Why Use an Advertising Agency?

Why Use An Advertising AgencyHere’s a question that crosses the mind of many small business owners. Should I work with an advertising agency for marketing my business?

The answer is in your response to these questions.

Are my marketing activities working for me or not?

                 Am I more comfortable collaborating or being the lone ranger?

The avenues for reaching consumers today is much broader and more complex. Expectations of clients have changed and the services agencies provide now are more comprehensive.

Listen to Bryan Holland of Holland Advertising: Interactive discuss the value of a client – agency relationship and what’s the difference between one that works versus one that falls apart.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM BRYAN HOLLAND OF HOLLAND ADVERTISING: INTERACTIVE

WHAT FUNDAMENTAL THINGS SHOULD BUSINESS DO TODAY TO MARKET THEMSELVES EFFECTIVELY?  (3:26 in)

In Bryan’s words – You’ve really got to figure out your strategic brand story. Marketing one on one is differentiation. Why choose your brand, your company from the competitors.

Insight – Determine what is your unique selling proposition and what you want to achieve. Make sure you are telling this story on your website and through the use of other marketing tactics.

WHEN HIRING AN ADVERTISING AGENCY, WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I BE ASKING? (7:26in)

In Bryan’s words – First and foremost is chemistry. Do you like this person? Is your mission in alignment with theirs? Do they have success stories? Have they handled problems similar to yours?

Insight – Seek to find the agency that puts your priorities ahead of theirs.

WHAT EXPECTATIONS SHOULD CLIENTS HAVE OF AGENCIES? (8:18 in)

In Bryan’s words – We’re going to be able to let them know whether (their goals and objectives) are realistic or not. We’ll help guide and direct them.   

Insight – Seek to find out what can be accomplished for what you have to spend.

IS THERE A PERCENTAGE OF BUSINESS REVENUE THAT OUGHT TO BE PUT INTO MARKETING THE BUSINESS? (9:05 in)

In Bryan’s words – Yes. There are industry averages. So depending upon the industry there is a rule of thumb.  

Insight – Assess how aggressive you want to be in marketing your business. What the industry norm is may not fully address your goals. The clearer you can be in what you want to accomplish will help the advertising agency in right sizing a budget.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD TO FIRE A CLIENT? (11:23 in)

In Bryan’s words – We’ve done that several times. The client had unrealistic deadlines. They expect results and if we in our heart doesn’t feel it’s going to work, we’ll walk away from it.

Insight – Synergy between client and agency on goals, strategy, tactics, and deadlines are critical.

WHAT DO YOU SEE THAT’S MISSING IN THE MARKETING EFFORTS OF THOSE BUSINESSES WHO GO IT ALONE? (13:17 in)

In Bryan’s words – Thinking strategically about a brand tagline that differentiates why choose your brand and what are the key points that make it authentic, credible, believable.

Insight – By developing the right brand identity, the message and materials used in selling become easier to create and communicate.

Your Mobile Website May Be Costing You Business

Mobile Website FitnessAdmit it, you and your mobile phone are now inseparable. You spend more time surfing the internet with it than you do on a laptop or desktop. You’re using it while watching TV, videos or dabbling in other activities. Your willingness and trust to purchase products from a mobile website by way of your phone or a tablet are soaring.

What does this mean for your business? Your mobile website better be up to snuff. But it’s possible that the integrity of it is lacking to the point where you are losing prospects and losing sales.

Listen to an expert on mobile website development to ensure you aren’t letting business opportunities slip through your fingers.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM JACKIE ERRICO OF RIVERWORKS MARKETING

HAS THE PROLIFIC USE OF MOBILE DEVICES CHANGED YOUR WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT PRIORITIES?  (2:13 in)

In Jackie’s words – Absolutely. When users come to a website, you want to be able to feed them everything they might be looking for at that split second. Speed is of upmost important in making sure that you connect them to what they’re looking for.

