marketing

2
Feb

2 Rules of Marketing

As we celebrate our seven year anniversary in February 2017, we want everyone to understand a basic fact: You only need the 2 Rules of Marketing. The marketing industry can become extremely and unnecessarily complicated. Whether sifting through data, managing opinions, or exploring media options, the number of ways to get overwhelmed is staggering. I have seen this phenomenon as I’ve worked on all three sides of the industry – media, client, and agency. It is one of the primary reasons I created Arkside: to be a one-stop shop for an organization’s marketing needs. Achieving that goal required simplification of the typical approach to marketing. My years and depth of experience led me to two rules that can be applied to all situations resulting in simple decision making.

Marketing Rule #1: Marketing should be always treated as an investment.

Think about stock investments. As I remind guests at my lectures, no one throws darts at a Wall Street ticker symbol and decides to put their money there. Even 401(k) plans are managed by professionals, and the investors who invest in them rely on the knowledge of the fund managers. The bottom line is that a positive return is expected on the investment.

Why would you treat your marketing any differently?

A proper campaign should be a combination of great creative and data-based strategy, all intended to align with an organization’s goals. From business card layout to multi-network TV ads, you should expect a return on your investment. That Return on Investment (ROI) can be measured in a variety of ways but should always be aligned with your goals.

Types of Return on Investment

Don’t limit yourself to sales. Your investment can be used to achieve one or more goals.

  • Brand awareness
  • Media share of voice
  • Direct sales
  • Job applicants
  • Website traffic
  • App downloads
  • Event attendance
  • Newsletter subscriptions
  • Offer/coupon redemption
  • Social media following and/or engagement

The first step in a marketing campaign should be to establish its goals and the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Only then can you measure success. That success is your Return on Investment. If, and by how much, you achieved your goal is your success…or failure.

Failure is An Education

Many years ago I adopted my attitude toward life: “I only have two kinds of days – good days and educational days.” Learning is the key to success. The only way I can have a bad day is if I didn’t learn something. Failure is an education. It will teach you how to not repeat the mistake. It can show you how to try something in a new way.

After you have done your research, identified your target audience(s), selected the proper media, and crafted a great message, what happens when you don’t meet your goals? That should teach you something. As our client Chris Surdak says, “reports should be an input”. The failure you experienced will certainly be disappointing but it should be used to do better the next time. I have heard marketers blame the media and, frankly, I feel that is lazy. Statements like, “I tried radio and it doesn’t work” or “we dumped a bunch of money into Google and got nothing out of it”. While I don’t doubt their results were bad, I am always skeptical that the tried-and-true media formats are to blame.

Identify the error(s) in your approach and don’t repeat them.

Marketing Rule #2: Never make it hard for someone to give you their money.

This is no less important than the first of the 2 rules. Let me address something up front: Your sales and marketing efforts are not separate. They are intrinsically linked for very good reasons. Take the following scenario as an example:

You have invested many, many hours on setting your goals, doing your market research, identifying your target market, building a beautiful campaign, and launching to the public. Leads start pouring in. Your sales team wasn’t given any of the ads to review, were not prepped on the offer, and are putting all of your carefully crafted leads into a broken sales funnel.

This is not the time for the marketing department to say, “we did our job!” Sales and marketing should be working together. Sales should be providing on-the-ground, real-time feedback to marketing about what questions customers are asking, how providing key information earlier in the process can avoid unnecessary delays, and other elements that improve the customer experience. Conversely, marketing should be training sales on where ads will appear (radio stations, Facebook, direct mail, etc.), how the offers are being presented, and what they can expect customers to know and/or ask about.

Great Customer Service is Great Marketing

There are so many potential customers out there willing to become customers. So many, in fact, you would never be able to serve them all. But for those who have given you a chance to earn their business, you better not blow it. They are ready to give you their money. Are you making it easy for them to do so? Long buying processes, repeat negotiations, complicated pricing or discounts, improperly trained staff, key information buried on your website, no credit card payment options, and many more are all things that make it hard for someone to give you their money.

So how do you make it easy?

  1. Exceed their expectations…in everything.
  2. Simplify the payment process. Can you take payments online? Can invoices be automated?
  3. Be convenient.

2 Rules for Everything

These two rules form the foundation for every decision we make, both internally and the advice we offer our valuable clients. Marketing is one of the few areas of business that impacts and is impacted by every department and person in an organization.

We changed our company slogan in 2016 from “The way things should be.” to “Educate. Succeed. Repeat.”. Our 2 Rules are now a cornerstone of delivering on our mission to teach marketers, help them succeed, and repeat that cycle. Whether you are a client of Arkside Marketing or not, we want you to make the most informed marketing decisions possible. Your advertising should result in success. Once both of those are done, we hope you repeat the process.

