Mike Esordi saves you money, makes you look great
Playwright August Wilson said, “Style ain’t nothing but keeping the same idea from beginning to end. Everybody got it.” But how do you put your best style foot forward without breaking the bank? At July’s DFWSEM event, Mike Esordi offered some insight on how to get million dollar style on a $100 budget because he wants to make the internet a more beautiful place.
But first, a word from our awesomeness
Before Mike could get the style party started, there was some big news regarding this year’s State of Search. Not big like a party-sized bag of Doritos, here. We’re talking big like Kilimanjaro.
- Just added: Fireside Chat with Google’s own Gary Illyes being put in the hot seat by the searing intellect of Jennifer Slegg!
- But wait, there’s more: The fourth keynote speaker has been announced, and it is none other than Gillian Muessig!
— DFWSEM (@dfwsem) July 13, 2017
There was also some big love for upcoming speaker Andrew Choco. He’ll be combining the chocolate of email marketing with the peanut butter of Facebook campaigns for a two-great-tastes-that-taste-great-together presentation on marketing deliciousness in August.
And now, the main event
Mike took the stage to showcase both an unsurprisingly gorgeous slide deck — designers, y’all, what’re you gonna do? — and a bow tie worthy of Bill Nye. But that wasn’t all the style he brought to the evening. He started with a stark number: $100 and not a penny more, then got to work explaining how to make the most of even minimal mojo.
First up? A fact that should surprise no online marketer anywhere. Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without. That’s a nice little boost by anyone’s metric. But there are a couple of factors at work there. The images need to be relevant. The images need to be polished. And most of all, the images have to be out there where your traffic is.
So let’s talk cold, hard cash.
Starting with a domain and hosting, both from bargain shopping, Mike spent $11.99 of our virtual cash on project-nola.com and another $11.88 for a year of hosting. Obviously, if you’re hoping to scale to an enterprise level, you might need to part with a little more scratch, but for a starting initiative? That’s a solid spend.
Then, he got profligate. Throwing around imaginary money — but for a good reason. Having selected WordPress for his platform, Mike blew a big chunk of the budget on a flexible, image-friendly template called Avada. They post that they’re the best selling WordPress template of all time, and it’s easy to see why. This creature can do it all, from shops to blogs to resumes, and doesn’t require oodles of HTML knowledge to ramp up and go. Add in a tremendous amount of flexibility, and it’s worth the $59.
But here’s where some alarms went off. Our total budget was now down to $17.13! Time to get creative.
You can’t even see the box from here
People in the business world love to talk about thinking outside the box. But how many folks are really comfortable doing so? If you want big style with a small budget, there’s no other option. But there’s a single word that can guide this entire process.
Think about big, successful brands that have become global empires. Your Coca-Colas, your Nikes, your Disneys. They have mastered consistency. You think an artist at Coke just uses any old red? That a marketer at Nike messes with the dimensions of that famous swoosh? That Disney’s graphics department ignores the signature font based on Walt’s own handwriting just for fun?
Nope. Consistency. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for anyone. Just because you don’t have millions to spend on a brand guide doesn’t mean you can’t keep yourself in order.
Mike broke it down into three basic chunks: color, typography, and images.
— Aisha Willis (@AishaAdventures) July 13, 2017
Color: There’s a lot of stuff out there about the psychology of color. Take it with a grain of salt, though, and remember some of those associations are culturally dependent. But once you do choose a dominant color for your brand, you need to find the colors that play well with it. Adobe’s Color Tool is a great online resource to build color palettes, and both Pantone and Adobe have free apps — the latter can even build you a palette around pictures you shoot yourself.
Typography: Look, if you don’t already know better than to use Comic Sans or Papyrus, you should probably stop reading now. But if you want to play with font-y goodness, check out Google Fonts. Select a font and they’ll even suggest popular pairings so you can build, say a serif and a sans serif pairing.
Images: Use early, use often! But don’t just point and shoot. Think about what you’re framing, what you want to draw attention to, any details you want to include. And don’t forget the Rule of Thirds! And while it might be tempting to play with all the myriad settings and filters on your phone, remember — consistency. Choose just a few filters so your branding is distinctive, or even just stick with one like the best Instagram brands.
We even blew a whole $2.99 on Hipstamatic, which not only lets you choose variables like lens and film style, but allows you to save settings so you can be…yep, you guessed it, consistent.
Keep it together
With these three signature ingredients, you’ve created your signature look — and you did all of that for free! Want to remember it all? Create a quick brand poster and print it on your own color printer at home.
And there you go. You did it. With $14.14 left to spend on coffee.
Or even better, bring that cash to next month’s DFWSEM meeting. Let Andrew Choco tell you how best to use it on Facebook. We’ll be here. Register now and come join us.
Stephanie Studer is a writer, editor, cook, and massive nerd who calls Dallas home. A social and content marketer, she’s deeply in love with all that language can do. She blogs, tweets @Editrix_Steph, and posts entirely too many pictures of dishes she’s made on Instagram. Don’t ask her about ukuleles or comic books unless you have nothing to do for the next several hours.