Because It’s 2016

Because It’s 2016

Most small business owners aren’t marketing in the year in which they’re operating — words of wisdom from online marketing guru and venture capitalist, Gary Vaynerchuk.

Many entrepreneurs are still spending the bulk of their advertising dollars in traditional media such as print, radio and ad mail. But as he illustrates, if a carload of people are driving past your billboard, the driver has his eyes on the road, the rest are surfing their mobile devices. So your investment is lost on them!

The same goes for newspaper advertising. Browse through your local daily and you’ll notice that it’s mostly editorial. Gone are the days when ads balanced out the news. Papers are running half-page ads promoting their online marketing and SEO services. That’s because we’re accessing our news online and in real time. So why would we wait 24 hours for it to arrive on our doorstep? And why would we invest our advertising dollars in redundant media?

Change Is Hard

To be fair, the marketing landscape is changing so quickly and radically that it’s hard for many small business owners to keep up.

Those I talk to feel like they’ve got one foot on the dock and the other in the boat. They know they’re not spending their advertising dollars as effectively as they could be, but at the same it’s easier to stick with what they know.

If they’ve been in business for at least a decade, print brochures and newspaper ads, radio spots and ad mail are still their go-to media. And the bulk of their annual marketing spends that are directed by commissioned media reps who push contracts across the desk — or coffee-shop table — to be signed without a spec of strategic planning.

The result is shotgun marketing. The bang can be big but short-lived. The reach can be wide and broadly targeted. But the disconnect with your consumer is real. So one must do this repeatedly to convince a consumer to connect. Traditional media makes it so much harder to convert a cold lead into an engaged consumer.

Change Is Good

Conversely, if your potential customer is browsing online to find a solution that fits their needs, effective targeting can mean they’re only a click or two away from landing on your website and providing you with their email address. Just like that a cold lead converts into a valuable prospect.

Cost-wise, it’s hard to print anything – from business cards to billboard – without spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars. If you’re not aware of how much you can buy in online ads and social media with the same amount of money, you’d be smart to find out.

Change Is Constant

Take some advice from someone who started her career BEFORE computers and mobile devices – at work and at home. Never stop learning and exploring.

The internet offers a wealth of resources and tactics to tap into. With a bit of time and tech, you too can become an effective eMarketer. If you’re part of a team, ask the youngest in your circle for advice – they’re consuming these online tools with their morning cappuccino.

Smart business owners will hire an eMarketing professional to help navigate the options, develop strategy and roll out tactics that cost less and target better. User analytics will prove where your money is best spent.

So change has come – big-time. Start marketing today for tomorrow.

eMarketing – How Much Will It Cost Me?

eMarketing – How Much Will It Cost Me?

It’s never easy to talk about money — but in business it’s always top of mind. So when I put a call out for questions, it was the first one that came in: “How much does it cost?”

Quick answer: “Much less than traditional media.”

I just checked in with a peer who’d hosted a booth at a regional trade show. Their spot wasn’t the greatest. Geographically they were pushing the limits of connecting to their target market. And it cost $2000. My first thought was she could have bought a lot of social media with that kind of money!

Shift Your Budget

Calculate your marketing budget of the previous year. If you’ve been investing in print, TV or radio, I guarantee you’ll reach a more targeted market with less money by switching to online tactics. And if you’ve been using snail mail to deliver your print promotions, then your savings increase exponentially.

By shifting your spend towards an online strategy, you’ll leverage the best of social media: free platforms and low-cost engagement tools to reach an ever-expanding – organically growing — network of family, friends and business connections. That’s why it’s called viral marketing.

Time Versus Money

Social media works best when you share content that provides solutions to the problems your customers are looking to fix. It’s about soft sell and sharing online resources that engage and inform.

If you’re comfortable creating and uploading your own content (text, images and video), with a bit of training you’ll save money by doing much of the work yourself. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do so, then we can help by setting up a monthly media calendar and sharing quality content on your behalf.

Geared to Your Business

To get started you need the basics: a bit of a plan, a good website and an active presence on one or two social media platforms.

Once we set your initial plan you’ll want to update it annually. Your biggest investment will be your website, so think of it as a long-term spend that will serve you well for several years. Set a fixed monthly budget — time and/or money — for social media mailings and posts to keep your business top-of-mind.

Remember, we’re shifting your spend to get more bang for your buck – from traditional offline marketing to dynamic online tactics.

By doing it right, eMarketing is sure to pay off!

The Best Time to Start a Blog Was 20 Years Ago

The Best Time to Start a Blog Was 20 Years Ago

The second best time is today. And today is the day for me! But why now and what took so long?

To Engage

My mom always said I loved to talk. But starting up a cold conversation can be a daunting task. In May 2015, I joined the local chapter of BNI, and since then the frequency of business-based conversation in my day has multiplied exponentially. And I’m loving it!

Because, as a creative thinker who embraces the concept of collaborative models, I’ve learned that rich conversation is at the heart of building healthy community. If we can feel safe sharing within a framework that accepts differing points of view and skill sets, we’ll deepen the connection between service provider and client.

To Teach

To quote inbound marketing guru Marcus Sheridan, “Content marketing is a culture — we can all be teachers.”

Hosting a blog means I can purposefully create content that’s relevant to my target audience: small business owners and service providers. It means I can extend the reach of our conversations and help others by sharing ever more broadly.

To Validate

As a small business owner myself, this blog is also a personal challenge. It means I’m going to woman-up and literally put my money where my mouth is.

I aim to prove that by strengthening my online voice, I will in turn build awareness for Design House and expand our client base. And as I have for the past thirty plus years, I will leverage what I learn for the benefit of others — business, non-profit and municipal partners alike.

To Inspire

As always, I continue to encourage my peers to do the same: to embrace a sharing strategy that makes our whole greater than the sum of our parts.

eMarketing, content marketing, social marketing or inbound marketing — whatever we want to call it. We all need to jump into the proverbial sandbox and learn how to play with others by embracing the tools and tactics of online communications.

I’m in!

eMarketing Road Map: Smart Steps for Small Business

Most entrepreneurs wouldn’t buy a home or draft a will without hiring a lawyer. And at tax time, many of us automatically package up our books so an accountant can file accurate year-ends. We do this because we understand the benefits of professional skill and advice.

Likewise, when it comes to protecting our livelihood and investing in future growth, it’s the smart small business owner who understands the importance of wrapping our marketing budget in a targeted strategy.

But if you have a new business with limited resources, where do you start? Or if you’re well established but overwhelmed with the seemingly endless choice of tools and tactics that are integral to online marketing, how do you choose the platforms that will serve you best?

emarketing road map: smart steps for small business

This eMarketing Road Map is a step-by-step guide to helping small business owners like you better understand the strategies and tools that will help you connect with relevant target markets and give you a leg up on the competition.

Use it to decide which roles you can take on in-house, and when to reach out to a professional marketing consultant to effectively promote your small business.

GET IT FREE! Request your free copy of eMarketing Road Map: Smart Steps for Small Business