by Elizabeth Stone | Oct 24, 2017 | Uncategorized
I have been getting this question a lot lately, “How do you do it all?” I’m humbled that people think I’m doing an OK job of juggling a few businesses and caring for my husband, myself, and daughter. I’ll share a few tips that work for me, but keep in mind that one size definitely does not fit all!! And giving the disclaimer that I sure don’t get it right all the time.
To be an entrepreneur, you need to love what you do because it certainly won’t be easy. I really put my heart and soul into the projects that I start and if I wasn’t passionate about them, I would get burned out really fast. Right now my main projects are Mint Leaf Mediaand Pepper’s Closet. Helping other small businesses grow and making cute clothes – what’s not to love? As much as I do love my job, finding a work-life balance is paramount. I am a better and more creative worker and a more patient and supportive wife/momma when I can find the right balance.
Here are three things that help me:
- Scheduling – My google calendar is my BEST FRIEND! I schedule everything – work outs, play dates, dates with my husband, work meetings, swim lesson, music class, etc. Planning my week ahead allows me to find help on the days I need it whether it’s from my brother, husband, mom or friends. Owning my own business gives me the freedom and flexibility to take my daughter to swim and music class during the day, but in return I am usually working nights when she goes to bed. Like the old saying goes, ‘owning your own business means you get to pick which 80 hours a week you work.’
- Communication – Being honest with yourself and others about what you can and can’t do. Do not be afraid to say no or ask for help.
- Outsourcing & Delegating – I outsource and delegate as many tasks as I reasonably can, both at home and work. I use Peapod and Amazon in lieu of grocery store and Target runs (though somehow I still find myself wandering around target). I share household tasks with my husband and daughter. Lately, I’ve been thinking about strapping Swiffer pads to Pepper’s knees and letting her crawl around the house! Go, Pepper, Go!
No matter how hard I try and schedule and plan sometimes things don’t go the way I want (especially with a baby), so my advice to myself and everyone else is LET IT GO and go with the flow.
by Elizabeth Stone | Feb 26, 2016 | Uncategorized
After an unusually warm holiday season here in the Northeast, it’s safe to say that winter has officially hit. Not only is the average temperature below freezing, but the region is expecting some pretty harsh snowstorms in the weeks to come.
It doesn’t matter where you’re located, however, to benefit from the following marketing statistics, which can help guide and support your various goals and initiatives:
- 90 percent of customers trust peer recommendations verses traditional advertisements (Source: Erik Qualman’s “Social Media Revolution 2015”)
- B2B companies that blog generate 67 percent more leads per month than those that don’t (Source: Hubspot)
- Small business owners estimate that getting back an extra hour in their day from doing their own email marketing (among other activities) is worth $273/hour (Source: Constant Contact)
- 46 percent of marketers believe that video marketing is effective for improving brand awareness, lead generation and online engagement (Source: Hubspot)
- 96 percent of small businesses handle social media in-house, but nearly 20 percent wish they could outsource it (Source: Constant Contact)
- On average, B2C marketers get better results with Facebook; this year, 66 percent rated it effective—an increase from 58 percent last year (Source: CMI)
- LinkedIn is currently the No. 1 social media platform being used by B2B marketers (Source: CMI)
- Marketers rank email as the single most effective tactic for awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention (Source: Gigaom Research)
- Over one-third of CMOs say that digital marketing will account for at least 75 percent of their spending within the next five years; 42 percent say that analytics skills will become a core competence in marketing (Source: AdWeek)
- Using marketing automation can increase conversion rates by over 50 percent (Source: The Aberdeen Group)
- Almost 50 percent of customers say that if they arrive on a business site that isn’t working well on mobile, they believe the business simply doesn’t care (Source: MarginMedia)
- Using the word “video” in an email subject line has been known to increase open rates by 19 percent and click-through rates by 65 percent (Source: Hubspot)
Looking for more marketing statistics? Be sure to check back on Mint Leaf Media’s blog!
by Elizabeth Stone | Feb 19, 2016 | Uncategorized
The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is largely considered the be-all and end-all for technological innovation. This year’s event certainly didn’t disappoint, showcasing everything from hybrid hoverboard-robots to autopilot drones. In addition to the highly anticipated products at this year’s show—which took place in Las Vegas from January 6-9—were pieces of advice that marketers would be wise to consider as they kick off the new year.
So, what were the best marketing takeaways from this year’s CES? Here’s our two cents…
- Marketing is (and always will be) about evoking emotion: If the products unveiled at CES ‘16 suggest anything for marketers, it’s that successful marketing is about evoking emotion. For example, consider this year’s emphasis on emotive robots, which are designed to recognize, process and interpret human emotion and behavior. It’s much less likely that a product or service will lead a customer to spend money with a business. Purchasing decisions usually have much more to do with how a customer feels about a brand (i.e. its level of service, how it engages with customers). Intel CEO Bryan Krzanich put it best when saying that “We’re entering a new era in technology where consumers are choosing experience over products.” The same goes for marketing.