You will be seeing “2 Rules” in all of our marketing materials and we will be using the hashtag #2Rules throughout social media. We encourage you to use it on your social media as well for any questions or discussions you want to have about marketing. We look forward to meeting and helping you in the years to come.

4
Oct

Promises to Rank on Page 1 of Google

How to rank on the page 1 of Google is one of the most coveted and misunderstood business goals of the 21st century. The holy first page. 93% of the eyeballs never go to page 2. Business managers and owners understand its value. This has opened a huge market for disreputable companies to make false promises we see every day. They usually arrive via email and look something like this:

“We can put you on the first page of Google!”
“Our program will have you ranked on page 1!”
“This patented system guarantees you will be #1 on Google!”
“You will rank #1 on Google within 30 days!”

As a company that offers and specializes in digital marketing, we fully understand the importance of appearing on page 1 of Google. It can boost website traffic, enhance reputation, and improve sales. But it can be done in two very different ways: right or wrong. The right way is worth an investment. The wrong way should be avoided at all costs. This false “Page 1 Promise” can cost you dearly.

Continue reading and you will learn why any company (with one exception) is lying when they make this promise.

How Google Calculates Rank

Google has confirmed that there are approximately 200 ranking factors in the calculation of a page’s rank. This is a major reason reaching page 1 of Google isn’t easy. Once they are evaluated and broken down, there are perhaps 10,000 variations that are included in the Google ranking algorithm. Thankfully, Google has been kind enough earlier in 2016 to confirm it’s top three ranking factors:

1 & 2. Inbound links and content
3. RankBrain

Links and content are listed together because Google has never confirmed which is more important. Those two elements are vital but bad links or content can also result in penalties. We’ll cover those later in this post. They are directly related to the false promises of Google rankings.

RankBrain is a machine learning artificial intelligence program which evaluates searches and the results they generate. In 2013, Google stated that approximately 15% of the 3.3 billion searches it handles every day are something it has never seen before. RankBrain evaluates those searches and the results produced. Always keep in mind that Google’s top priority is to serve the most relevant results possible. RankBrain helps Google efficiently learn about new searches and better understand what the user is searching for.

What is the Google Algorithm?

The recipe for Coca-Cola.
The formula for WD-40.
The Google algorithm. (It is called “Hummingbird“.)
The calculation of a FICO score.

These are all highly coveted targets of corporate espionage. They are secrets. Only a select group of people in the world know any one of them. That secrecy is the primary reason any company (with one exception) claiming to know the Google algorithm is lying. That one exception is Google. Much like FICO is the only company that knows the full and accurate way a credit score is calculated, Google is the only company that knows every ranking factor and their importance. It is rumored that less than 10 people at Google actually have this information. The rest of us are making educated guesses – some more educated than others.

Millions of dollars are spent every year by companies around the world trying to determine how to rank a webpage. The entire search engine optimization (SEO) industry is devoted almost entirely to this pursuit. For any company to claim they can guarantee first page ranking, they would need to know the algorithm.

They don’t.

An important element of the Google ranking system is called PageRank. It is an algorithm within the algorithm that ranks webpages within the search results. Its primary factor are inbound links to a site. As mentioned above, links are one of the top two ranking factors so the PageRank algorithm is vital to a site’s appearance on page one of Google. PageRank is also a primary means of dishing out penalties from Google.

Google Penalties

BMW logoBeyond the secrecy surrounding their algorithm, Google is very serious when it comes to people who try to “game the system”. Remember Google’s top priority? They don’t take kindly to people who intentionally manipulate the organic search results to circumvent search results. Such efforts have a material impact on Google’s quality. They publish Webmaster Guidelines which, when violated, can result in serious damage to a webpage’s ranking.

Google’s most notable penalty is a loss of PageRank. When Google discovers “black hat” SEO techniques such as artificial blog networks or paid links, it usually responds with a corresponding loss of PageRank. This has happened to companies such as BMW and even Google’s own Chrome browser website. The loss of PageRank -which, in some cases, goes to zero- can be coupled with the complete removal from search results of the offending blog network or site with paid links.

Companies that suffer Google penalties have reported loss of website traffic, loss of revenue, and a long climb back to page 1 of Google. Companies like BeatTheQuote.com, JCPenney, and Rap Genius (lost 700,000 visitors a day!) have all had to endure Google penalties.

SEO Best Practices

Obviously, you should not be buying links, using black hat blog networks, or keyword stuffing your webpages.

Focus on creating content that is valuable to your audience(s). Educate and entertain to earn visits and time. Doing so requires a deep understanding of your market.  The best SEO is organic value in the content you create. Blogs are an excellent means of regularly updating your website while providing educational or entertaining information. Pages (along with your blog posts) should be updated when needed, consist mostly of text, and include images as visual support or illustration for the material presented.

Google has a guide: ask yourself “would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?” While this shouldn’t be taken literally, it should be considered whenever an SEO strategy is proposed.

