Category Archives: Uncategorized

From Marketing to Safaris!

Serengeti Safari Co - go on safari here!Hello!

I wanted to let you know that I’ve started a new company. Instead of creating Marketing for others, I’m now doing it for my own company, Serengeti Safari Co.

Serengeti Safari Co offers personalized African safaris and Mt. Kilimanjaro climbs.

Through my husband and my years of travel in Africa, living in Kenya and Tanzania and going on many safaris, we help people create a trip of a lifetime!

To explore a safari vacation, Mt. Kilimanjaro climb, Zanzibar holiday or cultural experience, visit Serengeti Safari Co’s website.

You can also check us out on Facebook or see lots of fantastic safari and Kilimanjaro photos on Pinterest.

Janine Dalton Marketing is still around, however one of my very talented colleagues is taking care of clients.

 

 

Small Business Marketing Toronto Workshop

Small business marketing toronto workshop buttonsI’ve been thinking for quite a while about  how I can help more small businesses. Specifically how to help more businesses in Toronto find more customers (or find more clients) and get their business to the next level so the small business owner can live the life they want.

Then I met a lovely designer and branding expert named Kim Speed. Kim is the owner of Purple Moon Creative, and she and I hit it off right away. She’s a really friendly and kind person, and similar to me in that we like to help others.

Plus, professionally, her designs are terrific, and I’m a sucker for nice designs!

Kim and I got to talking and found that she was having the same thoughts as me; how to help more small businesses in Toronto. (with branding, marketing, social media….all to help the business grow!)

We decided that the best way to help more small business owners in an affordable way would be to offer a workshop. Something that took into account that most small business owners Small Business Marketing Toronto logowould be working a lot, so want something short (but long enough to get all the important information in!) An intimate workshop – where participants could actually ask questions rather than get lost in the crowd. Something in-person, because it would encourage (force?!) small business owners to really put aside the time to focus on their business. And since both Kim & I are located in Toronto, it’s in Toronto.

I am SO excited to share all this great information with you — how to find more clients, figure out where your ideal clients are, and get your business to the next level!

Please check out our Small Business Marketing Workshop (in Toronto) and let me know if you have any questions, comments, etc. The first session is Jan 30/Feb 6 (evenings).

I hope this helps your business grow and succeed in 2014!

Janine
ps. We’ve got an early booking special on until early January.

 

The Ultimate Social Media Sizing Cheat Sheet

My friend sent this social media sizing cheat sheet to me and it’s SO good and I refer to it SO often that I wanted to share it.

If you’ve ever been in Facebook and had a photo look blurry, this will help you fix that problem. Or if you’ve wondered exactly how much space you have for your G+ header. (it’s lots, by the way!)

So head on over to LunaMetrics.com and check out this terrific social media sizing cheat sheet!

If you have any questions about this please email me. Or, sign up for my email newsletter to receive monthly practical Marketing tips and advice directly to your inbox.

Social Media sizing cheatsheet

Been Avoiding Something?

ProcrastinationEver have something you’re procrastinating doing? Something that you know you have to do, but for whatever reason something is holding you back?

That was me last week. It felt like part of a project was hanging over my head, and while I’musually very diligent about digging in and getting things done, I found myself coming up with excuses…..mostly because it involved a computer program I’d never used, and I wasn’t very keen on learning.

So you might wonder what happened……?

Well, yesterday I decided to pack in the excuses and get down to business. I sat down and mapped out what needed to be done, and this afternoon I got a good chunk of the work done.

And you know that feeling you get when you accomplish something? Well, it definitely felt good to get over that initial “hump” that had caused me to avoid it in the first place!

I know that for many small business owners, especially wellness practitioners, it’s easy to procrastinate on marketing their business. It can feel like the last on a big list of things “to do”, overwhelming, and many people just don’t know where to start. I’m guessing it’s not what attracted you to your line of work, and may not be your favourite thing to do. (I know that is most certainly the case with a number of my clients!)

I’d like to encourage you to “Go for it!” Jump in and get started!

