Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category
With more companies likely to tighten their financial budgets going into 2012, ask yourself if your business has the financial stomach to spend more on marketing, about the same as this year, or even possibly reduce what you spent these last 12 months.
That thought especially holds true with online marketing, given that your company has a real-time impact with both current and potential customers in a matter of minutes, something that cannot be achieved through more traditional ways like newspapers, radio ads, flyers, newsletters etc.
According to a recent The CMO Survey, even with an up-and-down economy forecast to continue into 2012, chief marketing officers are looking to add to spending on all aspects of marketing in 2012.
This will especially be true when it comes to funds for social media marketing (see more on importance of social media in marketing below). The survey also goes on to note that companies will likely grow spending for marketing hires, likely around 7.2 percent on average in the next year.
That being said, those companies looking to reduce their marketing expenditures in 2012 have ways to cut back and still get some bang for their dollar, however they need to be creative to say the least.
The last thing companies will want to do is turn down or even off their marketing engines to the point that the competition takes advantage of the downswing.
In the event your company is thinking about trimming the marketing budget for the New Year, keep several factors in mind:
- Stay the course – Keeping your marketing awareness and staying engaged is less expensive than having to try and get it back down the road when the economy improves;
- Exude confidence – When you slash your marketing expenses out of what appears to be fear, current and potential customers may lose faith in your abilities. The common perception when you make such a move is that your company may be lacking some stability, therefore leading customers to question you;
- The competition likes you – When a company slashes its marketing budget, a competitor sees an opening. The competitor, who may in fact have cut back some too, could seize the opportunity to pitch their message to some of your current customers or leads you were pursuing. If that happens, you could find yourself on the outside looking in when it comes to getting that business at some point;
- Vendors may be willing to work with you – Businesses have to remember that not only are they looking to save dollars here and there, but many they work with are too. The companies you work with for your promotional items, printing, display, etc. are more apt to want to work with you than lose you altogether as a client. Just because financial times are tough does not mean there may not be some deals to be had;
- Re-evaluate your marketing techniques – Whether you are cutting back or not in 2012 on your marketing operations, take the time now to review 2011. What has worked with your marketing plans? What did not work? What are some techniques you would like to try but have hesitated in doing so up to this point? Use the last 12 months as a guiding tool for the next 12;
- Are you properly using social media? – Even though social media is there for the taking, too many businesses still do not take advantage of all it has to offer. With sites like Facebook and Twitter just to name two, companies should be sure to have fan pages set up and maximized to the hilt. Be sure that your marketing team is taking the time and effort to share and tweet pertinent information about the company, its products and services. Given the fact that more businesses will be transitioning from initial adoption of SM marketing to a more reflective and refined campaign, they are apt to want data that clearly defines the cost-effectiveness of such campaigns. Having another year of experience with social media techniques, more companies will likely show more sophistication when it comes to properly surfing the social media channel. As a result, they will seek more tools that properly enable tracking, measuring and bettering their returns on investment.
Take a look at your marketing techniques, go into 2012 with a plan in place, and market your company to success.
Dave Thomas, who covers among other subjects’ document management and HR software, writes extensively for Business.com, an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.
With the holiday season right around the corner, does your small business have its e-mail marketing campaign in place and ready to go? If not, you could be left scrambling at the last minute.
For those in the retail business, for example, the holiday rush can be an opportunity to make up for lackluster sales earlier in the year. For small businesses that have a tough time selling over the holidays, it can place them in a very precarious position heading into the next year.
