3 Simple Ways to Support Black Businesses

Do you talk the talk and walk the walk, *|FNAME|*?

Everyone is speaking up during this time and that is fine and dandy. However, I like to consider myself a woman of ACTION. It’s time to put your words in motion.

I have decided to stop focusing on the world at large and instead, focus on my community which ideally, would impact the globe if every person I touch, shares these thoughts and ideas with someone else, and so forth.

For starters, as a black-woman and business owner, I have faced microagression and implicit bias since the day I stepped foot into my professional career. My goal is to now begin to educate my peers when I witness them displaying acts of microagression and implicit bias to others.

What does microagression mean?
A microagresion is a statement, action, or incident regarded as an instance of indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against members of a marginalized group such as a racial or ethnic minority.⠀

For example: If someone says, “Wow you’re so articulate!” OR “I never would have expected that from a woman with your background!” ⠀

What is implicit bias?
This refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.

While I believe that some people truly do not understand they are being offensive at times, it is 2020. So…..excuses are running out and patience is running thin.

If you want to support the black community but you’re not sure where to start, here are 3 simple ways you can support black businesses today.

1. Use your platform to amplify black voices and businesses.
If you’re hosting a conference, a podcast, or special event, consider putting black people in the speaker line up.

2. Choose black-owned venues and spaces for your events.
There are PLENTY of amazing ones. Do your research and at best, consider these spaces for your next event.

3. Pay full price for products and services.
Do not expect discounts! Pay full price like you would any other business.

Also, let’s stop the narrative that black businesses lack in customer service. That is not true. I’ve had great and terrible service from all types of businesses. General statements like this put a negative connotation on black businesses and is harmful to the community.

We all have to be willing and open to learn and grow. Try these 3 very simple ways to support today!

3 Things to Do Before Outsourcing Marketing

TJE Communications has officially turn 6 years old and as a company, we have experienced some ups and downs when it comes to business and clients. I say “we” because I’ve had my fair share of interns and strategic partnerships who have helped me move the needle along the way.

I took another look at my target customer as I was preparing to step into full-time entrepreneurship, and I realized some of the clients I had worked with were truly not ready to outsource their marketing services. Which ultimately contributed to some of those partnerships ending; on a good note for the most part.

Before you decide to outsource your marketing efforts, here are three things you should try first:

1. Try to DIY One (of the many) mistakes I have made in business is not asking a prospective client if they’ve tried to handle their digital marketing on their own or with another marketer in the past. If I were to ask you this question, would you say “yes” – or would you say something like, “I would, but I don’t know how.” If the answer is the latter, you should not outsource marketing. What you should do instead is invest in gaining marketing knowledge through webinars, conferences, seminars, and trainings. Then, try to do it yourself. Once you’ve done this for a minimum of 6-12 months, if you still feel like you need help….check out steps 2 & 3.

I’m sure you’re thinking…”why does it matter if I’ve tried it myself?” What I’ve learned over the last 6 years is that until you have tried it yourself, or had someone else before me, you truly will not understand or value having a marketing consultant on your team.

Digital marketing is more than just posting aesthetically pleasing photos to Instagram. It takes consistency, strategy, and advertising dollars to build real campaigns to drive revenue for your business. On top of that, digital marketing does not equal social media marketing. Digital marketing also encompasses email, content, vlogging, and so much more.

2. Ensure you can pay for marketing services for at least 3 months — If you’re planning to outsource marketing services, make sure you can pay for them even when business is down. Most marketers require a retainer and a contract where you are committing to pay for their services for an agreed upon time. Just because business is down for you, doesn’t mean you get to forgo your contracts.

I get it, if business is down, you can’t take care of your family. But guess what…marketing professionals have a family to take care of, too! When you pay your invoices late, or not at all (both have happen to me), it is a poor reflection of business.

To avoid this issue, make sure your money is in order so that you can be certain you can fulfill your contract before signing on the dotted line.

**Also keep in mind if you do have issues paying your invoices, just communicate! Most people are willing to be somewhat flexible when life happens. 

3. Have a clear understanding of your business goals — You can’t bring someone in to help you promote your business if you don’t understand your business either. When you bring in a marketing professional, we’re there to help you take your brand to the next level. But if you don’t have the foundational pieces in place, then we don’t have a solid ground to stand on.

Yes, the marketing consultant you hire can help you with the foundational aspects of your business. However, you must keep in mind that by doing this, you are taking time away from them doing actual digital marketing strategy. So you can’t fault them if you’re “seeing no results.”

