About Sally Cooper Smith

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So far Sally Cooper Smith has created 29 blog entries.

Pin your sales growth to Pinterest

We love Pinterest. Whether we’re planning a party, redecorating our homes, or just dreaming about the life we wish we had, Pinterest is our electronic scrapbook, vision board and shopping list all rolled into one. The user interface is seamless and each click feels native and intuitive.

Social media is all about increasing brand reach by making meaningful connections with both loyal fans and new customers, and Pinterest is no different. Below are five tips to connect with both new and existing followers when managing Pinterest accounts for business.

Find Friends

Link your social networks together to help build a stronger Pinterest base. Under “Settings”, navigate to “Social Networks”. Options are available to connect with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Gmail, and Yahoo. Once connected, “Find Friends” will show fans from other social networks that also use Pinterest.

Make It Easy

We hate to find a really cool recipe/blog post/etc. but no “Pin It” button. Sometimes I’m too lazy to copy the URL and paste it into Pinterest, so I don’t pin the content. Don’t lose lazy pinners! Adding a “Pin It” button to various pages on your website will increase the likelihood that followers will pin content.

Be Strategic

As tempting as it might be to pin 500 images in one day, this will clog your followers’ feed and likely be annoying. Create a few pins on a consistent basis, rather than in huge spurts. Don’t have the time to devote daily to Pinterest? While you currently can’t schedule pins for posting within Pinterest, their officially approved apps Buffer and Tailwind do. There’s even a free trial good for your first 100 pins.


Arrange boards with the most popular or eye-catching at the top. A follower might not identify with the brand as a whole, but perhaps will be intrigued enough to follow one board. Periodically comb through pins and boards to ensure pins are up-to-date.

Get Real

Followers understand that a real person is managing a Pinterest account, and want to see some personality! Keep it classy, but don’t be afraid to have fun.

Pinterest has become an important tool to the social media strategy of any brand, and shouldn’t be ignored. If you’re new to Pinterest, start smart. Focus on just one or two of these tips as you begin to grow your follower base, and watch your “Pinny” presence grow!

Pin your sales growth to Pinterest2018-10-04T18:21:00+00:00

Client Feature: IPERS

Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) provides retirement benefits to city, state and other public sector employees. IPERS members include teachers, social workers, park maintenance staff, firefighters, police officers, and many others who keep Iowa communities strong and safe.

We’ve worked with IPERS since 2004 when they came to us for a rebrand, starting with their logo. We developed a brand mark that incorporated the state of Iowa shape and an oak leaf, representative of the state tree and longevity. We’ve since helped to integrate their brand into everything from the website and the State Fair booth to even the rugs in their lobby. We’ve also refreshed their print collateral, striving for more clarity on topics that can be confusing for many people.

Publications That Educate

IPERS utilizes an extensive series of publications for all career phases of membership, from new members to retirees, as well as across three separate types of membership. We developed a cohesive look for the series that keeps everything consistent, compelling, and easily identifiable for internal staff. Key messages are clearly communicated with infographics and other call-outs.

The Truth About IPERS Microsite

Recent headlines suggest IPERS’ funding is unstable, causing concern from members, legislators and taxpayers. In fact, changes made to IPERS in 2012 have put the system on a path to full funding. Because of the complexity of the issue, a microsite (https://thetruthaboutipers.org) was developed for members concerned about their pensions, and for lawmakers charged with determining the future of the pension system. Because of our history with IPERS, in just a few short weeks, we worked with the communications team to explain the problem, its cause, and the outlook for the future in this easy-to-read digital format. We then worked with a state-approved developer to put the site in motion.

“Cooper Smith & Company established the IPERS brand years ago and has been a strategic partner in elevating our presence across Iowa ever since. On every level, Cooper Smith has helped guide us in delivering consistent, creative and innovative communication. From educational pieces and websites to videos and displays — even our office setting — Cooper Smith has been our “brand shepherd”, providing support and expertise to maintain exceedingly high standards along the way.”

–Judy Akre, Director of Communications, IPERS


Client Feature: IPERS2018-05-31T21:58:07+00:00

Find the Right Clients

You know not everyone is an ideal client. In fact, the wrong client can be downright bad for business. They cost money, drain morale and worse yet – may refer you to other prospects just like them!

Start sorting the best from the worst as part of your sales process. Don’t be why about who you want to work for. Incorporate “this product is not for you if…” language into your pitch, add a prospect identifying survey into your website, and/or publish prices – especially if they’re high. (You can always offer lower rates or added services as incentives during the sale).

You know the kind of prospect that is the best fit. Take a stand and build your system to filter out anyone who doesn’t fit that profile. Your profit margin and your team will thank you.


Find the Right Clients2018-05-21T16:08:34+00:00

Client Feature: Whole Woman Health

Lisa Kamphuis, ARNP launched her holistic healthcare practice, Whole Woman Health, in 2002. She came to us in 2015 because business was lagging after a chance in insurance billing practices, and she was ready to bring her brand and identity in line with her vision for the future of the clinic.


