Say NO to summer slump: Hit the ground running for the fall

Say NO to summer slump: Hit the ground running for the fall

Shawn Fidler of The Co-operators in Brampton, ON calls it ‘facial recognition’. A summer strategy he uses to check-in and reconnect with his clients over coffee or lunch. He also uses it as an opportunity to get out and about in his community.

According to Fidler, this is how he takes advantage of the summer months so there is no summer slump. “Summer is great for my business, my clients are more relaxed, their schedules are lighter and they tend to have a more positive mindset as the weather is beautiful,” says Fidler.

Experiencing a summer slump or turbo charging your business over the summer is entirely up to you.

Here are seven super easy ways to turbo charge your business summertime:

1.       Take a break. Get away

Recharging your batteries should be mandatory. Your business success relies on your health as the business owner. You can’t grow the business if you are sick or laid up in the hospital. Make it a priority to schedule vacation time, disconnect from your electronics and chillax.

If shorter blocks of time work better, consider 4 day weeks with a longer weekend or work in the mornings and take the afternoons off.

2.       Review your business plan

Set aside a few hours or a day to review your business and/or marketing plan (hopefully there is one). It’s a way to determine if your business is on track to reach its goals, what has worked, what hasn’t and what needs improvement.  It’s an opportune time to detail your action plan for the rest of the year.

3.       Reconnect with your clients

Remember the old adage: “Out of sight, out of mind?” Since this is the last thing you want, use this time to reconnect with your clients and business partners over lunch or coffee. Exchange ideas, catch up on what’s new or share your new products and services.

4.       Refresh your website

With search engines always looking for fresh content, summer is the perfect time to review and refresh the information on your website. If you have new products and services, if your prices have changed, if you have won awards or have been mentioned in the media, this is good fodder for your website. If your site is very dated and still using old technology a more extensive makeover might be required.

5.       Meet new people

Summer is a great time to meet new and interesting people. Make it a goal to attend  networking events, business mixers, golf days, barbecues, whatever.

Meeting new people is only the beginning; building long lasting relationship is the clincher. Have a plan and be intentional.

6.       Give back to your clients and community

Giving back to your clients and community shows that you care and appreciate their support. It elevates your business and provides meaningful exposure. Who doesn’t love a great barbecue, car wash or golf day? Don’t forget to offer your guest some kind of incentive or special.

7.       Back up your data

If your computer has crashed before and you have lost your data, you know the intense pain and inconvenience. This is a great time to back-up everything, do a tune up and upgrade where you need to.

Commit to using your summer months wisely and then jump into action. Do this and you will hit the ground running in the fall.

For more ideas on how to avoid the summer slump write to us at info@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com or call 647 449 6760.

 

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June 30 is Social Media Day. Join the digital revolution.

June 30 is Social Media Day. Join the digital revolution.

Today, June 30 is being celebrated as Social Media Day in cities across the world.

Social Media Day recognizes and celebrates the digital revolution and the way it has changed our lives for the better.

Started in 2010 by Mashable, a leading website covering topics on Social Media , business, technology, entertainment, and more, Social Media Day events and Meetups are taking place right across the world today.

Since the launch of Social Media Day in 2010, vibrant social media platforms like Vine, Instagram and Google+ has taken the connected generation ‘by storm’.

If you are still not a Social Media convert, I am almost certain you will find yourself on the wrong side of history. The stats are staggering, as nearly one (1) in four (4) people use Social Media with Asia-Pacific having the largest social network user base of seven hundred and seventy-seven (777) million people. (Stats: eMarketer report).

Now that you know, how will you celebrate Social Media Day today? Hashtag #smday

Connect and let me know.

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Five (5) Things I Didn’t Learn At Social Media Marketing World Conference

Five (5) Things I Didn’t Learn At Social Media Marketing World Conference

You know how sometimes we learn more from what’s not said than what is.

Well, at the recent Social Media Marketing World conference in the beautiful San Diego here are five (5) things I did not learn.

