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Does Your Business Have a TV Show?

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

If you watch any television at all, chances are you’ve stumbled across one of the many reality TV shows that turn the day-to-day drama of a small business into prime time entertainment. There’s TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress (starring Kleinfeld Bridal in Manhattan) and Cake Boss (featuring Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, NJ), the History Channel’s Pawn Stars (Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, Las Vegas) and American Pickers (Antique Archeology in Le Claire, Iowa), and my personal favorite–the Discovery Channel’s Flying Wild Alaska (about the airline Era Alaska, based in Unalakleet, AK). These shows have turned the owners and employees of obscure small businesses into international celebrities, and generated tens of thousands of dollars of revenue for the businesses (if not more). What small business owner hasn’t watched one of these shows and thought to him or herself, “I wish I had a TV show about my business distributed by a media giant to millions of viewers around the world”?

Well, I’ve got great news for you. You can have a TV show about your business, and Apple will deliver it literally into the hands of 1.5 billion people around the world. It’s called a video podcast, and for the business owner who has the time and resources to devote to creating one, it’s a very effective way of delivering educational content to your target audience and establishing yourself as an authority in your niche.

iTunes Video BlogsWhat’s a Podcast?

Before I go any further, perhaps I should clarify what exactly a podcast is, because the name “podcast” actually is no longer a good way of describing it. You see, a podcast is basically a means of distributing content to an audience. That content can take the form of a radio show (audio podcast), a TV show (video podcast), or a newspaper (yes, you can actually distribute PDF documents using a podcast). The reason it’s called a “podcast” is that in the beginning many people were listening to audio podcasts on their iPods. However, there are now many different ways that people can consume podcasts, so that’s a little bit of a misnomer.

Just as is the case with more traditional forms of syndicated content distribution, people can either consume one “episode” of your podcast (like picking up a newspaper from the rack at the news stand), or they can subscribe to your podcast and have each episode automatically delivered to their favorite device when it is released (smartphone, laptop, iPad, iPod, etc).

Why would you want a video podcast?

Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “I already have an email newsletter that people can subscribe to. Why should I have a podcast also?” Unlike an email newsletter, this method of delivering content to your target audience is completely spam-proof, and does not require someone to divulge any personal information (like name and email address) in order to receive it. Therefore, all barriers to entry are essentially removed. It’s a great way to let people “try out” your business at no risk–a key component of the Duct Tape Marketing Hourglass concept.

As to why you should consider a video podcast instead of an audio podcast, there’s a couple compelling reasons:

  • With a video podcast, there are fewer restrictions on the type of content you can produce–think live demos, screen capture videos, virtual tours of your facility, etc.
  • Your personality comes through more powerfully in a video (assuming you appear on-camera) than in an audio broadcast
  • In some cases (depending on your content), you can separate the audio from the video in your editing process and use the audio files to create an audio podcast without any additional editing, thus reaching a wider audience.
  • Right now, there are a lot fewer video podcasts than audio podcasts, meaning less competition. Also, Apple is actively promoting video podcasts in iTunes and has expressed interest in getting more of that type of content on their platform.

What will your show be about?

So, now that you’re convinced that this whole video podcast thing is at least worth investigating, the only thing left to decide is what your show will be about. Here’s a few ideas:

  1. Use your show to teach customers (or potential customers) how to use your products. For example, the Basic Brewing video podcast teaches people how to brew beer, and its host, James Spencer, has an online homebrew supply store.
  2. Use your show to establish authority and credibility in your niche. If you’re a speaker, author, or coach, a video podcast is a great way to position yourself as an expert. See the NutritionFacts.org video podcast for an example.
  3. Your show could simply be a method of broadcasting company events, messages and updates to your employees, strategic partners, vendors, and customers. For example, the White House publishes a video podcast that is simply a recording of all the president’s speeches.

