Posts in Business and Marketing
Reflect and Reassess Your Goals For 2019

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and are ready to make waves in 2019! In terms of planning and goal setting, I want to share with you one the most important business activities I do for the entire year, which is to Reflect and Reassess on the previous year.

Take some time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work in 2018 then reassess your goals and create a plan to put your answers to work for you. This can apply to your business marketing, social media, client retention, you name it!

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Reflection - Inspiration

Ponder this question,.. Are you inspired? Your work means so much more than just taking taking care of your personal financial responsibilities and family. Ask yourself, “does my work actually inspire me?”

What you should ask yourself:

  1. Do your day to day tasks inspire you? If yes, why? (Then build on that, talk about it, share the JOY it has created for you.)

  2. If your answer is no, then try to define why? (Then set goals to make changes to improve.)

For me personally, I would answer yes to that question if the project fits into my mission and goes along with my core values as a company. For example I might consider:

  1. Does this project allow me to best serve the clients needs?

  2. Is this project going to help my client gain success?

  3. Does this project help the greater good?

New Year, New You

While others focus on creating new year’s resolutions that probably won’t stick, you can successfully set obtainable goals for the year to come if you reflect on your personal activity and success from the previous year or years. Then (and this is important) have an honest conversation with yourself (and your team) about what has worked, and what has not worked and where you want to go from here.

Create obtainable goals, then be sure to create specific, tasks that you and your team can achieve this year!

Here’s what some of my professional goals look like:

  • Touch base with 3 new potential clients per week (3)

  • Write 1 blog post per week (1)

  • Plan social media one week in advance (1)

  • Create new artwork at least 1 time per month (2)

Think about your goals across different categories for example mine are:

(1) Marketing

(2) Creativity

(3) Business Development

See, it can be simple and its not overwhelming if you just break it down. I Hope this helps you start the year off right. Here’s wishing you an incredible year friend!



5 Quick Ways to Boost Your Holiday Sales

Did you know that one of the most important shopping weekends of the year consists of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday?  Yep, its true!  According to Forbes.com, “Last year alone, 88 million consumers shopped small on Small Business Saturday – which was up 14.9 percent from 2014.”  Crazy right?

So, its not hard to figure out that it is extremely important to take advantage of the hype that the Holidays will bring to boost your business sales, but in order to have a successful “big sale” event,  it takes some smart and savvy planning.  Without a dedicated marketing team, running a sale and promoting it can seem overwhelming so here are 5 simple steps you should take to maximize and boost your holiday sales this year:

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1. Offer coupons and discounts

Be sure to plan out and email your special offers ahead of time.  The possibilities are endless but for example, you could offer a percentage off, a dollar value off, or a buy one, get one free deal, etc.  Whatever you feel will work best for your customer base is good just make sure it is an offer above and beyond any normal sales offer you run throughout the year.  This way you will build loyalty within your customer base as they will look forward to that special time of year when you hold your Holiday sale.

Here are a couple suggestions:Offer coupons to first-time customers only, and also offer separate loyal customer coupons

  • Offer the option to purchase an e-gift card on your website which can be used towards a future purchase or as a gift

  • Offer free or discounted shipping

  • Offer seasonal items that can only be purchased during the holiday season

2. Plan and schedule your email strategy

According to statistics, nearly half of American shoppers will learn about Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals from email so be sure to prepare and plan to send out targeted emails specifically for the 3 special days.  Have an email schedule and blast those reminders and deals out!  These days, Tuesday is becoming a big deal as well and is aptly named, "Giving Tuesday," so don't forget to include that day as well. 

Sample email blast schedule:

  • On the Monday before Thanksgiving, send an anticipation email, letting customers know that your Black Friday or Cyber Monday sale is coming soon

  • On Thanksgiving Day, reveal your Black Friday or Cyber Monday offer

  • On Black Friday advertise your offers and present strong calls to action

  • On Cyber Monday, remind customers that the big sale is going on with big calls to action

  • On Giving Tuesday plan to send an extension offer if you would like to grab a few more days of sales

3. Spread your message through social media

Use your social media networks to market your Holiday sale promotions.  Make sure you are updating all your social channels to let your audience know about your special deals.  Be creative with your post, tweets, and pins and remember to respond to any comments your customers may post.  Also encourage your followers to spread the news by offering an additional discount or freebie by sharing the sale news.  

4. Digital Ads

Digital ads help market your promotions and bring in new customers so consider purchasing online ads to help sell your products and services during the holiday season.   Consider using keyword ads, mobile ads and video pre-roll ads and start advertising 1-2 months prior.  Also be sure to optimize your website for mobile!  

5. Video Marketing

Have a professional video made to showcase your big sale, products and services.  Video marketing is a great way to bring in new customers as well as create loyalty with your current customer base.  You can then use these videos to advertise and share on your website and social media.

Tell me!  What types of holiday sales promotions does your company offer?  Do you blast out emails to advertise your promotions? What types of promotions do you find works best for your business?

