The Marketing Advantage

Connecting You with Your Customers

5 Steps to Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy

Posted by advantagemarketing on January 19, 2017

People Meeting Connection Social Networking Communication Concept

Brand awareness is essential for the success of small businesses and startups. Done right, successful content marketing will not only generate more revenue for your small business or startup, but it will also help your brand build credibility, authority and thought leadership in your industry, which benefits your entire company all around, everything from building sales to hiring top talent.

Here are 5 steps to help you develop an effective content marketing strategy that will keep your small business or startup top of mind:

1. Understand Your Customers

An effective content marketing strategy starts with knowing your customers inside and out. So before you create any content, take the time to really listen and understand who your target audience is and what content they want and need.

2. Define Your Brand

Your brand is the promise you make to your customers. It’s what ultimately differentiates your small business or startup from your competitors.

3. Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy

Those who have a documented content marketing strategy are significantly more likely to meet their content marketing goals and achieve success.

4. Create and Amplify Your Content

To be effective, your content needs to be relevant and appropriate to the channel or platform where it will be published and consumed by your target audience.

5. Measure and Readjust Your Content Marketing Strategy

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. If you don’t know whether your content marketing efforts are working or not, how will you know if your marketing objectives are being met?

Don’t go it alone! Contact us if you need help building your content marketing strategy.

Source: marketinginsidergroup

Posted in B2B marketing, brand building, Business, content marketing, lead generation, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, small business | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

5 Videos to Improve Your Networking Skills in the New Year

Posted by advantagemarketing on January 5, 2017

Casual Catering Discussion Meeting Colleagues Concept

Is your new year’s resolution to improve your networking skills? These 5 videos will help you establish lasting connections and get the most out of networking events.

How to Introduce Yourself Quickly

At networking events, you often have to introduce yourself in 10 seconds or less.This might sound easy, but many people stumble over this short introduction.  This video offers some good tips that will enable you to leave a great impression quickly. Watch Now

How to Start a Conversation

Nobody likes uncomfortable moments, especially at a networking event. Here are a few tips to kickstart a conversation and avoid uncomfortable silences with those you meet. Watch Now

7 Tips for Effective Networking

Networking goes far beyond just meeting people. Effective networking means establishing meaningful relationships with potential clients. Here are seven helpful tips that will help you after the initial meeting. Watch Now

10 Great Questions to Ask at Networking Events

Getting people to open up to you is a great first step to networking with them, but to make a stronger connection you need to keep them talking. Here are 10 questions to ask that will help you establish meaningful connections with those you meet. Watch Now

How to Make a Great First Impression

Did you know that people remember the way that you made them feel instead of the words that you actually said? To make a great first impression, it’s important to prepare yourself with positive thoughts before you even meet your first connection. In this video, you will learn how to do just that. Watch Now

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, lead generation, Networking, small business, Traditional marketing | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Is Your Business Missing out on Mobile?

Posted by advantagemarketing on December 27, 2016

Business People Working Technology Devices Cocnept

I’ve had small business owners – especially those who own professional service firms – ask me: “Why should we invest in a mobile-friendly website? We get all our business from word of mouth anyway.”

While referrals are a very important way to maintain your business, you still need to have a website optimized for mobile to support lead generation that will help grow your business. The Managing Technology column in the Wall Street Journal recently discussed the need for a mobile-friendly website:

Consumers are ditching their desktops and buying on mobile phones. But a lot of businesses aren’t making it easy for them — according to RBC Capital Markets, only 33% of small businesses have their websites optimized for mobile. This can become a nightmare for customers: “More often than not, people start on their phones,” says John Scheer, founding partner of Herman-Scheer, “If you have to pinch and zoom to find the address or phone number, that’s not an easy user experience. People are more likely to leave that site.”

So how can you design a mobile site that’s a dream come true? Keeping these two simple tips in mind can make your mobile site a pleasure to use and drive more sales:

The User Comes First

The customer is always right, and your website is no exception, according to the WSJ. “You should design around the user experience as opposed to what you want the customer experience to be,” says Luke Wroblewski, a product director at Google.

