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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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

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

In Denial

“Delay is the deadliest form of denial.” —C. Northcote Parkinson 

De · ni · al:  a river in Egypt; refusal to admit the truth or reality. (Merriam-Webster)

Probably one of the biggest examples of denial in recent history is the tragedy in Benghazi, Libya, the denial of terrorism “poster child”. It’s denial at its worst, albeit. There isn’t any upside to denial at all other than blissful apathy until the realization of what the denial has wrought. It really is bad news all around.

In business, denial will most likely lead to financial failure. Yet businesses are still in denial regarding not only the need but the necessity of social media on a daily basis. Harvard Business Review Analytics Services report “The New Conversation: Taking Social Media from Talk to Action” [Report PDF; sponsored by SAS] discovered that most of the commitment to social is future-oriented. The report went on to say, “Although 79% of the 2,100 companies surveyed are either using or planning to use social media channels, a measly 12% of those firms feel that they are using them effectively.” Only 12%. Pitiful, when you think about how brands are being represented on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, to name a few.

But is it just the non-use of social media that makes business efforts ineffective or the fact that there is still not an “all in” belief in the necessity of social? Rob Ployhart, a professor of business administration at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business, believes there is a “skepticism” in social media because companies haven’t seen the data showing the return on investment from social media. Ployhart says the ROI data will most likely be available within the next three to five years, making social media more credible in the eyes of some businesses.

Until then, what does a company have to do to engage in the social impact of business? Believe. They have to put their faith in it and engage in it daily or they’ll be left standing on the sidelines in their cynicism.

The facts are all there. Businesses engaged in social media are investing in their own future. Ployhart says, “In today’s world, we are all interconnected. Companies that are thinking about this proactively are the ones that are probably going to have an advantage in leveraging this technology. I’d be surprised if the first few companies that get in there don’t have a lasting competitive advantage.”

The experts are all saying the same thing:  businesses that are engaging in social media have the upper hand.

It’s almost 2013. What’s on the horizon, then, for engaging in social media in business?

According to Simon Mainwaring, New York Times bestseller We First and social branding consultant to Fortune 100 brands, “Every company or institution must now function as a social brand due to the mass adoption and penetration of social media in our lives as citizen and customers (and by social brand I mean an organization that uses and engages in a real time dialogue with its customers using mobile, social and gaming technologies to build its reputation, profits and social impact.)”

So, if you are in business and you are in denial of the social media bull breathing down your neck, don’t turn around. Just get on the social media train and ride it all the way into the station. That’s where you’ll find relevant business being done. Welcome to the new world.

Are you in denial or are you using social media in business? We would love to hear from you. Kroma Marketing.

Epitaph

George Lewis – When The Saints Go Marching In

Yesterday I went to a funeral. I know you must be thinking, “Why in the world do I want to read a blog about going to a funeral?” But it wasn’t just any funeral. It was a celebration of a man my family has known for many years, who has impacted his world, who has made an impression so great, people from all over the world wrote epitaphs of love, honor, and respect. If you had been sitting there and hadn’t known him, you would be able to walk out of that church with a great admiration for the man.

It got me thinking, what do I want people saying about me when I’m gone? And what about you–what do you want people to say about you when you are gone?

But why plan for the end of life when you could plan for now; so what do you want people saying about you tomorrow? And what about your business–what do you want people saying about your business tomorrow?

It doesn’t have to take a funeral to put things in perspective. Or does it?

I think by now you’ve read the statements regarding the importance of social media. If you aren’t using social media for business, you could be playing your own funeral dirge . . . soon.

Jeremy Blanton in The Social Revolution says,“The ROI of Social Media is your business will still exist in 5 years,”and he said that in June of 2011.  Eric Qualman said in May 2010, “Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.” He also said, “We don’t have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it.” We are almost in 2013. Watch this:  http://youtu.be/QUCfFcchw1w

It’s not too late but you’ve got to jump on board now or you could be hearing this soon:

Magnificent Sevenths – Funeral Procession: In the Sweet Bye and Bye

Talk to us . . . does social media make you feel impending doom or celebration? We can help you celebrate and embrace the future instead of dread it. www.kromamarketing.com