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A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Attention-Getting Product Listings #Etsy #EntrepreneurBooks

6 min read

The following excerpt is from the Staff at Entrepreneur Media Inc. and Jason R. Rich’s book Start Your Own Etsy Business. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | IndieBound or click here to buy it directly from us and SAVE 60% on this book when you use code SIDEHUSTLE2021 through 6/20/21.

One of the core steps in establishing your Etsy shop is adding the product listings for the items you plan to sell. You compose and create product listings one at a time, using Etsy’s “Add a New Listing” tool, which walks you through the process of composing and publishing, and then organizing, each listing. As you’re about to discover, Etsy divides this process into five steps.

Related: 3 Things You Must Know Before You Start Your Etsy Business

Step 1: product photography

The first step in creating a product listing involves uploading between one and five digital photos for each listing. Be sure to choose photos that best showcase your products from different angles or perspectives. Mix and match traditional product shots with lifestyle shots.

A product shot should depict just your item in the photo, typically with a white or solid color (or very simple) background. The primary focus should be on the product and should show as much product detail as possible. A lifestyle shot captures your product being worn or used in the real world. For example, if you sell necklaces, a lifestyle shot could show a model wearing the necklace in conjunction with different outfits.

Step 2: listing details

One of the very first things visitors see when they view your products is the product listing’s title. This title must be short, descriptive, attention-getting, accurate and contain keywords you believe customers will use to search for your items. As always, target it specifically to your core audience.

The “About This Listing” section includes three separate pull-down menus: “Who Made It?,” “What Is It?” and “When Was It Made?” For each listing, select the most appropriate option based on what you’re selling.

You’ll also need to choose an applicable category for the product and fill in the price. The price should be pre-calculated to take into account your cost of materials, time/labor, business overhead expenses and marketing/advertising expenses, as well as the profit you want to earn. It shouldn’t include shipping and handling fees or sales tax.

The “Description“ field is where you can describe your product using your own words. Use as many relevant search words or phrases as you can because this text will be searchable by your potential customers.

Related: This Teen Paid for College by Selling on Etsy. Here Are 5 Ways She Did It.

Finally, if you’re selling multiple items that fit into clearly definable categories, such as specific types of products, products priced similarly or products best for certain holidays, consider using sections to sort your items and make them easier to find within your shop.

Step 3: variations

On Etsy, a single product listing for an individual item can have multiple (optional) variations. For example, the “Handmade Wool Sweater” you’re selling could have one listing, and using the “Add a Variation” tool, the listing could offer the sweater in multiple colors and/or sizes that you choose to offer.

The Variation option(s) that the customer selects will be displayed on your Sold Orders, Receipts and Transaction emails, so you’ll know exactly what item(s) to send based on the customer’s choices.

Once you select a variation, customize what options your customers will be given based on the type of variation you select. With each variation you select, you have the option of adding a separate price and displaying whether that particular variation option is currently in stock.

Step 4: shipping details

This section requires you to provide details about the size and weight of your item and where it will be shipping from; select the shipping options you want to offer to your customers; and disclose the processing time needed to fill each order. You’ll also need to provide the origin zip code for the location you’ll be shipping your orders from.

As a general rule, offer the fastest processing time possible. You should also select which countries you’ll ship to.

Based on the shipping option(s) you choose and the option the customer selects when placing an order, Etsy will calculate the shipping/postage fee based on current rates. In addition to shipping charges, you can add a handling fee, which will be automatically added to the customer’s shipping total and won’t be listed separately. If you choose to add one, keep it low and be able to justify it.

Next, provide the item weight for the item after it’s been packaged as well as the length, width and height of the package. Based on the various shipping options you’ve selected, in the Preview Shipping Costs field, Etsy will display what your customers will be charged for shipping and handling when placing an order.

Step 5: add search terms

The final step in the product listing process is a list of words you add to the Tags field to help customers find your shop and product listing when searching. These tags should accurately describe your item in the most detailed way possible.

Related: 12 Ways to Increase Online Sales

The Materials field is another optional tool you can use to provide a collection of search words you think potential customers might use. For example, if you’re selling a handmade sweater, your materials list might include words such as “wool,” “yarn,” “all-natural,” “organic,” “died,” “handspun,” “synthetic,” “Scottish,” “Merino,” “sheep,” “alpaca,” “cashmere” and/or “natural.”

Once you’ve completed a product listing, click the Preview button and carefully review each listing. Fix any mistakes, then click the Save and continue button to store and publish the listing in your shop.

Did you enjoy your book preview? Click here to grab a copy today—now 60% off when you use code SIDEHUSTLE2021 through 6/20/21.

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Meet the Agency Disrupting Advertising By Creating Influencers

9 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When @justaconstructionguy took off on Instagram, the account really took off. The story goes that a teenage girl (@barbzlovescarbs on Twitter) posted a screenshot of her dad’s new Instagram account in April of 2019, claiming he became an “influencer” to prove to her he could do it. He went from 75 followers to more than 400,000 in five days because the story behind it was fun to tell. The Instagram account was also clever.

Then the investigative hacks of the internet got hold of it and claimed it was a fake influencer set up by a coffee company and its agency. The whole thing was rigged. Followers of the account had been duped.

It turns out they hadn’t.

Omar, the real construction guy featured in the account, which satirically poked fun at influencer culture with “sponsored” content from a coffee company? He’s still the star of the account, which continues to crank out engaging content and sits just north of 415,000 followers. Omar expanded to TikTok last year. He’s got 220,000-plus followers there. 

He is still a real construction guy. 

Cuvee Coffee supported the launch of the project but fell off after a while. Omar and the agency that built the account with Cuvee are following through on the idea that a construction guy who digs coffee can be an influencer. 

