Tag Archives: marketing messages

Out of a Recession, Into New Marketing Messaging

Okay so maybe we’re not out of the recession woods yet, but I have a sense things are turning around. My colleagues are getting busier and let’s face it, I haven’t had a lot of time to go out for a leisurely afternoon latte!  The long and short of it is this. As I talk with more and more small and medium-sized business owners, I am hearing that their old marketing maneuvers in the form of brochures, print ads and yellow page advertising just aren’t working. While these venues do work for some industries better than others, it’s often how the  company communicates and what they say that has a true defining impact on their bottom line.

Should you just ‘Say Anything’?

The first question, when I begin brainstorming with the client, normally is about marketing messaging.  They ask me, “Isn’t it okay for my message to include something for everyone.”  This is often one of the biggest mistakes a company can make. Don’t sell everything to everyone. It doesn’t help you stand out in the crowd.

Think of your message as a banner flying over your community. If you only had Five Words to say,  that summed up exactly what your business does, what would they be? It’s not easy, but it gets you to begin thinking about short messages that stick.

See Nike’s “Just do it.” Or what about Apple, they don’t even have one, they just have an image … an Apple. Seems pretty elementary when you think about it, but this one concept can cause major problems, especially if you use multiple messages.

If you want some real examples how the recession and new marketing messaging is changing the income for some businesses, take a look at these examples.

Happy Messaging-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Filed under Advertising, copywriting, Marketing, marketing in a down economy, Small Business Solutions

What is Your Story?

When I was little, one of my favorite things was a bed-time story.  As the book cracked open, the world stopped turning and everything but the sound of my parent’s voices went silent.  My mother and father would sit on the edge of my bed and unlock the magic of a book which I selected. We probably read the Poky Little Puppy a million times, but it was the way my parents read with distinct character voices and story of the puppy’s problem with curiosity  on top of the high importance they placed on reading that made a lasting impression on me. Now, as a marketing professional, I often think back to the magic of storytelling and engage business owners to tell me their story.

Chapter 1: Why Businesses Need a Story

Creating a hook at the beginning of a story is vital. As we sit down beside business owners, I often have them begin with an introduction to their company Many business owners start telling me about the day they opened their business. I hear things like:

“We’ve been in business since 1960 …”

“We started with only $500 in the bank and now we’re  a multi-million dollar generating business …”

“We’ve been in the same building for 30 years …”

All of these are great facts and important to “building the story” but they aren’t the main story, just a part. This is where the story can become very interesting, so I encourage them to tell me more. I then ask, “What was the motivating reason you or the owners decided to open the business?” Defining your passion offers an intriguing first chapter. Have you ever considered why you began your business? Have you ever told this to your customers? Is it different from the way you do business? Do things need to change? How do you begin your story?

Chapter 2: Allowing The Characters To Have Distinct Voices

It was magical to hear my mother speak like a puppy. As a kid, it always made me giggle, but more than that, it was memorable. Giving your current clients a voice is the next important chapter of your company’s story line. If you haven’t asked your clients how your working relationship is going, now is the perfect time to do so. Asking clients to offer their perspective, in their own words and in their own voice is a great way to learn what is working, tighten your bond and give each client a more defined customer experience.

Remember: When marketing and promoting your business, testimonials are king. What your clients are saying about you can make or break your business. After three months of engaging a new client, do a gut check. See what they think, ask what they like and don’t like. Finally, ask if they will write out a testimonial for you to use in you future marketing efforts.

Chapter 3: Choosing The Right Story

One of the hardest challenges each night before bed was choosing. I had a huge bookshelf stacked with books, each one my favorite (kids think everything is their favorite!). However, The Poky Little Puppy was my favorite, favorite! Why? Well, of course, hello, it had a dog in it (total bonus) and two it had a story line that resonated with me. This little ball of fur was curious and it was his curiosity that constantly got him into trouble. Unfortunately, I had the same trait growing up, well and quite honestly, still do. I say all of this to bring home the fact that telling a story that interests, engages and emotionally draws your customer into your story is key. By knowing what is important to your customer base, talking to them with words and phrases that resonate and unfolding the story in a way that nudges their emotions are all great ways to craft  memorable tale.

So the next time a customer asks why you’re in business or even why they should buy for you, will you have a story to share with them?