If those examples don’t give you any ideas or inspiration, just go to iTunes and search for video podcasts about topics you are genuinely interested in (you can even find video podcasts about video podcasting). Subscribe to a few and start watching them on a regular basis. Chances are, before long you will start to view the hosts of the shows you subscribe to as experts you can turn to for trusted advice. You may even end up buying products or services from some of them! There’s no reason why you can’t be one of those “trusted experts”. Start a TV show for your business so you can share your knowledge and experience with the world, gain the trust of your target audience, and position your brand at the top of your niche.

Kevin JordanKevin Jordan is an authorized Duct Tape Marketing Consultant living in central Virginia. He’s also the host of the Small Business Marketing Minute, a daily video podcast for small business owners looking for simple, affordable, and practical marketing tips. He teaches several online courses on small business marketing, including video marketing.

The Future of Mobile Search Marketing

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

emarketer-mobile-growthJust a few short years ago, smartphones were reserved for those bleeding edge consumers willing to spend half of their paycheck on a device double the size of their existing ‘feature’ phone that allowed you to replicate an experience historically reserved for desktops or laptops. The adoption quickly exploded and in 2012, global smartphone adoption reached 1 billion users. Emarketer predicts that in 2014, that number will balloon to 4.55 billion. 1 in 4 worldwide mobile phone users will have a smartphone this year, and each of them are using this device to find products and services, many of them locally.

Search on Mobile Devices

Armed with connectivity, consumers quickly realized that they could find the information they needed with just a few clicks and keystrokes. Since Google is obviously in the search business, they tried to make mobile search easier through their cross device native apps and streamlined browser experiences.

In just a few short years, mobile search is quickly on its way to becoming the primary search vehicle; dethroning the once almost untouchable desktop search experience. Even Google’s famed SPAM fighter, Matt Cutts, commented he wouldn’t be surprised if mobile search surpassed desktop this year! With such volatile adoption, marketers and small business owners need to be aware of what this paradigm shift will mean for their business.

The Future of Mobile Search

One of the biggest challenges with mobile search is the fact many consumers start a search on mobile and finish on another device. Tracking consumers throughout the shopping experience will provide a stronger idea of what drove the purchase and how to market to them more effectively. The other big challenge is the scarcity of consumer attention. With mobile search consumers extremely unlikely to venture past the first search results page, showcasing the correct information, as fast as possible, is paramount for winning the mobile search click.

Smartphone manufacturers, Google, Microsoft and Facebook are scrambling to find out ways to predict what you will search for, before you search for it. This data will help streamline the process, speed up your mobile search experience and ultimately win the lion share of your attention. Amazon has already figured out a way to predict what you are going to purchase before you purchase it, so it is just a matter of time before this weaves its way into search.

Many people continue to scratch their head about Amazon releasing the Fire smartphone, with such dominant forces like Samsung and Apple occupying a stranglehold over the industry. While it appears to be ‘just another phone,’ Amazon introduces some features that could potentially change the mobile search experience forever.

Firefly Technology

Firefly TechnologyWith Firefly, your phone is able to view printed text, recognize things around you, and most of all, listen to what is happening around you. Imagine having a conversation about making French Toast and being unable to remember what spice to use, and in a matter of seconds, a French Toast recipe appears on your phone, without any direct user interaction.

The Future of Mobile Search Marketing

There is no doubt that mobile search will surpass desktop search this year and be the primary vertical marketers and small business owners must focus their time. The major question is what will mobile search look like.

Google Now has the fundamentals necessary to be that predictive search engine. They have our cross device personalized history, manually curated search cards, and real time information. Add in a component of ‘selective’ listening to what is happening around us, and predictive search could be born. Apple is already ramping up their Siri efforts to compete with Google Now and so is Microsoft, with Cortana.

As if online marketing wasn’t hard enough for business owners and marketers to reach their target audience, the instantaneous needs of mobile search add yet another avenue they need to focus their efforts. However, moving quickly and optimizing your site for the mobile consumer could mean the difference between winning the mobile search battle and being relinquished to the catacombs of page 2.

Justin-Bio-shot-150x150Justin Emig is the Search Marketing Manager for Web Talent Marketing, the #1 Digital Marketing Agency in the United States, according to TopSEOs.com. Here, Justin uses SEO, Paid Search, Content Marketing, and Social Media to increase conversions and leads. Justin has spent his career building brands of all sizes and effectively mixes the traditional advertising world with online marketing to effectively tell a brand’s story. You can connect with Justin on Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, or see more of his content on the Web Talent Blog.

