Why Gift Giving Should be a Year Round Habit for Your Business

As December approaches, I dread driving anywhere near a mall, restaurant or grocery store.  The mad dash I see as individuals and businesses scrambling around to find the perfect thank you for colleagues,  major clients, employees, and spouses makes my head spin. Though it’s certainly not the only time of year when businesses give gifts, the months of November and December are the most popular times for giving business-related gifts.  Most feel this is a great way to cap off the year and reaffirm how much these relationships mean.

However, I sometimes feel that so many business owners do not take advantage of other less celebrated occasions that would be ideal for gift-giving, making your brand stand out even more in the eyes of your customers and business associates.

Want to stand out more? Business gifts don’t have to just come in December. They can come at any time during the year.

Here are just a few approaches to business gift-giving and showing personal appreciation for your employees and clients at less hectic times of the year.

Throw a Thank You Event

Customer or employee appreciation lunches, dinners or breakfasts can go a long way in establishing a client friendship, trust and one-one-one dialog with you while offering an informal networking atmosphere for your other clients. Providing an unexpected branded promotional gift at that time always evokes a genuine smile of appreciation and gratitude.

Customer-Appreciation-Party-Fina-Promos

Giving gifts to employees is good business too because this is an extra way of telling them that you value the hard work they have put in. Something practical like a golf umbrella or something useful like a canvas laptop case can be a continual reminder that your employees really matter to you. Little morale boosters (like chocolates) can make a difference in the overall workplace attitude, and the occasional gift lets your team know you couldn’t do it without them.

Hand Written Thank You Note or Letter

How long has it been since you last wrote a handwritten letter or card to someone- perhaps a customer or employee? Go on. be honest. Very few people take the time to put pen to paper and express their feelings or appreciation. It’s time-consuming, requires vulnerability and in truth, well, seems a little old-fashioned. Yet, who doesn’t long to receive a handwritten letter or card in the mail? And if you receive one do you open it? Yes, you do.

Thank-You-Note-

Someone took the time to put a  pen in hand and express their personality and thoughts with you and for you. On a personal level, it is delightful. On a professional level, it is both delightful and powerful. Your customers don’t want to feel like you’re always trying to sell them something.

Send thanks by interacting in ways that don’t have a bottom line for your business.

Say Happy Anniversary

Celebrate customers who have been with you for a month…or a year. Pull from a classic and send flowers and chocolate. Try to note any significant anniversaries that their business may be celebrating, like a new office space, 10 years in business, a recent expansion or partnership and give them a shout out on social media.

There are so many bizarre and unique “days” too that you can acknowledge and stand out from the crowd (like National  Spaghetti Day and National Tea Month) These unique days can be accompanied by an appropriate matching branded gift to market your company in a fun and useful way. Check out the 2018 list HERE

Tulip gift

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4 Blogging Tips for Marketing Online

Some people just get it. I recently met up with a new client, Carla Donnelly for lunch to discuss the promotion and marketing of her new blog. Carla is a Family Law attorney with the firm Gentile Horoho & Avalli, P.C. located in Pittsburgh. Her mission is clear-To provide clients with quality information and advice to empower them to make good decisions.

When I meet with clients or prospective clients, most agree that blogging can be an ideal way to increase the amount of traffic a website receives. They’ve researched the subject online well enough to understand that blogging can largely increase the amount of indexed pages and keyword usage on their website; allowing search engines to rank their site higher in search engine results.

What many do not realize, however, is that writing without a clear marketing objective is a waste of their precious time. Not Carla. Carla gets it. I asked her four questions. Spontaneously, mind you. While eating a delicious salmon salad at Bravos. I was expecting her to hesitate, replying with vague answers and unclear objectives. I was wrong. I couldn’t take notes fast enough. She was able to clearly identify her audience.

Carla explains,” I am speaking to future clients based on my ideal client profiles addressing their pain points and offer true guidance and help. I believe my future clients will have much of the same pain points as my past and current clients.  The concerns of those facing divorce and custody issues are universal and I wanted to address them in my own voice.”

Carla’s marketing objectives are clear.

Here are four basic questions to help you begin structuring your blog site strategy. Answer these as thoroughly as you can. Then begin your writing.

Who is your intended reader?

Describe your customer persona in as much detail as you can. Answer questions concerning:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Earnings
  • Family Size
  • Location
  • Interests
  • Frustrations

This list can go on for miles. You get my point. Be as detailed as possible, including as many factors as are relevant.

What are their pain points?

In other words, what problem does your ideal client currently face that you can help them solve? Write about it. Address and identify with their pain. Help them solve the problem that they are struggling with.  Carla’s list, in part, looked like this:

  • Fear of “Making it on my own”
  • Husband or wife earns substantially more than their spouse
  • School district-geography issues after divorce
  • Does she (when representing a woman) need to go back to work? What issues will she now face?
  • Is mediation a viable option?

What should the blog accomplish?

  • What is your blog’s objective? Write with the end in mind. Again, using Carla as our example:
  • Educate the audience. Answer their questions (broadly) and give them points to ponder that they may not have previously considered
  • Build trust. Blog should establish Carla as a trusted source of reliable and valuable information
  • Comfort the reader by showing authentic sincerity in a personal way. Communicate that they are not powerless; their legitimate needs and concerns can be resolved with good council.

What do you want the reader to do after he or she reads your blog? What action steps or call-to-action should they now take? (CTA)

Here are just a few options:

  • Call for a consultation/meeting
  • Newsletter Sign-Up to grow your email list
  • Gain followers on social media platforms

Writing a blog can be a waste of your precious time or part of an effective marketing campaign if you write with a clear marketing and advertising strategy.

Visit us online for a full list of our services or shop here for branded promotional products.

 

2 Reasons You Should Use Emojis in Brand Marketing

When it comes to communication, I’m an impatient person. Voicemail takes too long and email often requires too much effort. Like most people I know between the ages of 12 and 70, text messaging is the go-to method for communicating- with co-workers, friends, family and (sadly) the person in the next room. Enter the EMOJI.

“Emojis help companies add a human touch to digital marketing communication. Brands should think about what their audience cares about.”

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and emojis are just the next evolution of communicating, sometimes even complex thoughts or emotions, with simple pictures.  Brands are recognizing the usefulness of the Emoji in online marketing communication.  Here are 2 reasons you should be using the cute smiley faces as a marketing tool.

1. Emojis can transcend  language barriers. A smiley face is universal, (you know this if you have ever traveled overseas) and now there are literally thousands of emojis that are gaining worldwide acceptance and allowing an entire generation to communicate across borders. A smile. A wink to a heart. The simplicity of these images breakdown linguistic obstacles, in turn, enhancing brand recognition and generating positive impressions. Marketing experts say emojis allow recipients to fully comprehend the intentions of the brand, no matter the worldwide location of the consumer.

2. Emojis help companies add a human touch to digital marketing communication.When I see a brand using an emoji, I can instantly relate on a personal level to the conveyed emotional message of that brand. Most marketers understand that emotion is more effective than promotion by more than 2 to 1. Let’s face it. They’re cute. Who doesn’t like cute? O.K. Maybe Scrooge. Or Archie Bunker. But you get my drift. Most people are jaded to perfect PhotoShop images and slick online lead generation tactics.

How can emojis  be used in brand marketing? They can be incorporated into instant messaging applications, text, email, promotional products and social media messages to convey brand emotions. Developing your own emoji image can be a great way to extend your marketing reach to millennials. HubSpot has an Emojis for Dummies Translation Guide to help you get started. Transport the online experience into tangible residual marketing. Check out these great specific examples of national brands using Emoji Marketing from Ad Age to get your creative ideas flowing.

These branded emoji “Flingers” fly through the air with a flick of their tongue! The cute guys  (we have girl emojis too) are a fun new item that is sure to grab attention at your next function. They are part of Fina Promos emoji based product line. Why not run an Emoji contest? Think about using these guys as part of your next tradeshow giveaway, meeting, Facebook or newsletter sign-up gift. Take simplistic messaging to a whole new level!

All my best,

Audrey Gotto

 

A logoless company is a faceless man.

“A logoless company is a faceless man.” This is my absolute favorite quote on the subject of branding and logo design by David Airey, from his book  Logo Design Love .  (Purchase this book  if you are a graphic desiner!)  As a marketing professional I always feel drawn to a well designed logo, brand identity or graphic design piece that  has the ability to”speak to me” and literally stop me in my tracks. No, really. It annoys and sometimes alarms my friends and family (especially when I’m driving and staring down a great billboard, or sign graphic.)

Do you own a business without a logo, or without a well designed logo?  Are you proud of the face of your company? You should be. Like it or not just as we tend to judge one another by personal appearance, we judge companies by their personal appearance. Oftentimes I am handed a business card, look at the logo design, and decide immediately if I would like to conduct business with you. Am I a design snob? Maybe. But let me tell you that people associate your business worthiness with your brand identity. So, what are the qualifying characteristics of a good design? There are many. Here are just two qualities that I admire (and are proven to be effective). These are the ones make me stop in my tracks.

 It Tells Your Story. “What exactly is it that you do?” Many times a great logo answers this question. No words necessary. Just great graphics. Katie Morgan senior designer at 300millions, designed this logo for The Guild of Food Writers. I just love the use of negative space showing a spoon inside a pen nib. Take away the copy. You are still left with a great design that tells a story. The-Food-Writers-Guild-logo-designed-by-300millionsThe Design Is Simple  (but not boring.) Stay focused on one strength. Not two. Not three. Just one. What is the one thing that you want others to identify with your brand? I know it is very tempting to want to emphasize the countless wonders of your products and services, but stay focused. What adjective would others use to describe your company? Chose your design and logo color accordingly. Use a focus group if you have to, but pick your strongest asset(s) and start from there.  An excellent example of this is Cisco’s new logo and the colors they chose for their re-branding. Cisco is not an acronim.  It is an abbreviation of “San Fransico.”

 

cisco.logo

 

 

The name “Cisco” was derived from pride in the city name,  which is why the company’s engineers insisted on using the lower case “cisco” in its early years. The logo is intended to depict the two towers of the Golden Gate Bridge. The blue color depicts prosperity, excellence and calmness, while the red color represents determination and business responsibility. It is said by John Morgridge, the 34th employee and the company’s first president that the creators of the company thought of this name while making their way to Sacramento for registration of the company. As they laid their eyes upon the Golden Gate Bridge structured in the sunlight, they decided the name of the company there and then.

Put on your best face. Hire a designer or create your own. Just don’t be the faceless man.

-Audrey Gotto

   

Linking Your Way to SEO Success

Links from your website to other related websites, and vice versa, play a role in your business’ local SEO visibility, because they help to establish the authenticity and credibility of your business. Without appearing “spammy” use these 5 action items in your website link strategy:

  • Consistently share links to your website via your Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels, and encourage others to pass along the information as well. Speaking of links; Here’s a few of ours: Fina Promos Website  FinaPromos Facebook Page  I find myself struggling with this at times. But really, the next time you are sending off an email try and take a few seconds and include a link to a special blog post or article from one of your social sites or website that would help, entertain or amuse your recipients.
  • Include links to your website in email newsletters and other updates to customers. Posting a link back to your website on your LinkedIn and GooglePlus Page updates/posts can greatly increase your search engine optimization efforts. Again, without being a self-serving spammer, try to include your website link if it would actually be helpful to your associates or readers.                                                                             breastcancergirls
  • Host or sponsor local events, or provide discounts for neighborhood students, and then encourage neighborhood businesses, the local chamber of commerce, charity organizations and other partners to link to your website when talking about those activities. And don’t forget to return the favor.
  • Create a local directory of community resources including your favorite nearby restaurants, stores and cultural attractions, to provide an opportunity for you to link out to others (and for them to return the favor). Even consider starting a blog where you can talk about your business’ neighborhood and link to businesses and places of interest.
  • However, be sure that your link strategy is authentic in that you know who you are linking to and that they have relevance to your business. Also, do not create link schemes like spamming your business’ domain name on websites, forums or blog comments.

Here’s to your success!

Audrey Gotto

5 Ways to Optimize Your Business Listings

Twitter Tips, Social Media Marketing

Achieving effective local search engine optimization for your business is like striking gold. In my last blogpost,  I suggested that we begin with properly optimiizing information that appears on your business website. Read article  Today, we will discuss an issue often overlooked by small business owners-How your business appears on websites and business listings.

One of the most effective ways to boost local SEO is to be consistent with your business listing information. Google and other search engines LOVE consistency. When your business is not listed, or worse yet, the information listed is incomplete or inaccurate, this can negatively effect your placements in search results. Here are 5 tips to help optimize your business listings:

  1. Search local listings websites like Facebook, Yelp, GooglePlus, YP, Yellowbook and TripAdvisor to be sure your business is actually listed. If not, be sure to claim those listings, and be consistent and acurate with your business name, phone number and address. If your business is listed as located on 6th St., use 6th St consistently, NOT Sixth Street. Make changes as neccessary and delete duplicate pages.
  2. Include videos, photos, your website URL and any other key information to make your listings attractive, interactive and informative. I get reaaly annoyed seeing the unprofessional looking “blue silhoette” in place of a photo or logo. Really. COMPLETE the listing.
  3.  Categorize your business properly. This greatly aids in properly optimizing your business website. If you happen to have relevant key words in your business name that helps. For example my company sells promo products. I choose the company name Fina Promos for that reason, and the domain name of finapromos.net
  4. Work with a “listings provider” such as Moz.com to automate the process for all local sites. Usually the price for this service is reasonable and worth your small investment in dollars compared to your large investment in time to care for this manually.
  5. Does your business have more than one location? Create a seperate listing for each location on your website to boost visibility of your brand and each of your stores or offices.

Here’s to your success!

Audrey Gotto

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4 Ways to Optimize Your Website

Do you own or manage a local small business? If so, you’re no doubt painfully aware of the need for strong  local SEO (search engine optimization) success.  Just like your computer is the new typewriter; Local search engine optimization is the new Yellow Pages.  If you want to be found online, you must be seen online. Your website is your most important and valuable online assest, so ensure that it is properly optimized to appear high within search results. Let’s assume you do not have thousands of dollars to spend on  SEO AdWords. Here are 4 action items to boost your local SEO.

  1. Choose a domain name that reflects your business location and business typeFor example, Joe’s Lawncare located in Pittsburgh, PA  could use the domain “joeslawncarepittsburgh.com” which says it all.                   
  2. Add key words on page titles that identify with your business, its products and services and its location.            
  3. Be sure to add your business name, phone number, address and social media links on EACH INDIVIDUAL PAGE of your website, not just your homepage.                    
  4. In your website copy, be sure to mention not only your products and services, but include as much as possible about your local area. This associates your business with the nearby vicinity. Remember, we are after LOCAL optimization here. Include if possible, what sports teams plays in your city, what section of town you’re in, what special place of interest is just around the corner. Not only will this added information improve your website copy for customers, it will also boost your search visibility as a local business. 

My next post will discuss how to utilize local business listings to boost SEO success.

Here’s to your success!

Audrey Gotto

Fina Promos Website