Marketing Thoughts

Building A Foundation

I’m a proud Illinois State Alum and have worked in the Illinois State Athletic Communications department as an Media Relations Intern in 2013. I quickly realized that the Illinois State Football program was something special and on the rise. I felt this way specifically, because of the efforts of Coach Brock Spack and his talented staff.

I remember having conversations with my boss, Mike Williams, and him humbly noting that the ISU football program has the opportunity to be sneaky good. Loaded with FBS transfers, local Illinois talent and out of state talent, that following 2014 football season was historic for the Redbirds. The team was co-Missouri Valley Conference champions, made an appearance in the national championship and finished up with a 13-2 campaign.

I find a lot of good in following Coach Spack. His demeanor, confidence and professionalism are the attributes of a focused and determined leader building a foundation. A program that used to be happy with a .500 season, has now set the standard of winning conference championships.

I relate Coach Spack’s journey thus far, to building a successful foundation for a business. Working on building core values, a team-oriented approach and holding myself to a higher standard everyday, to become better are direct parallels to building a program and a business.

Spack’s most recent impressive feat came as the underdogs from the Missouri Valley toped local Big 10 opponent, Northwestern, 9-7 on a field goal, as time expired.

Don’t think for a second that Spack and ISU’s 2010 appearance at Northwestern didn’t cross his mind. The Redbirds got manhandled and lost 37-3. Fast-forward to 2016 and Spack’s most notable win on September 10th, against the Wildcats can be attributed to the foundation he has built with program.

Spack runs his program on a great foundation, which is key for any startup or business to last. This new Redbird football program is here to stay, thanks to Coach Spack. There are numerous parallels you can make between building a football program and building a business.



A Special Project

Every once in a while you come across a project that means more than just launching a web-redesign. You take the project because it has affected your heart, and you want to put every strategic thought and creative spark into it. I had the pleasure of collaborating with Danny Weishar, Executive Director of The Andrew Weishar Foundation, on their new website: & 

The foundation honors the story of Danny’s brother Andrew, who passed away from cancer at a very young age. Through the Weish4Ever organization countless of families have been assisted with the financial burden that cancer brings.   

No matter how late our team stayed up collaborating with Danny Weishar on this project, we enjoyed and cherished every second of it. 

In life, dedicating your time to something bigger than you is a treat that soothes the soul. This project has been one of my favorites to work on, especially because both of my Grandpas passed away from cancer. 

When it’s your time to pass, you’re not remembered for how much money you made but the direct positive impact you have on others’ lives. We look forward to our continued partnership with Danny Weishar and the foundation. 

DesignWons Client - Weish4Ever & WeishFest

Your Business Promise

Promise: a word that brings commitment and results. What is your business promise? To be the best? To have transparent communication? To be a positive disruptor in the industry?
Whatever your businesses promise is, make sure it’s driven with a strategy. On a recent Podcast I listened to, the featured guest noted - “Deny short term pleasures for long term success.”
I believe this simple piece of advice is an unspoken promise that every business owner, who strives to be financially successful and create a purpose, should read, repeat and refer to every day.
My promise to my business and clients is to have a relentless pursuit to do the little things right; also to challenge ourselves and clients to continue to improve on yesterday’s performance.
What is your business promise? 

Focus On Persistence With A Good Attitude

May 31, 2015. The official date of filing my LLC, DesignWons. In one short year, I have helped over 15 clients develop a professional online presence and enjoyed becoming an Serial Entrepreneur. I also have realized how much I love being around Entrepreneurs and like-minded individuals. Since February I have been working for Rev3 DuPage, a business incubator, coworking space and digital technology startup community in Naperville.
It is hard to imagine that a year ago I made the leap to start my own freelance business, but I continue to relish and appreciate where I am at in my journey. I kept this saying Focus On Your Persistence With A Good Attitude, very close to me. I actually wrote it down on a sticky note and taped it to my bedroom, which has turned into my homemade office.
Say it out loud to yourself word-by-word, Focus On Your Persistence With A Good Attitude, and it creates a state of mind within. I referenced this slogan throughout my first year because at the end of the day I realized a few important things.
The key to any productive day, meeting or project is focus. In my world, multitasking destroys my persistence and ultimately affects my attitude from task to task. If you’re able to focus on one thing at a time and remain persistent with a good attitude, you can do anything.
As I progress forward with projects and big ideas, my one piece of advice to anyone launching a brand or business is to focus on your persistence with a good attitude.

