Showing posts with label Marketing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marketing. Show all posts

Monday, July 3, 2017

Your Web Site: Your Largest Marketing Tool


The computer age is here and with it is a great vehicle for marketing your services. Because you are not selling a packaged product, you don't need to store inventory but what you do need is a great web site. Here are a few things, in Q&A form, to think about before you dive in:

Q: What is my market target for my site?
A: People who have a computer and researching Surrogacy and ART. Assume that they Know Nothing!

Q: Do I need a High Tech site?
A: No, you need something that is memorable, easy to understand, and easy to navigate.

Q: Do I need to spend a lot of money on my site?
A: I don't think so. There are several places on the net that will let you design your site using their templates and host it besides. It is pretty easy to use one of these sites...Or you can hire LaMothe Services to teach you how to make and maintain your own site. http://lamotheservices.com/

Q. How do I market my site?
A. This goes hand in hand with marketing your business. I will get into more detail later but the most common ways are using the search engines, link and banner exchanges, and placement of your site address on your other marketing materials.

Q. Should I have a banner ad made up the same time I have my site made?
A. It's a good idea and be sure to link it color and design-wise with your site. Think about what you actually need to have on the banner...your logo? your phone number? your web site? your motto? You have limited space so really think of what you want to put on your banner ad.

Look around at some of your competition out there and what they have on their sites. What do you see? What "feeling" do you want your visitors to have regarding your agency the minute they see your home page? Do you want to have photos of the women who have signed on with you to be surrogates? Do you just want to have descriptions of who is looking to be matched or do you want to "pitch" your business personally and have people call you directly? What about your fees? Is it better to list them along with your services and "weed out" people that can't afford to pay what you are asking or would you rather entice your prospective clients to call so you can talk to them personally and tell them exactly what you are willing to do for them.

I will be touching on these topics frequently. A great web site is one step closer to showing the world how responsible, organized, and dependable you are. Remember, YOU are the agency!


http://lamotheservices.com

Monday, April 3, 2017

5 Essentials When Advertising Your Small Business

I am stuck in business mode....not only am I sharing ideas that work for all small business but what can work for an agency. Needless to say I am using "small business" loosely because look at the new numbers out there...the Infertility Industry is boasting that it's now a 4 BILLION DOLLAR business! Who is getting all of this money and are you feeling like all you are earning are the crumbs off this huge buffet? I think we are all aware that to actually be effective in the agency segment of the infertility business puzzle you have to have a few altruistic cells in your body...no one is going to be rich running an agency but a comfortable living can and should be expected. No one wants those looking for third party help to be viewed as Mr. and Mrs. Money-bags, because most IPs are far from rich especially after all of the treatments they have undergone on themselves! It's all so expensive! However, we as business owners need to find ways to reach out to our clients. Once they know of our existence then we can show them why we are the best "partner" for them to hire. Below are some advertising tips that you can put to work for you now or planning ahead for the holidays!


5 Essentials When Advertising Your Small Business
Posted by Suzanne Vara

Advertise your Business! Now is the time to plan to plan ahead and take your advertising campaigns off life support.

Advertising sets out to persuade people to buy your product or service by effectively targeting them where they reside. Traditional media (print, radio, TV) has often been called noise as it interrupts people when they are not wanting to watch or listen or see ads while relaxing. The same can be said for banner ads and pop-ups on the internet. While the internet does allow for targeting a specific group more closely, ads will reach people who have no need or interest in your product or service.

5 Essentials for Advertising Your Business:

1. Identify target market. Who wants and needs your product or service? Find out where they hang out and develop a plan around this. Use multiple mediums to see what work best. Teens still watch tv as they talk about the show they just wanted with their friends on Facebook!

2. Determine Budget. Be reasonable here. Remember you need a good balance of reach and frequency to get people to identify with your product/service and the make the decision to buy. Being top of mind never hurts!

3. Research and Determine Mediums. Get media kits and read through proposals you receive. It is very easy to get caught up in the number of spots and not realizing that half of them are in the middle of the night and on a sister station that is the lowest rated station.

4. Create Single Message. Focus on 1 product or service and how it will add value to the consumers life.

5. Design/Produce. Best advice here is to higher someone unless you are a graphic designer. Designers have the experience with where to best position, which fonts work best and overall layout. Your ad whether it is print, radio, tv or on the internet, is a reflection of your brand and the company overall. Let's make it a good one!

Taking the time to look at all the various mediums that are available will go a long way. Tight budgets do not allow for trying something and hoping it will work. Researching where your target market is will go a long way. Once you have that information, be sure to really look at the medium. If you don't make changes in your marketing now you may be left behind by your competition!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

10 Top Tips for Banner Advertising



Banner Ads are the attractive advertising medium that quickly grabs the visitors attention. Implementing an attractive banner ad is more important in order to effectively utilize the features or the power of banner ads.

The success of your online advertising purely depends on how far you are putting the right efforts in building the banner advertisements. You need to take care everything from animation, color combination, banner size and most importantly the Ads positioning. This article carries proven tips that really works to boost the performance of your banner ads. So designing an rich and attractive banner advertisement is easy if you are doing that simple.

1) Design Clear And Simple Banners.

