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Beyond the Logo: The Importance of a Strong Brand Strategy and Identity

Today’s episode of the podcast is an interview with Katie Caldwell, where we explore how the world of branding, websites and SEO can hugely increase the confidence and visibility of a small business – and most importantly can attract your ideal clients.

Katie founded Geek Boutique in 2015 and has helped over 150 businesses define and perfect their visual and digital presence and helped them to elevate their brand to that all important next level. Her passion is helping smaller businesses who DESERVE agency level design but can't necessarily afford the agency price tag.

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS COVERED IN THE PODCAST

  1. Why branding is so much more than a logo
  2. How to know when you need to review your brand
  3. SEO tips to help you optimise your blogs

 

LINKS TO RESOURCES MENTIONED IN TODAY’S EPISODE

Free Download: How to write blogs to make your SEO zing

Check out Katie's website

Connect with Katie on Instagram

Check out Tiny Shell Media's Website

Get a 30 day free trial with Kajabi

Connect with Teresa on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter

Transcript

Teresa: Hello and welcome to this week's episode of the Your Dream Business Podcast. How lovely to have you join us this week. I hope you're good. So I have another interview. I'm just doing straight up interviews now for a little while, just like to mix things up. Change is as good as a rest. And as I've done 300 and odd episodes, I think mixing up is not a bad thing.

So this week I have another amazing, wonderful human on. Now. Most of these amazing interviews I've done happen to be members of my executive club. And now I didn't just bring them on because they're members of the executive club. They all are very good at what they do or otherwise they wouldn't be on.

But it also means I know them really well and hopefully it makes fun interviews. So this week I have the amazing Katie Caldwell. She is the founder of Geek Boutique, from 2015. She's helped over 150 businesses define their perfect, visual and digital presence and help them to elevate their brand to the all important next level.

Her passion is helping small businesses who deserve agency level design, but can't necessarily afford the agency price tag. And she works with them to develop their strategies, have a crystal clear idea on who they want to attract and how they do it. And she helps them create beautiful brand identities.

And when she says beautiful in her bio, I can holy attest to the beautiful of it, they are stunning and I have had Katie do some stuff for me and she is just awesome. So please welcome to the podcast, the very lovely Katie Caldwell.

Katie: Hello, I'm very happy to be here. Thank you.

Teresa: I am happy to be here. We were just laughing because Katie's in exec club and there was a whole conversation going in.

Basically, this is how, this is the level of humor that my exec club have, which is perfect. Someone put in the club, I have a question. And one of the other members replied saying cashew nuts. They're always the answer. And it just.

Katie: I agree. I do agree.

Teresa: It just went crazy. I mean, you know, we. If people are ever thinking about joining my world, they need to know this is kind of some of the levels you get.

But that's how you get through. Exactly. Yeah. If you can't talk about cashew nuts, we're probably not for you. But this is how, like, it needs to be like this sometimes. Cause if we just all just did works up all the time and we're all serious all the time, we would lose our minds. I swear. Yeah. We need to have fun.

Katie: That's what I love most about it. It gives you an amazing community to be ridiculous with. And they are funny people. They are funny people.

Teresa: We laugh a lot, which is good. Which is good. Katie, I've done your little bio there. I hate, I hate reading them, as you well know. But just tell us a little bit of backstory because you have a fascinating work history. So tell us kind of what you've done and how it got you to what you're doing today.

Katie: So, I have had so many different types of jobs over the years. I started as an actor. So, I, after leaving university, I basically ran away to the circus and joined, went to drama school and became an actor for the best part of 10 years.

But of course, as a relatively unsuccessful actor, which I was, there was lots of time.

Teresa: Some good stuff.

Katie: Around the acting jobs. Yeah, yeah, no, no. I, and I loved my time as an actor. It was really, really, really enormous fun. But there's, there's always lots of time around acting jobs where you have to find other work just to be able to pay the rent, pay the mortgage.

And you have to be pretty creative about that. So it was during that time that I started to get really into marketing, really into design, which was always a massive passion of mine in a way, and into web design, which actually one of the amazing companies I work for, really supported me as an actor, paid for me to…

To learn how to develop websites. And it was when I was pregnant, decided to put acting a bit more on the back burner and start my business doing the thing that over the years had given me the most joy and fun, which was working with, with people to develop their brand identity and, and websites. I haven't really looked back.

It's and a lot of the, what I used to love about acting was really getting under the skin of a character. So you, you start to play, you've got a certain number of lines in the script, and around that idea of who this character is, you've got to build up a full life. You've got to find out what their fears are, their loves are, their ambitions are, and you, you build a story for them.

And it's a really similar process, believe it or not, working with brands because you, you, you you go under their skin, you find out what they really want to represent, how they really want to present themselves. And there's a lot of kind of psychology involved with putting out a visual identity that really matches those values.

