Posts

15 Tools We Love: How to Save Time and Automate Your Business

Time is a precious resource for us business owners. It’s often the victim of never-ending to-do lists, which start with the best intentions in place, but become flooded with tasks to field incoming emails, engage with social media followers, and keep serving clients and customers.

Enter tools, apps, programs—platforms that streamline processes and unleash more of your time, letting you focus on big-picture goals and operate more efficiently.

As 2017 comes to a close, we are busy identifying opportunities within our work to simplify, automate, and scale in 2018.

Taking time to vet tools and set up the selected ones can take up your valuable time, so today we’re sharing the systems and services we turn to regularly to work smarter and ease workloads.

These 15 tools make our lives as business owners easier each and every day.

Read more

How to Plan Blog Content That Attracts Ideal Customers

When it comes to blogging for your business, there are plenty of questions that can cast doubt and stop you right in your tracks.

What should I write next?
Will this post engage my ideal customers?
How can I turn my blog into a lead-generation tool?

We hear these questions often, and while they can be common occurrences in the continual effort required to market a small business, they shouldn’t become a roadblock to publishing content and turning your blog into a tool to grow your business.

When these worries come up, it’s usually a sign that the strategy side of your blog could use some strengthening. Working on the plan behind your blog—getting to know your ideal customer(s), honing in on the value you can offer, positioning yourself as a go-to resource in your field—eliminates doubtful questions from popping up again and again. Instead of a mile-long list of questions dragging your blog efforts down, you have a thoughtful, goal-oriented blueprint to guide you confidently along the necessary steps to build a flourishing blog.

One of the key help-you-kick-fear-to-the-curb blog plan components? Content themes.

Read more

SXSW 2017: Our Top Marketing Takeaway

The Illuminated leadership team took on Austin for SXSW Interactive this year, learning from industry leaders in marketing, social media, and development, attending startup-focused events and pitch competitions, and meeting with entrepreneurs and business owners from around the world.

We headed home to Des Moines with many takeaways, but why keep them all to ourselves? We’re sharing our top marketing insight so you can benefit, too.

It’s Katelyn here. As Illuminated’s director of marketing, I focused much of my session time on marketing, social media, and branding. Out of all of the expert speakers and thought-provoking content I experienced in my week at SXSW, this phrase stood out:

Read more

Why You Should Build an Email List for Your Business

With so many marketing efforts to pour your time and resources into, has email made it into your strategy?

If not, it’s time to think again.

While growing a separate audience for your brand can feel repetitive, with the same attention often taken for social media, it’s important to realize that your email list is one of the only things you have control over.

Social media algorithms and best practices change constantly, so having a solid audience with access to their inboxes is gold.

If you’re not convinced about the power of email marketing yet, consider the benefits businesses that buy in are experiencing.

Read more