1623258362 Bandolier Team

From left to right: Daniel Stone, Louis Montemayor and George Ellis of Bandolier Media.

Image credit: Bandolier Media

The agency was Bandolier Media. The Austin, Texas-based firm is made up of exactly four full-time people. It has won back-to-back regional recognition in AdAge’s Small Agency of the Year awards. And it might just be the most disruptive ad agency in America. 

Related: The Answer to Influencer Marketing’s Biggest Question Lies in Understanding Channels of Influence

Social nedia is the media

You don’t win recognition as an advertising agency from AdAge without some substance to your work. The application for the publication’s Small Agency of the Year Award alone features layers of questions about clients, creative approach, growth and revenue. Bandolier has chops. But they aren’t traditional advertising-agency chops.

“We never intended on starting an agency,” owner Daniel Stone says. “We just wanted to create cool stuff.”

Lou Montemayor was the original co-owner and other half of Stone’s “we.” The pair worked for the same publishing company from 2010-’13. Stone noticed Montemayor’s talent for coming up with interesting ideas to execute via social media as he pitched concepts to the company’s leadership. They didn’t quite get it. 

But Stone did. He snuck Montemayor’s idea binder away from the company, knowing one day they would have a chance to put some of the ideas into practice. A few years later, they collaborated on a silly song called “Beer Pong Anthem” with musician Thom Shepherd. Stone reached out to people hosting beer pong tournaments around the country and asked them to play it at the events, then post it on their social media pages.

Meanwhile, Montemayor created social media content to support the song’s momentum on Twitter, Instagram and a Facebook page. “I knew right then and there that brands would be interested in having someone set this up and do this kind of thing for them,” Stone said.

And that’s where the disruption began. The pair left their jobs in 2015 and bootstrapped Bandolier Media. Which is to say the two of them started pitching social media ideas to clients. 

Not too far into their journey, Stone’s penchant for dad jokes helped launch Classic Dad, a satire-filled blog and novelty T-shirt shop. One concept, dad as the “lawn whisperer,” evolved into an original video series presented by Scott’s Lawn Care. It’s now in its fifth season.

Then there’s Duck Tape Man, whose borderline orgasmic reaction to the sound of duct tape peeling off the roll is hilarious enough to make people hit “Share” on a commercial. 

“The main reason we think social-first is that our work relies on making a connection with the audience,” says George Ellis, who joined Bandolier as a co-owner and creative director in 2018. “While you can certainly do that with a TV commercial or other more traditional methods, it’s more critical in social, because people will respond and engage.”

There are lots of social media agencies out there, but not many advertising agencies that lead with social-media thinking. That’s what sets Bandolier apart. It creates interesting content on social-media channels that drives engagement and awareness around the brands they work with. The creative is strong enough that people want to talk about it and share it. 

“That’s what we want,” Ellis explains. “The last thing we want for a client is to put out a piece of work that pretends to have all the answers or serves as a one-way communication. We want our brands to engage with people and spark conversations. That way, we all learn something or can take the dialogue in a different direction we never would’ve planned had we just created a traditional product spot or post about product benefits.” 

A lean, mean, content machine

Bandolier was originally two guys having fun creating content. In many ways, it still is. Ellis came to the firm after stints at larger agencies like Leo Burnett and Razorfish. A fourth employee, Kelsey Hickok, manages creative content across the client portfolio.

“I should be delegating and bringing on more people,” Stone admitts. “But we had to get lean with Covid and do everything. I cleaned the office, but was happy to do it. That’s part of being a business owner.”

Bandolier uses four to five sub-contractors and sources freelancers when the need arises. The actors in most of the videos? “Most of them are my neighbors,” Stone laughs. 

“We’re really happy and we’re happy with each other, working together,” he adds. “We like to work, because we like the work.”

Stone and Montemayor laugh that everything about starting the business was just fun. From ordering checks and business cards to renting an office. In fact, their enthusiasm was so infectious, when they visited Nada Moo! Ice Cream’s facility looking for office space, CEO Daniel Nicholson hired them to do his company’s social media.

And while success continues to come, Stone cautions he’s not on easy street. “I still drive a crappy 2014 Subaru,” he shares. “It’s still a grind. But I feel happy and proud of the work.”

Unlike most advertising agencies, Bandolier’s growth has been focused on what they’re good at, not just taking every project that comes along. “We’re pretty good with RFPs and explaining to the client, ‘Look, we’re probably the worst person to hire for that,’” Stone explains. “’But we like what you’re doing and we have a great vision. Can we share with you the vision we have for this project?’”

Montemayor explained sticking to what they know and who they are may make them seem a little out of place, but that’s a welcome disruption in the agency world. “With our early clients, we were dealing with the owner, going out, having a beer and talking about what kind of crazy thing we were going to come up with,” he says. “Fast forward three years, four years and we’re there meeting with Shell Oil corporate — big, high executive people — and we’re the same. We’re not going to try to fit the part. We’re just going to be ourselves. That’s worked really well for us. People find it refreshing.”

Related: F*** You Pay Me Founder Lindsey Lee Knows People Are Tired of ‘Accepting Less Than You’re Worth’

A unique spin on influence

The case study with @justaconstructionguy is a rather serendipitous example of the refreshing approach Bandolier brings to the table. Stone and Montemayor concepted the idea with Cuvee Coffee owner Mike McKim, who was delighted workers from local construction sites were coming in for coffee on their lunch breaks. The juxtaposition of grizzled, blue-collar guys enjoying craft, but not pretentious, coffee struck a chord. 

“Why not also juxtapose what it meant to be an influencer?” Montemayor said. 

While Omar (yes, that’s his real name) did have the conversation with his daughter, bragging he was now an influencer, Bandolier morphed the conversation into the now famous Tweet in a moment of genius.

“We needed something to explain why the account was there,” Montemayor explained. The move was a stroke of genius because it created a reason for people to share the account, which led to its massive growth.

And in case you’re wondering, @justaconstructionguy’s Instagram account shows a 95% efficacy rate when run through influencer marketing platform Julius’s account health analysis. The followers and engagement is real.

Omar is real and all of the content is that which he has a say-so in, but Bandolier drives the ship, using him in the role of model and actor as much as supporting his own direction for the project. 

It turns out Bandolier is showing there are more ways to create influence than finding someone who already has it. You can manufacture not just influence, but influencers. The difference is approaching the influence channel as if it is a creative palette. 

“There’s nothing wrong with hiring an influencer. We do it all the time for our clients,” Ellis said. “But if you lock yourself into that thinking, then it’s basically shutting off a whole avenue of creativity. Sometimes to create something new on social, you have to actually start at the beginning: with a new personality or property.” 


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Lessons About Marketing Complacency I Had to Learn the Hard Way

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

2020 cast many unprecedented obstacles for businesses. From the mass exodus of in-office work because of the Covid-19 pandemic to quantum shifts in consumer buying behavior, we saw many businesses struggling to stay afloat while managing a mostly remote workforce. 

Other businesses, however, experienced growth. Companies in the SaaS, marketing and healthcare sectors found their services in high demand, inspiring a massive surge in traffic and revenue.

But there was a hidden downside to this rapid expansion. Unexpected growth can also breed complacency. So while 2020 was a lucrative year for many, neglecting to have the right future-oriented systems in place could mean a painful downturn in 2021.

Here’s why you should never become complacent with your marketing — and how to set your business up for sustainable success.

Diversify your prospecting

After nearly 13 years of business, our marketing agency was heavily dependent on in-person conferences for lead generation. But once the pandemic forced most events to go virtual, we were pushed to adapt to keep our sales pipeline full.

Our efforts to stay on top of virtual events paid off, and we saw a 97 percent increase in growth in 2020. However, our complacency caused us to assume this source of leads would sustain well into 2021.

In fact, the opposite happened. We saw a 32 percent downturn in growth despite all our efforts to push conference marketing. We were forced to reconsider our one-track mind marketing strategy and instead diversify our marketing to ramp up lead generation. The lesson learned is that having one source of leads is rarely a smart or sustainable strategy. Always have a Plan B — whether that’s email marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), or beyond — so you never become dependent on a single channel to sustain your business.

Related: 3 Prospecting Lessons You Can Learn From the Devil

Build systems to scale

As growth surged in 2020, we poured most of our efforts into hiring new team members and managing projects. We were so consumed with client work and training our new staff that we had little time to put the appropriate systems in place.

These constraints led to bottlenecks in our process that would later stunt our growth in 2021. We hit a roadblock, limiting the amount of work we could accept. We didn’t have the tools our team needed to do the job at scale.

In 2021, our sights are set on maintaining the quality of our services and building efficient and effective systems to facilitate our growth well into the future. Documented procedures and a well-thought-out content management system have been our saving grace for managing projects, training new team members and onboarding new projects. 

Create a sales machine

While our heads were down working on our countless client projects, our attention was pulled away from our marketing. We boldly assumed our pipeline would remain stable based on the growth we were seeing in 2020.

The hardest pill to swallow is that many good things come to an end as a result of being unprepared. Had we implemented the right strategy from the beginning, we might not have experienced the downturn in the first quarter of 2021.

Now, we know to always be prospecting. We keep the door open to new opportunities at all times and don’t take new leads for granted. We’re always looking for new ways to reach potential clients, share relevant content and nurture trust in our brand. 

To sustain growth in 2021, we hired a sales consultancy to assist us in training our account managers and managing new outbound and inbound processes. We’re already seeing an uptick in leads and are putting the plans in place to prepare us for 2022.

Related: 3 Sales Tweaks That Could Change The Game for Your Business

Think five years ahead

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the entire business landscape can shift overnight. Many business owners found themselves in a nearly impossible position having to make life-changing decisions. The lack of preparation led many businesses to close indefinitely.

Today, my philosophy is to plan at least five years ahead. What steps can I take now to set my business up for future success? Do I have a Plan B, C and D in place in case my primary lead generation channel closes up? Can I shift from in-office to remote with ease?

While it’s okay to manage growth and work on your business as you go along, you shouldn’t avoid planning for the future. Instead, always be selling and marketing so you don’t find yourself in a dire situation with only one source of leads for your business.

This mentality has allowed my agency to grow from a one-man shop to a team of over 24 employees, even over the course of the pandemic. Painful lessons learned in early 2021 have inspired us to put the right systems in place so we never again become complacent in our marketing.

Does your business have a game plan for the future? Get started now to get ahead of any unprecedented times.

Related: 7 Steps to a Perfectly Written Business Plan

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8 Must-Have Skills for an Expert Content Marketer

7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Are you looking to hire an expert content marketer, but struggling to sort through the masses of marketers who say they have the writing chops? You’re not alone. 

“Everyone — and I mean EVERYONE — thinks they’re a writer,” says Rebecca Reynoso, senior editor at G2.

A lot of marketers are writers, but there is a big difference between a great copywriter and a great content marketer –– and it’s one that isn’t discussed as often as it should be. 

Copywriting is what you see earning people massive following on LinkedIn and Twitter –– and it’s even what is most often featured in marketing educational series. For instance, in the popular newsletter Harry’s Marketing Examples, you’ll see several rewritten website headlines claiming to help increase conversion. And they probably do just that. But that is not content marketing. That is copywriting. 

So, what is content marketing and what skills should you be looking for in the person you hire? Let’s get that clear. 

