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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.

19 July 2018 ~ 0 Comments

Why You Should Take A Vacation From Your Business

Taking a Break From My Business on Virgin Islands

4 Tips to Help You Keep Your Marketing Going

 

Boats on beach in HaitiIt’s summertime. Time for rest and relaxation which is often hard when you are a business owner but it really is necessary.

I’ve been in business since 2000 and just did something I’ve never done before. I was out of the office for the better part of 3 weeks. That sounds insane, right?

Keep in mind that I am a solopreneur so I didn’t have anyone to cover for me while I was away.

Don’t worry, my clients were taken care of and with some careful planning on your part, you can do the same especially with your online marketing. Everything can be scheduled, right? And, guess what? You can also just take a break from posting content – I did.

I started with a mission trip to Haiti with my church. It was amazing and I’m happy to share details with you individually if you are interested. The key takeaway for me on this trip, unrelated to the mission’s work, was that I CAN be completely disconnected and, believe me, I was. In fact, when given the opportunity to get on Wi-Fi, I declined because I was afraid of all the messages I’d then feel like I had to answer. Knowing that I would be completely disconnected allowed me to plan for it.

Here’s what I did:

  • I started talking to my clients about 6-8 weeks before I left. We are usually 3-4 weeks ahead in planning but I wanted to get even further ahead on our planning calendars than we normally are.
  • I did have to double down on the work for these clients so that everything could be proofed and scheduled before I left.
  • I also reached out to my partners so they would not be surprised when they received my out of office messages.
  • I turned on my out of office messages for email and voicemail with clear instructions on how to communicate with me and when I would be back. This is key. I prefer email communication and I state that in my out of office voice mail. It’s just easier for me to respond in general to emails.
  • I could have also scheduled emails and social media posts to go out when I was gone as part of my own marketing efforts. I usually do this when I travel but since I was COMPLETELY off the grid, I decided to give my audience a break as well.

Taking a Break From My Business on Virgin IslandsAfter I returned from my trip to Haiti, I had exactly one business day and one Federal holiday at home before my next flight left. This also took some planning as I had scheduled meetings and calls with my clients for that day to be sure everything was on track.

My next trip was to the US Virgin Islands. I was technically no longer off the grid but my cell phone often didn’t work at the best beaches and the Wi-Fi was fairly weak. And, I wanted to vacation. (That’s my birthday selfie at Trunk Bay with my son and his dad.) I had updated my out of office message to state that I did have sporadic access to email and voicemail as that was the truth. And I did boot up my laptop a few times for clients while I was there but it was mostly just to check on things.

What are my key takeaways?

  1. You can take a break and you should. I need to allow myself to unplug more often. It was incredibly freeing to be completely offline as I was in Haiti.
  2. Planning calendars are key to keeping your marketing moving at a steady pace. Please sit down and create a calendar and plan for your marketing activities. So many business owners I know are constantly running and putting out fires. This should not be the norm for your marketing.
  3. Be reasonable in your planning. Don’t try to do a ton of marketing activities especially if you are not doing them now. I would prioritize consistent email marketing and a basic social media presence on your top social platform. Once that is steady and routine you can add more activities.
  4. Use the scheduling tools available to you for online marketing. I scheduled email marketing campaigns, social media posts, and Facebook ad campaigns all to run while I was away.

Do you find it hard to get away from your business or do you have tips to share on how you do take vacations? Let me know in the comments. You may inspire a tired business owner to take that needed break.

31 January 2018 ~ 0 Comments

3 Reasons Super Bowl Ads are STILL Bad Examples of Marketing

2018 Super Bowl ads

2018 Super Bowl ads

Super Bowl may be 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 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.

This year, however, I like two ads that have a direct call to action: Groupon and Stella Artois.


Tiffany Haddish gives a clear call to action: download the Groupon app.

 


Matt Damon implores you to buy a limited-edition Stella Artois Chalice which provides water to someone impacted by the global water crisis for 5 years.

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 Percil with honorable mention going to Febreeze.


There’s no question what Percil 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.

Integration of Social Media

Now that social media is a key factor in business marketing for businesses of all sizes, I wanted to give some honorable mentions to those ads which do a good job incorporating social media. There are the occasional social media handles and hashtags at the end of some of the ads but this early Super Bowl commercial took it a step further.

The ad by Kraft is a great way to engage the audience during the Super Bowl however, they are asking viewers to go to a website and there is no indication in the ad of appropriate hashtags or Kraft social handles. Sometimes it is the little details that can greatly affect a campaign.


Kraft wants you to share your family game day pictures to be part of their Super Bowl commercial.

All your marketing should include your social media information. However, before you start pushing people to your social media, be sure you are not making these 6 Social Media Mistakes.

And finally, an honorable mention: part 2 of the Michelob Ultra Super Bowl commercial. Just for fun, because it’s Chris Pratt but mainly because it includes my favorite country song from my childhood. You can ask my siblings, they will attest…I Like Beer by Tom T Hall.


Michelob Ultra “I like beer” commercial is part 2 of Super Bowl ad.

 

The original version of this post was published in 2015: 3 Reasons Super Bowl Ads are Bad Examples of Marketing.

27 December 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Year End List Growth in Constant Contact

Constant Contact List Growth

If you are a Constant Contact user, be sure to grab this quick report before year end.

Constant Contact List Growth

Constant Contact tracks your list growth and gives you the following options under Contacts > Reports:

last 30 days
last 60 days
last 90 days
month to date
year to date

This is all great information and you should be tracking your list growth and unsubscribes on a regular basis.

However, the year to date data will reset on January 1. So, follow these instructions to grab the data before the New Year.

1. Log into your Constant Contact account
2. Select Contacts
3. Select Reports
4. Select “year to date” in the drop down on the right
5. Take a screenshot of the full window, including the “Growth by Source” information below the overall growth chart. I use Snagit by TechSmith but you can use any screenshot software or just use Print Screen on a Windows machine or Shift-Command-4 on a Mac.
6. Save your screenshot so you can access the data when you are ready to review it.

Here’s a two-minute video demonstration:

21 December 2017 ~ 0 Comments

How to Boost Facebook Posts the Right Way

How to Boost Facebook Posts

How to Boost Facebook PostsA few years ago, I wrote one of my most popular articles: Please Do NOT Boost That Facebook Post. I’ve since had a change of heart because Facebook has changed the options available for boosting posts. I still believe most businesses are not boosting Facebook posts properly and I hope to shed some light on a simple, but effective strategy to get value out of your boosts.

My main argument against boosting was the targeting available at the time and that boosting a post unsuccessfully would lead to wasted money and be a detriment to your organic Facebook engagement. So if you are still boosting posts and choosing random targeting like age, location, and interests, I would recommend that you stop immediately and read this post before boosting again.

As a business owner, you have such an incredible opportunity with Facebook to find your audience and to reach new prospects but sadly most business owners do not utilize these features and just blindly throw $20-50 behind a post and then get frustrated by the results.

What you should boost?

I believe in boosting your best content on Facebook. But it must be content that leads your customer into your sales funnel. The number one error I see in Facebook advertising is when businesses have no concept or plan for the customer journey. The post does not have to lead directly to a sale, but it does have to move your prospect closer to purchasing from you – it can be a photo, video, or link to content on your website.

But you should not be sending paid traffic to anything that is not tested. That being said, when you do have some great content that performs well on Facebook and that is a key step in your customer journey, this is the post to boost (as described below).

When should you boost?

First, you must give the post a day or two to get some organic engagement before boosting. We want some positive comments, likes, and shares. No one will read the post if there is no engagement. Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.

How often you should follow this model really depends on how often you post to Facebook. My recommendation is to boost only 10-15% of your posts if that. Many social media “gurus” will tell you that you need to advertise to get reach on Facebook. I completely disagree. If you are boosting posts, be sure to post really great engaging content for your regular page posts as well.

How should you boost?

This is the key. Why would you post to a random group of people? You know who your audience is, right? The description of Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences in my original post holds true. The exciting change is once you create an Audience in Facebook Ads Manager, you can now boost to that audience. This is so much more powerful than boosting to random people who happen to live near your business. Wouldn’t you agree? You have a list of your customers, prospects, or subscribers and now you can reach them and people like them. For more details read Please Do NOT Boost That Facebook Post.

I hope you will create some Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences of your own now and use these in your strategic post boosts.