Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Is Your Contact Information Easy to Find?

Have you ever gotten really frustrated when you're looking for contact information for a vendor, client or a local business online and can't find it?  Don't risk losing valuable business by making it difficult for people to communicate with you: include your contact information in as many places as possible! 

In addition to your business card and brochures, here's a list of online places to include your contact info to ensure that you'll be found:

1) Web Site
Your phone number should be readily available on every page of your website, especially your homepage, in addition to your contact page. Be sure all of your contact details (phone, email, location/address) are on your 'Contact Us' page.  If you use a contact form, also include your email address as an optional way to connect.

2) Google My Business
Register your business with Google so you're easily found when someone does a search.  Be sure to complete your entire listing so all of your business information can be distributed across all Google products (Google+, Google Search, Google Maps, etc.)

3) Social Media Sites
Every social media site is different but check each one of yours(Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.) and be sure your contact information is complete and easy to find.

4) e-Newsletters
Your email newsletter probably contains lots of useful information and links but does it include your contact info to allow clients and prospects to easily reach out to you?

5) Email Signature
Create an email signature that contains your company name, office and mobile phone numbers, social media links as well as your mailing address.

You can't post your contact info in too many places. Make sure it's everywhere so people don't have to hunt you down!  What other places online should you include your contact details? Comment below.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Six Creative Ways to Make your Grand Opening a Success

When done right, grand openings (or re-openings) can be big attention-getters and can properly introduce your business to the community. A successful grand opening event can effectively launch your business and positively impact your bottom line. But it takes hard work, preparation and strategic promotions to make a grand opening work.  Here are some marketing activities and ideas to help you make that happen:

1. Spread the Word

Beginning a month prior to the event, send timely emails, fliers and personal invitations and use social media posts and ads (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) to announce the opening.  Be sure your website is ready to go and create a video for YouTube that acts as a teaser ad for the grand opening. 
2. Traffic Generating Incentives

In conjunction with the grand opening, offer special incentives for customers who shop during the grand opening or within a short time period. Create loyalty programs that will keep those customers coming back regularly.
3. Use the Media
Send a press release to the local media (Patch, community newspapers) to emphasize what your business will be bringing to the community in the form of jobs or a needed service or product, etc.  Also, issue a media alert inviting the  press to attend your grand opening and include a schedule of activities, key attendees and photo opportunities.

4. Chambers and Mayors Offices

Speaking of photo opportunities, invite your mayor or local officials to participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony or to make an appearance. Also involve your local Chamber of Commerce who will help you spread the word about the event.
 5. Form Partnerships    
 Team up with related or neighboring businesses so that you all can contribute to and benefit from the buzz of your opening.  Create reciprocal marketing partnerships such as flier or newsletter swaps.
6. Be Community-Minded
Is there a way that your event can be tied in with a greater cause? Can your grand opening or event help the local community in some way?  If it can, you're bound to get more attention and publicity.

What other marketing activities have you successfully  implemented for your business' grand opening? Please share your comments below.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Live Tweet Your Next Event to Kick It Up a Notch!

Whether your event is a small local business meeting or a large conference, live tweeting will help to publicize your event, extend your reach and get more followers. Live tweeting at an event is a way to convey minute-by-minute activities as they are happening. It's a great way to communicate what's going on and being said at an event as it unfolds. Live tweeting allows people at the event to really engage and those who aren't there to feel like they are.

Quite a bit of work goes into preparing for live tweeting. Here are a few tips to help you with your next live tweet experience:


Create an event hashtag to help attendees and others track conversations and the event's activities. Do your research to be sure the hashtag you pick is not already being used! Then use the hashtag with every tweet, before, during and after the event. Use the hashtag on pre-event promotional materials and be sure to announce it at the event so people can follow along or post using it.

Pull together a list of the Twitter handles of all the key people associated with the event(speakers, presenters, journalists, influential attendees, etc.).  Save this list to a document that you can easily reference during the event.

