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Laura B. Poindexter is a renowned thought leader, guiding clients through the changing electronic marketing and social media environment. Her public seminars have helped thousands of business owners learn and employ affordable marketing solutions. Since 2000, her company, Queenb Creative (formerly laura b creative), has managed clients’ online presence, maximized their social media and electronic marketing to positively impact their bottom line and enhance audience engagement.

02 February 2015 ~ 0 Comments

3 Reasons Super Bowl Ads are Bad Examples of Marketing

Super Bowl AdsSuper Bowl maybe the one time in American TV viewing throughout the year when the public looks forward to the advertisements. Super Bowl ads have fast become part of the Super Bowl Sunday experience as much as the game, the snacks, and the halftime show. In fact, in lieu of a wardrobe malfunction or a bad 2nd down call on the 1 yard line with 26 seconds left to play, the ads are often the most talked about part of the game, especially if you are a fan of any of the 30 NFL teams that were also at home watching the game.

Super Bowl ads may be entertaining, but they are bad marketing examples, especially for small business owners.

  1. No call to action. Marketing today especially is about a eliciting a measurable response. With limited time and resources, small businesses cannot waste any of them on branding. They need to have a call to action that gets prospects in their sales funnel. What is that first step in your sales cycle? What do you want your prospects to do once they find you? Is it subscribing to your email list? Filling out a form on your website? Calling for an appointment? This needs to be very clear in all your marketing. Unfortunately most Super Bowl ads, do not have a call to action or more specifically a call to action that leads prospects down the path to purchase. The exception this year may be McDonald’s.

    McDonald’s featured an endearing ad with a clear call to action.
  2. No value to the customer. Super Bowl ads are more about being cute and getting talked about than delivering value to the customer. As a small business, you cannot afford to be cute and not make it clear to your customers what you do. As a society, our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter; the most effective marketing is to be direct about whom you serve and how you can help them. A good example from this year’s Super Bowl ads is Weathertech.

    There’s no question what Weathertech does. This is a good clear message.
  3. No increase in sales. Often the most-loved ads do not improve the sales. Perhaps, the most-loved and favorite Super Bowl ad of all time featuring Mean Joe Greene was pulled after a few months by Coca-Cola because sales did not increase.

    Unfortunately, this beloved ad did not help Coke sales.
    Small businesses need to make sure there is a positive Return on Investment for every dollar spent marketing. Winning the ads on Super Bowl Sunday does not equate to winning sales. A smart small business owner should not be concerned with winning ad competitions, but rather sales competitions.

So by all means, enjoy the ads and the memes that spring from them. You can view them all here. However, please do NOT model your marketing after Super Bowl ads. Model your marketing with a good solid strategy that focuses on eliciting a measurable response.

Not sure where to start? Read about the 10 Marketing Must Haves for Every Business Owner.

29 September 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Social Media Editorial Calendar Templates

Thank you so much for reading my emails through this short series on my 3Cs of social media marketing – Customer, Content, and Capabilities. We have reached the last C – Capabilities. In short, what can you do? An effective strategy on paper won’t help if you can’t put it into action in your business. Read on to find out how including an Editorial Calendar Template.Facebook Editorial Calendar Template

Remember, the point of this short series is to give you direction on creating an online strategy that works for your business. I want you to have a plan that doesn’t take all of your time and gives you real results a.k.a. SALES!!!

We’ve talked about defining your ideal customer profile and where they are online. This should point you toward the right platform to focus on. And then we talked about the type of information you want to share and some quick content ideas like Customer Testimonials. The last piece of the puzzle is all about you. What can you do – realistically?

Your social media and online marketing activities have to fit in with your daily workflow and personality. If you don’t like to write, I’m not going to ask you to blog. If you take pictures of your projects, let’s find a way to fit imagery into your strategy. If you have funny tidbits of information or daily thoughts, maybe Twitter will work for you. It is important that capabilities come last in this list because the first two pieces are so important to reaching the right customer. Capabilities should simply guide the execution of the strategy not help to mold the strategy.

This is why each business needs a unique online strategy that fits this 3 Cs test of Customer, Content, and Capabilities. Keep it simple. Stay focused on the one measurable action you want your audience to complete. Measure your success and adjust accordingly.

