Social media can be overwhelming and difficult to keep pace with – it is constantly changing and your audience has the potential to be huge, so not knowing what you’re doing, or what you are talking about, leaves you with the chance of looking confused to the entire world.  Don’t sweat – we’ve got a list of the most basic terms and how they pertain to your business.

PLATFORM – a platform is any system that manages content.  For example, the DOW Electronics’ blog platform is WordPress, which hosts an entire community of blogs.  This is important to know because each platform will have its own rules and regulations about what you can and can’t post, so make sure you read each prior to getting started.  Additionally, each platform has its own advantages to reaching your audience to give them the information they want.  For example, Facebook and Twitter are great for posting new sales information, promotions, and behind the scenes pictures, while a blog is best for showing off your expertise, so use each platform differently to ensure you gain the most.  This means you will need to post different types of content on each, and will take a little extra planning.

MICROBLOGGING – microblogging is the posting of short messages on a social media account.  These include Tweets on Twitter, Status Updates on Facebook, and comments on any given social media platform.  Microblogs are great because they promote the sharing of knowledge, networking, and intelligent conversation between individuals interested in the same topic.  While you may not think these are really important since they take little thought or preparation time, you need to put in the planning time to post something that your audience will get value from.  You also want to make sure you never post anything that is offensive or something that can be misinterpreted.  These comments can still be found by a search engine, and the last thing you want to do is generate a negative position about your brand.

HASHTAG – a hashtag is the symbol ‘#’ followed by a series of words or characters.  Messages that have the same hashtags are then grouped together to show you what is currently trending in social media.  For example, at DISH’s Team Summit this year, when posting to Twitter, the hashtag #TS2013 was used to group all like pictures and tweets in the same category.  Additionally, Facebook just recently added the functionality of the hashtag on its platform, so you will see these popping up in your news feed, with a link to click to see who else is posting about the same topic.  If a specific hashtag pertains to you or your business, go ahead and microblog about it – your brand will gain attention for staying on top of current ideas and events.

TRANSPARENCY – transparency is the act of engaging in considerate and courteous conversations with all users on any given platform.  Each and every platform that allows user content to be shared will have a transparency policy set in place, and repercussions can include blocked or deactivated profiles, so always think about the end result since you do not want to post anything that is offensive to any of the other users.  The main goal of social media is to share ideas and generate new beliefs via collective genius, and this is something you should aspire to do in every day social media use.

GOING VIRAL – going viral, or virality, is the rate in which content is passed along on any platform.  YouTube is a great example for thinking about virality.  This is the ultimate goal for any social media user – the faster your content goes viral, the more press and attention you are likely to receive.  However, there is a fine line, as you want to make sure your content goes viral for the right reasons, so make sure to have a sharp eye on all your posts.  When thinking about viral content, it is good to create a mix of useful information with lighthearted humor to engage your audience.

Now, it is important to remember these are the very basics, and since each platform changes each day, you need to make an effort to stay up-to-date with how each will affect your content and pages.

What confuses you about social media?  If there are any topics you need assistance with, just leave a comment below and the DOW Electronics team will be happy to help!


Event Hosting 101

Summertime has arrived – and that means plenty of events, socials and fairs for you to participate in and market your business.  But, there is another option – hosting your own event!  When you host an event, you are in the driver’s seat, ensuring everything fits your needs, from schedule, budget and the overall success of the event.

However, as with anything, there is a correct way of putting together an event so that you get the most rewards from your time.  Whether it’s planning ahead or selecting the best event location, follow these tips to ensure your event-hosting is a true success story!

Location, Location, Location

The first option to host your event is obvious: your store front!  Not only will people already know where it is located, it will allow your company to remain consistently branded since you will be at a location that is only associated with your business.  But, take a step back and ask yourself a couple of questions: does my store front location get a lot of traffic?  Are the people stopping by inquiring about new services?  If the answer is no, you might want to partner up with another local business that does get a lot of consumer traffic to help you host your event.  Consider having it at a local pet store and having a ‘Dog Days of Summer’ event or at a local mall or shop where you know there will be a lot of people coming in and out.  You can also see if your location partner will assist with an incentive for your customers for each sale made, like gift cards or a discount on purchases.

Plan (and Budget) Ahead

One of the biggest mistakes we often see in the DOW Electronics’ Marketing and Advertising Department is not planning or budgeting ahead.  Before you get the ball rolling, take a minute (or a few) to write down everything you will need to account for with your event materials and budget.  Items you may not account for, like food and drinks, promotional items, nametags, event advertising and signage, are all vital to the success of any event and can cost extra if you procrastinate, so account for everything.  And, if you are having a family-focused event, make sure to have some games, and small promotional items that won’t break the bank and will keep the attention of children.  The planning and budgeting will help you in the long run – on the day of the event you will be fully prepared and focused on selling, and afterwards, you can provide true tracking on cost-per-sale to determine the success of your event.

