Category Archives: Business

Ways to Reach Your Target Audience Offline

Here are some basic ways to reach a target audience that’s not online because let’s face it, there are still a lot of people that don’t use Facebook, Twitter and hold your breath… Google.

  • Support causes special to your audience.
  • Organize an event for your audience.
  • Gain credibility of thought leaders.
  • Create a subscription-based newsletter with valuable information.
  • Utilize Print, Radio and Television Ads.
  • Run a contest.
  • Give samples.
  • Produce a cable access TV show.
  • Distribute coupons.
  • Use a referral campaign.
  • Create a campaign based around a holiday.
  • Create your own holiday.
  • Team with a company that offers a vertical service.
  • Attend social gatherings.
  • Find interest groups that can benefit from your product/service and:
    • Offer or sponsor a class/seminar of interest
    • Offer to speak at a meeting
    • Give samples

 

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The Problem Is We Always Agree

If members of your team consistently agree they either don’t want to voice their true opinion or everyone drank the same water and you need to shake up the group.

The purpose of a group is to bring together different people with varying perspectives in order to offer feedback and suggestions. Groupthink defeats that.

Here are some signs that your team suffers from groupthink:

There is no debate. No matter the issue, there are many possible outcomes. A group should weigh these outcomes. And how can they be weighed if there is no conflict? True analyzing, testing and evaluating require conflict.

Stereotypes are used as facts. Many times like-minded people treat stereotypes as facts, either because they don’t know better or it’s easier. If it is impossible to diversify your group (which I find hard to believe), at least have someone in your group do research on your target audience beforehand.

There is no Plan B. There should always be a contingency plan. If you have not discussed a contingency plan, chances are you have not discussed the many possible outcomes of your decision.

Here are some things that you can do to combat groupthink:

Have at least one person play devil’s advocate at each meeting. This will train people to look for the loopholes and not just take the information at face value. This will also provide a safe environment for dissension and erase concerns of being blackballed later.

Have the leader voice his/her opinion last. This gives people an opportunity to voice their opinion without fear of upsetting the leader. It also gives the leader an opportunity to hear many perspectives, which may sway his/her final perspective.

Distribute a copy of the agenda before the meeting and have members contribute their feedback anonymously. Have an unbiased party compile the feedback and use that as discussion points for the meeting.

Why Your Press Release Was Ignored

Here are a few reasons your Press Release was ignored:

 

  • It was not well-written.
  • It did not tell the media outlet why their audience would be interested in your news.
  • The story was not news worthy.
  • It got lost among the hundreds of press releases the outlet receives everyday.
  • It was sent to the wrong person in the organization.
  • There was no follow-up.
  • The timing was wrong.
  • It got caught in the spam filter. 

I could go on but the point is this. Getting your story covered takes much more than writing and distributing a release. It takes research, follow-up, relationship-building and sometimes a little luck. Think about it; there’s a reason media relations is considered a skillset. 

Towanda Long aka mscafe

Some Things Are Free

Want a list of free ways to start, run and grow your business? Entrepreneur.com has a great article here.

 

And, in the spirit of free, cafe30.com has launched its small business challenge, My Marketing Needs Help. Three businesses will be chosen to win a Marketing makeover.

 

If you haven’t already, nominate yourself or another business for the challenge. All the information can be found at the link above.

 

Enjoy!

 

Towanda Long aka mscafe

A Time for Evaluation

With today’s businesses, there is little room for fluff and even less time for “this is how it’s always been done.” There is a bottom line that must be met.

 

Considering this, have you evaluated the value you provide to your clients? Do your clients know your value? Are there things you can do to increase your value?

 

Many businesses are courting new clients right now, and you can believe that your current clients are on someone’s list. While you can’t stop that, you can make sure that your clients know exactly how much value you provide.

 

Trust me, when a prospective vendor sends in their list of services with a cheaper price tag, that might just capture some attention.

 

However, the things you provide that can’t be listed on a generic list of services will be your ammunition in defending your turf. And it’s better to think about that before you get called into a meeting.

 

 

Towanda Long aka mscafe

MySpace Should Not Be Your Main Website

MySpace, like other social networking sites, is a great way to meet new people, add to your network and become a part of online conversations. As a part of your online marketing it can be a useful tool.

 

However, it’s just that – one tool. It should not be your only online presence.

 

Here are a few reasons why:

 

  • Many corporations block it. Imagine the problems you’ll have trying to get sponsors, advertisers, etc. if the company representative can’t open your site.
  • It still has the stigma of being a site for teenagers. This will most certainly affect people taking your product/service seriously.
  • The platform is limiting in the amount of information that you include. For instance, you can’t have a multiple-page site.
  • You lose the free marketing of having a “yourname@yoursite.com” email address. Without a corporate site you’re stuck promoting yahoo, gmail or another free email service.
  • Do you really want to send the CEO of ABC, Corp. to your MySpace page for more information on your company?

Towanda Long aka mscafe

Fairy Godmother of Marketing

For the past few weeks I have been playing a “Fairy Godmother of Marketing”. There are so many small business owners that are good at what they do, but their branding and marketing efforts do not reflect their talent (see previous post for examples).

 

So, with no ulterior motive (okay, maybe I was in the holiday spirit…) I began offering free advice. This has sparked my newest project.

 

Beginning January 1, 2009 I’ll be launching a new challenge, My Marketing Needs Help. It’ll be for small businesses that need assistance with their marketing – online, print, media, etc.

 

People will be able to nominate themselves and/or other businesses that can use some help. I’ll be choosing three winners for a complete marketing makeover.

 

Also, cafe30.com will be devoting the next 6 weeks to basic marketing tips. So, even if you’re not a winner you can get some guidance.

 

Towanda Long aka mscafe