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Hello and Happy Summer!  It seems like just yesterday we were buried under 2 feet of snow and here we are dealing with record breaking heat.  We’ve been crazy busy at 20 Twenty Graphics, between moving our offices to Eatontown and keeping up with our client’s marketing needs the summer has really been sizzling.  I’m happy to say that we are all settled in and it’s like we’ve been in our new offices forever!

With everything going on this summer, our clients are still fully focused on their websites and marketing goals.  We’ve recently launched a new website for Design Floors www.dhfloors.com and new sites are in the works for a few of our other clients, while we continue to do website updates and content creation for others.  While we are speaking about websites there is a misconception about launching a website and automatically having tons of visitors, or hits as the term goes. Believe it or not, your website needs (and deserves) some promotion in order to be an effective selling tool for your company.  I like to think of my website as a bag of Tortilla chips.  They’re good by themselves, but what makes them even better are the things that go with chips, like salsa, guacamole, jalapeno peppers and nacho cheese sauce – is your mouth watering yet?

In this newsletter, I’m going to show you how you can have all that…& a bag of chips! 

Everyone is buzzing about SEO, SEM, social media and various other online marketing these days.  But where do you start & what is the most effective way of bringing traffic to your website?  If you go back to my example of your website being a bag of chips, they always taste better with a few sides to go with them.  Let’s start with SEO, or in this example we’ll say salsa.  You need to have a clear goal with regard to where you want to be within the organic results of a search engine.  Maybe page one or two is your initial goal.  But how do you get there?

Try adding some guacamole to your chips, or should I say a blog.  No website should be without a blog.  Blogging is one of the most effective ways of increasing your website’s SEO and can increase traffic to your website by as much as 55%.  It also helps establish you as an expert in your field and provides your readers with valuable insights and information.  Many of my clients do not want to attempt blogging.  They claim they don’t know what to write about, but there are many sources for content that you can tap into and if you are offering your readers something of value, blogging will be a snap once you get started.  In addition to blogging some other online methods of increasing traffic & SEO are social medial marketing through sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to name a few.

So far we have chips (website), salsa (SEO) and guacamole (Blogging/Social Media Marketing).  Once you have accomplished bringing more traffic to your website through blogging and various other social media marketing then you can add the jalapeno peppers, or should I say nurturing and tracking those leads and converting them into customers.  How do you do that?  One of the most effective ways of capturing your website visitor’s information is to provide landing pages where they can fill out a form to gain access to whatever you are offering them.  For example, you might run an online campaign with e-mail, through your blogging and on Facebook for a free white paper on a topic that is compelling and important to your customer.  When the visitor clicks on the offer, they are directed to a landing page where they fill in the form (usually email address and name and possibly a question about their interest).  Once they submit the form, the white paper is made accessible to them.  Presto! You now have a new lead and their contact information so you can follow up and convert this lead into a new customer.

But no order of Nachos Grande would be complete without the cheese sauce!  One of the most important parts to optimizing your website is analyzing your results and making necessary adjustments.  There are several online analytics that you can take advantage of, the most widely used being Google Analytics.  Once you know how your visitors are finding you on the internet, what search engines they are using, the phrases they are searching for you with then you can determine if you need to adjust your campaign and your offerings to continue to increase traffic and generate even more leads.

Truthfully, if your goal is to become #1 on an organic search engine, then you need to rethink your goal.  What you should be looking for is to increase traffic, generate leads and covert them to sales.  By improving your sales process through building offers and landing pages, blogging and social media, your website will go from a stale bag of chips to a lead-generating, sale making plate of nachos with all the ingredients and flavor you’ve been craving.

If you need help with optimizing your website and generating more leads, contact 20 Twenty Graphics today.

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Every company has a different formula for marketing their products and services to their customers.  But not every company can measure the results of that marketing and not every company truly knows how much they are actually spending for each sale.  In addition, the marketing game has changed dramatically over the past five years and many of my clients are wondering what to do next.  Just when you are up on Facebook the experts start talking about Twitter and just when you’ve got everything “under control” you realize that there are pieces missing from your marketing puzzle.  You updated your website and added tons of keywords to the home page copy and now you are being told that keywords don’t have anything to do with SEO.  Then you read that SEO doesn’t matter, or does it?  Then, the formats change and you are back at square one. So – what’s a marketing director to do?

