Tag Archive | "Marketing"

Videos:  The Best Kept Secret of Social Media

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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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The Power of Email Marketing

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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.



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Leave Juggling To Clowns: Why Focusing On Single Tasks Will Improve Your Business Marketing

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Leave Juggling To Clowns: Why Focusing On Single Tasks Will Improve Your Business Marketing

In today’s day and age, people always have multiple things on the go and even more so for global businesses. We’re answering emails, making calls, writing reports, going to meeting after meeting, and trying to compact it all into an eight hour day. So, we multi-task.

Everyone does it. Whether you’re talking to your co-workers while writing that important report, or writing an email on your smartphone as you walk to that very important business meeting, multi-tasking has become a very important part of our working lives to help us accomplish our lengthy list of To-do.

Well, I’m here to tell you to stop multi-tasking! That’s right, you read that correctly (unless you were too busy doing two things at once). Yes, multi-tasking has “helped” people juggle multiple projects at once (and it is possible to do), but there’s a way to do it properly, and essentially that’s by single-tasking.

In marketing in particular, there are so many tools and resources these days that we are easily distracted and can have our focus taken from one place to another in a matter of seconds. Did I check our Facebook page this morning? Is our marketing collateral back from the printers, and who should I send it to? What should I include on our trade show banners for our next big event?

You can try to do all of these – and likely much much more – at once, drive yourself crazy and take forever to finish each task. Or, you can single-task.

What I mean by single-tasking is focusing on one To-do at a time and giving it your entire focus for a specified amount of time. Instead of juggling five items at a time, bouncing from one to the other, stick to one item, finish it, and move on to the next one. It’s that simple.

Now, how should you start single-tasking? First off, I ask that you put your smartphone down, minimize your email, and focus. Really focus. You’ll be able to engage a lot more with the task at hand and have a new found focus that has probably been missing since that mini QWERTY keyboard of immediacy chained itself to your hand.

Next, stop checking your email every 5 minutes. Try to limit it to once every hour or better yet two to three times daily. Sure, you might get the occasional email that’s extremely important and requires your full and immediate attention, but this often isn’t the case. Guaranteed.

Start allocating your time more effectively by using your To-do lists and scheduling each item accordingly, ordering each task by its level of importance and immediacy. This will help you to cross individual items off your To-do list each day.

Schedule assignments regularly so you can truly focus on each individual task for a set amount of time. Need to check your social media pages? Do it at the same time every day or week. Creating a repeatable schedule will help you stay on task and allow you to keep checking items off your list on a regular basis.

Once you’re able to adjust to single-tasking, I’m certain you’ll be accomplishing more goals, completing more tasks that you’ve been slowly working on for months, and allow you to take on new projects more regularly. It all comes down to how much – and how often – you’re willing to focus on what’s really important today, tomorrow, and next week. Realize your priorities and complete more objectives.

At AKB² Small Business Marketing, we can help your business single-task by using our strategic approach – whether it’s a sensible social media plan, a savvy web strategy or a sound marketing plan – we can  help you accomplish your goals and one task at a time.

For more information contact us at info@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com or call us at 647 449 6760.

Inspiration for this blog post came from reading James Altucher’s “Multi-tasking Will Kill You”, which can be found here: http://www.jamesaltucher.com/2012/06/multi-tasking-will-kill-you/.

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Run Your Small Business Like A Motorcycle: How To Boost Your Company’s Marketing With Focus and Direction

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Run Your Small Business Like A Motorcycle: How To Boost Your Company’s Marketing With Focus and Direction

While driving on the highway this past weekend I saw something that caught my attention. While cruising behind a motorcycle for some time, I noticed that every time he passed another motorcyclist he made a gesture acknowledging his fellow rider, expressing a kind of shared respect. Whether it was a flash of the peace sign, a quick wave of the hand, or a simple head nod, there was almost always some sort of positive interaction between the two.

Which got me thinking…what is it about owning a motorcycle that makes people feel this innate bond with fellow hog riders? A deep culture has been created somewhere along the lines that doesn’t judge people by their age, race, paint job, brand of bike, or any other form of minutia. No, it’s strictly tied to a similar passion shared between two people, regardless of how similar or different they might actually be.

