Tag Archives: marketing

4 Marketing Resolutions to Make This Year

I’m catching up on email as the snow falls here and I wait until 2pm to close the office and head home during a storm break.  While reading my Small Business Administration newsletter, I found an article that read as if I wrote it!  Since I didn’t, I’m snerching it for today’s blog post and sharing it with all of you.

Here is the bottom line:  you must market your business.    YOU.MUST.MARKET.YOUR.BUSINESS.

This post is from Rieva Lesonsky  The “I” referenced below is she (Rieva) not me (Cheryl). Ms. Lesonsky is an expert, Ms Detrick is a learner!  She is CEO and President of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva at Twitter.com/Rieva and visit SmallBizDaily.com to sign up for her free TrendCast reports. She’s been covering small business and entrepreneurial issues for more than 30 years, is the author of several books about entrepreneurship and was the editorial director of Entrepreneur magazine for over two decades.

If there’s one area of operations most small businesses can stand to improve, it’s marketing. As a small business expert, I get more questions about marketing than any other aspect of business—and it’s been that way for the last 30 years. Since the New Year is all about improving oneself, how about making some marketing resolutions for your business? Here are four to consider.

  1. I resolve to make a marketing plan. Many small business owners market haphazardly, throwing time and money at one marketing method and then, when it doesn’t pay off immediately, switching gears to the “next big thing.” This scattershot approach does nothing but waste your resources and leave you frustrated and frazzled, convinced that marketing doesn’t pay off. Instead, resolve to sit down and set goals for your marketing this year. What exactly do you want to accomplish—more leads, more sales closed, more inquiries? Once you’ve got goals on paper, figure out the marketing methods that are most likely to get those desired results. Finally, figure out how you’ll track results from each marketing method so you can see what’s really working.
  1. I resolve to market consistently. It’s easy to fall into the trap of marketing only when you’ve got the “spare” time for it (which often means “never”). Or maybe you market wildly right before your busy season, then do nothing for months on end. As a result, your sales pipeline slows down. Keep your pipeline full by marketing consistently all year long. That doesn’t mean you need the same level of marketing year-round—for instance, a toy retailer would obviously market more before and during the holiday shopping season than in, say, July—but it does mean you need some level of marketing all year. Create a marketing calendar that sets out what you’ll do each month and breaks it down further into weekly and even daily marketing efforts. Then put someone in charge of making sure it’s all carried out.
  1. I resolve to keep learning new things. Is your marketing stuck in the past? Advertising only in the print Yellow Pages might work if your clientele is solely seniors…and even seniors are increasingly going online to find businesses instead of letting their fingers do the walking. If you want your business to grow, you’ve got to keep up with the (marketing) times. Resolve to regularly read industry blogs and publications, attend networking events and conferences, and take webinars and seminars to learn more about new marketing trends and how they’re affecting your industry. Pledge to learn something new every month, and at least try some of it. Marketing is moving fast, and if you don’t keep up you’re going to get left behind.
  1. I resolve to do market research. Many small business owners see market research as something they do once—when starting their companies—and then never do again. But what happens when your market changes? The 20-somethings you might have targeted with your extreme sports company in 1998 are now in their 40s. Even if they’re still buying extreme sports products, the way you market to them needs to be different now from what it was then. Keep tabs on the demographics of your target market so you can adjust your marketing approach to changes in their incomes, lifestyles, media consumption habits and buying behaviors. Use both secondary research from other sources and primary research—that is, simply asking your customers what they want and need.

These four simple resolutions will make a big difference in your results—I promise.

What are your marketing resolutions for 2014?

 

 

Social Media Friday!

Yes, I’m still riding this horse.  The question is though, are you on-board yet?  If not, here are some tips:

On a Budget: How to Get Social Media Right

It’s 2012, and social media is no longer a new phenomenon, or a nice-to-have marketing tool. Social media is critical to your online presence and continual engagement with your supporters, and those you support.

With tight resources, these five steps will help you get started in social media, and begin building your online community.

1. Define your goals: Write down what you would like to see your organization achieve from social media. This list should include short-term and long-term goals. Building your online presence is a good short-term goal, and increasing donor funds is a good long-term goal.

2. Decide what sites you are going to start with: As you most likely know, social media is not limited to only a few sites-there are hundreds. In the future, you may find one site is more effective for your cause than another. For now, it is a good idea to start on very popular sites for nonprofits: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

To set up a Facebook Group Page, LinkedIn Company Page and a Twitter account, initially you will need a few things:
-An administrator, someone who has a Facebook and LinkedIn account, and wants to manage your organization’s social media activity. You can have multiple administrators.

