Small Business Marketing

Finding Fans On Facebook

With an audience of 800 million potential customers, businesses are flocking to Facebook as their go-to social media marketing platform. Column Five created this infographic with Flowtown to examine the who, how, and how much of Facebook marketing.

A(nother) Deal of the Day Alternative

The Buffalo News recently released their response to the fast growing "deal of the day" websites that are raking in millions in internet advertising revenue. The Buffalo News' site, Sweet Find, is hoping to do the same for local Buffalo businesses. The site, now through November 23, is incenting consumers to "opt in" for their daily emails in exchange for being entered to win a free ipad. The deals will be sent out daily and will offer discounts from 50-90% off the normal retail price. Groupon and Living Social are two competitors, both with at least a countrywide presence, Sweet Find according to the website is a Buffalo exclusive marketing opportunity and sure to create a buzz in this fast growing marketing opportunity.

Color: Not just an artistic decision

Can the color of your product or logo affect sales? According to research by The Color Association of the United States, yes. According to their website, "What color a product, a brand or an environment should be has become an increasingly more critical and yet difficult question to answer. What color should the new office furniture line for a China-based corporate office be? What color is a fast-acting, innovative pain medication targeted for a global launch? What color best supports the new brand identity of a 120-year-old American paint company that is growing globally? How would you know?"

Inc. Magazine who also wrote on this topic says color is more than an artistic decision, rather according to Inc. it is a sound business decision. Inc. states, "Case studies have shown that a consumer's decision to purchase products can range from anywhere between 60 and 80 percent based on the product's color.  Color has the unique ability to make or break the success of a product."

What are your thoughts, can color affect business?

Groupon: To do or not to do?

By Kyle Patterson

Groupon is a new company based in Chicago spearheading a new wave in internet marketing that is growing     rapidly. A quick way for a new business to get huge exposure in a local market, Groupon's sales are expected to hit $1 billion quicker than any company in history, but for some companies, they are raising a few eyebrows at the discounts they expect small business. I recently spoke with Groupon for an offer we are making with THRiVE! coming up shortly, so yes I am doing it, but not without thinking through the risks associated with it.  First off, they ask that you discount your product at least 50%. Then they send an offer to all 60,000 of their Buffalo subscribers or whatever city you are in. They operate internationally and work in pretty much every geography. They offer your product or service for for one day only  at a drastic discount and you split the revenue with Groupon 50/50. So yes it is a great way to expose your company to their 60,000 subscribers and increase traffic and awareness of your product, but beware you are discounting your  product at least 75% off. Those are some hefty margins for any business. Know that going in  and if you can offer that as a type of loss leader and collect customer date for repeat business, it may work out for you. Either way you slice it, Groupon is  another option for your marketing mix.


Permission Marketing

Seth Godin's latest book, LinchpinSeth Godin is a best selling author, marketing expert, and thought leader on the next wave of what he calls "permission marketing." Godin begins his argument by stating that our world is so cluttered and advertising so plentiful, it is hard to get consumers attention. He talks about two different types of marketing- interuption marketers and permission marketers. Quoting he says, "Interruption
Marketers spend all of their time interrupting strangers, in  an almost pitiful attempt to bolster popularity and capture attention. Permission Marketers spend as little time and money talking to strangers as they can. Instead, they move as quickly as they can to turn strangers into prospects who choose to "opt-in" to a series of communications."

This type of marketing is really nothing new. Business has always been about relationships and trust. With the advent of mass media however, marketers for many years got away from the personal, trust, and value that so many mom and pop businesses have depended on for years and for lack of a better term, got a little greedy. In an effort to expand to more and more customers businesses interupted you to get you to pay attention to their products. This in essence has done more damage than good to the advertising industry and resulted in guarded consumers. I like Godin's approach because like I mentioned it really isn't new, it's the old way of doing business- trust and permission. This type of synergy creates win win solutions, something every business and consumer should be looking for.

New Offerings

I wanted to take a week to tell you about the new offerings we are making availale to our customers at THRiVE! now. We are really excited about the new developments we have made and feel that we have something that can really add value to your business, so I couldn't resist telling you about them. Even if you do't have an immediate need today, chances are you know somebody who does and we would be very grateful.