In the event your company’s got questions regarding its e-mail marketing opportunities with the coming holidays, here are some thoughts to consider:
- Make sure your distribution frequency is good – Another important item to keep in mind is that your distribution frequency is solid. Be sure to check the activity from your mailing list a year ago at this time, making necessary adjustments along the way. Prior to the holiday email cycle starting, push out a re-engagement campaign to get less active members engaged. That can include a special email to folks who haven’t opened or clicked in the last several months or a holiday survey to determine what subscribers want from you this season. Also look into having an added opt-in with a holiday campaign to grow the distribution frequency just for those customers seeking it;
- Stand out from the crowd – It is important to remember that your subscribers’ get inundated with email promotional content leading up to the holidays. That being the case, you need your online marketing message to stand head and shoulders above the rest. Make sure you give the subscriber incentive to want to read your message and not hit the delete button;
- Get your message out early – Start the message campaign early and inform your subscribers the importance of doing their business sooner rather than later with the holiday rush coming up. Make sure that your promo emails are done in plenty of time so that they get to the consumer sooner than your competition’s does;
- Engage your social media channels – Given the importance of social media in today’s marketing efforts, make sure you engage the different social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.) to target additional audience members. The great thing with social networking sites is it is a free other than a little time and effort. Be sure, however, you don’t use SM just to promote endlessly. Take the time to engage with both present and potential customers regarding your products and services. Bottom line…. be engaged;
- Be relevant after the holiday rush – It is a given that many shoppers look for bargains right after the holidays, so give them a reason to want to come back to you in 2012. Offering incentives to stick with you after the holidays is a great way to go about that;
- Be a mobile player – With more and more individuals using mobile devices to stay in touch with the world, be sure your campaign can accommodate such needs. When designing copy and images, make sure they will work smoothly with mobile devices. This brings on added importance given that many individuals will have their mobile devices with them while shopping etc. You can provide them with valuable deals and offers right at that time.
The bottom line is that the holiday season demands much attention from consumers; make it so that you’re at the top of their shopping wish list.
Dave Thomas, who covers among other subjects vehicle insurance writes extensively for www.business.com an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.
Does your company want to get its feet wet in the social media world, or is trying to and spinning its wheels? If so, what can be done to improve the situation?
- We have a blog because competitors do and we don’t want to seem out of the loop.
- We have a blog due to the fact we wanted a way to promote our brands and services.
- We have a blog for the simple reason our owner likes to talk a lot and this was one way for him/her to spout off.
So, what would you say is the correct answer to the three options above? If you said the last one, maybe your company needs more assistance than some realize.
While choice number one may be part of the reasoning for your blog, number two should be the obvious choice. Quite simply, company blogs are great tools to not only promote your goods and services, but stay in the social media loop.
With that being said, don’t just write to write.
- Your company’s blog needs to have worthwhile content on it so people will read it in the first place.
- Secondly, it requires regular updating so that readers will come back to it and search engines are more likely to pick it up. If you update it once in a blue moon, not only will readers be gone but the search engines will pick up more worthwhile entries.
- Another reason that readers will come and go from a company blog is if they are leaving valid, appropriate comments and you are not responding. Would you follow someone if you left them several comments and they ignored you? Companies need to take the bad feedback from consumers with the good, so respond accordingly, but do respond.
Companies need to determine if the blog materials they’re covering are appropriate for their readers in the first place. Relevant information draws people to blogs, so know what you want to write about ahead of time and be concise.
Are you placing relevant internal and external links and keywords in your company’s blog?
While SEO writing may not be for everyone, it is not rocket science either. If your company covers the auto insurance industry, your blog better be insurance related in order to drive more worthwhile traffic to it.
The most important item brings us full circle to the first point….why are we blogging in the first place?
Some companies decide its best to hire full-time staff to write, edit and oversee blogs. It allows for the boss/bosses to delegate one more item to professionals who can get the company’s message across.
Others, meantime, decide to do it on their own and give it more of a personal feel from the man or woman at the top.
Both ways can have their advantages and disadvantages, so decide what is best for your company. If you try one approach and it is not working for a period of time try another until you find the right solution.
A company blog can be a very useful tool to drive business your way; determine how blogging can best serve your business and get writing.
Dave Thomas is an expert writer on items like a document management systems and is based in San Diego, California. He writes extensively for an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs at Resource Nation.