8 Ways to Amplify Your Content on Mobile

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

photo credit: shutterstock

Mobile is becoming a powerful, driving engine in the content world. The January 2014 Mobile Technology Fact Sheet shows that 63% of adult cell phone owners use their phones to go online, while 34% of cell phone Internet users go online using only their phone rather than any other device.

Mobile content is distinct because of the idiosyncratic and curious ways users interact with it. A Rumble study from 2013 found that while certain mobile app user behaviors were similar, most of those interacting with mobile content exhibited unique behavior.

Apps account for 86% of the average US consumer’s time on a mobile device, while time spent on the mobile web declined. How can marketers make their content stand out in such a crowded mobile marketplace?

Here are eight ways marketers can amplify content on mobile:

1. Be mobile-friendly.

You must optimize for the device as well as the way that users will interact with your site’s content. Mobile users NEED simple sites with easy navigation. Utilize the principles of responsive design to ensure that your content will display correctly for all users on all devices.

2. Build a community.

You can amplify your reputation by being helpful and relevant to your audience. When you build trust, you also build a community – and this community will be vital when it comes to amplifying content. The cultivation of long-standing relationships is key to having your content amplified. Even if you’re not posting undeniably quotable and shareable content all day every day, your base community of followers with whom you regularly engage with will still have your back and interact.

3. Develop a mobile app.

With so many users trading in time spent on the mobile web for time in apps, it’s easy to see why it’s beneficial to develop your own app to deliver content to users. The added bonus is that you can further target content for the segment of users that download and use your mobile app. Enable all possible sharing options to allow users to share content with their network.

4. Make mobile a part of your overall strategy.

Keep your business and marketing goals in mind as you consider your mobile campaigns. Don’t make the mistake of treating mobile as something separate from your marketing strategy, as it should be integrated into the rest of your initiatives. Do not silo mobile because it will likely affect other aspects of your organization and marketing. Understanding where mobile falls into your overall strategy allows you to drive sales activities.

5. Consider real-time video.

In May 2014, Grabyo, a company specializing in real-time video, released a report stating that 72% of the traffic on their platform came from mobile. The company found that live TV clips generate exceptional levels of engagement on Facebook and Twitter. Content creators can sponsor these mobile clips to reach new members of their target audience. Content creators interested in amplifying content on mobile should consider paid sponsorship and advertising opportunities. With targeted advertising you will be able to measure exact analytics.

6. Don’t just think social – think branded.

Mobile users are almost twice as likely to share content on social media sites. A study from the video technology company Unruly showed that branded Vines are four times more likely to be shared than branded videos. Brands like PepsiCo, AT&T, and General Electric are already taking advantage of consumers’ love for bite-size content and use it to boost their overall content marketing strategies.

7. Add SMS to the mix.

comScore’s January 2014 report showed that 159.8 million people in the United States owned smartphones, making up only 66.8% of the mobile market penetration. The majority of devices on today’s market are SMS enabled. SMS messaging is affordable and provides a sizable ROI for marketers, as 90% of SMS text messages are read in the first 4-6 minutes of delivery.

8. Always analyze.

Perform a thorough analysis to help you understand what campaigns are working and which need to be adjusted. Take your newfound data and apply it to your next round of marketing. Your collected data and improved campaigns will be critical to amplifying future content.

Successful content amplification is rooted in providing your audience with engaging, valuable content. With creative power and vision, marketers can take advantage of the wealth of opportunities that mobile opens up for them.

Dave Landry Jr.Dave Landry Jr. is a journalist and business owner who enjoy creating graphic and written content on his downtime. He hope you enjoy this article.

10 Ways to Supercharge Your B2B Lead Generation Efforts

B2B lead generation seems to be a mystery to many marketers. Just do a search on the topic and you’ll find little that’s helpful.

In my opinion, there are two reasons for this. One – people are searching for that one killer lead tactic that will mask all ills or, Two – people fail to realize that successful B2B lead generation is made up of activities that are by nature very hard to quantify and pin down.

B2B Lead Generation

The latter then leads to plenty of articles spouting the virtues of practices such as inbound marketing and content marketing, but little hard advice on how to make any of it pay.

Here’s my take – the real problem lies in the fact that you don’t simply generate a lead today, you guide it.

You can no longer run an ad that say’s “hey, we’ve got what you’re looking for come and get it” and expect much. Once a prospect actually knows what they are looking for, they’re already looking for a price.

Nope, it’s a process that involves many components working together that just happen to culminate in “a lead or click,” but know this, that click isn’t the thing; it’s merely the vehicle. Don’t get caught in the trap of relying on that kind of measure to show you what’s working.

Proper lead generation – or lead guiding – goes more like this – 1) Hey, here’s the real problem you need to address, 2) hey, here are a couple ways you might start to think about that problem, 3) hey, here’s one specific way to solve that problem and maybe, just maybe, 4) hey, here’s why we might be the right one to help you fix that problem.

This kind of process comes to life in the combination of the right activities delivered at the right time in the customer’s journey. It takes a mindset of consistently calling to action while consistently offering to loop a prospect back into consuming more content.

Below are ten B2B lead generation practices that must be used in some combination to guide the act of building a steady stream of highly qualified leads. No matter if you run a marketing department tasked with generating leads or you’re an individual sales person trying fill the lead gap, this is your plan of action.

1) Answer focused blogging

I know everyone tells you that you must be blogging today, but simply waking up on a Monday and deciding what to say is what leads to immediate blogging burnout. You must blog, but you must do it with intention.

Here’s the easiest way to do that. Go to your sent email folder and find a dozen or so questions you’ve answered from clients and prospective clients.

Now, turn each of those into blog posts.

Then, think about the questions your prospects might be asking or thinking before they ever consider your product or service as a possible solution.

For example, I was speaking to a group of Franchise print shops and asked them to tell me what questions a prospective customer might be asking at the earliest part of the their journey to find a print shop.

As you might have guessed most said things like – can I trust this shop, is there a print shop nearby, what should I print? But here’s the thing – there may be a few that are asking those kinds of question, but most are still asking – “How do I get more sales, how do I find more leads, how do I increase my conversion rates?”

The point is that to make blogging pay as a lead generation source you’ve first got to start answering those kinds of questions.

Dig up as many of those types of questions and put them on an editorial calendar for your blogging efforts for the next six months.

Once you get good at that you can turn a series of relevant posts into other forms of content such as videos and eBooks.

2) Social relationship building

Many B2B businesses are looking for a few dozen good clients, so I find it odd that they get sucked into the friends, likes and followers trap.

Social media as a lead generation tool is simply a really powerful way to build and nurture relationships. Stop using it as a broadcast tool and start thinking about influencing and adding value around 50 or 100 prospects.

Go to LinkedIn and leave all those industry and job title related groups you signed up for and find two or three groups where your actual prospects hang out and look for advice. Start asking and answering questions in these groups. Start building targeted prospect lists in these groups using LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator tool.

Start building trusted relationships based on your expertise and your network, start referring others and connecting these people to the tools, answers and resources they need and you’ll start to generation the right leads in social media.

3) Seminars and webinars

For many B2B lead generation environments, the most effective tactic involves in person education through events like seminars and webinars.

When a prospect gets to see and hear that you provide valuable advice, that you seem like a nice enough sort and that you have an answer or two for the precise challenges they are struggling with at the moment, some instant magic can occur.

Never mind that from a content creation stand point the ongoing series you create can also be turned into a powerful trust building asset or even a product in itself.

Here are some examples created by Duct Tape Marketing Consultants Vicki James and Kevin Jordan.

Like so many of the tactics in this post, this one relies on integration and follow-up via one or more of the tactics listed here.

4) Sponsor and be sponsored

We all want referrals, right? There’s no question that the best form of lead generation is the right kind of referral ushered to your door. And yet, few people actively promote this very form of lead generation – if it happens, it happens by accident.

