Archives for October 2012

Homework assignment for the Lemon Network: ‘start kicking ass.’

My Nephew David Zosel attends the prestigious St. Thomas University just across the Mississippi River in St. Paul, MN. He’s majoring in entrepreneurship. Didn’t even know that was a major. Interesting.

One of David’s first assignments in the entrepreneurship program is to create a start-up company and generate real revenue by semester’s end. Real revenue, can you believe that? Anyway, David approached me this past Sunday about helping him design a wordpress website for his social media marketing company. His positive energy for the project, and entrepreneurship in general, was quite captivating. I was sold.

Step in the elevator, start pitching.

But before I spend 20-30 hours creating a kickass website that will likely get his team an A on the project, I gave David a little homework assignment. This is the same homework assign I would give any client looking to create a brand that cuts through the clutter, and speaks to the customer right where they live.

Here’s what I asked David this morning to really make the site/brand rock:

1. Unique selling proposition – many call this the elevator pitch. In 25 words or less (50 max), describe why someone would buy from you. Hence, if you were in an elevator, and someone asked what you do, how would you tell your story in 30 seconds? Why is LN different from the burgeoning array of so-called social media marketing companies? Do you work harder? Are you cheaper? Do you keep it simple? Do you make it simple for me, the business owner, who has no clue how to leverage SM?

What makes you different? That’s branding. Everything else is bullshit.

2. Pricing / Packaging – If I’m potential customer, how do we work together? What do I get for my money? How do contracts work? What results should I expect? What am I paying for? What am I not paying for? Would your service work well for my business (B2B or B2C?) You need to clarify these details (and any other ones you can think of) so a customer can quickly decide if they would like to move forward.

When I get more specifics on items 1 and 2, I will design David a kickass branded web presence. Without clarification on points 1 and 2, there’s no point designing anything.

Getting married? Romance Leaders can hook you up with a fabuous destination wedding anywhere in the world.

Romance Leaders is a new division of Travel Leaders, a twin cities based travel agency, that specializes in destination weddings and exotic honeymoon vacations anywhere in the world. We designed and built this full-featured wordpress site for the new division that their in-house marketing staff / travel agents will be constantly updating the content, and creating special private landing pages for clients, new partner pages promoting a number of travel vendors.

With the new features in WordPress 3.42 along with other handy widgets supplied by the Genesis Framework, it was easy to hand the keys over to the staff at Travel Leaders.

At Home Restoration: a very cool WordPress site for a very hip guy. And a monster conversion rate to boot.

wordpress websites

At Home Restoration owner and Expert Finisher Jon Dominguez has a unique passion for refinishing and restoring antiques, furniture, interior wood trim, and cabinetry. But he is unlike most tradesman you might bring into your home. Jon is an artist in the true sense of the word. His mission is to create beauty where none exists. His medium just happens to be wood. His results are impressive, his pricing is reasonable. He loves his work so much, he might even do it for free.

Free, really? As Seth Godin puts it,

“Art is what we’re doing when we do our best work. Art is a gift. You can sell the souvenir, the canvas, the recording… but the idea itself is free, and the generosity is a critical part of making art.”

And that’s precisely what Jon brings to the table. Like me, he consistently over delivers when it comes to quality, whether the client appreciates it or not. That’s why it was a rare pleasure to create a branded wordpress website for this interesting character. Jon is also a very talented musician and songwriter, BTW. Fun to be around, no doubt.

About the site, it converts at a very impressive rate, probably higher than 10%. Just a guess. But the site competes very well organically for terms like ‘furniture refinishing minneapolis,’ ‘furniture refinishing minneapolis mn,’ ‘wood refinishing minneapolis,’ and many other localized terms that put his site #1 on Google.