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Which of These Core Marketing Activities Are You Neglecting?

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Kristin Hovde – Enjoy!

Small-Business-Marketing

photo credit: iStock

Having the best, most innovative product on the market is not enough to drive traffic to your office or store. It takes a carefully-planned strategy to effectively promote your products or services.

Marketing is a critical component for any business, but can be done effectively without having to shell out thousands of dollars. Small business owners may feel intimidated competing with their larger, more established competitors, but these ideas will help increase brand awareness, drive more traffic to your website, and gain new customers.

1. Have a Measurable Goal

Before beginning any marketing campaign, having a realistic goal to aim for is a critical piece to the marketing puzzle. There are several steps to creating a goal to successfully launch your campaign, but for an easy way to remember it, think S.M.A.R.T:

  • Specific: Know Who, what, where, when, which, and why.
  • Measurable: Determine how you are going to measure your progress.
  • Attainable: Create a goal that can be achieved.
  • Realistic: Aiming high can give you the motivation you need to reach your goals, but it can also make it much more difficult to reach. Shoot for a goal that can realistically be accomplished.
  • Timely: Know what time frame you would like to accomplish the goal by.

2. Know Your Target Market

If you target everyone, you will be wasting valuable time, energy, and money on promoting your business to an audience that may not be in the market for what your company has to offer. Do your research to determine what age, gender, location, and any other criteria needed to discover what demographic you need to sell your products to.

3. Get Involved in Networking Events

Networking events such as trade shows are excellent ways to get the word out about your business. It will allow you to get out of your office and meet other professionals in your industry. Instead of going to these events with the sole intention of selling your products, try to connect with these people on a personal level. The friends you make could refer customers your way down the road.

4. Grow Your Social Media Presence

Social media is everywhere we turn; from checking Facebook newsfeeds to tweeting about our day entirely from a smart phone. Billions of people are using social media, so having your business be a part of that world will help to reach out to a larger audience. Set up company accounts on Twitter and Facebook, a company page on LinkedIn, and a YouTube channel for downloading videos on useful tips that could help your customers.

5. Join Volunteering Groups or Start Your Own

Is there an event coming up that supports a cause? Help support it by having your employees and yourself volunteer or by donating money or items to the cause. If there is a cause that is close to your heart, consider starting your own volunteer group. Not only will volunteering or donating put your company’s name out there in the public eye, but you will also be helping a group of people in need.

6. Show Your Expertise in a Blog

Show readers how knowledgeable you are in your field by writing about it. Write blog posts that include helpful tips on a subject that your readers will find useful. This will show everyone that you are an expert in your industry.

7. Be Consistent in Your Marketing Campaigns

Whatever marketing message you are communicating to potential customers, make sure it is consistent throughout all of your marketing materials. Having the same text, motto, and pictures throughout your different marketing mediums will be much more memorable to potential customers.

8. Keep Your Website Updated

Online shopping has increased in popularity from 10 years ago, so keeping your products updated regularly is important. Not only should new products be added or outdated products be deleted, add fresh content to the products you already have listed on your website. Also, add new images and graphics to build traffic and keep visitors from getting bored. Regularly updating your website will also help your search engine rankings.

9. Write a Press Release

Are you launching a new product? Does your company have big news? Writing a press release about it will get the attention of the media, which will end up getting the word out to your target audience very quickly. As much as this tool can help boost the awareness of your business, don’t write a press release just to write one. Make sure you have something that is news-worthy to write about in order to get readers interested.

10. Measure Your Results

As I mentioned in tip #1, having a goal that is measurable will help you discover the success of your marketing campaign. In order to find out which campaigns have been the most successful, have employees ask customers how they heard about your business, offer coupons with promotional codes, or look into purchasing tracking software that will be able to tell you where your website visitors are coming from. Once you have gathered this information, you’ll be able to find out which tools and campaigns have been the most successful.

With these tips, you will be well on your way to effectively marketing your small business.

161352_100001963608959_2491958_nKristin Hovde is the Marketing Manager for Smash Hit Displays, an online trade show display company. She has written numerous articles related to trade shows, marketing, budgeting, and social media.

