10 Clever Strategies to Close the Customers You Actually WANT to Work With

In the wild world of sales, it's not just about closing deals—it's about closing deals with the right customers. You know, the kind of customers that make your business grow and make your professional life a whole lot more satisfying. So, buckle up and get ready to dive into ten brilliantly clever strategies that will help you attract and close those dream customers who align perfectly with your vision and values.

1. Unlock the Secrets of Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

Before you go on a wild goose chase for customers, you need to define who your ideal customers actually are. Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is like creating a detailed character sketch of the perfect customer who would benefit the most from your amazing product or service and bring you heaps of value.

Steps to Uncover Your ICP

  1. Play Detective: Analyze your current customer base and look for the characteristics of your most successful relationships. Take a close look at their demographics, purchasing behaviors, and overall engagement with your product or service. Pay special attention to those loyal customers who have stuck around and given you stellar feedback.
  2. Find the Common Denominators: Identify the common traits among your top customers—demographics, behaviors, needs, and everything in between. Categorize them into groups like industry, company size, location, and decision-making process. These common traits will help you pinpoint the types of customers who are most likely to thrive with what you have to offer.
  3. Create Your Dream Customer Persona: Develop detailed personas that represent your ideal customers. Dive deep into their pain points, goals, and buying behaviors. Make these personas as vivid as possible, covering everything from job roles to daily challenges to key motivations. Use these personas as your North Star, guiding your marketing and sales strategies to attract these fantastic customers.

Tools for Unveiling Your ICP

  1. Sneaky Surveys and Feedback: Get your current customers to spill the beans by conducting surveys and gathering feedback. Their direct input is like gold—providing you with priceless insights into what your ideal customers value most.
  2. Sherlock-Level Data Analytics: Utilize analytics tools to dive into your customer data. Look for patterns and trends that reveal the characteristics of your superstar customers. This data-driven approach ensures that your ICP is based on cold, hard facts rather than guesswork.
  3. Spy on Your Competitors: Take a peek at your competitors' customer base to identify gaps and opportunities. Understanding who they're targeting can help you refine your own ICP and discover untapped market segments. It's like gaining insider intel for your strategic advantage.

Customer Analysis

2. Sprinkle Your Messaging with Unicorn Stardust

Once you've cracked the code of your ICP, it's time to sprinkle some magic on your messaging. Your marketing and sales communications need to speak directly to your dream customers' needs, pain points, and aspirations.

The Art of Crafting the Perfect Message

  1. Unleash Your Value Proposition: Clearly articulate the unique value your product or service offers. Show off what sets you apart from the competition and why your solution is the absolute best fit for your ICP. Make sure your value proposition is concise, compelling, and consistently communicated across all channels.
  2. Address Their Pain Points: Dive headfirst into the specific challenges your ICP faces. Use language that empathizes with their struggles and demonstrates your deep understanding of their situation. By speaking directly to their pain points, you position your product or service as the ideal problem-solver.
  3. Shower Them with Benefits: Highlight how your solution brings unique benefits to the table. Focus on the tangible outcomes they can expect—increased efficiency, cost savings, improved performance, you name it. Bring these benefits to life with real-life examples and captivating case studies.

Channels for Maximum Messaging Impact

  1. Websites that Wow: Ensure that your website content is tailor-made for your ICP. Create targeted landing pages, insightful blogs, and product descriptions that speak directly to their needs and interests. A well-optimized website is like a magnet, attracting and converting ideal customers left and right.
  2. Email Campaigns that Rock: Develop email campaigns that deliver personalized, relevant content straight to your ICP's inbox. Use segmentation wizardry to ensure that each email addresses specific pain points and offers solutions customized to their needs. Your emails are like personalized love letters, enticing your dream customers to take action.
  3. Social Media Sorcery: Unleash the power of social media platforms to engage with your ICP. Share content that resonates with their interests and encourages interaction. Social media is the perfect playground for gathering feedback and priceless insights from your target audience.

Messaging Alignment

3. Whip Up Irresistible Content That Casts a Spell

Content marketing is like a magic potion that draws your ideal customers closer. By creating and distributing valuable, relevant content, you'll attract, engage, and convert those dream prospects who fit your ICP like a glove.

Majestic Content Strategies

  1. Blog Posts and Enchanting Articles: Write about topics that make your ICP's heart skip a beat. Dive into industry trends, create how-to guides, and share thought-provoking pieces. Consistently publishing high-quality content establishes you as a wise and trusted authority, keeping your audience captivated.
  2. Spellbinding Case Studies: Showcase success stories that show off your value. Detailed case studies demonstrate the tangible benefits your product or service has delivered to customers just like your ICP. These stories have the power to sway potential customers by providing real proof of your effectiveness.
  3. Mystic Whitepapers and Enchanting E-books: Provide in-depth insights that solidify your expertise. These pieces of long-form content can delve into complex topics and offer valuable information that helps your ICP make well-informed decisions. Offering these resources in exchange for contact information can also help you build a magical list of qualified leads.

