Posts Tagged ‘entreprenuer’

Social media marketing for the big and the small…

You know what is great about social media marketing?  You can do it successfully whether you are a multi-billion dollar organization or a small mom and pop style grocery store.

  • For the mom and pop store, it allows you to seem bigger than you are.  You know, what having a cool website did for you about 10 to 15 years ago!
  • For the large corporations, it allows you to become smaller.  I know what you are saying…”what? Seem smaller?…Why would I want that?”  Ah, grasshopper, the reason is community and relationships.  As companies grow, their line of sight to individual customers narrows to something that you need a telescope to see.  So, by actively listening and then engaging in social media platforms, large corporations can get back to the one-to-one marketing they used to do when they first started out.  It makes a difference…really.  Just ask Starbucks!
 
A mentor of mine, Dr. Bret Simmons, posted a question on Facebook asking about how conducting social media marketing would differ (if at all) for a company in a metropolitan area than for a company in a rural area. My short answer to this question is:  it really shouldn’t be any different…that is the beauty of social media!  
 
The only difference in social media marketing in a rural area versus a metropolitan area is reach.  Because rural areas tend to have fewer options when it comes to internet connections and fewer people in general, the reach you will get with your social media marketing efforts  in a rural area will be much smaller than in a metropolitan area.
 
One point to be made about social media marketing…it cannot be done in a vacuum.  Your social media marketing campaign has to be:
  • Integrated into your company culture:  You can’t say one thing in social media and then do another during the purchase or post purchase experience.
  • Integrated into your marketing campaign:  To get through today’s clutter, you need to integrate your social media into an integrated marketing campaign.  So, combine your social media efforts with your direct mail, advertising and digital marketing efforts.
  • Fully emersed:  You can’t just do a couple of tweets and expect the world to come to your door.  You have to consistently be there and engaging with your community.

So, how are you integrating your social media marketing efforts into your customer service efforts and your marketing campaigns? 

Happy Marketing!

 
Advertisements

Entrepreneurial Permission

As I toiled away on my elliptical machine tonight, I re-read Tina Seelig’s book “What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20.”  And what I love most about this book has to do with what makes a small business owner successful.  Is it being a marketing genius? Is it being a financial wizard?  Is it having a parent with a very large bank roll?  They all help, but that’s not it…at least not for the long run away.

At the end of the day, it really just boils down to a couple of traits or states of mind; traits/states of mind I would like to share with you.  The presence or absence of these traits/states of mind will tell you if you have the stomach and the know-how to become a successful small business owner.

  • Turning failure upside down—entrepreneurs can take failure because they know that failure shows them how to succeed the next time.  Failure is temporary.  Failure is sometimes necessary.  And, guess what? It took Thomas Edison something like  1,000 “steps” as he liked to call it to perfect the light bulb.
  • Knowing that “no” sometimes means not now—let’s face it, very few people in life like hearing the word no; especially as it relates to their business/baby.  Successful entrepreneurs understand that “no” might mean call me next week when I am in a better frame of mind.
  • Try everything, at least once—Successful small business owners will do just about anything to keep their dream alive.   And, they get creative…both inside and outside the box.  They are constantly thinking about what is next for their business and questioning whether if they are doing everything right and everything they should be doing.  Just like their business, they are in constant motion.
  • Test and learn beats fast and furious (…just ask the rabbit)—successful small business owners don’t waste money on big splashes, they take a disciplined approach to just about everything. They aren’t tentative, but they do their due diligence.

Here is my favorite and the most important part of being a successful entrepreneur.

  • Give yourself permission—the permission to start, the permission to stop, the permission to take risks, the permission to accept failures, the permission to say you were wrong, and the permission to say you were right.  Whatever permission you are denying yourself…give it freely.  You don’t have to wait for permission from someone else.  Who cares what they think?  Give yourself permission to start doing what you love today!

Since this blog isn’t about my normal marketing or market research topics, I have decided to end with a quote from Thomas Edison rather than “Happy Marketing”.  Here goes:

 

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

 

Here’s something from me…I give you permission.

I’m an expert, how about you?

When you have a small business, minutes matter.  You have to stay focused, which is very hard to do in this chaotic business world in which many of us operate.  In the past, many companies operated and sold either locally or, at most, regionally.  Now, we are global.  So how can you differentiate your brand, in addition to your products and services?  Become the Expert!

I was reading Ivana Taylor’s article regarding influence (You 14 Step Roadmap to becoming an Influencer ) on openforum.com and it got me thinking…what can small businesses do to make themselves brand experts? 

Here are some ideas that I gleaned from Ivana with my additions (of course).

  • Put in the time—You truly do need to be an expert to claim that status (don’t be a poser!)…Ivana recommends 10,000 hours…that means that you have to be working full time in an industry for at least five years to claim expert status…totally doable!  Remember though, focus is key… I am not just a market research and marketing expert…I am an expert in B2B insurance market research and B2B insurance marketing (as well as other things…wink). 
  • Strategically Embrace Social media—there are a lot of things you can do through social media that will boost your expert status, but you can’t afford to waste time.  Here are my quick hit favorites:
    • LinkedIn—join 50 groups…it’s fast and easy; and, actively post articles and ask questions in the groups from which you think you will get the most “expert status” bump. 
    • Blog—Don’t do what I do…keep your blogs short and sweet…and do what I do…keep them on topic.  When you blog, use key words you want to own/be associated with your name/brand…like marketing, commercial insurance, Net Promoter Score.  If you have more time…I suggest you also place comments on other people’s blogs—it helps with Google juice!  Another idea would be to guest blog, but few of us have enough time to write our own blogs let alone blog for other people.  I would try to get them to repost one of the blogs you have already written.
    • Create a YouTube video—if you have a video camera and an internet connection, you are pretty much set.  Make the video really short (1 to 3 minutes, tops) and very informative and instructional.  Oh, and make it fun.    Post these videos on your website…more Google juice!
    • Publish…Your Data—if you collect and analyze data and can publish it…do so!   Nothing better than providing the world with useful information.  And, after you have published your data…write a press release about it.  It doesn’t cost that much to get your press releases run through the newswires. 
    • In-person Networking—yes, you need to get out there and meet people face to face, not just online.  To do this, I recommend joining associations and attending their conferences (to the extent it makes sense).  Service clubs like Rotary are great as well, but don’t just focus on local things and events.  
    • Speak/Join Panels/Webinars—most of us would rather jump off a bridge than speak publically; but, there are few better ways to build up your expert status than having documented proof that people are willing to pay for your advice.

There are a heck of a lot more ways to get your brand elevated to expert status, but these were my favorites.  And, as you have probably noticed, most of them are absolutely free (except for your time). 

What are you doing to elevate your brand status to expert?

Happy Marketing!

Why you can’t wait another day to create a personal brand online…

Whether we like it or not, we can’t hide from the internet.  Every picture in which we are included and every community activity in which you engage are internet fodder—whether you like it or not.  Ok, so now you know.  Stop trying to hide—much like an ostrich hiding with its head in the sand…you will get eaten.

 So you can’t stop the internet, but you can shape your online personal brand…

Here are six ways you can quickly clean up your online brand today:

  • Be a networker—build your social network with quality people.   Social media is by definition social.  To help build your online brand and help you go viral…you need friends, followers, “linkers” and “commenters” (your mom and your cousin bobby too).
  • Be photo consistent—use the same profile photo across all your social media outlets…be the same person on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn…etc.
  • Be image conscious—review your Facebook and make sure you untag any photos that aren’t consistent with you are or who you want to be.  And no, you don’t want to have the sloppy drunk brand online (even if that is your offline brand).
  • Watch your language—avoid using inappropriate language and discussing inappropriate topics—particularly a problem on Facebook. 
    • Remember—everything you say on Facebook is findable.  Do you want a potential employer to see your post on Facebook where you trash your boss or company?   If you think your private settings will save you…think again.
    • Don’t be a player—I know that being a mayor of crazytown is cool, but it doesn’t help your online brand….neither does having a lot of fat and happy animals on Farmville.
    • Stay on target—blog about a consistent topic.  If you are investing the time to blog, make sure you stay on target
      • Use key words to make your blog searchable/findable on the internet.  If you are like me, a marketer, you need to put key marketing words and terms in every blog.

And, what’s most important?  Don’t Quit!  Stay vigilant.  The time you spend crafting your online brand will pay off big time.  It might not be today or tomorrow, but it will be soon.

Want more help crafting your personal brand?  Ask Dan Schawbel from the personalbrandingblog…the personal branding superstar! 

How are you building and controlling your online personal brand?

Happy marketing!

