Use of Content Marketing for Image Makeover

Many a time branding through social media or digital branding might be a risk factor. Then the question arises what kind of risk factors are there in digital branding? Imaging if someone tries to defame your brand through social media, imagine if your strategy goes wrong and it creates a negative buzz about your brand, then what will you do? As social media is a platform where buzz can be hyped within a fraction of seconds then imaging if the buzz is negative. If you put your hands in a bag which is full of social media tools you’ll find a tool known as content marketing. Smart marketers understand that traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective by the minute, and that there has to be a better way.

As rightly said by Doug Kessler, “Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them”. Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty. And they do. Content marketing is being used by some of the greatest marketing organizations in the world, including P&G, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, and John Deere.

But why is content marketing used for image makeover? And is it so effective? Let’s take some of the examples whose digital strategy went flop on social media. The strategy of L’Oreal’s social media presence took a huge hit when it was revealed that they created a fake blog. Push marketing in the social media space is always a bad idea, especially when it’s this blatant. It was an innocent mistake. The Red Cross’s social media specialist (who was an intern) meant to send this tweet from his personal Twitter profile – not from the @Red Cross account. Like Dominos, however, the Red Cross did a great job of owning up to the mistake, and even poked fun out of themselves in a later tweet. It was a big goof, but not a total fail. Push marketing rarely works as a social media strategy. Instead of releasing a standard press release, use a multitude of social media channels to interact with your audience. Doing so makes your message much more likely to be spread and have an image makeover. Brand makeovers needn’t be only in response to dire circumstances. In fact, successful companies of all sizes should revamp their image periodically, says Allen Adamson, managing director of the New York office of Landor Associates and author of Brand Digital. An example of “Jack in the Box” on Damage control Six months after food poisoning killed four, “Jack in the Box” diners and sickened hundreds, sales were down 40%. Two years later, a makeover saved the company, whose revenue has tripled since 1995.

How to create a content strategy?

In a recent study done by the Content Marketing Institute, 42% of B2B companies consider their content marketing efforts effective, up from 36% the year earlier.

• Determine Objectives for Content Marketing

• Measure Your Content Marketing

• Define Your Audiences

• Research Audience Needs

• Create a Content Execution Plan

• Create a Content Amplification Plan

To be effective at content marketing, it is essential to have a documented content marketing strategy. According to the Roper Public Affairs, 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement. 70% say content marketing makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company, while 60% say that company content helps them make better product decisions.

Content is essential to supporting loyal, trusting relationships between brands and consumers. 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content. And 90% of consumers find custom content useful. 61% of consumers say they feel better about, and are more likely to buy from, a company that delivers custom content. Content is a leading driver of brand engagement on social media and motivates consumers to take action. Interesting content is one of the main reasons people follow brands on social media. 60% of people are inspired to seek a product after reading content about it.

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How to Use Viral Marketing to Spread the Word About Your Business

The concept behind Viral Marketing

word-of-mouth:

The concept of viral marketing is by no means new. Word-of-mouth marketing, viral’s forefather, has been around for ages. The principle behind word-of-mouth marketing is simple; use influencers to generate peer-to-peer product recommendations or buzz. Prior to the advent of the Internet, however, this form of marketing was too disjointed to effectively benefit most advertisers. The effect of word-of-mouth was largely contained to specific geographic areas simply due to the lack of widespread social networks. Word-of- mouth was generally limited by the ability of the influencer to physically speak to another prospective customer, hence the term “word-of-mouth”.

Enter the internet: 

The Internet has radically changed the concept of word-of-mouth, so much so that the term “viral marketing” was coined by venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson in 1997. The term was used to describe Hotmail’s email practice of appending advertising for themselves to outgoing mail from their users. The assumption is that if such an advertisement reaches a “susceptible” user, that user will become “infected” (i.e., sign up for an account) and can then go on to infect other susceptible users.

While email may have been the original catalyst; the advent of social networks, online communities and chat provide the ability to
distribute information exponentially faster than ever before. Where word-of-mouth marketing could take weeks or months to reach a thousand people, viral marketing can reach hundreds of thousands or millions in a matter of days or hours. The spread of an effective viral marketing campaign is akin to an epidemic outbreak of a virus, limited only by the potency and relevance of the marketing message.

