Tag Archives: editorial calendar

Small Business Marketing – 5 Steps Towards Mastering Your Marketing Plans

Set your course!

For the next 12 month I will be posting small business marketing tips and a worksheet will be available to walk you through the exercise. These exercises are taken from our e-book Mastering the Art of Marketing.  Click Here to Receive your FREE 2015 Small Business Marketing Plan Worksheet and Sign up for Connectivity. I chose this formatting so small businesses or solo-preneurs with limited staff and time may be able to take on business branding and marketing in monthly bite size chunks. All of the worksheets relate to small business marketing, branding and advertising for small business growth

Five Steps Towards Mastering Your Small Business Marketing Plans and Editorial Calendar

Following is your first exercise to get you rolling – let’s build a marketing plan! These questions can be answered in short
time by those directly involved in growing your business.

1. What are your business goals for 2015?

Are you adding a new product line, want to increase sales, want to start selling online? Identifying top priorities can help you stay focused. CAUTION: Avoid making everything mission critical! Try to choose one main focus for the year and break it down into bite size chunks. Choosing to increase sales by 35%, plus launch a new product or service, plus expand from a regional company to serving the entire nation is probably too ambitious.

Give yourself time to build on one main focus for the year with obtainable goals.

Write down your top 3 goals on your worksheet.

2. Who is your audience?

Is your product or service available in one region or can you serve the world? Do men relate or only women? What is the age range?

Identify these 3 main demographics and consider more details as you hone in.

  1. Geography
  2. Gender
  3. Generation

3. What is the best method to reach your market?

Where can you find your audience? Snapchat, Linkedin, forums, local expos/events? Right now Tweens are on Instagram and posting Vines, the Senior demographic still love their newspapers, Facebook, and TV’s (with ads included not much tivo-ing happening with this group). Hobbyist frequent Pinterest, specific online forums and discussion groups. Find out where your audience is and get in front of them.

List your top 3 Methods or Media choices on your sheet.

4. Determine your budget – Time and money

How much money and time can be allocated monthly to marketing? How much do you think your competition is spending? Small businesses sometimes believe they have more time than money, but time costs money. If you are not skilled at marketing can you save your time, money, sanity, and reputation by turning it over to a professional? Spend some time on research getting cost estimates for some of the methods you are considering for your company marketing. What is the cost to bring your website current? How much is a radio spot? How much would a brochure or flyer cost? Is there ROI in internet marketing and internet advertising? Make the calls
and get the numbers. If you do have more time than money right now, what do you feel comfortable tackling on your own? Determine what marketing efforts can extend your dollar farthest to keep connected with your customers all year.

List you top 3 Small Business Marketing Elements on your sheet.

5. Commit to Paper – Create a Marketing / Editorial Calendar

Do you have trade shows or annual events you attend or host? Do these require printed invitations, e-vites, advertisements, banners? Focus a few months in advance to get your marketing pieces in order. Think about your monthly marketing. Will you be creating regular blog and social media posts? Save time by creating an editorial calendar with topics to cover each month, plan your discount offers, sales, consider holidays, industry awareness weeks/days,

(Green companies could highlight 2015 as the Year of Light, National Arbor Day, restaurants could announce National
Soup week, etc.)
List the Top 3 Calendar Items on Your Sheet

Good luck!  Remember taking time now to complete this exercise can set your course for the entire year! If you need help contact us. Have questions, post them below, you never know others may have the same question and you will be helping them. COme back next month for another small business marketing worksheet!

Stay connected!

Can A Small Business Blog Increase Website Visits?

computer screen with connection graphics website design with list of blogging basics: • Integrate your blog with your website. • Include tags in your posts. • Include comments on your blog.  • Promote your blog.  • Include share buttons in your blog. Absolutely! A corporate or small business blog is one of the best ways to share information about your products and services, current events and sales promotions or press your organization has received. A happy accident of sharing this information is that your company blog posts add relevant content to your website which offers a better chance of appearing in search engines such as Google and Yahoo. A third benefit is when you add scheduled corporate blog posts your small business website will get higher marks from the search engines because not only is the content relevant, it is current. Relevant plus fresh content equals SEO (search engine optimization) or higher search results.

Not every visitor who comes to your website from a search may result in a phone call or a sale but like all advertising, marketing and sales, it’s a numbers game. The more people who engage with your blog and your corporate website the more likely you will enjoy increased company sales from your blogging. By posting relevant blog content you become the trusted source for your visitors and existing customers for information on your product or industry.

