Marketing Tip #16 | Who’s Sending Your Emails | How to Boost Company Brand Easily

Who’s Sending Your Emails? 

How many emails did you send last week? Bet it was more than a handful.

Won’t it be incredible if you could increase your company’s brand recognition with each of those emails?  You can – and it’s easy!

In an email inbox, the first thing recipients notice is the name listed in the “From” column. Next they scan the “Subject” line. If they recognize the “From” name as a valued connection, recipients will often open the email regardless of the Subject line.  If the Subject line is interesting, recipients may open the email regardless of who sent the email (though most will check the “From” to ensure the email isn’t spam).

Below is a snapshot of how several Reciprocate Marketing Tip emails look in an Outlook mailbox:

Notice that the Marketing Tips are sent From “Karen Emanuelson & Reciprocate LLC.”  We use both Karen’s name and the company name for several reasons:

  1. Many Reciprocate email subscribers have attended at least one of Karen’s presentations and recognize her name.
  2. Others know the Reciprocate name from our presence on social media and the Internet.
  3. By using both in the “From” area, we take advantage of existing name recognition.
  4. Karen’s name recognition is increased with each email.
  5. Reciprocate’s brand recognition is increased with each email.

You can easily build your company’s name recognition by including it in the “From” of all your correspondence. Consistently apply this “From” address to all your email accounts, including those that are generated by your computer, tablets and mobile devices.

By adding your company name to your emails “From” field, you’re on your way to increasing your brand recognition with every email you send.

Marketing Tip #15 | 25 Easy Marketing Tools

25 Easy Marketing Tools  

Marketing isn’t hard. It doesn’t even have to cost a lot of money.

But marketing does take some thought and time – and a strategy.

Below are 25 easy marketing tools to consider for your small business. All can serve to promote your company, products, and services when incorporated into your overall marketing strategy.

  1. Business cards
  2. Email signature block
  3. Vanity phone number
  4. Ads on Craigslist
  5. Your name tag
  6. Employee attire
  7. Satisfied customer reviews
  8. Direct mail
  9. Attendance at trade shows
  10. Business directory listings
  11. Create an E-book
  12. Your company value proposition
  13. Event sponsorship
  14. How you answer your phone
  15. Media contacts
  16. Personal and organization memberships
  17. Your elevator pitch
  18. Pay per click ads
  19. Branding on your vehicle
  20. Product placement
  21. Activity on LinkedIn
  22. Reciprocal partnerships
  23. Referrals
  24. Be a radio talk show guest
  25. Email campaign

Reciprocate can help with any – and all – of these marketing tools. Contact us today for a free consultation and we’ll talk through the options that make the most sense for your organization and budget.

Marketing Tip #14 | Turn Business Cards into Dollars

Business Card Marketing

Turn Business Cards into Business Dollars

You probably have at least one box of business cards sitting in your desk. Here are a few simple ways to turn those business cards into business dollars.

  1. Set a weekly goal for the number of business cards you will give to leads. If you give a card each time you receive a card, you can easily track the progress toward your goal. As an added bonus, when you get back to the office, invite these new contacts to connect with you on LinkedIn.
  2. To help meet your distribution goal, keep a supply of business cards in your wallet, car, briefcase, gym bag, computer case, and desk. Be sure to use business card holders so your cards stay crisp and clean.
  3. Provide family, friends, neighbors, and satisfied clients with a few cards each so they can more easily pass along a referral and your contact information.
  4. Depending on your industry, product and service, consider posting cards on bulletin boards in local coffee shops, community centers, libraries, colleges, and even Laundromats.
  5. Think outside the box and use guerrilla marketing techniques.
    A yoga instructor we know has successfully marketed her services by periodically visiting local book stores and leaving her business cards inside yoga and health-related books.

Your business cards can be one of the most productive marketing collateral you use. Consider them the seeds of your business, and scatter them widely.

This is the fourth in a series on Business Card Marketing. Read the rest of the series by clicking here.

Marketing Tip #13 | Creating the Perfect Business Card

Business Card Marketing

Creating the Perfect Business Card
 
Business cards come in many styles, colors and textures. To create the perfect business card for you and your company, there are several best practices you should consider.

