out if it can be reasonably included in the project scope you all already agreed on. Sometimes the answer is Yes!

Other times, though, the Creepy Monster must be put at bay, and one of the best ways to do that is simply drafting a Phase Two. Like you did at the outset of your work together, collaborate with your designer to make a new list of desired features for Phase Two —  Integrate your shop’s POS with your website’s e-commerce engine! Schedule a photography session to create high-quality visual content for your marketing materials! Plan a new managed social media campaign to show off your shiny new assets and drive traffic to your new website! Just because a new feature doesn’t fit right now, doesn’t mean you have to give up on it forever.

Team Upswept loves getting to know you and your business, and creating a project plan that solves your problems with beautiful and strategic design! Get in touch to schedule your free consultation so we can get started slaying those design monsters together!

Mar 02 2018

Brand Experience: Get in Touch With Your Feelings

Let’s talk about feelings for a minute.

Don’t worry, it’s not a heart-to-heart about your innermost dreams and desires. We’re talking about the feelings your branding creates.

How do you convince your customers to dig you? Connect with how your work makes them feel.

It’s often said that your brand design and messaging should create a feeling, but there isn’t as much said about what the heck that means. How do you create that brand feeling, or even decide what feeling it should be? In the end, it all comes down to what your customer needs, and how you handle that need through the experience you provide.

How Do Your Customers Feel?

Hopefully, you have at least some idea of who your customer is (if you don’t, we have a branding course that can help you!). Now, it’s time to put yourself in their shoes: how do your customers feel when they first come to you? And how do you want them to feel once you’ve helped them?

Perhaps they came to you feeling stressed and overwhelmed, but you want them to leave feeling calm and in control of the aspect of their lives you helped them with. Or, maybe they had a case of the “blahs,” but your product lifted their spirits! When your brand speaks to people on a level that addresses their feelings, it helps you connect with your ideal clients, and helps them remember you.

What Experience Does Your Business Give Them?

Every business provides a unique experience, from the moment you connect with a customer, all the way through to you closing the deal, and the client going home happy. That unique experience is part of what makes you different from your competition. There may be a few other businesses (or a lot!) who offer what you do, but your approach is almost certainly different from theirs!

Maybe you offer an experience that’s fast and efficient, so they get what they want right away. Or, perhaps your brand experience is one where you spend more time, but tend to their every need so they feel well cared for. You might design a product that appeals to many people, or individually tailor each thing you make to each new client.

These are just a few different approaches to business, but they all offer very different experiences. Think about what your process looks like, and how it helps you create the feeling that you want your customers to have when you’ve wrapped up doing business with them.

Focus on the Journey

Finding out which feelings fit into your branding doesn’t have to be complicated: just focusing on how your customer feels, from start to finish, can help you get at the heart of the good work you’re doing every day. By looking more closely at that journey, you can choose the right words, colors, and design aesthetics for your brand, appeal to those ideal customers, and guide them from feeling stressed to being happy.

Need help getting your brand in order? We’re developing (Honestly) Bona Fide Branding, an online course that guides you through the core pieces of your brand, so you can draw in the right customers for you. That means you’ll make more money and love your job more. Sound awesome? Apply by March 18th to be included in our first run of the course!

Sign Up Now >>

Feb 20 2018

Social Media Trends 2018

One of the biggest challenges of social media is that it’s always changing. Old platforms switch up their interface, lose users, or disappear entirely. New, confusing platforms pop up to fill the gap. Even the old stalwarts go through massive changes over the course of a year (installed the new Snapchat update yet?). Social media is an ever-evolving landscape, and 2018 will be no exception. As a social media marketer, it’s my job to research, anticipate, and prepare for possible trends on the horizon.  Here are the trends I see having an impact on social media marketing in the coming year.

New Tech = New Trends

Technology evolves rapidly, and the tech companies that run social media platforms need to implement and cater to them in order to stay relevant. Digital hangout platforms like Houseparty became hugely popular with young people in 2017. This is a good indicator that larger social media platforms will eventually incorporate some of the key functions of hangout apps into their own platform. Facebook tends to do this by purchasing an up-and-coming app, and folding that app’s functionality into their own system updates.

