Without Tracking, Your Marketing Dollars Are Pointless

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I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Dan Farris, our Outreach Director, tell a business owner that if they don’t know what their marketing dollars are doing for them, just stop all together and see what happens. That’s exactly what J.C. Penny did with their catalog in 2010 when they discontinued its production. According to an article by Sam Sanders, J.C. Penny is now bringing it back for a select group of customers. They noticed that their online sales decreased in the last five years and after some research, determined the decline was caused by the discontinued catalog.

J.C. Penney spokeswoman Kate Coultas tells Sam Sanders with NPR, “Our research has shown that our customers, particularly when it comes to looking at home merchandise, still prefer to browse a traditional print piece but then go online to order the item or go into our store.” You need to know and understand your target market and how they tick. Five years ago the world was going digital so the decision J.C. Penny made to discontinue the catalog was solid. It’s a good thing they put tracking elements in place to see what was working and what wasn’t. It’s all about a return on investment.

Our team at Complete Media does this day in and day out. It’s all about analyzing the market and using our client’s marketing dollars in the most efficient way possible. When you think about it, what’s the point in investing in your marketing when you don’t know what it’s returning to you?

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Everyone Is In Sales

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“Wait Jessica… I’m not in sales.” Oh, no?  You’re not in sales? “But Jessica, I’m an accountant.” “But Jessica, I’m a stay at home mom.” “But Jessica, I’m running a business and have staff that goes out to bring in new business.” Think about it, the accountant is selling their knowledge on providing tax breaks to their clients. The stay at home mom is selling broccoli and bed making to her children along with selling the idea to her husband that the new pair of shoes she purchased was necessary. The business owner is selling a long term position in the company so they can keep their turnover rate low. Or how about when you’re looking for a promotion? What are you selling then? That’s right, you’re selling yourself.

Every small business owner must take on the role of salesman at some point, whether that is handling suppliers, bankers or customers. As a small business owner, you have the largest impact on your business, larger than any of your employees. Are you screening calls coming in from other businesses? Not returning the phone calls because it could be a waste of your time? The person on the other line might not be able to benefit from your business personally, but everyone has a sphere of influence of 250 people and I bet that they know someone who might be able to benefit from your services. Do you think they’ll want to refer business to you if you never return their phone call? If you’re not giving them the time of day to have a 3 minute conversation on the phone, they are going to assume that’s how you would treat their referral. You just sold this person that you are not a business they would want their network to work with. Every decision you make can affect your business, make sure your actions reflect good customer relations. Or contact Complete Media and we can layout an effective business plan for you!

 

Communication is Everything

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Strong communication skills are one of the most powerful assets of success. Everything we need and desire is achieved through communication on a daily basis. Through communication mastery, success can be achieved in every aspect of your life.

One of the techniques to achieving strong communication is through positive body language. This is also known as nonverbal language which conducts 80% of all communication. This includes your body language, the tone in your voice, and any gestures you make while speaking. Your nonverbal communication can show that you are being an active listener or that you are multitasking. People want to know that you are listening to what they are saying. So let me ask you this…

How do you listen to other people? What does your facial expression say? When a coworker or your significant other is trying to communicate with you, what is your body language telling them? Do you continue to look down at your phone or type away on your computer while they are trying to tell you a story or discuss a problem with you?

One way to show you are actively listening to them is to mirror their body language. This is a way to show enthusiasm at what they are saying and it tells them that you are engaged in their story. Another way to look at this concept is to mirror your body language with what YOU are saying. If you are telling an exciting story, does your body language scream, “You better pay attention to this story because it’s awesome!” or is it a story you have told before and you don’t necessarily want to share it yet again, but you are humoring your audience?

A second way to show active listening is through LEAPS. LEAPS stands for Listen, Empathize, Ask, Paraphrase, and Summarize. Chalene Johnson indicates that through following these steps will help you become an active listener. Listening is defined as giving the speaker your undivided attention. Put down your phone, stop what you are doing, and LOOK at the person that is speaking to you. Empathizing with what the speaker is saying is the next step and this can be one of the hardest steps. This means you need to think about what the person is saying and understand why they are saying it. For example, your friend is having a conversation with you about how you ‘hurt their feelings’. If you cannot set your ego aside and empathize with your friend where they are coming from, you cannot truly actively listen to them. You then need to ask questions to let the speaker know you are actively processing what they are saying followed by paraphrasing sentences so they know you understand. At the end of the conversation, discussing a quick summary is beneficial to ensure everyone is on the same page. This method helps avoid ‘hot button’ conversations that cause larger conflicts.

I know that this blog was a little long, but communication is an extremely important skill for success and I wish nothing but success for you in the future!

Picture Perfect

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The majority of businesses stand by the quality of their product or service, but quality representation of their product or service is often skipped.  What do your consumers see when they go to your website?  Do they see pixilated images?  No images and only content?  Curata, a data management company, conducted a study in 2012 and found that websites with images had 47% more activity than websites without.  47%!

Now look at it from a different angle. Pictures on your site do not mean activity on your site.  Here are a couple of reasons why photos matter…

  1. Images keep it simple.
  2. People respond differently to photos than content.  Content is merely words.  Images help create a relationship or a common interest.
  3. Photos can speak 1,000 words. I know you’ve heard this saying 1,000 times, but is it a false statement?  If you go and look at one of your favorite pictures, how many words could you say about it?  Probably more than 1,000.  If you have the right image for your target market, it’ll create an emotional tie.
  4. Images drive engagement.  Now that you have made an emotional tie, the consumer is likely to look a little deeper around the site.  When they feel connected, they will stay longer.

It’s not always about the content.  You’re content could be great! What matters is how it connects with the consumer and what they are looking for.

 

Need a lift?

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Life can be stressful.
There is no denying that.  Work, home, and pressures from society can make life tough.  Here are some tips that have worked for me to get out of the funk and back to productivity.
    1. Write it down. I’ve recently started (well, restarted for the thousandth time) writing in a journal. Putting my thoughts on paper brings an instant relief from the inner anxiety, allowing me to think more rationally and have more control.

 

    1. Find your musical muse. Mine is Sara Bareilles.  She always knows just what to say to turn my day around.

 

    1. Movie it. “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.”  – Name that movie.

 

    1. Simply laugh. Watching a funny Youtube clip or a comedy flick is great for turning the day around. I’ve recently discovered ‘Wipeout’ and that always gives me a chuckle.

 

    1. Fake it till you make it. If you have to fake a smile for the world, do it because eventually you won’t have to fake it.

 

    1. Stay busy. Rather than spending an evening eating Ben & Jerry’s, go out on the town.  Make plans that you can look forward to. Go out for dinner with your friends, watch the newest movie that’s out in theaters, or better yet, get yourself a massage.

 

  1. Live by the quotes you pin on Pinterest. Ridiculous? Maybe. However, I am constantly telling myself the quotes that I read or find and eventually, I start to believe them. Live positively and positive things will happen to you.
Everyone has different ways to help them relieve the stress. So play with it. Experiment with new techniques or do some of your own research. Either way, you’ll find the ways to best relieve your stress and that will may you a happier, healthier person.