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What Are the Essential Elements of a Strong Brand?

It’s easy to forget how important something as intangible as “branding” is to a business’s success or failure. But, to have a long-term business model, branding is a lot more important than the particular products and services one offers today.

Think about the brands you have come to know and love and how they have adapted over the years. See how a strong brand changes with the times, but keeps its core values intact.

Audience Knowledge

A strong brand knows exactly who its audience is, what they need, desire, fear and want. The brand will keep delivering solutions to their ideal audience over time and will not be stuck in the past.

Product Differentiation

A strong brand can instantly be separated as unique from its competition, and the owners of the business know exactly how to do that through its strong marketing messages.

Brand Promise

The brand’s promise takes into consideration the brand’s position in the market place and can be articulated to the public via marketing, or it can be demonstrated via actions. The promise is implied to the audience in intangible ways.

Competitiveness

The strongest brands know where to compete, whether it is on price, service, or some other criteria. Brand ambassadors know exactly what advantages their brand offers over other brands, and can easily express it.

Message Consistency

All brands need to send a consistent message through all marketing channels to avoid confusion and a washed-out brand. While brands do need to understand the subtleties of different social media marketing, they need to know first who and what they are.

Powerful Vision

Your ability to tell your brand story in detail while also sharing your vision with your audience is paramount to creating a strong brand that can stand the test of time. The vision informs the marketing efforts that drive the message.

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Why Is Storytelling Important in Business?

Good storytelling includes bringing facts to the table along with the extra information that brings the reader closer to the storyteller.

The aim is to weave a compelling story that pulls the reader in so that they really care about the outcome of the story. The more a customer cares about your story, the longer they will remain customers and demonstrate brand and product loyalty.

Create an Email Series

A good way to get your audience primed for an emotional story is to start small and deliver the story in pieces via an email series. Keep each email short, about 350 to 450 words, and to one small point.

Incorporate Video

Using video for part of or even your entire story can help bring more emotion to the story because people generally feel more emotional when looking at people and images than just by reading text. Using both text and video can be the best of both worlds.

Include Testimonials

Text and video testimonials from your satisfied customers can evoke emotion from those who haven’t purchased from you yet, because they will want what your satisfied customers want. They will also trust you more when the videos are very authentic and real.

Put Customers First

In every story it’s important to put your customer first. Get to know everything you can about your customers and incorporate the things they care about within your stories. This shows that you know them well and can speak about the things that concern them the most.

Get Attention with Negative Stories

Pull the emotional strings to get their attention with negative aspects of a story that will be resolved by using your products or services. You don’t want to traumatize your customers, only evoke emotions.

Calm Fears with Positive Stories

Tone down the negative with some positive stories of people who have used your products and services with good results. Bring them back up after you brought them down.

Reinforce with Neutral Stories

Tell them the “who, what, when, how and why” of your products and services using stories to guide the discussion that are less emotional and volatile.

Recognize the Relationship

When you are telling any story, it’s important to recognize the relationship between you and the receiver.

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Definitions of Marketing Communications

Marketing communication (MC) is the only way for businesses to move products, services, and ideas from manufacturers to end-users. It makes and maintains interaction with customers, prospects, retailers, and stakeholders. Marketing communication has a mix in which advertising and sales promotion play vital roles.

The types of MC include advertising, public relations, and sales promotions. Of these advertising extends the marketing footprint and always aims at a high rate of message delivery.

The 4 Ps of marketing: product, place, price, and promotion are the main goals of marketing communication. It reached a distinct target audience to change behavior through information, persuasion, and reminders. Without marketing communication, it is impossible to build awareness and encourage product trials. It maintains the customer base by reinforcing the purchase behavior by offering constant details about brand benefits.

The importance of MC within and across organizations as well as to the various stakeholders with a prime focus on customers

Marketing is the most important department of any organization. If marketing personnel succeed in their endeavors the company becomes profitable and expands. Without effective marketing, there are no profits and hence no new hires. Raises depend on the performance of the marketing communication. When an effective strategy is devised there can be fruitful results.

Not just the marketing department but other departments may work with the marketing communication such as events, sponsorship, public relations, direct marketing, and interactive marketing. These communication tools are often a part of the marketing communication mix.