So there are, I think there are overlaps. Bit tenuous.

Teresa: But I think that makes perfect sense. And I think one of my skills that I've always, accredited myself is that I can do that pretty easily in terms of when someone starts to describe a customer, I can put myself in those shoes and go, how would I feel?

What would I think? And that is exactly what you did. obviously we just have to like have a brief moment of where did you act that people might know names or recognize things or people want to know that surely that is the number one question like.

Katie: I was mostly a theater actor so unless you saw some you know oh gosh what are my favorite parts I am it's coming up to christmas i played the snow queen once up at the stephen joseph theater in in scarborough which is alan akeman's theater which was a always a big wish of mine to act there.

And, I wore this incredible long length white gown, full white make up. That theatre's in the round, so it's got steps leading down to the stage. And on my first performance, I appeared at the top in a spotlight, at the top of the stairs and took a step and fell.

Teresa: You did not!

Katie: Oh my goodness! It just, it was, it was dreadful.

I got up and carried on, but I'd lost all of the fear that the children should have been feeling about me at that point.

Teresa: Oh my goodness, that is, that's everyone's nightmare. That's my nightmare of speaking, is that I trip on the stage and fall over. Because I would go down like a sack of potatoes.

Like, it would be a very dramatic thud if I fell, I'm absolutely positive of it. But that's awesome. So can you sing as well, Katie?

Katie: I think I can sing.

Teresa: Have you had to sing for roles?

Katie: I have had to sing for roles.

Teresa: Well, you must be able to sing, because they wouldn't have you do that.

Katie: That's debatable.

Teresa: I love it. I love it. Do you miss it?

Katie: I miss, I really miss rehearsals. That, that kind of creative process where you're working with a team of people, because the one thing about, and that's, you know, one thing I value really strongly about being in your club is that you have this community of people around you again, because it gets lonely as a freelancer.

Teresa: So lonely.

Katie: And if you're having to be creative in your own little bubble, At the back of the house.

Teresa: And essentially a creative industry. You know, I worked at marketing agencies before I started on my own and, and I remember those lovely moments in the agencies where a new client would come in and we would all sit around a table and just talk about it and just muse about how we might deal with it.

And, you know, oh, this is a nice idea and this is a nice idea. Or when the designers had created something and then we'd all gather around again and give our thoughts and which obviously the designers probably hated. But, that. There's something about the collaboration, the creative process that is super, super important, isn't it? So, yeah.

Katie: Oh, definitely, definitely. And you can feel, you can feel it when it starts to really abhor. You know, things come harder. And you have to, yeah, collaboration is a must.

Teresa: One of the things I love about Katie, not only is her sense of humour, but she will just drop in in the conversation something random about, like, where she's worked or who she's worked with or met so and so and whatever, and it's like, You've had this entire life before we knew you of like, craziness in this world.

And also, and do you mind me saying that your husband is also in the same industry as in theatre?

Katie: He is. He did in theatre, yes. Not, not, not, not Brandon Webster.

Teresa: And he's done some really cool stuff recently, in fact, and you were sharing some stuff with us, if you're happy to share it here.

Katie: Yeah, no, he's, I mean, he's, He's an amazing, creative.

So he started life as an actor, got a bit bored of acting, and moved into more the visual side of theater making. So he got really interested in mask work and puppet work. And he was one of the original cast of War Horse, which was such a huge kind of explosion onto the theater scene, which is actually where we met as well.

17 years ago, something like that. And from that, War Horse took him all over the world. He ended up directing the puppetry in productions in America and in Australia, and then producing his own work in recent years. So his most recent Show that's had a lot of attention is a theater, a stage production of the life of pi.

And him and his co puppet designer, Nick Barnes, created these absolutely amazing animal puppets and the, the play as well. The, the, the play is just this visual feast of movement and puppetry. And actually it's on tour at the moment. So if anybody wants to see it, feel free.

Teresa: The life of Pi. So I'm interested because he is so creative.

Now if you've been listening to this podcast for a while, you'll know that my husband has a lot to say about marketing and thinks he's an expert and he's not, he's an engineer and he's so very far away from the creative sphere. So when he comes and gives me his opinion, we always kind of laugh a bit at him giving me my, his opinion.

But does your husband's then, because he is so creative, is he like over your shoulder looking at your sites or looking at your brand and going, Oh, I'd tweak that if I was you?

Katie: Yeah, he would if I let him.

Teresa: So I was going to say, yeah, try it.

Katie: Because, because as much as he knows about how to make a really convincing tiger puppet. Yeah. He doesn't really understand the world. of branding. Of, of branding. So, he would, he would give a bit of, kind of off the cuff, oh, that color's a bit strange there and . And it wouldn't, he wouldn't, he wouldn't have necessarily kind of understood the process of Yeah. Where that comes from.

