Purdy Schools + Greyphin = Success

Purdy Schools, of Purdy Missouri, are taking a tech based and proactive approach toward filling their halls with students that are eager to learn and accomplished teachers that are ready to support them.

Dr. Chancellor, superintendent, and his excellent team understand the world is full of technological solutions to problems that may not exist yet. Furthermore, they recognize every student needs to have leading technologies incorporated into their everyday learning environments if the students going to succeed.

This is why Dr. Chancellor and his team have decided to move forward with a new Greyphin website that will showcase how they’re handling the educational challenges this ever changing world has to offer.

So, please welcome Purdy Schools to the Greyphin Client Phamily!

How Giving CRAP to Your Clients Will Keep Them Coming Back For More

Are your promotional materials – your flyers, websites, business cards, and logos – just utter crap?

Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity.

Thanks to Robin Williams (no, not the actor) and her signature book, this cheeky little acronym will help you remember the core principles you need to create designs that keep your audience engaged.

Let’s look at how each of these principles can be used to make your message clearer and more compelling to your customers.

Contrast

Contrast is what we use to show the reader what is most important. Clearly identify the main thing, and then build your page to highlight it. The last thing you want is for your reader to be confused because your contrast is weak and elements on your page are only “kind of different.” Be contrast-strong! This can be achieved through: large/small font, cool/warm colors, small/large graphics, etc.

Take a look at the difference between these two images. Notice how color, text size, and message importance can be conveyed or neglected depending on a strong or weak contrast. Below each colored design is how that graphic looks in grayscale.

William Beachy, Go Media: Become Master Designer: Rule Three: Contrast, Contrast, Contrast

Tip #1) Don’t make everything symmetrical

In a great Shutterstock blog about design mistakes, they recommend dropping the boring idea of symmetry and instead using asymmetry as a way to “create visual interest and spontaneity.”

Think how “not special” the Apple logo would be if it looked like this:

And not this:

Or Pepsi, if it decided to keep this dull design…

…instead of a more interesting and unique look:

These examples and more help with symmetrical and asymmetrical design can be found at the Pandaqi Design Tutorial.

Repetition

Consistency is key. Users are always trying to make sense of your pages. Make this easier on them by repeating the same design styles throughout your document to unify the message and design.

Notice how this image uses similar round shapes in the flower petals like in the bee. This helps to stick to the theme of the document.

Zach and Jody, Tuesday Tips: Accomplishment Through Repetition

Tip #2) Not everything has to be a bold typeface and 100 colors.

Pick a small color palette and a few shapes and typefaces and repeat those to make your design organized. Generally, I recommend picking between 2-3 colors, shapes, and typefaces and using those over and over within the same graphic or document. Let the color wheel guide your color choices, and get to know complementary colors. If you want to use two colors, pick a color you like and go directly across the color wheel. For three colors, pick a color you like and then divide the circle into thirds, where the lines fall are the other two ideal colors to use.

Eric Kim, Color Theory For Photographers: Color Theory 101

Alignment

There is no better way to create a confused user, and look like an amatuer than to have poor alignment. Your goal is to guide your reader through your content. Alignment ensures that the user’s eye flows to each part of your information.

Tip #3 ) Give up on centering your text.

One, it looks quite messy. Two, the uneven and jagged edges are hard on your reader’s eye. A quick change to left or right alignment will help your user know where to start and stop.

Here are two business cards. No color or graphics here, just focus on the alignment. What might it “speak” to you about my work?

Proximity

Things that relate should stick together. Create relationships on your page between graphics and text. Don’t spread out your design. We can only process a limited number of elements at a time. Grouping things makes it feel like there are fewer elements and keeps from overloading your reader.

Tip #4) Whitespace is your friend.

By having whitespace on your document, you help to give a visual hierarchy to the elements on your page, telling the reader what is most important and what to look at first.

See what I mean?

Jason Forrest, Digital Ink: The Importance of Whitespace

And not to compare apples to oranges here (or in this case  juice and whiskey) but take a look at these websites. You can see how the whitespace keeps the distillery’s website looking modern and clean, while the juice site looks way too busy.

David Morton,MarginMedia 5 Examples of Poor Website Design

JustInMind, 10 Most Inspiring Whitespace Design Websites You’ll Want to Copy

So there you have it. The four cornerstones of design: Contrast, Repetition, Alignment, and Proximity will help you communicate more clearly to your customers through all of your design. Now go give ‘em tons of CRAP!

