Introducing: Laurie Levine

Many Woodbury-area business owners already know Laurie Levine. She has lived and worked in the Cottage Grove Woodbury area for years—first as an entrepreneur, then as a multimedia sales representative. Now, we’re excited to introduce Laurie as the newest member of our team at Keech Media.

As an account executive, Laurie’s mission will be to empower businesses with better marketing results. We’re excited to see how she uses her own experience as an entrepreneur and multimedia specialist to accomplish that mission.

Laurie sees her role as a chance to provide businesses with the marketing resources she wished she had when she was starting her business. “Honestly, when I opened Yo-Joe’s years ago…I literally created everything from the logo to the brand…everything,” she said. “And, boy, I could have used Nathan’s help during that time!”

Like many area business owners, Nathan knew Laurie from the Woodbury chamber, as well as from various networking circles and events. When Nathan found out that Laurie was ready to make a change, he was eager to explore possibilities. After talking, they found a fit.

Laurie brings a lot of understanding to the table when it comes to running a business, because she’s been a business owner. “It’s not just me saying ‘I know how you feel. It’s me saying, ‘I KNOW how you feel,” she said. “…that was my thing…so I’ve really been on both sides.”

To get in touch with Laurie, call 612-315- 9984 or send her an email at [email protected]

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern

Case Study: Finishing Touch Car Care

Busy with high demand for paintless dent removal, full vehicle wraps, and other vehicle decal services, Finishing Touch Car Care Inc. didn’t have time to shop and re-shop for web and media services.

“We’ve always had internet companies doing our website for us,” owner Dan Meyer says, “…we’d be looking pretty good on the internet for a couple of months– we’d be paying them monthly– and, all of a sudden, we would have no presence at all. So we’d go to another company and try them, and no consistency with anybody.”

Many of Keech Media’s client relationships start with a single project. That’s how it started for Finishing Touch Car Care– through video production. “We wanted to do some TV commercials, Dan says, “so I found Keech through the Woodbury Chamber [events]. We would see them at those events and started talking to them…and we heard about them from a couple of other people [who] were happy with their service. So we decided to jump on with the commercials…they shot four commercials for us, and we decided to move on from there with our website.”

We had our work cut out for us, because Finishing Touch Car Care has services worth sharing– Dan and the crew have invested a lot in their ability to deliver. “We go through extensive training to do vehicle wraps and banners,” Dan says, “We also do clear protection film by 3M on the front of cars. We make sure we’re really good at it before we get into any type of business, with anything that we do. We’re fully trained.”

We wanted to show them web results as powerful and reliable as their car restoration. Since we launched their directory submission and Search Engine Optimization services at the end of April 2016, Finishing Touch Car Care has seen an increase of about 37% in their online traffic. Over time, their bounce rate (people leaving their website in 10 seconds or less) has decreased by 7%, while time spent on their website is generally going up by 15%. “We got an excellent response,” Dan says, “people coming in the door. We’re getting a really good turnout…so we decided to do the same thing with FTCC Graphics. He built that website for us and is doing the SEO…our website presence looks a lot better.”

We were thrilled when Dan credited “customer service” as the trait that sets Keech Media apart, because customer service and communication are foundational to better results. “They come in every month for a meeting,” Dan says, “to make sure they’re performing for us and introducing new things for our business that will help us get more people into our door. 

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern 

Atomize your Content

When we talked about market research on a budget, we showed how Ryan Robinson got creative with market research, building his plane while he taxied down the runway. That sort of resourcefulness is something small businesses can relate to, and it shows that market research is not out of anyone’s league.

It’s the same with content marketing. Like market research, just the phrase “content marketing” can sound expensive. But, like market research, you can totally scale it to match your resources.

Radix, a small B2B copywriting company, shared one way they got creative with content marketing: they atomized.

Atomize
verb at·om·ize \ˈa-tə- ˌmīz\
1: to treat as made up of many discrete units (Merriam-Webster definition)

To atomize content means to break it down– to create many related parts from an overall theme, message, or idea. It’s an unconventional word to reflect a simple idea. For Radix, atomization looked like the following:

1. They had an idea they wanted to share, so they wrote an article for their newsletter recipients.
2. They turned that article into a blog post (making it visible and sharable online).
3. They pulled a theme from the blog post, tweaked it, and turned it into a podcast (making it accessible for those just looking for a quick listen).
4. They took the overall theme of the blog post and turned it into…a board game! (making it a novelty)
5. They interviewed the creators of the board game for another unique podcast.
6. They verbalized the insights portrayed through the board game through a presentation.

And it goes on, all the way up to ten unique content pieces across their market’s favorite media channels– all from one in-depth article that they first posted in their newsletter. They got creative, and you can too. Check out the article for their details and insights: How to Atomize 1 Killer Piece of Content Into 10.

No company, no matter how big their budget, should bypass resourcefulness. This is an encouraging truth because, once again, it helps to level the playing field. You can start by asking yourself the following:

1. What am I an expert in? What are topics for which people come to me for advice?
2. Have I written a cohesive article on those topics? If not, how can I compose those thoughts, notes, etc. into an article?
3. What are the media channels that my buyers use to gain information, entertainment, or inspiration?
4. How can I atomize my article into smaller parts and transform them for those particular media channels?

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern

Market Research on a Budget: Test it on the Runway

Different marketing channels have different characteristics, and you should never let your fundamental reason for using a channel be, “that’s what everyone is using,” or, “that’s the most expensive, so it must be the most effective.” Without market research, you’ll be leaving your relevance and reputation up to chance. But who has the resources for market research?

You do. And getting started won’t cost what you think.

 

In his experiment, “The 30 Day Validation Challenge,” entrepreneur Ryan Robinson is proving that you can validate a business idea, explore and confirm the right marketing channels, and build an audience from scratch with a tiny ($500) budget and 30-day timeframe. Ryan is showing that, with the wide reach and low cost that we all enjoy through various digital social platforms, we have the tools to get creative in our market research, using a multi-task approach in which you’re building your product in small intervals while you simultaneously test it. Think of it as building a plane while you roll down the runway.

Testing a business idea even while you build it is actually an exercise in efficiency, because it keeps you from building too much without testing, and from testing too much without building. After all, Ryan doesn’t have the capacity to put all his time into any idea that’s not yet validated, or to spend 500 hours validating an idea without a more timely return on investment. He only has enough capacity to test as he goes, on the side, which is a type of work that he’s very familiar with.

By starting small, he’s proving to all of us that we can make our market research fit our resources, whatever those resources are. He starts by forming a small feedback group through email and text message (text message?!). Then, even while he continues to do research and gain feedback, he starts to grow both his influence and his insight using more robust tools– but still nothing that’s out of anyone’s league. Soon, his idea is gaining lift. He’s reaching out to influencers on social media, and they’re reaching out to their audience. The community that he’s building is starting to build itself. Within thirty days, he’s ready to push the throttle and go all-in with confidence that his newly-defined product is backed with market research.

We think his experiment is awesome, and we’re excited to see how his newly validated product performs in the marketplace. We hope that, through his experiment, you’re inspired to let your resources and your goals define your exploration of marketing channels. Don’t settle for any wasted effort or cost just because it’s “what everyone is doing.” Every time you want to launch a new idea, ask yourself:

Is there any way I can validate this idea to make sure it’s a fit for my niche, my resources, and my desired results, while I taxi down the runway?

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern 

Get to Know Nathan Keech

Meet Nathan Keech, owner and executive producer at Keech Media. Although a lot has changed since he started producing digital media professionally back in 1999, some things have stayed the same– like the rewards of his work. “I’m an entrepreneur at heart,” Nathan says. “I love it when my business succeeds, and I love it when other businesses succeed as a result of what we do for them.”

Nathan has known sales ever since he was a kid “selling gumballs in fourth grade.” Now, his work generally requires that he flip-flop between two hats. Within his sales role, it’s all about “entering a relationship with another business in which we are actually going to make a difference in their lives. And I can say that with confidence. A salesperson has to believe in what they’re selling to be successful.”

After Nathan and a client confirm business goals, he goes to work as Keech Media’s executive producer. From the network of video producers, content writers, social media managers, web designers, and other specialists that he has come to trust, Nathan will select a team to match each specific project. “I’m overseeing any number of projects at any given time, which has been very, very rewarding,” Nathan says, “because I get to see the result that my input initially has and then see it come to fruition.”

It’s hard to know which hat is his favorite– sales or production. Sales has always been his chance to grow his network and connect with like-minded business owners. “As a small business owner, myself,” Nathan said, “[clients and I] share so many of the same challenges. And we can really play off of some of our own experience and talk about those challenges in [our] conversation, you know? It helps me relate to them on a very personal level.”

