Coastal Breeze News » Business Basics http://www.coastalbreezenews.com Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:17:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Creating a Buzz Through Advertising http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/06/03/creating-a-buzz-through-advertising/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/06/03/creating-a-buzz-through-advertising/#comments Tue, 03 Jun 2014 13:03:44 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=39377 BUSINESS BASICS
Camden Smith
DREAMFly Marketing

This column focuses on creating a buzz using the marketing tactic, advertising. While press releases and article writing create some media buzz, organic promotion is easy if publicity is connected to advertising.

Ways to Create Advertising Buzz

Marketing research has shown that to create positive marketing buzz advertisers must connect with consumers and stir positive emotions. Buzz comes as a result of hitting a consumer’s sweet spot, meaning a topic they love to talk about and share with others by turning an ad campaign into a viral buzz online.

Use humor or controversy to connect. Food products can be sold based on the pure mouthwatering joy they bring to consumers, where product advertisement has to really focus on putting a face to the product which is why animated products have been a big hit in advertising.

Monitoring online chatter about a company and its advertising campaigns using hash tags and key terms enables a marketing team to quantify the buzz it has created. Some of those measurements include tweets, re-tweets, Facebook chatter and comments, blog entries, print and online articles about the ad and measuring the good comments versus the bad to determine success or failure.

Coco-Cola attempted a Super Bowl ad in the 2014 Super Bowl, but as a result of its unique approach experienced a backlash of hate speech. The ad featured a multi-language version of America the Beautiful and, apparently, its consumers were not ready for it. Coke, of course, survived the advertising debacle, but this is an example where risks at times may not create positive buzz, but nonetheless do create some kind of buzz.

All Harry Potter advertisements focus on unleashing a person’s inner power and imagining magic and have generally produced in positive buzz even among the more religious critics.

Car advertisements that simply have a host yelling at the screen are viewed as annoying. But a car ad showcasing only the sleek nature of a vehicle making you want to keep up with the Jones’ seems to be more successful. While Fuccillo Kia’s ads are annoying, they are in fact successful in branding the everyday word “huge” as part of the brand.

Take ownership of a word, a term, a feeling, a joke. Then connect it successfully with a brand and the advertising will usually create a positive buzz.

Accountants, for example, should focus less on services and more on the headache taxes create and use animated photos in print ads or extreme videos in television ads to capture an audience’s attention.

The key to advertising is selling without selling, just like a car salesman learns from day one on the job. If you learn the unordinary skill of how to speak to a consumer about their life rather than what they need, consumers will buy every single time.

 

Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strategy and 13 years in public relations. Formerly a WINK-TV reporter, Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her dog and two cats. Visit Smith at dreamflymarketing.com


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Going Out on the Edge for Advertising http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/05/09/going-out-on-the-edge-for-advertising/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/05/09/going-out-on-the-edge-for-advertising/#comments Fri, 09 May 2014 13:01:25 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=38619 BUSINESS BASICS
Camden Smith
DREAMFly Marketing

Too often companies are weary of being different and yet when seeking marketing advice, the first request managers make is to set the company apart from the competition.

Leaders must decide what they want. Being unique often means taking a risk in advertising, whereas being safe may mean simply redundantly promoting a business through traditional branding. I endorse taking a chance, but make sure that chance is well researched.

Recently, listening to the radio I heard an ad for a church attempting to connect with young audiences in need of entertainment-styled sermons, but it failed miserably to connect when it made a statement about other churches essentially feeling like a loss of an hour of your life. The goal was to entice audiences looking for more fun experiences at church, but it essentially reiterated to first-time believers that church may not be so entertaining.

When taking a chance on advertising, really make sure the audience is identified and the context of the text, presentation or production of the ad connects with that audience on their terms, not the business’s terms.

A great example of cutting edge advertisements can be found during Super Bowl commercial breaks, but outside of these special promotions, local companies are missing opportunities to take a chance.

How to Take an Advertising Chance

Avoid using negative terms when possible when writing a radio or television ad specifically. In print, advertising the ad may ask a question to focus the person on his or her need, but overall advertising should discuss what it offers not what it avoids.

Use a focus group to review ads before launching them to ensure they will connect and produce high return on investment (ROI).

Cutting edge advertising means creating a funny ad, a controversial message or tapping into a unique business characteristic and dramatizing it. Examples of this can be found with the Surfing Plumber in Sarasota which focuses on the positive fun water can bring to promote the unfortunate leaks consumers may experience in their homes and combines the two into a successful, fun, colorful ad campaign.

