How In-Plants Can Use Cross Media: Part II

Missed part I of this mini series? Please click here to read my previous post!

What cross media channels can my in-plant facility choose from?

The list of channels available today can be overwhelming. Before we get into the different channels available, a word of advice: choose a few key channels that you think will work best for your target audience, and build on them as you go. Trying to blast your message to all channels at once can spread your message too thin, so it gets lost in the marketing chatter consumers face every day.

CrossMediaLifecycleHere’s a brief breakdown of a few different types of channels you can use:

  • Traditional / Offline: This includes direct mail, signage and billboards, television, radio, and events. Just because all the cool kids are on social media these days doesn’t mean they’re not still consuming these traditional channels, so you shouldn’t drop them either.
  • Social Media: It’s the 900-lb. gorilla in the room, so let’s talk about it next. Social media is so crucial because your audience is likely to be using it on a daily basis. Twitter has more than 300 million active monthly users, generating more than 500 million tweets every day. Facebook is the bigger of the two giants, with more than a billion active users. And those users are more than happy to interact with their favorite brands on social media; Coca Cola’s Facebook page has more than 92 million followers. Imagine having the ear of that many potential customers!
  • Your Website (preferably optimized for mobile): It may seem obvious, but your website is another marketing channel. Optimize it for mobile (meaning your site displays nicely on smartphones and tablets), and you’ve got two channels in one.
  • Mobile: This includes mobile apps, which can take a number of different forms depending on your business and your customers’ needs.

Those are just a few of your choices; your final mix will depend on which channels your customers are likely to consume. More on that next:

How can we incorporate cross media into our marketing plan?

So you’re sold on cross media. Great! But…how do you get started? Probably the simplest way is to find places where you can incorporate it into your current marketing plan.

Sending a direct mail campaign? Use key elements from it on your social media platforms, and allow customers to respond to the campaign via social channels. For example, you could run a contest, advertise it via direct mail, and let customers tweet their entries on Twitter.

The most important thing to remember when using cross media is to keep your brand image consistent across channels. Use the same images, and adapt the same messages for different channels. You want your brand voice to sound the same no matter where your customers hear it.

Cross media marketing can be a powerful addition to your marketing toolkit. Keep your customers’ preferences and needs in mind, and your cross media campaign could give your profits and brand image a big boost.

I hope you enjoyed this two-part mini series on how in-plants can use cross media marketing to improve their results. Please comment below with any additional comments or feedback!

Which Social Networks Should Be a Priority for Your Association?

With limited resources and a wide variety of social networks to choose from, many associations find themselves asking, “What should be the number one social media outlet to pursue?”

Unfortunately, there is no easy way of answering this because each social site is so unique. They each provide their own benefits, and associations would be able to use and benefit from each of them in different ways. Here is a breakdown of how you can use four of the top social media channels.

