Christmas Miracles: My work with charity Clara White Mission

It was a Christmas miracle when my friend offered a client of hers to me. My business is 5 months old, and I appreciated any new business. And, I’m thrilled she thought enough of me and was confident in my ability to recommended me. She had previously worked with a different web developer BL (Before Lacey entered her life) 😊 and, the designer had developed a new website but left all basic functions unfinished. And, this client was a charity! Clara White Mission was left without a way for sponsors to donate, volunteers to register, and the hungry to contact them for a meal! Who would do that to a Charity? To do that during donation season seemed so heartless!

For over 100 years, the Clara White Mission has helped Jacksonville’s at-risk individuals gain new perspectives on life. Founded by a former slave whose compassion for her fellow people moved her to action, the Mission has been the one-stop community center stimulating economic development through job training in educational programs, daily feedings, advancement and more. The Clara White Mission offers more than meals for the hungry and shelter for the homeless. We offer hope and a way out of the misery of a life on the streets. Yes, we provide food and shelter, but we also offer vocational programs to put people to work. Our goal is to restore those in need to meaningful, dignified lives in the community.

In my first call with the charity, they told me what was going on and I was truly flabbergasted as to why this happened. I offered to donate an hour of my time to investigate the issue and report back to them if I felt I could handle the project. There were too many unknowns and I didn’t want to waste their time or money if I didn’t know how to fix the problem. In that hour, I figured out the issue and reported back what needed to be done. My friend tells me they were very pleased that I knew what I was talking about and described it in a way that they could understand.

In the following conversations, we worked out our partnership. And, I went to work a week after because the previous website designer housed the website on his server and had to move the site to a new server with my recommendation.

Within my first hour of work, the functionality was working. Indeed, another Christmas miracle. Donors can donate, the staff get notification emails, PayPal accepts donations, and donors get a confirmation and receipt email. Their calendar of events accepts volunteer sign-ups, contact forms can accept information and send it to staff. Everything is working as it should!

If you know me, then you know that working for causes have changed my life. This project gave more to me than I gave to them. When I think of how this Clara White Mission works in our community to help the homeless and that my work somehow helped them do the work they need to do, I know I’m on the right path for my career and life.

If you are looking to be someone’s Christmas Miracle this holiday season, please test out my work and donate today at www.clarawhitemission.org.website development jacksonville

Update 1/4/19: While I made great strides to rectify most of the important issues with the new site (built by a different website designer), we are finding more items that need to be addressed, and have decided to place the website in maintenance mode until all of them are resolved.

A New Digital Agency | Website Development Jacksonville

Friends,

I’m embarking on a new adventure offering my experience, skill and talent to businesses that want to grow.

J. Lacey Taylor, is a one-stop digital design, marketing and optimization agency for high growth entrepreneurs. I specializes in website design and development along with SEO (search engine optimization). I want to make sure potential customers find my client’s businesses when they search their services or products online. Because their success, is J. Lacey Taylor’s success.

I appreciate your support and friendship. Connect, and follow J. Lacey Taylor on social media. Contact me if you have a business that you want to grow. And, spread the word to other high growth entrepreneurs that could benefit from  digital agency services.

Don’t Promote Yourself, Leave it to the Professionals

SEO_WD_Header
Mistakes, I make them. I know it’s hard to believe but I do. Especially, I have noticed, when it comes to promoting myself. You would think I’d be able to promote myself, it’s my industry after all. However, I’ve made the errors many of my clients have made – wanting to put too much into one small space. Ugh.

Clients are notorious for cluttering up the space. It’s understandable. They want to say as much as they can in the limited amount of space they have to say it. As professionals we were coached to do this, “what is your elevator speech?” That still haunts me, elevator speeches. I still don’t have one.

Anywho, I recognized my blunder as I read an article this morning. The title, something about first impressions of your website and I scrolled down before digging into the first paragraph to two flashing images: a cluttered, dated design and then just one luxurious lifestyle picture of a couch and a view. That reminded me when I was looking for images for my homepage earlier in the week I was looking for a similar image. I’m not selling furniture but a great photo makes all the difference. I love a view and a horizon line. I didn’t find one and went in a completely different direction with a tangent about the services I offer. I also wanted to add as many design elements from my brand as I could. I had cluttered things up. I’ll post my before and after headers in this post.

I haven’t read the article yet as I write this (I’ll link to it here), but I know what it’s going to tell me. Make your first impression with a moment of calm (by not saying too much) and WOW factor (by giving them a glimpse of the service or product you offer in the lifestyle they want), introduce yourself slowly and win them over and you don’t do this by shouting in their face or dumping your fears and insecurities upon them (which is what clutter is all about).