 

Why Social Media is a Must for all Companies

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Margaret Dawson– Enjoy!
Why social media is a must for all companies

While younger demographic groups are higher users, all ages are on social media. Source: comScore

Social media is all around us and has become a daily part of people’s lives.

As of this month, there are nearly 650 million Twitter users, posting some 58 million tweets every day.  Facebook is even bigger, with 1.4 billion users, spending 700 billion minutes on the network every month.  In the United States, 58% of the population use at least one social network, and that number leaps to 98% for those aged 18 to 24 years old.

And yet, I still have organizations or consultants tell me, “my customers aren’t really on social media.”

Your customers ARE on social media

Unless your customers live under a rock and do not have Internet access or a smartphone, you should assume they are on social media.  In fact, according to research by the University of California Berkeley, some 80% of respondents use the Internet to research information on a product or service they want to buy, and increasingly, that’s on social media networks, no Google search.

Using social media to reach your customers and tell your story is no longer an “if” but a “must have”.

But where do you start and how do you figure out which social media channels to use?  You will want a plan. The only thing worse than not being there at all is creating a profile and having zero content or information.  In this case, build it and they will come doesn’t work.

Top 8 steps to get you started

  1. Research which social network your customers use most and start with the top one: If your customers are mostly consumers, then Facebook is a must have and a good starting place. If you are a B2B product or service, then start with Twitter.  One fast way to figure out where to start is to research where your top competitors have a presence and make sure you are in the conversation.
  2. Build a great profile:  As you build your first profile, make sure you are following best practices.  Each social network provides helpful guides and suggestions, and if you don’t have the time or staff, then hire someone to do this for you.
  3. Develop compelling content: Content is king on social media.  Spend some time researching your competition or market leaders to determine what type of content is driving the best engagement and follower growth. If you don’t know what to write or don’t have the resources, look to getting expert help from a social consultant or agency.
  4. Grow your follower base:  In spite of what some people say, growing followers should always be a case of quality over quantity. Think of your followers as leads. You should be able to do this organically or at a very low cost.
  5. Measure, analyze and adapt:  As you start building out your presence and community, make sure you are using data to determine what’s working and what’s not and track your progress.  You want to do initial baseline metrics, and then continue to use data to improve how you are engaging and adding followers.
Why social media is a must for all companies

Use metrics to set a baseline and track progress. Here’s an example of consumer soda brands on Twitter. Source: Rival IQ

  1. Increase frequency of content: Once you know what type of content works best with your followers, try doing more. But be clear on how different social networks require very different levels of frequency. On Twitter, work up to 10 posts a day. For Facebook, 1 or 2 a day is usually fine. Use these numbers as a guideline, as dach market is slightly different. Experiment with post frequency, while always measuring, to determine what works best for you, and look for tools to help you find great content and schedule posts, like Hootsuite or Buffer.
  2. Do targeted follower campaigns: As you work to build out your social community, look into targeted follower campaigns. Again, your goal is NOT just quantity, but using filters, comparables and research to build a relevant base of users who would be interested in what you have to say and sell.
  3. Rinse & Repeat with the next social channel:  From there, you will want to look at other channels based on the market and your product. While it’s tempting to think you must be everywhere, it’s better to have a great presence on one or two channels then a mediocre or bad presence on many.

Of course, this is overly simplified, and each of these steps takes hard work.  But it gives you an idea of how to move down the vital path of social media.

Margaret DawsonA 20-year tech industry veteran, Margaret is known for taking people, teams, brands and companies to the next level through creativity, awesome positioning and messaging, coaching and hard work.  She is a proven entrepreneur and intrapreneur, having led successful programs and teams at several startups and Fortune 500 companies. Margaret is Chief Marketing Officer for Rival IQ. Prior to this, she was Vice President of Product Marketing and Cloud Evangelist for the cloud computing division of Hewlett-Packard. She’s a frequent author and sought-after speaker on subjects such as marketing analytics, big data, cloud computing, women in tech and the convergence of technology and business. She is also an active mentor for men and women in technology. You can follow Margaret @seattledawson.

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