When to market your business, in the good times or the bad?

goodtimesbadtimesAs with most businesses there is an ebb and flow to sales, productivity, and growth. I was at a business meeting at my favorite breakfast restaurant a few weeks ago. They have a few locations throughout the city and suburbs. This one in particular was not up to par as the ones I frequent more often. While the food and service are still consistently good, it is in a little older area of town, in a little older building, and was considerably less busy than the other ones.

As I was leaving I was speaking to the cashier, who it turned out was the co-owner of the restaurants in town. I asked about the decline in business and she agreed that it was becoming a problem for this location. I spoke to her about her marketing efforts. She said they are doing the same marketing approaches that they always have done. I asked if she and her husband would like to sit down and I could discuss how my marketing firm could come alongside them with a fresh approach to increase awareness and drive people to their restaurants. She said that things are getting tight and wasn’t sure if they could afford to do anything different.

Her response is not uncommon to business owners that may be experiencing a slump or may just be stuck in a rut and aren’t growing. Business owners can be divided almost down the middle into two ways of thinking about when to market:

  • The business owner that is thriving tends to push off marketing and business development efforts until you either get to the bottom of the barrel or you lose the big client that was paying all the bills,
  • The business owner that is in a slump or has plateaued believes they simply can’t afford to put money into marketing when their business is slow.

Both mindsets are at risk of skewing their growth and could permanently damage their business. The savvy business owner is the one that knows even when you are very busy you still market your business. The well can dry up at any time and sometimes for reasons that are out of our control. One of the outcomes of the recession is that business owners have been knocked out of their comfort zone and are being required to do marketing and business development differently.

Short term and long term marketing strategies are necessary to amp up your business. While short-term strategies will focus on sales and business development, there are several long-term strategies that will create sustainability and mitigate many of the slumps and plateaus from extreme ways of thinking about when to market your business. For our discussion here I want to focus on the long term strategies that can move you out of the slumps. Tammy Hawk-Bridges, author of the book Yanking Bootstraps – Bootstrap Your Business to Success, discusses long-term strategies. She provides several long term actions that can move your business forward quickly.

1.    Focus on new business often. Come up with a business development, marketing plan that you operate inside every single day! Waiting until you are thirsty to dig a well makes the process very difficult. If you make business development a consistent effort you will always have great prospects.

2.    Build a strong pipeline. This partners with #1. You need to fully understand the pipeline process. Think of a funnel, it’s very wide at the top and gets narrower as it goes to the bottom. The top is how many leads need to go in and the bottom is where only a few customers will come out. So for example if you want 100K in sales you could potentially need a prospect pipeline that is worth 400K. This is a great eye-opener and once you do this exercise you will realize immediately why you don’t have enough sales.

3.    Tools that attract prospects. It’s time to put some great tools in place that can create leads for you even when you aren’t trying to sell. This is the wonderful think about new marketing strategies! You can put great content out there and then people will come to you! Be the light and they are the moths, attract your ideal client to you. You needFire_Moth_by_maxine_photo to have great information that they need to run their business.

  • Grow your list – come up with a how-to or EBook of sorts that your ideal client can download from your website.
  • Internet optimized – Make sure your website is ranking for keywords that are relevant to your business. You want people to find YOU before your competitors.
  • Review your website – Is it focused on your ideal client, is it a great resource of information? Does it make someone want to get in touch with you?
  • Email Marketing – This gets you in front of your customers and ideal clients on a regular basis. Be a great resource of information, earn trust, and be authentic. Above all read your analytics and use the information to identify prospects!
  • Blogging – Create great content that brings prospects to YOUR door. This is a lot of work and only the truly committed will succeed at it but the payoff is huge when it hits! No more hitting the pavement for sales!
  • Sharing – Share everything! Social media and the digital world is built to share the love! Every blog article you write share it across all social media channels. Write great content that makes others want to share it and guess what? You are viral!

 4.    Treat it like a real business. You need systems in place for success. Set financial goals as well as goals for leads and business won. Close your business out every month and get real about where you are.

5.    Accountability. Hold yourself accountable for your own success, adapt to a NO EXCUSES and no self-inflicted obstacles mentality!

It is human nature to pull back when business is slow or forget marketing is needed when business is booming. When to market is now. It’s proactive and preventative at the same time. Take stock, take control and let’s grow our businesses together! What do you think?

Richard Rose, CEO, Kroma Marketing

Richard Rose, CEO, Kroma Marketing

Just a Good Ol’ Fashioned Sensible Lesson in Social Media

BabyonPhone

Sometimes we just need to go back to the basics, where it all started. Getting all caught up in the hype of the “thing” can be overwhelming at times. Social media has become a monster and is gobbling up as much attention as it can. Maybe you feel as though it’s too much to deal with. Look no further. Let’s take it a step at a time; in fact, we even have a giant picture (infograph) at the end that will explain it all.