When it comes to digital media production, though, it’s hard to not get excited about new media channels and marketing methods that are expanding in the industry. Regarding the immediate future, Nathan says, “Video blogging, I think, is really going to start taking off. I’m really excited about the prospects and the opportunity to help businesses with their shorter ‘bite-sized’ content.”

No matter which hat Nathan is wearing, he is an example of work ethic, passion, and integrity on every project– and we love working with him.

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern 

Cultivating Customer Experience

Lately, we’ve been exploring the ways in which a brand personifies your business. We’ve talked about the importance of defining and documenting your business’s personality, building your brand, and using a brand guide to manage your brand’s evolution.

This week, we want to share a foundational element to your business’s personality by asking a question: as a business, what are your value propositions?

As a consumer, why do you come back to your favorite restaurants, service providers, consultants, or retailers? Patrick Bet-David divides the most common reasons into six categories– we like to call them value propositions– that generally bring customers back on a regular basis: Fast. Cheap. Quality. Luxury. User-friendly. Customer service.

Which value propositions keep customers coming back to your business? When it comes to sharing your brand, focus on your value propositions.

Customer Experience is Valuable
When Patrick talks about customer service, he also introduces customer experience. “Think about customer service as reactive,” he says. Think of it as addressing a complaint or promptly fixing an issue. It’s important stuff. Customer experience, however, goes a step further. It’s about being proactive– going above and beyond and taking little steps to delight your customers.

Keech Media loves new customers, but the foundation of our business rests on client retention. In order to keep clients on board for the long-term, we’re all about customer experience. For us, customer experience is about consistent communication, along with high quality and best-value services. We take every opportunity to serve as a one-stop- shop for our clients’ media marketing needs, and it keeps them on board and also telling others about their experiences with us.

No matter your other value propositions, pursue great customer service and (even better) customer experience as a foundational value. And it’s not limited to the six that Patrick mentions. Consider these steps and questions:

1. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Or, better yet, ask your customers: what keeps them coming back to your business? These are your value propositions.
2. How can you make your value propositions known to your market?
3. What actions can you take– little or big– to give your customers awesome
experiences, causing them to come back regularly as loyal patrons?
4. Which value propositions represent growth opportunities for your business? What little steps can you take to enhance customers’ experiences in these areas?

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern

Case Study: Aerial Sessions with Bituminous Roadways, Inc.

We’re all about unique projects, especially when we’re working with a company like Bituminous Roadways, Inc. to showcase time-tested quality. When Heidi Sedlacek, marketing coordinator for Bituminous Roadways (BR), inquired about aerial photography, we were eager to establish a partnership.

Every year, BR produces a calendar for its existing and prospective customers, employees, and other stakeholders, printing and distributing about 3,500 calendars total. As a company specializing in the design, construction, and maintenance of asphalt pavement areas, BR’s annual calendar calls for a bird’s-eye view of its work. When they approached Keech Media, they found that and more.

“I had taken a look at the website,” Heidi said, “just to look at [Keech Media’s] capabilities, and liked what I saw. I also liked that they did more than just photography– that it was graphic design, website development, some marketing consultation– those types of things.”

After hearing about the project, our executive producer, Nathan Keech, suggested we don’t stop at just still photography. What if, during the aerial sessions, we gain the still images for the calendar and some great video footage?

“…it really made sense for me to [multitask],” Heidi decided. And so the Keech Media team shot both still photography and video during the aerial sessions, cutting labor costs and producing multiple end products for multiple media channels.

“In the future, if we need video, [we’ll] have this library of footage,” Heidi said. “Looking forward, I hope to do some video case studies, or maybe use some footage for an [overview video]. So it just made more sense to do everything that way.”

We love content repurposing and loved talking with BR about the multiple ways they plan to use their still photos and video footage. “…we produce a poster every year for the Minnesota Asphalt Pavement Association,” Heidi said, “ and four of the projects that we’ve shot will go on this poster. They also do a call for calendar photos, and I will be submitting a few of our options that we’ve done with Keech Media. I’ve also submitted an award
application for one of the locations that we were at. So it’s not only for the calendar, but there are other projects for which we’ll be using the photography.”

For Heidi and BR, what set Keech Media apart? “The word that comes to my mind is integrity,” Heidi said. “He’s building not only a professional relationship, but a personal relationship, too, which I value. He wants to build relationship with his customers.”

Both Keech Media and BR are passionate about sustained quality and better results, and that makes us an excellent partnership for the long term. “I’m just looking forward to what might be some future projects that we’ll work on,” Heidi said. “I hope that we can continue the relationship, move forward, and do some great things.”

