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Small Business Marketing

By | Marketing, Small Business | No Comments

Being a small business has a lot of advantages. One of the major advantages a small business has is that it lacks a complex corporate structure so a small business can be agile, flexible, and quickly respond to changing conditions. Unfortunately, a disadvantage of being a small business is lacking the funding and manpower of a corporation, or even a medium size business. But there are still some great tools that a small business has to be competitive and market itself in today’s business environment. Let’s take a look at the 5 modes most widely used today, and examine how we could leverage these tools to get your brand out there, and make your life and work easier!

Email Marketing

Part of building a successful business involves leveraging the happy customers you already have, not just acquiring new customers. Keep your customers up to date on your business and offer your business to them as a resource so they have a reason to keep coming back to you. A great tool to do this is MailChimp. But don’t just send out a newsletter just because you have to, or because you can, otherwise your customers will get bored and disinterested with your emails. Make sure your content is fresh, relevant, and informative, otherwise, just don’t send anything at all.

Social Media

Growing a business is tough work. You are in an endless cycle of attracting new customers and developing your relationship with existing ones. It will never be easy, but with today’s technology, you do have an advantage – social media. Think about it. Time constraints no longer exist. You can actively engage with prospects and customers instantly and as often as you want. A special sale or new product announcement can happen today – right now. Want to encourage dialogue? Share pictures. Post a video or article. You don’t have to wait for your catalog to mail, your ad to publish or your email to be opened. You can also reach a larger audience than ever before. Look at Facebook. It’s the #1 social media platform in the world, with 1.39 billion active users and 1.19 billion active mobile users a month. Chances are, your prospects and customers are in those numbers.

Print Collateral

Keep it simple. Chances are you are small business and have a small budget as well. If you are going to create a “one sheet” to hand out, consider designing and printing postcards. Postcards are versatile and can be used in multiple ways. Keep the content simple and consistent to your brand.

Relationship Building

This should be a given. But it has to be said. Get out there into the community and network. Join your local Chamber of Commerce or find a local industry related association and get involved.

Strategy

No matter how great your content is, how interesting the articles you post on Facebook or if you mailed out postcards to thousands in the area, strategy is where you must start and end your day. I can not stress this enough. Without strategy you will be spinning your wheels, spending your precious marketing budget and moving nowhere fast. Before you get out all these tools, spend sometime and build a marketing plan with goals, campaigns and a process that works for you.

26 Tips to Develop a Powerful Online Brand

By | Marketing, Resource | No Comments

Personal Brand Benefits

There are many benefits to having a strong person brand some of which include:

  • a steady stream of ideal clients
  • rewarding partnerships 
  • leadership opportunities
  • greater credibility
  • higher perceived value

Tips for Developing an Online Brand

These benefits don’t just come overnight. It takes consistency, focus, and baby steps. Here are the ABC’s of developing a powerful online brand. 

  1. Be authentic
  2. Launch your platform online with a blog or website
  3. Create content
  4. Define your audience
  5. Build an email list
  6. Focus
  7. Memorable design
  8. Help others
  9. Seek out online influencers
  10. Join online groups
  11. Use keywords and phrases that people will use on Google to find you and your topic
  12. Learn to use LinkedIN effectively
  13. Get to understand how media works both online and offline
  14. Network
  15. Opine – State your opinion
  16. Photo – create a visual brand with a great caricature or photo of “you”
  17. Ask questions
  18. Recognize people who have helped you – Shine the light on others
  19. Create a memorable slogan that expresses your mission and purpose
  20. Teach
  21. Understand and use emotional triggers
  22. Develop your unique voice
  23. Get to understand the essence of influence. 
  24. Examine and analyze your analytics to see what works and doesn’t
  25. Forget about you and remember its all about your readers and viewers
  26. Have zeal (also known as passion)

I would encourage you to print this list, and check the things off that you have already accomplished. And work down the list on things you can work on or improve.  Schedule a free consultation to talk about how we can help you work through these tips. 

Behind the Scenes Look at Social Media Strategy Building

By | Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

Behind the Scenes Look at Social Media Strategy Building

“So basically you get to play on Facebook and Instagram all day?”

This is the typical response I receive when I say that I work as the Social Media Coordinator of a Non-Profit. While an outsider might think that social media is merely a bunch of noise and opinion, what I’ve come to learn in this field is that social is driven by more than emotion. Social requires a constant view of the larger picture and a lot of behind the scenes work. In fact, as with anything, I have found that any level of success within social media weighs heavily on having great organizational skills and a clear strategy.

Strategy and Quantifiable Goals

Now, I don’t consider myself a social media guru by any standards, but I’ve found what I’m about to share to be very helpful in my own daily interaction with multiple social networks.  With so many networks out there: Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, Twitter, and YouTube just to name a few, it can be hard to create just one message that fits for every audience. In fact, doing so may limit the possible company growth you can gain by participating in the social media world. While most companies have an overall social media strategy or quantifiable goal in place, it is much harder to clearly identify the role each individual network can play in this overall strategy. In other words, it may be beneficial to have an overall strategy that your business agrees upon and then create individual network strategies as steps for how to accomplish the overall goal.