There’s something that can be learned here by small business owners, such as myself. It’s the importance of creating something long-lasting and meaningful with your brand. What are your customers interested in? Where do they socialize? What will make them become raving fans?

Whether there are thousands of people in your target market that could rally around your brand – like motorcycle enthusiasts – or hundreds, it’s important to truly understand your market, cater to their needs, and speak to them with the same passion you had when you first opened up your doors and decided to start your business. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but it will help you realize where your business needs to be to create that stronger connection with your customers.

Having a well thought out marketing plan often goes a long way in understanding what you need to do in order to have a closer connection with your customers. The key is expressing your brand message with a genuine passion.

Developing a marketing plan will force you to answer the tough questions you’ve likely been putting off and, although it may not solve everything, it will likely help you hone in on what you need to do to have a more desirable product or service.

You may not receive a rewarding peace sign flashed at you from oncoming traffic for your efforts, but you might just find a new outlook for your business and have a better understanding of what you need to do to be more successful.

For advice on how to get started on your marketing plan and create your own group of followers, send me an email at info@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com or call 647 449 6760.

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Be a Rock In The Sand: Four Easy Steps To Make Social Media a Key Part of  Your Business Marketing

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Be a Rock In The Sand: Four Easy Steps To Make Social Media a Key Part of Your Business Marketing

Rock in the sandThe next time you’re relaxing on the beach, take a second to watch the shoreline and pay attention to what is taking place. The water pours up onto the sand as the waves crash onto the shore, and then roll back down into the sea. As this is happening, watch how the grains of sand move with the wave, many being pulled out to sea. But then there are the rocks in the sand, big and small, barely moving, almost unaffected by the waves.

Now, picture your business (and all other businesses for that matter) being a grain of sand; the water being your industry. The industry, much like the waves, is constantly fluctuating, while businesses are forced to react. Some grains of sand move a little while others move a lot, but the rocks almost always stay put.

Over the last few years, businesses have had to adapt to the waves that are social media and, with it, instant communication. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs, FourSquare, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. have brought new responsibilities to a business’ marketing demands and while these tools have become necessities for some businesses, many are still trying to understand what exactly they mean for them.
I’m here to tell you that, if you follow these four steps, you can take advantage of social media and help turn your business into a rock in the sand.

1. Understand your business
Before you start to look at social media, make sure you understand your business’s most important messages. What is your brand message? Who is your target market? What sets your business apart from the competition? What are you best at? What are you worst at? Where are you failing and how can you fix it?
If you can answer these questions clearly, then you have a strong foundation from which to work and should be able to easily determine what message(s) you should be sharing. If you don’t know the answers to these types of questions, social media is only going to add clutter to your business and take you out to sea.

2. Pick the right tools
Plain and simple, not every social media channel is right for your business. Posting a message on Facebook won’t always translate to Twitter, and vice versa. But if you understand the differences between each form of social media and which ones are relevant and useful for your business, you can start towards creating a plan for social media success. Whether it’s to manage your online reputation, generate leads and find new business prospects, build awareness, improve your SEO, or to express your company’s personality, understand which tool is right for you.

3. Have a plan
It is one thing to be posting useful information on social media, but it’s a whole other to post relevant information on a regular basis. To keep your social media endeavours from being washed away, use a social media calendar to keep you on track and prepare your messaging. By predetermining what you’re going to talk about weeks or even months in advance, it gives you plenty of time to gather content and reach your goals.

As part of your plan, make sure you’re tracking results on a regular basis to determine what’s working and what isn’t, so you can assess what needs to be changed.

4. Stick to it
You already have the plan in place, now you just need to stick to it. Everyone misses deadlines once and a while, but if you weather the storm and stick to the plan you’ll find that social media has become an important staple to your business, leaving you with one less wave in the sea to manage.

Although there are other waves to worry about aside from social media, following these four steps will help you better position your business for future success while also implementing new and important tools in your repertoire. The rock may still move in the water (occasionally) but you will be solidly planted.

