Category: Marketing

Category: Marketing

Why should I want Pokémon Go around my small business?

Like most small business owners I don’t have time to play around with a lot of phone apps or play games on my smartphone, a game console or even on my computer. That makes it easy to be out of the loop when a new hot new trend comes out. I wanted to share some info with small business owners that may have been in that boat with me, and want just a little info on this trend to either apply it to their business, or at minimum be able to discuss it with clients and prospects, if appropriate. Further I want to emphasize the importance of mobile websites and marketing for all small businesses.

Curious to know what the latest craze “Pokemon Go” is all about and if you can get your small business increased sales and exposure through this extremely popular phone app/interactive game?

We found a couple good sources to share with ideas for small business marketing, especially if you have a retail location. The TV show on MSNBC “Your Business” did a recent feature with 5 ideas on how to get new customers using Pokemon Go:

Video: 5 ways Pokemon Go can help you get customers
MSNBC Your Business 7/22/16

“Pokemon Go is the most talked about game of the summer, and it’s time for you to cash in on this digital phenomenon by driving sales to your small business. Here are five ways to attract customers with Pokemon Go from Inc.com.”

If you want a more in depth description of what this trend is all about and some additional ideas on how to get involved through ads or special promotions check out this informative article on SmallBizTrends.com:

What Is Pokemon Go and Why Your Small Business Can’t Afford to Miss This Trend?
by Joshua Sophy on SmallBizTrends.com

“If you haven’t seen scads of people near you seemingly chasing figments of their imagination down sidewalks, through public parks”, etc … “you’ve likely heard of Pokemon Go. Chances are, you’re currently at the stage where if someone drops a Pokemon reference near you, you laugh to appear hip and with it but you, in reality, still have no idea what anyone is talking about or what the fuss is all about.” … “No worries, though. Presumably about half or more of the adult world — and probably even fewer small business owners — know what Pokemon Go is, so here’s a primer on how it works and a bit about how it can potentially benefit your small business now and in the future.” …

“There are two central hubs within the game, PokeStops and Pokemon Gyms. While it’s hard to actually become one of these spots as a business, there are ways of benefiting from your proximity to them. A PokeStop is a central hub where Pokemon Trainers can get items to be used in the game. Pokemon Gyms are where Pokemon Trainers gather to battle their collected Pokemon. Again, these PokeStops and Pokemon Gyms are generally located in public spots and civic or community hubs, not often at individual businesses. Think: statues, libraries, train stations, fountains, lakes, gazebos, etc.” … “Your business’s proximity to a PokeStop could be a boon to you, too. There are already scads of reports of businesses near PokeStops seeing an increase in foot traffic and sales.” …

Pokemon Lure: “This is probably the most direct way of potentially directing foot traffic to your business via the Pokemon Go app.”…”
By casting a Pokemon Lure” … “you’ve suddenly become a font for Pokemon for the next 30 minutes. If the game is as popular in your community as it seems to be just about everywhere, expect people to come near your lure looking to catch some Pokemon.”

Read Full Article

While most small businesses will not take the time to develop a marketing strategy based on a trend like Pokemon Go, it is good to think about different ideas to market your business and be aware of what your clients might be interested in and cultural trends.

While Pokemon may come and Go it seems interactive smartphone apps and advertising is more and more pervasive and will not be going away anytime soon. Make sure you get your website to a mobile friendly format as soon as you can and start working in more emphasis on mobile in your overall marketing plan for the future.

Make Your Business Bloom with a website and marketing that will show your future clients all the benefits your products and services offer to them!

Category: Marketing

Small Business Week – Encouraging the Entrepreneurial Spirit

This week take time to inspire Entrepreneurship in others!
SmallBusinessWeek400
May 1st to May 7th is Small Business Week. I am proud to own a small business but more importantly to provide services that help other Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs become more successful.

If you are a small business owner as well, I applaud you wholeheartedly. No one really knows all that is involved with running a business until they get in the thick of it. As much as I like to read books and watch shows on business when I can, the only way to truly learn is to dive in and take the risks needed to own a business.

Together let’s spread the spirit of Entrepreneurship!

As I have mentioned in previous articles, I enjoy shows that focus on business, especially for Small Business.

Here is a video from the MSNBC show ‘Your Business’ with a clip from the head of the Small Business Administration with some general info on some resources available from the SBA and discussing events for Small Business Week 2016…

Celebrating National Small Business Week
All this week, communities around the country are celebrating the contributions of America’s small businesses. The theme of National Small Business Week is “dream big, start small.” Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, highlights some of this week’s events.

