Ideas and observations to help improve your business.

Blog 01-21-2015

What a Symphony Orchestra Can Teach Us About Harmony and Marketing

We all have some type of music we find pleasing to the ear. For some, it’s classical. Others prefer rock, hip hop, pop, or jazz. But no matter what type of music we enjoy, there’s something about a symphony orchestra that seems to draw admirers from a wide variety of musical backgrounds and tastes.

An orchestra brings harmony to life. Its beauty comes from the different sections — woodwinds, percussion, strings, and brass — working together to create something spectacular. If just one person or one section is out of tune or out of line, the entire piece can fall flat. The same is true in your marketing.

The importance of harmony in marketing

Just like an orchestra, marketing works best when every member of the team works together to perfectly complement the others. In today’s busy world, countless platforms vie for your audience’s attention. Print media, inbound marketing, social media, PPC ads, retargeting ads, radio advertising, and more all seek at least some portion of the metaphoric pie.

Too often, we try to meet these demands by randomly throwing content at all of these different platforms. We see each platform as a checklist of requirements, rather than a resource to be leveraged. By finding harmony in the platforms we use to carry out our plans, we stand a far greater chance for success from our marketing efforts. The key to creating this harmony is five-fold:

  1. Develop the central message for the new marketing campaign.
  2. Identify the key characteristics of buyers the marketing campaign will target, including where those people will be found.
  3. Use these characteristics to prioritize your advertising platforms and decide which ones will receive a greater share of the budget.
  4. Develop the campaign with all of the platforms pointing toward a common goal, such as leading buyers to a particular promotional webpage.
  5. Use common colors, language, and themes across the different platforms to create a unified brand.

Take the time to learn how different platforms complement each other, such as how social media can drive people toward the inbound content on your website. This will enhance your efforts and your reach. Marketing works best when different platforms are used in unison to create a common message for prospective customers. When marketing is performed well, it can make people sit up and pay attention.

Finding the right rhythm in your marketing requires careful analysis and planning. When you can accomplish this, you’ll see far better results from your marketing campaigns. If you’re interested in developing a successful new marketing campaign, contact us today. We’d be happy to help you get started.

Tom Dottellis

Owner, Forbes Printing and Marketing Services

Visit our main website to:

Request an Estimate  |  Place an Order  |  Send a File

Learn about our services  |  Use our free resources

Blog 01-20-2015

Business Lessons from Willy Wonka

The story of Willy Wonka is a classic childhood favorite that people have loved for generations. From the books to the original movie version that was adapted in 1971 to its latest incarnation in 2005, the idea of this fantastic chocolate factory has entertained and delighted children of all ages.

The story follows young Charlie Bucket, who manages to find one of five golden tickets hidden in delicious Wonka Bars. These tickets give the winners a tour of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate. The five winners receive their prize tours, during which the other prize winners are eliminated one by one because of their poor behavior. Only Charlie manages to pass all the tests for honesty. In the end, it’s revealed that his true prize will be the chocolate factory itself.

For us in the business world, the story of Willy Wonka and his chocolate factory is much more valuable than mere entertainment. It can teach us many lessons about successfully running a company. Here are just a few that every business owner should note.

The importance of innovation

Willy Wonka ran one of the most prized and valued chocolate companies in the world, with children of all ages eagerly consuming the chocolate in an effort to find the bars containing the sought-after golden tickets. One of the key reasons for the popularity of the brand was the sheer innovation of the factory’s products. Whether an ‘everlasting gobstopper’ or ‘three-course-dinner’ gum, the treats created at the Wonka factory were unique and delicious. The ability of the factory to remain a trendsetter of the candy world led customers to remain loyal fans.

We, too, must continue to look for ways to innovate and better meet the needs of customers. Being content with the same products and services will not help our brands become industry leaders or help us find loyal customers.

Promotions can be the key to successful advertising

Customers and companies alike enjoy promotions, making them a fantastic marketing tool. While most companies will never enjoy the publicity Willy Wonka’s factory enjoyed, with the competition and winners being featured on the news, it’s still possible for nearly any promotion or loyalty program to gain traction. Social media can be a major asset in promoting such a program. Reward your customers and encourage them to return time and again. This is a wonderful way to gain name recognition and build loyalty.

The value of honesty

Willy Wonka managed to cultivate a superior business plan because he knew how to select workers, and he chose Charlie because of his honesty. The boy impressed the chocolatier because he turned down offers of money in favor of being completely forthright, impressing Wonka. Wonka knew that this boy had the values that would enable the factory to continue to grow.

We, too, should always look for employees and leaders who value honesty and integrity. A positive reputation will help build a culture of trust. In turn, this will help enhance the cohesiveness among the staff and encourage communication.

The story of Willy Wonka and his chocolate factory has delighted people for generations. Next time you watch one of the movies or read the books, take the time to learn a bit about business from Mr. Wonka. If you’re ready to start building a new marketing campaign, contact us for help getting started.

Tom Dottellis

Owner, Forbes Printing and Marketing Services

Visit our main website to:

Request an Estimate  |  Place an Order  |  Send a File

Learn about our services  |  Use our free resources

Blog 01-19-2015

Keeping Your Resolutions in Life and in Marketing

With the new year upon us, it’s time again to consider resolutions for the coming year. Unfortunately, most of us have a far easier time making resolutions than keeping them. Genuine lifestyle changes are difficult to achieve. If you’re planning to make radical shifts in your daily life, consider the following:

Bite off small chunks at a time.

If you haven’t run in over 30 years and are 40 pounds overweight, it’s not reasonable to say you’ll run a marathon by spring. Instead, set a goal of completing a mile a day for a certain number of weeks, then slowly increase your distance. Trying to get too much done too quickly can lead to burnout and discourage you from continuing.

Make the goals reasonable.

A person who’s just learning to cook might never win a “top chef” competition, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to successfully cook a full Thanksgiving dinner. Set goals that are difficult enough to provide motivation and challenge, but make sure they’re also realistic and attainable.

This same advice applies to your small business.

Starting a new business is tough. Countless seminars and classes make it sound as though doing X, Y, and Z will have you raking in millions in just a few months. While there might be a genius entrepreneur somewhere for whom that’s true, for the vast majority of small business owners, it’s not.

Instead, look at the advice given above, and find ways to apply the same philosophy to your business. Like an out-of-shape person starting to run, you need to take it slowly at first. A new business typically cannot expect to clear hundreds of thousands of dollars per month in profit. Instead, your goal might be just to break even the first few months, and then slowly start generating actual profit after that.

Also, give your books and prospects an honest look. Set realistic expectations for the next quarter and year. Creating progressive goals will give you something to celebrate when you attain those milestones and encourage you to keep moving forward, while preventing burnout and keeping your company on track.

Of course, this way of thinking applies to more than just goals. It can be equally useful in other aspects of your business, such as marketing. When you hear about a new type of marketing with great potential, take the time to develop your strategy and grow in stages, rather than jumping in blindly with both feet. This more tempered approach will keep you moving in the right direction without becoming overwhelmed.

We’ve all failed at some point with our New Year’s resolutions. Those who genuinely want to succeed understand they must set reasonable goals to avoid biting off more than they can chew. The same idea applies to running a business. Here’s to a successful 2015 for you and your company.

Tom Dottellis

Owner, Forbes Printing and Marketing Services

Visit our main website to:

Request an Estimate  |  Place an Order  |  Send a File

Learn about our services  |  Use our free resources

Blog 12-23-14

Taking Your Keywords to the Next Level

Keywords can be fantastic tools for attracting attention from potential customers. They help search engines ‘tune into’ your content and better match your pages to the queries people enter. Unfortunately, many companies use keywords at a very rudimentary level, failing to capitalize on what this simple optimization technique can do. Here are four ways you can easily improve the keywords you use on your website to bring in more visitors and increase your brand’s visibility.

1. Use the language your customers use.

Select keywords based on the way your customers speak. Often there’s a difference between how customers describe your industry and how you would describe it. Consider the types of jargon you and others in your industry commonly use when describing your products and services. Then compare that to how your customers tend to speak. If you sell a cloud-based service, for example, don’t assume your customers know the latest tech language, especially if you market your products to the average small business. Your keywords, and the language used throughout your site, should be user friendly.

2. Use language based on your buyer personas.

Your buyer personas can offer you considerable insight into your customers’ challenges and needs, so use them to help you optimize your content. As you develop your buyer personas and take a look at what motivates people to buy from you, start thinking about keywords that fit with each of these customer types, too.

3. Use your keywords throughout the page.

Look for ways to weave your keywords naturally into your content. When Google crawls your website, it looks at headlines and URLs, as well, to better ‘understand’ the content. Include your keywords in these spaces to better communicate with the search engines. Add them to your page meta description, too. When a customer sees your page on a list of search results, they’ll see the page title, URL, and meta description. Using your keywords in all of these areas will let search engines know what your pages are all about, while at the same time helping the people who are using those search engines know they’ve found a page that contains the information they seek.