When it comes to attractiveness, you should keep things simple. That is 100% applicable for designing the banner ads. Make your banner design simpler. That really attracts the visitors impression. The first impression is more important and that should be the best impression. Simple design helps you to make quality banner ads. Learn how to make perfect quality banner ads.

2) Focus Your Target Audience.

Targeting the audience in advertising is the prior goal. So you have to understand the audience first. Do you have that understanding ? If not, try to understand in the sense know at least, what they expecting from you and your business ? This helps you to design Ads with correct and accurate facts or information.
3) Keep The Brand In Banners.

It is advisable to show your branding over the banner ads. In general, branding helps the visitors to remember you web site. So put your logo and URL over the banner ads at least in the lowest corner or in the top. Branding helps your ads to stand out from the other banner ads placed nearer.
4) Ask questions on Banners.

Asking questions on the banner ads is the intelligent way of calling the visitors. In general, a question strikes the people to look for the answer. So ask some attractive or catchy question to the viewers. Thats the ever known best Call-To-Action.

5) Banner Ads Placement.

Even though you have designed a poor banner Ad but when placed in a hot position (top, top-left, top-right, middle) of the web page it wins. At the same time, placing a well designed ad at the worst place (lower-left, lower-right, bottom) of the web page fails. So it all depends on where you are placing the banner ads. Find out the best position, by experimenting with different banner Ads placements. That makes sense.

6) Test Drive The Banners.

As I told, experimenting is more important. Both the banner design and the placement you have to test. Do more test, do even more test and measure the impact. Do the corrective action and finally, your banner ads will be in the right place.

7) Use The Right Design Tools.

If you are looking for selecting the right designing tool, better go for great tools like Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft’s design and publisher tools etc. That really works well and helps you to make attractive designs. Try to become the expert with these tools. Learn the banner design tips.

8) Using Gimmick Attracts The Eyes.

Gimmicks really works well. Try to put some catchy and flashy objects or text over the banner ads. That grabs the visitors eye on the first look. Attracting on the first site is more important with banner ads. Using colorful gimmicks adds more value and adds that rich look to your Ads. But don’t overlaod the graphics, that will become uglier.

9) Keep It Professional.

A professionally design banner ads drives the visitor to explore more. It builds the trust over the advertisements and gives the good confidence to the visitor. Like “this advertisement looks professional so the information it offers should also be professional”. So flow your professionalism through out the banner design.

10) Give Importance To Text In Ads.

Texts are not only important in Text Ads but also in banner ads. It not like banner ads should only have the graphical and animations. You should have the right text. Your slogan or a question or even an offer. Use the selected keywords over the banner ads that directly relates your web site or business. There should be a balance between text and animation. Better to go for the 50-50 approach. That helps to make better looking Ads. You should know the tips to write text ads and apply that for banner ads usage.

Always keep in mind, an attractive banner ad should have Simple Graphics & Right Text which leads to higher Click Through Rate.

Mr Ven

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's Time to Plan Your ASRM Annual Meeting Agenda! Put These Suggestions on Your List!

Have you looked at your ASRM Program yet? If you have attended this great conference in the past then you know that all of the courses and roundtables fill up fast! The post grad course I am participating in is offered on page 15, Course PG1 offered on Saturday the 10/15. The Psychology and Ethics of Marketing a Mental Health Practice in Infertility. William Petok, Ph.D, and Jeffery E. Barnett, Psy.D. are also on the faculty with me! Not to be missed opportunity to learn about marketing your practice or business! Turn to page 50 and you will find #RTT19 Demystifying Gestational Surrogacy luncheon roundtable hosted by me as well! This is found under Mental Health! Remember these roundtables include lunch and are limited! This one is offered on Tuesday October 18th! I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Twelve Tips for Writing Better Marketing Brochures By Julia Hyde

Every year, thousands of online businesses fail. No business owner plans to fail, but they fail all the same. One of the main reasons for the high failure rate is an overreliance on one marketing channel: the Internet.

Marketing isn't about the medium; it's about getting and keeping customers. Internet marketing can help, but only if you use it in conjunction with other tools. In order to succeed, every company must have brochures and other forms of printed sales literature to hand out to customers and prospects.

A company needs printed marketing literature for two reasons:

Credibility. People expect a "real" company to have printed sales literature. Anyone can spend $60 on business cards and letterhead and call themselves a company. But if you want people to know you mean business, you need a brochure. Read more about the Importance of a Logo and Marketing Materials.

Time. People want printed material to take home and read at their leisure. Brochures also support other advertising, direct mail, and online promotions. In short, a good brochure sells.

Here are 12 tips on writing a brochure that will support your online marketing efforts and increase your sales.

1. Know what your reader wants. Write your brochure or leaflet from the reader's point of view. What are your readers' concerns? What do they need to know before they make a purchase? Try writing down all the questions you hear from your customers and try and answer them in your collateral.

2. Motivate your reader to look inside. The first page your reader will see is the front cover. Get it wrong and you will likely lose the sale. Start with the benefits of your product, or use thought-provoking statements that motivate the reader to pick up the brochure and open it. Tell the reader there's something inside just for them -- an exclusive invitation, a free report, a special discount, or advance notice of sales. Don't put just your company logo or product name on the front. That will not work.