Prepare tweets and branded visuals ahead of time. Based on your event schedule and planned content, create tweet drafts so that you aren't scrambling to create all your tweets from scratch during the event.

Make sure you have strong Wi-Fi access and a mobile hotspot to use as backup. Be sure your phone, laptop and all device are charged and bring your chargers.


Provide a tweet narrative that keeps your audience interested in following the action!  Make your tweets concise. Each tweet should make sense out of context.  Focus on quotes, brief sound bites of information, calls for action, photos and videos.

Engage with people who are using your hashtag. Respond to their tweets and retweet them. Start conversations to enhance your event and to get other people interested. Tag the people in all the photos you post to bring even more attention to your tweets.

After the Event

Continue to monitor your hashtag. Days later, your audience could be posting images and feedback that you'll want to respond to or take note of!

What other ways has live tweeting enhanced your events?  Please share by commenting below!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Local Marketing: How to Get your Business Displayed in the Google 3 Pack

When you do a Google search, have you ever noticed the business listings that show at the top of the page? The top three local listings that appear are called the Google 3 Pack.

As a business owner, you understand how vital it is to show up at the top of the first page when people are searching for your products or services in your area. Increasing your visibility via local search results can help you be more competitive. Being in the Google 3 Pack can drive traffic to your website and increase your SEO rankings.
How to Get Your Business in the 3 Pack

The following are some methods for increasing your ranking within a local search:

Local Reviews

            Google’s algorithm is tailored to rank local results, and it’s especially favorable to businesses that have online reviews, as this helps with decision making for buyers. Make sure to encourage your customers to give your business feedback on Google and other sites like Angie’s List, Bing and Yahoo, for example.


            Links to your website can optimize your chances of ranking in the 3 Pack. For every guest blog or blog comment that you write, include a link to your website.  Link to your site from your published articles, interviews, press release and directory listings.

Google My Business

            Manage your online presence in Google Search and Maps by using Google My Business. This is a free tool that allows you to post all your relevant business information to help customers find you more easily in a Google Search.

Other Directory Listings
            Add your business to additional directories like Yelp and Find out which listings are critical for your industry and location. Gradually add your listing to these sites and be sure all information is consistent across the board.

Upcoming Changes in the 3 Pack

            Will the 3 Pack soon be including ads? It looks like this isn’t just a rumor; indeed, the ad will soon show up above two other organic, local listings. This change will likely add financial strains to businesses that haven’t relied on pay per click in the past.

The new phase is still being tested, so it is unclear exactly how this change will appear when Google implements it. However, speculation has shown that paid ads could cause organic listings to have a weaker ranking.

            Appearing in the Google 3 Pack is valuable way to gain local attention. Keep these tips in mind and your chances of appearing in this coveted list will increase.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Local Marketing Musts for your Small Business

If much of your business comes from local customers, then local marketing should be a priority. Even on a limited budget, targeted local marketing initiatives can be some of the best ways to maximize your marketing dollars. Here are five marketing ideas to increase your local presence:

Online Business Listings
Make it easy for people to find you by listing your business with Google My Business. Then you're sure to be located when people search for you on Google Search or Maps. According to ComScore, 78% of local mobile searches resulted in a offline purchase(usually within a few hours). Appearing in a local search can have a direct impact on your business.

In addition to Google, be sure you're listed in all of the other significant online directories including Yahoo, Bing, Yelp and YellowPages (to name a few). Make sure your business listings are complete, correct and consistent on all these major sites.

Also, join your local chamber of commerce to ensure that your business is included in their online directory.

Facebook Local Advertising
Local ads can help you reach your nearby target audiences. Hyper local Facebook advertising is an easy and affordable way to get in front of people in your neighborhood, city or county. Facebook ads ask you to simply enter your business address and the area you want to reach around your business. Your ad featuring a photo and message will be routed to people in that vicinity. Your ad will show up in the Facebook newsfeed of people near your business at any time, on any device.

