Make the most of the next 53 days.

by: Charles Gaiennie on


It is now 53 days until 2011. So what's a person to do with 53 days? Sure, lots of things might come to mind; however, being the marketing-minded folks that we are, we thought we'd share some MARKETING ways to spend those last 53 of 2010.


Here we go ...
1. Print. If you can put your logo, ad or name on it AND it's tied to a specific marketing tactic, buy it soon. Brochures, business cards, new signs for your building, trade show displays and more all have a long usability that applies well into the year. By buying them now, you'll have them ready for the coming year and your accountant will love it since you'll get to expense the items this year even if you will actually use them next year.

2. Create a well-designed, written marketing plan. By written we mean that you've really thought it through and have identified your marketing and outreach by month with an associated budget and implementation plan. It's a bucket full of work on the front end but can pay huge dividends by keeping you organized and focused and your marketing measurable. Do it now before year-end tax stuff and other things sap all of your creative energy.

3. Tune up your online presence or if you don't have one, get one immediately. Study after survey after analysis after common sense observation shows that your online presence dominates every other marketing technique by a very wide margin. But expectations are high so don't disappoint an online visitor with a funky, outdated site. We know a good site is not cheap but it is by far the best investment you can make for your company.

4. Get social but not without a plan. If you are still on the sideline as to whether to participate in the social media craze, we encourage you to make this the time to commit. But don't do it just to do it. Do it with a plan that connects what you do in the social media space with what someone who might visit you there might care about. If you are in, you need to be really in and participate pretty much every day.

5. Hire us! We want you to be successful as much as you want to be successful. It's not about what you spend, it's about what you earn with what you spend. We've been at this for a very long time and have a great track record for returning real dollars for marketing dollars spent.

So there you have it, something to keep you busy over the next 53 days. Already a little booked for this period? No problem. Give us a call at 985-446-6088 or visit us online at www.wlgaiennie.com and we'll be glad to help.

The Power of the Pen

by: Charles Gaiennie on

Happy Day After Mid Term Elections! We should never forget that one of the greatest gifts we have as Americans is the ability to change leadership peacefully and in an organized manner. Whether you are pleased or concerned with the results, the fact remains, that few nations do it as well as we do. Thanks for participating.

Now on to marketing…
Whenever we meet new companies or attend an event of any kind, we make sure to bring something of great importance both to us and to those we meet – a really nice Bic rollerball ink pen. This is no ordinary pen but one you might take a little extra time selecting at the office supply store. This is a pen that  you actually want to use, that you’ll put away in your desk drawer rather than leave in the pencil cup on your desk for someone to borrow and likely never return. This is a really nice pen that you will actually use and want to hang on to. Okay. So, why are we going on so much about something as ordinary as a pen?

Here’s why. The pen has our name and logo on it. What this means is that we have created something that will be present, for a very long time, literally in the hands of our clients and prospects pretty much every day. We will be part of their day and they a part of ours. It’s something called Top of Mind Awareness and it’s something that companies struggle to accomplish through multi-million dollar ad campaigns and thousands of other techniques. And we do it with a simple pen.

What we’ve done with our pen is to create something of value, not so much from our perspective, but from the perspective of the market. The marketing lesson is whatever you do, billboards, television or standing on the street corner in gorilla suit, the message must be relevant and of value. For us, a pen does the trick. For you, maybe it’s something else.

Why A Website is NOT an IT Project

by: Charles Gaiennie on

Let me start with apologies to our wonderful friends and colleagues who are experts in the underlying technologies of websites.  We love these folks and couldn't do what we do without them however...

Look.  Here's the deal.  Although it is clearly technology that enables us to reach the world through our websites, emails, cell phones and Facebook pages, who really do you think the customer wants to hear from?  You, or your IT guy?  Again, no disrespect intended to the IT folks, however if someone is talking to you, it’s because they are interested in the flowers you sell, or your creative lunch menu or your one day guaranteed car repairs or whatever you do and could generally care less about whether you are using XML or HTML.  You are infinitely more interesting.  You are the holder of the information they desperately seek and you are the reason they are at your website to begin with.  What this means is that (there's a pattern here) YOU are the one that should be in direct control of your website with little or no barrier or filtering by anyone with IT in their job description.