First off, THRiVE! is more than a magazine and our customers are more than another number. We take our customer's success personally and we offer strategic marketing plans tailored to fit our unique customers budget, timing, and sales goals. We take the personal approach and we would love to sit down with you, assess your needs and build and execute a plan to make your business, well, thrive!

Here are our offerings:

Digital: With the ever evolving publishing world, THRiVE! is staying relevant by offering solutions that are in touch with today's multi-tasking, media saturated individuals. We offer advertising solutions with integrated video, audio, or animation right within your normal print ad. The landscape of digital advertising is changing and we have the know how to help you ride the wave.

Multi-media: From custom photography to video to documentary projects, THRiVE! works with the best in the business to make you the best in your business.

Print- Simmons’ Multi-Media Engagement Study find magazines continue to score significantly higher than TV or the Internet in ad receptivity. Yankelovich reports that magazines are second only to video games for consumers enjoying the content at the time they saw the ad. This may be because magazines rank #1 out of 16 media for consumers having a positive impression of advertising. Magazines also rank very highly for the relevance of information in the medium and consumers’ overall opinion of the medium.

THRiVE! offers our advertisers one of the most unique and inspiring products in the marketplace today. Serving a niche market that no media has successfully targeted in Buffalo, THRiVE! is reaching the reader that your message needs to reach.

Online: reaches a unique audience that expands beyond our print readership. Through advertising in 30/60/90 or yearly intervals, your company or organization has the opportunity to get your message in front of our dedicated and sophisticated readership.

THRIVE! understands the power of the internet to reach the audience you are after. Our website has become a premier source not only of what is happening locally but of relevant articles, podcasts, interviews, and commentary that engage our community and culture with editorial that is unrivaled locally. 

From flash rotating banner ads to event listings, e-mail blasts, and more, THRIVE! has the solution that will create a buzz for your product, service, or event.

Email: Our weekly email, THRiVE! Weekly is sent out to over 500 readers weekly with fresh, original content that our readers love.

You have the opportunity of showcasing your company, organization, or product next to our articles and piggy-backing alongside THRiVE!'s brand in our beautifully designed weekly email.

We strongly recommend marketing your business through our weekly email in addition to your print and online ad. Repetition and consistency is key. At THRiVE! we offer a full spectrum for your advertising and marketing needs, a way for repeated exposure and maximum results. We track the readers who view your ad, the links that are clicked through, and reporting is available to you after your campaign. We recommend at least a month commitment for maximum exposure. 

PR: Get your business noticed and your sales off the ground with THRiVE! Public Relations. Our team will work with your company to create a media engagment strategy including press releases, interview scheduling, event promotion, and more.

Whether your a business, non-profit, musician, or artist our creative team will work with you on a yearly contract basis to help build your brand, image, and offering to a mass audience.

Marketing: Our marketing team will sit down with you, understand your business, goals, market, opportunities, and challenges and create a custom plan to grow your business. Utilizing social media, print, audio, video, custom photography and more, THRiVE! can and will deliver the results you are looking for and track the ROI for your organization. 

Whether you are a company, non-profit, church, band, or artist our clients range in size from 1-500 employees and our proven strategies can and will work today.

Design: From business cards to brocheurs to marketing collateral, THRiVE! Design can create the perfect piece for your business or organization

Diversity and Consistency is Key

When doing any type of marketing, I can't overemphasize enough the importance of multiple mediums consistently over a specified amount of time. I hear all the time that one ad isn't generating the business the ustomer was expecting from their marketing efforts and they are often reluctant to advertise at all, it would seem.

The fact is, similiar to achieving success in any aspect of life, marketing is really no different. Consistency and perseverance or stick-to-it-tiveness go so far with any marketing effort, provided you have a good product, of course. 

Like I mentioned in a previous post, it can take up to 20 times before consumers begin to take notice and take what you are offering , seriously. That is why we recommend the diverse offerings we have at Thrive to our customers, including print, online, email, and podcast spots, as well as a consistent PR plan working with media to attract attention to your business for the right reasons. Email me today for more info.

