Are You Avoiding Social Media?

February 3, 2011

Avoidance can be a big mistake. If you don’t understand how social media can help your business, find out quickly. If you are not on board soon, you will be left in your competitors’ dust. Companies that get started with social media are experiencing results in terms of increased sales and visits to their websites. You don’t have to know everything about social media to get started….just GET STARTED!!!

If you don’t have a Facebook page, sign up immediately at www.facebook.com. If you don’t think your customers and associates are there, take a few minutes to read these statistics:  http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics. You may even want to look up your employees and present customers. We also highly recommend http://www.LinkedIn.com for your business. This is one of the best business-to-business social media sites.

When we receive calls from prospects for Innovative Consulting Group’s marketing services, the callers have usually searched for information about us prior to the call. It saves time explaining our services over and over and gives them confidence to pick up the phone. It is not enough to have a website anymore. Your customers and potential customers want to know more about you. Social media is where they learn to trust that you care about their needs, have experience, and are knowledgeable.

The more a company uses social media and sees the results, especially in terms of increased revenue, the more time they spend using it. You too will find that it pays to get involved.

  Posted in Business Blog | 1 Comment | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

Customer Friendly Web Site Lands National Account

April 9, 2010

Jerry had a tight marketing budget for his company but knew he had to do something different. He had struggled like so many other business owners with the economy downturn. He wanted to leverage what he could afford for optimal results. A new Web site was desperately in order. Though he was getting good traffic on his old domain name, the traffic was not turning into paying B2B customers.

All that changed when two weeks after a site revamp was done by Innovative Consulting Group’s team of E-marketing experts. The site, developed to convey value in seconds, brought a national company straight to him. The company executive who called Jerry, said he was impressed that the Web site gave him everything he needed to make an immediate decision to send all their Colorado business to Jerry’s company starting immediately. That’s business marketing at its best!!! Who needs a salesperson when VALUE screams from your Web site?

To see Jerry’s business Web site, visit: www.fastrepairsguaranteed.com

  Posted in Business Blog | No Comments | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

Why Don’t Women Wear Pantyhose Anymore?

January 5, 2010

This is an excellent example of what constitutes an opportunity just waiting for companies like yours to leverage e-marketing for your own promotion and marketing. If Hanes Alive or any other hosiery company was following this forum, they would find the information extremely valuable. Then again, someone in marketing for the company may have posted this topic for discussion in the forum. The hosiery business has been struggling in recent years. The best part of this kind of industry and product feedback is that the information is free for the looking. Think about how you might use this type of information for your own company.

Check it out at:

Amazon.com Community Discussions
www.amazon.com/tag/fashion/forum

If you are reading this blog post and do not understand the difference between forums and blogs, a forum is an on-going two-way discussion. A topic is posted there and anyone who chooses to log into the site can participate as long as they follow the guidelines for the forum. On the other hand, a blog is a monologue that may or may not allow the reader to comment on what was posted by the owner of that blog.

  Posted in Business Blog | No Comments | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

Seven Questions for 2010 E-Marketing

January 4, 2010

To keep up with or surpass your competitors, your company’s marketing plan for 2010 must include social media, improving your Web site’s traffic, starting a blog or forum, getting articles published by you or on your behalf about your industry from your perspective, and e-mail marketing to current or potential customers. Your customers must perceive you as offering more value than your competition if you want to survive in 2010.

In order to move forward with your 2010 marketing, it is best to get a clear understanding of what the results were from your marketing efforts in 2009. If 2009’s marketing did not include e-marketing, you will have a lot of catching up to do. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. How many first time visitors came to your Web site each month in 2009?
2. How many of those turned into customers?
3. How often did you make updates to your site?
4. What did you do that was most effective for securing new customers?
5. If you used new e-marketing methods in 2009, what worked and what did not? And, do you know why?
6. Did you have the knowledge to implement the newer and more effective methods of marketing last year?
7. What action do you plan to take to improve your e-marketing and social media marketing for 2010? Classes? Bring in a consultant? Use more trial and error?

Next, put together a set of goals for integrating e-marketing with your traditional marketing. Be sure to make them SMART goals…Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Responsible party for implementation assigned, and include a Timeline. If you are not sure where to begin, call in an expert for some guidance. In a recent survey, we found that less than 4% of businesses even know the difference between a blog and a forum. The average age of those surveyed was 35-40, not above 50 as one would expect. How can anyone expect to be knowledgeable about the more advanced uses of e-marketing, much less, how to select what is most likely to give the results their company wants and how to transfer that to the bottom line?

  Posted in Business Blog | 2 Comments | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

Marketing 2010…What now?

November 30, 2009

So many companies will go back to the old methods of advertising their products or services because that is all they know. We are already seeing an increase in TV ads which have had less than stellar responses for years. Is this because they are becoming more effective? Not likely! It is always easier to do what we have always done as business owners rather than explore new, better and more effective methods of marketing. Is it time for you to rethink your marketing? If so, where do you begin?

Everyone is a specialist now days. This can be good or bad. What it does do is make it even more difficult for business owners, who often don’t know the right questions to ask in order to determine if a particular service or method is really the best for their company or industry. Don’t assume that because no competitor is using a particular marketing method that you shouldn’t. Maybe that is exactly what you need to do to stand out from the crowd. Take for example the creation of a Web site or updating your existing Web site. Where would you likely start?

1. Graphic designer: Makes the site look good and coordinates your visual brand. Tend to be artistic.

2. Developer: Creates the functional aspects of a site. Tell them what you want it to do and they will make it work. Tend to be technically oriented.

