Mistakes to Avoid in Promoting Your Business

The following is a sponsored post.

The internet's global reach means it offers some of the best opportunities available for promoting business.  Social media sites are perfect for spreading the word about a product or service as their ability to quickly disseminate ideas, news and information makes them the cyberspace equivalent of word of mouth.  People using the sites can share information at the touch of a button – something that means the boundaries of traditional forms of advertising no longer need to constrain a business with a flair for energy, ideas and self-promotion.

Despite the many advantages to using social media to promote a business, there are some basic mistakes that should be avoided in order to make the best impression.  Finding what works and what does not is fairly easy and if in doubt, there are IT Consulting services to guide a business through the pitfalls.  

Presenting an image

All those using social media should have a profile picture.  Don’t skimp on this – its crucial to establish an identity from the beginning.  Those who are offering freelance services should have a professional image of themselves as this allows potential clients to see who they are hiring.  The internet allows freelancers to work for clients that they never meet and it really does help to be able to put a face to the name.  Alternatively, the company’s own logo can be used and this is useful for larger organizations where clients may be dealing with more than one person.

An incomplete profile will also raise questions with potential clients.  Ensure that by looking at the profile, clients can see exactly what the business is and what it does.  Profiles that do not hold this information will not get a second look and potential customers will quickly move on, so it is important to make the most of this section.  It is also a good place to create a welcoming atmosphere for new customers. 

Be interactive

Those who use social media sites to promote only their own business may be missing out.  Anything that may be of interest to their customers should be shared as this can sometimes lead to business "buddy ups" where two different companies arrive at an informal arrangement that means they promote the other's products and services.  This will help to bring the business to the attention of many more clients and provide plenty of interesting "tweeted" updates for followers.

More followers on sites such as Twitter and Facebook can lead to more visitors to the business’s own website.  When they get there they want to see activity.  Sections such as ‘news’ or ‘blog’ are ideal for keeping potential customers up to date with the latest products and services and these should be updated regularly to be as effective as possible.

Be responsive

Putting information on social media sites to promote a business is a good idea but it can backfire if customers who ask questions and give feedback are ignored.  It is important to respond quickly to questions and deal with any issues that arise, as it will be clear to other customers if this does not happen.  They want to see that the business cares about its customers and this is a very easy way to show that it does.

Marketing by Standing Out (Guest Post)

The following is a guest post from our old friend, Bryan Silverman of Star Toilet Paper. Bryan was recently chosen as a finalist for College Entrepreneur of the Year! Give him your support and vote here.

Did you know that the average advertisement is seen for between just 2 and 5 seconds? With this in mind, companies are looking for unique ways to get in front of specific target demographics to boost this time and ensure their ads are actually being seen.

Today, advertising and different types of marketing saturate the market. Every way you turn there is some sort of ad trying to grab your attention. The hardest part of marketing is getting consumers’ attention on your ad and not something else. Once you are able to achieve this, the people that are actually interested in your product or service will have no issue clicking through or searching more themselves. It is essential that not only the material on the ad stands out in a funny, shocking, or otherwise unique way, but also that it is presented in a novel way. Marketing teams all over the world are trying to figure out different ways to accomplish this difficult feat and are stumped each and every day as to how to revolutionize the marketing world.

For instance, the “Old Spice Guy” has gone viral due to his unique nature. In order to attract customers, Old Spice has utilized a man with an extremely distinctive voice, having him move through unique environments in different manners. Many people may ask, “well what does that have to do with Old Spice?” I would have two responses. My first would be that they are targeting men who want to be as “masculine” as this strong, macho man. Second, I would respond by telling them that it doesn't matter, because they now know this man as the “Old Spice Guy” and the company has done its job to capture your attention and get you talking about their product.  Isn’t that what advertising is all about - getting people to talk about your company?

Many other companies have taken to adopting new mediums of guerilla marketing. For instance, Kit Kat developed a series of benches that were made to look like Kit Kats being taken out of their wrappers. ESPN has been using urinals to advertise to men about watching soccer. Speaking of advertising in the bathroom, did you know that 98% of people could remember information about ads they saw in the bathroom?

