Call Us Today! 503.449.4863|erin@insightful-marketing.com

Blog

Seasonal Marketing

3 Steps to Better PR for Your Small Business

What is PR? And how can your small business use it effectively? Public Relations is ultimately the relationship between the public and your company…it also encompasses the professional maintenance of a favorable public image. Certainly, PR will always focus on publicity, but today it includes community participation both on-line and off, bylined articles, public speaking, media commentary, relationships with local area reporters and development of a good professional reputation.

These elements of PR can be particularly effective at local and regional levels and therefore, especially useful to your small business….and it’s not as scary as you might think.  You know your business best, so who better to craft and tell it’s story!

1.  Who is your audience?

Amazingly, even large corporations often fail to realize who their audiences actually are. It’s important to define your “audience” – Think about the individuals or groups who have any interest or stake in the activities of the business. This can reach far beyond just your current customers. It’s totally possible that your audiences includes the local media, your neighbors and surrounding community, current/ former employees and their families, vendors/suppliers, networking organizations, government regulators/agencies at several levels and even your competitors. And remember, audiences–friendly or not–have the power to communicate information about you and your company.

2.  Develop a PR plan

Even without a degree in journalism or marketing this is obtainable.  It doesn’t need not be complex, in simplest terms, a PR plan consists of a few elements:

Objectives:  identify your goals and what you want to accomplish for your business.
Positioning:  decide how you want to be perceived by the audiences you’ve determined. As the best quality sign maker in town, or the least expensive sign maker?
Key messages: prioritize the most important facts […]

How Pinteresting

How many of you are pinning?  Pinterest, the newest social media site, just hit more than 10 million unique visitors, making it one of the fastest growing websites ever. In the past six months, visits to Pinterest grew by 4,000%, receiving 11 million hits in just one week! I have been seeing or hearing about the site everywhere…from the delicious recipes I was perusing on Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures that had a link to her Pinterest page to the friend at my son’s basketball game last weekend that shared she recently got an amazing recipe and her kid’s Valentine idea from the visual pinboard.

Pinterest was named the best new start up of 2011 by TechCrunch and is doing a great job of driving traffic, leads, and sales. In fact, early research indicates that Pinterest is more effective at driving traffic back to a website compared to other social media sites, even Facebook. Josh Davis includes some interesting stats on his blog:

Pinterest is now driving more traffic to the Real Simple website than Facebook is.
Warbly Parker, the hip but inexpensive eyeglass retailer, reports that 11% of its social traffic is coming from Pinterest. 18% is coming from Twitter.
Like many early bloggers, Kate Bryan managed a blog that was based around her interests, but it never generated many readers. She blogged about her professions of hairstyling and jewelry making, and also her craft projects. Hairstyles are extremely popular pins on Pinterest. Kate started pinning her own work and rapidly started generating traffic. In five months, she achieved over 14,000 new subscribers to her site as well as generating over one million page views from Pinterest.

What’s unique about Pinterest compared to most social media websites, is that it reduces […]

5 Branding Tips for Small Business

Even though you may not be the size of a corporate giant like Coke or Microsoft, engaging in branding is important for your small business.  Here are 5 branding tips that could make a difference for the long-term success of your small business.

1.  Create a logo and put it on everything.  You don’t need to spend a lot of time or money creating your logo, but you do need something that stands for your business that customers can recognize.  You then need to put it on everything from letterhead and invoices to your website and newsletter…and every communication in between.

2.  Start a blog. A blog can be a great tool for a small business. With it your site will rank better in search engines, you can communicate to customers and grow brand involvement. Blogs help you share valuable information and help you become the expert customers will trust when the time comes to make a purchase decision.

3.  Prepare a one-page business overview. This one pager will be critical as a leave behind when you meet prospects. Be brief – Use short sentences in short paragraphs – people like to read quickly. Also make it very conversational; it’s not a white paper. Your one page overview should include your value proposition, target audience benefits, customer testimonials and a mini-case study – and don’t forget to put how to contact you!

