Don’t Panic, Pivot!

Don’t Panic, Pivot!

With social distancing the new norm, I keep thinking about my small business clients. How can they stay afloat when their business depends on contact with prospects and clients? Yes, of course they can meet by phone, email, or video conferencing. But for some, it’s just not enough or isn’t realistic.

That’s when it’s time to pivot. Let’s create a revenue generating channel for you. If need be, zero in one area of your business. Even it’s not your favorite, it’s money coming in and maybe you keep it when all this is over, maybe not.

The question a lot of people may be getting stuck on, is what that channel would be. So…

  • Take a minute and write down all the different aspects of your business.
  • Then write down all the various steps you take to fulfill those different aspects.
  • Do some research, maybe take a couple online classes so you can specialize even more.

Once you have a couple ideas, the first place to look is what the competition would be. Are you filling a niche, or adding to the noise? Think about how you can differentiate – what can you do that is better and/or different than the competition? That is what you’ll be able to capitalize on.

Next, think about the money. What fees will you charge? Again, look at the competition and see what they charge. You’ll want to be in that neighborhood because they have already established what the market will bear. But there’s opportunity to differentiate here as well.

  • Set up a subscription-based service
  • Add a maintenance program
  • Accept monthly payments

So now you’re on your way to building this out. I know it’s exciting and you want to put it out there ASAP but there are some tools you’ll want to put in place first. If your new idea is too far away from what you’re already known for, you may have difficulty building trust. Here’s how to help overcome that:

  • Create a website for it or add a landing page to your existing one. If the new channel is too far removed from what you were doing, you’ll want a new website.
  • Start talking about it in social media. Don’t push too hard for the sale, think about educating people first.

I have to say, I know I’ve made this sound easy, but it really isn’t. I’m sure you know a website can’t be built in a day – at least not a decent one. There is a lot of good information out there on best practices for landing pages, advertising on social media, etc. And for the best results you’ll want to follow that – which takes time and the people with the expertise to get it done.

Coming up with the pivot isn’t always easy either. It’s hard to be objective about your own business, and sometimes we just don’t see the other opportunities. Talking to past clients or other business associates can help. If you’re still not getting anywhere, I invite you to contact me for a complimentary strategy session. We’ll brainstorm ideas and see where we get.

It’s a new world out there my friends. We’ve got to stay flexible and open minded to keep our businesses going.

 

 

What’s Your Marketing Style?

(This is not my desk. It’s too minimalist for me.)

Wowzer, us tough Minnesotans are really getting it lately! For me, I can’t even really say I directly experienced too much of it, I’ve been opting to stay in and work from home. And I can not believe how much I get done! I’ve got nothing to do but be productive!  

It got me thinking, …What’s it like for those with an online-only business, or those constrained to the home for other reasons? It’s surprising how much we’re affected by our environment. It can mean everything, especially if that’s the only environment we have access to. 

Your online environment is likely the only one your prospects have access to. How do you suppose your business’ online presence makes your prospects feel? (You knew I’d bring this around to marketing, didn’t you!) 

• Is it minimalist? Not enough information can leave people guessing, instead of deciding.
• Eclectic? Mixed messaging also leaves people wondering. 
• Traditional? It’s tempting to set it and forget it, but your marketing communications should reflect current target market preferences or they may consider it outdated or not for them.

Try considering a contemporary approach. It’s definitely You, but updated and reflecting current trends, needs, and behaviors. It’s important to meet prospects where they are, and not expect them to adjust to where you are – for instance hoping they’ll make the right assumptions. In marketing terms, I like to think of it as not making them have to work too hard or think too hard. I’ve got it all laid out for them. 

Here’s what to do now…Have a friend or family member who maybe only knows the periphery of what you do Google you, and see what their impressions are. Is it too minimalist? Does it need updating?

One of the toughest things for us all to do is to get out of our head about our own business. Please let me help you with this with a Complimentary Strategy Session. No obligation. If there’s anything I can help you with, we’ll meet again to look at a proposal.

8 Marketing Secrets That Shouldn’t Be Secret

I’ve been consulting for 8 years now and got to thinking about some of the unexpected, more insider types of things I wish more people knew about marketing. It’s not that I’ve only learned one secret per year. (That’s for all you smart alecks.)  🙂

The SBA (Small Business Administration) states that 30% of new businesses fail during the first two years of being open, 50% during the first five years. Wow. I don’t feel like doing the math, but if we met 8 years ago chances are that one of us wouldn’t still be here!

So here we go, short and sweet. 8 Marketing Secrets That Shouldn’t Be Secret:

  1. Those who invest in marketing when others are cutting back win. Just look at any economic downturn. It’s a time to invest, not bail. Although budgets need be aligned, marketing is a profit opportunity that shouldn’t be ignored.
  2. They won’t come if you build it. It’s surprising how often I’ve come across people who are surprised they aren’t busier just because they have a website or placed a social media ad. If it were really that easy, the statistics would be very different.
  3. A shocking number of people think they just need to get their social media going, and that will drive tons of traffic to their website. Social media has the lowest conversion rate. The Lowest. These days you need to invest about $1,000 per month to get any results. Yes, really.
  4. It helps to be an extrovert – in networking, sales, and because you need to brag. How else will people know? I’m definitely more of an introvert, but the quiet types don’t get as much attention.
  5. Some salespeople feel like they have to explain everything about everything they offer. Most people do not want to hear it all. Know your top 3 key differentiators. The human brain can only handle 3 things at a time. Don’t go in-depth with them. Think short attention spans.
  6. A surprising number feel that all it takes is to hand you their card or brochure and tell you what a good referral for them is. Here’s the thing; and this goes for number 5 above too, you are more impressed with your business than anyone else is. That’s the cold hard truth, and sorry to be so blunt about it but I’m a New Yorker and there you have it.
  7. It’s NOT good to have a goal for networking. Some people teach you to have a goal of say making 5 new contacts at an event. However, it could be a bad event, those in attendance aren’t your best target markets, only 6 people showed up, etc. Then you have to go through with all the one-to-ones and you waste your time and possibly theirs. And if you’re doing that because you want to pitch to everyone, please just Don’t. Don’t waste our time like this.
  8. Here’s my number one Marketing Secret That Shouldn’t Be Secret. What works is to tell them something different. If you are a starfish in a sea of starfish, find something unique about You – your personal key differentiators. Tell them things they may have heard before but in a different way. Take your “best customer service” to a new level – and promote what that is.

And there you have it. Did I tell you something different? I hope so. I wonder what the SBA statistics would be if everyone knew these secrets out of the gate. Do you have marketing secrets to share? I’d love to hear them!

Here’s to the next 8 years!

Connie Kroskin
conniekroskin.com

 

 

 

 

How Marketing Has Changed in the Digital Age

Old school marketing pros have decades of practiced advantage over the newest self-styled digital marketing gurus, but to survive in the digital age, you have to be aware of prominent digital marketing concepts. Let’s take a look at the main concepts you need to be a master of marketing in the digital age.

Inbound Marketing is Prominent

Inbound marketing is a concept of the digital age. The earliest incarnation of this method is Seth Godin’s “permission marketing” concept—he wrote about that back in 1999. Since then, marketing giant HubSpot fully developed and expanded upon the idea, calling it inbound marketing. Besides search engine optimization and search engine marketing, inbound marketing (a related concept) is the most unique and innovative trademark of marketing in the digital age.

With inbound marketing, the idea is to let customers come to you. Since digital advertising and digital marketing aren’t bound to the same rules of marketing prior to the digital age, the digital age is a playground for inbound marketing. Thanks to search engines, it’s possible for customers who need your service to access your marketing materials by coming to you—and that’s because they look up what they need in search engines like Google. For example, “nail salons near me.” Google is smart enough to geo-locate them and point them in your direction (if your site is search engine optimized, that is).

Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing

Search engine optimization (or SEO) has taken hold in the age of digital marketing. Inbound marketing uses it: after all, the search engine is the tool customers use to find you. Getting noticed is the tough part, and in the digital age, that requires some technical expertise and a lot of heart.

In the beginning, SEO was pretty technical. If you looked up “nail salons,” content mentioning “nail salons” a lot would pop up. That doesn’t mean the content was particularly informative (or even on a page that was safe or coded well), but it meant that it mentioned the topic you were looking for a lot. As you can imagine, that resulted in a lot of spam and content creators simply jamming keywords everywhere. It didn’t provide a great experience for the user, which is ultimately Google’s goal. Spammers would also jam keywords into the meta information, or text-based data on the back end which allows a search engine to determine the subject of your page.

That meant spam ranked well in the SERPs (search engine results pages), and that wasn’t a pleasant experience for anyone. Great content got buried under spam. In 2012, Google rolled out an algorithm update called Panda, and that changed marketing in the digital age (for the better). Panda targeted spammy, low-quality content and the sites that hosted it, ranking them lower than the useful results. Google also aggressively targeted certain industries like gambling, which tended to be especially spammy.

This meant that it became increasingly important to produce quality content that people wanted to read. Unless it was particularly newsworthy, your content suddenly had to be something people actually wanted to read—and Google has only persisted in this direction since. The emphasis on quality is a hallmark of inbound marketing in the digital age.

