Posts tagged ‘Small Business’

If 200K People Retweet Your Promotion And Nobody Becomes A Customer, Is That A Success?

Are You Tracking ROI?

Are You Tracking ROI?

Too many times we see businesses haphazardly throw random campaigns at the wall to see what sticks.  One member of the marketing team is “trying out” a few Facebook ads while a colleague is independently “testing” a viral program on Twitter.  I continue seeing articles written about “Twitter done right” and “viral marketing success stories” and not once has there been any mention of ROI or CPA.  There are too many marketers patting themselves on the back for simply creating buzz.  When did it become acceptable to spend money to get people talking about your giveaway but not your unique selling proposition?

With  any marketing initiative you have to ask, “What are we trying to do?”  This sounds like a silly question but you’d be surprised how many times a “great idea” takes on a life of its own and everyone loses sight of the desired result.  It’s imperative to identify success metrics – they will drive your strategy.

Lisa Barone shared a story earlier this week about a contest giveaway run by a company called Moonfruit celebrating their 10th anniversary.  The numbers were quite high – more than 200,000 posts per week.  Adam Ostrow over at Mashable wrote, “Not surprisingly, this promotion is working. #moonfruit is Twitter’s top trending topic today, beating out the likes of Michael Jackson, #iranelection, and Wimbledon-related tweets.”

This promotion is working?  How are these people measuring success?  Can you imagine approaching your boss and saying, “I’d like to spend $10K+ and use countless company resources so we can be ‘bigger than Michael Jackson’ for a week” on Twitter.  When asked for your ROI estimate you smile wryly and say, “Zero, BUT, hundreds of thousands of people who will never become customers will be talking about the Macbooks we’re giving away”.

This is the equivalent of a restaurant spending $10k for a big neon sign that says, “restrooms open to the public”.


July 17, 2009 at 5:45 pm 3 comments

Don’t Listen to What Other People Say

Do you have an idea for a new business? Is it a little bit “outside of the box”? If you truly believe you have an

What Does He Know About You?

What Does He Know About You?

idea/invention/business that brings value to the market, then put your head down and push the rock forward. Don’t listen to the cynics out there. Those are the same people who would never take the risk and they don’t have the confidence that you have.

If you can dream it, you can do it. Everyone looked at Susan Boyle on “You’ve Got Talent” and jumped to the conclusion that she would not be successful. They were dead wrong.

If people look at your idea and doubt you or doubt that you can be successful in a down economy, they’re wrong.  Watch this clip, be inspired and enjoy the success you know you’re capable of achieving.

(YouTube wouldn’t let me embed this video, sorry for the primative link)

April 16, 2009 at 12:15 pm 8 comments

Can Coworking Be a Profitable Business?

Almost every article I read seems to convey that coworking, as a business, is a break even endeavor at best.  I would like to have a coworking resource near me, out here in the burbs, but all of the “local” coworking facilities are in larger cities.  Maybe that’s the problem.  They all seem to be located in prime real estate with expensive furnishings and equipment.  That just doesn’t seem like the right way to model a new business in this economy.

Then there’s the for profit versus not for profit debate.  If you’re in business to turn a profit and you’re only able to break even, wouldn’t it make more sense to be a “non profit” since you would then have access to federal grants?

Collaborating and Networking with Like-Minded Business Owners

Collaborating and Networking with Like-Minded Business Owners

I think sponsorships could be a creative way of subsidizing the operating costs associated with running a collaborative working facility.  I’m farily confident a local bank or business supply vendor would be interested in the naming rights of this new “business center”.

I’m testing the waters locally since there’s a substantial “free agent” population in my suburban community and I know I’m not the only one that would like to socialize and collaborate with like-minded people.  Once my preliminary research is done, I’m going to pick the brain of Alex Hillman who started down in Philly and is one of the few experts on the subject.

I’ll post updates as my efforts  progress and I welcome any feedback or suggestions you might have.

April 15, 2009 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

Do You Know How To Reach Your Target Audience?

As business owners adjust their modus operandi in response to the current unprecedented economic downturn, inbound marketing will rise to the top of their priority list.  If marketing to the disinterested is counterproductive in a booming economy then it’s an even greater waste of time and money today.

The days of “inviting everyone to the party” are behind us.  Mass marketing is dead.  It’s time to welcome the era of advocacy marketing where you position yourself/your company as a trusted partner to customers and prospective customers.  By developing and sharing relevant information and guidance you will attract more qualified inquiries.  Build it and they will come.  Even if the prospect isn’t ready to purchase, they’re likely to recommend your product or service to a friend since you have effectively presented value.

The concept of inbound marketing is fairly new and can be comprised of many different mechanisms such as landing pages, SEO, social networks, and blogging.  There are services out there like HubSpot which aggregates analytics from the various mechanisms, however; it’s not a silver bullet.  Content is still king and you are responsible for developing a consistent message across all media.

New Marketing Labs announced on Tuesday that it acquired the Inbound Marketing Summit which should prove to be a very worthwhile event this year.  You’ll have the opportunity to hear Chris Brogan, David Meerman Scott and Paul Gillin share the latest strategies, tools and best practices to utilize new marketing methods to grow your business.

Bottom Line: Stop blasting to the masses.  Perfect your message (A/B and multivariate testing across all media).  Build community among customers and empower them to be evangelists.

February 20, 2009 at 7:25 pm Leave a comment

It’s Your Network, Stupid: A Business’ Underutilized Asset

I have been working in the technology sector longer than I’d like to admit and, after freelancing on the side for awhile, I recently ventured out on my own. I found that I have a knack for energizing start-ups and small businesses as a “fresh set of eyes” with a perpetual “out-of-the-box” perspective on any business. In mid-December, one of my clients asked me if I could get a meeting with a much larger company in the hopes of establishing a strategic partnership.

I didn’t have any contacts at the other company so I logged into my LinkedIn account. When I located the CEO of the company, LinkedIn informed me that I had one contact who was directly linked to him. This particular contact was my manager at a fortune 50 company nearly twenty years ago (I was enrolled in a cooperative education program and traveled out to Oregon from Boston for a 4 month job) I sent an email to my contact outlining the opportunity and asked if he could introduce me to the CEO. That same day he made the introduction, the CEO engaged his VP of business development and we had a conference call two days later. We’re currently negotiating a substantial strategic partner agreement that will be extremely valuable to both companies.

Take the time to build and maintain your business network. Periodically review your contacts and think of creative ways to partner and/or generate leads.  You never know from where your next big business deal might originate.

January 28, 2009 at 2:33 am Leave a comment

Local Radio Spots for Your Business?

What if I told you that you could advertise your business on local radio for less than you would spend on a local  Google Adwords campaign?  When I was working at GotVMail, we used Google Audio to target prospects based on demographics, geography, station format and time of day.   You have access to the top 25 markets in the country with access to over 1600 FM and AM stations.  Google Audio allows you to advertise your local business just like you were a large company without having to deal with the “sales weasels” at your local radio stations.

Google did announce yesterday that they’re no longer selling advertising space in newspapers so let’s hope they don’t do the same with Google Audio.

January 22, 2009 at 3:58 am Leave a comment