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With the flurry of year-end holiday fundraising, many nonprofits may not have much time to dwell on their development campaigns for the next year. To make a successful impact in 2015, however, it’s important to look ahead – and a marketing plan is the first step to keeping your campaigns on track. A well-defined strategy has the same benefits for nonprofits as it does for any for-profit businesses: it creates guidelines to set goals, organize resources and effectively reach out to your target audience.

Your organization

Published in The Money Edge
Tuesday, 02 December 2014 20:52

Valuable marketing lessons from a small bakery

It stands to reason that when prospects finally reach the sale stage after months of careful nurturing, they’re pretty well-informed (and confident) about what they’re buying. The trick, though, is keeping them satisfied after that first sale so that they keep coming back for more and become brand ambassadors.

Loyal customers stick around because they find value in their experience – be it the product or service by itself, convenience, price, customer service – or simply a combination of all the above.

Published in The Marketing Edge
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 22:11

Remember to shop local this holiday season

It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is this week! Thanksgiving can be the most stressful holiday for many people. There’s a lot of preparation, travel and anxiety surrounding this traditional American family holiday, plus the ensuing mad dash for holiday bargains before the turkey has even been properly digested. Gift shopping for everyone on our lists, planning the next holiday meal, decking the halls (and trees), all the while trying to keep up with our daily lives. It’s exhausting! One way to escape the stress of the season is to make your shopping experience more enjoyable. Why not skip all the crazy, middle of the night, mad sales at those big box stores and replace that chaos with the pleasure of shopping at local, small businesses this season? You’ll even have the energy left to savor a nice lunch or coffee out with a few friends and family members! Here are four great reasons to try a new shopping experience this year:

Published in The Marketing Edge

It’s definitely not too early to start thinking about your online marketing strategy for 2015. In fact, now that you have your holiday season strategy in place, it is the perfect time to define some objectives for the New Year. Here are a few online marketing trends that you’ll want to include in your strategy for 2015:

  1. 1. Social media diversity. Obviously social media isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, there are new social apps being created constantly. Some of them catch on, and some of them don’t. Chances are, though, if you’re only using Facebook for your business, you’re missing out on a large portion of your audience. Additionally, if you aren’t monitoring your brand mentions on other platforms, you could be letting negative feedback harm your brand, or missing out on an opportunity to enhance positive feedback. In other words, explore other social media channels like Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Pinterest. While they might not all be right for your brand, chances are branching out to these other platforms could give your brand a boost in 2015.

 

Published in The Marketing Edge
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 16:49

Get ready for Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday falls on Dec. 2 this year, and online shoppers are already working on their shopping list. How about you, small business owner? Are you ready for the busiest sales day of the year? You better be, or you’ll be missing out on sales. Here’s a check list to help you get your ducks in a row:

  1. 1) Your website - How easily found is your website? Think about it, the busiest sales day of the year revolves around the internet, so your website is your store and it should be looking splendid (yes, decorate it, too!). Big brands have been working for months now to make sure they show up on the top of search engine page results (SERPs), their best sellers are easily found, and their conversion process is easily completed in just a couple of clicks. If your site is clunky and not easily found, spend some time on it right now (yesterday would have been better) to improve your content, navigation and SEO. Also, it’s a good idea to spend some money on Google AdWords to help you generate more traffic to your website. Trust me, people shop online for a reason – convenience. They really don’t want to work hard to buy from you.
  2. 2) Stock and delivery - If you did well last year on Cyber Monday, you should expect an increase this year as consumers get more adept at using their mobile devices to shop anytime, anywhere. In fact, retailers are expecting sales growth on Thanksgiving Day (while some nap after dinner, others watch football, and many shop!), Black Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Cyber Monday and Tuesday. That’s right, six days of sales paradise! Shoppers are armed with their credit cards and primed to buy, but if you run out of stock or fail to deliver on time, your brand will suffer dramatically, so make sure you’re ready to shine!
  3. 3) Have a sales plan - Shoppers will be looking for the best deals they can get, so spend some time to figure out how you can be competitive. Here’s an example of a six-day promotion to consider:
Published in The Marketing Edge
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 21:54

Why honesty is your best marketing tool

The holiday season means a spike in sales for most businesses. At the same time, though, honesty is never a more powerful marketing tactic. Customers often value a comfortable experience, with a brand they can trust, more than they do product features – especially when they’re already rushed during a busy shopping season.

How can honesty improve your marketing strategy?

Published in The Marketing Edge

I get really disappointed when I hear a professional (especially someone with a marketing function) tell me that they don’t understand or care for search, social media and mobile marketing. Let’s face it, whether you like it or not, search, social, and mobile marketing are here to stay and can’t be ignored for a simple reason – that’s how Millennials roll!

It seems like just yesterday that I was listening to my Paula Abdul record (and if you’re with me, I bet you’re humming “straight up now tell me”), trying my best to keep my bangs as high as possible with cheap hair spray (diligently contributing to the world’s ozone layer problem) and killing my brain cells watching music videos on MTV and VH1. Meanwhile, babies were coming into this world left and right. These babies, born between 1980 and 2000, now comprise the largest generation by number, 79 million people, with a purchasing power of over $170 billion per year, according to MarketingProfs. Do I have your attention now, or are you still humming Paula Abdul’s greatest hit?

Published in The Marketing Edge

For a lot of business-to-consumer companies, holiday season is the time of year they rely on to get them through some of the slower months. With just a week separating us from the first day of autumn, now is the perfect time to prepare your employees for your upcoming busy season. Here are three ways your employees should be helping you increase sales this fall:

Customer service

Published in The Marketing Edge

With most people turning to online resources for information on products and services, your web presence is more important than ever. If your website is looking clunky and unprofessional, though, you may be turning customers away. While a complete redesign might be out of your budget, there are still a few ways to modify your website and give it a professional touch without going deep into your pockets. Here are five easy ways to professionalize your website:

Update content often. 

Published in The Marketing Edge
Thursday, 11 September 2014 00:05

Marketing challenge: creating compelling content

Years ago (not to date myself), marketers could use the same content over and over for a year or two. A set of great case studies would serve a sales team for a few years – in fact, during my MBA program, we learned from case studies that were five years old and still relevant to the topics being covered in class.

Those days, however, are long gone. With the explosion of digital technology in recent years, consumers have become tech-savvy. They can gather information at a glance, switch from one venue to another with the touch of a button and tune out anything that doesn’t interest them. Marketers must now strive to keep pace with the constant demand for pertinent, up-to-date content. In fact, content creation has become one of our biggest challenges – which may explain why many marketers still struggle with the task.

Published in The Marketing Edge
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