Will Work for Birthday Wishes

Did you know that cat urine is commonly mistaken for the smell of smoke?

Join a volunteer fire department and you'll learn fun facts like this at 2:40 in the morning. For actual fire emergencies you'll also learn the concept of working smarter, not harder. With about 60 lbs. of equipment on your back, heavy tools, difficult breathing conditions and the dexterous movements needed to complete a multitude of tasks - you'll quickly realize that brains trump brawn in most situations.

This applies to the world of advertising as well. Buckle up and step into my mind for a moment. Every profession out there can relate to the frustration when seeing a shittier version of what you could have done. I'll give you an example. If my accountant saw the confetti party my business receipt collection has become then I have no doubt an aneurysm would ensue. How about you hair stylists out there? It's free and takes about 15 minutes to shave my bald head but I bet there are aspiring hipster barbers who see my glaring dome as wasted potential for the cutting edge hairstyle of tomorrow's aging American male. And guess what fashion consultants - I shop at Salvation Army.

Now imagine how I feel in the insane world of advertisements we live in. Depending on lifestyle, we're exposed to thousands of ads per day. From your early morning television commercials to billboards and radio on the drive to work - flipping through a magazine or scrolling your Facebook feed - partners in a troubled marriage searching Google for marital aids only to be bombarded with online promotions that would make a sailor blush - there's no escaping the madness! When my chiropractor's around I stand up straight, yet I have questionable design and marketing choices shoved in my face constantly. Continually critiquing the advertising habits of others is my personal curse that I turn into a business lesson - work smarter, not harder.

Working within a budget is our main concern as business owners. How can your marketing budget be used more efficiently? As an example - a full page ad in your local magazine may cost upwards of $1,500 for an issue or two. With that cost, most business owners default to having the magazine's in-house designers create the ad - for maybe $50. Well you get what you pay for and seeing businesses drop that kinda dough for ineffective, sloppy design just grinds my gears. How about we take that $1,500 budget, create an engaging advertisement for a $750 quarter page slot and put what's leftover into boosting that ad on your Facebook and Instagram pages. The same number of people will see your professionally designed magazine ad and that number could double with engagements on social media. Maybe print and social media advertising isn't beneficial at all and that $1,500 could be better spent revamping your website or investing in SEO. No two businesses find the same success with any particular marketing strategy. Finding what works is a marathon, not a sprint.

My limited budget for Rusty Dog Studio restricts most options for expensive paid advertisements or SEO and makes me rely heavily on organic reach through word of mouth and social media. Luckily, I know a graphic artist so I don't have to pay for the design work. But when I do have a few extra bucks to put toward boosting a post, I want to know it's worth it. So using my creative mind, exceptional design skills and knowledge of the day I was born - I'm going to try and break a record for website page visits today - with your help of course. Blog posts always get a high rate of return. So for those of you who love nonsense - stay tuned. Seeing that Facebook is our new birthday calendar for people we barely know, I bet I'll get a few visits from the notifications my connections receive. Boosting a post on Facebook let's me target my investment toward an intended market, such as friends of friends. Let's keep things personal and go with that, but I'm going to guess a large portion of you question who I am and how you know me - and I can assure you it's not from college - nothing remarkable, memorable or embarrassing happened during those years. If you do know me as the angel I am then maybe you'll check in to see what I've been up to. Either way, I can guarantee that a boosted birthday blog post (say that 5 times fast) is going to triple my average website visits for the next few days. Did I have to spend hundred of dollars to reign in all this exposure? Nope - an hour or two writing this up, a couple dollars towards the post and the mere fact that this world was graced by my presence 32 years ago.

Oh, and you. I may need your help. I like a like but what would make my birthday wish come true is a share on Facebook. So spread the word my Rusty Dogs!

And while I have the attention of so many of you, let me take advantage and quickly run through my best referrals - should you be a business owner or know one in need.

I offer organizations and professionals custom image branded designs, consolidated marketing efforts and the personal effort you can only get from a one man operation. An ideal business I'd like to work with is one that values creativity in their promotions and knows the importance of maintaining a consistent marketing budget. Start-up businesses are best so I can establish a brand from the get-go, but I'm always up for diving into the marketing mess that businesses may find themselves in - years into the grind. Please visit my website to get a feel for the full range of services.

If you've made it this far, congratulations. I know I can go off in some weird directions. Visit and follow my social media pages if you haven't. I'll list them below. If you're my mother-in-law (happy belated birthday Robbie) or another loyal follower of mine then I thank you for the support. I never know how to end these things so let's sing:

Happy birthday to Luke,

Happy birthday to Luke,

Check back every day,

So this isn't a fluke.

Luke Hillegas

Owner, Rusty Dog Studio