PO Box 160103, Nashville, TN, 37216
“Marketing Direction” is a strategic effort to determine the best marketing resources and activities for a company, creating a plan to reach a goal, and making it happen. We offer the services of a marketing director, customized to your current projects and budgets.
The Secret to Networking Success: Thankfulness
It’s that time of year when family, thanksgiving, gratitude, and giving take center stage again (as they rightly should!). As your personal life gets busier over the holiday season, a simple shift in interpersonal communication can help to keep your progress toward business and networking goals moving forward.
Did you know that same spirit can pay off huge dividends in business? More specifically, consider how thankfulness can increase your networking success:
- Send a handwritten note. Pick out a new client, a loyal customer you haven’t seen in awhile, or a referral partner you’ve recently been in contact with and send them a note of thanks. Make it simple, and most importantly, thoughtful.
- Make a referral. Share the wealth! Remember that client who requested something just outside of your comfort zone? Reach out to someone in your network of referral partners for advice or to bring on to complete the project. People enjoy being recognized and appreciated for their expertise.
- Give a gift. A small gift, like a gift card or cookies, can go a long way in saying “thanks” to an employee who deserves recognition or a referral partner who sent a new client your way. You’ll be amazed at how a small act of giving can brighten your day.
- Invite new contacts out for coffee. You’ll never know how you can work together with someone until you meet. A more personal meeting is a great opportunity to really learn about someone, explore how your two business worlds can interact, and understand what your individual needs are. Give it a try!
- Try something new. Consider stepping outside of your comfort zone with that invitation to a networking event or business industry group. Make plans to work towards one of your “loftier” business or personal goals. You never know when or where you’ll meet the right person to take your business to the next level. The sky's the limit!
While it’s great to implement these strategies now, I challenge you to carry this same spirit of thankfulness into your networking and business dealings throughout the year! You won’t be disappointed with the positive results that will soon come your way!
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Piccolo Marketing !
Struggling to Build Your Damn Business ? Check out our website today for access to FREE business-building resources and online tools.
Which Professional Skill Would You Rank the Highest?
When it comes to business and entrepreneurship, there are many skills important for success. And when it comes to ranking those skills, networking tops the list! Both personally and professionally, it’s important to develop your networking competency.
Even the best of business ideas will remain ideas without a solid networking strategy to promote it. Increase your networking acumen (and your business success) with these tips:
- Diversify your network. Rather than sticking with “like-minded” or industry-specific contacts, it’s important to connect with fellow professionals in other fields or professions. Diversity of thought, experience, and influence is a great way to develop your own network and expand your business. You’ll never grow if you don’t step outside of your current boundaries and you never know who will be the catalyst to take your business to the next level.
- Treat your network well. Deborah Mills-Scofield argues that “networking has existed for the past 2000 years and it has enabled our survival.” Beyond simply gathering new leads or email subscribers, networking and network management promotes communication and spreads knowledge. Keeping your network “in the know” and engaged is important to ensure they are working on your behalf to promote and spread your message.
- Look for new employees within your network. Career coaches are increasingly promoting networking as both a professional skill and the best job source. In diversifying your network, you’ll open yourself up to the potential to meet top-performers across multiple industries. While looking for your next top employee, trust your network! A partner in your current network may be able to introduce you to the perfect person for the job, so keep your lines of communication open.
- Develop networking subgroups. Linda Hill and Kent Lineback argue that the development of three networks are critical for success. They describe these three subgroups as operational, developmental, and strategic. The operational networking group is for day to day work. The developmental subgroup is a collection of trusted people who you can turn to for advice and to hash out important decisions. Finally, the strategic group is made up of those people that help you to define your future business and personal development goals and those who will support you to see those goals achieved.
- Give! Networking is all about discovering the needs of someone and being or finding a way to the solution. The more you do this for others, the more you’ll see in return. Along these lines, a few traits of the most successful networkers include a positive attitude, trustworthiness, good listening skills, enthusiasm, helpfulness, and sincerity. What can you do for someone else?
Curious to learn more? Check out this article for 10 great networking tips you can implement today.
Join us at our next Nashville Locals event to try your hand at implementing some of these networking tips!
Marketing 101: How to Promote Your Small Business
How is your small business marketing strategy working for you?
Regardless of your individual and specific small business goals, the universal truth is that you are trying to sell your product or service to your audience. As a small business owner, the best thing for you to do is develop an efficient and manageable marketing plan to attract customers to your brand.
Get started with these tips on how to promote your small business:
1. Define your marketing strategy. If you’ve been putting off developing your marketing strategy or you just don’t know where to start, that’s OK! It is, however, time to get started! In light of your business goals, your marketing strategy will be the driving force behind your business success. Click here and answer these important questions as you develop your small business marketing strategy.
2. Visit your website. While it may not be obvious how to use your website, make an effort to incorporate your website into your marketing strategy. After all, you’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and financial resources into creating it – don’t let it go to waste! Click here for tips on managing and verifying how to keep your website up to date.
3. Introduce yourself to local business owners. People like to support their local community, so don’t forget to look here first! Is there another local, small business you can partner with? Look for businesses with complementary services that can fill the gaps in the services you provide. Seek out opportunities to provide pro-bono services, such as printing ads for a non-profit fundraiser or providing a quick consultation to a nearby business. Remember, that you have to give to get! Click here for more networking tips for the small business owner.
4. Take advantage of social media. At Piccolo Marketing, we understand that our friends in small business have dreams and goals just as big as large corporations. However, we learn to dream big and achieve our goals with smaller budgets and less manpower. Fortunately, social media, when leveraged properly, can be a low-cost tool that delivers results in less time than a dedicated marketing department. Click here for tips on how to use social media to your business advantage.
Need help to Build Your Damn Business ? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to get started developing and implementing your small business marketing strategy.
Trick or Treat! Don’t Scare Away Your Clients
It may be the season of fright, but don’t scare away your clients! Unfortunately, not every potential or current client interaction is going to come off flawlessly. But with focus and refinement of your business, sales, and marketing practices, you can work to keep your clients happy.
Avoid these common mistakes:
1. Bad first impression. It’s true what they say - you’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression. In business, you never know where you’ll meet your next big lead or referral partner, so be ready! Specifically, continue to perfect your elevator speech and refine your business goals. This doesn't have to be a personal impression either; consider how your website attracts and serves newcomers or how your social media messaging is conveyed.
2. Seeming ungrateful. Never underestimate the power of thankfulness. People love to feel appreciated and there’s no reason your customers shouldn’t feel this way after each and every interaction with you (and your employees). After all, your success IS dependent on their patronage. Whether it’s a simple thank you after a purchase or a personalized email or letter, seek ways to show your appreciation to your clients.
3. Being uninformed. You and your staff are the experts and your clients are putting their trust (and dollars) into the delivery of a product or service. As a business leader, be sure to emphasize continued learning and advancement of the delivery of products and services with your staff. You may have people on your team more well versed in particular areas of your business. Make sure to communicate and emphasize the strengths of your team members and develop a way for your employees to put your clients in front of the right person for the job.
4. Breaking promises. THIS is the number one no-no! It’s simple - if you say you’re going to do something, do it. And do it by the exact time (and even earlier) than you promise. Once you fail to deliver as promised, your credibility takes a hit that is hard to recover from.
Need help developing your business development or customer service practices? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768. We’ll help you Build Your Damn Business !
Interested in learning more about business development and customer service? Check out some of my past blogs:
- Business Development Tips for the Small Business Owner
- Top Tools To Get Your Small Business Marketing Rolling
- Networking Tips for the Small Business Owner
Business Development Tips for the Small Business Owner
As a small business owner, you may often feel like a lot of things about your business are just that… small. Small budget. Small revenue. Small results. But just because you’re a small business owner, doesn’t mean you have to think, act, or achieve small!
Be big with these business development tips:
- Develop your identity. Recall why you started your own business - what was your goal? Motivation? Dream? What was it about you, the time in your life, and your passions that pushed you to start your own business? Regardless of where your business takes you or how much your business grows, always remember and stay true to your roots. Not only will this help to guide you in times of decision making, but it will be a signal to your customers. While delivering a solid, reliable product or service is important, your customers will come, commit, and return based on the personal aspect of your business - so be sure to let YOU shine through.
- Thoughtfully delegate responsibility. As a small business owner, you may be somewhat of a control freak. After all, your name, reputation, and success depends on things getting done correctly and on time. However, you’ll quickly realize (and hopefully not the hard way) that you just can’t do it all. Therefore, you’ll have to thoughtfully delegate responsibility to your team members. This requires truly understanding the skills, talents, and interests of your team. Have open communication with your employees regarding how things are going, how they like their tasks, and if there is anything that can be done to make their job easier, more efficient, and ultimately, more successful. (Ask me about the DISC profile, a tool I use with each and every employee!)
- Keep up your enthusiasm after the sale. Congratulations, you closed the deal! Once the celebration ends, be sure to hit.the.ground.running. If you’re in more of a retail environment, be sure to set up a solid marketing strategy in order to reach out to your customers once they leave your store. This could include social media, email marketing, or direct mail campaigns. In a more service-oriented business, follow through! You may have spent many, many hours and meetings settling on the terms of an agreement and now is the time to put action and results behind your words. Make sure your team is ready to go and deliver - on point and on time. Check out these tips on developing your small business marketing strategy.
- Get involved in your community. Your local community is truly at the heart of your small business success. They’re likely your first customers, your motivation, and your friends and family. Get involved through your local chamber of commerce and community development organizations. Volunteer at a local charity event, host or sponsor a community forum, and be a visible figure and leader in your neighborhood. As your community thrives, so will your business!
Are you ready to stop thinking small? Let me help you Build Your Damn Business !
To start achieving big in small business, give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768.
Looking for more small business development tips? Check out some of my past blogs:
- Networking Tips for the Small Business Owner
- Infuse Your Networking Strategy with the Entrepreneurial Spirit
- Small Business Tips: Use Social Media to Boost Sales
One Nine Jill? No Silly…It’s Two Ten Jack!
Run Your Way Through Nashville!
Whether you’re new to running or an old hand, whether you’re a local or visitor, you won’t regret signing up for this years Nashville Marathon, Half Marathon, or 5k on November 11th! The race route weaves its way through historic and scenic areas of Nashville, including The Gulch and East Nashville. As you make your way to the finish line, you’ll feel the spirit of Nashville as you race down Broadway and past the famous honky tonks. The race offers a truly unique tour through our city!
The Nashville Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5k is presented by BlueCross Blue Shield of Tennessee Community Trust. Proceeds from the race benefit Gilda’s Club Middle Tennessee, which is dedicated to “providing support, education and hope to all people impacted by cancer, including family members and friends of those diagnosed.” Thanks to the support of events like the Nashville Marathon, Gilda’s Club is able to offer its services free of charge to everyone! With a mission of ensuring “no one has to face cancer alone,” Gilda’s Club includes support groups, healthy lifestyle workshops, mind-body classes, social activities, educational lectures, and community resource information.
Not able to make it to Nashville for the race? This year, we’re offering the option to run virtually! All you need to do is register for the virtual race, run within 2 weeks of the race, and send an email to receive your race-tech shirt and medal.
What you need to know:
- Register online by NOON on November 8, 2017. (Mail-in registrations must be post-marked by November 1).
- Packet pick-up is recommended PRIOR to race day:
Thursday, November 9th, 11am-7pm
Friday, November 10th, 11am-6pm
- Start/finish line at Broadway and 1st Ave South in downtown Nashville
- Click here for PARKING INFO
Race day schedule - Saturday, November 1:
- Half & full marathon starts at 7am
- 5k will begin about 7:15, once the half and full marathoners have cleared the start area
Prepare Your Business For the Holiday Season
Has anyone seen the first 9 months of 2017? Holy cow, this year has FLOWN by and it’s about to start moving even faster as we head into the holiday season. As we trick and treat our way through October, eat through November, and give out gifts in December, business. must. go. on. And don’t forget about the big end of the year party!!
Over the next few months, don’t let your business responsibilities fall by the wayside. Rather, prepare yourself and stay ahead of the game with these tips:
- Stay in costume. As you get busier, let the business processes and systems that have been working for you all year carry you through the next few months. Namely, stick to your schedule! Remember, the devil is in the details and knowing that you have kept up with your regular social media, networking, and marketing practices will help to keep things running smoothly. If you keep regular business practices running on cruise control you’ll be able to take on the extra holiday events and responsibilities with little disruption to your business.
- Eat and drink. Tis the season! You’re supposed to be inviting everyone to coffee anyways, so simply carry on and savor the seasonal pumpkin spice beverages! In all seriousness, with business as usual, continue with your usual marketing, networking, and business development practices. The work you do now will set you up to hit the ground running in the first quarter of 2018.
- Give to others. It’s the season of giving, so take that spirit into your business ! Plan a holiday mailing campaign to recap important business news and accomplishments or to make a big announcement. Is there a special way you can give back? Seek out sponsoring a holiday networking event, family in need, or community event. How can you translate your business services into a volunteer or community service in the spirit of the season. Remember, giving in business is always a win!
- Celebrate your employees and clients. Everyone likes to feel appreciated, so take time to reach out personally, through phone or handwritten note, to top clients and referral partners. Thoughtfully prepare a holiday party, bonuses, and a personal thanks to each employee for their hard work, dedication, and loyalty over the past year.
- Prepare for the new year. In the midst of your regular business practices and holiday celebrations, schedule time to make your final preparations for the coming year. What progress have you made toward your current goals? How did you fare in regards to budgeting and revenue? What changes are coming down the pipeline you need to accomodate for? Make sure to take the time to start off 2018 on the right foot! (You’ll thank yourself later)
Overwhelmed at the thought of the coming months? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 for a hand in reviewing, developing, and implementing business and marketing systems to keep your business running smoothly!
Am I Networking Enough?
Q: Anna-Vija, am I networking enough?
A: It depends.
1. Over the last year, what progress have you made towards meeting your networking goals? Take a minute and review your networking goals. Which goals have you met? Even though the “job is done,” is this a process you can replicate? For instance, if you’ve met your goal of meeting and developing 5 referral partners - why stop there?! Update goals you have met to keep your momentum going. What progress have you made towards your remaining goals? Consider what adjustments you can make toward meeting these goals and refocus your efforts for the rest of the year.
2. Have you maximized use of your networking budget? Recall your networking budget - where are you at in using your total budget? What specific items did you budget for that you haven’t taken advantage of? What budget items are in progress? You’ve allotted yourself a certain dollar amount for networking, so take advantage of it! As you’re reviewing your budget, consider the efficacy of individual items. Maybe you’ve had success with a certain flyer or promotional item. Consider adjusting your budget line items to maximize the productivity of your networking efforts.
3. Is networking part of your regular routine? As you get more comfortable with networking, your strategy will come into its own. Networking will be less of an event, and more of a practice. For example, networking events are a time to gather information. Your strategy in the following days are where the real work of networking comes in. Make sure to block off time for networking in your schedule - follow up calls, meetings, lead development, etc. In order to be successful in networking, it’s important to build it into your daily activities and keep it in the forefront of your business strategy.
4. Have you developed meaningful relationships from your networking efforts? Like I mentioned above, networking is not just about the event; it’s what you do after the event that matters. One way to measure your success in networking is to evaluate the number and quality of relationships you’ve developed. With your follow-up strategy, including personal contact, coffee, and data gathering, you’ll tease out who fits to pull into your network, whether as clients or referral partners. Don’t forget to add all of your new leads to your recurring marketing drip campaign!
After considering the answers to these questions, how confident are you that you are networking enough? The bottom line is, what works for one person, may not work for the next! Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 and we’ll help you review the efficiency of your networking strategy.
Looking for a new networking opportunity? Join us at our next Nashville Locals event!
Shared Spirits with Sherman Mohr:
Marketing with a Twist (or an olive)
- Surround yourself with the best people you can.
- Empower them with true ownership in your business.
- Discipline equals freedom.
*Special thanks to CEO/President Sherman Mohr for taking time to interview with Nashville Locals.
Networking 101: How to Host Your First Networking Event
You’ve been working your networking strategy - attending events, perfecting your elevator speech, and following up. Even with all of that coffee, you’re starting to feel like you’re not meeting the right people or the events in your area aren’t exactly what you’re looking for.
Maybe it’s time you take charge and host your own networking event! As the host of your own event, you are in charge of the guest list, flow and feel of the event, and, of course, the logistics (time, place, etc).
BONUS: hosting and sponsoring an event, sets you up as a business leader in the community and gives you and your business a huge boost in exposure!
So, let’s make it a success!
