Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Spring Cleaning

It's March. Spring arrives not a moment too soon on the 21st of this month. Customarily, this is also the time of year when we take stock of inventory, both personal and professional, and engage in a little -- maybe a lot of? -- Spring cleaning.

Welcome to the new-broom-sweeps-clean edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

Except, in this space we don't use cleaning utensils...we use words of wisdom culled from friends and colleagues whose respective areas of expertise comprise disciplines we should acknowledge if we hope to make any kind of impact in marketing and promoting our businesses.

So, if you haven't checked your utility room pantry yet for these goodies, check'em out here.

Denise Garbacz is the owner of FastForward Marketing Solutions, an agency specializing in helping small business owners with online marketing promotion. Contact her at http://www.getwebwired.com/ or email at info@getwebwired.com

"Local search has been the single biggest activity that any business can do to get more leads for their business online and the best part is that it’s free. To get a listing, go to Google Local Business Center (local.google.com) and claim your listing. There is a simple form to fill out for your business name, description, hours of operation, and a place the customers can write reviews. These listings appear with a map at the top of the page with a list of three, seven or 10 other businesses. This listing will generate significant leads if done correctly. Listings only show up in your locality so the competition for placement is usually not significant.

"SEO experts will use a Google Local Listing as a core activity for helping a client get visibility in their market. If you’re having trouble getting your listing seen in the local listings, there are several things you can do to improve either your position or to rank in the listings:

1. Make sure that the business description contains your keyword in the Title. This is becoming less important to Google but still works for the time being to improve your listing.

2. Make sure that the description of your business is accurate and contains your keyword. Again, because of spammers, this is becoming less of a factor but is still a 'nice to have.'

3. List your business in as many local directories as possible. There are 10-15 local directories that are free, such as Yellow Pages, Local.com, etc.

"Although Google is the biggest factor, make sure that you also list your business with Yahoo and Bing. The process is the same although the results will be less because there are fewer users."

Ira Bass, who runs IB Media, strategic media planning and buying, is both "online" and "off" with his thoughts. Reach Ira at http://www.ibmedia.biz/index.html or e-mail him at ibmedia@carolina.rr.com

"Why is it that whenever we hear about social media and how it’s being used, the article or Google search depicts a competition as opposed to a collaboration? Versus vs. AND. A competition between 'Traditional Media' and 'Social Media.' New vs. Old. Don’t get me wrong. The advent of social media has provided a valuable means for most marketers to touch their customers or prospects in a way never thought possible previously. Instead of messages being sent out with the hope they’ll stick (traditional), now a one to one communication may exist (social). This is all great. But, Kevin Costner had it right when he built the Field of Dreams. Marketers today who believe that 'if they build it the customers will come' are in for an awakening. Fact is 'if you build it they won’t come unless you tell them you’re there.'

"Traditional vs. Social. Why not traditional AND social? Doesn’t it makes sense to use several forms of media to reach your target audience? Back in the Stone Age of three years ago we called this multiple touch points. The world has changed in the last three years but the basics used to reach your audience have not. Can’t we all just get along?"

Dianne Chase is the owner of Chase Media -- public relations, crisis management and media consultancy -- and weekend/spot news anchor at WBT-am radio. So she knows a little something about putting one's best face forward. Reach Dianne at http://www.c4cs.com/index.html or e-mail her at dianne@chasemedia.us

"Time for some sprucing up of your PR? Time to take a look at your absolute number one PR tool - YOU!

"You are the walking, talking face of your business. So… what do people see, hear and believe about you and what you do? Take time to consider three critical keys to your personal PR:

"Verbal- What words are you using to convey your message? Are they the right words for the right person via the right medium? Do they communicate and truly connect? Are you hitting the notes they want to hear or are you simply ‘white noise’ to them? Consider a professional writer or communications coach to refine your message.

"Vocal- How do you sound? Have you asked for unbiased feedback from a professional or trusted colleague? The tone of your voice, your inflection, your volume could all be sabotaging your words. Think of the last time you were so distracted by someone’s voice you couldn’t concentrate on the words they were saying. Is your message lost in your voice?

"Visual- How do you appear to your audience- whether of one across a desk or multitudes via online video? Is there something you’re doing physically that you’re completely unaware of that’s diluting your message? Are you properly using your eyes, face, body along with your mouth to convey your words? Have you had presentation skills training to help you refine your physical communication?

"Keeping in mind these three critical tools to your Personal PR will help you advance your professional and personal goals and keep your Public Relations truly positive!"

Allan Horowitz is the maven behind Blue Planet Creative, an award winning video production company. Contact Allan at http://www.blueplanetcreative.net/welcome.html or e-mail him at info@blueplanetcreative.com

"Let’s face it. These days, every business is competing for a slice of a much smaller pie. Some businesses are scaling back their marketing efforts trying to wait out the storm (big mistake). Others are realizing that this is the perfect opportunity to get their message out there while the “traffic” is light. (This is smart) And the really smart businesses are using video.

"Today, the applications for video are virtually unlimited: DVD distribution, YouTube (and many other YouTube-like sites) video blogs, PDAs, cell phones, etc. That makes video such a powerful tool; the most powerful medium in the world is now deliverable on so many platforms it just doesn’t make sense not to use it.

"Video delivers what no other media can: motion and emotion. In light of the current economy and the power of video, we’ve discovered that one of the most effective ways to use video to market a business is to tell the story of that business in documentary form. It’s a soft-sell approach that lets prospective clients get to know more about that business…without being 'sold,' the story behind it and why they can feel comfortable doing business with them. It helps create that connection that otherwise would not be there. It’s a different approach that allows you to sell your wares without selling. And with so many distribution platforms and outlets, the exposure is enormous. Video is the marketing tool of now.

"Remember, if you’re in business, there is power in your story."

So there you have it. Some thoughts on Spring cleaning and your marketing approach(es) this New Year.

Next time, we address another seasonal ritual: getting started eight months early on gift recommendations for Christmas.

Just kidding.

But do look for us the first Tuesday of next month for a further Spring fever edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.

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