Advertising is a MUST

In planning, advertising your event is a must!  Print and radio are great options for you to get the word out that you are hosting an event, but why not send out an invitation?  Get a list of all your potential and current clients, or those former clients you are trying to bring back to the store, and personally invite them!  Whether it’s an email blast, a physical invitation or a video invitation on YouTube, your invitees will appreciate the personal touch and are more likely to attend.  Other ways to let your community know about your event include submitting a press release, inviting a radio or television station to do a live remote at your event, and social media.

Remember, hosting your own event has endless advantages, so make sure you utilize your time and efforts to receive the maximum benefits from your event.  With most of your work falling within the planning phase, it will take a little extra time to make sure all aspects are accounted for, but will pay off in the long run!  And, don’t forget to contact the DOW Electronics’ Marketing and Advertising Department to submit your event and advertising for co-op preapproval, or for help with event items such as tents, banners and promotional giveaways.  We are here to assist you with all your event and advertising needs and can be reached at 1.800.627.2920 or by emailing adv@dowelectronics.com

What are your event hosting tips?  What works best for your business?  We want to know – comment and share with the DOW Electronics Marketing and Advertising Department!

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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


Keeping Up with Your Tracking

Tracking the success of a marketing campaign can be, hands down, the easiest portion of your initiative to neglect.  After the all the planning, strategy and execution, it’s a sigh of relief to have everything out the door and off your plate.  And, add in the day-to-day duties of your job, customers, phone calls, vendors and more customers, and, well, who has time to do tracking?

If you don’t, you should make time.

Following your initiative’s foot print is the best way to see where your clientele is coming from so you know where to send your message, or how to spend your advertising dollars.  From the most basic to the most advanced, here are a few ways to make tracking a part of your everyday business model and why this information is important to you.

No Such Thing as a Stupid Question

Asking all your new customers or clients, ‘How did you hear about us?’ should be mandatory, no questions asked.  I know it sounds silly, but you can easily integrate this into everyday business activities.  Make a script and a tally sheet for yourself and employees when answering the phones.  If the person calling is a first time customer, simply slip the question in when you are asking for their contact information and note the answer on your tally sheet under the appropriate choice.

Another way to add it in is to make it the required first step in your sales transaction or website questionnaire.  Since the answer is required, and your new, hot lead cannot go on to the next step without answering, you ensure that you get the tracking information you need on a regular basis.  And making it a part of your sales process creates an easy flow and transition, without any additional hassle.

Technology and Tracking

For those already tracking their marketing on a regular basis, kudos!  But, here are a couple more advanced ways you may not know about.

Some direct and shared mail companies may offer you the option to purchase a phone number tied directly to that specific marketing piece.  This phone number will only ring through on one line at your business, thus making your tracking fool-proof – the person calling on that specific line has the number from that specific mail piece.  Voila – instant tracking!

Another advanced tracking option is personal URL’s, or PURL’s.  PURL’s are personalized landing pages (like a mini web page), that are unique to each individual on the mailing list.  For example, if I were to receive a mailer with a PURL, mine might be ‘ENarvaez.DowElectronicsDeals.com’, but yours would include your information.  Once you get to the landing page, which is informational, and not an advanced website, there is typically a form to fill out and submit.  The best part is all this information is recorded for you to use – who logged in, what information they submitted, what time they logged in, how many times they visited the site and so on.

Whether you are just starting to get into the nitty gritty of tracking, or you are more advanced, tracking is something no business owner can afford to ignore.  This information leads you to your client base, and shows you what isn’t working for your business.  And, bottom line, if you aren’t seeing a good ROI from your marketing and advertising, its time to switch gears to get your customers in the door.


5 Things Your Business Should Be Thinking About

Running a business can get pretty hectic and sometimes we get stuck in our routines because they are comfortable and easy. Here are a few things to get your brains working outside the box that will hopefully show you some positive results!

    1. Marketing Tactics

      Good marketing is a highly important part of your business. It’s simple, if people don’t know who you are and what you are offering, they can’t make a purchase from you. Most of you reading this blog are probably DOW Electronics retailers, and therefore participate in co-op advertising, and that’s great! If the brand that you are selling is willing to offset a portion of your marketing costs in exchange for you following their marketing rules, I say take advantage of it! However, don’t forget that you are allowed to do your own marketing without the assistance of co-op funds. The benefit of incorporating non-funded marketing tactics with your co-op funded initiatives is that you have greater freedom to experiment with your advertising. You can give online ads a try, get your business mentioned on the menu of your favorite sports bar, or sponsor a local baseball team and have your name printed on their jerseys. The beauty is that you are really only restricted by your own creativity. And don’t forget that when you are paying for the advertising, you can include many products that you offer in a single ad– co-op advertising generally doesn’t allow for this, or if they do, the reimbursement will be reduced.Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when marketing your business, just make sure that you aren’t violating any of the business rules of the products that you promote. Sure, you will have to take on the full cost of your marketing initiative, but remember that the name of the game is Return on Investment. You can’t think in simple dollars and cents. A co-op funded technique may cost you less out-of-pocket than advertising that you finance independently, but if you’re not seeing a return on it, was it really worth the money that you did spend? You should always be thinking about your cost per sale!
    2. Your Company Website

      Welcome to the 21st century, people! The internet can’t (and shouldn’t) be ignored. When people want to know something, find a business, or comparison shop, they go online. If your business isn’t there, it needs to be. What’s more, it’s not just enough to be online, you have to be active. Consumers shy away from a poorly constructed website that is seldom updated. Make sure that your website is professional, current, and full of useful and relevant information. You should visit your own websites regularly and evaluate whether the website you see is one that you would be impressed by as a consumer, if not, it’s probably time to update. You should be able to find a company who can build you a website for fairly low-cost (ask your friends and colleagues, they will likely have a recommendation), or if you are so inclined you can use services like WordPress to create a website. For those of you who are DISH retailers, there is even a program that offers free and co-op eligible websites! There is no excuse anymore, even small local businesses need to be online.
    3.  Social Media Marketing Think of your social media presence as an extension of your website, only this is where you have two-way communication with your audience. You can let your customers and potential customers know the latest news about your business and they can let you know about their experiences with you. The important thing that a lot of people forget about social media is the social part. Facebook and twitter were not created for you to peddle your goods and services, and their users don’t care to see a new advertisement in their feeds every few moments. With social media, you have to find a balance. Only promote when you have something notable to announce, like a big event or that great new product line that just came in. As a small business, it’s important that people know that your page is run by you, a real person in their own community. Don’t be afraid to comment on local happenings, the weather, or to make a joke– people want to buy from someone they know and trust, not from someone who is constantly pestering them for business. Let people know who you are and what you do, but don’t throw it in their faces. If you’re constantly providing interesting industry information, tips, and helpful commentary, they will make an effort to be a part of your business.Social media is also a good customer service tool. If someone has a good experience with your business, they may leave a “thank you” or “great job” on your page. This works the same way with negative feedback. It’s important that you are proactive and address both the good and the bad. Respond quickly and kindly– thank users who leave positive messages and do what you can to resolve negative experiences. In most cases, resolving issues on your social media pages where all of your current and potential customers can see is actually good for your business. Others will see that you have done everything in your power to correct a mistake and that you were sensitive to the customer’s problem. Often times, you can win back the customer who had a bad experience, and with him, several others who see that you aren’t afraid to admit to a mistake and to fix it. No one is perfect, it’s the way that you operate in a bad situation that sets you apart.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) You may have heard of search engine optimization, or SEO, or you may be wondering what the heck “search engine optimization” is. Basically, it’s a process designed to bring your website higher up in search engine results. SEO incorporates many different elements and there are individuals and companies whose sole purpose is SEO. Though it is a complicated process, there aresome things that you can do to make your website more search engine friendly. As I am not an SEO expert, I will defer to those who know what they are talking about:


10 quick SEO tips from smuggecko.com
7 Types of Content to Get Traffic and Links by Paddy Moogan at Distilled
4 Ways SMBs Can Get More From Their SEO by Lisa Barone at Small Business Trends

These are just a few blog posts to help you out and get you more familiar with the SEO monster, you can find endless information by googling SEO or Search Engine Optimization. If you really want to make sure that your website is properly optimized, it may do you some good to hire a professional. There are pros and cons to hiring help, so make sure to do your research first. Google has a great little guide on SEO and what to look for and questions you should be asking when looking to pay to optimize your site– who better to ask than the most popular search engine there is, right?

  1.  Customer Retention

    Last, but certainly not least, we come to customer retention. This is the one that many of us often forget about. Many businesses get so focused on generating leads and bringing in new sales that they forget about the sales they’ve already made. It is important to bring in new customers, but it’s even more important to keep them and maintain their loyalty after the initial sale. The next time a loyal customer needs something that you offer, they’re going to look to you first and not the competition.Maintaining a current customer is much cheaper and takes much less effort than does selling to a new one. Often times all it takes is a few simple gestures to show that the customer is important to you and that you appreciate their business. A great way to build relationships with your customers is to stay in touch. After the initial sale, send them a thank-you card or give a small gift with purchase. It doesn’t have to be anything big, just a little something extra to add that personal touch that the other guy doesn’t offer. Then, make sure to follow up after the sale. Add the customer to a mailing list to let them know when you’re having a big sale or offer a customer loyalty discount. Send a little reminder to let them know to send in a rebate or cancel services after the promotional period is up.Think about what keeps you coming back to a business and find a way to incorporate that tactic into your business plan. Why spend all of that time, effort, and money to get one sale when you can turn one sale into many over the years? I can’t say it enough, as a business owner you want the greatest possible return on your investment– so why not get 3 or 4 sales for the price of one?

    Here are a few ideas from Aaron Lee on how to reward your customers.

What has worked in your experience? Tell us below!