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10 ways to improve your marketing during your slow season

in Uncategorized by Colleen Newvine Leave a comment

If your business slows down in the summer, now is the perfect time to tune up your marketing so you’re ready for your busy season.

When your calendar loosens up, you might:

review your website

    1. Review your website — replace any out-of-date information and add some new photos to freshen the look. Look at your design compared to others in your industry and if it feels dated or if it doesn’t work well on your phone, consider a redesign. That can be relatively simple if you use a template for WordPress, Squarespace or Wix.
    2. Write e-newsletters and blog posts for the future — get your content ready now so you can just hit “send” when you’re swamped later.
    3. Check out your competitors — what information can you find on their websites, e-newsletters and social media that might help you tell your customers how you’re different?
    4. Craft a 30-second description of what you do — practice a clear, compelling answer to the question “What do you do?” so you communicate the most important ideas about what makes your business special.
    5. Update your social media profiles — If you haven’t looked at your “about” section on your Facebook business page in a while or you don’t remember what your Twitter profile says, make sure all your accounts describe you and your business accurately.
    6. Review your analytics — look at your website data to see what search terms bring people to your site and how long they spend once they’re there, review the open rates for your marketing emails to see which subject lines, days and times get the most people looking, check out your social media metrics to see what kinds of posts get the most comments and shares. Your goals are to better understand what your customers want from you and to find out what’s working so you can repeat.
    7. Plan a snail mail campaign — now that we get so much email, a thoughtful printed piece might stand out in your customer’s mailbox. One client of mine gets cards custom designed by an artist and she hand writes messages to all her customers. I’ve gotten postcards designed and printed to write to prospects. Think about who you want to reach — current or potential customers — and what you could mail that would feel valuable instead of like junk mail.
    8. Research important conferences — are there events where you’ll meet new customers or connect with existing clients? Get those dates on your calendar and start budgeting for registration, travel, lodging and meals.
    9. Learn a new social media platform — choose a network where you think you might find your ideal customers, create an account and start watching how people interact.
    10. Schedule an appointment for marketing — get out your calendar, whether it’s hard copy or electronic, and block out time to work on your marketing for the rest of the year, such as 30 minutes every Friday, so you keep on top of creating fresh content and responding to customers as you get busier.
Do you have other ways you like to use your slow times to work on your marketing?

Marketing Monday: Beta testing a quick-hit marketing review service offers helpful lessons

in Uncategorized by Colleen Newvine Leave a comment

When technology companies use their own products, it’s commonly called eating your own dog food.

Why dog food? I don’t know. But pour me a big bowl of Gravy Train.

A few days ago, I posted to my Newvine Growing Facebook page looking for people to help me beta test a new service:

I am testing a new service offering and I’d love to find a few guinea pigs to help me.
I’d like to offer quick-hit consulting sessions, just 90 minutes start to finish, where we review your business goals and look at how well your marketing communications lines up with those goals.
Are your website, email newsletter, social media, brochures and the like telling the right story to the right people to help you get where you want to go?

I plan to charge $300 for these intensive work sessions, but if you help me refine the format and give me feedback on how to improve, I’ll offer you half price.
If you get one decent idea, could you increase your sales by $150 to make that time pay for itself?

I'm *not* a graphic designer. Once I get some feedback on the service, I'll work with my artist husband to create something more professional than this announcement.

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Five tips for getting started using Facebook for marketing

in Uncategorized by Colleen Newvine Leave a comment

By this point, Facebook has become so culturally ubiquitous that probably even the remaining holdouts who don’t have an account have at least seen it and are aware of the concept of the interconnected social network.

But even those who are active personally might not know how to use Facebook for marketing.

Sadly, it’s getting harder, as Facebook’s algorithm for what users see in their news feed limits the number of users seeing page content – the rough number thrown around is that only about 10 percent of those who’ve liked the page see that page’s posts in their news feeds. So even if you’ve already liked my business page, or Coke’s or Justin Bieber’s, there’s a good chance you’re missing what we’re sharing with you.

Still, it’s a huge, free channel to not just share your message but engage your fans in conversation, so it’s worth getting to know.

So here’s a guest post I wrote last summer for a business-to-business blog for bakeries, on how to get started using Facebook for business.  Stirring Up Success is run by Dawn Foods, a manufacturer of bakery ingredients and products and distributor to the bakery industry. According to a case study by Crossroads, StirringUpSuccess.com has been featured in top industry trade publications as a unique and helpful tool for bakery owners.

My first post in the series encouraged bakeries to take the time to define their business goals to help them be more effective on social media. Then we built on that with some how-tos for Facebook beginners:

Social Media Strategy – Facebook

Facebook has more than 1 billion active users so odds are good you already have an account with the popular social media site. But are you using it to find high school friends or to help grow your business?

Starting with a strategy for your social media will help guide you, as I blogged about last month. For example, do you want to use Facebook to talk to existing customers or try to reach new ones, and are you trying to make more sales or help improve customer support?

Once you have defined your social media goals, here are five tips for using Facebook for business:

Set up a page – not a profile, not a group. When you create your page, you can choose from designations including local business or brand. Facebook prohibits businesses from using personal profiles, so if you previously set up a profile instead of a page, here’s how to convert it.

Fill in the “about” section. So many businesses don’t take advantage of this obvious place to answer visitors’ basic questions about who you are and what you do.

Manage your page’s settings. Click on Edit Page, then Update Info and you can customize the name of your page to something like https://www.facebook.com/NewvineGrowing . You can also set up email notifications when users comment, and get the ability to either post under your business name or as a person.

Post a mix of content. Photos pop visually in your fans’ news feed, links can direct your Facebook fans to content on your website or blog, questions let your customers know you care what’s on their minds. Variety lets you see what your visitors respond to, and keeps you from sounding monotonous.


Experiment with posting at different times and on different days. According to social media scientist Dan Zarrella, Saturday is the best day to post to Facebook and the best time is noon if you want maximum engagement. That’s on average, though, so it’s important to see if that’s true for your customers.

How will you know if you’re on the right track? Facebook Insights gives you data on how many people your page has reached each day and what kinds of results each of your individual posts got. If you aren’t sure what any of the numbers mean, hover your cursor over the question mark or data point and you’ll get more information.