Essentials for a Well-Stocked Sales Kit

Whether your ideal clients are large or small, consumers or businesses, a lasting impression is required to seal the deal. While you may think a Word Document printed on the company copier is a great tool for your sales team to use – think again. An equipped salesperson needs the added credibility of a professional-looking company; quite frankly, a Word Document won’t give them an edge.

Let’s look at it from another angle. How likely would you be to hire a candidate who didn’t wear a pressed suit or outfit to an interview, and then handed you a wrinkled resume to review? Of course, it’s highly unlikely they’d get the job.

A well-stocked sales kit is your company’s interview attire. It allows your salesperson to put their best foot forward.

Here’s what you need to button up your sales team before you even send them out.

  • Business Card – this is most essential, of course. It’s your salesperson’s best asset. Get business cards before you do anything else. Make sure your business cards fit the look of your other sales materials (or vice versa).
  • Pocket Folder – busy people often lose things. Make it easy for your clients to find all the information they need to know about you with a pocket folder.
  • Brochure – repeat after me: I will not use Microsoft Word to create my brochure. A graphic designer will create a custom and unique brochure with room for a bio, list of products/services offered, contact info and anything else that’s important to you. Have it professionally printed. You’ll likely get more results if you take time to present your customers an informative and visually appealing representation of your company.
  • Case Studies – these go in your pocket folder, with your brochure. They are the evidence behind everything the salesperson is saying and are a useful reference during a meeting if there are specific questions.
  • Product Sell Sheets – perfect to shed more light on your specific product offerings, inserts can be, well, inserted based on which products your client might be interested in. That is, they make it easy to give them the necessary information, but give you the flexibility to choose which products to spend time discussing. This way, there’s less of an overwhelming amount of information and more discussion.
  • Flyers – got an event coming up? Insert a few flyers. That way, the client has an opportunity to attend and invite their contacts.

LJF Marketing has in-house design capabilities and printing options, so please contact us if you’re interested in tailoring any of the above sales collateral to your company’s unique vision.

 

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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!

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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!

Mix it Up: Creating the Best Content for Your Audience

In our recent social media posts, we referenced Bill Gates’ article from 1996 about how content would be definitive of a brand’s success on the Internet. We think he was right.

But do you know what defines quality content, or how to create it?

Quality content is content that engages users. On social media, the most measurable way to see that is through viewing the number of likes, comments, retweets, or shares generated by a post. There are ways to view the number of clicks a link receives as well. If content is resonating with the people you target, you’ll see higher numbers.

Creating content doesn’t always mean generating it – a better phrase for creating quality content is curating quality content. Your content can be articles that you like, some business-related and some that reflect the personality of your business. It can be pictures from company events. It can even be current event-related, if that’s what you suspect your target is interested in. A few guidelines though:

  1. Content plans should be unique to your business and should reflect a personality. Define what that is before you create your content.
  2. They should be a mix of different media and topics. This is where mixing it up comes in. In general, people use social media for live updates, so it’s wise to provide new information with every post; you can discuss the same topic a few times, but you should be shedding new light on it. The same old stuff gets, quite frankly, boring, so avoid reusing it (even though you would want to do that in other forms of advertising).
  3. Your target audience should reflect what you post. LJF Marketing wants to target people who need marketing expertise, so we try to provide some of that for them. A daycare would post information relevant to parents and even single parents, more specifically.

Follow these guidelines and you will be on your way to social media success.

… And while we’re at it, is there a content type you prefer to see? If you like what we’re posting, subscribe to our newsletter here. If you really like something, let us know by following us and commenting through one of the many media available to you: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or right here.

PR is Presence in the Community

We may use our Facebook often, but, as we’ve established, public relations is much more than just using Facebook; social media is one small part of public relations that influences a brand’s identity, so Facebook has an even smaller scope of impact.

Think of it in terms of yourself – if you have big news, you would probably make a phone call to your friends and family first. After letting the information dissipate to your business colleagues, you would put the news out on your social media outlets. Generally, you will not put the word out on Facebook before your closest confidants know your news.

That’s where having a presence in the community comes in.

Is your company involved in giving back to the community? Do you attend events and functions for your local chamber of commerce? Have you built your network to its full potential and has your network had the opportunity to see what you’re passionate about?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, your business is likely missing out on an important piece of its identity – you! Our recommendation is to get involved in some aspect of your workplace’s community because you are the face of your business.

Reasons to get involved:

  • Share your individual passion
    Becoming involved will allow you to make contacts and work as a team on projects with people who have different personalities and backgrounds. These undertakings allow you to share experiences in ways that are not possible during a regular day at the office. Your business relationships will quickly grow deeper and will likely result in long-term opportunities.
  • Brand recognition and awareness
    When you make acquaintances at events, people start recognizing your name and company; essentially, this can have the same effect as advertising but with more personal touch. When people view your business as represented by a person, rather than a faceless entity, they are more likely to do business with you.
  • Enhance brand image
    If your company sponsors an event or charitable cause, attendees will again, notice your name. In business terms, this is a win-win situation, because not only are you sponsoring something you are passionate about, but attendees will think of you as a company willing to support a good cause and be involved in the community outside of the business.
  • Put a face with a name
    It’s simply nice to be able to put a face with a name of a person whose company you’ve always heard of. Making this irreplaceable human connection is a good reminder that companies have human beings who happen to work for them. There is comfort in knowing the faces that exist beyond the Facebook page.

Once you develop contacts through community involvement, you will find yourself with individuals who support your business and WANT to hear when big things happen.

Any questions? Ask and we’ll answer below.

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Marketing Research Done Right – Getting to Know Your Audience

audience

When you are thinking of conducting market research for your company, it’s important to do it the right way. You may think back to the hours you spent on research projects in college and high school. In my youth, I thought I would never use that stuff again! However, the steps you took then will help you conduct successful market research now. Luckily, if you have social media outlets, some of this can be done yourself!

Follow the steps to get to know your audience in a whole new way.
*For the purposes of this blog post, pretend I am a women’s boutique owner in a college town. This is a completely hypothetical situation.

  • Step 1 – Identify a problem. Say that I end up putting a lot of things on sale at the end of each month and losing money.
    Example problem: Everything ends up on sale.
  • Step 2 – Choose your topic. You’re not trying to solve a problem here (though market research can have that positive side effect). Pick something general you want to find out about your market that may relate to your problem.
    Example topic: College students’ spending habits
  • Step 3 – Find basic information. While basic trends and common knowledge come from some parts of the truth, don’t simply rely on stereotypes; having a general understanding of your target audience is an essential foundation that will help you move into deeper subject matter. Wikipedia can be a good place to start for finding basic information.
    Example info: College students use Facebook a lot. Some students also have a lot of discretionary income from their parents, but most live on a budget.
  • Step 4 – Refine your topic. What is unique to your market but still relates to other markets? This part is where you narrow your search to make sure you actually get relevant information. You should also decide whether you want qualitative or quantitative information.
    Example: College students’ spending habits/budgets for clothes in Texas
  • Step 5 – Conduct research. Using relevant sources (i.e. sources with more credibility than Wikipedia) find information and studies on your refined topic. You can also do customer surveys through Facebook, conduct focus groups, etc. depending on if you want qualitative data. Make sure you are consistent in your research approach in whatever you decide. Take notes on your findings.
  • Step 6 – Summarize your findings.
    Example: Female college students spend 25% of their money on clothes. The average amount of extra money college students have is $500/month.
  • Step 7 – Apply and assess implications to your business.
    Example: Since most female college students are on a budget of some sort, it might be worth it to offer a wide variety of items that vary in price points. This would accommodate the needs of smaller and larger budgets.

We also found another great article that can be a vital resource for you in this process.

Remember: we’re here for all of your marketing needs. Contact us if you have any questions.

 

Do you take the time to go through the research process to understand your audience in a new business venture? Tell us why or why not in the comments below.

The Power of Planning

Image
Image Source

Planning is obviously important when it comes to how your business operates – and it applies to social media. You probably know what message you want to send, but the execution is a little more complex.

Here are some quick tips to help guide you when planning out your social media. Take these into account before the day you want to post and it will make your life so much easier.

  • Plan to post your message to all of your social media platforms.
    Doing so will help you go up in Search Engine rankings, as well as keeping any of your followers on different platforms from missing the memo. You might not have the same followers on each platform, so if you want everyone to hear your message, say it – everywhere! But when you do, make sure you…
  • Plan to tweak your message for each platform.
    I cannot emphasize this enough – all social media platforms are NOT the same. They are very different animals. If you’re wanting to get the word out about a charity your company is volunteering for, you will need to construct the status update for Facebook different than the tweet for Twitter. For example, you might post on Facebook, “We really enjoyed helping out with this charity this week. Thanks to everyone who came out to help!” with a picture from the festivities, whereas on Twitter you would say “Had a great time with this charity today and can’t wait to help out again! #service”. Both allow people to chime in with a response, but the Twitter one is more casual.
  • Plan to schedule posts.
    First off, decide when and how often you want to post. Then, map out a schedule on a calendar for each social media platform. You can either set reminders for yourself to post at a certain time, or use a scheduling tool – like Hootsuite – to make sure the posts go out on time. Also, keep in mind that a post at 12 at night is not likely to spark much conversation – you’ll want to thoughtfully research and consider the time of day you post.

These suggestions will save you time and money in the long run. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us and we will set something up to meet with you.