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Delivering Digital – How SMB’s Are Killing Themselves Online


Over the past few years, businesses have seen a tremendous increase in the functionality of digital technology. What used to be web pages that “listed” products for sale are now fully integrated networking communities where friends, family, colleagues and customers can interact just like they were standing next to each other while being thousands of miles away. Even email has emerged from a simple “send & receive” application into a multi-use platform that can now post blogs, track project development and measure message performance. There is little doubt that digital technology has changed the way we live, work and play – over 400 million people worldwide use the internet. What is however doubtful is whether business can figure out how to use the technology effectively before going out of business.

Small Business Has Big Opportunity

One of the biggest problems every small and medium size business (SMB) owner has is learning how to compete in a global economy. Gone are the days of the independent grocer or the local pharmacist. Even the specialty machine shop that makes specialty products for specialty suppliers is now fighting tooth and nail with global manufacturers for the same sales that have kept them in business for generations. These are the types of small businesses that are at the greatest risk of losing the global trade war with developing economies, but they are also in the best position to take advantage of emerging technologies to defend their position and maximize their business.

As a SMB, it’s all about your customer. Whether you’re a screw shop or a law firm, or even that local grocer that’s managed to stay in business – when you run a SMB, customers are always number one. Successful SMB’s understand that less than 20% of buying decisions are based on professional expertise – most sales are based on relationships. This is where SMB’s have the most opportunity because if there’s one thing that all this new technology has done is make it easy to connect and communicate with other people.

Don’t Just Contact – CONNECT

Connecting with your customers has never been easier, but it takes more than spam to get and keep the attention of your target market. This is where most SMB’s fail – signing up for a Facebook account and posting a bunch of messages that don’t mean anything – and then doing it over and over and over every month. Think about it – would you call your customer and tell them the same thing every single Tuesday at 4:00? Would you do it 8 times a day?

Here is another question – if you could personally talk to every person that walked by your restaurant, what would you say?

Building relationships with customers is the single biggest opportunity SMB’s have in the digital age, and too many businesses are missing out. To build relationships, you have to know what is important to potential customers; you need to know how customers define success. You have to let them know your business provides product or service that is valuable. You need to know what to say, before you say it.

If you’re trying to build a relationship – whether it’s a personal or professional one, the extent to which your target is engaged relies entirely on the level of interest you provide. It’s not just about telling a mass audience what you’re selling – it’s about connecting with a target audience by letting them know you have something that meets their needs. Engaging with potential customers online and building relationships is the best way SMB’s can remain competitive in a global market. Making the latest advances in digital technology work for your business is the best way to meet the digital demand of today’s internet consumer.

 

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Social Media Marketing:


Business Getting Social   

by Steve J Wilson

Social networks and social media marketing is growing at such a rate, it is proving challenging for businesses and marketers to keep up to date with the latest progressions and trends. In a recent survey completed by American express which interviewed small business owners, the results showed that over 44 percent of the respondents utilise the tools for marketing purposes; up 39 percent from the number of respondents from the previous year. One of the key factors in the increase in it is the perception from business that it presents a cheap alternative to traditional marketing channels and initiatives. However, it is essential that businesses allocate a specific budget, whether this is in a monetary of time format to allocate to the development of a plan and strategy in how to best utilise it for business. No matter what the marketing tool is, without some direction and aims, the efforts will simply be shooting blanks in the dark.

There is no doubt that social media marketing is here to stay, with an increasing number of business utilising the platforms to connect with current and potential customers in the online environment. Businesses are working harder than ever before to create a meaningful impact in the social sphere and to implement ways to better connect their brand with customers.

Trends in social media marketing are showing no abatement of change. We are currently seeing a move past the inflection point of social media marketing to a defining point in time when social media marketing comes of age. The online marketing channels are poised to become mainstream tools for which all business, companies and organisations will be implementing in their wider business and marketing strategies. This year we will see social networks being utilised as the key tool to effectively target and connect with current and potential customers, conversing in an online space where the target market is conversing and making purchase decisions.

