5 key metrics to track every month

5 key metrics to track every month

Abdul Govender

02/13/2019

In the current age of digital marketing, having an active social media presence is important. For many businesses, this means ticking the right boxes – you’ve set up the various social accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram; you respond to questions; follow fans; post important news; and thank your customers for their support.

 

But, what are you doing to track and monitor these social interactions? If you’re engaging on social media, then you should make the time to measure these activities, and understand what it all means.

 

In this blog post, I’ll explain five metrics you should keep track of on a monthly basis.  

Reach

Reach is an old-school marketing metric that still remains important today. It indicates how far your message is traveling and how many eyes are seeing it. Measuring reach on social media can be misleading at times as it only shows how many people potentially saw your post or that it was made available. Unlike engagement, which gives a number of likes, reach is really just an estimate.

Engagement is queen

Engagement is, hands down, one of the most important metrics you should be concerned with on social media. It is the catalyst for improvement in all of the other social media metrics.

 

Simply put, engagement measures the number of likes, shares, and comments that your social updates receive.

Having a large reach with low engagement is a bad sign because it shows that you don’t have a marketing message or content that resonates with your target audience. Reaching tons of people means nothing if they aren’t interested in what you have to offer or share. As long as your audience is engaged, no matter how small that audience is, it will grow organically.

Never underestimate the power of influence

 Who is talking about your brand and what kind of impact do they have? Influence could be seen as a controversial social media metric, but there are countless tools that measure social influence, and they all do it in different ways. But one thing they all agree on is that audience size does not necessarily relate to influence. Just because someone has a lot of friends or followers, that doesn’t mean they can encourage those followers to actually do something.

 

Based on past actions, we can make assumptions about how influential someone might be in the future. This type of potential influence is useful to decide who to reach out to when you’re preparing for a campaign.

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The art of the chase – leads

Once your social media accounts start gaining traction, it’s easy to get caught up in how many likes and shares you’re getting. It feels good to see people enjoying your content, but what about the bottom-line? To ensure you are getting the best from your social media efforts, you have to ask the tough question: how many of these engaged fans are actually interested in purchasing my product?

 

You might have an enormous following on Instagram because people love your photos, but how does that translate to new leads or sales? To put it another way, say you have a small following on LinkedIn, but it consistently generates new leads. Which one deserves more attention?

 

If you aren’t generating leads, you’re either on the wrong platform or your content isn’t engaging to your buyer persona. The sooner you identify the problem, the better – but you have to start tracking the stats to find out.

Know what has been said – the share of voice

Finally, to really understand how well you’re doing on social media, you should consider a share of voice metric. How does the conversation about your brand compare to conversations about your competitors? Determine what percentage of the overall conversation about your industry is focused on your brand compared to your main competitors. And learn from your competitors’ successes; since so many of these social media conversations are public, you can measure your competitors’ impact just as easily as you can measure your own.

 

If you’d like to understand how your brand measures up, or build brand awareness and a meaningful relationship with your audience, then get in touch with us.

We’d love to help you better understand the impact and effectiveness of your social media activity.

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3 Dos so you don’t get lost in communication

3 Dos so you don’t get lost in communication

By Danielle Scheepers

Posted on 24th January 2019

Good, clear communication is a powerful tool when used correctly. Just ask us, we’re a marketing agency where every employee has their fingers in 17 different pies at all times. Seriously, it gets intense and messages are bound to get lost among crossed wires.

Kirsten, our powerhouse project manager and web development guru agrees, ‘There is a lot going on and to keep track of – communication is crucial,’ she says. ‘We are a small agency and each has a role that nobody else plays, i.e. we each have key information to help each other do our jobs – there are no ‘back up’ people to fill in the gaps if someone is slacking in communicating.’ (Incidentally, Kirst is a champion communicator, just take a look at her blog posts on web development basics.)

 

Thankfully, this is not a blind spot, but rather an area which we are constantly refining with processes, templates and straightforward feedback.

 

The lessons we have learnt have been invaluable in helping us build good relationships with clients and one another. So helpful in fact that are too good not share!

Listen and learn

This may be the most important point on communication: listen before you speak. Many times, because of a fast-paced lifestyle and working environment we miss things. It is important to take note of points being made.

 

This not only fosters good relationship with the other person, but they may answer everything and provide extra information you didn’t know you needed if you gave them space to be heard. Do not lose focus: the minute you start building your counter argument, you are taking your attention away from the other person.