Next Step to Reach Page 1 of Google

If you would like to have your current website analyzed and SEO strategy created or evaluated, contact an Arkside specialist today. Our team can provide you with objective insight, identify unrealized opportunities, and present effective strategies that maximize your search engine presence.

19
Apr

Al Jazeera America: A Marketing Failure

“One on-air personality said management’s view was ‘if we build it, they will come.’ They didn’t.”

As we routinely tell our clients, the days of “if you build it, they will come” ended after Field of Dreams.

The notable and relatively new entrant to the American news mediascape, Al Jazeera America, is scheduled to shut down by April 30, 2016. While there are heaping reasons for this abrupt termination, the vast majority involve marketing failures. From a doomed name and laughable Al Gore connection to a poor understanding of the market and public management failures – all roads pointed to a disastrous conclusion.

The Beginnings of Al Jazeera America

Al Gore became a joke after surrendering the 2000 U.S. Presidential election to George W. Bush. His one-note-Johnny routine about climate change while owning a massive energy-swallowing home, sexual harassment of a masseuse, and separating from his wife, led to a steep decline of his stature in politics and environmentalism. He also was a partial owner of Current TV, a low-level cable television network in the United States. It was the sale of this network that not only allowed the foothold for Al Jazeera America, but helped to further erode Al Gore’s reputation. He was harshly criticized for selling an American media company to terrorists.

Strangely, no one cared about Current TV before it’s sale to Al Jazeera – with one notable moment of exception. Two of its journalists were arrested after crossing the North Korean border in 2009. Their investigative reporting skills did not include map reading. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (the former boss of their current boss) secured their release. Thus ended the newsworthiness of Current TV until it was sold. At it’s height, the network reached a paltry 31,000 viewers per day. Total. To Gore’s credit, he was able to sell the network with almost no audience to the Qatari government for $500,000,000. (That’s $16,129 per viewer!)

Within the first two months of Al Jazeera America, it shed nearly two-thirds of that audience and reached a pathetic 13,000 people per day. Total.

Even MSNBC was over 120,000 per day.

You Can’t Be “Al Jazeera” in America

For reasons that continue to elude employees, observers, and the American public, Al Jazeera’s management never seemed to fully understand the poison pill presented by their name. Given the public hesitation to anything Arab or Muslim after September 11th, it should have been easy to grasp the need for a more acceptable brand name. Presenting an Arab news network with an Arab name and a terrible reputation in the United States seemed puzzling. Unfairly, most Americans only associated Al Jazeera with their occasional broadcasts of propaganda from Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. But perception was reality and perception began on day one.

This brand crisis was only magnified by their Arabic logo. America is a melting pot and has learned to listen to foreign names all the time. There are Arab construction companies, racing teams, and many other Arab-named entities in the U.S. But to actually use a logo written in Arabic was a visual reminder that Al Jazeera America had nothing to do with America. It is difficult to convince anyone you’re American if everything about you is not.

Their brand was an American disaster visually and audibly.

Al Jazeera and Cable Distributors

The conundrum of bad branding was strangely mitigated by a limited audience. It is hard to make a terrible first impression if you aren’t allowed to make the first impression. Just days before Al Jazeera America was set to go on air, AT&T U-verse dropped the channel. This followed prior decisions by Comcast and Time Warner Cable not to air the station at all. Their possible audience size now dropped precipitously below 100 million homes.

Technology and regulation also posed a problem. The still-successful Al Jazeera English is the English language version of Al Jazeera. It is popular on a global scale, especially it’s internet stream. But Al Jazeera was trying to build a TV network, not a stream. So they prohibited streaming to the US. That narrow-minded decision again limited their exposure and opportunities to drive traffic to their fledgling American network. The CEO, Al Anstey, admitted as much with this line from the email announcing the station’s closure: “The decision is driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in an increasingly digital world, and because of the current global financial challenges.”

News Coverage Quality

Al Jazeera never succeeded but it was not due to a poorly produced product. They won every major journalism and media award possible including the Emmy, Peabody, and the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University awards. The hired top talent away from other TV news networks and other journalism media. Although occasionally accused of having a “Middle East bias” in their coverage, they were routinely recognized for being objective and presenting a unique voice in American media.

But no one will give you a chance to be objective in their home if they think it comes from the mouth of a terrorist.

Al Jazeera Management Failures

Every single one of the problems listed above could be fixed by a stable and competent management team. Al Jazeera America never found that team. They were in a constant state of management “desperation” as they made frequent changes and suffered internal drama. Every department saw departures as Al Jazeera headquarters in Qatar applied constant pressure for success. Few were ever managing long enough to make a difference.

In some instances, these personnel shifts and a substantial wrongful termination lawsuit, once again brought forth the idea of an anti-American bias with preference given to Middle Eastern employees. Certainly not the desired picture when trying to appeal to an American audience.

Bad Marketing Dooms Al Jazeera America

The media landscape in America is extremely competitive. Ask MSNBC. To find success, even with a unique voice, is a challenge. But when your marketing -from your name to your HR policies- build and support a notion that you are the opposite of what you claim, you will ultimately fail. Competitors will relish in your misery and make sure your customers know. Partners will feel as though they are part of a lopsided relationship. And customers will choose an alternative.

Bad logo
Bad name
Weak exposure
Internal drama
Lacking support

All of this dooms what was otherwise a well-made product.

31
Aug

Facebook Case Study: How to Increase Reach and Engagement

Tired of posting to Facebook and not getting results? This Facebook case study is here to help. Good social media is not something for your receptionist or “any young person” to handle. Facebook for your business is different than having a personal profile. You have goals to sell more widgets, promote your brand, earn new customers, turn loyal customers into fans (more on this later), and increase traffic to your website. To achieve these goals -or any others on social media- you need to understand what works.  You must also be prepared to dedicate multiple hours per day to finding content, sharing images, promoting posts, replying to comments, finding new audiences, and analyzing previous results.

Our goal with this Facebook case study is to show how we approach Facebook management (along with other social media networks) and the results we create for our clients.

THE CLIENT

Craig & Sons Termite & Pest Control, Inc., located in Redlands, CA. Their service area is approximately 35 miles from their office. They are a family owned business for many decades and provide all pest removal and prevention services to residential and commercial clients.

THE SITUATION

Craig & Sons had been working with a national media company (who will go unnamed) that built their website and “managed” their social media. After failing to see any meaningful engagement on Facebook and no other social accounts being used, Craig & Sons was seeking alternatives.  After explaining our approach to Facebook and other social media, we were honored to earn their business.

PRIOR FACEBOOK RESULTS

Posting Schedule: The previous company had no posting schedule. Content seemed to appear randomly: sometimes four posts a week (still less than half of what it should be) and other times once a month. In all cases, the posts would lack any images or video. Just a few sentences of text. This is completely insufficient. According to some studies, the average life of a Facebook post can be only 2.5 hours!

Audience Reach: In the six months preceding our takeover, only three posts ever reached (not engaged, simply reached), more than 100 people. This was on a page with over 250 fans. Two of those posts were posted directly by the client so they can’t be attributed to the media company.

SEO Performance: In the six months preceding our takeover, only four clicks from Google went to their Facebook Page. One substantial benefit of a successful Facebook Page is search engine ranking. Beyond linking to your website and encouraging search engines to boost it on page one, you also have the capability to have your Facebook Page rank on the first page of Google (and other search engines) to knock out a competitor.

Audience Engagement: Reaching an audience is one thing. Getting them to engage with your content and your company is another. Only ONCE did they get an engagement level of 10 people or higher. Half of that engagement was directly attributable to a post from the client.

Summary: Despite having thousands of employees and millions of dollars to develop effective social media strategies for their clients, this company approached social media as less than a hobby. Their client suffered from a wasted investment.

Remember Arkside Rule #1: Always treat marketing as an investment!

THE NEW SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

1) Understand the target market: home owners and property managers, age 35+, located within 1-35 miles of the Craig & Sons office

2a) Create accounts on Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest
2b) Optimize their existing Facebook Page (and the other networks) to include keyword-rich bios and easy-to-find contact information

3) Capitalize on the creepy factor of bugs with visual content and include educational elements so the audience becomes more aware of bugs and other pests, how to prevent infestations, and how Craig & Sons can take care of pest problems

4) Build a posting schedule focusing on the days with the most social traffic, optimizing time-of-day placement

5) Utilize social profiles for engagement, customer retention, and SEO value

6) Posts need to be image and video heavy while still maintaining the traditional “80/20 Rule”

7) Employees were trained on engagement and encouraged to Like the Page (if they had not already)

Date work began: June 6, 2015

NEW FACEBOOK RESULTS

Facebook case studyPosting Schedule: As most people don’t want to hear about bugs on a constant basis -especially a sales pitch about bug killing- we identified the days of the week most relevant to the client’s target audience. On those days, we create 1-2 posts per day. These are scheduled during “prime time” when the audience is most likely to be on. Approximately 20% of those posts in a given week link directly to the client’s website. The remaining 80% are funny, creepy, educational, or otherwise relevant content for the intended audience. Hashtags are included when appropriate as they are now searchable on Facebook.

Beyond Facebook, we also create unique content for Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. These platforms were selected due to their user demographics, capability for visual presentation, and popularity.

As a combined group, all four social channels receive relevant content customized for the intended audience. Twitter receives more posts and Instagram the least. This is based on substantial research regarding how users interact with brands on each network. All four work together to promote a cohesive brand presentation no matter which social network a potential or current customer may discover.