In advertising, you need graphic designers, for sales calls you need the company vehicles from the admin department. For personal selling, you can use the sales staff. For approving a marketing event you have to have good relations with the accounts manager. So in a way, the marketing communications involve various departments within an organization. This increases operational efficiency. The integrated approach makes sure all channels are well aligned and follow the same tactic, in line with business objectives and company values.

Across the organization, it gives an impression about the company which could be negative or positive. Prospects and retailers compare the brand with its competitors and when your communications are good you can fare better than other brands and vice versa.

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the Best Results From Cosmetic Surgery Marketing?

How do you know if you are getting the best results from cosmetic surgery marketing? You can try to make sense of the 30-page Google analytic reports.

You can have your receptionist keep a tally of her calls and where they came from. But is that enough? And, is that accurate?

Here are better strategies to track your cosmetic surgery marketing results:

Phone Tracking Numbers

One way to know if you are getting the best results from cosmetic surgery marketing is to use phone tracking numbers.

Use a reputable service that assigns special phone numbers to you that you add to your Website, print ads, radio ads, billboards, etc. Now, every time a prospective patient calls you from that phone number, it will be automatically tracked by your phone vendor.

You should have access to your phone vendor’s software so you can go in at any time and see how many calls have come in on each tracking number. You should also get lots more data such as: the number they called from, maybe their name and day and time they called.

And, you can even have those calls recorded and listened to so you know exactly who called, what they wanted as well as the outcome of the call.

Run Revenue Reports

Another great way to know if you are getting the best results from cosmetic surgery marketing is to run a report called, “Revenues by Referral Source”. Because the number of people who responded to your ads is not as important as the amount of hard-dollar revenues your marketing efforts returned to you.

For example, you may live in a town that still has a glossy magazine that costs you $2,000 for a full page ad and you get back at least five responses every month. That doesn’t sound great until you realize of those five responses, two come in for a non-surgical treatment for $500 each and you always get at least one surgery averaging $8,000.

That means you spent $2,000 and got back $9,000 and that is a 450% return on your investment. Nice. Then you do the same calculations for each of your marketing efforts.

Those that have the highest return on investment continue and those that have break even or lower returns need to be tweaked or dropped.

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Networking On A Budget

Networking remains an essential tool for academic, career and professional advancement. Being able to meet new people, grow your networks and gain business are critical steps for success. But networking can get unpredictable and expensive in this day and age. How can you maximize your endeavors without exhausting your finances? How can you add value to your efforts without compromising on quality?

Listed below are practical tips for getting the most out of your activities and growing viable connections.

Create A Plan

Many savvy networkers overlook the importance of developing a plan for their networking endeavors. A plan simply outlines goals, marketing and expenses for activities. It is highly recommended to create a 12-month plan which highlights common expenses that are sometimes overlooked such as: membership fees, gas, parking, travel, meals, business cards / marketing materials. Consider miscellaneous fees that may arise.

Volunteer

If you are bootstrapping a great idea is to volunteer for memberships to clubs and organizations. Ask to be a support in order to waive registration, membership or associated fees. Take the time to connect with the director or administrator of the association and establish an agreement which benefits both parties.

Mastermind Group

Another unique idea for networking is create your own networking group with trusted colleagues and affiliates. This can be a low-cost way to gather, share referrals / leads and gain introductions. The concept is merging networks and can have great benefits and payoffs. This type of networking can span geographically and online, as well.

Use these tips to overcome monetary obstacles in your journey to success. These types of strategies can guarantee the growth of strong networks and meaningful relationships.

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Show Genuine Interest

Networking is an excellent way to build relationships, build your brand and grow your networks. In order to be a good networker, it is important to have a plan, be committed and focused on connecting with people or organizations. A really good way to do this is by showing an interest in the things or people who you value and respect. There are many ways of interacting to create strong and meaningful bonds.

Listed below are practical methods for increasing your networking reach and influence.

Pay Attention

One of the best ways to show interest and learn new things is to pay attention. This can include listening closely when other are talking, referring to details and being aware of your surroundings. It can also involve making connections and links to similarities or shared interests. Your heightened level of participation can also encourage others to take notice of you. Also, the information that you gather can be used as an effective follow up mechanism.

