Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Stop using your personal Facebook page for your business

Hey peeps! What on earth is it going to take to get you to understand that you cannot use a personal Facebook page for your business?

Here is what Facebook says about that:

"It's against the Facebook Terms to use your personal account to represent something other than yourself (example: your business), and you could permanently lose access to your account if you don't convert it to a Page."

Making your own Facebook business account is so simple. Chewing corn on the cob is more difficult!

MARKETING TIP: Please don't waste your time building your Facebook into a business when Facebook has the right to shut you down. You will lose your friends and all the time and money you spent creating your page. Do it correctly the first time!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What are the differences between how you operate a FOR and NOT for profit business?

I saw this in my IN box and had to share.

What is the difference between a FOR and NOT for profit business? Note I used the word "business."

Despite what many in the non-profit world think, a non-profit is a business. It is a corporation. It has to be, per IRS rules. To operate, it must have a viable, sustainable income stream.

But there are other factors too. I'm not going to post them here, but you need to read this article.

She talks about the corporate philosophy and community. I encourage you to subscribe to her online information and use it in your non-profit organization.

MARKETING TIP: A non-profit lives off other people's money. That's just the way it is. Non-profit board members and staff have to be accountable for it and be creative when it comes to sustainable operations. When the public sees that level of corporate responsibility, money will come easier.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fundraising? Are you a fish out of water?

Fundraising? Don't be a fish out of water.

An organization of farmers wants to raise money for various projects. They send letters to a lot of corporations, but get no response. They wonder why.

They're fish out of water.

Their board is comprised of farmers. Their fundraising committee is comprised of farmers.

They need people from different industrial segments, like from medicine, banking, insurance, retail, education, food and transportation on their board. They need high profile people who can make connections within their own respective industries.

You don't send a farmer to talk with an insurance company. You send an insurance person to talk with the insurance company. They talk the same lingo. They may even know one another. They can connect because they're in the same industry.

So in your community, if you are with a non-profit, try to create a diverse board which can help you with your fundraising efforts.

MARKETING TIP: A diverse board, of people who are not afraid to ask for money on your organization's behalf, will help your coffers grow and help you provide more services within your community. 

Hey tourism offices, don't forget the community newspaper ...

I just spoke with the PR person at a convention and visitors bureau. She routinely used to send out press releases about fun, enticing events and activities in her city. No more. She relies upon social networking and her website.

Well, I hate to tell her, but there is a world of promotional opportunity that she just cut off.

Local newspapers like to write about local happenings, yes. However, some have arts and entertainment tabloids, or even regional magazines, where they sometimes like to show what is going on elsewhere.

And yes, people do still read. Some of those publications are available online.

But editors and reporters need the information.

MARKETING TIP: Continue to send out press releases with hi-res images to print media. That world isn't dead yet. And, reporters and editors don't have time to weed through social media and website portals to find your information.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Using your personal Facebook page for a business? No. No.

A local greenhouse has two Facebook pages, a personal and a business. However, they look the same.

Not good. To get a business page, Facebook requires that you have a personal page. That should be the name of one person, not two. The business page is the name of the business.

In this particular case, the greenhouse was using the name of the business on both pages. Facebook has been known to shut down accounts because of incorrect use.

So, you need to make sure your personal and business pages are separate.

MARKETING TIP: If you want to ensure that you have a presence on Facebook, follow the rules.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Suing festival organizers ...

There once was a prestigious festival in the Bahamas. It was a pretty pricey event, with tickets costing upwards of $250,000.

It was called the Frye Festival.

But the organizers blew it. If there was any hope, at all, of having a great event, they blew it.

So now, they're being sued.

Why? Unfulfilled promises. Shoddy delivery.

Major bands backed out. Attendees were treated inhumanely. It's a tale of a great idea gone bad.

MARKETING TIP: Make sure you have your act together when putting on an event. Deliver what you promise. That will give you really good exposure for your next festival.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Free publicity for businesses, farmers, non-profits, retailers, restaurants ..

Local media are always interested in what is going on in the community. Naturally, it may be a challenge to cover it because of personnel cutbacks. So, local TV, radio and newspaper need you to keep them informed.

Let's say you are a local business - perhaps a farm - and you have a new product to sell, or you have launched a new production method. Maybe you're using 3-D printers for the first time on your production line. Or, perhaps you have purchased new equipment to meet market demand. Or, perhaps the strawberries are getting ready to pick and you want to let people know.

Your local media outlets may find that interesting and would like to do a story on your company. Hey, it's free press.

Perhaps you're a retailer, restaurant or local attraction and you've expanded your hours for the warmer months. Don't you feel you need to tell someone? Share that with you local media outlets.

Or maybe your business has recently been sold. It's not just the tax department who would like to know. Your new owner may want to make the announcement, along with a ribbon cutting with the local chamber of commerce. New business is a huge event and needs local media attention.

Are you a non-profit with a new fundraising event? What are you trying to fund? How much money do you hope to raise? What are the event details? Can you send out a press release 3 weeks in advance to get pre-event publicity?