Filling In Editorial Calendar Templates

Here’s how we use Capabilities to guide the strategy:

  1. Choose the ONE platform that makes the most sense based on all you’ve learned about your customer. Facebook may be the easy choice here, but let’s use my business as an example. In that case, LinkedIn is the best platform because most of my clients come to me from referrals. Knowing that about my business, I want to use online marketing for credibility and to assist in the referral process.
  2. Choose what type of content you are going to share – usually one or two distinctive types that match your desired goal on that platform. For me, I’m going to use LinkedIn to publish content for credibility. I also want to deepen relationships with existing referral partners and find new ones so I may share content with those target partners or just engage with them by responding to their updates.
  3. Here’s the big step – place these items on your calendar. This is the publishing piece of your plan. Unfortunately, many of you won’t do this, and that is where your plan falls apart. With that in mind, I have created 2 Editorial Calendar Templates – one focusing on Facebook, the other on LinkedIn along with a completely blank one for you to fill out for yourself.

Monitoring Social Media

You also need to review and respond to social media. Depending on how active you are. You may just need a few minutes at the beginning and end of each day or maybe you dedicate 20 minutes at lunchtime. This depends on when your audience is likely to engage with you and when you can engage with them. This is the last C for capabilities – what can you do? I check my profiles every morning. I also curate some interesting content while perusing blogs I like and schedule those to post throughout the day using Hootsuite or Buffer. I also have NutshellMail set up to monitor my social media activity. These tasks are not on the Editorial Calendar templates but you need to add them to your calendar.

When you put an Editorial Calendar in place following this process, you will have an online marketing strategy in place that drives sales without stress. You will be free to run your business while your marketing plan is delivering real results.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/laurabcreative.

25 September 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Online Content: Customer Testimonials

This is part 2 of a series talking about my simple 3-step process to develop online marketing strategies for my clients. I call it the 3 Cs of Social Media: Customer, Content, Capabilities. In the first installment, we discussed Customer and creating your Ideal Customer Profile.

We are on to the next C in this post which is content and more specifically what do you have to say.

Content is a big topic, and it’s something that I love to talk about. And it is the biggest question I get about social media marketing. Some business owners don’t know what to say, and others have a lot of content but they are not sure how to distribute it and get a response.

Remember the goal is to deliver content that elicits a response from your audience. Simply posting to Facebook or another social media site is not enough. You want to get engagement that leads people into your sales funnel.

With that in mind, creating an editorial calendar is a major part of what I do with my clients and in my small group trainings. I’m hoping that this series will give you direction on your online strategy.

Here are some questions to get you started with content:

  • What do you have to say and share?
  • What formats will work best for this content?
  • Can you make your information visual in the form of product images, infographics, or video content?
  • Can you make your calls to action simple to complete?

Be sure to offer value to your audience as a rule and sprinkle in your marketing messages. No more than 1 in 10 messages should be blatantly promotional.

Customer Testimonials

This is such a big topic, but you know I want to give you something actionable. So let’s talk about the number one piece of content that every business owner has or can develop relatively quickly — customer testimonials and case studies. Nothing is as effective in getting a new customer interested in your product or service as hearing another customer sing your praises.

Where can you find them? Yelp Customer Review on Facebook Page

  • Look through your emails
  • Reviews on online sites like Yelp! are public. Sometimes I just screenshot a review and post that image on my client’s Facebook page.
  • Surveys at time of service like events or immediately after the engagement in the case of a home remodeler.
  • Capture people when they are singing your praises. Use that smartphone and snap a quick video (see an example from a recent conference) or get an audio recording of their voice that you can transcribe later. Don’t let the moment pass. Because even if someone fully intends to give you a glowing testimonial, it’s unlikely that they will get around to it, so you need to capture that enthusiasm as soon as possible.

Interview Strategy

If getting testimonials is a challenge for you, you can try my interview strategy. I have a colleague call my customer and talk to them about the service I provided and the results they experienced. My colleague makes notes on what my customer says and then puts together a nice succinct quote based on that conversation using the customer’s own words. We send the quote to the customer for approval which they always give. This makes it very easy for my customers to provide that testimonial they were willing to give, but were too busy to create on their own.

Case Study

A related piece of content to the customer testimonial is the case study. Telling the story of how you solved your customer’s pain point is very powerful. Specifics and numbers are really important here. Even just one or two good nuggets that people can hold on to will make a great impact.

I often talk about one of my customers — an auto repair shop. When we started working together in 2008, they had 3 bays in one location. They now have 20 bays across 3 locations.

I like to use this example because it includes numbers and growth, but I didn’t have to get into revenue or any specifics on what I did for them. I can dive deeper with prospects who want to know more.

This is not only a great testimonial for my services, but customer testimonials through online review sites are one of the big reasons that the auto repair shop experienced such strong growth.

If you don’t have any testimonials on hand today, start collecting them immediately – maybe try my interview strategy. This is the single most powerful type of content you can share so make it a priority in your online marketing.

Let me know your thoughts on content, specifically on getting customer testimonials. We will pull this into a strategy when we look at the last piece – Capabilities.

22 September 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Ideal Customer Profile

I have come up with a simple 3-step process to develop online marketing strategies for my clients. I call it my 3 Cs of Social Media: Customer, Content, Capabilities. If you’ve been subscribed for a while or have seen me speak before, you’ve probably heard that. I want to dive a little deeper into each over the next few posts because I really want you to create a strategy that works for your business.

[I created an audio version of this post, click below to listen. It’s only 5:30 minutes long. Let me know what you think or just keep on reading.]

I recently surveyed my audience and asked the question: how do you feel you are doing with your social media, and not one person said they felt they were doing a great job on their own. I’m here to help.

I know that online marketing can be confusing and overwhelming especially with all the different platforms and tools available. We are going to break it down so you can be very focused on what you are doing online in a way that doesn’t take all of your time and gets you REAL results – translation: actual sales.

Ideal Customer Profile SearchSound too good to be true? It’s not. But let’s take it one step at a time and start with the first C: your Customer. We can’t do any marketing if we don’t hone in on who our ideal customer is. There are a number of processes to determine this, and if you were going to school for an MBA, entire classes would be devoted to market research. Here’s the thing – I’m all about actionable intelligence. I don’t want to talk in theories; I want to give you strategies you can implement TODAY. I actually do this stuff every day for my clients – hundreds of them with millions of dollars in revenue.

In fact, I just did a web search on “ideal customer profile” and there were over 19 million results (see image) – talk about confusing!

So let’s go through a little exercise. We need to answer two big questions:

1)      Who are your best customers?

2)      Where are they online? (hint: They may not be on social media.)

Take a minute right now (if you want, you can download this ideal customer profile worksheet) and write down those qualities and characteristics of your ideal customer. Look at your existing customers. Not every customer is your ideal customer. Who are the customers you are most happy with, most successful with, most profitable? This is definitely not everyone in the world.

Some possible factors to consider (based on your business)

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Location
  • Stage of life
  • B2C – Interests and hobbies that align with your product
  • B2B – type of business (independent, franchise)
  • B2B – Niche (restaurant, retailers, service providers, CPAs)

Narrowing down some of these general factors will bring you to more specific ones like:

  • B2C – lifestyle and music preferences
  • B2B – where are they looking for their customers

And the big one – what is their pain that you solve?

That should help you determine the next big question which is where are they online? This is the first piece of the puzzle.

Where are they likely to be when you want them to take action – buy from you, subscribe to your newsletter, whatever that major call to action is?

If you are a retail business targeting young professionals who are out and about when you want them to take action, then mobile and online review sites are going to play a big part in your strategy. There is no right answer here as long as the platform matches your customer.

 

Go ahead and download the ideal customer profile worksheet and jot down the characteristics of your ideal customer.

If it helps, here’s a glimpse of my ideal client profile for my high-level one-on-one marketing strategy services:

–          Independent Business Owner

–          In business 2 years or more

–          Wants to harness the power of the Internet to grow their business

–          Not afraid of social media or technology

–          BONUS: likes wine or golf (because then we can hang out)

 

Let me know about your ideal customer in the comments.

The next post in this series is about developing online content with a focus on customer testimonials.