Drip Marketing Strategies in the Digital Age

Drip marketing is the practice of maintaining a top-of-mind presence with prospects and customers by providing them with useful information and sales messages over a long period of time. This long-term strategy pays off. Think about it like a faucet: if you leave a bowl under it in the sink, one little drip doesn’t make much of a difference. Leave it there for a few days, and you can’t help but notice the full bowl.

This marketing premise works the same way. In the digital age, it’s particularly effective because it harnesses the power of email advertising (opt-in subscription lists) and digital ad retargeting practices. It’s a key long-term strategy for advertising in the digital age.

Spam Sensitivity and Bespoke Affinity Advertising

Many grew up in the age of junk mail: unwanted snail mail that came into our inboxes long before the time of spam in our Eudora email bins. We still get it—those ad circulars in particular—but our sensitivity to spam is higher than ever. Between bots and password phishing emails promising to enlarge certain body parts, we have less tolerance for advertising in general.

Unless it’s very customized…

While generic ads targeted towards specific demographics are still the norm on TV, that’s not the case when it comes to advertising in the digital age. We’ve become used to very custom advertising, formulated by affinities.

Affinities are likes and interests. This goes beyond demographics, and what’s more important: Google tracks them. If you have Google Analytics set up properly, it will reveal analytics to you. From there, you can create an entire buyer persona. Instead of finding out that your typical customer is a 55-year-old man making $75,000 per year, you’ll get more information about him. Maybe you’ll discover he likes football or travels frequently, or enjoys superhero movies.

 

Apply that to a digital marketing campaign. Since digital ads on platforms like Facebook allow you to customize so heavily, you could invest in several different ads and target them appropriately. By the time Fred the Football Fan gets a sports-oriented ad for your technology product, Facebook has filtered his interests to align and deliver the advertisement to this specific audience.

Take it a step further: get Fred’s email, and you can add him to your email list, which could include an affinity segmentation. Imagine how happy he’ll be when you send him BBQ recipes before the big game.

That certainly beats a mass-targeted mail flyer or a door hanger. Plus, those things are noticeable ads; a Facebook ad is an integrated part of the Facebook experience and a typical one.

Need Help With Marketing For a Digital Age?

It’s time to upgrade and uplift your marketing strategy with a foray into the digital age. We can get you started on that path, revamping your strategy entirely or working closely with your offline marketing strategy. Whether you’re ready to integrate or begin anew, we have solutions for you. Give us a call today. conniekroskin.com

 

SoLoMo: The Marketing Trifecta

Recently you’ve been reading about SoLoMo marketing but still don’t know what it is. Even worse, you’re not sure how to pronounce it. Never fear, I’m going to tell you what it is, why you need it, and what the current trends are. Let me reassure you, without even knowing it, you’re doing a bit of it already with your social media strategy.

First things first… SoLoMo is pronounced ‘SO-low-moe’ with the accent on the first syllable, and let the last two syllables run together. Practice it a couple of times. You already sound like a pro.

Now let’s get down to business. What exactly is SoLoMo marketing? It stands for Social-Local-Mobile. These three terms are significant in the marketing world, with far-reaching implications. Consumers are connecting with brands of all three concurrently. Contact Connie Kroskin Consulting if you need assistance with your SoLoMo Marketing Strategy! We are here to help.

Social

Nearly 80% of adults in the United States use Facebook. As a digital marketer, you should maintain an active presence in the social media world. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…these are just a few of the many social media platforms available today. Social media is how people stay connected. Using these platforms will improve your brand visibility.

When you have a presence on various social media platforms, you tap the power of advocacy marketing. Let your consumers and customers advocate for you. When your customer sees that you removed that impossible stain from his favorite job-interview-ensemble, he might post a picture on your Facebook or Instagram page. Or post it on his own and tag your business. Consumers might check-in to your business, creating visibility in that way. Let your customers help you market. Let them engage.

Location

We’re talking about location analytics. Location search-engine-optimization. Sounds complicated, but it’s really not, so let me give it to you in a nutshell.

The key point to remember is we are all using our mobile devices to search for businesses and services. What is available, and how do I find it? Think about the kinds of searches you complete on your mobile device. Let me give you an example.

Recently, my friend texted and invited me to an early dinner after work. I agreed but requested something local, casual, and something preferably with happy hour specials. I’m always jazzed to find good restaurant deals.

While waiting for her to pick me up, I searched on my phone for a dry-cleaner near my office. Usually, I go to the dry-cleaners near my house, so I was unsure of the options available nearby, or the reviews of them. But circumstances dictated that I drop the clothes near work.

We both used our mobile phones to search for solutions. Thanks to GPS, anyone searching for dry-cleaners and restaurants while using their mobile device (provided they have their location services turned on) will receive the right information and at the right time. Which is precisely what happened. She found a restaurant with happy hour specials, and I found a dry-cleaner on the way.

Mobile

According to Pew Research Center, approximately 95% of adults in the United States own a cell phone, with 77% of them being smartphones. In 2011, that number was only 35%! Astounding!

With that said, your business website should be optimized for mobile devices. Over half of searches are done while on the move. If you don’t keep up with the devices people are using, it’s not likely they will find you! You can’t convert if you aren’t on the scene.

The right people finding the right information at the right time. That should be your new motto.

Why you Need a SoLoMo Strategy

There is so much more to SoLoMo than helping a consumer find your bricks-and-mortar establishment. Let’s continue.

Consumers are spending more time on phones. Thus, businesses committed to SoLoMo are optimizing their websites for mobile devices and local searches. Mobile applications will drive the bulk of your consumers’ engagement with you. You need your website to be mobile-optimized, or you’re going to lose traffic.
Your website already produces visitor analytics— by tracking traffic and movement through your site.

Location analytics provides those same metrics but for physical locations. In other words, let’s say you put out on social media that you’re having a big sales event to commemorate D-Day or Veterans’ Day. You want to get as many veterans and their families to your establishment as possible. You can use location analytics to track the actual traffic to your physical location in the same way that your website monitors traffic to your site.

If you’re a retailer, you could use SoLoMo to create mobile websites that help your users use their phones to assist them while shopping in-store. Have you ever gone to Home Depot and wondered if they have any patio lights left in stock? So you pull out your phone, search for Home Depot and voila! It finds the store nearest to you. Then you type in “string patio lights” in the search bar and discover that the item is not in stock at that story. But patio lights are in stock at a store 11 miles away. Now you’ve got a decision to make. And that is one thing SoLoMo can’t do for you.
Let me help you figure that out. Let’s imagine and scheme and dream. Let’s get you on the map. Literally. Let’s help your clients find you— following only the light of their mobile device.

I know this sounds complicated. It’s not. If you’re wanting or needing help developing a plan, one that will help the right people find the correct information at the right time, I can help. I’d love to help. Contact me and we can develop a strategy that works for you.

Let’s help you create more visibility for your business. We can help you build more accuracy in the consumers that you’re targeting. Let’s help you discover where those customers are and the information they need to pursue you.

 

Marketing Funnels: How They Work and Why They are Beneficial

What Is A Marketing Funnel?

A marketing funnel is a method of dissecting the steps customers take when they are purchasing a product or service. As consumers, most of us complete this process on a regular basis. It’s the decision to buy a birthday gift, or to hire a contractor for a project. The point is, put yourself in your customer’s shoes and decide what action you want them to take while on your website. 

Your ultimate goal is for them to purchase your product or buy your service. That is what’s called conversion, and it occurs when customers go from entering your site to closing the deal.

A funnel is the process they go through before the conversion. You can add different actions into the mix, such as joining a membership program, or adding your e-mail address to a mailing list, but the steps below are standard for a purchasing funnel. 

  1. Identify need or want
  2. Visit the website
  3. Evaluate product
  4. Place in cart
  5. Buy the product

Why Is It Called a Funnel?

Why do they call it a funnel? At the beginning of the process, or the top of the funnel, there are a lot of people showing interest. As they move through the marketing steps, more and more people drop out of the process. The funnel gets narrower and narrower allowing only a small amount through at the bottom. Many consumers will take the first step, maybe the second step, perhaps even the third,  but only a fraction of that number will follow the process through to the end. For each action, the number of people completing the task will decrease. Ultimately it causes a funnel effect with the most interested buyers traveling the farthest down your funnel.

Have you ever heard someone say “widen the funnel”? They’re telling you to capture the interest of more people through advertisements and marketing campaigns so that an increasing amount of people will visit your site and enter your funnel. The more consumers you have in your funnel, the wider it will be.

The Benefits

Funnels aren’t just for obtaining a purchase. Funnels can also help you define where you are doing well, and where you are losing sales. You can see where the numbers drop and where you might need to bolster your efforts. Gather intel about how your customers work, expand your funnel allowing additional flow through the steps.

Funnels can provide information about your strong points and pitfalls. It aids in determining where you are losing your customers.  Knowing where you are doing well and where you are not, is the only way you can develop a plan to correct the problem. 

Creating A Funnel

To create a robust marketing funnel, you first need to understand the details of how your customers think and how they reach conversion. I recommend you define your goals and what you want your customers to do. For example, buy a product, contract for service, sign up for membership…it becomes fairly easy to outline the steps in the funnel once you identify your goals. 

John Dewey introduced the buying process in 1910, and it’s still the ultimate template for creating a marketing funnel. Here’s a more in-depth look at the purchasing funnel outline.

1. Customer Identifies Their Want or Need

The first step a customer takes is recognizing a desire or need. It can range from something as simple as an item they want, or something more complex, for example, to book a vacation. The recognition of a want or need will depend on what kind of company you have. This stage is significant because it’s when the buyer decides to look for products and services that you offer.

2. The Search 

Once a buyer establishes a need, they then research the issue and gather more information about all the possible solutions to their problems. This is typically when they land on your site, or have first contact with your company. The type of info obtained can range from:

  • Reviews
  • Recommendations 
  • Looking for coupons
  • Visits to a store for real-time demonstrations
  • Hitting up the search bar to discover their options

3. Evaluating the Product

After or during the information search, the customer will begin looking more closely at the product or service that fits their needs. They will want more information at this point. You can keep more folks on this stage by providing the extra information they are looking for to help them make a decision. Possibly a pricing guide, or an instruction video. You can lose customers in this step if they do not find the information they are looking for. This stage will have different complexity depending on the various products.

4. Deciding to Buy

This step occurs naturally once the buyer determines that your product or service is the solution to their problem. However, your job is not done. You can do some things here to encourage your customer to “pull the trigger”. Having product reviews or testimonials available can help reassure your customer that they are making the right decision. 

5. The Purchase

Conversion! This is where they seal the deal. The purchase has been made. Congratulations!  This customer has gone through all the steps and phases of the funnel. 

The process doesn’t end here. How they feel afterward is just as important as the process leading up to the purchase. Their word of mouth referral will bring someone new into the funnel and the process will begin again.  

Ask your customers for their feedback or a review of the product. Following up with them after the purchase will add to their confidence that they made the right decision. They will pass their experience on to the next person. Knowing how the customers think will help you create a funnel that caters to their needs at every step of the process.

Funnels aid in understanding how to appeal to your customer’s desires and needs. They have the power to direct more traffic to your products and services as well as convince them to make the purchase. 

If you have questions about how the funnels work in your business, call Connie Kroskin Consulting and we can assist you.

Contact Us today to get the answers you need.

 

Building a Successful Advocate Marketing Strategy

In the business world of today, advocacy marketing is more important than ever. Advocacy, or advocate marketing is a method you can use to promote your brand through your customer’s support. The majority of consumers tend to conduct a considerable amount of research before purchasing a product. They not only look at the specifics of the product, but reviews from those who have already made the purchase.

Your goals as the owner of your company are to create a stellar product with excellent service and to generate the best reviews possible. The more people positively chat about your brand, about how impressive it is, the more it will travel. Ultimately, your sales and popularity will increase. 

Is Advocate Marketing a Must?

The short answer is YES! It’s a vital catalyst to your brand’s growth and awareness. The more customers are satisfied with your product, the more they will talk and spread the word about what it’s done for them. Getting people to buy your product takes some convincing, and your customers can do some of that for you. 

Invesp.com says that 88% of consumers put the highest level of trust in word-of -mouth recommendations from people they know.  Ambassador.com says that 91% of B2B (Business to Business) buyers are influenced by word-of-mouth when making their decision.

Building a Bond

Businesses see increased success rates when they take the time to form a bond with their customers. Expressing how much you value your customer’s dedication to your brand helps build this bond. It ensures that they will repeatedly turn to your company versus a competitor, and makes them more likely to recommend you as well.

You should give your customers something that’s worth staying for. If you foster those relationships, they are more likely to stay with your company. It will also allow them to increase leads and potentially increase revenue for your company because they advocate on your behalf.

Start With a Strategy

Before you can even consider recruiting advocates for your business, you will need to develop a strategy. The following steps can help you in developing a triumphant advocate marketing strategy and also assist in monitoring your ROI (Return On Investment)

Step1. Establish Advocates

To begin with, you need to determine who might be a potential advocate. Asking yourself these questions can help steer you in the right direction:

  1. Who spends the most money?
  2. Who are your best customers?
  3. Who’s viewed your product on sites associated with your industry?
  4. Who’s been loyal the longest?

Determining who are the best advocates for your brand will not happen overnight. You’ll have to work at it and monitor their interactions over time. Look for who likes, comments, and shares your posts on social media. It is unlikely they would share posts if they were not your advocate.

Step 2. Ask “The Ultimate Question” of Potential Advocates

Once you’ve developed a list of potential advocates, ask them this question: How likely are you to recommend the product or service to a friend or associate on a scale of 1-10?

This question will help you distinguish who’s a loyal advocate and who’s not. If their answer is a nine or above then should be considered an advocate. If they’re not currently on your list of advocates, then they have the potential to become one.

Step 3. Who Are Your Advocates?

Focusing on who the best possible advocates are, it’s time to identify their personas. Identifying the persona of your advocates can allow you to pinpoint your audience and customer pool. Therefore, it aids in determining what kind of people benefit from your brand the most.

This step will be easier for B2B (Business to Business) marketers because they already have their options filtered. That means that they can look at job titles, industry, and things of that nature. Whereas B2C (Business to Consumer) marketers have a vast pool to choose from and the possibilities are endless. However, there will still be a pattern. Look for customers who have the same interest, household income, gender, or age. Usually, these demographics can give you an idea of why they are advocates of your brand.

Step 4. Motivate Your Customers

Finding a way to motivate your customers is key to gaining advocates. Everyone doesn’t identify with motivation in the same ways. While some may prefer to have early access to new products, others want a financial incentive. Focus on the advocates that don’t want monetary benefits.

In order to keep your advocates, you must maintain their engagement. Using advocates isn’t free. The longer you use them to promote your business the more expensive it will become, especially if money is what you’re using to keep their interest. While it will likely take time to grow your advocate list, it will be more sustainable once you do.

Step 5. Measure Your ROI

The hardest part is over, but you must find a way to track your ROI. Why is this so important? It might be difficult to convince executives that you have a successful strategy without the results to back it up. Try to avoid details like clicks, shares, and downloads unless your mission is to increase brand awareness. Typically, it’s your profit that matters the most.

Look into metrics that associate with your profit such as cost per acquisition, revenue per customer, and visitor-buyer conversion rates. You can make tracking these things easier by integrating your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and automation marketing. You can also use things like monitoring links, surveys, and numerous other tools that can deliver your deals and leads to the appropriate marketing channel.

Create & Execute an Advocate Marketing Strategy

Creating and Executing an effective advocate marketing strategy is vital to increasing your brand’s awareness and profits. Your customers can aid not only by purchasing your products but by telling others and completing reviews of your products and services. If you haven’t developed your strategy, the steps we’ve outlined for you should help you get started on the right foot.

We know that success is critical to you. Advocacy marketing can be a multiplier for your business strategy. If you need assistance developing your advocacy marketing strategy, Connie Kroskin Consulting is available to assist you in this venture. Contact us today to discuss getting started on your advocacy marketing plan.

 

Creating a Powerful Mission & Vision Statement

You work hard to ensure your company’s success. With as many things you have on your plate as a business owner, it can be easy to discount the importance of having powerful mission and vision statements for your brand. They might not seem as essential as some of the other things on your to-do list but, they are the heart and soul of your company.

In fact, mission and vision statements are the most important things to develop when growing your brand. They are the focal point of your business and what should motivate your company’s daily operations. If they are true to your company’s focus, they will drive you towards your goals.

If you pay attention, mission and vision statements are everywhere. All successful companies have them, and some of them are known worldwide. If you want to learn more about how to create the perfect mission and vision statements, then you’ve come to the right place.  Call Connie Kroskin Consulting today and let us help you with your vision and mission statements.

The Importance of Vision and Mission Statements

Developing your brand is a process that begins deep in the roots of the mission and dream for your company. Skillfully created mission and vision statements are the centerpieces of your business and will encourage, motivate, and focus you on meeting and exceeding your goals.

Your mission and vision are things that you believe with every fiber of your being. They are what you stand for. Read your statements often and post them in conspicuous places where your employees can read them too. Then live by them and operate your company accordingly.

It’s an anchor for you and your staff to hold on to when running your business gets challenging. As a leader, a lot of responsibility gets put on your shoulders, and it can be easy to get burned out. The day to day to-do list can be overwhelming at times, and you fail to remember the reason behind the madness–your mission and vision. They will remind you and your employees of the purpose behind your hard work.  

How You Use Your Vision and Mission Statements

Your vision and mission statements are catalysts for developing successful marketing strategies. You can use them as a template to create a plan that will fulfill what your business set out to accomplish.

 

Your statements also provide a foundation for decision-making. It will set your limits and guide you and the leaders within your company as they make significant decisions because it gives them a clear road map of where your company is going and how to get there. Your mission and vision will set standards for your company to ensure that you stay on the right track.

When procedures change in your company, it’s often accompanied by fear and frustration on the part of the staff. Having a solid mission and vision will help your employees have a smoother transition and be more accepting of the changes. When the reasoning behind the changes are aligned with your mission and vision, then the transition should go smoothly.

Vision vs. Mission

People often confuse the words vision and mission. Your vision is what you imagine for your future. Your mission is how you’re going to get there.

Your vision statement should have more meaning. It defines why you exist and what you hope to accomplish with your brand.

