Digital Marketing

Why Keeping Your Social Media And Digital Marketing Up To Date Is Important For Your Business Health

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One of the accounts I work with is a user-generated content account where I repost content from paying community members, as an additional way to market for them. Right now, these accounts are smack dab in the middle of their busy season. They aren’t keeping their channels updated because they are so busy running their business. Not updating is entirely understandable. You, as a business owner can not wear all the hats, run the business, write content, and post the content all while taking care of themselves, their families, and their other personal commitments. Something has to give, and most of the time, I have noticed that it’s their digital marketing that gets put on the backburner.

While this is an understandable situation, I am here to advise against this happening too often to you. There are inexpensive and even free resources to keep your accounts up to date; it just needs some planning in advance and setting aside a few hours during the week to update the scheduling applications.

In this day in age, we all as customers have become accustomed to interacting and engaging with a brand on we feel like we know them in real-life level. We think of brands as a part of us and the smaller ones we might even feel a personal connection with the owner.

The flip side to this is that it could be attracting other new people to your feeds via locations, hashtags, and search terms. If these new people visit your feed, see that you have not posted in months or longer, they may scroll right past you and choose to do business with someone who is keeping their feeds up to date and current.

Both of these situations are not ideal for your business because, in a world where our attention span is about three seconds, a society we are continually fed content from every direction existing and customers could forget that you even exist if you are not staying at their top of mind.

A few suggestions to avoid this situation from continuing to happen to you, invest in either a free or a paid social media scheduling platform, schedule time on your calendar to write and schedule your posts. Or hire out the workload to a social media manager.

Every single business has a busy season. The trick to keeping existing customers as well as enticing new customers to conduct business with you is to maintain your social media presence.

Five Ways To Successfully Instagram Story For Your Business

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During one of my latest speed marketing sessions, we were chatting about Instagram Story Highlights and how some stuff is better left off of them. If you’ve met with me or heard me talk you already know that your Instagram Highlight buttons should be where you put work that you would want on a portfolio or that you want to live permanently in your feed.  

You’ve also heard me say that your Instagram Stories should also showcase a more personal version of your business, highlighting the person and people involved in doing the business. The stories should give a behind the scenes of the person that is engaged in the business for 24 hours.  

Stories could include slides of your dog, cat, kiddos, camping trip, etc. However, these slides should not necessarily make a permanent home on your highlight reel if they do not have anything to do with what your actual business is. The more candid stories that relate to your business should live in your highlight reel if you love them and fit into the themes of one of your bubbles.

I’ve flipped my way of storying and started thinking of Instagram stories as “trailers” to grab the attention of the viewers to click your name and check out your entire feed. Since I started experimenting with this method on my feed, and a few clients, feed their stories, views, and profile visits have skyrocketed. It’s insane, stories that used to get 20 pictures or so have quadrupled! I’ve been testing this on my feed for 30 days, and while my likes and engagement are down, my website, clicks have quadrupled as well.  

A few simple ways to create a “trailer” for your feed:

  1. Make use of the quiz, survey, and question stickers.

  • Erase the “Ask Me A Question” statement on the question sticker and ask your audience a question you want their answer to. 

  • The survey sticker is a great way to do a market research of your target. A few times, I did a survey asking if people would prefer speed marketing during happy hour and the response was overwhelming that they did. Therefore, I’m going to try a few sessions during the happy hour. 

  • The quiz sticker is a cool interactive sticker to see who in your audience is paying attention to what you are putting out there and an excellent way for your audience to get to know you better and for you to be more personable. 

2. Don’t always be trying to sell and talk about your business. Show what your life looks like, messy desk, no makeup and all. You also want to show who people are going to get in real life when they sign up to meet with you.

3. Make sure that your highlight bubbles are categorized including services that you offer, reviews, and any other page that is also on your website. 

4. If you are selling products and have them in your feed, shoot those posts also to your stories. 

5. Try to keep up to 4- 6 slides on your story in a 24-hour time frame. Any more than that and people are going to swipe away from your account. This is extremely important if you are doing a video story. Please be conscious that you are saying everything you want and getting to the point in ONE story slide. If your video goes for multiple slides, you’re going to get swept next. Longer video can most definitely live on your IGTV channel. 

The story neighborhood seems to be the hip place to hang out these days. If you are not storying, consider giving it a try, and if you need help with ideas sign up for one of the Speed Marketing Sessions. 

How To Effectively Pay To Play On Facebook

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The other day listened to a podcast that said that the 2020 presidential candidates were spending on average $75 on a Facebook ad to get 1 $1 donation. All of this information leads my brain astray with googling thoughts. 

Since all I’ve been obnoxiously reading and seeing these days are complaints about “how you have to pay to play”. I would fill you in on some data.  

I began by researching what the average cost per click was for a Facebook ad these days. 

The following Cost Per Click data is via Sprout Social:

Apparel: $0.45

B2B: $2.52

Customer Services: $3.08

Real Estate: $1.81

Retail: $0.70

Travel & Hospitality: $0.63

Remember the cost per click is to get someone to click on your ad and get to where you are sending them. There are other objectives that you can set up on your ad, such as getting Likes or having them complete an action ie, downloading and installing an app. 

I want you to keep in mind; however, also that the time of year that you are running an ad is incredibly important. For example, if you are a retail business and are planning out your Q4 advertising campaigns realize that your costs will be higher because you are going to be competing with so many other ads, and your ad is going to get lost. 

It was difficult for me to understand while I was listening to this podcast how candidates had to spend $75 to get one $1 donation, but then it’s the time of year. We are still over a year away from the election, and the masses aren’t fully paying attention yet. By this time next year, if the metrics and studies are correct, a $75 ad should be getting them more than one $1 donation.

If you are in need or wondering if your business needs a digital marketing strategy, know that it does.

For more information on how to effectively run a Facebook ad read THIS.

How To Work With A Social Media Manager

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Social Media, a free platform that businesses use to communicate with their customers and clients.  We’ve all been on it for as long as we can remember. Because of this, we all think that we know how to do digital marketing and understand what we are doing when it comes to our social media.  It’s simple right, choose an appealing eye photo and write a captivating caption and watch the internet go crazy for it. Then get annoyed when the likes and comments don’t come. 

Don’t we all wish that it was just as simple as posting a photo and a catchy phrase and the likes and comments just came flooding in?  The truth is that I get weekly emails and questions at networking groups of, “I just don’t know what to write.” People always tell me that they write out entire captions, then they delete them.  They write them again and delete them. Most people say that this cycle happens to them at least three or four times before they just get uber frustrated and don’t post. 

This writes and deletes what should not be happening.  Understand that you are not alone, the frustration with words is real for some people, the defeat of setting up that perfect photo is another.  The truth of the matter is that you are great at that one thing you are in business doing. You might not really be that great at the marketing aspect of your business, and that’s perfectly normal.  This is where outsourcing comes into play. Realizing what your weakness is and that there are people who exist who have that thing you need as their strength.  

Admitting that you need help is the first part of solving any problem. Coaching you through it is an excellent solution; however, a coach can’t do it for you.  Realizing that you actually need to hire someone to just do it for you is where the success begins. 

 

What Is A Social Media Manager

To free up time in their workday to work on their actual business, conscious business owners choose to outsource their social media management to people called Social Media Managers. Basically, this person takes care of your social media (be it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LikedIn, Pinterest, etc.) needs such as creating content, posting, interacting and engaging, monitoring analytics, etc. 

Good Social Media Managers (SMM) have specialties, where their main focus is one or two social media platforms. (Mine is Instagram & Pinterest) This is great if you are just starting out, have a budget, and want to see how you do in terms of utilizing one platform at a time. Other social media managers are well-rounded and know a little bit of every platform, and usually take on the role of managing them all at the same time. This is great if you have multiple streams of social media and various audiences, and want to keep on top of all of them.

 

What Is The Cost Of A Social Media Manager

One of the biggest questions after deciding which route to go in terms of social media management is, “how much will I have to pay just to get my actual work done?” Of course, as a business, you want to make sure that you are spending your money in the right places. A few significant concerns that I run into is your business is your baby and so paying for someone (you may or may not know) who can be your voice, and how can you trust them to do this correctly? After all, you’ve been on social media yourself, forever, so how hard can it be?