Viral marketing defined:

The Wikipedia defines viral marketing as “marketing techniques that seek to exploit pre-existing social networks to produce exponential increases in brand awareness, through viral processes similar to the spread of an epidemic. It is word-of-mouth delivered and enhanced online; it harnesses the network effect of the Internet and can be very useful in reaching a large number of people rapidly.”

Why viral marketing?!

The proliferation of marketing and advertising, coupled with the onslaught of millions of media channels in today’s world, has given cause for consumers to tune out and effectively avoid a great deal of traditional supplier driven messaging. The creation of technologies such as PVRs, satellite radio and Internet ad blocking software are driving a fundamental shift in the way the public consumes media and the advertising often tied to it. Television ads, radio spots, online ads and even emails are facing increasing competition for effectively capturing the viewer’s attention and provide positive ROI for the marketer.

This competition, coupled with the rising cost of media buys, has caused marketers to search for an alternative means to reach the customer. Viral marketing is an attractive solution because it utilizes the free endorsement of the individual rather than purchase of mass media to spread the word. Because the distribution model is free, viral can potentially be lower cost and more effective than traditional media.it’s the best solution for all start-ups and who want to become an entrepreneurs

the viral effect

More than 90% of consumers said they told at least one other person about a Web site when the original recommendation came from a friend, according to Jupiter Research.

viral marketing advantages

1. Cuts through the clutter of traditional advertising, allowing marketers to effectively reach the audience.
2. Doesn’t require a product with a wow factor in order to raise awareness, generate buzz, and kick-start peer-to-peer spread. Instead, the viral campaign’s communication agent is the element that needs a wow factor or element of interest.
2. Unlike traditional advertising viral is not an interruptive technique. Instead, viral campaigns work the Internet to deliver exposure via peer-to-peer endorsement. Viral campaigns, whether ultimately liked or disliked, are often welcomed by the receiver. The focus is on campaigns with material that consumers want to spend time interacting with and spreading proactively.

viral marketing disadvantages

Viral marketing, like all marketing is hit or miss. However, viral marketing by nature is often more risky or controversial than traditional marketing. If done improperly viral marketing can backfire and create negative buzz.

The Marketing Mix:

Viral marketing is by no means a substitute for a comprehensive and diversified marketing strategy and marketing objectives. In employing viral marketing to generate peer-to- peer endorsement, brands have also learned that the technique should not be considered as a standalone miracle worker.

James Kydd, Brand Director for Virgin Mobile who just launched the 11th release in their successful series of viral marketing campaigns, states, “viral marketing is best used not as a one-off tactical end in itself, but as an integrated strategic part of the overall marketing mix. It is a means to an end whereby it not only generates buzz, but also provides ongoing, quantifiable brand benefits, such as increased awareness, peer-to-peer endorsement and ultimately more sales.”

 

Will Online Marketing Work for Your Business?

This is an extremely difficult question to answer because there are so many complex factors involved. Specifically, the techniques you employ in your Internet marketing campaign, as well as the execution of those techniques, can determine whether Internet marketing will work for your business. Additionally, the likelihood of your target audience using the Internet and responding to your marketing efforts should also be factored into the equation. This article will outline the potential for success in an Internet marketing campaign.

When is Internet Marketing Worthwhile?
In general, the answer to this question is always but the answer is much more involved. Sure, Internet marketing is worthwhile but as with any type of marketing it is only worthwhile if it is done well. For example, you can spend thousands of dollars on a television marketing campaign but if no one sees your commercials or your commercials do not reach your target audience and generate sales, the advertising was not worthwhile. So, perhaps a more appropriate answer to this question would be that Internet marketing is worthwhile when it works.

What is your target audience?
Before making the decision to embark on an Internet marketing campaign you should carefully consider your target audience. One of the most basic principles of marketing is to make sure that you reach your target audience. This is so important because your target audience is composed of the people who are most likely going to be interested in purchasing your products or services. It is much easier to sell your products or services to those who already have an interest in the products and services you have to offer than it is to convince those who are not interested in your products or services at all. As an example, consider a business that sells fishing rods. You will want to market your products to those who enjoy fishing either competitively or as a leisure activity because, with this audience, you are likely to find people who may be interested in purchasing a new fishing rod. It would make sense to place an advertisement for your business on a website selling bait and tackle or a website that organizes fishing trips in exotic locations. Conversely, it would not make sense to place your advertisement on a website selling telescopes because you are not likely to reach a large target audience there. There may be some stargazers with an interest in fishing but your advertising dollars and efforts would be better spent placing advertisements with websites more closely related to your business.

