Tag Archives: Social Media

The Paper Boy

Marketing Matters: Is Old School Marketing Still Worth The Investment?

Recently I had read an article on Entrepreneur.com discussing why old school marketing shouldn’t be forgotten when getting the word out about your business and services. It’s a very interesting topic as some businesses still use the old-fashioned marketing approach while others have completely gone to social media, and there are some individual companies who have incorporated both into their marketing strategy. But is it worth the investment of time and money to advertise your business as if it was still 1999 by creating radio ads and having your business’ information published in the yellow pages and newspapers. Probably not, and here’s why.

The writer of the article even acknowledged that 73% of people ages 18 and older use social media, leaving the remaining 27% who either don’t use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, or aren’t regular users on these sites from a day-to-day basis. While many of this 27%, and even some of the 73%, still read the newspaper and listen to the radio, both of these marketing outlets are a dying breed. As we’ve seen over the past decade newspapers have shrunk as the same information that can be printed on paper is published on the internet and social media sites, where it can be read on a laptop or smart phone.

When it comes to the radio, there aren’t many small businesses advertising, and that’s never been a primary marketing strategy for these smaller companies to begin with. Along with social media and websites, small businesses are more apt to advertise on podcasts as that is becoming the new form of AM and FM radio. While social media marketing is constantly improving and growing, podcasts and other forms of information and entertainment haven’t reached their potential yet. It shouldn’t be discouraged to advertise the old-fashioned way, but is it smart? No. Potential customer numbers are dwindling, marketing in newspapers, yellow pages, and on the radio are expensive, as opposed to social media marketing that is free, or at worst a few dollars out of your pockets.

Another reason to explore different marketing options other than newspapers and radio ads is because of the new generation of customers and potential clients. These 20 to 30 somethings are on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; they’re not sitting at a table during breakfast reading the newspaper before the entire family goes off to work or school. Looking at marketing from a 20th century perspective will neither grow your business or your clientele, leaving you in a tough spot as you’ll be spending more money on advertising than bringing in revenue and profits.

One of the biggest issues with marketing the old way is that it’s hard to track what forms of advertising is working, as it’s more difficult to track ROI. To say that a company should invest any amount of time with this older approach might be a stretch, as it isn’t cost effective and these marketing strategies aren’t targeting a growing audience.

What makes social media marketing unique is that it can be personal. The business owner or company can talk to the customer directly and in a timely manner.  By doing this they’ll know what the consumer wants and what attracts them. Many small businesses still haven’t converted over to social media marketing, and not only are they wasting $2000 or more a month, they’re not seeing any fruits from their marketing labor.

If companies want to go the traditional route, the most effective form of old-fashioned marketing is the E-mail newsletter. Even today that is still the most effective way of reaching customers, both new and current. I recommend that all businesses have this in their arsenal, as e-mail subscription lists are a goldmine and a great opportunity to expand the customer base.

I want to know what you think. Should businesses still look to the old ways of marketing and spend endless amounts of money on a form of advertising that has no guarantee of working in 2014? Should newspaper ads and radio commercials still be on the back burner for businesses and companies? Or are there other ways of marketing that haven’t been exploited yet that these companies can get into before the rush? This is definitely an important topic and one that every business owner should think about and discuss.

Business man

Marketing Matters: The Sales Pitch – The Deal Maker or Breaker

In marketing and advertising the crucial element that either makes or breaks a deal is the sales pitch. This can take the form of a presentation in a board room, a face-to-face conversation, email newsletter, online advertising, or a commercial on television. The presenter must lay out the benefits of the product and or service that the company or the individual is providing, along with the cost and comparison to the competitors. Most products don’t sell themselves unless they’re an absolute must have for every household, but even then, the sales pitch is what introduced the customer to that product which in turn creates sales.

Needing a new shade after years of being weathered and worn down, a local shade repairer and installer had to be called. He explained the differences between the shades that were available, their benefits, the costs, and which one would serve a better purpose. The shade that was chosen blocks sunlight to reduce glare, keeps the warmth in during the winter due to it’s depth and the material it’s made from, and keeps the cool air in during the summer. By reiterating the benefits of the shade it made his sales pitch stronger, and the price that came along with it closed the deal.