The perfect business card:

  • Reflects your business attitude — playful, trustworthy, competent
  • Showcases your name, your company name, logo and tagline
  • Serves as a mini billboard for your company, products or services
  • Includes a Call To Action
  • Gives people a reason to hold on to your card

Here’s how:

  • The tagline should speak directly to your customer and help distinguish your business
  • The information should be in a color and font that are easy to read
  • In addition to your company logo, consider including logos (with permission) that might lend credibility to your business, such as trade associations, chamber of commerce, or Better Business Bureau
  • Add value to your business card by including a discount or coupon code
  • Print your cards on a paper stock that can be written on
  • Use the back side to hand write a personal note or print something unique to your industry, a calendar, or list of your services

Click here for a free 10-point Business Card Checklist and our free analysis offer.

This is the third in a series on Business Card Marketing. Read the first two by clicking here.

Marketing Tip #12 | What Your Business Card Says About You

Business Card Marketing

What Your Business Card Says About You 
Take your business card out and have a good look at it. What does it say about you?

Anyone can plunk down $20 at the local office supply store and purchase a batch of business cards.  But your business card should do more than state your name and contact information. Your business card is a vital part of your marketing effort.

Here’s how:

  • First impressions are lasting impressions. Your card is your brand.
  • Use “white space.” Don’t cram so much on your business card that everything runs together.
  • A card that’s ugly, dirty, printed on perforated paper or has another company’s website on the back screams unprofessional amateur.

Effective business cards are:

  • Clean
  • Creative
  • Professionally printed
  • Visually attractive
  • Two-sided

An effective business card containsaccurate, powerful words which describeyour business, products and services. It entices people; it doesn’t bore them.

How does your business card stack up?

This is the second in a series on Business Card Marketing. Be sure to watch for the next tip which will include a link to a Business Card Checklist.


Marketing Tip #11 | Build Your Network with 5-Step Business Card Marketing

5-Step Business Card Marketing

 Increase the Power of Your Networking

The practice of swapping business cards at networking events is a great way to make an introduction and to leave a lasting impression. Learning to use these cards effectively can increase the power of your network.

Step 1: Ask those you meet a simple question: “Do you have a card?” Chances are, they will offer you their card and ask for your card in return.

Step 2:  Always have a supply of your business cards with you, whether attending a networking event or even a kids’ school function. You never know where you might meet someone who can increase the power of your networking.

Step 3: After the event or at the end of the day, review the cards you’ve collected. Jot notes on the back of the cards to remember key information about each person.

Step 4: Spend the next few days building your network by inviting each of your new contacts to connect with you on LinkedIn. Personalize the connection invitation with a note about your previous conversation and mention the event where you met.

Step 5: As your new network accepts your LinkedIn connection requests, be sure to send them each a quick email to thank them for joining your network.

As for the physical cards, use a Rolodex or simply bind with a rubber band and a note indicating the date and location where you obtained the cards.

This is the first in a series on Business Card Marketing. 


Marketing Tip #10 | How to Identify a Qualified Lead

How to Identify a Qualified Lead

  In Marketing Tip #9 we discussed the difference between prospects and leads.

Marketing and networking, whether it be traditional or online via your website and social media, attracts prospects. When someone first visits your website, calls, emails, or approaches you online or at a networking event, he is a prospect but not necessarily a qualified lead.

You will be more efficient and save time and money if you learn to group those prospects who can’t/won’t end up being customers and may only want free information and advice into the Prospect category. Those who met your custom lead criteria become your Qualified Leads and are actually worth pursuing and spending time and effort trying to convert.

How can you identify a Qualified Lead?

Develop a quick 4-question survey to evaluate prospects. Click here for a template to get you started. 

If you implement a quick analysis survey before accepting coffee or lunch meetings or entering into lengthy phone calls or email exchanges, you may find that, while you are spending less time on fewer leads, you are able to close more business.  And won’t that be wonderful?

This is the second in a series on prospects vs. leads. Click here to read Are You Wasting Your Time on Prospects?

Marketing Tip #9 | Are You Wasting Time on Prospects?

Are you wasting your time on prospects?

There is a fine line between wasting time with a prospect and spending quality time pursuing a lead. Understanding the difference will save you time and money.

