August 4, 2014
How many times have you had this conversation with your kids:You: “Here try this” Your kid: “No, I hate that” “Have you ever tried it?” “No” “Well then how do you know you hate it, if you’ve never tried it?” “I just know”
We all have them: preconceived ideas about people, places, and things. Maybe we decide we don’t like someone before they ever utter a single word, or immediately dismiss a new idea based on who-knows-what, or refuse to try snail larva (is there even such a thing as snail larva???) because it just sounds disgusting. We all do it; it’s primal and instinctive in us – part of our survival instinct. We used to (and maybe still do) depend on being able to make these unconscious snap judgments to sense and ward off danger.
But now, in the 21st century how often do these preconceived ideas hold us back from trying something that could be fun, tasty, or profitable? (Who knows maybe snail larva tastes like chocolate, with a fraction of the calories!)
I started questioning this at a trade show in San Francisco recently. As the Marketing Consultant for the event I walked around talking to exhibitors and taking pictures to post on Social Media. I approached one vendor and asked if I could take their picture for a Facebook or Website post and their response was, “NO”. Taken aback, I replied, “Really??? Why not?”
“No, I’m not comfortable with that.”
WHAT? I was dumbfounded. You aren’t comfortable with what exactly? Promoting your business? Getting more exposure? Potentially reaching thousands of new customers? WTH? (Ok, in all fairness, maybe they were former mob informants and part of the witness protection program. Or maybe they felt they were having a bad hair day.. Who knows?)
This surprising response got me thinking: we all do it. Everyone judges things before trying them. Then I started wondering: what things am I judging without trying that could be holding me back in business? Or what fears or insecurities or doubts do I have about things that are preventing me from being the success I could be? Then I realized, I can probably name 10 off the top of my head – how about you?
So maybe it’s time we get honest with ourselves about these things. Inventory them. Examine them. And get real. I’m not saying this small business should be on Facebook and I’m not saying that every pre-judgment, concern, or fear is unwarranted. What I am saying is that as business owners we need to be aware of these things to make sure they aren’t holding us back form true success in business.
So I encourage you to write down the things about marketing that you judge, condemn, or dislike and then examine your real reasons for not trying them. What scares you the most may be what you need the most!
March 31, 2014
You’re a successful business owner by anyone’s standards: you’ve been around a few years and at one point had all the business you wanted. You hired a staff, your sales pipeline was full, and the phone was ringing off the hook! Maybe you even felt overwhelmed at times, but felt excited about expanding.
Marketing didn’t even feel like marketing: you either got lucky and business boomed with no marketing plan at all or you joined a few networking groups, bought a yellow pages ad, and the business just flooded in. You didn’t need any so-called ‘experts’, you did it all – and were pretty damn good at it too! Or so you thought…
And then it all changed. Suddenly the phone stopped ringing, the pipeline was empty, and you practically had to beg, borrow, and steal to get your next client.
Marketing was easy when there was an abundance of money and credit. Getting clients was a breeze for well established companies with great reputations. But almost overnight the game changed. While the national economy was spiraling into a black hole, distressed consumers were becoming more prudent about how and where they spend their hard earned cash.
Today, social media allows consumers to shop, share experiences, and compare products like never before. They’re armed with the power of knowledge and small business owners are still scratching their heads trying to figure out what happened, asking:
- What do you mean you don’t look in the yellow pages anymore? (Check out my blog, “Does Your Advertising Make You Look Cheap?” for more info about advertising)
- My competitors do ‘what’? How am I supposed to compete with ‘that’?
- What do customers want from me??? (Read, “Good Customer Service Isn’t Enough” for more info!)
In denial, many thwarted their businesses by asking for marketing advice from their accountant or hairdresser – or even worse – from the sales reps who make a commission off selling yellow pages ads and advertising. Frustrated and confused, many small business owners just quit marketing all together.
NO Marketing = NO Business
Giving up on marketing is not the answer. The answer is simple: if consumers are smarter, YOU have to be smarter. And the first step in becoming smarter is realizing and accepting what you don’t know. You started a business because you are a great dentist, attorney, CPA, or other service professional but chances are you’re not a marketing expert.
Hiring a Marketing Consultant can help you STOP guessing and wasting money on marketing that doesn’t work. A good marketing consultant will help you attract the right clients (the ones with money) and stand apart from your competition which will result in an increase in revenue – and profits!
A Marketing Consultant will also:
- Help you set goals, giving you and your company direction
- Develop, plan, and execute a strategic marketing plan
- Add much-needed marketing experience, expertise, and objectivity to your business
- Bring a network of specialists to make your marketing more effective!
A marketing consultant can be a valuable addition to your team, freeing you up to focus on building your business and doing what you do best! Be sure to choose a professional with experience who can challenge you and help you achieve your business goals! If you would like to learn more about how Fortune Marketing Company can help you grow your business, click here.
March 6, 2014
At first glance, Pinterest can befuddle. To the new user it appears to be nothing but a screen of random photos. The experienced, however, see it as an elegantly designed photo-sharing site optimized for planning and inspiration.
Pinterest is a powerful social media tool for small businesses, increasing brand recognition, website traffic, and sales.
- By 2011, Pinterest drove more traffic to retailers than LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google+
- 81% of U.S. women who spend time online trust Pinterest for information and advice
- 70% of those on Pinterest use it for purchasing inspiration
- The average Pinterest user has a household income of over $100,000
Pinterest is undeniably a muscular business tool. But, how do you apply it?
Four Steps to Leverage Pinterest for Your Business:
1. Make Your Business Visual
Document your products, services, and staff with your smart-phone camera, or hire a professional photographer or videographer. Then use those images to promote your business on Pinterest.
Create boards to showcase your company’s before and after photos, how-to information, case studies, and reviews.
Develop a special offer just for your Pinterest followers, like a coupon or free report.
2. Know Your Target Market
Pinning photos and videos about your services and products is just the beginning of leveraging Pinterest for your business. The next step is to create boards highlighting your target market’s other interests.
If you’re representing a flooring company, as an example, begin with boards that feature hardwood, tile, and carpet. Next, create boards on dream homes, remodeling, design ideas, house cleaning tips, organization, recipes, or whatever will draw your target market to your site.
3. Drive Traffic to Your Website
Write content for your website on the topics you have chosen. This can be blogs, articles, reports, FAQ’s, or videos. After you post that content on your site, upload the featured image to Pinterest. Even better, include the name of your content on the image, like this example:
Make sure you include keywords, descriptions, and hashtags in your board titles. Verify your website with your Pinterest account by going to your Pinterest Settings page and clicking on the Verify Website button. This will increase your Pinterest’s profile credibility and trust with your followers.
4. Remember, Pinterest is Social
Pin consistently and pin during peak times. Just as with all marketing platforms, to be effective, you must use Pinterest consistently. Scheduling software such as Sendible.com is a convenient way to schedule your pins in advance. Because most people suggest pinning 3 to 10 images a day, pre-scheduling pins allows you to consolidate your marketing time.
Pinterest users are most active in the evenings and on weekends. Schedule the majority of your pins for those times.
Putting the power of Pinterest to work for you is an amazing way to build your business. Remember, though, that advertising yourself 24/7 gets tiresome for your followers. Therefore, when you pin, blend content from both your own site and other business sites.
Social media is social – engage with your followers. Share pins from their boards, comment on their pins, and thank them for sharing yours.
Posting your business on Pinterest is a great way to increase your brand recognition, website traffic, and sales. In four steps, you can be successful on Pinterest: be visual, know your target market, create content on your website, and be social.
Gail Nott is the co-founder of Nott Ltd Solutions, which builds communities of loyal customers for influential business owners through social media. Gail combines her 17 years experience in web development, referral marketing, and social media to turn her clients’ business goals into actionable plans and marketing strategies that pay off into 6 & 7 figure businesses. Learn how to leverage Facebook for your business in 10 minutes a day with her free webinar. <link: http://gailnott.com/social-media-resources/free-webinar/
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