Invest in Your Marketing in 2018 (5 tips!)

By | marketing, Promotional Marketing, strategy | No Comments

As a small business owner, how much should you be spending on marketing, and what specifically should you be spending it on? The answers will of course be a little different for every business owner, but there are some solid principles we should all be keeping in mind as we move ahead into the new year.

Today I’m bringing you five tips to help you plan to invest in your marketing – and it all starts with a must-do mindset change.

  1. Remember, marketing is an investment, not a cost.

Many small business owners and entrepreneurs categorize their marketing costs as an expense, just like anything else. But before you go any further with your budget planning, it’s time for a mindset shift!

Marketing is an investment in your business, meaning it will bring you huge returns, now and especially over time. As much as possible, don’t think of marketing as spending money, think of it as planning for your business’s growth.

  1. Keep track of how your prospects become customers.

Sketching out an effective marketing budget require you to track results throughout the revenue cycle of your business, from prospect all the way to customer.

You’ll be able to get this data from your marketing automation software, CRM, or you can simply commit yourself to keeping an eye on this information yourself.

As best you can, determine:

  • The number of website visits you’re getting each month.
  • The number of leads you’re generating each month, and the cost of getting them. For instance, website development, paid ads, your own time spent on discovery calls with these leads, etc.)
  • The number of these leads that eventually become paying clients.
  • The average value of a new paying client.

This information will help you make an educated guess about next year’s revenue,

  1. Be thorough when projecting your expenses.

This part isn’t always fun, but it’s necessary. Remember, since marketing is no longer classified in your mind as an expense (see #1, above) you can skip right over it as you tally up your other expenses. These might include:

  • Rent/mortgage.
  • Subcontractors or employees.
  • (Setting aside about 25-30% of your earnings for quarterly taxes in a great rule of thumb.)

Don’t forget those seemingly-small, infrequent budget items that can easy fall through the cracks when you’re planning out your budget:

  • Office supplies.
  • Postage and shipping.
  • Food and travel expenses for client lunches and meetings.
  • Membership dues for any professional associations you belong to.
  • Conferences, subscriptions to industry magazines, etc.

Finally, give some thought to those “unexpected” costs that tend to pop up (often when you really wish they wouldn’t). These can really knock your budget off-kilter if you don’t plan ahead and set aside money to cover miscellaneous expenses. These expenses might include anything from a broken laptop that needs to be replaced to a big rent increase for your office space.

Remember to review your budget once a month.

  1. Determine your income goals.

Let’s talk dollars and cents! What are your income goals for the first quarter of 2018? How about for the year? It’s common for small businesses with revenues of less than $5 million to spend 7-8% of that amount on marketing.

How much will that be for you?

  1. Understand the current (and future!) trends in your industry.

When setting your marketing budget, don’t be afraid to put some funds into trying out different technologies to keep up with the changes in your industry.

For instance, is email marketing a big part of your strategy? Maybe you send out an email newsletter or even touch base with your email list on a daily basis. Make sure you’re taking advantage of email tracking, scheduling, contact insights, and more.

A marketing budget should also include investments in traditional market techniques as well as the social media platforms where your ideal clients spend time. Always have a picture of your ideal client in your mind – what form of communication is she most likely to respond to? What would you most like to say to her, and what would she most like to learn from you?

At the end of the day, any marketing budget is all about your customers and clients. As a business owner you’ll spend lots of time tallying up the dollars and sense for your marketing budget, but it will all be completely worth it when you get to reach and serve your dream clients.

Want to chat about how you can invest in your business next year with powerful traditional marketing techniques (flyers, postcards, and more), cutting-edge visuals for your website or social media, or anything in-between? Click here.

The Power of Direct Mail in A Digital World

By | advertising, design, Direct Mail, Direct Marketing, marketing | No Comments

These days, it seems like just about everything continues to move into the digital sphere, and we’ll soon be living in a paperless world. But that might not be the case at all, especially when it comes to marketing. Could some of the most effective campaigns be spearheaded by…direct mail?

A fascinating Canadian study compared the effects of direct mail marketing directly with email and display ads, evaluating

  • Ease of understanding.
  • Persuasiveness.
  • How long subjects looked at the content. (This was done through both eye-tracking and questionnaires.)

Direct mail’s effectiveness by the numbers.

Research by neuroscientists suggests hard-copy advertisements might connect with our brains more easily, proving easier to mentally process, and also testing more positively for brand recall.

The study found that direct mail requires 21% less brain power to process than digital media, making it both easier to understand and more memorable. When asked to name the brand they’d just seen during a post-exposure memory test, recall was a full 70% higher among those who’d been exposed to a piece of direct mail (75%) than a digital ad (44%).