For help on how you can implement these four steps, or for more information, please contact info@akbsmallbusinessmarketing.com or call us at 647 449 6760.

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The High Price of Social Media

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The High Price of Social Media

Remember when your mom cautioned you to “watch your mouth”.  As it turns out, she was really onto something. I guess, she was desperately trying to impart to us a greater sense of restraint, diplomacy, decency, and sensitivity.

In these days of tweeting, blogging, and even ‘citizen journalism’, it might seem that anything goes: just speak your mind. Well, not quite.  As we’ve been seeing, opinions can be risky business, even costly.  Spilling your guts and saying whatever you feel might not be the wisest thing especially if you are a public figure or a big brand with a lot at stake.

Take the case of Chrysler, who decided to part ways with New Media Strategies, an agency that handled its Twitter account. An employee of the agency decided to post a comment that read, “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the Motorcity and yet no one here knows how to (bleep) drive.” Between “to” and “drive” was the F bomb.  Oops was little too late.

Yeah, you guessed it – the Chrysler machinery went in to damage control mode. Comments erased, agency apologized, Chrysler licking wounds, agency contract not renewed. As one would expect, Chrysler had to reach out to the Detroit community to win back their trust and confidence.

Then there was the Gilbert Gottfried/ Aflac blunder. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried the voice behind the squawking duck in most of the Aflac commercials posted at least 10 jokes about the earthquake and tsunami after the tragedy struck in Japan on his personal Twitter.  Suffice to say, Japan accounts for 75% of Aflac’s revenue.  Go figure Mr Gottfried!

Again, the PR machinery had to go into damage control mode and Mr. Gottfried’s contract was immediately terminated. Aflac pulled all television commercials with his voice and issued a statement decrying the insensitivity of the jokes.

So when you hear the squawking duck in the Aflac commercial, you know it’s not the voice of Mr. Gottfried.

Insensitive tweeting has had many a victim – private citizen to public personas. “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work,” tweeted “theconnor”.  Needless to say the offer was rescinded. 

You see, “theconnor” didn’t quite get it when mom chided (him/her) to ‘watch your mouth’.  In today’s warp speed world, when everything is social and public, tread carefully and watch watch you put out there. It could be costly!

What about you? Have you ever tweeted something you later regretted and had to retract?

By: Dorothy Vernon-Brown

Posted in Social MediaComments (1)

Social Media Series Part 3

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Social Media Series Part 3

Everyone is always “tweeting” or watching funny videos on YouTube. What is this Social Media all about?  Increasingly, it will become the way to communicate; another way to promote your business to a whole new audience, which spends hours upon hours on these social media sites. The best thing - it is all for free!

Here is the final part in our How To series.  I hope you’ve found them useful. 

• Helps to broadcast quick, succinct messages to interested parties. 140 character maximum.
• Helps you to listen to what others are saying. Creates opportunities to fill a need.
• Gives you insight into what customers, prospects, competitors and industry experts are saying – either about you or the industry you operate in.

• Set up your Twitter account.www.twitter.com
• Create a compelling reason for people to follow you.
• A retail company could tweet about a special offer.
• B2B companies could post links about relevant industry info or trends.

Cost: Free



• A powerful medium for spreading your message
• More than 2 billion views per day. Very, very popular online activity.
• Small businesses have an opportunity to jump on the video marketing bandwagon.

• Set up your YouTube Channel – www.YouTube.com
• Your account name should be consistent with your business name.
• Put your video in the right category and make use of tags. Add tags that describe your business and products as well as the video’s subject matter.
• Write a good description for your video that contains your keywords.

Cost: Free

Do you feel you can become a Social Media expert? Well, maybe not yet, but this is a great start.

By: Dorothy Vernon-Brown

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Your Social Media tool box: What, Why and How to jump start you NOW. PT 2

In my last post, I showed you Why and How you can get started with blogs and Facebook.

In this post I’ll share with you Why and How to get started with LinkedIn and Google Analytics.

I hope these small steps will help you begin to navigate the Social Media jungle with a little less trepidation and fear.

