The Gettysburg battlefield draws over a million tourists a year, and this July, the 150th anniversary of the battle, will be especially packed. Perhaps the best time to visit is early fall, when the crowds thin and the leaves are still on the trees, as at the time of battle. The National Military Park is too big to tour entirely on foot; most visitors drive to the major sites. Pick up a CD at the park visitor center to provide historical narration. Or hire a licensed guide to join you in your car. Horseback tours are available, too.
Leave time to amble around town. Bizarre relic stores hold muskets, coffins and blood-stained nurses’ uniforms. The Shriver House Museum and the Rupp House illuminate civilian life. Lincoln stayed at the David Wills House before delivering the Gettysburg Address.
If you’re building your business brand in today’s marketplace, you need to stand head and shoulders above the crowd of other businesses competing for your customers’ attention.
Furthermore, you need to track how effective your brand building is, by monitoring it closely and reacting accordingly.
Your brand could well be your most valuable business asset and can mean the difference between a lifetime of loyal and avid customers, or simply being lost in the crowd of other brand marketers on Facebook and Twitter.
Let’s look at five ways for you to measure and track your brand in today’s online world.
1. Are Your Fans Engaging With You?
Social media and the internet has changed the way we do business. Gone are the days when you marketed to your customers. These days marketing is a two way conversation, with social engagement taking place between the business and consumers. Relationships are built by being responsive to your customers needs.
A great example of fan engagement is the French telecommunications company, Orange, who used Twitter to engage their fans. Followers were asked to use the hashtag #thissummer to tweet about the plans they had for summer, which were then broadcast on Orange's blog, with a Voice Over. This had the twofold effect of both creating massive traffic, and enabling people to identify with Orange around an interesting and enjoyable topic.
2. How Much Real Value Are you Adding To The Conversation?
The content you offer needs to be the sort that people enjoy and encourages them to share with others, just like Healthy Choice did. They increased engagement with their followers, and gained an extra 10,000 fans by offering a low value Facebook coupon, which increased in value as their fan base grew. This not only reinforced their brand image with existing customers, but the majority of new fans also subscribed to their newsletter.
3. Are You Trying To Take More Than You're Giving?
Social media is about building a loyal and responsive following, by giving often, and taking infrequently. Think of it as a savings account. You must put in regular deposits, so you can reap the benefits when you need to make a withdrawal. Giving freely without asking for something in return will translate to massive positive response from your fans when you do decide to ask for something.
4. Are You Actually Listening To The Online Conversation?
Today’s customer is a powerful being, with the ability to impact your business in a matter of minutes. It’s therefore essential that you’re listening to the conversation that’s going on all around you, so you can respond to any negativity before it wreaks havoc with your business. Learn from U-Haul’s mistake, who suffered long term damage to their well established brand, as well as lost thousands of dollars, because of a negative conversation about them which they weren’t listening to. Even negative feedback can turn into a positive experience because it shows others that you’re concerned and responsive to their issues.
5. Is Your Website Active With Engagement, or Is It Silent And Stagnant?
Just having a website, no matter how flashy or attractive you think it is, simply isn’t enough anymore. Build it and they will come is an internet myth. Customers want to visit websites and blogs on which they can find interesting and engaging information, and which they want to bookmark and return to often because they look forward to your new content. A simple way to encourage your website visitors to engage with you is to end your articles and blog posts with a question that encourages the reader to respond.
What do you want most out of your marketing efforts?
Ask yourself these questions:
Over 85% of people contact businesses they find in local searches. That's why 100% of businesses need to be online! Your local business has many options, to remain current online such as a website, business facebook page, social networks, videos, blogs, online ads, etc. Even for businesses with a limited marketing budget, there are ways to promote your business online. Here are 10 free ways to promote your business online:
If you thought direct mail advertising was dead, think again. A survey by Constant Contact and HubSpot reveals that 47% of businesses still promote events through direct mail. The same survey reveals that 76% of businesses promote events through e-mail and 40% do so through social media.
These numbers are not really surprising, but they are telling. E-mail marketing has become a staple of online promotions. Companies not currently using e-mail marketing for event promotion, or any kind of promotion, are missing great opportunities.
Social media is still a little bit complex. While Facebook is the most trafficked website online, not everyone is using it - particularly in Adams County, Pa.
I say use the media that are better suited toward your audience. If you have a product or service that appeals to a younger audience - say, the under-30 crowd - even in Adams County, then you might try promoting it through social media. E-mail promotions will work on any audience. Older people, those above the 50-year-old mark, will probably respond better to direct mailings.
Of course, the most savvy marketers will use all the channels at their disposal. The remember the Rule of 7. Your prospects will have to see your offer 7 times before they respond. If they see it in all available channels, including e-mail, direct mail, and social media, then you'll be a thousand times more effective.
Now that summer is drawing to a close, it's time to start up on the speed networking again. York and Adams County business professionals can sign up now for the September event, and I recommend that you sign up sooner rather than later because seats are going fast. There is limited space available.
The next speed networking event is Monday, September 19, 2011. Time: 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Location: RCS Financial Group Office at 55 Wetzel Drive, Suite #3, Hanover, Pa. 17331.
So what is speed networking and why should you do it?
That's a good question. Thanks for asking.
Speed networking is a take off of speed dating where participants rotate around a room and spend a short time span (usually 3-5 minutes) making a first impression with potential dates. At the end of the evening, speed daters pick the people they'd like to know more about and exchange contact information.
Speed networking operates in a similar fashion. You spend a short period (3 minutes) with each participant introducing yourself and making connections. During this time you should share your business card, brochures, and other promotional materials. When you get back to the office, you'll follow up with those people you'd like to get to know better and build a deeper relationship with. Just like in speed dating.
This is a fun and exciting way to meet new prospects for your business. Register today for the next speed networking event. Lunch included.
If you own a small business in Adams County, Pennsylvania and you've been wondering which Internet marketing strategies would be most profitable for your business, have I got good news for you. I've discovered 5 specific Internet marketing strategies that you can employ that would benefit your customers and be profitable for you.
These 5 Internet marketing strategies have been around for a while and a variety of small businesses have used them. They've been used by businesses across many geographic regions and in a wide variety of niches. I believe they will work for you too.
These are not the only Internet marketing strategies your small business can take advantage of, but they are all very widely used and to great success.