According to Instagram, "by 2021 mobile video experiences will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic." Additionally, Instagram reveals that younger consumers are "spending more time with amateur content creators and less time with professionals" (re: TRUST). So... why does this matter? Well, if you're not creating video content in 2021, you're missing a MAJOR opportunity to engage with a huge demographic of conscious consumers. And if THAT statement feels oh so intimidating, don't panic. The next generation of video has arrived and it's MADE for amateurs like us to be able to use AND make an impact with. And, with greater discoverability through the standalone IGTV app and Instagram pushing video content in its algorithm, even us amateurs have a solid chance of being seen. So, if you're ready to hop on the video hyperloop (that's new-age talk for "train"), we've created a step-by-step guide to strategizing for and creating your own IGTV and Reels. So, read through this post, take a deep breath, hit "record", and have some fun!
Ready to get started? Here's how to create an IGTV for your business.
Step 1: Strategize
Before you hit "record", get clear on the intention behind using IGTV. This is your video content strategy. This will likely look slightly different than the strategy you use for your static Instagram posts because it is a completely different user experience. A few questions to consider:
If you’re not sure where to start, look to similar brands or accounts to see how they’re utilizing IGTV. Pull some of your favorite ideas but make them unique to your brand and message.
Step 2: Set a Design Aesthetic
Likely this will be the same as your Instagram feed in terms of color palette and visual aesthetic. Ideally your audience will already know who’s IGTV they’re watching without having to look at the username. This kind of brand recognition builds trust with your audience making you the go-to/expert of the topic they follow you for.
Here are some things to consider when setting your design aesthetic for IGTV:
IGTV Content Ideas
Quick Facts About IGTV
Step 4: Create
With your strategy set, you are ready to create and share. Here is the step by step process to creating your first IGTV:
Here are some examples of a few companies successfully using IGTV to speak to their audience:
Wildling Beauty uses IGTV to share how their products help alleviate pain points through a number of different series like "tension and stress relief" and "soften lines and wrinkles".
The North Face shares interview-style IGTVs along with videos that shed light on their philanthropic efforts.
Visit the USA highlights swoon-worthy destinations across the US with a mixture of captivating travel videos.
Instagram’s explore page is exploding with Reel content making it a surefire way to reach your target audience. Unlike the longer format IGTV’s, Reels are quick, digestible 15-30 second videos often set to music. Like IGTV, Reels has its own tab on your profile which will appear when you publish your first video. Reels are highly shareable because users can share them to their story, explore page, and have the option of sharing them directly to their profile.
Even more advantageous for brands working to be discovered, Reels has its own explore page which you can find on your regular explore page at the very top. They are also dispersed throughout the explore page, giving your Reel a higher chance of visibility!
That brings us to the 'ol algorithm. While there hasn’t been any official statement about the Reels algorithm, it feels different than regular static posts. From our experiments with it, it is likely influenced by who you follow, the kind of content you interact with on a daily basis, and your geographic location.
When deciding on what lane you want to be in when it comes to Reels, which will likely differ from IGTV simply based on the time constraint of a Reel, Music can be a super fun way to experiment. Take a look at the other videos that users have created using the same audio as you. For example, if you want to create a Reel and put it to ‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac, see what other users are doing with that song and perhaps you can jump on a fun new trend!
Step 1: Strategize
Similar to IGTV, strategize what kind of content you want to be known for on Reels. With your strategy, you will be able to make sure you never miss an opportunity to connect with your audience, especially on a viral trend. Viral trends are usually synonymous with specific songs, so take a peek at the trending song options Instagram provides you with and consider planning out some content using a viral song or two.
Step 2: Set a Design Aesthetic
Just like with your static posts, and your IGTV, and your website, and your newsletter, etc. etc. - brand cohesiveness counts! So find your aesthetic, and thread it throughout all of your digital content, including your Reels.
Step 3: Plan and schedule your Reels
Like IGTV, seasonality and current trends are very important to consider when planning and scheduling your Reels. With Reels, trends are key! With its shorter format, Reels are meant to be fun, less serious and more inspirational in comparison to longer form IGTVs.
New trends are popping up every day in the digital world so consider leaving some wiggle room for thumb stopping content in your editorial calendar. Allow your Reels calendar to be more flexible in comparison to your static posts and IGTVs so that you can adopt trends more fluidly.
