Marketing

Creating clear marketing goals for action, success and more money!

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Business owners often know what they want in their businesses, but they don’t have clear goals on how to get what they want. They just know they want to be successful. They know they want to make more money. They know they want to do the thing that their business does.

Here’s the thing though: having clear and specific goals makes it easier to do everything else. Having clear goals even creates more time in your business because you’re not spending time on things that won’t move you forward. Clear business goals also help you define clear marketing goals which will ensure your attention and messaging is focused on what will have an impact on your business. And good marketing turns into more leads, which turns into more sales!

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?

Spend time thinking about your business goals, specifically about what you're hoping to achieve through your marketing. It's probably (though not necessarily) a given that one of your goals is to make more money, but we want to get more specific than that today. Your goals may include things, such as:

  • Being known as an expert at something

  • Being seen as a resource on a certain topic

  • Expanding your audience geographically or demographically

  • Getting more engagement online and building community

  • Increasing sales in a certain part of your business

  • Getting other people to talk about you to their communities

  • Filling a certain program

  • Increasing sales online instead of in person

Because it always helps to see specific examples, I'll share some of mine and create some fictional examples:

  • Be seen as an expert in explaining social media for small business

  • Be seen as an expert in nutrition and wellness

  • Expand audience beyond the Ottawa-area

  • Expand audience to new moms 

  • Increase sales in one-on-one coaching and speaking (or sign two new clients per month)

  • Create content that is linked to by other bloggers and media outlets

  • Be more findable in search

You can be even more precise and create goals that are channel-specific:

  • Increase Facebook likes by 300 people

  • Establish a presence on YouTube and get 1000 video views

  • Get retweeted and tagged by industry experts on Twitter

  • Get three media hits per month


REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO ACHIEVE

The more you work to figure out these goals and why you're setting them, the more likely you will work them into your plan efficiently. Take a few minutes and write down an explanation of what you mean by each one and why they're important to you. For example:

  • I really enjoy helping small business owners figure out how to use social media for their business in a one-on-one setting. I get energized and excited when having personalized calls with business owners and hearing them figure out what they could be doing. Their lightbulb moments make my day, and their wins and increased revenue are my wins too. I want to do more of that so I need to make it clear that this is something that I do, like to do and I am good at.

  • I feel that it's time to expand beyond my local market. I like to spend time in Toronto and Boston and want to start by growing my audience in those specific cities. To do that, I need to start to grow an audience in those cities, so there is already a start of a customer base in those cities when I arrive to hold an event or launch a product. I need to figure out where my audience is spending their time (online and off) in those cities so I can create a custom plan.

  • I want to grow my online sales. I know that if I focus more of my attention on driving people to my online store and the products I sell there, I can increase that revenue stream. That may mean decreasing what I make in person while I focus on online or working extra hours to carry me through the gap.

TIME TO DO THE WORK

I challenge you to spend 10 minutes right now coming up with three or four marketing goals for the next six months. Really think about what you like to do, what you want to be doing and why you want to be doing it and give yourself some real explanations on why those are important and meaningful goals for you and your business and your marketing right now. Then leave a comment and share some of those ideas here!


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Social media means being social?

As business owners, you probably know there is a ton of value that can be gained by going to networking events. Going to your local chamber of commerce meetings, joining a small, but consistent weekly networking group, or going to conferences lets you meet all kinds of new people and learn new things.

Social media is meant to be social (shocking, I know!) and to REALLY get the most value out of it you need to have conversations, you need to share information, and you need to get beyond your own channels. You need to do what you do at in-person networking events, online.

Join groups

Join some groups that have your target audience in them. There are groups of every type and size on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.  Where is your audience spending their time? Are they in groups talking about local issues; are they in groups talking about certain industries?  Join some groups and be a helpful resource, be friendly, and then share interesting information from people in the groups with your audience.

Comment on what other people are saying

People love comments. I love comments (feel free to leave one here to make my day:-) ), and I bet you probably like getting comments too. Leaving comments on blog posts and social media updates from businesses run by your target audience or that your audience would follow, or by your target audience on their personal channels or responding to something someone said on Twitter is a great way to build relationships. The more you talk to someone, respond to things they say, and are friendly, the more they’ll pay attention to you and what you’re saying and want to share your message with their audience.

Share other people’s knowledge

People pay attention to those that are helping them spread their message. When you share content created by someone else you are doing two things at once. You’re sharing valuable content with your audience that you didn’t have to create (yay!) and you’re creating opportunity to be noticed by the person whose content you’re sharing (unless the content is from a really big site, then it may not be AS noticed). Share articles and posts (making sure to tag the original author) on all the different channels and see if the person who’s content you’re sharing doesn’t start noticing you more.

A free resource for you

If you’re wondering how to keep it all straight in your head, check out our newest free resource: our Daily Social Media Checklist. It will help keep you on track with what you should be doing on your own channels, as well as breaking out and spending time outside your own Facebook page and blog.

A new way of advertising - Walk Off The Earth

Walk Off The Earth (WOTE) was one of the first bands in years to capture my attention. They play ukuleles, sing great covers, happen to be Canadian, and they’re really fun! :)

I’ve loved watching their rise to success since 2012 when a cover of Gotye’s Somebody that I used to know went (really!) viral. The band has been so smart. They knew that since they started with videos, they needed to keep creating videos, and they haven’t stopped. Even while touring, recording their album, and through one member’s pregnancy, they have continued to release amazing videos of both their original content and covers.

This past year I began noticing their work with brands. Because of the work that I do, instead of just seeing fun videos, I couldn’t help but be impressed at the companies they were working with and the fact that those companies understood the value in working with a band like them. To be really succesful with online marketing, brands needs to be innovative and not expect that the kind of marketing they did (and do) through traditional channels will be successful online. The work that WOTE has done with the following three brands is a fabulous example of understanding that.

