Lazy Summer Days Mean It’s Time for a Rube Goldberg Machine

My favorite ‘reset switch’ is watching a Rube Goldberg machine and here’s one that is really unique. It’s called Melvin the Magical Mixed Media Machine or Melvin the Machine for short. This four minute chain reaction craziness will grab your attention and leave you laughing. I like the fact that the people from hey, hey, hey have done it one better by video-taping the audience as they watch it. They have ‘branded’ Melvin as a a non-identity identity as set forth in the terms of the contest they participated in. Pretty clever.

Melvin The Magical Mixed Media Machine from HEYHEYHEY on Vimeo.

This has been Social Energizer’s Saturday Morning Post, a less business oriented, more personally related edition than our blog that is offered during the week. Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

We invite you to comment and rate each blog, so we can ever improve our offerings to you. Are you venturing into online marketing? Give us a call!

Small and Medium-Sized Business Tips On Raising Your Brand

I posted this article late last fall and today I think it needs repeating. Since posting, I’ve come to realize that small and medium-sized businesses have difficulty understanding the need of developing a recognizable brand. Why would Harry’s Garage in Green Bay or The Little Doz’ Inn in Appleton, WI need a brand? Because it pinpoints what you provide in images, words and actions. It helps your customers understand why and how you are different from your competition. It gives you a chance to stand out from the crowd. In today’s tough economy, how can that NOT be important?

Like Raising A Child, It Doesn’t Happen Overnight.

Building a brand is a little bit like raising a child. You start with a baby, an infant. You really might not feel much of an attachment right away, but slowly something magic starts to build. You feel something. You form that malleable little being into something that models yourself and those around you. You help define their morals, their judgement, their humor. It’s the same for a brand as it is with a child. Now, your child isn’t full-grown for many years, sometimes kids never grow up; the same with brands. Budget-wise you may spend a lot on both children and brands, but it is done slowly over time and just like with children you usually know pretty quickly when your money has been well spent. If you do it right, you’ll see it as the best money you’ve ever spent, giving you rewards far into the future.

Below is the original article from last fall, let me know what you think.

Wait! Don’t Forget Your Brand!

It’s hard to handle everything during the launch of a dynamic inbound marketing strategy, but don’t forget your brand along the way. It’s at the top of the marketing priority list of every successful business. Take Apple, for example. When a person buys an iPad or Mac they are buying the appeal, design and support of the Apple brand. They know it will be trendy and cutting edge. It will make them feel cool. That is the power of good brand creation and alignment.
future apple brand whorephoto © 2005 james keller | more info (via: Wylio)

Every marketing dollar you spend should support your brand. It’s how you stand out. It adds value to your product or company that can be measured in dollars. The brand is the story you tell people about what you provide. Below is a short overview on branding and some tips to be sure you don’t overlook your brand as you launch inbound marketing efforts.

A brand

• Expresses your company name and essence visually through a logo

• Extends throughout an organization’s communications and includes all functions of a company, product development through sales, as integral pieces of your brand

• Includes how customers perceive the company and the inherent value they place on your business

• Provides something that consistently draws attention and focus

• Is distinguished – your brand should give your audience something it wants but is not getting from your competitors

Defining your brand identity

• Determine your company’s positioning and core values

• Understand your strengths and weaknesses through honest analysis

• Know the why. Why will people want what your offer?

• Discovery — Getting to the brand’s essence takes introspection, participation and work.

Building brand equity requires a team that can create a consistent, predictable approach that stands out every time. No matter how brand efforts are scaled to fit the size and scope of the business, ignoring brand principles places businesses in peril and does not capitalize on its benefits. As a brand-experienced Inbound Marketing Coach, I would love the opportunity to help align your brand, while getting your inbound marketing efforts underway. Give me a call today!

Social Energizer’s purpose is to help companies develop lasting relationships with their customers and increase their visibility online.

In addition to building dynamic and affordable websites, we integrate inbound marketing techniques into each business’ current marketing plan and utilize digital channels and strategies like Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Search Engine Optimization, and Web-integrated Email Campaigns.

10 Steps to a New Business

Train Tracks

Have you dreamed of owning your own business, but don’t know where to start? Have you started planning for your new business, but keep wondering if you’ve forgotten anything important? Check out the basic steps below to be sure you’re on the right track.

Evaluate and Develop Your Business Concept

1. Do you feel passionate about this idea? Will it be something you can do every day –- and night?

2. Jot out a quick break-even analysis. Can you make money at what you’re planning to do?

3. Figure out how you can pay for it, until it pays for itself and then makes money. Determine best and worst case scenarios.

Structure Your Business

4. What type of business will you form?

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • LLC
  • C Corporation
  • S Corporation

5. Who will be your key employees, partners and vendors? What value do they add that you don’t have?

Brand It

6. Determine the name of your business. Start with a brainstorm session, then research your top 5-10 names for trademark and online domain availability.

7. Register your name and trademarks.

8. Determine your brand identity. If your brand were a person, who would it be? What does it stand for? How does it speak? Your brand is more than your logo and name, by answering these questions, and more, you will begin to identify your brand and its persona.

Set Up Your Business Systems

9. Obtain Insurance. Determine what liabilities are most relevant and insure for them.

10. Set Up Your Books. Find an accountant or bookkeeper that can periodically check your business situation, methods and prepare your taxes.

There’s more, but these are the top ten things that need to happen, to give your business a sound start.  This is a basic list, but you would be surprised at how many people, and companies, skip some or all of these steps.

If you find yourself overwhelmed, give me a call. Many of these steps can be readily achieved and will build the foundation for a strong business. Your strong business.

First Steps to Successful Marketing on Facebook

Today, there are more than 500 million active users, 50% of these users log in daily. Every average user has 130 friends. People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.

With those kinds of statistics Facebook is a natural for B2C businesses trying to build a loyal following: businesses like restaurants, hotels, sporting establishments, services and so forth.Social Media

Best of all: It’s free and easy.

Start your Facebook Personal Page

First step: you will need to establish your own personal page. The personal info you provide for this page is also your registration with Facebook for your business page, so you will only need to enter it one time. Often this is where someone worries about their privacy; don’t worry, you will (and should) adjust your privacy settings under your personal profile and restrict it so you limit who can view your personal page.  After that, you’re clear to create a business page.

Start a Facebook Business Page

Check out my free e-Book for step-by-step tips on starting your Facebook Business Page including screen examples of the Facebook personal page, business page and group page steps.

Start a Facebook Group

There is little to adjust for privacy on the business page; it’s open to all (except for age restrictions) and allows minimal control over how people interact with your page. If that lack of control bothers you, then maybe a facebook group is for you. It allows complete control of content, but is more effort for you to maintain.

Promote, promote promote!

All set up? Now, focus on promoting your business. Make frequent posts that are brief, upbeat and entice people to visit your business; or at least think about it more favorably. Understand your audience by developing your Online Persona. This helps you write posts that get attention and appeal to your fans.

Learn the power of reposting. This is one simple technique that is often overlooked. Ask a few of your most loyal customers (or friends and family) to repost your page or group on their walls by clicking the share feature. This starts a fan wave that exposes people to your business to whom  you do not have access.

Finally, use the new ‘Tell Your Fans’ feature that allows you to upload your contacts from your email or CRM program. This will allow the exposure of your site to grow.

Next issue? What would you like to hear more about?

Just add fuel! Make your Sales …move!

Success in Inbound Marketing requires a well-oiled machine, which includes blogging, lead generation tactics, SEO, web-blog-CMS integration and analytics, just to name a few. That’s the machine part. When done well, it helps drive business to your site and allows you to successfully reach your destination.

Lord Acton said “I’m not a driven businessman, but a driven artist. I never think about money. Beautiful things make money.”

In Marketing terms, beautiful things = fuel.

Until you add the fuel, with the right fuel grade, that machine just doesn’t …move. In this case, the grade of fuel you choose makes all the difference.  Lately, I wonder if we’re choosing our fuel grade carefully enough. Is its importance getting lost in managing the machine and just keeping our levels high?

Do you agree? I’d like to hear your thoughts.