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Misconceptions About Online Marketing

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People often seem to have the wrong idea when it comes to marketing online. There are a lot of false assumptions and crazy things that I have heard people say over the years, and I think it is past time for me to clear up some of these misunderstandings for marketing online. I will go over the misunderstanding then the reason why it’s incorrect. Ready? Let’s get started!

Results Are Instant.

This one gets me frustrated, often. Businesses seem to think that they will instantly be at the top of Google rankings, when it takes a great deal of time to do this. This is actually more time consuming than your offline marketing as there are tons of rules to follow as well as detailed work that has to be done just so. You are trying to create a presence online, just like you can’t walk into a job interview, and instantly get the job, you can’t instantly get results with this either.  The same goes for work, say you were going to work on someone’s pool, or any part of their home. Do you think that they would believe you if you said that you only needed a minute to do the work? No, and it takes time to do it right. This is the same concept. To create a presence online there are steps, a few are:

  • Backlinks
  • Blogging
  • Guest Blogging
  • Other SEO

To name a few things, and these aren’t done once, this is a process that is repeated to build your online presence. Be patient with this, and with anyone you choose to work with on this task and try to remember, it takes time to do things right.

Marketing Online Is Easy.

Nothing worth doing is easy. You can’t always have an easy way to do things, and this is certainly one of the harder things. This may just be my opinion, but I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. Marketing online is actually harder than it is offline. It takes more time as I mentioned before, there is more variables involved. Now don’t get me wrong here, I am not telling you it is really hard either, it just takes effort, a learning process, and time.

If You Build It, They Will Come.

Just having a website, social media, and all the works doesn’t mean you will have customers flocking to you. Even though you create content doesn’t mean that someone wants to read it. You need to think about what is valuable to the customers that you want to obtain and what will make them choose you. Your website needs valuable content that readers enjoy and learn from, not just some quickly made article that is filled to the brim with your products you sell, or services you offer. Include informative content in your site creation or blogs, and then you will have happy customers that know you are about more than their money!

Phones &  Face To Face Meetings Aren’t Necessary.

A lot of businesses seem to have the idea that you don’t have to use your phone for networking online with customers. This fallacy seems to be something I really should not have to tell you. Let’s make an example, if you work for a company that removes trees, and you place an ad online. Do you expect that the person responding to the ad will not want to call to speak with you? Of course they will. This may be a simplified explanation, but it fits to what I am trying to say. You can’t expect that digital marketing is going to allow you to skip the phone calls and meetings. You’re still going to need to do the basics. Keep this in mind as you start or grow your marketing plan on the internet.

New businesses and old need to evaluate and  periodically reevaluate their digital marketing plan.  In most cases you will need to involve a seasoned veteran whether it is an in house staffer or an outside firm.  Hope this helps and we will pick up where we left on our next post.

 

You Have A Story

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Everyone has stories to share in our lives. Every business has a story to tell when it comes to their origins. Just like a person wanting to tell their friends about their trip to the beaches of the Bahamas.  Businesses have stories to tell about their products, services and why they provide them the way they do.  As a new business it is never too early to start your story.  If you are not good with putting your story down, You can enlist the help of a professional to help you make your story come alive.

Marketing, when done correctly, is a lot of fun and entertaining. It’s as engaging and interactive as a storyteller in front of a bonfire. It can be expensive, (unlike a bonfire) but it certainly doesn’t need to be. With the ability to craft your message and distribute it in any form you want to thousands sometimes millions, there is no excuse why you can’t share your latest garden endeavors from the backyard or the new park your city just built.

I have a love for marketing because it helps me connect the community around me.  Marketing shows people who you are, what you want to do and why. It helps you reach your audience in areas all over, showing the real side of your business. You need to love marketing because at its core, it’s creative and as unique as each person, even a person in a large organization.

With that said, Marketing is so much more than billboards and newspaper ads. It’s storytelling at  it’s absolute finest. To do effective marketing, you need to identify the different personalities in your audience and speak to them as a person. Just like when telling a story, you want to be sure you are engaging your audience and relating to them. You have to connect individually to your audience. This is one of my favorite parts of the process. My target audience is different than yours, just as a Lawyer has a different audience than a Burger Joint. Take some time to figure out who your audience is and how best to connect with them as a person, or it’ll be just like all those bland ads on TV and YouTube that no one cares about. Continue reading

How Big is Big Enough – Marketing budgets

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marketing budget

As a local business you are most likely wondering how much you should spend on marketing.  There is a rule of thumb.  Generally speaking you can calculate your company’s ideal marketing budget.  If you want to maintain your current market visibility you should plan on spending 5% of your total revenue.  If you are looking to see your businesses grow and gain a larger market share then you should plan to spend 10% of your total revenue on marketing.  Of course it is not always cut and dry.  Other things to consider would be how tough your competition is, the age of your business, your business credibility, and whether or not you’ve established branding.  If you are a new kid on the block you may expect to spend considerably more on marketing just because you have yet to establish a name for yourself.  The faster you can gain recognition the better off your business will be.  This means that when making your business plan you want to have a fairly large marketing budget that will get you on the map so that you can dial back on those expenses sooner rather than later.

