Today I am presenting another written interview with Forrest Musselman of Mindbrew Creative. They concentrate on bringing website design and online marketing to small businesses who can’t afford the big guys.
Check out the interview:
What got you interested in starting MindBrew Creative? Share your story.
Mindbrew’s birth officially came in 2013, but it had been slowly churning in my head for a long time.
Web Design, Content Writing, SEO, Graphic Design – these were all things I’ve been doing on the side, as a freelancer, since 2007. In high school I was lucky enough to land an after-school internship at a local creative agency that held some pretty large accounts. I was able to be surrounded by the best at a young age and learn a lot about marketing and design. The kind of stuff you can’t learn in a classroom.
I kept working as a copywriter (I have a B.A. in English) and website designer for smaller companies as I went through college and then graduation. I knew I wanted to figure out a way to be more than a freelancer, but I wasn’t finding my niche.
Then in the spring of 2013 I got a call from my friend, who had recently started his own non-profit and who was an owner of a homemade foods store in Pennsylvania with his wife. They needed a lot of help online and asked me if I was interested in doing some pro-bono work for them. They also had a few questions for me about the price of the services I typically offered. They had been gathering quotes for their print and web needs and were astonished at the premium cost most larger firms were charging them.
To make a long story short, the long-awaited niche had just been discovered. Mindbrew Creative was born.
What are some of the most common things small businesses look for when getting a website designed?
Small business owners that we meet are typically looking for a website that will give a great first impression. Many of them have old, out-dated websites or no web presence at all. Business owners are starting to understand that in today’s marketplace, not being visible on a Google search is a death sentence.
The men and women I meet are also looking for a website that will make their business stand out, and that’s exactly what look to accomplish. It used to be that you simply needed a website, that’s no longer the case. It now becomes a struggle to see which business can have the best, most informative and engaging website. Well-written content that reaches potential customers and get’s them to take the next step – that’s what our websites are made out of.
How do you stand out in such an in-demand niche? There are lots of companies that offer web design, what makes yours different?
Great question, it’s one I need to keep asking myself in order to ensure we do stand out from the crowd.
We’ve based Mindbrew on the idea that small business owners are tired of being spammed, mistreated, and strung out by agencies and designers who offer empty promises. So, we always position ourselves in most transparent way possible. We keep a blog on our website called “The Brew Blog” that offers actual advice on things like social media management, the importance of blogging, and how to ward of spammy, lying SEOs.
The other way we stand out is simply by our rates. The idea that drives Mindbrew is that small business owners deserve the same high-quality website design and online marketing services that the big players have. We’re a small business ourself, and we built our model based on rates that cut larger agencies rates by more than 50%, sometimes much more than that, depending on the scope of work.
How have you gone about finding new clients for your services?
We rely heavily on word-of-mouth and referrals. We of course engage in social media and we always interact with our local communities and small businesses, but our low prices have excited our clients enough that they tell all of their buddies. It’s pretty amazing to see how word gets out.
I think business owners have felt locked out when it comes to bigger marketing ideas and website possibilities. We’re here to tell them not to settle for sub-par web design, marketing, whatever. Give us a call and we can help you out without risking your ability to keep the lights on.
What are your future plans for 2014 and beyond?
I’m always looking to shorten the timeframe for a new service or capability to become readily available on a small business budget. Right now there is obviously a large push towards app development, so by 2015 I’d like to see Mindbrew offering apps along with our websites.
We’ll also be releasing our first E-Book, “The Ultimate Small Business Website” this fall. It will be yet another way for us to help out small business owners who want to be able to do as much as they can on a shoestring budget. We aren’t worried about giving away any of our secrets. We know that the people who truly see the value in what we do will still want us to be a part of their team.
Besides that, we just want to be involved in as many cool projects as possible. Checkout MindBrew Creative.