4. Use your keywords naturally.

When it comes to keywords, more is not always better. In fact, more can often be worse. Overusing keywords comes across as forced and leads people to take your pages less seriously. Think about the last time you read something that had keywords placed oddly and used artificially. Chances are, you clicked away quickly. When website copy isn’t cohesive, people lose trust. Focus on providing reliable and valuable information for customers along with occasional, naturally placed keywords. This will help you get found organically and help improve your brand reputation.

Keywords can be a valuable tool for getting found and attracting the right type of people. Using them appropriately, according the four points above, can help you improve your keywords and see even more results from your marketing efforts.

Post to Your Blog

 

Tom Dottellis

Owner, Forbes Printing and Marketing Services

Visit our main website to:

Request an Estimate  |  Place an Order  |  Send a File

Learn about our services  |  Use our free resources

Blog 12-22-14

5 Tips for Developing Content That Will Resonate With Your Audience

When developing content for your website and marketing materials, you want to create pieces that will resonate with your audience. This will encourage them to read what you’ve produced, share it on social media and with friends, and — most importantly — remember what you said. Strong content will enhance brand loyalty and improve the success of your entire marketing campaign. Here are five tips to help you create more meaningful content.

Analyze your buyer personas

Buyer personas exist to give you insight into the people you’re trying to reach, so use them to produce the best types of content. Gather information such as:

  • the challenges your customers are facing
  • circumstances that prevent them from buying
  • their budget
  • their goals

This type of information should give you clear guidelines about the kinds of content these people will pay attention to. If you don’t know the answers to these questions, interview your existing customers and take surveys of your target population.

Look at what content gets the best responses

Take a look at your past content to see what people respond to most frequently. If you thought a topic was only mediocre but it managed to generate exceptional traffic and attention, you can feel pretty confident that it resonated with page viewers. Use past site data to plan future content on subjects that garner the most interest to keep visitors engaged. Create videos, experiment with different formats, or dive into hot topics from a completely new angle.

Examine multiple formats of content

Different formats, such as video, are increasingly catching steam. People enjoy watching videos to get up close and personal with the people they do business with at a company. Monitor your video views and see how well customers are responding to your productions. This will give you insight into how often you should work to produce this type of content.

Offer genuine value

Some companies get hesitant about producing real value for their readers. They imagine that if they give away all their ‘secrets’ no one will need to hire them. No blog, however well-written, ever made anyone a complete expert on a new industry.

Instead of worrying about revealing too much, work to offer real value to your readers so they can see the expertise you have to offer. It’s this kind of genuine value — not wishy-washy, bland content that teaches people nothing — that will turn readers into followers and followers into customers. The more value you can offer readers, the more they’ll come back to read your posts again. Don’t be afraid to take a stand, form opinions on subjects in your industry, and produce content that’s worth reading.

Understand your customers’ current situations

When your company appears on top of the issues facing your customers and sensitive to their problems, people will naturally gravitate toward what you have to say. If you acknowledge and address news in your industry, your customers will appreciate that you’re keeping them informed. Look for ways to keep the timing of your blog posts relevant. For example, in the winter, a plumber might write blog posts about how to keep pipes from freezing, what to do if they do freeze, and similar bits of information that show an understanding of the struggles customers are facing right now.

Producing meaningful content is key to keeping your website visitors engaged and continually returning to your blog. These five ideas will give you the tools you need to produce posts and information that will resonate with your readers and inform them, which can improve your conversion rates and the success of your marketing campaigns.

Tom Dottellis

Owner, Forbes Printing and Marketing Services

Visit our main website to:

Request an Estimate  |  Place an Order  |  Send a File

Learn about our services  |  Use our free resources

Blog 12-12-14

3 Key Marketing Trends to Add to Your Strategy for the New Year

Like many business leaders, you realize that digital marketing is here to stay. But you also know the marketing landscape is changing rapidly, which means that 2015 will bring many new ideas and necessities.

As you look back on your past year’s marketing and start developing plans for the year ahead, now is the perfect time to review some of the expected trends for 2015, so you can begin incorporating them into your campaigns. Here are three trends to consider.

The art of personalization

Developing relationships with prospective customers and nudging them closer to conversion is certainly nothing new. We all know that customers appreciate companies who care about them on an individual basis and take the extra time to address their concerns.

In 2015, however, the idea of personalization will go from a ‘nice extra’ to a necessity. Consumers have started realizing they’re in control of more of the buying experience. They’ll continue to seek companies who are willing to give them the more personalized attention they deserve.

Personalization must permeate your entire organization. Customers want to bond with you as individuals, not just as a brand. They appreciate hearing your story, seeing pictures, and learning about the people behind the scenes at your company. While such content shouldn’t consume all of your digital marketing, you should take the time to develop a one-to-one relationship with your customers.

The role of data

This is another area that will quickly move from trend to necessity in the coming year. While many at the forefront have already started collecting hard numbers to measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns, it will become increasingly important for all businesses to follow that trend in the year ahead.

Digital marketing provides enormous potential for data collection. You can learn about where your page viewers are coming from, what they’re doing on your website, what engages them the most, what common characteristics they share, and how much money you’re spending for every lead and customer. This information will give you the tools you need to refine your campaigns, pinpoint the weak spots, and find ways to improve your efforts, while reducing costs and increasing the number of customers who convert.

Better internal communication

In 2015, efforts at improved communication will play a big part in planning and implementing digital marketing strategies. When you focus on improving communication between departments, two things happen:

    1. Employees have a better idea of what is expected of them and how their job fits into the larger company picture. This increases their work satisfaction and the way they present the brand to the public.
    1. Leads are better managed internally, as everyone has a clearer understanding of the role each team plays in the process. Departments work together in better harmony, and conversion rates improve.

The upcoming year is sure to bring many changes to the digital marketing world. Keeping these three key areas in mind will help you improve your strategies and standing as the new year begins.

Tom Dottellis

Owner, Forbes Printing and Marketing Services

Visit our main website to:

Request an Estimate  |  Place an Order  |  Send a File

Learn about our services  |  Use our free resources

Blog 12-2-14

What We Can Learn From Children Learning to Play Together

Imagine a preschool classroom filled with three- and four-year-old kids, each eager to play with a certain toy firetruck. The disagreements over whose turn it is quickly draw the attention of the teacher, who is immediately inundated with different versions of the story. According to one student, it’s her turn because one of the little boys in the class has been playing with it “all afternoon.” The little boy counters with, “No, I haven’t! And besides, you’ll just break it anyway!”

The teacher sits down and attempts for the hundredth time to teach her students about the virtues of sharing. She explains that by sharing the toys, the children will be able to develop much more elaborate games and have a lot more fun. Playing together will give them a chance to explore new ideas, create new characters, and have all sorts of adventures with the firetruck. She is only partly successful.

In an effort to maintain the peace in the small classroom and reinforce her lesson, the teacher creates a behavior chart for playing with the favorite toy of the day. The chart describes, in preschool language, how the toy will be played with and when it needs to be passed to another student.

The students quickly learn that the teacher is right. When they share the toy together, they end up having much more fun. On those days when the students neglect their newly-found sharing skills, however, the chart provides a handy reference to help them get back on track.

How does this lesson in sharing apply to marketing?

Take the warring students and replace them with the sales and marketing departments at some companies. An estimated 87 percent of the words used by marketing and sales departments to describe each other are negative, yet when these two teams are aligned, they can accomplish so much more. Just like the more elaborate games of childhood, aligned sales and marketing teams can produce up to 20 percent more profit! When the teams are well-aligned, they maximize their lead cultivation and achieve a much higher conversion rate.

Using a written agreement to help align your teams

The teacher in our story discovered that while meetings and lessons helped to encourage the students to play together, the behavior chart gave them something to look back on as a reference when things went wrong. A similar chart (though more elaborate, of course) can help sales and marketing teams coexist more peacefully, too. Such a chart should define terms, behavior, and the steps each team will take in cultivating and contacting leads.

Clearly defining the roles and expectations of sales and marketing teams will help each understand better what role the other plays in generating leads. The teams will also stay on the same page about when a lead is sales ready and when information should be passed along. When the marketing team finds leads, they’ll do a better job of passing along lead intelligence to the sales team, so the sales professionals know what contact the company has already had with this particular person. When salespeople receive a lead, they’ll have clearly defined expectations of the type and amount of contact they should have with the lead.

Working together will enhance communication, improve understanding, and make it easier to stay on the same page. Enforcing this agreement with regular meetings to judge progress can ensure everyone remains satisfied.

Aligning sales and marketing teams can be a fantastic way to improve profits and brand representation. Just like children learning to share, showing employees the value of working together, while also having a common agreement to back up the lesson, can help improve performance for everyone.

Tom Dottellis

Owner, Forbes Printing and Marketing Services

Visit our main website to:

Request an Estimate  |  Place an Order  |  Send a File

Learn about our services  |  Use our free resources