I challenge you with this question, have you ever opened up Instagram to go in and post, but you end up looking at your feed for the next 45 minutes, and you forgot why you opened Instagram in the first place? By this time you’ve forgotten what is you wanted to say, and it’s challenging to get those words back after perusing your feed. Let me tell you a secret if you’ve done this more than a handful of times you need to consider outsourcing. 

There are so many components that go into social media management, components that your business won’t realize by just posting whenever you have an excellent idea for a caption.

I’m not saying that you can’t learn to DIY your social media marketing (to save money), I’m saying that to do social media right takes dedication and CONSISTENCY. While you are building ALL the other parts of your business, a Social Media Manager is laser-focused on the task of social media and only social media. 

Can’t I Just Have An Intern Or My Admin Assistant Post To Social Media?

The answer to this is obviously yes; however, I am a firm, of you, get what you pay for. Thinking that you are saving money by having your admin assistant pull double duty managing the phones and posting to your Instagram could actually be losing you money.  As I stated before a legit social media manager is laser-focused and trained in their specialized platform. A real social media manager is tuned into the trends, updates, and happenings of the platforms they specialize in and offloading that knowledge into the work that you are paying them to do for you.  An admin assistant or intern might not be equipped with this knowledge. 

This has come into play because speaking to your demographic through words and photos takes a certain finesse that someone trained in the field possesses. 

I’ve Hired A Social Media Manager, How Do I Determine My ROI

Seeing a return on the investment of your outsourcing to a social media manager isn’t one that is always to physical to see. Sometimes it’s as simple as realizing just how much more of your actual work you are getting done a day by not focusing on what and when are you going to post to social media.

One way to effectively see a ROI by outsourcing you need to set clear goals for your social media manager to work towards. A good social media manager will also tell you what their goals are for your business as well. For example, my biggest goal when I am hired is that I want to create as many leads to convert to your website that I can.

Other trackable goals would include such things as:

  • A certain number of emails or DM’s from customers per month.

  • A certain number of sales of a product or service.

  • Obviously increase in followers, likes and comments.

 

If you are serious about taking your social media presence to the next level and just do not have the time to watch and read all of the things to learn how to correctly DIY your social media game. I encourage you to seek out and outsource to a qualified social media manager.  To see what services I can offer your business, visit my Services page.


The Digital Marketing Manufactured Look Is Moving Out

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Q. Should your brand's social media feeds only be styled professional photos? Is it ok if your brand's social feeds are just phone photos, or is it ok if your feeds are a mix of both?

A. The best device to take content photos with is the device that you already have with you.

I am a firm believer that putting any kind of content out there is better than not putting any kind of content out there.  If the only equipment that you have to take a photo is your phone then that is the equipment that you must use. A good photo doesn’t necessarily come from a big fancy DSLR camera, it does help however but what makes a photo great is the skill set of taking a great photo.

A comment was left on my Instagram post when I posted about this subject and I feel that it sums everything up perfectly, “If you can’t shoot compelling content with a phone, you can’t do it with a DSLR.  Invest in learning skills, not gear.” Citizen Nomads

There are beautiful feeds out there that I know personally are only shooting their social posts with a phone camera. Then there are feeds that I know they are hiring out their content shoots to professional prop stylists and photographers.  All of which is great but the question then becomes are you doing this just to fit the “Instagram Aesthetic”?

The Instagram Aesthetic is something that has been created by influencers, the beautifully styled flat lays with the warm filter, the perfect pose in front of the perfect piece of street art taken by their Instagram partner.  You all know what I’m talking about, the perception that everything is perfect because their photo is perfect. This is boring, generic and the chances of you getting scrolled over are pretty great. Because that perfectly styled photo of yours looks manufactured and just like everyone else in your industry.  

The Atlantic released an article stating that the “Instagram Aesthetic Is Over” and I seriously couldn’t be more excited that things are shifting.  The article goes on to talk about how Gen Z influencers are now reaching for their phones camera instead of hauling a DSLR with them to restaurants and spending hours getting that perfect shot masked with the perfect curated “Instagram Aesthetic” filter they have created. Gen Z wants to shift things back to real-time and consistently showing up as your authentic self, not your social media alter ego.