6 Great Examples of Effective Marketing Videos

Over the last several years, video marketing has become more and more important to include in any businesses marketing plan.  The need to reach targeted audiences with video has rapidly increased due to the need for more engagement.   Because people are bombarded with constant distractions when using social media, it is so important that your business or personal brand stands out from the crowd and with the use of marketing videos, you stand a much better chance of being seen and heard.  

From a business marketing standpoint, integrating video into your campaign is one of the most powerful and effective ways to reach your audience, connect with them and increase engagement.

Your marketing plan needs to include the right mix of interesting and professional video to promote your services or goods.  Creating “behind the scenes”, DIY’s and “how to's” for example,  are great ways to further engage your target audience.  Recently I shared 6 Ways to Use Video Marketing For Business so be sure to check that out if you haven’t already.  Now let’s take a look at some great examples of how video can be used to further engage an audience:

Behind the Scenes

Behind the scenes videos are very engaging because users feel more connected to a person, brand or company.  By offering your audience transparency you will increase brand loyalty and build trust between company and consumer.

One great example is by one of our favorite local reporters, Tammy Palmer with WSYR, Newschannel 9 Syracuse, NY.  

Tammy uses video to give her audience a front row seat at the making of her news stories by taking people behind the camera with live Facebook videos.  This adds so much more value and really lets her audience connect with her.  As you can see in this live Facebook video, Tammy gives her audience a chance to see the news live on TV while she is on Facebook Live which is brilliant.

For another example, Syracuse Paranormal did a great job of including live behind the scenes video into their social media as well.  I would love to see them do this more often, because I feel that their followers would really enjoy seeing their on-site footage.  Live footage lets viewers feel like they are right there with them in this beautiful yet creepy old cemetery.  

Product Demonstrations

Product demonstration videos are very useful because they allow the audience to see the product in action.  This type of video will grab attention and peek curiosity.  AND It will most likely make them want to purchase the product once they see how great it works.  

Check out this fabulous example by a footwear enthusiast and sales person for a major athletic shoe company, John Carlston.   I find his videos captivating, memorable and consistent.  I think this guy should either go to film school or open his own line of athletic shoes.

Another good example of a product demo video is from Taste the World Coffee Shop located in Oswego, NY.  They shoot these nice little promo videos which are quite simple to make yet highly effective for use on Instagram.  Who doesn’t love to see fresh artisan coffee being made and poured?  This video makes me want to run right out and grab one of their gourmet coffees.  #ilovecoffee

How To

One great way to promote your brand is by creating “how to” videos that will show your audience how to do something.  It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to teach someone how to do your craft, but it demonstrates your ability as an expert in your field. Positioning yourself as the expert is very important to your audience so that they will trust you and want to buy from you.  One of my favorite examples is the Little Cake Artist Instagram account which has skyrocketed in popularity and with good reason.  Kaleigh Ligoci aka “the little cake artist” uses her iPhone to take these great little clips of her decorating her artisan cakes and pastries.  "I must have one of her delicious creations!" (said everyone who sees her cake making in action) Just look at the number of followers!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BSodFkKANJI/?hl=en&taken-by=thelittlecakeartist

https://www.instagram.com/p/BSodFkKANJI/?hl=en&taken-by=thelittlecakeartist

Answer Questions

To capture the interest of your target audience and keep them coming back for more, demonstrations are a must.  Here is a great example by Skaneateles Strength demonstrating the proper way to do dead lift.  What a simple and perfect way to engage their audience by showing proper weight lifting technique.  Not only does the video demonstrate their expertise as a training facility, it also gives their viewers very valuable information.  

These are just some examples to get you started using video to promote your business or personal brand.  I would love to hear if you are using video to promote your business?  What types of videos are you including in your marketing stratedgy?

 

6 Ways to use Video Marketing for Your Business

Let’s face it, we live in a digital world.  A world where people spend the majority of their time with their faces buried in an iPhone.  Scroll down through your Facebook news-feed and what do you see most these days?  Video!  This year alone, the world will watch billions of videos per day on Facebook, YouTube and other various platforms.  Like it or not, video is where we live. Which is why if you are not using video for your business, you are seriously missing out on an important marketing strategy.

From a business marketing standpoint, Integrating video into your campaigns is one of the most powerful and effective ways to reach your audience, connect with them and increase engagement.

By creating behind the scenes, DIY’s and “how to's” for example,  your marketing plan needs to include the right mix of interesting and professional video to promote your services or goods.  

Below are six great ways you can include video in the marketing mix for business:

1. How to videos

One great way to promote your brand is by creating “how to” videos that will show your audience how to do something.  It seems simple enough but you want to be sure that you are demonstrating how to do something within your in your area of expertise.  This way, your content stays relevant to your niche.  To come up with ideas, try to think of common questions you get from customers and align your videos with those topics.  It is wise to offer tidbits of helpful information that may encourage customers to check back often because they feel the information you give them is valuable.  For example:  Sarah, the photographer, wants to make videos for her photography business.  A couple of ideas for a photography business might be to create a “how to” video that:

  1. Discusses best practices for a successful photo shoot
  2. What to wear for your family portrait with examples
  3. What to expect the day of your wedding photo shoot

2. Product demonstrations

I have a 7 years old who is obsessed with Legos.  He builds amazing boats, motorcycles, cars, spaceships and buildings out of these teeny, tiny little blocks everyday.  When not building something, he begs to watch Lego review videos.  Yes, someone actually makes a video of someone talking about a Lego set, and telling their audience why they like the set and what features it has, and how cool it is.  He will watch these until I make him turn off the TV.  Then we discuss which sets he wants to save up to buy next.  We have lots of Lego sets.  Thanks to marketing videos, I'm sure we will be buying lots more.  Whoever came up with Lego review videos is a genius.  But my point is you can clearly see that video works for businesses.  

