Thursday, December 20, 2012

Local Listings and SEO

Need to improve your local business listings online so potential customers can find you?

Check out Simply enter your business name and zip code to find out which where your company is currently listed and where to add it. According to, by claiming your listings, you'll have more control over how search engines index you and you'll improve your ranking and traffic.  Find lots of local SEO articles and advice at too.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Live Twitter Chat: Rev Up Your Holiday Marketing

You're Invited to a Live Twitter Chat

Holiday Marketing Ideas for Your Business
Who: Hosted by Jocelyn Murray @jocelyn_mktg

What: The holiday season is the busiest time of year for many companies. Restaurants, retail stores, salons and many service based businesses earn a majority of their income during the holidays. Join our Live Twitter chat for some marketing, advertising and social media ideas that will help you maximize your business' success during the holiday season. Live Q & A too.

No registration required. You just need to login to your Twitter account to participate.

When: Thursday, 11/15 7-8pm EST

Where: On Twitter~ Search for Hashtag: #holidaymarketing and follow me @jocelyn_mktg

Sunday, October 28, 2012

How Color Impacts Your Company's Branding

There are several large companies that can be identified just by their brand colors or color combinations. When you think Home Depot, you automatically think orange. Mention Dunkin Donuts and everyone can visualize the exact pink and orange hues in their logo. See a brown truck pulling into the driveway, you know it is UPS even before you see the name on the vehicle. Smaller businesses can learn a lesson from these corporate giants by using color effectively and strategically in their brand messaging. A brand’s strength lies in its ability to pop and which colors you chose for your business is an important decision

I like to chose interesting and unique color combinations when designing a company logo. It really makes a business stand out from a crowd and get noticed in today’s competitive marketplace. For instance, not every attorney has to have navy or burgundy logos. There are lots of green or grey hues that are not only professional and conservative but striking as well. Think outside the box! Dare I even say that a regal purple would work quite well too! You may be surprised. If the corporate symbol is very conservative, interesting colors might be just the thing to kick it up a notch so people take notice. Conversely, if the design is a little more bold, I would probably suggest a more conservative color palette. It is all about the balance - looking professional yet forward thinking.

I also advise clients to use their brand colors on everything that they put in front of clients or potential clients to achieve the highest impact. If it is a professional office, then make sure your colors are consistant on all stationery, brochures, and direct mail. Tie in the colors to your email marketing and website too. If your business is retail or restaurant use the colors in the decor, on shopping bags, menus, uniforms and promotional items too. Stay away from any colors that your biggest competitors are using to avoid any confusion.

Make sure that your color selection for your brand is appropriate for your company. It's hard to envision a sunny yellow being appropriate for a funeral home or a drab brown for a restaurant. There are all types of data available on the psychological responses to colors but keep in mind that color is also very subjective and not everyone has the same responses. Also, the hue and intensity of a color can make all the difference. When you think green you might think nature and calmness, but if it is a neon green it can be quite jarring and have the opposite effect.

Color selection is vital when branding your company, but be aware that even the best color choices will not save a logo that is poorly designed. In preliminary design concept meetings with clients, I always prefer to show clients designs in black and white first. If the concept works great in black and white (which is important for faxes, newspaper ads etc.) then color selection becomes the icing on the cake. Plan something delicious with your branding and people will take notice!

By guest blogger Michele Kelly
Principal of Graphicways Design
Orange, CT

Friday, September 14, 2012

Make Your Social Media Marketing Work Harder

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your online marketing efforts:

1. Create Customer Centered Content
Plan and create content based on your goals and vision that will entice your audience to engage.
• Make it relevant
• Use content that's conversational and personal
• Solve customer problems
• Encourage participation
• Create a strong call to action

2. Get Visual
Pictures and videos can be even more effective than words when it comes to social networks. From images of your products to video snippets of a demonstration or class, visuals can tell a story or illustrate a product or service benefit effectively. Frequently updated photos and videos can also improve your search engine optimization.

3. Blog
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. In addition to improving your search engine optimization, companies that blog generate 88% more leads per month than those who do not. Companies who blog have 55% more web site visitors according to Hubspot.

