Earlier this year I was able to obtain a feature article for a client selling self-defense gadgets. She received just one call from the article. The call happened to be from a manager of a major Arizona utility who asked her to present her safety products to their employees.
Hmm. We discovered a need for organizations to keep their employees, especially women, safe in the workplace. However, this wasn’t saleable to TV stations because they felt this was too product driven.
We fine-tuned a new release to focus on low-cost home safety hacks for the summer months. With that angle were able to obtain two TV segments and expose her to yet another audience. Through the article, TV segments and employee presentation she began getting inquiries to present to other organizations. Her focus has now shifted from selling products to speaking engagements and is busier than she’s ever been.
Now, not all press has this type of result, but this strategy got her in front of, again, a brand NEW audience. Through her website and social media efforts she never would have been exposed to this one manager looking to find ways to keep her employees safe.
Was this magic? No. It took the time to finesse a press release to make it marketable, pitch it to targeted publications and another 6 weeks to line up the interview and photographer and for the article to appear. We then had to evaluate the response and change the angle on other efforts based on what the media would be receptive to. The basic message really didn’t change – just the “spin.”
We live in a society where the expectation is that one article or TV segment will go viral or generate thousands or millions in sales when the true “magic” is in the hard work of finding your audience and then adjusting your message to appeal to them.
Press is so effective because you have the opportunity to reach out to different markets and also test your message. It also gives businesses more credibility. It’s especially effective to send out monthly releases because it lends consistency to your marketing and PR efforts and allows interest to build. Press can also be shared on social media channels for even more impact and reach.
The moral of this story is that marketing is hard work and is fluid. You have to coordinate your efforts and constantly retool and adapt your message. The real magic happens when you realize there may be a perfect audience for your product or service that you never knew existed.
Would press work for your business? Call us at (602) 466-3333 for a free brain-storming session.
So you’ve posted about your business and someone makes a disparaging comment. Welcome to the Social Media “Bomb.”
Social Media is an amazing marketing tool. Businesses today can promote, sell, but more importantly, build relationships with consumers and other companies, on a wider scale than ever before. With the anonymity of the internet, however, businesses are also more vulnerable to the opinions of the masses.
The Social Media Bomb: So you’ve posted about your product or service and receive a negative comment. What do you do? While you may immediately feel anger, you now have the opportunity to defuse the situation and potentially turn a “negative into a positive” for your company.
The Usual Suspects
These “bombers” tend to fall into the following categories:
The Instigator: These types love to create controversy. It doesn’t matter that they know nothing about the subject at hand. They want attention and at your expense.
The Poacher: These are competitors that comment on your posts about THEIR business.
The Disgruntled Competitor: These types will discredit your products under the guise of a being a potential customer.
The “Glass is Half Empty” type: These posters always look for the negative in ANY product or service.
The Dissatisfied Customer: Perhaps the most dangerous of all, if a customer is unhappy and posts about it online you must make every effort possible to respond to their complaint quickly in order to shine a positive light on your company for other online readers.
How to “Defuse”
(Please note that each situation will be different and may require a unique approach.)
Stay calm: While your first reaction may be anger, and sometimes rightfully so, take a deep breath. You don’t want to fan the flames and turn something minor into an online wildfire!
Respond quickly: As soon as you receive notification of a comment it’s up to you to respond in a professional manner and in a timely fashion. A delayed response – or no response -may be perceived as a lack of concern.
Play nice: Acknowledge them by stating, “Thank you for commenting.” Even for an obvious instigator this can be disarming. In some cases, this is all you need to say to be responsive and politely end the conversation.
Make them feel important: Let the poster know their opinions are being heard by saying, “We value your feedback.” What if the negative statement is something you’ve heard before and need to address? The upside to a Social Media bomb is this can also be the perfect opportunity to address objections to price, quality, or any other issue you may be aware of, and set the record straight.
Be brief: The last thing you want is to get into a lengthy dialogue (unless the poster appears to have legitimate questions and you have the time to respond). If you have a prepared response to objections state them simply and briefly.
Taking it offline: If the poster appears to be a legitimate potential customer you can offer your telephone number, or other means for them to contact you directly, to respond to their comments.
When all else fails: If the person is being outright offensive, you can often delete their comments, hide their comments or even report them depending on the social media platform being used.
How have you handled a “Social Media Bomb?” Please post your comments and let others know what tactics you have used and the end result.
