External Marketing Tips For Your Business

In order to develop a successful small business, you want to have a healthy balance between internal and external marketing efforts. Internal marketing is marketing that is directed at your current client base, and external marketing is directed at those that are not yet using your products or services.

External Marketing Tips

1) Volunteer
It is almost not considered a marketing tip since there are so many other rewards received besides growth in your business. You could easily put the idea of volunteering into a success category of its own, as there are many reasons why it’s good to get involved in supporting others.

2) Monthly Talk
Can you get out of your office and speak somewhere? You may need to get creative, depending on what kind of small business you’re in.

3) Local Network Meetings
Getting involved in local groups like the Chamber of Commerce can be beneficial.

4) Press Releases
If you’re in a non-metro area you may find some great rates are available in your local newspapers. Online opportunities are growing and you may want to consider Internet based services.

5) Bulk Mail
You can get a permit for bulk mailing and get lists of target data for businesses and persons in your community. If you don’t want to do large quantities of bulk mail, you can put together a list of businesses in your area that would be most likely to refer, and send them regular mailings.

6) Signage
Is there any place outside your business location that you can do advertising? Can you get affordable signage down the street? While billboards in a large metro area might be out of the question for a small business, there are opportunities to advertise on bus benches, phone booths, shopping carts, car washes, and neighboring buildings. Get out in your local community and take notes on the places you find are displaying small business advertising.

7) Bulletin Boards
These are boards you’ll find inside local coffee shops, laundromats, health clubs, neighborhood markets, and car washes. While I’m not recommending you be a board spammer, this is a free method to get your information out in the community. Bring plenty of your own thumbtacks and leave some extras behind for good business karma.

8) Certificates
Certificates are great for giving to local charities, local sporting events, fundraisers, and other local businesses. They are easy to make and there’s a number of ways you can use them to share good will in your community. Be sure to check local and state laws when it comes to certificates and expiration dates.

I help companies in Boise and beyond get the most out of their external marketing dollars.
Give me a call @ 208.995.9437 or send me an email so we can talk.

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Copywriting Tips

I have heard from some people that a picture is worth a thousand words.=)
And more often than not, an awesome picture is definitely going to have more of an impact than 1,000 words, but what if you use them together?
I think that only means more awesomeness. By using a photo that goes great with your words, you will enhance and give personality to the marketing material you are creating. Using images that get noticed is just as important as having clear and concise copy. There are several sites on the Internet that offer free stock photos so check them out to see if you can find the right picture to help make your copy stand out even more. Of course, if you are too busy to find photos and create words, please contact me and I will be glad to help out. Give me a call @ 208.995.9437 or send me an email so we can talk. Have a great day.

Make The Most Out Of Your Marketing Dollars

Is your company facing increased pressure to get their message to the right audience. Is there a way to take control of your company’s advertising and maximize your return on investment?

If the answer is yes, then now, more than ever, you need to make every marketing dollar count.

Getting the most out of your marketing dollars is especially important in today’s economy. A company’s decisions need to show a return on investment, and drive targeted traffic to their business. Chances are your company has a great website that they paid a lot of money to have built. But what good is a beautiful website if your target audience cannot find you anywhere online? With the power of the Web, companies have the opportunity to employ their website as a marketing vehicle to increase sales, acquire new clients, build rapport with current clients, and reach their target market.

I help companies get the most out of their marketing dollars.
Give me a call @ 208.995.9437 or send me an email so we can talk.

Are You A Social Media Expert?

Below is an awesome article from Ian Lurie about all the experts out there in the social media field. Enjoy.

If you know more than 5 people, chances are you now know someone who declares themselves a social media expert. How can you tell if someone’s claim of expertise is legit? Here’s my quick quiz. Ask each question and take the appropriate action:

1: Do you have a blog?

If the expert answers ‘no’, that may be OK. Follow up with something like ‘Oh, you’re using Posterous instead?’. If they look at you blankly, end the meeting there. No sense wasting your time.
If the expert answers ‘yes’, get the address and go look. If they’ve been blogging for less than 2-3 years, and there’s no explanation like “I had to move my blog”, again, end the meeting.
Any social media expert has been somehow participating in the conversation for a long time.

2: When did you start in social media?

“6 months ago”. Yeah. OK. Bye.
“2 years ago”. Hey, not bad. Worth a chat.
“In 1992″. Er. Um. They’d better be referencing BBSes and Usenet.

3: What is social media?

“Blogging and Twitter and stuff”. Excuse yourself for a bathroom break and don’t come back.
“All of the conversations going on between people and people and businesses and such online”. Not bad.
“A trendy term to describe a new kind of mass media”. Totally acceptable.

4: What’s a social media campaign?

“Voting something to the front page of Digg using my proxy server and 35 computers”. Flee the scene, and get to a minimum safe distance as soon as possible. The Digg brigade may be on its way. Whatever you do, don’t hire them. While this is a valid tactic (I guess), it’s not a campaign. Nor does it generate long term results in most cases.
“Developing a great message and then reaching out to people, while giving them an incentive to ‘pass it on’”. Yeah, OK, keep ‘em around.
“I have this great software that will put a link to your site on 21,000 forums and 10,000 blogs…”. Push them down the garbage chute. Don’t be seen with them in public.

5: How do you monitor social media for a client?