While new functionality can be intimidating, I think of instances like this as an opportunity. Many brands will be experimenting with new ideas. Nothing is set in stone. Explore the new technologies as they appear, and take the chance to do some experimenting yourself. You may end up setting the standard for how brands use that function to market!

Rearranging Chairs in the Twitterverse

Believe it or not, Twitter is starting to show signs of decline. For the first time, Twitter failed to increase it’s active users for the entire second half of 2017. The first sign of a dying platform is seeing a halt in active user growth. While it won’t happen as fast or be as dramatic as the sinking of the Titanic, this slowdown is worth keeping an eye on in 2018.

We can expect Twitter to throw some curveballs this year, similar to their decision to increase the character count of tweets near the end of last year. They might even try some outlandish things to stay afloat, which will affect existing marketing strategies. Keep an eye out for changes so you, too, can adapt and keep your market efforts effective.

The (Facebook) Sky is Falling!

Facebook Live is an example of a feature from another app folded into the system. Photo by Sticker Mule on Unsplash

One of the most dramatic changes in the social media marketing landscape happened at the end of 2017: Facebook changed the algorithm that determines how a user’s feed is populated. The changes are intended to prioritize posts from family and friends, and reduce “spam” from business pages. While this change has been live since November 2017, social media marketers are still adjusting.

So far, we’ve learned that the new algorithm punishes pages that use “baiting” strategies to boost engagement. This blog post goes into detail on what the algorithm will flag as bait, and how using those strategies will actually hurt the reach and engagement for future posts. As we approach the end of Q1 with these changes, updated strategies that take the new algorithm into account will solidify. Experiment yourself, and pay attention to what other brands in your field are doing differently.

Change is Scary, but We Got This!

The ever-changing landscape of social media makes marketing in these spaces a unique challenge. But if you stay engaged and up-to-date, you will be better prepared to make the necessary adjustments, and keep your online marketing relevant, engaging, and successful.

Of course, your real challenge may simply be that you don’t have enough time to stay on the cutting edge of social media marketing. That’s where we come in. Upswept Creative offers social media management packages designed specifically for each client. We will meet you where you’re at in terms of expertise, budget, and brand voice. Reach out to our Social Media Maven today to schedule your free consultation.

Feb 02 2018

Collaborate with Us!

Partnership and Collaboration are two of our core values at Upswept Creative. We bring this collaborative spirit to all of our projects, not only putting our individual skills and expertise to work as a team for our clients, but also nurturing partnership with our clients.

Getting to know you and your business over the course of our work together makes the final product more genuine and truly representative of what you do and who you are. When that authenticity shines through from your social media accounts, brand identity, and website, you attract more of your ideal audience — the kind of folks you want to work for, and who will appreciate your work.

Starting Strong

We want working with us to be pleasant and easy, and maybe even a little fun. We know that you’re plenty busy running your business without adding website design to your to-do list, which is the whole reason you’ve decided to look us up in the first place!  Your investment on some level, however, is necessary in order for us to make the awesome happen.

Before we meet with a new prospective client, we like to get to know a little bit about where you are with your business and your branding, which is why we ask you to fill out a short Get Started questionnaire. When you meet with us for a consultation we’ll talk about your pains and goals in even greater detail.

We want to meet you where you are, and  if you can speak to these questions, even loosely, that makes it a lot easier to find you on a map.

Photo by Ken Treloar on Unsplash

 

  • Why am I starting this project now?
  • What is working now with my current website and social media?
  • What problems do I hope to solve with this work?
  • Do I have a sense of how I want this to look and sound when it’s done?
  • What resources can I give to this right now?
  • What does my ideal partnership with a creative agency look like?

Digging In

When you work with Team Upswept, we keep you in the loop with preliminary mockups and planning documents. We ask for your feedback all along the way to ensure that our understanding of your business goals and your aesthetic preferences are as solid as our expertise in design.