Your mission is what you’re doing to fulfill your vision. Your mission statement should answer the questions of who, what, and how. To whom are you providing services? What are you offering them? How are you offering them the product or service?

Developing Your Mission Statement

When you begin to create your mission statement, you should ask yourself why you started your business. What made you decide to build your brand? Once you’ve established that, ask yourself who you intend to serve. And finally, how are you going to help them?

There are many different ways to structure your mission statement. If your company has numerous divisions, you can break it down and cater it towards each department. The purpose of the statement is to aid in concentrating on what you’re doing today so that you can reach the goals of the future. It shouldn’t be all about money either. Ultimately it’s what you’re doing every day that contributes towards the overall target for your brand.

Developing Your Vision Statement

Your vision statement should be meaningful and relay the long-term dreams for your company. It’s the heart of your organization, and it should be overflowing with an abundance of possibilities that are so big that they seem unfeasible. When people read this statement, it should motivate them to dream, hope, and have faith in your vision.

Putting It In Words

When you write your mission and vision statements, the words you choose matter. Fill them with vibrant words that will define the passion you have for your company and brand. You want them to inspire and motivate you and everyone who reads them. You can create an image with your words that will provoke action.

Put some flavor in your statements by adding words like “outrageous,” “passion,” and “marvel.” Be descriptive but keep it short and to the point. Read your statements out loud and make sure that they give you a good feeling about them. In just a few sentences it should capture your brands objective and the logic behind them. It informs your employees, customers, community, and suppliers of what your company is all about.

Your brand gives life to your mission and vision. They are the most valuable things you can have in your company. Developing meaningful mission and vision statements that motivate and inspire everyone who reads them are essential for how others view your company and ensuring its success. Stay true to your vision and mission, and customers will flock to your doorstep for what you offer.

If you need assistance creating a vision and mission statement for your brand, Connie Kroskin Consulting is happy to help. Contact Us for more information about vision and mission statements.

 

Graphic Design – How Important Is It Really?

graphic designer at computer

Graphic design plays an essential role in businesses these days. It is a skill not only needed to help create a logo, but is also used to help communicate with an audience. It’s a way for businesses to advertise themselves.

Graphic Design – What Exactly Is It?

Design words on chalkboard

What is graphic design, you ask? Let’s split the two words apart, shall we? The word “graphic” literally is the visual aspect, one that is both proper and accurate. “Design” is when a creator uses a professional and artistic way to create a specific message. Graphic design is also known as communication design and visual communication since it is used to attract a target audience.

Graphic designers use an array of visual arts, typography skills, images, and layout techniques. The various design elements that are arranged all depends on which media the designer creates for.

This includes:

  • Websites
  • Business cards
  • Brochures
  • Posters
  • Logos

There are many different software programs that graphic designers use. Some popular software programs include CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop. Print, web, and broadcasting, to name a few, are what is included in the field of graphic design.

Brands use graphic design to engage and entertain the target audience, using the various design elements. Designers combine both technology and art to convey their message.

Why Is Graphic Design Important In Business?

Creative design desk

Not only does graphic design help give your business a face, but enhances how you communicate with your targeted audience. It is both an effective and beautiful way to convey your ideas. Graphic design involves establishing an attractive yet functional and professional look. Creating a connection with your customers, showing what products or services your business offers.

You could have great products or services, but having a weak and poorly designed logo can cast a shadow over your business. You want to make a great first impression on customers. So having a cheaply made logo would not be the route to go. Having a great and unique logo will help you in the long run.

Extending beyond logos and websites, graphic design is used as visual aids to help communicate your ideas. Words alone cannot express what an informative image can transmit. Professionally made designs can help avoid misunderstandings and create a positive impression.

The efficiency and productivity of your business, again, has to do with your design as well. If you have a website with blinding colors or hard to read fonts, it would be a headache for your customers. Having easy navigations, legible fonts, and easy-on-the-eye colors will give your customers ease of use.

Lastly, having a poorly made design can be costly. And if the design is not ready to print, it might cost you more to have a new design made. So if you want your business to do well money-wise, it would be best to find a competent graphic designer. You want one who will be able to create a design that will not cost you an arm and a leg to produce.

Here Are Tips On How To Up Your Graphic Design Game

graphic designer at computer

Want to learn how to up your game in graphic design? Well, here are some tips to help you out.

Establish Your Company Name

We see logos everywhere, and we know what company is behind it. Advertisements and business cards are all designs that we see every day in our life. These designs are etched into our memories and remind us of the brand. So graphic design is beneficial to help establish your company name and brand.

Is your business too small to afford a marketing budget right now? Fear not! Having a unique logo or business card can easily attract the eyes of people. This enables your company to establish a name in the market.

Convey Your Brand’s Message

Does your brand have a specific message it would like to communicate? Convey your brand’s message through graphic design. Let your designer know of your message you want to be delivered to help create the design. They’ll use specific colors and typefaces to help evoke intended emotions. And that emotion becomes a significant component of the brand’s message to potential customers.

The Power Of Persuasion

Graphic design has the power to persuade your customers to think about your business. A well-made website or even brochure helps create that connection to your business’ brand. It creates that link between them and your brand.

When To Hire A Professional

female designer at desk

Wondering if you are ready to hire a professional? Here are some signs that it’s time to call in a pro.

Stand Out From Your Competitors

First off, you want to see what your competitors in the business have to offer. You do not want to copy their designs. You want to be able to bring something unique to the table. Something that sets you apart. You want to find a graphic designer who can give you the results you want.

Your Idea

Do you need to have a vision drawn out for the designer? The answer is no, you do not. That is what the designer is there for. But you do need to have a clear thought of what you want the design to portray.

Write a brief summary of how you want your design for your designer. Ask yourself questions on what you would like it to have or not have. How you would want to portray your company to the people.

Research

You want to see what each graphic designer has to offer. Look through their portfolios and past work to help give you an idea of who would like to hire. See who would fit the style you want to achieve.

Versatility

Finding a versatile graphic designer should be kept in mind. You want them to be able to not only design something specific, but be able to do an array of designs, such as brochures, business cards, and so forth.

When starting a business, you want to make that first impression. And having a well-made design is the way to go. It may seem tedious to do, but it makes all the difference in your business.

Connie Kroskin Consulting has years of experience in graphic design has years of experience. Our team of graphic designers is dedicated to producing award-winning graphics for your business. If you would like more information or would like some help getting started with graphic design for your business, please contact us. I will help steer your business in the right direction!

Top Direct Mail Marketing Ideas

happy people high-fiving

With the advent of emailing and electronic marketing, you would think that using “snail mail,” as a marketing tool, would be obsolete. But the direct opposite is true. People love getting physical mail in their hands. People still enjoy opening a piece of mail or package that is personal and means something to them or catches their interest.

Though email marketing is cost effective and widely used, consider how many emails slip through the cracks and are never read. Let’s think about that for a moment. You know when you see that email that looks like junk mail and then you immediately hit delete? Yeah, me too. Well, that is not the case with direct mail marketing because even “junk” mail is momentarily held and glanced at.

If you are looking for new ways to market your brand, a direct mail marketing strategy can be the thing that puts you and your brand over the top.

Direct Mail Marketing Strategy

mailbox with letter

What is your goal? Are you looking for customers? The second question may seem silly, but if you truly focus on the fact that you are looking for customers, you will look at your marketing strategy with clearer vision.

One of the easiest things to do, when preparing a direct mail marketing strategy is to put yourself on the receiving end. What would catch your eye when you open your mailbox? What is the first thing you will open, outside of an envelope with a check in it?

Knowing what type of mail consumers gravitate towards is just as important as the message. You want your mail to be opened first. It doesn’t matter how fantastic your offer or brand is, if you can’t get the consumer to look at it, it is just more trash or recycling.

Think about what it is you share and how you are going to get people to look at it. Let’s take a look at some different types of direct mail marketing; then we can move forward from there.

Types of Direct Mail

gift card in envelope

Let’s be honest, you can send all kinds of media through the mail but knowing what types of direct mail, for marketing, are out there will give you a great place to start when planning your direct mail marketing strategy.

Take a look at the list below, and as you do, think about your business and what would work best for you. Also, as you look at the list, don’t just pick one, pick a few that could deliver your message successfully.

  • Postcards
  • Letters
  • Brochures
  • Catalogs
  • Flyers
  • Newsletters
  • Sales and coupons

Now that you are starting to get an idea about what types of mailings that can be a part of your direct mail marketing strategy, let’s look at some practices that can make your marketing strategy a success.

Direct Mail Marketing Best Practices

Quick recap: You should now see direct mail marketing as a viable option for your business and brand, you are starting to get an idea of what you want to send to consumers mailboxes, based on what you think will get their attention, and you see what types of marketing materials are well suited for a direct mail marketing campaign. Now what?

Let’s take a look at some direct mail marketing ideas and what might work for your business. After all, if you’re going to take the time and resources to do it, why not do it right?

  1. Use Big Envelopes: Consumers are more likely to open an oversized envelope than one that looks like everything else in the mailbox.
  2. I Feel Something in There: Putting a little, relevant trinket, something that can be felt through the envelope works like a charm to getting the envelope opened. I still have free pens that were sent as marketing tools.
  3. Make it “Skimmy”: If a mailer is easy to skim, to get the information, it will have a better chance of being read.
  4. Promote your Offer, Not your Product: People love value, especially when it comes to something they need or want. Make them an offer they can’t refuse and promote it.

Successful Direct Mail Campaigns

happy people high-fiving

Everyone wants their marketing strategies to be successful. Successful marketing = increased conversion rate of consumers to customers. Success is the real point of marketing. Below I will go over some steps that will help you move toward having a successful direct mail campaign.

  1. Know Your Target Audience: Who needs what you have to offer? Who are you looking to serve? What are their needs and concerns and how can you help them? If you can narrow down the most likely customers for your product or service, you can center your marketing campaign around them. It is easier to get customers when you are reaching out to the group you are targeting instead of sending out random mailings. Once you know who your target group is, you can actually purchase mailing lists tailor-made for your target market.
  2. Plan to send out follow up mailings: That’s right folks, to be successful you will need to follow up. Sending sequential mailings will keep you in the minds of your target audience and increase sales conversions.
  3. Save Marketing Materials you Recieve: When you open your mailbox, and a mailer catches your eye, save it. Why? If it caught your eye, you could use it to grab one of your target’s eyes.
  4. Great Headlines: When it comes to direct mail marketing, headlines are everything. To get potential customers’ attention you’ve got to grab them by the “consumer” bootstraps and shake them up. Remember who they are, what they need and stay relevant. If you want them to keep reading, you’ve got to get their attention right out of the gate.
  5. Automated System for your Direct Mail Campaign: Trying to do all of the legwork to get your mailers out can be extremely time-consuming. If it takes too much of your time, you may not be inclined to do it more than once. An excellent automated system will get your mailers, track your responses and track your leads to customer conversion ratio.

When you start a business, you need to realize that marketing is the most significant part of it. Marketing is what brings in customers and makes your brand and business grow. Executing a successful direct mail marketing campaign can be a significant step in moving you forward.

If you are looking for more information or help with starting a successful direct mail marketing campaign, Contact me or go online and sign up for a 30-minute complimentary strategy session. I will help you take your business where you want it to go.

A Simple Guide to Creating a Strategic Marketing Plan

3 people around desk

If you want to increase the success of your business, you need to have a successful marketing plan. Creating a strategic marketing plan will give you a solid marketing strategy. But know this, your first marketing plan will most likely NOT be your forever plan.

For your business to grow your marketing plan will need to adapt to meet the ever-changing needs of your business. If you go into your planning with this in mind, you will be able to effectively and smoothly flow with the changes needed to make your business and your brand successful.

You know, creating a successful marketing plan is not easy. This plan is going to be used to move your business forward into a competitive stance. It will need to be able to make your dreams come to life by creating marketing goals that will be the foundation of your brand. But it also needs to be simple enough for your team to understand so that it can be executed well, with a strong positive impact on your business being the end result.

Don’t fret. I am here to help you learn some simple ways to create your marketing plan. Let’s start with understanding what strategic marketing means.

Strategic Marketing Definition

3 people around desk

The definition of strategic marketing is simple. Strategic marketing is how a business makes itself stand out from its competition. The strategic marketing plan, executed by the company, does this by promoting its current and future strengths to show that they are better and will continue to be better, to customers, than their competition.

Marketing plans are used by businesses to help them find a target customer base and set out a plan that will not only bring in and retain customers but will increase satisfaction, profit, and make the company better at what they do and offer over time.

Strategic marketing is done with a specific goal for the business in mind. It outlines what the end goal is and how it is to be reached without wasted time or effort on random target groups and irrelevant marketing activities.

Strategic marketing is all about creating, implementing, and restructuring the plan of action for your business. A strategic plan is your business’ roadmap to success, detours and all.

Importance of Strategic Marketing

chess game

Preparing a strategic plan is essential to a business because it takes the primary goal of the business and makes measurable goals that will give the movement of the business a specific direction to follow.

A strategic marketing plan is not the foundation of the company but a tool to help bring the company to life and measure its success. It helps govern the daily decisions that are made and helps evaluate the needs and progress of the business and/or brand.

Creating a strategic marketing plan for your business will help keep you organized and focused on reaching specific goals and milestones while decreasing wasted time, effort, and monetary resources.

10 Steps to Create a Strategic Marketing Plan

yellow goal sign

We have talked about the need to have a strategic marketing plan for your business to be successful. Now let’s talk about how to create one.

  1. Create Objectives and Goals for your Business: All marketing plans need a purpose. The purpose of your marketing plan is to reach the long-term goals of your business. Before creating a marketing plan, take the time to set your long-term goals. When you have done this, give your goals objectives that can be measured by using your marketing plan.
  2. Know your current position: It is important to see your business with clarity. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Who is your main competition? How do you currently compete? Knowing this information will help you analyze exactly what you need to do to move ahead of your competition and strengthen your brand and consistently improve your marketing strategies as needed to increase the success of your business.
  3. Learn to map your messages: A crucial part of your brand and marketing plan is your message. To start, write a statement with the standard information about your business. This statement is the foundation for further messages about your products, services and who your target market will be. As you continue to map you will be able to create an even stronger foundation for other marketing materials, press releases, blogs and your company’s mission statement.
  4. Have your business live by your mission: What does your business value? Whatever you state your business values are, make sure it adheres to them. When you create the mission statement for your business, build it around your values. Allowing the consumer/customer to know where you stand and make sure you live up to it will solidify your brand and maintain consumer trust.
  5. Create your tactics: How are you going to get your message out? Direct Mailings? Email? Social Media? These are some common marketing tactics. Let your business and your target market drive what tactics will be best for your business.
  6. Set a timeline: Treat your business like a business. Set times for your goals and objectives to be completed, then work to meet your deadlines.
  7. Create a budget: Decide what you are going to spend on marketing and stick to it. Use options that not only save you money but reach your target audience and allow for follow-up marketing.
  8. Assign tasks: Use your marketing team to get the job done. Sharing the duties creates accountability while sharing the load and creating efficiency in your marketing efforts.
  9. Track your tactics: Keep track of the effectiveness of your marketing tactics. Keeping track will help you make the changes needed, in your marketing strategy, to continue to move forward.
  10. Keep your marketing relevant: As your business changes so will your marketing needs and goals. Review your plan at least yearly and make any necessary adjustments to keep your plan current and relevant.

Creating a strategic marketing plan is a must. Having a plan to get your business where you want it to go is a necessary tool, but can be confusing the first time. This is where my expertise comes in. With years of experience, I am here to help you get the results you are looking for. Contact me today.

Market Segmentation Examples and Why You Should Care

4 market segmentation classifications

Can a stylish millennial help a slightly stodgy luxury fashion accessories company appeal to young buyers? Coach sure hopes so. The company recently entered into a significant partnership with global superstar Selena Gomez with the hope that they can use her to target the highly coveted millennial market. The Coach partnership with Selena Gomez is an excellent example of the use of market segmentation to drive brand positioning. Let’s examine some market segmentation examples and why this type of marketing is so dominant.

What is Market Segmentation?

Market Segmentation

Are all of your potential customers the same? If you just answered no, you are on your way to understanding the concept of market segmentation. Successful marketers analyze the total potential customers for a business and then break that ocean of customers into more manageable groups based on specific characteristics that are common to the customers in the smaller group. Once you understand the needs of the different segments of your customer base, you’ll have a much better idea of how to effectively market to them.

Market Segment vs. Target Market

Market segmentation only works if you’ve determined the make-up of your target market. The target market is the group of customers who you want to buy your product. The target audience tells you who you’re marketing to, but it doesn’t give you enough information about them to create an effective marketing campaign. You’ll need to do some market segmentation research to learn how to reach your target audience.

For example, Coach wants to target the millennial market in the hope that if they can instill brand loyalty in the young market, it will carry on as the customers mature. Once Coach decided to target the younger market, the company had to gain an intimate understanding of their particular customer needs. Marketers employed market segmentation research to develop a persona of the typical young customer.

A persona is a descriptive story of a fictional person that embodies your market segment. So a fashion accessories company like Coach, for example, might put together a persona named Madeline. The fictional Madeline possesses the characteristics of a fashion-forward young woman who has a taste for luxury brands at an affordable price. Marketers can use tools like personas to craft a marketing campaign that speaks directly to that particular market segment. The Selena Gomez campaign was born out of this robust research into the target market and market segmentation at Coach.

4 Consumer Market Segmentation Classifications

4 market segmentation classifications

Now that I’ve got you thinking about how market segmentation might work for you, let’s look at the four most common ways of using market segmentation to classify consumers.

  1. Geographic Segmentation is the most common type of market segmentation because it is relatively simple to figure out where your potential customers reside. This classification system includes categories like city, state, region, country, suburban, urban, and rural.
  2. Demographic Segmentation is a valuable way to analyze your target audience because it gives you some of the in-depth information that can help your brand to stand out in a market. Examples of the type of demographic data that comprises this way of viewing your customers are age, gender, income, race, housing, and marital status.
  3. Psychographic Segmentation is a fancy way of saying that you’re examining the lifestyle and attitudes of your customers. For instance, Facebook is a hugely successful corporation because it collects psychographic data on its users, and marketers will pay a pretty penny for access to that knowledge. Attitude and lifestyle information can give your brand an inside edge with customers and can make your business flourish.
  4. Behavioral Segmentation analyzes customer behavior and is very helpful in crafting your marketing strategy. What motivates your customers to perform specific actions? Are they early adopters who want to be the first on their block with a new car? Are they tech savvy? Do they tend to stay loyal to a brand?    

Benefits of Market Segmentation

By now you probably think that market segmentation research is a significant undertaking. It does take toil and detective skills on your part, but I’ll promise you that the benefits of effective market segmentation far outweigh the effort. After all, it is all about getting to know your customer. Imagine the possibilities for your marketing strategy once you fully understand your customer.

A primary benefit of market segmentation is that it focuses your marketing strategy. If your customers are young and social media savvy, for example, it makes sense to interact with them through social media channels. When Coach partnered with Selena Gomez, for instance, they gained immediate access to her 100 million-plus Instagram users and 45 million Twitter users. Within months of connecting with Gomez, Coach had grown the number of users of their own social media channels by around 50%. Their social media brand presence has skyrocketed through this marketing focus.

A concerted focus on the market makes you much more competitive. While a social media influencer, such as Gomez, is an effective way to market to young people, it would most likely fail if the target audience consisted of people who did not use social media. The knowledge that you’ll gain from market segmentation ensures that your marketing reaches your desired audience and utilizes that reach to drive your brand forward.

Another compelling benefit to market segmentation is that it promotes beneficial customer communication. The most effective brands have all mastered the art of customer interaction. Gone are the days when you hope that you’re communicating with your clients; market segmentation shows you the best ways to have an ongoing conversation with the people who buy your products.

Lastly, market segmentation is one of the most critical components of a robust market strategy. Without this tool, you can’t know the needs of your customers. Market segmentation gives you the details so that you know how to reach your specific target audience. CONTACT me today for a complimentary 30-minute strategy session to discover how we can grow your business through market segmentation.

4 Ways to Build a Successful Go-To-Market Strategy

concept of targeting

Your business firm just finalized a product, and it’s ready to be marketed and sold. Or is it? You might have the most perfect product or service in the world, but without an excellent go-to-market strategy, it might flop and fail entirely.

What is Go-To-Market Strategy?

Man pointing to arrow

Go-To-Market Strategy is different from strategic marketing in that it is much more specific than an overall marketing plan for your business. In the article “How to Develop a Winning Go-To-Market Strategy For Your Firm,” Hinge Marketing defines a go-to-market strategy (or GTM strategy) as “focused specifically on delivering a product or service to an end customer.” The purpose of a GTM strategy is to put a particular product or service, aimed at a specific customer base, out into the market successfully.

Here are four ways to build a successful go-to-market strategy for your new product or service.

  1. Find Your Targets

It might be tempting to focus on the product and work backward, but don’t do it! Before you do anything else, you need to determine who you want to be interested in your product or service.

  • What is your target market? You can’t develop an effective strategy without knowing precisely who you are selling to. You need to identify the market and then figure out the details. Is there a client base already in existence, and if so, who is in it? Where is the market located geographically, if applicable? You need to find out the size of the market, whether it’s growing, and how it is influencing, or being influenced, by other markets. All of this information will help with the other steps on this list.
  • Who is your target client? Your research on the existing market will help answer this. You can’t direct your strategy at all of the clients in the market; you need to pick the target client who fits your business’s skills and talents best. Which segment of clients is your business best at reaching? Focus on that one.

Closely tied to choosing your targets is another important step: research.

  1. Do Your Research

There are two main branches of research that you’ll need to spend some time on if you haven’t already. The more work you do here, the easier all of the other steps will be.

  • Secondary Research is finding all of the information that already exists on your target market and your target client. Fortunately, if you followed step one, you may have already done this research. If not, fill in the gaps on what the market is, where your target client is, and what your target client is most likely to want or need from the service or product you will be offering.
  • Brand research is learning all you can about your own business and your competitor’s and compiling it for reference. This knowledge will help you strategize how you can succeed in areas where your competitors are strong, and expand into areas where your competitors aren’t as active. Look for needs that the current market isn’t meeting; for example, affordability or extra features. Stay alert for areas that could be expanded or given a new twist.

Brand research goes hand-in-hand with the next step, which is figuring out how your brand fits into the overall market.

  1. Locate Your Brand

If you haven’t already, you need to decide what sets your brand apart from similar or related brands in the market.

Is your product the low-cost alternative? If so, you will market it as such rather than touting it as a luxury item. Is it more sustainable and “green” than its competitors? Make sure to focus on that in your marketing so that you can grab that target client. Is it innovative, does it last longer, or does it come with some special perk that makes it stand out high above the rest?

Whatever is unique about your brand is what you need to highlight and focus on in your go-to-market strategy. Showcasing your uniqueness will help your specific target client find you and your business.

Once you have that part figured out, you can narrow in on exactly what you are offering to your brand’s market.

  1. Determine Your Service Offering

Make sure your service offering matches your brand and target client. Sounds basic, right? If you’ve followed the previous steps, you are now fully informed on your brand and your target client.

Now, look at the product or service that you are offering. Does it fit the client’s needs? Will it be available to them geographically? Will they be able to find it? Does it include all the features they are likely to want? All your answers should be “yes,” and if they aren’t, figure out how to change or tweak the service offering. When you have your service offering entirely nailed down, then you are ready for the strategizing component.

Build Your Go-To-Market Strategy

concept of targeting

Once you’ve followed these four steps, then you are ready to develop your go-to-market strategy. To do this, you need to become proficient at speaking your clients’ language and putting yourself in their shoes. You need to position your firm and your service offering where your target client is. Use keywords that your target client is likely to type into a search engine. Put ads or articles in publications your target client will read. Set up displays at conferences or events your target client will attend. Focus all of your marketing in the areas you know your target client will show up.

As you can see, it takes hard work to build a go-to-market strategy that will yield the best results for your company. If you need help building your own strategy, contact our marketing experts at Connie Kroskin Consulting. We offer a variety of solid marketing plans, which include a go-to-market strategy if needed. You can check out my blog for marketing tips and tricks, and read testimonials to see how we have helped other businesses. Contact Connie Kroskin Consulting today for your complimentary 30-minute strategy session.

How to Write a Brand Positioning Statement That is Benefit Oriented

brand positioning statement customer benefit

How to Write a Brand Positioning Statement That is Benefit-Oriented

picture of brand positioning statement

What’s the first thing that you think of when you hear the words “The Happiest Place on Earth?” The fact that those words make you imagine a fun-filled day at Disneyland is a testament to how well a brilliantly crafted brand positioning statement can focus your entire marketing plan. In this article, let’s take a closer look at what goes into writing one of the most useful parts of an overall marketing strategy: the benefit-oriented brand positioning statement

Do you know that there is a difference between your brand and the products that you sell? A company’s brand is its identity. It’s what people think of when they hear your name. Products come and go, but your brand continues even as your business may change over time. A brand positioning statement describes who you are, your target audience, and how your brand meets the needs of your customers. Most brand positioning statements include answers to the following questions:

  • Who are you?
  • Who are your target customers?
  • What do your target customers desire?
  • What benefits do you provide your customers?

The ability to concentrate on benefits gives you an exciting opportunity to focus in on the relationship between you and your target audience. This focused analysis is called a benefit-oriented brand positioning statement.

What is a Benefit-Oriented Brand Positioning Statement?

Benefit-Oriented Brand Positioning Statement

The first thing to remember when you begin to consider using a benefit-oriented approach to position your brand is that this approach is consumer-centric and focuses on the benefits that you provide to the customer. How does using your brand benefit the customer?

Benefits to the customer are both functional and emotional. For example, the customer of a spot carpet treatment featuring a special pet stain removing additive benefits from the ability to use the product to clean pet accidents from their carpet. Along with this functional benefit, the customer gains the emotional advantage of feeling less stressed while house training a new puppy.

TIP: Examples of emotional benefits include words like energetic, wealthy,  popular, organized, sexy, and smart.

Why is Benefit-Oriented Brand Positioning Powerful?

Focusing on the benefit to the customer is one of the oldest and most common types of brand positioning because it gets at the core of your existence as a business: the relationship between you and your customer. Your customer is primarily concerned with the benefits that they receive from their loyalty to your brand. Committing to a benefit-oriented approach allows you to focus all of your organizational energies toward fulfilling the benefits that you’ve promised your customers.

A customer oriented brand positioning statement gives your marketing team a formidable advantage when it comes to framing the overall marketing strategy. Disney, for example, makes sure that the visitors to their theme parks benefit from its strict adherence to the Disney Four Key Basics: safety, courtesy, show, and efficiency. Everything flows from close attention to the benefits that Disney promises to its customers.

Creating a Benefit-Oriented Brand Positioning Statement

create brand positioning statement

Do you know how your brand benefits your customers? A strong position statement matches customer desires with your ability to supply those benefits. Figuring out how your brand helps your target audience can be difficult, and many businesses find it helpful to engage the assistance of a creative and experienced marketing strategy team like the one at Connie Kroskin Consulting to assist in crafting this all-important piece of their brand positioning statement.

Customer Desires

What does your customer want that your brand can provide? Remember that the customer desires both functional and emotional benefits. Successfully understanding the desires of your target audience is key to growing your business.