Click video to hear and see:

http://www.viewbix.com/frame/004b30a6-f02b-45aa-be4e-adaa58ac2e61?w=398&h=300

What are some things about Social Media you would like to learn?  Comment in the box below or email purplecowmkt@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com or call 647 449 6760.

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How To Market Your Small Business With Twitter

How To Market Your Small Business With Twitter

Twitter, the micro-blogging site is an effective ‘no cost’ marketing tool. Fifty-five million (55M) tweets take place daily; eight thousand, nine hundred (8, 900) per second.  That’s staggering.

Consider this: Tony goes to ABC computer store in Toronto. While browsing, he spots a great computer bag. The price is right. He is ecstatic. He hurriedly completes the transaction at the cashier.

In a moment of showboating, Tony snaps his ‘steal –of-a-deal’ computer bag with his sleek smartphone uploads to his five thousand (5000) Twitter account and hits ‘share’.

Unexpectedly and at no cost to ABC computer store, Tony has just connected thousands of his followers to the store and created an unsolicited promotional opportunity. The power of Twitter and your business.

Twitter, used effectively, can increase sales and create promotional opportunities like nobody’s business.  Here’s how

  • Through Twitter, you can immediately interact with a huge audience.  Twitter is fast.  It communicates succinct messages to millions of people across the globe within seconds.
  • Twitter is highly interactive.  Twitter is used by millions of people every second, and companies who take advantage of this are saving billions in advertising revenue.  Twitter allows your business to engage fans, bloggers, and colleagues at no cost.
  •  You can build a new customer base by engaging followers with news stories, trends, and valuable information.  You will automatically build a legion of followers who would consider you a trusted ‘friend’.  These followers will someday become loyal clients.
  •  Twitter gives your business visibility. The more people know your brand, is the more trusted your brand becomes.
  •  Twitter gives you an opportunity to build relationships. You are able to meet people in Twitterverse that you would not normally meet on a ‘day to day’ basis.  This diversifies your target group, and increase sales opportunity for further revenue.
  •  You build your brand.  If you tweet often, your followers will begin associating you with a particular area of expertise.  Twitter is an immediate, effective and interactive marketing tool. When you tweet, ensure to include a link so that people will be directed to your website. This will drive traffic and leads, which would contribute to the overall success of your business.

Here’s How To Start:

  1. Establish your Twitter account and handle at www.twitter.com. It literally takes under five (5) minutes.  Be sure to upload a professional profile image – it could be a photo of you, your company logo or an icon that represents you or your company.  Also, include your profile description.  This should indicate who you are and why you are interesting to follow. Be authentic.
  2.  Listen before you leap.  Before you send your first tweet, listen for a while. Study the pros – thought leaders, people in your industry, the competitors, your target audience, etc.  Observe what they are saying, how they are interacting and what’s creating the most engagement.
  3.  Be useful.  Telling us that you had ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ for breakfast is pointless.  Nobody  cares. Providing us with helpful hints, best practices, deals, awesome videos, inspiring quotes, and so on is useful.
  4.  Converse and engage. Think of Twitter and other Social Media platforms as a giant networking universe.  Lots of conversations are happening – people are in different corners chit-chatting, making nice and building relationships. Don’t be afraid to jump in and share your thoughts, comments or insights. No need to wait until you are invited. Engage and contribute.

For more information on Twitter marketing write me at purplecowmkt@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com or 647 449 6760.

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Market Your Small Business With Pinterest

Market Your Small Business With Pinterest

Unless you have just emerged from the Dark Ages, by now you would have heard about Pinterest.  Call it the ‘hot’, young darling of Social Media.  

Pinterest is a virtual pin board. Think of it like a scrapbook with lots of your favourite photos and mementos, only, its digital. 

With Pinterest, you “pin” or “like” images of items that you’re interested in or really like.  This could be images and/or videos of ‘stuff’ you like, you, your work, your colleagues, your clients – just about anyone or anything in your world.