- Don’t forget to tell your company’s unique story: Between the time consuming tasks of your everyday marketing strategy, it can be easy to forget the most important aspect: telling your company’s unique story. Consider the advice given at CES ’16 by Amanda Bradford, Founder and CEO of intelligent dating app The League: “Put aside the product when thinking about marketing and tell a good, interesting story.” At the end of the day, you cannot forget that you have a compelling story to tell. Ensure that every piece of content you create, every Web page you develop and every customer touchpoint is tied to your story.
- Ignore the importance of data at your own peril: Metrics, reporting and data gathering have become nothing short of fundamental for marketing success today. At CES ’16 Artist Nick Cannon explained that, whereas people used to say content is king, “data is an even stronger king.” The bottom line is that today, you must use data and analytics to fine tune and improve your marketing strategy. This is especially true for small businesses. Consider that 73 percent of small businesses are using marketing analytics to find new customers; 65 percent for improving their customer experience; and 31 percent for developing new products, according to 2016 research from SCORE.org. Overall, the findings show that companies that use data and analytics experience an increase in both profits and marketing ROI.
Use these three CES takeaways to support your marketing strategy this year and beyond—good luck!
by Elizabeth Stone | Feb 12, 2016 | Uncategorized
Let us take a wild guess that you didn’t win the $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot last month. It’s okay, you can join the rest of us who had the nearly nonexistent chance of winning the largest prize in U.S. lottery history.
It’s always fun to take a shot in the dark in such a low risk, high reward environment; however, this try your luck strategy isn’t as effective in everyday life (maybe outside of the “I’m Feeling Lucky” search option on Google).
In reality, risky chances usually don’t end well. This is particularly true for small businesses when it comes to their marketing strategies. Just consider that 85 percent of companies say the pressure to measure and prove marketing ROI is only increasing. Now imagine this pressure for small businesses, where it’s not uncommon to see owners singlehandedly managing their own marketing initiatives—oftentimes with no way of knowing if they are yielding desired results.
For small business owners, avoiding a questionable “try your luck” strategy is critical. A sounder alternative would be to allocate hard-earned dollars towards an investment that is proven to generate marketing ROI.
Whether it’s strengthening multichannel marketing or learning the ropes of social media, small business owners shouldn’t feel as though they have a once in a lifetime shot at winning big when it comes to accomplishing their objectives. Instead, they should rest assured that there are ample resources available to help them, like a marketing agency that concentrates on relieving the pain points specific to small businesses.
This is all good and well, but in a world saturated with agencies claiming to specialize in small business, it can feel almost impossible to find the right one. So, what should you keep in mind when shopping around? Look for a partner that:
- Specializes in consistent branding: Your partner of choice shouldn’t have a one and done mentality. It should instead be dedicated to maintaining consistent messaging across all of your marketing channels—especially digital and social—to ensure an ongoing Web presence, as well as brand uniformity.
- Takes time to educate: Understanding the value of your time and finances, your partner should equip you with the knowledge you need to make the most informed decisions for your brand. Whether it’s a quick “how-to” or a deep dive into a project management system, your partner should leave you feeling more empowered than when you first started. In other words, your partner should help you understand core marketing processes, verses simply doing them for you.
- Maximizes your time: Your partner should have a solid understanding of the pain points that are specific to small businesses, enabling them to create a foolproof strategy that maximizes your time. This might include, for example, prioritizing tasks based on how much time you have to offer each week so that you can gain a predictable view of when objectives will be accomplished.
- Works with you, not for you: At the end of the day, your marketing agency should feel more like a collaborative partner than a third-party vendor. There should be flexibility, understanding and appreciation when it comes to your time, money and challenges—always.
Got a question we didn’t answer for you here? Reach out to us to continue the conversation!
by Elizabeth Stone | Feb 5, 2016 | Uncategorized
About a month has passed since we counted down to 2016. Crazy, isn’t it? Perhaps crazier is the fact that, statistically, about 25 percent of people who make a New Year’s resolution can’t even stick to it for one week. Additional research shows that figure climbing to 33 percent by the end of the month, largely due to a lack of time.
These numbers might resonate with you, especially if you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur. Knowing how important a solid marketing strategy is for your brand, you want to accomplish new goals. However, it may not be long before you see your efforts dissipate due to a lack of time or perhaps budget.
Flash forward to today. With January now in our rearview mirrors, tell us…did you promise to accomplish a marketing-specific goal this year? For example, did you commit to improving your organic search rankings or creating a more data-driven marketing approach?
If you did commit to something new this year, do you want to be part of the 73 percent of people who, according to the aforementioned research, give up on their goal before accomplishing it?
Of course not. But as we all know, life happens. The unexpected can sidetrack even organizations with a robust marketing department, let alone a small business in which the owner may be independently handling all marketing initiatives. As one can imagine, for these smaller businesses, the likelihood of accomplishing set goals becomes much greater.
It’s okay if you’re not sure how you’re going to accomplish everything on your 2016 marketing “To Do” list. It’s okay if you haven’t even settled on a New Year’s resolution yet. In a busy first quarter, we understand how difficult it can be to carve out time for introspection, but it’s important to reflect on the last 12 months. Consider what you can do this year on the marketing front to propel your brand in today’s ultra-competitive landscape.
We can’t tell you what your marketing New Year’s resolution should be; only you can do that. What we can do is walk alongside you to get those plans in motion and accomplish them in a way that satisfies your time and budgetary needs.
Like any other resolution, you’re more likely to be successful with your strategy if you have support from others. For you, that may be a dependable and effective marketing partner.
The bottom line is that you should never have to manage your marketing strategy alone. The good news is you don’t have to.
by Elizabeth Stone | Jan 29, 2016 | Uncategorized
At Mint Leaf Media, our mission is to help others tell their unique stories by maximizing the power of digital and social media. So, as one can imagine, our team was more than excited to work with the legendary Timothy Mellon to help publish his all-new memoir—“panam.captain”— as an eBook.
Mellon, a member of the Mellon family empire, is recognized worldwide as the chairman and owner of Pan Am Systems. He is without question a distinguished business leader, but there is a unique story of Mellon’s life that, until now, has remained concealed.
In Mint Leaf Media’s largest project of 2015, we helped Mellon make public his complete life story—every word written by him. The memoir divulges coveted details of Mellon’s life, offering an exclusive look into the strategy and innovation behind the man who transformed the rail and airline industries.
Challenges and Rewards
Mint Leaf Media was brought in by Mellon to take his written word and publish it online as a downloadable eBook. Additionally, Mellon wanted all of the book’s proceeds to go to three designated charities: Hillsdale College, The Landmark Legal Foundation, and the Pan Am Historical Foundation. A minimum donation to one of these charities would be required to access the book.
This was certainly one of Mint Leaf Media’s greatest accomplishments of 2015. The scope of the project was unlike anything our team had done before which, in my opinion, was all the more reason to embrace it. As a marketing partner dedicated to doing whatever it takes to achieve our clients’ goals, we were ready to venture into this unexplored territory.
The behind-the-scenes work was challenging yet rewarding. Here’s a snapshot of the core components of this exceptional project:
- Making Mellon Digital: Our team was responsible for successfully translating Mellon’s written words into a digital format. We handled everything from designing the book’s cover page to adding interactive elements to the book to ensure an optimal user experience. For example, we worked to make sure users could easily skip between sections of the eBook with the click of a button and that they could zoom in on pictures if desired. Additionally, we had to guarantee that the book’s design and format would be compatible with any Internet-connected device (i.e. laptop, tablet, smartphone).
- Creating Mellon’s Brand: In addition to creating the eBook, our team was tasked with building an effective and sustainable brand for Mellon. From conceptualizing logos to creating business cards, we were entrusted with building a public persona, in relation to the publication, that would resonate with Mellon’s target audience.
- Building the Website: Perhaps most challenging was building an easily navigable website from the ground up. The website needed to allow visitors to learn more about Mellon, peruse a photo gallery of images featured in the book and, of course, purchase the eBook. This was especially tricky, as we had to build the site in such a way that it enabled visitors to make their donations, as well as have those funds be seamlessly processed and tax compliant. As such, our team had to establish seamless integration with third-party platforms to ensure a complete, user-friendly Web experience. For example, we integrated the site with online email marketing solution MailChimp in order to send automatic “thank you” notifications to donors. We also integrated with multiple payment platforms, like PayPal and Authorize.net, to ensure a flexible payment process. Lastly, we had to set up a tax tracking system in order for us, as well as each nonprofit, to effectively monitor donations.
In his memoir, Mellon encourages readers to be firm in their beliefs, to constantly pursue the next great adventure and to be refined—not defined—by life’s challenges. In these ways, our challenging yet rewarding work on this project exemplifies the spirit of Mellon himself.
This was an incredible project to work on, and I am honored to have been a part of it. I encourage you to click here to download the eBook and support one of these three great charities.
A special thanks to our partners Blacknight Studios, MBA Team and Telemachus Press.