Non-verbal Cues

Besides listening, you can extend your non verbal communication skills to further connect with your counterparts at events. Making eye contact is always the best way of showing respect and building trust. Another good communication cue is being relaxed and not fidgeting. The less movement the better in regard to not being a distraction or being distracted. You can also exercise subtle gestures such as: leaning in, taking slow but deep breaths, smiling or keeping your hands at your waist side (rather than crossed).

Proper Response

Last but not least, responding to your counterpart is another effective way of demonstrating interest. Offer up questions or feedback in the dialogue. Make relevant comments to add value and show that you are listening and enjoy the conversation. Use this as an opportunity to share experiences, open up your networks and make significant connections, if applicable.

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3 Ways to Expand Your Networks

Networking is more than just going to functions. It is about building relationships and developing a viable network. Your network should consist of trusted advisors and colleagues who are instrumental in your networking success. They should be like minded and share similar values and ethics. In order to properly establish this type of network, time, energy and effort are required.

Listed below are effective ways of growing strong, meaningful and productive associations.

Get Involved

A great way to expand your reach is to be a member of formalized groups and organizations. Whether you are a student, working professional, entrepreneur or in transition, connecting with formal group has its benefits. First and foremost, it is a strategic move that can open doors of opportunities. Also, it allows you to get into the routine of attending events and engaging with others. Secondly, it can offer advancement in career, professional and academic endeavors. The investment and commitment to learning can increase your credibility and exposure.

Get Knowledgeable

Be focused on continuing education and learning about your field, expertise, industry etc. Gaining information can make you a very savvy networker which can in turn expand your contact list. Read blogs and other digital and print publications. Join online communities or forums to find out the latest trends and technology. Tap into your existing networks for referrals and leads for resource sharing.

Get Creative

Think outside of the box in regards to developing an efficient system. Create unique ways of connecting with people, diversifying your contacts and staying consistent in your goals. Consider making ways of introducing individuals in your group and vice versa. Take advantage of merging and overlapping business and social ties.

Use these practical tips to enhance your objectives for building success. Be intentional about making quality approaches which benefit your networking agenda.

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Insuring Your Business Vehicle

There are many issues to consider when insuring a vehicle that is owned and used by your business. The questions that surround these issues, and how you would answer these questions, will determine what insurance you need to properly protect yourself, your employees and your entire business. It is important to remember that for this insurance, you don’t want to just go with the cheapest option. Your business is at risk every time a business vehicle is in motion.

As a business owner, you need many of the same insurance coverages for cars, trucks, vans or other types of vehicles you use for business purposes as you do for vehicles you operate in your personal life. The Business Owner’s Policy you purchased for your business does not usually provide liability or other coverages for vehicles used in your business. That means you will likely need a separate vehicle policy.

Most states require you to purchase liability insurance for bodily injury and property damage that may result from a vehicle accident occurring while you or someone from your organization is driving for business. The Business Auto Coverage Form (BACF) is the most commonly used contract for providing business auto liability insurance. Although the form refers only to “autos,” autos are defined to include cars, trucks, trailers, vans or other vehicles designed for use on public roads.

Many states also require you to have uninsured/underinsured motorist’s coverage and/or medical payments coverage, known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in some states. You can also purchase physical damage coverage for vehicles your business owns, leases or hires.

Each vehicle you use in your business can be separately “scheduled,” or listed on your policy, along with corresponding coverages. In other words, you can choose different coverages for your various vehicles, depending on the vehicles’ characteristics and the coverage you need for each.

Do I Need a Business Auto Policy?

Your insurance agent will ask in detail how you use vehicles in your business: who will be driving them, whether you own, rent or lease, and whether you and your employees are likely to be driving their own cars for your business. The answers to these questions will indicate the types of coverage you need.

In general, only a BACF can provide the level of liability protection-with a recommended minimum of $500,000-that even a small business needs to cover the potential damages in a serious accident.

Will My Personal Auto Policy Cover Business Use?

Your personal auto policy may provide some coverage for business uses of your vehicle. By the same token, your employees’ personal auto policies may cover some business uses if they were using their personal vehicles for business errands.

