Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Tag

Branding your small company

Image building, branding, messaging – all so important to your business, but one of the most vague marketing concepts in my book. There are so many ways to say something, so many ways to design a logo and a look for your business. What looks great to you may seem odd or out of date to me – or vice versa. How do you know if what you are doing is right?

You can look at a few things and ask a few key questions to make sure you are at least on the right path. So, first and foremost – do no harm! If you do only one thing – make sure your web site, company look, email campaigns, Social Media and anything else you put out there, do not make you look bad in anyone’s eyes. Check that nothing you do could be considered inappropriate, insulting, or just plain sound stupid. Make sure you have good grammar, no typos and nothing that is just plain wrong.

Once you have done this, decide what your message is going to be and what company image you want to build. Everything you do should then revolve around these ideas. Check yourself often by asking if what you are doing fits into this message. For instance, are you trying to be a market leader, a low price solution, high quality/high price, the innovator – what is your value proposition? Then, what is your image (based, at least in part, on your target market)- modern/young, older and established, very corporate, kind of funky, artsy, on the cutting edge? Define your image with 2 or 3 adjectives and use those when evaluating design choices for your materials.

Now that you have determined your value proposition and your positioning, build your image around them. Start with your company name/logo and any tag line you may use. Do they fit the parameters you have just determined? Do they need to be adjusted? Will adding a tag line help? Is this a good time to design or re-design your logo? Choose colors for your logo that will extend into other areas like your website, printed materials, email marketing pieces, social media pages, etc.

Next, look at your web site. Does your home page tell the visitor what your value proposition is? Does it at least answer the question – “What does this company do?” in the first 5-8 seconds? Would you use your company “adjectives” to describe this site? Is it ‘funky’ or ‘corporate’ or ‘young’ looking? Is it visually appealing and does it look like your company? And, most of all, is it correct! Does everything link properly? Enough people will come and go, don’t give them a reason (like poor design) to leave.

This is just the tip of the image building iceberg, but I hope this gives you something to think about.

Social Media overload

Uncle! I am crying “Uncle”. How much time can one person spend on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Blogs, …?? It seems that almost all of my spare time lately has been spent on my laptop – poking and proding social networking sites, reading blog posts, skimming articles about social media marketing and tweeting. Well, I’m tired of it – are you? I realized that there are so many words out there, but not that many different things being said. Look at tweets about social media or marketing and you will see many links to many articles saying the same stuff as well as many tweets actually just re-tweeting each other.
So, I’m taking a break. I will probably keep putting out a few tweets – but write things from my own head, not just send along someone else’s thoughts (we’ll see if that can work) – at least for a while. I also can’t break my ties with linkedin, as I am in a job search and that is a key resource for me.
Do you think too much is being written about social media marketing? Is it all starting to sound the same? Does most of it just feel like common sense to you too?

I’m tweeting! – Really!

twitterI held out for a while, I really did. I thought Twitter was something that would come and go – a fad. How can anyone make use of this means of communication? And why would they? 140 characters and thousands of people tweeting about sitting on the porch, having a drink or whatever. How could this be useful at all?

Well, I am a convert! I am not tweeting about the minutia of my life – at least not often. I have figured out that it can be a useful and inexpensive business marketing tool (by inexpensive, I mean free). I have been tweeting for a client for a couple of months. Our followers are slowly increasing and our web site has been tracking that people are clicking in from Twitter – so something seems to be going right.

I have to say that I enjoy coming up with tweets each day. Finding a way to be succinct and get a useful message across or convey some meaningful information, is a challenge. I have chosen the tact of using twitter to build the company’s reputation and show it as a good resource, rather than have every tweet be a sales pitch. Not that I don’t pitch a link to a product page every now and then, but only after many tweets with links to useful and pertinent information.

Take a look at what I have been doing at http://www.twitter.com/wnlsafety. This is a small piece of the marketing plan, but is working quite well – with a great ROI, since the cost is near zero. We have a small following that grows each week and have had dozens of clicks into the web site – and orders placed as well. Pretty good for a skeptic!