Think new channels:
Thought leadership opportunities, SEO revitalization, community building, social media campaigning
Bolder, stickier brand:
Identity, creative storytelling, content strategy, copywriting, logo design, promotional collateral
The real deal:
Beautifully honest photography targeted at your key audience, hero images that you deserve to hero
Experience is everything:
Understanding target audience, defining goals, smart userflow, information architecture, delighting users
The whole world's looking:
Websites and display ads with
on-brand tone, cohesive look & feel, visual infusion, cutting-edge styling
Customization, content management systems, web standards compliancy, mobile accessibility, maintenance
Schoening Digital leverages a diverse and solidly creative team to bring digital solutions to life – the kind of solutions that are custom visualized and uniquely crafted to fit your needs. Actually.
Whether it’s marketing revitalization in the form of a site re-design, creative strategy and execution around new digital marketing channels or introducing the world to a new digital expression of your brand’s story – we’re on it.
Check in with us about a la carte solutions – we’d love to work with your team – or bring us on board for the whole enchilada. We’re based in Seattle, but we like where you’re from too.
Whether you’re setting out to run your own business, looking to stay in touch with the pulse and people in your industry, or just plain looking for a job, networking has to be on your agenda. It has to be at the top of your agenda. How do you get work? As a business owner the question I get asked the most by friends and interested entrepreneurs: “How do you get your clients?” That’s got to be the hottest question there is - how do you get work? Schoening Digital is just turning that page in our age when our clients are coming back for more and sharing their positive experience with their peers and partners. While referral marketing and direct marketing are going to pick up, my answer is: we get our work from our networking. In other words, our pipeline growth boils down to how much coffee we’re consuming with friendly strangers. The first rule in building a company is building a network In a recent lecture by Toby Stuart, Faculty Director of UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business’s Lester Center for Entrepreneurship, Toby touted how important your network is in growing a successful start-up. “The first rule in building a company is building a network,” he says. And “your social network,” he said, “emerges from the industry you choose.” Choose one and dive in. 9 Networking Tips to Skyrocket your Network: 1. Seek out people who want to help you At a stand-still in terms of where to start? Here are some people in your life who can’t help but want to help you. Ask them for 2 connections each and you won’t have breathing room on your calendar for months. Remember to be specific about how they can help you - what type of people they should connect you with. This list is inspired by Don Asher’s list of People Who Want to Help You (from his book, The Overnight Resume): Every parent or close relative Every friend you ever had Every friend of every friend you ever had Every alumni of your school(s) Every former co-worker Every leader or congregant member of your church, synagogue, temple Every coach and member of every social, academic, or professional club you know of Everybody you helped out … The list goes on And Don’s last item: Start over and talk to them all again. 2. Be yourself. There’s no reason to pretend you’re something you’re not. If you can make a personal connection, that is way more valuable than making a professional connection. It will open doors you’ll never expect to open. Be authentic. A now-friend and I met at the 2013 Seattle Interactive Conference and bonded over noodles between sessions. I got caught up in her story about her pre-mature twins. 3 months and 3 twins-focused coffee dates later, she sent us what's now a very important client relationship. 3. Be on top of it. Be Organized. I keep track of every person with whom I exchange business cards and every new person with whom I’ve emailed (the former should catalyze the latter). I started my Network spreadsheet on Schoening Digital’s inception date, June 12, 2012, hit 500 people this last June, 2014, and am still counting. My biggest asset is my network, and I have it at my fingertips. Every row includes a cell dedicated to the person who connected us, which means I can tell you exactly who has connected me to the most people, or exactly who has brought us the most business. It’s also from this list that we determine who to touch-base with during the holidays. Interested in receiving a stunning holiday card in your mailbox this year? That’s right, it’s paper. Check out last year's card below, and let me know! 4. Hustle. Go far and wide. I had a meeting with a woman-owned PR Firm, Revel Creative Group on the East side in the Seattle area, referred to me by a mentor/friend of mine, Marie. Founders Cynarah and Amalia asked me how I know Marie. I felt I knew Marie quite well at this point but could not answer their question. I had completely forgotten - the connection had so many legs to it. They said, “You know her through your own hustle. That’s awesome.” 