Considered another way, Pinterest is a great way to tell your company’s story and spotlight it’s personality with photos and videos.

Here’s why Pinterest should not be ignored:

  • Pinterest has more than 26 million unique visitors per month.  Once you have a Pinterest profile, it is easy for clients and vendors to find you by conducting searches within your industry.  You may also network with other businesses in an easier format than Linkedin.
  •  Pinterest  is fun.  The site allows you to organize images, maybe beautiful flowers, invitations , delightful dishes,  funnies, into boards for specific categories.  Some popular categories include food, clothes, jewellery,  crafts, interior decorating, etc.  When you “pin” something new, your followers automatically see it. They can like, comment or re-pin it to their boards, And like ‘Facebook’, your Pinterest pins can go viral. With Pinterest you can also add videos.
  • Pinterest allows you to tell your brand’s story visually.   You are able to create a virtual catalogue of distinct images that speak to your particular brand.  This will keep customers and prospects visiting your page, and naturally increase the amount of followers. Approximately 80% of Pinterest users are women within the 25 – 34 age bracket.  Is this your demographic?
  • Pinterest visitors are more likely to buy your product.    According to AllFacebook.com, 69% of online consumers who visit Pinterest have found an item they’ve bought or wanted to buy, compared with 40% of Facebook users.
  •  Small businesses such as graphic artists, photographers, designers (just to name a few) are now able to showcase their work for free, and you can too.  Displaying your creativity and personal style on Pinterest, will give prospective clients the opportunity to view your work before making that purchasing decision.

        Here are a few ways to use Pinterest effectively

  • Outline your company history with images. E.g show the iterations of your logo, share past and present ad campaigns (the good and bad), retired products and/or retired employees.  Showcase awards and recognition.
  •  Pin ‘behind-the-scenes’ images of employees and other internal stakeholders.  How about clients experiencing your products and services.  Consider ‘a day-in-the-life of’ series of photos.  Powerful images like these would really help to tell your story.
  • Showcase the charity involvement or causes that matter to you.  Your customers and prospects would be thrilled to see how you are giving back to your community.

Pinterest  can become a great marketing tool for your small business. Lean in. 

Having great success with your Pinterest marketing? Please share with us in the comments below.

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Videos:  The Best Kept Secret of Social Media

Videos: The Best Kept Secret of Social Media

  I believe videos are the best kept secret of Social Media marketing, yet many small businesses ignore its importance as a marketing tool and feel it’s not for them. Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

With videos, you sell more, improve your search engine ranking, provide better product exposure and provide your audience with another engaging way to interact with you.

Over the last few years, there has been an exponential increase in the use of videos for business purposes.

If you are still sitting on the sideline and wondering how it will help your business, the next five reasons should give you valuable insights.

  Top 5 reasons to consider video marketing:

  1. 85%  A visitor who watched a product video is 85% more likely to make a purchase than if they hadn’t.   Internet Retailer, April 2010
  2. 200-300%  click-thru rate. A recent study by Forrester showed that video increased email click-through rates by 200-300%. Forrester, 2010
  3. 30% higher conversion rates    In a recent study, it was found that eCommerce sites that display video increased conversion by 30% and increased average ticket sales by 13%. L2 Specialty Retail Report, September 2010
  4. 6-30%  more sales. Zappos achieved a 6-30% increase in sales after implementing product videos onto their website. ReelSEO, December 2009
  5. 53x with proper optimization , video increases the chance of a front page Google result by 53x. Forrester, January 2010

 (Stats by Animoto)

Here’s how I say it with video http://video214.com/play/Tk1gg81Ec1HKZIr78XJULg/s/dark

If you are still not convinced and need help understanding the benefits of video marketing contact me @   purplecowmkt@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com or  647 449 6760

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Bite Size Your Social Media in 60 Seconds: Your Facebook Fan Page

Bite Size Your Social Media in 60 Seconds: Your Facebook Fan Page

You’ve set up your Facebook Fan Page, the Timeline cover image looks perfect – now what?

