LEARNING LAB Carrie Hawthorne

Learning Lab Description

This Learning Lab Session was hosted on Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Many companies are making difficult decisions about their budgets and are adjusting their brand’s messaging to reflect the times. In this session, we’ll talked about how businesses can craft their message to offer empathy and understanding, short-term and long-term marketing strategies companies should consider, how to talk to your customers about the challenges you are facing as a small business, and more. 

Learning Lab Highlights & Suggested Resources

1. Know who you’re communicating with: assess your target audiences’ needs, motivations, and behaviors to learn where and what messages will resonate.
2. Prioritize transparency + communication: be open with your customers—communicate your challenges (supply chain issues, staffing capacity, etc.), how you’re protecting your employees, and how you plan to protect your customers as things open up.
3. Dial-in your digital marketing: the pandemic provides an opportunity to try new things or improve existing efforts. Perform competitive analysis, run a web, email, or social audit, or develop a new nurturing strategy or ad campaign.
4. Measure your efforts: if you haven’t already, set up analytics tools so you can assess what’s working and measure your ROI. If you do already, great—make time to review the data + draw data-informed conclusions to optimize your efforts.
Pro Bono Consultation Sessions
Our event host, Carrie Hawthorne, is offering pro-bono 30-minute digital communications consultation sessions to any small business. Whether it’s brainstorming, bouncing around ideas, or questions about specific platforms, Carrie has 15 years supporting small businesses and non-profits and would be happy to see if she can help. You can sign up for an individual session here.

Template + Sample: Target Audience Outline + Messaging Framework – Outline framework and simple sample included

Sample: Target Audience Outline + Matrix – more in-depth sample including how messaging plays into each group

Sprout Social – social listening, free 7-day trial  

Article: How to Conduct a Social Media Competitive Analysis 

Google Trends – research search terms

Ubersuggest.com – research search terms and competitors’ websites

Business Support Seattle Public Library – Free tools and databases to conduct market research 


Template: content audit – excel sheet to perform an audit of website

Template: brand identity review – framework to conduct a very basic brand review

Rangeme.com – mentioned by an attendee. A platform to connect buyers with wholesalers 

Free Social Media Planning Tools


Free Newsletter

Neil Patel – SEO + digital support

Marketing Charts – marketing analysis

Nielsen Norman Group – UX

Smashing Magazine – web design

M + R – nonprofits

Avinash Kauskik – analytics + biz advice

Data Revelations – data viz

Marketing Profs – marketing + content strategy  


Survey Monkey Articles – Good content on surveys but not ideal for conducting surveys

Google Surveys – suggestion for conducting surveys 


Social Media Examiner – hour-long podcast that takes deep-dive into specific social media elements each episode (FB ads, IG stories, youtube optimization, etc). Easy to peruse list and only listen to relevant episodes

How I Built This – interviews with established business founders