In the Eye of the Beholder, eye2eye Marketing.

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When looking into the eye of the beholder, we are looking at our target audience.  This second in a series of “eye2eye Marketing” begs the question.. “Do we have the right target audience?”  A recent article by

http://www.printcopyfactory.com/blog/2014/07/do-you-truly-know-your-target-market/

has some great tips for drilling down from assumptions to true realities regarding our true targets.

Every marketing person has been taught since Marketing 201 class in college to follow the data.  First of all, where do we find the data?  The article above suggests some starting resources:

  • U.S. Census Bureau
  • Google Analytics
  • Facebook Insights (analytics available if your business page has at least 30 “likes”)
  • Customer review sites (What other businesses are your customers patronizing on Yelp? What appeals to them?)
  • Your competitors’ sites and reviews
  • Surveys or interviews with your current and past customers
  • Hosting small focus groups

We would add the Small Business Administration.  LJF Marketing has worked with our local SBDC with a campaign to evolve your business to the next level.  Part of that evolvement includes identifying new niche markets.  For example, one of our clients, a home builder in the Houston area, found through following data trends, that the high end housing market was growing rapidly north of the city.  With a high quality, high end look in their marketing collaterals, they were able to reach out to the high end audience and secure a larger market share by identifying this niche that was growing right above their geographic target zone.

After identifying through data, your potential targets, we can identify how they make decisions, how they like to communicate about potential brands to buy, and why they would choose a product over a competitor’s product.

Then it’s on to messaging, getting the right message at the right time, the right medium and creating “Calls to Action” that actually work.  Our research gives us some great resources, Hubspot, for one but many marketers have gone on this road before us so we can certainly learn from each other.

Here’s hoping this blog gives you something to keep your eye on…

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eye2eye Marketing

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LJF Marketing is introducing a new Social Media series entitled “eye2eye Marketing”.  eye2eye Marketing is a concept that aligns the intricacies of marketing with practical solutions to achieve a corporate vision.  It’s an outside-the-box approach to utilize marketing resources to get your sales team, business owners or employees face time with people who will make your business successful.

For the next few months, we will introduce the following topics:

  1. An Eye for Marketing
  2. In the Eye of the Beholder
  3. More than Meets the Eye
  4. Eye Openers
  5. Eye On-Line – Social Media
  6. Eye On-Line – Web Design
  7. Meeting Eye to Eye
  8. Catching Your Eye
  9. In the Blink of an Eye

To start this new series, we direct your attention to topic 1:  An Eye for Marketing

  • How does your company stand out in a crowded market place?
  • Have you refined your marketing plans lately?
  • Are you truly focusing on your target markets?
  • What short term and long term corporate goals have you already reached? What’s the next one to reach?
  • Does your marketing plan align with your corporate vision?

To stand out in a crowded market place, Entrepeneur Magazine offers this tip to highlight one or two things about your business that makes you unique.

Hubspot’s Dan Zorrella said “Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed”.  To refine your marketing plans, you must have data, know how to analyze data and then make adjustments to refine your plans to achieve your goals.

In a 2013 Forbe’s article by Contributing Columnist, Mark Evans, he highlighted Robert Bloom’s “The Inside Advantage” which included a story of how P&G was on the wrong target market for one of their products.  If P&G can be wrong, maybe we can learn something here.

In this Harvard Business Review Blog, we learn that in order to align company activities with a corporate vision, focused participation of people at every level of the firm is required.  If you don’t have a marketing department in your organization, LJF Marketing wishes to serve in that role to help align marketing with your vision.  Interested in opening an “Eye for Marketing”?

 

LJF Marketing was founded 25 years ago by Linda J. Freede. Linda believes that her longevity is a testament to “eye2eye Marketing” because of the strength of relationships you can build when relationships are the focus of your company.  For more information, visit ljfmarketing.com.

Message Crafting in the Midst of March

In the craziness of work, life, numerous tasks and even Spring Break, we often forget the main reason we do everything we do. The same is true of companies – it’s easy to neglect the purpose behind all of your business transactions when a lot more work is coming in than usual.