Related: 7 Steps to Start Your First Content-Marketing Campaign

The difference between content marketing and copywriting

A lot of content marketers are also fantastic copywriters, and the reverse is true too. A lot of expert copywriters are admirable content marketers. But, just because there is a crossover doesn’t mean the two are one in the same.

Content marketers build a content strategy for a brand, and then put together the plan and oversee the execution of that plan to realize the overall strategy. The plan includes content research, content briefs, content writing, content editing, SEO optimization, graphic design, and finally, content distribution. 

Copywriters are often helpful in the writing portion of the plan (though copywriters historically have written shorter form content than is typically needed for search-optimized blog posts these days) and in the content-distribution section of the plan. After all, copywriters know how to tell a story and engage an audience. And there’s no better place to do that right now for a business audience than social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. 

The top skills expert content marketers have mastered

If you’re looking for a true expert in content marketing, you’ll want someone who is also a great copywriter. But that’s not where his or her skills end. Here are the eight main skills great content marketers have mastered, and how they help your business grow. 

1. Content strategy 

The ability to formulate and present a clear and coherent content strategy is a must-have for expert content marketers. Many content marketers can execute on a strategy, but not all of them can do the research necessary to put together a long-term strategy, detail the waterfall method in which that strategy will be executed (thus creating a plan) and have the ability to present that plan to founders or executives for sign off. 

This is a skill senior content marketers hone over time, and if you’re looking for an expert, you’ll want to ask questions in the interview that help you understand if they’ve been able to do this successfully. 

2. Project management 

The second most crucial skill for an expert content marketer is project-management ability. Many organizations are content-first, but they don’t necessarily realize it. That is to say, successful organizations often repurpose content from the blog, case studies and more for their ads, email marketing, sales-enablement material, etc. 

This allows content to not only be measured on SEO success, which is a really good thing because SEO can take six months or more to begin to work. 

Content-first organizations need a strong content strategy that takes the full funnel into account, and they need a strong project manager who can report clearly on when content will be ready and help the team autonomously create expert content for every single stage of the funnel. 

Related: 5 Ways to Improve Your Startup’s Project Management

3. SEO basics

Having a clear content strategy and great project-management skills doesn’t rid you of the requirement to understand the fundamentals of SEO. A great content-marketing strategy will build organic search traffic over time, helping to reduce CAC and build brand awareness and brand trust. 

Now, your expert content marketer doesn’t need to know the technical bits of SEO (or how to implement them), but he or she should have a clear enough understanding of Google’s algorithm to build a content strategy that has you ranking for relevant terms, and that allows him or her to optimize content before it goes live. 

Ask him or her about the content marketing tools he or she uses specifically for SEO. The answer shouldn’t be “None.” 

4. Creative production management

Every single piece of content that is produced, whether it’s for your blog or for your sales team, will require graphic design. After all, you want to put your best foot forward with your content, and great design helps create brand cohesion across all of your assets. 

Similar to the project-management experience mentioned above, expert content marketers have experience managing a creative production pipeline to ensure blog hero images are delivered on time and that PDFs are being designed as needed for further down the funnel.  

5. Copywriting

Here we are back at copywriting –– it is a crucial content-marketing skill. Great copywriting will accomplish the following: 

  • Increase the click through from organic search results to website.
  • Grow your branded audience on social media platforms.
  • Make presentations far more appealing and likely to get approval. 

Great content marketers have honed this skill over time, but don’t think that all expert content marketers have massive social followings. That’s simply not true. 

Many content marketers have spent more time focused on headline A/B testing on highly trafficked pages, for instance, to increase conversions. Or, they have been focused further down the funnel helping email marketers with great copywriting to increase retention. Social media is the top of the funnel –– and that’s not always the best place to focus for growing revenue. 

Related: The 10 Commandments of Great Copywriting

6. Editing

Expert content marketers are also great editors. This doesn’t necessarily mean they prescribe to a certain stylebook, though. Instead, it means that they know how to edit a story for clarity, for readability and for the brand’s style. 

Don’t worry –– there are plenty of content-marketing tools on the market that can help with spelling and grammar. While that is a nice-to-have for expert content marketers, that skill is quickly being outsourced to the bots. 

7. Blog writing

Great content marketers likely rose to their position through fantastic writing and editing on blogs of their own. It is true that it takes far more than a blog and a dream to become an expert content marketer, but all content-marketing experts should be able to pump out great blog content –– even if they manage a team of folks who typically do that for them these days. 

Check their clips. Make sure they can write, source and credit properly. Otherwise, you’re risking your brand reputation. 

8. Analytics and tracking

Finally, expert content marketers don’t just publish and pray. They distribute, and they measure. And they aren’t only measuring traffic to the website. Expert content marketers are skilled at understanding website behavior, running content-specific CRO tests and measuring the impact of organic search traffic all the way through the funnel to conversion. 

Experts won’t just hand you a blog post to publish. They will build an entire strategy, execution plan and analytics dashboard to keep you up to date on what is working, where and why. 

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3 Reasons Simple Isn’t Always Better When It Comes Logo Designs

5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Let’s say that, like me, you’ve been thinking about redesigning your logo. You don’t want anything too drastic. You want to keep your recognizability and avoid alienating your existing customers. With this much at stake, a minimal design seems ideal.

Minimalism could be defined as simple taken to extremes, and simple is good, right?

In fact, before I started analyzing my rebranding process, I would have said that simple was better — always.

Related: 5 Cardinal Rules of Logo Design

After all, simplicity is frequently touted as a major strength in graphic design in general. Some may even go so far as to say unequivocally that simple design is a must. But minimalism is a style that could potentially detract from your logo design, so it isn’t always the best choice.

