Archive | November 2013

Holiday Cheer for your Marketing

Turkey Funnies

Perhaps the greatest part of having your own small business is making your own Marketing decisions. After all in today’s online world (And, increasingly, in traditional marketing), the relationship is just as important as the product. Holidays give you a great opportunity to think outside of your average working day. For instance, this week is Thanksgiving and, on the way into work this morning, I started to think about how much people are looking forward to both the day off, and the chance to connect with other family members – sometimes for the first time in a long time. Everyone is the same. So, if everyone is thinking about it, jump on that band-wagon , connect with people who are interested in the same thing, and be the person, not just the business marketer. I started making notes, and this is what I came up with:

  • Is there a Turkey drive, or a similar charitable campaign in your company’s geographic area. Offer to support it through Social Media, write a supportive piece, and start pushing it out among your contacts.
  • Is there a special parade or large-scale local parade? Plug it.
  • Are you decorating your office this week? Tell everyone, take pictures, and post them online. Who can outdo you? Lots of pics of happy staff:  Let everyone see YOU!
  • Have a quick ten second competition in your office for the best of Mother’s recipes for thanksgiving. Who’s got the best tip, the best three line story? Then post and tweet it, and buy your office winner a coffee for it. Take a picture and post it.
  • Spread the word that you are thankful for your business, your vendors, customers, and any other supporter. Remind everyone of your Holiday opening hours.
  • Just wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! It’s the simplest of all marketing ideas, but one that makes you appear as if you are thinking about your customers, vendors and staff. Do it first, and create new connections as these thoughts are passed on (Especially if you tell your contact to!).

In one morning’s work you have promoted your business, pictures of happy staff, thanked everyone, informed them of when you are opening and closing this week, and made yourself the fulcrum of your communities, whether online or geographic. You have mentioned your staff, vendors, customers, supported ocal good works, and passed on personal information.

All of this makes you the most treasured people online – One that has as service, one that recognizes what is important to people, and takes time out of their business day to talk about something that is on everyone’s mind.

Out here, I have been in the office for an hour, and I’m posting this on the blogging sites my business belongs to. I’ll be back to answering e-mails by this afternoon. If it’s too late for you….save this blog post for the Christmas holidays. Then do the same thing! Happy Thanksgiving from all of our team to all of yours.

Putting Social Media in it’s Place

For anyone looking to expand their field of leads, online marketing sure is confusing. In an effort to help, from the point-of-view of someone that uses it successfully, it’s time to put Social Media in its place for the Small or medium-sized Enterprise. Here are five tips to help any small business focus on what is important:

1. From Facebook to Twitter to Google+ , how many of your possible sales pool members use them, and what for? If they are not on them, what is the point of tryting to connect with them. Do some online research about online presence from your communities to decide where you should promote yourself.

2. Foursquare and Facebook location updates . This is a great fad at the moment, but is your busienssa fit for this? Just because you are two doors away from a ‘happening’ place where people hang out in the evening, is this your lead pool?

3. Crowdsourced discounts, Groupon and LivingSocial . Is this really what your perfect customer would be using? Ask them before copmitting.

4. Very soon you are going to hear about ‘the next wave’ like Shopkick and Armadealo . Are they worth it? Check what they do and if your sales leads will benefit from having your name out there.

5. Yelp, Service Magic (now HomeAdvisor), and Angie’s List . Even if your clients are there, will the option of an online citation work for your model?

It’s all part of knowing your client’s habits, likes, and preferences, and chasing them down using those clues. Social Media is a great advertising medium, but not if your clientele isnt using it.

Turning Crisis to Community Involvement

Image

A local business has used Social Media to turn a potentially business-ending crisis into an unheard of Community positive. Its lessons, not only in the ability to see a positive in a sea of woes, but also the opportunity for creative marketing, is one that any small business can only teach themselves how to do, it may well ignite your imagination in business possibilities.

In a neighbourhood going through the growing pains of up-scaling itself, a local so-called ‘anarchy group’ has taken to acts of petty vandalism against businesses, in order to scare off potential homeowners. They hope that by making everyday life uncomfortable for both visitors, and the businesses in the area that work for them, they can keep the neighbourhood at its current general income area. This has, obviously, proved problematic for the ‘High Street’ businesses trying to make a living. They are either attacked with petty, but intrusive vandalism, or are waiting in fear for ‘their turn’, and the additional expense that these attacks incur. One local business has used a recent incident to turn the tables on these hooligans, and make the proverbial Lemonade from the situation.

A small store front has, for years, been somewhat famous for a sign that was prominently placed on the sidewalk outside of its front door. During one early evening period last week, the sign was stolen. Millions of people have, over the years, seen that sign, and its value to the store is one of being naked without it. Any kind of new sign wouldn’t be the same as the original, and would lose the look that the owner wanted to portray. To build and paint an exact replica would only be inviting another theft. So, how to restore the store’s look and claim a victory in these tense political times: By using the incident itself as the starting point for change, and a very clever way of ‘fighting back’.

Our store owner noticed how many column inches of interest the story had gained both in print locally and on line. This was PR that he hadn’t paid for, but cast the business in an obvious sympathetic light. He had to be careful in how he extended the story to an ending (A happy one, of course.), without further antagonizing the violent element that had damaged his business in the first place: In fact, how could he help their situation, and to do it quickly, so that the original story didn’t run out of steam in the meantime. An offer from a local craftsman to replace the sign was the first piece of the answer.

He agreed to the sign (along with a generous ad for the craftsman, another local) but with a change that made the sign very heavy, and unable to be carried away so easily. This extra weight was in the form of a frame that passers-by could model themselves in. Not only was this a wonderfully fun idea, it would lead to even more marketing as people used their smart phones to photograph their friends posing, and would upload them to their social networks giving exponentially more people a subtle ad. of the place. Then he went one step further.

For every photograph posted and liked, the company would donate to a local charity that would help out the disadvantaged, and put the store squarely in the camp of those that had damaged it. The help came in the form of vouchers that those in need could buy from the store. In one brilliant stroke of PR genius, the store upgraded its sign at little cost, gave an opportunity for people to engage with it, offered them a free way to promote it, and spent some of its future earnings supporting a section of the community that a) needed it, and b) would be a favorite of those that may attack it again in the future. Of course, they also doubled their free press coverage and provided a happy ending in less than a week.

The power of social media to spread a good news story is unparalleled in human history. Whatever situation you are in, a few minutes’ brainstorming using Facebook or Twitter as its core, and leaving open the chance to do good in the community may triple or quadruple your businesses’ marketing over an incredibly short period of time, and may even avert crisis, taking your bad news into a windfall of positive marketing, and perhaps, more profits.