Friday, July 2, 2010

Don't Touch That Marketing Budget

I am encountering and hearing of businesses making cuts to their budgets. Whether it is staffing, capital purchases, benefits, marketing and many others; they want to cut expenses and increase revenue. Most are not successful increasing revenues. Just because you cut expenses does not automatically increase revenue.

This chart to the left, provided by Laurie McCabe, a Partner and Analyst at the SMB Group through HubSpot Blog, shows that companies with increasing reveues are more likely to view marketing strategically, and invest more in marketing than their counterparts with flat or declining revenues.

Marketing is one area that a company can not expect to cut and also increase revenue. I know there are exceptions to every rule, however, the majority of businesses that decrease their marketing budget will see revenues flat or decrease. Small businesses find this more challenging than larger businesses.

For small businesses the internet and social media can be the answer. Web-based marketing and social media tools are usually less expensive than traditional marketing. It can be easier to use and more effective than traditional marketing. This is also true for larger businesses.

Using internet and social media marketing does not require you to commit to long term contracts and tie you into a stationery marketing strategy. A continually adjusting and changing marketing strategy is more relevant and effective. You are able to try different approaches with out making changes to a long term agreement. Trying different messages at the same time to determine which is effective is a common strategy.

In order to be effective in internet and social media marketing, you must have a plan. Now that is another blog for another time. It will not take a long term contractural agreement, however, it will take time to be effective.

If you are going to decrease your marketing budget, you must have a marketing strategy that will continue to reach your target market. Internet and social media marketing may be the answer.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

10 Things You Must Do For Your Facebook Business Page

Facebook (FB) has become a norm in developing a branding/marketing strategy. Just having a FB page is not going to produce results to increase your revenues. If you do not have a FB business page, sign up as soon as you finish reading this blog.

There are the obvious things to set up a business page. Business profile information is something easy to do and should be a short description of who you are and what you do. FB does alot for you by just having the page - like button, photo, email contact, website link, etc. Another common tool used on FB is FB ads. These ads are not for everyone.

Here are the 10 things you must do for your business page:

1. Daily posts about what is going on in your business. Share with your fans what is going on. This will build a very strong loyal customer base. It will also start conversations in other groups. You want you business talked about positively as much as possible. You have the opportunity to direct the conversations about your business.

2. Create a Products tab. Make this an online window shopping experience. You do not have to show everything. Remember it is a window shopping experience. What do you put in the front windows of your business? The most attractive products. Create a WOW factor.

3. Create a Pictures tab. This is not for products. Post pictures of interesting things about what is happening at your business and with your employees. It could be pictures of an employee outing to a baseball game. A picture of the customer service employees so your customers can put a name with a face - make it more personal.

4. Create an Email sign up tab. If you do not have an email marketing campaign you should seriously consider this high ROI strategy. Check out this link for more information about email marketing. The email sign up tab will increase the number of your email addresses to include in your email campaign. This type of inbound marketing is very important in any branding strategy.

5. Create Other tabs. This depends on the type of business. Many businesses have rewards program, events and coupons. If it is an important part of your business and marketing strategy, you should have a tab for that item. I know many restaurants have a coupons tab to list the current special/coupon for the week. It is a great way to get someone to make that decision to come see you.

6. Use the Store locator application. Whether you have one location or multiple locations, your customers need to know how to find you. Do not make them go to another site to get information on how to find you. That is the best way to lose them.

7. Create a Video tab. One of the most popular ways to market a business today is through video. You can do alot of things with video to show off your products or create funny videos about your products. Think of unusual helpful ways to use your product and show it with video.

8. Use the Featured Product application. You always have a featured product. Show it off. Whether it is a new item or one you are trying to move inventory - feature the product to make more sales. Make sure it has some WOW power - either price or item - it must draw attention.

9. Create a blog connection to your company blog. The connection will post the published blog post on your business page automatically. You will be sharing your blog posts to all your fans and reminding them of the company blog. This will increase traffic to your blog. This also allows you to share your business with more people.

10. Use the Favorite application. By listing your favorites on your FB business page, it allows you to link to other businesses and organizations (hopefully they will return the favor). This also allows you to show your customers the other businesses you support. If you share something in common with a customer or potential customer, it increases the chances that they will do business with you.

This list of 10 is not an end all and is not for all businesses. It is a great starting point and will increase your presence on FB and the internet. You must have a plan to follow in using any social media or you will waste alot of time. FB can be a huge asset to your business when used properly.