Cheap Design? Cheats You & Your Brand!

Cheap Design? Cheats You & Your Brand!

Cheap design. Easy design. Simple design. Design a website in just a few hours. Design your own logo and launch an immediately impressive brand.

Yadda, yadda, yadda, and so on. Are you falling for it?

Cheap Design Cheats You … And Your Potential Audience!

You see them all over! On Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.  What am I talking about? The rash of blog posts and social media ads touting the wonders and benefits of DIY and freebie apps and tools to “design” your brand, your website, and more.

This rash leaves me itchy and angry.

Not so much in that it demeans what we do at Get The Gigs, but because articles like this, written by people who don’t do as they say while telling you what to do (the most recent was on a site that MOST DECIDEDLY WAS NOT built with a freebie web tool), are a disservice to anyone looking to create a strong and professional brand and presence online.

Your brand identity is meant to build trust and showcase your expertise. Your brand is certainly more than your logo, more than your color scheme, more than any single typeface. Thus, I think we can agree that your brand is pretty ding-danged important.

When you see cheap, is trust the next word that pops into your mind?Click To Tweet

Your website is your home, your hub on the web. It is the resting place and repository of your expertise, your experience. But, before anyone dives into your content in order to unearth your gems of wisdom, they’re going to take a look at your home page, or whichever page on which they’ve landed, and they’re going to make a judgment based on their first impression.

Created by “insert freebie tool” rarely makes a good first impression.Click To Tweet

Cheap Design: What Will It Cost You?

You expect someone to pay you, and pay you fairly well, for your speaking expertise, don’t you? It’s the reason you’re running your business, right?

You don’t want your target market and audience going out and finding a freebie speaker to get by when your skillset and expertise can do so much more for their event!

Yet, you’re showing that taking the freebie route is a smart option with that freebie site design. And possibly losing a gig.

It doesn’t take an eye trained in graphic design to suss out a freebie site. No matter how much they tell you they don’t create cookie cutter sites, they – indeed, do. Plus, when you go free, you get freebie company branding as part of “your” design. You get their logo, link and tagline automatically loaded into your footer or sidebar, sometimes right at the top of your header! Yikes.

When you go free, you get freebie company branding as part of “your” design.Click To Tweet

Free Can Fail Functionally …

Know what else free fails to deliver? Functionality.

Many free web design tools continue to rely on old technologies and development language. Too much outdated scripting language can actually make it difficult, if not downright impossible for search engines to seek out, spider and rank your site. That’s no good!

What else? All that outdated and convoluted language can make your site EXTREMELY slow to load. Potentials won’t wait around to see if the good stuff ever shows up. They’ll just move on to the next speaker who has a site that actually loads and provides them with quality information.

Finally, because these are freebie tools, they don’t offer much in the way of truly responsive design, allowing your site to show up in the best possible way via mobile devices. Instead, many freebie tools that offer a mobile option simply create a secondary site for mobile viewing, which means the experience, branding and look might not match up seamlessly with what you’ve created for desktop viewing.

Are You Mistaking Cheap For Affordable?

When it comes to design, it’s not affordable if it minimizes your chances of making money!

Consider that time is money. When free fails you, you’ll have lost plenty of time and effort. Is it worth it?

Is cheap really the word you want attached to your brand and business?Click To Tweet

I honestly could go on and on, stretching this article out with a laundry list of laments about freebie tools. But, I won’t – as deep down I’m sure you know that cheap isn’t really the catchy phrase you want to be tied to your business venture.

Put simply, cheap design cheats your expertise and your brand impact.

Ready to embrace affordable rather than cheap design?

Let’s talk about the difference.

What’s So Great About You?

What’s So Great About You?

Feeling stuck on the bio for your “About Me” page? Worried that you don’t have ten TV appearances and seven advanced degrees to showcase? Feeling pressured to have lots of pizazz? Or egotistical because you’re talking about yourself?

This all gets easier when you write in service to your audience.

How do you do that? Offer them a story that they can relate to, a thread that mirrors their own challenges, and shows them they can get through it with grace. You’re not going to squeeze every piece of experience you’ve ever had onto the page. Be willing to let some of your valuable experience go, when it’s not in service to your people.

Here are five (5) questions that will get you there.

Who is your audience?

This can be an easy question. It can stop you in your tracks. Let’s say you’re a speaker who targets middle management about leadership challenges.

What are the 3 biggest challenges your audience has?

This is key. What do your people think about all day long? If you’re the middle management speaker, your audience wrestles with being understood by their bosses, leading when they report to someone, managing people (they might be new at it), resolving conflict, and supporting their team without becoming their parent.

What has happened in your professional life that reflects similar challenges?

Your audience wants to see that you’ve been through something similar. With our middle management speaker, she was promoted from middle management to VP level at Target. The business was struggling with lackluster customer service at several of its stores (total hypothetical here)! There was lack of communication between the customer service reps and upper management, and this showed in how they acted toward customers. She was placed in charge of turning this around.

How did you resolve issues/challenges in ways that build your credibility?

So what’s the happy ending to your challenge narrative? Our speaker developed a process to effectively hire, train and manage the reps for an entire region. Upper management was thrilled with the results, and it helped that she figured out how to keep them in the loop throughout the rollout. The program was so successful, her process was adopted by Target corporate for the entire country and she was promoted. She clearly understands the intricacies of being in middle management. And that is her audience. Yes!

You can go with a couple more stories like this, or just share a longer story that shows you understand a challenge similar to theirs and how you solved it. They’ll be wondering what your secret sauce is, and that’s what will get them to hire you.

What other training, education, background would show them you can support their challenges?

Well, you’ve done it. You’ve built some rapport. Now, bring in related experience and training for a slam dunk. Our middle management speaker went through an MBA program specializing in management and customer service. She completed a conflict resolution course, business leadership training, and even managed a bunch of volunteers at her local United Way for years. She really gets the pain and rewards of managing people.


When you are finished answering all these questions, you might notice that you haven’t included some qualifications that you think are valuable. It’s OK to leave them out. You’re starting a conversation here. Once you’re in contact, you will get to know each other better, and you can pleasantly surprise them with deeper experience, if it’s relevant. The bigger danger is that you overwhelm them with credentials. There’s no need. Speak to them with full regard to what matters to them.

Take all this and write a bio that is in total service of your audience. Ready? Set? Go!

*****     *****     *****     *****     *****     *****

Guest Author: Christina Frei

Check out her website | Follow Her On Facebook | Connect & Converse on Twitter

It Takes a Village to Launch a Web Site

It Takes a Village to Launch a Web Site

I completed a website redesign and set it up for launch yesterday. In typical fashion, the client shared the new site with his friends and peers online and presumably asked for a little feedback. Right away the client forwarded me an email from a friend of his who noticed a small glitch with the responsive layout.

Now, we try to catch every issue while in the pre-launch development stage. I pride myself in thoroughly testing development sites on desktops, phones, and tablets of varying sizes. Every now and then, though, something slips through the cracks and needs to be fixed after the site is launched.

How do you think I felt seeing this feedback from one of my client’s friends? I loved it. I thought, “man, it really is nice to have a network of people double-checking my work. It makes my job so much easier.” It also got me thinking …

It really takes a village to launch a website!

The whole point of a website? It’s there for the world to see as your digital marketing representative. So, doesn’t it make a lot sense that we should get “the world’s” feedback?

I learned very early on that my work has to stand up to critical eyes. Feedback, criticism, whatever you call it, is what sharpens the iron. It’s what makes our marketing go from good enough to great. To this day I’m immensely grateful for every flaw that’s ever been pointed out when I launch a project.

I’ve launched websites for clients in the past and didn’t see much sharing going on. Why? I don’t get that at all. If I put that much work into something, I’m damn sure going to show it off. This needs to be especially true for speakers since, by nature, speakers rely so heavily on self-promotion.

Even if it’s just your friends and family, you already have an audience. Use them. Launch to your parents, your siblings, your cousins, your bartender, past clients, current clients, and prospective clients that you’re talking to. Ask them to tell you what they really think about your new look. I don’t think this shameless self-promotion; it’s more like telling the neighborhood that you’ve remodelled your store.

