Shame Free Digital Marketing Decisions with Brandy Lawson

Stacey Harris: I have a very special episode for you today, and not like in an after school special way, which is good. I have my biz and real life BFF with me today, Brandy Lawson.

Brandy Lawson: Woo hoo.

Stacey Harris: Brandy, say hi to people.

Brandy Lawson: Hi.

Stacey Harris: See? She’s really here, I didn’t make it up. We’re going to talk a little bit about a couple of things. We’re going to talk first about the fact that we both own digital marketing agencies, and we do exactly none of the same things. We work together a lot, we hire each other a lot. Neither of us do the same things mostly because we hate what the other one does. We’re like, “No, I don’t want to do that.”

Brandy Lawson: Exactly.

Stacey Harris: We’re like, “I’m so glad you do that, I don’t want to.” And then we’re going to talk a little bit about strategy from a different perspective. We talk a ton about strategy here when we think about our social, and when we think about our email, and when we think about our content. But we’re really going to take that strategy back a step to where all that stuff either lives or is pointing to your website. Because so often, I see clients who come to me and they have this… I’m trying to think of a really nice way to say shit show, a bit of chaos.

It is essentially their home base, and for most of my clients, I think this is probably the same for you, Brandy, at this point. A lot of them, that’s their store front. That’s their shop, and we want to make sure that we’re being strategic. We would never open a retail space and not think about how we’re setting that up, but we are doing that too often with our online retail space, which is our website. So we’ll talk about that, but first I’m going to make Brandy do the thing that I always enjoy, which is give her little spiel, and I’ll even listen this time.

Brandy Lawson: What?

Stacey Harris: Even though I know it already.

Brandy Lawson: Oh, okay. Well thank you, Stacey. I’m delighted to be here. I, for those who don’t already know me, am Brandy Lawson. My marketing agency is called FieryFX, and Stacey and I have known each other for a good long while, and both of our businesses have developed. Today, I help purpose driven women really get clear about how they are affecting change in the world, and make that something they can do more easily. My clients tend to be speakers, authors, and coaches, which is probably no surprise to this audience.

And they’re ready for me when they are booked full, couldn’t possibly fit in one more one-to-one client, one more speaking gig, and yet they haven’t made that impact that they are trying to make on the world. Because at that point, they’ve done a lot of things with not necessarily a plan. I like to say the spaghetti on the wall approach. When they’re finally tired of spaghetti on the wall because when they sit down at the table there’s nothing to eat, that’s when I can help with getting them a real meal plan, and then helping them figure out how to best implement that. So igniting your influence, that’s what we’re here about.

Stacey Harris: It’s funny because what I think about… you talk about spaghetti. What I think about so often with the clients who you work with is up until now, we’ve just sort of duct taped one step to the last step. And I think of that because that’s what you and I did in our own… I think that’s what everyone does.

Brandy Lawson: Right, right.

Stacey Harris: That really is the theme of bootstrapping, is you’re just really sort of duct taping these pieces together as… quite frankly, as you can afford them in many cases.

Brandy Lawson: Right, or as they become important. Because we all started our business in a place where we’re like, “Okay, we’re going to do this thing.” And you do the thing for a while, and you learn, and you figure out what you like about the thing and what you don’t like about the thing. And who you like doing the thing for, and who you don’t like doing the thing for, and you then apply that learning. But it’s a little bit like deciding you’re going to build a house watching some YouTube tutorials, putting some stuff together.

Then as it occurs to you, oh, right. Besides the bathroom and a bedroom and a kitchen, oh, we’re going to need water or a sewer, or… as things occur to you, you put them in. And then you kind of end up with a Dr. Seuss house as opposed to something that had a blueprint and you built it from the blueprint.

Stacey Harris: But you know what’s funny? Is I talk to people, and they’re so often… you and I are both in Tara Newman’s The BRAVE Society. And I see this a lot in that. We have this conversation in that space sometimes, I’ve had this conversation with my BAM clients. There’s so often this shame to the fact that there hasn’t been a strategy up until this point. And I’m like, “Here’s the deal. You can make all the strategic decisions now because you have all the information and data you’ve collected in the time where you didn’t have a strategy.”

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: I didn’t know who my ideal clients were for the first year. You want to know why? I hadn’t worked with anybody. I didn’t know the laundry list of things I was not going to tolerate in a relationship with a client, right? There’s no shame in that duct tape. There’s no shame in throwing the spaghetti at the wall. That’s how you make future decisions. That’s how now I know there are things I do and things I don’t do.

There’s not Facebook Lives anymore because I tried them and they didn’t work. And I think about this a lot with websites and with social presence. Don’t hire me day one to build you a social media strategy. You don’t have enough data yet for us to play with, for us to build and form decisions. It’s just not a good investment of your time.

