Category Archives: Business Marketing Articles

WHAT DOES YOUR BUSINESS STAND FOR?

What does Your brand stand for - marketing-dish (1)
You’ve probably heard the term in marketing that people do business with those they know, like and trust. I’d like to take that idea further and say people also do business with brands because they know what they stand for. What does your business stand for?

I will do business with companies like Whole Foods because they support my lifestyle. I know they sell organic food and are committed to the mission of healthier food. I buy Apple products because they are easy to use and they have great customer service. I buy training from online marketers that deliver what they promise like James Wedmore and Business By Design. I know he stands for integrity and authenticity.

What Does Your Brand Stand For?

Are people clear on what you stand for?Do you share what you stand for with customers? We can share what we stand for in our story, in our marketing and how our employees represent us.

We’re all different, it’s how we communicate that matters. Just think, there are probably 4-5 different coffee shops where you live from the big brands like Starbucks to Joe’s Main Street Coffee down the street in the strip mall. What make’s Joe’s different than Starbucks? What makes you want to patronize Joe’s?

Let’s use Joe’s Main Street Coffee as our case study and outline some ways in which we know what Joe’s stands for:

• Joe names his coffee drinks after organizations& people in the community
• Joe gives a percentage of his whole bean sales to causes he supports in the community
• Joe knows his customers value a more community feel and he trains his staff to treat everyone like they are family
• The décor is homey and welcoming
• He rewards loyalty with fun ways to win free coffee
• He engages you in real time on social media (Staff is empowered to be social media ambassadors)
• Joe know people appreciate the home baked goods he sells from the local bakery
• Joe has a large community room where local business can rent to hold meetings
• Joe will deliver a catered order to your place of business within 10 miles of the store
• Joe cares what you think and asks customers randomly if they would join him for a free cup of coffee and a chat where he gets invaluable marketing knowledge from his clients

Building a Brand People Love

Building a brand people love, patronize and refer others to is not easy. It does take a focused strategy and the tactics and time to implement. What prevents people from building a brand like Joe’s?
• Never enough time (# 1 excuse)
• Understaffed
• To busy working in my business VS working on my business
• Not willing to invest in help

Six Steps to Building a Business/Brand That People Love

1. Be the CEO of your company. The one with the vision and expertise to drive your vision.

2. Hire others to implement your vision – this means investing money and time to hiring and training. You will be profitable faster in the long-run once you have the process to implement in place.

3. Always, I mean always be looking for ways to add value to your customers. Get your customers what they want and you will automatically get what you want.

4. Be sure you are clearly delivering your brand message in everything you do both offline and online.

5. Invest in technology if it keeps you relevant and drives leads and sales.

6. Invest in resources that will move you closer to your financial and your freedom goals faster. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to make more money and work less hours, but often we struggle without support to get there.

What Are Your Customers Saying About You?

Whether you are in a brick and mortar business or an online business, people often meet us online before meeting us offline. That means in today’s society we are checking review before making a buying decision. We look at reviews on Yelp and Google when we are looking for a place for dinner. When we shop online we read customer review before we make the purchase. From a professional perspective when we are hiring someone or considering a business relationship we check people’s LinkedIn profile as well as their recommendations.

Encourage your customers to leave a review and then engage with those reviewers. Thank them for leaving the comment, ask them to share a good experience with a friend.

We learn from what customers are saying both letting us know what they value and what they want more of.
Are you listening?

Knowing what your business/brand stands for and being able to articulate that brand message is critical to your success. Just like Joe discovered at the Main Street Coffee shop, with some effort, listening and acknowledging what customers want you gain brand loyalty and referrals.

Did this article offer you more clarity for your brand? Share your comments below.

Why Your Local Business Benefits From Reviews

Think about all the times you were searching for a new place to eat or a store to buy a product or service. Chances are pretty good these days that you are using your mobile device and ready to make that purchase.

One of the many online marketing strategies that will help your business be found is via review sites.  Sites like Google, Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, oh yea and Facebook.

So often we don’t think about writing a review unless we want to complain about something, but from a marketing perspective you want people to be intentional about asking for positive reviews.  As a marketing consultant I teach my clients why their local business benefits from reviews and to create a strategy on who and how they will solicit reviews.   Reviews have become  one of the most effective search techniques and let’s face it testimonials are powerful and we are often persuaded to make a purchase based on the comments from other customers.

As you can see in this basic Google search for “hair salons in Maple Grove, MN” there are 7 salons that are highlighted with a corresponding letter on the map.  There are far more than 7 salons in Maple Grove, MN but what this map is telling me is that only 7 salons have chosen to claim their Google Local Places Page Listing.

Why Local Business Benefits From Reviews

Typically you are attracted FIRST to these listing because they show up at the top of the search results directly under the paid ads.  You will also notice in the image that under many of the listings there are reviews with stars next to them, this is where most of us consumers would click to read what someone has to say about this business.

Here is an example of the same search in Yelp.  Most savvy online users go to Yelp to both write reviews and search for restaurants and other local businesses.  You will notice the differences from the Google Search, where these businesses have not been consistent in getting reviews on all the platforms which would increase their owverall search results.

why-local-business-benefits-from-reviews2

BENEFITS OF REVIEWS

  • Builds trust & credibility
  • Search authority
  • Brand recognition

5 BEST STEPS FOR GETTING RESULTS ON LOCAL REVIEWS

1.  Claim your local listings so you are more likely to be found in search results.  We can help you in this process.

2.  Be intentional about asking for reviews and possibly reward people for writing a review.  This should be part of your client thank you process.

3. Make it easy for your customers to write a review by providing them the link to you review sites.
Here is an example of my Facebook page link:  https://www.facebook.com/MarketingDish/reviews

4. Be sure your website has complete NAP info (name, address, phone)  Don’t assume people know how to get in touch with you. Add your NAP info to your website pages.