If you’re unsure if you have your business goals and messaging in place, instead of hiring someone to help you with digital marketing, hire someone to help you with business strategy and then try implementing some DIY digital marketing strategies. Or, if you can get your business strategist and marketing professional to work hand-in-hand, that’s even better! Both of these people are equally important and need each other to produce great work!

Now that you’ve read through this, do you still think you’re ready to outsource your marketing efforts? If yes, then go for it! Having a skilled digital marketing professional on your team can help grow your brand tremendously – especially if you’re willing to spend a few dollars on ads.

If you read this and realized you’re not quite ready, that is awesome! It is better to know now than to get yourself caught up.

Need help deciding either way? Schedule a FREE 15-minute call with me today. Click here to schedule.

How to Determine KPIs

There’s no cookie cutter plan or strategy for your business. Every company model relies on a major key element to keep the brand moving forward.

For social influencers, it may be followers and engagement. For someone who makes candles, it may be conversions and sales. As a business owner, it is up to you to determine what KPIs matter for your business.

What are KPIs?

KPIs = key performance indicators.

According to KPI.org, “Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the critical (key) indicators of progress toward an intended result. KPIs help provide a focus for strategic and operational improvement, create an analytical basis for decision making and help focus attention on what matters most.”

Why do KPIs matter?

When you have a clear understanding of your goals, you’re able to create a real strategy to reach them. You’re also able to better articulate your message to potential partners and customers.

How do I determine KPIs?

First, you need to have a clear intended result. If you’re running a sale and your goal is to make X amount of dollars, there should be an expected revenue or sales goal in place as you’re building your campaign.

Secondly, you need to consider what drives the bottom line for your business. If sales and revenue move the needle for your brand, then focusing on followers and engagement is a waste of time and resources.

Lastly, you need to be realistic with your KPIs. If you’re unsure about what your goals should be, consider performing an audit on your business to understand the trends of your business before putting KPIs in place. Check out out audits here!

What are some common KPIs?

Here are some common KPIs to help you get started:

Likes/Reactions – The amount of times people have interacted with your post on social media. On Facebook, people are able to react with your post with a ‘Like’, ‘Love’, ‘Wow’, ‘Sad’, or ‘Angry’.

Followers/Page Likes – These are the people who  have decided to stay in the know about your brand or business by agreeing to receive updates on their timeline about you.

Reach – The amount of people who have seen your social post or advertisement.

Impressions – The amount of times your post or advertisement has been seen. This is very similar to ‘Reach’. Here’s how it is different: if three people have seen your post, but you have ten impressions, that means between those three people (reach), your post has been seen ten times (impression).

Engagement – This combines the amount of likes/reactions and comments on a social post. Do you know your engagement score? Find out here.

Conversions – Typically this is when someone takes a desired action such as making a purchase or providing you with their email address or contact information.

Need help setting KPIs for your business? Schedule a 15-minute discovery call to walk us through your concerns. We would be happy to help! Click here to schedule today.

Here’s Why You Need Content Calendars

By now, you should know that I firmly believe content is the QUEEN and the key to all businesses.

Think about it…

  • Netflix has ENDLESS original content you can consume any time of day
  • If you have cable, you are probably super involved in the lives of more reality tv personalities than you can count
  • Close this browser and head over to YouTube and you will find multiple shows, movies, tutorials, and music than your brain can even handle
  • Social media is full of influencers giving us laughs, cries, and advice about life and business

Everyone is searching for the secret sauce when it’s been right in front of us this whole time. CONTENT!

Here’s why you need a content calendar:

  • Allows for strategic planning
  • Helps track past content
  • Can be used later to understand what’s working, and what is not in your strategy

When I’m talking content, I am NOT only talking about social media. This includes:

  • Social media
  • Email campaigns
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Whitepapers
  • Case studies

And seriously so much more…

The best part about planning content, is that it removes the anxiety that comes with knowing you have to put content out there. By having a plan, you can focus on other aspects of your business. 

If you never had a content calendar or don’t even know what it entails, it only takes 3 major steps.

1. Know the type of content you want to produce and how long it will take to produce.

2. Pick days/time that work best for your audience.

3. Find a scheduling platform that supports your needs.

Simple enough, right?

My goal for 2020 is to create more content! Join me by grabbing your $5 content calendar today. Click here.

Happy content calendar making!

Social Media: How to Stay Consistent

Social media marketing in 2019 is filled with noise and ever-changing algorithms. The key to success no matter what you do is consistency.

Yes, that means you can’t post once a week to your social media pages and expect to see any traction. You should be posting a minimum of once per day. If that sounds scary, here are a few simple ways you can stay consistent with posting.