I run a company called Star Toilet Paper and we feel that we can help companies reach an unmatched captive audience. My brother and I founded the company back in the Fall of 2010 and we print advertisements and coupons on toilet paper. For just half a cent per ad, companies are able to reach a captive audience in a manner that could never have been done before. The bathroom is a place where people read, and with toilet paper like this in front of them, there is no doubt they will be attracted by an ad placed on our toilet paper. Simply by advertising on a unique medium, a company is able reach an audience they never thought was possible in a way that is more effective than other forms of marketing.

For more information check us out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/startoiletpaper or at our website at www.startoiletpaper.com. And remember, Don’t Rush, Look Before You Flush!

Become a Successful Entrepreneur (Sponsored)

The feeling of starting a new business can be exciting.  Every day, people from all walks of life are starting new ventures based on previous industry knowledge or a personal interest of theirs.  However, there is one area that most new business owners tend to overlook and that is their marketing strategy.  They either choose to implement the wrong marketing tools, do not have a defined demographic to target or are inconsistent in their execution.  The great news is that there are places for new entrepreneurs to balance their day-to-day operations as well as create and maintain an effective marketing strategy.

Get knowledge from industry professionals

The benefits of taking courses on entrepreneurship are participants can create idea and learn new techniques and skills in a supportive environment.  This is a wise investment as participants will sit down with an experienced marketer that will explain why certain tools will work better than others when it comes to their branding, learning marketing techniques from an expert and employing them into new strategies can be invaluable for budding entrepreneurs.

Getting this type of expert guidance and feedback in the early stages of a new business is very important.  While having core knowledge is a great start, business owners eventually find that not every marketing tool is compatible with their brand.  For instance, if a person sells products targeted to people over 70, they should not invest heavily in a mobile marketing strategy, if at all.  Though some seniors are very proficient with using computers and have general Internet knowledge, they are not as likely to own mobile devices with small screens or buttons that require a precise touch.

Many new businesses waste money in the first five years of operation when they choose the wrong marketing strategy.  Another common occurrence is infrequency.  For the fear of spending too much money, they may place ads that run sporadically or are targeted to a general audience.  Though they may feel that their product or service is something that everyone can use, the truth is that priority is the key factor.  If a person has a home-based cleaning service, they will want to target online and/or print mediums that are frequented by those who 1) are likely to have to money for this type of expense; and 2) work too many hours to clean their home regularly.

Stay ahead of the competition

Another factor to consider is that many people from all walks of life are starting businesses based on great concepts.  This can make things pretty competitive for the new business owner.  Knowing which direction to take when it comes to using an effective marketing strategy can make the world of difference when it comes to the future of a business. 

The best quality makes the difference

In life the cheapest is hardly ever the best option. It is also extremely important to be well informed in these very competitive times.  If you are a budding entrepreneur it is wise to invest in a relevant study program.  By looking into courses in entrepreneurship in California, a new business owner can learn the right way to write and execute a marketing plan that is the perfect fit for their business brand.

Marketing Expertise to Improve Your Business

The following is a sponsored post.

As a business owner, the first thing you need to understand is that a really good marketing plan can make all the difference to the success of your enterprise.  Expert marketing advice can help to improve your business’ reputation and speed up growth.  But, how is this done?

While you may have your own marketing team in-house, the benefits of hiring a marketing company are that it can take your company to the next level.  A good marketing company will work with you to grow your business and achieve your goals by covering all stages of the business marketing cycle, including research, design and branding, development and implementation, and evaluation.  In many cases, you may even find yourself hiring an umbrella company to handle a wide range of marketing and analytic services for you.

Every business needs good marketing advice

Whether you are an experienced business owner or are just starting out, you can’t go wrong with the right marketing advice. The main drive of marketing is to communicate a service or product effectively to the market and is based on promotion, product, place, and price. 

In marketing, your business will not just be advertising its products and services but also marketing its name.  Therefore, advertising, branding, and sales promotions are all a large and integral part of a marketing strategy.  Many business owners find it cost-effective to hire an outside organization to handle their marketing.