The first project we tackled for Lisa was a complete rebrand of her clinic. After conducting our signature persona study and mood board process, we arrived at the new Whole Woman Health logo and brand standards that matched her insightful, balanced and holistic approach to wellness.


Next, we developed a website for Lisa that matched her new brand look, and wrote the supporting copy to help answer questions for both new and existing clients. The website continues to evolve to meet client needs, adding information on new services or resources as they become available.

Stationery, Signage & Marketing Collateral

As part of the new brand rollout, we created all the assets Lisa and her team would need, including business cards, updated flyers, sandwich boards, and other signage. We also updated the window graphics to match the brand.

Blog, Social Media & Email

We continue to work with Lisa as we design and copy edit all blog posts for Whole Woman Health, and monitor social media engagement. We also manage Lisa’s monthly email newsletter.

“I’ve seen a huge increase in clients since I started working with Cooper Smith,” Lisa says. “I am booked months in advance now – which is a great problem to have! – so I just don’t have time to do any marketing on my own. I really appreciate working with an agency that knows my philosophy & clinic so well, and can keep my marketing efforts going so I don’t have to worry about them!”

Client Feature: Whole Woman Health2018-05-21T16:07:51+00:00

Are you a “Slack-er”?

If your office is large, or working from multiple locations, you may already be “Slacking”.  Slack is a mobile and desktop text-message-style communication tool that has become commonplace for co-workers. It almost completely replaces inter-office email and serves as the new “water cooler” for social chit-chat among team members.

However, Slack isn’t appropriate in all situations. There are a few times where good old email may be the best communication tool:

When the message is long: Slack is best for short messages. No one wants to read a 10-point memo in text-land. Lengthy discussions are better for email.

When you need privacy: Slack is often used for group chat. But, if you’re having a one-on-one, get on a private channel or use email.

When the message is formal: Slack is casual, but that’s not appropriate for things like review feedback or establishing business relationships. In these cases, email is better.

When a phone call is faster: Seriously. Sometimes it’s easier to just pick up the phone. When you’re looking for clarification or the answer to a multiple choice question, a call is quicker. All that typing back and forth Takes. So. Much. Time.

Regardless of whether you’re using Slack, email or snail-mail, watch your words. Slack, like those old time-honored platforms, is subject to a company’s compliance rules governing discrimination, harassment and privacy policies. Your messages can be subpoenaed by legal authorities if such a situation is warranted. And because it’s cloud-based you’ll have no control over it.


Are you a “Slack-er”?2018-08-17T16:36:23+00:00

The Law of Attraction at Work

The concept of the Law of Attraction has been around since the 1930s, but it seems to be in the media frequently lately. The Law states (in very simplified terms) that what you imagine clearly, you can help bring to fruition.

I suggest that when it comes to prospecting, the concept not only has merit, but is critical for business. Here’s how:

Get your team together and create a clear profile of your ideal customer. Dive deep into the details asking questions like:

  • Where do they work?
  • Where do they live?
  • Where did they go to school?
  • What do they do for fun?
  • What kind of music do they like?
  • How do they dress?

Assemble pictures of people that fit the profile, doing the things you imagine them doing. Give the prospect a name, and write short bios that sound like they wrote them themselves. Share the composite with everyone from sales and marketing to customer service and fulfillment.

Ask everyone to keep this ideal customer in mind when reaching out to and interacting with prospects. Because they’re using the language and mindset most compatible with the prospect, it will be attractive to them. The ideal prospect becomes the ideal customer. And the Law of Attraction becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Law of Attraction at Work2018-05-21T16:05:37+00:00

Responding to Reviews

Our last blog post discussed the importance of customer reviews, with ideas for how you can ask for reviews without being pushy  Today, we’re sharing tips for responding to reviews:

  • Respond to All Reviews– Aim to respond to all reviews. Your customer took the time to post the review. Show the same courtesy and post a response to all reviews, negative and positive. Your response might be as simple as “Glad you had a great time, Sue. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience!”
  • Be Prompt – People expect a quick response. Be sure to respond to reviews promptly, (within 24 hours if possible.)
  • Show Appreciation – Start the conversation by thanking your customer for taking the time to write a review.
  • Apologize – As mentioned in our previous post, people are most motivated to write a view when they have a complaint. Even if you & your team didn’t do anything wrong, the customer believes you did. But you don’t necessarily have to admit fault…you can say: “I’m sorry we fell short of delivering exceptional service” or “I’m sorry for the poor experience you had at our restaurant”.
  • Offer Solutions – For negative reviews, try to offer a solution to keep that person as a customer. Think through options to make the situation right. For example, if a customer complains there is no parking near your restaurant, you might respond with “You can park for free in the 10th & Walnut ramp, then bring your parking pass to the restaurant for validation. We’d love to have you come visit us again soon, and hope this parking tip makes your next visit more enjoyable!”

