Branding

Business Blog: Often Overlooked Marketing Tool

Five Reasons You Should Start A Business Blog

Business blogs have become a common and cost effective way to market your business online. But there are still many businesses – especially small businesses – that are haven’t made the jump and started a business blog.

There are can be several reasons why small business owners don’t blog:

  • Blogging requires a commitment of time and resources that many small businesses can’t spare.
  • Many small business owners don’t know how to get started from a technical perspective.
  • It can challenging to develop a loyal and engaged following.
  • It can be difficult to consistently come up with interesting topics.

But starting a business blog doesn’t have to be intimidating. And once you’re up and blogging, the benefits will make effort worthwhile.

Here are five big reasons that every small business should start a blog.

1.    Target potential clients.

Even though business blogs typically don’t involve direct promotion of products and services, they are a great way to market your business. The promotion on a blog just comes in a more passive way.

You discuss the industry you work in, the general services that you provide, and the individual challenges that your target audience faces. This keeps your name in front of potential clients that may need and consider buying the products and services that you provide.

2.    Boost traffic to your website.

As a general rule, most business blogs are separate from a business’ website – either created as a different section or as a different site entirely. Creating a secondary location helps you target new visitors and move the traffic to your products and services, online store or contact pages through in-content links and/or links in your navigation.

3.    Establish yourself as an expert in your industry.

Sharing high-quality and relevant information with your readers demonstrates your expertise in a particular subject area or industry.  Eventually, you’ll become known as the go-to guy/gal that provides consistent and useful information that helps readers learn about new resources, solve tough challenges and even advance their own businesses.

4.    Create a unique community.

One of the best parts of a successful business blog is the sharing that can take place in the comments. You can facilitate an active comments area on your blog by posting and responding to comments That will help you create a community with shared interests, and you’ll learn a great deal about your audience in the process.

5.    Gives you valuable person-to-person connections.

A business blog doesn’t have to be all business. Occasionally injecting some of your personality, going off topic occasionally and using humor can help you avoid having a boring business blog. Give your blog a little individuality and it can make you more relatable and approachable by your readers.

These are just a few of the benefits that come with a successful business blog. Granted, creating a successful business blog takes time, dedication and patience. But once you get started, you’ll be on your way to realizing the many marketing benefits of blogging.

advertising and marketing

Advertising and Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Understanding the fundamentals of advertising and marketing

advertising and marketing

People often get advertising and marketing confused.

The fact is that there is a huge difference between the two terms.

Marketing is the process by which products and services are introduced to the marketplace. Whereas, advertising is the description or presentation of a product, idea, or organization, in order to induce individuals to buy, support, or approve of it. Marketing is the sum of all activities that you perform to get the word out about your business and attract the customers you want. Advertising is essentially spreading the word about what your company has to offer. Advertising is a component, or subset, of marketing.

advertising and marketing processMarketing takes time. It involves understanding who your potential customers are and what they want to get from your product or service. Think of marketing as everything that an organization does to facilitate an exchange between company and consumer. An effective marketing strategy involves use of color, logos, and how your products and services are sold. A marketing strategy creates the perception that you want people to have of your business. Is your company forward thinking, a fun company or a large stable business? It’s marketing that defines your brand and attracts the market share you want.

Advertising is getting the word out about your business, your products and services. It can involve several strategies including newspaper, radio and television ads. On the internet it can include banner ads, posting classifieds, etc.

To market your product or service, fundamentally you must:

– Study your target audience

– Identify their values and needs

If you’re trying to appeal to a quality-conscious demographic, you’d probably want to develop a campaign that showcases your brand as being high end. If you’re reaching out to a younger or more forward-demographic, develop an edgier approach to present the image of your product.

Once your marketing strategy has identified your target audience, you can now focus your advertising dollars on the specific types of media used by that audience to increase your likelihood of successfully acquiring new customers. Print, television, radio and the Internet are common venues that can communicate your brand to potential customers. Social media is also a powerful component of marketing, branding, as well as advertising efforts; proper use of Twitter, Facebook and Google+ (and others) can help spread the word about what it is you have to offer.

In the end, marketing and advertising campaigns are most effective when they are fully integrated.

media and content marketing

Owned Media: The Power of Owned Media Continues to Grow

Build brand presence with owned media content strategy

media and content marketing

The power of owned media as a marketing tool continues to grow. This trend will continue for the foreseeable future. Traditionally, there were two types of media.  

  1. Paid — where you paid for the placement of your message. This can be print ads, banner ads, television and radio ads, etc.
  2. Earned — you’re able to get your story placed in a news media outlet and have journalist talk about it.