Happy Tales To You-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Filed under Advertising, copywriting, Marketing, Small Business Solutions, Writing

Have You Ever Had A Sizzling Online Connection?

Last week, I became a true believer in online connections. No I am not talking about Match.com, I am talking about an amazing group of women, Chicks Who Click.  They mean business when it comes to connecting online gurus with the tools, trends and training to make us truly twitterrific. Picture-2

Enter in my newest online friend, Suni Hayes, of My Office Zilla. Not only have I never met Suni face-to-face, but this kind stranger invited me to this week’s upcoming Chick’s Who Click conference, for free.  She checked with her friend Shawn Kinkade, who then then checked with me and the rest is history (sounds kinda like the game of telephone, huh?). What’s more, I have already met two other people, online who I can’t wait to meet at the conference this weekend.  Here’s my shout out them: Denise Smith and Elaine Ellis. 

So what’s this got to do with your business? Well, if you’re not connecting with others and planting solid seeds for future connections to grow and flourish, you may just be watering barren soil, if you’re not using some kind of social media strategy.  Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and of course my favorite, blogging, can really give you a voice in a world of multiple messages. Here are a few keys to making your marketing message loud and clear, so you’re heard and people have your product/service “top of mind”.

Tips 4 Communicating A Loud Social Media Message

1) Less Words, More Power

One of the key things to keeping your message front and center is to make it concise. Yes, as a writer this is very hard, but when it comes to getting your message out there you want sweet, short and simply spectacular words. After all, if you’re sending out a tweet to your customers, you only have 140 characters to broadcast your message, so make them work for you. Bottom line create a relationship with your customers and be real. That’s what social media is all about. 

2) Share information that is useful and helpful to your audience

I often hear many of my clients tell me that Twitter doesn’t work because most people don’t care when someone is brushing their teeth. I agree, don’t bore me with a bunch of useless details, but have you thought how important a “brushing my teeth” tweet might be to someone selling toothbrushes? Look for opportunities to connect. What if you are an owner of a hair salon and someone tweeted: “Having a bad hair day, don’t laugh”. Image how you could make that person’s day if you instantly got back to them and offered a half-price haircut & style at your shop? I am pretty sure I would remember that and probably tell all my twitter followers about it. 

In addition, offer up useful information, helpful stats and interesting stories that bring life to your Facebook page or blog. It is amazing how posting a story about someone struggling with time management can make quite bit of buzz on your site. If you can provide tools to help your  audience’s business or even life easier, they are going to remember you.

3) Think of it as an online networking event

With so many layoffs, I keep hearing multiple stories about how Linked In saved a person’s bacon. As a pink slip hit their desk, there was no need to worry about their connections. They didn’t need to search for the company directory or grab their desktop rollodex. All the contact info they would need to notify their business connections was saved and easy to access online, from anywhere, not just the workplace. 

What’s more, LinkedIn offers you a chance to help others. Whether it be an upcoming event you think might be helpful, writing up a testimonial for a fellow co-worker or even  feedback on a book you just read that has changed your life, you can offer up a lot of valuable information to your connections. In addition, searching your connections, connections is a great way to meet new people and if you’re the one that received that pink slip, perhaps meet your new boss.

4) Connect and Reconnect 

The most powerful thing I have found so far with social media is the power of meeting new and old friends/co-workers/neighbors. The sense of community that is created within the social media sphere is quite exciting. I can’t think of the last time a print ad made me feel so great, well maybe if it was advertising chocolate, but that’s different. I have met some of the most brilliant marketing pioneers out there and I must say, they are just as personable as if I had known them for years, Colleen Wainwright. Not only have I met new friends, I have found some old friends, co-workers from my old TV days.

Bottom line, we as humans want to have solid, dependable connections. Which makes being a business owner quite a way to make an impression through tapping into that human desire and delivering a memorable, lasting connection and experience. See where social media can take you next. I would love to hear more about your journey-leave me your comments.

So as I prepare for the upcoming conference, I look forward to sharing more insight on social media and how your business can move to the next level creating and retaining lasting customer relationships. Stay tuned ….

Happy Social Media Connecting-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Filed under Advertising, Business Development, copywriting, Marketing, Small Business Solutions, Writing