Clarify Your Message & Clients Listen

Businesses want their digital marketing to get them in front of the right people, make them look good, and get people to buy from them. The problem is, they’re unsure if their website is doing any of that.

Maybe your site doesn’t show up on Google when people search for your industry. Or you hope it doesn’t show up, because you’re embarrassed by what people would see if they actually went there. Or maybe you’ve spent a lot of money on a custom site but now you feel taken advantage of because you can’t tell whether your site is getting you more business or not.

The worst part is, you don’t know what to do about it. You know you need to be marketing online. But digital marketers are hard to trust when they seem bent on confusing you with all of their buzz words and techno-babble.

We feel your pain. You deserve to know what you’re paying for, and so do your customers. That’s why we’ve teamed up with StoryBrand to bring simplicity and clarity to your digital marketing. Using the StoryBrand framework, 1000’s of businesses have clarified their message and increased revenues, some having doubled, tripled, and quadrupled their sales in less than 6 months! How did they do it? Communicating more clearly.

Now, as a StoryBrand Certified Guide, Greyphin is excited to bring that same clarity to your company, and it starts with your website. We want to remove the mystery surrounding online marketing so you can be confident that you’re getting what you’ve paid for, that your message is getting through to your audience, and that you can turn your audience into buyers.

So if you feel like your online marketing is confusing, stressing you out, or non-existent, here are 3 steps to help you regain clarity.

1. Contact us for a free website review.

2. We’ll help you identify what you really want from your website.

3. We’ll build you a plan to help you get it.You know that you have a great product/service. Let’s make sure everyone else knows too.

POP: Management According to Dick Winters

As I sat across from him in an absurdly small and armless chair, he kicked his feet up on the oversized executive desk and began unpacking the events of the last 12 months. Not understanding how these details were relevant to his website rebuild, I listened intently in an attempt to follow the breadcrumbs to his final destination.

Life had been hard, and it wasn’t his fault. He’d been hustling, everyday working toward a better business. But finding good help is tough. People don’t want to work and can’t be trusted. It’s the nature of his industry. While there’s a grain of truth to every story, this grain was pretty tiny. Nonetheless, that was the narrative bouncing around in his mind.

His solution, treat his employees as though they were the enemy. “Trust no one” had become his mantra, and it was obvious the intensity of his paranoia had grown with each passing day.

Doing my best to continue listening, all I could think about was the fact that his company would be a lot less effective, if not belly up, without his employees.

“One day my grandson said to me, grandpa were you a hero in the war? And I said to him, no I’m not a hero, but I have served in a company full of them.” – Dick Winters

So many “leaders” behave as if their organization would be nothing if not for them, but in my experience that sort of “leader” is usually holding those around them back. That sort of “leader” tends to cling to the idea they’re supposed to be the smartest person in the room. And that sort of “leader” thinks they’re the hero. They must be, right? They’re in charge.

“There is no need to tell someone how to do his job if you have properly trained your team.” – Dick Winters

At Greyphin, we live by this philosophy. In fact, we’ve seen it pay off so many times that we’ve given it a name. POP: People + Operations = Profit. If you hire the right people and train them well, they’ll create the operations that make you profit. I know it sounds too simple to be true, but it’s not. It worked for Dick Winters and Easy Company, and it’ll work for you.

So, where do you go from here? Follow these 6 easy steps to start running a POP driven organization, today.

  • Thoroughly Vet Candidates Before Hiring. Check Facebook and LinkedIn for mutual connections. Once you’ve found a few connections, reach out and see what they have to say about your candidate. If you’re struggling to ask the right questions, take a page out of Brian Halligan’s book. Ask, “On a scale of 0 to 10, what is the likelihood you would hire this person again in the future?” If they don’t answer with a 10, ask “Why not 10”.
  • Hire The Best Person For The Job.
  • Make Your Expectations Clear. Once the candidate’s been hired, make certain they know exactly what it is you want them to do, by clearly and frequently communicating your expectations to them.
  • Develop Your Team to Deliver Results. As a leader of a team, your job is to make certain they have all the resources (education, authority, time, money, etc.) they need to execute the job they’ve been hired to do.
  • Institute a Weekly Check-in. Check-ins are an amazing tool that can help leaders and team members alike. This is a weekly 30 minute meeting broken down into three 10 minute blocks. The first 10 minutes is for the team member to discuss any successes or issues they might be having. The second 10 minutes is for the team leader to provide positive affirmation or constructive feedback to the team member. And, the third 10 minutes is to make plans to address anything that came up in the meeting that might need resolution.
  • Hang Tough. “Lastly, hang tough! Never, ever give up regardless of the adversity. If you are a leader, a fellow who other fellow look to, you have to keep going.” – Dick Winters

Why a Website Can Make or Break Your Marketing Plan

Pop the following query into Google, “Marketing definition”, and you’ll get this:

mar·ket·ing

(noun)

the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.

