Category Archives: Branding

Reinvent in the Recession with Great Marketing

Presentation Zen

Do you really know who your ideal customer is?  Can you picture what he/she reads, likes, wears and how your ideal client makes purchasing decisions?  If you know your customers’ needs well, then you don’t need to follow them around, you can lead them with confidence and you can spread ideas that resonate with your audiences.  Twitter and Facebook are great for networking, but if your customer does not even know how to spell Twitter, you may need to hang out somewhere else.  You need a different marketing strategy during recession, but first you need to

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER.

Examples of companies who know their customer:

Apple – Design matters!  People pay more for products if you give them a reason to do so.

REI – Offers quality and utility to people who value them.  Appreciates customer feedback.

Target – Makes customers feel good by letting them trade up,  differentiates its  brand from low cost retailers.

BE CREATIVE, do what your best competitors do, but do it differently, stand out. Find ways to create great customer stories and create your own story that others will tell.  Reward your best evangelists.  Write articles about your expertise or your business or have them written,  submit locally and  online.

BE INNOVATIVE, find news ways to market. Start your own inexpensive podcast if you have talent or find someone who will interview you.

Here are some useful websites for aspiring podcasters as well as listeners:

www.podomatic.com – they even give their authors 800 numbers so people can also listen to the podcast on their phones.

Free audio recording/editing software for podcasters:
www.audacity.sourceforge.net

Check out BlogTalkRadio as well.

STAY IN TOUCH with your customers and gain new clients via newsletters,  webinars or special offers.  Have free videoconferences via Skype.

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Edgy Presentations Add More Power to Your Social Media Marketing

Presentation Zen

I started looking for alternative presentation tools for one of my always traveling friends and found  Zoho Show .  It is completely free for personal use,  presenters can access their presentations from anywhere.  You can  export your slideshow to PowerPoint if needed, share your presentation online and track how many people have viewed it.

Presentation sharing site Slideshare is growing in popularity,  users can upload Word documents,  text files, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations,  PDF files as well as files created with Open Office (odt) and access them from the Slideshare site when presenting.  There is a 100 MB maximum allowed upload file size limit.

OpenOffice 3 Impress is a free software for creating effective multimedia presentations. You can use 2D and 3D clip art, special effects, animation, and high-impact drawing tools.  It is possible to save your slideshow as a PowerPoint file.

Google Presentations belong to the Google Docs and Spreadsheets family. One advantage that Google Presentations has over PowerPoint is the fact that all steps – the presentation creation, development, viewing and sharing can  take place online.

Sliderocket is another emerging web-based tool.  Users can incorporate video and publish their presentations online or embed them on their websites.  Their free plan provides 250 MB of storage.

And yes, you have to learn presentation design from Garr Reynolds

Spice up your presentations, spread your ideas!

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From Purple Cows to Tribes and Free Prizes – Seth Godin Has Mastered Edgecraft

Cover of "Free Prize Inside"

Cover of Free Prize Inside

In his book, Free Prize Inside, Seth Godin points out that innovation is cheaper than advertising.  He defines the “free prize” as that extra, edgy product feature. His examples include swatch watches, frequent flyer miles, Tupperware parties, and portable shredding trucks. Design and style matter, he says.

One chapter describes how brainstorming can become boring. His alternative, “edgecraft,” involves analytical thinking to add something remarkable to a product.  His laundry list of edges includes safety, invisibility, and hours of operation. Much of the book deals with how to sell great innovative ideas to the VIPs of any given company.

Purple Cow taught marketers the importance of standing out from the crowd. But it left readers wondering how to come up with new purple cows.

Free Prize Inside delivers answers.

Godin says that if a product satisfies and gets consumers to tell other people what you want them to tell other people, it’s not a gimmick. It’s an experience worth talking about. It’s a soft innovation.

Anne Fisher of Fortune has told that Godin is a “guru you’d love to discount because he seems so cocky, but it’s hard to do because he’s so rarely wrong.”

I love  Seth Godin’s books, as they are always thought provoking, insightful,
unusual, edgy, non-academic and inspirational.

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What Can Small Business Owners Learn From Obama

1. Leadership skills – he put together a great team for his campaign and motivated his people all the way. 

2. Never give up, believe in yourself, even if you have no reason to do so, polls did not always predict Obama as a winner.

3. Presentation skills – Obama is one of the most eloquent and self-confident speakers I have ever seen. Practice!

4. Social media marketing – get away from ads to building online communities, just like Obama did.

5. Viral marketing – get everyone talking and singing about you. Where are you now, Obama girl?

6. If you can’t get to young consumers otherwise, send them a text message or an email- speak their “love language”.

7. Go to gym and play some ball – relieve your stress, basketball plays big part in Obama’s life.

8. Buy some nice clothes and look sharp – I loved Obama’s suit on election night!

9. Supportive spouse or partner is always a blessing – keep your spouse and partner happy.  Have you noticed the smile on Michelle Obama’s face?