Brandy Lawson: I think that was a really important clarity point that I came to, is that I don’t build first websites. If you don’t already have a website, you can’t hire me. I won’t work for you.

Stacey Harris: Well, and that’s what I was going to say. I adore you, but I don’t think investing in your website package, which is not a small investment.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: Is a first investment. There’s no shame in that period beforehand, we need that data. We talk a lot about, well, my lunch was a flop. Well, did you learn anything from it? We have a ton of analytics now and data for what did work and what didn’t work. That’s hugely valuable. In some cases, more valuable than had you gotten $10,000 in the door. Because now we can make our next launch a multi five figure, a six figure launch, because we have such valuable numbers now. So don’t feel shame about the spaghetti days because quite frankly, they’re easier.

Brandy Lawson: They are. Well, in that learning, that trying things and doing things, when I look back at the beginning of my business, I wish I would’ve failed faster. Try more things, do more things, keep a record of what was working and what wasn’t working. But if I really had got out of my own way and just did a bunch of things that I wanted to do and tried it, I would’ve learned faster. And I could’ve gotten to the point where I was ready for the next thing faster. So there’s definitely no shame in it. Take the time that you need to do it and muddle through until it’s painful enough that you shouldn’t muddle through anymore.

Stacey Harris: I love that, and I think that’s such an important point to make, because there’s just so much nonsense wrapped up in all of it.

Brandy Lawson: Yeah.

Stacey Harris: So let’s talk a little bit about the fact that you and I both own successful digital marketing agencies that offer none of the same services. So to start with, let’s talk about… because you and I talk about this in a very specific way, and so I want to sort of lead them to how we talk about it.

Brandy Lawson: Okay.

Stacey Harris: So tell us what your agency provides.

Brandy Lawson: So my agency provides strategic planning, and it’s consulting. It’s really coaching that I call consulting, because my coaching for my clients is very much related to the things that we’re working on. I’m not coming in as your overall business coach, that’s not what I’m… but I have found that even in the face of the perfect strategy, if we’re still bumping up against mindset issues, if we’re still bumping up against other hurdles that we’re putting in our own way, you’re not going to be successful. And I’m here for us to both be successful.

So big picture strategy and then website, and then I have built myself what I have termed an Avenger style agency. So I get really clear about, okay, here’s the overall marketing. Here’s how we structure things to facilitate the marketing. In fact, the strategy I just delivered last week had a sales process in it because she didn’t have one. And I can’t build you a successful marketing strategy and get people in the door, and you don’t know how to talk to them. That’s not going to work.

So it’s really a business plan with marketing strategy, big picture. And then telling you the right channels to go implement. And then high level, how you would measure success in those channels. So that’s the big picture strategy. And then if you want to, we can help you execute, but we don’t do all the execution. If somebody comes to me and they… social is, looking at their ideal client, looking at what they’re trying to do, social is a big part of what they’re going to do, I call Stacey for execution.

Stacey Harris: It’s true.

Brandy Lawson: Because we don’t execute that for them. Even websites, I started off building websites. I’m intimately familiar. When it comes down to the nuts and bolts of development, I don’t have people who work only for me to do that. I actually have another agency I partner with that specializes in development and design, that executes for our clients. So that’s how things get done. That’s what we offer, is the big picture strategy plan, the I call it mindset handholding, to get you to actually do something with that strategy plan. And then the cultivated team of experts to help you implement.

Stacey Harris: And so what I always think of what your team does is you guys build a house.

Brandy Lawson: Yes.

Stacey Harris: My team and I, we decorate it.

Brandy Lawson: Yes.

Stacey Harris: And we make sure that there’s invitations to the party.

Brandy Lawson: Yeah. Actually, we start with the blueprint. So I get real clear about what you’re trying to do with the house. And thus, we’ll be able to tell you how many bedrooms you need, how big of a living room you need, if you need a formal dining room or if you don’t need a formal dining room.

Stacey Harris: By the way, no one needs a formal dining room, nobody.

Brandy Lawson: No one?

Stacey Harris: It’s a waste of sofas, people. A waste of sofas.

Brandy Lawson: Then Stacey and her team come in and decorate it, and invite people to the party.

Stacey Harris: Exactly. And I think when you think about the choices you need to make, when you think about your business as a physical space, and what do I need inside that physical space? It’s interesting because my coach actually challenged me to do this not too long ago. As I was figuring out how Uncommonly More and The Stacey Harris, and backstage how all these pieces fit together, she’s like, “Okay, well let’s pretend it’s a physical space. What parts of this business take up the most space? What offerings do we need?”