Marketing experts employ a variety of research tools to develop a full picture of the types of benefits that motivate buyers, and potential buyers, to purchase products. These sophisticated tools include:

  • Focus groups
  • Ethnographic studies where the researcher observes the user interacting with a product
  • Interviews
  • Social media monitoring and interaction

How Can Your Business Benefit Your Customers?

brand positioning statement customer benefit

Once you know your customer base, it’s time to look inward and analyze how your brand can give the customer what they desire. Marketing professionals often approach this task by dividing potential benefits into functional and emotional categories and then determining how a brand can meet the customer desire for the benefits.

Let’s imagine that your brand relates to pet care and your company owns several lines of pet products along with some boutique pet grooming shops throughout the nation. Along with a multitude of functional benefits, such as ease of use, you’ll discover that your brand provides a whole host of benefits to your clients.

For example, let’s say that your brand markets a low-cost carpet stain remover containing natural ingredients. Market research shows that your consumers want an effective way to clean up pet accidents while also being gentle to the earth. You can market your carpet cleaner in a way that shows both the functional and emotional benefits of using the product. The information will also guide you in developing future products.

Benefit Oriented Brand Positioning and Taglines

Disney’s “Happiest Place on Earth” and Nike’s “Just Do It” taglines flow directly from their benefit-oriented brand positioning. It’ll be much easier for you to create a tantalizing tagline if you put effort into writing a thoughtful examination of the relationship between you and your customers. Imagine how many exciting directions you can take your brand once your target consumers develop a definite connection to it.

Finally, are you ready to dive into the detailed analysis involved in writing a robust benefit-oriented brand positioning statement? By looking beyond products, and instead honing in on who you are and how you can provide functional and emotional benefits to your clients, you’re paving a path into a future that isn’t tied to specific merchandise but instead is open to the constantly evolving marketplace. An approach like this leads to sustained growth and momentum.

Contact us to discover how a compelling brand positioning statement can drive your entire marketing strategy.


Strategic Marketing and Why It’s Important For Your Busines

business plan

What’s the point of strategic marketing? Isn’t all marketing at least a little strategic?

You might ask this question. The thing is, anyone can slap an advertisement on a telephone pole, or throw a website on the internet, and call it marketing. Strategic marketing is marketing with purpose. It’s using tactics to form the absolute best marketing strategy and personalizing it for your business. Insivia explains the difference between your basic, run-of-the-mill marketing and the kind of marketing that strategically gets results: “Strategic marketing is making sure that each one of your marketing efforts (e.g., e-newsletters, advertisement in magazines, websites, direct mailers and so on) aligns with your overall plan for connecting the information you have to provide with the audience that needs to hear it for you to succeed.”

We’re going to break down what strategic marketing is and explain the questions you need to answer to make the best plan possible for marketing your business.

Who Is Your Audience and What Do They Want?

man considering target audience

The first thing you need to do is identify your audience or your customer base. Who are you trying to reach? Are you selling maternity clothes to young couples or textbooks to students? You need to work out what your demographic is. Once you’ve figured out who your customers are, think about the best ways to reach them. Consider what kind of events they would be interested in,  the best method of communicating with them, and where you can find them (whether online or geographically).

Strategic marketing is only possible if you know as much as possible about who you are selling your goods or services to. The service you are providing to your customers is only useful if you can reach them with the information and deliver the goods. Is your business capable of doing this? If not, don’t despair. Take note of where or how you aren’t successfully reaching your audience, and set some goals on how to get through to them.

Once you nail down exactly who you are selling to, you’ll need to pay some attention to who else is selling to them: in other words, your competitors.

Who Are Your Competitors?

Who else is out there providing services similar to the ones you offer? You will need to consider your competition. Look at what they’re doing and where. It will also help you to analyze where your competitors are succeeding and failing. You might be able to step in on their weaker areas. Or perhaps you want to challenge them in an area you think you can do better. To do that, you’ll need to observe them and their strategies as much as possible.

Your competitors can be helpful learning tools for you, too: You might be inspired to go in a different direction because of something they are doing or not doing. You might tackle a problem that you noticed they are not addressing.

So, now you have all of the players on the board, and you need to figure out what to do with them or how to reach them. That brings us to the next question you should ask yourself:

What Are Your Opportunities?

open doors of opportunity

Regarding your business, look at the different opportunities for expansion, changes, or new growth. For example, maybe you have a website in place, but you only have the most basic information on it. Look into what information or resources you could add to it. Look at your geographic opportunities, your networking opportunities, your resources, and your current business offerings. Should you expand your services? Are there other groups of customers that you could reach? Are there customers that you could serve better or more efficiently?

Your answers to this question tie in closely to the next question; you’ll need to combine your answers to both to be able to form an effective marketing strategy.

What Are You Saying and What Do You Want To Say?

In other words, what is the message you want your business to speak to your target audience? What is your business all about? What is the essential service that you deliver or that you want to provide? This is a tricky question because you need to analyze both what your business is currently saying and what you want your business to say. If these two answers differ, you’ll need to take steps to rectify the two and create the message you desire. An outside opinion might be especially helpful because someone outside of your company circle can give you an unbiased report on what your company says to them. If you don’t have a mission statement formed yet, make sure to write one; it is an excellent way to put your business goals into focus.

Once you’ve determined that your business is saying what you want it to say, you can get down to tactics and plan out how to complete your business goals.

What Is Your Plan?

business plan

Without a specific plan in place, you will remain disorganized. You might have lots of goals or insights but no real way to implement them. In developing a strategic marketing plan, you can organize all of your questions and ideas into the most efficient and productive plan possible. And of course, the plan must be personalized for your business. What your business needs isn’t what another business might need. Your company should stand out with a unique mission; your business can provide its customers with a product that no other business can.

Strategic marketing will help your business succeed and grow. You need to connect your audience with your message, using every opportunity at your disposal. We know this can be an overwhelming task, especially if you’re not sure what you’re doing. You know, those thoughts in your head that make you spin. If you need help with any part of this process, Connie Kroskin Consulting is the experienced professional you want. Check out our strategic marketing services, or read our blog for lots of helpful marketing tips. You can even sign up for a complimentary 30-minute strategy session on the website.

5 Small Business Social Media Strategies For 2018

woman looking at smartphone

You have worked tirelessly to make your small business a success. If you are wondering how to get the word out about your business, keep reading to find out how even just one social media strategy for small companies can work in your favor.

Why is social media a good outlet? Social media accounts are low-cost marketing platforms for small businesses. They are a modern form of word-of-mouth. Customers rely heavily on reviews when they are making their decisions.

If you constantly find yourself thinking about how to advertise your small business but you haven’t considered social media, the following five social media strategies may just be what you are looking for to help your business thrive.

  1. Social Media for Surveys  

feedback screen on laptop

Using social media for surveys is an incredibly useful tool because it will allow you to find out what your customers are interested in, or even more importantly, what they are NOT interested in.

Most of the time people don’t want to be surveyed, but social media has allowed businesses to get survey information in creative ways. The purpose of the survey is to glean valuable information from your audience, so it doesn’t really matter how you do it.

Some ideas for a survey include a poll on Facebook or Twitter which can be a quick way for customers to respond to a question you post about your product.  

Another form of survey might look like a live video that people can respond to and leave comments as they watch (doesn’t that sound fun?). The live video doesn’t need to be very long, only 30-90 seconds, but creating one could be useful if you are unveiling a new product and you want feedback on it right away.

Finally, a survey can be as easy as posting a picture on any platform, like Facebook or Instagram, that customers can comment on. The image could be of your product, or a new recipe, or really anything that would allow your customers to give their opinion.

Customer comments are valuable bits of information that can help you tailor your products to their needs and wants.

  1. Facebook

woman looking at smartphone

How Facebook helps small business owners is really incredible. The power of social media, especially Facebook, is unlike any other form of advertising. Not only can your business have a Facebook page with regular posts and updates, but you can encourage people to “check in” if they visit your business.

Following their check-in, Facebook will automatically send them a review form, and most of the time people will go ahead and do it. You don’t need to do anything, but your customers will give you a review, and good reviews grow businesses. Win. Win.

More check-ins mean more business. Consider offering incentives for people checking in which will encourage more customers to partake, thus increasing your reviews.

  1. Communicate With Your Customers

Social media allows you to communicate with your customers in ways like never before. You can respond to complaints and compliments immediately. Your quick responses will build a relationship with your clients, deepening their loyalty to you.

If your customers are heard and taken care of, they will be lifelong customers and spread the word about your business to anyone and everyone they know. Anytime customers can feel like they are a part of the process will deepen their appreciation for your business.

Not only does social media act as a great way to communicate, but it also gives businesses that much-needed human element. Too often businesses feel disconnected from the real world. With the help of social media, you can bring in that human element which is influential in creating a strong relationship between businesses and customers.

  1. Special Offers

hand with envelope

There are many free resources, but some of the best ways to advertise your small business is going to be investing a little money in paid advertising. You can buy very cheap advertising from Facebook, for as low as $10. The price increases based on how many people you want to reach. Once you have figured out your budget, you will know what you can spend on advertising.

Facebook has a feature called Offers. It’s an advertisement, but this can draw in a lot of customers because everyone loves a good deal on a great product or experience. Another benefit for small businesses is the fact that Facebook will run your first Offer free of charge. After the first time through, you will need to decide how much you are willing to spend.

