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

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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

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

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

Super Bowl Commercials—What Can We Learn From This Social Experiment?

beyoncehttp://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2013/02/3-super-bowl-commercials-to-watch-out-for/

Overheard “water cooler conversation”:  “So, you excited about the big game on Sunday?” “My team isn’t playing, so, no. How about you?” “Nah, I’m really looking more forward to the commercials.”

You may have heard this kind of conversation before or even been in one like it. Statistics show that “nine in 10 viewers are as interested in the commercials as the game.” (Bruce Horovitz, USA Today) So for more than 100 million people watching the Super Bowl this year, that’s a lot of advertising and advertising dollars. That means the ads for the Super Bowl are considered the “Super Bowl of advertising”. What makes them so great and what can we learn from their social experiments?

betty whiteFor 15 years, Charles Tomkovick, a marketing professor at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, has tracked companies who advertise in the Super Bowl. He says popular ads use dramatic sound, motion, celebrities as well as humor and surprise endings to get the audience’s attention quickly. “You also want to throw in some animals, if you can find a way to tie in animals with your brand,” Tomkovick says. “About 20 to 25 percent of Super Bowl commercials have animals. It’s like going to the zoo.”  http://youtu.be/RP9dmF7WFl8 (Denny’s screaming chickens, 2012) Tomkovick also says to avoid too much discussion of the product or service advertised.

“The more you talk about your product, the less people like it.” (Tomkovick)

There are controversial perspectives about the ads for the Super Bowl as well.  Bruce baby and dogstronautHorovitz of USA Today says, “The commercials for Super Bowl 2013 are so overloaded with eye candy — sexy models, too-cute kids, wacky animals, magical happenings and effects — that by the time folks take them all in, many viewers will feel like they just swallowed the entire bag of Halloween candy in one sitting. No room for the chips and dip.”

doritosIn fact, some of the ads have been more and more controversial as the years go on. This year, one particular ad was pulled from the lineup, namely, Sodastream, for using competitor branding without permission (http://youtu.be/68al-o2XSpE), which continues to show the ad online, instigating more interest and attention than if there hadn’t been the controversy. So, the question is:  with social media and online marketing at our finger tips, is it worth it to push the envelope, riding that thin line between interest and offensiveness?

“The debates have prompted millions of online views, thousands of social media comments and headlines questioning whether the pitches were offensive – all this before the full audience of 100 million viewers who will watch the San Francisco 49ers play the Baltimore Ravens have seen the ads,” according to Lisa Richwine and Sue Zeidler of etradeReuters. “That degree of attention can boost the value for ads beyond the $4 million-plus that agencies pay for some of the 30-second spots. Advance buzz gets people talking and, better yet from a marketer’s perspective, searching for the promotions online.”

Mae Anderson of the Associated Press reported that “Last year, Super Bowl ads released early were watched 600 percent more times — with 9.1 million average views,” clearly outweighing the skeptics who believe in a purist perspective, revealing the ads only on game day.

So what can we learn from the Super Bowl advertisers and their marketing maneuvers? Mix dashes of excitement and surprise with a few splashes of kids, animals, and celebrities and throw in some humor without talking about your product, possibly with some controversy, and you have the magic. Now, somebody pass me the buffalo wings, I’m ready for some Super Bowl commercials! By the way, we’d love to hear which ones are your favorites @ Kroma Marketing.

bethrose11

REASONS FOR REASONS: Why ask “Why?”

lance-armstrong whyTHE DESIGNER:  In a world where the customer/client is “always right,” it is easy to get away with saying, “I don’t like that.” However, the words at hand don’t mean anything. Sure, you might truly have no desire to pursue a style or direction for your brand, website, etc., but having no reasoning behind why you don’t like it can stall or stop progress dead in its tracks. Designers (and their respective companies) thrive on positive and negative feedback. It is what allows them to learn and stretch the range of their skill set. It is what allows them to better their asset delivery time and make the process as quick and as painless as possible. It also helps build relationships between clients, both new and old. Neutral feedback, something like, “I don’t like that,” does the exact opposite.

