First Time Crowdfunding? Here's What You Need to Know. In the book, Write Your Business Plan, the staff of Entrepreneur Media offer an in-depth understanding of what’s essential to any business plan, what’s appropriate for your venture and what it takes to ensure success. In this edited excerpt, the authors discuss what your business plan should look like if you're crowdfunding for your business. A rather recent entry into the world of procuring funds for business projects is crowdfunding. The idea is broad based with some investors on crowdfunding sites getting rewards for investing money while others become investors with a stake in the business. Massolution, a research firm that specializes in crowdfunding, reports that the overall industry raised more than $2.7 billion in 2012, across more than 1 million individual campaigns globally and then went on to top that mark in 2013. Adam Chapnick, former head of Indiegogo, notes that an abbreviated business plan works best for most crowdfunding sites.
Six Questions to Ask a Social Media Consultant With social media emerging as more of a mainstream corporate activity, there is not surprisingly plenty of demand for social media consultants to provide strategic and tactical insight and counsel. In a recent blog post, Chris Kleff outlined nine different criteria to evaluate a social media “expert”. While the list offers some good ideas, there is too much focus on numbers as opposed to critical thinking. For example, Kleff suggests a social media experts need more than 1,000 Facebook friends, a Klout score of more than 30, more than 500 connections on LinkedIn, and more than 2,010 Twitter followers. To me, these metrics are secondary considerations when evaluating a social media consultant. All they do is confirm someone is walking the walk as well as talking the talk. So if numbers don’t provide a good way to judge a social media consultant, how should companies do it? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. (Note: This post originally ran on the Sysomos blog.
Social Media Marketing Strategy for 2014 Over the course of 2013, we’ve seen a range of social media trends emerge. I’ve discussed the development of all-in-one apps as well as the rise in popularity for single-service photo and video sharing apps such as Snapchat and Vine. I’ve also talked about the growth of Pinterest and Instagram amongst teens and adults alike. With 2014 on the horizon, how can brands improve their social media marketing strategies to match such trends? These four tips will tell you. 1. While Facebook and Twitter still dominate the social media scene, 2013 has seen the rise in a diverse range of single-service social media networks. 2. Within the category of single-service social media networks, those that focus on photo and video sharing such as Vine, Instagram, and Snapchat have dominated in 2013. 3. While photo and video sharing are currently dominating the social media scene, content marketing is still here to stay. 4. How do you plan on revamping your social media marketing strategy in 2014?
5 Questions to Ask About Color in Your Marketing Messages This week, Pantone named Marsala—“a naturally robust and earthy wine red”—as its official color of the year for 2015. Last month, the Color Marketing Group revealed the four colors researchers forecast will be popular in 2016 and beyond. In North America, “uni-blue,” which is described as an androgynous blue, is expected to be hot. What does all this mean for public relations professionals? In her 2006 book "Color: Messages & Meanings," Leatrice Eiseman advises communicators to use the same colors in all of their messaging, from print materials to websites. Here are five questions to answer in order to select appropriate color(s) for your brand: 1. Eiseman notes that different colors invoke very different emotions. 2. In a 2005 study, Mubeen Aslam notes: Pay attention to the color schemes associated with your industry, so that you do not pick a shade that strikes audiences as unnatural for your brand. 3. 4. Colors also promote brand recall. 5.
How To Use Data To Create A Fool-Proof Tweet Calendar Let’s say your business sends, maybe, four original tweets per day. You participate in one or two back-and-forth exchanges of about three tweets each. And you retweet twice. That simple activity adds up to nine tweets per day. Or 45 tweets per week. Hopefully you didn’t sheepishly answer “We don’t.” By simply accessing the data freely available to you on Twitter and through third-parties, you can create a Tweet Calendar that will keep your content organized, on-message, and ensure that all team members are on the same page. What’s a Tweet Calendar? You can think of a Tweet Calendar just like an editorial calendar, but much more specific. Rather than organizing all of your content across multiple channels, a Tweet Calendar focuses only on those 140-character snippets you send via Twitter. The technology you use for your Tweet Calendar doesn’t really matter. And lastly, Twitter is not an island, nor is a Tweet Calendar. Digging into the data (Calendar image via Shutterstock.)
How to Pull Off a Guerrilla Marketing Campaign - Small Business Guerilla Marketing Guerrilla marketing was made for small business owners. It requires creativity, flexibility and a willingness to take a little risk. The one thing it doesn't take is a big budget. "Guerrilla programs usually start when a client says to us, 'we don't have any money but we'd really like to get some media attention,'" Drew Neisser, CEO of Renegade Marketing, tells us. They can also be an awesome way to get you noticed, set you apart from your competition and earn you a reputation for being fun and different--all tailored to whatever budget you have available. We consulted a few guerrilla marketing agencies to get some tips on executing a successful guerrilla strategy. What is guerrilla marketing? Our sources used other descriptive words to explain the essence of guerrilla marketing: Brett Zaccardi of Street Attack, describes it as anything "unauthorized and disruptive" and "sticky." "Guerrilla marketing is a state of mind," Neisser sums up nicely. Guerrilla marketing is NOT traditional media.
