Cause Marketing Works

G’day to ya!

I’m writing to add a little note about marketing with a cause in mind. Cause marketing is something very near and dear to my heart. I’ve also co-authored a full program on the topic, for those who want to become writers in the cause marketing field, or for cause marketers who want to improve their outreach content.

Are you familiar with cause marketing? It’s a term used to describe any for-profit company that publicly supports a good cause in a mutually beneficial agreement. The traditional cause marketing model is defined by a win-win partnership in which the company dedicates a certain percentage of its profits to a good cause, and also supports the good cause with marketing power.

This has stemmed into other areas of noble social business models, like companies with their own worthy causes supported by a company-owned foundation, or companies that make a big push for paid employee volunteer time.

Whatever the case, I love working for worthy causes and helping companies to spread the word about the good works they’re doing. If you know of anyone interested in a free cause marketing consultation, to either brainstorm ideas on how to get started on a cause marketing campaign, or spread the word about a current cause-related effort, please contact me at megan@megantyson.com.

I’m here to help!

Kind regards,

Megan

Your Business is Like Goldilocks and the Three Bears! It’s a story…

Have you ever felt like when you describe your business, you focus on fancy schmancy terms and big words? In the end, you may be confusing or boring your audience.

Describing your business doesn’t have to be as hard as you think. It’s all about enthusiasm and the way you pitch your services or products. Basically, it’s about framing your business like a story.

Storytelling is a mega-impact way to garner attention and connect with your audience. Stories have survived through the ages because the story format is an easier way for humans to interpret and remember information.

Take the story of Goldilocks, for example. Does the fairy tale ring a bell? If you’ve heard it – even if you haven’t heard it for years and years – there’s a good chance you can relay the general idea.

Probably the most memorable part of the story is that the girl who enters the home of the three bears finds that everything is either too much, too little, or just right. The porridge she tries is too hot, too cold, or just right. And of the beds she tried, the first one was too hard, the second was too soft, but the third was just right.

goldilocks in the woods

What can Goldilocks teach us? Two things – no, three.

  1. The “too much, too little, and just right” theme in the story is completely relatable to real-life marketing. Find a marketing strategy that’s not too meager, not too over-the-top, but just right
  2. I’m convinced you knew at least part of the story. If I’m right, this is a perfect example of how storytelling can sit in our memories over time and help us store information. Write you’re content as if you’re sitting down with one person, and tell your company’s story in a way that’s interesting and memorable.
  3. I didn’t get into the conclusion of the story. In that, the three bears return to their home and find Goldilocks sleeping in their bed. She wakes up, screams, and runs away. So the moral of the story is don’t break and enter anyone’s home…. A little off topic, but I might as well add a point number three!

Back to point #1. When marketing your business, think big, but think cleverly. If you’re a walk-in will business, don’t use a showy bouncy castle to promote your biz. It’s over-the-top and just doesn’t fit in with your audience. And if you’re a business that sells herbal supplements online, don’t just focus on your local community. You’re online, so make use of the fact that you can sell on a national or international scale. Go big!

Whatever amount of marketing you do, just make sure you do a lot time and budget to it. Marketing can get slashed when company finances are tight. But marketing is what brings in the customers! So keep it up, and find the outreach balance that works just right.

 

Never Underestimate the Power of Customer Service

I hold a very special place in my heart for stellar customer service. It just makes my entire day, and boosts the chances that I’ll purchase something tenfold. Before I became a full-time writer, I did a lot of work in the customer service world, from cruise ships to restaurants to travel agencies, providing customer service was my thing.

I love going into a clothing store and receiving that warm smile and merry greeting. And to get prompt service for a dressing room? It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. It’s not a huge expectation to receive this kind of service, but it baffles me how often I go places and receive absolutely no acknowledgment. For example, in the DC metro area, I’ve stepped into a handful of Ann Taylor LOFT stores. Nine out of 10 times, I won’t be greeted. and even less often, I’ve never been asked to open a dressing room. And though I don’t do it intentionally, about nine out of 10 visits, I leave without buying a thing.

However, when I’m in the LOFT in Albuquerque while visiting family, I’m always greeted, always helped, and I just about always buy something. (Granted, I like the product in general, but the experience makes a big difference for my spending personality.)

Am i the only sucker for service? I don’t think so. Are the expectations of quality service different from city to  city? Perhaps. But I just know that if I received even an inkling of real quality service from the stores near me, I’d likely have a bigger collection of LOFT in my wardrobe.

This goes for anything. Car service, restaurant service, choosing wedding venues (I’m on the lookout). When I feel like I’m a hassle to any of these people when asking questions, I get frustrated and don’t buy. So clearly, customer service is a big factor in the marketing world as well. Brand your company as a business that cares, that caters to its customers, that wants to serve. If you’re taking these steps, you’ll see a lot more loyalty from customers. It’s just the age old concept: people like buying from likable people.