Yes, neutral feedback is the worst type of feedback a client can give their designer. It essentially leaves the designer hanging from a cliff with no one there to help them up. The designer has no option but to fall to the ground and start the journey to the top all over again, still lacking the proper direction. However, if the client was willing to inquire more or discuss certain aspects of the designs they don’t like, this time with a bit more detail, maybe this temporarily derailed train could get back on track.

THE CLIENT:  From the client aspect, this may all be confusing. Why do these designers need to know why I don’t like something? Why is my displeased state alone not enough for them? Well, I’ll tell you; it’s because it doesn’t give any direction or help prevent any future designs from deterring you again down the road, potentially for the same exact reasons.

Plain and simple, if the designer doesn’t know what is wrong, there’s a pretty good chance it will happen again. For example, if they don’t know that you don’t like certain colors or specific typefaces you are seeing now, what’s to stop them from using them again on the next thing they deliver to you?

It is up to the client to inform the designer as much as possible to help prevent the things they are not happy with from reoccurring. This is where proper reasoning plays a big role.

Also, don’t throw a good design away just because you don’t understand it. If something doesn’t make sense to you, ask about it. There may be a pile of thought behind it that just may convert you to a believer.

  • TRY ASKING WHY:  Next time you don’t like something, try asking “why?” Ask the designer why he/she did something in the manner that they did. I promise you, nine of ten times you will understand a concept 100 times better if you allow yourself the chance to hear the designer’s reasoning behind why certain things are the way they are. Also, it may inspire you down the road.

(Don’t ever doubt a good designer’s mindset. We do everything for a reason.)

  • TRY SAYING WHY:  If asking isn’t your thing, try telling. Tell the designer why you don’t like their direction or vision. Don’t be afraid to tell them when something looks a bit too childish or maybe it’s too “loud” in a design sense. Tell them the good and bad things about each design you see. This helps them eliminate the things you won’t like from future designs and will help steer them in a new, better direction.

(Go ahead. We can take it. At the end of the day, designers just want to please the client, and we are very good at listening.)

Tell us what you like and don’t like about your website–we would love to help! Kroma Marketing

by Taylor Carter, designer, -Kroma Marketing, drummer, fan of working out, and newbie

by Taylor Carter, designer, -Kroma Marketing, drummer, fan of working out, and newbie

SOTB (State of the Business) Address

Kroma SOTBNew. It is a word that excites some and causes others angst.  When I hear the word “new” it fills me with excitement. My mind immediately goes to possibilities to come. I look forward to new things, new seasons, a new year, a new perspective.

A business needs to have a new challenge brought to it each year. Sustainability is not to be celebrated as a goal; it is to be a marker along the journey of building a business. It is necessary to review our past, without allowing it to define our projections for the upcoming months and years. It is these perspectives to which I pause to have a look at Kroma.

My journey into marketing began in the 1990s.  I gave it up to make more dollars on the sales side of corporate America and was moderately successful. As I moved into deciding the next phase of my career goals, I felt led to quit my job, yes quit, and begin a new business. It is out of this decision that Kroma Marketing came into being.

A new business has many seasons of change. Some come and go quickly while other seasons last months and even years. Kroma was birthed out of hope… a hope of providing a “new” perspective to marketing and design. We want to come alongside our clients and partner with them. We feel our success is measured by our clients’ ongoing growth and success. We believe that each client deserves excellence in design and measured results of our marketing efforts. I firmly believe there is an ROI (return on investment) to every dollar spent. There is accountability to the client for each dollar they spend with Kroma.

With that, we are brought to our assessment of last year. It was a season of change once again.