Teresa: Although obviously I could talk about your past life, Frasier, that isn't the reason you're on here. So let's talk about branding, because one thing that I always find really interesting, and we've had people on before, and I've talked to people before, about branding and how when you're a small business, or when you're starting out, or when you're doing all that, you, people put very little thought into that brand.

So why? If someone said to you, why should I pay attention to creating a brand for my business? Why can I not just whip up a logo on Canva or get someone to do it on Fiverr and just shove that logo on everything and doesn't matter about the fonts or the colors or the anything else? What, what would you say to convince them otherwise? Bearing in mind, we've only got, like 40 minutes.

Katie: It's, I mean, it's a constant bugbear of mine, I suppose, that people underestimate the value of investing in branding. It's the foundation of your business. You know, it dictates who you are, who you speak to, what you offer, what you want to achieve. I, I personally think it really deserves investment.

And I do also think you see the return on that investment. It's, I often say it's a bit like, building a house without any foundations. a few years down the line, or a few months down the line, you're going to see cracks. And that, you know, it, it, it, well, it, it's integrity will be compromised and nobody ultimately is going to want to move in or live there, or maybe even come and visit.

Yeah. But if you, if you, if you build the house on really firm foundations. If you develop a really strong brand strategy, either by yourself, you can try to do it yourself or, you know, or with a professional house is going to grow with you and, it will be a constant ambassador for your business and everybody needs that.

There's not one business I can think of that doesn't need a clear, strong brand identity. And it, it is odd how it is pushed down the list of priorities when it comes to people investing in starting businesses. Well, you know, that said. If you don't have the budget to invest in a professional, you can have a go at doing it yourself.

You know, you, if I came to your house, you could probably cook me a really nice dinner, but it might not be as good. Yeah. But it might not be as good as if a, you know, Michelin star chef came.

Teresa: No, I'm not that good.

Katie: But it's, it's the same thing really. You know, you can. If, if you've got a degree of a visual eye, if you, if you have the ability to step away from your business enough to see what it's like from the outside, then you could try, but is it worth the time?

And is it, would you get a better return on your time and your money by hiring a professional.

Teresa: So I've got a couple of questions that I've just, thought about. The first one being, how do you, and I've had this quite a few times, and I do not know how to answer this question. How do you tell someone they haven't got an eye when they think they've got an eye?

Or how do you, like, because some people, and we have this amazing tool, we have Canva, we have Adobe Express, we have these… Which when I started in marketing and when you started doing what you did, they did not exist. There was no, you had a designer or you just didn't do it, right? Because you didn't have the facility to even attempt to make something yourself.

So now we have these amazing tools, but the problem with these amazing tools is that people give it a go and it's awesome because they don't have to pay, but it's God awful. Or they don't think about, so there's an example I give, which I'm not going to. Okay. Yeah, I can't. Otherwise it's like, not that I think this person listens and they're actually a member of my family, but they created a brand that was, aimed at a very male industry and their logo was a butterfly and it was.

A very feminine color and it's like, so yes, they love that and that was awesome, but they weren't necessarily thinking about who they were targeting and what they would resonate with. And, and I'm not saying this person's got terrible design. It was just not the right one for this thing. But also what if they have got terrible design?

What if actually what they put on is just God awful. Like how do we have that conversation and how do you try or how can people audit themselves to go, actually, am I really bad at this?

Katie: It's hard to audit yourself, isn't it? Especially if, you know, it's like the, can I sing thing? Maybe I think I'm an amazing singer, but nobody else will enjoy the sound of my voice.

I mean, I do often come across this, often people will approach me and they'll, they'll want me to create their website. And they'll say, well, I've already, I've done my brand already. Here it is. And my heart falls because I've got, you know, it's, it's much harder to create a consistent look across all digital media when the brand isn't there in the first place.

So I'm gentle. I'll point out the reasons or I'll ask questions, you know, why is it do you feel that you feel this, these colors? You know, attract you. So we'll, we'll, we'll enter the conversation of strategy and strategic use of their brand by, by, by asking questions around it. And often it becomes clear that it does need adjustment, that it does need defining more.

It's, I mean, it's one of the biggest mistakes, I see, with branding in terms of the, you know, the logo mark is that people, well, first of all, people think that's what branding is.

Teresa: Yes, just the logo.

Katie: As opposed to everything that surrounds it, that you present yourself visually with. But also, it's not about what you like.

Yeah. It's, I've seen so many busy logos with kind of watercolor splotches here, there, and everywhere. And, and, and, you know, scrawly cursive texts that actually you can't read. Is that speaking to the client that you want to attract, or is it just because you've been able to, to, to walk this up in half an hour in Canva and it looks pretty.