Ask for Reviews
Let your fans sing your praises- they're your best local advertisement. According to BrightLocal, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Encourage happy customers to review you on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Yahoo!Local or Angie's List. 

Participate in Community Events
Local events can be a worthwhile way to meet potential customers and introduce them to your business offerings.Be sure that your target audience will be in attendance at any events you commit to. Plan out  your marketing strategy ahead of time and ensure proper event staffing, brochures, product samples, ways to capture leads and take payment.

Connect with Local Journalists
If you regularly read the local newspapers, you're probably familiar with the reporters that cover your city or industry.  Make an effort to form professional relationships with these journalists and they may end up reporting positive things about your business. Start by following local reporters on social media including Twitter. Comment on their articles, Retweet or Share their posts/articles and ask questions.  If you periodically provide these journalists with credible, helpful or newsworthy information, you're likely to see the fruits of your labor.

What free or paid methods do you implement in your local marketing efforts? Please share below.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Why Your Business or Nonprofit Needs Email Marketing Now

You've probably heard that email is an inexpensive marketing tool that should be part of your marketing plan and strategy, but maybe you're still on the fence about giving it a try.  Here are some key benefits and statistics that might convince you to include email in your marketing:


Minimal Investment
Email marketing tools, like Constant Contact, provide robust solutions including pre-designed email templates with high functionality built in for an affordable monthly cost.  They offer small businesses the ideal solution for creating professional looking email communications to help you meet your marketing goals.

High ROI
Email offers the highest return in comparison to other marketing channels.  This makes sense because email marketing reaches consumers where they spend much of their time-- looking at their inbox! According to the Direct Marketing Association(DMA), email marketing's return on investment almost $41 per dollar spent compared to social media's ROI of $12.71.  

Easy to Execute
With little design and technical knowledge, creating and sending engaging email campaigns is simple. Intuitive email builders guide you through the creation process so you can produce customized communications to attract new clients and retain your existing ones.

Email Statistics

91% of US adults like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with.
                                                                                                          Marketing Sherpa, 2015

Email is almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping  businesses acquire new customers.        
                                                                                                                McKinsey, 2014

66% of consumers have made a purchase as a result of an email marketing message.
                                                                                                                DMA, 2013

If you're still not sure whether or not to invest part of your marketing budget in email, check out what other small business owners are saying about email. Many have experienced great success. And if your're interested in seeing how it works for yourself, you can try it for free! Start your free 60-day trial of Constant Contact today!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Marketing & Event Resources Named a Constant Contact Certified Solution Provider

Local marketing expert to help small businesses and nonprofits
achieve meaningful marketing results

Marketing & Event Resources in Stratford has been named a Certified Solution Provider by Constant Contact®, Inc., the trusted marketing advisor to more than 650,000 small organizations worldwide.

As a Certified Solution Provider, Marketing & Event Resources has completed the Constant Contact Certification Program which provides training on Constant Contact tools, marketing best practices, and business development. This training imparts industry-leading knowhow on marketing and services to create meaningful results for program participants and the clients that they serve.

"As a longtime Constant Contact Solutions Provider, this new certification will allow my organization to offer additional best practices and knowledge to make the marketing and email campaigns we develop for our clients more productive," said Jocelyn Murray, principal consultant and owner of Marketing & Event Resources. "Email can deliver highly effective results in any organizations' sales, client retention or fundraising efforts."

Marketing & Event Resources helps nonprofit organizations and small and medium size businesses realize the full potential of their online marketing efforts. The company's services include marketing strategy and planning, email marketing, social media and public relations.

“The certification program gives our Solution Providers access to the education that keeps them on the leading edge of marketing best practices,” said Catherine Kniker, chief channel officer and vice president, international, Constant Contact. “By becoming a Certified Solution Provider, Jocelyn has demonstrated her commitment to helping clients succeed by taking proactive steps to grow her marketing skill set.”’

About Marketing & Event Resources

Marketing & Event Resources is a full-service marketing agency founded in 1999. MER works with nonprofits and businesses to help them increase their visibility and revenue through a variety of marketing channels. Clients include Beth-El Center, Junior Achievement of Western CT, Easter Seals Goodwill Industries and many local small businesses. Visit the MER website for more details.

About Constant Contact®, Inc.
Constant Contact introduced the first email marketing tool for small businesses, nonprofits, and associations in 1998.  Today, the company helps more than 650,000 customers worldwide find marketing success through the only all-in-one online marketing platform for small organizations.  Anchored by our world-class email marketing tool, Constant Contact helps small businesses drive repeat business and find new customers. It features multi-channel marketing campaigns (newsletters/announcements, offers/promotions, online listings, events/registration, and feedback) combined with shared content, contacts, and reporting; free award-winning coaching and product support; and integrations with critical business tools – all from a single login. The company’s extensive network of educators, consultants/resellers, technology providers, franchises, and national associations offer further support to help small organizations succeed and grow. Through its Innovation Loft, Constant Contact is fueling the next generation of small business technology.

Constant Contact and the Constant Contact Logo are registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All Constant Contact product names and other brand names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Speaking Opportunities Increase as Events Become the Future of Publishing

Many business leaders speak at targeted events to increase their visibility and credibility in their industry. It's a smart strategy as more and more speaking opportunities appear to be available.

According to HubSpot's Digital Publishing Benchmarks report on the publishing industry, events will play a bigger role in driving their revenue in the near future. With decreasing ad revenues, media companies are shifting their business models. The report says that over one-third of publishers believe events as a revenue stream will increase in value in the next two years.

With these new publisher produced events, comes a plethora of speaking opportunities.  If you're a blogger, contribute to industry publications, or if you're know as an expert in your industry,  this could be an opportunity.  Those with an existing reputation in their industry will definitely have an advantage.

Check out the industry publications and magazines that you read and seek out all the upcoming conferences associated with each. Strong content including information on industry trends will be in demand.

Raise your profile: prepare and seek out the many speaking opportunities opening up in the media world. 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Facebook Page Tips to Organically Improve Reach and Engagement

With 1.59 billion users on Facebook, marketers want to make the most of their Pages and promote their businesses effectively. We're all competing for users' attention and although your Page's overall organic reach has probably declined, there are ways to make the most of your unpaid posts with some simple tips:
  • Like, Comment and Share often
  • Include @tag of other relevant Pages in your posts to extend your reach (business partners, customers, etc.)
  • @Tag individuals in the Comments
  • Post more video
  • Mix up post types: images, memes, text only, questions, article links
  • Post pics of staff so followers can get to know you better
  • Post outside of business hours (evenings, Saturday and Sunday)
  • Post when the majority of your fans are online (refer to FB Insights)
  • Use a Call to Action in posts ("Tell us in the Comments", "Click Like if you...", "Please share")
  • Plan and arrange all of your upcoming posts using Facebook Scheduler.
  • Update the FB Cover Photo to reflect current campaign and upcoming 
  • Create events on FB and invite all followers
    • One to two months ahead of engagement, post who, what, when, and why info and links to web pages with details and registrations info
  • Build community: Ask Fans to share their photos on your Page
For help with your Facebook Page or other social media, contact Jocelyn Murray at 203.377.9980.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

10 Twitter Best Practices to Grow your Business

Twitter is a strong social media network for driving traffic to your website and for finding and engaging with key people in your industry or community.  Here are ten easy-to-implement best practices, tactics and ideas to make the most of Twitter for your business.