MARKETING TIP: Look inside your organization or company for information that can be used by local media. A news story is free publicity - and sometimes is posted online. That means it can reach your current and potential customers.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Festival press releases

Well, well, well ... we're getting into that time of year when festival and event organizers are putting the final touches on their spring celebrations. I'm starting to get some press releases. Some are very good. Others - well - not so.

There are some simple things you can do to make your press release stand out from all the others.

  • Put the date and name of event in the subject line, not the words "Press Release".
  • Make sure the event dates are correct.
  • Be sure to include where the festival/event will be held. Use a street address, if you can.
  • Include your contact information, with a phone number.
  • Double-check your media distribution list. High turnovers mean last year's contact may be gone.
  • Put the press release in the body of the email - not a pdf. Please.
  • Find out what the media outlet's deadline is. Adhere to it.
  • Keep your release short, no more than 1-1/2 pages.
  • Send hi-res images, if you have any. One or two is sufficient.

MARKETING TIP: By following these simple rules, your press release will see the eyeballs of someone in the news room - and not be tossed into the trash can. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Jazz up your festival website with local favorite recipes

America isn't the only melting pot nation. I believe there are many others. Immigrants bring their own culture, food, attire, attitudes and heritage. They celebrate through dance and song.

In the United States, it has been my experience that residents in the northern states tend to embrace their culture much more so than those who live in the South. For instance, Italian, Greek, German, Scandinavian and other immigrants throw festivals up north, offering a rich palate of foods, costumes, music, storytelling and dance.

In the South, we tend to see festivals which celebrate t-h-i-n-g-s, such as animals, flowers, trees, geography or our own US history. Those are held up North too, but the cultural experiences I see there are not typical for the south.

A neat way to embrace the festival topic is to carry it to your website.

For example, a Southern festival may celebrate blueberries. Add a favorite local recipe, such as one for a blueberry upside down cake. A Northern festival could include local favorite recipes, such as authentic pizza dough, for an Italian festival.

Your website viewers will find the portal much more interesting and be willing to share information from it.

MARKETING TIP: Jazz up your festival website with food recipes!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Can people really read your website?

Can you see these colors? Can you  read these words?
Can prospective clients, festival goers and financial donors read your website? Is it clear? Are the letters big enough and bold enough to be seen?

When you're designing a site, a lighter background works best so you can have either a dark blue or black colored font. Those are pretty standard. A reverse of a dark color with a light-colored font is acceptable.

However, you want to make sure the light-colored font is bold enough to be seen. Sometimes white on black isn't as easy to read as black on white.

If you want to see a site which could be more effective, check this one out. Do you see the blue on blue ... reminds me of a song there .......

MARKETING TIP: Your website and your business card are your top two sales tools. Make them so people can see and read the words.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Do NOT send your press release as a PDF attachment

It happens every day in every newsroom. Reporters and editors have to take precious time to download and open a PDF with a press release. Not every newsroom has the software to do that.

Public relations firms, governmental agencies, non-profits, businesses - so many people are guilty of sending a press release the wrong way.

If you want your press release considered for use, then you have to send it correctly. It needs to be sent in the body of the email. Photos, graphs and ancillary materials can be sent as a PDF, but NOT the press release.

The reason so many people send it as a PDF is that they don't want the content changed. Well, if you want the release used, it has to be in a format where the text can be accessed. The editor may have to change your words. Just get over it!

MARKETING TIP: If you want your press release to be used, send it in the proper fashion. Otherwise, it may never even be read.

Monday, February 20, 2017

If you want to reach the teens, best of luck. I conducted a survey recently of where they find their music. Most of them find it on You Tube and Pandora. Others found it on 102 JAMZ, a local hip hop radio station.

Still, they're not listening to the radio that much. They're certainly not watching TV. So the best way to reach them is to ask for their help.

"HELP," I cried.

So they did. I'm working on a grant proposal and needed feedback about what kind of music teens like. They gladly told me. They liked being asked for their opinion. Suddenly, my project was very important to them - and so was I.

MARKETING TIP: If you don't have the answer, ask. Reach out to your market segment and reel them in. Ask them for their opinions. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Non-profit future?

Even though this story is specific to one American city, the information given is valuable for all non-profits trying to increase their financial affairs.

Note the number of people who are willing to volunteer.

So how do you get volunteers? You ASK - and give JOB DESCRIPTIONS.

Sometimes an organization's website will have a plea for volunteers, but the page gives no hint of what volunteers are needed to do.

People are typically not going to pick up the phone and call to volunteer unless they have a specific goal in mind.

MARKETING TIP: When you're asking for volunteers, include a list of specific duties you need to have fulfilled. That will help you increase your number of helpers - and your coffers.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Creating a positive from a negative ...

Who knew?

Usually when I hear about a holiday festival shutting its doors, it's because of the lack of funding. Parades can't get sponsors. Light shows can't get sponsors. Attractions don't have funding to pay extra staff to work. The list goes on.

But who ever thought that leaves, that's right, leaves would shudder an event.

Oh, that's an event that has a 50-year history!

