Marketing & PR

Marketing as an Experiment

Karen Janowski

Karen Janowski

by Karen Janowski of Traction Team

It’s practically a cliché to say that many startup CEOs are skeptical of marketing spending.  To some, it’s a mysterious black box, voodoo laced with inscrutable jargon, or just a grand experiment.  Well, I’m here to tell you that at least part of your marketing should be an experiment!

Why?  Because marketing (particularly the part focused on arousing customer needs) is not a mechanistic process where you put in certain ingredients, turn the crank, and get out a predictable result.  There are lots of variables:

Why Providing Content Should Be Your FIRST Priority – Not Starting Conversations!

by Eric Gruber

As I look on my Facebook news feed I see:

* A business and life coach mentioned: Today’s challenge is to see if I can replace the heating element on the dryer……..I’ll let you know if I succeed or fail…lol….send prayers….lol

* Quotes by Tony Robbins from someone who is not Tony Robbins

* A realtor asked: What are your top 5 favorite things about summer? Mine are 1) Farmer’s market, 2) Baseball 3) Weekend cookouts 4) A sliced summer tomato with a dollop of Hellman’s mayo 5) Sunlight till 9 pm!

LinkedIn Marketing Debate: Should Your LinkedIn Profile Be in 1st Person or 3rd Person?

Kristina Jaramillo

Kristina Jaramillo

by Kristina Jaramillo

I spend hundreds of hours on LinkedIn every month researching, testing, tweaking and seeing what works and what doesn’t – and that’s on top of the hours I spend marketing my business and my clients’ businesses on LinkedIn. So in a week’s time I view thousands of different professional profiles.

I see people who write their profile in 1st person. Others will write in 3rd person. Even the LinkedIn marketing experts say different things when it comes to whether or not you should write your LinkedIn
profile summary in first person or third person.

LinkedIn Marketing Question – Seriously, How Different Are You?

Kristina Jaramillo

Kristina Jaramillo

by Kristina Jaramillo

Lots of people are “different” these days. But are they really thought leaders?

1. In most cases, you can’t tell one coach, consultant or expert in a particular industry from another. They practically use the same language to describe themselves and what they do.

2. If you look at the articles on their blog and those they distribute within the different groups – you’ll notice that they provide the same old information as everyone else.

Using an eBook to Build Your Brand

Karen Leland

Karen Leland

by Karen Leland at www.karenleland.com

By now almost everyone has heard of Amanda Hocking, the 26-year-old novelist who was rejected by dozens of New York publishing houses. Not one to give up, Hocking decided to go the entrepreneurial route and self published an eBook instead.

The results? She’s made more than US$1 million dollars to date and just sold the movie rights to one of her popular series. Oh and she also just penned a US$2 million deal for a four book series – with an old fashioned publishing house.

How do I market to homeowners?

QUESTION:

I want to market to homeowners in a specific town about my curbside recycling business.  How should I go about this? The only thing I can think of is door hangers and standing on corners with signs. The town has rules about signs being put up. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of LavaMind

Here are 12 ideas on how you can reach home owners:

How do I plan my Internet advertising budget for my startup?

QUESTION:

Can you please tell me how to plan an Internet advertising budget for my startup?  Should it be a certain percentage of revenue?

ANSWER:

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space

First of all, your advertising budget should be determined by your goals.   Is your goal to brand your product? Drive users to your website?  Drive awareness?  Drive sales?   Also, how much money do you have to invest in advertising?   It usually takes a while to optimize an advertising campaign and figure out exactly what works and what doesn’t.

What should I consider when putting together my online marketing campaign?

QUESTION:

What should I consider when putting together my online marketing campaign?

ANSWER:

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space

Start by taking a close look at your competitors.  Where are they advertising?   How are they advertising?  The more you can learn about what’s working for them, the more time and money you will save when it comes to your own marketing campaign.

What’s the best way to find the right PR person?

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

QUESTION:

I created a humorous gift item that people can buy online.  Who would be best to reach out to help me market my product?  I really need PR help with this.

ANSWER:

by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space

What you need are two different people:

1)  Someone who is really good at getting distribution for all the online and retail outlets that sell your type of product.

How do I best market my new book?