 

Make sure that you get all the information and understand clearly what is being asked of you by following these points:

 

– Ask questions if you are unsure of what you are being told
– Paraphrase the statement and repeat back what you have heard
– Try not to interrupt
– Do not assume that you know what is going to be said next

 

Simple, but very effective. This is golden advice for telephone conversations, specifically when it comes to names and details.

The importance of being earnest

Vulnerability is scary, but necessary if you want a tight knit team and an effective business which others trust. Thoughts need to be communicated to make sure everyone adds their unique viewpoint to a situation.

 

As one of our great lady bosses Dominique pointedly says, ‘no one can read your mind.’ 

 

This point is not only relevant for work, but also an important life skill. People really value fresh opinions and ideas – bring your whole self to work.

YDC_Blog_Speak-Designer_0000_Look

Help us help you

As an agency, we have been privileged enough to work with a variety of impressive clientele. You quickly learn that communication is one of the most important factors in delivering quality services.

 

So what is the most important thing to remember when briefing us on what your company needs?

 

Clarity.

 

Make sure to have a strong sense of the objectives to be achieved (more sales, interaction, brand interaction) and the timeline available to get it done. As projects progress, things change – this is normal, remember that you can save a lot of time and money by clearly communicating this to your agency.

 

Draft a quick email with bullet points and ‘cc’ all necessary parties, or call directly with a defined need. We will be on the other line, ready to jump on your clearly defined instructions and make marketing magic happen!

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How to speak the language of design

How to speak the language of design

By Anthony Horne

Posted on 16th January 2019

Designers… beings seemingly from another galaxy, all speaking a variant of an alien language that was created to confuse non-designers. From digital, to graphic, to web designers, no matter the type of designer you’re dealing with, often, it feels like you need to be a linguistics professor just to communicate with them.

This doesn’t have to be the case though, and in this article, I will go through some of the most common terms used by designers and try to simply explain what they are saying.

The acronyms

CMYK – a 4-colour process made up of cyan, magenta, yellow and black, that is perfect for printing.

 

RGB – a digital colour format that stands for red, green and blue, that works perfectly for any type of digital screen.

DPI / PPI – terms used to describe the resolution or clarity of an image. DPI (dots per inch) is a printing term used to describe the number of physical dots of ink that make up a printed document or image. PPI (pixels per inch) is a digital term used to describe the number of square pixels that show up in an inch of digital screen.

 

UI – user interface refers to the actual appearance of a designed website, app, program, etc. In other words, what you see on the screen.

 

UX – user experience refers to the flow and behaviour of a designed website, app, program, etc. In other words, what happens when the user presses, touches, clicks, slides, types on, or moves certain things on the interface.

 

CTA – call to action is a term used to describe specific text, an image, banner or button that uses action-orientated language to persuade a user to take an expected or predetermined action (e.g. Download, Add to cart, Register, Contact us, etc.).

 

CMS – a Content Management System is a software system used to edit the content of a website or app. It allows individuals with little or no technical knowledge of code to easily change images or text on a website or app.

 

HTML – Hypertext Markup Language refers to the markup language that is used to construct web pages and display content like text, images, video and links on the web.

 

SEO – Search Engine Optimisation refers to the method or process of increasing a website’s likelihood of being served up to web browsers that query relevant keywords.

 

CSS – Cascading Style Sheets refers to the code that developers use to designate how a web page should be presented to visitors. It formats the look and feel of a website, and sets the styles for fonts, colours, images, menus, etc

The file types

JPEG – Joint Photographic Experts Group is a common file type for images and is best used for images that have a gradient.

 

GIF – Graphics Interchange Format is a static or animated image type most often used in digital and web design.

 

TIFF / TIF – Tagged Image File Format is a computer file format for storing raster graphics images, most commonly used among graphic artists, the publishing industry, and photographers.

 

PNG – Portable Network Graphics is a raster-graphics file-format that supports lossless data compression, transparency, and is ideal for the web.

 

PDF – Portable Document Format is a file format that has captured all the elements of a printed document as an electronic image that you can view, navigate, print, or forward to someone else. PDF files are created using Adobe Acrobat, Acrobat Capture, or other Adobe products.

 

PSD – Photoshop Document refers to the default format that Adobe Photoshop uses for saving data.

 

AI – the file extension that refers to single-page vector-based drawing or artwork created in Adobe Illustrator that can also be presented in EPS or PDF formats.