So what did the organizers do? They put out a plea for help!  "HELP! HELP!" (Click on the hyperlink for the real story.)

There were too many leaves on the ground and the event could not be held. So organizers put out a public cry for people armed with leave blowers!

What will happen in the future?

I just bet that the community will move more quickly to make sure their Christmas light extravaganza takes place - with no leaves!

MARKETING TIP: Embrace a negative situation and turn it into a positive one. Pull your neighbors, your friends and your industry supporters to help, if need be. They will become your biggest and strongest group of cheerleaders and sales team you ever had!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Courting a TV presence for your story?

Be visual.

TV people don't just like a talking head. They want to be able to tell the story visually. So here's a great example of how to think like a TV videographer and reporter ....

When you send information to  a TV station, let them know that you will have a lot of interesting and fun things to be photographed. You may even want to attach a photo of whatever your story is about, just to show them what will be going on.

Give them a taste, a sample of what your story is about - in a format they understand. A visual.

MARKETING TIP: If you don't know what TV folks find interesting, ask them.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Blog in progress ...

I'm in the process of producing an event. It's an oddball of sorts. It's a spoof on the American election.

As if we needed one.

The event has had a number of different names, but it all boils down to one thing. We're fed up. Tired. Worn out by the election and the only thing we can do is LAUGH!

In 2004 and 2008, we had The Great Heads of Statesville Exit Poll. In 2012, we changed the venue and had a newspaper sponsor The Courier-Tribune Pumpkin Chunking Exit Poll. In 2016, we've kept the name simple: Political Pumpkin Chunking. That way, we can use the site over and over.

We use a blog to show what we're up to - ChunkTheElection.com.

The challenge now is to increase our viewership, as this has been a last-minute set up.

MARKETING TIP: Oh, just play along with me on this one and visit the link!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Don't wait to promote your festival ... Start early.

Organizers for The  National Cherry Blossom Festival have been busy since last spring. This week, I received my first communication. I received an email with information about how to participate in a singing contest during the Washington, DC event.

This particular festival is the hallmark of all. It is the one to guide you through your own festival promotion.

Dates for  the 2017 festival are March 20-April 16. Organizers have the events in place and are now promoting them.

That's the way it should be. You need to aim to have your festival pretty much set up 6 months out so that you can focus on revenue-building promotion. Attendance + sponsors = money for the following year's event.

MARKETING TIP: Never delay. Get your program together and start promoting it.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Have a festival? Let's examine your budget.

I've worked with a number of festivals in my life - and have produced quite a few. Typically, organizers start work 12-4 months before the event.

I was just in a discussion with an event organizer for an April 2017 festival last week. One of the first things you have to do - after choosing a date, identifying a purpose/theme - is create a budget. Everything costs. Yes, you can get some services donated, but not all. You need seed money up front.

Once you have your expenses figured out, identify which ones need upfront money. Bands, for example, want a deposit. Portable toilet companies want a deposit and will not donate or trade out a service. Sometimes signage can be donated, but the sign maker is in business to make money, too.

So then where is your revenue coming from? Corporate sponsors may be willing to donate some cash. You may find a grant which will pay for a component of your festival. You may also want to establish a fee structure for food, art and craft vendors.

Shop around to nearby festivals to see how much they charge. Flat fee? Percentage of sales? Both?

MARKETING TIP: When you're looking for sponsors, explore opportunities to utilize the company's employees to help on the event day. Have them wear their employee shirts. Put them in high profile places so that your sponsor will be visible - and with a pretty smile. A living person in a company uniform is much more appealing to a corporate sponsor than a sign.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Digital marketing

So what is digital marketing?

Let's start with your phone. Is it a smart phone? Do you use it to surf the web? Communicate? Do research? Buy things? Check the weather? Your stocks? If so, then you're setting the stage to receive information on your phone about places to go, things to do, things to buy ...

Make sense? Sure it does!

You don't see or feel digital marketing. It's all invisible - until it shows up on your phone or computer.

Here's an example ...geo-fencing. Say you own a restaurant and you're not getting the supper hour customers you would like. However, your location is just 6 miles away from a major attraction or hotel. Through geo-fencing, you can surround the attraction or hotel with an invisible, cyber fence. For people who are inside it, and who have their locater turned ON, your restaurant will pop up on their phone screen. Sounds simple... But geniuses have created this possibility ....

MARKETING TIP: If you're a business owner and you want to grow your customer base, find someone in your town who specializes in digital marketing. Make an appointment to learn more about it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Using Facebook to increase your bottom line

There are a few ways you can use Facebook to increase your bottom line. It's called "working the system."

  • You need a business page.
  • Post 2-3 times a day on your business page to alert Facebook that you have a viable site.
  • Illustrate your posts with photos or videos.
  • Make your page inviting and warm. After all, it is the front door to your cyber store. It doesn't matter if you provide a service or product, you have a store front on the Internet.
  • Post things which have substance and meaning. Make your message pertinent to your customers.
  • Be consistent with your posting.

MARKETING TIP: Spend some time planning your Facebook business page. If you don't know how to do it, hire someone who does. It's that important!