The News Chair
  1. Get a Zen State of Mind

    December 16, 2014 by Tiffany Whisner

    shapeLG

    The end of the year is a season of both panic and pause. The holidays are here, and you want to check off all the gifts on your list and get your home prepared for the festivities. There is the chaos of work to get done before 2014 expires.

    But just as you want to keep your body in good health, you must do the same for your business.

     

    Tiffany Whisner

    Tiffany Whisner

    Pick up around the office

    Before you get too overwhelmed at the end of the year, take the time to tie up any professional loose ends with the following advice:

    1. Streamline your activities. Schedule blog and social media posts ahead of time if possible on WordPress or through Hootsuite or TweetAdder, says Natalie Sisson, the Suitcase Entrepreneur. But you might want to keep an eye out for any big news during the holidays in case you need to adapt your messages.
    2. Set up your systems. Make sure your voicemail and out-of-office email replies reflect your plans for the holidays. Use an online tool like Doodle to simplify your scheduling.
    3. Clean up and prepare for next year. Clear out your email inbox and remove anything more than a month old. Organize your computer, and file documents in their proper folders. Clean up your office too! It will do wonders to get you off to a good start in 2015.
    4. Get your finances in order. Review budgeted and actual revenues and expenses to help plan your finances. A great tool is inDinero, which keeps track of your business with visual graphs as well as reminders of bill payments and whether or not you’re on track.
    5. Prioritize! Figure out what activities are the most important to ensure your business continues operating and progressing forward while still giving you the time and flexibility to enjoy the holidays. Try RescueTime for your ideal work-life balance.

     

    Perk up with a positive mindset

    Once you’ve got work items in order, you can focus on getting in the right attitude for 2015 — by thanking your clients, partnering with community organizations and getting creative on ways to leverage your company’s brand marketing efforts. Sisson offers additional tips:

    1. Tis the season for caring and sharing. Get into the holiday spirit by sending holiday cards to your customers and clients online. Include a note of appreciation and a holiday blessing. Also, send the greeting to your newsletter subscribers.
    2. Make new contacts. Take along your business card to holiday festivities. You never know who you will meet along the way. Follow up with your contacts, and connect with them on LinkedIn with a personal introduction.
    3. Reflect and reset. Is your business where you envisioned it a year ago? How can you carry on the momentum into the New Year? Or how can you redirect it so it’s back on track?
    4. Use down time for personal development and growth. Catch up on the reading you’ve been meaning to get to. Learn some new skills and ideas to help your business grow in 2015.
    5. Relax and enjoy the holidays! Don’t forget to recharge your batteries and de-stress. Spend time with friends and family and offers thanks for all your blessings.

    And there is certainly no better time than the holidays to say THANK YOU to all of our clients for your business. The Coles team thanks you and wishes you a happy holiday season and successful 2015!

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  2. Unleashing Your Super Powers

    December 10, 2014 by Christopher Lloyd

    dominate2015LG

    It’s become almost a cliché in many business circles to write these types of articles at the end of the year, trying to predict what trend lines will hold up after January 1. But there’s a reason for that: December is the time — often the only one we get on an annual basis — when things slow down just enough for us to sit back and contemplate things a bit.

    Besides, looking at trends isn’t just an exercise in total chicanery, making up stuff and flinging it against the wall to see what will stick. Basically what we’re doing is looking backward as much as forward, to see if what was predicted for the passing year has held up. If so, that likely means it will continue and expand.

    So what’s on the horizon for marketing in 2015? And how can you dominate the competition?

    Christopher Lloyd

    Christopher Lloyd

     

    Focused marketing

    One of the biggest changes in the marketing field is the ability to tailor and target messages to specific customers based on the things they’re already interested in. It wasn’t that long ago when seeing customized advertising next to our Web searches seemed amazing (and intrusive, to some people). Now we accept it as a matter of course.

    Just recently I was looking up a local electronic retailer’s offerings on my smartphone, and wasn’t surprised when I started to receive emails from them with similar product listings.

    Over at the blog visual.ly, Lizetta Staplefoote says micro-targeting is the best way to get to know your customers. The first step is to find out who your audience is and dive deep into “buyer persona development.”

    “Touching these customers will require data parsing to create the kind of one-to-one conversations for successful micro targeting,” she writes.

     

    Mobile keeps growing

    While you’re familiarizing yourself with your customers’ needs and lifestyle, understand smartphones and tablets are increasingly the way many of them engage digitally. Jayson DeMers of Forbes predicts “2015 will be the year that mobile strategies move beyond simply having a responsive site or mobile app, and focus on mobile-optimized content and social media marketing as well.”

    In other words, smart businesses should be thinking about ways to optimize their audience’s mobile interactions with them. That means building a fully-responsive website — we do plenty of that here at Coles Marketing — mobile ads geared to their interests, and creating separate content specifically for mobile platform users.

     

    Social media: ads & content

    Recently an experience working with a client on an ambitious roll-out campaign convinced the Coles team of one thing: reject social media advertising at your own peril. We’d exceeded all expectations for earned media and eyeballs, but the social media component lagged because no advertising dollars had been allocated there.

    BuzzBuilder has a Slideshare that says it best: “Paid advertising in social media is becoming a necessity, not a luxury.”

    Going hand-in-in hand is the need to create content to engage audiences across a variety of platforms and channels, especially social media. Roger Katz at Clickz.com rightly notes it’s hard to produce quality content in quantity. Once you do, he advises, use it in as many different ways as you can.

    “Be smart about how content can be leveraged and re-purposed,” he writes. “One expensively produced piece of content can be distributed in multiple ways to get more use.”

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  3. What’s in a Name? Delivering Your Brand

    November 17, 2014 by Christopher Lloyd

    name

    “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet.”

    –William Shakespeare

    Though I doubt he meant it in that way, ol’ Bill Shakespeare may have been history’s first marketing branding guru.

    His famous couplet from “Romeo and Juliet” alighted upon the truth that people respond more favorably to something when its name is pleasant or familiar. Would roses really have become the go-to bloom for romance if they were called strunkbiddles instead?

     

    Coming up with the right title

    Christopher Lloyd

    Christopher Lloyd

    One of the most exciting things we get to do from time to time here at Coles Marketing is help launch a new brand from the ground up – including coming up with a company name, tagline, logo, vision and mission statements, etc. We’ve done it for multi-billion-dollar international companies, hometown mom-and-pop stores and individual products and services.

    It’s an exhilarating process, but also a daunting one. The key challenges are finding a company name that’s catchy, accurately describes what they’re all about, and — here’s the rub — hasn’t been taken yet.

    Recently while brainstorming ideas for a new client, I came up with a name I thought was just perfect — and even better, the business owner loved it, too! But there were several hurdles we had to jump before locking it in.

     

    What a name may cost

    These obstacles included:

    • Checking the proposed name against the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to see if anyone had already filed for use of the name. No one had, so we were good.
    • Searching a Web-hosting service like GoDaddy.com to find out if the preferred URL address — e.g., www.thesitename.com – was available. It was!
    • Conducting a detailed Web search to see if another business was using the name.

    Unfortunately, we failed this third test. Even though the other company hadn’t trademarked the name, was using a different website address and was located in another state, it was too similar in name and mission to take the risk of a lawsuit.

    As the Wall Street Journal and others have noted, start-up companies often face legal troubles in selecting a moniker — from simple cease-and-desist letters from attorneys to long, protracted court cases that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. This is an area where you really want to be on solid ground.

    With so many pleasing combinations of existing words already taken, more and more it’s become common to just invent your own word — think of Zillow.com, Twitter, Verizon, Cialis and many more. Hey, once upon a time “Google” was total gibberish, but now it’s one of the most valuable brands in the world.

     

    Is your label one that sticks?

    Martin Zwilling has some good advice over at Business Insider on coming up with a killer name for your company. It should be unique and unforgettable — “stickiness” is the trait you’re looking for — easy to say and spell, and offer some kind of clue to what goods or services you offer.

    Also check out this article from Entrepreneur.com on things to avoid when naming your business or product. Among the best advice is avoiding names that tie you down to a particular geographic location, which can hurt when the company starts growing. That’s part of the reason Kentucky Fried Chicken is now just KFC.

    Looking to give your brand extra “stickiness?” The Coles Marketing team can help!

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