  1. Social_Media_Image_PurchasedYouTube. This requires low management maintenance. Whenever you create a video, you should upload it and share it with your audience in different ways. You can embed it into your website, email marketing blasts, share it on other social networks, embed it into online profiles, and have QR codes direct to them. If you enjoy being creative with your marketing efforts and you tend to be more of a visual person, preferring to give a face to a name and show your audience how your association can help them, YouTube should definitely be a utilized channel.
  2. Twitter. Twitter requires the most management, but also has the most benefits. First of all, its outreach and engagement opportunities are very extensive. There are many tools out there that can help you search for leads and existing contacts (contact me if you need help with this!). You can also initiate relationships by following people, and if they know you or have heard of your association, they will typically follow you back and interact. You can also embed your Twitter feed with your personal and Company Page LinkedIn updates (more on that in just a minute). Some tools even let you update your Facebook through Twitter. By syncing up social networks with each other, it can cover a lot more ground with just one post. Another benefit with Twitter is its hashtag feature. The best examples of hashtag usage would be during events. If you go to an event, attendees and vendors are able to include the hashtag (such as #BestEvent) within their tweets, which will make their posts show up in the #BestEvent Twitter feed. This is a great way of finding people at the show, engaging with them, and simply sharing your experience of the show with others. However, be mindful that there are a lot of tweets out there, so you must be consistent with your posts in order to position yourself as a thought leader who provides information but who also engages with their audience as well.
  3. LinkedIn. This network requires low management and has a more professional setting compared to others. Everyone should belong to this network because LinkedIn members appear within or close to the top five Google searches when their name is searched for. This helps encourage connections and relationships and it makes it easy for members and prospects to find you. Personal profiles also give you the capability of sharing your website, social networks, more information about your association, and many other types of information. If people want to learn more about you professionally, LinkedIn gives them the chance to do so, and then gives them the option to connect with you. While you are on LinkedIn, if your work email has its own domain, build a Company Page for your association. This gives the opportunity for all of your coworkers/employees to be under one network. LinkedIn Company Pages also give you the opportunity to promote your services, update members, and connect prospects with sales reps and more! You can also keep it updated by posting regular Company Page statuses. I would recommend sticking with 1-3 status updates each week to start, and try to focus on association news/industry news that your target audience would be interested in.
  4. Facebook. Facebook requires a medium level of management. My recommended amount of posts for Facebook is 4-5 posts per week, possibly a little more if there is an event happening that you are participating in. Sharing industry-related information in different mediums, such as photos, YouTube videos, blog posts, or articles, is a great way to engage with your Facebook audience. Your audience in this channel usually consists of existing members who enjoy being a part of and trust your association, and prospects who are interested in your organization, events, and services. Facebook fans usually join your page in order to stay in the loop with what is new. Posting pictures and YouTube videos of members and workers at your association is also great content and allows your audience to better connect with your organization. This social network is meant to focus on humanizing your association. So if you have an existing dedicated fan base who is online and wants to stay in the loop, Facebook may be your top priority.

At the end of the day, every association has its own unique audience. Think about where your audience is and how they enjoy learning about the type of services you have to offer. Once you discover these key components, determining which social media networks are the right ones for your organization will become more apparent. No matter which one you choose though, each network is great for enhancing your association’s search optimization. The more you update them, the higher they will rise in search results, plus, the bigger your networks are, the more potential you have of sending members and prospects to your website.

Evaluating Your Organization’s Target Market

Have you taken a good look at your organization’s target market lately? If not, it’s time you did. One of the keys to running a successful business is identifying the needs of your customers and making sure you provide for those needs. As the saying goes, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know, and there’s never been a better time to ask.

Why You Need to Re-Evaluate Your Market

Business sectors are always growing and changing. Perhaps a sector will see a shift in demographics such as attracting more people of a certain age bracket or gender into a field. Perhaps as as time passes old issues will get resolved and new ones will come to the fore. There may be changes in the law or in technology, or simply in how things are done. It all adds up to a changing face for the business sector at hand.

For your organization, that means the field in which you operate is changing. If you want to show your customers that you understand their current needs and concerns, you need to get up to date with what is happening in your field – and with your audience.

idea_lightbulbHow to Get Answers

There are two main places to go when you want to re-evaluate your market – your business sectors and your customers.

To make sure your organization is right on the pulse of what is happening in your field, make it a priority to stay up to date by keeping tabs on:

  • Social media
  • Related news topics
  • Professional journals and papers
  • Online sources of information such as blogs and forums
  • Face to face opportunities such as trade shows and networking

When it comes to your customers, you need to keep abreast of their current concerns by listening to them and asking questions. You can start by:

  • Paying attention to what your customers and others in your field are talking about on social media
  • Listening to what your customers tell you at networking events via email or any other time or method in which they contact you
  • Asking questions – from an informal question on Facebook to sending out a customer feedback survey, make time to listen and find out what is on their minds

By keeping as up to date as possible, you will be able to evaluate the needs of your audience and the sector in which your business operates. That all adds up to current and useful knowledge that you can use to evaluate what your organization offers and how well that fits in with the current landscape and needs. The result? You will stay relevant and establish your businessas a reliable source of information and support that understands what is happening here and now.

Marketing the Loans Businesses Need for Financial Security

In order to successfully run a small business, you sometimes need a little financial push in the back to get through a challenge or two.