1. Keep it simple. For you and your guests, using a pre-registration tool like Eventbrite , makes registration and guest tracking easy. Pre-registration boosts the attendees commitment and makes it easier for your to estimate and track attendance. Check out Eventbrite options, including email reminders and calendar invites.
2. Consider the details. The time and place you choose will set the feel and flow of your event. Consider the type of event you’d like to host - decisions, such as time of day, location, and food/beverage will impact the overall feel of the event. In choosing your event space, don’t forget to consider ease of access and parking options for your guests!
3. Meet EVERYONE and facilitate connections. As the host of the event, make sure to meet everyone and thank them for attending. Take a genuine interest in their goals and find out more about them and what they’re looking for in networking. As the host of the event, it’s your job to help people connect, so use this information to introduce guests. Your event will be a huge success if people walk away feeling like they’ve accomplished a networking goal and left with a new, meaningful business connection.
4. Have a team behind you. You can’t manage everyone yourself! Have a few business colleagues who are great connectors and business leaders ready to help manage the crowd. These people will be on the lookout for stragglers and help to get them involved in the conversation.
5. Follow up. With your registration list in hand, reach out to all attendees to find out how they liked the event and if they were successful in developing their connections. If they were unsuccessful, this is a great one-on-one opportunity to find out more and personally introduce them to someone in your network. Be sure to invite them to your next event!!
Ready to take the next step in your networking journey? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to get started planning your big event!
Top Tools To Get Your Small Business Marketing Rolling
As a small business owner, you likely have unique challenges, both in business and marketing, that you’ve struggled to tackle over the years. As a fellow small business owner and coach, I love to share some of my favorite tips and resources I use in my everyday business.
No matter where you’re at in your business journey, here are a few technology solutions that may be just the tool to take your marketing strategy to the next level:
- Hootsuite. With Hootsuite , you can easily manage all of your social media in one place. By linking your social media platforms, you can efficiently schedule multiple posts for the week and even respond and view posts from your network. Consolidate your networks today: https://hootsuite.com/
- MailChimp. Develop your email marketing strategy with MailChimp . What I like about MailChimp is the power of automation it provides! The many features allow you to quickly respond to customers, whether it’s follow up to an opened email, or an auto-response to a subscription request. Stay connected and send your first email: https://mailchimp.com/
- Canva. Designing made simple for even the least creative of us!! Canva has a variety of templates for all of your design project needs, including newsletters, business cards, infographics , Facebook cover photos and much, much more. When you need to grab someone’s attention, don’t underestimate the power of a well-designed graphic. Get your creative juices flowing: https://www.canva.com/
- QuickBooks. Easily and quickly process all of your invoices through QuickBooks . With online invoices and multiple payment options, including bank transfers or credit/debit card payments, it’s easier than ever for your clients to submit their payments. On your end, you’ll love the customization options for invoices, including the look and logistics, such as reminders and time tracking options. Check it out: https://quickbooks.intuit.com/invoicing/
- Hello Sign. Need a signature on a contractor agreement, business retainer, or employee notifications? If you do a lot of your business remotely or have employees/contractors that work from home, you should check out Hello Sign. With Hello Sign, you get the peace of security, convenience, and the delivery of legally binding contracts right to your inbox. Manage your business needs and share your John Hancock: https://www.hellosign.com
- Asana. Nothing gets done at Piccolo Marketing without Asana ! It provides a user-friendly, interactive platform for team members to work together and coordinate projects or to simply track recurring tasks. “Move work forward” with project and team management in Asana and get on track today: https://asana.com
- Google. Google Drive. Gmail. Google +. Google Docs. Google Calendar. Seriously, if nothing else, everyone uses the Google search engine! In my day to day business, my team and I use many of the Google services to stay organized and connected. Some of my favorites? Drive - share and work together simultaneously. Calendar - send invites and set reminders. Explore the many, FREE options with Google: https://www.google.com
What are your favorite Tools of the Trade? Looking to learn more and use these tools effectively? Build Your Damn Business!
Need help developing and implementing a manageable AND successful marketing strategy? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to get started!
Nashville's Area Oktoberfest is Here!
Since 1980, Germantown has been celebrating the traditions of the Munich Oktoberfest with its annual festival! In just a few short weeks, the 38th celebration of Nashville’s “oldest and largest festival” and street fair will commence, complete with food, fun, and, of course, beer.
If you’ve never been, it is a sight to see! Spanning 10 city blocks and attracting over 300,000 people, Oktoberfest has something for everyone. A few of the highlights include live music, Wiener Dog races, the Oktoberfest parade, and a 5k race.
This year, Oktoberfest is celebrating the 500th anniversary of Paulaner Brewery. Sample LOTS of beer, imported directly from the Paulaner and Hacker Pschorr brews in southern Germany. A special addition is Paulaner’s Oktoberfest Wies’n. This brew is only available once each year in Munich and is being shipped to Nashville in special casks for the festival. There are also 16 craft beers available for the tasting competition and 40+ food vendors, featuring international and specialty foods.
Bring the whole family! Family fun Oktoberfest activities include the Kid Zone and ferris wheel, annual parade, arts & crafts vendors, pup parade, live German music, and Bratwurst eating contest!
Oktoberfest gives back!
The Nashville Oktoberfest has donated over $70,000 to local charities and nonprofits. The Oktoberfest 5k Bier Run attracts over 1200 runners, making it the 2nd largest 5k in Tennessee! Proceeds from the race benefit the 501(C)3 registered nonprofit, Historic Germantown Neighborhood Association. Funds are used to restore and preserve projects in Germantown.
Get in on the run with the Wiener Dog races, where “the wiener takes all!” Proceeds benefit CrossRoads Pet Adoption in Germantown.
Other charities and nonprofits benefitted by Oktoberfest include the restoration of the Assumption Church - the 2nd oldest in Nashville.
Get your business in on the action!
Partner with Oktoberfest and get your business noticed at the 2nd largest Oktoberfest celebration in the United States. Coverage includes local and national media outlets, online digital ads, print campaigns, website listings, email marketing, and billboard, online, and digital ads.
Click here for more information about sponsorship opportunities.
We’ll see you there!
FREE Admission → Get your VIP Tickets!
October 5-8, 2017
Friday and Saturday, 10am-10pm
Jefferson Street → Check it out on Google Maps
Bringing a Taste of Chicago to Nashville
In any given day, 1 out of 8 Americans devour pizza. From the traditional pepperoni to the exotic Hawaiian, there are hundreds of options to satisfy one’s needs. This high demand has encouraged growth of the pizza world across the country. One particular city, Chicago, has exploded with restaurants dusting the area with the traditional Chicago-style deep dish pizza. People travel from all over to try the famous “upside-down” toppings with the bowl-shaped crust that takes typically 45 minutes to bake.
One Chicago family decided to bring a piece of their home to Nashville in April of 2014 and opened 312 Pizza Company located in Germantown. Staci and Daniel Bockman had relocated to Nashville from Chicago. After many months of cooking pizzas at home and sharing with friends, they decided to take the plunge and open a restaurant with their original authentic recipes, providing a little taste of Chicago for all Nashvillians to enjoy.
312 Pizza Company offers everything from appetizers such as the delicious soft baked pretzels with a side of Czann’s Cheddar Ale for dipping, to BYO Deep Dish (we highly suggest adding pepperoni, green peppers, and mushrooms), and if you aren’t in the mood for pizza they have Chicago dogs to boot! Be sure to visit their website and check out the full menu and even place an order online for carryout!
The friendly staff and warm environment has made 312 Pizza Company a huge success in the three years it has been open. Many factors have added to their success. When asked what tips they had for running a successful restaurant, they had some great advice:
- Above all, treat your staff well. They are the ones that interact with the guests on a daily basis. If they are happy and taken care of, the guests will notice.
- Take care of your guests and always make it right for them. Ensure that everyone walks away with a positive experience, and if for some reason the experience is not positive, fix it!
- Be a part of the community. Care about the neighborhood you are a part of and give back.
If you think your feedback is not getting noticed when commenting on your own local restaurant experience, fret not, people are paying attention. When asked if they read food reviews of their restaurant like Yelp and other sites, here’s what they had to say:
“All the time. It is important to keep a finger on the pulse of what people are saying regardless of whether it is positive or negative. It’s always us to spot trends and fix problems immediately, although we always hope to fix an issue before the guests walks out the door. It also allows us to celebrate great service and happy customers!”
Your vote matters, and you should definitely try out 312 Pizza Company to get a little taste of Chicago. Be sure to give feedback on your personal experience. We can say from our own that we will be back! Keep an eye on our upcoming events to see where we will be next!
*Special thanks to owner Staci Bockman who provided us with information. She also owns and operates Tempered Cafe and Chocolate. Be sure to check them out!
Tackle Your Biggest Area of Business Opportunity
What is your biggest area of business opportunity? In other words, what is the problem your clients have that you can provide a solution for?
One way to determine what this is, is to conduct a SWOT analysis. This process will address your business Strengths, Weaknesses, OPPORTUNITIES, and Threats. This analysis is helpful in two ways. You will provide a solution for your clients and increase your personal business satisfaction by capitalizing on your talents and abilities.
Consider your business opportunities…
1. What services can your business reasonably expand to provide? Take a minute to reflect on past clients. The key to business success is to determine what problems your clients have and to develop a solution you can deliver to them. Is there a service or product you are regularly asked to provide, but cannot? Based on your own and your employee’s talents, resources, and current services, can you reasonably expand your business to provide these services?
2. What changes are taking place in your local community? Stay engaged with your local community and aware of changes you can incorporate into your business model. For instance, a new coffee shop is opening a few blocks away from your office. You could approach the owners with marketing advice and facilitate their social media and print campaign to market their grand opening. In exchange, you are able to expand your business and outreach to a new circle of influence. Remember, changes can be as simple as a community event or sponsoring a local project, so stay engaged and involved in your neighborhood.
3. What types of referral partners do you have? Above, you may have identified a product or service you are currently unable to provide. In considering whether to expand, you may decide it does not fit within your business model to provide these services based on your resources and skills. However, you can still be the solution by developing your referral partners! Review your referral partners to determine whether you already have the right people in place. If so, reach out to them to develop the delivery of this service in conjunction with your business arrangements. If you do not have the right referral partner in place, get to networking ! THIS is your opportunity!
To learn more about conducting a SWOT analysis, click here .
Need a little direction in performing your own SWOT analysis? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to get started.
Networking Tips For Small Business Owners
Every professional, regardless of experience, position, type, or size of business should be networking to some extent. However, what that looks like for the individual, in light of the aforementioned factors, is variable. Specifically, as a small business owner, it’s important to consider your networking goals and strategy in that context.
Check out my top tips below for successful networking as a small business owner:
- Define your networking goals. No matter what your situation, you won’t have success in networking without a defined goal. What do you hope to achieve in networking? Are you looking for customers, employees, or referral partners? Your goal may change by the event or current company needs, but it’s important to go into an event with focus. If you aren’t clear with yourself regarding your networking needs, you won’t be able to translate your goals to your audience.
- Examine your networking budget. Before you jump in or commit to anything, make sure you know what you’re working with! There are many free or low-cost networking events, as well as opportunities for involvement in larger, industry-specific organizations. Your networking budget can also include important materials, such as business cards or promotional flyers. You may even consider hosting or sponsoring your own networking event with a local organization for increased visibility and name recognition. Make sure you cross reference your networking and marketing budgets, as many items may overlap!
- Make networking a priority. As the leader of a small business, it can be easy to get caught up in day to day operations. That’s why it’s crucial for you to make networking a priority by building time in your schedule, setting goals for yourself, and delegating other tasks! Let go of the reigns a little and free up your time with smaller items that you can train others to take over.
- Don’t overlook your local neighbors. People like to support their local community, so don’t forget to look here first! Is there another local, small business you can partner with? Look for businesses with complementary services that can fill the gaps in the services you provide. Seek out opportunities to provide pro-bono services, such as printing ads for a non-profit fundraiser or providing a quick consultation to a nearby business. Remember, that you have to give to get!
- Follow up. You don't need a tremendous amount of manpower or an unlimited budget to make networking and follow-up a priority. As a small business owner, efficiency is key, so don’t let any opportunities that come your way pass you by. Your work in networking is only half done after attending the event, so be sure to see it through to its completion.
Ready to get started on your networking goals? Join us at our next Nashville Locals networking event and get started growing and developing your small business.
Social Media Tips: How To Be An Influencer
Are you a social media user? Have you established credibility in your industry? Do you have a large audience? Can you persuade others with your social media reach? If you can answer yes to these questions, you qualify as a social media influencer!
If you answered no, get started on these tips to increase your presence as a social media influencer:
1. Choose the right platform. There are many avenues for posting and sharing your digital content, so it’s important to choose the top 3-4 that make the most sense for your content. Does your content (and skill) lend itself to videos, blogs, or infographics? Whatever content you have, be thoughtful in how and when you present it across a variety of platforms. Remember to tailor your post to the platform! For instance, the way you craft your message in a tweet should look different as you translate your post over to Facebook.
2. Increase your credibility. With your content calendar in hand, create original, informative, and thoughtful content that reinforces your role as an “expert” in your field. What are your best “how-to” tips? Share a recent business experience and how you worked to find a solution. Be creative with presentation and include pictures, videos, and infographics as appropriate. The more inspiring, personal, and helpful you can be, the more you are likely to establish trust and influence amongst your audience.
3. Expand your circle of influence. Even your best blog post or video does you no good without an engaged audience! Growing your circle of influence should be a continuous, intentional process and can happen anywhere. Got a business card from a recent networking event? A potential client sent your way by a referral partner? Connected with someone on an online networking forum? However you reach potential clients, develop a system to formally include them in your recurring marketing drip campaign by gathering relevant contact information and looping them in as soon as possible.
4. Promote your expertise. Your content will speak for itself, but you need to give it a voice. By choosing your platforms, producing thoughtful content, and constantly growing and managing your audience, your expertise will promote itself. However, you need to establish a good marketing and content development system that is strategic and long-term. Bottom line: share, share, share. Get your content out there and promote it!
Are you ready to be a social media influencer? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to get started planning, developing, and promoting your content and see your circle grow!
Network Marketing Tips: Growing Your Business Online
Network marketing is booming. From health and wellness products to fitness groups and meal programs, online-based businesses are popping up everywhere. In a network marketing model, business growth and success relies on a network of distributors, aka individual business owners / sellers.
In order to boost sales, network marketing requires lead generation, recruiting, and building and management. Let’s take a look at how to grow your business online:
Lead Generation: In network marketing, your success and sales depend on the size of your audience. The more people you meet, the bigger your circle of influence becomes.
- DO: automate! Set up your website, messenger programs (such as Facebook Messenger), and social media pages with autoresponders. The key to success is follow-up AND follow through. With automation options, you can set up yourself to be “available” and to provide important information to your network at a moment’s notice. Even more, check out Live Chat options for your website!
- DON’T: over commit! As mentioned previously, the key to success is follow-up AND follow through. If you commit to a time or task, deliver on that promise. In a network marketing model, you act as a liaison between the consumer and a larger company. If you are not able to follow through in a timely manner, consumers are free - and likely - to seek out other retailers or to abandon your product altogether.
Recruiting: To grow your business, you’ll need to continuously recruit and cultivate both new customers and new business partners.
- DO: be inspirational! In order to grow your business, you have to inspire others to join you, in whatever capacity that may be. Develop your story to relay to others why you love this product or company. Specifically, what has it done for you and what can it do for them? What is your motivation? What are your goals? People are more likely to connect to your business on a personal level, finding common ground and inspiration from your story or experience.
- DON’T: spam everyone! The blessing and the curse of the internet is instant access. In order to be successful in growing your network, it’s crucial to be personal. You should attempt to reach out to individuals more directly, such as by phone or in person. After the initial contact, follow up with online messaging or email is appropriate. Above all, avoid the optics of “spamming.” Namely, simply copying and pasting one message to every Facebook friend doesn’t read as well to your potential customers. It’s also easier for them to ignore you!
Building and Management: As you’re adding customers and business partners, be sure to keep in regular communication to train, motivate, and manage your network.
- DO: create a system! I suggest developing a framework for communication, including when and what to communicate, such as an introductory email, product information, business information, how-to and instructional videos, etc. You can stray from the framework on an individual basis based on customer preferences, interests, and specific requests. Many email marketing and social media platforms allow for scheduling and automation, so be sure to utilize these tools to your highest advantage!
- DON’T: disappear! You’ve done all the work to recruit and sign up customers and business partners, so don’t leave them hanging! As part of your communication system, be sure to follow up with customers to see how they like their new product. Your attention and care will help to lock them in as repeat customers and give you the opportunity to correct any issues.
Need more tips or assistance in developing and building your business online? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to start the conversation.