And I was like, “Well, we need this really cool workshop room so we’re backstage live,” and da da da. And I figured out all of these pieces that I would want to have, and it… when you start thinking about it as a physical space, it gets really easy to start checking off who you need. You need an architect, you need somebody who can blueprint out the space. That’s Brandy and her team. You need somebody who can decorate the space so that when we get people there, there’s something worth being at. That’s my team.

You need to make sure somebody actually shows up. That’s also my team. And so when you think about it in that concept, it starts to get really easy to go, “Okay, so I need somebody to help me with A, B, and C because we have X, Y, and Z already figured out.” And I think so often, I run into client conversations. In fact, I had a sales call the other day that I was like, “No, you don’t need me. Because all of the traffic in the world is not going to solve your problem.” Now, I did not refer them your way because I love you.

Brandy Lawson: Oh, thank you.

Stacey Harris: It was one of those, it was one of those. It was one that found me randomly on the internet and I was like, “I don’t think you actually, I don’t… what’s happening?”

Brandy Lawson: No, it’s not a good fit.

Stacey Harris: We’ve all had those sales calls, right?

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: But what’s interesting is, so often we try to decorate the house before we’ve built it. We try to invite people to the party before there’s food at the party.

Brandy Lawson: Oh, people try to get me to build a house without a plan all the time.

Stacey Harris: They’re like, “No, no, no, no, I just need a website.” No, you don’t.

Brandy Lawson: And even if we were like, “Okay, let’s build a house.” At that point, if you are trying to decide how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need while you’re building, you’re also unable to have any sort of meaningful infrastructure that would accommodate the things you’re going to end up with. And then you have a Dr. Seuss house.

Stacey Harris: And that’s, again, not to say that at some point you’re not going to… because I think some of my growth has been a consequence of putting the cart before the horse.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: We jumped off a cliff and had to build a parachute on our way down. That old cliché of entrepreneurship. Some of it is sort of just trusting that the house will work.

Brandy Lawson: And you can make it work. Again, there’s no shame in having done it. However, if you come to an expert and the expert allows you to do things that they know is not the right thing, then that’s not okay.

Stacey Harris: Then they are a guru and not an expert.

Brandy Lawson: Boo.

Stacey Harris: And I think if you look at where right now you are expending energy in holding your clients, in attracting your clients, look at where you’re feeling that rub. And you’ll probably identify pretty quickly, which blueprint do I need?

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: And that’s going to help you prioritize sort of pain management. If you’re having a super easy time getting them in but then you have no infrastructure to manage those relationships, to put them into the… if you’re having to manually go in and put them in the courses you just sold them, you don’t need me to bring you more people. You need Brandy to figure out all of the structure of your behind the scenes. Because more people is going to create more problems, not less.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: And so I think that you need to be really clear on what part of digital you need help with. And I think this is something that it falls in so many different places. It’s interesting, I did an episode, or maybe it was an Instagram story rant. It could’ve been an Instagram story rant that just went on for a really long time, so I think it was an episode, about… I’ve been seeing a ton of Facebook groups. These people who just want to quote find a good VA. But they don’t actually want a VA, they want a social media manager. And so I think VAs have this problem, virtual assistants for those who don’t know what VA is. Online business managers have this issue, and I think digital marketing agencies and businesses are starting to run into this too. Because there is so much that falls inside of digital.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: And so I really encourage you to be really clear before you get on the phone with someone on where you want to prioritize your pain. But then also be open to their recommendations.

Brandy Lawson: Yes.

Stacey Harris: Not at the point where they’re trying to sell you something that you don’t actually need, because I do know that there are people in this industry that would 100% convince you that you need to decorate the house before you build it. Don’t talk to them, just hang up. Don’t even tell them you’re going to, just disconnect the call, end. I think that’s the thing I miss most about real phones, is there is no satisfaction in hanging up on people now. Hitting the button just does not… I tap my AirPod and I’m like, “Oh, that was anticlimactic.”

Brandy Lawson: You’re like, “I felt no satisfaction from that.”

Stacey Harris: You need that bang, right? Anyways, I want you to be super clear but also open to them. Because I know I regularly get on calls with people where I’m like, “You don’t need me, you need to talk to Brandy.” And I’m sure you run into this too where you’re like, “You’ve got a great structure, you just need more people, here.”

Brandy Lawson: Right, right.

Stacey Harris: “You already know Instagram works. Go talk to Stacey.”

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: Don’t come in so grasped onto what you think you need that you’re not open to suggestion. Because there are so many ways that people in the digital marketing space can help, and we don’t all do all the things. For example, I don’t do SEO. No matter how many times you ask me, I will not do SEO. I will be adding someone to the team who does SEO, because we do get asked that frequently. But I myself am not going to come teach a class on SEO in your program because I don’t do it.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: Nor do I want to.