Channels to Spread Your Enchanting Content

  1. SEO Sorcery: Optimize your content with wizard-level search engine optimization. Use relevant keywords, meta descriptions, and backlinks to boost your search engine rankings. A powerful SEO strategy can whisk your content to the top of search results, attracting those perfect customers like moths to a flame.
  2. Social Media Spells: Spread your content across social media platforms to reach a wider audience. Tailor your posts to each platform's unique audience and engagement style. Use captivating visuals, bewitching hashtags, and interactive elements to increase visibility and engagement.
  3. Email Marketing Magic: Use email newsletters to distribute your delightful content directly to your ICP. Segment your email list to ensure that each recipient receives content that matches their interests and needs. Regularly sharing valuable content keeps you in their minds and hearts.

Content Marketing

4. Let Social Proof Work Its Magic

There's nothing more persuasive than social proof. When your prospects see that others like them have achieved success with your product or service, they'll be itching to jump on board the magical train to customerhood.

Unleashing the Power of Social Proof

  1. Glorious Customer Reviews: Make some noise with positive reviews on platforms like Google and Yelp. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews by making the process a breeze and offering rewards. Highlight these sparkling reviews on your website and marketing materials to build trust with potential customers.
  2. Captivating Testimonials: Gather personal endorsements from your happy customers. Use surveys, interviews, or direct requests to collect testimonials that provide credible and relatable proof of your value. These endorsements are like sparks of magic that ignite trust and propel your prospects toward a favorable decision.
  3. Bewitching Case Studies: Dive deep into how your solution helped specific customers. Craft detailed stories that showcase the challenges faced, the solutions provided, and the measurable outcomes achieved. Case studies wield great power, proving your expertise and the real-world impact of your offerings.

Gathering and Displaying Social Proof

  1. Customer Feedback Wizardry: Put programs in place to regularly gather feedback from your customers. Use surveys, follow-up calls, and feedback forms to collect testimonials and reviews. Keeping your social proof fresh and up-to-date ensures its relevance and impact.
  2. Showmanship on Multiple Platforms: Display your social proof across your website, social media, and marketing materials. Use visual elements like videos, images, and captivating infographics to make your testimonials and case studies even more irresistible.
  3. Third-Party Wizardry: Make use of endorsements from industry experts, influencers, and reputable organizations. These third-party endorsements add an extra layer of credibility and trustworthiness to your social proof, like a magical stamp of approval.

5. Embrace the Art of Soft and Nurturing Sales

A soft and nurturing sales process focuses on building relationships rather than forcing a hard sell. This approach works wonders when it comes to attracting and closing the right customers who genuinely appreciate what you bring to the table.

Master the Art of Nurturing Leads

Positive Reviews

  1. Enlighten and Educate: Provide valuable information that helps prospects make informed decisions. Use webinars, workshops, and educational content to enlighten your audience about your product or service. An informed prospect is more likely to recognize and appreciate the value you offer, leading to confident purchasing decisions.
  2. Listen Like a Pro: Actively listen to understand your prospects' needs and concerns. During sales interactions, prioritize listening over talking. Use open-ended questions to encourage prospects to share their challenges and goals. Showing genuine interest in their perspective helps you tailor your approach to meet their unique needs.
  3. Build Bridges of Trust: Establish trust through transparency and authenticity. Be honest about what your product or service can and can't do. Share real-life examples and case studies to back up your claims. Building trust takes time, but it's absolutely essential for closing deals with the right customers.

Techniques for Cultivating Magical Relationships

  1. Personalized Follow-Ups: Engage your prospects with personalized follow-ups that show you're invested in their success. Customize your communications to address their specific needs and interests. Regular check-ins demonstrate that you value their business and are committed to helping them achieve their goals.
  2. Value-Driven Interactions: Make sure every interaction brings value to the prospect. Whether it's through sharing relevant resources, offering expert advice, or solving their problems, ensure that your communications are always relevant and beneficial. Value-driven interactions create goodwill and position you as a trusted advisor.
  3. Long-Term Love Connections: Focus on building long-term relationships rather than chasing short-term sales. Stay connected with prospects even if they're not ready to buy right away. Nurturing these relationships can lead to future opportunities and referrals as the magic of connection works its wonders.

6. Unleash Your Inner Growth Hacker

Growth hacking is all about using innovative and cost-effective strategies to acquire and retain customers. These spellbinding techniques will help you attract those perfect customers without breaking the bank.

Enchanting Growth Hacking Strategies

  1. Spark the Magic of Referrals: Encourage your existing customers to spread the word. Offer incentives like discounts, freebies, or exclusive access to motivate them to refer others to your business. A well-designed referral program turns satisfied customers into powerful brand advocates.
  2. Create Viral Spells: Craft shareable content that spreads like wildfire. This could be in the form of entertaining videos, interactive infographics, or mesmerizing social media posts. The goal is to create content that resonates with your audience and compels them to share it with their own networks.
  3. Master the Art of A/B Testing: Continuously test and optimize your marketing efforts. Use A/B testing to compare different versions of your campaigns and identify what works best. This data-driven approach ensures that you're always improving and maximizing the effectiveness of your marketing magic.