We recommend using Reels as an extension of your brand to reach a larger audience. Plus, the great thing about Reels is you don’t need any fancy equipment to create entertaining videos- all you need is your iPhone and a little creativity.
With the chance of landing on the explore page being greater because Instagram is pushing video content, perhaps you consider using Reels as a means to an end. Share exclusive content while still pushing users to the link in your bio or providing them with an exclusive discount code.
Step 4: Create
You can create your first Reel either through the Instagram stories menu (appears the bottom when you create a story) or through the plus sign found at the top of your profile. Here is the breakdown:
Here are some examples of companies successfully using IGTV to speak to their audience:
Good Jane shares Reels to share relatable humor that speaks to their target audience.
Visit Norway uses Reels to share quick clips of its breathtaking landscapes to elicit the travel bug in viewers who will hopefully add this destination to their bucket list.
Instagram is constantly expanding the space for users to share content. With all the latest additions trending toward video content, we highly recommend brands find a way to participate. We hope our guide provides you the encouragement to give it a try! Let us know how it goes.
Are you ready to spend more time doing this...
and less time doing this?
We thought so.
The words "Digital Marketing" often invoke a sense of panic over the elusive, ever-changing tools that we can’t seem to live (or run our businesses) without. We’ve hear it constantly, marketing is always the thing that is put on the back burner in small business. Whether it’s because of time, or lack thereof, not fully understanding the tools at your fingertips, or simply not wanting to put in the time and effort in to setting it up - it just doesn't get done.
Creating a digital marketing plan is a sure-fire way to set your business up for success. A plan implements accountability into your marketing to ensure you consistently provide value to your audience, build trust, and establish a loyal repeat customer base.
Below are 7 ways to take you can bring automation into your marketing efforts, giving you more structure and in turn, more time each week to work on other aspects of your business... or escape on your next adventure.
Create A Content Calendar and Auto-Schedule Social Posts
Creating a monthly content calendar filled with a month ahead of posts, including images, copy, hashtags, and links, takes the guesswork out of what to post from day-to-day, saving you time on the regular. What’s more, Facebook recently released its Creator Studio. This is the content planning hub for Facebook and Instagram. It allows users to create posts and schedule them out on both platforms. Scheduling posts means your Facebook and Instagram accounts nearly run themselves, aside from engagement.
Schedule a Monthly Newsletter
Designate a set amount of hours each month for your newsletter. Build your newsletter into your monthly content calendar, and align the newsletter concept with the content happening in other areas of your marketing, like blog posts or social media channels. This creates cohesive campaigns each month across all communication channels. Using tools like MailChimp, you can create your newsletter ahead of time and schedule it to send on your desired date.
Set up Instant Replies on Facebook Messenger
We’re not always able to answer customer questions right away, which is where instant replies via Facebook messenger becomes a worthy tool to implement. Instant replies enables a pre-determined message to be sent as your page's response to new messages from potential customers. A simple way to do this is by creating a message to let customers know that you will respond soon or to thank them for getting in touch.
Add Messenger Bots on your Website for FAQ's
On that same note, setting up automated messages, also known as chat bots, on your website helps support your customer experience, without you personally having to hand hold through the process. This sort of conversational commerce also can re-engage customers that were mindlessly browsing your website or left something in their cart, can help with customer service inquiries like tracking a package or booking an appointment, or even can suggest a product to try.
Set up Goals and Track Conversions in Google Analytics
First let’s cover what a goal means in Google-lingo. A goal could be a customer purchase on an ecommerce site, downloading a .pdf, completing a contact form, entering an email... the list goes on. Basically it the completion of a set action that you define.
Setting goals allows Google to generate the conversion rate of your marketing campaign or initiatives, showing the effectiveness of your marketing methods so that you can evaluate (maybe even re-evaluate) your plan. Once you set up your goals initially, Google Analytics will continue to track them automatically for you over time.
Create Automated Freebies
There are so many different freebies you can provide your customers with depending on your business. Examples include: sending a discount code when someone signs up for your newsletter, including a free sample product when someone spends $50 or more online, or sending a thank you email with a coupon for a customer's next purchase. The best part of these freebies - you can set them up to happen automatically, so you just set, forget, and watch the new and return customers roll in. Maybe website platforms and email marketing platforms offer features or plugins to set up these automated marketing tactics.
