the 12 days of chris smith

This year I got with my elves (the Curaytor staff) and we’re bringing you the gift of Things You Can Do TODAY That Will Make an Impact on Your Business in 2019.

If you do these 12 things in December, you’ll start your year off right. 

Day 1

Send Hand-Written Letters to Your All-Time Favorite Clients

On the first day of Chris Smith, my elves said to me:

Whether it's a Christmas card or just a note to say hello, a handwritten letter is a sure way to make an impression.

Want to scale that impact and send more than just a handful? helps send personalized, digitally "handwritten" notes with impressive technology.

Day 2

customize your instagram Highlights

On the second day of Chris Smith, my elves said to me:

Instagram Stories are one of the best ways to get in front of your audience. Plus, you know anyone who watches your story is interested - they're 100% opt-in viewers.

But why spend a ton of time crafting something that's only available for 24 hours? That's where Highlights come in. Curate your best stories and keep them as part of your profile, permanently.

Take a look at some of our clients' Highlights for inspiration: Tim Smith at The Smith Group, Lucky to Live Here, and The Selby Team all provide great examples for categorizing your highlights.

Day 3

Clarify Your Message

On the third day of Chris Smith, my elves said to me:

One of our keynote speakers at Curaytor Excellence (our annual clients-only conference) was Donald Miller, the author of Building a StoryBrand (and host of the podcast with the same name). 

Don's book is all about taking the framework that engages audiences in fiction and translating it to your business. While you could technically read his book (or listen to it) in one day, our official recommendation is that you listen to a couple episodes of his podcast (Apple, Stitcher) - you're guaranteed to come away with some takeaways about how you talk about your business immediately.

Day 4

compress your images

On the fourth day of Chris Smith, my elves said to me:

Uploading large photo files directly impacts the experience your readers have on your website. But did you know that uploading uncompressed images to your website can also hurt your search engine ranking?

Luckily, there's a way to reduce the filesize of pictures of your beautiful listings without sacrificing any noticeable quality. The next time you're uploading high-res pictures, run them through first. It's incredibly easy to use and you'll see benefits immediately (faster load times) and long term (better placement on Google).

Try now

Day 5

Invest in Video (and Audio)

On the fifth day of Chris Smith, my elves said to me:

If you're not creating video content yet, start. It doesn't matter what equipment you use if you aren't using it!

The next big leap that will take your video to the next level is... audio! Yes, you read that right. The microphones on your iPhone, Android, and even professional cameras are not your friend. These mics pick up ALL the sound around you - and at the lowest quality. Bad audio is nearly impossible to fix, and it's one of the first reasons people will stop watching your videos.

So here's the easy fix: buy a microphone (or ask for one for Christmas)! It doesn't have to break the bank, either. A Zoom H1N Recorder with a 16gb microSD card and lavalier mic will run you about $120 and provide thousands of dollars of production value.

Buy a Microphone

Day 6

Ask for Referrals

On the sixth day of Chris Smith, my elves said to me:

There's a better way to ask for referrals.

If you've been listening to my co-founder Jimmy Mackin recently, you already know we believe that.

You also might already know that 83% of satisfied clients won't ever work with you again.

So what can we do about it? If you don't like the answer you get, sometimes it's about changing the way you ask the question.

Jimmy put together 3 email templates - they're a better way to ask for referrals. Click the button below to see them, then add them to your repertoire today.

Get our referral email templates

Day 7

Give Away Gifts & Get Yourself Followers 

On the seventh day of Chris Smith, my elves said to me:

One of the quickest and most effective ways to build your Instagram following is to run quality giveaways that incorporate a brand people love. The holiday season is the perfect time to try this technique out! 

Simple gifts like a pair of tickets to a local sporting event or a Starbucks gift card can draw people in immediately. To ensure success, create a quality visual to go with your post and be specific about how to win!

For example: "Tag a friend in the comments and you can both win ________." 

"Caption this photo. The best one wins _______" 

"What's your favorite holiday traditions? Share yours in the comments for a chance to win ____"

Get creative! Spread holiday cheer with an Instagram giveaway -- and watch your following grow in the process.

Get more advice on growing your Instagram following

Day 8

Learn Exactly What to Say

On the eighth day of Chris Smith, my elves said to me:

Our second keynote speaker at Curaytor Excellence this year was Phil M. Jones, author of the bestselling Exactly... series. His speech ended with over 700 people leaping to their feet to give him a standing ovation.

Need more proof? His book Exactly What to Say has been one of the most downloaded and listened-to books on Audible for the last year. It serves as a reminder that the words you use matter - and includes 23 "Magic Words" that you'll immediately find yourself implementing in your day-to-day life.

If you read Phil's book (or give it a listen), then I am confident you'll thank me for the recommendation.

Day 9

Improve Your Lighting

On the ninth day of Chris Smith, my elves said to me:

We may have stressed the importance of audio earlier, but don't take that to mean lighting isn't important, as well. As sure as Santa needed Rudolph's help to navigate the cloudy skies, your audience needs to be able to see what's in your videos.

Natural lighting can help with much of your needs. The best times to shoot video are in the early morning and early evening - professionals even call these times of day "the magic hour." The worst time of day to capture video? Between 11am and 3pm. 

Whatever you do, try to keep the sun behind the person holding the camera. It keeps the sun on your subject's face and mitigates potential over- and underexposure issues.

For more tips on how to improve the lighting in your videos, click the button below for a guide to three-point lighting. 

Lighting Guide 

Day 10

Grade Your Facebook Ads

On the tenth day of Chris Smith, my elves said to me:

How are your Facebook ads performing these days? Even if you're not an expert at reading and analyzing Facebook Ads Manager analytics, we've made it easy to find out. 

Check out Grade My Ads - a free tool we built that will analyze your Facebook ads and give you recommendations based on what you're already doing.

Here's a bonus tip: find inspiration from the best! Go to your favorite brands' Facebook Pages and click "Info and Ads" - it lets you see every single ad that they're running. Study what others are doing and add what works to your campaigns!

Grade your Facebook ads

Day 11

Ask Yourself These Questions to Send Better Emails

On the eleventh day of Chris Smith, my elves said to me:

At Curaytor, we treat every email like it's a destination. That means we strive to create emails that are, in and of themselves, useful to the reader, and not just some ploy to get them to click somewhere else.

Here's the 5 question framework that we use to make sure every email we send is valuable - you can start implementing it right away:

1. What does your reader need to know?

2. Why do they need to know it?

3. What can you do to help them?

4. Why will that help them?

5. How can they remember?

Day 12

choose the Right Colors

On the twelfth day of Chris Smith, my elves said to me:

Color schemes are important. Green and Red together may make you think of Christmastime, no matter what time of year you see them together - they also happen to be complementary colors. 

How can you create an iconic combination that sticks in people's minds and builds a positive association? 

Choosing the right colors for your online presence can be daunting but it’s an important part of growing your business. You’ll want to choose colors that complement your brand without clashing, or else you risk annoying users before they even start looking at your actual content. 

Start by picking a single color that goes well with your main brand color, as well as a few tints and shades (lighter and darker) of those colors. 

Here are some tools to help you pick the best colors to go along with your brand: Colormind, Coolors, Adobe Color CC, and Paletton.

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