Tag Archives: Marketing

2010 In Review or in your Rearview?

Yep. It’s time for the lists again.

End of year = lists of best of, lists of worse of, lists of lists …

Here’s Dog-Eared Pages TOP 10 list: (drum roll please …)

How to rocket your marketing message to the moon in 2011:

1) Craft something that’s unique. What? Your marketing message sounds like the competition? That’s like nails on a chalkboard. Liven your product or service’s special selling points within your messaging. Review this year’s success. Do you have some concrete numbers you can place within the messaging? Think how powerful your message can be if you can say something like, “9 out of 10 skiers in Denver choose Pete’s Ski Shack for all their slope needs” ….

2) Leverage social media platforms … they’re free you know. Once you have your unique message crafted, now it’s time to get down to business. Think of it as a stamp. Every time you speak about your company … STAMP … your marketing message to it, especially in the social media realm. No matter what you are using, Twitter, Facebook or even LinkedIn, if your unique message is not out there, people don’t know what is different about your business. Find new ways to impart that to the masses.

3) “Shout It Out” Have you declared a message about your company and “become the broken record” of your brand? Do you tell everyone around you about your company and it’s mission? If not, now is a great time to start. Make sure your unique message stays consistent and blankets all marketing materials you produce. Yes, even the pocket folders.

4) Let Testimonials Take A Front Seat If you haven’t had a chance to gather some client feedback, the end of the year is the perfect time to listen. Find out how your product or service is working with a simple survey. I like Survey Monkey. Ask why they choose you, why they need your product/service or even what is it about the company that needs improvement. And, while you’re at it, capture some testimonials about their experience working with your company. Once you have gathered their testimonials, make sure you have their permission to use them in your future advertising effort. Testimonials can pay off in a big way and if your clients communicate a message that resonates with your unique marketing message-BONUS!

5) Speak Customer Speak, Not Industry Speak What you say and how you communicate it with your customer base is very important. If you are using industry jargon like ROI or CPE or bit-mapping, your customer may be confused. This is not to say that you should talk down to your clients. I cringe anytime someone says, “We need to dumb down our marketing messaging”. No, you just need to be more aware of your clients. Know what is important to them. Think to yourself, if I was a client of the service/product I sell, why would I need it? What issue/event causes me to need it? Then speak to that with your marketing messaging, in their words.

6) Rid Your Messages of Superlatives Super what? Superlatives are those words that make your company and the items provided sound too good to be true. Those “$5000 words”. ICK! Scrap that stuff. If you find your messaging saying anything like “The best, An Outstanding Value, Top-notch, Most Beautiful, Unmatched Quality, the “you know what” police are on their way.  While your company may be great at what they do, don’t oversell with flowery words that are limp.

7) ID Wants, Needs, and Desires Make sure that your messaging speaks to the real reason people buy from your company. What void do you fill? Is that void mentioned in your unique marketing message? One of my favorite tag lines I saw this past month was “We Scoop Poop”. It’s direct, it tells the need they fill and what it is they do. Even if it’s a dirty job, they nailed their marketing message in only 3 words-BRAVO!

8) Support Your Message No matter what venue you are using to promote your product, make sure what you say is in line with how your company is different. Even in your public relation materials, you should speak with the same messaging. If you are giving away calendars, those words that speak to your business’ uniqueness still need to be present. Support your unique messaging across all formats.

9) Use $5 Words Instead of $5000 Words There is no reason to speak in verbose words. It can be an immediate turn off for many people. If your business comes across as ego-centered or too elite, it can send your customers quickly into your competitor’s offices. Use common words that your target market would use. Much like speaking “industry talk”, using big words can work against your messaging.

10) Focus on one thing Even if your company is great at everything it does, having no more that two outstanding (opps-superlative) things that your business can do is key. Don’t try to sell all aspects of your business in a small print ad. Just promote the one main thing you wish your target market to know. That’s it. It’s then up to your sales force to showcase the rest of your greatness.

Here’s to a Happy 2011!

Wishing you much success –

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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New Year + New Ideas + Fresh Perspective = Blogtastic Results

This year I am starting a new blog post each week called BlogN2010. This will be a place where business owners can find tips, tricks and tasty tidbits that can help make your company blog fresh, profitable and a “must-read”. Stay turned for more blogtstic ideas!

Keeping fresh ideas pouring out of your blog posts is a challenge many blog writers face (myself included). Yes it’s a type of writers blog, but often times, it’s more than that. I constantly find myself asking:

What will people want to read?

What is timely and a topic on everyone’s mind?

Do people really care?

Bottom line, if you’re a small business and you need some fresh ideas for your up-coming blog post this year, here are a few things to consider before posting your masterpiece.

3 Business Blog Post Brainstorm Igniters:

1) Become Dear Abby-Offer Tips, Tricks and Tangibles

Let’s face it, you’re in business for a reason, you know something that people will pay for and need. So that means there are millions of things you can provide including tricks and tangible information that can help your readers. Providing educational tidbits is one of the easiest ways to bring what you know about your industry to light.

What’s more, not only can you provide valuable information, you can also provide advice. Take for instance the top three things your clients constantly ask your opinion about on a weekly basis. By taking those common questions, you can offer valuable advice that educates your customers and helps them better understand the importance of the services you provide.

2) Extra! Extra! Read All About It! – Bring fresh industry news to your readers.

Offering your readers insight on your industry’s new innovations, changes and newsworthy updates shows your readers that you’re on top of it. Trust me when I say your customers don’t have time to monitor your industry and their industry, so you must be the watchdog for them. Not only does it keep you in front of your clients, it also offers them a chance to discover additional products and services they may want to purchase from you. Plus, it’s easy to do. Find two or three industry blogs that you can follow and subscribe to their RSS feed. You can also go to Google Alerts, key in your industry and Google will email you news articles, industry topics and research on our designated profession.

3) Yes, pay attention to the person behind the curtain- let your clients walk in your shoes.

I used to work in television. I can’t tell you the many times people asked me to take them behind-the-scenes so they could see how we went about  putting a newscast together. For some reason, people love to see what it is other people do. Humans are curious and when you peel back the curtain to show what happens behind closed doors or even how your team works in the field, they seem to hold you in high regard. Now I am not saying that working at the TV station won me a ton of dates or anything, but what it did do was help people understand what I did on a daily basis and generated a ton of respect. Two things all business owners want! This is a great place to start your blog.

If you’re new to blogging and you’re looking for additional inspiration, check out The Writer’s Block by Jason Rekulak. It’s a handy little book that really jump-starts the brain. You can also keep a folder on your desktop and place interesting articles your run across in it. Keep your eyes open, blog topics are all around us!

Happy blogging-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Why Simple Simon Had It Right

What a great insight USA Today provided  recently in their article denoting that  how simple sells. I talk about this a lot and firmly believe in the less you say, the more you tell. USA Today goes on to state that simplistic marketing tactics are expected to be king in 2010. Oh be still my beating heart!!

Think about the last few things you have seen from:

Apple

Starbuck’s

Campbell’s

Besides the fact that they are all well established brands, they have one brilliant thing in common. Their marketing message, look and promotional insight are all simply executed. No flowery words. No extra fluff. It’s ONLY what they do, how the do it and what benefit they provide to their customer.

I offer this thought in reaction to the new trend expected for 2010 … How can you simplify your current marketing message?

Here are three ways to simplify and sell your product/service:

1) Focus on the reason your top five customers choose you over your competition. What you haven’t had that conversation? Now is the perfect time to start. Give your favorite customers a call. Ask them why and how they decided upon you.

2) Promote only one thing at a time. Don’t have an offer on every single page of your web site that is different. Be direct. Be focused. Offer only one thing, one incentive or one benefit at a time. With all the media circus that is around us, one direct, focused message can really stand out in the crowd.

3) Think like your customers. How many times have you fallen into the trap of creating marketing messages, advertising pieces that you like, only to find out your clients didn’t “get it”? Step back from your industry talk, put yourself in your consumer’s shoes. What is it that you would like to know about the product or service you are in the process of purchasing? What are some of your objections to buying the item? What factors have come into play that made your potential customer choose a competitor over you? Not sure what the answers are to these questions? Get busy doing the research. Once you find that one thing-focus in on that and only that.

Wishing you much success-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Are you a Wordy Worderson?

words3I have to admit my love for words is a bit of a sickness.  I confess, I have a problem and honestly, I try to get away from the keyboard, especially on beautiful day like this, as much as I can. So trust me – I understand your problem with writing too many words.

Call it what you like, but when I jump on a website that has a ton of sentences and word combos, it looks like a bunch of ants charging across my screen and suddenly my eyes cross. I wonder, do your clients think the same thing? Yes, I think so. Brevity is the new spice of life and I admit, it does make for much easier reading. 

Here’s how to cut the word clutter and kick the wordy habit:

1) Punch it with a bullet: Use bullet points to easily list important points in phrase format. No, your 3rd grade English teacher won’t object. Get your point across quickly and catch the reader’s eye with bulleting.

2) Say it with less: Don’t use the same words over and over and over and … okay you get it. Sweet and to the point-(here’s some ways to do so). Who likes to read the same words twice? The same words twice?

3) Overarching descriptions without getting caught in the weeds: Give your readers the main idea of what you’re trying to say and stop! You can give them a further explanation in person. Don’t loose your readers in tangled wording.  Honestly, who wants to try and understand how a circular saw works online? Yes Jim I am talking to you!

These are just a few tips to help avoid making your customer’s run away from your marketing materials. More to come soon.

Happy Wording Chopping!

Sarah @Dog-Eared Pages

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Sometimes You Don’t Need Words

Quick post as I know Fridays are always a time where you need a little down time to recharge before the weekend. So here’s a gift to you. Check out Audi’s new TV Spot called Flipbook. I know, as a writer I probably should be promoting something with words. However, this spot is just pure magic and a great way to help you stop and really look at what is happening within the spot; without words to distract (gasp!)
Check it out for yourself.

For me, watching the latest TV spots is just something I have done for years. It’s a way to let my creative side explore, renew and in this case, sit back and enjoy. What other ways do you spur your own creativity? I’d love to hear from you.
Happy TV commercial exploration!
Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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Have You Referred Anyone Lately?

picture-21This week is an important week for small business owners. Well, every week really is, but this week is Referral Week and as each of us knows, sharing valuable contacts with your business associates, clients and co-workers is a fantastic way to generate business for others. Through out this week, many small- to medium-sized businesses are sharing their contacts with others in hopes of stimulating the business sector in a unique and profitable way.  With that said, there are several people I would highly recommend and hope through out this week, I can share those contacts with many of you. 

Want to get started? Check out this link to Referral Week. It only takes one referral to help your clients change the face of their business. Are you game?

 

Happy Referring-

Sarah @Dog-Eared Pages

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

Are People Talking About You?

People are talking about your business … let’s hope!

Actors posed as Romans-chatting.

Actors posed as Romans-chatting.

No matter what size of business you may own, work at or even aspire to own one day, you can make a huge impact on your brand by incorporating day-to-day stories about your business. By using customer testimonials (see my website), you can instantly bring not only validity to your business, but the ability to showcase how your products or services are helping current customers. 

A little aside …. One thing to remember before you ever use a testimonial is to get your client’s approval in writing. Make sure to ask their permission to use their words in your marketing materials. Keep their approval, whether it’s an email or a signed version of their testimonial in a marketing testimonial file just in case you need to verify at some point. 

How do you gather a quality batch of testimonials that work? Here’s a few prompts to get you started.

  • Think back to recent client conversations. Did they mention how great the product or service you offer worked? Have the recommended you to others? Are they working on another project with you? If you answer yes to any of these questions, then make a call and see if they’d be willing to write a 1-2 sentence blurb about working with you. 
  • Make some calls. Look at your client list. Pick up the phone, call a few of your top clients. Inquire if they would be willing to write a recommendation on your behalf. Bonus: If you’re already a LinkedIn user, it’s easy to capture client testimonials. Not only are you able to look up your client when you need their email address, but their recommendation is also listed on your LinkedIn page and their LinkedIn page further validating your professional working relationship.
  • Take your client’s words and make them work in your marketing efforts. Once you have collected several solid client testimonials, it’s time to make them work for you. Create real-world stories that incorporate your customer’s words, along with how you helped solve a problem for them or how your business helps their business run better.  You only need to create a 2-3 sentence paragraph that can easily be posted on your website, business collateral, sales materials, brochures, print ad pieces, blog page or often your clients can become good supporting material for a business magazine that might be writing a feature about your business.

So what are you waiting for? Your client’s words are out there, ready to help you brand your business. Get started today by picking up the phone and making their words work for you.

Happy Testimonial Hunting-

Sarah @ Dog-Eared Pages

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