Get Involved. Get Noticed!

August 27, 2012

Back to School is here! This time of year also marks the season when charity organizations and local social programs begin their budgeting and program planning, and these programs cannot be successful without the help of donors and sponsors. As a business owner, you should be involved in bringing and supporting positive programs to your community, not only helping people in need, but recognizing the marketing opportunities for the generous, smart and socially aware small business owner. By involving your business with a non-profit, you gain the notice of people who may be unaware of your presence in the marketplace. Some charities may be better equipped to work with sponsors and the media. Other programs are new, may have inexperienced staff and especially appreciate your business experience in helping them organize people and resources.

Some things to consider when planning your community relations:

• Research opportunities. There are so many worthy organizations that the difficult part is choosing where to spend your time and resources, so find programs that match or complement your business and personal beliefs.

• Set a budget. Decide up front how much you are able to allocate and consider this part of your annual marketing budget.

• Assess what resources you or our business can bring: Remember to include other members of your staff who can be involved with a skill set different from yours.

• Be creative. If you aren’t able to participate by offering sponsorship or donation, organizations are always looking for people to donate time.

• Spread the word. Some business owners feel shy about announcing their involvement. Don’t! Maybe your involvement will inspire someone else with resources to share and bring additional awareness to the charity itself. Use a press release to help get the word out. Send it to your local paper, radio and television stations, and submit it online. Your news may help a reporter complete a story giving you and the local charity publicity that money can’t buy.

Everyone likes to do business with a philanthropic company and if you’re sincere about community involvement, you might be surprised at how much your business will benefit and grow even faster. Get involved. Get Noticed!

The Power of a Testimonial

August 20, 2012

For the longest time all I heard about was P90X and Insanity. It was tiring reading  all the updates about what people had done in their daily workout, how many burpies they had done and how sore they were. Finally, the mania seemed to calm down a bit! What was the next big thing going to be? Then BAM, GOP VP nominee, Paul Ryan bursts onto the scene touting P90X. His testimonial led to other testimonials. P90X sales have jumped 400%. Google searches for Paul Ryan P90X have spiked more than 5000% since August 11th.

Never underestimate the effect of the personal testimonial in your marketing strategy. Testimonials from happy clients are an important part of any business’s marketing plan. They lend trustworthiness and experience to a business. Showing those testimonials in their best light is also important.

There are several important factors to consider to ensure your testimonials are effective:

• Your sales staff should always encourage testimonials.

• Have a process for collecting testimonials. If your sales staff does not have or know the process, they are less likely to ask their customers for a testimonial. Decide who or what department will compile this information and where it will be used.

• Don’t ever be shy about asking for testimonials. Ask your customers for a testimonial when they are the happiest. Typically this is at the end of the transaction or after a great job has been completed.

• Make sure the testimonials are real. Embellishing or removing details is a quick way to lose credibility with your customers.

• Focus on success stories and never let negative things be said about the competition. Stay focused on the positive benefits your company offered.

• Keep contact information about the person giving the testimonial. You may want to contact that person again for other stories or PR efforts.

• Use a photo or video of the testimonial. A video is a great way to add testimonials to your website.

If you’re not using testimonials in your promotional materials, start today. Contact the customers you have a strong relationship with and don’t be afraid to ask. Your social media platforms are a great place to showcase positive comments about your business.

What’s in a Blog?

By Dedee Boring

Have you heard that it’s good to blog for your business but are just not sure why? Feel like writer’s block has already set in and you haven’t even sat down in front of the computer? I will explain why and how taking a few minutes a day to write a blog can help grow your business.

Reason to Blog 1:
Marketing your business 30 years ago might have consisted of putting up a well-designed sign and a newspaper ad. With only a few mediums for advertising available, our clients were not confronted with new messages every 7 seconds like they are today. In turn, most of the advertising done in the 80’s was dry and boring. There wasn’t a need to be pushy or compete for our client’s attention.
So, how do you set yourself apart and establish your business as the expert in your field? Give them valuable information that they look forward to receiving. Tips, how to’s, and advice add value to their business and will make your company worthy of their precious time.

Reason to Blog 2:
Search Engine Optimization is complicated. Words like analytics, formulas, algorithms and spiders are used to describe the process of moving your website up in the search engines. The main way to push your website up is content with key words that promote your business. There is only so much a business can put on their home page before it looks sloppy and overdone. A blog is a great way to have content that will work for your business and move you on up in the SEO game!

How to Blog:
We are a personal, SOCIAL world. Be yourself, be informative and be relevant. Write what you would be interested in reading and guess what… so will your customers. Have fun, show your personality, share real life stories and relax, most bloggers are not novelist. So just get started that is the hardest part!

Happy Blogging!

When the Olympics roll around, one thing I can count on is spending time with my daughters watching the events and talking about the athletes. Anytime I can find things my kids are already interested in, I grab that opportunity to turn it into a teachable moment (or at least try). We discuss the time these athletes put into their sport preparing, planning and work that go into each competition, learning from each mistake, honing their skills until they have the perfect routine and the “never give up” attitude driven by discipline and desire. 

The same dedication should be applied to your social media marketing efforts. 

1- Research: Watch what other competitors are doing. Take a look at their tweets and posts and decide what your voice for your company will be.

2- Planning: You can plan your campaign monthly or weekly. Keep apprised of specific days that relate to your industry throughout the year to include in your campaign. 

3- Preparation: Be sure you have the tools you need such as dashboard for scheduling.

4- Expect and anticipate changes to your plan. Be sure to keep your posts timely. If something is a hot topic to your audience, be sure to include it.

5- Evaluate: Watch and learn from each post. Monitor what type of content gets a response, 
what time of day your audience appears to be online and never miss an opportunity to keep a conversation going with responses you receive. You will be able to tell by the analytics of each post (how many people saw the post). Adjust your timing to fit when your audience is online. This is where your scheduler comes into play. Post at your convenience, so they can view it at their convenience. Not every post will be a win. The important thing is to evaluate and redirect as needed.

6- Don’t afraid to show your company personality through your updates. Just as Olympic athletes show their success at mastering their skills, they place equal importance on showcasing their personality in their routines. Create a good mix of business and personality.

7- As with anything in life, success is achieved through consistency. You will not see sales improve, people visiting your website, “Liking” your Facebook page or following you on Twitter without you practicing consistency. If you already have an employee who knows their way around the social media scene, this would be a good responsibility to delegate to them.

When it comes to your social media efforts, remember the words of Olympic Gold Medal winner, Gabby Douglas, “Never quit. Never give up” After all you are reaching for the Gold in your business!