ING Direct

The first one I noticed was for ING Direct. The band did a cover of Madonna’s song Material Girl. At the end of the video (it’s gone now because the contest is over) the band did an explanation of a contest ING was having and encouraging people to enter by submiting videos on how they like to save money. It was fun, and ING knew that doing something fun with this band (especially requests for videos) would be a great way to reach out a certain audience.

Polk

I’d never heard of Polk before this video, but Walk Off The Earth worked with them this summer to help launch a campaign they were starting called “Listen to the Music”.  The campaign encourages bands to submit covers of the Doobie Brother’s song by the same name and WOTE was a great fit to start off the campaign with their own cover.  The brand was able to use and promote the video in their marketing.  WOTE also posted the video to their channels (which is how I saw it). The video isn’t blatantly for the brand, but the subtle product and brand placement is great advertising for Polk.

Volkswagon

The most recent partnership is with Volkswagon. Walk Off The Earth approached them, told them they loved the brand and that they’d love to create a video using one of their cars as part of their music.

Again, it’s fun, it’s different, and it’s engaging. WOTE only shared the video that they created using the car as percussion, but they actually created three different version all with different feels based on the model of the Beetle they used.

(You can see all 3 versions on the Volkswagon Canada Youtube page)

I can’t wait to keep watching what Walk Off The Earth will keep doing, and also how more and more brands will find new and different ways to use the online space to connect with their audiences. If you’re looking for a good read on how things are changing and why we all need to evolve with the times, I highly recommend Mitch Joel’s book CTRL Alt Delete

Have you seen any brands doing fun and innovative marketing online? Leave a comment and let us know!

Small business resources: Marketing blogs

Small business owners have a lot on their plate: from day-to-day operations of their business to the marketing and promotion to administrative duties. The list could go on and on. There are two priorities for every business owner - to increase revenue or decrease costs. The only way to increase revenue is by getting your name out there effectively and efficiently, but not every business owner is an expert marketer. 

However, these expert marketers have blogs that are tailored to the small business owner. The wisdom, insights, and practical advice they provide can absolutely help you grow your business.

Duct Tape Marketing

I started following John Jantsch (Duct Tape Marketing) when I found his Duct Tape Marketing podcast about 7 years ago. One of the things I really enjoy about John’s content is that he has a good mix of marketing wisdom, practical tips, and innovative tools - all tailored to small business. Every now and then he tries out certain tools and his overviews have convinced me to try a few myself. Busy small business owners need content that is quick to read, easy to absorb, and painless to action - you’ll get all three from John consistently. The resource page alone contains enough value to make it worth your time to check out what he’s recommending. Besides, don’t you just love the name!?

The Marketing Spot

The Marketing Spot blog is a recent discovery of mine, but after browsing through some of the content, I quickly realized that I really enjoy Jay Ehrat’s style. In amongst solid advice is a lot of education about marketing principles that can help guide decisions - particularly when the answer may not be clear right away. For business owners that want to dig deeper into the critical role that marketing plays in growing your business, this blog is one you’ll want to follow closely.

SmartBlogs (by SmartBrief)

SmartBlogs is not necessarily specifically focused on small business, but I think a lot of the content is definitely userful for small business owners. There are a variety of topics covered - my personal favourites are social media (of course), leadership and I also like to watch the finance blog. I’m not a huge fan of email newsletters (they’re an awesome tool, but it’s not my preferred method of getting news most of the time), HOWEVER, this is one of a few blogs that I invite into my inbox. The emails are easily skimmed for quick tidbits I want to read further or I move on quickly. You can also subscribe to the feeds via RSS. For small businesses using social media to market their products and services, I think the social media feed is definitely worth subscribing to.

I’ve given a few recommendations here, but I’d love to hear what blogs you like to follow for marketing advice. Tell me in the comments some of the sources you find helpful!

5 arguments for organizations to stop blocking social media sites

We do a fair amount of speaking, often to professionals who work for government-run departments or non-profit agencies. One comment we hear over and over is, “We can’t use social media; all of the web sites are blocked at work!”

So here are a few arguments to bring back to your managers as to why social media shouldn’t be blocked in your place of work:

  1. Even if YOU aren’t using social media, most people are and they’re spending less and less time reading newspapers and watching tv. Your organization needs to have access to where people are spending their time, if it wants to reach them. For those in any kind of marketing, communications, outreach, or community building role, this is especially important.
  2. Today’s audiences expect more than just information, they expect entertainment, they expect relationships, and they expect it regularly. You can’t deliver without access to the ever-evolving tools found online - at least not easily.
  3. The conversation is happening whether your organization participates or not.  Instead of avoiding social media to prevent negative feedback or other issues, be there to tackle the issues and add your expertise to what is already happening. (Policies, planning and setting expectations with your audience will help prevent issues from cropping up.)
  4. Social media is full of useful and interesting information and gives employees access to answers that could help them in their jobs. Imagine how many other organizations around the world face similar challenges day to day. The potential for collaboration is infinitely valuable for professionals.
  5. If the only point of the blocking these sites is to prevent employees from accessing email, Facebook and YouTube while at work, the increasing prevelance of smartphones means no organization is going to succeed. 

While I can understand that not every employee needs access to social media to do their job, there is a strong argument for trusting your employees to use the tools responsibly and give them the opportunity to access the wealth of knowledge online. Not to mention that, with comprehensive training and policies designed to empower, your employees can become your biggest ambassadors of the work you do.

What do you think?  Leave a comment and let us know if you are blocked from social channels at work and if you have any arguments to add to the list!