2013 Marketing Resolutions

There is no doubt that December can be an overwhelmingly busy month –with the hustle and bustle of the holiday’s, family gatherings and more, chances are you let your Marketing and Advertising plan fall to the wayside.  In this week’s post, it is our plan to help you with your 2013 Marketing Resolution.   Whether you want to simplify, revamp or retain your current customer base, we’ve compiled the best and most realistic marketing tactics you can implement this year.

SOCIAL MARKETING SMARTER, NOT HARDER

Here at DOW Electronics, we have several social media and online accounts, which can be tough to manage, especially if you cannot or do not want to sit in front of a computer all day. It’s been around for a while, but HootSuite is an easy, and free, fix to this problem.  HootSuite allows you to set up one program and add all your social media feeds, so you can post, respond to messages and answer customer questions all from the same site, freeing up substantial time.  You can also schedule messages in advance, so you can set your posts the night before, for after hours or even on the weekends, allowing you to spend less time worrying about finding time to post on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more.

CONTENT IS KING

It’s been said before, but it has never been more important.  Everyone, including your client base, is constantly bombarded with information, especially now in the digital age.  If the content you are putting in the market is not relevant to your audience, you will be passed over without a second look.  This not only means giving your clients the information they need, like training videos or tutorials, but also updating old or obsolete job aids and training items to be current.  Check your website to make sure everything is up-to-date, and do the same for any social media or business profiles. Old material looks unprofessional and like you’ve stopped caring, so updating your materials will not only be a benefit to your customers, but will also show them you are the professional they can turn to.

GO MOBILE AND GET LISTED

Almost everyone has a smart phone or tablet these days, so if you haven’t thought about supporting mobile access to your website, you should be.  This is the perfect opportunity to reach new customers in your area as people are foregoing traditional ways of communications (land line phones and dial-up internet), and switching to a smart phone or wireless device for everything.  Consider new families that move to your area – how will they find you if they have yet to set up internet or phone lines to call around?  Of course, they will turn to the instant connection on their device, and if you aren’t there for them to review, again, you will be passed over, and won’t even know it.

One site that will help your mobile marketing and online profiles is GetListed.org.  Getlisted.org was launched in 2009, and allows small business owners to regulate their online presence.  This easy to use, and free, online tool lets you claim your business listings on Google, Yahoo, Yelp!, FourSquare and more, thus increasing your search engine optimization.  You can also update business information and photos, creating a complete profile, which is more likely to be looked at.  So, now when those new families are moving in and searching for a cable or internet provider on their smart phone or wireless device, your business information is included, no matter what search engine or social media site they are using.

EMAIL MARKETING

One of the best ways to constantly reach your current or potential client base is email, but when was the last time you updated and cleaned up your email list?  Take the time to clear out the outdated information so you are only putting resources towards those who you know want your information.  Also, create an opt-in form on your website to draw in any potential clients, and maintain contact with past or current clients. Additionally, use email for more than just promotional and sales emails – company updates, press releases and community news will not only give your business personality, but will also show you are looking at the bigger picture within your organization.

Now that you have some ideas for your 2013 Marketing Resolution, it’s time to put them in place!  Start digging around and see what you can start changing now, and schedule the rest to be completed within the next couple of months, that way you are ahead of the curve and updated before 2014 rolls around!  Which of these tips will be the easiest for your business to implement?  The hardest?  Let us know what you need help with, or your feedback – we’d love to hear it!

60% Co-op Reimbursement – Now What?

The New Year always brings about big changes and challenges, and this year is no different, especially with DISH’s co-op reimbursement percentage change from 80% to 60% already in place. Don’t panic! We’ve got the team to guide you with a few tips to  change your advertising focus from volume to value.

When thinking about your advertising budget, quality, not quantity, is what you’re looking for. Take a deep breath and really think about where you spend your advertising dollars: Which mediums are working for you and which ones aren’t? Are you doing any advertising just because it’s inexpensive, even though it may be ineffective? Now is the time to scrutinize your marketing plan, eliminate the part of the plan that is not working, and get creative to spend your advertising budget in the areas where it’s the most effective.

Review your Marketing Plan

When analyzing your current advertising budget, you can place your initiatives in one of two categories: those you spend money on and those that make your business money. If the majority of your leads are coming from one or two advertising tactics, but you have three or four total, then you need to shift your money to the mediums where you’re actually getting a return on your investment. Stop spending in the areas where you are not. Just because your out-of-pocket expense per initiative is going to increase doesn’t mean that your total budget has to.

Cut the Fat

Once you have identified the mediums that aren’t bringing in quality leads, you need to pull those ads as soon as possible. If you have gotten in the habit of advertising in ways that aren’t the most effective, make it your resolution to focus the money on other avenues that can make your business better. Even if the advertising is cheap, it’s still money wasted if it’s not bringing in customers and it is money better spent elsewhere. Now that you’ll be responsible for paying 40% of the total cost on any advertising initiative, you really need to focus on getting the best value for that money and only advertise where you are seeing results.
Get Creative
With a higher investment for advertising on your end, you want to look for every value-add opportunity you can. See if your radio station or newspaper will give you a better rate if you commit to a larger number of advertisements. Is there a discount for running on certain days of the week? Many newspapers will include a web ad at no additional charge when you buy a print ad. It’s ok to be shameless in asking your vendors for discounts or bundles– the worst they can do is say no, right? Don’t forget to look into opportunities for free advertising, too. Get those social media pages in shape, start a blog, or send out a newsletter to current and prospective customers. You could even try bartering or trading advertising. Ask a popular local business if you can hang a banner in their store or place some business cards at the counter in exchange for the same at your business. Networking and word of mouth will always remain powerful advertising tools.
It’s certainly going to be an adjustment switching over to a lower reimbursement percentage, but if you sit down and take the time to analyze your business’s marketing plan and think outside the box a little, you can make it work without breaking your advertising budget.