Controversy and humor can be used to create real buzz about a company and its advertising, but executives have to be willing to take the risk. Safe advertising does not always produce the desired ROI, so start thinking about creating comedy driven or controversial style advertising if the industry your business is in caters to this possibility.

Be on the cutting edge, not behind it. Next month’s column will explain how to create buzz with and about a company through advertising.

 

Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strategy and 13 years in public relations. Formerly a WINK-TV reporter, Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her husband. Visit Smith at http://dreamflymarketing.com


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How to Write an Online Article http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/04/23/how-to-write-an-online-article/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/04/23/how-to-write-an-online-article/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:01:17 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=38438 BUSINESS BASICS
Camden Smith
DREAMFly Marketing

Our marketing firm receives numerous requests to write articles for businesses online, because managers struggle with understanding how to write for search engine optimization.

In my last column, I suggested businesses look at hiring content writers for their websites and to submit articles to websites such as mashable.com, ezinearticle.com, examiner.com, ehow.com and articlesbase.com. Some of you requested writing tips for success.

This month’s column focuses on four tips that are key to successfully writing an article for a third-party site and for your own website’s optimization with search engines.

Submit articles that are
70 percent unique.

Make your article unique. This means businesses should avoid posting the same article on their website that they do third-party sites. Articles for a company website should be more search engine optimized for content, while third-party sites have specific requirements such as not promoting a company.

By keeping articles unique, you will protect the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website without having third-party articles competing for ranking. Moving paragraphs around and rewriting a couple of paragraphs takes only 10 minutes and can preserve the SEO of your website.

Post articles weekly.

Posting articles weekly, or at least regularly, will allow search engines to see a website more frequently. Often websites are set to send sitemaps to search engines only when updates are made, so updating website pages and posting articles regularly helps a search engine view your site as active.

Keep it simple.

Those of us in the media can relate to topics that are so difficult one thinks it impossible to grind the topic down to 400 words, but it can be done. Break topics up into a series of articles if necessary, but keep online article simple so browsers may hit the highlights.

Using bullet points helps when providing tips, but be careful not to make an article so brief that key terms are unable to repeat at least three times per 100 words.

Know how to use key terms.

Perform a Google search for the topic you are writing about and see what terms show up the most in results. Choose one or two key terms to use in an article, and if writing for your company website be sure to include the key term your company is targeting. For example, DREAMFly Marketing targets “marketing strategy” and “marketing firm in Naples” as terms on all pages and in articles.

For a key word to be seen by search engines as “key” terms, they must be repeated generally four to six times for every 100 words in an article. Usage of the terms must appear naturally written not purposefully repetitious or Google will ding your site.

Be creative and write content that captures customers’ attention, and with these four tips your articles are sure to draw in new customers and make 2014 even more successful.

 

Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strategy and 13 years in public relations. Formerly a WINK-TV reporter, Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her husband. Visit Smith at http://dreamflymarketing.com


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2014 Marketing Trends http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/03/11/2014-marketing-trends/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/03/11/2014-marketing-trends/#comments Wed, 12 Mar 2014 01:05:07 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=37123 BUSINESS BASICS
Camden Smith
DREAMFly Marketing

Keeping up with the Jones’ is a cliché to follow in business, but businesses should take it one step further and beat the Jones’ when it comes to business. In 2014, marketing success is based less on the basics of advertising and more on businesses finding unique ways to deliver goods and services.

Technology and strategic product development to no one’s surprise have been named by “Forbes Magazine” as leading agents for marketing successes this year. The perfect company setting an example in leading solutions to consumer challenges is Groupon. The company started as a simple, online coupon clipping option for items as simple as a dog leash to services as complex at laser liposuction.

In January, Groupon completed its acquisition of Ticket Monster, and in 2013, the company also purchased an online travel site. Groupon is moving its selling power in front of the customer daily, meeting all facets of a consumer’s need. Conglomerate retail stores, such as Marshalls, will have to start thinking long and hard about online clothing sales, whereas right now shoppers are selling clothing from that particular store on eBay.

Drinking every bit of potential profit is key, and putting products in front of the customer they cannot avoid will be what drives business in 2014. Local retail shops may not be able to expand like Groupon, but they can perform better by doing more than simply having a clerk open up the doors every day.

Creating a customer loyalty tracking program, taking products to fairs and creating more personalized shopping experiences with private parties will make a retailer unique. This also switches retailers from forcing consumers to shop on their time and puts the power of the purchase back in consumers’ hands to the benefit of the business.