Nashville Locals: Helping Keep Nashville on the Map
Nashville has become an inspiring inclination toward one of the most cultured and vibrant cities in the country. With eclectic and award-winning food and drinks from the bacon old fashioned at the Patterson House to the famous hot chicken from Prince’s, it invites a grand scale approach to the definition of “new”, offering up an almost overwhelming choice of options for restaurants, as well as, events for everyday of the year. This influx of possibilities provides a catalyst for a community full of fresh, eager inhabitants in search of a fulfilling life within this majestic city. While there are endless platforms provided to meet new people and network in the community, it can be difficult to know where to start, especially if you are new in town. It’s a big world out there and can be intimidating to say the least.
Luckily for you, we at Nashville Locals offer a way for you to connect with awesome people, eat great food, and grow your networks here in the greater Nashville area, essentially making all those hard-hitting decisions for you. We want to encourage social growth and build a solid community base where people can comfortably interact while also gaining the full Nashvillian experience. Whether you are looking to build your current network by meeting the great talent rolling into town or just looking for something new but are unsure of where to start, this will be your one-stop shop! Find the newest hip places around town to mingle with cool people and develop a solid community base…win-win!
If you find yourself wondering what there is to do, where to do it, and with whom, just visit Nashville Locals and we will have all the answers you need! Don’t ever pass up an opportunity to explore new places and meet new people. If you don’t water the seed, nothing will grow. Take the first step today and visit our website www.nashville.locals.com to sign up for your first of many Nashville Locals events that will be taking place all around town this year and for many years to come! We are here to encourage you and help guide you to some of the best local events while creating lasting memories with great people to share them with. It’s never too late to try something new!
Also, be sure to check out our recurring blog here where we will be discussing the hot new restaurants around town, upcoming events, various subjects specific to building relationships and making connections, and interviews with interesting and prominent people in the greater Nashville area. Nashville Locals…making people happy since they moved to Nashville!
Infuse Your Networking Strategy with the Entrepreneurial Spirit
If you’re an entrepreneur (or considering taking the leap), you likely possess many or all of the key traits commonly assigned to entrepreneurs. For instance, you’re likely to describe yourself as a determined, confident risk-taker. Sound familiar?
But, did you know your networking strategy itself could benefit from some of that same spirit? Take your networking strategy to the next level with these philosophies:
1. Learn something. At least one new thing a day! This can be as simple as reading an article or blog on a new or less familiar topic. The bottom line is, you should never stop learning and, as an entrepreneur, you’re probably always searching and looking for more. Never settle and never get comfortable! It’s not enough to read, but aim to implement new strategies. In networking, you should seek to learn about your fellow networkers - what are their interests, networking goals, or business goals and how can you fill the gap and solve their problem?
2. Embrace failure. You’re not going to hit a homerun, close a deal, or gain a customer with every networking experience. Since you’re following up with everyone, you’re not going to make a connection with everyone. You should actually rest assured that your seemingly giant list will weed itself out naturally. That doesn’t mean you don’t attack it full force and with a solid, consistent plan. It just means it may not be the right person at the right time. However, since your networking and marketing strategies are working together, your recurring marketing drip campaign may find them at the right time in the future.
3. Be passionate. Networking may not be your favorite activity. Review your networking goals in light of your business goals. What is your biggest, loftiest business goal and how can networking get you there? Infuse your next networking venture with a larger goal to find your passion or purpose. People will feed off of that passion and drive and your networking will thrive as a result.
4. Adapt quickly. Before you head out to your networking event, make sure you’re prepared with your elevator speech, networking goals, and marketing materials. Even the best laid plans run into snags. Embrace them as opportunities and challenges and make them your own!
Ready to infuse your networking strategy with an entrepreneurial spirit? Join us at our next Nashville Locals event to test the waters!
Need some more focused, personalized networking tips? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 for help to develop your networking strategy.
Put a Spark in Your Marketing Strategy: Images, Videos & Infographics
With the amount of information directed at consumers from various social media platforms, email, TV, and so on, it’s a vital part of your marketing strategy to consider how to stand out from the crowd. With that in mind, it’s more important now than ever to include images, videos, and infographics in your posting. But with limited time in your schedule and, likely, inexperience creating such media, where should you start?
1. Review your marketing strategy. You likely have plenty of opportunity to personalize or add photos and videos to your marketing strategy. Consider how, where, and what you’ve been posting - what has been successful? Where have you missed opportunities? Review your marketing budget and make sure you’ve blocked time in your schedule to focus on marketing efforts.
2. Get out your camera. Snap a photo of your team meeting, take a selfie at your next networking event, or catch a sneak peek at a project underway. Using personal images of your day to day operations help to show the human side of your business. People like to work and shop with people they know and trust, so add a little personal touch to your social media postings.
For larger projects, such as your website or printed media, consider hiring a professional photographer to take employee headshots, stage office scenes, and gather a variety of stock photos you can use as needed. Don’t underestimate the importance of photo quality!
3. Try your hand at design. There are so many online design programs available that anyone can give it a try. At Piccolo Marketing, we use Canva * for our in-house designs. With templates for Facebook, email headers, and infographics, along with endless photo libraries, “Canva enables anyone to become a designer!” Simply download your design when you’re finished!
*Canva is a free design product. However, take note of which images you choose - there are free options, while others have a small cost.
4. Share and retweet media thoughtfully. Did you see a great video or infographic you’d like to pass along? Feel free to share or retweet appropriate media. Not only are you likely to grab someone’s attention with the inclusion of videos or images, but sharing or retweeting connects you with other social media users. You can increase your marketing strategy simply by interacting - a like or favorite, a comment on the original post, etc. will boost your social media presence and your connectivity.
*Be sure to credit sources as appropriate based on how you use “shared” media.
Not sure where or how to get started? It may be time to consider professional services to develop, implement, and manage your marketing strategy. Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to start the conversation!
Don't Let Summer Fun Get in the Way of Your Business Goals
Summer is winding down and WOW, has it flown by! While you’re trying to get in your last minute summer trips, outdoor adventures, and back to school or 4th quarter planning, don’t forget to get your business goals in focus. You CAN do it all and keep all of those balls you’re juggling up in the air.
How can you combine summer fun with business success? Check out my top tips here and enjoy....
1. Take a book. Heading to the beach? Plane, train, or car ride? Save your data and pick up a good old fashioned printed book. I recently stumbled upon this list of top business books to add to your reading list this summer. These selections are both informative and entertaining, perfect for finding and inspiring your balance between work and play.
2. Keep work at work. This is always a good tip; especially when you’re feeling like you’re trying to squeeze it all in! It’s important to create clear boundaries. Establish with yourself, your family, and your colleagues what your personal business hours are and what constitutes a business emergency. It can be so easy to get wrapped up in projects, emails, and new leads that the rest of your life and memory-making moments are passing you by!
3. Write down your #1 goal. Before you do anything else, take a moment to consider and put in writing your #1 goal remaining for the summer. Consider where you had hoped to be by this point in the year and what one accomplishment would set you up for success in the final quarter of the year. Taking note of your goal and bringing back your focus will help to keep you on the right path, especially when it comes to decision making regarding how to divide your time most efficiently and effectively.
4. Schedule your time. Considering your goal above and your personal business hours, take a good look at your schedule. Make note of any upcoming trips, events, or priority items and block off your time accordingly. In light of your must-do activities, plan ahead by scheduling your time or delegating tasks appropriately to ensure that your day to day business operations are not lost in the shuffle.
5. Try something new in business! You may be thinking I’m crazy to suggest you add something new to your plate. However, if you thoughtfully consider what it is, it may just be the thing you need to achieve your #1 goal and jumpstart your business plans for the rest of the year. Whether taking on a new employee, offering a new service, or joining a new industry-specific event, take advantage of whatever opportunities come what may to leverage, grow, and promote your business.
Need more help to get organized and set up your business systems? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-340-7768 - we are your local experts at balancing fun and work!
Email Marketing Campaign Tips
We’ve been talking a lot about networking, contact development, and growing your lead lists both in person and online. Even after the initial work of meeting, engaging, and following up with new leads, you’re still not done! Don’t forget the important step of adding your contacts to your recurring drip marketing campaign so that you can keep the flow of information moving.
Email marketing is a powerful tool that I use in my business and for my clients on a daily basis. Here are some of my favorite tips to help get you started or to review your current email marketing strategy:
1. Thoughtfully choose your email topic. Use your email marketing campaign to announce, review or reiterate important information. Have a new employee? Interview and introduce them to your clients/partners. Added a new product or service? Highlight your offerings with an email announcement. A recent success story? Share your news and highlight your best practices and helpful tips. The options are limitless, but be sure to thoughtfully develop meaningful and informational content to your readers.
2. Synchronize your social media posts. It’s a fact that not every social media follower is subscribed to your email list and vice versa. Beyond that, people take in information differently so providing content in a variety of formats is a good way to reach the most people, most effectively. Besides, people often have to see things seven different ways for something to really sink in. Maybe they were busy and saw your email, but didn’t read it. A few hours later, seeing a similar social media will refresh their memory and could lead them back to their inbox for more information!
3. Segment your contact list. It’s not enough to just send out an email! With email programs, like MailChimp, you can sort your leads into specific lists, such as partners, new leads, or current customers. I would also recommend segments, such as Top 2%, Top 20%, and Bottom 80% or groups based on type of services or interests. The more personalized and unique you can make your lists, and subsequent emails, the more likely you are to engage your contacts with relevant, meaningful information.
4. Create an email marketing funnel. Explore your email program for reports on number of opens and clicks on an email. You should create follow up emails to target your email “opens” and “clicks” to best serve your readers. For instance, if a consumer opens your email, your software can trigger a second mailing with more detailed information. If someone clicks on a particular link within your email, you can set up rules within your system to reach out again, either by pre-programmed email or by a personal call/email from you directly.
5. PROOFREAD. Proofread. And then ask someone else to proofread. This includes sending a test email and reading for spelling and grammar errors, viewing the email from a design perspective, and checking the email links are in proper working order. There is nothing worse than misspelled or broken links in emails!
Need some more direction to get started? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 for more information, guidance, and help in setting up your email marketing campaigns for success!
Networking 101: Social Media as a Networking Tool
In today’s world, there is more opportunity for networking available at your fingertips than ever before! Facebook and LinkedIn both allow immediate access to an endless group of connections through your phone or computer. Even with these advances, you have to know how to take advantage of this technology. To take your networking strategy to the next level, you need to tap into the digital, online world of connectivity. But with so many social media platforms, where and how do you even get started?
1. Update your social media profiles. First things first, before you embark on a social media networking adventure, make sure your profiles are updated . This includes your website and any larger scale business changes, such as new products or services or employee transitions.
2. Post consistently and thoughtfully. In order to connect with people on social media, your first step is to post . Make sure that what you post is consistent, thoughtful, and informational to current and potential clients. With meaningful and relevant content, you are working to set yourself up as an expert in a given field. Don’t be afraid to be yourself or to make a joke here and there!
3. Engage with your posts. Don’t abandon your posts after your original posting. As part of your scheduled social media time, check your notifications for any comments, replies, likes, or shares. Reach out periodically to offer “thanks” for sharing or favoriting your posts. Continue the conversation and build connections - you did the work, don’t let it go to waste!
4. Reach out to others. Just like you should be following up with your original post, be sure to engage with others online. As you start to involve yourself in the digital world around you, you’ll find people you want to connect with. Reach out to them privately and start a conversation; maybe you have a burning question their expertise could help with. As you connect with others, invite them to coffee (or a phone or skype meeting, based on the person's location) - there’s no reason you can’t build connections, clients, or referral partners with an online networking strategy!
5. Stay connected! Just as you would after in-person networking events, add your new personal contacts to your email marketing contact lists. As you continue to develop your recurring marketing drip campaign, your new contacts will remain in the loop. Be sure to segment your lists for greater personalization of email content!
Curious about online networking? Take a look at Nashville Locals online and stay in the conversation…
Ready to get started on your online networking journey? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to learn more about how to use your social media profiles to your advantage.
Ready to Start a Blog? Let’s Go!
It seems like everyone is starting a blog today; from the business professional to the stay at home mom, everyone has a story, information, or helpful tips to share. A blog can be a great marketing, informational, and educational tool for your clients or potential customers. The difficulty is getting started, staying focused, and making your blog work for you.
If you’ve been considering starting a blog, but aren’t quite sure where to start, follow these helpful tips:
1. Define your goals or purpose for starting a blog. So you’ve been thinking about venturing into the world of blogging. Why? To share information, to relay a story, or to promote your business through helpful to-do lists or tips. Whatever your motivation is for starting a blog, define it. Be sure to write it down so that in times where your focus is lost you can redirect yourself to your original purpose.
2. Choose a blog platform. Depending on your purpose above and whether or not your goal is to make money with your blog, you’ll need to consider what type of platform to use. For instance, you may be able to add your blog as a new page on your current website. If your goal is to “get out some information,” a free host, like Blogger and Wordpress.com may be the route to go. With these free sites, you’ll have less creative license and limited ability to turn your blog into revenue. On the flip side, hosting your blog through Wordpress.org is easier to turn into a revenue stream. With more creative control and add-on tools, there are many features to take advantage of in the development of your blog.
3. Develop a blog content calendar. Sit down, consider your goal or purpose in blogging and write down a list of keywords, phrases, or topics you will be blogging about. These ideas will help to serve as a guide to blog topics or titles and to strengthen your SEO numbers. You’ll also need to consider how often you’ll be blogging. Whether monthly, weekly, or daily, what matters most is being consistent.
4. Start writing! Now that you know what about and how often you’ll be blogging, start writing! If you ever get lost, recall your initial purpose and your list of keywords or phrases. Simply, get back to the basics!
Need help to get started? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to take the next step in developing your marketing strategy.
Social Media Tips: Facebook Tools You're Probably Not Using
Worldwide, there are over 1.94 billion monthly active Facebook users for March 2017 (Facebook MAUs), which is an 18 percent increase year over year. What this means for you: In case you had any lingering doubts, statistically, Facebook is too big to ignore.
Have you ever taken time to dig a little deeper into Facebook, exploring the extent of its marketing and business capabilities? I took a little time to share some higher level Facebook marketing and analytics tools with you and wow! Have they been busy over at Facebook HQ or what?!
First off, there is a whole Facebook Business section! With information on ads, page management, and even Facebook News, there is a ton of information to help take your marketing and social media strategy to the next level.
Here are some of my favorite Facebook marketing and analytics tools you need to take advantage of:
- Integrate your Facebook leads with Facebook Marketing Partners. Did you know you can move your Facebook leads directly to your CRM software? (You can also download it if your CRM is not a Facebook Marketing Partner.) You put a lot of stock in your Facebook profile, posts, and ads, so don’t let your potential leads sit idle.
- Measure the Effectiveness of Your Advertising with Facebook Pixel. Facebook Pixel is an analytics tool that can help you understand the audience you’re reaching and how they are interacting with your profile. Explore the many options including custom conversions, custom events, and custom audiences.
- Analyze and Upgrade Your Store Visits Objective. If you operate multiple store locations, don’t overlook the importance of individualization in your marketing strategy. With variables in demographics, Facebook’s Store Visits objectives help to hone in on the best targeting strategy for each location.
- Helpful Resources Are Available at Facebook Blueprint. Check out Facebook Blueprint for free online training for advertising on Facebook. These eLearning courses can help you learn the skills to take your social media strategy to the next level.
Are you ready to take your Facebook marketing strategy to the next level? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to get started today.
Reenergize Your Networking Strategy for the 2nd Half of 2017
Believe it or not, we’re on the downhill slope of 2017. And, if you’re like me, you may be beginning to feel like you’re in a networking rut. You’ve been going to events, working your leads, and drinking coffee with new referral partners or clients. But are you seeing the ROI you had anticipated?
If not, it may just be time to reenergize your networking strategy for the greatest networking success in 2017!
1. Take a step back. Before you do anything, look back at the networking and business goals you set at the beginning of the year. Where were you heading and are you still on the path to get there? If not, how can you get back on track? It may also be possible that your goals have shifted or you need to set a new one. Whatever the case may be, take a minute to redefine your bigger picture goals.
2. Perfect your elevator speech. Based on what you decided above, you may need to adjust your elevator speech. Remember, you may have several renditions depending on the type of event and who your audience is. In addition to making sure your elevator speech lines up with your goals, revamp your story with any changes, successes, or motivations you’ve picked up along the way this year.
3. Update your networking materials. Take a look at your handouts and business cards - is everything up to date? Don’t forget to include your online materials, website, or social media platforms in this step; they are a huge networking tool!