Analyze your competition
Conducting a competitor analysis can do a great deal to help you determine whether you should invest in an Internet marketing campaign for your business. This step is very important because it will give you a good indication if you should even begin marketing your business on the Internet. Hiring a firm that specializes in Internet marketing is recommended because they can conduct this research quickly and efficiently and will likely gain a great deal of valuable information as a result of their research efforts. If they determine that your business can benefit from an Internet marketing campaign, it is time to start thinking about how you want to advertise your business online.

Again, seeking the help of professionals can be an extremely worthwhile investment. If you are not well versed in the industry of Internet marketing, hiring a firm with a great deal of expertise in this industry can be very helpful. They can assist you by consulting with you to determine which marketing strategies will be most effective, designing advertisements for your campaign, helping you to orchestrate your Internet marketing campaign and evaluating the results of marketing efforts to determine which strategies are working and which are not.

Optimize your online marketing
The potential for success with an Internet marketing campaign is virtually limitless. The success you enjoy is only limited by your ability to promote your products and services and execute effective marketing strategies. Some of the marketing strategies you may wish to employ may include optimizing your website for relevant search terms, placing links to your website judiciously on the Internet, writing and publishing e-newsletters and using affiliates to promote your website.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important aspects of any Internet marketing campaign. SEO is so important because it dictates the ranking of your website on popular search engines. Internet users value these results and are not likely to seek out websites that do not rank well with search engines. Conversely, high-ranking websites can enjoy a great deal of increased website traffic as a result of these rankings.

There are several elements to consider when attempting to optimize your website for search engines. This may include keyword density, prominence, META tags, titles and inbound links. Keyword density is one of the most common SEO strategies and essentially involves using relevant keywords often in the content of a website to demonstrate the relevance of these keywords to the website. This is important because search engines are likely to reward websites with optimal keyword densities with favorable search engine rankings in an effort to provide Internet users with the most relevant websites for particular search terms.

The prominence of keywords should also be considered. This includes how close the keywords are placed relative to the beginning of the website. The common mistake with this strategy is to believe the first opportunity to incorporate keywords is in the first line of visible text on the webpage. This is not true because search engines crawl the code of a website as opposed to the visible content on the website. This means that there are multiple opportunities to incorporate relevant keywords long before the actual visible content on the website. This might include the code for the title as well as the META tags. Business owners who realize the potential for incorporating keywords into the code gain an advantage over competitors who only incorporate keywords into the content on their website.

 

Are You an Internet Marketing Genius?

Not many people are, so it shouldn’t be an embarrassment saying that you are not.

Internet marketing can be hard and even confusing. At least, it seems to be for the novice who just wants to get as many people as possible to see their website.

So what about internet marketing do most people find difficult?

    • Understanding how it has changed in the last decade. Traditional marketing used to be a relatively simple process. Maybe some mailers to people around town, a small space in the local Yellow pages, maybe even a spot on local radio. All of that has changed with the internet boom. Now you can market globally… if you understand how. Sure, it can make your business visible to a much larger audience, but how?

 

    • Making the best to use your time. Most small business people wear multiple hats. As a comparison, internet marketing is the cheap baseball cap compared to the expensive fedora of trying to manage the business. Internet marketing seems to take up way too much time for the tangible/measurable benefits it brings.

 

    • Spending the money. Marketing is just one of many costs, but because modern internet marketing is completed on so many fronts, it is difficult to know where the money is going. Keeping track of most expenses is easy because you have a direct relationship. But, marketing costs seem so ethereal.

 

  • Determining what is effective. In traditional marketing, you can do studies to determine exactly (or at least close to exactly) how effective your marketing dollars were. There was more of a direct link between marketing and sales. Now it is seems like it is very difficult to tell.

What is the answer to this dilemma? You know you have to market in order to be seen by as many people as possible.