Furthermore, businesses are now realising the true benefit of social media marketing for connecting with customers. This year we will see an increasing number of businesses instilling the value of tweeting and posting content on a regular basis; not just as a necessity for optimising their online presence, but as a general recognition that it is the perfect platform where they can meet and interact act with customers.

If your business is contemplating the move in the social world, or perhaps your current social media efforts are not resulting in increased conversations, sales and profitability; get in contact with a marketing company that employs social media marketing specialists and start connecting where your customers are…online.

About the Author

SocialEyes is a specialist social media marketing company based in Christchurch, New Zealand. Working with numerous clients, from small and medium sized businesses to large corporations, SocialEyes delivers proven and tangible business results resulting in increases brand awareness, website traffic, lead generation, customer engagement, as well as realising marketing and business objectives and improving profitability. For more information, visit www.social-media-marketing.co.nz

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5 Internet Marketing Metrics Not to Obsess Over


Posted by Pamela Vaughan

Mon, Aug 15, 2011 @ 04:38 PM

Re-posted by Managed Media Chicago

Analytics is an important part of inbound marketing. Marketers should constantly be measuring their marketing to refine programs, improve upon under-performing initiatives, and decide which marketing channels they should focus on.

But when it comes to measuring marketing, sometimes it’s hard to know which metrics to use. There are usually a number of ways to measure the success of a given campaign, and oftentimes marketers get caught up in using every single metric available to them … or obsessing over the least valuable ones. To help you get on track, we’ve compiled a handy list of 5 metrics that probably aren’t worth your time.

  • Comments – Comments can be a great way to gauge how much (and the type of) discussion a particular piece of content is generating, whether it’s a blog post, a Facebook post, a tweet, etc. That said, it’s not something that really indicates the success you want to achieve. Ultimately, you’re participating in these channels because you want them to help you generate business, right? After all, a blog post that generates 100 comments might not generate any leads, and a blog post that generates 100 leads might generate no comments. It’s good to get a general sense of how much people are engaging with your content through their comments, but don’t make one of your goals to generate tons and tons of comments.  Better Metrics: Measure referral traffic and leads from your blog and social media to your website. 
  • Open Rate – Open rate is no longer a reliable metric for measuring the success of email marketing because many email readers wrongly interpret when an email gets opened (more details about this here). Therefore, open rate is a useless metric for marketers to use to determine who actually reads their emails. Furthermore, even if it were reliable, someone opening your email doesn’t necessarily mean they took any action from it. They could have read one word or the whole email, but if it didn’t inspire them to do something, should that be considered successful? Ultimately, you want your email recipients to click on something within your email such as a call-to-action for an offer, so those clicks and how well they convert into leads should be what you focus on measuring instead.  Better Metrics: Measure click-through rate, conversion rate, and email leads.
  • Impressions – Impressions is another one of those metrics that sounds impressive but doesn’t really indicate much business success. Mainly used in the advertising world, this can mostly be applied to display advertising for online paid marketing initiatives. Put simply, impressions are a measure of how many times an ad is displayed, whether it gets clicked or not. Therefore, one impression means the ad was displayed once. Because it has nothing to do with how many people clicked on your ad, for the very same reason that open rate in email is useless, impressions are not a valuable metric for marketers to track because it doesn’t indicate any action.  Better Metrics: Like email, measure click-through rate, conversion rate, and leads generated from paid marketing efforts.
  • Followers – Yes, an increase in followers means better reach, but again, if your huge social media reach isn’t translating into traffic and leads, or even if your leads from these channels don’t ultimately become customers, what’s the point? First, focus on capitalizing on these channels by spending time optimizing your engagement for lead generation. Then, once you’ve determined the traffic and leads you’re generating is converting into customers, you can spend more time increasing your following so you can scale your efforts even more.  Better Metrics: Measure social media traffic, leads, and customers. 
  • Sentiment – Coming from a PR background, I actually cringed a little as I typed this one. I will preface this by saying that brand sentiment is a good thing to monitor. However, it should not be something you obsess over. Overall, a positive brand sentiment should be something to strive toward, but let’s be honest, every company or brand will have its share of naysayers. Social media offers a platform that makes it easy for these Negative Nancys to voice their opinions and be heard, and you can’t appease them all. If your company must deal with a crisis or negative criticism, make sure you handle it gracefully and appropriately, but don’t dwell on it. Plenty of businesses have overcome negative sentiment and still operated as successful businesses.  Better Metric: Measure sales. More sales means people like your products/services.

