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If you like food journals, you’ll love…

Food Journal - Marketing Journal

I just wrote down the ingredients of my egg sandwich in my food journal (sprouted grain English muffin, duck egg, avocado, sweet potato, greens, red onion, sour cream), and had this stroke of insight: before you can improve, you need to know where you are. Yep, not incredibly original, but powerful. There is a reason this food journal thing is so popular among nutritionists – it is simple enough, and it just works. It reveals information and patterns you maybe knew at some level, but didn’t see clearly (or maybe pushed into the blind spot). How about we take that same tool for marketing, too?

Day 1-4: Journaling. Day 5: Insights.

Here are your instructions: For the next four or more days, keep a piece of paper (or something classier or more techy) near your work space. Every night, note what you did to market your practice, how much time you spent on it, and how you felt when you were done. Energized? Excited? Overwhelmed? Frustrated?

On day 5, look at what you’ve got. What marketing activities seem to go well with your personality and style? Which ones do you need help with? And which ones are just a pain in the butt and maybe not even not worth doing?

Also, look at the amount of time and energy you invested. Are you happy with it? Do you have an inkling that you’d feel better if it was less?

Marketing Journal Confidential: Email me!

If you’re not sure what to make of your patterns, I’d love to help out. Send me your journal and I’ll do my very best to uncover the hidden gems of insight!

Vice versa, if you have any suggestions on how to make my egg sandwich any more awesome, please spill them!

p.s. That photo shows my typical breakfast during my stay Iceland (delicious coffee not pictured) – not quite the shape of an egg sandwich, but comparably awesome.

 

Basic image fixes made super easy.

PicMonkey

Hello, beautiful blog readers, I’m just stopping by to give you a quick intro to one of my new favorite tools: PicMonkey. Let’s go!

Why you should care:

Well, images are super important in marketing (we already knew that). Images are what make your website and print materials so compelling, they get shared on social media platforms, and they help you convey your message and reflect your brand. And they do all of that so much better if they are optimized for the medium – you want them to look crisp, have the right proportions, and load fast.

Three basic functions

Of course there are a lot more functions and things to experiment with on PicMonkey (yep, all our favorite hipster photo filters, too), but for now, let’s just look at three basics: dimensions, file size and watermarks.

Dimensions

In some cases, there are ideal dimensions for an image. For example, your Facebook cover photo should be 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall (as of August 2012). You can adjust the dimensions of your image in PicMonkey to fit that perfectly – just go to the Resize tab, set the width to 851 pixels and then crop the image to the right height (or vice versa).

Size

When you are using your image online, you want as small a file size as possible without compromising quality. To do that in PicMonkey, you don’t even need to know what size would qualify as “small” – just choose one of three settings: Mel (not great quality, tiny file size), Evan (good quality and file size), or Russell (awesome quality, large file size). You’d go with Mel for online, and Russell for print materials.

Watermark

I am including this because I am working with a phenomenal photographer and true artist right now, and she might want to add her watermark to her photos when she showcases them online. On PicMonkey, upload your photo and click on the icon with the heart, star, and comic bubble on the far left – that’s the Overlays tab. Then select “Your Own” to add your logo or signature to the image.

There are a bunch of other online photo editing tools out there, so if PicMonkey isn’t hitting the spot for you, maybe try Pixlr, or Photoshop Express.

Is this a good idea?

Marketing Experiments

You’ll know whether your marketing idea is a good one when you see the results. Before then, you can make an educated guess, based on expert advice, or your friends’ experiences, but you don’t really know.

What works for your friend or another professional in the field may not be a good choice for your business. Your people may have different needs and preferences. You may not have the same skills, or the same resources. Your business model and the ecosystem it is part of may be different. Or maybe things have simply changed.

I really like that thought. It’s empowering. It means that you don’t have to figure this out in your head. Instead, you get to experiment! You don’t need an MBA, or get someone’s permission, or take much of a risk. You just need to be curious, ready to let go of assumptions, and take action.

Here is a road map for a simple, small-scale marketing experiment:

1. Pick one idea you want to test.
For example, let’s say you want to know if it’s a good idea to write guest posts for a well known blog in your field.

2. Decide how much time – and, if required, money or other resources – you want to dedicate to the experiment.
Go with an amount that feels comfortable to you. In our example case, you might say you’ll take an hour and a half to write an awesome post, another hour to communicate and coordinate, and then another one to track and evaluate the results.

3. Take action!
Write and submit that post, launch that Facebook page, tweet away!

4. Track the results.
It’s amazing how much invaluable insight you can get here, especially when it comes to online marketing. There is a bit of a learning curve with those tracking tools, but it’s not rocket science. If nothing else, look into Google Analytics, so you can find out how people got to your website – and ask new clients how they heard about you, when you can.

5. Draw your conclusions.
If you spent three hours and get x new clients and y new subscribers to your newsletter, is it worth the effort?

If it works for you, do more of it. If not, move on.

{Photo by zhouxuan12345678 on Flickr.}