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A brew of marketing and advertising news for your insatiable knowledge palette

5 Must-Dos for Local Marketing Success

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 @ 08:55 AM

Would you be surprised to hear that 62% of phone calls made to small businesses go unanswered? And by unanswered I don’t mean they go to voicemail, I mean they just keep ringing and ringing and ringing. Only 38% of calls actually get forwarded to voicemail. Perhaps the most shocking number is that 70% of small businesses answer less than half of the calls they receive!

This data was shared at a recent webinar called “5 Fabulous Habits of Small Business Champions” held in conjunction with National Small Business Week 2017 that was sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE, and YP (Yellow Pages).

“If you don’t answer your phone, you don’t deserve to have those customers,” webinar co-presenter Rieva Lesonsky said. “You are showing on your phone behavior, what kind of service (your customers) are going to get.”

Cheerful man in office answering the phone.jpeg

The webinar presenters shared some other insights benefitting small business owners. Here are 5 Must-Dos for Local Marketing Success

  1. Be Consistent

A brand is only as recognizable as the consistency of their marketing message. This is particularly true of businesses who use an integrated marketing approach with multiple channels.

Equally important is the accuracy of the information you share. Being inaccurate can and will raise skepticism, tarnish your brand’s reputation, and drive customers away.

  1. Tell Your Story at Every Opportunity

You can either be a company that’s trying to sell stuff, or a brand that has a story they want to share. One is much more powerful than the other.

The most important part of great brand stories is knowing exactly who your audience is and the best way to reach them. Whether it’s through the copy on your home page, the images shared on Instagram, or the how-to videos on Youtube, take every opportunity to share your story and connect with your audience.

  1. Be Clear

Many marketers work so hard at selling but fail to tell prospects what they want them to do. It’s important you use clear calls to action on your landing pages, as well as print and digital ads. Also, keep your design elements clean and simple. Make it easy for people to learn about your offer and decide they want to buy.

  1. Answer Your Phone

As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, a shocking number of local business owners aren’t even picking up the phone (or forwarding the calls) when it rings. Are you guilty of this? Perhaps your local competitors aren’t taking the time to field phone calls. What a great way to attract their business and build relationships and brand loyalty.

  1. Social Media Best Practices

When it comes to good social media habits for local businesses, the webinar presenters had the following key points to share:

  • Use Facebook photo albumsHappy young lady holding social icon balloon.jpeg
  • Use Facebook live videos
  • Tell an intriguing story
  • Power up your Twitter feed with images
  • Try paid media – it works!
  • Host a weekly or monthly challenge
  • Post offers and discounts
  • Share motivational quotes
  • Have conversations
  • Don’t use social media to hard sell

 

Many of the small business owners we work with have, at some point, expressed frustration at not having the resources their bigger competitors have. The truth is, when it comes to making an impact with your local audience and generating revenue, much of the marketing tactics, like the ones listed here, come down to common sense.

 

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Topics: local marketing, local, print, advertisers, social media advertising, branding

5 Common Branding Mistakes That Will Kill Your Small Business

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 @ 11:06 AM

What is branding exactly? It’s the development of a public persona, one that causes an instant emotional connection within consumers. When you think of great branding, what comes to mind? Nike’s swoosh? Coca Cola’s red can and white lettering? Or maybe McDonald’s golden arches?

As a small business owner, you’ve probably dreamed of reaching such branding success. You’ve also most likely become instantly overwhelmed at the mere idea of taking on what can be an expensive and demanding initiative.

The good news is, effective branding is much easier and more cost-effective than you might think, provided you avoid the following 5 common mistakes.

  1. Being Shortsighted

You most likely know that having a strong brand is highly advantageous from a customer-relationship perspective. After all, the stronger your brand the more top of mind you become. For instance, when you think of buying shoes online, you immediately think of Zappos.

But…

Did you know that branding is also valuable for SEO marketing? It’s no secret that Google prioritizes branded listings in its organic search results. They do this because branded websites are more likely to get the clicks. More clicks mean happier search engine users. Hence, don’t be shortsighted. Undertaking a branding initiative could lead to both awareness benefits and a boost in website traffic.

  1. Failing to Implement Branding Guidelines

Your branding efforts will be sabotaged by a lack of cohesiveness. This cohesiveness can only be reached by implementing branding guidelines. Doing so will allow your brand to be instantly recognized no matter which marketing channel you use. People recognize Coca Cola in their TV ads as well as their print ads and social media campaigns.16703717985_21f9c0cc6f_b.jpg

What should your guidelines include?

  • Logo
  • Brand colors
  • Taglines
  • Fonts and typography
  • The “voice” used in your branded materials
  • Imagery
  • Mascots or spokespeople

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of guidelines, these points are essential to getting you started.

  1. Not Keeping it Simple

Small businesses can learn a lot from Coca Cola when it comes to keeping their brand image simple. Take a look at how their logo has changed – or not changed – over the years. While the fonts have varied a bit since the soft drink giant launched in 1887, the logo in general has had the same look and feel over the last 127 years. Also worth mentioning is that look happens to be very clean and simple.

It may be tempting to “go all out” and add more variables when initiating your branding process. But, a logo with five colors and four different graphic elements will confuse your audience and overcomplicate things. Take a note from Coca Cola and keep things simple.

  1. Being Vague

I already mentioned the importance of keeping your brand image and logo clean and simple. But don’t confuse this will dull and vague. Your brand’s elements must reveal something about your company and its value proposition. Catchphrases like “Best-selling” “award-winning” or “new and improved” have been so overused, they no longer hold any meaning with consumers.

Focus on creating clear language, logos and imagery that highlight your company’s value proposition.

  1. Not Monitoring Your Brand’s Usage

Developing and launching your small business’s brand is only half of the branding equation. The other half is making sure you’re monitoring how others are using your brand image on your behalf. If you let this task slide, you risk publishing partners using your logo but with the wrong colors, or a review website using the wrong URL link. Or, worse, a competitor using a tagline that sounds strikingly similar.

While branding takes thought and comprehensive planning, it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. As long as you avoid these 5 common mistakes, you should be able to develop a brand that is instantly recognizable and connects with your target audience.

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Topics: advertising, marketing, small business, branding