Final Thought

Remember, as a marketer, your time is valuable. While measuring success is definitely important, so is actually doing marketing that generates the results you’re measuring. Don’t spend unnecessary amounts of time analyzing metrics that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Instead, focus on fewer, more concrete and telling metrics like traffic, leads, and sales. Chances are, poor results indicated by these grander metrics will inform you of problems. Then you can consult more granular metrics to use for deeper analysis to diagnose and solve underlying issues.

What other marketing metrics do you think marketers spend too much time analyzing? Are you bogging yourself down reporting on too many metrics?  A successful social media campaign can prove to be the key to growing your business, but you have to do it right. It can increase brand exposure and PR for a fraction of traditional costs as well as provide large scale market research and at no extra charge.

  

 

 

 

Managed Media creates an on-line presence that drives real growth.  Check out our website @ http://www.managedmediachicago.com/#! and see how we can help you grow your business.

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Social Media Marketing 4 2-Day’s Small Businesses


By: Jeromy Puglisi

Managed Media Chicago

July 15, 2011

There is no denying that Social Media is taking up a large amount of time spent online.  The number of people using social media websites is huge and has led to increased interest in the growing field of social media marketing.  As we see more and more small businesses include social media strategies in their business development plans, Managed Media continually looks for new and innovative ways to manage social media campaigns that drive real business for small business owners.

Everyone knows about Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and Youtube. It seems that many small businesses have rushed to sign up on these popular sites and eagerly filled out a profile page.  Then, they wait for this “rush” of traffic and new business to arrive and are generally disappointed when it doesn’t happen.

Despite what you may hear, there is no “silver bullet.”  Sure there are sites out there like Digg and StumbleUpon that have the potential to send up to 40k unique visitors to your website in a short space of time, but if you don’t get on the front page then you are unlikely to see much more than a handful of visitors.

If you want to attract new visitors to your site then you have to actually participate and become involved in a community.  You have to develop original content and tell people about your brand to create interest in your products and/or services.  What your organization does and how you do it are important parts of your story.  You want people to know that your business provides a valuable solution to meet their needs.  And because different elements of your story will appeal to different people, you need to match the right parts of your message with the right audience at the right time.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

  • More online conversations about your brand  A successful social media campaign leads to a lot more talk about your brand online. When your message works with your users, they will spread your message more effectively than traditional methods.  Every small business owner knows that word of mouth advertising is the best form of advertising because it comes from a trusted source.  Remember, consistency builds credibility, credibility builds trust and trust builds business.
  • Quick Exposure – Hitting a front page of major social video, news and bookmark sites will send you huge amounts traffic almost instantly. This doesn’t mean the traffic will equate to conversions, but it should generate momentum in the right direction.  Remember, content drives traffic so start telling customers about your business.
  • Low Costs – A comprehensive social media strategy may provide a partial or full replacement of traditional advertising and marketing at a fraction of the cost.  There are plenty of free solutions out there, and even more that don’t break the bank.  Managed Media uses both free and traditional pay for use services designed to drive real business right to your door.
  • Impact on Search Engine Rankings – Social media can bring you large amounts of backlinks that benefit your ranking in search engines.  Sometimes, search engine rankings are not the best use of your online time, but sometime they are.  Strategically, you need to find out if search engine optimization is the best use of your social media spend.
  • Compatible w/ Traditional Marketing – No one says you have to approach and embrace social media 100%. Social media campaigns can be run along side traditional marketing and advertising.  Use them both, measure the results and find a win win solution that helps grow your business.
  • The Power of the Recommendation – Would you rather buy from a faceless company or from a company that people recommend? We know that recommendations from personal acquaintances play an important role in the online buying process and in fact, almost 80% of social media users say they would buy a product or service based on the recommendation of an online friend.  That is a powerful voice for your business.