  • We added staff as we saw others move on to other states, other jobs, and other seasons in their lives.
  • We increased our expertise in many services.
  • Originating in web design and traditional marketing, Kroma quickly became strategists in the last few years with online marketing.
  • Kroma increased our services to our clients by adding several acronyms to our expertise: SEO, PPC, SEM, along with the growing trend of social media.  This allowed our new team to bring excellence beyond design in traditional marketing, to excellence through research and development in the new frontier of online marketing.

Our corporate culture continues to morph. The employees we hire come with fresh and innovative ideas and design. They come ready to be pushed to excellence in what they do. It’s a win to see them begin pushing one another in concepts and executables to achieve excellence for the clients we serve. They get it.

Ordinary is not welcomed here.

Finally, we are becoming sustainable! We have growth projections that stretch our budget, but are worth investing towards the betterment of our client services. We were able to review our pricing and keep cost of services the same as last year. We are able to do this by keeping cost down and quarterly projections conservative. We are doing as our website says:  “Thriving in a down-turned economy”…we are honored to do that for the clients we serve.

If you are looking for something new, we’d love to partner with you in growing your business. Contact us @ KROMA.

Richard Rose, CEO/Owner, Kroma Marketing

Richard Rose, CEO, Kroma Marketing

Save the Fonts! Save the World!

Header-image-for-blog

Most people won’t notice a good typeface when they see one, but, most of the time, THAT IS THE POINT! If a website is designed well, the font will portray a feeling to the site that gives your entire site the vibe it deserves. First off, there is no perfect font. Every designer has their favorites, but no designer uses their favorite on even half of their work. So how do we pick the right one? Well, start with not picking a bad one!

Sure there are tons of “fun looking” looking fonts out there that you may think fit exactly what you want to say, but, more often than not, it really is just “fun looking”. The question is: will someone actually read it? In today’s world, it is much too easy to add any font you want to any medium that calls for it.

Here is what to stay away from and why you should stay away from them.

comic-sans

Even though you might love it, this font is bad, bad, bad, bad, baaaad for your site. The appeal is the hand-drawn nature of the font, which may give it that “fun” aspect you are going for. In reality, this font was designed to do just that. Unfortunately, on today’s web, hand written fonts don’t fit in the clean cut digital world. This font is over used and is unappealing to every audience older than 5 years old. What is easier to read: a hand-written three page paper or a typed three page paper with Times New Roman?

Copperplate--Gothic

This font was a poor attempt of modernizing a block print typeface. Lesson on modern typefaces: they are made to be “modern” and we all know “modern” things always expire. This font was created in 1901. Needless to say, it is outdated. Please refrain from old, “modern” fonts.

Brush-Script

NO, NO, NO, NO . . . it does not look like a brush stroke. Once again this is another font that was created to mimic a handwritten feel but with a “50’s large letter” effect. Dated? Yes.

Arial

Maybe Arial is not that bad of a font, but only in a few scenarios. Let’s say you own a sleep therapy company, this is the font for you. Maybe you only want the viewers to look at pictures instead of reading your important information. Either way, this font is BORING. People WILL be uninterested in most everything you have to say, because this font generates no interest at all for your important information.

Papyrus

Ah yes, we almost left out the worst font in the world. This is the third replica of a hand-generated font, and once again, it is over used, hard to read, and just doesn’t look right. Nearly every designer will name this font as one of the top five fonts in the entire world. This font is not only hated, it is loathed entirely.

Do your end user a favor and don’t choose these fonts for paragraph text. They are all very hard to read and are unappealing for your over-all website. Every decision is important for your site. However, if it’s amazing but nobody can read it then what is the point of having a site in the first place? A recent statistic shows that any site that has these five fonts anywhere on it, Google then deletes the site from its search results . . . ok maybe that’s not a real statistic, but it is funny. Don’t get me wrong, any font can be used correctly, but do the web world a favor and use a good font. Save the fonts, save the world!

What are your thoughts on fonts? We would love to know! Kroma Marketing

lukecoselmon