Marketing is Like Monoploy

September 24, 2012

One of the days leading up to Christmas break my daughters class had pajama day. They could also bring board games. To be sure there was plenty to do and so the teacher wouldn’t try to slip

“Classic” Monopoly

in actual work, my daughter loaded up the board games. One of our family favorites is still Monopoly. With the classic version, as it’s now called, I spent many hours trying to buy up all the railroads, Park Place and saving to purchase houses for my properties.

My daughter came home raving about a new Monopoly where you get to use a debit card. Instead of paying for electricity you’re paying for internet and cell phone service. The idea behind the game is the same but the colors are brighter and New York skyline and Dallas are the places to buy. The old game pieces: iron, shoe, dog, thimble and wheel barrel have become a Rollerblade, jumbo jet, race car & cell phone.

Obviously, these toy companies spend countless hours strategizing to make to keep their products relevant to today’s buyers and they have entire departments to do this. But what about you? Do you take steps to be sure your products and services continue to be relevant to your market? If you are still in business you must. Just as what you offer must adapt, so must your marketing.
Connecting with your audience on-line is instrumental to your success. But just having a website isn’t enough. You must keep your website up to date and look

Electronic Monopoly

for ways to bring new information to your customers and to customers looking for what you have to offer.

• Review your marketing plan consistently, as well as the position of your competitors.

• Keep your website content rich. Provide not only information about your company but also work to position yourself as an industry resource on timely topics.

• Blogging is a great way to keep your content ever-changing. Use more than one person in your company to blog. This offers various topics and interesting styles of writing.

• Provide testimonials and change them on a consistent basis

• Pictures on your website are great, but remember repeat visitors to your site like to see new images related to your business.

• Don’t just post on your social media platforms, engage and become part of the conversation. This is a great way to keep you knowledgeable about what your perspective customers are saying and looking for.

We’ll keep buying the new flashy games, but for now my family and I will have to pass on the new Dance Twister with Brittney Spears.

Any company can offer good services when things are running smoothly, but the real character of a business shows when problems arise. These are the situations that people truly base their real opinions about your business on. Don’t let all your hard work creating a positive company image and building customer loyalty go to waste by not handling a crisis situation correctly.

Recently Go Daddy experienced an outage. All websites hosted on their server were down as well as e-mails. As soon as I logged on, I had received an e-mail explaining that they were aware of the problem and were working on the solution. The problem was fixed the same day. The next day, I received an e-mail apologizing and extending an offer for additional month of hosting. There was a button to accept the offer, which is also a great way to gauge what customers responded. Some may not have known right away what was happening, but they explained the situation and offered to rectify it.

Do you have a plan in place to ensure your customers don’t feel left behind?

• Assign ahead of time who is responsible for disseminating information when any problems do arise.

• Identify and anticipate needs. Analyzing problems that may arise will help you in planning how these situations should be handled.

• Make customers feel important and appreciated during the sales cycle. The more loyal your customers, the easier it will be to diffuse a situation should it come up.

If things do go wrong, and at some point they will, following these tips will ensure you’re managing the situation with success:

• Be quick and try to have an initial response within the first hour

• Be accurate by checking all facts

• Use all available communication channels such as intranet, internet, and social media platforms

• Know how to apologize. When something does go wrong, deal with the problems immediately and let customers know what you have done.
A little bit of planning now can make sure any future problems are easier to deal with.

DYI Marketing

September 10, 2012

I live in a very old house. It was built in 1948 and it was to serve two purposes, to provide housing for my widowed grandmother and her two children and as a place of business so that my grandmother could teach ballet to the children of West Texas. The kitchen is tiny, the floors creak, and the plumbing is old, and at various times, we have opted to update either ourselves or when too big of a job, hire a professional. We are usually reluctant to hire someone else to do home improvement because we are more DIY type of folks. However, we have learned that some jobs are just more expensive when we DIY it! We simply spend more to fix our mistakes than it would have cost to hire someone in the first place.

Do you subscribe to the DIY approach to marketing your business? Most businesses do but sometimes their marketing plan can resemble a poorly patched wall more than a state of the art kitchen. Marketing success grows out of a good marketing plan. Craft it as well as you can, and then make adjustments as needed. Just like well-designed house plans are critical for building a house, so is a well-designed marketing plan to grow your business. Below are some steps to make sure you are on track with your marketing plan.

1. Develop a Marketing Strategy: How will your marketing plan support your business goals?

2. Create Mission Statement: What are you trying to accomplish, and why?

3. Find your Target Market: Who are you trying to reach with your marketing activities?

4. Complete Competitive Analysis: Who are you up against, and where do you rank?

5. Find a Unique Selling Proposition: What makes your business unique?

6. Develop a Pricing Strategy: What will you charge, and why?

7. Devise Promotional Plan: How will you reach your target market?

8. Commit to a Marketing Budget: How much money will you spend, and on what?

9. Create an Action List: What tasks do you need to complete to reach your marketing goals?

10. Review your Process with Metrics: How are you implementing, and where can you improve?

If you find that maybe you have steered off course and need some DIY help, give us a call. We are experts and would love to give you the help you need to grow your business.

What Does it Take to be #1?

September 4, 2012

A-1 Mobile Homes, A1 Lock and Key, AAA Mini Storage, A+Septic tank, what do these business have in common? They all named their business to be first in the phonebook. The statistics vary from one resource to another, but the truth was that most people would call the first name in a particular listing…you guessed it… FIRST. It is important to be among the FIRST and this was a really simple move by a business to make sure that customers called them, FIRST.

As I was driving down the street the other day with my 14 year old son, he asked me why one of the businesses mentioned above was named A-1 and I said, “To be first in the phone book!” He looked very puzzled and asked “why would that matter?” That is a valid question for him, because he has never had to look up anyone or any place in the phone book. He has only used a computer, but more realistically, his phone for information.

So that begs to question, how does a business get to be first now?
The answer lies in your website’s search engine optimization or how well your website is built to move you up in the list when someone searches for your business. Here are some signs your SEO is working for you.

The Phone is Ringing!
Has there been a marked increase in phone traffic? If you have been working on your SEO and you are generating more phone calls then most likely your efforts are working.

The Phone is Ringing and the call is a Legitimate lead!
Since, your SEO is targeting clients interested in your product or service, your phone is not only ringing but there are viable leads on the other end!

The phone is ringing, the lead is legit and there’s $ in your pocket!
Now that your target clients can find you, and you know who they are, the sales process is a breeze and there is money to be made.

Times have changed and your business is not limited to what the phone books have to offer. Get out there and be FIRST!