Tips on Running a Successful

Social Media Campaign

  • 2 Way Conversations – You must interact with your customers. Listen, discuss topics, respond to questions, even a simple “LIKE” shows genuine interest in others and helps build solid relationships.  You must do more than just setting up a poll on your site. Having conversations which flow in both directions help you understand the concerns of your customers, why they exist and what you can do to fix them.
  • The Personal Touch – Automated responses and standard letters are a great way to sabotage your social media campaign. Social media is about equal participation and recommendation. Just think, would you rather purchase a new computer from someone you know that told you it was a great product or an automated newsletter?
  • Transparency – Be transparent, be proactive, and be honest. There are many compelling ways to raising awareness for your company. Having hidden agendas or stretching the truth will simply backfire.
  • Participate in the Community – Acknowledge others and participate in conversations that allow you to tell your story.  Take the time to really be a part of the community and share useful knowledge. Personality goes a long way. It’s a bit like making friends; you have give a little to receive. You never know, you may build useful networks that extend offline

A successful social media campaign can prove to be the key to growing your business, but you have to do it right. It can increase brand exposure and PR for a fraction of traditional costs as well as provide large scale market research and at no extra charge.

Managed Media creates an on-line presence that drives real growth.  Check out our website @ http://www.managedmediachicago.com/#! and see how we can help you grow your business.

               

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Developing Relationships – Unleash The Power Of Your Business


By: Jeromy Puglisi

Managed Media Chicago

June 22, 2011

The world is becoming more interconnected and organizations that want to succeed in this new environment need to become more connected as well.

How can we work together better?  How can we pool our knowledge to improve results?  How can we make processes more efficient, while delivering personal service when it matters most?  How can we manage the flood of information that’s overflowing our inboxes, our mobile phones and our lives?

How can we manage all of these relationships?

The key to successful relationship building is consistency.  Constantly show sincere interest in other people and devote time to following up and getting to know them better.  Consistency builds credibility – credibility builds trust – and trust builds business.

Relationship Management

Research has shown that even in fields such as engineering, architecture, IT, law and finance, only about 15% of ones financial success is due to technical knowledge while 85% is due to skill in human engineering.  Good relationships are built on trust, credibility, personality and likeability.  So it’s natural that customers want to learn as much as they can about your company and the people that stand behind it.

Developing Prospects

This is all about finding people who need your services – and developing a pipeline that an organization can consistently use as a marketing tool.  It’s also about helping prospects find you and there are many ways to accomplish this task.  Once you have found people who need your services, it’s time to start the relationship building process.

Building Relationships

Your objective in building relationships include developing trust and credibility, qualifying the needs of your prospects and finding the right fit.  Remember people don’t hire firms – they hire professionals, so perhaps the most important reason for building relationships is to find the personal fit.  This all comes down to demonstrating you understand your client and their market, and that you care enough about your client and their business to take action.

Discovering Opportunities

When is it the right time to ask for business?  The answer is quite simple – when your prospect has clearly identified a need or issue and you know your services provide a solution.  The goal is to get to the stage where you have agreement on desired outcomes. This may include helping potential clients clarify their own needs and thus begin the process of establishing a relationship and identifying opportunity.

Offering Solutions

This is sometimes the most painful stage of business development process.  However, if done correctly it can become extremely rewarding.  In reality, it is simply a matter of offering your services to solve or fill a need. Because of the time and effort that you have invested up to this point; in getting to know them and getting the facts right, your lead will be very interested in learning how you can help them. And that is just how you approach it. You ask them if “they would be interested in learning how you can help them?” In most cases, they will say yes, and then it’s just a matter of how you propose to help them – with a proposal document or an in-person offer meeting.

