Facebook Fan Pages – An Essential Marketing Component

Although many of us have been using the internet for our amusement, information source and communication tool for years now, you would be surprised how many people just recently started. Many people have grown up with computers, especially the ones that are in their mid 20’s, but if you ask someone over 35-40 years old, you may notice that he/she didn’t have the privilege of growing up with one. Instead, those individuals had to study computers, how to use it, while people under 25 just ‘know’ it.

If there was one invention that made many people more active on the internet, it was Facebook. Facebook engaged many of the older age groups to get on the PC, learn how to register and start posting their own little status posts. Who hasn’t encountered a 60 year old lady sending you a ‘FarmVille’ invite? For many Facebook users, Facebook is all they use and Facebook is what they trust. Its driven by humans so this is where a Facebook Fan Page for your business comes in.

A Facebook Fan Page is a very important marketing component to have. It is the gateway between your business and Facebook. Setting up your business’s Facebook Page will allow your friends, your friends’ friends and complete strangers follow what’s going on in your business. This opens up a whole new range of potential costumers and clients. The Facebook Fan Page is one of the main strategies in social media campaigns. This is the trick:

When creating your Facebook Fan Page, try using a ‘like-able’ slogan, instead of just a dry business name. Users will have much more initiative to join a group that is called “protect your cars and keep it clean” than a group called “AAC Car covers”. Thinking like a Facebook user will help more than thinking like a customer. Once you have your group going, keep posting, because the more you post, the more people may stumble across your group, which equals in new followers.

The Essential Marketing Communication Tool

There are so many marketing communication vehicles available to us as marketers, but none more important than the NEWSLETTER. Every company should have one. Whether it is used to stay in contact and top-of-mind with current customers, or to build credibility within your prospect pool, the newsletter is your most powerful marketing tool.

Still, many companies do not use newsletters for communicating to their prospects and customers. They see the amount of work to produce and deliver a newsletter regularly as a major roadblock they simply cannot break through. And, some of those who do use newsletters in their marketing mix are missing the boat by not implementing some of the best practices of successful newsletter marketing.

Whether published in print or email, the key to taking advantage of this essential marketing communication tool is to effectively manage the content, structure and format, subscription process, delivery tools, and metrics of your newsletter process.

  • CONTENT. Do not use your articles or tips to promote your products or services directly. Make sure your article content is relevant, educational in nature, and VALUE-ADD. The presumed time commitment to build valuable content often paralyzes the most well intended marketing team. This is often the roadblock to a company successfully launching and maintaining a newsletter strategy. Yet, there are many ways you can provide content in a way that best meets the needs of your prospects and customers. Specifically, you can solicit content from your partners, experts in your industry, or simply write the content yourself (using the various expertise amongst your staff).
  • Let’s focus on content you can provide:

  • Determine frequency of your newsletter (minimum 1x per quarter, maximum 1x per week, recommended 1x per month) and create an editorial calendar that scopes out what topics you want to cover over the next six months.
  • Assign topics to the people in your organization who best know the topic for that issue and give them the deadlines for submission. If there is one writer, I’ve found it is most efficient to have that writer sit down and write as many as three at a time to “prime the pump” with articles.
  • Start small with one article or 1-page tip. Newsletters do not have to be multi-article masterpieces. If the topics are relevant to your audience, a short abstract or 2-page feature might fit the bill of the busy prospect even better.
  • Assign no more than 20% of your newsletter content to product or company promotion.
  • STRUCTURE AND FORMAT. Today’s newsletters can be produced in print or email and I do recommend you consider publishing both. Even if you don’t want to print and mail thousands of newsletters, consider having a small quantity printed to use in your collateral kits, give to prospects you meet, or handout at conferences or tradeshows.
  • Let’s focus on the email version:

  • Make sure the “from” line is from a person or brand that the recipient can trust.
  • Use the subject line to identify the newsletter name and feature article (show the value).
  • Use the email format to introduce the topics, but link to your website for the full articles or tips.
  • Keep most of the newsletter content above the fold and relegate the small amount of promotional material to the bottom.
  • Include your company name, physical address, copyright statement, and opt-out process.
  • Send your email in both HTML and text formats. Even though HTML emails yield a much higher response rate, many of your target’s email programs may not accept HTML emails.
  • SUBSCRIPTION PROCESS. Hopefully you have an email list you can start with (your current customers perhaps), but if not it’s time to implement a subscription process. I recommend three avenues for building your opt-in list-a) use your traditional marketing pieces to advertise your newsletter, b) purchase an email sponsorship from a publication that specifically targets your audience, and c) use your website!
  • Let’s focus on your website:

  • Make sure you have your subscription process visible from EVERY page on your website.
  • Use a space on your home page (if not on every page) to actually PROMOTE subscription.
  • Make past issues available to give visitors a taste of what they’ll receive.
  • Consider adding an “email to a friend” on each newsletter page to encourage viral subscriptions.
  • DELIVERY TOOLS. There are many options for delivering your eNewsletter, including your own email system, an Internet-hosted solution, or dedicated email campaign software that integrates with your own database.
  • Let’s focus on the following solutions:

  • Hosted Solutions, make it easy and affordable to build and manage permission email lists, create and send eye-catching HTML email newsletters, announcements and promotions, and track results through an online, hosted solution.
  • Dedicated Email Software that implements and manages personalized email projects from any browser, anywhere in the world.
  • ENEWSLETTER METRICS. When your newsletter has been running for a few months, you will want to use metrics to measure its success and determine what, if any, changes you want to make to structure, lists, frequency of delivery, etc.
  • Let’s look at the minimum items you should track:

  • A good email newsletter should achieve at least 30-40% open rate and 2-3% click-through rate.
  • Also, your unsubscribe rate should be less than 2%. If your unsubscribe rate is higher, you will want to reconsider the relevancy of your content as it pertains to the audience needs and/or whether you have the right list or have reached list fatigue.
  • If you don’t have a newsletter as part of your marketing plan, it’s time to add one! If you already produce a newsletter-good for you! Please use the information above as a checklist audit to help make your newsletter process even more effective as a marketing communication and lead generation tool.

    Business Cards – Essential Marketing Tools For Your Business

    Your business card is one of the most important, cost-effective and versatile marketing tools you have. How come? Because they’re inexpensive, easy to carry with you and easy to get in front of people. Especially for businesses just starting out.

    However, your card needs to make a great impression. A well-designed business card can effectively promote your business, but there’s a good chance that if your card looks unprofessional, it may be thrown in the dustbin or just lie in a drawer, collecting dust. Your business card needs to tell people what you and your business is about, instead of only telling people who you are and where to contact you.

    Planning, designing and having your cards printed.

    For your business card to be the marketing tool it should be, there are a few things you must take into consideration when planning and designing your cards.

    1. Get professional quality business cards printed for you. Sure, you could print them on your laser jet and cut them with scissors. You’ll get what you pay for and worse than that, people will question whether they can trust you with their business if it seems you can’t afford to print full colour business cards.
    2. Pay attention to the finer details on your card. A logo is important, so invest some time and effort in the design of your logo to make it stand out in the crowd.
    3. A thin, flimsy card, pre-made, off the shelf design and small or unreadable text makes a bad impression. Use colour and images for impact and good design principles to make your business card pleasing and easy to read.
    4. Be proactive and keep your information up to date. If any of your contact or other information has changed, you will appear to be disorganized when you have to scratch out and write new information on your card, so throw away those cards and have new, up to date ones printed.
    5. If possible hire a graphic designer to help you. They are professional and know what works and what does’nt.
    6. Maximize the usability of your card. You’re not limited to only the front of your business cards. Use the back of your card for more information. Keep in mind that people often write on business cards, so leaving some white space on the back is generally a good idea.
    7. Your company name or your title tells someone what you have to offer. If it does’nt, add some words to explain what you do. Showing what you do makes you stand out. Let everyone who sees your card know what services you provide.
    8. Avoid making the following mistakes when you have your cards made. It can cost you dearly.

    Having a card that doesn’t stand out in the crowd.

    Your card must look great, feel sturdy and clearly define what your business does – and you and your card will be remembered.

    Technology makes it easier and more affordable than ever to have cards designed and printed that will get someone’s attention and at the same time look businesslike and appealing.

    Don’t have a card that’s a mystery to everybody.

    You are not going to get many calls if someone looks at your business card and can’t tell immediately what your business does.

    A card with information overload.

    Too much information printed on your card will make it look too busy and totally unprofessional. Keeping it simple is best. It’s necessary to have your name, your company, what you do, and why you should be used – but supply all your contact details; you want to be easy to reach.

    Using too small text.

    Using a small font, you may be able to supply more information, but what good is it if people can’t read it? A good guideline is to use a type size no smaller than 7-8 point. Make your company name the largest and your name and maybe your cell number a bit larger than the rest.

    Not using colour properly.

    Use colour in your cards to brighten them up and make them appealing. Avoid printing a dark colour on a darkish background or a light colour on a light background, for instance printing grey on white to make it look like silver. It just does’nt work.

    Strategically distributing your cards to help your marketing campaign.What does it help you to have a box full of business cards if they’re not being used to market and promote your business?

    Always keep some of your cards on you wherever you go. Hand a card to someone when appropriate, and while you’re at it, don’t hesitate to give out more than one. Invite people to pass the extras along to others who might need your service. You might be surprised at how often this can result in a referral.

    Don’t be afraid to post them on public bulletin boards, stick them in doors or leave them in bowls for free drawings where your target audience might see them.

    Ask affiliated businesses to allow you to display your cards, such as a hardware store if you’re a building contractor or a plumber.

    Capitalize on natural opportunities to hand them out when you’re talking about your business or someone asks how to contact you.

    Keeping in mind all of the above ideas and information, your business card will definitely work for you and attract business – and still at a very affordable price.