3. Writers: Create the verbiage with your input. Usually write for grammar, spelling and content flow. Tend to be word smart, not marketing smart. May or may not be experienced in writing style for the Internet.

4. Consultants: Advise based on their background, knowledge and expertise. Tend to tell you what you need to do but don’t usually get involved in the implementation phase. The best consultants listen more than they talk. They need to understand where you have been, what you want to accomplish and how they can assist. Choose your consultant well. Make sure they have a solid marketing background and are knowledgeable about current marketing methodology.

5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Use a variety of methods to get your site seen on the Internet. This service is often used when a site is not creating the results you were hoping for when you created your site originally. SEO is a very vague term that is used for doing many activities that may or may not be what you need from a marketing perspective; creating meta tags for your site, submitting it to search engines, setting up and analyzing the analytical reports, creating links, and even regularly writing articles and blog postings for you or with you.

Now that you have an understanding of the complexity of marketing today, is it really your area of expertise? If not, I would recommend beginning with an analysis of your current marketing methods and what has worked and what is not now working well. It is often best to seek outside consulting assistance that understands the importance of integrating everything you do and how critical it is to create a perception of value for your goods and services. Make sure that the consultant of choice is up-to-date and stays up-to-date with the many options available for action and results oriented marketing. Just remember, if you don’t do this first, and your competition does, they will have the advantage. Next year may be too late.

Most companies make the mistake of calling in a specialist first. Those that do are more likely to start out in the wrong direction, waste time and money, and be less effective.

  Posted in Business Blog | No Comments | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

Working More and Enjoying it Less

November 18, 2009

It is difficult for most business owners to delegate, especially when the company is in crisis. The continuing thought is that the owner or manager has to do it because if he or she delegates the task, it will not get done or he or she will spend more time fixing errors. Instead, what often happens is that the task does not get done and hangs around haunting the owner/manager in the pile of TO DOs. Try delegating internally if you have competent staff, if not, you will get through this economic crisis better and faster by subcontracting for what you need done that require a different skill set or knowledge base immediately.

It is time to adjust your thinking if you want to survive as a business today. What worked in the past, no longer is effective. You have probably already discovered that you cannot do it all. Instead of staring at your computer screen, stressed with everything on your list that is not getting done, take action and delegate. You will be amazed at how much faster you will be back in control.

Bonnie Griffin Kaake

ICG President

  Posted in Business Blog | No Comments | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

The Value of a Marketing Audit

November 18, 2009

Many companies create their own marketing materials and Websites in an attempt to economize. It can work for a while and then you begin to notice that the results are just not coming from what you have created. The first tendency is to blame the economy, the business climate, the time of year, your salespeople, the big business of search engines, and I can go on and on. The truth is that most of the time there are relatively quick and simple things that can be done to what you have that can make all the difference in getting results. Other times, you need a total new direction. In order to know the difference, it is helpful to bring in a savvy marketing consultant to do an audit of what you are doing currently and make written recommendations for changes. If you want a thorough audit with analysis and recommendations, expect to pay for that service, it is worth it and you will receive a higher quality of feedback and written analysis with recommendations, than from a consultant who is simply looking at your materials to secure business.

Bonnie Griffin Kaake

ICG President

  Posted in Business Blog | No Comments | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

Employees Working From Home

November 18, 2009

Telecommuting managed well can save you and your employees’ money. The trick is to have good tracking systems in place, clear instructions and written policies outlining your expectations of employees working from home offices. Some companies find timers on employees’ desk tops, wherein the information is forwarded to the company headquarters on a regular basis, work well. Others require that employees log in to corporate servers when they are working. The overwhelming majority of employees are extremely satisfied working from home and only miss the camaraderie of an office environment. Of course, abuse of the privilege requires a manager of that employee to act quickly to point out the abuse and, if it is repeated, the appropriate action must be taken. Again, it is important to have the term “abuse” clearly spelled out in your working at home policy so that there is no ambiguity about treatment differences between employees. There must be consequences or the behavior will continue to worsen.

Bonnie Griffin Kaake

ICG President

  Posted in Business Blog | No Comments | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

Engineers Create Products, Some Don’t Fit Your Product Line

November 18, 2009

Technical product companies’ engineers often create products that are unused and reside in the inventory of prototypes and intellectual property. Why not turn them into revenue producing assets? You are probably asking yourself  “Who has the time?”. You can delegate the research to someone inside or outside your company to determine other markets for the product. The out-sourced research may provide the most unbiased and creative direction for those prototypes and products collecting dust in your inventory.

Then again, there may be an application for that genius product or patent at another company, one that is willing to compensate you for the asset. The best approach would be to analyze the highest and best use of your asset and assist in determining the next step: trash it, expand your existing product line, or commercialize through licensing to another company.

Bonnie Griffin Kaake

ICG President

  Posted in Business Blog, Inventor Blog | No Comments | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

Bad Logos Hurt Businesses

November 18, 2009

I encountered one of the worst logos I have ever seen just last week. As a marketing expert, I notice these things. Looking for a restaurant for a lunch stop while on my way to a client’s location in an unfamiliar place in town, it caught my eye—not in a good way.  It may have been a great restaurant but the logo looked “homemade” rather than what I imagined the food should be.

The name of the restaurant was difficult to read and the logo was more of a complex drawing in the form of a sign on the top of the building. It was so complex that from the busy road I could not tell what it was. Out of marketing curiosity, not interest in eating there, I drove into the shopping center and out of traffic to take a closer look.

Bonnie Griffin Kaake

ICG President

  Posted in Business Blog | No Comments | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

Older Posts »