Tag Archives: Advertising

Marketing Matters: Blogging and How It Can Benefit Your Business and Career

Computer keyboard
Foter.com / Public Domain Mark 1.0

 

Most high school and college students refer to blogging as creating a Tumblr or WordPress account, and then starting to write about themselves or create a collage of pictures on their blog’s wall. While there is nothing wrong with that, blogging can be used more effectively by students than it is. For business owners, creating a blog is another way of marketing, advertising, and informing their customers of their company’s services and or products. From both perspectives, let’s take a look at how students can advance their careers and small businesses expand their clientele.

There is a majority of college students and graduates looking to get their feet in the water and begin their careers in the workforce. With a 16% unemployment rate for young adults ages 18 to 31, some are finding it difficult to secure their first good paying job. According to a survey in 2011 by the Kauffman Foundation, 54% of millennials want to, or have already started their own businesses, leaving the remaining 46% of the young population who are aiming to get employed. However, as mentioned above, the unemployment numbers for the younger generation aren’t great, so what can these graduates and students do to help their chances in finding jobs? Blogging.

It doesn’t matter what age group, blogging has always intimidated people due to the fear of not writing well or not being able to supply enough content to make a difference. If they never try, they’ll always limit themselves when it comes to the debate between creating a blog to not. Being a student, I know the intimidation, but if you write about something you have a passion for or what you’re majoring in, you’ll soon realize that you can contribute a lot of information and articles on a weekly basis. In doing so, you’re showing potential employers that you have experience in that particular industry, and your blog alone can attract attention that you didn’t think was possible.

When I see the usual “I need a job” post, that’s not going to get that person anywhere. If they’re not searching for job openings, they need to stop posting on social media those four words and create a blog about something that can get noticed. Almost every student has a Twitter and or Facebook account, so without any effort they’ve already got the tools to help their blog posts go viral. The younger generation has so many media outlets at their disposal, and if they can’t find an job opportunity, they need to create one by displaying their experience.

For business owners, you already have the experience, and for some of you many years of it. Don’t be intimidated by a blank page not knowing what to write; a 300 word article on a daily basis can make all the difference. Write about your company, what it does, what you sell, and how you stand out from the company down the street who competes with you to get clients and customers. Every business is different, but if you don’t make that known to the customers, they’ll think to themselves that you’re company is the same as the guy across town. The same goes for you, the business owner; a Facebook page and Twitter account help with the distribution of your blog posts, so your chances of getting views are much higher than if you only had a blog by itself.

Blogging is essential for anybody, whether employed or unemployed, a student, or business owner. Remember, you’re marketing your business and who you are as a person, so be creative and impress the reader, show them what you can do and the knowledge you have. Marketing and advertising isn’t limited to written ads on the internet or commercials on TV or Youtube, blogging plays a major role as well. Create a blog and see the benefits it has on your business. For you students, you might realize you know a lot more about your career field or interest than you thought.

Marketing Matters: The Importance of Building Your Own Personal Brand

handshake isolated on business background
SalFalko / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

 

When it comes to business, whether it’s the customer, owner, or CEO, everyone knows how important maintaining a respected brand is and how it intertwines with reputation and perception. Far too often people forget that there is another brand in business, the personal brand. We forget that we’re not just marketing our product or services, we’re also marketing ourselves, and this isn’t exclusive to business either. Marketing goes beyond the realm of the corporate world, and it starts with our image and actions on a personal level.

Before a small business can bloom into something larger, the owner is always meeting with clients, distributors, and customers. In those conversations and interactions, it’s the first impressions that can make all the difference. Just because they’re entrepreneurs and small business owners, they’re not excluded from interviews, in fact, they’re constantly seeking out clients and consumers, forcing them to hold a respectable image daily. The way they carry themselves is usually an indicator of how their business is run, and that can be either beneficial or detrimental. Perception is important in business, and whether the old saying is true “Never judge a book by it’s cover”, most people make their decisions based on first impressions.

It’s not just in business meetings or day-to-day interactions with customers and clients that are important to your personal brand. What you say on your Twitter or Facebook account, the pictures you post, or even the things you “Like” or the accounts you follow are all part of your image. When it comes to potential clients, they’ll seek you out, they’ll search for you or your business on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and if they’re not too fond of what they’re reading or seeing, your reputation is already slipping. The way you carry yourself on a daily basis has to coincide with who you are when you’re with family or friends. Business partners and associates want sincerity and realness from who they’re working and making business decisions with, and whether you show it or not, they’ll know the real you sooner or later.

