Want to know what seems more intimidating than creating content?  Planning it out.

Many business owners struggle with this, as it can appear more complicated than it really is. Usually, the thought of creating a content calendar sounds like a difficult task, so rather than planning their content, business owners put it off.

Creating content doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, once you get the fundamentals in place, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to maintain. You’ll wonder why you didn’t use a content calendar before!

I’m going to show you how to create one, but first, let’s take a look at what a content calendar is.

At its most basic, a content calendar is simply a written plan of what your content is, and when it will be published. It can be as simple as a Google Doc or Sheet, a ClickUp folder, or as advanced as an AirTable base.

I’m going to show you how to create your content calendar:

Every marketing guru will tell you that its cheaper to keep a customer than gain a new one. And you know what? It's actually true.

Think about your average customer. How much do they spend with you in one transaction? $100? $250? $500? Or more?

Is that a one-time purchase? Or do they make more purchases over time? When you think about how much they spend, and how the continue to spend that money over time, you really start to realize what the lifetime value of a customer truly is.

(Don't mind me over here in the corner crying about how valuable I am to Target...I'm sure they know. Because I just realized what my lifetime value is.)

If you want to increase your customer's lifetime value, here are some ideas to get you started:

They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Carl W. Buechner

Before starting Back Valley Creative, I spent over 20 years in the hospitality industry.  One of my favorite things about working in restaurants was creating experiences for my guests that they would remember.  

For instance, one day an expectant couple came into the restaurant.  They had just been to the doctor and had their baby’s gender in an envelope.  They were planning a gender reveal party, but they wanted to know ahead of time. So, they handed the envelope to the server and asked if she could tell them somehow? 

I was the manager working that day, so I ran over to Target, bought a cute little onesie, a balloon banner that said, “It’s a Boy!” and a card for the whole team to sign! The team brought everything out and surprised them at the table! 

It was so exciting that this couple entrusted us to make the experience special for them.  And we really wanted to make it special!  That is what this quote means to me…. And I carry this over into my own business. 

I am keenly aware that my clients place their trust in me to make their websites beautiful and functional and meet all their business needs.  And I want all my clients to feel nurtured and cared for through the whole process. I want them to walk away from the experience, with the feeling that I was with them every step of the way! 

Are you afraid that sharing your knowledge will cost you sales? If you teach your audience too much, they won't need you?

Don't worry, a lot of business owners feel that way....But it isn't true! In fact, by sharing your knowledge, this can actually bring you more sales and help you build a stronger brand!

Content Marketing is a great way to bring in leads and close sales, and it's here to stay! If you need some ideas of ways you can share your knowledge with your audience, check out this list:

Which one of these options do you think would help establish yourself as an authority? Let me know!

If 2020 taught us anything, it's that everything can change overnight. Business may be great right now, but even the "best times" aren't completely insulated from the worst times. It only takes a downturn in an industry, a recession or even a pandemic to create chaos. I mean, who knew a sideways boat would cause so much trouble?

As business owners, we have to be prepared for anything. That means, having a plan in place for when sh*t gets real.

Hopefully, you never have to put your plan in action. But you need a plan.

  1. Build and nurture your audience - Social Media can come and go. Facebook groups get shut down. You get thrown in Facebook jail and can't post. You use a song in an Instagram post and your account gets locked. But, if you've been collecting email addresses from your audience, then you still have access to your audience! You can still reach them and connect with them. So, if you aren't collecting email addresses, YOU NEED TO START. Like NOW! And then you need to talk to your audience. Send them updates on your biz. Give them juicy nuggets of info they can use. Give them value.
  2. Maintain good relationships - How much does it cost you to get a new customer? Isn't it easier (and cheaper) to get repeat customers? And what if your customers do the marketing for you - Hello, Referrals! If you make every customer feel special and loved and valued, they will be loyal. And loyal customers will be there for a business during difficult times.
  3. Create a special offer - At the most difficult times, one of the easiest ways to encourage customers to spend money is to offer a discount. People love a sale - create a landing page on your site to sell your LIMITED TIME offer. Create urgency around your offer. If you need help with this, email me and I can get your page set up.
  4. Don’t lose focus on the small things - A lot of businesses will focus on high ticket sales and forget about the smaller regular sales that they make on repeat. Small sales add up - make sure you are offering the add-on services and products to your customers.
  5. Think about the spending you can reduce - At a time of crisis, one of the first things a business will do is look at what spending they can cut. We all have to tighten our belts to get through a tough time. But don't, I REPEAT, DON'T cut out your marketing! You still need to make sales, and that means you still need to gain customers. And that means, you still need to market.

If you need help getting your plan together, reach out to me. I can help you set up an email capture form on your website and setup your email marketing plan, or create an on-brand landing page for your new offer.

Your website is an asset – an investment you have made into your business. And just like any other asset, you take care of it and protect it.  

That’s what a care plan is – a way to protect your valuable, money-making, customer-producing, appointment-booking, 24/7/365 days a year #1 SALESPERSON - otherwise known as, your website.

Would you buy a shiny new car, drive it every day to work and back, run errands, pick up the kids, but skip every oil change? Never replace the tires? Hope the brakes still work great after 5 years? NO!  

Your car is an asset and to get the most return on your investment, you have to maintain it!

Websites that aren’t maintained are the same as a car that hasn’t had an oil change – plugins, themes, apps need updates or they become glitchy, or worse, stop working all together. 

Would you leave your car unlocked and running with the keys in the ignition, while you run in the store? Then, why would you let your website become outdated and unsecure and vulnerable to hacks?

Questions I’m often asked about website care plans.

Why are care plans so important? 

You spent good money on a website. You invested in a tool that helps you increase your revenue.  It is vital to protect it.  

Good care plans ensure that your plugins and themes stay up to date (so your website stays secure and functioning properly).  That your website stays up and running (good hosting) all the time (and fixes problems quickly if things fail). That if the worst happens and your website goes down, or is hacked, you have backups to quickly get you back online.

My website isn’t that big or complicated, do I still need a care plan? 

Even if you don’t hand off the care of your website to a professional, your website, no matter the size, needs to be maintained. 

Do you sell items on your site? Take payments from customers? Then you need to make sure your website is continually maintained to prevent data breaches.

Do you rely on your site to make sales? Do your leads come to your site to book with you? What would happen to your business if your site was out of date and didn’t work?

Can’t I just run the updates myself? 

Of course you can. But is that really the best use of your time? As a business owner, you wear many hats, and you are capable of completing nearly every task your business needs. 

But, I would bet, there are tasks that you delegate to experts. An accountant to do your taxes. A bookkeeper to do your payroll. A social media manager to help you build your tribe. A virtual assistant to manage your email and calendar.

I know I do.

I could do my own taxes. But, what if someone else was better at it than I was? Or could do it faster than I could? Or could find better ways to do it than I could? (Who could save me more money??) And if I delegated it off my plate, I could focus on money-making tasks in my business that would be a better use of my time.  

Maintenance is vital to keeping your website running its best all the time. Either you invested dollars, or hours of your own time, to create your business’s site – don’t let your hard-earned dollars, or your time, go down the drain.  Your website is not a “Set it and Forget it” thing. 

Love it.

Nurture it.

Take care of it.

And it will take care of business.

The success of any project comes down to good communication.  If the team is on the same page, and everyone knows the expectations, it is so much easier to get to the end goal.  And projects evolve – in the case of web design – things change along the way so there isn’t always a clear, one way path to get the project complete.  Every project is different. 

And maybe you don’t have a team – its just you.  But you still work with clients, or vendors, and this checklist is still applicable to you.

Even though every project is different, all projects need these five things to be successful:

Roles and responsibilities

Sure, this seems obvious, but it is vitally important that everyone involved knows what is expected of them.  By being clear in the beginning about what each person will do and their role requirements, you avoid lots of headaches later (“I thought you were in charge of that?”)  And by assigning roles and responsibilities in the beginning, you can be sure that you have “Aces in Places” and each person is staying in their zone of genius rather than delegating tasks to the wrong people. And you won’t waste valuable time on tasks that aren’t relevant to the project.


Do you know what the end goal is? Do you have a clear idea of what the team is working toward? Does everyone on the team understand the vision?  If everyone is on the same page and is working to the same goal, your project will be a success.