Proactive planning can determine how often you should post a new blog entry

editorial-calendar-graphic-connectiongraphics.comThere really is no on-size-fits-all formula for small business blog posting, anymore than there is a one-size-fits-all marketing plan for small business. It really depends on the goals you have set for your digital marketing. It also depends on how much time you have to feed your blog or the budget to outsource it to an marketing company.

Now, there are success stories about small business blogs that have become income generators in and of themselves.  If your corporate blog attracts 1000’s of daily website visits you may want to plan daily blog posts. However most small business blogs primarily serve as information tools, and as a portal to add relevant website content to increase website visits through SEO. The way Connection Group approaches client blog scheduling is to determine the role of the blog in each small business marketing plan. We recommend creating an editorial calendar for your blog posts. Our e-marketing packages that include blog posting, e-mail newsletters, and social media we develop a monthly plan. For instance if your company hosts an event for small business owners every January all of the content scheduled for the month of January will include information about the event. All of this will be in your editorial calendar. Including your blog updates in a small business editorial calendar helps you know what you will be covering each month and will help keep you on a schedule. Whether you write blog posts daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly a plan is a must.

Embrace the power of content on your small business blog

Each blog post should offer insight into your corporate philosophy, industry standards, details on a product or service you offer, or changes that may effect the customer. Seek content that will increase the visitors understanding of the subject. Help your customers make educated choices and purchases. Just as the visitors to your small business blog are researching, be sure to research the content for your corporate blog posts. Research but no stealing! Sharing the most current information available is important just avoid plagiarizing others work.

When you are satisfied with the information you have written for your blog post, add an image. Statistics from 3M corporation and Zabisco state that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are transmitted to the brain 60,000 times faster than text! Increase your website visits by using original graphic designs, photos or videos to connect and engage with your audience. Select only images that that are free from copyright. See the article in our e-newsletter about copyright issues and images.

Your blog is posted – Now, how do you increase your website visits?

integrate your blog with your website  blog and navigationIntegrate your blog with your website
The first step is to make sure your small business blog  part of your corporate website, not a separate page. There are many free blogging software options available and it is very easy to tie them into your existing small business website. Contact your web design and development company to create a seamless integration of your blog and corporate site. The biggest benefit is if you have a visitor to your blog, in the eyes of search engine tracking, you have just increased website visits. Other benefits are a custom designed blog will be consistent with your corporate brand and your complete website user interface is built into the blog so the visitor can easily click over to other website pages.

Include tags in your posts. Tags help people find your information more easily when they are searching the web. For instance for this blog entry on our website I would include small business blog, and small business website design and development as tags. Because we offer those services and those services are discussed in this blog adding them as tags show our website and our blog are relevant when people search for small business blog or small business website design and development. When visitors click on a tag in our posts they will see a list of previous posts that relate to those subjects.

Include comments on your blog. Comments show that you are open to feedback, good or bad. Allowing comments on your blog shows your visitors that you want to communicate with your customers. Comments may also help you determine what your visitors are looking for, give you ideas for future articles, and  comments may use keywords that will come up in searches too. Do make sure you moderate your comments though! Even with strong spam filters blogs are petri dishes for spam – check them regularly. We set up our comments to be pre-approved prior to posting just for this reason. As visitors begin to interact with comments you will build a community and advocates for your brand on and offline.

share buttons for blogInclude share buttons in your blog. Make it easy for viewers to share your website content. One share from a high ranking social media influencer can increase website visits astronomically. The ability to share across social media and email is how videos and blog entries go viral – this is an easy way small business blogs can get noticed.

Promote your blog. When you have posted a new blog entry promote your blog in all your marketing outposts. Social media is a great platform to share your blog posts, twitter, Facebook business pages, Linkedin profiles and industry specific groups and social media channels get the information to targeted groups. Include your blog link in your email signature and add a snippet of your current blog posts to your email newsletters.

Are you a small business who doesn’t have time to blog?

Connection Group understands that small businesses are limited with time and resources to implement all the marketing components that will help build their corporate brands and increase website traffic. We have developed a variety of e-marketing packages to suit the variety of requests our customers need. We’re here to help you build connections and reach your target audience – if you just need a monthly blog entry, a combination of e- mail marketing, social media and blog management we have monthly packages that will suit your small businesses goals and budget. We offer a free half hour consultation to discuss what digital marketing elements will fit you best.

Give us a call or shoot us an email today. We appreciate feedback on our blog content and encourage additional insights readers can share to help other visitors learn more. Please add your comments or questions below.

Stay connected!