Call us toll free: 704.889.5544
Top notch Multipurpose WordPress Theme!

International Minute Press

Call us toll free: 704.889.5544

Blogs or nothing

by LIZadmin in Blog Comments: 0

At a conference I recently attended, I went to a session on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The speaker asked all of us if we were writing blogs, and no one raised their hands. He was dumbfounded. As it turns out, if you don’t have a blog, you don’t exist on the internet.

 

I found this ironic, as it seems like everyone has a blog but no one really reads blogs. So you have to have something that nobody reads in order for Google to find your website?

 

As it turns out, you must have a blog because Google is searching your sites for keywords that can be igeniously hidden in blogs. So really, you don’t need to write a logical, rational, informational blog that people read to learn about things – you just need to have paragraphs of keyword to trick Google.  

 

Hence, I am here. Enjoying a glass of wine. Writing my blog. To get you, Google, to find me. Therefore, I will be writing to you, my non-human computer friend, to help you lead people to my website.

 

And now the plot is thickening! As I read the first half of my first blog to my wife, she suggested that I read the blog to my phone out loud to create a video, to upload to YouTube so that people can watch that and then link to our website! I don’t think she gets it, Google. I tried to explain that humans won’t ever see a word of this, that it is all for you. You can’t watch videos – not yet, right? Once I find out that you can, I promise I will read to you.

 

Oh – by the way – print. Let’s talk about it. I am going to teach you everything I know about direct mail, signs and banners, brochures, postcards, and even business cards. I realize you don’t need those things; but we must discuss them. Because in real life, people do need these things. And my job is to help them get them.

 

To be continued, my good friend…

 

Company Freebies: How to Use Them And Use Them Well

by IMPadmin in Marketing Comments: 0

IMP-blog3

“Freebie” is a term that gets thrown around quite a bit in the marketing and small business world. Some businesses tend to think that if you make something free it somehow attracts the right type of customers. That isn’t, always, necessarily the case. Sometimes it just attracts those who are looking for free stuff, and who many not utilize your services at all. However, just because a couple of freebie items may fall on deaf hands and ears, does that mean they shouldn’t be a part of your marketing plan? No, of course not. You just have to know how to use them appropriately and what types of freebies work best for your business.

Here’s a list of some of the best freebie items and how to use them:

  • Pens—Pens will never cease to be an optimum freebie for your potential customers. Now, we aren’t talking about your run-of-the-mill bulk pens, the ones that lose ink thirty seconds into your note taking. Don’t buy the cheapest version, or else you’ll see your marketing logo in the trash bins all over town, and your name will become synonymous with low quality. You don’t have to buy Montblancs for your customers, but do spend a little extra on that order of writing utensils so that your logo has staying power around town.
  • Bags—This is another item that people will utilize daily. However, unlike the pens, quality isn’t such a big deal. As long as the bag is simple and works well, you can bet it will be utilized to some extent. We live in a culture that’s ever appreciative of the chance to reduce our carbon footprint; providing bags is a great way to show you support that cause and that you are concerned with making life simple for your potential customers.
  • Magnets—This is an often forgotten freebie, but honestly, it’s one of the best ways to ensure your logo and contact stays in the prominent eyes of your customers. Not only will customers appreciate the extra help in keeping those prized photos on the refrigerator, but it will also be a prominent ad for visiting guests. Who knows who you’ll reach.
  • Coffee Cups—Make sure that the to-go cups you have for your customers prominently display your logo. Then, ask them if they’d like a refill before they leave; you’ll have your logo walking among the city—take that Starbucks!
  • Treats—Nothing says hospitality more than having a treat on hand for customers. Not only is a snack a welcome item when a customer is running errands but it’s also a way to let them know you consider them part of the family. If you’ve got a team member that enjoys baking, have them bring in a plate of cookies; if not, you can always go by the store and set them on a nice tray!

A couple of Don’t’s:

 Don’t stick your ads on the windshields of cars. It’s a dated marketing approach that only serves to annoy your potential customers.

