Thursday, December 19, 2013
Your customers and prospects are savvy buyers but they're bombarded by tons of marketing messages from vendors like you. Your success as a small business can hinge on the quality of your marketing materials (brochures, Web sites, newsletters, blogs, etc.) and how well they communicate the benefits of your products or services.
Many marketing pieces don't work well because they are written from the company's perspective and not from the buyer's. Your potential customers are interested in finding out "what's in it for them?". What problem will you be solving, what process will you make easier, or what benefit will the customer derive from doing business with you? Keep it simple, straightforward and avoid industry jargon or overly complicated explanations.
While your marketing materials may be well written, if they're poorly designed, it may render them difficult to read , unattractive and useless. Smart design and good layout can make a positive first impression and make the material easier to read. All materials, from your Web site to sales flyers, should be complimentary in their look and feel and convey that they're part of the same "family". Include the cost of professional design services into your marketing budget.
Never overlook opportunities that allow you to build credibility or to become a source of knowledge in your marketplace. Try writing and submitting articles to an industry magazine on hot topics. Or provide your prospect and client databases with a monthly newsletter of tips, links and useful information. By providing consistent advice or information you'll quickly become an expert in your market.
Tips to Follow
Well written, effective marketing tools that reflect your business' branding can be a big asset. In addition to staying away from the problems listed above, here are a few tips to keep in mind in order to create winning marketing materials:
1) Know your target audience and speak directly to them Have a clear and concise understanding of who your ideal customers are, their likes, dislikes, attitudes and behaviors. This knowledge will help you improve your marketing focus and communication effectiveness.
2) Sell benefits, not features One marketing expert said it best: "Why is it better to offer problem-solving information than a straight sales pitch? Because nobody who bought a drill wanted a drill. They wanted a hole." Selling solutions or ways to solve problems is the key to compelling marketing or sales copy. Put yourself in your clients' shoes and imagine what information they would be interesting in hearing about your products or services. Eliminate the word "we" from your copy and include plenty of "you" and "your".
3) Include a call to action Never assume that prospects will take action without being prompted. Always include a call to action throughout your copy, whether it's on your Web site, in a print ad or brochure. Your call to action can be as simple as "Call today", "Hurry, offer expires soon" or offering a free gift if prospects act by a certain date.
Don't undervalue the power of your marketing materials. When done right, the results can really make a difference for your business.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Monday, November 25, 2013
Here are some ideas for developing creative, valuable email content so you can connect with your audience:
•Share your expertise
You are an expert (at least your customers think of you that way). Share your expertise by writing articles, tips, or by answering customer questions.
•Use facts & testimonials
Facts about your products or your industry, quotes from customers, stories about their experiences and even advice from your customers can be effective.
Links give your audience the opportunity to interact with your message. Point them to a web page, blog, email address or a PDF.
•Offer discounts & coupons
Discounts, coupons, contests can work for the right audiences.
•Encourage exclusivity & VIP status
Upscale hotels often offer special privileges and rewards to their most esteemed, frequent customers. People love exclusivity: remind customers of how special they are to you, treat them like VIPs and watch your ROI grow.
Give away a free product or service to everyone who responds or to one contest winner.
Remember: your email has to contain something that's worthwhile or useful to your audience. Some respond to coupons and discounts while others care about information and knowledge. Determine what motivates your audience and is useful to them and that could be a key to your email success.
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
1. Pursue repeat business from existing customers by offering them specials, free shipping and secret sales.
2. Bundle products or services to create holiday "packages" to sell more.
3. Now's the time to post your holiday tips, advice or gift ideas on social media (use lots of pics and video). This timely info will get you noticed on your social sites.
4. Attract new customers by offering holiday specials on daily deal sites such as Groupon and Amazon Local. Extend discounts on high margin products or services.
5. Target local customers through print ads in newspapers (always include a coupon!). For easy local online advertising for small businesses, check out Google Adwords Express.
6. Send a press release to local media with your business' holiday related tips. Follow up with a phone call to the editor/reporter you emailed the information to and you'll increase your odds of getting it published.
7. Give affordable gifts to your best customers or throw an open house/holiday party for all your customers and business partners.
Need more marketing ideas or help putting together your business' holiday campaigns? Contact me to set up a complimentary consultation to see how I can help!
Monday, September 30, 2013
While Facebook often changes the factors that determine what's seen in the NewsFeed, the bottom line is that if no one interacts on your Page it won't get much NewsFeed visibility.
So what are the best ways to make your Page active and maximize your posts' effectiveness?
1.Pay Attention to EdgeRank
According to Facebook's recent announcement, they've changed the NewsFeed EdgeRank algorithm based these factors: whether or not people "hide" your content, if your Fans overlap with those of other high quality Pages and if your content is Shared often. Facebook is encouraging Pages to consistently produce interesting content that your audience responds to so keep this in mind when you post.
2. Experiment with Paid Features on Facebook
Use Promoted Posts and Sponsored Stories to increase visibility and interaction of your posts. For a small fee (as low as $5) you can use Promoted Posts to ensure that a greater number of your fans and their friends will see a specific post.