Marketing trends are forecasting more cost effective ways to reach target audiences and gain return on marketing investments at a more rapid rate. Content marketing on websites and writing articles for third-party sites will drive traffic to websites and brighten a company’s online buzz. Red Bull has more than 100 content writers on its team.

Even if a company has one person dedicated to this, a business can put a dent in the cyber world. Keep in mind content writing for a website is keyword driven, but must be written naturally without words repeating just because they can.

Writing for third-party sites requires a talented content writer who has mastered the skill of selling without selling, as articles are not specifically advertisements. A few of the top article websites available are mashable.com, ezinearticle.com, examiner.com, ehow.com and articlesbase.com.

Staying in front of the customer is half the battle, because the market is saturated with competition so be consistent with messaging and it will drive your success in 2014.

 

Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strategy and 13 years in public relations. Formerly a WINK-TV reporter, Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her husband. Visit Smith at dreamflymarketing.com

 


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Building Client Standards http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/01/29/building-client-standards/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2014/01/29/building-client-standards/#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 14:46:31 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=36006 BUSINESS BASICS
Camden Smith
DREAMFly Marketing

Today’s consumers expect great customer service and if they don’t find it, they’ll spend their money elsewhere. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Today’s consumers expect great customer service and if they don’t find it, they’ll spend their money elsewhere. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Being right is not always right for business. Developing strong customer service standards may mean adjusting a business’s attitude to improve sustainability of revenues.

Customer service standards often encompass scripts for sales calls, how to handle upset customers and standards of discounts or other solutions staff is able to provide to consumers. The best customer service plan is cooperatively developed with a company’s marketing plan to ensure the brand’s tone of voice is consistent with consumers in advertising, in direct mail promotions, over the telephone and at the checkout counter.

Every strong customer service protocol needs four minimum components, including customer service phone scripting, steps for handling upset customers, semi-annual training for staff and an outreach program complimenting customers to keep them returning.

Phone scripting may sound outdated, but it is the cornerstone of creating positive customer conversations. Scripts at a minimum should provide an opening and closing line for every phone conversation and a welcome line in the store. Too often, staff can be caught by surprise, and having a script for opening and ending a conversation can provide a positive path for the conversation. Scripts should be posted at every phone until staff is trained on scripts and how to develop a friendly tone of voice, as each person’s tone varies.

The second key component is to create specific steps for handling troubled customers that not even the biggest discount will satisfy. When our marketing firm develops branding standards for a client, we include steps for handling difficult customers, and the first step is always to ask the customer to explain in detail what happened because their concern is also the business’s concern. Then, offer the customer the solution he or she is requesting or offer two alternatives, and explain why alternatives are being offered.

Finally, when dealing with an upset customer, have a scripted conversation closer as an option for staff to use. An example of a script one might use is: “Customer satisfaction is our top priority, and I apologize for what happened. Allow me the opportunity to develop a better relationship with you because nothing is of greater concern than keeping valued customers like you happy.” Customers must know their voices are heard, their concerns matter and your company is willing to find solutions for their needs.

Finally, build a client book by gathering customers’ names, phone numbers, emails and addresses. Estee Lauder, a national cosmetic brand, requires its sales associates to call customers 24 hours after their visit and then in two weeks to see if the purchased products are working and again in three months to remind the customer to purchase more of the product.

Contacting customers allows businesses to develop stronger customer loyalty programs through email, direct mail and text message marketing. Local retail stores have a stronger customer attraction with the ability to call customers 24 hours after a visit to offer a simple thank you. Simple goes a long way.

Client standards are simple. A company wants to earn customer loyalty to improve revenue potential. To maximize a company’s consumer base, executives, managers and front line staff must be trained to be customer ambassadors.

Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strategy and 13 years in public relations. Formerly a WINK-TV reporter, Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her husband. Visit Smith at http://dreamflymarketing.com

 


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How to engage this season http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/12/23/how-to-engage-this-season/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/12/23/how-to-engage-this-season/#comments Mon, 23 Dec 2013 15:33:27 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=35578 BUSINESS BASICS
Camden Smith
DREAMFly Marketing

Listen and provide a solution.

Listen and provide a solution.

Anyone can speak to you, but not everyone can make you want to buy. Become the business person who makes every client feel special, encouraging them to invest in the company by purchasing your goods and services.

Become the best sales person possible with five quick steps. The first step to engage customers is to greet them with a friendly tone within three to five seconds of walking through your business’s doors. So often in retail, customers may be ignored due to staff helping others. Assign a greeter for the door to ensure every client is greeted. This is your first contact with the customer and your only chance to make a good impression.