Paris is for Marketers

Ever notice how France gets all the credit for so many great things?  The wine…the pastries…the fashion. It seems like everything they do is the “crème de la crème.”
Photo of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

I mean, the French even know how to make a slimey garden pest seem like the world’s most exquisite delicacy. (Hint: escargot.)

What’s their secret?

The way I see it, there are two main reasons: 

  1. They produce quality products.
  2. They know how to market themselves.

That’s right. In many ways, they’ve earned their reputation merely by offering top-notch products. I’ve never met a glass of champagne I didn’t like, or turned my nose up at a crème brulee.

But it also has to do with marketing. It’s not as cut and dry as typical business marketing, but the masterminds of the French nation have worked their magic on millions of consumers across the globe.

Let’s see if France’s appeal has affected you. Image you’re making a formal, romantic dinner for your special someone. In preparation, you buy a:

  1. a) a bottle of champagne  OR  b)a bottle of lemonade
  2. a) a baguette  OR  b) tortillas
  3. a) filet mignon  OR  b) hot dogs
  4. a) brie  OR  b) Velveeta cheese slices

Did you choose mostly “a”?

Okay, okay, this example is incredibly biased. But when I think of French foods versus American foods, these are the foods I think of. In many respects, I naturally find French food fancier. And the American foods that are fancy are higher brow are often inspired by French foods. Do you agree?

There are several factors as to why the French have such high acclaim for their food, art, architecture and more. Yes, they’ve had centuries to master their products, and yes, historic settlement and shifts in world powers could’ve played a role as well.

But one thing is for sure. France’s marketing powers are at work today. French people continue to express themselves as masters of fine quality, and they do a darn good job at convincing me!

Turn Snails into Escargot

Your business needs to market itself like France. First off, you need a quality product or service. And secondly, you need to convey a clear, consistent message that your business is unique and impressive.

Never stop marketing your business. The French have marketed their fine talents for centuries. And as you can see, it’s been worth the effort.

Social Media: Why You Should Join the Conversation

logosSocial media. Everywhere you look, it seems like everyone and everything has a Facebook and Twitter account, plus Flickr, Tumblr, YouTube, Pinterest, FourSquare, and everything in between.

It’s turned into a thing where your neighbor’s dog, Ruffy, now tweets about his day, and your Plumber, Joe, wants to make sure you’re his number one fan on Facebook.

It just seems like so much!

And since businesses are joining in and proving their success, it just sounds natural you should do the same for your business

…right?

Right! It’s true, social media is an astoundingly powerful form of business marketing  — and it’s not a fad. The idea that customers can now interact with their local and global businesses with a simple comment or tweet is a communication trend that’s here to stay.

But signing up for a few social media sites is not enough. Posting infrequent formal announcements about your business isn’t enough either. There’s more to it than that.

The whole point of social media is to join a conversation. It’s the interaction between customer and business in an informal, engaging, chatty kind of setting. And the end goal is to build a loyal community of friends and followers who then become your voice to spread the news about your business on to their friends.

Make a Plan Before You Dive In

Before you jump onboard the bandwagon (or if you’re already there and haven’t figured things out a sustainable content strategy yet), make sure you make a plan.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. What are my goals with social media marketing?
  2. Who is my primary audience?
  3. Which social media sites work best for my business and my audience?
  4. What is my company brand, and how does that affect how I converse online?
  5. What should I post?
  6. How frequently can I post?
  7. How do I react when if my business gets negative feedback?
  8. Who will regularly monitor my sites to respond to questions and comments?

There’s a lot of questions that need to be addressed in order to create an affective social media marketing plan. And you might not know all the answers to these plans.

If that’s the case, it might be in your best interest to hire a social media expert who can assess your strategy and guide you to approach that makes the highest impact.

Or if you don’t have the time or in-house writing talent, consider outsourcing your social media role to a specialist.

Want tips on where to find one? You’ve found one! I offer services in social media strategy, copywriting, and social media management. Contact me today to discuss how I can help your business.

 

 

Now introducing…

It’s out! It’s published! Hoorah!

Recently, I completed a DC Dining Travel Guide app for iPhone and iPad. And now it’s officially published and ready to access on iTunes.

Just wanted to share the news with fine folks like you! Please take a look and offer any feedback. Anything is appreciated.

qrcode

Or rather than scan, you can check it out here.

Not an iPhone user? You can also check out the content here.

Now it’s your turn. Is there anything you’ve published? Something you’d like to share? Let me know and I’d be happy to check it out. In this biz, it’s all about feedback and connecting with others, so share away!

🙂

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012!

Greetings!

Ahhh…I do love January. It’s a time to reflect, a time of renewal, and a time to drink lots of hot cocoa!

I’m the type who religiously makes New Year’s Resolutions that fill a whole page or two or five in my journal. I love having a reminder to look back at the past year and think about ways to be even bigger and better for the year to come.