I’ve built the bulk of my consulting and speaking business on the sponsor and be sponsored concept.

Here’s how it works.

Create an information rich, education focused eBook and/or webinar and reach out to other related businesses and ask them if they would like to cobrand the eBook or offer the webinar to their network free of charge.

Many know that they should be offering this kind of information, but haven’t gotten around to it so they will see your offer as a blessing and you’ll receive the benefit of essentially being referred to their entire network.

I’ve used this idea in tandem to great effect as well.

An organization will ask me to speak to their members and I’ll double up by allowing them to use an eBook I’ve created related to the topic. This way I reach the members in attendance, but I’ll also gain awareness throughout the group and give those that heard me speak deeper insight into how they could work with me.

But, you don’t have to stop there.

Go out and find someone else’s great eBook or webinar and arrange to cobrand that content as a lead generation magnet for yourself. One of the more popular lead capture options I have on my site is an eBook on Fee Based Selling written by my friends at FreshBooks.

Slideshare is a great site for finding people that might be great webinar guests and a search on Google for “yourtopic” filetype:pdf will turn up nothing but eBook related to the topics you choose.

5) Sequential lead magnets

I went fly fishing recently and I found this clear deep hole in the river where fish were actively rising to the top to eat. Things had been pretty slow to that point so I put some dry flies on and cast right on their noses.

Immediately my targeted fish rose, took a look and swam away. I kept at it, offering new casts and new flies and eventually after a number of presentations I would catch the fish.

Few things generate quality leads like a series of sequential offers that lead prospects deeper and deeper into your educational grip.

By setting up a process that by nature moves your prospect along, exposes them to increasingly valuable content and opportunities to get to know your approach better you set up relationship where it begins to feel as though you are working with a client as opposed to nurturing a lead.

You can accomplish this process through a sequential series of videos or even a series of checklists, each offering more pieces to the puzzle. One of the keys to this approach is that you sell the value of the series and set the expectation that your prospect is going on a journey of value.

6) Small batch direct mail

I return once again to the idea of smaller is better. I know we all want to do that blast thing and have it rain leads, but the more personal you can get the better.

You will receive far greater results targeting 50 or 100 ideal prospects a month and reaching out with a personalized letter outlining one highly actionable idea than any other form of mass communication out there.

For example, imagine getting a personal letter that included a statement like this: “We’ve found over the years that our customers want to know how to generate more leads. We’ve also found that one of the most effective ways to actually do this is [fill in your killer tactic here]” If you would like to receive more tips like this or learn how to more fully employ this idea please visit our video series here [your URL].”

7) Relevant warm calling

I would never advocate cold calling, although plenty of people still do it. The problem is that the notion of cold implies dumb calling. I still get calls today from people who start off by saying that they would like to come by and spend 30 minutes of my time learning what I do to see if there are any synergies.

First off, let me say that if you use the word synergies you probably aren’t going sell me anything, but further, let me say that it is nearly impossible to not know what my business does – heck, you wouldn’t have to work that hard to have my family medical history and some knowledge of my music and food choices, so no call should ever be cold.

Picking up the phone and connecting after thoroughly researching relevant and personalized discussion topics is how you create warm calls.

Let’s back up to the previous point concerning small batch direct mail. A powerful way to up the response of said small batch mail is to claim in that letter that you intend to call the recipient next Tuesday to talk about several more ways they can increase their sales.

Very affordable technology exists today that would let you know which of the letter recipients visited the link in your letter and might just be ready for a call. Most marketing automation tools such as those from Marketo, Infusionsoft and Salesforce incorporate this kind of technology.

You can begin to inject this idea into other lead generation elements as well. If you have a webinar sign up form start asking for phone numbers. You don’t have to make it mandatory, but try reaching out to a few that provide the number simply as a way to make sure they have what they need, offer to answer questions about the event or even send them a tool for note taking.

You don’t have to be a pest when you call people, in fact, don’t sell, just be useful. Even useful voice message follow ups will let people know you are human and aren’t going to hard sell anything.

Reaching out via the telephone in a useful manner will help build trust for your other lead generation initiatives.