Channeling Your Inner Growth Hacker

  1. Harness the Power of Magical Tools: Make use of growth hacking tools and software to automate and optimize your strategies. Tools like CRM systems, email marketing platforms, and analytics software help you manage and measure your growth hacking efforts like a true sorcerer.
  2. Collaborate with Influential Allies: Partner with influencers and industry experts to amplify your reach. Influencers help you connect with a larger audience and build credibility through their endorsements. Choose influencers who align with your brand values and have a strong connection with your ICP.
  3. Obsess Over Customer Experience: Ensure that every touchpoint in the customer journey is optimized for a delightful experience. Happy customers are more likely to refer others and become repeat buyers. Regularly gather feedback and make improvements to enhance the magical experience.

Growth Hacking Techniques

7. Embrace the Magic of Permission-Based Sales

by Justin Lim (https://unsplash.com/@justinlim)

Permission-based sales is like a magical dance between you and your prospects. By obtaining their consent before engaging with them, you create a space for more meaningful interactions and higher conversion rates.

How to Work Your Magic with Permission-Based Sales

  1. Captivating Opt-In Forms: Use forms to capture your prospects' consent to receive communications from you. Make sure your opt-in forms are clear and concise, explaining exactly what they're signing up for. Offer something magical in return, like a free resource or exclusive content, to encourage sign-ups.
  2. Respect Their Communication Preferences: Honor your prospects' preferences when it comes to how often and through which channels they want to hear from you. Respecting their preferences shows that you value their time and creates a foundation of trust.
  3. Deliver a Dash of Value: Ensure that every interaction you have with your prospects brings value to their lives. Whether it's through educational content, personalized recommendations, or exclusive offers, make sure your communications are always relevant and beneficial. Consistently providing value keeps your prospects engaged and interested.

The Magical Benefits of Permission-Based Sales

  1. Spellbinding Engagement Rates: Prospects who have given consent are more likely to engage with your communications. They've shown interest in your offerings and are more open to receiving your messages.
  2. Building Enchanting Relationships: With permission-based sales, you focus on building relationships rather than blindly chasing quick sales. Keeping in touch with prospects, even if they're not ready to buy right away, cultivates a sense of trust and allows for future opportunities and referrals to magically appear.

Now that you're armed with these ten clever strategies, go forth and conquer the customers you genuinely WANT to work with. May your sales be smooth, your relationships be magical, and your business soar to new heights. Best of luck, intrepid salesperson! ✨🔮✨

Get out of your sales rut

Sales Slump? Ditch the Cheesy Scripts and Embrace Professional Love for Explosive Growth

Let's be honest, the old-school sales playbook is gathering dust for a reason. You've memorized the scripts, practiced your elevator pitch, and maybe even mastered the art of the firm handshake. Yet, your sales funnel feels more like a leaky bucket, and your prospects seem to disappear faster than free appetizers at a networking event. Sound familiar?

If you're nodding along, it's time to inject a little love into your sales strategy. No, not the "roses and chocolates" kind of love (although a thoughtful gift never hurts!). I'm talking about Professional Love – a revolutionary approach that transforms sales from a battle of wills into a genuine connection.

Imagine ditching the sleazy tactics and building relationships that not only close deals but also leave your clients feeling truly valued. Professional Love is the secret sauce that helps you understand your prospects' pain points, desires, and dreams. It's about becoming a trusted advisor who helps them achieve their goals, not just a pushy salesperson trying to hit their quota.

I'm here to guide you on this transformative journey. Whether you're a solopreneur hustling to make ends meet or a seasoned sales team leader looking to boost morale and numbers, Professional Love can unlock your full potential. It's not just about closing deals, it's about fostering loyalty, generating referrals, and building a reputation that precedes you.

Ready to ditch the outdated sales strategies and embrace a revolutionary approach? Join me for an exclusive Sales Hackathon on June 16th and 17th where we'll deep dive into the power of Professional Love and equip you with actionable tools to transform your sales game.

But don't wait, spots are limited! Secure your place at the Sales Hackathon today and let's make sales a joyous experience for everyone involved.

P.S. Still not convinced? Ask yourself this: Would you rather spend your hard-earned money on a pushy salesperson who sees you as a dollar sign or a friendly expert who genuinely wants to see you succeed? Thought so. Let's make sales a win-win for everyone.

Selling small talk: It's a big deal

Is small talk a waste of time? You couldn't be more incorrect. While it may appear to be pointless chitchat, small talk can help you establish relationships, develop connections, and get ready for deeper conversations. Don't underestimate the power of small talk; there's a lot more to it than meets the eye!

One of the biggest benefits of small talk is that it can help you get to know someone better. By talking about everyday topics, you learn more about the other person's interests and personality. This can be really helpful in forming deeper relationships down the road.

The key to cooperation is your social connection to others. Small talk is an important aspect of establishing that social connection. When you create a relationship with someone by having short talks about topics other than the task you're performing, you strengthen the bond and make goal-oriented conversations and requests more likely to flow freely.

Your chances of being chosen for projects are enhanced if people remember you when they're forming a group of people to collaborate. In other words, you want to be well-represented in the memories of your coworkers.