SEO_WD_Header_FindWe all need to just take a deep breath. Breath in the knowledge that we have the skills, talent and services that our clients seek. Breath out our fears, thoughts of lacking anything, or scared our clients wont get all the information they need to make the right decision and hire us. They know they need you. Present to them your best self with a responsive, clean, speedy and modern design. Make sure they find you when they need you, with competitive SEO methods. And, guess what…I offer both of those services to help you thrive.

Developing Brand Guidelines | Ponte Vedra, FL

Brand Guidelines in Ponte Vedra, FL

Great brand design usually begins with interviews with the client to understand the vision, goals and objectives for their business. However, when you are the client, you just go with what you like. I could have dove in deep into what my target audience would be looking for, but with limited time and my name as the company I just went with colors, textures and styles that appealed to me. And, in the end, the clients you attract might very well like your style.Brand guidelines in Ponte Vedra are important as a reference for anyone who uses your brand to represent your company. No questions are left when the need to use your brand arises, tomorrow or in 3 years. All of the rules are laid out simple and clear.

HELLO Nocatee | Marketing & Design | Ponte Vedra

Hello Nocatee & Ponte Vedra!!

Premium small business marketing and design consultant services are now available! With 21 years in marketing and design, J. Lacey Taylor offers all the services you need to grow your business. Whether you are a new business that needs  brand development, marketing strategy, print advertising design, website development and even SEO, J. Lacey Taylor has the experience to create exactly what is right for your business need. Call today for a consultation, 904.878.0881.

How do I fit THAT in my portfolio?

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Jacksonville Armada Field – Sponsor Banner

Do you see that banner in the background? Well, those are my words and my design.

My clients pain point was that all of the big personal injury law firms claim to be your friend if you sign up with them but you rarely meet those guys on the commercials. With John, however, you meet him in your first consultation. He also wanted to get across that he is board certified. Attorneys that are board certified can use the term “expert” in advertising. Voila! “Meet John. Your Lawyer. An Expert in Civil Trial Law. (Logo I also designed).

A Month in the Life of a Graphic Designer

Graphic Design of Jacksonville, FL

There is a certain speed and quantity of work at the Law Office of JMP that keep it challenging and interesting. While I wear many hats here, this last month was all about graphic design. I worked on a magazine ad for Folio Weekly and Void, party collateral, re-branding of the letterhead and business cards, place-mat ads for the Metro Diner, a sponsorship ad for Jacksonville’s Armada Football team and it’s all topped off with a rush job/first time three-fold printed newsletter. And, I’m certain I forgot a few. Phewy! Put a fork in me…I’m done!!

PROJECT DETAILS

Folio Magazine Ad: This issue was dedicated to Art and Design, so I asked John if I could design an out of the box ad. Keeping Folio readers in mind, I wanted it to be hip and modern for the out and about crowd of Jacksonville while also creating that connection to John. I used great colors, a stylize picture and a great quote John, a list of his practice areas and of course contact information.

Metro Diner Place Mat Ad: In tight spaces you have to keep it simple and direct, a a photo of smiling faces always pulls your reader in.

Party Collateral: Coozies and Magnets for special event were a rush job so I’m not crazy about the design I created but it works when you are given a couple of hours. Sometimes completed design is more important than perfect design that doesn’t make deadline.

Custom Designed Business Cards: In my early days with the firm, I rebranded it with a new logo and brand guidelines. Eventually, folders, signs and business cards became an extension of that brand design creating consistency and brand recognition.

Marketing & Design Professional

Marketing & Design Professional

Current Job Description – August 2012 to Present

Marketing Management

  • Put together a Marketing Evaluation Notebook to review, compare, track, and propose new ideas.
  • Interviewed business owner and staff to gage goals and make sure everyone is on the same page.
  • Reviewed current marketing attempts and inventory stats to track growth, ROI and conversion rates.
  • Discussed marketing evaluation and strategies with business owner
  • Created and managed Marketing Calendar – developed campaigns, planned and scheduled for the upcoming year
  • Enforced brand integrity – redesigned and placed letterhead on network for company wide use. Created practice area focused signature line and suggested it be used company wide.
  • Continuously compared and contrasted competitors marketing to gain a position over them.
  • Infographs: researched to gather statistics, planned story line, sketched layout and designed a digital infograph
  • Addressed any drops in call volume or client intake
  • Order marketing collateral
  • Photo shoots: Organized, planned composition and subject, assisted and helped direct the shoot
  • Marketing Solutions: diagnosed several problems and came up with a solution to solve many of the marketing tracking issues

Website & SEO

  • Embed live feed video from the courthouse for highly publicized (international interest) trial
  • Prepared a website evaluation
  • Reviewed website analytics
  • Researched and logged main practice area top keywords
  • Developed an SEO and SEM tracking system and strategy
  • Inventoried backlinks
  • Developed site map and new navigation
  • Online Forms: Designed, created, implemented, adjusted and fixed when needed
  • Redesigned certain parts of the website and FTP files
  • Embedded radio station and video scrolling applications
  • Enhanced Wikipedia pages
  • Updated pages, content, and consistently adjusted for optimal search rankings
  • Added widgets that translate the whole website
  • Managed local directories (Kudzu, BrownBook, Yelp, and Manta): built spread sheet to track
  • Set-up website evaluation accounts (Moz and Alexa)
  • Managed domain names, redirects, etc.
  • Used Google maps to increase Google places ranking
  • Targeted specific neighborhoods
  • Designed banner ads for other websites (ex. Lex & Terry’s)
  • Applied the best mobile solution
  • Addressed bandwidth and login security issues
  • Quickly designed two websites for clients, one for accepting donations and one for advocacy

Social Media

  • Researched, planned and scheduled through Hootsuite
  • Customized and designed the header, background and tabs of our Facebook & Twitter accounts
  • Frequently adjusted 8 page verification request letter to Twitter

YouTube Account

  • Managed strength of account
  • Added SEO strong titles, descriptions, links, and meta data
  • Transcribed and sync’d videos for close captioning which earns SEO points
  • Created playlists and organize videos into those groups
  • Downloaded videos from other YouTube accounts and uploaded into our account

Print Design

  • Designed folders with a “classy new design”
  • Designed and laid-out folder informative inserts
  • Designed, wrote and created direct mail information postcards
  • Designed magazine ads (Folio, Void)
  • Designed advertisements for the Metro Dinner placemats
  • Designed fundraising and song flyers
  • Designed huge high school support banner
  • Designed Christmas Party Invite, created mail list per demographics, organized printing and mailing
  • Made sure to keep letter-head was up-to-date and digitally available to everyone in the company

Writing & Editing

  • Wrote SEM copy for new website pages focusing on main practice areas
  • Wrote for Lawyernomics on Avvo
  • Edited all web, print and radio advertising
  • Edited public speech – For a client testifying before Congress
  • Wrote nomination and award interest letters
  • Wrote Press Release letters
  • Wrote Judges Introduction for an Oratorical Scholarship Contest Event

Event Planning

  • Organized Toy Drive (including the use of a local free resource – billboard to advertise it)
  • Organized new office ribbon cutting
  • Designed party invitations
  • Delivered invites through social media, email, snail mail and hand delivery

Media Coordination

  • Helped prep the firm for weeks with Rolling Stone Magazine, national news stations (CBS, Aljazeera America) and documentary crews
  • Developed a media contact list
  • Helped pitch stories to national news stations
  • Coordinated interviews with local and national news stations, magazines, and radio stations
  • Collected screen captures of each media appearance for marketing needs
  • Kept a collection of all print references to the firm
  • Interior Design: shopped, purchased and redesigned a space for interviews

General Office

  • Put together trial PowerPoint with timelined case information, graphics and photos
  • Created the firms first client database, to track client information and track growth
  • Administrative Assistant: many miscellaneous projects for busy Lawyer/Owner
  • Scheduled and organized meetings with Congressional and Senate Leaders (see Successes)
  • Found ideal office space close to the courthouse for trial
  • Gathered detailed online information and screen shots regarding suspects in cases
  • Took calls from outside marketing/advertising sales companies
  • Converted and copied files of all types
  • Handled several Office Manager Issues
  • Consistently worked with disturbed co-works and defused each situation. I am very accommodating.
  • Sent out thank you & holiday cards to clients
  • Worked with and built relationships with outside vendors (fed-ex, framers, ac contractors, etc.) kept file for potential outsourcing
  • Filled out several applications and nominations
  • Worked with charities to make donations
  • Trustworthy: deposited checks in the bank for the firm

IT

  • Phone system: solved technical issues that no one else could solve

Successes

  • Put the firm in the #1 spot in key practice areas searches optimized for Google, Yahoo and Bing search engines
  • Lacey: “I have us on page 1 of Jacksonville injury lawyer, Jacksonville personal injury lawyer and Jacksonville accident lawyer. John: “And page one at the top on yahoo, as well. And Bing.  Yes, that is the trifecta. Lacey, great job.” Fadi: “WOW. Really great job Lacey. That is amazing. Thank you.”
  • “Lacey – In addition to the graphic designs of post cards and next week’s “thank you,” in the Folio Weekly, Lacey has steadfastly made us number one or on the first page of most of the search websites in most of the search categories- wrongful death? Us. Personal Injury? Us.  Accident? We are there.  None of those our size, are there with us.  We are the little engine that could and Lacey is driving that engine and it is a search engine.  We are just getting started, but we have so much advantage because of Lacey.”
  • “We are seriously all over the place now.  Great job.”
  • “The rep from Gwinnett came in today and complimented our growth over the last 6 months online. She was amazed that I “called my shot” a few months back when we last month that we’d be on the first page and asked how much we spend with Google. I politely declined and she said their rep estimated we’d need to spend about $6000 per month to get where we’ve gotten across the board.  She was amazed when I help up a goose egg to my eye and said, “it’s all us.”  We are everywhere all of the time, haha.  Great job! John”
  • Contacted and scheduled the many meetings with Congressional Leaders while in DC. Nanci Pelosi took notice and invited them to the Congressional Hearing on Gun Violence, acknowledged them during the hearing and those leaders who I had contacted, made it a point to go up to Lucy and Ron to speak with them afterwards. It was a “thrilling success.”
  • In August ’12 when I joined, case intake average was 9/m for a 5 person office. 8 months later the intake was 24/m for the 6 person office. I gathered and sent these stats in May,