I don’t want to knock it — simple does work in a lot of cases. But I’ve discovered some important reasons why simple logos to the extent of minimalism may not be best for my logo — and maybe not for yours, either.

Loss of uniqueness and memorability

If I made a shortlist of qualities that a logo absolutely must have, two of them would be the uniqueness factor and memorability.

These two really go hand in hand. A unique logo is often memorable simply because it’s unique. Of course, that doesn’t always mean it’s a good logo. Nor does it always mean that it’s successful. I tend to remember bad logos far easier than good ones, usually because they made me laugh or took me by surprise. “How did that one get approved?”

But it’s one thing if you’re mocking up a logo. It’s quite another if you’re designing a long-term logo that needs to carry the load of your branded visuals. 

This calls for balance. It may be easy to get too complicated with a logo by adding a plethora of elements that don’t need to be there. But you can err on the other side, too. I’ve worked on my own mock-ups for logo ideas in the past, and I tend to keep reducing the number of elements hoping that minimalism will bring clarity.

What I’ve found instead is that sometimes excessive minimalism strips away everything unique and memorable about the design. If it’s a question of retaining those two vital elements or keeping things “minimalistic,” then I most definitely advise adding details back in.

Related: How to Create a Logo

Potential for poor messaging

Every once in a while, I come across a logo for a company that is so minimalistic I can’t quite figure out what the logo is. Or what company it represents. Or how I’m supposed to feel about it. Or whether I’m even the intended audience.

Logos are vital for marketing and brand identity, and that all comes back to the message that the logo sends.

In working on my rebrand, I want to ensure that my logo makes my company — and its goals — clear. For me, that means using a combination mark with a graphic and my company name. It can be done simply, true, but it still requires a few extra elements. And I’m willing to add those in, in order to clarify my messaging.

Minimalism is in the eye of the beholder

A final reason not to force simplicity and minimalism in your logo design is that everyone defines “minimal” differently. For complex designers, five elements might be considered minimal. For those graduates of the minimalist school, a single element may be perfection, and everything else is superfluous.

Not only do graphic designers view “minimalism” as a moveable goal line, so does the audience. I could do a test run of a logo I consider simple, or even minimal, and get feedback from one person that says it’s boring and from another that says it’s too gaudy and overstuffed.

Related: 5 Tips for Professional Marketing Materials 

Don’t get me wrong — I absolutely advocate getting feedback from unbiased third parties, and I feel that all feedback is valid and potentially valuable. But pushing a particular design style will only impact the designer; your audience is more interested in how the logo design works overall.

If you’re chasing a minimalistic logo design, continually stripping away elements, it may not come across to your audience as “minimal” but “unfinished.”

Putting it simply

So if you shouldn’t chase minimalism, does that mean that you should overload your logo design, hoping that the plethora of elements makes it unique, memorable, on-message, and appealing to your audience?

In a word — no.

I always advocate for balance in design, especially as it relates to branding. Going too far one way or the other is more likely to alienate some of your target audience. For my rebrand, I want a logo that is clean, easy to understand, and doesn’t distract from the message. For me, I doubt minimalism will give me the results that I want. But neither will a crowded, chaotic logo design.

The point I ultimately want to make here is reflected in the way the title is worded: I don’t want to chase minimal design. Chasing design trends down tends to make the finished product feel forced and unnatural. In my business, I’ve found that it’s far more effective to allow an organic design process, which results in a logo that fits the brand — and promotes success.

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The 5 Cs of Logo Design That Will Always Stand the Test of Time

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

How do you solve a problem like a boring logo? Let me tell you, uninspired logos are just the worst for a business that’s trying to grow. They don’t represent. They don’t carry their weight. They’re easy to forget, or they’re memorable for the wrong reasons.

Ultimately, they’re the exact opposite of what we want our logos to do for our brands.

On the other hand, each time that I begin the process of brainstorming logos for my ventures, I’m reminded of the vital elements that go into designing a logo that will stand the test of time. To make it as easy as possible to apply these points, we’ll call them the 5 Cs of logo design.

1. Character

Character comes to mind first in designing a great logo because of the importance of representing not just the brand, but the personality behind it.

I like to approach logos in the same basic way that I approach the construction of my companies. True, each venture that I launch can be traced back to me, so they embody some of the same qualities. But the purpose, goal, audience, and individual values of each venture differ. 

It’s the same with logos. Whether you’re creating logos for multiple companies using an umbrella theme, or you’re launching your very first venture, go back to the character behind the company. I think of it as trying to describe my brand as if it were a person. Likes and dislikes, quirks and unique traits, little details that add up. I’ve found this enormously helpful for deciding between individual elements in logo iterations. Is my brand the type of “person” who would have a mascot logo? Is it the type that would use a serif or a sans-serif? 

It’s vital to know the character of the brand in order to correctly frame the character of the logo.

Related: Understanding Your Brand’s Personality

2. Clarity

Nobody wants a logo that makes the viewer scratch their head and go, “Huh?” Unfortunately, that happens — poor choice of typeface or bad kerning can make the wordmark difficult to read. An oddball graphic choice could totally conflict with the personality of the brand. A logo that looks like it belongs to a children’s brand could completely lose the intended grown-up audience.

Clarity covers all of those, from the sheer function of the design to how easy it is to understand.

I always double-check the typeface that’s been chosen for my logos, ensuring that the font shows up well at different sizes and against different backgrounds. And it’s helpful to get feedback from others on the style and design of the graphic, just to make sure that it doesn’t look like something it shouldn’t.

3. Communication

Along with clarity, communication and accuracy of messaging are vital to make your logo a worthy representation of your brand. And it’s the design choices you make that will “talk” to your intended audience.