With Sponsored Stories, you can pay to highlight something that happened on your Page. The most common Sponsored Stories are Page Like announcements, Offer Claims or Check-Ins. For instance, Bath & Body Works did a Sponsored Story to highlight that a Fan took advantage of their Free Aromatherapy Lotion offer. The goal of Sponsored Stories is to get more of your Fans to take the same action.
3. Use Photos
Recent research says that there's more fan engagement from photos than videos, links or text. Try including a photo with every post and see if your stats go up. If you don't have a photo, try using a cartoon/caption for Someecards or other humorous e-card sites.
Monday, September 23, 2013
As a Constant Contact Solutions Provider I've got more ways than ever to help your business succeed.
I can help you develop additional strategies to engage with your prospects, customers, clients or members wherever they are. From their inbox to online, I can consult and support you when you need to:
Email Marketing- Social Campaigns- EventSpot- Online Survey and more!
Contact Jocelyn for more details: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Through technology and social media networks, your customers and prospects are connected with each other and they're empowered with a host of resources to guide them through a buying process. As a marketer, you can use social media channels to facilitate word of mouth, engage in two way conversations and to extend your marketing reach and impact sales. Here's how:
Plan and create content based on your goals and vision that will tempt your audience to engage. Use blog articles, videos, surveys, podcasts, and links to useful information to draw clients in.
Remember to use content that is conversational and personal. Relevant content drives conversation and engages prospects and customers. Offer tips, suggestions, and techniques to solve your customers problems. Encourage clients to participate by giving feedback and offering their suggestions.
Adding pictures and videos can be even more effective than using text when it comes to social networking. From images of product to video snippets, visuals can tell a story or illustrate a product or service benefit effectively. Frequently updated photos and videos can greatly improve your SEO.
Blogging allows you to become a thought leader and provides a voice for your campaign. Use content and conversation that speaks to the needs of prospects and customers. According to HubSpot,"Companies that blog generate 88% more leads per month than those who do not. Companies who blog have 55% more web site visitors.”
Be sure to include social sharing and social connection options in your email. This is critical in order to extend the reach of your emails. Remember, the more people that share your email, the greater potential you have for opens, clicks, and conversations. Encourage your audience to connect with you on other social media platforms, so that you expand your contacts and gain new subscribers.
For more useful marketing ideas and tips, go to my web site to sign up for the Marketing Matters monthly email newsletter.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Thursday, August 15, 2013
After several years bumbling around on social media, Fortune 500 companies are seemingly climbing aboard and approaching the usage levels of their more nimble INC 500 brethren.
That is one of the conclusions of a new report out of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research. The center has been conducting this type of research since 2008. A few of the report highlights:
Twitter on the rise77% of the Fortune 500 companies have an active Twitter account, leading all other social media platforms. This is an increase over 70% in 2012.
The Wall of Shame: Five of the 2013 F500 companies had Twitter accounts with no activity on them: CF Industry Holdings, Joy Global, Laboratory Corp. of America, O’Reilly Automotive and Omnicare.
Corporate Blogs surgingIn 2013, 171 companies (34%) had corporate blogs, showing the largest increase in use of this platform since the study began in 2008.
The F500 is still far behind INC 500 companies (44% have blogs), non-profits (63% have blogs) and universities at 66%.
Facebook up 4%348 companies (70%) are now on Facebook. This represents a 4% increase since last year. Nine of the top 10 companies (WalMart, Chevron, Phillips 66, Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, General Motors, General Electric, Valero Energy and Ford Motors) have Facebook pages. Exxon does not.
The percent of corporations with Facebook pages varies by industry with Retail (96%), and Telecomm (88%) leading the way. Utilities (44%) and Automotive (40%) are laggards.
Google+ and othersPinterest has grown in membership since its public debut in 2010 and is showing up in the F500. In 2012, 11 (2%) F500 companies had Pinterest accounts. This year that number has grown to 45 companies or 9%. Half of the top 10 ranked companies have Pinterest boards.
69% of the F500 have YouTube accounts, a 7% increase from last year. YouTube is as popular with the F500 as Facebook. Berkshire Hathaway is the only company ranked in the top 10 without its own YouTube channel.
Google+ was included in the study for the first time. Although 35% of the F500 have accounts, more than half of them are inactive. The university noted that this is the only platform where companies generally have accounts but no activity.
Any comments or surprises on this data?
Thursday, August 8, 2013
If your company is launching a public relations campaign or pursuing any type of media coverage, a media kit is an easy, efficient way to introduce people to your business.
A media kit is simply an information packet about your business and products/services that is used to let the media and prospects know who you are. Consider developing an online media kit as a page on your web site that might include such items as:
· Company mission statement - What's the purpose of your organization?
· Company profile/overview- Provide a description of your company, some background information and contact information.
· Bios of key management personnel- Introduce the owner and executives of the organization.
· Product or service fact sheet- Supply a concise overview of your products or services. For lengthier explanations, include links to PDFs or web pages that contain further details.
