Snooping (Respectfully): A Marketer Must-Do

18 05 2011

Market research doesn't have to be nosyFor this blog, you’ll need your binoculars, tape recorder, telephoto lens, phone bug and… just kidding.

All you REALLY need for some good, old-fashioned dirt-digging is your computer, your common sense and your courtesy. Here’s the deal…

Knowing where to advertise is half the battle when you’re making your marketing decisions. And deciding where to advertise starts with an understanding of your customers’ interests. What do they read, watch and do? Where do they travel, relax and work? When do they buy, daydream and socialize?

The answers will give you important clues about where you should lay those marketing dollars.

You can pay an arm, a leg and a first-born child to have demographic and target market research managed by professional firms. And if you’re on your way to Fortune 500 status, this may well be a viable and valuable option. But, if you’re a smaller company with a budget to match, there is another way.

So, let’s start our respectful “snooping”, shall we…

Lay It All Out There
Let’s start with the most forthright fountain of information – the customers themselves. Asking well-thought-out questions with total transparency makes people feel comfortable, excites an eagerness to help and provides you with just what you need to know. Questionnaires, surveys and “how did you hear about us?” at the cash register are excellent places to start.

Do the majority of your customers read the Sunday paper? Then that’s the perfect day and place to advertise your kite repair service!

Do they spend week nights on Facebook? Post your pizza coupons!

Travel the highways on their work commute? Get those hand-brewed coffee billboards up!

Working Social Media
Savvy marketer that you are, you’ve been on Facebook (or Twitter, or LinkedIn, or…) for ages, “friend”ing your wonderful customers, and building up “likes” on your business page. You’re posting great information regularly. But are you “listening” as well as you “talk”?

Your customers’ comments, the pages they “like”, and the causes they support are valuable nuggets of marketing information. A runners’ shop might notice that their fans are all raving about a particular race. Perfect! It will receive the shop’s full support – advertising and man-power – next year. Maybe you catch your customers quoting regularly from The Wall Street Journal. An ad there could be worth it’s weight in gold.

This is non-creepy, perfectly respectful information gathering at it’s finest.

Participate
Through friendly chats and social media, you’ve learned about events, shops and restaurants that your customers totally “dig”. Now go the next step.

The ones that pop up regularly in these conversations are ones you should consider visiting. There may be marketing options there, OR you may be wise to advertise where they’re advertising OR a visit may inspire some zany and wonderful marketing ideas. Just be creative!

Understand that I in no way condone underhanded, disrespectful or illicit acquisition of information.

So, rather than private eyes and magnifying glasses, think in terms of honest curiosity. The information is there. See what you can discover!

“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” – Zora Neal Hurston

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com





Business, Meet Pleasure: The Facebook Conundrum (Part II of II)

2 02 2011

Launching your posts into social media orbitSo, social media. It’s a marketing tool. Let’s move on…

Last week, I gave you some ideas about how to post responsibly, and how to hold yourself accountable with regular posting. This lays the foundation for your social media marketing success.

Now, in this second part to my “Facebook Conundrum” blog, let’s talk content. Of all the questions my clients ask with regards to social networking, this one tops the charts:

“What the heck do I post about?”

There are a couple things you want to keep in mind here. First, Facebook and MySpace and Twitter (etc.) are, above all, about fun. It’s fun to indulge our mildly voyeuristic desire to peek into people’s daily lives and activities. Many users recognize this on some level, and spruce up their posts with fun commentary, fun links, fun pictures and fun videos. It makes THEM appear fun, and we all like a fun person, right?

On the same bent, businesses who are attempting to market their product or services can tap into this “fun”ness to ramp up their like-ability and memorability.

However, you wouldn’t get very far with your marketing if you blasted funny videos and cartoons all day, every day. You’ve got something to sell, and that somehow needs to get across to your readers. Hard sells aren’t “cool” in these most sacred of online “escape from the daily grind” institutions.

Let’s take a look at some launching pads for post possibilities, shall we?

Resources: You’ve got something we want, and that’s in-depth knowledge of your field. What do you know, that we might need or want to know, too? Links to helpful content? Recommendations? Tips and tricks? Professional advice?

Imagery & Videos: “A picture is worth a thousand words” isn’t just hype. Visuals garner more attention than plain-jane text. If you sell a cool product, have readers contribute photos of them using it. If you offer a first-rate service, post videos of the process. Think creative.

Fun Stuff: The occasional dancing elves video, funny quotation and tongue-in-cheek cartoon are acceptable, too, when used in good taste.

Soft Sells: Don’t beat people over the head with your sales spiel; sometimes it’s okay to beat around the bush. Invite them to store barbecues. Laugh about a funny situation at work. Share your joy over a super-satisfied customer. If you’re genuine, people will respond.

Questions: One of the best ways to figure out what your potential customers like or want is… drum roll, please… to ask!! Go figure! Throwing out the occasional query gives you a good gauge of who’s reading, and helps you direct future content toward what they want to know.

If you’d like to see five of my favorite examples of businesses, local and otherwise, that are doing a phenomenal job of social media marketing, check out the following (click their name to visit their Facebook page). A measure of their success is how often people post or respond to posts on their page. Take a look:

Disney

Hometown Bicycles

Old Spice

Shi Lessner Photography

Photojojo

There are, of course, manymanymany more not listed here that are equally noteworthy. What’s your favorite? Your own business perhaps? Share it here!! You may very well pick up a few more Facebook friends!

“I take my business seriously. I don’t take myself seriously.”  ~Candice Olson, Divine Design

Dawn M. Bhajan  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com





Business, Meet Pleasure: The Facebook Conundrum (Part I of II)

26 01 2011

When Business meets PleasureIn the span of just a few years, social media use ramped up from a little-known lark to something resembling a unifying world religion. It’s a fast-and-furious mix of friends and associates, play and work, trivialities and critical information, pleasure and – of course – business.

As a business owner, you have a guided purpose to your social media use. You aspire to build interest, loyalty, recognition and most definitely sales. It’s marketing, pure and simple.

But here’s the Facebook (and Twitter, MySpace, etc.) Conundrum: In a venue that’s pleasure powered, how do you make your business message not only acceptable, but a true, blue, “wanna-read” for your customer connections?

Vegetables before dessert; here’s the adult admonishment first. Be responsible. WE are responsible for representing our businesses well, by representing ourselves well. WE are responsible for posting useful and meaningful content. WE are responsible for building an intriguing presence. WE are responsible for posting regularly.

This last part is particularly important. Once-a-week posters can kiss “building recognition” goodbye. Why? Because you’re single, lonely post will disappear amongst the mass of baby-news posts from their sister, questionable joke posts from their friends and daily update posts from their favorite groups and causes.

Remember my previous post regarding Marketing Location? You want your post location to be at the top of their page; you achieve that with frequent posting. Once or twice a day is a good average, if (and only if) you’ve got the content to back it up. More often has the potential to become annoying. Less often leaves you vulnerable to disappearing unnoticed down their page.

Here’s a little trick I’ve devised to keep my posts on target. For each of the five business days, pick a subject or a concept to guide your post. For example, post weekly specials every Monday. A favorite quote could go up every Tuesday. Wednesdays could be your day for featuring a cool customer. You don’t have to follow it to the “T”, but it gives your posts a purpose, your readers something to look forward to, and it keeps the creativity flowing.

If you’re already my Facebook friend, you may recognize my own post schedule:

MON – Dawn’s Realistic Running Tip of the Week (a hobby for which I am well known)
TUE – DMT Design of the Week (featured graphic design project)
WED – Educational Marketing Blog Post (what you’re currently reading)
THU – DMT Drawing of the Week (featured artwork project)
FRI – Free-for-All (just ‘cuz)

I can easily hold myself accountable for these posts, because I’ve defined what I want them to be.

Stuck on what to post? Check back next week for Part II of this article, where we’ll talk content, creativity and Facebook genius!

Where business IS a pleasure:

DMT Artistry, LLC  |  Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com





Face Time Begets Face Time: Market Yourself!

11 05 2010
Hello, my name is Dawn!

Hello, my name is Dawn! (Photo courtesy Jim Gilligan)

In a day and age where you can find out whether your marketing architect prefers smooth or crunchy peanut butter (crunchy, by the way), review your drycleaner‘s cross-country cycling photos, and monitor the progress of your favorite bike shop owner’s habanero plant, there is absolutely no question that today’s businesses have a straight-as-an-arrow link to the people who run them.

What does this mean?

Consumers want to know YOU. They want to know what you look like, what you’re about, who you’re friends with… they want to know the PERSON they’re buying from, as much as the COMPANY they’re buying from.

Guess what: This gives small companies a serious advantage over large corporations. Use it!

Put your picture and your personality into your marketing. Let people “meet you” through your advertising. Don’t exactly rate at movie star-level looks? Doesn’t matter. As long as you look approachable and human, you’re miles ahead of the take-a-number, computerized phone voice that plagues most of our big box company interactions.

There’s a reason corporations plaster their marketing materials with happy people pictures. It’s to appeal to our subconscious attraction to other homo sapien sapiens. But let me ask you this:

Would you be more likely to buy insurance on the scripted testimonial of a hired spokesmodel, or on the sincere recommendation of a trusted acquaintance?

So, let people know you personally. Of course, be professional about it, but move yourself from the role of spokesperson to trusted acquaintance.

Your “face time” on your company’s advertising will help beget “face time” with new customers. Try it and let us know how it works for you!

Contact me any time for ideas on how to ramp up your “face time” to help build your company’s success: Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com





Remodeling Real Estate Marketing

7 05 2010

Over 19 years in the Livingston County real estate business has made Linda Kilarski of Keller Williams Realty a field expert, a respected Realtor and a trusted resource for home buyers and sellers alike.

The Challenge: Linda was eager to reach homeowners through the increasingly popular venues of social networking and online media. But, like many successful business people, she was finding it difficult to eek out enough time to get her social media accounts in working order.

The DMT Solution: No problem, Linda! She provided me with the information and resources I needed to create/update her accounts on multiple social media and real estate blog sites, as well as complete her professional profiles, launch a Linda Kilarski of Keller Williams Fan Page on Facebook, and begin posting her commentary and blog topics.

Now that she’s on a roll, I am continuing to help Linda manage and monitor her many accounts, with the goal of marketing her talents, her dedication, her knowledge and her wonderful personality on the World Wide Web.

We’re keeping it informative but entertaining, with helpful hints and fun facts and links.

Want to get a jump-start on your own social networking plan? Contact me any time!: Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  (810) 923-4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com





That’s the power of Facebook, baby!

6 04 2010

He proposed!For those who are regular DMT blog readers, bravo… you are clearly people of great intellect, even greater wisdom and stunning good looks. Dedicated followers that you are, you perhaps noticed the absence of my regular client spotlight post on Friday.

As it turns out, having someone special kneeling in front of you with a ring in their hand instantly modifies all of your plans for the rest of the day – and the rest of your life. Yes, indeed, Friday was a very good day… and let me tell you how it exemplified what a brilliant application Facebook is…

Within moments of my floating – I mean, driving – home, I had Facebook up and cranking. There were so many people I wanted to tell. What better way than to say it once, and have it reach them all? Within half a moment of posting my changed “relationship status”, I received my first congratulatory phone call… he had seen my post on Facebook. No joke.

Moments later, a wonderful wave of felicitations washed through my Facebook wall. I was suddenly celebrating with not only myself and my fiancé, but with many of the people whom I admire, respect and care about. Incredible.

Can you pick up on the business potential here? If you can craft your messages so that they touch people on some significant level that triggers memories or emotions – good or bad – you will have earned the attention of your “friends” or “fans”.

And, P.S., they’re not called “friends” and “fans” for nothing. These are people who care about you or your business in some fashion… who, in fact, CHOSE to connect with you. For that reason, they will always be more willing to hear and act upon what you have to say.

I might also add that immediately upon changing my status to “Engaged”, 98% of my Facebook ads (the promotional blurbs along the right) turned entirely to weddings – wedding flowers, wedding venues, wedding dresses. And you know what? We DO have a wedding to plan, and I ACTUALLY APPRECIATE THESE ADS! They may be unsolicited, but that doesn’t mean they’re unwelcome. Why? Why because they’re timely and relevant, of course!

Think about who needs your product or service as you are crafting your own ads. The more targeted you get, the more return on investment you can expect to see. And keep in mind who your audience is as you’re crafting your ad copy and graphic. A punk rocker florist ad would not inspire me to click. Nor would a cake designer who writes like a kindergartner and uses clown colors in their ad.

Think about it. Your customers and potential customers are just a well-planned click away… that’s the power of Facebook, baby!

If you want to get creative with your Facebooking, but aren’t certain where or how to start, drop me an email: dawn@dmtartistry.com. I consult, I create, I design, and I would be happy to help your business make waves in the social media scene!





You are Your Business: 5 Tips to Market YOU

17 03 2010

"Hello, my name is Dawn..." 5 Tips on How to Market YOU.With Social Networking and modern marketing practices, our personal identities have become inextricably linked to the businesses we own and operate. Why? Because in most cases we feel more comfortable buying from a person than a business entity. These days, it’s all about that magical “one-to-one” connection.

Here are 5 tips you can use to help give your business a “human” touch:

1) Post your and your employees photos everywhere – website, email marketing, business cards, email signature, etc. And I’m not talking about stuffy, tight-lipped shots either. There’s a difference between professional and prudish. You can smile warmly, and still look like an expert!

2) Update your online personal profile pictures with images of YOU… not your dog, not your best friend, not your favorite beverage. YOU.

3) Go forth and network. Online networking is just dandy, but face-to-face, handshake contact can seal the deal.

4) Tell us a little about yourself. A brief summary about what makes you unique will put the personality back in your business. Forget the typical “I like to fish, swim and hang out with my friends.”

“I know how to take down a mastodon” (Jim Gilligan, Snedicor’s Cleaners).
“I lost 107 lbs… and kept it off.” (Lori Wengle, Change Your World Fitness).
“I’ve had lunch with America’s top Pro Bull Riders” (Sarah Colburn, Scott Colburn Western Wear).

Now THOSE are conversation starters.

5) Spotlight your top clients. Testimonials (with first name and city) let people know that others in their community love your service. Showcase how they’re using your product or service, or even give them a place to post their own comments. You’re marketing yourself by letting others do the talking!

Have examples of creative self-business promotion in action? Please share!