Since I promised to make this bite-size, I won’t get into the deep intellectual musings of a Facebook strategy, an editorial calendar or any such thing. Just the quick and dirty, so here goes:

Your Goal

Your key goal with your Facebook Page is to increase engagement and quality of followers i.e fans. Engagement definitely equals growth. Leads will come in time.

Your Page

First and foremost make your Facebook Page HUMAN. Yes, human. Make it real, make it believable and above all make it authentic as you and your company are. Remember, it’s a place for real conversation, fun, company or industry news, a space to share interesting photos and videos, to get feedback on a product or service and so on. Resist the temptation of becoming a ‘pushy salesman or woman’.  Too much sales pitch is a complete turn off.

Your Facebook Interaction

When you post on your Facebook Page you really are looking for any of these four main interactions/engagements:

  1. Likes
  2. Comments
  3. Shares
  4. Clicks

Why You Should Care

It’s simple. The higher the level of interaction/engagement with your Page the more likely you are to show up in your fan’s newsfeed. It also makes for a healthy page. It’s a mistake to believe that all your fans will see every single post. According to Facebook, only sixteen (16%) of your fans see your posts and that is dependent on the size of your company – so in some cases it’s lower.  Sixteen percent is not a whole lot if you have a few hundred and hence the need to have a healthy fan base.

Specific Content

In Social Fresh’s recent eBook publication Facebook Idea Vault they contend (and I agree) that you should “use different content types to reach more fans and drive all four types of Facebook interactions: likes, comments, shares and clicks”.

They further reveal that Facebook gives these specifics:

For Likes, just ask for the like “Like this if….”

For Comments ask a question in the post

For Shares Facebook suggest photos, albums, video

 

There you have it folks, straight from the horse’s mouth and probably in 60 seconds.

Please share content that has worked best for your Facebook Page.

Still want more bite size social media content? Email info@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com

 

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The Power of Email Marketing

The Power of Email Marketing

 

Email marketing is often overlooked because it is not as trendy and glamorous as other hot marketing tactics such as social media, or television and radio for the larger players. But why? It’s highly effective, direct and cost effective.

 

Here are some of the benefits that email marketing can offer and how this tactic can be used effectively.

 

Measurability. You don’t know who’s reading direct mail, who’s scouring your Twitter feed or watching your online videos. But with email marketing, within 24 hours you can tell who has read your message, what links were clicked on and what part of your message was successful. Popular tools to help you do this include Campaign Monitor or Mail Chimp.

 

Substance. Email marketing allows your customers to dig deeper, not just read the message on the surface and leave it at that. By using the technology effectively, the email message is just the starting point. By including links to other materials, email marketing directs your audience directly to your message.

 

Sales. Often opening a marketing email will lead a customer to purchase a particular item or lead them to other products they may be interested in that they wouldn’t have known about previously.

 

Cost Effective. Unlike TV, there is no need for design studios, media buys or ad agencies. Direct mail costs hundreds of dollars per thousand pieces, and traditional newspaper or magazine space costs thousands of dollars. With email, there is almost no cost at all. You can effectively use existing artwork, logos or photos to improve the visibility and then link readers to the bigger picture.

 

Targeted. If you have an existing contact list, you are directing your message to people who have already shown an interest in your service or who have willingly signed up to receive information from you. You have that interested group there already, the perfect audience to communicate with.

 

Email marketing is an effective way to relay your message. To help find ways to integrate email marketing into your communications mix, email me at contact@purplecowmarketing.com

 

This blog post was inspired by the Harvard Business Reviews, Why Email Marketing is King. Click here to view the original article.