Looking at how people actually use your site is crucial to its design: What features are people always hunting for? Are any sections of your website particularly frustrating? You may think users will prefer complex features or assume they are browsing on big monitors, but that’s not always true. Ask someone try out your website on a few different devices, and observe where they have difficulties. Try to alleviate those difficulties when you’re making changes to your site.

 Everything Up Front

Experts advise keeping things simple and giving customers what they want the moment they land on your page. A restaurant, for example, should make its contact information and a dinner reservation form some of the first things users see when they enter the website. If your landing page contains all the essentials without being cluttered, mobile users will be much more likely to use your website.

Some helpful additions to every mobile site are:

  • One-click contests and promotions to engage customers
  • Clickable phone numbers that will trigger a call
  • Large font sizes and a simple navigation bar

With the growing flood of mobile users, every business needs a good mobile site. Keeping important information up front and taking into account user experience can make your site a pleasure to use and drive sales. Many businesses are missing out on mobile — make sure yours isn’t too.

Need Help with Your Website?

Contact us if you need help with your website. The Advantage Marketing team is expert at creating mobile-friendly sites with the right content to drive lead generation.

 

Source: “Missing Out on Mobile,” by Dennis Nishi, Managing Technology; Wall Street Journal, 11-21-16.

 

Posted in Business, lead generation, sales and marketing, small business, Traditional marketing, Website, Word of mouth marketing | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

My Top 15 Marketing Tweets of 2016

Posted by advantagemarketing on December 13, 2016

Top 15 Marketing Tweets of 2016

Follow me on Twitter @LMKasprzak

At Advantage Marketing, we want to help you stay aware of the latest in marketing, so that you can grow your business. These 2016 Tweets offer timely advice and insights.

What Your Small Business Should Do To Look Like A Social Media Pro

Learning how to use a wider range of social media tools can help small businesses target prospective and existing customers on these platforms. Here are four tips to consider. Read more

 

How Small Businesses Can Get the Most Out Of Their Marketing Dollars

If you’ve got a small marketing budget, you have to be smart about priorities. In this post I’ll share some things I’ve learned along the way to help small businesses make the most of their small marketing budgets. Read More

 

How to Get Your LinkedIn Ads to Reach More Small Businesses

Do you use LinkedIn ads? In this article, you’ll discover how to reach more small- and medium-sized businesses via unique LinkedIn ad targeting. Read More

 

How to Use Twitter Moments for Business

Have you heard of Twitter Moments? Twitter Moments lets you combine groups of selected tweets, sharing your message in more detail. Read More

 

What the Evolution of Social Media Means for Marketers

It’s an exciting time to be a social media marketer, though not without challenges. Read more

 

5 Trends That Will Change How Companies Use Social Media In 2016

Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes offers a look ahead at the social trends that are fast reshaping how companies do business. Read more

 

Is Small Business Branding Possible? You Betcha And Here’s How

Large companies the world over have long recognized the value of creating a brand. But even a small business can benefit from the impact of having a well-honed image. Read More

 

How to Automate Social Media Lead Generation and Engagement

Marketing ideas are floating everywhere. However, that’s definitely not enough for a marketer when it comes to ensuring the maximum yield at minimum effort. Read more

 

5 Ways You Can Make the Most of LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn is today’s business-to-business media powerhouse. So, how do you take advantage of it? Read more

 

Does Your Content Answer Searchers’ Questions?

How well does your online content answer questions that your audience is asking? Your ability to helpfully answer critical questions not only assists your audience, but it also helps your SEO. Read More

 

5 Tips To Double The ROI On Your Marketing Efforts

There’s no way around it: marketing is a time-consuming and costly business. It makes good business sense for you to look for ways to reduce marketing spending or to increase the amount you are getting back from those expenditures. Read More

 

Demystifying Social ROI in B2B Marketing

When it comes to attributing ROI to a top-of-funnel social media strategy, the challenge is often in having access to enough data points to correctly understand its impact on revenue. Read More

 

More Brains Than Budget? Steal These $0 Marketing Strategies.