However, before you can really talk about individual social network strategy, you need to be able to work within each medium or network and be able to identify the valuable data you can use to shape your content and advance towards your company’s overall goal or bottom line for social.

Organizational Method

One of the most commonly used tools for social media organization is Hootsuite. This interface allows multiple social networks or mediums to be controlled in one central location and has a variety of different account plans to fit your specific social needs.

Once you login in to all your social networks on the Hootsuite interface, you can create an organization plan with tabs for each individual network, and then organize that network with streams. Streams allow you to search for specific hashtags, questions, and more pertinent information in ways that make sense to you. For the means of this article I decided to organize my tabs by social network and my streams by anything pertaining to just that network. For example, if you were a donut shop called “Let’s Eat Doughnuts” you could organize your social media and have something like:

Tab: @letseatdoughnuts (Twitter)

Streams within that tab (click “add stream” and select Twitter):

  1. Search result for #letseatdoughnuts: this helps you keep an up-to-date eye on who is interacting with your business as a whole
  2. Keyword results for a promotion of a new store in San Diego: #letseatdoughnutsSD
  3. Search results for questions about doughnuts: doughnuts (space) ?

While there are many ways to organize your tabs, and a long list of available streams to create, by starting your journey in social media with a method in which to organize your networks you will have a larger understanding of what that networks audience is looking for and interacting with.

Having a method to organize and search for content relevant to each network of your business will allow you to move into implementing a social media strategy for the network that is effective and audience-friendly.

Strategy Building Questions

  1. Who is your audience/followers for this medium?
  2. What does this audience seem to value? Are they Millennial’s that want to come alongside the company and participate, or are they craving just the facts and not the call to action?
  3. What content can your company produce/ share/ that will come in line with this specific audience?
  4. What trends are happening within this network as a whole that your company can plug in to and yet still stay relevant to your audience? i.e. popular hashtags, social movements etc.

Why does social media matter?

By | Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

Social media is a rapidly changing, fast paced, and fickle subject, which is why many small business owners approach social media with apprehension and skepticism. Sometimes the potential ROI of an investment in Social Media may not appear to make sense for a small business, and the results might seem nebulous and evasive. Many small business owners feel like Social Media is a beast that they could never tame, or that they are not capable of understanding the nuances and finesse required to run a successful Social Media campaign. However, despite these feelings, Social Media can be understood, it can be used successfully by any Small Business, and it can be a useful and powerful tool to grow and brand your business.

Did you know that social media sites and blogs reach 80% of active internet users? Did you know that 1 out of every 7 minutes spent online is spent on Facebook? Did you know that 50% of the 20 million Twitter users are more likely to purchase goods and services from the brands that they follow? Lets look at the benefits of Social Media and explore why you need to include Social Media in your strategic marketing plan:

Social Media

– Is more cost effective than traditional, outbound marketing
– Raises brand awareness throughout your extended network
– Helps your business maintain a good reputation
– Generates leads at a relatively low cost
– Is a channel for product/service launch announcements and promotions
– Keeps your business culturally relevant with modern content distribution
– Helps develop strategic alliances
– Allows for genuine, grass roots consumer engagement and interaction

Let’s start with the go to platform: Facebook.

1 out of every 7 minutes online is spent on Facebook
The average user spends 7 HOURS A MONTH on Facebook
70% of Facebook news consumers follow links posted by FRIENDS or FAMILY

What’s all this talk about Twitter?

Today there are more than 20 MILLION Twitter users
50% of Twitter users are more likely to purchase from brands they follow
2.1 BILLION of Twitter search engine queries every day

LinkedIN really is helpful for your business networking.

LinkedIN is the world’s largest professional networking site
A new member joins LinkedIN every second and ½ are outside of the USA

The bottom line is that Social Media can be simple, accessible, affordable, scalable and effective. Everything a business could want in a strategic marketing solution can be achieved through Social Media, which is why every major company in the world promotes and uses Social Media as a cornerstone of their strategy. The real question you should be asking yourself is not whether you can afford Social Media, it is can you really afford to not be on Social Media.

Schedule a free consultation today, and we can explore how Social Media can work for you!

8 Marketing Budget Templates

By | Resource | No Comments

Let’s face it: executing a successful marketing plan requires time, energy, and MONEY.

And with so many different facets of marketing to consider, from branding and creative, to product marketing, to hosting events, your marketing budget can disappear unbelievably quickly.
If you’ve ever gotten to the end of the month, quarter, or year and thought to yourself, “What the heck did I spend all that money on?” Hubspot has the perfect resource for you: a collection of 8 marketing budget templates that will help you better manage your marketing spend.

You’ll be able to track expenses for:

Events

Branding & Creative

Content

Paid Advertising

Product Marketing

Public Relations

Website Redesign

Hubspot has provided a Master Template, where you can manage all of your marketing budget in one place at the monthly/quarterly level. Check it out! 

Something New

By | Inspiration | No Comments

You cant just ask your customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.

– Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple

Amazing post with all the goodies

By | Food for thought | No Comments

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No Hidden Tricks

By | Inspiration | No Comments

There are no magic wands, no hidden tricks, and no secret handshakes that can bring you immediate success, but with time, energy, and determination you can get there.

– Darren Rowse, Founder of Problogger

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By | Dining | No Comments

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