Of course, how successful you are at your job will have an impact on whether people remember you and have a good impression of your work. However, individuals also prefer individuals who are both productive and pleasant to deal with. The more skilled you are at having to engage in social talks with others, the more memorable you will be to others and the more likely it is that others will consider you a fascinating person to collaborate with. As a result of small talk, there may be future possibilities for you.

Here are 4 benefits of small talk:

  • It allows us to identify areas of agreement and common interest and establish connections.
  • It enhances active listening abilities.
  • It aids in the development of muscles, allowing us to more readily engage in spontaneous activities.
  • It establishes the foundation for progressing to more serious, in-depth subjects that require a greater level of psychological safety.

Human beings have dominated the Earth because of our capacity to collaborate with one another. People are part of a team rather than a set of boxes on an org chart since they believe they are members of a group.

It is your social connection to others that greases the gears of cooperation. Small talk is a significant part of creating that social connection. When you have brief conversations about topics outside of the work that you’re doing, you solidify the bond with another person in a way that makes more goal-directed conversations and requests flow smoothly.

Small talk, on a deeper level, is an "honest" signal that exhibits certain qualities about you in a brief amount of time.

What questions should you ask yourself to figure out how much energy your brand has? Think about who you are and what makes you unique. What qualities do I want my future self to remember about me so that they may be inspired by my life?

It allows you to convey information to your recipient so that they may make a gut response (e.g., are you a threat? Are you a pushy salesperson?)

In sales, small talk isn't meaningless; the actual aim, however, is not what it appears to be.

It's what the surface displays and conveys.

The actual words take a back seat to the emotion.

What matters most is your tone, posture, appearance, and position in your business or career.


  • At the beginning of a conversation, be natural, don't force it, let it develop organically.
  • Trust your instincts and be ready to pick up on something someone says, however slight it might appear, which you can then develop into a deeper conversation.
  • When engaged in small talk, don't be looking over the person's shoulder or around the room. They deserve your full attention, however short that time might be.
  • Remember, small talk can be enjoyable, and can make your day nicer just by the sense of friendliness it can convey.

In today's post-pandemic world, we may value these rapid, informal discussions more than ever. But now that we're back to face-to-face work, small talk isn't quite so unimportant.

So the next time you’re at a networking event, or even just out to dinner with potential clients, don’t be afraid to put your small talk skills to use. It could be the thing that helps you close the deal and land that new client. With a little practice, you may find that those small talk moments are some of your most valuable selling opportunities.

Social Media

Social Media Strategy That Works

Social Media Strategy That Works

When I started out as a Social Media/Marketing Manager I realized right away that you need to be organized to an extent I wasn’t prepared for. Winging it only makes things take longer and makes you stress out. As part of the marketing team at @revenue, I have learned some handy strategies for not only laying out campaigns but how to make them take flight. 


Let’s talk about Campaigns.


Campaigns are a whole different animal from regular social media posts, which are usually one-off posts not pertaining to an ongoing awareness campaign or event. Campaigns are preplanned, precalculated, and usually, a series of social media posts thought through to the maximum extent. A well-thought-through campaign includes the goals of the posts, specific target audience, and message. Campaigns make reviewing the metrics all that easier, too. Helping you track what’s working and what’s not. And you know how we love to try it, track it, and change it- especially when it comes to the ever-changing world of social media.


Here are some basic steps to creating an effective social media campaign. 


  1. The first part of laying out a social media campaign is to do some deep thinking on the goals and objectives. What is the purpose of the new campaign?  What does your client have going on right now that would make a good campaign? Are they offering a workshop or class in a couple of months? Then now’s the time to get started with planning. They say that you’re 40% closer to reaching your goals when you lay them out and get specific, so try to use SMART goals when creating a new campaign. 


  1. The 5 W’s - When creating a new campaign, you want to make sure you are answering the basic “Ws” of Who, What, When, Where & Why’s of the campaign. These fundamental 5 W’s cover all the bases. 

Why - why are you creating the content? What is your goal? How will this benefit the business?

Who - is your audience?  Being as specific here as possible is key.

What - do you want this content to achieve? 

When - when and how are you going to develop the content, and how long will the campaign run for? 

Where - are we going to publish, and on what platforms? Remember that each platform has slightly different strategies so make sure you customize your content for each.


  1. Next, you’re going to want to get very clear on who your audience is, what tone your messaging will take on, and the time frame - including the start and end date of the campaign. 


  1. Then you delve into the nitty-gritty, such as what hashtags you’ll use to get the campaign the most exposure, and what link and CTA you’ll be using. You might be thinking that this is all just a huge waste of time, just post it already, BUT trust me, you’re going to love working this way once you start and you’ll never go back. 


  1. Each campaign should have its own aesthetic/look. For example, I have a client who does many things, and one of those things is hosting a monthly writers group, where she helps aspiring writers become published authors. For her writer's group, we are using Gif’s instead of branded designs, to stand out and grab her audience's attention in a different way.  We aren’t using Gifs on any other campaign or other posts on her platforms. Another campaign could be solely focused on client testimonials and should include a branded image with a direct quote or review. Campaigns should vary from each other but always try to stay within brand colors, as you don’t want your profiles to be inconsistent in the brand. It’s best to have an overall cohesive look for your social posts, so following a clear brand guidelines document is always advisable.