Brandy Lawson: That’s exactly what-

Stacey Harris: The extent of my SEO knowledge is install Yoast plugin. That’s my knowledge.

Brandy Lawson: This is another one of the reasons that I consciously chose to find strategic partners to build my team of superheroes, is that each one of the channels, SEO for example, is its own beast. To really be an expert, to know the ins and outs of search engine optimization. Because the things that were relevant two weeks ago may not be the things that are relevant anymore. It’s constantly changing, and that’s true about everything.

Stacey Harris: SEO is even crazier than that.

Brandy Lawson: Yeah. Every single channel that we can go at and that is a digital platform changes constantly. So having someone on my team, quote unquote, a strategic partner that does just SEO. I also like that they do SEO for more than just my clients, because then they’re taking the learnings that they’re doing from bigger or smaller, or more niche or less niche, and be able to apply that expertise to my clients. So very thoughtfully, I have… I’m like, “I’m not going to hire the foremost SEO expert because it actually isn’t ultimately that most beneficial for what my clients need.”

Stacey Harris: And I think that that’s something that it’s so easy to forget when you’re in the position of being ready to add somebody to your team. Look at your network first. I mean, I have people so often that are like, “Oh, I don’t even know where to look.” Ask the people around you who they’re using.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: Those are my favorite hires.

Brandy Lawson: I think that also comes back to one of the sort of premises of what we wanted to talk about, is who to trust. So not all digital marketing agencies do the same thing. Get clear about what it is you need help with, what plan, what part of the plan is not working. But then who to trust. I think the hallmark of somebody to trust is a provider that’s really listening and asking a lot of questions before they offer solutions.

Stacey Harris: Yeah. I find that if I’m on a sales call with someone where I’m making the purchase, and they’re doing all the talking, it’s going to be a problem.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: I talk very little on my sales calls. I ask questions.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: Because I need to know that I am the best solution, because I might not be.

Brandy Lawson: Right, 100%.

Stacey Harris: I’m great, but not for everybody. Let’s be… I think we can all admit I am an acquired taste. But I think that’s such a great point, and I think the other side of it somebody who… I often ask people, especially when we’re hiring for the team, I’ll ask them what they don’t know or where they don’t feel comfortable. Because for me, a big red flag is somebody who can’t come up with an answer to that or is unwilling to tell you.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: I am 100% on a call. Again, I had this sales call recently and they were asking me a lot of PR questions. And I was like, “I can’t answer that. That’s not… I work with a lot of people in the PR space. I do have some knowledge, certainly not enough to give you a number on what percentage ROI you can expect on such and such media placement.”

Brandy Lawson: Oh, good Lord.

Stacey Harris: That’s the extent of my knowledge. I would be excited if you were placed there. Does that count? No, it doesn’t. So I will often put in things where I ask somebody what I think they’re not going to know. So I give them the opportunity to tell me the magic words of, “I don’t know.” I frequently tell people I don’t know on a sales call. I’m happy to find you an answer.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: I will do my damnedest to find you an answer. If I don’t know, I will find somebody who does. Because I guarantee you I know somebody that knows somebody that does. But I’m perfectly comfortable being like, “I don’t know, I can’t tell you right now.” And so I think that for me is a big red flag. And the other one is hard fast guarantees. “We’ll get you six figures in three months.” No, you won’t. Because here’s the deal, I can send all the marketing traffic to you. I could send 1000 Instagram users to you a minute. If your product sucks and or your sales process is broken, it’s going to net no revenue.

Brandy Lawson: Even if the product is amazing but the customer experience of that product. Or yeah, there are so many places that affect your ability to grow actual profit.

Stacey Harris: I can’t go to people’s houses and force them to read your emails. It is against the law. So anybody who, in our space certainly, who is being hard and fast, we’re going to get you these kind of numbers, red flag. And this is why I love being, and this is the second time I’m going to name check it today. I love being a part of places like The BRAVE Society.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: Find those places for you. For some of you, it might be The BRAVE Society. For some of it, it might be your mastermind that you’re in or a network or an association that you’re a part of. But have your places where you can go and say, “You know what guys? For the love of Pete, if I have to write another sales page, I may go postal. Please help me.” And get three, four, five names, and then make a decision from there. Instead of having to Google copywriter.

Brandy Lawson: Please don’t.

Stacey Harris: Yeah, don’t do that. No good is going to come. It’s right up there from when I started my… I think I told this story on the show before, I’m sure I have. But when I first started my very first business, I googled work from home. And this was like nine years ago now, it was before I started. It was like nine or 10 years ago now. And it was bad then, but it’s worse now.

Brandy Lawson: Holy.

Stacey Harris: That’s not good.

Brandy Lawson: Yeah.

Stacey Harris: Do not start with Googling work at home. Don’t do it.

Brandy Lawson: No, and don’t go to Fiverr and look for somebody who does social strategy.

Stacey Harris: No, yeah.

Brandy Lawson: Know who to trust. So, start with your network. Be clear about your pain and look for people who are interested in listening to you and bringing you solutions for what you want. Not pushing their package solution on you.

Stacey Harris: And I think the last one I want to say before we move into the other thing that I want to touch on before we end the show, I really think knowing what your budget is is so valuable. But also, don’t shut off when you hear a number outside of your budget.

Brandy Lawson: Yeah.

Stacey Harris: Because just because you hire a solution right now that’s in your budget, doesn’t mean you can’t be working towards a larger solution. And it’s always nice to know what that number would be so that you know what you’re working towards. I talked to Terra Newman on the show in January, and I’ll link to it in the show notes. And we talked about how she incrementally worked with me before she became a client of Uncommonly More. We started with doing one hour calls, consult call a quarter I think.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: And then we move to every other month. And generally speaking, I mean, I know this is for all the reputable people I know. We can find a solution that will meet you where you’re at, or get you a referral for where you’re at right now.

Brandy Lawson: 100% yes.

Stacey Harris: So don’t shut off and don’t say… or don’t not pursue a call because somebody in your network said, “I like this person, but they’re at this rate.” Talk to them, see what’s going on. Be really transparent about what your budget is. Generally speaking, a quality provider in just about any space in my experience can either find a solution that will meet you where you’re at.

That’s why for me, we’ve got things like backstage live and one off one hour calls, and half day VIP days. We have other ways we can get you sort of incremental steps. But that’s not possible if you go, “Nope, I can’t afford that.”

Brandy Lawson: Right, or if you don’t have any clarity around your budget. But you just reminded me, I’ve been working with a client for just over a year. When we started, she wasn’t ready for Ignition, which is my big strategy build service. So we were doing about monthly consulting calls, and we started SEO. Because for her and her business, she has a pet sitting business. SEO is how people find you.

Stacey Harris: Totally.

Brandy Lawson: When you have a need, you go to Google. So making sure that she was there for her local area was paramount. So we were doing SEO services for her and consulting. We worked with her for a year. Her business is up 30% year over year. Her goal at the time that we started was getting 100 dog walks a day. She’s doing 121 now, she started at 80. And they added 600 cat visits, so we helped identify some places where she could grow. She’s a massive action taker, and now we’re going to do Ignition because she’s ready for the plan.

So again, no shame in not having a plan. Getting a little, we’ll call it what, duct tape advisory, on your way about where you can put the duct tape for the maximum effect while you’ve got to use it. It is a great way to get to where you want to go faster, and then be able to do the next step.

Stacey Harris: Well, and just for the sake of keeping up with how I do the show and being so transparent, it’s why I will never not have an option for one hour calls. Yeah, they’re not plastered on the front of my website, because that’s not my preferred way to work with you. But if I get on a sales call with somebody and I’m like, “You know what? You really just need… we need to just sit down for an hour and we can solve one problem.” Great, let’s sit down for an hour and let’s solve one problem. That’ll help you take action on that thing for the next 30 days, and then we can go from there.

We still have a new problem. It’s a great way to build a relationship with a client. It’s a great way to get a client to a larger offering at some point. But also, again, don’t shut off just because you’re like, “Oh, well they start at $5000,” or “They start at $15,000,” or “Oh, that package is going to be $25,000.” Most people, again, have some kind of way to meet you where you’re at. Or guess what? We all know each other.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: We know the good ones and we know the ones to avoid. We’ll have referrals for you, and so I think that’s such an important thing to remember. Because it is so easy to… maybe it comes from that same shame space of being like, “Oh, well I’m not there yet. I haven’t reached that level.”

Brandy Lawson: Right, I’m not quote unquote there yet.

Stacey Harris: Yeah, this spot where all apparently this magic and money sits, which I haven’t found yet. I mean, some smaller peaks with larger amounts of money, but certainly not there, this magical peak where everything becomes easy and wonderful. Oh, let’s go there.

Brandy Lawson: At the end of the rainbow where the pot of gold is at.

Stacey Harris: Yeah.

Brandy Lawson: There.

Stacey Harris: So I think that’s such an important thing to remember, because I think it’s so easy to get caught up, again, in our own stuff of oh, no, that’s not for me.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: All right, before we go, I want to talk a little bit about why it’s important to have a strategy for a website. Because I think it’s really easy to think, I just need a website because I just need an online presence. Not true. And it’s funny, before we started recording we were talking and I was like, “My Uncommonly More site is legit homepage coming soon.” We do have the services page and a contact page, because I’m a woman with certain priorities.

