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Marketing Series Part 6 – Public Relations

Public RelationsIn the digital world, public relations has become more important than ever before. Why? Because even if your customers are happy, upsetting the “Internet” or the “Twitterverse” can have devastating repercussions. Making your brand and good reputation known well beyond your customer group can help protect you from the trolls, as well as increasing awareness to grow your customer base.

As you’ve no doubt gathered by now in this series, the differences between different areas of marketing can be rather subtle. So, perhaps the best way to explain how Public Relations differs from Reputation Management or Customer Relations, is with some examples.

 

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Marketing Series Part 5 – Customer Relations

Customer Relations 2The term “Customer Relations” pretty much says what it means – it’s how you interact with your customers and the quality of the relationship that forms as a result. The secret here is viewing your customers as friends. That means listening as well as talking, being fair, staying in touch, living up to your good reputation, and not taking advantage. If you are good to them, your friends will support you, and not just in terms of sales. Here are three principles to guide your Customer Relations policies and procedures.

 

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Marketing Series Part 4 – Reputation Management

reputation management2While your brand is something that you create, your reputation is what others really think of you, and “others” are fickle creatures ready to pounce in cat-like fashion. Your company’s good reputation is essential to success and can be ripped from you in the most unexpected of ways. Remember the guy who kicked the dog in the elevator and lost his job as CEO? Or the Olympic swimmer who exaggerated a drunken encounter with a police officer in Rio? He lost four sponsorship deals.

The power of the internet is a double edged sword that can make you or break you. As the examples of poor research, poor behaviour, poor customer service, etc. explode, pundits are cautioning that reputation management needs to become reputation development and reputation marketing.

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Marketing Series Part 3 – Brand Management

Logo DesignThe brand of your company has the same meaning to consumers that your character or personality has to your family and friends. Your logo is like your face. When someone sees your face, they recognize who you are, and they expect you to behave in the way that you always have before. Odd or uncharacteristic behaviour will be surprising and potentially off-putting or even offensive. That’s when your friends start to avoid you. In similar fashion, if your brand doesn’t live up to expectations, you’re going to lose customers.

So although your brand is much more than a logo, your “visual identity” is an important aspect. Most visual identities are comprised of either:

  1. an icon and stylized name presentation, such as ours;
  2. a stylized name presentation only, such as the one we created for Lori Johnson Photography; or,
  3. an integrated icon and stylized presentation, like the one we did for Western Locksmith Supply.
 
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Marketing Series Part 2 – Your Products, Services, and Target Markets

Your Products, Services, and Target MarketsYou already know what you have to sell, but do you understand what your customers are buying? Do you know who they are, why they want what you have, how they make the decision to buy from you?

One of the most basic premises of marketing is matching – matching what you have to sell with customers who want buy. That means that you have to understand your customer base, and the segments within it, so you can tailor your marketing plan to find new customers like them, appeal to them, and convince them to buy from you.

Let’s look at a few basic demographics first. You can download your own worksheet here. In the first column, list your products or services. You can add up to 20, so group items together if that makes sense. For example, if you sell auto parts, you’re not going to list each individual part, so use groups like engine parts, wipers and exterior products, etc.

Then, for each item or group, put an x in the column that best represents the age groups of customers who purchase that item, and in the last column, enter an m or f to show whether more buyers are male or female. If you really have no sense of your customers’ ages or gender, best to figure out a way to find out. Could you take a guess based on names in your database? Ask your front line staff what they think? Keep track for a few weeks and estimate on that info?

Here’s an example based on our business.

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5 Ways to Make YouTube Work for Your Business

Video is a powerful marketing tool for any business. Sometimes words and images just aren’t enough. It’s never been easier and cheaper to produce and promote video. A lot of small companies are using video to showcase their products and services. But some videos seem to get more traction than others. Here are a few simple tips on how to make a great video and get it out there.

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Marketing Series Part 1 – What “Marketing” Means

Marketing Series Part 1Welcome to the first edition of our Marketing series. Our intent is to share our knowledge of the timeless basics of marketing and business development, and how these translate into the current sales environment. Our hope is to give you greater insight into the consumer perspective and show you how to use this information to grow your business. You’ll have the option to just read and learn, or to put the information to use to create your own Marketing Plan. So, the first order of business is to talk about what Marketing means in today’s world.