Present yourself as a professional, dress like a professional, be professional everywhere you go. It doesn’t matter if you’re a college student, business owner, or employee; the people around you will draw their own conclusions of who you are without even getting to know you. It isn’t right, but the image you’re portraying will ultimately make the decisions on how others perceive you to be.

Your brand has to be friendly, open, professional, and real. Just as we are when meeting new people outside the office, the same has to be applied in the business world. Especially for students, this is a time when your brand needs to take shape. You can’t say, “I want to be successful” or “I want a job” while being lazy and acting in a completely non-professional or immature way that everyone can see. Have some self-respect, work hard, stand out from your peers; you’ll get noticed. The same for small businesses. You’ll get noticed by who you are and your identity; if it’s open, unique, friendly, and professional, you’ll attract customers that reflect what your business sells.

Personal branding is so important, but so easily forgotten. Start now, get ahead of your peers or competition in the business world, and show the clients, business partners, and customers who you really are. Make that a part of your marketing strategy. As a business owner you’re the marketer and advertiser, and you’re the best representer of your business and how it’s constructed. Good marketing is a vital part of the company’s success, but without a respected and honorable brand, your business will never reach it’s full potential.

Can Instagram and Storify Be Used For Marketing and Advertising Purposes?

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brendanlim / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

Instagram is used by millions of people who post pictures of themselves, others, the skylines of the cities they live in, the changes in seasons, and anything else that can be captured on camera. In terms of marketing can this social media site be used to advertise products? Absolutely. However, not even the major stores such as Best Buy or JCPenny are taking advantage of the opportunity to market their TV’s, laptops, or clothes. The companies are missing out on a whole new way of advertising that doesn’t cost a cent, but worst of all, there is a marketing element to Instagram that these stores are failing to capitalize on.

When customers go to the stores, especially at clothing outlets, what is the order of their actions? They search for the item they want that in some cases they stumble upon it in the store, try on the clothes, and then decide whether to buy the article of clothing or not. American Eagle already has this idea in mind and posts pictures of what they have in stock on Instagram, and the same should be done by all clothing stores across the entire industry. Social media is where the customers are, and some of these big conglomerates aren’t marketing the cheapest and easiest way.

In most cases, it’s the customer posting pictures of what they bought, making them do the marketing, but it’s not a complete guarantee that they’re going to say where they bought the item. Best Buy on the other hand specializes in technology, and the products can sell themselves, but posting a picture of the price of the TV or laptop for instance, especially if there is a discount, can easily bring in customers to the store.

Even on a local level, why aren’t small businesses getting in on the action? Hashtags, if used properly can get many viewers and if they’re interested, they might read more into your business. If you’re a business owner from Boston and have a product to sell, hashtag the picture with appropriate tags, but also mention the area in which you’re based. Viewers will look at the profile and publisher of the photo, see the website that is part of your profile, and you’ve successfully advertised your product without spending a dime. Instagram is more than a social media site for photographers, it can be a way of marketing for both big and small businesses.

Storify is another social media site, but not as well known. Unlike Twitter or Facebook that only allows you to post a link at a time, Storify is more like a blog, giving you the power to drag tweets, Facebook statuses, Youtube videos, pictures from Instagram, and links from other sites all into one short or long article. This is another site that is a gold mine, but not being used to its full potential yet. Forbes magazine posts conversations from Twitter onto Storify, but if you have Twitter, there is no point in reading the same responses that you can find elsewhere.

Whether a big or small business, Storify can be exploited, and can be an efficient way to market and advertise to your customers. Instead of the consumer going to Facebook and then to Twitter to find information about your business or products, Storify conveniently puts everything you want to share with your followers all in one post. It’s incredible that businesses and magazines haven’t taken advantage yet, but this is when hopping on board can be beneficial, especially for the local startups and businesses.

Social media can be a business’ best friend when it comes to marketing and advertising. While most people use these sites to keep in contact with each other, there is a whole different aspect of social media that hasn’t been unearthed yet. The opportunity to cheaply market is there, and millions of potential customers are already in place to be marketed to. Take the next step; approach the consumer, inform them, help guide them to your business, and it can all be done on these sites.

Marketing Essentials Every Small Business Must Utilize

A Portable Joanna!
National Library of Ireland on The Commons / Foter.com

 

There are dozens of businesses in your city or town, but what are most of them not doing? Marketing and Advertising. There is the occasional ad in the local yellow pages, but it’s the 21st century, not many people look to the phone book when they’re looking for someone or some business. Marketing on the internet, email, and social media should be a must for all businesses, but there are a number of companies that don’t have a Facebook page, Twitter account, or email subscriptions to attract and interact with regular and new customers. So let’s take a more in depth look at all aspects of social media and how they can be used to help your business prosper.

Starting with email subscriptions; this is a great way to personally send information about products, sales and discounts, or any news that could be important to your customers. We all get emails from bigger companies, whether a clothing store, magazine subscription, or any other place you have shopped in the past. But why aren’t small businesses doing the same? To attract customers and give reasons to return for regular customers, you must draw them back, and even if you have a sale or a discount, they’ll never know unless you’re informing them that the product is on sale via email. Websites are a great place to show your products and what is in your inventory, but there is a chance customers won’t go to the site, you must go to them, and that’s where the use of email comes in.

Social media is the future of marketing and advertising. Twitter and Facebook are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential technology can have on your business. A Facebook page can be used to draw customers in, and if your fans share your page, there’s a likelihood that their friends will also look into what your business does. It’s a way to interact with customers if they have any questions, and if your business has a product you can post pictures and or videos  to help visualize that specific product to the fans and customers. People want to see themselves using or wearing the product before purchasing it. If you can give them a clear picture of what they’re buying, that’s half the battle, especially if you don’t have a brick and mortar store.

Twitter pages have been proven to be successful for businesses. A small clothing store in Massachusetts is drawing in more customers through Twitter than their main website, and as a result, all the marketing and news about their clothes are being posted in tweets only. However, with this form of social media, continuously tweeting and using hashtags that are relevant to what you sell and your customers buy is vital to the success you’ll have on Twitter. Always post pictures if your business has a product, respond to your followers, and make it interactive. In most cases, the twitter accounts who have many followers is a result of them interacting and having conversations, showing that they’re friendly and open.

To effectively market what you sell or do, you must go to the customer first. The internet is the best way to get news and information out to the public, and it must be utilized. There are many businesses still operating as if it’s still the 20th century. To stand out from your competition you must reach out to who you’re trying to sell to and gain consumers. After all these years of it’s existence, social media isn’t being used correctly. Be the first to take advantage of what these websites have to offer, and separate yourselves from the pack. It could be the difference between a somewhat successful business and a complete success.

No Matter What Profession, Being Truthful and Honest Goes A Long Way

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The_Warfield / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

In my time as editor and writer for basketball and sports; rumors, half-truths, and being the first to report a news story dominated the social media world and still does, especially on Twitter. Whether it’s the big news corporations, or the smaller blogs and websites that have a solid following, news stories will break, either true or based off of a rumor that either way attracts viewers and followers. However, in most cases there is no legitimate source reporting these rumors, creating a boy who cried wolf scenario that can be detrimental to the smaller news outlets and blogs. Why is this important and how does it effect you?

Whether you’re a passionate blogger for your favorite sports team, or a small business owner, what you tweet, post, or advertise cannot be half-truths or complete lies to attract followers or customers. Knowing this, I always frowned upon writing articles just to get viewership, in which money can be made based off the traffic these posts attracted. Sure it’s a great way to make a few extra bucks, but the loyal readers, the ones who could potentially tell their friends and co-workers that this site is good and honest, will leave and find another website or blog to follow that won’t waste their time posting bogus news stories.

The same can be said for the business world. Whatever you’re selling: a product, your skills in a certain profession that requires physical or mental labor, or the information that you’re reporting as a journalist, has to be 100% honest or sooner or later the person who bought into you will leave once they learn the truth. A good reputation is what builds up a strong core of followers or customers, and that starts with being open and honest about your product. In the sports journalism world there are some writers who are respected much higher than others, and that’s due to the connections they have, but also the accuracy of the rumors or stories they are reporting.

Walk down a main street in your city or town, there is most likely a town diner or a family owned restaurant that is famous in your neighborhood. They rarely if ever advertise, but how did they gain their popularity and customers? The first patrons who stepped foot into that restaurant were satisfied with the food they ordered, and in turn told their friends and relatives about that specific place and how they must go there.

The best way to grow your clientele is to have a product that is so good they immediately share their experience at your store, restaurant, or your services such as plumbing, computer repair, etc. Your first customers are your advertising, whether they enjoyed the time and money they spent, or didn’t. The customer’s satisfaction builds up your reputation, and being truthful further enhances what you’re selling.

We can all learn something from sports, but take a look at the sports journalism aspect of the industry. Lessons can be taken away just from one article or Twitter account in which lies, false rumors, and lack of credibility become exposed. This also happens in business on a daily basis.

Do you want a loyal following and fan base (yes companies and businesses have fan bases too)? Marketing and advertising that is true and honest that reinforces the product you’re selling will attract new customers, and the ones who have already bought into what you’re selling will return. If you’re a writer or blogger, the same applies to you as well. Reporting rumors isn’t wrong, but check the facts and sources releasing these news stories before posting. Followers on Twitter want information, and if you’re not reporting news that’s worth their time, they’ll find another outlet to follow.

Honesty and being truthful cannot be stressed enough. If you apply those two qualities in anything you do, you’ll be successful with many loyal and real customers and followers.

 

Marketing: Where One Industry Got It Wrong

Wind farm and greenhouse gas farm, together
kevin dooley / Foter.com / CC BY

 

Previously I had discussed the industry that got marketing and advertisement right, briefly analyzing Apple and Microsoft’s ad campaigns for their laptops and tablets. Now it’s time to take a look at the automotive world and see some flaws in how some car manufactures are marketing their vehicles and why possible buyers might not be influenced by the ads shown on television. This wasn’t always the case as car companies a few decades ago clearly stated what their product could do and it’s benefits. Technology and vehicles are at the top of the food chain when it comes necessity, and the importance of drawing in customers should be a number one priority, especially for those companies and manufactures who aren’t leading in sales.

One example, Dodge recently had an ad for the new 2014 Charger, in which it’s doing donuts off-road in dirt. Whether an owner of a Charger would actually do that to their car or not, it’s the comment the narrator makes that neither contributes any information or sense.

 

“We’re willing to bet, no kid ever grew up with a poster of a Passat on his bedroom wall.”

They’re correct, it’s not likely a kid had a Passat on his bedroom wall, but what does that have to do with the Charger, a car that isn’t in the same class as the Volkswagen Passat? For a potential buyer, all the person gets out of the commercial is that the Charger has 300 horsepower, 31 MPG, and that the car he or she owns will be on a poster in some kids room. The Charger has traditionally been categorized as a muscle car, but since it’s reappearance to the market in 2006, it’s now a sedan, adding a whole new dimension to what an American sports car is. With the Chevrolet Camaro also coming back a few years ago, the Ford Mustang getting a new look, and Dodge’s own Challenger, why should a potential buyer choose the Charger over any other muscle car?

In short, some benefits need to be explained in a thirty second commercial. The Charger is a sedan, meaning more seating capacity. It still gets the horsepower of a sports car, and it’s not your average luxury car, if it can even be called that. A person who wants a Passat is not likely to buy a Charger and vice-versa. This isn’t just confined to cars or big business sectors either and can reach the local business level. Everyone has certain preferences and tastes. If you know who you’re marketing to, continue advertising to people who you know will buy into your product, not the person who would prefer the Passat.

Taking a look at an older car commercial from 1996, this ad was an award recipient for BMW. There is a similar amount of words spoken, same time constraint, but a different element the car is driving in.

“Why float through life, when you can drive?”

Unlike in the Dodge Charger commercial, that quote fits the ad, and is relevant in the time that it was aired. During the mid 90’s, bigger luxury cars were referred to as “boats” because they were square-shaped similar to boxes. It was around this time in which BMW and Mercedes Benz  ushered in a new era of mid-sized luxury sedans, and 18 years later, we can look back and see what was being envisioned through this commercial.

While benefits of the car aren’t mentioned, the camera angles, the car weaving through the boats as to say it can maneuver through traffic, and the comment, “Why float through life, when you can drive?” insinuating that the BMW drives differently than it’s competitors, shows advantages to owning the vehicle. Even though BMW chose the approach of not specifically stating what its product could do, the visuals alone painted an image in the consumers mind. This car looks nice from a pedestrians point of view, it drives better than the other luxury sedans on the market, and the vehicle is smaller than it’s competitors.

Lastly, you can find many car commercials from the late 80’s through the 90’s in which the benefits, safety features, and price are clearly presented in the ad. This Nissan Altima commercial from 1993 features all three points from the list above, stating that their car has dual front air bags, front and rear crumple zones, starts under $14,000 and is a car “that could possibly save your life”.

 

Looking at all three ads from different car manufacturers, the same rules can be applied outside the car industry for marketing and advertising. You want to inform your customers about your product, but you also want to capture their attention through visuals. The real question is when looking at making a basic ad, do you go with the completely nonsensical approach like Dodge, find a happy medium similar to the BMW commercial, or lay the facts out about your product right in front of your customers. Combining any of the marketing strategies works too, but remember, who is most likely going to buy your product? The Charger is a beautiful car, but there is no reason to mention a non-related competitor in a completely different class.

Marketing: Where One Industry Got In Right

 

Flickr addiction
Giovanni ‘jjjohn’ Orlando / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

As a consumer, nothing attracts my attention more than a well-done commercial or ad. However many businesses, especially on television, choose the cute or lack of information approach replacing facts with flash, but in the wrong way. Some companies have brilliantly mastered advertising; informing, persuading, and adding humor together that makes sense, and markets to a defined audience. Two major industries, technology and automotive, spend time and money marketing to potential consumers, yet only one industry fully understands how to use the power of advertisement.

There are a variety of laptops, smartphones, tablets, and video game consoles on the market today, and it will continue to expand in the future. Technology is a necessity, without it many business couldn’t run day-to-day operations, staying in contact with friends and family would be more difficult, and students working on a term paper for college would be confined to the library reading books instead of doing research on their laptops. The product is already a guaranteed sell, but which company excels over the other and how? This is where marketing and advertising comes in. One popular technology company went over and above, defined who their audience was, explained the differences between them and the competition, and each commercial brought humor that was backed up by facts. Apple.

The Mac versus PC ad campaign that Apple ran is the perfect example and should be a blueprint for all companies, any size and in any sector. The short commercials said a mouthful in a very condensed timeframe, both visually and contextually. The actor portraying Mac is young, dresses in more comfortable clothes, and is clearly in his 20’s, while the older, more professional, and traditional guy portrays the PC. In each ad, something Mac has that Microsoft PC’s don’t is brought up, such as apps, capabilities exclusive to Mac’s, and the fact that Apple’s don’t get viruses like PC’s.

Apples will always appeal to the younger generations for many reasons other than the fact that PC’s are known to be used by companies and businesses. The ads contributed to the already popular belief that PC’s were for the highly intelligent, hard working business professional, which is why the actor playing Mac is the typical twenty to thirty year old adult. However, Apple didn’t overstep their bounds by offending PC users, but inserted facts about their product that the competition doesn’t offer. As both a Mac and PC user, I understand the differences between the two, and how Apple offers more appealing applications than Windows operated desktops and laptops.

A few years later, Microsoft released a few of their own ads showing what their tablet can do that the iPad couldn’t. USB ports and an attachable keyboard were exclusive to Microsoft tablets, once again displaying a company who knew who their target audience was. Most iPad users are less likely to do business on their tablet, while the keyboard and USB port would come in handy for a business traveler, which fits the criteria for Microsoft users.

 

The technology industry has figured it out. To successfully attract potential buyers; informing, persuading, showing what your product has that the competition doesn’t, and why I, as a consumer should buy your product, should be the basis of your advertisement. For Apple and Microsoft they only have one competitor, and that’s themselves, which is why they need to specifically state the differences in their laptops and tablets. Companies in bigger business sectors fail to see the opportunity and blueprint that those two technology giants laid down for other industries when it comes to marketing and advertising. Separate yourselves from the pack, be creative, do what your competition isn’t, and most importantly, know who you’re marketing to.