“Huh?” Hopefully your next step is obvious.
“Google alerts”. Not bad, but wait and see if they add in stuff like subscribing to Twitter searches and the like.
“I use a 3rd party tool”. Fine, but make sure they do more than plug in some keywords and wait for e-mails. A human being needs to review what the tool reports or its worthless.

6: How do you measure ROI?

“Oh, shut up”. Perfectly OK, especially if the expert turns purple for a moment first. They’re just sick of hearing this question, which means they’ve been around the block a few times.
“It’s complicated, but here’s a high-level view…”. Nice!!!
“I track clicks from Twitter”. Nope, sorry.

7: How do you build an audience?

“I auto-follow 20,000 people on Twitter”. If you’re OK with it, kick them in the groin for me. If not, nod politely and move on.
“I follow interesting, relevant people on Twitter, comment on relevant blog posts and try to get into the conversation”. Home run. Try not to weep with joy.
“We need to figure out the campaign first”. Good answer. Give them a hypothetical campaign to be sure, but clearly you’re on the right track.

8: Do you offer a guarantee?

“Yes, I’ll get you 1000 links and 20,000 clicks”. See number 7, first action.
“Yes, that I’ll work my butt off for you”. I like it.
“No, because we’re marketing to people, and it’s hard to say what they’ll like/not like, or what might happen in the world that will affect behavior”. Also good.

9: How did you learn all this stuff?

“Oh, I read this book I bought from Amazon.com”. Wargh. By the time that book went to print it was out of date. No go.
“I’m always learning”. Good answer.
“I read a lot of blogs, and try to use as many different tools as I can”. Also good.
“I go to conferences”. Yeahhhhhh. Might be OK. Answers to the other 9 questions should tell you.

10: How does social media impact SEO?

“It doesn’t”. Slap them and tell ‘em that’s from Ian.
“It builds links”. That’s half the answer.
“It builds relationships that turn into links later”. HIRE THEM NOW.

Bonus question: How often do you write?

“I hate writing”. Cough.
“Oh, I try to but I don’t have much time”. Cough. Cough.
“Every day”. DING DING DING. A winner!
There you go. An instant social media expert evaluator. Sort of like a Cylon Detector, but hopefully more effective.
By the way, print a copy of this. If you get word-for-word answers, you might think twice.

 

Is Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Right For Your Business?

With billions and billions of  people on the World Wide Web every day, it is safe to assume that a lot of people also use search engines. So how do they use them when they are looking for local products and services? Public data and studies indicate that as many as 80% of potential prospects turn to the Internet first when looking for a local product or service. When was the last time you picked up your phone book to find a vendor or to do research? Phone books are still used but are a thing of the past for most consumers, and the new yellow pages are local internet directories and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. I know it, the search engines knows it, and if you resist it, there is a good chance your business may a thing of the past too. But is PPC right for you and your business?

1. Highly Targeted – Unlike direct marketing and other forms of advertising your ad will only be served (appear) when a prospect is actively searching for your type of business (typed into your pre-selected “keywords”)

2. Tracking – There is an old marketing adage that says “I know I am wasting 50% of my marketing budget, but I don’t know which half.” You can’t improve what you can’t measure and PPC advertising is very easy to measure. With search engine marketing (SEM), you are able to track every aspect of your campaign.

3. Testing – You can quickly and easily run A/B testing for both ads (to drive leads) and different landing pages (to convert prospects).

4. Performance Based – It is the only advertising available that you only get charged if a prospect actually takes action (clicks on your ad). This actually is a second form of qualifying. The prospect not only is actively searching for your type of business, but actually liked your ad enough to click on it.

A word of caution before you run off and start pouring money into your PPC campaigns. Though, there is no denying that, when executed correctly, PPC can be a leading sales driver and profit builder, it can also drain your marketing budget if you aren’t careful. Read and study as much as you can about PPC and how it works. It is also recommend you start out small and learn what works and what doesn’t and then scale up your budget when you begin to get the hang of it.

If you need assistance or have questions about Pay-Per-Click advertising, please contact me at 208.598.0084 or matt.shifley@yahoo.com.

Twitteriffic

Staying organized is an important element of anyone’s workday, and Twitter offers several ways to let you keep track of your to-do lists.

  • RememberTheMilk is a quick way to send reminders to yourself and others via direct messages. Just DM (direct message) @rtm and your task. To send errands to others, they must also be registered with RememberTheMilk. You can add text commands to the list for tasks that are repeated often, and this could be a handy tool for communicating with your children or partner when it is time for dinner.
  •  Toodledo is a high powered to-do list with many features. You can receive task reminders as tweets and you can import or export lists from other sites, making this an even more useful list builder. Lists can be viewed in different configurations, depending on your preference. Toodledo can also be used for time management by sending reminders when assignments come due.
  •  Nozbe is a practical project and time management application. You can create and sort multiple to-do lists for each project you are working on. You can tweet Nozbe to leave a message in your inbox when you are on the road, then deal with it when you return to the office. This app is most useful for business users who need to add reminders or improve productivity on the job.
  •  Producteev helps you manage your tasks no matter what device you prefer to work from. Send your job-related emails to Producteev, and the application will update your to-do list in real time. You can also add jobs to your list by tweeting a direct message. When you publish a request to your social media account, your friends and followers will be able to comment on and help you complete the task. Producteev offers a range of premium options, based on number of users and storage space required. 2 users and 100 MB of file storage is offered free of charge.