4. Integration
Integrate your social media efforts with email and other marketing tools. Include your social media icons as well as social sharing options in all your email marketing. Encourage your audience to connect with you on multiple platforms to maximize your exposure!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Five Tips to Extend the Life of your Press Release

If you're looking to extend the life span and get the most publicity from your next press release, here are a few ideas on how:

1) Tweet about it and link to the release over the next few weeks. Don't forget to use relevant hashtags so more eye will see your tweets.

2) In addition to a paid wire service (PR Web, Business Wire, etc.) send it out via all the free press release services too ( or

3) Comment on blogs that cover your press release's topic matter and include a link to your press release.

4) Email your release to all relevant media contacts and bloggers. Don't forget to include a introductory note about why your information is something their readers will want to know about.

5) Refer to and link to your press releases in your blog postings.

Do you have other ways that you extend the life of your press release? Add your comments here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Social Media Musts for your Trade Show Exhibit

Increase activity at your next trade show booth by incorporating social media into your exhibit marketing campaign. A press interview, increased traffic and even sales can all happen as a result!

Here are a few social media musts to incorporate into your pre-show plans:

1. "Follow" and "Like" the show/conference on Twitter and Facebook so you're in tune with all that's scheduled for the show especially any marketing/promotional activities for exhibitors.

2. Use and follow the show/conference hashtag (#) on Twitter. Use the hashtag in all of your Tweets related to the show. Periodically search on the hashtag to see what other exhibitors will be there and what the attendees are saying so you can be ready to meet their needs.

3. Finalize and schedule your show posts. Here are some suggestions of what to announce in your posts:

Reminders of your booth number and location
Scheduled dinners, cocktail hours, meet ups or other events for attendees
Special offers or promotions for show attendees

4. During the show, post photos or video of your exhibit, demonstrations or other activities! Continue to share useful information about what's going on at the show for those who couldn't make it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Twitter Trends: Are You Marketing with Hashtags?

If you're a devoted Twitter user, you know all about hashtags. If not, you've heard of them and may be wondering what the buzz is all about. Twitter's hashtag or # symbol can be used to highlight keywords or topics in your Tweets. You can insert hashtags anywhere in your Tweet.

People use the hashtag symbol # before relevant keywords (no spaces) in their Tweet to categorize Tweets and help them show more easily in a Twitter Search. For example if you search in Twitter on #jobs, you will see all the recent Tweets that have include that hashtag and are relevant to the word "jobs". Hashtags help other Twitter users find information on a particular topic.

Check out to find out which hashtags are searched on the most. Or create your own hashtag. For example, come up with an original hashtag associated with an upcoming business event. All interested and participating parties (attendees, speakers, moderators, event organizers) can use this special hashtag in their related Tweets and it provides real time feedback and information for anyone who searches on it.

Hashtags are in commercials, print ads and now they're even painted on football fields. Incorporate hashtags into your tweets to be noticed, collaborate with others and to reach a specific audience.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spread Your Message Door to Door

If you're a restaurant, salon, grocer, doctor or any retail business, you should know about USPS' Every Door Direct Mail Program.

Put your flier in the mailbox of every residential or business addresses in your neighborhood, city or region without purchasing lists! It's a easy and cost efficient way to build traffic, find new customers and increase revenue!

Simply define who you want to reach (by zip code, city, etc.)

Vendors like Marketing & Event Resources can create/print your 8.5 x 11 two sided flyer-(try a coupon, offer or announcement), bundle it and deliver to the post office. Postage is only .142 per piece.

Great way to reduce your direct mail costs!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sales Tools: Three Simple Methods for Sales Success

Welcome Guest Blogger: Traci O'Brien

As a sales professional, I recently attended my yearly sales conference in Indianapolis and came back renewed. refreshed and further determined to succeed using three tried and true methods– Listen Better, Be The Expert and Give 'Em What They Want!

Sometimes I feel as if the art of listening has fallen by the wayside. With life being so busy it is very easy to be distracted (Oh look… shiny!). However, when dealing with a customer it is critical to be PRESENT and LISTEN. You need to listen in order to gather all the facts so you can help a customer but it also shows them that you are interested in them and that their business is important to you. The last person they want to do business with is someone who is making something or someone else a priority when they are supposed to be listening.

Be the Expert
Customers want to do business with an expert. Your expertise offers clients reassurance in their buying decisions. We are all experts in our field to varying degrees. The old adage, “fake it 'til you make it” can only get you so far. Know your core products. It’s ok to NOT have all the answers. Just know exactly where to find them should someone ask a question that you don’t have the answer to.

Give 'Em What They Want
Consumers want to buy what everybody else has. Have you ever gone shopping for a new home appliance? You see fifteen different refrigerators and you decide on the one that’s out of stock. It must be the best one. Everyone wants it so we want it too! Making a decision is hard for most people but if you have listened well and given them your expert advice you can help them make a well informed, educated decision on what is best for them.

By Traci O'Brien, Independent Sales Rep
For more information on individual health insurance or health care reform, visit

Monday, March 5, 2012

Leveraging LinkedIn for Business Growth

While most of us have profiles on LinkedIn, have you ever wondering if you're using this social media tool to its fullest? Many of us continue to build 'Contacts' on LinkedIn but rarely utilize them for referrals, introductions, conversations and other ways to expand our businesses.

Here are a few ways you can utilize LinkedIn as a sales, marketing and business development tool:

1. Complete your profile
Has LinkedIn rated your profile 100% complete? If not, take the opportunity to get your message across by filling in all aspects of your profile. Give people a reason to want to connect with you. Include the keywords and terms that your potential prospects would use when searching to find your services or products.

2. Join Groups
Groups are a good way to find and communicate with qualified prospects. Join groups that have the same professional, affiliations, goals or interests as you. Try creating a new group if you can't find one that suits your needs.

3. Prospecting
Are you looking for a specific person to connect with? Maybe you're looking for prospects in a certain industry or others with a specific title? Check out LinkedIn's Search field in the upper right hand corner. Clicked on the "Advanced" button and check out all the options you have to search the LinkedIn member database! Search by title, zip code, industry, etc. to find prospects.

LinkedIn will show you any "shared connections" you have with these prospects to possibly facilitate an introduction. Leverage your current connections to add more.

4. Events
Post any kind of event on LinkedIn to increase visibility. Click on 'Events' under the 'More' tab on the LinkedIn home page to create your event. Include as many details as possible and a link to where people can register. Use the 'Share This Event' tool to post your event on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The best news is you can go beyond simply posting info in your newsfeed hoping people will see it. Now you can send your event info to your Groups, or any individuals you're connected with in a personalized message.

If you personally engage with your network on LinkedIn, you'll find the value in the individual and company information it holds for your business.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Facebook 2012 Update: Summary of Mari's Smith's Webinar

If you didn't catch Facebook Expert Mari Smith's webinar yesterday on Facebook 2012, here are some of the high points to get you caught up.

Mari recommends that these "to do's" are on your daily Facebook checklist:
• Check your Business Page hidden posts (click on Wall to see them). These are typically spam but check here often so you don't miss an important message.
• Respond to comments and questions promptly (within hours not days).
• Check out Insights to see your page metrics. See which posts are being viewed the most and how many Engaged Users you have. Use this information to gauge what posts draw the most attention.

She threw out a lot of random tips such as:
• Try to "edutain" which is to provide quality content in a fun, engaging way.
• Use all of your other social media networks to grow your Facebook page.
• Short status updates have better engagement rates than longer ones.
• Increase your "shares" and it will increase your page's visibility.

Mari offered an interesting tidbit of what's coming soon on Facebook:
• One to one email capability to your fans (they're testing or rolling out this functionality in Asia now). This can really change the way businesses use Facebook to market directly to their followers.

Hope these help you to use Facebook more effectively for your business!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Can You Use Pinterest to Help your Business?

Have you heard of Pinterest, a pin board social media network that's growing and getting a lot of attention? Pinterest is an invitation only site where members "pin" or tag images of their favorite or important things. Members create various boards based on a theme or topic (food, travel, decor, etc.) and pin images to them. Members can follow each other and "like" or "repin" (share) images on their own boards.

The site has become popular among women so if females are your business' target market, Pinterest is the place to be. If you have a very visual product and can entice customers with images, Pinterest may help your marketing efforts. While the site discourages outright product promotion, businesses are using the site to drive traffic to websites, execute contests or just be a source of inspiration.

Read American Express Open Forum's recent tips article with lots of links to Pinterest pages of popular brands.

Can this site be useful to your business? Please share if your business is using Pinterest and how.