Brandy Lawson: Perfect.

Stacey Harris: But I have not yet invested the time and or money to make the rest happen. And guess what, guys? The agency is growing beautifully, faster than I thought it was going to. That wasn’t the most critical piece. But also, I’m in a different place.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: It’s not day one of my website. It’s not day one of my business. It’s the next iteration of my business, it’s a part of my business, but I was able to do certain things without having a fully fleshed out website. So I want to talk a little bit about when we need to make sure we have that fully fleshed out place, and a couple of things that we need to be aware of before we get on a call with someone like you. So that we can kind of quickly figure out what we need and what we don’t need. I don’t need a storefront. There will be no Shopify cart action happening on Uncommonly More because no, I don’t want to.

Brandy Lawson: Not going to happen.

Stacey Harris: So let’s start with, how do we know when it’s time?

Brandy Lawson: Well, I think it’s funny that you say, “When is it time to have a fully fleshed out website?” Website are a little bit kind of like the interior decoration. It’s constantly evolving, your needs evolve. So I think the biggest thing to be aware of is what job your website has for your business.

Stacey Harris: I love when she gives this speech, guys. It’s one of my favorites.

Brandy Lawson: Well, much like you wouldn’t hire somebody without giving them a job description or knowing what they were going to do. Same thing with a website. Don’t build a website before you know what its role is in your business. And the website’s role is different for every business, so no shoulding on yourself. Remove the stigma, the idea, and just get real clear about what it is you need from a website.

And in the beginning, it’s basically validation that you have a business and that you offer something. Because typically, businesses are being built in the first year through face to face. You’re networking, you’re speaking, you’re calling on people you already know. You’re working. Even if you’re working through Facebook groups or that kind of thing, people are going to look. They’re going to go to Google and type in your name. And I advise strongly that you control what comes up when that happens by having a presence.

And that presence does not need to be a fully fleshed out website. Now, at the point where you’re trying to scale, okay, great. You know what you’re offering and you know who you’re offering it to, and you’ve got a formula that works, and you’re going to try to put more through that formula. Your website has the capability to be a whole team of people for your business. And that’s the point that you really want to make sure it’s firing on all cylinders and doing all the things that it could possibly do.

Because websites are not just sales teams. They’re not just marketing teams, they’re not just validation. They could be recruiting tools. They could take off work from admins by having forms. There is so much functionality that you can get from a website that people get overwhelmed. Don’t get overwhelmed. Be really clear, back to what Stacey was saying about visualizing the physical space. Well, visualize the physical team.

Who do you have? Who are you going to need to have on your team of the website? What is their role? And then you can start to add them one by one. You also… that could make it easier to prioritize, because in the beginning, you might need validation. You are who you say you are, and services. Stacey has done services and contact form, great. People can see that she has something to offer and they can get in touch with her. But prioritization, minimum viable.

So in product marketing and management, that’s my background, we talk about a minimum viable product. That is the thing that will get out into the world and do the job no more or less. So minimum viable marketing or minimum viable website. What do you need to start with? Start there and build on. So now should on yourself. “Oh, my website should be doing…” Nope, no, no, no. There’s only what you need from it and then prioritizing how you get there. Because you can build a website that’s basically an online brochure, and then you can add forms to it. And then you can add sales capabilities to it. And then you can add membership or online learning to it. You can add to a website, so start somewhere.

Stacey Harris: Well, and I think for me what also comes up is I don’t want to build more site than I can maintain.

Brandy Lawson: Oh, yes.

Stacey Harris: You and I have had this conversation a lot with things like choosing WordPress instead of something like Squarespace or Wix. What is your priorities? If you build a WordPress site, there is a certain amount of options and choices that come with that. There’s also a certain amount of responsibilities and issues that you have to manage with that.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: I’m a huge WordPress fan. I’m somebody who is, and Brandy gave this to me, so I feel like I get to own it. I am a power user. I can do things. I have built multiple websites. I almost didn’t build Uncommonly More a WordPress site because I was like, do I really want to have to manage the security and backups of another site? I mostly did it because I already knew how to do it. Just installed the right plugins and I was like, cool, it’s there.

Brandy Lawson: We got it, it’s all good.

Stacey Harris: But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the option. So even with… I think a lot about empty nesters and downsizing your house. Don’t build more house than you need.

Brandy Lawson: Right, yeah. Because you will ultimately have to maintain it, and making informed decisions about your technology. Again, if you have to change up the foundation, I think of older houses where I’ve seen them jack it up to put in a basement or change it. It’s all possible. Yeah, it’s a bit more of a pain in the ass, but it’s not out of the question. So start where you’re at. Do the thing you need to do.