Quick Statistics on Client Data:
August 2012: 80-94 cases, and 28 in lit or closed, which gave you an average of 9 cases/m.
April 2013: 280 cases, and 59 that are closed or in Lit, which gives you an average of 24/m or 1/business day.
Of the 280, we don’t have referral info on 62, but 45 came from Doc Tony and 72 came from the Internet, leaving the other 101 in a misc. referral category.

  • Letter from an appreciative peer:

From: Meri
Sent: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 10:22 AM
To: Lacey Taylor
Subject: Re: Would you judge a scholarship contest?

I love it when people make my life easier!  Thanks.

I will stop by one day, who knows when, with a box of chocolates for you.  How lucky he is to have a person like you watching his back.  Tell him so. You deserve a raise!

Meri

On 1/29/2014 10:20 AM, Lacey Taylor wrote:

Wow. What a story. I love your mission and passion.

John has asked me to put something together. I’ll write it as I would introduce him and you can take what you like from it.

Asked to Speak at a Conference

Attack Challenges as the Subject Matter Expert that You Are

Being a member of JAMA (Jacksonville’s Chapter’s of American Marketing Association), GREAT!

Being on the Board of Directors of JAMA, AWESOME!

Being given the opportunity to attend the AMA South East Region Conference in Atlanta, free of charge, FABULOUS!

Being asked to speak, at said conference, for 52 minutes on the subject of Membership, ugh – SCARY!!!

Our chapter won an award on the subject of Membership and so it seems fitting that AMA would ask the two who are attending from our chapter to speak on the subject. However, that was not one of the areas I covered. I’m the VP of Web and Interactive. My focus is the website and monthly publication advertisements, not Membership. Not to mention, I haven’t done any public speaking since my class in high school. No, I kid. Of course there were college classes, and, every job involves some amount of public speaking. Whether, it’s putting on a class to train employees or speaking to EVPs in persuasive manner as an authority on a website redesign technology subject, I’ve done it all before. It’s the time in between, the practice I’m afraid I haven’t had lately that makes it all scary.  Along with no speak of “Membership” in any of my jobs…ever.

I think I’m going to attack this project by thinking of the subject of Membership as trying to attract and keep customers/clients/users and then I’ll have 16 years of experience in marketing to talk about. Now that’s less scary. I think I’ve got this.

Next, How to Attract and Keep Members!

Update: I skipped writing that post due to other priorities. Still, I hope you enjoy the next posts.

What Are You Saying?

Customer Perspective

Often at times we are so involved in the work we are doing that we don’t take the time to step back and see exactly what it is we are saying to the audience. This happens often in the marketing world when we are producing promotional pieces or advertisements. We are so focused on making sure each contributor has their verbiage or their say on how it should be produced and that their contributions are accounted for in the design or layout of the material, that we sometimes forget the target audience all together.

Recently I attended a marketing event and on my way out I met someone new. In getting to know each other I handed him my business card and I quickly explained what it is I do, he handed me a flyer for the current event he was working on. He continued telling me about the event and I continued to scan the flyer looking for anything that would give me a clue as to what the event was so that I could contribute to the conversation. The flyer had an event title, location, time, brief paragraph, event highlights, form and sponsors and yet I still didn’t fully understand the event. I began to think it was me, was I missing something and then I realized it was the “First Annual” and the editor in me realized he was too close to the project to see that a vital piece of information was missing. As the guy spoke to me, I could see he was smart, professional and sincere in his interest in networking with me and excitement for his event…it was contagious and rather than letting this go, as to not offend him, I knew I had to point out the missing piece. Not only as the audience but as a professional with a degree in Graphic Design and Advertising.

And there it was! He said it in his conversation, “Business to Business Networking Reception.” I said, “that’s it! That’s exactly the tagline this flyer needs to summarize the event for the reader.” He thought about it, and with delight asked for my contact information and said he could use my services. That wasn’t my intention. Solving the problem was the goal of the moment, but then again, that’s what these events are about…making connections to create win-win situations.