6. Last, the best way to track the metrics of any campaign is to have the right software - this alone makes it worth it. At @revenue, we use Sprout Social for our social media publishing as well as their thorough analytics and metrics features. If you have an interest in using Sprout, please reach out to us for a special introduction. Using a platform that provides media tagging and allows you to create & label campaigns is the easiest way to review metrics, such as engagement metrics, to see what’s resonating with your audience, what’s not, and where to put your ad dollars. 


In conclusion, campaigns will make your ad money count. Who wants to throw money at something and see how much sticks? No one. 


If you need any help with your marketing, sales or branding strategy, give AtRevenue a call. 

We are happy to help you find a way to make your social media, marketing and sales work for your business. 

How Narrowing Your Target Audience Will Expand Your Market Share

How Narrowing Your Target Audience Will Expand Your Market Share

When you started your business, your first step was obviously to develop your product or service. Right behind that, you likely started to identify who your target customer is: their age, what they look like, where they live, what they do for a living, their income…. When you get to the bottom of this target buyer, they probably pretty closely resemble you and your friends, right?

This isn’t uncommon. Often, a buyer persona or a ground-level look at a desired target audience will be pretty flat and lack specificity. Certainly, recognizing basic demographics is helpful, but to enhance your processes and results, you have to get more specific. Your first shot at your target consumer is probably a superficial look at a generalized individual — a look at someone who’s everyone and no one at the same time — and you’ll have a really hard time getting anywhere with this person.

So once you’ve landed on “Male, 30-45, married, middle class, interests include DIY projects, lawn care, and pick-up hockey games,” where do you go from there? 

To properly understand your core demographic, you need to create a “Client Avatar”. In creating this avatar, you’ll define your audience as a series of single individual “characters,” who most closely resemble both your most active customers as well as those you wish to attract. The Client Avatar is made up of various pieces of demographic information, and you want to be sure you are as clear and precise as possible. Use these four identifiers to focus in on who you’re looking for.

1. Age

Thinking outside the box when it comes to your buyers’ age ranges can bring you more creative ideas. Consider the Pedialyte phenomenon: a drink that was made for dehydration in young children is often used by adults in the same way sports drinks are. In turn, Pedialyte updated their marketing to speak directly to hungover adults, and they developed new products (think: branded t-shirts and powder packets to mix in with water) to serve this new audience. Consider how you can skip the highly saturated 18-34 market and offer your product or service to a different demographic and the results it could yield. Research your competitors and look into the demographics of people who are seeking products and services similar to yours. This will help you narrow down the “why” of your target age range and the products they look for, and help you speak more intentionally to that audience.

2. Cultural Identifiers

Once you have a solid understanding of your age ranges and what their interests are, you need to take a step back and review additional cultural identifiers that narrow down the picture of an Avatar further. A product can appeal to a range of cultures for different reasons. Consider how your product or service meets the needs of a variety of communities — and how your communication speaks to people, too. Bringing cultural awareness and diversity into your messaging, product, and service will enhance both your efficacy as a brand and your customer experience.

3. Income and Willingness To Purchase

Income is a piece of your target audience puzzle, but you can leverage it even more strategically when you consider a buyer’s willingness to purchase.  While you certainly want to do some research on the income levels of the audience you have formed thus far, there are more factors associated with willingness to purchase than their level of income. Motivation is a big factor in making decisions for purchase. If your product truly answers a real need, there will be more reason for your audience to buy. A person with income outside your target may still look into your service if it’s a high-demand product for them. For example, a serious runner may purchase an expensive running shoe that may be outside their means if it affords them the comfort and support they need for their runs. This can be true in a variety of industries; willingness to purchase can outweigh disposable income.

4. What They Actually Like

What does your audience actually like? Are their consumer decisions a result of their actual interests, or are they just things they feel like they’re supposed to like or consume? Invest in actually identifying your target market’s interests and wants. These can make a huge difference in how you choose to communicate. Dive deeper into what other brands they purchase, what media outlets they use, and where they shop. Learning these behaviors will help you gain a more well-rounded picture of who your potential buyers are. 

When brands take risks and expand their perception of who their real audiences are, they can find new ways to engage with those consumers and make sure that none of their potential leads are falling through the cracks. This more detailed personal discovery can lead to more intentional messaging, wider outreach, and more successful results, because when you really look at who your audience is, you’ll probably find the missing piece your marketing needs.


An earlier version of this article was previously published on Forbes in August, 2018.

Social Media Trends of 2022

Social Media Trends of 2022

As we enter 2022 in a full-fledged feeling of renewed hope, social media has been bigger than ever in importance for brands. 


So what are we really looking at in trends for this year? Let’s break it down. 


Short-form Video Content: As TikTok, Instagram Reels, Youtube shorts, (etc., etc., etc.,) grow in popularity, we’re going to see an uptick in brands using short-form video as an effective method of growth. It gives brands a unique opportunity to humanize and to come across in an authentic manner, which is ever important in a world of ad-conscious consumers. Not only that, but attention spans are shorter than ever with easily consumable content–long gone are the days of long-form content. 