Put The Ball In Play

The old baseball saying, “put the ball in play and good things will happen”, is evident in business. Instead of swinging for the fences every time, it must be a priority to make contact.
In baseball, the more times you make contact with the ball, the greater your odds are of getting on base. The same approach goes into business; don’t rely on one phone call, estimate, consultation or meeting to expect success. The more clients you call, the more proposals you send and the more meetings you set up the more likely your business will get an opportunity to hit a home run.
There is no such thing as a perfect moment to swing. In business when you change your plate approach to focus on the little things such as clear communication, goal awareness and following strategies, the ball will be put into play. 
In a recent Chicago Tribune article by the CEO of 1871, Howard Tullman, he states, “successive approximation beats postponed perfection”.  Often businesses that aim to be too perfect eventually fold or hit a plateau. Businesses should prioritize and control their transparent lines of communication and persistency.
Connect with potential clients or customers, put the ball in play and remember what you can control – which is the follow up. 

How To Make Google Happy

I recently had the opportunity to sit in on a great Search Engine Optimization presentation titled How To Compete Online & Outrank Competitors with SEO at Rev3 DuPage in Naperville, IL. The presenter Jason DeLancey of Screen Strategy (, has 10 years of SEO experience and had some phenomenal insight on how to make Google happy with your website.
Not only do I think it's important for businesses to invest in a web guy to stay atop trends but having an SEO guy is equally as important. If there is one thing I have learned about web and SEO strategies, nothing guarantees an outcome but setting your clients' up for a successful opportunity is what every marketing company should aim for.
Does your website provide quality information?
Your businesses website should highlight what your skills and expertise are. By providing quality information instead of quantity; web visitors and Google will recognize you as the go-to information provider in your competitive industry.
Does your website provide the best answers / solve a need?
Pretend like you’re going back to school. Why should you be given an A over the next student? What separates your content form the next brick and mortar location down the street? Proper grammar and providing quality solutions should be a priority in building content. For example, say you own a Landscaping company and someone comes to your site to look at your testimonials. The visitor then clicks onto your blog and sees that you have an informative blog post about building the perfect backyard garden.
What is the purpose of your website?
Know your websites purpose. Are you trying to build a beautiful online portfolio? Are you trying to secure multiple leads through contact forms? Are you trying to build informative content on your blog? Determine what your purpose is, write it down and hit it hard! 

Game Of Marketing

Think back to when you played a sport and all the hard work that went into your game prior to even taking the field. There were the morning workouts, afternoon film sessions and pregame preparation all before you stepped in the batters box to square off against your opponent. If you treat digital marketing like a game and prep accordingly you have the opportunity to help your clients be successful.
You can’t guarantee success for your clients but the more time, research and prep that you engage in can set your client up for a successful opportunity. The goal of my freelance business is to map out successful digital marketing strategies for my clients and to provide opportunities to secure leads and use their expertise to close the sale.
I believe marketing should be treated like a competitive game. Although, I don’t participate in sports anymore I still have a competitive edge to my work ethic and think every marketer needs to be willing to work hard, prepare and have a game plan before executing a clients project. 

30-60-90 Approach

I just finished a 120-day weightlifting program and kept a journal that included every workout. I realized how beneficial the journal was to helping me stay focused and log my progress throughout the duration of the program. Completing the program helped me put together a 30-60-90 day approach to finishing clients’ projects by a deadline.
The 3-6-9 approach is simple.  It breaks down your projects into one of the three increments for it to be easily completed. This technique helps build routines, hold oneself accountable and helps efficiently measure what worked and what didn’t.
Build Routines
Have you heard of the phrase – people break down, habits don’t. Keeping your clients on a routine, whether it is calling them every Monday to go over progress results or some other check-in date; routines cause fewer headaches on both ends. Humans are creatures of habit; help your clients stay on a routine.
Hold Yourself Accountable
It’s easy to land clients but being able to deliver projects in a timely and professional manner determines how successfully you can continue to grow. Having a schedule will cause you to hold yourself accountable moving forward. Accountability is all part of the business success cycle.
Measure Efficiency
Having 30-60-90 day increments allow you to measure what works and doesn’t work. Efficiency is key, because time is the most valuable asset any business has.  