The great news is that this is very do-able these days.  When we select technologies for our web projects, one of our top criteria is that the technology be powerful, impactful and have low to no technical barriers.   What we are describing is what is known as content management system that is accessed by simply logging onto your own website.  Properly done, a content management website allows you to; change text with no more effort than using a word processor like Microsoft Word, add new images to a page by simply clicking a browse button similar to the way you attach something to an email or adding or deleting pages and having the results automatically reflected in the menu structure – and all without one call or email to the IT guy.  Not only can it be done, it is being done and is the only way we develop and manage websites.

Interested in knowing more?  Why not give us a call at 985-446-6088 or go onto our content-management-driven website at www.wlgaiennie.com to learn more.  DISCLAIMER.  Our site is under revision as we speak so bear with us as we tweak some things out. 

Until next time…

 

 

 

Get Out of the Board Room and Into the Chat Room

by: Charles Gaiennie on

This week's marketing minute goes out to all of the big shots - you know who you are - who have pretty much written off this social media thing as a passing fad, not worthy of their attention, the realm of their teenage daughter whose main focus is growing virtual crops and creating polls about which "Twilight" vampire she's most like. But alas, oh Great Ones, be cautious in your judgments since the truth is that social media, in the right hands, is a very powerful and relevant business tool that even grownups like yourself can learn to use.

We made the statement in last week’s Marketing Minute that success in social media is all about quality content. So the question becomes then, from whence doth quality content come? To answer that question, let’s visualize a scenario that we think will make the point.

Let’s all go to an imaginary meeting of some board of directors. In your mind’s eye, scan the boardroom table and who do you see? Is it the administrative assistants? No. (Even though we all know that without the AAs no one at the table could have found anything they needed to get ready for the meeting.) Is it the delivery drivers? No. (They’re out making money for the company right now.) It’s the big cheeses, the CEO, top managers, key investors, owners and founders of the company, and so on. And why, we playfully ask, are these particular people at the table? It’s because it is these people who have the insights and knowledge that is most relevant to the company, and, by extension, to the market in which they operate. Stated differently, it is these people who are the owners of QUALITY CONTENT.

These people are also often the public face of your company, and are the persons customers most want a relationship with. Why not consider giving them a voice through a company blog? A blog that is written with true personality makes readers feel like they know and trust you. It is, after all, these people who are assumed to have the greatest knowledge and the credibility. For example, when you get sick, whose advice do you seek, the doctor or the receptionist?

But don't just assign the blog to the secretary or the student intern. In many cases it should be the CEO writing the blog. Yes, we know the CEO's time is valuable, but so is that of your readers so don't waste it with insights that are just veneer. An enthusiastic and personable CEO bursting with insights into your industry is better advertising than you can buy.

When the CEO Shouldn't Blog
Not every CEO should have a blog. A good blog is based on candor, urgency, timeliness, pithiness and controversy. If your CEO can't commit to regular blogs that include at least four of those items, try another medium or choose another employee, or, better yet, hire an insightful and innovative PR firm. (We just happen to know of a great one right here in town.) The point is casual interaction with customers/readers, so your blog must be written in your voice and not in that of a press release or annual report!

Is email marketing worth the cash?

by: Matthew Gaiennie on

A series of questions we see when we submit proposals to prospects is, “What is email marketing? Why is it x amount of dollars? Do I need it?” We understand this is just a response of any business owner or CEO who is, like us, concerned with saving money where possible. But, these same CEOs and business owners are willing to use a technique that has a lower response rate and is ALWAYS more expensive – direct mail.

Direct Mail vs. Email Marketing


Direct Mail

Email Marketing

Open Rate (average)

N/A

21.4%1

Response Rate (average)

2.61%2

12.7%1

Ability to definitively determine success of the message

Limited; Determined only if customer brings in the direct mail piece

Email marketing providers like Constant Contact have built-in tracking systems that report details like click-throughs, reads, etc.