Now, your company can produce your own content because of owned media. This is, in large part, thanks to the Internet. Owned media allows you to reach the same audience as those other media, but in a way that you completely control and that is more effective. Owned media involves content that you create, control and share. You write it, produce it, record it, publish it and market it to your audience.owned media and content

There are two types of owned media:

  1. Fully-owned media (like your website)
  2. Partially-owned media (like your Facebook or Twitter account)

Owned media is all about providing your own content on platforms that you own and control. Owned media helps you reach your audience when other media may not be doing the job. People are looking for answers to their problems. You can give them those answers. It is a great way to improve visibility and reach your target audience.

Owned media extends your brand’s presence beyond your web site so that it exists in many places across the web – social media sites, message boards and unique communities. The ability to communicate directly with your consumers (who want to engage with your brand) through long-term relationships is invaluable.

Content is what makes owned media work. When you create content that engages your audience, you build trust and, in turn, long-term relationships with your customers and prospects. Content creation can include blogs, white papers, eBooks, webinars, podcasts, video campaigns, and email marketing. In short, any medium that will effectively reach your audience.

With owned media, content that you create and own resides on something that you own and that you can then lend to outlying networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Owned media isn’t just about creating a brand. It’s also about:

* Building your database

* Generating leads

* Converting leads into sales

That is why every piece of owned media content you create should have:

* A call-to-action (i.e. “Like” us, leave a comment, a link to your blog, etc.)

* Registration (such as email address and/or phone number) in exchange for some piece of content

Creating an owned media network with your own original content establishes your company as the hub in the wheel of information. It should be viewed as an investment, not an expense.

online reviews and customer feedback

3 Situations that Require a Response to Bad Online Reviews

How To Handle Customer Feedback

online reviews and customer feedback

You just got a bad online review full of negative customer feedback. There are situations when it’s best not to respond. But at other times you need to spring into “reputation management mode” and answer the review directly. But how do you determine the difference? Here are three situations when you must respond to bad reviews:

  1. You really did screw up: Sometimes you just make a mistake. People will generally understand. If you erred and someone is legitimately upset about it, it’s usually in your best interest to quickly engage them and make it right. Owning the issue cools down the sentiment of the viewer. Apologize for the error, explain what’s been done to insure that it won’t happen again and then offer an incentive to get them to give you a second go. You’ll not only mend the fence with that particular customer, your response will immediately make potential customers feel that when someone has a problem, your business will address the situation and that you’re confident you are in your product.
  2. The reviewer is misstating the facts: Your Company is being blasted for giving a reviewer a bad product or not honoring a promised deal. The problem: you sell that product and you didn’t offer that deal. In such cases, speak up and politely let the reviewer know that they have simply misunderstood something or they’re getting you confused with another business. If it’s a matter of bad facts, you should step in immediately and correct them. More often than not, the reviewer doesn’t realize he/she has made an error. Remember, be professional with your response.
  3. The review begins to gain traction: Some negative online reviews, whether true or not, take on a life their own. These situations need to be addressed and need to be addressed fast. These reviews are often left by people with a large social network. If a person with considerable a sizable social following says something bad about your company and it begins to gain traction, step in and do what you can to remedy the situation fast. You may think it’s a petty complaint but even a minor issue can become a reputation disaster if allowed to grow.

Boosting Local Search Results with Social Media

Companies are no longer asking if they should be active in social media. They understand that user-generated content is a required element of a comprehensive location-based search program.  It’s now just a question of developing the right social media strategy that will give you greatest impact. The right social media strategy will let you:

 

  1. Communicate directly with your customers
  2. Create engaging discussion topics
  3. Help your marketing go viral
  4. Boost your online brand-awareness
  5. Organically propel your business to the top of local search results

 

The evolving social media landscape can be a confusing place for marketers. However, here are some tips that will help you achieve those goals:

 

  1. Build a fan base on Facebook. Forty percent of Facebook users follow a specific brand. More than half of Facebook users eventually purchase that brand. Facebook ‘Likes’ spread brand awareness virally, delivering information to everyone befriended by your brand fans.
  2. Use Twitter to keep in touch with customers. One in every four Twitter users follows a specific brand, and 67 percent of them will end up purchasing that brand. Use your Twitter posts to engage consumers by providing them with helpful information about your products and services. Special offers are a great way to grab the attention of Twitter followers.
  3. Encourage customers to rate and review your business. Consumers love online reviews because they can see what others really think about you, and your product or service before making a purchasing decision.  In addition, reviews on social media sites improve your search engine rankings and will drive free web traffic.
  4. Leverage YouTube in local search results.  Embed videos in Google Place Pages, websites, and social profile pages.  Videos showcase your products and services while putting a human face on your business.
  5. Give customers incentives to share information online.  Branded “Share and Receive a Reward” programs can encourage consumers to share your offers with their friends via Facebook, Twitter and other web channels in exchange for discounts or special prizes.

 

Creating an effective social media marketing program, you make it easy for your customers to find you and your business and talk about it online. The result can be incredible and greatly amplify your web marketing results, generate calls and appointments and boost long-term brand awareness.