As an experienced professional in his field he knew exactly what worked and sold it to his customer. That is successful marketing, and while the decision to go with the heavier shade was already agreed upon before he arrived, his sales pitch would be effective for someone who wasn’t sure what they wanted and needed the differences and benefits laid out on a table for them to see.

For this business owner, face-to-face conversations and presentations is the only form of sales pitching he does. There’s no Facebook or Twitter account, and no website. However, because shade repair and replacement is still in demand, he’s fortunate that his lack of social media presence isn’t hurting his sales, but they could definitely increase dramatically and help grow his business.

All business owners must pitch their products or services where potential customers can see them. I use this business owner as an example because of his strong sales pitch in a verbal conversation, but he hasn’t taken that next step and marketed to a broader audience that could increase clientele and income.

As I’ve said before, contractors or anyone who has a  product or service that can be presented in pictures, should get on Instagram and start posting right away. For example, what my living room looked like with the old, worn out shade and now with the new, more durable shade that keeps the sun glare out. Facebook and Twitter can also have a positive affect. Even for a small company that provides a service that gets forgotten about, many people would switch to a shade that keeps the warmth in during the winter, and cool air in during the summer for one reason; to save energy.

The same goes for all the other small businesses out there. Just because you offer a service or product that only reaches a limited amount of people at one time, don’t confine your business to this number and get on social media if you aren’t already. In this day and age, clientele can grow at a much faster rate than in previous decades, and that can be credited to websites, blogs, and social media. If you’re a small business owner who only makes sales pitches in face-to-face conversations, I suggest to set some time aside and broaden your business’ horizons. There are probably many potential customers out there, and they’re waiting for you to approach them.

New Instagram Logo

The Power of Instagram From A Marketing and Business Point of View

New Instagram Logo
stevegarfield / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

 

Instagram is one of, if not the most powerful social media site for businesses that can be used at their disposal. Companies spend thousands of dollars on advertising when there are other alternatives that can target specific customers that produces a higher success rate in terms of views and interest. One picture of your product can result in a buzz on Instagram, creating a snowball effect that could gain traction in a matter of minutes. How is this possible? Visuals. People want to see a product, not read about it.

As an experiment and being influenced by friends, I created an Instagram account and posted some pictures from an auto show I had attended. Within a few minutes I already gained a few “likes”, and this was without using many hashtags and words. The same can happen for businesses and corporations, yet not many take advantage of this marketing tool that is waiting to be used. BestBuy and J.C. Penney are just a few of the big retail stores that aren’t posting pictures of their products on Instagram, and perhaps this could be one of the many reasons why these two stores are struggling.

Twitter also has this affect if used properly, but the tweets have to be tailored to a specific audience. Instagram on the other hand appears to be different in that pictures tend to go viral faster than words. For clothing stores such as American Eagle, they’ve already figured it out, posting pictures of a discount tag showing that they’re having a sale. Then, posted on the windows of their stores, they ask the customer to post pictures of themselves wearing their clothes. This is how you create a following and market on a small budget. There is nothing wrong with going the traditional way, but social media is proving to be more successful for those who are advertising in 140 characters or fewer.

There are many small businesses on main streets and side streets with high foot traffic, but how many of the people driving or walking by enter those stores? Face it, these businesses get forgotten, or at the very least aren’t recognized for what they are and what services they provide. Along with a Twitter and Facebook account, posting photos of the front of your business or store, the products you sell, or if you’re a contractor with a logo, post it. In every city there is always that one contractor, electrician, or plumbing company that gets most of the business because of their popularity, and because of this, there is a possibility they haven’t ventured out to social media. Do what you’re competition isn’t.

As with all social media sites and blogs, posting often is another way to gain followers. Having a static page that doesn’t update regularly won’t attract any viewers, and there is a chance people will begin to unfollow. Customers want fresh content, and when it comes to a blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, you have to post as if these followers are your clientele. It’s marketing and advertising, simply put. These social media sites aren’t being taken seriously, so you must be the first ones to do so.

As entrepreneurs you must all be open to new ways of spreading the word about your business and what services it provides. For too long small stores have sat in the shadows of the big conglomerates, but with social media that can all change. There are opportunities out there and some of them you’re already using, but not in the form of business, marketing, and advertising. Take the next step and stand out from the rest. Be the first to innovate and change how advertising is done on a local level. Social media is being used wrong, be the first to exploit this technology.

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 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.