8) Smart networking

My friend Derek Coburn has written a tremendous book on networking called – Networking Is Not Working. If you have not read it highly recommend.

Coburn debunks the value of the traditional meet and dump kind of networking that people tend to waste their time doing.

If you want to make networking pay you have to look at it as a tool for connecting others rather than getting connected.

Here’s the difference – instead of reaching into LinkedIn to see who you can connect with, reach into your existing network and find a handful of people that need to meet some shining stars in your network.

In fact, start looking to connect with more and more people who can help your connections instead of help you.

When you view networking as your opportunity to build bridges that help others – guess what happens – you become a lead magnet.

Yes this takes time and effort and it can be hard to quantify right off the bat, but building lead momentum isn’t for those who are afraid of work.

9) Interview ideal clients

I intentionally stayed away from the word podcast because so many people don’t want to be podcasters. Here’s the thing though, I don’t want you be a podcaster any more than I want you to be a blogger – but you absolutely must have a blog!

Here’s what I want you to do. Create a podcast so you can gain access to your ideal clients in a highly leveraged way.

If you want to work with CEOs of mid size manufacturing companies then create a show where you interview successful CEOs of mid size manufacturing companies who just happen to be happy to share their journey to success with your listeners.

Okay, maybe you don’t have any listeners, but your guests don’t need to know that and while you are building your following you’ll be getting some awesome content that helps you build authority in the space you work and just might land you in a conversation with a prime prospect.

Podcasting is not as complicated as it might sound and there are plenty of resources, such as The Podcast Answer Man, to help teach you what you need to know to turn this into a lead generation play.

10) Paid traffic

I’ve placed advertising as the final piece of the B2B lead generation list not because I don’t think it has much value, but because it’s so much more effective when you are doing many of the other elements prior to buying ads.

Ironically advertising is the easiest tactic – anyone with some cash can throw up ads and generate a few clicks and maybe even leads with very little effort. The only problem is that the leads are often uneducated and unqualified.

The way to create the highest quality leads is to invest in teaching them how to be ideal clients. When you employ many of the previous tactics you can use your advertising to drive prospects to any number of educational opportunities, such as video tips, webinars, eBooks, and, now that you have one, your podcast, knowing that the traffic you send to these elements will do the proper job of educating and ultimately selling.

Here’s some of my favorite plays for paid traffic

You’ve probably run across some of these suggestions in search for lead generation answers, but the real point here is that you’ve got to employ numerous lead generation tactics, working together, in order to create lead momentum.

Just Work the Program

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Justin Belmont – Enjoy!
Work The Program

Photo Credit: Barber Chair

Many barbershops go beyond a simple haircut to treat customers to a grooming extravaganza. A haircut may come with a beer, great conversation, hairstyling tips, full shampoo and conditioning with top-notch men’s hair products, and a massage chair. A repeat customer will likely expect a repeat performance. Yet, if the barber falls short on the friendly conversation, if he forgets to offer a beer, or even if the massage chair is out of order, the customer may not return.

While any of these mistakes is forgivable, the customer has come to expect a certain type of haircut. As the owner of a new luxury barbershop, you would need to set the standard of service and stick to it.

Marketing is no different. Patience may be difficult in the midst of a marketing program, but if you lay out a plan and follow it consistently, you build customer confidence in your brand.

Work The Program

Photo Credit: Maplay out a plan and follow it consistently, you build customer confidence in your brand.

For example, if your social media campaign begins with three tweets per day and you begin to build an audience on this strategy, that audience is going to expect to find tweets three times a day. Along the same lines, if you only tweet once or twice a week, you may build an audience that prefers a sparse style. If you start to ramp up your daily tweets, this audience may un-follow you.

In either case, decide on a consistent strategy that is appropriate for your brand before execution. If your social media ship has already set sail without a consist heading, reevaluate the program. Start anew, but be faithful to the new program. In some ways, correcting course on a social media program may be easier than on other marketing platforms. Format is fairly standardized, making frequency the primary consideration. As long as you supply relevant content, there are relatively few corrections to be made. Traditional marketing campaigns, such as pitching media or running online advertising, may require more work to recover.