This month’s eNewsletter goes out to all those who, like everyone else, are trying to keep up with the latest marketing trends, but find that trends are changing more rapidly than we can keep up with.  How do you sort through all the stuff the “experts” are telling you and figure out what works for you?

First, let’s talk about your website, which should be the hub of all your marketing.  Always make sure your website is current, with content and photos being updated regularly.  My recommendation – check your website quarterly.  Add the exciting news, awards and new product and service offerings regularly.  By constantly updating your website, the content is fresh and that will help with SEO as well as your bounce rate.  Viewers will tend to stay for a longer amount of time and peruse more pages if your content is new and compelling.  They may also contact you or sign up for your free offerings, which is direct lead generation.  This is one critical key to your marketing success.

Once you are on a schedule with your website, consider your Facebook Fan Page and Twitter account. Make sure that you are posting regularly and that you are responding to posts by your fans.  The whole purpose of Twitter and Facebook are to create and maintain personal relationships with your customers.  If they are posting and you are not responding, there is no interaction, which is counterproductive.  Tweet about the latest news in your industry or post an interesting article to your Facebook fan page and track your fan’s reactions.  It only takes a few minutes every day and this will support and supplement all of your other marketing activities.

Blogging is another way to stay in touch and create a fan base of people who are interested in your company, products and services.  Tie your blog in to your website, Facebook & Twitter accounts.  There are many online services that are free that you can use as a blog.  My favorite is WordPress.  If you are providing your email list with a monthly eNewsletter, make sure you post your article to your blog as well as other correspondence and information.  Again, a few minutes every couple of days should be enough to keep a well updated blog.

LinkedIn is another social media marketing tool which is geared more toward business professionals.  Make sure your profile is up to date, that you are connecting with people in your industry and that you are participating in groups and discussions.  By providing professional advice, answering questions to other members and joining different groups you can be exactly where your customers are, positioning yourself as the expert in your field.  LinkedIn also lets you tie other social media sites to your profile so that all updates to those (like WordPress & Twitter) show up on your LinkedIn profile.  15 minutes a week should be the minimum time necessary to keep you at the top of your game.

All of this social media and online marketing is making me tired!  What about more traditional marketing methods? I’m a huge believer in supplementing and blending your online marketing with more traditional methods to create a winning combination.  For instance, if you are planning a special promotion or event, utilizing online marketing and social media including email marketing will spread the word fast. Sending out hardcopy information and advertising your event in local or trade publications will provide coverage for those clients who do not utilize online methods and remind those that are seeing you on line.  By combining online and traditional marketing methods you are covering all of your bases and adding very little cost, as most of your online marketing is of little or no cost at all other than your time.

Finding your key to marketing success will take some time, effort and experimentation, but the process is worth the results.  Watching your website rankings climb in the organic searches as you create invaluable links from your website to the various online and social media outlets you are utilizing will show you exactly why social media and online marketing is critical to your overall marketing plan.  Running the various marketing reports that are available from your online sources and seeing how much of your website traffic is coming from Facebook or checking an email campaign report to see how many of your list members opened it and tracking how many of those customers have called to place an order or inquire about your event will make the effort well worth it.  

If you are still not sure and need some help figuring out your key to marketing success, 20 Twenty Graphics is here to help you, just give us a call and we’ll be glad to give you a key.

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New Year New Goals

What are your goals for 2011?

Many people make New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of every year only to find that after the first week those resolutions have long since been forgotten.   When making a resolution we always have the best of intentions to stick with it, to see it through to the end and improve personally and make better our overall situation.    Good intentions, right?  Well you know what they say about good intentions…

 Instead of making a New Year’s Resolution, why not just make a list of where you were last year, both the good and the bad, then list your GOALS for 2011.  It’s much easier to make the changes necessary to meet your goals because it’s a more positive mental picture than denying yourself something in a resolution (and we all know that our resolutions are always about the negative).

 When I first started 20 Twenty Graphics I wasn’t consciously aware that I was doing it, but at the end of my first full year, 2009, I created a document that I used for reference to update my team on what we had accomplished, what our difficulties were and what our goals for 2010 would be.  Recently, I pulled that document out, dusted it off and reviewed what our goals had been for the year and realized that 90% of what I put in writing as a goal for the year was actually accomplished!  I was completely amazed by this discovery, as I sure wasn’t focused on it every day, week or month. I wasn’t referring to the list of goals throughout the year; however, just by virtue of committing to it in writing, I seemed to have been able to lead my team to victory at the end of 2010.  This is a great feeling!