Our recommendation? Get in where you can. Integrate short-form videos on platforms your brand already exists on–if you can expand outside of those and get on TikTok, even better! It’s best to set a goal of how many videos you’d like to post a week, and stick to it. 


Micro-Influencers: Speaking of ad-conscious consumers, the days of celebrities touting ads for brands are passing us by. Consumers want to relate to people–smaller influencers are making their way into the space by doing just that–anyone has the potential to go viral these days; not just a select few. With less of a pricey spend, higher engagement rates, and more impact on consumers, there’s going to be a huge uptick in the use of micro-influencers in marketing campaigns. Included in the many trends listed by Sprout Social in their recent report, influencers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon and you can expect to see more as we move into 2022, though they will need to keep their content fresh in order to stay ahead of the pack. 


Our recommendation? Start the hunt for influencers who have 20k followers or under. See who’s interacting with their content and how. These smaller influencers have a massive relatability aspect that followers love and trust more than that shiny influencer with a million followers and a 1% engagement rate. 


Accountability and Transparency: As consumers become more conscious of where their money goes, and who they’re supporting, there’s going to be massive growth in holding brands accountable in terms of ethics. Brands who say they’re going to do the right thing (and follow-through) are going to see more income than large corporations that perform in ethically questionable ways. 


Our recommendation? Think about what your brand is doing for diversity, environmentalism, or ethics in general. If you haven’t thought about it yet, now’s the time. Create measurable goals, be open about them, and work your hardest to achieve them. 


Memes: Memes have always been a great way to join trending conversations. In 2022, we’re going to see even more brands join in on the conversation, letting loose from the chains of serious, curated feeds. With a massive uptick in brands trying to relate to their consumers (and be a little less serious), consumers are going to be enticed to interact with social accounts that like to have a little bit of fun–that’s why we come to social media. 


Our recommendation? Find a way to integrate this in a subtle way. If you suddenly jump into making your page 100% memes, it’s going to show up in an unauthentic manner to your audience. Slowly integrate memes that you can easily incorporate into your brand and niche. 


LinkedInfluencers: Two words you never thought you’d see together, but it’s true; after working from home, people are seeing the value of growing their personal brand with LinkedIn outside of their job. With think-pieces and personal content, we’re going to see an increase in personal brands, and more engaging content than ever before on LinkedIn. Another great reason for the rise? LinkedIn influencers have key decision-makers in their audience


Our recommendation? Think about what your personal brand’s niche is. What interests you about where you’re at? What’s your story? There are no limits to what you can share nowadays on LinkedIn–it’s a great place to grow a community of folks who relate to and understand you. And if you need help, be sure to reach out to us! 


What are your favorite social media trends? And how is your brand going to effectively implement the usage of them? If you’re having a hard time nailing that down, be sure to let us know; we’d love to give you a hand.

What the Dame of Influence Award Means to Me

What the Dame of Influence Award Means to Me

Sometimes I feel like the name of my game is ‘just keep walking’. Many of you know my story already, and like many entrepreneurial journeys, it was riddled with ups and downs. I happened to get handed an extra dose of death and loss and things most people don’t have to experience at this phase of life. Because the people that I loved and lost were also critical parts of my company I had to pick up the pieces while it felt like the world was watching. 

You don’t build the muscles of resiliency because you want to. You do it because you have to. You do it because there is something bigger than the pain or the fear that you have to get done. You change yourself so that you can change the world around you and let me be the first to say that changing how you see yourself or how you respond to life SUCKS. It’s hard because it has life-changing value and they don’t hand out awards for ‘trying super hard’.  and then I learned that I just don’t back down…period. 

I am proud of how far @revenue has come in the last five years, and of the amazing things in our future and I am continuously humbled by the people that show up for my vision. This little family business has survived and grown so that we can serve all of those other ‘little businesses’ grow. 


For all these reasons and so many more, I feel unbelievably honored to have been recognized as a 2022 Dame of Influence for Chicago.

The Dames stand for something so close to my heart: the ability to do great things and be a great person. They value community contribution and mentorship, and they’re here to break down the barriers that stop 98% of women-owned businesses from reaching the million-dollar mark.

@revenue has shared this mission of supporting diverse people and their businesses and goals, hoping to make a reality of the amazing empowerment from the late, great RBG: Women should be in all places where decisions are made. The Dames are committed to this, @revenue is committed to this, and I am committed to this, and I am so humbled to be recognized for this work we have tirelessly taken on over the past five years.

I am so thankful for this award and everyone who has made our achievement possible, and I can’t wait for all we can keep accomplishing together.

5 Ways to Revamp Your Marketing Strategy

5 Ways to Revamp Your Marketing Strategy

We’ve seen the effects of supply chain issues in restaurants, hardware stores, department stores, and more — and the promotional products industry is no exception.


The year of the pandemic saw nearly 20% decrease in distributor sales as events and trade shows were cancelled and swag bags went back on their shelves. Now, as these gatherings are reinstated, many of these same distributors are seeing order counts double and are struggling to meet the demand. 


Industry trends are showing strong projections for recovery, but it won’t happen overnight, and you’ve likely got some extra unused dollars that would usually be spent on these items that just can’t be supplied right now. 