The second step is to listen with an open ear. Many sales people and business owners approach a conversation with an upset customer with a response in mind as opposed to truly listening to the person’s concerns. Open listening means hearing what the customer says and then proposing solution compromises to answer their concern if possible. It does not mean giving them a canned response like so many telemarketers do today.

In the third step, learn the definition of customer compromise. Many times a customer is seeking a solution you have available, but often it is up to a customer service representative’s mood if a client receives a satisfactory response. Telling customers you cannot refund or cannot order an item could break their loyalty permanently to your company.

A well known dating site online, for example, tells its clients they will not reimburse payments even if the membership is renewed by error. By terms of customer service, this company is challenged. Instead, find alternatives if you are unable to offer precisely what the customer is requesting.

Boosting your mobile and online presence is the key to step four. Simply having a listing on Foursquare, Yelp, Google Plus, Facebook or the other social media platforms will not do. Engage on those social media sites. Promote restaurant and retail deals there, and for non-retail businesses post article links that may help your customers. Europeans are major users of social media check-in tools. Should you receive a bad comment or feedback online, contact the person directly or on the open comment section to apologize for their experience and request they contact you for a satisfactory solution. Often, this encourages the user to remove negative feedback or to follow up with positive feedback.

In step five, conduct a three to four question survey. A good benchmark is to make sure 75 percent or more of clients participate. Asking, “How did you hear about us,” helps businesses gauge what advertising works or which client to reward for referrals. Make sure to ask what product or service the customer would like you to offer and give them multiple choice answer options. No survey is complete without asking about the customer service, which ultimately may determine if this customer returns. Allow customers the option to either include or not include their names and numbers. For every customer that fills out a survey, give them a coupon in return.

Forward-thinking and positive leadership sets an example for employees and may help raise your customer engagement standards. In January’s column, learn how to create and what steps to include in customer service standards.

 

Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strategy and 13 years in public relations. Formerly a WINK-TV reporter, Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her husband. Visit Smith at http://dreamflymarketing.com


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Social Media Confusion http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/10/25/social-media-confusion/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/10/25/social-media-confusion/#comments Fri, 25 Oct 2013 14:58:16 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=34208 BUSINESS BASICS
Camden Smith
DREAMFly Marketing

Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Foursquare, Yelp, Google Plus, Instagram, Pinterest and the newly relaunched myspace are just nine of more than a dozen social media choices for businesses to use as a means for connecting with consumers online. The number one question asked of my marketing firm is which one do I really need.

The truth is, it depends on a business’s online message and return-on-investment focus. Facebook remains the number one choice for most online users including business, but with recent security changes making it more challenging for businesses to connect with users, there are some other options out there. Google plus makes it easy with few restrictions to connect with others, but unlike Facebook it does not always suggest connections, while hi5 a newer social site has the least restrictions but less of a professional appearance.

More and more businesses are using the off-the-beaten path social media choices and finding higher success rates due to the lack of demand for high security measures like those on Facebook due primarily to lawsuits and user demand.

As a business, decide your brand’s focus. A restaurant for example should focus most on Instagram to showcase food presentation coupled with a listing and promotion on mobile applications such as Foursquare, Yelp and Urban Spoon which promote deals and coupons regularly. Urban Spoon is an absolute must, because users are able to search for the specific cuisine they are seeking.

Retail shops, hotels and travel associated businesses may wish to also purchase a listing on Priceline, Expedia or Booking Buddy, and retailers should promote through local tourist publications’ social media pages as well. Hearing about a deal from a tourist publication holds more weight just as an article featuring a business tends to catch consumers’ eyes more quickly.

Linkedin should be used primarily for business networking or job posting and searching, while Twitter is great for national or regional brands. A tweet is only active for between 10 and 20 minutes for a user and after that the user is unlikely to see the information, so I always focus clients’ social media campaigns on targeted platforms associated with their industry.

Every business should be listed on all social media, and use HootSuite, Buffer or other automated social media managers to send out messages across multiple platforms to keep it simple, concise and make your marketing efforts more successful. Do not forget that European visitors are major users of mobile check-in applications, so keep your profiles up to date.

 

Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strategy and 13 years in public relations. Formerly a WINK-TV reporter, Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her husband. Visit Smith at http://dreamflymarketing.com

 


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New Economy Questions http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/02/21/new-economy-questions/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2013/02/21/new-economy-questions/#comments Fri, 22 Feb 2013 03:53:48 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=29480 As season creeps into its final weeks, our marketing firm has received dozens of calls from businesses asking what advertising adjustments should be made for what appears to be a more stable economy.

Since the 2007 economic slide, consumers have found more confidence in coupon clipping by reducing their spending. However, so far in 2013, consumer confidence is at an all time high with the anticipation of good things to come.

As business owners and managers begin to review their advertising plans, it is important to remember that without showing confidence in consumers, they may – in turn – not show confidence in your business.

Putting it simply, invest in your consumers to create loyal and organic relationships. Everyone enjoys a great deal like a dinner for two at a price we just cannot refuse, but coupons cannot be the primary strategy anymore in advertising especially for small businesses.

When consumer confidence grows, shoppers still look for great deals, but they also begin to again value the relationship they have with your brand whether you own a restaurant, a retail shop or a service business such as heating and air conditioning.

While consumers have remained research driven, like I have, throughout the economic crunch, from 2007 to the summer of 2012, coupons really led more of our purchasing decisions. With consumer confidence improving, it is time for businesses to put aside the slim advertising budgets with coupon strategies and get back to what really works and that is building your brand in consumer’s minds.

Am I against coupons? No, but I do know that if we cheapen our relationships with consumers we diminish the importance of loyalty with our consumers and instead make sales more important.

Reward your customers with deals, but also reward them by communicating honestly about why your business is the business of choice so they can keep on choosing to shop with you in the future.

About The Author

Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strategy and 13 years in public relations. Formerly a WINK-TV reporter, Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her husband. Visit Smith at
http://dreamflymarketing.com 


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Consumers misunderstood online by businesses http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/12/13/consumers-misunderstood-online-by-businesses/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/12/13/consumers-misunderstood-online-by-businesses/#comments Thu, 13 Dec 2012 16:52:34 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=27117 BUSINESS BASICS

Camden Smith
DREAMFly Marketing

Forget about having a relationship with customers online and start getting on the right path to better online marketing success.

In May, the Harvard Business Review reported that consumers are not seeking a relationship with brands they love online but instead are seeking coupons, discounts and comparative shopping.

This may come as a shock to online brand managers who, according to the Decision Simplicity Report, often assume consumers want a relationship and are simply seeking information to remain informed.

In person relationships remain key for consumers actually in your retail shop, hotel or business, but online it is an entirely different story.

The Harvard Business Review researchers said most businesses are over stimulating customers with too many shopping options and making shopping decisions more difficult rather than easy.

Listen up, because there is an answer. Use the Decision-Simplicity approach explained by Harvard Business Review to create a simpler online decision making process.

Decision-Simplicity means to “keep it simple stupid,” essentially giving consumers only what they seek with a few key approaches.

How an e-commerce website’s checkout is built truly affects a consumer’s experience and the likelihood that consumer will shop with your website again. An e-commerce site, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a website that sells products online with an online payment system.

Brands that scored in the top quarter of the study were 86 percent more likely than those in the bottom quarter to be purchased by consumers.

The rising volume of marketing messages and complicated decision making process pushes consumers away.

The report gives three effective tactics for simplifying online checkouts to boost sales.

Minimize the number of information sources consumers must touch as they move towards a purchase

Provide trustworthy product information including outside sources

Offer tools on your website allowing consumers to compare products (like Verizon, Sprint and AT&T do on their sites for cell phones and calling plans)

The first point is to simplify information and be courageous enough to provide just what the consumer needs not every single fact about a product.

Make sure information is trustworthy. For example, a site posting reviews from the company’s own Yelp account would deliver unfettered information while Consumer Reports might provide expert opinions. Manufacturer information may give way to important detail, but uncensored reviews encourage sales.

Marketing trustworthy information could be fun. Post unfettered product reviews online or run a contest for the best YouTube video product review.

Offer comparison tools like those offered on Travelocity’s website, where consumers can compare one product with another and draw their own conclusion on which is the better buy. This empowers the consumers to make the decision and may help decrease product returns.

View the full Harvard Business Review Article: To Keep Customers, Keep It Simple by visiting http://goo.gl/l6qll. You are welcome to provide comments and tips online at http://goo.gl/vznfn.

Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strategy and 13 years in public relations. Formerly a WINK-TV reporter, Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her husband. Visit Smith at http://dreamflymarketing.com


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Is your business newsworthy? http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/11/15/is-your-business-newsworthy/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/11/15/is-your-business-newsworthy/#comments Thu, 15 Nov 2012 14:32:49 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=25902 BUSINESS BASICS
Camden Smith
DREAMFly Marketing

To be newsworthy means to be interesting. If this were true, every newspaper in every community would have to write articles from the thousands of press releases editors receive each day.

This month, we will review what makes business news newsworthy. Last month, we provided tips for amplifying seasonal marketing strategies, one of which was to focus on newsworthy publicity. A board of directors may find a new CEO exciting, but unless the company sending this type of announcements is a national brand, most of time this type of press release will hit the editor’s waste basket. Publicity is defined as promoting or gaining exposure for a business or an organization’s project such as a special event. It is a key part of strategic marketing plans, which every business should have.

While writing press releases is easy for publicity experts, for business owners it may prove a challenge. Often business owners focus on the less important facts of a story and more on self promotional language and information. Use these easy tips for writing press releases: focus on economic trends and connections, view news from a consumer perspective not the business’s, write for the media not a board of directors and finally, analyze if you read the news whether you would find it interesting.

Tell the media why the release is important with a very strong lead. Rather than leading an event press release with the name of the event, the date and time, lead with a benefit-rich statement on how the event helps consumers. As a marketing agency owner, it is often the agency’s job to walk a fine line between pleasing a client and writing material that will also capture the media’s attention. Embrace control as a business owner or manager and learn what interests the audience.

Just because boring news is interesting to a business, does not make it interesting to consumers or the media. It is easier to think about newsworthy as a measure on how beneficial or interesting a news item is.

Take advantage of free online services to distribute press releases to national and international media members such as Pitch Engine. Make press releases newsworthy and boost publicity. Even if you hire a PR expert to write a release, the publicity will deliver more than a thousand percent of that cost back to the business in advertising savings.

Be publicity smart. Write newsworthy content, and you will improve media relations as well as profits. A few press release sites that provide free or paid memberships: Pitch Engine, pitchengine.com PR Web, PRWeb.com PR Newswire, prnewswire.com


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Gearing up for season http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/10/18/gearing-up-for-season/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/10/18/gearing-up-for-season/#comments Thu, 18 Oct 2012 18:40:21 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=25109 BUSINESS BASICS

BUSINESS BASICS

DREAMFly Marketing

Many of our readers have asked for effective season planning tips so this week the column breaks down four must-haves for any business’s advertising promotions.

First things first. Let us just get this out of the way. If you are a manager or business owner and you focus entirely on season, this is why you go into a slump in May.

With 320,000 year round residents in Collier County, it is imperative to target advertising to both residents and visitors. Both audiences are equally important. Planning for our seasonal visitors has become unique. For service industry organizations such as restaurants, art studios and other destination-type shops, making friends with local concierges is critical.

The top tip is for all business owners to designate a staff member to drop by promotional information and a monthly gift to hotel concierge’s who host your target audience. You cannot drop by every hotel in Naples, but you certainly can make the easy drive right on Marco Island. If you sell cupcakes, drop off cupcakes to the concierge or give him or her their favorite candy or free tickets to say a comedy show at our favorite Marco Island comedy club. Make the connection genuine.

Second, during season advertising must be frequent and should include call to action statements placed prominently with promotional discounts exclusive to each ad. This makes promotions easy to track and encourages consumers to look for the next ad with the next promotion.

Third, advertising must be focused. Too many small businesses both on and off Marco Island make the mistake of buying in four newspapers for examples but buying too little in each publication in order to meet the minimum ad frequency reach of three times for consumers. Running fewer ads less frequently in more publications actually harms your campaign.

Finally, do not assume because there are more people in town you can forget about publicity. Make sure to send professionally written, typo free press releases with strong lead sentences telling the media why your news is a story.

Local media outlets with fewer writers today are always looking for newsworthy content. Next, month I will outline what makes news newsworthy.

Collect client names and emails no matter how small or big your business is and create an e-promotion newsletter using a platform like MailChimp or Constant Contact. Remember, email lists are opt-in, you must ask to add a customer to an email list.

Make this season successful by connecting with key concierge staff at hotels, targeting advertising buys, adding stronger promotions in ads, and focusing on publicity.

Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strategy and 13 years in public relations. Formerly a WINK-TV reporter, Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her husband. Visit Smith at http://dreamflymarketing.com


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Social Media Moves From Fun to Investment http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/09/06/from-fun-to-investment/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/09/06/from-fun-to-investment/#comments Fri, 07 Sep 2012 01:18:36 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=23962 BUSINESS BASICS

Camden Smith

DREAMFly Marketing

Facebook has become a bad version of the “Spam-a-Lot” musical rip off of Monty Python’s movie “The Holy Grail.”