Yeah. That's not the right priorities. And you need to approach it from a much more business standpoint.

Teresa: And sometimes it's okay to have something you like. So for instance, I love, you know, strong word. I love my branding actually. And you know that we've done some work with it recently, but you know, I do really like my branding and I do think, you know, the colors are colors that were in my home, like, you know, it fits, however, it's not.

Off putting to my, my customers. So it's not like I just created something I like the look of. I'm assuming you like your branding and it's very beautiful. And again, it really fits with you and who you are. So it's not that those two things are, you know, mutually exclusive. Like you can have something you absolutely love.

And it fits with your perfect audience, but absolutely, if there's a choice between the two, you kind of have gotta think, well, if this is gonna put off my audience, then is it really the best thing that I should have?

Katie: Yeah, absolutely. And you know, for you, for the, for the work that you do, you know, you are selling, a service.

what people have experiences with you or anybody, you know, how your brand should embody you. Yeah. It should feel like an extension of yourself because of the nature of what you do. It's not the same with everybody or everything.

Teresa: No. And that's what the work that you and I have done where you've taken my brand and because it wasn't, and it was actually my very lovely friend and coach Mary who went, it's a bit, it's so samey your stuff.

Like, you know, it's nice, it's perfect, but it's a bit too perfect. And it's a bit too like average looking. And because I have, you know.

Katie: It's never nice to hear, is it? Average looking. No, no, no. Everybody wants to be average looking.

Teresa: And do you know what? It's like, you know, but I got it. I wasn't in any two minds of like, well, you're wrong.

I was like, yeah, you're right. And, and I was somehow losing. I wanted to show, and this is the thing that's so complex about branding, and especially if you're branding yourself, I wanted to show the serious level of my education and my knowledge, and actually I'm the real deal. I know this stuff. I have a degree in marketing.

I've worked in this industry forever and a day. And, you know, and look, I am serious and you can take me serious. But what I missed was the fun element and the, the personality element, which is a lot of the reason why people would come to me, like I saying at the beginning of this interview, like, you know, the chat in the group, like.

Obviously that chat goes on because that is who we are as people, so I was missing that element. So you were able to take what I had already and… And actually this is probably a really good point to then talk about what the difference between a brand and a logo is because you could argue that you took what effectively was a logo and helped me create a further brand around it.

So when people are thinking about brand, what should they be thinking about rather than just a logo?

Katie: So logo comes so far down the list. The list in my book, because how, you know, how often do people actually interact with the logo, unless you're Coca Cola. And, you know, actually, that's, that is a point.

Product branding is a different thing, to service branding. And, and does kind of incorporate a slightly different approach, but your, your, your logo should be the little, the little, you know, post on the front of your door saying, Hey, This is me, this is who I do. It should be internally recognisable, and it should represent your values attract your customers, attract your ideal customers.

Think of everywhere else you show up with your brand. Think of social media, think of your website, think of, networking with people, you know, can come down with presentations when I see presentations, absolutely. Yeah. Workshops, proposals, even sending invoices.

Teresa: A I've just done a workbook for my event next week.

You know, that's. got my branding on it. Like, but like you said, the, the, the chances are you will never see my logo alone.

Katie: Absolutely. Absolutely. And if that was, if that was the only representation of your branding, your branding would feel quite barren and frankly, not very professional. You want. You want to be able to, voice the experience of who you are and what you represent as much as you possibly can at every avenue.

And that's going to repeatedly hit home to your clients or your potential clients. This is me. This is why you want to work with me and the, the, the biggest, mistake I see in terms of branding as a whole is inconsistency is where you, you, you know, your, your invoices that you send out don't look like they belong in the same world as the social feed you've got going on.

Or within your social feed, you know? Yeah. You, you're a bit trigger happy in Canva and you've got bad problem of shiny objectivitis. That's not a word, but you know what I mean? I mean.

Teresa: I've heard it be called shiny object syndrome, but we'll go itis. That's fine.

Katie: Sounds more contagious.

Teresa: Yeah, you're right. Yeah. I'm going to stay away from that.

Katie: But so, so you, you know, you could produce a post that looks amazing and you throw all these colors and all of these different fonts and wow, it's, it's, it's, it's amazing and it looks nothing like anything else in your feet and that is going to make people confused ultimately.

They're not going to know if you keep shouting out different messages, they're not going to know what you represent or what you really offer.

Teresa: And you're losing their trust. Yeah, you know, because especially with online businesses and when I say online, I often mean memberships, courses, coaching, but, but I generally now actually mean being online, which every business is. If someone's first, if they're finding out about you first and even things like, you know, if I go to a restaurant, one of the very first things I do is go to their Instagram feed and look at their food on their Instagram feed or look at their website.