  1. Create a plan – Content planning! As you’ve heard me say before, content planning allows you to be strategic and takes away the stress of not knowing what to post. If you’ve never planned your content before, grab my content calendar and get started!
  2. Set expectations with your audience – Every Tuesday my audience knows that I go Facebook Live. And trust me when I don’t, people ask me about it! When you have set the expectations, you have to give the people what they want, right? Create your staple piece of content that people can look forward to and keep them coming back for more.
  3. Schedule your posts – Do you think I’m sitting around posting on social media in real time? Absolutely not! I use a social media management tool that allows me to schedule my content and it even provides me with recommended posting times for the highest engagement.
  4. Find an accountability partner – You’re not in this alone! There are times when I am so busy I get behind on scheduling my content. Find a buddy that you can check in with when you see them lacking in posting and vise vera.

We’re playing the long game here! Try one, or all 4 of these tips and see which works best for you. While you’re at it, sign up for my 7 days to social media series. In this series you will receive 7 days of prompts and tips to help you post on social media everyday.

Why You Need to Know Your Target Audience

Can we agree that wasting money is not fun? If you don’t know who your target audience is, that is exactly what you’re doing; wasting money.

There are so many reasons why having a clear understanding of your ideal customer is important. Here are my top 3 reasons that have personally impacted my business.

  1. Attract the right clients – I started by business in 2014 without a clear vision into the services I would offer or who I would offer them to. Once I was able to nail down my offerings, I was able to create a strategy to bring in the right clientele.
  2. Offer the right products and services – When you know who your audience is, you understand what your customer needs. Which is amazing because you’ll know exactly what to offer them! In the beginning I had WAY too many offerings which can be confusing for a customer. Sliming down my offerings and creating sub-categories on an as needed basis has been extremely beneficial for my business.
  3. Intentional marketing – Once you know the customer, you probably know where to find them! This has helped me to be intentional in all of my marketing efforts online and offline. Which has allowed me to make a profit and go into my business full time.

I’m currently in the process of identifying new potential clients and I’m excited to hit my next ‘aha’ moment. If you feel like you’re hitting a brick-wall in your business, it may be time to re-identify your target audience.

Join me for an interactive webinar to learn how to truly understand your customer. Take advantage of the webinar + consult ticket to get the webinar for FREE and a 30-minute business consultation where we can talk more in depth about your business goals.

4 Steps to Prepare for Holiday Emails

‘Tis the season for email holiday prep! If you don’t already have a strategic plan in place, it’s time to get the ball rolling. Here are a few ideas to get you ready to spread some cheer through email marketing.

Create Your Content Calendar

You all know I love a good content calendar! The point of having this calendar is so that you can begin to plan your overall marketing strategy throughout the holiday season. Your calendar should include content, graphics, and which channels those pieces of content will live.

If you are planning to do some boosting/promoting or creating advertisements, include your budget and the channels in which your ads will be placed.

See below for an example of what my content calendar looks like.

I would recommend creating a rough idea of content through the beginning of January. We all know how busy things can get around the holidays. This will help you stay on track.

Clean Your Mailing List

It’s the perfect time to clean your mailing list and reengage inactive subscribers. Start scrubbing your list by removing soft bounces. If you’re using a system that does not automatically remove hard bounces (God forbid), then remove those as well.

Side note..

Hard bounce: This happens when you send an email to an address that does not exist.

Soft bounce: This can happen if a subscribers mailbox is too full, their server is busy, or maybe your message is too large for their inbox.

To get subscribers reengaged, try sending them an offer code for a percentage off their next purchase with you. If they still don’t open your email, you may want to consider to removing them from your list to increase your deliverability and open rates.

Segment Your List

Segmenting your list is just as important as cleaning it. By creating segments, you’re able to truly send targeted messages to your subscribers.

For example: Let’s say you’re a candle maker and you have 100 people on your mailing list. 10 of them have only purchased your cinnamon apple scent. You can send those 10 purchasers an offer to try your other cinnamon apple products such as wax melts or essential oils. Or you can try to entice them by giving a coupon to use on a new scent.

Create Your Drip Campaigns/Email Automations

Now that you have your content calendar planned, and a clean-segmented list, begin setting up your holiday drip campaigns and automations. You should have automations in place for new subscribers and current subscribers. Once the funnels are in place, all you should have to do is plug in your content and let the workflow do it’s thing!

I am excited to introduce new products throughout the holiday season! I have currently created a plan through November and currently working on December. Have you started yet? What are some things you are focusing on? Comment below and let me know!

What I’ve learned in 4 years as a business owner

I didn’t even realize it had been 4 years until LinkedIn reminded me! Now we’re at 4 years and 1 month and in the last few years my life has significantly changed. I graduated college, purchased my first home, become a mother, bought my first car, and not to mention the physical, mental, and emotionally toll that those things bring.