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5 Ways to Defeat Digital Junk Mail

Annoying, time sucking, distracting – we all hate junk mail; and it’s especially infuriating when it’s email. Yes, there’s always a yin and a yang, but here are five ways to stave off chaos in your inbox.

 

Just Say No

The truly devious hackers and spammers don’t follow the rules, but chances are that most of the unwanted email you get will have the legally mandated “unsubscribe” link somewhere. Most of the ones I’ve found are in teeny tiny font at the very bottom of the message. Admittedly, it’s a constant battle, but you can save yourself some time and annoyance by unsubscribing whenever you can.

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Three Tips to Make Sure You’re Ready for Tourist Season

I had yet another experience last week where the services provided did not live up to the advertising. This time, not only was I disappointed, but the venue rooked itself out of many planned return visits and the revenue that would have gone with those. The visit itself would have been a positive one except for the misconception created by the ads. So as the summer migration begins, and with more locals opting for stay-cations, a few tips to ensure that you profit from the short summer season and boost, rather than ruin, your long-earned reputation.

 

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5 Reasons to Hire Youngins to Mentor Your Staff

5 reasons to hire younginsThe practice of hiring younger personnel for older workmates to learn from is referred to as “reverse mentoring.” While that notion may not sound like a great idea to everyone, reverse mentoring can have incredibly positive results. Even if your target market doesn't include those under 25, young adult mentors are worth considering. Here’s why…

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An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Vacationing in Stealth Mode

Entrepreneur’s guide to vacationingWhen you own your own business, taking time off can be tricky. You want to be the “go to” person for your clients; the one who is always there for them, at the ready to solve whatever problem they may have. You don’t want to miss calls from potential new customers; and announcing that you’re on vacation makes you look like a slacker, even if it’s the first holiday you’ve taken in a decade. The solution? Taking a vacation without anybody knowing you’re taking a vacation. Here’s how:

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April Showers Bring May Flowers – How to turn unhappy customers into promoters

april 2016 We all get complaints. No matter how great our products are, there will be those that are unhappy and eager to tell you about it. More importantly, they will also be eager to tell everyone they know, and that’s why you need to take a strategic approach to dealing with complaints. Here’s a four step plan to converting complainers into promotional advocates for your business.

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Beware the March Hare: 3 Steps to Great Marketing

3 Steps to Great Marketing

A timely comparison, the March Hare of Alice in Wonderland fame is described as “silly, ill-mannered, and loud;” all of the characteristics you want to avoid in your marketing. While the March Hare demands attention, gimmicks don’t give you the return on investment you can get with a less obtrusive, more logical approach. Here are the three basic steps that will earn the loyalty of your existing customers, and turn them into advocates for your products and services.

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It is 2016. Who loves ya, baby?

Who loves ya, baby?

Who loves ya, baby?If you remember the Kojak television series and the detective’s now famous phrase, you’re old enough to also remember a much simpler time in the world of business. As long as your regular customers loved you and your products or services, that’s all that mattered. Well, we’re coming up on Valentine’s Day 2016, and things are a little (a lot?) more complicated. Customers new and old, are comparison shopping online before they ever venture into your shop. And you aren’t just competing with the business across town, you’re now competing in a global marketplace where everything from appliances to zinnias can be delivered.


But when we look at all of the factors now in play to attract new business, there is one that rises to the top of the list – Google. As the most frequently used search engine in the world, what Google knows about you is going to determine who loves ya and who doesn’t. Here’s why.

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2016 Web Design Trends

2016 Web Design TrendsHappy New Year! Time to get back to work, set new goals, and refresh your marketing. We’ve read the pundits’ predictions for web design trends this year, and found two we’ve held dear for a while now, along with two that were a bit of a surprize. So here they are, as they say on Sesame Street, brought to you by the letter C.

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Learning from the mistakes of others as we wrap up 2015

If it ain't broken...

TED won the 2015 People's Voice and Webby Award in the Best Home/Welcome Page category. In addition to a colourful display with lots of topical news options, they had a simple menu: Watch, Read, Attend, Participate, About. Makes perfect sense.

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5 virtual services to make your real life better

Last month we talked about a few scary Internet issues, so now let’s look at some awesome benefits. From time savers to no excuse fitness programs, here are five ways you can use the web to your advantage.