It’s crucial, however, to remember your purpose in times like these, and make sure it’s transferring to the way you promote and market your business. After all, doesn’t a sense of purpose get us through the busy times? When we forget it, our tasks seem to be more difficult and executed less intentionally.

The point: your company’s message should be an expression of your company’s purpose.

Here are a few facets where your company’s message should be present in any marketing campaign:

  • Graphics – did you know that even the color scheme you use is important in conveying your message? In certain industries, some colors are seen as negative, so you will want to avoid those colors in your marketing strategy and advertising campaigns.
  • Tagline – a tagline is a short phrase or statement that describes either what the particular campaign’s message is or what your company’s message is (in general). It’s necessary to have a snappy tagline so people know what your firm is all about.
  • Body (if needed) – Think back to when you wrote papers in college: you needed a thesis and the rest of the paper was supposed to back it up, right? The same is true if you’re doing a brochure, website, or anything other than an ad (you don’t need a body for an ad because too much text detracts from the core message); everything in paragraph form should back up your company’s message.

LJF_BT_MarAdvertising will turn into action with the right target, message and frequency. The message is crucial, but it’s just one part of the big picture.

If you need assistance with the right message or your advertising in general, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help!

Love our content? Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and follow us on LinkedIn.

Special Holiday Sponsorship Ideas

A few months ago, we discussed what LJF Marketing calls the “eat more ice cream” concept. Today, we want to encourage you to eat more ice cream – with sprinkles – this holiday season! The sprinkles on top of your ice cream (or cherry, depending on preference) refers to giving back to the community as a company.

One of the best parts of the holiday season is that people and businesses with different outlooks and objectives are able to come together and give back. Consequently, there are many opportunities to do so. Make sure you pick one or two opportunities that are right for your business to have the greatest impact. Ideas to get you started are listed below.

Become a fun run sponsor

  • Get a team together and train for a run within your office
  • Donate funds to help cover costs of the run
  • Donate services to fill needs for the run

These options encourage your employees to be active. You can also tailor them easily to fit your budgetary constraints.

Sponsor a child

  • Buy a local child’s (or multiple children) holiday wish list
  • Pledge to sponsor or feed a child in another country

You will have a direct impact on youth by going this route and they will be thankful for your generosity.

Donate directly to a local charity or hold a donation drive

  • Contribute funds to a local charity in lieu of office gifts
  • Hold a monetary donation drive
  • Collect donations of canned goods and toys at your holiday party

Whether you are drawn to the mission of Montgomery County Youth Services or the Houston Food Bank, the opportunities are endless to support a philanthropy monetarily or by providing for their physical needs directly.

Serve as an office in a philanthropic activity

  • Serve as a team at a soup kitchen or shelter

As another, more direct option, serving together gives your company the opportunity to share on a personal level. Sometimes a random act of kindness or a warm smile can be just as meaningful as a monetary gift; this personal connection is what eating more ice cream is all about.

No matter what your budget is, there are plenty of chances for your business to help the community. Let us know how you’ll be celebrating the holiday spirit with your business below.

Don’t forget to get in contact with us for all your marketing needs through one of these avenues: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or our website.

Target Your Market: Making the Most out of Promotional Products

As the holiday season approaches each year, many clients ask us for ideas to get in the spirit of giving. Promotional products, when done correctly, are a sincere way to get your company name in front of the right people and put a smile on their face. If you take the time to give your contacts something useful and thoughtful, they are an effective way to target your market.

We’ve provided options in several categories of items with ideas to help you delight colleagues this holiday season:

Staff staples: Form meets function with these options. Choose to either give these to your employees, who have worked hard to do a great job this year, or present these to your clients and potential customers. Whether given together or separately, these items are sure to help your customers’ and employees alike do their jobs more effectively and will leave a lasting impression.

Who doesn't love a good journal?

Journals

… because we all love a good journal.

 Lunch Cooler

Lunch coolers

Fill them with goodies such as bakery items or office supplies and hand them out.

 Padfolio

Portfolios

A good portfolio is hard to find, but whenever they are used, they display the professionalism the company whose name is on it. Some even have room for tablets.

 Flag/Sticky Note Dispenser

Desktop flag dispensers

Every time a colleague reaches for a flag or sticky note, they’ll remember who gave it to them. These are also a great item for trade shows.

Technology treats: Your colleagues will thank you for these tech-savvy gifts. Since so many people are embracing tablet technology in the business world, these are useful, modern gifts that will keep the receiver looking sharp. Plus, your company will demonstrate that it has an understanding of current innovations.

iPad Case

iPad and tablet cases

Stay top of mind by helping clients keep their tools looking polished.

 Stylus Pens

Stylus pens

No one likes fingerprints on their screen. Bonus: put your website URL on here to make it easy for clients to find your website on their tablet.

Golfer goodies: These items make gifts if you regularly go golfing with your clients, or if you are planning to sponsor a local golf tournament (like The 25th Annual Woodlands Celebrity Golf Classic and Gala).

 Pro V1 Golf Balls

Pro V1 golf balls

Generally, golfers don’t use the least expensive balls. Give them a ball they’ll use every time they tee off!

 Golf Cap

Golf caps

Shield them from the sun’s rays when they’re on the course all day.

 Moisture Wicking Golf Shirt

Polo shirts

Moisture-wicking fabric is a welcome surprise if you feel obliged.

If you’re wondering how to get them in time for the holidays, contact us here; don’t delay though – your order will need to be in soon!

Reassessing Your Social Media Plan

Social media trends are constantly changing, so it is a wise idea to look at your social media plan every so often to see if you are keeping up with the trends. If you don’t try to capitalize on current trends, your reach may not be as vast as it could be. Here are some questions to ask yourself when you’re reassessing your social media plan:

Q: Are there any new forms of social media that have popped up in the last 6 months?

A: Probably, but it would seem the real question is: “are they useful?” MySpace, for example, recently tried to reinvent itself. We’ll see if that helps them long term, but it’s an example of a new social media platform in the market. If it looks like your business could benefit from being active on a new platform, you might want to add coverage for that platform into your current social media plan.

Q: Is your current activity generating anything (i.e. comments, likes, retweets, etc.)?

A: If it’s not, you need to focus more energy into the activity that is. If so, try increasing the amount of content you post a little bit, and see if you have the same results. If I’m posting links 5 times a week to Facebook with no feedback, then I should spend more time on Twitter (if that’s getting more of a response).

Q: Is there any research on the social media industry right now that I could look at to tailor to my needs?

A: The answer, is of course, yes. Look at different blogs and see what you find. Social Media, as a discipline, is always changing. Look at the information you can find and make sure you tailor your plan to work with it. For example, there are some times where it’s better to post on Facebook than others; however, when Facebook grew a lot, they changed because companies started blocking Facebook at work.

Any questions? Ask and we’ll answer in the comments below.

  • Don’t forget: if you like the content we’re providing, sign up for our monthly newsletter by clicking here.

Eat Even More Ice Cream Using LinkedIn

We haven’t talked much about LinkedIn; however, it can be crucial to your business’ success and your professional life in general. We’ve outlined some thoughts to reach out to others on LinkedIn. With enough time and persistence, showing a genuine interest in your network connections will give you the opportunity to ‘grab ice cream’ with them.

Follow up every couple of months or when something major happens with your connections:

  • Especially with people you don’t see very often, it is nice to hear that people are thinking of you every couple of months. It will make it more likely that when the opportunity does arise for you to work together, things will work out, because you don’t simply come to them when you have a problem or need something.

Recommend someone:

  • LinkedIn has a tool, called “endorsements”, where you can endorse the skills listed on a contact’s profile with just a click. It takes just a little of your time, but will pay dividends – because who doesn’t like someone who says something nice about them?

Be active in groups:

  • You’re in a group, so why don’t you stay active? It’s definitely good to be a part of some larger groups, but exercise moderation and join some smaller groups so you can actively form relationships with the group members.

Reach out to people who have viewed your profile:

  • Use discretion on this one. If you have never met the person, this is probably not a wise thing to do. However, if you met this person recently, or have met them multiple times, then it’s probably a good idea to send them a note and try to connect.

Pass along leads:

  • If you see that someone in a related field is looking for a job and know of an opening at your company (or elsewhere) that they are qualified for, it wouldn’t hurt to send them the link to the posting. Even if that’s not the job they end up with, your contact will remember you when the tables have been turned or when they discover a new business opportunity . . . they will think of you.

Remember: LinkedIn is NOT Facebook or Twitter. Your network is made of professional contacts, so always exercise caution in what you say. You can be somewhat casual, but refrain from making any tasteless jokes or anything you would not want to get out in the public.

Ice Cream Social Tips and Tricks

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Image Source

Does your marketing need a boost? We suggest that you “eat more ice cream.” That is, learn to break up the routine of daily work and meetings to strengthen relationships with your contacts. A prominent example of how we apply the “eat more ice cream” philosophy at LJF Marketing is the way we try to schedule ice cream appointments to keep the mood light, refreshing and interesting, as opposed to the predictable coffee date.

Now, it’s very possible that you might think social media can’t relate to your business. Planning events and meetings is one of the most useful things you can do with it, but don’t take my word for it… click here to learn what’s in it for you when you take advantage of social media’s full potential.

So, how does this relate to social media? Well, Facebook makes it easy to host an event or meeting, big or small. Hosting an event showcasing your business’s personality is the perfect remedy to a drab business day… perhaps you can have an ice cream social of your own with these tips!

First, you need to create an event. Have your info ready for what you would like to name the event, the details of the event, the location and the date and time.

  • On your social media page, go up to the top right corner, to “Edit Page”. On the drop down menu, click “Update Public Info”.
  • Now, notice the sidebar on the left. Click on “Apps”.
  • On the Apps section, you’ll see the “Events” app. Before creating the event, make sure to adjust your visibility settings under “Edit Settings”; if you don’t want the event to be visible on your timeline, this is where you change that setting. After you’re satisfied with the settings, click “Go to App” to set up your event.
  • With your information handy, simply fill in the blanks. Note that all events for your company’s Facebook page will be public, even though you may edit your events settings so that they don’t show up on your timeline.
  • If you’d like, you can choose to allow only administrators to post updates to the event. If the goal is to generate a lot of buzz about it, I do not recommend this setting; if it is a business event, consider this option to avoid spam or unnecessary comments.
  • After you have filled out all the information, click “create”, and your event is born!

To invite people to the event, simply copy the URL of the event’s page, and send to your colleagues via email. This will do two things: show your colleagues the event page so that they can state if they are attending, and encourage people that don’t already like your Facebook page to like it.

If you’ll look up in the right hand corner (after you’ve created the event) you can now edit settings. Here are some functions to take note of.

  • Posts, pictures, or shares – these function similarly to when they are on your general timeline; they show up in the newsfeeds of your attendees. You can share it with other organizations and pages.
  • Event Photo – add either your logo or a photo related to the event.
  • “Repeat event” – This feature makes the Events feature of Facebook a useful scheduling tool. If you have a standing meeting every week, then it will probably save you a lot of pain to use this. It also gives you the opportunity to communicate on a project with an expiration date without creating a group. You can repeat the event by clicking on the settings symbol in the right corner.
  • “Export event” – Useful if you have a calendar linked to your phone, work computer, or home computer.
  • “Promote event” – As a part of Facebook’s advertising features, you can promote your event as an advertisement. This is useful if it’s a public event and you are trying to get as many people in the doors as possible.

We hope this will help you plan your next event easily. When you know how to use the events feature the right way, your Facebook approach is just one less detail to worry about.

Even if you don’t think social media will help your business, contact us to find smart, innovative ideas that are the perfect fit. You can find our information at LJFMarketing.com.

Trade Show Spotlight

Trade shows and special events can seem daunting when it comes to making your brand stand out on social media; while you want to spark buzz, you also want your audience to be engaged in your message. Here’s a few ideas to help you do both with social media.

Facebook

  • Use Facebook’s events capability.
    Create an event on Facebook for your tradeshow event, and invite people to come to the event. Post the event page on your other social media outlets to reach out to others who aren’t necessarily your Facebook friends. Here, you can post updates and news about the event in one central place.

Twitter

  • Claim a hashtag – and use it – months before the event.
    If you don’t know what a hashtag is, it is a pound sign before a word that you want to tag. Example: LJF marketing is #awesome. – Twitter makes a link out of the word “#awesome” that users can click on. When they click on that link, or tag, Twitter filters all other tweets with the same tag in it, so if you create a hashtag specific to your event and use it, then anyone who is interested can get all of the tweets from your event and see what the buzz is about. For a tutorial on how to use a hashtag, click here. The nice thing about this is that you can send out updates that aren’t limited to an event page or website, and so can other people. Additionally, people can provide some commentary on a presentation – to many, it has become socially acceptable to tweet during a presentation, so leverage that.
  • Have Twitter contests during the event.
    Most likely, there is something you can give away at your event that people will be interested in winning. Use Twitter to start a contest for it… perhaps the most tweets wins, or the best picture wins. The contest can be whatever you want it to be, but the important thing is that it gets people excited about something.
  • Post pictures during the event.
    This is a fun, interactive tool. Post pictures of happenings at the event, before the event, and after. Make sure you use the event hashtag; if you do, people who have come to the event essentially have a photo album of wonderful memories.

LinkedIn

  • Post articles about some of the companies or speakers at the event.
    You can do this for sponsors, or if there are no sponsors, pick a few businesses to highlight a week (if you’re not picking sponsors, make sure you highlight everyone; you wouldn’t want to upset businesses that are paying to be there by not giving them the same amount of publicity.
  • Post industry-related articles.
    Maybe there’s an online journal you are subscribed to and you see an interesting piece. Post it for others to see on your Linkedin if it relates to the event. This will provide a humanistic touch and boost your credibility as an event.

Foursquare

  • Make your booth into a location and give a special offer when people check in.
    This can be a percentage off your service, or even a free consultation. Just provide an incentive for event-goers to visit your booth rather than others.

The Art of the (virtual) Elevator Speech

An elevator speech at networking events is a key part of managing your message and spreading it to others. While this concept is no less important in the realm of social media, may seem difficult to translate it to such a platform. We’re here to answer your questions to make the process seamless.

 

Q: Where do I put my elevator speech?

  • A: The “About” section

On Twitter, this would be your profile. The About section may be found in different places on each profile (on LinkedIn, it’s under the “Home” section), but it’s typically the first thing potential customers look for.

  • Make sure your about section is visible to everyone. You can change this in your privacy settings. That way, people that don’t already like your page can get the information from a general search.

Q: What needs to be in it?

  • A: What your business does
  • Who it serves
  • How it serves
  • Why it serves
  • Note: This content is different from a sales pitch. You haven’t won that key meeting yet, so this is an opportunity to get someone interested in hearing your pitch.

Q: How long does it need to be?

  • A: Relatively short (I recommend 6-7 sentences)
    Sum up the previous 3 questions succinctly and with a concrete example or two. These sentences can be divided into short paragraphs for emphasis, if that’s your writing style. Similar to resume writing, you must get the point across quickly because you don’t have a lot of time to impress the reader. Give them enough to get them interested, but don’t waste time and energy giving everything away; peak their interest and they will come to you.

Q: How do I end it?

  • A: Tell the reader to contact your company today for more information, or lead them to your website.
  • Note: Make sure you leave all contact information. If someone has read this far, you would normally give them your business card; this essentially emulates that act.

 

Pressed for time? LJF Marketing does all of this in house, so contact us for more information. Until then, we hope this helps!