So, what are the benefits of hiring a marketing company for your business?  Once you find the right company to suit your needs, that company can help you focus on a number of elements and offer a range of services including, but not limited to:

  • Expertise – a good marketing company will know exactly what they are doing and can help you achieve your goals within your set budget.
  • Contacts – instead of seeking out contacts in the industry, the marketing company comes with them; so saving you time and money and letting them do all the work.
  • Manpower – you may have a few people in your marketing department, but are they equipped for the amount of work you need to get done?  Think of the marketing company as an extension of your staff.
  • Flexibility – if you handle your own marketing, you are limited by the technology and equipment you have.  Don’t let that be an obstacle to your success!

Basic marketing methods

There are many marketing methods available today and the list only seems to be getting longer.  Depending on what your company’s needs are and your industry, you may find one marketing method to work better over another.  It may also come down to some trial and error and close work with your marketing company.  Here’s a look at some of the basic marketing methods out there:

  • Direct Response – this method is designed to get an immediate response from consumers.  This type of marketing is usually done through infomercials, radio spots, print advertising, and telemarketing.
  • Internet Marketing – this is a widely used strategy today and takes place all online.  This method encompasses videos, SEO (search engine optimization), and email marketing.
  • Offline Marketing – this is basically any marketing that isn’t done online.  Think traditional: newspaper ads, television spots, and magazine spreads.  You might also consider offline marketing “outbound” or “traditional” marketing.

The list of available marketing methods can go on and on.  Just ask your marketing company about other ideas such as inbound marketing, newsletter marketing, article marketing, trade shows, search marketing, B2B marketing, mobile marketing, and social marketing to name a few!

Effective Branding Strategies for a Start Up

Today’s guest post comes to us from Sara Mackey. Sara works for www.Connexx.com, a leading authority in the field of small business financing.

An effective branding strategy is a vital component of any successful business. Brand strategy can give your business a strong edge against your competitors. In basic terms, branding is the promise you have made to your customers. Your promise tells your customers what they can expect from your services or goods, and if done differently, can set you apart from your competitors. Essentially, your brand consists of how people perceive you to be, who you want to be and who you are.

Deciding on Your Brand

First, you need to decide what direction your brand needs to go. You need to decide if you are the innovator and leader in cutting edge technology or are you the reliable voice of experience or high-quality affordable goods for the everyday person. A business cannot be all things to all people. Every business fits within a niche market. Find your niche and you will find your brand. The basic foundation of your business is your brand, the basic foundation of your brand is your logo. Your logo is one of the first things communicated to your customer about your business. Your packaging, promotional materials, your website and even your employee's uniforms communicate your brand when the logo is used.

Brand Strategy

An effective brand strategy answers to whom you will be communicating, how you will be delivering the message and the what, where and when. Where you advertise is a vital aspect of brand strategy. Businesses waste valuable resources on ineffective marketing because they advertise in places that do not cater to their niche market. Other areas of brand strategy that are crucial are what is verbally and visually conveyed to your potential customer and your distribution channels.

Brand Equity

Consistent and persistent strategic branding leads to stronger brand equity. This equity adds value to your brand which allows you to charge more for your product than the generic counterpart. For one example, Nike tennis shoes versus a department store tennis shoe. Nike has built brand equity into its products which allows them to charge more and at a price customers are willing to pay.

The added value inherent to brand equity is also fostered by perceived quality or emotional attachment. Name brand beer commercials associate sexually attractive people and fun times with their product in hope that their customers will transfer their emotions triggered by the commercial to their product. For Miller Lite, it is not just their beer's taste that sells the beer.

Brand Definition

Defining your brand can be a slow process, but one well worth the time it takes. Do your research, know your customers and their desires, habits and needs. Once you define your brand, you need to get the word out. One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is not devoting enough of their business working capital to their marketing campaign.

Developing an effective branding strategy is a time-consuming and challenging time, but it is necessary for the success of a business. Know what your customers think and how you can deliver to their needs and you will have the start of a great brand strategy.