-Your organization’s description and contact information

-Good pictures and logos

-A short and familiar username

3. Get good content: Nonprofits have a natural affinity to being “liked” or “followed” in social media. However, to engage with these followers, you need to provide useful and helpful information. While original content, like blogs and newsletters, are ideal, sharing the information from other nonprofits, foundations or associations that share your cause can be just as effective. As another idea, you could share photos and updates of events your organization is participating in. Posting short, daily how-to’s or tips will also get you the engagement you seek.

4. Participate regularly, or at least look like it: Manpower is always a struggle for nonprofits, and to dedicate a body to regularly updating social statuses may seem impossible. Fortunately, there are a few helpful tools to lighten the burden. Both Hootsuite and TweetDeck allow you to schedule social media updates on Twitter, Facebook and personal LinkedIn pages. So, instead of having to be active on social media every hour each day, in only a few hours, you could plan your updates for a week, month or more, and schedule them by date and time. These tools are also very easy to set up. While automation makes social media easy for you, it is always a good idea to log in now and again to see what people are talking about, and interact with them.

5. Invite others: Once your sites are up and running and you are regularly posting useful information, send an e-mail to your contacts. Let them know you are on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Invite them to join the conversation, and spread the word about your cause.

If you want to do social media well with tight resources, we encourage you to use these steps.

Thanks to Jen Kalies, Practice Development Manager, Hawkins, Ash, Baptie & Co.

How a Small Business Should Use Facebook

I didn’t write this … but you know how I feel about this question!  Geek=Cheryl!!

Guest Post by Norma Davey  (posted on Frank J Kenny’s page)
Director of Administration at Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce.

Facebook Pages have the look and feel of personal pages but offer additional features such as the ability to quickly send messages to thousands of fans (edit, resources, send an update).

With a fan page, as the admin to the page, you have statistics built right in about those who fan your page. This is a great way to measure your efforts, and really get a feel for who is your target market. (This is very important for advertising purposes.)

With a fan page, as a business or organization, you can link (like) other business pages – which builds you a community, business network. (if your business is only a ‘friend page’, you can like business pages, but those pages can’t link back to your business, so you lose the business-to-business networking.

With your fan page, you will also have access to allowing your customers to ‘check in’ to your location. (This is a feature that allows us shoppers to tell others where we like to shop – hence, advertising for you.) — This feature allows you the opportunity to take advantage of an option that facebook offers called “Deals”. (not necessary, but hey, it’s there if a business wants to use it…and it’s FREE.) The Deals feature is designed for a business to set up the parameters of those checking in.

Example: First check in at your location by a person can give them a free bookmark

Check in here 10 times and receive a free…..

Check in here 20 times and …..

Anyway, it is something that just helps encourage people to keep coming back (but remember, at the same time, every check in is an advertisement for your business on their walls to their friends.)

Friend/Profile pages limits business. They ‘work’, but you cut yourself short of all the fun ‘toys’ for business. (The other sensitive thing with a business having a friend/profile page, is that facebook frowns upon it, and if/when they discover one, they hit the delete button and then you lose everything you built up)

Hope this helps.

Norma Davey
Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce

Me again …. Would you add anything to this? Are you up to speed on this marketing strategy?

Customer relationships & marketing

Customer Relationships Are Key to Your Marketing Strategy
* Repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers.
* Referrals among repeat customers are 107% greater than non-customers.
* It costs six times more to sell something to a prospect than to sell that same thing to a customer.

Ten questions every business needs to ask itself!
1. Do we have regular on-going training in customer care skills?
2. Do we have a clear vision of what we want the customer experience to look like?
3. Do we talk about how to delight our customers at our staff meetings?
4. Is our company culture — customer-focused?
5. Do we know what our customers’ expectations are?
6. Do we have a strategy for keeping more of our customers?
7. Do we have a set of customer care standards?
8. Do we measure our performance against those standards?
9. Do we know why we lose customers?
10. Do we have a “recovery strategy” for dealing with customer problems?

Copyright 2010. Reprinted with permission from Barbara
Wold’s Retail & Consumer Tips, bwold@ix.netcom.com.

Make the most of e-marketing

JD Milburn, Small Business Specialist from Wisconsin Main Street, sent me this article a few days ago and I thought it was a good once for business owners and managers.

With the high cost of postage, paper and printing, you may want to consider using the Internet more as an alternative selling partner.
Online marketing is more affordable, it facilitates one-on-one communication with customers, it can produce faster results, and it is more environmentally friendly.

Here are six quick tips to maximize the marketing power of the Internet during the sluggish economy and beyond:

  • Steer customers during meetings and at trade shows to your company’s Web site rather than mailing out four-color brochures.
  • Use keyword phrases in online content to boost the search-engine rankings — and visibility — of your organization’s Web site.
  • Communicate and follow up with customers using e-mail.
  • Drive traffic to your Web site by including a link at the end of every company email.
  • Announce new products or offers online and in e-mails.
  • Test and tweak new products or services on the Internet before offering them on a more expensive marketing platform.