Goals for me range greatly, from  learning morse code, to baking my own bread, to boosting my business marketing. And of course, with this blog, it’s the business marketing goal that I’m going to discuss today.

The funny thing about marketing is there’s just so much of it! And when all is said and done, many businesses get caught in this web of trying to do everything at once. They give presentations at business luncheons, they sign up for every form of social media, start a newsletter list, send direct mail, host webinars, and on and on.

But the thing to remember, and the tip of today’s blog, is focus on quality, not quantity. Don’t market through every channel unless there’s quality information and quality manpower to back it up.

For example, if you’re going to sign up for Facebook and Twitter, be sure you have someone or a group of people who can provide well-written, quality posts. Are you going to have a blog? You shouldn’t if you only plan to write two updates a year.

Many times, the best solution to commit to focused marketing strategies is to hire others to do the work. Whatever your business, you have a lot to do. Even if you’re a marketing firm, your job is to serve clients, so working on their projects should allot for most of your day.

Now, that leaves you with marketing that needs to get done, and should be done regularly. What do you do? Give the job to someone else. Whether it be in-house or a freelancer, give the role to someone who will regularly keep things flowing.

An added perk is to find someone who knows your industry – or is willing to learn the ins and outs of your industry – and who is able to help come up with topics.

Looking for someone like this? Let me see if I can help. We might be a good match, or I may be able to lead you to a contact who is just the right fit for your field.

Cheers to you and to a wonderful New Year!

Tis the Season

Hello all!

Just a note to say I’m here, and though I haven’t written new posts in a while, I’m always just a quick email away. Life has been busy with some exciting projects, but I’m always here to chat if you’d like online marketing advice.

Have a fabulous holiday season!

All the best,

Megan

Is it Time to Rebrand?

Last week, I attended ESTC, which is the Ecotourism & Sustainable Tourism Conference. In sum, it was awesome! Though I write for a variety of clients, a big passion of mine is sustainable tourism, so it was truly wonderful meeting with so many fine folks in the industry.

While I was there, I got some goodies from Visit California, who will be hosting the event next year. In this pack was a tidbit of marketing that really intrigued me. And this is where today’s blog topic begins…

Introducing the New, Improved Superfruit!

Fantastic Modern Marketing for Pruins

That’s right, dried plums! A.k.a. the sensational superfruit! A.k.a. PRUNES!

I was so impressed to see that an entire packet of prunes had no mention of the word prune, that I just had to share my excitement.

When I saw this, I thought to myself… that’s ingenious!!

I have to admit that I’m a pretty big fan of prunes, no matter what name you give them. I attribute this to my dear ol’ vegan granny from California, who fed us all the prunes we could ever want every morning when we’d visit her.

But if I didn’t gain a taste for them at such a young age, I’m not sure I would’ve been so enthusiastic to try. They haven’t exactly had a glamorous reputation. I’m sure you know the dilemma… the dried fruit has always been the food for old folks looking to “stay regular.” Not exactly appealing or trendy in any way.

But here they were, in this snack pack, with the most appealing color packaging, with a glowing title. Who wouldn’t want to try a sensational superfruit? My guess is no one!

When to rebrand, and when to stay the same

Clearly, prunes didn’t make the cut when it came to positive reputations. But plums have always been a treat (think plum pudding…or even Professor Plum!). It’s very clever marketing to simply cut out the overused “prunish” title and stick with dried plums.

So, you ask, what about in business? Are there times when it’s better to rebrand a name? Changing a business name gets into a whole other discussion, but rebranding a product (like plums), it may be worth the change.

But wait!

First comes a whole lot of research. What do consumers think of the product? What do they expect from them? Would another name really make them more likely to buy? Ask, ask, ask, and triple ask before you make the change.

Keep that fresh attitude and always check to see that your marketing works. Then consumers will be happy to consume. Simple as that.

Now, go forth and assess your company’s brands. If you find any prunes, conduct a thorough analysis of some changes, and find your sensational, superfruit plum of a product!

Why Hire a Freelance Copywriter?

When you need content, where do you go? Is it worth hiring a copywriter when you or someone on your staff are perfectly capable of constructing sentences?

Consider these reasons:

1. Expertise. Copywriters are specialists in their field, so they can skillfully pump out quality copy while your full-time staff can focus on the jobs they are trained to do.

2. Results. Copywriters greatly value end results. Their mission is to craft words that generate sales, leads, subscribers, and similar goals for your business needs.

3. Quality. As independent professionals, copywriters are motivated to go above and beyond, offering new ideas and know-how for marketing and communications strategies.

4. Freshness. You may have plenty of content, but it constantly needs refreshing. On the web, updated content attracts search engines and increased web traffic. In print, new content will appeal to new customers.

5. Time. How much time do you have to write fresh marketing materials? For most, there’s never enough time. For social media marketing alone, the recommended time needed to engage customers is 20 hours per week. Save your valuable time by hiring a copywriter to manage your accounts.