Outbound Marketing | What is Outbound Marketing? Explore the Strategy of Outbound Marketing How can a business spread the word about its new product or service? This very question led to the development of the marketing field as a whole, and is still the top problem pondered by professionals today. Outbound marketing attempts to initiate a conversation about a product or service by rapidly spreading word of its existance through a variety of traditional marketing methods. What is outbound marketing? Outbound marketing tries to reach consumers through general media advertising as well as through in-person contact. In the past decade, traditional marketing has clashed with inbound marketing (and thus, the designation “outbound marketing”). While many larger companies argue that inbound marketing is more effective and efficient, the fact is that until people know and trust a company, there’s very little inbound marketing occurring. Types of Outbound Marketing Who employs outbound marketing? How is an outbound marketing campaign developed?
Why Your Social Strategy Is Not One Size Fits All We’ve reached a true turning point in our social media marketing. We’re at the apex of the perfect storm: We’re strapped for time, with more content than ever to promote on more social networks than ever before. When faced with this challenge, we can easily forget the golden rule of social media marketing: One size doesn’t fit all. Not all social networks are created equal. It’s easy to lump our favorite social networks together. That’s not to say one network is better than the other. Not every post you write is 100% optimized for every network you want to share it on. This wasn’t as big of a problem five years ago as it is today. Not every network is best for your company. It’s tempting to jump in with both feet when you’re getting started with your social media marketing. Approaching each platform with customized tactics can be intimidating; it’s already overwhelming enough to stay on top of all our social channels with just one approach.
What Is Guerrilla Marketing? Guerrilla Marketing is an advertising strategy that focuses on low-cost unconventional marketing tactics that yield maximum results. The original term was coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book ‘Guerrilla Advertising’. The term guerrilla marketing was inspired by guerrilla warfare which is a form of irregular warfare and relates to the small tactic strategies used by armed civilians. Many of these tactics includes ambushes, sabotage, raids and elements of surprise. Much like guerrilla warfare, guerrilla marketing uses the same sort of tactics in the marketing industry. This alternative advertising style relies heavily on unconventional marketing strategy, high energy and imagination. Guerrilla marketing is often ideal for small businesses that need to reach a large audience without breaking the bank. The History of Guerrilla Marketing Advertising can be dated back to 4000 BC where the early Egyptians used papyrus to make sales messages and wall posters. “…is a state of mind.
10 Questions to Ask Before Determining Your Target Market The better you understand your customer, the faster your business will grow. But new ventures often struggle to define their target market and set their sights too broadly. "We often overestimate the market size, and in many cases there may not be one at all," says Robert Hisrich, director of the Walker Center for Global Entrepreneurship at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Ariz. Here are 10 questions that can help you determine whether you have a target market and what it is: Who would pay for my product or service? Who has already bought from me? Am I overestimating my reach? What does my network think? Am I making assumptions based on my personal knowledge and experience? What's my revenue model? How will I sell my product or service? How did my competitors get started? How will I find my customers? Is there room to expand my target market? Limited Time Offer Get a FREE Strategy Session Grow Faster & Easier!
How Food Brands are harvesting success from trending topics The Tweets are alive, echoing trends from everywhere… Social listening is key to growing any social media following. One common recommendation to a start up or organization with their eyes set on exponential growth is to focus on trending topics, use current hashtags and join common conversations. I’ll shout out the obvious, worn out examples: Oreo, College Game Day, Stores jumping in with sales and responses ala natural disasters (ex: Urban Outfitter’s Sandy Sale via Business Insider) Many would recommend this to a start up or in growth of social media, when done correctly, small businesses can capitalize on trends in their community, sponsors can utilize buzz from their partnering sports teams or concerts/events. So many monumental events happened on Twitter this week that trended in the U.S., internationally, etc. See LA Times recap for more context. Also see AdWeek’s praise of the coverage. Tweets: My first look at this was YIKES TRYING TOO HARD. Thoughts?
Checklists for Success Considering a foreign exchange investment? Protect yourself from a forex scam. CHECKLISTS FOR SUCCESS by Robert Sullivan, author of "The Small Business Start-Up Guide" In this Small Business Advisor feature, we will periodically be providing short "checklists" to help you make decisions about various business related activities. The checklists simplify what might otherwise be a complex and hard to organize task. As always, we would welcome contributions or comments. This is a self-evaluation checklist of entrepreneurial aptitude. In choosing the right partner you must consider a number of factors. The business you choose should fit with realistic goals and an honest assessment of yourself. Don't blindly follow your attorney's advice. Your bank is more than a place where you keep a checking account. Your marketing program exposes your product or service to potential customers. Put yourself in the place of the customer when assessing your performance. Need to print out a checklist?
Social Media FAQ: 10 Top Questions From Marketers When it comes to hearing great social media advice, I seem to have a bit of a preference: I quite enjoy finding the advice that fits my questions specifically. And wouldn’t you know, my questions are likely to be different than your questions and yours different than the next person’s. Social media is a brilliant puzzle to solve, and we often seem to be working on different parts of the picture. So what are social media’s biggest questions? To find out, we asked. We solicited feedback and questions from our list of 40,000 email subscribers, asking each of you to ask us anything. 1. Help! We’ve had the privilege of sharing so much great content via our Buffer app’s content suggestions, and we’ve found a huge number of helpful tools, newsletters, and services to help surface great content. Some of these tools could be a bit specific toward a digital marketing audience. 1. Here’re the results from a quick search for “restaurant.” 2. 3. 2. For a free way to help spread your tweet, use hashtags.
Vine introduces Web Profiles by Nick Cicero on Jan 03, 2014 With more than 40 Million users worldwide, Vine has exploded with a unique mobile-first audience. Today Vine introduces Web profiles bringing the 6-second viewing experience to the desktop. Web profiles come with a home feed allowing users to like, comment, and share videos just like on mobile.