So how do you solidify your marketing strategy when you can’t get your promotional products? Here are five ideas to get started.

Know your audience

Just as the corporate and bigger business sides of the professional world have pivoted and adapted during the pandemic, so have small businesses and individuals. Rediscover your audience and evaluate how your prospects and leads — and their needs — have changed. Understanding your buyer persona is crucial to your success, and you can earn their trust and loyalty by proving your business to be adaptable and sensitive to their experience.

Run a brand audit

Does your visual identity accurately reflect your business’s mission and goals? Once you’ve evaluated your buyer and how they’ve changed over the last eighteen months, perhaps your brand might need a little revamping in order to stay aligned with your mission while still attracting your evolved audience. 

Invest in A/B testing

Increase your ROI from existing traffic, reduce your bounce rate, and establish successful conversion rates through extra A/B testing. With one control and one variable group, modify your CTAs, content length, email subject lines, email frequency, or any details that may affect your content, social, or website performance. With each of these tests, you’ll learn more about your consumer and which strategies to more fully invest in for success.

Develop your SEO and social media strategy

Increase your Google ranking by investing in your Search Engine Optimization strategy with both organic and paid strategies. Remember, too, that YouTube processes billions of searches each month, and, as a result, optimizing your video content can help you rank higher on the biggest search engines. 


While you’re optimizing videos, translate that same energy into your social media strategy as a whole. With the rise in influencer marketing, social partnerships, and sponsored feed content, both paid and organic social media strategies will help get your content in front of relevant audiences.

Target your campaigns

Once you have a clear understanding of the new pains, fears, and gains of your prospective clients, you’ll be able to run more thoroughly targeted campaigns and meet your audience through very specific touchpoints. Use your newly optimized SEO and social media strategies to implement these audience traits and speak directly to your compatible prospects.


Promotional products are not the lifeblood of your marketing strategy! With the absence of these items — and the wiggle room that may leave in your budget — this is the perfect time to dive into the core structure of your marketing plan and make sure that when the frills and gimmicks are peeled away, the bones of your business’s messaging are solid and representative of your mission and goals.

Six Ways Reading Fiction Makes Us Better Marketers

Six Ways Reading Fiction Makes Us Better Marketers

Business owners and entrepreneurs are always doing research behind the scenes to get a leg up on the marketing tools and strategies that will help them reach more people. We comb the internet for insights on the next big social media platform and what kinds of content are performing best. We have our favorite trade publications and podcasts to keep up with industry trends. We also fill our bookshelves with the newest thought leadership in sales and marketing, productivity, business strategy, leadership and whatever else is abuzz in our networking circles. While all of these resources get at important information we can use to make better decisions for our own projects, they have their limitations.


Pure storytelling, also known as fiction, often gets pushed down to the lowest priority in the TBR list. We wait for a literal rainy day or an airplane trip to “read for pleasure.” But diving into those made-up worlds of fantasy, romance, mystery and suspense (or a character-driven classic) will make more of an impact on your marketing skills than you might expect. In fact, we have a few readers on our team of marketing nerds!


Successful marketing is all about telling an interesting and relatable story through the various mediums at your disposal; reading more fiction will help you sharpen the communication tools in your marketing toolkit.

1. Growth Through Creativity

First of all, there are a ton of work performance and life benefits to be gained by simply letting our minds wander. But with the help of a well-written story, you can learn more about human interaction, visit faraway places and pick up turns of phrase you’ve never heard before. By seeing the world (even a made-up one) through someone else’s eyes, your subconscious mind gains a deeper understanding of how others outside of yourself interact with the world and each other.

2. Improved Communication

As you plow through a work of creative writing, your brain absorbs new ways to communicate more clearly. You may expand your vocabulary, discover more precise ways of stating ideas or create more connections between related concepts. Each of these benefits creates neural pathways that will improve your own written and verbal communication. As you develop an appetite for good books, you may notice your speech patterns shift and your written communications coming more easily, in a more concise fashion. 

3. Developed Cultural Awareness

You’ve probably noticed that empathy is becoming just as much of a hot topic in marketing as authenticity was just a few years ago. Reading works by authors of different backgrounds featuring characters with different identities and personalities is an effective way to socialize yourself with points of view that are different from your own. You may even catch glimpses into historical and cultural perspectives that still play a role in society today. If you’re more of a fantasy buff, that’s valuable too! Reading about dragons and wizards may not directly emulate reality, but allowing yourself to understand a completely different culture will open your mind to other possible experiences. With each read, your muscle memory for empathy will grow stronger..

4. Better Concentration and Focus

One of the first things we develop as young readers is a greater attention span for concentration and focus. That benefit still applies for adults! As a business owner, you are constantly bombarded by notifications and distractions that can keep you from working on the important things—like client work and your marketing materials. Regular reading will strengthen your defenses against the day-to-day noise so you can stay focused and do higher quality work in less time. The best stories will pull you in and keep you spellbound until the very last page; when you can work with that kind of dedication, your clients will notice a difference!