Wired on the Web

photo by www.wired.comwWired Magazine's latest issue was just released with a truly cutting edge article-The Web is Dead, Long Live the Internet.  The article looks at the history and future of the web. They make some really bold statements regarding the future of web advertising, search, Google's decline, the rise of Apple and devices based around applications rather than web browsing.

The article states, "Over the past few years, one of the most important shifts in the digital world has been the move from the wide-open Web to semiclosed platforms that use the Internet for transport but not the browser for display. It's driven primarily by the rise of the iPhone model of mobile computing, and it's a world Google can't crawl, one where HTML doesn't rule. "

Wired goes on to examine the fact that pay per click and banner advertising on web pages hasn't resulted in a profitable business model for the newspaper or magazine and hasn't been effective in reaching new audiences. The article states, "Content companies, which depend on advertising to fund the creation and promulgation of their wares, appeared to be losing faith in their ability to do so online. The Web was built by engineers, not editors. So nobody paid much attention to the fact that HTML-constructed Web sites — the most advanced form of online media and design — turned out to be a pretty piss-poor advertising medium.....Unfortunately, what you got wasn’t much. Consumers weren’t motivated by display ads, as evidenced by the share of the online audience that bothered to click on them. (According to a 2009 comScore study, only 16 percent of users ever click on an ad, and 8 percent of users accounted for 85 percent of all clicks.) The Web might generate some clicks here and there, but you had to aggregate millions and millions of them to make any money (which is what Google, and basically nobody else, was able to do). And the Web almost perversely discouraged the kind of systematized, coordinated, focused attention upon which brands are built — the prime, or at least most lucrative, function of media."

The article goes on to talk about the future of mobile devices and apps as king using the web but not the internet, accessing the web through downloaded apps rather than web browsing. Interesting to say the least, something you need to check out.


Marketing Collateral

Last week we began our journey into the ways and means that you should consider when devising your marketing plan. We began with print, which of course if one of my favorites, being a magazine publisher and all.

Now we want to look at the importance of marketing collateral, whether business cards, brochures, or posters. First of all, they are all must have pieces for a successful venture. The first step in producing any kind of printed literature about your organization is to have a clear and concrete identity of your business. Who are you? What is your value proposition to your potential clients? What is unique about what you do? Why should I buy from you? Those are tough questions but they must be hashed out, no matter how long it takes either by yourself if you are a small business owner, or with your board of directors, advisors, colleagues, spouse, whoever, just get the questions answered. This gives you direction, purpose, and clarity when presenting your offering to your target market.

Next you want to develop a specific call to action in your marketing literature. What action do you want the prospect to take upon reviewing your material? Do you want them to call you for a free brochure? Visit your website and fill out a form? One of the best ways to begin the relationship between you and a potential client is to get permission to follow up with the potential customer at a later date, maybe after they have tried out your product. That is why free trials, or samples are so effective. They sign up on your mailing list, you send them a sample of your product, they try it out, you follow up with a direct mail piece, a phone call, an email, and that is four opportunities for the customer to think about your product and for you to close the sale.

Your marketing collateral needs to tell the customer what to do. You may have a pretty logo, a nice message, and good intentions, but unless you communicate exactly what you want the customer to do, you may not get the results you want.

Another piece of advice is consistency. Have a unified message in all your campaigns. Your business card, brochure, website, ad, and anything else you are running should have the same messaging and theme. This provides the branding and messaging your company wants to send, something that will get the attention of potential customers.

Something to think about.

Where, When, How ?

Where, when, how? Three important questions when devising any kind of marketing plan, whether big or small. First thing you need to do is establish who you are trying to reach. What age group, income, ethnicity, geography, and job status? Answer these five questions, and then continue reading.

Now that this is out of the way, next let's look at the types of media. For this entry let's focus on print, and the following entries will focus on other types of media. Print-which of course I love and according to studies is still a very effective medium of communication and a great option for small business owners. From the classified sections, to small picture ads, to full scale graphic ads finding the right publication that serves your niche market takes a little bit of time and research but isn't anything you can't do. Most towns have their own paper that circulates free of charge to homes and businesses. If you are small and just starting out, targeting a specific town may be the way to go when you are trying to reach a mass market in a specific geography. Breaking it down further into niche reader groups, you get into more specialized publications and magazines that serve that specific group, ex. Thrive :), ok I am biased but the fact is an established brand in magazine specifically, sometimes with newspapers, gives your brand the same clout the magazine has. It immediately puts your name in front of readers that identify with and follow a magazine brand. Plus there is data from Simmons’Multi-Media Engagement Study in 2009 that find magazines continue to score significantly higher than TV or the Internet in ad receptivity. When your product or service lines up with the content of the publication, there is almost always a win-win relationship because,

1) You have well written content.

2) You have an engaged audience.

3) You have an ad that compliments the content.

4) You have readers that respond.

Next week we will continue exploring mediums to communicate your message.

Commitment Is Key

Commitment to a plan is one of the most important things you can do when advertising and marketing your business or non-profit. Never launch an advertising or marketing plan without a good dose of patience because results may not happen overnight. I know that isn't the news small business owners want to hear, but there is hope. With a consistent marketing plan with multiple forms of media involved, some kind of budget, over time your business will inevitably grow. 

Again quoting Jay Conrad Levinson in his book, Guerilla Marketing gives a great example of how a consumer views your ad the first through the 20th time,

"1. The first time a man looks at an ad, he doesn't see it.

2. The second time, he doesn't notice it.

3. The third time, he is conscious of its existence.

4. The fourth time, he faintly remembers having seen it.

5. The fifth time, he reads the ad.

6. The sixth time, he turns up his nose at it.

7. The seventh time, he it through and says, "Oh, brother!"

8. The eighth time, he says, "Here's that confounded thing again!"

9. The ninth time, he wonders whether it amounts to anything.

10. The tenth time, he will ask his neighbor if he has tried it.

11. The eleventh time, he wonders how the advertiser makes it pay.

12. The twelfth time, he thinks it must be a good thing.

13. The thirteenth time, he thinks it might be worth something.

14. The fourteenth time, he remembers that he wanted such a thing for a long time.

15. The fifteenth time, he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it.

16. The sixteenth time he thinks he will buy it someday.

17. The seventeenth time, he make a memorandum of it.

18. The eighteenth time, he swears to his poverty.

19. The nineteenth time, he counts his money carefully.

20. The twentieth time he sees the ad, he buys the article or instructs his wife to do so."

With potentially twenty ads before someone makes a buying decision. That is one of the reasons I recommend committing to a six to twelve month plan in our magazine, along with buying into our online, podcast, and e-news advertising. With multiple platforms, over a specified amount of time, and a commitment to see the plan you have made, along of course with a quality product, your business can indeed thrive.

Marketing 101

By Kyle Patterson, President, THRiVE! Media Group

As a magazine publisher I  come across businesses everyday that are looking to grow and many are having a hard time doing it. With all the talk of the economic downturn in the past couple of years, I think it is about time for entrepreneurs and business owners to think out of the box and start to see their businesses thrive again. As the publisher and creative guy at THRiVE!, it is my job to make businesses and organizations realize how important it is to continually drive their message and value to new and emerging markets. Recently I read an article in that stated, "If Starbucks can lose its brand mojo, do you think your brand can remain immune to erosion?" This really is a question every business owner needs to be asking themselves and as a marketing company we can help.

Ok, so your brand isn't anywhere near the size of Starbucks and maybe your customers aren't worldwide, but rather local. Either way, what are you doing to get in front of your existing customers, and how are you introducing your product or service to potential prospects? Author Jay Conrad Levinson in best selling book Guerilla Marketing says there are seven strategies every business person needs for a successful marketing campaign. The first principle is about setting a desired outcome for what you want the prospect to do upon seeing your ad. Do you want to drive traffic to your website? Visit your location? Call you? Sign up for your newsletter? Whatever action you want the prospect to take, clearly articulate that in your campaign, be in print, web, tv, etc.