Don’t label your freebies with “One Per Customer. Please”. It’s off-putting; freebies are about hospitality and getting your name out into the community. If you can’t sacrifice a few extra pens here and there then it might not need to be a “freebie”.

These “freebies”, as cliché as they may have become, will never go out of style in the marketing world. They are a cheap way to get a lot of potential business–if and only if, you use them effectively.

Write that down–with a pen that has your logo on it!

How To Utilize Those Marketing Moments, When You Find Them

by IMPadmin in Marketing Comments: 0

IMP-blog2

Marketing is all about seizing opportunities and using them to their utmost advantage. Sometimes it works and sometimes the approach needs tweaking. We’ve mentioned marketing moments and how to find them in day-to-day life, but let’s talk about individual ways in which getting your specialty out there can be accomplished. Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to gain a positive reputation in a community, which means you need to be engaging with the community when you have the chance. Furthermore, look at your business as a service to others at all times—a way that you help the community. Here are three tactics to use to open up those marketing moments when you find them:

Find The Need—Maybe you work at/run a technical company and you’ve walked into a local boutique store and noticed them struggling with their computer system. They’ll probably apologize. This is your chance to say: “Oh, I understand, I run (Name of Business) we fix those types of issues; we see them all the time.” This will almost never be the end of the conversation. Keep the chat simple, but do mention that you love the store and if they need assistance with their computer system you’d be glad to give them your card and make some room for them this week. Now, it may seem uncouth to pull out your card in this moment, but what you’ll actually do is solidify in the employee’s mind that you had a service minded presence.

Complain Constructively—Have you been to an establishment whose décor was off-putting? Could they use your services as an interior decorator? Let them know. Being honest with another company is never a bad step. However, make sure that you are mentioning your complaint constructively. If you’ve seen on-line reviews mentioning the poor décor, you can use that to your advantage. You can say something like: “I love coming here for lunch, the food is incredible, but I think you could really make a great impact and gain more customers by investing in your ambiance—you have such a great space and location. I’d be happy to give you some ideas at a discount, if you’d be interested.” Don’t pressure him or her. You may not get an answer right away, but your comments will make an impact that they may consider at another time. And you may get that call.

Suggest Other Companies—If you see a need that’s not necessarily a service you offer, but you know of someone who can help, work that into conversation. However, give them your card and say “Give me a call and I can get you in touch with them.” They’ll find your offering of another’s service as a sign that you aren’t giving a personal pitch, but they’ll go through you to contact the service. You’ll get your name and business in the door for potential future business, and you’ll help out a friend.

Marketing Moments: Where do you start?


IMP-marketingmoments

One of the biggest questions that small business owners have is: How can I effectively work my business name into casual conversation?

It’s understandable. No one wants to come off as a used-car salesman while they are chatting with a potential friend. It can be uncomfortable and feel awkward, but, think of it this way: If you have a service that can help others, why not share it?

No one is going to come out and say, “Do you know a great tax guy?”; but learning how to develop the opportunities to reach that point can be pretty easy. And where are these environments and marketing moments? Everywhere.

Local vendors and restaurants: If your business is in a community, you’ve got to go out into the community to become familiar with the trends and opportunities available to your platforms. If you don’t know anyone or any business in the community, then chances are that they don’t know you either. Take a walk around your neighborhood, find a favorite lunch spot and get to know the manager and the wait staff. Give them a shout over social media and they’ll be sure to appreciate the favor and will most likely return it.

Bookstores and coffeehouses: It’s always a wise decision to work outside of the office when possible. If you can’t do that, make sure your sampling the local bookstores and coffeehouses on the weekends. Strike up a conversation in line while you’re waiting to order. Maybe you’ll start to see a familiar face and you can open with “I see you in here a lot, do you work nearby?”. However, more likely than not, someone will initially ask you that question first. Be friendly, be yourself and then be your marketer.