5. A Stronger Connection with Others

Reading brings us closer together with others who share similar interests and read the same books! No matter what genres or authors you gravitate to, chances are you will find others sooner or later who share that appreciation. Imagine kicking off a conversation with “I was just reading this great detective novel...have you read any good mysteries lately?” instead of the same old “What brings you to this networking event?” You will find yourself having more interesting conversations and getting to know people on a deeper level to ultimately build stronger relationships. Last, your new connections might be more likely to remember you for your insightful comments!

6. Becoming a Better Storyteller 

The bottom line is that reading more stories will help you become a better storyteller. As you read, you will experience different ways to be engaged as a reader and you’ll be able to emulate those strategies with your own storytelling. Just like watching presentations and going to conferences can inspire your own public speaking skills, reading fiction can help you create content that tells a more compelling story.


Marketing is all about telling a story that makes your audience feel something strongly enough to take action. So to be a successful marketer, you need to be able to tell your story in an appealing way, connect with your audience, focus on your clients, understand their point of view, communicate clearly and be creative at the same time. Reading books by master storytellers will teach you those things in a fun and interesting way, with all the benefits of relaxation and daydreaming. So, what’s the last book you read for fun?


This article originally appeared on Forbes.


BONUS Fiction Reading List for Entrepreneurs

Compiled by the @ revenue team


Animal Farm - George Orwell

Dune - Frank Herbert

The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

Siddhartha - Herman Hesse

The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand

The Circle - Dave Eggers

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Robert M. Pirsig

The Old Man and the Sea (or really any Hemmingway) 

The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

The Hobbit or LOTR - JRR Tolkien

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline

Ender’s Game - Orson Scott Card

Watership Down - Richard Adams

The Taming of the Shrew - Shakespeare

Murder on the Orient Express - Agatha Christie

About A Boy - Nick Hornby

A Study in Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle

If On a Winter's Night A Traveler - Italo Calvino

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Life of Pi - Yann Martel

The Prince - Niccolo Machiavelli

Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes

Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

Word Virus - William S. Burroughs

The Reluctant Fundamentalist - Mohsin Hamid

Snow Crash - Neal Stephenson

The Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern

A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L’Engle

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith

Graphic Design Trends 2021

Graphic Design Trends 2021

There are a ton of theories out there about what makes good design. Most of them have something to do with simplicity. For instance, Paul Rand said, “Design is so simple. That’s why it’s so complicated. And according to Albert Einstein, “The best design is the simplest one that works.” But when it comes to graphic design for social media, websites, emails, sell sheets and any other marketing collateral your small business needs, you need a bit more than “simple” to get the job done.

The magic of graphic design happens in the space between what your audience expects to see—and the surprising satisfaction of discovering the solution they’ve been waiting for. Incorporating design trends into your images can show that you’re in touch with what’s going on in your market or help you associate some of that trendiness with your brand, providing that “expected” element. What turns a trendy design into a great one is the original (but not overwhelming) spin your signature branding adds to the picture. As a rule of thumb, your designs should balance 1 part design trend and 1 part branding to excite your audience and compel them to click through.

Here are some of the biggest influences on graphic design that we’re seeing this year and some suggestions on how to incorporate them into your images:

1. Muted Color Palettes

After what seemed like an endless year of breaking news, rapid change and emergency situations, people are ready for subtle and soothing hues. The Pantone colors of the year for 2021 are Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, which is a pale shade of yellow. If your brand colors are bright and bold like ours, try choosing complementary softer shades in your backgrounds and accents. If your branding is pastel to begin with, congratulations, you are on-trend! Just make sure any text in your images is easy to read.

2. Simple Data Visualizations

Like our first tip, this one also has to do with a sense of relief from the overwhelm of 2020. If you are including statistics or data in your marketing materials, consider turning the most critical points into a simple infographic. In other media, choose visual representations that let the data seem to speak for itself.

3. Geometric Shapes Everywhere

Solid lines and symmetry can add aesthetic appeal while letting your message take priority. Alternatively, bigger and bolder shapes can bring more contrast to those muted colors. Try superimposing bigger versions of the shapes in your logo or laying delicate pastel patterns over solid black or white backgrounds.

4. Flat Icons & Illustrations

In case you haven’t noticed, subtle simplicity is really shaping these trends in 2021. Creating custom illustrations can be a great way to avoid using generic stock photos. Be sure your icons really symbolize what your message is about, and try using a little bit of text to expand their meaning exponentially.

5. Classic Serif Fonts

Serif fonts call back to the early days of printed typography and can add an air of maturity or respectability to your design, when used sparingly. We recommend sticking to a couple of standard fonts for your headers and body text, but for special events and promotions, choosing a fancy accent text can really set the mood! Just make sure you read every word to avoid embarrassing Freudian font slips.

6. Social Slide Decks

Since a lot of our information is shared via social media these days, people are embracing the power of the carousel post and the slide deck to tell a longer story with multiple images. The more slides you add, the simpler your presentation should be. 

7. Text Heavy Videos

Last, we have our in-platform video editors to thank for this trend. Just like the kids are doing on TikTok and Instagram Stories, adding text to your videos can add another layer of meaning while making them more accessible.

Feeling inspired yet? If you’re not a visual person and Canva is a scary place for you, get in touch with us! We’ve got awesome designers on our team who can keep your graphics looking good.