Posted by: Floridadude | July 26, 2014

Your Marketing Plan

Coming up with a marketing plan for your products or services is essential in being profitable.  This within itself is a “no-brainer.”  How to accomplish and implement that plan however is what many small businesses struggle with.  There is no magic formula as each business has different goals, different products, different demographics and the list goes on and on. Some of more inexpensive considerations may include print media, social media, radio or TV ads.  Also do not forget networking with your business associates, leads groups, or direct mail campaigns.  All of these options can help your marketing goals. Some basic questions to ask yourself before you begin are these.

1.  Why should anyone buy from me over my competition?

In a nutshell, what makes you stand-out over your competition?  You need to be aware of what businesses in the same line than you are do, what they charge if possible and what you do that makes your customers need your products or services.

2.  What market share would value my business and how can I capture that?  Is there something unique about my products or service that would attract a specific market share?

Do you have something within your business you can offer that is unique or totally different from your other competitors?  If so maximize it in your marketing no matter how small you may think it is.

3. How much should  I spend to make my brand stand out?

As I discussed above, your budget is something only you know.  Nobody can tell you how much to spend, where to spend it, and how long of a campaign to run.  You can hire experts or ad agencies who would love to tell you because they want your money and many of their employees work on commission or a percentage so they will be happy to engage you in a long-term campaign.  With answering the questions honestly I mentioned here, you can do much of this yourself. True, large national or regional corporations need professional guidance and I am the first to say they should engage a professional agency.  Many small businesses however can’t afford that luxury.  Take your time and draw up a sensible marketing plan. Then follow through!  Good luck.

Posted by: Floridadude | July 12, 2014

So Are You taking a “Snapshot” of Snapchat?

There has been a lot of chatter lately about Snapchat .   While I have this platform a whirl, it’s usage is more among teens and younger millenniums.  But this is the good news for marketers and advertisers.  They are also paying very close attention to this 3-year-old platform.  Recent studies show over two-fifths of 18 year olds are using Snapchat several times a day if not more.    Sharing of Snapchat videos has skyrocketed.  How does 1 billion views daily sound? In case you forgot what makes Snapchat different than than say Vine, WhatsApp, Instagram or others is that the material does not stay.  What you post be it pictures or video is a one shot deal.  That make it a bit edgy but again, that’s what makes it popular.  Snapchat is aware advertisers want to reach this lucrative market so they have created ways for them to get on board with  “Snapchat Stories” .  These all conform to the brief 30 or 60 second time frame and unlike the consumer stuff, they don’t disappear after one shot.

Snapchat is one of the top 3 downloads on the Apple app store now.  If you are a potential national marketer or you just want to try  a new platform, give Snapchat a try.  As I stated however, if you are over 35, you might feel a bit out-of-place and wonder why you don’t find many of your friends using this application.  ( I personally deleted the thing but then again I am showing my age)  My purpose of this blog is to let my readers know of new and trending applications and Snapchat needs to be taken seriously as an app that is going to make them money. If you are younger than 35, give it a try and see how fun it can be.

Posted by: Floridadude | June 19, 2014

So How Much Time Do You Spend On Social Networks?

Businesses like to know where their target audience is.  When it comes to social media, we all know we spend a lot of time on social platforms.  Businesses are now spending a ton of money advertising on those platforms hoping to catch us glancing at their ads as we chat away at our friends, look up new products, book that motel reservation, upload a new selfie or whatever else we do.  Being interactive however is what is key though to those ads and how you click on them, look at them, ask questions about them, or even copy and save it for later.  Other key factors is desktop or mobile.  Which do you use the most?  It is no secret that being social is now what we all do on the internet.  It is not email, it is not research, it is not web surfing, it is being social.  To be social requires a platform and we pretty know what those top platforms are.  We also know that mobility has overtaken desktops.  People are spending most of their social activity on smartphones and tablets.  So lets take a look at the top platforms for social engagement.

Facebook  While Facebook is still king of the social media platforms, it has lost some of its luster.  It still out performs Twitter and it is still a high usage mobile platform as far as per-user.

Pinterest  Pinterest has made huge gains as a social platform mainly due to its friendly image of well people posting pictures.  We all love to “Like it well Pin It!”

Tumblr    Tumblr has “tumbled ” a bit as far as being a popular social site.  It has lost some luster over more popular digital media sites but it still a huge following.  Tumblr has turned more toward a blogging platform and arts.

Linkedin Linkedin continues to be the #1 professional platform for business owners and employees seeking connections for work.  LinkedIn has also started to allow more advertising on its site as well as millenniums continue to surf there.

Twitter  Twitter is reinventing itself with more ways to upload pictures, video, (Vine)  as well as cosmetic re-designs.  Twitter is still popular with younger users and entertainment artists.

The bottom line of all this is this.  The above listed platforms have all pushed to be more mobile friendly as they take their desktop platforms to the mobile phone and tablets.  Businesses who push their branding have followed right along by taking advantage of these platforms in the way of advertising and social engagement.  Advertising and branding promotions can not only be found on the above mentioned sites but video and chat platforms such as Snapchat, Whatsapp, Vine, and Instagram.  These apps have more time per user but overall are not as popular as the big 5.   In conclusion, how much time you spend on any social platform is gauged by business when they look to spend their hard-earned advertising dollars.  They want your attention and they want you to interact.  Next time you are on that platform be it your desktop, tablet, or phone, take time to at least glance at that ad staring you in the face.  They paid big bucks for it.

Posted by: Floridadude | May 30, 2014

Social Media And Your Business. Are You Keeping Up?

Social Media continues to evolve.  It seems to be changing every month with new platforms, new trends, and applications.  So you have your business on Facebook and Twitter and you think you are doing just fine in the world of social media.  But are you really?  Here are a few facts with business and social media.  As Facebook becomes more of a “We want your money” operation, more and more people are drifting away to find the free platforms for their business to reach their masses.  If you want the goodies now on Facebook, you are finding you have to cough up some dough to get it.  Facebook’s recent audience network launch program means for the business, the days of something for nothing is over.

What is becoming more popular for target marketing is video and images.  Many of the Fortune 500 companies are moving in this direction for advertising and marketing.  Images tell a lot and young shoppers especially are using this to their advantage and in their shopping habits.  Pinterest and Instagram  are picking up not only more users but advertisers as well as they pull away from traditional desktop platforms.  Mobility, video, and photo images is 3 key words you as a business need to grasp and embrace for marketing and advertising.  Video and still images have helped push Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine to new heights.  Another popular tool for the young 15 to 25 crowd is Snapchat.  While advertisers and still trying to figure out how to capture this new hot platform,  Snapchat has become very trendy to this key target market.

While I am not saying you should not still keep a solid market plan in place for Facebook and Twitter, businesses need to be open to new platforms and monitor social media trends to capture that market share.  keep up regular engagement conversations with your customers and stay connected.  Remember, spending your marketing dollars in an empty room is not only fruitless, it is silly.  Capture your market share and stay abreast of technology changes.  Be a leader in the social media circle. Reach your goals.

Posted by: Floridadude | May 22, 2014

Is Marketing Too Much For Small Business?

Is marketing efforts too much for small business?  Those who are “Mom and Pop” type operations typically get overwhelmed with marketing.  Trying to do too much among all those channels of marketing (social media, advertising, print as well as on-line) can get very confusing and costly.  Small businesses will spend over 20 to 30 hours a week allocating not only the employee but the owner as well.  Trying to be everywhere they think their customers are is a crap shoot unless the small business steps back and research their place in their market share.  Multi platform marketing as a small business owner takes patience and you may be surprised you don’t need to cross-channel at all depending on your location, your competition, and your customer base.

If you are dishing out money to market professionals to help you promote your business and not seeing an effective ROI on your investment or trying to do it all yourself with that same negative result then you are obviously spinning your wheels and wasting good hard-earned money.  If you are not engaging a professional your errors could include:

Not knowing how to use the tools

Spending too much time

Your customers are not on the channels you selected

Not measuring the analytics correctly

Social Media platforms and advertising outlets is not a drop an ad here and a tweet their type of marketing.  You need to know your customers and what you are selling and to whom.  If you are paying a firm or agency to do it for you with a negative ROI then you need to sit down with them and find out why.  If you are doing it yourself with wasted hours of a small base of clients looking at your sites then ask your customers directly what they want or survey them.  Marketing for small business does not have to be painful just effective.  Take a few steps back and breathe.  Then take baby steps.