So, needless to say, instead of making any New Year’s Resolutions I put together a new list of goals for 2011.  Now, what does this have to do with marketing, sales or anything?  By experiencing this phenomenon myself I wanted to suggest that having written goals for the year, whether they are personal, or business goals can be an effective tool in your arsenal for success.

Identifying your goals for the year will give you more focus and provide a road map to the things that you want to accomplish.  For instance, if your goal is to increase your sales give yourself a specific plan of action, listing the things you will do to accomplish this goal.  Follow that list and you will be surprised at the end results.  Your marketing goals for the year should be identified in the same way and through very targeted and specific programs, both online and traditional you will achieve success.  Many of my clients come to me with ideas of what kind of marketing they want to do, but rarely do they identify exactly what their goal is and what they hope to accomplish BEFORE they decide what kind of marketing they would like to do.  Ask yourself first, “What are my goals?” and then map out your strategy for success and come the end of 2011 you will be pleasantly surprised by how much you actually accomplished.

20 Twenty Graphics is here to help with all of your New Year’s sales and marketing goals.  Call us today for a free marketing analysis.

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Happy Holidays!

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Fall is a great time of year with the crisp, cool weather, the beauty of the falling leaves, and of course – Halloween!  My favorite holiday since I was a kid, Halloween is such a fun, spooky celebration of monsters and all things scary.  Throw in lots of candy and running around the neighborhood with your friends and it’s definitely the perfect holiday!  Now that we are adults (most of us) and working in our chosen professions, Halloween takes on a different meaning.  Since marketing is my focus, I thought that I would put an interesting perspective on the different Marketing Monsters to beware of and why you should do everything you can to avoid that one Haunted House on your block! 

All of us have been bitten by the one marketing vampire that seems to suck the life right out of a well-designed and executed marketing piece – the typo.  Your brochure, website, or PR story can be the best thing you’ve ever done, but if there are typos in it all of your hard work is for naught.  It’s worth the extra time to review your proofs as if it’s the first time you are seeing it.  Make sure that everything you do has been proofed by several sets of eyes and not the spooky ones peeking out from behind a tree in the night. 

Another marketing monster that we experience is every bit as frightening as Frankenstein himself!  This monster lumbers around, shaking your whole office and destroying everything in its path – yes, it’s the deadline.  Deadlines that are unrealistic cause us to rush to do things wrong.  It wreaks havoc on the quality of your marketing and puts you in a position where you are compromising your marketing message to make a date.  Just because your deadlines seem far away doesn’t mean they are – take the time to check your calendar way in advance and do some forward planning so that you can be sure Frankenstein is far from stomping on your marketing plans. 

Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat!  If you remember ringing your neighbors doorbell and singing this little ditty, remember that you are asking for a treat and you are most likely getting a yummy piece of candy.  You don’t get the candy if you don’t ask for it.  The same holds true for referral business.  You don’t get referrals if you don’t ask for them.  Remember to always ask your satisfied customers for the contact information of any associates they have that might benefit by utilizing your products and services. 

Do you excel at lead generation only to find out the leads you have generated are not really your buyers?  Is your mailing list full of zombies?  Bad lead generation does not make a sale, therefore you must carefully consider how you are going to go after your customers and whether or not the forum you choose is going to provide you with enough leads to justify the expense.  Setting goals for your lead generation campaigns, tracking the results and adjusting the campaign as necessary, is a must to stay clear of zombie sales leads. 

Speaking of monsters and zombies, have you seen your slashed marketing budget lately?  Does it resemble something that has been massaged by the infamous Freddy Kruger?  Are you having a budget “Nightmare on Elm Street”?  Unfortunately, the past few years have seen marketing budgets that don’t resemble the ghosts of marketing budgets past.  Because there are fewer dollars to spend, you have to avoid the marketing gremlins that will surely show themselves if you try to spend your valuable marketing dollars without a plan.  Setting marketing goals and having a plan to achieve those goals is what will separate successful marketing campaigns from those that look more like the headless horseman.  Don’t cover your eyes up like a mummy in distress!  Start planning now for your future marketing campaigns and call 20 Twenty Graphics to help you determine what your goals are and how to proceed in order to achieve those goals and we’ll help you keep the Marketing Monsters at bay. 

 

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I hope that you are finding creative ways of staying cool in this “alright-I’ve-had-enough-of-the-heat” weather we’ve been experiencing this summer.  It’s hard to believe that a mere 6 months ago we were being walloped with snow!

Being inside, in the cool air conditioning, has given me some time to hone my culinary skills and with that I have rediscovered, of all things, the onion!  In the past, I stopped using onions as much as possible, for several reasons which we need not get into, and recently decided to give them another try.  As I’m enjoying them in various sauté concoctions, on burgers and as part of my famous macaroni salad, I started thinking about how marketing is very much like an onion and I’ve come to several conclusions.  Read on to discover what marketing and onions have in common.

First, because I deleted onions out of my diet almost completely I realized that I was missing out on the flavor enhancing that this delectable vegetable used to add to my meals.  It reminded me of how many businesses have cut their marketing programs down drastically over the last few years, mostly for budgetary concerns.  But in recent months, marketing is making a comeback.  We are now starting to see our clients add marketing back in to their recipes for success because they realize that the key ingredient to more sales is marketing!

Onions, like marketing, have many layers and only a skilled professional can peel each layer, carefully and patiently to reap the rewards of a hearty and tasty meal.  The layers of marketing can be complex and difficult to extract, but with the help of a creative marketing firm (or a sharp knife for your onion) you will be well on your way to successful marketing programs that will increase customer awareness, brand your company and generate more sales.  The layers of marketing include traditional marketing, which is made up of the “4 P’s”, product, price, placement and promotion.  You can segment your target market and direct your efforts to just the customers that you think will buy from you.  Anyone who’s had Marketing 101 knows that such efforts present themselves in the physical, such as print advertising and public relations, direct mail, industry trade shows, printed brochures, TV, radio, billboards, posters and yellow pages (remember those?!).  Traditional marketing offers many layers within the layers of marketing, much like the fruit of the delicious onion that becomes more potent as you get deeper into the center.  Beyond the layers of traditional marketing, comes the new marketing and all of the opportunities that the internet (I still love the term world-wide web) has created for all of us sales and marketing type people.

New marketing, which is web-based, does not follow the rules of traditional marketing.  The layers of new marketing are made of things like e-mail marketing, search engine marketing, blogging (sounds like something you do when you are sick), online news releases, podcasting and videos, social media marketing and the scariest thing ever – viral marketing!  The idea is to reach as many people as you can, utilizing the new marketing methods for as little cost to you as possible.  Sounds easy, right?  Like my grandmothers super-secret recipe for chicken with dumplings, new marketing is a huge undertaking and, as with traditional marketing, you can spend a lot of money on internet advertising and various other new marketing media and still not reach the customers that you are trying to do business with.  So – what do you do?  Which do you choose?  Here’s my answer:  Don’t choose between them, choose both of them!  What I have determined is that there will always be a need for traditional marketing and you should never completely cut it from your marketing plan and budget, for like the onion, it is far too valuable to your overall goal to leave out of the recipe.  My recommendation is to find the right combination of both traditional and new marketing that will increase your exposure, keep you in constant communication with your current customers and help you reach new customers and markets all while maintaining your sensitive budget.  Fortunately, 20 Twenty Graphics specializes in just this kind of planning and implementation of one of the most important ingredients in your overall success – Marketing! 

All this talk about food has made me hungry, but since Grandma’s recipe is not available at this time, here is a Betty Crocker recipe for a very tasty onion soup that I’m sure you’ll enjoy! 

Golden Onion Soup

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 large onions, cut into fourths and sliced (1 1/2 lb)
2 cans (10 1/2 oz each) condensed beef broth
2 soup cans water

Parmesan Croutons

1/4 cup butter or margarine
3 slices bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
 
 
1. Heat oven to 400°F. In 13×9-inch pan, melt 1/4 cup butter in oven. Toss bread cubes in butter until evenly coated. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp.
2.  Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. In 4-quart ovenproof Dutch oven, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Toss onions in butter mixture.
3. Bake uncovered about 2 hours 30 minutes, stirring every hour, until onions are deep golden brown. Remove from oven; stir in broth and water. Heat to boiling on top of stove. Serve with croutons.

 

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