So, you’ve invested time and money in what you felt was a solid marketing strategy but results aren’t showing.
The phones are ringing, referrals keep coming in but sales aren’t converting. What do you do?
Two years ago I was working on an aggressive campaign for an engineering summer camp program for kids. With a great deal of press, outreach events and a creative Facebook contest, we were getting a ton of inquiries but registrations weren’t happening. It just didn’t add up. What was wrong?
After close investigation, we discovered that there were a high number of abandoned registrations on the website. We printed out the list and called the parents who said they were having “issues” when registering. People who still wanted to register their children were entered into the system manually until the problem was resolved. The camps sold out.
We recovered approximately 70% of the registrations, and getting a personal call was good “PR,” but money was still lost.
Sometimes the simplest things can be the reason that “results aren’t showing.” If you are experiencing a solid call volume but things aren’t “happening” something is wrong.
It could be as simple as a website glitch, or the person taking incoming calls is rude or worse – non responsive, or perhaps there is bad word of mouth for your product. (That’s a big one – you can have the best campaign in the world but if your customers aren’t happy with your product or service, well, that’s a whole other issue.)
Look at your data: Website hits and email open rates - anything you can think of as it pertains to your marketing. Test the online purchasing system and make sure it’s easy to use. There are a lot of other factors to consider, but check the basics first and then dig deep.
Your mom called. She wants to know why you are still using that old grainy photo as your profile picture on LinkedIn.
You know the one. The picture you took in the hallway of your office in 2007, under fluorescent lighting, wearing that rumpled green polo shirt that you gave to Goodwill 3 years ago. Remember?
OK, I am being facetious. Seriously, from a marketing standpoint your profile photo depicts who you are: Your image, your brand, your persona.
You know the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression?” This is especially true as it relates to Social Media.
If you are trying to represent yourself as a professional to other businesses and to potential employers you need to consider the image you are projecting. It also helps to use the same photo across different platforms to obtain more recognition.
The caveat here is that I believe the rules are a bit looser in terms of Facebook since it’s a more Social medium, although if you are in a very creative field you can have a bit more fun with your photos (although try to stay away from using a photo taken at your best friend’s bachelor party).
Here are a few tips for taking a good headshot:
By the way, she wants to know when you are going to call her.
The above photo was taken by Brandon Tigrett Photography at an engineering STEM camp Open House featuring a Lego Sumobot Tournament. Do you see how the image jumps off the page?
A picture is worth a thousand words. It's NEVER been more important for businesses to have high resolution images for your website, materials, Social Media and to accompany press releases than it is right now.
Last week I received a message from an editor needing a high res image for an article. The photo submitted was too small (less than a 1mb). I had to scrounge up the only suitable photo I had on file.
My client was able to locate a good photo but it was too late – the deadline had passed. The article as it appeared in print was well written by the reporter but the picture was just “OK.” What could have been a strong promotional piece was diluted by a lackluster photo.
Why? High quality photos are powerful.
A great image can complete a story in seconds and draws the reader in. Think of how you scan online. What do you notice first – the photo or the text? A visually interesting photo gets attention and needs to be a higher resolution so that it reproduces well in print and online.
By the way, when a photo is requested it is usually needed NOW. You typically won’t have time to line up a photographer and publications are running so lean that it’s rare that a photographer is sent on location these days.
Do yourself a favor and have a professional take photos at your business, in the field and at events (and PLEASE have a good updated head shot, too – no selfies). Yes, you can use your Smart phone but using an experienced photographer is well worth the investment. Unprofessional photos make your brand look unprofessional.
It will be one of the best investments you ever make for your image, your business and your brand.
Let’s face it –love it or hate it, email marketing is still quite effective and has an amazing ROI (approximately $43 for every dollar spent – not too shabby).
The Story: While working on the 2012 Arizona Centennial Conference one of my tasks was to send out weekly e-blasts. With a program consisting mostly of presentations on historic preservation, water rights and other topics I knew next to nada about, coming up with subject lines other than “Register Now” was rather daunting.
Then I discovered a portion of the program that was rather juicy: The Mock Trial of Winnie Ruth Judd!
Judd was a medical secretary from Phoenix found guilty of murdering her friends Agnes Anne LeRoi and Hedvig Samuelson over the alleged affections of Jack Halloran in 1931. Apparently Winnie and her buddies had a thing for good old Jack that resulted in dismembered bodies stuffed in trunks on the Golden State Passenger Line headed to LA (and we thought crime was bad today).
The notorious crime was the subject of the book “The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd” by Jana Bommersbach and inspired the reenactment of her controversial trial at the 2012 conference.
Now, for the subject line that got one of my best open rates ever – can you guess?
Trunk Murderess to be at Conference.
Sometimes you just have to think outside the trunk (sorry, couldn’t resist that).
Years ago, while working in the petroleum industry, I met a salesperson at an Exxon Trade Show. While his products weren’t anything that my company needed he would still occasionally call to follow up.
Each conversation would start this way:
“What can I do for you today? Is there anything I can do to make your life easier?
It sounds so simple, but those words would always touch me. How many times do you hear that? In our hectic lives, how often does someone ask you how they can help you without expecting something in return?
During these brief conversations he would also ask about my family and how everything was going with my business. If he ran across a potential customer for my company he would email me the lead.
One day, while researching trade associations, I discovered one that wasn’t a good fit for my company but was perfect for his product line so I gave him a call. He contacted them and within days he had several new customers.
Over time I discovered that he was the top salesperson for the global company that he worked for and had a huge following within the industry. Is that any surprise?
If you can make your customers or colleagues feel that they “matter” in this world and that you care, it’s a gift to them - and it may result in a "gift" to you down the road.
What can I do for you today?
Calling all Trekkie's!
For anyone who has watched a Star Trek rerun or movie we all know the inimitable James T. Kirk: Virile, brash, with an extreme dislike for anything Klingon.
What you may not realize is that he was a brilliant marketer. He knew that ANYTHING could be accomplished with ingenuity – and a team.
When faced with impending danger he would decisively assess the situation (Tribble trouble, evil rulers of vast space empires, etc.), get Vulcan advice when needed - and often unheeded – and determine an implausible solution that his trusted subordinates would carry out with only minutes to spare!
Star Date 2016: With the ever-changing Social Media options available and traditional marketing rules turned upside down, enterprises need a “team” of marketing specialists working for them more than ever before.
Kirk knew we all have our weaknesses (in his case, blondes and brunettes). When marketers try to be all things to all mediums their core talents are at best diluted - and at worst, ineffectual.
Working with experts in different capacities helps marketers implement campaigns at Warp Speed and better serve their clients.
Think of it this way: What would Kirk have done if he didn’t have Spock on-hand for the occasional Mind-Meld, grumpy Bones McCoy to challenge him and Scotty to “beam him up?”
So get your team together and set Phasers on stun!
Seinfeld fans, do you remember the episode when bald, unemployed, wimpy George Constanza decided to start doing the OPPOSITE of everything he had ever done and suddenly got the beautiful girl, stood up to obnoxious movie goers, and even got his dream job with the Yankees?
What would happen if you tried that with your marketing?
So many times business owners make marketing choices based on what OTHERS are doing or what they’ve “always done.” Of course, if everything is going great -if it ain’t broke don’t fix it – but if sales are flat isn’t it worth it to you to try something new?
If your target customer is a 50+ CEO but you only market on Facebook, you are missing the mark. Or if your product is geared towards 18-year-olds and you are using email marketing, you have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting their attention.
By being where your customer isn’t, you are doing yourself – and more importantly your customer – a huge disservice.
Try “mixing things up” by investigating the buying patterns of your clients and potential clients. For example, busy moms use online searches on their phones and tablets more than ever before to make purchases. If your product is targeting these all- important decision makers and your website isn’t mobile ready, well, you get the picture.
Try something NEW – even if it feels uncomfortable at first. Instagram, Pinterest, Video, Periscope, email, blogs. Research, test, evaluate and tweak.
We’ve ALL heard the phrase “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Be like George.
And don’t forget to order the chicken salad on rye with hot tea.
We’ve all heard about Karma: “The total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person's existence, regarded as determining the person's destiny.”
In other words, What goes around comes around.
You are probably thinking, what the heck does karma have to do with marketing? The fact is, too many business people don’t realize their actions (or inaction) may be affecting their public image and product sales.
If your marketing is “all about you” it doesn’t do much to elicit a positive response from others. By actively providing help and support to others, you can build a solid following for you and your brand.
Simple Steps for Creating Good Marketing Karma:
Do you agree or disagree with these Karmic “Do’s?” Post your comments here.