Planners For The Win

A planner used to be something that was optional to use for helping you schedule out your school homework, projects and tests. As you build your professional career, you begin to realize just how important planners can be. You can't afford to move forward without some type of organized planner to keep track of job duties. The following are 3 ways planners save time, reduce stress and help boost sales.
Time Becomes Asset
Depending on how you utilize your time can really dictate whether you create more work for yourself down the road. In my planner, I love to map out weekly meetings by highlighting certain objectives prior to the meetings, calls and projects occurring. Say it’s a follow-up from your first connection or a monthly check-up call with a client, choosing certain highlighting colors can help get your mind on track for what you’re trying to do before heading to the meeting.
Stress Eliminator
Lets face it, we all endure some sort of stress and all handle it a bit different. Wouldn’t you want to eliminate stress throughout your work week? Breaking down day-by-day objectives and creating the habit of putting it on your planner, can help maintain patience and create less stress for weeks ahead.
Sales Sidekick
Think of your planner as your sales sidekick. This is where you are able to reflect on meetings, projects and break down top priorities for the week ahead. The ability to adapt and track weekly ideas and relations will help you be able to highlight your wins and losses. This will also fix those constant errors that may be keeping you from setting your self up for a better sale.

Invest In Testimonials

Imagine this, you have just completed a job for your client and you consider this one of your best projects that you have completed. But, you forget to get a client testimonial.
A year passes by and a potential prospect is looking to either go with your company or invest with another. Although a lot of factors are involved in their decision making process, a testimonial posted by your competitors client sways them to go with them over you.
This scenario is realistic and if you are not acquiring feedback and testimonials from past projects it can hurt your business greatly. Here are three reasons why testimonials are extremely important to your business’ success.
Feedback Is King
A testimonial written by your client does justice and reassures why you do what you do. Having positive feedback build up on your website and search engines only helps your cause. Without feedback, you could go project-to-project and not know what your strengths and weaknesses are.
24/7 Sales Person
Imagine having a 24/7 salesman at your finger-tips selling all your assets to the world. Online testimonials are the modern day referrals. With how instant the internet is, and not knowing when people are looking at your website, this allows you to sleep easy with your testimonials that are posted.
Boost Point Advantage

Boost points are qualifications that boost you over your competition. Competitive categories such as: landscaping, real estate, home construction and restaurants can get crowded. When it comes down to a consumer making a buying decision, having more boost points will catapult you over your competitor. 

5 Habits To Recharge

The life of an Serial Entrepreneur can be extremely exhausting, and I constantly find myself seeking new refocusing habits.  I love to crank out work upon work, but without recharging habits to help refocus, I can burn out fast. These 5 recharging habits can lower burn out across any job!
15 Minute Cat Nap
Being connected to devices, multi-tasking and constant communication can cause anybody to loose their mind. Stop all the tasks you’re doing when you can’t focus and close your eyes. This will help to re-order priorities and may create that next great idea or thought. 
Cleaning Tasks  
If you’re working from home: do laundry, go to car wash or clean your room.
Little cleaning habits that don’t require much focus can rewire and calm your mind.
If you’re in an office: clean and wipe down your desk. A clean desk will have less clutter, which will create a better organized work life balance.
Tunes On, World Off  
Music is one of the best therapies for anyone to refocus. Whether it's going on YouTube and searching music to focus or browsing your Pandora, Spotify or iTunes.  Finding a song on a playlist that eases worries can help you get back to that you-can-do-it attitude.
Get A Pump
Some of my most productive hours are after my workout routine. If you have the ability to start or break up your day with a workout, your stress and health will thank you later in the day. When days get rough remember that days to better your health shouldn’t be missed.
Walk Away With Water
The opportunity to walk away from your office, desk or building is calming. Sometimes it takes a few blocks or getting the blood going to make you realize that your career is just a job and there is much more to your life than the daily job routine. Also, be sure to bring some water with you. Water will help reboot your body’s energy levels.  
These are just a few tasks that I do to keep my stress levels under control. I’m always interested to learn about other recharging tactics. What works for you?