Volunteering: This is a great way to meet others in the community and to help other in need at the same time. In fact, in order to volunteer, you often have to list your reason, or say a bit about your background. This is a great time to write down “owner of Bette’s Bakery”. Not only will it go through the channels of the volunteer world, but it may open up a chance for you to let people try your services or goods. Maybe one day they’ll need a dozen cupcakes for a special volunteer’s birthday. They’ll run through the repertoire and remember, “Isn’t the owner of Bette’s Bakery volunteering this week?”

Dog Park: It’s incredibly rare that you won’t get into a conversation with someone while you’re at a dog park. It’s a laidback environment and there’s something about canines frolicking that just sets a friendly mood amongst a crowd. It’s a great time to get to know people in your community while giving your dog some exercise.

Do:

Always have your card on hand to give to someone. It alleviates the need to have too much “shop talk” in the conversation and it makes it easier for them to contact you. It’s also more professional.

Don’t:

Be pushy. Marketing moments are built on friendliness. If you’re going around attempting to start a conversation that leads into business, you’ll get a reputation that will be hard to shake.

The question “So, what do you do?” is pretty rampant in our culture. What really matters in igniting those marketing moments are just being there, out in the community and getting to know people. Find something that you enjoy and then meet the people who also enjoy that. We live in a technological world but being able to have a genuine conversation in real life will never go out of style.

Go seize those marketing moments!

3 Ways to Use Instagram to Grow Your Business


IMP-blog-img1

If your business has considered using Instagram for social media posting, consider these benefits of the booming photo app:

  1. If you have a “hot buy” deal, or a “new arrival,” posting a picture to the app will allow your customers to see something of interest when they might not have been expecting to be shopping at all.
  2. Consider using a hash tag for promotional codes for your website, or providing exclusive offers to your Insta-followers as a special thanks for following your company.
  3. Take your followers behind the scenes to see your shop, your latest design, upcoming promotions, or new employees. This is a great way to let the customers see the ins-and-outs of your business as well as a snapshot of the culture you’ve created. Who knows? Maybe your posts will inspire a new worker to apply at your fun-loving establishment.

For best results using Instagram, establish a flexible posting schedule. If you post every day, followers might get overwhelmed with too much content – after all, their feed is for their friends and interests, not ads.

So don’t forget to keep it interesting! Instead of running sale after sale, share something riveting in your industry or an event happening locally. Your followers will thank you.

3 Ways to Determine if Twitter Right for Your Business


IMP-blog-img2

While millions of people tweet, retweet, share and star on the popular social media network daily, Twitter might not be the best platform for all businesses. To decide if Twitter is right for your business:

  • Talk to your customers and ask what social networks they use most.
  • Run the numbers – check out this great article on social media demographics*. For example, if your demographic is Baby Boomers, Twitter may not be for you.
  • Check some hashtags – for example, if you’re in the cookie business, try a few different combos to see if your competition or customers are out there (e.g., #cookies, #holidaycookies, #sweets, etc.)

The beauty of Twitter for business is its unhindered view to all the talk about your industry. If you find that Twitter might be beneficial for your business, don’t just watch the feed – join the fun!

http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/new-social-stratosphere-who-using-facebook-twitter-pinterest-tumblr-and-instagram-2015-and-beyond-1622

 

Four Questions for Facebook Effectiveness


IMP-blog-img3

Whether you are building a Facebook page for your company for the first time, or just need to revitalize your efforts, consider these questions to build a better page for you and your clients:

  • Who is my target market?
  • What are the demographics I’d like to focus on?
  • How can I use my page to help the customers?
  • Should I be posting sales/promotions, or informative links? Or both?

For best results, always stay active with posts and communication. This includes running contests, answering questions, and directing disgruntled customers to customer service. Consistency is key with posting so you can establish reliability and fresh content.

Happy Posting!

Why Social Media is Necessary for the 2015 Business


socialmediaforbusiness2014

Businesses have always dreamed of connecting with their customers on a personal level. While early-on ad campaigns reached into radio stations and tv channels to reach the customers during their leisure time, today’s business are by far the most fortunate because the 2015 customer is constantly able to be contacted! Through the smart phone kept on their person, or through multiple social media networks accessed several times a day, modern consumers are connected to technology almost incessantly. So why integrate social media marketing into your marketing campaign? Because it’s a win-win! A few things your business will gain from social media marketing are increased exposure, increased traffic, developed and loyal fans, improved search ranking, and lower marketing expenses (Bendror). Social media helps customers find your brand easily, express their knowledge and opinions, and share with their friends. Once the word is out, a “ripple effect” will take pace as each customer’s network is reached and informed of your brand. Through social media, the conversation opens between your company and your target market so that together you can build a mutually beneficial community.

This month, we’ll be sharing our tips on B2B and B2C marketing through social – stay tuned!

Determining Your Customer Origin

by IMPadmin in Customer Service Comments: 0

origin

By determining how your customers find your store, you can track recent revenues or profitability and focus programs to successfully reach target markets based on actual results.

 

The easiest form of documenting customer origin is for the sales team to simply ask its customers, “How did you hear about us?” While direct, this is flawed – customers may not remember or realize where they found you.

Today’s technology has simplified the task of obtaining customer origins. Social media sites and analytic functions allow businesses to track online traffic as it funnels into your website, but tracking in-store customers’ first point of contact with your company is still challenging.

Encourage direct answers by adding key words like “our website, our Facebook page, or the holiday ad” to the questionnaire so your customer might recall what prompted his or her interest. The modern customer might find a business from word-of-mouth, review sites, local search, or Google Adwords.

The ultimate goal is to make sure funds aren’t being wasted on marketing efforts through unfruitful mediums, yet this can differ between different types and sizes of businesses.

 

Whatever shape or size your company is, remember to:

1. Obtain accurate information on customer origins and tag/organize data accordingly.
2. Analyze the results. Are you reaching your target market? Was the new campaign successful?
3. Take appropriate action. Could funds be reallocated to a better use? Should certain segments receive more attention than others?

Top Reasons to Maintain Your Customer Database


thumbnail (3)

In the “Information Age”, we all feel a bit overwhelmed; we have to

sort through the junk, the essentials, and the I’ll-get-to-it-laters.

 

Perhaps the most vital information to be strictly monitored is a company’s customer database. It is this chunk of data that holds contact information and explains purchasing patterns. Why should you maintain an up-to-date database? Here’s five good reasons, and a thank-you in advance from your bottom line.

 

1. To monitor the progress of your business

Progress and growth are often synonymous for businesses. A good database allows you to see conversion rates for customers, to pinpoint what top or frequent customers have in common, and to use tags and segments to organize customer information. Identifying trends and possible opportunities by relating relevant points of data is simple with an organized database.

 

2. To avoid obsolete Information

Information becomes obsolete quickly. Because customers move or pass away, you could be trying to reach people who cannot or do not want to be reached anymore. With a smaller, current database, your efforts are more targeted and cost efficient.

 

3. To save space & stay organized

Sloppy entries could include duplicate records and misspellings. These records take up unnecessary space in the database with excess or worthless information. A clean database is a more flexible database. With less extraneous records, you can find new ways to manipulate and interpret the data.

 

4. It’s simple

By prioritizing database cleanup as an every day task, your company can avoid collecting and maintaining unneeded data. If your database is already disorganized or too large to monitor, consider hiring an outside company to assist in the process and provide training for upkeep.

 

5. A well-maintained database is a Marketer’s best tool

A database is more than a digital file cabinet. It allows companies to identify the most profitable segments of its target market and to reach customers with similar characteristics of these buyers. By acting on purchasing patterns, it is easy to contact customers at peak times. Direct mail, email blasts, and other marketing materials can become personalized offers for specific customers or segments.

Need help monitoring or updating your database?
Ask Creativate how we can help!

 

Source:

The Marketing Donut. Atom Content Marketing. Web. 1 Dec. 2014. <http://www.marketingdonut.co.uk/marketing/customer-care/understanding-your-customers/marketing-with-your-database>.