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How To Drive Donations With Hallmark Holidays

Posted by advantagemarketing on March 23, 2017

sales and marketing ideasGuest Post by Jeremy Silverstein

Your nonprofit or charitable organization may receive as much as 25 to 50 percent of your annual donations between October and December. These donations are helpful, but your organization needs support all year to stay in the black. Learn specific ways to leverage six Hallmark holidays and increase donations year-round.

Tap Into Emotions

Donors are human, and they’re more likely to get excited about your cause when they feel emotionally attached to it. Prepare promotions that tap into a donor’s joy, happiness or nostalgia as you raise money.

Customize Products

Change product packaging and your website’s appearance to reflect each holiday. Offer new blog content, web page colors and donor rewards based on the occasion.

Offer a Gift

It’s true that donors may support your cause because they want to. However, a gift can prompt support, too. Offer a branded item such as a mug or magnet, or a discount to a future event or product you sell.

Advertise Your Holiday Campaigns

Now’s the time to schedule your holiday campaign for the remainder of the year. Then, use your newsletter, blog and social media pages to announce your holiday promotions and special celebrations. You may also partner with local news venues via newspaper press releases, television station promos and radio spots. You can even host a live web event as you raise awareness and money.

Six Hallmark Holidays and Ways to Celebrate

These tools help you leverage six Hallmark holidays. Consider specific activities, too, as you raise awareness and donations for your cause.

  1. Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day on Feb. 2 is a fun and silly holiday. Spin the day to create unique fundraising opportunities:

  • Ask donors to guess if the groundhog will see its shadow. One correct guesser wins a prize.
  • Implement déjà vu markdown pricing.
  • Host a spring brunch that fights the winter doldrums.
  1. Mother’s Day

Honor and remember mothers and other nurturing women on Mother’s Day. The official date is May 14 or the second Sunday in May:

  • Host a brunch or tea for mothers.
  • Partner with a florist. Donors may send flowers to moms, and a portion of each sale supports your charity.
  • Host a mother/daughter look-alike contest with a fee to enter.
  1. Father’s Day

On June 18 or the third Sunday in June, remember and honor fathers. Encourage Father’s Day donations when you:

  • Host a fundraising barbecue with a free ticket for dads.
  • Sell tickets to a local baseball game.
  • Set up a health fair where loved ones may give blood, receive a free blood pressure screening, or take an exercise class as they focus on being healthy for their families.
  1. Grandparents Day

Grandparents Day honors grandparents and other adult mentors on September 10 or the second Sunday in September. Participate in this holiday in several ways:

  • Invite donors to share their favorite memory of their grandparents on your social media pages.
  • Compile a cookbook of your staff members’ favorite family recipes and sell the book with proceeds supporting your charity.
  • Ask donors to contribute in honor of their grandparents or mentors.
  1. Boss’s Day

Recognize bosses and supervisors on Boss’s Day, observed on October 16 or the nearest workday. Leverage this holiday when you recognize bosses and supervisors:

  • Encourage donors to give a gift in honor of their boss or supervisor.
  • Set up a challenge among four of your biggest business supporters. The business that raises the most money wins a prize, such as public recognition in the newsletter or a trophy.
  • Interview your organization’s bosses and supervisors. Ask them to discuss their favorite books, personal interests and why they work at your organization. Then, post the interviews on your blog.
  1. Sweetest Day

Observed on October 21, or the third Saturday in October, Sweetest Day honors sweethearts and other sweet people. Tap into the celebratory occasion with several promotions:

  • Create customized candy bar wrappers and sell the candy bars to the public.
  • Fill a branded mug with chocolates or candy in branded packaging. Supporters may buy a cup or receive one free with a donation.
  • Host a dessert bar and encourage donors to bring their sweetie to the event.

Improve donations year-round by leveraging Hallmark holidays. These ideas can jumpstart your calendar and help you maximize donations this year.

Jeremy Silverstein is Vice President of Operations and Vehicle Dispatching at Goodwill Car Donations. During the five years he’s been with the organization, he has become quite an expert in the industry and has handled tens of thousands of donated vehicles. 

Posted in Business, small business, Traditional marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

5 Steps to Develop Your New Content Marketing Strategy

Posted by advantagemarketing on February 16, 2017

Time for new Content printed on an old typewriter.

How do you unify efforts when you have different team members, initiatives, and strategies for your blog, email and social media marketing? You need to come up with a content marketing strategy that accounts for each channel.

Following these five steps will help you create a cohesive marketing plan.

Step 1: Define your goals

Clearly lay out what you want your team to achieve and when you want them to achieve it.

Step 2: Set brand and editorial guidelines

Establish the guidelines and processes that will enable your team to produce consistent content.

Step 3: Tailor distribution for individual channels

The days of individual start-and- stop campaigns are long gone. An integrated, holistic approach requires that your campaigns work in harmony.

Step 4: Have the team sync regularly

When you’ve integrated the plans for all your marketing channels, you also need to make sure your team is just as unified. Make sure you and your team meet up frequently for progress updates. Doing so is vital if you want to avoid the silo effect — keeping your team stratified can only lead to limited communication and creativity.

Step 5: Measure

The final step: Have your marketing team look at specific metrics and KPIs, such as unique visitors, newsletter subscribers or leads.

These steps can help you create a cohesive plan and give your team a better understanding of how they can work together to contribute to the overall content marketing strategy.

Source: marketingprofs

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

4 Tips to Make Your Content Marketing Stand out

Posted by advantagemarketing on February 2, 2017

Woman hand holding a white spech bubble with a illustration on blue background. This illustration has a yellow crown and content word into window computer.

Every B2B company needs a solid content strategy, including a social media strategy. This is the age of what social media-marketing expert Mark Schaefer refers to as content shock — where there is so much content that it overwhelms readers.

How can you stand out in this veritable sea of content that has flooded the internet? Is it even possible? The content marketing gurus at Hubspot and BuzzSumo have joined forces to conduct research into what works and what doesn’t in B2B content.

1. Size Doesn’t Matter

For years in B2B blogging, it was thought that long-form posts performed better — and while that might be true in some aspects, social media isn’t one of them. Long form posts did not receive any more shares than short-form.

2. LinkedIn Has Proven Its B2B Social Value

B2B content dominates the LinkedIn playing field — with an average of 25.7 shares, compared to 9.8 shares for B2C content. With all the tools that LinkedIn provides that are geared towards business and thought leadership, it really does make a perfect home for your B2B company’s content.

3. Don’t Count Facebook Out Yet

Facebook currently has 1.71 billion active users every month. With such a huge audience potential, how can you pass up this social network?

4. People in B2B Companies Want Content That Will Help Them Succeed

Focus on posts that will help your reader succeed. Whether it’s a numbered list or a how-to article, make it engaging and geared toward reaching one of a reader’s goals such as gaining more customers, increasing office efficiency, or succeeding in a leadership role.

Don’t go it alone! Contact us for help with your content marketing.

Source: business2community

Posted in B2B marketing, Business, content marketing, Facebook, LinkedIn, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, small business | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

 
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