If you just need a brochure site and you’re driving traffic from social or networking or that kind of thing, Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, it’s all fine. If SEO is how people find you, Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly won’t serve you well. So there’s a couple of small tenets, but make technology choices in alignment with where you’re at and what you need. There’s no bad choice, there’s only the choice that aligns with what you need.

Stacey Harris: And this is… we have a couple of clients who are in the life coach space, and they are not getting clients via SEO.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: They’re standing in front of a stage at an event. They’re meeting people at networking things. They’re driving traffic via social and content. They have no desire to try and rank number one for life coaching. It’s not something that’s super where they’re going to get traffic. And so with Squarespace, as a minimum, that works. That’s great, we’ve got three pages, we’ve got the home pages, we’ve got the meet me, we’ve got the buy, and we’ve got the contact, so there’s four pages. That’s cool, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Brandy Lawson: Absolutely.

Stacey Harris: And I think so often, we try to build ahead with these things. And this is why I love… this is a great use for your power hours, right? To get in and, what are the pros and cons of these different choices for my next version of my website?

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: My website today does not look like… doesn’t look like what it looked like a year ago, much less eight years ago.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: Somewhere in the show notes, I’ll have to get a screen grab of my first on demand website. Oh God, it was so hideous. Guys, it was eight years ago. It was a different time, it was a different… things change, it was a different time. Constant Contact was great.

Brandy Lawson: Oh gosh.

Stacey Harris: It was eight years ago, all right? There was not a lot of choices. It was a world before Mailchimp, guys, which I wouldn’t use now. But that’s a whole other conversation. But no, I think… and the same can be said with email tools and with social tools, and all of those things. It’s funny, you talked about you need a validation. So often I hear from clients, they’re like, “Well, we don’t really get traffic via social.” And I’m like, “Yeah, but if someone says, ‘Oh, I met so and so at an event,’ they’re going to look you up on Facebook.”

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: “They’re going to go check you out on LinkedIn. So let’s just make sure whatever is there doesn’t suck.”

Brandy Lawson: Precisely, that-

Stacey Harris: Or, it hasn’t moved since like 2012 and they’re like, “Oh, maybe they’re out of business.” No I’m not, I’m still here. I just don’t prioritize this space.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: And I think that’s a great use for your power hours though, is to get in with you and be like, “Okay, what are the three things I need to know before I make this next website choice?” Because again, this is something that evolves. This is something that changes, and you really don’t want to build a responsibility if you don’t want to follow-

Brandy Lawson: I’m going to start calling these duct tape advisories.

Stacey Harris: I like that, you can have that. It’s my gift to you.

Brandy Lawson: Well, thank you. Yeah, because I have clients who end up stuck. They have one thing on their website that they can’t get changed, or there’s this list of things, or they have to make a decision and they don’t feel like they’re coming from a place of knowledge. Or they’re ready to make one change. One client was ready to finally start doing email marketing. So through, I think ultimately we ended up doing two power hours to get it all set up, get her a strategy for email marketing, get her list moved over, get her inaugural things set up, and get her off to the races. And we could do that through a couple power hours, just really setting her up for success so she felt confident executing that.

Stacey Harris: Yeah, and this is why I love for me, it’s the half day VIP incentive kind of thing. It’s three hours, and we can power through getting you some… doing an audit of what you’ve got. Making some changes to the structure of what you’ve got right now. Making sure that your lists and your tags are actually going to be useful for you. There’s not a big list of names in there, we’ve set up an automation or something like that. Find somebody who you can sit down with and be like, “Hey, I just need to do this for a little while.” It doesn’t have to be a whole relationship, sort of going back to what we were talking about earlier. But it’s a great way to get some help where you’re at.

Brandy Lawson: Right.

Stacey Harris: You don’t have to suffer in silence until you get, air quotes again, there.

Brandy Lawson: Because we know it’s the end of the rainbow. Every time you think you’re there, you’re not there.

Stacey Harris: Keep moving. It almost makes me think of, you don’t wait to, I don’t know. There’s things you do before, the maintenancing. You don’t wait until your car breaks down to take it to the mechanic.

Brandy Lawson: Right, right, yeah.

Stacey Harris: You go when you get an oil change.

Brandy Lawson: Right. There are things to do to keep maintaining and also accelerate. I think about the first couple years of my business when I was like, “I’ve got this. I’m totally doing this on my own.” I could’ve grown so much faster. I could’ve accelerated so much more quickly if I had just been like, “No, I really need somebody’s perspective. I need some help.” If I had gotten an hour with a couch instead of hiring month to month. I could’ve gotten that duct tape advisory so that I could get the thing built and been like, “Oh yeah. No, okay, we’ve got to change this.” And then I can move from there.

