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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Are You Really Engaging with your Audience on Social Media?

Business owners today know that social media can be a valuable tool for building brand awareness, increasing consumer traffic and engaging in conversations with their clients and customers.

What many businesses don’t know, though, are the best ways to communicate over these channels. Most companies don’t have a formalized social media strategy. They start posting, commenting, and liking on a whim. Maybe they’ve seen some results, maybe not, but most likely, they’re just not sure. We find that when our clients plan and utilize social media like any other aspect of your marketing plan, they are able to connect with their target audience with dramatically higher success rates.

There are plenty of things to think about when creating a social media strategy, and the following questions can help get you started in the process.

  1. What business objectives are you trying to achieve through social media marketing?
  2. How effectively are you currently achieving those objectives?
  3. Who is your social media target audience? Is it the same as your walk-in or website audience?
  4. How effectively are you targeting this audience? Do you know what they want to talk about on social media?
  5. What social media tools are you using? Did you know there are tools to automate the content curation?
  6. What is the current content published on those social media channels?
  7. Is your target audience engaging with this content?

The Spot Color Marketing team members are experts at creating and implementing social media strategies that get results. We tailor plans for each business that include a posting calendar, topic generation, and can even curate and manage your social media content for you. Give us a call and let us get you in shape for the social world.

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Is Your Web Content Bringing in Leads? Do a Web Audit to Find Out

Let’s face it. Any task that includes the word “audit” sounds a little terrifying, but auditing your web content is completely painless compared to any interaction you might have with the IRS.

The goal of a web audit is to make sure that your site’s design, structure and content are driving traffic, speaking clearly to your customers, and improving conversions.

When it comes down to it, there are a few simple steps that will get you going in the right direction.

1. Decide on the goals of your audit.

Determining a set of goals for your audit is the most essential step as it will guide every step of the process.

What are the big changes you’re hoping will result from your audit? Increased traffic?

More links to your site?

Establishing thought leadership?

Take some time to think about exactly what you hope to accomplish. This clearly defined set of goals will help you determine exactly what information you need to collect from your site and which information you can ignore at this time. Compartmentalizing your content in this way will prevent you from feeling like you’ve taken on an overwhelming task and help you determine what decisions you need to make during the audit.

2. Create a spreadsheet outlining all of your content.

Gathering your list of web pages and collecting information about them is the most time consuming part of the audit. It’s easy to get lost in the enormity of the task, but there are plenty of ways to divide it up into more manageable chunks.

  • Assign segments of your site to different members of your team. Collecting this information is something that anyone can do. Distribute these less-strategic tasks among your colleagues to make the work go faster.
  • Generate a list of pages from your content management system. Whether you use WordPress, Drupal or another CMS, the system can export a site map and provide you with extra information about each page, including metadata, keywords and dates created.
  • Get a directory listing from your web server. Sifting through the list of files will take some time, but a list from your server will give you a good starting place.

So you know to collect the URL, page title and date created, but what other information do you need to know about each page? Here’s a basic list of information you might need, with an example.

  • Page ID
  • Category
  • URL
  • Page title
  • Topic
  • Type of page (landing, contact, content, etc.)
  • Audience (Who is the customer this page is meant to appeal to?)
  • Author
  • Usage statistics, including traffic and links (You can use information from Google Analytics for this.)

 3. Use your business strategy to determine how to create, edit or delete content.

 With all of this information collected, now is the time to take a good, honest look at your content. Ask yourself some questions to determine how to proceed.

  • Which pages are getting a lot of attention? Can you create more like them?
  • Which pages aren’t working for you and why? Do they need to be revised?
  • Which business messages are and are not being communicated? Do you have a lot of pages about one segment of your business and not enough about another?
  • Do you have a lot of similar pages that are competing with each other? Should you combine them?
  • Is it easy to navigate between pages, or does it seem like you can never get back to where you started?

Answers to questions like these will give you a solid plan for moving forward and will make sure the entire procedure has been worthwhile.

Most importantly, take the time to look at your website while putting yourself in your customers’ shoes. While you may know exactly why you chose your content, you need to look at it from the perspective of someone who may not be intimately familiar with your business.

Does the whole process feel overwhelming? We’re here to help! Spot Color Marketing conducts audits for clients all the time. We can facilitate your next web audit so that it is painless, productive and profitable.

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