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern

Your Brand Guide

We’ve talked about how to define your identity and use it to lay the foundation for your brand. Now, we want to share a tool to equip your brand for healthy, intentional expansion in conjunction with your evolving identity. When you’ve decided which elements reflect your identity, it’s time to document your decisions within a brand guide.

A brand guide is a living, breathing document. It keeps you grounded and empowers you to explore and expand your company’s personality. It defines boundaries for you and your employees regarding specific elements like color, tagline, go-to marketing channels, tone of voice, special behaviors and customer experiences, images, and more.

Check out a couple of the visual brand guides that we’ve created for our clients. When it comes to visuals like this, it’s all about conveying a consistent message of professionalism and personality to a target market.

Elements like these will surely grow and change as your business evolves, but having them documented from the start will keep you consistent in your communication and empower you to make intentional, measurable changes to the elements of your brand– on your own terms. With a brand guide, you and your employees are equipped to post social media, create sales material, partake in industry conversations, and more, with clear parameters surrounding your organization’s identity and personality.

For more ideas how to reach your target market with intentional and consistent personality, check out the rest of our blog or find us on Facebook.

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern

Building Your Brand

Once you’ve defined and documented your identity with a mission and vision statement, how do you find your voice? Once you’ve taken due diligence in documenting what your business is about, you’ve earned the pleasure of sharing your identity with your target market. It’s time to build your brand.

Like many elements of business, building your brand is starts with simplicity. Evan Carmichael starts with a single word: Believe. That’s what he’s about.

For us, it’s a phrase: Smart Marketing. Better Results. And everything we say and do has this phrase between the lines. When it comes to marketing, knowing who you are is the first step and knowing your brand is the second. Then, it’s all about balance: your mission is to maintain consistency and, at the same time, explore new ways to express the ever- evolving personality of your business. Here are just a few considerations that make up your brand:

Your color scheme
Colors bring emotion. What do you want your consumers to feel? For examples of how a color scheme can speak for a business, check out our design portfolio.

Your tagline
It might be who you are and what you do. (“Smart Marketing. Better Results.”) It might also be a phrase that reflects your personality or values. (“Just Do It.”)

Your go-to marketing channels
What are the pillars that compose your marketing homestead? Consider your goals, the personality you’ve defined for your business, and the needs of your consumers.

Your voice
Is the tone of your content formal or casual? Is it in first person or third person? Is it inspirational? Informative? Funny? Convicting? It’s good to say “all of the above” and decide on a case-by- case basis, but you also want to promote a consistency that gives your consumers the impression that your business is a singular, well-rounded “person.”

For examples of how your identity can effectively define your colors, content, voice, and other creative elements that are fundamental to your brand, contact us for a complimentary consultation.

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern

Marketing your Identity: Define your Mission and Vision Statement

When we sit down with clients, one of the first things we want to know is how well they know themselves. Have they defined who they are, what they do, and why and how they do it?

Before you start any marketing, make sure you’ve documented your identity with a mission statement (what do you want to accomplish now? Why? How?) and a vision statement (what do you want to accomplish in the long-term? Why? How?). Most
businesses could tell you what they’re about, but distilling that knowledge into concise statements is a challenge that’s worth the time and effort involved.

But what makes it so important? Every marketing effort you make will flow out of the identity you’ve defined for your business. Drawn from one of Dave Ramsey’s presentations at EntreLeadership’s Master Series event; here are three reasons why your documented identity needs to weigh in on every decision you make:

It keeps you from fatal distraction. “A mission statement is an out-of- bounds marker,” Ramsey says, “It defines what you are not as much as what you are…” The danger of distraction applies to marketing just as much as anything else. Stay focused on your goals and your target audience.

It reminds you, and your market, of what you can do. What are your go-to products and/or services, and what marketing initiatives will make your specific skillset shine?

It reveals your personality, dreams, passions, and values. Why does your business exist? Where do you want to take it? Questions like these are the elements that inspire both you and your customers to continue doing business.

You can’t truly present yourself if you don’t know yourself. Invest in creating a vision and mission statement, and the insight will set you on the road to marketing success. Need help defining and documenting your identity and using it to connect with your market? Contact us for a free consultation, and look for next week’s post, where we’ll discuss how you can transform your unique identity into your brand.

 

By Keech Media | Written By Michael Finnern