Early this year, Vine Street Communications celebrated its 5-year anniversary thanks to some amazing clients and colleagues!
In honor of small-but-mighty businesses that are pushing towards bigger and better milestones, I’m sharing four great marketing insights and three of my favorite links.
Thank you for your support, and cheers to your success!
#1: The more you can focus on a niche audience, the better.
During my first year in business, I took on any communication project I could help with, from employee communication consulting to marketing copywriting.
What do these services have in common, you ask?
And therein lies the problem.
For one thing, it’s really challenging to be good at everything. As the saying goes, “Jack of all trades. Master of nothing.”
But more important, when you try to be all things to all people, you run the risk of being nothing to anyone.
From a messaging perspective, it’s difficult to craft a highly focused story because you have too many audiences with distinctly different needs.
Are you scaring off leads? Are you trying to get too serious, too fast? Discover how a little insight into customer buying behavior can fill your pipeline with leads and greatly improve your marketing efforts!
Ah, the risks of misreading people…
My husband and I recently attended a home and garden show in Denver to gather ideas on ways to add more space to our house.
Shortly after the event, one of the companies we’d briefly chatted with at the show began pursuing us.
They emailed us a project proposal, which we hadn’t requested. They also left us several voice mail messages, asking us to schedule our start date.
I’m sure they had good intentions, but I’m not sure how we jumped from the first date to a proposal! They were oblivious to where we were in the buying funnel. As a result, they came across as pushy and lost their chance for a sale.
The five stages of buying
This awkward exchange got me thinking about how much more effective companies can be when they understand customer buying behavior and specifically, the five stages of buying.
Imagine this… You’re stuck on a deserted island with nothing but an iPad and curiously strong WiFi. As with any good deserted island scenario, you have to make choices. You can only use your iPad to follow 5 marketing blogs. Which blogs do you choose?
Here are 5 marketing blogs you absolutely need to consider!
If you’re like most of us, you want your website visitors to become deeply interested in your company.
You want them to download your whitepapers. Subscribe to your e-newsletters. Join your Facebook discussions. Sign up for your webinars. Call for consultations.
Oh, and while your visitors are at it, it would be really nice if they would share their contact information with you too, so you can stay in touch.
My friends, to get these kinds of results, you need a good inbound marketing plan… and that’s why the HubSpot blog is so useful. Continue Reading
Have you ever been the victim of a bad elevator pitch? Or worse: Are you the one giving that grating pitch? If you want to create a good elevator speech that engages your listeners and generates more leads, be sure to tackle these four misconceptions first.
When bad elevator speeches happen to good people…
We’ve all been there.
You’re at a networking event, or at a cocktail party, or sitting on an airplane, and all of a sudden, you find yourself on the receiving end of a mind-numbing elevator speech.
You try to stay engaged. You really do. But no matter how hard you try, your mind keeps wandering off like a kid in Toys “R” Us.
Before you know it, you’re having your own discussion in your head, “Did I lock the door when I left this morning? I wonder if I should take the dog to the groomer this weekend. Wow, I’m hungry. I need to get some snacks…”
Your mind has checked out.
There’s no bringing you back.
No matter how good your marketing writer, graphic designer or web designer is, if he or she can’t meet deadlines, your sanity is going to be seriously tested. Here are some of the best ways to identify and avoid hiring creative partners who miss deadlines.
Missed deadlines driving your crazy?
It’s time to find better creative partners.
I am continually amazed by how many businesses call me with horror stories about their creative partners missing deadlines.
“My last copywriter totally flaked out on me.”
“My graphic designer is making me crazy. He can’t meet a deadline to save his life.”
“I never know when I’m going to hear from my web firm. They disappear for weeks at a time.”
You don’t have to settle for such poor service.
You can find talented creative professionals in Denver – copywriters, graphic designers, and web firms – who will not only meet your deadlines, but they’ll also proactively manage your project, so you have one less thing to worry about.
What a concept!
Here’s the thing. You need to be able to identify them.
If you work inside a company, you likely have some marketing blind spots − even with a really talented marketing department! Most companies have biases or face internal politics that can interfere with communicating effectively with customers.
Here are three of the most common blind spots that I come across when helping companies with their brand positioning and marketing writing.
Do any of these blind spots sound familiar?
If yes, the upside is that a good marketing writer can help.
Blind spot #1: You have an executive who is fond of his or her own writing style.
You have an executive who is a frustrated creative.
You know the type: the operations guy or the numbers gal who loves to make a mark on your company’s messaging.
The one who sees himself as a gifted writer.
The wordsmith who pays your salary.
Yep, that one.
Ah, marketing cliches. It’s easy to unknowingly use them in your website content. The trouble is, they can really weaken your marketing efforts. Here’s a look at: (1) Examples of marketing cliches. (2) Why it’s important to avoid cliches. (3) How to identify cliches for your industry.
Could your marketing content win a game of buzzword bingo? If yes, you may be using too many cliches.
The best place to identify “me too” messaging…
It may not sound very sexy, but checking out your competitors’ websites can be a great way to identify overused phrases in your industry.
When I conduct a competitive messaging audit for my clients, I ask myself:
- What is the core message (or claim) that each competitor is making?
- What are the proof points for each company’s claim?
- What marketing phrases are these competitors using to talk about themselves?
Here’s the funny thing.
Even though my clients come from dramatically different industries, there is a clear pattern across industries.
In each industry, most companies say the exact same thing as the next company.
It’s copywriting déjà vu!
What’s the secret to building a great brand? How do you know if you have a branding problem? How do you convince a skeptical executive that your business needs a brand strategy? Check out my interview with Brand Guru Pecanne Eby for answers and advice you can put to use today.
Pecanne Eby | Brand Strategist & Speaker
I love my job. (Don’t you just love days when you can say that?)
Today I love my job because I’ve had a chance to interview Pecanne Eby − a gifted brand consultant and a sought-after speaker − on the topic of branding.
Pecanne (pronounced pē-can) is a treasure chest of branding and marketing insight.
She runs her own brand consulting firm out of Denver, has served as a chief marketing officer, has led an in-house advertising agency, and has taught marketing classes as an adjunct professor at George Washington University.
Let’s say you’ve created a great tagline or slogan for your business. Now what? You may want to trademark your phrase with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to help protect it. While applying for a trademark isn’t difficult, there are some tips you should know to make the best use of your time and budget.
So, you want to create a tagline that sets your business apart. Before you start jotting down ideas or looking for a tagline writer, there are three essential steps to take first. These steps can help you create a much better tagline and save you a lot of headaches!
The best taglines are like delicious cookies. They linger fondly in people’s minds, long after the last bite. Ideally, your company tagline leaves a memorable and positive association with your brand!
But creating a tagline?
Forget cookies and sugar plum fairies. It can be easy to get derailed quickly – from going through round after round of tagline drafts, to writing a tagline that doesn’t do anything for your company.
To create the best tagline you can and make tagline development as easy and painless as possible, it’s essential to…
Step #1: Figure out what makes your business special.
It sounds so simple, right?
I mean, of course you know what makes your business special!
Not so fast.
Skipping this step is the biggest mistake I see companies make when creating a tagline.