Thursday, June 30, 2011

Why You Need to Invest in Good Marketing Talent

After three days of battling a flu bug, I'm back in action. I'm slogging through emails and did battle with a Facebook hack job this moring. Aw, all in a day's work! On a positive note, I read a great article this morning 7 Business Mistakes You Ought to Avoid by Neil Patel. The flashing neon 'sign' that stood out for me was #3 Good talent costs a pretty penny.  He hit the nail on the head -- he goes out of his way to keep good people on his team. These pros may cost him more money, but they are well worth his investment. He brings up another worthwhile point: when you have smart people working for you, you don't have to worry about training or micromanaging them. I absolutely agree!

I wish more business owners and solopreneures would step up to the plate when it comes to hiring professional marketers. Marketing is such a catch-all term and not everyone is a marketer, but if you want to survive in today's market it's important to invest in a dynamic marketing team who knows what they are doing. Marketing goes beyond that quirky advertising exec and it even goes beyond social media tools. Even if you outsource and hire marketing contractors, marketing is a wise investment. If implemented correctly, you will see big returns on your marketing investment.

As a marketing professional, it's frustrating when prospects return my proposals with that dreaded statement: " Too expensive." I'm sure I'm not the only contractor out there who's been rejected because of their price.  My rates are competitive and fair. If people don't want to invest in their marketing, that's their perogative and I usually chalk it up that the prospect isn't a good fit for me and doesn't understand or clearly sees the value of my marketing services (even though I spell it out for them a, b and c). It's also frustrating when business professionals don't take the time to learn about how marketing can help them -- you can only hold a person's hand so much. However, I have my share of clients who really 'get' marketing; it's fun to watch when the light bulbs turn on and they see their tangible results.

If you don't have time to market your company, take Mr. Patel's advice and hire good people to work for you. Maybe the marketing techniques and tools you are using at this very moment aren't setting your business on fire (if they were, you wouldn't need to hire a marketer). That's exactly why you NEED a marketing professional:  he/she  can steer you away from what's NOT working and guide you in the right direction.

I work with a fantastic marketing company, Adapt Marketing & Design, who specializes in hospitality marketing. The owner, Ryan, is a 'big ideas' guy and he's smart --he knows his marketing but he also knows why he needs good people on his team. He has a complementary blend of artistic vision (his graphic designer) and a wordsmith (me, the copywriter) to balance out his team.

Leave your marketing to the professionals so you can concentrate on your customers and your business. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

When Your Reputation Is On The Line: Are You Prepared for Negative Attacks?

One of my clients recently came to me with a sticky situation that involved negative personal attacks against him from someone he knows. I hate to see ANYONE go through online attacks, but since it happened to one of my clients I felt even more compelled to write about online reputation management again -- one of my favorite topics. In my PR 101 days in college, it was hammered into our brains to always have a contingency plan no matter what. 

How PREPARED are you for negative attacks online? Do you have a plan? 

You can't control what people say about you, but you can stay on top of your online reputation. Unfortunately, there are negative people out there who like to stir the pot. Even if the negative comments they post are false, you need to be alert and prepared.

A word of caution: DO NOT engage in online 'debates' or fire back with personal attacks in retaliation against that person. You just open yourself up for further retaliation and you come across as unprofessional. Also, you never know people's mental status online and it's easy to track down personal information about you and your company. Play it safe. 

As I mentioned in previous posts, if the negative comments cross the line and you aren't sure how to handle the comments, please seek legal counsel. A lawyer can help you further clarify your situation and give you proper legal advice. Refer to the definition of libel below: 

"Libel is defined as the defamation of a person, business, group, product, government, or nation that is made in written or printed words or pictures. In order to be libel, the claim must be in writing, it must be false and the person making it must state or imply that it is factual. In other words, libel means printing or implying something negative as if it were true, when it is not. The publication where the libel occurs is assumed to be read by persons other than the person defamed." 







Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Taco Bell Nose Dives With Freebie Taco Offer on Facebook

Poor Taco Bell. Despite the fact that Taco Bell is a household name around the country, their freebie taco offer on Facebook flopped.

Where did Taco Bell go wrong? Out of 6 million Facebook fans, only 3% actually took Facebook up on their offer. Not good, Taco Bell. 

Why would people take Taco Bell up on their offer when they already offer 99 cent tacos? You only have to turn on the TV; their ads are all over the place. So what's the problem? Exclusivity. Big deal - a free taco. But what if it was a brand-spankin' new taco that Taco Bell just launched? Aw, that might be the ticket, Taco Bell. Exclusivity captures people's attention - who wants to eat what everyone else eats? 

With these hot summer temps, no one wants to get in their car and drive over to Taco Bell to claim their taco (AND waste paper by printing out the free voucher). They didn't make it easy for their customers/fans. No thanks - I wouldn't waste my time either -- not to mention it costs more in gas to drive over to Taco Bell than the taco is actually worth.

Taco Bell didn't make it easy for customers to claim their freebie AND they didn't offer an exclusive freebie. I hope Taco Bell hires new marketing people, or revises their Facebook marketing strategies...and SOON! 



Friday, June 17, 2011

Can Social Media Close The Sale?

I read an interesting article,"The Human Influence in Social Media" by Michael Cohn . He brings up a great point about social media and sales: 

"Everyone understands that social media, while it is an extremely valuable tool, cannot do all of the work when it comes to closing a sale. After conversations have taken place and you have been introduced to people with whom you want to do business, only  you (the human being) can close the deal."

I agree with Cohn. Social media is a marketing tool and will never replace the personal, human touch when it comes to closing a deal. Unfortunately, some sales professionals still utilize social media to sell their products and services, and come across as blatant, in-your-face spammers. Social media isn't about making the sale then and there on your Facebook or LinkedIn; it's about helping people.

However, there is a place for social media in the sales funnel. Social media strategist Chris Brogan shares that "social tools that promote sharing are a great way to transform customers into evangelists."

For the sales professional, there is definitely an advantage when you take the social media route to promote your company, products and services. In her article "Increase Sales with Social Media", Ellen DePasquale touches upon how social media can shorten your sales cycle and helps you connect faster with your customers:

"Here’s a perfect example of someone taking advantage of social media. I received a phone call several months ago and the first thing I heard was 'I follow you on Twitter' even before she told me her name. She got my attention, and my willingness to listen because I already felt a connection. Are your cold calls that effective? What do you really know about your prospects?"

Social media can definitely improve your sales strategies, and makes it easier for you to engage your customers in authentic, genuine ways. No one is going to buy a product from a person they don't know and trust, and that's where social media comes in handy. 

Remember to take your social media connections offline and set up face-to-face meetings. You may not close the deal that day, but you just might get them to sign on the dotted line in the not-too-distant future. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Angry Birds Craze - Viral Apps Take Off Thanks to Word-of-Mouth

There is an app for everything you could possibly think of and then some -- from the business-savvy to the ridiculous. You only have to look at the "Angry Birds" app craze and see the power behind word-of-mouth marketing. 
Media Daily News reports that "from a study of more the 1,300 mobile app users, MTV Networks says 73% of consumers find apps from personal recommendations, reviews, and use. It breaks down this way: 53% from personal recommendations; 52% from user reviews; and 42% from seeing a friend use a particular app."
I've been known to check out the popular, fun apps, and I like to keep up-to-date on the latest apps. What does the average consumer look for in an app? 
"Some 75% of consumers said it's important that an app is "entertaining or fun to use," while 62% said it's important that an app "feels good" in terms of its touchscreen feel." (Source: Media Daily News) 
The U.S. isn't the only country to go crazy over smartphone apps. According to Flurry's analytics, the U.K. is taking the market by storm: 
"The UK leads in penetration with a whopping 33% of its population using apps on smartphones per month.  France places second with a sizable 20%, next followed by Germany, Spain and Italy coming in with 14%, 9% and 10%, respectively." 
Whether you're a fan of the Angry Birds app or not, viral apps won't be going away anytime soon. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What Companies Benefit The Most From Social Media Marketing?