So to get the most out of your marketing dollar, you can take one of two actions. Let’s look at them.

#1. Learn How to do Internet Marketing Yourself (effectively)

Computers are as necessary to business these days as buggy whips were at one time. Of course, the buggy whip manufacturers either adapted or they went the way of large wooden sailing ships. It is possible to find some of each in museums these days, but they aren’t in use anymore.

If you are hoping that the same happens to computers and the internet, you are probably also betting your business on a coin at the wishing well. Neither are a good bet.

So, computers are here to stay and you need to learn how to market using one. You know your business won’t grow itself, but learning a new task when your time is already precious is not efficient. But, internet marketing is necessary.

You could take one of the online courses, spend time just reading as much information as possible, or you could take the second alternative (at this point I am going to say that it is the better of the two).

#2. Outsource Your Internet Marketing

You have just reached a milestone and you want to show your employees how much you appreciate them. A party sounds like a good idea, something that they will remember for a long time. Something that will motivate them when they are doing their jobs tomorrow. What do you do?

Well, if you’re smart, you let an expert take over. You know what you’re good at and it isn’t planning parties (unless you’re an event planner or caterer, then think of a different example). You call the local Chucky Cheese (or other favorite venue) and let them do the planning.

Looking at this example, why would you then believe that you can be an effective internet marketer when it’s not your specialty?

Some would have you believe that internet marketing is as simple as putting up a Facebook page, sending out a few Tweets and writing something in your websites blog every two or three weeks. If that was true, why aren’t the orders flowing in?

Effective internet marketing is complex. You need to understand how to reach people using modern technologies and you need to understand the possible benefits of many different resources.

Why would you try to tackle such a complex system without some type of help? It would be insane.

Outsourcing works for companies in need of a service that is better done by someone else. For example, many small businesses turn to someone else for such services as human resources, payroll, web design and, yes, internet marketing. Because these are all specialized services, small business owners understand that they actually save money while outsourcing some aspects of their business.

Time is just too valuable!

You can find a company that specializes in internet marketing which could include handling your social media marketing, promoting your blog, etc. These companies have years of experience, keep up with changes that are always occurring in internet marketing and use proven marketing strategies to help their clients succeed.

In addition, just think of that extra time you would have on your hands if you didn’t have to do these tasks yourself and could concentrate on other important areas in your small business. Yes, it costs money to hire someone to handle your internet marketing, but remember… Time = Money.

Outsourcing may seem like something that large businesses can afford to do, but they have the money to have in-house departments. It pays for a small business to think creatively when they cannot afford to provide internet marketing services for themselves.

The original question was “Are you an internet marketing genius?” If not, then outsourcing your internet marketing chores may be the best way to go!

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Legal Marketing Tips From a Divorce Lawyer

A Divorce Lawyer’s Marketing Journey to Build My Law Practice

During the past few years, I have had a lot of visibility resulting from my marketing efforts. Other attorneys continuously ask me about my marketing so I thought I’d share some thoughts. I have been immersed in the legal world my entire life. I have practiced law in Illinois since 1984, and grew up surrounded by legal talk, as my father was also an attorney. This has allowed me to observe the evolution of the legal field throughout my lifetime.

History of Legal Advertising

As many attorneys are aware, previously, legal advertising was generally prohibited. This did not change until 1977, well after advertising became common practice in most other fields, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on lawyers’ right to advertise their services in the controversial case of

Bates v. State Bar of Arizona (433 U.S. 350). As a result, the tradition against legal advertising was rejected as an antiquated rule of etiquette. Thus began the opportunity for attorneys to grow their practices through marketing.

My Journey Begins

Although legal marketing previously provoked controversy, it has been an important key to my success as a lawyer. I have always marketed my practice. For the majority of my career, I concentrated on traditional methods such as Yellow Page advertising (pre-internet) and networking. As my experience grew, I added peer-rated credentials to my resume and joined different organizations. Fast forward to 2010, when my marketing guru, who also happens to be my wife, expanded her business into the growing field of social media. I jumped at the opportunity to be her online and social media test case. We developed a marketing plan including all the traditional marketing techniques plus newly burgeoning online marketing strategies.