Small businesses & social media usage statistics

In the middle of last year, I wrote a blog about small business and their usage of social media entitle “Small businesses are getting it!”.  In the blog, I gave you some stats on small business’ usage of social.  Well I am happy to say that I have some updated small business social media stats to share with you from the next wave of the study.  And, the results show that social media utilization grew among small business decision-makers from the first half to the second half of 2010.

In the past 12 months, owners have made key accomplishments with social media, including:

  • Staying engaged with customers (63%)
  • Increased brand awareness (61%)
  • Identifying and attracting new customers (59%).

Here’s what small businesses are using as it relates to social media:

So what do small business decision-makers think as it relates to technology and the future? 

  • Nearly half expect to have a social media presence (46%)
  • 66% expect to have a website
  • 36% expect to have an SEO plan

On a not so positive note, more small businesses have found that social media is not meeting their expectations:  36% feel that their use of social media has fallen short of expectations and just 9% say their social media efforts have exceeded expectations.

Visit http://www.networksolutions.com/smallbusiness to download a full copy of the Small Business Success Index Wave-5

So, small business owner what are you waiting for?  And large businesses…your customers are online and engaging in social media.  Where are you?

Happy Marketing!

Four Quick and Easy Tips to Name Generation…

While most of us would agree that great care should be given when selecting a name for a new company or a new product, many people don’t have a true process they go through when selecting a name.

Since the name of your company or product/service is going to be with you for hopefully a very, very long time, it is important that you get this part of building your new business/product/service right.

Here are four quick and easy tips to naming a new business, product or service.

  1. Keep it Simple— less is (most often) more when selecting a name.  Think about your target audience when you are naming your company.  Since you are building your product and service around their wants/needs…why wouldn’t you build your company name around these wants/needs as well?   For some, simple could mean naming it after the family like SC Johnson (who makes things like Windex).
  2. Make it Memorable—while “being memorable” means different things to different people, to me it means selecting a name that is easy for your target market to remember.  So nothing complicated or hard to remember.  Or worse yet…one that is so close in name to a competitor that you often get mistaken for them (which could be a good or bad thing depending upon the competitor).  For example:  JiffyPop.  How could you forget that name?  Popped corn in a jiffy!
  3. Make it Relevant—is important for you to select a name that is easily relatable (by your target market) to what you do.  For example:  Toys”R”us.  When seeing this name for the very first time, would you have any doubt or misunderstanding as to what this company does?   Another great example is ProPixFix…a new online photo restoration service.  The name clearly tells you what they do.
  4. Make it Familiar—my final and favorite naming tip is make it familiar…meaning make it sound like you have heard of that company before.  When you start a business, you will have almost no brand recognition or equity.  By having a familiar sounding name, you might get people comfortable in giving you a shot, even though you are new.   For example: Fast Forward Strategies.  This marketing strategy company started in 2002 with no brand awareness/equity.  The company benefitted from the name sounding like a strategy company their target market had heard of before.

Ok, so what do you do if you have a “bad” name and you are stuck with it?  Help fix the bad name with a tagline.  Look for a future blog post on the topic of taglines coming soon to my blog.

Have more quick and easy tips on selecting a name for your new company, product or service?  Let me know in the comments section below.

Happy Marketing!

Social Media Can Be Your Friend Too!

Let’s face it social media isn’t going away.  You can choose to ignore it…but at your peril.  

First some stats:

  • Over 600 million Facebook users
  • Over 200 million Twitter users
  • Over 95 million LinkedIn users

In my post 7 Quick Tips to Maximizing Your LinkedIn Strategies , I talked about how you can use LinkedIn to your marketing advantage. In my video blog, I talk about a company who got it right in terms of effectively using LinkedIn.  Just in case you missed it, here is the synopsis:

  • It’s a story about two online insurance leads marketing companies:  One gets it as it relates to social media and one doesn’t.
  • The company that doesn’t get it, got raked over the coals in this particular LinkedIn group and has now been effectively banished by the group members–who will likely talk disparagingly about this company to both their online and offline associates.
  • The company that gets it, built trust in one of its key prospect LinkedIn groups by providing valuable content and informing rather than just “meforming.”
  • The company that gets it has already started doing business with the members of the LinkedIn group.

So what’s the moral of this LinkedIn and social media story?  You can get business through LinkedIn and social media if you do it right.  That means be genuine, build trust, provide value and be there on a consistent basis.  No one but your cat/dog and mother wants to hear your elevator pitch on social media.

So what are you doing to build relationships on LinkedIn/social media?

Happy Marketing!

%d bloggers like this: