Marketing Tools: Essential, Optional, Insights

Marketing: noun \ˈmär-kə-tiŋ\

: the activities that are involved in making people aware of a company’s products, making sure that the products are available to be bought, etc. (courtesy Mirriam-Webster)

Here’s a beginning list of essential marketing tools.

1. Business cards. These are strong silent sales people and traffic directors. When you have a well designed, easy to read and information savvy card, you’re putting forth an excellent impression of your brand. Include: First & last name of person, direct phone number with area code, direct email and website. If you’re a brick and mortar, you must include legible full street address with zip code. Not including information makes your customers work harder to find you – make it easy.

2. Website. It’s critical to have a webpage, if not a multi-page website. In today’s world, it’s not optional to have one – you must. It’s where the world goes for information. It needs to properly communicate what you do, who you are and what you offer. Bringing you to market is what the site is doing – the market is global and the first impression is tantamount to success.

3. Vehicle graphics. If you drive a vehicle and the business would be well represented on a moving marketing tool, do it. Professionally created and applied decals – even magnets – can be excellent marketing tools. WEB routinely gets stopped at rest stops, pictures are snapped by passing vehicles on the passenger side, and the questions are steady and constant when we are parked, parking or anywhere close to the vehicles we drive. Incredible return on investment here.

Where's your marketing showing up?

Where’s your marketing showing up?

Worth considering though not necessarily necessary.

1. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…etc. Choose the best tools for you by researching which tools do what, how they fit with your mission and then engage. Or not. The key is to choose what works for you.

2. Phone book listing. Take a hard look at what the modern phone book and directories are used for and who uses them. If they still fit the mission and sales goals of your entity, by all means. If they don’t, don’t.

3. Program listings. How many times do you get solicited to “take advantage of this incredible opportunity” to be in someone’s program? Think about these hard before deciding: sometimes it’s a feel-good donation type marketing piece, sometimes it’s not a fit so graciously pass. Don’t fall for the “exposure” line – exposure gives you frost bite or sunburn, but not necessarily business.

A few tips and pointers.

1. Solicitations. If solicited, as the solicitor how much they know about your business or organization. If they’ve done even cursory homework, then they merit attention. Those who want something from you and haven’t done a lick of investigation – don’t bother. If they want something from you they should take the time to look into the fit. Sales of every kind means matching two pieces of the pie together, knowledgeably.

2. Sleep on every offer. You should be able to think and consider every offer, if you wish, at least a day. High pressure is great for a fire hose, it’s not good for decision-making. If the solicitor says they “must know right now!”, pass. You both need to think about things in advance.

3. Advance protocol. Institute a 30 day in advance request period (or 60 day or 4 month….whatever suits you). All requests can be directed to a streamlined and appropriate process if well designed and communication is strong. Making people think ahead is a strong attractant for the ‘right’ people, and a good deterrent for the ones who don’t have their act together.

Be fearless in changing directions too. WEB recently discontinued Facebook as it wasn’t the fit to drive the brand forward to the clients we’re interested in serving. We use twitter with much success as it fits better with our goals and strategy.  It’s a relief of time and undue pressure to not use something that was not as useful as we wanted it to be for our purposes.

Marketing is bringing you and your company to market. It’s about impression, communication, and tools. Consider, research, and use the tools that fit your mission and vision, strategy and tactics. Doing so is smart marketing.

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Website, Website, Website – Before You Go Any Further…

Make absolutely sure that you’ve got the best website you can have. Before you Facebook, before you jump into Twitter, before you invest in the program of the local theatre/concert venue/stadium/school.

A well constructed and functional website that captures the core of what your business and organization is about is what matters most for any sort of advertising, marketing, and business tool. It’s replaced the hard copy published Yellow (and White) Pages of times past.

Please get past the “I have a neighbor/student/friend who is doing my website.” Really?! And what are you *hoping* for with that arrangement? You get what you pay for – and what you don’t pay for can bite you in a very uncomfortable physical location. Are you willing to allow this key ingredient in your success to be farmed out simply due to a relation? How about when things turn sour in the development? What then? Do you want people to hire you and buy your goods, professionally made? Then invest in the professionalism of others who specialize where you don’t.

Are your tools the right ones for communicating with your customers?

Are your tools the right ones for communicating with your customers?

A professional is who you want. Interview a few companies that are capable, preferably based on referrals of people you trust, know and are successful. Choose one – of if none fit, then interview more till you find the fit. Yes, budgets vary greatly – I understand that. All the same, if you aren’t willing to budget for a site to begin with, what does the rest of your plan look like?

