Monday, August 30, 2010

Best Low Cost Marketing Tools

There is no such things as "free marketing" because it takes time to create material for marketing. However LOW COST is another story and can be very effective for small businesses. Here are some tools that I've used in my small business consulting (they depend upon your industry as to which you should apply): 
  • Social Media (Facebook Groups, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, Blogging)- These provide you a great place to post discounts, sales, keep people appraised about what you're doing, drive customer interaction, etc. You need to have INTERESTING content that people will want to share. 
  • SEO- You can spend some time learning the simple/beginner SEO steps from amazing blogs online written by experts and use a lot of the free tools on to test your site. No need to hire an expert if you don't have the budget, but there is stuff you can do now on your own to help your sites SEO. 
  • YouTube- Highlight your business, culture, etc through fun videos that are engaging! (It can't be boring but rather needs to be helpful) 
  • PARTNERSHIPS- One of the best things you can do is find businesses that are complimentary to yours and ask to partner wit them! Offer a % of sales or referrals that come from them (typically 5-10% is good pending your margins). This drives referral businesses and you reciprocate back to them. It is one of the easiest and least used forms of marketing! 
Those are some simple ones to start you off! You can also do Word of Mouth campaigns, ask for feedback via Yelp or CitySearch, etc. Happy to talk more with you or your small business if you'd like to look more into this!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

6 Characteristics of High Functioning Social Media Strategies

Recently I was working with a colleague on analyzing social media efforts of companies, specifically consulting firms.  Through our efforts we discovered there were six key characteristics that dictated if a consulting firm had a high functioning social media effort/strategy.  We then began to talk and found that these same six characteristics applied beyond the consulting field and could be used as a benchmark to measure a company’s social media strategy.  These six characteristics are the following:

1.Exhibits thought leadership
2.Connects followers to real world events
3.Speaks to multiple target audience members
4.Information is shared by audience with their peers
5.The company shares others’ news and postings
6.Company seeks customer input

Let’s dive a little deeper into these.

  1. Exhibit Thought Leadership-  This can be accomplished through posting articles that you or your company writes, re-posting industry advice that you find helpful, offering a bit of free advice (similar to what I’m doing now with these 6 characteristics) in which you are the expert, and announcing any awards that you have won.  Thought leadership is key to making you standout from your industry crowd.  If your social media becomes the go-to place for consumers, businesses, etc for advice and help, this will grow your brand, help your marketing, and eventually help you to make sales.
  2. Connect followers to real world events- Why are people on social media? To CONNECT!  You need to be offering the opportunity for people to network, learn about your product in person, etc.  Have a networking wine and cheese event, host a webinar on “The top 2 things you should be doing in XXXX industry” with limited space, invite people to industry or association events.  People should be able to pursue interaction beyond simply reading what you post to Twitter, Facebook, or your blog.  Again, you are creating an opportunity to drive loyalty, interaction, and value for the people who are watching your social media.
  3. Speak to multiple target audiences-   This should apply to anything you put out into Social Media.  It does not matter if you only have one product, people use it for different purposes and your customers are probably from different target segments.  A great example of this would be a company that sells home improvement products- They need to target professional contractors, weekend fix-it dads, moms, busy young professionals.  This company could offer tips on remodeling your kitchen, 3 things to make sure your child’s room is safe, Fast Fixes You Need to Know, 6 Honey Do’s you can get done tonight, Plumbing 101, 10 ways to hang a picture- We’ll show you the right one, etc.  Offer something on painting, sanding, general repair, etc, etc. These keep your audience engaged, are likely to be passed along to friends, are USEFUL, and apply to a range of audiences.
  4. Information is shared by your audience- What a simple and desirable idea, but it can be very difficult to accomplish!  People will share INTERESTING information.  The information you need to post has to be relevant and interesting to them.  Like with the home improvement example above, 6 Honey Do’s You Can Get Done Tonight… What wife/girlfriend wouldn’t want to pass that along?  Offering diverse content that is engaging and helpful is one of the best ways to encourage people to share your content.  Beyond that, providing people with information they can share and through sharing appear like a thought leader to their friends is another great way to encourage sharing content.  I know that I recently ReTweeted a Tweet on working to develop your SEO backlinks.  This information was helpful for me and I wanted to share it with my peers to help them out.  Valuable content gets shared; it is as simple as that.
  5. The Company Shares others information- This one may seem counter intuitive, sharing what others are posting, but again it makes you seem human and not a one man show.  When you share industry news, articles, helpful tips from others, you quickly further establish yourself as a hub for great information in the industry.  This means that people will continue to come to your social media sites, read what you are posting about your company and what you’re reposting from others.  Now obviously there is a caveat to this… Don’t share content that is going to drive your readers to your competitors!
  6. Seek customer input- While many companies are afraid to do this, this feedback can be one of your best assets.  Asking customers what they thought about a product, event, etc will illicit great feedback that you can either use to improve your product or leverage as positive word of mouth marketing.  The key here is that you have to respond and interact with your customers to make this feedback useful and avoid any damage negative reviews could potentially bring.  Be ready to fix any negative experiences and amplify positive feedback.