5. Know what you want, how somebody might be able to help you. Show up to a coffee conversation with a clear takeaway for the other person to digest. What would be most helpful for you at this point? To have 2 more coffee dates with developers? To get their feedback on a new product idea? To learn about new networking events you should be attending? Be specific. That will make your name come to mind much faster when your new friend runs into his next developer, or attends a new event that he might not have thought of during the conversation itself. Guy Kawasaki, in his book Enchantment, advises that in every email you should “Ask for something concrete.” He goes on to say that if you have someone’s interest and attention, do something with it. This should transcend emails and manifest itself in your networking conversations. 6. Exchange business cards. Follow-up and set up a coffee meeting. Offer to meet them wherever is most convenient for them. Double confirm before the meeting. Be happy to see them. Don’t talk the whole time. Be interested in how you can help them. 7. Thank them for their time. Always, always, write to say ‘Thank you’. Dare I say it - consider handwriting something? It blows people away, and if the connection was special enough, wouldn’t that be something you’d want? One of my first coffees as Founder of Schoening Digital was with one of Seattle’s top serial entrepreneurs. He sent me an email the second he got my handwritten letter telling me how much he appreciated it and how it inspired him to want to write a few himself. Do I consistently follow this piece of advice? No way! But it certainly is a way to make an impression. 8. Put a note on your calendar to reach out 2 - 3 months later. Have another coffee. If you enjoyed the coffee and you found that the relationship could be mutually helpful, meet again. One coffee meeting makes you feel accomplished as a networker. A second coffee meeting turns your city into a small world. Try it, and soon people will be asking you why you know so many people at your industry networking events. 9. Look for ways to help people in return. Stumbled upon an article related to something your new acquaintance mentioned? Send it to her. Did she come to mind when you saw a poster for a music event? Even if it has nothing to do with her, let her know she came to mind. Share your contacts and she’ll share hers. Besides being surprised by how effective these 9 networking tips are in building a community, I’m most surprised by how willing people are to help. You just have to remember to ask, and of course, help the next person who asks you.
Instagram has a tone, a space to tell your story, and an opportunity to reinforce your brand. It is one of the more challenging platforms for marketers, but leveraging this mobile photo-sharing app can significantly build your brand loyalty and increase your audience. Once you get the hang of it, you will start to have a lot of fun seeing your brand and business through a new lens too. There are many brands and businesses on Instagram, but few are truly dominating this social media platform. Most companies are confused and use Instagram as another opportunity to showcase their merchandise, but this is the last thing Followers want to see. Here are a few tips to turning your business’ Instagram account into an Insta’ Success: Create something- art, humor, emotion, anything! If you’re not creating art on Instagram, then you’re simply not doing it right. Honor Instagram’s artsy tone, and you’ll find more Followers will honor your brand too. Nike does this really well by posting images that evoke all the feelings an athlete might experience: aspiration, hard work, perseverance, and success. For more artistic inspiration, check out Starbucks too. Remember your audience. Like all forms of marketing, it’s important to keep the audience in mind. In this case, Instagram followers mostly belong to a younger generation, so it’s wise to keep them in mind. Take Mercedes-Benz for example. The majority of their customer base may not be millennials, however their Instagram photos are hip, creative, and contemporary. Here’s a post from their recent GLA campaign with the caption that acknowledges a young hipster Instagram artist who also drives a Mercedes. Where you're going says a lot, and so does what you take with you. Here's how @brenton_clarke packed up his GLA as part of his #GLApacked road trip. #Mercedes #Benz #GLA #SUV #instacar #luxury #germancars #carsofinstagram Go behind-the-scenes. Instagram Followers love to feel a part of the brand. They want to see behind-the-scenes images. They want to be an insider to their favorite companies and see how they do what they do. Burberry is good at this. They post back-stage photos from international fashion shows, to photo shoots, to company parties. Burberry’s Instagram account will make you remember them without forcing their product into every post. Ruby red lips -@NeelamKG backstage at the #Burberry S/S15 show on Monday #LFW #Hashtags. Use both broad and descriptive hashtags because it’s the only way your audience can follow your lead. Home Depot is keen on hashtags and not only uses them to appeal to DIYers but also fall and dog lovers! Another tactic that Home Depot uses is regramming photos. Reposting images that fans or customers have posted with #HomeDepot will encourage others out there to #hashtag your brand and share it with their own network. Because it wouldn't be #fall without orange...and corgis. #HomeDepot #CorgisOfInstagram #CorgiPuppy #CorgiGram If you are curious to learn more about amping up your social media game, I recommend reading Gary Vaynerchuck's Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World.
Some day I might have a mid-life crisis. I might buy a red convertible, I might fly myself around the world several times, I might attempt to summit Everest. A few days ago I had an epiphany when I was thinking about my future mid-life crisis. I sure as heck didn’t want to look back and regret how I handled my work/life balance, or regret how I handled the most important relationships in my life. So, what to do? Professional development is actually personal development Sitting there on the porch early this one morning, I had an epiphany. My entire career - which in a nutshell would relate to my person as professional development - was not in fact about professional development. It was entirely about personal development. When I’m 79, enjoying the sunshine on a beach in Hawaii playing bridge with my husband and some best friends, that section of my life - my career - will simply be boiled down to how I grew as a person and what I learned from the challenges that I overcame. And so, there’s nothing - ever - to be afraid of This realization came with another - that if my next thirty years of working in the professional world was most importantly about growing personally, I would never have a reason to be worried or scared of failure. The ceiling of limitations around what I could or couldn’t do as a sole business owner or what I might do in a second career when the time comes, was suddenly lifted. If failure directly correlated with personal growth, than why would I ever need to fear failure again? It was pretty easy to sit there on the porch and think that, and it’s pretty easy for me to sit here at my desk and type it up. Have I really been able to execute on this new idea since its conception? Hmmm….. I’ve been working on it! When it comes down to it, you can’t always make decisions in the workplace in this happy-place where failure doesn’t exist. Five ways to help you leave fear at the door: 1. Fear doesn’t count as a reason If you’re not confronting a situation, improving a relationship, or reaching for an opportunity because of fear, that’s not a real reason. Sometimes I check myself: am I not doing this because I’m scared? If my answer’s ‘yes,’ then the decision’s made for me. Go do it. 2. Improve, improve, improve There will always be some meetings you’re nervous for, no matter how much you’ve prepped. Relax in your nerves, it means something good’s about to happen. If it goes horribly, the ‘good’ part of the experience relates to your personal growth. Pick your head up, learn the lesson, and improve your game. Try again. 3. Talk to an expert No matter how alone you feel, somebody has done this before you. Thousands of people, actually. Find one of them and buy them a coffee. And then buy them four more. 4. There’s never just one chance! This might be The Big Game, but if you understood that there really will be more big games, it’s easier to take risks - you know you’ll get another chance to make a better smarter decision next time around based on what you learned. This is just the ‘first’ time, so go all in. 5. And… Trust yourself I ran into this article by Glenn Llopis, Getting Past 4 Common Workplace Fears, and loved what his 97 year-old father told tell him: “…if you trust yourself enough to confront adverse circumstances – you would learn so much more than you would by running away from them." As a business owner, this quote by Ayn Rand hits home: “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me?” -Ayn Rand We’re guaranteed a heap of personal development, no matter how our careers turn out. I’ll get to my convertible, international flights and Everest attempt after my bridge game, but I’ll call it retirement instead.