 

INDD – InDesign Document refers to a page layout file designed in Adobe InDesign, that can also be opened using Adobe InCopy. INDD files contain formatting, content, styles, and linked files, and are most commonly used for Desktop Publishing to create books, magazines, newspapers, flyers, etc.

 

EPS – Encapsulated PostScript refers to files that contain vector-based graphics or images, that can be opened using programs like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDraw.

The words

Typography – the visual component of a written word. In other words, the art of arranging letters or characters in an attractive way.

 

Font – a collection of characters or letters, punctuation marks, numbers, and symbols.

 

Typeface – a family of fonts.

 

Kerning – the adjustment of the space between letters in a word.

 

Tracking – the alteration of the space for entire words or blocks of text.

 

Leading – the vertical space between two lines of text, also referred to as line-height.

 

Serif – the small flourishes at the end of the strokes in some letters (e.g. Times New Roman).

 

Sans Serif – sans means “without”, therefore a sans serif font has no serifs, meaning no small flourishes (e.g. Arial).

 

Script – a typeface that uses flowing, cursive strokes.

The look of things

Bleed – allowing the design to go beyond the edge of the page so that there is no margin. Most often used in Desktop Publishing and Printing.

 

Grid – lines used in print and digital to help align elements.

 

White Space – the area left empty to bring focus to other elements on the page or screen.

 

Gradient – the fading of one colour into another, or from opaque to transparent.

 

Padding –tThe space between a border and the element inside of it.

 

Margin – the space between a border and the element outside of it.

 

Contrast – when one element is completely different to another. Contrast can be created using colour, shapes, texture, size or typefaces.

 

Scale – the size of one object in relation to another element.

The web

Below the fold – the area of a web page or application that the user must scroll down to see.

 

Responsive – a website design that adjusts in size according to the screen it is being viewed on.

 

Wireframe – the basic layout or line drawing of a website that shows the structure of content on the web page without using any design elements, text or images.

 

Hex / Web Colours – colours used on the web, represented by 6-digit hexadecimal codes.

 

Web Safe Fonts – fonts that are pre-installed by many operating systems and can often be used on the web.

 

Domain – the name of the website that people type into a browser to visit it.

 

Favicon – a small icon image, often a company logo, that displays on the title bar or tab of a browser.

 

Hosting – the web servers where your website files are housed, served, and maintained.

 

Plugin – software apps that “plug in” to a Content Management System to allow a developer or designer to add new features and extend the functionality.

The branding

Brand Identity – the visual representation that outlines a brand in its entirety. This includes the values, mission and background of the company, as well as the logo, business cards, memos, packaging design, fonts, colours, etc.

 

Logotype – the name of a company designed in a visually unique way.

 

LogoMark – a symbol or mark used to represent a company without using the name of the company (e.g. the “tick” of Nike).

 

Collateral – the physical, visible objects that have been created to represent a brand. Collateral can include things like brochures, flyers, social media ads and even digital or print signage.

 

While a designer may go through this and think it’s child’s play, those out there not versed in the alien tongue of design can find the most basic of design terms confusing. This confusion can lead to frustration and in the end, an unhappy work environment or client relationship. So, the next time your designer starts blabbering off in some variant of Dothraki Design, just take a look at this list and hopefully you will have some clue as to what they are going on about!

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5 ways to create a world-class social media content calendar for your brand

5 ways to create a world-class social media content calendar for your brand

By Abdul Govender

Posted on 5th December 2018

As social media becomes more prominent for businesses, it has become that much harder to communicate with your audience due to over saturation. To stand out from the crowd, it is crucial that your content is engaging – to the point where people want to share it with their friends and family.

But before you start creating content, sit down and develop a content calendar and plan out your content for all platforms for a month, quarter or potentially six months ahead. Your content calendar could be really simple, using an Excel spreadsheet or a Google document, or you can use a specific app or template.

 

If you’re not yet convinced that you need a contact calendar as part of your content marketing strategy, read on and let us weigh in! You can include your newsletter, blog posts, activations and PR too – but this article will focus on social media.

The importance of date(ing)

Is it important to celebrate days such as #NationalBraaiDay or #StarWarsDay? It depends on your brand, your industry and your audience.