We started with a short list of 13 tasks, and as those were completed, we added many more. Over the past four years, marketing has fascinated me. My marketing list has become an ever-evolving ‘to do’ list and we are always tweaking my marketing plan. We have been especially pleased by the Internet and social media campaigns’ successes. For those interested in starting or building upon a marketing campaign, here are some insights I have gained over the years. Please keep in mind that I am not a marketing professional, just a lawyer like you trying to build my practice.

What are the most important elements of marketing?

Consistency and follow-up are the most important aspects of marketing. You can have all of the know-how, a hefty budget, the best contacts and technical staff; yet, your marketing efforts will not result in success without consistency and follow-up. I have spoken with attorneys who tell me they are going to start their online marketing with blogs posts. They lay their foundation – build a website, write a few blogs posts – but too often, after several months, begin to neglect their page. Likewise, an empty Twitter account, LinkedIn or Facebook fan page is equally useless. Additionally, people often attend networking events, make new contacts, but fail to follow-up. Continuous activity is necessary to achieve your goals.

What types of marketing do I use?

I break my marketing down into two different, but equally relevant, categories: traditional and internet marketing.

Traditional marketing

For me, traditional marketing consists of networking and making myself visible. I think this builds the strongest and longest-lasting referrals. My ultimate goal is to build an extensive network of relationships so that people call me directly for my services or refer clients to me. Additionally, I recognize the importance of being a resource to others. In the networking world, the givers get the most back. For others, traditional marketing may include newspaper ads, speaking engagements, direct mail, television, radio and even billboards.

Internet marketing

The objective of internet marketing is to make my name a prominent presence when people search online for help with the services I provide. My goal is for my web presence to effectively convey who I am and how I can help people, thus influencing people to contact me and ultimately hire me.

Who has time for marketing?

I understand that lawyers need to spend the majority of their hours practicing law. Networking takes a lot of time so you have to marshal your efforts in order to reap the most benefits with the least amount of time. Here are some networking suggestions:

· Be strategic; identify the best people to network with. Read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point.

· Set and track goals when meeting people or joining networking groups.

· Take time to develop relationships. Always remember that quality, not quantity, is important.

· Be a good listener and ask questions. Find out how you can help that person, whether it is referring business, making an introduction or sending a relevant article.

· Always follow-up and deliver what you promise.

Where do I start my internet campaign?

You can build your online presence through search engine optimization (SEO) and social media. SEO gets your website or web-page noticed by various search engines. Social media uses internet platforms for individuals and groups to share, co-create, and discuss. Social media marketing involves using internet forums, blogs, social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, podcasts, video and more to build your online presence, identity, relationships and reputation.

What to keep in mind while marketing

Marketing helps bring potential clients into your office to hire you. Satisfied clients bring more clients, and this remains one of the best ways to grow your practice. Thus, it is both good business and good marketing to build solid relationships with your clients. Tips include:

· Provide value

· Keep your word

· Be communicative

· Listen to the complaining client

· Stay in touch

· Serve your clients after the case is over

· Say thank you

Marketing can seem overwhelming, but it’s manageable. Make a plan and break down the tasks. Set goals and work towards individual tasks. Enlist or hire others to help you. Marketing is very rewarding, so have fun!

 

Internet Marketing – What Are the Pros and Cons?

Are you looking for the easiest and effective way to market? Business marketing is now one of the largest methods to make money. There are lots of successful businessmen who keep themselves updated with the latest trends in marketing. If you want to achieve the peak of success in this field, you might enter internet marketing. This style requires the use of technological support to fully attain the productivity of the business. This is one of the massively used business marketing styles by most of the large business marketing companies.

What is internet marketing?

This is the latest marketing style that is also known as online marketing. This involves the use of web and electronic mail to advertise and to directly sell products. This is possibly manifested through the help of electronic commerce that serves as the gateway of sales from websites to other sites. This marketing method is the development of traditional advertising such as magazines, newspapers, television and radio.

What are the areas of internet marketing?

This marketing method that uses the power of internet is divided into several areas including:

  • Social Media

Are you fond of visiting social network sites? Are you often of giving comments and tagging photos? Then, this is one way to market products. Social media comprises both marketing and advertising acts which commonly include viral marketing. The largest social network sites that can help you advertise and market products are Twitter, Digg, YouTube and Facebook.

