Vicki Yen Photo. Credibility Specialist
- Owner operator
Branding & Marketing
My Connection Statement
About Me - My Biography
Working with micro and small business is my passion. Marketing for sales and results is the focus.
Especially for owner-operators, and especially women.
I love sales work. And copywriting, and photography. And packaging all that into social media.
But I especially love unearthing the overarching strategy that really pulls it all together for a business.
For many solo entrepreneurs, their marketing and message has been put together in bits, over time, often by different people. Missing the cohesive feel can be a big block to effectiveness and that sense of credibility.
Credibility and longevity is the path.
Like many “forty-plus” women (I mean in years), I’ve done my time in corporate and government, worked alongside 2 premiers, managed grant programs assisting small businesses and not-for-profits, along the way got a Post-Graduate degree in Communication and made a deliberate, targeted career shift. You probably know what I mean. Now, I want to work for people I like. Individuals who are creating businesses with a heart, and who value the cornerstones of personal service and contribution.
But unlike many business owners who have jumped into a world of micro and small business, I’ve been in this zone most of my life, with larger organisations tempting me out – head-hunting me for marketing and promotion projects and contracts.
I’ve spent a lot of time self-employed being a niche PR-type service (after I sold my wedding photography business)-initiating promotion proposals and opportunities for larger organisations, finding niche marketing opportunities that their large marketing teams did not have the time or resources to recognise and grab.
And being a professional photographer as well as a copywriter is always a bonus.
Newspapers and magazines love being delivered a fully formed story with all the elements complete.
All this is a rather more independent direction than my initial English teaching study. My first part-time job at uni was as a sales rep for a national family photo organisation. Working “at the coalface”, dealing directly with clients, working independently at different locations every week I discovered I loved sales. Straight out of school I’d thought that English teaching was the job for me (loved words, stories, split infinitives, writing the speeches for the debating team…), but I left uni, grabbed my company car and travel allowances, learnt their style of photography and spent each day talking to new people and traveling the country.
But most of all I learnt to listen to what clients wanted.
I worked with other photographers and showed them a shooting style that really sold, and shared with sales people a listening technique made them (and me) more money than the existing push technique.
Yeah for salary plus commission.
And we all did very well.
The company created a job for me as National Training Manager-training the sales team and photographers. Until the company morphed into a franchise model and it was goodbye middle management.
The enthusiasm for my own independent photography business flickered then waned as I learnt very quickly how about 75% of your time and money can be spent just trying to get people in the door.
Writing editorial pieces for bridal magazines saved me – getting full colour, full page stories published for free (with a by-line and image credit for my business) at a time when the paid advertising rate was $5,000 per page. Plus this generated “cred” with newspapers as a writer and promotions person at a time when I had no advertising cash.
It all builds. It’s all cumulative-this credibility building.
Then along came the Premiers’ Department’s $25M grants and events project-statewide and joint national – and they needed an extra media liaison person to work with the major sponsors Courier Mail and The Sunday Mail-me! About 150 or so small volunteer organisations and small traders (mainly regional) were grant recipients; and I looked after their media liaison as well as speechwriting for the Premier and Chairman, and managed media at funded events across the state.
And, as it turned out – speak at functions on behalf of the project.
Public speaking. Yikes. We all survived.
And expanded our skillsets.
And over a 3-year period trained a whole heap of small enterprises to recognise the story in what they do; discover the value that others see in what they do; and confidently articulate and share with audiences how they think and function in a small business environment.
Plus we taught the practical delivery stuff-write a media release in a way that suits media and increases the chance of the story running; do crisis communication preparation (so there are no surprises); and manage a media interview, etc.
It’s still all about listening.
People are so interesting.
What are you up to?
Positioning your business as credible, reliable and an approachable authority so prospects seek you out, want to know about your service and be just about sold before they meet you.
Here’s a few actions in my skillset that contribute to the overall value and power of credibility building:
- Uncovering the key messages about your business that your clients love and relate to – that often are invisible to you, and sometimes just very under-rated.
- Creating the concepts, copy and creatives for Lead Magnets that engage, inform and gently sell and position your business as credible, authoritative and informed.
- Sales copywriting that sounds like you as you speak to your favourite client.
- Finding the tone for all your content and strategy that you relate to – and sounds like you (yes, you again).
- Creating a strategy for your web content so it flows with an ease and effectiveness that delights your visitors.
- Creating personal image branding so your images “just feel like you…” and are powerful lead agents for your strategy.
- Discovering that moment with a client when we shine light on what people really love about them.
The “…but we do that every day…” statement. “Exactly. People love it. There’s power in that. Your other competitors DON’T do that at all. So we’ll talk about it.”
- Photography– still my No 1 (though I do love writing- it’s just a different pace). But the immediacy, responsiveness of the person I am photographing. People being totally trusting and in the moment. Shared fun. So much fun! So satisfying.
- Cape York and remote Indigenous Communities. Love to get way, way away and spend time photographing Torres Strait Islanders and the wonderful people of remote communities.
How I Can Help Other Members
A MARKETING TIP… perspective
Often in a business your results are showing that something in the marketing is not working, you but you just don’t know what.
Or how to fix it.
- Sometimes the key message that you base your strategy on is just not the message that clients relate to – so simply amplifying that message does not return the response you hoped for (…let’s spend more on Facebook ads…). Does the Leaning Tower of Pisa come to mind?
- Step back and try to look at your message from the perspective of someone who knows nothing about your service. Your own assumptions could be getting in the way.
Three COPY TIPS for now
- Use subheadings to break up copy. Lots of them.
- A pull-out quote is your friend. Choose carefully-it’s worth it (see my rather long bio).
- EBook Lead Magnets work like crazy – when the headline and the topic is relevant, specific and focused. And tuned-in to your client’s needs ( I love creating lead magnets).
One PHOTOGRAPHY TIP for now
- Photography: if you don’t like having your photo taken, it’s probably because previous photographers didn’t give you the chance to relax and be yourself, and capture you the way your best friend sees you.
- The aim is get an image that feels like you.
Why I Became a HerBusiness Member
Getting other peoples’ feedback is really important when it comes to my business-especially marketing my business. Other women who are actually in business have a clarity about what we’re all trying to achieve as entrepreneurs that well-meaning friends don’t tap into.
Like my clients – it’s hard to get perspective when you’re so immersed in what you do. Lost in it.
So the discussions, input, feedback, shared processes and support are valued…and hard to access elsewhere.
My Member to Member Offer(s)
Is your marketing just not delivering and you don’t know why?
I use a free 30 minute content audit of your business: for web, social media or any communications material to show up some areas where there can be a dissonance, or a mixed message in your marketing that sends results off track.
Once you find the missing link the next steps reveal themselves.