Here’s what’s happening: These companies are marketing, but they’re doing it in a far more personal way. Read More

 

How Content Strategy and Content Marketing Are Separate But Connected

One of the things that I often discuss in workshops, and with CMI’s clients, is the distinct need for content strategy within the approach of content marketing. Read More

 

4 Basic Elements Of Successful Social Media Strategies

It’s a scary time, with new “grams” and “chats” popping up every month. But I’m convinced we are living in a revolutionizing era of business breakthrough akin to the land expansion of the 19th century and the Industrial Revolution. Read More

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, content marketing, Marketing, Professional service firm marketing, small business, Social media marketing, Traditional marketing, Twitter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What Does Your Logo Say About Your Business?

Posted by advantagemarketing on December 6, 2016

logos and branding

Your logo is the visual image of your company. Is it time to refresh yours to better reflect your company’s brand?

When I start developing a marketing program for a new client, the first thing we tackle is branding. This often means creating or updating their firm’s logo. Here’s what I tell new clients about branding…

Your company logo is the cornerstone of your branding. It is a visual reminder of everything your firm stands for. Some elements of a good logo, according to Duct Tape Marketing:

  • It has lasting value – trendy logos don’t hold up over time. Make sure your logo will stay iconic and reliable even if the design of your website changes.

 

  • It is distinct – some amount of uniqueness, as long as it doesn’t confuse, is valuable. A distinct logo will stand out among a crowd of dull ones and generate more sales.

 

  • It appeals to your target audience – if your target market is partial to blue, then it doesn’t matter that you’re not. Your design should consider what your audience values first.

 

  • It supports your core message – if you’re trying to communicate your low, low prices, then your logo should support that image. Your customers should be able to understand the heart of your company philosophy just by looking at your logo.

 

  • It is legible – This seems pretty obvious, but many people use typefaces and images that can’t be printed or carried to a large sign. Your logo should clearly identify your company, and it can’t do that if people don’t understand it.

Test Your Logo

I advise clients to get several outside opinions, preferably from clients or prospects, before selecting a final logo design and using it on their email templates, letterhead and website, etc. This helps ensure that the logo is effectively communicating their brand message to the target audience.

Don’t skip this crucial step! When we tested a lighthouse-themed logo for an HR client, for example, we discovered it did not resonate with the senior executives who were his clients. This valuable insight caused us to take the logo concept in a different direction, resulting in design that better reflected the value these executives received from my client’s work.

The Takeaway

A logo should be more than eye-catching, it should represent your company’s brand and appeal to your target audience. If your current logo hasn’t kept up with how your firm’s brand has evolved, then it’s probably time to update it.

 

Posted in B2B marketing, Marketing, Professional service firm marketing, small business, Traditional marketing | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Marketing Advantage Named Best Small Business Marketing Blog 2016

Posted by advantagemarketing on October 17, 2016

small-business-marketing-growWe are pleased to announce that The Marketing Advantage blog has received the award for Best Small Business Marketing Blogs 2016.

In an era where blogs are a dime a dozen, I am honored that our blog stands out among the rest for providing valuable content for small businesses. We are credited with providing tons of great tips and tricks for content and social media marketers who are new to the business.

There is also plenty to be found on The Marketing Advantage for more seasoned marketers.  Don’t spend hours searching the web for solutions to your marketing problems when you can stay tuned to our blog for expert information. Recent posts have included:

·  Why Should Your Small Business Conduct Market Research?
·  Top 7 Best Marketing Reads For The Fall
·  5 Marketing Hacks You Need Now

A big thank you to CreditDonkey for naming us a Best Small Business Marketing Blog for 2016!

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, Marketing, small business, Social media marketing | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Why Should Your Small Business Conduct Market Research?

Posted by advantagemarketing on October 4, 2016

Why does your company need market research?

Insights gained from market research can help your company bring more value to its clients and stay ahead of the competition.

Recently, a CEO  of a mid-sized firm, for whom Advantage Marketing had proposed a much-needed market research project, asked how he should justify the project to his Board of Directors. Here’s what I told him: 

Are any of your board members pilots? Ask them if they would fly blind, without the indicators on the plane’s control panel. Market research is just like those indicators. It keeps you aloft as a business, and prevents you from crashing and burning. Right now your company is flying blind – how close are you to crashing and burning without valid market insights? If you’re not crashing and burning, you’re at least wasting fuel (money) by running inefficiently with things that won’t bring value to clients or get you new business.

With market research, the return on investment is almost always positive.What would be the value if this project netted you just one new client? Or, even better, if it enabled you to develop a new product line for a new market? It’s not certain that you’d get either, but you certainly aren’t getting either now.