10. Humble beginnings don’t always mean humble lives – with hard work, passion and dedication small business owners can beat the odds, just like Obama did.

Small Business is Always In a Marketing Wheel

loop.jpgwheel.jpgI was recently asked to explain the concept of “marketing wheel”.  I had to stop and think.  For a moment, I thought of a steering wheel that helps entrepreneurs stay on course, but then remembered that there was no need to “reinvent the wheel”, there is a term like “marketing wheel”.  I prefer to call it a “marketing loop” instead as it seems to be a never-ending process.

First, discover and get to know your ideal customer and your marketing environment.

Secondly, customize your product or service to address your ideal customer’s needs without forgetting your marketing environment. Don’t forget to observe and learn from your competition!

Then you create marketing messages that grab attention, motivate and move your ideal prospects towards making a purchase. This phase can be longer than expected and some “fish” that take your bait need to be thrown back into the water…

Close the sale, but don’t stop there.  Customer service starts at this point. If you do it right, the initial sale may lead into repeat business and referrals.

Talk to your customers to find out what they need and want. Use your findings to improve your products and services as well as marketing messages.

Then do the same thing over and over…..Welcome to the Small Business Marketing Loop!

Dont’ become a victim of Wheel of Marketing Misfortune.

Obama Turned Out To Be the Best Marketer

Here’s what I wrote in my blog post ‘Who would make the best small business marketer – Clinton, McCain or Obama?‘ in May:

“Senator Obama has the biggest potential to be a web savvy small business marketer. I can see him being successful at creating and delivering marketing messages to/for professional services firms. He is a very good speaker who does not get into too much detail (tactics), but understands his audience and can win over younger decision makers.”

 As it turns out he did win over millions of young people by utilizing new technologies and creating vibrant online and offline communities.

Ten Simple Rules to Help Build Inbound Links for Your Small Business Website

One of our small business customers wanted to know more about creating relevant inbound links. Here’s what I suggested after researching this topic:

1. Choose 4-10 of your most popular keywords that you’re going to use.

2. Write variations of the links that you’d like to use. Test them. You may want to experiment with the Google AdWords keyword tool.

3. Create several inbound links using different variations of linking text.

4. The easiest way to get inbound links is from other websites or blogs that you own or control.

5.  Create online profiles for your small business on social networking sites

6.  Ask friends and colleagues for permission to put links on their sites or blogs.

7.  Buy quality directory links. Don’t buy directory links disapproved by Google. Do your research – at least Google the site’s url or name before you buy.

8. Tell people how you’d like them to link to you. Ask them to copy and paste the code you provide into their web pages/blogs.

9. Write keyword rich press releases and use services such as PRWeb or PR.com to distribute them. For an additional fee PRWeb will let you embed links into the body of your press release.

10. Write and publish quality articles and blog posts. If people like your article, they will likely use your article’s title when they link to you, so make sure that you include keywords in the titles of each article/post.  

Google Docs – Create documents, spreadsheets and presentations online

I am very impressed with the increased capabilities of GoogleDocs application. Not only can you upload, store and edit your existing files, you can also use well designed templates,  collaborate as well as edit and present with others in real time. 

Templates include business plan, resume, letterhead, business cards, presentations and more. 

Are you stuck in an airport for hours and would like to use your time wisely by working on your schedules, albums, or wedding plans? Google Docs enables you to do that as well if you have a gmail or Google account, accessible via web from any place with an Internet connection.

GoogleDocs Help Center provides answers to your burning questions. You will find how-to videos and easy to read instructions.

Should Your Small Business Have A Monthly Newsletter?

One possibility to get your message out to customers and prospects is with a regular newsletter. The good news is that your newsletter does not need to be long. Every newsletter should definitely provide useful information.

Newsletters often lack focus. Staying fresh in your customer’s mind and strengthening the brand is fine, but newsletters ultimately need to produce action and leads to be considered a success.

Here’s an interesting article – Marketing on the Cheap: The Lowly Newsletter


Is Passion the Golden Key to Business Success?

golden-key.JPG

I have met perfect small business owners with perfect little offices and perfect business plans and yet, I have had a hard time remembering what their business was about.  Why?

They did not have the sparkle in their eyes when they talked about their businesses. You may or may not like Martha Stewart, but she is passionate about decorating everything from cupcakes to prison cells and it shows.  

Jim Kramer is mad about investing, it’s impossible not to remember him.  Steve Jobs is in love with Apple and its products, how can you not notice that?

Passionate business owners create passionate customers with their enthusiasm.  These customers become followers and eventually turn into evangelists for your products and services.   Can your customers find a sparkle in your eye?

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive.  And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.  ~Harold Whitman