We won’t  get your website launched in a week, even if you ask us very sweetly to do so, simply because a week is not enough time to make a researched, strategic, cohesive, unique, and totally rad-looking solution that shines your light to your target audience (like squid to a bright jig at midnight).

You have the most important role in any job we take on.  As the client, we are looking to work both for and with you in order to deliver a product that authentically represents you, your business, and your brand. Want to know what it’s like to collaborate with us? Fill out our short survey and schedule a free consultation! We’ll get your project started off on the right foot — with teamwork!

Jan 19 2018

How Much Will Your Website Really Cost?

When we talk website design with potential clients, one thing we hear pretty regularly is, “I have no idea what this kind of thing costs.” It’s not just about shopping around between different providers, either–there are a lot of factors that can affect your total investment.

If you want to get a better sense of what you can expect to spend, here are a few questions you can ask yourself:

Good, Fast, Cheap: what are your real priorities?

image courtesy Berkonomics

There’s a saying in the creative world that Good, Fast, and Cheap doesn’t exist: you can only pick two.

What does that mean? Well, if you need your new website “ASAP,” and you want it to be both beautiful and effective, then it’s not going to come Cheap.

Conversely, if you’re looking to save money, you’ll end up “paying” for the project in other ways–you’ll either be waiting a long time to finally get your new Good website, or you’ll get a website that was created Fast, but is low-quality.

If you want to pursue a new website, make sure you know your priorities. I suspect you won’t want to sacrifice Good on your web project, so be prepared to either pay more, or wait longer for its completion.

What resources do you have?

Once you know what your priorities are, it’s time to look at where you’re starting from. There are a lot of moving parts to a website. A good website professional will be there to take on the design, coding, and strategy for you, but there are other important pieces to building a website that works well:

  • Your brand voice. Do you know who your business is? Do you know who you’re trying to reach? Your website team needs to know those things to create a website strategy that works for you.
  • Written content. Do you have descriptions of your services or products? Do you know what to put on your homepage? Your website pro can guide you, but someone needs to create the words that help your website sell.
  • Photography. Do you have professional-quality photos that represent what you do? Do you have a clear photo of yourself for your About page? Good design can get you part of the way there, but photos are what will put a face on your brand, and help tell your brand story.

These are just a few major project pieces that your web design professional will need to make your website work well for your business. If you’re missing any of these pieces, you’ll need to either need to create them yourself, or pay someone else to do it for you.

How much time do you have available?

Now that you’ve figured out what pieces you have, and what pieces you’re missing, take a look at your work week How much time do you have available? Realistically?

It’s easy to get excited about the idea of a new website, and say “yes, of course I can get you that content,” but creating good content takes time. Even if you have the best intentions, if you’re already too busy to answer your emails or post on your Instagram, then you probably won’t have time to create a customer persona or craft a brand statement.

If you do have some time to spare, there may be ways you can use your own knowledge and skills to help the process along. Just remember: nobody gets good at something new overnight, and it could take you hours upon hours of work to get it right. And, even if you *can* handle content yourself, there may just be better ways for you to use your precious time to keep your business running!

A professional creative has years of expertise that helps them get the job done faster and better than the average person. If your time is valuable to you, then keep it for yourself, and pay for a professional assist.

What are you willing to do? What do you NOT want to do?

You’ve gotten this far. You know what you need, you have the time to make it happen. Now it’s time to be honest with yourself: what are you actually willing to do to keep that website working well?

If you love blogging and want to regularly update a blog on your website, then hey, that’s great! If you used to work as a copywriter and want to craft your own website copy, then that could be helpful.

But, if the idea of writing your own bio makes you break out in hives, then maybe you should ask your website team for a copywriting quote. If HTML terrifies you, then ask your website professional about a maintenance package, so you don’t have to update the site yourself.

Whatever you choose, be honest with yourself about what you can do, what you should do, and what is better left to the experts.