Work The Program

Photo Credit: Marketing

Whether the business is a barber shop or a new real estate investment firm, the rules are the same for any small venture. Consistency is key. The logo on social media pages should be the same as the logo on emails signatures and on the bandit signs posted around town. If you want to build consumer confidence that your business is legitimate, maintain branding across platforms to establish recognition. For example, the Nike “swoosh” branding is so recognizable that Nike no longer needs to supplement it with the brand name. The logo speaks for itself.

Inconsistencies are a red flag to audiences that something is amiss. Sloppy marketing may indicate that the product cuts corners as well. Audiences may think your company can’t handle the work, either because distractions have let the marketing program fall to the wayside or because the company cannot afford proper business promotion. No matter the cause, inconsistent marketing will elicit shaky confidence, which in turn will make customers disappear.

 

Justin BelmontJustin Belmont is the founder and editor-in-chief of Prose Media (prosemedia.com), a writing service that creates high-quality content for brands–from blog posts and newsletters to web copy and white papers. Prose (@prose) employs top professional journalists and copywriters with expertise in a variety of industries.

With a background in corporate communications, Belmont has an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and was formerly an editor at Google.

How Mobile Marketing is Changing the Face of Events

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s post comes from Adam Hope.

‘Mobile marketing’ Image Credit: Osman Kalkavan

‘Mobile marketing’ Image Credit: Osman Kalkavan

In today’s increasingly mobile world, more and more marketers are focusing their activity primarily at mobile users. According to research from mobiThinking, there are over 2 billion people using a 3G or 4G mobile phone network. That means nearly 30% of the world’s population has access to high-speed mobile internet – and this percentage increases dramatically among business users and those living in developed nations. Data from eMarketer predicts that by 2017, 50% of the world’s mobile phone users will be using a smartphone with access to the internet and mobile apps.

Keeping up with the mobile trend

Mobile marketing is nothing new, businesses have been creating mobile friendly websites and using social media to reach their on-the-go audience for years. However, as with all technology, the industry is constantly evolving as new hardware and software are developed. These developments are aimed at enhancing the mobile experience for the user and are giving mobile marketers an increasing number of channels through which to reach their customers.

Mobile marketing at events

One key area of growth in the mobile marketing world, is the use of targeted activities to connect with customers at events. Whether it’s creating a pre-event buzz, managing the duration of the event or keeping in touch afterwards, mobile technology offers countless possibilities for customer engagement. Event marketing is rarely a fixed location affair, with businesses travelling to meet their target customers’ locational convenience and, as such, mobile marketing and event marketing make a well suited pair.

Creating a social buzz

The event marketer’s job starts long before the actual date of the event and mobile marketing is a great channel through which to build pre-event hype. Social media and mobile friendly email campaigns are a fantastic way to reach your pre-existing audience, giving them an early introduction to an upcoming event.

In order to have a wider mobile reach and grow your audience prior to the event, research influential local retweeters and sharers alongside complementary businesses in the location of your upcoming event. Get them to share your event information by building a relationship with these people and asking them to share information which may be of interest to their followers.

During the event

There has been an emerging trend in the creation of custom event apps. Businesses are either creating an app specifically for an event or expanding their pre-existing mobile app to include the event. This offers the ultimate convenience to the customer – putting all of the essential event information in their fingertips. Apps also provide great brand exposure as your business’ branding is installed on the customer’s phone, keeping your message fresh in their mind, as they use their mobile device.

Make it as easy as possible for your audience to access further information on your business, product or service at your event. Direct customers to your social media accounts by including information on how to find you online in your printed display materials. The use of QR codes has had a varying success rate, allowing mobile users to scan a code with their smartphones camera which takes them directly to your site. The more mobile channels through which your target audience can access further information, the better.

The use of geotagging at events is extremely valuable to businesses as it shares your attendees’ location with their friends, having a visible knock-on effect on social media. Ensure your event’s social pages are set up in a way which allows attendees to ‘check-in’ to your location.