I came across an interesting poll on SmartBlog on Social Media. According to their informal poll (they asked feedback from marketers across the country), they wanted to know who benefited the most from social media engagement. 

Their informal poll indicates that business-to-consumers companies (32.08%) benefit the most. Ironically, celebrities came in second at 31.13%. I was surprised to see that business-to-business companies were at the low end of the spectrum (2.83%). 

Good news for B2C companies but where does that leave B2B companies? I dug around and found this source from BizReport. According to their research, B2B companies fully embrace social media -- 86% of B2B firms report using social media. However, B2B companies still fall short when it comes to consistency: "However, B2B firms aren't as active in their social media activity with only 32% engaging on a daily basis compared with 52% of B2C firms." According to AMR International, 50% of B2B marketers analyze their metrics for ROI purposes and find online marketing to be more effective.

The 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report reports that "more B2B companies have been using social media longer (52.6% reported 1 year or more) than their B2C counterparts (46.2% indicated 1 year or longer)."

Whether you are a B2C or B2B company, social media can be a strong asset in your marketing arsenal. However, without a strategic social media marketing plan and consistency, your efforts might be wasted. Don't nose dive into social media without a plan first, and remember that not ALL industries are a good match for social media. 




media longer (52.6% reported 1 year or 
more) than their B2C counterparts (46.2%

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Social Media Scandals & Weiner's Infamous Tweet

Social media can be your best friend, but it can also be your worst enemy. I wrote a blog post about how one word can ruin your credibility. In Rep. Weiner's case, it only takes one indiscreet photo.

I won't spend too much time on Rep. Weiner's guilty admission to the scantily-clad tweet he sent. I'll leave that to CNN. It's unfortunate that social media --once again -- has been used for unethical purposes. Charlie Sheen took advantage of Twitter for his own promotional purposes -- where there is celebrity smoke, there is Twitter fire. 

With politicians, scandal will follow at some point (i.e. President Clinton and Monica Lewinski, etc.) - that's a given. However, does social media platforms such as Twitter make it easier for politicians and celebrities to air their 'dirty laundry'? (no pun intended). 

I readily admit that I'm a news junkie and stay on top of late breaking news. After Rep. Weiner's awkward press conference yesterday, it makes me wonder where we are headed with social media. With just one Tweet, you could ruin your future or you could be famous (or both). On a positive note, PR agencies will never go out of business. 









Thursday, June 2, 2011

Help! Your Blog Has Fallen and It Can't Get Up!

Yesterday I had a meeting with a business contact that I haven't seen in awhile, and we discussed blogging. She knew she wanted to start a blog, but she didn't know where to begin or what topics to choose. After our blog discussion, I started to think about what makes a blog really stand out and what makes a blog fall flat on its face. 

It can be difficult to  figure out what topics fit well with your blog readers. I struggle myself with blog topics sometimes, and that's when the trusty search engines like Google come in handy.

Does your blog content feel stale lately? Do you read your blog and don't feel excited by the topics? It might be time to revitalize up your sleepy blog with a fresh, creative spin. 

Where do you start? Set aside time to review your blog content and figure out what's missing:

1. Review past posts. Do you spend too much time on topics that only interest YOU as opposed to topics that interest your readers? Your blog is meant for your readers - it's not a platform to get on your soapbox and preach to the world. 

2. Do your posts read too long? Too short? 

3. How many times per week/month do you write posts? Be consistent - don't blog every few months. 

4. Are you speaking 'at' your readers? Is your tone too preachy? 

5. Do you include topics centered around timely current events that directly affect/influence your readers? If your blog lacks newsworthy content, check out these helpful resources:

If your blog has fallen short, take some time to review and then revitalize your blog content with new information and topics. 

Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

Content Writing & Marketing Tips ** Online Buzz Branding

** Digital & Social Media Strategies