I’m not here to pish posh on a beautiful photo, quite the opposite, in fact, I’m here to say that it should stop taking up so much of your brain space and time to get that Instagram aesthetic approved photo. Mavens feed has been and will continue to be a mix between phone, stock, personal DSLR and professional photos, why because I want to be part of the change in the way people look at marketing and branding. As a business, your business should be a reflection of and authentic as you.  I should meet you for coffee, or walk into your store and feel the same feelings that I feel when I look at your feed or see your ads. I shouldn’t be seeing an alter ego of you on social media and meeting the authentic you in person. The translation of your in-person experience with a brand and a digital experience with a brand should be very similar if not exactly the same.

This is the goal of Maven and Muse produced content. Your business is as authentic as you are and this should translate into your digital marketing. By creating authentic to you content you are getting people to stop their scroll and take notice. This will build engagement, which leads to trust which leads to booking or purchasing from you.

The manufactured look of Instagram does work, it’s proven day in and day out. Perhaps in your homework assignment, you will notice that the manufactured look is what your target likes and expects from you. I’m not here to disrupt what is already working for you,  I am here to challenge you to look at the analytics of your feed and see what posts have performed the best. Are they stock, DSLR or phone captured content? Were your words heartfelt or salesy? Dissect the top three best performing posts and mimic more of that in the weeks to come.  The numbers don’t lie my friends, they are communicating to you what is working for you, what is setting you apart and not making you manufactured.




Instagram vs. Pinterest Marketing: 7 Big Differences Between Them

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When I am coaching people on how to use Pinterest the first hurdle that we have to get over is that writing for Pinterest is completely different than writing for Instagram.

On Instagram, your followers are brand loyal. They are following and interacting with you on this platform because they enjoy your brand and reading what your brand stands for and offers.  On Instagram, you need to not only have photos that are on brand but you also need to write your content on brand. On this platform, keep in mind that you are also dealing with a seven-second attention span. Your photo needs to be scroll stopping AND your caption needs to be witty and captivating.

In coaching sessions when we are creating pins, clients want to write the pin description as if they are writing an Instagram caption. Writing an Instagram type caption on Pinterest is not going to help you get found on Pinterest, and here’s why.

People searching on Pinterest are not brand loyal. Read that again. People searching on Pinterest are not brand loyal, meaning most pinners do not give a shhhh about your brand. These people are searching to achieve a predetermined outcome in their mind.  

Here’s an example: A pinner types into the Pinterest search bar “San Francisco Industrial Wedding Venue”  what this person wants to achieve is finding examples of all of the Industrial wedding venues in San Francisco that are on Pinterest. When they find a photo that they are imaging as their dream wedding location they will click on the pin and be taken “fingers crossed” to the website of that venue or at least a photographers site that has tagged the venue in their blog post.

The reason that this searchers results came up with so many Industrial wedding venues in San Francisco is that the pin description was littered with these terms.  See Pinterest is a search engine, their algorithm could care less how witty and popular your caption is. Pinterest’s main job is that it wants to show it’s users the most relevant items related to the words that they typed into the search bar.  The results that show up in your search are directly related to the keywords in the description of the pins that are being shown to you.

I heard a saying once that said, “My eyebrows are sisters, not twins.” Not only is that true for your eyebrows but it’s true about the digital marketing platforms of Pinterest and Instagram.

Let’s get into the 7 “sister” qualities on both platforms:

  1. On both platforms, you need to have a well lit and captivating scroll stopping photo.

  2. On both platforms, the images should be branded, meaning they look like they belong to the same family because chances are if someone is very interested in all the things that you have to say, you want to be recognized on both platforms.

  3. Instagram photos with words tend to perform as well as photos without. Whereas, Pinterest photos with words perform exponentially better than photos without words.

  4. Instagram: Hashtags matter on how you are getting found.

  5. Pinterest: Hashtags do not matter on getting found, it’s all about the search terms baby.

  6. Instagram: Witty or emotionally heartfelt captions perform best.

  7. Pinterest: It’s all about the SEO, save your emotional words for Instagram.

In conclusion, the moral of the story here is that to be successful on both platforms you need to flip your brain when you are writing for one over the other.  Both of these platforms should be a part of your digital arsenal but how you use them and obtain leads through them are completely different.