4. Get out your calendar. What events do you have coming up? Have you blocked your time accordingly to allow for lead development, contact follow-up, and meetings? I would recommend at least 2 hours per week for this activity. If you don’t build it into your schedule, it won’t happen!
5. Try something new! There are so many networking opportunities out there, reenergize your schedule by trying something new! You can network at a local community fundraising or work-bee event, participate in a fitness or running club, or participate in an online networking forum. Get creative and enjoy yourself!!
Need some help developing, perfecting, or re-energizing your networking strategy? Get involved with us at Nashville Locals and see your circle expand and your business grow.
Should I Start a Blog?
If you’re doing it right, your marketing strategy should be ever-evolving. Often times though the question becomes, “What should I do next?” It’s easy to be overwhelmed when considering all the options for increasing and optimizing your marketing strategy. One of those options may just be a blog…
Have you considered starting a blog? A blog can be a great way to elaborate on educational, interesting, or how-to topics for your consumers. It is a great tool to set yourself up and provide concrete examples of your expertise in a given field. As a value-provider, a blog is an easy way to share free and informative content to your audience.
Before you dive head first into starting a blog, consider these questions:
1. What is your motivation for starting a blog? There is an infinite number of answers to this question. But your answer is important. If your answer is to share your experiences in life/business/rodeo clowning, the format and style of your blog will read very differently than one designed to provide educational information and how-to lists for partners and clients. Before you get started, it’s important to nail down your purpose so that your intention and focus is clear to your audience.
2. What value can you provide your audience with a blog? Depending on your purpose above, your value can be vastly different to your potential audience. If your blog is more of diary or recounting of events, its purpose may be solely for entertainment. If your blog is more informational in nature, you must work hard to provide a high level of value aka actionable, productive results with:
- how-to lists
- handy tips
- sharing of information.
In either case, your overarching goal should be to set yourself up as an expert in a particular field so that when someone is seeking information they come directly to you.
3. How much time can you commit to blog writing and management? Now that you know why and how you should communicate information, determine your level of time commitment. Again there is no wrong answer! One blog per day or once per month, the important thing here is to thoughtfully consider at what level you can be consistent in your posting.
Follow These Steps to Develop Your Networking Strategy
Do you have 5 minutes? Let’s work together through these 4 steps to develop your networking strategy so that you can attend your next event in confidence.
1. Define Your Networking Goals. Before you do anything, write down your networking goals. Keep in mind, they may be different from event to event. For instance, are you looking for customers, referral partners, or even job-seeking? Being able to articulate your purpose and goals is the key step to your networking success.
Step 1: Write down 2-3 networking goals.
2. Prepare Your Elevator Speech. Now that you know what your networking goals are, it’s time to prepare your elevator speech. Again, you may have several based on your purpose! In preparing your elevator speech , which is a brief, personal commercial to introduce yourself, it’s important to be thoughtful, thorough, and concise.
Step 2: Time yourself for one minute and write/type out a brief intro to yourself. Don’t overthink it!
3. Pick the Right Networking Events. There are a variety of networking events you can attend so it’s important to choose the ones that best suit the needs of your business and networking goals. Carefully consider your goals and how the attendees or sponsoring organizations will help you to meet those goals. For instance, you may attend an industry specific event while job-seeking or a community networking event to simply re-energize your lead list.
Step 3: Add 2 networking events to your calendar this month based on the goals you set above.
4. Follow Up. I’m sure you’ve never heard this tip from me before ;) But, seriously… follow up . This is where the real work of networking begins and it is, arguably, the most important step. You’ve done all this work developing your goals and elevator speech and attending networking events. Don’t let all that effort go to waste by skipping this step!
Step 4: Block networking follow up or lead development time into your schedule.
Are you ready to tackle the networking scene? Try out your new networking strategy at our next Nashville Locals event.
For more tips or direct help in developing your networking strategy or lead development and marketing campaigns, give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768.
Social Media Marketing 101: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
It may have been a while since you set up your LinkedIn profile. Or you may have just entered in your information in an effort to get started connecting. In order to get the most out of your social media strategy, it’s important to take the time to fully optimize your profile.
The trouble is, each social media platform has its own set of tips and tricks to follow. So, what steps should you take to optimize your LinkedIn profile?
Well I’m glad you asked. Let’s get started!
1. Define Your Purpose. There a variety of reasons to use LinkedIn, and your reason may change over time. You may be starting off as a job seeker. Once employed, you may transition to connection or network building. Be clear in your purpose here, too. Are you looking for clients, referral partners, or investors and what are business goals? Allowing people to understand your motivations will help the right people to find you.
2. Post a professional photo. Sounds simple enough! In conjunction with your purpose, a professional photo conveys your seriousness and presents you as a serious potential business partner or service provider. When choosing your photo make sure it looks like you and your face takes up at least 60% of the frame. Make sure your picture conveys the right message by choosing the right facial expression and wearing what you wear to work.
3. Publish your own, original content. You can use LinkedIn as an avenue to post and share your blog or infographics. Publishing content serves to portray an image of you as an expert in your field. Consider the content you are providing and aim to bridge the gap between potential consumer needs and your business products or services.
Have a LinkedIn (or other social media) profile you need some guidance to optimize? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 and we’ll help set your social media profiles up for success.
Use Your Networking Skills to Develop Your Referral Partner Pipeline
You may think the purpose of networking is obvious. However, if pressed, could you articulate your reason why? One reason may be to develop your referral partner pipeline.
If you’re thinking, “my what?” , we’ve got you covered!! Your referral partner pipeline is simply a list of business associates, strategic partners, or clients that help you to keep your pipeline full of new leads and exciting opportunities.
How do I develop my referral partner pipeline?
1. Attend the right networking events. This goes back to knowing your “why?” Why are you networking? What are your business goals? Who or what will help you get to the next level? Having a clear focus will help you to find and make the most out of the networking events you attend. For more information about choosing the right networking event for you, click here!
2. Perfect your elevator speech. Or speeches. Depending on the event, audience, or your goals for the night, make sure to have a few pitches ready based on your needs. Take your preparation a step further, too! Don’t just memorize your speech, but live it and breathe it. Know your main points, but be ready to be fluid with it and let it flow naturally into a conversation versus a formal presentation. For tips on perfecting your elevator speech, click here!
3. Build your email marketing list. Now that you’ve met a whole new group of people, work them! Using your favorite CRM, delineate people as clients, referral partners, specific industries, top 2 or 20 prospects, etc. The more detailed the information you can provide, the more targeted you can become with your email marketing strategy and subsequent follow ups. For more tips on how to build your email marketing list, click here!
4. Follow up! Follow up. Follow up. And then follow up again. Your contact should be tapered in that you intentionally and personally reach out to new leads. Over time, your contact points become less frequent and more informal. However, it’s important to set up a recurring marketing drip campaign so that you periodically revisit “old” contacts. For tips on how to follow up with a new contact, click here!
5. Don’t forget about the power of giving. This may be the most important tip of all! If nothing else, remember that you have to give to get! Reach out to someone for simple advice or mentorship, send a new lead the way of a business associate, or refer a client out to a colleague on a project outside of your scope.
Need some help perfecting your referral partner development strategies? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to get started!
- Tips For Building Your Email Marketing List
- Ahhhh… the often overlooked and easy to ignore email marketing list. Don’t let this vital part of your marketing, networking, and business strategy fall by the wayside! Just as I recommend you invite everyone to coffee, you should add everyone to your email marketing list.
- Management and attention to your email list is a huge business opportunity. Try these simple tips to boost your email ROI:
- 1. Ask people for their email. Well that sounds easy enough. Chances are you haven’t been doing it though. Make it an automatic part of your information gathering and use it. After you’ve met someone, send a quick email just to put a period on the end of your meeting and to solidify any ambiguous plans you may have had. Even just a simple note saying, “It was so nice to meet you. Please save my contact info…” is a nice touch that will leave a positive impression.
- 2. Offer something in exchange for their subscription. An easy way to gather emails is to offer a free download with business tips or tricks. This is also a great way to market yourself and give people a snapshot of your services. Don’t give away too much, though - just enough to get them coming back for more!
- Check out my free download here for inspiration.
- 3. Make your email address accessible. Can people find you? The last thing you want is for someone to be attempting to contact you, but discouraged when their search for your email is unsuccessful. Even if you don’t want to provide your direct email on your website, provide a generic hello@ or contactus@ option. Make sure you have a designated team member assigned to checking this account and directing emails accordingly.
- 4. Create a recurring drip marketing campaign. Sadly, it’s not enough to just send one initial email and call it good. I recommend establishing a recurring campaign and series of (maybe even automated) emails. For instance, if someone opens your email or clicks on a link, a follow up series of emails is initiated. Email automation tools, such as MailChimp, are helpful in managing your contacts and email campaigns in this way.
- Check it out!
- 5. Follow up. My #1 tip! If nothing else, just follow up with each and every contact. That can be as simple as completing step 4 above. However, don’t overlook the power of personal contact through a direct email, phone call, or even handwritten note. The bottom line is, your email marketing list, and ultimately your business are not growing if you’re not harnessing the potential of your contacts.
- Need help with managing your email marketing list from start to finish? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 - or send us an email ;) at firstname.lastname@example.org - to get started!
- Networking Tips for the Small Business Owner
- As a small business owner, you may be having some difficulty implementing a networking strategy that works for you and your business. Developing a strategy that works specifically for your business can be even harder. Maybe you didn’t realize the importance of networking when you were starting your business? Maybe you simply don’t know where or how to get started?
- Whatever your small business networking struggles may be, I hope these tips will help to get you back on the right track:
- 1. Find a group that fits your needs.
- You may join several different groups for different reasons based on your business goals and networking strategy. For instance, a business to business, or B2B, group may help you in trading or selling business services with fellow producers. Another idea is to seek out an industry specific group. Membership or participation within your industry is a great way to learn and develop job specific skills, but also an opportunity to develop your referral partner pipeline.
- 2. Keep it local.
- A great place to start is your local Chamber of Commerce. In addition to getting you in touch with fellow small business owners or networking groups, they have many resources and opportunities you should take advantage of. Check out their calendar of community events, business promotion tools, and benefits of membership.
- Click here to check out the Nashville Chamber of Commerce website.
- 3. Find (or make) a personal connection.
- While it’s important to have your elevator speech ready to deliver on demand, it’s equally important to develop your improvisation skills. The challenge of networking is the uncertainty of the human factor - what are people going to say, how are you going to react, and what is the underlying motive behind attendance at an event? Instead of overthinking your performance at an event, just be you. Make a genuine connection with fellow attendees and you will find people to connect with.
- 4. Host or co-sponsor an event.
- Not finding a networking group or events to suit your business needs? Host or co-sponsor your own networking event! As a headlining sponsor, this is a great way to get your name out there and foster business relationships and opportunities suitable to your needs. Remember though, in business you have to give to get, so make sure there is equal benefit of attendance for all attendees.
- As a leader in small business strategy and development, Piccolo Marketing is here for you! Give us a call at 615-348-7768 to get started on developing and implementing an effective networking strategy.
- Digital Vs. Print Marketing: When, Where & How to Marketing Effectively
- To print or not to print? That is the question.
- The answer: yes.
- The real questions you need to ask are when, where & how can I market effectively using print marketing strategies?
- While your digital or social media marketing strategies may be top of mind, don’t overlook the power of print. In fact, print media has evolved and kept up with the times just as much as its digital neighbor. The key is to know when, where, and how to use print marketing tools effectively.
- When should I use print marketing?
- All the time! As much as we’d like to be living in a digital world, we’re not! The world is physical and we should capitalize on that. It’s likely your everyday print marketing will focus more on business cards and day to day operations and less on hashtags, tweets, and trending topics. In addition, consider print marketing for big updates, product or service launches, or special events. Don’t forget that print marketing is more than just paper - everyone loves a really nice pen!
- Where should I use print marketing?
- Wherever your customers are! This goes back to the classic marketing rule of knowing and understanding your demographics. Where are your likely consumers going to see your print marketing? Ideas include printed business cards, brochures, or flyers for potential customers and quarterly newsletters or magazines for current clients. Whatever it is you are printing, make sure its content and mode of delivery is meaningful to your audience.
- How should I use print marketing?
- You may be shocked to hear that print marketing is interactive. Use technology to your advantage with QR codes that link your printed media directly to your website. You can also encourage consumer engagement with a motivational call to action. What is the reason behind your printing in the first place? A big sale that is time limited? A chance to win a prize? A new product or service that is being debuted? Turn your reason for reaching out into their motivation with your printed materials!
Need some help to develop your next big campaign or simply to reenergize your current marketing strategy? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to get started today.
- Is Your Social Media Strategy Up to Par?
- You can learn a lot about your social media strategy by looking at your golf game. Both require patience, concentration, and strategy. Both take time to develop and your efforts don’t always land where you aim. And, luckily, both can be a fun day full of winning!
- Consider how these top golfing tips can help keep your social media strategy up to par:
- 1. Take dead aim. Say what you mean! Use jokes, sarcasm, and riddles intentionally. In writing your content, make sure you understand your audience and how to best communicate with them. In a world of social media information overload, don’t add too many layers and guess work to your message.
- 2. Create a solid stance. And mean what you say! A good marketing strategy delivers a consistent message in line with your company or personal brand mission, vision, and values. Use your social media marketing to develop your image as an expert in your field.
- 3. Make friends with your platform. With the many social media platforms available, be sure to understand the ones you are using. If your business utilizes imagery, try your hand at Instagram. If referral partner or professional development is right for you, check out LinkedIn. Take some time to explore the options and features unique to each platform and use them to your advantage!
- 4. Make characters count. Back to tips #1 & 2 - make your posts count! Get your message out succinctly (often in 140 characters or less) and use trending hashtags to stay in the conversation. Researching hashtags makes sure you are using them properly, too. Nothing more embarrassing than misunderstanding or using an inappropriate hashtag!
- 5. Use plenty of platforms. Plenty = the “just right” amount. It’s not about quantity, but quality of platform based on your marketing strategy, business needs, and customer base. The decision to use a platform should be based on ROI - will you find customers or partners here? Will this platform help you increase customer contact and, ultimately, sales?!
- Need a social media marketing coach? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to get started today!
- Networking 101: Perfecting Your Elevator Speech
- If someone approached you, introduced themselves, and asked you “what brings you to this networking event?”, would you freeze? Or would you be prepared with a thoughtful, thorough, and concise elevator speech?
- If you’re unfamiliar with the idea, an elevator speech is a brief, personal commercial you deliver to introduce yourself. Depending on your needs, you can use it while on the job hunt, looking for potential referral partners, or expanding your customer base at a networking event.
- In preparation for your next networking event, or simply a passing encounter say… in an elevator… be prepared to pitch yourself with these tips:
- 1. Be thoughtful. What is at the heart of your business motivations? Take a look at your business goals or mission statement for inspiration. Also, consider the strategies you have in place to reach those goals. Your elevator speech should be constantly changing to reflect your current business needs and to bridge the gap between goal and result.
- 2. Be thorough. You only have about 10 sentences to make your point, so make them count! In that time, make sure to cover who you are, what you do, what you offer and what you are looking for. Also, be sure to communicate what the benefits of working with you are and how you do it.
- 3. Be concise. Keep it simple, but impactful. You need to have your elevator speech memorized and deliverable in about 30 seconds! Review it carefully and remove any information that isn’t absolutely necessary to your message. Remember, this is just a snapshot - the following conversations will allow you to expand. It may feel awkward in the beginning, but stick with it and try a few approaches to see what feels genuine. It will take time and focus to perfect your elevator speech, but the reward is worth the effort.
- Need help perfecting your elevator speech or overall networking strategy? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to get started today!
- Ready to test out your elevator speech? Join us for our next networking event with Nashville Locals .
- Is It Time to Hire a Marketing Consultant?
- It’s hard to tell when it’s time to hire a marketing consultant. While hiring expert assistance can benefit your business, both your mindset and your resources need to be ready to accept help.
- Consider these questions to determine if a marketing consultant is the missing piece you’ve been looking for:
- Are you investing a consistent, and appropriate, amount of time into social media?
- Forbes recommends 32 hours per month to adequately implement your social media marketing strategy on just ONE platform. So, what if you have several? The hours are starting to add up! While I would argue that your business goals, clientele, and business size will influence the number of hours needed, as well as the platforms you use, the bottom line is this… you are likely not devoting the appropriate, or most efficient, hours to your strategy.
- Getting a fresh look and someone to keep up with consistent, relevant posts is usually the first service that is requested from my company.
- Do you know what your top keywords are/should be?