People using Facebook for personal communication with friends and family have long complained about unwanted spam messages and mail on the popular social media website. The issue now arises for business owners who are beginning to feel the pinch on their own Facebook accounts.

Facebook is the second most visited website in the world. In an effort to protect its users, developers have consistently rolled out significant tracking tools of spammers or people sending unwanted messages and mail to other Facebook users.

Last week, Facebook notified me that my personal account, a non-business account, had been suspended for violating community guidelines and had been identified as a spam account. In order to keep the account active, I had to sign off on the community guidelines.

It had been more than five months since my personal account had sent out any friend requests so I filed a complaint with Facebook, but because some of my friend requests went unanswered the help desk said that identified me as sending “spam.”

So many of us accept LinkedIn, Google Plus and other friend invitations and then when the same people try to connect with us on another platform, we fail to recognize the name and identify the user as spam.

My advice to every Facebook user and business page manager is to know exactly who you are connected with online on all social media sites. You may be connected with a person on Google Plus and speak with them frequently, but the minute you deny that person’s friend request on Facebook they could be identified as a spammer, an unwanted and unknown contact.

While many marketing firms and social media gurus sing Facebook’s praises, I believe the extremely strict spam controls are causing confusion and a disconnect with millions of users. Dozens of friends who own business have complained about the same issue.

Facebook has become a vicious cycle of account shutdowns for many times innocent users who simply sent a friend request to their neighbor who then decided not to accept the invitation for one reason or another. If too many requests go unanswered or are denied by the receiving party, Facebook often suspends the Facebook account between 14 to 30 days preventing further friend requests.

Spam control seems to be out of control. Business owners using the platform need to watch accounts closely and heed this warning that sending out massive friend requests could in fact shut down your account.

Be cautious, responsible and respectful and learn Facebook’s constantly changing set of rules.

 Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strategy and 13 years in public relations. Formerly a WINK-TV reporter, Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her husband. Visit Smith at http://dreamflymarketing.com.

 


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PR nightmares can happen to you http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/07/12/pr-nightmares-can-happen-to-you/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/07/12/pr-nightmares-can-happen-to-you/#comments Fri, 13 Jul 2012 00:00:06 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=22818 BUSINESS BASICS
By Camden Smith
DREAMFly Marketing

As business owners, we think we can do no wrong sometimes, until of course a customer brings to our attention the fact that we may be wrong. The simple solution is to remember the customer is always right; however when it comes to publicity and the public’s reaction it is much tougher to control the result.

Recently, news arose about a young life guard who saved a drowning person out­side of his protection zone and was then fired because he went out of his employer’s insured or covered area. The media blitz that has proceeded has provided a clear picture that where the consumers’ minds are could be entirely different than a com­pany’s CEO and managers.

Following the news of the young life guard’s firing, millions of people from all over the world have commented online and directly to the company about how they feel it is wrong he was fired.

As a marketing agency owner, what has amazed media experts is the clueless nature of management that discussing the company’s controversial decision to fire the life guard is a bad idea. Although insur­ance may be a valid reason for the young life guard’s firing, management commented to newspapers he should have left the man he saw drowning alone.

This is what has outraged so many peo­ple. While there are usually two sides to a story, it is important to keep in mind talk­ing your way out of a controversy is often the worst decision you can make.

If it sounds bad as a sound bite on the news, it probably should not be said. Basic public relations plans include a crisis com­munication plan. A crisis communication plan provides steps for better public rela­tions or public reaction. Media plans often suggest rather than control media inter­views and direct management, to instead release a statement focused on the posi­tives with few mentions about the contro­versial points.

In this case, a release or statement may have focused on the heroic nature of the company’s life guard who saved a drown­ing man’s life and then towards the end could have discussed briefly a reason for the firing.

In life as in business, there are few ac­tions that are right or wrong, but a con­sumer’s perception is reality so think hard and fast before you react to a controversy.

Lesson of the week: have a PR plan and keep news positive even if your company is in the hot seat.

Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strat­egy and 13 years in public relations. Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her husband. Visit Smith at http://dreamflymarketing.com


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QR code business to the top http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/06/14/qr-code-business-to-the-top/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/06/14/qr-code-business-to-the-top/#comments Thu, 14 Jun 2012 17:36:25 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=21968 BUSINESS BASICS

Camden Smith

DREAMFly Marketing

 

DREAMFly Message QR Code.

A Quick Response Code could help businesses grow in popularity with younger consumers.

It may sound like a foreign language, but most of us have seen business cards and promotional products with odd looking sci-fi codes on them, usually in the shape of a square. These are QR codes, also known as Quick Response Codes, and although they have not become overwhelmingly popular with local businesses, national companies are using them successfully.

Disney, Macy’s, Sears, Estee Lauder and movie production houses, to name a few, are the businesses lining their stores with QR codes for consumers to scan and learn about products in a matter of seconds. QR Codes can be scanned by mobile devices and are “short coded” or linked to information designated by the QR code creator.

For example, some business cards with QR Codes link you to the company’s website, whereas others will link you to a sales pitch video or deliver the person’s contact information directly to your phone to save you time. The options are virtually limitless.

Naples Print Source has used QR codes to create more interactive direct mail campaigns for its clients, linking a mailer QR code to a personalized website for the recipient to sign up for information or receive a free sample of the product promoted.

The idea that direct mail or print media is dead is absurd, because with technologies like QR codes linking new and old media, a new market is waiting to be saturated with consumer information. The trick is bringing QR codes on board with your existing marketing.

Clever cupcakes.

A great example of a creative use of QR codes was by a bride who printed QR codes linked to her bridal registry on her bridal shower cupcakes. While she was not acting as a business looking to sell products, she certainly scored by reminding her guests about what was important to her. Every business should do the same.

In my firm’s blog, for example, we often place a QR code linking readers to coupons, exclusive tips or our contact information as a means to connect organically with our blog readers.

Find a way to use QR codes and make sure you have one on your business cards, because whether you want to or not it is time to face the fact the world is mobile so we had better follow. For more information on QR codes visit http://bit.ly/IfxnFf.

Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strategy and 13 years in public relations. Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her husband. Visit Smith at http://dreamflymarketing.com


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Four ways to drive non-seasonal business http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/05/03/four-ways-to-drive-non-seasonal-business/ http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/05/03/four-ways-to-drive-non-seasonal-business/#comments Thu, 03 May 2012 14:55:59 +0000 http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/?p=20669 BUSINESS BASICS

Camden Smith

DREAMFly Marketing

As local consumers cheer for the end of season and say goodbye to bumper to bumper traffic and a lack of reservation spots available at their favorite restaurants, business owners gear up for the slower summer shopping season.

Without national, multi-million dollar budgets, local business owners will need to call on more creative methods to grow business rather than closing for an entire month in August or September, known as “summer vacation.”

The last U.S. Census Bureau report shows more than 300,000 annual residents in Collier County alone, so there are plenty of consumers to connect with if you use targeted methods. Avoid the usual summer revenue drought with these four steps to drive non-seasonal business.

First, use any social media profiles or pages available to create a promotion. The easiest method is to use Facebook and Twitter to promote a discount for check-ins at the business.

For example, Coastland Center Mall vendors offer shoppers 10 to 20 percent off purchases simply for checking into the store on social media platforms including Foursquare, Facebook, GoWalla and Yelp. It creates a loyalty discount, avoids devaluing products and services and advertises the promotion to unrelated nearby mobile users.

The second way to grow business is to create consumer-focused events where shoppers set appointments for one-on-one attention with sales associates. This method is consistently used by cosmetics and clothing retailers. It can be used as a promotional method for every business if staff commits to calling loyal customers and promoting the event. Events often make the difference between making and missing sales goals.

Finally steps three and four require businesses to participate in local summer events as free advertising and develop client cards to track customers. These steps both focus managers on cultivating customer relationships and connecting with new customers.

Consumers are faced with millions of choices any given year and in order for new consumers to find you, you may need to put yourself right in front of their faces. The best way to connect with new consumers is to sponsor or participate in local events that are expecting audiences of 2,000 people or more.

Finally, tracking your client should be your business every day. Know what each and every one your customers wants and needs are and follow up with them regularly. Electronic client tracking systems are fabulously convenient, but make it mandatory for staff and management to set phone call, email and birthday reminders so clients avoid falling through the cracks.

Non-season does not mean dead business months. It simply calls on us to be smarter and more engaged business owners, because after all we owe it to our customers.

 

Camden Smith, owner of DREAMFly Marketing LLC, has more than eight years expertise in branding and marketing strategy and 13 years in public relations. Smith is an award-winning PR strategist and lives in Naples with her husband. Visit Smith at http://dreamflymarketing.com


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