The average person is inundated with over 2,000 marketing interruptions per day! How are YOU communicating with your customers?
Are you blindly pushing your marketing messages to the masses with old fashioned techniques hoping they resonate with your target audience? Or are you embracing permission marketing (i.e. Inbound Marketing) methods and creating interesting content that your customers want to see?
Here’s a breakdown of the two different marketing strategies:
Interrupting someone’s day in order to push product or services on them
Earning people’s interest naturally, without interrupting them
Communication is one-way
Communication is two-way
The marketer’s focus is on
making the sale NOW
The marketer’s focus is on VALUE
through entertaining or educating
< 10% of clicks on the web
90%+ clicks on the web
Powered by budget & repetition
Powered by creativity & effort
Gives quick results
Builds long-term relationships with customers
Easy to measure results (i.e. quick boost in sales)
Your messages are wanted and anticipated
Takes more time ∞
High ROI over the lifetime of a customer
Incites ANXIETY :(
Builds Trust :)
Blogging and website content
Direct Mail Campaigns
Unsolicited Email Marketing
Opt-in Email Marketing
TV & Radio Ads
Word-of-mouth & viral marketing
Pre-roll ads that play before video content
Interstitial & transitional online ads that interrupt or delay the user’s selected content
How are they perceived by potential customers? Have you searched them on Twitter or read what is being said about them on Facebook? Are they conducting contests? Do they offer web-only discounts? Should they be? Should YOU??
Or perhaps you are looking for a fresh new idea. One of the best ways to get your creative juices flowing is to look at what your competitors are doing and try to improve upon their offerings. Doing will help you identify gaps in the marketplace.
Plus, through the act of observing your competitors you gain a wealth of information that will benefit your business and strengthen your position in the market.
By conducting regular competitor analysis you can compare and contrast the performance of your website and product offerings to the performance of your competitors, thereby helping you determine your strengths and weaknesses.
Not only can Strategic Online Solutions build an effective online competitor report for your business, but we’ll also help you interpret it and identify strategic online solutions designed to grow your business.
Your Competitor Report will include:
Identification of your top competitors
Analysis of your competitor’s web presence, search engine presence (including keywords!)
Analysis of your competitor’s social media activities and their effectiveness
Executive Summary with suggestions that can immediately be implemented
Telephone consultation to review findings and brainstorm response strategies
Your monthly email marketing message is filled with interesting insights, articles, and valuable offers for your clients and potential clients and you want to make sure it is read by as many people as possible! Here are three great tips to “recycle” that message:
First, utilize Social Media sites – The tool I use for email marketing, automatically pushes your content out to Twitter and Facebook. Plus, LinkedIn can be configured to display your Twitter feed. This way all three of the major social media sites receive your content automatically.
Second, repurpose our content for the web – Most email newsletters have multiple messages, for example, an article, an announcement, and a discount offer. These can be split into individual posts and added to your website or blog. WordPress blog sites make this very easy. Since the content is already written, re-purposing is as simple as cutting and pasting.
Third, maximize for Search Engines – Repurposing email newsletter content to a website not only provides more value to your site visitors but is an important internet marketing strategy when it comes to search engine ranking. The Google “spiders” are hungry critters that love fresh, relevant content fed to them on a regular basis. Google “crawls” individual articles treating them as pages that may rank high for specific searches. The more you write, the more likely you are to have higher rankings and ultimately get noticed by potential clients.
Do you want to start a business in Texas but you aren’t sure where to start? Here are the 10 steps (in sequential order) I took to start my business way back in 2008.
Should I incorporate my business? While incorporating isn’t required, it does help minimize your personal risk and has other benefits. I recommend meeting with an attorney, and also an accountant, to determine which legal entity is best for you and your unique business.
10 Steps to Start a Business
File for an LLC, preferably through an attorney. (2 – 7 days)
Find out which of your services are taxable by calling the Texas State Comptroller’s office at 800-252-5555. TIP: Take good notes, get the name and email of the person you talked with, then email him/her a summary of your conversation, and ask them for a confirmation…in writing. (1 hour)
Apply for an EIN with the IRS. File online at www.irs.gov/businesses Or you can call 800-829-4933 to file by phone (1 hour)
The best way to keep from being labeled a “SPAMMER” is to know the legal requirement of the CAN-SPAM Act and to stay in compliance.
CAN-SPAM stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing. It is federal legislation signed into law by the 2nd Pres. Bush and describes the legal requirements that must be fulfilled by senders of commercial email. The Penalties are $250 per email, with a cap of $2 million that can be tripled for aggravated violations. But don’t worry, this law is largely unenforced and is so poorly written it’s commonly referred to as the “You-Can-Spam” Act because the bill explicitly legalizes most email! In particular, it does not require e-mailers to get permission before they send marketing messages. Go figure!
Legal Requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003:
Use a legitimate return email address.
Provide a valid physical address.
Clearly label commercial email as advertising.
Use a truthful and relevant subject line.
Provide a working opt-out link.
Process opt-out requests within 10 business days.
As long as you are compliant with these six legal points, you have not violated the law. The good news is most email marketing services, like Mail Chimp, come with tools that help keep you in compliance.
If you have any questions about email marketing please don’t hesitate to call me at 817-922-9077
It is inevitable, your networking group will dissolve, a hot new competitor will come along, or your largest client will ditch you without warning. Odds are at some point you’ll find your previously “well-oiled machine” smack in the middle of a slump. You weren’t coasting either, it just happened. And when it does, you’ve got to do something about it. Here are a few tips for reviving your business:
#1. Stop Complaining
When business isn’t going well, it’s a common practice to blame it on someone, something, or the economy. Don’t waste your time; blame won’t get you new projects or clients.
Admit that billable hours have declined, but DON’T DWELL on it. Instead, dust off your business plan, analyze your marketing/advertising mix, and evaluate the effectiveness of your sales efforts. What worked in the past that you stopped doing? Look for new avenues to get your message out. For example, Internet Based Radio stations are springing up everywhere, and their talk show hosts are always looking for interesting guests.
#3. Brainstorm for Action Items
Change, even if it isn’t perfect, will modify the dynamic of a situation and help to propel your business out of its slump. Gather with your advisory board/trusted friends/mentors or whoever it is you meet with to discuss business and BRAINSTORM. Make a possibility list – throw any perceived limitations out the window and shoot for the moon. You may not have the budget for a full-page ad in the Fort Worth Business Press, but the discussion of advertising might just spark another idea that is feasible.
#4. Create EXCITING New Goals
Take the best ideas from your brainstorming session, turn them into shiny new goals, then assign a time-line for completion to each one. For example, you might commit to completing a certain number of telephone calls each week to previous clients, telling them about a new offer. Get excited about these goals, take them seriously, and set appropriate rewards for yourself and those assisting you.
#5. Take Action
Sitting around tormenting yourself, whining to your spouse, or stewing with friends, obviously isn’t going to resolve your slump. It’s up to YOU to make things happen. You’ve done it before; there’s no question that you can do it again.
Slumps happen – that’s part of being in business. But if you think smart, stay POSITIVE, and keep your attention focused on satisfying your customers, odds are you’ll rally and overcome your challenges.
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