Other sites also include steps such as “identification, selection, and development of a product”. While technically correct, at this point, the latter items are about as germane to you as a guide on raising horses when your thoroughbred is already being led to the starting gate.

You already have a product. And now, you need to skillfully present and promote it, while gathering the necessary information to further target your prospective consumers and really kick in the metaphorical afterburners.

You must sense how critical a great website is to your marketing plan, or you wouldn’t have landed on a website that promotes… well, website services. What you may not fully understand (yet) is how and how much your site can help your sales realize their full potential.

  • Over 80% of folks begin their search for a product with a trip to a search engine (much as you just did). The general consensus is that the number is even higher when it comes to service searches. The lack of a website immediately places your product at a 4-to-1 disadvantage to your competitors who feature one. By the same token, having a killer site places you head and shoulders above your siteless competition (and at least a head above those who let a well meaning, but talentless nephew create one for them).
  • A top-tier site ensures that you will always create a great first impression (a tie-in to the title, cool, eh?). One click of a search result and there you are, instantly communicating a sense of credibility, trust, as well as the impression that (to quote Rick in Casablanca), “…this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”. The right layout: clean, fresh, and inviting, will hold your visitors attention. A great logo, font, and colors will reinforce the impression that your company is worthy of further exploration. And positive reviews will go miles towards furthering the perception of credibility.
  • With the best possible version of your marketing message placed near the top of your front page, you can reinforce the prospect’s sense that they’re in the right place. Then with photos, dynamic videos, and a drop-down highlighting employees, you can establish a sense of familiarity before you get to person-to-person contact.
  • Any marketing plan of today pretty much has to include social media. Having said that, social media by itself is a lost child. That might seem a bit harsh, but have you ever done a web search, clicked a link, and then been directed to a static Facebook page? You probably received a pic of the front of the business, 2-3 snapshots of something product related, and maybe a few comments: “One of the best high colonics I’ve ever received!” DON’T be that business. Solid social media exists to bring the customer to your website. In turn your site can refer folks (“like us on Facebook!”) who are already familiar with your company to a fun place to engage with others around your principal message.
  • If marketing is about promoting and selling your products and services, then your website traffic is a veritable goldmine of insight and research data. Solid web analytics keep you grounded in reality so you can fine tune your message and narrow your target focus. How long does a typical visitor stay on a your landing page? Which additional pages receive the most attention? Are there particular parts of your site which prompt contact better than others? Your site’s lead generating email forms, won’t just provide you with contact information, but a list of folks who are so motivated that they will actually fill out the damned things!
  • No matter how dedicated you and your employees are, everyone needs to sleep. Sick days happen and an occasional vacation is nice. Having stated the obvious, with an online presence, your best foot is forward 24/7/365, maintaining that positive exposure that is so crucial to your business plan.

Business promotion, brand awareness, lead generating, and research…all perfectly addressed by a well-made website. Ready to create one? Let’s chat.

10 Best Business Books I’ve Read This Year

I’ve read a lot this year. Maybe…too much. (gasp!)

With so much good information out there, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to consume it all. But just like with food, wolfing it all down as fast as possible doesn’t make for good digestion.

What really matters is what we do with what we read.

So here’s a short summary (in no particular order) of the 10 best business books I’ve read recently.

But don’t add them all to your reading list. Instead, just pick one – whichever one you think will give you the best chance to change your life for the better. And then go and do what you learn.

Deep Work by Cal Newport

The ethos of this book is similar to what I just said. You’ve got to focus if you want to get more out of your time. Fractured attention hurts the quality (and Cal argues, the volume) of your work, and as science has shown, is bad for your brain. So after making a case for why you should focus, Cal gives some practical advice for how to do it. Thankfully, he doesn’t tout a one-size-fits-all approach. He suggests 4 different ones for us to experiment with, depending on our own personal circumstances.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

A critical reading of this book will reveal a number of issues, but nevertheless, it’s a classic with relational techniques that have now become common knowledge. The principles are quite sound, though in hindsight we can see how some of them can be twisted by less-than-conscientious salespeople. But the straightforward, folksy how-to approach is endearing, and it’s good to be reminded of implicit knowledge by having it spelled out once in a while.

