Friday, March 27, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
In my mind, marketing is all of the activities and tools that a person or company uses to promote its products, services or ideas. It should include all of the items mentioned above and so much more. So the next time you think about marketing and the tools available to you, don't limit your thinking to one aspect of marketing. Think of the entire gamut of possibilities, and you'll find a wealth of tools and opportunities available to you.
Monday, March 23, 2009
2. Pick one goal at a time and think backward of how to accomplish this goal.
Increase number of subscribers to company newsletter by 10%.
a. Put a guest book in front of store asking people to sign up for email newsletter from the company. Also, post a printed display copy of the newsletter so that customers can see actual newsletter.
b. Add “Forward to a Friend” function to newsletters to encourage word-of-mouth referrals to newsletter.
c. Ask other respected business owners about their newsletter readership and trade ideas.
d. Track number of subscribers today and continue to check subscription numbers in order to see progress.
3. Add deadlines to goals.
a. Increase number of subscribers to company newsletter.
i. Put a guest book in front of store asking people to sign up for email newsletter from the company. Also, post a printed display copy of the newsletter so that customers can see actual newsletter. Complete by: April 2009
ii. Add “Forward to a Friend” function to newsletters to encourage word-of-mouth referrals to newsletter. Complete by: May 2009
iii. Ask other respected business owners about their newsletter readership and trade ideas. Complete by: June 2009
iv. Track number of subscribers today and continue to check subscription numbers in order to see progress. Complete by: Check number each month at the start of the month for the remainder of the year. Set reminder for 1st of each month.
I hope this helps you see that while it may seem daunting at first, but by writing out an actual plan, large, seemingly overwhelming goals are within reach. When you draw out a plan for your company, you are much more likely to achieve your goals and improve the health of your company.
Friday, March 20, 2009
It’s easy to have vague, haphazard goals that never get met, especially when they exist only in the dark, forgotten corners of your mind. Why not consider making a plan for this year? Yes, it’s already nearly second quarter – who cares? Just like it’s never too late to quit a bad habit, it’s never too late to get it together and make a plan.
Start simply by making a short list of specific, measurable goals. Next choose one of those goals and think backward about how you will get there. Continue with each goal until you’ve created a path to your desired success. Be sure to consider factors like your busy times of the year and set deadlines.
Here’s an example for a small business owner:
1. Make a short list of goals.
a. Increase number of subscribers to company newsletter by 10%.
b. Create targeted advertising campaign for remainder of 2009.
c. Cut operating costs by 15%.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Think about your day and how you spend your time. Are you wasting away your time like a spendthrift bank executive, or are you frugal, taking care to avoid wasted time on unnecessary tasks? I can think of one huge time vacuum that many of us can work on; put down the “CrackBerry!” For an interesting read on how changes in technology are affecting our concentration and daily lives, visit Newsweek and read, “Will the BlackBerry Sink the Presidency?” http://www.newsweek.com/id/183719
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Email is cheap, yes. Email is easy, yes. Email has the power to drive your customers running in or running out of your doors. Treat your customers with respect by treating their inboxes with respect and you’ll continue to build long-lasting, mutually-beneficial relationships with your customers.
For more on this topic, read ExactTarget’s “No Executive Left Behind Whitepaper”.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Do you struggle to find enough time to update your blog, create or update a Facebook page, or send out your monthly e-mail newsletter? Here are three ways to make time for those necessary marketing tasks.
- Plan ahead. Take one day each month to plan your marketing tasks for the next month and do all of the necessary work in advance. For example, on March 15, plan for April. Write all of your blog postings for the month at once and schedule them to be posted throughout the month. This block of time allows you to focus on the task at hand, so you can be creative and not rushed to get the task done.
- Schedule time for social media. As sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Biznik grow in popularity, it has become almost necessary for businesses to participate. Unfortunately, active participation can take a big chunk of time out of your day, so I plan my activity in blocks. Twitter and Facebook are ever-changing, so I login to both each morning. I have my Twitter updates automatically posted to Facebook, so I only need to type status updates once. For LinkedIn and Biznik, time isn't as critical, so I set aside down time (like when I'm on hold or have idle time on the weekends) to make updates to my profile, view the community forums, etc. If I get a message or invitation to connect, it will be e-mailed to me and I can address those as they come in by logging in as needed (once a day, max.)
- Delegate marketing tasks. If you have a tech-savvy employee, or an intern with a silver tongue, consider having them help with some of your marketing tasks. A tech-savvy employee, for example, could easily create a blog or Facebook business page or event for you. A silver tongued-employee might help brainstorm ideas for blog postings, events, your April promotion or your next newsletter. If those resources aren't available, consider outsourcing some of your marketing responsibilities to a marketing professional. You can find anything from a virtual marketing expert who offers a la carte services to a full-service marketing, PR and advertising agency.
If you have other time savers to share, I welcome your comments!
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Marketing and PR are great vehicles for small businesses, particularly in a difficult economy where a consistent marketing presence is more important than ever. The challenge, however, is having enough time, money and manpower to market to your target audience consistently and effectively.
I want to help you hit that challenge head on; I am working with Kirk Davis at Green River Community College to put together some very specific marketing "how to" workshops that can help you to grow or sustain your business, even during troubled times.
To provide content that is most useful to businesses like yours, I'd love to get your input.
1) What marketing challenges do you face as a small business owner? (e.g., limited time or money, lack of knowledge, lack of manpower, etc.)
2) What marketing tools (e.g., e-mail marketing, press releases, event promotion, etc.) would you like to learn more about?
3) Do you use social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and Biznik? Would you like to learn how to use these tools to increase your social capital?
4) What marketing ideas or tools would you implement on your own if you just knew how?
5) Do you have a marketing plan? Do you update and adapt that plan as needed?
Please e-mail your replies to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 360-920-1737. I value your input and will keep your replies confidential.
Thank you and may you and your business be prosperous in 2009!