With that being the case, those who lend money to small companies have it in their best interests to do as much positive marketing as possible to potential loan takers. When all is said and done, the marketing efforts should be professional, not over the top when it comes to trying to make a sale, and followed up with stellar customer service.

Another key focal point is what marketing vehicles lenders use to reach out to and potentially work with small businesses in need of loans.

Should they stick to more traditional marketing measures such as email, flyers and cold calling, or should they be more involved with social media and even mobile marketing in their pursuits?

The answer to that of course depends on which small businesses loan companies are targeting and what marketing options best suit their resources.

Using an Array of Marketing Techniques

Highway Signpost New CustomersTo start off with, get the background history on each and every small business you might be working with.

How long have they been around or are they a start-up? Do they have sound financial backing or have they demonstrated a struggle to maintain financial security? Is the industry they are representative of a solid one or does it have some cracks in it, notably financial issues?

These and other questions can be more easily answered using sound marketing practices such as social media (see more below).

Knowing who you are marketing to and their overall state is important before you ever draw up the financial loan papers.

Next, look at your marketing options, along with how you can best explain how the process works.

When you opt to pay for a small company’s future sales up front, make it clear in your marketing message the steps needed to do this, including what is then expected from the small business owner who is receiving the funds.

Make it known in your marketing outreach to them how easy the application process is, how soon the proposed funding will be in their hands, and what the terms of the flexible repayment options are.

Social Component

With more companies engaging in social media these days, it only stands to reason that you can potentially reach more clients with the different lending options at your disposal, options that you tout on your social networking sites.

Keep in mind that social media offers you a diverse audience, an audience that allows you so many marketing options.

If you don’t already have Facebook, Twitter or even Instagram accounts, set them up sooner rather than later.

Use such sites to showcase what types of lending plans you have available to the man or woman running a small business. While you can and should do this with text, don’t be hesitant to use imagery and even video too.

Although some folks may not think of a site such as YouTube of falling under the social media umbrella, the opposite is quite true.

With a well-done video presentation, you can highlight in a 30 or 60-second piece how your lending options cater to the small business owner. He or she can see this when you share and/or tweet out a short video of just that. As it now stands, more companies are coming to understand the value of sites like YouTube to call attention to their products and/or services.

Another avenue to travel down is looking into mobile marketing when you have lending opportunities for small business owners.

Mobile marketing has skyrocketed in recent years, with many experts predicting there is no end in sight to its possibilities in reaching consumers.

If you are opting for mobile marketing, make sure it is being done in concert with those you are offering to lend money to. The last thing you want to do is come across as too sales-focused, something that can quickly turn off a potential customer.

Lending funds to those in need can be a rewarding practice on several ends, notably your overall revenue.

When you effectively market what you have to offer and why your lending process is better than the competition’s, you stand to cash-in on more and more business.

Photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers marketing and business topics on the web.

Can Automated Marketing Work for My Business?

Many marketing departments should consider using automated marketing solutions. While automated may make it sound as if you are using computers to take over the marketing department duties, there’s no loss of control with automated marketing, in fact you’ll gain more control than before. When done correctly, automated marketing platforms should be an extra pair of hands for your marketing person or department.

There are several different versions of software that will automate the repetitive portions of marketing, with many functions available. The sales effectiveness of a marketing department can be increased through the chosen functions. High powered software can help with everything from lead generation to lead qualification. Most of the programs are offered from Internet-based applications, though standalone software does exist. These locally installed programs will need an experienced manager to keep the application running smoothly. Internet based programs are either designed to be run without an experienced user, or are typically offered with a customer service and tech package.

Intelligence

AutoMKTQuite a few automated programs have a tracking function incorporated. These tracking functions are embedded into social media campaigns, web pages, and marketing emails to reveal the behavior of recipients or interested users by recording email – whether opened or following embedded links, social media link monitoring, and pages viewed. This activity allows the marketer to determine which products or services are more appealing to the majority of their target audience.

Automation of Marketing

The heart and soul of automated marketing is when the program helps move leads through the marketing funnel. At the top of the funnel are the interested browsers. Through emails, then follow up call reminders (to the marketing department), the software helps those browsing parties become sales leads at the bottom of the funnel.

Workflow Management

More sophisticated programs help manage the workflow in a marketing department. While the initial information needs to be input by a human, once entered the data can be created automatically. This data can include workflow, marketing calendars, budgeting, asset creating, and triggers for sales marketing campaigns or emails.

Sales or Spam?

Marketing emails are often sent to spam folders. This is due to over-sending, repeated emails, or material that is not relevant to customers. Potential customers can become non-interested parties very quickly if they find too many emails from any business in their inbox. To avoid this, create several different types of messages based on customer activity. Do not allow the emails to go out more than once per week and let customers choose their email preferences. Remember that having emails marked as spam too often can result in fines or even your website being blacklisted from your webhost or Internet service provider.

Can I Afford It?

For some small businesses the price of automated marketing can be prohibitive. Certain software can run over $1,000 per month. Companies with a high profit may not have a problem, as automated marketing can help generate more leads. There are many different solutions and some may fall into your budget range. If there are enough potential leads, the cost may be worth investing in automated marketing.

Would you like to learn more about marketing automation? Contact me directly and I’d be more than happy to assist you!

Does Your Marketing Have the Proper Diversity?

There’s a difference between marketing and marketing that’s diverse enough to reach a number of different audiences and cultures.

If your business truly wants to increase customer outreach, then diversity marketing can help.

With effective campaigning in mind, here are just a few reasons diversity marketing is important for your business:

What is Diversity Marketing?

Group of happy business people walking together on streetAlthough most major marketing campaigns are aimed at general audiences, more and more businesses are setting their sights on diverse audiences. This is where diversity marketing comes into play.

Diversity marketing targets specific audience groups or subgroups based on their gender, age, religion, profession, physical characteristics, ethnicity, sexual preference, and so on. This type of marketing gives businesses more opportunity to reach a wider audience.

As the article, “Diversity Marketing: Who’s Doing It?” looks at, more and more businesses are adopting diversity marketing and it’s increasing their customer outreach like never before.

If your business is considering creating diversity marketing campaigns, here are a few successful examples already on the market:

  • Swiffer – This household cleaning company currently has a commercial featuring a disabled father receiving a surprise Swiffer Sweeper care package.
  • Chevrolet – Chevy’s new TV spot features same-sex parents talking about their vehicles. The campaign is titled “Pave New Roads.”
  • Coca Cola – Last year, Coke’s Super Bowl commercial featured people of different ethnicities singing “America the Beautiful” in different languages.
  • Guinness – Guinness’s new marketing campaign follows the pre and post-game activities of a wheelchair league basketball team.

All of the diversity marketing examples above are helping those companies find new customers.

The question is what are some other benefits of diversity marketing for your business?

Avoiding Exclusion

Sometimes exclusivity is a good thing in marketing. Customers love exclusive deals and offers.

However, excluding customers because they aren’t represented in your marketing campaigns is never a good thing.

By taking a diversity marketing approach, your business can avoid excluding audiences of different backgrounds.

When your business includes different races, ages, genders, and so on in its marketing approaches, it opens up more opportunities to attract new audiences.

Embracing Progression

Audiences are changing every day, which means the old ways of mass marketing no longer work.

With diversity marketing, your business can actually prove to current customers and potential customers that it’s embracing progression. Not only progression in the marketing world; but progression in society as well.

Featuring multiple races, body types, religions, and sexual identities shows your customers that your brand is ahead of the times, not stuck in the past.

Subgroups Are Larger Than You Might Think

If you think mass marketing is the best way to reach audiences, think again.

Subgroups are larger than you might think and they’re growing all the time. Targeting your marketing message will result in an impressive amount of outreach.

Pretty soon, these “subgroups” will be the standard.

By adopting a diversity marketing approach now, you’ll be ahead of competition and you’ll have the following to prove it.

When it comes to truly attracting a growing audience, diversity marketing is the answer.

Photo credit: BigStockPhoto.com

About the Author” Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including marketing and customer outreach.