In general the 5% and 10% rules are based on companies that have at least a six figure total revenue income.  If you have not reach this level yet you’re going to have to consider that you must spend at least what your competition spends.  This is not an easy thing to find out I guarantee you that if you call your competitor he’s not going to tell you what he spends.  You can certainly browse the web and see how many times your competitor places Adwords ads.  You can use keyword tools in Adwords to see approximately the cost per click for each key word you would like to rank for.  Check local print advertising for your competition also.  You should be able to call the publishers to get an idea of what a similar ad will cost you. Continue reading

Wired Coffee & Bagel, a Lesson in Planning

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Business plan

Matt and Marty Michele became the “new kids on the block” when they open the doors to their shop in Eldridge Commons in Malta, New York. This complex of apartments and retail, and office space seemed like a piece of heaven for the new shop owners.  However, multiple ups and downs delayed the coffee shop opening by several months.

Well this scenario is not so uncommon.  What is it they say about Murphy’s Law?  Even with a perfect business plan things can always go wrong.  That is why is so important for a new business to allow a little wiggle room for those unforeseen circumstances.  Failure to do so will really leave the business in a jam at can be crippling.

Compared to most of the other small businesses that went into this mid-sized mixed retail, office, apartment complex Matt and Marty are way ahead of the game.  They continue to see their clientele grow on a monthly basis.  I truly think this because they” had a good solid business plan.  And while as Matt implied, it has been a bit scary being the “new kids” they are weathering at well.

What separates Wired Coffee & Bagel from some of their retail neighbors in the complex?  Matt and Marty chose a good product.  A product with a general appeal—everybody wants their coffee, or should they say needs their coffee.  Everybody likes to eat.  They chose a setting that was somewhat different from the older establishments in the area.  It is attractive, with an outdoor seating area.  They also have a good handle on promoting their business in social media.  Today that is such an important concept.  Any business that tries to fly without the Internet is doomed to fall behind its competitors.  This is a concept that I preach day after day to service businesses in all different niches.

Despite setbacks and slower than anticipated growth, Matt and Marty have stuck with their plan to provide a premium quality product.  This is what sets them apart from some of the chain coffee shops that are in close proximity.  All their sandwiches soups baked goods, and salads are fresh made.  Their coffee is a small batch roasted and they also use a special nitro cold brew process if that’s your game.  There are plenty of teas, hot chocolate, and soda as well.  Wired provides a good product and the customer is never disappointed.  Once that customer walks through the door, they are hooked and Matt and Marty know they’ll be back again.  Not only will they be back, but they both share their new found favorite coffee spot.  Never doubt the power of word of mouth.

I would like to thank Matt for letting our staff interview him concerning this promising young business.  Matt, you know will be sending everyone your way the cause we want you to be one of The New Kids Forever.  Lots of luck Matt and Marty!

 

New Kids Forever Or New Kids Disappear?

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Success vs Failure

Oh the glorious 80’s, do you remember those days?  I remember my cousin traveling 90 miles to bring his daughter who was all of maybe 8 or 10 years old up to Saratoga Springs, NY to see  New Kids On The Block at the Saratoga harness track. Crowds and crowds of people were there, mostly young girls accompanied by parents.  I couldn’t understand the attraction myself. What made New Kids on the Block such a success? Was it their great voices, cute teenage boy personas, or “cool looking clothes”.  What inspired all those young people in the audience?

 

While all of the above were contributing factors to the success of the group, what made them charm so many young girls into to buying  their records over and over again I can tell you  was marketing. Without marketing they would have just been another handful of guys hanging out in the garage making a little music. Without the posters, T-shirts, pen and pencils and all of the the other promotional paraphernalia, paired with personal appearances, the New Kids would have gone nowhere.

 

Next to having a good product with a general appeal, marketing is one of the most important concepts for business owner’s especially new business owners to grasp.  Unfortunately, marketing is so often downplayed and neglected resulting in the early demise of new businesses. All too often young, or unseasoned new business owners think all they have to do to get a space, put some furniture in it, open the door and “they will come”.  Without a solid marketing plan in place these new businesses are doomed to fail, in as little as six months.

 

Grant Cardone is a famous author entrepreneur and business owner and if you haven’t familiarized yourself with him or read some of his books I would definitely recommend that you do. Some of his books include “The 10X Rule”, “If You’re Not First You’re Last”, “The Closers Survival Guide”, and “Sell or Be Sold.”

 

Grant Cardone has his own TV network  and in one of the presentations he said that 93% of small businesses make less than $250,000 per year and over 51% make less than $25,000 per year. He basically said that that equates to 67% of small businesses breaking evening or even losing money.  Cardone goes on to say that in business, as in life that if you simply kind of wing things as you go along then you’re not going to be confident.  You’re not going to know where you’re headed and this is going to cause you to make a lot of mistakes. You will to be overly cautious when you should be bold and you’re going to be reckless when you should have been cautious and this is why businesses fail.

 

Grant Cardone has spoken and written repeatedly about why businesses fail.  The list I relate to is short and sweet:

1) No one knows youSuccess vs Failure

2) You’re too small

3) You don’t grow fast enough

4) You don’t spend or invest enough

5) You don’t make enough

 

Back to the New Kids, they obviously didn’t do their own marketing. They had paid promoters and managers handling the marketing and making money for both the band and the promoters.  As a small business person must you have someone doing your marketing unless you are experienced at marketing yourself and have the time to devote to implementing your marketing plan.  Failure to comprehend this will doom you to failure.

 

To be successful in business you need to have a solid marketing plan. That plan has to include funds for marketing and advertising as well as staffing, products, supplies and everything you can possibly think of that you might need and a little extra for the things you may have overlooked.  You must sit down and have it on paper. Know where you’re going to get the funds , and how you are going to proceed. Sure you can start a business on a shoestring but the truth is you are going to have to move fast if you’re going to make it and actually get some money out of it, and marketing is the one thing you cannot skimp on.  Failure in marketing means the New Kids Disappear.