1. Curate good content through original info and retweets.

2. Tweet or retweet 2-6 times daily, throughout the entire day.

3. Tweet outside business hours-- on weekends and in the evenings.

4. Include links in most tweets (to drive traffic to your website). Check to be sure the links aren't broken.

5. Use relevant, researched hashtags (two per tweet).

6. Include images in your tweets to get noticed.

7. Review your new followers regularly. Engage with influential people who have a strong network.

8. Create custom images for important stats and inspirational quotes (Use free tools such as, or

9. Comment, Retweet or Favorite relevant Tweets  of those who you are most interested in reading and those you want to follow you (create a list of people and organizations you want to interact with).

10. Engage and network with your key influencers (clients, prospects, journalists, community leaders).

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Marketing Trends To Look for in 2016

A new year means new trends in the marketing industry. Keeping up with new but proven marketing tools and strategies is a key to running a successful business. Keep reading to find out some of the top trends that experts say will be widely popular in 2016!

Use of Video. Businesses are hiring professional videographers to create video content for marketing purposes. In addition, quality cameras in smartphones allow marketing departments to create their own video for content, especially for blogging.
Promotional videos are key to attracting new customers. Compared to infographics or pictures, video content offers the audience an interactive look at the company or its products. Videos are more attention grabbing and entertaining, and have proven to draw in potential customers. According to Microsoft, 58% of consumers better trust companies who produce video content. According to Unbounce, using video on landing pages can increase conversions by 80%. Also, 59% of senior executives prefer to watch video over reading text, according to Forbes.

Mobile Marketing. Converting your company’s online presence so that it is accessible on mobile devices is crucial. In today’s society, people are obsessed with their smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. Making your company’s website compatible for mobile devices ensures that users will have a readable, usable site, free of frustrations like having to zoom in to read the content! 
Additionally, a mobile-friendly website will increase your search engine optimization.  If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, Google’s search engine will penalize you which could impact your rankings.

Social Media. Creating a profile for your business on social media, whether it be Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, opens up entirely new channels to market your company. Be sure to create a social media strategy and plan that provides structure and a return on your social media efforts.  Also, continue to evaluate new social media. There are a few new social media outlets that became popular in 2015 that experts predict will be big in the marketing industry this year. Snapchat, for example, provides consumers with content in real time. After 24 hours, that content disappears. According to, exclusive content with an expiration makes consumers feel more connected and unique.

Retain Clients with Rewards. According to Microsoft, consumers love being rewarded for good behavior. For example, 37% of Millennials are “strongly motivated” by devices, apps, and companies that reward them with loyalty points. Giving your customers an incentive to take an action is always a good way to encourage them to get involved and interact on a more personal level. For example, try offering a coupon code or a discount on a product or service to anyone who tweets at your company using a hashtag related to a campaign you’re trying to promote.

These are just a few marketing developments to experiment with in 2016. Comment below the trends you think will become popular this year!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Need a Makeover in 2016? Five Ways to Refresh Your Marketing

by Guest Blogger, Michele Kelly, owner of GraphicWays Design

If you can't recall the last time your revamped your brochures, signs or website, you might not be properly conveying your message, product benefits or brand and missing out on valuable sales opportunities.

Savvy businesses realize that in order to attract more clients, contemporary, updated marketing materials that best communicate your products or services can give you an advantage.  While there might not be a budget for a total overhaul, a timely review of your critical marketing tools is a must. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

1. Logo
Is your logo still relevant and does it reflect your brand?
Are the colors and typefaces stuck in a time warp?
Is your logo geared toward your target audience?

2. Brochures
Have you added new products or services?
Does your current brochure look dated?
Is there a call to action in your sales material?

3. Website
Is your website mobile friendly?
Are you getting found in search engines?
Is your site optimized for a wider format?

4. Stationery
Has your company changed address or phone numbers?
Is your website listed on your letterhead?
Are your business cards impressive and unique?

5. Email Marketing
Missing an opportunity by not utilizing your email lists?
Do your emails end up in a client or prospects spam folder? 
Are you getting good open and click through rates?

Remember to review and understand what marketing campaigns have worked in the past. This will better enable you to recreate your marketing for the new year to wake up and re-energize your business!