3. List the contents. In brochures of eight pages or more, a table of contents is essential. Design it so that the table of contents stands out from the rest of the text. Use the contents to sell the brochure. Don't use mind-numbing words like "Introduction" or "Model No. A848DHGT." Use your key sales points in your headings.

4. List your product's benefits. Purchasers care about benefits, not features. To develop a list of benefits, draw up a list of product features and add the words "which means that..." after each point. For example, "The cake is made from an original recipe, which means that...it tastes better." Or, "The car has a 300 horse-power engine, which means that...it goes faster." Benefits are what sells products. Learn more about Copywriting Basics.

5. Make the brochure a keeper. Putting helpful information in your brochure will encourage the reader to keep it, refer to it often, or pass it on to other people. If you are selling paint, you can provide hints on color schemes, painting how-to information, tips from the pros, or other information. If you are selling skin care products, you can give your readers tips on how to combat pimples, dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles.

6. Alter the shape. Who says a brochure has to be 8 ½ by 11? If you are selling sandwiches, design a brochure in the shape of a sandwich. Season tickets to soccer matches? Design it in the shape of a soccer ball. Use your imagination to come up with an original, eye-catching piece.

According to Direct Magazine, a recent mailing by CSi, a company that conducts customer satisfaction surveys for automobile insurance firms and repair shops, got a 15 percent response rate with a brochure delivered in a 32-ounce squeeze sport water bottle. The headline read, "Thirsty for more repair orders?"

Try tall and slim, square, oblong, whatever you like. The only limitation is your imagination, and, of course, your budget.

7. Make it personal. An experienced speaker talking to a large audience will pick out someone in the crowd, and talk directly to him or her. This connection allows the speaker to make the talk more personal. In a similar fashion, write your brochure with an imaginary person in mind. Why? Because writing in a direct "I'm-talking-only-to-you" style will increase response.

8. Add atmosphere. You don't want your brochure to sound aloof. Let your reader share your feelings. A brochure about a wood-burning stove does not need to go into the ins and outs of how the stove works. Tell your reader about rainswept winter evenings and snowbound afternoons. Let your words show them how warm and snug and they'll be when they purchase one of your stoves.

9. Start selling right away. Not everyone needs to know about every aspect of your product or service. Don't waste their time telling them about things that don't convey a benefit.

10. Address your reader's needs. Don't get carried away with your own interests. Talk about your reader, not yourself.

11. Give directions. Organize your brochure so readers can flip through the pages and easily find what they want. Provide clear signposts or headlines throughout the brochure and make sure each one says "Hey, pay attention to me!"

12. Ask for action. Regardless of how you organize your brochure, there's only one way to end it. Ask for action. If you want your reader to respond, include an 800 number, reply card, or some form of response mechanism. In fact, to increase your brochure's selling power, include your offer and a response mechanism on every page.

Julia Hyde is an independent copywriter and consultant specializing in advertising, search engine optimization, and search engine marketing services. To learn more, visit her Web site at juliahyde.com or email her at info@juliahyde.com.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

6 Tips for Successful Networking

I feel like now is the time to at least take a look at networking. Maybe you have told quite a few people what you are planning to do...open an agency. That is NOT considered networking...at least not in a major way. You are a 'service based' business. No matter where you go and what you are doing YOU ARE NETWORKING. I don't mean that you have to wear lipstick and heels to the local Albertsons or Safeway but you never know when someone will ask you what do you do. Being confident, observant, friendly and having that business card on hand really is a start. Networking at the ASRM conference is easier because you do have a target audience there. Putting yourself 'out there' again and again is how you are going to build your business whether by phone or in person and knowing these 6 tips really will help. Again I am looking at www.morebusiness.com. (I like to give credit where credit is due!)

Sharon LaMothe
LaMothe Services, LLC
http://lamotheservices.com/

6 Tips for Successful Networking
Here are some networking tips that could help you have a little bit of fun, as well as generate more business and profits for your small business.
Radiate Confidence

Even if you are shy or nervous, keep your poise and have a confident attitude as you walk into any meeting or conference. This will attract others. As you do so, you need to be prepared to carry on an intelligent discussion.
Study what is going to be discussed during the meeting. When people understand that you are serious about participating in the discussions in a meaningful and useful way, they will respect you and seek you out.
Do Not Dismiss Small Talk
Small talk is a vital part of business communications. By making small talk, you will make other people feel comfortable in your presence, and also slowly build up a level of trust with them.
You can start your sales ‘pitch’ after you have come to know something about the likes and dislikes of the other person. Serious discussions and negotiations will eventually be conducted, but small talk has its place in interactions between business people.