Other benefits of market research include:

  1. Maintaining and improving the sales team’s focus.
  2. Pointing you in the direction of the most lucrative opportunities.
  3. Keeping your company relevant and future-oriented.
  4. Improving your decision-making and reducing your risk.
  5. Keeping you ahead of the competition.

It also avoids negative consequences such as:

  1. Plunging blindly ahead and investing money where it doesn’t provide value for customers.
  2. Staying the same as always and losing market share to others who innovate and come up with a better, faster, or cheaper way of doing what you’re doing now.
  3. Losing money because you’re caught sleeping while the market is changing.

Is your company considering market research? What do you see as the benefits of research for your company?

Posted in B2B marketing, Market research, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, sales and marketing, small business, Traditional marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Top 7 Best Marketing Reads For The Fall

Posted by advantagemarketing on September 8, 2016

Read any good marketing books lately? Here are 7 that you won’t want to miss.

  1. Duct Tape Marketing

    As a small business owner, you are really in the business of marketing.  The problem for most small business owners is that they suffer from “marketing idea of the week” syndrome instead of implementing a systematic approach to the problem of small business marketing. In Duct Tape Marketing, renowned Small Business Marketing guru John Jantsch shows you how to develop and execute a marketing plan that will give your business the life and longevity you knew you could have when you made that decision to go out on your own. Buy It Now

  2. Professional Services Marketing

    Written by  John E. Doerr, Mike Schultz, and Lee Frederiksen, Professional Services Marketing is a fully field-tested and research-based approach to marketing and client development. The book covers five key areas that are critical for firms that want to grow and become more profitable. It includes real-world case studies that illustrate major points, as well as quotes and stories from well-respected professionals in the industry. Buy It Now

  3. RESULTS!

    RESULTS! is based on years of experience and learned knowledge and is a powerful business tool. It contains the top tips and insights for getting results in your own business from 17 seasoned business experts, including marketing strategist Loraine Kasprzak. Their mission is to inspire more business owners, entrepreneurs, managers, and salespeople to achieve the results they want, so they can lead the life they desire. Buy It Now

  4. To Sell Is Human

    To Sell Is Human offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling. As he did in Drive and A Whole New Mind, Daniel H. Pink draws on a rich trove of social science for his counterintuitive insights. He reveals the new ABCs of moving others (it’s no longer “Always Be Closing”), explains why extraverts don’t make the best salespeople, and shows how giving people an “off-ramp” for their actions can matter more than actually changing their minds. Buy It Now

  5. Content Inc.

    In Content Inc., one of today’s most sought-after content-marketing strategists reveals a new model for entrepreneurial success. Simply put, it’s about developing valuable content, building an audience around that content, and then creating a product for that audience. Notice a shift? Author Joe Pulizzi flips the traditional entrepreneurial approach of first creating a product and then trying to find customers. It’s a brilliant reverse-engineering of a model that rarely succeeds. Buy It Now
  6. Buyer Personas

    Buyer Personas is the marketer’s actionable guide to learning what your buyer wants and how they make decisions. Written by Adele Revella, this book provides comprehensive coverage of a compelling new way to conduct buyer studies, plus practical advice on adopting the buyer persona approach to measurably improve marketing outcomes. Readers will learn how to segment their customer base, investigate each customer type, and more. Buy It Now

  7. Content Chemistry

    The result of thousands of conversations about web marketing with hundreds of companies, this handbook is a compilation of the most important and effective lessons and advice about the power of search engine optimization, social media, and email marketing. The first and only comprehensive guide to content marketing, this book explains the social, analytical, and creative aspects of modern marketing that are necessary to succeed on the web. Buy It Now

 

What marketing books can you suggest as worthwhile reads?

Posted in Book marketing, Business, content marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Professional service firm marketing, small business, Traditional marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

My Top 10 Social Media Tweets for Small B2Bs

Posted by advantagemarketing on August 25, 2016

Social Media has the power to transform your small business. But it can be complex and it’s tough to know where you should be focusing your efforts. My Top 10 Tweets will help you get it right.

4 Basic Elements Of Successful Social Media Strategies

Entrepreneurs have the chance to connect with employees, customers, shareholders, and those who don’tknow them yet through the power of social media. Read more

 

Social Media’s Future Role in Small-Business Marketing

Many small business CEOs ask about the likelihood that social media will play a major part of the marketing efforts for companies. Some are even hoping that it is ‘just a flash in the pan’ because it takes time and certain skills to make it happen in an effective way. Read more

 

Study: Engagement Key to Social Media Success

The more interactive your company is on Facebook and Twitter, the more likely customers are to shop with you, new research finds. Read more

 

Social Media Forces Change in Rebranding Strategies

We live in impatient times. Digital content can spread like wildfire within minutes and then disappear just as quickly. That acceleration of speed has had ripple effects on every aspect of marketing, including the company rebrand. Read more

 

How to Generate Good Leads Using Social Media

“Knowing how to generate good leads to your site is very important for you, if you are into internet marketing.” Read more

 

How to Automate Social Media Lead Generation and Engagement

Marketing ideas are floating everywhere. However, that’s definitely not enough for a marketer when it comes to ensuring the maximum yield at minimum effort. Read more

 

5 Trends That Will Change How Companies Use Social Media In 2016

Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes offers a look ahead at the social trends that are fast reshaping how companies do business. Read more

 

5 Ways You Can Make the Most of LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn is today’s business-to-business media powerhouse. So, how do you take advantage of it? Read more

 

What the Evolution of Social Media Means for Marketers

It’s an exciting time to be a social media marketer, though not without challenges. Read more

 

What Your Small Business Should Do To Look Like A Social Media Pro

Learning how to use a wider range of social media tools can help small businesses target prospective and existing customers on these platforms. Here are four tips to consider. Read more

 

For more tips on small business marketing and social media, follow me on Twitter: @LMKasprzak.

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, small business, Social media marketing | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Top 10 Marketing Automation Tweets for B2Bs and Small Businesses

Posted by advantagemarketing on August 11, 2016

marketing_automation

Let’s face it: marketing can get awfully tedious, especially when you have to do the same tasks repeatedly. Marketing automation can be a lifesaver because it allows you to set up automated workflows that handle many admin or routine tasks, so you don’t have to. These marketing automation tips from my Twitter feed can help you get started with marketing automation for your own small business.

Marketing Automation Leading to Shorter Sales Cycles, Post-Sale Focus

Marketing automation software is all about automating the customer interaction process from campaign formation through lead generation, all the way to initial sale and repeat business. It can take the time out of tedious tasks and greatly increase efficiency. Read More

 

How to Ensure Your Marketing-Automation Project Does Not Fall Flat

Benefits of marketing automation cannot be overstated. The following 5 tips are meant to provide you some ideas about how to improve your marketing automation and obtain better results. Read More

 

59% of B2B Fortune 500 Companies Use Marketing Automation

The growth of marketing automation adoption within the Fortune 500 segment is continuing — and for good reason. Read More

 

Why Predictive Software Is Key To Marketing Automation

It is time to reinvent marketing automationRead More

 

How Automation Will Change Content and Native Ads

Nearly nine in 10 say tech will improve content marketing and native advertising. Read More

 

Why Do B2Bs Use Marketing Automation? Leads, Leads, Leads

Marketing automation is important throughout the leads process. Read More

 

5 Reasons Sales Teams Should Embrace Marketing Automation

Salespeople want more and better-qualified leads, and most don’t realize or appreciate the value they get from good marketing automation. Read More

 

6 Ways Marketing Automation Saves Time

When I first heard about marketing automation, I was running demand generation programs for an economic research firm. One year after I’d implemented it, marketing automation had saved me 1,832 hours across the entire team — the equivalent of one full-time hire. Read More

 

Vital Features to Look for in Marketing Automation Software this Year

The single most important improvement companies can make to their marketing strategies is investing in marketing automation software. Automation is the fuel that allows businesses to stay one step ahead of the game. Read More

 

Give Your Marketing Automation Database Segments a Rest: Ideas to make sure you are engaging your contacts.

Continually sending messages on weekly webinars, white paper downloads, call-downs, and recycled nurture campaigns will burn out your database and create a level of exhaustion. Read More

 

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, Internet business, Marketing, Marketing automation, small business | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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