QUESTION:

I have written The Las Vegas Showgirl Diet, and I need suggestions as to the best way to market it. I’ve sent out press kits and established a website. What’s the best way to locate individuals looking to lose weight? – Annoula Wylderich

ANSWER:

Obesity is at epidemic levels right now in the United States, so I don’t think you’ll have trouble finding people who want to lose weight. It’s just a matter of cutting through the noise. There are a million and one diet books on the market.

How do I market to nonprofits?

QUESTION:

If you want to market to nonprofits and organizations that cater to teens or young adults, what would be the best avenue of getting all their attention, rather than going to each company separately?

ANSWER:

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space

I’m not familiar with all the nonprofits that cater to teens, but I’m sure there’s a network out there, and I’m positive they have conferences and websites where they exchange ideas and partner with one another.

How do you find a good PR firm?

QUESTION:

How do you go about finding a really good PR firm? What should you look for?

ANSWER:

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space

There are a few good ways to find the right PR firm:

1) Ask people in your industry what PR firms they use and how satisfied they are. Ask everyone you know until you narrow it down to a few firms that come highly recommended. Then you can go meet with them and judge for yourself.

Is Twitter really worth my time as a marketing tool?

QUESTION:

I run a tech startup that does online inventory management. Does it really make sense for my company to use Twitter as a marketing tool? It seems like a lot of work to be tweeting all the time, and would anyone really care? Would they even read my tweets? And even if they did, would it translate into business? Bottom line is that I think my time could be better spent on building my business, or am I missing something?

What are some good marketing strategies for an Internet startup?

QUESTION:

My company runs a social site focused on food. Any suggestions for good marketing strategies?

ANSWER:

Alex Salkever

Alex Salkever

by Alex Salkever, Journalist & Marketing Executive

First of all, recognize that you are in an extremely crowded space and that you need to do something to stand out. So crystallize exactly what is different or unique about your site/business into a one or two sentence statement. Then, work on your story. Without a strong story about how the site came about, its mission, where you hope to go, what your goals are, then it’s much harder to nail down a marketing strategy.

Is Your Company Website Socially Optimized?

Nicholas de Wolff

Nicholas de Wolff

by Nicholas de Wolff, founder of deW Process

I disagree with the contention that social media is “…just a plural term for any online vehicle that allows for, and encourages, interaction” (see one of my previous postings on Social media for details).  Additionally, I predict that business websites will soon be far less crucial to a brand’s marketing strategy and market engagement than one might think (but more on that in a later post).

Think Community, Take Action

Nicholas de Wolff

Nicholas de Wolff

by Nicholas de Wolff, founder of deW Process

The notion (and practice) of community driven consumer activity is, as with so many other things, cyclical.

For years, people lived in small microsocietal enclaves, relying on one another for word-of-mouth news and shopping recommendations, and sharing health and nutrition tips as they were discovered. Local gossip spread locally, and all was well in the Middle Ages.

Any advice on how to promote my iPhone app?

QUESTION:

My iPhone app is buried in the App Store.  Any advice for founders like me who need to promote their iPhone apps but don’t know how.

ANSWER:

Okay, nearly every startup has an iPhone app.  It’s almost a “must-have” as part of your business plan, even if you’re not a mobile company.   With that in mind, I’ve hunted about for ways to promote these glorious iPhone apps we all have. Here are the results of my hard work…

Brainstorm Your Way From Commodity to Hot Property

Lyne Noella

Lyne Noella

By Lyne Noella, CEO of WavePlay LLC

Do you see frightening signs that your customers view your business as a commodity? Do your customers:

– Ask you to provide the same or more at a lower price?

– Insist on getting low-cost competitors into the mix?

– Show a lack of appreciation for your leadership and value?

Is Twitter really worth my time as a marketing tool?

QUESTION:

I run a tech startup that does online inventory management. Does it really make sense for my company to use Twitter as a marketing tool? It seems like a lot of work to be tweeting all the time, and would anyone really care? Would they even read my tweets? And even if they did, would it translate into business? Bottom line is that I think my time could be better spent on building my business, or am I missing something?

How can I build a large Twitter following quickly for marketing my startup?

QUESTION:

How can I build a large Twitter following quickly for marketing my startup?   I’ve been trying for months to market my startup using Twitter, and I still have less than 100 followers.  My content is compelling, and I tapped all my friends and associates.  What else can I do?

ANSWER: