20 Ways to Drive Leads Through Social Media

20 Ways to Drive Leads Through Social Media

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The ‘Wild Rumpus’ of Storytelling

With the release of Where the Wild Things Are this weekend, I found myself falling quickly back into a magical part of my childhood. Siting next to my grandfather as he transformed a $2.99 paperback book into a fantastic journey. With each page, the smell of a new book and the hope of following Max as he explored a magical forest all from his imagination, I sat motionless waiting for the wonderment to wash over me.  In only ten sentences (that is all that’s in the entire book) I was quickly transported to the land of monsters, being crowned Queen of the Wild monsters and dancing with the monsters in a “Wild Rumpus”. As I look back, the story was mesmerizing, it had a way of grabbing my attention and making me want to know more. I told every friend I had about the book and before long, my whole first grade class was reading the book.

All of this reminiscing got me to thinking about marketing for business and how the way your story is conveyed can really make the difference in what your customers believe.

Combating the Big, Scary Monster or Does Your Company Have an Engaging Story?

It’s often frightening to think what it is that makes our business stand out from others. What is unique about your company? Does the customer you serve find that your service is head and shoulders above your competition? Do you know why? These questions, among many others are often hard for business owners to define. It’s not always easy to step outside of our businesses and really experience what you provide from the customer’s perspective. Take a look at this article from Entrepreneur.com  for some story starters and begin defining your story.

Are You a Kid Hiding in a Wolf Costume or What Can Storytelling Do To Showcase Your Business?

So many business that are launching a new website or implementing a new marketing tactic fall into the same trap. “Me too” marketing. Often they take inventory of what their competitor is doing and say we do that too.

For instance. Say you own a bakery. You competitor is within one mile of you. You can’t exactly use the same wording as they are, like “Your neighborhood baker”. If you used the same type of marketing, potential clients could get confused as to which one of you was the “neighborhood baker” that advertised in the local paper. What could be worse? Well, imagine if that same potential client went to the “other” bakery and had a horrible experience. Just think how you could loose out on clients the next time this potential customer’s friends mentions the neighborhood baker. They might say the experience was awful and if you were to run an ad with the same tone, they might think it was you!

Instead of copying what your competitor is doing be aware of their tactics and  brand yourself in a different light. For instance be “that baker on the corner who makes biscotti that is perfect to dunk into coffee”. Your true customers will remember the little things you do that are different. They will talk about those little things with their friends and then their friends will talk, etc. Word of mouth marketing is great, but for it to work, you have to have something that makes you stand out of the crowd. Be the expert in your field. Be the place people are talking about favorably. Have something unique that your customers can cabbage onto and tell others to see for themselves.

Let the Monsters Romp or How Your Customers Can Help Sell Your Business

Finally, the glue that holds your storytelling together in the world of marketing effectively is utilizing the valuable chapters your customers provide for your story. Client testimonials on a web site, in a promotional brochure or even better in a television commercial are invaluable. You can talk all day about how great your product or service is, but potential clients understand your bias and often discount it. However if the average Joes and Janes rave about your biscotti and how it is perfect with their favorite cup of coffee, they’ll be thrilled to be quoted in your advertising pieces. What’s even better? Do you know a famous person or person of influence within your community that raves about your product or service? Have you approached them for their insight. It could be worth its weight in gold!

Bottom line, don’t be afraid of marketing your company’s message through crafty storytelling. Just like a good book, a well-defined marketing story can intrigue, inspire and yes, involve your customers. Getting the word out there is your next step.

Let the wild rumpus begin!

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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The Game of Phone

Picture 1Okay so I must admit that I have been hooked on the iPhone since it was first released. I have drunk the Apple-favored Kool Aid and feel somewhat lost when I misplace the phone. As I talk with many of my clients I discover that they too, whether or not they have an iPhone, feel unorganized and somewhat lost without their smartphone to guide them. So, when I stumbled across an article about Mobile Marketing in a recent edition of Ad Age, I thought I must share the article with you. Not only are we headed to a time when people are more connected than ever to one another, they are connected through their mobile devices, spelling opportunity to business owners.

According to the Ad Age article, many experts in the mobile field expect the mobile marketing industry to explode and become an “apps-focused” reality. Many large corporations are looking into the mobile realm and developing apps that not only promote their brand, but push it in an innovative and engaging way.

All of this got me to thinking what is it that marketing consultants and creative advertising gurus can do to make their client’s brand (pardon the pun) “ring in people’s ears?”  If it’s not an app, what is it that will engage your customer to react and stay engaged with your brand?

We at dog-eared pages would love to hear your thoughts.

Happy Phone Ringing!

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Why Do I Need a Marketing Plan?

Blog-photoDEPEarlier this week a business associate asked me a very important question that I have been asked many times.

“Why do I need a Marketing Plan?”

At first I wanted to say, ummm, that’s kind of like asking me, “Why do I need wheels on my car?” To me, a marketing plan is just something you must have to make your business successfully work. It’s like putting on your shoes to go outside or placing toothpaste on your toothbrush … it is just something you do to complete the end goal, right?

Here are my Top Three Reasons You Need a Marketing Plan in Place.

  1. Your Road Map To Success. You wouldn’t begin a road trip to an unknown destination without at least looking at a map. Right? So think of your marketing and advertising journey in the same light. When you begin to plan your marketing tactics for the upcoming year (HINT: now is the time to start doing so, DEP can help.), begin with your end goal first. As you think about that goal, define where you want to be financially, how many qualified leads you plan to bring in each month/week and how much you plan to spend for the year to meet these goals.
  2. Target the Right Market. If you feel you were a little short this year in achieving your goals, reevaluating your marketing tactics, approach and execution are all good places to start. Many times I find my client’s aren’t “speaking” to their target market in a way that captures their attention and prompts them to act. Even more frequently, I see business owners lacking the understanding of who their target market is, much less talking to them. Every year I encourage clients to reevaluate their target market. Ask yourself the following questions: What do most of my clients have in common (i.e. all doctors, like to spend time with their kids, in a certain age group, spend X amount of hours on the road each week)? Where do they go to learn more about the products/services I offer? What is the number one thing they keep telling me is a positive aspect about my business?
  3. Set benchmarks for success. Just like a professional athlete sets personal achievement goals for their workouts each week, as a business owner, you too should be measuring your success and even your failures on a weekly basis. When you begin crafting your marketing plan, think about what goals you wish to achieve each week. Do you want to sell 25 new widgets a week? How many potential clients should you meet with each week to meet your sales goals? Have you charted where your referrals are coming from? Are you seeking more referrals from these sources? Bottom line, look for measurable items you can add to your weekly schedule and at the end of the week measure off to see your progress. I notice that for many business owners, this can be an eye-opening practice. For instance, I found that in my own business, I at one point was spending 10 hours a week working on my blog. While as a writer having a blog is important, it’s ROI (Return on Investment) wasn’t near worth the time I was taking. Think about what those things are that are taking time away from securing your sale.

As you craft your marketing plan or work with someone like Dog-Eared Pages to craft a marketing plan, be sure you remember the reasons why having a plan in place is so important. You might be shocked how it can change the way you do business. For more ideas on crafting stellar marketing plans, check out the following links.

Crafting Your Marketing Plan-from How Magazine

How To Create a Marketing Plan-from Entrepreneur Magazine


Happy Planning!

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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I’m Sick of My Message

Picture 2Countless times in a week I hear the chant “I’m sick of my marketing message”.  On and on it goes, plaguing business owners and creeping into their minds like a bad 80s hair band song you just can’t release. But here’s the thing, I don’t try to make them feel better, I only make it worse by saying things like …

“How long have you been using your message?”

“Have you been running your ad more than once?”

“Do you use the same communication messages across all advertising vehicles?”

Let’s just say 9 times out of 10 the answer isn’t “yes”.

Why is it important to broadcast my marketing message?

Your audience suffers from first-time hearing loss. Did you know that the human brain only processes 5% of the information it receives? It’s true. So think of how many times you need to state your case in order for the “benefits” of your product/service to actually sink into their thick head.

Here are some Tactics for Getting Your Brand Heard:

Repetition – It takes at least 3 impressions before people begin to remember your brand/message. Don’t know what I mean? Think about some of those commercials you see/hear on TV that you just can’t forget.  (i.e. FreeCreditRepot.com commercials )

Consistency – Saying the same message over and over builds trust and memorable interaction. Although they’ve had many variations to advertising, memorable companies always end their commercials, print ads and direct mail campaigns with the same tag line. While I am sure most of the advertising execs that work on their company’s marketing efforts are sick of the tag, they’re glad it’s around because their target customer already knows what it is.  (i.e. Nike- ”Just Do It”)

Understanding – Know who it is you’re talking to and what needs are being met with your product or service. Does your product or service make life easier for your target marketing? Do people look to you to solve their problems? Are you looking for ways to make things easier for your customers? If you’re searching for ways to help your clients you are half way there. If you’re telling them about the steps you’re making to get there, you are probably already reaping the rewards. If not, think about how you can communicate these options to your target market in a way that gets them into your store or picking up the phone.  (i.e. Apple iPhone)

Keep thinking about ways to get your message out there. I would love to hear your ideas, please share.

Happy Messaging!

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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We’re Baaaacckkkk ….

IMG_0722After a long absence from blogging, I am back and ready to continue updating you with the latest in copywriting, marketing, business development and of course dog-related metaphoric laden stories. Hopefully everyone had a good summer and found some time to kick back and enjoy the dog days of summer (see I warned you). Durning this time I had the opportunity to refocus and make a list/fill a folder full of all kinds of information I wish to share with you.

This week’s topic up for grabs ….

Top 10 most useful website ….. let me know what your favorites are. Here’s a list of the most useful according to About.com.

Happy webbing!

Sarah@dog-eared pages

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Doggie Bags and Better Customer Service

IMG_0151As most of you know, I love dogs. Hence the name of my business. But I must admit, there are days, when “picking up” after my dog gets a bit, well, let’s just say, less than glamorous. There are times when you head out for a walk with the best intentions and remember you forgot “the bag” . Or the times when you go to pick it up Fido’s do-do there’s a huge hole in the bag … okay you get the point.

So what do doggie bags (not the ones you get a restaurants) have to do with business?

Here’s what  got me thinking.

Last week I was walking the dog and of course I was tidying up after him when a lady came running out of her house as if her hair was on fire. Instantly, I thought that something was wrong, put the dog in a sit and stepped down on his leash, finishing with the “Stay” command. She walked up to me, extended her hand and said “thanks”. I was perplexed. She continued with, “I see you and your dog walking in front of my house all the time and you always pick up after him. I just wanted you to know, I appreciate that you help to keep the neighborhood clean. Have a great day and oh by the way I’m Catherine.” We continued on for about 5 more minutes. As I walked away, I felt really good. Not only did I meet a neighbor I had never even seen, but she was making a big deal over something I thought was just a polite thing to do. I mean seriously, who wants to go out in the morning to get the paper without shoes and … squish!

I bring this up because I wonder as business professionals, how many times do we sincerely thank our customers?

Did you forget your doggie bag?

Not having a bag to scoop bites! Not showing your clients you appreciate them really bites! If you don’t express your gratitude to your clients, do you think they’ve noticed?

Tips for when you forget to say thanks:

  1. Throw a client appreciation party
  2. Offer to take them out to lunch, without any business talk
  3. Pass them some referrals that will help their business grow
  4. Get them tickets to one of their favorite events (i.e. sports, theater, concerts, etc.)
  5. Send them value-added thanks (forward white papers, case studies or articles that could help support or generate new ideas for their business)

Does your doggie bag have a hole?

Often we have great intentions on staying in touch with our customers. However we may find ourselves forgetting to touch base with the client as often as we used to in the beginning of the relationship. We may get ourselves into a real “mess” if our customer service approach has a hole in it.

How can we do better? I am looking into following up with clients after a large project to make sure the experience was a good one by conducting a survey through Survey Monkey. Each time I work on a piece with a client or if I have been working with a long-term client for at least 6 months, I want to send them a survery. It’s an easy way to show you care about their success. How do you get them to fill it out? I hear gift cards to coffee shops and a copy of a business book are all good ways to motivate. And who doesn’t like to get “stuff”. Here’s an article on how one small business owner handles “staying in touch”.

Do you pack extra bags?

It happens to each of us. We forget a birthday or we don’t remember to honor a business’ anniversary. Opps! So wouldn’t you save yourself a ton of embarrassment if you had some extra “doggie bags” ready to go in case of emergency?

If this sounds like you, Send Out Cards is a great way to safety yourself! My friend, Lori Carter is a representative for them and does an outstanding job presenting new and innovative ways to connect with your client base. Her company, Send Out Cards gives you the ability to mail a greeting card from your desktop and even attach a gift if you choose.

So the next time you “head out” on your journey, make sure you bring “the bag”. Clients appreciate a follow-up call. Often, they have a lot going on too and it’s nice to know someone is out there who cares.

To better client service!

Sarah @ dog-eared pages

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You’ve Got … A FULL Inbox!

I just read an interesting article about email marketing which states:

“Forrester Research projects that consumers will receive more than 9,000 e-mail marketing messages a year by 2014.”

Instantly, I found myself thinking …

“Okay what filters can I set”

“What Spam settings will help”

“What will we do”

And then … I stopped. What will we as marketing professionals do? I seem to find myself asking this more an more each day. With the newest release of iPhone’s 3.o upgrade, I have received at least 4 emails from Mac with tidbits of what to expect (not that I am complaining-I so love Mac!) And, just imagine all the new apps that will be promoted with email …. oh my ….

Picture-3So back to my point- what shall we do as marketing professional with all this email marketing? Some believe advertisers will fully embrace all that is social media. While others are saying that email will over take the social media place. What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments. Share them with us.

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Shine Up Your Performance

stagephoto A few weeks ago, I went to a Kris Kristofferson concert. Yes, I know, he sings country music. Yes, I know I was by far one of the youngest members in the audience. Yes, I know he used to sing with Johnny Cash (super big points with me), Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and a host of others. And yes, I get it that it doesn’t make sense that someone my age would even know who he is, unless maybe I caught a movie he was in, like The Last days of Frank and Jesse James  with Johnny Cash,  one lazy Saturday afternoon on TBS. Trust me, I’ve had a million questions posed to me each time I mention the concert. It’s cool. Why? Because I get to share with each person things they don’t know about this amazing performer. For instance that Kris is a fantastic writer and a Rhodes scholar!

Kris onstage at the Uptown

Kris onstage at the Uptown

 

 

So what does this have to do with business? Well, as Kris stepped into the spotlight, taking center stage, it reminded me of how as business owners, each of us takes the stage everyday. Whether you have a command performance or people start throwing objects onto the stage is up to you. 

How To Avoid Incoming Objects When Presenting Yourself

1) Focus on the needs of others

I can’t tell you the numerous times I hear clients tell me that their vendors just don’t listen. Often, vendors hop on stage with the “do I have a deal for you” script, rarely listening for the objections or grumblings of their audience. Here’s some food for thought, listen, your clients are in the trenches daily and can impart valuable information. Learn how to listen effectively with these tips.

2) Make Sure You Have A Dress Rehearsal

As I continued to watch Kris that night, I noticed an issue that I totally understood on a personal level, stage fright. Each time Kris would come to the ending of a song, he would just cut off, not even really finish on an ending chord and immediately turn his back, quickly say thank you and grab a drink of his Gatorade. I understood and felt the uncomfortable feeling I used to get at my piano and flute recitals. One thing I have learned from a dear acting coach, Brian Cutler of the Commercial Actor’s Studio is “the only way to make the uncomfortable, comfortable is to do the uncomfortable.”  So if you have a presentation to do whether it’s for new business, a creative concept pitch or even presenting yourself at an interview, be prepared! Rehearse the words you plan to say, questions you plan to ask and direction you plan to take.

3) Practice Makes Perfect

This goes hand-in-hand with the whole rehearsal aspect. If you don’t practice for future performances, how can you get better? Learn what you want to say very well, so that when you take the stage you can easily say what needs to be said, without all the ums, ahs, and multiple uncomfortable pauses. See some ideas on how to practice presenting.

4) Don’t Take A Bow Before the Encore

The final thing I noticed about Kris that tied into business performances was that he had to be coaxed to do 2, that’s right 2 encores. He meekness, was adorable, but it was also a good lesson. I immediately felt at ease. He wasn’t on stage because he only wanted to make money, he just loved making music. I am sure money was important, but it wasn’t the only thing that made him take the stage. How many times as business owners, employees or as a partner do we push our agenda before we really understand what will benefit the people we’re supposed to be, um, …. listening to during each interaction? Meekness is an admirable quality, and when combined with intelligence, experience and determination can be an unstoppable force. Step back next time you’re interacting with a client, co-worker, boss or spouse … what might follow next could be the solution that fills a need.

Are you ready to take center stage? What’s holding you back? Do clients ask you for a repeat performance? How can you strengthen you current presentation skills?

Drop me a line, I’d love to hear more about your experience.

Happy Peak Performance-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Give Me A C. How About 4?

Enjoy A Poolside Read!

This week has been nuts. Partly because only 4 work days existed and partly, cause I am just busy. So this week, the blog looks a bit sad. With that I owe you, my faithful readers, an interesting article. This week I discovered an article about How Sustainability Marketing can help in a recession. Learn about the  4 C’s of sustainable communication!

Take a read, hopefully while you’re sitting poolside!

Happy Smart Marketing-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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