What’s interesting about the communication between logo and consumer is that every single aspect of the logo design contributes to the overall message. It isn’t just a question of the color you choose or the style of graphic — it’s also the shape of the logo, the use of negative space in logo design, what it references, whether it looks like the competition’s logo. Everything.

Color is one of the easiest ways to demonstrate this. Different demographics are typically drawn to different colors, so choosing colors that appeal directly to your target audience communicates that your brand is for them. Choosing a color that your target demographic tends not to like could muddy the waters.

As I’m working through a new design, I take the time to double-check how each new element might change the overall feeling of the logo. It’s worth it to make sure that the logo is sending the right message and appealing to your target audience.

Related: The Secret to a Strong Branding Message? Focus.

4. Customization

If you’re a serial entrepreneur, you may not have a bespoke logo design for every new venture that comes your way. And that’s okay because it’s never been easier to find easy design tools that let you customize an existing design. Of course sites like Logodesign.net and crowdsourcing sites are my go-to for quick logos that still carry their weight. You may have other preferences but the idea is the same. 

Just don’t forget about customizing them to the company. Customizable logos let you include your brand name, and most of them let you switch out color palettes, too. It’s easy to fall into the trap of just using whatever you find, thinking that it’s just a stopgap until the real logo is designed. But I would always stress that it’s important to make sure that even a stopgap fits the brand. 

Related: Should a Startup Ever Splurge on Logo Design? 

5. Creativity

Finally, I want to talk about the aspect that really drives the uniqueness of logo design: creativity.

It’s so tempting to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to logos, just following along with the current trends that predominate in the market. But I’ve seen logos that prioritize trendiness over uniqueness, and I would definitely advise anyone to focus on the creative aspect of their logo design.

Working with designers to craft logos for my brands, I like to think about what motivated me to create the venture, what the brand name is based on, what is evoked by the brand personality, maybe even what my brand’s spirit animal would be — anything deeply personal to the venture can be a trigger for a creative logo design.

It isn’t just that uncreative design won’t help your brand to stand out. It’s the fact that creative design is actually a marketing technique in its own right. Visual appeal is a huge motivator, and with a unique, funny, clever, or unexpected center of focus, your logo can help turn a casual viewer into a new customer.

Logos Old And New

Regardless of whether we are developing a logo for a brand new venture or just jumping on a rebranding opportunity, it’s always a good idea to look to the long-term.

For logo design, that means elements and styles that represent the brand we are now and the brand we hope to become. And it means designing based on principles that won’t change over time. Color, clarity, customization, communication, and creativity — it’s hard to go wrong when there’s so much that can go right with the 5 Cs of logo design.


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3 Fundamentals of Marketing You Must Understand to Reach the Hearts and Minds of Your Customers

7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Many “influencers” and self-proclaimed guru’s on the internet would have you believe that marketing is the solution to all of your issues in business. Unfortunately, the marketing industry is full of under-educated media buyers who are after your money because their “guru” told them they could make $10k a month by selling you ads on an open-source platform.

These platforms are created with the ability to hyper-target who sees your ads and when. It allows you to place ads in front of a demographic of people that could be your ideal customer based on their(the advertising platform’s) psychographic data, and the hope is that you’ll get leads. 

While, in theory, this sounds like a magic pill… a panacea for all of your business problems, it’s not quite how the world of marketing works. A majority of the prospects who will buy your product won’t do it the first time they see it.

Use these three marketing fundamentals to guide your marketing decisions and create marketing campaigns that convert customers into lifetime fans.

1. Marketing is about finding and understanding a market in need

Many marketing agencies would have you believe that your ideal customers are always on the platform that they happened to be best at ad buying on. That “Facebook has billions of users, so your ideal client is definitely on there.” While it might be, many people ignore ads on Facebook and are afraid of their data and privacy. For many people who may be your ideal customer, clicking on Facebook advertisements isn’t even a risk they’re willing to take. 

Finding a market in need involves these things:

  • Understanding who the ideal customer is for your product or service

  • Understanding where those people spend time and how they choose to spend their money

  • Understanding how to place educational content in front of those people to help them understand why you’re the best option for them. 

Marketing is not advertising. Ensure you understand the market before you spend your money on advertising with the assumption that it will be a magic bullet for your business. Look at where your competitors are advertising and how they’re doing it. Examine where your customers are spending their time and what their spending habits are. Research how they make their buying decisions. Utilize this information to create a true marketing strategy instead of guessing and wasting your valuable capital on guesswork and loose principles. 

Related: How to Create a Marketing Plan

2. Marketing is about communicating with your potential customers

Marketing is a process of communication more than anything. Communication is about understanding each other’s point of view, not telling the other party why you’re right. Many companies will assume marketing is about telling their customers exactly why to buy their product or service… and it is, but it’s about more than that. It’s about communicating with your customers to ask what they want. It’s about learning about how you can serve them better. 

Once you’ve found your market, find ways to communicate with them. This is a two-way street; offer a lead magnet, ask for direct feedback on that lead magnet, and ask them how they would ideally see their problems solved. Utilize both means of communication as a company, tell them about what you offer as well as asking for their input. 

The more you can show your customers that your care about who they are and how they would like to be treated(within reason), the more you’ll earn their trust and word of mouth promotion. Utilize the channels of communication that you have to gain valuable insight and information about your customers.

See your customers as human beings with real needs and real struggles. They need empathy. They’re not just potential dollar signs. They’re people who deserve to be seen, heard, and valued. Understand and implement this, and you’ll stand head and shoulders above the crowd of other companies vying for their attention and money. 

Related: 3 Things Marketers Can Learn From the Media

3. Marketing is a process of education

Many marketing agencies would have you believe that if you can just show your prospects the right offer, you’ll get leads. This is true but a giant waste of marketing dollars and effort if you’re not in a hot market. Often as entrepreneurs, we’re not selling a revolutionary product. We’re able to take an existing product or service and make it a little bit better.