 

http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/08/why_email_marketing_is_king.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+harvardbusiness+(HBR.org)

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All About LinkedIn

All About LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the most popular social media sites out there right now. But what is it? Do you just post your resume and find people you’ve worked with in the past? That can’t be it and it isn’t. When used correctly, LinkedIn is an effective way to network with other professionals in your industry and to grow your corporate awareness. There are currently over 175 million users of this popular site, but not everyone is using it correctly or effectively.

You need to approach LinkedIn with a strategy. Merely posting your resume or business goals will not get you very far.

Treat LinkedIn as a conversation. Use your page to talk to the people in your network, new business prospects and current clients. Use that conversation to engage viewers, talk to them about what you can do for them, how you can make them better and how this relationship can work. Share everything with your viewers that you would when you meet a new client.

Here are five ways to make LinkedIn work for you – helping you target communities, network with potential business partners and promote your business.

  1. Make your personal profile enticing. You want people to want to review your page, so make it appealing. Include a call to action and show people why they should be interested in you. Whether you decide to make your job descriptions more appealing, add apps to help your page stand out, or change your personal headline, there are choices you can make to make your page unique and enticing.
  2. Build a strong company page. Write in the third person voice, tell your audience about your business and the benefits that it will offer them. If you are currently using other social media sites, include links to those pages as well. Including other forms of media is a great draw too – upload a video and pictures to make the page visually appealing.
  3. Join groups. By joining various groups – local business associations, industry groups, alumni associations – it makes your page easier to find. Join groups that your customers may be in. Then be engaging – post comments, contribute to conversations and get engaged. Make yourself stand out.
  4. Answer questions. Under the more section, click on answers, and you will see a list of questions posed by people in your network. Answer some of them. Demonstrate your knowledge in the industry and increase your visibility. It will help to position you as an expert and a leader.
  5. Prospect for new business. Follow companies that you hope to do business with, keep up with industry news and change. You may notice a post or update in their profile that gives you the opportunity to reach out.

LinkedIn is a great tool to use both personally and professionally, and with these simple tips you are well on your way to improving your page and your “networkability”.

To view the complete article on LinkedIn strategies, click here.

http://www.profitguide.com/manage-grow/sales-marketing/five-ways-to-make-linkedin-work-for-your-business-38818

For assistance in putting your social media strategy together, email  info@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com

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Breaking Down Social Media Terms

Breaking Down Social Media Terms

There are over 200 well known social media sites out there today including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to name a few. But these are just the ones we seem to hear about the most. What about the rest? There are so many questions surrounding social media, it’s hard to know where to even begin:

  • What is social media?
  • What’s the difference between them?
  • Which sites work best for me?
  • Where do I even begin?

Finally, someone has helped us all and created a social media glossary. This document includes several popular terms to help you understand the ins and outs of social media. Here are some popular terms to get you started.

  • Hashtag
    • The use of a pound symbol (#) in front of a word to emphasize it and start a conversation. It’s a keyword, something that links conversations and begins a dialogue between contacts. Using a hashtag helps that word become more searchable as well.
    • For example, “@AKBpurplecow can help you plan your social media strategy, #gettingstarted”
  • Gamification
    • Applying gaming principles to non-games to get people involved. Points, trivia etc all are great ways to get an audience to return, keep playing and be engaged by your site.
    • For example, collecting product points and linking customers back to their social media channels to enter contest and engage in conversations.
  • Trending
    • A topic that a large amount of people are talking about through their social media channels, in real-time. News, information, pop culture, anything! To combine terms, hashtags are often used for trending words.
  • Tweet
    • A verb used to describe the 140 character message users post on Twitter. It’s the message you share with your readers and followers – your thoughts, inspirations, news updates, or posed questions. A tweet sparks a conversation and engages users.
    • For example, “Thanks to @AKBpurplecow, my small business marketing plan is complete!”

To view the entire glossary of social media terms, click here.

http://www.iabcanada.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/SocialMedia-Glossary-English.pdf

For help getting started with social media and developing a strategy for your small business, email me at  info@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com

 

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