  • Web

This marketing style involves the presence of affiliate marketing websites, e-commerce websites, informative websites, organic search engine results through SEO and online advertising on search engines.

  • Email

This area of online marketing encompasses advertising and promotional marketing acts that use e-mail messages directly to present and potential customers.

What are the advantages?

The world is now getting smarter and more advanced. There are successful business advertisers and marketers who shift from traditional to modern marketing style. Internet marketing is now the world’s primary marketing and advertising method to win more clients. This marketing method brings several advantages such as:

  • low cost

One of the important benefits of engaging into this internet or online marketing is the capacity to reduce marketing cost. Specifically, this will help to save you from staffing cost, location, and financial management.

  • Achievable

Marketing through the use of internet is a better way to get the attention of the people. There are lots of people who are using internet for several purposes. According to some studies, there are millions of online users who can see online advertising every day.

  • Easy

Making money through online is much easier than the traditional marketing methods. You have a great opportunity to get more clients within a short period of time. This method does not require too much time and effort to make a deal with your potential clients. By simply clicking the site, they can have transaction with you. In the present time, it is considered as the easiest way to market and advertise your products.

The main objective to the development and employment of modern marketing methods is to help business marketers in achieving consistent business production. Internet Marketing might have several benefits but it requires your knowledge and proper management to get the benefits that are right for you.

 

How Email Marketing Helps You

3 Ways E-mail Marketing Helps Create Customers and more Revenue

Today, marketers have many, many modern and fun marketing platforms. On social media platforms, they get to pin pictures, post YouTube videos, sponsor ads, and run social media contests. It seems e-mail has been left in the dust. Or, has it? Despite the marketing variety available, salesforce.com reports that 67% of marketers still believe e-mail marketing to be their core way of boosting their ROI and cutting marketing costs. Why? Well, consider this, a Merkle study revealed that 74% of consumers still prefer to receive marketing literature by e-mail and, 91% of consumers check their e-mails daily? These marketers know that, for their advertisements to be welcomed a daily basis, e-mail marketing is the way to go. Let’s take a closer look at how e-mail marketing can help you grow your business.

E-mail marketing creates greater and more lucrative sales.

Amazingly, a Direct Marketing Association study showed that e-mail marketing has an ROI of 4,300%. It also found that 66% of consumers have bought a product because of a marketing e-mail. Even more significant, an eMarketers study found that, customers are 3X more likely to buy a product after receiving a marketing e-mail and, once customers choose to purchase, they spend 17% more than those who decide to buy on a social media platform. The effects of e-mail marketing in growing your customer-base obviously cannot be duplicated.

Through e-mail marketing, you create greater trust, customer loyalty and sales.

Though your customers undoubtedly love your brand, brands are easily forgotten in their busy day-to-day shuffles. So, you must remind your customers of your valuable offers so they can show their loyalty when they need your products. Still, you are going to need at least 6 exposures to a new company product to get even your loyal customers to try them. And, after opting in on your e-mail marketing list, your customers are expecting and even welcoming such e-mails. Therefore, your e-mail marketing campaign is the best way to make room for such frequent exposure without seeming obnoxious and, thereby, making potential customers walk away. And, without the obnoxious component that is part of a lot of advertising, your customers learn to like and trust your company for graciously granting them their wish of receiving regular e-mail communication from you. This trust is sure to bring in life-long customers.

E-mail marketing increases website traffic, creating a more enduring and lucrative overall online campaign.

Your e-mail marketing is one of the best ways to boost your search engine rankings. With a simple social media share button, an invite to visit your site, or a promotion code, you invite your customers to visit your site or invite others to do so. As your traffic and shares increase, your ranking on search engine results pages rises. A boosted search engine ranking makes it possible for your customers to find you more easily even when you aren’t directly marketing to them. So, your advertisement investment just keeps giving back to your company with no extra effort or investment on your part.