3. LinkedIn


  •  To network with other professionals and find others with similar interests.
  • Find out about people and their background prior to meetings.
  • Monitor your competitors.
  • Find specific people in other companies that may be prospects (generate leads).


  •  Create a LinkedIn public profile – www.linkedin.com  (plan to spend several hours establishing your profile and network).
  • Your profile page should reflect your professional interests, passions, and ambitions.
  •  Be sure to include a solid headline that includes keywords relevant to your industry, a business photo, how you would to be contacted and what you want to be contacted about.
  • To start building your network you can reach out to everyone you’ve emailed before and make a request to connect. LinkedIn also allows you to search for people you know to see if they are already members.

Cost: Free. Upgrades for a monthly subscription

 4. Google Analytics


  •  Monitors your website traffic.
  • Provides stats that help you monitor who is visiting your site, where they are from, what they are looking for and how long they are staying.
  •  Helps you engage and convert more customers.


  • Set up a free account www.google.com/analytics
  • Insert code that Google Analytics provides you with into every page you want tracked on your website.  Your webmaster should be able to add the code for you.
  • Set aside some time to get familiar with Google Analytics and what it can do. 
  •  Monitor your site’s performance (hourly, daily, weekly – as you like it.)   

 Cost: Free. New features added often.                

 Stay tuned for the next post on Twitter and YouTube.

By: Dorothy Vernon-Brown

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Excuses Be Gone! Why Small Businesses Should Embrace Social Media

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Excuses Be Gone! Why Small Businesses Should Embrace Social Media

If social media has reached its tipping point why does the adoption rate seem low?  Once considered the domain of the ‘younger’ crowd and used only for sharing personal info; social media is growing up and trumping traditional marketing as a low cost, highly effective marketing tool. 

The social media stats are staggering; 400 million users on Facebook; 60 million on LinkedIn and more than 50 million tweets per day on Twitter.  If Facebook was a country it would be the fourth largest in the world.

With these staggering stats and growing evidence of the effectiveness of social media, I go back to my original question – why does the adoption rate seem so low among small businesses?  If I were to guess, I would sum it up with one word – FEAR.  Yes, FEAR of what is unknown and unfamiliar.  

 The adoption rate among small business in the US is approximately 24% which means 76% are yet to venture therein.  In Canada the adoption rate is around 19% which means that 81% of Canadian small businesses are yet to adopt. Fear of the unknown is the oldest and strongest emotion of mankind says renown horror writer H. P. Lovecraft. 

If all the experts, pundits, gurus or whatever you want to call them are right, social media is not the Next Big Thing. It is The BIG Thing.  It follows then, that if your small business is not involved in social media in some way, shape or form; your business will become stale and outdated, and maybe, just maybe your competitors will leave you eating dust.

Do you realize that Google is now a verb?  These days if you are looking for information what’s the first thing you think or do?  That’s right – you ‘Google’ the search term. Most consumers now ‘Google’ a company or a product before a purchase decision is made.

Customers and prospects are turning to their peers for recommendations often looking to online communities and sites like Yelp.ca to read user reviews and then make a decision.

Want proof?  Consider the role social media played in getting President Obama elected. One of the most unlikely candidates in the early days, his use of social media is now a case study for the marketing books.

 Then consider the role Twitter played in June 2009 when those protesting the official outcome of the Iranian election used it to co-ordinate their actions and spread the word to colleagues and supporters within and outside Iran.

 Still unconvinced? How about Lucky Bucky Clothing in Tennessee who after using Facebook ads for only 4 months received over 40% of their click through on their website from Facebook pages. Naturally this converted to increased sales.

While it might be too late to be an early adopter, now is good a time as ever to get your small business found online and engaged in social media.  Why not start a blog and provide relevant content about your industry? No sales pitch please. How about tweeting on Twitter?  No problem if you are not chatty, the micro-blogging site only allows you 140 characters to say your thing.  Tweet about a coupon, discount or sale you might be running.  Not your style? At least join the 60 million professionals around the world who are connecting with each other every day on LinkedIn.  Why not tryout being a ‘fan’ on Facebook?  Once you see how engaging it can be  set up your own Facebook fan page for your business.  Bottom line ‘Just Do It’ as Nike says.

Every medium might not be the right fit for you but at least give one or two a try and see what works best for your business.  If you are still uncomfortable, research, ask or hire a social media consultant to guide you through the process; like traditional marketing it’s all about testing and refining.

If you still decide to sit on the sideline and play ‘hands-off’ here’s are just a few ways you could be potentially hurting your small business:

  1. 1.    Your competitors have the edge. YOU DON’T

Other savvy small business will jump in and leave you eating dust.  They will engage your customers and prospects and eventually win them over. How costly is it to regain a customer?

  1. 2.    Your customers and prospects are online.  YOU ARE ABSENT

Remember that saying “out of sight, out of mind”?  It’s true. If you are absent from the social media scene you leave that void to be filled by your competitors.  Fill they will. Your competitors will now have their finger on the pulse of your customers and prospects.

If they fill that void they take your share of voice, if they take your share of voice, eventually they’ll take your share of wallet.

  1. 3.    Everyone else has a voice. YOU DON’T

Social media seems to be the great equalizer now.  Consumers have more power than ever before as they tweet, blog or Facebook about their preferences and positions; their rants and their faves.  Customers and prosects are taking back; they now have control of the conversation. If your voice is absent how then can you engage and listen? A shift has taken place; consumers have more power and voice. Jump in or become a dinosaur.

 4.    Your market is changing.  YOU ARE NOT. You seem irrelevant

 It’s true that the future belongs to those who will embrace change.  Make no mistake; the landscape is changing at lightning speed.  Your audience is changing and the market is shifting.  Do you realize that some Gen Ys might not recognize a typewriter or a cassette player?  If you market to the Gen Xs and Ys social media is not optional. How dated and irrelevant do you want to be?

 Jump in!  Social media is not that scary.

 This is just the tip of the iceberg. You might have some to share. Please do here.

 By: Dorothy Vernon-Brown

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Small Business Marketing:  15 Simple Do’s and Don’ts

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Small Business Marketing: 15 Simple Do’s and Don’ts

Including marketing in your plans should be obvious to the small business owner but time and time again, I come across many who have overlooked this MUST Do part of the business. The reality is that no matter how great a product or service you have, unless you have a plan to get it and/or keep it front and centre of your customers or prospects, success is not guaranteed.
For starters, here are my top fifteen (15) marketing Do’s and Don’ts for small businesses.
1. Determine your IDEAL target market
2. Determine the best and most cost effective way to reach your market
3. Know your competitors
4. Develop a marketing plan no matter how simple
5. Develop a marketing budget
6. Find your customers pain point and address it
7. Develop your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
8. Recognize that your business starts and ends with the customer in mind. Period
9. Ask your customers what they want
10. Satisfy your customers – it’s 5 times easier to sell to an existing one than to convert a new one
11. Stay alert and be open to new ways of marketing
12. Set specific marketing goals which can be measured
13. Test and refine different marketing strategies
14. Embrace social media
15. Read industry publications to stay abreast of industry trends and developments


1. Try to be all things to all people – you cannot satisfy everyone so determine your market and laser beam focus
2. Go another month without a marketing budget
3. Ignore your customers
4. Put all your marketing eggs in one basket – try different ways of reaching your customers and see what works best
5. Lose sight of your competition and their marketing strategies
6. Under or over price your products or services. Be competitive
7. Ignore your company’s weakness. Determine how you will market around them
8. Be scared of Social Media. Accept that it’s part and parcel of the new marketing
9. Blindly believe industry gurus and experts – do your own homework.
10. Get complacent when you achieve some success
11. Misrepresent your products or services. Customers can sense FAKE
12. Choose a location that might not provide the necessary traffic or expansion possibilities
13. Package your products or services in a way that conflicts with your company image
14. Market your products or services to the wrong audience
15. Take rejection personally. Keep moving, you’ll strike ‘gold’ eventually

By: Dorothy Vernon-Brown

Posted in MusingsComments (1)

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