Why Your Marketing Plan is like A New Year’s Resolution

Why Your Marketing Plan is like A New Year’s Resolution

If you sat down at your desk the first workday of the New Year, and vowed to do something bigger and better to market yourself or your business in 2017, you certainly were in good company. There’s nothing like the fresh start of a New Year for motivating us to tackle what seemed to be an overwhelming task last year. But, unfortunately, the odds may be stacked against your well-intentioned plan. The failure rate for strategic business plans is right on par with that for New Year’s resolutions, which is a discouraging 88 percent. That doesn’t mean your marketing plan, or my diet for that matter, is doomed. It simply means we both need to be more committed and disciplined! As with diet and exercise, consistency makes all the difference in marketing and public relations. A well-executed strategic plan of action builds credibility, image and brand, and keeps you relevant. It takes small steps every day. Sound familiar? Large organizations with dedicated marketing teams have an advantage: They have people whose only job is to make sure their name is out there in a favorable light. They are just like those movie stars with personal trainers and private chefs – they don’t have to drag themselves to the gym each day because the gym comes to them. They don’t have to come up with delicious low-cal recipes; their chef does it for them. The rest of us have to do it all ourselves. If you’re running a business, big or small, the daily fires that need to be put out – generating revenues, managing staff, getting vendors paid or...
Is Your Website Being All It Can Be?

Is Your Website Being All It Can Be?

What’s one of the first things you do when you want to learn more about a new store that opened in town or to research a financial professional a friend recommended? If you’re like me, you go in search of a website. Today of course most people realize that whether they’re running a business, operating a professional practice, selling their product, promoting their book or building their brand, they need an effective website. But, yes, even today I encounter people who don’t have a website, or confuse being on a website, e.g., Amazon.com or LinkedIn, with having their own. I find this as amazing as you probably do, but it’s what inspired me to broach that subject this week. A well-designed, well-organized website is essential and can accomplish a lot for you. It can build an incredibly valuable database of people who are interested in you, so you can interact with them directly and stay in front of them on an ongoing basis. It can help you tell people what sets you apart from your competitors. It can increase sales by making it convenient for people to buy when they’re ready. But to get a topnotch website that will reflect well on you and your brand, I recommend hiring a professional web developer/designer. An amateurish look will send potential clients or customers scurrying away, perhaps never to return. You should understand the components of a good website so you can evaluate the work of designers you’re considering, and so you can talk with your designer about what you want. With that in mind, let me share just a few...
Simple Tips To Make Design Work  For You And Your Brand

Simple Tips To Make Design Work For You And Your Brand

Like many of you, I’m excited about 2017 and the possibilities for another successful year. To achieve that success all of us need to be looking for ways we can improve, and over the years I’ve noticed that one extremely important area where people can improve is in the design on their websites and on their social media platforms. I’ve always felt that the content of your copy and the design that enhances that content are equally important. You can have great content on your website, for example, but if the design accompanying it is unprofessional, visitors will zip right past it in search of something more credible. At the same time, a captivating design can grab people’s attention, but if it turns out that you’re all flash without substance, they may leave and never return. Over the last several months it seems that I’ve shared a lot with you about the content side of things – what to say, how to say it and when to say it. I’ve been a lot less focused on design, but let’s remedy that right now. Quite some time ago we recognized just how essential graphic elements are in brand promotion and that’s why our team includes Becky Lofgren, our in-house graphic designer, who works solely with our social media clients. Becky shared with me a few simple things you can do to help get the most out of your design. Select the right color. Any color that appeals to you is a good one, right? Not exactly. Colors can evoke certain emotions so you want to choose a color that sends...
How Social Media Turns You Into A Valuable Media Commodity

How Social Media Turns You Into A Valuable Media Commodity

If you’re savvy enough to be using social media as part of your branding efforts – and I know that you are – then you’re also savvy enough to want to get the most out of those efforts. After all, when you’re using social media for personal or business branding, you’re not out to learn how many of your high school classmates have grandchildren, or “like” the photos of your niece’s wedding. Instead, your goal – or at least one of your goals – is to build a loyal following and then leverage that following to enhance your marketing and branding efforts as an authority in your field. Because here’s the thing: the greater your following, the more intriguing you’ll appear to the media gatekeepers you’re trying to attract to spread your message. Let’s face it, most people in the media are inundated with requests from people who have a story to tell, a product to sell or a service to promote. If you manage to cut through all that clutter and get on the media’s radar, one of the first things they will do is Google your name or your company’s name and check out your presence on social media. It gives your credibility a strong boost if the media find that you are widely followed on social media sites. Here are just a few ways your social media following can pay marketing dividends for you: A large, built-in following makes you an asset to the media. The bigger your following the more impressive you’ll look when the media take a peek into your online world. As a...
Plan Your 2017 Marketing And Reduce Your Tax Bill At the Same Time

Plan Your 2017 Marketing And Reduce Your Tax Bill At the Same Time

Have you ever noticed that often in life we fail to take advantage of all the opportunities available to us – even when we knew or should have known they were there for the plucking? Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about that’s relevant as the end of 2016 comes roaring into sight and soon will be nothing more than a fading memory in our rearview mirrors. Most of us know that when you spend marketing dollars before Dec. 31 you gain a 2016 tax write-off. But let’s face it, at this time of year we get caught up in last-minute shopping, decorating and other holiday activities that are mixed in with our already hectic day-to-day responsibilities. Thoughts about what we might be doing to score some down-to-the-wire tax savings can’t always find their way through all that clutter. Perhaps around the second week of January what we missed will dawn on us and we’ll smack ourselves in the head like those people in the old “I could have had a V-8” commercials! I don’t know about you, but I never like the feeling I get when I think I may have squandered opportunities for both promotions and tax savings. I mean, it’s a double whammy of woes and you never want to fall into that trap. So let me offer a few simple suggestions on how you can combine thinking about taxes with thinking about marketing and come out ahead on both. No need to delay. “But, Marsha,” you say, “I’m not releasing anything until a few months into the New Year. I’ve got...