The post-event social sweep up

The success of an event is generally measured by examining post-event data, whether it’s the number of leads generated or the level of attendee engagement. Social media is a great way to follow up your event and give attendees a specific #hashtag that they can use when sharing images or comments socially, during or after your event. This makes it easy for businesses to track any mentions and gather a general overview of the event’s success.

Industry trends predict clear growth in the use of smartphones as people’s primary access to the internet. It is clear that successful event marketers will need to shift their focus to ensure that their events are fully integrated with mobile communications in order to ensure future success.

Adam HopeAdam Hope is a blogger for The Events Structure – the UK’s largest single source provider of road show exhibition trailers and mobile event marketing vehicles. We provide versatile event venues for exhibitions, one off events and marketing roadshows. These range from inflatable pop-up structures to fully customizable exhibition trailers. We work with a variety of large and small businesses to promote their products at events around the UK. Our self-drive promotional vehicles offer the ideal economical solution for small businesses looking to make a big impact.

 

How Your Unique Worldview Affects the Content You Create

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Justin P Lambert – Enjoy!

photo credit: ZeroOne on Flickr

photo credit: ZeroOne on Flickr

If you’re making an effort to create and distribute content these days, you know that standing out from the crowd is difficult.  There’s so much “me too” out there, and precious little that demands to be seen.

But success requires differentiation.  If you don’t stand out somehow, you may as well not try.

Fortunately, everyone has a tool at their disposal that can help them to stand out no matter how saturated their niche, no matter how talented their competition.  Even you have this tool sitting right there waiting to be used.

Your unique worldview – the way you see the world and your own place in it.

Your worldview involves aspects of your personality as well as your emotional connection to your environment and the people who inhabit it.

It’s formed – at least in part – by a combination of things like your upbringing and your background, but unlike so many factors that are out of your control, your worldview is one thing you have a lot of conscious control over.

As noted in one of the Core Tenets of The Worldview Exploration Project created by the Institute for Noetic Sciences,

“Worldviews not only impact how we understand and make sense of the world around us but also influence how we express ourselves in the world. The constellation of personal values, beliefs, assumptions, attitudes, and ideas that make up our worldview have an affect on our goals and desires, relationships and behaviors. The more aware we become of our worldview and the worldviews of others, the more effectively we can navigate through life.”

For example, based on your background and upbringing, you may tend to be an optimist, or a pessimist. You may lean toward being altruistic and helpful, or selfish. You may be able to readily commit yourself to a cause or a project, or you may be easily bored and restless.

Your level of self-esteem, your personal inhibitions, and even your secret prejudices, all play a role in shaping your worldview, and all can be traced back to some aspect of your background or upbringing.

But in all these cases, unlike cultural or economic forces that changed who you were as your brain was developing, these aspects of your personality are yours to play with.

Despite your natural inclination, you can choose to be more positive, more generous, more goal-oriented. Regardless of what your parents did or didn’t do, you can choose to value yourself, to make smart choices, and to favor equality.

Your worldview is yours to create, not simply a product of your past that you have no control over.

And that makes it a powerful tool indeed!

How does this affect your content marketing?

There are a million different variations on this theme: what you’ve come from has combined to color your perspective on the world in a way that’s unique to you. And that perspective, in turn, colors everything you think, do, say… or create.

As in, content.

So, the point here is not just to try to change who you are or how you view the world. It’s not about trying to put that integral part of you into the background while you’re creating content so you can write or record something that you think is “more appropriate” or “politically correct”.

On the contrary!

This is about being aware of how your worldview is going to affect what you create, and using that knowledge to your advantage! Because your unique worldview is the basis of one of the most important ingredients you can add to a successful marketing strategy: your unique voice.

And more than many other tools at your disposal, your unique voice is crucial to creating engaging content that truly speaks to your target audience.

Profile-7Justin P Lambert is a content marketing specialist, owner of Words That Begin With You, author of The Content Marketing Hurricane (available for free July 7-11, 2014), and Chief Meteorologist at the CMH Stormwatchers Community.

 

Marketing Techniques Every Small Business Should Use

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.