Social Media marketing is no longer for B2B companies as a company.  What I mean by that is branding your business means putting you as a person who owns that business out there so your clients and customers know you are real.  You are reachable and you are a human.  Engaging your audience by creating that on-line personality not only helps you, it helps your brand.  People will feel they really do know you.

Over 90% of  B2B companies enjoy a presence on LinkedIn and more than 80% use Twitter and Facebook to reach their audience.  Being social tough does not mean they know what they are doing.  Using social media takes planning and strategy.  Less than  50% of marketing planners have any kind of plan to make sure they are getting any kind of ROI on investing their time, money, and production in using social media platforms.

To make your social media investment profitable and useful, consider what your audience wants to see and hear.  Use their perspective and not yours.  Be human and not a machine or a huge wall of corporate stats that nobody understands or really cares.  Make your brand fun, enjoyable, interactive, and let the people engage in talking to you about it all.  Now here are the 3 most used platforms for B2B social media.

Linkedin.    The top site for business interaction.  Linkedin is very virtual for networking.  It is wonderful for promoting leads, leadership, and relationships.  Linkedin allows for uploading images, video, and presentations.  You can customize your header, profile, and content.  While a professional network it is still a platform for reaching individual people.

Blogging.  Start using a company blog to talk about what you as a person is doing to enhance your brand and your business.  Offer tips and share your knowledge.  Let your customers know you care about what they want in your business and share those thoughts.  Be approachable through your blog.   Your blog can also be about related topics or even your own hobbies and interests but don’t get political or narrow-minded or aggressive.  Keep it fun, fresh, and interactive.

Websites. When is the last time you updated your website?  Is your content changed out at least monthly?  Are you tracking your analytics?  How are those images or videos doing you uploaded?  Have you even put any on your site?  Don’t make a website just a place holder of your brand.  Make use of it and allow interaction.  Link your website to all your social media platforms.   Good luck with your B2B marketing plan and remember.  Put “you” before your company.

Posted by: Floridadude | April 17, 2014

What Is Your Social Media Strategy For Your Business?

OK, so you are familiar with Social Media as a platform and you know you need it to get your branding out there to the masses.  Great.  But how are you going to do it?  What is your game plan?  How are you going to win?  While there are many with the old phrase “It worked for me!” how a small business markets their brand depends on many variables.  There are however a few key and simple plan of action items you can embrace.  Here are a few tips I have come across and have engaged as best practices with my clients.

  • How old is your customer base?  You have to know your demographics that you are trying to sell to.  If your client base are baby boomers, they probably like Facebook.  Believe it or not though, teens are not so much on Facebook much anymore but are really loving Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat. Know your demographics and make sure you have a presence there.

Read More…

Posted by: Floridadude | April 5, 2014

Making Your Marketing More Milennial

Ah, those young people and some of those “out of touch” small business.  Why isn’t your marketing strategy not working?  Well as they would say, “Well Duh!!” Milennials  are social and everything they do is digital.  They are connected digitally with their friends, family, and their shopping habits.  Are you marketing your brand digitally?  Are you advertising digitally?  Are you using social media to get your name out there?  Did you know 57% of milennials tell their friends about their purchases via digital connections?  (text, Facebook, ect.)  44% show a picture of their purchases via their cell phones.( Mooslyania Digital Survey)  So if you are sitting on your duff marketing via the “Old Skool” frame of the Sunday Newspaper and a coupon here and there now you know why those “youngsters” are not seeing your digital store front.

Millennials  expect your business to be up front and personable with them.  They want to see your business on their cell phones, their social media platforms and they want to interact with you.  They want to ask questions from the comfort of their home, the café, at the bar they like to hang out before even stepping foot into your establishment.  Times have changed.  One other point that Mooslyania brought out that is not too “Old Skool” yet is emails.  Millennials still like to get emails from stores  they buy from.  40% of them as a matter of fact.  While some say even emails are dying on the vine, this proves otherwise.  The average person looks at their cell phone 150 times a day.  Social Media is alive and well as are emails.  Welcome to the real world.

Posted by: Floridadude | March 23, 2014

Why Your Social Media Strategy Is Failing Your Business

OK, so you got your Facebook landing page up. That Twitter Account is rolling.  You even posted a few Instagram Videos.  You spent time, maybe even invested in assigning an employee to mange your social media.  So where are all the customers?  Why isn’t anyone interacting with my business? Is anyone even out there?  Putting your brand out there and expecting instant results takes more than just creating the platforms.  It does take work.  It also takes interaction and response.  Here are a few reasons why you be failing to attract new customers or clients.

1.  Advertising or interacting? Social Media overall is not the place to advertise your business.  While maybe running a coupon or announcing an upcoming event is OK here and there, your platforms are to engage your client base about relevant events such as new products or services  that may relate or effect what you provide.  Create interaction with your streams on social media but do not make it an advertising wall.  It turns people away.

2.  Updating your content?  How often to you go to your platforms and update your content or answer your followers questions?  You should check in daily or at the very least, several times a week and add or respond to your followers.  To say “We are on Facebook or Twitter” just to say you are on there without doing anything is really a waste of your time and your followers and gives a very poor representation of your brand.

3.  Social Media means being social.    Make your content to where it will create conversation or be forwarded on to others.  This helps with your analytics and branding being spread out there in cyber space.

4.  Autopost or not to autopost.  Using software like Hoot Suite or similar is great and I am guilty of this as much as the next person.  We get busy.  However it is always good to try to individualize or at the very least check in on your individual platforms and make them personal by adding unique posts and respond to your followers.  Your email can be set up to where someone responded to your post so you can at least answer them or say “thanks” for forwarding your post.

5.  Responding?  Are you responding to posts?  Someone asks you something or  says something negative are you responding?  You must.  If they say something negative about your business answer them.  Don’t delete and say stick it buddy.  They have a reason and they need addressed.

6. Tracking and gaining followers.  Use analytics to track your ROI.  Social Media within itself is a part of your business strategy.  We don’t  do it for fun or because the younger generation is doing it.  We do to market our brand.  Track your time and investment and see how it is growing your business.  As my title says.  If it is not you are doing something wrong. 9 of 10 times it is because you don’t put any effort into it.  If you don’t have the time, hire or appoint someone within your staff to manage it or take your platforms down until you do have the time.  Having dead space is worse than having something there just because my competition does.  Use Google analytics or something similar to track your activity.  It is just the same as websites I see of businesses that are nothing more than a place holder.  No fresh content, the staff pictures are outdated, the business has moved or remodeled and their website has content from 5 years ago.  Would you do business there?   Same with your social media.  Be fresh, be responsive, and don’t use your platforms as a “big sale” advertising gimmick. Good luck.

We have all been there.  The customer is not happy.  They want your product or service discounted or even free.  So when is saying you are really sorry appropriate?  Is the customer as the saying goes, “Always right?”  We do not like bad feelings, bad press, or with today’s social media, a blast saying don’t do business with so and so because they shafted me.  Many times we do owe an apology because we did in fact screw up.  We missed the boat.  An employee did something wrong, the product was defective, the service was performed wrong, we did not smile right, it could be a number of things.  In this competitive world, we have to sometimes save face and take the loss and say we are sorry. How can I make this up to you?

Then you have the typical customer out there who is always looking for a freebie, a law suit, or anything to capitalize off you.  They make their living at it and you just got picked today.  In my research and past experience in business, here are some simple tips for you to kick around.

1.    Is the customer’s demands reasonable?  If you find the complaint small or within your company’s policy then by all means fix it.  If not, telling them you are sorry is not needed.  You did the service or sold the product to the best of your and the companies’ ability.

2.  Always take time to understand the complaint and tell the customer you will look into it if it does not involve you directly.  Maybe the complaint is an afterthought or does not even involve you or your business directly.  Third parties sometimes cause the complaint. Just caring sometimes will fix the complaint.

3.  If you get someone like I mentioned above, Mr. or Miss  “I want this for free by golly I will sue you to get it!” then you need to also be firm and contact your legal team and many times, a simple letter from them to your irate customer will calm the waters fast.  It may cost you some money but your reputation and your brand is worth the damage control with these type of people.   Remember, social media is world-wide and one bad rap can go viral in a hurry.  You need to ask yourself. “How important is my reputation and my business?” A few hundred bucks here is well spent.

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