Observe the Other Person

When you are talking with other people, observe their reactions and their body language. You might find that a particular person is more interested in hearing details about you and your small business. You can then focus on that person, since you will have already captured their interest.
This strategy will save you from wasting time on people who are not interested in your company or your products. Limit the amount of time you spend trying to convince someone, before you move on to the next group or person.
Wasting your time on someone who is clearly not interested in what you have to offer will only leave you with less time to converse with others.
Keep Your Business Card Ready
You should not give your business card to each and every person, but you should give it to anyone who displays even the slightest potential of becoming a customer.
Follow-Up Is Important, Too
Call, email, or fax the people you’ve had a good interaction with during your meeting. This will indicate to the other person that you enjoyed meeting him or her, and that you are now interested in conducting serious business.
Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Do not be afraid of what the other person might think about you. You can expect to have a few misses before you find an approach that works. Until then, keep on trying and attend as many networking events as you possibly can so that you can meet a wide variety of people. A few setbacks should not stop you from meeting new and interesting people that can help advance your business goals.
Use the above tips to better networking, and you will turn into a networking specialist in no time. In addition to getting increased business, you might also make some new friends - and it is this combination that makes networking fun and profitable.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Marketing in a Recession? YES!

Below is a topic close to my heart! I have several clients who KNOW that they have to DO SOMETHING to keep up with their competition....and that includes new marketing strategies. The good thing is that you don't have to pay out a lot of money to get results! No matter what you do though, marketing is key!
Tell me what you are doing to keep your business front and center for everyone to see!
Thanks!
Sharon
http://lamotheservices.com/

Marketing in a Recession? YES!

Is the current tough market the right time to be slashing your advertising budget? Not if you want your business to survive the economic downturn and lay the groundwork to thrive when the economy improves! Tough times may actually provide us our best opportunity to reach out to our customers with little or no competition because so many of our competitors are doing just the opposite of that in an attempt to save money.

During good times everyone has the money (and bravery) to seek out clients, creating an atmosphere of extreme competition where reaching the consumer with your message proves to be exceedingly difficult. NOW is the time to have faith in your product or service, to reach out to your customers and to secure your success now and into the future. And there are easy and cost effective ways of doing so.

There are some simple things that you can do. Everyone knows about the internet, but not everyone knows the free ways to get exposure on the internet. You can write an article about your industry, or a product, and submit it to one of the many sites that accept them. At the end of your article, you mention your business and have a link to your website. Each site has it's guidelines on how the articles are to be written, so make sure to follow them. This will help establish you as a leader in your industry as long as the information you share is helpful and not self-promoting.

Guerilla marketing is great in slow time. Have some flyers or postcards made. One of your employees or friends can design it or you can find an affordable place to do it for you. During your slow time, have your employees go to a busy area and hand them out. Now you are putting your message directly into the hands of prospective customers. Make sure you have an attractive offer that will entice people to visit your business. Obviously, this is mainly for businesses with a store front, but you can do guerilla marketing online as well.

Guerilla marketing is done differently online. With blogs and social networking sites, there are opportunities to market your business in a different setting. You can create blogs and check the response you get from each entry which can help you check what the market is interested in at any given time. Or you can find blogs that have an issue that your company can help with. Respond to the blog with your company information. You can set up an account with a social networking site, giving more information about your business and connecting to other businesses to network and exchanges leads.

Cross promote with other businesses, in other ways. If you're feeling the pinch of the economy, most likely other businesses in your area/industry are feeling it as well. Find other businesses that don't compete with yours and see about exchanging some flyers or a banner promoting each other's business. Or if your business is online, do a link exchange with other businesses. Do not over due the link exchange or Google may lower your organic search results. Be selective in who you work with both online and in the brick and mortar world.

Press Releases can be a very effective way to bring attention to your business. If you have something that impacts the community, then you can have someone write a press release for you. If you hire someone to do it for you, make sure they know how to write and distribute it. Again, remember the topic must be something that impacts the community and not just a self-serving piece promoting your business.

These are just some of the ideas that will help your business grow in any economy. There are plenty of marketing options out there. You just need to find the ones that work for you.


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About the Author: Rob Bedell is an expert in the media industry and has worked in the industry for over 15 years. He has worked with some of the largest media companies in the world, Tribune and Knight-Ridder, as well as helping restructure and rebuild other companies in the Los Angeles, CA Metropolitan area. He now owns a marketing company that helps small to medium sized business, making sure that their marketing pays them back. www.bedellmediaconsulting.com.

Friday, April 9, 2010

4 Tips To ‘UP’ Your Value Line and Boost Biz By V. Summers

In a “changing tide” economy, you need to understand at a deeper level that business owners focused on delivering greater value digitally via the internet are truly reaping some amazing rewards. Why? They have innovated, transitioned and positioned themselves to extend their “value line” by providing even greater solutions to their clients and prospects.

So, what is a “value line”?

Well, simply put, the amount of free knowledge, expertise and solutions via tips, tools and resources about the benefits of your services and/or products that you as a business owner offer digitally and automatically.

In the old economy, this is what the free value line looked like, especially online:

Free value———-> = Client Conversion + Repeat Business

In the new economy, if you understand that the free value line has now been extended, you can align your approach for unrivaled marketing and business success. Here is what the free new value line looks like:

Free value, Free Value, Free Value, Free Value———-> = Client Conversion + Repeat Business

So, if you need to bring more value to your prospects and clients today to continue to grow as a business, how can you do that easily and effectively via the internet?

Take your knowledge and expertise (aka, the capital in your head) and provide valuable insights about the solutions/benefits your services and products provide, and share those golden nuggets with your ideal demographic.