The top social media that will make your business more accessible, in touch with your market and marketable are (whether you do it or hire someone else to do it):

wordpressBlogs—tell your story and connect with your market at least once a week then connect that blog to your social media. Use blogging to make a personal touch with people and let them see the “everyday” in what you do.

FBFacebook—you should be on Facebook every day in some way, posting interesting articles related to your business, posting interesting pictures that connect with your market, and engaging while asking people to comment, like or share your posts.

TwitTwitter—Tweets are fleeting and quick so there should be more of them, at least three a day—make them varied between business, fun and promotional, always using hashtags to keep your posts trending.

LInLinkedIn—Keep it professional, only posting business related articles and blogs. When you are connected to groups that relate to your business, don’t forget to post to those groups and become more interactive with them.

G+Google+–This combines LinkedIn and Facebook where you can gather people together to hang out but with a purpose toward your business or industry. The key is get connected and get more people in your circles.

PinPinterest—Show off what you do visually—pictures will grab people before words ever do.

YTubeYouTube—Video is fast becoming a real powerhouse–it can be anything that represents your business or even interviews of significance to your industry. It’s ok to throw in some fun as well. This keeps it personable to your audience.

If you’re just starting out, take a few of these social connectors and start connecting or, in hiring someone else to do it, make sure you are well represented across the board. The infograph below will help you with a schedule of sorts to know how often to post as well as some other great information to keep your social media posting organized and effective.

Are you well-connected or are there some takeaways to make your social media stronger? You can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Tumblr, and YouTube. www.kromamarketing.com

wbg_sensible_socialmediachecklist_v2(1)bethrose11

Social Signals—You Can’t Miss Them

socialsignalsI used to think that my “let’s go” signals to my husband at parties (which were agreed upon prior to said party) were obvious. There were times when the signals had to be so grossly over performed that if one had been looking at me, they might have thought I was having a spasm. If I was close enough I would definitely have kicked him, but my husband had learned early on to stay at least a kick length away in those situations.

Social signals are increasingly becoming more important in the social media world so much so that in the last few months there have been an increase in the number of articles written about it. It is a hot button in terms of SEO because Google is now paying more attention to this dynamic, and basically Google is the “godfather” of SEO, with its mysterious algorithm formulas.

Gabriel Gervelis of Search Engine Journal said in the February 2013 edition, “In the evolution of SEO best practices, we’re likely to see movement toward increasing value socialsignalmapplaced on the quantity and quality of social signals contained within any particular domain,” whereby social signals may replace links for SEO.

“The reality is that, based upon extensive testing that we’ve been running (not to mention some of the things that Google has said over the last couple of years), social signals have a significant impact on the overall SEO of websites,” says JD Rucker of Soshable. “As pointed out by Search Engine Watch last month, Google is paying attention to social signals through Google Analytics. When Google says something with their actions, it behooves those in SEO to listen.” (March 2013)

So, if Google is paying attention so should we all. Social signals can help a business change the way it deals with social responses to its products and services. This infographic link shows how a business can use those signals to create responses more efficiently and effectively.

What do the social signals mean to you in your business? We’re paying attention—you won’ t have to flag us down.

bethrose14

Hope Springs

hope

“Hope springs eternal in the human breast; Man never Is, but always To be blest: The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home, Rests and expatiates in a life to come.”– Alexander PopeAn Essay on Man

Spring. Just saying it brings hope. Everything that has died will come to life again. A third of the world’s population celebrates Easter, which commemorates hope beyond the grave.  Nature exudes spring, saying to the world—“We’re back,” signs that life has come back around.

We’ve been through a “winter” in our economy—businesses have fallen by the wayside, people have lost their jobs, even banks have closed their doors. It’s been tough to own a business and do business. So where is the hope?

If your passion is in what you do, then let people know it. Sounding the horn about your wares or your services has never ever been on such an even playing ground as it is now with social media.  Here’s why. Whether you are a Fortune 500 or the store on the corner, the access to the tools to get your message to your audience is the same:  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, et al. Not only that, what it costs to get that message out is much more economical than with traditional advertising, even if you have a marketing company do it for you!

There’s where the hope is—you can get to your public like you never could before. If you can get to them and tell them what you do and why they need what you have, your business can thrive. Yep, we are a marketing company, and we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t tell you we can help you with that.