Add Shopify to Instagram
If you’re a shop owner that offers goods or services, integrating your shop within Instagram gets rid of click barriers (like needing to leave the app) so customers can complete the purchase seamlessly, in turn - selling more product. Once you set up Shopify and upload your product catalog, Instagram becomes just another way customers can purchase your goods online, while your off exploring the next beautiful place on your bucket list.
Last month we touched on the 5 ways to grow your Instagram audience. So, what do you do once you see your audience start to grow? You can’t just leave them hanging! Here are 4 ways to nurture your Instagram audience.
Write Engaging Captions
Writing long form captions, often referred to as microblogging, is the easiest way to connect with your audience. Captions let you to share your personality and breakdown barriers a follower might feel which builds trust and connection.
If you’re unfamiliar with a microblogging caption, simply put it’s essentially a mini blog post! It’s important to make your point in the first couple of lines of the Instagram caption that way your followers don’t have to click ‘more’ in order to understand what the rest of your caption will be about. This is also known as "the hook". These kinds of captions encourage users to save and share posts, which increases the likelihood of growth while fostering and providing value to your current audience.
Here are some prompts that start with a hook:
Pro-tip: Make your captions fun and conversational, encourage followers to chat in the comments, and make sure you’re responding to comments in a way that continues the conversation or generates leads. And, if you're including other businesses in the post, make sure to tag them!
Get to Know your Audience
It’s safe to say, connection is King (or Queen) and believe it or not, we can achieve real connection through Instagram.
Instagram Insights are a great tool to use to have a baseline understanding of your audience like where they’re from, gender, and age ranges. And while these are important things to know when crafting your social media strategy, going deeper is where the good stuff is.
But how do you go deeper other than asking questions in your captions? Using the Instagram polls and questions features in stories is a great way to get to know your audience. Your business is providing a service to your consumers, and, in order to add value to their lives and nurture the relationships, you need to understand your people.
Here are some starter questions to get you thinking about your own poll:
By getting to know your audience, you begin to establish trust. But remember, it’s a two way street, which leads us to our next tip...
Create a Face for your Brand
Establish your Visual Aesthetic
On such a visual platform, it is important to keep your unique visual aesthetic in mind. We mentioned in last month’s post the importance of consistency, having a cohesive color palette and style of imagery when fostering your current audience and continuing growth.
This is why keeping your business account separate from your personal account is important. Chances are your customers don’t want to see last week’s girls’ night out, your day at the dog park or your Instagrammable lunch- unless of course you own a restaurant.
Your audience wants to see your products, understand how you can solve their problems, and where exactly you add value to their lives.
Establishing a visual aesthetic in terms of color, edit and type of photo lets your audience know what to know expect, when to expect it, and that they can consistently rely on you for that type of content.
You can schedule your posts out on apps like Unum, Planoly, and Later. This allows you to visually see how the photos look next to one another, ensuring you are not posting a similar photo every day. Some of our favorite ways to edit photos is through Lightroom, VSCO, and the TezzaApp. We also recommend scheduling out your posts to make sure you are not sharing too much of the same type of content.
At the end of the day, you get what you give when it comes to Instagram (and, well, life in general). If these tactics feel overwhelming, tackle them one at a time, maybe even one a week over the next 4 weeks until you can establish a routine. Remember, not every post has to be groundbreaking with hours of production and editing behind it! It just needs to speak directly to your audience and add value to their lives.
How do you nurture your Instagram audience?
Building your Instagram audience with quality, engaged consumers may feel like a very slow climb up a very tall mountain. With these five recommendations implemented, the feat will become less daunting, and you may even start to enjoy the journey.
Identify your niche, and stick to it!
This may be one of the hardest steps for fear of putting yourself or your business in a box. But it doesn’t have to feel like that! First, identify your brands message, what is the one thing you want to be known for, or as an expert in? What do you want people to keep coming back to your account for? Nailing down an overarching niche will create trust with your ever-growing audience and help you build a better relationship with them right off the bat. Once you get clear on your message and passion, content will flow seamlessly.