Please find below four time-tested online strategies that will extend your value line and help catapult your business income. I can attest that once I started implementing these proven success formulas, my business began to really boom.

Online value-added strategy No. 1. Offer a weekly or biweekly e-zine. What is an e-zine? It’s an online newsletter delivered through an e-mail service provider into the e-mail box of your prospects and clients. My e-zine is Insights on Business Success. Let’s face it, you know so much that others would like to know.

Take the time to share some of your knowledge and expertise on a consistent basis via this low-cost, user-friendly publishing format, and you will quickly see a transformation not only to your bottom-line income but also on your conversion rate of prospects into clients and added repeat business from your current clients.

Online value-added strategy No. 2. Add some video to your website. Research tells us that more than 60 percent of what is being searched for online is video and that over 200 million videos are consumed per month in the U.S. alone. Get yourself a Flip Video camera and create 5 to 10 videos approximately three minutes apiece, whereby in each video you answer one frequently asked question you get about your services and/or products.

Now be sure to share those videos with all your prospects and clients online and– bam!–you’ve just moved your free value line to the right again!

Online value-added strategy No. 3. Write a Free Report. List five, seven or 10 questions that your prospects and clients should be asking you about your services and/or products. Now, answer those questions and edit these pieces into a five-, seven- or 10-step free report. Once the free report has been written, take your word doc and turn it into an unalterable PDF digital file.

When you have new visitors to your website, share this free report with them via automatic delivery for leaving their name and e-mail address. Now you are automating building a relationship with your ideal demographic, adding extra value for your current client and, again, extending your free value line to the right. Want to see a good example of how this has been done? Visit DesignKrew.com

Online value-added strategy No. 4. Post on a blog. Truth is, people buy from people they know, like and trust. A blog offers you the opportunity to share more of you and your expertise in an ongoing format. If your visitor likes one blog post, she can scroll down to read others. The more you bring value via an ongoing blog post, the more you extend your free value line. Plus, every time you post content, the blog directories pick up your stuff and help drive traffic to you.

Further, when others comment on your postings, it becomes “social proof”–thus creating a community of people who know, like and trust you who are raving fans and will refer other people to your services and products.

The other piece about a blog is that your visitors tell you what they like and what they want, so you can set yourself up for great success and give them what they want! Wow, what a concept!

These four strategies are the most relevant to extending your free value line today online. Practice these time-tested formulas, and you will love the results. Plus, it is fun to be building relationships with your prospects and clients 24/7 via the online world, ‘cuz it never takes a vacation and is always working to extend your free value line even while you sleep!

Friday, March 26, 2010

6 Online Marketing Tips to More Biz By V. Summers

Read and learn. I preach these tips (and should follow them myself...) to all of my clients and it is excellent advice. But don't take my word for it.... Sharon

Ask savvy business owners today what they are doing to take their business to its next level in this current economic climate and you will soon find out it’s all about the online world. These peak performers have identified a golden opportunity to expand market share while also reducing cost through applying simple online marketing strategies. The most exciting part of this skyrocketing industry is that you can easily participate too!

Research tells us that there are more 1.5 billion–yes I said BILLION–online users today, and every three seconds someone new joins the internet community. Statistics tell us that in the next 10 years the online world will create more multimillionaires than ever in history. Will you and your business be one of them?

The funny thing is, once you know the formulas to online marketing, it all seems rather obvious. And every time you log onto your computer, whether it be to visit a website, read an e-mail or a blog, view video or tweet–you understand the online marketing strategies that you are viewing.

For one thing, you can see the mistakes other business owners are making with their online marketing that is costing them time, clients and, ultimately, MONEY.

To help you avoid making some of these costly mistakes, take a look at these six simple tips I put together for you:

KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid is the acronym, right? Well, in the online world, “A Confused Mind Will Always Decline!” For example, something simple is your business e-mail address. You need to have an e-mail address that matches your business name. No yahoo or hotmail e-mail address such as, Jane@hotmail.com. If your business web site URL is www.janesmith.com, then your e-mail address should be something along the lines of jane@janesmith.com. What does your business card currently say?

Credibility. Build it, and they will come. You always want your business address, contact telephone number, fax number and e-mail address listed on every page of your website and all of your correspondence via e-mail, blog, Twitter, home page, etc. so your prospects and customers can find them easily. Don’t make them search for it. Why? Credibility. You want to build trust with your prospects and customers–to help them understand your product/service and that you are a real business. Let them know you really exist.

WIFM: What’s in it for me? Your website and online marketing efforts need to be geared toward WIFM. One of the biggest mistakes most people make with their online marketing efforts and website is that they make it all about themselves. Your site and correspondence needs to be about giving your ideal demographic of prospects and clients what they want as quickly and effectively as possible. For example, take a gander at your home page on your website today. It should have 75 percent “you” and 25 percent “we,” “I,” and “us.”

Have a professional picture. Branding yourself and your specific service and/or products is essential. Don’t scrimp on a great head shot that you believe will resonate with your ideal demographic. This head shot will be viewed multiple times in different areas on your site, e-zine, blog, video, social media networks, information products, etc. This picture is a representation of you and your business–and has the opportunity to quickly attract or turn off your online prospects and customers. If you don’t have one, make a plan to get one today.