4.  Participate in local business events and network.  Participate.  Get involved.  Going to events is wonderful, but you’re just a face in the crowded room. Ask to be on one of the committees or chair or sponsor a meeting. Interestingly enough, it’s as easy as just asking most of time. Groups are looking for volunteer to […]

Are you marketing and selling your small business?

Do you believe you have a great product or service, but you’re having trouble getting your small business to the next level? Whether it’s dog grooming, window washing, resume creation or coffee shop, marketing makes a difference….and even if you have a great service or product…I don’t think your business if going to sell itself.  So let’s take a look at your sales and marketing planand see where there’s opportunity for improvement.

Web Strategy

Ask yourself these questions:

If you have a website, how great is your landing page? How well does it represent who you are and what you can do? And if you don’t…WHY NOT?
If you have customers that make appointments, do you offer on-line appointment setting?
How strong is your call to action
Do you have customer testimonials…they are an excellent way for someone else to sell your business and give it credibility.
Are you using social media to connect and have conversations or do you provide valuable information to customers or potential customers via the Internet?

Product or Service Strategy

Ask yourself these questions:

How well do you know your target market? Who exactly is your customer?
Are you putting yourself in your customer’s shoes? Are you looking at your business offerings and service from their prospective?
How well do you know your competition?  How do they do things? Are they outselling you or offering something your customer’s might benefit from?
Would it be appropriate to cross-sell?
What are your business objectives for the year?

In short, marketing and selling your business has many components with both web based and traditional tactics to think about, but they can provide you with the tools to bring your business to the next level and meet or exceed your goals.  Start thinking about them today and see […]

By |February 2nd, 2012|Marketing|0 Comments

Local Business + Social Media

Get More From Google Search

If you’re like me, you probably use Google many times a day.  However, unless you are super techy, you probably still use Google in its simplest form.  If your current use of Google is limited to typing a few words in, and changing your query until you find what you’re looking for, then I’m here to tell you that there’s a better way – and it’s not hard to learn.  On the other hand, if you are a technology geek, and can use Google like the best of them already, then I suggest you keep this list of Google search tips.  You’ll then have the tips on hand when you are ready to pull your hair out in frustration when watching a neophyte repeatedly type in basic queries in a desperate attempt to find something.

The following Google search tips are from an article on Hubspot.  The list is by no means comprehensive.  But, I assure you that by learning and using the 12 tips below, you’ll rank up there with the best of the Google experts out there.  The descriptions of the search tips intentionally terse as you’re likely to grasp most of these simply by looking at the example from Google anyways.

12 Expert Google Search Tips

Explicit Phrase:
Lets say you are looking for content about internet marketing.  Instead of just typing internet marketing into the Google search box, you will likely be better off searching explicitly for the phrase.  To do this, simply enclose the search phrase within double quotes. Example: “internet marketing”
Exclude Words:
Lets say you want to search for content about internet marketing, but you want to exclude any results that contain the term advertising.  To do this, simply use the “-” sign in […]

Branding

I believe a “brand” lives in the mind of the consumer. What the consumer perceives your brand to be – is what your brand is. Being a high caliber company is only true if the consumer believes it to be true. Branding is by far one of the most important factors influencing an organization’s success or failure in the marketplace, and can have a dramatic impact on how the “organization behind the brand” is perceived by the discerning buying public with, for the most part almost limitless purchasing options. In other words, the brand is not just a representation of a company’s products and services; it is a symbol of the organization itself, and that is where the core of brand loyalty lies. To build brand equity, all elements of the promotional mix are required to develop and sustain the desired perception in the mind of the consumer. Initially, the challenge is to build awareness, then to develop the brand personality and reinforce the perception. This leads to another important factor in brand-building: the need to invest in the brand over the long-term. Building customer awareness, communicating the brand’s message and creating customer loyalty takes time, but ultimately translates into sales and reputation on a local and national level.  Successful organizations “invest” in their brand, often at the expense of short-term profitability.