August affords opportunity to set yourself up for stronger sales in the final quarter of the year and beyond.
STRENGTHEN SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Take time this month to implement strategies that will empower you to make the most of social media. Your bottom line will reap the benefits!
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA SUCCESS
Put these tactics into action to accelerate sales with the help of social media.
- When it comes to social media, attempts at hard selling and excessive product-hyping can quickly turn you into a pariah. The trick to social media lies in sharing relevant content that is interesting, entertaining and/or informative to your target audience. By taking that approach, you strengthen relationships with current clients and attract prospects, which, in the long run, helps boost sales.
- One distributor that’s hitting the target with social media is Motivators (asi/277780). On Facebook and Twitter profiles that each have thousands of followers, Motivators creates a social persona that paints the Westbury, NY-based company as fun, personable and eager to help clients succeed. While Motivators posts product-specific content, the company strikes a balance to this by sharing more “human” material too – office employee birthday pics, amusing videos staffers created and links to humorous articles customers will appreciate.
- This robust social media presence – which includes a unified tenor to the posts across platforms – promotes the company’s brand, helping to trigger sales, says Bill O’Shea, Motivators e-commerce manager. “We see some sales directly driven by social media,” he says, “but we know that there are plenty more social media assists.”
PLAN HOLIDAY PROMOTIONS NOW
Stay ahead of the competition and start orchestrating holiday season promotions with top clients today.
When August rolls around, Lori Walton starts thinking Christmas. For eight years running, the owner of Proforma DFW Marketing (asi/491468) in Fort Worth, TX, has used the sweltering summer month to plan custom holiday gift packages for an investment firm. The proactive initiative is well worth it: Typically, the client orders between 250 and 300 pieces at a budget of $100 to $115 per item.
“Every year they want something unique,” says Walton. “We plan early so we have the breathing room to get them exactly what they want.”
Suggesting gift ideas, providing pre-production samples and closely coordinating with vendors to ensure overseas production on custom pieces goes smoothly is all part of Walton’s effort. The work has resulted in an array of unique solutions. Last year, the client sent recipients a custom bocce ball set. Matched precisely to the investment firm’s PMS colors, the balls featured the company’s logo and came in custom crates with rope handles. Another year, the client went with a set of high-end steak knives that were packaged in a custom box with a steak cookbook, and featured a letter-of-thanks insert from the company to recipients. Adding a rustic charm, custom wooden crates housed embossed-logo wine totes in yet another seasonal gift offering.
For Walton, summer planning for the holidays makes a lot of sense – and cents. “If I do their gift now, a competitor can’t come in and get the business,” says Walton. “And, if I get last-minute requests for the holidays, I’ll have time to work on those.”
NETWORK OUTSIDE THE BOX
August presents chances to network at places and events you may never have considered. Connect with potential new clients by trying the following.
- MAKE FRIENDS ON VACATION: Regardless of where you go, you’re bound to meet new people. Get to know a few, find out what they do and follow up with potential prospects after your trip. Plus, if you’re staying at a resort or park, see if you can link up with the marketing director.
- ATTEND LOCAL FAIRS & CARNIVALS: These events often provide a chance to meet area business owners and people connected to schools, local sports leagues and other organizations – all potentially strong prospects.
- GET INVOLVED IN FUN ACTIVITIES: Use a website like www.meetup.com to discover events, activities and groups that match your interests – and then take part in some. The common ground you share with others and a casual setting will help spark conversations that may evolve into business relationships.
- BOND AT SOCIAL GATHERINGS: Invited to a barbecue? Taking the kids to a pool party? Headed to a concert or festival? You never know who you’ll meet at such events. Get acquainted and see where it leads.
GENERATE PRESS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
August is traditionally a slow news month, which makes it an opportune time to connect with journalists and get positive press. Learn how here.
- RESEARCH MEDIA TARGETS. Reporters, editors and their respective media outlets are the “buyers” in the public relations game. To sell them on your story, you need to understand them. “Spend time doing the research to find out about the types of stories they cover and the reporters and editors who are responsible for them,” says Michelle Ellis, partner at Orapin Marketing + Public Relations.
- PITCH NEWSWORTHY CONTENT. With a firm understanding of the media outlets, you’ll be better positioned to present them with coverage ideas that will appeal to their audience. Perhaps you just crafted a promotional campaign for a prominent local nonprofit’s fundraiser that helped the organization generate significant dollars. Such a success could interest area media. Whatever you pitch, “it needs to be timely,” says Ellis.
- KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE. Whether you’re sending a press release, a more informal e-mail or calling, you need to be able to get a reporter's attention quickly. Think of it as your elevator pitch. Quickly show why the reporter should care.
- BE A SOURCE. Even if your news alone doesn't merit coverage, you can still earn media placements if you are willing to be a reliable source for reporters, who could include your input in larger stories. “If you know,” says Ellis, “that there are industry- or community-wide topics the press is covering that you could speak on, make yourself available.”
target this niche: TV & RADIO
Decision-makers in television and radio are always looking to engage and influence audiences and advertisers. Clever promotional product campaigns can help them do just that.
A Standing Ovation
Ovation TV needed an eye-popper of a promotional campaign to influence cable television providers to start carrying the channel.
Cue Kris Robinson.
The executive VP at PromoShop (asi/300446) created an ingenious direct-mail solution that compelled cable companies nationwide to include Ovation in their channel options. The package created such promotional punch that some of the cable prospects responded to say it was the most creative mailer they’d ever received. “The response was epic,” says Robinson, who scored the Ovation opportunity by networking through a college friend that had become a marketing executive at the channel.
To catch the attention of decision-makers, Robinson started with a shirt-sized box that featured the Ovation logo and slogan (“Art Everywhere”), as well as the branding of a new show the channel was keen to promote: The Fashion Fund. When opened, flashing lights and the sound of snapping cameras sprang to life from an image of an exclusive runway show that’s presented on an uprising panel.
Additionally, recipients found a USB drive in the shape of a camera. The USB contained the trailer and premiere episode of The Fashion Fund. There was also a gift: a tablet folio, from Leed’s (asi/66887); it included a spot for compactly carrying iPads and a padfolio. In the space where the mobile device would be, Robinson featured a cut-out in the shape and styling of an iPad. On it was a personalized letter to the prospect from an Ovation executive.
During the initial rollout, Ovation sent 125 of the mailers; 15 cable companies elected to begin carrying the channel soon after. The conversion rate of 12% was nearly three times greater than the average response rate of most direct-mail campaigns. Wowed, Ovation enlisted Robinson to spearhead more promo initiatives this year. “It’s been a home run,” he said.