Brand Your Business Like Coca Cola

Coca ColaI can hear you all the way over here. “Linda, how is MY business like Coca Cola??”

I assure you, I am not crazy. Well, maybe a little, but only after too much caffeine.

See, here’s the deal. You go to a ballgame, every kid is sipping from a cup emblazoned with the Coca Cola logo.

Your favorite sitcom? There’s a can of Coke sitting on the kitchen counter.

Super Bowl? Yup. There’s a $4 million dollar Coke ad – or two.

Why? Isn’t Coke known throughout the world? Hasn’t “Coke” become the generic term for “fizzy cola beverage” – much the way “Xerox” has come to mean “photocopy” and “Kleenex” is understood as “tissue”?

The answer is yes, yes, and yes.

So tell me again, Linda, how MY business is like Coke… (more…)

Email Marketing: What Do They Know That You Don’t Know?

Email Marketing2A new study of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) reveals that these firms are spending the largest portion of their marketing budgets on email marketing, and far less on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Over 600 email marketing decision makers at companies with annual revenues between $1-50 million and less than 1,000 employees were surveyed. It was discovered that 15 percent of the marketing budget of these businesses is spent on email marketing, ahead of events and trade shows (14 percent), person-to-person contact (13 percent) and print ads (11 percent).

The most interesting aspect of this study for me was that just 8 percent of their budgets were spent on social media, tying for sixth place overall with search engine optimization (SEO). My email marketing clients benefit from integration with social media, which contributes to their search engine rankings, so our Best Practices actually incorporate both these items at almost no additional cost to our clients. Win-win!

Here’s a breakdown of spending on marketing, as revealed by the survey: (more…)

Introducing Our New Referral Rewards Program

Budget-CuttingAs part of my 2013 marketing plan, I decided to devise a plan to reward those who help us grow our business by making it easier for them to grow theirs. So, I analyzed others’ programs, tossed around a few different ideas, and finally …

I’m pleased to announce our brand new Referral Rewards program!

Now, this program is not exclusively for new clients, as I found many such programs to be. Why would I choose to reward new clients and not those who are already contributing to my business success? That made no sense to me. So, instead, I designed it so that Referral Rewards can be included in our initial contract with new clients or as a contract addendum with our existing clients.

I also didn’t want to make the program overly complicated, and I didn’t necessarily see any point in putting an expiration date on it, since there is no limit to my gratitude for those who refer business to me 🙂

As a result, Referral Rewards is literally as simple as 1-2-3! Here’s how it works: (more…)

Online Reputation Management

Online Reputation ManagementOne of my favorite quotes about online reputation management is by Tyler Tervooren: “Even if you opt out of participating in the digital world, your online identity still exists in parallel; you’re just not in charge of it.” Basically, it comes down to this: Refusing to acknowledge that people are talking about you does not make that talk go away. And if that talk is negative or inaccurate or untruthful, you have, essentially, decided to allow others to decide who you are and what your brand represents.

Whether due to time constraints, or not knowing enough about how online marketing differs from traditional media, or an inability to keep up with the ever-changing world of online marketing – monitoring online channels is not something the average business professional can reliably do on their own. Many try, only to find sooner rather than later that neither they nor their staff have the time and expertise necessary to develop the Know-Like-Trust factor that leads fans, followers and other online connections to be converted into buyers.

Understanding those challenges is what led me to transform my own business from a general sales and marketing consulting firm to one focused exclusively on branding through social media, online, and email marketing.

Managing Your Online Reputation

There are two equally bad responses to negative online feedback: (more…)

The Fifth P of Marketing

Marketing StrategyWe’re all familiar with the Four P’s of Marketing:

Product. The right product to satisfy the needs of your target customer.

Price. The right product offered at the right price.

Place. The right product offered at the right price available in the right place to be bought by customers.

Promotion. Informing potential customers of the availability of your product, its price, and where they can purchase it.

Each of the Four P’s is a variable that you control in creating the marketing mix that will attract customers to your business.

But marketing in the 21st century requires a Fifth P:

(more…)

Branding is Dead; Long Live Branding.

Branding is Dead; Long Live BrandingI recently came across a couple of online articles touting the demise of branding, which prompted this post. The title, of course, is a play on the traditional proclamation made upon the death of a monarch to announce the ascension of the heir to the throne. So … is branding dead??

A recent LinkedIn survey revealed that 37% of small to medium sized businesses still view the company logo as the main focus of the company brand. And 32% see branding as relevant only to large businesses. Wow.

With such a narrow view of branding, it’s understandable that roughly one-third of small and medium sized businesses might think branding is dead. (more…)