  1.  Shareable Images

Your goal is to get out there and get noticed. Having an image of your business that is shareable will get your business more attention. If people are sharing, liking, retweeting, reposting, or pinning your photo, it means they are thinking and talking about your business.  

Let’s bring it back to number three. Customers can sometimes view businesses as cold and tend to disassociate the people and the business. Anytime you can add in the human element piece and not just the business side, your customers will remember the human side. Post a picture of your employees having fun working or out enjoying something as a company.

You could post a picture of your product and its many uses, or pictures of real clients using your product in various ways. All of these options help bridge the gap between customers to businesses and get you noticed.

Another idea is giving customers a “behind the scenes” look. People are always intrigued with this sort of scenario. It could be a video or picture of something that customers wouldn’t usually get to see in your business, but it will make them feel like they have the inside scoop or a better understanding of what goes on behind closed doors. This will help create advocacy marketing for your business. When your employees are enjoying their jobs, and customers are feeling a connection with your company, they will become advocates for your business.  

Does this seem overwhelming to you? absolutely, especially if this is totally new and out of your comfort zone. My whole career has been centered around marketing, so I am confident that I know the best ways to make your business thrive on social media. Connie Kroskin Consulting can help make your business dreams a reality. Sign up for a complimentary 30-minute strategy session today.

 

6 Marketing Activities to Grow Your Business

woman on cell phone

You’ve started your business, and you’re ready to roll. You have the services, but you don’t have any clients. Or maybe you have plenty of product, but you don’t have any buyers. Sound familiar? What you need to do is start marketing, and fast. If you’re already in the game, you may need to increase or strengthen the advertising you’re already doing. Marketing activities will help show everyone how incredible your business is while helping it grow. There are a lot of ways to market and sell your business, as TradeGecko and Chron show in their lists, but we’ve boiled it down to our top 6 marketing activities that will help your business grow.

1. Newsletters

 

email newsletter on smartphone

You need to get the information out there, and newsletters are the fastest option, as they can be delivered straight to your potential or existing customers’ inboxes. If your business doesn’t already have a newsletter, now’s the time to start one! Your newsletter can communicate all of the information that will get people interested in you and what you are selling. Share who you are and what your business is, or include more specific information on your products and services, current offers, and upcoming events or sales. Every time you send a newsletter, you’re reminding current or potential customers that you exist and can provide them with what they need. Email newsletters also get one of the highest conversion rates!

Of course, those newsletters have to go to someone, which brings us to the next marketing activity.

2. Email Subscriptions

The more subscribers your newsletter or website has, the more inboxes become available to send information on your business, current promotions, and new products or services. One way to increase your number of subscribers is a pop-up subscriber service. When someone visits your website, a box will pop up right on their screen asking if they want up-to-date news and offers delivered straight to them. Check mine out at conniekroskin.com. They can enter their email right then and there, and–voila!–another subscriber for you. There are many pop-up service providers out there, both free and not free. The folks over at Winning WP have a good list of their favorites with a variety of prices. Just Uno has another good list and more information on why exactly you need them. I like MailMunch.com because of the easy integration. You can also set automatic pop-ups when a customer is leaving your website to inform them of a special offer; this might inspire them to stay on the website longer, or even to use the special offer.

You now have information going to their inboxes, which is good, but there are plenty of other methods of communicating about your business.

3. Cold-Calling

 

woman on cell phone

Don’t underestimate the power of telemarketing. Calling potential or existing customers can be beneficial for your business, even if you don’t make any direct sales while on the phone. Hearing the name of your company increases awareness. For new customers, they may be interested enough to check out your business in the future. For current customers, you’re reminding them of your services so that they can use you again, and you’re also strengthening customer loyalty.

Of course, you want customers to be able to find you again, whether or not you are on the phone with them. A website is crucial to your business, which leads us to our next marketing activity.

 

4. Search Engine Marketing

Make sure your business has a website, but beyond that, make sure it’s easy to read and to use. The more accessible and readable it is, the more likely potential customers are to use it and keep using it. This probably sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Once you have a website, you want people to find it immediately. You need your site to end up on the first page of Google searches because most people only check out the first few results. Search engine marketing is a marketing strategy to get you on that first page. Making your website as slick as possible, and including all of the words and phrases that people are likely to search for, will help lead them directly to your site.

If people haven’t heard of you through email or phone calls yet, how will they know your business website exists? I’m glad you asked.

5. Ad Spending

 

woman with cash in hands

Ads are an essential marketing activity. There are a lot of different places on the Internet to place ads for your business, but the best are usually the big social media sites as well as Google. Make a budget for ads if you don’t already have one, or increase your ads budget. The more people see ads, the more people click through on them, and the more money you make in sales. Raising awareness of your business is essential. Ads are a great way to do it, and worth the money you’ll spend on them.

Speaking of ads, it’s easier than ever to track interest in your business and market ads directly to those interested.

6. Facebook Re-marketing Campaign

You know how it seems like sometimes you’re just thinking about a product and then you magically see an ad for it on your Facebook? Here’s how to do it for your business. Through Facebook, you can help your ads “follow” interested customers. If you put a Facebook tracking pixel on your website, once a customer visits and then leaves your website, your ads will show up again for them once they visit Facebook. This helps them remember that they were considering your products or services, and might inspire them to purchase later on. Remember, awareness, awareness, awareness. If a customer needs what you are offering, you want them to know about you and remember you. Facebook re-marketing (or re-targeting) helps them do that.

We have discussed a list of strong marketing activities that will accumulate results for your business. Some of these strategies might seem intimidating. If you need help with marketing for your business, we are here to help!

Connie Kroskin Consulting is a Branding and Marketing Strategy Firm that helps start-ups, entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized businesses get awesome marketing results with proven strategic brand positioning and marketing solutions. Our major focus is on creating engagement, building relationships, and driving inbound marketing results. Our philosophy is Get Strategic and Get Results! Get started with a complimentary 30-minute strategy session.

 

Marketing Game Changers

Marketing Game

This is a photo of my actual Monopoly game board. We didn’t like how it was so we literally changed it!

We got rid of a couple of the “Chance” cards too. It makes for a long game that lasts even longer, but I tell ya, it was liberating taking the marker to that board! 

What if you took that kind of freedom with your marketing? What would you change?

Probably something that would make it more effective, predictable, and/or easier to do, right? That’s what I’ve been doing, and can help you make it happen for your business too.

There are marketing game changers you can employ that will get you impactful results. 

1. Focus on website conversions. So many of us would love to have people contact us with no or little sales or other efforts on our part. This can be done by focusing on SEO and conversions. SEO will drive the traffic to your website, focusing on conversions helps ensure they take action when they get there. You can learn more about this here. This initiative is like attaching a rocket to your business growth. A major game changer.

2. Find the right connections. You know how some people start their business, and right out of the gate they meet the perfect connection that makes their whole business or career? Dang, I wish I knew the recipe to make that happen! For those of us that it doesn’t happen to, we can get out there and hustle. Some things that work for many people is joining a mastermind group, teaming up with a partner on specific projects or events, and/or putting a strong focus on relationship marketing. Any one of these can be a big game changer for your business. 

3. Get out of your head. It’s happened more than once that my business coach has told me to do something I just got done telling a client to do. Sheesh! You’d think I’d know this for my own business! Sometimes it can be tough to get out of your head and see things objectively. A good business coach or strategist will help you do this, and keep you accountable. This is not only a game changer for timely actions, but for your overall business or career life. 

Here’s what to do now…
  • Take a look at the sales funnel and see where you can fill in or expand your efforts.
  • Try something new and different with your marketing. A new channel, a new offer, a new vendor.
  • Get out of your head with a complimentary strategy session.

What really works in your marketing?

Question Mark

WHAT REALLY WORKS?  |

  • Only 20% of Facebook posts generate an emotional response while no ads did. 
  • Less than 15% of commerce occurs through a website or app.
  • For every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them.

Wowzer! Kind of shocking isn’t it? Advertising on social media gets mixed results, and people aren’t buying online as much as we thought. There are two good reasons for this:

  1. People don’t go to social media to shop. They do go to google, which is why pay per click (PPC or AdWords) can be more successful, and why SEO can be important.
  2. While many businesses may be doing a good job of getting people to their website, they’re not doing much to convert them.

The thing is, a lot of websites and social media communicate to us in a way that is different than the way we communicate to each other in real life. Which means it can be tougher to build trust, especially if communications are too sales-ey or pushy. And, it can be asking a lot to think people will just click and buy because they saw your ad once.

What works is stacking the deck in your favor to build trust:

  1. Be real, be you, be personable. Give your brand presence some personality. As much as many business owners want to maintain a professional image, they frequently come across cold.
  2. Ease the path to clicking. It always surprises me to see a “buy now” button above the fold on a home page. Really? I just got there, barely know anything, and they want me to buy already?! Consider changing your call to action to “learn more.”
  3. I’ve said this a million times, and I’ll say it a million more. Be benefit oriented. Communicate your features in a benefit oriented way. If people know what’s in it for them they’re more interested. When they appreciate the value, they will find the money.

Get started with a complimentary strategy session to discuss a marketing edit for your website.