A company that I worked for had a mission statement that started with, “Our mission is to be financially successful..” I am in business for a lot of reasons, but one of the many reasons is to make money (and I bet you are, too!) And you can’t be profitable if you don’t have a clear budget.  Things come up, so always have some wiggle room in the budget.  And make sure all the decision makers agree on the budget. 

Timeline & scope

Every project needs a clear timeline and milestones in place before work begins.  This ensures the project will run well and finish on time.  Everyone involced in the project should be aware of the scope.  If the scope changes (and it sometimes will) it is important for the timeline to adjust as well – otherwise deadlines will be missed. 

Scheduled check in

Communication is so important to success of the project.  Whether its check-ins via email, Slack, Zoom, or in-person meetings, communication is key to identifying potential roadblocks or concerns the team may have.  And it is so important to check-in with your client and keep them in the loop. 

What is a brand personality and why is it important to your business?

Imagine that your brand is a person – How do they act? What do they say? What clothes do they wear? What car do they drive? How do they communicate?

Just like a real person’s personality is displayed through traits, behaviors, mannerisms, your brand has a personality that will resonate and relate to your audience. Connecting with your audience can help your brand to increase sales and drive conversions.  

Think of brands you know – Tiffany & Co, the iconic jewelry store, is sophisticated, elegant, classy…I imagine their ideal client is Audrey Hepburn.  On the other end of the spectrum, Jeep is rugged, adventurous, down-to-earth.  If Jeep were a person, I imagine we’d spend the day outdoors in the mountains. At the end of the day, we would sit around a camp fire with a cold beer and tell stories about all the cool places we’ve been.  

So, how do you develop your brand’s personality?

Identify what makes you different.

What is it that you offer to your customers that your competitors can’t?   There are lots of service providers/products in your niche.  So what makes your offer better than all the rest? Is it price or quality, like Wal-Mart vs Target? Or sporty vs rugged, like Nike vs Timberland? You can use what makes you different to help you develop your brand’s personality to convey the traits that your client will identify with.

Explore adjectives 

How would your ideal customer describe your brand? Get a pen and paper, or open up a new google doc, and start making a list of all the adjectives that come to mind.  Honest, trustworthy, trendy, modern, simple, edgy, are just a few examples to get you going!

Know your audience 

Who is your ideal customer? If your dream client walked in the door, who would they be? Perhaps it’s a past client that you loved working with. Or maybe it’s someone you know, but haven’t had the chance to work with…yet

Set your tone

From your social media posts to your website copy to your marketing materials, the tone of your writing should reflect your brand’s personality.  You should set a tone that speaks to your ideal client and is consistent.  You should stick to your brand’s style – whether it is conversational or formal, by staying consistent you are telling your customer that you are in tune with them.

Get visual

Most people think of a brand as the logos and colors, but coming up with the visual aspect of the brand is not the first step. Now that you know your differentiator, the qualities you want to convey in your brand, who your ideal client is, and the tone of your brand voice, you can use those elements to design the visual experience of your brand. 

Cue the Jimmy Buffett tunes and pour up that pitcher of margaritas! It’s another edition of Cocktail Party Knowledge!

You need a website.  And you are figuring out that there are web designers and web developers.  So which one do you need?

First, what’s a designer and what’s a developer?  

A designer is a focused on the visual aspect of the website – how it looks and the useability of it.  They consider how the user will interact with the site, and cater to making it easier for the user.  

A developer focuses on coding the website – laying the framework, the bricks and mortar behind the scenes of how the website functions.  

Remember the last post on HTML and CSS?  Imagine that the developer builds the HTML.  They code all the elements of the website.  And imagine that the designer creates the CSS.  They make the elements functional to the user and they make it look nice. 

So do you need a designer or developer, or both?  The answer varies.

Web designers can create a beautiful, custom site that uses the best design principles to ensure the user has the best experience.  Web developers can use their coding skills to bring the design to life and get it published on the web.

But there are designers who can code and create, and there are developers who can design.  So although there can be a distinction between the two in strict industry terms, in real life, the line between the two can be fuzzy (and that's not just the margarita talking!) Or there can be no line at all. 

So, if you need a very large, complex website, and are spending $$$$$, then you definitely need a designer and a developer.  Large projects require a division of labor for efficiency.  But for most web design projects, a small agency or freelancer can fill both roles and still deliver really great results.

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