· Copies of recent press coverage- Post links to recent mentions, interviews or other media coverage. Keep this updated and add to it as your business has more visibility in the news.
· Press releases- Show recent press releases as a introduction to the latest news and growth of your organization.
· Testimonials- Share what your customers or partners are saying about your products, services or business.
Be sure that all components of your media list can be printed or downloaded (PDF format is preferable). Keep your media kit updated and current so it can accurately showcase your business.
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Be sure to create a profile including your name, occupation, and education, along with your interests and places you have lived. Having a complete profile will increase interactions for you and will make it much easier for other Google+ users to find you. Use the “Suggestions” found in the right hand column to discover more people you are likely to know or share similar interests with.
Create differentiated content – don’t simply post the same things that you post on Twitter and Facebook. Remember to play to your company’s strengths and do something different to gain the attention of other users
It is important to spend some time commenting and “+’ing” on the streams of people that you would like to create connections with. Become an active member of Google+. The more you partake in Google+, the most other users will “Circle” you and start sharing content with you.
Google+ Local Substitutes Google Places
Google recently announced that it is replacing Google Places with Google+ Local pages. Consumers now have the ability to view more in-depth local business data, along with Zagat ratings, for a richer Google search experience. It will also offer Google+ users the ability to submit their own reviews and view what places their friends are visiting.
This new version allows local businesses to upload photos that will show up on the Map, along with special offers to invite users to visit their company.
5 Tips for Using Google+
1. Build circles, big and small
2. Create a memorable “About” Tab (so that more people add you to their circle)
3. Join as many Hangouts as possible
4. Give attention-grabbing posts a “+1” (so you can meet new people who share the same interests)
5. Honor your clients and customers, rather than only promoting your business
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Studies show that Google+ is the 2nd largest social platform with 359 million active users and has grown 33% in the past year. Google+ is becoming a social media giant, where users can share content and increase the chances of their information appearing on the first few pages of Google's "search results."
So where do you begin?
Use the "Find People" search box to explore names, companies, topics, and places to discover people you may know. Once you have connected with other users, create groups for your new contacts called "Circles." No one can see which circle you put them in; it is simply a way to personalize your stream. Create a "Bookmark" or "Favorites" circle to save preferred posts.
Most importantly for businesses is the +1 button. This is a great way to show your approval of a contact's post and effectively endorse their photo, video, or other content as a quality piece of information. This could also lead to more people adding you to their circles.
What are the benefits of having a Google+ Account?
You can use the Communities feature to interact with potential customers, people of interest, and influencers. This feature allows groups to form around common interests.
I like the "Hangouts" feature best because it is something completely unique to Google+ where you can create a panel discussion for business meetings or demonstrations by simply using your webcam. Save your recorded hangout videos and share them on your website, YouTube channel, or Google+ profile.
Any content that your business shares on your Google+ page will show up in related Google searches. This could dramatically boost your company’s online search ranking.
Friday, May 31, 2013
Plan and create content based on what you think will entice your audience to engage.
As you go about your typical work week, keep a list handy where you can jot down content ideas that cross your mind. So many things, such as work challenges or mistakes, can make for great content if you're on the lookout.
How are you solving customer problems? You offer tips, suggestions and techniques regularly- how can you turn that information into a blog or a post?
Poll Your Social Media Followers
Set alerts for words or topics related to your industry or niche. By monitoring the news and other sources, you can find new ideas and inspiration.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Promote Your Brand and Campaigns
Create a Tab that prompts visitors to "Like" your Page in order to download information, enter a contest or see a video. Use Tabs to make special offers that tie in with your current campaigns. I've seen restaurants drive traffic to a Tab that offers a free appetizer for all who "Like" their Page. Link prospects directly to your custom Tab through your Facebook ads, Tweets or other social media posts.
As I did on my Facebook Page, use Tabs to build your email list. My "Join My List" Tab encourages all my Facebook visitors to sign up for my marketing tips emails. To encourage action on other social media pages, see how I set up a Tab that links to a sampling of my Twitter account and encourages people to follow me there too.
Tabs can be used for almost anything. See how brands like Coca Cola and Target use Tabs for creative ideas.
Check out applications such as ShortStack which let you easily create your custom Tabs to meet specific needs. Or let us help you incorporate Tabs into your next marketing campaign.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Many people ask, "What should I write about?" With some planning, it's easy to identify topics and ideas by simply paying attention to the questions you get asked every day.
To get started, contact Jocelyn today.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
If you are using your Facebook personal profile to promote a business you could risk having your page shut down by Facebook (it's in violation of their rules). But you're also missing out on the tools and capabilities that are only offered to Pages for business. Here are a few:
1. Facebook Insights
5. Manage your Page with Admins
Give employees or social media consultants access to help manage your business' Page by making each of them an Admin. With Profiles, you must give out your personal login and password in order to give access to your page.
There are many other benefits of using a Page for business vs. using a personal Profile. Click here for more information on Pages from Facebook. Comment here with your thoughts.