Wondering where to start marketing your small business? As a starting point – I’ve got several blog posts that will be useful when learning how to market a small business. Check out “Back to Marketing Basics – Part I” or “Back to Marketing Basics – Part II”

And if you need more help, just post your question on one of my social media (Facebook, G+, Twitter, LinkedIn) or  email me.

Sign up for my email newsletter to keep receiving monthly practical Marketing tips and advice.

Small Business Marketing in Toronto

Make Your Small Business Stand Out!What does it take to successfully market a small business in Toronto?

Here are three small business marketing best practices that will help make things easier for you.

1. Know Your Company
Sounds simple, I know! You built it, after all. But do you know what makes you different from your competition, and why someone should choose to do business with you, rather than others? Toronto is big enough that you need to be clear on what you do in order to effectively market your small business rather than try to be everything to everyone and just confuse people.

2. Know Your Potential Clients
If you are very clear about who you want to do business with it is so much easier not only to know how you can help them, but also to find them! Where do they shop? Are they married/single/have kids? What do they read? What do they want out of life? What are some of their problems? (and how can you solve them?)

3. Connect!
Since you’ve already thought about your potential clients, you should have an idea of where to find them. ie. LinkedIn groups for business/professional, Twitter for busy people on the go, or Pinterest for people looking for inspiration. Before you jump into any online (or in-person!) conversation, look at the forum/group/media to make sure your ideal clients are on it, as well as see what kinds of information (“content”) people are sharing. You need to use the language your potential clients are expecting.

In the end, small business marketing in Toronto is quite similar to many other cities. It’s a matter of doing your homework before you start!

If you have questions, or want to get help marketing your small business, just contact me. I’d be happy to help you succeed!

5 Ways to Engage With Social Media

Engage CustomersWant to connect with more potential clients, get to know them, and help many more people? Social media is an excellent tool to reach people, and these days it can can partially replace (or boost) your in-person client-finding efforts.

Here are 5 tips to help you engage your current or potential clients.

1. Know your audience. Most importantly, what do they want, and how you can help them? ie. Most of my social media followers are small business owners (with limited time!) who are directly responsible for their Marketing, so I share short, actionable tips on social media and general marketing. Keep your posts relevant to your audience, avoid too many personal topics, and always be professional and positive.

2. Vary your posts to keep people from falling asleep. ie. photos, a contest, quotes, facts & statistics, links to relevant articles/blogs, offers, videos, maybe even a joke or two. This will keep it interesting!

3. Start a dialogue. How? Ask questions! Send a short survey! Don’t you like when someone asks what YOU think? Me too! For example, you could use the poll function on your Facebook page, or send a survey to people on your email list. (which can also give you really important information about your audience too!) Warning – if it looks like “work” most people won’t take the time. (sorry, but it’s true)

4. Don’t carry on about your business. Most of what you share should be helping others with just a small percentage about you.

5. Track your results. Which of your Twitter posts was re-tweeted or commented on the most? Post more like that! What newsletter subject got the most opens? Your audience would like more like that!

These 5 tips are just the beginning, but they’re a great start. For an analysis of your social media or other Marketing just contact me. I’d be happy to help you succeed!

How to Schedule Your Posts in Facebook

Did you know you can schedule your posts in Facebook? It’s really handy if you want to plan in advance and schedule a bunch of posts at the same time. Here’s how to do it:

1. Type our your post as usual.
2. Right underneath your post is a clock symbol. Click on it and set the year, month and date.
3. Click “post”
4. You’re done!

FacebookSchedulePosts

 

 

3 Ways to Boost Your 2013 Wellness Marketing

Do you want your Marketing to be organized and run well this year? Want to feel on top of it, rather than like a dog chasing it’s tail? Want results?

Below are three things you can do to organize and plan your Marketing for 2013.