Stacey Harris: Yes, because your head is not always the best places to make decisions. Sometimes you need to borrow somebody else’s head for a little while for the wonder and magic of perspective.

Brandy Lawson: Yeah, indeed, indeed.

Stacey Harris: All right, so where can the lovely listener find out more about you and power hours potentially? Because I think that’s a really great place for people who listen in to this show to start with with you. I mean, I highly recommend you take advantage of Ignition. But a great place to start is power hour.

Brandy Lawson: Right, so you can find me at That’s our website. I’m also on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook. You can find me there at FieryFX.

Stacey Harris: In all the places.

Brandy Lawson: In all of the places. I try to make sure that I’m showing up consistently for when people are looking for me.

Stacey Harris: I’m so proud. That’s all for today, guys. That’s it, that’s the whole show. Thank you for listening. Oh, you know what? Actually, before I let you go, I do want you to tell them about one of the things. Because I did kind of reference this earlier when I talked about if you’re going to have a WordPress site, make sure you have some security. You do have a solution just for that part as well.

Brandy Lawson: That’s right.

Stacey Harris: But I think it’s worth letting everyone know about.

Brandy Lawson: Okay.

Stacey Harris: Because I know a lot of people are sitting with WordPress sites that they have designed at some point. And designers don’t tell you anything that happens after they design it and put it up for you.

Brandy Lawson: Yeah.

Stacey Harris: And so they’re sitting there completely not secured and or updated, and I have opened client websites and been like, “Wait now. This is a WordPress version I don’t know,” which is scary. If there’s a number I don’t recognize or a background, a dashboard I don’t recognize, I know it’s been too long since you updated it. So can you tell them really quickly about that part of your service?

Brandy Lawson: For sure, so we have a service called Site Pro. It’s a WordPress maintenance and website reporting plan. So if you go out and you look around, or you talk to somebody, there is lots and lots of WordPress maintenance plans out there, and they’re great. It covers the updates, the backups, sometimes it includes hosting. And it’s just basically the insurance for your WordPress website so that if we’re preventing… much like the car. We’re preventing things from happening, but if anything were to happen, you’ve got somebody on your side who could totally get your site restored.

It covers that part, but also when I do this for clients, I think the most important part besides having a very secure website is knowing what the hell is happening on your website. Because there is gold in them darn hills, and you can figure out what content is resonating, what people are doing. If things aren’t doing, why people aren’t filling out your form. In fact, I’m helping a large enterprise right now fix their Google Analytics because they were not correct. And then we’re going to set up metrics, and then we’re going to set up reporting, because that means that you actually can see what’s happening and understand the effects of your work in other channels. And make sure that you have created a place that is going to be serving you in the best way. This is basically the performance report for the job function of what your website is supposed to be doing.

Stacey Harris: And I actually really love this for… I know there’s a lot of people who listen to this show who maybe you have a VA, who is helping you get your blog posts up or your podcasts up. And maybe they’re scheduling some of your social, but maybe they’re not a full on social media manager and they don’t know how to pull things like analytics and stuff for you. This is a great way to make sure that you are on the right course, or if maybe you need to check in with somebody like a strategist, book something, like an hour with me or something.

It’s a great, really easy way to start making sure that whatever efforts you’re putting in right now are working. And here’s the deal, even if you have no desire to look at these analytics right now, this is data collection. So when you are ready to hire somebody like me, ready to go looking for someone like Brandy and think about what the next version of your website looks like or the next technology you need to pull in is. We have data to go, “Okay.”

 Brandy Lawson: Yes.

Stacey Harris: Because sometimes I get clients that I’m like, “Oh wait, you’ve been in business five years, but you don’t have Google Analytics.” I don’t know what-

Brandy Lawson: Yeah, that’s… you can’t go back in time to collect data from history. So start collecting now. The other thing is, reports don’t have to be hard to read, so those are the things that we can help with.

Stacey Harris: Yeah, and that’s all up on your website as well, right?

Brandy Lawson: Yep, that’s all up on the website.

Stacey Harris: I highly recommend it. We use it. Your team takes care of what? Backstage, The Stacey Harris, all the things. I know how and still don’t want to. It’s a powerful place to be, guys. That might be there.

Brandy Lawson: That might be there, there it is.

Stacey Harris: That’s as close to there as we get. All right, thank you Brandy for your time today.

Brandy Lawson: Thanks for having me.

Stacey Harris: I appreciate you coming out to talk to me. I’m sorry guys, we rambled so much. We haven’t seen each other in like two weeks. Well, we haven’t talked to each other in like two weeks. We haven’t seen each other in like six months.

Brandy Lawson: It’s a problem.

Stacey Harris: All right, thanks for listening guys. I will see you next time.

Brandy Lawson: Bye.


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