 

A social media content calendar can help you stay ahead of all the relevant social media holidays (not to mention ‘real’ holidays like Good Friday and Youth Day). You won’t miss any opportunities to elevate your brand and engage with followers on special dates. Here is an example of an Instagram grid we created leading up to #StarWarsDay – this was for our client hi-online

hi-StarWarsDay-IG

Consistency is king

Posting consistently is one of the best ways to grow your brand’s social presence — as no one will want to follow you if the most recent post on your profile is from a couple of months (or worse – a year ago!). A consistent posting schedule shows potential followers you are invested in the channel—meaning a follow will be worth their time.

 

Better yet, consistency trains your current followers to expect and engage with your content on a regular basis, nurturing long-lasting relationships that could ultimately lead to sales.

A social media content calendar will help you post consistently across all platforms by ensuring that content is planned and scheduled in advance.

Mix it up

No one enjoys friends who only talk about themselves – the same goes for brands online.

If you only post when you have a sale on, or a new product to offer, you’re not going to attain nearly enough engagement; and with the constant change in the social media algorithms, it’s guaranteed your once-in-while posts will get lost amongst the many brands who post consistently.

 

Of course followers will want to know when you’re having a sale, but they also want to see other types of content from you, such as curated articles, videos, user-generated content, personal interactions/ responses to questions and news from your industry.

 

There’s always the rule of thirds to remember:

–  1/3 of your content should promote your business or generates leads

–  1/3 can come from other sources that align with your business

–  1/3 should engage with followers directly, either through answering questions, responding to comments, or reposting user-generate content.

Time is always of the essence

People may ask: “Won’t it take more time to keep a content calendar up to date?” While it may seem so, the answer is “not at all”.

 

In the long run, making use of a social media content calendar (and keeping up to date) will surely save you time, especially when working on multiple campaigns at once. If you have a plan for your future social content, you can schedule your posts in advance (with tools like Business FacebookHootsuite or Planoly). Then, you won’t constantly be watching the clock. You may even be able to take a vacation.

Avoid cross platform slip-ups

It is known as a grave sin to post the exact same message on all your social media channels. Let’s be honest, we’ve all experienced it – asking your Facebook followers to ‘retweet’ you or tagging a brand on Twitter who only has Instagram – but it’s less likely to happen if you plan ahead.

 

As you can see, a social media content calendar is a continual work in progress. Always ensure that it’s up to date and that whatever you add is strategic and aligns with your overall business objectives. Also, don’t forget to have some fun!

 

Not sure where to start? Get in touch with us. We’d love to help you put your brand’s best foot forward and develop a sound social media strategy for your business.

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Black Friday: what’s all the fuss about?

Black Friday: what’s all the fuss about?

By Dominique Sandwith

Posted on 14th November 2018

The tradition of ‘Black Friday’ came about in the USA in the1950s, when customers took to the shops to start their festive shopping the day after Thanksgiving – celebrated yearly on the fourth Thursday in November. Although this expression is now world-renowned, this was not the case until the early 2000s when the rise of globalisation spread the tradition around the world.

A little history lesson

It’s not confirmed as to where the name came from. There are a few different stories, such as that in Philadelphia it was used to describe the disruptive number of pedestrians on the streets or more recently to describe retailers moving from being ‘in the red’ to being ‘in the black’ – therefore turning a profit.

 

Conventionally ‘Black Friday’ is a day of extreme sales with retailers trying to clear stock by discounting it by 50% or even more. However, despite the benefits for customers, the day is starting to get a bad name as customers go to the extreme to get the best deals – inciting violence and bad behavior to get what they want (a far cry from the positivity of Thanksgiving and all it stands for).

How to get involved

That being said, if executed in a professional way, jumping on to the Black Friday trend can be a good move for businesses – even down here in South Africa. Here are five tips to ensure that you take advantage of interested customers and make as much out of the day as possible.

 

1.    Start early. If you’re reading this in November 2018 and thinking maybe you’ll do a Black Friday sale this year – don’t! This should get you to start thinking about 2019 and planning this sale into your strategy for the year. Plan your offer as early as July so that you have three months to start teasing your customers and a whole month or more to really market the deal that you have decided to offer.

 

2.    Be prepared. Whether you’re going to do this sale in-store or online, you need to prepare for the worst. If you’ve done all this marketing and customers have a bad experience then you’ve lost out on an opportunity to convert new customers to loyal ones, and will have a hard time convincing customers to come back again.

 

Prepare your stock for the deal, ensure that you’ll have delivery way in advance or stock up for a few months before you pack it out on the big day.

 

For online sales, make sure your site is running fast, there are no broken links or technical issues and that the site server is prepared for a massive increase in users.