If the vehicle you are using is used primarily in business, your personal auto policy might not be enough to cover any losses. It will most likely not provide coverage for any vehicle titled and registered to a business. If you, or your employees, are driving personal vehicles for occasional business activities that are covered by your personal auto policies, it is important to have sufficient liability coverage to protect the business in the event of a serious auto accident.

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A Money Plan and Your Creative Business – More Than Just Figures

If you are a creative-artistic entrepreneur – your need for a Business Money Plan (or commonly referred to as a Budget) is a necessity for your best business creative good. This isn’t just for reasons of some business advisor or accountant telling you that you need it – you should want to need and rely on it as part of your “creative stream.”

While I know it sounds like a cliché to “have a budget for your business” but all too often it is not clearly understood why a money plan for your creative business money needs to be in place.

Consider some of the more profound reasons of why a business money plan should be central to your entrepreneurial path and your creative well-being… please especially note that it goes beyond just the actual figures…

Allow yourself to experience the fulfilling aspects of your business money plan to allow yourself to:

Connect with having enhanced confidence about handling your creative business money

It is challenging to have confidence about something you know little about – right? Planning, whether personal or business is so misunderstood but it truly is one of the most important.

In order to have real, true confidence, you need to should have the business skills that will make your creative business run smoothly – your money plan is one of those facilities that you should have a basic understanding of.

Bring about command of your business destiny through understanding proper money handling practices

While many creative and artistic entrepreneur’s cringe at the idea of “bookkeeping, accounting and anything number related” it is through these systems that you keep your business on a good course. Proper money handling practices is part of this. How do you intend on dealing with a payment system in terms of accepting payments, matching them to billings and reconciling the bank every month? It sounds easy enough, but to put a system in place that is manageable, practical and that can be kept up on a regular basis, takes an awareness that needs to be learned.

What you have set-up for money systems in your business are primary to enable you to get the information out of your business that you require. This will greatly help your ability to make operational decisions, allow for the proper filing of various tax returns while placing you in a strong position to best make future (strategic) plans for your business.

Achieve better money and financial results

It is important to be able to measure how your creative business is performing financially. It is impossible to keep it in your head! In order to see if you can improve, you need to know exactly what progress the business has made over time for both the benefit of short and long term decision-making.

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The Building Blocks When Starting Your Home

We have all been there… trying to figure out the best ways to get ahead. We are always in search of the next “big thing”… We are constantly trying to find that edge that can separate us from the competition. Why do some people achieve elite success and others, well, others just flounder? There are specific steps we all must do in order to stand high and mighty, on top of that hill. These can and will create a tremendous foundation for anyone navigating through their home business blueprint:

1. Brand Yourself!

The biggest challenge when starting your home based business is understanding that you must create & cultivate a brand… a brand of YOU! When I first started my home business (and had no idea of what the industry entails), I figured I could be that guy behind my computer, growing my business without anyone knowing me. That could not be further from the truth! Set up a Facebook page, a Twitter account, Google+, LinkedIn and start a website with YOU as the focus. People want to know who and what you stand for-the faster you can build your brand, the faster you will ascend within your home business blueprint.

2. Expose Yourself (Don’t Worry-it’s not what you think!)

While cultivating your home business in the early stages, you have to know what works, what doesn’t and where to find this information. Like any business, you need to immerse yourself in as much information in as many places as possible. The more you know, the more you succeed. If you need to read “Home Business for Beginners”, don’t be ashamed-DO IT! Sign up for various social media sites and become familiar with how they work. Read articles from every type of business within the Home Business industry… read about the people that have succeeded… and failed. Learning about this industry is a necessity with the home business blueprint.

3. Show Me the Money… I mean, Show Me How Good YOU Are!

Obviously, developing and growing your home based business is going to take some time… you will be slow, things may not look all that great, and you are going to stumble and fall a few times. As you grow, gaining more confidence and understanding the concept of what you are trying to do, you need to exhibit how great you are. What that means is, make everything that resembles you-your webpage, your articles, your blog posts, your pictures, everything needs to show professionalism. Why? Because that’s what people first see, when they come across your profile or name. No one is going to click on your information or want to know more, if it doesn’t look like you know what you’re doing and have some experience. This will constantly be changing as you trek through the home business blueprint.