5.  When people write reviews be sure you respond immediately!  With positive reviews thank them for taking the time to write the review and for their business.  If you receive a negative review, you want to acknowledge it and respond accordingly offering to make up for where anywhere you may have not delivered.

Getting found in search is critical to a businesses success because in today’s digital marketing world you need to drive people online to find you offline!

–>>Need help with your local search?  Contact me: joanne@marketingdish.com

 

Why Did You Start Your Business? (That’s newsworthy)

Why did you start your business?

Why did you start your businessWas it your passion?  Did you see a problem you could solve? Did you fall into it by accident? Are you in a family business? Whatever your reason for starting your business your customers and prospects find this newsworthy.  So many business owners never tell their story because they believe no one cares about the back story but typically I find that is the furthest thing from the truth.

People loves stories

The quickest way to humanize your brand is to tell your story. By letting people know how you began, who you serve and why along with photos will quickly enhance your likeability. So often in business we are so busy with the marketing, sales and number crunching that we forget that the business wouldn’t have gotten to where it is without the people.

People loves brands who highlight employees

When you let your customers know who takes the orders and who ships the orders they feel more invested in your business.  When you show customers you care about your employees, they love the human connection that your brand has now become.  A great example are the great people at Zappos.  The culture is all about the employees.
Zappo’s and they have done such an amazing job they train other companies at their “Culture Camp.”

Your people are your greatest asset

Turn your employees into brand ambassadors!  The simplest way to do that is to teach them how to share the things that are newsworthy in your company with their social connections.  When your employees share people naturally want to learn more about the company they are sharing content from.

Where to share your story

  • Your newsletter, share where the idea came from and where you are today. A company that recently did this was Canva.
  • Facebook business pages have a timeline built in so you can date your content from the beginning of your business and share your journey
  • All social media sites are a great place to share images of your people, business locations and events
  • ABOUT page on your website – great place to share where you began
  • Blog – share stories of specific employees along with a relevant topic

Remember, people do business with people, so the humanizing your brand even if your business is just yourself invite people in to see how you began.  Everyone loves a story, click here to read mine.

Creating an Editorial & Promotional Calendar

Creating a calendar of your planned marketing tactics combined with your marketing budget will actually save time and money if planned at the beginning of the year.  So often I hear from people that tell me they don’t know what to write on their blog, don’t know what to post on social media are behind the proverbial eight ball for each thing they promote and all of this is due to lack of planning. 

Plan for Success

You can ensure that expected results happen when you plan your activity.  I advise planning the entire years topics on a large wall calendar.  This way you are always focused at a glance on your monthly topics.  I know this project may feel overwhelming because of the amount of work to complete a years worth of topics but in the long run it saves you time throughout the year.  I typically use the last couple weeks in December because that is a slower time for me and I can focus more attention on getting this done.

Each month create a theme

By creating a theme for each month you can focus your time and attention on this singular theme.  This way your blog posts, social media themes and advertising are all about one central theme.  Even if you curate content to fill in, you will be looking for content around your theme.  I choose my themes based on what my target audience wants to learn from me.  Perhaps you need to gather some intel from you followers about what they want to learn from you by simply asking them.  Send a quick poll with the question, “What would you like to learn more about from me.” You can use a tool like Survey Monkey,

Here are some benefits to creating a calendar;

1.  You communicate your clear marketing message consistently

2.  Your time is more effectively utilized when the plan is already set, you simply follow the map

3.  You are able to focus your content and beef up the value driven aspect when you know the primary theme or topic

4.  Build promotions around holidays and observances.   Here’s a resource site to find those dates and create themes:  http://www.brownielocks.com/

5.  Write blog posts in advance and schedule them out to coincide with your monthly marketing campaign

Action steps to creating a marketing strategy

1. Write a marketing strategy – Remember, a marketing strategy is a clear explanation of how you’re going to get there, not where or what there is. An effective marketing strategy is a concise explanation of your stated plan of execution to reach your objectives.

2. Create your yearly marketing calendar

3.  Create a marketing budget – yes, it takes money to make money!  Where does it make sense to invest?  Facebooks ads, Google Ad words, updating your website, a professional marketing coach?  Whatever that is I encourage you to allocate some budget for these activities.

4. Create the marketing calendar as described above

Are these steps doable?  Will you commit now?  Would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Content is Currency, What is Yours Worth?

  If you’ve been marketing online you probably are familiar with the term “content”, many people have coined the phrase, content is king.  But really the content you put out to your audience is the currency of your business – it’s the part that makes you money.

People buy from you because they are receiving value from your content. Perhaps you offer tips, answer questions, offer solutions to problems and this can be in the form of free and paid content.

  • Which types of content do you use to communicate your messages?
  • Social media, press releases, teleclasses, podcasts, webinars, blogs, article marketing, white papers, images, power points, newsletters

All of these methods you can use to provide content to your audience.  How do you measure what is working?  Sometimes this can be as common sensed as the number of people who register for your webinar, or respond to a press release.  It is also measured in engagement – how many people comment and share a blog post?   Here’s a tip, give and you shall receive!  What I mean by that is when you read a blog post, or social media most, rather than just ignoring it after reading, take a minute to actually make a comment.  The more you give, you will start to see this come back to you.

  • Results

By measuring your results you will also see what your audience responds to. Example,  if people sign up and engage in your webinars and don’t on your teleclass then you can deduce that that respond to one over the other.  If your audience is on LinkedIn and responds more often than on Twitter, than you know where to spend more of your time.  All of your content can give you answers if you are consistent and are willing to share your best content!

I would love to hear what your audience responds to, please share your niche and best content delivery below in the comments!