Think back to math class where you learned that all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares.  In much the same way, all leads are prospects, but not all prospects are leads.

A lead is only a lead if it is qualified. To be qualified, a lead must be the right kind of client or customer for your business. In addition to having a need for your product or service, a qualified lead fits your business model and is able — from both an authority and budget perspective — to purchase your offering.

How many coffee meetings or phone conversations have you accepted hoping they would turn into business when, instead, they turned out to be a waste of your time?

This is the first in a series on prospects vs. leads. Learn how to identify qualified leads in Marketing Tip #10 in early March. Additional free Marketing Tips are available by clicking here.

Marketing Tip #8 | What does your email address say about you?

Whether you realize it or not, you have an online identity – and an online reputation.

Even if you have not registered on many of the social media sites, the email address you use already says a lot about you. Does your email address reflect who you are? Is your name part of your email address? Should it be? It depends on you and the image you want to portray.

If you plan to use email and social media for personal reasons, it’s okay to use your pet’s name or hobby as part of your online identity. The more professional the reasons for your foray into social media, the more professional your email address and online identity should be.

If you are trying to find a job or using social media for business purposes, an email address that includes your name like YourNameh@YourCompanyname.com congers up a much more professional image than ScootersMom@yahoo.com.

If you have a work email address, you’ll need to decide if you want to use it for your social media endeavors. A word of caution: since you will not be employed at your current job forever, before you leave the company, you will need to change your email address on sites you want to access afterward. This could be a hassle.

Click here to learn more in our blog posting “Who Do you want to be online?”

Marketing Tip #7 | Creating a Winning Brand

Creating a Winning Brand

The success of a small business relies, in part, on the company’s ability to create a winning brand. In order to be successful, you must create a memorable reputation — and part of that reputation lies in your ability to successfully brand your company, products and services.

The idea of branding is not new. Branding dates back to 2000 B.C. when inscriptions on the walls of ancient Egyptian tombs indicate that cattle were branded. What has changed is how you create a winning brand in today’s online-intense marketplace.

Successful companies create strong brands around colors, images, logos, shapes, slogans and taglines.

Coca-Cola has been called the world’s most iconic beverage.  The company consistently and very deliberately, uses their trademark red, the distinctive Coke glass bottle figure, their script logo, and targeted slogans.  Below is one of their latest videos. When I posted this, the video was less than 2 hours old and had 306 views.  It will be interesting to see how many views it has when you read this.

Free Branding Assessment Tool

Coke’s consistent branding has resulted in a strong consumer following. You can do the same with your branding.

To learn how to brand your products, services and company as consistently as Coke, start with a quick branding assessment. Click here to download Reciprocate’s free branding assessment tool. You’ll also receive an exclusive offer to receive a free company branding of your Constant Contact emails. But hurry, the Constant Contact branding offer expires Feb. 29, 2012.

Marketing Tip #6 | Marketing to your Customers’ Pain Points

How to Market to your Customers’
Pain Points

Once you have identified the Pain Points, you can identify the solutions available from your product/service.

In your marketing messages, reinforce that you understand what your customers really need. Illustrate or demonstrate their pain point and how your product/service can take away their pain. Clearly define the Pain Point that your product/service is addressing.

When you market your products or service directly to solve those pain points, your customers will respond.

To help keep your marketing efforts focused, create a Customer Pain Point Analysis document. Click here for a Customer Pain Point Analysis template.

This is the third in a series of Marketing Tips on Pain Points. Click below to read previous posts:

Click here to sign up to receive weekly Marketing Tips from Reciprocate LLC.

