Archive for the ‘Marketing your Business’ Category

Google Places

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014


A quiet change happened a little while ago that can have a big effect on your ability to be found by your customers: Google Maps became Google Places. While this may be a good change for businesses in the long run (new features allow you to communicate with those searching for your business in a more graphic and current way), a little work up front is necessary to take advantage.

There are quite a few videos out there on YouTube to help you set up your Google Places page, but here’s the gist of it:

• You’ll need to create a personal Google + account, then create a Google Page for your business from there

• You’ll need access to your original Google Maps account, which means you’ll need the Gmail login information you used when you set it up

• You’ll have to verify your listing, which can take several weeks

Here’s a little video to introduce you to the world of Google Places. Good luck!

Client Interview: Darn Knit Anyway

Friday, April 5th, 2013


I’ve been wanting to showcase my clients for a while now, because I’m inspired by their success and they have a wealth of small business knowledge. I’m especially pleased to introduce Aimee Pelletier [pictured, right, next to a yarn-bombed tree in front of her store], owner of the Stillwater-based yarn shop,Darn Knit Anyway. When she first walked into my office four years ago, I could tell that this was a woman with a fantastic business sense. She came prepared with a written business plan, already knew her audiences, had spoken with a number of her potential competitors and had a vision for the shop she wanted to create. Now going on four years, Aimee’s business is thriving. I asked Aimee some questions about branding and marketing:

Q. How have you seen your business grow since you opened Darn Knit Anyway in 2009?

A. It’s grown a LOT! We’ve gone from 2 to 6 staff members and our sales are up 30% from our first year. We’ve also launched online class registration, started Darn. Knit. University, introduced our 12 in 12 program (12 sweaters in 12 months), and are about to add online yarn sales.

Q. How important is branding to your business?

A. In my mind, my brand includes my voice, my customers, the way my shop looks and feels, our staff, our website, our logo…everything. It’s important that everything associated with the store has the same welcoming, modern, easy feel. Our brand is totally about knowing who we are and conveying that in everything we do. That way, people always know they’re in the right place.

Examples of Darn Knit Anyway-branded items designed by Mix Creative

Q. How do you market your business?

A. We primarily market with our e-newsletter, Facebook, Twitter and word of mouth.

Q. Which marketing tool do you feel is MOST important to your business?

A. Our e-newsletter is very important. We always see a spike in web traffic the day after I send it. Facebook is also important. We currently have 2097 likes. A recent photo we posted was shared 1200 times and had a reach of 130,000 views! Our average share is 3–6 and our average view per post is 500–1000.

Q. What lesson have you learned about marketing that you’d share with new business owners?

A. Go in STRONG. You have to be solid on your brand—know what it is—when you open. You can’t trickle in with your brand. Know it and launch it ALL OUT with a cohesive look and feel. It’s critical that all your stuff looks intentional. Have someone help you.

In addition to the marketing tools Aimee mentioned in our interview, Aimee has also published 277 blog posts on her website; created an implemented a program called “Darn Knit Anywhere“, which encourages customers to photograph themselves with their Darn Knit Anyway tote bag and email it or post it to Facebook for a discount; and helped organize events such as the Stitch-and-Pitch at the St. Paul Saints game or her own Naughty Knit Night, which was featured on Fox 9 news.

Six Big Things You Need To Do With Your Facebook page

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

6 tips for facebook

1) Log in as the page and “Like” Facebook pages of other similar or related businesses where your target audiences are likely to visit. Later, you’ll be following their streams by clicking on the “Home” tab at the top of the page and liking their posts, leaving thoughtful comments and sharing their posts on your page.

2) Begin posting on your page daily. Keep it chatty, not authoritative. You want people to be both excited about your brand. People like feeling like they’re a part of your success or inside story. Ideas:

  • Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to be funny.
  • Tell people what you’re excited about: is there a product or service that everyone is asking for right now? Did you discover a new use for an older product? Are you already hearing some great things? What are people asking you about your business? Publicly thank clients and vendors.
  • Post quick quotes
  • Let people know about any special offers you may have
  • Share articles related to your brand that people may find interesting. Make sure to note why you think they’re interesting to you!

3) Post photos. It’s OK if they’re snapshots, especially if they show something current that relates to your brand. With permission, feature a staff member or customer. Show what you’re working on, pictures of speaking engagements, a press kit you just got in the mail, etc. Repost funny photos or comics with a comment.

4) Use the Events tab to post information about upcoming speaking engagements or publicity events

5) Use the Notes tab to post related articles  (treat it kind of like a blog entry)

6) INVITE YOUR CONTACTS to like your page. Use the “Build Audience” tab at the top of the page.

[our 200th post!!] Marketing Lessons From Feeding Birds

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

5 years illo

A few years back, we moved to a home in White Bear Township, Minnesota. Peering out the picture windows that lined our kitchen, I noticed a line with a hook hanging from the oak tree out back, and guessed that the previous owners must have had bird feeders. So, with visions of colorful songbirds flocking to our yard, I purchased a feeder, filled it and hung it out on the hook.

And waited. Three long weeks. Until finally, a chickadee stopped by for a snack. I was beside myself with joy!

But onslaught of birds, it was not. It took quite a while for other birds to discover my humble feeder. Eventually, they came. I added specialty feeders, a variety of seed types, and a water bath. My yard flourished with activity.

Until a raccoon came. This big son-of-a-gun was so bold, it’d just sit under my feeders, chomping down the seed, and wouldn’t flinch when I stood on the deck and waved my arms at it. At night, it attacked my feeders, ripping them apart to get at the seed. I had no choice but to let all of my feeders sit empty until he went away.

When I finally deemed it safe to fill my feeders again, my birds were gone. Until finally, a single chickadee stopped by. . .

I got to thinking about the experience and realized that I’d learned some lessons from feeding birds that apply to marketing, too. For example: 

Have Patience. Even though I had the right location, feeder and seed, it took time for birds to come. But I stuck it out, and you should, too—it takes time to build a business! Have a marketing plan in place when you launch and give it time to work—the customers will come. Make changes to your marketing, products, or services once you’re able to understand customers’ purchasing habits and are able to get feedback.

Market to Your Target Audiences. Providing specialized seed mixes in specialized feeders allowed me to attract specific varieties of birds to my yard. Understanding your target audiences and marketing to them directly through your product selection and branding will help you to attract the customers you want (and even discourage customers who aren’t a good fit for what you have to offer).

Be Consistent. I was most successful at attracting birds when I provided a consistent source of seed. Letting my feeders sit empty, even for a short time, resulted in a loss of visitors. It reminded me of the importance of supplying a consistent marketing message. Imagine the raccoon represents a hurdle in your marketing efforts (i.e. becoming too busy, feeling overconfident in your presence in the marketplace, or quitting your marketing efforts due to expense). No matter the hurdle, stopping your marketing efforts results in a loss of customers (existing or new).

If you have questions about your marketing efforts, feel free to give us a call (612-226-5717) or check out our blog for some great resources. And if you have questions about feeding birds, by all means visit the folks at All Seasons Wild Bird Store. They’ll get you set up!

Holiday Marketing Ideas: Part 2

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012


Holiday MarketingHoliday Marketing Idea #8: Calendars are a popular holiday freebie. Why not branch out? There are tons of original promotional products out there that would be useful to your audiences and consistent with your brand. Get a budget in mind and call a promotional products expert—they’ll usually give you a handful of great ideas catered to you! My go-to gal is Freddie at

Holiday Marketing Idea #9: How about mailing out a gift guide, highlighting a few products and who they’d be perfect for? We just did one for client All Seasons Wild Bird Store:  Don’t forget to promote your gift guide on Facebook and Twitter!

Holiday Marketing Idea #10: Encourage customers to treat themselves while they’re shopping. Why? Studies show that once shoppers get past the first spending hurdle, they’re more likely to keep spending. Offer a gift or coupon with purchase.

Miss our first list? Here’s the link to ideas 1-7!

Holiday Marketing Ideas: Part 1

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Holiday MarketingThe holidays are upon us, and if you’re a small retailer you know how important it is to capture the interest and the dollars of consumers this time of year. In case you’ve procrastinated your marketing plan, here are some tips—compiled from our Facebook page.

Holiday Marketing Idea #1: Create and photograph gift basket ideas using your products and post on Facebook and Pinterest

Holiday Marketing Idea #2: Encourage repeat visits by handing out a coupon for their next visit.


Brand Message Presentation

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Thank you to all who attended the Small Business Leadership Conference today at Rasmussen College School of Business. I was honored to be able to present our talk on honing your brand message. In case you missed it, or just want to revisit some of the elements that make a brand, here’s a link to download a pdf of our Powerpoint Presentation.

Best wishes, and please keep in touch!


Katrina Hase
Owner and Creative Director of Mix Creative

Top 3 Items (Besides a Logo) Every Brand Must Have

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012


Note: this article is reprinted from our monthly e-digest, >the mixer. Click here to be added to our email list.

All about us


For companies that are serious about defining their brand and audiences, a creative brief is the essential first step. Here at Mix, our work with a new client starts with an in-depth question and answer session with our clients that gets to the heart of their business. From there, we prepare a written creative brief that guides the work we do together. What’s in the guide? For starters: the company’s objectives, audiences, competitors, personality, unique selling points and much more. The brief paints a picture of the company from past to present and into the future, and informs all of the visual choices we make about the brand throughout the design process.


Color PaletteDetermining a company’s color palette is about more than aesthetics—it’s setting the groundwork for creating readily recognizable designs to represent your business. A brand’s color palette takes into account the logo colors, primary and secondary text colors, colors for links and rollover states, accent colors, seasonal or specific product variations and more. The color palette is crafted to set your brand apart from competitors and express your brand’s personality. Implemented correctly, a brand’s color palette should be as recognizable by audiences as their logo. To prove my point, answer the following: what colors to Target employees wear? What are the colors of the Walmart logo?

Brand Fonts3) BRAND FONTS

Simply put, fonts influence meaning. Imagine you see a billboard for two similar retail shops. Billboard 1 features a sleek, edgy font you’ve never seen before. Billboard 2 features Arial, a font available on any PC. Which retail shop do you assume has a larger marketing budget? Which do you imagine is more successful? It’s incredibly important for a brand to select an appropriate font or set of fonts to use as part of their brand identity and stick to it. Consumers will come to associate the font with your brand, serving as a sort of mental shortcut in conveying your brand message. See our blog post for more on selecting fonts (including a fun mind-bending activity!).