3 Phase Branding Approach

The importance of having a consistent message across all marketing platforms is essential to win over your customers. Imagine a potential client seeing your advertisement in a premier magazine stating that you specialize in custom residential homes but as they visit your website it states you specialize in bathroom remodeling. Having a 3-phase approach to correct branding will minimize frustrations and help maximize profits.
3 Phase Branding Approach
Identify Your Big Ticket Item
A big ticket item is what product/project brings in the most revenue or what your clients love about your business. Most business owners are aware of what their big ticket item is. If you don’t know what your focus should be, carefully read client testimonials. Once you have identified your big ticket, it’s time to start drafting up your game plan.
Construct A Branding Game Plan
This phase is the most time consuming, because it can require numerous brainstorm sessions. A good way to figure out a strategic approach is to find competitors who are doing it the right way. Some of the most successful companies study their competition and figure out how to make their big ticket items better. This brand plan can be broad but must be consistent, strategic and innovative to obtain your target audience.
Measure Branding Efficiency
It’s one thing to create a branding game plan but it’s another to execute and then analyze it. Several strategies may be implemented in your branding efforts. Measuring your branding efficiency can be done with multiple return-on investment measurement tools. A quick way to measure the efficiency of your plan is to read your new customer testimonials and reflect on their comments.
DesignWons is a leader in branding and helping local businesses market and reach their target audience. Contact us today!  

2 Habits That Drive Your Success

As 2015 came to a close, I was reminded that we are all creatures of habit. Whether good or bad, those habits continue to drive our success or failure.
Our personal health and career habits can spill into and affect one another. If we cannot maintain consistent healthy habits it can be hard to manage our days.
If you’re somebody who has health as one of your top priorities, you will understand my next statement. The first step of creating any good habit is going out and executing. This means making no excuses when executing fitness and nutritional habits for a day, week or month.
I believe maintaining good fitness and nutritional habits will set you apart from the rest. Not only will your body and mind reward you, but also that discipline will help drive your mind to uncharted limits and will enhance your positive career habits.   
Career habits can drive how many opportunities accumulate for you. Finding your go-to work time, prioritizing your workload for the day and seeking new techniques to create better solutions are a few career habits that need nurturing.
Bad habits can accumulate quickly. Although it can be hard to pinpoint bad habits, it can be done with regular self-reflection.
At the end of the day it is important to stop and reflect on three big tasks that were completed and to pinpoint your times of highest focus. This can help to eliminate the minuscule tasks that were a distraction and can help good habits grow.
I have found success in focusing on only one task at a time. If I keep pounding at that task for the whole day before I know, I have put out the best work.  
I have learned in 2015 that your bad habits drive you down a path of more work and your good strategic habits set you up for more success in your personal and professional lives.

5 Website Essentials

Although having Beethoven's 9th Symphony playing as a potential customer lands on your homepage could be engaging, those bells and whistles are not needed for your businesses website. Your homepage could be your client’s first impression and it better make them want to empty their wallets and invest with you instead of tuning you out.
I have compiled 5 essential content pieces that every website should include.
Contact Information Easily Found
Being able to locate your business on a map, secure your phone number, email address and contact form should be your number one priority when building a website.
Professional High-Definition Images
We live in the digital era where your online image should match your physical work. If you’re a boutique, your images should portray luxury. Having photo shoots of your product and physical location of your business is a plus over stock photos.
Client Testimonials
How are people supposed to trust your word and business over another? Easy, gather positive testimonials that are highlighted on your website. Testimonials are the modern day referrals and a way to have a potential client deem you as credible.
Your Story
People invest in your brand because they want to be apart of your story. Whether it was a family business that has been passed down or a hobby that turned into a career, humans love hearing stories and what makes your trade different from the other businesses in the community.
Simplicity Effect

The simplicity effect is making sure your clients can maneuver your website with little to no distractions. That means having a consistent message across the site that allows the customer to feel at home by making seamless buying decisions. 

Why I Launched DesignWons

America was found on people seeking religious freedom, new beginnings and opportunities.  I started my own business because I saw an opportunity to begin a new chapter in my life.

Opportunities are everywhere and enter our lives at some of the most unpredictable times. I launched DesignWons LLC in June, with the help of my Dad. 

Stories of successful serial entrepreneurs led me to thinking about launching my own business. I wanted to build a platform that could benefit other hard-working Americans. What I have built generates a source of revenue by helping businesses connect with potential clients via the web.

As I pondered on the thought of starting my own business, one specific memory strengthened my interest in doing so. I saw the potential to put my stamp of approval on everything.

One of my favorite high school teachers at St. Francis in Wheaton, IL, taught me a very important lesson that I continue to carry with me everyday. Whether you’re mowing a lawn or signing a paper, it’s your personal stamp of approval that matters. Only you know that the job you have just completed was the best possible job you could have done. 

Although there have been a myriad of challenges that I have encountered since launching DesignWons; I will continue to seek out new opportunities to help small-medium sized businesses be found, thrive and grow on the web!
Giddy up,