I have had some really low, lows. I’ve also had some successes. Most importantly, I’ve gained wisdom. Here’s a few things you should keep in mind as you grow your business while not losing yourself in the process.

Support is not a given.

You want to know something? Let’s keep it real. Your friends and family don’t believe in you….yet. In my first year or so I had people “support” – share a post here, a RT there. But majority were still skeptical of what I was trying to do. Some still are. Save yourself the disappointment by understanding that support is not a given. Just because you’re besties or related, doesn’t mean you automatically get the support. It’s a hard pill to swallow but you have to respect it. Focus on building and giving people a reason to follow suite.

Stop giving away your shit for free.

Seriously. I’ve had soooooooo (I really want to put a billion o’s but I don’t have enough time for that) many people take advantage of me because I started off giving them free stuff. I thought of it as a way to “build my portfolio” and “gain some experience.” When in reality, people would take advantage of the free and when it was time to pay up, they “no longer needed” my services. Even IF you’re doing free work, you damn sure better be getting something in return.

Routines are mad important. 

I have a fairly strict daily routine for myself that keeps me on track! If I shy away from the routine even just a little bit, I have to accept the fact that I’ll be lacking in other areas. Trust me, I am FAR from perfect. And, no, I do not always hit my daily or even weekly goals. However, at least having them set gives me a general idea of what I should be doing for my business everyday.

Get you a hobby, or two.

I cut cable because I realized I was wasting so much time ready to hit the bed at 8PM so I could lay up and watch every reality television drama you can think of. I mean all of it. Sure these shows are still great in my mind, I had to shift my focus and truly get a hobby.

When I decided to stop working out to lose weight, and start working out to feel great, fitness quickly became a hobby. I compete with my own best results, and I find new ways to challenge myself and test my limits.

Working out truly allows me to clear my mind and relieve stress. If you want to keep a level head in your business, I suggest if you don’t have a hobby (like me until recently) you should do some soul searching to find out what makes you happy – other than your work.

Keep it cute.

People are going to try you, and that’s perfectly fine. Once you decided to become a business owner, you began representing something bigger than you. For me, I hope to build my businesses and hand them down to my daughter one day. That is why it is important to behave professionally at all times. As much as my want to “pop off”, it’s important to keep it cute. You never know who is watching you!

Make your seat unique. 

It’s 2018. More than likely there’s somebody doing what you’re doing. Your job is not to focus on how you can be like them, you need to focus on how you can stand out while staying true to your brand. Once you create a niche for yourself, you’ll be able to be more strategic and you will be much happier!

Disconnect.

Lastly, I’ve learned that at least a few times a week I need to shut it down. No phone, no email, no laptop, nothing. I enjoy taking a step back and just being present. All of the “noise” will still be there when you plug back in.

Thank you to everyone who has been along for the ride! I look forward to seeing where we are at 5 years.

Yes, PR Matters.

I love social media and the digital world like any other millennial marketer. But before Facebook and iOS Press Releases (only millennials will get this joke, sorry) there was good ol’ fashion public relations – aka PR.

Yes, PR matters and it should still remain a vital piece of your overall business strategy. If you don’t currently have a PR strategy, here are a few things you should think about to get started.

What’s the difference between PR and marketing?

Public relations is EARNED media, marketing is PAID media.

Why should I care about PR when I can pay for media placement?

Sure, you could pay for media placement. But wouldn’t you rather earn your full page article in that top magazine than pay for it? Would you trust a media publication that let you pay for good publicity?

If you want to be authentic, you have to earn your stripes. PR allows you to do that.

What exactly can PR do for my business?

Having a great PR strategy can help you earn media placement on a local, or even national level. This can help you extend your reach and potentially gain new customers.

What are some key items that should be apart of my PR strategy?

There are three keys items that should be apart of your public relations strategy:

    1. Media Kit: This should be updated per product release, new service, or new business venture.
    2. Media Contacts: Don’t abuse your contacts, and don’t be too general. Your pitch should align to the interests of the person you’re reaching out to.
    3. Crisis Communication Plan: If something goes wrong in your business, (i.e. someone gets sick from your product, your product malfunctions, someone slanders you or your company) you should have a plan in place to mitigate potential issues. Your plan should include scenarios that are relevant to your industry. For example, if you own a makeup line, you should have a plan in place for the possibility of someone getting an infection or rash from your products.

Technology will continue to advance and we will gain more and more access to one another. However, the basics are what they are – the foundation. You should find a creative way to incorporate “old school” ideas into your new age strategy.