Cost

$600 one-time cost for printing, shipping, postage and your mailing list (each mail piece would require design fee)*

Starts at $15/month for unlimited emails sent (initial cost for template design but templates are reusable for as long as you want)

* To send to 500 people
1 Source: Constant Contact
2 Source: Direct Mail Association                    

Now, it may seem that I’m knocking the direct mailing method. That is not the case. We use the direct mailing method in our own marketing and have shown some relative success recently. I am just trying to show a reliable option for a more consistent communication with your customers/clients. (Odds are, you are reading this because you are getting our newsletter … just saying.)

Finally to answer your questions next time you get a proposal from us with "email marketing” on it.

1. What is email marketing?

Email marketing is a way to send out a branded message to a list of emails that is populated from clients, customers, prospects and/or media. Yep, I said it. Media. You can set up a press release template that you can send to multiple news outlets. (Just a little pet peeve here. Fax is (or should be) a dead technology, so use emails. It’s cleaner and an email signature is just as good as a faxed one. Ok, just needed to get that out the way.)

2. Why is it x amount of dollars?

The cost is determined by many things.

    • How many people are you emailing? – This determines your monthly cost. (click here to view pricing list)
    • How much design work will you need? – We can brand an email template or custom build a template for you.
    • Will you insert the content and schedule the email? – This is my baby. I love playing around with Constant Contact and setting up emails and making them look good. It’s kind of a gift. What can I say?
    • Who will be creating your content? – We have copywriters on staff who make our clients look amazing. If you want our help with content, let us know.
3. Do I need it?

I almost always want to say yes to this question but not everyone needs this wonderful service. BUT, always consult with a marketing expert before making this decision. You’d be surprised how much email marketing can help your business.

If you have any questions on this, submit a question in the comment section below.

Is your marketing lost in translation?

by: Charles Gaiennie on

Couple of questions for you...

Parlez vous Francais? Translated: Do you speak French?
Sprechen sie Deutsch? Translated:  Do you speak German?
Habla Espanol? Translated: Do you speak Spanish?
Pantone, eps, segementation, ROI?  Translated:  Do you speak Marketing?

Here's the point. Marketing is all about sharing a message that your audience understands and hopefully responds to.  That cannot happen if you can't at a minimum speak the language. In marketing, the language we use is made up of many nuances that are not easily understood unless it's something you do everyday. It's not that you can't eventually learn the language, its just that for most businesses, it is not the reason they get up in the morning. For us, it is exactly the reason we get up in the morning and it occupies our minds often well into the night.

But not to worry. Here at The W.L. Gaiennie Company we are all about sharing knowledge and have prepared a first primer in the language of marketing. So let's get started and please repeat after me...

Segmentation. A recognition that your market is not made up of one type of customer and that using a single message to reach out to everyone rarely works very well.

Return On Investment. Something you probably didn't consider when spending money on marketing and advertising that leads to a nagging feeling that your marketing dollars are mostly going down the drain.

Pantone. Very specific numerical descriptions of the colors used in your logo and brand that you share with the printer to make sure that the signs you just ordered are actually the exact blue in your logo rather than some weird shade of violet.

To continue the lesson and make sure that your marketing never again gets lost in translation, simply give us call at 985-446-6088 or complete our request for help form.

Social Networking Tools That Really Help

by: Matthew Gaiennie on

We've all had those days where we try to manage our social media and work. Sometimes, it just seems like there's not enough time to do both. I'm here today to tell you those days are over thanks to a bunch of products that allow you to keep track of everything on your social media sites. So new, old or updated, we believe that you should have some sort of tool to help. We definitely find it easier to have these tools in place! However, this brings up a series of questions. (Which will become a series of posts from me.) We'll start off with the most basic question. What tool should I use?

Thankfully one of my jobs is to make sure we are technologically up-to-date. So, I research this type of stuff and get kind of giddy when something new comes out, and something did so I’m going to share that with y’all. But first, I’m going to review some more popular tools that people use and give you a recommendation on which to use.