1. Review your 2012 marketing 
While you may not have tracked your 2012 efforts, go back and think about each marketing activity and whether it worked for you. Some of the questions you might ask of each marketing activity include: Did it bring me any clients? (if that was one of your goals) Did I enjoy doing it, or was it completely painful? (hint: drop it or outsource if you dislike doing it) How much did it cost? (Money or time) And did it pay for itself? (if that was one of your goals)

2. Set out your business goals for 2013
ie. Do you want more clients? Want more visibility for your business? Want to be current? Want to educate more people? This is when you should think of results and measurement. ie. If you want more clients, why not set a goal of getting 2 more clients per week? (or whatever you think would be realistic for your business)

3. Research the “media”*
Make a list of ones that could help you achieve your goals and start trying them out, one by one. (set and track results for each one so you know whether it worked for you)

*By “media” I mean both “online”/Social Media (ie. Twitter, Youtube, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) and “offline” (ie. flyers, brochures, posters, events, etc.)

If you’d like help getting your 2013 Marketing organized or putting together a Marketing Plan to help you get where you want to be just contact me. I’d be happy to help you succeed!

Do you Embody Your Marketing?

EmbodyWellnessMarketing

Do you embody how you want your clients to look, feel or act? And, do you think it is important to look/act how your clients expect OR is it more important to have the knowledge to help your clients attain their goals?

Here’s a story…… This week I went to a boxing exercise class at a local gym. I was very surprised when I saw the instructor; I’m guessing she weighed 250lbs. Now, there’s *nothing* wrong with that weight, but it was not what I expected. I imagined that the gym would have someone more “aspirational” as a fitness instructor. So, I didn’t expect a very challenging workout.

I’m pleased to say that it was an *excellent* workout. Not only was the instructor motivating and encouraging, she was also knowledgeable about the more technical aspects of how to punch/kick properly (and avoid injury!). She also had a fun and funny personality, which I appreciate. She didn’t actually lead the class; she acted more as a coach, but that’s fine with me. (and I love that this gym hires “real people” rather than only “models”)

For me this experience brought up not just personal expectations, but also the business side.

As a Wellness Practitioner, how important is it for you to be as clients or patients expect you to be?

My personal opinion is that professional skills are much more important, but embodying clients’ expectations also factors into getting hired. Ideally, your “Marketing Message” should permeate all parts of your business. ie. If you are a Naturopathic Doctor who focusses on children’s health and healthy eating, many clients will perceive you as more credible if they know you help come up with healthy menus for school lunch programs.

Obviously, this varies by Practitioner, their area of expertise and their Marketing Objectives (which should be in line with where they want their business to be).

Honesty in Marketing?

MarketingLetterThe other day I received this letter in the mail. The envelope had no names on it, just my address and a return address. So, with some curiosity, I opened it.

When I saw the letter I was pretty sure I knew what this was about. I’d received similar “I want to buy your house” messages from Real Estate Agents in the past. BUT, they weren’t so disguised as this one.

Just because I was curious, I looked up the phone number online. Turns out people were complaining about getting the same letter as me.

I don’t know about you, but there is NO WAY I would entrust the sale of my home to someone who couldn’t even ask for my business in a forthright and honest way. This Agent likely didn’t have many Marketing ideas, and didn’t know where to find clients, so he did something he thought would work.

As someone who serves others, your reputation IS your business. I’m sure you would have the sense not to try something like this Real Estate Agent did, but you might have been approached about a Marketing opportunity that sounded just a bit too good to be true.

Just a reminder to stay honest in your Marketing and enjoy that good feeling! (plus the business it will bring in :)

ps. If you’re so inclined, check out my Facbook page. On it I post various short marketing tips as well as other thoughts, tidbits and inspiration. Plus, if you “like” me I’ll “like” you back, and we’ll both feel loved.

Social Media: It’ll Cure What Ails You!

Do you remember what you heard a few months after Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook or FourSquare or YouTube or blogs or pretty much any new Social Media came into existence?

Each of these Social Media was going to change the way we communicate, change the world……..and be the answer to businesses prayers. Businesses could stop any other marketing ideas they had and simply use social media. People would come in droves!

Social Media has definitely changed the way we communicate, and shaped our world. For example, in a crisis we get most up-to-the-minute information via Twitter, and if we’re shopping many of us will purchase through Ebay or look at Craigslist.

Now the disappointing part……I think we all know that Social Media has not been the miracle cure we small business owners would have loved.