 

3.    Offer something once off. Make this promotion the biggest and greatest one you’ll offer this year. Since you’re planning so far in advance, you should have an idea of what sales you’ll be running for the whole year so make sure you build up to something that will catch your customer’s attention and stand out from your competitors. Whether it’s 30% off everything or 50% off certain items or a free X with every Y – it needs to be big. It goes without saying that you don’t want to bankrupt yourself though, so make it the biggest deal you can afford and market it as well as possible.  

 

4.    Communicate. It goes without saying that you need to communicate this deal as much as possible to every potential customer on every touch point. Be strategic with your message and consistent across all platforms.

 

This should include a good social media campaign (a bit of humour or satire will go a long way to stand out here), a few newsletters reminding them of the deal as well as one on the day which provides the relevant promotion code (if there is one), in-store marketing material if relevant or even some flyers in your area to get the word out. You can’t communicate enough here as this is your only chance to make your offer known.

5.    Deliver what’s promised. Once you get your customers to your store – be it physically or online – make sure you deliver what you promised. Many of these customers are brand new and may never have interacted with your brand before.

 

You want them to have the best possible experience with your brand. This means that they get what they were looking for, and if not because of stock availability then they are able to buy a lesser deal or ‘consolation prize’ if possible.

 

It also means they should receive excellent customer service and that you make your returns policy as clear and easy to follow as possible – in case there are a few that have buyers’ remorse after the rush of Black Friday chaos settles. If it means refunding one or two people, but gaining loyalty for future purchases – it’s worth it!

 

6.    Learn from it. Once the dust has settled and you’ve recovered from this very busy campaign, it’s time to look at what worked and what to fix or avoid next time. Go over your website analytics, look at the customer data and see who bought your products, report back to staff or management on how you felt the campaign went, and write it all down. The following year when you start your Black Friday planning you’ll be thankful for the notes and you won’t make the same mistakes again.

 

It’s not imperative to get involved in the Black Friday experience but one thing you have to keep in mind is that it’s all or nothing. This is one day that customers won’t just buy for a 10% discount, the competition is strong out there and customers will go where the product offering is the best for the greatest discount.

 

Whether you’re offering something in store or only online, make sure you’ve ticked all the boxes and your customers will reward your efforts with lots of sales this holiday season. 

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You service your car, right? What about your brand…

You service your car, right? What about your brand…

By Emma Donovan

Posted on 7th November 2018

If your brand was a car, what would it be? How often would you service it or buy new tyres? And when would you trade it in, possibly for the next model of the exact same car, just with better fuel consumption or a little more space in the boot? There is no right or wrong answer here, but those of you who own a car will probably agree that it’s better to service it regularly, rather than wait for things to fall apart.

So, what does this have to do with marketing? Our approach at Yellow Door is to be agile, adapt to trends and offer solutions to clients’ challenges before they even know that they exist. Just like the car mechanic who calls to say they need to replace your brake pads in a routine service.

 

One of the trends we’ve noticed recently is brands taking their marketing in-house. And we get it – budgets are tight and young, dynamic team members can take on a lot of the work.

 

But when last did you really take stock of how things are going, and anticipate what will happen next? What are your KPIs? And have you mapped out a high-level strategy for 2019?

 

When you’re focused on running your business it’s often tricky to find the head space to look at the big picture; but it’s crucial to stay on top of your game.

 

So, what’s the solution? We’d love to say we can clone you, or magically create a few extra hours in your day… but we’re currently based in Cape Town not at Hogwarts, so I’m afraid it’s going to have to be something a little more practical…

 

The good news is that we’ve come up with a marketing product that may be part of the answer – based on our belief that a fresh perspective and expert insight are key to continued relevance and matching industry benchmarks.

MarketingAudit-2

If we go back to our car analogy, think of it like going in for a service: your car (and your marketing) may just need a few tweaks; sometimes there is a bigger issue to resolve; and you eventually get to a point where it makes sense to invest in a new model altogether!

 

But I’m getting side-tracked and dreaming of my next car… so back to the marketing audit. Our objectives are to: 

·         Analyse what’s working and how to improve on your current marketing efforts

·         Suggest what else to incorporate or focus on

·         Give practical tips to implement these changes

·         Advise what to do in-house, and what to consider outsourcing

 

To keep the process as streamlined and effective as possible, we have come up with a simple five step process, which includes:

1.    An online questionnaire for you to complete

2.    Lots of research done by the Yellow Door team

3.    Feedback and practical ideas in a Word document

4.    A discussion via Skype

5.    A final strategy document which incorporates your feedback.

 

We’ve had great responses from clients so far, including Steph Herscovitz from The Wellness Web, a kinesiologist based in Perth, Australia: “It gave me new inspiration, ideas and direction. Having a holistic marketing strategy is something that often gets pushed to the side, yet it should be a priority in every business and doing this process reminded me of that. It was really refreshing having someone from outside the business look in and give me constructive feedback.”