If you own a small business already, keep at it and keep encouraging others to pursue the American Dream.

If you have thought about starting your own business, come up with a plan on how you are going to get there. Start working on a business plan, find local resources like SCORE or SBDC which can give you free advice on best strategies for getting started. Yes a lot of businesses do fail, the key is planning and persistence. There are risks but there are so many rewards as well.

We will continue to provide helpful resources on this site, please let us know what areas you might need more information on to start or make your business bloom!

Category: Marketing

Getting Found with Google…Simple as 1, 2, 3?

MarketingMonday750While Google typically plays it close to the vest on how they determine who gets highly ranked and who doesn’t there have been recent disclosures from Google that give good clues for you to optimize your website for a higher Google PageRank.

Keys to Success on Google: Content, Links, RankBrain

Content (Keyword Rich):
Our philosophy at eRose Web has consistently been to focus on quality content first with a mix of relevant keywords to each client’s industry and customer focus. It seemed logical that with Google’s stated goal of providing the best resources to its clients that this strategy would be the best for small business clients that have limited budgets where spending thousands per month on SEO was not an option. This continues to be one of the best ways in which to keep Google’s attention. Google wants to provide the best resources and content so if you have a website that provides quality tips and articles on areas related to your business you should at least be on their radar.

SEOplan350Links (Incoming):
The links we are discussing here are not the number of links you have within your website but instead the number of relevant links from other websites. By relevant links we are talking about links from websites that are related to your industry and not just paying a website with a list of unrelated web links to include your website link, even though they have completely different customers and in a completely different industry.

It is a good idea to make sure any industry organization, affiliates, chamber of commerce, etc your company is a part of has a link on their website back to your website. Ideally using a text link with both your company name and the main keywords you want your site to be found with online. Also ask any vendors you work with on a regular basis if they would be willing to add a link to your website, and/or mention your company periodically (with a link) in their social media marketing.

RankBrain (Google AI):
RankBrain is Google’s name for a machine-learning artificial intelligence system that’s used to help process its search results, this means basically that the computer teaches itself rather than following detailed programming code.

While RankBrain has been identified as the 3rd most important factor by Google currently, this is only one part of a much more complex search algorithm.

“RankBrain is one of the “hundreds” of signals that go into an algorithm that determines what results appear on a Google search page and where they are ranked, Corrado said. In the few months it has been deployed, RankBrain has become the third-most important signal contributing to the result of a search query, he said.”
Source: Bloomberg

Article from SearchEngineLand on RankBrain

Admittedly we simplify things quite a bit in this article, but this is a good starting point for the small business entrepreneur looking to improve the search ability of their website on Google. Google’s algorithm is constantly changing but if you make your goal the same as Google, to provide great content and resources, and sprinkle in a little extra strategy from time to time your website should be in good shape to compete for attention online.

Category: Marketing

Entrepreneur I.Q. Learning from Life Experience

BransonLifeEducation650

No matter what industry or profession you have chosen there is always something more to learn, especially from interactions with others.

What have you done to take advantage of the learning opportunities surrounding you to improve yourself or your business?

Category: Marketing

A Lesson in Marketing Consistency

ShameShock400There I go again! Not taking my own advice.

I often tell my small business clients that consistency in marketing is critical to long term success, and it is very true…but often it is easier said than done, as most of my fellow small business owners / Entrepreneurs know all to well.

For the last few months I have been so busy working on my clients’ websites and marketing that I have neglected my own social media marketing efforts. For those of you who were starting to follow my articles and tips I had been providing on a regular basis for the majority of last year I apologize for the gap. Hopefully it has not been too long where you no longer check in on my blog and social media.

Yes, shame on me! Hopefully you can also learn from my mistakes and establish a consistent game plan using some of the following marketing tips.

Small Business Marketing Lessons

timetolearn
Plan ahead – take the time when things are a little slower to plan out some future marketing. It is much easier to keep consistent if you don’t have to come up with marketing ideas during your busy periods. You can keep serving your customers with the same high quality but still stay in front of new prospects at the same time.

Consistent Messaging/Branding – Keep your marketing focused on your target audience and your core benefits. If you keep changing your message so that the theme or benefits become confusing on what benefits (products and services) you really provide you are likely to lose out on potential business. Make sure that even if you change around some of the look and feel of your marketing efforts, there is some consistency in branding, logo, colors, message, etc. Every time you start from scratch on a logo or message you have to work that much harder to generate leads.

Build a Network – Marketing during the current decade often thrives because of a strong network of customers and prospects. While social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc are more and more influential, the best is a dedicated network of followers either from your own blog or maybe a local Chamber of Commerce. Stay involved and develop a community either online or in person.

Please share your thoughts or lessons learned in your own business and how you have overcome them to help our Entrepreneurial business network.

Category: Marketing

Trending Topic – Small Business Saturday

TrendingTopicTuesday750Thanksgiving is almost here, but this year the Christmas music started right after Halloween. The temperatures are cooling and there is holiday shopping in the air! While most small businesses will probably not have their biggest sales day of the year on Small Business Saturday, I am glad it is gaining popularity.

Let’s face it people want bargains and small business overall can’t (and shouldn’t) compete with the big box stores and online behemoths on price…so Small Business Saturday is never going to phase out Black Friday or Cyber Monday. That is not the point of small business anyhow.

SmallBusinessCommunity325Where Small Business Saturday comes into play is a reminder to shoppers that there are other options, options where you can get better quality and above and beyond customer service that seems to be pretty rare in a super-sale world. Small Business is the place where shoppers can find those unique items that are customized or personal.

A limited number of shoppers may #ShopSmall simply to support their community, but the vast majority need to see the demonstrated extra value of why they would pay more in most cases. That is the real world and small business owners know it and the successful ones thrive on it. Entrepreneurs are not looking for charitable donations, we provide value to the consumer.

While I support Small Business Saturday and hope it continues to grow over the years, I would like to suggest that you keep local businesses in mind throughout the year. Explore small businesses in your area. When you are near a local retail store just stop in to see what they offer, maybe try a specialty of that local bakery or restaurant, ask a shop owner for advice or recommendations for a special gift. You might be surprised at some of the great quality products and long term relationships you will build.

OK, I am stepping off my soapbox now…I would love to hear from Entrepreneurs who have come up with great ideas to grow their business this holiday season so we can all grow together. What are you doing different this year? What questions do you have for other small business owners?

Please share this (simply copy and paste into your social media):
Trending Topic, #ShopSmall on #SmallBizSat and all year to #MakeBusinessBloom…http://bit.ly/trendingtues

Tweet your thoughts and additional topics to: @eRoseWeb

Stop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!
rose

Category: Marketing

Marketing Monday, Applying ‘Buy-ology’ for Small Business Entrepreneurs

MarketingMonday750Want to improve the results of your marketing? We want to share some of the findings from the scientific approach to testing marketing, a field called neuromarketing.

Specifically some small business applications to the book Buy-ology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy, by Martin Lindstrom. While not his most recent work on the topic, I came across other marketers who recommended this book as a new classic in marketing, and found some great information to share with fellow small business owners and entrepreneurs. We touched on this a little bit before with our blog Mind Tricks to Maximize Marketing Results…

BuyologyCover375One of the main questions this book poses in a nutshell is what determines which of the overwhelming number of ads and promotions makes it into our consciousness and therefore has a high likelihood of resulting in actual sales of a product or service?

Traditional market research like surveys and focus groups do not always reflect demand and emotional reactions to a product accurately. Why? Because our brain processes so much information that often a portion of the decision-making process is in the subconscious, so if you ask the person why they bought from your competitor instead of from you, they may not even know much less be able to share that information.

“…if marketers could uncover what is going on in our brains that makes us choose one brand over another…that would be the key to truly building brands of the future. Which is why I embarked on …a three-year-long, multimillion dollar journey into the worlds of consumers, brands, and science.”
“…I soon came to see that neuromarketing, an intriguing marriage of marketing and science, was the window into the human mind that we’ve long been waiting for, that neuromarketing is the key to unlocking what I call Buyology-the subconscious thoughts feelings, and desires that drive the purchasing decisions we make each and every day of our lives.”

Many of the examples in the book involve large companies or industries along with the detailed science of how the results were found. I recommend this book if you have an interest in learning more about branding and how these results were found. I am sharing just a few of the highlights I believe can benefit small business owners and marketers specifically.

Who moved my product – product placement relevancy

An interesting finding regarding product placement in a TV show or movie is that if the product is not integral to the storyline then as much as if not more than a straight up advertisement. One of the best example of effective product placement is Reese’s Pieces in the classic movie E.T. because it was part of the story it drove sales way up. If you have an opportunity to get your product or service into a show or movie, it is best to make sure it is integral or complimentary to the storyline and not an unneccesary tangent. (Of course if the producers are including it for free, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!)

Buying is contagious!

Lindstrom also discusses what are called mirror neurons, as you likely know when someone near you yawns it often will cause you to yawn. What you might not realize is that even if you read about certain actions like yawning or grasping a pen your brain reacts the same as if you were performing that action yourself.

A couple examples of how to apply this to your small business are to make sure you and your staff present a positive happy demeanor, while it may be common sense to you to smile when working with customers it actually does have scientific evidence behind it to create better results. Another interesting example is for businesses offering a product is to show one of your clients excitedly opening the package to get to the product or set it up. Believe it or not there are entire video sharing websites dedicated to watching others open products, feeling the excitement vicariously through others. (And hopefully creating the desire for them to recreate that themselves after buying your product.)

Creating or tapping into rituals and superstitions

I found it hysterical when Michael (played by Steve Carell) from the US TV show “The Office” says he is not Superstitious, he is just a little ‘stitious’ …but after reading this book I see now that it reflects more than just a funny line. It reflects the truth for many people, outwardly they say they are not superstitious or prone to following rituals but that is often driven by our subconscious minds so many if us don’t realize the extent of our cultural rituals and superstitions and how they affect the buying decision-making process.

A great example of a brand with a ritual are Oreo cookies. Most people will eat Oreo cookies in one of 2 ways … by prying them apart, licking the white frosting center and then eating the wafers…or by dunking a whole cookie into milk and then eating intact. Think about your product or service are there creative ways you can come up with for customers to create a ritual after purchase? Maybe a pairing to something that is already popular? Something that enhances the enjoyment or efficiency of your product or service?

Consumer, come to their senses

Much of the advertising today is focused around one sense – sight. Visuals are everywhere from logos to billboards and banner ads, the neuromarketing research has determined that it is much more effective to engage more than one sense at the same time. Retail stores can try to add a familiar (and positive scent) ideally may spark a childhood memory like using a vanilla scent or a subtle floral scent.

Jingles or music along with a logo can be very effective, a good example of that is Nationwide with their recent ad campaign focused on people hearing or humming their jingle in every aspect of their life.

Sex sells…wait I forgot what product it was selling

There were interesting findings in the area of using sex appeal to sell products and services. It has long been established that sex sells, or does it? While approximately 1/5th or more of ads use sex to sell their products and services, the scientific findings from buyology indicate that most times the sex appeal is a distraction from the product causing less recall of the items being promoted. The ones with the most success typically reach that success due to the controversy associated with the ad campaign. Prompting a wider discussion of the company and product beyond the ad.

The good news for small business is that this also applies to beauty, you don’t need to hire that aspiring model for your advertising, people want to be able to relate to the product. Most products are not geared towards the supermodel target audience, but instead to real people with everyday looks and interesting personalities. As with everything there are exceptions especially if the mirror neurons we mentioned before are involved to convey the feelings involved when using sex or beauty, but again the goal is to connect with your target audience in some way.

Choice Overload – Simplify to Sell More!

“…studies have shown that the more choices we have the less money we spend.”

It sounds counterintuitive but the brain is inundated with so many things that when you make it easier for your potential customer to analyze just a few things the better the chance you have in getting them as a client. While it is good to offer flexibility and a variety of options, target specific products or services to specific audiences and keep it simple to get them in the door so to speak. Then for recurring sales feel free to inform them of a few more of the options you offer, then a few more. Give them some bit sized pieces to help them and grow your relationship.

Lindstrom contends that about 90% of the buying process is subconscious and while this may be true, you don’t need to have a huge budget to analyze the neuromarketing effect of all your decisions. Like any marketing test different things on a smaller scale and see what brings results to your bottom line. Expand the products or marketing that work and keep testing new products and marketing. You may not be able to read their minds, but if you are improving your sales, then you must have engaged their minds in a positive way. Keep up the good work!

Please share this (simply copy and paste into your social media):
Marketing Monday applying Buyology to Small Business Marketing to #MakeBusinessBloom…http://bit.ly/mktgmonbiz

Tweet your thoughts and marketing ideas to: @eRoseWeb

Stop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!

rose

Category: Marketing

Featured Follower Friday – Mari Smith, Facebook Marketing Expert

FollowerFriday750Mari Smith @marismith is a Facebook Marketing Expert who spoke at the recent Social Media Success Summit #SMSS15. She provides a lot of great information for small business owners looking to promote their business through Facebook and Social Media Marketing in general. That is why we are featuring her and a just a few of the helpful tips she shared at #SMSS15 recently.

Facebook is about storytelling, you want to focus on posting compelling stories about your small business and your clients to tell your brand story.Mari_Smith_SMSS15_Photo You can share a little about your history, why your business does what it does, spotlight yourself, your employees, and your customers…a behind the scenes and entertaining look at personalities and benefits. In other words not just posting Buy From Me! over and over but take examples of clients and how they used your product or service to solve a challenge they had or how it made their life better in some way.

It is alright and even advised to put some sort of call to action in most posts. Send them to a page on your website with more information related to the post and with more details on your product and services. Amplify your posts by paying for reach on facebook, due to recent changes on Facebook reaching people without ads or with ads focused on “likes” are a dated practice and often won’t get the results you want for driving business through Facebook.

Every business is different depending on your target audience, but here are some ideas that are effective for many small businesses. Test which of these works best for your social media marketing.

Try posting outside of business hours…Evenings and Weekends tend to be when more people engage on Facebook.

Use Images and Videos in your posts…many people are visual and are more likely to share posts that have visual appeal.

Keep your posts short, posts with less than 200 characters tend to get more shares.

End your post with a question that will encourage engagement.

Again these are just some of the ideas Mari Smith shared, follow her on your social media of choice for more tips and stay tuned to this blog as we will be sharing more from Mari Smith and the other speakers from #SMSS15 soon.

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/marismith
Twitter: @marismith
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/marismith
Web: www.marismith.com

Please share this (simply copy and paste into your social media):
“Featured Follower Friday spotlights Mari Smith, Facebook marketing expert for tips to #MakeBusinessBloomhttp://bit.ly/followerfri

Tweet your ideas for resources, articles, tips to: @eRoseWeb

Stop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!

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Category: Marketing

Thinking Thursday – Persistence is the Key to Winning in Small Business Marketing!

WinnersDontQuit650We have found the key in small business is persistence and adapting to the needs of your customers.

What advice would you offer to fellow Entrepreneurs?

Please share this (simply copy and paste into your social media):
Thinking Thursday, Persistence is the Key to Winning in Small Business Marketing #MakeBusinessBloom … http://bit.ly/entrepreneuriq

Tweet your thoughts and additional topics to: @eRoseWeb

We appreciate your continued interest and we look forward to hearing from you about ways to help your fellow Entrepreneurs Make Business Bloom.

Stop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!

rose

Category: Marketing

The Marketing Force Awakens – Trending Topics to Market Your Small Business

Have you seen the new #StarWars trailer for #TheForceAwakens, honestly it is more like #TheMarketingForceAwakens don’t get me wrong I am really looking forward to both the movie and maybe even learning some marketing techniques. In fact it is already starting, this is the first time I remember that the trailer says ‘Tickets On Sale’ now so far in advance of the actual release of the movie. Maybe I just didn’t pay attention to that before but it sure beats putting people in line at the Theaters for days before the first run of the #StarWars movie.

They knew there would be demand and they want to encourage that, which is very smart marketing. I am curious as to how many weeks it may be sold out and how many people buy multiple tickets (to either try to resell or to see the movie dozens of times in the theaters in 3D).

Unless there is a drastic change in marketing strategy I know there will be an upcoming deluge of cross promotion for quite a few months. All the fast food places and big box stores will be promoting their connection to the movie. Your soda cup for the next 4-6 months will have a character from #TheForceAwakens, the checkout lines will be filled with #StarWars souvenirs.

Unfortunately most small businesses will be limited in being able to capitalize on the new Star Wars movie as the licensing fees associated limit the cross promotion to the big multi-national corporations. There will be some merchandising available without as much profit to the small businesses buying from the big wholesalers who have the license.

TrendingTopicTuesday750However there are always creative ways to capitalize on the latest trends, especially now with social media outlets. Your small business can make a short video without any official Star Wars footage or images that brings you attention with some creativity so it links the theme of the movie to your products or services. Maybe even go the opposite direction…if your prospects may be likely to get tired of all the hype start with a connection to them that your products and services will never have a Star Wars character on them, you are safe to use our services without hearing about the Star Wars hype, etc.

The key in marketing is to find your niche and to connect to your community of clients and future clients, whether that means keeping up on the latest trending topics like Star Wars or staying away from them get to know what your target audience wants…and give it to them in a memorable way.

Please share this (simply copy and paste into your social media):
The Marketing Force Awakens, small business marketing using trends like #starwars #TheForceAwakens to #MakeBusinessBloom…http://bit.ly/trendingtues

Tweet your thoughts and additional topics to: @eRoseWeb

We invite your feedback on how you can use the latest trends and apply them to your small business marketing to learn from each other so we can all Make Business Bloom.

Stop and Smell the Roses…Remember to Enjoy being an Entrepreneur!

rose

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