We would love to hear how you are turning things around for your business. How’s it going for you?

bethrose1

Why We-Blog

blog6blog1The term “weblog” was devised by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997 and the shortened form, “blog,” was then coined by Peter Merholz, who broke the word “weblog” into the phrase “we blog” in the sidebar of his blog in April or May 1999.

It is estimated that there are now over 175 million blogs active on the WWW and that 20,000 bloggers join those ranks every day! If you were hoping that blogging was just a fad, I’m afraid you are somewhat in denial. Blogging isn’t going away—it is only getting stronger and more important.

Why? Have you noticed that art mimicks reality or reality mimicks art? There are practically more reality TV shows than there are sitcoms in existence. As my son says 20 times a day (no lie), “It’s like they don’t know.” And people want to know. People want the details; they want to know what’s going on in people’s lives and their opinions.blog3

So, as a business, you can capitalize on that. You can connect people with your opinions and what matters to you in your business. The infographic below explains it: your blog gives a sense of activity and information of brand significance, probably some of the most important aspects of blogging.

I was talking with a colleague yesterday and he said a marketing company he had heard about had dissolved. So, guess where we went to check it out: to their website blog and their social media postings. They hadn’t posted since December, obviously not in action any longer since social media was one of the ways they connected with their client base. Dead, gone. I was even a little depressed thinking about it, and I didn’t even know these people! But it’s a sad day when a company goes by the wayside and when you see it exist, especially a marketing company, in their outdated blog.

blog4The upside to this blog is that there are differentiators between the company that went under and our company. We have not only survived in a downturned economy but thrived! Why? Not just because we blog but because we grow alongside our customers; we have an ROI attached to our services offered, and we have exceptional customer service—all and more that we blog about to not only our clients but anyone who will listen!

Get significant—get blogging.

What are your thoughts? Do you blog or have someone blogging for you? What ways have you connected with your audience through your blog? What response are you getting? Even more important, how have have seen an ROI on blogging and how have you grown your followers?

bethrose1blog5

Moving!

moving-bike1My family and I moved last week. Now, that might conjure up all kinds of feelings on your part:  panic, frustration, fear, exhaustion . . . to name a few. Like you, we experienced all those emotions and mostly all at once. Now I remember why we hadn’t moved in over 12 years! For some of you, it’s been much longer than that.

OK, at this point, all I have to say is “boxes,” and I bet I can get a reaction. Oh, there were boxes I don’t even remember having of stuff I don’t even remember getting. Why did we still have all that stuff in all those boxes?! And we still moved it! In the new house, we have an even bigger storage room to store even more stuff we will accumulate over the next 10 years. Plus our kids will be moving off into their own directions and guess who gets to keep their stuff . . . that’s right, Mom and Dad!

I began to think this week:  I bet we collect a lot of “stuff” in our businesses like we do in our homes that we keep without much thought of the significance of that stuff. Let me explain. If you have a business, like we do, we get into a groove of ways and means that serve us well for a while but when those methods continue without much result, we tend to hold on to that pattern of doing things because it’s comfortable and known. However, are those ways and means still effective?

Marketing your business in the here and now is about staying lean and mean. In other words, let go of the methods to your madness that worked at one time but no longer create much ROI. This month, this week, today, get your business in front of the consumer, client, and customer. You know what are those people looking at? They are on the web and they are on social media, every day. Are you?

Just some food for thought, as you sort through those “boxes of stuff”. I’ll make you a deal. I’ll get rid of my stuff, if you will.

What in your business would you get rid of?  Your lifeless accountant? Is it your antiquated marketing approach with that magazine that no longer has a reader base?  Or maybe it is a department in the company that doesn’t seem to be delivering results.

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts! Kroma Marketing

You Will Be Judged . . . Or Ignored

Judge-and-JuryAs marketers, we are inclined to take risks. We have to step out of the routine and ordinary in order to help our brand become extraordinary.

Simple right?

…A concept that has been taught, written, and lectured about in our digital marketing age…

But, we forget about the risk that we take so we pursue the safe and comfortable marketing rout. We are afraid we will be judged… or ignored.

Those are pretty much the only two choices.Jim's Plumbing

Being judged is uncomfortable. Snap judgments, prejudices, misinformation… all of these, combined with not enough time (how could there be) to truly know you, means that you will inevitably be misjudged, underestimated (or overestimated) and unfairly rejected if you take bold marketing approaches.

The alternative, of course, is much safer. To be ignored.

Up to you.

Tell us what has worked for your business. We want your comments at Kroma Marketing.

colespriggs

Stuck in a Rut

stuck5In talking to my daughter, 17, the other night after one of the biggest snow storms we remember in Kansas history and facing another foot in a few days, I eluded that I was coming up short on a topic for our blog for the week. She quickly surmised the immediate situation and said, “How about ‘Stuck in a Rut’; like, you know, if your business is stuck and needs help, use social media.” If I had been wearing a shirt with buttons they would probably have popped off from the pride I had at that moment. My daughter had been paying attention the business Kroma is in—social media!