We use a tool called TweetDeck. In TweetDeck you can follow and post messages to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Google Buzz, and Foursquare.  It also allows you to have multiple columns to manage different parts of your social media. We find TweetDeck covers all our needs for maintaining our Facebook and Twitter accounts. It is also available on the iPhone and iPad (FREE) which makes it that much easier to update accounts. We really like this app!

There is another app that allows you to follow only your Twitter but just so happens to have awsome phone apps for the iPhone, iPod touch, Blackberry, and Android phones. It is called Seesmic. If all you have is a Twitter account or if you do most of your updating from an iPhone, I would almost recommend this every time. It is very similar to TweetDeck as far as looks and works the same with just as many (if not more) options that will make “tweeting” easier. The iPhone app also allows to manage your Twitter, Facebook and Ping.fm accounts, which makes it a strong competitor to TweetDeck. (Oh yeah, all Seesmic apps are FREE as well.)

The only downfall for Seesmic is you can only manage multiple accounts on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

If you have trouble remembering to check and respond to updates there is a new product out that will help you keep track of everything. It just so happens to be offered by one of our business partners, Constant Contact. It is called Nutshell Mail and it is another FREE service. This product is perfect for those people who are too busy to keep running back and forth all day between your accounts (or your desktop/phone apps) to check and respond to updates (which you should do on a regular basis all day long) and actually try to get some work done. I would recommend this product to any and all our clients who have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or MySpace account. You can set Nutshell Mail to give you updates at any hour of the day sent to your email. It collects all activity in your account and sends it to you in one easy-to-read email that allows you to respond from one central location. The part that impressed me the most is the ability to keep track of your Facebook Fan Pages (following or created).

There are many more web-based programs that also help you keep track of your social media. These three are just the best ones I've come across. If you have a good tool/app that you use please message below and tell me what it is.

Facebook Fan Pages, Just Get One Already!

by: Charles Gaiennie on

There has always been somewhat of a golden rule when it comes to marketing: “Go Where the People Are.” Now, I never officially heard that anywhere, but isn’t it true?!

Although I am young, there seems to have been a plain site evolution of where the big-time marketing took place. At one time newspaper and radio were the biggest and greatest forms of advertising. The next in line was television. Television became the best and most well-known form of advertising. Now, we are seeing the major shift of advertising going to the internet. All others are still around, for now J, but the trend of marketing has greatly shifted into the online spaces.

Internet advertising is so much more diverse than any other form, but it is the way to the masses. Not just to the masses, but you can narrow down to specific people and demographics. There are websites, search marketing, PPC, banner/link ads, social media, mobile, etc., etc., blah, blah. You get the point!

One of the largest segments in online marketing, and the one most talked about lately, is in the field of Social Media and Facebook. Everyone and their Momma has a Facebook account or AT LEAST knows what Facebook is. Facebook currently has over 400 MILLION people on its platform, and HALF of them get on EVERY DAY!! That is a whole lot of people in one place!

If you are in business, you must have also heard about Facebook Fan Pages. They are profiles for brands, organizations, and high profiles individuals. The problem is, so many business owners simply don’t understand what it is, how to start one, don’t have time, and most importantly… don’t know WHAT to do with it once they have one.

Another problem I am seeing is that people are asking, “What is my Return On Investment?” Maybe people were asking what their ROI was when first thinking about purchasing a phone system… but for some reason, I don’t think they were. They just knew it was an easy way to communicate, everyone has a phone, and it is easy to operate. Heeeyyy… that sounds exactly like a Facebook Fan Page can be for your business. Like I said earlier, everyone has a Facebook, it is an easy way to communicate with your customers, and it is easy to operate. PLUS as an extra bonus… IT IS FREE! Just costs your time, which you should SCHEDULE to manage so you don’t waste your valuable time on Facebook.

If you have been thinking about getting a Fan Page… Just Get One Already! Don’t make it more complex than it is! Stop asking so many questions and just DO IT! You can learn EVERYTHING about Fan Pages online. Learn how to set it up, brand it, add cool features, and market it to your clients and customers! Just follow the golden rule: “Go Where the People Are!” Communicate with your current and potential customers, ask them questions, answer their questions, communicate with them, become their resource in your field of expertise.