The way I see it, you get two big advantages from this:

  1. You get extra eyes testing out your site and catching potential glitches.
  2. You get an excuse for an extra connection with people who might be on the fence about working with you or people who haven’t worked with you in a while.

I have a background in usability testing and let me tell you, companies pay big bucks to recruit users and have them go over websites with a fine-toothed comb. Having a network of people who can do that for you? That’s huge.

There is a BIG caveat here. Don’t let this turn into design by committee. Have you ever heard the expression that a giraffe is what you get when you let a committee design a horse? You’re just looking for feedback here, not turning over the keys to groupthink. You’re still the boss of your company, your brand and your online presence.

Not to get too philosophical, but the pursuit of perfection is part of what makes us human. The day we shrug our shoulders and decide that it’s all good enough is the day we lose our edge.

Your people are ready to give you feedback. Ask for it and embrace the results. It’s only going to help your brand.

What can your audience do to help you with your marketing materials? I want to know how other speakers are approaching this. Send me an email and tell me what your audience has to say about your website.

Is Your Social Sharing Showcasing Or Shouting?

Is Your Social Sharing Showcasing Or Shouting?

I’ve been helping Derek with the growth of his social media following – especially on Twitter, along with his social sharing, and I’ve noticed a disturbing trend amongst many of the speakers and speaker coaches he’s chosen to follow. Said speakers don’t seem to grasp the “social” concept of social sharing.

Social Sharing: Should Showcase, Not Shout!

I get it. Of course you want to share your own blog posts, ideas and savvy snippets from your public speaking journey.

As a speaker coach best practices are your bread and butter, and sharing those is smart.

But the way you go about sharing best practices, tips, tricks, and articles is as important as the shares themselves.

Too much “it’s all about me,” mucks up the works. Social is about sharing, not shouting from the rooftops.

Shouting on social media isn't about ALL CAPS or bold text. It's the what and when of your shares!Click To Tweet

You’re not posting in all caps, and Twitter doesn’t allow you to bold your text, so how on earth can your sharing be compared to shouting? Here’s how:

  • You only share your own content, over and over and OVER again.
  • When someone tweets or retweets something you’ve shared or published, you don’t respond – AT ALL, but you do RT your own content.
  • You’ve set up a ridiculous automated DM to go out to all new followers.
  • You tweet the exact same tip (no revisions or changes to the text) three times in the same day, sometimes within the same hour!
Are you crowing about past accomplishments or creating opportunities to connect?Click To Tweet

Crowing Does Little To Create Connection

When it comes to effective social sharing, it’s important to consider the intent and purpose of your shares.

Of course you’re trying to effectively showcase your expertise, your speaking or consulting success, your product and/or services.

But social sharing is about balancing your best bits with the best bits you’ve found while interacting with others across the social space. You haven’t created ALL the content your given subject, now have you? Of course not!

Social sharing is about delivering the best content, the best ideas, the top tips to your audience. And you can’t do that alone.

Do you have a coach or mentor? Are you part of a mastermind or peer group? Do you read a lot of industry or niche articles? If you answered yes to any of those three questions you have something else to share!

Social Sharing Answers Questions

And your own content isn’t the only answer. Sometimes it’s not even the correct answer.

Guess what? You’re not the great and powerful, Oz. You don’t have all of the answers.

When you share the answers provided by your peers, colleagues and even your competitors, you showcase knowledge and an understanding that you don’t know it all. When you’re secure enough to share the ideas, best practices and smarts of your peer group, you’re sharing and being social, rather than shouting.

You can strut your smarts and ALSO share the smarts of others!Click To Tweet

When you answer the question, you win, even if the link shared doesn’t lead back to your own site. You’ve made the day of the individual who asked the question. You’ve also created an opportunity to connect and build a real relationship – with that individual and with the expert whose advice you shared.

Showcase Knowledge, Even If You Didn’t Publish It!

Sharing is caring. When your audience feels cared for they’ll continue to seek you out for answers and eventually you might make a sale, land a speech, get the gig.

Smart sharing involves providing the best information, even if you didn’t create it.