Grow Your Business Through Marketing

If you are looking to grow your business, getting new leads from targeted customers that are looking for your exact products and services is the way to go. It doesn’t make much sense to have a great product or excellent service if no one knows about it, or no one can find your business when they do a search online.

Let your clients, and potential clients, know what you have to offer. This video and content below are a few of the things that Spot has been doing to get the word out about our services….and it is working wonders.

 

 

Newsletters: A very simple way to reach potential clients and remain on their radar. Newsletters allow you to connect to a large number of people and track how they are responding to your message. We suggest that if you decide to send out newsletters to shoot for one every 2-3 weeks. This seems like the sweet spot that probably won’t be too aggressive but enough to keep your business in people’s mind.

Blogs: While it may not seem like you have time to consistently put out blogs, content can be another way to grab people’s attention and eventually raise the SEO of your website. Companies with ten employees or less that publish 11+ posts per month have almost three times more traffic than companies that publish 0-1.

Social Media: This may seem like a no-brainer, but social media can be a very cost-effective way to advertise to potential customers and clients. Also, through social media businesses will retain more clients. Connecting to clients and giving them an easy way to give feedback is essential. Not only will companies have a face and platform for clients but the posts will lead to conversions. If people find your posts intriguing, they can become one step closer to becoming a partner or client with the click of a button.

Videos: Let’s be real, people prefer hearing information over reading in the modern age. While content is necessary and many people still read it, videos are becoming the go-to. Video marketing is on a huge rise and isn’t going anywhere but up. In fact, including a video increases the click-through rate by a massive 65 percent and reduces unsubscribes by 26 percent.

Those are just a few things we are improving at Spot Color Marketing to enhance the marketing of our own brand. We would love to hear from you about your marketing efforts, give us a call at 503-477-4355, or visit us online @www.spotcolormarketing.com.

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Email your clients a virus (just kidding)

How a negative email turned into a positive experience.

A few months back one of my employees sent me an email with an attachment saying, “I can’t open this, can you? Is this from one of our clients?” I glanced at the email, saw it was from one of our valued clients and opened the doc. Uh-oh!

Thank god it wasn’t a terrible destroying type of virus, but it was a “phishing” email trying to collect as many emails as possible. It started sending the same email to all 3000+ friends, family and clients in my in contact list.

Within two hours my phone was ringing off the hook and my email was jammed. “Why are you sending me this? Did you mean to send me this? How do I open it?” On and on for the next 48 hours, argh!

Ok, so this experience was annoying and embarrassing, but it was also delightful! I heard from clients and friends that I haven’t heard from in years. We were reconnected! We set up lunch appointments and happy hours, I had past clients wanting new work, referrals were passed, the list went on and on.

When was the last time you reached out to your clients?

In a way it was one of the best “mistakes” I had made. Marketing 101: Reach out and stay on the top of people’s minds. We tell our clients this all the time. Why? Because it works. You don’t want to be selling to your clients all the time, that would get annoying and become of the best reasons for them to unsubscribe from your list. Instead, reach out to say “Hello” and see how things are going. Send along a cool article or give them some nugget of information that may help them with their business or personal life. That’s the good stuff! There are six types of emails that you can send to stay connected to clients without overwhelming their inbox. Let them know you value their opinion by sending a short survey, you can even offer an incentive to encourage a response and thank them for their time. Another great way to keep in touch is by sending a holiday email, this type of email is a great way to connect on a more personal level and build relationships. Those little touches can make a huge difference, please don’t send them a virus, but do stay in touch!

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Internships in Marketing

Is it time to find an intern?

If you are a small business owner, at one time or another you may have thought “I have no time for marketing or social media, maybe I will hire a marketing intern to do it for me!” How did that go? I laugh because I have had that same thought. Over the 14 years that I have owned Spot Color Marketing, we have brought on several interns. While none of them took over our marketing, they did help.

We have had design interns, marketing interns, and even development interns. Some of them lasted for a couple of days, others did their 3 month internship and became full time employees that stayed for a couple of years. A few have even turned into our top employees.

A couple of things to think about when hiring an intern:

Don’t think of an intern as “free labor”. The internship isn’t really supposed to help the company as much as it helps the intern. Internships are best if there is someone in your office who will take the time to teach and train. Some interns can be very time consuming and will ask 20 times a day how to do something, while some just ask my favorite question, “What’s next?”