This is at the heart of entrepreneurship, making things better… But it can make finding a hot market harder than those who have a truly revolutionary product. Entrepreneurs and businesses compete for the attention of their customers and clients. It’s once you’ve gained their attention that you can also earn their trust.

Consumers buy from people and companies that they know, like, and trust. Just like you, it’s hard to trust the stranger on the street trying to sell you… anything, so why would you expect yourself to be different? Certainly, you’d trust the food truck with great branding and a welcoming face if you’re hungry and leaving the bar, right? They’ve done their research and have placed themselves in a hot market with a professional presence. 

Would you buy the same food from a stranger on the street with no food truck or professional presence after walking out of Chipotle? Not likely. But if they handed you a small flyer about who they are, why they do what they do, how they source all of their ingredients locally, and how they give back to the community, would you be intrigued to check it out next time instead of Chipotle? If you’re the right prospect, the answer would be yes.

If you’re in the wrong market or miss the timing, it’s not likely that your customers will want to buy from you at that very moment. That said, you can still educate them as to why you might be a better choice next time.

Use education to draw your ideal customers closer to a decision to buy. Don’t just throw your offer in front of them every time you get the chance. Spend time educating your prospects and allow them to make a new choice once they’ve learned why it’s advantageous for them.

Marketing is something that takes research, time, and understanding. It requires patience, compassion, and empathy. And it’s not about forcing or willing your product into the hands of your customers. It’s about understanding what they truly need and giving it to them in a way they admire and respect. Use these fundamentals to guide your next marketing campaign and see what new doors it opens up for your business.

Related: 3 Tips for Mastering Storytelling as a Small Business Owner

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If You’re Using These Marketing Tactics, You’re Hurting Your Brand’s Credibility

You’ll need good marketing to increase sales in your business, so have a solid strategy.

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Entrepreneurs are always hungry for new clients and growth strategies that work. The online gurus know this, so they use emotional-trigger-based marketing tactics to convince business leaders to buy their courses or services. These questionable marketing tactics tend to lead to refund requests, chargebacks and consumers that won’t do business with them again.

Even if you provide something of value, how you market it will affect your sales depending on your approach. As you build out your marketing strategy, avoid these three commonly used marketing tactics because they tie you to a culture of bro-marketing and online gurus. Consider a different approach before these tactics detail your business growth. 

Related: 4 Annoying Online Marketing Tactics to Stop Right Now

1. Displaying revenue screenshots.

These days, it’s common for entrepreneurs to display Stripe or PayPal revenue screenshots on social media, or even on their websites. There’s no doubt that consumers are drawn to seeing sales and big numbers. But it’s a toxic marketing strategy — it may generate sales in the short term, but it repels high-end clients and more potential customers in the long term. 

The consumers who buy based on what they see in revenue screenshots tend to be in a challenging financial position and need to generate income quickly. They aren’t in the place to focus on what it takes to do the work that increases revenue, and they end up disappointed when they buy as a result of flashy marketing. 

Real wealth and growth don’t self-advertise. Have you ever seen business leaders such as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or Oprah post revenue screenshots? The results that your customers experience are a better way to market your business. Publish solid content and you can nurture cold prospects. Separate yourself from guru marketing by relentlessly focusing on serving your customers. 

Related: 6 Outdated Marketing Tactics You Need to Leave in the Past (Where They Belong)

2. Sharing client wins with no attribution.

Have you ever seen an entrepreneur posting about clients getting X results, but they never name or tag the clients? The clients they’re posting about may very well be experiencing wins, but in a guru marketing world, the consumer is skeptical.

Some clients would prefer to remain private and not share their information — that’s understandable. But, more than a few of your clients would welcome a shout-out. You have clients that are comfortable with you sharing their wins. The only way to know for sure is to ask. 

The goal is to show what your business offers, and you can do this by sharing your clients’ results and testimonials. Get permission where possible — don’t just share wins that don’t appear real to cold consumers. 

Related: 3 Marketing Tactics to Avoid Next Year

3. Marketing results from years ago. 

Over your years of building a business, you’ll no doubt experience wins. You’ll get results that consumers and colleagues will want to know more about. In marketing, your goal is to prove that your philosophy does work — mainly through marketing the results you and your clients have experienced. 

However, growth-focused entrepreneurs stay at the forefront of their industries. They don’t get a result and market those wins for years without working on getting more results. It’s acceptable to market the results you’ve obtained in the past, but ask yourself if you continue to do the work that helps you grow.

When cold prospects see that your marketing results are old, it will dissuade them from doing business with you. Consumers want to do business with industry leaders, and you become a leader by constantly honing the work you’re putting into your craft. One of the best ways to grow a business is by doing the work that optimizes your personal growth. Commit to becoming the best at what you do. 

If you’re going to increase sales in your business, you’ll need good marketing. However, there’s a way to market your business more authentically. Avoid tactics that may work for a little while but will ultimately hurt your brand credibility. 

Related: 7 Ways to Correct a Failing Marketing Strategy

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The Secret to Winning Awards for Publicity and Credibility

These four easy pathways to recognition can give your company a boost and set it apart from the competition.

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Brand Renegades

Discover how two entrepreneurs used unconventional business strategies to turn their startup into a multimillion-dollar company.

4 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I still remember the first time I saw “award-winning” on a professional bio. The woman was experienced, a confident presenter, and I was studying her to figure out how I could follow a path to become like her someday. I just couldn’t imagine how incredible I’d need to be to win a professional award as she had.

Little did I know that I would eventually apply for more than 100 award submissions for others and become a judge for awards as well, experiencing the entirety of the process.

