With the introduction of the Internet and in particular social media, your brand is coming up in places that sometimes you would prefer for it not to be.
That is the nature of today's marketing environment.
If I was to pick 3 things that you need to do as a small business to market your business today, I would say;
1. Make sure you have your best foot forward online: That means that at every touch point from the time someone opens the screen onto your website through to every single click through - that the same consistent experience with your brand occurs. If they click through to your twitter account, they STILL know it is your brand from the language you use to the visual aspects of your Twitter account. If you write a blog, showcase your brands personality in your writing and with pictures. Make sure that wherever your brand is online, that you are proud of how it is represented.
2. Don't discount the power of PR: Too many companies think they are too small to get a story in the newspaper or sometimes big companies just leave it off their marketing strategy. The power of a good story may mean that your company is elevated above your competitors, positioned as an industry leader and you as a commentator who knows their stuff. PR is not hard to do - all you have to do is read blogs like Marketing Eye's and the thousands of others that give instructions on just how to do it. Or alternatively, hire a PR consultant.
3. Put customers and service first: Today I said no to working with a company that was ready to engage Marketing Eye. They seemed like a great bunch of guys, but for some reason they had a terrible telephone system (they need to speak to someone like Next Telecom to fix it); the phone rings out, hangs up when it shouldn't and constantly hits voice mail. If we were not putting customers first, we would take their money. But no matter how much marketing we do for them, we cannot help them without them realising that it is a problem if you don't pick up the telephone or if you ring 3 times and the systems automatically hangs up on you. You have to answer the telephone.
Service needs to be first too. That means being responsive to clients' needs, giving them over and above what they expect and genuinely realising that without them, you don't have a business. If, heaven forbid, your service falls down on any given day, then you need to realise it, take responsibility and do whatever it takes to make it up to your clients. They deserve nothing but your best.
There are many reasons for this; namely, is that I don't want to give too much away in case, heaven forbid, someone copies.
But I have this blog, which many wonderful people read, and it's very real. It tells it how it is. If you read the blog daily, you would pretty much know who I am, what I think about business and be getting a fair share of stories that may or may not relate to your own small business experiences.
Last week, I talked on how to get your business to the next level. Well, I am there. I have had enough holidays, and I am completely and utterly committed to taking my business to the next level. My enthusiasm for Marketing Eye and what it has to offer is contagious. I know this because every meeting I have of late, people make comment.
Marketing Eye is successful in Australia. I am proud of its accomplishments and what it provides the businesses we work with. We are innovative to a point, that many of our competitors copy our website word for word, our service offering and as much as they can - our spiel. But they are never going to be us as we will always be the innovator, the thought-leader and the risk taker.
As a woman with a fairly robust exterior, that to the outside world is fully focused on business, my principals and the people I care about, I am largely seen as a confident woman with the world at my feet.
Making Hitwise's Top 10 Social Network list beating Linkedin and Google is no easy feat for this unassuming social media platform that is the newest social media platform in town.
It is the best platform for business today particularly small business - especially if you are a visual person and your small business clients are visual people too.
Adjective: Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.
Verb: Make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible.
Noun: The perfect tense.
Nobody is perfect. I know. I have worked hard to be more 'perfect' in so many ways and have learnt the hard way that that is not possible. No situation in life is perfect. It can be good or even great, but not perfect. No human being is perfect. No house is perfect. No business is perfect. No animal is perfect. No holiday is perfect. No experience in life is perfect.
Perfect is not attainable, but being better is. Improving your status quo through dedication, perseverance, focus, compromise and a big picture view, can help you get your world closer to 'perfect', but don't be disappointed that you never get there.
Marketing Eye has hit this point many times and each time we have done a situation analysis and made business decisions on where to go. Right now, we are in expansion mode with the US market firmly in our sights.
If you are in this position, think about what your Big Hairy Audacious Goal is and work out how realistic it is given your current resources and capabilities. Things to consider include;
Expand into new markets
But at the end of any relationship whether it is with a supplier, client, employee, friend or partner, is really the beginning of something new and exciting. It just sometimes takes people longer to get over the last relationship than needed.
The rise of the tech geek in the world of marketing has been fast and furious. In fact, they have become more important to marketing than marketers themselves. How the world has changed!
We had only one hour to spare on Saturday to put a costume together, so we headed to a costume shop and purchased a hat. Cheaper than renting it we decided.
Sometimes, they have insight that perhaps marketers do not. Mostly, they just like a particular colour, font style, identity mark or a way of doing things that may not quite be up with the times.