When you’re searching for hashtags, especially when you’re just starting to grow, it’s important for the majority of your hashtags to have 100,000 uses or less. This allows your image to, more likely, be seen by a wide, targeted audience, rather than being buried by a bunch of posts from users with a greater reach.
Using hashtags also helps with being reposted by accounts with a larger audience which increases your chances of gaining more followers that are interested in your niche.
We also recommend following the hashtags you are using. That way, you are always (and easily) interacting with similar accounts because the posts are shown directly in your feed.
Remember, your hashtags should always be relevant to the content you are sharing. Just like we don’t recommend “keyword stuffing” on your website, don’t hashtag-stuff your posts with irrelevant tags.
Set a schedule for the coming month to determine what products and services you want to promote, write captions and make sure all of the content is organized. Being organized for the month ahead is a sure way to hold yourself accountable so that when a client, customer or follower comes to your account they know they can count on you for information, and that your account is worth following because you are always providing new information or insight.
Utilize all of the features Instagram offers.
Instagram favors accounts that are early adapters of new features and those that use all of its’ features. This means instead of just sharing a photo and closing the app, the algorithm loves it when users are sharing stories, Reels, IGTVs and going Live! Not only does Instagram love it, but your audience will too. Providing this sort of bonus content goes a long way with building trust and reliability with your audience.
All in all, Instagram is about fostering a virtual community that trusts you, your business, and your brand. By sharing quality content and valuable information Instagram users are more likely to find value in following you.
Looking for more guidance on your social media journey? Contact us. We love this stuff.
MW: You have a varied background, tell us about your professional evolution.
CH: Since 2006 I have been working in my family’s Lobster processing business, I have worn a lot of hats: product development, sales and marketing, operations, and now VP. It was here that I really understood that, for a business to be successful, they must how to tell your story to someone who may not have the vaguest idea of what you inherently know so well. My favorite part of my job is telling the story of the lobster; from the boat it was caught on all the way to working with chefs and at-home-chefs who will prepare or eat the final product.
In 2016, I went in the complete opposite direction and opened TULA studios in South Portland. It challenged me to use my business acumen in a completely new-to-me industry. I went all in. I learned so much about the wellness industry. This business was about taking something that I love so much (health, wellness and fitness) and turning it into a profitable business. I did this by understanding the market and the clients needs, and creating a solution to what the market didn’t have. I was teaching barre, yoga, aerial yoga, and spin in addition to running the business. So, I really put myself in the middle of things to be able to tell the story of what our business was to both the seasoned athlete and the novice.
MW: With a resume like that, it seems you would be a big thinker when it comes to marketing. Tell us about how your experiences shape your ability to see the big picture for other businesses.
CH: Having a very diverse background professionally and personally, I see stories and opportunities through a multitude of different lenses. This has been particularly helpful as I help others tell their stories and promote and grow their businesses.
MW: You're studio recently closed during the 2020 Pandemic. What did you learn?
CH: So much! Life is full of surprises, we know that, but we never could have seen this coming. I made the decision to close TULA after looking at the big picture; how businesses were adjusting as the world was sheltering in place, what was core to our business, and how to not only keep the business in existence, but profitable as well.
Ultimately, I decided that the business was the physical space and that offering a virtual platform of classes was not going to substitute what we could no longer offer. The big lesson: sometimes you need to eliminate things in order to make space for growth in other places. I look back at TULA and see so many little lessons gained along the way, a lot of branding and marketing, a ton of management, in addition to teaching. As I closed the doors to the studio, it has opened up a lot of time and energy that I can now dedicate to something else I really love.
MW: So, what's next?
CH: Since closing the studio in May, I have been able to re-evaluate where I want to put my time and energy that isn’t spent running the lobster business. I moved back to Stonington, which is where I want to spend every moment that I’m not working and in these days of ‘virtual’ everything, it’s been great to be able to continue working remotely from my little nook of the world. Professionally, I’m really looking forward to taking all the skills I’ve been honing over the past few (or 20?) years and using them to help small businesses tell their story and identify growth opportunities that they may not see because they are so busy keeping their wheels moving forward. I’m excited about helping people see their business through a new set of eyes and work with them to take their business and their digital marketing to the next level. Mindwell has been an amazing opportunity for me and I have loved every business that I’ve had the pleasure of working with!
MW: What do you love most about digital marketing?
CH: Digital is everything - or, everything is digital? Especially during these times. It’s almost like we have this opportunity to present ourselves in parallel to our physical self and we have so many platforms to do this in a calculated and intentional way. We really get to choose how we want to tell our story, in both words and visual aesthetics. That’s why I love digital marketing - we get to tell stories and build something.
MW: Why is a digital marketing strategy so important for a growing brand or business?
CH: In running a business, it is easy to go down a rabbit hole. That is why it is so important to step back and continuously check in with yourself and what you’re doing. Have you been trying so hard to make one thing work because you’re feeling determined? Or, is it time to re-evaluate and re-route? When we have a strategy, ultimately, we’re defining goals and outlining the path to get there. Things will always be a work in process and we must be able to respond to the unexpected, but ultimately, our strategy is getting us to the next targeted goal.
MW: What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to brands marketing online?
CH: Clutter. And unnecessary bullshit. There is so much happening in the world, I appreciate clear and concise calls to action for clients and prospective clients, and I love when businesses give answers to questions without having to ask. I joke that the only thing I learned in University was KISS. It might be the cheesiest, but most relevant, thing in business school: keep it simple, stupid.
Yes. There is that grit I was talking about :)
Ready to work with Caitlin? Contact us to begin.
If you meet Hannah on social media, you will quickly be consumed in her stories and photos, always a blend of beautiful scenic vistas and plenty of inspiration. When you meet Hannah in person, the experience is the same. Her big smile instantly gives you the welcome warmth of someone you feel you have known your whole life, and her laugh makes her stories even more enthralling.
Hannah's story is one most of us have dreamed about: Start a blog, quit our ‘job’, travel the world. She has combined her skills and passion for photography with her love of travel and has nailed the ability to tell a story that is gripping and inspiring.
As we often learn, Hannah shows us that coming home can also be as fulfilling as traveling the world, and after five years of living abroad, Hannah has returned to Maine for the foreseeable future. We are thrilled to have Hannah share her skills with Mindwell's clients, from brand photography to social media content writing. Her skills in story-telling have proven successful through her personal business and now she will help to uplevel our ability to tell your story.
MW: You have an interesting story about how you became a social media influencer, tell us how that happened.
HR: I started working in public relations shortly after college and soon discovered I was “missing” something in this newfound adulthood, so, as we millennial's do, I started a blog. I kept things local, shared personal style tips, and skin care routines.
Things really changed for me in December 2015 when I entered an Instagram contest held by Lesley Anne Murphy, who was once on the Bachelor and had become a main source of wanderlust for me from her travel blog. The prompt for the contest was: “What’s on your Asia travel bucket list for 2016? Find Asian influences in your area or from your travels. Share destinations that inspire and motivate you to seek out new cultures, cuisines, and adventure.” The reward, if chosen, was a trip to Asia with Lesley Anne Murphy.
I had never entered anything like that, and to be honest, I had never really been overly vulnerable about sharing on Instagram. Since I had never been out of the country, I pulled all my inspiration for the contest locally. I told my visual story with posts from Asia West, which I always envisioned to be similar to the markets in Thailand and Bali.
I ended up being chosen and we met in May 2016 at Boston Logan International Airport before boarding our direct flight to Hong Kong. We were fast friends (thankfully). We ended up spending 4 days in Hong Kong and then on to Thailand for 10 days. I still can't believe that story, even having lived through it.
After our first trip to Asia, we returned and went to Bali. I haven't stopped traveling since!
MW: That is an amazing story, what inspires you to continue to share your story on social media?
HR: Sometimes when I put my thoughts out into the world, it's scary. But when one person messages me or comments on a photo telling me they've discovered something within themselves from my words or photos, it's fuel to the fire. It keeps me going, it makes me want to keep creating, it makes me want to keep sharing. If I can inspire someone to get outside, explore, or take a leap, every hardship is worth it.
MW: What drives you crazy about social media?
HR: This 'need' to gain more followers. I've always thought, quality over quantity. Having a small, dedicated following that interacts with your content is more important than having 500,000 followers with little engagement and interaction with your content. Create artfully and the rest will fall into place.
MW: You have an obvious love of travel, but where did that come from? And, what have been some of your biggest lessons that you have learned through travel?
HR: I think I was born this way? Ever since I was a child I remember dreaming of far off places, namely Machu Picchu.
My biggest lesson from traveling has been my sense of independence! Shortly after Bali, I quit my full time job in public relations and entered the freelance world. This forced me to become self reliant and go after what I want. (What I want to write here: THAT I DON'T NEED NO MAN ;))
MW: The pictures you take are incredible and inspiring, how did you learn about photography? And who takes all of the dreamy photos of you when you are traveling solo?
HR: My mom was always taking photos of landscapes, animals, and me. I watched the way she used her camera, what angles she would shoot from and where she sourced inspiration.
When I’m traveling, it depends! Sometimes a stranger, sometimes a tripod or someone else I met along the way that I might be traveling with.
MW: You have managed to secure the dream job - traveling for a living. Tell us about how you have managed to combine your love of travel and photography into your full-time job?
HR: Some of my favorite work is creating content for states and other countries. It's an honor to be selected to share my version of that place, my creative eye and my stories. Some tourism boards I've worked with are Visit Boulder, Banff & Lake Louise Tourism, and Visit India.
MW: It’s been almost 10 years since you started your first blog and you are currently in the process of a rebrand yourself, what made you decide to rebrand? And, what are some of the biggest things you have learned from this decision?
HR: Honestly, I’ve outgrown the original version of my business. It’s been a natural evolution, one that I didn’t see happening in real time. But reflecting on that, I can see all of the pivotal moments that directed me to a rebranding. I will always love my first business, my first blog, for everything it has brought me. But I’m not the same person I was when I started it and my brand should reflect who I am, now.
I’ve learned two things. 1. It is a process and your initial thought for what it would look like in the beginning will evolve. And it will continue to evolve even after launch. That’s okay! 2. It’s totally normal to rebrand and outgrow versions of your business! It’s all part of the process of delivering your message to the right audience.
MW: How would you advise a business to grow their social media following?
Create engaging, thoughtfully, and artfully curated content. Provide value to your audience and engage with them.
Ready to work with Hannah and the rest of the Mindwell team? Reach out! In the meantime, be sure to visit her (new) website, listen to her podcast, and follow her on Instagram.
As we near years end, inspiration to achieve goals and set resolutions feels virtually endless. While I do believe that goals are immensely important, I find one major flaw in the non-stop stream of Instagram posts reminding me to make 2020 my best year yet. Very few seem to be talking about HOW to achieve said goals. It can sometimes feel like we are just supposed to manifest our dreams and cross our fingers that they happen. Call me a realist, but I'm just not convinced that is going to cut it. Achieving goals takes effort and follow-through. Although a worthy part of the process, no beautifully crafted vision board alone is going to get you there. The best way to create goals that actually stick is to first - dream big; THEN make a solid plan and stay consistent.
Now, please don't throw your vision board into the fire and archive your motivational Instagram posts. These elements have their place. If you've gotten this far, you are well on your way to successful goal achievement. My five step process to creating goals that actually stick is designed help you fill in the missing pieces for the rest of process.
Step 2. Visualize
Settle in to a quiet seat and start with a few deep breaths. Now, can you picture yourself a year from now? What does this look like? How do you feel? Write this down (or create your vision board) to begin to embody this visualization.
Here is an example of how this might look.
Goal: Increase my Number of Clients by 3 per month
Action Step: Use my social media channels to build brand awareness and attract more potential clients to my business.
Task: Spend 15 mins/day engaging with my target audience on Instagram.
Step 5. Review
Review your goals and progress weekly. It is important to set measurable expectations for each goal, and have a system in place to report on those expectations. Applying a quantity to your goal means that, at the end of the week/month/quarter, you can review your results and make informed business decision on your strategy. Am I seeing progress? Where do I need to shift? Remember - this part is not always linear and does require some critical thinking. Perhaps you only had one new client, but your social media following grew by 25 followers - this is still growth! Now... how do we get those social media followers to convert to clients.... a post for a different day ;)
The year I graduated college I left home and moved across the country to live in the Rocky Mountains. My first "professional job" was working the front desk at a luxury hotel in Vail, Colorado. Thinking back now, it wasn't a bad gig, but at the time - I hated it. I remember calling my dad to complain, and he responded "Holly, you are not always going to love your job." to which I firmly replied, "I refuse to live that way."
At the time, my mind had no idea what the future held for me. But as it turns out, my heart knew.
Today, as I sit at my kitchen table, fitting in some writing before I hop on an Energetic Mastery + Business Strategy call with my coach, I can fully recognize a movement is happening. It is happening within me, and it is happening around me.
Perhaps this shift is on my radar because I am just days off a Women's Intuition Retreat, or because I am working with a coach who brings this topic to light in the most affirming way. Perhaps this movement has been happening for quite some time, and is just now reaching me. Whatever stage it is at, I believe this movement extends far beyond my circle of influence. I believe this movement is rippling across the globe.
This movement we speak of is a transition to a business model where wisdom and intuition meet to make decisions. A model where rest and balance are as valued as hard work and success. A work environment where women do not give away their power, act small, or feel undeserving of their worth. A space where abundance flows and a scarcity mindset has no place at the table. A position that does not require outside validation because we stand firmly in our purpose.
If you're thinking to yourself "What the hell happened to Holly and who is writing this post?!?"
Stay with me.
Now here is where the shift occurs - I have made the conscious decision to be mindful of the energy of my business. I've found an amazing mentor, I am surrounding myself with other like-minded business owners, I am working to adopt tools in my daily life to help me recognize and end any self-limiting behaviors, I am creating boundaries, I am doing the work.
Let the record show I have never been one to believe that if I sit back, love myself and manifest my dream life that it is just going to happen. Nope! I don't buy that for a second. I still firmly believe hard work, knowledge, planning and motivation are KEY to success.
That said, I now realize there is a place in the middle that feels better. That I can trust both my intuition and my wisdom when making business decisions. That rest fuels my creativity. That I have to value my own skills before my clients ever will. That I can attract and deserve the most amazing clients. That, when I become crystal clear on my intention, I no longer require outside validation. That I can do business differently.
In closing, one final piece of wisdom that I feel must be noted when discussing this shift:
"The Rising of the Divine Feminine is not a Fall of the Patriarchy. It is a meeting in the middle."
The shift starts within.
If you would like to take a deeper look at the messaging of your business, if you are ready to connect with your ideal clients, if you are craving more organization, creativity and ease with your marketing strategies - reach out. Let's make this shift happen for you, too.
Whether it's your website, your business page on Facebook, or your airbnb vacation rental listing - nailing your digital presence could mean the difference between business, or lack thereof. No matter the channel, successful digital marketing most always stems from identifying your target client and marketing to their pain points. Therefore, perfecting your vacation rental profile means knowing your ideal guest, understanding their needs, and positioning your rental as the best solution.
In addition to being the solution to your guests vacation needs, you must also cut through the clutter of ALL the other listings, and provide an authentic, positive and memorable guest experience before your guests even step foot in your home. To make things even more interesting, this all has to happen within the confines of your listing site. To do this well can be challenging. However, given the current travel market, the drive for authentic experiences, and the surge of shared-economies - I deem this a challenge worth pursuing. If you are reading this, I'd say you do, too. To make this challenge a bit more manageable, here are a few tips to consider when perfecting your vacation rental profile:
Don't Over-Promise and Under-Deliver
When making large ticket purchases on the internet, such as a vacation, convincing your consumers to trust you is one of the biggest hurdles. One of the best ways to grow trust is though social proof, meaning - guest reviews. Now, the quickest way to get yourself a bad review is by not being upfront or honest about your offerings. To avoid this, definitely do not over-promise and under-deliver, and don't leave out important information that would change the guest experience.
That said, there are ways to be honest without selling yourself short. For example: if your house is a block from the beach, do not list it as "oceanfront." However, be sure to let your guests know just how quickly they can walk to public beach access. If your loft is in the middle of a busy, downtown district, I wouldn't say "city noise is a problem." But I certainly would say something like "located in a lively, urban area," so guests know what to expect.
Market to Your Ideal Guests
If your property is an ultra sleek bachelor pad in the nightclub district, I probably would not describe it as "family-friendly." If your property is a yurt on an organic goat farm, I wouldn't recommend marketing to business travelers. These examples are extreme, but you get my drift. Often times we are afraid to define a niche because we don't want to "miss out," however I assure you there are plenty of business travelers, just as there are plenty of families looking for rentals. If we can identify and market to our ideal client, we end up offering a much more positive guest experience. This leads to better reviews and more business.
There you have it, folks - a few tips to help perfect your vacation rental profile. Oh, and one last piece of advice - don't forget to block out a few weekends for your own enjoyment before your listing calendar fills up! If you need any assistance putting these tips into action, email me - I love this stuff.
Have you ever had an idea that you know is a great one, but when it comes time to execute – fear takes over and you wish you had never thought of said idea, because now you actually have to put yourself out there? Yeah… me too.
This blog post happens to be one of those ideas. In fact, if I am being honest, my work as an entrepreneur is chock full of one frightening idea after another. One thing I have learned in the first year of running my own business is that putting yourself out there is terrifying. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. (In many cases, all signs point to the exact opposite. More on that later.)
It was not until the responses began to arrive that I was able to settle back in to a place of self-assurance. The lessons shared by this powerful group of women are sincere, relatable and sage. Fear had no business in the conversation. These women are not playing small. Here’s what they had to say.
What is a standout lesson you have learned as a female entrepreneur, and how has it shaped or shifted the path of your business?
Jaclyn Gallo, owner of Ritual Art of Wellness opening this fall in Cape Elizabeth, has this to say: "Progress isn't always linear and success doesn't necessarily mean you're moving forward. As a female entrepreneur I have had to figure out how to navigate being the primary caregiver for my family, honor a pregnancy, birth and postpartum journey with the time it requires, and most importantly show up for all of these things and people… while running a business.
The ebb and flow of my family and life means that sometimes I am abundantly energetic and full of creativity and other times, I don't have anything left to give. This has led me towards what I like to call a Yin Business Model. A more feminine approach to business has allowed me the freedom to decline opportunities which don't align with my highest priorities."
Full-time Yoga Teacher and Co-owner of Maine Yoga School, Margo Rosingana, responds: "No matter how many blogs, articles or newsletters I read about being an entrepreneur, nothing comes close the direct experience you get through trial and error. I realized that I have to figure out what works and dive in fully. I've made so many mistakes in launching Maine Yoga School, but each time I mess up or a post falls flat, I learn something new about myself and what I have to offer. It inspires me to be even more clear about my message and to fully get behind my mission. Through this refinement I find I'm more willing to take risks."
"I've also learned how important it is to work with actual human beings. I tend to be fiercely independent, thinking that I can do this work alone. I now realize how important it is to seek out guidance and support from other women who have the skills that I need."
Brand Strategist and Photographer, Elle Darcy, writes: "The biggest lesson I have taken away in the years of owning my own business is how very important it is to have clear, laser-focused niche. When I first started out (and I see this all the time with my clients) is that I was marketing to and working for any and everyone because I was nervous to not have steady income or steady clients. Ironically, the more I narrowed down and became really clear about who I would best serve, what I actually wanted to do, who I wanted to connect and create with, and who would most benefit from my services - my business grew exponentially. I’m a firm believer that you can’t stand out if you are too spread out, so I would say to any female entrepreneur: get super clear about who you are, what you want do, and most importantly, who it is that you serve — because it’s the fastest way to shine a bright light on your business!"
Caitlin Hathaway, co-owner of TULA studios in South Portland, shares: "I started to write this 100 times, and each time, I started over because it wasn't the 'perfect' lesson that I have learned.
And that, in itself, is the lesson. Nothing is perfect. We don't have the answers to all the questions. We do the best we can, with the best intentions. We show up for ourselves, for our friends, our students, our community. Each day, we take one step further. There is no finish line; no ultimate goal. We celebrate each small success; we learn from each small failure. We hold each other up in support, encouragement, and in being there for each other. There is no perfect answer for anything.
When I started out, I had a clear vision of who I was and what I wanted to do - and two years later, from each success and failure, I've shifted my path into an entirely new definition of what defines 'success'. My standout lesson, is to celebrate the small wins (yours and your people's) and to follow what serves you, and shed the layers of the things that, either aren't working out, or just aren't your thing. We have no boundaries except for the ones we create ourselves."
I am a marketing professional with a passion for wellness and community.