What I learned is that standing out takes preparation and often a plan to become award-winning in your industry. There are a few solid pathways that one can follow to improve the odds of receiving award-winning status, some of which are extremely easy to do.

Path 1: Focus on measurable accomplishments

Many industry award programs focus on highlighting accomplishments. In order to win these types of submissions, it’s important to have achievements that can stand out amongst others.

If you’re looking to win a future award, you can use your quarterly evaluation or work-planning period to think about ways to proactively generate new accomplishments for the next year’s award submissions. Some questions to ask yourself in the planning process are provided below.

  1. Are there new projects I will be executing this year? How can I measure and report results that can be shared publicly?
  2. How much money can I earn or save the company this year? Are there ways to maximize that?
  3. What big transitions are happening in the industry right now? How can I make a big impact in connection to this change?

Thinking proactively each year can help you prioritize results that lead to awards.

Related: The Recap: The E-Business Awards 2021

Path 2: Network and share your goals

While self-nominations are often accepted, some awards prefer another person provide the nomination for you. Letting people know that you’re hoping to go after an award next year can seed them with the idea to nominate you when the opportunity comes up.

Another reason to network is to make sure that those who do the judging see you in action and are aware of your impact and leadership. I’ve sat on boards for awards and a natural inclination of our human minds is to give preference to those we know and have seen doing great things. If people have heard of you and have positive memories, that will boost your opportunity to win.

Related: 5 Ways to Network on the Clubhouse App

Path 3: Be a thought leader

Being an industry leader also generates positive awareness that can lead to recognition by award judges. Some awards even have scoring specifically for assessing your leadership in furthering the industry, so being seen in this capacity is a direct pathway to winning.

Some ways to build your profile in thought leadership include writing content on your blog or LinkedIn profile, contributing to industry publications, being interviewed on podcasts or speaking at events.

Related: What Exactly Is Thought Leadership?

Path 4: Get yourself in the running!

Using these pathways to build a profile worthy of awards is the first step to achieving that goal, but none of these matter without a well-written award submission.

Often, reviewers are reading dozens if not hundreds of submissions, so if your content is subpar, it won’t get very far in the review process.

If you’re not comfortable writing about yourself, find a pro who knows how to write stand-out award nominations and hire him or her to help. Even if you’re being nominated by another person, he or she often needs your input to fill in the answers, so provide quality written content to boost your chances of getting noticed.

Winning awards isn’t simply a vanity metric, it’s a true differentiator for professionals in most industries that can lead to better opportunities and higher pay. For entrepreneurs, it can be the difference between landing a client or losing a contract to a similarly qualified competitor.

Keeping an annual or bi-annual budget for award submissions is a great way to keep your company and your employees in regular consideration for opportunities to win these honors, which you can use for PR and brand credibility to garner new business.

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1622733348 Club De Cuervos Carlos Alazraki Futbol

Club de Cuervos could become a real soccer team of Liga MX

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This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

This story originally appeared on Cine Premiere

By Brenda Medel

Is the arrival of the brothers Salvador and Isabel Iglesias to the First Division of Mexican soccer about to become a reality? The businessman and publicist Carlos Alazraki announced, on his YouTube channel Desayunando con Alazraki , from Atypical Te Ve , that he has already closed the purchase of the Atlético de San Luis football team. After those statements, it began to be speculated, through social networks, if the team will change its name to Club de Cuervos , yes like the successful Netflix series starring Luis Gerardo Méndez and Mariana Treviño. However, the journalist also wanted to be very cautious and although they have not made it official, his words suggest that we could have a real version of Los Cuervos de Nuevo Toledo in Liga MX.

“Look, I haven’t talked to you, we already bought Atlético de San Luis, along with some gringo investors who like baseball,” said the publicist.

Information from ESPN indicates that Alazraki partnered with former Houston Astros manager Jeff Luhnow so that the Atlético de San Luis team is renewed with new directors and name. When his table mates insisted that he reveal the new name of the team, the journalist also replied “What do they care! I still can’t announce it. ” I can’t tell you, but you can imagine the name, that’s why we bought it .” Did someone say Los Cuervos de Nuevo Toledo? The chances of an early official confirmation ring out strong if we consider that the businessman owns the rights to the Club de Cuervos series through Alazraki Networks.

A Twitter user took up the talk:

«How magical is the Liga Mx !: Özil and Eva Longoria as Necaxa partners. The San Luis about to become Club de Cuervos at the hands of the Alazraki. Cruz Azul champion after 23 years. You don’t have to understand Liga MX, just enjoy it ».

If we review the records of the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), the results show that since 2015 the Club de Cuervos brand belongs to Carlos Alazraki. In fact, it is pointed out that Club de Cuervos can be used for entertainment products and services. In addition, there are other registrations in process that classify the brand as «ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES; ENTERTAINMENT SERVICES IN THE NATURE OF A FOOTBALL TEAM AND SPORTS ACTIVITIES » .

1622733132 Cuervos Impi1

1622733152 Cuervos Impi2

The news has gained more force after the official Club de Cuervos Twitter account reactivated its publications after two years of absence.

ESPN also assures that Atlético de Madrid accepted Carlos Alazraki’s proposal due to the economic problems that the Spanish team began to suffer derived from the pandemic. It should be noted that during the 2020-21 opening, Atlético de San Luis was in last place in the general table; while in the closing 2020-21 he was in the penultimate place above the Necaxa Club. According to data from Marca Claro , the Atlético de San Luis team was awarded a fine of $ 120 million pesos , precisely for being the last in the table.

Club de Cuervos premiered in 2015 through Netflix becoming one of the most successful local series on the platform that earned it four seasons on the air. It also has a spin-off starring Jesús Zavala entitled Club de Cuervos presents: The Ballad of Hugo Sánchez .

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