March 2019 Watch The Clock Over the winter, I had the opportunity to coach sixth grade boys basketball through the Cottage Grove Recreation Department. It was an exciting season and we soon found ourselves at the end of season tournament, facing three teams we lost to during the season. Talk about intimidation! The first game we were down but came back to win; we went on to beat the undefeated first- seed team in our second game. We made it to the championship game against the second seed team. We jumped out to a nice lead but the other team came back strong. In the final five minutes it was back and forth. Guess what I found myself focusing on as I was calling plays, keeping the boys calm and doing my best to put the game away? I didn’t look at the score. I didn’t need to. I knew it was close. I knew it was going to come down to who had the last basket. All I kept looking at was the clock. How much time did I have to work with? How was I going to make the most of the opportunity when we had the ball? The last minute of the game came, we scored and went up by one. Our defense held strong in the final seconds and we won the championship game! [Insert “Eye of the Tiger” soundtrack]
What does this have to do with marketing? When you think of your own marketing initiatives, I challenge you to spend more time focusing on opportunities and less time on problems or things you can’t control. Over the years, I spend much of a initial consultation session listening to client challenges. How tough the competition is and how much better their marketing is than ours (client). How few resources were available to execute marketing projects. While this information was all valid, I now work to shift the conversation to opportunities: What are the differentiators between us and the competition? What are our internal key strengths and skill sets? Playing to those can make us more creative and better problem solvers. With all this information in mind, we can focus our time and energy on the things we can control and be good at.
Many of you have heard me say, it’s far better to focus on fewer marketing initiatives and do those things well, rather than trying to over stretch your budget and resources across scattered bits and pieces of marketing. If you don’t have time to actively maintain a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, don’t. Pick one social media platform that you feel comfortable with and own it. If running digital advertising is not your thing, then skip it. On the flip side, if you are comfortable with customer service interactions, then find a way to put yourself in those situations through things like trade shows, speaking engagements, community events, or even telemarketing campaigns.
Your target market doesn’t care or even pay attention to places you are or are not (TV, billboards, social media, newspaper, etc). What is going to catch their attention is your message and being consistent within a marketing medium. If you are going to be on social media, then be there consistently and do it well.
This Marketing Minute is brought to you by Sarah Hurley, owner at WeberMarketing, LLC. Feb. 2019 Web site or Website? By Sarah Hurley, owner at Weber Marketing LLC
Although most of us have some type of website--after all, it’s critical in today’s online world--the reality is that most of our websites could use a refresh or an overhaul. Here are some important things to keep in mind as you tackle yours.
What’s the purpose of your site? Is it to educate visitors? Is it the entryway to your ecommerce site? Settling in on the main purpose of your website at the start of the planning phase is key in meeting expectations.
What internal capabilities do you need to build AND manage the site once it’s up and running? Do you have the proper staff in place to build and maintain it from a technical standpoint? How about a writer to help articulate the purpose and keep the content relevant and fresh? A website administrator (the person that may build or manage your web site) IS NOT the same resource as the person responsible for writing the content on the site: those tasks require two different skill sets.
If you don’t have internal resources to manage a robust website, don’t build one. Keep it simple. I see nothing wrong with two-or three-page websites with basic information. I would rather have you build small and be able to manage it properly, then build out an eight-page website and fall short of keeping it fresh and relevant.
What’s a logical sitemap? A website sitemap is sort of like an HR org chart. Google “website site map template” to see an example. Really think this part through. How many pages do you need? What type of content will live on each page?
Having a sitemap helps you visualize your site. It makes it easier to ensure your team is on the same page in terms of content and flow. It also gives you a framework for discussion if you’re getting outside assistance to build your site.
Does your site contain critical key words? Next up: SEO or search engine optimization. SEO helps ensure that when customers or prospects are searching online for the product/service you provide, your company pops up in their search results (which is why you have a website after all!). And for this to happen, your website has to have a clear line of communication with Google, or other search engines, in order to connect your website to consumers’ keyword searches.
Proper SEO implementation is critical. I cannot stress this enough. SEO is a combination of technical and creative writing skills. It is not something that should be taken lightly or done later. It needs to happen now and you need to take it seriously. Do that and, you’ll see a vastly different result in the power of your website.
Last but not least, it’s important to commit to ongoing maintenance and content updates. A website is not a one and done marketing initiative. It takes ongoing, tender loving care.
If you are a small business and website responsibilities fall to you, please do me a favor: Block a half-hour on your calendar every month to sit down and review your website. Look for technical updates that need to be downloaded. Look at the content on your site. Is there new marketing material that can be added? Look at your web traffic and see which pages folks are spending time on. If you are apart of a larger organization and website responsibilities fall to you, same rules apply. You might just have the benefit of having other folks involved with monthly updates. But nonetheless, take initiative and schedules those monthly website meetings.
Spend time maintaining your website, and you’ll see two things happen: 1) You’ll get more out of this powerful marketing tool and 2) You’ll become more comfortable working within it. I always hear from small business owners, “I’m not a technical person so I don’t know how to keep up with my website.” As I tell my kids about sports, you are never going to get better unless you show up to practice and try. Start small and work up from there.
By the way, the debate continues if website is one word, or two, web site. Wikipedia and Webster both say website, so let’s all go with that.