Many small business owners are not sure how effectively use Social Media, so sign up for lots of them, spread themselves too thin and use all poorly. They sign up for ones because they think they *should*; ones they really don’t like using. This ends up being a waste of time, and frustrating.

Some wellness professionals also haven’t figured out which Social Media are best for their business.

When all is said and done, the biggest benefit to Social Media, one that is sometimes forgotten, is that Social Media allows businesses to connect with potential clients and develop relationships. In our modern world everything is done online, which has resulted in people coming together and connecting online. People still feel a need to connect to people and want to know, like and trust those they do business with. This is especially true for wellness professionals, who are often offering help and advice rather than a tangible product.

Although Social Media is useful, businesses still need a solid online media strategy (ie. to know who they want to talk to, what kind of Social Media these people use, and what their problems are). If this is an area in which you struggle, a Marketing professional like me can help sort things out and get you on the path to using the right media in the right way. Then it might seem like Social Media really IS the answer to your business prayers!

ps. If you’re so inclined, check out my Facbook page. On it I post various short marketing tips as well as other thoughts, tidbits and inspiration. Plus, if you “like” me I’ll “like” you back, and we’ll both feel loved.

Website Grader

I just discovered this website grader and need to share it! All you have to do is enter your website, a couple of competitors, and your email address.

What you get is a report that is suprisingly comprehensive. It includes a grade, but more importantly it gives you information both on what is working on your website and what needs to be improved. ie. how to optimize your site, maximizing your return on content, checking how many sites link to yours, looking at your site’s social popularity and more.

My favourite part is that it tells you how to improve!

Grade your website

ps. If you’re so inclined, check out my Facbook page. On it I post various short marketing tips as well as other thoughts, tidbits and inspiration. Plus, if you “like” me I’ll “like” you back, and we’ll both feel loved.

Facebook: to “Like” or “Unlike”?

As a wellness practitioner you’re probably asked if you’re on Facebook. Many people think they *have* to be on Facebook in order for their business to be successful.

It’s true that Facebook has more than 800 million users every day. And each of those users has an average of 130 Facebook “friends”.

Based on this fact alone you can be pretty sure your potential patients are on Facebook. They’re commenting on their daily lives, people that inspire them, things that make them angry and the silly things their kids have done.

Facebook is about relationships, and as wellness practitioners your business is based on relationships, so Facebook is a natural fit. It allows you to more quickly build trust with your existing and potential clients, and people will buy from those they trust.

Facebook also enables you to more deeply connect with people; you can hear their feedback and talk to them in a more informal way. Plus, it allows your followers friends to see what you’re saying, which helps build your network.

Also, there are some things that don’t belong on your website but may be relevant to your potential clients; Facebook is an ideal place for these items. ie. I post many inpspirational work quotes. They speak to me, and my FB fans like them to!

Another way Facebook helps your business is with your Google ranking – having a Facebook page gives your potential client more ways to find you, and search engines reward this since it makes you more relevant.

Facebook logoFacebook is a great addition after you have a website. Your website should come first because it will have all the information that doesn’t change as frequently, or require as much interaction from customers.

You might be wondering what the downside to Facebook is…the “unlike” part of this article. The biggest downside to Facebook is that it takes time. It takes time to set up your page, to think of what to post, to increase your number of fans. As a small business owner I know your time is limited! Before you start on Facebook stop and think about whether there is something else that will give you a bigger bang for your buck. Then plan out your postings if possible and keep a file of thoughts or ideas for posts.

If you’re so inclined, check out my Facbook page. On it I post various short marketing tips as well as other thoughts, tidbits and inspiration. Plus, if you “like” me I’ll “like” you back, and we’ll both feel loved.

IKEA’s 2013 Catalogue; Listening to Customers

Marketing lesson from IKEAWhen the IKEA 2013 catalogue arrived on my doorstep this past Thursday I was really excited! Every year upon receiving the magazine I sit down, look through it from cover to cover, and find all sorts of new products, ideas and inspiration. (Why are there so many things I didn’t even know I needed?!)