Multipliers by Liz Wiseman

Are you a Multiplier or Diminisher? It’s something easy to spot in others, but sometimes we need someone to ask the hard questions for us to be able to see it in ourselves. Multipliers amplify the intelligence of those around them. Diminishers drain the intelligence, energy, and capabilities of others. Lest you answer too quickly, this book is a gut punch to help you really see what you’re made of, and what you do to those around you.

Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

This book describes the findings of one of the largest sales studies in history, and how it bucks the conventional wisdom on who makes the best salespeople. It describes 5 sales profiles (Hard Worker; Lone Wolf; Relationship Builder; Problem Solver; Challenger), and shows that the top performers were overwhelmingly situated in the Challenger category. (Not the Relationship Builders, as was supposed.) What do Challengers do that sets them apart? In a nutshell, they teach, tailor, and take control. If you want to learn how to do that, read this book.

Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard

It’s not a business book per se, but a it’s a good reminder about how business is part of the larger ecosystem that is our world. The book reads a lot like a biography, but in many ways it is a biography of Yvon’s company, Patagonia. It reveals the company’s values and how dedication to such values can turn a company into so much more for its employees – a cause they can believe in.

Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi and Robert John Rose

Marketing doesn’t have to be a cost; it should be viewed as an investment. But brands are now taking it a step further and using marketing as its own revenue generator as they embrace providing valuable content and not just widgets. Whereas traditional marketing was about describing value, today’s content marketing is about creating value. Successful business is largely about building an audience and then consistently creating value for that audience. That’s what content marketing is all about.

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Here’s another book about focus. It’s about doing less, but better. We do so many things each day, but how many of those things would you deem really and truly important? Not many. Ultimately in life, you get to choose what you want to expend your time and energy on. So you might as well spend it on things that are important to you. Of course, there are problems associated with every choice you make. But the real question is: Which problems do you want?

Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller

People are drawn to story. It’s how we make sense of the world and our place in it. That’s a powerful thing. But most brands aren’t thinking about that. And if they are, they are too wrapped up in being the hero. But customers don’t want a hero; they want to be the hero! Don’s book shows brands how to connect with that desire in a way that translates into huge returns.

The Effective Manager by Mark Horstman

There’s no shortage of management books, but what I like about this one is that it is simple and practical. It’s based on the claim that managers are responsible for two main things: results and retention. It then describes 4 basic behaviors (one-on-one meetings; feedback; coaching; and delegation) that managers should perform with their direct reports to these ends. The book has some good instruction on how to start implementing these tools, and is a good starting place for aspiring managers.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

This book hinges on the idea that you are what you do, and if you want a better life, you need better behaviors. About 40% of what you do is on autopilot. These are your habits, and they are made of 3 things: cue, routine, and reward. The book shows us that we can replace ‘bad’ habits with ‘good’ ones by simply changing the routine. In other words, the same cue, plus a different routine, can still give us the same mental reward. Yeah, but what about willpower? You can build that as a habit as well. You’ll have to read the book and try it out to be sure.

So there you have it, a little taste of the best business books I’ve read this year. Pick one, read it closely, and apply what you’ve learned before you even think of picking up another one.

5 Softwares Every Small Business Needs to Use

Running a small business is big work. Fortunately for you, there are some stellar tools out there that can make that work a little more manageable. Here’s our list of the 5 Softwares Every Small Business Needs to Use:

GSuite: Everything you need in one packageGoogle’s been providing the world with solid business solutions since Britney Spears got married… the first time. With GSuite, you can connect to your clients and colleagues via Gmail, create collaborative documents with Google Docs and Google Sheets, access and store files in the cloud with Google Drive, and control your data by managing users and devices. Google designed these tools with business in mind.

Trello: Make lists not warThis productivity management software helps you efficiently move projects from concept to completion. Time’s a limited resource, and unless you’re Hiro Nakamura, you only have 24 hours in a day. So make those hours count, with Trello.

Hubspot: Close deals faster by selling smarter not harderThis handy little tool is more than just a customer relations manager. It’s an inbound marketing and sales platform that allows you to attract strangers, convert them to leads, and make them your customers. And without customers, this whole business thing’s just busy-ness.

Quickbooks Online: Smarter business tools for the world’s hardest workers. With over 4.3 million users, QBO knows a thing or two about making accounting more tolerable. Whether you need to track income and expenses, digitally invoice and accept payments, or maximize your tax deductions, you can with Quickbooks Online.

