Websites and Branding

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Your company’s online presence is a necessity for success. An understanding of online marketing is key to boosting your business. It all starts with your website.

 

A great website is created with an understanding that:

  • It needs to be functional and easy to use. If you can barely navigate your way through your website, chances are your customers can’t at all.
  • All content needs to be relevant and valuable to your customers. Don’t let your website become too dated or lacking fresh content. Keep up with it and reap the rewards.
  • Communication with your customers is key. Show them your portfolios or post customer success stories. Potential customers want to know they are signing up for a company that’s reliable and professional to their current customers.

 

Your company’s website also needs to be created with the idea of uniqueness in mind. Stand out and be bold. Ask yourself: What do your customers want to see when they see your website? How will they use and navigate through your site?

 

Make sure you maintain consistent branding throughout your online presence as well. If you don’t fully know what defines your brand, ask yourself some of these questions:

  • What makes your company valuable to customers?
  • What is your company’s philosophy?
  • What sets you apart?
  • What kind of customers do you want to have?
  • How can you use your website to showcase your company’s abilities?

 

In order to effectively communicate to your customers, build up your website around your brand.

 

There is no one thing to have on a website to make it successful. Make your online presence unique and creative. Always convey your company’s abilities in the best light possible and remember it’s not just who your company is – but how your uniqueness can serve your customers the best.


LJF Marketing is a full-service marketing communications company that is fully equipped to help you create and enhance your company image. Since 1989, we have been developing innovative marketing strategies, graphics, web development and advertising campaigns to help companies like yours grow to exceed expectations.

 

Allow LJF Marketing to conceptualize IDEAS for your website. It’s our business to grow your business and we love what we do!

 

Visit http://www.ljfmarketing.com/web.htm to see examples of our satisfied client’s websites and more.

Putting “Public” Back in Public Relations

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When your public relations plan is considered, it’s important to recognize different facets of public relations – public speaking, press releases, social media and crisis management, to name a few. However, it is even more crucial to define your “public” before your company tries to relate to them. With your public in mind, your public relations strategy will yield greater results, because they will find the information you provide useful.

To have a complete profile of your public, you simply need to understand the following questions about your target market:

  • Who?:
    Who do you need to be targeting? Decide which demographics your ideal client falls within; if you already have your ideal clients, define their similarities, so you can gain more like them. Below is a list of several qualities to consider (don’t limit yourselves to only these, though):
    –  Age
    –  Gender
    –  Education level
    –  Field/business practice
    –  Cultural/ethnic background
  • What?:
    What are they interested in? What is their story? Given that you now have an idea of what type of business they own and what their background is, brainstorm what items of news likely appeal to them. If I target potential male clients with some form of post-graduate education that own B2B-focused businesses, the following news pieces would likely get their attention:
    –  A LinkedIn post for a business-related skill that can better them
    –  An article in their trade publication about what problem is solved by my company’s new product
    –  A presentation at a Chamber of Commerce on your personal insight into issues that affect the local market
  • When?:
    When do they read the media you are considering (if they read it at all)? Take our client from the previous example – do you think that client would be on Pinterest? Do you also think they will be likely to read something that is posted at midnight, or attend an event later in the evening? Probably not, so tailor when you send the info accordingly.
  • Where?:
    Where are they concentrated in? Suburbia? The big city? If you want to target the well-educated businessman, they could be concentrated in both geographic areas, which means you will need to tailor your message to specific issues affecting them.
  • Why?:
    Why do the do what they do/why are they motivated? Your messages need to tap into these factors. If you’re not apparently trying to help them fulfill their goals more effectively, the value in your PR efforts will be missed. Some  very common motivators are:
    –  Making more money
    –  Helping other people achieve success

Take the time to figure out who your public is and what makes them tick. Pick your media and your messages accordingly to leverage your public relations potential. Contact us if you would like some guidance through the process, or just need someone to implement the message.

You can get in touch through whichever means is best for you – like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and follow us on LinkedIn.

In House Vs. Agency Marketing – Which one is for you?

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So your business has grown (or you’re just now starting!) and you’re in decision mode: In-House marketing or partnering with an agency/firm?

There are many positive factors to both. In-house marketing involves people who work directly for and exclusively with your company. It may consist of one person, or even a team that your company hires. As for an agency, they have specific expert employees who each usually specialize in different areas – public relations, digital marketing, graphic design, etc.

Both have qualities that can be very beneficial to your business. Here are some criteria that will help you choose which one might work the best for you.

Let’s look at their skillsets.

In-house marketing employees are paid to work for your business only. They understand your brand through and through due to direct training and are handpicked by your company. However, it’s difficult to find an in-house marketing person who is adept at all aspects of marketing.

Agency-wise, first you research and ask for referrals. They then need to be introduced to your business and brand and make sure they are the correct fit. For agencies, there are usually a good amount of multi-skilled employees who have worked in their respective fields, allowing for more diverse skillsets.

If only one marketing aspect needs to be managed, consider an in-house marketing team for your business. But for a company who plans on expanding or growing, marketing in only one aspect is rare so an agency might be a better fit.

Next, let’s look at the two from a creative perspective.

Some consider creativity to be in-house marketing’s downfall. There tends to be less creativity in a team that solely works for you and your brand. However in-house marketers do have a great understanding of how to combat your direct competitors.

As for an agency, they work with multiple clients that could be in very diverse areas. There is a lot of change and diversity creativity-wise that they have to produce. This exposure to different ideas can help generate creative ideas for your business.

Both can be useful for your business. If you find that your in-house team is in a rut, choose an agency. If you feel that you are confident in your in-house team, keep them on the project.

Then, let’s look at cost.

In-house marketing consists of marketing management that you hire. For example, consider the cost of salary when hiring one manager, or multiple marketing specialists full time. The cost of each campaign will depend entirely on your marketing needs. Crunch your numbers before making a decision.

It may seem less expensive to hire a single, on-hand employee for your marketing strategy, but expect a long hiring process, training, and guaranteeing that a person fits properly over a set period of time. Aside from salary, you will be budgeting for office space, benefits, computers, and programs they may need as well as training for those programs.

A marketing agency has a pre-set, and negotiable price in place when it comes to your campaigns. An agency pays for its own software, tools, tech, and training, which cuts any extra costs on your end. It may seem like more up front, but it might be less expensive for your business in the long run.

So which to choose?

Break down your goals and your needs to help you figure out whether to go with in-house marketing or a marketing agency.

If you’re still unsure about which path to take or just have questions about marketing agencies in general, ask us here at LJF Marketing! We have been serving our community for 30 years and are professionals when it comes to PR, Marketing, Advertising, Design, and more.

LJF Marketing is a full-service marketing communications company that is fully equipped since 1989 to help you create and enhance your company image. Through innovative marketing strategies, graphics, web development and advertising campaigns, your company can grow to exceed your ambitions.

 

Allow LJF Marketing to conceptualize IDEAS for your campaign. It’s our business to grow your business and we love what we do!

 

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!

A Lesson in Collateral Consistency in the Digital Age

We are excited to bring you the first entry on our blog! We hope you will find this to be an awesome resource for all of your questions about business on the web, so, today, we’re kicking things off with some ideas to help you improve your web collateral.

While you may understand the importance of collateral (brochures, promotional items, etc.) in spreading your business’s name, you might need some help developing that when it comes to the web. The real challenge in this case lies within using different media to communicate. Here are a few collateral ideas that will spread your message in a less conventional manner than the standard logo-infused brochure.

Infographics

Infographics are a way of visualizing information and statistics in a condensed format. What makes them great is that they appeal to many different types of learners; Some people are visual learners, whereas some learn by reading. They can also be shared by users on outlets like Pinterest, Tumblr, and BuzzFeed, so you don’t have to hand it to someone in person for your message to be heard. No matter where it is shared, it will always be branded with your logo, so viewers will be directed back to your company.
Exhibit A: This Honda Accord Infographic

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Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative initiatives. Essentially, it is a social way of getting people involved with your new project. The way it works is that you set a deadline for when you want to raise a certain amount of money. Then, you try to get people to back you, for some kind of reward in return (a service you will provide, etc.). If you do not meet your monetary goal, none of your backers are charged. There are certain specifications to which types of projects qualify, but if you are trying to get your business off of the ground, this is a great avenue to display what your brand is all about. With Kickstarter, customers actually get to see the quality of your work.

Instagram

Instagram is a useful tool for sharing pictures of what you actually do with your company. Contrary to what some may think, you don’t have to be artsy or a professional photographer for it to be effective. It can be useful just to post pictures of you and some co-workers at a company-sponsored event to Facebook and Twitter all at once. For that reason, Instagram is a great idea to help make your brand more consistent, without having to deal with the logistics of creating a new banner (Instagram profiles are not customizable).

Have you ever tried other unconventional media that were successful?