Upon opening the 2013 IKEA catalogue I found it really interesting to discover that the format had changed. I was surprised that IKEA is now showing people how to really personalize their furniture and accessories, with photos of IKEA tables covered with strips of fabric and a tablecloth that dinner guests have decorated themselves. My guess is that customers let IKEA know they were tired of their furniture looking like IKEA furniture, the same furniture as everyone else has….!

Another difference in this year’s catalogue is that it directs readers to get more information via their smart phone or tablet rather than online. All you have to do is scan icons on various pages for films, how-to guides, etc. This change in technology tells me that IKEA found that most of their customers wanted info quickly and easily on their smart phone/tablet.

What these changes point to is the fact that IKEA is listening to their customers and changing how they do business. They’re adapting, both to their customers’ product preferences and to the technology their customers are using.

Now I have to ask — are you listening to your customers? Not just asking the questions, but when you have the answers are you implementing changes?

I know small businesses don’t always have the manpower to conduct surveys or track and analyze everything (though you can hire me to do that!) however, you can listen to your customers by looking at which of your Facebook, Twitter, etc. posts are most popular and providing people more of that type of content. You could also adjust your services based on in-person customer feedback (ie. more self-care tips from a Physiotherapist) or create relevant packages.

Being able to take feedback and implement change is really important. Why don’t you take a few minutes now and look to see if there is any feedback you could use to improve your offerings?

Back to Marketing Basics: Part II

Create a very specific marketing message about who you help and their challenges

I created this “Back to Marketing Basics” series to help give you greater clarity with your marketing (and business in general). Please read Part I before you read Part II. It’ll just make more sense that way. :)

I can’t stress how important creating messages about how you help potential clients is. I’ve seen many professionals and companies talk about themselves, what they can do, their education, etc. but forget that it’s really all about their client.

Your client wants to know what you can do for them. In order to help your potential client, you need to talk to them about what’s bothering them, what’s holding them back, what they want, where their pain is (literally or figuratively). ie. when I first meet with potential clients, I often start off by asking them what their biggest problem is. (in business, that is!) Then we discuss how I can help solve that problem.

When doing this, the format should always be “problem – solution”.

Your assignment this month is to answer these questions:

1. What are your potential clients’ biggest problems?
2. How can you help them? (or what can you do to solve these problems)

For an example of how to use your answers to these questions look at my homepage. You’ll see I’ve put my client’s problems right up front and centre, and just below that are my solutions. This is just one way you could do it; there are many more.

Rona’s Olympic Advertising

After watching the 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, I felt the need to send a shout out to an Olympic advertiser: Rona.

This Canadian company’s same-store sales have been falling in 2012 while one of it’s competitors, The Home Depot, has been enjoying a steady increase.

In a bid to win back customers Rona has played it’s ultimate card in it’s 2012 Olympic ad; the “Canadian” card. This is Rona’s biggest point of differentiation in the marketplace, and they’re using it well!

Rona’s Olympic ad is clever, inclusive of Canada’s regions and sports, funny enough to keep you watching (and guessing), and shows the pride many Canadians have in their country (and according to Rona, their home improvement projects!).

Next step for Rona should be taking a look at it’s pricing; I don’t think Canadian pride is enough to get most people paying more for products.

Note: You may have noticed this blog post is different than my usual tips/advice for wellness practitioners/small businesses. I’m a huge Olympics fan and somehow while watching the 2012 Opening Ceremony I couldn’t take off my “Marketing Hat”!

Who should create your website?

So you’ve decided to create a website for your company or new business venture. That’s great! A website is one of the things that will give your company credibility, plus answer questions, let potential clients get to know you, and help them actually find you online.

You might be wondering whether you need to hire someone to develop and produce your website or if you can do it yourself. Your budget may be a bit tight and at this point you may have slightly more time than money.

If you’re interested, you can definitely go ahead and build your own website. There are lots of online website development solutions, including WordPress, Wix, and templates that come with the website host you choose. With very little technical knowledge you can have your website up and running pretty quickly.