How To Make Your Instagram Accessible For Visually Impaired Community

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You’re posting on Instagram all of the time as part of your business marking plan and I know that you have seen the “ALT  text” when you are loading a photo. You’ve probably blown right past it when you are posting because why would you even bother, as far as you know Instagram does not offer SEO so what’s the point?

Instagram introduced the ability to add ALT text to photos in an effort to make the platform more accessible. Users can add their own custom ALT text that can be read by screen readers to assist those with visual impairments.

Right now, you’re thinking, “This is awesome, how do we use this feature professionally and assist those with visual impairments? “

The ALT text is NOT meant to be a  “copy and paste” of your Instagram caption. Instead, the ALT text should be used to describe exactly what is in your photo.

Think about it, Instagram is a VISUAL platform, and we certainly are not describing the photo in our caption. We are instead,  writing our marketing copy, sharing a quote or a story. The caption is the part screen readers are able to assist the users with, however, the user is missing out on the visual that accompanies it if you are not writing your own  ALT text.

Instagram wants everyone in the community to be able to interact with each other, including those with visual impairments. Keep this in mind, if you are not adding your own ALT text, know that Instagram will automatically generate  ALT text to your photo using their own technology. Their image recognition technology will scan your photo and write an ALT text for you. I encourage you to begin getting in the habit of writing your own ALT text before you post because the Instagram generated text is pretty generic.


The ALT text is your way of giving the user a full Instagram experience by understanding the complete context of both the photo and the caption. As a business owner,  you are now making your content, your product and yourself accessible to more people in the community. How awesome is that?!

An item to note: It is strongly recommended that ALT text be 125 characters or less to ensure compatibility for popular screen readers. The character limit for the ALT text on Instagram is 100 characters.

While researching and at the time of this publishing I did not find any solid evidence one way or the other that by also using the ALT text could mean that there is some sort of SEO associated with it on Instagram just yet. However, I have to believe that this is in the works if it does not already exist on at least a BETA level.  ALT text on images when using it on your website we know helps your SEO ranking on Google, which has me thinking that perhaps something like this is coming or again already exists to some level on Instagram.

How To Add ALT Text To A New Post:

  1. Upload your image as usual.

  2. On the Instagram caption page, press “Advanced settings”:

  3. Click “Write ALT text”: On Instagram you can write a maximum of 100 characters to describe what is in your photo.

  4. Write your ALT text and press “Done”


How To Add ALT Text To Your Old Photos:

You are able to and I encourage you to take the time to do so.

1. Select the photo you want to add ALT text to:

2. Click on the 3 dots “…” in the upper right-hand corner:

3. Choose “Edit”:

4. Press “Add ALT text”:

5. Write your ALT text:

6. Click “DONE”

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Tips on how to write ALT text from Perkins School for the Blind:

  1. Describe the image as specifically as you can.

  2. “Imagine someone is sitting next to you as you scroll through Instagram and they point at a photo and ask what it is. Chances are, you’ll give them a one or two sentence description that is perfect for writing as alt text” ( Perkins School for the Blind).

  3. Is there an important text on your photo (like signage or quote)? Write out the text.

  4. Keep your ALT text (relatively) short, 100 character limit on Instagram and 125 character limit on popular screen readers.

  5. Write who is on the picture (especially if you have a personal account). For example: “Jade sitting on her computer with a latte next to her.”

  6. Colors: “Don’t be afraid to share what colors are in a photo, if the color is important. A photo can be described as being in black-and-white, having warm or cool colors, or being tinted a certain color. Someone wearing clothes that are the main focus of the photo can write that they are wearing “dark denim Levi’s with a white t-shirt, Adidas sneakers with green earrings.”


Creating Scroll Stopping Content Takes Practice And Commitment

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I have a membership to the Japanese Garden here in Portland, and I find myself there pretty much once a week. The thing that inspires me the most somedays isn’t the garden it’s self, it’s when I see young children with their cameras. I was there early one morning, and this family was beginning to walk through the gate when the young boy of probably 5 or 6 yelled at them all to stop and turn around to look at him in front of the entrance. I stayed behind him because I didn’t want to ruin his shot and watched as he brought his blue v-tech twist camera up to his eye and took the photo of them. He turned to me and said thank you and who I’m assuming was his mom smiled and said thank you as well.