Above all else, make sure you’re using the right voice for your brand. If your company has a casual vibe, your response should be friendly and informal. If your company is a bit more buttoned up, respond accordingly.



Responding to Reviews2018-07-09T22:15:36+00:00

What Do Your Customers Trust Most?

You might have the most honest, sincere, genuine team on the planet, rooted in family values and always willing to go the extra mile, but at the end of the day, what do your customers trust, above all else? Reviews. More and more, customers turn to consumer reviews on Amazon, Google, Facebook, or Yelp for the unfiltered story of your company.

Sadly, most customers won’t take the time to write a review unless they’ve had a terrible experience with your company. This can mean you’ll wind up with a whole slew of horror stories in your reviews – detailing the rare occasions that your team falls below the mark of exceptional service – rather than the stories of the superior product or service you provide 99% of the time.

So how can you avoid ending up with a “1 Star” rating overall, and show that these poor service experiences are not the norm? Ask for reviews from happy customers! Here’s how:

Ask Via Email: Send an email shortly after a purchase or visit so the experience is fresh in the customer’s mind. Be sure to provide a direct link to leave a review on your desired platform to make the process easy.

Encourage Check-Ins: Encourage people to check-in at your business. Facebook will automatically send them a reminder to write a review for your business. In all likelihood, only people who like your business will want to check in, so you’ll get positive reviews. Pro tip: Be sure you have free wifi to make check-ins simple!

Add Physical Signs: Post signage at your location asking for reviews or Facebook check-ins.

Work the Ask into Your Sales Process: When your sales or customer service team talks to clients, this can be a very natural time to ask for a review. The team member can explain that reviews help other customers who are researching them, and give a genuine look at their products and services.

Begin to organically work these review requests into your processes, and you’ll see your “star” ranking increase over time.

What Do Your Customers Trust Most?2018-05-21T16:05:15+00:00

Cooper Smith & Company Brand Reboot

We recently shared the five key questions we ask clients who want to rebrand. From evaluating your market and market position to ensuring your logo is flexible enough to meet changing media demands, there are lots of factors to consider before confidently moving in the direction of a rebrand. And it’s not a decision to be made lightly! Hiring a professional agency to conduct an in-depth brand study, then guide you through the identity development process is an investment. Plus, you’ll need to nail the roll out of the new brand, which is another major cost. You’ll replace uniforms, building signage, print collateral, your website, and all other assets where your logo is present.

Clearly, we understand the magnitude of such a shift, and know the importance of a well-executed rebrand.

So, how did we know it was time to turn our attention to our OWN brand? This year marks our 25th anniversary, which is a natural time to pause, to evaluate what’s working well, and to make refinements. We certainly didn’t enter the branding process thinking “Our logo is horrible! We need something new!” But we did say “We’ve had the same look for quick awhile. Let’s do a persona study to make sure we’re projecting an image that matches our brand today.”

We ended up with an identity system that is the fresh, fun and modern, and lends itself to animation and movement. Our bright color palette speaks to the energy and creativity of our team. Overall, we are thrilled with our rebrand, and excited to continue to evolve as our business changes!




Cooper Smith & Company Brand Reboot2018-05-21T15:55:40+00:00

When To Rebrand

During a recent company rebrand project, our client said he wanted the new look to be timeless. That is an admirable goal! Whenever we embark on a company rebrand, we aim to represent the company as it is today, incorporating their vision for the future, all while working to avoid anything that will quickly look trendy or dated.

However, completely timeless just isn’t possible. Your identity will and should evolve. Look at iconic brands like Apple, McDonald’s or Google, and you’ll see the identity and logo have changed over time. Companies have to change their products and services to meet market demands, and so naturally the brand must keep up.

So, how do companies make the huge decision to pull the trigger on a rebrand? Here are a few questions we always ask:

1) Has your business name changed? Sliding a new name onto an old logo is a bad idea. To customers it can feel insincere, like you thought no one would notice. Brand name changes must be handled with sensitivity.

2) Has your market changed? Does your brand need to appeal to a different audience than it used to? Or is your audience fresh, even though the market is the same? For instance, businesses that market to teens may want frequent redesigns to stay relevant to a fashion-conscious audience.

3) Has your vision or market position changed? If you’re growing, you’re changing relative to your industry. Are you now the market innovator? Or have you become the seasoned expert in a field of startups?

4) Are you offering drastically different services than before? It’s not unusual to look up one day and realize you’re in a completely different business than you started in. Changes in service offerings can result in a very different brand. Land’s End, for instance, began in the sailing industry making sails and sailing gear. Tiffany & Co. originally sold stationery.

5) Does your logo work in all the ways you need it to? Logos have to function in a wide range of environments — from large scale graphics on the side of a building to the tiny favicon next to a web address. Does your logo have enough flexibility to meet changing media conditions?

Stay tuned, and we’ll reveal why we decided it was time to go through our branding process for our own identity!


When To Rebrand2018-05-21T15:38:21+00:00