- To start, keywords are the foundation for your SEO (search engine optimization). Using the right keywords can be the difference between being #100 and #1 in a Google search. Let’s be honest, if you’re not on the first page, or likely the top 1-3, you’re not going to be found without spending some serious cash on paid ads.
- Determining what your keywords should be is a matter of gauging and following the trends and terms your customers are likely searching for. Directing your digital marketing strategy to organically incorporate those terms across multiple platforms can often be time consuming enough to require help.
- Are you purposely optimizing your content towards your audience?
- In order to draw in your customers and keep them engaged you need to speak to them directly. What motivates them? What will turn them away? What do they expect from your relationship? Don’t limit these ideas to content; also consider where they would expect to find this information and how they want to receive it.
- The most loyal and engaged customers are those that are able to develop and maintain a personal relationship with an idea, service, or product. If you seek a marketing consultant that can both broadcast and respond to customers, now you are onto something!
- If you answered no to any of the above questions, it may be time to consider hiring a marketing consultant! This is a good thing – it likely means you are too busy to address and be updated on all of the ever-evolving nuances of marketing. That is where a professional is handy to guide and direct the process towards a consistent and efficient end – your business goals and, ultimately, bottom line.
- For more information about the services a marketing consultant can provide or for a review of your current marketing strategy, give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768.
- Branding 101: How to Manage and Implement Your Rebranding Strategy
- That nagging feeling you’ve been pushing down for months and months? Push has come to shove and it’s time for a rebranding. While rebranding your image, name, or company logo that you put a lot of time and effort into perfecting may sound like your worst business nightmare, it doesn’t have to be!
- Rebranding is an opportunity to clarify your niche, promote your growth as a company, and to get a leg up on the competition. With our recent transition from Anna-Vija, Marketing Strategy to Piccolo Marketing, we know first hand the time, effort, and thoughtful considerations that are part of your rebranding journey.
- Let’s get started with a few questions we considered along the way that you may find helpful...
- 1. Plan your attack. You can’t possibly get where you’re going (the most effectively) without a plan. Answer these questions before you do anything more
- What are your goals?
- Why are you rebranding?
- What are you hoping a rebrand will do for your company?
- What is your budget?
- 2. Tell your story. You’ve seen it a lot lately - with videos, pictures, or good narratives, storytelling is a great marketing strategy and a growing trend. Consumers are looking for a relationship or experience, not simply a product, and storytelling helps to deliver that message. When we began to discuss the direction of our rebranding, our story became clear. A small business built for small business.
- What’s your story?
- What connection or benefit does that provide your clientele?
- 3. Make your brand relevant. Let’s face it - you are not the only ____ company out there. So, that begs the question, why should someone choose to engage with your company versus the one next door? Rebranding can be an opportunity to reassert your relevance. Consider and highlight:
- What does your company offer that is unique?
- How does your personal story translate to the needs and motivations of your consumers?
- 4. Broaden your horizons. Don’t just rebrand to rebrand! Rebranding is often a byproduct of growth. As your business has grown and developed, it might not look exactly like your original plans when you set off as an entrepreneur. In your quest to tell your story and define your relevance, consider how your consumer or partner pool may have changed. Make sure to include them in your decision making. After all, they are the ones your rebranding is aimed at appealing to!
Wow! Still not sure where to start? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 and we can help to guide you through the rebranding process.
- Key to Networking: It's Not About the Networking Event
- If you’re like most people, you get nervous for - or even dread - attending networking events. Relax. Count to 10. I have a secret to share with you that will ease all of your fears.
- Networking isn’t actually about the event.
- It’s about…
- The preparation leading up to the networking event. Recall the expression, “practice like you play.” As in sports, the same idea applies to your approach to networking . Consider that the actual networking event is a small fraction of your time. The time you spend preparing your elevator speech, developing your networking strategy and business goals, and researching networking events/attendees is key. This is where you will find and set yourself up for success in networking. Do as the Boy Scouts do and “be prepared!”
- The follow up after the networking event. Your presence and active (read “prepped and ready to go”) participation in the networking event is your opportunity to gather intel. Who are the attendees, what are their goals and motivations, and who can you help? Once your data-gathering mission is complete, the real work begins as you start to follow-up with everyone you met. Be purposeful, systematic, and thoughtful here as partnerships are forged here in the follow-up.
- The totality of your networking strategy. The three phases - preparation, attendance, and follow-up should work together seamlessly to create your networking strategy. Be sure to schedule time for these activities into your week and be thoughtful about the types of events you attend. Remember, it’s the whole of your efforts that will make you successful in networking.
- For more insight into just how to better frame your mindset around your upcoming networking event, click here .
- Want to practice? Join us for a casual networking lunch or happy hour with Nashville Locals .
- Get prepared with these networking tips from past blogs:
- Networking 101: How to Follow Up With a New Contact
- Start Off the New Year With a Solid Networking Strategy
- Networking 101: Developing Your Game Plan
- All of My Best Networking Tips… In One Place!
- Small Business Tips: Use Social Media to Boost Sales
- At Piccolo Marketing , we understand that our friends in small business have dreams and goals just as big as large corporations. However, we’re left to dreaming big and achieving our goals with smaller budgets and less manpower. Fortunately, social media, when leveraged properly, can be a low-cost tool that delivers results in less time than a dedicated department.
- Consider the extent to which social media, digital programming, and basic technology impacts your everyday personal life. You can use those same principles in your marketing strategy and turn your social media into a productive member of your team.
- Try these simple tips:
- 1. Be yourself.
- As a small business owner, you likely started your company with a goal or passion at the center of your business model. Let your light shine! Strive to show customers your passion for your business, service, or industry. You can show your spirit by giving back and setting yourself up as a trusted source for the latest tips or industry news.
- In terms of actual posting tips, don’t get lost behind the business name. Be funny. Be serious. Be sad. Be YOU. When it comes down to it, people are drawn to people, not names or products.
- 2. Be customer-oriented.
- While the delivery of the product or service matters, experience is just as important to the customer. Would you rather work with the friendly small business owner down the street who you pass and greet walking your dog each morning or the faceless name on the other side of the phone you reached after guessing your way through telephone prompts? I’m guessing the former.
- The customer experience is more than just the face to face time you spend with a customer. It’s the feeling they get when they enter your store or their reaction to a post you shared on Facebook. Ensure your social media lines up with the experience the customer will receive once you get the opportunity to make a sale.
- 3. Be mobile friendly.
- I repeat. Be. Mobile. Friendly.
- It’s no longer acceptable that your digital presence is NOT mobile friendly. How likely are you to search for something on your phone versus a tablet or desktop computer? It’s important your online presence is transferrable, presentable, and easy to navigate across a variety of platforms.
- Need help to organize, implement, and/or maintain your social media strategy? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 to get started today!
- For more small business tips on how to use social media to boost sales, click here.
- Are Youy Keeping Your Website Up to Date?
- Months. Days. Hours. Agony. Your website is FINALLY live!
- Once it is online, our website becomes an obsession. We try to set up the perfect layout, find the best pictures, write beautiful descriptions, and make sure every link is live. Whether you do it yourself or outsource the task, there is the inevitable back and forth of trying to pull everything together and perfect it.
- But, have you touched it since then?
- Now that you have it, website maintenance should be added as a recurring task because it is a vital part of your marketing strategy. Make sure...
- 1. Basic info is up to date. Don’t forget to update your website with pertinent information as it changes. While this likely doesn’t happen often, any changes to contact info are imperative to keep updated. Also, if you have a “staff” section, make sure to keep it current with employees, contact info, and important info, such as titles, awards, and pictures.
- 2. To link your social media profiles. Unless someone directly visits your website or finds you on a Google search, people are likely to connect with you through social media. Make sure your website is readily available on your Facebook page or Twitter profile. Similarly, be sure to include social media buttons in the header or footer of your website so that people can readily connect to you across multiple formats.
- 3. The content is relevant (and current). If you have a blog, your website is a great place to showcase it. Also, keep up with employee, business, or industry wide awards, achievements, or important news. As opposed to a Facebook or Twitter post, your website gives you an opportunity to provide more detailed information to the masses.
- 4. To change it up! While you may love your website’s cover photo, it may be time to spice things up a bit. Not only will it keep things interesting, but certain changes may warrant resharing or calling attention to your page.
- 5. To include it in your marketing strategy. Link to your page with social media posts or include a landing page for visitors to sign up for your newsletter.
- While it may not be obvious how to use your website, make an effort to incorporate your website into your marketing strategy. After all, you’ve invested a lot of time, energy, and financial resources into creating it – don’t let it go to waste!
- Marketing Tips: How to Keep It Going While You're Away on Vacation
- Spring break is right around the corner… the sun, the sand, the drink in your hand. Keep your vacation a vacation by planning ahead and putting all your marketing efforts in place before you leave. Yes, you do deserve that much needed vacation, but your marketing strategy should never go on hiatus.
- To keep your marketing going while you’re away, follow these simple tips for a stress-free, work-free vacation:
- Plan ahead. If you’ve been working your marketing strategy up to this point, odds are you have a system that works for you. At Piccolo Marketing, we use content calendars, social media automation with Hootsuite, and team member task management through Asana. With a well-structured system in place it should be easy to look ahead at what tasks would need to be accomplished for the time you’re scheduled to be away.
- Stick to the plan. Rather than letting a task go or getting a week or two behind, build some extra time in the weeks or days ahead of your trip to tackle these tasks early. If something can’t be done ahead of time, this is a good opportunity to hand it off to a team member with clear instructions and expectations. Regardless of the situation, it’s important to stick to the plan because effective marketing requires consistency, presence, and visibility.
- Automate. If you haven’t already automated some of your marketing practices, now may be just the time to do so. As I mentioned earlier, we use Hootsuite for scheduling and managing our social media presence. With an automation system, you can manage multiple social media platforms from one central location and take advantage of scheduling features. That way, your marketing will keep working long after you’ve hit the beach!
- Take a look back. When you return from your lovely vacation, all tanned and relaxed, take a minute to review the processes you put into place. What went well? Where is there an opportunity for improvement?
- Wishing you a safe, happy, and stress-free vacation!
- Networking 101: How to Follow-Up With a New Contact
- You’ve completed all the preparation and attended all the right networking events. Now what?
- Follow up.
- This is where the real work of networking begins. As I've emphasized before, networking without following up negates most of the effort you put into reaching your contacts. So, I’ve put together a few key tips to keep the momentum going and your networking a success. The following is a solid strategy to follow up with all your networking contacts.
- Reach out to everyone. Many people will decline your follow-up invitation for a variety of reasons. However, sending the invitation helps to build a positive reputation with the invitees. Not everyone who says they will reach out actually do! Only those who are serious about developing their referral partner pipeline will actually take the time. As contacts get pruned from address books, your extra effort could be the reason your name stays relevant. Everyone else gets weeded out!
- Build follow up time into your schedule. You can send out a template invitation and, with the pre-scheduled time blocks, you don’t have to stress over your schedule week to week. It doesn’t have to be a chore for you!
- Create a system for yourself. Sending a monthly email with valuable information serves two purposes. It will not only keep you top of mind with everyone you’ve met, but will also put your contact info front and center. When they decide they need your services or they refer you, they will know how to find you quickly.
- Give. I’m sure you’ve heard it before – you have to give to get. With one of your newly developed referral partners, send a little business their way. This reciprocal networking is invaluable with new contacts. It can strengthen your business relationship and give your customer a solution to their problem. A win-win for everyone. You don’t always have to have the answer, but you need to know where to find it!
- Still not sure where to get started? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 and we’ll help you get your networking follow-up strategy in line.
- Big Marketing, Small Budget
- At Piccolo Marketing, we know your big goals are often backed by small(er than you’d like) marketing budgets. As a marketing-for-small-business expert, we’re here to tell you that the size of your budget doesn’t have to dictate the success of your marketing strategy!
- The biggest key to your marketing success is the strength of your marketing strategy. That strategy should include a variety of marketing avenues from print to email newsletters and social media profiles. With the wide array of marketing options that are available, don’t forget that there are many low or no-cost options that you can use to bolster your strategy.
- Consider these marketing methods from Inc. :
- Create a loyalty program. This can be as simple as providing customers the opportunity to join an email list (with options in-store, point of sale, or a link on your website). Membership in this exclusive club gives the consumer access to birthday coupons, insider sales or discounts, or freebies, such as a free how-to guide.
- Harness the power of partnerships. Make your networking and marketing strategies work together. Attend strategic networking events with the goal of developing referral partners. Have your customers been looking for additional, complementary services that you don’t provide? Developing a network of service providers can set you up to meet your customers’ needs, whether personally or in collaboration. Your network will extend the same courtesy to you, should the need arise!
- Support a local cause. This is the ultimate in free marketing. Taking the time to volunteer or donate with a local organization can help you to tap into new markets, cost-free. Take care to choose organizations that are meaningful to you, both personally and professionally. You are guaranteed to encounter fellow volunteers or participants that are like-minded, giving you the opportunity to create new connections. When these potential customers find themselves in need of your services, they’ll know where to turn!
- Click here for more low to no-cost marketing options from Inc.
- Want to learn more? Check out my past blogs for tips on developing a marketing budget , marketing strategy , and social media strategy. Need one-on-one help? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 or email us at email@example.com.
- Get Your Network Off the Bench and Into the Game!
- You’ve been attending all of the right networking events, polishing your “elevator speech” and religiously working your marketing drip campaign. So, what gives? You feel like you’re beating your head against the brick wall of networking with nothing to show but a stack of business cards and an email automation sequence to die for.
- The moment of truth… it’s not just about contact. The key to networking success is conversion.
- Check out these tips on how to get your network off the bench and into the game. After all, you can’t score from the sidelines.
- Ask for advice. Start to think of your network as less of a dollar funnel and more of a collaboration. In a fluid, give-and-take type of relationship, there is the potential for growth and experience for everyone involved. Especially when working towards a common goal of business success. Shared benefit include being able to bounce ideas off of one another, pick someone’s brain about a difficult transition you’re approaching, or seek advice on an upcoming decision from a trusted colleague or mentor. The bottom line is, people aren’t going to network with you if they aren’t familiar, confident, and trusting in your ability to follow through and get the job done right. It takes more than just an exchange of business cards to build that level of trust.
- Give. Give. Give. On second thought, don’t ask for advice first! Rather, find a way to give to someone. This requires you to listen, process, and respond accordingly. People will appreciate your thoughtfulness and they’ll remember you when the time comes to reciprocate the favor. They’ll also be much more willing to give their time and energy to you when you need a little help in return.
- Be transparent. Be clear about your motives when engaging in any exchange. No one wants to feel like they were misled or taken advantage of. A good way to avoid this is to be clear with yourself what your goals are for a particular event.
- Make it personal. While it’s important to keep your social media or digital advertising up and running, don’t forget the importance of personal outreach . Set aside time each week for direct, person to person marketing or networking. This could be as simple as a coffee break, quick phone call, or personal email. Whatever your strategy, build it into your week and be genuine (and transparent) with your intentions.
- For more tips on how to engage and convert your network, check out the full article at Entrepreneur.com
- Are You Keeping Your Social Media Platforms Up to Date?
- It’s not enough to just create a plethora of social media accounts. It's important to be more than a mere presence online. Staying up to date, while posting consistently and on topic is crucial for your social media profile management. Nothing is worse than finding a contact online only to see they haven’t been active for over a year! Or worse, they try to link to your website and the link is broken.
- Avoid these common social media profile management issues with these tips:
- Create a checklist. It’s inevitable that change will find you. Whether it’s a new website, total branding overhaul, or a new hire, it will happen. So, don’t let it surprise you and fall through the cracks. Take a minute and create a list of all the places that would need to be updated in the event of a change. This would likely include all of your social media accounts, your website, and other web-based profiles, such as Google, Bing, or Yelp profiles. Don’t forget any professional or local organizations, if appropriate. Now, with your handy checklist, once a change occurs you can simply take it one at a time to make sure anywhere and everywhere that should be updated is.
- Schedule a check in reminder. Create a recurring appointment or reminder for yourself every month or two to take a moment and check in. While major info is not likely to change that often, you can use this for other important, but often overlooked tasks. For instance, you could use this as a reminder to change your profile picture or to personally reach out and connect to potential or past customers or referral partners.
- Drop in on yourself. Using your same checklist above, check yourself! Every so often, drop in on your accounts from your personal social media profile. What does it look like from the front side? Sometimes what you see on the other side isn’t what you had envisioned, so it doesn’t hurt to check! You could even ask a friend to scan your pages for ease of use – is your phone number, email address, or other important information easy to find and user friendly? Remember, you may know exactly where it is, but what will be the experience of your consumer?