We had just watched my husband and boys try to get through our subdivision for two stuck4hours, inching their way a few feet at a time, my husband driving and the boys pushing and digging, sometimes even standing on the back bumper for traction. At times, they would get going and then my husband would get in a rut of snow, pulling our SUV right into the snow bank. You would think this heavy machinery could handle the snow but it was virtually rendered inept, slipping sideways and sometimes backwards.

I thought about how some business owners really are stuck in the way they market their business, inching along, intent on their old standards, ways that used to work but now only stall their business. In fact, the rut can get deeper because things are moving so fast around them, they hunker down to what they know and hope it turns out.

Like snow, frozen in 20 degree weather, the social media storm isn’t going away; in fact, it’s going to get bigger and bigger, just like the storm we should be having in 24 hours from now. If you are “stuck in the rut” of your old ways, don’t bet on social media “melting” and disappearing. It’s just going to get bigger. If you are stuck now, we may not find you in the blizzard to come.

Let us help you find your way out! Tell us how you are stuck on marketing your business! And if you are trying new ways out of the rut, let us know—we’d love to hear about it. Contact us or, better yet, come see us at Kroma Marketing.

bethrose11

The Chick Who Laid the Golden Egg—Amex and Twitter Make Beautiful Money Together

golden eggsThere was a boy named “Jack” . . . you know how the story goes—he sows the seeds, grows the bean stock, climbs it, grabs the gold-producing goose, and the rest is a movie coming near you. We could call Jack an opportunist i.e. somebody who takes advantage of something, an entrepreneur, a trailblazer if you will.

Well, there’s a “golden egg snatching” opportunist in real life—American Express. amextwitter2Although Amex has partnered with Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare already, starting just last Monday, this is the first time the company has used the partnership in social network purchasing, in particular Twitter using #hashtags. Jennifer Booten of Fox Business states, “It marks the first widespread monetization of the microblogging site since its inception.” This makes e-commerce as easy as 1-2-3. Literally, it only takes about that many steps to use Twitter to buy a wide range of products with Amex as the buying tool and even have it sent to your door.

amextwitter1“We wanted to bring [purchasing] to Twitter first,” according to Brad Minor of American Express. “This is the most dramatic manifestation of what our tech can do because it’s all happening in 140 characters or less and showcased in a hashtag. That said, it would be possible to transfer the underlying capability to other platforms.” You can check out American Express on YouTube to see how it all works at http://youtu.be/CUXQYrn8zds. It couldn’t be easier. Congratulations to American Express for jumping on the bandwagon and making it look easy.

So, what can we learn from this major move—a “Jack” = American Express, moving into “giant” territory = social media, and taking the goose that continues to produce those “golden eggs” = making money.  I think it’s simple:  use social media to your advantage in any way possible to increase revenue. Be creative, go forth and claim your “goose”.

What ways do you use social media to increase revenue for your company? We would love to hear from you! Kroma Marketing.

bethrose11

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

celebrate people @ workValentine’s is almost here. Just a few more days of panic to find the right card or chocolate for those you care about. Yes, chocolate. It says “love” way more than dying flowers you have to water and throw out eventually (just a hint for the guys at Kroma).

We often overlook those at work on Valentines. “Wait a minute,” you might be thinking. “What’s love got to do with it?” If you look at the legend of St. Valentine (not much was known about this Roman martyr for whom the holiday was created), you’ll understand why Valentine’s Day is a day to show special attention to those you care about, even at work. Legend has it that St. Valentine performed a very selfless act right before he was to be executed for his faith:  healing Julia, the blind daughter of his jailer Asterius. This noble act was just the inspiration the leadership in the Catholic Church needed to turn the people from pagan holidays, so St. Valentine’s Day was born. (There’s much more to the story.)

So, in honor of the original meaning of the day, Valentine’s is actually a day to show anyone, not just your significant other, that you care. Even more so, it is a day to show some sort of altruistic gesture to let them know they are important in this world and to those around them. So, this year for Valentine’s Day, let’s show our coworkers, our employees, and our bosses that we’re glad and honored that they exist. Get a card, some chocolate, flowers (a plant—even better) or do something nice for them Thursday. Celebrate them in some way this year. It’s only one day. Make it count.

What’s a creative way you know of showing your coworkers, employees or boss you care on Valentine’s Day? We’d love some ideas! Kroma Marketing.

bethrose11