Tips to Building Better Relationships

  • Ask the Right Questions.  This is the best way to start a conversation, but you have to be sure to ask meaningful and relevant questions.
  • Become a Better Listener.  It’s pointless to ask the right questions if you’re not listening to what’s being said.  Not only do you have to be aware of what’s being said, but you have to sharpen your skills so that you can identify what’s not being said, as well.
  • Master the Follow-Up.  Surprise them all together by not sending an email and give them a phone call. Be personable, memorable, and helpful – and it doesn’t hurt to add a bit of humor to the mix.

How Does Managed Media Help Build Relationships For Your Business?

Managed Media MANAGES social media for your business.  Social media is like word of mouth advertising on-line, and every business manager will tell you the most valuable form of advertising is word of mouth advertising.

Managed Media is designed to be an extension of your business – your social media consultant!  We are your part-time employee sitting in your “remote office” managing all of your social media.   You are the boss, and we work for you!

Before we start any work, we listen – to you.  We learn your business & we create a strategic analysis of your industry & your customer.  This insight provides valuable information throughout the social media life-cycle.

Next we create a customized communication plan tailored to your business so we can tell your story to the millions of potential customers listening in the world of social media.

Now after all that – after we’ve built the foundation, we deploy the technology.  Now that we know who your customers are and what they want to hear, we put your message on-line in the world of social media.

We hit multiple targets…

        from multiple touch points…

                  with multiple messages…

                             at multiple intervals…

Managed Media creates an on-line presence that drives real growth.  Check out our website @ http://www.managedmediachicago.com and see how we can help you grow your business.

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Whatever You Do, Start Doing Social Media


By: Jeromy Puglisi

Managed Media Chicago

June 13, 2011

Every potential client I speak with tells me they plan on “doing” social media.  Of course, that is why you are a potential client and it is logical we are speaking because you have not done “it” yet – hence my visit.  In fact according to the 2010 Media Planning Intelligence Study released by the Center for Media Research:

  • 57.7% of respondents “ideally” plan, and
  • 56.3% “realistically” plan to include social media in their media plans next year.

This ambivalence toward social media is one of the primary factors driving social media discontent among small business – Because small business managers can not figure out hot to make it work for them, they discount all social media efforts and meaningless and a waste of time.

The problem is not social media; the problem isn’t even your business.  The problem is YOU don’t understand how social media works.

LEARN, OR HIRE SOMEONE THAT DOES!

         

 

 

Most people start “doing” social media by signing up for a Facebook account, and trolling around trying to get people to like their page.  Success is generally limited to the number of friends that are willing to look at messages you post about your business. There is certainly nothing wrong with this and most social media professionals will tell you that learning how to use social media for your business is much better than leaving it to an employee.  However, you can’t do it all and the amount of time some people will require is going to make it very difficult to use social media tools effectively for a lot of US small business.

Once past the investigatory phase of social media, you will start to notice the astonishing popularity of social media tools used in small business circles.  This is because social media is like word of mouth advertising on-line, and every business manager

will tell you the most valuable form of advertising is word of mouth advertising.

Managed Media is your BIG MOUTH on-line!

Managed Media is designed to be an extension of your business – your social media consultant!  We are your part-time employee sitting in your “remote office” managing all of

your social media.   You are the boss, and we work for you!

  • Before we start any work, we listen – to you.  We learn your business & we create a strategic analysis of your industry & your customer.  This insight provides valuable information throughout the social media life-cycle.
  • Next we create a customized communication plan tailored to your business so we can tell your story to the millions of potential customers listening in the world of social media.
  • Now after all that – after we’ve built the foundation, we deploy the technology.  Now that we know who your customers are and what they want to hear, we put your message on-line in the world of social media.
  • We hit multiple targets from multiple touch points with multiple messages at multiple intervals.

Managed Media is here to help and we can develop an on-line presence that drives real growth for your business.

There is no simple way to define strategic communications.  It builds a brand.  It changes perception.  It connects your organization with people and moves them to action.  Smart strategy makes communication meaningful – to your audience and your bottom line.  You need to ask the right questions to translate your business objectives into effective communication strategies.  You need to position your product and provide value.  Let Managed Media help you develop a strategy before you get left behind.

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