Why does direct mail have a bigger impact?

It might be as simple as having more time to think about direct mail pieces that cross your path when compared to digital ads. With print advertisements, we’re not anticipating the next click.

Digital ads provide plenty of the algorithmic data that marketers love, but between eye strain, social media interruptions, and competing ads, digital advertising always come with built-in distractions.

On the other hand, when we’re holding a piece of mail in our hands, we’re all but forced to consider each offer we come across. Consumers can choose to toss it into the recycling bin, make a purchase, or something in-between – but they must look at the offer and decide what to do with it.

As a result, far more people can tell you the names of dozens of businesses nearby they might one day choose to enjoy a meal, fix their car, or mow their lawn.

Get creative: the best of both worlds.

Businesses are also fusing their direct mail and digital campaigns by, for example, offering QR codes or personalized URLs on their direct mail pieces. The reader scans the code or visits the URL to reach a targeted landing page with content specific to her needs and interests.

Another trend involves segmenting audiences based on stages in the buying cycle based on information collected online. This makes it possible to deliver direct mail that’s customized to someone’s existing level of knowledge about the product or brand.

Move beyond the envelope.

It’s time to think beyond traditional postcards and letters. Dimensional pieces, as they’re called, stand out from the stack of standard mail pieces and attract attention.

You might create promotional packages that include samples and coupons, or deliver your message in a piece of mail shaped as a model of your core product.

As the advertising innovations continue in our digital world, it’s still not time to discount the power of direct mail.

Here at Full Moon, we create uniquely-designed direct mail postcards and materials, and you help with printing and mailing to make sure you’re taking full advantage of direct mail’s powerful impact. Click here to give us a holler!

How Much is Your Online Reputation Worth to Your Business?

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There’s a business adage that goes something like this: a happy customer tells a friend; an unhappy customer tells the world.  With the Internet at our fingertips and social media just a few clicks away, an unhappy customer really can tell the world in just a few seconds.  And the world is paying attention.

Here are some recent statistics concerning online reviews:

  • 92% of consumers read online reviews
  • 80% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 94% of consumers would use a business with a 4-star rating
  • 40% of consumers form an opinion after reading just one to three reviews
  • 73% of consumers form an opinion after reading up to six reviews
  • 88% of consumers form an opinion after reading up to ten reviews
  • 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has reviews
  • 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they have good and bad scores
  • Star rating is the number one factor used by consumers used to judge a business
  • Online reviews are a search engine ranking factor

Online research plays a vital role in consumer purchasing and it is clear that online reviewers have become key influencers in the purchase decision-making process.  Now more than ever, it is critically important that businesses capitalize on the value that online reviews offer.

Now, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does your website display your company’s online reviews?
  • Does your business have fewer than 10 online reviews in the last two months?
  • Is your average star rating on Yelp or Google Maps four stars or higher?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you may be not be making the most of your company’s online reputation.   Full Moon Design Group can help you determine a strategy for managing and improving the impact of your online reviews.  For assistance with online reputation management, contact Full Moon Design Group at (512) 428-9072.

How to Generate More Likes on Your Facebook Business Page

By | full moon design group, marketing, social media, strategy, Uncategorized, Vicky Gouge | No Comments

The more likes your Facebook business page has, the more opportunities to get your message and products to the people who are most likely to engage with your content and make a purchase. Facebook uses a variety of algorithms to give more reach to posts that come from a page with a higher number of fans, and the more that your content is shared and circulated the more credible your brand become in the eyes of search engines and other users. So ensuring your page gets as many likes as possible is vital to your social media marketing strategy.

In a world that’s saturated with advertisements and a variety of companies to choose from, how do you gain the trust of users enough to begin following your brand? Here are a few ways to generate more likes for your business page on Facebook:

  • Optimize your Facebook page info: Be sure to fill out as much of the page information as you can and keep it consistent with your other social media business pages or accounts where your brand is represented. Most people will only see the basics when they look at your Facebook page: Your Company name, your picture, and a brief description. Making sure they are consistent prevents any possible confusion and shows potential customers that you are reliable. Don’t forget to make sure it’s aesthetically pleasing, too—you want people to remember your brand.
  • Post engaging content: Facebook users are inundated with content on their feed, so “content for content’s sake” is not going to cut it. Pictures, links, videos, and posts all need to be engaging enough to capture your audience’s attention—are you providing information that they can utilize and rely on in moments of need? Are you helping them answer a particular question or are you just paraphrasing information that you have already posted? However, it’s important to remember that content does not have to be limited to blogs. Visual posts, in the form of pictures or videos, are more likely to receive engagement and attract new fans.
  • Stay active: Post frequently. In most cases, this will be somewhere between 3 days per week to every day. You can also use Facebook Page Insights to tell when your fans are online so you can make sure to be available to join in the discussions that are happening about your business. Also, by posting something when your audience is online, you increase the likelihood that your message finds the user right when they are online.
  • Run a contest: Contests are a great way to promote your brand on Facebook. To be most effective, they should be simple, yet fun. They should also be relevant to your audience so that more people are likely to participate and spread the word about your contest or specials. Make sure that you keep everyone updated on when the contest or special is about to end and then announce the winners—show your target audience all the fun people are having by associating with your brand
  • Use social media monitoring: Facebook Page Insights provides a number of metrics you can use to measure the effect your posts have on your audience, allowing you to adjust content and timing accordingly. Demographic data of your current followers such as age ranges, gender, geo, and other interests can give you a better representation on who your ideal customer is so you can target similar audiences. Audience targeting helps make sure that your message and advertisements are presented in the News Feed of users who are most likely to take an interest in your brand or your products being offered.

 

 

Coupled with good design and a strong brand, these tips will help ensure that your brand is deemed as credible and trustworthy to people who aren’t already fans of your Facebook business page. For more information, contact the experts at Full Moon Design Group.

The 3 Things To Avoid When Emailing Your List

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When you decide to have an opt-in list, it is not just a matter of sending your subscribers your promotional newsletters or catalogs. There are many things to consider in avoiding many complications. While there are so many ways you can make people subscribe to your list, there are also some things you must do to avoid subscribers from wanting to get off from your list.

Aside from that, you also want to avoid any problems with the law and your internet service provider or ISP. There are now many laws and rules that are applied to help protect the privacy of the internet users from spamming and unwanted mails. With the popularity of the electronic mail as a medium for marketing because of the low cost, many company’s have seized the opportunity and have flooded many people’s e-mail accounts with promotional mail.

But, with an opt-in list, you avoid this annoyance because people subscribe to the list; they want to receive the newsletters and promotional materials. They have consented to being on the list by subscribing themselves, just don’t forget to put an unsubscribe feature everytime in your opt-in list so that you avoid any confusion. There may be times when an email account was provided when the real owner didn’t want to subscribe.

It is essential that you keep your list clean and manageable. Arrange it by using the many tools and technologies available for your opt-in list. Do not worry; your investment in this marketing strategy is well worth it with all the coverage you will get which will likely be converted into sales then to profit.

Keep yourself and your business out of trouble and potential run-ins with the law and the internet service providers. Keep your operation legit and clean. Your reputation as a legitimate businessman and a legitimate site depends on your being a straight and true marketing strategist. As a tip, here are three things to avoid when emailing your list.

1) Take notice of your unsuccessful sends. These are the e-mails that bounce. Bounced emails, also known as undeliverable messages, are those messages that, for whatever reason, were not successfully received by the intended recipient.

There are bounces that happen or occur because the server was busy at that time but can still be delivered in another time. There are also bounces because the inbox of the recipient is full at that time. There are those bounce messages that are simply undeliverable ever. The reason for this is that it may be an invalid email address, a misspelled email address, or an email address that was abandoned and erased already.

Manage your list by putting markings on those that bounce. Erase an email account from your list so that you have an accurate statistics and records as to how many are actually receiving your mail. You may also want to check the spellings of your email addresses in your list. One common mistake is when an N instead of an M is placed in the .com area.

2) Always provide an unsubscribe feature in your site and an unsubscribe link in your mails. When someone in your list files a request to be unsubscribed, always take that request seriously. If you don’t take them off your list and keep sending them your e-mails, you are now sending them spam mail.

When you are reported as a spammer, you and your business can get into a lot of trouble. You can be reported to the authorities and maybe blacklisted by many internet service providers. You will lose a lot of subscribers this way and many more in potential subscribers.

3) Do not provide pornographic or shocking and disturbing content in your newsletters. It is hard to decipher the age of the recipient and many complaints may stem from these. Controversial issues also are to be avoided to not be branded by your subscribers. Stick to the nature of your site and business.

Always remember these tips in this article so that you can have a healthy relationship with your subscribers as well as be kept within the boundaries of what is allowed in sending mails to an opt-in list. Remember that Full Moon Design Group can help you create a custom email campaign. Be sure to gives a call today.

Promotional Items = Walking Billboards

By | advertising, branding, marketing, Promotional Marketing, strategy | No Comments

Take a second and look around. You are probably at your desk reading this blog post or you are reading this on your phone. My bet is you have a few promotional items around that you may not realize are there anymore, but for one reason or another you kept it nearby. Me? Just at my office, I have an acrylic cup from one of my favorite vacation spots, a cup from the World Championship Goat Cook-Off, a couple of coasters, one representing my Longhorns, koozies from numerous clients, a client’s calendar and too many pens to count! At home, I have so many chip clips that I am never hurting for one when in need! Do I use them all? Yes! That’s what makes them effective. Even the notepad that I love so much I use it daily has the company’s logo on it.

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What are QR codes and Why Should you be Using them in your business??

By | advertising, Direct Marketing, Graphic Design, marketing, Vicky Gouge | No Comments

Many of you (hopefully most) have seen these little box codes start popping up everywhere. What most of you don’t know is that these Quick Response (QR) codes have been around for some time now. They were invented in Japan in 1994!! But, like most new technology, it has taken years for these little codes to emerge. Now they are widely used by businesses to market themselves.

Now how would you use a QR code in your business (take a snapshot of this code and find out)? QR codes allow you to directly market specific areas of your business. For example, a real estate agent gets a new listing; Full Moon Design Group creates the new listing flyer for them and includes a QR code on it. A home buyer picks up a flyer and takes a snapshot of the QR code on the flyer using one of numerous smart phone QR code reader apps. It then opens up a unique url address that provides the potential home buyer additional information that can’t be found on the flyer or the MLS sheet (ie: the url sends them to the virtual tour).

QR codes can be used to promote specific areas of your website, a phone number, SMS, or text. With emerging technology and the use of smart phones, consumers can click on a QR code to retrieve a coupon or special that a business is offering. Businesses can use them to drive traffic to their websites for promotions. It’s all at your fingertips.

Want to generate a code for your website? Go to http://qrcode.kaywa.com/. Just type in your information and the code will generate. Right click on the code and save to your computer. Insert into your marketing materials. Be sure to track your hits/page views and/or leads specifically from the code.

Let Full Moon Design Group create and insert QR codes into your marketing campaigns.

Company Culture

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As referenced in our blog about the Lunar Cycle, company culture is a huge part of a company’s success. Your culture is your brand.

Want great customer service? Need high productivity and creative output? Want your employees to exude professionalism and enthusiasm? Need more sales? Do your employees reflect your mission statement?  It’s then environment in which you work, or could be working that might hold the key to success and referral business.Nobody likes to trudge into a vanilla building with beige carpets, walls, and cubicles only to find the company culture reflects the same attitude of indifference an unoriginality. All of that samey, samey, but you expect your employee to do his job AND reach his highest level of productivity, creative output and enthusiasm to generate a loyal and referring database of clients. I don’t think so!

Many companies, big and small, miss the proverbial boat when it comes to developing a company culture that actually cultivates their mission as a company and successfully produces the results they’re looking for.  Does your company culture reflect the type of business you run? Are the values of the company clear not only to the employees, but to the public?

You don’t have to look far to see very successful examples of companies on the leading frontier of adopting cool, funky and ridiculously productive work environments. Companies like Google and Zappos are only a couple. I’m not suggesting that you turn your company on its head and adopt someone else’s ideas, but I am trying to suggest that you take a look at your workplace from the inside out. Does the work environment support the huge variety of personalities and the vast and varied roles each play within the company structure? Have you ever noticed the difference in workspace between a graphic designer and a financial analyst? Stereo-typically speaking, they’re polar opposites.

It seems obvious, but we so often overlook the basics. Developing the right company culture directly impacts your overall success. People with a clear vision and great work environment have the luxury of enjoying their work. When we enjoy what we do, our customers know it and before you know it, you’ve got a loyal set of clients who are cultivating an ever growing base of referral business. It all starts where you work.

The Written Word – Making a Comeback

By | advertising, branding, Direct Marketing, email marketing, Graphic Design, Promotional Marketing, website | No Comments

I’ve noticed more and more lately that writing is sort of “last week.” It’s old school. Blame it on technology, if you like. Pick one: whether it’s cell phone texting,  word processing auto correct,  or spell check they’ve all contributed to the slow demise of a basic skill. Sometimes I wonder if a person realizes that they’ve sent me a business email that ignores the basics of spelling and grammar. When I get those emails IDK. I’m def not ROTFL. It’s okay to smile, we’ve all done it.

When is the last time you sat down and wrote something? Some of us write daily emails to clients, friends and colleagues, but are they well written? Do they sound professional? When is the last time you sat down and really tried to put your thoughts down, or explain something clearly and concisely? Well, the same technology that may have stolen our ability to write is also pushing us back in that direction.

As a graphic artist, I’m often asked to design logos and even web pages for entrepreneurs who are ready to launch their new dream businesses. They’ve got an idea and are so enthusiastic and passionate about getting started. When I ask what their web content will be like, their eyes glaze over for a second and then you can see it dawn on them that they’ve got to come up with (zoinks!) content? Panic! Words? Write something?

Do you blog? Do you keep your websites dynamic? Are search engines finding your page? Do you have printed marketing collateral like brochures? Do you need to send newsletters or sales letters? Do you need help?

Thankfully, there are still people who like to write and do it well. It’s a resurgence of the copywriter. These professionals can write just about anything. It’s what they do. Many of them are small entrepreneurs just like you. They’re easy to work with and can really make a difference for your business. We know the best and most creative folks who feel as passionate about what they write as we do about what we design. Ask us for referrals if you need help with a big job, or a small one.

Marketing: All Wheels need to be in orbit.

By | advertising, branding, corporate branding, design, Direct Mail, Direct Marketing, email marketing, full moon design group, Graphic Design, marketing, Promotional Marketing, social media, strategy, Uncategorized, website | No Comments

Introducing the Lunar Cycle: All marketing wheels need to be in orbit!
*Note: Our model is to serve as a summary of good marketing practices.

To be successful in business, you have always needed a marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy has always needed to promote your brand while protecting it at the same time. And the result of a truly successful marketing plan is a well recognized brand of a profitable business! Smaller businesses struggle daily to keep up with their marketing and branding. It’s easy to get focused on one particular method and forget about the rest. I am writing this blog today to stress that marketing strategies have not changed and as a business, you can’t survive on just one approach!

Full Moon Design Group’s Luna Cycle

Print doesn’t substitute your networking activities and web doesn’t substitute your print materials and social media does NOT substitute for all of it! Instead, you will want to make sure that they are all working together, in unison, promoting your brand and communicating the same message.

There are five different marketing wheels and each one orbits around your brand. Each of the five, have their own moving parts. We will be expanding this blog into several posts in an effort to start the conversation of each of the wheels and the components it is made of.

It all starts with your Company Culture. Developing a strong company culture will ensure that your company’s mission is brought to the forefront and that you are getting the Word of Mouth marketing that you want.

Next, you have your Activities. These activities consist of Special Events that you hold as a company, Charities or Non-Profit organizations that you and your company support, local Chambers that you are a member of, Professional Associations that make sense for your company and employees, Sponsorships that promote your brand to the right audience and Tradeshows that will help you get in front of your audience.

Your printed materials will consist of creative Ads, Direct Mail, Stationary, Brochures/Flyers/Pushcards, Promotional products and Presentation Materials. When engaging in your Activities, it’s always helpful to have printed material to support your brand. What printed material you have at each activity should be relevant and impactful.

Moving to the digital world, you now need to have a website. Your website should be clean, inviting and engaging to your current clients and prospective ones. Features of your website that should not be overlooked include a Blog, Newsroom and Email sign up form for your newsletter. In your Blog, you’ll be the expert and offer advice, your Newsroom will keep people abreast of the “goings on” in your company, and your Email newsletter will be a place for special offerings and information.

Expanding into the digital world, we find Social Media and boy does it get complicated and overwhelming! Social Media is an all access pass to the world. It’s a free medium for you to engage strangers, communicate your thoughts & ideas, and invite people in to really “get to know you” as a business. Social Media is now the gateway to higher rankings from search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Ask. To keep it simple, we’ve grouped Social Media into several descriptive categories…and this just scratches the surface!

The most familiar outlet is the Lifestreams/Microblogs which include Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace. Within these Lifestreams, you will find Location Based applications like Gowalla, Foursquare, and Whrrl…great ways to promote your business and interact with the public. When blogging or offering useful white papers, Social Bookmarking is a great way to make sure people find you. Popular methods are Delicious or Stumbleupon. Moving on to more fun stuff, you’ll find the Media Sharing sites like YouTube, Ustream and Flickr. For businesses, it’s important to participate in Business and Niche Networking sites like LinkedIn, Ning & Spoke. And last, but not least, you have the Review based sites including Yelp, Google & Yahoo.

The sixth component of the Luna Cycle is Public Relations. Your public relations strategy should be coordinated with your marketing strategy and pushing the information out to the public. Full Moon Design Group has strategic PR partners in place that we work with frequently to ensure our clients get exposure in all aspects of their business, in as many places where their audience resides.