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3 things that should scare you that you might not know about

With Halloween just around the corner, we thought it was timely to share a few of the scariest things we’ve heard about in the past few months. BOO!

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3 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Learn More About

3 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Learn More AboutAh, September... the morning air is refreshingly crisp; you're wondering how long you can wait before putting the winter tires on the car; and the kids are heading back to school.

That got us thinking - what do our clients, most of whom are business owners, need to learn more about?

Here's our top three suggestions 

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3 Reasons Why Small Canadian Businesses Need A Good Website

#1 – Big companies are stealing your business

Almost all, 91%, of large Canadian companies have a website, and of all companies in Canada who have the ability to sell online, almost 25% of their sales are made via the web. Yet more than half of all Canadian companies don’t even have a website, let alone a good one.

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We won! We won!

Summit Award

We’ve just been notified that we’ve won Gold at the 2015 Summit Creative Awards for the category of Educational Institution Website! The winning website was developed for Kosmetae Academy (kosmetae.com) and was one of 5,000 submissions from 23 countries.

We always strive for excellence and awards like this provide an international benchmark. Receiving an award is great, but more importantly, these competitions give us an assessment of our work from experts all over the world. We’re very proud to be ranked so highly on a global scale.

We’re always excited to win awards (Yay!) but international recognition makes us especially proud. Paul, Andrew, James – way to go team!

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Free Tools to Help You Work More Efficiently

Summer's coming and we all need a vacation! Save a few bucks for the holidays and get those projects wrapped up faster with these great tools, available free on the web.

 

Apache Open Office

Open Office Logo

Open Office offers a suite of office software including word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations that you can download for free. It looks and works very much like Microsoft Office and can load and read MS Office files.

openoffice.org

 

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Is your website out of style?

KosmetaeYou may not pay much attention to the latest fashion trends, but as the core of your online marketing strategy, the look of your website needs to show potential customers that you are up to date with the latest and greatest. So, let’s take a look at what’s “in” for 2015.

 

Large Background Images

Great photographs that start telling a story from the first glance are becoming more popular as backdrops. You do need to choose the image carefully though – favouring the one that will generate an emotional response. Our own avant garde design guru Paul has used this technique with some fabulous results. Have a look at these two examples:

http://www.kosmetae.com/

 

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Spring Cleaning Your Internet Presence

Spring Cleaning Your Internet PresenceThe World Wide Web traps everything that hits it, and you aren’t the only one publishing information about your company. There are directory sites that collect and compile information, customer review sites open to public commenting, social media sites and search engines that create pages in organization names, and many more ways for others to create confusion and mistrust about your business.

At least once a year, you need to take the time to have a good look at what others might be seeing when they come looking for you.

 

Your Website

Start with your own website. Does it still accurately describe your products or services? Scan each page for phone numbers, addresses and other contact information. Look in the footer (very bottom of the page) and throughout the text, as well as on the contact page. Send a test message to email addresses given, and through the contact form, to make sure they are getting to the right people.

 

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10 Simple Tips for Refreshing Your Brand


10 Simple Tips for Refreshing Your BrandIs it time to update your look? Marketing and innovation play a critical role in sharpening your competitive edge. Businesses that stay the same and never change get left in the dust. Updating your brand is a natural part of moving forward. Here are a few helpful tips for captivating attention and increasing sales.

 

1. Have a clear idea of what you do and want to convey.

If you build a house you have to start with a good foundation. The same goes for your brand. Be clear about what you do. “I do this primarily, but I also do this and this.” What’s your one best quality? Are you dependable or quick and cheap? Do you provide a high level of service or good deals? Giving your graphic designer a clear direction will not only save you time and money but give you a far better end product.

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6 Ways to add Some Sizzle to Your Summer!

Add Sizzle to Your SummerIt’s time to add some sizzle to your summer!

It may not be beach weather yet, but it is definitely time to start planning your summer marketing program. Whether the warmer months are usually peaks or pits in business volume, you need to take advantage of the lighter hearted, spend-friendly mood that comes with the summer sun.

 

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Show Them Some Love!

Valentine's DayShow them some love! Valentine's Day is a great reminder to think about ways you can show your customers how much you value them. A little appreciation goes a long way in building solid, long term relationships which means repeat business and word of mouth referrals. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

 

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