Among top marketers, e-mail advertising is here to stay. Not only does it boosts sales and create loyal-life time customers, but if gifts you with higher search engine rankings, initiating a perpetually growing customer-base. Therefore, e-mail marketing may be old-school but it is sure to be a top-strategic tool in business growth for years

How Outsourcing Your Marketing Team Can Save You Time, Money and Risk

How successful are your current marketing initiatives and programs? Do you have a marketing team to launch and execute your marketing plans? Many small businesses struggle with making their marketing program effective because they don’t have the in-house talent and expertise to manage marketing projects such as a new product launch, a website redesign, SEO or even the creation of a well-researched and comprehensive plan. Putting all of this together takes time and money and drains valuable resources from other areas of your business.

Consider outsourcing these responsibilities to a third-party marketing consulting company. Here are several important benefits to outsourcing:

1) HIRING A PROFESSIONAL MARKETING CONSULTANT SAVES YOUR BUSINESS TIME AND MONEY:

· Your business saves money in reduced overhead costs (no internal team to hire, manage, provide office space for, etc.).

· You agree up front on how much you want to spend and can cap costs at a certain amount – no more unanticipated expenses or marketing budgets run amok!

· You spend less time spent on daily marketing management, trying to find the right people for an in-house marketing team, and task delegation.

2) OUTSOURCING YOUR MARKETING FUNCTIONS TO A WELL-VETTED MARKETING EXPERT HELPS YOU REDUCE YOUR MARKETING RISK AND BUILD BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS:

· Your marketing consultant wants and needs their programs to be effective. They will work hard to bring you marketing success, as this reflects positively on them and encourages their continued work with your business.

· Access to an enormous network of skills, talents and capabilities, such as graphic designers, copywriters, website developers, and SEO consultants, to name just a few.

· Knowledge is transferred between both businesses. A savvy marketing professional will get to know your business inside and out. As a result, they’re flexible enough to adapt your marketing program to meet shifting objectives (such as industry trends) quickly and effectively.

Here is a helpful example of a company who outsourced the creation and distribution of a direct mail marketing program:

MARKETING CASE HISTORY:

Opportunity/Problem:

A realty company agent wanted to revamp its quarterly postcard-marketing program to generate new listings. Their company’s previous program’s impact was fading and no longer produced any measurable benefit.

Solution:

The budget for this project was defined, and a cross-platform marketing program was custom created for the realty company. A direct mail postcard would be sent to about 10,000 recipients in the target market. The postcard included individual website landing pages personalized for each mail recipient. The target market was segmented so that each group would receive a more relevant and specific message and personal URL. The landing pages were created for each market segment and were hosted to receive visitors to the website.

Each time a recipient landed on their personalized page, a real time lead was created, and the client was notified of the lead for immediate follow up. The actual return on marketing investment for the first year of this program was 108%, bringing incrementally increased sales revenue and a bottom line profit that far exceeded the cost of the entire program.

 

What Magic Happens When A Business Marketing Plan Comes Together?

For most business owners the key to success lies in a solid marketing plan with strong marketing tactics.

A marketing plan is a blueprint that outlines a company’ overall marketing efforts.

There are a ton of plan templates readily available on the internet.

Taking advantage of these plan templates and marketing calendars can help determine the success or failure of your business in 2015

Now, what happens when a marketing plan comes together?

1. You will discover who your best most important audience is and what your clients want from you

Hopefully you are creating and offering products and services with a specific target audience in mind.

However, you may find that clients, customers and patients other than your targeted audience will also been able to benefit from what you have to offer.

Understanding who your audience is a key component in marketing, sales and improving your services and/or products.

2. Increases awareness of your company

Most people won’t pay any attention to your company, unless they need you. They only care about themselves, it human nature.

A marketing plan enables you to formulate a way to help future clients see the benefits of using your product or service. When done right, this establishes your credibility in the marketplace and hopefully solidifies your business as a reliable source.

3. You will be prepared.

When you have a good marketing strategy you’ll be surprised at how fast your company will be able to respond to unexpected marketing and developments from your competition.

A well-written plan that covers all bases will include a projection on possible threats and detailed ways you can respond or capitalize off them.

4. Obtaining Finance

Companies, including small businesses often need to acquire extra financing.

A well-thought out business plan along with detailed marketing is evidence of good planning which could be extremely helpful in obtaining loans.

Without a solid business plan and marketing strategy, even the most profitable business would have a difficult time getting financing. Free sample marketing plans are readily available online, they can serve as good examples while saving you time creating your documents.