And if, if you're thinking about engaging with someone. Buying off them, using their service, if you are getting like these mixed messages, you're like Is this right? Are these the same people? Well, this seems odd. So, that, that miss, kind of, you know, consistency of brand. Like, you wouldn't see Coca Cola's things in different colours on their cans.

Katie: Well, they tried in the 80s repeatedly, didn't they? And it failed like a lead balloon. It just, yeah.

Teresa: You know, or a stretch logo or a, you know, something else or the font wrong or you, the color, obviously the color is distinct, but like you wouldn't. And just because you're a small business doesn't mean that you shouldn't treat that the same way.

Katie: Absolutely not because as a small business, you want to be grabbing every opportunity that you can to keep reiterating the strength of who you are, what you do, how you do it. And that is what brand does.

Teresa: Yeah. So I. Since I started, I have had three or four. new logos. So obviously I had an agency, so that was different right at the beginning.

And then I, so I had THW marketing. It's a terrible name for an agency because when you type THW marketing into Google, it responds, changes it to the, because it thinks you've spelled it wrong. Anyway, then I had a Teresa brand and then I've had a different Teresa brand. And I think I may have had two or three Teresa brands.

I'm not sure. But within my Teresa brand, I have had a few iterations of color and look and feel and what you've just done now is you've just, and really we focus on social media, we weren't changing the website, I didn't particularly want to go in. I mean, I can change elements in the website, but I didn't want to go in and create a whole new website.

So it's not that I had to do that. But it was like, how can I take what I've got, but make it more me, more interesting, more sexy. Cause that was like, you know, not me more sexy as in the brand more sexy. But like, how do I know? I knew why I wanted it, but how does someone know that they need to look at their brand again?

And does that mean they've got to change everything that's going to cost an absolute fortune?

Katie: No, no, it doesn't.

Teresa: Next question. No joking.

Katie: So, so, I mean, so you, you know that your brand is struggling if you are struggling with your brand, I suppose. If, if, if, if every time you have to post something on social, you get the ick because, you know, you can't portray the, message that you really want to portray with the tools that are currently at your disposal.

It feels limited. It doesn't feel like it necessarily represents your voice anymore, because yes, brand strategy is important. Establishing those foundational kind of blocks at the start of your business are really important. Doesn't mean they're not going to change. It doesn't mean that your business isn't going to grow and evolve.

And sometimes your brand needs to evolve with it. You know, if you're, if you're, if you're now looking at attracting a different type of client, because your services have diversified, then that might mean that you need to re look at your branding. So it's, I think people often innately know when their branding doesn't feel right for their brand anymore, because as a business owner, you know your business better than anybody.

And if you feel like how you're visually and verbally portraying yourself isn't a match with who you now are, then it's time to, yeah, to re look at how you're, you know, portraying yourself.

Teresa: And also One thing we were struggling with, and I know this isn't your ordinary services, but obviously you, you know, you know me and you were happy to work with me on this, but was that we were getting stuck on how the post should look.

So even though I have Becci who helps me with my social media, I still, complete control freak. Create a lot of the look and feels for my posts. So I'm still the one who goes into Canva when I want to do something far more important. I go and procrastinate in there and I'll spend too long coming up with different designs, which I then send to Becci and Becci then uses them to create my content ongoing.

And I was getting to the point of, I don't know what the hell I'm meant to be. Like, I don't know how this is meant to look and I would create different things. And I'm like, Oh, that's okay. But that doesn't really look like me or actually I'm tired of making it look. This is so boring looking. So I got to a point where.

I needed something new and a bit more exciting and because I was getting tired of, of creating stuff or coming up with a look and feel that I liked and what was so awesome about going to someone like you and having a, you know, this is another reason why you would consider investing in a branding person is that you create all the bits I need.

So there's another brand that Katie's created for me, which isn't live and it won't be live by the time this podcast comes out, I don't think. And if I get my way, it might not ever be live. I'm scared to put it out there, but I will put it out there. But I created a logo, put myself in Adobe, you know, did the thing that we don't want to do.

And it wasn't horrific. Was it? It was, but when I sent it to Katie, there was immediately things that like just the lining and the spacing and actually, you know, a few different things. So she tweaked and changed that, which was great. But then what she was able to do is come up with a whole host of look and feel and creative ideas for social media.

But then what she was able to do is give me all of those elements. So instead of me having to go and search for, well, okay, this is like one post I've got. How can I make other posts look like it? I was able to then go, okay, well, I could use this color. This image is, it's almost like. Let me think of a good analogy.

Like, it's almost like, you know when people do like a capsule wardrobe? Definitely not what I can do. Like, I don't have it.

Katie: I've always wanted to be one of those people. Really badly.

Teresa: I am not one of those people. But like, you know how people do have a capsule wardrobe and yet they can make like 40 different outfits from it.

That's basically what you're doing from a branding point of view. You are going.

Katie: And that is how you should think of. Yeah, approaching social media, I think, because you don't want the shiny objectivitis where you just see a new illustration in Canva and think, oh, I need to have that. That's pretty. And that doesn't do anything for you and your brand.

You need to decide on the parameters. And doesn't mean you can't be incredibly creative within that and have, you know, you've got lots of designs now that you can use, but they all live within the same universe. Yes. And they're all, they're all pushing your look and your audience towards a certain point.

Teresa: And it's also working with the assets that we have or that someone wants to have. So for instance, I have a ton of photography, right? Because I'm so vain. I love a photo of myself. I don't. But I do have a lot of photography and therefore one of the elements when I work with Katie was I have got a ton of photos of myself.

So whatever we create. I need my face on them. Whereas it might be on my other brand. It's illustrations and that's lovely because the illustrations go through everything. But it might be that, you know, with your look and feel that actually. A branding person can actually go, this kind of elements or these parts could be brilliant for your brand or these types of images or, and actually this is what we see all the time in terms of like, in fact, I was looking at someone's website this morning and they'd used a stock image and it just didn't fit.

And it didn't look right and it didn't go with their brand and it didn't like that. And therefore it gave me, it was on their sales page.

Katie: It's disconcerting, isn't it? And people underestimate how the negative impact that a really rubbish stock image can.

Teresa: Can do to something like their website. So tell us then taking that brand into the website.

Yeah, and and how that works.

Katie: Well, so it's my ideal situation is that I have created a brand as well because by the time by the time you're going to the website you are literally hitting the ground running, you know, the design language that you've adopted. It's exactly that. It's expanding the brand to its ultimate showcase, really, which is your website.

You know, your website is the little corner of the internet that you have absolute control over, and it is your opportunity to be able to really hammer home everything that you believe and you want for your brand. And ultimately, you know, I mean, I never, I'm, I've never worked with templates because I really have a strong belief that every company deserves its own bespoke look and feel.

And that's where the brand comes in. Every personality I create, I think has a very different personality. And it's about the companies and the businesses, priorities and visual look rather than my tastes or the client's tastes necessarily. It's about the brand.

Teresa: I just want to touch on that because there are certain people that are in a creative industry or a web designers or where you can spot their work a mile off and that is not a great sign of a web designer.

Katie: Do you know what? I, I, I might argue with you there because…

Teresa: Go on then. Let's argue, Katie. I'll fight you.

Katie: You know, you know what you're getting with them. Yes. So if you think that style represents me, if you like that look, then fine. But it's not, but it is more about them than you. Maybe you're right in the first place, yeah.

Because it is more about them than you. So you're not creating something purely bespoke for you.

Teresa: Do you not think as well… So the way I liken this to my world is I used to go and speak on social media and how to do social media and then they would have, and the reason I could speak on social media is because I had worked with lots of different clients doing their social media for them and then you'd get people coming in going, I'm an Instagram expert because they've grown their own Instagram and it's like, no, you are an expert in growing your own.

That does not mean you can take your knowledge and what you know, and give it to a company that I used to have a company that I worked with that did telescopic slides. Like what the hell, man? And when I say slides, I don't mean slides as in for kids. I mean, like, you know, on a car, when you move your seat back and forward, like not the electric ones, the old ones, that, that's the slide.

Katie: That's the amazing thing that I've ever found out about you, Teresa.

Teresa: Honestly, I'm full. I'm full of this information. Like, you know, the world I've lived in, the other company I've marketed are chickens. I'm not even kidding. Processed chicken food, like chicken nuggets and stuff.

Katie: I mean, it's just glamour personified.

Teresa: Literally, like, I don't know how I did it. Like, I don't, can't believe I left those industries.

But the thing is, what makes me a good marketer and you a good designer is that it would be so easy to do the sexy, beautiful stuff that like is in line with who you are and how you look and whatever. But for me, a sign of a good web designer and a good branding person is that actually there isn't a standard look and feel because that just means they've got their own and they're replicating.

And like I said, and if those people are exactly how you want to look and feel, then great, you've got a perfect person. But that you do stuff like you've done stuff for Michelle, who was on the podcast a few weeks ago and her tiny shell media, which I just love that website. So we'll put a link to it in the show notes.

But then you've done stuff for lawyers and for very serious businesses where you couldn't and wouldn't use this very bright, fun, almost childlike in a way, look and feel. So for me, that's how you, that's how I see a real sort of designer and a real brander and a real website designer who can, who can make something create just for those people.

So I think, I think I'm right in that argument.

Katie: Thank you Teresa. Yeah. And I, that is what I enjoy. I enjoy, like I said about, you know, going back to my acting days, I enjoy getting under the skin and creating something new every time. And yeah, I mean, there are lots of designers who stand by wholeheartedly saying that, you know, I want to attract clients to me that want my style, but you are taking a shortcut that you are not addressing your brand's real needs.

You're going on that instinctive. Oh, I like that. I want to look like that rather than going back to that strategy drawing board where you're thinking, is that, I might like it, is it the right choice?

Teresa: And, and the truth is, if you decided that you were going to only go down a niche in a particular area where it was female business owners in the online space and therefore look and feel were similar ish, all that experience you've got It's still massively impactful on what you're doing today.

So that is never lost. The fact that you've had to, the fact that I had to market chicken and slide and like car slides, the fact that you've had to do things for lawyers and web design, not website and Facebook ads, people, and all that is adding to your skillset and your ability to get under the skin of who that person is, which is the thing.

We live in a world where we can buy a course on everything. We can watch a video on everything. But the thing that that doesn't give us is someone who understands us and that person to go, yes, that's awesome, but actually that's not right for you. Or yes, that's awesome. But I tell you what would work better.

And that's where paying for anything can make a world of a difference.

Katie: Yeah, the joy of working with somebody on an aspect of your business. You know, I've, I've seen that through coaching. I've seen that through other investments that I've made myself. It's, there's, there's only so much you can or you should do for yourself by yourself.

It's, it's ambition for your business means you're, you should be ready to invest. You should be ready to invest in it and in you in order to, to, to produce the best results you possibly can. You know, it's, it's a good thing to be celebrated.

Teresa: You want to be proud when you put your brand out, you want to be proud when you put your website out there.

You don't want to be like, Oh God, this is awful. Or you don't want to think that other people are thinking that because that's just.

Katie: You are not gonna, and you know that, you know that feeling if you've had it. Mm-Hmm. , you know, you know the fact that maybe you've not put your, website link in your bio because you're too embarrassed about how out dated it is.

Exactly. About how it doesn't represent your voice anymore. Yeah. And it's just such a wasted opportunity. Mm-Hmm. , you know, but you will never know how many leads you miss out on. Mm-Hmm. because your website isn't working. For you in the way that it should, because if it's working the way that it should, it's the lowest paid member of your staff.

You will ever have . Yeah. Yeah. You know, because it's a, it's a sales manager, it's a receptionist. It's a leads manager. It's a,

Teresa: and it'll pay you.

Katie: It does so much for you. Yeah, absolutely.

Teresa: Over the time, and I know it's a big investment. I really do. But this is your shop window. This is like. You not, you know, if you had a physical bricks and mortar store, this is like you not opening the door or not putting anything in the windows or not putting a sign of the door.

This is like, yeah. You know, you do, there are certain things in business that you should invest in and this your brand, your look, your feel, your website is one of them. So I'm really conscious of your time. oh, go on. No, no, go on.

Katie: I think people, I think people are, less enthusiastic. Oh, no. Because they think they can DIY it now because of the platforms that exist like Wix and Squarespace that give you kind of an easy in. They see investing in a website as superfluous. But it's the best investment in my opinion, at a certain point that you can do for your brand because otherwise you are wasting time and money and putting something together that doesn't do you the justice that could, you know, that could be being done. So that's my opinion worth.

Teresa: And I think it's totally valid. And I think if you, if I look at someone's site and they haven't invested in themselves, I really question whether I should invest in them. And I'm serious, you know, looking at like some of these sales pages I've been reviewing over the last few days, I've been doing some calls with people like when they say to me, we're not selling enough.

I'm like straight away, if you could improve that. You could increase your sales without doubt. So I'm super conscious of time and I can't let you go without saying something that kind of made me howl and was just brilliant. So I decided to write a blog. Now, again, if you followed me for a while, you know, this is not my skill set and I spent ages writing my blog, feeling very proud of myself.

Duly proud of myself, like well done, Teresa, pat, myself on the head and I put it on my site. I mean, I have a team, I dunno why I didn't get anyone to this, but I put it on my site and I went through and I did all the thing. And I have a WordPress website, even though I use Kajabi. And I love Kajabi. And we'll link up to Kajabi in the show notes.

It'll be an affiliate link. And I adore it and I use it for the rest of my business. However, my website is on WordPress because of there are some limitations to obviously having a system that does it all like Kajabi. So I go on and I have Yoast. And if you don't know what Yoast is, it's basically, I mean, I'm going to say the very layman's version of it, but it's the thing that basically says how good your SEO is.

And obviously SEO is the thing that how people find you when they type something into Google. So I went into the. into our exec club group, because sometimes I ask questions as well. Like I need their help as well. And I said, I've done a blog, feeling very proud of myself. And I've got it as to amber.