MailChimp: Build your brand. Sell more stuff. Small businesses need marketing automation, and people around the world are sending 1 billion automated emails every day using MailChimp. Whether you want to build your brand or sell products via the internet, you need to spread the word. Because as Derby Brown always said, “The business that considers itself immune to the necessity for advertising, sooner or later finds itself immune to business.” Build your business with MailChimp.

10 Reasons to Incorporate Video Into Your Marketing

It’s no secret why YouTube has more than 1 billion users (over ⅓ of the internet), is the world’s 2nd largest search engine, and is the world’s 3rd most visited website.

Content may be king, but video content is divine.

If that alone isn’t enough to convince you, here are 10 more reasons why you need to be doing online video marketing now.

The internet is becoming the vid-ternet. By 2019, 80% of all internet traffic will be video. If you’re not doing video marketing, you’re not marketing.

Get ranked 1st on Google. Content that includes video is 50 times more likely to rank 1st in Google search results. (That’s the first link below the paid ads…you know, the one you click on.)

Get more site visitors. Videos in search results have a 41% higher click-through rate than plain text results.

Increase site engagement. The longer people spend on your page, the better. And visitors stay on web pages with video 2.8 times longer than those without.

Move people to purchase. This is the main idea, right? So remember this: 64% of consumers buy after watching a branded social video.

People are more likely to link to your page. Your off-site SEO is arguably more important than your on-site SEO. Blog posts with video get nearly 3 times as many inbound links as plain text posts.

Your customers will spread your message.  If you create videos your core customers love, they’ll share them with everyone they know. 92% of viewers of mobile videos share them with friends.

People prefer video. 72% of people would rather use video to learn about a product or service than read about it. If you don’t give those people what they want, someone else will…and that someone will get the sale.

Executives prefer video. (Yes, executives are people too!) If you think video advertising isn’t for business-to-business sales, think again. 59% of company executives would rather watch a video than read an article.

Move people to purchase! I know I already said that, but it’s worth saying again. Videos on a landing page can increase conversions by 80%. That’s huge! Video marketing works. Plain and simple.

Don’t Be an Ass. Take The Kindness On Purpose Challenge.

I used to be a news junky. I mean, I was seriously addicted. All news. All networks. All the time. I was consuming information quickly and frequently. Most of it sensationalized. All of it monetized. It was as though I was watching a tragic Shakespearean play unfold before my eyes. Each headline more insane than the previous. Nations at war, politicians infighting, and people killing one another for seemingly no reason. I had seen too much. I hit a wall and realized it was time for me to step away from the computer before I started to believe mankind was a lost cause.

It’s been years since I burned myself out on the news, but every now and again I see something that makes me wonder why some people are just so damn mean. Today, while picking my children up from daycare I watched a lady repeatedly bump her car door into mine. No biggie. The spaces are small, and the damage was minimal. I let her know I was going to move my vehicle so she could have more room to get her child situated. As I pulled my truck into another spot, words poured from this mother’s mouth that would make a seasoned barkeep blush. It seems what I thought was a kind gesture, was offensive to her. She was furious and it was pointless for me to explain that I was simply trying to help. Perhaps she thought I was calling her to the carpet, and that made her feel disrespected in front of her son. Or, maybe she was in a hurry and me moving my vehicle further exacerbated the anxiety felt by time slipping away. Either way, she unleashed a verbal lashing on me.

We humans are silly creatures. We’ve cloned organic matter, perfected flight, and can, occasionally, predict the weather. However, we’ve yet to master our pride, and our pride again and again causes us to be disrespectful to or feel disrespected by others.

So, what does this have to do with websites or software or video production or business consulting? Well, nothing. And everything. While we may not feel like we can do something as grand as get the political right and left to realize they’re individual parts of the same body, or bring peace to nations who’ve been at war for generations…we can. But, let’s start small. Treat those in your sphere of influence with kindness. Everyday. No matter what. Sometimes you may get a verbal lashing, however more often than not you’ll motivate others to be kind to those they encounter.Without kindness we’d all be devils. As business leaders, we have an opportunity to share kindness with people in many stations in life. At Greyphin, we’re going to spend the next 30 days trying to out-love those in our world. It may improve our revenue, it may not, but it will certainly improve the lives of those we encounter.

Take the Greyphin Kindness On Purpose Challenge today. Post pictures of you or someone you know committing intentional acts of kindness to your social media platforms with the hashtags #Greyphin and #KindnessOnPurpose.