Solopreneur Takes Word-of-Mouth to the Web.
In many ways Ann Porter, the owner of Kitchen Studio of Naples, is a traditional solopreneur. At the same time, Ann is also a compelling and creative content marketer. She manages to maintain three separate online channels that connect her to current and future customers.
As a traditional solo practitioner, she is an indefatigable networker who relies very much on word-of-mouth to spread the word about her kitchen design business. She belongs to a number of professional and community organizations that connect her to business and consumer prospects. In other words, she does all the things that smart small business people must do to succeed by connecting one-on-one.
Like many small business people, she has found that other forms of traditional marketing have been ineffective in building her business. For example, she advertised with the major lifestyle magazines in the greater Naples area but saw very little return on her substantial investment. She also was a regular advertiser in the yellow pages but found that the caliber of response did not balance the cost of advertising.
So she has taken it to the Web.
A 3-Part Online Strategy
Ann has implemented a three-pronged online strategy which involves a standard, well-designed website, her own blog, and a blog she writes on the Naples Daily News website. In each case, she does a great job with text, graphics, and clear design exactly what her business can accomplish for her clients.
An elegant website that reflects Ann’s design sense
She has been online since 2002 with her website which is substantially unchanged since its launch five years ago. Her website, Kitchen Studio of Naples, Inc. is visually appealing and reflects her strong aesthetic sense. It gives a very clear indication of her sense of style and the type of kitchen kitchen she would design. Like many small business owners, she hired a talented but transitory web developer who has now left the area. What’s even more challenging is that the website was built using flash which makes for great visuals but which normal human beings cannot manage. So she has begun rethinking the website in terms of a a non-flash design. She knows that optimizing search marketing results will be a future priority.
A timely, interactive blog with great design tips and examples
Three months ago she launched her blog, KitchAnn Style, using the content management system inside WordPress which has gone well beyond its blogging roots to become a complete website creation tool. Ann has done 100% of the work herself. Her version of WordPress is absolutely free. Her blog requires time and thought but no money.
Her blog has a clean, sleek look It’s well organized by category, by top posts,and by links to external design resources. She uses excellent quality visuals to illustrate the points she makes about kitchen design issues. Both current and prospective customers will find her blog useful and informative.
For example, one recent post(that I wish I had read before I bought my HDTV) examined the appropriate room size of viewing distance and screen size combinations. It turns out that I got my combination all wrong.
In another post, she illustrates the use of glass panels in the kitchen with the example of a gorgeous contemporary Stuttgart apartment. Because the visual makes the point so well , she doesn’t need a lot of explanatory text.
Traffic to her blog has been steadily increasing over the past three months. In fact, it is significantly expanding the word-of-mouth that has been so much a part of her
in person marketing strategy. Ann relates the story of a builder she met recently. He had actually visited her blog before she had time to follow up on that first meeting. Not surprisingly he was impressed. Her substantive and well-designed blog gave her instant credibility with the builder after just one meeting.
Ann Porter and the Naples Daily News: Pioneers in the user-generated content revolution
The Naples Daily News, like many newspapers around the country, is experimenting with user contributed editorial. One of their most fruitful experiments is their user generated blog section. She has been an early contributor to the section with her “Ask Ann” weekly blog post.
According to NDN’s statistics, its weekly reach, both in print and online is 215,460. Their average household income is $87,482. More than 80% own their own homes. That’s an ideal target audience against which to build a personal and professional brand.
Although Ann hasn’t received a lot of referral traffic so far, she is able to get visitors to go directly from the Naples Daily News to her blog. This is a perfect example of creative content marketing. She offer solid kitchen and home design advice to NDN readers with a fresh post each week. She reaches an affluent audience through a trusted newspaper without having to advertise–or to count on the Naples Daily News picking up her press releases.
Solopreneur with a Content Marketing Plan–3 online avenues
Ann Porter has maximized a limited budget, a lot of hard work, plenty of creativity, and a consistent approach in order to establish a steadily improving content marketing strategy. The net effect: She has global reach, instant credibility, and a 24/7 sales presence. Word-of-mouth marketing is essential. Taking word-of-mouth to the web is making a measurable difference for Kitchen Studio of Naples.