Do you know that BestBuy launched something called “Twelpforce” that they said was only 80% finished when they started?! BESTBUY! A huge brand like that jumped in with a little plan and took things in stride. Social Media is flexible and ever-changing. There is no PERFECT time to start. The perfect time was YESTERDAY.

However, if you feel that all of this is overwhelming and you don’t have the time, we at The W.L. Gaiennie Company can create a strategy, implement your branding, and assist you with your Facebook Fan Page. Just let us know your ideas and we will give you ours. Let us help you get your Facebook Fan Page already!

Make sure your competition never finds out about this

by: Charles Gaiennie on

All effective marketing is based on research. Anything else is just a guess. Sorry, but that's just the way it works.

So you say that you don't know how to do research on things like the size of the market, what people are spending money on, the average education level, what most people do for a living and other key facts that help you determine what to market, when and to whom.



Well, fear not! Research help is on the way.

We'd love to take credit for bringing you some secret source of market research, but kudos really have to go to the South Louisiana Economic Council and their partner in economic development, Entergy Louisiana. Together these folks make it a snap to get some really great information about the market your company serves.

It's all part of the Bayou Region Site Selection website, a site designed primarily to attract new business into the region but absolutely packed with great information under the Parish and Community Profiles section. 

Here's a list of the cool things that await your mouseclick.

A great map view of the region that is clickable to go to any of the four parishes of Assumption, Lafourche, St. Mary or Terrebonne.
  • Profiles of each of the parishes or individual communities with each parish
  • Population details
  • Workplace data, and
  • Spending patterns.
If that's not enough, the site even gives you the option to create a custom report and view it as a graph or export it in Excel.

Very cool stuff and absolutely free. Check it out now!

The Power of Friendship

by: Charles Gaiennie on

Does this sound familiar?

Hey. Have you tried that new restaurant in town?

Yeah. A friend from work ate there Saturday and they said it’s really good. The place was packed but the service was good and they had some really interesting things on the menu.

Cool. I think we’re going to try it tonight. Thanks.

Based on this conversation, would you be willing to give this new restaurant a try? We guess that you would, and, frankly, so would we.

But did you notice that something was conspicuously absent? Did you notice that marketing, in the traditional sense of the word is nowhere to be seen in this exchange? No $3 million-a-minute Super Bowl ad, no Hollywood spokesperson, nothing really but a casual – yet powerful – affirmation that is almost certain to result in a new customer for the restaurant.

Could there be something here? You bet there is. It’s the power of a legitimate referral, not made by you, but done on behalf of you from a trusted source. It’s called referral marketing and it is powerful stuff when done right.

So how does it work?

To begin with, you really do have to have something of value. No marketing can make up for a poor experience and, in fact, if you really don’t have something that can legitimately be referred, stay away from encouraging referrals until you do since failing to live up to an expectation is worse than having never created the expectation in the first place.

But when you do have something great, make it easy for others to share it. While there are many ways to do this, some methods clearly stand out. Email marketing, for example, is a great way to allow persons to refer to a friend. Sure, they can just hit the forward button on their email, but it’s far better to embed within the email an opportunity to forward to a friend. With Constant Contact, for example, forwarding to a friend is not only easy, but doing so allows you to collect new contacts to allow your distribution list to grow over time.

Another method is to get social. Social media by definition is a perfect medium to get others to share information about you. What you are looking for here is a Facebook fan page that is about your company. Be careful not to try to use a personal Facebook page to promote your business since Facebook frowns on the practice and may cut you off for doing so.

What the two methods have in common is the ease of making the referral and the potentially unlimited number of times a referral can be made with absolutely zero time and expense on your part. You also gain the ability to track referrals depending on the method you choose. In any case, referrals done electronically are huge and provide an effective and affordable way for you to get your message out.

So what more can we say other than, if you enjoy reading our Marketing Minute, we would be most grateful if you would, Tell a Friend.

When you’re ready to have a one-on-one conversation with a few thousand people, give us a call at 985.446.6088 or complete our request form.

Until next week. 

 

© Copyright The W.L. Gaiennie Company 2016