5. Save Money

One of the biggest benefits of a marketing strategy that your business is more likely to save money.

The average marketing plan includes a set budget that will be used in your marketing efforts for the year.

Yes, by outline your marketing plans, and specifying how much money is going to be used to support various marketing efforts it helps your company save a lot of money on unplanned marketing campaigns.

If you and your team hasn’t sat down to develop a marketing plan for the year, it’s time to do so now.

Start off with a marketing template to help outline your company’s marketing strategies the expand from there.

There are so many benefits from having a marketing plan that it would be insane to start 2015 without one.

 

How to Make Money Investing in Stocks in Any Market

Nobody can always make money investing in stocks (also called equities), but those who outperform year after year do so by applying two basic concepts. Here we will use 2015 and 2016 as an example because they promise to be challenging years. We’re not talking about finding tomorrow’s glamour stocks or short-term trading here. We’re talking about two important and basic market concepts that many investors either are not aware of, or that they overlook at their own expense.

Concept #1 refers to the cyclical nature of markets. Prices will always fluctuate, but there are reoccurring and identifiable price trends that can either make you or break you. A trend of rising prices is called a “bull market”, and just about anybody can make money investing in stocks in these “good” markets. The good news is that they often last for several years. The bad news is that they are always followed (sooner or later) by a trend of falling prices which is called a “bear market’, or simply a “bad” market for most investors.

The good news is that bear markets (like the last two) sometimes last for less than two years. The bad news is that they can be swift and brutal – creating losses of 50% or more for investors (like in the last two bear markets). The other bad news is that very few investors ever make money investing in stocks in a bear market. More bad news: if you lose half your money in a bad market, you then need to double your money in the next good market in order to simply break even.

As I look forward to 2015 and 2016, I also look back to the years 2000 and 2007. Both years were the beginning of bear markets that followed good markets. Both created 50% losses in less than two years and wiped out most of the profits investors earned in the preceding good markets. As of 2015, the current bull market that started in early 2009 is almost six years old. The stock market has again hit all-time highs. The challenge now is how to make money investing in stocks in 2015 and beyond if a new bear market hits in 2015 or 2016.

As we move on to concept #2, note that we are not talking about how to avoid losses in a bear market, but how to actually make money investing in stocks. You can always avoid losses by getting out while you are ahead, or you can reduce losses by cutting your asset allocation to stocks.

While just about everyone knows that you can make money investing in stocks when you buy them and equities prices rise… most folks do not know that you can also bet that prices will fall and make money if they do. This is called taking a “short” position. It’s legal, and has been going on for many years. During the Great Depression some people in the know got filthy rich “going short”; and during the financial crisis of 2007- 2008 you could have made big bucks betting against the market as well.

This is concept #2 and is the flip side of how markets work. The good news is that it will be easier than ever to make this bet in 2015 and 2016. The bad news is that it’s not for everyone, because you can take significant losses if you go here and prices move UP, against you. Actually, I’ve known people who are repulsed by the concept and some who even think that it’s un-American and should be illegal. That having been said, it’s a fact of life and part of the free-market system we live in.

It’s never easy to make money investing in stocks by going “short” because the market trend over the long term has been up. On the other hand, when the market goes south you won’t make money investing in stocks any other way. You’ll lose it along with about 98% of investors. The easiest way to short the market these days is to simply buy stocks called INVERSE EXCHANGE TRADED FUNDS (ETFs). Popular examples (stock symbols) include DXD, SDS, and QID. In order, these allow you to short the three major indexes: the Dow, the S&P 500, and the NASDAQ.

These (and other) inverse ETFs are designed to go UP in price when the market indexes go DOWN. In fact, if the index goes down 1% they are designed to go up 2%. If you want to try to make money investing in stocks in a bad market, inverse ETFs are the simplest way to do it. They can be easily bought and sold through a discount broker for about $10 per trade.

Above all else, keep the concept of bull and bear markets in mind in your endeavor to make money investing in stocks in 2015, 2016 and well beyond. While a rising tide lifts all boats, a falling tide can leave them dead in the water. If you are adventuresome and can handle the risk, you now know how to make money investing in stocks when the tide goes out.