Facebook post reach case studyAudience Reach: Beyond taking their number of Likes to over 300, our relevant organic content now reaches more people each week than previously achieved in a month. This is without a single paid ad or otherwise promoted post. The goal is to provide information that matters to the audience so they Like, Comment, and Share with their friends.

It is worth noting that this new approach, which put much more content in front of the audience than they had seen previously did not result in a single Unlike, Hide Post, or Report as Spam action!

Facebook external referrer case studySEO Performance: The SEO improvement was extremely fast. In just six weeks we saw at least eight clicks to the Facebook Page directly from Google search results. We also began to see traffic from Bing, Yahoo!, AOL, and even LinkedIn. These demonstrate moments in which a competitor may have appeared but had been outranked by Craig & Sons’ Facebook Page.

Audience Engagement: We often describe our “Useless Army” concept to potential clients. It is the idea of having thousands upon thousands of Facebook Fans but none of them actually engage with the Page. No Likes, comments, or shares – or at least very few. So what good is an army of Fans who don’t interact with your posts? In one word: useless.

Facebook Likes, comments, and sharesIt is our goal to encourage engagement so that the Page and its content rank highly on Facebook (i.e. – Recommended Pages) and search engines.

As you can see here, the new content immediately achieved greater engagement across all three measurements: Likes, Comments, and Shares. Such interaction helps Craig & Sons demonstrate expertise in their field, passion for their industry, and a commitment to truly engaging with their audience.  Where the previous company only achieved an engagement level of 10 people or higher one time in six months, we have done it more than a dozen times without any direct client posts. When people have great content to share, you empower them to become “brandvocates”.

What is a “brandvocate”? The term describes anyone not employed by the company that promotes your product or service without compensation. They advocate your brand to their friends and family for one simple reason: they like what you offer. They are a valuable marketing asset because they are genuine, loyal, and provide free word-of-mouth advertising. Social media gives them the ability to do this on a massive scale.

Summary: Success is a direct result of multiple efforts. It requires an understanding of the intended audience, posting schedules based on research and demographics, relevant content curated and shared by people, better search engine optimization, and new levels of audience engagement.


If you would like to learn more about how Arkside Marketing can help your business find success on Facebook or other social media, contact our office today. The first consultation is free and we will analyze your social media at no charge.

29
Apr

Hillary Clinton Logo – A Design Perspective

Does the Hillary Clinton logo means she is moving to the right and becoming a Republican?

Is it the FedEx logo?
(The creator of the FedEx logo described the Clinton design as “disappointing, amateurish, clumsy and decidedly static.”)

Is it a hospital directional sign?

Is the campaign sponsored by the History Channel?

Wikileaks tried jumping on the bandwagon, but we have no idea what they are talking about. They are probably desperate for attention.

The new Hillary Clinton campaign logo has divided our office, but most have come down on the side of ambivalence. Our CEO was the first to notice it on April 10th. What did he think? What did the team think?

Arkside Opinions on the Hillary Clinton Logo

Here is what some of our staff had to say about the logo. Other than Nathan, this was the first time each of them had seen it. They were advised to put aside any personal political opinions and evaluate the logo as a logo alone.

“A little plain for a Presidential campaign, but that certainly speaks to current trends in design. Flat and simplistic will receive criticism. In the end, it could give the campaign more flexibility in how the logo is used.” –Nathan Greenberg, CEO

“I think its a misalignment. Not impressed.” –Cal Haney, Lead Graphic Designer

“Seems simple but effective.” –Ryan Robbins, Marketing Consultant

“Need to think about it.” –Marc Lemus, Marketing Consultant

“I think she tried to hop on the “Presidents get logos” bandwagon and didn’t do a good job of it.” –Amanda Johnson, Digital Coordinator

What Makes a Good Logo

Arkside is largely underwhelmed. Other experts have weighed in with everything from adoring praise to cringeworthy criticism. But let’s look at other aspects. Generally speaking, what is it that makes a good logo? We have compiled a list of inspiration, ideas, and implied meanings from a collection of design professionals.

  1. Planning – Be prepared to invest significant time and effort into this process. A logo will represent your company, staff, reputation, and mission for years, if not decades or centuries. You should have a clear understanding of what you want the logo to project to all audiences.
  2. Unique – Most necessary is a unique identity and impression. It needs to separate you from and above all others. You can’t afford to be confused with another company, let alone a competitor. “Symbols are more basic, foundational and fundamental than any written and spoken language. We’re hardwired to respond to what we see,” says visual communication scholar Keith Kennery about the Hillary Clinton logo. Be distinct and positively memorable.
  3. Proper Visual – According to designer David Airey, a logo doesn’t have to advertise the product. “The Mercedes logo isn’t a car. The Virgin Atlantic logo isn’t an aeroplane. The Apple logo isn’t a computer,” he blogged. Don’t be afraid to step out to something unconventional. Find a new shape that grabs attention while avoiding overused images like stars or ovals.
  4. Fresh Perspective – This can be a challenge. After seeing multiple versions with a variety of colors, shapes, and fonts, you and others need to have an immediate and positive reaction to the final piece. Step away for a few days and come back with a new attitude to see if your opinion stays the same.

