Reach More Eager Customers With Targeted Marketing

August 19, 2014

Check out this recent article from AllBusiness Experts on focusing your marketing efforts:

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a small business owner is believing that your product is right for everyone. It isn’t — and that’s a good thing.

The key to optimizing your product’s marketing performance is to understand who your customer is. Marketing your product to everyone is a huge mistake; targeted marketing is the best way to get your product in front of people who actually will benefit from your product — and buy it. Understanding who your target audience is will ensure that you do not waste time, energy, and resources on marketing tactics that get you nowhere. So how do you do it?

Identify your audience. You can’t learn about your audience if you don’t know who they are, and you can’t market your product effectively if you don’t know details about whom you are marketing to. Make sure to pay attention to both your main target audience and any sub-target fringe groups when identifying your audience.

Key details to learn about include:

- Age, geographic location, socioeconomic status, and other demographic traits
- Online browsing habits
- Previous and current buying habits (both online and offline)
- Social media preferences
- Most commonly used devices (desktops, phones, tablets, etc.)

Create targeted advertising. Segment both your target audience and sub-target groups and see where they overlap, and then create ads that specifically cater to each group. For example, if you sell a beauty product, and you want to target two separate audiences — middle-to-upper class women above the age of 50 who frequently shop online, and middle-class women under the age of 30 who don’t shop online much but are active on social media sites — create ads that are specific to each group; don’t create ads that try to cater to both groups. The older group might receive an ad based on the online shops they visit, while the younger group could receive an ad tailored to them across social media sites.

Continue collecting data. After doing preliminary research about your audience, don’t stop learning. Use your online advertising methods as learning tools to continue to collect data, so you can better understand what’s working for you and what’s not. Study site statistics to find out what attracts which demographic and where your audience lingers. Social media posts are an immediate (and free!) tool that can help you gauge engagement. Additionally, you can ask your customers direct questions on social media about what they like, don’t like, and want to see more of.

Determine the best ways to reach your audience. There are many methods of marketing, such as traditional online and offline advertising, media features in print or on the Web, word-of-mouth advertising that includes social media or direct word-of-mouth, and more. To best optimize your marketing, don’t waste energy going to places where your audience won’t likely view your advertising; go to where they already are. If they frequently use social media, don’t strive to get featured in a magazine they will never read — start posting on Facebook. Similarly, if they primarily read magazines or newspapers, posting on blogs will do you little good.

Take advantage of online ads. A benefit of online advertising is it allows you to specifically target your ads to a particular audience. Unlike traditional billboard or print ads which are seen by anyone who happens to see them, online ads are streamlined to cater to the specific people who may be interested in purchasing a product or service. Furthermore, online advertising allows you to learn about your potential audience, as well as their likes and dislikes, so that you can apply this information to your future ads.

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Social Engagement Comes in Many Forms

August 18, 2014

Check out this recent article from ClickZ on engaging potential clients through social media:

At her session at ClickZ Live San Francisco, IBM’s social business strategist discussed the ways in which several brands have excelled at engagement.

In May 2011, a 3-year-old girl named Lily wrote a letter to Sainsbury’s, a British supermarket chain, about its Tiger Bread. Lily felt that with its spotted crust, Giraffe Bread would be a more appropriate name. After the store manager wrote back, Lily’s mother put the letter on Facebook and it promptly went viral.

“Because of one little girl, a thoughtful supermarket manager, and 150,000 Facebook likes, a major retail brand rebranded a product,” said IBM’s Michelle Killebrew at her ClickZ Live San Francisco session, “Connect, Engage, Collaborate: Building and Sustaining an Audience in a Social World.”

Killebrew, the program director of IBM’s social business strategy and solutions, highlighted the importance of social media engagement, noting that 80 percent of people are willing to give their personal information to a brand they trust.

“Marketers have always been responsible for knowing their customers, but it’s a very rapidly changing landscape,” she said. “Now, they need to not only know them as individuals, but in context: what device they’re using and what they want to do.”

According to the CMO Club’s most recent study, most of the things marketers plan to focus on improving during 2015 are related to engagement. Citing specific brands, Killebrew discussed several ways marketers can become more engaged, including:

- Knowing the target audience: Piggybacking on the popularity of cats on the Internet, Friskies put out a video about an older cat giving a kitten advice on the ways of the house. Since June, the video has been watched more than 15 million times on YouTube.
- Crowsdsourcing: Starbucks polls customers and encourages them to submit ideas on its My Starbucks Idea website.
- Mass participation: Making working out into a social activity, Fitbit has more than 400,000 Facebook likes.
- Employee advocacy: In February 2012, Southwest Airlines celebrated its arrival to Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport with a flash mob.
- Exceptional digital experiences: During the last Wimbledon Championships, the international tennis tournament live-streamed real-time updates to its website, as well as mobile and iPad apps.
- Storytelling: Trion Worlds video game developer held a contest in its Defiance game, wherein the winner’s avatar would appear in an episode of the corresponding television show on the Syfy network.
- Customer service: After a long delay during a recent trip to Singapore, Killebrew nearly missed a connecting flight. When she landed, she found someone from Cathay Pacific Airlines waiting to take her to the gate and upgrade her to business class. “We need to think about every interaction,” she said. “The human face-to-face interaction, that’s what makes customer experiences special.”

Killebrew’s insights were helpful to attendees like Joe Ward, an account executive at ScribbleLive, a content engagement platform based in Toronto. “A lot of the stuff Michelle talked about is very relevant to what I’m hearing customers talk about,” he said.

Another attendee, Joshua Walters, is the marketing manager at Sensidyne, a Florida company that provides products in the manufacturing and infrastructure industries.

“We’re B2B, but not just B2B — we’re selling to engineers who just don’t have social engagement with our products,” he says. “Trying to give them content they would share is a challenge.”

Walters is still challenged on how to engage his notoriously left-brained customers; his main takeaway from the session was how important it is to keep working on it.

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Preparing for a Post-Banner World: What to Expect From Next Generation Ad Standards

August 15, 2014

Check out this recent article from AllBusiness Experts on the changing world of advertising:

It’s probably safe to say that most Internet users would not miss flashing banners and pop-up advertisements if they went away. Aside from lessening user irritation, the next generations of pay per click or PPC advertisements have a number of standard guidelines that improve user experience, increase relevancy, and drive ROI. Marketers can get ready to drop flashing banners and voice overs when preparing for a post-banner world with new ad standards.

About New Standards and Efficacy for Online Advertisements

A few years ago, pay per click or PPC advertisements on many independent websites were essentially spam. There was little to no science behind advertisements. However, it was fairly easy for people to figure out that a flashing banner at the top of the screen is difficult for users to ignore. The next generation of advertising has to take new types of hardware, user expectations, and overall feasibility into account.

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Every Decision Is an Investment Decision

August 14, 2014

Check this recent article from ClickZ on putting the appropriate weight on your decision making process:

When you make decisions as a marketer, each one is an investment decision. It might be an investment in time, it might be an investment in money, or it might be a mental investment – or perhaps a combination of all those things.

As I sit down to write tonight, I am just cooling off from a late-night run in unseasonably cool weather for an Atlanta evening in July. I considered writing before taking off. It was late to start a run, 9 p.m., and I had some thoughts on what I wanted write, thinking I could sit down and knock it out.

Then, I checked my Fitbit and saw I was a couple of miles short of my goal for the day. Now I had a decision to make. Continue on through hour 14 of my workday or take an hour +/- to get in a short run. A quick look at my calendar told me I had an hour I could carve out for writing tomorrow, so I opened a Google Doc, jotted down my initial thoughts as an outline (all about return on investment (ROI) for marketing automation systems), got changed, and headed outside.

I am often asked about how I make decisions.

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Business Etiquette Still Matters in a Casual New Business World

August 13, 2014

Check out this recent article from Small Business Trends on the changing culture of the business world and that which hasn’t changed:

In recent years, business has become very casual. Gone are the work days of suits, stationary, big titles, corner offices, secretaries, and power lunches. Small business is now done through email, video chats, texting, meet ups, social media and casual attire.

However, business etiquette still matters and can be a competitive advantage for you. Here’s how:

How you look still matters. While John T. Molloy’s classic “Dress for Success” maybe outdated, someone who is dressed too sloppy or casual will still not be trusted as much as a person that is dressed as well as their customer.

Appropriate attire choices also must be made for video chats, unless you want to show your customer your workout outfit.

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4 Tiny Changes That Can Really Increase Your Profits

August 12, 2014

Check out this recent article from Forbes on growing your business without doing anything drastic:

Sometimes building a highly profitable business is easier than it looks.

We so often think the answer to growing our company is working longer hours and doing much more work, but in my experience coaching hundreds of business leaders and entrepreneurs on growth, it’s often the really simple, easy steps that make the biggest difference.

With that in mind, here are four small things you can do that together will make a huge improvement to how fast your company grows.

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How Small Employers Can Prepare for Minimum Wage Hikes

August 11, 2014

Check out this recent article from Bloomberg Businessweek on how small businesses can endure mandatory raises for minimum wage employees:

Ralph Askar already pays above minimum wage and provides health insurance for the eight employees of his two San Diego Instant Imprints stores. But if a city ordinance hiking the minimum wage goes forward as expected, Askar figures he will have to boost his employees’ wages as well—and raise prices to keep up.

And he isn’t sure how his customers will respond. “We are afraid,” he says. “Our payroll taxes will go up, and that’s going to hurt. And we have smaller customers who probably would scale back their orders.”

A controversial push to raise minimum wages, fueled by rising income inequality in the U.S., has resulted in recent increases along the West Coast and in cities such as Santa Fe, N.M., and Washington. Seattle’s boost to $15 an hour is the highest in the country. Most of the hikes have been incremental and allowed extra time for smaller, independent businesses to absorb them.

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Heat Up Your Summer Sales With These 7 Cool Ideas

August 8, 2014

Check out this recent article from Small Business Trends on how retailers can increase summer sales:

For many businesses, summer is traditionally a slow month. The heat slows our bodies down (I guess that impacts sales), folks are focused on going away for an annual vacation, children are home from school and people want to leave their offices early and have FUN!

While some businesses thrive during the summer, others dread the 3 months of heat, beach and vacations because their customers attention is even more distracted then it might usually be.

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