MarketingAudit-3

We also did an audit for Conservation Travel Africa based in Zimbabwe, and Jane Palmer had the following to say about it: “Yellow Door’s marketing audit gave us an invaluable insight into our current branding, social media and online activities. Their identification of our business challenges and suggestions for solutions and strategic improvements far exceeded our expectations. They have enabled us to focus on our core areas and develop an ongoing action plan.

As an agency, we have found them to offer a great mix of creativity, professionalism and personal touches.”

 

And that’s what it’s really all about for us – personal relationships, a professional approach and out-the-box thinking. We love collaborating with our clients and working with them to get the right mix of in-house and agency work done. Email us at hello@theyellowdoor.co.za if you want to find out more, or if you’re ready for us to take a look under the hood of your brand

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Lights. Camera. Instagram – a practical guide to improving your feed

I love learning. Seriously, we recently recapped our Gallup Strengths Finder results as a team, and two of my top strengths are related to gathering knowledge. So, when Em and Dom let us research and present a topic of our choice for our monthly challenge I had to suppress very real outbursts of joy.

But what to choose?! I wrestled through the mountain of skills that I wanted to possess and there it was, my ever-elusive unicorn: photography.

In this case, specifically smart phone photography. You may know from my previous blog post that my role is resident wordsmith, so this is more than a little out of my comfort zone. I mean, any person with working fingers and a smart phone can have an Instagram feed. Then again everyone can pick up a pen and write, but what is it that sets average and excellent apart?

Hunger.

I wanted to be great. Not just your average Joe that is scraping by with a sepia filter, but the kind that grabs your attention and keeps it. As a team we encourage one another to continually up our clients’ Instagram feeds, and implement practical ways of doing so. What follows is a summary of many hours of YouTube tutorials and Instagram stalking to glean the basics from the best in the business.

Wax on wax off

The golden lesson we all learnt from The Karate Kid. Sometimes the process of learning something valuable happens way before actually doing it. How can that possibly apply to photography, you ask? Like this: start with your mind. Not in a mystical, ethereal, meditation-but-no-action kind of way, but in practically observing the world.

Notice how you view certain things and what you are naturally interested in, then focus on how best to share that viewpoint with the world. For example, are you big picture focused, positive and ambitious? You will notice things that speak to that in your everyday life, include those in your feed. We apply this to our clients, by getting to know them and what they care about on a personal level and then packaging it in a fresh new way to speak to the right audience.

Tell the story Daniel son. (nods wisely)

Coincidence? I think not.

Great photos make you feel as though you stumbled onto the perfect moment. They’re composed in a way that makes the shot look natural and interesting. What you don’t know is that you are looking at shot number 63 of 95 taken and it was one of seven that ultimately made the cut. There is no perfect formula, but here are a few helpful basics to get you started:

  • Rule of thirds: if you divided your screen into a grid with two horizontal and vertical lines intersecting, the points where they meet are where you would place your subject. Most smart phones have a built-in grid option you can select to help you.
  • Angles/ perspective: don’t make the obvious choice when capturing something, move around. Go above and underneath, get really close up, think out of the box.
  • Framing: frame within a frame, or as I like to call it – frameception. Try to place your subject within a door frame, arch, window, etc.
  • Lighting: try to use natural lighting and shadows.
  • Rule of odds: for whatever reason, people prefer an odd number of things in a shot. So, choose three instead of four, unless you want to make people uncomfortable – you rebel you.

Manipulation station

Editing isn’t only useful for making us feel embarrassed about our distinctly un-photoshopped features; it is also useful for setting a cohesive theme for your Instagram page. As pointed out by famous photographer Phil McKinney, “Instagram is like your online portfolio.” People want to look at an aesthetically pleasing page overall as much as every individual photo.

Although there are filters available on the Instagram app, most serious photographers use a combination of a few to create the result they want. A few good ones include: Snapseed, Facetune and Viscocam, all available through the app store.

Bang bang

Final piece of advice, have fun making mistakes. It is going to happen with everything you do and is an invaluable part of learning and will help you figure out what your storytelling style is. Ultimately, you want to connect with people through the personality of your business. Whether you do that with slick editing, tons of personality, or maybe a bit of both, stick to your guns to guarantee more hits than misses. Happy shooting!

[Want to see the brilliant, ridiculous things that go down behind the Yellow door? Follow us here.]

3 reasons why hosting a workshop will add value to your business

Recently Yellow Door was given the opportunity to host a social media workshop for 20 established local entrepreneurs. The workshop was arranged for them by government arm SEDA (Small Enterprise Development Agency) and we were selected as the service provider.

As project manager, I was responsible for putting together a schedule for the day. Each of us was given a topic to research and talk about – yes, even if we were not the in-house pro! – and we set off researching and compiling our presentations. The only person who did not have to speak was our designer Ant – he had enough of a job having to make all of our key points neat and presentable!

We practiced and polished off our presentations and the workshop, held at the Bantry Bay Suite Hotel, was a resounding success! We all had great fun, learned a lot, and have realised that hosting a workshop is potentially a complementary service offering for many types of businesses – even if this is not their primary offering.

Here are three key motivations for you as a business owner or professional to run your own workshops:

  1. Position yourself as the industry expert

It’s all good and well to offer a product or service, but are you willing to stand up in front of a crowd of people and teach them, in real time, on what you claim to provide? Hosting a workshop is a sure-fire way to show that you are confident enough in your offering to put your money where your mouth is and are available to be questioned and challenged about what it is that you do.

A common misconception is that only service providers can host workshops – but producers of products and goods are just as well-positioned to equip the general public with the skills that go into creating what you do best.

Wouldn’t you love to attend a day out at a beautiful wine farm and see what goes into your favourite glass of vino? Or have a hands-on session in the kitchen of Cape Town’s best burger joint – enabling you to replicate these in the comfort of your own home – not to mention taste every step of the way!

By bringing interested people into your work space, be it service- or goods-related, you will:

  • give a real face to your brand
  • enable people to learn from the master
  • add credibility to what you expect people to pay you for.
  1. Network

Hosting a workshop is a fantastic way to meet and get to know potential clients. We didn’t host our social media workshop with the sole purpose of converting leads. However, we had a room full of attendees who were interested in learning more about marketing and we would be very happy to assist many of the businesses we got to know a little better at the event – be it now or only years into the future.

Standing in a room filled with entrepreneurs is also awesome simply to get to know some of the brilliant minds in your area. All these people have created fantastic and thriving businesses, and we can no doubt learn from or make use of many of their products and services.

As an ice-breaker, our copywriter Dan ran a speed networking session – attendees stood in two lines, facing each other, and each had 20 seconds to pitch their business to the person standing across from them. Then one line shifted one person down, and repeat. Within five minutes each attendee had heard a handful of incredible business stories.

Think about the business you own and what sort of niche tools you can impart to people from other industries or those who are simply interested in you/ your business. You never know – your next employee or client could be sitting in the crowd…

  1. Learn

There are several opportunities to learn throughout the process of putting together and hosting a workshop. If you are dividing topics between yourself and your employees, and your levels of knowledge vary between 7/10 – 10/10 on certain topics you specialise in, intentionally assign each person the topic they are least knowledgeable in. This is the surest way to ensure that this is an internal growth opportunity too – not to mention perfecting those public speaking skills!

Another way in which we learned was during the workshop itself. It was fantastic to have attendees that spanned a range of ages and backgrounds, thus ensuring a room full of diverse perspectives.

We anticipated – in fact, we hoped – to be put on the spot and asked a question we did not know a full answer to. Ironically, we do believe that the first step to be an industry expert is to acknowledge that you will never truly know everything, so it is fantastic when questions come up that we had not necessarily covered or considered.

In our case, we learned that we need to learn more about the future of chatbots, as well as the legislature regarding taking photos at events and using these without requesting the featured persons’ permissions.

We encourage you to acknowledge you won’t ever know everything, but take advantage of the fact that hosting a workshop will get you a little closer, as attendees bring diverse perspectives and queries that you might not have considered.

We were also reminded how much we enjoy planning and hosting marketing workshops – and that we would love to do it again! For any inquiries please contact us at hello@theyellowdoor.co.za to see how we can help you.

7 Steps to master the 80/20 revenue model

We are often so focused on new leads that we forget to master the art of upselling and cross-selling. To generate more income from existing customers you need to focus on quality over quantity, and be strategic in your approach. Here are seven steps to help you on your way.Understand what you want to achieve

When you upsell, you encourage customers to buy a higher-end product or service than the one in question – such as an airplane seat with more leg room. Whereas cross-selling tempts customers to buy related products that satisfy additional, complementary needs. A simple example is when you check out of an online store and the shop tempts you to buy similar or complementary products that you suddenly just can’t live without!

Tip: Identify which one makes sense in your business, and what the additional or complementary offering will be.

Nurture relationships

Long-standing relationships and loyal clients are worth their weight in gold. Make sure they know they will remain a priority, even when you are busy with bigger or more profitable projects.

Constantly over-deliver and exceed expectations. Make yourself ‘irreplaceable’. 

Provide solutions

Don’t presume you know what your customers want or need – do your homework and ask them. You need to understand their hopes, dreams, fears and challenges. Three simple ways to do this are to:

  • set up regular one-on-one calls
  • catch up over coffee
  • or email them a quick survey to complete.

Add real value

Ask yourself, ‘how can I help this client achieve their goals or overcome this challenge?’ You need to find ways to add real value to make the additional expense worthwhile. Also make sure your pricing is fair and competitive, without selling yourself short.

For example, one of the products we cross-sell at Yellow Door is video content. It’s a key part of a holistic marketing strategy and is a great way to bolster content for launches, social media and newsletters.

Paint a picture

To excel at upselling and cross-selling, you need to help customers visualise the value they will get from the higher-priced item. Whether it’s a 30-second video, an infographic, or a well worded email – take the time to explain not only what the product is, but how it will benefit them or their business.

Incentivise

Offering a reward or incentive can increase your upsell or cross-sell conversion rate. For example, offer free shipping or a discount if the client purchases two or more products or services.

Create capacity

Ensure your team has the expertise and capacity to deliver the relevant service or product at the right standard. Alternatively, find a non-competing service provider to complement your offering and agree on a referral or commission structure. This way you can expand your offering without increasing your overheads.

The key to success is to understand what your customers value and then respond with products, services or features that meet those needs.

Find your passion and learn how to market it

Our co-founder Emma and our happiness coach Tammy Godsall are hosting a workshop together in Harare, Zimbabwe on 12 October 2018. We chatted to them both to find out more:

Who is the workshop for?

Tammy: The workshop is for anyone who wants to live a life of freedom and happiness, being their own boss, doing what they love and making money from it.

What will people attending the workshop walk away with?

Tammy: They will come away with clarity on their strengths, passions, key business stories and values, and how they can begin to turn that into a business and a brand that they love.

Emma: they will also gain the confidence to invest time and energy in to their marketing, with a plan in place and clear idea of what to prioritise.

What will the ‘find your passion’ bit of the workshop entail and focus on?

Tammy: I will be covering my Passion Clarity framework that covers 5 essential steps to take to begin to discover your passion and do the work you love.

What aspects of marketing will you cover?

Emma: the focus will be understanding the big picture when it comes to marketing – where to start and what to focus on. There will also be plenty of time for questions.

What will the take home pack include?

Tammy: An inspiring workbook packed with useful and practical exercises to help them find their passion, plus helpful resources and a 1-1 coaching discount.

Emma: a practical how-to guide for social media, links to relevant articles and a discount voucher for anyone who would like Yellow Door to conceptualise a holistic marketing strategy or build a website for them.

Do I need to book in advance?

Emma: yes, we have limited seats so email hello@theyellowdoor.co.za to book and pay via RTGS to confirm your spot.

Where will it take place?

Tammy: Bowood Lodge, 8 Bowood Road, Mt Pleasant, Harare

More about Tammy & Emma

What is the first thing you do in the morning?

Tammy: Walk my dog with my husband where we discuss our objectives for the day. J I love being in the outdoors, and being with my favourite people / fur-baby.

Emma: I either swim or run, or write in my journal. I love starting the day with something that makes me happy and clears my mind.

What is your passion?

Tammy: Personal development and learning – I could do it all day every day. I love to then pass on this inspiring information to my clients by creating programmes, talks and through coaching.

Emma: to inspire my team and my clients, and to make the most of every day.

What do you love most about what you do?

Tammy: That I have so much purpose and meaning in my work. That my time here on earth is being used well, that I am using my gifts and talents to help others, that I am being useful and making a difference.

Emma: every day is different. I meet interesting people all the time, and have the opportunity to add real value to their businesses.