The Perfect Logo

Forget this concept. Now. Like most things in design and advertising, there is no such thing as perfect. A logo needs to be good and that means effective. Reliability, affordability, trustworthy, and any other emotion you seek to convey can be achieved in a myriad of ways.

There is no perfect shade of whatever color you’re looking for.

There is no perfect font for the elegant or sporty text you’re looking for.

There is no perfect angle or curve for the shape you’re looking for.

You can waste time trying to find the “perfect” thing that will make your logo perfect…or you can get out and actually sell your product or service.

Professional Logo Design

As always, we recommend you seek the help of a professional who can guide you through the process of logo creation and brand development. There is a science behind the art, psychology, emotion, and creation of a great logo. You can focus on your job and trust a professional to deliver a great logo that will properly represent your business far into the future. If you are interested in a free consultation with with one of our Marketing Consultants and designers, please contact us today to schedule an appointment.

19
Mar

The Value of Marketing an Anniversary

Is it worth marketing an anniversary? As Oprah Winfrey once said, “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.

We, the awesome Arkside Marketing team, are celebrating our five year anniversary in 2015. Each anniversary of your company’s beginning represents the end of a chapter and the simultaneous start of another. But that is a generalized observation with arguable meaning. Of strategic importance is the marketing value of that anniversary and how it can be used with employees, vendors, investors, customers, and potential customers.

What is an Important Business Anniversary?

Let’s jump into a couple you may not have considered:

1 year – Your first year in business. You made it!
5 years – Most businesses fail in their first five years. If you’re still around, its time celebrate.

Always commemorate the traditional increments of 10 (10, 20, 30, etc.) and half-10 (15, 25, 35, etc.) anniversaries.

Also consider numbers that are relevant to your particular industry or company:

  • Investment companies could celebrate their 11th birthday since the New York Stock Exchange is located at 11 Wall Street in New York City
  • Law firms can celebrate 1 year (Supreme Court is at 1 First Street, Washington D.C.) or 9 years (9 Supreme Court Justices)
  • Casinos and any entity with the word “lucky” in its name should celebrate 7 years
  • Masonic lodge may want to celebrate their 3rd and 33rd anniversary
  • Auto shop could do something with their 5(years)W30 anniversary
  • Dentists should celebrate their 32nd anniversary (number of teeth in the adult mouth)
  • Baseball teams have 9 players on the field
  • IT companies can have fun with their 1-0 (10) year anniversary as a nod to binary code
  • If a company is Christian-focused, or there is a triangle in your logo, or perhaps you have three core elements to your mission statement, the number three gives you an anniversary to promote.

How to Excite Your Customers About Your Anniversary

These milestones give you an opportunity to reconnect with your customers using a completely non-sales touch point. You are suddenly empowered with a new way to stay top-of-mind, offer a unique incentives, and provide an experience unmatched by your competition. (Assuming they aren’t celebrating an anniversary at the same time).

The key is to share your excitement with your customers. Tell your story. Your employees may be your best source of material, especially if they have been around for multiple milestones or even from Day 1. Share trivia and experiences from the company’s history: how did the company begin? What was the last milestone like? How has your city or cities changed over time? Do you offer new products or services?

Here are ways for getting customers excited about an anniversary:

  • Create a special version of your logo just for the occasion
    • Add the logo to all sales or other collateral throughout the year
  • Host an open house or other party event to celebrate. All employes, family, clients, vendors, local dignitaries, and partners should be invited.
  • Create a new page on your website with the stories and trivia mentioned above
    • Include the new logo
    • Share the page across social media
    • Make sure it is linked in your main navigation
    • Add a link to email signatures
  • Create sales incentives such as “10% off” (for a 10 year anniversary) or “save $20” (for a 20 year anniversary) or “first 50 customers” (for a 50 year anniversary). Be creative and think of your customer first. What would have value to them?
  • Invest in specialty promotional products for the occasion
  • Share company trivia on a regular basis on your social media channels
  • Create contests or giveaways centered around the anniversary in which your employees can participate

These are just a few ideas to help cultivate ideas for your particular situation. Your customers will enjoy knowing about your success, longevity, and whatever may be in store for them. Most importantly, each of these steps humanize a business. The management, the staff, and the brand as a whole become more “relateable”. In other words: great marketing. Few things can help a company grow like a positive relationship with a customer. They turn into referrals. Those referrals will be around for the next anniversary and so will your business.

 

21
Nov

Bill Cosby Is Making PR Mistakes

I decided to write this because the new storm surrounding legendary comedian and family icon Bill Cosby has stunned me. I watched The Cosby Show, Cosby, loved the book “Fatherhood”, and saw his standup comedy specials. When I started ProActiveDads in 2008, he was a role model for what we fought for when it came to dads in the media. Now, the accusations are coming in waves with woman after woman dating back 45 years. As all of this unfolds and I see Cosby’s reaction (or lack thereof), I continue to think that Bill Cosby is making PR mistakes.

Before this post continues, I want to make it clear that I am not second-guessing the PR people employed by Bill Cosby. From what I have seen and heard over the years, they are some of the most successful people in the business and have been for decades. But they are not the only people involved. A-list celebrities are surrounded by a variety of advisors including public relations specialists, lawyers, agents, studios, costars, friends, family, and many others. All of them have opinions. Most of them offer advice. Some are paid for their advice. That advice doesn’t always agree with another party or the celebrity. Ultimately, the celebrity needs to choose their own action.

Silence Anything But Golden

This is where I believe Bill Cosby is faltering. He is facing an expensive, damaging, and career-ending barrage of accusations. Could the lawyers really be the best helpers when they advise total silence? Every interview has been a “no comment”. Even when the AP tried to play “gotcha” with their recent interview release, he still said nothing.

I find myself more and more in the camp of spectators who believe that this many accusers can’t all be making this up. It is already public knowledge that Bill Cosby has cheated on his wife Camille. Also shocking is the fact that I haven’t seen or heard any reports of his Cosby Show cast members coming to his defense. Most of them were female. Where are they? Thus far, only Raven-Symone has said she was never a victim. But where are Lisa Bonet, Tempestt Bledsoe, Keshia Knight Pulliam, and Sabrina Le Beauf…all of whom knew and worked with Bill Cosby when they were young? Where is his TV wife, Phylicia Rashad? To have so many accusers and so few supporters is surprising for a man so well respected. And each of them is now suffering financially because The Cosby Show reruns have been pulled from TV Land.

The women making accusations are not just unknowns who may be seeking a pay day. They are an assortment of women from all walks of life with a similar story: Cosby allegedly drugged (or tried to drug) them, then took advantage of them physically and/or sexually. Some have tried to sue him, others have come out now for the first time and say they aren’t seeking a dime.

Take PR Advice

Agents and PR experts are usually the ones advising clients to “get in front of the controversy”. Make strong denials, be bold, circle the wagons with friends and family, etc. Lawyers usually advise absolute silence because anything said can be used against their client in a trial. These accusations have been around for more than four decades and will not be going away any time soon. They seem to be the “nail in the coffin”, as Carla Ferrigno said, to his career.

Were Bill Cosby my client, I would certainly be advising more than “no comment”.

  • Speak to the media
    • Put your face out there to show a human side against so many accusations of inhuman acts
    • Don’t let the accusers control the story
    • Give the media new material
  • Work WITH the lawyers – but don’t allow them to be the only voice
  • Get your friends and family to defend you. Strongly. In public.
  • Highlight your history of charitable giving
  • Stop asking people to do things online, like recording laugh tracks and asking social media to “meme” you.

If he is guilty, he needs to admit it. Get counseling, stay with your wife, go to rehab, do jail time if necessary, and work to help victims. Take a page from Lance Armstrong – lying makes it worse. If he is innocent, he should proclaim it all day, every day. The truth shall set you free.

What Happens to Bill Cosby?

So many accusers.
So few defenders.
So much silence.

I don’t see any way for this to end well. Cosby’s career is destroyed. His wife and children (who many know about his true behavior) are forced to endure this. His former co-stars are forced to endure this.

He needs to speak. Now.

What do you think? Can his career be saved? Is he right to stay silent? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

This post reflects the opinions of Nathan Greenberg and may not represent the official position or opinions of Arkside Marketing, Inc., its employees, clients, vendors, or partners.

25
Mar

How to Make Your Law Firm Stand Out

You have years of experience.

You have a nice office.

You have a strong track record of success.

You will fight for your client.

What makes you different?

As you market your firm, you need to communicate what makes you different from your many competitors. Keep in mind that before someone chooses to hire you, they have to choose to contact you. Your marketing should give them reasons to do that. Focus on your competitive advantages, then tell the world why you stand out.

FINDING YOUR COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

We always remind our clients that they will never know why someone didn’t contact them. Maybe they didn’t like the website. Maybe the phone number in your radio ad was too complicated. Maybe they saw negative reviews on Avvo. Whatever the reason, the lost client has no reason to take time and explain how you lost their business.

Instead, tell them exactly why they should contact you. Here are some potential advantages you should broadcast to the world:

  • Graduated with special honors from law school
  • Recognition or citation from a governing/oversight body
  • 5-star rating online
  • Team of specialist attorneys
  • Large verdict in a previous case
  • Long list of satisfied client testimonials
  • Decades or centuries of firm existence

Whatever makes you stand out from the competition is a necessity to communicate. Never assume people know about you. The items above are reasons to contact you. They matter for very important and material reasons because they can help win a case. Many of them also speak to having great customer service. Firms that treat clients badly aren’t around for very long. The level of service you provide will reinforce the brand you presented in your marketing.

