Tag Archives: Addison’s Compass

21st Century Marketing – Don’t Do Business Like It’s Still 1966

30 Jun

By Tim Busbey, co-owner, Addisons Compass Public Relations

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That is not an original thought, by any means, but it often is true. Just look at politics. No matter who is in office or which party has control, the status quo remains largely unchanged. Or how about sports. Every year we can count on the Yankees, Lakers and Patriots to be amont the top teams. And in the world of advertising and marketing, it also holds true.

Recently, I’ve been doing some research into the history of one of our area’s oldest businesses that closed three years ago. As part of my research, I’ve been scanning through microfilms from 1966, looking for articles about this business and its sale to a major corporation. I’ve found many interesting things while spending hours searching through old newspapers. People were obsessed with UFOs. We were worried about the “national menace” of computer dating. It was OK to refer to the Vietnamese Communists as Reds. Daylight Savings Time was a choice, not a requirement. But the one point that struck home was the saying I shared at the top of this blog post: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

It was interesting to see all the businesses that advertised in the Ashland Times-Gazette in 1966. Most of them are no longer in business 45 years later. But at that time, they faced the same challenges that businesses face today. They had a product or service and they needed to reach the right people with the message that their business was here and ready to serve them. Sounds a lot like the same equation we have to deal with today. The products or services may be different and we definitely have different ways of reaching people, but businesses still need a well-crafted, well-planned marketing strategy to succeed.

The equation has worked for as long as we have had commerce. If you have a product or service, but on one knows that you offer that product or service, you can’t expect them to magically appear at your doorstep looking to spend money. You need to let people know about yourself in whatever way you can afford and is appropriate for your type of business. In 1966, newspaper and radio were the media of choice for local advertisers. Today, thanks to computers and the Internet, we have email, websites, blogs, text messaging and social media as new avenues for our marketing messages.

Is your company still conducting business like its 1966? If you haven’t started using the myriad of new marketing tools at your disposal, why not? To stay competitive in the 21st Century, every business needs to take advantage of the technological wonders that the 21st Century has given us. Even the Pope sent his first tweet this week, announcing a new website that would serve as an aggregate for all of the Vatican’s digital messages. If the Catholic Church and the Pope can use these technological tools to reach the masses, so can you.

At Addison’s Compass, we love helping companies discover how they can use digital marketing to help their businesses grow. We can help you create a plan and then implement that plan with creative, attention-getting writing. Check out our website to see more details on how we can help your business take advantage of all the benefits of digital marketing.

You, Too, Can Use YouTube – 5 Tips for Marketing on YouTube

23 Jun

By Tim Busbey, owner, Addison’s Compass Public Relations

We all know YouTube was responsible for introducing the world to the phenomenon that is Justin Bieber. Without YouTube, the world would have never heard of Rebecca Black and her ubiquitous tune proclaiming the joys of “Friday.” And we’ve all seen the hilarious videos of babies laughing or kids dancing or dogs doing tricks. While the video sharing site is great for entertainment, it also can be a valuable marketing tool for businesses.

With digital video cameras and easy-to-use video editing software, creating simple videos to help promote your business is relatively easy for most computer-savvy business owners. Or if it is beyond your area of expertise and you have some marketing budget to work with, there are plenty of businesses that can help. Once you have created videos, YouTube is the perfect place to post them. The site is free to use, is easy to use and has a massive audience.

A recent study found that 77 percent of users come to YouTube expecting to watch only one video but end up watching more. The average YouTube user spends 15 to 25 minutes a day on the site. As of February 2011, YouTube has 490 million unique users worldwide per month, who rack up an estimated 92 billion page views each month. More video content is uploaded to YouTube in a 60 day period than the three major U.S. television networks created in 60 years.

Those numbers are staggering and show the vast potential YouTube offers business owners. Just like any marketing tool, you need to find the best ways to use YouTube to maximize your results. Here are 5 tips for small business owners to get the most out of YouTube:

1) Create and customize your channel

Setting up a channel on YouTube is simple, and customizing it is important. You should add your company’s branding, customize the colors to compliment your company’s look, and add relevant information and links. Your channel serves as your company’s homepage on YouTube. Make sure you take the time to make sure it looks the way it should.

2) Keep up with comments

Once you have videos posted on YouTube, people will be able to make comments about them. You should do your best to respond to any comments that are left, even if it’s just a simple “Thank you.” Be sure to respond to negative comments, too, especially if they are relevant and non-offensive. However, if there are comments which contain offensive language or are spam, you should delete those comments. YouTube does give you the option of moderating comments before they go live, so you can catch any offensive posts before they go live. You may want to use this option, especially if you start receiving a lot of comments that need to be deleted. But if you do, you need to keep up with moderating the comments. Otherwise, you will just end up with a backlog of submitted comments that never actually make it on your channel.

3) Engage your fellow YouTube users

Like any other social media site, the key to thriving on YouTube is interacting with other YouTube users. You should check out content on the site, comment on appropriate videos and add them as your favorites and make “friends” with relevant YouTube users. People will see you commenting on other videos and will check out your channel to see what you have to offer. And anyone who checks out your content is another potential customer.

4) Tag, you’re it

The key to letting people find your videos is tagging them appropriately. For example, if you are a dog groomer, you may tag your videos with “dog” and “dog grooming” and “grooming” and “pets” and many other related words – anything that may help people find your videos. Don’t be afraid to use too many tags. The more relevant tag words you use, the more likely your video will be found when people search on YouTube.

5) Promote your YouTube videos elsewhere

Like all your marketing tools, it’s important that you make them all work together whenever possible. When you post a new video on YouTube, let people know about it. On social media sites, on your website, on your blog, in an email blast. There’s no point in having a video up there if you aren’t going to let people know about it. Every video view is another potential lead for your business. Don’t let any opportunity pass you by.

At Addison’s Compass Public Relations, we can offer assistance to any business needing consultation to get started using YouTube. We can help you create promotional ideas and content that will engage your customers. If you are local to us in Ohio, we do house (business) calls too!

QR codes – The Next Big Step in Digital Marketing

8 Jun

By Tim Busbey, owner, Addison’s Compass Public Relations

In marketing, as in life, the only constant is change. Thanks to the constant technological advances our society produces, there is an endless array of new tools that we as marketers have at our disposal. In the last half decade, we’ve seen Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, text messaging and location-based apps flourish and grow as avenues for businesses to market their products. One avenue that has grown in popularity in other countries but has been slow to catch on here in America is Quick Response codes, also known as QR codes.

What is a QR code?

A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode, (pictured at left), similar to the barcodes businesses use to track their inventory and price their products. However, QR codes have one big advantage over a barcode – the amount of information they can hold. Regular barcodes are linear one-dimensional codes that can only hold up to 20 numerical digits, while QR codes are two-dimensional matrix codes that can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters. That means you can embed numbers AND words into QR codes. This is a huge advantage and makes QR codes a powerful tool for small businesses. Businesses can use QR codes to promote coupons, special offers or discounts. They can also use them to build a mobile list of subscribers or to direct people to their website, online video or Facebook Fan page. The possibilities for using QR codes to market your business are nearly unlimited.

How do QR codes work?

First, a business owner goes to one of the many web sites that are called QR code generators. At these web sites, you can enter in the information that you want included in your QR code. Your QR code can be used to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network, or open a web page in the telephone’s browser. Once you enter the information, the QR code generator will then create a QR code which you can download and use wherever you want. Most businesses use them in print advertisements, flyers or signs. You also can use them on business cards, brochures, product tags, menus or receipts.

There are many sites online that will allow you to create QR codes. Just do a search for “QR code generator” and browse through the results to find one that works for you and your needs.

Smartphone owners can download an app which allows them to scan the QR codes in your advertisement. Once scanned, the information you put in the QR code will be on the user’s phone. With more than one-third of cell phone users now carrying smartphones, QR codes can be a powerful tool for any business.

Example of QR codes

Here is one example of an ad containing a QR code from the July 2011 issue of Woman’s Day magazine. This ad for DERMAdoctor KP Duty. Scanning the QR code from the lower right corner of this ad will take the user to a web page where they can instantly order the product. Once there, even if they don’t want to order the product, they can easily follow links to get more information about the product or other similar products.

Benefits to using QR codes.

1) Tracking. When you use a QR code, intricate details on each access of your QR code can be compiled. Some QR code generating sites offer analytics to let you track usage of your code. There are both free and paid options depending on the site you use. This gives you valuable information about who is interested in your product – information that can be used to refine your message and methods. Be sure to explore the options each site offers when choosing a QR code generator. Another way to track QR code usage is to use the QR code to lead people to a website. Your current analytics will allow you to keep track of the number of people who visit the URL you embed in the QR code.

2) Save money. One of the biggest disadvantages to any form of print marketing is the cost. Billboards and brochures can be cost-prohibitive, especially for small businesses. However, most businesses already have a website. With a QR code on a flyer or a small newspaper ad, you can embed a link to a webpage or a downloadable ebook/brochure. That way, people can still receive the information about your business without you incurring the cost of printing. Also, if some information in the brochure or book needs to change, you can easily make the change online without having to reprint hundreds or thousands of copies.

3) Ease of storage/transportation. If someone likes or wants to keep some information about your business, instead of finding a pen and paper, all they have to do is use their smartphone to scan the QR code. The information from the code will be saved on their phone if they want to retrieve it again later or share it with someone else.

4) Build customer excitement. People are curious. People who know what QR codes are will want to know what information you have stored in your company’s QR code. They can quickly and easily scan your code and find out more information about your business or find a special offer or coupon you may offer exclusively through the QR code.

No matter what kind of business you have, there are many ways to utilize QR codes to help grow your business. At Addison’s Compass Public Relations, we can offer assistance to any business needing consultation to get started using QR codes. We can help you create promotional ideas and content that will engage your customers. If you are local to us in Ohio, we do house (business) calls too! Scan our QR code at the left to visit our website.

5 Reasons Your Business Needs A Blog

1 Jun

Tim Busbey, owner, Addison’s Compass Public Relations

Everyone is blogging these days. OK, maybe not everyone, but the world of Cyberspace certainly is full of people using blogs as their sounding board. According to The Nielsen Company, there are more than 160 million blogs with more than 71,000 new blogs popping up in the last 24 hours.

Besides this blog for our business, Erin and I also have personal blogs. Mine features a mix of book reviews, comments on pop culture and a look at the process of writing my first novel. Erin has two – one about books and one about photography and art. We both enjoy the opportunity to write about subjects we enjoy and are passionate about and interacting with other people who are interested in similar topics.

A blog (a blend of the term “web log”) is also a great way to market your business. Maybe you don’t think you have anything to say or you don’t have the time or you aren’t sure how to start. But if you have a business, you probably do have something to say about your product or service, and you should make the time to use this valuable marketing tool.

Here are the top 5 reasons your business should have a blog:

1) Blogs are very easy to set-up and use. If you’re a small business, you probably don’t have a whole department for your computer and Internet needs. If you aren’t skilled in website design and can’t spend a lot of money on a website, a blog is a great way to get started. Just type your thoughts for the day, include a few photos or videos, hit the “publish” button, and instantly, your thoughts are posted for the whole world to see.

2) Blogs are the perfect place to post news and announcements about your business, as well as to share your thoughts on subjects relevant to your business. The former gives you an opportunity for free advertising, and the latter gets you noticed and allows you to position yourself as an expert and a leader in your field. This will make people more likely to buy from you.

3) Blogs are a great way to put a personal face and voice on your business. As you write about your business or share your thoughts, this allows your customers to see who you really are, which is really the purpose of any blog or social media marketing tool. Customers love to see “behind the curtain” and get a glimpse at the people who make a business tick. This is another way to build trust with your customers.

4) Blogs are great for SEO. Search engines love pages that are regularly updated. Posting regularly and filling your blog posts with relevant keywords is a great way to build traffic on your blog.

5) Blogs can help you generate leads. Most blogs offer readers the chance to comment on your posts. You can use these comments as a great opportunity to build a relationship with someone who may not be a customer. Also, if you are sharing relevant information and posting about your business on a regular basis, this will help move your customers to that conversion point, where they trust you enough and believe in your product enough that they decide to make the purchase.

There are many opportunities and many ways to use a blog that can help your business as more customers are looking online when making their purchasing decisions. At Addison’s Compass Public Relations, we can offer assistance to any business needing consultation to get set-up with a blog, or would like to have the set-up done for them and/or managed as well. We can help with writing your blog posts in a way that will engage readers and keep them coming back for more. If you are local to us in Ohio, we do house (business) calls too!

5 tips for marketing on Facebook

10 May

By Tim Busbey, owner, Addison’s Compass Public Relations

Today, we presented a seminar on Social Media Marketing in conjunction with the Ashland Area Council on Economic Development. This was the third seminar in a series on digital marketing in the 21st Century. The first seminar served as an overview to digital marketing, offering a quick summary of the options available, including websites, blogs, email, QR codes and social media. The second seminar focused on websites and how to better use them in marketing. Today’s seminar focused on using Facebook and Twitter to market your business.

As part of today’s seminar, I presented 10 tips for building your fanbase in Facebook and converting those fans into customers. I’m going to share the first five with you. If you’d like to read the other five, you can email me at tim@addisonscompass.com and I’ll be happy to share them with you.

Facebook is closing in on 700 million members. In just 5 short years, the site has become a phenomenon that has totally changed our culture and how we share information and interact with people. It is up to us as marketers to tap into that energy, that power, and discover the best ways that we can use it to market our businesses.

Here are 5 of my 10 tips for building a fanbase and converting those fans into satisfied customers.

1) Spread the word – everywhere!
Every chance you get, let people know about your Facebook page. If your customers don’t know that your page exists, they don’t have the opportunity to “like” it. So put the word out about your page everywhere.

In newspaper ads. On radio ads. On flyers. In your store. On your website. In an e-mail to your mailing list. In your e-mail signature. On your business cards. In your blog. On your Twitter account.

Anywhere someone might read about your business, include the link to your Facebook page, too. And the best part – all these ways are free or very low cost.

This is a great way to let your existing customers know about your page. But it also gives them a way to share the news with their friends who aren’t customers.

In a fan survey by the DDB Worldwide, a global marketing firm, they found the No. 1 reason people become fans of a brand is because someone invited them to the page. Either the company told them about the page or one of their friends told them about it. If you invite them, they will come. But if you never let people know about your page, there is no point even being on Facebook.

2) Be consistent
Once you set up and start your Facebook page, don’t be a stranger. If your page becomes a ghost town, that is a major turn-off to any customers or potential customers. Posting something on your page once every three months is no way to build your fanbase and build relationships with those fans. Just like a face-to-face relationship, it takes time and effort to build online relationships and trust.

There is no magic answer to how many times you should post on your page. You want to make sure your message stands out and doesn’t get lost, but you don’t want to annoy people, either. So you have to work to find a balance.

Most experts suggest posting at least once a day, but no more than three times a day. If you don’t feel you have the time to keep up with that, at least be sure to post several times a week. Trial and error will help you determine what frequency of posts works best for you and your business.

But no matter how many times you end up deciding to post, be sure you keep up with it and be active with your fanpage.

3) Interact with your fans
If someone takes the time to leave a comment for you on your page, the least you can do is take the time to respond. If you don’t, it sends the message that you don’t care about your customers. You should consider your social media sites as an extension of your customer service efforts, as much as they are part of your advertising or marketing efforts.

As part of this effort, you must make sure to respond to negative comments as well as positive ones. Research shows that 64% of people have a more favorable opinion of a brand if they respond to both positive and negative comments.

Besides, most people who take the time to become a fan of your page probably are not going to blast you on your page. And if someone does, many of your true fans likely will jump to your defense.

When you interact with your fans, it’s important to find the right tone. With social media, you can write in a slightly more conversational tone than most of your business writing. Your fans want to feel that there is a human being on the other side of the computer.

4) Share valuable content
Content is king in social media. People love to devour information. Just this week, a study came out showing that Facebook is the second leading driver of traffic to news sites, following only Google. That means people are clicking on links in their Facebook news feed to get to major news sites.

As marketers, we have to take advantage of people’s desire to consume mass amounts of information. How do we do that? By sharing content on your Facebook page. Whether it’s a link to a blog or article you wrote, or a link to a blog or article you read on someone else’s page, these links will engage your fans and also help drive traffic to your blog or website.

Make sure the content is interesting, useful and relevant. Don’t damage your company’s online reputation by posting irrelevant spam.

5) Add photos and videos
People love to see other people’s photos. Nothing catches the eye when glancing through your newsfeed that a photo. But what people love even more than other people’s photos is pictures of themselves. Posting photos you have taken at an event is a great way to get people’s attention. Encourage your fans to look for themselves in the photos and tag themselves. This engages your fans, and also spreads the word about your business through their newsfeed. Each of their friends will see that they tagged themselves in a picture on your fanpage.

If you enjoyed these first 5 tips and thought they were useful, please email me at tim@addisoncompass.com and I’d be happy to share the whole presentation with you.

If you need some help with social media and using them to help your business, ask us how we can help.

Social media marketing – Let us guide you on your excursion

6 Apr

by Tim Busbey, owner, Addison’s Compass Public Relations

Social media is the fastest growing section of the Internet. In 2010, Facebook’s 600 million users spent more than 49 billion minutes on the social networking site. This was an increase of 80 percent, according to comScore’s “The 2010 Digital Year in Review” report. Experts are predicting a similar spike this year. Twitter has grown to an estimated 190 million users in less than five years. The latest social media trendsetter, Foursquare, boasts nearly 7 million users after less than two years.

In spite of this exponential growth in social media usage, many businesses have been slow to incorporate social media into their marketing plans. The reasons often have to do with lack of staff or budget issues, or concerns about how social media can benefit their business. However, using social media to effectively get the word out about your business and build relationships with potential customers doesn’t have to be cost-prohibitive or take a whole team of marketers.

Social media marketing is about building relationships with your customers and potential customers. A professional writer can help you reach out to cyberspace and convey your company’s message in a clever, unique, memorable way that will keep people coming back for more, and help build a level of trust with them – a key factor in driving sales.

At Addison’s Compass, we offer 3 social media packages, tailored to fit the social media marketing needs of any business. We will help your business get moving in the right direction.

Our 3 packages are:

The Straight and Narrow 
The Scenic Route
The Super Highway

Call us or email us to find out how we can put our collective 25 years of writing and marketing experience to work for your business. You can reach Tim at tim@addisonscompass.com or 419-565-5823, and Erin at erin@addisonscompass.com or 419-651-7934.