However, many of these templates can be limiting; they are templates after all. If you don’t know some programming (ie. Cascading Style Sheets) this can be pretty frustrating. Just doing something “simple” like changing the font size can take hours to figure out. (but if you’re patient and resourceful you can do it)

If you avoid this by starting out with a web design company you can save both the time and the frustration of having to figure out technical problems on your own. Sometimes it’s worth it.

However……many web design companies aren’t Marketing experts. They can build a website, as long as you tell them exactly what it should look like and provide all your content. That’s not a bad thing, if you know what you’re doing.

What’s still missing is the strategy a Marketing professional brings to the table. It’s the higher level business thinking and discussion about who your target is, what the best way to speak to them is, and thinking about how to best engage them on your website, just to name a few things.

A website is not like the movie Field of Dreams — “If you build it (they) will come”. A Marketing professional will also be able to suggest to you how to attract people to your website and achieve your business goals.

Ultimately, every step towards having a professional website is a good one! If you’d like to discuss how a Marketer like me can make a difference building your website, please contact me. Or if you’d like a review of your existing website (to make it work even better!) I’m here for you.

Back to Marketing Basics: Part I – Be Clear on your Niche

Not sure where to start your marketing? Or, have you started but are feeling a bit lost? Since it’s summer and you may have a bit more time on your hands I have some homework for you. Doing it will give you greater clarity on your business and who you want to work with. Stay tuned for Part II, but let’s get started now!

Get out your note-taking technology of choice and answer the following questions:

1. Who are you?
Every professional is different, even within the same field. Write down what makes you different – why someone should come to see you (or come to your clinic) instead of someone else. ie. “I’m a Massage Therapist who specializes in pregnancy massage” OR “At our clinic you’ll not just receive high quality treatment – you’ll also have fun!” Competition with others in your field is not usually an issue because no two practitioners are the same!

2. Who do you want to serve (or work with)?
Yes, you do need to narrow down who you want to work with, because if you try to talk to everyone no-one will listen. If you’re struggling with this, think about who you’ve worked with in the past (even in practicums) and who you most enjoyed working with. Think about who you can help the most. Also think about who can afford your services (sorry healers out there — but you do need to make money to survive! :) Choose potential clients you love to help – your enthusiasm will come through and people will respond to it.

So that should be enough to get you started. If you want to talk this through, or have any questions specifically about your business, just email me. I’m happy to help.

Simplify Your Social Media

Are you using social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Foursquare, or a blog (or thinking about it) but are finding it time consuming and overwhelming?

If so, welcome to the party! Social media can take up an immense amount of time and many wellness professionals find it so time consuming that they give up. Instead of throwing in the towel, you can simplify your social media by getting organized. Here are a few ways how.

Plan your posts
Social media seems like it should be spontaneous, but for businesses it shouldn’t be. If you want to save time and have messages that are varied as well as in the same tone you should plan them out ahead of time. (You can add any spontaneous posts as you go along.)

Find Content More Easily
The first step here is to use an RSS feed to curate/collect content (I use Google Reader). I could (and might one day!) write a whole article on content curation, but using an RSS feed is a good starting point.

Have an editorial calendar 
An editorial calendar for your social media can really save you time. It will allow you to;
Have all posts for Twitter, Facebook, etc. in one place
Know what subjects you’ve already posted on and what is coming up
Make sure you have a good variety of types of posts. (ie. informative, graphic, interactive)
I keep all my ideas in one document, then fill in the editorial calendar from it.

Establish a routine
Managing your social media works best with a regular investment of time. (notice I didn’t say a “big” investment!) After you’ve selected and set up your media, you can figure out what routine will work best for you. I try to do the following: monthly – review previous month’s posts and see what was most interesting to my followers, write and post a blog, weekly – check what events/ issues are timely and post/schedule posts on these, daily – check what people I’m following have posted and reply to posts, and on an ongoing basis I put blog/post ideas into my “Ideas” master document.

Schedule posts in advance or in bulk
Services like Hootsuite (link) allow you to schedule posts well in advance and post the same content in multiple places at once (ie. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn). They also allow you to track numbers of clicks you get on each post.

