Every year, the holiday season seems to arrive sooner and sooner. Holiday sales and decorations begin to show up in October. Your business needs to keep customers' attention during the holi-daze, and stand out among the many offers they'll be bombarded with.

The old saying 'a picture is worth 1,000 words' is definitely true when it comes to social media visual content. Your customers are attracted to engaging visuals. Social media is a great place to post photos and videos to catch the eye, and the holidays are a great time to do this. Getting your entire staff on board can make for fun and memorable photos. For more great ideas on how to use visual content, check out Pulse Marketing Agency's 2015 Social Media Marketing eBook.

Published in The Marketing Edge

There are many ways to ask for money to support your nonprofit organization, some more successful than others. One of the ways you may not have spent much thought on is crowdfunding. Don't think this avenue is right for you and your nonprofit? Think again!

Crowdfunding is a way to raise money for your cause or organization without going out and finding investors or using all of your own money. It's pretty simple really: you decide how much money you need, make a short video explaining why, and people can donate as much or as little as they would like. Every bit counts, and anyone can do it!

Published in The Marketing Edge
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 20:02

Snapchat-Where It's at for Millennials

Snapchat may not seem like a likely social network for brands to include in their social media marketing strategy, but if your target audience includes Millennials (18-34) you're missing a significant opportunity to connect with the consumers you want. Snapchat now has over 100 million monthly active users (Mashable), and ranks as the third most highly used smartphone app, behind Facebook and Instagram. (comScore) Users share an average of 700 million snaps per day (Snapchat), and according to Bloomberg, Snapchat's valuation could rise to $19 billion in 2015.

Snapchat's short-lived images can be tricky for less product-centered businesses to use, and just as ambiguous to measure. Those same challenges, however, can also open up new marketing opportunities not found on other social media channels. 69% of college students surveyed by Sumpto stated they would be inclined to open snaps from brands, and 67% want discounts and promotions snapped to them by brands. (Business Insider)

Published in The Marketing Edge

If you're not making use of YouTube in your marketing, it's time to embrace it. With over a billion (that's not a typo, I promise) monthly users watching over 600 billion hours of video every month, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, with up to 30 million visitors each day. According to HubSpot, the majority of audiences expect companies to be on social media. While Facebook and Twitter are the top two channels people expect your business to be active on, it may come as a surprise that YouTube came in third, beating out Google, Instagram and Pinterest.

By creating an active YouTube channel, you reach an eager - and younger audience, and your business also stands to gain more influence on Google (bonus!). Comments on YouTube are tied to Google+, which means that creating and posting content on YouTube increases your visibility and credibility with Google's search engine, if you can engage your audience.

Published in The Marketing Edge
Tuesday, 30 December 2014 23:28

Five essential elements for success in 2015

I am writing this article on a fine Sunday evening, while enjoying a delicious glass of cabernet sauvignon wine. I am on 'vacation' (or something like that). As a small business owner, I never really go on vacation 100 percent, but I knew that was part of the deal when I decided five and a half years ago to become an entrepreneur. As I type these words I can't hide the grin that has been stamped on my face for a few days now. I had a wonderful year both personally and professionally - and 2015 will be even better, as long as I continue to do things right.

Do things right. Isn't that what life is all about? You're probably familiar with Confucius's Golden Rule of Reciprocity - an ethical code of morality that states that 'one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.' This rule can be applied in every single aspect of our personal and professional lives. As I grow older, I am becoming more appreciative of honest feedback, open conversations and blunt reality. The better I can see and understand my shortcomings (or those of my business), the greater my chances are to grow and better serve my clientele. As I take stock of my year and plan for 2015, five essential elements for success come to mind:

Published in The Marketing 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

I love this time of the year! Fall is an exciting time the trees are putting on a majestic show for us, Halloween is right around the corner, followed by Thanksgiving, and the Holidays! That's a lot of excitement packed in just a few weeks. For marketers and small business owners, this excitement is ten-fold we're only a few weeks away from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and planning can make a huge difference on our year-end bottom line.

So buckle down, take a sip of your pumpkin spice coffee, and let's get creative with your social media marketing campaign this holiday season! Here are 10 tips to help you rock this season:

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
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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