3. Answer questions

Almost any person in business will get questions from potential and existing customers.  Take advantage of your spending time answering questions and turn it into a video.  By answering questions you offer them excellent customer service and added value. It is a great way to engage with users and establish your business’s expert credibility.  For example, as a web designer I often times get questions on how to edit content on a website after the design is completed. One thing I could do would be to create simple Q & A videos discussing common questions my clients have asked such as how to make changes to their website.  I could then use these videos on social media and email blasts.

4. Share the latest news

Another great idea is for businesses to share their latest news with video.  Include brand developments, sneak peeks of upcoming products, product launches, upcoming workshops and more.  Sharing these updates on social media helps build hype, keeps customers engaged and keeps your brand front and center in their mind.

5. Behind the scenes

Videos that take users behind the scenes are very engaging because users feel more connected to a person, brand or company.  By offering your audience transparency you will increase brand loyalty and build trust between company and consumer. Show your audience what the day to day looks like by taking them into your store, office or cubicle or take them on a tour of your workshop, it all works because your audience wants authenticity and transparency more than anything.

6. Introduce your team

They say a company is only as good as it's employees so what could possibly make more sense than to introduce your audience to your team?  This goes hand in hand with brand loyalty.  People love to connect with real people so show them who makes the products, who runs the office or even who mops the floors.  A great example would be for an auto dealership to make a short videos of their salespeople to introduce them to the public.  This would help promote them as individuals which will greatly help them increase their following, make people feel more comfortable coming into the dealership and increase sales overall.  It's a win, win for the entire dealership.

There are many ways video can be used to help market your business on social media and web.  Be sure to let me know in the comments what you are doing to include marketing videos in your campaigns!

6 Steps To Writing an Effective Mission Statement

One of the most important parts of planning and developing a brand for your business is your company mission. 

In order to be a success, all businesses need a good foundation of core values which are defined in a "mission" statement.  A mission statement should clarify what your business values are, what services you plan to offer and what your goals are.  The definition of a mission statement is:

“A mission statement defines what an organization is, why it exists and it's reason for being.”  Small Business Encyclopedia

A mission statement may sound like a simple thing to come up with, but often times it is not.  You must have a strong sense of what your brand stands in order to define your mission.  Having an effective mission statement will not only help you build the right customer base, it will serve as a guide to help you decide which opportunities are the right ones for you and in turn make your brand a success.  To help get you started, here are my 6 Steps to writing an effective mission statement:

Step 1 Brainstorm

To start the brainstorming process, write down relevant keywords and think about them for a few days.  Be sure to write your ideas down when you have those ‘light bulb’ moments so you can refer back to them.  It helps to carry a notebook with you or use a digital notepad so you can quickly jot down ideas on the go.  

Step 2 Define your character

Think of your business as a person (you) and define your character.  You are your business and your philosophy is what you feel you would like to become in your life.  How would you describe your perfect self?  Perky?  Soft spoken?  Professorial?  Witty?  Decide what the personality of your business is and write it down.  

Step 3 Define your nouns  

Write down the nouns that best describe you.  Examples are coach, photographer, event planner, maker — any word that describes what you are.  Who the heck are you?  Write that down.

Step 4  Define your verbs

Next, think of the verb or verbs that describe what you would like to do.  For example, maybe you would like to educate, inspire or sell.  What is it that you do?

Step 5 Find inspiration

Find pictures that inspire you and that would visually describe your brand's couture and save them on a Pinterest board.  Examples would be pictures of a beautiful wedding, elegant office decor, fashion sense, style or designs you are drawn to.  After selecting a number of photos, you should be able to describe the overall look and feel of your brand's aesthetic.  For example are you drawn to light, airy black and white pictures?  Gold, bold and elegant?  Hot pink and chic?  What best describes your overall all look? 

Step 6 Put it all together

Next, combine the above elements into a statement. Once you go through the basic steps (1-5) you should have an idea of what your mission is, what you offer, who you are and what you do.  Write your mission out like a story or blog post.  Not the best writer you say?  Well just give it a try, and then have a friend or colleague edit it for you.  Then before you know it, ta da!  You have your mission statement and powerful message to deliver to your potential customers.  

Now that you have the steps to writing your mission statement, please remember to stop back and let me know how they worked for you. Perhaps you are already in business but too the time to reassess your company values and goals.  How did these steps improve your mission?  Be sure to leave your comments below.