So there's red, amber, green on this yost thing that basically, obviously, as would make sense, green is the best, red's not. And I said, I've got it to amber, like, How do I get it to green generally into the group? And someone replied going, you know, you just can't. Greens are hard to get. Amber's great. And Katie replied going, I'll get it to a green.

Katie: I love a challenge.

Teresa: And within minutes, and I mean minutes. She replies in the group, done, green. Like, we were all like, what the hell? What wizardry magic did you use to get that green? And it's super important that it's green. Like, if, or if you can get it to green, because that's how you write a blog for people to find you.

And that's how they're going to find you. So just, and you're actually coming to do some training in the club on our, SOAR day. About this thing. Cause this is really important. And this is, this is where you will like a unicorn, Katie. I have dealt with lots of web designers in the past.

Katie: Well, I've always wanted to be a unicorn.

Teresa: You are a unicorn because you can do the most beautiful branding, you can create technically brilliant websites and you can do completely tech wizardry stuff like SEO. Those two skill sets are not, they are not the same side of the brain. They are not normally things that you can do together. So the fact that you can do all three is amazing.

Just tell us, like, just one or two little tips that if someone has done a blog, what are the kind of key things that they miss out on to get that blog ranked so it actually is coming up in searches?

Katie: So, keyword is all. So, pick a keyword. I mean, why people blog? is for lots and lots of reasons, but one of the biggest, good factors about blogging is that it is really good for SEO.

If you choose the keywords that you want to rank for, then you write blogs around those keywords and make sure that keyword is in your meta description, which is the little snippet that is directly related to Google to summarize the contents of the website. Within Yoast, for example, there is a whole window for you to optimize the, the, the meta description, the slug, which is, the kind of the raw URL wording, the page title, your keyword should be in all of these things.

Your length of things matter. So your meta description shouldn't be too long. It shouldn't be too short. Again, Yoast is really good at being a guide for if you're overstepping or understepping here. Then within the blog content yourself, Google ranks based on how useful they perceive that information to be based on the keyword that you're looking for.

So make the article useful. Don't make it over complicated. Don't make, make, don't write really long sentences, make them, short, palatable, easy to digest, break your content up into smaller paragraphs. Use loads of subheadings. Put your keyword in some of those subheadings. So the information that you're relaying is really interesting to find.

Yeah. what else could you put some links? Yeah. Yeah. That's what I do. Links are a biggie. Yeah. Links were biggie. So you should, your, every post should include internal links to somewhere else within your website. So cross refer with another blog or link out to your contact page, always a must because you want people to contact you ultimately.

And also put some external links in because that proves to Google that you've done your due diligence, that you're referring to other people. It's an informed piece of advice that you're giving. So it could be anything. It could be a Wikipedia article about something you talk about, or a tour's guide to Lisbon.

If you've mentioned going to Portugal, who knows, but include them, include images. Put alt tags on your images. I mean, there are so many things. I have created, because I'm kind, a document that you can get from my Instagram and from my website, that, that gives the key pointers on how to make a blog SEO.

Teresa: You're amazing. And we will make sure we link up to that in the show post, show notes.

Katie, show post, show post, show post notes, notes post. Yeah. That was so funny. I was re listening to Shannon's interview. I don't often re listen to my interviews, but I was re listening to Shannon's interview because someone posted into the group something about dogs and I was like, what? And obviously I do so many of these interviews that I can't remember half of them afterwards.

And I had to go back and re listen at the end was just like some rambling that Shannon and I had about dogs and what a nightmare they would and all this. So now this is going to be like, Like, show posts, posts, shows, notes, like, this is the rambling at the end of this interview. Katie, where can people find out about you?

Katie: They can go to my website, which is geekboutiquedesign.com and I am often on Instagram, so my handle is at geekboutiquedesign.

Teresa: And I love that name as well, Geek Boutique. It says exactly the two things that you're brilliant at.

Katie: That was, that was found by my, I was sharing a dressing room and I couldn't find a name for my company and she's now quite successful comedian. She came up with that name for me. So I'm forever grateful to Katie Norris, hand tattooer.

Teresa: I love it. I love it. And you see how like, she's just sat in a dressing room with a comedian. He's like, like, this is awesome. It's just like, oh yeah, well when I worked on so and so you're like, what? You worked on where?

So I love it. Katie, I love you to bits. I am so grateful that you're in my life and, I love the work that you've done with me. Please do go check out Katie. She is just wonderful. Thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Katie: Thank you.

Teresa: So if you enjoyed this week's episode, please do come and give, myself and Katie some love.

If you want to share this episode, please do. Especially people who are writing blogs, let them know, because like I said, she's a genius and you can get that download. We'll link up to it in the show notes and obviously go check Katie out and you can find it there. I will be back next week for another interview. I would tell you what it's about, but I'm not sure at this point.

I can't remember. So have a wonderful week and I will see you then. Take care.