Marketing Tip #5 | Identifying Customers’ Pain Points

How to ID Your Customers’ Pain Points

Try to understand your customer in terms of the Pain Points they are experiencing. Learn to recognize these Pain Points by asking questions and listening. Here are a few ideas:

  • Imagine a day in the life of your customer
    What problem does your product or service address?
  • Ask current customers about their lifestyles and goals
    How do they perceive themselves?
  • Ask customers what motivates them – and what doesn’t.
    Find out what the customer really needs
  • What is the true source of pain?
    Sometimes, you’ll need to read between the lines and listen past the immediate requests
  • Who sees the most value in having that pain removed?
    These will be your best customers
  • Who will ultimately pay for a solution?
    The end user of your product/service is not always the one who pays i.e. child/parent or pet/owner

Example Pain Points

Imagine you own a restaurant. You might be addressing not only a customer’s Pain Point and need for nutrition but also the Pain Point for a place to gather with friends without having to clean the house, a place to watch sports on multiple screens, somewhere to escape from work or home, or a place to celebrate. And the type of food you offer – healthy, inexpensive, ethnic – also might address your customers’ Pain Points.

This is the second in a series of Marketing Tips on Pain Points. Click here to read Understanding Pain Points. Additional posts, including a Customer Pain Point Analysis Template, will be posted in the next few weeks.  Click here to sign up to receive weekly Marketing Tips from Reciprocate LLC.

Marketing Tip #4 | Understanding Pain Points

Understanding Pain Points

Do you understand why your customers buy your product or service?  I mean really understand what makes them buy?

Nothing motivates a person quite like pain.

While that might sound harsh, one of the best ways to increase sales is to identify your customers’ Pain Points and then position your company to deliver solutions that relieve these issues.

Customers with a burning need for something – their Pain Point – are highly motivated to alleviate this pain by buying what you have to offer.

What Pain Points do your customers have?  Sample Pain Points include:

  • time pressure
  • social pressure
  • work pressure
  • family pressure

Pain Point Solutions

  • Do you provide fast service?
  • A status symbol?
  • An efficient way to do business?
  • A solution for a busy parent?
This is the first in a series of Marketing Tips on Pain Points. Additional posts, including a Customer Pain Point Analysis Template, will be posted in the next few weeks.  Click here to sign up to receive weekly Marketing Tips from Reciprocate LLC.
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Marketing Tip #3 | Website Effectiveness

Are you getting the most marketing “BANG”
from your website?

Your website is the center of your online universe. One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make is not engaging with their website visitors — an easy mistake to make – and, luckily, it’s just as easy to correct.

Here’s a quick 4-question self-evaluation quiz to see if your website is working effectively that includes tips and simple fixes.

Website Effectiveness Quiz

  1. Does each page offer a “Call to Action”?
    Encourage interaction with website visitors by asking them to do something – such as “Click here,” “Call today,” “Learn more.” Then hyperlink the Call to Action to the appropriate page or action.
  2. Do you have contact information on each page?
    Website visitors move fast. If they can’t find what they are looking for quickly, they will leave your website and move on to the competition. Make it easy to reach you. Include a hyperlinked email address for added ease.
  3. Are you capturing email addresses of web visitors?
    Now that visitors found you on the internet, you need a way to stay in touch. Offering a white paper or email newsletter subscription is a great way to capture email addresses so you can continue to market to your website visitors, even after they’ve left your website. Constant Contact offers an inexpensive, easy-to-install website tool that can turn visitors into an email contact list. Click here to learn more.
  4. Have you looked at your website lately?
    Visit your website; pretend you are a first time visitor. Click on all the links. Fix or eliminate those that are not working correctly. Check the copyright; to let visitors know you are still in business, it should read © 2012.

If you would like help creating or re-designing a website that gets found in online searches and that turns website visitors into paying clients and customers, contact Reciprocate LLC today for a free consultation. Click here to learn more about our free website consultation services.

Click here to sign up to receive weekly Marketing Tips from Reciprocate LLC.

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Marketing Tip #2 | Check Your Online Reputation

Check your Online Reputation

Do you know what others are finding when they look for you and your company on the internet? Do you know what is really out there?

To check your online reputation, Google your name, your company name, your product name, your industry, and your competition.

You can easily discover your online reputation by clicking on all the links you find. Are you pleased with what you read?

  • Claim company listings on directory and review sites. Add information and your logo.
  •  If you find negative reviews, address them immediately by positively responding using your real name. Don’t ever create false reviews.

Here’s a link to a Google Search Results template to help you track your online reputation.

If you would like help turning around a negative online reputation, contact Reciprocate LLC today for a free consultation.

Click here to sign up to receive weekly Marketing Tips from Reciprocate LLC.

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