A well designed, thought out and executed website will be one of thee most important pieces to your business. Keeping in mind you may not think so. If you don’t think so, you need to get your head out of the sand and pay attention to your business as a potential customer would. I’ve actually had business owners tell me that their customers don’t really want a website; business is fine the way it is.

Wow – I feel sorry for the owner/manager. I feel even more sorry for the customers. How selfish to assume for them. Remember you are not your customer. They are the customer. And you must always look at your business and pursuits with them in mind, if you truly want to serve them.

That’s an extremely ignorant and arrogant way to think about your customers: to assume you know what they want without even asking them.

Do this instead: ask them how they want to be able to find you, learn more about you, share you forward with friends, and get the information they need about you to engage. That’s smart, big picture thinking, wise, and correct. It’s also respectful of the customers who help you buy your groceries and pay your bills.

Putting the horse (FB, Twitter, other online business tools) before the cart (website) will unquestionably confuse the horse (business strategy and staff) as well as those looking for the cart (customers and suppliers).

Keep the horse happy, keep the cart where it should be and start with a website first.

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Importance Of An Up To Date Website

Today’s topic hits home, particularly: Having an up to date website.

Forgive our recent silence as we were going through this very thing (and still finishing up on all parts of the site).

It’d been a while coming for us to take care of a few internal site workings so late last week we got to it. And it’s one arena of business and life I feel unsure of. We all want and ‘need’ to have the online part of life. However, when it’s not quite right and you’re in the middle of something that may be impeded due to updates and maintenance, well – it’s hard to be patient.

And patient we must be.

And there are many talented people available to hire to help you – ask around for a few recommendations. Even if you’re unsure like me, finding the right person to help is key. Here’s one excellent choice.

Make it easy for people to find you

A successful online presence is important, ne – critical, to some this day in age. It’s the yellow pages of days past and if you want to be findable for your customers, you must be online. Somehow and in some way.

Keep in mind that while you may own, run and operate the site, websites and all forms of online media are about the customer. The person who is engaging in the conversation. They need to be able to find you, dig around, make choices and have the info at their fingertips to either support you or find what they need elsewhere.

Having spoken at the NBWA convention again this year on women, craft beer buyers and social media, I have found the feedback on the realization that a website is the first step to be very encouraging. Many distributors in particular and really small breweries don’t have sites. GASP! Get yourself a simple info based, nicely designed site up no later than when you open your doors (however virtual or brick and mortar you may be).

An up to date website is a key part of doing business today. And most likely will be for the foreseeable future. Keep it up to date, make it simple, and get the info out there for your waiting customer.

Tip: Schedule time every month to review at least one of your pages, if you don’t already have the right dedicated person to keep it up to date daily.

 

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Steinlager Pure Musings

The good folks at The Thomas Collective sent us a sample of Steinlager Pure. So here we are – having tasted it and ready to talk a bit about it.

While Women Enjoying Beer is not a beer review business, we are glad to glad to pass along thoughts and ideas about any beers that are so thoughtfully sent out way. Previously we were sent Monteith’s and we get the yummy new releases from Grand Teton regularly. Thanks to them all!

We feature them at events when there are enough samples to pass around to the women who join us.

So – Steinlager Pure: It came in a pressed cardboard 6 pack, in a green bottle. Brown is best as it blocks beer killing sunlight.

Packaging: Simple, classic in a good way, not dated, no sexism (HOORAY!!), and overall well done. Wondering if the bottles in our sample pack – which were wrapped in brown paper – will be wrapped as such in all cases.

Steinlager poured a really beautiful yeast healthy head

Flavor: Crisp, refreshing, on track for a lighter bodied lighter flavored beer. Very nice really. You can pair this beer with many foods that would be happy to be accompanied by a lighter flavored beer. They don’t list the style on the website so we are left wondering what style category it falls into. I’d guess a Pilsner or Kolsh….

Description: Balanced per hops and malty, light straw color, smooth taste. The label, while very clean and uncluttered, needs to have some flavor description on it. When any beer doesn’t have flavor info on it, it’s less likely to appeal to women (focus group input).

The website could use more easily accessible info – like flavor description, style category, and food pairing suggestions.

I’d certainly drink and enjoy a Steinlager Pure again. If you see it on your store’s shelves, and hopefully it’s been kept cool and out of direct sunlight, go ahead and try it.

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