- Post often. More than anything, post often. This will help keep you up to date simply by being present. It will also help you to stay top of mind with your audience.
- Need more guidance? Let us help you build and manage your checklist. Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768.
- Happy posting!
- Social Media Tips: How to Keep Your Business Identity in Focus
- In the midst of all your clients, meetings, and never-ending to do’s, don’t lose sight of your business identity. I’m sure you’ve been there…. you’re deep in the trenches, agonizing over the details, you get so caught up in the task at hand that you don’t even realize the direction your project has headed in. When you finally come up for air and take a look at your masterpiece you realize… you’ve completely missed the mark.
- It can be so easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.
- In spite of whatever else you may have going on, one way to maintain your business identity is through your social media outreach. A solid social media marketing strategy can not only be a steady and consistent source of information for your clients, but a reminder for you to see the forest, in spite of the trees.
- Check yourself and maintain your focus with these social media tips:
- Make a content calendar. A content calendar is a place to collect your social media materials. Maybe you read a good article or saw a funny meme that you would like to pass on to your clients or colleagues. Compiling your materials into one central location can be helpful in many ways. One, you’ll be able to see all your resources at one time and you can organize them in a way that makes sense – spreading out like items or piggybacking off of a quote or infographic with a related article. A content calendar can also save you time! By sticking things in here as you are going about your week, you can easily pull information when you are ready to schedule your next batch of posts. (If you’re not already doing so, I recommend using a scheduling or automation program like Hootsuite to increase your efficiency.)
- Use keywords. Your content calendar and marketing materials should be influenced by your list of keywords. This is simply a list of words that are related to your business and whose use in social media, blogs, or website content will help to boost your ranking in an online search. In choosing content, be mindful of these keywords and use them thoughtfully. (Marketing strategy, marketing strategy, marketing strategy.)
- Follow a schedule. The hard part is gathering the content and you’ve already done that! From there, lay out your plan of attack in terms of both timing of posts and choice of platform and stick to it! By using programs like Hootsuite, you can turn this into a weekly task that becomes an important and consistent part of your routine.
- Are you having difficulty developing, implementing, or just sticking to your social media plan? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 – we’d love to help you find and maintain your business identity!
- How to Respond to a Negative Review
- Finally! You have a notification or email indicating that you’ve just received a review. As you’re taking the steps to open it, you start to think… “I hope it’s a good one!” or “It must be from that customer I just had – she was so happy!”
- You open the page, read it, and your heart sinks.
- A negative review.
- RED ALERT. DELETE. DESTROY THE EVIDENCE.
- Before you do anything rash, stop. Just stop and follow these steps to (positively) respond to a negative review.
- Recall the experience. A customer has taken the time, and felt motivated enough, to provide a review of your business or service. Take a moment to recall the customer and use this as an opportunity to improve a system, process, or service. While the customer may not be 100% in the right, there is undoubtedly a middle ground where the truth can reveal an opportunity for improvement.
- Don’t miss out on that opportunity.
- Step back. Now that you’ve considered the situation, take a break. Don’t respond immediately. I’m sure we’ve all had an experience where, in hindsight, our initial reaction to a situation was both inappropriate and exaggerated. Time provides rational insight that you will find incredibly valuable in a situation like this.
- Take some time to clear your mind and, after reflecting, come back to your response. It will be easier to draft a considerate reply with fresh thoughts and emotions.
- Respond. You most definitely need to respond. Carefully and thoughtfully consider how to balance respecting the experience and feelings of your customer with a “defense” of your organization.
- NOTE: your “defense” is not an argument. Instead:
- Apologize. Let them know you are remorseful because a valued customer had a negative experience. Unequivocally, with no strings attached. You are simply sorry.
- Highlight your strengths. Communicate a value that your company strives to uphold that is relevant to the situation. Underscore how your goal is to provide a quality experience for each customer and how you work towards accomplishing that goal.
- Stay positive. Always. You know the old saying, “you catch more bees with honey.” Well, it’s true and it never helps to bring more negativity to a situation. If you take no other piece of advice from this blog, please always stay positive.
- Be genuine. I’m sure you never set out to provide poor, or less than stellar, service. You can reflect those sentiments in your response to a negative review by being genuine in your efforts to correct a situation.
Wishing you many 5-star reviews!
- 01.13.17 - Start Off the New Year With a Solid Networking Strategy
- If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to revitalize your networking strategy, let’s get started!
- (If one of your New Year’s Resolutions did not address your networking strategy, it’s not too late to add one!)
- To develop your networking strategy, let’s focus on the five W’s…
- The Who. As with most things, it’s important to know your audience. Are you networking with potential clients, referral partners, contractors, or looking for a new job? Knowing who you’re in front of will help to guide your “pitch” and get you in the right frame of mind.
- The What. Now that you know who you are talking to, the next step is to clearly define what you are talking about. Let’s say you’ve decided to focus on developing referral partners. To do so effectively you’ll need to know what holes you are looking to fill in your own business. For example, you may manage marketing projects, but need to bring in another company when your client is in need of website design.
- The Where. Consider where you are most comfortable networking and what makes sense in regards to getting in front of your “who” to discuss your “what.” There are many options for networking, including online forums or social or industry-specific events. I would suggest incorporating a variety of opportunities into your networking strategy.
- The When. Partially dictated by the “where,” the when is an important factor in your networking strategy. Arguably, there is a different feel to a breakfast time, industry-specific event, as opposed to an after work happy hour open to the public. In relation to your “what” defined above, consider what type of event makes the most sense for the feel, flow, and appropriateness of conversation.
- (and) The Why. Don’t forget your why!! Remember, your “what” is a step along the way of achieving your “why.” This could be found in your mission statement, a quarterly or annual business goal, or in a personal New Year's resolution. In the midst of your daily tasks, don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
- Ready to get started? Try out your five W’s at our next Nashville Locals event.
- For more information on networking and tips for best practices, check out some of my past blogs:
- Networking Revelations: It’s Not You, It’s Me
- Networking 101: Developing Your Game Plan
- Online Networking: Tips for Connecting With LinkedIn
- What is SEO and Why Does it Affect Your Business?
- SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of influencing a website’s visibility in an internet search. Specifically, how early (or high) and often does your business appear on an internet search. For example, if you are a bicycle shop and a potential customer types into Google “bicycle shop,” where does your shop rank in the results?
- Go ahead and test it out with your individual business…
- [[It’s important to remember that SEO refers to “natural” or “organic” results. Meaning the results that appear at the top of your search that are designated as ads do not count!]]
- Understanding, working, and bolstering your SEO ranking is important for several reasons:
- To increase website traffic.
- The earlier (or higher) ranking that your business has impacts how often your website will be visited. Consider your own search habits – when you type in an internet search do you focus on the top 3-5 results, the first page, etc. The farther back you are listed, the less likely your site is to be found. And we can all agree, it’s impossible to convert a customer without contact!
- It encourages diversity.
- There are different kinds of SEO results. As you know, a search can result in a quest for an article, image, video, news, local businesses, etc. Therefore, one way to boost your SEO ranking is to diversify your portfolio. This can be done by using tags or keywords in images, videos, or blogs. Remember, it may be a how-to video that directs one customer to your website or an informational infographic that catches the eye of another. Be creative!
- It encourages consistency.
- SEO is driven by understanding how people search. Consider what terms a potential customer would be likely to use to search for your business. Make a list of those keywords and thoughtfully and consistently use them! For instance, if you were the bicycle shop discussed above, a likely list of terms or keywords would include:
- Bike shop
- Bike service
- Bike repairs
- Bike trails
- Mountain biking
- And so on….
- Take a minute and consider what your own list of terms or keywords would include.
- With your list, make an effort to include those terms in blogs, social media posts, website content, or anywhere else you post online. This is the “optimization.” Then the SEO magic begins. A search for the term “bike shop” will scan webpages for the term and rank the results based on use, ease of access, and history of page popularity/consumer engagement.
- BONUS tip: make your site mobile friendly!
- If you haven’t already done so, 2017 is the time! As of 2015, mobile searches are more common than desktop searches. If your site is not mobile friendly you will see an impact on your SEO ranking.
- Still confused? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 and we’ll help you develop a marketing strategy that most effectively promotes your business based on SEO principles.
- Business Development: Setting Your New Year Business Resolutions
- It is common practice this time of year for people to begin considering and working through their personal New Year’s resolutions. Hopefully, by now you’ve also developed your business goals. Taking it a step further, have you considered how a business resolution could impact your business development?
- A New Year’s Resolution is an “act of self-improvement,” such as exercising, eating healthy, etc. With similar goals of wellness, balance, and health, let’s consider how these small acts of self-improvement could positively impact your business.
- Here are some of my favorites…
- Join a business organization or networking group.
- If you’ve ever read my blog, this resolution should come as no surprise! It’s not enough to just attend networking events. Be discerning in choosing the events or organizations that will best help you to accomplish your business goals.
- Check out my tips for choosing the right networking event here.
- Give something back to your community.
- A feel good, win-win resolution if there ever was one! I’m sure we can all agree from our past experiences of giving, you often walk away feeling as if you’ve received more than you’ve given. Consider a resolution that involves giving back to your community – volunteer at a local food pantry, donate blood, or give money to a local school fundraiser. Make it meaningful to you!
- Promote your business regularly and consistently.
- The key to marketing is striking a balance between consistency and creativity. People need to know and recognize you as a leader or expert in the field and part of achieving that reputation is consistency in posting. Be sure to balance your consistency with creativity! Whether through eye-catching images and videos, catchy posts, or poignant questions, think of ways to engage and inspire your audience.
- Click here to view my 2016 Social Media Cheat Sheet for more information on how to most effectively employ your marketing efforts.
- Make business planning a weekly event.
- Planning. Everyone’s favorite job task. However, if you use effective time management strategies, such as batching, you can take the mundane out of this important job responsibility. When you schedule and build business planning into your week, you can prioritize reviewing (and adjusting based on your findings) as well as planning ahead.
- Planning is a vital component to business development, so resolve to make it a priority in 2017. For tips on time management, click here.
- For more business resolution inspiration, click here to see the full list from Susan Ward.
- Finalize Your 2017 Marketing Budget
- With just one week left (and two holidays!) in 2016, it’s time to finalize your 2017 marketing budget! So, let’s not waste any time....
- Review 2016.
- Take note of where you succeeded and where you less-than-succeeded in sticking to your marketing budget. This includes areas of both under and over utilization. Make note of target areas you want to focus on in 2017.
- Make changes.
- Based on what you found above in step 1, be bold! Make changes and take (calculated) risks. Where did you see a solid ROI? Do more of that. Where did your efforts fall short? Before scrapping this area altogether, consider whether you used this method to its full potential.
- Define your marketing goals.
- Your marketing goals should be a reflection of your business goals. How will marketing enhance and promote your larger efforts? For example, your marketing focus will look different if your goal is to bring in new clients versus a loyalty program for existing customers.
- Get organized.
- Review your marketing process. For social media, are your accounts up to date with pictures, contact info, and basic pertinent information? Take a look at your website – is everything accurate, current, and meaningful. Make sure to include links to your social media platforms and an email/contact form.
- Plan ahead! Get a jump start on developing content. Whether that is email or newsletter topics, blogs, or social media posts, start building your database of links and content. This will increase your marketing efficiency on a weekly basis when it comes time to schedule and develop content.
- Schedule check-in points.
- Whether it’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly, remember to actually schedule your check-in points! Take some time to review your marketing budget and how your spending is lining up with your strategy, goals, and ROI. Checking in often can help you to catch problem areas and adjust as needed to ensure your marketing efforts are successful.
- For help with setting your marketing budget or strategy, give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 - we’d love to help you start off 2017 on the right foot!
- To see some of my past blogs about setting and sticking to your marketing budget, check out these links:
- 3 Quick Steps to Set Up Your 2016 Marketing Strategy
- Your Marketing Budget - Don’t Forget About It!
- 3 Easy Steps to Starting Your Marketing Budget
- Networking Revelations: It’s Not You, It’s Me
- All year we’ve been working on honing your networking skills and strategy. Unfortunately, this is one of those areas in business where you may never feel comfortable or like you’re doing enough.
- But, don’t lose hope! Whether you’re an introvert , extrovert , or some combination, you can master your own networking strategy and achieve your networking goals.
- It’s like the old, cliché break up line… in networking, you may need to come to the realization that, in fact, “it’s not you, it’s me.”
- Are you sticking to your networking strategy?
- Or, better yet, do you have a networking strategy ? If not, this is your biggest area of opportunity to see results in your networking efforts. As in most things in life, your success (or failure) is the result of the preparation and planning you put in at the beginning. In regards to networking, do you know your:
- Networking Budget
- Business Goals
- Marketing Strategy
- Once you know these three things, you can outline your networking strategy. Then, all you have to do is stick to it!
- Do you know what your networking goals are?
- There are lots of great reasons to concentrate on networking. However you will only have limited success if you don’t have an objective. So ask yourself…
- Are you looking for new clients or referral partners? Or even networking for a job?
- Have you attended the number and types of events you intended to?
- How well have you followed through with contacting networking leads? (Both immediately after the event and in developing a long-term marketing campaign strategy.)
- Take a minute to review and even write down what your networking goals are. Consider how your strategy is setting you up for success in achieving these goals.
- Have you developed a long-term strategy for working your networking leads?
- There’s no point in working to building a networking lead list if you aren’t going to follow through with them on the back end. This is truly where the work of networking begins! Until you work your networking leads, they are just that. Your job now is to turn those leads into partners. Follow these steps (and click here to learn more) to get started :
- Determine where your business is lacking.
- Set aside time each week for networking.
Now that the year is coming to an end, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your networking successes and shortcomings. Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 or join us at one of our many Nashville Locals events to get started!
- Think Small to Achieve Big Goals
- With our recent rebranding, we decided to emphasize what makes our company stand out. Piccolo means small. In no way is our thinking small; rather, we strive to cater to the needs of our local friends in small business. Over the years, one of the greatest lessons I have learned is to remember to think small on your way to achieving big goals.
- You spend all this time developing and working towards your biggest of goals. When things seem to be getting out of control or you have any setbacks along your way, it’s easy to be disheartened. However, this is the perfect time to take a step back and remember the devil is in the details.
- To think small…
- ⦁ Review your process. You may be employing your “marketing strategy,” but there’s more to getting a job done than just checking it off your list as complete. Are you using your time efficiently? Are you putting the best person for the job to work? Especially for the things you do all the time that have become second nature, take another look! Believe it or not, this is where you’re most likely to find the opportunity for improvement.
- ⦁ Schedule your time. One of the best things you can do for your goal-achieving process is to stop setting deadlines. “What?,” you are most definitely asking… Consider how you feel when a deadline comes and goes. Likely, some level of failure and you may even abandon your goal or project altogether. Instead, schedule your time. Specifically, build the act of working towards your goal (or a smaller, short term portion of it) into your day. In this way, it will remain in your focus and you’ll see and be motivated by your progress.
- ⦁ Cross your T’s and dot your I’s. The devil really is in the details. After all, a T that’s not crossed is just an L! And that could get really confusing. Know what your end goal is, but have a solid understanding of all the little pieces and parts that are essential to making your vision come to life.
- ⦁ Don’t work alone. Whether someone is actually working with you in the trenches or is simply an ear to lean on, it’s important to have someone to bounce your ideas and concerns off of. With your own goals, you are likely too close to it to see if something just doesn’t add up or if you are getting off course. Use your resources to help keep you in check!
- Ready to start thinking small? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615-348-7768 – we’d love to help you achieve your biggest of goals!
- Let Me Help You Set Your Marketing Strategy for 2017
- While most people are counting down the days to Christmas (23), be sure to take note of the number of days you have until your new marketing strategy is in effect. That would be 29.
- Are you ready?
- If not, let me help you set your marketing strategy for 2017.
- Answering these questions will get you well on your way to creating your perfect marketing strategy.
- Who is your target audience?
- Consider the age, gender, industry, position/title, or budget of the person you are targeting. Additionally, factors such as major life events (homeowner, new parent, etc.) or buyer motivation (personal, business, or gift purchases) are important to consider when deciding how to target your audience.
- What platforms should you use?
- Now that you know WHO you are targeting, you can infer where they are more likely to be found. The characteristics of your audience also guide the type of content that will be the most effective. Consider the type of information that can be delivered in a tweet versus a blog and how that translates to the needs of your audience.
- Where are your competitors finding success?
- This one may be a little tougher, but it’s an important point to consider. While you may be finding success where you’re at, are you missing an important piece of the puzzle? Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and to try new ideas!
- When should you reach out?