Insight – Do some research into what your customers want, whether it’s information, location, merchandise to purchase or something else. People are making more decisions while spending less time on mobile websites.

DO YOU WORK ON MOBILE OR DESKTOP SITES FIRST? (4:55 in)

In Jackie’s words – They’re equally important. We’re starting with the bigger picture and then pairing it down for a mobile site. We’re still using responsive design but our developers, when it comes to paring it down for mobile, they’ll remove elements that aren’t necessary.

Insight – Realize that an effective mobile website is probably not a duplication, but a streamlined version of the most important content people seek access to through their smartphone or tablet.

GOOGLE ANNOUNCED THE DEVELOPMENT OF “AMP” OR ACCELERATED MOBILE PAGES THAT WILL BE INTRODUCED LATER IN 2017. WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT? (6:55 in)

In Jackie’s words – It’s essentially just adding a few important elements within the markup or Javascript to help the site load as quickly as possible.

Insight – According to Google 40% of users click off the site if it isn’t loading in 3 seconds.

ARE THERE CERTAIN SITUATIONS UNDER WHICH A BUSINESS SHOULD CONSIDER DEVELOPING A MOBILE APP? (9:15 in)

In Jackie’s words – It would have to be a business where the consumer wants to receive notifications. They’re providing a value or service that consumers want to log in and put in information that might track something.

Insight – If your website offers the same content or service that an app would provide and you’re able to serve that content to the user expediently, development of an app may not be necessary. People download many apps onto their phone. But only 3 or 4 are used regularly.

IF A BUSINESS WANTS TO CHECK THE FITNESS OF THEIR WEBSITE ON MOBILE DEVICES, HOW SHOULD THEY GO ABOUT DOING THAT? (11:10 in)

In Jackie’s words – One great (free) tool that Google offers is http://testmysite.thinkwithGoogle.com. It will give you a lot of good information about what your developer may need to tweak to make it more efficient.

Insight – The test will give you information about your load time, potential customer loss, and comparative data related to your industry.

WHAT IS YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON WHETHER SITES OUGHT TO HAVE SECURE CERTIFICATES? (12:35 in)

In Jackie’s words – Any security measures are very important. The environment of where your site is hosted is very important as well. Any ecommerce or exchange of money, it’s required.

Insight – Know that if the cost of hosting your website is $10 or less, your website may be more vulnerable to security issues or slower to load because you’ll reside on a server with thousands of other websites.

ARE THERE PARTICULAR CHALLENGES AN ECOMMERCE BUSINESS OUGHT TO CONSIDER IN DEVELOPING THEIR MOBILE WEBSITE? (15:25 in)

In Jackie’s words – Speed of the site is going to be critical and in taking people through the checkout process you’re going to want to make that as streamlined as possible.

Insight – Avoid use of popups, annoying ads, oversized images, and minimize the use of third party applications.

Straight Talk About Social Media ROI

Social Media ROIAre you using social media for marketing your business? If so what are you trying to accomplish? Maybe you want to make people more aware of your brand, generate leads or make sales. What do you expect your social media ROI to be? A disconnect between effort and expectations is not unusual.

In this show we’ll explore how to succeed in using social media. Carol Fowler, CEO of TheSocReports, gives us some straight talk about opportunities and commitments to meet social media ROI targets.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM CAROL FOWLER OF THE SOC REPORTS

IS IT A MISGUIDED NOTION THAT BUSINESSES NEED TO BE EVERYWHERE IN SOCIAL MEDIA?  (3:22 in)

In Carol’s words – It is. That’s one thing that causes businesses hesitation to get involved in social media. It’s better to identify one platform, maybe two, to reach that reach your target audience.

Insight – Research where your prospects and customers hang out. Chances are you won’t be able to ignore Facebook since nearly 80% of social media users are active there.

SHOULD A BUSINESS HAVE TO PAY (ADVERTISE) TO PUT THEMSELVES IN FRONT OF THEIR PROSPECTS? (5:02 in)

In Carol’s words – You probably will have to pay, but the good news is you can reach a lot of people fairly inexpensively. Facebook has an amazing ability to put a bullseye on your ideal customer. For 10 to 15 dollars a day you can reach thousands of people who are right in your sweet spot.

Insight – Advertising won’t be effective without good content underpinned by a sound strategy.

WHAT ARE COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF SOCIAL POSTS THAT ARE SHARED? (7:05 in)

In Carol’s words – Probably the most important thing you can do when creating your social media is include visuals. A post with a photo, gif, or graphic is 75% more likely to be shared with someone else.   

Insight – Be interesting to be followed. Share things beyond the walls of your business. You can build your reach organically by using the various forms of tagging to alert content contributors and followers to your posts.

DO BUSINESSES EXPECT MORE OF A RETURN ON INVESTMENT FROM SOCIAL MEDIA THAN THEY SHOULD? (10:04 in)

In Carol’s words – A lot of companies struggle with the ROI. In too many cases people complain about the ROI, but they haven’t set goals to begin with. If do don’t have consistency or a dedicated person working on it, you probably aren’t going to get results that knock your socks off.   

Insight – Make a concerted effort to measure results in order to see whether your social media ROI goals are being achieved. Use scheduling tools to manage your time and address the publishing demands of the social media platforms you’ve chosen to use.

ARE THERE RISKS TO US AS PEOPLE WHEN SOCIAL MEDIA PROVIDERS INTEND TO MAKE THEIR SERVICES MORE ADDICTIVE? (17:15 in)

In Carol’s words – I worry about people who spend so much time on Facebook. There are people out there spending hours every day on Facebook. That’s crazy. I encourage my clients to take vacations from social media. There are aspects of it that are unhealthy. But by the same token, it’s really connected the whole world in a way it wasn’t connected before.

Insight – By taking breaks and not spending endless hours on social media, you’ll make the most of it and get other rewarding things out of life.

Podcasting Grows As Local Leads Generator

Run Your Own Show - PodcastWhen did you start listening to podcasts? If you began within the last 3 years, Edison Research says you are one of more than 20 million people who are doing this at least once per month.

There are many reasons why more than 57 million people in the United States listen now. In this What Works for Biz episode, we’re going to explore why podcasting could be the secret local leads generator in marketing your business. Just like a radio show, it’s a natural marketing tool for individuals to use to sell their books, get speaking engagements and sell advertising. But there is an opportunity here for local business to generate sales leads and strengthen client/customer relationships.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF HAVING A BUSINESS PODCAST?  (1:39 in)

You control the message. It’s a unique opportunity for a one to one connection with a prospect, client or customer that feels personal. It’s also a great content generator for your website without having to write a time consuming article or blog.

For your prospects, access is convenient, on demand and evergreen. They can listen via a smartphone while driving to work, walking the dog, or wherever they want.

WHAT’S THE PAYOFF FOR THE BUSINESS AS A LOCAL LEADS GENERATOR? (2:48 in)

Through your business podcast the company’s reputation and visibility will increase the likelihood of people contacting you for help, service, or acquiring your products.

You’ll be considered an expert. Instead of reading, the emotion registered in your voice makes it easier to take action. Valued content will attract followers and a willingness to pass it on. The reach of your website, conversation on social media, and visibility in search listings can be improved.

Current business podcasts produced by a mortgage broker, dentist, and an office furniture company are examples of good business marketing.

WHY TRY A BUSINESS PODCAST NOW? (7:14 in)

The audience is growing. According to Edison Research, it has grown 75% in the last 3 years. The blog universe is saturated. Organic reach of social media is restricted. Research indicates that the audience is comprise of active, high income and educated people. Competition is limited.   

WHAT IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO PULL IT OFF? (8:45 in)

Delivering messages your audience wants to hear is paramount. Interesting stories worth telling are possible by examining a wide range of topics related to your business.

  • Introduction of new products or services or upgrades.
  • Problem solving tips
  • Explanation of business vision and strategy
  • Stories of how your business has helped or exceeded customer expectations

Production of the program is not complicated. If you have limited staff and time is at a premium, using an outside source for assistance is sensible. You can call on their help with content development, hosting, recording, post production and program distribution.

If you use an interview format, all you will need to do is spend some time answering questions. With a good message and production of show episodes regularly, your podcast can be an important local leads generator.

Using Video to Generate More Referrals

Using VideoIn two years Cisco Systems estimates that 80 per cent of all consumer information on the internet will be in the form of video. Advances in technology recently have made it easier for people to watch live events, user generated videos, entertainment, and informational videos on any device.

So if you’re in business, you ought to be thinking about using video. In my conversation with Ron Harper of Videos on Your Website, you’ll realize that your business story told effectively can be a great referral tool.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM RON HARPER OF VIDEOS ON YOUR WEBSITE

WHAT TYPE OF VIDEOS WORK WELL FOR BUSINESS?  (1:19 in)

In Ron’s words – The number one thing is testimonials. The other thing is overviews of a company. You can explain what it is you do and why you do it.

Insight – Your overview message should not be presented as a commercial. You’re seeking to build trust, not sell your products and services.

WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS OF A GOOD VIDEO TESTIMONIAL? (4:35 in)

In Ron’s words – I think number one is transparency. You have to think about what are the questions your customers might be asking you.

Insight – Great testimonials are emotional stories about how the business helps solve a problem or produce a solution that satisfies the customer’s need.

HOW LONG SHOULD BUSINESS VIDEOS BE? (6:41 in)

In Ron’s words – The key metric is about 3 minutes and 45 seconds.    

Insight – Length is not as important as the message you’re presenting. Make sure that your video will deliver what is promised so when it is clicked on to be seen, the viewer won’t be disappointed.

WHAT ARE YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS FOR VIDEO DISTRIBUTION AND OPTIMIZING FOR ONLINE SEARCH? (8:07 in)

In Ron’s words – On my site I have a mixture of those that live on my site and those that live on YouTube depending on what their function is going to be in the website navigation. With Facebook, upload your videos natively.

Insight – Remember that search engines can’t read video. Having words on a page related to the video are important for proper indexing. More of your videos will be shown on Facebook if you upload them directly, not as a link coming from YouTube.

THE COST OF PRODUCTION CAN SCARE PEOPLE. SHOULD THEY BE SO CONCERNED? (11:50 in)

Insight – Simple professional production mixed with DIY videos can be very effective. Consider spending some money on development of a formula and a storyline for producing videos that you can replicate on your own if you can’t afford a professional. Whatever you do, make sure in using video that yours don’t look amateurish.

IN WHAT SITUATIONS WOULD BUSINESSES FIND THE USE OF FACEBOOK LIVE TO BE SUITABLE? (14:05 in)

In Ron’s words – I look like at Facebook Live sort of like Headline News. Make your followers feel like they are a part of something.

Insights– Effective Facebook Live content could involve some community activities you’re involved in, not just something specific to the businesses products or services.

WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS OF PRODUCING GOOD VIDEO THAT CAN’T BE LEFT OUT? (16:01 in)

In Ron’s words – The most important thing about video is audio. You’ve got to have good sound.

Insights – The other essentials in using video are a stable picture that is lit properly. Use a tripod to stabilize your picture. Make sure that your subjects on the screen aren’t bathed in shadows.

Do Public Relations This Way

Your Public Relations ImageWhat is more believable, an article or an advertisement? Michael Levine, well known Hollywood publicist and author of the bestselling book Guerilla P.R. describes the value of public relations this way. “Depending upon how you measure and monitor, an article is between 10 times and 100 times more valuable than an advertisement.”

Today we’re going to be talking with another public relations expert about how to unlock that value in an ever changing world of ways to communicate.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM RICK MILLER, CEO OF RICK MILLER COMMUNICATIONS

WHAT OPPORTUNITIES DOES SMALL BUSINESS HAVE FOR GENERATING PRESS?  (1:18 in)

In Rick’s words –   Find out where customers and prospects get their information. The opportunity to tell your story in an earned media way or to have a story written about you is actually shrinking.

Tip – Do some homework to identify where people you want to reach hang out. Identify which communication channels are most effective for you to generate your own press.

WHAT’S THOUGHT LEADERSHIP? (3:15 in)

In Rick’s words –   A thought leader can clearly espouse a point of view about a product category, a trend, a legislative or legal issue and share it with others.

Tip – Determine whether there could be value in becoming an expert or authority upon your industry or a niche sector of the industry. In a highly competitive business, the ability to make yourself into a thought leader separates you from your competitors and is likely to attract more customers.

HOW IMPORTANT IS EXECUTIVE BRANDING? (5:05 in)

In Rick’s words –   It sets a tone for the organization. There’s a symbiotic relationship between strong executive leadership and communication externally and internally.  

Tip – Effort to brand yourself reinforces the company brand. Studies have shown how doing this well improves internal recruiting, teamwork and employee retention.

IS BAD PRESS BETTER THAN NO PRESS AT ALL? (7:33 in)

In Rick’s words –   There are two schools of thought. Any press is good press or you want to avoid bad press.

Tip – While a single bad response is not likely to hurt you, remember that with the internet, there is a permanent record that won’t go away. Be transparent and correct misinformation.

WHAT METHODS CAN COMPANIES USE TO GET NEWS OUT ABOUT THEMSELVES? (12:04 in)

In Rick’s words –   You have to take the news into your own hands. Find the tools you can manage well, stay on top of and use every day to ensure you’re getting the maximum return.

Tip – Don’t undervalue email. It is still a preferred message delivery method with informative information, not sales pitches. Facebook is a prime example.

HAS THE PRESS RELEASE OUTLIVED ITS USEFULLNESS? (14:25 in)

In Rick’s words –   Yes and no. In the past it used to be the only way to share news and information about what you were doing to the news media. Today it can become an SMS feed or something where people sign up to get information about your organization.

Tip – Press releases placed on your website let people know what is going on in your company and may improve your visibility in Google search.

HOW SHOULD YOU MEASURE THE VALUE OF PUBLIC RELATIONS? (16:16 in)

In Rick’s words –   There is not a direct cause and effect to what you are doing. Track the kind of feedback you get from friends, family, colleagues.

Tip – Put a link in your press release, Facebook or Twitter post for example that tracks back to your website. Measure entrance to the website from those sources.

HOW SHOULD YOU EVALUATE A PUBLIC RELATIONS AGENCY? (18:25 in)

In Rick’s words –   Do they have the ability to provide counsel and strategy. Do they understand media, messaging and have a strong understanding of social media.

Tip – Know what you want to accomplish and establish your goals. This will make it easier for you to evaluate a public relations agency.

What’s Your 2017 Small Business Marketing Strategy?

Marketing StrategyAs the new year begins, are you thinking about how to market your business? Developing a small business marketing strategy requires an introspective look into your current customers. How did you attract them? Does does that apply to new customer acquisition?

According to a Borrell Associates survey of nearly 4 thousand local advertisers, the top six ways to attract new customers are a blend of online and offline activities. So let’s hear from an expert in small business marketing strategy about how to attract this year’s customers.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM CHARLENE BURKE, OWNER SEARCH BY BURKE

WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN A MARKETING STRATEGY?  (1:27 in)

In Charlene’s words –   Most small business owners think a marketing strategy is all around how much money am I going to be spending this year to make more money. It isn’t the bulk of your strategy.

Tip – Identify how you get your business today. Is it through referrals, your website, social media, advertising, email, events, or all of the above? It is always easier and less expensive to generate business from existing customers instead of new customers.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE IN MARKETING THROUGH A SMARTPHONE VERSUS A PERSONAL COMPUTER OR TABLET? (4:10 in)

In Charlene’s words –   Think about what the user is doing.

Tip – The size of the device, the environment in which it is used, and the nature of the user’s activity is important. Size of text, size of buttons, speed of playback, length of content, interactive functions, and simplicity of navigation are key.

WHAT SHOULD I REMEMBER ABOUT MY WEBSITE? (7:00 in)

In Charlene’s words –   Please make it mobile ready. Add a click to call option.

Tip – You can use your website as a research tool to figure out whether a new product can be sold successfully. Dig into your analytics to discover how people are using your website. This data can be extremely useful in creating your marketing strategy.

WILL BUSINESS CONTINUE TO BUY ADVERTISING ON SOCIAL MEDIA? (10:45 in)

In Charlene’s words –   Yes, they can get in front of their ideal customer. If you want to get your message in front of a buying customer, you are going to have to pay for it.

Tip – Know where your customers hang out on social media.

HOW CAN YOU GET NOTICED THROUGH PUBLISHING CONTENT? (12:43 in)

In Charlene’s words –   If you want to make money with your efforts online, go back to what we used to call education marketing. Write something that is useful to the user.

Tip – Narrow your focus. Don’t write for everybody. Solve their problems. Give them something they value.

WHAT IS A MASTERMIND GROUP?  (14:30 in)

In Charlene’s words –   Members helping members. It’s peer to peer. Business or personal issues. It’s people talking about ways to get your business on focus again, on track. You leave with some solid ideas you can put to use.

Tip – Regardless of the size of your business, consider joining some kind of peer group to get feedback, advice and counsel from others who can see you’re your business, your marketing strategy or personal situation in a way you can’t.

Turn Yourself into a Better Public Speaker

Public Speaker Stage FrightWhat do people fear more than spiders, darkness, heights, flying in airplanes, confined spaces and even death? It’s glossophobia – public speaking or stage fright. An effective public speaker knows how to overcome the anxiety of presenting and deliver the right message.  Listen to how to do it.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN FROM SHELLEY BAMBERGER, COMMUNICATION EXPERT

WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD PUBLIC SPEAKER?  (2:26 in)

In Shelley’s words – The best communicator connects with his or her audience.

Tip – Do your homework to understand what the audience needs and is looking for from you. Then adapt your message to fit those needs.

WHAT COMMUNICATION SKILLS NEED IMPROVING? (5:07 in)

In Shelley’s words – What is it about my message that matters to the audience. The second issue is the overuse of filler words (you know, like, uh, basically, etc.) is only part of the equation.

Tip – Record and critique your presentation to become more aware of filler words. Assess whether your message resonated with the audience. Focus on  “You” rather than “I” in the presentation.

WHAT IS IGNORED IN MAKING PRESENTATIONS? (8:50 in)

In Shelley’s words – Practice. You have to do the hard work that’s needed to do well.

Tip – Practice in short spurts, several times before your presentation. You’ll retain more in long term memory.

WHAT MAKES PRESENTATIONS STAND OUT? (10:42 in)

In Shelley’s words – Ask questions. When the audience answers a question the information goes into their long term memory. Tell stories. By telling stories you are in sync with your audience.

Tip – Figure out which kind of question styles and stories may work for the audience you’re addressing.

IS HUMOR NECESSARY? (12:36 in)

In Shelley’s words – I think humor may be over rated. It’s not critical to deliver a message but it can provide an avenue to connect with the audience.

Tip – Don’t tell jokes. Interact with your audience to listen for when they laugh. They may provide a humorous anecdote or story you can capitalize on.

HOW CAN YOU OVERCOME SPEECH ANXIETY? (15:15 in)

In Shelley’s words – An element of fear is good. To control it the answer is square breathing.

Tip – Learn how to increase your oxygen to calm the nerves.