Attorney Level of Service

Communicating your competitive advantage will lead to phone calls and emails. Now the hard work begins: meeting expectations. Your level of service is another way to stand out from your competitors. Beyond capturing new clients, it can help you retain current clients.

Analyze the client experience with your firm:

  • How are clients greeted (in person and on the phone)?
  • Are phone calls kept on hold for more than 10 seconds?
  • Do you serve tea and coffee at your office?
  • Are letters, calls, and emails responded to promptly?
  • Does your collateral (letterhead, brochures, business cards, etc.) easily identify ways to contact you?
  • Do you send “Thank You” cards or other tokens of appreciation to new clients?

Summary

Don’t lose business because it was taken for granted. Clients always have a choice for their next attorney. Work with your ad agency to ensure that you are communicating your competitive advantages, and finding ways to make your law firm stand out. Once you have earned a call, put the time and effort into retaining more business and earning testimonials that can be used in future marketing. Small investments now can lead to large returns in the future.

 

Arkside Marketing is a full-service ad agency, specializing in heavily regulated industries such as law firms, car dealerships, and hospitals. If you would like a complimentary analysis of your current marketing efforts, please contact us today to schedule an appointment. We can come to your office or conduct the analysis online via Skype, Google Hangouts, or Join.me.

11
Feb

Personal Injury Law Firm Leads Drop “Precipitously” After Ad Stop

We have said it before and we will say it again: advertising works.

As this example illustrates, it works so well that two law firms have gone to court over who can advertise the most!

Beginning in 2012, Lundy Law, L.L.P., a personal injury law firm, purchased all of the bus advertising in Philadelphia. Their competitor, Pitt & Associates, went to court claiming Lundy had violated antitrust restrictions by locking out all other advertisers. The judge disagreed because Pitt and other competitors had alternative media in which to advertise.  In Pitt’s view, that wasn’t enough.

…in its lawsuit, it maintained that the most effective advertising outlet for personal injury claims is the outside of buses.

The firm says the medium is so effective that Lundy paid $435,000 to advertise exclusively on SEPTA buses during 2012, almost 10 times the rate that Pitt paid when it advertised on SEPTA buses from 2008 to 2011.

The firm maintained in court documents that it received hundreds of referrals during that time. It said that the number of referrals dropped precipitously in 2012 and 2013, after Lundy took over the advertising spot.

Law firms can successfully generate “hundreds of referrals” via traditional advertising such as outdoor and transit. It is important to align not only your message with your clients, but also your media. Place your ads where your potential clients spend their time. In this case, both personal injury law firms have also made important investments in their brands and reputation. Lundy Law saw these results as so valuable, they spent nearly half a million dollars. Their competitors saw these results as so valuable, they went to court.

6
Feb

SUCCESS through Sales and Marketing Integration Recap

WORKSHOP:
SUCCESS through Sales and Marketing Integration

DATE:
January 23, 2014

HOSTS:
Arkside Marketing
Empire Sales Strategies

SPEAKERS:
Nathan Greenberg, CEO of Arkside Marketing
Ryan Stephens, CEO of Empire Sales Strategies

LOCATION:
Canyon Crest Country Club
Riverside, CA

ATTENDANCE BENEFITS: Complimentary lunch
Nearly $1,000 in raffled business products and services

Sales and marketing workshop attendees minglingWe were proud to co-host a great workshop titled, “SUCCESS through Sales and Marketing Integration” with our friends at Empire Sales Strategies. It was our first collaboration and the results were not only great for us, but for each of the nearly 50 business owners and managers that attended.

The goal was to highlight the benefits of integrated sales and marketing efforts to improve performance in both areas, increase revenue, and decrease wasteful spending.

For example, it was revealed in a national study that businesses which integrate their sales and makreting efforts see an average of 39% year-over-year revenue growth when compared to their non-integrated competition. Our CEO, Nathan Greenberg, and the CEO of Empire Sales Stategies, Ryan Stephens, used that fact as their guiding principle when developing the workshop.

Nathan Greenberg and Ryan Stephens sales and marketingThroughout the one hour workshop, both presenters illustrated the “why” and “how” to make changes in current business operations to improve performance and decrease waste. Each attendee was given a worksheet with five “take away” items they could apply to their business and begin making changes that afternoon.

As part of a good marketing program, each attendee was given a feedback form at the end of the event and asked to rate various aspects and the event overall. With comments like these, you can bet another workshop will be hosted in the second quarter of the year!

We would like to thank the following companies for donating a raffle prize to the event:

Sales and marketing workshop attendees

Sales and marketing workshop