Track posts
You might get tired of hearing that you should track everything *but* wouldn’t you rather give your potential and existing clients information they actually want? If you use a service like Hootsuite you can easily see what posts are most popular, and tailor your content appropriately.

Want to talk about your social media; one you’re currently using or are wondering about? Email me (janine@janinedaltonmarketing.com) and I’d be happy to help!

Money Now or Clients Later?

$I was talking to a client recently about whether she should focus on a project that she thought would give her clients immediately or longer term planning (creating an overall Marketing plan). This is an issue for so many small businesses that I wanted to address it.

When you first start a business is the time you would ideally figure out where you’re going with your business – who you want to serve, how you can best serve them, what you want to say to them, etc. In other words you’d create both a Business and Marketing Plan. BUT you need immediate clients so you can earn a living. Problem!

Here are some solutions….

Most ideal– Start with the marketing (and business) plan – really focus on it and get it done. SO much flows from your marketing plan that if you have it done it’ll be much easier and quicker from there to figure out what things use to achieve your objective(s). (ie. twitter, facebook, postcards, promotions, etc)

Least ideal– Start with the short term goal of getting more business, and the thing or things you think will get you there. This is not ideal because if you skip doing some of the thinking about your ideal clients, overall goals and opportunities, you might actually be trying to reach the wrong people the wrong way, and wasting time and money. Ouch!

The compromise – Do both short and long term planning at the same time. If you’re already working on a specific project (ie. a new website) you can also think about your overall marketing because the two overlap. Then in your “down time” (I know, there’s not a lot!) you can work on the overall plan. This way you’ll have clients now and down the road.

Social Media is Like My Asparagus!

Social Media + Asparagus.....I was in my garden today and was *thrilled* to see my first asparagus EVER poking their heads out of the ground. Asparagus only produces edible shoots upon its third year in the ground, so these asparagus have been a long time coming!

This will probably seem strange to non-marketers, but the sight of these asparagus finally coming out after so long reminded me of social media.

When I planted these seeds three years ago I knew logically that they would take some time before I enjoyed the fruits of my labour. However, I didn’t imagine the time inbetween, the waiting and wondering if these things were really going to grow, or if the effort (and cost) would all be in vain.

Last spring was especially hard. It’d been long enough that I illogically felt like I should be getting some return on my asparagus-growing investment, and the scraggly-looking shoots poking up from the ground were not exactly what I’d imagined. I thought about pulling them up, about giving them away (to a good home of course), of not watering them…..

BUT look at those tiny, tender asparagus today! I’m glad I stuck with them long enough for them to actually produce edible shoots.

Social media, like my asparagus, require patience. They don’t grow overnight. If you hop on one medium (ie. Facebook) then don’t put in the effort, or wait long enough, you won’t see results. Then you might try another (ie. Twitter) and go through the same process with similar lackluster results.

I’m not saying your social media will take as long as my asparagus to grow, only that it may take longer than you expect, and longer than you’d like. How long? The consensus seems to be that in general around 6 months is when you should be seeing results. (though of course this depends on the specific campaign)

So, stick with it and I hope your social media results are as sweet as I imagine my asparagus will be this year!

Save Time & Money; Get a Marketing Plan!

Most people think marketing is a website, ads, brochures, or logos. They jump from initiative to initiative almost haphazardly. Then they wonder why it doesn’t work.

It’s because they don’t have a Marketing Plan.

A Marketing Plan is the overall vision of your marketing. It’s like a roadmap that you use as a reference tool to keep you in the driver’s seat. It is based on your business objectives, and will help you evaluate any marketing opportunities that come your way (so you won’t feel overwhelmed with all the tactics you could use.)
Main sections in a Marketing Plan usually include:

Objectives – what do you want to achieve with your marketing?
Target – who do you want to talk to? What do they want?
Competition – what are they doing, and how are you different?
Tactics – what you’ll do to achieve your objectives
Measurement – must be specific and realistic
Budget – may want to assign a certain amount per month/quarter, or per campaign

Having a marketing plan will help save you time in evaluating opportunities, and will help you avoid wasting money on tactics that don’t work for your business. And really, who wouldn’t like to save a little time and money?