- It has been well established that the platform you are on impacts the time of day you are likely to more effective in delivering your content. If you’re going to take the time to create and post meaningful content, it’s important to ensure they are working most efficiently for you! Check out this infographic for more information on when is the most effective time to post.
- Why haven’t you started yet?
- If you’ve been putting off developing your marketing strategy or you just don’t know where to start, that’s OK! As with all other components of your business, it may not be your job to make something happen. It’s simply your job to put the right people in place to get the job done and it may just be the right time to hire a marketing consultant.
- Need more? Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing and we can help! Don’t delay, your marketing strategy countdown is in full swing!
- Be Thankful in Business
- In the spirit of the holidays, I wanted to talk about being thankful. And particularly as it pertains to business.
- William Arthur Ward is quoted as saying,
- “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
- Let’s all try to bring a little thankfulness to our daily lives…
- “Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings…”
- In the spirit of gratitude, don’t take any single day or moment for granted. Each day is a new opportunity to affect change in your business and others. And that can start with a simple act of thankfulness.
- - Send a handwritten note. Pick out a new customer/client, a loyal customer you haven’t seen in awhile, or a referral partner you’ve recently been in contact with and send them a note of thanks. Make it simple, and most importantly, thoughtful.
- - Make a referral. Share the wealth! Remember that client who requested something just outside of your comfort zone? Reach out to someone in your network of referral partners for advice or to bring on to complete the project. People enjoy being recognized and appreciated for their expertise.
- - Give a gift. A small gift, like a gift card or cookies, can go a long way in saying “thanks” to an employee who deserves recognition or a referral partner who sent a new client your way. You’ll be amazed at how a small act of giving can brighten your day.
- “…turn routine jobs into joy…”
- Make an effort to take the mundane out of the… well, mundane… If you’re feeling a little burnt out with your routine tasks, try to change things up a bit with these tips.
- - Make an adjustment. Try to do some of your routine tasks at a different time of the day. For example, maybe you have started to dread making sales calls or creating new email templates. Do it first thing in the morning or right after lunch when you’re fresh. Tackling these things first will get them out of the way and open up your time for seemingly more rewarding or “interesting” tasks.
- - Block your time. Time blocking can be effective in that you’ll be able to get small, simple, or recurring tasks out of the way in one shot. For example, instead of checking and responding to your email as they pop up, set aside an hour in the morning and the afternoon to focus on your emails. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you’ll be. And that is something to be thankful for!
- “…and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.”
- Take nothing for granted! Even the most chance of meetings can turn into a fruitful opportunity.
- - Invite new contacts out for coffee. You’ll never know how you can work together with someone until you meet. A more personal meeting is a great opportunity to really learn about someone, explore how your two business worlds can interact, and understand what your individual needs are. Give it a try!
- - Try something new. Consider stepping outside of your comfort zone with that invitation to a networking event or business industry group. Make plans to work towards one of your “loftier” business or personal goals. The sky is the limit!
- In closing, thank you for reading! Go out and spread the thankfulness today!
- 2016: A Year of Blogs in Review
- Another year has almost come and gone! Since all good things must come to an end, let’s take a minute to count down some of my favorite blogs from 2016. With topics ranging from marketing and networking to leadership and wellness, there is sure to be something for everyone!
- #5 Get Your Marketing Plan Prepared for 2016!
- Or, more appropriately, 2017!
- If you don’t read past #5, be sure to stop here and review my tips for creating and implementing your marketing plan. With a focus on goal and budget setting, these 5 tips will help you get your thoughts in order BEFORE the new year so you can hit the ground (or interwebs) running!
- #4 What Kind of Referral Partner Are You?
- Take your networking efforts to the next step with a focus on “referral networking.” Why, you ask? Because, while you may not be able to personally deliver a particular service, tapping into your referral network can provide your client with a solution.
- And everybody likes a win-win.
- #3 Email Marketing 101: Nurture Your Lead List
- Building your email marketing list is one of my keys to business success. But, there is a difference between building your list and effectively using it! Learn more here and get started with nurturing your lead list.
- #2 Business Development 101: How To Be An Effective Leader
- I think we all try to be the best version of ourselves! How do you exemplify strong leadership?
- Ask yourself these three questions and consider how effective your leadership style is. After all, “Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” (John Maxwell)
- #1 What types of networking groups or organizations should I join in 2016?
- Did you know that there are a variety of types of networking events? Make sure you’re attending the ones that make the most sense for you and your business goals. The trick is to be prepared and to strategically pick events that will show you results (and increase your networking confidence)!
- Haven’t had enough yet? Connect with me on LinkedIn to see all of my past blog posts plus weekly content, tips, and business news.
- Here are some more of my favorites. Click the link to learn more about any topic that strikes your fancy!
- - When Should I Hire a Marketing Consultant?
- - My #1 Networking Tip: Turn Your Contacts Into Partners
- - The First 3 Things You Should Do When Marketing a New Business
- - Work-Life Balance: Don’t Lose It!
- - How to Consistently Follow Up with New Contacts
- Networking 101: Developing Your Game Plan
- This year is winding down and with that comes lots and lots of planning, strategizing, and goal setting for next year. In order to get your business house in order, you’ve likely been pulling together and finalizing your budget, business goals, marketing strategy, and – I hope – your networking strategy!
- A solid and thoughtful networking strategy can easily complement your business goals. It’s important to consider how your budget, goals, marketing, and networking all work together. Efficiency in coordinating these four main efforts can directly contribute to your buisness success or failure.
- Let me help you review your networking strategy.
- STEP 1: Finalize your budget
- o Determine your total budget for the year. This is to include day to day operations, marketing, and networking efforts.
- o Break your budget up by quarters. This way, you have smaller, benchmark numbers to hit. For me, this helps to keep my budget at the forefront of my decision making.
- o Review your budget. At the end of each quarter, consider your ROI – where did you get the most out of your spending? Where do you feel like the time and money you spent fell short? Adjust accordingly and stick with what works!
- STEP 2: Set your business goals
- o Conduct a SWOT analysis. Namely, define your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Base your goals on turning your strengths and opportunities into action and eliminating your weaknessess and threats.
- o Line up your goals with your budget. It’s important to work within your means and set yourself up for success from the start.
- o Double check that your goals are SMART – specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, and time based.
- STEP 3: Define your marketing strategy
- o Recognize your audience. Part of knowing HOW to market is knowing WHO to market to. This includes making decisions on the type of platform and the content that is most appealing.
- o Pick your platform. There are so many options and knowing where you are posting will help dictate how often you post, the tone and length of the post, and what your focus is. For instance, the style and delivery of your content is very different when considering a tweet versus a blog.
- o Get creative. Your marketing strategy should and can extent beyond social media. Consider flyers, brochures, cards, or mailers as appropriate. Don’t forget to design and prepare materials for networking events or special promotions!
- STEP 4: Outline your networking strategy
- The moment you’ve been waiting for! Now that you know your budget, your goals, and how you’re going to market yourself or your business… get out there and sell it!
- o Don’t just be a salesman. I use “sell” loosely above. A major goal of networking should be to build your network. Sounds obvious, right? This idea is often overlooked. Use events as an opportunity to get your name out there and to start to build connections with fellow professionals.
- o Know what your networking goals are. If your goal is more than “closing the deal,” you need to understand what it is you are looking to achieve with your networking efforts. Are you looking for referral partners? Employees or a new job for yourself?
- o Schedule time for networking. Try to block a few hours into your week and register for one networking event per month. The more you make networking a priority the more likely you are to give it your full and undivided attention.
- For additional help on developing your networking strategy, give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615.348.7768.
- Marketing Tips: Incorporating the Holiday Into Your Strategy
- How is it November already?! Soon enough Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here and gone… and despite what your neighbors lawn decorations suggest, THERE IS STILL TIME to incorporate the holidays into your marketing strategy!
- Don’t delay…
- 1. Put together a special holiday “thank you” offer.
- In the spirit of Thanksgiving, pull together a list of your top clients and referral partners. For your customers, send them a simple “thank you” with a discount on future services. Not only will this bring in some additional revenue, but it will foster an atmosphere of loyalty and appreciation that will not go unnoticed. For your referral partners, a handwritten thank you note and simple gift is always in good taste.
- 2. Send a personalized Christmas card.
- You can use this simply as a tool to discuss the past year – just like your mom does to all your family members – what goals did you accomplish, what big announcements did you make, relay any exciting news or future plans. Not every mailer has to be directly sales-related; just make it meaningful. Sometimes it really is the thought that counts!
- 3. Start the New Year off with a bang!
- Historically, many businesses or industries see a dip in sales in January. If you fall into this category, consider a special “New Year”-inspired offer to get your customers in. This could be the roll out of a new product, a special discount, or even a (meaningful) freebie thrown in with a purchase. Remember, lower sales at the beginning of the year are related more to post-holiday finances. As a result, your customer needs to be blown away by the value of what you have to offer. Think outside the box and get creative!
- Need a little help pulling together your holiday marketing strategies or materials. Give us a call at Piccolo Marketing at 615.348.7768 to get started today!
- Tips for Managing Your Business During the Holidays
- Over the last month or so I’ve touched on keeping focused during the 4 th quarter and, namely, the upcoming holiday season. I’d like to pull it all together with three main tips for managing your business during the holidays.
- Don’t lose sight of where you’re headed!
- Stay in touch. The holiday season even provides with an excuse to get in touch with people! Whether it’s a loyal customer, referral partner, or employees/colleagues, keep in touch with a simple note, business offer, or small gift. Reaching out now can help to keep you front of mind for any upcoming needs or you can start planning for new ventures or projects in 2017.
- Stay on budget. As always, work within your budget! You’ve worked hard to stay on budget so far this year, so don’t let it all go now. It’s important to know where you’re at and what’s working (or not working) so you can adjust accordingly. In fact, take a second look at where you are at with your budget so far – you may even find a few extra dollars!
- Stay on task. Now that you know what you’re working with (see above), take a look at your marketing strategy and business goals. Write down your top 3 goals that you can realistically accomplish this year and make a plan of attack. With just two months left in the year, the time is now!
- To read the full articles, visit my LinkedIn page or click the links below:
- Networking 101: Nurture Your Relationships with the Holiday Spirit
- The 4th Quarter: Keep Your Head in the Business Game
- 4th Quarter Networking: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
- Networking 101: Nurture Your Relationships with the Holiday Spirit
- Undoubtedly, we are moving towards one of the busiest times of the year… the holiday season. Not only is the fiscal (maybe?) and calendar year coming to a close, you are likely gearing up for the start of 2017. That’s a lot to handle!
- In the midst of it all, don’t lose sight of the spirit of holidays OR your networking goals. They can work together! Your thoughtfulness won’t go unnoticed by your customers, colleagues, and referral partners – they are deep in it, too!
- Consider these three tips for keeping the networking spirit alive and well this holiday season:
- 1. Adjust your expectations. The last quarter of the year may not be the best time to break any earth shattering goals or implement major business change. Just as you are getting busier, your customers and colleagues are likely in the same boat. Your efforts may be better received at the beginning of the year when all parties are better able to dedicate their full attention. Consider this more of a maintenance phase – we may not be going forward, but we’re definitely NOT going backward.
- 2. Be thoughtful. Something as simple as a hand-written note is a small token of appreciation that won’t go unnoticed. Consider who you would like to reach out to and what is an appropriate gift. Ideas like a small discount or gift for customers and active referral partners, or a holiday party for your employees go a long way. People like to feel appreciated and will remember your loyalty when they make business partnership or purchasing decisions.
- 3. Plan ahead. Don’t delay! Gathering, creating, and organizing your “gifts” will take some time. In the busy holiday season, these small gestures can be in lieu of your usual networking practices. Don’t forget to consider your budget and networking goals – the size of your gift should be in line with the person or group.
- Interested in learning more about the nuances of networking? Give us a call at AVMS at 615-348- 7768 and we’ll help you get started!
- 3 Things to Consider When Starting Your Own Business
- You've been thinking about it for months... or maybe even years. Don't delay any longer! With these 3 things to consider, you can take the first steps towards opening your own business.
- 1. What is your purpose? Recently, I posted a blog about defining AND using your mission statement. While it may seem like a formality, it's not! Embracing your mission, vision, and values is a great start to a successful business. There are many benefits to realigning with your core principles. For starters, it will help your customers identify your purpose and motivation and can guide your next big decision.
- 2. What is your budget? Now that you've established what you want to do, focus in on how much you'll spend to meet those goals. Differentiate between what you want and what you need for your business. Then set your budget and stick to it as it is crucial to your long-term success. It is especially important to understand and work within your budget in the opening stages of your business. Take the time to understand your capital, projected revenue, expenses, and cash flow. Set quarterly goals and keep on track with them. Get started here.
- 3. What is your plan? Now that you have a purpose and a budget, the real work begins! It's time to bridge the gap between idea and action and your success here depends on your plan. Whether it's specific to marketing, business development, or networking, a solid plan with short and long term goals will help to keep you focused. Check out my blog for more tips!
- Feeling overwhelmed? Let us guide you through the process of designing, planning, and implementing YOUR best ideas! 615.348.7768.
- Social Media 101: Converting Likes Into Loyal Customers
- It can be frustrating to consistently create and post social media content, week after week, and not see the results you want. Your goals may include a certain number of likes or followers, or converting x number of these new leads into customers. Whatever the case may be, make sure your social media marketing strategy doesn’t end at the post.
- Follow through with these 4 tips for a social media marketing strategy that works for you from start to finish:
- 1. Provide meaningful content. Don’t just provide content, anyone can do that! Thoughtfully decide what and how you will present material, including tips & tricks, quotes, pictures & videos that highlight the heart and motivation behind your brand. Set yourself up, and be consistent, as a leader in your industry and you will be recognized for it!
- 2. Make it a two-way street. It’s easy to post on social media and leave it at that. However, take it to the next level by being engaged with colleagues and potential customers. Like, comment, and share other people’s posts and follow people or pages that are in line with your business. (Simple, online networking!)
- 3. Get some insight. Have you used the “insights” feature on Facebook or LinkedIn? With the Facebook Insights tool you can see WHO and HOW people are responding to your posts. Similarly, on LinkedIn, you can see who has viewed your profile and it will summarize important information about them for you.
- 4. Follow-up. Develop a strategy for connecting with your customers on social media. While you may not follow up on every like, you may take special note of any shares, comments, or new follows. Send them a quick message thanking them, follow them back, or reciprocate with a like on their page. If you have access to it, add their email to your marketing drip campaign and keep them in the loop!
- Give us a call at AVMS at 615-348- 7768 for help in developing your complete social media marketing strategy. Check us out!
- 4th Quarter Networking: Keep Your Eye on the Ball
- Can you believe we’re already a few days into the 4 th quarter of 2016?! It should come to no surprise that the last quarter of the year is jam-packed! And not just with work – closing out the year, transitioning to the new year, setting new budgets and goals, etc. We’re also looking ahead to the holiday season and, if you have kids, you may find yourself a little busier with after school activities and homework.
- With that said, don’t overlook your networking goals. Before we get any further in the year, let’s take a minute to pause, refocus, and gear up to finish 2016 out strong!
- 1. Review your networking goals. What were your original goals for networking at the beginning of the year? Were you looking for clients or referral partners? Have you attended as many events as you anticipated or reached out for coffee as often you’d have liked? If not, that’s ok. Learn more about how to implement your networking strategy here .
- 2. Dust off your business goals for 2016. Take a look back at your goals for 2016. Where does networking fall into the bigger picture or how can networking help you check something off the list? For example, if you had a goal to establish a referral partner with a complementary service provider, have you?
- Review your past and upcoming networking opportunities. Is there anyone you should follow up with ( likely, everyone ;) For any upcoming events, do your research and be prepared to make your networking time count.
- 3. Look ahead to 2017. This might seem a little far off to you, but it’s not! You don’t have to have your 2017 goals set in stone to look ahead. Just consider – do you have any goals that will carry forward? Or goals that are stepping stones to a larger end game? Don’t forget to consider how your work now will impact or set you up for 2017!
- 4. Plan ahead. Now that you have a better focus, it’s time to get out there and make it happen! Pull out your calendar and review any networking events or meetings you have coming up. Research fellow networkers or organizations involved in the event. Gather your marketing materials, business cards, and calendar so you’re ready to work the crowds.
- Bottom line: make a plan and prepare to employ it!
- Looking for your next networking opportunity ? Join other Nashville Locals at one of our upcoming events .
- Branding 101: Defining AND Using Your Mission Statement
- Mission. Vision. Values.
- Chances are when you were starting your company you agonized over the perfect words, nuance, and tone of those key components. Then, after many drafts, edits, and second (and third) pairs of eyes, you finally had the perfect mission statement.
- Now that your company has progressed over time, think about when you last looked at or even considered your mission statement in a decision making process? Don't lose sight of this important component! With everything you have your hand in, don’t forget to let your mission unite your brand .
- Here are three points to consider when analyzing your mission statement:
- Your mission statement ties your company together. So don’t underestimate its power. The same way you consider impact of the values and goals of companies you patron, potential customers may come or go based on your values. Likewise when developing, reworking, or implementing your mission statement, don’t overlook your employees. They are often the front line of your business so make sure they are invested!
- Answer the why. When creating your mission statement, the first question you likely considered was why you are in business. What was your initial motivation for starting your company? What are your loftiest of goals and how will you get there? In crafting your mission statement, it’s important to convey to your employees, partners, and customers WHY you are in business.
- Consider it in the decision making process. You’ve defined the “why,” now let it guide your decision making. I’m sure you’ve had to make an important decision or two over the years ;) When you find yourself at an impasse, pull out your mission statement. It may be just the thing you need to push yourself in one direction or another.
- Need a little help in developing your mission, vision, or values? Give us a call at AVMS at 615-348-7768 to get started on defining and using your mission statement.
- Marketing Across Generations – How Should I Target My Message?
- A lot of time and effort goes into brainstorming, creating, and implementing your marketing strategy. Likely, you considered factors like demographics, company mission statement, and your personal preferences. However, you’re likely overlooking an important piece of the puzzle if you didn’t consider the “generation factor” when developing your marketing strategy.
- Did you know that earlier this year, Millennials (ages 18-34) took over as the largest living generation in the United States? At 75.4 million people, Millennials overtook the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69) and 52 million Gen X-ers (ages 35-50).
- As a Millennial myself, the changes that have occurred in my lifetime in technology, social media, and marketing are astronomical! As such, it’s important to take a step back and really target our audiences thoughtfully.
- 1. How content is consumed. Millennials prefer social media outlets – and a variety of them! Gen X prefers email marketing and Baby Boomers gravitate towards shorter blogs or articles.
- 2. How messaging impacts commitment. Millennials base their relationship with companies on the perception that their marketing is “authentic” and how they respond to social issues. Gen X responds to marketing geared towards family and the future. Finally, Baby Boomers like messaging to be personalized, speaking to them directly as an individual.
- 3. How consumers like to buy. In purchasing, social media and the “friendship factor” go a long way with Millennials. For Gen X, purchases are more likely to be made in person versus online. Baby Boomers show high levels of brand awareness and product knowledge when deciding to buy.
- 4. How money is valued. Beyond just taking home the product, Millennials value the buying experience as part of the sale. Gen X-ers may be the smallest group, but they have the highest spending power – don’t overlook them! With rising healthcare costs and cost of living expenses, Baby Boomers are thoughtful spenders.
- The bottom line is, if you’re not where the consumer is looking, they won’t find you! The best marketing strategies require diversity, thoughtfulness, and an understanding of their audience’s needs, values, and expectations.
- Happy Marketing!
- For more information about marketing across generations, click here .
- Don’t Let Workplace Stress Bring You Down
- If you’re anything like me, you have a lot on your plate. And, of course, the minute you accomplish one task, two or three more pop up! Don’t let your seemingly endless “to-do list” weigh you down.
- Instead, consider these simple tips to keep your workplace stress in check:
- 1. Forget the to-do list
- I bet that sentence just rocked your world. Try blocking your time instead and managing your list from a more calendar-ized approach. For example, schedule an hour for sales calls, an hour to work on that new proposal, and an hour to follow up on emails, etc. Blocking your time in segments each day gives you time to dive in without scrutinizing a list for direction.
- And, if we’re being truly honest, the easiest things on your to-do list are probably the ones that get done! There are likely a few projects that have been at the bottom of your list for a while… ;)
- 2. Schedule everything
- If you have scheduled time to do it, you’re more likely to get it done! For instance, I always recommend to my clients that they schedule a few hours each week to follow-up with their networking leads. Whether that is phone calls, emails, coffee meetings, or after work drinks, you need to make the time to take the time!
- 3. Give yourself a break
- Seriously… add it to your schedule. Did you know that even 10-minute bouts of exercise can reduce your workplace stress? Schedule yourself an hour to work on a big project and top it off with a 10-minute walk. This will give you time to stretch, clear your mind, and come back refreshed for your next block of time.
- Finally, at the end of the day, remember you are hard working, successful, and you’re doing a great job! And like they always say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day!” So, don’t forget to celebrate the little victories along the way.
- Online Networking: Tips for Connecting With LinkedIn
- You see that little red notification button on your LinkedIn icon and, lo and behold, someone viewed your profile!
- Now what? Just as in face-to-face networking, your next move is to follow up .
- 1. See the bigger picture
- Know yourself, what you network-building intentions are, and how that relates to your business goals. There is a difference between networking to build your business and networking in search of a job. Your purpose will help guide your response when someone views your profile.
- 2. Know your audience
- Hopefully you’ve considered the point above. Understand your audience and consider your voice, content, and timeliness in responding. If you’ve recently applied for a job and you see the hiring manager viewed your profile take a deep breath and… wait for them to contact you. If someone who viewed your profile piques your interest, view his or hers! Find something you have in common and reach out to them with a personal message.
- 3. Play it cool
- Your initial message should be a simple conversation starter and invitation for coffee . Communicating your business goals while understanding your audience will help to guide the interaction with your potential contact. Use this as a window to opening up further conversation. Not everyone you meet will turn into a valuable connection, but only the ones you connect with will have the potential – it’s your job to determine who they are!
- For more tips and examples of how to nurture your connections on LinkedIn, click here .
- Business Development 101: How To Be An Effective Leader
- Anyone can be in charge… but are you a leader?
- I’m sure we’ve all had experiences with some great and some not-so-great leaders. As business owners and entrepreneurs, we automatically assume the title and role of “leader.” As such, it’s important to consider and purposefully develop yourself as a leader in your business, industry, and community.
- After all,
- “Leaders become great, not because of their power,
- but because of their ability to empower others.”
- -John Maxwell
- To be an effective leader:
- 1. Always follow through.
- People remember when you commit to something and don’t deliver. Being a leader is about setting the tone for commitment and loyalty. Ignoring the importance of following through with your employees or colleagues can create an environment where that lack of follow through trickles down to interactions with your clients. I’m sure we can all agree, that is not an acceptable business practice!
- 2. Admit when you’re wrong. And mean it.
- And mean it. I’m serious. People can tell when you are disingenuous and they’ll resent you even more for it. Knowing when to admit you’re wrong will empower you and your coworkers. Acknowledge when you need to change strategies, try something new, and move on. People thrive when they feel respected and valued and that culture starts at the top!
- 3. Share the spotlight.
- You hired these people or collaborate with them for a reason. No one can do everything AND be the best at it. One of the best indicators of a true leader is knowing when and who to delegate tasks to. Leaders recognize and build up the strengths of those around them. Don’t forget to recognize those strengths and hard work!
- For more tips on how to be an effective leader, click here .
- Interested in connecting and developing relationships with fellow Nashville business leaders? Join us for our next Nashville Locals networking event!
- The 4 th Quarter: Keep Your Head in the Business Game
- I can’t believe it’s almost September! With that, comes the start of the 4 th and final quarter of 2016. Now is a good time to check in with the goals and budgets you set at the beginning of the year. What kind of progress have you made? What opportunities can you capitalize on?
- Let’s review!
- Year to date, are you coming in over or under budget? The scenario you are in will determine how you can proceed with spending, working towards goals, and implementing new strategies.
- 1. You are over budget. What areas of business or circumstances led to you being over budget at this point in the year? Carefully consider if those areas of overspending are necessary (and fruitful). If they are, you may need to cut back in other areas to ensure you stick to your overall budget.
- 2. You are under budget. While not a bad thing, this could be an area for opportunity! Why haven’t you spent up to your budget? As a result of under-spending, have you missed out on opportunities to achieve business goals or to grow and develop key areas of your business? Spend wisely to try to increase your spending in these areas with careful consideration of getting your greatest ROI.
- Want to learn more about creating your budget? Click here .
- Business Goals
- Likely, you started off 2016 with goals for your business and personal development. Let’s take a look back at those goals and see how much progress you’ve made…
- 1. Consider goals you have accomplished. Congratulations! But don’t stop there! You worked hard to reach this goal, so make sure you have systems in place to maintain it and/or continue to develop it.
- 2. Take a look at goals in progress. Consider how you can refocus your energy to accomplish this goal in the fourth quarter.
- 3. Reconsider goals you haven’t made progress towards. Why haven’t you made any progress? Lack of resources, lack of motivation, etc. Is this still a goal you would like to accomplish in 2016? Consider what plan you can put into place to start or achieve this goal and stick to it!
- Marketing Strategy
- Now that you’ve reconsidered your goals and budget, how does your new plan influence your marketing strategy?
- 1. You are over budget. Are you over spending in your marketing efforts? This is an important distinction to consider. You may be over budget as a whole, but if you are on goal for marketing spending AND your efforts are achieving a good ROI for you, you’ll need to stick to your guns here.
- On the other hand, if you’re overspending in marketing, consider if the additional money spent has been worth it. If it is, you’ll need to adjust your spending elsewhere. If not, cut back and stick to your budget/marketing strategy.
- 2. You are under budget. Wahoo! Take a look at your goals – what did you want to do with your marketing strategy at the beginning of the year that you haven’t yet? Now is the time to do it in order to finish out the year strong and/or to set yourself up for success in 2017.
- For more information about how to develop a successful marketing strategy, click here .
- Remember, it’s not over until it’s over! It’s easy to get caught up in all the extra stuff in the last few months of the year – back to school, holidays, and other obligations. With a second look at your goals and budget now, you can set yourself up for success to finish up strong in 2016. Need help? Give us a call at AVMS at 615-348-7768.
- What Kind of Referral Partner Are You?
- Success in networking, business development, and lead generation all depend on one component: referrals. “Referral networking” is the give and take between complementary industries and you want to position yourself as an influencer in the larger group.
- Imagine your client asks you to provide a particular service and it’s not in your wheelhouse. While you may not be able to personally deliver the service, tapping into your referral network can provide your client with a solution.
- Develop your referral network by first asking yourself… What kind of referral partner are you?
- 1. Do you offer coffee to everyone?
- Yes, everyone! Before you get overwhelmed, don’t worry – not everyone will accept.
- The invitation itself will leave a positive impression on your potential referral partners. Besides, you have to start somewhere in order to develop your network! :)
- 2. Do you schedule time for networking meetings?
- Now that you’ve invited people for coffee, make sure you have time set aside each week to meet. You may not end up using the time, but having it blocked off will avoid having it stress you out when a meeting pops up. If you don’t plan it, it won’t happen!
- 3. Do you stay in regular communication with your referral partners?
- It’s not enough to simply develop a referral partner list. You have to stay top of mind and the best way to do that is through a recurring marketing drip campaign. Use this as an opportunity to provide your referral partners with valuable information, while keeping you and your contact information front and center.
- 4. Do you refer clients to your referral partners?
- After following up, the second most important component of referral networking is to actually refer to your partners! It is never more true that you have to give in order to receive. Not only will your client be happy, but your referral partner will be grateful for your business. This is your opportunity to strengthen your network!
- If you were not able to answer “yes” to all of these questions, it may be time to review your referral networking strategy. Give us a call at AVMS at 615-348-7768 to review and reenergize your strategy.
- Brand Management… Is Your Message Consistent?
- There are many definitions and many elements that make up “brand management.” At its most basic, brand management is the analysis and planning on how that brand is perceived in the market. Your marketing strategy in relation to brand management should be consistent and consider a wide array of elements.
- Consistency in brand management requires a cohesive plan incorporating the look, packaging, and customer experience. The bottom line: help your clients know what to expect and deliver it… consistently.
- Develop your look
- Did you know everything from the colors of your logo to the font styles you choose impact your branding? Colors create and evoke feelings in the consumer that can guide their purchasing decisions. From cheerful and friendly oranges to dependable and strong blues, the color of your logo can help to build a connection with the consumer.
- Make sure your font is on the same page as your message! First, consider your goal and how you want consumers to react to your brand. Among many things, make sure the font you choose is legible, aesthetically pleasing, and – most importantly – that you like it!
- Package your products or services
- Now that you have carefully chosen the perfect colors and logos for your brand… it’s time to package your products or services. Whether we are talking about actual physical packaging or simply how you present and sell your services, it’s imperative that the delivery and packaging of your brand matches its look.
- Check out your local printing company, Ambrose Printing , for more information on how to brand and present your company.
- Create a memorable customer experience
- Don’t forget that customers are looking for more than just a physical product or service. They are looking for an experience and that experience is what keeps them coming back time and time again. Consumer experience is the backbone of word of mouth advertising. So, make sure your audience receives what your branding promises to deliver.
- Does your look, packaging, and customer experiences deliver? Give us a call at AVMS at 615-348-7768 to refocus your brand management strategy.
- Social Media Marketing 101: What’s New, What’s Out, and What’s Coming?
- In today’s ever-evolving world of social media, it’s hard to keep up with the current trends, platforms, and strategies. To help you out, I’ve put together a list of the new, the old, and the upcoming social media tools. Check it out!!
- What’s New
- Graphic design tools, such as Canva , are HUGE! With it’s user friendly website, FREE price tag, and clean, modern designs, Canva is a huge asset I use in my own design projects. Take advantage of the templates for a variety of projects, including Facebook or email headers, postcards, and presentations!
- Here are some examples of Canva at work
- To see what else is new in social media, click here.
- What’s Out
- Ignoring the importance of video is no longer a viable option! Images and text only messages are no longer an effective marketing strategy. According to a recent article by Animoto, you are immediately losing 25% of your potential consumer market if you don’t have a video. 25%!
- See what else is out (and what to do instead), by clicking here.
- What’s Coming
- Keep an eye out for “Facebook at Work” – a new side of Facebook that is targeted towards companies and colleagues! Because “a connected workplace is a more productive workplace,” Facebook at Work aims to connect coworkers and create an avenue for quicker, more accessible communication.
- Click here to find out what else is coming and how to take advantage of it.
- What’s in your plan? Is your social media marketing strategy keeping up? If not, it may be time to hire or consult your local Nashville marketing professional . Give us a call at AVMS at 615-348-7768 to start the conversation!
- Who Are We?
- We are able to assist small business owners in defining their marketing goals AND achieving them through execution, building a successful and profitable brand. We don’t just give you a long list of more things to do, we stick around and do them for you.
- What We Do:
- Piccolo Marketing provides comprehensive marketing services founded on…
- - An Honest, Outside Perspective- Clearly Defined Strategic Steps- Cost Saving Network Referrals- Efficient Project Management.
- Piccolo Marketing works with clients on a retainer basis. Our accounts are big and small, so each client gets a custom proposal to match the specific services they need at a price they can afford.
- We help businesses create or improve their marketing strategies to get the maximum impact with a goal-driven plan. While we partner with marketing professionals from different industries, our primary goal is to create a strategy and find affordable solutions.
- Bonus: We show you everything we are doing, so you can not only approve what we create, but understand how it works and be sure you are getting the ROI you need.
- What We Do For Our Clients:
- - Marketing Strategy
- - Email Marketing
- - Social Media
- - Blogging/Content Creation
- - New/Updated Website
- - SEO and Digital Ads
- - Press Releases/PR Management
- - Print/Mailing Campaign
- - Advertising Campaigns
- - New Logo/Brand Update
- - Photography/Video
- - CRM Development
- - Event Management
- - Campaign & Resources Research
- Our Strategy:
- We start with a discovery meeting to understand your past and current efforts, along with your short and long term goals. We ask a lot of questions, and do a lot of listening!
- Our team performs a complete analysis of your marketing resources, including spending, campaigns, and opportunities for improvement. We are fans of details and processes!
- We deliver your business a comprehensive marketing plan laying out milestones for growth, development of enhanced campaigns, and researched pricing. Basically, the tools to be successful in marketing!
- Amazing Results
- What can you expect? Some amazing results! Once we have a plan in place, we use our operations management experience to execute the marketing strategy through a network of partners, saving you time and money.
- Meet Anna-Vija:
- Anna-Vija (ana-via) McClain (“V” for short) is a marketing and networking expert with a background helping small business owners, to multimillion dollar organizations, reach unprecedented results through development of marketing strategy, management of budgets, and efficient execution of projects. With 10 years of marketing experience , she has an established network of subject matter experts that support her clients in all aspects of marketing.
- In addition to her client work, Anna-Vija is currently growing a networking organization in Nashville, Networking Locals , and a Private Club Communications company, Feed Buzz Marketing .
- Connect With Us: