Taking Time to Learn

It’s hard when your business slows down and you wonder where your next customer is coming from. Mine was going at a good clip the first part of this year when July came and suddenly I heard crickets. This was probably due to the rush to get in a vacation before any Covid variant-related lockdowns vs. anything to do with my business. Luckily I found a productive way to use the unexpected free time. I took four classes and four certification exams in four weeks! I am usually much more relaxed about courses I take online. But this was the schedule we were put on when I signed up with a cohort of like-minded students sponsored by the nearby town of Stamford, CT!

I’m on the right in this picture taken at the restaurant where we went to celebrate.

Four Certificates Achieved!

We met virtually and were shown a short presentation about the course and what to expect. Then one night a week we could go online to ask questions. It helped to have a tight schedule of one course and exam per week since otherwise I’m sure I would have put it off. The exams were quite difficult even though we could refer to our notes and review the course if we wanted to. I was happy (and somewhat surprised) to pass all four on my first try!

This may not be the ideal way for some to learn but it worked well for me. I had the down time to fit it in and so took the opportunity to add to my expertise. It should be a help when serving my clients’ needs because I can see how my graphic and web designs can sync with their overall digital marketing strategies.

Have you ever found yourself with some unexpected time off? Did you chooseto learn something? Was it online or in an actual classroom? Was it useful in your business? I’d love to read your comments!

How Design Helps Inbound Marketing

The result of taking classes and taking a tough test of 60 questions is that I am now officially certified for Inbound Marketing! I learned it through the HubSpot Academy and the encouragement of the group I found that was presenting it via encaptiv online. I did it to improve my own inbound marketing efforts and to be able to advise my clients who are mostly small business owners who come to me for graphic, web, logo design, email marketing, or book design help. It’s important that the graphic designs I create for my customers fit their inbound (or outbound) marketing strategy.

Examples of how design helps inbound marketing strategies

An example of an inbound marketing strategy might be a pdf that people can download that adds value by explaining how to solve a problem the website visitor has. Another may be to update business cards and marketing materials with social media icons. Email newsletters can share valuable insights and links to social media too. These are all great ways to attract customers and grow trust.

Many thanks to Keith Reynolds of TechFWD and the folks who presented with him and got procrastinating me to do this! Also thank you to Ernst Schirmer of Deep Waters Network1 who alerted me to this opportunity. And Bob Anstine of Anstine Marketing who told me originally about Deep Waters Network, one of the last live networking meetings I got to go to before the lock down in 2020!

Next up—Social Media certification!

1 Deep Waters, active as Your Local Business and Jobs Network, focuses on meaningful connections and solid business contacts and relationships, to support our regional and local economy. As of Summer 2021, this is a Network of over 550 professionals, self-employed and business owners. Learn more at: deepwaters.network@gmail.com; lead-organized by Ernst Schirmer, Greenwich.