The best marketing internships we have had are the ones where we took the time to create a detailed plan for them before they started. For example, if you want someone to write Facebook and twitter posts, write up the content calendar for them ahead of time and have the topics decided upon. Definitely review all their work before anything is posted. Jeff Selin, agency owner and friend, says an intern could easily ruin your business and reputation in 5 minutes by posting something inappropriate. OYE! That might be the worst case, but it could happen! Do not let your intern run your marketing.

  1. Be prepared for your intern
  2. Be available to teach and train your intern
  3. Don’t expect them to be a social media genius just because they are young!
  4. Pay them if you can. We pay a daily stipend for parking and lunch.

There are a lot of ways to attract marketing interns. Reach out to local colleges or Barefoot Student, I put ads in the “gigs” section of Craigslist. The best interns we have had are smart, eager to learn, show up and do what they say they will. They are go-getters. Sort of like your best employees, right? Entrepreneur has more tips on the qualities to look for in a great intern.

For some of our favorite clients we have set up marketing plans and then helped our clients find interns or junior marketers to implement the work, when done correctly, it can be a win/win for everyone! Who doesn’t want to help a young person start their career, or help a person get into a new career? One of our favorite interns was 45! She was an awesome intern and we have hired her several times since to write marketing copy.

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Website Hosting

So you have your own website… now what?

You can teach yourself how to use WordPress to update your website every few months, but how often do you honestly remember to check up on your own website?

Without regular updates and check-ups, your website becomes vulnerable.  Your site could contract a virus or get hacked without you knowing and your customers could be receiving strange spam mail. On top of that, your website will not function properly and it will deter your clients. Continuously needing to modify your website may be a burden to some, especially for those who own and run their own business.

Need help?

Introducing, Spot Care Website Hosting and Protection Plan

Spot Color Marketing’s new Spot Care Website Hosting & Protection Plan is only one of the many services we provide for our clients.

This new plan includes:

  • Automatic daily backups
  • Proactive security and performance monitoring
  • WordPress base version updates
  • Quarterly advanced security scans for viruses and other malware
  • Annual list of miscellaneous site recommendations: such as mobile friendliness, content, branding/messaging, etc.

We know viruses can spread, and how quickly it can happen, which is why we require all of our hosting clients to participate in the Spot Care Protection Plan. This plan guarantees full coverage and ensures that no client in our shared servers is in danger of accidental infection to another.

We deal with the boring stuff, so you don’t have to! Continue to stay connected to your clients and remain hands-on with your company while we host your site for you.

Contact us at spot@spotcolormarketing.com, or call (503) 477-4355.

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The Importance of Mobile Optimization

Mobile OptimizationMuch of our world today exists on our phones. It is where you receive news updates, manage your bank account, shop for new biking gear, and even look up your strange ailments of that day. Many companies have already made their websites mobile-friendly, easy to use and accessible on-the-go. If your company hasn’t, you are missing out…

The benefits of mobile optimization are uncanny and include increased sales, improved user experience, increased number of clientele, and more. It also gives you a leg up over your competitors, who may have not taken advantage of mobile optimization yet. Converting your website to be responsive on mobile devices provides your clients the possibility of browsing, buying, and sharing your mobile website while at the dentist, on the bus, at the dog park, or in any other location.

How many times have you come across a site where your finger is moving in a figure eight in order to view the entire web page? You have to move the screen up, down, sideways, and diagonally just to find the company’s contact information. A perfectly functioning website on your desktop does not automatically function correctly on a mobile device. If your website has not been converted to being mobile-friendly and your call-to-action is nowhere to be seen, no further effort will be taken to search the site and a potential customer has been lost.

Do not let this happen to your business.

As a digital marketing firm, Spot Color Marketing specializes in mobile optimization, allowing your company to be digitally flexible and adaptable. One of the most important aspects in marketing your company is to be aware of the ever-changing digital world. Consumers want quick, easy, and efficient service, and mobile optimization provides that for them.

In the next year or so, most, if not all website browsing will be done via smartphones and tablets. If your company’s site is not mobile-friendly, then it is time to act.

Spot Color’s Part

Through SEO (search engine optimization) strategies, Spot Color will work closely with your company to create a highly optimized and well converted website that search engines favor. Thus taking your company to new heights by increasing website visits, customers, sales, etc., and spreading your company’s name through the mobilized internet.

Join the movement, mobilize your company now and be accessible anywhere, anytime.

Contact us at spot@spotcolormarketing.com, or call (503) 477-4355.

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Social Media Dead Zones: Is Your Message Being Heard?

Even though it seems like everyone is on social media ALL OF THE TIME, research shows there are, in fact, times where not very many people will be around to catch your latest post. If you’re spending any amount of time curating content for your social media channels, you want to be sure your target audience is getting that information. Below is a list of the social media dead zones, by channel.

Facebook

Avoid posting carefully curated content over the weekend and from 8:00pm – 8:00am. During these times people are more likely out doing whatever they’re going to later post on Facebook, rather than looking at it.

Twitter

Save your special tweets for the next day if it’s after 8:00pm on all days or 3:00pm on Fridays. You’ll get their attention tomorrow!

LinkedIn

In keeping with LinkedIn’s professional persona, most users are not reading on LinkedIn during normal work hours, so avoid posting anything between 9:00am and 5:00pm. Also, LinkedInners drop off after 10:00pm. So post that content in the sweet spot, between 5:00 and 9:00pm.

Google+

Google demands to be heard most of the time, so the only times you should avoid posting here are in the early AM and early evening.

Pinterest

Pinners are not active during normal working hours. Save those precious pins for late afternoon and evening.

Tumblr

Apparently reading blogs usually happens after work, so release those posts at or after 4:00pm.

Hopefully you know your audience well and have figured out when is the best time to engage with them. If not and you’d like to learn how, give the Spot social media team a call today!

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Top 5 Reasons to Blog to Drive Business Growth

Lots of businesses do it.

Southwest Airlines, Stonyfield Farms and Disney Parks are just a few big businesses that maintain blogs to keep their customers happy, interested and informed. What works so well for these giant, blockbuster businesses can actually work for your business, too. In fact, there are plenty of statistics to support your blogging decision.

  • 81% of U.S. consumers trust information and advice from blogs. (Source: BlogHer)
  • Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links. (Source: Hubspot)
  • 61% of U.S. online consumers have made a purchase based on recommendations from a blog. (Source: BlogHer)

Okay. So, the statistics support blogging. What exactly does your business stand to gain?

1. Get more visitors to your site.

Blogging increases traffic to your website in so many ways!

First, writing a blog post adds another indexed page to your website. Every indexed page is another opportunity for your site to appear in your audience’s search engine results pages.

Second, readers share blog content on social media. It’s highly unlikely that one of your readers is going to share a link to your home page, portfolio or contact page on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google+. But if you’re publishing valuable content, those readers are doing their friends a favor by connecting them with your site.

2. Convert traffic into leads.

A blog post on its own can be a pretty good thing.

But add a call-to-action to the bottom of every post and you’ve got a highly effective lead-generating tool. Make the call to action specific to the content of the post and your audience will be thanking you for serving them up with even more valuable information!

Very often the call-to-action is a button or form at the bottom of the post, encouraging your reader to follow the link for more information or fill in their email address to get on the mailing list. Calls-to-action are even more effective when they reward your reader with relevant bonus content. An emailed coupon, an informative guide (in the form of an emailed pdf) or a free trial membership are all effective ways to use a call-to-action to market to your audience. Ensure that this content is relevant to the content of the blog post and you’re sure to convert!

3. Establish authority.

Really great businesses find the best ways to help their customers. Answering their questions, giving them information and finding other ways to provide them with value is often the best way to do this.

A blog can help your customers come to see you as an authority in the field. Let them know you’ve got great ideas! Help them to see that you’ve got all the answers! Your reward will be that they’ll keep coming back to you for information and they’ll let their friends and family know about you, too.

4. Benefit from long-term results.

A well-written, valuable blog post can be one of your hardest working assets. In fact, years from now, your site will still be getting visits, leads and customers from that post your wrote so long ago.

Write a couple posts a week and the benefit doubles!

Most bloggers will tell you that most of the traffic to their site is generated by posts that were written a long time ago. Those posts have had time to age, gain attention and build authority. So think about the one hour of effort that is required to write a blog post as an investment in your future. While you’re on vacation or doing the hard work of maintaining your business, your blog posts are generating leads and ensuring your business continues to grow!

Still feeling stuck? Spot Color can help you get unstuck and on the road to blogging.  Contact us today.

 

Sources

Hubspot: http://www.stateofinboundmarketing.com/

BlogHer: http://www.blogher.com/women-and-social-media-2012

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5 Rules of Grammar Never to Ignore on Your Website

At one of our Friday evening happy hours in Spot Color’s living room, a few Spot friends got to talking about my recent post of 5 Rules of Grammar You Can Ignore on Your Website and it sparked a conversation about some grammatical errors that drive us absolutely mad. With that in mind, I bring you 5 Rules of Grammar Never to Ignore on Your Website. Sometimes you just have to shake your head and say, “No.”

1) The correct use of Your and You’re.

Don’t you just want to slap your forehead when you hear this? It’s a simple mistake to make if you’re writing quickly and multitasking, but nothing tells your readers I did not bother to proofread this text quite like this mix up. Say it with me, you’re skilled in your writing. And remember to think about this when using there, their, and they’re.

2) Make sure the words you are using are, well, actual words.

Adding extra syllables: I’m not sure where this comes from, but I’m sure you’ve all cringed at least once if you’ve ever heard someone say “conversate” or “irregardless.” Bottom line, if you’re unsure about a word you want to use, look it up. Better yet, always edit any text that will appear on your website in a program that uses spell check. Just for fun, here are some other examples of words commonly used that shouldn’t be. Some of these won’t even trip your spell check because they’ve become inundated in common speech, so use your best judgment when it comes to diction:

CORRECT INCORRECT
Undoubtedly Undoubtably
Exploitative Exploitive
First Firstly
Administer Administrate
Comment Commentate
Thaw Unthaw
Estimate Guesstimate

 

3) The correct past tense and past participles.

Ah, I know these sound like the parts of an English textbook to collect drool, but they are actually important, especially when misused. We’ve all heard and (gasp!) read some of these horrors: brung or boughten. I know you’re all too smart to do this, but even the best of us forget the rule about using past tense and past perfect tense sometimes. So remember, I swam across the ocean just as I have swum across the lake. I drank this juice just as I have drunk other juices.

4) Don’t use unnecessary hyperbole.

I don’t want to exaggerate, but it kills me when people say “over exaggerate.” It’s already exaggerated; you don’t need the “over.” This also goes for adding the unnecessary “super” everywhere.

grammar

5) The proper use of affect vs. effect.

I see this more commonly in the past tense, but it’s easy to mix these two up. Just remember, affect is the verb and the effect is the result of that verb.


The most important thing to remember is that spell check is your friend. It’s also helpful if you can have someone else read and edit your writing before it goes up on your website. What are some of your grammar pet peeves? Let us know in the comments section.

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The 9 W’s: What Kind of Marketing Do I Need?

If we were in Oz it would be easy to find and follow the yellow brick road, with its wide, gold path glimmering in the sunlight all the way to profits and success. But if you don’t even know where you are, how can you begin to find the right path? The answer lies in the 9 W’s.

It’s exciting gearing up to rebrand a logo, create a new website, or plan a marketing campaign strategy. But sometimes it’s not so easy to figure out which of these is most beneficial and where your money will be best spent, especially with a limited budget or timeline.

Sitting through client calls and meetings I’ve seen my fair share of clients come in with ideas and goals that are about 4 steps ahead of where they are at the moment. I think in all areas of life it’s important to take stock of your current situation first, especially when it pertains to your business. While each and every company is unique, there are some questions that should be answered initially to point you to the right path.

I’m sure just about everyone is familiar with the term: Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How?

Unfortunately not everyone has answers to these questions when they pertain to a business model or strategy. ‘Pop’ by Sam Horn sums it up perfectly when she says we must be clear about the 9 W’s. Ask yourself these questions when preparing for the next marketing push.

  • What am I offering?
  • What problem does my idea or offering solve?
  • Why is it worth trying and buying?
  • Who is my target audience?
  • Who am I and what are my credentials?
  • Who are my competitors and how am I different from them?
  • What resistance or objections will people have to this?
  • What is the purpose of my pitch?
  • When, where and how do I want people to take action?

If you don’t have clear answers to these questions already, this is probably where you need to begin. At Spot Color Marketing we work with clients in all phases of business growth. Before we begin delving into the thick of things, we like to perform a website, business, or marketing audit. This allows us to help you answer those questions and helps us put together a detailed strategy and plan for our client. We can help you find your yellow brick road and get all the way to Oz…er, success.

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