These are the 6 characteristics of a highly effective social media strategy and effort.  If you would like to have an analysis done on your company to see where you fall in comparison to your competitors or just in general- feel free to contact me.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

An expert & a cocktail party

Recently I was having a conversation with a professor from the University of Washington. He had some wonderful advice that is simple but still represented a light bulb going off in my mind. His advice was simple:
-Be an expert in a category with enough knowledge that you would be able to intelligently be able to talk the entire time at a cocktail party.

What this means:
Often when we go to networking events, parties, etc. We are thrust into conversations with new individuals and need to be able to have an intelligent conversation. Be it a simple party at your friends house or a who's who at a Single Malt Scotch tasting- frequently the conversation turns into one person or the other talking about themselves, bantering about politics, and we leave not having learned anything or having added a new person to our network. What this professor was suggesting is the following- Pick a topic of interest (social media marketing, best practices for some topic, psychology of decision making, etc) that while specific, applies across a broad range of businesses. During your conversation, use this expertise to guide the discussion, find out a problem/struggle they are facing and have a conversation about it. At the end of the night the people you have engaged with should walk away thinking several things:
  • Wow that was a great conversation!
  • I learned something new that is applicable to my business or life
  • That person would be great to talk with again
If they leave the conversation thinking these things, you are likely to be able to have more conversations with this individual in the future and have thus, added someone to your network. As the evening is wrapping up and the conversation is going well, I tend to offer to meet the individual for coffee or to continue the conversation on the phone. If they agree, you exchange business cards or numbers and continue on your way. Be sure to follow up with them a few days after your first exchange.

So in wrap up- pick a topic, learn a lot about it, and start talking.

Once you've identified a topic you like, here are some good resources for you to use:
  • University/Local Library (they have access to academic articles and databases with cutting edge research)- You want to have read the cutting edge research and be able to reference studies and authors who have studied your subject
  • Google/Web to an extent

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

6 Business Principals: Taken Down

I apologize if you came here looking for my posts on "6 Business Principals- My breakfast with Jim Donald." I was requested to remove it from my blog and have done so. If you wish to read Jim's principals, simply search "Jim Donald Fish Story" and you will find many websites almost exactly that information that I wrote about.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions/comments:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Sorry it has been a little bit since my last post... quite a while actually.  A lot has happned/changed so a quick update:
-I am no longer with Geoteaming for many reasons but all that to say I left to go work for a company called Projectline
- Have started finalizing Efiia Consulting's website! (Should be up within the week)
- Working with Bethany Community Church on a marketing project to fundraise over 100k for Clean Water Wells in Africa through a non-profit called Living Water. (Post to come about that one soon)
-Fiancee got me an XBox 360!!

Alright, more detailed post to come soon (today or tomorrow)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Free Marketng Tip of the Week

In this economy we are all looking for easy, cheap, or free ways to increase our marketing, exposure, and sales.

This weeks Tip-
Create a video about your company and post it on YouTube- Then link to it in all of your social media networks!
Make it catchy, fun, and about the experience a customer will have with you.  Often walking through the process a customer will go through is a fantastic idea and makes the process feel safer for your potential clients!  Your video should be no more than 30-60 sec long.

I am happy to help you brainstory how to do this and what to include, contact me at

So, get creative and work with your team to create a smiple and catchy video.. this WILL bring you business and leads!

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Power of Feedback

Feedback can be difficult to give sometimes because of the avenues we have for delivery, yet feedback also has the potential to be immensely valuable to the individual receiving it.

Here are some interesting tools that I have found for giving both positive and negative feedback.  They are called the "Johari" and "Nohari" windows.  This enables you to select characteristics about yourself and then send it out to others to provide you with anonymous feedback.  Check them out and let me know what you find out!

I encourage you to take a chance, fill this out, and send it out to your friends, coworkers, & relatives to give constructive feedback and room for growth in your life!