Fonts. Use a single font on your online marketing promotions and website. Too many fonts and sizes will confuse the eye and make them difficult to read. Think of clean, clear and easily consumable when you think of your online promotions. Remember, if you make it difficult or distracting to consume your website content, e-zines, sales pages, blogs etc., you will most likely not have an impact with your online marketing efforts.

No “know, like and trust” to be found. This is a big doozy for many folks who jump online and start sending out random promotions or post a website that is really just one big, fat brochure. Old-school mistakes. In the online world, one of the secrets to success is building your “know, like and trust” factor with your prospects and clients. One of the easiest ways to do this, but least often used, is getting a little personal. Most businesses completely miss the boat on this one. It’s all business with no personal, “humanistic” note. My students have told me the first thing they read is my little personal note when they open their Insights issue each week.

As a business owner, you have surely experienced countless times that people buy from people they know, like and trust. So go ahead, get a little personal and let your prospects and clients know, like and trust you a little bit more.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Keep Your Business in the Public Eye By RON CONSOLINO

Q: How can you do effective marketing without spending a lot?


A: Even on a limited budget you can create a quality marketing plan, assuring customer satisfaction and a good image for your business.

Start by clearly defining your major selling advantage. What makes you better, more memorable and of greater value to your target market than your competition? Identify your ideal customer. What challenges are they facing that you can provide a solution to?

Network to build your prospect base. Attend trade shows, chamber and other group meetings that have members in your target market.

Create a memorable identity for your business. Marketing is about visibility, consistency and repetition in the marketplace. Be visible in a consistent way and repeat that message over and over to your target market. Invest in creating a professional logo.

No more brochures. The brochure is the most common type of promotional material, but it's also the most useless, especially for newer businesses that are still evolving. The minute the pamphlet comes off the press, it is outdated and you'll want to make changes.

An alternative is a promotional kit, which generally consists of a two-pocket folder with your logo on it that has information about your business.

Include your biography, company history, a press release, a list of products and services, references, a professional photograph, reprints of articles you've written or been quoted in, a newsletter and a question and answer sheet.

Stay in the public's eye. Repetition is the key to visibility. A rule-of-thumb is that it takes at least six impressions before a consumer associates your product or service with your business name. Write a press release on your business accomplishments and send it to local business reporters.

Develop an effective Web site. The key is to make it easy for clients to reach you and receive information about you. Include your Web site address on all printed marketing materials.

Generate ongoing referrals. Ask your best client (particularly after they've said something wonderful about you) if they would assist you in the growth and development of your business by signing a referral letter that would come from them and be delivered to your prospects.

Finally, implement a marketing plan by creating a timeline with specific steps toward meeting your goals.


Ron Consolino is a management counselor for SCORE, Counselors to America's Small Business. His column is intended to provide general information. Send your questions to: Small Business, Houston Chronicle, P.O. Box 4260, Houston 77210.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

LaMothe Services Speaks at LABS-Inc. Denver Office: Thank YOU!

I had the pleasure of being invited last month to speak in Denver at LABS Inc. about the Infertility Industry. It was my pleasure to share with the entire executive and marketing staff a power point presentation entitled Focus on Infertility, A Comprehensive Overview.

Allow me to share a little about LABS Inc. LABS was founded in 1979 as Immunological Associates of Denver (IAD). The laboratory offered testing to physicians and hospitals in Colorado. Growth occurred as local transplant centers began using IAD services to support organ transplantation. Over the years LABS has become one of the premier transplant medicine reference laboratories in the country. Testing is focused on donor eligibility determination and final product safety; infectious disease testing, microbiology, histocompatibility and environmental monitoring. You can visit their site at http://labs-inc.org/

Since LABS Inc. has committed itself to working with infertility clinics, the company wanted to educated its staff on what Intended Parents go through after they are diagnosed with Infertility. They wanted to learn about the obstacles that are faced by all parties involved with Surrogacy, Egg Donation, Sperm Donation and Embryo Donation. A company like LABS Inc. who is willing to invest in this type of education for their staff really needs to be looked at closely. They are dedicated, educated, FDA compliant, reliable and serious about helping to keep costs down for the clinics as well as Intended Parents who use their services.

I had a tour of the Denver lab and was really impressed at how efficiently it was run. They have the test results back in the hands of the Doctor's within 24 hours! The people were friendly and obviously interested in helping the infertility patient the best way they could.

Working with companies like LABS-Inc. is truly a pleasure and I thank them for inviting me to share what I know about the people involved in the Infertility Industry!

Sharon LaMothe
LaMothe Services, LLC
727-458-8333

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mental Marketing: It's All In Your Head!

I wrote this short article with Deborah Simmons for the Mental Health Professional Group's Spring/Summer Newsletter. It was so well received that I thought I would post it here! There is a part 2 coming and I will share that with you after it's printed! If you need help with marketing your practice then please visit my website LaMothe Services, LLC at http://lamotheservices.com/

Sharon

Mental Marketing It’s All in Your Head!
By: Sharon LaMothe and Deborah Simmons, PhD, LMFT

The world of marketing can be very confusing, especially when services and people, not products, are being sold. There are a number of components to marketing, including sales, advertising and branding. There are several venues in which to “sell” or promote services. Below you will find a few simple steps to help you conquer any concerns that you may have about marketing your unique mental health services on the Internet and elsewhere.

The very first thing to consider is who you would like to serve. By deciding on your desired clientele, you can focus on what is referred to as “niche marketing.” There are many good general therapists around but you have something special to offer. Own it and promote it. If you have several areas of expertise, you can use the same marketing techniques to reach potential clients as well as professional referral sources.

Along with knowing to whom you are marketing and what your expertise is, you need to know what your message is. Why should people come to you? What makes you special or memorable? Do you have unusual approaches, like EMDR, hypnosis, or special experience, or perhaps years working in a fertility clinic? Remember that your services and your “brand”--you-- make up your business and every business has competition. No one likes the idea of competing for clients but if you want to stay current, fresh, and focused in our new economic environment, you need to market yourself actively and differently then you might have been doing so in the past.

Now let’s look at positioning yourself on the Internet. While working with the Web can be daunting, it is increasingly your biggest and best tool. Not only will your personal web site reach other professionals, you will be connecting directly with actual patients or clients in a very personal way. Providing public access and information about you and your practice is one of the most important moves you can make. Google and websites have become invaluable search tools. They are often now the very first place where you “greet” your potential clients. Although it is great to ask other professionals to hand out your cards and refer clients to you, your website can offer so much more. Think of it as a living biography of who you are and what you do, as well as a form of web-based education and resources. You are offering the hope of solutions to people who need both, in your office and through linkages to other resources. With pages regarding your services, your biography (with a photo), your professional resources, events at which you will be available, books you have written or recommend, and a page regarding a personal statement about your practice and philosophy, a potential client can form enough of a connection to entice him or her to pick up the phone and make an appointment. Clients surveyed have mentioned that they were drawn to the photographs, philosophies, and the help that is offered on websites before they even consider making a phone call.

The Internet also offers an opportunity to ‘blog.’ Having a blog, especially if it is connected with your website, allows professionals, clients, and others to know more about you, how you think, and how you approach life. A news article or your comments on a current event allow people to connect with you on a level that normally wouldn’t be available.

Networking is a huge component to marketing your services. You already are doing that when you attend conferences, visit clinics, and join associations like the MHPG, ASRM, EDSPA, APA, AAMFT, or NASW. Networking in person builds trust with your peers and allows them to comfortably refer clients to you without hesitation. Go and meet fertility clinic nurses, doctors, and office managers. Do the same with OB-Gyn clinics. Clients deeply value personal referrals from people they trust. It certainly helps that you have provided several unique business cards to share with your website, blog and contact information boldly printed on them!

Let’s not forget the social networking sites available to anyone who owns a computer. Millions are using Face Book, LinkedIN, and Twitter to name a very few. There, on your “page,” you can list your biography, photo, website and import your blog. You can be easily accessible to potential clients. Take advantage of the professional groups available which will widen your professional net work. The book Ladies Who Launch and its accompanying website, http://www.ladieswholaunch.com/, is for entrepreneurs and who want to connect with others, whether it is about business or new ideas.

It is time to move past introversion and fear of the unknown and to embrace new ways of spreading your own wisdom to a wider clientele. Remember that marketing ‘services’ is all about marketing your professionalism, your compassion, and your approachability—you! Thing big!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Who are you? Your customers really want to know!













The article below is especially true for those who are selling a service...which in turn actually means selling THEMSELVES! You need to know who YOU ARE and What YOU stand for!

Sharon
http://lamotheservices.com/

Who are you? Your customers really want to know.
Who are you, really?

Your brand, I mean.

What do you want other people to think when they think about your business, your service, or your product?

Do you want them to think your brand is the life of the party, or the designated driver? Is it a trusted friend, or a glamorous rock star? Are you a Volvo or a 'Vette'?

So I repeat...who are you?

You may already know this, and if that's the case, I congratulate you! Many small businesses struggle with this. If, however, you need a little help in defining yourself, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1. How am I currently perceived by my customers?
If you don't know, do a quick focus group with a target segment of your market (10 - 20 people), customers and non-customers. Have a list of questions ready to ask.

2. How do I want to be perceived by my customers?
Realize that your brand needs to reflect and resonate with your target market. If you want to be a sports car, but your customer wants you to be a sedan, you should probably reflect what your customer's value unless you're trying to attract a different set of customers.

3. How far apart is how I'm currently being perceived to how I want to be perceived?
What will it take to bridge the gap? Do I really need to bridge the gap, or should I enhance my current image?

Once you've got a general idea of perception, time to make your personality more definitive. So, ask yourself these questions:

4. What are my brand's human characteristics?
As crazy as it may sound to you, many branding experts suggest you do this in order to put your brand on a level everyone in your organization can understand. Is your brand male, female? Old, young? Rich, poor, middle class? Where does it work? What does it do for entertainment? These are just starter questions...you can think of a lot more yourself!

5. If my brand was an actual person, what would be its name?
Think about it, when you hear someone is names "Biff," an immediate picture comes to your mind. I bet you can think of a dozen such examples! Pick a name that personifies your brand. Paris, Tom, Jane, Inga, Ian, Jeff, Elsa...

6. What is my brand's "life story?"
Biff needs to know where he came from, so create a brief, fictional biography of your humanized brand.

Once you figure all this out, consider building a Personality Board. This is very helpful in giving your brand a visual personification. Cut out pictures, stories, headlines, or any other visual reference you think would work to define your personality. You may even want to find a photograph of someone who is the image of your brand personality (your Biff) and place it in the middle. Display it proudly, and make sure your employees know what it is.

Now, when you create your advertising and marketing materials - from print ads to tv and radio spots, from websites to packaging, and beyond - you know what personality they need to reflect. And you will be on your way to delivering a brand with which your customers can identify.


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About the Author: Donna Williams is the founder and creator of BusinessBurrito.com - a website dedicated to helping small businesses grow to their maximum potential. She is also a 25-year advertising / marketing executive, creative director, writer, and producer. Together, Donna and her husband currently own and co-own five small businesses. To learn more about Donna and read more of her articles, visit her website at http://www.businessburrito.com.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

14 Reasons You Need a Logo and Marketing Materials

Here you go....the LOGO...and I want to say that I really like reasons 10-13 and number 6 is good too...well they are ALL worth reading and thinking about as you start on your marketing strategy!

Sharon
http://lamotheservices.com/


14 Reasons You Need a Logo and Marketing Materials

Experts urge small business owners to "brand" their businesses with a logo and a set of consistent marketing materials. However, they rarely explain the reasons behind this advice. Below are some of some of the benefits of a professionally designed logo and identity system:

1 To look "bigger" and "established." Home-printed business cards or cards printed with Microsoft clipart scream "small-time vendor" to your potential clients — and that is how they will want to compensate you.

2 To increase your chance of earning venture capital or of selling a business. If you present a well-rounded business package that includes marketing materials and graphics, your business will look more complete.

3 To attract more clients. Some clients look for a well-defined company, and "look and feel" may be one of their criteria for making a purchasing decision.

4 To brand yourself. If you are a consultant, you need a logo in order to build an image and a brand that is greater than your individual identity. Be sure to avoid the Top 10 Branding Mistakes.

5 To convey that you are reputable. A logo and professionally-printed materials show that you are committed to both your business and to your clients.

6 To give clients a sense of stability. You may not have been in business "since 1908," but if you have invested in your identity, you are more likely to remain firm and relevant in the eyes of your customers. It goes a long way toward building that all-important "trust."

7 To be more memorable. Forty percent of people better remember what they see than what they hear or read. So to have graphics associated with your business, and to keep those graphics consistent, makes you more likely to be at the forefront of potential clients' minds when they need your goods or services.

8 To explain your company name. If your company name contains a little-known word or an acronym, the logo can give visual clues to its meaning.

9 To endear your company name to your clients. A difficult-to-pronounce or hard-to-remember company name makes it challenging for clients to hire you. When potential clients need your services, they may not recall a tricky name. But if you reinforce the name with interesting, compelling graphics, they are more likely to remember you, pick up the phone, and hire you.

10 To explain an unusual line of business. If your business is nontraditional or in a hard-to-explain industry, a logo can help to clarify exactly what it is that you do.

11 To differentiate you from your competition. A well-designed logo can have many subtle meanings and can begin to tell the story of how you do business, including the special practices that make you stand apart from the competition.

12 To stand out in your field. A well-designed logo and an identity system can put you far above the competition, especially when paired with a strong marketing program.

13 To comply with expectations. In some industries, a logo is just expected. In the creative services industry especially, having a logo is an industry standard.

14 To show your commitment. Do it for the sense of personal pride that it will add to your practice.

These benefits will boost your business and your confidence, so consider developing a logo and identity as soon as possible.


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Erin Ferree is a logo, print, and Web designer who has been making it easy for small businesses to stand out and to be visible, credible, and memorable for the past nine years.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Target Your Market!

You know, when I started this blog I thought it would be pretty easy to "go in order". First you should do this and next that. Well, there are so many things that need to be done almost at once. Design for example. The Design of your website, your business cards, your banner, your brochures and your logo. Now I am not saying that you need all of these to start on day 1 but you do need a combination depending on your market strategy.

You have the name. You have decided to go at this alone or with a partner. You have an LLC, Tax ID, DBA...whatever....and now you really have to think about marketing materials. (which is that list above) So now think about your "target market", who you want to attract to your business. Intended Parents: yes, Potential Surrogates: yes, Professionals (RE, Attorney's, Clinic staff etc.) in the ART field: yes, (If I have to explain what ART means then you need to go and do your homework before you even think about opening THIS kind of business!) Other Agency's: yes (YES! If you are only doing surrogacy then it would be great to attract the attention of egg donor agency's that have IP's that need someone to carry those eggs or other agency's that you can network with) So it looks like you have a large market to target even if you are only going to market the state you are currently in. (I hope that state is surrogacy friendly!)

Now start thinking about your marketing materials. They should all have something in common....design perhaps? Color? Logo? Font? I will give you my 2 cents next time!

Sharon LaMothe
LaMothe Services, LLC
http://lamotheservices.com/