Archive for September 2011

Small Budget, No Problem: Social Media and Event Marketing

September 30th, 2011 — 4:16pm

No budget, no marketing dollars, no existing clientele, a business name, great event ideas, and a drive to succeed…

This was me, six months ago, when I decided to leave my job and embark on a journey of entrepreneurial passion. I had the winning idea, but — with my limited budget — how was I to promote it and spread the word?

Let’s fast forward to the present day. I have two major events on the docket: Run for Your Life Zombie 5K scheduled for October 23, 2011 and Challenge Cincinnati Urban Adventure Race scheduled for March 24, 2012. Using solely social media, I have managed to create buzz and increase traffic to my event websites, to the point at which I now fully expect both events to sell out. Keep in mind that I have yet to spend $1 on advertising! So what new fad or idea did I use? None — I used simple, old fashioned networking skills, and the ability of social network sites to magnify those skills.

Social media has proved effective in promoting events like Run for Your Life Zombie 5K.

Building my initial following wasn’t easy, but I knew that with Facebook and LinkedIn, I had thousands of possible connections. Not only did I personally have all of these connections but, the charitable organizations that were to benefit from my events had many as well. Here is how it went down:

  • I synchronized the launch of my websites and event Facebook pages with coordinated requests to my family, friends, and acquaintances and with those of family, friends, and acquaintances of others who were involved with the planning of the event.
  • I sent personal individualized requests to over 200 people asking them to “Like” our page and requested that they post it on their wall at least once.
  • I spent the first week continually following up with my friends, family, and acquaintances on Facebook chat to confirm my requests and most of all…(drum roll please) to thank them!
  • Half of my posts from the first week were not informational posts at all, but rather me thanking those who were supporting us and helping us spread the word early.

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What’s Your Digital Worth?

September 23rd, 2011 — 8:12am

The strategies behind branding efforts and building a real-life relationship are comparable.

Think about it: When you’re starting a relationship you try to prove to the other person that you’re trustworthy and good for them. You don’t do this in one particular way, but you express yourself across multiple platforms – calling, texting, dating, and yes, shockingly enough, you also make things “Facebook official” by becoming one of their social media friends. If you want the relationship to last and you’ve done something wrong, you inevitably have to fix the problem, but more importantly, gain back their trust.

Similarly in branding, marketers not only want to gain awareness, but also want to establish credibility and trust. In order to achieve these things a brand does not just market to their consumer over one platform — it engages in a variety of mediums.

A digital audit can determine metrics to measure against a larger marketing goal.

Keeping this in mind, it would seemingly make sense that, especially when things are not working out, marketing managers would conduct a comprehensive analysis of their efforts, right? Not always, and unfortunately this analysis is especially deficient across the digital platform!

As more and more companies discover the digital marketing universe, it seems less actually utilize the full scope that digital has to offer. This inability to optimize is partially due to the fact that most companies don’t actually know what they’re supposed to be doing or why they’re suppose to be doing it. It seems that many companies either believe that the more users they touch, the more the success, or that having a mere digital presence is enough.

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QR Codes: What They Are, When You Need ‘Em, When You Don’t

September 19th, 2011 — 3:51pm

What Are They?

No need to worry, QR codes are not a government conspiracy to track your movements (…or are they!?!). Instead they’re what is known as a “Quick Response Code.” You might see them on everything from business cards to print ads to billboards (tough to capture when you’re whizzing by on the freeway.) For the most part, the marketing application of this code — which looks like a very complicated Rorshach test — is to make it easy through an app-enabled smart phone to scan it, and then be transported to a website.

It’s easy to scan a code with your smart phone: just hold the phone up, and the reader does the work. It’s important to get the details right when you are using a QR Code. Placement is critical, and it needs to be big enough for the reader to capture. That means that wherever you place it, you need white space, so plan your designs accordingly. It’s not a great idea to “slap on a QR code” as an afterthought. There are several “QR code reader apps” and every phone is different, so testing it across a wide variety of phones and apps is important.

The area of QR code planning that is most often overlooked isn’t the code, or placement of it, but rather, it’s what happens after your consumer scans it. Consider this: Your audience is using a smart phone to scan the Quick Response Code. Is your website mobile ready? And make sure the page that you are guiding them to actually has something to do with what the card, ad, billboard, etc. has offered. In the best scenario, you will have thought out the offering you want them to see, and isolated it. It could be an opt-in program, a coupon, valuable information (white papers, hard-to-get insights/reports), giveaways, or anything that is not your standard sales pitch. When they “Quick Respond,” you want to be ready to engage! If you have done all of the necessary planning for your QR Code Campaign, then find a QR Code generator, be sure to shorten your URL using or or another URL truncating site, and let the scanning begin!

When Should I Use a QR Code?

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What’s Up With “Content Marketing?”

September 12th, 2011 — 1:56pm

Should you be doing it? Are you doing it already? How do I know if it is working?

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing, in the simplest of terms, is the act (and the art) of communicating and engaging with your clients, customers, and target market without “selling.” Instead of interrupting them, you are part of the action, and something that they may look forward to. You are the conversation that they are looking for, instead of a sales pitch. The customer will feel that the information you deliver is making them smarter or their lives better.

At the heart of this type of marketing is the ability and willingness of a business to deliver consistently valuable information that entertains and educates your buyer. So you probably think, “Hey I have a blog, and I’m on Facebook,” and that is a great start. But what it comes down to (and which is ultimately the difference between content marketing that works, and content marketing that fails), is the content.

So How Do I Make it Work?

Look at your Facebook page or YouTube channel. Does it have messages that interest you, or is it focused on the interests of the consumer? Does every post end with a sales pitch, a “coupon,” or an offer? How about your blog? If your blog is dedicated to your sales efforts, you can rest assured that it is unlikely to be read by anyone except your sales team.

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