My heartfelt light because this is the future practicing and honing in on their photography skills.

For as long as I can remember I have had a camera on me. I by no means consider myself a photographer, but I’ve always been documenting my memories by taking photos of landscapes and objects. There’s a photo that my grandma took of me, and I have to be about three years old in my uncles' bedroom at their house with his camera around my neck, a baseball hat on backward and I had arranged all of my stuffed animals on his bed to take photos of them.

The biggest joy that I got when I had my vintage business was arranging and styling the products showing how they could be worn or used in today’s world. I would spend hours creating the perfect flat lay or hiring a model for an afternoon and styling them in different looks and locations around the neighborhood. I would say that becoming a content creator was in my DNA since I was basically doing it since before the world even knew what a content creator actually was.

The key to creating good social media content like anything else is practice. Creating scroll stopping content doesn’t just happen in one click of the shutter or typing one narrative of your brand. Scroll stopping involves practice styling objects and assessing the light and angles when taking the photos. Good content means writing run on captions, then re-reading them and trying to get to the point faster. Remember you have 3-7 seconds to capture a users attention to get them to stop and read what you have written.

After you have posted your work, let it sit for 72 hours then go back to it and evaluate what part of the post got the most engagement. Was it the photo itself or was it that you wrote something extremely personal or was it that you let your sarcasm out?

Excelling at content marketing involves so much practice, testing, tweaking and then testing again. You really do need to know what it is that your target market is wanting to see or hear from you. The only way to clearly identify this is through committing to practice creating and evaluating your great content.

Ten Reasons Why I Love Squarespace For Your Businesses Website

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Many new and startup businesses frequently ask, “Which platform should I use to build my website on? Wordpress, Squarespace, Wix or Weebly?”

I’ve helped out on clients WordPress sites and if you need something that is totally customizable and has the budget to pay someone to continuously update your website for you this is an excellent platform. Wix and Weebly I haven’t even peeked at, but I know that they can be functionally straightforward when you are first starting out. Squarespace, however, is my team’s jam. I don’t want to try and convince you to change platforms because that’s not what I do. However, I will share with you my top 10 reasons that I love Squarespace for business and suggest it to clients and people that ask me the inevitable platform question.

1. You have the complete capability to blog on Squarespace which I know is important to you. The super rad part about it is that Google gives a bit more of an edge on the internet to Squarespace hosted sites, and especially to Squarespace hosted sites that are keeping their content up to date.

2. There are so many sleek, sexy and modern templates on Squarespace that we won’t need to build much out. Which will be the most cost effective for you and more accessible for you to maintain on your own.

3. It’s easy for a non-techie person to make tweaks updates on their own without calling the web designer all the time to change something out. If you are having trouble figuring it out on your own Squarespace offers LIVE Chat 7 days a week from 8am-9pm, and if you have a question outside of that time frame, they respond to your email in 24 hours. Their customer service is top notch.

4. Squarespace will cost you around $200 for the year to host. You can pay that all upfront or you can be billed monthly.

5. When you begin hosting events, workshops, and classes that you want people to pay for right away, these events can live on your site and are able to take payment right there. You won’t have to pay any extra processing fees or send them to an Eventbrite link or anything like that.

6. There is an add on to have a contact link for your social media profiles that can send your people to 3 different pages on your site. None of this Linktree links stuff that doesn’t even say your businesses name. (Check out mine on Instagram to see what I mean.)

7. Loading SEO and backend search terms are super simple, and Squarespace will automatically update to any crazy internet regulations, such as the GDPR initiative that happened in 2018.

8. The analytics are easy to read and understand and give you what you need without also adding in and going over to Google Analytics.

9. You can have a button for people to book a consultation with you right there on your site.

10. I have two Squarespace sites of my own and have built for other people, so when we’re at lunch, and you ask me a random question about your website out of the blue, the possibilities are better than I’ll know how to answer it!